SSRI Withdrawal - totally misery!

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mom2three
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Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 97
   Posted 4/15/2009 7:22 PM (GMT -7)   
Just needed a quick vent before trying to head to bed...
 
I have been weaning off of Lexapro.  I went from 10mg to 5mg in late January.  Stayed at 5mg until 10 days ago.  Went down to 2.5mg (1/4 tablet) last week and then stopped it all together on Saturday.  I am shocked that I am having such strong withdrawal.  I have weaned off of SSRI's 3 times before (for pregnancies) and recall no side effects.
 
I was weepy and very impatient/irritable for the first 2-3 days and then the past 2 days have been a nightmare of constant "brain shivers", vertigo, light-headedness, extreme nausea and flu-like feeling.   
 
I am still taking .25mg of klonopin daily - small amount, but what I have been taking.  Wondering if I should increase slightly to get through this phase?
 
Anyway, I'm just fighting my way through it.  I haven't had major panic attacks, but more health anxiety (my mind confusing the withdrawal symptoms with horrible illnesses and fear that I am going to die - lovely).  And having trouble keeping my "happy" face for my kids & friends, functioning up to speed and so forth.
 
I finally attempted to let my hubby in a little as to what was going on with me tonight...he listened and then I could see him searching for something to say...he comes out with, "Let's turn that frown upside down" - What the frig?  Are you kidding me?  I'm not 2 years old!  Thank goodness I see my therapist tomorrow :)
 
Sigh - thanks for listening...
Panic Attacks (since age 10) & General Anxiety with a little OCD thrown in there
Biggest Challenge - Panic; Biggest Joy - my 3 cute kiddos (ages 1, 2 & 5)
 


AMK77
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Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 678
   Posted 4/15/2009 7:25 PM (GMT -7)   
Turn that frown upside down - ha! If only it was that easy!! rolleyes
31 yr old female currently breastfeeding (weaning so I can start 6mp)
Mild Pancolitis
I've had UC since 2000 but was in remission for most of those 8 years med free
Cannot tolerate mesalamine - starting 6mp soon


mom2three
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 97
   Posted 4/15/2009 7:30 PM (GMT -7)   
Can you believe it? How pathetic was that response? My husband has tried desperately over the years to understand my mental issues, but he just doesn't "get it". He truly has a very hard time relating to me (lucky for him!). Sometimes he just doesn't know what to say so I think he tries to play it cute or safe and pop out some comment that he normally uses for our young children or that he remembers his mom or dad saying when he was sad or hurt when he was little. Regardless, I found it inexcusable :) Thank goodness for this board and my therapist who can at least come up with something more creative and less archaic!
Panic Attacks (since age 10) & General Anxiety with a little OCD thrown in there
Biggest Challenge - Panic; Biggest Joy - my 3 cute kiddos (ages 1, 2 & 5)
 


vestabula
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Date Joined Nov 2008
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   Posted 4/16/2009 5:23 AM (GMT -7)   

Geez...know what you are going through.  I have been trying to get off Lexapro for two months.  I have been on it for almost two years.  I got down to 2.5mgs then missed a day and holy cwap!  Brain zaps and adrenalin rushes...finally caved and took 5mgs again and have stayed there.  I honestly don't know how to get off this stuff.  I did exactly what the doc told me to do with a reassurance if I followed the protocol there would be no side effects.  I'm sorry I ever got on it...a nightmare to adjust and a worse nightmare to get off.  My son is on this drug also and got down to once a week...called me from work two days ago and said he had to go home and get a pill the brain zaps were so bad.

Hope you have a successful time getting off. If you find a good way, let me know!

Donna

 

 


fibro, menieres disease, RLS, anxiety disorder, disc compression, scoliosis, spinal stenosis TMJ  Meds: Lexapro and valium


Hibee
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Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 6482
   Posted 4/16/2009 5:23 AM (GMT -7)   

Hi mom2three

How are you feeling today? better I hope, sorry to hear you are getting bad withdrawl from the SSRI I know how that feels as I have had withdrawl symptoms when changeing meds and it can really muck up your systom.   Stick in there my friend im sure the symptoms will pass soon but if not do go and speak with your doctor, know that we are here to support you and help you through this rough period.

Take Care

Ben


stkitt
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Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 4/16/2009 5:28 AM (GMT -7)   

OH my, I thought I was the only one anyone had ever made that comment to....."Turn that frown upside down"  Right about the time someone says that too me is when I start to feel  like it is hopeless to even try to find someone to support me.  I am sorry as I know the people we love just don't understand what it is like to live with A & P. 

Everyone here knows how you feel.  If you have a wider range on your Klonopin I would certainly feel you would be doing yourself a service in using a higher dose to get through the acute withdrawal sx.

I am sorry to hear you are going through this.

Keep on talking to us and know we care.  You are family here.

Gentle Hugs and prayers to help you through.

Kitt


 

Kitt, Co-Moderator:
Anxiety/Panic 
Co-Moderator Depression
  Forums

*~*
http://www.healingwell.com/donate *~*
Not a mental health professional of any kind
Peace does not dwell in outward things, but within the soul
Clickable Link: Anxiety-Panic Resources


mom2three
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 97
   Posted 4/16/2009 6:05 AM (GMT -7)   
THANKS so much guys for the support.

Oh no, Donna! That's what I'm worried about - these awful withdrawals and how long they will last. Today began with the usual stuff plus some weird numbness in extremities and sluggish feeling. I'm praying that they get better. I feel like, at this point, I might as well try to fight it out another week to see if it improves. I am happy to be a guinea pig and keep you posted!

Thanks, Ben - that means so much. It's such a warm feeling to know that support is out there.

Kitt - I do have a wide range of klonopin - my Rx is actually .25mg 3x per day (I have been taking .25 1x per day for the past 2 months). I think that I might taking it 2x per day for the next week.

I lay in bed last night wondering why my body is reacting so strongly this time. All I can think is that when I weaned before for pregnancies, I probably misconstrued withdrawal symptoms for early pregnancy (nauseu, light headed, etc.). I also had "happy preggie hormones" on my side.

Oh, and as to why I'm weaning off - I have been working very hard on CBT & alternative techniques for several months. I really felt that the klonopin was helping more with my panic - even at thst small dose, it allowed my mind to slow down enough to utilize the alt. methods. I didn't feel that Lexapro was offering much (especially at 5mg, which is half of the lowest therapeutic dose). So I felt prepared to move from 2 to 1 meds. No, I'm not in a hurry to take klonopin out of the picture yet!

It's only 8am, maybe the day will improve - trying to think positive and stay busy as a fiery bee!
Panic Attacks (since age 10) & General Anxiety with a little OCD thrown in there
Biggest Challenge - Panic; Biggest Joy - my 3 cute kiddos (ages 1, 2 & 5)
 


P-Fit
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 419
   Posted 4/16/2009 7:15 AM (GMT -7)   

Hi,

Maybe you weaned off a bit too quickly for that last bit. Are you opposed to going back to .25 for maybe a few months and weaning off slower? My Dr. has ok'd me to wean off Lex and klonopin too, but suggested I get off the benzo first and resist any urges to go back up on that (use CBT to cope). Hang in there. Do you have any naseau meds that you can take if things get really bad?



Dee-39yrs old wife and mom of 3 boys
UC/PTSD/Panic Disorder/Depression/myofacial pain syndrome 2009-750mg colozal/.750mg clonazepam, 5mg Lexapro-1,000mg canasa/Fioricet/Prilosec OTC-2x daily, Triple Strength Fish Oils/Colonoscopies-4
 

Post Edited (P-Fit) : 4/16/2009 8:19:09 AM (GMT-6)


P-Fit
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 419
   Posted 4/16/2009 7:16 AM (GMT -7)   
Can you try to cut the pill so that you're going from 5mg to a bit over 2.5 (1/3 of a pill) for a few months and then go down to 2.5mg?
vestabula said...

Geez...know what you are going through.  I have been trying to get off Lexapro for two months.  I have been on it for almost two years.  I got down to 2.5mgs then missed a day and holy cwap!  Brain zaps and adrenalin rushes...finally caved and took 5mgs again and have stayed there.  I honestly don't know how to get off this stuff.  I did exactly what the doc told me to do with a reassurance if I followed the protocol there would be no side effects.  I'm sorry I ever got on it...a nightmare to adjust and a worse nightmare to get off.  My son is on this drug also and got down to once a week...called me from work two days ago and said he had to go home and get a pill the brain zaps were so bad.

Hope you have a successful time getting off. If you find a good way, let me know!

Donna

 

 



Dee-39yrs old wife and mom of 3 boys
UC/PTSD/Panic Disorder/Depression/myofacial pain syndrome 2009-750mg colozal/.750mg clonazepam, 5mg Lexapro-1,000mg canasa/Fioricet/Prilosec OTC-2x daily, Triple Strength Fish Oils/Colonoscopies-4
 


mom2three
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 97
   Posted 4/16/2009 9:57 AM (GMT -7)   

Thanks for the suggestion, Dee! 

My doctor seemed to think that 5mg was pretty low to begin with and that 1 week at 2.5mg (1/4 tablet) was enough before quitting.  So I followed that advice.  Not going so well!  If I don't see an improvement in the next few days, then I am not opposed to hopping back on 2.5mg for another few weeks.  But, it's hard, because once you are finally off, you want to just push through, you know?  But I also don't want to be miserable for weeks.

Good for you for getting the "green light" to wean off of both.  The benzo is more necessary for me, even at a low dose, than the SSRI.  The SSRI never completely stopped my panic attacks and I don't suffer from depression, so that is why klonopin was added.  But, the SSRI was very helpful with my OCD/obsessive thinking, so that is where my alt. techniques are really going to have to pick up the slack!


Panic Attacks (since age 10) & General Anxiety with a little OCD thrown in there
Biggest Challenge - Panic; Biggest Joy - my 3 cute kiddos (ages 1, 2 & 5)
 


percycat
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 1952
   Posted 4/16/2009 11:26 AM (GMT -7)   
Mom2three,

I tried to taper off Paxil once (also an SSRI) and had to go extremely slowly: about 2 months at each lower level. Unfortunately, when I was off it, I had a horrible health anxiety scare, and going back on helped enormously. I don't think I'll ever go off it again - it just helps too much.

percycat

Percy/Percycat

Co-Moderator, Anxiety and Panic Forum

 

DX: Anxiety, Depression, LPR (acid reflux)

Meds: Paxil, Nexium, Zantac


vestabula
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 2855
   Posted 4/16/2009 1:27 PM (GMT -7)   
This post has just got me thinking...the Lexapro did help slightly with my health anxiety issues and when I got on it I was crying everyday due to four deaths in two years of immediate family members...it did curb that.  So well in fact that I feel totally emotionless and that's not good when you make your living as a writer.  I can't write a coherent sentence.  That's why I want off...that and the fact that it aggrevates my RLS and I also have Fibromyalgia and you aren't supposed to take any NSAIDS on Lexapro.  I do anyway and just wait for the stomach bleeding they warn about.
 
Like I said in my earlier post, the weaning has not been going well and now I wonder if I should just stay on it.  I have to take valium twice a day for the RLS and maybe just being on that would curb the anxiety.  I wish the brain zaps would ease up when I reduce the dosage so I can find out!
 
good luck and hope you feel better...
Donna
 
 
fibro, menieres disease, RLS, anxiety disorder, disc compression, scoliosis, spinal stenosis TMJ  Meds: Lexapro and valium


mom2three
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 97
   Posted 4/16/2009 5:07 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi all - just an update -

Went to my therapist today and had a great session except that he brought up a theory that I had not considered. He said that often medications work well in conjunction with one another - for example, an anti-depressant and anti-anxiety often balance each other out. So it is possible that some of what I am experiencing could be side effects of taking klonopin that I had not experienced or noticed while taking it in conjunction with Lexapro. That was not news that I wanted to hear because I then felt like it was an "all or nothing" deal, like I had to either keep taking both medications or stop both medications; however, he said that it definitely might not be the case, but something that he should mention as a possibility if my withdrawal symptoms don't decrease.

Ultimately, it was up to me whether I wanted to keep going or not. He said that normally my tapering schedule would have been fine and fairly standard. So since it's been 5 days, I'm going to give it 2-3 more and see how things go. If they have still not improved, I will take 2.5mg and see if I feel better.

Long saga - thanks for listening and for the support. I appreciate it immensely!
Panic Attacks (since age 10) & General Anxiety with a little OCD thrown in there
Biggest Challenge - Panic; Biggest Joy - my 3 cute kiddos (ages 1, 2 & 5)
 


P-Fit
Regular Member


Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 419
   Posted 4/17/2009 6:14 AM (GMT -7)   
WOW...I didn't know you shouldn't take NSAIDS with Lexapro. I try not to take them due to my Colitis but adding the Lexinto the equation makes more sense casue I bleed EVERYTIME I take even a small dose. It stinks though becasue Tylenol doesnt help my pain.
vestabula said...
This post has just got me thinking...the Lexapro did help slightly with my health anxiety issues and when I got on it I was crying everyday due to four deaths in two years of immediate family members...it did curb that.  So well in fact that I feel totally emotionless and that's not good when you make your living as a writer.  I can't write a coherent sentence.  That's why I want off...that and the fact that it aggrevates my RLS and I also have Fibromyalgia and you aren't supposed to take any NSAIDS on Lexapro.  I do anyway and just wait for the stomach bleeding they warn about.
 
Like I said in my earlier post, the weaning has not been going well and now I wonder if I should just stay on it.  I have to take valium twice a day for the RLS and maybe just being on that would curb the anxiety.  I wish the brain zaps would ease up when I reduce the dosage so I can find out!
 
good luck and hope you feel better...
Donna
 
 


Dee-39yrs old wife and mom of 3 boys
UC/PTSD/Panic Disorder/Depression/myofacial pain syndrome 2009-750mg colozal/.750mg clonazepam, 5mg Lexapro-1,000mg canasa/Fioricet/Prilosec OTC-2x daily, Triple Strength Fish Oils/Colonoscopies-4
 


FitzyK23
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Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 4219
   Posted 4/17/2009 12:36 PM (GMT -7)   
I know you were looking for support and didn't get it but I just had to laugh at the "turn your frown upside down" phrase. Sometimes when I am bummed about something my husband will make me laugh - and while I appreciate it I need to remind himt that it is ok to just be sad about something once and awhile. You can tell him at least he made someone smile :)
27 Year old married female law student (last year!!). Diagnosed w/ CD 4 years ago, IBS for over 10 years before that, which was probably the CD. I am sort of lactose intollerant too but can handle anything cultured and do well w/ lactose pills and lactaid. For crohns I am currently on Pentasa 4 pills/4x day and hysociamine prn. I also have bad acid reflux and have been on PPI's since age 13. I have been through prilosec, prevacid, and nexium. Currently I am on Protonix in the morning and Zantac at night.  I take xanax prn for situational anxiety (aka no easy bathroom access). 


jblue65
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2008
Total Posts : 381
   Posted 4/18/2009 4:55 AM (GMT -7)   
THis is one of the reasons I have stayed on Lexapro for so long. I have been on it for 7 yrs. Yeah- 7yrs. I take 20 mg.

How about trying 2.5 one day and then 5 one day. And then after two weeks or so 2.5 two days and 5 one day etc... IT will take a while that way, but it might help to lessen withdrawal.
Jackie, 43
Pancolitis, DX October 06

Lexapro, Synthroid, Protonix,
Tapering prednisone down to 10 mg

Surgery March 13th- Total Colectomy
Jpouch surgery to be done in 3 steps


mom2three
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 97
   Posted 4/18/2009 4:17 PM (GMT -7)   
Well, I hate to speak too soon, but I am feeling MUCH better. Like a good 50% better. It has been 1 week today. Whew! I think that I am over the hump. I'm still dealing with discomfort, but it's managable. I was able to attend a kid's soccer game, go out for ice cream and take a shopping trip without wanting to scream :)

However, I am concerned that the klonopin may have been causing some of the negative symptoms - as soon as I stopped taking it during the day and took just a .125mg dose before bedtime, I felt better. I wonder if my therapist was correct in his theory that the Lexapro "evened out" some of my klonopin side effects. Could be, but not sure yet. I will try to take .25mg during the day maybe tomorrow and see if it was a culprit.

I also took another suggestion and bumped up my omega 3's & b-complex vitamins. I normally take them 1x per day in the morning, but I took them 3x yesterday - vitamin overload!

Anyway, I am so relieved to be somewhat functional again. Thank you so much for your support!
Panic Attacks (since age 10) & General Anxiety with a little OCD thrown in there
Biggest Challenge - Panic; Biggest Joy - my 3 cute kiddos (ages 1, 2 & 5)
 


Hibee
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 6482
   Posted 4/19/2009 2:50 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi

Glad to hear you are feeling a bit better and hope things continue to improve for you.

Take Care

Ben

stkitt
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 4/19/2009 6:24 AM (GMT -7)   
Here is your turn that frown cry upside down :-) !  I could not resist after your great post that your feeling better.  I hope this makes you laugh.  yeah
 
Whatever is working just go with it and enjoy it.  I am glad to hear you are feeling better and I like the idea of the increase in vitamins.
 
Happy Sunday to you.

Hugs
Kitt
 

Kitt, Co-Moderator:
Anxiety/Panic 
Co-Moderator Depression
  Forums
Moderator: GERD/Heartburn
*~*
http://www.healingwell.com/donate *~*
Not a mental health professional of any kind
Peace does not dwell in outward things, but within the soul
Clickable Link: Anxiety-Panic Resources


Aries8
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Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 1015
   Posted 4/19/2009 11:20 PM (GMT -7)   
Mom2three, you are so funny! I couldn't help laughing at your response to "turn your frown upside down". Too funny.

I'm concerned. I remember other posts you've done. It seems like you should be on something. Do you have an alternative method of dealing with the anxiety and/or stress if it arises again? I don't want to see you struggle again like you have in the past.

I am happy though that you're finally feeling better!


Anxiety Disorder/Mitral Valve Prolapse
 
50 mg. Lopressor, 60 mg. Prozac, Ativan as needed.


mom2three
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 97
   Posted 4/20/2009 4:10 AM (GMT -7)   
Thanks, guys! I am feeling much better mind-wise, although I have developed a horrid cold from one of the kids. I still have been taking my klonopin at night just in case it was making me feel badly, but I'm pretty sure that it was just weaning from the lexapro.

Aries - Thanks for the concern...but I am still on klonopin & I haven't had a true panic attack in a very long time. I attend weekly sessions with my therapist and we work on CBT and other methods, such as relaxation and deep breathing - all of which I continue to work on at home. I actually don't feel like I have struggled much in several months? Maybe my posts were referring to a previous period (since I've had these issues for 22 years, it's a possibility!) I did have some heart palpitations when I weaned off of caffeine about 1-2 months ago and I remember posting about that. But thanks for the concern! :)


Panic Attacks (since age 10) & General Anxiety with a little OCD thrown in there
Biggest Challenge - Panic; Biggest Joy - my 3 cute kiddos (ages 1, 2 & 5)
 


Nanners
Elite Member


Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 14995
   Posted 4/20/2009 6:51 AM (GMT -7)   
Mom2three I am with Aries here. I remember some posts recently where you were having a really hard time. This was about the time we put pictures. I pray you continue to work with your therapist on this. I do wish you good luck!!!

Hugs
Gail *Nanners*
Gail*Nanners* Co-Moderator for Anxiety/Panic Forum
Been living with Crohn's Disease for 33 years. Currently on Asacol, Prilosec, Estrace, Prinivil, Diltiazem, Percoset prn for pain, Zofran, Phenergan, Probiotics, and Calcium and Xanax as needed. Resections in 2002 and 2005. Also diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and Osteoarthritis and Anxiety. Currently my Crohns is in remission.
*Every tomorrow has two handles.  We can take hold of it by the handle of anxiety, or by the handle of faith"*

mom2three
Regular Member


Date Joined Feb 2009
Total Posts : 97
   Posted 4/20/2009 7:01 AM (GMT -7)   
Thanks, Gail! Jan./Feb. was difficult because we moved from one state to another leaving our families behind (that was about when pics were posted), but once we got settled, I felt much better. Moving is hard, especially across the country!

I'm definitely not medication-free and I feel great about my therapist and our work, so I'm feeling okay. I'm sorry if I have you all more worried...
Panic Attacks (since age 10) & General Anxiety with a little OCD thrown in there
Biggest Challenge - Panic; Biggest Joy - my 3 cute kiddos (ages 1, 2 & 5)
 

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