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Beigebuoy

Beigebuoy: reinstatement questions, stabilization quest

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Beigebuoy

Hi all, 

I'm glad to have finally found a place that provides an explanation for everything I have been going through. Anway, let's get to it I guess. 

I first started taking antidepressants when I was 17 years old (2010) due to a development of Panic Disorder which I now know was caused by trauma as a child from various things, my mother dying being the main reason I suspect, she was also a drug addict so I grew up around a lot things a child shouldn't, I also had no father present.

 

As long as I can remember I have also suffered from OCD, I obviously wasn't aware what it was as a child but the characteristics were there. I originally was started of on Zoloft for a couple of months but it had no effect, moved onto Citalopram, again didn't work. Finally I found my golden ticket, Lexapro. It provided me with the much needed relief I was seeking from my panic and compulsions/rumination. It worked great. At the beginning I don't really remember suffering many side effects except for dampened emotions and a slightly decreased libido. Since beginning on Lexapro I was on and off it a lot to be honest and from memory never experienced much difficulty withdrawing, nothing acute anyway although I did always get some brain zaps, thinking back now I always welcomed the return of a natural emotional range, It was like I could breathe again. I have not been on it full time since I started and the longest I spent off it was 2.5 - 3 years and was seemingly doing okay.

 

I went back on medication when I went overseas at the beginning of 2018 as travelling seemed to heighten my pre-existing mental health issues, again, it worked a treat. OCD and rumination out the window! I had a bit of dramatic year in 2018 and was out partying a lot to ease the pain and by the end of the year I decided I wanted to make real change, tackle my demons head on, come off meds, get super healthy and focus hard on my acting. This is when my hell started.

 

The first two months of 2019 were great, I was running every second day, I had started a course at uni and I was sober and enjoying it! By May my rumination and OCD skyrocketed, existential dread, a loss of purpose and hope, you name it. I was plagued by what I can only describe as feelings of tension all throughout my guts and inner body. My torso just became ( and still is ) so tight and stiff, lots of pain in my back, neck and shoulders, restricted movement, it's by far my most uncomfortable symptom, especially my diaphragm. I now know this is due to my nervous system taking such a hit by being exposed to such change so quickly but Its left me confused as I have always fast tapered and never experienced anything like this.

 

I went back to my doctor assuming that I needed to go back on medication, my theory was the combination of quitting substance abuse and medication had opened the floodgates to a lot of pent up unresolved trauma and overloaded my system ( I will also add from 17-21 I pretty much did 0 drugs and 21 onwards dabbled very rarely) truth is, I had every intention of feeling my emotions properly and still do but something was different this time round. I have been in physical hell for over a year now, stiff, sore, restless, you name it.

 

I started back on Lexapro around June - July last year but I found it didn't do too much. My new psych had me try Fluoxetine for a bit but it didnt do anything at all. By the end of the year I started to come off it again and truth be told, the lower I got in dosage, the better I was feeling. I might also mention that for the majority of 2018 I was at a dose of 10mg, nothing too high. In the past when I was younger I had gone up to 20-25 but haven't been on that high of a dose consistently for a long time. I did go back up to 20 briefly last year after reinstating as I was desperate and thought the more the better but it didnt change anything.

 

I have now been off Lexapro again for around 6 weeks, I have definitely experienced what I now know as waves and windows, I'm a pretty intuitive person and I can tell you that my mind and body scream at the idea of ingesting that drug again. I only found this website last week so I have only just found out about reinstatement and all of the things that are discussed here. Reinstatement at a low dose has crossed my mind as an option so I can begin a slower taper down the track and stabilize my symptoms however based on the fact that I stopped and started again last year without too much alleviation from the negative symptoms I feel as though I should just keep going, as tough as it is. My psychological symptoms have largely improved, I have had a slight decrease in the general tension I have talked about which is good. I also have moments where I feel real emotion which I actually like, sure it feels like I may cry sometimes (although I never really truely do)  but thats all i have ever wanted for a long time, to let go off all this weight I have carried from my trauma.

 

Anyway I thought I would get some opinions from you guys as to whether I should try reinstating or just keep fighting the good fight. I don't know if I am extremely resilient or if my symptoms are bad but not AS bad as other peoples but I have somehow managed to hold down a job, try my best at exercise, stay sober for 90 percent of the last year and work hard towards my goals. Its been so so uncomfortable, but I'm a battler and i fear if I stop I won't start again. I wonder if the worst is over? I mean I reinstated for 5 months and have honestly noticed more positive changes since stopping the medication all together once more. I am thankful for my positive mindset, at the moment I am not feeling suicidal which I was for a time, I want to be alive, I meditate a lot, write a gratitude list every day and do what I can to keep moving forward. I really really don't want to take meds again but I understand it may help...

 

I will mention again that I have ALWAYS fast tapered under the advice of my old Psych and never had this happen before, why now? Anway, some direction may help, I'm thinking about sticking it out, im certainly not feeling comfortable but currently doing all I can besides actually taking the tablets themselves. At this point the physical is more unbearable than the mental but im pushing forward, any insight would be much appreciated.

 

Thanks guys.

Edited by manymoretodays
moved to intros, spacing, bolding

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Gridley

Welcome to SA, Beigebuoy.

 

I'm a little confused about your last round with the Lexapro.  What date did you go back on the Lexapro?  Was in June-July, 2019.  What dosage were you on?   Did you stop around Dec. 1? What was the last dosage you were taking before you jumped to zero? Did you start taking Fluoxetine during this period?

 

What are your symptoms and when did they start?  The reason why it never happened before is that the more times you go off a drug at a fast taper, the more sensitized your central nervous system becomes.  This is known s kindling.  You might "get away with it" a few times but effects of those fast tapers mount up and there comes a point when withdrawal hits hard.

 

We recommend tapering by no more than 10% of your current dose every 4 weeks.  Doctors know nothing about withdrawal or safe tapering and invariably taper their patients too fast.

 

Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

 

Here is some information on withdrawal that will help explain what you're experiencing.

 

What is withdrawal syndrome.

 

Daily Checklist of Antidepressant Withdrawal Symptoms (PDF)

 

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. 

 

You mentioned reinstatement   Reinstatement of a very small dose of the original drug is the only known way to help alleviate withdrawal syndrome.  The only other alternative, which is one you mentioned, is to try and wait out the symptoms and manage as best you can until your central nervous system returns to homeostasis.  Unfortunately no one can give you an exact timeline as to when you will start feeling better and while some do recover relatively easily, for others it can take many months or longer.  

 

Reinstatement isn't a guarantee of diminished symptoms for everyone but it's the best tactic available.  You're still in the time period where reinstatement predictably works, up to 3 months after last dose.  It is best to reinstate as soon as possible after withdrawal symptoms occur. We usually suggest a much smaller reinstatement dose than your last dose.  These drugs are strong, and when reinstating it is better to start with a small amount and increase if symptoms remain unbearable. Your system has become sensitized and If you take too much it may be too much for your brain and can cause you become unstable.   Once you've stabilized on that dosage, which can take several months,  you can begin a 10% per month taper down to zero.  Please read:

 

About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms. -- at least the first page of the topic

 

If reinstatement is something you want to consider, let us know.  After you've answered the questions I asked above about your last round of Lexapro, we can suggest a reinstatement dosage, which will be very small.  :Please do not reinstate without letting us suggest a dosage.

 

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. 

 

Magnesium, nature's calcium channel blocker 

 

Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil) 

 

Add in one at a time and at a low dose in case you do experience problems.

 

This is your Introduction topic, where you can answer my questions, ask your own and connect with other members.  We're glad you found your way here.

 

 

 

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Beigebuoy

Hey Gridley,

 

Thanks for responding.

 

I was on 5mg when I jumped to Zero and yes it was around the start of December last year. 
 

I originally stopped taking Lexapro at the beginning of 2019 and was off it for 2 or 3 months before reinstating. It wasn’t doing much so I was switched to fluoxetine and then subsequently switched back to lexapro which I discontinued towards the end of the year as I found little relief. 
 

I’ve actually managed to track down an Integrative Psych who does not prescribe Psycho-stimulants or Benzos and who has a special interest in getting people off the medication properly. I’m yet to meet him but I’m hoping he has some awareness of all of this. I feel like reinstatement May be futile at this point? However like I mentioned in my original post after I reinstated the less I started taking the better I felt, then felt even better when stopping completely. Now since being off it 6 weeks I feel a little worse but not unable to function completely, I refuse to let it ruin my life completely! I’m just trying to figure out what to do next.  

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Beigebuoy

Also I forgot to add symptoms:

 

They consist of Brain Zaps (which I’ve had before), fatigue sometimes, extremely rigid and tense torso and diaphragm, feeling like my insides are tied in knots and just never being truely relaxed I guess. Taking a big breath often feels uncomfortable as the range of movement seems limited. 

 

Last year my symptoms also included extreme OCD/intrusive thoughts (which I was being treated for already) as well as rumination, depression (definitely the most depressed I have ever been) and also food sensitivity’s and histamine Intolerance. I might add though that the gut issues started much before this intense withdrawal period first surfaced! Back in 2016. I can attribute these issues to chronic stress/sympathetic activation as well as chronic use of antacids which messed me up. I’m sure the SSRIS played a part but were not all to blame I don’t think. I first developed problems when I was in the midst of being off meds for almost 3 years and was not looking after my Health and taking antacids prescription antacids everyday. These gut issues are still ongoing but are getting better, I see a naturopath and a Chinese doctor for this. 

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Altostrata

Welcome, Beigebuoy.

 

How long have you been having brain zaps?

 

I'd like to know which drugs you've been on in the last year, at what dosages, with start and stop dates.

 

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.

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Beigebuoy

Hey Alto

I have been having the brain zaps since stopping around the start of December last year. 
 

In the last year I have been on Fluoxetine and Lexapro. 

 

I reinstated Lexapro around Feb-March last year however I found it wasn't working so went to my psych and jumped across to Fluoxetine directly for a few months. 

Was on Fluoxetine until June/July, mainly at 20mg but tried 40 for a bit and then swapped back to Lexapro at a dosage equivalent to 20mg Fluoxetine.

 

Stayed on Lexapro until December last year when I fast tapered from 10mg. I had a biref moment of increased dosage (20mg) out of desperation I suppose but felt it was too much. 

Been experiencing what I now know as withdrawal symptoms since January 2019. 

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Beigebuoy

I’m considering reinstating tomorrow at a dose of 2.5 just to stabilise a bit. It feels like I’ve had improvements and windows aren’t as bad but I don’t wanna make it harder than I have to. Do you guys have any feedback? 

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Beigebuoy

Hey guys, 

Since my last post I have reinstated Lexapro. I started at 2.5 and have ended up back at 10 which i plan to stay at. It was the dosage I was taking originally came off just over a year ago. Just wondering if you had any further tips or insight into how long it may take to level out. I might add I've had improvement already and windows of feeling quite good compared to what it has been like over the last 14 months.

Thanks!

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pinciukas
2 hours ago, Beigebuoy said:

Hey guys, 

Since my last post I have reinstated Lexapro. I started at 2.5 and have ended up back at 10 which i plan to stay at. It was the dosage I was taking originally came off just over a year ago. Just wondering if you had any further tips or insight into how long it may take to level out. I might add I've had improvement already and windows of feeling quite good compared to what it has been like over the last 14 months.

Thanks!

I reinstated Seroxat and I got better in a few days and after one month i believe I am stable

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Beigebuoy

That’s good to hear. What dose did you reinstate at?

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pinciukas
16 minutes ago, Beigebuoy said:

That’s good to hear. What dose did you reinstate at?

I did two reinstatement’s once 1.5 mg and after 2 weeks 2 mg more so in total 3.5 mg. So it is not bad I am now on 9 mg and i feel like on 20 mg where i was two years ago. 20 mg was my dose all the time. So i hope i can stay now on 9 mg for a few months and then tapper down more slowly.

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Beigebuoy
On 1/14/2020 at 6:40 AM, Altostrata said:

Welcome, Beigebuoy.

 

How long have you been having brain zaps?

 

I'd like to know which drugs you've been on in the last year, at what dosages, with start and stop dates.

 

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.

Hey Alto, 

 

I now realise I wasn’t hitting the quote button you may not have been getting my replies. I have answered you’re questions below. 

 

Im actually up to 10mg of lexapro at the moment. I started with 2.5, then 5 and took it to 10 because I felt I could. Been at 10mg for 2 weeks and have definitely noticed improvements since reinstating but still not stable. It’s definitely not absolutely unbearable anymore.

 

Im wondering should I just stay at 10 and give myself system time? I’m not sure if increasing is necessary or not at this point... I have a script for the liquid form to increase by even smaller amounts if necessary but I thought I’d give it a couple of months as 10mg was my dose when I came off the meds at the start of last year so going higher seems unecessary?

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Altostrata

Good to hear reinstatement is working. I would stay at 10mg for a while, it's probably plenty. Give your system time to settle down.

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