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mva96: hello everyone - 6 months of escitalopram


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Hi guys,

 

Figured i'd join this community for support and to support others.

 

For a bit of background I was prescribed Escitalopram for OCD in early March this year. (Tried regular citalopram first but it was gross and refused to take a second pill)

 

Worked my way up to 15mg of escitalopram by the fourth month. The whole time i was wary of being on them and wanted to get off sooner rather than later, always felt like they were bad news but was essentially out of options. Over this time period I worked extremely hard in therapy/ERP and made a lot of progress with my OCD in that time to the point where it was mostly under control. I was actually pretty happy. Month 5 i dropped down to 10mg. Noticed some mild symptoms (sweating, increased heart rate) but nothing major and they subsided quickly. A few weeks later i dropped down to 5mg. Definitely noticed some more intense symptoms this time, but still nothing that bad. I waited for a further 3 weeks before making the final jump to zero. Unsurprisingly this transition was when things got pretty bad. The first few days were fine, I actually laughed to myself and thought i'd got away with not having many withdrawals. 

 

You guessed it, i was wrong.

 

I'm about 7 weeks off now, my memory isn't great atm but from what i can recall the first month was extremely uncomfortable. I can only really describe it as intense emotional pain/anxiety sort of burning inside my chest coupled with racing thoughts. I was extremely irritable, to the point of rage, had very broken sleep, vivid dreams, wild mood swings, sweats, very deep depression. I think around week 5 i had a sort of baby window where for 2 days i felt pretty good. Was stupid enough to drink on that night and woke up back in the pit (if not worse than it was before). I'm currently just over 7 weeks off, the rage has been replaced with  irritability, my sleep has somewhat improved, however i'm far from recovered. Still experience very intense emotions (mainly depression, anxiety, anger and sadness), moments of overwhelming impending doom, brainfog, paranoia. There's more but i'm sure you get the point.

 

Anyway, i'm aware i've tapered off far quicker than I should have done. But given all i've been through i'm reluctant to put that stuff back in my body. I'd rather just take the pain. I'm lucky enough to be in a position where i don't have much responsibility right now, however i obviously want to get back to living my life as this past year has been hell with the OCD and then w/d. Hoping given the relatively short time period i was on them for it won't last too long. However 6 months on the drug, i wouldn't be surprised if i need 6 months to recover, maybe more but hopefully not.

 

So yeah, i'm here for the ride with you guys. I know how isolating of an experience it is. My family don't really believe that i'm still withdrawing nearly two months later.

 

 

Edited by Gridley

Started Lexapro 5mg Mid March 2020

 

Increased to 10mg April 2020

Increased to 15mg June 2020

Decreased back down to 10mg July 2020

Decreased down to 5mg August 2020

Came off Completely September 2020

 

October 2020 Currently 7 Weeks off all medication - Experiencing Depression, anxiety, mood swings, derealisation, general sense of impending doom. Overall small improvements have been noticed.

November 2020 - 2 months off - Definite improvements in anxiety, agitation and derealisation - Still struggling with apathy/low mood, sense of impending doom, crying spells, and slight irritability. Overall feeling optimistic despite what my brain is saying.

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  • Moderator

Welcome to SA, mva96.

 

To give members the best information, we ask them to summarize their medication history in a signature -- drugs, doses, dates, and discontinuations & reinstatements, in the last 12-24 months particularly.  Please include the dates of each of your reductions of the Lexapro.

 

Account Settings – Create or Edit a signature.

 

Lexapro is the strongest SSRI on the market, and the greatest potency is at the lower doses, 10mg and below, getting more potent as you go lower.  This would explain why you may have "gotten away with" fast tapering at the higher doses, but then it caught up with you as you went further down.  Also, withdrawal symptoms can be delayed, and some of the earlier reductions may have manifested later on.  It is to your advantage that you were on the drug a relatively short time, but there is no absolute correlation between time on the drug and length of withdrawal.  Unfortunately, there's no way to predict how long withdrawal will last.  

 

So that you have a better idea what you're experiencing, here is some information on withdrawal and the healing process. The symptoms you describe are typical withdrawal symptoms.

 

 

 

 

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.  

 

These explain the healing process really well.

 

 

 
You've said you don't want to put the drug back in your system, and that's of course your decision.  Just for your information, 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, as I said,  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.  At 7 weeks out 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.   Please read:
 
About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms. -- at least the first page of the topic
 
If you change your mind, please let us know and we can can suggest a very small reinstatement dose.  Please don't reinstate without letting us suggest a dose.
 
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. 

 

 

 

Add in one at a time and at a low dose in case you do experience problems. Get supplements that ae single ingredient (not mixed with other types of supplements).

 

This is your Introduction topic, where you can complete your drug signature, 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.

 

Lorazepam 1 mg 1986-1991 CT, resumed a few months later. CT 2000.  1 mg 2011-2016.  Sept, 2016 increased to 0.5 X 3 in split dose. Sept. 2019 increased to 0.625 X 3 after crossover to new brand

 

Imipramine 75 mg daily since 1986.  Jan. 2016 began every 3-weeks 10% taper, down to 15mg.  Aug 2016, discovered SA, updosed to 25mg and holding.  Taper is 66% 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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  • ChessieCat changed the title to mva96: hello everyone - 6 months of escitalopram

Small Update - Feel last the past week i may have turned a corner. I'm still very much having withdrawals, however the brain fog, intense anxiety and agitation have all backed off. I've found it easier to laugh. Sense of impending doom is still around, as well as some apathy/ slight irritability and occasional heart palpitations. Definitely still have a way to go but it feels like the really painful constant suffering part of this is coming to an end. Time to power through the depressive part!

Started Lexapro 5mg Mid March 2020

 

Increased to 10mg April 2020

Increased to 15mg June 2020

Decreased back down to 10mg July 2020

Decreased down to 5mg August 2020

Came off Completely September 2020

 

October 2020 Currently 7 Weeks off all medication - Experiencing Depression, anxiety, mood swings, derealisation, general sense of impending doom. Overall small improvements have been noticed.

November 2020 - 2 months off - Definite improvements in anxiety, agitation and derealisation - Still struggling with apathy/low mood, sense of impending doom, crying spells, and slight irritability. Overall feeling optimistic despite what my brain is saying.

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Hi again. not been a great week. Still having waves of intense pending doom, heart palpitations, depression and DPDR and some crying spells. Find it hard to be around people. My sleep had massivley improved but as of late the insomnia, vivd dreams and broken sleep are back, however fortunately in a milder form than when i first came off. Had one day of intense head pressure, blurry vision and mild vertigo. WD is such a strange feeling, your mind state is constantly changing, and the terrible memory makes it hard to remember what things used to be/are meant to be like.

 

Despite all this i am still hopeful and am holding onto hope of a better life.

 

 

Started Lexapro 5mg Mid March 2020

 

Increased to 10mg April 2020

Increased to 15mg June 2020

Decreased back down to 10mg July 2020

Decreased down to 5mg August 2020

Came off Completely September 2020

 

October 2020 Currently 7 Weeks off all medication - Experiencing Depression, anxiety, mood swings, derealisation, general sense of impending doom. Overall small improvements have been noticed.

November 2020 - 2 months off - Definite improvements in anxiety, agitation and derealisation - Still struggling with apathy/low mood, sense of impending doom, crying spells, and slight irritability. Overall feeling optimistic despite what my brain is saying.

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Seeing some mild improvements. Intense impending doom isn't as bad anymore. DPDR seems to have improved a bit. Less anxious. Not sure if this is a window of just slow gradual improvement. Still experiencing - Low mood, irritable, feeling disconnected

Started Lexapro 5mg Mid March 2020

 

Increased to 10mg April 2020

Increased to 15mg June 2020

Decreased back down to 10mg July 2020

Decreased down to 5mg August 2020

Came off Completely September 2020

 

October 2020 Currently 7 Weeks off all medication - Experiencing Depression, anxiety, mood swings, derealisation, general sense of impending doom. Overall small improvements have been noticed.

November 2020 - 2 months off - Definite improvements in anxiety, agitation and derealisation - Still struggling with apathy/low mood, sense of impending doom, crying spells, and slight irritability. Overall feeling optimistic despite what my brain is saying.

Link to post

Past week has been tough. Had a huge wave of very, very severe depression. It has calmed down now and i'm back to the usual feelings of impending doom and dpdr. Also, i have found a low dose of 5HTP completely eliminates the DPDR, impending doom and low mood. However i'm fairly reluctant to take it for fear that it will just postpone the healing process.

Started Lexapro 5mg Mid March 2020

 

Increased to 10mg April 2020

Increased to 15mg June 2020

Decreased back down to 10mg July 2020

Decreased down to 5mg August 2020

Came off Completely September 2020

 

October 2020 Currently 7 Weeks off all medication - Experiencing Depression, anxiety, mood swings, derealisation, general sense of impending doom. Overall small improvements have been noticed.

November 2020 - 2 months off - Definite improvements in anxiety, agitation and derealisation - Still struggling with apathy/low mood, sense of impending doom, crying spells, and slight irritability. Overall feeling optimistic despite what my brain is saying.

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