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mimi: Cipralex tapering

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I'm 45 years old female.


I've been on SSRI drugs from 1997 because of anxiety. At work my hands would start to shake, my mind would stop functioning and I would not be able to work. So I ended in the psychiatrist office and was put on drugs. I felt deeply ashamed of myself for being like this and kept it hidden from everybody. The feelings of shame, unworthiness and fear were my everyday companions after a very traumatic childhood.


In 2018 I started reading about the SSRI drugs (Kelly Brogan's book: A Mind of Your Own) and decided to slowly stop taking the drugs that have been destroying my brain for 21 years.


In the beginning (March 2018) it was fairly easy, but in December 2018 some very unpleasant symptoms started to surface: strong anxiety in the mornings, painful nervous feelings in my legs and arms, irritability, nervousness, anger, lack of energy...I went back from 2.5 mg of Cipralex every other day to 2.5 mg every day. Back then I thought it was ok to alternate doses every other day.


I also started to take better care of myself by:


- eating an anti-inflammatory diet (dr. Gundry's diet - no sugar, no grains, no lectins),


- taking supplements: fish oil, cod liver oil, magnesium, D and K vitamins,


- exercising or going on long walks with my lovely husband every day after work,


- carefully avoiding stressful situations and stressful people, 


- postponing all important decisions,


- making sure that I sleep and rest enough,


- taking it one day at a time and being grateful in the evening that I managed to finish my work day,


- making recovery my top priority.


I'm very grateful to all the people that share their knowledge and help each other on this website. I've learned a lot from you and will continue my tapering using the 10% method (when I feel ready). I'm not stable enough right now. I don't mind waiting, I'll give myself as much time as I need. Even if it takes years to come to 0 mg. I want to be patient and kind to myself.


Thank you. Please forgive any mistakes; English is not my native language. Love, peace and good health to everybody 💛





Edited by ChessieCat
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H Mimi and welcome to SA,


It's good that you now have the information about tapering and also not to skip days.  I will give you some information, which you might already have seen, but that way we will know that you have it, and it will be in your Introduction topic for easy reference.


SA recommends tapering by no more than 10% of the current dose followed by a hold of about 4 weeks to allow the brain to adapt to not getting as much of the drug.  Why taper by 10% of my dosage?


When the drug is taken away too quickly we can get withdrawal symptoms:  Dr Joseph Glenmullen's Withdrawal Symptoms


It's important to listen to your body.  When you think that you have stabilised you might want to consider make your firest reduction <10% to test to make sure that you are okay to taper.  It's better to hold for longer than to risk reducing too soon.


This topic has links to Tips for Tapering various drugs and explains how to get the dose you need:  Important topics in the Tapering forum and FAQ


Thank you for completing your drug signature.  Please remember to update it whenever you make a change.  Account Settings – Create or Edit a signature


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

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Here's some additional information which might help you to understand what is happening:


Recovery isn't linear it happens in a Windows and Waves Pattern


Withdrawal Normal Description

When we take a psychiatric drug, we are adding chemical/s to the brain.  The brain then has to change to adapt to getting the chemical/s.  It might have to change something to do with A and then once that change has been made it affects B so another change has to be made and so on down the line.  It is a chain reaction, a domino effect.


The same thing happens when we take the drug away.  That's why it's possible to experience such a vast array of withdrawal symptoms, and they can change, and be of different intensity.




These explain it really well:


Video:  Healing From Antidepressants - Patterns of Recovery


On 8/31/2011 at 5:28 AM, Rhiannon said:

When we stop taking the drug, we have a brain that has designed itself so that it works in the presence of the drug; now it can't work properly without the drug because it's designed itself so that the drug is part of its chemistry and structure. It's like a plant that has grown on a trellis; you can't just yank out the trellis and expect the plant to be okay. When the drug is removed, the remodeling process has to take place in reverse. SO--it's not a matter of just getting the drug out of your system and moving on. If it were that simple, none of us would be here. It's a matter of, as I describe it, having to grow a new brain. I believe this growing-a-new-brain happens throughout the taper process if the taper is slow enough. (If it's too fast, then there's not a lot of time for actually rebalancing things, and basically the brain is just pedaling fast trying to keep us alive.) It also continues to happen, probably for longer than the symptoms actually last, throughout the time of recovery after we are completely off the drug, which is why recovery takes so long.




On 12/4/2015 at 2:41 AM, apace41 said:

Basically- you have a building where the MAJOR steel structures are trying to be rebuilt at different times - ALL while people are coming and going in the building and attempting to work.

It would be like if the World Trade Center Towers hadn't completely fallen - but had crumbled inside in different places.. Imagine if you were trying to rebuild the tower - WHILE people were coming and going and trying to work in the building!  You'd have to set up a temporary elevator - but when you needed to fix part of that area, you'd have to tear down that elevator and set up a temporary elevator somewhere else. And so on. You'd have to build, work around, then tear down, then build again, then work around, then build... ALL while people are coming and going, ALL while the furniture is being replaced, ALL while the walls are getting repainted... ALL while life is going on INSIDE the building. No doubt it would be chaotic. That is EXACTLY what is happening with windows and waves.  The windows are where the body has "got it right" for a day or so - but then the building shifts and the brain works on something else - and it's chaos again while another temporary pathway is set up to reroute function until repairs are made.  


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During any taper, there will be times of discomfort.  We strongly encourage members to learn and use non drug coping techniques to help get through tough times.


Understanding what is happening helps us to not get caught up with the second fear, or fear of the fear.  This happens when we experience sensations in our body and because we don't understand them we are scared of them and then start to panic.


This document has a diagram of the body explaining what happens in the body when we become anxious:





Audio FEMALE VOICE:  First Aid for Panic (4 minutes)


Audio MALE VOICE:  First Aid for Panic (4 minutes)


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


Audio:  How to Recover from Anxiety - Dr Claire Weekes


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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Dear ChessieCat,

Thank you from all my heart for all the information and help. It's really wonderful to find someone who understands. I'm sorry you had to go through this painful experience too. I hope something good will come out of it for all of us.

It's still very difficult for me, especially the anxiety in the mornings. I'm not even thinking about lowering the dose for now. I want to keep my job so I'll go very slow.

Thank you for the Acknowledge, Accept, Float technique. I've read the Barry McDonagh book "Dare - The new way to end anxiety and stop panic attacks". It was also very helpful to teach me to embrace my anxiety and let it pass. I find that accepting and floating with it takes away half the pain and makes it bearable. It's the best way out.

I hope you are feeling good, I wish you a peaceful recovery and many many happy days to come.

Thank you for the meaningful selfless work you are doing for all of us.


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Hi mimi,


You are very welcome and I'm pleased that the information is helpful.


It's good that you have learned and are using non drug techniques to cope with the anxiety.  Through things I've learned here I've managed to stop my anxiety from progressing to a full blow panic attack on a few occasions.  Understanding what is happening in the body and learning to recognise the symptoms so you can catch it before it gets too far and very important.


Please continue to post and let us know how your are going, not just for your own benefit, but for the benefit of others.  Thank you.


On 5/15/2011 at 5:22 AM, Altostrata said:



Surviving Antidepressants is a site for peer support, documentation, and education of withdrawal symptoms and withdrawal syndrome caused by psychiatric drugs, specifically antidepressants.

The participants on this site have all experienced or are experiencing difficulty in withdrawal from psychiatric medications. We offer peer support to those who are similarly suffering, drawing from our personal experiences.

(No posting on this site should be construed as medical advice. For medical advice, consult a trusted medical caregiver.)

The personal stories on this site are documentation of an iatrogenic condition -- suffering caused by medical treatment -- that is almost always ignored, misdiagnosed, or denied by the medical establishment. Given the widespread prescription of antidepressants to tens of millions of people worldwide, withdrawal syndrome probably affects hundreds of thousands if not millions -- including newborns and children.

Antidepressant withdrawal syndrome can last weeks, months, or years. It can be distressing, debilitating, or even disabling. It may be adding to an increase in what is termed disabling mental illness.

With our documentation of antidepressant withdrawal syndrome, we hope to educate the medical establishment about this problem. Case studies are essential; they are evidence understood by doctors, the psychiatric industry, and government regulatory agencies.

Our hope is, eventually, antidepressants and other psychiatric drugs will be prescribed rarely, and only in cases of extremely severe mental illness after less invasive treatments have been tried.

Please join Surviving Antidepressants in its mission to support, document, and educate about psychiatric drug withdrawal syndrome.


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Hello mimi and we're glad you found this community!  It has been so helpful here to me, and I hope it helps you, too.

I'm so impressed by the self-care you're showing!  The food, walks, and resting... wow, that's all the right approach.

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Hi WiggleIt,

Thank you. I'm so happy that your joy is back 😊 and I'm sorry your path back to health was so difficult. The stories and experiences shared give me hope and courage. It's amazing how much information can be found on this site. I've learned a lot and found all the answers I needed. Thanks again.


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Hi ChessieCat,

Thank you. I will continue to post and I really hope that the use of psychiatric drugs will become a rare exception or even unnecessary.

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Hi Mimi,


I just wanted to welcome you to SA too. Your self care plan is spot on! Well done!💚

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Thank you very much Carmie. I hope you are doing well these days and that full recovery is coming soon.🧡


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