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SolarPlexus: Tips for going off Cipralex/Lexapro?


SolarPlexus

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Hi, new member here. This forum is a God-send. A few years ago I was casually put on Cipralex (a.k.a Lexapro) within 15 minutes of talking to a shrink and stayed on it for 2 years. Although I tapered off it slowly, I had a panic attack for the first time in my life when I went off it, followed by a period of mild anxiety, then all of a sudden many months later I was hit with a variety of bizarre physical and psychological symptoms such as electromagnetic sensitivity, brain fog, a bizarre and persistent throbbing sensation in the right side of my head, a nervous tick in my right eyebrow, hyperacusis, rage, and suicidal thoughts. Psychiatrists and psychologists passed it all off as extreme stress and anxiety (They all said "You developed a new psychological illness, anxiety, and it's merely a coincidence that you developed it after going off the medicine. Your
symptoms are all psychosomatic.") I have resisted being put back on SSRIs and chose to trust my instincts, insisting that these symptoms are clearly
related to the Cipralex. Online readings and seeing the feedback of others who withdrew from antidepressants have given me the reassurance to continue on my journey of healing naturally, without falling back into the cobwebs of the psycho-pharmaceutical
industry. I was merely a little bit sad when I visited a shrink and needed to talk to someone, not endure a journey of medical hell. I am so happy to have come across a compassionate
and immensely useful forum to help me continue my brave healing journey which,
essentially, I am undertaking on my own. I have endured several recent months of indescribable agony. Some of the coping techniques that are helping me out at the moment include adding a little apple cider vinegar and honey to water first thing in the morning, supplements
(rhodiola rosea in the morning and magnesium before sleep), Reiki, deep breathing, walking, and Somatic Experiencing (a form of alternative therapy to relieve mental and physical trauma-related health problems by focusing on perceived body sensations), as well as chewing gum (helps a lot with the
need to grind my teeth which is one of my withdrawal symptoms). I have also cut out gluten, coffee and alcohol from my diet. I also bought
a teddy bear recently and holding it helps in anxious moments and makes me
feel that I am not alone. Prayer is helpful too as it is immensely reassuring to turn to a higher power for help. I have ups and downs on this
healing journey and I am literally trying everything to help me out. If anyone has been on Cipralex and has any other tips that can help me in my withdrawal process I'd be most grateful if you could please share them. May we all recover soon from our withdrawal experiences 🙏 

Summer 2016 - summer 2018: put on Lexapro, going from 5 mg up to 20 mg over the span of the 2 years (had visited shrink for help with obsessive thinking, was not diagnosed with anything in particular, just prescribed Lexapro 15 mins into first session)

Summer 2018: tapered down by 2.5 mg every few weeks

Protracted withdrawal ever since. 0-14 months began with a massive panic attack that landed me in ER, followed by prolonged anxiety, mental fog and a skin rash on my back. Was regularly consuming alcohol as did not know I was in WD. From then onwards, hit with worse myriad symptoms. Currently at 22 months and have electromagnetic sensitivity, brain zaps, brain fog, memory problems (especially name recall), twitch in right eyebrow, daily waking up at 3 or 4 a.m. with fast heartbeats and "sticky" negative memories, suicidal thoughts, rage episodes, temperature dysregulation, physical numbness & weakness, libido loss.   

 

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  • Moderator

Welcome to SA, SolarPlexus.  I'm sorry you've having this awful experience, which so many of us here share.  The symptoms you list are typical withdrawal symptoms.  We recommend tapering by no more than 10% of your current dose every four weeks.  

 

Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

 

Anything faster than that puts one at risk of withdrawal syndrome, which, as you've discovered, psychiatrists don't even believe exists.  Your experience and all the others' on this site are solid proof that it does.

 

So that you have a better understanding of what you're experiencing, heroes some information on withdrawal and healing.

 

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.  

 

Video:  Healing From Antidepressants - Patterns of Recovery

 

You are already doing many beneficial practices that will help you in withdrawal.  You asked for tips, and we strongly recommend using non-drug methods to cope with withdrawal.  Take a look at the links in the following  link and see which you think might be of benefit to you.

 

Non-drug techniques to cope

 

Here are some technique on dealing with anxiety.

 

Audio:  How to Recover from Anxiety - Dr Claire Weekes
 

VIDEO:  Peace from Nervous Suffering - Claire Weekes (1 hour) (http://sendvid.com/vgquc1dg)
 

Anxiety Stuff - all kinds of stuff about anxiety attacks and things that help …

 

10 minute Restorative Yoga for Relaxation | Up the wall

 

How is your sleep?

 

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, which you're already taking,  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) 

 

Start at a low dose in case you do experience problems.

 

Though some members do well with intense exercise, many find it too stimulating.  A 30-minute gentle walk in nature is good idea. 

 

This is your Introduction topic, where you can ask questions and connect with other members.  You'll find the members and moderators here sympathetic and supportive.  We're glad you found your way here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gridley Introduction

 

Lexapro 20 mg since 2004.  Begin Brassmonkey Slide Taper Jan. 2017.   

End 2017 year 1 of taper at 9.25mg 

End 2018 year 2 of taper at 4.1mg

End 2019 year 3 of taper at 1.0mg  

Oct. 30, 2020  Jump to zero from 0.025mg.  Current dose: 0.000mg

3 year, 10 month taper is 100% complete.

 

Ativan 1 mg 1986-1991 CT, soon reinstated.  CT 2000. RI 1 mg 2011-2016.  Sept. 2016  0.625mg X 3

Nov.27, 2020, 7-week Ativan-Valium crossover + change to one 18.75mg dose, w/1 month hold.

Feb. 9, 2021, begin 10% every 4 weeks taper.  Current dose as of Feb. 23: 16.0mgai.

 

Imipramine 75 mg daily since 1986.  Jan. 2016 began every 3-weeks 10% taper, down to 16mgai (0.44mgpw).  Aug 2016, discovered SA, holding at 16mg.  Taper is 78% complete.  

  

Supplements: omega, vitamins C, E and D3, magnesium glycinate, probiotic, zinc, melatonin .3mg.


I am not a medical professional and this is not medical advice, but simply information based on my own experience, as well as other members who have survived these drugs.

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Dear @Gridley thank you so much for your kind input. I really appreciate it. I was not given guidance on tapering. The Cipralex was given to me so casually (with no info on side effects or withdrawals) that one would think it were candy being handed out. Frequently the doctor in question was traveling and I couldn't reach him for information. I tapered down on my own when I wanted to come off it, reducing by 25% each time (every 6 weeks if I recall correctly) using a pill cutter. I sometimes wonder whether this was a factor in what I am going through now - the fact that the pill cutter could not have been 100% accurate each time. So one time I may have reduced by 25%, another time by 24% etc. There was no other way to reduce it because the pill is only available in dosages of 10 or 20 mg, at least in my country. Regarding anxiety, yes I have been listening to audio books by Dr. Claire Weeks and also read this brilliant book ("Dare" by Barry McDonagh: https://www.amazon.com/Dare-Anxiety-Stop-Panic-Attacks/dp/0956596258/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=dare+anxiety&qid=1580374531&sr=8-1). Both authors have been instrumental in helping me deal with anxiety, which turned out to be the least worrying of my symptoms right now. It's other ailments that are bothering me more and impacting my ability to work and function: brain fog, a really strange sensation in the right side of my head, inability to fully concentrate, and intrusive lingering thoughts. Regarding the sleeping, it has been rather unstable since I started on the Rhodiola Rosea (a week ago), but at the same time I am terrified of going off the Rhodiola because it is keeping my rage and hyper-irritability contained. Before taking it (250 mg a day), my emotions were out of control and I was upsetting people around me, and I was skipping work a lot. I'm aware that I am stuck in a Catch-22, as many others on this forum surely are. But I don't know what else to do at the moment. I have actually asked for extended leave from my work, as it's difficult to work right now. I was on Omega 3 and stopped it. I will go back on it. I also ordered some Melatonin to see if it will help me sleep. If I can get the relief of Rhodiola along with some good sleep, I would be immensely grateful. Once again thanks for your kind help Gridley. Indeed this is a supportive platform and I am so glad I found it. Here is another helpful site for you to know about (if you don't already) as it has lists and explanations of many coping mechanisms: https://withdrawal.theinnercompass.org/  I wish you and everyone else on this journey swift healing.

Summer 2016 - summer 2018: put on Lexapro, going from 5 mg up to 20 mg over the span of the 2 years (had visited shrink for help with obsessive thinking, was not diagnosed with anything in particular, just prescribed Lexapro 15 mins into first session)

Summer 2018: tapered down by 2.5 mg every few weeks

Protracted withdrawal ever since. 0-14 months began with a massive panic attack that landed me in ER, followed by prolonged anxiety, mental fog and a skin rash on my back. Was regularly consuming alcohol as did not know I was in WD. From then onwards, hit with worse myriad symptoms. Currently at 22 months and have electromagnetic sensitivity, brain zaps, brain fog, memory problems (especially name recall), twitch in right eyebrow, daily waking up at 3 or 4 a.m. with fast heartbeats and "sticky" negative memories, suicidal thoughts, rage episodes, temperature dysregulation, physical numbness & weakness, libido loss.   

 

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  • Moderator
4 hours ago, SolarPlexus said:

25% each time (every 6 weeks if I recall correctly) using a pill cutter. I sometimes wonder whether this was a factor in what I am going through now - the fact that the pill cutter could not have been 100% accurate each time. So one time I may have reduced by 25%, another time by 24% etc.

The bigger factor casing your current symptoms was the fast 25% taper rate.

 

Regarding the rosea, here is an SA thread about it.  Some members have had a bad reaction to it (in one case, increased anxiety).  Apparently it is affecting your sleep.  Please be careful with it.

Supplements That Interfere with Antidepressants - Symptoms ...

This link indicates that rosea may be stimulating, which again would affect your sleep.  Again, be careful and weigh the benefits against the problems. Sleep is very important in withdrawal.  Disturbing your sleep with the rosea seems like a high price to pay, though I understand your concerns about the rage.  

 

Study suggesting shr-5 of roots of Rhodiola rosea may be ...

 

Many members have found melatonin to be helpful with sleep.

 

Melatonin for sleep   

 

The important thing is to take the right dosage.  It's best to start at a very low dosage, such as .25mg. Too much can have a paradoxical effect (keep you awake).  I was taking 0.5mg.  When I reduced the dosage by half, to 0.25 my sleep improved.  You can use your pill cutter to make your dose.  It doesn't have to be perfect.  I cut my 1mg pill into half, then cut the halves in half.

 

l

Gridley Introduction

 

Lexapro 20 mg since 2004.  Begin Brassmonkey Slide Taper Jan. 2017.   

End 2017 year 1 of taper at 9.25mg 

End 2018 year 2 of taper at 4.1mg

End 2019 year 3 of taper at 1.0mg  

Oct. 30, 2020  Jump to zero from 0.025mg.  Current dose: 0.000mg

3 year, 10 month taper is 100% complete.

 

Ativan 1 mg 1986-1991 CT, soon reinstated.  CT 2000. RI 1 mg 2011-2016.  Sept. 2016  0.625mg X 3

Nov.27, 2020, 7-week Ativan-Valium crossover + change to one 18.75mg dose, w/1 month hold.

Feb. 9, 2021, begin 10% every 4 weeks taper.  Current dose as of Feb. 23: 16.0mgai.

 

Imipramine 75 mg daily since 1986.  Jan. 2016 began every 3-weeks 10% taper, down to 16mgai (0.44mgpw).  Aug 2016, discovered SA, holding at 16mg.  Taper is 78% complete.  

  

Supplements: omega, vitamins C, E and D3, magnesium glycinate, probiotic, zinc, melatonin .3mg.


I am not a medical professional and this is not medical advice, but simply information based on my own experience, as well as other members who have survived these drugs.

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Thank you Gridley. I will try it with melatonin (at the small dosage you suggested or more if needed later) and if this still doesn't help me to sleep I will try to take the Rhodiola only a few times a week. I just can't imagine going back to the insane hyper-irritability I was in before the Rhodiola. Just a week ago before I started taking this herbal supplement, my nerves were totally cooked and on edge and everything was a trigger for dread or rage or pain. I couldn't look at a computer screen and loud noises were like thunder in my ears. At the moment, walking around like a contained semi-zombie seems a better option than being a 24-7 nervous wreck. Once I settle on a balanced formula that works, I will share it here. Thank you so much for your input!

Summer 2016 - summer 2018: put on Lexapro, going from 5 mg up to 20 mg over the span of the 2 years (had visited shrink for help with obsessive thinking, was not diagnosed with anything in particular, just prescribed Lexapro 15 mins into first session)

Summer 2018: tapered down by 2.5 mg every few weeks

Protracted withdrawal ever since. 0-14 months began with a massive panic attack that landed me in ER, followed by prolonged anxiety, mental fog and a skin rash on my back. Was regularly consuming alcohol as did not know I was in WD. From then onwards, hit with worse myriad symptoms. Currently at 22 months and have electromagnetic sensitivity, brain zaps, brain fog, memory problems (especially name recall), twitch in right eyebrow, daily waking up at 3 or 4 a.m. with fast heartbeats and "sticky" negative memories, suicidal thoughts, rage episodes, temperature dysregulation, physical numbness & weakness, libido loss.   

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm on my 19th month of withdrawal from Cipralex (also sold under the brand name Lexapro). I pretty much had only one withdrawal symptom at the start - anxiety. Then in month 14 I was hit with a barrage of symptoms (physical and psychological). Clearly delayed and portracted withdrawal. Electromagnetic sensitivity, bizarre sensations in my head, brain fog, muscle pain, deep depression, suicidal ideation, you name it. It's been going on ever since. Five months of waves with some windows in between. I have been taking rhodiola rosea for a few weeks which helped my mood but was told herbal supplements delay healing so I started going down by 10%. Today I closed my eyes to try to visualize what a healthy happy future would look like but the mild depression I had pre-meds has multiplied fivefold in withdrawal. I couldn't see anything worthwhile and I started getting suicidal thoughts again. How do I know that this level of depression is not here to stay forever? Has anyone had their depression milden over time in withdrawal? Please help. I feel down in the dumps today. 

Summer 2016 - summer 2018: put on Lexapro, going from 5 mg up to 20 mg over the span of the 2 years (had visited shrink for help with obsessive thinking, was not diagnosed with anything in particular, just prescribed Lexapro 15 mins into first session)

Summer 2018: tapered down by 2.5 mg every few weeks

Protracted withdrawal ever since. 0-14 months began with a massive panic attack that landed me in ER, followed by prolonged anxiety, mental fog and a skin rash on my back. Was regularly consuming alcohol as did not know I was in WD. From then onwards, hit with worse myriad symptoms. Currently at 22 months and have electromagnetic sensitivity, brain zaps, brain fog, memory problems (especially name recall), twitch in right eyebrow, daily waking up at 3 or 4 a.m. with fast heartbeats and "sticky" negative memories, suicidal thoughts, rage episodes, temperature dysregulation, physical numbness & weakness, libido loss.   

 

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Hi SolarPlexus, 

it's one of the hardest things to imagine that we will be healed in the midst of all the turmoil and horror but from everything I have read here the vast majority of people get better. I must have seen 2-3 people still with significant symptoms very far out. This is not here to stay!

 

Are you using any of the non-drug techniques to help? They don't always help but often they do so it might be worth trying. You can have a look at the thread and see. 

 

I hope that things start looking up soon. 

I am out of a week long wave and back in the dumps myself and hope is the only thing that's helping. I thought I'd share it :) 

Aug  2000 - July 2003 (ct, 4-6 wk wd) , citalopram 20 mg ,  xanax prn, wellbutrin for a few months (don't remember dates), trazodone prn 

Dec 2004 - July 2018 citalopram 20 mg

Aug 2018 - citalopram 40 mg (self titrated up), occasionally did this in difficult times 

September 2018 - January 2019 tapered citalopram - 40/30/20/10/5 no issues until a week after reaching 0

Feb 2019 0.25 xanax/day, then 0.5/day (3 weeks) over to klonopin 0.25 once a day to manage severe wd

March 6, reinstated citalopram 2.5 mg (liquid), klonopin 0.25 mg for sleep 2-3 times a week

Apr 1st 2.0 mg (liquid), klonopin 0.25 once a week, April  14 , 2019 - citalopram 1.8 mg (liquid), May 8, 2019 - citalopram 1.6 mg (liquid),  July 27, 2019 - citalopram 1.5 mg (liquid),  August 15, 2019 - citalopram 1.35 (liquid)

 

 supplements:  melatonin 1 mg  

 

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34 minutes ago, Onmyway said:

Hi SolarPlexus, 

it's one of the hardest things to imagine that we will be healed in the midst of all the turmoil and horror but from everything I have read here the vast majority of people get better. I must have seen 2-3 people still with significant symptoms very far out. This is not here to stay!

 

Are you using any of the non-drug techniques to help? They don't always help but often they do so it might be worth trying. You can have a look at the thread and see. 

 

I hope that things start looking up soon. 

I am out of a week long wave and back in the dumps myself and hope is the only thing that's helping. I thought I'd share it :)

Thank you Onmyway 🙏 I'm doing everything I can: Reiki, Somatic Experiencing, praying, journaling, meditation, walking, diet alterations, bibliotherapy (books and audiobooks), magnesium supplement, painting. I even bought a teddy bear to hold for anxious moments. They all help and there are windows and neutral days but when the waves of depression hit they're off the charts. Existential depression questioning the entire meaning of my existence. Anyway I dressed up now and went down to meet a friend to try and change my mood and get out of the house. Listening to Kelly Brogan's audiobook "Own your self" for some relief. I keep repeating to myself the quote of Viktor Frankl: "if there is meaning to life then there must be meaning to suffering." I'm trying to look at this experience as a psychospiritual crisis trying to teach me something. So many things are stressors right now that I'm wondering if my soul is trying to tell me that I need major life changes. Trying to stay hopeful. Prayer helps. Thank you for your kind response. I hope you have a beautiful long window soon. I hope we have permanent windows soon. I hope everyone going through this heals soon. I pray for us all 🙏 Thank you Onmyway. We are hopefully all Onourway 🙏 

Summer 2016 - summer 2018: put on Lexapro, going from 5 mg up to 20 mg over the span of the 2 years (had visited shrink for help with obsessive thinking, was not diagnosed with anything in particular, just prescribed Lexapro 15 mins into first session)

Summer 2018: tapered down by 2.5 mg every few weeks

Protracted withdrawal ever since. 0-14 months began with a massive panic attack that landed me in ER, followed by prolonged anxiety, mental fog and a skin rash on my back. Was regularly consuming alcohol as did not know I was in WD. From then onwards, hit with worse myriad symptoms. Currently at 22 months and have electromagnetic sensitivity, brain zaps, brain fog, memory problems (especially name recall), twitch in right eyebrow, daily waking up at 3 or 4 a.m. with fast heartbeats and "sticky" negative memories, suicidal thoughts, rage episodes, temperature dysregulation, physical numbness & weakness, libido loss.   

 

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@SolarPlexus

 

Hi SolarPlexus,

 

I’m truly sorry that you are going through this right now. Unfortunately I don’t have any answers yet. But for me in a window the depression in minor to non existent. So it definitely does get better. From the way you described your current stage in withdrawal I’m in the exact same situation as you as far as the depression symptoms. So hopefully this gives you some comfort that you’re not alone in this. Because for me that was huge that I wasn’t alone in this. I hope this gives you some comfort. Also I could be wrong but I remember reading on here that depression was the last stage. I can’t find the post anymore. But please don’t take my word for it because at the time I wasn’t dealing with depression I was in the panic stage. If you ever need to talk I’m here for you. No one should have to go through this alone it’s already hard enough. Wish you the best, Anthony 

1993 - 2003 (Prozac 40mg)

2003 – 2/1/17 (Paxil 40mg)

4/10/18 – Present (Paxil 50mg)

1993 - Present (Klonopin 2mg) 

1996 - Present (Levothyroxine 100mcg)

2/1/17 - Quit (Paxil 40mg) Cold Turkey

2/1/17 – 10/1/17 (No Paxil) Acute withdrawal

10/1/17 – Reinstated (Paxil 40mg)

4/10/18 – Up dosed to (Paxil 50mg) 

4/10/18 - To present. Still in protracted withdrawals 

Supplements - Multivitamin, fish oil, vitamin d3, Magnesium 

 

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46 minutes ago, Anthony75 said:

@SolarPlexus

 

Hi SolarPlexus,

 

I’m truly sorry that you are going through this right now. Unfortunately I don’t have any answers yet. From the way you described your current stage in withdrawal I’m in the exact same situation as you as far as the depression symptoms. I know that this is not advice or help but hopefully some comfort that you’re not alone. Because for me that was huge that I wasn’t alone in this. I hope this gives you comfort. Also I could be wrong but I remember reading on here that depression was the last stage. But please don’t take my word for it because at the time I wasn’t dealing with depression I was in the panic stage. If you ever need to talk I’m here for you. No one should have to go through this alone it’s already hard enough. Wish you the best, Anthony 

@Anthony75

Dear @Anthony75, thank you so much for your kind reply and solidarity.  I really appreciate it. This forum and Benzo Buddies have been my lifeline the past few months and I am deeply touched by all the kindness and compassion on those forums. You are one of those kind, compassionate people. Thank you Anthony. Since I have been on a rollercoaster in withdrawal, I am going through the standard waves and windows. I am currently having a window and I wish to share with you what I did in the past few days that has helped relax my nervous system a bit. Just in case it's helpful to you and others. Of course it could be a coincidence that I am having a window at the moment, but I will share the info nonetheless just in case it has anything to do with the relief I am feeling this instant. I have been listening to the audiobook of "Own Your Self" by Dr. Kelly Brogan and am trying out what she calls an anti-inflammatory ancestral diet, literally only eating things the ancient folks would have eaten like herring, boiled meat, vegetables and fruits. Zero processed food. She is a holistic American psychiatrist who does not believe in medicating patients and argues that diet, among other natural interventions, is integral to relieving depression. I am also adding one sachet of a powder for dehydration to a glass of water daily. It is widely sold here in Egypt and is generally considered safe even for children to consume (https://www.sedico.net/English/Products/WebPages/Hydro-safe/Hydro-safe_e.htm). Additionally I had my fourth Reiki session last night (have been doing it weekly). It really helped to relax me. I can share with you the music the practitioner plays in case you find it relaxing too. I know how sensitive our nervous systems are right now and certain sounds can drive us nuts. I personally relax to the tune she uses ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sZazHNoiDzw). I am also trying very hard to control my reactions to stress triggers and I am praying and journaling daily (writing positive affirmations and expressions of gratitude whenever I have a window). I have small printouts of short happy recovery stories that resonated with me glued in my journal as well as empowering quotes by people like Viktor Frankl, Wayne Dyer and Steve Maraboli.  Of course I have no idea how I will feel tomorrow or even in a few hours or moments. Everything keeps shifting and changing dramatically, but since I am having a good moment, I hope to share it too with you. I am also here for you if you ever need to talk. Once again, thank you Anthony. Sorry for the long reply but I also want to help you and others as much as I can, when I can. I pray for us all to heal soon. 

Summer 2016 - summer 2018: put on Lexapro, going from 5 mg up to 20 mg over the span of the 2 years (had visited shrink for help with obsessive thinking, was not diagnosed with anything in particular, just prescribed Lexapro 15 mins into first session)

Summer 2018: tapered down by 2.5 mg every few weeks

Protracted withdrawal ever since. 0-14 months began with a massive panic attack that landed me in ER, followed by prolonged anxiety, mental fog and a skin rash on my back. Was regularly consuming alcohol as did not know I was in WD. From then onwards, hit with worse myriad symptoms. Currently at 22 months and have electromagnetic sensitivity, brain zaps, brain fog, memory problems (especially name recall), twitch in right eyebrow, daily waking up at 3 or 4 a.m. with fast heartbeats and "sticky" negative memories, suicidal thoughts, rage episodes, temperature dysregulation, physical numbness & weakness, libido loss.   

 

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@SolarPlexus

 

Hi SolarPlexus,

 

Hope you’re feeling well. Thank you for the kind words I appreciate it. Also thank you for the information I will look into it. I definitely agree about eating processed food. Best wishes, Anthony 

1993 - 2003 (Prozac 40mg)

2003 – 2/1/17 (Paxil 40mg)

4/10/18 – Present (Paxil 50mg)

1993 - Present (Klonopin 2mg) 

1996 - Present (Levothyroxine 100mcg)

2/1/17 - Quit (Paxil 40mg) Cold Turkey

2/1/17 – 10/1/17 (No Paxil) Acute withdrawal

10/1/17 – Reinstated (Paxil 40mg)

4/10/18 – Up dosed to (Paxil 50mg) 

4/10/18 - To present. Still in protracted withdrawals 

Supplements - Multivitamin, fish oil, vitamin d3, Magnesium 

 

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • Administrator

SolarPlexus, how are you doing now?

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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SolarPlexus

@Altostrata Hi Altostrata. Thank you so much for your kind message and for checking up on me. I really appreciate it. I guess I am better. I took extended time off work and began daily meditation which is helping. But overall it's still very much a weird and ever-changing journey. I had only two symptoms for 14 months (anxiety and feeling spaced out) then in month 14, after a period of stress and drinking a lot at social events (as I had no idea then about withdrawal and doctors just kept telling me it's anxiety) I was hit with so many bizarre symptoms, some of which went away and others emerged in their place. Right now, the symptoms I have had non-stop in recent months are:

1. Electromagnetic hypersensitivity (looking at phone and computer screens causes weird sensations in my head and makes me grit my teeth, even as I type this).

2. Sensitivity to loud sounds (being in a place with loud speakers for example).

3. A feeling of not being fully present in reality (sometimes it's straight-up derealization but most of the time it's this foggy feeling as though there's a veil on my senses and perception of the world, a kind of lack of lucidity/clarity in perception). The mindfulness segment of the meditation technique I am doing is helping with this. 

4. Abnormal reactions to stress. If something small upsets or irritates me, my head gets weird sensations and I feel like crying. 

5. Frequent urination.

6. Muscle tension and inability to engage in intense movement. I can go for walks but I can't go to the gym for example, carry heavy items, or do strenuous activity.

7. Foggy memory especially with name recall. 

 

Up until a week ago I also had strange sudden wake-ups daily at 4.30 a.m. which I read on this forum is due to cortisol spikes but this has improved since I started practicing the meditation technique outlined in the following book (done twice daily for 15 minutes each time): https://www.amazon.com/Stress-Less-Accomplish-More-Extraordinary/dp/0062747509. The book says the technique is for achieving more but actually it's also relaxing for the nervous system. 

 

So overall I am learning to navigate the symptoms but I'm still very much in WD at 20 months and of course I get low moods and worries about when this will end. I keep listening to videos of Baylissa Frederick, Michael Priebe and Ian Singleton all the time to keep pushing myself to have the stamina to cope. I pray everyday for everyone in withdrawal to heal. This forum is so helpful and people like you helping others out on it really warms my heart. Thank you again for asking how I am. I am sending you my very best wishes. 

Summer 2016 - summer 2018: put on Lexapro, going from 5 mg up to 20 mg over the span of the 2 years (had visited shrink for help with obsessive thinking, was not diagnosed with anything in particular, just prescribed Lexapro 15 mins into first session)

Summer 2018: tapered down by 2.5 mg every few weeks

Protracted withdrawal ever since. 0-14 months began with a massive panic attack that landed me in ER, followed by prolonged anxiety, mental fog and a skin rash on my back. Was regularly consuming alcohol as did not know I was in WD. From then onwards, hit with worse myriad symptoms. Currently at 22 months and have electromagnetic sensitivity, brain zaps, brain fog, memory problems (especially name recall), twitch in right eyebrow, daily waking up at 3 or 4 a.m. with fast heartbeats and "sticky" negative memories, suicidal thoughts, rage episodes, temperature dysregulation, physical numbness & weakness, libido loss.   

 

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  • Administrator

If I were you, I would reduce stimulation from light, etc. See

 

 

You might wear amber-tinted glasses to look at lighted screens and even use sunglasses indoors for a while, to let your nervous system settle down. This will help all your symptoms.

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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SolarPlexus
7 minutes ago, Altostrata said:

If I were you, I would reduce stimulation from light, etc. See

 

 

You might wear amber-tinted glasses to look at lighted screens and even use sunglasses indoors for a while, to let your nervous system settle down. This will help all your symptoms.

Dear @Altostrata this is so incredibly helpful! Thank you so much!  It makes a lot of sense as I just went out a few days ago and got a tungsten-light lamp which emits a candle-like amber-colored light. I found that it was the only type of light in the shop that I was drawn to since both yellow and white colored fluorescent lights irritate me. They even trigger the derealization. Only sunlight, candle-light and tungsten light are soothing to my eyes and my nervous system. So yes I will definitely buy amber-tinted glasses to look at lighted screens! Thanks for the tip. I was wearing sunglasses indoors when I was still working. I'll look at the range of glasses in the article you shared about blocking blue light. Such valuable input. Many thanks to you! 

Summer 2016 - summer 2018: put on Lexapro, going from 5 mg up to 20 mg over the span of the 2 years (had visited shrink for help with obsessive thinking, was not diagnosed with anything in particular, just prescribed Lexapro 15 mins into first session)

Summer 2018: tapered down by 2.5 mg every few weeks

Protracted withdrawal ever since. 0-14 months began with a massive panic attack that landed me in ER, followed by prolonged anxiety, mental fog and a skin rash on my back. Was regularly consuming alcohol as did not know I was in WD. From then onwards, hit with worse myriad symptoms. Currently at 22 months and have electromagnetic sensitivity, brain zaps, brain fog, memory problems (especially name recall), twitch in right eyebrow, daily waking up at 3 or 4 a.m. with fast heartbeats and "sticky" negative memories, suicidal thoughts, rage episodes, temperature dysregulation, physical numbness & weakness, libido loss.   

 

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  • 3 months later...
SolarPlexus

Is 20mg Cipralex (Lexapro) too high a dose?

 

Hi comrades. I just realized that most people on the site withdrawing from Lexapro (aka cipralex) were on dosages of 10mg or less. My dosage had gone up at some point to 20 mg. I was on Lexapro for two years from mid-2016 till mid-2018. I had initially been given 5 mg then went up to 20mg. Can't remember how many months of those two years I was on 20 mg. In any case wanted to ask if this was too high a dose? Certain WD symptoms I'm experiencing are so unrelenting that I'm wondering if it's linked to my dosage. Grateful for inputs. Thank you. 

 

Edited by ChessieCat
added topic title

Summer 2016 - summer 2018: put on Lexapro, going from 5 mg up to 20 mg over the span of the 2 years (had visited shrink for help with obsessive thinking, was not diagnosed with anything in particular, just prescribed Lexapro 15 mins into first session)

Summer 2018: tapered down by 2.5 mg every few weeks

Protracted withdrawal ever since. 0-14 months began with a massive panic attack that landed me in ER, followed by prolonged anxiety, mental fog and a skin rash on my back. Was regularly consuming alcohol as did not know I was in WD. From then onwards, hit with worse myriad symptoms. Currently at 22 months and have electromagnetic sensitivity, brain zaps, brain fog, memory problems (especially name recall), twitch in right eyebrow, daily waking up at 3 or 4 a.m. with fast heartbeats and "sticky" negative memories, suicidal thoughts, rage episodes, temperature dysregulation, physical numbness & weakness, libido loss.   

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Merged new Introduction topic.  One Introduction topic per member.  This keeps your information in one place.  Thank you.

 

Please create your drug signature.  Please include any other drugs you have previously or are currently taking.  Instructions for what is needed:  please-summarize-your-withdrawal-history-in-your-signature

 

This link goes to your signature.  Remember to Save after creating/editing it.  Account Settings – Create or Edit a signature

 

Thank you.

NEW!!!     INTERVIEW with Altostrata, SA's founder    NEW!!! 

 

Plodding along inch by inch:  12" = 1',  3' =  36 " or 1 yard,  1760 yards  = 63,360" or 1 mile

Current from 6 Feb 2021:  Pristiq 0.365 mg

ADs since ~1992:  25+ years - 1 unknown, Prozac (muscle weakness), Zoloft; citalopram (pooped out) CTed (very sick for 2.5 wks a few months after); Pristiq:  50mg 2012, 100mg beg 2013 (Serotonin Toxicity)  Tapering Oct 2015 

My tapering program   My Intro (goes to my tapering graph)  My website

PLEASE NOTE:  I am not a medical professional.  I provide information and make suggestions.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

From https://www.drugs.com/dosage/lexapro.html

 

Adults

The recommended dose of Lexapro is 10 mg once daily. A fixed-dose trial of Lexapro demonstrated the effectiveness of both 10 mg and 20 mg of Lexapro, but failed to demonstrate a greater benefit of 20 mg over 10 mg [see Clinical Studies (14.1)]. If the dose is increased to 20 mg, this should occur after a minimum of one week.

NEW!!!     INTERVIEW with Altostrata, SA's founder    NEW!!! 

 

Plodding along inch by inch:  12" = 1',  3' =  36 " or 1 yard,  1760 yards  = 63,360" or 1 mile

Current from 6 Feb 2021:  Pristiq 0.365 mg

ADs since ~1992:  25+ years - 1 unknown, Prozac (muscle weakness), Zoloft; citalopram (pooped out) CTed (very sick for 2.5 wks a few months after); Pristiq:  50mg 2012, 100mg beg 2013 (Serotonin Toxicity)  Tapering Oct 2015 

My tapering program   My Intro (goes to my tapering graph)  My website

PLEASE NOTE:  I am not a medical professional.  I provide information and make suggestions.

Link to post
SolarPlexus

@ChessieCat So I was indeed on a high dose. I did take the 20mg many months after initially being put on the drug, but still, it's a high dose. I hope this doesn't prolong the healing too much. Thank you for merging the new Introduction topic. I am relatively new to the site, so am learning as I go along. I will add my drug signature. Thank you for sending me the link on how to do it. I wish you a great day.

 

 

Summer 2016 - summer 2018: put on Lexapro, going from 5 mg up to 20 mg over the span of the 2 years (had visited shrink for help with obsessive thinking, was not diagnosed with anything in particular, just prescribed Lexapro 15 mins into first session)

Summer 2018: tapered down by 2.5 mg every few weeks

Protracted withdrawal ever since. 0-14 months began with a massive panic attack that landed me in ER, followed by prolonged anxiety, mental fog and a skin rash on my back. Was regularly consuming alcohol as did not know I was in WD. From then onwards, hit with worse myriad symptoms. Currently at 22 months and have electromagnetic sensitivity, brain zaps, brain fog, memory problems (especially name recall), twitch in right eyebrow, daily waking up at 3 or 4 a.m. with fast heartbeats and "sticky" negative memories, suicidal thoughts, rage episodes, temperature dysregulation, physical numbness & weakness, libido loss.   

 

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  • Administrator

We have a lot of people here who were taking 20mg escilatopram. Unfortunately,  though an unnecessarily high dosage, it's not unusual, since doctors mistakenly dose it as though it were citalopram or fluoxetine.

 

How has your symptom pattern changed over the last few months?

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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SolarPlexus

@Altostrata Thank you for your feedback. Funnily the symptoms got tougher from month 14 onwards, linked probably to stress and drinking (had no idea I was in WD) . While the severe anxiety (which lasted from months 0-14) is gone, I have some more challenging persistent symptoms now (at 22 months) such as the ones I added to my signature today namely  "electromagnetic sensitivity, brain zaps, brain fog, memory problems (especially name recall), twitch in right eyebrow, daily waking up at 3 or 4 a.m. with fast heartbeats and "sticky" negative memories, suicidal thoughts, rage episodes, temperature dysregulation, physical numbness & weakness, libido loss."  I started taking Omega 3 two weeks ago for the brain zaps and there has indeed been improvement in the zaps but my sleep quality is poorer somehow. I will continue with the omega 3 for a while and see if this changes. Withdrawal is one hell of a strange trip. The people in lab coats who invented these medications are surely ogres. 

Summer 2016 - summer 2018: put on Lexapro, going from 5 mg up to 20 mg over the span of the 2 years (had visited shrink for help with obsessive thinking, was not diagnosed with anything in particular, just prescribed Lexapro 15 mins into first session)

Summer 2018: tapered down by 2.5 mg every few weeks

Protracted withdrawal ever since. 0-14 months began with a massive panic attack that landed me in ER, followed by prolonged anxiety, mental fog and a skin rash on my back. Was regularly consuming alcohol as did not know I was in WD. From then onwards, hit with worse myriad symptoms. Currently at 22 months and have electromagnetic sensitivity, brain zaps, brain fog, memory problems (especially name recall), twitch in right eyebrow, daily waking up at 3 or 4 a.m. with fast heartbeats and "sticky" negative memories, suicidal thoughts, rage episodes, temperature dysregulation, physical numbness & weakness, libido loss.   

 

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  • Administrator

Drinking alcohol can definitely set you back. When was the last time you had a drink? Could take months for your nervous system to settle down.

 

If you continue to drink, we cannot support you, you're making your own problems.

 

Many 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/

 

You might try a little bit of one at a time to 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.

Link to post
SolarPlexus
10 hours ago, Altostrata said:

Drinking alcohol can definitely set you back. When was the last time you had a drink? Could take months for your nervous system to settle down.

 

If you continue to drink, we cannot support you, you're making your own problems.

 

Many 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/

 

You might try a little bit of one at a time to see how it affects you.

 

I haven't had a single drink since I found out I was in withdrawal which was mid-Jan this year when I discovered this forum and Inner Compass Initiative as well as the videos of Baylissa Frederick and Ian Singleton from the Bristol Tranquilizer project. So no alcohol for the past 5 months. Prior to that I was drinking for the first 17 months of withdrawal to ease what I thought was pure anxiety from stress. I went to many psychiatrists and neurologists at the time and told them that strange things were happening to me since I stopped the medicine but they all said there is no such thing as protracted withdrawal. I did MRIs and x-rays which appeared to corroborate what they were saying as nothing showed up in them. Still my gut instinct told me to stay away from the other ADs and benzos they wanted to put me on. I therefore tried to ease the anxiety myself with regular gym workouts and alcohol during outings. Anyway this year, thanks to the awareness I got of what protracted WD is, I understood what I'm going through and quit alcohol, gluten, caffeine and msg. I just hope the mistakes I made earlier in WD don't prolong the healing time too much. As for omega 3 I'm trying it out now and will see how I feel. Afterwards I will try magnesium. Thank you for your help and insights. I appreciate it. Have a wonderful day and my prayers and wishes of healing for all  🙏🏻

Summer 2016 - summer 2018: put on Lexapro, going from 5 mg up to 20 mg over the span of the 2 years (had visited shrink for help with obsessive thinking, was not diagnosed with anything in particular, just prescribed Lexapro 15 mins into first session)

Summer 2018: tapered down by 2.5 mg every few weeks

Protracted withdrawal ever since. 0-14 months began with a massive panic attack that landed me in ER, followed by prolonged anxiety, mental fog and a skin rash on my back. Was regularly consuming alcohol as did not know I was in WD. From then onwards, hit with worse myriad symptoms. Currently at 22 months and have electromagnetic sensitivity, brain zaps, brain fog, memory problems (especially name recall), twitch in right eyebrow, daily waking up at 3 or 4 a.m. with fast heartbeats and "sticky" negative memories, suicidal thoughts, rage episodes, temperature dysregulation, physical numbness & weakness, libido loss.   

 

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  • Moderator

Hello Solar, 

 

5 hours ago, SolarPlexus said:

I haven't had a single drink since I found out I was in withdrawal which was mid-Jan this year when I discovered this forum and Inner Compass Initiative as well as the videos of Baylissa Frederick and Ian Singleton from the Bristol Tranquilizer project. So no alcohol for the past 5 months.

 

Great decision :) I've made this mistake too in the past, and now I understand how much alcohol did intensify my symptoms.

While in WD, we need to treat our CNS like a baby fighting for life and healing : he knows his work, but we have to help him with selfcare ;)

 

5 hours ago, SolarPlexus said:

 I went to many psychiatrists and neurologists at the time and told them that strange things were happening to me since I stopped the medicine but they all said there is no such thing as protracted withdrawal. 

 

Sadly, we all discover how violent it can be when doctors deny our symptoms and refuse to take thousand testimonies into account.

It will probably take years, ecades, but let's hope our community will be able to educate the world ;)

 

This is a journey, for sure ! Fortunately, we have many testimonies of people who went through it and healed, so now we know healing does happen ! :)

 

Take care ❤️

2006 : 20mg Paroxetine + Bromazepam(no specific dose) (2008 : cold turkey of both)

2010 : 20mg Deroxat + Bromazepam

2013: Switch from Bromazepam To Prazepam (longer half-life)

2014-June2017 : Prazepam taper, 3% drops. 

2018 to August 2019 : Paroxetine 20mg taper (3% every 15 days).

- 22nd August updosed To 10mg (was at 8.4mg)

25th Sept 2019 To April 2020 : found SA, holding at 10mg Paroxetine. 

April 2020-August 2020 : Paxil to Prozac bridge. Details https://www.survivingantidepressants.org/topic/21457-erell-struggling-with-paroxetine/?do=findComment&comment=499847

 

Current Supplements : magnesium citrate/ fish oil/ evening primrose oil 

Current medication :  7mg Fluoxetine + toothpick Paroxetine (since 20 Aug 2020) + 1mg Diazepam (since 29 Aug 2020)

 

Website : https://selibererdelapsychiatrie.wordpress.com/

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SolarPlexus
20 hours ago, Erell said:

Hello Solar, 

 

 

Great decision :) I've made this mistake too in the past, and now I understand how much alcohol did intensify my symptoms.

While in WD, we need to treat our CNS like a baby fighting for life and healing : he knows his work, but we have to help him with selfcare ;)

 

 

Sadly, we all discover how violent it can be when doctors deny our symptoms and refuse to take thousand testimonies into account.

It will probably take years, ecades, but let's hope our community will be able to educate the world ;)

 

This is a journey, for sure ! Fortunately, we have many testimonies of people who went through it and healed, so now we know healing does happen ! :)

 

Take care ❤️

Thank you so much for your input @Erell. I appreciate it. Totally agree. Had I known I was in WD, I would have not touched a drink during my first WD year, but oh well one can't undo the past. I'll focus now on nurturing my CNS....as you said, like a baby fighting for life and healing. Lockdown, as boring as it can get, is actually helping since there's less pressure to engage in myriad activities. As for doctors denying our symptoms, don't get me started on the world of psychiatry and pharmaceuticals. There is a special place in Hell for those who hear people scream in agony from iatrogenic illness yet refuse to investigate further. There are, however, some who have better morals and sought to delve further into the medications they are prescribing such as the good intelligent chap in the video clip below. I am so glad forums like SA exist. They are a lifeline for so many people. This site is literally saving lives. I wish healing for all of us 🙏

 

Summer 2016 - summer 2018: put on Lexapro, going from 5 mg up to 20 mg over the span of the 2 years (had visited shrink for help with obsessive thinking, was not diagnosed with anything in particular, just prescribed Lexapro 15 mins into first session)

Summer 2018: tapered down by 2.5 mg every few weeks

Protracted withdrawal ever since. 0-14 months began with a massive panic attack that landed me in ER, followed by prolonged anxiety, mental fog and a skin rash on my back. Was regularly consuming alcohol as did not know I was in WD. From then onwards, hit with worse myriad symptoms. Currently at 22 months and have electromagnetic sensitivity, brain zaps, brain fog, memory problems (especially name recall), twitch in right eyebrow, daily waking up at 3 or 4 a.m. with fast heartbeats and "sticky" negative memories, suicidal thoughts, rage episodes, temperature dysregulation, physical numbness & weakness, libido loss.   

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
SolarPlexus

Does imperfect pill-cutting in tapering impact WD symptoms later on?

Hello folks! Question for all the veterans out there: Does imperfect pill-cutting during tapering impact WD symptoms later on? I was on Lexapro for two years, reaching up to 20 mg at some point, and during the last few months on the drug, I tapered by cutting down 2.5 mg every few weeks. I am aware now that this was fast tapering in terms of milligrams. But also I am wondering whether my imperfect pill-cutting back then is also impacting my WD today? I was so uninformed of the detrimental impacts of SSRIs that I used a pill cutter to cut the pills into 4 pieces. I noticed at the time that the cutting was never perfect. There was always a 2.5 mg piece that was a bit bigger or a bit smaller than the day before. This means that for a long while I never took exactly the same dosage on a daily basis. Sometimes, for example, it was 17.5 mg, other days it could have been 18 or 16.5 mg etc. Could this be  partly why my withdrawal is difficult today? Wondering honestly because the cognitive decline, brain fog and brain zaps are driving me up the wall and I keep wondering if they will ever end. Thank you in advance for your kind input, kind people! I wish you a wonderful day.

 

Edited by ChessieCat
added topic title

Summer 2016 - summer 2018: put on Lexapro, going from 5 mg up to 20 mg over the span of the 2 years (had visited shrink for help with obsessive thinking, was not diagnosed with anything in particular, just prescribed Lexapro 15 mins into first session)

Summer 2018: tapered down by 2.5 mg every few weeks

Protracted withdrawal ever since. 0-14 months began with a massive panic attack that landed me in ER, followed by prolonged anxiety, mental fog and a skin rash on my back. Was regularly consuming alcohol as did not know I was in WD. From then onwards, hit with worse myriad symptoms. Currently at 22 months and have electromagnetic sensitivity, brain zaps, brain fog, memory problems (especially name recall), twitch in right eyebrow, daily waking up at 3 or 4 a.m. with fast heartbeats and "sticky" negative memories, suicidal thoughts, rage episodes, temperature dysregulation, physical numbness & weakness, libido loss.   

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

There are some things which we do know:  withdrawal symptoms are caused by tapering a drug too quickly.  Some SA members have experienced difficulties during a recommended taper (10% every 4 weeks) when their dosing has been inconsistent.  You also state that you were regularly consuming alcohol, and we have SA members reporting a worsening of their symptoms when they consume alcohol.

 

It is impossible to know whether the inconsistent dosing and alcohol consumption have contributed to the current issues.

 

However, if you were tapering faster than 10% every 4 weeks, we can say with a fair amount of certainty that your current withdrawal issues are most probably a result of that, and the other factors might have some effect too.

 

There are some questions which are not able to be answered, by anyone.  Life in general has times like that too.  Nobody knows.  We strongly encourage members to learn to accept that there are some things which they will never know.  Doing this helps to reduce stress.  Stress on a sensitised nervous system can slow down the recovery process.

 

Gridley has already provided the non drug links.  We strongly encourage SA members to learn and use non drug coping techniques and relaxing and calming techniques to give our bodies the best environment that we can so that we don't make it harder for our brain to do what it needs to do.

 

See the diagram on this webpage about how stress/anxiety affects the body.  https://www.getselfhelp.co.uk/anxiety.htm

 

When a brain/body is coping with stress/anxiety, it will be busy dealing with the stress/anxiety and it could take longer and be harder for it to work on getting the brain back to homeostasis.

 

This might help you to understand it better:

 

On 8/31/2011 at 5:28 AM, Rhiannon said:

This is something I posted somewhere else and then saved. I know it's all stuff I've said before, but it bears repeating and further discussion. A lot of people, including healthcare practitioners; in fact, I guess, most people-- are operating from entirely the wrong paradigm, or way of thinking, about these meds. They're thinking of them like aspirin--as something that has an effect when it's in your system, and then when it gets out of your system the effect goes away.

 

That's not what happens with medications that alter neurotransmitter function, we are learning. What happens when you change the chemistry of the brain is, the brain adjusts its chemistry and structure to try to return to homeostasis, or biochemical and functional balance. It tries to restabilize the chemistry. For example: SSRI antidepressants work as "serotonin reuptake inhibitors." That is, they cause serotonin to remain in the space between neurons, rather than being taken back up into the cells to be re-used, like it would be in a normal healthy nondrugged brain. So the brain, which wants to re-establish normal signaling and function, adapts to the higher level of serotonin between neurons (in the "synapse", the space between neurons where signals get passed along).

 

It does this by removing serotonin receptors, so that the signal is reduced and changed to something closer to normal. It also decreases the amount of serotonin it produces overall. To do that, genes have to be turned on and off; new proteins have to be made; whole cascades of chemical reactions have to be changed, which means turning on and off OTHER genes; cells are destroyed, new cells are made; in other words, a complex physiologic remodeling takes place. This takes place over time. The brain does not grow and change rapidly. This is a vast oversimplification of the amount of adaptation that takes place in the brain when we change its normal chemistry, but that's the principle.

 

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.

 

With multiple drugs and a history of drug changes and cold turkeys, all of this becomes even more complicated. And if a person is started on these kinds of drugs at an early age before the brain has ever completely established normal mature functioning--well, it can't be good. (All of which is why I recommend an extremely slow taper particularly to anyone with a multiple drug history, a history of many years on meds, a history of past cold turkeys or frequent med changes, and a history of being put on drugs at a young age.)

 

This isn't intended to scare people, but hopefully to give you some idea of what's happening, and to help you respect and understand the process so you can work with it; ALSO, because you are likely to encounter many, many people who still believe these drugs work kind of like aspirin, or a glass of wine, and all you need to do is stop and get it out of your system. Now you can explain to them that no, getting it out of your system is not the issue; the issue is, you need to regrow or at least remodel your brain. This is a long, slow, very poorly understood process, and it needs to be respected.

 

 

 

NEW!!!     INTERVIEW with Altostrata, SA's founder    NEW!!! 

 

Plodding along inch by inch:  12" = 1',  3' =  36 " or 1 yard,  1760 yards  = 63,360" or 1 mile

Current from 6 Feb 2021:  Pristiq 0.365 mg

ADs since ~1992:  25+ years - 1 unknown, Prozac (muscle weakness), Zoloft; citalopram (pooped out) CTed (very sick for 2.5 wks a few months after); Pristiq:  50mg 2012, 100mg beg 2013 (Serotonin Toxicity)  Tapering Oct 2015 

My tapering program   My Intro (goes to my tapering graph)  My website

PLEASE NOTE:  I am not a medical professional.  I provide information and make suggestions.

Link to post
SolarPlexus
On 6/26/2020 at 8:57 AM, ChessieCat said:

There are some things which we do know:  withdrawal symptoms are caused by tapering a drug too quickly.  Some SA members have experienced difficulties during a recommended taper (10% every 4 weeks) when their dosing has been inconsistent.  You also state that you were regularly consuming alcohol, and we have SA members reporting a worsening of their symptoms when they consume alcohol.

 

It is impossible to know whether the inconsistent dosing and alcohol consumption have contributed to the current issues.

 

However, if you were tapering faster than 10% every 4 weeks, we can say with a fair amount of certainty that your current withdrawal issues are most probably a result of that, and the other factors might have some effect too.

 

There are some questions which are not able to be answered, by anyone.  Life in general has times like that too.  Nobody knows.  We strongly encourage members to learn to accept that there are some things which they will never know.  Doing this helps to reduce stress.  Stress on a sensitised nervous system can slow down the recovery process.

 

Gridley has already provided the non drug links.  We strongly encourage SA members to learn and use non drug coping techniques and relaxing and calming techniques to give our bodies the best environment that we can so that we don't make it harder for our brain to do what it needs to do.

 

See the diagram on this webpage about how stress/anxiety affects the body.  https://www.getselfhelp.co.uk/anxiety.htm

 

When a brain/body is coping with stress/anxiety, it will be busy dealing with the stress/anxiety and it could take longer and be harder for it to work on getting the brain back to homeostasis.

 

This might help you to understand it better:

 

 

 

 

Dear @ChessieCat thank you so much for your thorough, generous input. I really appreciate it. Clearly, although I didn't go CT and did taper slowly, it was obviously not slow enough. Given the volatile, illogical and powerful impact of those drugs, one can assume that tapering inconsistently may have also had an impact. Alcohol consumption too obviously. There was no way for any of us to know that any of these things would affect us for years, simply because no physician said so. No physician appears to know. Thank you for your tips on acceptance. I am definitely being taught a lesson in patience and acceptance that nothing else I've ever experienced has taught me to this degree. I do use the non-drug coping techniques and have changed my diet 180 degrees. I guess I have to just keep ploughing through and accepting that this is a challenging and non-linear process, and try to see the greater meaning to all of this. And yes the post you shared from Rhiannon is very helpful. Thank you for that as well. While we are all strangers on the site, from all over the world, I've come across such kind help here and seen so much nobility among those who run the site and those on it. Saints! Life-savers. Thank you 🙏  I definitely wish to volunteer in any capacity for this cause (raising awareness on AD/benzo impacts) once I myself am recovered. I wish healing, serenity and prosperity for all of us. Have a lovely day @ChessieCat 🙏

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summer 2016 - summer 2018: put on Lexapro, going from 5 mg up to 20 mg over the span of the 2 years (had visited shrink for help with obsessive thinking, was not diagnosed with anything in particular, just prescribed Lexapro 15 mins into first session)

Summer 2018: tapered down by 2.5 mg every few weeks

Protracted withdrawal ever since. 0-14 months began with a massive panic attack that landed me in ER, followed by prolonged anxiety, mental fog and a skin rash on my back. Was regularly consuming alcohol as did not know I was in WD. From then onwards, hit with worse myriad symptoms. Currently at 22 months and have electromagnetic sensitivity, brain zaps, brain fog, memory problems (especially name recall), twitch in right eyebrow, daily waking up at 3 or 4 a.m. with fast heartbeats and "sticky" negative memories, suicidal thoughts, rage episodes, temperature dysregulation, physical numbness & weakness, libido loss.   

 

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  • ChessieCat changed the title to SolarPlexus: Tips for going off Cipralex/Lexapro?
  • 2 weeks later...
SolarPlexus

Hi everyone. I'm going a bit crazy here with this symptom: unrelenting brain zaps. They began on month 15 or 16 of my withdrawal and have been ongoing since. I'm at month 22. It gets worse when I look at any screen. Phone, laptop, TV, anything. It's like a crinkling sound in my head whenever I swallow. Both sides of my head. I'm starting to worry that by looking at screens during WD I've caused some sort of brain damage. I was also taking a rhodiola rosea supplement earlier this year but tapered off it. Don't know why this symptom is getting worse. Has anyone on this forum ever had this symptom non-stop and healed from it? It's one of the most unbearable symptoms Im facing and I've had many! So grateful for any inputs. Thank you!! 

Summer 2016 - summer 2018: put on Lexapro, going from 5 mg up to 20 mg over the span of the 2 years (had visited shrink for help with obsessive thinking, was not diagnosed with anything in particular, just prescribed Lexapro 15 mins into first session)

Summer 2018: tapered down by 2.5 mg every few weeks

Protracted withdrawal ever since. 0-14 months began with a massive panic attack that landed me in ER, followed by prolonged anxiety, mental fog and a skin rash on my back. Was regularly consuming alcohol as did not know I was in WD. From then onwards, hit with worse myriad symptoms. Currently at 22 months and have electromagnetic sensitivity, brain zaps, brain fog, memory problems (especially name recall), twitch in right eyebrow, daily waking up at 3 or 4 a.m. with fast heartbeats and "sticky" negative memories, suicidal thoughts, rage episodes, temperature dysregulation, physical numbness & weakness, libido loss.   

 

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  • Administrator
Altostrata

Hello, SolarPlexus. I moved your post here. This is the first time you've mentioned these frequent brain zaps.

 

With your system sensitized by withdrawal, they may have been brought on by your drinking alcohol or taking rhodiola rosea.

 

Since youve been off alcohol, has this zap symptom pattern changed in the last 4 months?

 

 

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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SolarPlexus
13 hours ago, Altostrata said:

Hello, SolarPlexus. I moved your post here. This is the first time you've mentioned these frequent brain zaps.

 

With your system sensitized by withdrawal, they may have been brought on by your drinking alcohol or taking rhodiola rosea.

 

Since youve been off alcohol, has this zap symptom pattern changed in the last 4 months?

 

 

Hi @Altostrata. I mentioned them before in a few threads. I didn't know what they were. When I swallow it's like a strange mild electricity lightning/sensation all over my head, especially near the sides of my head. It's extremely irritating, by far one of the worst symptoms I've had. Different from the regular electric zap as I imagine it to be, but I don't know what else to call it. When I was drinking alcohol I had a strange throbbing sensation in the right side of me head from computer screens. I only realized alcohol was causing a problem when it began to slow my speech. That was in January. I came across this site around the same time and stopped drinking. Since then the throbbing in the right side of my head calmed down but in its place I've had this electric sensation the past 5 months or so and it appears to get worse not better. I'm petrified that the alcohol or rhodiola caused it when I didn't know I was in withdrawal, and that it won't heal. 

Summer 2016 - summer 2018: put on Lexapro, going from 5 mg up to 20 mg over the span of the 2 years (had visited shrink for help with obsessive thinking, was not diagnosed with anything in particular, just prescribed Lexapro 15 mins into first session)

Summer 2018: tapered down by 2.5 mg every few weeks

Protracted withdrawal ever since. 0-14 months began with a massive panic attack that landed me in ER, followed by prolonged anxiety, mental fog and a skin rash on my back. Was regularly consuming alcohol as did not know I was in WD. From then onwards, hit with worse myriad symptoms. Currently at 22 months and have electromagnetic sensitivity, brain zaps, brain fog, memory problems (especially name recall), twitch in right eyebrow, daily waking up at 3 or 4 a.m. with fast heartbeats and "sticky" negative memories, suicidal thoughts, rage episodes, temperature dysregulation, physical numbness & weakness, libido loss.   

 

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  • Administrator

Many 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/

 

You might try a little bit of one at a time to 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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SolarPlexus
42 minutes ago, Altostrata said:

Many 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/

 

You might try a little bit of one at a time to see how it affects you.

I actually started taking an omega 3 supplement yesterday for this symptom, based on the advice I've read here. It's a modest dose to try it out. Will see how it goes. I'll do the same with magnesium at a later stage. Thank you so much @Altostrata you are infinitely helpful. I really appreciate it. I wish you a wonderful day. I will update about this symptom if I see any changes. 

Summer 2016 - summer 2018: put on Lexapro, going from 5 mg up to 20 mg over the span of the 2 years (had visited shrink for help with obsessive thinking, was not diagnosed with anything in particular, just prescribed Lexapro 15 mins into first session)

Summer 2018: tapered down by 2.5 mg every few weeks

Protracted withdrawal ever since. 0-14 months began with a massive panic attack that landed me in ER, followed by prolonged anxiety, mental fog and a skin rash on my back. Was regularly consuming alcohol as did not know I was in WD. From then onwards, hit with worse myriad symptoms. Currently at 22 months and have electromagnetic sensitivity, brain zaps, brain fog, memory problems (especially name recall), twitch in right eyebrow, daily waking up at 3 or 4 a.m. with fast heartbeats and "sticky" negative memories, suicidal thoughts, rage episodes, temperature dysregulation, physical numbness & weakness, libido loss.   

 

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SolarPlexus

Hay fever/rhinitis prescription meds while in WD?

 

Hello comrades. I just returned from an ENT doctor's clinic and he diagnosed me with hay fever (allergic rhinitis). Evidently another WD-induced ailment as I've never had this before. My right nostril and right ear have been getting blocked which gives me shortness of breath. The doctor prescribed a nasal spray, an antihistamine pill as well as a complex of B vitamins and benfotiamine to take for three weeks but I have no idea whether to take them or not. I've been avoiding prescription medicines for ages for fear of their impact on my nervous system in withdrawal. Last time I took antibiotics for my WD-induced eye allergy (a year ago), I developed a heat rash that is still on my skin today! What is your take on this, my WD encyclopedia friends? Do you take medicines normally or does it set back healing? Should I visit a naturopath instead, now that I have a medical diagnosis? Thank you so much in advance for your kind feedback. 

 

Edited by ChessieCat
added topic title

Summer 2016 - summer 2018: put on Lexapro, going from 5 mg up to 20 mg over the span of the 2 years (had visited shrink for help with obsessive thinking, was not diagnosed with anything in particular, just prescribed Lexapro 15 mins into first session)

Summer 2018: tapered down by 2.5 mg every few weeks

Protracted withdrawal ever since. 0-14 months began with a massive panic attack that landed me in ER, followed by prolonged anxiety, mental fog and a skin rash on my back. Was regularly consuming alcohol as did not know I was in WD. From then onwards, hit with worse myriad symptoms. Currently at 22 months and have electromagnetic sensitivity, brain zaps, brain fog, memory problems (especially name recall), twitch in right eyebrow, daily waking up at 3 or 4 a.m. with fast heartbeats and "sticky" negative memories, suicidal thoughts, rage episodes, temperature dysregulation, physical numbness & weakness, libido loss.   

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Before creating a new topic please do a search to see if there is an existing topic.

 

I like to use a search engine and add site: survivingantidepressants.org to my search term.

 

I suggest doing a search using the above method for the following which are topics you have mentioned in your post:

 

allergy

antihistamine

vitamins

b vitamins

antibiotics

naturopath

 

You could also check through the topics that are in this area of the site:  symptoms-and-self-care

 

Also see: 

 

the-rule-of-3kis-keep-it-simple-keep-it-slow-keep-it-stable

 

NEW!!!     INTERVIEW with Altostrata, SA's founder    NEW!!! 

 

Plodding along inch by inch:  12" = 1',  3' =  36 " or 1 yard,  1760 yards  = 63,360" or 1 mile

Current from 6 Feb 2021:  Pristiq 0.365 mg

ADs since ~1992:  25+ years - 1 unknown, Prozac (muscle weakness), Zoloft; citalopram (pooped out) CTed (very sick for 2.5 wks a few months after); Pristiq:  50mg 2012, 100mg beg 2013 (Serotonin Toxicity)  Tapering Oct 2015 

My tapering program   My Intro (goes to my tapering graph)  My website

PLEASE NOTE:  I am not a medical professional.  I provide information and make suggestions.

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SolarPlexus
9 hours ago, ChessieCat said:

Before creating a new topic please do a search to see if there is an existing topic.

 

I like to use a search engine and add site: survivingantidepressants.org to my search term.

 

I suggest doing a search using the above method for the following which are topics you have mentioned in your post:

 

allergy

antihistamine

vitamins

b vitamins

antibiotics

naturopath

 

You could also check through the topics that are in this area of the site:  symptoms-and-self-care

 

Also see: 

 

the-rule-of-3kis-keep-it-simple-keep-it-slow-keep-it-stable

 

@ChessieCat super thank you so much. Will do so. I appreciate your help and the info you sent. Hopefully I can find a way to end this allergy without using prescribed medicines. What a dedicate balancing act WD is. You get an illness from withdrawal then if you try to fix it with regular medicine, you might get another illness. Rubic's cube. Anyway, thanks again for your help! Have a good day. 

Summer 2016 - summer 2018: put on Lexapro, going from 5 mg up to 20 mg over the span of the 2 years (had visited shrink for help with obsessive thinking, was not diagnosed with anything in particular, just prescribed Lexapro 15 mins into first session)

Summer 2018: tapered down by 2.5 mg every few weeks

Protracted withdrawal ever since. 0-14 months began with a massive panic attack that landed me in ER, followed by prolonged anxiety, mental fog and a skin rash on my back. Was regularly consuming alcohol as did not know I was in WD. From then onwards, hit with worse myriad symptoms. Currently at 22 months and have electromagnetic sensitivity, brain zaps, brain fog, memory problems (especially name recall), twitch in right eyebrow, daily waking up at 3 or 4 a.m. with fast heartbeats and "sticky" negative memories, suicidal thoughts, rage episodes, temperature dysregulation, physical numbness & weakness, libido loss.   

 

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