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LCatherine: Lexapro for 2 months with devastating symptoms that have persisted for 5 months off


LCatherine

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LCatherine

LCatherine

 

Hello, I am 25 and sometimes feel that my life is over because of Lexapro that was only taken for just shy of two months. I don't know where else to turn, my family and doctors do not believe me and my friends have never been through this hell, so they don't understand. 

I was a healthy, happy girl for 24 years. Mild anxiety, mild depression, but no severe mental health issues, especially compared to what I've experienced over the last 9 months. It started in September of 2019 when I decided to go on a hormonal birth control for the first time in years. Horrible mistake, I was immediately hit with crippling anxiety and waves of panic attacks. I could barely leave my home and cried all of the time because I didn't know what was happening. I had to go to work so I saw my primary care doctor and he prescribed me Zoloft. I had taken Zoloft roughly a year and a half prior for mild depression (again, NOTHING compared to what I've experienced recently) and it made me feel okay at the time so I thought I would give it another shot. It heightened my anxiety and made me very suicidal the second time, I believe because my hormones were out of whack so it wasn't really ME that it was treating if that makes sense. I went back to my doctor after only taking it for a week and he prescribed me 5mg Lexapro. This was the beginning of October. The first few days I thought maybe it was working, my anxiety was down and I felt calm. Something was instantly not right though, and I felt extremely off. I wrote in my journal that when I was speaking it felt like it was not really me, like there was a space between my thoughts and my words. My inner dialogue was completely silenced which was terrifying. Brain fog set in, things didn't connect or make sense, I felt nothing. I couldn't eat, I couldn't leave my bed and the next two months were a blur that I still have trouble remembering. My head constantly hurt, my ears rang, my vision was compromised, I was dizzy all of the time, had severe depersonalization/derealization and it felt like I had severe inflammation of the brian. I had adverse side effects and it truly felt like I was in hell. I was bumped up to 10mg despite feeling horrible. On Thanksgiving I was sitting with my mom and childhood best friend and her mother. I didn't care if I died, if they died, I just wanted to disappear and I knew I had to get off of Lexapro. I didn't have proper medical guidance and stopped cold turkey. 
It's been 5 months since stopping, and I would love to say that everything is back to normal, however that is not the case. The bizarre brian sensations, which I later learned were brain zaps, have subsided, but I still have horrible brain fog, waves of DP/DR, my inner voice is much quieter than it once was, and when I get stressed or anxious I feel like I may pass out. I still have ringing in my ears and eye floaters. I have been to the ER several times, I had an MRI done and multiple tests and everything came back fine. I have seen two different psychiatrists who just pushed more drugs, most of which I did not take. I did take a low dose of Amitriptyline briefly but stopped because it made me feel sort of manic and had other weird side effects. I should mention that I have  been very sensitive to medication my entire life. I asked my psychiatrist if Lexapro could still be causing these symptoms and he said no, that when people come off of antidepressants they experienced flu like symptoms for 1-2 weeks and then are fine. I had to do research myself, because I never experienced any of these symptoms until I took Lexapro. I could feel it destroying my brain, and it has not recovered. It feels as if my nervous system is wrecked. I take fish oil, D3 daily and occasionally magnesium. My mom believes that the symptoms I'm experiencing are caused from breast implants that I got when I was 22, although I had them for years with no side effects, or due to vaping which I also had no problems with for a year prior to all of this. 
My question is, will it get better? Sometimes it feels like I will never be myself again. I have lost all pleasure in things I used to love. The idea of going back to school and starting a career seems impossible, and sometimes I feel like I will just be a vegetable and waste away. I try to stay positive most of the time, I have read success stories that give me hope, but other times I feel very hopeless. I don't want to go the rest of my life feeling brain dead and like I have no purpose because of a pill I was prescribed for two months. Please help. 

Edited by Gridley
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  • Moderator

Welcome to SA, LCatherine.  I'm sorry you're feeling so bad.  

 

What you're experiencing is an adverse reaction to Lexapro, which basically means the drug is poison to your system.  Your body tried to reject it, throwing your system into chaos.  Right now your system is very sensitized and is working to heal itself.  Adverse reactions are not uncommon, and the symptoms you describe are very typical, including loss of all pleasure.  The good news is that the damage is not permanent and you will heal.  It's not possible to predict how long it will take.  Right now, at 5 months, you're in the acute stage, which is very hard.  As time passes you will start to notice a gradual improvement in your symptoms.  It will seem frustratingly slow, but there will be an upward trend as you heal.

 

You're taking the two supplements we recommend, omega and magnesium.  Both have a calming effect.  You might want to take the magnesium regularly.

 

Magnesium, nature's calcium channel blocker 

 

Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil) 

 

How is your sleep?

 

Time will be the cure here.  We recommend gentle walks in nature, as opposed to strenuous exercise which can be overstimulating.  Avoid alcohol, caffeine and sugar.  Avoid stress as much as possible.

 

Please keep us updated on how you're doing.  

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Gridley

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 Begin 7-week Ativan-Valium crossover and change from 3 daily doses to one 18.75mgai dose (0.311mgpw). Jan. 11, 2021 begin hold at current bedtime 18.75mgai dose.

 

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 E and D3, magnesium glycinate, probiotic, 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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  • Altostrata changed the title to LCatherine Please help. Lexapro for 2 months with devastating symptoms that have persisted for 5 months off.
  • 1 month later...
LCatherine

Brain fog/emotionally numb/poor concentration

 

One of the worst and most debilitating symptoms for me that still persists heavily after 7 months from an adverse reaction to Lexapro is brain fog. It feels like there is distance between each thought. I can't picture things in my mind, my inner voice is not nearly as loud as it was before medication, and it's very hard for me to absorb information. My mind feels blank a lot, and not in a calm or peaceful way. I feel my body react physically to stress and anxiety but I can't sort things out mentally like I used to be able to. I am so disconnected from myself and the world around me. 

Did this clear up for anyone? I have tried to find success stories from adverse reactions and have had a hard time. I took Lexapro for two months and immediately knew something was wrong, but I hoped that after seven months I would see more improvement than I have. 

If anyone could point me in the direction of recovery from the symptoms listed above or if you have your own success story I would appreciate hearing them more than I can explain. I am feeling completely hopeless and alone right now. I just want to feel clear headed again but I'm starting to forget what that was even like. 

 

Edited by ChessieCat
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  • ChessieCat changed the title to LCatherine: Lexapro for 2 months with devastating symptoms that have persisted for 5 months off
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ChessieCat

As Gridley has already said, time is the healer.

 

immediate-adverse-reactions-to-ssris-how-long-for-recovery

 

We have other members here who have had a bad reaction to a drug and they have reported improvement after a few months.  When you are feeling so bad, it can be hard to notice any little bit of improvement.  You might find it helpful to keep a diary, rating your symptoms which might allow you to see small improvements that you don't feel.  It is also better to compare how you are currently feeling to how you were feeling at your worst, not at your best or how you want to feel.  There are some printable/computer ones here:

 

Dr Joseph Glenmullen's Withdrawal Symptoms

 

Rate Symptoms Daily to Check Patterns and Progress

 

We encourage members to learn and use non drug coping techniques.  Incorporating regular relaxation and calming throughout your day can help to reduce the stress/anxiety which allows your brain to do what it needs to do.  It is also helpful to learn to accept the situation.  It is what it is AT THIS TIME.  We can't make the time go faster, but we can do something about the attitude we have whilst we are waiting.

 

acceptance

 

non-drug-techniques-to-cope-with-emotional-symptoms

 

the-dr-claire-weekes-method-of-recovering-from-a-sensitized-nervous-system

 

This is a link to the search in the Success Stories forum for adverse reaction

 

 

There are many existing topics on this site.  Use a search engine and add site:survivingantidepressants.org to the search term

 

 

 

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

 

REMINDER TO SELF:  I don't need the drug now, but my still brain does.

Current from 9 Jan 2021:  Pristiq 0.405 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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  • 2 months later...
NoMoreLexapro
On 7/3/2020 at 1:16 PM, LCatherine said:

Brain fog/emotionally numb/poor concentration

 

One of the worst and most debilitating symptoms for me that still persists heavily after 7 months from an adverse reaction to Lexapro is brain fog. It feels like there is distance between each thought. I can't picture things in my mind, my inner voice is not nearly as loud as it was before medication, and it's very hard for me to absorb information. My mind feels blank a lot, and not in a calm or peaceful way. I feel my body react physically to stress and anxiety but I can't sort things out mentally like I used to be able to. I am so disconnected from myself and the world around me. 

Did this clear up for anyone? I have tried to find success stories from adverse reactions and have had a hard time. I took Lexapro for two months and immediately knew something was wrong, but I hoped that after seven months I would see more improvement than I have. 

If anyone could point me in the direction of recovery from the symptoms listed above or if you have your own success story I would appreciate hearing them more than I can explain. I am feeling completely hopeless and alone right now. I just want to feel clear headed again but I'm starting to forget what that was even like. 

 

How are you doing?  I was on lexapro for 66 days in Jan., have been off for over 6 mths, and am still experiencing debilitating WD, with over 60 side effects/symptoms experienced to date.  Can't drive.  I, too, never settled while on lexapro and it gave me suicidal ideation 4 wks after I started taking it which is why a psychiatrist recommended a fast taper.  How are you doing?  Any improvements?

Was on Lexapro for 66 days starting in early January.  5mg for a week, 10mg for 3, 7.5 for 3 days, then 5mg and 2.5mg for approx two weeks after.  

Was on Lithium for 60 days starting in late January. 1 300mg ER pill a day.  Stopped CT

Was given a .5 ativan script in early Jan.  Took it maybe 20x total from early Jan to beg of June, 2020.

 

-Fall of 2019:  had two vertigo attacks for the first time with no warning, each followed by 4-5 days of morning dizziness.

-Last Friday of 2019:  had first ever, out of the blue, panic attack.  Went to ER- didn't know what was happening.  Was diagnosed w/GAD, even though had never had anxiety or depression problems before.  Basically no health problems at all prior to this, and in very good shape emotionally, physically, and mentally.

-4 days after panic attack given lexapro.  That's when the hell began.  Was on it 66 days.  Reacted badly to it.  Gave me suicidal ideation 4 wks after starting it, plus exhaustion, off the charts anxiety, dizziness, and fatigue.  Did a fast taper over 5 wks.  Was on it 66 days total.

-been off lexapro completely since mid-March, 2020.  First 3 weeks I got better and better.  Then, week 4 into WD got slammed.  Since then, over 64 side effects/symptoms.  Can't drive.  At times, barely surviving.

-since Jan., have been to the e r 16x.

-was given lithium after experienced SI from lexapro to as a "mood stabilizer".  Never really noticed anything from it, nor anything after stopping it, except for a few days of heightened depression about a week after.

-was given low dosage ativan script 2nd week into lexapro to deal with the anxiety/panic spike caused by the lexapro.  Took it perhaps 20x between Jan and June, 2020.  Always made me feel better, but last time it was taken (early June) experienced intrusive thoughts after so stopped it.  Didn't feel any negative reaction from stopping it, perhaps b/c it was taken so infrequently and the dosage was so low. 

 

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