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mdwstrx: Lexapro / escitalopram taper or not?

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ChessieCat

Just be prepared that you might feel some increase in symptoms over the next few days or so.

 

Please let us know how you go.

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mdwstrx

Will do Chessie.

I decided to take half of my normal dose this morning.  Will take half later around 5 ish. 🙏

Thanks again.  

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mdwstrx

Hello.  Checking in.  

Despite late dosing on Monday, I've felt surprisingly good yesterday and today (so far). 🙂

Praying that the symptoms from last cut 19 days ago are fading and that I can consider another taper at some point.  

Thoughts from the mods on when and how much are welcome . 

 

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Gridley
Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, mdwstrx said:

Thoughts from the mods on when and how much are welcome . 

 

I'd wait a week or two more and see how you feel.  Are you still doing the Brassmonkey slide

 

Could you update your signature to reflect your current dose and date you dropped 19 days ago?  Was the dose you dropped from 5.5g?  It's good to keep your signature updated every time you drop so you have a record of your progress.

 

Account Settings – Create or Edit a signature.

Edited by Gridley

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mdwstrx

Hi Gridley. Ok , will wait at least a week and check back.  Yes, still doing BM slide.  Current signature is correct.  Last drop was to 5.5.

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apace41
2 hours ago, mdwstrx said:

Despite late dosing on Monday, I've felt surprisingly good yesterday and today (so far).

 

This is good to hear, mdwstrx, but we don't want to "put the cart before the horse."  Let's see where things shake out for you since it can be several days delay before an issue arises.  I'm hoping it won't in this case but better safe than sorry.

 

2 hours ago, mdwstrx said:

Praying that the symptoms from last cut 19 days ago are fading and that I can consider another taper at some point.  

 

Yes, that would be the goal, but it is WAY too soon after this little "dosing mishap" to even think about another cut.  If you were to stay like you are for another week to 10 days (I'm on the same page as Gridley here) then we can talk about your next cut.  It's NEVER worthwhile to put yourself at risk just to cut a few days off of a multi-year taper.  It seems urgent in the short term but taken in context another week for safety is always wise.

 

2 hours ago, mdwstrx said:

Thoughts from the mods on when and how much are welcome . 

 

So, if you were to stabilize as we hope you are, when you do cut, perhaps 2-3 weeks from now, I'd take your most recent slide approach and reduce it by a slight amount to hopefully avoid the recent symptoms you have suffered.

 

Best,

 

Andy

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mdwstrx

Hi Andy. 

I assure you I'm in no hurry to feel bad again.  Hoping things continue to improve on this hold.

Will check back in later before considering another cut if not before. 

 

Many thanks to you both! Much appreciated. :) 

 

 

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mdwstrx

Checking in after almost a week from last update.  It's been different.

 

Some days are better than others.  Having some light insomnia.  Biggest problems is a persuasive feeling of being on the edge of my seat, as if I need something to settle my nervous system; distraction helps.  on a 1 to 5 scale it averages a 2.5 to 3.  Also feeling some despair and depression it seems.  Not happy about empty nest and living alone but I have a ton of things to be grateful for other than that.  I'm also considering downsizing so the issues around that loom larger than they should.  I am trying to re-frame.  Also talking with a counselor and reading what self helps I can to lift the mood.  I exercise frequently but haven't been eating the best (not horrible though). 

 

I am continuing to hold for another week at least to see if this doesn't clear up a bit. 

 

 

 

 

 

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mdwstrx
14 hours ago, mdwstrx said:

Biggest problems is a persuasive feeling of being on the edge of my seat, as if I need something to settle my nervous system; distraction helps.

 Pervasive... autocorrect. :) 

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mdwstrx

Almost a month since my last cut.

Today I feel like my mood is a pendulum.  It swings from feeling ok to feeling unsettled, to grouchy, to impatient, to fearful, to sad, to lonely and back to maybe I'm ok, to grateful to looking at the future and then repeat.

Hot flushing is occurring many times a day, especially at night.

Cognitively I'm missing some cues.  I am definitively not normal me. 

 

I don't know what to do.  Hold at 5.5 mg.  I certainly don't feel stable to cut.  If I hold, will this improve?

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Gridley
26 minutes ago, mdwstrx said:

 

I don't know what to do.  Hold at 5.5 mg.  I certainly don't feel stable to cut.  If I hold, will this improve?

 

From what you describe, this is definitely not the time to cut.  I suggest that you continue to hold.  A month is not really that long a time to stabilize.  Unfortunately, sometimes it can take months.

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mdwstrx

Thanks Gridley, for your reply. I agree it's not time to cut. 

 

This is not the same as the first Nov. crash.  While there are some physical symptoms like the hot flushing and some insomnia, the more troubling aspect is the mood thing.  And it changes throughout the day oddly enough.  Not huge swings but just little unsettled feelings. I teared up at a dinner with my son last night uncharacteristically.  Today, I actually walked away from a sport game today in between games because I was irritated. I am certain a Dr. would say, "well of course, you're depressed.  You need to increase the dosage." :(

 

I'm definitely working with tools to combat these neuro emotions.  Just hope they settle down before I alienate too many people or have to hibernate to avoid doing so. 

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Gridley
5 minutes ago, mdwstrx said:

 

I'm definitely working with tools to combat these neuro emotions.  Just hope they settle down before I alienate too many people or have to hibernate to avoid doing so. 

 

It's so good you recognize what these neuroemotions are.  That's half the battle.  If you have to hibernate for a while, that's okay too.

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mdwstrx

I needed someone to tell me it's ok.  You just did.  Thanks Gridley.  💜

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Tom37

Definitely hold MD. I always find the emotional symptoms the hardest as so easy to believe it’s ‘you’ when with physical symptoms it’s so clear it’s just wd.

 

Just be prepared that it can take awhile to stablise even though it wasn’t a bad crash. Nothing we can to other than wait it out and carry on as best we can. Trust me it will settle down.

 

The longer the emotional symptoms persist the better you will get at coping with them so don’t worry about them affecting your life too much.  Just look after yourself and don’t put too much pressure on yourself to be the normal you when your clearly not!

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mdwstrx

Hey Tom.  

What a kind and insightful post!  You're so right about the emotional symptoms.  It makes me believe it's 'me' and I think, how did I ever successfully cope before.  And I did very well, mostly when I look back.  Everything you said, I needed to hear.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.  ❣️

 

How are you doing?  I haven't seen an update lately.

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JackieDecides
1 hour ago, mdwstrx said:

Hey Tom.  

What a kind and insightful post! 

 

you are right, that was an excellent post! 

 

Mswstrx, I hope things stabilize for you soon. 🤗

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mdwstrx

Thank you Jackie.

Popping over to your page to reply. 

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Carmie

Hi MD, 

 

Sorry you’re neuro emotions have been giving you such trouble. They’re fun, aren’t they? Not! 

 

Glad to hear you’re going to hold a bit longer. I’ve been making about 4% drops, but it takes me around six or so weeks to stabilise again. I think it took me longer last time. The best thing we can do, as you know, is just continue to listen to our bodies. 

 

I hope that window comes along for you soon, Sending hugs🤗

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mdwstrx

Hello mods.  Checking in.

 

It's been a month since my last cut.  The depressive mood is a bit worse.  

I have a counselor appointment tomorrow but I know she will say that I should consider

updosing with the escitalopram. I imagine the Dr. would suggest same.  I'm doing many self help things but I am struggling.

 

Interesting, a  year ago in August (before my Nov. crash) I had tapered to 5 mg. and held for a month. 

I then reduced to 2.5 mg. and held for two and a half months before stopping.  During the combined 3.5 months at those doses, my notes reveal some similar symptoms.

Just not as prevalent.  I'm concerned about getting past this point.  Obviously I have to continue to hold but how long do I go with this low mood?

I'm not doing much because when around others, I tend to be pretty mopey or worse, irritable.

 

Oddly enough, I find I get waves of depressed feelings that make me tear up but I'm unable to cry.  Seems to be a hold over from the crash.  :( 

 

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Tom37

Hi Md,

 

Sorry your still not back to baseline after your last drop. Glad you are holding as reducing any further could easily make it worse. I’m sure it will settle down but as you know we can’t say when.

 

i remember during my tapering I would have emotional symptoms that would last for weeks after a drop but would always settle. For me it was nearly always irritability and at times it was terrible, quite ridiculous how irritable I use to get over the smallest things. 

 

Hopefully a few more weeks and things will settle down.

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mdwstrx

Thanks Tom.  Your posts always cheer me up as they are usually right on spot! :)  It helps knowing others know what you're going through. (sadly) 

 

Today, the sun was shining, I played some sports, saw my counselor and was feeling much better.  Is this a variation of waves I wonder?  

They seem intense but shorter and more emotional/mental than physical.  I'm learning better coping skills which helps. 

The meditation is very helpful I believe.  Plus observing thoughts and emotions instead of driving them is a tremendous help.

I guess before, I felt compelled to manage them.  I'm learning it's best to accept them and then refocus on other things.

 

I have an excellent counselor.  She is still versed though in the medical model of treatment, holding to the chemical imbalance approach.  I need 

to find something on here to take her to show her it's been challenged.

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mdwstrx

Thanks Chessie!!  I'll look through them.

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mdwstrx

Hello mods,

Checking in.  Things seem to be improving a bit.  Continue to hold or try a small cut?

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bubble

Hold :) The more you hold, the more stable you will get and it will be easier to taper. Holding is not a waste of time. It's an investment in future.

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Tom37

Hold and hold Md....get yourself symptom free and make sure you have been that way for a while. Drops catch up on you.

 

Even though your feeling better your nervous system is only just settling down and can be easily aggravated. Even by stress let along a drop. 

 

If if I was you I would give it a good month or two before considering it...but that’s just me. Time is your best friend in this situation. 

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apace41

Bubble and Tom are giving very good advice here, mdwstrx.  There is very little benefit to pushing forward before you are fully stabilized when you have been showing signs of stabilization.

 

My suggestion would be to give it at least 2-3 weeks from here and we can reassess next steps.

 

Best,

 

Andy

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mdwstrx

That's why I am on this site; to get very good advice! :)

Holding for another couple of weeks then to reassess. I'm trying to learn what wd normal is.  

Thanks very much Bubble, Tom and Andy!  

 

...It seems obvious to hold perhaps but I'm also very afraid to stay on this drug now that I know what it can do.  So walking a fine line with moderator help and it's very, very appreciated!

 

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Frogie
On 6/24/2019 at 4:15 PM, mdwstrx said:

Hello mods.  Checking in.

 

It's been a month since my last cut.  The depressive mood is a bit worse.  

I have a counselor appointment tomorrow but I know she will say that I should consider

updosing with the escitalopram. I imagine the Dr. would suggest same.  I'm doing many self help things but I am struggling.

 

Interesting, a  year ago in August (before my Nov. crash) I had tapered to 5 mg. and held for a month. 

I then reduced to 2.5 mg. and held for two and a half months before stopping.  During the combined 3.5 months at those doses, my notes reveal some similar symptoms.

Just not as prevalent.  I'm concerned about getting past this point.  Obviously I have to continue to hold but how long do I go with this low mood?

I'm not doing much because when around others, I tend to be pretty mopey or worse, irritable.

 

Oddly enough, I find I get waves of depressed feelings that make me tear up but I'm unable to cry.  Seems to be a hold over from the crash.  :( 

 

Hi mdwstrx:

 

I’m just giving you my “2 cents worth”.

 

When I was tapering Lexapro, I went too fast a few times and paid the price.

 

 I finally listened to Apace41 (Andy), updosed a couple of times and held a few times I didn’t want to, but he knew what he was doing and it went smoother.

 

If I were you, I would hold. You’ve been on it this long, what’s another couple of weeks without problems?

 

I hope you do what’s right for you. 

 

Just wanted to give you my opinion.

 

Take care,

 Frogie xx

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mdwstrx

Frogie, your 2 cents worth (and more) is especially relevant and appreciated given that you've successfully come off after a long time on ADs as well. 

Thanks for weighing in and being so supportive!  I am holding for at least another couple of weeks. :) 

 

Hope you are doing well on your tapering. 

It seems you are doing really great 3 months out from stopping Lexapro, which is awesome and so encouraging for us!  I had to laugh when you said you don't miss it!  That must be the understatement of the year!!! 😂

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Frogie
2 minutes ago, mdwstrx said:

Frogie, your 2 cents worth (and more) is especially relevant and appreciated given that you've successfully come off after a long time on ADs as well. 

Thanks for weighing in and being so supportive!  I am holding for at least another couple of weeks. :) 

 

Hope you are doing well on your tapering. 

It seems you are doing really great 3 months out from stopping Lexapro, which is awesome and so encouraging for us!  I had to laugh when you said you don't miss it!  That must be the understatement of the year!!! 😂

I’m glad I could give you a little advise. But I trust Andy 100%. I could have never made it without him and all the other mods. I made A LOT of mistakes.

 

You have to listen to your body though. I’m only giving you my opinion. Listen to the mods. They are so experienced with all of this.

 

Thanks, I am doing well for coming off 3 months ago and going through a lot of stressful situations. I’m doing well on my Xanax taper so far. But I’m listening to the mods on that from the start.

 

I’m glad I could give you a little chuckle about not missing it🤣

 

You will make it! I did.

 

Take care,

 Frogie xx

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Iowan

@mdwstrx, I took the time today to read through your entire story. I know I've said it before over on my story, but again, I completely empathize with your situation, where your Dr. advised you go to zero from 2.5 mg of Lexapro. And after you'd been doing SO WELL slowly tapering down from your original dose. We're taught from an early age to trust in our Dr's, but they don't know squat about AD WD, or AD's in general. Most of us shouldn't have been prescribed them in the first place, and none of us should have remained on them for long term, (17ish years myself). SA has become my sole resource for advice and support when it comes to managing my AD WD. THIS is where the experts are. Now I only go to my Dr. if I absolutely need to. My last shrink was a true quack and my Naturopathic Dr., although I liked her, had me wasting a ton of $$$ on supplements that weren't doing anything for my AD WD. That, and she's the one who suggested I cut my original dosage of Lexapro from 10 mgai to 5 mgai roughly one year ago today.

 

Ugh!!!

 

But, that's all behind me now. And it sounds like much of the bad advice and learning curve is behind you now too. Slow and steady wins this one. Slow and steady. I'm experiencing most of the symptoms that you've described, but they're getting better week after week and month after month. The BM slide taper method is working extremely well for me, and when you get to the point where you begin tapering again, I have no doubt it will work well for you too. You take good physical care of yourself, and you're diligent with keeping detailed analysis of what you're experiencing daily. Since this is a process that involves both your brain and your body, I believe both of these things are key to your success. They are to mine.

 

Insomnia, despair, anxiety, pain, restlessness, etc. ALL SUCK! I've learned more about them in this past year than I ever thought I could. All of us experiencing AD WD go through this in our own personal ways. All similar to one another, but unique to ourselves. So, we can all comfort each other, even though our stories are all different.

 

I'll echo what everyone else before me already has. I recommend you hold until you stabilize, or at least feel comfortable enough to begin your taper again, and then stick to 2%-3% weekly tapers, and hold if/when ever you run into any trouble. Tomorrow (7/7/19), I taper from 43 mgpw / 2.774 mgai  to 42 mgpw / 2.710 mgai. I am suffering regular, but manageable, AD WD symptoms as I progress through my taper, BUT... I'm at a much lower dosage today than I was on 3/17/19 when I tapered from 77.5 mgpw / 5 mgai to 50 mgpw / 3.226 mgai, and suffered one of my worst, and last week long suicidal waves. SLOW and STEADY!!!

 

Whenever I find myself getting sucked into obsessing over the fact that I've woken up again at 3:30 AM, or that I'm feeling blue in the AM, (mornings are still the worst, by far), I force myself to remember where I've been in my worst waves. (Vomiting, zero appetite, bawling and begging for mercy on my hands and knees, little or no sleep, pacing, obsessing about ways to end the torture, etc.) It's in those moments that I realize that I am winning this battle and that I've come SO FAR already!!! I try to keep my eye on the prize and recognize my wins when they come. This gives me the fire in my belly to continue pushing through the pain.

 

We're all pulling for you! Keep at it mdwstrx, and God bless!

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mdwstrx

Hi Iowan. 

Wow. Thanks for taking the time to read through my intro and for your thoughts!  It means so much when others share their experiences and weigh in. It sounds like you’ve also been through very difficult times.  But hoping they are behind you now!  It’s so sad that we all thought these drugs were helping us. 

 

I’m so encouraged that you’re having success with the brass monkey slide. 2.71 mgai is awesome and you seem to be trucking along.  Sorry though that  you’re still having wd even though manageable. Praying it get easier for you at each cut. 

 

I agree with the strategy to hold. I’m still having some wd symptoms so I’m not going to stress over it.  When things settle down I’ll resume the bm slide. Until then, hoping that things continue to improve. 

 

I really appreciate your support. Thanks and blessings to you. 💜

 

 

 

 

 

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mdwstrx

Hello.  Well it's been a month and a half since my  last taper to 5.5 mg escitalopram. 

 

Things have settled but not sure I'm at wd normal.  Remaining issues are waking in each morning (after a good night's sleep) to an uncomfortable cortisol-induced (assumed) hot flash.  This is followed by morning neuro fear on a level 1.5 on a 1-5 point scale - 5 being the worst. The flushing also occurs during the day.  The depression and unsettled feelings have reduced a lot.  Is it wd normal or is it a window?  Who knows.  

 

If I pay close attention, my system feels fragile; as if other wd related symptoms could return if I blink.  I've also been suffering a bit of an earache but doubt that's related.  

 

Providing the update in order to reassess when it may be time to try a small drop.  For now, plan to hold another week or two but anxious to resume the countdown to get off this poison.

 

Hope others are progressing on their journey and praying that healing comes quickly for us all.

 

 

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ChessieCat
10 hours ago, mdwstrx said:

uncomfortable cortisol-induced (assumed) hot flash

 

I get this every now and then and have also assumed that it cortisol-induced.  I can wake up feeling fine and cool and then bam I'm sweating.

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