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Meals/food affecting cortisol spikes in the am or ...?


Happy2Heal
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I'm almost 2 yrs off lexapro after a rapid and poorly done taper.

 

I've been doing extremely well.

however, recently I've been waking up with that dreaded cortisol spike- my heart is pounding and I feel breathless.

 

this only lasts a short time and then I'm fine, I don't react to it emotionally at all any more, and am able to feel quite relaxed once it's over.

 

however, I do have atrial fibrillation and in the past, this sort of increase in my heart rate (or apparently anything that causes a sudden change in heart rate) can put me into afib, something I really really want to avoid, as I've refused to take anticoagulants, at least for now.

 

I am wondering if either of these two things might be affecting my 4 am spikes:

It seems that the times this has been worse were preceded by eating later at night than I normally do.

 

it also seems that it's related to me actually getting a nice long chunk of sleep, like around 5 hrs straight, during which time I am sure that I'm dreaming (I recall the dreams when I wake up)

 

one of the cortisol spikes coincided with a bad dream that woke me up so no surprise there, right?

 

but today, for example, the dreams I had were not alarming and didn't wake me up. I did however, snack later in the night than I usually do.

 

I was feeling good about the later snacks as they *seem* to help me sleep longer, but now I"m wondering if the snacking is causing the cortisol spikes-
OR if it's simply the snacking leads to better (longer duration) sleep and the dreams or something else cause the cortisol spikes.

 

 

would love anyone's thoughts on this. esp shared experiences, what has worked for you. etc

 

I am VERY reluctant to take any supplements or the like. but tweaking my day time habits if that might help, I am very open to that

 

thanks in advance

  • pysch med history: 1974 @ age 18 to Oct 2017 (approx 43 yrs total)
  •  Drug list: stelazine, haldol, elavil, lithium, zoloft, celexa, lexapro(doses as high as 40mgs), klonopin, ambien, seroquel(high doses), depakote, zyprexa, lamictal- plus brief trials of dozens of other psych meds over the years
  • started lexapro 2002, dose varied from 20mgs to 40mgs. I tried to get off it several times. WD symptoms were mistaken for "relapse". 
  •  2013 too fast taper down to 5mg but WD forced me back to 20mgs
  •  June of 2105, tapered again too rapidly to 2.5mgs by Dec 2015. Found SA, held at 2.5 mgs til May 2016 when I foolishly "jumped off". Crashed in Sept, reinstated at 0.3mgs in Oct. 2106
  • Tapered off to zero by  Oct. 2017 Doing very well
  • Nov. 2018 feel 95% healed, current age 63 
  • Jan. 2020 feel 100% healed, peaceful and content 
  • Aug  2022 ❤️ loving life ❤️ 
 
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23 minutes ago, Happy2Heal said:

I was feeling good about the later snacks as they *seem* to help me sleep longer, but now I"m wondering if the snacking is causing the cortisol spikes-

 

 

I wish I could think of something useful but all that comes to mind is keep track of how late you eat and how it affects you. and I'd guess you are doing that already!

 

24 minutes ago, Happy2Heal said:

this only lasts a short time and then I'm fine, I don't react to it emotionally at all any more, and am able to feel quite relaxed once it's over.

 

wow, good for you. how long did it take you to learn to do this?

Currently taking Ramapril (blood pressure) 5 mg twice a day

Omeprazole 10 mg AM and 20 mg PM  (the taper has gone nowhere after the first cut)

Famotidine   once a day (and I still needs tums sometimes)

magnesium 200 mg at night

as of yesterday 2 fish oil capsules "EPA-DHA 1000"

 

off Lexapro as of 5/2018  - last dose had been 5 mg every other day for a couple years

 

highest dose had been 20 mg at which point I was diagnosed with Bipolar II, which went away when I cut the lexapro down to 15 mg. 

 

I spent years on Paxil before Lexapro (can't remember dose), briefly on Effexor and Abilify and others I have forgotten. in fact, when I was diagnoses with BPII I was put on all kinds of things which made me feel so bad I stopped them cold turkey within maybe 3 or 4 weeks, thank goodness. since then I've known these pills were terrible and I weaned down the Lexapro with zero help or support over I'm not sure how many years. 

 

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  • ChessieCat changed the title to Meals/food affecting cortisol spikes in the am or ...?
10 hours ago, JackieDecides said:
11 hours ago, Happy2Heal said:

this only lasts a short time and then I'm fine, I don't react to it emotionally at all any more, and am able to feel quite relaxed once it's over.

 

wow, good for you. how long did it take you to learn to do this?

 

 

I don't really know,  to be honest. I had a LOT of practice, however since I always woke up with a severe cortisol spike during tapering, and that continued well into the first year off the lexapro. I only slept for maybe 20 mins at a time, if I slept at all, so like I said, I got a lot of practice. LOL

 

I plan to not eat anything past 6pm, which is roughly 4-6 hrs before I go to sleep and see if that makes a difference.

 

However if I am unable to sleep due to being hungry, I am going to have a light snack, some kind of complex carb. Being awake when you want to sleep is not fun, but having a growling stomach as well is just more than I want to have to deal with LOL

 

 

 

 

 

  • pysch med history: 1974 @ age 18 to Oct 2017 (approx 43 yrs total)
  •  Drug list: stelazine, haldol, elavil, lithium, zoloft, celexa, lexapro(doses as high as 40mgs), klonopin, ambien, seroquel(high doses), depakote, zyprexa, lamictal- plus brief trials of dozens of other psych meds over the years
  • started lexapro 2002, dose varied from 20mgs to 40mgs. I tried to get off it several times. WD symptoms were mistaken for "relapse". 
  •  2013 too fast taper down to 5mg but WD forced me back to 20mgs
  •  June of 2105, tapered again too rapidly to 2.5mgs by Dec 2015. Found SA, held at 2.5 mgs til May 2016 when I foolishly "jumped off". Crashed in Sept, reinstated at 0.3mgs in Oct. 2106
  • Tapered off to zero by  Oct. 2017 Doing very well
  • Nov. 2018 feel 95% healed, current age 63 
  • Jan. 2020 feel 100% healed, peaceful and content 
  • Aug  2022 ❤️ loving life ❤️ 
 
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hmm,

well, I ended up eating a snack kind of late because I'd been too busy to eat much during the earlier part of the day.

I did not wake up with the cortisol spike this morning, so perhaps it was related to disturbing dreams and not food.

 

*shrug*

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • pysch med history: 1974 @ age 18 to Oct 2017 (approx 43 yrs total)
  •  Drug list: stelazine, haldol, elavil, lithium, zoloft, celexa, lexapro(doses as high as 40mgs), klonopin, ambien, seroquel(high doses), depakote, zyprexa, lamictal- plus brief trials of dozens of other psych meds over the years
  • started lexapro 2002, dose varied from 20mgs to 40mgs. I tried to get off it several times. WD symptoms were mistaken for "relapse". 
  •  2013 too fast taper down to 5mg but WD forced me back to 20mgs
  •  June of 2105, tapered again too rapidly to 2.5mgs by Dec 2015. Found SA, held at 2.5 mgs til May 2016 when I foolishly "jumped off". Crashed in Sept, reinstated at 0.3mgs in Oct. 2106
  • Tapered off to zero by  Oct. 2017 Doing very well
  • Nov. 2018 feel 95% healed, current age 63 
  • Jan. 2020 feel 100% healed, peaceful and content 
  • Aug  2022 ❤️ loving life ❤️ 
 
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whatever the reason, glad to hear you didn't have the cortisol spike today! 

Currently taking Ramapril (blood pressure) 5 mg twice a day

Omeprazole 10 mg AM and 20 mg PM  (the taper has gone nowhere after the first cut)

Famotidine   once a day (and I still needs tums sometimes)

magnesium 200 mg at night

as of yesterday 2 fish oil capsules "EPA-DHA 1000"

 

off Lexapro as of 5/2018  - last dose had been 5 mg every other day for a couple years

 

highest dose had been 20 mg at which point I was diagnosed with Bipolar II, which went away when I cut the lexapro down to 15 mg. 

 

I spent years on Paxil before Lexapro (can't remember dose), briefly on Effexor and Abilify and others I have forgotten. in fact, when I was diagnoses with BPII I was put on all kinds of things which made me feel so bad I stopped them cold turkey within maybe 3 or 4 weeks, thank goodness. since then I've known these pills were terrible and I weaned down the Lexapro with zero help or support over I'm not sure how many years. 

 

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thanks Jackie

  • pysch med history: 1974 @ age 18 to Oct 2017 (approx 43 yrs total)
  •  Drug list: stelazine, haldol, elavil, lithium, zoloft, celexa, lexapro(doses as high as 40mgs), klonopin, ambien, seroquel(high doses), depakote, zyprexa, lamictal- plus brief trials of dozens of other psych meds over the years
  • started lexapro 2002, dose varied from 20mgs to 40mgs. I tried to get off it several times. WD symptoms were mistaken for "relapse". 
  •  2013 too fast taper down to 5mg but WD forced me back to 20mgs
  •  June of 2105, tapered again too rapidly to 2.5mgs by Dec 2015. Found SA, held at 2.5 mgs til May 2016 when I foolishly "jumped off". Crashed in Sept, reinstated at 0.3mgs in Oct. 2106
  • Tapered off to zero by  Oct. 2017 Doing very well
  • Nov. 2018 feel 95% healed, current age 63 
  • Jan. 2020 feel 100% healed, peaceful and content 
  • Aug  2022 ❤️ loving life ❤️ 
 
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