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lexapronomo: Lexapro to Prozac

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lexapronomo

Thirteen years ago I was put on lexapro. I was drinking and doing drugs, young and very unhappy.  The idea of being on an antidepressant was exhilarating because I had been unhappy for a long time and wanted to feel better, I just didn't want to stop pounding booze and taking hard drugs.  

 

I stayed on lexapro for a long time, I have been on Prozac, welbutrin, and a couple others.  I can't remember all the names of them anymore.  There was a time when I prided myself on all of the different drugs I had tried.  I was proud of how broken I was.  

 

Six years ago I got clean.  I drove my truck into a house after drinking a couple bottles of wine and a handful of valium and went to jail.  I went to rehab and was dialed back from 20 mg to 10.  

 

I have felt a need to come off completely for a long time.  I hadn't cried since I was put on Lexapro (not normal), haven't really felt deeply or  passionately about anything.  I mean I have passion but everything feels muted.  It may block some of the bad, whatever that means, but it also blocks the good.  I felt an instinctive pull to come off.  I tried cold turkey and freaked out.  I was not anticipating the withdrawls to be so bad.  I felt trapped.  Like if I did come off there were consequences, not good ones.  Like there was a wall I could never climb.  So i settled.  I just kept taking it.  

I should say that my faith in God is strong, I attend church regularly and that is all that has ever really worked for me.  This was not always the case, though.  I started looking for God and He found me first.

 

  Then I started popping my pills in half.  I took 5 mg for two weeks, and it was a little tough, but nothing at all as bad as some of the stuff i read on the internet.  I talked to friends about what was going on with me and prayed.  a lot.  at the end of the two weeks I started taking 2.5 mg.  Again with the weirdness.  I talked about it, went to church, prayed and worked out.  Then one day, two weeks after stepping down I just quit taking that little white pill.  I feel fantastic.  Tapering down was the key for me.  I wasn't afraid to extend the period of time taking it if I needed to, but didn't find the need.  It was so much easier than some people on the internet made it out to be.  I read one guy post that two years later he still didn't feel normal.  That terrified me.  Two years?!  Really?  That is not my story at all.  Two days after I stopped I felt like I had woken up from a dream.  The light looked different, I almost cried watching a movie and I feel fantastic.  

 

Some things I feel helped me:

 

Church: Look, I get it.  I wasn't always open to the idea of talking about any kind of God but finding a personal relationship with my God is what changed me, what made this possible.  I never would have tried to come off if I didn't feel like God would take care of me.  I am always open for discussion about spirituality.  I'm not pushy, just eager to help and available to do so.

 

Exercise: You gotta get exercise.  Your body will feel better and you will feel better.  Take care of yourself man, a little white pill can't do that.  I was terrified to go into a gym at first, felt like a total poser.  You get used to it quick.  Do a little reading about how to work the equipment and do it.  Being new in the gym is awkward.  But that's cool.  You can also just run or walk.  No gym required. 

 

Tapering:  Just make a plan.  Two weeks at this level and then step down.  Two weeks at that level and step down.  If you feel like you need an extra week, take it.  Taking less is progress!

 

The only reason I am posting this is because I came here to read about what it was like to come off and came away terrified.  I wanted to put some hope on here.  Coming off Lexapro made for a weird month.  But then it got better!  SO MUCH BETTER!  There is hope man, believe me.  I am so happy and am available for anyone who is freaked out.  

 

I don't take Lexapro and I am so good.  You can come off too.  I love you guys.  Peace.

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Altostrata

lexapronomo, thank you for joining SurvivingAntidepressants.org to let us know about your success. How long have you been completely off Lexapro?

 

We know people have a range of reactions to dosage reductions. Some people can come off in a month as you did and have no ill effects at all. Others might do the same thing and end up suffering terribly with severe withdrawal syndrome.

 

The problem is, you don't know which group you'll be in until you reduce your dosage. If you're in the vulnerable second group, you may not know it until withdrawal syndrome hits you at the end of a month's taper -- or even weeks after. There are many such stories in our Introductions forum.

 

Withdrawal syndrome means your nervous system has been injured. It can take a very long time for this to heal. So we recommend a harm reduction approach of slower tapering for everyone -- 10% per month -- to reduce the risk of such injury.

 

I am very happy that after seeing this site, you decided on a systematic tapering approach that happened to work for you, and your faith kept you centered throughout the process.

 

Please keep us informed about how you're doing.

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acetyl

Nice one Lexapronomore. My sister and I both did only a 2 week taper for pristiq, felt weird for a week and then were fine; a friend cold turkey'd prozac and felt just a bit strange for 2 days and was then fine. It is truly bizarre how diverse and extreme the difference can be coming off anti-depressants. How extremely horribly you suffer if you're not in the fast recovery genotype makes Alto's approach a must though, seriously, anyone who reads this and thinks maybe they will be in that lucky group that doesn't suffer and can rapidly taper DON'T. Do you want to risk becoming so severely ill you have to quit your job and spend a year or more housebound?  

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lexapronomo

I am afraid I may have been entirely ignorant to a few things when I posted this.  Some of you may have noticed that.  A month's taper was good for me but I heard it said once that the goal was to be happy, not off of antidepressants quickly.  I can totally see 10 % per month.  I can imagine that it must be a lot more comfortable in terms of withdrawls.  I hope my comments were not brash or hasty, just my personal experience.  Thanks for the replies, I am great.  The only thing that really stands out to me is that when I get angry I have to be very careful not to let it really flare out.  Learning to cope with life without antidepressants is.....interesting to say the least.  The nervousness I experience when I get annoyed or angry is new.  I feel great, though.  I had wanted off Lexapro for a long time, and as you all know, Its quite a challenge.  I also had a little trouble sleeping for a while.  But all in all, things are good.  

Enough about me.  How are yall?   

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dalsaan

I agree its a risky gamble to come off quickly but I am happy things are going well for you.  

 

Do everything you can to maintain good sleep.   Its so important for healing and general wellbeing.  Your sleep disturbances could be exacerbating the anger/nervousness issues (however, these are pretty common in people who have recently withdrawn)

 

All the best

 

Dalsaan

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bubble

Hi Lexapronomo and thank you for posting your experience.

 

I'm somebody who tried to come off of 5 mg of Lexapro and that ended very bad. The worst happened 45 days after I stopped taking it. The first few weeks I felt mostly ok. The only sign that something was wrong was irritability. Pretty much in the same way you describe it.

 

That's why it would be interesting for me to know on what dose of Lexapro you were, for how long, how you decreased it and how long you have been off. Sorry if I failed to understand this from your post (although I read it a few times ;) It seems you were on 10 mg and then cut it in half every 2 weeks: 5 mg - two weeks, 2.5 mg - two weeks, nothing?

 

We are all different of course and I at the same time "tapered" a benzo so it all contributed to the horror of my experience. In the end I came here, i reinstated, now I'm reducing at such a slow rate which I never thought possible but I feel better than ever and I feel most hopeful of one day coming off of these medication.

 

As you noticed, we all have withdrawal histories in our signatures so if you have time, it would be nice to have yours as well:

 

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

 

Best,

bubble

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Altostrata

lexapronomore, no worries -- it's hard to grasp the enormity of this problem. Thank you for participating here.

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alwayslookup

It was so encouraging to read your story bro...It was the first positive story I rad on this forum (I only found it today but still)

My story is a bit different I am only 24 and took the pills for 1-2 years but I hope for the best as I do everything I can to recover the damage these poison antidepressants did....hope I can write down my story soon here

 

(p.s. as a fellow Christian myself I am convinced that your seemingly "too good to be true"success story is not an accident. I mean I that relatively easy withdrawal and no permanent damage after more than a decade of pills (!!!) That is crazy good. Oh I am so hopeful now! Thx for sharing a lot!!

 

There is Hope.

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longdistance14

Thank you so much for this inspiring article. I want to taper off of this drug. I've been on 10mgs for several months in the past year and I don't want to continue taking it. I feel terrible.

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cymbaltawithdrawal5600

Hello longdistance. Please start a topic for yourself in our Introductions and Updates forum to introduce yourself. You'll get more notice there and help for your taper should you need it. Just click the link I put in the words and when you get there look for the big black 'Start New Topic' button on the right side of the page near the top.

 

In any case, here is our topic for tapering lexapro:

 

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

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ang

lexapronomore how are you now? Did WD eventually hit? or still OK? Would be wonderful if you could write back. My WD didn't hit for 4 months, but a different drug, so I wish you well.

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ang

Hello longdistance, I hope to read more of your posts, welcome! The advice here is marvellous, you are probably reading everything you can on this site, as I still do. Only 3 weeks on this site so far, has been a true lifesaver for me... Great advice from so many tough, resilient inspiring people. I only just have added my signature, so I must be feeling better.

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lexapronomo

So 8 months in and I'm having a hard time sleeping. If I can sleep I am really good. The sleep thing is rough ecause i can be exhausted and still just lay there. A night of no sleep can lead to anxiety. Generally I'm super good. As long as I can sleep.

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lexapronomo

Hey guys, 

Eight months ago I came off of lexapro after being on it for 12 years.  I immediately had insomnia but was ok with it.  Just took naps to cope.  Eight months after quitting I am seriously considering going back on to stabilize and then taper over a period of a year or so.  If at all.  I can't stand feeling like this.  No one around here understands.  A lot of people I have found on here haven't taken it that long and I need some help.  Anybody had an experience like this?  Any support would be great.  I was on 10 mg and tapered off in a month.  Not enough time.  Ignorance on my part.  Help.

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lexapronomo

So, an update.  My taper was, in retrospect, way too fast.  One month is not near enough of a taper after taking this stuff for as long as i did.  For a while I was doing pretty good but lately my sleep is really in a bad place.  Constant insomnia, anxiety as a result of not sleeping and just hard times in general.  I am seriously considering reinstating at a low dose and tapering over the period of a year.  Spiriutally I feel great but physically I am really struggling.  Any body got experience with that?

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LexAnger

Sorry you got hit so far from the end of stopping. What other symptoms do you have except for insomnia? It's tricky to reinstate after 8 months. I tapered down to 2.7 the increase to 4.5 after about 10 month holding. Got severe reaction worse than the initial WD. Now my nervous system is super sensitized and no longer can do any reduction larger than 1%,

 

Please read the thread for reinstate. Someone can help finding the link for it. I don't remember how to get it anymore.

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Altostrata

lexapronomore, I moved your topic here to be your Intro topic.

 

I'm sorry you did not continue to feel well after going off Lexapro.

 

After 8 months off, reinstatement is very iffy. If you try it, if I were you, I'd try a very, very small amount, perhaps 1mg, to see if it helps. Your system may be sensitized; I would not risk a higher dose because it could make your symptoms worse.

 

Read About reinstating and stabilizing to stop withdrawal symptoms 

 

Using a liquid is the best way to take a very small dose, see Tips for tapering off Lexapro (escitalopram)

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Ssriwarrior

Hey there just wanted to say I feel your pain!

 

I did a taper over a year long, got to 2.5 and still got hit with the insomnia and it is brutal. And I'm not even all the way off. I too am going to try reinstating (it's been 5 months since my last cut) and I'm praying praying that it works.

 

Not much advice just wanted to share that I'm on this journey with you and it is so scary and isolating

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clearday

So, an update.  My taper was, in retrospect, way too fast.  One month is not near enough of a taper after taking this stuff for as long as i did.  For a while I was doing pretty good but lately my sleep is really in a bad place.  Constant insomnia, anxiety as a result of not sleeping and just hard times in general.  I am seriously considering reinstating at a low dose and tapering over the period of a year.  Spiriutally I feel great but physically I am really struggling.  Any body got experience with that?

 

I hit a nasty insomnia wave around 7 months after cold turkeying Lexapro. It lasted around 3 months, when it was over my deep sleep patterns had been restored and I sleep better now than I did all five years while on Lexapro. I also read a few other stories about delayed onset Lexapro withdrawal insomnia that came and went. It's a classic Lexapro withdrawal wave.  

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westcoast

You're not the only person to get the tardive insomnia effect. Seems to be one of the most common withdrawl problems.

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Wildflower0214

Insomnia is one of the most common things we all are dealing with. It's awful. We understand.

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ikam

I may stay longer on my dose, I think. My main problem is paresthesia and pain. I sleep quite well, but it may be because I am still on doxepin at night and atenolol.

I have noticed that when I am tired, I feel worse with symptoms...

Also, I increased PPI two days ago, and started feeling worse...

 

I feel like a slave of this meds...still feel somehow guilty that I restarted using them...i was medication free few years ago...

I now think that phisicall pain I had related to WD...

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lexapronomo

Hey guys. I've been on lexapro for 15 years, I think I'm in what I've heard is poop out. No big change or anything I just feel horrible all the time. Like I have the flu. Came off lexapro 2 years ago for 9 months after tapering way too fast and it was rough. Got back on at 10 mil and now I just feel terrible all the time. Added welbutrin but it didn't do anything. Tried viibryd and it was terrible. Do you guys think I could switch to prozac ? Because I've taken it so long anytime my dose is low at all I'm on terrible withdraws.

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Altostrata

Hello, I moved your post here, because we'd have to ask about your history. What happened between February and now? When did you make the other drug changes? Did you take Viibryd with Lexapro?

 

How have your symptoms changed in the last 6 months?

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nz11

So sorry you are in this bad place lex.

 

Are you able to do a drug sig?

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lexapronomo

Hello all,

I just succesfully switched from lexapro to prozac because I have heard its easier to get off of.  I am scared/excited to start the taper down from 20mg.  I have taken some pill or another my whole life, starting with elementary school and ritalin.  When i got out of the navy i got put on Lexapro and took it for 15 years roughly.  I feel like now I am pretty low, I wonder if I ever really needed it.  I had just been kicked out of the Navy for drugs, been clean 9 years now, and promptly got put on the stuff and never looked back.  I quit taking the Lexapro two years ago after a taper of one month.  Hell.  I had no idea it would be as long as it will.  Planning on two years, maybe longer.  What's it like?  I could use a little support.  I have little energy all the time, irritable, and just have a sense that something is not exactly right.  I'm not suicidal, about a 6 out of 10.  Really sick of always feeling like crap.  I should say that my symptoms are very physical.  I just feel sick.  That obviously leads to frustration and depression.  Ready for this to be over.  So anyway.  Thanks.

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Altostrata

Hello, lexapronomo.

 

Good to see you again. I moved your post here, so we can see your entire history. Please put your questions about your particular situation in this topic.

 

When did you switch from Lexapro to Prozac? What were the dosages? How did you make the switch?

 

What do you mean when you say you feel sick? Are you nauseated?

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lexapronomo

Hey,

I made the switch a couple of weeks ago, bridged for a week.  Lexapro 10mg to prozac 20 mg.  When i say sick i mean just a total lack of energy, i just feel washed out.  Lack of spark, you know?  Like how you feel when you have a cold.  Just not with it, sick.  Thanks for reaching out.  I am just really curious about what to expect during the taper.   Will I feel better as the drug leaves or worse?  I plan on doing the 10 percent method as laid out by Bregging.  Thanks for posting that alto, the bookstore didn't have it in stock.  Seems pretty basic.  

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lexapronomo

I am hopeful at least to have gotten off of the lexapro.  I was really worried about never being able to come off of it.  I took it for so long I was scared i would have to take it forever.  The first week on prozac was great, now I am right back where I was.  I'm done trying to make the drugs work.  I want a well though out plan to taper off.  I want to do it right this time.  

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Altostrata

It may take a while for your system to adjust to the Prozac. Until then, keep very regular with your dosing. Don't be in a hurry to taper, you'll be able to go off.

 

Read Tips for tapering off Prozac (fluoxetine)

 

Please let us know how you're doing in this topic.

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lexapronomo

That's interesting.  I feel like crap all day everyday and so am very eager to start my taper.  I want out.  While i know that my body isn't used to the prozac, it feels weird to take it in hopes that i would level out.  Or at least get used to it.  You know what I mean?  I have been on some pill or another my whole life, starting with ritalin.  For two years I have felt like I had cancer or something, and I am ready to start the process that is hopefully going to make me feel better.  One of the main reasons I want to do the taper is because of the daily physical symptoms.  I feel like I have been poisoned.  Frustrated.  I go see the doc in 2 weeks.  Interested to see what they have to say.  I'm sick of physically feeling like crud all the time.  Ready to really feel good again.  

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lexapronomo

Has anyone tapered off Prozac?  Anything I might expect?  Need some wisdom in council.  Thanks.  

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ChessieCat

Hi lexapronomo

 

It will be helpful if you would Please put your Withdrawal History in Signature.  Please include ALL drugs, dates, doses and how you decreased/increased (eg skipped doses, alternated doses or cold turkey).  Details of the last year to 18 months and a summary of anything prior helps us to see your drug history at a glance and makes it easier for us to offer suggestions based on your individual situation.  Please remember to update your signature whenever you make a change so it remains current.  Thank you.

 

If you use a search engine (I use Google) and type in survivingantidepressants.org prozac it will bring find members with prozac in their topic title.  This is the search I did.

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lexapronomo

Thanks ChessieCat.

Edited by ChessieCat

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lexapronomo

Can anyone relate to the fact that so many of my symptoms are physical in nature?  I just feel sick all the time.   

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