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planifolia

planifolia: Lexapro reinstatement

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planifolia

Hello everyone,

 

I am currently still in benzo withdrawal from 3.5 years (Clonazapam 2mg) and was on lexapro (10-20mg) the entire time. I felt that since the benzo wd was taking so long,

lexapro may be influencing recovery, and decided to taper it off 2 months ago. I did a very quick taper as the ashton manual said 1-3months and symptoms should be mild, and came off in 2 months from 20mg. After a few weeks I had severe terror panic attacks derealisation and agitation and was completely suicidal and had was taken into the hospital and was given benzos for 3 days. After that i visited a doctor and he told me to reinstate the lexapro and he was wanted me to return to 20mg fast and wanted to possibly increase it to 30mg, but i refused. I took for 5, 10, 15 for 2 days each and then 20mg for 2 weeks now. I felt better when i was taking 10mg on the 4th day of reinstatement although still very ill the suicidal and agitation lifted a bit. However now on since entering the 2 week of 20mg, everyday after that a specific symptom the dr, gradually increased in intensity and right now I feel like Im nearing psychosis from the intensity of derealisation where the unrealness and metaphysical crisis feeling is horrific, and the terror felt is absolute insane, and Im severely suicidal and not sure if I can make it even for a few more hours. 

 

In desperation, i found survivingantidepressants.com and read the reinstatement feeling something is going wrong. it suggests that maybe my dosage is too high (to not reinstate the original). but I'm not sure what to do; I was off for around 1month before the reinstatement, and I have been on the reinstatement for 3 weeks, with 2 weeks on 20mg. What should I do? 

 

Thank you so much. I'm so scared. ANy help is appreciated

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Gridley

Welcome to SA, planifolia.  I'm sorry you're having these difficult symptoms.  It does appear that you reinstated too high a dosage.  

 

To give members the best information, we ask them to summarize their medication history in a signature -- drugs, doses, dates, and discontinuations & reinstatements, in the last 12-24 months particularly.  Please include when you went off the Clonazepam, dosage and how you tapered.  For the Lexapro, do the same thing: dates and dosages of each reinstatement, as well dates for the one-month time you were off.  A list is simple and easy to read.  Please do not include diagnoses or symptoms.  
 
 
Once you have completed the drug signature we will be better able to make suggestions.

 

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planifolia

Thank you. 

 

I just wish to know what's the best thing for me to do now. 

-Is there a chance that this dosage will stabalize (reduced wd symptoms) should I try to stay on

-If not, what dosage is suggested to reduce to?

-Since im on the reinstatement 20mg for 2 weeks already, if i reduce should i taper (what speed) or just reduce

 

 

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planifolia

I have recently developed violent spasms. I attributed this to my recent drop in dosage. I'm very afraid not sure what to do. The high dosages seems to be making my DR, Terror and SI worse by the day, but if i drop it, i get spasms...

 

 

 

 

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planifolia

Hello, just wish to ask if anyone has any advice? My introduction has been very quiet😭 Thank you very much. 

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powerback

HI PF ,welcome ,I've a soft spot for newbie's on the site reaching out, Please be calm ,the body is capable to look after these spasms ,loads of deep breathing when times are tough ,hopefully a mod can give you advice with the meds .

It seems like a damned if you do or don't situation ,maybe witch ever one is the lesser stick with for a while and let your body rest .

I empathise with a lot of your symptoms ,trust me if I'm still here  anyone will be ok 👍.

 

Take great care ,you will be ok ,don't let your brain think otherwise.

🙏.

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Altostrata

Hello, planifolia.

 

What dosage of what drug were you taking and what was the reduction? When did you make this reduction?

 

Where are the spasms? How often do they occur? Are they painful? Do they happen at any particular time of day?

 

Whenever you report symptoms, we need all of this detail.

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planifolia
4 hours ago, Altostrata said:

Hello, planifolia.

 

What dosage of what drug were you taking and what was the reduction? When did you make this reduction?

 

Where are the spasms? How often do they occur? Are they painful? Do they happen at any particular time of day?

 

Whenever you report symptoms, we need all of this detail.

 

Thank you so much for your reply. I have listed the timeline in my signature; so the spasms started when I reduced 20mg to 10mg for two days, as the 20mg was causing severe symptoms and SI the longer I was on it.

 

The spasms are body-wide. They are not painful in itself, but the because its violent it can overjerk/hyperextend parts of the body it becomes painful. They only happen when I am in severe terror and are not spontaneous. When I can get my terror down, the spasm stops. It feels like there is this terror threshold; prior to reaching it I can feel my muscles and nervous system sort of on the edge of going crazy.

 

I went back on 15mg and have not had an episode yet. I have learnt a lot how to control this terror so it may be due to that or the dosage.

 

Thank you so much 

 

 

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planifolia
8 hours ago, powerback said:

HI PF ,welcome ,I've a soft spot for newbie's on the site reaching out, Please be calm ,the body is capable to look after these spasms ,loads of deep breathing when times are tough ,hopefully a mod can give you advice with the meds .

It seems like a damned if you do or don't situation ,maybe witch ever one is the lesser stick with for a while and let your body rest .

I empathise with a lot of your symptoms ,trust me if I'm still here  anyone will be ok 👍.

 

Take great care ,you will be ok ,don't let your brain think otherwise.

🙏.

Thank you powerback, this simple reassurance really touched me :) Grateful for your kind words and support

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planifolia

Hello. To update, I have not been having spasms since and the SI is less intense. However other symptoms (DR, Irritation, agitation, terror etc.) is still in full force.

Wish to ask if staying on this dose or changing dose is prudent at this point? Thanks

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Altostrata

Hello, planifolia.

 

It sounds like you have an adverse reaction to Lexapro, but you can't reduce too fast because of withdrawal symptoms like those spasms.

 

You might want to start reducing very slowly. We recommend 10% per month, see Tips for tapering off Lexapro (escitalopram)

 

Lexapro comes in a liquid by prescription for easier tapering. Since you are taking 15mg, you may want to take 10mg in tablet form and the rest in liquid, gradually lowering the amount of the liquid.

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Carmie

Hi planiflora, 

 

I’m so sorry to hear about what you’re going through. Definitely looks like dropping too quickly has caused the spasms, but I’m glad they’ve settled now. Please only taper by 10% from now on. I can only taper by about 4% or 5% myself. 

 

I know this is a really scary thing that we are all going through and sometimes it all feels so overwhelming. What I have learnt though the many years of withdrawals is that we have to distract ourselves when waves are bad. I have lots of hobbies, love arts n crafts and music, I watch Netflix n DVDs for hours sometimes, go out in nature etc etc. None of these things will get rid of withdrawals but they will help us to cope. 

 

My motto has always been Distract! Distract! Distract! when going through waves, and when in windows I make happy memories. I think this is important too as it gives you something positive to look back on, and it makes you realise there will be more happy times ahead. 

 

Check out Claire Weekes too. She has videos on YouTube on how to deal with the anxiety and terror you’re u may be going through. 

 

Take care, sending sunshine your way☀️☀️☀️

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ChessieCat

LINKS:

 

Non-drug techniques to cope

 

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

 

Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) for anxiety, depression

 

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)

 

 

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.

 

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planifolia

Thanks everyone very much for your kind advice and support.

 

On 15mg, I was somewhat able to get a few weeks of less intense symptoms and the SI was gone. 

 

However, it progressively worsened again in a matter of days and on the 6th january, symptoms and SI became extreme. I reduced to 13.5g on that day and a week later there was no relief. 

 

Additionally, when reduced to 13.5, numbness of the hand returned, which was absent during 15mg. I’m not sure if this indicates something.

 

 i am struggling to keep hope alive. What is going on? Was the return of symptoms part of the wave of stabalisation? Am i doing the right thing? 

 

Thank you all 

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planifolia
On 12/19/2018 at 2:22 PM, Carmie said:

Hi planiflora, 

 

I’m so sorry to hear about what you’re going through. Definitely looks like dropping too quickly has caused the spasms, but I’m glad they’ve settled now. Please only taper by 10% from now on. I can only taper by about 4% or 5% myself. 

 

I know this is a really scary thing that we are all going through and sometimes it all feels so overwhelming. What I have learnt though the many years of withdrawals is that we have to distract ourselves when waves are bad. I have lots of hobbies, love arts n crafts and music, I watch Netflix n DVDs for hours sometimes, go out in nature etc etc. None of these things will get rid of withdrawals but they will help us to cope. 

 

My motto has always been Distract! Distract! Distract! when going through waves, and when in windows I make happy memories. I think this is important too as it gives you something positive to look back on, and it makes you realise there will be more happy times ahead. 

 

Check out Claire Weekes too. She has videos on YouTube on how to deal with the anxiety and terror you’re u may be going through. 

 

Take care, sending sunshine your way☀️☀️☀️

Thank you Carmie😊 I am grateful for your kind words. Best wishes to you to

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planifolia
On 12/18/2018 at 3:07 AM, Altostrata said:

Hello, planifolia.

 

It sounds like you have an adverse reaction to Lexapro, but you can't reduce too fast because of withdrawal symptoms like those spasms.

 

You might want to start reducing very slowly. We recommend 10% per month, see Tips for tapering off Lexapro (escitalopram)

 

Lexapro comes in a liquid by prescription for easier tapering. Since you are taking 15mg, you may want to take 10mg in tablet form and the rest in liquid, gradually lowering the amount of the liquid.

Thanks Alto. I’m not trying to taper but stabalize at the moment so the dose changes were all to find the right amount. Things don’t seem to be going well, and i wish to seek your opinion of what should be done.

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Altostrata

Hi, planifolia.

 

13 hours ago, planifolia said:

Thanks everyone very much for your kind advice and support.

 

On 15mg, I was somewhat able to get a few weeks of less intense symptoms and the SI was gone. 

 

However, it progressively worsened again in a matter of days and on the 6th january, symptoms and SI became extreme. I reduced to 13.5g on that day and a week later there was no relief. 

 

Additionally, when reduced to 13.5, numbness of the hand returned, which was absent during 15mg. I’m not sure if this indicates something.

 

 i am struggling to keep hope alive. What is going on? Was the return of symptoms part of the wave of stabalisation? Am i doing the right thing? 

 

Thank you all 

 

If I were you, I might updose 0.5mg to 14mg. That might relieve the symptoms. Please let us know how you're doing.

 

Please update your signature.

 

What time of day do you take Lexapro? Are the symptoms worse at any particular time of day? How are you sleeping?

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planifolia
50 minutes ago, Altostrata said:

Hi, planifolia.

 

 

If I were you, I might updose 0.5mg to 14mg. That might relieve the symptoms. Please let us know how you're doing.

 

Please update your signature.

 

What time of day do you take Lexapro? Are the symptoms worse at any particular time of day? How are you sleeping?

It is taken in the morning. Symptoms are worse in the morning, almost as soon as I wake up. I open my eyes and terror floods me. My sleep is alright with 6-7hours per night, waking up a few times. 

 

Was there any reason why it worsened so much on 15mg after it was alright for a few weeks? Symptoms keeps me house and bedbound and my activities are little so I don’t think it is flare up from any external stress.

 

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planifolia

What I am experiencing now Is insane DR, anxiety and terror are the main symptoms now and unrelenting SI. For a few few weeks on 15mg, the DR and terror were less and SI absent and I had some functionality. 

 

At the moment things are horrific and just holding on to my dear life.

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Altostrata

You are in a difficult position. It seems you have an adverse reaction to Lexapro and you get withdrawal symptoms from lowering the dose.

 

You might consider a switch to Prozac, please read The Prozac switch or "bridging" with Prozac

 

Does your doctor have any experience with this?

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planifolia

Hello. On the same dosage, I had a few weeks of symptoms easing - The DR and Terror reduced in intensity, and the SI was gone.

 

However, on the  1st of march, I entered another horrific episode. The terror is off the charts again and the SI bombarding every moment. The only good thing is that the DR improvement stayed. I'm wondering what's going on. On the same dosage, i experienced 2 episodes of severe crisis, and 2 episodes of managable windows of symptoms. Although, after each crisis, the baseline improved (the DR improvement stays). I wish to ask if this is normal? I'm just devastated when I thought reinstatement was stabalizing I am back to square 1. 

 

I also wish to ask if it is possible to search users by their location? I am from Hong Kong, and I just wish to find if any other users are from here to. I also wish to ask if anyone knows any psychiatirst in Hong Kong or Asia that is knowledgable in withdrawal? So far the psychiatrists I have met here are terrible and oblivious. 

 

Thank you so much

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planifolia

Things are very difficult and the despair is beyond words. I am hanging on for my dear life. 

 

I am looking for any hope at all. Does anyone know reinstatement success stories where theh went through the ease of symptoms then severe return of symptoms on the same dose but managed to completely stabalize few months out? I am too scared to change or tweak the lexapro as it did stabalize for few weeks each time before it crashed, and now the SI is too intense to risk any further intensification.

 

Thank you

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Altostrata

planifolia, did you accidentally miss a dose or take it late? In what form are you taking 13.5mg Lexapro?

 

What time of day do you take Lexapro? How does your symptom pattern change after your daily dose?

 

Very few doctors anywhere in the world have a clue about tapering or withdrawal symptoms or even adverse effects from psychiatric drugs. I wish I could refer you to a doctor, but I cannot.

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planifolia

Thanks Ato for replying.

 

I have never missed a dose and take it every morning. 

 

The 13.5 is taken in 10mg pill then the 3.5mg weighed to precision crushing the pill. 

 

Dosage, time, form of lexapro never changed. However I was able to feel some stabalizing for weeks before crashing without any identifiable cause. Very random. Happened twice.

 

The weeks i didn’t spend on the forum was a stabalizing episode, where I could eat, read, watch tv, mind was clearer, and could get through the hours of the day without too much effort. 

 

Would it be possible to search users here by location? I am just desperate for some hope that maybe someone who is in hong kong might know a capable doctor or facility. 

 

Thanks again

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Altostrata

We don't have many members in Asia.

 

I am wondering if there's a lot of variation in your Lexapro refills. Are you getting the name brand drug? Any possibility of counterfeits?

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planifolia

I have been getting lexapro brand for many years. I don’t think it is a counterfiet as it is from a pharmacy. A counterfiet probably also wouldn’t make sense in my case because in both severe setbacks only lasted around 7days and each pack contains 20 days worth of 13.5mg. 

 

It’s really mind boggling what’s going on. I’m putting all my hope in that it will go soon and stabalisation will eventually come

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zolofellow

hi rachel - how long did it take you to reinstate the zoloft?

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bubble
Posted (edited)
On 3/4/2019 at 10:19 AM, planifolia said:

However, on the  1st of march, I entered another horrific episode. The terror is off the charts again and the SI bombarding every moment. The only good thing is that the DR improvement stayed. I'm wondering what's going on. On the same dosage, i experienced 2 episodes of severe crisis, and 2 episodes of managable windows of symptoms. Although, after each crisis, the baseline improved (the DR improvement stays). I wish to ask if this is normal? I'm just devastated when I thought reinstatement was stabalizing I am back to square 1. 

 

This actually sounds like a typical pattern of stabilizing. People often feel like they are back to square one. That's because stabilizing is not linear. It's actually up and down just as you describe it.

 

It is very promising and encouraging that you had such clear windows and that after every wave your baseline improves. Even now it's not complete square 1 because DR is less. I would just stay the course and expect another window soon. Hang in there.

 

Mdwstrx also two stated Lexapro and has a great graph which illustrates how his symptoms fluctuated wildly  while he was stabilizing.

 

 

Edited by bubble

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planifolia
46 minutes ago, bubble said:

 

This actually sounds like a typical pattern of stabilizing. People often feel like they are back to square one. That's because stabilizing is not linear. It's actually up and down just as you describe it.

 

It is very promising and encouraging that you had such clear windows and that after every wave your baseline improves. Even now it's not complete square 1 because DR is less. I would just stay the course and expect another window soon. Hang in there.

 

Mdwstrx also two stated Lexapro and has a great graph which illustrates how his symptoms fluctuated wildly  while he was stabilizing.

 

 

Thank you so much bubbles (i like the name 😄) very grateful for your encouragement. I really hope with all my heart a window comes soon. Thank you for the link it’s encouraging to know others are going through similiar experiences

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planifolia
53 minutes ago, zolofellow said:

hi rachel - how long did it take you to reinstate the zoloft?

I’m neither rachel or taking zoloft!😂

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zolofellow

sorry! wrong topic .... i was very anxious

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bubble
Posted (edited)

I just wanted to let you know that when we think about the time it took us to stabilise we start counting from the time when we stopped adjusting the drug. Since you reinstated at a too high dose your stabilising didn't start 4 months ago but when you started to consistently take the same those. I'm saying this just so that you don't get discouraged and start thinking you won't stabilise. 

 

It's also not helpful to compare ourselves to others because each our situation is specific. The take home message is that stabilizing takes time, is not linear, feels like going back to square 1 at times but it happens.

Edited by bubble

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planifolia
8 hours ago, bubble said:

I just wanted to let you know that when we think about the time it took us to stabilise we start counting from the time when we stopped adjusting the drug. Since you reinstated at a too high dose your stabilising didn't start 4 months ago but when you started to consistently take the same those. I'm saying this just so that you don't get discouraged and start thinking you won't stabilise. 

 

It's also not helpful to compare ourselves to others because each our situation is specific. The take home message is that stabilizing takes time, is not linear, feels like going back to square 1 at times but it happens.

Thanks bubble,

 

in the beginning I have changed the dose a  tiny bit everytime things were in crisis, thinking maybe I was not in the “sweet spot” dose to stabalize . I’m guessing it’s better to ride out these crisis as a better way of reaching stabalization? 

 

Much appreciated

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bubble
Posted (edited)
11 minutes ago, planifolia said:

in the beginning I have changed the dose a  tiny bit everytime things were in crisis, thinking maybe I was not in the “sweet spot” dose to stabalize

That's the most common mistake we all make which prevents stabilizing because the brain has to adjust to new changes and then adjust again and again.

 

Unless there is an adverse reaction we need to stay put no matter what to allow our brain to stabilise. Once we begin to experience relief from symptoms (however slight - and yours were a lot more than that) that's a sure sign that stabilizing and healing have begun regardless of the fact that in the windows and waves pattern of healing symptoms will hit again. In the same wave the window will come again and the baseline will be more improved. 

 

Once you are through such cycles a few times you will get more confident about the whole process and have more hope.

 

Here is a great article by one of our members which explains the nature of the process and the way the brain is remodelling itself. 

 

 

Edited by bubble

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planifolia
Posted (edited)

A million thanks 🙏 

 

 

Edited by ChessieCat
removed quote

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planifolia

Yesterday I was able to leave the sofa and play some mobile games which was symptomatically impossible for me since the crisis started. Fingers crossed that this is a good sign and stabalization is coming!

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