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panic27

Hi,

 

I've recently got a prescription for Lexapro to counter panic attacks, ADD, and mild depression. I am supposed to take 5mg the first four days, then increase to 10mg.

Now I've been using it for only two days, and I feel absolutely horrible. Reading all the negative experiences, side effects and withdrawal symptoms on the web, I'm convinced this poison won't help me at all in the long run.

 

Can I stop taking this drug immediately, or do I even have to taper off after only two days on 5mg?

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Altostrata

Welcome, panic27.

 

After only 2 days, you can simply stop.

 

Please let us know how you're doing in this topic, which I made into your Intro topic.

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panic27

Okay thanks :)

 

I currently feel very tired, can't concentrate on anything, I have sweaty hands, shivering, and feel hot and cold at the same time.. A bit like a fever. I suppose these are normal side effects of the drug but I don't think I can endure this for 2-3 weeks. And even if it would help after that, I don't look forward to the withdrawal symptoms once my body is addicted to this stuff. Better stop right now while I still can.

I'm also on dexamphetamine 5mg, 2-3 times a day. When combined with the lexapro, I noticed it makes me really sleepy but my heart starts racing like never before.

 

I'll keep you updated if I notice any withdrawal symptoms after these two small doses.

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Altostrata

I would say those are symptoms of excessive medication.

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panic27

My symptoms might be exaggerated somewhat by the (almost constant) panic attacks I've been having lately. It is very hard for me to distinguish between real, physical symptoms, and symptoms caused by sheer panic.

 

For example, I'm seeing rapidly flashing spots in my vision for the past week or so. I have no idea if that's something to worry about, or if it's normal and the panic just makes me notice it. It does give me panic attacks, that's for sure. (Not sure if this is an appropriate forum to discuss these things though)

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alex
. It is very hard for me to distinguish between real, physical symptoms, and symptoms caused by sheer panic.

 

 

 

Hello Panic27, I can tell by your name that you are a very young person.

I know what you mean when you say it is hard to distinguish what is what when you are feeling bad.

I've had to deal with anxiety and panic issues ALL my life; and I am 60 yrs now.

Let me tell you this:I had a fairly normal life with this condition, and I learned with time what was what and cope with it w/o medication.And I am a performer!

Unfortunately, 5 yrs ago I went through a very bad depression and I had no choice but to take AD.

I must say it helped me at that time;I was a lucky one.But here I am paying a very high price and not out of the horror, after 14 months off the meds.

I am sorry my english is not very good, but my advice is if you can deal with your emotions in a natural way,therapy, supplements, etc, it would be a lot better than messing up your brain with these powerful drugs.

Time and knowledge about your emotions will make it easer for you, believe me.

 

And as Alto says, just stop taking the drug.

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Altostrata

panic27, try to find a counselor who will help you manage your anxiety or panic attacks without drugs.

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panic27

Hi alex,

Yes that's right, I'm only 23 years old. Good to hear you found a way to deal with your anxiety, that's very reassuring :)

I'll certainly quit the lexapro and rather not touch any AD again.

 

Altostrata,

Working on that :) Last time I went to see the psychiatrist he told me there was not much more he could do except give me pills. He was going to look for a counsellor for me who can help me at home.

 

I think it's a good idea to add some more background info...

The main reason I went to a psychiatrist was because of my ADD and depression. I got into a depression when I messed up at school (or the school messed up at me, still not sure about that). Over the past 8 months or so, the depression has got a lot better, just by staying at home and doing nothing much. I was given lexapro mainly for the ADD, to help me become a bit more active, and to take the last steps out of the depression, so I could get a job and start living my life. I was skeptical at first, but after talking about it some more, I decided to give it a try anyway. I now realize that was a mistake, and my first intuition was right all along.

 

I have had panic attacks since preschool as far as I can remember, however these occurred only a few times a year. Some years went by without a single panic, though they were more common during my depression. I haven't really talked about my panics with the psych yet and it was not the main reason to get me on Lexapro. The bad attacks just started about 5 weeks ago when I got the flu, or at least something resembling that, and I have had attacks multiple times a day ever since. It appears to be getting worse by the day though.

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panic27

Oh yes, amphetamine is some toxic stuff. But I've been using it for about 5 years now and got used to the side effects (I think they mean "very common" instead of "incidence not known" on that site you linked).

At least I can just stop taking it whenever I want and not experience any withdrawal effects, unlike antidepressants. I only took one dose today and since its effects last for about 4 hours I'm pretty sure what I'm feeling right now is not caused by the amphetamine.

 

I actually feel pretty horrible right now. It's like the flu all over again, accompanied by grainy vision and tinnitus. And I have no idea if that's caused by the lexapro, panic, or something else. That uncertainity alone is freaking me out!

 

I think I'll just go to bed now and see if it gets better tomorrow.

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Jemima

To the best of my knowledge, there are withdrawal effects from stopping any kind of "speed".  Here's an article you might want to read:

 

http://www.healthcentral.com/adhd/c/1443/142573/stopping-medications

 

You've been on this stuff for a long time so it wouldn't surprise me at all if you're having some withdrawal symptoms.  It also wouldn't surprise me if this is another situation where doctors think stopping a drug is easy, but the truth is that stopping the drug puts one on a very bumpy road that lasts for months.

 

Please be careful.

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panic27

I don't know, really. With dexamphetamine I feel as though I'm in control of the drug, not the other way around. I have stopped using it for 1-2 weeks on several occasions, and never noticed any bad withdrawal effects. The main w/d effects (increased appetite, fatigue and palpitations) occur right after the drug wears off, and last for only a few hours.

 

That said, I have several friends who suffered amphetamine psychosis and depression after heavy "recreational" use (with "street speed", which is probably laced with all sorts of other poisons as well). They also thought they were in control, while in reality, the drug took control of them, which they only noticed when it was too late. All of them have used antidepressants to recover, which they told me, have done them more harm than good in the long run. More harm than the speed, that is.

 

Anyway, I'll just stay off the dex for a while and see if I notice any differences.

 

 

Oh and I must add, I've been taking multivitamin supplements for the past two weeks, after I had a blood test that showed some slight vitamin deficiencies (can't remember which, exactly). Now I'm reading this, which can be caused by vitamin A overdose... Maybe I should stop taking that as well.

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Altostrata

No, please don't quit the dex at the same time!

 

Keep very stable in your medications. Don't subject your nervous system to stress additional to going on and off Lexapro.

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panic27

Are you sure? I thought it would be a good idea to stay as sober as possible until I feel completely normal again. Anyway I didn't take any dex today, and if I would take one now I certainly won't be able to sleep tonight.

And what about the multivitamins, should I continue taking these? My diet is not particularly well balanced, especially now. I feel hungry all the time but nausea prevents me from eating a lot.

 

I must say I feel alot than yesterday, though still far from normal. Main symptoms are still more or less the same: headache (more like pressure with short stabbing pains), nausea, abdominal pain, sweating hands, feeling shaky, brain fog, fatigue, randomly flashing spots in my vision, and tinnitus. I couldn't sleep last night until late in the morning, and when I did finally sleep I had the weirdest, but very realistic dreams, including one false awakening.

 

These spots I'm seeing are particularly annoying, they're most noticable when I'm looking at the computer screen or when I close my eyes. They look a bit like the white blood cells you see when staring at a blue sky, but are certainly different. More like the specks of dust you'd see on a film in the cinema. Could this be the dexamphetamine, or the multivitamins? Or could there be something else wrong with me?

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panic27

A short update:

Yesterday I managed to eat somehing despite the nausea, which immediately got worse. About 30 minutes later while I was smoking a cigarette, I had this weird, "lucid" moment, and right after I suddenly felt a lot better!

 

I was able to sleep normally last night, but I did have some very vivid, disturbing nightmares, including one where I attempted to murder someone with an axe, and one where my sister died... I haven't had such violent thoughts since I tried Ritalin five years ago (after which I was put on dexamphetamine).

 

Today I'm feeling quite good actually, some slight anxiety and a headache, but no panic attacks so far! That's a big improvement compared to the past few days. I think the Lexapro is making its way of my system.

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Altostrata

Yes, unless you are getting a bad reaction, keep all your supplements the same, keep your habits as stable as possible.

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Meimeiquest

I wonder if the ADD medicine made you susceptible to over-stimulation from the AD? Even with an antipsychotic, I had to be very careful with Adderall.

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Nikki

Hi Panic27

 

One of my daughter's friends has ADD and takes Adderal which is the dexamphetamine.  It really does help him focus.  He too gets panic attacks.  On the Adderal he is fine.

 

Mixing Lexapro with Dex is not a good mix.  I know he cannot take Serotonin meds at all because it cause severe anxiety and has fueled depression.

 

If you have only been on the Lexapro, as Alto suggested, just stop it and stick with your meds for your ADD.  My daughter's friend is very conscientious and periodically will take ativan if the panic is very bad, but he does not use it that often.

 

I hope this can help you....

 

Best regards

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panic27

The last time I posted here I didn't think I'd ever come back. Well, I messed up, and here I am again.

 

I might post a detailed story here eventually on how I messed up exactly. Right now I get severe panic attacks when I'm on the computer for too long, so in short:

 

Back around june/july I had some kind of mental breakdown, which I still haven't recovered from. I was on 30mg citalopram at that time.
Got prescribed lorazepam, which I took as instructed (3x0.5mg per day). I should've known better.
Tried switching ADs twice (effexor and wellbutrin), that made things WAY worse.
Meanwhile I cut the citalopram way too fast (doctor's orders), from 30 to 4mg in about 3 months. The zaps have subsided, but now I'm clearly suffering delayed WD.
Tried dropping to 2mg, I no longer get the zaps at that dose, but it turns me into a zombie. On 4mg I'm still *somewhat* functional (meaning I still remember how to make breakfast, brush my teeth, etc. those things were gone at 2mg)

 

I feel so hopeless and lost right now, could really use some advice on how to proceed.

 

Personally I think I need to taper the benzos first, I've been on them for only 3 months and waiting any longer might just make it harder to quit. However I tried to drop from 1.5->1.25mg the other day, it was absolute hell.
On the other hand I'm clearly suffering citalopram WD already, maybe I should up the dose again and start a slower taper.

 

I really don't know where to start. It's starting to sink in that this recovery could take months/years, and I might never be the same again. That's a scary thought.

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ChessieCat

Hi panic and welcome back,

 

I've moved your new topic to your original Intro topic, which is the place to ask questions about your individual situation and where you can journal your progress.  Having this all in one topic keeps your history in one place.

 

To help us out, please create your drug signature which will appear below every post you make.  This allows us to see your history at a glance.  Thank you.

 

Please include the following information.  Please be as accurate as possible about the dates and doses.  Please make it nice simple by following these instructions (NO diagnoses or symptoms please - thank you).  Please update it whenever you make a change:

  • details for last 2 years - dates, ALL drugs, doses
  • summary for older than 2 years - just years and drug/s

Account Settings – Create or Edit a signature

 

Once we have more details (showing the dates and doses of your drugs) about your psychiatric drug history we will be better able to make suggestions.

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panic27

I figured I'd make a new thread, since thsi one is 5 years old and doesn't reflect my current situation. Could you update the title and tags too, maybe? I'm unable to edit it.

 

My memory is a mess right now so I'll have to do some digging to find the dates and doses. I've been on citalopram for roughly two years now, and so far only used benzos on an as-needed basis to counter panic attacks.

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Altostrata

Your full history is useful. In fact, looking back, you can see you have a lot of faith in a chemical solution.

 

My guess is in June, you might have accidentally skipped a dose or two, or added a drug that caused a bad interaction with another drug; that's your "breakdown."

 

When was the last time you reduced citalopram? What times of day do you take citalopram and lorazepam?

 

Do your symptoms follow any daily pattern?  Please keep daily notes on paper about your symptoms, when you take your drugs, and their dosages. Use a simple list format with time of day on the left and notation (symptom, drug and dosage) on the right.

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panic27

I suppose I had some "faith" in the amphetamines. At the time I didn't think those were affecting me in a negative way. At least their long-term effects are well known, unlike with SSRIs. Not long after my last post here I did stop using them, and remained skeptical of ADs for a while. Eventually I became desperate, and after having multiple people convince me I couldn't do it without drugs, I caved in.


Well, things did get better after a few months. I remember asking my psychiatrist about quitting at that point. She told me I really had to keep taking these pills for at least five years to prevent relapse, and that ADs stop working if you get off them and then go back on. She couldn't even explain how that was supposed to work. Ugh, that should've been a major red flag and I didn't see it.


I don't recall skipping any doses back in June. The decline towards this "breakdown", for lack of a better word, was quite gradual at first, with a sudden turning point. I became more irritable and less interested over the course of 2-3 weeks. At one point everything "changed". Everything was "different" somehow, I still can't describe it. My thought patterns just changed completely and I got panic attacks again because I didn't know what was happening to me. Actually I still don't. Several things happened around this time and I don't recall the exact order of events; I know I caught a flu that didn't seem to get better, and suffered a major (thunderclap) headache. That was the primary panic fuel.


It's weird since back in May I was having the best time of my life. Suddenly I started doing things I didn't consider possible for years. I got more done in that one month than the past 5 years combined. At the time I really thought these pills were finally starting to work.


Currently I take citalopram in the morning before breakfast. I used to take it in the evening, but switched to a morning dose once I started getting the zaps. The lorazepam is spread out across the day, one before breakfast, one before bed, and one inbetween.

Last reduction in citalopram was when I got switched to wellbutrin, dropped from 6mg to 0. That went wrong so I quit the wellbutrin and am back on 4mg now. I briefly tried dropping to 2mg after that but the same thing happened.

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panic27

Someone just asked me to do something trivial and I completely broke down. I've been crying for over two hours, then had another panic attack as I couldn't talk and my arm went numb and thought I was having a stroke. Right now I'm so dizzy and confused. Is that a normal reaction? I never even knew I was capable of crying.

 

Edited by ChessieCat

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panic27

I'm considering raising the citalopram dose again while I deal with benzo WD. I'm hoping it'll reduce the dizziness (which started when I briefly switched from citalopram to bupropion), and maybe give me some mental function back. Does that sound like a good idea? I'm thinking 10mg but maybe less will work. Once I get off the lorazepam I can then start a 10% taper.

 

My lorazepam schedule is now 3x0.25mg every 3-4 hours, then 1x0.5mg before bed.

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ChessieCat

You have made a lot of drug changes since August this year, which is only a period of 3 months.  Your poor brain doesn't know what's happening.  You need to give your brain a chance to work out what is going on.  If you do decide to increase your citalopram I suggest that you do it by a small amount.  It would be much better to increase by a little bit than to risk increasing by too much.  You will need to keep daily symptom notes so you can see how the updose is affecting your symptoms.

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panic27

Thanks for your response. I'll try 6mg tomorrow and hold it for a while, see how that goes. I just don't want to suffer too much from SSRI WD while I try to get off the lorazepam. Already reduced that dose a bit so symptom-wise I don't really know what's causing what anymore.

 

I still don't even know if my current mental state is caused just by the pills alone, or if there's something else going on. Since rediscovering and reading these forums, I realize SSRI tolerance/withdrawal is the most likely explanation. That realization alone already helped me so much, I haven't had any major anxiety attacks since (apart from that one yesterday).

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panic27

Day 1 on 6mg and I'm already having second thoughts. Just realized that is a 50% increase, maybe a bit much. I feel a little "different" yet again, my thoughts are somewhat more chaotic and I noticed more anxiety (or at least the physical symptoms; sweaty palms etc).

On the other hand, the dizziness seemed better during the first half of the day, and is now getting worse again. I was also very sleepy during that time, which isn't necessarily a bad thing as I haven't slept much since reducing the benzo dose. Maybe I should go back to a night-time citalopram dose, or spread out doses across the day to minimize fluctuations.

 

I discussed tapering options with my doctor. To get off the benzo slowly, I can either switch to liquid lorazepam solution or diazepam tablets. Which would be more preferable?

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ChessieCat
2 hours ago, panic27 said:

I discussed tapering options with my doctor. To get off the benzo slowly, I can either switch to liquid lorazepam solution or diazepam tablets. Which would be more preferable?

 

My suggestion would be to stick with the drug you are currently taking.  Adding/changing is only going to confuse things even more.

 

As I said above, you have made a lot of changes in your drug/dose in a 3 month period.  Your brain is being bounced around like a basketball.  Give it a chance to be "still" and work out what it needs to do.

 

Taking multiple psych drugs? Which drug to taper first?
If you're not having an adverse reaction from the other medications, taper the most activating drug first. This is usually an antidepressant or stimulant (ADHD drug).

 

Citalopram has a reasonably long half life so dose splitting probably wouldn't do much.  If you do decide to move your dose, it is better to move it by 1 hour each day.  However, as already stated, you have made a lot of changes.  And it takes time for the brain to settle down after a change.  I don't think changing your dose to night time is a good idea at this point.  You've only just increased the dose.

 

Give your poor brain some time to catch up. 

 

 

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panic27

I need stability, I get that. But I also need to get off the benzo as soon as possible. The longer I wait, the more difficult it gets, right? I'm willing to endure some temporary discomfort if that means I won't be hooked on this poison forever.

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ChessieCat
On 10/30/2018 at 1:20 PM, Altostrata said:

Do your symptoms follow any daily pattern?  Please keep daily notes on paper about your symptoms, when you take your drugs, and their dosages. Use a simple list format with time of day on the left and notation (symptom, drug and dosage) on the right.

 

Have you been keeping any notes on paper?  If yes, please post them.  If no, please start doing so and post them.

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Altostrata

We cannot answer any of your questions until we see your symptom pattern.

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panic27

I mostly experience cognitive issues, which I find very difficult to describe. It's like I'm living in a haze, can't concentrate, my thoughts make no sense at times. I no longer care about anything, and the thought of doing things I used to enjoy instantly ramps up the anxiety.

 

This hasn't changed much over the past few months (well, it only got worse). However I'll try and keep a journal for a while, see if any patterns appear.

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Altostrata

What is your daily drug intake schedule, with times of day and dosages? Do you get any particular symptoms before or after you take the drugs? How's your sleep?

 

Foggy brain and emotional anesthesia are common side effects of benzo usage. They can also be withdrawal symptoms, from your citalopram reduction in August, or from other drug changes since then.

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panic27

Currently I take 3x .25mg lorazepam every 3-4 hours, then .325mg before bed (1/4+1/8 pill). I had 4mg citalopram this morning and I'm planning to take another 2mg before bed, as it seems to make me sleepy. For the past few months I've slept relatively well but woke up in panic nearly every day. Benzos helped with that. Over the last two weeks or so the morning anxiety has become more managable. When I first reduced the lorazepam dose I didn't sleep for two days, but that's getting better already.

 

Just remembered, I did have trouble sleeping (due to anxiety) when this "mental breakdown" first started, while I was still on 30mg citalopram but before I was put on benzos. I got quetiapine for that which I took twice. Never again.

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Altostrata

What times of day do you take these drugs, and their dosages? Please keep daily notes on paper about your symptoms, when you take your drugs, and their dosages. Use a simple list format with time of day on the left and notation (symptom, drug and dosage) on the right.

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