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Peachfuzz: Lexapro withdrawal and relapse or ?


Peachfuzz

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Trying to figure out if I tapered too quickly and if I should reinstate.   I am completely off the Lexapro since April 23.   Brain zaps are finally gone, but severe fatigue, brain fog and now depression is really setting in.  I’ve had various body aches, and generally feeling sick also.   I don’t know if this is withdrawal, relapse, or just regular me!   Not sure what to do at this point.  Looking for support here and advice.  

 

 

 

Various SSRI’s since 1990

Prozac, Paxil,

combo of Remeron and Trileptal

Always with a benzo as needed but mostly not used

Lexapro 10 mgs for past 7 years

Weaned from 10 mgs for 1 month, 5 mgs for 1 month, then 2.5 1 month then stopped completely

Lexapro free since April 23, 2018

 

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  • ChessieCat changed the title to Peachfuzz: Lexapro withdrawal and relapse or ?
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Welcome peachfuzz,

 

I'm sorry you haven't been feeling well since stopping your medication. I was also on Lexapro for about 7 years, tapered over the course of 2 - 3 months and ended up with protracted withdrawal. Unfortunately for me, by the time I found this site and learned what was wrong with me, it was too late to reinstate, but you may be able to.

 

Yes, you tapered too fast and it sounds like you are experiencing withdrawal symptoms. We suggest reducing by no more than 10% of the current dose every 4 weeks, this reduces the risk of withdrawal symptoms arising. Please read through this which will explain why:

  

Why taper by 10% of my dosage?  (The general philosophy of gradual tapering)

 

Brain zaps are often early withdrawal symptoms and disappear, only to be replaced by new symptoms, which often get worse over time before they get better.

 

See:  Dr. Joseph Glenmullen's withdrawal symptom checklist

 

If you are having symptoms which you didn't experience  before taking the medication, then its likely to be withdrawal. For me, the condition I went on medication for was anxiety. In withdrawal this returned, but it was 100 times worse, I also started having new symptoms like tinnitus, sensitivity to sound and light, vision changes, cognitive issues, sleep problems etc. Many doctors will tell you its your original condition coming back, or will try and diagnose a new illness, but its much more likely to be withdrawal, which will go away by itself over time. But in some cases it can take quite a long time, and it sometimes gets worse before it starts to get better.

 

Reinstatement of a small amount of the drug can often work well to alleviate withdrawal symptoms. According to medical knowledge, reinstatement is the only way to alleviate withdrawal. Reinstatement is best done immediately upon appearance of symptoms. The more time that passes, the less likely it is to work. Once you have stabilized on a low dose of the drug, then a slower, safer taper can be started. Here is some information about reinstatement to help you decide if its something you would like to try:  About reinstating and stabilizing to stop withdrawal symptoms

 

If you decide this is something you would like to try, please let us know and we can suggest a dose to try, because you have been off the drug for a couple of months, you wouldn't want to reinstate a full dose because your system would have made some adjustments during the time you have been off.

 

This topic has instructions for how to make small doses from your pills:  Tips for tapering off Lexapro (escitalopram)

 

 

You can use this thread as your ongoing journal to track progress, write about symptoms, ask questions and communicate with the community, add to it whenever you want. Its a good idea to bookmark it or follow it, so its easy to find again. 

 

Please stay in touch and let us know what you decide.

 

Petunia.

I'm not a doctor.  My comments are not medical advise. These are my opinions based on my own experience and what I've learned. Please discuss your situation with a medical practitioner who has knowledge of tapering and withdrawal...if you are lucky enough to find one.

My Introduction Thread

Full Drug and Withdrawal History

Brief Summary

Several SSRIs for 13 years starting 1997 (for mild to moderate partly situational anxiety) Xanax PRN ~ Various other drugs over the years for side effects

2 month 'taper' off Lexapro 2010

Short acute withdrawal, followed by 2 -3 months of improvement then delayed protracted withdrawal

DX ADHD followed by several years of stimulants and other drugs trying to manage increasing symptoms

Failed reinstatement of Lexapro and trial of Prozac (became suicidal)

May 2013 Found SA, learned about withdrawal, stopped taking drugs...healing begins.

Protracted withdrawal, with a very sensitized nervous system, slowly recovering as time passes

Supplements which have helped: Vitamin C, Magnesium, Taurine

Bad reactions: Many supplements but mostly fish oil and Vitamin D

June 2016 - Started daily juicing, mostly vegetables and lots of greens.

Aug 2016 - Oct 2016 Best window ever, felt almost completely recovered

Oct 2016 -Symptoms returned - bad days and less bad days.

April 2018 - No windows, but significant improvement, it feels like permanent full recovery is close.

VIDEO: Where did the chemical imbalance theory come from?



VIDEO: How are psychiatric diagnoses made?



VIDEO: Why do psychiatric drugs have withdrawal syndromes?



VIDEO: Can psychiatric drugs cause long-lasting negative effects?

VIDEO: Dr. Claire Weekes

 

 

 

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Thanks  for all the information.   

 

Fyi i just started taking CBD oil a week ago thinking it may help.  I also take 250 mg of magnesium and just bought fish oil tablets of 750 mg yesterday.  I am taking a multi vitamin and maca as well.   What do you think about the CBD oil?

 

What would be the suggested reinstatement amount amount for me?  I haven’t gone to my psychiatrist about this because when I told her I wanted to get off these meds she was very negative about me doing it.  This doctor has only seen me 3 times and really knows little about me.   She just wanted to switch me to another SSRI when I told her I was not happy with the Lexapro any longer.  When I read up on the other newer SSRI’s, I was certain I didn’t want to switch.   I had been getting the prescription from a primary care doctor or my gynecologist for many years.  I did go to therapy for many years, but stopped as I felt I had nothing more to say!   But right now I am in a very negative and hopeless state of mind. Maybe I need more counseling.   

 

Suggestions?

 

 

 

 

Various SSRI’s since 1990

Prozac, Paxil,

combo of Remeron and Trileptal

Always with a benzo as needed but mostly not used

Lexapro 10 mgs for past 7 years

Weaned from 10 mgs for 1 month, 5 mgs for 1 month, then 2.5 1 month then stopped completely

Lexapro free since April 23, 2018

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus
7 hours ago, Peachfuzz said:

 

Fyi i just started taking CBD oil a week ago thinking it may help.  I also take 250 mg of magnesium and just bought fish oil tablets of 750 mg yesterday.  I am taking a multi vitamin and maca as well.   What do you think about the CBD oil?

 

 

Hi peach, 

 

CBD can be tricky in withdrawal as it acts directly on the nervous system. Here is a thread on it:

https://www.survivingantidepressants.org/topic/5030-cannabis-marijuana-thc-or-cbd-to-ease-withdrawal-symptoms/?tab=comments#comment-12868

Everyone is different -- for me, I don't feel the risk of further destabilization is worth it.

 

Maca root might be activating as well. 

I'm really glad you're taking magnesium and fish oil -- these are the two supplements that we can almost universally recommend for everyone.

 

 

Current: 2019: 0.04 mg Paxil!! This is real. Soon, after taking Paxil my entire adult life, I will be free.

Long story short: After 18 years on Paxil, "tapered" almost completely off over a month, at doctor's advice in July 2015.

Self-care includes magnesium, reasonable exercise, mindfulness, this forum and nutrition/eating enough food.

Also on 100 mg Zoloft unfortunately!! (which I now will have the knowledge to taper properly)

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Longer version: On Paxil since 1996--anxiety & depression caused by (undiagnosed) under-eating / eating disorder.

Doctor kept increasing dose, up to 60 mg; it never really helped but said it really was the best "med" for me.

Rapid doctor-led "taper" July 2015, down to 5 mg, with Zoloft as a "cross-taper" = Essentially a cold turkey. 

Severe withdrawal but didn't know it; believed it was my "underlying condition," and kept tapering, 5mg to 4 to 3  to 2 to 1.  

Feb 2016: Found SA! As of June 2016, tapering from 1mg at rate of 5-10% per month, Brassmonkey Slide! 

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So if I stop taking the CBD and maca, what dose of Lexapro would be appropriate to reinstate? 

Various SSRI’s since 1990

Prozac, Paxil,

combo of Remeron and Trileptal

Always with a benzo as needed but mostly not used

Lexapro 10 mgs for past 7 years

Weaned from 10 mgs for 1 month, 5 mgs for 1 month, then 2.5 1 month then stopped completely

Lexapro free since April 23, 2018

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Peach, I'm going to ask the more experienced moderators about what dose to recommend.

I or someone else will get back to you.

 

In the meantime, please have a look at this thread, especially the first page: About reinstating and stabilizing to stop withdrawal symptoms

Current: 2019: 0.04 mg Paxil!! This is real. Soon, after taking Paxil my entire adult life, I will be free.

Long story short: After 18 years on Paxil, "tapered" almost completely off over a month, at doctor's advice in July 2015.

Self-care includes magnesium, reasonable exercise, mindfulness, this forum and nutrition/eating enough food.

Also on 100 mg Zoloft unfortunately!! (which I now will have the knowledge to taper properly)

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Longer version: On Paxil since 1996--anxiety & depression caused by (undiagnosed) under-eating / eating disorder.

Doctor kept increasing dose, up to 60 mg; it never really helped but said it really was the best "med" for me.

Rapid doctor-led "taper" July 2015, down to 5 mg, with Zoloft as a "cross-taper" = Essentially a cold turkey. 

Severe withdrawal but didn't know it; believed it was my "underlying condition," and kept tapering, 5mg to 4 to 3  to 2 to 1.  

Feb 2016: Found SA! As of June 2016, tapering from 1mg at rate of 5-10% per month, Brassmonkey Slide! 

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  • Administrator

Welcome, Peach.

 

How long have you been using CBD oil? How does it make you feel?

 

Since you had the zaps, we can safely say you now have post-acute withdrawal syndrome. How did you feel on Lexapro? How did you feel on 2.5mg? Do you have any left?

 

Since you started reducing Lexapro, how often have you been using a benzo?

 

Your psychiatrist has no doubt misdiagnosed a lot of withdrawal symptoms as "relapse". Any doctor can prescribe these drugs, it doesn't have to be a psychiatrist.

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.

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Hey Peach. I'm right there with ya. Been off Lex for about a month.Different symptoms but same doubts.I've dropped alcohol and caffeine (again), taking the same supps you are. Trying to stay busy

 

Remember we're all in your corner and will help you beat it!

September 2014 to July 2015 - 20 mg Lexapro, 30mg Mirtazipine

 

August 2015 to November 2016- 10mg Lexapro, 30 mg Mirtazipine

 

Nov. 2016 to Nov. 2017 - 10mg Lexapro, 3.75 mg Mirtazipine

 

Nov. 2017 to Mach 2018 - 5mg/2.5mg Lexapro, 0mg Mirtazipne

 

Mach 2018 to Dec. 2018 - 0mg Lexapro, 0mg Mirtazipne

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I haven’t noticed anything at all from the CBD oil.   This week my fatigue seems to be improving, but my mood is very up and down with lots of crying spells and irritability.   I also have been getting headaches which are not normal for me. 

 

Honestly onLexapro I felt pretty good.   I was sick of the sexual side effects and since I’m also in menopause, thought I would go off to see if my libido would improve.   Also just thought it was a good time in my life to get off.  Not much stress right now, working from home, etc.

 

 I have been taking .5 mg of clonazepam on occasion - sometimes half of that.   I’d say a few times per week.  I haven’t had much anxiety and that was my original problem and main reason for taking the SSRI.   

 

Would going back to 2.5 be a good idea for awhile? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Various SSRI’s since 1990

Prozac, Paxil,

combo of Remeron and Trileptal

Always with a benzo as needed but mostly not used

Lexapro 10 mgs for past 7 years

Weaned from 10 mgs for 1 month, 5 mgs for 1 month, then 2.5 1 month then stopped completely

Lexapro free since April 23, 2018

 

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  • Moderator

Please be very careful with the Clonazepam.  You can be become dependent after benzo after two weeks.  A few times a week -- could edge up into the danger zone.  Please be careful.  If your anxiety isn't that bad, it's really not worth the risk of having to go through withdrawal.

 

From your post, you seem to be doing pretty well (I don't mean doing great, doing pretty well for withdrawal).  Why do you want to go back to 2.5 mg Lexapro?  If you are having really bad WD symptoms, reinstatement is a possibility, but going to 2.5 is too much. 

Edited by Gridley

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 to 1.875mg 1986-2020, two CT's and reinstatements

Nov. 2020, 7-week Ativan-Valium crossover to 18.75mg 

Feb. 2021, begin 10%/4 week taper.  Current dose as of Jan. 11, 2022: 5.4mg 

Taper is 71% complete.

 

Imipramine 75 mg daily since 1986.  Jan-Sept 2016 tapered to 16mg.  

Held until Aug 2021, tapered for 4 weeks to 14.4mg and holding.  

Taper is 80% complete.  

  

Supplements: omega-3, 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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Gridley,  

 

Thanks for responding.  I guess i just  figured 2.5 would be good since it’s the last amount I was taking and easiest since I have a lot of 5 mg pills left which I can easily cut in half.   

 

I will see how I’m feeling in the next few days and take it from there.  Right now I feel fine, but the entire morning and last night I was really down.  

 

As as far as the benzos, I’m not too worried about that.  I’ve always stayed away from them as I’ve always been afraid of getting addicted.   The Lexapro handled my anxiety very well so there wasn’t much need.   I just hope the anxiety doesn’t reappear.   

Various SSRI’s since 1990

Prozac, Paxil,

combo of Remeron and Trileptal

Always with a benzo as needed but mostly not used

Lexapro 10 mgs for past 7 years

Weaned from 10 mgs for 1 month, 5 mgs for 1 month, then 2.5 1 month then stopped completely

Lexapro free since April 23, 2018

 

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