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Halcyon: tapering escitalopram - time is not on my side


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p.s. what is the general consensus (if any) on diet and how it affects success of withdrawing. I’ve seen some posts about this here and there. I have always had a sensitive gut and acid issues since I was a little kid. I worked out eating bland but I also tend to eat simple carbs (bread, rice, crackers) as they’re comforting and I digest them better than more complex carbs. It seems many swear by cutting out gluten but I would like to keep it if possible. I was tested for celiacs a few times when I was younger and it always came back negative. I have developed more of a sweet tooth in the last 10 years, but I’ve been working on cutting that out. I’ve been steadfast at avoiding sugary treats and what not.

2003: 50 mg Zoloft for 3 month, 10 mg Lexapro for 1 month (for GAD/Insomnia)

2007: 10 mg Elavil for IBS/GERD pain

2008: 5 mg Lexapro for IBS/GERD pain and GAD/Obsessive Worry

2010: 10 mg Lexapro

2018: 20 mg Lexapro (for increased stress/anxiety/upset)

2019: 15 mg Lexapro

9/1/2020: 12.5 mg Lexapro

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You could keep a food and symptom diary and see if there are any food/beverages which seem to worsen your symptoms.


To find discussion about diets/foods etc use a search engine and add site:survivingantidepressants.org the search term.




Check out the topics in the different forums.

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


ADs:  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  Current from 14 Nov 2020:  Pristiq 0.50 mg

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

My website - includes my brief history + links to videos & information on the web

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

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

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7 hours ago, Halcyon said:

I’ve seen how withdrawal sensitizes peoples CNS to the point that lots of things can be harsh on them that were not before. Generally speaking, if one follows a slow taper does this make the CNS less sensitized?


If a slow taper takes a person 10 years or more, does the additional length of time on the drug tend to correlate with the chances of protracted withdrawal? I.e. I’ve been on a drug for 12 years, after 10 years of tapering to 0, does protracted withdrawal seem more likely from being on for a total of 22 years vs. 12. Does that make sense?


I think you answered your own question, @Halcyon. Although we have some very useful case studies here, it is tough to use those to predict any other person's individual case. Everyone has different genetics, is exposed to different environmental stressors, has a different history with medication or recreational drugs. So it is hard to extrapolate from anyone's story to another person. To minimize confounding we would need to run a very large randomized controlled trial with different taper rates and different drug histories. Then we might be able to tell you something useful about length of drug usage vs chances of protracted withdrawal. 


To me it does seem like more drugs + longer time usage + history of difficult withdrawals + recreational drug use = a more difficult taper and a greater chance of protracted withdrawal, which is what you would logically guess, but it is pure speculation based on observational study of individuals. People I know who have had the most difficult time tapering and with subsequent protracted withdrawal are people who've had 1) difficult withdrawals before  2) a history of drug use or alcoholism  3) drug toxicity like serotonin syndrome or overdose. Very difficult to conclude much from individual cases though. Actually almost every study has very limited predictive value in medicine except for very large randomized controlled trials, which you can read about in "Medical Reversal" if you want, by Vinay Prasad and Adam Cifu MDs. Even randomized trials have their limits though, and they need to be very carefully constructed to weed out biases and confounds. 


And yes, a slow taper seems to minimize CNS sensitization. Another thing that needs to be tested and studied rigorously. Glad you are being so diligent in learning about withdrawal, @Halcyon : )

Edited by DataGuy

Remeron - 2004-2005 (bad withdrawal)

Clonazepam - 2005-2018 (jumped around March)

Many drugs in between including Lexapro, other benzos and z-drugs, and olanzapine.

Still suffering post-withdrawal from Clonazepam (Klonopin), Olanzapine and Domperidone. 

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