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Annala

Annala: My introduction

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Annala

Hi there,

 

I  just found this site when I was trying to find information about AD withdrawl syndrome. 

I will try to write down my history, but I don't really remember exact times and dosages that are some time ago. If that is important, I think I could look up at least times in old invoices.

 

So...

In 2001 I started to go to University. After some time I started to get panic attacks. I didn't know it was panic attacks back then, so I had me checked up physically for everything I could think of, I even ended up in hospital for one night checking my heart, but everything was brilliant. I then started to think the only explanation could be I am crazy and as by that time i wasn't even able to leave the house anymore, a depression set in as well, so I went to a psychiatrist who diagnosed me, at least, with panic disorder. It was summer 2002 by then.

I started Paroxetin (I don't know the dosage anymore) and a cognitive therapy and recovered really fast, went back to University and stopped Paroxetine without problems after about half a year.

In 2004 my gynecologist prescribed my an antiandrogenic pill because I complained about waves of bad skin. Soon as I started it, I had sudden outbursts of crying which resulted in a depression, panic attacks came back and extremely severe migraine attacks (I was told to not stop the pill, as the symptoms are super common and will fade away and my skin was so good...). I ended up in a clinic with severe depression and anxiety and was set on Trevilor (I don't know the dosage anymore). 

I continued with Trevilor until 2011, when I went to see a new therapist  as I was still avoiding some situations because I was afraid of panic attacks. She replaced Trevilor with Cipralex (Escitalopram), 10mg/day, which I am still on. She stopped to see me in 2011, because she had the practice to stop working with people that don't recover fully in 6 months . I went to a psychotherapist after that (I still see him on an irregular basis: as I am doing ok, we stopped regular appointments, but I can phone him or get an appointment whenever I think i need one) but as he is a psychologist, he couldn't/can't give advice on medication. So I was and still are without supervison concerning  medication. I get my receipts from my GP, but he says he's not very familiar with ADs and therefore doesn't like to give advice concerning dosages.

 

So, last summer, 2018,  I decided I could try to taper Cipralex. I cut the dosage by half, taking 5mg/day. When I started to worry a lot and even started to cry a lot about banal things and couldn't even make decisions about banal things and situations, I thought it could be some kind of withdrawl symptoms and started 10mg/day again. I googled and found about recent research about withdrawl syndrome. In Winter, I decided to try tapering again, this time with changing dosages: 10mg one day, next day 5mg, then 10mg, then 5mg again and  so on. I am coping quite well. Sometimes I have what feels like sudden electric zaps in the eyes and I in the brain. And I am often very cold and shivering and have icy fingers very easily. And I get falling limbs very easily, sometimes I wake up at night because one arm is completely dead. And I tend to have extremely tense muscles, but that was always the case. This dosages is still what I am currently taking as I was afraid to cut more .And I have to admit that I forget to take a pill now and then or forget if it is a 5mg or 10mg day...I am aware that this is far from ideal...I read the advice to have a dosages and symptoms diary and I will definitetly start today!!!

 

 

 

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Gridley

Hello, Annala, and welcome to SA.

 

To give members the best information, we ask them to summarize their medication history in a signature -- drugs, doses, dates, and discontinuations & reinstatements, in the last 12-24 months particularly.  Just list the drugs prior to Cipralex in 2011to the best of your memory, then "Cipralex 10mg 2011," then write when you started alternating the 5mg/10mg in summer, 2018.  No symptoms needed.
 
 
We strongly advise against alternating doses as you've been doing.  Your central nervous system needs stability, and dosing 5 mg one day and 10mg the next can be very destabilizing, which is causing the withdrawal symptoms you're experiencing, such as temperature dysregulation and brain zaps.  It's very important to take the same dose every day at approximately the same time.
 

 

To keep your dose stable, I suggest taking 7.5mg every day, which is an average of your two doses.   You'd get your 7.5mg  dose by cutting your pills.  Please be careful and take the same amount every day.  Keep your partial pills in marked containers indicating the dosage.

 

How to cut up tablets or pills

 

You should hold this dose for several months, perhaps 6, in order for your nervous system to stabilize from the alternate-day dosing.  Once you have stabilized, you can begin a slow taper.  We recommend tapering no more than 10% of current dose every four weeks.


Why taper by 10% of my dosage?


Tips for tapering off Lexapro (escitalopram)

 

This is your Introduction topic, where you can ask questions, post updates and connect with other members.  Please let us know how you're doing.

 

 

 

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Annala

Thank you a lot. 

I thought so, reading this pages... It wasn't one of my best ideas to try alternating dosages...

 

I just ordered a pill cutter. And I will take 7.5mg a day from now on. Until the pill cutter arrives, I will try to cut them with a knife, hoping the pills won't crumble too much. I have 10mg pills here at the moment.

 

It' s a little shocking to read about Escitalopram. I didn't know that.

 

At least I feel more or less stable emotionally despite the the alternating dosages. The physical symptoms are definitely uncomfortable, but I can deal with them, more or less.

 

 

 

Maybe it's important that I am not using any other drugs except Cipralex. I stopped the pill in 2012, because I was suffering from severe migraine while taking it. When I stopped using hormones, the migraine stopped as well.

I do exercise a lot (mostly running and  HIIIT body weight training), take Omega 3, B12 and Magnesium as supplements. I don't smoke and I don't drink alkohol. My only weak spot is coffee. I drink up to 10 cups a day which definitely isn't helping me to relax.

 

 

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Annala

So I started with 7.5mg today. The pill crumbled a little with the knife, but the pill cutter is already shipped.

 

Reading through this pages I am surprised that forgetting things seems to be common as a symptom. I experienced that a lot lately. Just forgetting names of people I know really well. Or forgetting words (not foreign words, but every day language). It feels like what I imagine dementia feels like when it starts. I would never have thought that it could have to do with SSRI withdrawl or alternating doses.

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Gridley
18 hours ago, Annala said:

I do exercise a lot

If the intense exercise is working for you, that's great.  Some members in withdrawal report strenuous exercise is too activating and do better with a 30-minute walk.  Whichever works for you is fine.  

 

Thanks for updating your signature.

 

It sounds like you have things well under control.  

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eymen23
On 5/13/2019 at 8:36 PM, Annala said:

My only weak spot is coffee. I drink up to 10 cups a day which definitely isn't helping me to relax.

 

 

 

Annala,

 

That is a lot of caffeine by anybody’s standards, with the tapering process you may find this becomes more stimulating than usual.

 

I would suggest slowly reducing your caffeine intake down to 1-2 a day, and perhaps decaf or none at all. 

 

Our bodies do become more tolerant of caffeine and relatively quickly, but excessive use can cause a lot of ‘peaks and crashes’ and ultimately may complicate your tapering process. 

Edited by eymen23

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laydefish

Hi @Annala & Welcome to the Group! Sorry to read how you've been through so much, unfortunately I totally understand. I'm 8 1/2 months Antidepressant free after 11 years & Benzo (Valium) free after 7 years. During that time I was severely poly drugged with about 18 different medications. During a 7 year period I had a least 58 different dose changes alone, so I get where your at!  At this time in my healing journey, I feel great- some lingering symptoms, but nothing I can't handle. so hang in there- it gets better!  Laydefish 

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Annala
On 5/14/2019 at 4:14 PM, Gridley said:

If the intense exercise is working for you, that's great.  Some members in withdrawal report strenuous exercise is too activating and do better with a 30-minute walk.  Whichever works for you is fine.  

 

 

It sounds like you have things well under control.  

 

It helps me really well to deal with tension. I have always tensed muscles and to tense them consciously during exercise really helps me to relax them afterwards somehow.

 

Thank you! I feel rather stable right now and I hope it will last 🙂

 

 

On 5/15/2019 at 2:00 AM, eymen23 said:

 

Annala,

 

That is a lot of caffeine by anybody’s standards, with the tapering process you may find this becomes more stimulating than usual.

 

I would suggest slowly reducing your caffeine intake down to 1-2 a day, and perhaps decaf or none at all. 

 

Our bodies do become more tolerant of caffeine and relatively quickly, but excessive use can cause a lot of ‘peaks and crashes’ and ultimately may complicate your tapering process. 

 

Thank you and yes, you're right. I've thought so many times I should drink less...it's so hard to fight habits and addictions...I will definetely try to reduce and start with counting cups. I made a new table column for coffee in my tapering diary.

 

 

6 hours ago, laydefish said:

Hi @Annala & Welcome to the Group! Sorry to read how you've been through so much, unfortunately I totally understand. I'm 8 1/2 months Antidepressant free after 11 years & Benzo (Valium) free after 7 years. During that time I was severely poly drugged with about 18 different medications. During a 7 year period I had a least 58 different dose changes alone, so I get where your at!  At this time in my healing journey, I feel great- some lingering symptoms, but nothing I can't handle. so hang in there- it gets better!  Laydefish 

 

Thank you, and that is so good to hear! Congratulations!

When experiencing symptoms after cutting, I first start it may be a relapse and therefore thought that means I will never be able to live without that drug. It really gives me hope that it is possible to deal with withdrawl symptoms and get rid of the drug one day!

 

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laydefish

@Annala I'm so glad you found some hope in my situation, because it's the truth and it does get better, eventually everyday!  If you get a chance you may want to check out my introduction-  All I wanted was pain relief and the section in the Forum called Success Stories (Located on the intro page, just scroll down) there you'll find tons of great inspirational stories!  Feel free to contact me anytime, Take Care- Laydefish

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