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SATIety: Should I go back on citalopram?


SATIety

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Hi folks! I'm very grateful for the resources you've offered. It helps me feel less alone as I struggle through this.

 

I'm a 39yo male. I've been on SSRIs (paxil first and then citalopram) for 18 years. I've tried going off citalopram (10mg) several times, and ended up going back on each time because the withdrawal symptoms were so excruciating (extreme insomnia, panic, rage, fear, mania, confusion, etc.). I'd always tried to go off basically cold-turkey, but this past time I took a few weeks to taper down from 10mg, before completely stopping 1 month ago. (I would've gone much slower if I'd come across this site earlier.) Things have been tenuous; last night was my worst night so far—I came very close to going back on the citalopram because I was in such anguish. At this moment, I'm unclear as to whether to re-start the citalopram and then taper down very slowly, or to try to ride this out and see if I can handle it. Any thoughts would be much appreciated.

 

I take magnesium regularly and find it very helpful. And I just ordered some Omega-3's.

 

Thanks again for any insights!

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  • ChessieCat changed the title to SATIety: Should I go back on citalopram?
  • Moderator

Welcome to SA, SATIety.

 

Your system has been sensitized by your fast taper.   Going back on the full dose of 10mg could overwhelm your system and cause you to become more unstable.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

I would recommend reinstating 1mg Citalopram-- no more.  The following link explains how to get the 1mg Citalopram you'll need for your reinstatement dose.

 

Tips for tapering off Celexa (citalopram)

 

We need to see how 1mg affects you. It will take about a week for it to get to steady-state in your bloodstream; the effect should get stronger during that time.  If 1mg is enough, it still may take some weeks or months for your nervous system to settle down. You probably will continue to have ups and downs, but symptoms won't be as intense.  Please let us know what you decide to do.

 

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 

Feb. 2021, begin 10%/4 week taper.  Current dose as of Oct 13: 8.1 mg 

Taper is 56.8% complete.

 

Imipramine 75 mg daily since 1986.  Jan-Sept 2016 tapered to 16mg.  

Held until Aug 2021, tapered for 4 weeks to 14.4mg and holding.  

Taper is 80% 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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Thanks very much, Gridley. I've been feeling better the past few days, so I'm holding off from reinstating. If I do reinstate, I'll start taking 1mg.

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  • 1 year later...

Going through a really tough stretch of insomnia (6 weeks). Have tried many supplements (melatonin, many herbs, mag, L-theanine, etc.), to no avail. Just feels like cortisol is flying through me. Contemplating trying delta-8 CBD gummies. If there's any advice out there, please let me know!

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lookingrelief

@SATIetyI had a 1/2 of a 20 mg delt 8 gummy for sleep. The first night I slept and thought I finially found something to help with the insomnia. The 2nd night I did the same thing but woke up at 2 am so I took another one and was up for the rest of the night with increased anxiety.

a couple of weeks later I tried 1/2 of a 50 mg delta 8 gummy during the day and it was horrible. I had major anxiety that lasted all day into the night and could not sleep.  The delta 8 has THC, so I think it played havoc on my CNS and I will not be taking any more of those.

I am having lots of issues with insomnia too. For me the delta 8 gummies were  not helpful, and I think set me back.

1995 -2008 Zoloft 100-200 mg prescribed by Psychiatrist for depression

5 mg Klonipen prescribed for social anxiety

2008 Zoloft 100 mg Psychiatrist no longer took insurance, started getting Zoloft prescription from OB/GYN

2009 weened myself off of klonipen ( do not know how I did that)

2018 Zoloft 50 mg Weened myself. Getting prescription from new PCP

2020 Zoloft 25 mg weened myself

quit cold turkey mid sept 2020

quit cannibis late June 2021

Aug 2021 Hydroxyzine 25 mg  - for sleep

Withdrawl symptoms: Started Mid June 2021; insomnia, IBS, loss of appetite, cortisol spikes, major anxiety

Suppliments: Seriphos for cortisol spikes, Lactium, Theanine, tryptophan, GABA, Omega 3, Vit B, C

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@lookingrelief 

Thanks for sharing!

I started sublingual CBD oil (not Delta-8), and it's the only non-pharmaceutical that has helped me sleep. It really calmed my nighttime anxiety. My sleep is still not perfect, but much better since I started the oil.

Hope you get some sleep soon!

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lookingrelief

@SATIetyI had a 1/2 of a 20 mg delt 8 gummy for sleep. The first night I slept and thought I finially found something to help with the insomnia. The 2nd night I did the same thing but woke up at 2 am so I took another one and was up for the rest of the night with increased anxiety.

a couple of weeks later I tried 1/2 of a 50 mg delta 8 gummy during the day and it was horrible. I had major anxiety that lasted all day into the night and could not sleep.  The delta 8 has THC, so I think it played havoc on my CNS and I will not be taking any more of those.

I am having lots of issues with insomnia too. For me the delta 8 gummies were  not helpful, and I think set me back.

1995 -2008 Zoloft 100-200 mg prescribed by Psychiatrist for depression

5 mg Klonipen prescribed for social anxiety

2008 Zoloft 100 mg Psychiatrist no longer took insurance, started getting Zoloft prescription from OB/GYN

2009 weened myself off of klonipen ( do not know how I did that)

2018 Zoloft 50 mg Weened myself. Getting prescription from new PCP

2020 Zoloft 25 mg weened myself

quit cold turkey mid sept 2020

quit cannibis late June 2021

Aug 2021 Hydroxyzine 25 mg  - for sleep

Withdrawl symptoms: Started Mid June 2021; insomnia, IBS, loss of appetite, cortisol spikes, major anxiety

Suppliments: Seriphos for cortisol spikes, Lactium, Theanine, tryptophan, GABA, Omega 3, Vit B, C

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lookingrelief

@SATIety

I was wondering if the CBD oil you have is full spectrum or something else. Where did you get it and what brand is it?

 I would look in to that if it could possibly help me too.

I got 4 hrs last night from about 10:30 - 2am. The night before I got 3 hrs using an anithistamine Hydroxyzine.  The insomnia, cortisol spikes/anxiey is pure hell.

Thank you

1995 -2008 Zoloft 100-200 mg prescribed by Psychiatrist for depression

5 mg Klonipen prescribed for social anxiety

2008 Zoloft 100 mg Psychiatrist no longer took insurance, started getting Zoloft prescription from OB/GYN

2009 weened myself off of klonipen ( do not know how I did that)

2018 Zoloft 50 mg Weened myself. Getting prescription from new PCP

2020 Zoloft 25 mg weened myself

quit cold turkey mid sept 2020

quit cannibis late June 2021

Aug 2021 Hydroxyzine 25 mg  - for sleep

Withdrawl symptoms: Started Mid June 2021; insomnia, IBS, loss of appetite, cortisol spikes, major anxiety

Suppliments: Seriphos for cortisol spikes, Lactium, Theanine, tryptophan, GABA, Omega 3, Vit B, C

Link to post

 

@lookingrelief

Yes, it's full spectrum. Just a 500mg, 30ml bottle from a reputable local hemp shop. It was expensive ($55); next time I'll order online for $20 or so.

I know, the cortisol spikes are hell. I know that the root of mine is trauma, so working on that is my primary focus.

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I am majorly struggling with the cortisol spikes as well. I can fall asleep but cannot stay asleep. I am awakens with racing heart in the early hours of the morning. I dose off and on the rest of the night, continuing to wake with racing heart and each time my anxiety levels up a little. I decided to try and go back in the meds because I cannot do this any longer. Not sure updosing is going to work…haven’t felt great since the second dose. I’m so scared. 

~Lexapro 5mg 2009;  ~increased to 10mg; 2013ish.  ~increased to 20mg; 2017
~January 2021 had an episode of Serotonin Syndrome (from one single 50mg dose of trazodone) reduced from 20mg to 10mg. 
~Mid April 2021- Followed doctors taper schedule to get off lex. Within 6ish weeks I went from 10mg to 5mg and then 5mg every other day and then every 3 days and then quit. 
~Early June 2021 stopped Lexapro 

~July 5th; reinstated 2.5 mg Lexapro 

~July 6th; started atenolol 12.5 2x day for heart palpitations (resting bpm 110). 
~July 19th; upped to 3.75

~Sept 12; Updose 5mg (want WD to go AWAY-no longer trying to get off Lexapro. Want my life back!)

Lansoprazole 2000-2021

~July 27th 2021 breaking capsules and removing 40 tiny beads 

~Sept 2021- worked up to removing 300 of the 500 beads

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Really sorry to hear that, Anya324. My heart goes out to you.

 

Have you looked into Somatic Experiencing at all? If not, check it out; Peter Levine's book is Waking the Tiger. It's all about being stuck in the stress response; the stress cycle hasn't been allowed to complete itself, so instead of mounting a response and ultimately accessing safety, you only ever feel unsafe. Anyway, I find it very useful. The key is in seeing how you're perpetuating the stress response, and how you can complete it so that you feel safe; it's helpful to have a practitioner on board to help you with this.

 

In the meantime, take whatever supplements you can to help you get some sleep. For sleep, I've found sublingual CBD oil to be helpful, along with magnesium and some Chinese herbs. If you need to go back on meds because it's too excruciating otherwise, by all means do so. It's not a failure. It can get you back to a decent baseline so that you can do what you need to do to start to shift this stress response pattern.

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I looked that book up. Does it matter that I don’t have any “traumatic” things to recover from? My childhood was sucky because I had divorced parents and a step monster but it wasn’t Traumatic. And adulthood has been fine too. Stressors and disappointments sure but nothing beyond the norm.
 

On 5/24/2020 at 5:25 PM, SATIety said:

I've tried going off citalopram (10mg) several times, and ended up going back on each time because the withdrawal symptoms were so excruciating (extreme insomnia, panic, rage, fear, mania, confusion, etc.).

I am strongly considering jumping from 5 to 10 this weekend. I moved a tiny bit, from 3.75 to 5 Sunday and feel very agitated. I think my body wants more.  The first day I felt ok, calmer but then agitated since. I just want to give it what it needs to settle. This is awful. But I’m so scared of making things worse by updosing/going back on completely. 
 

when you did go back on, how long did it take to feel better? Did you go straight back to your original dose or work up to it? 
 

thanks! 

~Lexapro 5mg 2009;  ~increased to 10mg; 2013ish.  ~increased to 20mg; 2017
~January 2021 had an episode of Serotonin Syndrome (from one single 50mg dose of trazodone) reduced from 20mg to 10mg. 
~Mid April 2021- Followed doctors taper schedule to get off lex. Within 6ish weeks I went from 10mg to 5mg and then 5mg every other day and then every 3 days and then quit. 
~Early June 2021 stopped Lexapro 

~July 5th; reinstated 2.5 mg Lexapro 

~July 6th; started atenolol 12.5 2x day for heart palpitations (resting bpm 110). 
~July 19th; upped to 3.75

~Sept 12; Updose 5mg (want WD to go AWAY-no longer trying to get off Lexapro. Want my life back!)

Lansoprazole 2000-2021

~July 27th 2021 breaking capsules and removing 40 tiny beads 

~Sept 2021- worked up to removing 300 of the 500 beads

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Some people can point to a specific traumatic event; others can't. The important part is that you're stuck in a survival response; that stuckness is trauma. It's the perpetual activation of fight-flight-freeze. The key is in learning how to "complete" the survival response cycle, so that your system feels like it can return to a rest state.

 

When I went back on Citalopram, I went back to a small amount first (like 1-3mg), but it was too weak; I went back up to 10mg and started to feel much more normal, pretty quickly. Eventually, I'll wean off again, but I'll do it MUCH more gradually than I have in the past. In the meantime, I have a lot of re-training to do in my nervous system, so that I'll be prepared to wean off the next time.

 

What was your process for weaning off? Do you think you did it too quickly?

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Oh my heavens, yes. I followed my 

Doctors advice on how to taper. I went from 20 to 10 in feb and then 10 to 5 to 5 every other day to five every third day and then just quit in about 4 weeks may/June. After finding SA I now know that that was terrible awful horrible advice. I also have read some documentation that people that have been on an antidepressant for more than 10 years stands very little chance of getting off of it with out difficulty.

 

I reinstated July 5th at 2.5, it wasn’t enough to be functional so I upped it again to 3.75. Felt good for 3.5-4 weeks and the wheels fell off again. Upped to 5mg Sunday but now Im

getting some mild akathesia symptoms and I’m so scared. I have read a few stories here where people updose but not enough and causes trouble. so I think I need to just bite the bullet and go back up to 10mg—I feel like my body just NEEDS more in order to get back to normal. That’s all I want at this point. Normal (meaning I can live my life daily with little disruption). 

~Lexapro 5mg 2009;  ~increased to 10mg; 2013ish.  ~increased to 20mg; 2017
~January 2021 had an episode of Serotonin Syndrome (from one single 50mg dose of trazodone) reduced from 20mg to 10mg. 
~Mid April 2021- Followed doctors taper schedule to get off lex. Within 6ish weeks I went from 10mg to 5mg and then 5mg every other day and then every 3 days and then quit. 
~Early June 2021 stopped Lexapro 

~July 5th; reinstated 2.5 mg Lexapro 

~July 6th; started atenolol 12.5 2x day for heart palpitations (resting bpm 110). 
~July 19th; upped to 3.75

~Sept 12; Updose 5mg (want WD to go AWAY-no longer trying to get off Lexapro. Want my life back!)

Lansoprazole 2000-2021

~July 27th 2021 breaking capsules and removing 40 tiny beads 

~Sept 2021- worked up to removing 300 of the 500 beads

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Thelongestroadhome

@SATIetyit interest me that CBD oil is helping you. It’s damn hard to get hold of it ( legally) in Australia but from what I’ve heard it can be very helpful during withdrawal. 
I personally am finding Niacin (B3) very helpful in long term withdrawal. It kind of acts in a similar way to benzodiazepines but without the nasty side effects. In saying that ANY supplement can be triggering during withdrawal so please be very cautious if trying this. 
Niacin ( flush type is better) is known to reduce cortisol and I think this could be why it helps with withdrawal. The flush is awful the and unless you know what to expect it could land you in ER thinking you are having a heart attack… I kid you not. If you take it then make sure it’s with food. 
good luck in your journey, I hope it continues to go well. 

Current...Drug free since September 2018

December 2007 30mg Lexapro and a benzodiazepine December 2008 25mg, December 2009 20mg, December 2010 15mg Lexapro, December 2011 10mg Lexapro. Long hold as I felt happy with the dose and saw no need at the time to reduce further. September 2015 dropped to 5mg. Terrible anxiety started two months later. June 2016 dropped to 3mg and terrible obsessive thoughts and anxiety so ten days later I reinstated back to 5mg. October 2016 dropped to 4mg. April 2017 dropped to 3mg. September 2017 dropped to 2mg. Terrible obsessive thoughts. Anxiety through the roof. OCD.  September 2018 quit cold turkey 2mg Lexapro. March 2019 feeling better than I have in years. 

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21 hours ago, SATIety said:

When I went back on Citalopram, I went back to a small amount first (like 1-3mg), but it was too weak; I went back up to 10mg and started to feel much more normal, pretty quickly.

@SATIetydid the small updoses bother you at all? Make you feel worse at first? No matter what I do it makes my heart RACE and POUND. I jumped to 7.5 last night and have to take 75mg beta blocker to get it to settle. Also got terrible insomnia once all that med hit my bloodstream. My goal would be to get to 10 but I think my nervous system is too hypersensitive to get there. 
 

i effing hate this. 

~Lexapro 5mg 2009;  ~increased to 10mg; 2013ish.  ~increased to 20mg; 2017
~January 2021 had an episode of Serotonin Syndrome (from one single 50mg dose of trazodone) reduced from 20mg to 10mg. 
~Mid April 2021- Followed doctors taper schedule to get off lex. Within 6ish weeks I went from 10mg to 5mg and then 5mg every other day and then every 3 days and then quit. 
~Early June 2021 stopped Lexapro 

~July 5th; reinstated 2.5 mg Lexapro 

~July 6th; started atenolol 12.5 2x day for heart palpitations (resting bpm 110). 
~July 19th; upped to 3.75

~Sept 12; Updose 5mg (want WD to go AWAY-no longer trying to get off Lexapro. Want my life back!)

Lansoprazole 2000-2021

~July 27th 2021 breaking capsules and removing 40 tiny beads 

~Sept 2021- worked up to removing 300 of the 500 beads

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@Anya324Ugh, sorry to hear that. The updoses didn't really bother me, maybe because I was already so messed up, so I moved pretty quickly back up to 10mg.

 

If it's useful: Try to keep "feeling in" to your body despite the discomfort, see if you can use your imagination to feel the "breath energy" underneath the discomfort, using imagery if desired (like soothing white light bathing your tissues), calming your heart tissue, your lungs, your digestive organs, and especially your kidneys/adrenals, and so on (skin, bones, etc.). Talking to yourself with kindness, like you're cooing to a crying baby.

 

I realize this isn't a cure, but I find these sorts of inner habits to be pretty crucial to my process. Meanwhile, keep tinkering with supplements to try to find something that helps you as you re-acclimate to the pharmaceutical. You can do this!

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lookingrelief

@SATIety Did your cordisol surges calm down after you reinstated/updosed?

1995 -2008 Zoloft 100-200 mg prescribed by Psychiatrist for depression

5 mg Klonipen prescribed for social anxiety

2008 Zoloft 100 mg Psychiatrist no longer took insurance, started getting Zoloft prescription from OB/GYN

2009 weened myself off of klonipen ( do not know how I did that)

2018 Zoloft 50 mg Weened myself. Getting prescription from new PCP

2020 Zoloft 25 mg weened myself

quit cold turkey mid sept 2020

quit cannibis late June 2021

Aug 2021 Hydroxyzine 25 mg  - for sleep

Withdrawl symptoms: Started Mid June 2021; insomnia, IBS, loss of appetite, cortisol spikes, major anxiety

Suppliments: Seriphos for cortisol spikes, Lactium, Theanine, tryptophan, GABA, Omega 3, Vit B, C

Link to post

@lookingrelief The surges got better initially after I reinstated last Feb, but they've returned for periods of time. Most recently, I was going through a 6-week period of insomnia with surges, which the CBD has helped to calm down. My surges are typically associated with trauma triggers and supplements (I'm really sensitive to a lot of supplements—I react with anxiety/panic/insomnia when most people react with sedation); with this 6-week period of insomnia, however, the initial cause for the insomnia seemed to be digestive (reflux, primarily). After a couple weeks of insomnia from the reflux, I was exhausted and weak and the cortisol surges kicked up.

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@SATIety @lookingrelief


How are y’all feeling today?

 

I had my first window in 16 days. I don’t know what tomorrow holds but today has been blissful. No beta-blockers, actually ate and ENJOYED my food. 
 

one day at a time, right?

~Lexapro 5mg 2009;  ~increased to 10mg; 2013ish.  ~increased to 20mg; 2017
~January 2021 had an episode of Serotonin Syndrome (from one single 50mg dose of trazodone) reduced from 20mg to 10mg. 
~Mid April 2021- Followed doctors taper schedule to get off lex. Within 6ish weeks I went from 10mg to 5mg and then 5mg every other day and then every 3 days and then quit. 
~Early June 2021 stopped Lexapro 

~July 5th; reinstated 2.5 mg Lexapro 

~July 6th; started atenolol 12.5 2x day for heart palpitations (resting bpm 110). 
~July 19th; upped to 3.75

~Sept 12; Updose 5mg (want WD to go AWAY-no longer trying to get off Lexapro. Want my life back!)

Lansoprazole 2000-2021

~July 27th 2021 breaking capsules and removing 40 tiny beads 

~Sept 2021- worked up to removing 300 of the 500 beads

Link to post
lookingrelief

@SATIety So its ok to take the CBD along with your SSRI?  No adverse reactions?

1995 -2008 Zoloft 100-200 mg prescribed by Psychiatrist for depression

5 mg Klonipen prescribed for social anxiety

2008 Zoloft 100 mg Psychiatrist no longer took insurance, started getting Zoloft prescription from OB/GYN

2009 weened myself off of klonipen ( do not know how I did that)

2018 Zoloft 50 mg Weened myself. Getting prescription from new PCP

2020 Zoloft 25 mg weened myself

quit cold turkey mid sept 2020

quit cannibis late June 2021

Aug 2021 Hydroxyzine 25 mg  - for sleep

Withdrawl symptoms: Started Mid June 2021; insomnia, IBS, loss of appetite, cortisol spikes, major anxiety

Suppliments: Seriphos for cortisol spikes, Lactium, Theanine, tryptophan, GABA, Omega 3, Vit B, C

Link to post
On 9/19/2021 at 10:08 AM, lookingrelief said:

@SATIety So its ok to take the CBD along with your SSRI?  No adverse reactions?

It’s really an individual basis. Some can take it and some cannot. 

~Lexapro 5mg 2009;  ~increased to 10mg; 2013ish.  ~increased to 20mg; 2017
~January 2021 had an episode of Serotonin Syndrome (from one single 50mg dose of trazodone) reduced from 20mg to 10mg. 
~Mid April 2021- Followed doctors taper schedule to get off lex. Within 6ish weeks I went from 10mg to 5mg and then 5mg every other day and then every 3 days and then quit. 
~Early June 2021 stopped Lexapro 

~July 5th; reinstated 2.5 mg Lexapro 

~July 6th; started atenolol 12.5 2x day for heart palpitations (resting bpm 110). 
~July 19th; upped to 3.75

~Sept 12; Updose 5mg (want WD to go AWAY-no longer trying to get off Lexapro. Want my life back!)

Lansoprazole 2000-2021

~July 27th 2021 breaking capsules and removing 40 tiny beads 

~Sept 2021- worked up to removing 300 of the 500 beads

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