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Dylanmatthew: Lexapro withdrawal. I'm going through a very tough time and I'm very afraid

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Dylanmatthew

I called my grandpa who has been on zoloft for 20 years. He suggested I either take the drug my doctor prescribed me (trintellix) or take a full dose of the Lexapro and stop messing around with this water dilution stuff and stop listening to the internet and find a psychiatrist. 

 

Im torn but I still feel like you guys are more knowledgeable than my doctors. Does that make me niave? 

 

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ChessieCat

Hi Dylan,

 

Altostrata, this site's owner, created this site back in 2011 after she experienced difficulties stopping Paxil.  She has done a lot of research and is very knowledgeable about psychiatric drugs.  Video of Altostrata talking about her experience:  Alto Strata's Paxil Prolonged Antidepressant Withdrawal Syndrome (8 minutes)

 

The older generation can be very wary of information which is found on the internet and that is understandable.  They also tend to have a belief that doctors know everything.  However, when it comes to psychiatric drugs, the information they get is provided by the pharmaceutical companies.

 

Gwen Olsen was a pharmaceutical representative for 15 years.  This is a 5 minute video by her titled We are trained to misinform.

 

Escitalopram is a stronger drug (comparing by mgs) than Zoloft.  I will try and find this information for you.

 

Once we have experienced withdrawal symptoms from going off a drug too quickly are nervous system can become sensitised which is the reason why a small dose is recommended.  It is better to start with a small amount and increase than to take too much.

 

 

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ChessieCat

This is the dose equivalency for the different drugs so rounded it is about 20 : 100, a huge difference between the 2 drugs.

 

escitalopram (Lexapro) 18.0 mg

 

sertraline (Zoloft) 98.5 mg

 

This information is from PubMed:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25911132

 

 

Edited by ChessieCat
added drug brand and link

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ChessieCat
On 12/8/2018 at 3:18 AM, Dylanmatthew said:

So for about 2 months I was on 2.5mg.

 

Your last dose was 2.5mg.  And that was about 3 months ago.  Your brain will have already made some adaptations since you have been off the drug.  You might find that 0.5mg is enough or in a week or 2 you might need to increase it by a little bit more.

 

I've added the link to where the equivalency information came from in my previous post.

 

As bubble posted, please keep daily symptoms notes so that you can see how reinstatement is going.  This is an example:

 

6 a.m. Woke with anxiety
8 a.m. Took 2.5mg Lexapro
10 a.m. Stomach is upset
10:30 a.m. Ate breakfast
11:35 a.m. Got a headache, lasted one hour
12:35 p.m. Ate lunch
4 p.m. Feel a bit better
5 p.m. Took 2.5mg Lexapro
6 p.m. Ate dinner
9:20 p.m. Headache
10:00 p.m. Took 50mg Seroquel
10:20 p.m. Feeling dizzy
10:30 p.m. Fell asleep
2:30 a.m. Woke, took 3mg Ambien (NOT "took 1/2 tablet Ambien")
2:45 a.m. Fell asleep
4:30 a.m. Woke but got back to sleep

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Dylanmatthew

Hi chessie. I'm not feeling good at all today. I want this to stop so badly. I can't do this much longer. I really hope I consumed 0.5 Lexapro using the liquid method. I followed the directions closely. 

 

I believe you and others on this website over the doctors and my misinformed family. I don't blame them, though. I'm just really miserable and sad right now, chessie. I feel like a sick child. My body feels off. I'm so fatigued, I feel weak. I'm not anxious but that could change quick. I'm just so worried about what comes next. Will I find relief?! 

 

I appreciate your links but I can't even watch those videos right now. I fear they'd send me into a panic about how I've been poisoned and lied to. I'm trying to distract myself with chores and my brother is coming over.

 

 

Chessie, how am I going to go to work on Monday? My life is falling apart.... 

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ChessieCat

Hi Dylan,

 

Please do not worry about the dose you have taken.  If you do the same thing every time using the same equipment then you will be getting a consistent dose.

 

I realise that you are feeling very unwell at this time.  Unfortunately it is not unusual.  Other members have been through the same thing.  And they have got through it.

 

You will get through it too, but at the moment all you can do is distract yourself and get through moment by moment.  At least your parents understand what is causing it.  If you are feeling tired, go and have a lie down and listen to some soothing music.  You need to treat yourself gently.  You are in recovery and the process is going to take some time.  Think about it like you have the flu, and you would look after yourself if you had the flu, so treat yourself the same way now.

 

You might find that you start to feel a bit of improvement later on today, but it does take about 4 days for a dose to get to full level in the blood and a bit longer for it to register in the brain.  You said in your first post that you have used all your holiday leave.  Are you able to afford to take one or two more days off and not get paid?

 

If you need a doctor's certificate, you can tell the doctor that Antidepressant Discontinuation Syndrome is now in the DSM-5 as per the information below (link to SA post by Altostrata):

 

Write this information down to give to him:  Antidepressant Discontinuation Syndrome DSM-5 995.29 (T43.205A) and request that your doctor uses google to search which will take you to the same link as below (that is easier than you writing and him typing the long link)

 

From the DSM-5 Desk Reference

 

 
Antidepressant Discontinuation Syndrome 995.29 (T43.205A)
Initial encounter 995.29 (T43.205A)
Subsequent encounter 995.29 (T43.205D)
Sequelae 995.29 (T43.205S)
 

Antidepressant discontinuation syndrome is a set of symptoms that can occur after an abrupt cessation (or marked reduction in dose) of an antidepressant medication that was taken continuously for at least 1 month. Symptoms generally begin within 2-4 days and typically include specific sensory, somatic, and cognitive-emotional manifestations. Frequently reported sensory and somatic symptoms include flashes of lights, "electric shock" sensations, nausea, and hyperresponsivity to noises or lights. Nonspecific anxiety and feelings of dread may also be reported. Symptoms are alleviated by restarting the same medication or starting a different medication that has a similar mechanism of action - for example, discontinuation symptoms after withdrawal from a serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor may be alleviated by starting a tricyclic antidepressant. To qualify as antidepressant discontinuation syndrome, the symptoms should not have been present before the antidepressant dosage was reduced and are not better explained by another mental disorder (e.g., manic or hypomanic episode, substance intoxication, substance withdrawal, somatic symptom disorder).

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Leo1983

Dylan.

 

Hi. Please take a look at my topic. I was on Lexapro and CT. 

 

How you are reacting is very normal. It is very scary and a human reaction to want to feel well and be in control of ourself. 

 

HOWEVER - You are going to have to take a step back and accept a few things. Your going to have to accept

 

- Your in WD from too fast a taper.

- You need to take advice from the site.

- Your symptoms are normal.

- They take a long time to settle down.

- THEY WILL GO AWAY AND YOU WILL HEAL WITH TIME. 

- Doctors dont understand.

 

You need to decide 1st are you going to ride the waves or reinstate. That would be first. 

 

Please read the succes stories. Look at videos online about people healing from AD and Benzos. It happens. 

 

Speak to family and friends let them know what is happening and tell them you will be needing there support until you feel better. 

 

Utilise the information on the site. 

 

DONT think about the future until you have got a plan. You MUST get a plan NOW about how you will move forward. 

 

Contact me with any questions. 

 

Leo.

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Dylanmatthew

My brother left. I'm alone again. Cherrie, I really hope reinstating works sooner than later. I need relief. My head has an ache and so does my body. I'm tempted to try acetaminophen. Maybe 500mg.

I plan on taking a few more days off. I'm really trusting everything you and the others tell me. I feel like the doctors just don't get it. My doctor told me a new drug will also get rid of WD. 

Im going to stick with the reinstatement and hope for better days. I keep getting worried it's going to get worse. 

 

Im going to take off work a little longer. I can't go in suffering like this. 

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Dylanmatthew

Hey Leo. Thanks for your response. I feel a little extra crappy today. More fatigue and achey. Do you recommend acetaminophen and if so what dosage. 

My plan is to reinstate at least 0.5mg Lexapro like cherrie advised. Idk what to do after that. 

 

I feel like craaaaaaaap. It's like a got a bad flu without the respiratory symptoms and fever... 

 

Please God have mercy on me

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ChessieCat
12 minutes ago, Dylanmatthew said:

I'm tempted to try acetaminophen. Maybe 500mg.

 

That should be okay.  The only thing to realise is that you will not be able to tell if the reinstatement is working until after the paracetamol/acetaminophen has worn off, which I think is usually about 6 hours.  If you need to take it, then take it.

 

I'm glad you are going to take extra time off.  At least that is something which you don't need to worry about.

 

I will be online for about the next 3 hours and then I will be going out for the afternoon (here in Australia) and I won't be back until the evening.  On the weekends there doesn't seem to be as many members or mods on the site.

 

If you start to feel panicky please read back through the responses you have already had and check out the non drug coping skills link.

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Leo1983

Hi.

 

I advise that you do lot of reading from the site. I would read success stories also.

 

Read the links you have been provided. Once you understand what is happening to you, how long it will take and that you will recover then your anxiety will settle ten fold. The penny has to drop, then you start surfing rhe waves easier. 

 

Trust me! Ive been you!

 

Take care. 

 

Leo

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Dylanmatthew

Thank you chessie. The flu like symptoms start disappearing whenever I get anxious. Whenever the sun sets I feel more anxious. The sun sets at 4:45pm sadly. I live in the middle of America. 

I am using the tools AAF to calm down. I'm putting so much hope in this reinstatement. You guys are basically replacing my doctor during this. 

 

Im using all the info I can here. 

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Dylanmatthew

Also I purchased my last Lexapro (escitalopram) dose 9/05/18 and didn't take much from it I can tell. So I was right to assume 3 months. 

 

Leo, I have lived with health anxiety most of my life. So honestly this whole withdrawal situation I've found myself in is terrible for me. I keep thinking either something is severely wrong with me or that the withdrawal symptoms are going to grow severe and throw me into the ER.... 

I need to stay positive. I'm scared. 

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ChessieCat
7 minutes ago, Dylanmatthew said:

I have lived with health anxiety most of my life.

 

Once you have got stable with your reinstatement it would be helpful for you to learn was to cope with the health anxiety.  But that can wait for the time being until you are feeling a bit better.

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Dylanmatthew

I'm so hopeful for this reinstatement to work. I don't even care if I have to take the damn drug I just need to return to the real world. I'm 26, I live alone and have a dog. Luckily my parents live across the street but still I can't not work for much longer... 

Sometimes I'm tempted to just take the Prozac or trintellix but it's too late now I took Lexapro. I hate you big pharma. 

 

Also, hope you have a great afternoon. Is the weather nice where you are?? 

 

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Dylanmatthew

Apparently you can get brain zapps?! So I admit I'm less anxious than last week. I feel like 5% better... I'm. Still worried I can start developing hellish symptoms at any time. 

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ChessieCat

It is better to reinstate the drug you have been taking.  I think that was explained previously.

 

It's good that your parents live so close.  Try not to worry about the future at this time.  Just look after yourself so you can get through this difficult time.  Hopefully the reinstatement will kick in quickly and you will soon feel a bit better than you do now.  It's no good worrying about something that may or may not happen later and it only adds stress.  The calmer you can keep yourself the easier it is for the brain to do what it needs to do.  When you add stress the brain has to deal with that instead of with sorting out the other stuff.

 

It's a lovely sunny day where I am.  This afternoon I will be going to the movies with my daughter to see a movie about Claude Monet the artist.  I was fortunate enough to see an exhibition of some of his paintings when it was in Sydney about 10 years ago and I really love his artwork.

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ChessieCat
1 minute ago, Dylanmatthew said:

Apparently you can get brain zapps?! So I admit I'm less anxious than last week. I feel like 5% better... I'm. Still worried I can start developing hellish symptoms at any time. 

 

If you haven't had any brain zaps before now it is unlikely that you will get them now so that's another thing you don't need to worry about.

 

I used to experience them when I missed a dose, but that was when I was taking 100mg Pristiq.

 

It is more likely that your symptoms will ease as the reinstatement starts to kick in.  Again, worrying about what might or might not happen is not good.  It adds stress.

 

Think of it this way, you have done what needs to be done, and you will take another dose tomorrow morning, and then the morning after that and the morning after that etc.  Keep telling yourself that you have taken your drug which the brain needs.  Now all you can do it wait.  Use the image of waiting in a queue, the line gradually gets shorter.  When you are in a queue you can't make it move any quicker than it does.  You have no control over it.  All you can do is wait in the line.  How you wait is what is going to make a difference.  You can either be impatient and start getting irritable and think bad things and complain to the other people who might start swearing at you which makes you feel worse or you can try to be patient and calm and try and think of nice things and look at the things around you.  It's going to take the same amount of time for you to get to the head of the queue but you can either make the experience of waiting pleasant or unpleasant.

 

This topic might help:  dealing-with-emotional-spirals

 

I've got to go and get ready now.  I'll pop back in tonight when I get home.

 

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Dylanmatthew

Yes, I understand it's better to reinstate it at a low dose. I've been educating myself a lot today. Distilled water isn't required for the dilution right? I used sink water. Just double checking. 

 

Im practicing living in the now. The future is uncertain and terrifying. I will just enjoy the now. And I need to get over my fear of the future. I feel slightly, slightly relieved of that flu like symptom. I just gotta ride the waves. 

 

Im so jealous. It has been 30F, cloudy and gets dark early. I think I have SAD and it triggered my WD. Who knows. 

That sounds like a great time, enjoy it for both of us. I miss the sun. I miss going out. 

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Gridley

Dm,

 

Just to clarify: I would not substitute another drug to replace your current drug.

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ChessieCat
10 minutes ago, Dylanmatthew said:

That sounds like a great time, enjoy it for both of us.

 

I rarely go out.  Other than my volunteering week which I do so I can get government benefits because I can't get paid work, I don't go out very often.

 

13 minutes ago, Dylanmatthew said:

I've been educating myself a lot today.

 

This is good because it helps you to understand what is happening.

 

13 minutes ago, Dylanmatthew said:

Distilled water isn't required for the dilution right? I used sink water.

 

Tap water is okay, but distilled would be the best, and second best would be bottled water.  But don't worry about your current solution.  Try to get some distilled water to use when you make your next batch in a few days time.

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Dylanmatthew

I will not substitute the drug, Gridley. I have a question though. Why do doctors say another similar drug will rid me of my withdrawals? 

 

Im going to bed now. I made a new Lexapro solution with bottle water. Do I have to take it again at 11am like I did today? I kinda want to take it earlier. 

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ChessieCat

Well done, you got through today!  That is a great achievement.  And I'm not being sarcastic.  I sincerely mean it.

 

You can move it earlier by 1 hour each day until it is at the time you want to take it.  So in the morning take it at 10 am.  The day after 9 am etc.

 

BTW the movie, I Claude Monet, was very good and my daughter and I really enjoyed seeing it.

 

Please let us know how you slept and how you are feeling in the morning.  I will be at work tomorrow (Monday in Australia) so I might not be able to respond (the computers/server are very slow) but I do sometimes get a chance to read some posts if I'm not too busy.

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jozeff

Dylan,

 

You are very active right now and looking for answers here. That's a good thing because it is your body and it is your struggle. You deserve some good advice.

 

Let me tell you a few things.

 

Being a chemist for 17 years let me tell you that:

- tap water is just fine

- the cloudy, milky appearance of your dissolved pill solution is caused by filling substances, stabilizers and pigments that do not dissolve well. These are necessary to create a pill with a certain appearance and size. This is perfectly normal! Just swirl the solution a bit before sucking it in the syringe.

 

 

As a 42 y old male and ad user for 20 years let me tell you that:

 

Your despair is perfectly normal. You are looking for answers now and 1 hour feels like a day when you feel this bad. I have been in big misery myself and you just want to take action to feel better no matter what.

 

The doctors tend to send you home with a prescription, at least that is my experience. You go to them in a crisis situation and they have 10 or 15 minutes to "help" you. I think they use a prescription as a sort of disclaimer. It a patient does something terrible they can at least tell everybody that they helped you by giving a prescription. Believe me, I've been to several doctors in great anxiety and despair and I always walked out the door with a higher dose of my current med or a completely new one. Or some benzos to complete the package......

 

They are not trained well to help you in the long term.....how you ever will get off this stuff etc.

 

Do basically they have 15 minutes to help you! What people here in your topic wrote took several hours already and these people have a lot of experience.

 

My doctor said never to believe the Internet because it is completely uncontrollable. That may be true for a great part but it depends where you look.

 

The best thing you can do right now I think is the accept and float technique some people mentioned here. Just accept that you are having these symptoms and try not to hard to fight them because that might things worse.

 

Please do not start taking other antidepressants! This might be tempting because you want to do something. 

 

I wish you good luck and stay strong.

 

Don't believe your brain! You are not going to die or become crazy. This is your brain fooling you.

 

Take it day by day or hour by hour! This is much more manageable then thinking about next week!!

 

 

Cheers!

 

Jozeff

 

 

Edited by ChessieCat
added then removed mod note about water

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Dylanmatthew

Good morning. I slept decently. It's a nice escape. Yesterday I told a friend what I am going through and he said "You would've felt the WD days or weeks after, not 2 months, you're either just really depressed or have something wrong with you physically". I really hate how not many in my life understand what I am going through. 

 

Thank you, Cherrie for saying I did well getting through the day. I feel I've been in WD for roughly 3 weeks or so. I have 1 vacation day left...Going to work feeling like this is going to be rough. 

And I will take the Lexapro at 10am.

 

Glad you enjoyed yourself. 

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Dylanmatthew

Also my fitbit told me I got 6.5 hours of sleep but I got 4 minutes of deep sleep. Never in my life have I seen it that low.

 

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eymen23
2 minutes ago, Dylanmatthew said:

Also my fitbit told me I got 6.5 hours of sleep but I got 4 minutes of deep sleep. Never in my life have I seen it that low.

 

 

Hi Dylan,

 

Sorry you are going through so much uncertainty and suffering at the moment. You mentioned in the post before that you slept decently. Try not to worry about what the Fitbit is telling you, especially if you subjectively felt that you slept decently last night. 

 

Hope things improve soon!

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Dylanmatthew

Thank you, eymen. Where do I find info on delayed WD? I'm 99% sure that's what I'm going through. 

 

 

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eymen23
1 minute ago, Dylanmatthew said:

Thank you, eymen. Where do I find info on delayed WD? I'm 99% sure that's what I'm going through. 

 

 

 Hi Dylan,

 

Unfortunately, I don’t have that information or knowledge as I’m not a moderator and I’m yet to stop Escitalopram myself. I just know from my own experience that assessing every mood and sleep disturbance tends to create even more stress and doubt, which becomes a vicious cycle.

 

I know right now the idea of having a happy or fun day seems laughable, but perhaps try and watch you favourite tv show or call a funny friend. When I’m going through intense negative emotions I competely switch off to the idea of enjoying myself, but these little things can be surprisingly pleasant distractions, although not a cure. 

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Dylanmatthew

Appreciate the advice. How long were you on Lexapro? 5 years for me. I quit from an misinformed fast taper. 2 months after and my life is falling apart from WD. I'm trying to reinstate a small dose to feel human again. 

 

Im so depressed. I don't know how I will go to work tomorrow. I'm out of vacation 

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Gridley
32 minutes ago, Dylanmatthew said:

Thank you, eymen. Where do I find info on delayed WD? I'm 99% sure that's what I'm going through. 

 

 

 

Delayed onset of withdrawal symptoms

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Leo1983

Hi.

 

Dylan work is a good place to be in WD. It keeps you distracted and is good for the long run to keep your routines.

 

However at first you may need some time off to look after yourself. It may be that you need some time off until you feel better. 

 

Once you feel abit better and accept your symptoms and duration my advice would be to go to work. Maybe speak to your boss if approachable. 

 

Cheers 

 

 

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Dylanmatthew

I've been home the past 2 weeks using all my vacation because I didn't know what was happening to me. I was feeling a funny feeling in my head. My body seemed off. I would get anxiety attacks at work and on the highway. Those were terrifying. I didn't know what was wrong. I thought the depression and anxiety just got worse because winter hit. I didn't know if there was something physically wrong with me or not. Took me that 2 weeks to research and finally came to the conclusion I'm probably WDing. This has made a lot of sense and somewhat made me feel better. I'm trying not to think about the future but it's hard. 

 

Going back to work, even going outside just seems insanely difficult. My family lives across the street and I went there last night to watch a movie and a panic attack set in. I feel so depressed. I want to cry but the tears won't come. I'm surprised I'm not suicidal. 

 

Also thank you again Gridley for the info 

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Leo1983

What you describe is what i described in my thread in early WD. 

 

So either its common or me and you are 2 very similar people. 

 

I would go with its common in early wd. Its the anxiety making you want to stay safe in the house. You have to tell it no at the minute. 

 

It does get easier and better.

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Dylanmatthew

 I just took my 2nd 0.5mg Lexapro. I'm reinstating. I feel I have to. I need these WD symptoms to go away. Did you also have flu like fatigue and feelings of unwellness? 

Telling my anxiety no is so hard 

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