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JustinDW: 6 years of lexapro, stopped 7 months ago


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Hi everyone, I'm Justin.


Until last year, I'd been taking lexapro 20mg for about 6 years for GAD and depression. I've been working with a therapist for 2 years, and decided to stop the medication about 7 months ago to better confront some deep feelings fueling my depression and anxiety.


I've been trying to be positive, to focus on the progress (and there is progress), but the last 7 months have also been hell.


I developed night sweats, regular (almost daily) headaches, poor sleep, nausea, lack of appetite (very unusual for me, I love food), difficulty concentrating and focusing, and some days the sense of "doom" anxiety has been so bad I can only barely function.  A week ago, after 2 days in a row calling out of work (I work from home) because I couldn't concentrate due to anxiety, I started to get desperate.  I took 10mg lexapro before I went to bed. 


The next morning I woke up to a very different world.  It was significantly easier to get up and out of bed.  I could focus.  I was productive.  I got a lot of work done.  The anxiety flutter in my stomach was almost gone.  I wasn't overreacting to things.  My appetite came back.  The speed of that change made my therapist think about ADS and recommend this website, and I'm so glad she did.  I was getting really despondent thinking that I just wasn't working hard enough, or that I'm going to have to struggle to function on a daily basis for the rest of my life.


After reading the intro posts here, I started keeping a journal and am trying a much slower taper with the lexapro I have remaining.  Here's hoping I can find a balance.


Really glad to be with you all,


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  • ChessieCat changed the title to JustinDW: 6 years of lexapro, stopped 7 months ago
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Welcome to SA, JustinDW.


What you experienced when you cold-turkeyed the Lexapro was antidepressant withdrawal.  The symptoms you described are typical of withdrawal.


What is withdrawal syndrome.


Daily Checklist of Antidepressant Withdrawal Symptoms (PDF) 


When we take psychiatric 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. 


The reinstatement of 10mg was larger than we would've recommended, but I'm glad it worked so well.  Are you tapering now?  If so, at what rate?  We recommend tapering by no more than 10% of your current dose every four weeks.


Why taper by 10% of my dosage?


The last 10mg of an SSRI like Lexapro are the most potent and it's especially important to taper slowly from 10mg down.  This is definitely the case with Lexapro, which is the strongest SSRI on the market.  The following link is specifically about tapering Lexapro, including how to get the nonstandard doses you'll need for a 10% taper.


Tips for tapering off Lexapro (escitalopram)


We don't recommend a lot of supplements on SA, as many members report being sensitive to them due to our over-reactive nervous systems, but two supplements that we do recommend are magnesium and omega 3 (fish oil). Many people find these to be calming to the nervous system. 


Magnesium, nature's calcium channel blocker 


Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil) 


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


This is your Introduction topic, where you can ask questions and connect with other members.  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 to 1.875mg 1986-2020, two CT's and reinstatements

Nov. 2020, 7-week Ativan-Valium crossover to 18.75mg Valium

Feb. 2021, begin 10%/4 week taper of 18.75mg Valium  

End 2021  year 1 of taper at 6mg

End 2022 year 2 of taper at 2.75mg 

Current dose as of Feb. 25, 2023 2mg

Taper is 89% complete.


Imipramine 75 mg daily since 1986.  Jan-Sept 2016 tapered to 14.4mg  

March 22, 2022: Begin 10%/4 week taper

Aug. 5, 2022: hold at 9.5mg and shift to Valium taper

Taper is 87% complete.  


Supplements: omega-3, 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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