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hopemore: Lexapro battle


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I've been looking at this site for a whole month before deciding to reach out and get specific advice about what I'm going through. I was determined to go off my 15 mg of Lexapro this year, not because I had any specific problems on the medication but because I was feeling a little foggy and lazy and wanted to check in with my unmedicated self. I am 22 years old. My very non-plused psychiatrist allowed me to do this and told me I could taper off the medicine by taking 10mg for two weeks and then 5mg for another two weeks. I did this fast taper with unfortunately no guidance other than her (wish so desperately I had come upon this site sooner and done a safe taper). My only symptom while tapering was a sense of disassociation, but after I had my last dose my symptoms rapidly multiplied. 


The first few weeks without medication were brain zaps, dizziness, vertigo. The nice thing about these symptoms were that they were inconsistent, and I still had not done much withdrawal research so I was determined I could stick them out. I unfortunately rapidly deteriorated after that. My dizziness, vertigo, and nausea became more and more consistent along with horrible feelings of derealization (I felt, and still feel, like I'm not really looking at the world). My stomach began acting up severely. 


These stomach pains became acute and severe and from the end of April to mid-May I was bedridden with constipation, diarrhea, stomach pain and bloating. I went to a gastroenterologist and had an endoscopy that found mild stomach erosion, possibly unrelated to the withdrawal but I am unconvinced that my stomach pain is not completely related to this small bout of gastritis. 


Over this time (mid-May to early June) I tried to reinstate three times and failed. Each time I would begin taking 5mg again but after a few days my appetite would disappear completely and I was unable to function.


In early June my stomach began to start feeling better and I was left with dizziness and new vision problems. Often my vision felt like it was shaking, visual snow, lots of afterimages, hypersensitive to light. I have also developed terrible headaches, mainly on my temples and where my head and neck meet. My family has a history of bad migraines and I wonder if the lexapro withdrawal has jumpstarted my own migraines. About two weeks ago very bad insomnia set in along with my stomach pain returning in full force. I have little appetite and cannot sleep for long periods of time. My psychiatrist gave me ativan to use as needed and unfortunately I must admit that I have been using it inconsistently this month to help my sleep and anxiety. I definitely do not want to pick up a benzo dependency so have been trying to limit my intake but its difficult when I feel so horrible. My last symptom is a very bad return of anxiety and depression. I wake up many mornings in a near panic attack state, my heart rapidly beating. Chamomile tea has been briefly relieving this but not much. And just generally feeling hopeless.


Insomnia has been a real trigger for me and I wish so much I was still getting sleep. My ability at least to have a good night sleep really helped me cope with these other symptoms. Now that this is gone I feel very hopeless about my health. The vision problems are also very difficult, and increase my feelings of disassociation and depression. I wish so badly I could go back in time and do a safe taper. I wonder if anyone thinks trying a reinstatement again might be helpful? Perhaps if I tried a very low dose? I have also read of people switching to Prozac to help elevate these symptoms. I feel so abysmal right now both physically and psychologically, it would honestly not bother me so much to pick up another ssri  if it would just allow me to be more functional. Any advice on how to deal with this would be sooo greatly appreciated, please let me know if another attempt to reinstate would possibly work. I had no idea it must possible to feel this bad. I need some hope to help me stop ruminating about all the mistakes I've made on this journey. I know I might be in a wave right now, but its the severest wave I've encountered yet and I need help treading water. 


Edited by ChessieCat

late 2014 - early 2018 lexapro 15mg

mid February 2018 - mid March fast lexapro taper

mid March - now no lexapro


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  • Moderator

Hello, hopemore, and welcome to SA.  Sorry you're having such a bad time.


Reinstatement of a very small dose of the original drug is the only known way to help alleviate withdrawal syndrome.  The only other alternative is to try and wait out the symptoms and manage as best you can until your central nervous system returns to homeostasis.  Unfortunately no one can give you an exact timeline as to when you will start feeling better and while some do recover relatively easily, for others it can take many months or longer.  Please read:
About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms. -- at least the first page of the topic
Reinstatement isn’t a guarantee of diminished symptoms for everyone, but it’s the best tactic available.  You’re just outside the time period where reinstatement predictably works, up to three months after last dose or dose reduction.  We usually suggest a much smaller reinstatement dose than your last dose.  These drugs are strong, and when updosing/reinstating it is better to start with a small amount and increase of symptoms remain unbearable.  If you take too much it may be too much for your brain and can cause you become unstable.  Sometimes it can be hard to regain stability after this happens.  That is likely what happened when you reinstated 5mg--it was too much.
As I said, there's no guarantee that RI will work.  If you want to give it a try, I would suggest reinstating 1mg.  This link gives information about how to make nonstandard doses, either by making your own liquid or using a scale such as the Gemini-20 scale available on Amazon.
It takes about 4 days for a dose change to get to full state in the blood and a bit longer for it to register in the brain.
We generally don't recommend switching medications, but here is a link so you can decide for yourself.



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 Valium

Feb. 2021, begin 10%/4 week taper of 18.75mg Valium  

End 2021  year 1 of taper at 6mg

End 2022 year 2 of taper at 2.75mg 

Current dose as of Feb. 25, 2023 2mg

Taper is 89% complete.


Imipramine 75 mg daily since 1986.  Jan-Sept 2016 tapered to 14.4mg  

March 22, 2022: Begin 10%/4 week taper

Aug. 5, 2022: hold at 9.5mg and shift to Valium taper

Taper is 87% 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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Hi guys,

Being reading through this site for a while, on my own personal withdrawal journey, and struggling to find info about visual snow/static as a withdrawal symptom. I'm wondering if anyone has recovered from this? And if so what helped them stabilize? It's one symptom that's been upsetting me the most, since most online stuff about visual snow says it's permanent. Yet the things I've seen here seem to suggest some of us in withdrawal have recovered. Having some confirmations that people here really did recover would really help me cope. 

late 2014 - early 2018 lexapro 15mg

mid February 2018 - mid March fast lexapro taper

mid March - now no lexapro


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  • ChessieCat changed the title to hopemore: Lexapro battle
  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi hopemore and welcome,


There are many existing topics on this site.  I use google and add survivingantidepressants.org to my search term.




The only supplements which SA recommends are Magnesium and Omega-3 Fish Oil.  Try a small amount each, one at a time, to see how react.

Please DO NOT TAG me - thank you

PLEASE NOTE:  I am not a medical professional.  I provide information and make suggestions. 

  MISSION ACCOMPLISHED:    (6 year taper)      0mg Pristiq      on 13th November 2021

ADs since ~1992:  25+ years - 1 unknown, Prozac (muscle weakness), Zoloft; citalopram (pooped out) CTed (very sick for 2.5 wks a few months after); Pristiq:  50mg 2012, 100mg beg 2013 (Serotonin Toxicity)  Tapering from Oct 2015 - 13 Nov 2021   LAST DOSE 0.0025mg

Post 0 updates start here    My tapering program     My Intro (goes to tapering graph)

 VIDEO:   Antidepressant Withdrawal Syndrome and its Management

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Hi hopemoore. I too am experiencing visual snow and shaky vision along with  countless other disabling symptoms. I too would like to know if anyone has recovered from visual snow? If anyone at survivingantidepressants.org has recovered from visual snow, please I would like to know to give me some hope. 



Citalopram 30mg 2008 - 2015
Citalopram 30mg + Mirtazapine 15mg 2015 - 2016
Venlafaxine 150mg + Mirtazapine 15mg then 30mg 2016 - 2017
Venlafaxine 150mg + Amitriptyline 50mg January 2017. Coming off Venlafaxine took about 8 months 
March 2018 stopped venlafaxine. Increased amitriptyline to 150mg over two weeks end of March. Couldn't tolerate side effects. CT for 5 days then went back to 50mg amitriptyline since 8 April 2018


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