Jump to content

Bellatrix: 16 yrs on Lexapro, 8 months off, including 4 in withdrawal


Bellatrix

Recommended Posts

I'm so happy to have found this site.

I was on Celexa and then Lexapro for 16 years.

I took my last dose of Lexapro in early November 2016 after a multi-year taper. After being on 2.5mg, I stopped completely and was fine. No withdrawal effects until 4 months later - March 2017. To steal from Stephen King's phrasing - My ears started ringing...and anxiety followed.

 

The past 4 months have been horrible. I was trying to "tough it out" but i finally decided to try reinstating Lexapro last week. I took 5mg for 3 days and was ok, until the 4th day when i suddenly got struck by just incredible fatigue. And I had thought i had felt exhausted all the time before! I didn't take the Lexapro that night, and the next day I still had the extreme fatigue, and in addition I felt like i couldn't get enough air, and my pulse was lower then normal.

 

I stopped taking the Lexapro and the following day my breathing was OK again - but the fatigue has remained. Whereas before I was able to go to work, now I can't even do that. I couldn't understand why some days would be ok, and then the next day would be horrible - but I found this site and Windows/Waves made it make so much sense.

 

I'm hoping to find other people who had a 4-month delay on their withdrawal symptoms, and people who have had success after long-term SSRI use.  I'm trying to decide if I should try the Lexapro again at 1 mg, or if at this point, being 8 months off, it's not worth it. I'm scared of the breathing problems and I hate that I am now worse off then i was before trying the Lexapro again.

 

I could go on, but this is an intro post. I've lost 10 lbs. due to what I call "Anxierexia", and I have no more weight left to lose - so every day is a struggle to try to get more then 1000 calories in me. I've been to several doctors, blood work, etc. thinking that there was something wrong with me -- but the idea that this is withdrawal just makes so much sense and is giving me hope that if I give myself time - my system can heal.

Edited by KarenB
added white space

16 years on SSRI's (Celexa, then Lexapro)

Tapered down over several years. Last dose November 2016 (2.5 mg)

Withdrawal symptoms began March 2017

Attempt to reinstate at 5mg in June 2017 led to worsening symptoms

Reinstated at .4 mg in July 2017 with beneficial results. 

Link to comment
  • KarenB changed the title to Bellatrix: 4 months withdrawal from Lexapro
  • Moderator Emeritus

Hello Bellatrix,

 

I'm sure you'll find plenty of people here who have also had delayed withdrawal.  And yes, with time you will heal.  I'm glad you found the Windows and Waves page useful.


After being off for four months, we'd have suggested a much smaller amount than 5mg as your brain will have adapted to some degree to being on nothing.  At this stage you might try 1mg and see how that goes.  Or, if you prefer to be even more cautious, 0.5mg.  Tips for tapering Lexapro

 

It can take at least four days for a drug to get steady in your bloodstream.  Taking notes on paper about what happens will help you to make future decisions.  Further down the track when you are nicely stabilised again you could start tapering off according to our 10% monthly guidelines.

 

Thanks for writing a signature.  Can you add to it the details of your recent attempt at reinstatement? 

 

Have a read of those and then you can come back to this thread to discuss things further.  This can be your journal to record your tapering and healing progress, and to ask questions. With time and good care, you will be able to one day be off this drug. 

Welcome to SA,

Karen

 

Welcome to SA,

Karen

2010  Fluoxetine 20mg.  2011  Escitalopram 20mg.  2013 Tapered badly and destabilised CNS.  Effexor 150mg. 

2015 Begin using info at SurvivingAntidepressants.  Cut 10% - bad w/d 2 months, held 1 month. 

Micro-tapering: four weekly 0.4% cuts, hold 4 weeks (struggling with symptoms).

8 month hold.

2017 Micro-tapering: four weekly 1% cuts, hold 4 weeks (symptoms almost non-existent).

2020 Still micro-tapering. Just over 2/3 of the way off effexor. Minimal symptoms, - and sleeping well.
Supplements: Fish oil, vitamin C, iron, oat-straw tea, nettle tea.

My story of healing:ContinuedHealing

***I am not a doctor; please do your own research and be able to take responsibility for decisions you make.*** 

           'The possibility of renewal exists so long as life exists.'  Dr Gabor Mate.

Link to comment

Thank you so much for writing Karen! I can't tell you how much it means to me. I woke up this morning and the first thing I did was to check and see if anyone responded. My mood over the past 12 hours has improved incredibly just by finding this site and your response. 

 

Ive actually been off Lexapro for 8 months now. 4 months fine, then the past 4 months with the withdrawal. My doctor is supportive of the liquid dosing, I just think 8 months may be too long and after how bad this week has been after trying 5mg for 3 days - I'm nervous about even a tiny dose. 

 

I feel like my words are clumsy - but I will start posting/update my signature. 

 

I hope you have a wonderful day. 

16 years on SSRI's (Celexa, then Lexapro)

Tapered down over several years. Last dose November 2016 (2.5 mg)

Withdrawal symptoms began March 2017

Attempt to reinstate at 5mg in June 2017 led to worsening symptoms

Reinstated at .4 mg in July 2017 with beneficial results. 

Link to comment

Oh - also - is it possible to edit the title of my post? "16 years on Lexapro, 8 months off. 4 months withdrawal"

16 years on SSRI's (Celexa, then Lexapro)

Tapered down over several years. Last dose November 2016 (2.5 mg)

Withdrawal symptoms began March 2017

Attempt to reinstate at 5mg in June 2017 led to worsening symptoms

Reinstated at .4 mg in July 2017 with beneficial results. 

Link to comment

I have been off Lexapro for 8 months, but didn't get withdrawal symptoms until 4 months ago. I am so scared that I waited too long and reinstating even at a tiny dose won't help. 

 

 

Edited by scallywag
moved from reinstatement topic

16 years on SSRI's (Celexa, then Lexapro)

Tapered down over several years. Last dose November 2016 (2.5 mg)

Withdrawal symptoms began March 2017

Attempt to reinstate at 5mg in June 2017 led to worsening symptoms

Reinstated at .4 mg in July 2017 with beneficial results. 

Link to comment

So here's my story. I went on Celexa 20 mg back in 2000. I was in college and struggling with a lot. I had a constant feeling of nausea and would get crippling panic attacks in which i'd actually "white out" - no vision, no hearing, and then fall down. After refusing to believe that this could possibly be caused by anxiety, I had a really bad panic attack and said "screw it", and gave Celexa a try. It gave me my life back. Within 2 weeks I was feeling better. I still had the nausea and the panic from time to time - but it wasn't every day and it wasn't crippling.

 

I don't regret going on the Celexa. I do wish that I had been more aggressive with therapy, then maybe i could have dealt with my underlying issues and gone off it much sooner. My attitude was that i felt fine and I'd take Celexa for the rest of my life if i needed to.

I went to grad school and the Celexa dose went up to 40 mg

I moved and started a job and the Celexa dose went up to 60 mg, felt like a zombie - and didn't really seem to be working.

So in 2005, my doctor switched me to Lexapro - 20 mg. Everyting evened out again, and I continue to bop along on my merry way.

I got married, got a great job and was doing well. I went up to 30 mg of Lexapro as it started to "poop out" again.

 

My job can be very stressful, as in, people's lives can be at stake, and after a particularly stressful incident in 2013 i had a "breakdown" where I was just non-functioning in a state of total panic for several days. I came out of it but decided that clearly the Lexapro wasn't working anymore and it was time to start a new strategy.

 

I began intensive Freudian Psychoanalysis. You know -on the couch, talking about your parents. I went 4 times a week. And guess what - i got better. I got amazingly better. I went down to 20mg of Lexapro and stayed there for a year or so. Felt fine - panicy episodes would come up, but we would deal with them, and i'd always come out of it after a few days or a week. In 2015 I went down to 10 mg Lexapro and held there for another year or so. My husband wanted to have children, but didn't want me on Lexapro for the pregnancy.

 

So in 2016 i went down to 5mg Lexapro, came back up to 10mg, then back down to 5mg. My tapers would be at least 6 weeks before going down. In August 2016 I went down to 2.5 mg. In November I stopped completely.

 

The only issue I had was relearning emotions. After 16 years on SSRI's i was basically an emotional toddler. No matter what the issue was - a burnt pancake or something more serious - it came in emotionally at 100 and I would have a tantrum. Slowly I went from emotional toddler, to emotional child - and now despite the other symptoms. i identify emotions and react more normally. "Ah! This is frustration!" "Ah! This is anger!"

 

Between November and March, a lot of things happened, and if you follow US politics you'll know some of them...

Christmas Day i found out I was pregnant

A month later, my husband was present during one of our nation's lovely mass-shootings (he was OK, but the minutes it took to get in touch with him were unbelievably terrifying)

A preposterously stressful work event happened

I had a miscarriage on inauguration day

 

i'm going to take a typing break. But a month after the miscarriage, 4 months after Lexapro discontinuation, Having gone through ALL THAT; the physical withdrawal symptoms began. First as tinnitus (constant, still have it), then crippling anxiety, lightheadedness, acne, rashes, waking up every morning at 4:30 am in a state of terror that lasts for several hours, not eating, exhaustion.

 

Last week I decided to to go back on Lexapro (before i had found this site). My doctor suggested 10mg - I asked if I could do 5mg because my system seemed soooo sensitive to everything. The 4th day back on the 5mg I had an adverse reaction and have had unbelievable fatigue ever since. I thought it was bad before - but at least i could work. Now I can't work. My job is very understanding, but i hate not being able to work. I can't believe i'm longing for how I felt 2 weeks ago, which i thought was rock-bottom.

 

I'm scared I'll never get better. I'm scared that if I try a tiny dose of Lexapro (.5mg) that it's been so long that it won't work. I'm tired of forcing myself to eat (i've lost 10 lbs. and i can't afford to lose any more).

 

I'm also incredibly isolated, and pretty desperate to connect to other people. I don't really have a lot of friends, i'm not close to my family - who live 3000 miles away. So I really hope that finding this site - and talking with other people in the same boat will help.

 

Wellness and Healing to anyone who read this far (and even if you didn't)

 

~Bellatrix LeStrange~

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

16 years on SSRI's (Celexa, then Lexapro)

Tapered down over several years. Last dose November 2016 (2.5 mg)

Withdrawal symptoms began March 2017

Attempt to reinstate at 5mg in June 2017 led to worsening symptoms

Reinstated at .4 mg in July 2017 with beneficial results. 

Link to comment
3 hours ago, Bellatrix said:

I have been off Lexapro for 8 months, but didn't get withdrawal symptoms until 4 months ago. I am so scared that I waited too long and reinstating even at a tiny dose won't help. 

 

 

 

 

FWIW, I didn't run into withdrawal problems for two months and was in severe withdrawal for approx 4-5 months before reinstating. 

Most of the symptoms immediately resolved (at least to 90% or so), but I did end up with anhedonia and apathy. This was with Paxil.. 

Medication before problems: Took Paxil 60-100mg from 2003 to 2014 for OCD.
1) Last pill taken November 2014, horrendous withdrawal started six weeks later.

2) Re-instated successfully @ 20mg May 2015, but accompanied by severe anhedonia, loss of emotion, apathy, and fatigue

3) Switched to Prozac, Viibyrd, Zoloft, Nefazadone, Cymbalta, Nardil in attempt at abating WD symptoms while not re-introducing anhedonia. Each one either failed to relieve WD or brought back anhedonia. So re-stabilized on Paxil at 15mg

4) Tapered down to 7.5mg as of October 2016. More energy, anhedonia/loss of emotions remains apart from short windows.

5) May 2017 - down to 3.5mg of Paxil (no other meds)
6) Early 2018 - added 8mg of Prozac
7) January 2019 - down to 1.05 Paxil / 5mg Prozac and continuing

8) October 2019 - down to 0.2mg Paxil / 3mg Prozac

9) November 2019 - down to 0.1mg Paxil / 3mg Prozac 

10) March 2020 - done with Paxil, 2.5mg Prozac

11) April 2021 - 0.03mg Prozac

Link to comment

Thanks Henosis - that's good to know. I never had to deal with depression before until the withdrawal. Sometimes I don't know which is worse. Anxiety is about constantly struggling to survive, Depression is ... the opposite. Such a dark and scary place.   

I wish you the best. 

?

I'm not sure if emojis show up, but thinking about a cow mooing always makes me smile a bit. Moo. 

16 years on SSRI's (Celexa, then Lexapro)

Tapered down over several years. Last dose November 2016 (2.5 mg)

Withdrawal symptoms began March 2017

Attempt to reinstate at 5mg in June 2017 led to worsening symptoms

Reinstated at .4 mg in July 2017 with beneficial results. 

Link to comment

Bellatrix -

 

I just read your story quickly and was compelled to comment .  I was also on lexapro for 10 years with a few unsuccessful attempts at tapering .  I withdrew rather quickly (actually more of a cold turkey ) last summer and still suffer .  My symptoms got worse 3 months after last dose I reinstated like you at 5 mg stayed there for 3 months and with little success switched to another SSRI Luvox .  The dizziness I experience daily is intense but the fatigue is something else I do not even know how to describe it .  I am still having no relief with that and struggle greatly with working full time .  I hope for all of us it will get better .  I take supplements - fish oil, vitamin d, folic acid, vitamin b complex but nothing is lifting this crushing fatigue .  

 

Sorry I do not have helpful advice but wanted to let you know you are not alone 

 

04/10 Luvox 25 mg PM, Nortriptyline 1 mg PM

03/08/19: Buspar 2.5 mg AM, 5 mg PM

01/01/19: Xanax 0.125 AM 5 times a week. Occasionally, 0.125 twice a day AM & noon

12/18 Armour Thyroid 60 mg (for hypothyroidism) 

 

Supplements: B Complex, B12 (adeno), multi-vitamin, D, Adrenal Cortex, iron

  • Lexapro 20 mg 2007 - 2013 with various attempts to stop
  • 2013 found a new Dr and started trying other meds: Prozac, Notryptoline, Effexor, Buspar, Gabapentin, Paxil, Nardil
  • Lexapro 15 mg 2015 - 04/2016
  • Vibryiid 10 - 15mg 05/16-06/16 
  • NO MEDS 07/16 - 10/31/16
  • Reinstated 10/31/16 at 2.5 mg lexapro, increased to 5 mg   
  • 1/13/17 switched to Luvox 50 mg before bed
  • 1/20/17 Luvox 37.5 mg PM
  • 12/18 Luvox 10 mg PM, Nortriptyline 2 mg (started Nortriptyline 06/17 at 10 mg)
Link to comment
  • KarenB changed the title to Bellatrix: 16 yrs on Lexapro, 8 months off, including 4 in withdrawal
  • Moderator Emeritus

Yes, 8 months is a lot different to 4 months off.  Will you read the reinstatement thread so you can form a better idea of the possibilities? 

 

I still think, after reading what happend when you resinsted the 5mg, then stopped again, that reinstating 0.5mg would be helpful.  (But obviously I can't gaurantee anything!) 

 

Read that thread, then pop back in here to let us know what you're thinking, or ask any more questions. 

2010  Fluoxetine 20mg.  2011  Escitalopram 20mg.  2013 Tapered badly and destabilised CNS.  Effexor 150mg. 

2015 Begin using info at SurvivingAntidepressants.  Cut 10% - bad w/d 2 months, held 1 month. 

Micro-tapering: four weekly 0.4% cuts, hold 4 weeks (struggling with symptoms).

8 month hold.

2017 Micro-tapering: four weekly 1% cuts, hold 4 weeks (symptoms almost non-existent).

2020 Still micro-tapering. Just over 2/3 of the way off effexor. Minimal symptoms, - and sleeping well.
Supplements: Fish oil, vitamin C, iron, oat-straw tea, nettle tea.

My story of healing:ContinuedHealing

***I am not a doctor; please do your own research and be able to take responsibility for decisions you make.*** 

           'The possibility of renewal exists so long as life exists.'  Dr Gabor Mate.

Link to comment
  • Moderator Emeritus

I agree with Karen.

 

If you had been on the drugs less than 16 years I would be calmer about let's try to tough it out approach. But 16 years is a long time and I fear your brain will get even more distressed as it realises this substance is no longer there.

 

I would also try out 0.5 mg. Even if there is a negative reaction you can stop taking it without consequences. At least you will know that you have tried. It might save you from lots of suffering.

 

As Karen said, we can't guarantee but personally I would give it a try.

Current: 9/2022 Xanax 0.08, Lexapro 2

2020 Xanax 0.26 (down from 2 mg in 2013), Lexapro 2.85 mg (down from 5 mg 2013)

Amitriptyline (tricyclic AD) and clonazepam for 3 months to treat headache in 1996 
1999. - present Xanax prn up to 3 mg.
2000-2005 Prozac CT twice, 2005-2010 Zoloft CT 3 times, 2010-2013 Escitalopram 10 mg
went from 2.5 to zero on 7 Aug 2013, bad crash 40 days after
reinstated to 5 mg Escitalopram 4Oct 2013 and holding liquid Xanax every 5 hours
28 Jan 2014 Xanax 1.9, 18 Apr  2015 1 mg,  25 June 2015 Lex 4.8, 6 Aug Lexapro 4.6, 1 Jan 2016 0.64  Xanax     9 month hold

24 Sept 2016 4.5 Lex, 17 Oct 4.4 Lex (Nov 0.63 Xanax, Dec 0.625 Xanax), 1 Jan 2017 4.3 Lex, 24 Jan 4.2, 5 Feb 4.1, 24 Mar 4 mg, 10 Apr 3.9 mg, May 3.85, June 3.8, July 3.75, 22 July 3.7, 15 Aug 3.65, 17 Sept 3.6, 1 Jan 2018 3.55, 19 Jan 3.5, 16 Mar 3.4, 14 Apr 3.3, 23 May 3.2, 16 June 3.15, 15 Jul 3.1, 31 Jul 3, 21 Aug 2.9 26 Sept 2.85, 14 Nov Xan 0.61, 1 Dec 0.59, 19 Dec 0.58, 4 Jan 0.565, 6 Feb 0.55, 20 Feb 0.535, 1 Mar 0.505, 10 Mar 0.475, 14 Mar 0.45, 4 Apr 0.415, 13 Apr 0.37, 21 Apr 0.33, 29 Apr 0.29, 10 May 0.27, 17 May 0.25, 28 May 0.22, 19 June 0.22, 21 Jun updose to 0.24, 24 Jun updose to 0.26

Supplements: Omega 3 + Vit E, Vit C, D, magnesium, Taurine, probiotic 

I'm not a medical professional. Any advice I give is based on my own experience and reading. 

Link to comment
  • 2 months later...

I just wanted to let folks know that I started taking Lexapro in liquid form in July and as soon as I hit .4 mg it was like magic. I had started at just one drop and slowly moved up. I'm still not 100%, but the lions share of symptoms were greatly reduced. I reintroduced 8 months after stopping Lexapro and so much suffering. So just to let people know, there is hope!

 

ive managed to find 3 peer-reviewed articles that mention the idea of acute post-withdrawal from ssri's - from a journal called Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics. It's frustrating to be in medical "grey area". There just are no studies done on long-term ssri use and then following the patient for several months. Everythings like "we gave them 6 weeks of Paxil and watched for withdrawal symptoms for a week after"

16 years on SSRI's (Celexa, then Lexapro)

Tapered down over several years. Last dose November 2016 (2.5 mg)

Withdrawal symptoms began March 2017

Attempt to reinstate at 5mg in June 2017 led to worsening symptoms

Reinstated at .4 mg in July 2017 with beneficial results. 

Link to comment

Oh - I should also add - I started taking prenatal vitamins again - not for trying to conceive, but because they have omega 3 and lots of iron and other good stuff in them at a higher dose then a regular multi-vitamin.  They also seemed to cause an improvement in symptoms when coupled with the .4mg of Lexapro. 

16 years on SSRI's (Celexa, then Lexapro)

Tapered down over several years. Last dose November 2016 (2.5 mg)

Withdrawal symptoms began March 2017

Attempt to reinstate at 5mg in June 2017 led to worsening symptoms

Reinstated at .4 mg in July 2017 with beneficial results. 

Link to comment
1 hour ago, Bellatrix said:

I just wanted to let folks know that I started taking Lexapro in liquid form in July and as soon as I hit .4 mg it was like magic. I had started at just one drop and slowly moved up. I'm still not 100%, but the lions share of symptoms were greatly reduced. I reintroduced 8 months after stopping Lexapro and so much suffering. So just to let people know, there is hope!

wow this is a stunning update.

Please do keep posting of your progress.

 

1 hour ago, Bellatrix said:

ive managed to find 3 peer-reviewed articles that mention the idea of acute post-withdrawal from ssri's - from a journal called Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics. It's frustrating to be in medical "grey area". There just are no studies done on long-term ssri use and then following the patient for several months. Everythings like "we gave them 6 weeks of Paxil and watched for withdrawal symptoms for a week after"

You are onto it.

We are not so much in the  medical grey area but rather in the medical guinea pig area.

 

1 hour ago, Bellatrix said:

I started taking prenatal vitamins again

Are you able to give some specifics regarding these vitamins. 

What are their names?

 

nz11

 

Thought for the day: Lets stand up, and let’s speak out , together. G Olsen

We have until the 14th. Feb 2018. 

URGENT REQUEST Please consider submitting  for the petition on Prescribed Drug Dependence and Withdrawal currently awaiting its third consideration at the Scottish Parliament. You don't even have to be from Scotland. By clicking on the link below you can read some of the previous submissions but be warned many of them are quite harrowing.

http://www.parliament.scot/GettingInvolved/Petitions/PE01651   

Please tell them about your problems taking and withdrawing from antidepressants and/or benzos.

Send by email to petitions@parliament.scot and quote PE01651 in the subject heading. Keep to a maximum of 3 sides of A4 and you can't name for legal reasons any doctor you have consulted. Tell them if you wish to remain anonymous. We need the numbers to help convince the committee members we are not isolated cases. You have until mid February. Thank you

Recovering paxil addict

None of the published articles shed light on what ssri's ... actually do or what their hazards might be. Healy 2013. 

This is so true, with anything you get on these drugs, dependance, tapering, withdrawal symptoms, side effects, just silent. And if there is something mentioned then their is a serious disconnect between what is said and reality! 

  "Every time I read of a multi-person shooting, I always presume that person had just started a SSRI or had just stopped."  Dr Mosher. Me too! 

Over two decades later, the number of antidepressant prescriptions a year is slightly more than the number of people in the Western world. Most (nine out of 10) prescriptions are for patients who faced difficulties on stopping, equating to about a tenth of the population. These patients are often advised to continue treatment because their difficulties indicate they need ongoing treatment, just as a person with diabetes needs insulin. Healy 2015

I believe the ssri era will soon stand as one of the most shameful in the history of medicine. Healy 2015

Let people help people ... in a natural, kind, non-addictive (and non-big pharma) way. J Broadley 2017

 

 

Link to comment

Very happy to learn that you got better with 0.4 mg. Isn't it amazing?! It tells me that we should just keep lowering our doses at a 10% rate even when we are at 0.4 mg. You need to be on this dose for some time until you are really stable.:) 

Link to comment
  • Moderator Emeritus
On ‎24‎.‎9‎.‎2017‎. at 0:30 AM, Bellatrix said:

I just wanted to let folks know that I started taking Lexapro in liquid form in July and as soon as I hit .4 mg it was like magic. I had started at just one drop and slowly moved up. I'm still not 100%, but the lions share of symptoms were greatly reduced. I reintroduced 8 months after stopping Lexapro and so much suffering. So just to let people know, there is hope!

 

ive managed to find 3 peer-reviewed articles that mention the idea of acute post-withdrawal from ssri's - from a journal called Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics. It's frustrating to be in medical "grey area". There just are no studies done on long-term ssri use and then following the patient for several months. Everythings like "we gave them 6 weeks of Paxil and watched for withdrawal symptoms for a week after"

This is great news and thank you so much for letting us know. Given the state of the official medical understanding of what we are going through it is so very important that we learn from each other about what works and doesn't in this unchartered territory.

 

Did you start with 0.1 mg and over what period of time did you increase to 0.4? What was the initial reaction after taking that first drop?

 

Keep us posted. 

Current: 9/2022 Xanax 0.08, Lexapro 2

2020 Xanax 0.26 (down from 2 mg in 2013), Lexapro 2.85 mg (down from 5 mg 2013)

Amitriptyline (tricyclic AD) and clonazepam for 3 months to treat headache in 1996 
1999. - present Xanax prn up to 3 mg.
2000-2005 Prozac CT twice, 2005-2010 Zoloft CT 3 times, 2010-2013 Escitalopram 10 mg
went from 2.5 to zero on 7 Aug 2013, bad crash 40 days after
reinstated to 5 mg Escitalopram 4Oct 2013 and holding liquid Xanax every 5 hours
28 Jan 2014 Xanax 1.9, 18 Apr  2015 1 mg,  25 June 2015 Lex 4.8, 6 Aug Lexapro 4.6, 1 Jan 2016 0.64  Xanax     9 month hold

24 Sept 2016 4.5 Lex, 17 Oct 4.4 Lex (Nov 0.63 Xanax, Dec 0.625 Xanax), 1 Jan 2017 4.3 Lex, 24 Jan 4.2, 5 Feb 4.1, 24 Mar 4 mg, 10 Apr 3.9 mg, May 3.85, June 3.8, July 3.75, 22 July 3.7, 15 Aug 3.65, 17 Sept 3.6, 1 Jan 2018 3.55, 19 Jan 3.5, 16 Mar 3.4, 14 Apr 3.3, 23 May 3.2, 16 June 3.15, 15 Jul 3.1, 31 Jul 3, 21 Aug 2.9 26 Sept 2.85, 14 Nov Xan 0.61, 1 Dec 0.59, 19 Dec 0.58, 4 Jan 0.565, 6 Feb 0.55, 20 Feb 0.535, 1 Mar 0.505, 10 Mar 0.475, 14 Mar 0.45, 4 Apr 0.415, 13 Apr 0.37, 21 Apr 0.33, 29 Apr 0.29, 10 May 0.27, 17 May 0.25, 28 May 0.22, 19 June 0.22, 21 Jun updose to 0.24, 24 Jun updose to 0.26

Supplements: Omega 3 + Vit E, Vit C, D, magnesium, Taurine, probiotic 

I'm not a medical professional. Any advice I give is based on my own experience and reading. 

Link to comment
  • Administrator

Good to hear low-dose reinstatement worked, thanks for letting us know. 

 

If those papers are not already in the From journals and scientific sources forum, please add them!

 

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

Link to comment

I started with .03 mg (one drop). I did that for 3 days, then went up to 2 drops (.06 mg). I had no reaction at these low levels, either positive or negative. I continued to go up by a drop or 2 every few days. After around 2 weeks I hit .4 mg. I held there for 2 days, and when I woke up the 3rd day, the severity of the physical symptoms I was having (extreme fatigue, burning mouth, foggyhead, etc) were greatly reduced. It has now been over a month and those symptoms have not returned. 

 

I still have a long way to go. While this dosage seems to help with the severe withdrawal symptoms, it's not an effective dose for treating anxiety, and I still have some of the sleep issues that seem to be common on here. And lack of sleep can definitely exacerbate things. 

 

There are still hard days and set backs, but nothing like it was 2 months ago, let alone earlier this spring. 

 

Im hoping this stabilizing dose coupled with therapy, vitamins, meditation, and time can lead to healing. 

 

Im taking a One-a-Day Women's Prenatal1 vitamin (it has lots of iron and also fish oil. my iron levels are low from not really eating for so long. But my fatigue went away from the .4mg, I didn't start supplemententing iron til later). 

 

I go to psychoanalysis 3x a week - if you've done CogBe and have an option to try this, i highly recommend it.

 

I try to do the free meditation sessions offered online by UCLA's meditation center. They range from 3 minutes to 20, and I've found the techniques taught  helpful when I'm very anxious/panicky - especially upon waking up. 

 

I do wish I had family nearby. I think spending time with a sibling or a cousin, or being able to help them out with errands or housework would be fulfilling. 

 

 

16 years on SSRI's (Celexa, then Lexapro)

Tapered down over several years. Last dose November 2016 (2.5 mg)

Withdrawal symptoms began March 2017

Attempt to reinstate at 5mg in June 2017 led to worsening symptoms

Reinstated at .4 mg in July 2017 with beneficial results. 

Link to comment
  • Moderator Emeritus

Thank you very much for these additional details.

 

Anxiety is also a withdrawal symptom. I like your approach. It is good that you recognize you still have a long way to go but are focused on things which improved. I'm a big fan of therapy myself. I would be stuck in my thought processes and personal emotional and developmental history had I not had a support in gaining some insight into it. I also think that psychoanalytically oriented therapy is a great complement to the CBT. The latter helps you change your thinking patterns while the former gives you some insight into why they are the way they are... I also do meditation with the app called calm.com and like it because guided sessions take from 3 min to 30 min so one can gradually build up the meditation muscle.

Current: 9/2022 Xanax 0.08, Lexapro 2

2020 Xanax 0.26 (down from 2 mg in 2013), Lexapro 2.85 mg (down from 5 mg 2013)

Amitriptyline (tricyclic AD) and clonazepam for 3 months to treat headache in 1996 
1999. - present Xanax prn up to 3 mg.
2000-2005 Prozac CT twice, 2005-2010 Zoloft CT 3 times, 2010-2013 Escitalopram 10 mg
went from 2.5 to zero on 7 Aug 2013, bad crash 40 days after
reinstated to 5 mg Escitalopram 4Oct 2013 and holding liquid Xanax every 5 hours
28 Jan 2014 Xanax 1.9, 18 Apr  2015 1 mg,  25 June 2015 Lex 4.8, 6 Aug Lexapro 4.6, 1 Jan 2016 0.64  Xanax     9 month hold

24 Sept 2016 4.5 Lex, 17 Oct 4.4 Lex (Nov 0.63 Xanax, Dec 0.625 Xanax), 1 Jan 2017 4.3 Lex, 24 Jan 4.2, 5 Feb 4.1, 24 Mar 4 mg, 10 Apr 3.9 mg, May 3.85, June 3.8, July 3.75, 22 July 3.7, 15 Aug 3.65, 17 Sept 3.6, 1 Jan 2018 3.55, 19 Jan 3.5, 16 Mar 3.4, 14 Apr 3.3, 23 May 3.2, 16 June 3.15, 15 Jul 3.1, 31 Jul 3, 21 Aug 2.9 26 Sept 2.85, 14 Nov Xan 0.61, 1 Dec 0.59, 19 Dec 0.58, 4 Jan 0.565, 6 Feb 0.55, 20 Feb 0.535, 1 Mar 0.505, 10 Mar 0.475, 14 Mar 0.45, 4 Apr 0.415, 13 Apr 0.37, 21 Apr 0.33, 29 Apr 0.29, 10 May 0.27, 17 May 0.25, 28 May 0.22, 19 June 0.22, 21 Jun updose to 0.24, 24 Jun updose to 0.26

Supplements: Omega 3 + Vit E, Vit C, D, magnesium, Taurine, probiotic 

I'm not a medical professional. Any advice I give is based on my own experience and reading. 

Link to comment
  • 1 month later...

Bellatrax are you able to post an update.

Thought for the day: Lets stand up, and let’s speak out , together. G Olsen

We have until the 14th. Feb 2018. 

URGENT REQUEST Please consider submitting  for the petition on Prescribed Drug Dependence and Withdrawal currently awaiting its third consideration at the Scottish Parliament. You don't even have to be from Scotland. By clicking on the link below you can read some of the previous submissions but be warned many of them are quite harrowing.

http://www.parliament.scot/GettingInvolved/Petitions/PE01651   

Please tell them about your problems taking and withdrawing from antidepressants and/or benzos.

Send by email to petitions@parliament.scot and quote PE01651 in the subject heading. Keep to a maximum of 3 sides of A4 and you can't name for legal reasons any doctor you have consulted. Tell them if you wish to remain anonymous. We need the numbers to help convince the committee members we are not isolated cases. You have until mid February. Thank you

Recovering paxil addict

None of the published articles shed light on what ssri's ... actually do or what their hazards might be. Healy 2013. 

This is so true, with anything you get on these drugs, dependance, tapering, withdrawal symptoms, side effects, just silent. And if there is something mentioned then their is a serious disconnect between what is said and reality! 

  "Every time I read of a multi-person shooting, I always presume that person had just started a SSRI or had just stopped."  Dr Mosher. Me too! 

Over two decades later, the number of antidepressant prescriptions a year is slightly more than the number of people in the Western world. Most (nine out of 10) prescriptions are for patients who faced difficulties on stopping, equating to about a tenth of the population. These patients are often advised to continue treatment because their difficulties indicate they need ongoing treatment, just as a person with diabetes needs insulin. Healy 2015

I believe the ssri era will soon stand as one of the most shameful in the history of medicine. Healy 2015

Let people help people ... in a natural, kind, non-addictive (and non-big pharma) way. J Broadley 2017

 

 

Link to comment

Bella how are you at this time?

 

Thought for the day: Lets stand up, and let’s speak out , together. G Olsen

We have until the 14th. Feb 2018. 

URGENT REQUEST Please consider submitting  for the petition on Prescribed Drug Dependence and Withdrawal currently awaiting its third consideration at the Scottish Parliament. You don't even have to be from Scotland. By clicking on the link below you can read some of the previous submissions but be warned many of them are quite harrowing.

http://www.parliament.scot/GettingInvolved/Petitions/PE01651   

Please tell them about your problems taking and withdrawing from antidepressants and/or benzos.

Send by email to petitions@parliament.scot and quote PE01651 in the subject heading. Keep to a maximum of 3 sides of A4 and you can't name for legal reasons any doctor you have consulted. Tell them if you wish to remain anonymous. We need the numbers to help convince the committee members we are not isolated cases. You have until mid February. Thank you

Recovering paxil addict

None of the published articles shed light on what ssri's ... actually do or what their hazards might be. Healy 2013. 

This is so true, with anything you get on these drugs, dependance, tapering, withdrawal symptoms, side effects, just silent. And if there is something mentioned then their is a serious disconnect between what is said and reality! 

  "Every time I read of a multi-person shooting, I always presume that person had just started a SSRI or had just stopped."  Dr Mosher. Me too! 

Over two decades later, the number of antidepressant prescriptions a year is slightly more than the number of people in the Western world. Most (nine out of 10) prescriptions are for patients who faced difficulties on stopping, equating to about a tenth of the population. These patients are often advised to continue treatment because their difficulties indicate they need ongoing treatment, just as a person with diabetes needs insulin. Healy 2015

I believe the ssri era will soon stand as one of the most shameful in the history of medicine. Healy 2015

Let people help people ... in a natural, kind, non-addictive (and non-big pharma) way. J Broadley 2017

 

 

Link to comment

Hi NZ!

im about the same as my last post. Maybe a little better. I feel like my "baseline" is calmer. Had a bit of a wave last month, but it only lasted 2 weeks. 

16 years on SSRI's (Celexa, then Lexapro)

Tapered down over several years. Last dose November 2016 (2.5 mg)

Withdrawal symptoms began March 2017

Attempt to reinstate at 5mg in June 2017 led to worsening symptoms

Reinstated at .4 mg in July 2017 with beneficial results. 

Link to comment

Thanks for the update 

You are doing great.

Thought for the day: Lets stand up, and let’s speak out , together. G Olsen

We have until the 14th. Feb 2018. 

URGENT REQUEST Please consider submitting  for the petition on Prescribed Drug Dependence and Withdrawal currently awaiting its third consideration at the Scottish Parliament. You don't even have to be from Scotland. By clicking on the link below you can read some of the previous submissions but be warned many of them are quite harrowing.

http://www.parliament.scot/GettingInvolved/Petitions/PE01651   

Please tell them about your problems taking and withdrawing from antidepressants and/or benzos.

Send by email to petitions@parliament.scot and quote PE01651 in the subject heading. Keep to a maximum of 3 sides of A4 and you can't name for legal reasons any doctor you have consulted. Tell them if you wish to remain anonymous. We need the numbers to help convince the committee members we are not isolated cases. You have until mid February. Thank you

Recovering paxil addict

None of the published articles shed light on what ssri's ... actually do or what their hazards might be. Healy 2013. 

This is so true, with anything you get on these drugs, dependance, tapering, withdrawal symptoms, side effects, just silent. And if there is something mentioned then their is a serious disconnect between what is said and reality! 

  "Every time I read of a multi-person shooting, I always presume that person had just started a SSRI or had just stopped."  Dr Mosher. Me too! 

Over two decades later, the number of antidepressant prescriptions a year is slightly more than the number of people in the Western world. Most (nine out of 10) prescriptions are for patients who faced difficulties on stopping, equating to about a tenth of the population. These patients are often advised to continue treatment because their difficulties indicate they need ongoing treatment, just as a person with diabetes needs insulin. Healy 2015

I believe the ssri era will soon stand as one of the most shameful in the history of medicine. Healy 2015

Let people help people ... in a natural, kind, non-addictive (and non-big pharma) way. J Broadley 2017

 

 

Link to comment
  • 2 weeks later...

An improvement:

 

one thing ive noticed in the past few weeks is that my sleep has improved a bit! I still wake up at around 4-5 am, but i don't wake up in a panic - and the 5-6 hours of sleep I do get are deeper now. For a while, any little thing would wake me up - but now I'm sleeping deeper and even dreaming more coherently. 

 

While it's usually 5-6 hours, I slept for 7-8 hours the other night!! I didn't think that was possible anymore! I woke up and couldn't believe it!

 

still a long way to go - had a bad hypochondria tailspin last week. But even walking 3 steps forward, 2 steps back - you progress. 

16 years on SSRI's (Celexa, then Lexapro)

Tapered down over several years. Last dose November 2016 (2.5 mg)

Withdrawal symptoms began March 2017

Attempt to reinstate at 5mg in June 2017 led to worsening symptoms

Reinstated at .4 mg in July 2017 with beneficial results. 

Link to comment
  • 4 months later...

Bellatrix is one of the few people I have seen on these forums who was in the same situation that I am in now. Long term use of Lexapro and severe withdrawal.

 

I wanted to stop Lexapro 10mg in 2016 so I spoke to my doctor and did the taper he suggested. Unfortunately, that was a fast taper - less than a month from 10mg to zero. Discontinuation started to show up over a month later. Doctor was not helpful - said I was "relapsing".  I have lived with severe discontinuation for 16 months now - just read the adverse effects list for discontinuation and I've had it. The insomnia has been the worst because it drives so many other problems.

 

Perhaps another time I will chronicle the entire journey if it ends well but I'm too tired to do it now.

 

My (new) doctor is equally clueless about discontinuation but then I don't know of any that aren't. He tried reinstating 10mg Lexapro last week - a disaster after 2 doses. I realize now that it is up to me, with the help of my husband, to manage my withdrawal symptoms. I now have Lexapro liquid and will start at .5 mg next week after the drug has flushed out of my system enough to make tracking meaningful. It will probably take a year or more to move my dose towards zero. 

 

I have never had a depressive episode that has come near to the horror that SSRIs introduced me to. In my case, the best that could be said is that they flattened me.

Link to comment
  • Administrator

Welcome, InsomniaCat.

 

Sounds like you're on your way to trying reinstatement. Please start a topic for yourself in the Introductions forum so we can get to know you.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

Link to comment
  • 5 months later...

Hi Bellatrix! I'm happy to have stumbled upon your topic. I have a similar situation where withdrawal symptoms didn't show up until 6 weeks later and worsened at 8 weeks. I know it's not quite as long as yours, but reading your post gives me hope. I just reinstated yesterday with .20mg. 

 

I'm just checking in on you to see how you're doing nowadays. At what dosage did you settle with? I hope you're doing well! 

Prozac (?mg)

- March 6, 2017. took it for 6 days and on day 7 had an adverse reaction. I believe it was serotonin syndrome.

Lexapro (Escitalopram) 10mg

-March 15 , 2017: first dose of Lexapro and stabilized within 3 weeks.

-April 19, 2018:  began to taper 1 yr from first dose

- style of tapering: 10 mg to 5mg (2 months). 5mg to 2.5mg (2-3 weeks) 2.5mg to 1.25mg (2 weeks). 1.25mg every other day (2 weeks).

- August 19, 2018: 0mg

- felt fine for weeks after 0mg. Had minor panic attacks if I didn't eat every 4 hrs. otherwise felt fine. 
- Mid September: had teeth extractions done, given antibiotics (ammox) and had severe rash reaction to it, was then given a steroid shot to alleviate the rash. This is when things started to go downhill. 

- October 4, 2018: intense withdrawal symptoms started 6 weeks after 0 mg.  

- October 13, 2018: reinstated using the oral solution ( .20mg)/ 10.17.18: .30mg/ 12.8.18: .29mg/12.31.18: .28mg

Link to comment
  • 2 months later...
  • Mentor

hi Bellatrix

just dropping by to say hi

How are you doing these days?

 

hope all is well with you

:)

 

 

  • pysch med history: 1974 @ age 18 to Oct 2017 (approx 43 yrs total)
  •  Drug list: stelazine, haldol, elavil, lithium, zoloft, celexa, lexapro(doses as high as 40mgs), klonopin, ambien, seroquel(high doses), depakote, zyprexa, lamictal- plus brief trials of dozens of other psych meds over the years
  • started lexapro 2002, dose varied from 20mgs to 40mgs. I tried to get off it several times. WD symptoms were mistaken for "relapse". 
  •  2013 too fast taper down to 5mg but WD forced me back to 20mgs
  •  June of 2105, tapered again too rapidly to 2.5mgs by Dec 2015. Found SA, held at 2.5 mgs til May 2016 when I foolishly "jumped off". Crashed in Sept, reinstated at 0.3mgs in Oct. 2106
  • Tapered off to zero by  Oct. 2017 Doing very well
  • Nov. 2018 feel 95% healed, current age 63 
  • Jan. 2020 feel 100% healed, peaceful and content 
  • Aug  2022❤️ loving life  ❤️ 
Link to comment
  • 9 months later...

Hi Bellatrix, your story is a very encouraging one!  Would love to hear how you're doing now!  

spring 2002 - summer 2008 - in chronological order: Effexor CT'd, Lexapro, possibly Luvox & Zoloft?, Prozac (brand name), Paxil, Geodon, and Prozac
summer 2009 - summer 2012 - Prozac (up to 80 mg but settled at 60 mg) and Wellbutrin (300 mg) - FT'd off both over a few months 
fall 2012 - fall 2016 - Prozac (60 mg) and Wellbutrin (300 mg) - also tried Anafranil close to the beginning of this period (unsure of dosage)
fall 2016 - fall 2017 - FT'd Wellbutrin to 0mg and Prozac to 10 mg (had FT'd both, reinstated at 300mg & 60mg, then FT'd again - very bad for my CNS)
fall 2017 - October 2018 - Prozac (10 mg) FT'd to switch to Anafranil
mid October 2018 - February 7th, 2019 - Abilify (2 mg to 5 mg) FT'd at 2.5 mg for 6 days due to psychiatric nurse practitioner's direction
late October 2018 - February 1st, 2019 - Anafranil (25 mg to 100 mg)
December 18th, 2018 - January 4th, 2019 - Luvox (25 mg) CT'd due to psychiatric nurse practitioner's direction
February 2nd - February 8th 2019 - Anafranil (50 mg) FT'd due to psychiatric nurse practitioner's direction
February 9th - February 15th, 2019 - Anafranil (25 mg) FT'd due to psychiatric nurse practitioner's direction

various supplements February 16th, 2019 to present - none have seemed to help or hurt 

July 24, 2019 - January 2020 - bio-idential bi-estrogen and progesterone creams, January - February 2020 - bio-identical progesterone pills

Link to comment

I’m still around 😄

 

I had a really bad year 1. I had a slightly less bad year 2. And year 3 I feel more like myself again. Though I hate that expression, because you will change, and the person you end up may not be the same as the person you remember. So be kind to yourself and allow for change. I was never able to totally get off the Lexapro. During year 1 I had to take 4 months off work, and then went back as part-time for a little over a year. I kept inching up on the Lexapro to find a place where I felt healthy. It ended up being 1.5, which is still a very small dose. So I’m parked there for the foreseeable future.

 

But things are good. I travel. I exercise. I started a new job. And while I still get tired easily and am a bit hypersensitive - I think I came out of this a calmer, kinder person.

 

i didn’t feel well enough to exercise until year 3, but once I started it’s made a huge impact.


i have a lot of thoughts on the whole process but that’s the gist. 
 

Try to connect and be kind to others. 
 

Reach out if things get really dire and you need help

 

know that you’re always yourself. Even when you don’t feel well - you’re still you. Be kind. Be patient. 
 

and most importantly - Even when it’s really bad - Know that it’s not forever. It will pass.  
 

16 years on SSRI's (Celexa, then Lexapro)

Tapered down over several years. Last dose November 2016 (2.5 mg)

Withdrawal symptoms began March 2017

Attempt to reinstate at 5mg in June 2017 led to worsening symptoms

Reinstated at .4 mg in July 2017 with beneficial results. 

Link to comment

Thank you so much for the update and for the words of wisdom, Bellatrix!  So glad you are feeling healthy.  ☺️

spring 2002 - summer 2008 - in chronological order: Effexor CT'd, Lexapro, possibly Luvox & Zoloft?, Prozac (brand name), Paxil, Geodon, and Prozac
summer 2009 - summer 2012 - Prozac (up to 80 mg but settled at 60 mg) and Wellbutrin (300 mg) - FT'd off both over a few months 
fall 2012 - fall 2016 - Prozac (60 mg) and Wellbutrin (300 mg) - also tried Anafranil close to the beginning of this period (unsure of dosage)
fall 2016 - fall 2017 - FT'd Wellbutrin to 0mg and Prozac to 10 mg (had FT'd both, reinstated at 300mg & 60mg, then FT'd again - very bad for my CNS)
fall 2017 - October 2018 - Prozac (10 mg) FT'd to switch to Anafranil
mid October 2018 - February 7th, 2019 - Abilify (2 mg to 5 mg) FT'd at 2.5 mg for 6 days due to psychiatric nurse practitioner's direction
late October 2018 - February 1st, 2019 - Anafranil (25 mg to 100 mg)
December 18th, 2018 - January 4th, 2019 - Luvox (25 mg) CT'd due to psychiatric nurse practitioner's direction
February 2nd - February 8th 2019 - Anafranil (50 mg) FT'd due to psychiatric nurse practitioner's direction
February 9th - February 15th, 2019 - Anafranil (25 mg) FT'd due to psychiatric nurse practitioner's direction

various supplements February 16th, 2019 to present - none have seemed to help or hurt 

July 24, 2019 - January 2020 - bio-idential bi-estrogen and progesterone creams, January - February 2020 - bio-identical progesterone pills

Link to comment
  • 2 years later...

Just went through ur thread and was wondering how are u doing? Are u still stable at 1.5 mg lexapro? 

Aug. 16-17, 2020, cipralex: went CRAZY! Recovered in 24hrs

Aug.28,2020; 3.5 weeks 25mg sertraline/4.5 weeks taper

Oct. 25: Last dose (4mg)

Symptoms while on zoloft

DPDR/out of my body/soul despair/feeling dead; tinnitus/no appetite; fear, anxiety/panics

4 months OFF: soul despair, anxiety/fear, brain disconnection/ DPDR, brain feels swollen-numb/crazy/bedridden barely functioning, tinnitus, eye lid twitches; face spasms. Feeling slightly better after 10pm.

- sleep & appetite are fine

9 months OFF: hell, no windows, same symptoms as above  (only eye and face twitches have stopped) plus intense arm/shoulder pain and visual issues. Tinnitus replaced by head buzzing. 

10 months-1 year: all above plus Insomnia (out of nowhere), depression, no peace of mind (mental Akathisia); 2.5mg melatonin

14months off: sleep resumed. All rest symptoms remain. Bedridden vegetable all day. DP is relentless. 

1.5 years off: still severely disabled, not much changed except some improvement in vision.

Link to comment

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Terms of Use Privacy Policy