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Wordwards: introduction


Wordwards

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Hi all, I hope this finds you sane!

 

I'm tapering off of my second time with escitalopram. The first time, in 2010, I was only on about 2 months, when I decided to come off of the drug. I used a book called "Break your prescription addicition". Since I had been taking the drug for generalized anxiety (basically, work stress sent me into what used to be called a nervous breakdown), I chose to supplement with a neurotransmitter precursor, and I was off "cold turkey" with no problems at all. I was not on very long, I was younger, it was summer.

 

Last July, after being on the drug this time for nearly 2 years, the supplement trick was not so effective. So, in September I talked to my PCP who is a nurse practitioner. She was awesomely supportive, and suggested a S-L-O-W taper. So far so good. I'm at month 4, and for January I've taken 5 mg a day, most days. Some days I forget, really, and then I would have an episode of panic, or over-reaction. That would remind me to stick with the program. I am also making sure that I keep up with my meditation practice, and my yoga practice, and getting outside to walk. I am already starting to feel my mind coming back to me, but it sounds like the real test happens after the meds are done. 

 

Why did I want to stop? Easy. Breakthrough anxiety and the fact that I have gained 40 pounds in 2 years. And FATIGUE.

 

So why did I go back on lexapro the second time? My mother, who has dementia, moved out here so that I, the "single" daughter, could be her caregiver. That happened early June, 2015. In July, I lost the high-paying job that had allowed me to buy the bigger home that had room for mom. I received a good severence package, and I had the summer off to leisurely seek other employment. In the fall, I was employed at my current company, but mom was getting worse. She transitioned to assisted living, and I started having massive anxiety - AFTER all the stressors were relieved. Weird. 

 

Mom's condition has worsened again, and she now needs to be in memory care  - or at home with me.  I opted to bring her home with me, at Christmas. It has been a challenging transition, and in spite of tapering, my inner freakouts have been short-lived and minimally disruptive. I am COPING! I'm writing a lot, and enjoying my dogs. I feel more like myself, I sleep better, and feel fairly well balanced. I hope to be completely off the drug by the Vernal Equinox. 

 

I've been listening to a really good audiobook by a woman who is a psychiatrist. She has no qualms about pointing out the lack of research proving a link between low seratonin and depression. She doesn't hesitate to point out the lack of scientific rigor in drug testing. And most alarming of all, is her confession that they don't really know what mood meds actually DO do. I'm glad I found the book (not sure if I can name it here), because I am now determined to tough out any post-taper withdrawal. 

 

That's my story, for now. 

 

 

 

 

Lexapro 1st time, for generalized anxiety disorder

  • 2010 -July 10 mg
  • 2010 Sept quit cold turkey, switched to GABA for anxiety, no withdrawal

 

Lexapro take 2, again for GAD after taking on caregiving for my mom, who has dementia

  • November 2015, 20 mg
  • July 2017, 10 mg
  • July 2017, back up to 20 mg.
  • September 2017, worked with NP to develop a SLOW taper schedule.
  • November 2017, down to 10 mg
  • December 2017, started alternating 10 mg and 5 mg. 
  • Feb 2018, 7.5 mg. escitalopram,

 

Supplements: 500 mg GABA, 2000 IU D3, B complex, magnesium, fish oil, green tea (brewed, not a supplement), 750 mg L-tyrosine

 

 

 

 

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  • ChessieCat changed the title to Wordwards: introduction
  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Wordwords, welcome to SA.  It is good to see that a professional understands that these drugs need tapering slowly. Unfortunately, her version of slow is very different to ours.  We recommend tapering no more than 10% of the CURRENT dose with at least 4 weeks between drops in dose. Tapering so slowly allows the brain to adjust between doses, sneaking the drug away very slowly so it isn't noticed. If there are any withdrawal symptoms it means the cut was too big, and even smaller cuts are better.  In time you get to know your body and brain and understand when it is ok to make a cut. 

We strongly advise against alternate dosing, this causes instability. If you are still alternating between 10 and 5 I would suggest 7.5 every day,  until you are stable, however long that takes. Then restart a slow taper. This will help ansure that you reduce the dose carefully without too much discomfort which will be much better for you, especially when you are caring for mom. It is heartwarming that you are taking such good care of her. 

 

It is fine to mention books and videos etc, it is good to see that doctors are becoming aware that these drugs are a huge problem. 

 

I will get some links for you to look at. 

 

First, we ask all our members to fill in their signature, we need drugs, doses and dates for recent drugs, just the name of drugs and rough dates for those going back years. We don't need side effects or reasons, just the drug names, dates and doses . You can find instructions with a link to the signature box here...

 http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/settings/signature/

 

How to taper lexapro 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/406-tapering-off-lexapro-escitalopram/

 

Here you will find links to all the important topics on tests , supplements etc, also links to topics on fish oil and magnesium which we recommend. 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/topic/606-important-topics-about-tests-supplements-treatments-diet/

 

 

**I am not a medical professional, if in doubt please consult a doctor with withdrawal knowledge.

 

 

Different drugs occasionally (mostly benzos) 1976 - 1981 (no problem)

1993 - 2002 in and out of hospital. every type of drug + ECT. Staring with seroxat

2002  effexor. 

Tapered  March 2012 to March 2013, ending with 5 beads.

Withdrawal April 2013 . Reinstated 5 beads reduced to 4 beads May 2013

Restarted taper  Nov 2013  

OFF EFFEXOR Feb 2015    :D 

Tapered atenolol and omeprazole Dec 2013 - May 2014

 

Tapering tramadol, Feb 2015 100mg , March 2015 50mg  

 July 2017 30mg.  May 15 2018 25mg

Taking fish oil, magnesium, B12, folic acid, bilberry eyebright for eye pressure. 

 

My story http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/4199-hello-mammap-checking-in/page-33

 

Lesson learned, slow down taper at lower doses. Taper no more than 10% of CURRENT dose if possible

 

 

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Thanks mammaP. I appreciate the insight about not alternating doses. It is so tempting at 5 mg to just drop off and go cold turkey. I'll continue with my taper, although with pills it is harder to get that 10% exact. I'll also update my signature with some of the supplements I take. I'm really glad that I found this forum. Thank you for being!

 

I do fish oil and magnesium, as well as a complete B vitamin. GABA and L-tyrosine are part of my support, as are high qualityJapanese green teas and other herbal teas, such as tulsi. I'll add those to my signature, because, in my experience, green tea has the magical ability to be energizing without inducing mania, and calming at the same time. So does tulsi tea. 

 

I have a healthy vegetarian diet, but there are some other bad habits I can let go. Of a liquid nature. I'm looking forward to the adventure.

Lexapro 1st time, for generalized anxiety disorder

  • 2010 -July 10 mg
  • 2010 Sept quit cold turkey, switched to GABA for anxiety, no withdrawal

 

Lexapro take 2, again for GAD after taking on caregiving for my mom, who has dementia

  • November 2015, 20 mg
  • July 2017, 10 mg
  • July 2017, back up to 20 mg.
  • September 2017, worked with NP to develop a SLOW taper schedule.
  • November 2017, down to 10 mg
  • December 2017, started alternating 10 mg and 5 mg. 
  • Feb 2018, 7.5 mg. escitalopram,

 

Supplements: 500 mg GABA, 2000 IU D3, B complex, magnesium, fish oil, green tea (brewed, not a supplement), 750 mg L-tyrosine

 

 

 

 

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You sound like a strong person. Do you have any siblings or family to help you take care of your mother? I have a sick father who needs care but luckily my mother and siblings help out so that all the stress isn't just on one person. 

 

All the best to you. 

2000 - took accutane for my acne 2001 - On Paxil for about 6 months. Stopped due to side effects mainly severe stomach pain, extreme fatigue, headaches

2006 to 2009 - Went on 150mg of Wellbutrin/Bupropion for about 3 years. Side effects were again stomach pain, fatigue and frequent urination. Didn't feel like it helped my anxiety/depression so I stopped cold turkey. I did not have any major problems after going cold turkey at the time.

2009 to 2012 - Starting taking 100 mg of 5htp and whack load of other supplements(multivitamin, omega 3, protein shake, amino acids, sage, magnesium, vitamin D3, apple cider vinegar pills) every other day. Helped with my anxiety/mood quite a bit.

April 2012 - first signs of sexual dysfunction(pre-cum all the time especially when going to the bathroom to pee and not aroused), but issues were minor. But also had feeling as if I am ready to ejaculate all the time.

June 2012 - major weight loss, was about 15 pounds underweight and severe stomach pain and cramps

Nov 27 2012 - Took last pill of 5htp 50mg. Worst issue severe sexual dysfunction(can't get or sustain an strong erection, loss of feeling, no orgasm, no desire for sexual activity, delayed ejaculation, pre-cum when i'm not aroused, feeling of arousal all the time without thoughts) and frequent urination which is why I stopped taking 5htp and all other supplements completely cold turkey. Experienced the following side effects the past year while still taking the supplement and while getting off;

Feb 2013 - started major symptoms of PGAD Dec 2013 - severe muscle tension. Neck shoulder and headaches and migraines.

-insomnia,hives,eye twitching, restless legs, frequent urination/tingling sensation/arousal(PGAD), upset stomach, cramps, bloating, diarrhea, severe sexual dysfunction(no erection, no feeling, no orgasm, delayed ejaculation, premature ejaculation, constant arousal, morning erection not as strong as it used to be, cold damp genitals) brain zaps, dizziness, nausea, chills, fatigue, anxiety. Lack of natural body sweat especially when active.no emotion,tinnitus
Nov 27, 2018 - 6 years off since I took my last pill of 5HTP, 8 years since taking last pill of Wellbutrin

Present Issues - sexual dysfunction and PGAD(frequent urination, Cold feeling in Genitals, etc) - 6 years

headaches, shoulder and neck tension - 5 years 
vertigo - 1 year

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I'm in Colorado, the rest of the family is in NC. Mom came out here because of the wealth of options for seniors in Larimer County. So, family is moral support only at this point. We have a caregiver that is with mom during my work hours. Hope to add some weekend caregiving too, to give me a break for hiking trips, dog shows, and so on. Mom has sundowners pretty badly, and so evenings can be rough. I'm learning how to deal with that, but it is my biggest challenge, since *I* am tired at night, and I want to spend time writing and reading. 

 

Life. Who knew?

Lexapro 1st time, for generalized anxiety disorder

  • 2010 -July 10 mg
  • 2010 Sept quit cold turkey, switched to GABA for anxiety, no withdrawal

 

Lexapro take 2, again for GAD after taking on caregiving for my mom, who has dementia

  • November 2015, 20 mg
  • July 2017, 10 mg
  • July 2017, back up to 20 mg.
  • September 2017, worked with NP to develop a SLOW taper schedule.
  • November 2017, down to 10 mg
  • December 2017, started alternating 10 mg and 5 mg. 
  • Feb 2018, 7.5 mg. escitalopram,

 

Supplements: 500 mg GABA, 2000 IU D3, B complex, magnesium, fish oil, green tea (brewed, not a supplement), 750 mg L-tyrosine

 

 

 

 

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  • Moderator

Hello, Wordwords, and welcome from me too.

 

Please don't be tempted to go cold-turkey.  I hope you follow MammaP's excellent advice to hold at 7.5 until you stabilize, however long that takes, then continue with a 10% taper.  To reiterate, please do not alternate doses.  Your system craves stability.

 

I too am tapering Lexapro and have been using the Gemini-20 scale, available on Amazon, for my  taper from 20mg to my current 8.6.  This allows me to get exact measurements of my doses.  I highly recommend it.
Using a digital scale to measure doses

 

Best of luck with your mother.

 

 

Gridley Introduction

 

Lexapro 20 mg since 2004.  Begin Brassmonkey Slide Taper Jan. 2017.   

End 2017 year 1 of taper at 9.25mg 

End 2018 year 2 of taper at 4.1mg

End 2019 year 3 of taper at 1.0mg  

Oct. 30, 2020  Jump to zero from 0.025mg.  Current dose: 0.000mg

3 year, 10 month taper is 100% complete.

 

Ativan 1 mg 1986-1991 CT, soon reinstated.  CT 2000. RI 1 mg 2011-2016.  Sept. 2016  0.625mg X 3

Nov.27, 2020, 7-week Ativan-Valium crossover + change to one 18.75mg dose, w/1 month hold.

Feb. 9, 2021, begin 10% every 4 weeks taper.  Current dose as of May 18: 11.7mgai.  Taper is 37.6% complete.

 

Imipramine 75 mg daily since 1986.  Jan. 2016 began every 3-weeks 10% taper, down to 16mgai (44mgpw).  Aug 2016, discovered SA, holding at 16mg.  Taper is 78% complete.  

  

Supplements: omega, vitamins C, E and D3, magnesium glycinate, probiotic, zinc, melatonin .3mg.


I am not a medical professional and this is not medical advice, but simply information based on my own experience, as well as other members who have survived these drugs.

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I've been following recommendation to stabilize at 7.5 mg before going to 5 mg escitalopram. I'm feeling very good.  Well, today I'm tired as can be, which is surprising, and a little achey-breakey. Emotionally stable though. I've had plenty of good sleep, clean eating, water. Just one of those days I guess. 

Lexapro 1st time, for generalized anxiety disorder

  • 2010 -July 10 mg
  • 2010 Sept quit cold turkey, switched to GABA for anxiety, no withdrawal

 

Lexapro take 2, again for GAD after taking on caregiving for my mom, who has dementia

  • November 2015, 20 mg
  • July 2017, 10 mg
  • July 2017, back up to 20 mg.
  • September 2017, worked with NP to develop a SLOW taper schedule.
  • November 2017, down to 10 mg
  • December 2017, started alternating 10 mg and 5 mg. 
  • Feb 2018, 7.5 mg. escitalopram,

 

Supplements: 500 mg GABA, 2000 IU D3, B complex, magnesium, fish oil, green tea (brewed, not a supplement), 750 mg L-tyrosine

 

 

 

 

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  • Moderator

Please don't rush.  It may take a while to stabilize.  Good days and bad days are part of stabilizing.  The fact that you are having good days is very encouraging.

 

Tapering from 7.5 to 5 is far too much of a drop.  A 10% drop from 7.5 would be to taper by only .75mg.  So your next drop would be to 6.75.  That 's where the Gemini scale comes in to measure your cuts.  Or you can make a liquid.

Using an oral syringe and other tapering techniques
How to use oral syringes, gelatin capsules, powdered tablets, and do-it-yourself liquid solutions
 
How to make a liquid from tablets or capsules
General instructions on making a homemade liquid suspension

 

Or you can have your drugs made by a compounding pharmacy.

 

When you get to these low doses, it is important to go slower, not faster.
 

Gridley Introduction

 

Lexapro 20 mg since 2004.  Begin Brassmonkey Slide Taper Jan. 2017.   

End 2017 year 1 of taper at 9.25mg 

End 2018 year 2 of taper at 4.1mg

End 2019 year 3 of taper at 1.0mg  

Oct. 30, 2020  Jump to zero from 0.025mg.  Current dose: 0.000mg

3 year, 10 month taper is 100% complete.

 

Ativan 1 mg 1986-1991 CT, soon reinstated.  CT 2000. RI 1 mg 2011-2016.  Sept. 2016  0.625mg X 3

Nov.27, 2020, 7-week Ativan-Valium crossover + change to one 18.75mg dose, w/1 month hold.

Feb. 9, 2021, begin 10% every 4 weeks taper.  Current dose as of May 18: 11.7mgai.  Taper is 37.6% complete.

 

Imipramine 75 mg daily since 1986.  Jan. 2016 began every 3-weeks 10% taper, down to 16mgai (44mgpw).  Aug 2016, discovered SA, holding at 16mg.  Taper is 78% complete.  

  

Supplements: omega, vitamins C, E and D3, magnesium glycinate, probiotic, zinc, melatonin .3mg.


I am not a medical professional and this is not medical advice, but simply information based on my own experience, as well as other members who have survived these drugs.

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