Jump to content
qupuf

qupuf: symptoms started while taking lexapro, 2-3 years after, still have symptoms, very desperate

Recommended Posts

qupuf

Because that's what happened with me. I was taking irregular doses of lexapro and the symptom started. Symptom started about 2-3 years ago and I quit lexapro about a year ago. I was taking half a pill every 3-4 days then I cold turkeyed. 

 

My question is, am I waking up multiple times during sleep because of withdrawal (and still seeing vivid dreams) and is there any chance this is permanent? Is my brain damaged permanently? I am taking Seroquel to help me go back to sleep because sometimes it's impossible to go back to sleep without calming down.

 

Thanks

 

Share this post


Link to post
qupuf

Hey guys, about 2-3 years ago, I started waking up after 5 hours of sleep constantly, and ever since then, I haven't had a full uninterrupted night's sleep. At the time I was taking half a pill of lexapro every 3rd of 4th day, whenever I felt the brain zap, I would take a pill to make it go away. Then about a year ago, I decided to ***** quit it cold turkey and the brain zaps have stopped but... I still wake up during sleep and I still see vivid dreams every single time I go to sleep. 

Am I permanently damaged? What should I do? I went to Reddit and offered $1000 to anyone who could tell me what's wrong with me and tell me how to treat it but mods removed it because I offered money, that's how desperate I am. It's been about a year and there is no SIGN of improvement AT ALL. I have a feeling I'm stuck like this for life and I can't live like this... I've started taking Seroquel to help me go back to sleep. I think it's cortisol spikes. I don't know what to do, I want to have a kid with my wife but I'm on sick leave because of this single symptom! I am not exaggerating. Please, anyone, tell me if there's any hope left in my case. 

 

PS: For the last 2-3 years, for every single day, for every single time I go to sleep, I see vivid dreams/nightmares and I wake up at least once fully wide awake and alert and struggle to go back to sleep. No exaggeration.

Share this post


Link to post
Gridley

Welcome to SA, qupuf.

 

You are experiencing protracted withdrawal from a too-fast taper and cold turkey from Lexapro.  Insomnia is a very common symptom of antidepressant withdrawal, as are cortisol spikes. After a cold turkey, it is common to still have symptoms a yers after stopping the drug.  Doctors are ignorant of this fact.   Do you have any other symptoms?

 

You are not permanently damaged but it will take you a good bit of time to heal.  You will heal, but we can't predict how long it will take.  I'm going to give you some information on withdrawal and then suggest some things that can help with your symptoms.  Please read:

 

 
 
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. Rebuilding the neurotransmitter production and reactivating the receptor and transporter cells takes time -- during that rebuilding process symptoms occur.  
 
These explain it really well:

 

 

   On 8/30/2011 at 2:28 PM,  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.

 

Regarding the Seroquel, it is a very strong drug and easy to become dependent. How long have you been taking it?  

 

We recommend more natural sleep aids.

 
Tips to help sleep - so many of us have that awful withdrawal insomnia
 
 
Trick and tips to fall asleep faster
 
This link contains helpful information, including insomnia and also non-drug coping skills.  
 
 
Some members have found Melatonin helpful with insomnia.   
 
 
It's best to start at a very low dosage, such as .25mg, and gradually increase if needed to the lowest effective dose.  
 
We strongly recommend non-drug techniques for coping with antidepressant withdrawal.  Take a look at the following link and see which techniques you think might be of benefit to you.
 
 
We don't recommend a lot of supplements on SA, as many members report being sensitive to them due to our over-reactive nervous systems, but two supplements that we do recommend are magnesium and omega 3 (fish oil). Many people find these to be calming to the nervous system. 

 

 

 

Please research all supplements first and only add in one at a time and at a low dose in case you do experience problems.
 
This is your Introductory topic, where you can ask questions and connect with other members.  If you have a question, post in here in this thread rather than starting another thread.  We're glad you found your way here.

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
qupuf

Hi Gridley,

 

Thank you so much for the detailed response. Yes, I agree that Seroquel is a strong one but unfortunately, it lets me go back to sleep peacefully instead of meditating every time I wake up. I tried Xanax and it also helps but since it's a benzo, I really don't want any other withdrawal symptom ever in my life, I will never do any psychic drugs again in my life, especially antidepressants.

I've been taking Seroquel on and off for a few months. This last month, I've been taking it almost daily since I have wasted too much energy on meditation and cognitive behavior therapy. 

 

So, I understand that nobody can predict how long it's going to take, but is it going to be more than a year or two? Five? Could you maybe give a ballpark figure based on other people's experiences? I don't see many people having symptoms YEARS after they cold turkey-off the drug, so it feels like I'm the only one.

 

Is there anything that can reduce my cortisol spikes? Thank you in advance.

Edit: As for other symptoms, honestly, I don't know. Maybe anxiety, maybe low sex drive but I really don't care because I can't sleep properly. I feel like I can tackle all the other symptoms, I just want the cortisol spikes and the vivid dreams to go away so I can sleep peacefully again.

Last question, I have magnesium citrate+lactate, is that OK for better sleep? Or does it have to be magnesium glycinate?

Share this post


Link to post
Gridley
2 hours ago, qupuf said:

Yes, I agree that Seroquel is a strong one


Seroquel is an antipsychotic used to treat among other things, schizophrenia.  If you've been taking it for over a month, you are likely dependent on it, and, for future reference, if you want to taking it, you should taper slowly.  We recommend tapering no faster than 10% of current dose every four weeks.  I'm including these links because you don't want to do another cold turkey.

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1024-why-taper-by-10-of-my-dosage/

 

Tips for tapering off Seroquel (quetiapine)

 

2 hours ago, qupuf said:

I don't see many people having symptoms YEARS after they cold turkey-off the drug, so it feels like I'm the only one.

 

You are definitely not the only one.  Regarding recovery time, some may recover more quickly (and I hope you're one of them) but often we are talking years.  

 

CT and Fast Tapers

 

You will heal, but unfortunately it is often a long and frustrating process. 

 

Regarding the cortisol spikes, since light triggers cortisol, we recommend blackout curtains and an eye mask.

 

The magnesium you have is fine.  Magnesium glycerinate is thought to be one of the more calming forms.

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
mustafa
3 hours ago, qupuf said:

I've been taking Seroquel on and off for a few months

Hello qupuf, I experienced the problem of sleeping once I tapered antidepressants, it is really bothering and like you, I was to take some tabs to make me sleep but after I stop them iam back again to the no sleep case. I realised that I don't give my brain any chance to heal. My brain should suffer before it is well again. Be ok with the less sleep problem, it will be ok but to wait for no long time.

IAM happy to share that with you and I hope you get well soon ❤️

Share this post


Link to post
qupuf

Hi Mustafa

 

Thank you for the encouragement. How long did you have this issue?

 

And Gridley, do you know if Seroquel might hinder my healing process? I see that it is a serotonin blocker. Without Seroquel, it's almost impossible to go back to sleep. I can sleep fine though, it's the cortisol spikes that I can't handle. With Seroquel, I wake up maybe only once but without it, multiple times.

 

 

And by the way, don't forget that it's not just one cortisol spike per sleep, it's multiple! :(

 

I am very serious when I say I am willing to go into a medical induced coma and just wait it out. I can't live like this.

Share this post


Link to post
Gridley
15 hours ago, qupuf said:

And Gridley, do you know if Seroquel might hinder my healing process?

 

I can't say what it will do to your healing process.  We don't recommend using drugs to deal with withdrawal from another drug.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
qupuf
52 minutes ago, Gridley said:

 

I can't say what it will do to your healing process.  We don't recommend using drugs to deal with withdrawal from another drug.

 

 

Then what am I supposed to do? I keep waking up multiple times during sleep and can't go back to sleep without seroquel?

Share this post


Link to post
Gridley
2 minutes ago, qupuf said:

I keep waking up multiple times during sleep and can't go back to sleep without seroquel?

That is a very common symptom.  Many of us have to deal with it and do so without taking more drugs.  I've given you links to non-drug sleep aids.  You said meditation helped.  Go back to meditating.  

 

If you go off the Seroquel, you need to taper it slowly as I suggested earlier.

Share this post


Link to post
qupuf

So I just have to "power" through sleep deprivations?! Jesus christ, I just vomitted all day yesterday because I did not sleep well. Should I taper off seroquel even tho it's been only like a month? My brother quit seroquel after 6 months of steady doses daily and he didn't experience any withdrawals, but I guess everyone is different.

 

Meditating is fine, but having to wake up every single day for the last 3 years in the middle of the night sometimes drains you completely. Sometimes it makes you want to go to sleep just one night without an interrupted sleep. Even meditating can get tiresome!

Share this post


Link to post
PoetJester

Hi qupuf

 

I still have the vivid dreams and nightmares 5 years after stopping zoloft and zyprexa after being on those drugs for several years.  It's been misery.  I used to have strange dreams of wandering around and doing things and the dreams were somewhat psychadelic, but now it's always the vivid dreams, where i am constantly being arrested or chased or getting into fights or sometimes worse.  I wake up exhausted after having these traumatic dreams.  It seems to be pretty common with quitting medications and there are a lot of others on this forum dealing with the same issue.  Zelnick is another one.  Some of the nightmares i have now are totally hellish.   I used to have nightmares occasionally when i was younger, but after quitting the medications it's almost nightly.  The entire dream imagery changed after i quit the drugs, everything is depressed now, people are up close and larger than life, and i am often inside of closed buildings, also.  

 

Poetjester

Share this post


Link to post
qupuf
1 minute ago, PoetJester said:

Hi qupuf

 

I still have the vivid dreams and nightmares 5 years after stopping zoloft and zyprexa after being on those drugs for several years.  It's been misery.  I used to have strange dreams of wandering around and doing things and the dreams were somewhat psychadelic, but now it's always the vivid dreams, where i am constantly being arrested or chased or getting into fights or sometimes worse.  I wake up exhausted after having these traumatic dreams.  It seems to be pretty common with quitting medications and there are a lot of others on this forum dealing with the same issue.  Zelnick is another one.  Some of the nightmares i have now are totally hellish.   I used to have nightmares occasionally when i was younger, but after quitting the medications it's almost nightly.  The entire dream imagery changed after i quit the drugs, everything is depressed now, people are up close and larger than life, and i am often inside of closed buildings, also.  

 

Poetjester

But do you also wake up multiple times during sleep? I wouldn't mind the horrific dreams as long as I can get enough sleep but I can't remain asleep. 5 years! I don't think I can do 5 years of this life...

Share this post


Link to post
Gridley
18 minutes ago, qupuf said:

Should I taper off seroquel even tho it's been only like a month?

We take a conservative approach to tapering.  After a month you could be dependent.  We just don't know.  You have to be the one who decides what to do. 

 

Virtually every person on this forum suffers from sleep deprivation.   The fact that you are getting some sleep is very good.  No, it's not perfect sleep or even good sleep, but you are sleeping.  

 

I wouldn't think in terms of five years.  You very well might not have to.  We encourage thinking in terms of best-case, not worst-case.  This is not a pollyanna approach but an approach that helps promote healing.

 

Withdrawal is very hard.  I'm sorry you're having to go through it.

Share this post


Link to post
PoetJester

No, it was only 3-4 hours of sleep a night usually the first three years.  Sometimes i would get no sleep.  Yeah, it is not much of a life.  I look horrible now, with big bags under my eyes.  I had been in very bad health while i was on the drugs where i was sleeping most of the day for eight years.  That's why i stopped them.  

 

There was another poster on this forum a couple of years back who had success normalizing their sleep by going back on the drug they had quit.  I think it was prozac, in this case, and the poster had started out taking very small doses, like .04mg in liquid form for several weeks, increasing the dose a little bit every few days until they got to .4mg of prozac and after about two months or so, and that's when they said their sleep normalized again, and even the dreams became normal again.  I don't remember the poster's name now.  

Share this post


Link to post
Gridley
5 minutes ago, PoetJester said:

There was another poster on this forum a couple of years back who had success normalizing their sleep by going back on the drug they had quit.

 

queue, you need to know that reinstating Lexapro a year after quitting the drug is a risky process.  I wouldn't recommend it. Reinstatement works most predictably within 3 months and even then isn't guaranteed.  The farther out you are, the less chance of it working.

Share this post


Link to post
qupuf
16 minutes ago, Gridley said:

We take a conservative approach to tapering.  After a month you could be dependent.  We just don't know.  You have to be the one who decides what to do. 

 

Virtually every person on this forum suffers from sleep deprivation.   The fact that you are getting some sleep is very good.  No, it's not perfect sleep or even good sleep, but you are sleeping.  

 

I wouldn't think in terms of five years.  You very well might not have to.  We encourage thinking in terms of best-case, not worst-case.  This is not a pollyanna approach but an approach that helps promote healing.

 

Withdrawal is very hard.  I'm sorry you're having to go through it.

Thank you for all the help you've given me. I am sorry I sound dramatic sometimes but my life is a mess right now and I have no idea where or who to turn to. At least now I have a diagnosis thanks to you guys. 

Share this post


Link to post
PoetJester

The poster's user name was Bellatrix if you feel like reading her thread.  She had been on Lexapro for many years before quitting and then having to reinsate when her sleep went to hell.   She hasn't updated her thread recently so it's hard to say if she had continued recovery.  

Share this post


Link to post
qupuf
1 minute ago, PoetJester said:

The poster's user name was Bellatrix if you feel like reading her thread.  She had been on Lexapro for many years before quitting and then having to reinsate when her sleep went to hell.   She hasn't updated her thread recently so it's hard to say if she had continued recovery.  

That's interesting, do you have a link to her story? I'd love to read it.

Share this post


Link to post
PoetJester

I don't know how to post links.  I am kind of computer illiterate over here, having just got my first one a few years back.  If you just type "Bellatrix" in the search box her thread should come up.  

Share this post


Link to post
PoetJester

 

Share this post


Link to post
PoetJester

If you read Bellatrix's entire thread, she had first tried reinstating at a larger dose of Lexapro, 5mg, and had a reaction a few days later and stopped the med, and then some months later started doing the micro dosing of the liquid when she had some success stablizing her sleep.

Share this post


Link to post
qupuf

I only have a pill splitter. How do I take off 10% off the pill?

Share this post


Link to post
PoetJester

It ends up being razor blades and electonic scales if you can afford those things.  You might try seeing if you can get a prescription for a liquid version of the drug, if they have such a thing.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Gridley
5 minutes ago, qupuf said:

I only have a pill splitter. How do I take off 10% off the pill?

This link contains detailed instruction about how to take off 10% of the pill.  

 

Tips for tapering off Seroquel (quetiapine)

 

If you decide to use the scale, the scale many members use is AWS Gemini-20, available on Amazon for around $25 U.S.  

 

Are you on the extended release (ER) or regular release?

Share this post


Link to post
qupuf

I think regular release. Called Quentapin Sandoz 25mg. Ty for the links.

Share this post


Link to post
Gridley
2 minutes ago, qupuf said:

Ty for the links.

 

Happy to help.  Take a look at the link when you can.  It is very thorough and an excellent guide to tapering Seroquel.  

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
qupuf

Also, I wake up multiple times when I sleep very alert and wide awake. I was told it's a symptom of lexapro withdrawal but...

 

Has anyone had such symptoms AND got cured eventually? It's been 2 years and my body has made 0 progress. I can't live like this... 

 

I would give away a limb just to get healed. I'm so desperate. I need to sleep and I haven't slept in 3 years without waking up...

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
qupuf

Hi Alsostrata,

Thank you for replying. At the moment, I am taking irregular doses of Seroquel. The last 2-3 weeks I've been taking one quarter of 25mg of Seroquel by using a pill cutter. I've been tapering off the Seroquel for the last 2 months because I want to quit them. I am getting approx 7-8 hours of sleep but if I don't get +9 hours, it feels like I haven't slept at all. I take painkillers whenever I got massive headache from sleep deprivation. 

I am concerned that taking Seroquel will only hinder my healing process from the Lexapro but I seriously can't go back to sleep after those damn cortisol spikes. I take Seroquel right before I feel sleepy. I can't take them at regular hours because I suffer from a disorder called Non-24 sleep-wake disorder, which means I go to sleep an hour or two later each day. The vivid dreams have not stopped!

Share this post


Link to post
Altostrata

If I were you, I would stop tapering Seroquel for now, let your nervous system settle down from the drug changes. Don't worry about continuing effects from 6.75mg Seroquel, you can taper it later.

 

7-8 hours of sleep a night is not too bad. You can do small things to make your sleep better, see

 

Tips to help sleep -- so many of us have that awful withdrawal insomnia

 

Path to Better Sleep FREE online for everyone from the US Veterans Administration

 

Music for self-care: Calms hyperalertness, anxiety, aids relaxation and sleep

 

What is the sleep cycle?

 

Melatonin for sleep: Many people find it helpful

 

TV or computer use in evening can disrupt sleep: Bright light signals the brain that it's daytime

 

White noise devices for sleep

 

A lot of people find fish oil and magnesium supplements helpful, see
https://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/36-king-of-supplements-omega-3-fatty-acids-fish-oil/
https://survivingantidepressants.org/topic/15483-magnesium-natures-calcium-channel-blocker/

 

Try a little bit of one at a time to see how it affects you.

Share this post


Link to post
qupuf

You are right, 7-8 hours of sleep is supposed to be good but for some reason I need to go back to sleep one last time or else I feel like I am completely sleep-deprived.

Anyways, I seem to be currently in a "wave" because until recently, I could go back to sleep with only a quarter of 25 mg Seroquel until a few days ago. Last night I took a full 25 mg Seroquel and slept well. The quarter of 25 mg isn't doing the trick anymore. How long do you think I should keep taking seroquels?

Do you know if taking Seroquel will hinder my Lexapro withdrawal? It's been years, man. I don't want to reverse it.

 

Also, are vivid dreams a symptom of Lexapro withdrawal?

Sorry for the barrage of questions, I hope you can understand that I am truly in a desperate state and I have no one else to turn to. I've consulted both my specialist (neurologist) and my GP and they both don't know that SSRI withdrawals can last for years. Thank you!

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...

Important Information

Terms of Use Privacy Policy