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Found 342 results

  1. JLex1981 Hello !

    Hi Guys, Lexapro taker for the past 15 years ! Tapering down, just went from 5mg to 4, might’ve done a little too much feeling a little anxious. Any tips ? Should I stick to 10% ? Hope all is well John
  2. StarEyes

    Hi, I've been on 20mg Lexapro almost 20 years. I've tried 4 times to taper off, but I was cutting the dose 50% at a time; waiting weeks or as much as 9 months and then cutting another 50%. As soon as I got off, I would wind up totally unable to sleep and in fight or flight 24/7. From the information on this website, it looks like the tapering was far too rapid. I have managed to get off Klonopin and Trazadone in the past by pill-cutting without too much trouble. The last time I tried quitting Lexapro was a year ago with the help (and many, many supplements) from a naturopath, but, alas, with the same results. Until I saw The Withdrawal Project website and this site, it seemed I would need to stay on Lexapro forever, since all my attempts to get off it failed. Now that I see there's another way, I'm trying to decide whether to try the slow taper, or leave well enough along and stay on it, because I do feel good, despite some very annoying side effects. I had sleep and anxiety issues before I got on it, but not like I get after tapering off. It seems like I've made good mental health progress over the past 20 years with therapy, yoga, meditation and following a behavioral sleep program from a book, but maybe I need the support of the drug to feel good. As an aside, I have chronic back pain that is much better managed than it was in the past, but the very helpful bodyworker I see for it says the Lexapro is drying up the fascia and interfering with healing, so she'd like to see me get off it. My life is in a calm, non stressful place, for the most part. My question is: if I switched to liquid Lexapro and reduced my dose 5% a month, what do you think are the odds of a smooth ride off? Thanks in advance for your advice.
  3. Positive stories?

    Hello everyone, I'm doing decent with the withdrawal, better than I was anyway. I was wondering if anyone could give me some positive stories about getting their feelings back for their partner or just recovering from ssris in general? I'm feeling a little discouraged again, it's been going on two years since my feelings changed for my boyfriend after quitting Lexapro cold turkey. I guess I'm just wondering what I should be expecting? Is the hardest part over or will it still be awhile before I'm me again? We're definitely better than we were but I want so bad to go back to the way we were. I loved him more than anything and two years of feeling nothing is just so hard.
  4. Hi All, What an informative site. Well done all involved! The first SNRI I was put on was Cymbalta (30 mg since January 2010). Over the years I have made three attempts to withdraw from it. My last attempt to withdraw was in July 2017. My doctor recommended me an every other day tapering from 30mg for two to three months and then to stop. I did what she suggested and this was a big mistake. She then switched me to Lexapro (10 mg). That was two months ago. I have experienced some ups and downs with anxiety since then, but things feel relatively stable now. Here is my question: Do you think it is a good idea to begin a 10%-taper soon (maybe in Mai 2018)? Or would you suggest to wait a couple of weeks/months more before tapering (I still occasionally have nausea and anxiety)? My doc says that I should wait 6 months before considering a new attempt. Thank you very much! Dutch
  5. Hi all, I came across this site about a month ago while struggling to find answers. And first, thank you for sharing all of your stories. It has helped immensely with trying to understand what has been going on. I don't know if it'll help the end result, but at the very least it has provided insight and some hope towards a solution. Which I've sorely needed. Now I guess... I should tell my story before rambling too much. My fiance has been struggling with depression her entire life (Her: 35F, Me: 32M). We've been together for over 8 years now (living together for ~7). A little over a year ago, her depression really started to hit rock bottom. Not knowing any better, I encouraged her to see a doctor to get some help. She first went to her GP who immediately prescribed an AD (forgive me, I don't remember what they were) which caused horrible panic attacks and insomnia. She couldn't sleep at all, and the immediate side effects were truly awful. The GP went through a few other ADs with similar effects and eventually threw up his hands and told her she needed to see a psychiatrist. Encouraging her all the way, I pushed her to make an appointment with a psych and therapist. She was in a really dark dark place at the time, and oh how I thought it'd help. And I guess it did to some extent. She went to see a psych who diagnosed her with major depressive disorder. He then went through a few AD options with her and finally settled with Lexapro (20mg) and Rexulti (1mg) after a few months of trial/error. She had actually been on Lexapro over a decade ago (before we had met) for about a year and it had worked at the time. This earlier stint with Lexapro was well and over before we met. The medication did help her depression no doubt. It helped bring her back to having mostly 5/10 days which was a significant improvement. At first, I was really excited that she was actually starting to feel better. But, as she was starting to feel better, I was beginning to notice that her plans rarely involved us. For the most part, the only way we'd spend quality time together during this period was if I coordinated everything. She was also slowly becoming more and more distant, cold. Honestly, I don't think she even realized it at this point. The relationship was slowly working its way into a fairly one-sided situation. Our relationship continued to spiral down-wards. Our sex life was non-existent (libido absolutely destroyed by the meds), she had become less empathetic, and the relationship was slowly drifting further and further apart. During this period, she had begun some minor contact with a previous ex from over a decade ago. She also began to get much closer to a male friend of hers. It got to the point where he did try to steal her away. She swears up and down that she didn't have any feelings for him and nothing had happened. I don't think I ever truly believed her... but I also don't think there had been any physical cheating. There weren't any overt signs and the medication had completely killed her libido. So more likely, it was an emotional affair if anything. This situation put a lot of stress on the relationship at the time. We'd never had any faithfulness issues previously in our relationship. Communication has never been our strong point. During this time, rather than communicating how I was feeling neglected and hurt by what had gone on, I started to withdraw from the relationship as well. This was about 3-4 months ago. Fast forward to about 3 weeks ago, and she broke down crying telling me that she couldn't do this anymore. At this point, I had stumbled upon some information leading me to think that some of these issues could be related to the medication. So we talked, and I convinced her to talk to her psych about the emotional blunting and getting off Lexapro. Of course, her psych and therapist didn't agree that the relationship issues were being caused by the medication. But, the psych was willing to help her get off Lexapro. So he started to have her taper by 5mg every 5 days. Incredibly fast taper from what I've read here, but she actually did it cold turkey during her last stint over a decade ago and didn't have any terrible side effects. I thought things were potentially heading down the right direction at this point. But, nothing is ever simple in life. Two weeks ago she broke down again and this time told me that she didn't love me anymore and that she was done. Before this last year, I don't think there had ever been a thought in either one of our minds that we wouldn't be spending the rest of our life together. I was devastated. I thought that the medication had a major role with her feelings. She on the other hand, was convinced that she felt this way because we had been heading down different paths and had just drifted apart. Which we have to some extent. She's been developing her relationship with God and has been wanting to move towards going on mission trips overseas. These changes have happened while medicated, but aren't necessarily out of character. I on the other hand am not part of this portion of her life (agnostic atheist). It never has been an issue before in our relationship though. We both have respected each other's beliefs. After talking (or more like pleading... i was absolutely shook to my core), she reluctantly agreed to see a relationship counselor (for me as she said) for a month to see if it'd help. So far, we've had one session and another tomorrow. No progress yet really, but we're still spending time together and there's some affection (albeit forced). Her Lexapro taper does finish tomorrow (she's been experiencing serious fatigue, but that's the only symptom I've noticed so far). But, her psych is planning to put her on another AD here in a few weeks. Honestly, I'm just lost as to where to go and what to do. It seems a month is nowhere near the time needed to potentially heal from the damage done by the medication and WD effects. Let alone if another AD is introduced. I just feel like I'm helpless watching the love of my life slip through my hands... Thank you for reading. I'm not the best with words and sorry for such a long post. But, just working it out and writing down some of the situation has helped. Any help, advice, thoughts, would be really appreciated.
  6. I quit Lexapro and 3 weeks later i simply stopped sleeping. It has been 4 months now and I have insomnia every day unless i take benzos. I have tried trazodone, zolpidem, CBTI and lithium. nothing works and i am getting more and more suicidal. i litterally have to stay on benzos otherwise i will be consumed by obcessive thoughts of death. I cannot go on like this any longer. Has anyone ever had this experience? will it ever stop?
  7. ponsrock: Lexapro

    Dear all, today is March 16, 2018 and i am doing a chronicle/diary of process of FINALLY stopping LEXAPRO. ———————— i have been on lexapro since october 2012.... on and off. When i tried stopping, the symptoms of depression and anxiety would return after 4 months that i would return to using the drug. It has happened for three cycles. from october 2017 to december 2017, i have been taking 1/2 tab once to twice per week. I felt symptom free. December 16, 2017 was my last dose. I DECIDED TO BREAK FREE. january 2018 was easy. I didn’t feel any symptoms of withdrawal. february 2018. My mood swings started going wild. Mornings were the worst and things would improve come 6pm. Some days were worse. I would meditate daily to manage this.... i feel brain foggy at times. I felt i was speaking much slower than before. I i tried speaking at the same speed, i would stammer. This wasn’t normally the case before SSRI’s. March 2017.... i read The Mood Therapy book and seems to be helping me. The days of mood swings are still there and I have days where focus is difficult to achieve. Sometimes i read some paragraphs in a book thrice to five times just to understand what it means... FOCUS FOCUS!!! anyway, i will keep this journal regular.....
  8. Moderator note: link to benzo thread - Nolongeranxiousbut: lexapro/klonopin which to taper... see pdoc tomorrow hi all, I'm a new member. I had a medical incident (still dealing with but a lot has gotten better) that caused anxiety and insomnia back in October. Things got worse and I started medicines with a psychiatrist Jan 2nd for the first time. Was started on klonopin and Lexapro. Tapered lexapro two weeks up to 10mg. Klonopin was also increased to try and help with sleep up to 1.125 mg a day - 1 mg at night and .125 in the morning. Didn't help sleeping through the night. I did have 5 days above 1.125 mg a day - 1 day at 1.75, 1 day at 1.625 and 3 days at 1.25. Those were nighttime increases to 1.25 and 1.5 which didn't help. My pdoc is new (less than 1.5 years in practice) and had only ever heard of a klonopin withdrawal once when one of her 20+ year patients at .5mg at night didn't get her script refilled. She believes I feel what I feel from my one klonopin cut - down to .75 at night setting alarm to take at 2:30 in the morning as found Feb 21 that I no longer had anxiety keeping me from falling asleep which was a huge improvement and I enjoy sleeping naturally 4 hours... but hate getting up to take the required klonopin - she said... you can cut from 1 mg to 0! so no issue cutting .75 to .5 uhm, no. I had brain fog some of those early post-taper days but now down to headaches mostly from jaw clenching and gassiness (treating with beano and gasX). No increased anxiety. The stomach and jaw clenching (saw dentist and fitted for night lower mouthguard which I'll get this week) but also feel like want to clench and have to focus not to clench during day - started Feb 19th. I dropped the klonopin 10 Feb. I did go back up to 1 mg a night Feb 18 and 19 and .875 at night Feb 20. I had been sleeping with addition of benadryl and it had dried out my mouth so I had stopped and was hoping the klonopin .25 early in the evening would help with falling asleep. Anyhow... my pdoc doesn't think the jaw clenching is from the klonopin drop and wants me to reduce my lexapro. She suggested 10mg to 7.5mg but was open to liquid so I have 5mg pills and 1mg/ml liquid now. I haven't started. I still have good/bad days of headaches and gassiness - mostly don't start until late afternoon and better by the time I go to bed. The last 3 days I had two days completely good and then yesterday with headache and stomach upset from the gassiness. Has anyone here had relief reducing lexapro from 10 to 7.5 for jaw clenching? With two drugs it's hard to really know which it's from. If I drop I'll only do 5 or 10% on the lexapro and hold to wait to see if withdrawal symptoms. But I've also been trying to decide if I should try and reduce the klonopin a little more. So hard to figure out what to do first! And I expect I should wait longer although I read the stomach problems might be long term so not sure I can outwait that if I want to do another taper of something.
  9. Hey guys, First off, thank you for existing. I came home from work feeling pretty down after trying to normalize after my last taper from 10mg of Lexapro to 7.5mg and it was a godsend stumbling across this forum and realizing I am not alone. A bit about me: -Sober/recovered alcoholic who has been sober 2+ years (garbage disposal druggy but never touched anything that was too hard). -Have been on Lexapro since I was 13 (27 years old now) -Only time I have ever came off Lexapro was 4 years ago by a doctor's orders who tapered me wayyyyyy to quickly. Got back on it a few months later. -Have been prescribed uppers (addy, ritalin, vyvanse etc.) in the past for ADD but abused them and landed myself in rehab this last time. Quite honestly I never needed them. My belief is that a very small subset of the community actually does have ADHD and might need them. I just didn't want to focus in US History in high school and a rush of dopamine makes anything more fun ;). -My life now is great on the outside and slowly getting better on the inside. I am sober, have a great paying career, house, car, etc., but something inside still feels like I am being "numbed" and I know its the Lexapro. Every time I ween I feel a little more alive after my brain balances itself out. My goal for coming on here is to learn from your collective wisdom and to do my best to provide support for those still struggling. I am not a doctor, and cannot provide medical advice (obviously), but I understand from wrestling through addiction that being able to relate to another individual who can say "I understand," is sometimes the most refreshing thing in this world.
  10. Hello, everyone! I found this useful forum during an internet search, and I am very happy because of it. I will go straight to the question. I have been taking fluanxol (floupentixol) and Esobel (ascitalopram) for about three months now. Recently my pdoctor, prescribed me Medorisper (risperidone) in the place of fluanxol . I tried it (risperidone) for two days on a dosage of 2mg and I felt awful: unfocused, lack of motivation or interest in anything, zoning out, fatigue, very long sleeping sessions, just wanting to lay in bed all the time. Now I called her and told her, that I am feeling god awful I and want to get back on fluanxol, she replied that I have to continue taking risperidone on lower dosage but I don't want to feel dead again. Since I read that it permanently blocks some kind of receptor forever, should I expect any permanent effects on me after just 2 days of usage? All answers are greatly appreciated!
  11. Hello all, I've been reading these forums intensely for the past week as I've been in rough shape, but I found out about SA last August when my meds first pooped-out. Anyways, I thought it was time that I posted and got more involved because it's Hell right now.. So a little background, I was first put on Zoloft in 2006 for social anxiety and depression, which was secondary to the social anxiety IMO. I was started on 50mg and had some slight flushing and palpitation, nothing too severe and completely bearable. Then my psych Dr kept increasing the dosage by 25mg I think about every two weeks until I reached 150mg. I was feeling fine even at 75mg so I don't know why he did that. Anyways I had 0 side effects, sexual or otherwise, and basically got my life back. I got my first girlfriend in college, went clubbing, made friends and got a part-time job. Things I thought were never going to happen in my life when I first started struggling with social anxiety when I was around 17. Then about 8 months in after starting Zoloft, the Dr advised that I taper off and quit because I was doing so well. He had me taper from 150mg to 0 in about 6 weeks or so. After about 2 weeks off Zoloft, the zaps started. They were pretty severe every time I turned my head. Then I got hungry right after I ate so I would eat more. Then I got emotional, to the point that I shed a tear or two while watching a Jet Li movie..I had no clue about withdrawal back then so I just stuck it out and about 3 to 4 weeks after quitting Zoloft, the emotional symptoms hit hard. Crippling depression, anxiety, impending doom, suicidal thoughts, depersonalization. I was bed bound for a few days and then started drinking. So the Dr put me back on Zoloft but I was still a wreck after a week or so, and he added risperidone to no avail, switched me to Paxil and finally Lexapro 10mg and Seroquel 50mg at night which seemed to help after 3 or 4 days. Thinking back, I probably could have stuck with Zoloft after the reinstatement and stuck it out until I stabilized which would have been preferable to adding an anti-psychotic but again I had no clue about withdrawal and I guess neither did the Dr. But the Lexapro and seroquel worked so I stayed on it for about a year before deciding to try quitting again in April of 2008. Went through the same withdrawal after tapering off too quickly (don't remember how fast but probably 10 weeks or less) and reinstated both Lexapro and Seroquel. Decided just to stay on them for life if they keep working because I didn't have any noticeable side effects besides the Seroquel making my nose stuffy but I took it at night and it knocked me out in about an hour so I guess I didn't really care. Fast forward to August of 2017, after the birth of my first child which required some significant lifestyle changes coupled with a stressful/dirty/dangerous work environment, I got the withdrawal symptoms, even though I was on the same dosage. Not a lot of the physical symptoms but very mild zaps 2-3 times/day and just some generalized fatigue which went on for about a 8 weeks, then the sudden crippling emotional symptoms hit. Went to the local Dr (I moved so it was a different Dr) and asked to try Effexor XR after doing some research. Thought I needed something stronger..lol..but was only on it for about 10 days which was hell because by then I also had hot flushes, tinnitus, light sensitivity, and panic attacks. I went back to the Dr and this time switched back to Zoloft with fingers crossed. I went back up to 150mg, but didn't notice much improvement after about 8 weeks so I decided it wasn't working and that I was just going to quit all antidepressants forever. So from October 16 to December 4 2017, I went from 150 mg to 0. Shortly after starting the taper I noticed the Zaps had flared up again but I just brushed it off to the poop-out. I started taking 200 mg sam-e and 250 to 500mg l-theanine in hopes of lessening the withdrawal symptoms, and I did okay with manageable anxiety and little to no depressive symptoms. That is until I decided it was time to stop the sam-e and l-theanine as well. I started skipping sam-e and l-theanine every 3 days, then 2 then every other day and so on until my last dose on the 18th of February 2018. The past week or so I have hit rock bottom again with the emotional symptoms, being homebound and not able to workout which means a lot because I have not missed a single day of lifting weights in the past 3 or so years except the day my child was born. I am now seriously thinking about reinstating either the Zoloft or the sam-e and l-theanine then following the 10% taper method because I will have to move again in about 4 weeks and I'm supposed to go on a month long trip with my family in April, both of which has been stressing me out for some time now. I would rather not if I can because it feels like taking steps back but as I've read multiple times in this forum sometimes it's necessary to go back a few steps to move forward. I'm just scared of the many unknown variables, but it certainly is better than the alternative especially now that I have a wonderful, loving and supportive wife and a lovely baby whom I love very much.
  12. In late 2008, I was prescribed Cipralex for depression/anxiety issues. Earlier that year, I was on Propecia (hairloss medication) and started developing pretty bad brain fog issues (was only 21 years old), that's when I resorted asking my doctor for antidepressants (because I thought they would magically fix things). It's been since May 2017 since I stopped taking Cipralex completely, after taking it for 9+ years. Oct 2017 is when I started to feel and see my brain slowly deteriorate at an abnormally fast rate (I'm currently 30 years old). It is now Feb 2018 and I feel as though my withdrawal symptoms have been over since early January 2018, but I've just been feeling progressively worse. My cognitive function has been severely hindered, I've been neglecting all friends and family, and I am currently living a life of a disabled person and don't see a resort other than going back on this medication + possibly something else. It's a vicious cycle, I'm getting more depressed because of isolation, but I'm isolating myself being I'm "depressed". I haven't seem a lot of people recovering from anti-depressants successfully, especially after using Cipralex/Lexapro/Escitalopram long-term... And I'm starting to believe there is no way recovering from this. Seriously considering starting at a low dose and possibly adding Wellbutrin to give me the energy to change what's going on in my life... I really really don't want to take these medications, because I honestly believe Cipralex was one of the drugs that caused me to be this mentally handicapped, but I honestly don't see myself getting out of this hole without any meds... Therapy has been only doing so much for me... I'm scared guys; I don't think I'll ever do this, but suicide really does seem to be the only answer to all this. I don't want to live a life thinking about what could of been if I never took these drugs.
  13. Good Afternoon, I just read some informative and helpful posts you wrote about this subject. I wondered if I could pick your brain, as I feel you have a handle on this. My profile is quite simple. 45 year old male. Had a vertigo episode 7 months ago. Went to every specialist under the sun (vestibular specialist, Neurologist, had full blood work, EEG, CTA's of brain and neck, MRI of brain, sinus scan, etc), and nothing out of the ordinary was discovered. Since that vertigo episode, I have had this "spaced out" "disequilibrium" feeling in my head that I cannot seem to shake. The symptoms of occasional headaches, light headedness, and dizziness (not spinning like vertigo) have not gone away. My neurologist suggested I try Lexapro for a few months, to see if these symptoms could be anxiety related. I am very sensitive to all medications, which I knew going in. My neuro originally prescribed 10 mg Lexapro with an increase to 20 mg. After consulting with some professionals in this area, I started out at 5 mg for 2 weeks. (20 mg pill split twice). I was on 5 mg for 2 weeks and although there were slight side effects, I tried upping to 10 mg. After 3 straight days of excruciating headaches, I went back down to 5 mg. In the 8 weeks I was on 5 mg, I felt OK ,but I gained 15 pounds (no lie) as I was either hungry all the time, or tired and drowsy all the time. The odd feeling in my head was still there but dulled by my cravings to eat and constantly feeling like I needed a nap. Last week, I decided to taper off the 5mg dosage. I weigh the broken tablets to get exactly 2.5 mg on a pill scale each morning. I realize the weight of the pill is actually 25 MG but the dosage is 20 MG. Last night I was working on my laptop while reclining, and I got so dizzy, I thought I was going to either throw up or pass out. I stood up, walked it off, and my head settled down. It seems for a week I have felt woozy and off balance much more. My food cravings have diminished and I am not as groggy as I was when on 5 mg. So many professionals state 5 mg is such a low dosage I shouldn't have to taper, but with as sensitive I have always been to meds, I knew I needed to at least try 2.5 mg. In your experience, how long should I stay on 2.5 mg of Lexapro, considering I have only been on the SSRI for 9 weeks total, and the 2.5 tapering for 8 days. Your advice is greatly appreciate. Thank you. Mark
  14. Does anybody have experience with tapering off 5 mg of Lexapro? I have been on for 8 weeks and wish to come off.
  15. About 4.5 months ago, I went off of Lexapro 10mg after 2 years on (was previously on for another 2.5 years prior to that as well, then off for 6 mths before I restarted). Instead of a taper, I was instructed by a psychiatrist to switch from lexapro to Prozac (bc of its longer half life) for 3 days before stopping the medication completely. I made it through the physical withdrawal and then began experiencing plenty of other symptoms: anxiety, depression, apathy, detachment, social isolation, etc. It seems to go in waves, but when I have short periods of feeling well, I feel quite fragile. Now, after 4.5 months, I have been feeling depressed for about the past 2 weeks. I’ve felt high levels of anhedonia for a while as well. I should also mention that I am planning a wedding that is 7 months away. I fear that I will continue to feel this way, and I am sad and terrified at the prospect of not feeling better, not being able to enjoy wedding planning, my bachelorette, my wedding. I chose to come off of the lexapro when I did because I didn’t want to deal with this during year 1 of marriage or while we’re trying to have children. I’ve been eating a healthier diet and I do weight training most days. I push through at work and in social situations, but this is very painful and I need to know that this won’t last for too long and that I’m doing the right thing. I don’t want to go on medication again because I don’t want to experience this again, but I also don’t want to suffer through what should be some of the most exciting parts of my life. Reading others posts on this site have been reassuring for me. Any insight, suggestions, or stories of how any of you can relate would be appreciated.
  16. My doctor wanted to cut my dose in half. I insisted that I taper 2.5 mg of Lexapro at a time. I stay at one taper for a month. The last taper took almost 2 1/2 months. I just tapered down to 12.5 mg. The only side effect I have so far is the extreme itching which is difficult to manage.
  17. Moderator note: Link to GregoryReboot's benzo thread - GregoryReboot: Switching from Clonazepam to Diazepam? Hey Everyone. 3 months ago I finished my taper off of SSRIs. The agony I have gone through is well appreciated by this group. That’s why I’m here. There are still days I wonder if I can make it BUT I am also getting to the point though where it is hard to imagine “going back” (on SSRIs). I am getting some “glimmers” of hope. I have good days or even multiple days. I smelled a candle last night and couldn’t believe how rich it smelled. A song with sounds you can “feel”. Beautiful. All my senses were dulled on antidepressants. I didn’t even realize it and had just gotten so used to it. Now I feel things again. Sure sometimes that feels like way too much BUT I’m starting to think it’s worth those bad “waves” to get my brain and emotions back. Having a good day today. Hope you all are too. I’m taking some time off work to get my head back and heal through some of this build up. I’m overwhelmed by my life but am happy to be “back in it”! Any encouragement or wisdom is welcome. One of the lingering symptoms for me is sleep. I am getting better but still waking up too early and restless and racing.
  18. I beat withdrawal and in the process I beat a depression that had been plaguing me for half my life. I’ve been meaning to share my story for sometime now but have failed to take the time to do so. When I was in the thick of it back in 2016 I heavily utilized this site for answers, for comfort, and for inspiration. Unfortunately there don’t seem to be a lot of success stories but I am proud to say I am one. It was quite a daunting task writing this all down, I swear I could write a novel based on my experience with depression and antidepressants. Irregardless I hope my story can help encourage those currently in the midst of withdrawal just as stories I had read on this site encouraged me during my withdrawal. I am a 27 year old man and I took antidepressants from 2010 to early 2016. My first year was on Zoloft and the next five years were on Effexor 150mg. Depression entered my life around the age of 13 and it more or less stayed there up until recently. Sure there were periods of time where it subsided but eventually I would always return to my depressed default state. When I was about 13 my father died unexpectedly, a few years later my grandfather was murdered. My teenage years were very lonely. Affected by the deaths and trying to understand my sexuality pushed me into a state of isolation, it was during this time where I developed a very strong pornograghy addiction. Rather than talk about my issues through friends and therapy I chose to keep them hidden and use medication to do the work for me. Soon after starting college I got on Zoloft. It suited me, I felt calm and content but I craved something more stimulating. I had previously been prescribed adderall, but I recognized the ill effects it had on my personality so I stopped taking it. The campus doctor recommended Effexor, he said I might find it to be more stimulating. Therefore without question I took the prescription and worked my way up to 150mg where I would remain the next 5 years. During this time I was also taking ambien nightly, and between these two drugs I was able block out any of the persistent issues that were bothering me. I was numb. Years later I was living in a house with two very supportive roommates. These two guys would become my best friends and for the first time in my life I actually opened up about the things that truly bothered me. I also finally decided to get into therapy. In retrospect I could see that I was not actually happy on the antidepressants. I was just going through the motions, numb to the good and numb to the bad. I could see my growing disconnect from people. Up until those roommates I didn’t have close friends, I wasn't dating, and I certainly wasn’t having sex. I was almost 25 and still a virgin. The antidepressants removed the desire to be intimate with people, I was living in perpetual loneliness. So in January of 2016 I made the decision I was getting off Effexor and that was that. As with most doctors, my doctor had no idea how to get me off. There are no established plans to get people off of antidepressants, once your on them your expected to stay on them. So every two weeks I would half the dosage, and at the lowest dosage I was to take it every other day. That was completely idiotic as Effexor only has a 12 hour half life, essentially I would be playing ping pong with my brain chemistry. Fortunately I did not follow that last part of the plan but I did get off too quickly. After five years on the drug, six weeks is not long enough to get completely off. My first day off of Effexor was also my first day on a one month solo trip through South America which was during my birthday month when I would be turning 25. The trip was fantastic but it gave me a false sense of security as to what life would be like without the drug. While traveling you are processing so much new information and your brain is naturally producing tons of dopamine through all these new experiences therefore I was not accurately feeling what real withdrawal would feel like. I had some minor headaches the first week of the trip but that was really it. By the time the trip ended I thought life without antidepressants was going to be a piece of cake, boy was I wrong. When I came back it was time to face reality, and I had to do so without relying on Effexor. We were moving from our house, my two awesome roommates were going their separate ways and I was on my own. On top of that I had a very important all consuming project at work to figure out. My anxiety was through the roof. I had a prescription for Ativan that I used very sparingly to get me through, but the anxiety was so bad I thought I needed a more permanent solution. I had to do whatever it took to get through this move and this project so I went back to the doctor to try a different antidepressant. He put me on Lexapro, I believe it was only 5mg but I could feel it instantly. I was finding I was hypersensitive to everything now. I was only able to tolerate Lexapro for 5 days because on the fifth day I was contemplating suicide. Whatever fire I had inside me that had always gotten me through the tough **** felt extinguished and I just wanted to die. I ended up going back to Effexor only taking 10 or so beads from the capsule, just that small amount made a tremendous difference in my anxiety. I did this until I had settled into a new place and my project was complete. While my anxiety was calmed my emotions were neutralized and my libido was extinguished. These were the exact reasons I got off in the first place so I knew I had to stick with the plan of staying off for good. Things were calming down but I was very depressed and had a complete lack of motivation. I was trying a lot of things like B-vitamins, Magnesium, L-theanine, and Fish Oil. I could feel some benefit from each of them but after a few days I would be back in my depression. I had very low energy and I was sensitive to everything. Just eating bread would make me feel terrible even though I had no apparent gluten intolerance previously. It was around this time a good friend of mine talked me into doing Improv. I thought it was crazy but I had nothing left to lose. So even at my worst I did Improv and I also continued training in the martial art Krav Maga. No matter how bad I felt I would show up and make a fool of myself in Improv or hit the **** out of something in Krav. I always felt much relief whenever I did either and I credit both of those activities to helping me beat my depression in the long run. I opened up a lot to my friends and family about what was going on in my head, and whenever my anxiety felt high I would challenge myself into doing something that made me uncomfortable. I performed on stage, I did sparring at my gym, I went on dates with guys, and I opened up to my Mom about my sexuality. My motto was “oh you think you’re anxious now? Wait till you do this!” While all these lifestyle changes helped build up my confidence I still struggled to find relief from my depression. I thoroughly researched the neurotransmitters and what vitamins and supplements help support what. I determined that my issues seemed to lie with Dopamine. So I went back to my doctor to get on Wellbutrin. I was not happy about throwing in the towel again but I also wasn’t ultimately finding relief. I was open to Wellbutrin because it supposedly did not have as severe of sexual side effects. I started taking it and I actually felt pretty damn good. Unfortunately I also broke out in hives. So it was back to the drawing board. I tried St. John’s wort and SAM-e, neither of those did anything. Finally I tried L-Tyrosine, this seemed to make the biggest difference. Like I hypothesized, my problem stemmed from dopamine and L-Tyrosine is a precursor in the creation of dopamine. While I found some relief, it was very finicky. Taking too much made me feel like I was going to have a heart attack, too little of course did nothing at all. It was also very easily influenced by the digestive process so it was hard to find consistency and consistency was what I needed as I was about to hop on a very stressful 6 week project. I threw in the towel again this time looking at Cymbalta. I had read that it was less likely to cause the sexual side effects that Effexor does. It was true, I found my libido did not seem to suffer as badly however I downright felt badly. I felt achy, my head hurt, I felt dehydrated, and I was terrified to force my body to adjust to this seemingly toxic drug. I knew that I had no intentions of staying on antidepressants my whole life therefore if Cymbalta feels this harsh to adjust to in the beginning then I can only imagine what it would feel like to get off of. This whole withdrawal process shook me to my core. While I was desperate to find relief so that I could function at work I also knew that I never wanted to withdrawal from an antidepressant again. I tossed the Cymbalta and I went back to taking a few beads of the Effexor. Once again I felt relief but once again my libido vanished as did my emotions. The most striking difference I noticed once I was back on the Effexor had to do with a coworker. I had a thing for one of the girls I was working with and I knew she felt similarly. Whenever she smiled at me I could feel an electricity rush through my body. When I got back on Effexor and she smiled at me, I felt nothing. That was it, that was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I could be depressed, anxious, and barely able to function but I was not going to lose the feeling of being human. I was not going to lose feeling a connection with someone, caring about someone, and I sure as hell was not going to lose my libido, not at 25. Antidepressants were out, I had to find another way. That’s when I discovered a different form of L-Tyrosine called N-Actetyl-L-Tyrosine, this form is less affected by digestion and crosses the blood brain barrier more easily. It took a lot of experimentation with how to dose the N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine. It caused a lot of headaches but it was relieving my depression and anxiety. Finally I developed a regimen that included several of the vitamins I had previously tried that offered relief but couldn’t fix the problem as a whole. My regimen consisted of a B-complex, Fish oil, Vitamin C, and Vitamin D during the day; at night I would take Magnesium, melatonin, and every other night 150mg of N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine. After 6 months of suffering and countless experimentation I finally found stability again with my own personal regimine. I more or less stayed on this particular plan for a year, and the extreme depression and anxiety stayed away. I had never felt better because I was actually feeling everything like a human being should. I was also very in tune with my emotions, as soon as I felt depressing thoughts creeping in I would identify them and root out what may be causing them. I continued challenging myself with the improv, krav maga, and anything else that my old self would swear I could never do. I also continued therapy and being open and honest with those around me. I beat the depression that had been plaguing me the majority of my life. I didn’t stay on that particular set of vitamins and supplements indefinitely, I started dropping things along the way. After about a year the N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine started acting finicky again, I was suffering headaches similar to when I first got on it. I ended up dropping the Tyrosine several months ago and instead started experimenting with Rhodiola Rosea. So far it has been working well. If the Rhodiola Rosea stops working I’ll try something else, the important thing is that my mindset has changed. I’m extremely self aware, I’ve accomplished so many things I thought I could never do, and I know that I no longer need antidepressants to function. Depression will always be something I will battle but I’m finally now in the driver's seat and I am not going to give up my spot so easily this time. Withdrawal is horrible but its an important process in forming a new and better self. Just because L-Tyrosine and Rhodiola Rosea have helped me doesn’t mean they will help everyone. It took a lot of trial and error to find what seemed to click. Ultimately it was challenging myself, being honest and open with those around me, and learning mindfulness that truly brought me into the light. I hope my story can provide some ray of hope for all of you out there in the thick of it. It can be done. It’s not the end of the world to reinstate just know what your ultimate goals are and stick to them.
  19. Hi all, I hope this finds you sane! I'm tapering off of my second time with escitalopram. The first time, in 2010, I was only on about 2 months, when I decided to come off of the drug. I used a book called "Break your prescription addicition". Since I had been taking the drug for generalized anxiety (basically, work stress sent me into what used to be called a nervous breakdown), I chose to supplement with a neurotransmitter precursor, and I was off "cold turkey" with no problems at all. I was not on very long, I was younger, it was summer. Last July, after being on the drug this time for nearly 2 years, the supplement trick was not so effective. So, in September I talked to my PCP who is a nurse practitioner. She was awesomely supportive, and suggested a S-L-O-W taper. So far so good. I'm at month 4, and for January I've taken 5 mg a day, most days. Some days I forget, really, and then I would have an episode of panic, or over-reaction. That would remind me to stick with the program. I am also making sure that I keep up with my meditation practice, and my yoga practice, and getting outside to walk. I am already starting to feel my mind coming back to me, but it sounds like the real test happens after the meds are done. Why did I want to stop? Easy. Breakthrough anxiety and the fact that I have gained 40 pounds in 2 years. And FATIGUE. So why did I go back on lexapro the second time? My mother, who has dementia, moved out here so that I, the "single" daughter, could be her caregiver. That happened early June, 2015. In July, I lost the high-paying job that had allowed me to buy the bigger home that had room for mom. I received a good severence package, and I had the summer off to leisurely seek other employment. In the fall, I was employed at my current company, but mom was getting worse. She transitioned to assisted living, and I started having massive anxiety - AFTER all the stressors were relieved. Weird. Mom's condition has worsened again, and she now needs to be in memory care - or at home with me. I opted to bring her home with me, at Christmas. It has been a challenging transition, and in spite of tapering, my inner freakouts have been short-lived and minimally disruptive. I am COPING! I'm writing a lot, and enjoying my dogs. I feel more like myself, I sleep better, and feel fairly well balanced. I hope to be completely off the drug by the Vernal Equinox. I've been listening to a really good audiobook by a woman who is a psychiatrist. She has no qualms about pointing out the lack of research proving a link between low seratonin and depression. She doesn't hesitate to point out the lack of scientific rigor in drug testing. And most alarming of all, is her confession that they don't really know what mood meds actually DO do. I'm glad I found the book (not sure if I can name it here), because I am now determined to tough out any post-taper withdrawal. That's my story, for now.
  20. I was on Lexapro 40 mg for nine years and 30 mg for more three years for OCD - 12 years total. Got serotonin syndrome in September 2017 after combining with Saint Johns Wort and half of a sleeping pill the same night that my milligrams were increased back to 40 for the Lexapro. Three days later I was back on 30 mg of Lexapro and feeling good. One week later I had a little bit of an antihistamine to help me sleep and had serotonin syndrome number two. At that point, I went off of Lexapro cold turkey, fearing another serotonin syndrome. I had no meds for a month. It was more than I could bear, I slowly increased back up to 20 mg over the course of a month. I am at 20 mg and have been for about five weeks, but the withdrawal symptoms continue. I have not been able to return to my work as a teacher; my creative work as a writer and musician have virtually come to a standstill; I have severe depression now and anxiety and panic and many of the usual physical suspects that cold turkey brings. I am not as completely broken as I was before reinstating, but I am not functioning at any kind of a level, honestly. The doctors don't want to go above 20 mg, as they fear another serotonin syndrome. Can anyone share any perspective on withdrawal symptoms continuing even after resuming the medication, albeit at a lower level than before? I started the cold turkey 3 1/2 months ago. And as I said, I have been back at 20 mg of Lexapro for five weeks. (I went back up very gradually).
  21. Hi SA, So I'm feeling like a huge failure because I decided I can't hack it without Lexapro. I started getting off it in the beginning of November. I was on 20 mgs, then went to 10 mg in a week, then 5 mg in 2 weeks with virtually no issues. Then I went to nothing and, oh boy, the rodeo began about 4 days later. December was a month of crying, anxiety, rapid mood swings ( and I mean seriously rapid; like I would cry while heating my lunch up at work then be in a rage for no reason an hour later.) The brain zaps, vertigo, upset stomach, vision problems, etc. were ever-present. So 5 days ago I decided to take 5 mgs of Lexapro. The physical problems disappeared instantly. Now I'm dealing with the rebound depression and anxiety. I took 10 mgs today to try to normalize. I have been doing most of this under my GP's care. She suggested in November that I only go to 10 mgs and hang there until the spring and we can revisit the issue. But weaning was going so well, I thought, hey, let's just go all the way. I haven't called her and told her what I did because I'm hoping to be able to stabilize at 10 mgs and report only good things when I see her. Why did I want off Lex? Same as anyone. I felt better and thought maybe I didn't need it. I gained 25 lbs. Tired of feeling dependent. But I have to be able to function and care for my family and work. My job is somewhat demanding and high profile and can't fall apart everyday. My diagnosis are PTSD, MDD, Anxiety, and Panic Disorder. Hence, the Lexapro. The question I pose to you is this; has anyone had a similar experience and is Lexapro still going to be just as effective? And how long can I reasonably expect to feel awful before I start seeling some equilibrium? I'm trying to ignore the fact that I feel like a huge failure for not seeing the weaning process through. I'm also trying really, really, hard to not monitor every tiny thing my mind and body are feeling. I keep repeating, "It's just myself, talking to myself, about myself." Thanks for reading and I hope everyone is doing well. If you're not, tell me about that, too. I have over 20 years of experience on this crazy merry-go-round.
  22. In April 2015 I began taking Wellbutrin XL 150mg (1 tab then 2 tabs a couple of weeks later) for smoking cessation for about 10 weeks total including tapering on and off. It ended up making all of my nicotine withdrawal symptoms worse so I tapered off, each week cutting my dose in half. (2 tabs to 1 to ½ to ¼) At the time I was not aware of any potential of any crazy side effects of getting off of the medication except for maybe some tiredness and fatigue. My first day of having no Wellbutrin after tapering off, I had 3 huge panic attacks back to back. I went to prompt care and was given a small prescription of Xanax until I could go to my regular doctor the next day. My Primary Care doctor told me I was having a nervous breakdown and instructed me to take short term disability and start seeing a therapist. (I had also been on Lexapro 10mg since April 2015 as well, but was still on it at this point.) So that’s what I did. I couldn’t work anymore. I could barely function. Because I couldn’t work, I couldn’t keep my place and had to move back home with my parents…at 30. I lost my home, my job, and my social life. For about 4 months I just stared at the ceiling or played a game on my phone. It took me about 3 months to find a good fit for a therapist/counselor. After about 4 months, I went to an alternative medicine doctor who told me I had Candida and Leaky Gut Syndrome. They put me on a million vitamins and probiotics and allergy shots and told me to change my diet completely. (I was used to eating pretty healthy in the past so it wasn’t new for me.) It seemed like as soon as I changed my diet and took all of these vitamins, etc. my body jump started with energy and I felt great! I started a job working from home and could slowly start to function again. I started to notice these symptoms I was having, but they could all be explained away by other things. Dizziness, extreme fatigue, gagging and nausea, heartburn. Everything seemed to have another reason. Then my depression and anxiety got worse. So my (new) primary care doctor increase my Lexapro dosage to 20mg. A few months later, my depression was worse. Doctor said I was at the max dose and the only thing to do was to switch medications. Nope! I didn’t want to be on an SSRI in the first place. A few more months go by and I start doing some research online only to find that ALL of my symptoms are side effects of Lexapro! I was done. 2.5 years I had been on it. I had been encouraged to stay on it when I wanted to get off and I was done! I looked online and found a taper schedule. Every 2 weeks, cut the dose in half. So that’s what I did. (20mg to 10mg to 5mg) November 12, 2017 was my first day Lexapro-free. The tapering process was TERRIBLE. Everything was amplified. It would be really bad for about 3-4 days after each drop in dosage and then ease up a little for a few days and then ease up even more over the next week until the next dosage drop. Symptoms: -Increased Depression -Increased Anxiety -Constant Fatigue -Suicidal thoughts (not like me AT ALL) -Extreme Dizziness -Nausea & gagging -I could barely eat or keep food down -Brain Zaps (argh) After coming completely off, I was still struggling, but it was manageable. The dizziness and nausea were the worst and those seemed to have subsided along with the increased depression and anxiety. Then about 4-5 weeks after being completely off of Lexapro “Phase II” started. And that is the hell hole that I’m in now. Here are my current symptoms: -Crippling Depression (worst in my entire life) -Out of control Anxiety (worst in my entire life) -Extreme fatigue -Nausea -Gagging from Anxiety -Inability to eat very many foods without gagging -Vomiting from Anxiety -Varied Dizziness -Weight loss -Brain Fog -Forgetfulness -Decreased brain processing time -Extremely easily overwhelmed -Constant stress -Increased heart rate that will last all day -Sensitive to loud noises -Derealization (especially right after waking up) -Depressive Rumination (This is hands down the worst symptom. A thought or set of thoughts gets stuck in your brain on an infinite loop and you can’t make it stop. It drives me to near insanity.) I feel like the “real me” is inside of me fighting like hell to get out. None of these symptoms are “me.” I’m not myself at all and it feels terrible. I feel like my brain is broken and it’s not functioning the way it normally does. I’m frustrated, mad, sad, every emotion…except happy. I feel like since finding this forum, I have gained more clarity about what is happening to me. Because none of my friends and family really completely understand this…how extreme this is. The more I learn about WHY or HOW my brain isn’t functioning correctly, the more hopeful I become. Because I can try to find coping mechanisms to help me while my brain heals. Before I found this forum, I thought I was literally going insane and I was going to be trapped inside this insane body forever. I was absolutely terrified. So I just want to say thank you to the people that created this place. I’m pretty sure you’ve saved lives.
  23. Moderator note: link to Linus' benzo thread - Linus: Klonopin question Hi everyone, I like this forum, I think the moderators are sensible people who give good advice, compared to some other websites. I have already come a long way with regards to withdrawing from Escitalopram, from 30mg to 1.8 mg. It has been hell but hey here I am I know that by now even small cuts are problematic. My first question would be if anyone has a clue as to whether there comes a point in the withdrawal where things get easier (like at 1mg or 0.8 mg) or does it stay funky all the way down to zero?
  24. blueyes: My Story

    Hi Everyone! I just wanted to take the time to introduce myself and share my story.... I was on Lexapro for 12 years. I actually think I have been on something else when I was pregnant but I honestly can not remember due to the short term memory loss these drugs have given me. Anyhow, the lexapro gave me insomnia so the doctor also put me on a sleeping pill called Lunesta...when I switched over health insurances to Kaiser, the doctor told me they don't cover Lunesta and told me to try this other "sleeping pill" called Klonopin. Little did I know, Klonopin is worse than Xanax. I was taking the Klonopin for over 2 years. I also started gaining weight so the doctor also put me on another pill called phentermine for 6 years to help curve my appetite. When I found out all these drugs were addicting I got nervous so I starting lowering my dose of all the pills over an 10 week period (which now I know was way too fast). By June 1st, 2016 I was off all the drugs. My initial withdraws were not so bad then bam come the 3rd month...ALL hell broke lose. I literally had almost every withdrawal possible and they only got worse as the days went on. I was like a vegetable...couldn’t see well, hear well, confused, hard time comprehending simple things, felt out of my body, depersonalized, dizzy, disoriented, diarrhea everyday, no appetite, sensitive to light, losing my hair and the list goes on and on. I literally felt like I was living in hell. As the days turned into weeks then months things only got worse. I ended up with so much anxiety and depression like I have never experienced before. Then the insomnia kicked in so bad I ended up not sleeping for 3 straight weeks which made me manic. I was pacing around the house like a crazy woman. Then I became extremely, extremely suicidal.... Meanwhile, during all this, I kept walking in the evening for exercise, working, journaling and begging God to help me but NOTHING was working. I finally googled what I was going through and it was ALL right there.... withdrawals from the meds!! I ended up in a mental ward for 10 days. It was literally the worst experience of my life. In the hospital they tried to drug me up again. I ended up getting back on something just so my brain would go back to normal. Right now, I am only on 10mg of Prozac and thankfully I'm off the Klonopin and Phentermine! I’ve been off the Lexapro and Phentermine for 18 months and the Klonopin for 7 months. I am still feeling weird. It’s been a little bit over a year since I was hospitalized. I’m not sure if I’m still going through withdrawals from all the previous meds I got off of or if it’s side affects from the Prozac. As if today, I am still losing my hair and have to wear a wig full time because of all the hair loss. My memory and vision are horrible but getting a little better. I still have racing thoughts everyday but that’s getting better as well. I have 2 young children and dont really look forward to anything. It’s almost like I can’t wait to die but I’m not suicidal. I feel flat with no happiness or joy. I never want to do things and nothing really bothers me now. My initial plan was to start a very slow taper of the Prozac this May as that will put me a year off the Klonopin but I am now having 2nd thoughts. I feel like maybe I should stay on the Prozac a couple years till my children get a little older and start a really slow 3 - 4 year micro taper. I am just so scared of going mentally ill again. I would love to hear positive stories of people who have been on antidepressants for years and have safely tapered and are doing well! Thank you for listening to my story! God Bless!!
  25. Is there even one story on line about a Pharma victim actually weaning off SSRIs after being on them for several years, suffering the withdrawals, then leading a happy life like others. Seems EVERYBODY ends up back on some sort of poisonous chemical, or the same one they were on before, or suffers lifelong side effects and feel miserable? I was on 15mg cipralex for 2.5 yrs for “acute exhaustion”. Tapered down over about 10 months, took my last 2.5 mg 21 days ago and I am in way worse condition than I was 2.5 yrs ago!! Talked to 2 different pharmacists last week. One said go to emergency and get a new prescription, the other said there are NO withdrawals or side effects! “its you underlying problem coming back, has to be” She didn’t even know WHY i was put on this stuff, but immediately made a false assumption!…….. Can anyone put up links to actual success stories? In my life, I have had to get off alcohol, tobacco, adivan and zopiclone and they were a walk in the park compared to this stuff

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