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Anya: Asking for advice, withdrawing from lexapro

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Anya
Posted (edited)

2 months ago I was prescribed 5 mg of lexapro for depression after a 10 minute discussion where all I said was basically I had low energy.

I knew I was sensitive to medication so I only took 2.5mg and only a few hours later I started having side effects and decided this was not for me. I thought they would last for the time it took for lexapro to leave my system but boy was that wrong. These 2 months have been the hardest of my life. It's like the side effects come and go in waves, getting worse and worse with small "windows" of feeling sane again. They include digestive upset, at first just diarrhea but that has gone away and now I just have random projectile vomiting usually set off by something so small like even a small magnesium supplement or food that I had no problem taking before. Brain zaps after the first month,have gone away but I thought I was having seizures when they happened my whole body would shake and any head movement or stress would trigger seeing stars and blackouts it was horrifying. Now at the near 3 month mark the emotional symtoms are the worst, every morning it's like I feel my mind spiral out of control as I wake up and become more alert. It's almost like I have to make myself not think because every thought becomes reality and the thoughts are always extreme and terrifying. Sometimes I can meditate and come into reality in the evening with the help of a beta blocker but during the day it is a constant effort to just sit still and not run away or believe the paranoid thoughts and delusions that are terrifying that I even think them. Each day usually ends in hysterical crying and existential terror which exhausts me to the point that I feel some "window" of normal like other people talk about.

 

Thankfully my family is home from work due to the coronavirus but unfortunately the psychiatric place by my home is closed. My family doesn't believe this is caused by the lexapro and I know my doctor would not either. But I've read on sites that people are tapering off it in extremely tiny doses way smaller than 2.5mg

So I guess my question is how much longer until I feel normal?? I read the article on this site about how some people try to go back on their drug to get off it slower but idk if this point if I should do that or if I'm too far past the last dose and theres no one to ask because most people believe that I should be fine from the 'small's dose I took. My current physical symptoms are no appetite despite constant stomach gurgling, acid reflux, vomiting, sweating shaking tremors, the worst is the constant pounding heartbeat, at any time of of my eyes is slightly drooping and my brain and face feel like it's hot and on fire. I've tried taking extremely small doses of theanine, klonopin, and 5htp. Nothing really helps longterm because it seems these symtoms are part of withdrawal and theres nothing I can do to stop them.

I hope this isnt too long and does not come across as insensitive to others who were on larger doses for a longer time. I would greatly appreciate absolutely ANY support or advice.

 

Edited by manymoretodays
added name to title, moved from tapering to Introductions

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Anya

I have read further on this sight and I have discovered that what I am experiencing is both an adverse reaction and/or tachyphalaxis/pop-out syndrome, since my mental symptoms seem to keep spiraling out of control, beyond my control. The solution seems to go back on the lexapro to regain stability so I can "build" myself back to stability, but I have no clue how or what to do since my body didnt respond to it well in the first place. But I would gladly go back to the initial side effects of this drug amd come off slowly than continue spiraling downward mentally like this with no help whatsoever except the internet. My doctor does not understand this and the psychiatric facility is closed and idk if they would understand either. 

Please I am desperate for help. 

Any advise will help please.

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Anya

I have read further on this sight and I have discovered that what I am experiencing is both an adverse reaction and/or tachyphalaxis/poop-out syndrome, since my mental symptoms seem to keep spiraling out of control, beyond my control. The solution seems to go back on the lexapro to regain stability so I can "build" myself back to stability, but I have no clue how or what to do since my body didnt respond to it well in the first place. But I would gladly go back to the initial side effects of this drug amd come off slowly than continue spiraling downward mentally like this with no help whatsoever except the internet. My doctor does not understand this and the psychiatric facility is closed and idk if they would understand either. 

After last nights existential meltdown where I 100% believed I was going to die, I am exhausted this morning. Like I've been traumatized. My whole body is weak and shaky and the whole world looks different . I am so scared this is just going to keep happening over and over because all I can do is lay in bed and breath to stay stable and even that is hard because my heart is constantly pounding and I cant think or feel or enjoy anything without feeling that out of control feeling again .

I feel like my best option would be to check into a psych ward with some hope that someone understands this and knows how to help a person restabilize

I've tried so many medications but when I'm feeling "overstimulated" nothing will sedate me not promethazine or antihistamines they actually make me feel like losing control even worse.

The only thing that kind of helps stay stable is the beta blockers, theanine, and klonopin. 5htp worked at first but now I'm scared to take it because I felt really "high" while on it, like manic almost and after yesterday's trauma episode idk if it will make me feel even "higher".

If I went to a psych ward is there any way that a mood stabilizer can help restabilize yourself? I'm concerned they're just going to diagnose me with something when I know the lexapro was the cause.

Please I am desperate for help. 

Any advise will help please.

Please

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manymoretodays
Posted (edited)

Hi Anya, and welcome,

4 hours ago, Anya said:

2 months ago I was prescribed 5 mg of lexapro for depression after a 10 minute discussion where all I said was basically I had low energy.

I knew I was sensitive to medication so I only took 2.5mg and only a few hours later I started having side effects and decided this was not for me. I thought they would last for the time it took for lexapro to leave my system but boy was that wrong. These 2 months have been the hardest of my life. It's like the side effects come and go in waves, getting worse and worse with small "windows" of feeling sane again. They include digestive upset, at first just diarrhea but that has gone away and now I just have random projectile vomiting usually set off by something so small like even a small magnesium supplement or food that I had no problem taking before. Brain zaps after the first month,have gone away but I thought I was having seizures when they happened my whole body would shake and any head movement or stress would trigger seeing stars and blackouts it was horrifying.

 

Did you just take one dose of Lexapro?  When?

Are you taking any other medications or drugs now?  What, and for how long?  Dosage(s)?

And what kind of symptoms did you experience prior to starting the Lexapro?

 

You can answer the med/drug questions by doing a signature.

 

Also, please put your medication and tapering history in your signature -- that's the information you see at the bottom of someone's post. This will help people understand your situation no matter where you post on the site. See instructions in this topic:

https://www.survivingantidepressants.org/topic/18343-please-put-your-withdrawal-history-in-your-signature/(Please note that, while your identity is protected by a screen name, your topic can be read by anyone who visits the site, including Google, and do not post sensitive identifying information.)

 

4 hours ago, Anya said:

So I guess my question is how much longer until I feel normal?? I read the article on this site about how some people try to go back on their drug to get off it slower but idk if this point if I should do that or if I'm too far past the last dose and theres no one to ask because most people believe that I should be fine from the 'small's dose I took. My current physical symptoms are no appetite despite constant stomach gurgling, acid reflux, vomiting, sweating shaking tremors, the worst is the constant pounding heartbeat, at any time of of my eyes is slightly drooping and my brain and face feel like it's hot and on fire. I've tried taking extremely small doses of theanine, klonopin, and 5htp. Nothing really helps longterm because it seems these symtoms are part of withdrawal and theres nothing I can do to stop them.

I hope this isnt too long and does not come across as insensitive to others who were on larger doses for a longer time. I would greatly appreciate absolutely ANY support or advice.

 

When and what, and how much did you take, as far as the theanine, klonopin and 5 htp?

 

We don't recommend a lot of supplements, and/or other drugs to treat withdrawal syndrome here.

Please see"  Important topics about tests, supplements, treatments, and diet

 

You sound really anxious right now too.  Further down in the ^, you'll find some topics that may help you with non drug coping with symptoms now.

Also a nice indexed list is in the first post here:  Non-drug techniques to cope with emotional symptoms

 

Other important topics:

 
 

 

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.  The CNS likes stability. Rebuilding the neurotransmitter production and reactivating the receptor and transporter cells takes time -- during that rebuilding process symptoms occur. And sleep is really important during withdrawal.
 
You certainly may have reacted to some of the theanine, or 5 htp adversely.  And/or have been or are experiencing some rebound anxiety from the klonopin.
I think we might be able to help more, when we get more information from you.  Work on your signature please.
 
Just wanted to get you started today.  So do your best with the signature, and to answer my questions.  Look over some of the topics as well, as you can.
Oh, and just so you know, we are peer counselors here, and this site is meant for support and information around tapering and WD(withdrawal) .  We are not a substitute for medical and/or psychiatric care, or for recommendations as to further medications.  Yes, you would get diagnosed, and probably re-medicated if you went to a psychiatric hospital now. 
 
Best,  welcome again,
L, P, H, and G,
mmt

 

Edited by manymoretodays
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Gridley

Welcome to SA from me too, Anya.

 

If I understand you correctly, you only took the 2.5mg Lexapro for one day.  Is that correct?  If so, you did the right thing in stopping it immediately.

 

You are correct in that what you suffered was an adverse reaction.  Brassmonkey, one of our moderators wrote the following about adverse reactions to psychiatric drugs:

 

"I think that some of the most unfortunate members we have are the ones who only took the drug for a short time and had an Adverse Reaction. Over the years I’ve seen a good number of members join who have taken their drugs for one day to a week and then stopped.  Yet they are suffering very acute symptoms.  This is an Adverse Reaction, acute symptoms that hit immediately and hard.  Some people’s chemical makeup just isn’t compatible with psych drugs and their body immediately tries to reject them, but in doing so throws itself into chaos."

 

Because you had such a bad reaction to the drug, I would not recommend that you take any more of this drug.  Taking more will not result in stability but rather will make things worse.  The stories you read about people going back on a low dose of the drug to taper off are not applicable to you.  The drug is poison to you.  You also mentioned "poop out."  Poop-out occurs when you've been taking a drug a long time and it ceases to work.  This is not what happened to you.  You had an adverse reaction.and now need to recover.

 

You will heal.  Unfortunately, we can't say how long it will take.  It may be months, and you're going to have to be patient and wait for your system to recover, which it will, given time.  You symptoms will improve gradually over the coming months.

 

If you go to psychiatrist he/she will out you on more drugs, which you have demonstrated are not compatible with you.

 

You said you had a bad reaction to magnesium.  Your system is very sensitized from the adverse reaction.  The only other supplement we recommend is omegas, which many members find calming.  You could try a low dose to see how that works for you. 

 

Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil) 

 

 

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Anya

Hi, thank you so much for responding.

I only took 2.5 mg of lexapro January 27. I had no prior symptoms besides some physical fatigue for which the doctor diagnosed me with depression and gave me lexapro. I put the other things I've been taking in the signature.

Thank you so much for the support, I will take some fish oil. But my problem right now is not being able to remain "stable". Even if I get out of bed my brain gets very excited and my heart pounds. I cant stay in the present moment without being overstimulated without the help of beta blockers. Even they only work minimally.The problem is my parents dont understand that I need to just lie still and quiet which is very hard because they think getting out would help my mental health but it only makes me lose control of myself and go through another "trauma episode " which sets my recovery back even further.I have signed up for online cognitive therapy which I hope will help.

Thank you again, finding this website meant the world to me right now.

Bless you for responding.

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Gridley
Posted (edited)
38 minutes ago, Anya said:

But my problem right now is not being able to remain "stable". Even if I get out of bed my brain gets very excited and my heart pounds.

I'm sorry you're feeling so bad, but this is completely normal.  Your system is very sensitized from the adverse reaction to the Lexapro and possibly to a reaction to the theanine, klonopin and 5htp.  I wouldn't recommend any other supplements at this point, just the fish oil to see if that helps.  If not, stop taking it.

 

38 minutes ago, Anya said:

The problem is my parents dont understand that I need to just lie still and quiet which is very hard because they think getting out would help my mental health but it only makes me lose control of myself and go through another "trauma episode." 

Yes, you're right, you need peace and not stimulation.  You have a good handle on what's right for you.  It's natural for parents to want to help, but they (and doctors) just don't have any understanding of the effect these powerful drugs like Lexapro can have on our brains.  Some of the posts in this link may be helpful.

Helping family understand - Surviving Antidepressants

Edited by Gridley
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Anya

Thank you so much for that link, and for your support. 

Do you know why my symptoms have been getting worse since I took the medicine? Is it because I was not exactly aware of the over sensitivity of my nervous system and developed obsessive anxiety instead of realizing my symtoms were from the medicine? Most people who say they had an adverse reaction seem to get better everyday that they don't take it and that is the main thing that discourages me a little currently is that I've been getting much much worse.

Thank you again for your support. I hope you have a nice day.

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mstimc

Hi Anya

It sounds like you may be experiencing "windows and waves" , where symptoms get worse and better and then worse, etc.  This is fairly typical of adverse reactions and withdrawal.   I noticed you said you signed up for online cognitive behavioral training.  I really encourage that--its the thing, among others, that helped me deal with my withdrawal from Paxil.  It really helps deal with the feelings that come when you're in a wave and helps makes the windows longer and stronger. 

 

 

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Anya

That does sound possible...but I thought it was supposed to get better progressively not worse. Every time I feel out of control I cant reinforce a positive feeling and the anxiety takes over at a deeper level no matter how hard I try. Even if I just stand still and breath for an hour it feels like a storm in my head. There has to be some medicine or training to help. This has been the most traumatizing 2 months of my life 

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mstimc
2 minutes ago, Anya said:

That does sound possible...but I thought it was supposed to get better progressively not worse. Every time I feel out of control I cant reinforce a positive feeling and the anxiety takes over at a deeper level no matter how hard I try. Even if I just stand still and breath for an hour it feels like a storm in my head. There has to be some medicine or training to help. This has been the most traumatizing 2 months of my life 

 

Hi

Unfortunately, that's the nature of windows and waves--they fluctuate.  One phrase from your post really hit home for me: "the anxiety takes over at a deeper level no matter how hard I try.".  I've seen this so many times.  The problem is trying hard just makes it worse.  The trick is--and its not as easy as it sounds--is to accept that the anxious thoughts and feelings will come, but they really are just feelings and only have the power you give them.   Personally, the last thing I'd look for is another medicine; they just mask symptoms and come with the potential for other side effects.  You're on the right track with CBT; in my opinion, its probably the most effective way to deal with anxious thinking in the long-term.  It robs the anxious thoughts of their power.  And the great thing is there is no single "right" way to do it.  There are a lot of different methods so you can find one that works best for you.

 

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Anya

I believe it will too. Thank you for your help!

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mstimc

That's why we're here!

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Anya

Hello, I hope it is okay if I post an update here, for myself to keep track and if anyone could input I would appreciate it greatly. Today Im feeling pretty disappointed because I started online behavioral therapy, but the therapist told me that since Ive been having anxiety ever since taking Lexapro, that I must have an underlying anxiety disorder and referred me to a psychiatrist. She said that I need to try to separate my thoughts from my feelings, which I agreed to. That was in fact the main reason why I wanted therapy to begin with. It's too hard to explain to her that I never had episodes of delusions and altered perceptions of reality where I couldnt bring back my conscience self if i tried to ever since I took the Lexapro. Currently I feel so out of touch with myself and my true feelings. 

Someone on this forum mentioned lamictal while on withdrawals and another person on reddit mentioned an antipsychotic that helped them "feel again."

Bottom line is Im 100% sure that it was the Lexapro that has caused me to feel like I have little to no control over myself. 

I would do anything to be able to destroy the intrusive thoughts and feel sane again. Does the brain really heal itself over time? Because it feels like it's getting worse; like some insane form of Ultra rapid mood cycling bipolar disorder.

 

One strange thing that happened is that 2 days ago I was feeling especially "not my self," but I went on a walk with my parents anyway. When we got back home I broke down sobbing because the feeling of being lost and loss of true feelings was so hard to bear. I spilled all my feelings to my mom, which I have done so many times since that first fatal dose, and then something crazy happened. We went into Home Depot to buy flowers and it was like this flood of relief came over me and I felt like I was 11 years old again without a care in the world. I could feel the wind in my hair and everything looked so beautiful and I felt so detached from myself and connected to the love and joy of everyone around me. I felt EVEN BETTER than I'd even felt before this all started. 

But as the day wore on and I got more tired from doing stuff like gardening, the "high" stayed but became less genuine and more like a hypomania state or something. The next morning I was anticipating to feel the same but instead the lack of feelings came back even stronger than the day before and remains today . 

 

Please help I feel like Im losing my mind.

 

 

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SkyStreamer

Hi @Anya

 

I'm tapering off lexapro also. It's a very tough and difficult road to walk. 

 

I've felt like I was losing my mind many times. And, I haven't actually lost my mind yet. It's usually just a very heavy wave or a very heavy shorter symptom of WD. 

 

Keep trying your best - that's all we can ever do. And, there's hope in that. Continuing to try helps us retain our dignity, heart and courage. 

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mstimc

Hi Anya

 

I assure you, you are most definitely not losing your mind!  The fact you found joy in shopping for flowers, especially after unburdening yourself to your mom, shows your emotions are reemerging.  Now its a matter of finding balance. 

 

 Unfortunate, as many other members can attest,  many mental and medical health professionals are either unfamiliar with or skeptical of the reality of adverse reactions and withdrawal, so its not terribly surprising an online therapist, especially one whom you just met, would assume you have an underlying anxiety-related condition. 

 

You know your own body and your own thoughts before you were prescribed Lexapro.  My introduction to Paxil was very similar to yours for Lexapro.  I was feeling anxious due to some major changes at work, so I naturally went to see my GP.   He prescribed Paxil but didn't recommend therapy or behavioral training.   When I began my taper, I was blessed to find a psychologist who was familiar with with withdrawal and tapering and helped me through the journey. If possible, maybe you can ask prospective online therapists if they're familiar with that as well.  I'm not sure the one you have now will do you any good.

 

From what I've read, you have a great attitude toward your potential to heal.  Its not easy, but yes, you can heal--it can be done.  If you are struggling with intrusive thoughts, you may want to try some of the exercises in a book called "Everyday Mindfulness for OCD".  https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B06XGRB72W/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_d_asin_title_o05?ie=UTF8&psc=1  You may not have OCD, but the exercises to deal with intrusive thinking are really helpful.  What you experienced at the Home Depot is actually a good example of mindfulness in action.  You were able to appreciate the beauty of the flowers and push the negative thoughts away.  Don't be too downhearted the thoughts came back--that's not at all unusual.  Instead, try to concentrate on how great you felt at that moment.

 

You can heal and you can control your thoughts.  It'll take time and effort, but I'd bet you'll be great at it!

 

 

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