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eternalhope: Lexapro damage - Is there hope?


eternalhope

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Hello- 

 

I was prescribed 10mg of lexapro in May 2017 for anxiety due to my increasing concerns for my health. I'm a very petite woman, so even this dose was very activating for me. At that point, I had gone through a major health crisis due to severe stress and I was concerned about anything else that could go wrong. I intended to take the drug for a short time, however with a new job and a move back to San Francisco, a short time turned into 9 months before I could start to taper off. 

 

I started to taper off in April 2018 with a schedule another physician gave me for a 2 month taper. I tried to follow it, but ended up going cold turkey in May. In May, I started getting anxiety about everything, cold sweats, and bad digestion. That summer, the withdrawals went from bad to worse as I had increased anxiety, a panic attack, and horrible intrusive thoughts. I finally decided it was time to see a doctor about it, but she dismissed my withdrawals and assured me that I would return to normal in 1.5 months. By the end of July, I was back in her office, because instead of improving, things were getting worse. I started having suicidal thoughts, things I never had before. She assured me I would be fine, and told me to take Prozac. I was confused and so scared of the drugs at that point, that I didn't know what to do. I knew that the intrusive and suicidal thoughts were not me, and it scared me that the drugs impacted me this way. I tried to take the prescription, but was so frightened to what was happening to me that I couldn't take them. In the next few months, things got so bad that I'm not sure what got me through it besides telling myself that this wasn't me, but the drugs. By the fall time, I left San Francisco, and went to live with my parents. My job let me work remotely till Jan 2019, but I haven't worked since. 

 

Currently, most of the intrusive thoughts are gone, but I still get a lot of debilitating head pain- mostly at the top/back part of my head. It feels like someone hit it & it throbs from noon onward. My sleep is good- about 9 to 10 hours a night. I go running with my dog, but it makes my head feel weird. My digestion isn't great, but I'm eating super healthy: gulten free, eating fish, no caffeine, lots of veggies, and bone broth. I've tried to see what supplements have worked for me, and settled into 4 true hope pills & vitamin D-3, and gaba & magnesium at night. I tried the mind lab pro (ingredients https://www.mindlabpro.com/ingredients/) the past few days to help with the head pain and concentration, but they seem to make the intrusive thoughts more severe. I'm seeing a trauma therapist as the whole withdrawals gave me PTSD.

 

I realize that I need to give my brain time to heal and return back to myself, but I feel afraid that they caused permanent damage. Looking back, I would have withdrawn slower, but I'm trying to forgive myself for this since I wasn't aware I needed to do this. I'm honestly at the end of my rope and it's so hard to see hope in this situation. I'm 28 and I feel like my whole life has been robbed from me. I don't see what else I could be doing to get better, and feel so frustrated that I can't go anywhere without head pain. I feel stuck at my house. I'm a strong believer in God, but my faith feels very small right now. 

 

Is there anything I could try? Anything that worked for others? Or any words of encouragement? Thank you. This forum makes me feel a little less alone in this dark time. 

May 2017 Lexapro 10mg
April 2018 fast taper 

May 2018 Off Lexapro completely

 

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  • Altostrata changed the title to eternalhope Lexapro damage - Is there hope?
  • Administrator

Welcome, EH.

 

I've moved your post to start your Introductions topic, where you can ask questions and post your progress updates.

 

Do you also still have other post-acute withdrawal symptoms, or only the head pain? Does it happen at a particular time of day? How long does it last?

 

Omega-3 fish oil and magnesium supplements tend to be helpful for recovery from PAWS See

 

Magnesium, nature's calcium channel blocker

 

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

 

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

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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Oh my goodness! Sending you love from another Lexapro victim!  💜

 

I ended up seeing a nutritionist for my gut issues (leaky gut) and although I'm still obviously sick with withdrawal from either Lexapro or Effexor (I have a lot of cognitive fog and fatigue and now joint aches (?!)) I feel in a way much healthier than before the cold turkey AND hopefully both of us are setting ourselves up for a better 'kinder to ourselves' life when we eventually come through this x

 

Is the head pain related to how much brain work is involved/the stimulation? My head hurts when I think too hard, so I CAN go out eg to a park with trees, a cinema (dark) or when I'm a passenger in a car vs the driver. My head is starting to hurt now because I'm thinking and I've already done too much this week :blink:

 

 

Lexapro:  2013 -  20 mg, then 30 mg then 40 mg 2016. Cold turkey 4 June 2018. Reinstated August 24 2018 at 5mg (not tapering while I'm tapering the Effexor XR)

Effexor XR -  75mg  7 June 2018, increased to 150mg August 2018. Tapering September 2018 10% first drop, 5% second drops every 4 weeks 07 March 2019 112.5mg, 02 June 2019 112.5mg minus 30 beads

Seroquel 12.5mg - May 2018 - September 2018 prescribed after work stress to augment Lexapro

Phenergen - 10mg as needed from June 2018 - August 2018 for disequilibrium

Rizatriptan - 10mg as needed from June 2018 to December 2018 for "vestibular migraine" onset

Propranalol - June 2018 prescribed for vestibular migraine prevention 80mg;  30mg Oct 2018, 10mg May 2019

Valium -  2.5mg  - intermittent use for withdrawal symptoms

Stemitil - 2003 for cervicogenic dizziness and June 2018 for dizziness/nausea (not effective)

Supplements:  1000mg fish oil x 2 capsules (EPA 180mg + 120mg) 09/09/19 2 x 2000mg (360mg EPA + 240mg DHA each), vitamin C, magnesium diglycinate 3g,. Taurine 3g , vitamin D3, vitex, bone broth, 

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On 10/16/2019 at 4:21 PM, Dizzy4 said:

Is the head pain related to how much brain work is involved/the stimulation? My head hurts when I think too hard, so I CAN go out eg to a park with trees, a cinema (dark) or when I'm a passenger in a car vs the driver. My head is starting to hurt now because I'm thinking and I've already done too much this week :blink:

Thank you @Dizzy4! Yes, I believe the head pain might be due to too much simulation, and stress I might not be aware off. But sometimes I wake up with it hurting, and nothing can ease the pain (even ibuprofen) and it's so debilitating that I often can't leave my house due to it. Road trips are very difficult for me, at the end of it it feels like I cannot even think. And even running at certain times makes my head feel worse. It's just so disheartening because I used to handle very stressful situations, and now little things effect my head. Will this improve? It is just my brain healing? 

 

Thank you for the encouragement!

May 2017 Lexapro 10mg
April 2018 fast taper 

May 2018 Off Lexapro completely

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Eternal.

 

Could you please answer Alto's questions.

 

Sassenach

Escitalopram 10mgs from mid 2007 ( can't remember exact date) to 11th Dec 2018

Fentanyl patches ( don't remember dose ) from Nov 2014 to 11 Dec 2018

Quit both cold turkey Dec 2018

Reinstated 3rd March 2019 2.5 mgs.

Updosed  8March to 5mgs and holding

25/11/19 Started taper 4.5mgs and holding

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner

If you are going through Hell, keep going. NCIS series 15, David MaCallum:rolleyes:

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Hi Sassenach, 

 

My original post touched on a few of Alto's questions, but I'll further specify. Thank you for the help, much appreciated. 

Current post-withdrawal symptoms: 

muscle trembling

intrusive thoughts still, just not as intense or scary as before

ringing in the ear occasionally 

hormones seem to be out of balance a bit

withdrawn 

fatigue, though this is improving 

not much interest in doing much

easily overwhelmed

cannot handle much stress

some brain fog

 

My head pain- it's not like a headache, it's just different parts of my head hurting, or maybe it's the nerves there. Sometimes it's my left back, or right back, sometimes it's the center of my head, usually it's the center. It's usually in the afternoons, but comes randomly. Like this past Saturday, I woke up with a lot of head pain & could not do anything that day. I tried to take ibuprofen and it didn't diminish the pain at all. I keep a journal recording my head pain, and it's helped track it, but I still do not see many causes or what to do to relieve it. 

 

I take magnesium before bed time with gaba. I tried to take fish oil, but it was causing skin breakouts, another thing I do not want to stress about. Now, I just try to eat wild caught salmon a few times a week. I also drink lots of bone broth, run 2 miles a day, and eat very health. I'm just very frustrated at how long it's taking to heal, and I worry that I'll always have these problems. 

 

 

 

May 2017 Lexapro 10mg
April 2018 fast taper 

May 2018 Off Lexapro completely

 

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  • Administrator

To help us out, follow these instructions Please put your drug and withdrawal history in your signature You may need to use a computer to do this.

 

Have you tried acupuncture for the head pain? Is it on your scalp or inside your head?

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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I have tried acupuncture the last few weeks, and it seems to give some improvement, but not much. The pain is inside my head. 

May 2017 Lexapro 10mg
April 2018 fast taper 

May 2018 Off Lexapro completely

 

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I'm sorry.. that is a lot of pain. I have only what I would describe as ache (at the base of the skull and in the eyeballs on bad days).

 

With regards to handling stress , my reactions would be so strong for the first say 12 months post lexapro - like I would want to be burst in to tears or if I was startled it was like a physical (electrical?) jolt in my body. I was SO sensitive.  This (16 months later) has settled down and I think its because I've laid low for many months (I'm also still on a few meds!). Some times when my kids (boys 9 and 10) push my buttons I wait for the reaction in my body but its just not happening anymore. I am very very careful with my sleep though, a couple of bad nights and I do feel the potential for a setback to occur. 

 

I can't remember, do you use heat (like wheat packs on your neck)? I love heat so much! 

Lexapro:  2013 -  20 mg, then 30 mg then 40 mg 2016. Cold turkey 4 June 2018. Reinstated August 24 2018 at 5mg (not tapering while I'm tapering the Effexor XR)

Effexor XR -  75mg  7 June 2018, increased to 150mg August 2018. Tapering September 2018 10% first drop, 5% second drops every 4 weeks 07 March 2019 112.5mg, 02 June 2019 112.5mg minus 30 beads

Seroquel 12.5mg - May 2018 - September 2018 prescribed after work stress to augment Lexapro

Phenergen - 10mg as needed from June 2018 - August 2018 for disequilibrium

Rizatriptan - 10mg as needed from June 2018 to December 2018 for "vestibular migraine" onset

Propranalol - June 2018 prescribed for vestibular migraine prevention 80mg;  30mg Oct 2018, 10mg May 2019

Valium -  2.5mg  - intermittent use for withdrawal symptoms

Stemitil - 2003 for cervicogenic dizziness and June 2018 for dizziness/nausea (not effective)

Supplements:  1000mg fish oil x 2 capsules (EPA 180mg + 120mg) 09/09/19 2 x 2000mg (360mg EPA + 240mg DHA each), vitamin C, magnesium diglycinate 3g,. Taurine 3g , vitamin D3, vitex, bone broth, 

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • Administrator

EH, how are you doing?

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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Hi Altostrata, 

 

Thank you so much for checking in! It's refreshing to have a forum where people actually care about you. 

 

The past 2 weeks were so terrible, the head pain got increasingly worse and it was like electric shocks on my brain (probably brain zaps but lasted all day). I've been taking raw royal jelly, and I think it's purging the medicine from my head or resetting my brain. IDK how to describe it but I think it's helping, even though it's been such a horrible 2 weeks that I thought I was dying. I would wake up and it felt like my brain was hit by a bus. I couldn't get out of bed. 

 

This past week the electric shock is gone, though I do have head pain still here and there. I've just been laying low and watching survivor to distract myself. It's just so scary and I feel discouraged, it feels like I'll never be back to my old self & I'll always live with some sort of ramification from taking lexapro. 

 

Even today, I woke up and felt ok, but my thoughts just seemed to be repeating themselves. Lexapro definitely caused intrusive thoughts and OCD, maybe this is something along those lines. It's just disheartening. 

May 2017 Lexapro 10mg
April 2018 fast taper 

May 2018 Off Lexapro completely

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

EH, of course nobody can say for sure, but I would have to say that almost everyone I have met who has gone through what you are going through does eventually get much, much better. Impossible to say if they are back to where they would have been without the meds, because the whole experience changes us so much, and no scientific studies have been done about what changes happen with long term use of these drugs (like a year or more). However, my impression is that almost everyone gets to a place eventually where they are able to live a life they can be happy with, at least as far as drug-related effects on happiness. (I can't vouch for things like career satisfaction or marriages etc!)

 

I think there is a lot of reason for hope. It does, however, often take people a lot longer than they expected, and always longer than anyone would like. I'm sorry it's so discouraging, I know it's difficult to see improvement, but I think you will get there eventually.

Started on Prozac and Xanax in 1992 for PTSD after an assault. One drug led to more, the usual story. Got sicker and sicker, but believed I needed the drugs for my "underlying disease". Long story...lost everything. Life savings, home, physical and mental health, relationships, friendships, ability to work, everything. Amitryptiline, Prozac, bupropion, buspirone, flurazepam, diazepam, alprazolam, Paxil, citalopram, lamotrigine, gabapentin...probably more I've forgotten. 

Started multidrug taper in Feb 2010.  Doing a very slow microtaper, down to low doses now and feeling SO much better, getting my old personality and my brain back! Able to work full time, have a full social life, and cope with stress better than ever. Not perfect, but much better. After 23 lost years. Big Pharma has a lot to answer for. And "medicine for profit" is just not a great idea.

 

Feb 15 2010:  300 mg Neurontin  200 Lamictal   10 Celexa      0.65 Xanax   and 5 mg Ambien 

Feb 10 2014:   62 Lamictal    1.1 Celexa         0.135 Xanax    1.8 Valium

Feb 10 2015:   50 Lamictal      0.875 Celexa    0.11 Xanax      1.5 Valium

Feb 15 2016:   47.5 Lamictal   0.75 Celexa      0.0875 Xanax    1.42 Valium    

2/12/20             12                       0.045               0.007                   1 

 

I'm not a doctor. Any advice I give is just my civilian opinion.

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On 10/10/2019 at 2:29 PM, eternalhope said:

I'm 28 and I feel like my whole life has been robbed from me. I don't see what else I could be doing to get better, and feel so frustrated that I can't go anywhere without head pain. I feel stuck at my house. I'm a strong believer in God, but my faith feels very small right now. 

 

Hey EH, you are not alone. This is how I felt for much of this past year after going through my withdrawal and trying to stabilize on reinstatement. I’m also close in age to you and had to stop working for a time. It sounds like you are doing a great job with your nutrition and staying proactive.

 

I’m sorry you are experiencing so much head pain. I’ve been there. And you’re right, there’s really not much you could have known beforehand to prevent this.

 

The single best “medicine” for us to heal is the tincture of time. With time, the brain’s neurons will rebuild and repair. Also important is a supportive environment and lifestyle. Are you staying engaged? Have you found some soothing activities you can do? Walks, time spent in gardens/nature, low-tech activities like puzzles or board games. Listen to your body and do what resonates with you. I am a plant-lover and found it very soothing to take care of houseplants and start a garden at my parent’s house while living with them this past year. Any projects like this you could take up?

 

I wish you well and will pray for improvement and healing to come soon. Faith is also very important to me, and I have never cried out in anguish and despair as much as I have during the worst of the waves. It may not seem like it right now in the dark times, but God is in control and He is with you. “Whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is true, think on these things.”

Apr 2018 - 10 mg Amitriptyline (Rx’d by neurologist for headaches & insomnia)

Jul + Aug 2018 - Reduced to 5 mg in July and then 2.5 mg in Aug (was too fast, hellish withdrawal at 2 weeks on 2.5 mg)

Sept 2018 - reinstated 10 mg Amitriptyline (emotional symptoms improved immediately, physical symptoms improved over time)

Oct 2018 - updosed to 11 mg Amitriptyline (compounded pills)

Stabilized in Apr 2019 (had 2 waves while stabilizing).

Began taper at rate of ~0.2 mg per month with liquid/dissolved taper. Current (Aug 2020) 5.3 mg.

 

Supplements: Omega-3 fish oil, Vit B12, coenzyme Q10, Hawthorn extract (for tachycardia)

Tools for insomnia/waves (as needed) : Epsom salt foot soaks, 0.5 mg Melatonin, quality time with supportive friends/family, remembering waves WILL PASS.

Lifestyle: Eat real foods, mostly plants; daily walking (30 min); track symptoms when needed on paper (adapted Glenmullen chart)

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 11/8/2019 at 12:52 PM, Rhiannon said:

I think there is a lot of reason for hope. It does, however, often take people a lot longer than they expected, and always longer than anyone would like. I'm sorry it's so discouraging, I know it's difficult to see improvement, but I think you will get there eventually.

 

@Rhiannon Thank you for commenting. I think it is taking much longer than I expected, but I do see glimpses of my old self. Thank you for the encouragement!

May 2017 Lexapro 10mg
April 2018 fast taper 

May 2018 Off Lexapro completely

 

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On 11/9/2019 at 12:46 AM, composter said:

The single best “medicine” for us to heal is the tincture of time. With time, the brain’s neurons will rebuild and repair. Also important is a supportive environment and lifestyle. Are you staying engaged? Have you found some soothing activities you can do? Walks, time spent in gardens/nature, low-tech activities like puzzles or board games. Listen to your body and do what resonates with you. I am a plant-lover and found it very soothing to take care of houseplants and start a garden at my parent’s house while living with them this past year. Any projects like this you could take up?

@composterYes I do believe with time I'll return mostly to my old self, with full healing. I do work on puzzles, read, and spend time with my pets. I run everyday with my dog as well. I tried gardening too, but the yard isn't good for it. I think time will make the most difference. And I have a great therapist that is also christian that helps me a ton. Thank you for your encouragement. I pray you heal as well and you get back the lost years. 

May 2017 Lexapro 10mg
April 2018 fast taper 

May 2018 Off Lexapro completely

 

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  • ChessieCat changed the title to eternalhope: Lexapro damage - Is there hope?
  • 3 weeks later...
  • Administrator
Altostrata

Hello, @eternalhope How are you doing?

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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