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Yulia1989: Lexapro twice cold turkey sufferer- need help

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Dear peer forum members,


I am writing here searching for hope and your support and advice. My name is Yulia, I am 27 years old and I am from Russia. Here is my sad story. There was a unfortunate point in my life when I almost had given up due to the life situation. Therefore it happened so that I had to take Lexapro antidepressant not by my wish but by insistance of my parents. First time it was introduced it when I was in a psychiatric clinic - I was given phenasepam in glass drop water and 10mg of Lexapro.. for around 2 months. It was zombifying me, giving a flat emotional state and a brain fog. After I left the clinic - as I was not feeling good with Lexapro - I have cold turkeyed it without telling the doctor and parents because they would insist on continuing and increasing the dosage. Then when the doctor got to know -  it was reinstated, 5 days with 5 mg and then 10.. the reaction of the  was even worse but I continued. I cold turkeyed it again after 2 months..


I understand this sounds bizzare but at that point I was very weak and couldnt take my own individual decisions and was afraid to spoil relationships with parents who were my only closest people. I cannot imagine now how could I possibly be so careless with these drugs.. they are evil. I totally understand that agreeing for the drugs first and then quitting them was a big mistake.


My problem is that cold turkeying left me with severe brain fog and cognitive issues - my problem now is that it is very hard to think (blank mind), generate ideas, make plans for the future.. I just dont have any thoughts, they just do not appear in mind.. When I try to concentrate - thoughts just disappear. When I try to make a decision or weight between two options - brain doesnt give an argument for one or another.. there is just nothing. This is catastrophy.. I feel I can do well when I am told what to do, but when I need to think myself, this just doesnt work.. I feel my learning abilities decreased and the memory is not that sharp as it was before (( So far 2 months have passed since I cold turkued Lexapro the second time.


I do understand that I have totally screwed up the system by these meds but I pray to God to forgive me for this mistake and give me a chance to heal..Luckily I have a source of income with a remote work.


In an attempt to recover I have turned to natural methods and detox - tried dry fasting (5 days) and water fasting (planned 21 day, but I was doing this under supervision and was allowed to do only full 19 days because of the weight loss). I quit it with 5 days on juices and today had a raw dinner. I feel that the cleanse was not complete, that I need to do more.


I have researched the whole internet about healing and naturopathic methods same as about cleansing and drug withdrawals. I found Gerson therapy diet plans, raw vegan lifestyle, juice fasting etc. I plan to stick to all that, also physical exercise.I do plan running twice a day, they say it increases neurogenesis, drink distilled water to flush out the toxins and stay on juices. People do incredible things trying to recover - like 90 days juice fast etc.


Please tell me - do I move in the right direction? Is the detoxification the key to reducing withdrawal effect? Or do I need supplimenting? Somehow I think that detox is the key... Shall I do an orange juice fast? Distilled water, sport - what does help?


I would need any possible advice on how to help the brain recover and get rid of this horrible brain fog and blank mind as it is horrifying to live further life with such situation...I would appreciate any help.


Kind regards,


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Hi  Yulia and welcome to SA,


So that we are better able to offer suggestions please complete your drug signature.  Please use the format in the instructions below.  Please include dates:


 A request: Would you summarize your history in a signature - ALL drugs, doses, dates, and discontinuations & reinstatements, in the last 12-24 months particularly?

  • Please leave out symptoms and diagnoses.
  • A list is easier to understand than one or multiple paragraphs. 
  • Any drugs prior to 24 months ago can just be listed with start and stop years.
  • Please use actual dates or approximate dates (mid-June, Late October) rather than relative time frames (last week, 3 months ago)
  • Spell out months, e.g. "October" or "Oct."; 9/1/2016 can be interpreted as Jan. 9, 2016 or Sept. 1, 2016.
  • Link to Account Settings – Create or Edit a signature.

This is your own Introduction topic where you can ask questions and journal your progress.

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Dear peer members,


I am trying to help my brain to recover with the help of nutrition plan. I am a bit confused - because on one hand it is recommended to take fish oil to help the withdrawal and on another hand - there is Gerson therapy that says - no oil, under no consequences...


Could you please help, as I am pretty confused and dont know which plan to follow.. I do believe no oil plan helps detox, but how to foster neurogenesis after these nasty drugs?


Really hope for your help..


Kind regards,


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Hi Yulia


Considering your state at this moment, I would suggest a reinstatement with a very small dose, like 1mg Lexapro. This *could* fix a lot of your withdrawal symptoms. If things are getting worse, do stop immediately. And taper very slow from there on.


Before you attempt this, please inform yourself first.


About Reinstatement


You are not a lost cause! You will get better, no matter what you do. But reinstatement could make it a whole lot easier to handle and most likely in a shorter timespan.





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Hi Yulia,


I'm not so sure that a reinstatement is the best approach to deal with your current situation.  As you were only on Lexapro, from what I can tell, approximately four months, I believe that it would be better to deal with your current symptoms in a more holistic manner.  

Unfortunately, before we can provide you with advice specific to you, it would be very helpful if you could complete your withdrawal signature history so that the moderators have a better understanding of what your current situation is.  If you could take a minute to complete your signature, the moderators will be able to provide you with more detailed information.


Instructions:  Withdrawal History Signature
Account Settings – Create or Edit a signature


Would you summarize your history in a signature - ALL drugs, doses, dates, and discontinuations & reinstatements, in the last 12-24 months particularly?

  • Please leave out symptoms and diagnoses.
  • A list is easier to understand than one or multiple paragraphs.
  • Any drugs prior to 24 months ago can just be listed with start and stop years.
  • Please use actual dates or approximate dates (mid-June, Late October) rather than relative time frames (last week, 3 months ago)
  • Spell out months, e.g. "October" or "Oct."; 9/1/2016 can be interpreted as Jan. 9, 2016 or Sept. 1, 2016.


For now, I would not recommend fasting or detoxing, particularly as this is just going to add more stress to your already stressed and destabilized central nervous system (CNS).  It is important for you to have a well-balanced diet of plenty of protein, fats (including oils) and fresh produce.  I am not familiar with Gerson therapy but imagine that without the proper nutritional building blocks, in particular protein, it would just add undue stress to your already fragile CNS.    

There is no known cure for withdrawal syndrome and only time and a good healthy diet is going to help your CNS to heal.  If I were you, I would investigate non-drug coping strategies to help you deal with the stress both you and your body are under right now.  It can oftentimes take many months to recover after what sounds like two short stints on Lexapro as well as discontinuing Lexapro twice so abruptly.    It is never recommended to stop an anti-depressant abruptly, it is necessary to taper off of these drugs slowly so that the CNS can adapt to the changes in the brain.  


Please try not to panic, you are young and were only on Lexapro for a short time, if you take the steps to take good care of yourself by eating a healthy well-balanced diet and try to incorporate a few techniques to help you deal with the stress, you will speed up the healing of your central nervous system ten-fold and will start feeling better as time goes by.  To give you an understanding of what is going on right now, I am attaching a couple of links that will help you to understand.  Please be assured that what you are experiencing is completely normal under the circumstances and things will get better.  


What is Withdrawal Syndrome?

What is Happening in Your Brain

I am going to attach a few links for you to have a look at that will provide you with ideas on some of the strategies you can use to deal with the emotional stress it sounds like you are under right now.  Omega 3 fatty acids and magnesium seem to help many people in withdrawal for relaxation and to help calm the mind and I would encourage you to see if these supplements might benefit you.  


Symptoms & Self Care

Claire Weekes' Method of Recovering from a Sensitized Nervous System

Non-drug techniques to cope with emotional symptoms

Guided Meditations, Calming Videos, Sleep Hypnosis



Edited by baroquep

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baroquep has provided you with a lot of excellent information.


When trying anything new it is better to test them one at at time, starting with a low dose and building up before adding in a new one, just in case you have a bad reaction.  Here are the SA topics discussing:



Omega-3 Fish Oil

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Hey Yulia - 


I will chime in - I think that Gerson is excellent protocol for life threatening cancers.  The vitamins & minerals  provided by the juices are excellent - but you will find here that we are extremely cautious even about vitamins.  And there is no fat.  You need fat to heal.


But I do not think that detox will help you - and may, in fact harm you.  The problem is not that you are toxic, the problem is that the drugs have changed your brain, your nervous system, your endocrine system and probably your digestive system, too.  To add a detox protocol on top of trying to re-regulate your nervous system - could be quite a shock.


Your brain needs fats and oils in order to heal.  In addition to fish oil, I added coconut oil to my diet, and eat eggs  (whcih Gerson doesn't use, either) to make sure that my brain is getting enough cholesterol and fat to maintain a steady mood.  Slow and steady - hang in there.  This will pass (it may seem like forever, but it will pass).  


Once you get healed, and are outside of any withdrawal symptoms, you can try cleansing diets.


It is not too late to accept a tiny reinstatement - but only if your symptoms are unbearable.  You will heal the same, but the symptoms can be eased by reinstatement.  If you can, as Baroqup suggests, hang in there and use Non Drug Techniques for Coping with Emotional Symptoms, this will pass.  


I hope you see the sun today!

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