Sunday, August 26, 2012

Lexapro withdrawal symptoms make you feel amazing and wonderful! - said NO ONE EVER

Hey all!  I haven't written in so long because....well...hm.  Have you ever seen those funny signs that say, "I have so much to do...I think I'll just take a nap"?  That has been me lately.  We've had several things going on - some good, some not so good but we've been super busy.  I have so many things I want to write about both recovery related and just life stuff.  Hopefully this week I can get around to some of that.  But today, let's talk about the title of this post.

Lexapro withdrawal symptoms make you feel amazing and wonderful!" - said NO ONE EVER.


(This is NOT me, but this is TOTALLY how I felt today. I feel for this girl.  HA)

I need to write about this for a couple of reasons.  One, I just need to whine, okay?  I rarely do that anymore so I need to sometimes.  Today is that day.  HA!  Two, I know a lot of people go through this and it's been helpful to me reading what others have gone through.  So let's talk about this wonderful thing I'm going through right now.

A couple of years ago, I started seeing both a therapist and a psychiatrist as many people do when they later find out that addiction/alcoholism is their problem.  That of COURSE was not MY problem.  No sirree.  Not me.  I'm not THAT girl.  Riiiiight.  Anyway, so I was having a lot of anxiety and depression so my psychiatrist put me on Lexapro.  I was willing to try anything at that point (or so I told myself...stopping drinking might have helped, no?) so I started taking 10mg of Lexapro and went on my merry way.  Now, they tell you not to drink with a drug like this.  Yeah.  I really listened to that one.  Not so much.  I just kept on drinking like it was my job on top of taking the Lexapro so who really knows what it was or wasn't doing for me during that time. 

When I was very heavy in my drinking towards the end I quit taking my Lexapro.  I also quit taking my Synthroid, Allegra, everything else I should have been taking.  I just quit taking care of myself period.  So I stopped the Lexapro cold turkey but didn't notice any withdrawal symptoms.  Well, DUH.  I was drunk all of the time.  Of course I wouldn't have noticed the withdrawal symptoms.  I know that now.  At the time I was just like, okay, whatever, no more pills! 

When I went to rehab I got back on my 10mg of Lexapro and probably honestly needed it at the time.  That was the best thing I have ever done but it was also scary and I had tons of emotions and had to actually FEEL them and PROCESS them without a mind altering substance like alcohol.  Talk about frightening.  That was in May of 2011.  I've been taking 10mg since then and have been fine with it. 

Now, I know a lot of people when they get sober they decide to try going off their anti depressants.  I really wanted to do that because I don't want to be taking anything that isn't necessary.  My sponsor and psychiatrist and I agreed that once I had been sober for a year then we could revisit going off of the Lexapro.  2 weeks ago I decided that I wanted to try it.  I'm sitting at almost 16 months sober and most days I work a pretty good program and feel pretty happy.  I rarely am agitated, irritable, anxious, etc.  I do have those days of course but they are nothing like I used to experience.  So I thought, why  not?  Now seems like a good time.  So I talked to my psychiatrist and she set me up on a schedule to ween off of the medicine in a pretty soft manner.  I was to do 10-5-10-5 every other day for a week then do 5-0-5-0 until the next week when I would go off completely.  I weened off and felt fine.  I truly thought, huh.  All these people talking about Lexapro withdrawals on the Internet are being dramatic and that obviously isn't going to happen to me.  That is what I get for thinking that.  WRONG.

About 3 days after going completely off of the Lexapro I started getting what is commonly referred to as "brain zaps."  These are fairly common when going off of SSRI's according to everything I've read.  It wasn't horrible.  I definitely could tell something weird was going on but it wasn't to where I couldn't function.  My mood wasn't affected, no headaches, no nausea, none of the other stuff I had read about.  Again I became smug.  BAD IDEA. 

Today which is a week after stopping the Lexapro I feel awful.  I woke up fine but as the morning went on my body began to really hate me.  I was out running errands and I was driving.  I began to feel really nauseated and dizzy and almost like I was carsick.  I get really carsick anyway so I hate that feeling.  I stopped off and got a Sprite to drink thinking I could calm it down.  Didn't happen.  I was just trying to get home as fast as I could at that point.  I was praying that I didn't vomit in the car while I was driving.  I thankfully had a trusty McDonald's bag there just in case.  HA  I have never felt carsick while driving but that is exactly how it felt.  I was miserable.  I got home and just crashed on the couch.  I never threw up but felt like it for quite some time.  I found that if I just stayed very still then I was okay.  But when I would move at all the dizziness came flying back.  This must be what Vertigo feels like.  It is NOT fun. 

That is pretty much how I have spent my day.  It has really been off and on.  I'll be fine for a bit then the dizziness and nausea will come back.  Along with being super tired and having hot flashes.  Yeah, fun.  My psychiatrist said if I wanted I could go back to taking 5mg and try to taper again but honestly I just want to be done with the Lexapro once and for all and if I start taking any dose of it again, then I'll have to go through this all again and I certainly do not want that.  I've read people say that it can take a month for this to go away.  I have to say, I may not be able to take this for a week much less a month.  So we will see what I end up doing.

Thanks for letting me whine.  I mean I did this to myself, deciding to go off of the pills so I don't expect much sympathy but thanks for reading anyway.  I'll get back to happier topics later this week hopefully because I have a TON of good going on right now to focus on.  Don't think my gratitude is gone - it's just taking a backseat for a minute today!  I won't sit in the pity pot for long though as my sponsor would call it.  :)

17 comments:

  1. I have been taking Lexapro for a couple years and it has been a miracle drug for me. I did stop taking it for a while because I felt so good mentally (decreased anxiety and better focus and concentration), but soon found out it was because of Lexapro! I did not get any of the harsh physical withdrawl effects that are on the internet. The main problem I have with it is the price! Not having insurance really socks it to me. Hope you feel better soon, and if you decide that you want to continue the Lexapro, I hope you do not see it as a sign of weakness. I have been in recovery for over 6 years and taking anti-depressants as prescribed in no way means I am weak or not clean and sober.

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  2. Can't offer any Lexapro advice but can offer sympathy. That wasn't whining...it's good to share your experience to help others AND you. Good luck and keep talking to your doc too...don't ignore a withdrawal symptom that is extreme.

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  3. I have been off Lexapro for over a month now and i feel really sick at times. The vertigo, dizziness and anxiety are terrible at times. I feel so dizzy almost every day is awful. Sometimes I feel like im having a heart attack. My left arm twitches a lot at night, is scary. Heartburn is back with a revenge, seems like a heart attack. I shouldn't have never gotten on Lexapro, big mistake. I want my life back :(

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    1. Oh God I feel your pain. Only been off it a week and feel horrible: Brain zaps, flu-like, fever symptoms (but no flu or fever), dizziness, confusion, nausea, insomnia. Symptoms were so bad and I was weaned off by my psychiatrist, so that still didn't help. Please don't start taking this drug. We are being used as guinea pigs by the pharmaceutical industry.

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  4. Your page came up on google when I was searching for help with the withdrawal symptoms. What u typed is exactly how I am feeling now. I don't know how I can possibly go through this feeling much longer. The nausea and dizziness is killing me and making me weep like a baby. My bully, Peter keeps resting his head in my lap trying to make me feel better. Sometimes I feel like I am having a nervous breakdown...a ten fold hangover that I can't sleep off...I just want it to stop!

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    1. I feel exactly the same way. You are not alone. Took a knife to my wrist yesterday in about 1.1 second; something stopped me and I pulled it away before it cut the skin. I feel like a stranger in my own body. Tapering off didn't help, either. Still feels like withdrawl, or as the doctors want you to say: "discontinuation disorder." Oh yeah, that sounds much better. It's withdrawl. wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. Bastards.

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  5. ok , I took the stuff for seven years . I switched over to inositol in a big dose and I am having very little with drawl . More energy for sure but not sleeping either

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  6. Wow, the carsick while driving is so accurate!!! I've gained 37 pounds on this latest trip with Lexapro and I can't deal with that. It was always 20 pounds in the past, but this time I'm on the generic and I don't care what they say... it's worse. I'm such a cheap date that I've been on 5mg and still gained the weight (I think I've gained 10 pounds in my boobs alone... 36C to 40D but NOT pretty!).

    I'm also on Neurontin and have been for years. The difference is that I'm on a higher dosage of Neurontin now and that drug *really* helps with anxiety (a bigger issue for me than depression). So I'm going to try to rely on that plus EMDR and see if I can live a normal life. I took 2.5mg of Lexapro for a few days but now I'm just stopping entirely. Off from work this week so hopefully any miserable side effects will be manageable.

    Knowing that others go through the same things is very helpful. xo

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  7. I just started going through these withdrawl symptoms a few days ago and had no idea they existed until I googled brain zaps. I'm sick of feeling like puking, I'm sick of stomach cramps, I'm sick of brain shocks and being dizzy. It's nice to know I'm not alone though.

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  8. thank you for your post. I just started going off the lexipro yesterday and haven't had many symptoms yet. The 1 thing that I am feeling it is making me super uncomfortable is the hot flashes. It is the middle of summer in chicago and it is already super hot and I feel like I am on fire! I am ttampering down from 40 milligrams a day so it will take me awhile but posts like this always make me feel better. Thank you for sharing your experience

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    1. Hi Katie! Seems like we both went off Lexapro the same day! So today is week 1 and Im laying on the couch because of the carsick feeling and many other pleasantries! How are you feeling? Hope better than I! And remember you're not alone...Im in L.A. sharing the struggle with you! :)

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  9. Hello everyone. I was on lexapro for 10 months and just recently started weening myself off of it. I have been without it for a month now, but I feel more amazing than ever! I'm no longer going to sleep to avoid life and while I still get slight dizzyness, tremors and headaches, I still feel 100% better than I have in years. I suffer from anxiety, but was put on lexapro to see if it would help. Well it didn't really do anything and I'm glad I decided to take myself off because my doctor just kept pushing new meds that did nothing. First I would take one pill every other day, then when I would feel the "brain zaps" I would take one and skip it until the next brain zap episode. Finally I would take half of one when I would feel sick and eventually the brain zaps stopped and a month later I'm feeling so much better. I'm sorry to hear you're not feeling well, but I was able to find a balance without Lexapro and I hope others can too.

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  10. Hi everyone, I am on the same battle withdrawal lexopro after couple a years meds most time on 2.5 to 3.3 mg and 10 mg early this year for 3 months. I started reducing the dose from march from 10 until July back to 2.5. I did it for headache, needling over neck and shoulders the meds gave to me while on 10 mg. I enrolled a antidepressant withdrawal program to be prepared before starting weaning off. Taking protein, omega 3 and vitamin B6 and 12. All the side effects went away when I was on 3 mg until 2 weeks on 2.5 mg when all the withdrawal symptoms came up one after another, intolerable pain on head, neck, shoulders, plus anxiety, hot flush, and eventually a panic attack. It was too severe everything eventually I had to back off to 2.75 now with pain related symptoms only. I did lots of research on this Ssri and have lots to share with. I would be happy if anyone would like to communicate more directly via emails or even phone call. Please let me know so we can find a way for it.

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  11. Hi I came across your blog while googling these terrible dizzy spells ive been having since being off lexapro for 4 days.
    Ive been on lexapro 10mg for slightly more than three months for depresion. along the way my doctor diagnosed me with bipolar disorder and I was prescribed lamcital and valdoxan as well. However the double anti depressant triggered my mania and the doc told me to stop lexapro completely cold turkey.
    Well its been four days and IT SUCKS. Im suddenly hit with this mad dizzy sensation that makes me feel like im spinning and on the verge of a headache. Looking at bright lights also hurts and increases the vertigo sensation. As im typing now, im in my room with all my lights off except for a tiny night light.

    Anyway I really want to thank you for this post. You summed it up perfectly when you said it was a car sick feeling. I feel less alone now.
    Hope you feel better.

    Chels.

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  12. Hi Everyone,

    I was on 10 mg lexapro for 1.5 years, after being on amiptryptaline since I was 16 (im 24 now), and my boyfriend and I are thinking about starting a family, so my doctor suggested I get off of lexapro now if we want to start by next fall. I was taking 5 mgs for 3 weeks, and then 2.5 for a week and figured i would just stop. Its been 4 days since I quit cold turkey, and am feeling HORRIBLE. nausea, brain zaps, hands feeling puffy, cyring all the time, horrible head pains, blurred vision and some rinigng in my ears. Just wondering how long this might last for? I really dont want to take anymore just to get rid of my symptoms, because I dont want to go through this again. I take a multi-vitamin and today have just started taking 1200 mg omega 3, 4 x per day. HELP!? :)

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    1. Hi again, Ive been off lexapro for exactly one week now and I feel A LOT better. no nausea, barely any headache, barely and dizzy spells! I spoke with my sister who was a psych nurse and she said the worst part of detoxing any drug, especially lexapro or cipralex is the first week. Youll reach a peak where you dont think you can continue the pain (as I did) but you just have to push through it, and Im SO glad I did! I continued with my normal vitamins, and continued with the 4800 mg of omega 3s, along with magnesium and vitamin E, and I think it made all the world of a difference. Good luck to anyone else going through this, its no picknick, but just push through and you can do it!

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  13. I've been off the 10mg of Lexapro for four months now. I started to withdraw on my own by skipping a couple of days, then taking one when I felt dizzy. I did this for about a month and it was around my 24th birthday so I was drinking heavily that week I was completely off of the medicine. I felt like I had food poisoning, which I later realize was me withdrawing. I felt great after a week and my anxiety was completely gone. Three months later I started having panic attacks again, which I haven't had since I was a teen. I'm contemplating going back on the Lexapro, but I'm going to seek therapy first because I could not stand the initial symptoms of starting Lexapro.

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