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Trevor: 2 years off of 40mg lexapro might reinstate


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Hello , my history should be in my signature , I am Trevor im a new member and have been off of 40 mg Lexapro for about 2 years. The first few weeks off were horrible , delusional thinking , anxiety , agitation , anger , sadness , paranoia . Six months off the medication my cognition seemed to worsen and I became very overstimulated ( sensory overload) and hypervigiliant (previous ptsd return).


By cognition worsening I mean I cant make eye contact , I often stutter and cant pronounce words I previously had no problem prounouncing correct when talking to someone, also my posturing is different. Two years off the medication my anxiety has never been so extreme my whole life, its all consuming , I also get occasional paranoia and agitation/anger when I really shouldn't be.


It feels as if the structure of my brain/ CNS has done a complete 360 my personality completely changed , I went from being happy, confident and very smart and having my anxiety/ptsd completely sorted out and treated to feeling like a complete train wreck two years off. Its possible I have Aspergers/hfa ( my iq is a little above average but my social learning was different from what most would experience) which could explain some of the symptoms I'm having (aspies/hfa individiuals often experience anxiety on a very deep level and this occurs in early childhood as was in my case ) and why the withdrawals been so difficult.


I obviously cant continue being hypervigiliant/overstimulated and extremely anxious forever and have spoken to therapists and recently met with a psychiatrist. He suggested I reinstate at 10 mg , when I explained I was concerned about having a bad reaction the second time around he acknowledged and understands it might not work again but thinks starting and 10 mg and eventually going up to 20 mg if it ends up working is my best bet due to the fact that the Lexapro worked 100% perfect for me in the past and never stopped working ( I got off for personal reasons not because the medication wasn't working, it was working great).


I am extremely anxious about trying to  reinstate but I'm aware my brain isn't functioning properly as is  , and it was functioning well when I was on Lexapro. I don't know why my cognition has worsened I'm confident its not just due to new anxiety. I believe I could have to much dopamine (  Lexapro hijacks dopamine receptors in the brain so my thought is that upon discontinuation there was an influx of dopamine which ultimately lowered my serotonin even more, or that I have a dopamine dysfunction or something .


I'm not depressed at all I'm actually quite the opposite just constantly anxious I'm hypersensitive to caffeine and lights and certain foods. I feel like I'm not the same person I was when I started also as my CNS structure / neurotransmitters have been 110% altered by withdrawing from this medication that's why I'm uneasy about if it will work again. I know theres no way to know for sure until you try but just the possibility that my symptoms could get worse is making me not want to do anything , and I need to do something to be able to function in society and control anxiety and other issues. Any input is greatly appreciated here please keep in mind that the withdrawal symptoms could relate to hfa/aspergers meaning my withdrawal symptoms were worse then they would have been on a nuerotypical individual. Also please keep in mind that Lexapro worked great for me the whole time on it , and that I am at a crossroads of what I should do ,


I don't expect to return to my old self exactly but its possible and I could certainly possibly get better . If I do take Lexapro or another ssri again I will NEVER stop taking it during the course of my life.  Ive also  switched to a healthier diet (no stimulants, caffeine , ect) , and began working out and talking about my problems with therapists/ friends which only brings little relief. I feel like I'm worse off at the 2 year off mark then I was at the 4 month off mark which is strange... but I really need some advice and guidance as I get through these next few weeks and deciede what to do so any input from anybody would be greatly appreciated.


I want to thank you for reading my story and look forward to hearing any replies! 

Edited by baroquep
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was on 40 mg Lexapro for anxiety , panic attacks / ptsd , I was on Lexapro steadily from 2008 until roughly 2014 ( my age  starting was around 14 and when I stopped I was around 21).  Lowered dose over course of about a month or two months , and upon my first day off the drug my mind and personality as well as my brain have been negatively  changed to this day. I am roughly two years off the medication today. First weeks off Lexapro in 2014 = intrusive thoughts , anxiety, extreme agitation , paranoia ...  six months or so into withdrawal I noticed my cognition worsened, I became hyperalert , constant sensory overload , stuttering , unable to make eye contact ,anxiety and complete loss of confidence. I decieded to get off Lexapro in 2014 for personal reasons , it was working very well during my whole time taking it. Now two years into withdrawal these symptoms remain , ill take valium occasionally to help during particulary bad periods but know I cant rely on that forever. My psychiatrist suggests reinstating at 10mg ( she acknowledges the fact we don't know if it will work again) but I don't know what to do I need to eliminate this anxiety and get my life back.. keep in mind when analyzing this data that there is a possibility I have aspergers/hfa , I suggested to psych why not start on lower dose her logic seems to be to get it working right away and not mess around

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  • ChessieCat changed the title to Trevor: 2 years off of 40mg lexapro might reinstate
  • Moderator Emeritus

Hello Trevor and welcome to SA.


I'm actually a great proponent of reinstating but we very seldom see people two years off wanting to reinstate.


At that point I would personally try to tough it out and look into non-drug ways of coping with symptoms. So much recovery will still happen. And nobody can tell how your brain would react to Lexapro after all this trauma.


Have you checked any of our success stories?

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. 

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Hi Trevor


I have had some of the same problems with my speech and posture in wd.  I forget words or what I was talking about and at times have had the same difficulty making eye contact with others and also slight stuttering and even spitting when I speak.  I attribute it probably to very poor sleep quality.  my sleep in withdrawal has been shallow and fragmented with depressed vivid dreams that leave me waking exhausted.  I would often be so tired that I would avoid people I knew around my apt complex because I felt so weak and conversation would wear me out very quickly. 


if you are thinking about reinstatement, you might want to read Bellatrix's introduction thread.   she was 8 months into wd after being on Lexapro for 16 years and reinstated a very very low dose (I think it was .03 mg of a liquid solution) and slowly tiltrated up the dose.   She posted about a month ago saying many of her withdrawal symptoms had vanished when she reached .4 mg of the drug.  another woman, that is part of a withdrawal facebook page I take part in, recently reinstated after about a year in wd which saw her becoming very slow cognitively with bad brain fog that had her worried about losing her job.  She said co workers would constantly have to repeat things to her because she would quickly forget what they had told her.  I don't remember what her precise med reinstatement was but she says she is feeling better again except during her periods where she feels some brain fog, which was normal for her pre wd.  it took her about 2-3 months of taking the drugs again before things cleared up for her.



Court committed to take Prozac, Paxci, and Respiradol from 8/95 to 3/96.   developed severe akithisia and brain damage.  Was unable to speak and walking in circles 15 hours a day.  Went in for 5 sessions of ECT during a 10 day period in March of '96 and my forced medication was discontinued at that time.  My akithisia and brain damage cleared up within a few days of stopping the meds.


On Zoloft (200 mg) and Zyprexa (17.5 mg) March 1998- Feb 2014

In between was placed on Effexor 200 mg and Abilify for six months in 2004.  Developed mild akithisia which went away once I stopped the Abilify.  Developed severe GI issues in Dec 2001 and from that time on suffered from fatigue and hypersomnia where I would sleep between 12 and 20 hours a day and rarely ever left my apartment. 


Had tapered to 100 mg of Zoloft and 7.5 mg of Zyprexa at the time of going cold turkey Feb. 2014

Went 5 days without sleep at the beginning while vomiting all over my apt.  Had brain zaps for a number of weeks and also lightheadedness which both eventually went away.  However 2 1/2 yrs later I still struggle with insomnia, depression, and fatigue.





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