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Mannequinhanger: Introduction


Mannequinhanger

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Hi all. Just found this nice forum and in a very short time it became evident that I want to contribute. I've tried to quit my meds many times with very little success.

 

My story:

 

I've been taking escitalopram since November 2010. At that time I was a young dad of 2 and prior that.. during about 3 years.. I had a multitude of strange symptoms that no doctor could explain.. for example tingling all over the body, numbness in limbs and tongue, fatigue, weakness etc. I went through dozens of doctors, tests and treatments and nothing helped nor explained the symptoms. Finally the symptoms made me so anxious that I decided to try out escitalopram 10mg as my doctor recommended it. 

 

At first it was a miracle. All the symptoms alleviated quickly and during the following 6 months they disappeared completely. I really felt healthy for the first time in years and it was unbelievable. I was praising the medicine. The medication also helped me to talk in big crowds which had been a  bit of a problem for me always.

 

In February 2012 I decided to quit as I really didn't see reason for continuing. I kind of felt that even though it helped my anxiety in general it made me a little numb emotionally.. not completely but I missed some of the peaks..  I quit it cold turkey and although I was immediately going through many withdrawal symptoms.. dizziness, brain zaps and extreme anxiety I thought it was the right direction as the earlier neurological symptoms did not reappear. Also for the first time since starting the medication I could cry again (which is normal for me.. I cry sometimes when watching a movie or so..) and it felt GREAT. All the emotions felt really big and true again like they had done earlier in my life. I managed to pull it through the most difficult time with the withdrawal symptoms and finally started to feel quite ok during the following summer. 

 

The following autumn I had a major setback in my relationship and it pushed my anxiety over the line like never before. In just a couple of days I wasn't able to function at all and it was a problem as I had two little kids and the work. I was really desperate and even though that time I would have needed a therapist I started taking Escitalopram 10mg again. And it helped. It helped in a way that it cut down my anxiety and I was able to continue my life.. I was able to somehow bare the relationship problems and soon I was able to continue working etc.. take care of the kids etc. So I was thinking that this medication saved me for the second time in my life.

 

During the next few years I didn't want to touch my medication dosage as I was doing ok.. I was just happily taking 10mg each morning. No major side effects.. I was just a little bit afraid of anxiety problems coming back and a little bit worried of missing the intensity of emotions and excitement that I knew I once had. I didn't really think about it. Life just went on and that was it.

 

Little by little the feeling of emotional numbness grew bigger issue for me and in 2016 and I started slowly to taper off. Cannot remember clearly the speed but I remember that I went to down to 5mg with no problems at all.

 

I was at 5mg for 2 years and all was stable.

 

In late 2018 I was aiming for quitting completely but I bumped into other health issues which made me worry a bit too much and as my doctor recommended it I decided to go back to 10mg again in January 2019. Life was easier again but the feeling of missing emotions was quickly back.

 

In late 2019  I decided to taper off again. I easily went down to 5mg and tried to quit cold turkey from 5mg in early 2020. The withdrawal symptoms were unbearable. I was feeling brain zaps, dizziness and extreme anxiety, horrific mood swings and tried to cope with hot and cold showers, hard exercise and excess alcohol. Nothing helped and soon enough I wasn't able to work anymore and went to a doctor. She put me back on 10mg. This was about 4 weeks from quitting completely. 

 

Again in late 2020 I started to feel better and started to taper off once more. I went from 10mg to 0 in about 2 months which was easy but probably way too fast. The same unbearable withdrawal symptoms hit me after 3-4 weeks of quitting completely. I was off work for couple of weeks and went back to 10mg in early 2021.

 

THE ONGOING ATTEMPT:

 

But.. I really want to quit completely as I feel that during the years I've kind of lost something important. I miss "the real me" although I cannot be sure whatever that is anymore. It's been over 10 years already with this medication. But I want to try to quit at least once more as I really miss the excitement that I felt in life back in the days. I miss crying and the deep feeling of happiness. 

 

This time I've reduced my dosage from 10mg to 1.5mg during the past 6 months. The last two alterations (from 5 to 2.5 and from 2.5 to 1.5) have been quite difficult but after 3 weeks or so I've finally felt better.

I feel that I may have been too hasty again and I plan to do the rest of the tapering very very slowly this time. Maybe the rest with the 10% rule that I just learned from this forum. I don't mind if it took another year to taper off completely.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Escitalopram

 

2010-2011 10mg

2012 10mg (6 month-period without)

2013-2015 10mg

2016 10mg -> 5mg

2017-2018 5mg

2019 5mg-> 10mg ->5mg

2020 5mg->10mg -> 5mg (Quit attempt Jan 2020)

2021 Jan 5mg (Quit attempt) -> Feb 10mg -> April 7.5 mg -> June 5mg -> August 2.5mg -> Ocotber 1.5mg -> November 2.5mg

 

Current: 2.5mg

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  • Administrator

Welcome, @Mannequinhanger

 

I'm sorry you've been round the same bad track so many times. What are your current symptoms? How long have you been at 1.5mg escitalopram? Did you get withdrawal symptoms when you reduced from 2.5mg to 1.5mg?

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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2.5 to 1.5 for about a week now. I am not doing very well now. Actually things are really bad. I also forgot my meds when I was on a weekend trip. So there was a gap of 30 hours without a dose.

 

Every day is a struggle. Im constantly thinking of upping my dosage back to 2.5mg. Dunno if I should or just keep up fighting and hoping things to get stable. Would feel a loss somehow to give up now.


 

After going down to 1.5mg:

 

I am experiencing bad mood swings. I am irritated very easily and yelling at my kids all the time.

 

I find it difficult to be around other people. I notice myself being stressed and biting my teeth when I am with other people besides family.

 

My brain is feeling awful almost all the time. Especially during afternoons. The brain is feeling "tight" and stressed. I notice that I need to intentionally "relax my scalp" every once in a while in order to get some relief to that feeling. Mornings and evenings are a bit easier.

 

My sleep has gone bad. I do sleep but I got the feeling that I am slightly awake and the dreams I see are somehow repeating or not progressing at all and in the morning I don't feel rested. I have similar dreaming usually when I have fever. This happens every night now.

 

Another new thing and also the one I am worried most is almost constant pain inside my hamstrings. Can this be withdrawal symptom also? The hamstrings feel a bit stiff and my muscles are feeling weak but I don't know if they are really weak or not. I can lift as much weight as before I think.

 

 

 

 

 

Escitalopram

 

2010-2011 10mg

2012 10mg (6 month-period without)

2013-2015 10mg

2016 10mg -> 5mg

2017-2018 5mg

2019 5mg-> 10mg ->5mg

2020 5mg->10mg -> 5mg (Quit attempt Jan 2020)

2021 Jan 5mg (Quit attempt) -> Feb 10mg -> April 7.5 mg -> June 5mg -> August 2.5mg -> Ocotber 1.5mg -> November 2.5mg

 

Current: 2.5mg

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  • Moderator

Hello, welcome to SA.  I'm sorry you are doing through these withdrawal symptoms.  

 

Here is some information about how these drugs actually work.   This explains why we get symptoms from going off of these medications, and why it's so important to taper so slowly and carefully, and be very cautious about changing our doses: 

 

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

 

Windows and Waves Pattern of Stabilization

 

 

Tapering is best done extremely slowly, and we generally taper by 10% of the current dose no more than once every 4 weeks, so that the taper becomes exponentially smaller.

 

 Why Taper by 10% of my Dosage  

 

Tips for Tapering Lexapro

 

 

Also, as we are recovering, we suggest keeping things slow, simple, and stable. 

 

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. 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

 

 

On 10/17/2021 at 9:26 AM, Mannequinhanger said:

2.5 to 1.5 for about a week now. I am not doing very well now. Actually things are really bad.

Going from 2.5 to 1.5 is a larger decrease than we suggest at SA. We suggest decreasing by no more than 10%, and you decreased by 40%.  This is probably why you are doing poorly.  I would suggest you updose back to about 2.0 or 2.25 mg.  Do it sooner rather than later.  This should help to decrease your symptoms.  Stay on this dose for a while, until your system gets stabilized.  Give it at least 2 months, if not longer. 

 

Please stay in touch with us and let us know how you are doing.  

 

About Reinstating and Stabilizing to Reduce Withdrawal Symptoms

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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  • 2 weeks later...

Struggled for 2 weeks. Went back to 2.5mg. Pain in the hamstrings subsided in 2 days. Sleep got better and all the other symptoms as well. Will try a lot slower after a while.

Escitalopram

 

2010-2011 10mg

2012 10mg (6 month-period without)

2013-2015 10mg

2016 10mg -> 5mg

2017-2018 5mg

2019 5mg-> 10mg ->5mg

2020 5mg->10mg -> 5mg (Quit attempt Jan 2020)

2021 Jan 5mg (Quit attempt) -> Feb 10mg -> April 7.5 mg -> June 5mg -> August 2.5mg -> Ocotber 1.5mg -> November 2.5mg

 

Current: 2.5mg

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  • Moderator Emeritus
42 minutes ago, Mannequinhanger said:

Will try a lot slower after a while.

 

Yes, a long hold is a good idea.  My suggestion would be at least 3 months or possibly longer and then reassess.  And when you make your first reduction you might consider only making a very small reduction to see how it affects you.

 

why-taper-by-10-of-my-dosage

 

You might be interested in a gentler way of tapering:

 

the-brassmonkey-slide-method-of-micro-tapering

 

Please also note that escitalopram is a very strong drug.  There is information about this in Post #1 of this topic:

 

tips-for-tapering-off-escitalopram-lexapro

 VIDEO:   Antidepressant Withdrawal Syndrome and its Management

 

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED:    (6 year taper)      0mg Pristiq      on 13th November 2021

Woohoo!!!  Finally off Pristiq    Post 0 updates start here

ADs since ~1992:  25+ years - 1 unknown, Prozac (muscle weakness), Zoloft; citalopram (pooped out) CTed (very sick for 2.5 wks a few months after); Pristiq:  50mg 2012, 100mg beg 2013 (Serotonin Toxicity)  Tapering from Oct 2015 - 13 Nov 2021   LAST DOSE 0.0025mg

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

PLEASE NOTE:  I am not a medical professional.  I provide information and make suggestions.  Please DO NOT TAG me - thank you.

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