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Dominique: sertraline and escitalopram please help


Dominique

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August 2016- sertraline. I was on various doses until April 2021 with 200mg being the highest. (began to taper with doctors permission from January 2021. I now know that this was far too fast). I took this for anxiety. My anxiety was there and manageable but it never took it away. I had a life, I had friends, fun, a partner and a good career. I coped. I was working at a mental health clinic for young people and the psychiatrist there was against medication. During the 10 week inpatient treatment he tapered the kids off their medication to such success and I could see them flourish without their ‘medication’. I felt like an imposter for being on medication myself. This was my decision to quit. If they could do it so could I. 


May 2021- terrible burn out at work. I know realise that this was also the beginning of my withdrawal although didn’t realise it then. I though my increased anxiety/depression was from work stress. 


June 2021- slowly overcame burnout with anxiety back at full force. Quality of life non existent.


August 2021- out of desperation went to my GP. Was prescribed Escitalopram 5mg with oxazepam. First day I took Escitalopram I could not sleep. Day 3 still no sleep. GP prescribed zopiclone for 10 days to ‘reset’. Did not help. Then tried temazepam for a week. Still no sleep. I developed worsening anxiety, akathesia, I fainted 3 times in a week, suicidal thoughts and was going crazy. I’m was at my mums at the time and she phoned my GP who wanted to put me on seroquel. I refused and decided to taper off the Escitalopram. Did this for 2 weeks with liquid version.


September- discovered SA.


October- I have now been off this medication for 3 weeks. I am exhausted. I have only been able to sleep 3 hours. I have internal tremors, panic attacks, and crazy anxiety.


Please help me

 

Edited by ChessieCat
resized font and added spacing

June 2016-May 2021 sertraline (up to 200mg)

Tapered off in 3 months. Crashed in August. Was told it was relapse. 
August 2021 started 2.5mg Escitalopram for a week, 5mg for a week, then 2mg for a week and then stopped (triggered insomnia and akathesia). From the first dose Escitalopram couldn’t sleep and was given temazepam and zopiclone, 1 week of each (did not work).

October 2021 my mother called crisis team as I was in a 24hr panic and hadn’t slept for a month. Given seroquel 25mg. I only took 12.5mg for 2 weeks (gave me 5hrs sleep). Quit QT as I was terrified of taking it.

 

Currently taking: probiotic and 400mg magnesium, fish oil, daily Epsom salt baths and meditation.

 

 

 

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  • ChessieCat changed the title to Dominique: sertraline and escitalopram please help🙏🏼
  • Moderator

Hello @Dominique,

 

I'm so sorry to hear about your rough experience getting free of these drugs.  As you can read on this site, you are far from alone.  

To get you started and to give you pertinent information, could you summarize your medication history in a signature – only drugs, doses, dates, and discontinuations & reinstatements in a vertical list format.  

 

Account Settings – Create or Edit a signature.

 

To keep your doctor informed with the information here, I recommend sharing with your health care providers these studies recently published by our founder Alto:

 

Framer, A. (2021). What I have learnt from helping thousands of people to taper off antidepressants and other psychotropic medications. Therapeutic Advances in Psychopharmacologyhttps://doi.org/10.1177/2045125321991274  

 

Hengartner, M. P., Schulthess, L., Sorensen, A., & Framer, A. (2020). Protracted withdrawal syndrome after stopping antidepressants: A descriptive quantitative analysis of consumer narratives from a large internet forum. Therapeutic Advances in Psychopharmacologyhttps://doi.org/10.1177/2045125320980573

 

The symptoms you're describing are not unusual for withdrawal from sertraline.  They can also be a result of reinstatement with escitalopram and at too high a dose.  Finally, too quick a taper off escitalopram can increase further withdrawal symptoms such as you describe.  I want to give you some links addressing some of these issues.   

Cold Turkey and Too Fast Tapers

What is Withdrawal Syndrome?

 

These links can help with the immediate symptoms:

symptoms and self care

Tips to help sleep: so many of us have that awful withdrawal ...

 

After you have finished your signature, we can help you decide whether you want to try a reinstatement at a very low dose, followed by gradual tapering after your system stabilizes.  This link explains this approach:

About Reinstating and Stabilizing to Reduce Withdrawal Symptoms

 

 

We don't suggest many supplements, but 3 that many of us find helpful are magnesium, omega-3, and melatonin. 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

Melatonin

 

 

This is your Introduction site where you can ask questions, report your progress, and connect with other members.

I'm glad you've found us. 

Arbor

 

Zoloft: 1995 - 2015

Prozac: 2015 - 2018 (tapered from 40mg x day on July 31 to 30mg on August 31 to 20mg on September 31 to 10mg October 31 to 0mg on  December 15, 2018

Gabapentin: 2016 to 2019  (tapered from 300mg x day to 150mg on August 31, 2019 to 75mg on September 15 to 50mg on September 31 to 25ishmg on October 15 to 0mg on December 1, 2019

Enalapril: 2010 - 2019

Lipitor: 2017 -2017

Metformin: 2000 - 2020

Liothyronine: 2007 - 2019

Levothyroxine: 2000 - 

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  • 2 months later...
  • Mentor

@Dominique

On 10/8/2021 at 2:28 AM, Dominique said:

I was working at a mental health clinic for young people and the psychiatrist there was against medication.

wow this is great.  a mental health clinic against medication.  

 

I see that you are in a hard and scary place.  These drugs are strong and they can cause a lot of disturbance to our minds and body's.

Have you had a chance to look around the site here.  There is a ton of information to help you learn about these drugs and how to safely get off of them. You will heal from this, it will take patience and  learning coping skill. 

I am glad you saw the other drugs where not helping you and stopped. Unfortunately insomnia is a big part of WD.

There are a lot of threads on the Systems & Self-Care part of SA,  that can help you find answers on the many, many different WD symptoms.  You can find a lot of helpful idea's on coping skills. We  are all dealing with many of the same crazy WD symptoms.

Connect with others here on the site for encouragement and to share our stories. Remember you are not alone.

 

Your last post was awhile ago. How are things going now?  Did you read the links that Arbor left for you?

 

Arbor here needs for you to put your drugs in your signature.  The mods need to see the dates for all the drugs you have been on, and any supplements you are taking. Then they can help guide you and help get you stable.

 

You are going to be okay and you will heal.  Are brains are trying to get things right again.  Time and patience are what our brains need right now.❤️

 

https://www.survivingantidepressants.org/topic/24894-greatful-is-this-withdrawal-or-to-many-med-changes-at-once/

1995? Prozac,  tried several Paxil, Serzone, St John's Wart back to Prozac and Trazodone ct:d Traz

 Lexapro. Tried to stop Crash in 2015  Kindled   Hospitalized, Vybrid, Seroquel, Effexor, Abilify  Pristiq, Wellbutrin-- 2016  ended back on   Prozac and Lamictal 200mg

5/2020  thru 12/2020 taper from 20mg  Prozac  down to 3mg.  Crashed  12/13/2020 Zoloft 50mg 1/29ct  1/29/2021 Seroquel 50mg ct  2/12/2021 Wellbutrin 75mg.  Became hypo manic 2/1  6ct Trazadone 50mg 4/25  25mg 2/5/ 2021 Lamictal 150mg.  2/24  100mg   4/9  75mg   4/21 37.5 

2/16/2021 Seroquel 50xr  3/3 100mg  3/17  150mg  side effects ct   4/3 2021 Lexapro 5mg  4/14  7.5mg  4/30 10mg  5/10  7.5mg 

2021/ 5/16  5mg Lexapro   37.5 Lamictal   25mg trazadone,   xanax  .0625mg  3x a day   Magnesium glycinate 300 to 400mg a day 

Lexapro   Sept/01/2021  4.90mg  Sept/25  4.75mg   Oct/19 4.69mg  Nov/14 4.2mg    Jan/30/2022-- All liquid  4.2mg  (2.20mg at 8am & 2mg at 4pm) 2/17 4mg  2/24  3.8mg   3/21 3.4mg  5/2 3mg  6/1  decreasing by 0.02ml  daily  to 2.70 mg  7/1 decreasing 0.02ml daily to  2.5 mg 8/1 decreasing 0.02ml daily to 2.3mg

Lamictal 25mg

 

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  • ChessieCat changed the title to Dominique: sertraline and escitalopram please help

Thank you so much Greatful. I am really struggling. I don’t recognise myself anymore… I have been living of Max 3hrs sleep per night since august and I have lost more than 20 kilos this year and my hair is falling out.

 

I will update my signature now of the past medications I have used. Yes, I have read all the suggestions here and I’m doing my best to apply them into my life.


thank you for your support and kindness… it means more than you know ❤️

June 2016-May 2021 sertraline (up to 200mg)

Tapered off in 3 months. Crashed in August. Was told it was relapse. 
August 2021 started 2.5mg Escitalopram for a week, 5mg for a week, then 2mg for a week and then stopped (triggered insomnia and akathesia). From the first dose Escitalopram couldn’t sleep and was given temazepam and zopiclone, 1 week of each (did not work).

October 2021 my mother called crisis team as I was in a 24hr panic and hadn’t slept for a month. Given seroquel 25mg. I only took 12.5mg for 2 weeks (gave me 5hrs sleep). Quit QT as I was terrified of taking it.

 

Currently taking: probiotic and 400mg magnesium, fish oil, daily Epsom salt baths and meditation.

 

 

 

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  • Mentor

@Dominique

This truly is a nightmare.  I wish I could make this go away for all of us.  I can't work right now and do very little except have  a ton of  WD symptoms.  Waiting for each day to pass so I can slowly heal.....

 

I can relate to feeling like you lost yourself.  Both with D/R D/P and trying to think and function with a broken chemical brain injury.🥴

 

I do advise you to find a balance of boundary's in your life right now.   Limit as much stress as you can from your life,  learn to love accept yourself as you are right now  Take care of yourself, try to do some small normal life things,  do not spend your whole life on SA/internet and obsessing over everything. You are still you deep inside, do not let WD define you.  Balance and selfcare.  Learn what you can to help you through this, but do not over search for a quick fix, there is not one.  This is a individual healing process, so we my have many of the same awful WD symptoms, we all have to heal and go through it all at our own pace and time.   So that being said try not to compare your healing with others.  This is hard to do.  So look to support yourself by being kind and loving to yourself and know that your body is trying it's best to heal so can feel better and whole again.

 

If you want to let someone know that you are talking to them you can tag them. Hit the @ key and start to type their name in then click on the name it  will highlight like your name @Dominique and they will get a notification that you are tagging them.

Tag a mod if need any help with medication questions.

 

Hang in there.  As you can see, you are not alone❤️

https://www.survivingantidepressants.org/topic/24894-greatful-is-this-withdrawal-or-to-many-med-changes-at-once/

1995? Prozac,  tried several Paxil, Serzone, St John's Wart back to Prozac and Trazodone ct:d Traz

 Lexapro. Tried to stop Crash in 2015  Kindled   Hospitalized, Vybrid, Seroquel, Effexor, Abilify  Pristiq, Wellbutrin-- 2016  ended back on   Prozac and Lamictal 200mg

5/2020  thru 12/2020 taper from 20mg  Prozac  down to 3mg.  Crashed  12/13/2020 Zoloft 50mg 1/29ct  1/29/2021 Seroquel 50mg ct  2/12/2021 Wellbutrin 75mg.  Became hypo manic 2/1  6ct Trazadone 50mg 4/25  25mg 2/5/ 2021 Lamictal 150mg.  2/24  100mg   4/9  75mg   4/21 37.5 

2/16/2021 Seroquel 50xr  3/3 100mg  3/17  150mg  side effects ct   4/3 2021 Lexapro 5mg  4/14  7.5mg  4/30 10mg  5/10  7.5mg 

2021/ 5/16  5mg Lexapro   37.5 Lamictal   25mg trazadone,   xanax  .0625mg  3x a day   Magnesium glycinate 300 to 400mg a day 

Lexapro   Sept/01/2021  4.90mg  Sept/25  4.75mg   Oct/19 4.69mg  Nov/14 4.2mg    Jan/30/2022-- All liquid  4.2mg  (2.20mg at 8am & 2mg at 4pm) 2/17 4mg  2/24  3.8mg   3/21 3.4mg  5/2 3mg  6/1  decreasing by 0.02ml  daily  to 2.70 mg  7/1 decreasing 0.02ml daily to  2.5 mg 8/1 decreasing 0.02ml daily to 2.3mg

Lamictal 25mg

 

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Thank you so much @Greatful for all your kind words. I feel so heartbroken for myself, but also for my partner. I want to be well for him more than for myself. I want him to have the person he knows and loves back.
 

I feel totally stuck. My life has been on hold since May this year… each day is about survival with no joy and I an living in almost complete isolation.

 

@Rosetta @FarmGirlWorks I’ve been reading a bit about your experiences and would really like to connect with you if you have the time.

 

I am now 8 months of sertraline and 4 months of a trial of Escitalopram.

My main symptoms now are very little sleep (3 hours max), tremors, internal vibrations, constant anxiety and chest pain. These are making me depressed and making me panic. I don’t know what to do. I consider reinstatement of the sertraline every day in the hope for relief, but the thought of doing so terrifies me. 


Any input would be so appreciated. I hope you are all doing well on your healing journeys. Much love ❤️ 

June 2016-May 2021 sertraline (up to 200mg)

Tapered off in 3 months. Crashed in August. Was told it was relapse. 
August 2021 started 2.5mg Escitalopram for a week, 5mg for a week, then 2mg for a week and then stopped (triggered insomnia and akathesia). From the first dose Escitalopram couldn’t sleep and was given temazepam and zopiclone, 1 week of each (did not work).

October 2021 my mother called crisis team as I was in a 24hr panic and hadn’t slept for a month. Given seroquel 25mg. I only took 12.5mg for 2 weeks (gave me 5hrs sleep). Quit QT as I was terrified of taking it.

 

Currently taking: probiotic and 400mg magnesium, fish oil, daily Epsom salt baths and meditation.

 

 

 

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Hi, Dominique,

I wanted to welcome you, and say that you will heal.  It’s going to take some time.  It’s a very difficult journey.  Most people, it seems, heal faster than I did.  
 

The most important thing I can tell you is to avoid all new drugs as much as possible.  Any psycho-active drug has the potential to harm you and set back your healing.  If your doctor were to prescribe Sertraline again, the prescription would probably be a dose that would likely harm you as no pills are made in a safe dose for people in withdrawal.  There may be no safe dose, in fact.  That whole issue is too complicated for me to describe here, but please know that the manufacturer does not make a dose that is safe for people in WD.

Of course, any street drugs and even legal marijuana are not safe for us.  Anything psycho-active is very, very dangerous for our brains.  In addition, there are a number of legal drugs we do not think of as harmful in our every-day lives:

1. You can have absolutely no alcoholic beverages, and if you visit the dentist, 2. no adrenaline based numbing agents (novacaine).  The dentist has a different type that does not last as long.  So, you can have dental work, but you must be careful to avoid adrenaline.  3. There are several antibiotics you must avoid, too, especially those that can cause what we call “floxxing.”  The antibiotics are called fluoroquinilones.  See this: https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/fda-updates-warnings-fluoroquinolone-antibiotics-risks-mental-health-and-low-blood-sugar-adverse

 

Many other antibiotics are risky to those in WD, but sometimes we have to take them.  Avoiding the fluoroquinilones is key to healing WD.

 

Now that all of that is out of the way,  please know that healing is not linear.  You will feel worse, then better, then worse again, over and over and over.  In fact, each time you feel worse, it means your brain has made a necessary change to return to “factory settings,” as Alto affectionately calls it.     This makes WD a very frustrating and scary experience as it is unlike any other healing process we have thus far encountered.

 

Many people, in desperation, try to return to commercially-made doses of their previous drugs.  That is unfortunate, but doctors and family members, frequently, shame and cajole and beg us to do so.  The myth that drugs can cure depression and anxiety is too strong.  Drugs only change our brains.  They numb us.  They give us extra energy because they are literally disrupting natural processes.  Once they have done for for long enough, a month or two, we are dependent on them for “normal” brain function and taking them away can be harmful.  
 

Quite frankly, you have what alcoholics can get when they quit drinking - post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS).  No one knows for sure why some people get it and others don’t.  It’s a form of dysautonomia - a dysfunction of the nervous system.  Slowly, over time, the brain changes back, and that process results in many unwanted and concerning symptoms.  It’s awful, but, eventually, your brain will recover.

 

I’m sorry this has happened to you, that the doctor at your workplace did not communicate this risk to you, and that you felt pressured to cold turkey.  The harm these doctors do!  It’s an outrage.  Please know that you will emerge wiser and more aware of how to care for yourself than the doctor him or herself.

 

Rosetta

https://www.survivingantidepressants.org/topic/16629-rosetta-ct-may-2011-too-fast-taper-feb-2017/?page=25

2001-2011 Celexa 10 mg raised to 40 mg then 60 mg over this time period

May 2011 OB Doctor's Cold switch Celexa 60 mg to 10 mg Zoloft sertraline (baby born)

2012-2016 - Doctors raised dose of Zoloft up to 150 mg

2016 - Xanax prescribed - as needed - 0.5 mg about every 3 days (bad reaction)

2016 - Stopped Xanax

Late 2016- Began (too fast) taper of Zoloft

Early 2017 - Trazodone prescribed for bedtime (doseage unknown)

Feb 2017 - Completed taper/stopped Trazodone

Drug free since Feb 2017

2017 - Unisom otc very rarely for sleep

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Thank you @Rosetta for your beautiful reply.

 

I believe that we will all heal in time, it’s just the brutal inhumane suffering that has to come before that which breaks my heart. The thought of having to put life on hold for potentially years is just something I cannot comprehend.

 

Life is not a guarantee for any of us… and if there is anything I could do to limit my suffering I would consider it.

 

@Gridley or @ChessieCatwe haven’t spoken yet… but I would love to connect and hear your view 😊 I was wondering what your take on a reinstatement would be? Would that help at all? I am now 8 months of sertraline and 4 months of (a paradoxical reaction to lexapro).

 

I never had insomnia before taking the lexapro…. I wish I had found this site sooner as I was in a much better place in August from my sertraline withdrawal then. Yes I had anxiety/panic, but I was sleeping full nights. It’s also probably relevant to know that the sertraline ‘pooped out on me’ and was making my hair fall out when taking it. This is why I originally decide to get off it… unknowing the horror that was to follow.
 

Thank you everyone, I’m learning so much from you all and taking it all in 🙏🏼 Wishing you all well

June 2016-May 2021 sertraline (up to 200mg)

Tapered off in 3 months. Crashed in August. Was told it was relapse. 
August 2021 started 2.5mg Escitalopram for a week, 5mg for a week, then 2mg for a week and then stopped (triggered insomnia and akathesia). From the first dose Escitalopram couldn’t sleep and was given temazepam and zopiclone, 1 week of each (did not work).

October 2021 my mother called crisis team as I was in a 24hr panic and hadn’t slept for a month. Given seroquel 25mg. I only took 12.5mg for 2 weeks (gave me 5hrs sleep). Quit QT as I was terrified of taking it.

 

Currently taking: probiotic and 400mg magnesium, fish oil, daily Epsom salt baths and meditation.

 

 

 

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Just in case a health professional reads this:  Do you see a pattern?  Dominique wasn’t not feeling well before she took Lexapro, a very strong sister to Celexa, and the condition she had, and still has, dysautonomia, was very much exacerbated by the Lexapro.  She was sleeping, and after Lexapro she was not.  We see this happen over and over and over.  Please do not prescribe “therapeutic doses” of anything to a person in WD from an antidepressant.  If anything, reinstate a very small dose of the antidepressant from which the person withdrew - a tiny test dose.  Switching to a different antidepressant can destroy the lives of your patients.  The drug companies do not care to investigate this issue, so it is up to you to protect your patients.  Do no harm.

https://www.survivingantidepressants.org/topic/16629-rosetta-ct-may-2011-too-fast-taper-feb-2017/?page=25

2001-2011 Celexa 10 mg raised to 40 mg then 60 mg over this time period

May 2011 OB Doctor's Cold switch Celexa 60 mg to 10 mg Zoloft sertraline (baby born)

2012-2016 - Doctors raised dose of Zoloft up to 150 mg

2016 - Xanax prescribed - as needed - 0.5 mg about every 3 days (bad reaction)

2016 - Stopped Xanax

Late 2016- Began (too fast) taper of Zoloft

Early 2017 - Trazodone prescribed for bedtime (doseage unknown)

Feb 2017 - Completed taper/stopped Trazodone

Drug free since Feb 2017

2017 - Unisom otc very rarely for sleep

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  • Moderator
9 hours ago, Dominique said:

I was wondering what your take on a reinstatement would be? Would that help at all? I am now 8 months of sertraline and 4 months of (a paradoxical reaction to lexapro).

I'm taking a break from moderating.  I suggest you see which moderators are active on the site now to get suggestions about reinstatement.

Edited by Gridley

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 Valium

Feb. 2021, begin 10%/4 week taper.   

March 22, 2022: hold at 4.8mg and shift to Imipramine taper

Aug. 5, 2022: shift to Valium taper.  

Current dose as of Aug. 5, 2022: 4.3mg

Taper is 77% complete.

 

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

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

March 22, 2022: Begin 10%/4 week taper.  Current dose as of Aug. 5: 9.5mg 

Aug. 5, 2022: hold at 9.5 and shift to Valium taper

Taper is 87% 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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No problem Gridley, thank you for letting me know. I hope you enjoy the holidays.

 

 @Altostrataor @getofflex I can imagine you are both so very busy with all the people on here and the time of year… but I would really appreciate some advice when you have the time.

 

I am wondering if a reinstatement of sertraline so far out would help? Since this was my main/only drug until the lexapro.

 

I am crippled by extreme anxiety and insomnia at the moment. The insomnia only began after the lexapro trial, and has yet to improve. Melatonin does not help unfortunately. I believe I might have also had serotonin syndrome for the 3 weeks of lexapro as I have never been so ill in my life.

 

This time last year I was on 200mg sertraline… and even though I still had breakthrough anxiety I slept like a log and had a full time job.

 

Now, at 8 months off, I have slept 1.5 hours last night and I have extreme anxiety and chest pain. It is madness.

 

As I mentioned in previous posts, I was working at a youth mental health clinic where the psychiatrists actually try to take the youngsters OFF their medication as they believe it is not the answer. This was a wake up call for me as I felt like such a hypocrite working there.

 

Amazingly the psychiatrist I worked with was an expert by experience in the sense that he has also been in the situation of antidepressants/benzo withdrawl and knows of the horrible consequences of it. He has recovered and currently takes nothing. Unfortunately, his advice to me was to introduce a new SRRI and do a ‘proper’ taper. As we can see this has not gone well for me..

 

 

June 2016-May 2021 sertraline (up to 200mg)

Tapered off in 3 months. Crashed in August. Was told it was relapse. 
August 2021 started 2.5mg Escitalopram for a week, 5mg for a week, then 2mg for a week and then stopped (triggered insomnia and akathesia). From the first dose Escitalopram couldn’t sleep and was given temazepam and zopiclone, 1 week of each (did not work).

October 2021 my mother called crisis team as I was in a 24hr panic and hadn’t slept for a month. Given seroquel 25mg. I only took 12.5mg for 2 weeks (gave me 5hrs sleep). Quit QT as I was terrified of taking it.

 

Currently taking: probiotic and 400mg magnesium, fish oil, daily Epsom salt baths and meditation.

 

 

 

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@Rosetta you are so right. Like all of us, I have lost so much.

When I recover (although this seems impossible as this stage), I will absolutely become an advocate for the harm these drugs do and bring this to light in the world in whatever way I can. The people who run this community and all those who offer support/advice are the most selfless people of them all. Angels on earth ❤️

June 2016-May 2021 sertraline (up to 200mg)

Tapered off in 3 months. Crashed in August. Was told it was relapse. 
August 2021 started 2.5mg Escitalopram for a week, 5mg for a week, then 2mg for a week and then stopped (triggered insomnia and akathesia). From the first dose Escitalopram couldn’t sleep and was given temazepam and zopiclone, 1 week of each (did not work).

October 2021 my mother called crisis team as I was in a 24hr panic and hadn’t slept for a month. Given seroquel 25mg. I only took 12.5mg for 2 weeks (gave me 5hrs sleep). Quit QT as I was terrified of taking it.

 

Currently taking: probiotic and 400mg magnesium, fish oil, daily Epsom salt baths and meditation.

 

 

 

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Hang in there.  You will heal.  I’m so sorry to see that you can’t sleep, but that will return to you.  I hope it happens quickly. - Rosetta

https://www.survivingantidepressants.org/topic/16629-rosetta-ct-may-2011-too-fast-taper-feb-2017/?page=25

2001-2011 Celexa 10 mg raised to 40 mg then 60 mg over this time period

May 2011 OB Doctor's Cold switch Celexa 60 mg to 10 mg Zoloft sertraline (baby born)

2012-2016 - Doctors raised dose of Zoloft up to 150 mg

2016 - Xanax prescribed - as needed - 0.5 mg about every 3 days (bad reaction)

2016 - Stopped Xanax

Late 2016- Began (too fast) taper of Zoloft

Early 2017 - Trazodone prescribed for bedtime (doseage unknown)

Feb 2017 - Completed taper/stopped Trazodone

Drug free since Feb 2017

2017 - Unisom otc very rarely for sleep

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June 2016-May 2021 sertraline (up to 200mg)

Tapered off in 3 months. Crashed in August. Was told it was relapse. 
August 2021 started 2.5mg Escitalopram for a week, 5mg for a week, then 2mg for a week and then stopped (triggered insomnia and akathesia). From the first dose Escitalopram couldn’t sleep and was given temazepam and zopiclone, 1 week of each (did not work).

October 2021 my mother called crisis team as I was in a 24hr panic and hadn’t slept for a month. Given seroquel 25mg. I only took 12.5mg for 2 weeks (gave me 5hrs sleep). Quit QT as I was terrified of taking it.

 

Currently taking: probiotic and 400mg magnesium, fish oil, daily Epsom salt baths and meditation.

 

 

 

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  • Moderator

It sounds as if you had an adverse reaction to the Lexapro.  You previously did a fast taper of sertraline, which has probably destabilized your nervous system.  It's good you got off the Lexapro quickly.  So, I'm guessing you are dealing with an adverse reaction, as well as withdrawal effects from the sertraline taper.  I'm not familiar with temazepam or zopiclone, or Seroquel.  But at least you only took them for short periods of time.  However, these may have further destabilized and confused your nervous system.  

 

You could try a very small reinstatement of sertraline.  What was your dose in 2021, specifically in the last 2 or 3 months of use (March, April, May)?  That will help me to know what reinstatement dose to suggest.  

 

Here is a link about withdrawal insomnia.  Please read it - there are a lot of good ideas in it.  

 

Withdrawal Insomnia

Edited by getofflex

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, or Tylenol 1000 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, breakfast, 3 PM, before bed

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

suppl PM: magnesium 350 mg, GABA 750 mg, Estroven, melatonin 2.5 mg

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7 hours ago, getofflex said:

It sounds as if you had an adverse reaction to the Lexapro.  You previously did a fast taper of sertraline, which has probably destabilized your nervous system.  It's good you got off the Lexapro quickly.  So, I'm guessing you are dealing with an adverse reaction, as well as withdrawal effects from the sertraline taper.  I'm not familiar with temazepam or zopiclone, or Seroquel.  But at least you only took them for short periods of time.  However, these may have further destabilized and confused your nervous system.  

 

You could try a very small reinstatement of sertraline.  What was your dose in 2021, specifically in the last 2 or 3 months of use (March, April, May)?  That will help me to know what reinstatement dose to suggest.  

 

Here is a link about withdrawal insomnia.  Please read it - there are a lot of good ideas in it.  

 

Withdrawal Insomnia

Thank you so much @getofflex for your reply- especially on Christmas! I jumped off at 12.5mg in May 2021… I believe I was on that dose for something like 3 weeks but I cannot remember exactly. I reduced from 200mg, 150mg, 100mg, 50mg, 25mg, 12.5mg over 4 months. At this time I did not realise there was liquid sertraline or that this was too fast. I remember having physical withdrawals- irritability, fatigue and brain zaps. But I did not really get slammed with the anxiety and panic until August 2021. This is when I went to my GP in desperation and was prescribed lexapro. I absolutely had an adverse reaction to this- it triggered my chronic insomnia, I had awful diarrhoea, chills, fever, throwing up, akathesia, enlarged pupils, cold sweats and I broke out it acne over my whole body. I am glad I stayed on it for only 3 weeks, but thinks have not really improved since then. I lost about an extra 10 kilos in this time.

 

I briefly reached out to Jim van Oss here in the Netherlands and he advised me to take promethazine for the insomnia and ‘to find other ways to manage my depression and anxiety, as SSRI’s work in unknown ways in the brain and evidence states that it could in fact make things worse rather that better with reinstatement of one”. I have not yet taken the promethazine out of fear, but I am craving sleep so much. I have tried melatonin, good sleep hygiene and sleep restriction therapy for months now to no avail unfortunately.

 

From your experience @getofflexand @arbor Would a small reinstatement of sertraline this far out even help at all even after it pooped out? I am so scared to try as the lexapro really threw my nervous system further. 
 

Thank you for your time and advise and a very merry Christmas to you!

June 2016-May 2021 sertraline (up to 200mg)

Tapered off in 3 months. Crashed in August. Was told it was relapse. 
August 2021 started 2.5mg Escitalopram for a week, 5mg for a week, then 2mg for a week and then stopped (triggered insomnia and akathesia). From the first dose Escitalopram couldn’t sleep and was given temazepam and zopiclone, 1 week of each (did not work).

October 2021 my mother called crisis team as I was in a 24hr panic and hadn’t slept for a month. Given seroquel 25mg. I only took 12.5mg for 2 weeks (gave me 5hrs sleep). Quit QT as I was terrified of taking it.

 

Currently taking: probiotic and 400mg magnesium, fish oil, daily Epsom salt baths and meditation.

 

 

 

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  • Moderator

Dear @Dominique,

Withdrawal from these drugs can throw our systems into crisis.  Our brains are filled with the scream of "Crisis!"  My heart goes out to you.  I know my own versions of how overwhelming this can be.  I can't offer you better advice than what you've already been given.  My aim for myself has been to concentrate on healing without reinstating because I didn't know about reinstatement early in my w/d.  However, that aim has often been sorely strained by the terrible panic that can come up when I'm severely stressed--a feeling it seems you are having now.  While you wait to hear from @getofflex, I invite you to join me in focusing on one moment at a time.  Trying to stay in the present, and avoiding thoughts of the past or future.  Locate your attention in the rising and falling of your breath.  Let yourself ride this wave out.   Let yourself float.   AAF - Acknowledge Accept Float - 

Getofflex has more experience is advising reinstatements than I do.  If you're not taking fish oil, I do strongly recommend it.  Omega 3 Fish Oil.  I also recommend using ice packs at night while "sleeping" which you can read more about on the link mentioned earlier: 

23 hours ago, getofflex said:

It is so terrible that you are having to experience this--or that any of us are.  Please know I am thinking of you, Dominique, and look forward to your eventual recovery,

Arbor

Zoloft: 1995 - 2015

Prozac: 2015 - 2018 (tapered from 40mg x day on July 31 to 30mg on August 31 to 20mg on September 31 to 10mg October 31 to 0mg on  December 15, 2018

Gabapentin: 2016 to 2019  (tapered from 300mg x day to 150mg on August 31, 2019 to 75mg on September 15 to 50mg on September 31 to 25ishmg on October 15 to 0mg on December 1, 2019

Enalapril: 2010 - 2019

Lipitor: 2017 -2017

Metformin: 2000 - 2020

Liothyronine: 2007 - 2019

Levothyroxine: 2000 - 

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  • Moderator
16 hours ago, Dominique said:

Would a small reinstatement of sertraline this far out even help at all even after it pooped out? I am so scared to try as the lexapro really threw my nervous system further. 

 

It sounds as though you are dealing with symptoms from withdrawal from sertraline, as well as the adverse reaction from the 3 week trial of Lexapro.  

 

A small reinstatement of sertraline may help.  I would suggest starting at a very small dose - try 5.0 mg.  It is safest to start very low, and if this is OK, then you can increase it if needed.  It will take a week for it to get into your system and register with your brain, so give it time.  If you feel significantly worse after the reinstatement, then stop it right away.  Please read this link carefully about reinstatement.  

 

About Reinstating and Stabilizing to Reduce Withdrawal Symptoms

 

Let me know what you decide to do.  If you do decide to reinstate, this link will provide information about how to dose it.  It is important to take the precise same dose each and every day at the same time of day.

 

Tips for Tapering Sertraline

 

In the meantime, @arbor has given you some good advice about how to cope and get through these very uncomfortable symptoms.  Hang in there, this is not forever.  Try listening to Baylissa, who has a wonderful website with podcasts and webinars about WD that are very positive and encouraging. https://baylissa.com 

Edited by getofflex

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, or Tylenol 1000 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, breakfast, 3 PM, before bed

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

suppl PM: magnesium 350 mg, GABA 750 mg, Estroven, melatonin 2.5 mg

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On 12/25/2021 at 9:16 PM, arbor said:

Dear @Dominique,

Withdrawal from these drugs can throw our systems into crisis.  Our brains are filled with the scream of "Crisis!"  My heart goes out to you.  I know my own versions of how overwhelming this can be.  I can't offer you better advice than what you've already been given.  My aim for myself has been to concentrate on healing without reinstating because I didn't know about reinstatement early in my w/d.  However, that aim has often been sorely strained by the terrible panic that can come up when I'm severely stressed--a feeling it seems you are having now.  While you wait to hear from @getofflex, I invite you to join me in focusing on one moment at a time.  Trying to stay in the present, and avoiding thoughts of the past or future.  Locate your attention in the rising and falling of your breath.  Let yourself ride this wave out.   Let yourself float.   AAF - Acknowledge Accept Float - 

Getofflex has more experience is advising reinstatements than I do.  If you're not taking fish oil, I do strongly recommend it.  Omega 3 Fish Oil.  I also recommend using ice packs at night while "sleeping" which you can read more about on the link mentioned earlier: 

It is so terrible that you are having to experience this--or that any of us are.  Please know I am thinking of you, Dominique, and look forward to your eventual recovery,

Arbor

Dear Arbor,

 

Thank you so much for your thoughtful reply, even on Christmas. It is so difficult to accept these feelings but I am doing the best I can. Each day seems like survival at the moment and I am just thankful I make it another day each day. I will certainly try and get some fish oil and start adding that.

 

thank you and I hope you are well 🙏🏼

June 2016-May 2021 sertraline (up to 200mg)

Tapered off in 3 months. Crashed in August. Was told it was relapse. 
August 2021 started 2.5mg Escitalopram for a week, 5mg for a week, then 2mg for a week and then stopped (triggered insomnia and akathesia). From the first dose Escitalopram couldn’t sleep and was given temazepam and zopiclone, 1 week of each (did not work).

October 2021 my mother called crisis team as I was in a 24hr panic and hadn’t slept for a month. Given seroquel 25mg. I only took 12.5mg for 2 weeks (gave me 5hrs sleep). Quit QT as I was terrified of taking it.

 

Currently taking: probiotic and 400mg magnesium, fish oil, daily Epsom salt baths and meditation.

 

 

 

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Thank you dearly for your reply even on Christmas @getofflex. It’s incredible how generous the loss here are.

 

I am still undecided about a reinstatement. I am terrified of attempting another SSRI after what happened in August with lexapro. I do feel my body is still healing from that on top of this long sertraline withdrawl. 
 

I am going to give in a few more weeks to considering reinstatement of sertraline (I cannot see my GP/psychiatrist until then anyway with the holidays.)

 

I did take 10mg promethazine last night as I have been sleeping less than an hour for the last month, and 2-3 hour since August  and I could not take it anymore. I am aware that this could be a bad idea but I did manage to sleep 5 hours last night which I so desperately needed after spending Christmas alone whilst my whole family were together.

 

I will definitely let you know if I decide to reinstate the sertraline. I know when I began to take sertraline all those years ago (for chronic fatigue  not anxiety or depression) that it immediately made me super agitated. I don’t think I slept well the first year I was on it all all. This is my concern about a reinstatement too… perhaps even less sleep.

 

thank you kindly for your help. Warmest wishes 

June 2016-May 2021 sertraline (up to 200mg)

Tapered off in 3 months. Crashed in August. Was told it was relapse. 
August 2021 started 2.5mg Escitalopram for a week, 5mg for a week, then 2mg for a week and then stopped (triggered insomnia and akathesia). From the first dose Escitalopram couldn’t sleep and was given temazepam and zopiclone, 1 week of each (did not work).

October 2021 my mother called crisis team as I was in a 24hr panic and hadn’t slept for a month. Given seroquel 25mg. I only took 12.5mg for 2 weeks (gave me 5hrs sleep). Quit QT as I was terrified of taking it.

 

Currently taking: probiotic and 400mg magnesium, fish oil, daily Epsom salt baths and meditation.

 

 

 

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@RosettaDear lovely Rosetta. I hope that you managed to have a nice Christmas and you were with the ones you love. Mine was not so nice. I was too ill so spend time with my family so I spent it alone.

 

I have some questions for you if you wouldn’t mind answering when you get the time. I know everyone is different in their healing journeys and we can never compare our own brains bodies to anyone else’s, but I suppose I am just looking for some hope…

- when did you start to sleep again?

- how long did your akathesia last?

- when did you start to experience windows and waves?

 

My biggest concern is my absolute lack of sleep, and this constant heart aching painful anxiety. I keep looking at everyone taking about their days and weeks of windows and waves…. My windows are perhaps a half hour here or there. And certainly not everyday which is so heartbreaking for me.

 

I do not want to reinstate any drugs, but I suppose I’m just so desperate for a little glimmer of healing. I am so discouraged that every day just seems like this all consuming wave of fear, pain and anxiety. I’m body hurts all over 😞

 

 

 

June 2016-May 2021 sertraline (up to 200mg)

Tapered off in 3 months. Crashed in August. Was told it was relapse. 
August 2021 started 2.5mg Escitalopram for a week, 5mg for a week, then 2mg for a week and then stopped (triggered insomnia and akathesia). From the first dose Escitalopram couldn’t sleep and was given temazepam and zopiclone, 1 week of each (did not work).

October 2021 my mother called crisis team as I was in a 24hr panic and hadn’t slept for a month. Given seroquel 25mg. I only took 12.5mg for 2 weeks (gave me 5hrs sleep). Quit QT as I was terrified of taking it.

 

Currently taking: probiotic and 400mg magnesium, fish oil, daily Epsom salt baths and meditation.

 

 

 

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5 hours ago, Thelongestroadhome said:

From what I understand, due to the fact that you withdrew from sertraline so quickly and have only been off a few months it was not a good idea going on a different medication. Your body was wanting sertraline not lexapro. 
I am no expert in this area but if it were me I would try a very small dose of sertraline and see how it went. I am not familiar with sertraline doses ( I was on lexapro) but I’m sure someone here could suggest a starting dose. It looks like you started a reinstatement  dose of sertraline 12.5mg for two weeks before quitting cold turkey. You didn’t mention any side effects but were scared to stay on it. The fact you slept 5hrs was promising though. 
I have read a few stories here of people like yourself who withdrew far too quickly and decided to reinstate, stabilise and then do a much slower and longer taper. From what I have read it worked for them. 
In my opinion it is better to be medicated and stable and to work on self help techniques before attempting a withdrawal. The way you feel right now it is going to make the journey much more difficult. It is doable, as attested by many testimonials here but it’s probably not the easy path. 
I am not a medical professional and my suggestions are merely my own thoughts. I truly hope that you can find some peace and the wisdom to make the right choice for you. 

Hello,

 

thank you so much for your input. Nope, I never reinstated sertraline at 12.5mg. My last dosage was 12.5mg and that was either back in the end of April or the beginning of May. I cannot remember the actual date unfortunately. From May until August I had lots of anxiety but I was sleeping well. It was only when I began taking the lexapro in August (for 3 weeks) that my sleep problems began and never resolved unfortunately 😞

 

I am now 8 months of sertraline but I don’t know if reinstating the sertraline will solve the damage that lexapro did to my sleep.

 

Warmest wishes

June 2016-May 2021 sertraline (up to 200mg)

Tapered off in 3 months. Crashed in August. Was told it was relapse. 
August 2021 started 2.5mg Escitalopram for a week, 5mg for a week, then 2mg for a week and then stopped (triggered insomnia and akathesia). From the first dose Escitalopram couldn’t sleep and was given temazepam and zopiclone, 1 week of each (did not work).

October 2021 my mother called crisis team as I was in a 24hr panic and hadn’t slept for a month. Given seroquel 25mg. I only took 12.5mg for 2 weeks (gave me 5hrs sleep). Quit QT as I was terrified of taking it.

 

Currently taking: probiotic and 400mg magnesium, fish oil, daily Epsom salt baths and meditation.

 

 

 

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Hi.  Those are hard questions to answer.  I have been suffering from WD symptoms for many years and there were times when they were more pronounced because of big changes in my medications.  When I had my baby, my drug was changed from Celexa to Zoloft.  My sleep returned within a few months, but Zoloft was somewhat sedating for me.  That can happen.  Some people have insomnia, some have hypersomnia.  As the dose was raised again and again, I became sicker and sicker.
 

Then, about 4 1/2 years later, I quit 150 mg of Zoloft over about 6 weeks.  Insomnia was very bad after that, to the point that I was prescribed Trazodone.  That put me to “sleep” but also kindled my system and caused intense akathisia.  I think I started sleeping better and the aka eased about a year later.  I’m not sure.  It happened very gradually.

 

Windows and waves happened to me for over 20 years, as I reacted poorly to my very first psych med, but they became more pronounced after the cold med switch and rapid “taper.”  I’m not sure when I had my first clear window.  I had what I called dirty windows for a long time — improvement in some symptoms, such as mental, with deterioration in physical condition and vice versa.

 

This is the truth — no one else’s exact pattern of healing will track yours.  There are no rules except that improvement occurs over time, imperceptibly to us except that we can look back over weeks or months and see that we have improved.  New symptoms appear and disappear.  The intensity lessens, but then increases during a particularly bad wave, etc.  
 

Generally, people who do not improve or get worse over time have some outside irritant that is stirring up the nervous system.  It could be a substance or stress in the home or at work. There are people who don’t feel windows for a long time.  They tend to heal differently, but I think they might have dirty windows.  They feel awful, but in different ways during the dirty windows.  
 

I hope this helps. - Rosetta

https://www.survivingantidepressants.org/topic/16629-rosetta-ct-may-2011-too-fast-taper-feb-2017/?page=25

2001-2011 Celexa 10 mg raised to 40 mg then 60 mg over this time period

May 2011 OB Doctor's Cold switch Celexa 60 mg to 10 mg Zoloft sertraline (baby born)

2012-2016 - Doctors raised dose of Zoloft up to 150 mg

2016 - Xanax prescribed - as needed - 0.5 mg about every 3 days (bad reaction)

2016 - Stopped Xanax

Late 2016- Began (too fast) taper of Zoloft

Early 2017 - Trazodone prescribed for bedtime (doseage unknown)

Feb 2017 - Completed taper/stopped Trazodone

Drug free since Feb 2017

2017 - Unisom otc very rarely for sleep

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I am really struggling today. Last night I had zero hours of sleep again. I had a massive breakdown at 4am crying hysterically to my partner. The night before I had 1.5hrs of sleep. I am a walking zombie and I feel like I have a rubber band around my head and cannot think. 

 

The promethazine is not working for the insomnia and it making me feel incredibly groggy, thirsty and almost hungover feeling. I have tried low dose melatonin and continue to take magnesium which doesn’t help either unfortunately. 
 

This whole insomnia episode began in August after a few weeks of a low dose lexapro. Previous to that I was on 200mg of sertraline for many years.

 

I don’t think that reinstating sertraline will improve this insomnia as I truly believe this was caused by a paradoxical reaction to lexapro.

 

Do any of the mods have any advice? I could handle the daytime anxiety much better if I was able to at least get a few hours of sleep. This has been ongoing since August now and I am at breaking point.

 

My GP is suggesting seroquel 25mg or 7.5mg zopiclone. I tried seroquel a while back for a few days but it gave me so much anxiety and made my heart beat so fast so I stopped it. I know that time is the biggest healer of all but I don’t think I can go much longer without sleep without being admitted. This is the last thing I want as I know that will only end in more misery.
 

Any advice would be so welcomed. Thank you and warm wishes. @Altostrata  @getofflex

June 2016-May 2021 sertraline (up to 200mg)

Tapered off in 3 months. Crashed in August. Was told it was relapse. 
August 2021 started 2.5mg Escitalopram for a week, 5mg for a week, then 2mg for a week and then stopped (triggered insomnia and akathesia). From the first dose Escitalopram couldn’t sleep and was given temazepam and zopiclone, 1 week of each (did not work).

October 2021 my mother called crisis team as I was in a 24hr panic and hadn’t slept for a month. Given seroquel 25mg. I only took 12.5mg for 2 weeks (gave me 5hrs sleep). Quit QT as I was terrified of taking it.

 

Currently taking: probiotic and 400mg magnesium, fish oil, daily Epsom salt baths and meditation.

 

 

 

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  • Administrator

@Dominique you took Lexapro for 4 months with those adverse effects, despite temazepam and zopiclone?

 

You also took temazepam and zopiclone for 4 months? What happened to the temazepam and zopiclone?

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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6 minutes ago, Altostrata said:

@Dominique you took Lexapro for 4 months with those adverse effects, despite temazepam and zopiclone?

 

You also took temazepam and zopiclone for 4 months? What happened to the temazepam and zopiclone?

Dear @Altostrata thank you for getting back to me so quickly. I appreciate it enormously.

 

No, I took sertraline 200mg from June 2016-May 2021. I began tapering in January 2021 (I didn’t know about tapering at this point and realise that 5 months from 200mg to 0mg was far too fast) my last dose of sertraline was in May 2021 and I believe I jumped off at 12.5mg. I did relatively ok until August 2021 and then I got really bad panic attacks, crying non stop, hyperventilating and restlessness but I was still able to sleep 8hrs a night. I didn’t know that I was in withdrawl from sertraline at this point so I went to my GP who prescribed me lexapro and said inwas relapsing and should try a different SSRI. So I took 2.5mg lexapro for a week, but from the first night I could not sleep so the GP prescribed me a week of temazepam and told me to stick to it and it will level out.  It make my anxiety so much worse and caused akathesia. She advised me to increase to 5mg lexapro and gave me a week of zopiclone. This gave me a couple hours of sleep but I kept fainting, I was throwing up, I couldn’t sit still, I had a very high temperature and really bad suicidal thoughts so my GP told me to taper off it and had me go back down to 2mg liquid lexapro for a week and then stop. I believe it might have been a sort of serotonin syndrome or a paradoxical reaction. So I only took the lexapro for a total of 3 weeks and a total of 1 week temazepam and 2 weeks zopiclone. This was back in the end of August and since then I have had complete insomnia.

 

It got so bad in September I was crying on the floor from the akathesia and insomnia my mum phoned the crisis team and they gave me seroquel 12.5mg for 2 weeks. I took this and it helped me sleep for 4 hours but I got terrible anxiety and a heart palpitations I stopped it in September and I haven’t taken anything since.

 

I am now terrified of medication but I have been living off 1-2 hours of sleep since September and I am exhausted. 

 

I contacted Jim van Oss here in the Netherlands and he told me to manage my depression and anxiety in other ways as ‘SSRIs work in unknown ways in the brain and reinstatement can often cause more harm than good’, and recommended that I try promethazine for my sleep which I have done this week. However, it only worked the first night to give me 4 hrs of sleep and now I am back to 1hr or so max. I’m at a complete loss of what to do. 

June 2016-May 2021 sertraline (up to 200mg)

Tapered off in 3 months. Crashed in August. Was told it was relapse. 
August 2021 started 2.5mg Escitalopram for a week, 5mg for a week, then 2mg for a week and then stopped (triggered insomnia and akathesia). From the first dose Escitalopram couldn’t sleep and was given temazepam and zopiclone, 1 week of each (did not work).

October 2021 my mother called crisis team as I was in a 24hr panic and hadn’t slept for a month. Given seroquel 25mg. I only took 12.5mg for 2 weeks (gave me 5hrs sleep). Quit QT as I was terrified of taking it.

 

Currently taking: probiotic and 400mg magnesium, fish oil, daily Epsom salt baths and meditation.

 

 

 

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  • Administrator

It looks to me like you had an adverse reaction to escitalopram. See 

 

Had you ever tried zopiclone, temazepam, or another benzodiazepine before?

 

It's good you're getting a little sleep.

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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  • 3 weeks later...
  • Mentor

@Dominique  Hi, stopping by to see how you are doing?  

https://www.survivingantidepressants.org/topic/24894-greatful-is-this-withdrawal-or-to-many-med-changes-at-once/

1995? Prozac,  tried several Paxil, Serzone, St John's Wart back to Prozac and Trazodone ct:d Traz

 Lexapro. Tried to stop Crash in 2015  Kindled   Hospitalized, Vybrid, Seroquel, Effexor, Abilify  Pristiq, Wellbutrin-- 2016  ended back on   Prozac and Lamictal 200mg

5/2020  thru 12/2020 taper from 20mg  Prozac  down to 3mg.  Crashed  12/13/2020 Zoloft 50mg 1/29ct  1/29/2021 Seroquel 50mg ct  2/12/2021 Wellbutrin 75mg.  Became hypo manic 2/1  6ct Trazadone 50mg 4/25  25mg 2/5/ 2021 Lamictal 150mg.  2/24  100mg   4/9  75mg   4/21 37.5 

2/16/2021 Seroquel 50xr  3/3 100mg  3/17  150mg  side effects ct   4/3 2021 Lexapro 5mg  4/14  7.5mg  4/30 10mg  5/10  7.5mg 

2021/ 5/16  5mg Lexapro   37.5 Lamictal   25mg trazadone,   xanax  .0625mg  3x a day   Magnesium glycinate 300 to 400mg a day 

Lexapro   Sept/01/2021  4.90mg  Sept/25  4.75mg   Oct/19 4.69mg  Nov/14 4.2mg    Jan/30/2022-- All liquid  4.2mg  (2.20mg at 8am & 2mg at 4pm) 2/17 4mg  2/24  3.8mg   3/21 3.4mg  5/2 3mg  6/1  decreasing by 0.02ml  daily  to 2.70 mg  7/1 decreasing 0.02ml daily to  2.5 mg 8/1 decreasing 0.02ml daily to 2.3mg

Lamictal 25mg

 

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Hi @Greatfulso sweet of you for checking in one me.

 

I’m not dong great but hanging in there. The last week the anxiety has been manageable and I’m trying to keep busy. It also seems that the akathisia has for now gone and I can sit still and relax which is such a relief. I get down quit a lot and I have this burning/pressure feeling on my chest the whole time. But my biggest ongoing problem is the insomnia. I am going to bed around 10:00pm, reading a book and manage to fall asleep usually around midnight. However, without fail I am wide awake at 03:30 and cannot dose off after that. I don’t know if the anxiety has lessened simply because I am exhausted from the lack of sleep and walking around like a zombie. It’s incredible- as if a switch had been turned on in my brain so that it literally does not shut off at night. If I could get just a few hours more sleep it would make everything so much more bearable.


GP and psychiatrist still trying to push a z drug/benzo for sleep (as I refuse as antidepressant), but I have reluctantly not taken up that offer as I am too afraid of making things worse in the long run.

 

How are you holding up? ❤️

June 2016-May 2021 sertraline (up to 200mg)

Tapered off in 3 months. Crashed in August. Was told it was relapse. 
August 2021 started 2.5mg Escitalopram for a week, 5mg for a week, then 2mg for a week and then stopped (triggered insomnia and akathesia). From the first dose Escitalopram couldn’t sleep and was given temazepam and zopiclone, 1 week of each (did not work).

October 2021 my mother called crisis team as I was in a 24hr panic and hadn’t slept for a month. Given seroquel 25mg. I only took 12.5mg for 2 weeks (gave me 5hrs sleep). Quit QT as I was terrified of taking it.

 

Currently taking: probiotic and 400mg magnesium, fish oil, daily Epsom salt baths and meditation.

 

 

 

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  • Administrator
On 1/2/2022 at 2:41 PM, Altostrata said:

It looks to me like you had an adverse reaction to escitalopram. See 

 

Had you ever tried zopiclone, temazepam, or another benzodiazepine before?

 

It's good you're getting a little sleep.

 

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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23 hours ago, Altostrata said:
 

It looks to me like you had an adverse reaction to escitalopram

Hi @Altostrata thank you so much for the information above. I’ve read it through and it looks like I definitely had an adverse reaction. Incredible to see that my psychiatrist also just kept pushing temazepam and oxazepam on me saying that it really just has to get worse before it will get better. I’m learning so much from this website and I am so glad I found it before I got myself into even more trouble.

 

23 hours ago, Altostrata said:

Had you ever tried zopiclone, temazepam, or another benzodiazepine before?

 

It's good you're getting a little sleep.


I remember being given 2 weeks of zopiclone in 2016 when I started taking sertraline as I was struggling to fall asleep and stay asleep. My GP at the time only gave me a short prescription and even through I struggled to stay asleep after those 2 weeks my sleep gradually improved over time. I think it took a good 6 months on sertraline before I started sleeping normally again. My last few years taking it I had the opposite where I found that I needed a lot of sleep whilst taking it. Even when I was completely off sertraline and in WD (in May 2021) I was able to sleep. It was only after I was told I was having a ‘relapse’ in August 2021 where I took Escitalopram for 3 weeks that the insomnia began. I have not taken any Escitalopram since the beginning of September 2021 and my sleep is still all over the place. Most nights I am getting 3-4hrs at the moment but it’s not enough.

I also took oxazepam 10mg several times a week over the last 1.5 years whilst taking sertraline as it pooped out but was advised to add it by my psychiatrist. I have not taken any benzodiazepines or z-drugs since September 2021

June 2016-May 2021 sertraline (up to 200mg)

Tapered off in 3 months. Crashed in August. Was told it was relapse. 
August 2021 started 2.5mg Escitalopram for a week, 5mg for a week, then 2mg for a week and then stopped (triggered insomnia and akathesia). From the first dose Escitalopram couldn’t sleep and was given temazepam and zopiclone, 1 week of each (did not work).

October 2021 my mother called crisis team as I was in a 24hr panic and hadn’t slept for a month. Given seroquel 25mg. I only took 12.5mg for 2 weeks (gave me 5hrs sleep). Quit QT as I was terrified of taking it.

 

Currently taking: probiotic and 400mg magnesium, fish oil, daily Epsom salt baths and meditation.

 

 

 

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  • Administrator

How has your sleep changed over the last 2 months?

 

Other than poor sleep, what are the most troubling symptoms you still have that you attribute to psychiatric drugs?

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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2 hours ago, Altostrata said:

How has your sleep changed over the last 2 months?

 

Over the last 2 months I have managed to fall asleep quicker than I did. From August- mid November I was only sleeping an hour or so per night. I am now getting some night of 3-4 hours per night but I think that is from complete exhaustion. Last night I was back to a total sleepless night.

 

2 hours ago, Altostrata said:

Other than poor sleep, what are the most troubling symptoms you still have that you attribute to psychiatric drugs?


On the days where I get less than 3-4 hours of sleep I have a lot of anxiety during that day, albeit not the whole day anymore. It almost comes in surges and feels a lot like a chest tightness/pressure. I have a lot of aches and pain overall in my body and I have extreme brain fog, fatigue, concentration and memory problems. I cry a lot out of desperation and fearing that it will never get better. For now the suicidal thoughts and akathisia have settled.

 

I’m just so afraid my sleep will not improve. I have been unable to work since August and can’t continue to do so for much longer for financial reasons. Thank you Alto

June 2016-May 2021 sertraline (up to 200mg)

Tapered off in 3 months. Crashed in August. Was told it was relapse. 
August 2021 started 2.5mg Escitalopram for a week, 5mg for a week, then 2mg for a week and then stopped (triggered insomnia and akathesia). From the first dose Escitalopram couldn’t sleep and was given temazepam and zopiclone, 1 week of each (did not work).

October 2021 my mother called crisis team as I was in a 24hr panic and hadn’t slept for a month. Given seroquel 25mg. I only took 12.5mg for 2 weeks (gave me 5hrs sleep). Quit QT as I was terrified of taking it.

 

Currently taking: probiotic and 400mg magnesium, fish oil, daily Epsom salt baths and meditation.

 

 

 

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  • Administrator

It appears you are recovering normally from withdrawal syndrome and subsequent adverse drug reactions. See

 

What is withdrawal syndrome?

 

The Windows and Waves Pattern of Stabilization

 

You might be able to strengthen your sleep:

 

What is the sleep cycle?

 

Melatonin for sleep: Many people find it helpful

 

Waking with panic or anxiety -- managing the morning cortisol spike

 

Tips to help sleep -- so many of us have that awful withdrawal insomnia

 

Path to Better Sleep FREE online for everyone from the US Veterans Administration

 

Music for self-care: Calms hyperalertness, anxiety, aids relaxation and sleep

 

White noise devices for sleep

 

TV or computer use in evening can disrupt sleep: Bright light signals the brain that it's daytime

 

This recovery will be very gradual, over months. It is possible a low-dose reinstatement of sertraline, such as 5mg, might help; you'd stabilize and taper off by tiny amounts later. Liquid sertraline is the easiest way to do this. See 


About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms 

 

Tips for tapering off sertraline (Zoloft)

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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  • Mentor

@Dominique

How are you doing?  

https://www.survivingantidepressants.org/topic/24894-greatful-is-this-withdrawal-or-to-many-med-changes-at-once/

1995? Prozac,  tried several Paxil, Serzone, St John's Wart back to Prozac and Trazodone ct:d Traz

 Lexapro. Tried to stop Crash in 2015  Kindled   Hospitalized, Vybrid, Seroquel, Effexor, Abilify  Pristiq, Wellbutrin-- 2016  ended back on   Prozac and Lamictal 200mg

5/2020  thru 12/2020 taper from 20mg  Prozac  down to 3mg.  Crashed  12/13/2020 Zoloft 50mg 1/29ct  1/29/2021 Seroquel 50mg ct  2/12/2021 Wellbutrin 75mg.  Became hypo manic 2/1  6ct Trazadone 50mg 4/25  25mg 2/5/ 2021 Lamictal 150mg.  2/24  100mg   4/9  75mg   4/21 37.5 

2/16/2021 Seroquel 50xr  3/3 100mg  3/17  150mg  side effects ct   4/3 2021 Lexapro 5mg  4/14  7.5mg  4/30 10mg  5/10  7.5mg 

2021/ 5/16  5mg Lexapro   37.5 Lamictal   25mg trazadone,   xanax  .0625mg  3x a day   Magnesium glycinate 300 to 400mg a day 

Lexapro   Sept/01/2021  4.90mg  Sept/25  4.75mg   Oct/19 4.69mg  Nov/14 4.2mg    Jan/30/2022-- All liquid  4.2mg  (2.20mg at 8am & 2mg at 4pm) 2/17 4mg  2/24  3.8mg   3/21 3.4mg  5/2 3mg  6/1  decreasing by 0.02ml  daily  to 2.70 mg  7/1 decreasing 0.02ml daily to  2.5 mg 8/1 decreasing 0.02ml daily to 2.3mg

Lamictal 25mg

 

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  • 1 month later...

A little update… I am now 10 months of sertraline and 6 months of Escitalopram (adverse reaction).

 

The anxiety, tremors, panic attacks are all improving slowly.
 

My main symptoms now are insomnia, fatigue, dizziness, brain fog, constant feeling like I’m falling in my head/buzzing feeling.

The worst is really the insomnia. I still sleep only about 4 hours per night, the  last 2 nights I have had only an hour sleep and just spend the night which makes me so upset and panic that this will never improve. 


I am physically and mentally exhausted. Is there anyone else who has been in the same boat with the insomnia and who has improved? I really thought I would start seeing improvements in the sleep after 6 months 😔

 

Love to all xx

June 2016-May 2021 sertraline (up to 200mg)

Tapered off in 3 months. Crashed in August. Was told it was relapse. 
August 2021 started 2.5mg Escitalopram for a week, 5mg for a week, then 2mg for a week and then stopped (triggered insomnia and akathesia). From the first dose Escitalopram couldn’t sleep and was given temazepam and zopiclone, 1 week of each (did not work).

October 2021 my mother called crisis team as I was in a 24hr panic and hadn’t slept for a month. Given seroquel 25mg. I only took 12.5mg for 2 weeks (gave me 5hrs sleep). Quit QT as I was terrified of taking it.

 

Currently taking: probiotic and 400mg magnesium, fish oil, daily Epsom salt baths and meditation.

 

 

 

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