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AndyPants: My Story with Lexapro


AndyPants

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AndyPants

Hi, I wish I had found this forum a long time ago.  I've been on Lexapro (escitalopram) for almost 9 years now, since 2012.  I was on 10 mg for a short time (a month maybe?) and then my doctor increased my dosage to 20 mg.

 

The reason I got on the medication was I was suffering some rough OCD things (I was doing a lot of lock checking, dealing with intrusive thoughts, etc) and also just general depression.  I was in my early 20's, working a call center-y job where I dealt with difficult customers on the phone a lot, stressed about picking a degree, and was in a new relationship that had some challenges.  My parents had recently both started taking anti anxiety medication themselves, and after telling them of the stuff I was dealing with they thought I would benefit from it as well.  Went to the family doctor, who had me take that questionnaire thing and then put me on Lexapro.

 

I don't recall exact dates, but I think I've been taking Lexapro since April or May 2012.  Overtime it did help me ease out of my depression and OCD symptoms.  But life always felt like it was in a haze.  My low moments had been brought up but my higher moments had been brought down.  I also had weight gain issues, which certainly weren't helped with my bad diet but seemed to get worse after getting on the medication.  Despite my worries about this I continued to go to my doctor yearly to get re-upped on my medication and when he asked me if the medication was still working for me I would just say it did.  I think 1) I was worried about going back to how I was before getting on the medication and 2) it felt like the expected answer.  The last few times of having these visits I wanted to tell him I wanted to get off the medication, but just gave the same answer that yes it was working instead.  I continued to feel like I was in a haze and was frustrated with myself because my career wasn't really doing what I wanted it to do, but I felt no drive to really fix that.  Finally last year, summer 2020 (I think July, again I'm having trouble remember dates here), I decided it was time to be done with it, and that doctor as well (due to a visit unrelated to this where I left feeling very frustrated with him, and I didn't even live in that area anymore anyways).  I went to a new doctor, told him I was on Lexapro and wanted to get off, and he gave me a plan of halving my dose monthly for a few months.

 

My side effects of going down to 10mg were pretty bad.  I was really irritable and angry with my family.  I was panicky all the time.  I had trouble falling asleep.  And I had what I think were heart palpitations, fluttering in my chest.  I didn't reach out to the doctor about these symptoms.  The idea of halving it every month felt too fast to me and freaked me out.  The prescription he gave me had a few refills on it, so I decided to stay on the 10mg for the whole prescription rather than halving it after a month like he said.  For my side effects, the sleep issues only last a few days but the heart palpitations lasted two or three of the four months I was on 10mg.  I went at the end of the prescription, explained that I had stayed on the 10mg, he asked how it was going and I mentioned some of the side effects except for the heart palpitations.  He suggested going down to 5mg for a month or so, then 2.5 mg for a month or so, then doing 2.5 mg every other day for a month or so.  He said going from 20 to 10 would be worse than going to 10 to 5 and I should expect my symptoms to not be as bad.

 

He was wrong.  The heart palpations came back quickly, just as bad as before.  This time I did call the doctor's office and left a message.  A nurse called me back and told me it was normal and to let them know if it got to a point where it was too much for me to handle.  My immediate thought was that any level of fluttering in my chest is too much to handle but I wanted to get off the medication so I just said okay.  So I just gritted my teeth and bore it as those continued for a few weeks.  I did 5mg for two months, then just started cutting them in half a week ago.

 

In general, my irritability and anger have been at a high since I started tapering.  I think it starts to get a little better just before I lower the dosage and then it seems to get bad again.  I have a toddler who likes to push my buttons a lot and has been in a particularly challenging stage of just being defiant to us.  This, combined with my general mood issues, has caused a lot of challenges.  I'm losing my temper all the time, yelling, and it makes me feel terrible about myself.  The heart palpitations are gone, and my sleep is OK except that my son never lets me sleep in, but I just feel either disengaged with what is happening around me or pissed off at everything.  I've been taking some CBD tincture daily for a month or two but I'm not confident that has done anything.

 

I'll try to sum up now because this is getting long and disjointed...I'm on 2.5 mg Lexapro and struggling with my mood.  I wish so much I could go back and never get on this medication.  I think with other resources I could have learned to overcome my ocd without this drug.  I was once a pretty relaxed person (when I wasn't being ocd), and now I'm yelling at my son over stupid things and making things ten times worse all the time.  Anyway, everything is hard right now, but I'm hoping to push through it.  I'm glad to finally be able to share all of this with people who understand, it helps to talk through this.

I don't recall exact dates so I'm kind of approximating on all this:

-May 2012: 10 mg Lexapro/Escitalopram, after a month or two doctor took me up to 20mg.

-Stayed at 20 mg from 2012 to 2020

-July 2020: 10 mg

-November 2020: 5 mg

-February 15 2021: 1/2 a 5mg pill ~2.5 mg

-February 25 2021: 3/4 a 5mg pill ~3.75 mg 

-March 25 2021: 1/2 a 5mg pill ~2.5 mg

-April 17 2021, started experiencing insomnia

-April 20 2021, started liquid Lexapro 2.8, over the course of week and a half taken that up to 3.5

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  • Moderator Emeritus
ChessieCat

removed post.

Edited by ChessieCat

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

 

Plodding along inch by inch:  12" = 1',  3' =  36 " or 1 yard,  1760 yards  = 63,360" or 1 mile

Current from 17 Apr 2021:  Pristiq 0.2665mg  now holding each dose for 3 weeks

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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  • Moderator Emeritus
ChessieCat

Hi AndyPants and welcome to SA,

 

Please answer these questions:

 

Q:  Are you taking your dose every day OR are you skipping days?

 

Q:  Did you ever have the heart issues whilst taking 20mg or only AFTER you started reducing the drug?

 

Q:  Are you taking any other drugs and/or supplements?  If yes, please post telling us what they are, the dose you take and what time of day you take them.

 

Edited by ChessieCat

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

 

Plodding along inch by inch:  12" = 1',  3' =  36 " or 1 yard,  1760 yards  = 63,360" or 1 mile

Current from 17 Apr 2021:  Pristiq 0.2665mg  now holding each dose for 3 weeks

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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AndyPants

Hi Chessiecat,

 

To clarify, I'm not skipping days right now but that was suggested by my doctor as part of his tapering.  I definitely felt like his suggested tapering was not a good schedule and so that makes a lot of sense as to why a much slower tapering would have been better.  I am currently taking 2.5mg (cutting in half a 5mg pill) nightly, which I started last week after doing 5mg for two months.

 

I take the following whole food-based vitamins/supplements, though some days I forget to take them: A men's daily vitamin, zinc, a low-dose vitamin c, and selenium.  I have been trying a CBD tincture nightly also.  The only drug I'm on right now is the Lexapro.

I don't recall exact dates so I'm kind of approximating on all this:

-May 2012: 10 mg Lexapro/Escitalopram, after a month or two doctor took me up to 20mg.

-Stayed at 20 mg from 2012 to 2020

-July 2020: 10 mg

-November 2020: 5 mg

-February 15 2021: 1/2 a 5mg pill ~2.5 mg

-February 25 2021: 3/4 a 5mg pill ~3.75 mg 

-March 25 2021: 1/2 a 5mg pill ~2.5 mg

-April 17 2021, started experiencing insomnia

-April 20 2021, started liquid Lexapro 2.8, over the course of week and a half taken that up to 3.5

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AndyPants

The heart stuff was only after the two reductions (from 20mg to 10mg and then from 10mg to 5mg).  Haven't had that ever before in my life before that, and they stopped about a month ago.

I don't recall exact dates so I'm kind of approximating on all this:

-May 2012: 10 mg Lexapro/Escitalopram, after a month or two doctor took me up to 20mg.

-Stayed at 20 mg from 2012 to 2020

-July 2020: 10 mg

-November 2020: 5 mg

-February 15 2021: 1/2 a 5mg pill ~2.5 mg

-February 25 2021: 3/4 a 5mg pill ~3.75 mg 

-March 25 2021: 1/2 a 5mg pill ~2.5 mg

-April 17 2021, started experiencing insomnia

-April 20 2021, started liquid Lexapro 2.8, over the course of week and a half taken that up to 3.5

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  • Moderator Emeritus
ChessieCat

Hi AndyPants,

 

My apologies for such a blunt introduction.  I was a bit distracted when I made my response to you.

 

It sounds very much like you are experiencing withdrawal symptoms from tapering your drug too quickly.  SA's recommended taper rate is no more than 10% of the current dose followed by a hold of about 4 weeks to allow the brain to adapt to not getting as much of the drug.

 

Why taper by 10% of my dosage?


Dr Joseph Glenmullen's WD Symptoms Checklist

 

Thank you for creating your drug signature.

 

Here are my thoughts on the information you have already provided.  If you are currently skipping days, the first thing that you need to do is to start taking your drug every day.  If you were feeling okay on 5mg then returning to 5mg every day and holding on that dose until you stabilise before tapering is what I think would be the best thing to do.

 

Please read Post #1 of this topic which explains how to get non standard doses of your drug:

 

Tips for tapering off escitalopram (Lexapro)

 

Stability

 

WDnormal

 

 

This is your own Introduction topic which is the best place to ask questions about your own situation and where you can journal your progress.

 

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

 

Plodding along inch by inch:  12" = 1',  3' =  36 " or 1 yard,  1760 yards  = 63,360" or 1 mile

Current from 17 Apr 2021:  Pristiq 0.2665mg  now holding each dose for 3 weeks

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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AndyPants

I've been taking half a 5mg pill every day for a week and a half, the worst of my symptoms (chest fluttering, sleep issues, really bad anxiety/panic moments) haven't come back after this latest decrease, and I had been taking 5mg for two months, so should I still go back up to a whole 5mg?  My main issue now is my persistent irritability and mood swings which has been pretty consistent through this whole process.

 

I had some pretty miserable times last year, I wish I had found this sooner and been able to do a slower decrease.

 

 

I don't recall exact dates so I'm kind of approximating on all this:

-May 2012: 10 mg Lexapro/Escitalopram, after a month or two doctor took me up to 20mg.

-Stayed at 20 mg from 2012 to 2020

-July 2020: 10 mg

-November 2020: 5 mg

-February 15 2021: 1/2 a 5mg pill ~2.5 mg

-February 25 2021: 3/4 a 5mg pill ~3.75 mg 

-March 25 2021: 1/2 a 5mg pill ~2.5 mg

-April 17 2021, started experiencing insomnia

-April 20 2021, started liquid Lexapro 2.8, over the course of week and a half taken that up to 3.5

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  • Moderator Emeritus
ChessieCat

You could try making a tiny increase.  It is better to make tiny increases than to risk taking too much.  The idea of increasing is NOT to get rid of withdrawal symptoms completely but to bring them to a bearable level.  It takes about 4 days for a dose change to get to full steady level in the blood and a bit longer for it to register in the brain. You could try taking 3mg.  You could do this by taking 2.5mg tablet and making a liquid (or you might be able to get a prescription for liquid) to get the balance of 0.5mg.  Keep notes on paper for yourself so that you can see how the increase is affecting your symptoms.  You will need to be patient and give the dose a chance to "kick in".  If after one week there is no improvement (and no worsening) then you might try increasing by a tiny bit more, eg 0.25mg.  If you do notice improvement then it may be better to not updose any further but to hold on 3mg until you stabilise.  The brain likes consistency and messing around taking different doses might make things worse.  It is better compare how you are feeling with how you felt at your worst, not how you felt at your best.  Improvement not symptom free.

 

This information is in Post #1 of the tips for tapering topic:

 

On 5/27/2011 at 12:16 PM, Altostrata said:

Your best bet would be to use a homemade isotonic saline solution (9% salt in water) which is made by dissolving 9 grams of table salt in 100mL of water. This mixture will last for a month or so in the refrigerator if you haven't added the drug to it.  Once the drug is added it will keep for about a week.

 

Also please see Post #1 of this topic, much of which is relevant to updosing as well as reinstatement:

 

About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms

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

 

Plodding along inch by inch:  12" = 1',  3' =  36 " or 1 yard,  1760 yards  = 63,360" or 1 mile

Current from 17 Apr 2021:  Pristiq 0.2665mg  now holding each dose for 3 weeks

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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  • 1 month later...
AndyPants

So after my last post I tried figuring out how to make a liquid solution and had trouble with it and it was making me stressed, and I was (for whatever reason) feeling too worried about asking my doctor for a liquid prescription. So I started doing 3/4 a 5mg lexapro pill. Because it's such a small little pill it's hard to break up precisely and so I don't think I've been getting exactly consistent amounts. But that's about 3.75 mg I guess. I did that for a month. Then I went back to 1/2 a pill or 2.5 mg, and I've been there for almost a month now. I know, this was not the right things for me to do.

 

Today I did what I should have done as soon as I found this site which is call the doctor's office and ask for a liquid prescription, and they filled it for me no problem.  So I can start doing a slow taper. I don't know why I was so worried about trying to do that.

 

I'm having a real rough time right now though, I'm not sure what is withdrawal and what is just my general anxiety issues. I had a bad day on Saturday, some stressful family stuff, and then didn't sleep at all that night. In the middle of the night I tried taking a Tylenol PM, which didn't help and maybe just made me more anxious. In the three days since I've been pretty constantly stressed and anxious and I've had stomach problems too, pretty much been in bed the whole time, calling in sick to work.  This is maybe some of the worst anxiety I've had in a long time.  This will be my fourth week doing 2.5mg so I don't know if reinstating will be helpful at this point or what I need to do to lift myself out of this state.

I don't recall exact dates so I'm kind of approximating on all this:

-May 2012: 10 mg Lexapro/Escitalopram, after a month or two doctor took me up to 20mg.

-Stayed at 20 mg from 2012 to 2020

-July 2020: 10 mg

-November 2020: 5 mg

-February 15 2021: 1/2 a 5mg pill ~2.5 mg

-February 25 2021: 3/4 a 5mg pill ~3.75 mg 

-March 25 2021: 1/2 a 5mg pill ~2.5 mg

-April 17 2021, started experiencing insomnia

-April 20 2021, started liquid Lexapro 2.8, over the course of week and a half taken that up to 3.5

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AndyPants

It's the middle of the night and I can't sleep again. I don't know how to handle this at all. I have personal issues that are consuming my thoughts and I can't get myself to relax.

 

I did end up taking 2.7 on the liquid tonight and I think I will try and hold there 

I don't recall exact dates so I'm kind of approximating on all this:

-May 2012: 10 mg Lexapro/Escitalopram, after a month or two doctor took me up to 20mg.

-Stayed at 20 mg from 2012 to 2020

-July 2020: 10 mg

-November 2020: 5 mg

-February 15 2021: 1/2 a 5mg pill ~2.5 mg

-February 25 2021: 3/4 a 5mg pill ~3.75 mg 

-March 25 2021: 1/2 a 5mg pill ~2.5 mg

-April 17 2021, started experiencing insomnia

-April 20 2021, started liquid Lexapro 2.8, over the course of week and a half taken that up to 3.5

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Hello @AndyPants,

I am sorry to read your intro and you are going through. 

2 hours ago, AndyPants said:

 

I did end up taking 2.7 on the liquid tonight and I think I will try and hold there

I am not a mod, so I don't feel authorized to give any recommendation. However, I think that following what your body and mind tell you is the best. If you feel like holding, then hold. 

On 2/24/2021 at 5:14 PM, AndyPants said:

  My main issue now is my persistent irritability and mood swings

I understand you very well. It is like you cant help It. I've had It as well and now It "only" happens some days. I am sure that if you are consistent with your reductions, you will feel better, too. 

March 2019: 10mg Citalopram

April 2019: 20mg Citalopram

October/November 2019(sorry, I don't remember the exact date): 10mg of Citalopram without tapering, as suggested by my pharmacist. 

March 2020: Started "tapering", taking the 10mg of Citalopram every other day, again, following the recommendations of my pharmacist. 

April 2020: Stopped taking Citalopram.

I haven't reinstall since then. I've tried taking Magnesium a couple of times, but I found out it makes me nervous. I only take Paracetemol when the headache becomes unbearable (2gr every couple of weeks or so). 

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AndyPants

Another night of insomnia, zero sleep and feeling anxiety and stress all night. Never happened to me before this week and now two days, before going on Lexapro I sometimes I had trouble falling asleep but never just up all night like this as far as i can recall.  On Lexapro 20mg I generally slept well.  I guess I need to research some sleeping drugs.  I'm also worried about whether 2.7 will be enough and if I should be reinstating more.

 

@almuPA Thanks for your comment it is good to hear that it gets better.

I don't recall exact dates so I'm kind of approximating on all this:

-May 2012: 10 mg Lexapro/Escitalopram, after a month or two doctor took me up to 20mg.

-Stayed at 20 mg from 2012 to 2020

-July 2020: 10 mg

-November 2020: 5 mg

-February 15 2021: 1/2 a 5mg pill ~2.5 mg

-February 25 2021: 3/4 a 5mg pill ~3.75 mg 

-March 25 2021: 1/2 a 5mg pill ~2.5 mg

-April 17 2021, started experiencing insomnia

-April 20 2021, started liquid Lexapro 2.8, over the course of week and a half taken that up to 3.5

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AndyPants

I'm double-posting here, but I'm just in a bad place. I'm at the point where I wish I never tried tappering in the first place. Life was stable at least on the meds and now I'm a mess. If I could have done it right from the start I would hope things would be different but since this all started wrong it has been a miserable experience and it just sucks so much. 

 

Also I'm trying to work on no sleep and it is not going well to say the least.

 

I'm wondering if I should go back up to 3.something mg.

 

@ChessieCat I'm sorry for not following your instructions when I should have, I appreciate that you took the time to comment and advise.

I don't recall exact dates so I'm kind of approximating on all this:

-May 2012: 10 mg Lexapro/Escitalopram, after a month or two doctor took me up to 20mg.

-Stayed at 20 mg from 2012 to 2020

-July 2020: 10 mg

-November 2020: 5 mg

-February 15 2021: 1/2 a 5mg pill ~2.5 mg

-February 25 2021: 3/4 a 5mg pill ~3.75 mg 

-March 25 2021: 1/2 a 5mg pill ~2.5 mg

-April 17 2021, started experiencing insomnia

-April 20 2021, started liquid Lexapro 2.8, over the course of week and a half taken that up to 3.5

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AndyPants

I slept well thanks to two tylenol pm, but the tension and panic feeling in my body is already returning. Experiencing the worst panic attacks of my life this week, this has been so awful. I've had like a constant level of tension and then spikes to debilitating panic.

 

I feel like I need to get back higher on dosage but I just don't know how high I can go now. I know I haven't done a good job following the recommendations here but I'm just in a panic and if any mod can help me that would be very very helpful thanks.

 

I don't recall exact dates so I'm kind of approximating on all this:

-May 2012: 10 mg Lexapro/Escitalopram, after a month or two doctor took me up to 20mg.

-Stayed at 20 mg from 2012 to 2020

-July 2020: 10 mg

-November 2020: 5 mg

-February 15 2021: 1/2 a 5mg pill ~2.5 mg

-February 25 2021: 3/4 a 5mg pill ~3.75 mg 

-March 25 2021: 1/2 a 5mg pill ~2.5 mg

-April 17 2021, started experiencing insomnia

-April 20 2021, started liquid Lexapro 2.8, over the course of week and a half taken that up to 3.5

Link to post
AndyPants

Another sleepless night, tylenol pm did nothing this time. Melatonin in the morning hours didn't help either. I feel awful.  I can't handle this and don't know what to do.

I don't recall exact dates so I'm kind of approximating on all this:

-May 2012: 10 mg Lexapro/Escitalopram, after a month or two doctor took me up to 20mg.

-Stayed at 20 mg from 2012 to 2020

-July 2020: 10 mg

-November 2020: 5 mg

-February 15 2021: 1/2 a 5mg pill ~2.5 mg

-February 25 2021: 3/4 a 5mg pill ~3.75 mg 

-March 25 2021: 1/2 a 5mg pill ~2.5 mg

-April 17 2021, started experiencing insomnia

-April 20 2021, started liquid Lexapro 2.8, over the course of week and a half taken that up to 3.5

Link to post

You are really going very fast with the taper, believe me you can tolerate withdrawal well if you will go really slow. 10 pc reduction 3 to 4 week is the best option we have. 

  • Escitalopram 5mg  13dec 2020 to 23 Jan  2020 for 5weeks each day. 
  • Replaced escitalopram with st. John's wort 500mg 2feb2021 to 13feb 2021 for 10 days. Then again suffered panic attacks, pounding heart and chest pain. Heart rate fluctuations 90 to 100s.. 27days off of escitalopram, 900mg omega 3. Bad withdrawls 
  • Reinstated 1mg escitalopram 27, 28 Feb 2021.. 0.4mg 7march to 2 April, 0.35mg 4 April to 10 April, 0.3mg 10 April to 19 April (heart palpitations, chest pain), reinstated 0.35mg 20 april continued.. 
  •  

 

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AndyPants

Another night of no sleep, two in a row this time. I got a prescription yesterday from the doctor for hydroxyzine and it didn't help, I felt my body feeling the effects of the drug but my mind was still tense and stressed and the sleep didn't come. I've had stomach problems all week and not being able to sleep has not helped. I've never been awake for this long in my life before, I'm freaking out.

 

Going to try reinstating up to 3.2 mg liquid lexapro, (although part of me just wants to all the way back up to 5, stay there for a while and then taper again properly from there later)

 

@Aleena yeah I've messed up, I just don't know how to get through this now.

I don't recall exact dates so I'm kind of approximating on all this:

-May 2012: 10 mg Lexapro/Escitalopram, after a month or two doctor took me up to 20mg.

-Stayed at 20 mg from 2012 to 2020

-July 2020: 10 mg

-November 2020: 5 mg

-February 15 2021: 1/2 a 5mg pill ~2.5 mg

-February 25 2021: 3/4 a 5mg pill ~3.75 mg 

-March 25 2021: 1/2 a 5mg pill ~2.5 mg

-April 17 2021, started experiencing insomnia

-April 20 2021, started liquid Lexapro 2.8, over the course of week and a half taken that up to 3.5

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Willfinish

Escitalopram is worst than heroine and cocaine. It’s a hell. I took escitalopram for two years, i’m two years off and i’m still struggling with anhedonia and PSSD.  But i can’t lose time anymore. 
it’s a tragedy 

Cipralex 2 years treatment (January 2017 to March 2019, with a brief interruption). 

 

Cipralex 10 mg : January 2017 - July 2017.

Cipralex 5 mg: August 2017 - March 2018.  Start tapering 1 mg a month. 

Off the medication: August 2018.  Too fast tapering, crashed, doctor reinstated considering relapse. 

Cipralex 5 mg: September 2018 - December 2018.  Tired of emotional numbness, start tapering again, 1 mg a month (didn't know it was so fast, following my doctor advice). 

Off the medication: March 2019. 

PSSD and painful withdrawal symptoms: January 2020 until now. Some improvements but still struggling. 

 

Supplements: some Omega 3 and probiotics, a bit better. 

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AndyPants

@Willfinish it's the worst. The heart palpations I experienced last year were so terrifying.

I don't recall exact dates so I'm kind of approximating on all this:

-May 2012: 10 mg Lexapro/Escitalopram, after a month or two doctor took me up to 20mg.

-Stayed at 20 mg from 2012 to 2020

-July 2020: 10 mg

-November 2020: 5 mg

-February 15 2021: 1/2 a 5mg pill ~2.5 mg

-February 25 2021: 3/4 a 5mg pill ~3.75 mg 

-March 25 2021: 1/2 a 5mg pill ~2.5 mg

-April 17 2021, started experiencing insomnia

-April 20 2021, started liquid Lexapro 2.8, over the course of week and a half taken that up to 3.5

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Willfinish

Did You have DR/DP or anhedonia ?

Cipralex 2 years treatment (January 2017 to March 2019, with a brief interruption). 

 

Cipralex 10 mg : January 2017 - July 2017.

Cipralex 5 mg: August 2017 - March 2018.  Start tapering 1 mg a month. 

Off the medication: August 2018.  Too fast tapering, crashed, doctor reinstated considering relapse. 

Cipralex 5 mg: September 2018 - December 2018.  Tired of emotional numbness, start tapering again, 1 mg a month (didn't know it was so fast, following my doctor advice). 

Off the medication: March 2019. 

PSSD and painful withdrawal symptoms: January 2020 until now. Some improvements but still struggling. 

 

Supplements: some Omega 3 and probiotics, a bit better. 

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AndyPants
8 minutes ago, Willfinish said:

Did You have DR/DP or anhedonia ?

Hm maybe a little bit of anhedonia but nothing severe. Those sound like hell.

I don't recall exact dates so I'm kind of approximating on all this:

-May 2012: 10 mg Lexapro/Escitalopram, after a month or two doctor took me up to 20mg.

-Stayed at 20 mg from 2012 to 2020

-July 2020: 10 mg

-November 2020: 5 mg

-February 15 2021: 1/2 a 5mg pill ~2.5 mg

-February 25 2021: 3/4 a 5mg pill ~3.75 mg 

-March 25 2021: 1/2 a 5mg pill ~2.5 mg

-April 17 2021, started experiencing insomnia

-April 20 2021, started liquid Lexapro 2.8, over the course of week and a half taken that up to 3.5

Link to post
Willfinish

These symptons usually appear when completely off. With me was so

Cipralex 2 years treatment (January 2017 to March 2019, with a brief interruption). 

 

Cipralex 10 mg : January 2017 - July 2017.

Cipralex 5 mg: August 2017 - March 2018.  Start tapering 1 mg a month. 

Off the medication: August 2018.  Too fast tapering, crashed, doctor reinstated considering relapse. 

Cipralex 5 mg: September 2018 - December 2018.  Tired of emotional numbness, start tapering again, 1 mg a month (didn't know it was so fast, following my doctor advice). 

Off the medication: March 2019. 

PSSD and painful withdrawal symptoms: January 2020 until now. Some improvements but still struggling. 

 

Supplements: some Omega 3 and probiotics, a bit better. 

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AndyPants

I'm so miserable right now.  I wish so much that I had done things better with my tappering. I feel hopeless.

I don't recall exact dates so I'm kind of approximating on all this:

-May 2012: 10 mg Lexapro/Escitalopram, after a month or two doctor took me up to 20mg.

-Stayed at 20 mg from 2012 to 2020

-July 2020: 10 mg

-November 2020: 5 mg

-February 15 2021: 1/2 a 5mg pill ~2.5 mg

-February 25 2021: 3/4 a 5mg pill ~3.75 mg 

-March 25 2021: 1/2 a 5mg pill ~2.5 mg

-April 17 2021, started experiencing insomnia

-April 20 2021, started liquid Lexapro 2.8, over the course of week and a half taken that up to 3.5

Link to post

I’d go up some. I feel better the same day or next when I go up enough, but I know everyone’s different. How did you feel on 3.75? Were you able to stabilize? (In Feb?)

May 2019 started lexapro 2.5 mg

2020 went to every other day

2021 beginning of Mar, tried to stop but had insomnia

Mar 30, 2021 reinstated 1.25 ev other day, WD symptoms, not enough

April 19, 2021 started liquid, .85 mg/day

May 1, 2021 .8 mg/day

 

Link to post
AndyPants

@Dee12h I think I was doing pretty good on the 3.75. I did 3.2 last night but maybe I should have gone straight up to 3.75

I don't recall exact dates so I'm kind of approximating on all this:

-May 2012: 10 mg Lexapro/Escitalopram, after a month or two doctor took me up to 20mg.

-Stayed at 20 mg from 2012 to 2020

-July 2020: 10 mg

-November 2020: 5 mg

-February 15 2021: 1/2 a 5mg pill ~2.5 mg

-February 25 2021: 3/4 a 5mg pill ~3.75 mg 

-March 25 2021: 1/2 a 5mg pill ~2.5 mg

-April 17 2021, started experiencing insomnia

-April 20 2021, started liquid Lexapro 2.8, over the course of week and a half taken that up to 3.5

Link to post

I read it takes 5 hrs to reach full concentration in your blood, so I took it 5 hrs before bed when up-dosing to see if it would help my sleep. You should sleep better tonight. Give it a couple days. Then go up a little more if necessary. You shouldn’t need to go above 3.75 since you felt good on that. When you find the right dose, stay there  for 1 month. It’s so hard to be patient, for me at least! I want to be off yesterday! But you want to stabilize so you can move in 1 direction, without the back & forth.

May 2019 started lexapro 2.5 mg

2020 went to every other day

2021 beginning of Mar, tried to stop but had insomnia

Mar 30, 2021 reinstated 1.25 ev other day, WD symptoms, not enough

April 19, 2021 started liquid, .85 mg/day

May 1, 2021 .8 mg/day

 

Link to post
AndyPants

It is so hard to be patient. Thank you for your support and advice, I really appreciate it! Going through these withdrawals can be so isolating.

I don't recall exact dates so I'm kind of approximating on all this:

-May 2012: 10 mg Lexapro/Escitalopram, after a month or two doctor took me up to 20mg.

-Stayed at 20 mg from 2012 to 2020

-July 2020: 10 mg

-November 2020: 5 mg

-February 15 2021: 1/2 a 5mg pill ~2.5 mg

-February 25 2021: 3/4 a 5mg pill ~3.75 mg 

-March 25 2021: 1/2 a 5mg pill ~2.5 mg

-April 17 2021, started experiencing insomnia

-April 20 2021, started liquid Lexapro 2.8, over the course of week and a half taken that up to 3.5

Link to post
AndyPants

Well, I got a pretty good night's sleep last night. I had called the doctor yesterday and told him that the hydroxyzine hadn't worked for me and he got me a prescription for lunesta. I'm a little groggy and out of it this morning so it wasn't an ideal solution but I just felt I had to ensure I slept. My plan is to take it just for hopefully only a few days until I stabilize.

 

When I first got into bed and turned out the lights I started panicking though, I was so scared I wasn't going to sleep again, but my wife helped calm me down and talked me off the cliff and then I guess the medicine kicked in after that. It's distressing that the withdrawals, and I'm guessing I'm experiencing a wave this week, have been so bad as to make me afraid to go to sleep.

 

When I talked to the doctor this week, without actually using the word relapse he started to suggest that was what was happening, but I tried to shut the down and told him I never experienced this before going in the medication. I know this is withdrawal, and I know that I could have done more to minimize it, which I keep beating myself up over but the only thing to do now is to move forward and try better.

I don't recall exact dates so I'm kind of approximating on all this:

-May 2012: 10 mg Lexapro/Escitalopram, after a month or two doctor took me up to 20mg.

-Stayed at 20 mg from 2012 to 2020

-July 2020: 10 mg

-November 2020: 5 mg

-February 15 2021: 1/2 a 5mg pill ~2.5 mg

-February 25 2021: 3/4 a 5mg pill ~3.75 mg 

-March 25 2021: 1/2 a 5mg pill ~2.5 mg

-April 17 2021, started experiencing insomnia

-April 20 2021, started liquid Lexapro 2.8, over the course of week and a half taken that up to 3.5

Link to post
AndyPants

I've still been feeling panic and anxiety about going to bed every night after the week I had last week. Those four sleepless nights really screwed me up psychologically. I don't think I would be sleeping if it wasn't for the Lunesta. Last night I broke one in half (or rather tried to cut it in half, it was not even) and took the bigger piece. So that's 3 nights with the full 3 mg pill of it and then 1 night with a 60-65% of a pill. I want to be done with it as soon as possible, I know that people who take sleeping pills for weeks or months get screwed up by then and I don't want that to happen. After getting so messed up and having such little sleep I felt it necessary but I don't want to get stuck on it.  But also there is this growing panic and tension in my chest about going to sleep now that starts a couple hours before bed and increases once I'm in bed with the lights off. This wave really messed me up.

 

Other things I'm doing...starting to try magnesium supplements, both in pill form and with a topical solve my wife made. I'm taking cbd again after stopping it for a bit, unsure if it does much. I'm doing 3.2 mg liquid lexapro at the moment, may bump it up higher in the next couple days to my panic in the evenings doesn't subside. Every night before bed I try and read for 40 min - 1 hour to try and help me relax.

I don't recall exact dates so I'm kind of approximating on all this:

-May 2012: 10 mg Lexapro/Escitalopram, after a month or two doctor took me up to 20mg.

-Stayed at 20 mg from 2012 to 2020

-July 2020: 10 mg

-November 2020: 5 mg

-February 15 2021: 1/2 a 5mg pill ~2.5 mg

-February 25 2021: 3/4 a 5mg pill ~3.75 mg 

-March 25 2021: 1/2 a 5mg pill ~2.5 mg

-April 17 2021, started experiencing insomnia

-April 20 2021, started liquid Lexapro 2.8, over the course of week and a half taken that up to 3.5

Link to post
AndyPants

Its so weird, last night l was laying in bed reading before sleeping, was very relaxed and having a hard time keeping my eyes open, and then as soon as we turn out the lights I get all this tension in my chest and feel panicked.  Last week really screwed me up and the stress it's given me about insomnia is really frustrating.

 

I mentioned in my previous post that I had tried cutting in half a lunesta and had take the bigger half night before last. Last night I tried to sleep without the Lunesta (I was very tired-feeling before turning out that lights) and after an hour of anxiousness I went and took that smaller half. I feel asleep about an hour later, but did not sleep as solidly through the night. Which makes sense, with it being less drugs. I don't want to get too reliant on the stuff but on the other hand if I get a panic attack every night at the prospect of insomnia I'm not sure how I can move forward.

 

I forgot to mention that I've been taking melatonin, the pills I bought at the store have 1.25mg per pill. I'm also taking my liquid lexapro up to 3.5mg and will plan to hold there for the foreseeable future.

I don't recall exact dates so I'm kind of approximating on all this:

-May 2012: 10 mg Lexapro/Escitalopram, after a month or two doctor took me up to 20mg.

-Stayed at 20 mg from 2012 to 2020

-July 2020: 10 mg

-November 2020: 5 mg

-February 15 2021: 1/2 a 5mg pill ~2.5 mg

-February 25 2021: 3/4 a 5mg pill ~3.75 mg 

-March 25 2021: 1/2 a 5mg pill ~2.5 mg

-April 17 2021, started experiencing insomnia

-April 20 2021, started liquid Lexapro 2.8, over the course of week and a half taken that up to 3.5

Link to post

Sorry you’re having trouble with sleep. Can you convince yourself that if you don’t sleep at all you’ll be ok for 1 day? That helps me so much, mentally. And then I make myself stay in bed for at least 30 min before trying to take something or pee again, etc. It’s such a mind game. Prayer helps me as well.

May 2019 started lexapro 2.5 mg

2020 went to every other day

2021 beginning of Mar, tried to stop but had insomnia

Mar 30, 2021 reinstated 1.25 ev other day, WD symptoms, not enough

April 19, 2021 started liquid, .85 mg/day

May 1, 2021 .8 mg/day

 

Link to post
AndyPants
2 hours ago, Dee12h said:

Sorry you’re having trouble with sleep. Can you convince yourself that if you don’t sleep at all you’ll be ok for 1 day? That helps me so much, mentally. And then I make myself stay in bed for at least 30 min before trying to take something or pee again, etc. It’s such a mind game. Prayer helps me as well.

 

Good point, I've convinced myself that if I missed a night it won't be okay, which sends me into a looping panic because I've put so much pressure on sleeping.  So I need to reverse that thinking, somehow.

 

I don't know if it is coincidence or related, but my spirituality and faith have slowly eroded over the course of the years I was on Lexapro. Having a relationship with God and having regular prayer is something I want to have again though.

I don't recall exact dates so I'm kind of approximating on all this:

-May 2012: 10 mg Lexapro/Escitalopram, after a month or two doctor took me up to 20mg.

-Stayed at 20 mg from 2012 to 2020

-July 2020: 10 mg

-November 2020: 5 mg

-February 15 2021: 1/2 a 5mg pill ~2.5 mg

-February 25 2021: 3/4 a 5mg pill ~3.75 mg 

-March 25 2021: 1/2 a 5mg pill ~2.5 mg

-April 17 2021, started experiencing insomnia

-April 20 2021, started liquid Lexapro 2.8, over the course of week and a half taken that up to 3.5

Link to post
  • Moderator
getofflex

My husband, a medical professional, told me that lack of sleep would not kill me.  What really helped me was to calmly accept the fact that my sleep was messed up.  It feels terrible, but it did not kill me.  

 

3 hours ago, AndyPants said:

Having a relationship with God and having regular prayer is something I want to have again though.

This is one of the reasons I'm quitting psych meds.  I feel much closer to God now that I'm 99% off. 

***Please note this is not medical advice.  Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a doctor who understands psych meds and how to withdraw from them, if you can find one.

Lexapro   Started Apr 15 02 - 10 mg;  Apr 2 20  0.18 mg; Jul 16  0.17 mg, Aug 23  0.16 mg, Oct 7  0.15 mg, Nov 8 - 0.14, Jan 16 '21 - 0.13, Feb 7 - 0.12, Feb 22 - 0.11, Mar 26 - 0.10 

Trazodone.  used 50 mg once every 4-7 days for sleep, stopped

Xanax. used 0.5 mg once every 4-7 days for sleep, stopped

Benadryl 50 mg, Ibuprofen 800 mg, or Tylenol 1000 mg

other meds: Levothyroxine 75 mg

suppl AM: fish oil, flax oil, multivitamin, vit C, vit E, calcium

suppl PM: magnesium 350 mg, GABA 750 mg, Estroven, melatonin 3 mg, calcium

Link to post
16 hours ago, getofflex said:

My husband, a medical professional, told me that lack of sleep would not kill me.  What really helped me was to calmly accept the fact that my sleep was messed up.  It feels terrible, but it did not kill me.  

 

This is one of the reasons I'm quitting psych meds.  I feel much closer to God now that I'm 99% off. 

This is so encouraging. I have noticed the same thing. I used to be able to just sit & meditate or do listening prayer. My brain is so messed up, I can’t focus. It’s hard to explain, but this whole 2 yrs I had no idea it was the meds! I still read the Bible, but it’s definitely not like it was before. Not to mention, my capacity to handle things like church, service, etc. has been very diminished (again, didn’t know it was the meds till very recently. Thought I was developing CFS.) My husband is a med professional as well!

 

At what point in your tapering did you have insomnia?

May 2019 started lexapro 2.5 mg

2020 went to every other day

2021 beginning of Mar, tried to stop but had insomnia

Mar 30, 2021 reinstated 1.25 ev other day, WD symptoms, not enough

April 19, 2021 started liquid, .85 mg/day

May 1, 2021 .8 mg/day

 

Link to post

@AndyPants@AndyPants  if you don't feel better within 5 to 6 days you need to go back to the upper dose, this is the case with me when I lower my dose if I don't feel better with I 5 days, I don't feel well even after 10 days.

  • Escitalopram 5mg  13dec 2020 to 23 Jan  2020 for 5weeks each day. 
  • Replaced escitalopram with st. John's wort 500mg 2feb2021 to 13feb 2021 for 10 days. Then again suffered panic attacks, pounding heart and chest pain. Heart rate fluctuations 90 to 100s.. 27days off of escitalopram, 900mg omega 3. Bad withdrawls 
  • Reinstated 1mg escitalopram 27, 28 Feb 2021.. 0.4mg 7march to 2 April, 0.35mg 4 April to 10 April, 0.3mg 10 April to 19 April (heart palpitations, chest pain), reinstated 0.35mg 20 april continued.. 
  •  

 

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Well I've officially slept pretty well the last four nights without a sleeping drug. I still get a little tense when going to bed and its probably been close to an hour to fall asleep each night, but I've been able to handle it a lot better, I appreciate the replies here in they helped me a lot to shift my mental focus.

 

Before bed I'm taking half of a melatonin pill that I have, so about .625 melatonin nightly, along with 75mg magnesium and 50ml cbd. I'm not sure if any of those are actually doing anything but that's what I've been trying. I'm holding at 3.5 mg liquid lexapro, and I think I might stay there for a couple months.

I don't recall exact dates so I'm kind of approximating on all this:

-May 2012: 10 mg Lexapro/Escitalopram, after a month or two doctor took me up to 20mg.

-Stayed at 20 mg from 2012 to 2020

-July 2020: 10 mg

-November 2020: 5 mg

-February 15 2021: 1/2 a 5mg pill ~2.5 mg

-February 25 2021: 3/4 a 5mg pill ~3.75 mg 

-March 25 2021: 1/2 a 5mg pill ~2.5 mg

-April 17 2021, started experiencing insomnia

-April 20 2021, started liquid Lexapro 2.8, over the course of week and a half taken that up to 3.5

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