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LoveisthePurpose: Lexapro Discontinuation?


LoveisthePurpose

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Hello,

 

*trigger warning*

 

I have been pouring over this site and the many resources information since initially have a bad reaction. I greatly appreciate the intention of all of your contributions and hope that one day this will all be common knowledge.

 

My story:

 

Prior to all of this: I was a high-functioning person whom was motivated, loving, loved exercise, loved the outdoors, my family, etc.

 

May of 2021: I had some extreme work stress which cause my first ever "Mental Breakdown" (Couldn't sleep from a new level of anxiety/depression I have never had). I was offered SSRIs by a few different doctors, but have always been weary of ANY meds. I went the entire summer trying to "Man Up". Until...:

 

July 29th 2021: I asked my family to take me to a hospital due to extreme anxiety and death ideation. The hospital misrepresented my issue stating that I planned suicide using a gun (untrue), and of course held me for 72 hours. First time at a behavioral hospital and it was traumatic in it's own right. During which time I was given 10 mg of Lexapro and a dose of Zyprexa Zydis. Almost immediately I started to notice odd somatic symptoms (skin and brain felt like icy hot, rapidly increasing anxiety, increased suicidal & death ideation, etc.). I just wanted out of there so I played nice until I was allowed to leave. Symptoms continued to worsen until it felt like hell itself was inside my mind and body, it was excruciating. I talked to the psychs and they kept telling me to "give it more time". Eventually, I stanced them and said that there is no way this is right. I was given every available option: continue trying, increase dose, decrease dose, or come off over a 3-day taper (I knew a little better at this point and opted to taper over a couple of weeks). I sank into the darkest hell

 

During all of this I was seeing a therapist I met at the hospital (I wouldn't find out until later that she was my "primary" therapist, whom I never saw the 7 days I was there.) At first she was supportive, and agreed that withdrawal symptoms can last a few days to a couple of weeks. Eventually, she started through DSM verbiage hoping something would stick (maybe bipolar due to the SSRI reaction, and the anxiety/depression waxing/waning; or maybe it was OCD since I spent much time on survivingantidepressants.org trying to find answers - I joke that I got a PhD in neuroscience/Psychiatry over the months - research is what I do and a big part of my career).

 

Thanksgiving 2021: I began seeing a NMD who specializes in Psych. She is helpful and acknowledges the existence of PAWS. Unfortunately, no magic pill. She continues to work with me trying different things. I started Lithium Orotate very low dose, then eventually carbonate at full therapeutic dose (this is shown effective for suicidality). She has been having me try a few different things. I eventually decided maybe a month or two break at an inpatient center that focuses on "Holistic" healing could be a good break for my nervous system. I tried a couple KAP sessions (not the recommended 6 doses over 2-3 weeks), and it was the most trauma therapy I have ever gotten to do in my life...didn't solve my issue.

 

February-March 2021: I went to the inpatient and tried dTMS and also switched from Lithium Carbonate to Lamictal (after reading on here about it). I did full time therapy, reiki, yoga, hiking, etc. I believe I recognized truly for the first time how the significant trauma I endured earlier in life lead to the "Mental breakdown". This was a great step for me and reading "The Body Keeps the Score". However, all of this didn't make things significantly better. Insurance, despite still having SI/etc., decided I was good enough to go home and ended my stay early.

 

March-Present: I came home with many more tools and hopes to at least stay afloat at work. I have a newborn and wife that I support, and insurance is the only reason I haven gotten the care I have so far. I immediately hit struggles with the stress of the world returning and being so abruptly discharged with no aftercare plans (oversight by the facility).

 

I got myself into:

 

  • EMDR/Accelerated Resolution Therapy
  • Acupuncture
  • Exercising again
  • Eating healthy
  • Being very selective of the supplements I was taking
  • Reducing work stress as much as possible (hard with my particular field)
  • Journaling
  • Reading
  • I tried LENS neurofeedback (didn't notice anything lasting more than 1/2 day); Trying qEEG NF with someone whom is supposed to be one of the best in the world (this person also does LENS and mentioned it is really only a disruptor)
  • Probably more that I am forgetting

 

Current Symptoms:

  • Death/suicidal ideation - depression; mostly anhedonia
  • Extreme anxiety
  • Waking early with anxiety
  • Brain feels like it is "crawling"
  • Chest feels like someone is trying to rip my heart out
  • Throat closing/tickling causing a dry cough
  • Memory/cognition issues
  • Low emotional/stress tolerance
  • Anger/irritability
  • Dizziness
  • Vision issues
  • GI distress
  • Better, but still very poor sleep. Sleep used to be a talent of mine - didn't need an excessive amount, but slept well. Getting to sleep is typically no issue...staying on the other hand.

 

I tried Mirtazapine for sleep recently and the next morning it felt almost exactly like the Lexapro reaction. Also tried Propranolol thinking maybe the chest pain was akathisia - made the depression worse - started asking my family to let me die within about 2 hours of consumption.

 

Thinking the lamictal is causing some of the symptoms. I have two psychs: one wants me to try to trintellix (despite saying maybe I am bipolar due to my Lexapro reaction); the other NMD says absolutely not - maybe try seroquel for some time to reduce symptomology and taper off the lamictal. 

 

In summary, I believe I have gotten quite a bit better since the Lexapro. However, I still find myself preparing for the fact that I am not sure I can endure this for potentially years. I am barely holding life together as it is. Due greatly, in part, to resources like this, my family, and my old stubbornness :) I am sure I have made some mistakes in this journey, but I am and have been desperate

 

I am thoroughly open to (and looking for) insights, suggestions, feedback...and thank you to everyone here. Apologies for the long post, that is probably a little hair-brained or missing information.

Started Lexapro in hospital

  • 7/29/21 10 Mg Lexapro & unknown single dose Zyprexa Zydis - Gradually worsening reaction within 1-2 weeks - BAD
  • 8/31/21 started 7.5 mg Lexapro
  • 9/8/21 started 5 Mg Lexapro
  • 9/11/2021 2.5mg Lexapro 
  • 9/16/2021 No Lexapro 

January 2022

  • Lithium Carbonate 300 mg BID
  • Testosterone Cypionate (low T treatment)
  • Ketamine infusions - 3x with therapy

February of 2022:

  • Testosterone
  • Lamictal
  • Mirtazapine as need for sleep
  • Propranolol as needed
  • 32 sessions of dTMS

Other things tried: 

  • Silexan, Fish oil, Vitamin D, B-complex, Niacin, Magnesium, Lactaid, Apigenin, etc.

Current:

  • Lamictal 100mg
  • Testosterone
  • Fish Oil
  • Vit D
  • Inositol
  • Magnesium Bisglycinate
Link to comment
  • ChessieCat changed the title to LoveisthePurpose: Lexapro Discontinuation?
  • Moderator
Posted (edited)

Dear @LoveisthePurpose

welcome to SA. Thanks for creating a signature. Can you pls fill in your signature with more information - I am missing the ketamine, the TMS and the other tx that you have tried here. 

 

I am not sure how much you have read on SA so I will give you info from scratch. 

What you have had is an immediate adverse reaction to a drug. Usually when something like that happens, recovery is slow, similar to withdrawal. What that does to the body is that it makes you sensitive to other additions of drugs or psychoactive substances. The goal when that happens is to keep it simple, keep it slow, keep it steady. As you do that the brain comes back to homeostasis very slowly. You have done exactly the opposite with the trials of many potential solutions. It is completely understandable because we want to fix things and find relief. But it is adding to the chaos. What you need to do now is to stabilize. Do not make any more changes for the next 4-6 months. After that you can stop the lamictal by tapering it very slowly. Do you see side effects from lamictal? Are your symptoms worse soon after you take it? The reason why I am asking this is that people who are sensitive to one drug end up being sensitive to others as well. If you have read here about lamictal you must have also read that the dosage that helped was very very low.

 

This sensitivity is probably another reason why you should not try more drugs. They may make you worse. 

 

In the meantime, if I were you, I would stop the vitamin D (you should be able to get that from the sun in Arizona) as it is activating - will cause anxiety/on edge feeling in a sensitized nervous system. Testosterone can also be activating. Do you have documented low T or are you taking it in the hopes of improving mood? Be careful with exercise, start gently and track symptoms - vigorous exercise can make people worse. You  should also avoid other psychoactive substances such as alcohol, pot, recreational drugs, even some vitamins (B and D) and supplements as these can set you back (sensitized nervous system). With vitamins, if you decide to take them, try them at a low dose and see if you can tolerate them. 

I will post a bunch of important links below. Please read them carefully and do let us know if you have questions. 

 

https://www.survivingantidepressants.org/topic/5280-immediate-adverse-reactions-to-an-antidepressant-or-within-a-few-doses-how-long-for-recovery/#comment-46661

 

 

Non-drug techniques to cope with emotional symptoms - Symptoms and self-care - Surviving Antidepressants

Important topics about symptoms, including sleep problems - Symptoms and self-care - Surviving Antidepressants

 

This is how you can expect recovery to happen if you keep things stable: 

 

The Windows and Waves Pattern of Stabilization - Symptoms and self-care - Surviving Antidepressants

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

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

 

Hope you start seeing some windows soon, 
OMW

 

Edited by Onmyway

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

 

Link to comment

Hello,

 

I added the TMS. The vitamin D and Testosterone are for low levels. Mostly the testosterone (vitamin d was low end of the range). Perhaps, I can just try to get more sun. What is “tx”?

 

I understand and you are correct that I have been possibly adding “fuel to the fire”. I was very resistant to the doctors, but eventually gave in. I have been so bad that no longer living was looking like my only option. So, it was all in a harm reduction mindset.

 

As for the Lamictal; it is hard to tell. It seems like maybe it has helped hold off the worst of the post-Lexapro depression, but does nothing for many of the other symptoms. Especially, anxiety. Some of the symptoms of anxiety (dulled cognition, memory issues, dizziness) also overlap with what could be the Lamictal. Hard to tell.

 

Since reinstatement is not an option for me, what is one to do? I am still in dire straights. Better than I was, but not “safe”.

 

I have a family member who had a similar reaction to serotonergic drugs and found qEEG NF to be very helpful. I am hoping it has similar effect for me. The risks seem very minimal. I am also slowly introducing inositol (read here and by recommendation of Dr. Shipko (I am not sure his recommendations otherwise are safe)), which I think helps.

 

Believe me, changes/additions are NOT what I want to do. It is purely out of survival (yes, it is that bad for me). I am a completely different person than I was prior. In the blink of an eye. I am not litigious, but this truly makes me consider going after these folks and publicizing it in hopes that even one less person experiences this.

Started Lexapro in hospital

  • 7/29/21 10 Mg Lexapro & unknown single dose Zyprexa Zydis - Gradually worsening reaction within 1-2 weeks - BAD
  • 8/31/21 started 7.5 mg Lexapro
  • 9/8/21 started 5 Mg Lexapro
  • 9/11/2021 2.5mg Lexapro 
  • 9/16/2021 No Lexapro 

January 2022

  • Lithium Carbonate 300 mg BID
  • Testosterone Cypionate (low T treatment)
  • Ketamine infusions - 3x with therapy

February of 2022:

  • Testosterone
  • Lamictal
  • Mirtazapine as need for sleep
  • Propranolol as needed
  • 32 sessions of dTMS

Other things tried: 

  • Silexan, Fish oil, Vitamin D, B-complex, Niacin, Magnesium, Lactaid, Apigenin, etc.

Current:

  • Lamictal 100mg
  • Testosterone
  • Fish Oil
  • Vit D
  • Inositol
  • Magnesium Bisglycinate
Link to comment
  • Moderator

Hi @LoveisthePurpose

 

I don't know much about qEEG NF so can't advise you on it. You may want to search the site and see if others have tried this in withdrawal and whether they have found it helpful. 

As I said earlier, rest for your brain is really the only thing that we can advise. In a matter of months your brain has been pounded by numerous chemicals - lexapro, ketamine, 32 sessions of TMS, lamictal, mirtazapine, testosterone, lithium - it's like a boxer being pounded to a point of knockout. Your brain will recover if you leave it to stabilize from all of the chaos to gain its footing. 

 

I understand the urge to try things - we have all been there. But we see here that what helps is stability. 

Your brain is right now scrambling to find its footing, to get back to homeostasis and every time you introduce a new chemical you are asking it to adapt to that one and it starts the process all over again. 

 

Read the first post in this thread. 

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

 

Are there other things that you can do for yourself that will help take away the pressure from you - like switch jobs/don't work for a while? 

 

Psychologically, acceptance is the key to this: 

- you have been harmed by drugs 

- your nervous system is dysregulated right now

- it will re-regulate itself back to normal 

- there is not much you can do in the meantime other than provide conditions that aid recovery - stability, rest, calm (as much as possible) 

 

Treat this the way you would treat a traumatic brain injury. It is not exactly the same but the principle of rest and patience for its treatment is the same. The one thing we know from this is that you WILL get better and back to normal. It will just take a while. 

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

 

Link to comment
  • Moderator Emeritus
7 hours ago, LoveisthePurpose said:

What is “tx”?

 

From https://www.answers.com/Q/What_does_the_medical_abbreviation_TX_mean

 

"With many medical terms that end in X, the context is needed to interpret what the writer meant. It is a quick way to write a word that starts with T and the x stands for "fill in the blank". So, some of the things it could mean depending on the context are: Treatment, Transplant, Therapy, Transfer, or Traction, but there are many other meanings that could represent."

 * * * * * *   PLEASE WATCH THIS VIDEO   * * * * * *

Antidepressant Withdrawal Syndrome and its Management

 

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

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

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

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

PLEASE NOTE:  I am not a medical professional.  I provide information and make suggestions. 

Please DO NOT TAG me - thank you.

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  • 3 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

Hello,

 

I am experiencing extreme anxiety/depression, it feels like my insides are being torn apart, tinnitus, memory/cognition/concentration issues, somatic sensations, unable to stay asleep for more than a few hours (exhausted all the time), brain feels like someone is “massaging” it (not nicely), etc.

 

I understand stabilizing…However, I am too unstable currently and am experiencing severe SI due to it. My doc has started me tapering off the Lamictal because it is not helping, at best. Down to 75mg from 100mg. Definitely have some nausea and worsened insomnia. Psychological state seems worse, but hard to tell since the SI and other symptoms have been terrible even stable at 100mg.

 

I have switched jobs to something significantly less stressful, I am getting significant help from family, therapy 2-3 times per week, eating as healthy as possible, exercise when I can, and started Neurofeedback (this should cause no harm).

 

I am not sure how long I can keep this up. I can’t reinstate Lexapro due to the adverse reaction. What are my other options?

 

Edited by LoveisthePurpose
N/a

Started Lexapro in hospital

  • 7/29/21 10 Mg Lexapro & unknown single dose Zyprexa Zydis - Gradually worsening reaction within 1-2 weeks - BAD
  • 8/31/21 started 7.5 mg Lexapro
  • 9/8/21 started 5 Mg Lexapro
  • 9/11/2021 2.5mg Lexapro 
  • 9/16/2021 No Lexapro 

January 2022

  • Lithium Carbonate 300 mg BID
  • Testosterone Cypionate (low T treatment)
  • Ketamine infusions - 3x with therapy

February of 2022:

  • Testosterone
  • Lamictal
  • Mirtazapine as need for sleep
  • Propranolol as needed
  • 32 sessions of dTMS

Other things tried: 

  • Silexan, Fish oil, Vitamin D, B-complex, Niacin, Magnesium, Lactaid, Apigenin, etc.

Current:

  • Lamictal 100mg
  • Testosterone
  • Fish Oil
  • Vit D
  • Inositol
  • Magnesium Bisglycinate
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