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RealityCheck: I thought coming off a low dose of Lexapro would be no big deal


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Hey everyone, new participant here, freshly off a 3 year course of Lexapro at a dose of 7.5 mg for most of that time. It's been 2.5 weeks since my last dose after a one-month taper and I am amazed at how sick I have been feeling. Stomach issues, dizziness, some spikes of anxiety... those are the main ones. Head is clearing a tiny bit but I feel there's a long way to go. Any encouraging words would be appreciated. I'm grateful to have found this forum!

On and off SSRI and SNRI meds since 1996

1996-2001: Prozac, then Effexor (discontinued 2001)

2008-2010: Cymbalta (discontinued 2010 for pregnancy attempts)

5/2011: Started Lexapro 10 mg for anxiety/panic. Adjusted dose down to 7.5 mg and did great.

3/2014: Life is good, I am stable... time to get off the meds again -- should be no big deal, right? Such a low dose...

Lexapro taper: One month to come down from 7.5 mg by 33% decreases... 7.5 mg to 5 mg, then 5 mg to 2.5 mg, then 2.5 mg every other day (bad idea), experienced nausea and GI upset that I thought was a stomach bug... then

4/14/14: discontinued Lexapro and began several weeks of confusion, panic, nausea, dizziness, joint pain, hoarseness, etc.

5/1/14: reinstated Lexapro at 1 mg or as close to that as I can get, with 5 mg tablets and a pill splitter.  Felt improved by the next day, not great, but improved.

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Hi RC;it would be good if you put your medication history in your signature.

Antidepressants change the brain chemical structure, and it takes some time to go back to normal.But it will.

Stick around, and be patient.

4 years aprox. on 150mgs.Effexor for situational major depression.No AD before.
Tapered 150-0mgs in 3 months.

Tapered Quetiapine,Xanax in the last 18 months.NO med of any kind anymore.
First 3 months off acute w/d
Protracted w/d ever since.
Symptoms:Anxiety,anhedonia,insomnia,tinnitus,PSSD

04/13/2014 Awful Relapse.Recovered fairly fast.

3 years and 4 months off.

waves and windows.Very much recovered.

November 2015,health issue.Setback.
 

 

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Thank you, I added a signature... on my phone... My poor eyes! Did I do it correctly?

On and off SSRI and SNRI meds since 1996

1996-2001: Prozac, then Effexor (discontinued 2001)

2008-2010: Cymbalta (discontinued 2010 for pregnancy attempts)

5/2011: Started Lexapro 10 mg for anxiety/panic. Adjusted dose down to 7.5 mg and did great.

3/2014: Life is good, I am stable... time to get off the meds again -- should be no big deal, right? Such a low dose...

Lexapro taper: One month to come down from 7.5 mg by 33% decreases... 7.5 mg to 5 mg, then 5 mg to 2.5 mg, then 2.5 mg every other day (bad idea), experienced nausea and GI upset that I thought was a stomach bug... then

4/14/14: discontinued Lexapro and began several weeks of confusion, panic, nausea, dizziness, joint pain, hoarseness, etc.

5/1/14: reinstated Lexapro at 1 mg or as close to that as I can get, with 5 mg tablets and a pill splitter.  Felt improved by the next day, not great, but improved.

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  • Administrator

Yes, it looks fine.

 

Welcome, RealityCheck.

 

As you suspect, you are suffering withdrawal syndrome from going off Lexapro too fast. In such situations, we've seen that going back on a very small amount, 1mg for example, can stop the withdrawal symptoms. After stabilizing for a month or so, you can then taper off by very tiny amounts.

 

Lexapro comes in a liquid that makes such titration easy, or you can make your own, see http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/406-tips-for-tapering-off-lexapro-escitalopram/

 

Given you've been on and off drugs a number of times, if I were you, I'd assume from now on your nervous system is sensitized and be very, very cautious about taking any more psychiatric drugs.

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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  • Moderator Emeritus

I went off of Lexapro 10 mg. over a three and a half month period, according to my doctor's advice, and was sick for over two years, so I hope you'll take Alto's advice and reinstate a small amount.  It will save you a great deal of illness and mental anguish. It seems counter-intuitive, but getting off the lower doses is more difficult than the initial cuts.  I went from 10 mg. to 5 mg. with no problems, and then to 2.5 mg, which is where the antidepressant withdrawal syndrome started and settled in for a long stay. I wish I had known how reinstatement could help back then, but I think I was too whacked out to grasp the idea.

 

Welcome to the forum.  You'll find lots of good information and friendly support here.

Psychotropic drug history: Pristiq 50 mg. (mid-September 2010 through February 2011), Remeron (mid-September 2010 through January 2011), Lexapro 10 mg. (mid-February 2011 through mid-December 2011), Lorazepam (Ativan) 1 mg. as needed mid-September 2010 through early March 2012

"Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity." -Hanlon's Razor


Introduction: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1588-introducing-jemima/

 

Success Story: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6263-success-jemima-survives-lexapro-and-dr-dickhead-too/

Please note that I am not a medical professional and my advice is based on personal experience, reading, and anecdotal information posted by other sufferers.

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi RC,

I'm another one who is suffering protracted withdrawal from coming off Lexapro too fast.  I hope you consider reinstatement and then a slow, safe taper.  Lexapro is actually a much stronger SSRI than many doctors realize, have a look at our Lexapro topic here:

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/406-tips-for-tapering-off-lexapro-escitalopram/?hl=%2Btips+%2Bfor+%2Btapering+%2Boff+%2Blexapro

 

Here is some information about reinstatement, which will explain more about it:

 

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

 

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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Thank you all greatly. I'm willing to reinstate 1 mg. will do my best to eyeball a faction of a quarter tablet or may try DIY liquid as you all suggest. Reinstatement feels like a setback, but I tend to be a black & white thinker about things, which is so typical of the depressive/anxious persona I want to transcend.

On and off SSRI and SNRI meds since 1996

1996-2001: Prozac, then Effexor (discontinued 2001)

2008-2010: Cymbalta (discontinued 2010 for pregnancy attempts)

5/2011: Started Lexapro 10 mg for anxiety/panic. Adjusted dose down to 7.5 mg and did great.

3/2014: Life is good, I am stable... time to get off the meds again -- should be no big deal, right? Such a low dose...

Lexapro taper: One month to come down from 7.5 mg by 33% decreases... 7.5 mg to 5 mg, then 5 mg to 2.5 mg, then 2.5 mg every other day (bad idea), experienced nausea and GI upset that I thought was a stomach bug... then

4/14/14: discontinued Lexapro and began several weeks of confusion, panic, nausea, dizziness, joint pain, hoarseness, etc.

5/1/14: reinstated Lexapro at 1 mg or as close to that as I can get, with 5 mg tablets and a pill splitter.  Felt improved by the next day, not great, but improved.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Liquid is your best bet for an accurate amount, which is especially important at low doses. Give it at least four full days to take effect, and please let us know how you're doing.

Psychotropic drug history: Pristiq 50 mg. (mid-September 2010 through February 2011), Remeron (mid-September 2010 through January 2011), Lexapro 10 mg. (mid-February 2011 through mid-December 2011), Lorazepam (Ativan) 1 mg. as needed mid-September 2010 through early March 2012

"Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity." -Hanlon's Razor


Introduction: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1588-introducing-jemima/

 

Success Story: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6263-success-jemima-survives-lexapro-and-dr-dickhead-too/

Please note that I am not a medical professional and my advice is based on personal experience, reading, and anecdotal information posted by other sufferers.

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

If it helps, instead of thinking of it as a setback, think of it as a course correction.

 

The "no reinstatement" course generally leads to crashing into a wall head-on followed by, usually, one to three years of misery (often unable to work, losing marriages, etc.) before getting back to health, or, commonly, ending up back on full doses or even multiple meds. The "small reinstatement" course won't completely stop the withdrawal but it will cushion it and allow you to stabilize and avoid crashing head-on into a wall (more like riding bumpily over some rough terrain before settling down, shaken and maybe with a few teeth loose, but not crushed.)

 

Your course correction will allow you to continue to move forward and reach your goal without disaster. And you will become one of the many people we actually DO know, here, who have successfully gotten off meds after many years of use.

 

See how much better that sounds? :-)

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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If it helps, instead of thinking of it as a setback, think of it as a course correction.

 

The "no reinstatement" course generally leads to crashing into a wall head-on followed by, usually, one to three years of misery (often unable to work, losing marriages, etc.) before getting back to health, or, commonly, ending up back on full doses or even multiple meds. The "small reinstatement" course won't completely stop the withdrawal but it will cushion it and allow you to stabilize and avoid crashing head-on into a wall (more like riding bumpily over some rough terrain before settling down, shaken and maybe with a few teeth loose, but not crushed.)

 

Your course correction will allow you to continue to move forward and reach your goal without disaster. And you will become one of the many people we actually DO know, here, who have successfully gotten off meds after many years of use.

 

See how much better that sounds? :-)

I gotta say, Rhi -

 

you really nailed it. really nailed it. i needed to read this today - me at 0.5 mg and riding bumpily over some rough terrain but with splendidly glorious days here and there -  but oh so grateful not to be on the verge of disability as i was 2 yrs ago. that was a nightmare i wouldnt wish on anyone.

 

Welcome RealityCheck - you are in the right place! Truly ~~

 

7 yrs Lexapro 10 mg. Mar/2011 - 1 month taper. Severe W/D. Multiple symptoms.Gallbladder and parathyroid surgery in Aug and Oct. Disability 3 months.  Dec/2011 reinstated 5mg Lex and went back to work. very bad shape.

By Aug/2012 - self tapered to 1.25 mg cutting pills. -very bad shape. Nov/2012  Dr. Hinz neuro-replete. up and down. Aug/2013 at aprox 1.0 mg Lex stopped neuro-replete ~Oct 2013 Found this site  ~ began using compounded Lexapro and have been micro tapering since then and holding as needed.

11/6/2013 -  0.6 mg

2/1/2018 - .135 mg  Now reducing 5-10% per month 

4/1/18 - .1 mg

4/17/18 - changed delivery from compounded individual caps to aliquot. went from .1 mg to .09 aliquot

7/4/2018 - .09 mg Holding due to wave of W/D symptoms

7/22/18 updosed to .1 mg aliquot

9/30/18 - reduced to .0975 aliquot

2/1/19 - updosed to .1 mg aliquot due to instability bad wave W/D

9/12/19 - back to .1 mg individual caps since could not get stable using aliquot

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Hello & welcome to this wonderful forum :)

 

I tried like you did taper my celexa for a short time and then quit, got very sick, i always reinstarted it and the last time i reinstarted it i tapered it for around a year, then i could get over it, but withdrawal hit me anyway but im fighting and it has been much better than it was a few months ago.

2007 - 2013: was on citalopram (tried to quit a few times, never worked, always went back on. max dose 40mg)

2012-2013: was tapering my citalopram all down to 2,5 mg then quit.
2013/aug: Took  my last pill 

W/D hit me bad after a few weeks off my medicine.

2014/August: 12 months off (much improved)

2015/April: 20months off. ( much improved, still some symtoms comes in waves, but not so intense.)

2015/june: 22months off. FELT different than before, all shakings suddenly stopped, feel much better. a fantastic feeling!

2016/Feb : 2 years and 6 months off, END of my suffering. I feel perfectly fine and back to normal. 
2018/Oct: Iam still feeling great. It is hard to believe my own story when I read back, what I went through!

 

 

 

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Thanks everyone and yes, Rhi, "course correction" sounds a whole lot better.  After just a couple of doses at 1 mg, I don't feel like I'm in crisis, and that's really good.  Is it the placebo effect?  Maybe -- but the more I read about SSRI's and this one in particular, the more I am starting to understand how powerful these drugs are, so who's to say that 1 mg would not change anything? 

 

One thing I'm noticing is that certain situations that used to cause me anxiety on my full dose of Lexapro, like freeway driving, are actually causing LESS anxiety now that my dose is almost at nothing.  I had sometimes suspected that the medication wasn't really doing what I signed up for it to do and that it actually might be causing some problems that hadn't been there before.  Either that or I have actually learned some tools to deal with anxiety instead of relying on a drug to do it for me.  Of course this isn't true across the board, and I had some very upsetting, panicky moments over the weeks of withdrawal... my hope is that the withdrawal was causing that imbalance, and it's not the new (or for me, old) normal in the post-Lexapro years. 

 

I'm trying to be selective about what I show up for and how hard I push myself, but it's a fine balance that I definitely don't always get right.  Maybe some of you all have tips about this... and I am looking forward to delving deeper into some of the message boards about self-care and emotional management techniques.  When I'm on meds I don't have to work as hard to be in harmony with reality, and I can push myself really hard and not really feel the pain.  The whole system is more fragile now and needs almost constant oversight to keep it in balance.  It's easy to see how insurance companies love these meds -- they keep their workers productive!  Brain-damaged, perhaps, but they don't take as many of those pricey sick days... until they try to quit.

On and off SSRI and SNRI meds since 1996

1996-2001: Prozac, then Effexor (discontinued 2001)

2008-2010: Cymbalta (discontinued 2010 for pregnancy attempts)

5/2011: Started Lexapro 10 mg for anxiety/panic. Adjusted dose down to 7.5 mg and did great.

3/2014: Life is good, I am stable... time to get off the meds again -- should be no big deal, right? Such a low dose...

Lexapro taper: One month to come down from 7.5 mg by 33% decreases... 7.5 mg to 5 mg, then 5 mg to 2.5 mg, then 2.5 mg every other day (bad idea), experienced nausea and GI upset that I thought was a stomach bug... then

4/14/14: discontinued Lexapro and began several weeks of confusion, panic, nausea, dizziness, joint pain, hoarseness, etc.

5/1/14: reinstated Lexapro at 1 mg or as close to that as I can get, with 5 mg tablets and a pill splitter.  Felt improved by the next day, not great, but improved.

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Just wanted to check in after a week at 1 mg. overall I've felt a little better than before I reinstated. I'm still having some GI issues like frequent indigestion and diarrhea. The dizziness has improved somewhat. My energy is quite low. I had a couple of good days during the last week but just not as stable as at a full dose. Emotions running very "big" and the negative ones have more staying power than they did before. I got so angry the other day and it just took hours to let it go. But when I feel centered it's really nice and I love knowing that it's natural. Head is clearing too and my access to my vocabulary seems to be returning.

 

Any suggestions for the digestive issues? I'll look at the symptoms pages too.

 

Honestly sometimes wonder if it would be easier just to ease the dose up a little to 2.5... ? Don't want to give up too soon though. And really don't want to go thru withdrawal again!

 

Thanks

RC

On and off SSRI and SNRI meds since 1996

1996-2001: Prozac, then Effexor (discontinued 2001)

2008-2010: Cymbalta (discontinued 2010 for pregnancy attempts)

5/2011: Started Lexapro 10 mg for anxiety/panic. Adjusted dose down to 7.5 mg and did great.

3/2014: Life is good, I am stable... time to get off the meds again -- should be no big deal, right? Such a low dose...

Lexapro taper: One month to come down from 7.5 mg by 33% decreases... 7.5 mg to 5 mg, then 5 mg to 2.5 mg, then 2.5 mg every other day (bad idea), experienced nausea and GI upset that I thought was a stomach bug... then

4/14/14: discontinued Lexapro and began several weeks of confusion, panic, nausea, dizziness, joint pain, hoarseness, etc.

5/1/14: reinstated Lexapro at 1 mg or as close to that as I can get, with 5 mg tablets and a pill splitter.  Felt improved by the next day, not great, but improved.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi RC, just read through your thread and I'm glad that you reinstated and are feeling much better.

I would hold at 1mg for a while and allow your nervous system to settle. There will be days when 

you get odd symptoms, it's all part of the healing process. It can take a while to stabilise, months

for some people but generally they are able to get on with life while stabilising.

 

Many of us have found that a good probiotic helps a great deal with gastro problems.  You'll find

lots of suggestions in the symptoms and self care topics. Personally my gut is better  since I

started using psyllium husk with live yogurt in my oats.  

**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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  • Moderator Emeritus

Given that you're still feeling some pretty strong withdrawal symptoms after a week, if I were you, I probably would updose to 1.5 or 2.0 mg. Please consider making your pills into a liquid or getting liquid Lexapro prescribed, though.  Even a little inaccuracy can make a difference.  Also consider that I'm a ninny and don't tolerate discomfort very well.  If you're satisfied with your progress at 1.0 mg., just ignore me.

 

Glad to see that reinstatement is working for you.

Psychotropic drug history: Pristiq 50 mg. (mid-September 2010 through February 2011), Remeron (mid-September 2010 through January 2011), Lexapro 10 mg. (mid-February 2011 through mid-December 2011), Lorazepam (Ativan) 1 mg. as needed mid-September 2010 through early March 2012

"Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity." -Hanlon's Razor


Introduction: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1588-introducing-jemima/

 

Success Story: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6263-success-jemima-survives-lexapro-and-dr-dickhead-too/

Please note that I am not a medical professional and my advice is based on personal experience, reading, and anecdotal information posted by other sufferers.

 

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  • Administrator

RC, you may be running into problems with varying dosage since you're cutting tablets.

 

Please at least make your own liquid so you can be more consistent in your dosing.

 

....

Lexapro comes in a liquid that makes such titration easy, or you can make your own, see http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/406-tips-for-tapering-off-lexapro-escitalopram/

 

Given you've been on and off drugs a number of times, if I were you, I'd assume from now on your nervous system is sensitized and be very, very cautious about taking any more psychiatric drugs.

 

It's up to you if you wish to nudge the dosage up. If I were you, I'd do this gradually with a liquid, maybe by increments of .25mg not more often than every 4 days. You can see how the increase affects you.

 

I would be very gradual because you probably will feel terrible if you accidentally take too much. A sensitized nervous system is very, very sensitive.

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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Okay, I will try mixing up some liquid solution tonight. I don't want to up the dose and hadn't considered that I might have been doing so by accident. I picked up some Culturelle today... maybe it will work better than the probiotic pearls I was taking before... it certainly costs more.

 

I'm having a good day today, and two days ago was also good -- by that I mean that mood and energy were both okay after the usual nausea and existential angst in the morning. So two of the last three days were okay. I would say that's moving in the right direction.

 

Thanks so much for your kind support everyone!

On and off SSRI and SNRI meds since 1996

1996-2001: Prozac, then Effexor (discontinued 2001)

2008-2010: Cymbalta (discontinued 2010 for pregnancy attempts)

5/2011: Started Lexapro 10 mg for anxiety/panic. Adjusted dose down to 7.5 mg and did great.

3/2014: Life is good, I am stable... time to get off the meds again -- should be no big deal, right? Such a low dose...

Lexapro taper: One month to come down from 7.5 mg by 33% decreases... 7.5 mg to 5 mg, then 5 mg to 2.5 mg, then 2.5 mg every other day (bad idea), experienced nausea and GI upset that I thought was a stomach bug... then

4/14/14: discontinued Lexapro and began several weeks of confusion, panic, nausea, dizziness, joint pain, hoarseness, etc.

5/1/14: reinstated Lexapro at 1 mg or as close to that as I can get, with 5 mg tablets and a pill splitter.  Felt improved by the next day, not great, but improved.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Your "existential angst" may be due to high cortisol levels rather than any sort of philosophical-psychological crisis. This is another nasty feature of withdrawal. I found I could control my morning dread by keeping the bedroom as dark as possible, wearing a sleep mask, and mentally bracing myself before sliding the sleep mask off. I also found wearing sunglasses in the house on bright days until 1:00 PM or so was very helpful, and I always wore sunglasses outside during daylight hours. I did my shopping at twilight for the first several months of withdrawal, after the sun was setting but before most drivers turned on their headlights.  I wasn't aware of why I was doing my shopping at that hour at first, but after finding out about the cortisol connection it made sense.  Bright light can cause some nasty headaches and high anxiety due to light sensitivity in early withdrawal.

Psychotropic drug history: Pristiq 50 mg. (mid-September 2010 through February 2011), Remeron (mid-September 2010 through January 2011), Lexapro 10 mg. (mid-February 2011 through mid-December 2011), Lorazepam (Ativan) 1 mg. as needed mid-September 2010 through early March 2012

"Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity." -Hanlon's Razor


Introduction: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1588-introducing-jemima/

 

Success Story: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6263-success-jemima-survives-lexapro-and-dr-dickhead-too/

Please note that I am not a medical professional and my advice is based on personal experience, reading, and anecdotal information posted by other sufferers.

 

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  • 4 months later...

Ugh! Hey everyone! I haven't checked in here in so long. Still holding on to 1.25 mg escitalopram by my fingernails, since May. Have had major upheaval in the last few months and am just not bouncing back from it. Considering another updose to 2.5 mg if it doesn't resolve soon. MD found a vitamin D insufficiency so I'm supplementing that, plus fish oil, cal/mag, meditation and a (lame) attempt at regular exercise. Oh yeah I tried to start on birth control pills to see if that would help matters, but I abandoned them after a few weeks because I just didn't want to go on that ride. Even my husband is kind of like, why don't you just take a little more?

 

If anyone has experience with a depressive relapse/situational depression after tapering, I'd sure appreciate some feedback. It's kind of hard for me to function right now, barely getting by at work and have basically stopped doing anything that used to give me pleasure.  Thanks, Liz

On and off SSRI and SNRI meds since 1996

1996-2001: Prozac, then Effexor (discontinued 2001)

2008-2010: Cymbalta (discontinued 2010 for pregnancy attempts)

5/2011: Started Lexapro 10 mg for anxiety/panic. Adjusted dose down to 7.5 mg and did great.

3/2014: Life is good, I am stable... time to get off the meds again -- should be no big deal, right? Such a low dose...

Lexapro taper: One month to come down from 7.5 mg by 33% decreases... 7.5 mg to 5 mg, then 5 mg to 2.5 mg, then 2.5 mg every other day (bad idea), experienced nausea and GI upset that I thought was a stomach bug... then

4/14/14: discontinued Lexapro and began several weeks of confusion, panic, nausea, dizziness, joint pain, hoarseness, etc.

5/1/14: reinstated Lexapro at 1 mg or as close to that as I can get, with 5 mg tablets and a pill splitter.  Felt improved by the next day, not great, but improved.

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • Administrator

RealityCheck, I moved your post here, as an update to your topic.

 

It can take some time for supplementation to raise low vitamin D. Vitamin D is an extremely important vitamin.

 

A psychiatric drug cannot substitute for a nutritional deficiency. Hang in there, do what you can, it will get better.

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

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  • Moderator Emeritus

RC, it seems to be common with AD withdrawal for people to get through the initial acute withdrawal period and feel some improvement, and then to get hit three to nine months (five or six is most common) later with a blast of WD symptoms. I call it delayed postacute withdrawal. Very common and Lexapro is a frequent culprit.

 

I don't know what causes it, but I think it must have something to do with how the brain has to remodel itself when the drugs are reduced/removed. There must be something in that process that causes renewed instability some months out. Since most doctors don't know anything about withdrawal, this is the point where people are told they are having a return of their "underlying condition" and is the trap that often drags people into lifelong psych drug use, usually escalating to multiple drugs over time with an overall course of increasing dysfunction and disability. (If you haven't yet read Anatomy of an Epidemic, I recommend it.)

 

So this is probably not your new normal, but a temporary setback that will pass in a few months. You may need to go back to being extra careful about taking care of yourself (diet, sleep, gentle exercise, regular routine, reduce stress, etc.) Be very gentle with your nervous system.

 

I would be cautious about updosing at this point. You're far enough out that you're probably quite sensitive to small changes in dose. If you do choose to updose, I would go with very small increments only, start with going to 1.5 at most. You can ratchet it up gradually over many weeks if you choose to go that route. But at this point the increased instability caused by ANY change in your brain's chemistry (induced by changes in drugs) can just paradoxically make the symptoms worse rather than better.

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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  • Moderator Emeritus

It sounds like you're experiencing "depressive" type symptoms, very common at this stage. Ride it out if you can. Get plenty of light, either sunshine (sounds like you could use some with the vitamin D thing too) or those artificial therapy lights (10,000 lux minimum) for S.A.D. Get some kind of gentle exercise daily, doesn't have to be much. Even if you don't feel like it, make sure you are getting social experiences and social support. Stay away from alcohol, caffeine, sugar, refined carbs. These are all things that have seemed to help folks. Given the time of year I would particularly address the light thing right away. You'd be surprised how fast that can help.

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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  • 3 years later...

Reality Check,

 

how ow are you doing ? I am in a similar situation and been holding a dose of Lexapro of 0.7 mg. My main issue and symptom is depression which I never had before my panic attacks started. Updosing has crossed my mind because I get frustrated with the cycle of feeling better and then depressed again.

 

hope all is well

Current: escitalopram 0.7 mg Liquid in the evening,  Bupropion 300mg in the morning

 

August 2014 escitalopram 10 mg, Xanax 0.25 mg as needed October 2014 Bupropion 150mg November 2014  Increased Bupropion 300mg November 2016   escitalopram 7.5mg January 2017 escitalopram 5.0mg February 2017 escitalopram  3.75 March 2017 escitalopram 2.5mg

April 2017 escitalopram 1.25 May 2017 Converted escitalopram 5 mg tablets into liquid form using distilled water 2:1 ratio. escitalopram 1.0mg liquid form. June 2017 escitalopram 0.85mg July 2017 escitalopram 0.7 mg August 15, 2017 escitalopram  0.6 mg September 11, 2017 up dosed back to 0.7 mg due to returning anxiety. Xanax .025mg as needed.

 

Supplements: magnesium glycinate 400 mg, Just for men multi vitamin, Omega 3 fish oil, Fiber pills, probiotic.

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  • 3 months later...

Jprez and everyone else, were you able to get off completely? I titrated 10 MG Lexapro from 10 to 5 with no issues until about a month after I started 5 every other day. I went back on 5 daily, then titrated down to 2.5 daily and then off. Severe withdrawal starting about 1 week after being off completely. I reinstated 1ML (1mg) daily per Altostrata's recommendation and I'm feeling better but I still have bad dizziness. Will stabilize at 1mg for a month then go down in increments. Probably will stop after I get to .3mg and feeling ok.

Lexapro 10 MG 3 years on (Begin Summer 2014)

3 months taper duration (Begin taper Jan. 2018, end late March 2018.)

Reinstated 1MG liquid on April 9, 2018

Upped dose to 2.5 mg (2.5 ML) on April 12, 2018

Upped dose to 4mg on April 16, 2018

Upped dose to 5mg tablets on May 1, 2018

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Hi Bonzee,

 

I have stayed on 0.7 mg and have been holding and I have pretty much stabilized. It was rough. I have started a new job and want to get acclimated before I continue my taper. I will reduce 10% and hold for a month or two and take it from there. I am determined to get off and see if I can function

Current: escitalopram 0.7 mg Liquid in the evening,  Bupropion 300mg in the morning

 

August 2014 escitalopram 10 mg, Xanax 0.25 mg as needed October 2014 Bupropion 150mg November 2014  Increased Bupropion 300mg November 2016   escitalopram 7.5mg January 2017 escitalopram 5.0mg February 2017 escitalopram  3.75 March 2017 escitalopram 2.5mg

April 2017 escitalopram 1.25 May 2017 Converted escitalopram 5 mg tablets into liquid form using distilled water 2:1 ratio. escitalopram 1.0mg liquid form. June 2017 escitalopram 0.85mg July 2017 escitalopram 0.7 mg August 15, 2017 escitalopram  0.6 mg September 11, 2017 up dosed back to 0.7 mg due to returning anxiety. Xanax .025mg as needed.

 

Supplements: magnesium glycinate 400 mg, Just for men multi vitamin, Omega 3 fish oil, Fiber pills, probiotic.

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