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wisco: Lexapro, Zoloft withdrawal


wisco

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Moderator note: link to benzo forum thread - Wisco: Tapering off of Valium

 

Hi everyone.

 

I've been on a long journey with medication. I took various SSRI's from 2004-2012 (this was mainly during my adolescence) for OCD and GAD. I did not put much effort into therapy during this time and was told by multiple psychiatrists that I'd probably need to be on antidepressants for life.

 

I tapered off 20mg of Lexapro back in 2012. It was a very quick taper and to the best of my memory my side effects were not terrible. Unfortunately I have neglected to treat my underlying anxiety disorder during these past four years and began having panic attacks around the beginning of this year.

 

Multiple life stressors added up and resulted in me having a breakdown just days after completing my semester (about a month ago). For weeks I couldn't sleep or eat and felt like a total zombie. I was desperate and wanted to do anything I could to feel better. Thus, I went back to my old psychiatrist just over 3 weeks ago and was put on 5mg of Lexapro. I then increased to 10mg last week.

 

My ramp-up symptoms were not terrible - dry mouth, fatigue, jaw tightness. However, as I began to naturally emerge from my breakdown (I hadn't been on medication long enough for it to start working) I questioned whether I truly wanted to be on Lexapro again. While it helped me a lot during my childhood it also created a chemical dependency that I am feeling the ramifications of to this day. I have recently started seeing an ACT therapist and he is absolutely convinced that therapy and mindfulness techniques are just as good if not better for anxiety than SSRI medications.

 

I decided to quit Lexapro CT and took my last dose this past Friday. This meant that I had been on 5mg for 2.5 weeks and 10mg for half a week. Unfortunately, just a few days ago I started to feel spaced out and my sleep quality decreased greatly (while I haven't been sleeping great due to the stress episode, my sleep was improving quite a bit with every week). My sinuses also began to clog back up (they were bad when I first went back on meds, possibly due to a combination of a sinus infection, allergies and the meds themselves) and my ears have been ringing on and off. I was so worried that these were the beginning of withdrawal symptoms that I took a 5mg pill this morning. Now my jaw is tight again and I feel even worse.

 

Does anyone have any suggestions as to what I should do? I have already decided that I made a mistake by going back to my psychiatrist and don't want to be on medication anymore. I know for a fact that I was beginning to emerge from my stress episode despite the drugs, not because of them. Now going off of them has made me feel like crap again and I am wondering whether I need to taper after ramping up to 10mg in a three week timespan. I appreciate any advice and will keep everyone updated as to how I am doing.

Edited by Shep

SSRI's: daily from 2004 to 3/2012, rapid taper from Lexapro
Benzo's: intermittent from 2010 to 10/2019, multiple c/t's from Xanax, final Valium taper was 10 months

 

100% med free since.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

wisco -- Welcome to Surviving Antidepressants I hope you'll find the information in the SA forums enlightening and helpful for your taper. I'm sorry that you are in the position that you need the information, but am glad that you found us.

 

I've edited your post above to highlight the drugs and doses you mentioned. This helps us see quickly what's happening now.

What you're feeling are withdrawal symptoms. This topic on the forum provides more detail.

What is withdrawal syndrome

Since it's been less than a week since your last dose, start taking the 2.5 mg Lexapro again. You'll probably need to stay at 2.5 mg for at least a month to stabilize your brain and the rest of the central nervous system.

About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms

Some topics for later -- when you're ready to start reducing your Lexapro dose:

Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

3KIS: Keep it slow. Keep it simple. Keep it stable.

Tips for tapering off Lexapro (escitalopram)

Some administrative details:

  1. Would you summarize your history in a signature -- drugs, doses, dates, and discontinuations & reinstatements, in the last 12-18 months particularly? Any drugs prior to that can just be listed with start and stop years. Please put your withdrawal history in signature

     
  2. You may way want to follow this topic so that you get notifications when someone posts in your thread. Click the gray "Follow this topic" button. A dialog box appears: select one of the notify options, then click follow this topic in the dialog box.
     
  3. Setting this web page as a bookmark or favorite in your browser will help you navigate back to it.

This intro is for you to record your symptoms and progress, ask questions and chat with other members. It serves as a journal of your withdrawal.

Have a look at the topics I've linked, and come back and ask any questions that come to mind.

Edited by manymoretodays
updated signature link

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.
1997-1999 Effexor; 2002-2005 Effexor XR 37.5 mg linear taper, dropping same #beads/week with bad results

Cymbalta 60 mg 2012 - 2015; 2016: 20 mg to 7 mg exact doses and dates in this post; 2017: 6.3 mg to  0.0 mg  Aug. 12; details here


scallywag's Introduction
Online spreadsheet for dose taper calculations and nz11's THE WORKS spreadsheet

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Hey Wisco - Fellow Lexapro user here. Unfortunately, this is pretty mean stuff. I'm pretty sure it was responsible for my misdiagnosis of "bipolar disorder" and subsequent poly-drugging.

 

"I have already decided that I made a mistake by going back to my psychiatrist and don't want to be on medication anymore. I know for a fact that I was beginning to emerge from my stress episode despite the drugs, not because of them."

 

Congratulations on your obvious self awareness. Never stop trusting this. 

 

Welcome to SA. You've come to the right place. You're among friends here. Please feel free to message me if you are in the mood to vent your frustrations or just need an understanding shoulder.

 

Peace, love and healing.

PatriciaVP@AbleWriterSays My Intro

 

Zoloft 150-200 mg- on and off between 1998 and 2004.

 

Lexapro 40 mg - 2004-2013 30 mg 2013 - August 2015 20 mg August 2015- September 2015 15 mg September 2015 - October 2015 10 mg October 2015 -Nov. 1 2015. Nov. 2015 increased dose to 12.5 mg to stabilize. Dec. 28 2015 11.25 mg March 29, 2016 10 mg. August 1, 2016 9 mg. October 23, 2016 8.1 mg. Nov. 29, 2016 7.5 mg. Feb. 25, 2017 7 mg. April 9, 2017 6.5 mg. June 2017 6 mg. Aug. 2018 5.75 mg March 2019 5.5 mg Apr. 2019 5.25 mg. June 2019 5 mg Sept. 2019 4.75 mg Nov. 2019 4.5 mg Dec. 2019  4.25 April 7 2020 4mg 

 

Depakote 1000 mg 2008-2013  750 2013-Dec 2015 500 mg Dec 2015 to Feb 2, 2016. Sopped completely Feb 2 2016.

 

Adderall 40mg 2004-Feb 29, 2016. Feb 29,2016 - reduced Adderall to 20 mg based on pdoc's recommendations. March 29, 2016 - Reduced Adderall to 15 mg. April 30 reduced Adderall to 10 mgs. May 28, 2016 reduced Adderall to 5 mgs.June 8, 2016 stopped taking Adderall due to extreme agitation.

 

Amphetamine 20mg 2008 - 1/16. 1/16 - Stopped Amphetamine completely because pdoc did not renew script.

WWW.PSYCHFREE.NET 

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Hi Wisco, welcome to SA. I'm also a Lexapro user(started taking this drug in combination with CBT) and on 5 mg now. I found this forum recently when I was dropping from 15 mg to 10 in one week and the following week I went back to 5. I was actually in tolerance for more than a year but wasn't aware of this. All of this became clear in the last week and thanks to the helpful people here on SA I realized I have been going way too fast with tapering.

 

I know it is tempting to just quit Lexapro, I mean, 5mg is the lowest dose available, so it seems logical you can just stop taking it. And you werent on it that long. But still, what you describe sounds like withdrawal syndrome.

For me I would love to just drop to 2,5 mg next week but I won't risk those terrible neuro-emotions. Every one is different so I dont know what is the best thing for you to do, but tapering to 2,5 seems more sensible than quiting now.

 

Please check all those helpful links which have been posted in your thread.

All my life: Occasional panic attacks. 2003: Burnout  2004: intrusion (OCD'ish) / anxiety. Therapies: acupuncture, Chinese herbs, hypnotherapy --> symptoms were manageable (did return once in a while), depression lifted.
2007 - Relapse, started with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Therapist recommended Fevarin (fluvoxamine) 150 mg. Recovery after 3 months and remained stable. Mild side effects.
2009 - Tapered fluvoxamine. No withdrawal symptoms. 2010 - Relapse, same Pure O thought and anxiety.  Started taking 100 mg of fluvoxamine but after 9 weeks no change in symptoms. Did not have any effect on Pure O thought. Switched to Lexapro (escitalopram) 20 mg.  Drug started working within 3 weeks. Mild side effects. Slowly over the years tapered to 5 mg.
2015: Lots of personal issues and setbacks, occasional panic attack. 2016: April started skipping doses; 5mg escitalopram every other day (in hindsight a bad idea)
May: Major relapse, anxiety and intrusion returned. Depression. Increased from 2,5 mg 15 mg in two weeks. Side effects: neuro-emotions
June: Escitalopram has no effect on the frequency of the intrusion...after 4 weeks my general doctor advised me to do a fast taper to 5mg. Withdrawal effects (2/3 weeks): neuro-emotions, lack of focus, crying spells, fatigue, muscle twitches in legs, cortisol spikes just before waking up July: Stable on 5 mg. Depression and intrusion lifted during holiday (lots of sunshine, long walks and relaxing) August: Drop down to 2,5 mg. Withdrawal effects (tinnitus, headagues) are noticeable, but still mild in comparison to the big drop earlier.
22th August: stopped escitalopram completely. Cortisol spikes just before waking up, still OCD (only temporary improvements), WD-depression and WD-neuro emotions.
Update 6 dec: no medication, any withdrawal symptoms not noticable. Taking supplements for intrusive thoughts and overall well being: N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC) omega 3 fish oils, zinc, vitamin d, magnesium l-threonate, ginko biloba

 

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  • 2 years later...

Did anyone develop constipation while on an SSRI? Did it continue after you went off?

 

I went on Zoloft in middle school and developed chronic constipation shortly after. It has been ~15 years since then,  ~6 years since I went off medication. I am still suffering to this day, although it is not quite as bad as it once was. I am seeking treatment for CPTSD, so I am hoping that healing my nervous system will be the remedy for this.

SSRI's: daily from 2004 to 3/2012, rapid taper from Lexapro
Benzo's: intermittent from 2010 to 10/2019, multiple c/t's from Xanax, final Valium taper was 10 months

 

100% med free since.

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  • ChessieCat changed the title to wisco: SSRI & constipation
  • Moderator

Hi Wisco and welcome aboard,

 

For me.......no notable problems with constipation post SSRI's and other drugs.  I suppose I did have some bouts with it off and on through my medication years, and briefly beyond.

Adequate water intake helps.  And other dietary measures.

I did a quick search typing in my main browser constipation survivingantidepressants.org and here's what came up.  Irritable bowel syndrome

You are welcome to share ideas for coping there as well as here.

 

This now acts as your main introduction page, your introduction to the community, and a place to share your journey, make updates, and communicate with others.

 

Your nervous system has already undergone a great deal of healing,  I imagine, in 6 years........so that's good news.

And that's a great idea to be tackling your other issues now as well.  Stress of any kind certainly can affect the gut. 

 

How did you withdraw from your Zoloft?  And how did that go?  Any other persistent symptoms that you attribute to W/D?

 

Wishing you the best.

Love, peace, healing, and growth,

mmt

 

 

Edited by manymoretodays
?'s and removed excess white space

Started with psycho meds/psychiatric care circa 1988.  In retrospect, and on contemplation, situational overwhelm.

Rounding up to 30 years of medications(30 medication trials, poly-pharmacy maximum was 3 at one time).

5/28/2015-off Adderal salts 2.5mg. (I had been on that since hospital 10/2014)

12/2015---just holding, holding, holding, with trileptal/oxcarb at 75 mg. 1/2 tab at hs.  My last psycho med ever!  Tapered @ 10% every 4 weeks, sometimes 2 weeks to

2016 Dec 16 medication free!!

Longer signature post here, with current supplements.

Herb and alcohol free since 5/15/2016.  And.....I quit smoking 11/2021.  Can you say Hallelujah?(took me long enough)💜

None of my posts are intended as medical advice.  Please discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical provider. manymoretodays

 

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  • manymoretodays changed the title to wisco: Lexapro, Zoloft withdrawal
  • Moderator

Hi Wisco,

Sorry about that......I did not see this introduction before.  We like to keep members with one introduction.  I merged your topic about constipation here.

Would you do a signature for us:   Please put your withdrawal history into a signature

Include your history with medications.

 

Questions about your specific situation can go right here.  You are welcome to comment on other topics as well.

 

Thank you.

 

Edited by manymoretodays

Started with psycho meds/psychiatric care circa 1988.  In retrospect, and on contemplation, situational overwhelm.

Rounding up to 30 years of medications(30 medication trials, poly-pharmacy maximum was 3 at one time).

5/28/2015-off Adderal salts 2.5mg. (I had been on that since hospital 10/2014)

12/2015---just holding, holding, holding, with trileptal/oxcarb at 75 mg. 1/2 tab at hs.  My last psycho med ever!  Tapered @ 10% every 4 weeks, sometimes 2 weeks to

2016 Dec 16 medication free!!

Longer signature post here, with current supplements.

Herb and alcohol free since 5/15/2016.  And.....I quit smoking 11/2021.  Can you say Hallelujah?(took me long enough)💜

None of my posts are intended as medical advice.  Please discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical provider. manymoretodays

 

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  • 3 months later...

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