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NoProblem: Rapid taper off escitalopram and vortioxetine


NoProblem

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Hi All,

 

In July 2021, I was prescribed Escitalopram (5mg) to help me with some debilitating anxiety symptoms as a result of the flare of a chronic health issue (Ulcerative Colitis). Within an hour of my first dose, I began to feel relief; however, the weeks that followed were challenging with the start-up side-effects. Around 5 weeks into this dose, I began to experience derealization/depersonalization with a rise in severe anxiety again. I was worried, so I consulted my GP and he suggested we raise the dose to 10mg starting the next day. This increase was also met with some side-effects, but not as bad as the initial start. For the next 3 months, I remained on 10mg of Escitalopram, but I began to experience waves of DP/DR, anxiety, very low mood (almost depression, which I had never experienced before), brain fog, heavy fatigue, difficulty concentrating, tinnitus in my right ear and many more. After consulting with my GP again, we decided to try taking it in the evening instead. Unfortunately, this did not help and my GP opted to try 5mg Trintellix.

 

I began a rapid taper of Escitalopram immediately reducing my dose to 5mg for 4 days, skip a day, 5mg dose, skip and then begin Trintellix. I noticed a slight relief of symptoms during this time but also began to experience withdrawal effects such as dizziness, vertigo, nausea and some anxiety. These lasted about 1 week. While taking Trintellix, I did not notice many changes or new side-effects; however, through the month of December, the symptoms of DP/DR, brain fog and anxiety began to increase rapidly. By this point, I came to the conclusion that the medicines were doing more harm than good. My Ulcerative Colitis flare had been in remission since September 2021 and was the main reason I was initially experiencing anxiety. My GP agreed and suggested the rapid taper of 2.5mg for a few days and then stop, which I did.

 

In hindsight, I knew that tapering SSRIs over a long period was highly recommended, but I believed that with the rapid switch to Trintellix which has a much longer half-life than Lexapro and the clinical trials reporting minimal discontinuation symptoms, that I could be in the clear. I no longer wanted to feel the side-effects of the medicine and wanted off immediately.

 

Since then (3 months), I believe I have been in SSRI withdrawal with consistently changing symptoms. These symptoms include:

  • Anxiety (adrenaline rushes)
  • Dizziness/Balance Issues
  • Intrusive Thoughts (existential, rarely suicidal but around)
  • Nausea
  • Tinnitus (right ear only - habituated for a few months, but returned in a recent 'wave')
  • Vivid Dreams
  • Brain Fog (at times severe) / Concentration Issues
  • Derealization/Depersonalization (very spaced out, dream like foggy state, disconnected from reality at times) [worst symptom]
  • Random stretches of low mood, almost depressive like states that come and go as they please (will go to bed happy and wake up feeling this way randomly)
  • Hypersensitivity (very difficult to deal with any life stress at the moment)
  • Muscle twitches/spasms
  • Fatigue
  • Stretches of poor sleep

 

With each passing month, I notice a very, very small, but gradual change in my symptom severity. I want to believe I am entering the "windows and waves" portion of withdrawal, but I can never be sure. I consistently find myself questioning if things will be like this forever. I know they won't be, but it is very difficult in the moment. Over the last 3 months, I have had a few periods of severe symptoms (wave, 1-2 weeks), followed by a period of WDNormal/Window-ish where the symptoms are present but are not as much a bother. Lately, evenings have become the more relaxing part of my day with very little symptoms. Unfortunately, mornings and midday are the worst for me and are when most of my symptoms are present. I do constantly feel like I am living in a dream-like state which was never the case for me and can be quite scary at times, even with positive self-talk. I do find that when I am extremely distracted with no focus on symptoms, I feel okay.

 

What has improved?

  • Dizziness/Balance Issues seem to have slowed down to a halt. I used to have this issue daily, then a few times a week, once a week and now, it has been about 2 weeks since I last experienced it.
  • Brain Fog/DP/DR has reduced slightly. At times, I would struggle to read a computer screen, watch TV or focus on my surroundings when going for a walk. It is much better now, but still very present. Functional to say the least.
  • Anxiety is reducing bit by bit, but during "waves", I find that it can be overtaking; however, with each passing month, the severity seems less than the last.
  • Nausea seems to be worse in "waves". When the anxiety is not as pronounced, I find that the nausea abates.

 

I have always been quite active through weight lifting and cardiovascular exercises (cycling, running, walking, tennis). Through my time on SSRIs and off, I have not stopped exercising as I feel it has minimal impact on my symptoms; however, if I am going through a "wave" of sorts, I do dial back a lot of the activity and opt for outdoor walks instead. I am actively in psychotherapy which does help. Unfortunately, any stressful situations that arise in life have been difficult to manage. I will be moving in two weeks to a new household and this has been providing me some stress (which is normal), but stress that is over-exacerbated due to the current state of my nervous system.

 

I have spent some time between this forum, Reddit, Google, etc. searching for others experiences to try and relate to my own. This is both a blessing and a curse as I can often get caught up in some of the severe cases and worry that I will also fall into that category sparking anxiety and fear. I have debated posting on this forum for the last few months but I thought now might be the right time. Nobody can promise anything, but I am seeking some reassurances through conversation or open dialogue about others going through this. I have read many success stories and try to implement the self-help suggestions posted here and they do motivate me on this journey. I will note that reinstating is not a path I want to go down.

 

Thanks for reading!

Prescribed SSRIs to assist with debilitating anxiety during the flare of a chronic health issue (Ulcerative Colitis)

Lexapro/Cipralex - 4.5 months

7/16/21 - 8/19/21: 5mg
8/20/21 - 11/28/21: 10mg
11/29/21 - 12/6/21: Immediate reduction to 5mg, then skip 1 day to start Trintellix (5mg)

Trintellix - 1 month
12/7/21 - 1/2/22: 5mg
1/3/22 - 1/4/22: 2.5mg (rapid taper)
1/5/22: Off all SSRIs

Current Medicines: Mezavant (mesalamine, 2.4g once daily for Ulcerative Colitis, in remission)

Current Supplements: Vitamin D (5,000 IU every other day) for confirmed deficiency, Fish Oils (Omega-3).

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  • Moderator

Dear @NoProblem

welcome to SA. I am sorry that your doctor kept medicating you despite you getting harm from your medicines. It is, unfortunately, not uncommon. 

 

I am glad you found your way to us - we are a supportive bunch here and many of us have been through many of the things you are experiencing. It is good news that you are now having windows - low morning mood and better evenings are quite common. You will keep slowly getting better. 

 

Hang in there!
OMW

I am not a doctor and this should not be considered medical advice. You can use the information provided in whatever way you want and all decisions on your treatment are yours. 

 

If you would like to get a response from me directly please type @Onmyway some place in your message so I get notified of your post. I am not able to follow all of the threads all the time.

 

Aug  2000 - July 2003 (ct, 4-6 wk wd) , citalopram 20 mg,  xanax prn, wellbutrin for a few months, trazodone prn 

Dec 2004 - July 2018 citalopram 20 mg, xanax prn (rarely used)

Aug 2018 - citalopram 40 mg (self titrated up)

September 2018 - January 2019 tapered citalopram - 40/30/20/10/5 no issues until a week after reaching 0

Feb 2019 0.25 xanax - 0.5/day (3 weeks) over to klonopin 0.25 once a day to manage severe wd

March 6, reinstated citalopram 2.5 mg (liquid), klonopin 0.25 mg for sleep 2-3 times a week

Apr 1st citalopram 2.0 mg (liquid), klonopin 0.25 once a week, 

citalopram (liquid) 4/14/19 -1.8 mg, 5/8/19 - 1.6 mg,  7/27/19 -1.5 mg,  8/15/19 - 1.35, 2/21/21 - 1.1 (smaller drops in between), 6/20/21 - 1.03 mg, 8/7/21- 1.025, 8/11/21 - 1.02, 8/15/21 - 1.015, 9/3/21 - 0.925 (fingers crossed!), 10/8/21 - 0.9, 10/18/21 - 0.875, 12/31/21 - 0.85, 1/7/22 - 0.825, 1/14/22 - 0.8, 1/22/22 - 0.785

 

Supplements: magnesium citrate and bi-glycinate

 

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Thanks for reading and the reply @Onmyway!

 

Time is definitely all of our best friends during this journey. It's very hard for me to stay positive, especially during waves but you're right: the fact that I am having windows is a good sign. I will say that my most distressing symptom at the moment is DPDR. Some days it is front and center, others, not so much. That gives me an inkling of hope.

Prescribed SSRIs to assist with debilitating anxiety during the flare of a chronic health issue (Ulcerative Colitis)

Lexapro/Cipralex - 4.5 months

7/16/21 - 8/19/21: 5mg
8/20/21 - 11/28/21: 10mg
11/29/21 - 12/6/21: Immediate reduction to 5mg, then skip 1 day to start Trintellix (5mg)

Trintellix - 1 month
12/7/21 - 1/2/22: 5mg
1/3/22 - 1/4/22: 2.5mg (rapid taper)
1/5/22: Off all SSRIs

Current Medicines: Mezavant (mesalamine, 2.4g once daily for Ulcerative Colitis, in remission)

Current Supplements: Vitamin D (5,000 IU every other day) for confirmed deficiency, Fish Oils (Omega-3).

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  • ChessieCat changed the title to NoProblem: Rapid taper off escitalopram and vortioxetine

@NoProblem solidarity - my most distressing symptom is derealisation as well (with moments of depersonalisation but mostly it’s derealisation with visual snow/distorted perception). I think my anxiety would be hugely reduced if the derealisation reduced; one is kind of constantly exacerbating the other at the moment.
 

I read on here that people have seen dpdr symptoms become more manageable after month six, with it improving a little bit each month (as yours seems to be doing). Keep going :~) 

September 2021 - CT sertraline 25mg. told it was a placebo dose; thought withdrawals would pass in a few weeks. 

November 2021 - January 2022 - failed reinstatement attempt which exacerbated symptoms as my body reacted adversely to re-introduction of SSRIs. this was a very awful period, was still trying to go to work and uni, eventually had to move back in with family and give all that up. the worst I have ever felt in my life was during this period.

January 14th 2022: 0mg SSRI, 50mg amitriptyline (been on this for 2+ years), magnesium glycinate, omega 3s, vitamins C, D, B12, occasional melatonin + L-theanine

At the end of my suffering, there was a door (Louise Gluck, The Wild Iris)

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Hey @eileen1111, thanks for reading.

 

I'm in the exact same boat with the derealization and anxiety. One definitely feeds off the other. I have days where it feels not so bad, but others where I'm in a gigantic fog. I continuously work on positive self-talk including recognizing intrusive thoughts, but sometimes, it's too much. And I agree, my anxiety would also be largely reduced if the derealization symptoms lessened or disappeared altogether. I have had windows which is very encouraging, but when the waves hit (like now, been about 1.5 weeks), it feels like an eternity with no light.

 

I just cleared month 3 and have noticed some minor improvement with it, but still not where I want to be. Here's to hoping for the best and a return to "normalcy", whatever that may look like in some months/years time. I noticed our CT timelines are quite similar (albeit different drugs/taking lengths). Please don't hesitate to DM me if you want to chat, etc.

Prescribed SSRIs to assist with debilitating anxiety during the flare of a chronic health issue (Ulcerative Colitis)

Lexapro/Cipralex - 4.5 months

7/16/21 - 8/19/21: 5mg
8/20/21 - 11/28/21: 10mg
11/29/21 - 12/6/21: Immediate reduction to 5mg, then skip 1 day to start Trintellix (5mg)

Trintellix - 1 month
12/7/21 - 1/2/22: 5mg
1/3/22 - 1/4/22: 2.5mg (rapid taper)
1/5/22: Off all SSRIs

Current Medicines: Mezavant (mesalamine, 2.4g once daily for Ulcerative Colitis, in remission)

Current Supplements: Vitamin D (5,000 IU every other day) for confirmed deficiency, Fish Oils (Omega-3).

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@NoProblem I really want to figure out a way of co-existing with the derealisation without being so afraid of it and ruminating about it all the time (mainly, the fear it'll last years or forever). I want to take the power away from it. But at not quite 3 months in I also don't want to 'admit' that I will need to adapt if I'm going to have any quality of life, rather than clinging to the idea of a miraculous 6 month recovery !!

 

I'm glad you've been seeing minor improvements - I have as well; from 'horrific' in the first month to 'still really bad but not quite as bad' .... but we've got to have faith that neuroplasticity will guide the brain back to equilibrium. I know lots of people fully recover from withdrawal-induced dp/dr. 

 

Yes we are on similar timelines ! I'll follow your recovery progress closely ! :) Wishing you well

September 2021 - CT sertraline 25mg. told it was a placebo dose; thought withdrawals would pass in a few weeks. 

November 2021 - January 2022 - failed reinstatement attempt which exacerbated symptoms as my body reacted adversely to re-introduction of SSRIs. this was a very awful period, was still trying to go to work and uni, eventually had to move back in with family and give all that up. the worst I have ever felt in my life was during this period.

January 14th 2022: 0mg SSRI, 50mg amitriptyline (been on this for 2+ years), magnesium glycinate, omega 3s, vitamins C, D, B12, occasional melatonin + L-theanine

At the end of my suffering, there was a door (Louise Gluck, The Wild Iris)

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@eileen1111 I am echoing everything you've just said. What's interesting is when I am heavily distracted, the symptoms seem to magically disappear. It almost feels like it has become habitual at this point (or not, who knows haha 😅). Glad to hear you've also noticed some improvements! Others have recovered from much worse and have gone on to live with withdrawal as a thing of the past. Wishing you all the best as well!

 

Brief update on me: my 1.5 week wave seems to have come to a slow halt over the past 24 hours. Feeling better today than I have in about 12 days, so that is something. Mood is more improved, anxiety is lessened and sleep has returned. Hopefully a sign of healing and good things to come.

Prescribed SSRIs to assist with debilitating anxiety during the flare of a chronic health issue (Ulcerative Colitis)

Lexapro/Cipralex - 4.5 months

7/16/21 - 8/19/21: 5mg
8/20/21 - 11/28/21: 10mg
11/29/21 - 12/6/21: Immediate reduction to 5mg, then skip 1 day to start Trintellix (5mg)

Trintellix - 1 month
12/7/21 - 1/2/22: 5mg
1/3/22 - 1/4/22: 2.5mg (rapid taper)
1/5/22: Off all SSRIs

Current Medicines: Mezavant (mesalamine, 2.4g once daily for Ulcerative Colitis, in remission)

Current Supplements: Vitamin D (5,000 IU every other day) for confirmed deficiency, Fish Oils (Omega-3).

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Hello @NoProblem

Welcome to SA. I'm also fairly new here and am finding it to be a very supportive community.

 

I'm sorry you've had such a bad time with psych drugs and are now suffering through withdrawal. It's awful and unfair that this happens.

 

Have you had a chance to check out any of the success stories here on the site? Reading about other people's complete recovery gives me so much hope and strength to keep going. 

https://www.survivingantidepressants.org/forum/28-success-stories-recovery-from-psychiatric-drug-withdrawal/

 

You seem to have a good attitude -- constructive, proactive, and balanced. A healthy mindset is an invaluable ally in this process.

 

On 4/7/2022 at 10:40 PM, NoProblem said:

What's interesting is when I am heavily distracted, the symptoms seem to magically disappear.

 

This is a great observation. Especially when in the midst of a wave it can be challenging not to get caught up in the experience of so many unusual, unpleasant symptoms. I, too, have found that when I'm able to distract myself it helps me through. What we pay attention to gets amplified. Withdrawal syndrome is certainly providing me with ample opportunity to explore focus-shifting skills. It's not easy to remember/feel a sense of agency, but even when I fake it, it seems to do the trick eventually. Whatever works!

 

Do you know this post about "changing the channel"? I find it's effective in regards to most symptoms, really, not only the strictly cognitive ones. 

https://www.survivingantidepressants.org/topic/846-change-the-channel-dealing-with-cognitive-symptoms/

 

On 4/7/2022 at 10:40 PM, NoProblem said:

Brief update on me: my 1.5 week wave seems to have come to a slow halt over the past 24 hours. Feeling better today than I have in about 12 days, so that is something.

 

I'm glad you're out of the recent wave and feeling a bit better. It does get better ... I trust that recovery is possible.

Wishing you all the best on your continuous healing journey,

A.

1996-2018 - misc. polypharmacy, incl. SSRIs, SNRIs, neuroleptics, lithium, benzos, stimulants, antihistamines, etc. (approx. 30+ drugs)

2012-2018 - 10mg lexapro/escitalopram (20mg?)    Jan. 2018 - 10mg -> 5mg, then from 5mg -> 2.5mg, then 0mg  -->  July 2018 - 0mg

2017(?)-2020 - vyvanse/lisdexamfetamine 60-70mg    2020-2021 - 70mg down to 0mg  -->  July 2021 - 0mg

March-April 2021 - vortioxetine 5-10mg (approx. 7 weeks total; CT)  -->  April 28th, 2021 - 0mg

supplements: magnesium powder (dissolved in water) as needed throughout the day; 1 tsp fish oil w/ morning meal; 2mg melatonin 9pm 

 

Courage is fear that has said its prayers.  - Karle Wilson Baker

love and justice are not two. without inner change, there can be no outer change; without collective change, no change matters.  - Rev. angel Kyodo williams

Holding multiple truths. Knowing that everyone has their own accurate view of the way things are.  - text on homemade banner at Afiya house

 

I am not a medical professional; this is not medical advice. 

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Hi @Ariel, thanks for taking the time to read through and respond to my post. Thank you for all of the links and suggestions. "Changing The Channel" seems to be a great cognitive tool to help keep us going during tough times. I can definitely say that this is one of the hardest challenges I have been through in my life. The process is extremely unpredictable and all we have are ourselves to try and power through. The community here on SA is very valuable, especially the success stories to help keep us going.

 

I find that my symptoms are very up and down, but on a very slow, and I mean very slow, gradual upwards trajectory. Today, things are neutral. Not quite a "wave", but not fully a "window". I will continue to update and hope for the best for all of us. Take care!

Prescribed SSRIs to assist with debilitating anxiety during the flare of a chronic health issue (Ulcerative Colitis)

Lexapro/Cipralex - 4.5 months

7/16/21 - 8/19/21: 5mg
8/20/21 - 11/28/21: 10mg
11/29/21 - 12/6/21: Immediate reduction to 5mg, then skip 1 day to start Trintellix (5mg)

Trintellix - 1 month
12/7/21 - 1/2/22: 5mg
1/3/22 - 1/4/22: 2.5mg (rapid taper)
1/5/22: Off all SSRIs

Current Medicines: Mezavant (mesalamine, 2.4g once daily for Ulcerative Colitis, in remission)

Current Supplements: Vitamin D (5,000 IU every other day) for confirmed deficiency, Fish Oils (Omega-3).

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  • Moderator
On 4/3/2022 at 1:06 PM, NoProblem said:

Thanks for reading and the reply @Onmyway!

 

Time is definitely all of our best friends during this journey. It's very hard for me to stay positive, especially during waves but you're right: the fact that I am having windows is a good sign. I will say that my most distressing symptom at the moment is DPDR. Some days it is front and center, others, not so much. That gives me an inkling of hope.

Hi @NoProblem,

I notice that you are taking very high doses of vitamin D. Unless you are severely deficient, I would not take it. Vitamin D can be very activating and if you've been taking it at those doses for a few weeks you should be already replenished. I would, personally, not take any vit D for insufficiency, only for severe deficiency.

 

Vit D is a neurohormone so it can up my anxiety level to max for a few days after a single dose even if only 2000 IU. I took a couple of 20,000 IU doses when deficient and goodness gracious set me into overdrive in terms of agitation. Since anxiety and agitation are part of your symptoms, I'd stop that one now. That may provide enough relief to set you on an upward spiral and help also with the DR/DP.

 

You are on your way, this will get better. For me 4 months after the initial drop and then reinstatement things started getting better.

 

Are you taking magnesium and Omega-3. I find magnesium very helpful (esp epsom salt - mag sulfate - baths). Many people on the boards find those two beneficial. 

 

Wishing you bigger windows, 

OMW

 

 

I am not a doctor and this should not be considered medical advice. You can use the information provided in whatever way you want and all decisions on your treatment are yours. 

 

If you would like to get a response from me directly please type @Onmyway some place in your message so I get notified of your post. I am not able to follow all of the threads all the time.

 

Aug  2000 - July 2003 (ct, 4-6 wk wd) , citalopram 20 mg,  xanax prn, wellbutrin for a few months, trazodone prn 

Dec 2004 - July 2018 citalopram 20 mg, xanax prn (rarely used)

Aug 2018 - citalopram 40 mg (self titrated up)

September 2018 - January 2019 tapered citalopram - 40/30/20/10/5 no issues until a week after reaching 0

Feb 2019 0.25 xanax - 0.5/day (3 weeks) over to klonopin 0.25 once a day to manage severe wd

March 6, reinstated citalopram 2.5 mg (liquid), klonopin 0.25 mg for sleep 2-3 times a week

Apr 1st citalopram 2.0 mg (liquid), klonopin 0.25 once a week, 

citalopram (liquid) 4/14/19 -1.8 mg, 5/8/19 - 1.6 mg,  7/27/19 -1.5 mg,  8/15/19 - 1.35, 2/21/21 - 1.1 (smaller drops in between), 6/20/21 - 1.03 mg, 8/7/21- 1.025, 8/11/21 - 1.02, 8/15/21 - 1.015, 9/3/21 - 0.925 (fingers crossed!), 10/8/21 - 0.9, 10/18/21 - 0.875, 12/31/21 - 0.85, 1/7/22 - 0.825, 1/14/22 - 0.8, 1/22/22 - 0.785

 

Supplements: magnesium citrate and bi-glycinate

 

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@Onmyway Noted, thanks for the information! I have been taking the Vitamin D for 2 months now, so it wouldn't hurt to stop it. I'm sure new blood work would show the deficiency corrected.

 

I am taking Omega-3 in the mornings with food. It seems to help me. I do have Magnesium Bisglycinate (basically glycinate) that I have taken in the past and I did find it quite activating. I may give it another shot this month and see how I respond to it. Wishing for permanent windows for all of us!

 

Thanks again 🙂

Prescribed SSRIs to assist with debilitating anxiety during the flare of a chronic health issue (Ulcerative Colitis)

Lexapro/Cipralex - 4.5 months

7/16/21 - 8/19/21: 5mg
8/20/21 - 11/28/21: 10mg
11/29/21 - 12/6/21: Immediate reduction to 5mg, then skip 1 day to start Trintellix (5mg)

Trintellix - 1 month
12/7/21 - 1/2/22: 5mg
1/3/22 - 1/4/22: 2.5mg (rapid taper)
1/5/22: Off all SSRIs

Current Medicines: Mezavant (mesalamine, 2.4g once daily for Ulcerative Colitis, in remission)

Current Supplements: Vitamin D (5,000 IU every other day) for confirmed deficiency, Fish Oils (Omega-3).

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After 2 good days with low/comfortable level of symptoms, I had a bad DP/DR episode yesterday evening. Unfortunately, I've developed this habit where intrusive thoughts appear about reality, if things are really real, etc. which cause me to feel derealized/disassociate for a brief period. I have been working on this in therapy, but the progress is difficult. This has carried into today, although not as bad as last night and has also been met with some low level anxiety (3 out 10), higher bouts of tinnitus ringing that last 10-20 seconds and some random dizziness. I know many, many others have recovered from similar symptoms, but at 3 months out (96 days since last dose), I struggle with having hope. Is this my new "normal" or is my nervous system still repairing?

 

Hoping for better days this week 🥲

Prescribed SSRIs to assist with debilitating anxiety during the flare of a chronic health issue (Ulcerative Colitis)

Lexapro/Cipralex - 4.5 months

7/16/21 - 8/19/21: 5mg
8/20/21 - 11/28/21: 10mg
11/29/21 - 12/6/21: Immediate reduction to 5mg, then skip 1 day to start Trintellix (5mg)

Trintellix - 1 month
12/7/21 - 1/2/22: 5mg
1/3/22 - 1/4/22: 2.5mg (rapid taper)
1/5/22: Off all SSRIs

Current Medicines: Mezavant (mesalamine, 2.4g once daily for Ulcerative Colitis, in remission)

Current Supplements: Vitamin D (5,000 IU every other day) for confirmed deficiency, Fish Oils (Omega-3).

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@NoProblem

 

Sorry to hear you are struggling so much. I’m at 6 months after Lexapro (only 3 doses in total) and still have a long list of debilitating symptoms. 
 

I hope we both recover in time!

Immediate adverse reaction 

Lexapro 10mg- 6/10/2021

Lexapro 10mg- 7/10/2021

Lexapro 5mg- 8/10/2021

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  • Moderator

Hi @NoProblem,

sorry you are having rough days. Have you had a chance to see this? That post shows how your brain heals. 3 months is not a long time from stopping drugs, you're still in the thick of it. It will get better, much much better as time passes. 

 

What is happening in your brain? - Symptoms and self-care - Surviving Antidepressants

How psychiatric drugs remodel your brain - Symptoms and self-care - Surviving Antidepressants

I am not a doctor and this should not be considered medical advice. You can use the information provided in whatever way you want and all decisions on your treatment are yours. 

 

If you would like to get a response from me directly please type @Onmyway some place in your message so I get notified of your post. I am not able to follow all of the threads all the time.

 

Aug  2000 - July 2003 (ct, 4-6 wk wd) , citalopram 20 mg,  xanax prn, wellbutrin for a few months, trazodone prn 

Dec 2004 - July 2018 citalopram 20 mg, xanax prn (rarely used)

Aug 2018 - citalopram 40 mg (self titrated up)

September 2018 - January 2019 tapered citalopram - 40/30/20/10/5 no issues until a week after reaching 0

Feb 2019 0.25 xanax - 0.5/day (3 weeks) over to klonopin 0.25 once a day to manage severe wd

March 6, reinstated citalopram 2.5 mg (liquid), klonopin 0.25 mg for sleep 2-3 times a week

Apr 1st citalopram 2.0 mg (liquid), klonopin 0.25 once a week, 

citalopram (liquid) 4/14/19 -1.8 mg, 5/8/19 - 1.6 mg,  7/27/19 -1.5 mg,  8/15/19 - 1.35, 2/21/21 - 1.1 (smaller drops in between), 6/20/21 - 1.03 mg, 8/7/21- 1.025, 8/11/21 - 1.02, 8/15/21 - 1.015, 9/3/21 - 0.925 (fingers crossed!), 10/8/21 - 0.9, 10/18/21 - 0.875, 12/31/21 - 0.85, 1/7/22 - 0.825, 1/14/22 - 0.8, 1/22/22 - 0.785

 

Supplements: magnesium citrate and bi-glycinate

 

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On 4/10/2022 at 7:27 PM, NoProblem said:

After 2 good days with low/comfortable level of symptoms, I had a bad DP/DR episode yesterday evening. Unfortunately, I've developed this habit where intrusive thoughts appear about reality, if things are really real, etc. which cause me to feel derealized/disassociate for a brief period. I have been working on this in therapy, but the progress is difficult. This has carried into today, although not as bad as last night and has also been met with some low level anxiety (3 out 10), higher bouts of tinnitus ringing that last 10-20 seconds and some random dizziness. I know many, many others have recovered from similar symptoms, but at 3 months out (96 days since last dose), I struggle with having hope. Is this my new "normal" or is my nervous system still repairing?

 

Hoping for better days this week 🥲

Hi no problem! I hope you are feeling better. I only took 3 pills of Lex and had a adr so my situation is a little different. However I’m coming up on 3 months fairly soon (april 30th) so I understand completely about being scared of never healing.. but! We will get through this one day at a time!! We will heal like many people have and go on to live amazing lives! 

Immediate adverse reaction 

lexapro 5mg 3x 1/27/22, 1/28/22, 1/30/22 

Buspirone 7mg 1x 1/27/22 

last dose 1/30/2022

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 4/16/2022 at 12:48 PM, StarShopping87 said:

Hi no problem! I hope you are feeling better. I only took 3 pills of Lex and had a adr so my situation is a little different. However I’m coming up on 3 months fairly soon (april 30th) so I understand completely about being scared of never healing.. but! We will get through this one day at a time!! We will heal like many people have and go on to live amazing lives! 

Hi @StarShopping87, thanks for checking in 🙂. Sorry to hear about your situation after very little time on it. And yes, definitely, one day at a time.

 

I haven't posted in a few weeks as I was caught up in a move. My symptoms have been fluctuating a lot, but they all revolve around DP/DR, anxiety, dizziness and some forms of anhedonia and depression. Lately, my DP/DR is occurring in waves particularly when I'm reminded of some level of existential thought like "Is reality real", or "I feel like I'm living in a dream". This can happen anywhere from 10 - 20 times per day. This causes me to experience feeling DR and I have no idea where these existential thoughts came from, but they're sticking around it seems. The feeling of DP/DR sometimes brings about some level of anxiety depending on how strong it is and I begin to feel sad, as if I'm trapped in this hell forever. I've been working through psychotherapy to try and address the thoughts with some success.

 

As of today, I am 16 weeks off all medicine (approx. 112 days), 1 week shy of 4 months. I know this is still considered early in the process, but my hope of a "normal" life without these symptoms seems so hard to come by. Life genuinely feels like it is passing me by and I am just spectating, rather than living.

 

I hope you're all well.

Prescribed SSRIs to assist with debilitating anxiety during the flare of a chronic health issue (Ulcerative Colitis)

Lexapro/Cipralex - 4.5 months

7/16/21 - 8/19/21: 5mg
8/20/21 - 11/28/21: 10mg
11/29/21 - 12/6/21: Immediate reduction to 5mg, then skip 1 day to start Trintellix (5mg)

Trintellix - 1 month
12/7/21 - 1/2/22: 5mg
1/3/22 - 1/4/22: 2.5mg (rapid taper)
1/5/22: Off all SSRIs

Current Medicines: Mezavant (mesalamine, 2.4g once daily for Ulcerative Colitis, in remission)

Current Supplements: Vitamin D (5,000 IU every other day) for confirmed deficiency, Fish Oils (Omega-3).

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  • Moderator

Hi @NoProblem

I'm sorry to hear you are still feeling bad. Are you still taking vit D at those high doses? That is a vitamin that increases anxiety levels and activation. Your levels should be OK by now (it accumulates in the body). If I were you, I'd stop or lower to maybe 400 IU a day. I would also reconsider B12 if you are not deficient in it. Have you tried Magnesium? Beware though, it can have some unwanted effects on your tummy. 

Hope you start feeling better soon. 

Take care, 
OMW

I am not a doctor and this should not be considered medical advice. You can use the information provided in whatever way you want and all decisions on your treatment are yours. 

 

If you would like to get a response from me directly please type @Onmyway some place in your message so I get notified of your post. I am not able to follow all of the threads all the time.

 

Aug  2000 - July 2003 (ct, 4-6 wk wd) , citalopram 20 mg,  xanax prn, wellbutrin for a few months, trazodone prn 

Dec 2004 - July 2018 citalopram 20 mg, xanax prn (rarely used)

Aug 2018 - citalopram 40 mg (self titrated up)

September 2018 - January 2019 tapered citalopram - 40/30/20/10/5 no issues until a week after reaching 0

Feb 2019 0.25 xanax - 0.5/day (3 weeks) over to klonopin 0.25 once a day to manage severe wd

March 6, reinstated citalopram 2.5 mg (liquid), klonopin 0.25 mg for sleep 2-3 times a week

Apr 1st citalopram 2.0 mg (liquid), klonopin 0.25 once a week, 

citalopram (liquid) 4/14/19 -1.8 mg, 5/8/19 - 1.6 mg,  7/27/19 -1.5 mg,  8/15/19 - 1.35, 2/21/21 - 1.1 (smaller drops in between), 6/20/21 - 1.03 mg, 8/7/21- 1.025, 8/11/21 - 1.02, 8/15/21 - 1.015, 9/3/21 - 0.925 (fingers crossed!), 10/8/21 - 0.9, 10/18/21 - 0.875, 12/31/21 - 0.85, 1/7/22 - 0.825, 1/14/22 - 0.8, 1/22/22 - 0.785

 

Supplements: magnesium citrate and bi-glycinate

 

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1 hour ago, NoProblem said:

Hi @StarShopping87, thanks for checking in 🙂. Sorry to hear about your situation after very little time on it. And yes, definitely, one day at a time.

 

I haven't posted in a few weeks as I was caught up in a move. My symptoms have been fluctuating a lot, but they all revolve around DP/DR, anxiety, dizziness and some forms of anhedonia and depression. Lately, my DP/DR is occurring in waves particularly when I'm reminded of some level of existential thought like "Is reality real", or "I feel like I'm living in a dream". This can happen anywhere from 10 - 20 times per day. This causes me to experience feeling DR and I have no idea where these existential thoughts came from, but they're sticking around it seems. The feeling of DP/DR sometimes brings about some level of anxiety depending on how strong it is and I begin to feel sad, as if I'm trapped in this hell forever. I've been working through psychotherapy to try and address the thoughts with some success.

 

As of today, I am 16 weeks off all medicine (approx. 112 days), 1 week shy of 4 months. I know this is still considered early in the process, but my hope of a "normal" life without these symptoms seems so hard to come by. Life genuinely feels like it is passing me by and I am just spectating, rather than living.

 

I hope you're all well.

I totally understand what you mean by spectating vs living. I will be 3 months in this weekend but have seen very small improvements. Some of my symptoms have lessened a little. No windows, more or less days/hrs/mins of feeling ok. My main symptoms are insomnia, sleeping anxiety/fear (fear of not sleeping), sensitivity to stimulation like lights, sound, stress, weird brain sensations (falling, pulling, turning, feeling drugged) and weird headaches w/pressure. The pressure comes and goes or travels into my sinuses/eyes. It’s improved but some days are worse than others. Of course I have anxiety and feelings of panic and fear but they don’t seem to be as bad as the first couple weeks. Like more manageable. This past week I’ve had rolling waves of heat followed by panic and fear at night which is awful. But I’m getting by, one day at a time. I’ve come across some success stories on social media that gives me hope of making more progress within the year! I hope for you as well. 

Immediate adverse reaction 

lexapro 5mg 3x 1/27/22, 1/28/22, 1/30/22 

Buspirone 7mg 1x 1/27/22 

last dose 1/30/2022

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4 hours ago, Onmyway said:

Hi @NoProblem

I'm sorry to hear you are still feeling bad. Are you still taking vit D at those high doses? That is a vitamin that increases anxiety levels and activation. Your levels should be OK by now (it accumulates in the body). If I were you, I'd stop or lower to maybe 400 IU a day. I would also reconsider B12 if you are not deficient in it. Have you tried Magnesium? Beware though, it can have some unwanted effects on your tummy. 

Hope you start feeling better soon. 

Take care, 
OMW

 

Hey @Onmyway, I am currently still taking Vitamin D, 5000IU every other day. I may reduce this even further now that the summer months are approaching with hopefully more sunshine. I have not taken B12 in a few weeks as well. I did try Magnesium for a little while again but I did not notice much of an effect. Hoping for better days as well, thanks 🙂.

 

@StarShopping87, that's awesome to hear that some of your symptoms have reduced. Hopefully a sign of good things to come. Early on, I had very strong symptoms of anxiety as well. These have reduced to manageable levels and coincide with my symptoms of derealization/depersonalization now. Day by day, sometimes hour by hour. It's all we can do. The success stories keep me going some days, but I also tend to get caught up in some of the not-so-successful stories and updates that make me believe I will permanently fall into that category. Time will only tell, but I feel like my symptoms have stagnated now. No real improvement for about 1 month now.

 

It's hard to keep a positive view and change the channel of thoughts with these troubling symptoms. Just need to keep trying I guess.

We can do this.

Prescribed SSRIs to assist with debilitating anxiety during the flare of a chronic health issue (Ulcerative Colitis)

Lexapro/Cipralex - 4.5 months

7/16/21 - 8/19/21: 5mg
8/20/21 - 11/28/21: 10mg
11/29/21 - 12/6/21: Immediate reduction to 5mg, then skip 1 day to start Trintellix (5mg)

Trintellix - 1 month
12/7/21 - 1/2/22: 5mg
1/3/22 - 1/4/22: 2.5mg (rapid taper)
1/5/22: Off all SSRIs

Current Medicines: Mezavant (mesalamine, 2.4g once daily for Ulcerative Colitis, in remission)

Current Supplements: Vitamin D (5,000 IU every other day) for confirmed deficiency, Fish Oils (Omega-3).

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58 minutes ago, NoProblem said:

 

Hey @Onmyway, I am currently still taking Vitamin D, 5000IU every other day. I may reduce this even further now that the summer months are approaching with hopefully more sunshine. I have not taken B12 in a few weeks as well. I did try Magnesium for a little while again but I did not notice much of an effect. Hoping for better days as well, thanks 🙂.

 

@StarShopping87, that's awesome to hear that some of your symptoms have reduced. Hopefully a sign of good things to come. Early on, I had very strong symptoms of anxiety as well. These have reduced to manageable levels and coincide with my symptoms of derealization/depersonalization now. Day by day, sometimes hour by hour. It's all we can do. The success stories keep me going some days, but I also tend to get caught up in some of the not-so-successful stories and updates that make me believe I will permanently fall into that category. Time will only tell, but I feel like my symptoms have stagnated now. No real improvement for about 1 month now.

 

It's hard to keep a positive view and change the channel of thoughts with these troubling symptoms. Just need to keep trying I guess.

We can do this.

One thing that I have learned is to stop reading the scary stuff, easier said than done because we get sucked into it. However, everyone’s journey is different and no 2 people are on the same path! I only read the positive stuff, even if it’s the same stories over and over. Like this one girl I just found, she ct off 4 years of various ads. She was 95% back to herself within I believe 9 months after a horrific wd. Her symptoms didn’t hit until 2 months in and she said it was terrifying. She is 18mths out and is doing great, still has some periods of anhedonia but it’s getting better. We also have to take in account that people go through things that prolong their recovery whether it be illness, surgery, medications. Keep thinking positive! You will continue to improve. I’ve read a lot of people have recovered from dp/dr and the symptoms lessened within months. Do you know who Baylissa is? She had been a huge help for me during this process. She also has some success stories on her page as well. We will heal!! 

Immediate adverse reaction 

lexapro 5mg 3x 1/27/22, 1/28/22, 1/30/22 

Buspirone 7mg 1x 1/27/22 

last dose 1/30/2022

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25 minutes ago, StarShopping87 said:

One thing that I have learned is to stop reading the scary stuff, easier said than done because we get sucked into it. However, everyone’s journey is different and no 2 people are on the same path! I only read the positive stuff, even if it’s the same stories over and over. Like this one girl I just found, she ct off 4 years of various ads. She was 95% back to herself within I believe 9 months after a horrific wd. Her symptoms didn’t hit until 2 months in and she said it was terrifying. She is 18mths out and is doing great, still has some periods of anhedonia but it’s getting better. We also have to take in account that people go through things that prolong their recovery whether it be illness, surgery, medications. Keep thinking positive! You will continue to improve. I’ve read a lot of people have recovered from dp/dr and the symptoms lessened within months. Do you know who Baylissa is? She had been a huge help for me during this process. She also has some success stories on her page as well. We will heal!! 

 

I appreciate your kind and encouraging words! They mean a lot, honestly.

 

I do have a few stories that I have saved that I occasionally go back to during tougher times. And that is amazing to hear about that girl - definitely goes to show that it is more than possible. I'm hoping to fall into that DP/DR improvement category as well at some point. I try to just "accept" the weird feelings for what they are on most days. And yes, I'm familiar with Baylissa. I have her book "Recovery and Renewal" that I also turn to from time to time. Her website is great as well from the positive affirmation videos to the success stories.

 

Are you just reading success stories on SA? Or do you have other areas where people post as well? Not to promote other content, but anything positive is always helpful.

 

Thanks again.

Prescribed SSRIs to assist with debilitating anxiety during the flare of a chronic health issue (Ulcerative Colitis)

Lexapro/Cipralex - 4.5 months

7/16/21 - 8/19/21: 5mg
8/20/21 - 11/28/21: 10mg
11/29/21 - 12/6/21: Immediate reduction to 5mg, then skip 1 day to start Trintellix (5mg)

Trintellix - 1 month
12/7/21 - 1/2/22: 5mg
1/3/22 - 1/4/22: 2.5mg (rapid taper)
1/5/22: Off all SSRIs

Current Medicines: Mezavant (mesalamine, 2.4g once daily for Ulcerative Colitis, in remission)

Current Supplements: Vitamin D (5,000 IU every other day) for confirmed deficiency, Fish Oils (Omega-3).

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Yes, there are some on fb and YouTube! I loved Baylissa’s book. I go back to it time and time again. There is a success story that stuck with me on her website, pennys story. Her story really gives me hope. I have started talking to a few people off Fb that are similar to my situation and they are either healed or close. There are success stories out there you just have to dig for them. 

Immediate adverse reaction 

lexapro 5mg 3x 1/27/22, 1/28/22, 1/30/22 

Buspirone 7mg 1x 1/27/22 

last dose 1/30/2022

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