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EmergingFromTheVoid -- Escitalopram taper

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EmergingFromTheVoid

Hello All,

 

I'm new here and I'm still learning so please bare with me. 

 

I have been on antidepressants for approximately 8 years. I was on a combination of Escitalopram and Wellbutrin.

I was taking up to 30 mg a day of Escitalopram with the Wellbutrin (unsure of dosage) for several years.

About 5 years ago I tapered off the Wellbutrin because of the nasty side effects.

About 3 years ago I tapered down to 20 pm per day of the Escitalopram.

I have been in twice-monthly talk therapy for 3 months and plan to continue for at least another 4 or 5 months, maybe more.

I started to taper down my Escitalopram on October 18th, 2019. I cut my dose by 50%, down to 10 mg per day. I know that it is a drastic taper and that I should do it more gradually, but I have adjusted well so far. I journal daily to keep track of my mood, energy level, etc. I have had a few days, early in this taper from 20 mg to 10 mg per day, where I've had a bad headache, a few hours of nausea and some difficulty sleeping. It should be noted that I am also in surgical menopause, thanks to a very needed total hysterectomy that I had earlier this year.

 

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EmergingFromTheVoid

Updated the title of my post to be more accurate. 

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EmergingFromTheVoid

I can't tell you what a difference this taper is making in my life. I'm "feeling" again and because I'm in therapy, if I'm struggling with something, my therapist helps me figure it out. She says she's just a sounding board, but she has recommended some really helpful books and resources. I know that for me anyhow, I was hiding behind my medication until I was ready to face what had caused my depression, anxiety, panic attacks, etc. I don't know if I will ever be 100% free of my antidepressant, but I can hope! 🙂

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EmergingFromTheVoid

I'm curious about how others feel about the taper & therapy route. It's helping me calm my mind, solve issues and emotional problems as they arise, and gives me moral support as I taper. I think it's a fantastic duo.

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EmergingFromTheVoid

I think that it's it's incredibly important to be in a low-stress, calming atmosphere while tapering, if possible. I'm in a good place mentally, so the taper is going well -- could it be related, I wonder? 

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Gridley

Welcome to SA, EmergingFromTheVoid.

 

We recommend tapering by no more than 10% of current dose every four months.

 

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

 

Your 50% drop was, obviously, more than we recommend.  How are you feeling?  Please be aware that withdrawal symptoms can be delayed.  At the 10mg level, it becomes especially important to taper slowly to avoid withdrawal symptoms.  

 

 
 
Once you've let us know how you're feeling, we can advise you further.  Please do not make any further changes to your dosage.
 
This is your Introduction topic, where you can ask questions and connect with other members.  Again, welcome.
 
 
 
 

 

 

Edited by Gridley
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EmergingFromTheVoid

Hi Gridley,

 

Thank you for the welcome. 

 

I know that a 10% drop is what you guys and gals recommend. It's also quite possible that my 50% drop from 20 mg to 10 mg was fine for me -- everyone reactions differently, right? 

 

I have had a few days, early in this taper from 20 mg to 10 mg per day, where I've had a bad headache, a few hours of nausea and some difficulty sleeping. It should be noted that I am also in surgical menopause, thanks to a very needed total hysterectomy that I had earlier this year -- I've had some trouble sleeping since my surgery. 

 

No more headaches, no more nausea and I sleep fairly well.

 

I love that I feel more like me. It's like I've been living under a cloud and the sky is beginning to clear! 

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Markolo1980

I agree that u should stay on this dosage for some time now. As @Gridley says wd symptoms can delay. That’s exactly what happened to me. 
 

regarding being in less stressful situation during tapering sure does help.

 

I hope you have a calm journey.

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Gridley
52 minutes ago, EmergingFromTheVoid said:

No more headaches, no more nausea and I sleep fairly well.

 

 

I'm glad you're doing well.  I would hold where you are for three months to let your system catch up to the lower dose.  If you're doing well at that point, you could begin a 10% taper.

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EmergingFromTheVoid
34 minutes ago, Markolo1980 said:

I agree that u should stay on this dosage for some time now. As @Gridley says wd symptoms can delay. That’s exactly what happened to me. 
 

regarding being in less stressful situation during tapering sure does help.

 

I hope you have a calm journey.

 

As much as I'd like to get off of my antidepressant quickly, I'll do the safe thing and hold for 3 months. 

 

Thank you!

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EmergingFromTheVoid

I was going to wait 3 months, but I've decided, after more research, that I'm going to drop my dose by another 50% starting today, from 10mg to 5mg per day of Escitalopram.

 

I understand and appreciate that this site advises 10% drops and only after long holds, but everyone is different and reacts differently.

 

Situations, medical histories, supplements and mental states all vary, so how my body and mind deals with it all, and the way my body reacts, is unique to me. 

 

I'm not advocating that others do this. It is a calculated risk that I am willing to take. 

 

I'll update as time passes and thanks for your support.

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sunnysideup69

Hi, EFTV.

Of course everyone is different, and I wish you well, but that's a super fast taper. You've cut by 75 percent in less than a month. As a friendly passer by, and as someone who upped and downed on Citalopram, I wouldn't recommend it. Your brain and CNS won't have had time to adjust to the first 50 per cent yet.

 

I certainly wish I hadn't cut Citalopram by 50 per cent at a time, but I did it, and my CNS is now paying the price. 

Wishing you well,

SSU 

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EmergingFromTheVoid
19 minutes ago, sunnysideup69 said:

Hi, EFTV.

Of course everyone is different, and I wish you well, but that's a super fast taper. You've cut by 75 percent in less than a month. As a friendly passer by, and as someone who upped and downed on Citalopram, I wouldn't recommend it. Your brain and CNS won't have had time to adjust to the first 50 per cent yet.

 

I certainly wish I hadn't cut Citalopram by 50 per cent at a time, but I did it, and my CNS is now paying the price. 

Wishing you well,

SSU 

 

Hi SSU, 

 

Yes, this is a fast taper, but what many people don't tell you is that lots of people can come off them safely at this rate. Those who have, never visit a site like this because they do well and don't need the help and resources that a site like this offers. That's not to diminish how some, including yourself, have suffered, but to give some guidance to others who are doing a fast taper, instead of just quitting cold turkey (a horrible idea). 

 

So many factors influence how well a person tolerates the changes. If nothing else, and if by chance this doesn't go well, my example may help others understand the process from the start of a fast taper, good or bad. I think that it's important to have fast tapers represented too. 

 

I'll be updating regularly, good or bad. 

 

Thank you for the well wishes. 🙂

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Katy398

Hi emergingfromthevoid,

Welcome. I’m so pleased that your taper is working for you. I did a fast track taper from lexapro and I left it too long it to reinstate when symptoms appeared. I now have discovered lexapro is twice as strong as other antidepressants. I was on 40mgs it’s only licensed for 20mgs. 

Just bear all this in mind when you do your taper. Also remember you can reinstate by a small dose within 3 months of taking your last dose if you do experience withdrawal symptoms and then taper that lower dose slower. For me I wished I’d reinstated to avoid these horrible symptoms.  For sure we are all different. Be mindful on your journey and follow what your body is telling you, rather than the calendar dates. 

I really hope all goes well for you.

take care 

Kx

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EmergingFromTheVoid
9 hours ago, Katy398 said:

Hi emergingfromthevoid,

Welcome. I’m so pleased that your taper is working for you. I did a fast track taper from lexapro and I left it too long it to reinstate when symptoms appeared. I now have discovered lexapro is twice as strong as other antidepressants. I was on 40mgs it’s only licensed for 20mgs. 

Just bear all this in mind when you do your taper. Also remember you can reinstate by a small dose within 3 months of taking your last dose if you do experience withdrawal symptoms and then taper that lower dose slower. For me I wished I’d reinstated to avoid these horrible symptoms.  For sure we are all different. Be mindful on your journey and follow what your body is telling you, rather than the calendar dates. 

I really hope all goes well for you.

take care 

Kx

 

Hi Katy398,

 

Thank you for the warm welcome. 🙂

 

I'm sorry to hear that things haven't gone well for you with your Lexapro taper. Wow! 40 mgs a day is a lot! I think that max dose in Canada is 30 mgs a day.

 

So far I've had a few headaches, 2 evenings with some nausea (may have just eaten too much), and I feel a bit more tired than usual. I'm down to 5 mgs per day and other than the symptoms mentioned above, I feel exponentially better than I have in many years. 

 

What kinds of symptoms would require a small increase in dosage to stabilize? I feel like things are going well enough for me that I can continue the 2 week, 50% drop rate, but you're right to recommend that I listen to my body, not the callander dates. I journal every day (a bit annoying) and it helps me track my mood, emotions, any med. reduction symptoms, etc.

 

Some positives to my taper are:

* Reduced by about 80% - anxiety, panic and panic attacks 

* My memory is much better - able to think more clearly, retain information more easily, and I am having some memories emerge from childhood (mostly good ones).

* I sleep less (I was sleeping far too much)

* I don't feel the brain fog

* I feel more "real" and "alive"

* I'm actually able to focus on getting through, and past the issues that made my life so bad that I needed these antidepressants in the first place.

* I'm healing (mentally, psychologically and spiritually)

* I fall asleep much faster and have better quality sleep

 

I must say that being in therapy twice monthly is incredibly helpful. I don't feel like I'm alone during this critical time. It's really important to trust your therapist and it's not always easy to fine one who is "right" for you and your situation (the trauma that you've suffered through).

 

Some reading material that's been really helpful for me:

(I hope it's ok that I've added the links below)

 

When Panic Attacks: The New, Drug-Free Anxiety Therapy That Can Change Your Life

 

Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy

 

The Feeling Good Handbook: The Groundbreaking Program with Powerful New Techniques and Step-by-Step Exercises to Overcome Depression, Conquer Anxiety, and Enjoy Greater Intimacy

 

I sincerely hope that things improve for you too. 

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mdwstrx

Hi.  

Great to hear you're doing well!  I'd like to share my story for you to consider as you're making large cuts.

 

I too dropped by large cuts arriving at 2.5 mg. last year with little wd.  Over a year and a half, I went from 20 >15>10>7.5>2.5.  Holding at 2.5 mg. for 3 months.  

The Dr. told me to stop at 2.5 mg. saying it's a routine jump off dosage.  In fact, he said some stop at 5 mg. I stopped at 2.5 mg.  

 

By day 4, I felt panic and  other withdrawal coming on.  Scared, I immediately re-instated the 2.5 mg.  The Dr said go to 5 >7.5>10 mg. as wd worsened.  Found this website and held at 7.5 mg. My nervous system had crashed.  I descended into a 4 month horrific withdrawal.   Symptoms morphed but included all the terrible things others here have gone through.  The worst by far was the akathisia.  Thank Jesus, I emerged from the chaos and have since begun a slow successful-to-date-taper. 

 

Bottom line, There is risk. once the CNS is destabilized, all bets are off.  Hope this helps you to decide the right course of action for yourself.

 

Wishing you a safe and symptom free journey.

Mdwstrx

 

 

 

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Katy398
5 hours ago, EmergingFromTheVoid said:

What kinds of symptoms would require a small increase in dosage to stabilize?

Oh my word, for you to ask this question things really are going very well for you at the moment!! Congratulations!

Emergingfromthevoid, you will know. If you don’t think you can live with the symptom for years then reinstate. Which symptom is hard to say. 

The morning cortisol rush seems to be very common. If you ever wake with a feeling of worry/anxiety/ fear/sheer panic/ terror for no apparent reason then ask for advice immediately. The latter has been one of my symptoms for 10 months, I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. 

Good luck with your journey keep writing notes and listen very closely to your body. It’s actually quite refreshing to hear a smooth story about coming off these scandalous drugs. 

Take care Kx

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EmergingFromTheVoid
8 hours ago, mdwstrx said:

Hi.  

Great to hear you're doing well!  I'd like to share my story for you to consider as you're making large cuts.

 

I too dropped by large cuts arriving at 2.5 mg. last year with little wd.  Over a year and a half, I went from 20 >15>10>7.5>2.5.  Holding at 2.5 mg. for 3 months.  

The Dr. told me to stop at 2.5 mg. saying it's a routine jump off dosage.  In fact, he said some stop at 5 mg. I stopped at 2.5 mg.  

 

By day 4, I felt panic and  other withdrawal coming on.  Scared, I immediately re-instated the 2.5 mg.  The Dr said go to 5 >7.5>10 mg. as wd worsened.  Found this website and held at 7.5 mg. My nervous system had crashed.  I descended into a 4 month horrific withdrawal.   Symptoms morphed but included all the terrible things others here have gone through.  The worst by far was the akathisia.  Thank Jesus, I emerged from the chaos and have since begun a slow successful-to-date-taper. 

 

Bottom line, There is risk. once the CNS is destabilized, all bets are off.  Hope this helps you to decide the right course of action for yourself.

 

Wishing you a safe and symptom free journey.

Mdwstrx

 

 

 

 

Hi Mdwstrx,

 

Aww, thank you and for sharing your story with me. I'm so glad that you are recovering and doing well. It gives all of us hope. 

 

When I do get to 2.5 mgs per day, and then to 0 mgs per day, I'll be very careful to note any wd symptoms or strange feelings, etc. I am concerned and aware that things can go badly, but with stuff being rather mild so far, I'm hoping that they will keep going like this. I hope against hope that my cns doesn't crash at some point. 

 

Your kindness and well wishes are very much appreciated. 🙂

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EmergingFromTheVoid
5 hours ago, Katy398 said:

Oh my word, for you to ask this question things really are going very well for you at the moment!! Congratulations!

Emergingfromthevoid, you will know. If you don’t think you can live with the symptom for years then reinstate. Which symptom is hard to say. 

The morning cortisol rush seems to be very common. If you ever wake with a feeling of worry/anxiety/ fear/sheer panic/ terror for no apparent reason then ask for advice immediately. The latter has been one of my symptoms for 10 months, I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. 

Good luck with your journey keep writing notes and listen very closely to your body. It’s actually quite refreshing to hear a smooth story about coming off these scandalous drugs. 

Take care Kx

 

Hi Katy398,

 

Why thank you! 🙂 I'll be keeping closer tabs on myself as my dosage gets lower. I've been trying to carefully track and monitor things since I started my latest taper that began on October 21st, 2019 and so far it's been pretty good. Symptoms have been so mild that I've felt ok with the continued fast taper of 50% drops. 

 

I've never felt that morning cortisol rush but I'll be watching for it now. I'm so sorry that you are dealing with those wd symptoms. Have you been seeing any improvement as the months go by?

 

Thank you for your support -- it means so much to me! 

 

Here's hoping that things continue to go well. *fingers crossed*

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Katy398

Hi emergingfromthevoid,

look to be honest things have got a bit better in 10 months. I no longer have the uncontrollable anger and rage which was pretty scary. I think the anxiety whilst bad still is not as intense and doesn’t seem to burn in my gut quite so much. There are subtle improvements that I hold onto in order to get through. I don’t know what I would have done had I not had such a supportive family. I am so very grateful for my blessings. 

Take care You are doing so well. 

Kx

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EmergingFromTheVoid
On 11/16/2019 at 10:14 PM, Katy398 said:

Hi emergingfromthevoid,

look to be honest things have got a bit better in 10 months. I no longer have the uncontrollable anger and rage which was pretty scary. I think the anxiety whilst bad still is not as intense and doesn’t seem to burn in my gut quite so much. There are subtle improvements that I hold onto in order to get through. I don’t know what I would have done had I not had such a supportive family. I am so very grateful for my blessings. 

Take care You are doing so well. 

Kx

 

Hi Katy398,

 

I'm so glad to hear it! That rage and anger is frightening -- my hubby was like that on an antipsychotic medication. He stopped taking those pills within a month because we were scared of him and what he might do. Do you have a calming environment while at home? Is it fairly stress-free? These things help me a lot. I'm so happy that you have the support of your family -- it can make a huge difference. 

 

I have been more tired of late and I lose energy quickly, but I'm also struggling with my asthma (a constant issue for many years) so that is part of my problem. Our neighbor has also started chain-smoking and it's making it difficult for me to breathe. 😔

I have been put on a new inhaler called Breo Ellipta that should help with my breathing but it takes a few weeks to reach full strength. 

 

It's kind of strange but honestly, coming off theses pills, although important (and I'm taking it very seriously), are seemingly the least of my worries. My wd symptoms are minimal. I'm still waiting for the other shoe to drop, but I might just be one of those who don't suffer very much from coming off an antidepressant. I'm not sure, but I'm counting my blessings and wishing you a gentle journey to full recovery. 

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Katy398

Hi Emergingfromthevoid 

Thanks for your support, it’s really heartwarming. Sorry to hear about your asthma. My word the challenges our lives present us hey. 

I’ve had to remove as much stress as possible from my life. My work have been amazing and have considerably reduced my responsibilities. My wonderful partner runs the house, cooking washing cleaning at the moment. I don’t know what zodiac have done had I not had support.

Remember not everyone goes through this. I truely hope you are one of the lucky ones. Positivity goes a long,  long way. Thanks again for your kind words.

Take care 

best wishes Kx

 

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