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lo1999: Lexapro possible adverse reaction


lo1999

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Hi all, I’ve been reading through this sight for a couple months and I need help/reassurance.

 

Around the end of january 2021 i began experiencing panic attacks for the first time. They last for hours and happened every night and sometimes in the day. Not knowing what was happening, I went to the doctors and was prescribed 5mg of Lexapro.

 

At first I thought they were working as my panic attacks practically vanished overnight. For the first two weeks my only symptoms were bad brain fog, night sweats, muscle twitching, and tiredness. As the weeks went on, my anxiety began to increase as well as depersonalization. It felt like i constantly had butterflies or adrenaline in my chest. I kept asking my doctor if this was normal and she assured me it was and that it would take a couple months for my body to adjust. So i foolishly stayed on for about 2 months. 
 

During this time I was going through a particularly difficult time with my (now ex) boyfriend. I started to feel numb, lost feelings for him, which ultimately made it hard to be around him. The numbness, dp/dr, and anxiety in my chest became too much to handle and i told my doctor i wanted off the meds. She told me to cut the pills in half for two weeks and then stop. I took 2.5mg for about 3 weeks, then took them every other day and then eventually stopped (i now know this is bad).Ever since, i have still had that anxiety in my chest, some brain fog, and what i assume is dpdr but it might have decreased in intensity a little. The anxiety is what is really getting to me, i’m in constant fight or flight over nothing, like im on a rollercoaster thats about to go down a steep track. I’m so scared that I have permanently damaged my brain since I stayed on for so long and did a bad taper. The only time i get some relief is at night where i feel 70% back to normal. I completely lost my sense of self, everything I love to do, and feel like I’m only getting worse. This and the ending of my relationship have pushed me over the edge. Please anyone offer me some support, whenever i tell anyone about this they don’t understand.

End of January-April: 5mg Lexapro

April: 2.5mg Lexapro

May: 0mg Lexapro

 

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  • getofflex changed the title to lo1999: Lexapro possible adverse reaction
  • Moderator

Hello, and welcome to SA.  We are a peer owned and run forum of people who have been or are getting off of psychiatric drugs.  I'm glad you found us.  I'm very sorry for all the painful situations you have been dealing with.  It sounds as though you had an adverse reaction to the Lexapro.  You are probably having these withdrawal symptoms from a too fast taper, and from skipping doses at the end.  Have you seen any improvement at all in any of your withdrawal symptoms?  How is your sleep and eating?  Are you able to function in your day to day life?  I'm glad that you feel better at night, and are able to have some relief.  

 

Here is some information about how these drugs actually work.  This helps you understand why you are having the WD symptoms.  

 

How Psychiatric Drugs Remodel Your Brain

 

 

This helps you understand what withdrawal syndrome is: 

 

 Video on Recovery from Psych Drugs

 

What is Happening in Your Brain

 

 

Also, as we are recovering, we suggest keeping things slow, simple, and stable. This is extremely important. 

 

Keep it Simple, Slow, and Stable

 

 

Here are some techniques to cope with symptoms: 

 

Non Drug Ways to Cope with Withdrawal Symptoms

 

We don't suggest many supplements, but 2 that many of us find helpful are magnesium and omega-3 fish oil.  These can help calm you down and feel less anxious, especially the magnesium.  Here are the links for info about those. It is suggested to add one at a time, and start with a low dose to see how it affects you. 


Magnesium

 

Omega 3 Fish Oil

 

I've given you quite a bit of information here. Take your time to read and digest it.  Hang in there.  There is recover from this, but it takes a long time, and requires a lot of patience.  We look forward to hearing back from you.  

Please do not tag me, unless it is an urgent question about tapering or reinstatement. 

 

***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, May 21 - 0.09, June 15 - 0.08 Aug 16 - 0.07, Oct 6 - 0.06, Nov 21 0.05, Dec. 17 0.04, Jan 14 '22 0.03, Feb 19 0.02, Apr 18 0.01, May 15 0.005,  Jul 8, 0.00.  Psych Drug Free as of July 8, 2022!!  Woohoo!!!

Ibuprofen 800 mg, Tylenol 1000 mg, Benadryl 50 mg as needed

other meds: Levothyroxine 75 mg

Trazodone on occasion, stopped in late 2019

Xanax on occasion, stopped in late 2019

magnesium in small amounts at 4 AM, 3 PM, before bed

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

suppl noon: calcium

suppl supper: calcium

suppl 8 PM: magnesium 350 mg, GABA 750 mg, Estroven, melatonin 2 mg

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Hi, thank you for the information, I’ll definitely read through it. I’m currently in CBT therapy which is helping me to not overreact to my anxiety and let it pass (albeit this is so hard). The only symptom that has subsided substantially is the numbness i felt on Lexapro. Who thought I would be so happy to cry! Other than that, i often wake up around 4am with intense anxiety and palpitations, and most annoying of all, i have the worst

earworms. The past four days i experienced intense anxiety and was having breakdowns every day but today my anxiety has been a little less. Will that anxiety go away one day? I just feel very disconnected from myself and life. I hope that this is a common feeling others have felt on here and that it went away. I’m not sure how often I’ll post on here as I think it may be leading me to further obsess about my symptoms. Did you or anyone you know become obsessed with your symptoms? I miss the days when I would wake up and go about my day and never think about anxiety or any of this stuff!

End of January-April: 5mg Lexapro

April: 2.5mg Lexapro

May: 0mg Lexapro

 

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Also, i am semi-functioning. I able to go to work but those past four days made me almost quit. I lost my appetite, was exhausted an a nervous wreck. Today though I had an appetite and was able to make myself food and clean my room. Trying to count that as a small win :)

End of January-April: 5mg Lexapro

April: 2.5mg Lexapro

May: 0mg Lexapro

 

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  • Administrator

Welcome, @lo1999

 

It sounds like you have withdrawal syndrome from going off Lexapro, particularly the alternating doses at the end, which we've seen can cause very bad withdrawal. 

 

If I were you, I'd get a prescription for liquid Celexa (citalopram), Lexapro's gentler sibling, from your doctor, and take 0.5mg (one-half milligram) per day. We've often see a very low-dose reinstatement of the drug will relieve withdrawal symptoms. You'd stabilize on this for some weeks and then taper by tiny amounts later.

 

I suggest citalopram rather than escitalopram (Lexapro) because it appears you had a fairly immediate bad reaction to 5mg escitalopram, the stronger drug.

 

Please let us know how you're doing. 

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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Hi there,

I appreciate your response but I’m not sure I want to do that as I’m scared to go on any form of drugs again :( I’ve been off them for 4 months now but being on them made me worse so I’m scared it will ruin any progress I have made. I hope you understand my worries 

End of January-April: 5mg Lexapro

April: 2.5mg Lexapro

May: 0mg Lexapro

 

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I’m honestly just confused by the whole situation so I’m sorry if I ask a lot of questions. The lexapro did end my panic attacks completely and finally gave me an appetite. But while I was on it everything did feel kind of hazy and out of body which i take is the dpdr. I would say around week 4 is when I started to develop that anxiety but it was also a week of something really stressful that I am working out in therapy. It’s like it solved some of my problems but created new worse problems. Can anyone answer my other previous questions? 

End of January-April: 5mg Lexapro

April: 2.5mg Lexapro

May: 0mg Lexapro

 

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10 hours ago, lo1999 said:

Hi there,

I appreciate your response but I’m not sure I want to do that as I’m scared to go on any form of drugs again :( I’ve been off them for 4 months now but being on them made me worse so I’m scared it will ruin any progress I have made. I hope you understand my worries 

I'm in a similar situation. I did get the liquid solution to reinstate after 3 months, havent yet taken it.  I need to go buy a syringe.  I feel like I've made some sort of progress after 3 months but my anxiety is so bad that I can't just " be " if that makes sense. 

- 10 mg lexparo 1.5 years

- ativan for panic 0.5 , never more than once daily and not everyday 

Incorrectly tapered and now taking nothing since 6-10-21. 

Took buspar a few days and had severe muscle pain. July 26, 27, then 30.

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Today I woke up with intense anxiety and stomach issues from it but it seems that it has passed somewhat. Is it normal for my anxiety to go up and down throughout the day? Depsite that, my anxiety is always pretty bad in the morning and much much lower at night. If there was a scale of 1 (calm) to 10 (completely unbearable) the morning is an 8, throughout the day is a 6-7, and the night is a 4. Will the anxiety go away one day? It’s my biggest issue and i feel like my depression is a reaction to my anxiety if that makes sense.

End of January-April: 5mg Lexapro

April: 2.5mg Lexapro

May: 0mg Lexapro

 

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Will this anxiety go away one day? Did i permanently damage my brain? Is it normal to obsess over your symptoms? By that I mean back before i had panic attacks and went on lexapro i would just wake up and go about my day but now i’m like “how’s my anxiety?” “Am i anxious right now” i constantly have my attention on my mental state. Does that go away one day?

End of January-April: 5mg Lexapro

April: 2.5mg Lexapro

May: 0mg Lexapro

 

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  • Moderator
20 hours ago, lo1999 said:

i often wake up around 4am with intense anxiety and palpitations, and most annoying of all, i have the worst

earworms.

It sounds like the common early morning cortisol spike, which all people have, but in WD it's amplified due to our sensitized nervous systems.  

 

Early Morning Waking

 

20 hours ago, lo1999 said:

i have the worst

earworms.

This is another common WD symptom.  I have the same thing myself.  

 

Ear Worms

21 hours ago, lo1999 said:

today my anxiety has been a little less. Will that anxiety go away one day?

I'm glad to hear the anxiety is improving some.  Any anxiety brought on by WD will eventually go away.  If you had anxiety prior to being on the drug, it may still be there, but there are many non drug ways to overcome anxiety.  

 

21 hours ago, lo1999 said:

I just feel very disconnected from myself and life. I hope that this is a common feeling others have felt on here and that it went away. 

This sounds like depersonalization/derealization.  This is very common in WD.  I've had this too, but it is almost gone now.  It does go away, but takes time. 

 

DP/DR

 

I'm glad to hear you are functioning at work even if it is a major struggle some days.  I'm glad you are feeling a bit better. 

 

21 hours ago, lo1999 said:

Did you or anyone you know become obsessed with your symptoms? I

OOhhh, yes, this is extremely common.  What I did to get my mind off my symptoms, was stay occupied doing something and keep my mind on that.  Walking also helps for me.  It's good not to dwell on the symptoms, as this just leads to more anxiety and depression.  

 

18 hours ago, lo1999 said:

It’s like it solved some of my problems but created new worse problems.

Yes, these drugs tend to do that.  For me, it took the edge off my anxiety and depression, but at the same time it blunted my emotions and made me more detached and apathetic.  It caused me to gain lots of weight and made me tired a lot, but yet I had trouble sleeping at night.  

 

6 hours ago, lo1999 said:

Is it normal for my anxiety to go up and down throughout the day?

Very normal.  Our cortisol and adrenaline tend to be higher in the morning, which are hormones/chemicals that activate the nervous system.  A CNS in WD tends to be activated anyway, so that just exaggerated it. 

 

No you did not permanently damage your brain.  I understand that you feel scared about your symptoms, and this is very normal, and understandable.  This WD is frightening, and we feel out of control.  It is scary when a drug is in control of our brain.  But given enough time and proper self care, your nervous system will eventually sort itself out, and you will gradually feel better.  Here is a link with a list of common WD symptoms: 

 

Dr. Joseph Glenmullen Withdrawal Symptom Checklist

Please do not tag me, unless it is an urgent question about tapering or reinstatement. 

 

***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, May 21 - 0.09, June 15 - 0.08 Aug 16 - 0.07, Oct 6 - 0.06, Nov 21 0.05, Dec. 17 0.04, Jan 14 '22 0.03, Feb 19 0.02, Apr 18 0.01, May 15 0.005,  Jul 8, 0.00.  Psych Drug Free as of July 8, 2022!!  Woohoo!!!

Ibuprofen 800 mg, Tylenol 1000 mg, Benadryl 50 mg as needed

other meds: Levothyroxine 75 mg

Trazodone on occasion, stopped in late 2019

Xanax on occasion, stopped in late 2019

magnesium in small amounts at 4 AM, 3 PM, before bed

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

suppl noon: calcium

suppl supper: calcium

suppl 8 PM: magnesium 350 mg, GABA 750 mg, Estroven, melatonin 2 mg

Link to comment
2 hours ago, getofflex said:

It sounds like the common early morning cortisol spike, which all people have, but in WD it's amplified due to our sensitized nervous systems.  

 

Early Morning Waking

 

This is another common WD symptom.  I have the same thing myself.  

 

Ear Worms

I'm glad to hear the anxiety is improving some.  Any anxiety brought on by WD will eventually go away.  If you had anxiety prior to being on the drug, it may still be there, but there are many non drug ways to overcome anxiety.  

 

This sounds like depersonalization/derealization.  This is very common in WD.  I've had this too, but it is almost gone now.  It does go away, but takes time. 

 

DP/DR

 

I'm glad to hear you are functioning at work even if it is a major struggle some days.  I'm glad you are feeling a bit better. 

 

OOhhh, yes, this is extremely common.  What I did to get my mind off my symptoms, was stay occupied doing something and keep my mind on that.  Walking also helps for me.  It's good not to dwell on the symptoms, as this just leads to more anxiety and depression.  

 

Yes, these drugs tend to do that.  For me, it took the edge off my anxiety and depression, but at the same time it blunted my emotions and made me more detached and apathetic.  It caused me to gain lots of weight and made me tired a lot, but yet I had trouble sleeping at night.  

 

Very normal.  Our cortisol and adrenaline tend to be higher in the morning, which are hormones/chemicals that activate the nervous system.  A CNS in WD tends to be activated anyway, so that just exaggerated it. 

 

No you did not permanently damage your brain.  I understand that you feel scared about your symptoms, and this is very normal, and understandable.  This WD is frightening, and we feel out of control.  It is scary when a drug is in control of our brain.  But given enough time and proper self care, your nervous system will eventually sort itself out, and you will gradually feel better.  Here is a link with a list of common WD symptoms: 

 

Dr. Joseph Glenmullen Withdrawal Symptom Checklist

Thank you so much for your response, it has really helped me come to terms that I'm not going crazy! I'm really trying not to look at this situation with complete negativity as I think that might only make this process worse. In regards to the obsessing over symptoms, I plan on not coming to this site too much as I think I tend to spend too much time reading through people's updates, and the negative ones only fuel my anxiety more. I just bought some books, word search puzzles, and plan on doing those to occupy my time :). For now, my anxiety is pretty intense and constant, and the only way I can cope right now is to go do some techniques I learned in CBT and tough it out.  Also been experiencing some head pain and brain fog but that's to be expected with this. How are you doing?

End of January-April: 5mg Lexapro

April: 2.5mg Lexapro

May: 0mg Lexapro

 

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  • Moderator

You’re welcome. I’m glad I was able to help. When I was in early recovery I used to look at the GlenMullen symptom checklist. if I saw my symptoms in there it would reassure me that it was only withdrawal.  I’m glad you’re using some non-drug coping techniques for your anxiety. I want to share with you that walking helps me a lot. When we are anxious we have adrenaline and cortisol in our systems and walking helps to burn that off and calm us down.  Also meditation can help.  Do a google search surviving antidepressants.org meditation 

Please do not tag me, unless it is an urgent question about tapering or reinstatement. 

 

***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, May 21 - 0.09, June 15 - 0.08 Aug 16 - 0.07, Oct 6 - 0.06, Nov 21 0.05, Dec. 17 0.04, Jan 14 '22 0.03, Feb 19 0.02, Apr 18 0.01, May 15 0.005,  Jul 8, 0.00.  Psych Drug Free as of July 8, 2022!!  Woohoo!!!

Ibuprofen 800 mg, Tylenol 1000 mg, Benadryl 50 mg as needed

other meds: Levothyroxine 75 mg

Trazodone on occasion, stopped in late 2019

Xanax on occasion, stopped in late 2019

magnesium in small amounts at 4 AM, 3 PM, before bed

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

suppl noon: calcium

suppl supper: calcium

suppl 8 PM: magnesium 350 mg, GABA 750 mg, Estroven, melatonin 2 mg

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Yes, I have been trying to walk my dog every day! it does help me get out of my head a little. Today has been... not so good. Every day has been a horrible struggle but this one is different. Instead of the horrible anxiety, I am completely spaced out and have severe dpdr and anhedonia. I know these are also common symptoms so I'm trying not to freak out over it. It could also be that my nervous system is so exhausted from all the anxiety that its shorting out for a second. I might also be quitting my job as it has just been so hard to work when I'm not all there. I really hope I can push through this. 

End of January-April: 5mg Lexapro

April: 2.5mg Lexapro

May: 0mg Lexapro

 

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@getofflexsorry I’m still figuring out the site and forgot to tag you above! I really apologize for all the questions. If I can ask one more, do symptoms you’ve experienced on ADs go away after withdrawal as well? for instance, lexapro caused me to have constant dpdr which subsided a little after I stopped taking it. However, here I am 4 months later with the most severe dpdr I think I’ve ever had :( i can barely recognize anyone in my life and feel as though my memory has been wiped clean. Its so hard to hold a conversation. Thank you so much for replying, I’m going through this alone so it really means a lot that you have provided support 

End of January-April: 5mg Lexapro

April: 2.5mg Lexapro

May: 0mg Lexapro

 

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  • Moderator
23 hours ago, lo1999 said:

Instead of the horrible anxiety, I am completely spaced out and have severe dpdr and anhedonia.

Yes, WD symptoms are known to morph from day to day.  It is unsettling, but try to remember this is normal for withdrawal from psych meds.  

 

15 hours ago, lo1999 said:

do symptoms you’ve experienced on ADs go away after withdrawal as well?

Yes, they do go away, because you are no longer on the drug.  I'm sure the DP/DR is scary and frightening.  I had a lot of this, and it is much better now than it was.  Did you read the link I gave above on DP/DR?  

 

It is possible a small reinstatement may help you. I know altostrata suggested it and you said no, but keep this in mind as a possibility. You would just do a very small amount, and taper off of that later on.  It's your choice, and I respect whichever way you choose to go.  

 

I'm sorry to hear you are going through this alone.  Try reading some of the other intro threads and perhaps you will find some other like minded people who are going through similar experiences.  

Please do not tag me, unless it is an urgent question about tapering or reinstatement. 

 

***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, May 21 - 0.09, June 15 - 0.08 Aug 16 - 0.07, Oct 6 - 0.06, Nov 21 0.05, Dec. 17 0.04, Jan 14 '22 0.03, Feb 19 0.02, Apr 18 0.01, May 15 0.005,  Jul 8, 0.00.  Psych Drug Free as of July 8, 2022!!  Woohoo!!!

Ibuprofen 800 mg, Tylenol 1000 mg, Benadryl 50 mg as needed

other meds: Levothyroxine 75 mg

Trazodone on occasion, stopped in late 2019

Xanax on occasion, stopped in late 2019

magnesium in small amounts at 4 AM, 3 PM, before bed

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

suppl noon: calcium

suppl supper: calcium

suppl 8 PM: magnesium 350 mg, GABA 750 mg, Estroven, melatonin 2 mg

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