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JennaMarie: withdrawal, along with major life stressor


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Admin note - link to benzo forum thread  - JennaMarie: Should I switch from adivan to clonazapam??


Very long history with SSRIs, put on them as soon as I turned 18 (13 years ago).. after horrible advice from my doctor I went off my cipralex in 3 weeks to try another one as it was no longer working.


After being switched around and experiencing what I thought was EXTREME side effects of the new drug, I came across this site and realized it was all withdrawl from my previous medication.. I decided to reinstate at 5mgs of the cipralex and it helped slightly, and improved a good bit, but not completly very slowly over time.


Now however, Im going through the worst time of my life.  My husband was recently killed in an accident.  My anxiety is uncontrollable and we have out almost 3 year old I have to be here for. I have been taking adivan every night because I just cant handle the intense anxiety attacks. However last night the adivan didnt help, Im scared Im growing a tolerance to them.


The doctor wants me to either up my 5mgs of Cipralex or come off it and try a new ssri.. im terrified to do either after what I went through with them last year. Im so stuck, I need help


Edited by Shep
reworded to remove graphic content (ChessieCat) added link to benzo thread (Shep)

2005- 2011 paroxetine, lorazepam (tapered off both over 4-5 months)

2011- 2015 clonazepam (uneventful taper while pregnant)

2011-  escitalopram 20 mg - 2018 January(3week taper off)

2018 February- Zoloft 50 mg then 75 mg then brief taper off

2017- present Prevacid

2018-present escitalopram 5 mg

2019 Febuary-present  Ativan(lorazepam) .8 mg daily

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  • Moderator

Hi JennaMarie,

And oh my, may I express my condolences for your recent loss.  So traumatic.  I am so very sorry.  Hugs.  It's now barely 3 months since your loss.  Oh my!


When did you reinstate the 5 mg dose of Cipralex(escitalopram)?  It's known by the brand name of Lexapro here in the U.S.

What was the new drug that you briefly tried?

When did you start the nightly Ativan(lorazepam) and at what dose?

And you may be right, as far as the tolerance goes with the benzo.   From my understanding, dependency with the benzo's can develop in as little as 2-4 weeks time.  Meaning that after that.......you are only taking the benzo to starve off withdrawal, and rebound anxiety.  Very similar to what happens with antidepressants.  Different receptors involved, but a similar withdrawal(WD) process. 


You've done well to recognize the WD, and get back on the escitalopram.  And I'm so glad it was helping with your withdrawal symptoms to some degree.  And of course your recent traumatic loss is now making it so much harder to regain some stability. 

How ARE you sleeping, both before and after the lorazapam has been added?


Let's try and get you squared away, and get some more information.   Then  we can start working out a more harm free approach to withdrawal, from the escitalopram and/or Ativan(lorazepam).  


My gosh, of course you are anxious about what the future holds, as well as in shock from such an unexpected loss of your husband.  Grieving tends to put emotions all over the map.....so to speak.  All normal responses.  Unfortunately, WD can super enhance emotions as well.......   Oh, I so hope you have loving family and friends who can help out and support you now, both you and your young child. 

Again, chemical imbalance is a myth. Stop the lies, please.


Some basic withdrawal information:

Here is some information on withdrawal to get you started: 


How psychiatric drugs remodel your brain


What is withdrawal syndrome

The Windows and Waves Pattern of Stabilization


Dr.Glenmullen’s withdrawal symptom list.


When we take medications, the CNS (central nervous system) responds by making changes over the months and years we take the drug(s). When the medication is discontinued, the CNS has to undo all the changes it made.  The CNS likes stability. Rebuilding the neurotransmitter production and reactivating the receptor and transporter cells takes time -- during that rebuilding process symptoms occur. And sleep is really important during withdrawal. 


We don't recommend a lot of supplements, as many members report their nervous systems are simply too fragile to handle them. However, magnesium and fish oil tend to be calming to the nervous system and many people report they do help. Please only add in one supplement at a time and at a small dose. For more, please see:


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


Magnesium, nature's calcium channel blocker


If I were you, I don't think I would allow this doctor to determine what you are going to do from here on out.  Try and stay put with your current escitalopram dosage for now.  And just hold with your current lorazepam dose as well.  Give us some more information. 

Which you can do here:

Please add a signature.  Include drugs, doses, dates, and discontinuations & reinstatements in the last 12-24 months. Also include supplements. This will help us give you the most accurate advice we can. 

  • Any drugs and supplements prior to 24 months ago can just be listed with start and stop years. 
  • Please use actual dates or approximate dates (mid-June, Late October) rather than relative time frames (last week, 3 months ago) 
  • Spell out months, e.g. "October" or "Oct."; 9/1/2016 can be interpreted as Jan. 9, 2016 or Sept. 1, 2016. 
  • Please leave out symptoms and diagnoses. 
  • A list is easier to understand than one or multiple paragraphs. 
  • This is a direct link to your signature:  Account Settings – Create or Edit a signature  

We see the signatures below each members posts.  You can create a signature from a phone device, but unfortunately cannot view them phone devices.  It's best to use a PC, if possible.


You've now introduced yourself to the community.  Please continue to use this thread to document your taper and to ask questions. 


Again, welcome aboard and we are glad you are here.

Love, peace, healing, and growth,



Edited by manymoretodays
added WD can super enhance emotions as well

2022 May- continuing with limited activity on site, just something I need to do right now

Started with psycho meds/psychiatric care circa 1988.  In retrospect, and on contemplation, situational overwhelm.

Rounding up to 30 years of medications(30 medication trials, poly-pharmacy maximum was 3 at one time).

5/28/2015-off Adderal salts 2.5mg. (I had been on that since hospital 10/2014)

12/2015---just holding, holding, holding, with trileptal/oxcarb at 75 mg. 1/2 tab at hs.  My last psycho med ever!  Tapered @ 10% every 4 weeks, sometimes 2 weeks to

2016 Dec 16 medication free!!

Longer signature post here, with current supplements.

Herb and alcohol free since 5/15/2016.  And.....I quit smoking 11/2021. Lapsed.  Redo of quit smoking 9/28/2022.  Can you say Hallelujah?(took me long enough)💜

None of my posts are intended as medical advice.  Please discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical provider.  My success story:  Blue skies ahead, clear sailing


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  • manymoretodays changed the title to JennaMarie: Withdrawal, along with major life stressor.

Hi again, thankyou so much for taking the time to respond to me. Im in a very fragile state mentally and physically now and I appreciate any advice I can get. 

I guess Ill get a little more specific with everything.


In 2005 shortly after turning 18 I was put on paxil daily and adivan when needed because of constant panic attacks I started having. I was always a worrier and anxious child but the attacks didn't arise until this point. I stayed on it for about 6 years then I decided to start weaning myself off what I thought was very slowly under my doctors supervision as I felt I no longer needed them. I fully came off tjem in about 4-5 months and felt pretty good on nothing for close to a month.


Alot of stressors came into my life at once and I started having horrible symptoms to an extreme. I ended up having to leave college and was admitted in the hospital for 5 days because of symptoms and be on an IV because I couldnt eat or drink. They tried to put me back on celexa but it made me feel much worse especially the stomach pain I had been having so they tried me back on paxil and that made everything else especially the anxiety and constant shaking go through the roof.


I then seen my doctor in the city I went to college in, she put me on 20mgs of cipralex (escitalopram) and clonazapam of which I cant remember the dose. After a few weeks it helped tremendously. I stayed on the clonazapam daily for about 4 or 5 years until I got pregnant in 2015. I slowly weaned off the clonazapam and seemed to have no problem at all. In fact while I was pregnant it was the best mentally I ever felt in my life. At this point I was still on 20mgs of escitalopram daily.


I gave birth via emergency c-section in 2016 and felt great until we got home from the hospital where I started having horrible postpartum anxiety. I didnt take go back on clonazapam though as I was breastfeeding.


In January 2018 my doctor and I decided to wean me off of escitalopram and try zoloft because i was still having troubles with anxiety and the drug obviously wasnt working like it should be. She told me to half my dose for a week, then half that dose for a week then come off completely the following week and start the zoloft the week after.. I believe it was 50mgs of zoloft she started me on in early February 2018. I felt absolutely horrible.


This just a few of my symptoms I had saved on my phone from last February and March:

-Tingling pins and needles in left side of face and scalp.
-motor skills slow and clumsey mostly in fingers
-weakness in arms
-body shaking/vibrating from the inside out

-ringing in ears

-Random sharp pains in head
-Foggy feeling. On autopilot
-Shallow beathing with heart palps, and bewildered airy feeling in head
-shallow breathing.
-heart vibrating and pounding in lungs
-weak/ energy sucked from me
-nasal passage problems
-Heart thumping
-out of breath/ exhaling too much/ not getting enough air
-throbbing pressure in head/ tingly feeling lungs and heart thumping in cheast/throat/lungs
-when just starting to drift asleep i abruptly wake with racing heart and odd breathing sensation. Comes in a 'wave' feeling
-extreme fatigue/ weakness/ lightheaded
-Cant concentrate on anything
-move in 'slow motion' slow to respond
-Confusion/ loss of sence of where im at when driving.. very scary
-Extreme anxiety
-Constant Mood swings
-Overwhelming feeling of dred
-very distant feeling/ outside of my body
-internal shakiness
-waking through the night with random pains in limbs
-wake up in an anxious state. Hard to start the day
-feel like i have to function on autopilot because im only 'there' physically not mentally
-in a fog
-uncontrolled  movement of fingers at times
-cant sit still
-Twitch when lying down
-no appetite 
-tardive akathisia/ involuntary movements
-weakness/ difficulty extending fingers
-unable to move fingers sometimes or they move very slowly

-eyes now extremely sensitive to the sun


The doctor just tried me on 75mgs of zolft when I complained of how much I was suffering thinking I just wasnt on high enough of a dose. At 75mgs I felt so bad I talked to a different doctor to get a second opinion, he just suggested I try wellbutrin as its not a SSRI. I bought the prescription but before taking them I thankfully came across this website.


I then took things into my own hands after reading many peoples stories and slowly tapered all the way off zoloft. I then began taking 5mgs of escitalopram again and i almost instantly felt some of the shaking start to subside. It took months but I was able to get married in August 2018 to the man who has been with me through all of this and then some for the past 11.5 years feeling about 70% back to myself with our beautiful 2 year old daughter by our side. October came along and new symptoms started to strike up. It seemed like when I had too much sugar i would shake from the inside out uncontrollably, very spastic/tense muscles and I also was getting horrible 'flares' of weakness and pain along with extreme drained/fogginess. The pain was/is mainly in my arms. It feels like its from the bones out. I was sent for a CT scan in late October which came back fine aside from some DDD in my neck. I then seen a rhumatoligist in early December who diagnosed me with fibromyalgia. I stopped eating gluten in November hoping it would help, I also cut way back on sugar and drank alcohol once since our wedding night and it was a hudge mistake.


December 23rd, 2018 comes along and My husband, daughter and I went to a child friendly party at my brothers house. When we were leaving I told my husband to stay and have a good time/ have some drinks with our friends and Id take our daughter home and put her to bed. He put her in her car seat and kissed us. I got the most devastating news the next morning at almost 7am, his co-worker and a police officer woke me up to say he was hit bg a truck at 4am while walking home and killed..


I only really started having to take adivan daily in early February when the shock started to slightly wear off and the realization of how permanent this new horrible life is. My parents also went on a trip South at this point so I think that played a roll as well.. I have been putting up with spurts of anxiety, pounding heart palpitations that are there almost all day long, weird shallow breating problems (almost as though my CNS, lungs and heart arnt working together properly if that makes sense at all), my reflux is gone out of control and the symptoms I feel with that are mostly burning and choking up the back of my nose as well as bloating, i also get horrible pressure in my neck and head feeling like theyres lack of oxygen getting to my brain, also insomnia and when I do fall asleep I awake jolted from pounding heart and numb tingling arms and hands which usually escalates from there to a panic attack.. I took omega 3s, prenatal vits., and vit. D since last March. We were hoping to try for another baby soon, I stopped taking them when I lost my husband as that wasn't going to happen for us.. maybe I should go back on them?


I have also been taking prevacid for reflux since March 2017 if thats something you may need to know. Im at a loss, I feel miserable all day long on top of the grief only getting a slight bit of relief when i take about .8mg of adivan each evening. It doesn't even normally help the panic anymore, just kind of relieves some symptoms and some evenings makes me drowsy enough to fall asleep without waking up instantly with a pounding heart. 


I also have hardly slept, running on next to nothing since our daughter was born in 2016 if thats something you'd need to know. My daughter was breast fed until the end of August 2018, she is such a crappy sleeper and everytime she would wake, which was every hour and a half,  she would need the 'boobie' to fall back to sleep. When she was finally weaned off, she only wakes 2-3 times through the night now. I still couldnt sleep though because I think my brain is just ruined and doesn't know how anymore. The rhumatoligist prescribed me amitriptyline to help me sleep but im so scared of drugs now i didnt take them. I also seen the doctor yesterday and he suggested I try remeron because he said its not in the SSRI family. Im also down to 97lbs now and he thought it might help me gain some weight back. 

Sorry for such a long post. Thankyou so much for any suggestion or help you can offer


Edited by manymoretodays

2005- 2011 paroxetine, lorazepam (tapered off both over 4-5 months)

2011- 2015 clonazepam (uneventful taper while pregnant)

2011-  escitalopram 20 mg - 2018 January(3week taper off)

2018 February- Zoloft 50 mg then 75 mg then brief taper off

2017- present Prevacid

2018-present escitalopram 5 mg

2019 Febuary-present  Ativan(lorazepam) .8 mg daily

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  • Moderator



Welcome from me, too.  I'm so sorry about your husband and your situation.  This site has many supportive moderators and members, and I'm glad you found your way here.


Manymoretodays put the following information together from your post.  Could you please take a look and if it's correct to the best of your recollection, could you please post it as your signature, using this link?  The signature helps the moderators see you history at a glance and is very useful to us when trying to make suggestions.



2005- 2011 paroxetine, lorazepam (tapered off both over 4-5 months)

2011- 2015 clonazepam (uneventful taper while pregnant)

2011-  escitalopram 20 mg - 2018 January(3week taper off)

2018 February- Zoloft 50 mg then 75 mg then brief taper off

2017- present Prevacid

2018-present escitalopram 5 mg

2019 Febuary-present  lorazepam daily


There is a major drug interaction between remeron (mirtazapine) and escitalopram, which I will insert at the end of this post.  I agree with manymoretodays that you should stay with the escitalopram and Ativan at present and not add any more drugs.  I also agree with what she suggested about limiting supplements to omegas and magnesium.  Try one at a time at a low dose.


Here's the information about the major interaction between Remeron (Mirtazapine) and Escitalopram (Lexapro).  Please feel free to write with questions and to keep us updated.


Interactions between your drugs




Using escitalopram together with mirtazapine can increase the risk of a rare but serious condition called the serotonin syndrome, which may include symptoms such as confusion, hallucination, seizure, extreme changes in blood pressure, increased heart rate, fever, excessive sweating, shivering or shaking, blurred vision, muscle spasm or stiffness, tremor, incoordination, stomach cramp, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Severe cases may result in coma and even death. You should contact your doctor immediately if you experience these symptoms during treatment. In addition, combining these medications can increase the risk of an irregular heart rhythm that may be serious and potentially life-threatening, although it is a relatively rare side effect. You may be more susceptible if you have a heart condition called congenital long QT syndrome, other cardiac diseases, conduction abnormalities, or electrolyte disturbances (for example, magnesium or potassium loss due to severe or prolonged diarrhea or vomiting). Talk to your doctor if you have any questions or concerns. Your doctor may already be aware of the risks, but has determined that this is the best course of treatment for you and has taken appropriate precautions and is monitoring you closely for any potential complications. You should seek immediate medical attention if you develop sudden dizziness, lightheadedness, fainting, shortness of breath, or heart palpitations during treatment with these medications, whether together or alone. It is important to tell your doctor about all other medications you use, including vitamins and herbs. Do not stop using any medications without first talking to your doctor.





Gridley Introduction


Lexapro 20 mg since 2004.  Begin Brassmonkey Slide Taper Jan. 2017.   

End 2017 year 1 of taper at 9.25mg 

End 2018 year 2 of taper at 4.1mg

End 2019 year 3 of taper at 1.0mg  

Oct. 30, 2020  Jump to zero from 0.025mg.  Current dose: 0.000mg

3 year, 10 month taper is 100% complete.


Ativan 1 mg to 1.875mg 1986-2020, two CT's and reinstatements

Nov. 2020, 7-week Ativan-Valium crossover to 18.75mg Valium

Feb. 2021, begin 10%/4 week taper of 18.75mg   

End 2021  year 1 of taper at 6mg

End 2022 year 2 of taper at 2.75mg 

Current dose as of Feb. 25, 2023 2mg

Taper is 89% complete.


Imipramine 75 mg daily since 1986.  Jan-Sept 2016 tapered to 16mg  

Held until Aug 2021, tapered for 4 weeks to 14.4mg

March 22, 2022: Begin 10%/4 week taper

Aug. 5, 2022: hold at 9.5 and shift to Valium taper

Taper is 87% complete.  


Supplements: omega-3, vitamins C, E and D3, magnesium glycinate, probiotic, zinc, melatonin .3mg

I am not a medical professional and this is not medical advice but simply information based on my own experience, as well as other members who have survived these drugs.

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  • Administrator

Please note that Jennamarie started a benzo forum thread and we are discussing issues related to Ativan interdose withdrawal. 


JennaMarie: Should I switch from adivan to clonazapam??


@JennaMarie Please note the adverse reaction that Gridley posted. Please do not add in Remeron. Let's work on getting you more comfortable by spacing out the Ativan and see if that works. It's a much safer path. 

Drug free May 22, 2015 after 30 years of neuroleptics, benzos, z-drugs, so-called "anti"-depressants, and amphetamines 


My Success Story:  Shep's Success: "Leaving Plato's Cave"


And what is good, Phaedrus, and what is not good — need we ask anyone to tell us these things? ~ Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

I am not a medical professional and this is not medical advice, but simply information based on my own experience, as well as other members who have survived these drugs.


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  • Mentor

Dear JennaMarie,


so so sorry to hear of your tragic loss and horrible suffering. My thoughts are with you.



 = medication taken now

2007 quetiapine to March 2019 200mg

2019 quetiapine March to present 225mg 

2007 citalopram to present 40mg 
2018 March Abilify 5mg  
2019 Abilify February rapid taper over 3 weeks from 5mg to off

2019 March Clonazepam as required, taken very occasionally, then taken 0.5mg for 2 days 28th and 29th March, now phased out

2019 1st April reinstated Abilify 0.5mg / day 

2018 to 2020 Liquid B12 2g twice daily (diagnosed B12 deficiency) 

2020 July reduced quetiapine to 200mg

2022 October began taper of Abilify

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  • ChessieCat changed the title to JennaMarie: withdrawal, along with major life stressor

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