Jump to content

belikeabamboo: 18 months off Escitalopram, struggling badly, very desperate and full of doubts (trigger warning!)


belikeabamboo

Recommended Posts

  

Hello!

 

First of all I want to thank all the beautiful heros around here, who share their storys, it helped me a lot to read the success storys again and again to stay focussed and motivated, to keep hope and not give up during the last 2,5 years.

 

I am 35, female. Last friday I hit the 18 months mark after coming off Escitalopram for the third time in April 2020. Most people, especially professionals doubt that the physical and mental symptoms I experience are due to coming off Escitalopram and think it is all in my head. I am very exhausted of the horrible symptoms and having to fight all the time for being supported or even believed. Probably loosing my job and getting no financial support any more at the end of this month, the pressure becomes higher and higher and I am close to giving in and going back in the psychiatric system...and back on meds. I don't know what to do at the moment and hope to get some helpful advise here.

 

Here is my whole history especially of the last about 3 years of struggling:

 

- On holiday in Spain in 2011, while on a city tour, I had a panic attack after feeling faint. After that, I developed agoraphobia with panic attacks – something that has become manageable after psychotherapy.

 

- Having sat the medical exam in 2012, I worked in internal medicine in a hospital setting from 2015 to 2016, with enormous workload and pressures, constant understaffing and a feeling of being out of my depth and overwhelmed while also having incredibly high expectations of myself and my care for the patients. Having reached exhaustion, the panic attacks returned 12 months into the job, and I left.

 

- I restarted psychotherapy, and in September 2016 started taking 15mg Escitalopram (prescribed by a psychiatrist)

 

- I stabilized quickly and took a job as an occupational GP in a very large company in November 2016. I enjoyed that job, felt valued by my colleagues and managers and did’nt feel overwhelmed. It gave me a good work-life balance, and I started volunteering at a charity offering medical support to homeless people, something I thoroughly enjoyed. I had a great relationship, supportive family and friends, enjoyed being active and sporty.

 

- In July 2017, after about 9 months, I attempted to come off the drug, having discussed it with the psychiatrist, tapering by 5mg/ per week over 2 weeks. After that, I felt unwell, was restless, anxious and had stomach issues. The psychiatrist said this was a sign I wasn’t stable enough and 15mg Escitalopram was reinstated. I stabilized and felt better.

 

- In summer 2018, I made a second attempt to come off the drug, but tapered much more slowly. Having reached 10mg we celebrated a beautiful wedding in August 2018, and I then reduced further to 8mg before going on honeymoon in September 2018. A couple of days later I began experiencing panic attacks again, along with exhaustion. I reduced further to 6mg, but then went back up to 15mg because I felt too bad, following psychiatrist advice. I stabilized again.

 

- In March 2019, I attempted tapering for a third time, reducing by 5mg/week over 2 weeks, because the psychiatrist thought the slow tapering might be introducing a psychological issue that was making me feel worse. During the tapering process I started experiencing symptoms, and 3 days after I reached 0mg I was completely floored, with massive physical and mental symptoms. I was unable to work for 3 months, having never been off sick in the 2.5 years before.

 

- There was no improvement after 6 weeks, and so after taking advice from 2 psychiatrists, I started taking the medication again – increasing the dosage by 1mg every 2 days. I had to stop that at 6mg because my symptoms became too severe.

 

- I found a psychiatrist in Berlin who is aware of withdrawal issues, and he recommended to reduce to 2.5mg, which I did in July 2019, the aim being for me to stabilize. At that dosage, I was able to work reduced hours (20-24 hours/week), but it was a constant battle and I felt unwell all the time.

 

- I began to think that maybe I had developed an intolerance to the medication, and so after months of no improvement, I began to taper off it again, following the Horowitz-paper, and reaching 0mg in April 2020. The symptoms got continuously worse as I tapered and got more severe when I reached 0mg. I have been unable to return to work since July 2020.

 

This is a list of my symptoms – although their intensity and the range I may be experiencing on any given day varies. While I never experienced all of them, I haven’t felt “normal” or really well.

 

 - autonomic dysregulation: stomach and gut issues (nausea, reflux, stomach cramps, abdominal tension, gut-hyperperistaltic, flatulence and many more), incontinence (in 2019, I wet myself 3 times during the night), difficulty breathing, orthostatic dysregulation, palpitations/irregular heartbeats, sweating

- adrenalin rushes/overstimulation of the autonomic nervous system, even smallest stimuli can lead to a fight and flight response

- emotional dysregulation: crying fits, extreme mood swings, overwhelming emotions

- extreme anxiety: general, agoraphobic, social, paranoia (can’t stand someone walking behind me, feel observed and judged all the time)

- depressive symptoms: feeling extremely down, hopeless, desperate, coming and going randomly

- myalgia (legs, back, neck, shoulders, arms, whole body)

- neuralgia (toes, fingers, earlobes, shoulders, neck…)

- headache, neuropathic face, jaw and toothache

- abdominal pain

- tingling paresthesia (legs, neck, head)

- trouble regulating temperature (very sensitive to heat or cold, feeling very hot, shivering with cold), hot flushes, hot skin and feet

- extreme sweats at night

- trouble swallowing

- extreme sensitivity to light, sound, movement and smells, quickly overwhelmed with sensory input, driving or cycling has become difficult, often impossible

- dizziness, vertigo

- vivid dreams, horrible nightmares, oversleeping

- restlessness, agitation

- panic, flush, palpitaions, sweating, muscleache in the morning 

- eye-issues (trouble focusing, burning, dry feeling)

- ear-issues (pain, sore feeling)

- issues with perception (flickering lights, colour distortion, static items appear to be moving, the floor goes blurry, sounds where there are none)

- depersonalisation, derealisation

- extreme exhaustion, lack of energy and strength

- brain fog, confusion, desorientation, like being on a drug (not off)

- cognitive issues with memory, concentration, finding or writing words, reading, understanding

- flu-like symptoms

- trouble regulating stress (feel overwhelmed quickly)

- trouble calming my thoughts, very intense, ruminating thoughts, interrupting cognition

- flashbacks (to all kinds of situations, some totally banale)

- travel sickness

 

Trigger that provoke/intensify symptoms:

 

- stimuli of any kind, such as light, sound, movement, noice

- multitasking

- driving (also being a passenger)

- eating

- physical activity (exercise almost impossible and has been for months, but even walks or getting dressed can overstimulate the autonimic nervous system and lead to a fight and flight response)

- screen time

- reading

- being on the phone

- music

- conversation, especially talking myself

- being in the sun

- period and ovulation

- social contact of any kind

- napping during the day

 

Of course, there have been issues in my life along the way, if that was not the case I would not have started taking Escitalopram in 2016. I struggle with anxiety, but it is something I am addressing. What I have been living through for the last 2,5 years does not compare to anything I have previously experienced, and most of the symptoms I experience I never experienced before I started to take the SSRI. The anxiety I feel since tapering is extreme, complete terror. It is, to be honest, hell. Since April 2020, it has got worse, and I alternate between days where I can cope and do things like take care of the household, go for walks or go to the supermarket, to days where I have to rest a lot, and days where I am house- and bedbound for most of the day. I have found nothing that eases the symptoms, having tried a whole range of things from homeopathy and acupuncture to food supplements (fish oil, magnesium). I meditate daily, do Yin Yoga a number of times a week, eat healthy, don’t drink alcohol or have caffeine, and try to walk out in the fresh air whenever possible. I sleep and rest plenty, but nothing has led to a lasting easing of the symptoms so far.

 

I have had a neurological checkup, including an MRI, have had my bloods and heart checked, all results were great.

 

After all this time, I can’t help but feel huge doubt whether the path I have chosen – accept and hang in there – is the right one. I was convinced I could live without the drug, but 3 years of fighting coming off and the intensity of the symptoms have taken me to the edge of what I can suffer through. My goal to lead a normal life feels a very long way off. I am terrified that I have misjudged this and overestimated my mental health and am questioning myself and my decisions constantly.

 

I am hoping that with your experience, you can give me your objective assessment of whether this indeed is withdrawal, and if I am right in that, if there is anything that might help with the symptoms or move the healing process forward.

 

Thank you in advance from my deep heart for your time and advice. 🙏

 

 

 

 

Edited by ChessieCat
change font, size and added som spaces

09/2016 start 15mg Escitalopram for stress/anxiety issues (prescribed by a psychiatrist)

07/2017 fast taper 5mg/week, first time off Escitalopram, felt restless, anxious and had stomach issues afterwards

10/2017 reinstatement 15mg Escitalopram because I still did'nt feel well, stabilized again

summer 2018 slower taper to 10mg Escitalopram, felt relatively normal

09/2018 reduction from 10mg to 8mg Escitalopram, 2 days later anxiety/panic and massive exhaustion

10/2018-12/2018 reduction from 8mg to 6mg Escitalopram, up to 15mg Escitalopram again because I felt very bad, stabilized again

03/2019 fast taper 5mg/week, second time off Escitalopram, physical and mental symptoms during tapering, knocked out 3 days after coming off (list of symptoms in my introduction post), unable to work

05/2019 try to reinstate 15mg Escitalopram by going up 1mg every 2 days, had to stop at 6mg because the symptoms were to intense

05/2019 reduction to 2.5mg, try to stabilize (recommanded by a psychiatrist who thought it was wd), could start work part time 07/2019

11/2019  start slow taper, reduction every 2nd week, steps 2.0mg - 1.5mg - 1.0mg - 0.5mg - 0.25mg - 0mg because I did'nt stabilize on 2.5mg Escitalopram within 6 months, felt worse and worse during the tapering process

04/2020-today third time off Escitalopram, suffering intense physical and mental symptoms, unable to work since 07/2020

Link to comment
  • ChessieCat changed the title to belikeabamboo: 18 months off Escitalopram, struggling badly, very desperate and full of doubts (trigger warning!)
  • Moderator

Hello, and welcome to SA.  We are a volunteer-run community of people who have been or are getting off of psychiatric drugs.  You have come to the right place.  I'm so sorry you have been on this merry go round of getting on Lexapro and then off again, and on again.   I applaud you for your attempts to get off this drug.  It appears that you tapered off the drug faster than your nervous system was able to adjust.  You will understand this better when you see the links I will provide.  Our tapering suggestion at this forum is to taper 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.  Many of us taper even more slowly than this.  After several taper attempts and reinstatements, it is possible that your nervous system has become increasingly sensitized, making subsequent reinstatements and tapers more difficult.  

 

Can you please give us specific information about your drug history for all drugs you are on and have been on, especially for the past 18-24 months?  It would be especially helpful to have the details of your drugs in a concise vertical list (no symptoms), only drug names, specific dates (as best you can say for example early March if you don't recall the day) and dosages of each medication decrease or increase.  Please read the link below for instructions.  This will allow us to give you the best guidance.  

 

How to List Drug History in Signature

 

Here is some information about how these drugs actually work.   This explains why we get symptoms from going off of these medications.

 

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

 

 

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

 

Finally, going back on a small dose of your drug, or a similar drug, which we call reinstatement, may help to ameliorate your withdrawal symptoms.  This is temporary, and after stabilizing you would then taper gradually off of this.  There is some risk involved, but we can start with a tiny dose to minimize this risk.  I would suggest trying to reinstate to 0.25 mg of citalopram, escitalopram's gentler sibling.  

 

About Reinstating and Stabilizing to Reduce Withdrawal Symptoms

 

This link will explain how to dose the citalopram at this very small dose: 

 

Tips for Dosing and Tapering Citalopram

 

Thank you for describing your symptoms diligently and in detail.  They are all classic withdrawal symptoms.  I'm very sorry that you are going through it.  I understand, I've been withdrawing from escitalopram myself.  I've experienced most of what you have described myself.  This checklist will help you see what are common WD symptoms.  It is not exhaustive.  

 

Dr Joseph Glenmullen Withdrawal Symptom Checklist

 

I want to conclude by saying that you can, and will, get better.  The keys are time, and patience.  Healing is very slow and gradual, but it does happen.  Please stay in touch and keep us posted. 

***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 

Ibuprofen 800 mg, or Tylenol 1000 mg as needed

other meds: Levothyroxine 75 mg

Trazodone nightly, stopped in late 2019

Xanax on occasion, stopped in late 2019

magnesium in small amounts at breakfast, 3 PM 

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

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

Link to comment

Hello getofflex,

 

thanks a lot for your quick response! I put my drug history in my signature. Beside Escitalopram I did'nt take any meds. After my second taper in 2019 I tried fish oil and magnesium for several months but stopped it because I did'nt notive any benefits from it.

 

Since I came off Escitalopram for the third time 04/2020 I haven't seen any significant and stable improvements and had no windows where I felt somehow like a normal person. The quality and combination of symptoms changes in quick cycles, often from one day to another, sometimes even within hours. On some days I feel a little better and can do some small things like a walk or going to the supermarket (far away from a normal every day life), on other days I feel so awful that I am house- and bedbound just trying to survive. Before coming off Escitalopram I was a very active and social person, now this person seems like a faded memory for me. I am very scared that this is my new me now, that this is how I am without Escitalopram.

 

Is it possible to become better again after such a long time of suffering without significant and stable improvements? I don't want to give up but this is unbelievable hard, I am exhausted, fed up and desperate.

 

I would be very grateful for your assessment and advise. 🙏

 

 

 

 

09/2016 start 15mg Escitalopram for stress/anxiety issues (prescribed by a psychiatrist)

07/2017 fast taper 5mg/week, first time off Escitalopram, felt restless, anxious and had stomach issues afterwards

10/2017 reinstatement 15mg Escitalopram because I still did'nt feel well, stabilized again

summer 2018 slower taper to 10mg Escitalopram, felt relatively normal

09/2018 reduction from 10mg to 8mg Escitalopram, 2 days later anxiety/panic and massive exhaustion

10/2018-12/2018 reduction from 8mg to 6mg Escitalopram, up to 15mg Escitalopram again because I felt very bad, stabilized again

03/2019 fast taper 5mg/week, second time off Escitalopram, physical and mental symptoms during tapering, knocked out 3 days after coming off (list of symptoms in my introduction post), unable to work

05/2019 try to reinstate 15mg Escitalopram by going up 1mg every 2 days, had to stop at 6mg because the symptoms were to intense

05/2019 reduction to 2.5mg, try to stabilize (recommanded by a psychiatrist who thought it was wd), could start work part time 07/2019

11/2019  start slow taper, reduction every 2nd week, steps 2.0mg - 1.5mg - 1.0mg - 0.5mg - 0.25mg - 0mg because I did'nt stabilize on 2.5mg Escitalopram within 6 months, felt worse and worse during the tapering process

04/2020-today third time off Escitalopram, suffering intense physical and mental symptoms, unable to work since 07/2020

Link to comment
  • Moderator
On 10/18/2021 at 9:09 AM, belikeabamboo said:

Since I came off Escitalopram for the third time 04/2020

When you came off for the 3rd time, did you come off cold turkey, or taper?  If you tapered, please put dates (approximate if you can't remember) and dosages of each dose change in your drug signature.  

 

On 10/18/2021 at 9:09 AM, belikeabamboo said:

The quality and combination of symptoms changes in quick cycles, often from one day to another, sometimes even within hours. On some days I feel a little better and can do some small things like a walk or going to the supermarket (far away from a normal every day life), on other days I feel so awful that I am house- and bedbound just trying to survive.

Yes, our symptoms often morph and change, and get better and worse.  It can be scary and unpredictable.  

 

On 10/18/2021 at 9:09 AM, belikeabamboo said:

Is it possible to become better again after such a long time of suffering without significant and stable improvements? I don't want to give up but this is unbelievable hard, I am exhausted, fed up and desperate.

Yes, it is absolutely possible to get better, but it takes a very long time.  Depending on the situation, it takes months to years to fully recover.  Yes, WD is unbelievably hard.  I feel the same way about my own WD. I will say, I'm very encouraged by the fact that I'm better now that I was 8 months ago, and vastly better than when I first came to this forum in March of 2019.  Try reading some of the success stories:  

 

Success Stories

 

Have you considered the idea of reinstating to 0.25 mg citalopram?  This may help to decrease the severity of your withdrawal symptoms.  What do you think?  

***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 

Ibuprofen 800 mg, or Tylenol 1000 mg as needed

other meds: Levothyroxine 75 mg

Trazodone nightly, stopped in late 2019

Xanax on occasion, stopped in late 2019

magnesium in small amounts at breakfast, 3 PM 

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

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

Link to comment
On 10/21/2021 at 9:20 PM, getofflex said:

When you came off for the 3rd time, did you come off cold turkey, or taper?  If you tapered, please put dates (approximate if you can't remember) and dosages of each dose change in your drug signature.  

I came off cold turkey twice 07/2017 and 03/2019. The third time I came off I reduced slowly over several months (today I think not slowly enough) down from 2.5mg to 0mg. Before that I tried to updose from 0mg to 15mg Escitalopram after about 6 weeks off Escitalopram by going up 1mg every 2 days like recommendet by a psychiatrist. I had to stop going up after reaching 6mg Escitalopram because of the severity of symptoms. I found a psychiatrist who thought it was wd and he recommended to go down to 2.5mg again to try to stabilize on this dose. After about 6 months on 2.5mg I did'nt feel any better and was scared to have an adverse reaction to the 2.5mg Escitalopram. That's why I tapered down by myself - what I thought was slowly - and so reached 0mg for the third time 04/2020. I don't know if this is by definition a cold turkey. What I can say is that I felt very bad when I started tapering the 2.5mg and felt worse and worse going down so that I could'nt work any more after reaching 0mg again. I think going down and up and down and up several times in a - what I now know - very short period of time was the biggest mistake I could make but I did'nt know it any better and did'nt get the support I needed from several psychiatrists I spoke to.

 

I can't rememember exactly but think I tapered the 2.5mg by following the Horowitz paper 'Tapering of SSRI treatment to mitigate withdrawal symptoms' and reduced about every second week over the steps 2mg, 1.5mg, 1.0mg, 0.5mg, 0.25mg, 0mg. I will put this in the signature.

 

On 10/21/2021 at 9:20 PM, getofflex said:

Have you considered the idea of reinstating to 0.25 mg citalopram?  This may help to decrease the severity of your withdrawal symptoms.  What do you think?  

Oh yes! I think I have considered tons of options to reduce this horrible symptoms over and over again during the last 18 months. The idea to put the drug in my body again that harmed me to this great extent not knowing what will be the outcome scares me so much that until now I decided to stay away from it trusting my body's ability to heal and holding on to patience, hope and belief that I will feel better one day anyway. But at the moment - after such a long time of intense suffering without significant and stable improvements - I doubt that this is true.

09/2016 start 15mg Escitalopram for stress/anxiety issues (prescribed by a psychiatrist)

07/2017 fast taper 5mg/week, first time off Escitalopram, felt restless, anxious and had stomach issues afterwards

10/2017 reinstatement 15mg Escitalopram because I still did'nt feel well, stabilized again

summer 2018 slower taper to 10mg Escitalopram, felt relatively normal

09/2018 reduction from 10mg to 8mg Escitalopram, 2 days later anxiety/panic and massive exhaustion

10/2018-12/2018 reduction from 8mg to 6mg Escitalopram, up to 15mg Escitalopram again because I felt very bad, stabilized again

03/2019 fast taper 5mg/week, second time off Escitalopram, physical and mental symptoms during tapering, knocked out 3 days after coming off (list of symptoms in my introduction post), unable to work

05/2019 try to reinstate 15mg Escitalopram by going up 1mg every 2 days, had to stop at 6mg because the symptoms were to intense

05/2019 reduction to 2.5mg, try to stabilize (recommanded by a psychiatrist who thought it was wd), could start work part time 07/2019

11/2019  start slow taper, reduction every 2nd week, steps 2.0mg - 1.5mg - 1.0mg - 0.5mg - 0.25mg - 0mg because I did'nt stabilize on 2.5mg Escitalopram within 6 months, felt worse and worse during the tapering process

04/2020-today third time off Escitalopram, suffering intense physical and mental symptoms, unable to work since 07/2020

Link to comment

I forgot to write: Thank you so much for your support. 😊🙏

09/2016 start 15mg Escitalopram for stress/anxiety issues (prescribed by a psychiatrist)

07/2017 fast taper 5mg/week, first time off Escitalopram, felt restless, anxious and had stomach issues afterwards

10/2017 reinstatement 15mg Escitalopram because I still did'nt feel well, stabilized again

summer 2018 slower taper to 10mg Escitalopram, felt relatively normal

09/2018 reduction from 10mg to 8mg Escitalopram, 2 days later anxiety/panic and massive exhaustion

10/2018-12/2018 reduction from 8mg to 6mg Escitalopram, up to 15mg Escitalopram again because I felt very bad, stabilized again

03/2019 fast taper 5mg/week, second time off Escitalopram, physical and mental symptoms during tapering, knocked out 3 days after coming off (list of symptoms in my introduction post), unable to work

05/2019 try to reinstate 15mg Escitalopram by going up 1mg every 2 days, had to stop at 6mg because the symptoms were to intense

05/2019 reduction to 2.5mg, try to stabilize (recommanded by a psychiatrist who thought it was wd), could start work part time 07/2019

11/2019  start slow taper, reduction every 2nd week, steps 2.0mg - 1.5mg - 1.0mg - 0.5mg - 0.25mg - 0mg because I did'nt stabilize on 2.5mg Escitalopram within 6 months, felt worse and worse during the tapering process

04/2020-today third time off Escitalopram, suffering intense physical and mental symptoms, unable to work since 07/2020

Link to comment
  • Moderator

I think you may benefit from a temporary reinstatement. I suggest citalopram because that is a escitalopram‘s gentler sibling. It’s a very low dose so it’s less risky than reinstating to a higher dose.  The more we go off and on drugs, the more our system has a tendency to become sensitized.  Did you read the link about reinstatement in my first post? Think about this and let me know what you decide.   
 

Even at very low doses these drugs, especially escitalopram, have a significant effect on us. I’m currently taking only 0.06 mg and I can feel it (mildly) whenever I do a taper. I believe that your taper speed and jumping off at 0.25 was too much for your system. So I believe you may be dealing with a combination of withdrawal as well as adverse reaction to Escitalopram.  

Edited by getofflex

***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 

Ibuprofen 800 mg, or Tylenol 1000 mg as needed

other meds: Levothyroxine 75 mg

Trazodone nightly, stopped in late 2019

Xanax on occasion, stopped in late 2019

magnesium in small amounts at breakfast, 3 PM 

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

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

Link to comment

Do you know people who reinstated a small dose after such a long time and were successful?

09/2016 start 15mg Escitalopram for stress/anxiety issues (prescribed by a psychiatrist)

07/2017 fast taper 5mg/week, first time off Escitalopram, felt restless, anxious and had stomach issues afterwards

10/2017 reinstatement 15mg Escitalopram because I still did'nt feel well, stabilized again

summer 2018 slower taper to 10mg Escitalopram, felt relatively normal

09/2018 reduction from 10mg to 8mg Escitalopram, 2 days later anxiety/panic and massive exhaustion

10/2018-12/2018 reduction from 8mg to 6mg Escitalopram, up to 15mg Escitalopram again because I felt very bad, stabilized again

03/2019 fast taper 5mg/week, second time off Escitalopram, physical and mental symptoms during tapering, knocked out 3 days after coming off (list of symptoms in my introduction post), unable to work

05/2019 try to reinstate 15mg Escitalopram by going up 1mg every 2 days, had to stop at 6mg because the symptoms were to intense

05/2019 reduction to 2.5mg, try to stabilize (recommanded by a psychiatrist who thought it was wd), could start work part time 07/2019

11/2019  start slow taper, reduction every 2nd week, steps 2.0mg - 1.5mg - 1.0mg - 0.5mg - 0.25mg - 0mg because I did'nt stabilize on 2.5mg Escitalopram within 6 months, felt worse and worse during the tapering process

04/2020-today third time off Escitalopram, suffering intense physical and mental symptoms, unable to work since 07/2020

Link to comment

Are you still experiencing vivid dreams ? Do you still got gut issues  ? Do you still have bloating ? How much  improvement have you seen this areas ?

If your sleep and gut improve everything gonna improve .

2017 october--2018 march->(6 month) fluoxetine 20,30 mg-->cold turkey= after 2 month semen leakage

2018 july---2018 Aug-->(24 days) fluoxetine 20 mg --> cold turkey = vivid dreams begin

2018 december 2019 Jan-->(1 month) Amitriptyline 25--> cold turkey
--------++++--horror of drugs begins. Taking one after another and cold turkey-------+++------------------
2019 May--2019 May--> (12 days) Lexapro cold turkey

2019 May--2019 august -->(3 month)Cobazam 10 mg +amitriptyline 25 mg --> clobazam cold turkey

----2019 october ---> went cold turkey amitriptyline 25 mg.

2019 october--2020 Jan -->(3 months) duloxetine cymbalta 30mg --->cold turkey

2020 jan-2020 Apr--> (3 months) paroxetine 25 mg --> Cold turkey

2020 July--2021 Jan--> (6 months) amitriptyline 50 mg ,75 mg,100 mg ,125 mg -> cold turkey

2021 jan--2021 May--> (4 months) imipramine 75 mg -->cold turkey

2021 may-2021 Aug--> (3 months) nortriptyline 25 mg --> cold turkey== still semen leakage and vivid dream

Link to comment
On 10/28/2021 at 4:24 PM, PsychologicalSafe15 said:

Are you still experiencing vivid dreams ? Do you still got gut issues  ? Do you still have bloating ? How much  improvement have you seen this areas ?

Hello PsychologicalSafe15,

 

Oh yes, my dreams are extreme intense, vivid, crazy, sometimes horrible, it feels as if I am in the REM-phase all night long. Nothing I had before coming off Escitalopram. My gastronintestinal issues are still pretty bad as well. Extreme Nausea, sometimes constantly over a period of time, sometimes coming and going in waves. Stomach and abdominal pain and cramps, coming and going as well as gastric reflux, diarrhea and bloating. The symptoms I listed in my first post are cycling rapidly between days or even within a day, changing in intensity and combination. On some days the physical symptoms are the worst, on other days the mental symptoms. Although I found some triggers that intensify symptoms, it is all very random and out of my control. Most of the days are torture. If I compare it to 18 months ago when I came off Escitalopram for the third time, the baseline is a perhaps a little bit better I think, the days where I am bedbound are a little less, but with many horrible setbacks. I am still not able to live something like a normal day life, I am still in the surviving mode. If you ask about vivid dreams and gastronintestinal issues, like all other symptoms it depends on the day, but in general both symptoms didn't improve much since I came off.

09/2016 start 15mg Escitalopram for stress/anxiety issues (prescribed by a psychiatrist)

07/2017 fast taper 5mg/week, first time off Escitalopram, felt restless, anxious and had stomach issues afterwards

10/2017 reinstatement 15mg Escitalopram because I still did'nt feel well, stabilized again

summer 2018 slower taper to 10mg Escitalopram, felt relatively normal

09/2018 reduction from 10mg to 8mg Escitalopram, 2 days later anxiety/panic and massive exhaustion

10/2018-12/2018 reduction from 8mg to 6mg Escitalopram, up to 15mg Escitalopram again because I felt very bad, stabilized again

03/2019 fast taper 5mg/week, second time off Escitalopram, physical and mental symptoms during tapering, knocked out 3 days after coming off (list of symptoms in my introduction post), unable to work

05/2019 try to reinstate 15mg Escitalopram by going up 1mg every 2 days, had to stop at 6mg because the symptoms were to intense

05/2019 reduction to 2.5mg, try to stabilize (recommanded by a psychiatrist who thought it was wd), could start work part time 07/2019

11/2019  start slow taper, reduction every 2nd week, steps 2.0mg - 1.5mg - 1.0mg - 0.5mg - 0.25mg - 0mg because I did'nt stabilize on 2.5mg Escitalopram within 6 months, felt worse and worse during the tapering process

04/2020-today third time off Escitalopram, suffering intense physical and mental symptoms, unable to work since 07/2020

Link to comment

That means gastrointestinal and vivid dreams really takes lot of time to subside . 18 months is huge time still OMG. I never knew such thing can happen if so I would not take such medicine. Why dont the doctors tell about side effects OMG. Right now I want bomb them.

Due to vivid dreams our body is exhausted  and next day we get super tired

2017 october--2018 march->(6 month) fluoxetine 20,30 mg-->cold turkey= after 2 month semen leakage

2018 july---2018 Aug-->(24 days) fluoxetine 20 mg --> cold turkey = vivid dreams begin

2018 december 2019 Jan-->(1 month) Amitriptyline 25--> cold turkey
--------++++--horror of drugs begins. Taking one after another and cold turkey-------+++------------------
2019 May--2019 May--> (12 days) Lexapro cold turkey

2019 May--2019 august -->(3 month)Cobazam 10 mg +amitriptyline 25 mg --> clobazam cold turkey

----2019 october ---> went cold turkey amitriptyline 25 mg.

2019 october--2020 Jan -->(3 months) duloxetine cymbalta 30mg --->cold turkey

2020 jan-2020 Apr--> (3 months) paroxetine 25 mg --> Cold turkey

2020 July--2021 Jan--> (6 months) amitriptyline 50 mg ,75 mg,100 mg ,125 mg -> cold turkey

2021 jan--2021 May--> (4 months) imipramine 75 mg -->cold turkey

2021 may-2021 Aug--> (3 months) nortriptyline 25 mg --> cold turkey== still semen leakage and vivid dream

Link to comment

MAn why on internet it is written withdrawl symptoms last 3 months and compltely subside by 6-9 month. But while talking to everybody it takes minimum  2-3 years for normal functioning and subside by 4+ years.

2017 october--2018 march->(6 month) fluoxetine 20,30 mg-->cold turkey= after 2 month semen leakage

2018 july---2018 Aug-->(24 days) fluoxetine 20 mg --> cold turkey = vivid dreams begin

2018 december 2019 Jan-->(1 month) Amitriptyline 25--> cold turkey
--------++++--horror of drugs begins. Taking one after another and cold turkey-------+++------------------
2019 May--2019 May--> (12 days) Lexapro cold turkey

2019 May--2019 august -->(3 month)Cobazam 10 mg +amitriptyline 25 mg --> clobazam cold turkey

----2019 october ---> went cold turkey amitriptyline 25 mg.

2019 october--2020 Jan -->(3 months) duloxetine cymbalta 30mg --->cold turkey

2020 jan-2020 Apr--> (3 months) paroxetine 25 mg --> Cold turkey

2020 July--2021 Jan--> (6 months) amitriptyline 50 mg ,75 mg,100 mg ,125 mg -> cold turkey

2021 jan--2021 May--> (4 months) imipramine 75 mg -->cold turkey

2021 may-2021 Aug--> (3 months) nortriptyline 25 mg --> cold turkey== still semen leakage and vivid dream

Link to comment

Haven't the vivid dreams even slightly decreasd ? Are they with same intensity ?

2017 october--2018 march->(6 month) fluoxetine 20,30 mg-->cold turkey= after 2 month semen leakage

2018 july---2018 Aug-->(24 days) fluoxetine 20 mg --> cold turkey = vivid dreams begin

2018 december 2019 Jan-->(1 month) Amitriptyline 25--> cold turkey
--------++++--horror of drugs begins. Taking one after another and cold turkey-------+++------------------
2019 May--2019 May--> (12 days) Lexapro cold turkey

2019 May--2019 august -->(3 month)Cobazam 10 mg +amitriptyline 25 mg --> clobazam cold turkey

----2019 october ---> went cold turkey amitriptyline 25 mg.

2019 october--2020 Jan -->(3 months) duloxetine cymbalta 30mg --->cold turkey

2020 jan-2020 Apr--> (3 months) paroxetine 25 mg --> Cold turkey

2020 July--2021 Jan--> (6 months) amitriptyline 50 mg ,75 mg,100 mg ,125 mg -> cold turkey

2021 jan--2021 May--> (4 months) imipramine 75 mg -->cold turkey

2021 may-2021 Aug--> (3 months) nortriptyline 25 mg --> cold turkey== still semen leakage and vivid dream

Link to comment
17 hours ago, PsychologicalSafe15 said:

Haven't the vivid dreams even slightly decreasd ? Are they with same intensity ?

Changing in intensity from time to time but not decreased constantly. When I started this journey I never thought this nightmare could last so lang but it can. But not for everyone, everyone is different, and my story does not mean that your story is the same. I think it is a very individual process, like we all individual human beings.

 

09/2016 start 15mg Escitalopram for stress/anxiety issues (prescribed by a psychiatrist)

07/2017 fast taper 5mg/week, first time off Escitalopram, felt restless, anxious and had stomach issues afterwards

10/2017 reinstatement 15mg Escitalopram because I still did'nt feel well, stabilized again

summer 2018 slower taper to 10mg Escitalopram, felt relatively normal

09/2018 reduction from 10mg to 8mg Escitalopram, 2 days later anxiety/panic and massive exhaustion

10/2018-12/2018 reduction from 8mg to 6mg Escitalopram, up to 15mg Escitalopram again because I felt very bad, stabilized again

03/2019 fast taper 5mg/week, second time off Escitalopram, physical and mental symptoms during tapering, knocked out 3 days after coming off (list of symptoms in my introduction post), unable to work

05/2019 try to reinstate 15mg Escitalopram by going up 1mg every 2 days, had to stop at 6mg because the symptoms were to intense

05/2019 reduction to 2.5mg, try to stabilize (recommanded by a psychiatrist who thought it was wd), could start work part time 07/2019

11/2019  start slow taper, reduction every 2nd week, steps 2.0mg - 1.5mg - 1.0mg - 0.5mg - 0.25mg - 0mg because I did'nt stabilize on 2.5mg Escitalopram within 6 months, felt worse and worse during the tapering process

04/2020-today third time off Escitalopram, suffering intense physical and mental symptoms, unable to work since 07/2020

Link to comment

Hello @belikeabamboo,

 

I am just passing by to say hi. I've just read your thread, and let me first tell you that you are very Brave. Being 18 months(plus the previous tappers) It is hell. I know It because I CT'ed the same time(april 2020), maybe thats why your story resonated with me. But you are hanging in there and that itself is a great achievement.

 

 

On 10/30/2021 at 7:21 PM, belikeabamboo said:

If I compare it to 18 months ago when I came off Escitalopram for the third time, the baseline is a perhaps a little bit better I think,

 

Believe or not, thats a sign that your system is healing. It is muuuuch slower than we'd like, but It is still something. 

On 10/28/2021 at 2:58 PM, belikeabamboo said:

Do you know people who reinstated a small dose after such a long time and were successful?

 

That is a tricky question and maybe somebody more knowledgeable than me should asnwer It. You can find in this website a lot of different experiences (if you want I can share some links tomorrow), but the truth is, the final decition is yours to make. 

 

Who knows, maybe better days and your healing are much closer than you expect.

 

Sorry for muy poor English.

 

I send you a hug.

March 2019: 10mg Citalopram

April 2019: 20mg Citalopram

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

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

April 2020: Stopped taking Citalopram.

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

Link to comment
7 hours ago, belikeabamboo said:

Changing in intensity from time to time but not decreased constantly. When I started this journey I never thought this nightmare could last so lang but it can. But not for everyone, everyone is different, and my story does not mean that your story is the same. I think it is a very individual process, like we all individual human beings.

 

 I having vivid dreams since 3 years ago and not subsided . Many people's vivid dreams dissaperae by 1 year But some of them said not dissaperad even after 2 years.  I am so scared

2017 october--2018 march->(6 month) fluoxetine 20,30 mg-->cold turkey= after 2 month semen leakage

2018 july---2018 Aug-->(24 days) fluoxetine 20 mg --> cold turkey = vivid dreams begin

2018 december 2019 Jan-->(1 month) Amitriptyline 25--> cold turkey
--------++++--horror of drugs begins. Taking one after another and cold turkey-------+++------------------
2019 May--2019 May--> (12 days) Lexapro cold turkey

2019 May--2019 august -->(3 month)Cobazam 10 mg +amitriptyline 25 mg --> clobazam cold turkey

----2019 october ---> went cold turkey amitriptyline 25 mg.

2019 october--2020 Jan -->(3 months) duloxetine cymbalta 30mg --->cold turkey

2020 jan-2020 Apr--> (3 months) paroxetine 25 mg --> Cold turkey

2020 July--2021 Jan--> (6 months) amitriptyline 50 mg ,75 mg,100 mg ,125 mg -> cold turkey

2021 jan--2021 May--> (4 months) imipramine 75 mg -->cold turkey

2021 may-2021 Aug--> (3 months) nortriptyline 25 mg --> cold turkey== still semen leakage and vivid dream

Link to comment

@belikeabamboo I live in third world country. Do you see my signature ? I told them about vivid dreams but further they prescribed so many medicines and I come to take 8 different drugs . I got misdaigones and misdiagoned one after another. My body is completely deteorated seems like I might not live long ,

Psychiatric medicines are most dangerous drug in the world.

Have you not tried anything for your gut ? It might be some sorts of infection by bacteria or overproduction of ammonia something like that . YOu can also join reddit .

What do you mean by change in intensity ? they decrease or increase(vivid dreams ) ?

2017 october--2018 march->(6 month) fluoxetine 20,30 mg-->cold turkey= after 2 month semen leakage

2018 july---2018 Aug-->(24 days) fluoxetine 20 mg --> cold turkey = vivid dreams begin

2018 december 2019 Jan-->(1 month) Amitriptyline 25--> cold turkey
--------++++--horror of drugs begins. Taking one after another and cold turkey-------+++------------------
2019 May--2019 May--> (12 days) Lexapro cold turkey

2019 May--2019 august -->(3 month)Cobazam 10 mg +amitriptyline 25 mg --> clobazam cold turkey

----2019 october ---> went cold turkey amitriptyline 25 mg.

2019 october--2020 Jan -->(3 months) duloxetine cymbalta 30mg --->cold turkey

2020 jan-2020 Apr--> (3 months) paroxetine 25 mg --> Cold turkey

2020 July--2021 Jan--> (6 months) amitriptyline 50 mg ,75 mg,100 mg ,125 mg -> cold turkey

2021 jan--2021 May--> (4 months) imipramine 75 mg -->cold turkey

2021 may-2021 Aug--> (3 months) nortriptyline 25 mg --> cold turkey== still semen leakage and vivid dream

Link to comment

Hello almuPA,

 

thank you for your kind words. It is good to know that there are people who understand what this journey is about and what I am going through the last three years. I hope you are better than I am and you cane see more improvements than my very little baby steps. I try to see this as kind of spiritual journey, but it is incredible hard, suffering so intensely for such a long time. But I still hope in my deep heart that this is not the end of my story and I try not to give up.

13 hours ago, almuPA said:

That is a tricky question and maybe somebody more knowledgeable than me should asnwer It. You can find in this website a lot of different experiences (if you want I can share some links tomorrow), but the truth is, the final decition is yours to make. 

If you could send me some interesting posts for this topic I would be very grateful. I hope I will get some more feedback from the moderators. But you are right, at the end it is my decision and every journey is different.

 

Send you hug, too. 😊

 

 

09/2016 start 15mg Escitalopram for stress/anxiety issues (prescribed by a psychiatrist)

07/2017 fast taper 5mg/week, first time off Escitalopram, felt restless, anxious and had stomach issues afterwards

10/2017 reinstatement 15mg Escitalopram because I still did'nt feel well, stabilized again

summer 2018 slower taper to 10mg Escitalopram, felt relatively normal

09/2018 reduction from 10mg to 8mg Escitalopram, 2 days later anxiety/panic and massive exhaustion

10/2018-12/2018 reduction from 8mg to 6mg Escitalopram, up to 15mg Escitalopram again because I felt very bad, stabilized again

03/2019 fast taper 5mg/week, second time off Escitalopram, physical and mental symptoms during tapering, knocked out 3 days after coming off (list of symptoms in my introduction post), unable to work

05/2019 try to reinstate 15mg Escitalopram by going up 1mg every 2 days, had to stop at 6mg because the symptoms were to intense

05/2019 reduction to 2.5mg, try to stabilize (recommanded by a psychiatrist who thought it was wd), could start work part time 07/2019

11/2019  start slow taper, reduction every 2nd week, steps 2.0mg - 1.5mg - 1.0mg - 0.5mg - 0.25mg - 0mg because I did'nt stabilize on 2.5mg Escitalopram within 6 months, felt worse and worse during the tapering process

04/2020-today third time off Escitalopram, suffering intense physical and mental symptoms, unable to work since 07/2020

Link to comment
5 hours ago, PsychologicalSafe15 said:

Have you not tried anything for your gut ? It might be some sorts of infection by bacteria or overproduction of ammonia something like that . YOu can also join reddit .

No, the gut issues started when I stopped Escitalopram, so I trust that this is the problem and it will resolve itself in time.

 

5 hours ago, PsychologicalSafe15 said:

What do you mean by change in intensity ? they decrease or increase(vivid dreams ) ?

Both, sometimes they are more intense and vivid and sometimes less.

 

I think everybody around here is very scared but I try not to compare to other cases because I think every case and every journey is different.

 

I wish you that you see more improvements soon. 🙏

 

 

09/2016 start 15mg Escitalopram for stress/anxiety issues (prescribed by a psychiatrist)

07/2017 fast taper 5mg/week, first time off Escitalopram, felt restless, anxious and had stomach issues afterwards

10/2017 reinstatement 15mg Escitalopram because I still did'nt feel well, stabilized again

summer 2018 slower taper to 10mg Escitalopram, felt relatively normal

09/2018 reduction from 10mg to 8mg Escitalopram, 2 days later anxiety/panic and massive exhaustion

10/2018-12/2018 reduction from 8mg to 6mg Escitalopram, up to 15mg Escitalopram again because I felt very bad, stabilized again

03/2019 fast taper 5mg/week, second time off Escitalopram, physical and mental symptoms during tapering, knocked out 3 days after coming off (list of symptoms in my introduction post), unable to work

05/2019 try to reinstate 15mg Escitalopram by going up 1mg every 2 days, had to stop at 6mg because the symptoms were to intense

05/2019 reduction to 2.5mg, try to stabilize (recommanded by a psychiatrist who thought it was wd), could start work part time 07/2019

11/2019  start slow taper, reduction every 2nd week, steps 2.0mg - 1.5mg - 1.0mg - 0.5mg - 0.25mg - 0mg because I did'nt stabilize on 2.5mg Escitalopram within 6 months, felt worse and worse during the tapering process

04/2020-today third time off Escitalopram, suffering intense physical and mental symptoms, unable to work since 07/2020

Link to comment

March 2019: 10mg Citalopram

April 2019: 20mg Citalopram

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

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

April 2020: Stopped taking Citalopram.

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

Link to comment

@belikeabamboo Can you see my signatue I took all those for vivid dreams and semen leakage , THey are the withdrawl doctor instead of telling it takes lots of time they ******* prescribed , Now I have tons of side efects left in my body, what shall I do  >? If withing 2 years they dont lessen  I am gonna quit this world .

THis world is of lots of sinners , Noone cares. What they care is ******* money. These doctors I want to bomb these , How can 

These legal drugs do such side effects >>?? they are not even banned >>>???? How did FDA signed it ??? Recent report showed they were payed by companies to sign.

2017 october--2018 march->(6 month) fluoxetine 20,30 mg-->cold turkey= after 2 month semen leakage

2018 july---2018 Aug-->(24 days) fluoxetine 20 mg --> cold turkey = vivid dreams begin

2018 december 2019 Jan-->(1 month) Amitriptyline 25--> cold turkey
--------++++--horror of drugs begins. Taking one after another and cold turkey-------+++------------------
2019 May--2019 May--> (12 days) Lexapro cold turkey

2019 May--2019 august -->(3 month)Cobazam 10 mg +amitriptyline 25 mg --> clobazam cold turkey

----2019 october ---> went cold turkey amitriptyline 25 mg.

2019 october--2020 Jan -->(3 months) duloxetine cymbalta 30mg --->cold turkey

2020 jan-2020 Apr--> (3 months) paroxetine 25 mg --> Cold turkey

2020 July--2021 Jan--> (6 months) amitriptyline 50 mg ,75 mg,100 mg ,125 mg -> cold turkey

2021 jan--2021 May--> (4 months) imipramine 75 mg -->cold turkey

2021 may-2021 Aug--> (3 months) nortriptyline 25 mg --> cold turkey== still semen leakage and vivid dream

Link to comment
7 hours ago, almuPA said:

I took the freedom to look for some personal stories of people who reinstated, so you can see what they went through. These are a small amount:

Thank you so much for the links, I will have a look at them. I hope it will help me a little bit to decide what to do. 🙏

 

Did you reinstate? You are also a hero, being off Citalopram since last april. How are you doing? Do you still have symptoms? I really hope that you are better than me and that you can live a normal everyday life. 🙏

09/2016 start 15mg Escitalopram for stress/anxiety issues (prescribed by a psychiatrist)

07/2017 fast taper 5mg/week, first time off Escitalopram, felt restless, anxious and had stomach issues afterwards

10/2017 reinstatement 15mg Escitalopram because I still did'nt feel well, stabilized again

summer 2018 slower taper to 10mg Escitalopram, felt relatively normal

09/2018 reduction from 10mg to 8mg Escitalopram, 2 days later anxiety/panic and massive exhaustion

10/2018-12/2018 reduction from 8mg to 6mg Escitalopram, up to 15mg Escitalopram again because I felt very bad, stabilized again

03/2019 fast taper 5mg/week, second time off Escitalopram, physical and mental symptoms during tapering, knocked out 3 days after coming off (list of symptoms in my introduction post), unable to work

05/2019 try to reinstate 15mg Escitalopram by going up 1mg every 2 days, had to stop at 6mg because the symptoms were to intense

05/2019 reduction to 2.5mg, try to stabilize (recommanded by a psychiatrist who thought it was wd), could start work part time 07/2019

11/2019  start slow taper, reduction every 2nd week, steps 2.0mg - 1.5mg - 1.0mg - 0.5mg - 0.25mg - 0mg because I did'nt stabilize on 2.5mg Escitalopram within 6 months, felt worse and worse during the tapering process

04/2020-today third time off Escitalopram, suffering intense physical and mental symptoms, unable to work since 07/2020

Link to comment

@belikeabambooplease keep me updated on what you decide about a reinstatement and how it goes.

my story is similar but more complicated than yours.  I did several on/offs of escitalopram all very rapid tapers. On top of that I tapered a benzo after the last rapid taper.  I had no idea that coming off the escitalopram could be causing the symptoms I associated with the benzo.  
almost 25 months off AD and 15 months off benzo and still am basically disabled.  

Mid and late 1990s various antidepressants including Prozac, Pamelor, Zoloft, Trazadone for brief periods of time  Usually one month or less with no taper.

1998 to August 2020   .5 mg lorazepam, first PRN then daily. CTed Jan 2015 RI March 2015 (6 wks): CTed October 2016 RI Nov 2016 (3 wks (October 2016). 10 month taper begin Oct 2019 finished Aug 10, 2020. 2000 to Sept 2015 periodic use Escitalopram 10 mg.  Brief periods, 3-6 months, with rapid tapers or cold turkeys.Oct 2016 Cymbalta and Remeron for a period of about 2 weeks. Stopped cold turkey.Nov 2016 to October 2017 10 mg escitalopram.  One month taper

Last 2 ½ years:

Ongoing daily .5 lorazepam originally began in 1998 PRN, then daily 2008.  March 2019 to August 2019 10 mg escitalopram; rapid taper about 3 weeks. Sept 2019 to Sept 2019 Pristiq 25mg, taken 2 weeks then a every other day taper for one week.  25 mg trazadone for one week, no taper.  Zoloft 25 mg for 5 days, no taper. October 2019 -August 2020 10 month taper from .5 lorazepam.

Currently taking Valsartan 40 mg daily and Preservision AREDS2 one capsule daily.

Link to comment
  • 2 weeks later...

@JustBella I will write it down here if I decide to reinstate. I hope you will see improvements very soon. 🙏

09/2016 start 15mg Escitalopram for stress/anxiety issues (prescribed by a psychiatrist)

07/2017 fast taper 5mg/week, first time off Escitalopram, felt restless, anxious and had stomach issues afterwards

10/2017 reinstatement 15mg Escitalopram because I still did'nt feel well, stabilized again

summer 2018 slower taper to 10mg Escitalopram, felt relatively normal

09/2018 reduction from 10mg to 8mg Escitalopram, 2 days later anxiety/panic and massive exhaustion

10/2018-12/2018 reduction from 8mg to 6mg Escitalopram, up to 15mg Escitalopram again because I felt very bad, stabilized again

03/2019 fast taper 5mg/week, second time off Escitalopram, physical and mental symptoms during tapering, knocked out 3 days after coming off (list of symptoms in my introduction post), unable to work

05/2019 try to reinstate 15mg Escitalopram by going up 1mg every 2 days, had to stop at 6mg because the symptoms were to intense

05/2019 reduction to 2.5mg, try to stabilize (recommanded by a psychiatrist who thought it was wd), could start work part time 07/2019

11/2019  start slow taper, reduction every 2nd week, steps 2.0mg - 1.5mg - 1.0mg - 0.5mg - 0.25mg - 0mg because I did'nt stabilize on 2.5mg Escitalopram within 6 months, felt worse and worse during the tapering process

04/2020-today third time off Escitalopram, suffering intense physical and mental symptoms, unable to work since 07/2020

Link to comment
On 10/28/2021 at 3:58 PM, belikeabamboo said:

Do you know people who reinstated a small dose after such a long time and were successful?

Hey @getofflex , perhaps you didn't answer because I forgot to put the @ with your name in. Now I found out how it works and I <bhope you can share your experience about reinstatement after such a long time with me. Although I feel very bad, on some days horrible, I still can't imagine to reinstate, even a tiny small dose. On some days when it is just torture I see no other option than going back on med but this is more sign of my desperation than a concrete plan. My neryous system is unbelievable sensitive to everything and I am very scared that a reinstatement will make things worse and the taper process will be again torture. The fact that I am off Escitalopram and I "only" have to give my body the time to heal is an important aspect that keeps me motivated, focussed and hopeful that I can do it. I don't know if you can understand that.

 

I often ask myself which of the many symptoms I experience are the worst. I think all of them are very challenging but the two most debilitating symptoms, for me personally, are

1) the hypersensitivity to everything, especially to light, sound and movements, it feels as if my nervous system is not able to filter and process the sensory input, it feels as if everything is crashing down on me, and

2) the overexcitablity, it feels as if the inhibitory part of my nervous system is missing, on some days just putting on my clothes or walking overstimulate me.

Both symptoms put me in the fight and flight mode very easily, so that incredible intense anxiety/panic is with me almost all the time whren I try to be proactive and do some stuff like going out for a longer walk, going to the supermarket and so on. It feels like a very bad agoraphobia, that's why I try to expose myself again and again and I try to go through the anxiety/panic but the intensity is so extreme that it is very difficult to stand. I don't know if this is real agoraphobia or if it is due to the hypersensitivity and overexcitability of my nervous system. I don't know. Sometimes it feels as if long walks and exposure to sensory input are not making things better but worse.

@getofflexHave you heard of that due to wd? I always thought that exercise and exposure are very important to reduce anxiety/panic but perhaps there is a difference between anxiety/panic in wd and anxiety/panic in general.

I would be very thankful for feedbacks and experiences concerning my two most difficult symptoms hypersensitivity and overexcitability (Does anybody else experience them? Are they typical for SSRI-wd? Are there special coping techniques for these symptoms?) and the unbelievable intense anxiety/panic (Is this a common symptom in wd even more than 19 months off? Are exercise and exposure good or is it possible that they are bad for a sensitised nervous system?)

 

Thank you in advance for the feedbacks and experiences! 🙏

09/2016 start 15mg Escitalopram for stress/anxiety issues (prescribed by a psychiatrist)

07/2017 fast taper 5mg/week, first time off Escitalopram, felt restless, anxious and had stomach issues afterwards

10/2017 reinstatement 15mg Escitalopram because I still did'nt feel well, stabilized again

summer 2018 slower taper to 10mg Escitalopram, felt relatively normal

09/2018 reduction from 10mg to 8mg Escitalopram, 2 days later anxiety/panic and massive exhaustion

10/2018-12/2018 reduction from 8mg to 6mg Escitalopram, up to 15mg Escitalopram again because I felt very bad, stabilized again

03/2019 fast taper 5mg/week, second time off Escitalopram, physical and mental symptoms during tapering, knocked out 3 days after coming off (list of symptoms in my introduction post), unable to work

05/2019 try to reinstate 15mg Escitalopram by going up 1mg every 2 days, had to stop at 6mg because the symptoms were to intense

05/2019 reduction to 2.5mg, try to stabilize (recommanded by a psychiatrist who thought it was wd), could start work part time 07/2019

11/2019  start slow taper, reduction every 2nd week, steps 2.0mg - 1.5mg - 1.0mg - 0.5mg - 0.25mg - 0mg because I did'nt stabilize on 2.5mg Escitalopram within 6 months, felt worse and worse during the tapering process

04/2020-today third time off Escitalopram, suffering intense physical and mental symptoms, unable to work since 07/2020

Link to comment

Hello @belikeabamboo,

 

I am so sorry to read that you are having a bad time. This experience is so changelling every step of the way. We really are survivors.

 

 I know you are asking for the opinion of a mod, but I hope you dont mind that I reply to you.

 

About reinstatment, unfortunatelly you are only the one who can make a decision. 

17 hours ago, belikeabamboo said:

Although I feel very bad, on some days horrible, I still can't imagine to reinstate, even a tiny small dose.

It looks to me(I may be wrong) that you feel like is better not to do It. I know the pressure and the confusion that is to feel so bad that you would do/give whatever just to feel a bit better, but yet reinstate may not be the asnwer. My advice is that with the information you have, go with your instinct. 

 

17 hours ago, belikeabamboo said:

Sometimes it feels as if long walks and exposure to sensory input are not making things better but worse.

I have that too, and I know other people going through WD have had It too. It is important to take things slow, even if It is frustating.

I used to be a very active person before ADs, now a 20 minutes walk is torture (now is 20 minutes, last year It was 5).

 

I am working with the panic of going to públic places, too. What It has helped me is Claire Weekens book and her audios on YouTube. Also, I had CBT therapy for some months. It didnt help with the WD per se, as none of my therapists believed in such a thing 🙄 but I could benefit in identifying how my mind works in challenging situations.

This may sound silly, but I realized that when I sleep better and more, It helps. For that, I find baths with Epson salts, ASMR and Deep breathing benefitial. Also, big Big acceptance(easier said than done, I know).

Obviously, this is only my experience, what works for me may not work for other people.

This is a very hard and long road. Please dont lose hope.

I send you a hug.

 

March 2019: 10mg Citalopram

April 2019: 20mg Citalopram

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

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

April 2020: Stopped taking Citalopram.

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

Link to comment

Dear @almuPA,

 

oh no, I am very grateful for your answer and that you share you experiences with me. Thank you so much for that!!!

 

5 hours ago, almuPA said:

My advice is that with the information you have, go with your instinct. 

 

My instict says "Do never ever put this poison in your body again" but my desperate soul often says "I want this to end, NOW!!!". I think you know this inner battles too.

 

5 hours ago, almuPA said:

I used to be a very active person before ADs, now a 20 minutes walk is torture (now is 20 minutes, last year It was 5).

Me too. Before my Escitalopram CT I was a very active and social person. I did jogging and hiking very intensely and loved to meet friends and family. No it seems as if I am a different person. Most of the time I feel very bad during and after my walks, meeting someone is just to much. This makes me very sad, I miss my old me. But I try to accept how it is because fighting it makes the suffering just worse. But sometimes this is easier to say than to do feeling often just horrible and seeing no significant and stable improvements after such a long time.

 

5 hours ago, almuPA said:

Also, I had CBT therapy for some months. It didnt help with the WD per se, as none of my therapists believed in such a thing 🙄 but I could benefit in identifying how my mind works in challenging situations.

At the beginning of my wd-journey I had CBT too but it was just too much to handle for me with a therapist who did not understand what I am going through. The things that help me most are things that calm down my nervous system: Yin Yoga, meditation, rest, taking a bath. I try to do that as much as possible, almost every day. It just helps when I am doing it, it does not have a long lasting effect, but it keeps me proactive and focussed.

 

5 hours ago, almuPA said:

This may sound silly, but I realized that when I sleep better and more, It helps.

Interesting. For me it is the other way around, I am often more symptomatic after a long and deep sleep. I sometimes think this journey has no rules and is completely individual.

 

Thank you again for your kind and honest feedback, I hope you are doing better than I do and you see some improvements.

 

I send you a hug back. 😊

09/2016 start 15mg Escitalopram for stress/anxiety issues (prescribed by a psychiatrist)

07/2017 fast taper 5mg/week, first time off Escitalopram, felt restless, anxious and had stomach issues afterwards

10/2017 reinstatement 15mg Escitalopram because I still did'nt feel well, stabilized again

summer 2018 slower taper to 10mg Escitalopram, felt relatively normal

09/2018 reduction from 10mg to 8mg Escitalopram, 2 days later anxiety/panic and massive exhaustion

10/2018-12/2018 reduction from 8mg to 6mg Escitalopram, up to 15mg Escitalopram again because I felt very bad, stabilized again

03/2019 fast taper 5mg/week, second time off Escitalopram, physical and mental symptoms during tapering, knocked out 3 days after coming off (list of symptoms in my introduction post), unable to work

05/2019 try to reinstate 15mg Escitalopram by going up 1mg every 2 days, had to stop at 6mg because the symptoms were to intense

05/2019 reduction to 2.5mg, try to stabilize (recommanded by a psychiatrist who thought it was wd), could start work part time 07/2019

11/2019  start slow taper, reduction every 2nd week, steps 2.0mg - 1.5mg - 1.0mg - 0.5mg - 0.25mg - 0mg because I did'nt stabilize on 2.5mg Escitalopram within 6 months, felt worse and worse during the tapering process

04/2020-today third time off Escitalopram, suffering intense physical and mental symptoms, unable to work since 07/2020

Link to comment

Hello. Just dropping in to say you’re not alone. We are around the same age, and I am going through all the same symptoms. I had to quit my job, but I am starting a remote job on 12/6. I honestly don’t know how I am going to be able to tolerate it, but I’ll try my very best! 
 

I am also struggling with extreme reactions to stimulation. If I try to get my heart rate via aerobic exercise up it sends me into extreme panic and bad insomnia. Public places are awful. I could barely look our plumber in the eyes today lol. I think our CNS is worn out and is perceiving everything as “danger.” The one thing I’ve found semi- helpful is an app called Curable. It is geared more towards people living with chronic pain, but I find it really applicable to our situations. It helps you dissociate from your symptoms using meditation, brain retraining, journaling, etc. 
 

In any case, feel free to drop me a PM anytime 💗

-1/10-Rxed 50mg Zoloft & .5mg Klonopin daily after a death in the family

- 2/2012 Successfully micro tapered off .5mg of Klonopin after being on daily for 2 years. Started 100mg of Trazadone for sleep slowly tapered to 25mg w/ out issues.

- 2/2012-7/2013Symptom free not an ounce of anxiety or depression. 

- July 2013- Stopped trazadone for 5 days and immediately reinstated. 3 weeks started having severe withdrawal episodes that mimicked benzo w/d. 

- Oct 2013- Quickly tapered off 25mg of trazadone. Bad idea! But finally trazadone free. 

- July 2015- present Became very ill with lyme like sxs

-August 2018-present. Started micro taper off 50mg of Zoloft via liquid titration  ... 

- July 2021- down to 3mg.. had digestive issues so got an endoscopy and started experiencing major depression anxiety, weakness, near fainting, loss of appetite etc updosed to 10mg experienced akathisia -August 2021- present. Holding at 6mg. Unable to stabilize.  Experiencing near fainting, agitation, major depressive episodes. Had to quit job. Feeling hopeless. 

Link to comment

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Terms of Use Privacy Policy