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DavidStone Is this Lexapro withdrawal?


DavidStone

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Hi All,

So happy to have found this forum. I hope someone can shed some light on the situation I find myself in. Basic background: 46 year old male here in good health. I've taken Lexapro three times in the past ten years for anxiety, The first two times was for a period of six months. The last time was from August 2014 until March 2015. The first time I took it the doctor suggested a 6 month period and a two week taper. I moved in 2010 and life threw a number of major spins my way. My anxiety flared up again and I told my new physician I'd like to resume Lexapro for another 6 months. Again no apparent problem with a two week taper. This last time I stopped (March 2015) I again followed the two week pattern I had in the past. This time I developed the brain zaps I hear people talk about. They didn't show up until about four weeks of being off the Lexapro completely.

During the first week of July 2015 I was traveling in Orlando and feeling a little under the weather from a lingering sinus infection. I had a full blown panic attack. Normally my anxiety doesn't hit the level it did that day. Since then my baseline background feeling most of the time has been "edgy". It's like a constant low level anxiety. I feel shaky, fatigued and even a bit depressed. I'm not normally someone who gets depressed so this is new for me. If it were just on occasion it wouldn't be as big of deal but, it's constant with some occasional breaks here and there.

It's now been about a month and three days...and I'm really tired of this. I've even considered simply going back on the Lexapro to get this to stop. But I'm resisting because I don't want to lose ground and ever have to go through this again.

 

So...all that said...is this typical? Specifically I mean...it's been since March...is that normal for symptoms to show up out of the blue four months later? Any advice, encouragement, etc. is greatly appreciated...I guess I just want to know this is normal, that it is indeed withdrawal and it will get better over time.

 

Thanks Everyone

 

David

Lexapro four times in the last ten years. Each time 6 month use. Two week taper.

Lexapro 20mg August 2014 until Feb 28 2015. Two week taper

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Welcome,

 

Sure sounds like Lexapro withdrawal to me.

 

Yes, it is very common for delayed symptoms of SSRI withdrawal to first show up between 3 months - 1 year after stopping the drug.

 

Lexapro is a very powerful, nerve altering drug. For many people, it takes the body a couple years and longer to reset the body chemistry back to normal. And it can be a very difficult, confusing process.

 

Those like me on this forum who have been on this drug for years are going through a very difficult time after stopping the drug.

 

I was struck down by major symptoms beginning 7 months after stopping the drug. I am healing, slowly but surely. You also should be able to heal from the effects of Lexapro. 

 

If you do a topic search on this forum under "Lexapro", you can read the many stories of people going through protracted withdrawal from Lexapro.

 

Recovery from SSRI usage takes place via "windows and waves", you can read about that in this link:

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/82-the-windows-and-waves-pattern-of-stabilization/

 

More on SSRI withdrawal syndrome:

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/603-what-is-withdrawal-syndrome/

 

Good luck in your recovery -

Hell hath no fury as an SSRI scorned.....

 

Prozac:   20 mg 1996 – May 2003 CT to 0 mg; by Aug 03 CRASH then protracted WD 3 yrs

Zoloft:    2004 few weeks;, CT to 0 mg

Effexor:  2005 few months CT to 0 mg; bad withdrawal. 

Lexapro:  10 mg from 2009 – 2011; cut dose in half to:

Lexapro:    5 mg from 2011 – Feb. 2014; CT to 0 mg; 2 months of fatigue, followed by:
Aug - Oct 2014 Lexapro WD Insomnia Wave; sleeping very good from Nov 2014 - Nov 2015; broken sleep pattern Dec 2015 - Jan 2016

Dec 2014 - present: Brutal Lexapro WD ear ringing/head ringing/head pressure lasting for 14 months now.

 

24 months SSRI-free  

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  • Administrator

Welcome, DavidStone.

 

Going on and off psychiatric drugs is wearing on the nervous system. As you can see, eventually you did develop withdrawal symptoms (the brain zaps) after a short taper.

 

This indicates your nervous system may have become sensitized to drugs, substances such as caffeine that act on the nervous system, and stress.

 

Many people here have had a return of withdrawal symptoms after some months off the drug.

 

Many people do better with fish oil and magnesium supplements, see
http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/36-king-of-supplements-omega-3-fatty-acids-fish-oil/
http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1300-magnesium-natures-calcium-channel-blocker/

 

It's possible that a very low dose, such as 1mg-2mg, might help with the withdrawal symptoms. You would stabilize on this for some months and then taper by very small doses. See About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms  and Tips for tapering off Lexapro (escitalopram)

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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Over & over here I see people posting what my doctor said, that Lexapro is "cleaner" or has "no side effects", etc. I think there must be rampant insanity in the medical field because NO medication is without side effects! Lexapro is a BEAST.

 

Things that have helped me:

 

  • magnesium (mentioned)
  • potassium (if you have muscle problems - "NoSalt" is a good source)
  • fish oil (mentioned)
  • LOTS of exercise! In particular weight lifting and long walks - or jogging if you are up to it. Starting Strength 5x5 is a great place to start
  • cutting down caffeine (or taking it out completely)
  • pay attention to diet - I am sensitive to wheat, dairy, & sugar. Maybe for you nothing is a big deal, but... ? An exception to the dairy is that yogurts with good probiotics help a lot. If your digestion seems good, you're probably fine.

 

Lexapro/Escitalopram

- many attempts at taper were unsuccessful until I stopped taking hormonal birth control

- successful taper & Lexapro-free as of Dec 2015

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Thanks so much for the replied. I realized after posting that simply by reading past posts of other's experiences I could come to the same conclusion as having others read my post and confirm it. So I wondered why I posted. I think what it boils down to - maybe for all of us with similar experiences...is that while we could simply read old information it feels good to share our challenges and the responses encourage us as someone actually takes the time to read and reply.

 

I do believe Lexapro is being over prescribed. In part I believe the doctors are at fault for not digging deeper into information regarding it. Beyond that though - if there haven't been any long term studies involving withdrawal months after the medication has been stopped then they aren't likely to be as accepting of user's accounts of their experiences. Likely - since we're often suffering from anxiety or depression it's easy to write off the accounts on the basis that it's the original symptoms re-establishing themselves.

 

But who would fund long term studies? Medical studies more often than not are done to get a drug to market and once there the drug companies aren't as concerned about long term issues as they are in moving on to the next big thing.

 

I had no clue when I began Lexapro even the first time that problems would arise later on. Had I, then I would have chosen another solution. It was after this last usage that I dug deeper and began finding countless others talking about the same things I was experiencing. So what will bring this subject to "critical mass" and make it show up on the public's radar and make it into the news? I'd hope as word spreads people will began to say no to their doctors about certain medications. That people will do their own research.

 

Unfortunately I think many times we've gone to the doctor with an attitude of blind acceptance. I know as a child I was taught doctors had the solutions for medical problems. Thing is...especially with pharmaceuticals - their knowledge is limited - more times than not your pharmacist can tell you more about a drug than the doctor can. We tinker with our intricately balanced chemistry and are told there won't be any problems later on.

 

I'm irritated that I bought into the story that Lexapro was a solution. Not irritated at my doctor but myself for not taking direct responsibility for checking it out myself - but trusting what he told me. 

 

On a side note - Here is an interesting study that proved microbes in the gut produce some of the serotonin in our bodies:

 

http://www.caltech.edu/news/microbes-help-produce-serotonin-gut-46495

 

I took this though one step further - if  this is the case then how does the use of antibiotics tie in with reduced serotonin? If antibiotics we take affect the particular bacteria discussed in this article then it could be another explanation for reduced serotonin in individuals and could also suggest another treatment method - repopulating the gut with probiotics. Assuming of course we can isolate which bacteria are involved and also find probiotics which contain those particular ones....just a thought.

 

Thanks so much for your replies - It helps!

Lexapro four times in the last ten years. Each time 6 month use. Two week taper.

Lexapro 20mg August 2014 until Feb 28 2015. Two week taper

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  • Moderator Emeritus

I just finished reading Anatomy of an Epidemic by Robert Whitaker. It is about the kind of issues you raise and I'm sure you'd like it.

 

Although reinstatement saved me and I'm always in favor of it you were this time taking Lexapro for 6 months and took the last dose over 4 months ago. Also your symptoms seem bearable so I would rather try to ride it out instead of reinstating.

 

What dose were you taking? They usually put us all at 10 mg..

 

It would be good if you could put your short drug history in your signature so that we can know your background every time you post.

 

Best,

Bubble

Current: 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

There isn't any truth to the assumption that low serotonin is responsible for mood disorders. Serotonin is just another hormone our bodies produce, most of it is in the gut anyway because it's part of the digestive process.

 

It is true that our gut bacteria govern our well-being in lots of ways. They are responsible for the ways nutrients get into all the cells in our bodies.

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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Lexpro is a beast. You are definitely having WD symptoms. I got prescribed 30mg for 7 yrs than weaned off in a matter of a few months . Hang in there you will improve with time. Some people bounce back fast, others take lots of time. Im assuming dosage and duration along with how fast the taper could determine the severity of the WD. Although sometimes people get worse WD when on low doses for shorter time. Maybe its a crap shoot. Anyway time heals.

Was on 30mg (Lexapro) for 7-8yrs20mg for 3 months (This was my choice my Doc wanted me to drop much faster)15 mg 2week10mg 2 weeks 5 mg 1 week0 since August 24th . PPI Dexlant  30 mg taper has begun. Cutting 20% currently.  using zantac as needed.  Benzo is currently 0.10mg 

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Thanks so much for the replied. I realized after posting that simply by reading past posts of other's experiences I could come to the same conclusion as having others read my post and confirm it. So I wondered why I posted. I think what it boils down to - maybe for all of us with similar experiences...is that while we could simply read old information it feels good to share our challenges and the responses encourage us as someone actually takes the time to read and reply.

 

I do believe Lexapro is being over prescribed. In part I believe the doctors are at fault for not digging deeper into information regarding it. Beyond that though - if there haven't been any long term studies involving withdrawal months after the medication has been stopped then they aren't likely to be as accepting of user's accounts of their experiences. Likely - since we're often suffering from anxiety or depression it's easy to write off the accounts on the basis that it's the original symptoms re-establishing themselves.

 

But who would fund long term studies? Medical studies more often than not are done to get a drug to market and once there the drug companies aren't as concerned about long term issues as they are in moving on to the next big thing.

 

I had no clue when I began Lexapro even the first time that problems would arise later on. Had I, then I would have chosen another solution. It was after this last usage that I dug deeper and began finding countless others talking about the same things I was experiencing. So what will bring this subject to "critical mass" and make it show up on the public's radar and make it into the news? I'd hope as word spreads people will began to say no to their doctors about certain medications. That people will do their own research.

 

Unfortunately I think many times we've gone to the doctor with an attitude of blind acceptance. I know as a child I was taught doctors had the solutions for medical problems. Thing is...especially with pharmaceuticals - their knowledge is limited - more times than not your pharmacist can tell you more about a drug than the doctor can. We tinker with our intricately balanced chemistry and are told there won't be any problems later on.

 

I'm irritated that I bought into the story that Lexapro was a solution. Not irritated at my doctor but myself for not taking direct responsibility for checking it out myself - but trusting what he told me. 

 

I like what you wrote here; we all basically reach the same conclusions and go through our "stages of grief" as it finally sinks in what has obviously happened to us.

 

I admire that you are not irritated at your doctor for being part of this ongoing societal disaster. I actually am quite irritated at my doctors, for failing to inform themselves about the products they peddle - the tools of their trade. They are highly educated, well paid professionals who should know much better. They failed to allow us to provide informed consent to take these drugs, and for that they are negiligent. It is their oath to "do no harm", and the most serious physical harm I have gotten in my life has absolutely been from these medications. I do believe that we are entitled to a certain amount of righteous indignation for what is unfolding as serious long-term injury, caused by gross negligence, to thousands of unsuspecting patients on a mass scale. I don't think the impact of this problem can be overstated, based on the thousands of horror stories we read on here, and the amount of people affected is accelerating. 

 

But I also do understand that it is more of a systemic problem, these doctors were just going along with the herd, SSRIs were viewed as largely harmless. And perhaps we were too willing to take a pill to make life easier. But since I had been "self medicating" stress with alcohol, I felt the responsible thing to do was to seek medical advice, and guess what? Prozac was the treatment of the day for stress. I should have stuck with the alcohol. 

 

Cultivating resentment and anger at our doctors for pushing these pills for the slightest complaint of anxiety doesn't help my recovery. That energy is better served by trying to inform others of what is going on and getting the message out.  That in and of itself is difficult; many people trust most doctors who still claim these meds are harmless, rather than listen to former "psych patients" who are "off their meds".  Yet most people who are advised to take these SSRIs by their doctors are average people just trying to deal with the effects of stress, myself included.

 

Good luck with your recovery - sounds like you have a good handle on it already.

Hell hath no fury as an SSRI scorned.....

 

Prozac:   20 mg 1996 – May 2003 CT to 0 mg; by Aug 03 CRASH then protracted WD 3 yrs

Zoloft:    2004 few weeks;, CT to 0 mg

Effexor:  2005 few months CT to 0 mg; bad withdrawal. 

Lexapro:  10 mg from 2009 – 2011; cut dose in half to:

Lexapro:    5 mg from 2011 – Feb. 2014; CT to 0 mg; 2 months of fatigue, followed by:
Aug - Oct 2014 Lexapro WD Insomnia Wave; sleeping very good from Nov 2014 - Nov 2015; broken sleep pattern Dec 2015 - Jan 2016

Dec 2014 - present: Brutal Lexapro WD ear ringing/head ringing/head pressure lasting for 14 months now.

 

24 months SSRI-free  

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I've added my medication to my signature block. I'm vague on the first uses of Lexapro because I don't remember start or stop times except for this last time, in each case I was on 10mg and in two weeks time had it increased to 20mg. The more I think about it the more I think my last doctor simply accepted what I had told him about previously using Lexapro in regard to the dosage. When some anxiety still existed at two weeks still he upped the mg rather than see if some more time would resolve the situation.

 

I'm going to spend time today reading the linked info you guys provided in your replies and try and get up to speed on understanding what's going on. The little bit I do see...I'm so happy I didn't take it for years.

Lexapro four times in the last ten years. Each time 6 month use. Two week taper.

Lexapro 20mg August 2014 until Feb 28 2015. Two week taper

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One other observation I wanted to mention. I do seem to be hypersensitive to caffeine now. Normally I'm just a single cup a day. When I noticed I was getting "edgy" after just one cup I cut it out of my morning routine. But I missed it. After a few days one morning when I was really feeling fatigue my instinct was to go ahead and get a cup. I found a little caffeine helped with the fatigue but only about half of the normal amount.

 

I'm off to do some reading. I did have a question. I'm doing fish oil daily as well as magnesium (topically).

 

Is there anything else that would help on bad days to quickly deal with the anxiety? That won't be counter productive to my brain getting back to normal? The doctor gave me clonazapam when I went to see him a month ago about the anxiety. It helps as has Xanax but...if those are going to delay and lengthen the process of recovery I'd rather not take them.

 

I'm going to read about reinstating but I'm so...fed up with what Lexapro has done to me I don't really want to take anymore of it.

Lexapro four times in the last ten years. Each time 6 month use. Two week taper.

Lexapro 20mg August 2014 until Feb 28 2015. Two week taper

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I've used small amounts of Xanax (.25 mg or less) to help me fall asleep during the common "Lexapro WD insomnia wave" that sometimes strikes a few months after stopping the drug. For me, the insomnia wave lasted only a couple months, and once it was over, I have been sleeping great for almost a year now.

 

I don't think the occasional use of small amounts of Xanax has hindered my recovery at all, but I have never been sensitive to Xanax.

 

There are phases during recovery when your nervous system may be unusually sensitive to substances like caffeine, nicotine, and others. For me, those phases come and go.

Hell hath no fury as an SSRI scorned.....

 

Prozac:   20 mg 1996 – May 2003 CT to 0 mg; by Aug 03 CRASH then protracted WD 3 yrs

Zoloft:    2004 few weeks;, CT to 0 mg

Effexor:  2005 few months CT to 0 mg; bad withdrawal. 

Lexapro:  10 mg from 2009 – 2011; cut dose in half to:

Lexapro:    5 mg from 2011 – Feb. 2014; CT to 0 mg; 2 months of fatigue, followed by:
Aug - Oct 2014 Lexapro WD Insomnia Wave; sleeping very good from Nov 2014 - Nov 2015; broken sleep pattern Dec 2015 - Jan 2016

Dec 2014 - present: Brutal Lexapro WD ear ringing/head ringing/head pressure lasting for 14 months now.

 

24 months SSRI-free  

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Just keep in mind you can become dependent on benzos if you take them more than once or twice a week, and if you develop a dependence, you will need to taper off that drug as well.  Please check Shamaan's benzo thread for a couple of cautionary tales.  Check for Petunia's post #31.

As always, LISTEN TO YOUR BODY! A proud supporter of the 10% (or slower) rule.

 

Requip - 3/16 ZERO  Total time on 25 years.

 

Lyrica: 8/15 ZERO Total time on 7 or 8 yrs.

BENZO FREE 10/13 (started tapering 7/10)  Total time on 25 years.

 

Read my intro thread here, and check the about me section.  "No matter how cynical you get, it's almost impossible to keep up." Lily Tomlin

 

 

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Just keep in mind you can become dependent on benzos if you take them more than once or twice a week, and if you develop a dependence, you will need to taper off that drug as well.  Please check Shamaan's benzo thread for a couple of cautionary tales.  Check for Petunia's post #31.

Yes! I was thinking the same thing too. I've read a little about avoiding dependence on it but I'll follow up with some more research. My doctor only prescribed 10 clonazapam tablets. It's been a month and I still have one left :)I appreciate the warning. Seems like there are pitfalls to avoid when getting out of the pit you find yourself in.

Lexapro four times in the last ten years. Each time 6 month use. Two week taper.

Lexapro 20mg August 2014 until Feb 28 2015. Two week taper

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I've a new question...

 

Fatigue and lack of motivation? Are these typical with WD? I guess I could add mentally distracted..almost forget that one. I'm curious because besides the increased anxiety these would be my other least favorite things I'm experiencing.

 

Here is how it feels from inside my head.

 

I wake up in the morning and one of the first things I do when I get up is see how I feel. I'd been experiencing a shaky feeling, not visibly trembling but it feels like it. Most days now I'm not feeling it. Part of what was difficult in the past month is I had a sinus infection at the same time this all hit. It was difficult for me to separate out if I felt the way I did from being sick or from WD. With the infection gone now I know what's left is the WD.

 

The next thing I do in the morning is see what my mood is like. Lately it's been better than it was a month ago.

 

Then I start my day. I'm a single dad, working for myself and raising three kids. Before this past month I managed to juggle everything. But after all this started in early July I've noticed a couple times where I'll be sitting at my desk working on something and I don't know what to do next. I'm overwhelmed and can't decide the next thing I should do. Decisions for work, home, friends...

 

This isn't typical for me. My strategy at this point is I stop and relax for a bit, meditate, walk around the yard etc. The overachiever in me feels like I'm neglecting my responsibilities and not being as productive as I need to be. The practical grounded part of me knows I need to take it easy and not try to push to hard.

 

I'm writing this down because it's frustrating to me and it feels good to simply say it.

 

So...fatigue, mental fog, lack of motivation? All part of this?

Lexapro four times in the last ten years. Each time 6 month use. Two week taper.

Lexapro 20mg August 2014 until Feb 28 2015. Two week taper

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  • Administrator

Fatigue, brain fog, lack of motivation -- all extremely typical of withdrawal syndrome.

 

It does sound like some symptoms are lightening up. This is a good sign.

 

Prepare for more waves and windows....

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...it helps to hear it. Still reading and learning about the process. It certainly feels like the waves and windows discussed.

 

I tell you...if there is ever a class action lawsuit involving Lexapro I'm in!

Lexapro four times in the last ten years. Each time 6 month use. Two week taper.

Lexapro 20mg August 2014 until Feb 28 2015. Two week taper

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  • Moderator

There isn't any truth to the assumption that low serotonin is responsible for mood disorders. Serotonin is just another hormone our bodies produce, most of it is in the gut anyway because it's part of the digestive process.

 

It is true that our gut bacteria govern our well-being in lots of ways. They are responsible for the ways nutrients get into all the cells in our bodies.

 

Agreed that low serotonin is not the cause of depression, however, it is clear that serotonin levels do affect mood.  It is not clear the exact way in which this happens and the notion of the SSRI, preventing reuptake and flooding the synapse, is clearly a misguided approach.

 

Having said all that, serotonin in the gut and serotonin in the brain are not to be confused and, given my understanding, what is created in the gut does not cross the BBB to get into the brain in any event.  This is why the efforts to measure serotonin levels through urine, etc. are not reasonable.

 

Just some additional thoughts,

 

Andy

Sertraline 50mg and Clonazapam .375mg from 2000 -- symptoms of dizziness Spring 2012

increased to .5 Clonazapam and 100mg Sertraline -- no improvement

Benzo microtaper from November 2012 to November 2014 (followed benzo sites "taper benzo first")

Started Sertraline taper in December 2014 cut by 25mg to 75mg; 62.5mg 1/1/15 and 50mg on 2/1/15

Held at 50mg through April 5 to use liquid 
Reduced dosage in 10% or less drops from 50mg to 25mg -- at single tablet of 25mg on 10/5/15

Transitioned to all liquid for accuracy while tapering -- Horrible insomnia -- back to 25mg liquid and held until October 1, 2016

10/16 -- 11/18 tapered very slowly to 10.6mg.  No real improvement and never really stable so updosed to 12.5mg (1/2 a pill) for convenience and long hold.

After 8+ months of holding with no noticeable improvement decided to add .4ml of liquid Prozac (about 1.5mg) to see if that improves the situation

Supplements, Magnesium, D3, Omega 3, curcumin, Valerian, 81mg Aspirin, L-Theanine, Vit. C,

 

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Andy, Good points. I came to the conclusion a few months ago that perhaps the whole medical industry was barking up the wrong tree with serotonin and anxiety. Not to say the SSRI didn't work to reduce that for me when I was on it but...two glasses of wine on an empty stomach used to do the trick form me as well. Again I wonder if years down the line if people won't marvel at how much SSRIs were prescribed.

Lexapro four times in the last ten years. Each time 6 month use. Two week taper.

Lexapro 20mg August 2014 until Feb 28 2015. Two week taper

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I wonder if years down the line if people won't marvel at how much SSRIs were prescribed.

 

 

I currently live in Denmark and they are completely amazed at how quick Americans are to take these drugs, which they consider to be a last resort for the very mentally ill. When I look back at my own history, not even the psychiatrist who prescribed these did anything for me as far as lifestyle was concerned before she wrote the scrip.

Lexapro/Escitalopram

- many attempts at taper were unsuccessful until I stopped taking hormonal birth control

- successful taper & Lexapro-free as of Dec 2015

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Part of the problem I think is all the advertising. Most of the ones I've seen show people In relatively happy situations who suffer from "fill in the blank". The context of the problems aren't shown and the medication is portrayed as low risk as long as you talk to your doctor about side effects. I know the first time I was very resistant to taking Lexapro but people around me convinced me that sometimes you need something when stress gets bad. At the time I was in a bad marriage, with a medical problem, stressful job and my family depending on me to keep working no matter what. Thus I felt trapped on many fronts. It's easy to see looking back now, the symptoms of my anxiety flared up reflecting these stressors. But rather than address those things I simply tried to mask them and keep going.

 

I'm learning...I had surgery for the medical condition, quit the job, divorced the wife and got custody of the kids. It took a lot of time to get to this point of fixing things around me and courage to take each step. Perhaps that's another reason people turn to medication...it seems to offer a fast solution requiring no difficult work on the part of the person taking it.

 

It's interesting to me the different perspective people in Denmark have, and likely many other countries where the medication isn't likely being pushed by the drug companies as much. Thanks for sharing that.

Lexapro four times in the last ten years. Each time 6 month use. Two week taper.

Lexapro 20mg August 2014 until Feb 28 2015. Two week taper

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Unfortunately the use of SSRIs among minors in Denmark has increased over the past 20 years:

 

http://www.academia.edu/7402156/Use_of_SSRIs_among_Danish_children_a_nationwide_study

 

It appears though that the percentage of children may be considerably less than the United States. Hopefully that's because other methodologies are being used in children more before turning to medication.

Lexapro four times in the last ten years. Each time 6 month use. Two week taper.

Lexapro 20mg August 2014 until Feb 28 2015. Two week taper

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  • Administrator

We live in a crazy culture that believes everyone must be happy and productive all the time, disregarding normal reactions to misfortunes that could happen to anyone.

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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I agree completely. The idea that our value as human beings is proportionate to our productivity and busyness is pretty ingrained. I know one of the things I've dealt with on bad days when I wasn't getting a lot done was guilt. I'm working to shift my thinking on this. The problem I see too which compounds things is how our thinking is shaded on bad days and tends to look on perceived flaws with a more critical eye.

 

Status update. I've had a couple good days back to back then was surprised when I started feeling bad again. I understand this is part of the pattern though and even was able to accept that on the bad day.

 

I look forward to the good periods getting longer and the bad ones shortening.

 

I appreciate all the replies and help. This forum is a great place to find what relief can be found in the compassion of others. :)

Lexapro four times in the last ten years. Each time 6 month use. Two week taper.

Lexapro 20mg August 2014 until Feb 28 2015. Two week taper

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  • Administrator

Sounds like you've caught on. Take the waves as they come and surf on.

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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Bah...This is my place to grumble while in real life around my children and friends I'm putting on a happy face.

 

I've been reading so much in these forums about the impact SSRI have had on people's lives. Marriages and relationships ruined. I wonder as I think back a few years to the first time I took it what impact it had in my personality that I didn't realize.

 

Today's not the best day...I talked a bit last night with my girlfriend before we fell asleep about how I felt I was having withdrawal from Lexapro. She asked me hadn't it been months since I took it. I explained that tapering off of it should have taken much longer than it did. Months instead of two weeks. My impression from her response was skepticism about the effects lingering so long. Though I'm not going to just assume my impression was correct, I'll need to follow up our short discussion with a longer one.

 

The problem I see is that this withdrawal is going on in parallel with her having moved in. She moved in May 1st. Granted the change in life patterns may add some degree of stress to the picture but my concern is that she'll equate what's going on with me as an indicator that this isn't working out.

 

Sigh...I'm tired and unfocused today...baseline anxiety is higher than it should be. Thus this long brain dumping post.

 

Here is what my last six years have been:

 

2009 Decided to move back t my hometown. I have an Internet business so I can work anywhere. My mom who is getting older suggested I move closer to her and dad. There was nothing keeping us in the area we were in so I agreed. House took a long time to sell. Had to reduce it by a considerable amount to get out. Wife at the time constantly complaining about where we lived and said one way or another she was moving.

 

2010 House sold. Moved, hard time finding one to buy. Suddenly one morning in June I developed a blood clot in my left leg. Spent five days in the hospital. Afterward my anxiety was horrible again after no problems for a couple years. A month in bed. Wife mostly ignoring me...and the kids. Long time to recover and start walking again. Found a house in December.

 

2011 11 year old son sick for a few days. Found him unresponsive in the morning. Rushed him to ER. Diagnosis..Type 1 Diabetes. Bathroom floods...water an inch deep in master bedroom.

 

2012 Marriage is really on the rocks. Heart condition I was born with triggers tachycardia for 6 hours. Trip to ER for me. Heart surgery in December. Wife asks about going on a date a few days after my surgery.

 

2013 Wife who had nothing to do with my business takes several thousand dollars from the corporate account files for divorce. Also steals emergency money from house.

 

2013 All kinds of chaos from my wife whose behavior is spiraling out of control. Divorce is finalized in December.

 

Good things happened to amidst all of this. I reconnected with my high school girlfriend and my business grows despite everything. I now sport many grey hairs on my head literally...from almost none to more than I can count.

 

Lexapro seemed to offer a simple solution for everything. At a time I needed something. I was desperate for stability and jumped on it again. Now that the chaos is past...I'm tired...and wishing I had never taken the Lexapro.

 

Time to get up and get my day started. Thanks for listening. I hope when I'm back to normal for me that I can listen and encourage others here as well. I'd like to think something positive could come from all of this.

Lexapro four times in the last ten years. Each time 6 month use. Two week taper.

Lexapro 20mg August 2014 until Feb 28 2015. Two week taper

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You know...talking about what I've survived in the past five years...really helps. When I got done posting my prior post I though to myself...I felt some better. I'm happy to have lived through it all and only feel as bad as I do. I'm glad I didn't keep taking the Lexapro.

Lexapro four times in the last ten years. Each time 6 month use. Two week taper.

Lexapro 20mg August 2014 until Feb 28 2015. Two week taper

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I wish you well in your recovery and plenty of windows to let the light in, David  :)

1999 - 2004 Paroxetine 20mg  -> 2004 - 2007 Citalopram 20mg -> 2007 -  short term Trazedone use (insomnia) -> 2007 - 2009 Fluoxetine 20mg  ->

2009 - Jan 2012 Citalopram 20mg  (Spring / Summer 2012 protracted withdrawal & related agoraphobia) -> 2012 - September Restarted Citalopram - unbearable start up effects. Discontinued in under 1 week -> Oct 12 -   October 2014 Escitalopram - 10mg prescribed. Started on 5mg and worked up to 10mg in 2.5mg increments  -> Oct 2014  - 5mg; 30/03/15 2.5mg; 15/04/15 3.5mg; 20/05/15 2.9mg;  19/09/15 2.8mg; 30/10/15 2.7mg; 13/11/15 2.6mg. Holding until March.

Diet:  mostly pescatarianl & lots of veg. Weekly offal for b vitamins.  Turmeric, nigella seeds, avocados, apple cider vinegar, coconut products daily. Lots of fluids: water, lemon juice, coconut water, herbal & green tea (decaffeinated).

Supplements: vitamin C 4000mg, Omega 3 fish oil - high DPA & EHA, vitamin E 400iu, vitamin D3 5000mg (Winter only - from sun in Spring / Summer), probiotics.

Current Symptoms: chronic fatigue, erratic sleep, extreme photophobia, eye floaters, noise sensitivity, tinnitus, cognitive & speech difficulties, dizziness, irregular gait, poor co ordination, severe facial and upper body muscle tension, head and neck pressure.

Coping Strategies: good nutrition, cooking, gardening & growing my own food, cycling, dancing, yoga, photography, sewing & creative pursuits, self massage, pampering, meditation, journalling, nature, cuddling cats & humans, laughter & humour, gratitude, self care, aromatherapy, audio books, word games & believing in myself, my potential and my future.

 

"Everything I need is within me" - Shakti Gawain

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Thank you...so much. You have a wonderful list of self coping strategies.

Lexapro four times in the last ten years. Each time 6 month use. Two week taper.

Lexapro 20mg August 2014 until Feb 28 2015. Two week taper

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  • Administrator

You're welcome! Very happy to hear you've found it. I wish more people would look for it.

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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Love & healing to you, David. Sending you this poem to bring you comfort as it brought to me in times of need

 

Tilly x

 

Desiderata

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be critical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy.

© Max Ehrmann 1927

1999 - 2004 Paroxetine 20mg  -> 2004 - 2007 Citalopram 20mg -> 2007 -  short term Trazedone use (insomnia) -> 2007 - 2009 Fluoxetine 20mg  ->

2009 - Jan 2012 Citalopram 20mg  (Spring / Summer 2012 protracted withdrawal & related agoraphobia) -> 2012 - September Restarted Citalopram - unbearable start up effects. Discontinued in under 1 week -> Oct 12 -   October 2014 Escitalopram - 10mg prescribed. Started on 5mg and worked up to 10mg in 2.5mg increments  -> Oct 2014  - 5mg; 30/03/15 2.5mg; 15/04/15 3.5mg; 20/05/15 2.9mg;  19/09/15 2.8mg; 30/10/15 2.7mg; 13/11/15 2.6mg. Holding until March.

Diet:  mostly pescatarianl & lots of veg. Weekly offal for b vitamins.  Turmeric, nigella seeds, avocados, apple cider vinegar, coconut products daily. Lots of fluids: water, lemon juice, coconut water, herbal & green tea (decaffeinated).

Supplements: vitamin C 4000mg, Omega 3 fish oil - high DPA & EHA, vitamin E 400iu, vitamin D3 5000mg (Winter only - from sun in Spring / Summer), probiotics.

Current Symptoms: chronic fatigue, erratic sleep, extreme photophobia, eye floaters, noise sensitivity, tinnitus, cognitive & speech difficulties, dizziness, irregular gait, poor co ordination, severe facial and upper body muscle tension, head and neck pressure.

Coping Strategies: good nutrition, cooking, gardening & growing my own food, cycling, dancing, yoga, photography, sewing & creative pursuits, self massage, pampering, meditation, journalling, nature, cuddling cats & humans, laughter & humour, gratitude, self care, aromatherapy, audio books, word games & believing in myself, my potential and my future.

 

"Everything I need is within me" - Shakti Gawain

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Tilly,

 

Thank you! Your timing was wonderful. I took time to read the poem and then reread it. When I was still in school I was a speed reader most times and now find myself having to make myself slow down on things where all the words matter.

 

I appreciate your kind wishes today. I hope you're doing well too.

 

David

Lexapro four times in the last ten years. Each time 6 month use. Two week taper.

Lexapro 20mg August 2014 until Feb 28 2015. Two week taper

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Just woke up a bit ago. My self inventory finds me edgy and tired. This is one of those days I wish I was over this. Sigh...

Lexapro four times in the last ten years. Each time 6 month use. Two week taper.

Lexapro 20mg August 2014 until Feb 28 2015. Two week taper

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I honestly believe it's only a matter of time before these long term lingering issues become more widely accepted. The cynical part of me thinks it will be when the pharmaceutical companies have a "newer, better" generation of meds to sell.

 

What I find disconcerting is that studies haven't been done very long after SSRIs have been stopped. Further frustrating is the idea that the WD is simply the original symptoms coming back.

 

I know what my anxiety felt like before Lexapro...this version I'm experiencing now isn't the same. Add to that...the depression I'm feeling...isn't something I have experienced before. I'm sure if I went to my doctor he would put me back on Lexapro in a heartbeat. He told me the last time I was in that he typically will prescribe it for a 1 or 2 year period if 6 months doesn't work.

 

And now, in my opinion this entire treatment approach is based on incomplete science and faulty assumptions as to the origin and treatment of depression and anxiety.

 

So...like I said before..l I think it's only a matter of time that the problems with SSRI withdrawal will become more widely known. I'm just glad at this point in time that this forum exists and so many people are contributing information about their experiences to it.

Lexapro four times in the last ten years. Each time 6 month use. Two week taper.

Lexapro 20mg August 2014 until Feb 28 2015. Two week taper

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Tilly,

 

Thank you! Your timing was wonderful. I took time to read the poem and then reread it. When I was still in school I was a speed reader most times and now find myself having to make myself slow down on things where all the words matter.

 

I appreciate your kind wishes today. I hope you're doing well too.

 

David

I'm glad it helped :) Be kind to yourself, especially during the waves. They can teach us what we need to know, but can be physically and emotionally exhausting.

 

We will get there.

 

Hugs,

 

Tilly

1999 - 2004 Paroxetine 20mg  -> 2004 - 2007 Citalopram 20mg -> 2007 -  short term Trazedone use (insomnia) -> 2007 - 2009 Fluoxetine 20mg  ->

2009 - Jan 2012 Citalopram 20mg  (Spring / Summer 2012 protracted withdrawal & related agoraphobia) -> 2012 - September Restarted Citalopram - unbearable start up effects. Discontinued in under 1 week -> Oct 12 -   October 2014 Escitalopram - 10mg prescribed. Started on 5mg and worked up to 10mg in 2.5mg increments  -> Oct 2014  - 5mg; 30/03/15 2.5mg; 15/04/15 3.5mg; 20/05/15 2.9mg;  19/09/15 2.8mg; 30/10/15 2.7mg; 13/11/15 2.6mg. Holding until March.

Diet:  mostly pescatarianl & lots of veg. Weekly offal for b vitamins.  Turmeric, nigella seeds, avocados, apple cider vinegar, coconut products daily. Lots of fluids: water, lemon juice, coconut water, herbal & green tea (decaffeinated).

Supplements: vitamin C 4000mg, Omega 3 fish oil - high DPA & EHA, vitamin E 400iu, vitamin D3 5000mg (Winter only - from sun in Spring / Summer), probiotics.

Current Symptoms: chronic fatigue, erratic sleep, extreme photophobia, eye floaters, noise sensitivity, tinnitus, cognitive & speech difficulties, dizziness, irregular gait, poor co ordination, severe facial and upper body muscle tension, head and neck pressure.

Coping Strategies: good nutrition, cooking, gardening & growing my own food, cycling, dancing, yoga, photography, sewing & creative pursuits, self massage, pampering, meditation, journalling, nature, cuddling cats & humans, laughter & humour, gratitude, self care, aromatherapy, audio books, word games & believing in myself, my potential and my future.

 

"Everything I need is within me" - Shakti Gawain

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Tilly,

 

Yes, they can tiring...I've notice during the waves my tolerance for stress is reduced. I think sometimes it's physically tiring because our bodies are tense. We tense muscles in the neck etc. not realizing it.

 

I tried skipping my morning cup of coffee yesterday. While it feels good to drink it and feels good for a while afterward it seems my sensitivity to caffeine has been increased.

 

I was looking over your current symptoms and noticing how many of those I've got. Mine seem more cognitive and mood oriented but I have had a few of the physical ones too.

 

How are you doing lately?

Lexapro four times in the last ten years. Each time 6 month use. Two week taper.

Lexapro 20mg August 2014 until Feb 28 2015. Two week taper

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