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Dear All,


As someone who has suffered from anxiety my whole life I have finally at 33 decided that an SSRI might be worth taking. 

i have had many friends come onto antidepressants, some come off and stay off and some who say their symptoms come back and life is better on them. 

My anxiety is currently preventing me from moving forward in my life. However I note that i am happy to live with my anxiety and have gotten quite good at it. It would just be nice at this juncture to have a helping hand. 

The plan: 12 months on 5mg. Wean slowly. Then stop forever. Just a helping hand from A to B. 

i am aware of a benzos terrible withdrawals but was of the impression that an SSRI whilst might be not nice, wouldn’t not be 4+ years of post withdrawal. 

i am now aware that post withdrawal exists for SSRIs and I al questioning my decision to try these. However, I also have people on my life who are depending on me and thus proud of me for taking this step. To that end, I do not want to quit two days into it. 

However I also don’t want to ruin my life which I am now reading is a total possibility and in fact likely?


Any advice would be amazing. 


Kind Regards


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  • ChessieCat changed the title to Jaradresearching: seeking advice

Jarad - General Anxiety - Escalopram (correct spelling escitalopram)


Dear All,


About me:


33 y.o, male


Lifelong depression which resolved 2 years ago

Lifelong anxiety, unresolved


Career/Job: Studied jazz piano and worked as a musician for a few years. Now studying finance and working in a bank.



When I was 17 my friend died and I was put on Valium and was able to take one 'as needed' - I ended up using a large amount of valium. It would be seen as abuse, however, I did not realise I was abusing it. 6 months of a large dose, I stayed at a friend's house and did not take my normal tablet in the morning. I suffered withdrawals. I was shocked. I immediately decided that this was not for me and stopped taking it.


I had a seizure and was taken to hospital. This was a time when doctors did not understand benzos, I was told to use 5mg for a short while and then stop. I stopped. After months of post-withdrawals, I decided to go back on it at 5mg, and do a titration method withdrawal (not advised, I just made it up as I went along - there wasn't much information out there at this time). 


After the wean, I suffered 4 years of Protracted Withdrawals. Some might argue that now I am a different person with regard to my sensory input/stress - injury? etc.

E.g. Sex makes my body go into "activation" as this group calls it. I can now handle caffeine again, which is only new this past 2 years. I can drink alcohol, but I need to drink 2-3 glasses or else I feel w/ds. After 2-3 glasses I feel great, have a good night. But the next day I feel terrible. These bad feelings do not continue. I generally feel "cured" but I do have to moderate my activities a bit. Sex is the absolute worst. Which is very hard as I am 33 with a gorgeous partner of 29. She does not know what sex does to me as I am embarrassed.


Current Medications:
I am on Agomelatine, I have come and gone on 25mg many times and never had any issues. Been very helpful but only moderately in the bigger picture.

I am prescribed 5mg diazepam as needed - one box will last me 1.5 years. 

Having it in my pocket is more than enough most times as a psychological fallback. Sometimes taking it, it wears off, and I have some gross anxiety the next day, but by 2-3 days out, I'm normal and I suffer nothing thereafter.



Due to my anxiety, I struggle to make changes to my life. I have made big changes in my life already many times but its always been thrust upon me. When left unto myself, I will always push through my anxiety, I will do my absolute best, but...I will always run away whenever possible - I have lost friends, I have alienated myself, I have wasted years due to anxiety.


I am now at a place in my life, where I could stay where I am, in a job I hate, in a life I am not happy with, but coast through. Or I could make changes and become Jarad 2.0.

I have discussed what is holding me back and my partner (escitalopram 10mg - 2 years) has suggested that escitalopram it might help me. It helped her do her degree, start her job and open her business. Its been a godsend for her.


I decided to start taking it 2 days ago! I had almost immediate benefits. I could speak better (I have muscle spasms in my mouth/strutter sometimes/speak very quick), I could formulate thoughts better, I was shocked. I read so much about bad times, and I felt...good after 1 dose? I also felt nausea, dizziness etc but was hopeful!


I decided, due to the Valium earlier in my life, to just make a plan to come off this - 12 months, get out of my job, finish my new degree, start playing music again - then when I'm in a groove come off. I can handle my anxiety when I have a routine. Easy! 


Last night I decided to make my exit plan - 12 months, on, then book a 4 week holiday, and slow taper in a beautiful location - Perfect!! ....I thought I'd read about how people come off it normally. At first everything seemed easy, most people on 10-20mg, id be on 5mg -a couple of bad weeks. I can handle that!...then I came across the pubmed article written by the founder of this site. My heart sank. SSRi's seem to share all the same issues as a GABAergic...youve got to be kidding me? Post withdrawals? people being told its a relapse when its actually paws? no. I finally felt like I had a good plan, I was excited and I was hopefully.. now dread.


I did not take the dose today.


My question:

Am I dooming myself to a life of hell if I go on 5mg escitalopram for 12 months? Especially considering the past? 

I am safe to make it 24 months with 12 months as a taper? Would this mitigate the risks? 

Does a slow taper actually help, or does it just simply make it a bit more manageable?

Is there honestly any help for people with anxiety? I know so many people on escitalopram (for years - none have come off it or even tried) and they say it Cured them and they can Finally live their True lives.....





Had PAWS form Diazepam years ago. Not currently on anything scary or bad. Wanting to START taking 5mg escitalopram. Came across this site. Terrified. 



Edited by ChessieCat
added Intro topic title before merging with intro topic
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  • Moderator

Hello Jarad, I'm glad you found us.  We are a volunteer-run community of people who have been or are getting off of psychiatric drugs.  


I'm very sorry about your friend who died when you were 17, and then being put on a road of addiction to benzodiazepines.  


Can you please give us specific information in your signature about your drug history for all drugs and supplements 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 specific dates, include the day (as best you can say for example early March if you don't recall the day), drug names, 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 Your Drug History in Your Signature


On 11/21/2022 at 11:45 PM, Jaradresearching said:

I am on Agomelatine, I have come and gone on 25mg many times and never had any issues.

Does this mean you don't take it every day, and only take it as needed, or that you have taken it daily and gone off it, and gone back on and off  it several times? 


I myself was on escitalopram for years.  In 2002, I started out on Paxil.  Because this caused weight gain in me, years later, my doctor switched me to escitalpram.  In the beginning of being on SSRI's, I felt less depressed and anxious.  However, after a while, I became aware that they had not actually cured me, they had just made me numb.  In 2017, I decided it was time to come off.  I felt like I was only half of a person emotionally and spiritually, and they caused me to have a terrible memory, I was tired all the time, and my sleep was not restorative.  It took me 5 years to taper off the drug.  I tapered too fast because I was doing what the doctor told me, and it was way too fast. I eventually found this site in 2019, when I was in bad WD from a couple of fast taper attempts and a couple of reinstatements.  Today, I'm still dealing with symptoms on some days from all this including trouble sleeping, depersonalization and derealization, fatigue, and other things.  However, I'm light years better than I was in 2019 when I first came here, and many days I feel good and just fine.  You can click on the link under my avatar on the right side to read my story.  


On 11/21/2022 at 11:45 PM, Jaradresearching said:

Am I dooming myself to a life of hell if I go on 5mg escitalopram for 12 months? Especially considering the past?

I can't say for sure, as I can't predict the future.  What I can say, is that you would be at risk of having years of tapering, and because you have had withdrawals from benzos in the past, you may have sensitized your nervous system, which puts you at risk of having trouble with adverse reactions to escitalopram, and having a pretty hard time tapering off of it.  Lexapro is an extremely powerful drug, and very hard to taper off for many people.  It is 2 - 4 times more powerful than other SSRI drugs.  We suggest a 10% reduction every 4-6 weeks, and the 10% is based on the current dose, so it is a hyperbolic taper.  This taper minimizes withdrawal, but it takes years to accomplish.  


On 11/21/2022 at 11:45 PM, Jaradresearching said:

I am safe to make it 24 months with 12 months as a taper? Would this mitigate the risks? 

Your brain will become dependent on the drug after just one month.  Read this to understand what this means:  


How Psychiatric Drugs Remodel Your Brain


It would take much longer than 12 months to taper properly - it would take at least a couple of years, if not longer, depending on how your body would react to the tapering.  


On 11/21/2022 at 11:45 PM, Jaradresearching said:

Does a slow taper actually help, or does it just simply make it a bit more manageable?

A slow taper does help, a lot.  People who cold turkey or fast taper can take years to recover.  Our founder, Altostrata, took 11 years to recover from a cold turkey off Paxil.  


Cold Turkey and Too Fast Tapers


On 11/21/2022 at 11:45 PM, Jaradresearching said:

Is there honestly any help for people with anxiety?

There are many ways to help anxiety that do not involve drugs.  Check out CBT therapy online.  If the anxiety is based on trauma (as mine was) there is trauma therapy, such as EMDR and other methods.  There are many free YouTube channels that can help, too.  Here are a few simple techniques: 


Dealing With Emotional Spirals


"Change the channel" -- dealing with cognitive symptoms



Acknowledge Accept Float


Music to Calm Anxiety


Breathing Technique for Anxiety


CBT Course:  An Introductory Self-Help Course in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy


Audio:  How to Recover from Anxiety - Dr Claire Weekes


Anxiety Stuff - all kinds of stuff about anxiety attacks and things that help ...


15 hours ago, ChessieCat said:

Audio:  First Aid for Panic (4 minutes) Female voice - getselfhelp.co.uk


Audio:  First Aid for Panic (4 minutes) Male voice - getselfhelp.co.uk




And finally, there is evidence that long term use of antidepressants will actually worsen outcomes, and not improve them.  See these links: 



Robert Whitaker, author Anatomy of an Epidemic video


Chemical Imbalance is a Myth


Mad in America - Robert Whitaker archives

Edited by getofflex

Please do not private message me or tag me.


***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 2010 - 10 mg;  started taper August 2017, recent taper info: Apr 2 '20  0.18 mg; Jul 16  0.17 mg, Aug 23  0.16 mg, Oct 7  0.15 mg, Nov 8 - 0.14, Jan 16 '21 - 0.13, Feb 7 - 0.12, Feb 22 - 0.11, Mar 26 - 0.10, May 21 - 0.09, June 15 - 0.08 Aug 16 - 0.07, Oct 6 - 0.06, Nov 21 0.05, Dec. 17 0.04, Jan 14 '22 0.03, Feb 19 0.02, Apr 18 0.01, May 15 0.005,  Jul 8, 0.00.  Psych Drug Free as of July 8, 2022!!  Woohoo!!!

other meds: Levothyroxine 75 mg

magnesium in small amounts at 4 AM, 3 PM, before bed

suppl AM: fish oil, flax oil, vit C, vit E, multivitamin, zinc

suppl 8 PM: magnesium 350 mg, Estroven, melatonin 2 mg


Paxil 2002 - 2010, switched to Lexapro 2010 

Trazodone 50 mg. 2002 - 2019, fast tapered in 2019 

Xanax 0.5 mg as needed 2002 - 2019, up to 3x weekly 

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