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Pagey: Need help dealing with acute escitalopram WDs


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Hi everyone,


I'm new to the forum, this is my first post but I happened upon this place while googling brain zap cures and thought I might be able to get some help here.

I'd been on 10mg escitalopram (Lexapro) daily since september and quit cold turkey approximately 10 days ago. I do realise it was stupid of me not to taper but I'd just undergone a really traumatic event that completely killed by ability to care about myself and I just wanted those meds out of my system :( and now I've gotten this far already there's just no way I'm getting back on them.


Anyway, since then it's been unending nausea, fever, flu-like symptoms, insomnia, one seizure which landed me in hospital but most of all these brain zaps and what I'm calling 'body zaps' because they feel the same, except all over my body and they happen pretty much every 10 seconds. They're just killing me. Every time I get one I also get a vague auditory hallucination and my vision gets a bit weird as well. I've noticed this happens especially when I'm trying to sleep and when I first get up in the mornings.

At the hospital they gave me low-dose Seroquel to help with sleep but they didn't give me a prescription so I've got nothing now. I've been to a couple doctors, all of whom keep denying there's even such a thing as SSRI withdrawals...so frustrating.


So I figured this place is probably where I can find the most help when it comes to dealing with such symptoms on your own: I'm especially looking for help regarding those electric shock sensations...anyone found anything that helps?

Also, does anyone have any clue how long these WDs last?! I'm finding testimonies speaking of months and it's scaring me a little...


Thanks very much.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hello Pagey,


You're not going to like this, but the only thing that's going to fix your withdrawal symptoms is to go back on Lexapro, wait for your symptoms to subside, and start a slow, sane taper. You're already having really severe withdrawal symptoms and I assure you they can get worse without reinstatement. I went off Lexapro too fast in December of 2011 and it's taken me two and a half years to recover at about 99%. I was disabled for the first four months, mostly bedridden, and able to go out of the house only for the bare necessities. I was able to sleep only every two or three days. I didn't know about reinstatement then. You can read my stories by clicking on the links in my signature below.


Antidepressants make structural changes in the brain, killing off some neurons and creating others. (This is why it takes upwards of three weeks for an SSRI antidepressant to take effect.)  These changes are abnormal and once they're made the brain needs the drug to function. When you remove the drug abruptly, the brain flounders around trying to get back to normal (a slow process) and this is where withdrawal symptoms originate.  We recommend a slow taper at no more than 10% of the current dose and stabilizing for a month or so between reductions in order to be comfortable while the brain rebuilds itself. Getting the drug out of one's system isn't the problem, it's supporting the brain while it regrows in a normal configuration.  Here's a specific topic on tapering off Lexapro:  Tips for Tapering Off Lexapro and another on reinstating:  Reinstating and Stabilizing  Please keep in mind that you've only got thirty days or so to reinstate with assurance that it will help.  After that, it may help, it may not, and it may make you feel even worse.


When you have time, please put your drug history in your signature: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/893-please-put-your-withdrawal-history-in-your-signature/


Welcome to the forum, Pagey. You'll find lots of solid 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

Hello Pagey and welcome,


since escitalopram, aslo known as Lexapro is the reason I'm here (the only good thing it did for me), I feel the need to stress what Jemima wrote for you.


We are all almost without exception extremely reluctant to reinstate hoping we can tough it out. But the problem with ADs is that the withdrawal symptoms don't go away over time but get worse. I stopped taking it at a much smaller dose than you 2.5 mg and "lasted" for 45 days with symptoms gradually increasing to such a level that I felt as if I was losing my mind. The longer we wait to reinstate, the longer it will take for us to stabilise and start tapering in a safe way which enables us to come off  of these meds and not suffer dreadfully at the same time. In my case it took 4 months to start feeling bearable. 


I was actually lucky the reinstatement worked. For people who waited too long, it doesn't work and they end up in something called protracted withdrawal which means intense suffering for years or more meds. Except that nothing can provide a quick fix. 10 days off with such intense withdrawal symptoms, the sooner you go back to your full dose, the sooner you will be able to come off of it in a safe way.


I took the time to repeat my story again to save you from what was the most dreadful experience of my life.


I was taking it a lot longer than you and was taking other ADs before as well as a benzo but your brain is giving you some very clear messages.


This can be done in a way that doesn't cause such suffering.


I'm very glad you found us and welcome again. 



Current: 9/2022 Xanax 0.08, Lexapro 2

2020 Xanax 0.26 (down from 2 mg in 2013), Lexapro 2.85 mg (down from 5 mg 2013)

Amitriptyline (tricyclic AD) and clonazepam for 3 months to treat headache in 1996 
1999. - present Xanax prn up to 3 mg.
2000-2005 Prozac CT twice, 2005-2010 Zoloft CT 3 times, 2010-2013 Escitalopram 10 mg
went from 2.5 to zero on 7 Aug 2013, bad crash 40 days after
reinstated to 5 mg Escitalopram 4Oct 2013 and holding liquid Xanax every 5 hours
28 Jan 2014 Xanax 1.9, 18 Apr  2015 1 mg,  25 June 2015 Lex 4.8, 6 Aug Lexapro 4.6, 1 Jan 2016 0.64  Xanax     9 month hold

24 Sept 2016 4.5 Lex, 17 Oct 4.4 Lex (Nov 0.63 Xanax, Dec 0.625 Xanax), 1 Jan 2017 4.3 Lex, 24 Jan 4.2, 5 Feb 4.1, 24 Mar 4 mg, 10 Apr 3.9 mg, May 3.85, June 3.8, July 3.75, 22 July 3.7, 15 Aug 3.65, 17 Sept 3.6, 1 Jan 2018 3.55, 19 Jan 3.5, 16 Mar 3.4, 14 Apr 3.3, 23 May 3.2, 16 June 3.15, 15 Jul 3.1, 31 Jul 3, 21 Aug 2.9 26 Sept 2.85, 14 Nov Xan 0.61, 1 Dec 0.59, 19 Dec 0.58, 4 Jan 0.565, 6 Feb 0.55, 20 Feb 0.535, 1 Mar 0.505, 10 Mar 0.475, 14 Mar 0.45, 4 Apr 0.415, 13 Apr 0.37, 21 Apr 0.33, 29 Apr 0.29, 10 May 0.27, 17 May 0.25, 28 May 0.22, 19 June 0.22, 21 Jun updose to 0.24, 24 Jun updose to 0.26

Supplements: Omega 3 + Vit E, Vit C, D, magnesium, Taurine, probiotic 

I'm not a medical professional. Any advice I give is based on my own experience and reading. 

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  • Administrator

Welcome, Pagey.


It's possible even 2.5mg Lexapro might make the withdrawal symptoms go away. Do you have any left? Please read the links Jemima gave you for instructions about titrating Lexapro.

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 understand why you are scared! Who would;t be… what you describe is frightening, unnecessary & downright irresponsible on the hospital's part.


Please do what Alto says and take the dose of lexapro she suggests. I ave seen time and time again that this works to stop the terrible symptoms that you are experiencing very quickly ( nearly immediately in some cases) , you will stabilize ( get to feeling at least functional) and then there is plenty of help and support here to guide you to the rest of your taper.




RU :)

Fall 1995 xanax, zoloft. switched to Serzone

1996- spring 2003serzone/ xanax/ lightbox.

b]Fall 2003- Fall 2004? Lexapro 10 mg. Light box /4 mg. xanax.[/b]

2004 - Fall of 2009 10 mg Lex, 150 mg Wellbutrin XL % 4 mg xanax

November 2009- Sept. 2011 10 mg lex., 300 Well. XL, 4 mg Xanax [/b

Sept.2012- July 2012 20 mg Lex 300 Well. XL, 4 mg Xanax

My mantra " go slow & with the flow "

3/2/13.. Began equal dosing 5 Xs /day xanax, while simultaneously incorporating a 2.5 % drop ( from 3.5 mg/day to 3.4 mg/day)

4/6/13 dropped from 300 mg. Wellbutrin XL to 150 mg. Difficult but DONE! Down to 3.3 mg xanax/ day / 6/10/13 3 mg xanax/day; 7/15/2013 2.88mg xanax/day.

10/ 1/2013...... 2.5 mg xanax… ( switched to tablets again) WOO HOO!!!!!! Holding here… cont. with Lexapro.

1/ 2/2014.. tapered to 18mg ( by weight) of a 26 mg ( by weight) pill of 20 mg tab. lexapro. goal is 13mg (by weight OR 10 mg by ingredient content) and STOPPED. Feeling very down with unbalanced, unpredictable WD symptoms.

1/2/2014- ??? Taking a brain-healing break from tapering anything after actively tapering something for 1.5 years. So… daily doses as of 2/2/2014: 18 mg by weight Lex, 150 mg Well. XL, 2.5 mg xanax, down from 26 mg by weight Lex., 300 mg well. XL, 4 mg xanax in August, 2012. I'll take it. :) 5/8/14 started equivalent dose liquid./ tabs. 5/13/14 1.5 % cut.

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