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BigPharmStinks: Lexapro withdrawal

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BigPharmaStinks

Diagnosis: Pure-O OCD, mid-moderate ADD (in freshman year of university)

 

Initially was prescribed clomipramine 50mg for 8 weeks but suffered withdrawal for 2 weeks. I never wanted to be on medication ever again but my doctor told me that Escitalopram would help me with withdrawal and told me that I would suffer nausea and/or diarrhea for a few weeks. I suffered tremendously for the 2 years I was on Escitalopram, with akathasis, worsening memory, numbing, complete loss of libido and empathy (I used to be a very social and loving human), aggression, etc. These symptoms were always attributed to my pure o-ocd, and my Escitalopram dosage was always increased (up to a dosage of 40 mg). It was finally after doing my own research that I realized that I was suffering many months of SSRI-induced changes in my brain. I do know that these are not common, but I was never warned, and my life has been absolutely destroyed. I almost attempted to kill myself on several occasions but thankfully by wonderful girlfriend stopped me, and later found out herself how damaging these medications were to me. My doctor also prescribed me Clonazepam for 7 months straight (I had to write my MCAT while withdrawing from Clonazepam, which ruined my memory, cognition even more, and induced progressively more anxiety due to tolerance); variable doses of Vyvanse, Escitalopram up to 40mg, and Wellbutrin (which I said no to, as I realized that I will not live a life constantly on drugs that just damage everything I worked hard to achieve). 

 

I discontinued Vortioxetine 5 mg (which I was on for 6 weeks from middle of Oct. to Dec. 7, 2018). Near the end of October, my 10mg of Escitalopram (reinstatement from 2mg to 5mg to 10mg from August - October, 2018) was decreased by another doctor to 0mg which I immediately had a very severe withdrawal reaction so I reinstated back to 2mg and over the course of 2 weeks tapered to 1mg. I never managed to stabilize again, and since discontinuing Vortioxetine, I have suffered the following symptoms (after the first 3 weeks of typical acute withdrawal syndrome):

 

1. Constantly: severe brain fog (before mads had near-photographic memory, 4.0 GPA student, top of the class, very creative in the research lab etc.), emotionally numb, lethargic (former highly competitive athlete), blank mind 24/7, lack of personality, and weird somatic obsessions. Thankfully, no sleep problems at all (I am very exhausted and so sleep longer than I normally would).

 

2. During waves: squeezing head feeling, burning and itching over body, and even worse fog.

 

I have been now only on 1mg escitalopram for the past 78 days, and for the past 6 months have been taking 12 capsules of HardyNutritionals DENs a day, which have helped completely eliminate anxiety. My question is, for people that are relatively young (21 years of age), could the severe cognitive impairment and brain fog alleviate in the next few months? When do I decide to start tapering off 1mg?

 

I should mention also that I have been taking 3000mg of fish oil every day for the past 7 months, meditating, and I do exercise mildly for at least 20-30 min a day. I used to be able to run marathons but now if I try to do intensive aerobic exercise, the symptoms of skin burning and itching, squeezing head feeling and facial muscle tension, etc. all intensify so I stopped trying until I stabilize.

 

I should mention that I am supposed to graduate from a top ranked university in the world this year and am supposed to go to a top 5 medical school (8 year MD-PhD Program) in the United States. Unfortunately, due to the severe brain fog and other symptoms I cannot even process information properly and have zero thoughts, so will have to very likely take a leave of absence and defer medical school for 1 year (to finish all my university courses). Ever since going up from 20mg of escitalopram to 30 and then 40mg back in December 2017, I've been slower cognitively and progressively more emotionally numb and anxious. During my taper beginning in early May 2018, I went down to 15mg and started feeling better (memory and creativity very slowly returning), but then rushed the last 15mg in a matter of 2 weeks and suffered severe dizziness, brain fog, mood swings, etc. for 5 weeks before reinstating to 2mg like mentioned above. The whole reason I tapered off rapidly and then tried vortioxetine was because I was interviewing at the most competitive medical schools in the world and desperately needed even 20% of my brain back. Unfortunately, now I realize vortioxetine just destabilized my CNS even more, and I should have just slowly tapered off the 10mg (post-reinstatement). 

 

Believe me, as soon as I enter medical school and throughout downstream residency and fellowship training, I will do my absolute best to change the curriculum in psychiatry even though I am interested in pediatric neurosurgery. I will raise awareness in the community and change psychiatry, neurology and all other practices that prescribe toxic psychoactive medications for good! Further, I will definitely allocate a good chunk of my research on the epigenetic and structural changes induced by SSRIs coupled with genetic sequencing in order to predict why certain individuals undergo protracted withdrawal syndrome while others can cold turkey with relative ease. I have done countless literature research and agree that we know very little about the non-SERT targets of these medications and their downstream epigenetic and metabolic effects in the brain and throughout the body. Once in medical school, I am willing to educate professors and my attendings about proper 10% tapering method, and also the dangers of these medications. I should mention that until this mess of withdrawal occured I was very actively involved in cutting-edge cancer and molecular genetics research, and published manuscripts, so I am very aware of how little we know about the precise molecular mechanisms of all these neurological and psychiatric diseases. I do also know that these drugs are all useless after several months because receptors and downstream signaling pathways adapt, hence why these meds all end up causing more harm than good in the long run.

 

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Altostrata

Welcome, BPS.

 

I am very sorry you were prescribed Lexapro while you were having adverse reactions to it. You're experienced firsthand how little doctors understand about adverse reactions to psychiatric drugs.

 

Sleep is healing. It's good you're able to sleep.

 

On 2/24/2019 at 10:08 PM, BigPharmaStinks said:

Near the end of October, my 10mg of Escitalopram (reinstatement from 2mg to 5mg to 10mg from August - October, 2018) was decreased by another doctor to 0mg which I immediately had a very severe withdrawal reaction so I reinstated back to 2mg and over the course of 2 weeks tapered to 1mg. I never managed to stabilize again....

 

How did you feel on 10mg escilatopram? 5mg? 2mg? Why did you reduce to 1mg?

 

What time of day do you take 1mg escilatopram? What are your symptoms before and after?

 

What are the ingredients of HardyNutritionals DENs?

 

Very much appreciate your interest in informing medicine about withdrawal syndrome and adverse reactions. We need to get you back in school as soon as we can!

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BigPharmaStinks

Thank you for your help, appreciate it enormously! In April 2018, I realized that before drugs I was functioning at the highest levels despite constant anxiety-inducing intrusive thoughts (from pure-o ocd), and decided to taper. My psychiatrist thankfully is very kind and open-minded about individualized withdrawal, so we started off tapering slowly. From 40mg to 15mg I still had all the adverse effects from 16 month use of escitalopram (emotional numbing, loss of libido, unusual somatic obsessions that don't fit with my initial pure o-ocd, brain fog, etc.), but then after 2 weeks on 15mg I began to stabilize a bit and fog started clearing very slowly and libido started returning. The taper started end of April 2018 and I reached 15mg in June. I then dropped to 10mg and after a few days felt unusual head squeezing and worsened brain fog, depersonalization, etc. Worrying tremendously because I had MD-PhD interviews starting in September, I thought I need to be off this poison and rushed from 10mg to 0mg in a matter of 1 week (huge mistake) because I was told that most patients have only 3 weeks of withdrawal after dropping from 10mg (I was skeptical but nevertheless trusted medicine).

 

 

During the 5 weeks I remained off escitalopram, I was so dizzy and lightheaded that I would come close to fainting if I walked anywhere. And worst of all (because interviews and my 4th year of university were fast approaching) I had horrible brain fog and cognitive impairment. My physician and I realized that I was not one of the lucky patients that don’t have too many troubles coming off, and so we reinstated me at 1mg. Dizziness was better within a few hours, and after 1 week the dizziness improved more. However, the severe brain fog persisted at the same level so we went up to 2mg and after 1 week on that dose still no changes to brain fog. After 2 weeks on 5mg, the brain fog (and all other symptoms) persisted, but dizziness and light-headedness improved. This brought me to September when my final year of university started and so I was desperate to even have 5% cognitive return to function in school, so we upped to 10mg. First 5 weeks on 10mg, I was still very cognitively impaired, depersonalized, weird somatic obsessions about visual field (which I know is because of the inability to access any thoughts due to 24/7 blank mind). The only positive sign was an alleviation of dizziness and light-headedness so I could go back to the gym and attend class, which I still had tremendous difficulty following (someone who before meds was writing Nature manuscripts and getting close to 100% in most of his courses). After 6 weeks, my memory improved maybe 5% and I felt slightly better cognitively, but not even close enough to complete assignments and write my tests. With interviews for my dream medical school MD-PhD programs approaching, I was in desperate need for a slight return of my cognition (the 10+ other physiological symptoms were not the main concern as I knew those would not affect my interview performance), I saw one of the most cited psychiatrists in the world, and he told me to stop Escitalopram 10mg and switch to 20mg Vortioxetine. Of course, I was already aware of the dangers of these abrupt changes and my previous experience trying to come off Lexapro, so I started off with 5mg Vortioxetine and over the course of 4 weeks dropped from 10 to 2mg of Escitalopram (due to a lot of interactions between Escitalopram, Vortioxetine and the Hardy DENs). The Vortioxetine 5mg side effects (dizziness, nausea, etc.) just got worse and the interactions with Hardy DENs increased progressively. I thus tapered off from 5mg Vortioxetine to 4mg and then to 3mg over the course of 2 weeks but started shivering and shaking every time I took a pill, so decided I need to stop this drug before it makes any more changes to my brain. I simultaneously decreased from 2mg Escitalopram to 1mg because I hated the notion of being drugged (with brain fog, weird somatic obsessions, DP, etc. just worsening).

 

I have been off Vortioxetine for 80 days and on 1mg Escitalopram for 87 days (which I take around the same time each morning to keep consistency in blood levels). I know I made a mistake trying Vortioxetine and very rapidly tapering Escitalopram (I forgot to consult SA and instead read patient reviews on Drugs.com due to my desperation), but I told myself I rather suffer withdrawal for several months knowing I’m off these toxins and take a leave of absence from school rather than allow them to make more changes to my brain.

 

Reading all the stories on SA, I realized I should stay on 1mg Escitalopram until I stabilize. I am still fighting to stay in school -- although I can hardly attend class -- because my fiancée (also a future MD-PhD physician-scientist) is helping me with all my work. While I have deferred all my tests and exams (because my brain is at 1% function), I still don’t know when I will be healthy enough cognitively to write them, but have to decide by March 17 whether I will drop my courses for the semester without any academic penalty, and redo my courses next year. This would mean deferring medical school for 2020 (I am supposed to matriculate to MD-PhD program in July 2019).

 

My worst symptoms started 3 weeks off Trintellix (which is when most of the drug has left) and included: constant skin burning and itching, severe cognitive impairment, depersonalization, squeezing head feeling accompanied by facial muscle tension when I try to think, mild dizziness when I turned my head, mild light-headedness, and blank mind 24/7.

 

Now I have the following: during waves, all the above symptoms but slightly more mild, and during the brief 1-2 day long windows, no skin itching and burning (paresthesia, perhaps), and all the other symptoms just slightly less severe. My eye floaters which started on Lexapro have begun to return on and off.

 

Since I’ve been off Vortioxetine and on a low dose of Escitalopram, my libido has fully returned (which I assume is a positive sign), but just recently I had 1 day of akathisia and severe irritation/anger.

 

What is very surprising though is that ever since I started HardyNutritionals DENs back in May 2018, my physical anxiety symptoms have been at a pre-drug state (close to non-existent). I know SA is skeptical of any supplements except for Mg2+ and omega-3 fish oils during withdrawal (due to the overly sensitive and abnormally wired CNS) but the success stories from Hardy’s page of reviews really convinced me.

 

Here is the product link: https://www.hardynutritionals.com/products/28-daily-essential-nutrients

 

When I began the DENs back in May they were stimulating for the first few days, but over time things stabilized and my withdrawal-induced anhedonia improved. I do speculate that the near absence of anxiety (most of the time) could be due to the substantial brain fog and emotional numbing, but when I stopped the DENs for 1 week back when I was on the reinstated 10mg Escitalopram, I felt much less motivation to even bother to study (and that was the best state I was in since April 2018).

 

My questions are:

1. While I have read what “WD normal” is, I am wondering whether for me stabilization on 1mg Escitalopram means absence of skin burning/itching, alleviated brain fog and squeezing head felling, etc., OR whether it signifies the same exact symptoms for a few weeks straight with no waves?

2. Do individuals my age with my reactions typically recover faster (I am really hoping for my brain fog to alleviate in the next month or so, as many symptoms including 24/7 somatic obsessions are linked to the cognitive impairment and constant blank mind/inability to access thoughts and memories)?

3. I would really love to allow my brain to develop a few more years off drugs (assuming most brain development is completed by approx. age 25, and I am currently 21 years old), so is it better to start tapering off the 1mg sooner than later?

 

 

I thank you profoundly for reviewing these long posts, and for helping the thousands of other protracted withdrawal sufferers out there. I promise to keep my posts much shorter in the future, now that you have a clearer picture. I don't see any option to add a medication Signature, could you please assist me with that?

 

Thanks to SA and the resources from physicians like Drs. Peter Breggin and David Healy, I have already helped 4 of my friends slowly taper off their medications (they were of course less sensitive than I was) and prevented 3 of my other friends from starting down the horrible psychiatric drug path. I have read multiple of Dr. Breggin’s books (when I was less impaired), as well as the many articles of Drs. David Healy, Kelly Brogan, etc. so I am aware of the dangers of these psychoactive medications.

 

As an aspiring neurosurgeon-scientist, I will do my best to improve our understanding of the brain, specifically in the context of neurodegenerative, neurodevelopmental and neuropsychiatric diseases, as well as oncological diseases, so that less people suffer years on end from harmful non-specific and non-evidence based medications (aka benzos, anti-psychotics, mood stabiliziers, SSRIs, etc.). In fact, as soon as I recover, I will start writing review articles about the dangers of these meds with the support of my physician. I would also love in the future to organize conferences about progress and next steps in this field with the help of those of you who are interested (I have organized national conferences before, and am passionate about raising awareness and furthering research about serious issues like these).

 

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BigPharmaStinks
20 minutes ago, BigPharmaStinks said:

 

I should also mention that I told both of my physicians (very kind, open-minded, and humble -- willing to learn from their patient) about SA, and they have definitely learned about the 10% taper method, and the critical importance of a very slow taper. They are also the only two psychiatrists that believe that my symptoms are due to withdrawal. Trying to convince two other giants in the field of psychiatry that my symptoms were due to withdrawal was mission impossible, which is very sad because those two (Drs. Roger Mcintyre and Sidney Kennedy) are the ones doing extensive research on mood disorders.

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Altostrata

As a neuroscientist, you may be interested in our working hypothesis that going on and off psychiatric drugs and having adverse effects to the drugs causes the nervous system to be hypersensitive to drugs and sometimes supplements and even foods. Withdrawal syndrome is generally an exacerbation of this destabilization into Dysautonomia (autonomic dysregulation).

 

As you observed, your switch to vortioxetine pushed your sensitized nervous system into full-on dysautonomia.

 

Based on the assumption of hypersensitivity, when we discuss reinstatement of a drug to alleviate withdrawal symptoms, we usually suggest very low doses, sometimes even less than 1mg. We do this to minimize the risk of kindling at higher doses.

 

In your case, I'm concerned that 1mg escilatopram is not enough, yet am cautious about suggesting an increase. While you were going off vortioxetine, it looks like you were on 2mg escilatopram, then reduced it to 1mg simultaneous with quitting vortioxetine. Could the side effects you attributed to 2mg escilatopram be due to quitting vortioxetine?

 

What we've seen is if there is a little improvement at a low dose, that often stabilizes the nervous system enough to put it on the path to re-adjustment back to normal. That readjustment can be very gradual and take a long time, however. Magnesium and fish oil can help, see reasoning in  

 

King of supplements: Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil)

Magnesium, nature's calcium channel blocker

 

I gather you've read up on waves and windows. Have you seen any changes in your symptom pattern over the last 87 days?

 

Even with brain fog, people often find they can achieve beyond their expectations. However, an environment that causes you to feel anxious is not going to help you stabilize. Can you take a partial course load?

 

I am underwhelmed by HardyNutritionals DEN, which is a weak but ordinary multi-vitamin. But if you like it, the only harm is to your bank account, unless the B vitamins are too stimulating. (Many of the testimonials probably are fictitious.)

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BigPharmaStinks

I have previously read your hypothesis about Dysautonomia and definitely believe it is plausible and needs to investigated mechanistically. During the first several weeks after coming off Vortioxetine, I suffered sveral symptoms that are definitely linked to autonomic system dysregulation (I used to know 10+ textbooks of knowledge about nervous system physiology, anatomy, histology and pathology, but it’s all inaccessible now from the cognitive impairment). The symptoms included frequent urination (20-30 times a day), exaggerated coldl-provoked vasoconstriction of blood vessels in my fingers, and severe dizziness & lightheadedness. 

 

Those symptoms have resolved with the exception of occasional days of lightheadedness. 

 

Regarding the Vortioxetine and Escitalopram, they absolutely interacted negatively and I rushed my taper of both once again. 

 

The severe brain fog, squeezing headaches and depersonalizaiton I would predict are due to abnormal neuronal branching and dysregulated expression of various neurotransmitter receptors and their downstream signalling molecules, while the skin burning/itching is due to temporary small nerve fiber neuropathy.

 

I do wonder how long it takes for the brain to rewire itself to my pre-drug state, I miss the old me so much I know what that looks because I can remember how I would fee about different situations, scenarios, etc. And the thinking power I had before meds.

 

The DENs I agree don’t have any spectacular ingredients, but I suspect that the NutraTek delivery system of a balanced level of minerals, helps my anxiety and definitely my pre-severe withdrawal concentration (which was never that good due to attention deficit disorder or whatever psychiatry likes to call these symptoms). I definitely have genetically-mediated pure o-ocd and it’s one of the unique brain disorders we actually have a postulated brain circuitry mechanism out there (the cortico-striato-thalamus pathway is dysregulated) and some patients on Hardy have benefited from an alleviation of anxiety associated with the obsessions. Of course I have seen world experts in CBT and have read many books and developed healthier habits (my former athlete rituals which I dismissed during freshman year of university due to wanting to achieve too many academic things at once).

 

Is there a good chance my cognition returns in the next couple of months while I remain on 1mg of Escitalopram?

 

Thank you!

 

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Altostrata
3 hours ago, BigPharmaStinks said:

The severe brain fog, squeezing headaches and depersonalizaiton I would predict are due to abnormal neuronal branching and dysregulated expression of various neurotransmitter receptors and their downstream signalling molecules, while the skin burning/itching is due to temporary small nerve fiber neuropathy.

 

I do wonder how long it takes for the brain to rewire itself to my pre-drug state....

 

Despite claims of their being "targeted," the effects of psychiatric drugs are global. They have downstream effects outside the nervous system. Not only do they affect receptors throughout the body (for example, serotonin receptors in the gut), the body's various systems adapt to the altered signalling from those receptors.

 

While you are taking the drug regularly, all your regulatory systems, hormonal systems, sympathetic, parasympathetic -- the entire adaptive mechanism -- accommodate to the effects of the drug, gradually achieving a pseudo-homeostasis based on continued drug intake.

 

When you go off the drug, the regulatory web must accommodate again. Usually, the speed of tapering exceeds your body's ability to adapt to the altered internal biochemistry. Chaos ensues. The autonomic nervous system seems to most prominently take the hit, but that might be because dysautonomic symptoms are most readily felt and identified.

 

Point being: Withdrawal effects are downstream of neurotransmitter receptors. Indeed, if you could upregulate downregulated neurons, as some have attempted (and failed) with other drugs, that probably would not alleviate withdrawal syndrome (but probably would change symptom pattern, since withdrawal syndrome is a condition of neurological adaptation).

 

Many of our members have pursued all kinds of neurological testing and came up with null results. Either neurological examination cannot visualize the disruption at the level it occurs, or the disruption is in the interactions among chemical messengers -- timing, intensity, even chemistry might be slightly off -- and cannot be captured by current methods.

 

You may be interested in Harvey, 2003 Neurobiology of antidepressant withdrawal: implications for the longitudinal outcome of depression. and other papers by Brian Harvey. He is available for correspondence.

 

I guess you could call the skin burning and itching "temporary small nerve fiber neuropathy." It's related to the withdrawal symptom called parathesia. It could be a hypersensitivity phenomenon (allodynia) or the accidental nerve cells firings of fibromyalgia, which also is considered to have an autonomic component.

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BigPharmaStinks

Thank you for the paper, as I was reading it, I realized that I had read it before (very foggy memory). I was wondering if I am seeing minor improvements the past 3 months, is there a good chance to be stabilized cognitively by May (I need to know my Principal Investigators when I can resume my research in the laboratory, which I have had to leave for the past 8 months).

 

Thank you in advance!

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BigPharmaStinks
On 2/27/2019 at 2:51 PM, Altostrata said:

 

Despite claims of their being "targeted," the effects of psychiatric drugs are global. They have downstream effects outside the nervous system. Not only do they affect receptors throughout the body (for example, serotonin receptors in the gut), the body's various systems adapt to the altered signalling from those receptors.

 

While you are taking the drug regularly, all your regulatory systems, hormonal systems, sympathetic, parasympathetic -- the entire adaptive mechanism -- accommodate to the effects of the drug, gradually achieving a pseudo-homeostasis based on continued drug intake.

 

When you go off the drug, the regulatory web must accommodate again. Usually, the speed of tapering exceeds your body's ability to adapt to the altered internal biochemistry. Chaos ensues. The autonomic nervous system seems to most prominently take the hit, but that might be because dysautonomic symptoms are most readily felt and identified.

 

Point being: Withdrawal effects are downstream of neurotransmitter receptors. Indeed, if you could upregulate downregulated neurons, as some have attempted (and failed) with other drugs, that probably would not alleviate withdrawal syndrome (but probably would change symptom pattern, since withdrawal syndrome is a condition of neurological adaptation).

 

Many of our members have pursued all kinds of neurological testing and came up with null results. Either neurological examination cannot visualize the disruption at the level it occurs, or the disruption is in the interactions among chemical messengers -- timing, intensity, even chemistry might be slightly off -- and cannot be captured by current methods.

 

You may be interested in Harvey, 2003 Neurobiology of antidepressant withdrawal: implications for the longitudinal outcome of depression. and other papers by Brian Harvey. He is available for correspondence.

 

I guess you could call the skin burning and itching "temporary small nerve fiber neuropathy." It's related to the withdrawal symptom called parathesia. It could be a hypersensitivity phenomenon (allodynia) or the accidental nerve cells firings of fibromyalgia, which also is considered to have an autonomic component.

Thank you for the paper, as I was reading it, I realized that I had read it before (very foggy memory). I was wondering if I am seeing minor improvements the past 3 months, is there a good chance to be stabilized cognitively by May (I need to know my Principal Investigators when I can resume my research in the laboratory, which I have had to leave for the past 8 months).

 

Thank you in advance!

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Altostrata

Minor improvements are the normal course of recovery from withdrawal. You may have enough capacity by May -- we tend to underestimate what we can do -- but be careful not to overreach.

 

You might very gently push healing along by challenging yourself just a bit. Are you getting at least one-half hour of mild exercise, such as walking, every day? Can you gradually extend this to longer periods? Stretching and deep breathing are good too, you want to increase circulation but not so strenuously that you increase cortisol production.

 

A diet with minimal additives and fresh food with lots of green leafies (folate) gives your body fuel to rebuild.

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BigPharmaStinks
On 3/2/2019 at 6:24 PM, Altostrata said:

Minor improvements are the normal course of recovery from withdrawal. You may have enough capacity by May -- we tend to underestimate what we can do -- but be careful not to overreach.

 

You might very gently push healing along by challenging yourself just a bit. Are you getting at least one-half hour of mild exercise, such as walking, every day? Can you gradually extend this to longer periods? Stretching and deep breathing are good too, you want to increase circulation but not so strenuously that you increase cortisol production.

 

A diet with minimal additives and fresh food with lots of green leafies (folate) gives your body fuel to rebuild.

Thank you for the prompt reply! I walk 40 min. each day and would like to start running again in the gym -- as someone who used to spend 4-6 hours a day in the gym and on the tennis court, I absolutely hate not being able to run due to the skin burning and itching sensation that ensues (especially during waves). 

 

I do mindfulness-based meditation every day, which always makes me fall asleep. As well, I drink leafy smoothies everyday, minimizing sugar intake, and trying to use my brain as much as possible to reform the lost (or new) synaptic connections.I saw on Quora that many people report their brain fog clearing away at 3 months, but I don't see how that will be me when I'm at 85 days off Vortioxetine (and 90 days from 2 to 1mg of Escitalopram), and am still experience major waves.

 

Do I start tapering off the 1mg when my brain fog clears away? By brain fog I don't mean just a little foggy or slow, I mean depersonalization (I know who I used to be, and that personality is completely nullified), memory loss of most things I learned in school, difficulty finding words in conversations, very slowed thinking, and constant blank mind throughout the day (prior to medications, had constant racing creative and innovative thoughts, and a hunger to learn as much as possible). 

 

Research must absolutely be done to elucidate the mechanism of these medications and protracted withdrawal. I don't know a single person, including myself, that did not regret taking psychoactive medications (at the end of the day, they all induce brain fog, and all lead to sexual dysfunction, memory loss, and many other problems). Neurogenesis does not signify a positive SSRI-induced change, it can simply be a response to the damage done by SSRIs. I have been accepted to world-renowned research institutes and medical schools, so as soon as I recover I will make sure to investigate all of this.

 

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Increasing your time walking may help you along far more than running, particularly since you have found running increases your symptoms. Or, you might want to ttry stationary or actual biking.

 

We can't make any predictions about how long it will take for your symptoms to dissipate. If you can, I suggest you move back into your academic work gradually to minimize the anxiety you might feel about peak performance right off.

 

You'll want to taper 1mg escilatopram when you feel your nervous system is stable.

 

To help us out, follow these instructions Please put your drug and withdrawal history in your signature

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BigPharmaStinks

Am I taking too much Mg2+? 500mg comes from the 9 capsules a day of Hardy DENs, and additionally I take 1 capsule of 200mg magnesium bisglycinate daily.

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On 3/4/2019 at 1:07 AM, Altostrata said:

Increasing your time walking may help you along far more than running, particularly since you have found running increases your symptoms. Or, you might want to ttry stationary or actual biking.

 

We can't make any predictions about how long it will take for your symptoms to dissipate. If you can, I suggest you move back into your academic work gradually to minimize the anxiety you might feel about peak performance right off.

 

You'll want to taper 1mg escilatopram when you feel your nervous system is stable.

 

To help us out, follow these instructions Please put your drug and withdrawal history in your signature

Am I taking too much Mg2+? 500mg comes from the 9 capsules a day of Hardy DENs, and additionally I take 1 capsule of 200mg magnesium bisglycinate daily.

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Altostrata

Magnesium works best taken in small amounts throughout the day. If you take those 9 capsules at once, that's too much at one time. If you space them out, that's about right.

 

If you get gut upset or loose stools, you're taking too much magnesium.

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On 3/6/2019 at 7:46 PM, Altostrata said:

Magnesium works best taken in small amounts throughout the day. If you take those 9 capsules at once, that's too much at one time. If you space them out, that's about right.

 

If you get gut upset or loose stools, you're taking too much magnesium.

Thank you!

 

Is it normal to some days feel squeezing headache and much worse brain fog as soon as you take 1mg of Escitalopram?

 

I really hope I am not rejecting Escitalopram because I have so many important academic events in the next 3-4 months, and am already sick of taking this poison.

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11 hours ago, BigPharmaStinks said:

Is it normal to some days feel squeezing headache and much worse brain fog as soon as you take 1mg of Escitalopram?

 

 

Does this go away in a bit? When did it start? Overall, is 1mg escilatopram helping or hurting?

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BigPharmaStinks

It occurred this morning quite profoundly, but I realized that in the past month every few days after I take my Escitalopram, fog worsens. I know that SSRIs induce brain fog (a world-renowned psychiatrist also confirmed this with me). I have been in a bad wave since Thursday (after the best 2 days I had in 3 months). When I was tapering off Vortioxetine 3.5 months ago, when I missed my dose of 3mg by half a day-1 day, and I took it the following day, I had a racing heartbeat, a bit of shivering, and squeezing headache with brain fog, so I immediately discontinued the medication with the fear of serotonin syndrome - due to interaction with the Escitalopram. It was very odd as I developed those symptoms right after taking the dose during tapering, so when I was decreasing the dose every week.

 

In 1 month I am meeting with world-leading research faculty at the various 8-year long MD-PhD programs I am deciding between, and so would really love for my cognition to improve substantially. If I had 1 year of inactivity, I would have remained off the rapidly discontinued Escitalopram from July 2018, and would have been much better by now. It's because of the numerous interviews that I had to switch around meds 4 months ago. 

 

Overall, I would say 1mg Escitalopram is helping in the sense that every few weeks I see minimal improvements, but today it really struck me how badly I reacted to the 1mg. 

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BigPharmaStinks

Perhaps, my CNS is quite destabilized given that every day is quite different from the previous one. Maybe, give it more time if I am getting tiny windows of slight improvement every now and then? I know that in August when I reinstated Escitalopram to 1mg then climbed to 10mg in a matter of 3 weeks, it took me 6 weeks on 10mg to feel a little better. Of course, then I rushed the taper once again as panic for my dream medical schools struck me. I guess then it would take much longer to restabilize on 1mg, given that it is a significantly smaller dose, and now I am additionally recovering from 6 weeks of use of 5mg Vortioxetine.

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BigPharmaStinks
30 minutes ago, Altostrata said:

 

Does this go away in a bit? When did it start? Overall, is 1mg escilatopram helping or hurting?

It occurred this morning quite profoundly, but I realized that in the past month every few days after I take my Escitalopram, fog worsens. I know that SSRIs induce brain fog (a world-renowned psychiatrist also confirmed this with me). I have been in a bad wave since Thursday (after the best 2 days I had in 3 months). When I was tapering off Vortioxetine 3.5 months ago, when I missed my dose of 3mg by half a day-1 day, and I took it the following day, I had a racing heartbeat, a bit of shivering, and squeezing headache with brain fog, so I immediately discontinued the medication with the fear of serotonin syndrome - due to interaction with the Escitalopram. It was very odd as I developed those symptoms right after taking the dose during tapering, so when I was decreasing the dose every week.

 

In 1 month I am meeting with world-leading research faculty at the various 8-year long MD-PhD programs I am deciding between, and so would really love for my cognition to improve substantially. If I had 1 year of inactivity, I would have remained off the rapidly discontinued Escitalopram from July 2018, and would have been much better by now. It's because of the numerous interviews that I had to switch around meds 4 months ago. 

 

Overall, I would say 1mg Escitalopram is helping in the sense that every few weeks I see minimal improvements, but today it really struck me how badly I reacted to the 1mg. 

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Altostrata

It seems you have an adverse reaction to escilatopram. It may make sense to cross-taper to fluoxetine instead. 

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BigPharmaStinks
12 minutes ago, Altostrata said:

It seems you have an adverse reaction to escilatopram. It may make sense to cross-taper to fluoxetine instead. 

I see, so you don’t recommend staying on 1mg till I get back to normal? How would I cross-taper to fluoxetine?

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Altostrata

You'd add in 25% fluoxetine and a few days later, reduce escilatopram 25%; repeat until you are taking all fluoxetine.

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BigPharmaStinks

So you don’t think I can stabilize by remaining on 1mg Escitalopram? I am confused as to why all of a sudden I would have a reaction to Escitalopram when I never had one before.

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Altostrata

Going on and off psychiatric drugs and having adverse reactions such as withdrawal syndrome causes your nervous system to become hypersensitive. You don't have the same nervous system you had when you went off Lexapro in 2018.

 

On 3/11/2019 at 11:59 AM, BigPharmaStinks said:

Is it normal to some days feel squeezing headache and much worse brain fog as soon as you take 1mg of Escitalopram?

 

Did you change your drug intake shortly before these symptoms started occurring, such as taking an antibiotic, changing the time you take 1mg escilatopram, or accidentally skipping a dose?

 

If not, this is a pretty clear adverse reaction to 1mg escilatopram.

 

Milligram for milligram, Lexapro is several times stronger than other SSRIs. It could be that you would do better with a lower dosage, such as 0.75mg. Its sibling Celexa is milder, that could be a good substitution, but Prozac has a much longer half-life and offers a smoother ride.

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Carmie

How are you doing BigPharmaStinks?💚

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