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melspace40: Lexapro withdrawal 5 months or oversensitized nervous system?

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melspace40   
melspace40

Hello,

I'm new here but have come across this forum via looking for info on the internet. I was on Lexapro for 6 months and after having side effects..slowed heartbeat, etc I decided in March of 2017 to go off of it. Unfortunately I did not taper properly..I went from 10 mg to 1/2 pill for a week and then for a few days I went down to a quarter of a pill.

 

I should have sought help from the doctor but she was very pro medication and I felt like she would continue to push this for my GAD..I was on meds years ago but have been able to manage without anything for the last 7 years with exercise and hobbies, etc. I was dizzy and had stomach upset when I first went off but that went away..

 

then by about June I started having a bit of shaking of my hands here and there and increased anxiety. The nerves in my wrists and feet felt like they were crawling..irritated. By July I was waking up shaking in bed..almost like a vibration and what felt like tremors on and off in my arms. Thumbs quivering here and there when holding things..it does seem like it happens when I'm anxious. I have body parts that jerk as I'm trying to fall asleep and keep me awake. I then had terrible insomnia. Although I will say that has improved and I'm able to get sleep now. Sweating has gotten better.  

 

Twitching is on and off. I have been to the doctor numerous times who says it's anxiety. My lips even feel like they're vibrating also. No one can really see me shaking but I can feel it. By the end of July I tried going on Cymbalta which gave me a terrible reaction after only 2 days and I had to come off..head feeling very hot..hearing pulse in ears..sweating and completely out of it...they told me to stop taking that and the next day I could take Celexa ...

 

I was even starting to have some slight head jerking here and there and a few weird blinks here and there too..lots of twitching.. so after 3 days I decided this was too risky to continue and called the doctor who told me to go down to 1/2 pill for a week and then stop..I even took a couple of quarter doses on top of that to make sure.  I thought maybe I started to feel better as it got out of my system..even my nose felt plugged and my ears until it totally cleared. I have not taken anything since the beginning of August.

 

I'm wondering if now I have a whole new set of withdrawals even though between the cymbalta and celexa I was only taking them for about 10 days. I recently went to a neurologist who did a thorough exam on me and could see nothing wrong. He did not order any tests. He said it was my anxiety acting up. He did say I might have some Ulnar Nerve issues since my last two fingers my hand were tingling. Any little emotion seems to set off the body type tremors/vibrations I'm feeling. Even if I'm happy or at a ballgame and get excited about something.  Caffeine now really sets them offf. 

 

I am nearing menopause at 45 which is young but I am just about there according to my levels. I am seeing a physiatrist to double check about my spine as I have had issues there.. a fusion at c-6-7. I wake up extremely shaky..even when I don't feel anxious. I'm wondering if my nervous system is totally sensitized to everything. I have no idea what to do at this point since the neurologist says that he feels I don't tolerate meds very well and advised against it. I keep feeling like I have MS or Parkinsons but I have read so many similar stories from others who have come off of ssri's..

 

I didn't quite quit cold turkey but tapered too fast. I would appreciate any advice anyone could give me. I'm so desperate..I'm 5 months off of the Lexapro and it's been almost 4 weeks since my 2nd try at meds..wondering if I should have went back on the Lexapro instead of trying something different..at this point I'm afraid of Tardive Dyskinesia or something similar because of my reaction when I tried to go back on meds. I feel it would be to late to try and reinstate at this point also from what I've read. My fingers twitch here and there etc..it feels like my nerves are very irritated. Sorry for the novel. I would so appreciate any help. I am a mom of 3 girls and although the docs keep saying it's anxiety..I have never had this bad of anxiety. 

Edited by KarenB
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KarenB   
KarenB

Hello Melspace,

 

The nuts and bolts of your story are so very common - doctors who don't listen or engage well, too-fast tapers, and then, uncertainty.

 

The troublesome thing with psychiatric drugs is that you can't just flush their effects out of your system.  They change the way your brain works, and that takes much longer to heal.  Suddenly stopping the drug puts your brain and Central Nervous System into shock.  It's like yanking a trellis out of a garden instead of gently untangling the plants and slowly removing the wood – it’s too much trauma for the plants/your brain.  (For the source of that simile, plus further discussion, see http://survivinganti...el-your-brain/)

 

We recommend a gentle taper, reducing by no more than 10% of your current dose each month.  This allows your brain time to adjust as you go, and lessens any withdrawal.  
 

Please put your drug and/or withdrawal history in your signature – all drugs/dates/dosages for the last year or two so we can see your situation easily whenever you post and help you more accurately.  (Please use this format for dates: 12 October 2016)  Thanks. 

 

Many people find Fish oil and Magnesium useful during withdrawal.   

Non-Drug Techniques to cope with emotional symptoms.

Melt into your own life

Symptom Checklist

 

Reinstatement is an option.  We have a thread that discusses it here: reinstating-and-stabilizing-to-reduce-withdrawal-symptoms/  If you decided to reinstate, it would be of a very small amount, say 1-2mg, (rather than the large amount the doctors tried you on with the Cymbalta and Celexa) and once you were stable again you could taper off according to our 10% monthly guide.

 

Are there supportive people in your life, or things that you are doing to get yourself through this difficult time? 

 

Have a read of those threads and then you can come back to this thread to discuss things further.  This can be your journal to record your tapering and healing progress, and to ask questions. With time and good care, you will be able to one day be off this drug. 

 

Welcome to SA,

Karen

 

 

Edited by KarenB
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melspace40   
melspace40

Thank you so much for responding Karen and for your advice. I really appreciate it. I have definitely thought about getting supplements. I'm going to give it a try and see if it helps.

 

I have also entertained reinstating like you said. I wonder if since it's been 5 months if it's been to long. I've read though too that it can be trial and error and you just have to see. The last time when I tried to start I felt like I was getting some movement issues..like neck jerking here and there..not sure if it was my nerves or what. My face was twitching and I was getting like a weird quick blink at times. Not sure if this was just a side effect or what. I guess that's where my fear is in reinstating. I did have weird start up issues on Lexapro but they did pass.

 

The Cymbalta was worse though..my best bet probably would have been to just go back to the Lexapro instead of trying something new maybe. I have also heard that prozac might be a good option? I think I would go the Lexapro route first like you said though with just a very very small dose. I'm still contemplating that though. At this point the shakiness has really taken over. I feel it internally and my hands get shaky at times too..between shoulder blades..I feel like my nervous system is in complete overdrive.

 

The smallest thing sets it off unfortunately. I do thankfully have support from family but I it's been tough as my sister just lost her husband in January..he was involved in a tragic accident which has made this all the more hard. My 3 girls definitely keep me busy..my oldest plays travel softball which helps keep my mind off of things. 

Edited by baroquep
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melspace40   
melspace40

Hello everyone..I am now entering month 6 of physical symptoms from Lexapro withdrawal. I stopped by cutting down to a half for a week..I know too quick..lol It had slowed my heart rate down to about 52 bpm..normally it is around 68. I was having palpatations, etc. Because of all the withdrawal symptoms which had gradually built up I got scared and decided to give something else a try to maybe alleviate it..

 

At the end of July I took  30 cymbalta for only 2 days because it exacerbated everything. I called my doctor and they said to try 10 mg celexa and that I could take it the very next day. After 3 days I was still having some scary new symptoms so I called the doctor and they said to take a half pill for a week and then stop which is what I did.at the end of July which exacerbated everything. I'm not sure at this point if I am now in a new withdrawal from taking the cymbalta for 2 days and then the celexa for a little over a week..or if this is still the Lexapro withdrawal?

 

It has been awful..I have been to the emergency 3 times..had a brain scan..had an mri of spine..blood work..a basic Lymes test..been to a neurologist who says it's my anxiety. I'm not quite as shaky and panicky..I could barely do anything in the beginning. My scariest symptom is feeling an odd tingling in my arms and legs every so often..I'm having slight tremors in my hands and sometimes my leg even when I get really anxious.  The leg thing is more internal. I'm wondering if these tremors will ever go away. I never had them until I went off of the Lexapro which seems to be quite a coincidence.

 

I'm frightened that at this point if I try to go back on anything it will exacerbate it. I'm wondering if there's anything natural out there that can make these tremors go away. I've heard that withdrawal can cause a parkinsonism for some..I would have a hard time convincing the neurologist of this because he doesn't believe antidepressants can cause a withdrawal.

 

I'm wondering if others have had this symptom and what they have done for it..or if there is anything that can be done? So desperate at this point..I wish I never took this drug to begin with. I had many symptoms in the beginning but the doctor told me to continue it and they would wear off. For the most part they did with the exception of the dry mouth and low pulse..now I feel though like I'm permanently damaged. It makes it so hard to be a parent to my 3 girls as I feel like I'm just trying to survive at this point..any help would be appreciated..

Edited by baroquep
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Chicago77   
Chicago77

Hi Melspace, 

 

I just wanted to stop by and say you aren't alone. I was on Lexapro for 15 years(gulp) and I have the body shaking, tremors, inner vibration, heart palpitations and many more symptoms as well. It's definitely scary and I've thought I had MS, Lyme's, Lupus, etc. All my blood tests and MRI came back normal. I have a lot of fatigue, brain fog and body pain too, so you are lucky if you aren't in any pain. Your symptoms are totally normal for WD. Hang in there!!! :) 

 

- Chicago

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melspace40   
melspace40

Hi Chicago!! Thank you so very much for responding..I really needed to hear this today. This has been such a tough run..the minute I think the symptoms are subsiding..they start back up. I can't believe what a number this drug did on me. I have the tremor in the pinky and ring finger too..how weird is that?! I have never had tremors before in my life until I went off of this drug. It's encouraging to know I'm not alone and that you've had many of the same symptoms I've had. I've been tested for so many things as well and they can't really come up with anything, nor does anyone believe in withdrawal in the medical field. The only person that really half ways admitted it was possible was a pharmacist and my take is they know more than the doctors when it comes to medications. Thank you so much again..I hope that your symptoms subside as well..I can't imagine having pain to go along with it! Doctors so readily hand these drugs out but they really don't have the knowledge about them or how they effect people. 

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