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Tom37

Tom37: Lexapro taper

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Tom37

Hello,

 

Have been on lexapro for approx 11 years now and began tapering around a year ago.

 

So far its gone quite well with no major issues until now.

 

About and a half weeks ago dropped from 4 to 3 mg. Did this as have been having hardly any symptoms previously at almost same percentage decrease.

 

However on Monday I started not feeling right and then last night I got hit hard with symptoms I haven’t really had.....feel like I’m constantly shaking like when you have the flu....head just feels totally weird and horrible.... was having cold sweats big time......horrible neuron emotions that definitely are not me....poor sleep mainly cause by the shakiness and head.

 

What I want to know is that should I expect these symptoms to settle down soon or could it be more months than weeks?

 

Also if they don’t start to improve in the next week do I up dose back to previous amount or try to ride it out?

Thanks

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ChessieCat

Hi Tom and welcome to SA,

 

SA recommends tapering by no more than 10% of the current dose followed by a hold of about 4 weeks which allows the brain to adapt to not getting as much of the drug.  You don't state what your original dose of Lexapro was so I can't tell if you have been going faster than SA's recommended taper method.  Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

 

However, going from 4mg to 3mg is a 25% reduction so a huge jump.  What you are experiencing are withdrawal symptoms Dr Joseph Glenmullen's WD Symptoms Checklist

 

The only know way to reduce withdrawal symptoms is to take more of the drug.  You might find that taking a tiny bit more may be enough to bring the withdrawal symptoms to a bearable level.  You could try taking an extra 0.5mg.  This topic explains how to get a small dose:  Tips for tapering off Lexapro (escitalopram) and Post #1 of this topic is relevant to updosing and reinstatement About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms

 

You will need to keep daily symptom notes on paper to see how the updose is working.

 

Once we have the additional information about how you reduced your Lexapro, we will be better able to offer suggestions of when you could recommence your taper.

 

Please create a drug signature and remember to update it whenever you make a change so it remains current.  Please make it nice simple by following these instructions (NO diagnoses or symptoms please - thank you):

  • details for last 2 years - dates, ALL drugs, doses
  • summary for older than 2 years - just years and drug/s

Account Settings – Create or Edit a signature

 

This is your own Introductions topic where you can ask questions about your own situation and journal your progress.

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Tom37

Thanks for your reply.

 

At the moment I don’t have a scale that does half mg. Do you think going back to 4mg would be too much for my system?

 

i will update with the information you asked for tomorrow.

 

Thanks

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ChessieCat
2 hours ago, Tom37 said:

About and a half weeks ago dropped from 4 to 3 mg.

 

Please tell me how long you have been taking 3mg.  Has it been 1.5 weeks?  If it's only been 1.5 weeks then taking 4mg should be okay.

 

The reason I suggested 3.5mg is because the lower you can stabilise on the less you have to go off.

 

 

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Tom37

Thanks for your reply.

 

At the moment I don’t have a scale that does half mg. Do you think going back to 4mg would be too much for my system?

 

It will be 3 weeks I believe this weekend from going down to 3 from 4.

 

symptoms started appearing 2 weeks after the drop.

 

The shakiness that was extreme stopped very early this morning although still plenty more to resolve.

 

if I was to stay at 3 though would the symptoms resolve in time.

 

Thanks

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Tom37

Thanks for that.

 

So today was the fourth day of updosing back to 4mg.

 

After I last posted I had a terrible night of constant inner shaking, felt like I was burning and just couldn’t rest or sit still for most of the night. It was probably the worst night I have experienced. Did go visit the doctor as was very concerned about it and how I would cope if it happened again next night. Doctor was surprisingly good and knew exactly that it was medication induced. He did give a script for a Benzo just incased it continued so would have something to use if desperate. Also to not hesitate to call the clinic anytime if I needed help.

 

Thankfully though last night was much better in that while still had an inner nervousness feeling there was no shaking or burning and was able to get a decent sleep.

 

Also had a horrible head feeling which has been getting better each day although still there just a lot less severe.

 

Today has been a better day but it’s still the nervousness/restlessness that is drug induced that is the most frustrating. Makes it hard to sit and relax during the day and feel better doing something. Also makes it hard to seperate mind from body and not attach the physical feelings of it to anything in your actual life.

 

So will continue on with 4mg and as improvement has happened hopefully it will continue to.....Expecting weeks to months to stabilise.

 

If anyone has had to do a small updose to relieve symptoms how long before you stabilised? Understand everyone is different but would be good to know so I can remain positive.

 

*started at 20mg - went to 10mg about 4 years ago. Started tapering from 10mm about a year ago. Drops where by the mg and held for approx 6 weeks or more and only had minor symptoms appear each drop which nearly all resolved as went along. Only constant symptom was probably tiredness more than normal.

 

Thanks

 

 

 

 

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Gridley

Unfortunately, there is no general rule or average about the time needed to stabilize.  It took me four months after I updosed.  The following link has members' experiences all over the map, but many talk in terms of months.


After Reinstating or Updosing, How Long To Stabilize?

 

Edited by ChessieCat

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jozeff

Hi Tom,

 

Nice to meet you.

 

I've been doing some research about citalopram myself because I'm taking it for two years now and want to come off of it some day.

 

I used some graphs and read some articles about receptor occupation. 

 

You dropped from 4 to 3 mg recently.

 

The reduction in receptor occupancy is about 15%. This is the same reduction as from 6 to 4mg or from 9 to 6 mg! Disclaimer: this is for citalopram and according to my own calculations.

 

What I mean is that you should taper carefully the lower you go. I read a lot of stories here About people getting WD when reaching lower dosages. 

 

I think you will feel better soon and I hope you will taper carefully. You have come a long way and you can be proud of yourself. You should thank yourself for tapering a year and not jumping off meds!

 

Good luck ant take care!

 

 

Cheers

 

Jozeff

 

 

 

 

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Tom37

Thanks for your comments.

 

Today started of not too great with increased anxiety/nervousness in bed which was wasn’t great. It makes me shake so not exactly relaxing although not at the pacing level which I was the first few days. This continued until late morning when it eased up a lot. Definitely the worst symptom I have as it makes everything so much harder.

 

Also get horrible neuro emotions too which are not pleasant so hopefully they will start to ease soon.

 

Anyway I managed to finish work and went for a short walk so pleased with that considering the start to the day.

 

Will be day 5 today on the increase and hopefully see some positive changes soon.

 

From looking on here it seems everyone does stabilise and symptoms either go away completely or are greatly reduced so while it may take weeks/months have to learn that it won’t last forever.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Rose9

I SO relate, the same thing happened to me at about that dosage (coming off Lexapro, 19 years). Trust the 10% rule. I too had to reinstate a little bit, which felt discouraging at the time, but it was worth it in the long run. I really hope you feel better soon.

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Tom37

Thanks Rose,

 

Actually had a far better day today with basically no nervousness/anxiety which has been the worse and constant symptom since this hit. Was nice feeling quite relaxed in bed this morning although kinda was laying there waiting for it to happen. Hopefully a few more days like this to come although prepared for it to worsen again as never know how it will go.

 

Not back to normal yet but definitely an encouraging day.

 

This whole tapering process is just sooo frustrating especially when you already feel like part of your life has been lost due to being on the medication and now tapering and potential withdrawal to follow. Probably an exaggeration but when you start ‘feeling’ again after being so numb it hits you with what you have been missing out on.

 

One bonus though about a long taper is giving you the chance to deal with all the new emotions you begin to feel. Have found that so much harder than I thought it would be. Has made me question so much in my life especially decisions made when I was totally in numb but thankfully have a great family who has been so understanding through this whole process...... especially when withdrawal ‘irritability’ has hits.

 

Thats me for today.

 

Thanks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Carmie

Hi Tom, 

 

Good to hear that you had a better day. 

 

Could you please add a drug signature so that everyone can see at a glance what you’re taking etc. ChessieCat gave you a link and mentioned what you need to do. Thank you.

 

Sending hugs🤗

 

 

 

 

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Tom37

Hello,

 

So since I posted a few days ago I have feeling better and better and nearly back to a ‘normal’ withdrawal feeling which for me is feeling about 90 percent. 

 

All the nervousess and anxiety resolved quite quickly and other symptoms have also resolved. Unbelievable how these drugs and withdrawal can make you feel.

 

Will definitely be taking it easy for a while as while feeling soooo much better and don’t want to risk going backwards.

 

Will also be holding current does for a few months until I start tapering again although does reduction will be minimal to start with to see how the nervous system has recovered.

 

 Will probably step away from posting until I start tapering again, as to be honest, it’s not always easy to read the suffering that people are going through.

 

Hope anyone reading this is looking after themselves and stay strong as you will make it to the end.

 

Thank you to all the people who look after this site as going through this process is very difficult and the medical profession do not have much understand about it at all.

 

The support offered to people through this site really is truly awesome.

 

Thanks

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ChessieCat
42 minutes ago, Tom37 said:

reduction will be minimal to start with to see how the nervous system has recovered.

 

That's a good idea.  At least that way if it is too soon then the withdrawal symptoms will be minimal/mild.

 

43 minutes ago, Tom37 said:

Will probably step away from posting until I start tapering again, as to be honest, it’s not always easy to read the suffering that people are going through.

 

That's also a good idea.

 

Windows and Waves Pattern of Stabilization

 

Video:  Healing From Antidepressants - Patterns of Recovery

 

How do you talk to a doctor about tapering and withdrawal?


What should I expect from my doctor about withdrawal symptoms?

 

Leo posted this recently:

 

On 11/10/2018 at 8:32 PM, Leo1983 said:

What your saying to me is you need to learn techniques to manage your life whilst in WITHDRAWAL! And they will also serve you well once you HEAL. 

 

Non drug coping techniques can be helpful:

 

This is good:

 

On 4/28/2017 at 4:03 AM, brassmonkey said:

 

AAF: Acknowledge, Accept, Float.  It's what you have to do when nothing else works, and can be a very powerful tool in coping with anxiety.  The neuroemotional anxiety many of us feel during WD is directly caused by the drugs and their chemical reactions in the brain.  Making it so there is nothing we can do about them.  They won't respond to other drugs, relaxation techniques and the like.  They do, however, react very well to being ignored.  That's the concept behind AAF.  Acknowledge, get to know the feeling involved, explore them.  Accept, These feelings are a part of you and they aren't going anywhere fast. Float, let the feeling float off as you get on with your life as best as you can.  It's a well documented fact that the more you feed in to anxiety the worse it gets.  What starts as generalized neuroemotinal anxiety can be easily blown into a full fledged panic attack just by thinking about it.

 

I often liken it to an unwanted house guest.  At first you talk to them, have conversations, communicate with them.  After a while you figure out that they aren't leaving and there is nothing you can do to get rid of them.  So you go on about your day, working around them until they get bored and leave.

 

It can take some practice, but AAF really does work.  I hope you give it a try.

 

 

and more links:

 

are-we-there-yet-how-long-is-withdrawal-going-to-take

 

Non-drug techniques to cope

 

dealing-with-emotional-spirals

 

Dr Claire Weekes suffered from anxiety and learned and taught ways of coping.  There are videos available on YouTube.

 

Claire Weekes' Method of Recovering from a Sensitized Nervous System

 

Audio:  How to Recover from Anxiety - Dr Claire Weekes
 

Audio:  First Aid for Panic (4 minutes)

 
 
 
 
 
Resources:  Centre for Clinical Interventions (PDF modules that you can work through, eg:  Depression, Distress Intolerance, Health Anxiety, Low Self-Esteem, Panic Attacks, Perfectionism, Procrastination, Social Anxiety, Worrying)

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Carmie

Hi Tom, 

 

Great to hear you’re stabilising n a good idea to have a long hold. When you do start tapering again please remember no more than ten percent a month. I can only do around five percent. 

 

I see that you realise the importance of going slow. Check out the brassmonkey slide on the first page of Symptoms And Self Care. That’s what I’ll be going next. A lot of people have found his way of tapering very beneficial. 

 

Wishing you all the best with your future tapering 💚

 

 

 

 

 

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