Jump to content
Erikka

Erikka: Lexapro withdrawal and brain issues

Recommended Posts

Erikka

Hey Everyone I am knew to this group and trying to find some understanding in what is going on with me. I recently went off Lexapro 3 months ago (was on for 6 years) I started getting very random heart flutters when I started it and that’s the main reason I went off of it. Now im

 experiencing weird brain crap and not just zaps. It seems to happen at night when im

trying to fall asleep. It wakes me up and scares me it scares me. Some are brain zaps, some are like fireworks, some are weird sensations or noises- I feel like im

loosing my mind. Any help or experience would be greatly appreciated. 

Share this post


Link to post
ChessieCat

Hi Erikka and welcome to SA,

 

I'm assuming that you stopped your drug abruptly (cold turkey) without tapering.  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

 

The only known way to reduce withdrawal symptoms is to take the same drug that the brain has adapted to.  Please DO NOT go back on the last dose you were taking (eg we may suggest a tiny dose of 0.5mg or 1mg).  Your brain will made some adaptions during the 3 months you have been off and taking too much can make things a lot worse.  Please read Post #1 of this topic:   About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms

 

If you decide that you would like to try to reinstate a small amount of Lexapro, we can be able to suggest a dose for you to try.  These drugs are strong and it is better to start with a small dose and increase if needed than to risk taking too much.  The idea of reinstating isn't to get rid of withdrawal symptoms completely but to bring them to a bearable level.  You will need to stay as calm and patient as possible and try not to panic.  When we panic we can make bad decisions.  Some members have panicked and increased too much and/or increased too soon and made things much worse.

 

Please keep daily symptom notes on paper so you can see the effect that reinstatement is having on your symptoms.  It is also helpful to provide us with those notes so we can assess whether you might need to take a tiny bit more.

 

This topic explains how to get the dose you need:  Tips for tapering off Lexapro (escitalopram)

 

Tapering Calculator - Online

 

 

Once you have created your drug signature, please post letting us know.  This means that we won't have to keep checking in to see if you have done it.

 

 

Please create your drug signature using the following format.   Keep it simple.  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

 

 

I will provide some more information in the next couple of posts.  This is your own introductions topic where your can ask questions about your own situation and journal your progress.

Share this post


Link to post
ChessieCat

Here's some additional information which you might find helpful:

 

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.

 

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

 

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.

 

AND

 

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.  

 

Share this post


Link to post
ChessieCat

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:

 

https://www.getselfhelp.co.uk/docs/AnxietySelfHelp.pdf

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 
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.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Carmie

Hi Erikka, 

Welcome to SA from me too. Did you get a chance to read any of the links that ChessieCat gave you? Could you please put in your drug signature, just press on the link above. That way we can see your drug history. 

 

Did you stop your medication cold turkey or did you taper? How are you doing now? 

 

Sending hugs🤗

Share this post


Link to post
Erikka

Protracted Lexapro Withdrawal

 

Hello Everyone I’m knew to this group and have been off The generic form of Lexapro for almost 7 months. I was on it for 6 years starting with 20mg and down to 5mg. I went off in November after talking with my doctor as the last month I had been taking 5mg every other day and he said I was basically taking nothing. I went off due to weight gain and random heart palpitations. First 2 months weren’t that bad  I had horrible palpitations but then horrible sleep cycles began I had one night I kid you not it felt like my right side of my body got zapped by lightning and I shot out of bed in panic. Another night I awoke to my throat swallowing on its own like involuntary swallowing and that still comes and goes- mainly when I’m almost to sleep. I have had constant mood ups and downs and developed dry eyes and now floaters. Kept going back to my doctor with no help cause he said it should be out of my system. I also did a gene test that said my body metabolizes Lexapro fast so only a high dose would work for me. Don’t get me wrong I’ve had some ok days and I LIVE for those that’s why I keep pushing. Almost a month ago my anxiety was getting the best of me I felt like a hypochondriac cause I had all these sensations of muscle spasms and right calves and snap crackle pop noises in my head and I said f it and wanted to just go back on so with the ok from my doctor as we have a family trip

coming  up at end of June and I don’t want to be miserable. So I took a 10mg pill. Well let me tell you that was a **** show that has been these last 4 weeks I developed muscle spasms/ twerks/ tremors and now my hands shake and I’ve had this ungodly forehead pressure. The spasms are getting a bit better at night. And the involuntary swallowing has come back full force.  My pink and ring finger and my left hand are numb and shake a move terribly. My right thumb moves when I’m using it. I’m just hoping and praying I don’t have this permanently or develop Parkinsons. My tongue has on and off numbness and burning.  I take 4 fish oil a day and take a good multivitamin for My MTHFR gene that I have. Any help or insight would be nice thank you. 

 

Edited by ChessieCat
reduced font/added topic title

Share this post


Link to post
ChessieCat
On 3/4/2019 at 6:00 PM, Carmie said:

Could you please put in your drug signature, just press on the link above. That way we can see your drug history. 

 

On 2/22/2019 at 8:26 AM, ChessieCat said:

Please create your drug signature using the following format.   Keep it simple.  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

 

Share this post


Link to post
ChessieCat

2 intro topics merged

Share this post


Link to post
Erikka

I created the drug signature 

Share this post


Link to post
Altostrata

Welcome, Erikka.

 

It sounds like you had acute withdrawal symptoms from Lexapro. Very often, these make people's nervous system hypersensitive to psychoactive drugs and sometimes supplements and foods. When you took 10mg Lexapro, that was too much for your sensitized nervous system. You had an extreme adverse reaction to it.

 

You've seen some improvement in the last couple of weeks, is that correct?

 

Have you seen any doctors for your current symptoms?

Share this post


Link to post
Erikka

Hi! Alostrata- thank you 😊 

 

That makes sense that you say that- I just was so stricken by it cause it took 2 weeks after I took that pill for it to kick in. Some of the symptoms have decreased- I’ve talked to my doctor and he thinks it’s all anxiety related. I’m just hoping my body can get back on track and in time heal and that this is not permanent. And with my lower neck injury it’s hard for me to tell what’s causing my head issues if it’s that or the withdrawal or probably a combination of both. It’s just so scary 😢.

Share this post


Link to post

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...