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sjufan84: Lexapro Withdrawal Hell


sjufan84

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Hello all,

         I suppose I will start with my history of AD use.  Originally in high school I was started on Paxil and Wellbutrin (can't remember how much) but quickly got off because they weren't doing anything for me.  

 

Fast forward to age 19 and I was put on 10 mg Lexapro which I cold turkeyed because I was foolish and instead of asking for help to pay for my prescription from my family just quit... this led to a downward spiral that included 3 years of heavy drug and alcohol use.  I moved back to Tennessee from California to get my act together and after a few more incidents including a DUI, etc. finally got sober.  

 

I then was put on 20 mg of lexapro by my new Psychiatrist in 2007.  In last year I realized I was drinking an insane amount of stimulants to compensate for the sedation of the Lexapro and was switched to 60 mg Cymbalta.  After a week at a monastery I realized I had been completely numb for the last 5 years of my life and wanted to try to get off the meds.  My psychiatrist told me I could just stop the now 30 mg of Cymbalta that I was on but I at least knew enough to get him to write me a prescription for 10 mg Prozac to ease the withdrawals... needless to say this did not go well, but after a while I went off of the Prozac cold turkey in February of 2013.

 

 After 4 months off I then began back again on a merry go round of meds until I landed back on Lexapro.  I quit drinking coffee and was relatively stable on about 5 mg of Lexapro in September of 2013 when I stupidly decided to do a rapid wean off the rest... this sent my nervous system into complete chaos as I am sure many of you have experienced.  I went to the emergency room in a panic and was prescribed 10 mg Prozac and even though I knew this was a bad idea I took it and it was way too much.... I felt completely screwed up and like I had way too much serotonin.  

 

Since that time I cannot seem to find a solution...  I even took back up smoking and drinking coffee again to self-medicate and now cannot seem to find a way out.  My doc and my sister who is a psychiatrist have been encouraging me to get back on the meds and my doc prescribed 20 mg cymbalta but when I take it or any other significant amount of medication it causes my anxiety to sky-rocket and my craving for stimulants.  

 

I am really in a desperate place right now because I do not know where to turn... my family is understandably concerned but I feel as though no one can understand or hear what I am going through... tried to take 1 mg of Lexapro last night and woke up this morning with high anxiety again and an intense craving for stimulants..... not sure what to do here.. should I try to re-instate at a lower dose?  

 

I know I need to quit smoking and drinking coffee but it is incredibly difficult with my coupled with my withdrawal symptoms.... I even considered trying to switch to Wellbutrin but not sure if this would help... Any advice would be greatly appreciated and please let me know if you need more info or if I left any pertinent information out.  Thanks in advance!!!

 

Dave

Edited by Petu
added paragraph breaks for readability

2007-October 2012 - Lexapro 20mg

October 2012 - December 2012 - Cymbalta 60mg

December 2012- February 2013 - Cymbalta 30 mg

February 2013 - March 2013 - Tapered from Prozac 20 mg - 0 mg

May 2013 - September 2013 - Switched from Cymbalta to Prozac to Lexapro

September of 2013 - Stabilized at 5 mg Lexapro

September 2013-November 2013 too rapid taper from Lexapro 5mg-0mg

Current: in withdrawal hell and not knowing what to do!!

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Dave,

Welcome to SA and thank you for posting an introduction.

 

I can understand your desperation about not knowing what to do, being caught between the limited understanding of your family,  and your own experience, many of us here know what that is like.  It must be especially difficult having a psychiatrist in the family, they are trained to believe medication is the only viable treatment.

 

Why were you started on medication to begin with?

 

I'm a little confused about your situation, are you currently taking anything at the moment?  When were you last stable on a medication?

 

It would be helpful if you put your medication and withdrawal history in your signature, instructions are here:

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/893-please-put-your-withdrawal-history-in-your-signature/

 

Besides craving stimulants, are you having any other symptoms?  If you regularly smoke and drink coffee, its quite 'normal' to crave them if you haven't had any for a while, so waking up in the morning and wanting to have a coffee and a cigarette might not be connected with medication withdrawal.  Its not a good idea to try and give up 3 addictions at the same time.

 

It may be helpful to reinstate a small amount of the last medication you were stable on, and when we know more about your situation, we will be able to suggest something.  It sounds like the last stable drug you were on was Lexapro?

 

There are healthier methods than drugs for dealing with anxiety and sadness, which are normal parts of life, you will find good help and support here for coming off your medications and finding better ways to deal with life.

 

Petu.

I'm not a doctor.  My comments are not medical advise. These are my opinions based on my own experience and what I've learned. Please discuss your situation with a medical practitioner who has knowledge of tapering and withdrawal...if you are lucky enough to find one.

My Introduction Thread

Full Drug and Withdrawal History

Brief Summary

Several SSRIs for 13 years starting 1997 (for mild to moderate partly situational anxiety) Xanax PRN ~ Various other drugs over the years for side effects

2 month 'taper' off Lexapro 2010

Short acute withdrawal, followed by 2 -3 months of improvement then delayed protracted withdrawal

DX ADHD followed by several years of stimulants and other drugs trying to manage increasing symptoms

Failed reinstatement of Lexapro and trial of Prozac (became suicidal)

May 2013 Found SA, learned about withdrawal, stopped taking drugs...healing begins.

Protracted withdrawal, with a very sensitized nervous system, slowly recovering as time passes

Supplements which have helped: Vitamin C, Magnesium, Taurine

Bad reactions: Many supplements but mostly fish oil and Vitamin D

June 2016 - Started daily juicing, mostly vegetables and lots of greens.

Aug 2016 - Oct 2016 Best window ever, felt almost completely recovered

Oct 2016 -Symptoms returned - bad days and less bad days.

April 2018 - No windows, but significant improvement, it feels like permanent full recovery is close.

VIDEO: Where did the chemical imbalance theory come from?



VIDEO: How are psychiatric diagnoses made?



VIDEO: Why do psychiatric drugs have withdrawal syndromes?



VIDEO: Can psychiatric drugs cause long-lasting negative effects?

VIDEO: Dr. Claire Weekes

 

 

 

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Hey Petu and thanks for responding,

           I suppose I was last stable in October of 2013 on 5mg Lexapro... I was originally put on 20 mg in 2007 for MDD.  You are probably right about the caffeine and nicotine being unrelated addictions but nevertheless my cravings for them go up exponentially when I try to reinstate.  The last dosage I tried to reinstate at was 1 mg and it felt like my brain was covered by a blanket, I had high anxiety, and the stimulant cravings went through the roof... I agree that I probably need to reinstate but not exactly sure at what dosage, etc... also it is hard with my Dr. wanting to put me back on a full dose med.  Thanks!!

2007-October 2012 - Lexapro 20mg

October 2012 - December 2012 - Cymbalta 60mg

December 2012- February 2013 - Cymbalta 30 mg

February 2013 - March 2013 - Tapered from Prozac 20 mg - 0 mg

May 2013 - September 2013 - Switched from Cymbalta to Prozac to Lexapro

September of 2013 - Stabilized at 5 mg Lexapro

September 2013-November 2013 too rapid taper from Lexapro 5mg-0mg

Current: in withdrawal hell and not knowing what to do!!

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Sjufan, I'm sorry you are feeling so bad. Lexapro is available in a liquid if you could get hold of it,

then try a tiny dose to see if it helps, maybe .5 or even less. It's amazing how just a tiny dose can

make a difference sometimes.  Sadly there are no guarantees though, but worth a try. 

 

Here's the topic for tapering lexapro

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/406-tips-for-tapering-off-lexapro-escitalopram/

 

And one on reinstating .

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/3079-about-reinstating-and-stabilizing-to-stop-withdrawal-symptoms/

**I am not a medical professional, if in doubt please consult a doctor with withdrawal knowledge.

 

 

Different drugs occasionally (mostly benzos) 1976 - 1981 (no problem)

1993 - 2002 in and out of hospital. every type of drug + ECT. Staring with seroxat

2002  effexor. 

Tapered  March 2012 to March 2013, ending with 5 beads.

Withdrawal April 2013 . Reinstated 5 beads reduced to 4 beads May 2013

Restarted taper  Nov 2013  

OFF EFFEXOR Feb 2015    :D 

Tapered atenolol and omeprazole Dec 2013 - May 2014

 

Tapering tramadol, Feb 2015 100mg , March 2015 50mg  

 July 2017 30mg.  May 15 2018 25mg

Taking fish oil, magnesium, B12, folic acid, bilberry eyebright for eye pressure. 

 

My story http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/4199-hello-mammap-checking-in/page-33

 

Lesson learned, slow down taper at lower doses. Taper no more than 10% of CURRENT dose if possible

 

 

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  • Administrator

Welcome, sjufan84.

 

It sounds like your nervous system has been sensitized by going on and off drugs, drinking, etc.

 

Your observation that 10mg Prozac was too much for you was probably accurate.

 

As mammaP said, even taking a tiny amount of Lexapro might help. It comes in a liquid for titration. Please read the link she supplied.

 

Perhaps your sister the psychiatrist might educate herself about withdrawal syndrome by looking at this site.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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Thanks for the tips. I already have liquid Lexapro so I am good to go there just a matter of finding the right dose!! My plan is to taper off the cigs and the caffeine I know it is not helping my cause but it tough while going through ssri withdrawals. Anybody with any experience with this? Thanks for the replies!!!

2007-October 2012 - Lexapro 20mg

October 2012 - December 2012 - Cymbalta 60mg

December 2012- February 2013 - Cymbalta 30 mg

February 2013 - March 2013 - Tapered from Prozac 20 mg - 0 mg

May 2013 - September 2013 - Switched from Cymbalta to Prozac to Lexapro

September of 2013 - Stabilized at 5 mg Lexapro

September 2013-November 2013 too rapid taper from Lexapro 5mg-0mg

Current: in withdrawal hell and not knowing what to do!!

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  • Moderator Emeritus

I'd say taper down the caffeine as soon as possible, maybe over a period of four or five days; most people find that caffeine makes withdrawal symptoms worse. I don't think that trying to quit smoking during withdrawal is such a great plan though.  I'd say go with the reinstatement first and try cutting your caffeine intake back a little more each day.

Started on Prozac and Xanax in 1992 for PTSD after an assault. One drug led to more, the usual story. Got sicker and sicker, but believed I needed the drugs for my "underlying disease". Long story...lost everything. Life savings, home, physical and mental health, relationships, friendships, ability to work, everything. Amitryptiline, Prozac, bupropion, buspirone, flurazepam, diazepam, alprazolam, Paxil, citalopram, lamotrigine, gabapentin...probably more I've forgotten. 

Started multidrug taper in Feb 2010.  Doing a very slow microtaper, down to low doses now and feeling SO much better, getting my old personality and my brain back! Able to work full time, have a full social life, and cope with stress better than ever. Not perfect, but much better. After 23 lost years. Big Pharma has a lot to answer for. And "medicine for profit" is just not a great idea.

 

Feb 15 2010:  300 mg Neurontin  200 Lamictal   10 Celexa      0.65 Xanax   and 5 mg Ambien 

Feb 10 2014:   62 Lamictal    1.1 Celexa         0.135 Xanax    1.8 Valium

Feb 10 2015:   50 Lamictal      0.875 Celexa    0.11 Xanax      1.5 Valium

Feb 15 2016:   47.5 Lamictal   0.75 Celexa      0.0875 Xanax    1.42 Valium    

2/12/20             12                       0.045               0.007                   1 

May 2021            7                       0.01                  0.0037                1

Feb 2022            6                      0!!!                     0.00167               0.98                2.5 mg Ambien

Oct 2022       4.5 mg Lamictal    (off Celexa, off Xanax)   0.95 Valium    Ambien, 1/4 to 1/2 of a 5 mg tablet 

 

I'm not a doctor. Any advice I give is just my civilian opinion.

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Thanks Rhi. It is so nice to have found a community of people that understand this. It is truly like a breath of fresh air!!! I will keep you all posted on my progress.

2007-October 2012 - Lexapro 20mg

October 2012 - December 2012 - Cymbalta 60mg

December 2012- February 2013 - Cymbalta 30 mg

February 2013 - March 2013 - Tapered from Prozac 20 mg - 0 mg

May 2013 - September 2013 - Switched from Cymbalta to Prozac to Lexapro

September of 2013 - Stabilized at 5 mg Lexapro

September 2013-November 2013 too rapid taper from Lexapro 5mg-0mg

Current: in withdrawal hell and not knowing what to do!!

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