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Lexapro Withdrawal Symptoms: How Long Do They Last?

Lexapro (Escitalopram) has emerged as one of the most popular antidepressant drugs in the United States. It works as an SSRI (selective-serotonin reuptake inhibitor) and has approval to treat major depression in individuals over the age of 12. In addition to being utilized for depression, it is also prescribed for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). It is strikingly similar to the drug “Celexa” in the fact that it contains just the (S)-stereoisomer (without the (R)-stereoisomer).

There is controversial evidence suggesting that Lexapro may be slightly more effective than Celexa. In some cases, Lexapro is used to treat social anxiety disorder, OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) and panic disorder. This is one of the most prescribed SSRI’s in the United States due to the fact that it has been found as one of the most effective. Most people stay on this medication until it either stops working or they are compelled to quit.

When a person quits, they may not expect to experience any significant withdrawal symptoms – especially if this is a person’s first SSRI. If you plan on stopping this medication, it is important to know what you should expect and prepare yourself for the symptoms. Most people experience a pretty severe withdrawal period when they come off of Lexapro, which goes to show the power of this drug.

Factors that influence Lexapro withdrawal

There are a few factors that are thought to influence the severity of withdrawal from Lexapro.  These include things like: time span (i.e. how many months or years you were on this drug), the dosage that you took, whether you quit cold turkey or tapered, and your individual physiology.

1. Time Span

How long were you taking Lexapro? In the event that you were on it for years, the withdrawal process is likely going to be longer for you than someone on it for months. In general, the longer you take Lexapro, the more intense the withdrawal process.

2. Dosage (10 mg to 20 mg)

Most people take anywhere from 10 mg to 20 mg of Lexapro. The recommended starting dose is 10 mg, but for some people this isn’t quite strong enough. Therefore most doctors continue increasing the dose to achieve the desired effect. Doses tend to increase up to 20 mg, and then it is up to the patient and doctor whether 20 mg needs to be exceeded. Keep in mind that the higher the dose you are on, the greater the difficulty of the withdrawal process.

3. Cold Turkey vs. Tapering

It is never recommended to quit Lexapro “cold turkey.” Although some have done it, quitting cold turkey leaves your brain in a state of chemical disarray. Some people do not have the patience to taper because they feel so crappy on the drug. If you are able to taper, try to work with your doctor to gradually reduce your dosage. The higher the dose you are on, the longer the tapering process should be.

4. Individual Physiology

To a lesser degree than the other factors, your individual physiology will play a role in determining how quickly you bounce back from the discontinuation symptoms. Some people find that they feel normal within a few months of quitting the drug, while others find that it takes months to start feeling a little bit better. Everyone responds differently and heals at a different pace.

Lexapro Withdrawal Symptoms: List of Possibilities

Below are some symptoms that you may experience when you stop taking Lexapro. This is a collective of some common symptoms that people experience when they withdraw from this drug. You may only experience some of the symptoms listed below, but in any event, it is better to be mentally prepared for what you may experience so that you don’t become overwhelmed.

  • Anxiety: Most people will experience anxiety to a significant degree when stopping Lexapro. This is a drug that inhibits the reuptake of serotonin. If you have been taking it for an extended period of time and discontinue, your serotonin levels are likely lower than average – causing severe anxiety.  This is because your brain had become reliant upon the drug to increase serotonin and is no longer receiving it.
  • Appetite changes: You may experience changes in appetite when you first quit taking this drug. Some people notice that they aren’t quite as hungry and/or aren’t eating as much, while others regain appetite. Usually changes in appetite are opposite to your experience while on the drug.
  • Brain Zaps: It is common to experience “brain zaps” or sensations of electrical shocks throughout your brain when you stop taking Lexapro.  This is a common symptom that occurs when withdrawing from many different antidepressants.  These usually subside within a few weeks.
  • Concentration problems: One thing that most doctors will not tell you is that your concentration may be extremely poor during withdrawal. You are experiencing a ton of withdrawal symptoms which naturally detract from concentration, but the neurotransmitter levels are imbalanced – creating a state of brain fog.
  • Depersonalization: This involves feeling unlike your natural self. Most people feel depersonalized and when they try to describe it to someone else, the other person may just not understand what they mean. It can feel as though all natural emotions have been sucked out of the body and the person is lifeless. The emotions will eventually return as the person stays off of SSRI’s for awhile.
  • Depression: It is common to experience “rebound depression” when you quit taking Lexapro. It is a drug that was created to treat depression, so when you stop it, the depression will likely return. Many people notice that their depression is actually worse when they stop this drug – this is because the brain has become even more chemically imbalanced after taking this drug.
  • Dizziness: Many people report feeling dizziness, in some cases to the point of having “balance” issues. This dizziness can last for an extended period of time and may make life difficult to deal with. Recognize that this is a result of your brain trying to cope without stimulation from the drug.
  • Eye floaters: Some people report seeing “floaters” when they come off of Lexapro. Floaters are small shapes that “float” in and out of your field of vision. These are harmless and do not indicate that anything is wrong with your vision. Do your best not to panic and think that you are doomed if you see these.
  • Fatigue: It is very common to notice that you feel excessively tired throughout the day. The lethargy, tiredness, and fatigue may become so difficult, that you think it’s never going to end. This is likely due to your brain trying to restore itself to homeostasis.
  • Headaches: This is another extremely common symptom to experience when you withdraw from any drug – especially SSRI’s. If headaches are intense, do your best to relax – as many can be caused by tension. Also make sure that you are drinking plenty of water and consider taking headache relief medication if they become too difficult to deal with.
  • Insomnia: Some people are unable to fall asleep at night when they first stop Lexapro. This is usually a result of sleep pattern changes and increased anxiety. Some people find that taking a little melatonin supplement helps.
  • Irritability: If you are becoming increasingly irritable, do your best to control it without lashing out on others. It can be extremely difficult to control yourself when you feel as crappy as you do, but keep trying.
  • Libido changes: Most people notice that their sex life improves when they stop taking antidepressants. Lexapro is known to cause delayed orgasm and in some cases, inability to orgasm. When you stop taking this drug, your sex life should bounce back.
  • Mood swings: It is common to experience crazy mood swings when quitting this drug. One minute you may feel as though you’re going to recover and the next you may feel as if there is no hope. People may notice that you are acting especially irritable and angry. Realize that you don’t have much control over these during withdrawal.
  • Nausea: It is common to feel nauseated when you first stop taking an antidepressant. In some cases it may lead to vomiting. Do your best to deal with it and understand that it will go away.
  • Suicidal thoughts: When coming off of SSRI’s like Lexapo, it is very common to feel suicidal and experience suicidal thoughts. Although you may have felt suicidal before going on this drug, the intensity of these thoughts will likely be higher when you withdraw.
  • Sweating: Many people sweat more than average during the withdrawal period. You may sweat more than usual throughout the day and/or notice that you sweat excessively during your sleep.
  • Weight changes: Most people experience some degree of weight gain on Lexapro and other SSRI’s. When they come off of the drug, they may notice that they experience weight loss.

How long does Lexapro withdrawal last?

It really depends on a number of different factors including how long you’ve been on the drug and the dosage that you were taking. If you conducted a gradual taper, the symptoms that you experience during withdrawal may be less intense and last for a shorter duration than if you quit cold turkey. Unfortunately there is no exact timeline for determining how long you are going to experience withdrawal symptoms. It is important to recognize that most withdrawal symptoms persist for much longer than professionals think.

I have taken Lexapro and know that the withdrawal process is certainly not as trivial as most people make it out to be. If you withdraw from this medication, you can expect to experience some discontinuation symptoms. These symptoms may only last a few weeks, but in many cases they end up lasting months after the person has taken the last dose of their drug. I would suggest that if you used Lexapro for a year, used 90 days (i.e. 3 months) as a checkpoint.

Most people notice that their severe discontinuation symptoms tend to subside after about 90 days. If yours continue to persist beyond 90 days, just know that it’s most likely that your brain is still in disarray after SSRI usage for an extended period of time. One individual reported that he never fully returned to feeling like “himself” until 48 months had passed (4 years). Although most people will feel “normal” before a three year term, it is important to recognize that withdrawal effects can last months and in some cases, it takes over a year to fully recover.

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{ 521 comments… add one }
  • hic May 24, 2014, 5:37 am

    I absolutely share your thoughts, 5 months withdrawal after 12 years on antidepressants hahaha. It’s crazy and sometime unbearable. I ll add just one trick: drink plenty of red wine especially by night, it really helps. Valériane is great to recover your sleep. AIKIDO IS just fantastic during all this kind of illnesses, I let you discover why! Good luck and be super mega patient

    • Catalina March 25, 2015, 4:33 am

      I wonder if it is normal to have bad memory. I stopped lexapro 2 weeks ago and I need to study, but I feel like I cannot. Also, this weird sensation on my legs ( like tingling or numb). I took lexapro for 6 years and I feel like my brain does not work anymore.

      • Trish February 16, 2016, 5:35 am

        Lexapro will cause you to have a bad memory. That’s why I stopped taking it.

        • véronic March 7, 2016, 9:57 pm

          Hello… Wow, I fought about that point for a while with my doctor. Apparently it was in my head. Now we will see.

          • Mark Anonymous July 5, 2016, 11:07 am

            I started to take Lexapro for OCD and panic attacks, January 2013. My TheRapist or doctor blood money had me on up to 40mg in just weeks. Life was good, I started my old habits again Marijuana and painkillers opiates, which I thought had been the problem to begin with. I completely stopped taking the Lexapro or escitalopram in April or may, I continued to use street drugs and felt no withdrawal symptoms from the SSRI.

            Maybe it was because I was high all the time. My ocd progressed or I relapsed later in the year around the end October, I remember the time so vividly because it felt like end of everything, November into next year 2014 I was in hell. I began to feel better in June or July the rest of year was bliss. Most of 2015 was magnificent then my perfectionism could not be upheld or I was having withdrawal symptoms from ending a 8 year Marijuana career, not only by honorable choice but by dishonorable circumstances.

            I can’t say if these drugs can save us, this SSRI this Lexapro. Therein exists my greatest question or my darkest fear, by being the one’s whom need a pill to feel happy or a drug to survive in the maelstrom of this modern-day civilization, is this natural selection are we doomed? This notion has been proven false by eugenics, the chromosomes or hereditary DNA for a variety of mental illness cannot be identified to pinpoint that a person will be born with depression or any other mental illness.

            This undoubtedly means something is wrong with society or most people in general, since we were children they’ve been conditioning us to become addicted to almost anything. Planting the seed in our minds, with their advertising fear mongering, promoting gluttony overall. Humility, empathy and the desire to help one another take a back seat to personal gain GREED. Since the beginning the people the king’s who own this planet have drilling a hole in our hearts and souls that can never be filled.

            This may seem irrational to most, though I believe this tyranny is root of all of our depression in this country and 1st world countries alike. A new idea must be formed a new way of thought, we must evolve and go hand in hand into the future, instead of the way we have existed for most of mankind’s history. WE MUST BE UNITED, WE MUST ASCEND TO THE COLLECTIVE!!!!

      • Ian May 2, 2016, 1:26 pm

        Don’t worry about it, your short term memory will come back. Whats happening is the serotonin and dopamine levels are trying to get back to normal. The reason why your short term memory is gone or lacking is because all of your brain’s energy went to your fight or flight receptors when you were having panic attacks. When this happens your brain stops focusing on your cognitive memory so much and worries about other more important things to keep you safe.

        For example, if a bear is going to charge at you, your first instinct is not to wonder what you ate yesterday for lunch. Your first instinct is to either run the hell away or fight the bear. This is a very common side effect and although it sucks, you need to be patient and it will get better. Plus, its always helpful for anybody to carry around a journal and write things down!

        • Tyler June 12, 2016, 3:25 pm

          Great explanation. I’m currently detoxing from Lexapro after seven years, while at the same time finally solving a chronic stress related problem caused by PTSD 15 years ago. Your write up was perfect, so much felt like I was reacting to a bear attack, too.

      • Rachelle November 29, 2016, 8:39 pm

        Hey hon, my main reason for stopping this drug is from memory and brain fog issues. Also feeling lethargic and numb all the time. I decided I would rather be my moody, anxious self and actually feel things again. In a whole I feel better already and it’s only been a couple weeks… but the dizziness was extreme the last couple of days.

    • E July 22, 2015, 12:22 am

      I stopped my lexapro 20mg sometime at the end of May and beginning of June 2015 because it was damaging my liver. I went through the brain zaps and feeling so angry, and when someone made me upset I got so mad I and anxious I would literally feel like I was going to have a heart attack and was MAJORLY dizzy to the point that I had to ask someone to drive me to work and while at work I’d have to sit down until it was time to check someone out at my register.

      It’s July 21st today and I’ve stopped working and just started helped my mom with her business. I was on lexapro for 5 years and reading your post as made me feel better because I just thought I was going crazy. I’m not dizzy anymore and the brain zaps are gone I’m still angry but I just figured it was because I’m not taking the medication anymore…I’m dealing with memory problems and feeling spaced out.

      I can be in a crowd of people or just face to face with one person and not have a clue what anyone is saying to me. I’ve lost my appetite but lexapro made me super hungry all the time and I gained 40 pounds while on it but I just feel nauseous all the time. I’ve haven’t been able to sleep and I am getting what I feel like are hot flashes but I’m only 21 and that shouldn’t be happening. Thanks for sharing though. I thought I was just going crazy but I guess this is still withdrawals.

      • Laura September 19, 2015, 8:09 pm

        I have been on lexapro 5x in my life, all due to horrific circumstances that were beyond my control ( except once), and have had wonderful results with the drug. I’ve obviously come off the drug 5x as well. I can’t remember the side effects the last 4x that I am currently experiencing now. All I remember about the last 4x was that I had taken it for approximately 1 year each time and I began feeling like I didn’t care about anything.

        I assumed that that meant I didn’t need it any longer. I always went off cold turkey because I didn’t know any better. This time I quit taking it cold turkey only because I kept forgetting to renew my RX. I’ve been off the drug for 7 days and have been horribly nauseated and have experienced blasting headaches. Today, I began processing the new found crazy amount of energy I’ve had for the last 3 days, despite nausea and it hit me. I must be withdrawing from lexapro.

        The good news is that I have been devastated over my lack of energy since March and the 20# weight gain and now I know why. I only needed the lexapro for 7 months, but when I kept taking it, I guess my body and emotions shut down. For instance, I am 47, an ER nurse manager, a competition power lifter, and was teaching a crossfit style class 3 mornings per week. I suddenly was only able to run a little and do a little power-lifting.

        I stopped being able to teach my class and for the last 2 months, I only wanted to be in bed when I wasn’t working. I have a 10 year old wonderful grandson that I have custody of and I do many activities with him. I convinced him that watching movies in bed was better than doing other activities. I really thought it was my age catching up with me and I was getting very overwhelmed with why age has to slow a person down.

        I can’t believe how crazy my thoughts were. 3 days ago I woke up at 04:30, (I always would wake up at this time to read my bible and get to the gym by 05:45 until like June) and jumped up, read, ran 3 miles, went to work, power lifted at 18:30, and went to Walmart with my grandson and picked up all of his birthday party stuff and ingredients for homemade chicken soup for a fundraiser the next day.

        2 days ago, I loaded up 7 boys and went camping without my husband. I had loads of a activities for these boys. My oldest daughter, 29 and another mother helped transport the boys from location to location at the campground, but I was in my own with them for the night. I woke up today at 06:00 and went full force at cleaning the cabin, getting breakfast and organizing the boy’s belongings.

        By noon, I was home doing all the laundry, putting things away and just finished cleaning my car inside and out. It finally hit me… THE LEXAPRO. I’ve been googling this for an hour and I am convinced that your body tells you when this drug has finished its course. Also, I’ve lost 6 pounds in 3 days. I have used sublingual zofran and baby aspirin for the nausea and headaches. I truly hope this is the last time I have to take lexapro, but at least I know it’s there and it works if I ever need it again.

        • Lynn Woodruff December 6, 2015, 5:30 pm

          To Laura: I’d like to know some more about your experience with Lexapro. I’ve been on it for almost 2 years, and for the last several months I’ve been experiencing extreme fatigue, anhedonia, lack of motivation; all those things that make you feel like you’re living life as a zombie. I’ve also gained 25 lbs. this year that I worked to lose 3 years ago… My question is this: the new-found energy and enthusiasm for life you experienced-was that AFTER discontinuing the Lexapro?

          Or did that happen after you had been on it for several months? I want to stop taking this drug because I feel like the life stressors that lead me to this prescription are all gone, and I feel like it has now become ineffective. When I miss a few doses I start to feel ‘human’ again by the third day but resume taking it out of fear of withdrawal symptoms. I know I need discuss this with my physician, but I wanted to know others’ experiences and I can definitely relate to yours. Thank you for sharing such a personal experience. -Lynn

          • Louise June 21, 2016, 10:58 am

            Was using the drug for about 1years and a half. It help me with a loss in my life. Was up to 20mg/day for about 6 months, then back down to 10mg. I did gain about 28 pounds. I decided to stop medication because of my lack of energy. I’m not a lazy person, but I could have stayed in bed until noon every day.

            Extremely affected my libido. Sometimes people forget to add this on, but it’s an important part of our life. My dosage was 10 mg. I cut down to 5mg for 9 days. Why 9 days? Because I have all that energy and I’m awake and ready for my day by 7-8am. My side effects…

            @ A fog once in a while. But it don’t last for long.
            @ A minor headache by the end of the day.
            @ My energy is back. When I awake, I’m ready for my day.
            @ Libido is coming back slowly.

            I hope that this comment help a bit.

        • Jim January 17, 2016, 8:54 pm

          You did not transition your experience well enough for me to understand how you went from being in bed to all of a sudden filled with energy. Please fill in the gaps.

        • Lotus February 16, 2016, 9:16 pm

          I’ve been on Lexapro for about 2 and a half years. I finally got a payout from the highly stressful job, which was the source of my anxiety and depression. I was having some of the side effects from the drug (all of which you list – fatigue, loss of sexual libido, etc.), one of which, excessive sweating, I was finding quite uncomfortable and embarrassing. Being temporarily unemployed, I decided to wean myself off of it.

          I cut the dosage in half for several days, and then to a quarter, which I’m still taking. Like you, I have lost a substantial amount of weight – 4 kilos in an extremely short period of time – 7 days. My energy levels are returning, and I’m doing good cardio workouts at the gym, which is easing the anxiety and agitation. I’m having a bit of insomnia, but melatonin is helping with that. I’ve had some headaches and some tingling sensations at the top of the head.

          • Magda May 27, 2016, 7:03 pm

            Has anyone else had strange vision sensation after stopping Cipralex like the image I’m looking at is kind of lagging as I turn my head? It’s hard to explain but I feel like my eyes are not following what I’m looking at at the right speed.. makes me a bit dizzy.

            I was on Lexapro/Cipralex for over 3 years off and on, I never totally went off because of fear of side effects. After a few days off my sex drive returned to the point of having “wet” dreams lol, I’m female and 47 so that’s funny. But this thing with my vision is annoying.

          • Rodd June 25, 2016, 5:21 am

            Well, I thought I would answer the question really quickly about how withdrawal went from going to laying in bed to being filled with energy asked by Jim to Louise. One of the more common withdrawal symptoms of lexapro is mania or elevated mood (one which I experienced). I hope for Louise this isn’t the case and that her energy will last. I was on lexapro for 13 years along with a whole mess of medication.

            I started at 5 mg and it saved my life. It started to work less, and less, and eventually, I was on 20 mg and receiving, I believe, no more benefit. Withdrawing from lexapro and SSRIs is awful. Complete hell. In 13 years, over the last several I have tried to go off the lexapro, or gone off for a while. The worst symptoms are the akathisia, RLS that wakes you up right as you fall into sleep, and the EPS such as dystonia.

            It’s really quite similar to having many symptoms of parkinson’s disease. I have no idea what to think of this drug because it helped me so much so many years ago. But these days I am highly skeptical. I think there is a whole lot more to depression and mood disorders than neurochemical levels. For instance, it has been debated that the reason for the short term efficacy of SSRIs has nothing to do with the increase of serotonin in the synaptic cleft (in general), but the efficacy is more attributable to neuronal plasticity, and the increased expression of BDNF (brain derived growth factor)-> encouraging the growth of the hippocampus and other areas of the brain, as well as, re-establishing so-called healthy neuronal connections.

            Anyway… psychiatry can be so helpful… but also so harmful it seems.

          • Biancas October 12, 2016, 12:28 am

            Magda I have this 24/7 at the moment too and it’s driving me nuts! I went cold turkey 7 days ago after being on 40mg each day for 5 years now. I have a constant headache, cry at the drop of a hat A LOT have zero patience/tolerance and get super angry very very quickly. The eye/vision lag thing is constant and makes it hard for me to concentrate on anything at all.

            My short term memory is completely shot – perfect example is if I am talking with someone about something and someone interrupts and breaks my train of thought I literally can’t pick up where I left off. I need the person to remind me as to what I was talking about. Worse still getting in the car – driving into town only to get there and have no idea what the hell I had to come into town for in the first place.

            I must admit, the doom and gloom and horrible life ending thoughts have certainly retuned full force – this scares me the most as I don’t know if it’s just withdrawals making me feel and think like that or if that’s the real me thinking those things. I am hoping this doesn’t last forever. Further added to this… home life is stressful with 4 little ones who I adore, my marriage is a roller coaster – and hubby has no clue what’s it’s like living like this.

            He has no sympathy/empathy whatsoever re depression let alone the craziness of coming off this drug. So no support there sadly. One other time I attempted to come off it, as soon as Id had a couple of teary episodes I’m told (yelled) to just “get back on it again, you’re cranky, rude and crying all the time – you obviously need it.” Crying yes, cranky yes, rude no.

            This time I can’t even tell him I’m coming off it. Then I know That every time I didn’t react/do/say the perfect thing it would because I’m not in the drug. He wouldn’t help or support me – this is guaranteed. Best doing it alone than have that. :( I am doing my very best here, I’d never wish this on anyone… But damn I’d just love him to try and live in this head/body for 1 whole month.

        • Davidica McConnell April 3, 2016, 10:56 pm

          Thank God I found your post! I have been experiencing some of the same symptoms coming off the Lexapro. I thought it was just me! Now, I think I might make it through these horrible withdrawals! Thank you! Davidica

          • Tasha April 14, 2016, 3:20 am

            I too am glad to have found this. I am a week into no lexapro and it’s driving me nuts with the headaches, nausea, and dizziness. I tried to get off this crap once and when I talked to my doctor his answer was to increase my dosage. I have been taking it almost two years. I was 135 pounds and I am now 218 pounds. Doing my research I found that some of the side affects have caused me to be put on other medications. More pills seems to be my docs answer. I am so glad that I am not alone in this. Thank you for the very helpful information and I hope everyone the very best.

          • Cheryl Jacobs April 16, 2016, 12:45 am

            Feel the same way! Been on Lexapro 4 years, 20 mg. Decided to go off it and tapered to 1/2 a pill for a month, then no pills. Man am I glad to find this post!! I’ve been experiencing severe lethargy, mood swings, dizziness and body pain/discomfort!

          • Mike April 24, 2016, 5:40 am

            2 weeks from my last dose. Coming off of 20mg I fast tapered over 10 days. It was the best I could do at the time. My blood pressure is all over the place. Really high like 180/110 then as low as 90/55. My normal BP was rarely over 130/80. The nausea and dizziness is pretty bad but doesn’t start until I’ve been up a few hours.

            But then it is pretty constant. My eyes are very sensitive to light. Glad I found some people who are fighting this sh*t as well. They lied about this drug. I was on it for almost 4 years but honestly the honeymoon was over around a year in.

          • Ed June 20, 2016, 3:34 pm

            Also glad to be sharing this with others, I finally stopped a week ago after 9 years on 20mg. Agree with all the symptoms you guys are describing, the best way I can explain the physical discomfort to other people is the way you feel after reading in a car. Constantly nauseous with a dull ache behind my eyes, as well as the ‘brain zaps’ that everyone seems to experience. I must have read a hundred different posts and comments and as far as I can tell, this lasts anywhere between 5 weeks and several years – does anyone actually have any experience of being on the other side of withdrawal?

          • Christine Brewen June 24, 2016, 10:01 pm

            I have been taking 20mg of Lexpro for almost 5 years. I gained close to 20 kgs over that time due to my increased appetite. I also got into a bad habit of drinking lots of wine every night + more food. :( Now I am detoxing from Lexapro. Not weaning as such because my doc is putting me onto Xanax. I am terrified of Xanax so have only taken a couple as needed but in getting off Lexapro, I have taken only 4 in 11 days.

            I have not experienced the symptoms others are describing but my tiredness is unbelievable!! I wake up feeling so lethargic and it never stops. I do think it’s affecting my intestinal system too. I had the eye floaties on Lexapro so maybe that will stop soon. But all in all considering I have gone off rather quickly, I am surprised so far at how easy it has been for me. Time will tell I suppose if that remains.

          • Joyce July 5, 2016, 4:26 pm

            I have only taken Lexapro for a few months but have experienced terrible headaches, dizziness and weight gain. I started taking this for insomnia, still can’t sleep. Have stopped for about a week, symptoms persist.

  • Myron July 16, 2014, 6:43 pm

    Hi, Seeing that you have experience and plenty of knowledge on this topic I was wondering if you could help me. I only took 10 mg escitalopram for 11 days, and now 25 days after my last pill I am still dizzy and disoriented/depersonalized. Is this normal? Any idea when I can expect to feel like myself again?

    Thank you in advance for any words of wisdom/encouragement.

    – Myron

    • GLOOM July 17, 2014, 2:02 am

      Myron, it’s important to realize that there’s no “normal” when it comes to antidepressant withdrawal. Your experience is going to be unique to you. I’m fairly surprised that you were only on it for 11 days and are still experiencing these symptoms.

      The best thing you can do for yourself is avoid freaking out about them. It’s going to be uncomfortable, but you need to do your best to just suck it up and realize that they will eventually (it may take awhile) subside.

      I do not know when you’ll feel like yourself again as different people recover at different rates. I would give it about a month or two and then see whether this feeling goes away. Hang in there and you’ll eventually see light at the end of the tunnel. Best of luck.

      • Lauren July 31, 2014, 6:22 pm

        I went on lexapro for 8 days, in that they started me at 5mg, took me up to 10 after a half a week, did 10 for a few days, and then back down to 5mg for a half a week, then took me off it. It has been 5 days since I have stopped taking it. I have had body tremors, crazy headaches, crying spells, aggression, fever, and worst I’ve been too lightheaded to get to work.

        The headaches and moodiness I can stand but has anyone found anything to help with lightheadedness? I fought my doctor on trying this medication for 3 weeks, wish I had fought harder. Any help would be fantastic! :)

        • Kathleen August 7, 2014, 4:12 pm

          Lauren:
          I am using OTC meclizine (motion sickness chewable tablets) for nausea, dizziness and lightheadedness. It helps a lot! I am also feeling apathetic (depersonalization) and some rebound depression, but I’m going to try to wait it out (I used Lexapro 7 years and yesterday was my 3-week “anniversary” of stopping after tapering down). If I had known how bad the withdrawals were going to be, I never would have taken it. Any doctor that says Lexapro has no withdrawal effects is full of crap!

          • Kim w. November 27, 2014, 1:21 am

            I took 20 MG for over 4 years. I quit cold turkey apx. 3 weeks ago. Pros are: I have more energy & get so much more done. Cons are: headaches, can’t sleep, I have gained weight instead of losing, and brain fog. But I feel getting off this is what I need to do for me now. Kim

          • Alicia December 10, 2014, 8:00 pm

            Yep, I’m off of it for about 10 days after taking it for 2 years – I was up to 30mg/day at one point! I wish I had listened to my intuition in the beginning as I felt that my doctor really didn’t have a firm grasp of how best to treat me and what medication to prescribe. Had I know what I was in for, I would have sought out a second opinion despite the fact that I love my doctor (for most stuff) and I was an emotional mess at the time. I spoke with a neurologist who works with a lot of holistic treatments this morning and he offered me some help to ease the withdrawal symptoms which I really hope will work!!

        • Rami November 5, 2014, 7:48 pm

          How long did it take you to feel like you are normal again?

          • jenny December 15, 2014, 11:11 pm

            I started taking Lexapro in September of this year and quit cold turkey 3 days ago. I was on it close to 4 months. I felt worst on it so I decided to research other ways to dealing with my depression. Today is my third day off it and for the first time I experienced tachycardia and dizziness since early in the morning. Also unstable while walking, like if I am drunk. Brain zap and headache. I am a registered nurse so I have been assessing my symptoms all day. So now I wish I never started to take the antidepressant to begin with.

        • Jennifer December 16, 2014, 5:45 am

          I too have experience of lightheadedness during withdrawal. I noticed my blood pressure was lower than normal during these lightheaded spells. I found that working out helped bring up my blood pressure and lessen the effects of the lightheadedness. However I’m unable to tell if it is helping my melancholy mood. If it is I really don’t want to know what I’d be like if I wasn’t working out.

          • Diane December 21, 2014, 3:42 pm

            For anxiety and panic attack syndrome have been on and off antidepressants since 1986. Began 10 mg Lexapro 3 years ago during severe bout of shingles. Doc increased dose to 20 mg this summer. Had to discontinue use of 20 mg Lexipro in mid October as side effects had gotten severe: memory issues, brain freeze or fog, tremors, sweats, heat intolerance, joint pain, neuropathy in feet. Per doctor orders reduced dose to 10 mg, then 0 mg over 2 weeks.

            Never realized that side effects from taking these drugs for a long period of time or possibly just being prescribed too high a dose could make me feel so sick. If you read the literature, Lexapro side effects are identical to Lexapro withdrawl symptoms. Especially treasure the frightening little seizures called brain zaps, body tremors, sweats and muscle spasms that sent me to the ER in fear more than once. Had described some of these symptoms to docs for many years, their answers were always more drugs: ativan, xanax, ambien, flexiryl.

            6 weeks into clearing Lexapro from system the brain zaps have almost subsided. Still have great difficulty sleeping, bouts of anxiety, anger and impatience. Helped by reading blogs, taking Omega 3’s, B-12, benedryl, Aleve, melatonin and tryptophan. Still not recovered, expect another 60 to 90 days til out of the fog.

        • Magda May 27, 2016, 7:07 pm

          I know what you mean, however as bad as the withdrawal side effects are I couldn’t make it without it when I was at my lowest. It seems like everyone here forgot why they took it in the first place. I’m sure we all needed it to begin with. I know I did.

          • Jason June 14, 2016, 7:52 pm

            Amen.

          • Rodd June 25, 2016, 6:17 am

            And that is what makes being a pdoc so difficult…

      • bill February 3, 2016, 12:24 am

        I’ve been on 30mg of lexapro for probably 15 years, and I just stopped cold turkey a few days ago. The withdraw is wicked and I’m not sure I can go through this for MONTHS I’ve been reading! I’m extremely busy, I’m not sure I made the right decision. I just wanted to get off of it because I didn’t think I needed it anymore. What the heck do I do?

        • Chris February 11, 2016, 4:45 pm

          I am replying to you not because I have an answer but because I am in the same boat and it’s been a week since your post and I’m wondering what you have done. I to have been on for 15 years but only 10mg mixed with 150mg wellbutrin. I’m still on the Wellbutrin but my withdrawal symptoms from the Lexapro are every bit as bad as everyone is posting here. I’m not sure my relationship or my job will survive this. So basically I’m wondering if you found any solution or relief?

        • Lisa February 17, 2016, 11:47 pm

          I was on Lexapro and Wellbutrin for 23 years. I weaned off both over the course of a few months and have been off them completely for a month. I can tell you that without my vitamins and supplements I would have gone right back on them. The withdrawal symptoms are no laughing matter for sure. I can help with the supplements I take if anyone is interested.

          • Nauman February 21, 2016, 8:41 pm

            Hi Liza, I am in the tapering off process and facing severe dizziness. Can you please share the name of the supplements? Thanks, Nauman

          • Carina March 9, 2016, 8:18 am

            Hi Lisa. I’m in my 3rd week of weaning myself off Lexapro and suffering horrific symptoms, the last 3 days, non-stop crying among other things. What supplements do you take?

          • Rachel March 14, 2016, 6:36 pm

            What supplements did you take?

          • Kathleen March 18, 2016, 11:17 pm

            Lisa – what supplements do you take to help with the withdrawal?

          • HELEM RIVERA March 28, 2016, 6:30 pm

            Lisa, My best friend is going through the tapering process now. What supplements helped you?

          • Denise April 14, 2016, 3:15 am

            Lisa, Can you please share what supplements helped you with your withdrawal symptoms? Thanks!

          • Pam Davis May 25, 2016, 1:07 am

            Which vitamins worked for you? I took months to taper off if 10 mg and I have major anger, trouble sleeping, nausea, sweating, crying spells and I, literally, cannot eat. Actually, testing to see if something else is going on. I’ve lost 18 pounds in 6 weeks and my stomach hurts after eating small amounts. I was on Lexapro for 9 years.

          • Amy May 26, 2016, 10:55 pm

            I want to know what vitamins/supplements you are using.

          • Magda May 27, 2016, 7:11 pm

            I found that vitamin B stress complex helps with falling asleep, there’s some hops and Melissa extract in it too. Valerian can help too.

          • Sheryl June 16, 2016, 4:24 am

            I’ve been taking magnesium citrate 135mg 3 times per day. The last dose before bed. Best sleep I’ve had in years! Tapered off Lexapro after 10 years. Been off completely for 2 weeks. Started the magnesium 1 month before I stopped. It gave me the courage to stop. Do some research on it. It’s been working so far.

          • Emily June 16, 2016, 12:15 pm

            Hi Lisa, I have been off Lexapro for about 2 1/2 weeks. First two weeks I was fine, now super anxious, moody. Would love to know which vitamins/ supplements you are taking?

          • David June 28, 2016, 8:42 pm

            Can you tell about the supplements? Thanks very much.

          • Susan becker July 27, 2016, 2:07 pm

            Yes please tell what vitamins you’re taking. I am experiencing the whole array of withdrawals and I have have chronic migraines which I suffered with for years. These w/d from lexapro are killing me. I am still tapering ism down to 3 mg roughly right now. That for any input you can share.

          • Lisa August 16, 2016, 8:56 pm

            Hi, I’m sorry I didn’t get notification that I had responses to my comment. I am choosing to use Shaklee supplements to treat my anxiety and depression naturally. I take a Vita Lea (multi vitamin), Mood Lift complex, Lots of Vit B and Stress Relief. These are all on my website, but I would rather talk or email more details. If I can help with any questions please send me an email. lisadsam[@]gmail.com

          • Tracy September 9, 2016, 5:21 pm

            Lisa, I would love to hear the supplements you took to help you through. Thanks in advance.

          • Kris November 15, 2016, 10:39 pm

            Lisa, I’m very interested in your supplements. I’ve been totally off if 20 mgs of Lexapro for about 2weeks. The irritability and weepiness are what’s troubling me now. I’m over the hump as far as insomnia, dizziness, and headaches. I would appreciate your help.

        • Maddie June 2, 2016, 12:08 am

          Omg!! Me too!! They wanted to put me up to 40mg!! I’m 21 I’ve been on an array of psych meds since around the age of 11 and I’ve decided to discontinue taking all of my meds, I have a problem with seizures though. :/ I’m pretty worried about doing the crappy flop while getting off everything.

          I’m down to 20mg at the moment. I’m going down to 10mg in 3 more days and than 5mg, and than down to nothing. I’m currently using Lexapro, Lamictal, Seroquel, Hydroxyzine, and Trazodone. I honestly am more worried about the sleep meds more than the antidepressants.

          • Ed June 20, 2016, 3:46 pm

            Hi Maddie, I recently came of Trazodone after 10 years and like you I was more worried about that than the Lexapro/Cipralex. The first few days of trazodone withdrawal are seriously uncomfortable, probably the worst I’ve ever felt, BUT they started to disappear after a 5-7 days and then pretty much disappeared apart from the sporadic insomnia. Just so you know if you are planning to get off that too, I don’t regret doing it at all.

        • Sara Messer July 13, 2016, 5:17 pm

          My Dr told me to take 1/2 a pill for 2 weeks and then 1/2 a pill every other day for 2 weeks. I am noticing sleep issues and fatigue, but I imagine it would be worse cold turkey.

        • Sue July 17, 2016, 12:11 am

          I have been on Lexapro for years, I felt like it wasn’t working so I have decided to stop taking it. Of course the doctor doesn’t want me to stop taking it, but I’m DONE! Yes I feel awful and have no energy, moody and cry A LOT and am hoping I start feeling better soon.

          My head feels like it’s on a Merry-go-round, it’s awful, but reading everyone’s comments at least lets me know I’m not totally losing it. I am not very happy right now, but damn it I’m going to win this fight. The only winners here are the drug company’s and the doctors.

    • Mort February 14, 2015, 12:54 am

      Almost 6 months withdrawal for me… Horrific digestive and stomach problems starting to go away. Fatigue has been tough. Can’t go to work more than 2 days in a row. When this is over, I’ve won the lottery.

      • Jess September 9, 2015, 10:52 pm

        I’ve stopped for 1 month now and am bloated hard stomach and lots of burping. What were your digestive problems?

        • Nan September 24, 2015, 1:30 pm

          Give it time. I also had these symptoms and they lasted for awhile. I found Gas-X to help with the bloating. You might try that.

      • Bexley January 29, 2016, 12:22 am

        I am also having awful stomach problems, I thought I had a stomach bug last weekend when I started to taper off, but I never threw up, cramping, gas diarrhea, the leg issues everyone is talking about, dizzy angry chills etc etc. It’s been a week of just taking half the dose I was taking before, mostly just headaches and the stomach pains/gas/diarrhea and I realize that I don’t think I did have a stomach bug, just withdrawal. My doctor wants me to start skipping every other day starting tomorrow and I’m a little scared that I will feel awful again. Also I can’t stop eating, but it’s also ‘that time of the month’ – crappy planning I guess.

        • Melissa June 27, 2016, 6:40 pm

          My daughter is 17 and is trying to stop Lex. I swear if I knew all these side effects would happen when she was to come off I would have never agreed to let her take it! Nausea, blurred vision, mood swings, feels like she is floating…etc. She wasn’t on this, but 8 months. She STOPPED taking them on her own, but the side effects are so bad that I had her go back on 1/2 dose (10 mg. She was on 20 mg). It has been day 2 of 10 mg. No change in withdraw symptoms as of yet.

      • Lotus February 16, 2016, 9:22 pm

        I had the digestive problems as well. Really bad acid reflux and flatulence. I can hardly wait until I take the last dose.

    • Prowler April 29, 2016, 10:30 pm

      I have been on just about every antidepressant there is. TBH none of them have worked as well as Lexapro did for me. Life isn’t perfect, but it’s a lot better than before. I’ve been taking it for about 7 months and I just stopped taking it last week because I was taking Alprazolam instead (F*ck benzo’s). Nonetheless, this week off Lexapro has been HELL.

      I have had major nausea, fatigue, sweating, and headaches. I’ve been off for it 8 days. If it’s not better by tomorrow I am going to just start taking it daily again, even though I’d prefer to rely on no medications for my depression and anxiety… but I do need them unfortunately.

      I am just skeptical of the drug because of the way it’s made me feel through these WD’S. These last two days have been awful… and I’ve been through Benzo WD so lemme tell you I know what feeling like sh*t feels like. I guess I am nervous about it.

  • anne July 19, 2014, 8:22 pm

    I began taking Lexapro in December 2013 and discontinued it in May 2014. I am 15. I was on 15 mg at first and then my doctor increased it to 20 mg (I have severe OCD and depression). Since discontinuing in May, and it is now July, I have experienced brain zaps, dizziness, nausea, and absolutely insane migraines every single day. I’ve been informed by my doctors that Lexapro has no withdrawal symptoms, but I don’t know what else this could be. If anyone out there has any insight into this, please, please let me know, I am so panicked.

    • Katy November 4, 2015, 1:52 pm

      Can you please tell me what a brain zap feels like? I’ve been off for 5 days and am feeling my tongue and teeth tingle. Is that it?

      • VoniB November 28, 2015, 1:51 pm

        I’m on day 13 of discontinuation and at this point I wish that I would either get better right now or just die. I’m pretty sure that you have not yet experienced a brain zap. Why do I say that..because you won’t be wondering what if feels like. Brain zaps feels like your brain is shocked or smacked. Mine is at their worst when I move my eyes around i.e. look at something and then look away to focus on something else… so so debilitating… and I’m absolutely exhausted. It’s difficult feeling like this and coping with work and home life. I’m hoping that it won’t last much longer.

      • Karyn January 13, 2016, 3:06 am

        Brain zap – feels like you’re being electrocuted on the inside *zzzzap!* I was on 10 mg of escitalopram for 10 years. Started tapering 2 months ago… Last pill was 1/7/16. Today, 1/12/16, has been the worse… So bad that I took a pill :-(… nausea, dizziness, brain fog/can’t concentrate, and brain zaps every time I turn my head. Single mom with 2 kiddos, not good combination! I need help too! How can I get through this and still function in reality?

      • Kd February 27, 2016, 5:40 am

        Yep! I get that exact feeling if I miss my pill 1-2 days in a row!!!

      • Donna May 16, 2016, 2:54 am

        I was on lexapro for 6 months due to anxiety for what the doctor thought was post natal depression (psychologist thinks it was adjustment disorder). I weaned off over 2 weeks and have been off it a week now and it’s horrible. The brain zaps are bad which literally feel like zaps of electricity zapping through your head, and my hearing kind of goes quiet while this happens, and my eyes go weird. I feel lightheaded too and get hot flushes. It’s horrible and I never want to go through this again. :(

    • Mike January 13, 2016, 3:46 pm

      I took lexapro and in discontinuing, experienced a multitude of issues including: loss of concentration, anxiety, panic attacks, electric shocks throughout body, severe outward nervousness, as well as anxiety and panic issues and a weird depersonalization. I have not taken Lexapro in a year. I went back on it a after a six month break and I feel as though I will never get my old self back. I know it was effective, but this is frightening and I don’t feel I will ever be ok to really function.

      • Christian January 18, 2016, 8:49 pm

        Mike, so you reinstated Lexapro 6 months ago? Have any of your symptoms improved?

    • Shirley June 14, 2016, 1:45 am

      I have been off Lexapro For about 4 weeks. The brain zaps are driving me crazy. Always a ringing in my ears. Headaches and losing my balance. Could you tell me your supplements please?

  • ramjet July 21, 2014, 7:06 pm

    comments are correct. tried several times to get off Lex after 10 years. Painful withdrawals. This time followed recommendations of taking vitamin supplements: Per day: B-Complex, Magnesium, Omega-3 Fish Oil, Vit E, Vit D, Niacin, multi-vitamin tabs. All supplements are Pharmaceutical grade, meaning, they are better than the junk you buy at most big box stores (walmart, et al). Titrate off Lex 2% every 2 weeks for many people (I have been able to do 50% every two weeks down from 20-10-5mg so far). Withdrawal symptoms are very manageable to nonexistent. Fish oil is the cure for brain zaps btw. This recipe is a modification of theroadback.org recommendations but without their supplements. i am not affiliated with theroadback.org in any way but I can tell you from my own experience this will work.

    • Laurie July 23, 2015, 12:33 am

      Thanks for your post. I have tried once before to come off the drug after 4 years. You reminded me that I need to be diligent about taking the supplements. I have all of the ones you mentioned and just took them. I have been having a really bad today but feel more hopeful now.

      • nivek October 16, 2015, 9:45 pm

        10-16-2015. Hello…I’ve been tapering from 20 mg and now at 1.6 mg liquid soon to 1.4mg one of the biggest problems I have experienced is terrible bloating, pain, pressure & nausea feel like I’m going to explode sometimes 2 or so weeks after cutting dose. Wondering if others experience this? Also I experience withdrawal more than once after dose reduction maybe a week apart…and am tired all the time. Anxiety and depression are usually short lived maybe a day or so here and there. I have had insomnia for months just can not sleep for more than a few hrs a night. Lots of other things as well. The most glaring are insomnia, gas and bloating nausea…wondering if this stuff is normal? Please feel free to offer suggestions that may help in my endeavor. TY.

    • Lotus February 16, 2016, 9:27 pm

      During my withdrawal I’ve been taking magnesium, vitamin B complex and high grade fish oil. This does seem to be easing the symptoms, and a good substitution. This is really great information to share with other people. It works folks!

    • Ellen April 12, 2016, 7:39 pm

      I was on Lexapro (the generic) for 15 years. Weaned off in 3 weeks. Took my last dose 2 weeks ago. I have shortness of breath, hot flashes and chills, itchy feet and palms, extreme anxiety, anger (screamed in my car this morning after I dropped off my son), I also got lost twice this week taking him to school and to another place I’ve gone to for years… can’t concentrate on work or anything, very fearful, agoraphobic, loss of appetite (I like that part since I’m a gainer).

      My Doctor started me on a new med last week called Fetzima. It’s an SNRI, or a serotonin and norepinephrine (so) reuptake inhibitor. After reading all these posts I think I’m crazy to go on a new one….however, I forget that on nothing I will feel catatonic in 6 months… Sophie’s choice… I’m going to go drop $100-$200 at Whole Foods later for, at least, some of those supplements you wrote about. Good luck everyone.

    • Donna May 16, 2016, 2:57 am

      Oh my gosh thank you for telling us the supplements! I will start fish oil and hope it cures these horrible brain zaps!!

  • Belinda Gracie July 25, 2014, 7:48 am

    I have just come off 10mg Loxalate or Lexapro after taking it for a year. I was also taking 20mg for about a month of this year. I was prescribed it for anxiety attacks and depression. I was so happy with the nearly instant transformation in the way I felt once I started taking it.

    I decided myself that I didn’t need it anymore as my life became more stable and I cut down to 5 mg for about two weeks. Now one month after finishing all together I have again had anxiety attacks due to feeling claustophobic and am feeling mildly depressed again. Nothing too bad though and I am determined to get through it without going back on antidepressants. I also feel dizzy quite often which isn’t pleasant. Meditation and exercise are helping – good luck everyone ;-)

    • Ramjet July 30, 2014, 5:36 pm

      Try the supplements above.

  • Viola Register July 27, 2014, 4:14 pm

    Hi, Is anyone experiencing vision disturbances? I took lexapro for 12 days and have been off for 4, but my far off vision is gone!

    • Zak April 7, 2015, 11:06 am

      Yes, I have visual disturbance, and this is due to anxiety… Mostly the problem is linked to eyes muscles and nerves. I feel sometimes electric shots in the socket of my eyes and pressure behind them and around the socket. It’s horrible what I am experiencing due to quick tapering from Benzos.

  • Barb Meahan August 10, 2014, 6:20 pm

    I was on 10mg for a week then cut back to 5mg for a week of Lexapro and have been off of it for 4 days now with a on going headache and sinus ache and dizzy and feeling like I am not me hard to think, I was on Prozac before and went cold turkey off of it also and feel like I had the flu for a month then started Lexapro wishing I hadn’t and once I get this drug out of me completely I will not take anything else.

    I was feeling some stress and not depressed kept telling the Dr this but he insited I take these, why do they push these drugs? All blood work is good so I just need to eat better and workout and take vitamins and minerals and be happy! These drugs have way to many side affects for me…I wish everyone good luck coming off of them and just listen to your body and rest and have patience and it will get better at least that is what I am reading!

  • CIVZAJ August 18, 2014, 5:15 pm

    I took 10mg of lexapro for 2 1/2 years and the withdrawals have been ugly. Dizziness, headaches, depressed, tired all the time, and sweats. The dizziness and sweats stopped after 3 weeks. Now what I keep experiencing is weird dreams all night. As soon as I fall asleep I start dreaming. I wake up so tired since I don’t get a good night sleep. I’m feeling down about the whole situation but I will NOT get back on lexapro. Doctors never tell you these things when they give you these meds. Good luck to all with this struggle. Hope I can look back one day and say that use to be me but not anymore.

    • Alyssa October 26, 2014, 7:30 pm

      Thank you so much for this article. I have been on Lexapro for over 7 years, peaking at 40 mg for the past several years. I thought it was a miracle drug, because I tried so many different medications for depression & anxiety and nothing worked. Unfortunately, it’s not working anymore and I am tapering off of it. The withdrawal is very serious & I was not prepared. I had to take a leave from work. I have issues concentrating, brain fog & zaps, nausea, fatigue- you name it. I feel like what was up is now down and vice versa. I wake up in panic. Thank goodness I am still on klonopin & have a supportive significant other or I’m not sure I’d be here. I find solace in the fact that I am not alone in this. Thanks.

      • subduedjoy April 11, 2015, 6:06 am

        I, too, felt that Lexapro was a miracle drug. I was on it for eight years. For the first time in my life, I could function. I didn’t have anxieties. I went from being an introvert to being an extrovert. I was even quite humorous. However, over those eight years, I had brain zaps, ringing in my ears, and no libido. My memory also gradually worsened. My memory got so bad that I started having trouble functioning. Since the whole reason for my being on Lexapro to begin with was to function, I started questioning whether or not it was time to get off the drug.

        I asked my therapist. (I was no longer seeing a psychiatrist.) Instead of recommending that I get off the drug, she wanted me to increase my dosage from 10 mgs to 20 mgs because my stats showed that I was suffering from depression. It was then that I knew I had to get off the drug and I had to do it myself. I tapered slower than the recommended taper just in case. My depression worsened, yet I was having no thoughts to go along with the depression. Then I started having very circular, negative thoughts. I hit my lowest point about six to eight months after getting off of Lexapro.

        That was three to four months ago. My greatest side effect now is that my physical body is overreacting to stressful situations, even to very mild stressful situations. I still have memory issues, but they seem to be gradually improving. My thoughts are becoming more positive, but I wonder are they really my thoughts? Sometimes I hear my thoughts in my head as if its my brain that is analyzing my experiences and coming up with the thoughts, not me. I feel so disconnected from my thoughts, subsequent actions, and consequences from those actions. Who am I?

        • Rachel May 9, 2016, 10:19 am

          I had been taking Lexapro 20 mg for about 8 months, previously I was taking Celexa 40mg for years, a close relative of Lexapro. So at first taking it, it was wonderful, I stopped having any of the anxiety attacks that had been consuming my life. After awhile though I started feeling almost opposite.

          Like instead of feeling relief from not having anxiety, I felt like I didn’t feel anything about anything. Very much just “going through the motions”. Which ended up causing me anxiety about not having feelings at all. I stopped cold turkey a week ago and prepared myself mentally to not go back on medication period.

          I gained probably 30 lbs while on Lexapro and was sleeping or sleepy ALL the time at the end. I now feel more energetic, but also have had trouble sleeping at night. I thought I was going nuts at first over how CRAZY bloated I felt. It never occurred to me that the withdrawal from Lexapro my tummy stuff were related!

          I feel so much better after reading these stories from people, also very grateful for the supplement info! Can’t wait to get some and start feeling healthy and fit again! Thank you to you all!

        • Rodd June 25, 2016, 6:23 am

          Spot on.

        • Susan becker July 27, 2016, 3:37 pm

          I feel the same way. Let me know how long the post w/d took. Sending you some healing energy.

    • linda November 26, 2014, 9:59 pm

      I have the same experience as you about the weird dreams. I am having them almost every night as soon as I fall asleep. I was on lexapro for 4 years now its been 2 weeks since I quit cold turkey, it hasn’t been fun.

    • Kim w. November 27, 2014, 1:24 am

      Me too. Very strange dreams. Sleep for about 30 minutes wake up. And do this all night…

    • Mari December 6, 2014, 6:46 am

      Wow my Exact symptoms! 10 days off, I am taking 5-HTP and my mood is good for most part being aware Ian’s kind to yourself helps. The sweats and dead tired mornings are very real. Glad I hound this site so I know I am not imaging symptoms!

    • Barbara August 22, 2015, 1:57 pm

      I have been experiencing withdrawal symptoms from taking 5-10 mg of Lexapro for a month now. I did not realize how potent this drug was and have never experienced such uncomfortable side effects from withdrawing from any drug before. I have felt intense nausea, and have felt cramps and had frequent bowel movements daily. I also experienced feeling agitated and extremely bloated.

      I gained four to five pounds in the six months I had been taking the drug and I do not usually gain any weight so this was unusual for me. I am finally feeling like I am over the worst of the withdrawal symptoms but I would not do this again for any reason. This drug is too toxic, potent for all the good it offers.

  • DJ August 26, 2014, 6:29 pm

    I was put on Lexapro about 4 years ago for anxiety and anger issues. (mostly because I had an insane amount of responsibility at my previous job) I started to taper off about 8 weeks ago, took my last 2.5 mg tidbit about a month ago. I’ve had almost every one of the withdrawal symptoms listed above and continue to get most of them. The good news is, I’m starting to get glimpses of clarity, I’ve lost about 8 lbs without even trying, and my sex life is improving. So don’t give up!!

    • lisa October 21, 2014, 2:23 pm

      I had been taking Lexapro for about 2 yrs, because of work issues and my son’s teacher at the time. Plus we found out that our son had ADHD and the teacher was INSANE. I have been on a 5mg pill for at least 4-6 months now. I came off of it all at once last Wednesday. After not taking it I noticed my mood was better, I had more energy to do things and was loving it.

      I noticed this past Sunday that I was feeling more down and I could not sleep at all that night. I am now wanting to cry at the drop of a hat and I feel like every time I touch something I can feel my nerves tingle in my body. If I had know it was going to be like this I would have never done this. How long after you took your last pill did you start to notice it was coming out of your body? How long till you start to feel like your old self again?

    • ws November 26, 2014, 11:31 pm

      Hi. I am curious how long you were on 2.5 for and did you just stop after that or miss a day out between? I have been on this for 9 yrs and was on 20. Down to 2.5 and when I miss a day I have horrible headache and brain zaps/ electric shocks. Please help! Thank you.

    • Kate April 18, 2016, 2:19 pm

      Thank you, just thank you. Been on 20mg for about 5 years after an anxiety attack and Ativan too. It started to not be as affective so saw another psych. He hates this drug and wants me off it so we have been weaning off. Had the headaches and zaps, I am 2 days in on zero and just questioning the length of time til recovering from it.

      I am super emotional, crying comes very easy at the moment but I have an amazing husband and family and friends who I am so very grateful for. I am glad to hear a success, it makes it seem worth this trial!

  • Marina August 28, 2014, 10:16 am

    Hey Everyone,
    So It has been one week since i have come off the Lexapro. I used to take 10mg for 1 year and 8 months. My issue right now is the light headiness i feel (vertigo) as well as nausea. My other issue is i think i have put on weight since i have started to come off the medication. Is this possibly due to the lexapro? I really don’t want to put weight on i have done such a good job trying to lose weight i am scared i will put it back on.

    • Ash November 6, 2015, 1:45 pm

      I feel like I should say something positive, as I read all these comments before I quit and they terrified me. I was on lex for 18 months 10mg. I felt fantastic, so good that I decided to come off them as I felt I’d broken a cycle of anxiety. I am on half a tablet and have been for 10 days. Then half a tablet for 2 weeks. I feel absolutely fine, so I hope this continues and I hope this helps anyone reading all these horror stories.

      My doctor told me she has had many people come off lex with no problems. Obviously the stories here differ from my own, but that doesn’t mean it’s horrible for everyone. Good luck everyone, I don’t mean to offend, just wanted to give a positive reaction.

      • Theo November 30, 2015, 8:20 am

        Thank you! I’ve been thinking about working off my 20mg lexapro for the last 6 months, I have been on them for 4 years solid. I’m kinda terrified of my brain not finding a stable place through the withdrawal process. I’m functioning well now, and have been for a year or two. Though I feel so empty and emotionless from the SSRI… and libido is basically non existent. I’m almost certain that I am ready to do away with the script, but f*ck me, these withdrawals sound brutal.

        • Nancy December 27, 2015, 6:08 am

          I tapered off lexapro very gradually after taking it for over 2 years and didn’t have any physical withdrawal symptoms. Instead I’ve had horrible emotional ups and downs – nothing like I was before taking it. I describe it as having my previous worst days every day. I hope my mind will return to just normal highs and lows.

          The stressors that led me to take it are gone but this welling of sadness and tears is really horrible. On the plus side I have much more energy than while on it and my libido has returned. I hope things return to normal sooner than later!

      • Kate April 18, 2016, 2:23 pm

        I thank you, I am having some withdrawal, mostly emotional (crying all the blasted time), but to hear you are great and doing well gives me hope. Thanks for sharing, I for one am not offended, more positive.

  • Theresa September 1, 2014, 3:16 pm

    I was on Cymbalta for years. Had some really bad withdrawal symptoms to the point I felt like I was going to die, then realized it was a massive panic attack. Wrote all the withdrawal symptoms down and showed then to my Dr. who believes holistic. She could not believe I had all the symptoms stated above. So she put me on Lexapro. 5mg to start with and then up to 10mg.

    I was only on this for about 2 1/2 months. They told me to go off it cold turkey. I said no. Tapered down to 5 mg. for 2 wks. then went off last Friday. Today is Mon. I had the sweats this morning, no appetite (and I need to gain weight). Never connected a weight issue with any of these drugs. Depression is back and anxiety. I am a widow and live alone so that doesn’t help. Do have some balance problems.

    All the above tells me this can happen. Would you believe I had an allergic reaction to dilation drops when I went in for an eye exam. My eyes are still slightly dilated even after 4 days. This is probably all connected. Will pump up the vitamins and may try Aikido whatever that is..

  • Smoki September 3, 2014, 11:34 pm

    I was on Lexapro 10 MG for 11 years. I got myself off of them 12 days ago and feel awful with all the above side effects. I almost gave up today and went back on them but the thought of starting over again stopped me. I have left a call to my DR. 3 times in 5 days and she has not returned my call. My question is, if it is Solatonin related would it be a good idea to take a Solatonin supplement? Has anyone tried this and if so, how long did you take them ?
    Having a hot flash!
    Thank you

    • Smoki September 4, 2014, 7:30 pm

      Sorry misspelled Serotonin. It must of been the hot flash. Today is my 13th day off of them.
      Had the crying jags this morning, felt good then 5 hours later, exhausted. Still better than yesterday. Oh by the way, my doctor never called back. I did call her again and left another message that I will not be back! I am still trying to find out if the Serotonin supplements are ok to take or will my brain think it is me and then I have to get off them too and go through this. If they were good I would think more people on this site would of mentioned taking them.

  • Mary September 6, 2014, 1:19 am

    It is both a relief and sadness to see so many people going through the same things as I am.. back story. 6.5yrs on Lexapro 10mg. Started decrease in Nov 2013 and ended March 2014 due to not feeling I needed medication any longer as my life was great and I was originally on med for situational depression but somehow left on it. Initial withdrawal was mood swings, strain in eyes, dizzy, headaches,fatigue, higher anxiety which resulted in me upping my xanax that I was prescribed also for 6yrs from 3 .5mg tablets a day to 4..

    I would have vivid nightmares, feel very clear one minute then detached from everyone the next.. In my 3 months of being off Lexapro I started getting extreme dizziness and unbalance.. I went to my eye doctor and upped my RX which helped some but I continued to deteriorate. By July I was canceling clients and in bed way too much no matter I tried to push myself.. then came the brain zaps, my Lord it’s like someone sticking a cattle prong on my head and they even happen in sleep scaring me awake..

    I got so debilitated with zaps, dizziness and unbalance ontop of horrible headaches that I stopped working and driving July 30th… I have been on bedrest since barely using the restroom or getting to and from car for appointments that i cannot even drive on my own too.. went To ER and MRI was negative no one knows what’s wrong. Following up with ENT doctor next week but it is just strange to me how 3 months off the SSRI I got worse and am now staying with my parents as I can barely walk with dizziness and this crazy unbalance and detached feeling..

    My next step is to detox the xanax as I feel like many that the band-aid effect of giving me meds never really helped me it just masked me and now I’m having 6yrs of this veil over my brain lifted if that makes sense and it’s very overwhelming, I am in constant tears, pity parties and no one understands what I’m going through, everyone knows me as this strong woman but I feel she has disappeared and I’m like a small helpless child. I read about red wine but was nervous of caffeine or Alcohol but I am sure my serotonin is very low.

    I am just curious if anyone knows why so long the severe withdrawals and if or when I’ll regain my life.. it’s lonely living in a dark room and at my parents when I have my home and car that are just sitting there along with my practice that I am afraid I will lose. I am 33 yrs old and have always worked hard and enjoyed life, now I feel like I may never have that luxury again, even sunlight or light of any kind upsets my eyes and head. It is just insane that we are not warned about this.

    I would have gladly bought extra wine if I knew Lexapro and xanax would ruin my life. I am scared to death to even think about getting rid of the xanax but I feel it is just poison. I have been taking vitamin D3 and magnesium as I read they help. I hope anyone fighting this gets through it, it’s an invisible battle that only you can see…

    • C September 6, 2014, 12:48 pm

      Hi, I didn’t take the exact same meds you did, but I did take the same types. Both can have side effects while one is taking them, plus bad withdrawal effects while one is coming off them. Xanax is a Benzodiazepine medication, which slows the central nervous system down. They work on certain neurotransmitters in the brain. In medical literature, the benzodiazepines are also known as “vestibular suppressants”, meaning they suppress the very system you need to stay balanced and upright.

      They are meant for short-term use only, ie.. 2-4 weeks. If taken longer, they can cause all sorts of problems with balance, sleep, mood, anxiety, etc. Please look up Dr. Heather Ashton, a psychopharmacologist from the UK who did extensive work in getting people off these types of medications. There’s a website (benzo.org.uk) with a “manual” that gives information about proper tapering schedules. There’s also BenzoBuddies (another website) for support when tapering off. It’s a great resource.

      I, too, have had severe balance problems and after many medical tests (vestibular, CAT scan, hearing, vision, neurological), it turned out that the medications were the cause of the problems. Unfortunately, I’d already been prescribed Prozac, which can affect balance as well — both while one is on it and, of course, during withdrawal. I wish I hadn’t taken it.

      I have withdrawn from both, but the balance problems remain. I’m told they should resolve themselves, so it’s a waiting game… a very long, painful, distressing waiting game. The process is called “vestibular compensation”, during which one’s system of balance tries to restore itself to normalcy. More medications that affect balance will only prolong the process, so I will not be taking anything else. There is Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy, which may be helpful for some. I may try it again. I had to stop when I came off Prozac, since the dizziness increased a lot and I could hardly stand up.

      I’m so sorry to hear that you’re going through this. I totally understand. Please take care of yourself, and look up benzodiazepines. These medications are overprescribed and, obviously, have strong and dangerous side effects. You’re young, so you’ve got that on your side. Everyone is different when it comes to healing. The body has amazing restorative capabilities, but we have to work WITH it, not against it.

      Best wishes and take care,
      C

      • C September 6, 2014, 1:25 pm

        Hi again! I forgot to mention something….alcohol will only worsen things. It’s a very bad combination with benzodiazepines (possibly dangerous), since both are central nervous system depressants. Be careful with that.

    • alison October 9, 2014, 3:08 am

      Hi – I started Zoloft at 18, managed to stop taking it for 5+ years in my 20s, and then went on Lexapro at 30. About 2 months ago, I started tapering the Lexapro from 10 mg down to a current 2.5 mg. In the past I also used Xanax to help me cope but I agree with the other posts – this drug is actually much more habit-forming and difficult to withdraw from (for me) than SSRIs. The withdrawal symptoms are immediate and intense and the irrationality is off the charts!

      That said, if you make it through that initial period, I’m confident you will start to feel more “normal” and see the world in a more balanced way. I’ve resolved not to use Xanax if I can at all help it because I know how easy it is to get used to the feeling of calm. I’m experiencing the nightmares, fatigue, appetite changes, mood swings with Lexapro withdrawal but I have to say that acupuncture and herbal medicine have also helped me.

      I was skeptical, but firmly believe that if something helps it’s worth pursuing regardless of “why” it helps. I’ve been there with my parents and also have a challenging career – you just have to believe and keep telling yourself that this is temporary. You are the same person you were before, it’s just your body going through the adjustment of withdrawing from these meds. Good luck to you. Alison

    • gwen January 9, 2016, 12:43 pm

      Mary, how are you doing now? Yes, symptoms of withdrawal get worse over time. Living in a state of fog, veil of fog… like being in another dimension… hard to describe. It is very lonely and scary and makes death preferable to living alone in ones head. Please tell me how you are doing now.

      • Sophia August 25, 2016, 1:03 pm

        What do you mean gwen? I have been off loxalate now for about a month, feel absolutely rotten and gone through CT scans, optometrists, hearing tests, and booked for ENT. Can this get worse? How much worse and for how long?

    • Rachel May 9, 2016, 10:32 am

      I was talking xanax for about 14 years and I always felt like it was only a band aid. It never healed anything, just smothered it. When I it taking it a year ago I experienced the lowest of lows and the worst depression combined with anxiety. That’s prob what prompted my Dr to switch me to Lexapro from my original antidepressant.

      The withdrawal from the xanax for me was very short and if I had known that, I would have never started a new med. Basically I’m saying that at least for me, xanax made things better for a tiny bit so I could deal, but the feelings from withdrawing each time were worse than if I had just dealt with the underlying issue. Which thankfully I can say that I’m on what I believe is finally the right track and I have God to thank for that!

  • Smoki September 6, 2014, 4:03 pm

    Well my doctor did call back the other night and talked me into seeing her next week. I could tell she would prefer for me to stay on 10mg of Lexapro but I told her no way, not after going through the hell I have been through for past 14 days. She is trying to tell me that none of her patients ever told her about these side effects when they got off the drug and I bet it’s because they are still on them!

    I did ask about the Serotonin supplement and she said she never heard of them and laying in the sun without sunglasses would give you some serotonin back. I was doing that before she told me that and honestly it does feel good. Well, it’s day 14 and last night I had the false fever off and on and woke up during the night with cranky legs. I get about 5-6 hours sleep now and that feels good but I am sure it is because my primary doctor has me on a very low dose of xanax to help me fall asleep. I have been on that for years and I can’t even think of stopping that right now.

    Yesterday was day 13 and I felt like I was having out of body experiences, like I was there but not caring. Then bang, I got a burst of energy and started cleaning! It felt so good. However the tiredness returns whenever it wants to. On the positive side, I think I am doing better that a week ago. I am still taking 2 fish oil caps and Citrical and a vitamin. It can’t hurt. I lost 2 pounds this week without trying (wow, something good that came out of a bad week)

    Ok, my fake fever is gone now (lasted 10 min) I think I’ll wash my dishes! Mary, say a prayer to St. Joseph, I think he is helping me. I will say one to him tonight for everyone that is going through this withdrawal. Will keep you posted.

  • smoki September 12, 2014, 1:33 am

    I saw my doctor for the last time this week. I ended on a good note. I still felt like she wanted me to stay on something but I told her NO, I am fine. I have felt much better the last few days, more energy, less fever, and everything else seems to have gone away. I hope they do not come back but for now I am feeling great! So there is hope out there for all of you. My withdrawal systems (15 of them) are gone. My prayers will still be with you!

    • Ellen April 12, 2016, 8:03 pm

      How long did it take for the withdrawals to go away?

  • Natasha September 12, 2014, 4:02 pm

    I have been taking Lexapro- 20mg daily, for about 9 months now. I started the gradual tapering about two weeks ago, cutting down to half the dosage I was taking (10mg). I am experiencing lightheadedness, dizziness and lots of shakiness of my hands. It is like that feeling when you’ve gone without eating and your blood sugar is dangerously low. I am experiencing what seems like tremors, where my mind goes blank and by body shakes.

    It can take anywhere from several minutes to several hours to recover from this. Afterward, I feel very outside of myself and have a hard time getting refocused. I read above about some supplements and vitamins I can try, but does anyone have any other suggestions for dealing with these “brain zaps”? I have a very demanding job and must be able to concentrate on my work. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks!

    • Kd February 27, 2016, 5:49 am

      The tremors, shakiness, depersonalizations (mind going blank), sound like panic/anxiety attacks themselves. The attacks may be brought on (or stronger) from going off the meds. These are the attacks I would experience almost daily which is why I started lexapro. Why were you put on this med to begin with?

  • Lorena September 20, 2014, 11:49 pm

    Hi, I’ve been on 10 mg of lexapro for almost 3 months for panic attacks, of course along with the panic attacks came the hopeless feeling and depression. I feel that it’s time to get off lexapro. I started taking 5 mg 3 days ago and feel fine. My plan is to taper off of it slowly. I am 26 now, at the age of 22 I started with panic attacks and I overcame it without meds, a short time ago I relapsed, and this time the panic attacks were uncontrollable. Now, I feel sluggish, lazy, and tired all the time, not like me at all. No Xanax for me either thank God. It’s so sad to see people going through this, and that the only answer from doctors is medication. There are so many ways to beat this. I just want to shed some light and say there is always hope in Jesus Christ. I will post about my progress later on. Good luck to you all. God bless

    • Em March 10, 2016, 2:52 am

      Hi Lorena, How did you go? you and I are in the same situation exactly so I would love to know how you went? :) Thanks.

  • AJ September 26, 2014, 6:36 pm

    I was taking Lexapro for about a year and a half. I tapered for maybe 3 days, taking half of my normal 10mg dose–I had been a zombie for about a month and decided I wanted off of it fast and met with my doctor about it. I have been loosing weight (about 5lbs) in the last two weeks. Sleeping normally too. I have been dealing with severe bouts of lightheadedness, nausea and vomitting. Also have felt a little buzzing that goes through my eye/brain I just attributed to allergies. I was not told about any of these “withdrawal” symptoms by my doctor–I had to google it to see what was happening. I hope it goes away quickly. Going to try the over the counter motion sickness meds like someone mentioned. This was helpful–thanks to everyone!

  • Patsy October 2, 2014, 1:11 pm

    I stopped taking lexapro in 2008 and still get brain zaps. :(

    • Nanawolf April 25, 2016, 5:36 pm

      I was on Lexapro for 4 months in 2012, stopped taking it, and started getting brain zaps right away. I told my doctor and she said it was all in my head…no pun intended. She told me there were no side effects with Lexapro. She tried to tell me I was imagining these things. Apparently, she had never been on it herself.

      Didn’t take long to stop seeing her too. It has now been 4 years and I still get them occasionally. It usually happens when I’ve had too much caffeine, or very tired. I have just started taking a supplement with Omega 3-6-9-5-7 and it has helped tremendously.

    • Lindsay June 28, 2016, 2:35 am

      Thing is, I got the zaps before lexapro, too. I’m just getting off of it now and the descriptions here are frightening me. It’s been 4 days since I stopped as I ran out and couldn’t get a script in time. I wanted off anyway. Today, aside from the dizziness, I’ve felt great. I’m scared for it to go away and feel worse. :(. 6/27/16

  • Cathy October 7, 2014, 3:22 am

    Thank you for the information. After suffering with a valium addiction that took 12 years to break, I was prescribed Lexapro at the rehab and followed by my doctor. I decided 10 days ago, enough. I was told by my doctor that it would be fine and no withdrawal symptoms. I have been suffering with such severe dizziness that I thought about going to an ER thinking it was a cardiac condition. The doctors I work with inspected my ears at my request — I took my blood pressure — drank orange juice. Bottom line — dizziness has persisted. On a whim, I found this site. Thank you everyone.

    You cannot ever take a prescription drug and get the truth from the prescriber or the pharmacists. Just trust your own body/mind/soul.

    • GLOOM October 7, 2014, 12:53 pm

      Yes Cathy, always trust yourself and your own experience when going through withdrawal. Doctors really don’t know what it’s like because they haven’t gone through it. Since you’ve been taking the medication, they’ll just assume that some new mental problem has emerged while you’re experiencing all of the discontinuation symptoms, when in fact it’s the withdrawal. It’s a shame more aren’t educated on discontinuation effects or how to properly taper patients off of medication.

  • Tricia October 8, 2014, 7:34 am

    I’ve been taking Lexapro for 8 years and it worked well, but it has plateaued and now is no longer working. I’ve been on 40mg for at least 2-3 years, and about two weeks ago, my doctor tapered me to 30mg and added 20mg of Cymbalta. I’ve been on 20mg of Cymbalta since then but I am now down to 10mg of Lexapro after 1 1/2 weeks of the tapering process from the 40mg dose. In the past week I have started to feel suicidal thoughts re-arise, disassociate/depersonalizations and brain zaps, all of which I expected.

    Tonight, 6 hours ago, I took my normal bedtime medications for chronic migraines/neck pain (all non-narcotic and preventatives) and melatonin, and I have yet to fall asleep. An hour and a half ago I started to have intense pain in my lower back and it has slowly traveled all the way down both sides of my legs to my feet. Is that side effect normal? I know everything else, including insomnia, is normal and may last for a while, but I haven’t heard about experiencing this kind of pain.

    Any experience, knowledge or advice would be greatly appreciated and welcomed.

    • Lindsay June 28, 2016, 2:37 am

      That sounds like sciatica! Ouch! Recommended to find a chiropractor.

  • Pamela October 8, 2014, 11:29 am

    I have taken Lexapro for 18 years and I just went cold turkey. I don’t have any of those symptoms you guys are talking about except I feel a little irritable. It has almost been a month since my last pill of 10 mg. It sounds like there might be a possiblility of some withdrawals symptom that I have not experienced. Is it possible to have delayed symptoms? I feel fine other than the irritability.

    I was given Lexapro in the original for anxiety because I had a break down. I feel good. No headaches, no dizziness etc. I MAY feel just a slight, very slight bit of insomnia but not serious. And I have not had a chance to really explore my libido….lol! Do I have more symptoms coming?

    Thanks,
    Pamela

    • GLOOM October 8, 2014, 3:39 pm

      Hi Pamela, it is possible to have a delayed onset of withdrawal symptoms, but most people experience them within a week or two of discontinuation. If you are only having minor symptoms, consider yourself lucky compared to others with more severe ones! It is possible that you could have more coming, but unlikely. Thanks for sharing your experience.

    • lisa October 29, 2014, 4:50 am

      This drug is a big deal to come off because of the affect it has on the brain. If you quit cold turkey and have no withdrawals I would have to wonder if you were getting a placebo. I expected withdraw symptoms after taking it for 8 years but this is rough.

    • Mimi December 30, 2014, 10:30 am

      I am very happy for you that you have no bad symptoms. Now would be a good time to get down on your knees and thank your God. As for myself, I am praying for relief. Been up since 4 am and have a headache like never before. Everyone is totally different. Good luck and God Bless us all.

    • Lindsay June 28, 2016, 2:39 am

      I have been on it a long time, though not as long. It’s day four and just dizzy. Scared to think what may come along with it. I felt amazing today other than that. I hope you continue to feel well!

    • Edith Mason July 9, 2016, 7:32 pm

      I stopped lexapro after 8 years one year ago. My withdrawal symptoms did not start till 6 months later. It was horrible but will not go back to any drugs. I am trying to cleanse my body. I feel better now and can go several weeks feeling good. I am taking 2000 mg magnesium, 2000mg fish oil and Neuro-Mag L-Threonate. All my product are from LifeExtension, good quality. I keep a very cold cloth on my nightstand to cool off when I wake up in sweats. Works great. It cools you right down and helps with headaches. Good luck to all my fellow sufferers.

  • Maria October 8, 2014, 7:20 pm

    Hi all.

    I originally started my Lexapro around Feb/March of 2013…and like some of you, immediately had a huge difference. It was like the world opened up to me. That also had to do with the fact that I was also on ADHD medication. (50mg of Vyvanse in fact) Anyway long story short, I really started to plateau and things weren’t clicking anymore.

    I decided to wean myself off both, because we weren’t created to take all of these manmade drugs. Don’t mistake me, humans are so far from imperfection (Adam and Eve) that sometimes these medications are needed to help us. (I am definately in that category as I have chronic depression, anxiety, ADHD, etc.) I do feel we as imperfect humans do need things to help those of us who have these problems, but I have often questioned if it should be natural or manmade.

    I have made the switch to natural, and as I was weaning myself off of my drugs, I was coming onto some wonderful natural supplements at the same time. For the first week I felt great! Tons of energy, extremely happy, hopeful, etc…which took a downhill spiral…and now about in my 3rd or 4th week, my withdrawal symptoms have seemed to debilitate me. In fact as I write this I have a serious headache.

    Almost everything on this list I am experiencing. Except maybe the brain zaps and the vision problems. Sometimes they are all at once, sometimes it’s only a couple times, sometimes they go and come back. I never know what I am going to get or at what time and that is a hard way to live a life. As you all know!

    I’m writing to tell you all I’m struggling along with you. While I wish none of us had to go through this, I know that at the end of the day, there will be a light at the end of the tunnel for us all. This has to be better for us then pumping all of these crazy dangerous drugs into our bodies that stop working, have all these horrible symptoms, etc. Our bodies are detoxing, I hope we all stay strong enough to remember that. I hope all of us keep holding on. We can do this!

    I also am a firm believer in God & the Bible. The Bible gives us comfort in our time of need, and provides some major hope for the future here on earth. When none of us will have to deal with these things.

    “And he will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.” – Rev. 21:4

    “Just a little while longer, and the wicked will be no more;
    You will look at where they were,
    And they will not be there.
    But the meek will possess the earth,
    And they will find exquisite delight in the abundance of peace.”
    -Psalms 37:10,11

    I hope that helps you as it helped me.

    Thank you for such a wonderful blog post. It was so insightful.

    • Mary rucker April 13, 2015, 8:54 am

      I have been on Lexapro for 10 years and if I forget a pill (I take them at night) I get this sensation while I am dreaming that I’m trying to wake up but I can’t I wind up screaming or moaning and finally wake up. I’m scared to death to go off of it because of the effects. I’m in bed right now after a dream episode and googled it.

      • Rachel May 9, 2016, 10:51 am

        I know EXACTLY what you’re talking about with the sensation of trying so hard to wake up or move, but can’t! I completely relate mine to my anxiety and also to anxiety medications I was on. It used to really panic me and made me not want to even go to sleep. Now I think of them as SLEEP panic or anxiety attacks.

        So I begin dealing with them just like an attack when I was awake. So instead of fighting it, I try to not struggle to wake up or struggle to move my body. Just focus on anything pleasant if I can while breathing slowly. The softness of my blankets, the cool air from the fan, feeling of my soft pillows, etc. I’ve found that they are less frequent and less severe, if occurring at all.

        I’ve only been off Lexapro for a week though, but I’m hopeful. So next time don’t fight it just try to stay calm mentally as much as possible. With anything it gets easier each time. At least it did for me. Hope you find a way to not suffer anymore! God bless! Oh yeah and taking time to meditate or just give yourself a time to be peaceful in quietness everyday helped me too.

        • Leni May 26, 2016, 5:05 pm

          What you are referring to is called “Sleep Paralysis.” It’s very scary, I suffer with that sometimes as well. You can look it up, and find some good info. I thought I was crazy, so I never even told anyone about it. It helps knowing you aren’t alone.

          • Lindsay June 28, 2016, 2:40 am

            I also get that as a symptom of Narcolepsy. It sucks!

    • mary October 22, 2015, 6:38 am

      Amen, sister!

    • Karyn January 13, 2016, 11:12 am

      What supplements are you taking?

    • Rachel May 9, 2016, 10:38 am

      Amen!

  • Chris October 10, 2014, 4:10 am

    Just wanted to say a quick thanks to the creator of this page and all of the comments on personal experiences. It is nice to hear other people going through the same thing that understand it. Eight years on 20mg and day three completely off.

    • carla March 5, 2015, 12:38 am

      I have stopped lexapro cold turkey. Have been having alot of the same withdrawals. Sweats, dizziness, stomach upset, and sleeping trouble. My legs have bothered me awhile wonder if it was from the medicine. Really glad I found this site… I did not know there was a reason for all my symptoms. Waiting patiently for them to stop.

  • shar October 12, 2014, 10:52 am

    Does anyone else feel an immense pressure to continue on as per usual, despite the withdrawal symptoms? Like I should hide the fact that they are occurring and I feel so uncomfortable. I did not know the symptoms would be like this… if I had, I may have reconsidered taking them in the first place. The weight gain has been upsetting. I hope a result of the discontinuation of Lexapro for me is weight loss.

    • Shawn April 30, 2015, 6:13 pm

      I started taking 10 mg. My oncologist prescribed this to me to help deal with anxiety related to breast cancer. Since my scans have been coming back positive, I decided to taper off. I don’t like relying on meds, and cancer was already a huge adjustment. Six months on and I gained 15 pounds. You are talking to an anorexic who always looks in the mirror and sees a fat woman.

      I was feeling good before the 15 pounds came on. Can’t exercise like I I used to for fear of lymphedema in my arm. Now I get to deal with lightheadedness and dizziness along with being tired all the time. I hope it goes away soon because cancer tried to take my life away. I’m not about to miss one more day with my four beautiful daughters because of this drug withdrawal!

  • Smoki October 12, 2014, 9:56 pm

    Well it’s been about 2 months now that I am off Lexapro and so far the only symptoms I have left is “I have no patience with people!” I see them for what they are. It lasts most of the day. The other one is, sometimes I start out laughing and laugh so much I start crying! I know it’s crazy but I haven’t laughed so much in years since I have been on this pill. I also haven’t cried since I have been on these pills, which is the reason I was put on them because I found my father dead of a heart attack and cried off and on when I least expected it for months.

    It was crazy, I had to work and could not keep the outbursts of crying. So they did the job and then there was one excuse after the other of why the doctor wanted me to continue them. Well, I finally said it’s time I am in the real world without these pills but never knew how bad it was going to be getting off of them after 9 years. I am so glad the worst is over. I hope! Prayers are with you all!

    • Kim w. November 27, 2014, 1:41 am

      So glad you are doing so well now you are off. I have experienced the same thing in the past week laughing so hard I had tears… have not done that in a long time. It feels good to FEEL again.

      • Rachel May 9, 2016, 11:02 am

        I just connected the dots for myself in reference to the laughing so hard it hurts, to crying so hard it hurts. Thought I was going a little nutty this week since stopping Lexapro cold turkey. I actually am so happy to even have feelings again after feeling almost nothing that I wasn’t worried. After reading this, it makes sense, LOL. It actually makes me laugh thinking about how silly I have seemed to my husband lately. Which to me is a good thing!

    • Karyn January 13, 2016, 11:20 am

      Thank you Smoki. In all of these posts, we’re all saying the same thing… “This sucks!!”… But I’m still trying to figure out how to cope. How do I get up and take care of my kids and go to work and do the laundry and make dinner and help with homework when I can’t even see straight? It’s nice to know that this too shall pass, but what do I do in the middle of the storm?

    • Ellen April 14, 2016, 2:54 pm

      Thanks for keeping us in the loop Smoki. 3 weeks off Lexapro and my major anxiety and fear has decreased thank god. Last night right before bed my stomach became bloated and I had intense gas pains… so bad I thought to call 911. I have been constipated for years so the gas couldn’t come out my tear so I threw up gas… it was the weirdest f-ing thing in my life.

      After that I slept an hour and woke up with the same gas pains. Then same thing… happened all night until around 4:00am. Woke at 7:00 with diarrhea – grateful for the diarrhea. So far I’ve gone 4 times… feel weak, lightheaded, can’t concentrate… so I don’t know if it’s the Lexapro withdrawal or a stomach bug…

  • invisible October 15, 2014, 6:23 pm

    After nearly 4 years on Lexapro 10 mg and 20 mg I have decided to come off it. It is 10 days now and I am doing pretty OK. I use in the morning a tablespoon of FLAX oil and a banana. I have given up coffee. From time to time I do get the shocks, but it don’t last long. The headaches are more of a challenge but they too come and go. I uses a fair amount of fresh fruits and fresh vegetable salad (e.g.sweet pepper, peeled cucumbers, tomato, christophine, cabbage with a bit of olive oil, and lemon juice. I’m getting along pretty OK.

  • Nyingje October 17, 2014, 7:15 pm

    Eep. I am about a month into a “taper” of Lexapro (Cipralex in Canada). This means that I went from 10 mg, which I’ve been on for 9 years, to 5mg, as at least in Canada, 10 mg is the smallest dosed pill you can be prescribed, and going to 5 means cutting it in half. It’s pretty near impossible to break this tiny, weirdly shapen pill down any further, and if I could, I would have tapered much more slowly than going down by 50%. Does anyone have any suggestions as to how to do this?

    I have been experiencing a pretty intense bout of discontinuation symptoms, including anxiety, mood swings, very low mood, sleep disturbance, headaches, depersonalization, and irritability, which have begun to really take a toll on my ability to cope with difficult work and life situations. If anyone has advice as to how to get prescribed a 7.5 mg dose (or something of the like) in Canada, I think it could help lessen the intensity of this withdrawal. Thanks, everyone!

    • C October 18, 2014, 12:53 am

      Hi, I’m not sure which part of Canada you’re in, but here in Toronto there’s a compounding pharmacy that can cut pills and capsules into smaller doses. You could google your location and “compounding pharmacy” to see if there’s one near you. Get the info and ask your doctor to make the prescription. I came off Prozac that way, since 10 mg capsules were the smallest. I got 5 mg caps made, so I went 20 mg, then 15, then 10, then 5, then off. I did it in 6 weeks, but that was too fast, I think. I had many symptoms. I read a book that suggests a 2-4 month taper. Check out “The Antidepressant Solution” by Dr. Glenmullen. It’s informative and useful. Too bad I read it AFTER my taper! Best wishes, C.

    • Regina December 29, 2014, 3:27 pm

      I have been on lexapro for 11 yrs. My Dr. has given me Lexapro in liquid form. Stared at 10mg and decreased by 1% a month (9mil) I have been decreasing for 5 months down to 3mil for the past 2 weeks I have been having bad headaches and insomnia. Taking the liquid makes it a lot easier to lower the dose. I will be off soon , let you know if by decreasing very slowly helps with side effects.

    • Bennet January 23, 2016, 11:58 pm

      Think about your taper in the total amount taken per week.

      Example: I was taking 10mg a day times 7 days = 70mg.
      My first week of taper was started on a Sunday with 5mg, then Monday 10, Tues 5, Wed 10, Thursday 5, Friday 10, Sat 5.= 50mg total.
      Following week which is week 2 of taper: Sun 5, Mon 10, Tues 5, Wed 5, Thursday 10, Fri 5, Sat 5 for a total of 45mg.
      Week three of taper: Sun 10, Monday 5, Tues 5, Wed 5, Thursday 10, Fri 5, Sat 5 for a total of = 40mg.
      Week four of taper: Sun 5, Mon 5, Tues 5, Wed 5, Thursday 5, Fri 5, Sat 5 for a total of 35mg.

      I could feel my mods cycle as the medicines were increased on days when I took a larger does as opposed to a smaller dose, for me how I felt on a given day depended on the dose I took the day before. Make sense?

  • Elaine October 19, 2014, 2:52 am

    I stopped taking lexapro about a week ago (tapered off very slowly) and it is hard. This is the third time I have tried to get off the pills so I know what to expect. The worst thing for me is the anger. I’m fighting with all of my family. I normally just let things go and not take offense, but no more. I get angry and stay that way for days. I hope things calm down for me and I can finally be done with these horrible pills. Good luck to everyone.

    • Karen June 18, 2016, 2:27 pm

      I’ve been on 5mg then 10mg for 10 yrs. I tried to quit once (cold turkey) and fell back into the pit of depression again within a month. (With no other side effects). That’s a place I dread and fear more than the symptoms of withdrawal mentioned here. So much so that I’d rather take the Lexapro. The Lexapro bad side effect for me is lack of sexual desire. As I’m happily married, I’ve found ways to cope with that.

      However, I’m on this page because I wonder about giving it up. Seems to me I’d have to find a natural substitute first to my very real depression. BTW, Lexapro does eliminate that for me. I wonder, could the withdrawal symptoms indicate a need for the meds?

  • Nancy October 19, 2014, 11:56 am

    Hi everyone I am soooo happy to read everyones comments. I was on cipralex for about 2 yrs after having a nervous breakdown. It was amazing and it saved my life but after I changed my life I decided to get off it. I had put on 40+ pounds and zero sex drive at that point. I switched to Wellbutrin in March this year. Withdrawal was bearable. Last couple of weeks I decided to try a combination of both because I was getting bad anxiety attacks which wellbutrin is known for.

    I was against the cipralex but I felt I needed the help. During all this back and forth I ended up taking 5mg cipralex for a few days then stopped. Now all I have is suicidal thoughts, confusion, crying. Cipralex is good for people in great crisis who really need something to help them power through. My plan is to get off all this nonsense by summer. My only thing is Cipralex is good and evil at the same time.

  • Elissa October 20, 2014, 4:38 am

    Well I thought I was seriously ill, but now I see it’s the withdrawal from lexapro. Feel flush with “brain zaps” didn’t know how to describe those! Hope it doesn’t last long… stopped due to weight gain which erases any good its doing for me. Good luck to everyone.

  • Smoki October 20, 2014, 7:46 pm

    Elaine, You just hit it on the head for me. I have been off since the beginning on September and all I have left now (Only?) is anger issues. I have never been like this in my life. I used to be able to just let things go but now, no way. I have become outspoken and say it like it is and see people for what they are, good or bad. I don’t like myself like this at all.

    Tomorrow I am seeing my Primary care for my annual and will talk to her about what has happened this past 3 months. I just hope and pray I do not stay like this. I’ve become so opinionated, it is not me. Has this happen to anyone else? I almost want to go back on these bad pills, but no way I will. I did feel better on them and these things never happened!

  • Suzie October 23, 2014, 9:24 am

    I went off Lexapro cold turkey (by accident lost my packet and getting a script from my doctor is a lengthy experience). Had been on 20mg nearly exactly a year. 4 days in and I have sweaty palms, nausea, scattery vision, and I cant concentrate. Anyone have an immediate cure to this?

    • Sheri February 11, 2015, 1:57 am

      I had been on 20 mg. Lexapro for 5 years. My new MD of the past 3 years cut me down to 10 mg for 3 years. Recently. My MD suggested to “wean myself off the Lexapro” as the symptoms I originally had been prescribed it, had subsided (anxiousness from menopause and work related stress). Anyway, I was never told of withdrawal symptoms. They are terrible! Headaches, profuse sweating (unrelated to any form physical exertion), dizziness, and nausea! If I knew this before, trust me, I would have stayed on Lexapro! I have not been able to drive or work! Please, when your MD suggest getting “off” medications such as this, ask about “withdrawal symptoms!”

  • Rita October 25, 2014, 10:45 pm

    I too have had all symptoms as described. Tapered off lexapro one fourth tablet at a time until completely off in May 2014 after being on 10-20 mg for 6+ years. My dr started me on it due to work issues and I was completely losing it. After being retired for 3 years felt I didn’t need to be on it. At this point I am having rage issues due to family issues. Things that shouldn’t bother me do. Have used xanax which I think are causing the rages. Going to see a counselor next week.

    Hoping this withdrawal from lexapro will be over soon. Read somewhere it could take a year or longer. Hope I still have a family when it’s over. Jobs aren’t worth losing your health over. Get a new one instead of taking meds like this. Also have lost weight since not taking lexapro. Feel good physically just go into crying fits pity parties and uncontrollable rages. Physician denies weight gain caused by lexapro. Drs must get a big cut from pushing these drugs. Wish I’d never heard of antidepressant meds.

  • smoki October 27, 2014, 5:53 pm

    Rita, I too have just retired and said it is time to get off the Lexapro. I went though the withdrawals and flu like symptoms that were really really bad but the instant rage I felt over nothing was the worst. I jumped on the littlest things and made a big deal out of everything. I finally went to my Primary Care doctor and explained how I took myself off of them for the past 2 months but still had the “no patience with anything or anyone” feeling.

    I do not see the original doctor that kept me on them for the past 9 years. My doctor and I had a long talk and agreed I NEVER should of been seeing her for 9 years. However, I am back on the Lexepro, 10mg, once a day. I never thought I would ever go back on them after all I went through getting off of them but this rage feeling I was having, could not stay. I never was like this in my life and I like you, would not have a husband or any friends left if I did not go back on them. After the first day back on them I was my old self.

    I too lost weight when I first got off of them, I believe it was all the anxiety I was having. I guess it is, what it is, my body needs that Serotonin and that’s it. At least I can say I did try to get off but did not like what I am without them. My doctor said, it is safer than many other drugs, Prozac etc. No excuse, at my age what is the big deal? I need to be happy.

    • gwen January 9, 2016, 12:57 pm

      Smoki, please update me.

  • lisa October 28, 2014, 6:23 pm

    Reading these comments about lexapro is depressing me. I took 20 mgm for about 8 years. I suffer from fibromyalgia and anxiety disorder. I was given lexapro for anxiety and irritability and thought it was a miracle drug. My anxiety was under control as well as my kids realized I truly wasn’t a b****. After talking it for so long I started seeing articles on the computer about it causing pain. A light bulb went off in my head. I am suffering from fibromyalgia and taking a medicine that may be contributing to my pain.

    The pain got so bad I wanted to die. I questioned my pharmacist and she said she hasn’t heard if it causing pain. I told her I had been researching it so she looked farther and said yes it can cause pain. I decided on my own to start weaning myself from it. I had done it over a 3 week period and my doctor said it was out of my system and if my pain had decreased than it more than likely was adding to it. My pain decreased quite a bit. Now I have been off the lexapro for over 2 weeks and the dizziness and nausea wont go away.

    Anxiety is back as well as irritability. I will find a way to deal with those because I will not take medicine that was making me hurt that bad. I was hoping to read comments and find that there was hope of this dizziness going away soon. I shouldn’t drive but have had to a few times. I have motion sickness so bad and no appetite. I am praying this doesn’t go on for months. Any ideas on how to make thIs easier?

    • Zoe October 31, 2014, 1:32 pm

      I know it’s probably not a permanent solution but I found taking a dose of Benadryl in the morning/or say half hour before you go out ect really helped to suppress a lot of the symptoms for most of the day. I save it for if I’m having an extremely rough day where your head is just going so crazy you can’t think.

    • Christian December 27, 2015, 1:47 am

      The dizziness goes away. Mine did after 21 days. I’ve been on it for 12 years and off of them for 3 weeks. Like I said, in my 21 days I’ve been in hell. Dizziness being the worst. I’ve lost 10 lbs. I also damaged my SUV pulling out of the garage while the door was still opening and clipped the antenna. I had to quit Lexapro cause it kept causing low sodium bouts and sending me to the ER.

      Since I quit my Dr had me take a 24 hour cortisol test to determine why I’m so fatigued. He’s sending me to an Endocrinologist to discuss why it was very high. But after spending today reading up on Lexapro withdrawals I see it is also the cause of high cortisol which is why we face insomnia. I guess it goes away. I would like one person on this site to post that they made it through. I worry many of you went back to SSRIs. My plan is to stick it out!

      • gwen January 9, 2016, 1:26 pm

        Please update me! I have been on this for years! I was on Paxil to start with. Going off made me worse than I was before I ever started. I miscarried a month after starting although I was told it was safe. All this began in early 2000. It is now 16 years later and I still cannot get off these. Last 12 or so years it has been Lexapro. Weaning off slowly has same effects as cold turkey.

        I am 45 now. I don’t know if I have the 2-4 years to spare to stay off and deal with the withdrawal. And the will power to live. So I suppose I will go back on them to function. To live. One thing for sure is that others have to be warned to never ever start one of these drugs. They cause permanent damage.

    • gwen January 9, 2016, 1:06 pm

      After trying to wean off slowly, stop cold turkey, and reading others experience, the conclusion is that these horrific withdrawal symptoms will occur no matter what. Weaning off slowly will not help. Us fighting this battle need to stop others from ever using these drugs to begin with. That is if we can focus through the fog and dehumanization etc to do anything about it. It should be against the law to put children on this. And everyone should be warned this is a life-long drug.

    • Lindsay June 28, 2016, 2:44 am

      Day four and my undiagnosed chronic pain hasn’t been this good for as long as I can remember. I was wondering if it had something to do with the medicine. Lo and behold…

  • Zoe October 31, 2014, 1:28 pm

    Reading through these comments sends me a sigh of relief I’m not alone. I come off lexapro cold turkey after my husband and I decided we wanted to have a baby. At first I just had a headache and thought nothing of it as I had in the past come off Effexor 150mg cold turkey with just and minor head ache so I didn’t think much of this one. That was until about my third day when I felt so sick all of a sudden I couldn’t do a thing but lay and cry from how ill I felt.

    It’s been 8 days and all of these things have happened the brain zaps at first and then feeling like your not even there one minute then back to normal the next, day 7 my breakdown started crying uncontrollably but sometimes laughing at the same time. I too used to take Xanax as a back op if I could not calm myself and although being off that for 3yrs I had to escort to that to help control my crying ( mostly while at work). I’m hoping my withdrawals don’t last too long I’m not sure how much I could take.

    I am just so glad to see that my symptoms are because I’m coming off the drug and not something else which I first thought, but likewise if I’d had known how bad the withdrawals would be I would never had taken it. I just wish they would tell you these and give you the option before they just go ‘here you need this’. Good luck to everyone we can get through it :)

  • radio1 November 1, 2014, 6:13 pm

    Oh I thought I was going to get off easy. I had cold turkeyed other SSRIs and anti-deps and anti-psychotics before but this. This is f#cking brutal and the worst part it doesn’t hit you hard right off the bat like Paxil did to me. Oh no, for the first 48 just a minor annoyance. Now I’m borderline psychotic two weeks later just trying to keep my sh#t together. Copious amounts of benadryl, Ativan (this is going to make to more addicted to Ativan) and sad to say, booze are helping me stay just on this side of bugging out.

    I had no choice. I got anxiety out the wazoo. Worst – alternating from destructive rage to collapsing tears. Dissociative behavior showed up a week after quitting. Two types: the first is observing my rages and thinking THIS IS NOT ME. The second is a brain fuzziness the likes of which I have never experienced. It’s like observing myself in a dream. I would say to anyone – first ask your doctor. I casually mentioned I went off cold turkey – my GP didn’t say a work because she literally could care less. Second, having read everything here – have a plan – get what you will need to get through this.

    Based on previous experiences, I think I won’t be through with this completely until New Year’s. I’ve had brain zaps before but what I’m getting now is the SWEEP/SWOOSH feeling moving my eyes side to side used to give me on other withdrawals but this happens without any external stimuli at all and in response to nothing. Its like have a vacuum cleaner in my head. Yes there has been good things – I have energy (nervous energy but energy nonetheless) and weight loss and sexual response has returned big time. All the emotions deadened come back in big rush.

    I welcome being able to feel again but these emotions are not yet regulated in my brain and go beyond the bounds. Sometimes, seriously the only thing that stops the fireworks in my brain is primal screaming followed by a good cry, scotch and some Ativan and benadryl. I have to – I’m worried about breaking things around here otherwise. Now it’s just a grim slog to get to the end of this. And I will. I will never go back to those drugs. But the downside – Ativan is next and I’ll probably have to go inpatient with that as I’ve been on it for 3 years and the heroin addicts will have pity on me.

    • Danya November 27, 2014, 3:18 am

      After having read all the comments on this page, this one sticks out to me the most. I think the line “the emotions deadened come back in big rush” hits the nail right on the head. I wish I could say lexapro hasn’t been hitting me right on the head as well, but I’ve experienced lots of headaches and dizziness. After taking lexapro for only 6 months (and wanting to get off them after the first 4 once I stopped feeling like I was on top of the world and started to experience worsening side effects the doctors claimed I would never feel anyway) and being a relatively healthy 18 year old, I thought the withdrawal would not hit me so hard.

      I believed that, with a little determination, I could avoid the symptoms. I probably should’ve realized that this is the same thinking that got me into such a dark spot- that all I needed was determination and I’d get through my depression. I now realize what I needed all along was patience- with my body, the process, and most importantly, myself! Determination is important, but patience helps keep the frustration away when determination to get better isn’t enough. I, like the many others who have struggled and remained strong despite years of struggling with oneself and one’s doctors, wish I had never taken the meds, but even when I’m at my worst with these withdrawal effects.

      I try not to blame myself for what happened then- otherwise, all that I have learned through painful lessons about self-love while I had been on these godforsaken meds would be dust in the wind. I also try to not kick myself in the head for deciding the best course of action would be quitting cold-turkey. Who knows if my doctor would’ve convinced me to continue or if I would’ve had the initiative to make a change in my life. It’s been 2 weeks since I stopped, and it’s not always that easy to maintain a positive outlook without feeling guilty about my past choices. But when this happens, I recognize that the return of these feelings is directly a consequence of my past choices- after months of emptiness (albeit, peaceful emptiness), like the previous commenter said, it’s all rushing back.

      Lots of bouts of intense primal rage here too! I am also worried that these symptoms will push away family and the few friends I have left, as I often find myself unable to control my intense anger from targeting anything around me both physically and emotionally. However, this website has brought some seriously needed relief for this concern, as I can now explain that this isn’t me! This is just something my body is going through right now and over time, I will get over this. Hopefully, the people that truly care will try to understand this and have compassion for our recovering bodies and minds.

      I have relied on medical marijuana to get me through most of these symptoms. I notice that the days I do not take some form of it, I experience the worst of it: insomnia, lack of appetite to the point where I feel physically weak but cannot make myself eat (this last part is mainly the result of conditioning myself not to eat after the lexapro caused me to gain 10 pounds in the first place), depression and those same pesky suicidal thoughts that I took the meds to get rid of. Of course, I came off the pharma meds so that I could return to feeling not so distant from myself, and many would argue that marijuana “numbs” you and distances you from reality.

      On the contrary, I feel more in touch with myself than ever. The one downside is that pot does not help the sweating/ hot flashes. I didn’t go off these meds expecting to feel menopausal but life has its blessed, and not-so-divine, surprises. My main concerns right now regard how long these withdrawal symptoms will last, as I hope they will not extend into the holiday season. Anyone else been in the same situation as me (6 months, cold turkey, relatively young) that can tell me how long their symptoms lasted?

      • Kelly December 21, 2014, 11:11 am

        I’m in a similar situation. I’m 24 and took Lexapro for 5 months. I was on 5mg for a month went to 10mg for 4 months. When I decided I wanted to come off it I had read about some of the side effects so tried to wean myself off a little bit. I cut down to 5mg and after a few days I had one day of awful symptoms including an upset stomach, dizzy, brain zaps, headaches, tired and weak. The next day I felt fine again. I stayed on 5mg for a week and half before deciding to stop taking it all together.

        I really underestimated how bad the withdrawal could be. I thought I might have a rough day or two when stopping but I didn’t imagine it would be like this. Tomorrow it will be 3 weeks I have been off it and am still having symptoms. For the first two weeks they were pretty consistent but this past week they have changed a fair bit. I mostly feel hit by a bus all the time, I am exhausted and sleepy no matter how much sleep I get.

        I’ve had a headache for the past 3 days that nothing gets rid of and the brain zaps have turned into a more constant light headed/dizzy feeling. I feel like it’s just completely kicked my butt and everything is off. I feel as though it may have thrown out hormones as well as my skin has been having a few break outs and I’ve had some cramps and a little bit of bleeding. Like everyone else I wish I had never started taking this drug in the first place and it just goes to show how strong it is and what it can do to your body.

        I think the symptoms will continue to change/die down and am hoping it won’t last too much longer! I can’t see when you’ve posted this so if you’re further along than me let me know how long it took for your symptoms to stop! So happy to have found this website, I’ve sometimes thought I was going a bit crazy over the past few weeks because the symptoms can be a little up and down! Thanks in advance.

      • Linda July 13, 2016, 2:11 pm

        Thank God I found this blog. I have had and I am having all the s/s mentioned. What was not mentioned was my abdomen is so swollen it is like I am 5 months pregnant. Also, the rebound depression is very severe. I have all the other s/s from moderate to severe. I read a book named How to get off Lexapro that helped. Started reading Dr. Joel Fuhrman and have gone on his Nutrition eating pattern of mainly vegetables, fruits, oatmeal nuts seeds and beans.

        Take Bs especially B 12 and magnesium ionic by Dr. Dean, have a supportive spouse. Thank you all for making me realize I am not crazy. Also, my liver enzymes went up and I can not get them below a high normal. (Got fatty liver). I use body calm supreme nighttime relief with melatonin/it has a B vitamin in it that helps prevent night mares/many times melatonin can cause nightmares and I have been using this for over a year and it works for me.

        Also, please do not blame yourselves, these prescribed SSRI’s and the like change you. I have been on lyrica/gabapentin and now I have to get off this but a small dose of it helps with the rebound depression. Sincerely Linda

    • Tara August 15, 2016, 7:02 pm

      Radio1, can you please update us? I’m about 6 weeks into quitting cold turkey and suffering. Please let us know if you were able to stay off of Lexapro and how you are overall. Thank you.

  • jordan November 3, 2014, 4:23 am

    Hi – I’m trying to get pregnant so my doctor took me off my lexapro (cold turkey) and I’ve been feeling the side effects. Is it normal for you to feel tingling in your tough or when you go to look suddenly at something you get little mini seizure-like feelings in your brain? I was on 20mg for 1 year. I’m very paranoid of medication and I’m scared that I’m going to have suicidal thoughts. I was put on the medicine for anxiety (ha) this being an example. I just want to know if anyone can tell me how long the fog lasts in your brain and if the seizure-like symptoms stop?

    • Tsuki November 19, 2014, 2:02 am

      I can’t believe no one has responded to you! Yes, those are all symptoms that have been regularly reported. The seizure like feelings have been described as “brain zaps”…I’m lucky enough not to have gotten those myself. Like the article says, the longer you take it, the longer the withdrawals and the greater the severity. Going cold turkey usually results in harsher symptoms as well. The symptoms could last anywhere from a couple weeks to a couple months, depending on how your body reacts to it. The main thing I’ve learned is it’s different for everybody. Hope you’re feeling better by now!

  • Kristen November 3, 2014, 4:46 pm

    I am going through the worst withdrawal from this particular medication and would suggest that no one ever start taking Lexapro! I feel completely helpless and sick to my stomach on a daily basis. It has caused so many issues with my personal and professional life. If I could go back in time I would have never started taking it!

  • SB November 3, 2014, 5:45 pm

    This site is such a relief to find! Thank you all for sharing and helping to bolster one another up. I was prescribed Lexapro in early June for situational anxiety but, after life settled, triggers subsided and after gaining nearly 15 pounds, I decided it was time to re-calibrate myself and get off of prescription medication. Today is day 5 off the pills and I am experiencing many of the same symptoms: foggy-headed, blurred vision, lack of concentration, dull headaches and mild nausea.

    I have lost 7 pounds since weighing myself 2 weeks ago but that could be due to me choosing to not drink alcohol for the time being and my reduced appetite of late. My question is: does anyone have experience with the supplement 5-HTP? I’m looking for a holistic alternative but have read of some pretty serious warnings regarding mixing 5-HTP with the use of anti-depressants so I’m not sure if I should try it or not.

    I agree with others that, had I been made ware of the side effects associated with withdrawal, I might have been less reticent to begin with SSRIs. But, at the time, Lexapro worked wonders and if I weren’t concerned with rapid weight gain, coupled with life issues settling and feeling more manageable, I would stay on it for the foreseeable future. Everyone is fighting their own battle but it’s so healing to know we’re not alone in this. Best of luck to you all.

    • B November 6, 2014, 10:01 pm

      Hi SB, I started taking 5-htp to help come off Lexapro… I think it has been a big help. A couple of years ago I was on 10 mg of Lexapro and over the course of 3 months tapered down and got off – but I lost my mind in the process. Totally went off the deep end with anxiety. So I was put back on and at double the dose (20 mg). I also gained 15 lbs (despite never, ever having weight issues) and decided I needed to come off (life became more settled and manageable for me as well).

      In mid August I started tapering and took my last pill 10 days ago. I have dizziness and fogginess but the most important thing is my anxiety has been totally manageable. It has increased for sure, but nothing even close to how bad it was when I came off the Lexapro before. It’s probably a combination of life being more settled and the 5-htp.

      I also read about the warnings when taking it with an SSRI (I believe the risk is serotonin syndrome) so I just made sure not to take too high of a dosage (I take 50 mg twice a day) and monitor my symptoms. I’ve also read that it’s not something you need to stay on forever.. eventually your serotonin levels will normalize. I found The Mood Cure by Julia Ross to be a good resource for alternatives to prescription medications. Good luck!

      • SB November 8, 2014, 6:55 pm

        Thank you for your feedback, B! I am on day 10 off the Lexapro. I stupidly went cold turkey but, at this point, I do not want to go back. Most days are pretty bad. Dramamine has helped with the dizziness but it makes it virtually impossible to function while at work. I’ve resorted to taking sick time these past few days.

        I’m encouraged to read that 5HTP has been helpful for you. I’m considering that or Valerian root. I’ve also been taking fish oil supplements. I feel ever so slightly better but find that I can only manage very small amounts of social interaction before “losing my mind”. My brain hurts and my eyes ache and I just feel so…not myself. I can’t wait for this to be over.

        I will look up The Mood Cure and, again, thank you for writing! Hang in there!!!

        • ashley January 5, 2015, 2:52 am

          Your symptoms sound just like mine. I have also been off cold turkey for about 10 days. Please tell me you are doing well! I just started taking fish oil and magnesium today, so hopefully that will help. The 800 mg of ibuprofen my doctor prescribed to help with the headache is not even doing anything.

  • SC November 4, 2014, 3:52 am

    My girlfriend, who was on 40mg of Lexapro for Generalized Anxiety Disorder, decided to taper herself off the medication. Our relationship was going really well and we were talking a lot about a future together. Because of her comfort in our relationship she thought it would be nice to be drug-free for improved sexual pleasure as well as the possibility of becoming pregnant (we weren’t trying to get pregnant but weren’t being too careful either). I was thrilled when she told me her plans – it seemed, in a way, like a commitment to something long-term and this was something I wanted too.

    She tapered off gradually, 5mg at a time every two weeks, and it seemed to be going well. When she dropped down to 20mg however I began to notice some changes. In particular, she seemed colder towards me and more distant. She was also very easily irritable and often cancelled plans we had due to exhaustion. This gradually became worse the further she dropped. We talked about it a few times but she mostly just reassured me that it was the effects brought on by withdrawal. A few weeks ago she came off the medication entirely and basically told me that she didn’t feel like she could be in a relationship anymore.

    She reassured me that it was nothing personal, that she just wanted to be completely alone. We have continued communicating over the past few weeks but she still feels exactly the same way. This has been particularly difficult for me because I love her so much and was really happy with where we were heading. It just seems so ironic that she went off the drugs as an endorsement of our relationship, only for it to seemingly bring about the relationship’s demise. I’ve been reading a lot about anxiety and the withdrawal symptoms of Lexapro to try to get a better understanding of what she’s going through because first and foremost I care for her well-being. This blog has been particularly interesting reading. I would love to hear more about other people’s stories of the impact of Lexapro withdrawal on their relationships. Obviously some reassurance would be nice, even if it doesn’t help bring her back to me.

    • Tsuki November 19, 2014, 1:58 am

      My situation is a bit similar to your ex’s. When I started weening off my Lexepro I was happily in a relationship. My job seemed steady, I was going back to school, I was just happy overall. So I decided to finally get off the damn thing that’s caused me such grief over the years. I was down to 10mg when our relationship ended, and honestly, I’m not sure how much of it was us and how much of it was the drug. I got quiet, introspective, depressed…and I think he did too, being around me. Luckily it was before the irritability kicked in, or it would’ve ended a lot nastier.

      It just felt like it stopped working. We’re trying to be casual these days, to an extent…but nothing feels the same. I’m still in the heat of withdrawal symptoms, and the depression recurrence is making optimism impossible. Being with the person who’s made me the happiest brings me pain and sadness (not by any fault of his), and I can’t help but be pessimistic. And as with depression, of course I’m blaming myself for anything and everything. We both know we need to talk about it and see where we stand, but like your lady, I can barely handle my symptoms…I can’t imagine dragging someone I care about into this hell with me. I can imagine that she probably feels similar.

  • Venessa November 4, 2014, 8:33 pm

    I read all the comments everyone wrote and I am so glad I decided to stop taking escitalopram when I did! I started 10mg in June 2014 and increased to 20mg two weeks later. I took it for only about 4 1/2 months. It worked great for my anxiety and minor depression. I decided to stop taking it because of personal conviction. I lowered the dosage back to 10mg on 10/19 and to 5mg on 10/26. I took my last pill on 11/1.

    It’s now 11/4… I started feeling extra irritable right away but yesterday the withdrawals noticeably started. I was feeling dizzy and in a fog and really tired. Today is different but still very tired. I have had a headache all day. This morning I was very nauseous. I think maybe I just rushed the tapering of the pills. My doctor said it’s normal and suggested taking 5mg every other day for a week to help. All of the comments I read were very helpful and encouraging. I hope mine is helpful to someone else as well.

  • Smoki November 5, 2014, 7:46 pm

    I am still back on the Lexapro, 10mg a day and do not think I will ever try to get off of them again. I know I made it until 2 months but the anger issues were to much for me and my family and they were getting worse instead of better after the 2 months. It just wasn’t me to be such a cold angry person. I am not sure what Lexapro does to the brain to make you so angry but obviously it happens to everyone. My question is this: Has anyone stayed off Lexapro forever and gotten rid of the anger issues 100%?

    • Glo December 3, 2014, 2:16 pm

      Would love to know the answer to this also.

      • Louise December 29, 2014, 3:00 am

        Yes I got off Lexapro 4 years ago after finally getting help from a quality psychologist in Rural WA who was able to help me deal with PTSD and anxiety issues associated with a sexual assualt by a my doctor in Melbourne at the 8 week check up after delivering my first child 15 years ago. The combination of a really good CBT and tapering off from 10mg really slowly helped with reducing the side-effects.

        My husband was also really supportive and needed to read lots and be part of the recovery so that he could understand my mood swings and personal internal battles. I stayed off it for 2 years and life was great! Unfortunately, 2 years ago, when my youngest daughter had just turned 13, the older brother of one of her friends set up a hidden camera in his sisters bedroom and filmed my daughter after she had got out of the shower with a view of having footage “called a nudie” amongst the Instagram crowd to share with his mates at school.

        The fallout from this, meant that I’ve ended up on Lexapro again and only now am I trying to wean myself off it, cold-turkey….and the symptoms are just awful…dizziness, my eyesight has deteriorated to the point where I get worried driving at night and as a side effect of going back on Lexapro, I developed narrow angle glaucoma which, while I’ve had surgery to prevent permanent damage to my optic nerve, I feel that I could have avoided if I didn’t go back on the Lexapro.

        I desperately want to be back where I was a couple of years ago. The symptoms of withdrawal are so bad this time in comparison to last time. While I don’t have the brain zaps, the constant ringing in my ears is driving me potty! Good luck everyone. Thank you for having this blog because before reading it, I was wondering what the hell was going on with me because withdrawing from Lexapro use this time has been so much harder and weird than a few years ago.

  • Maureen November 5, 2014, 9:16 pm

    Been on Lexapro 20mg for 14 years, have tried tapering before but side effects always stopped me. This time I tapered to 10mg for 30 days, now at 5mg for 7 days and I have nausea, dizziness, sinus and eye pain, heart palpitations, etc. Trying to quit smoking and coffee at the same time. Yes I am truly miserable but hope after a few weeks this will all start to ease up. I quit my very stressful job as a registered nurse so that I could pull this off.

    • Lindsay June 28, 2016, 2:50 am

      Oh my! Quitting all three sounds hellish! I don’t smoke nor have a caffeine addiction, but I know it takes great strength and resolve for you to keep that up. Wishing you a speedy recovery and hope it has worked out!

  • Tammy November 6, 2014, 3:13 am

    I have been on Lexapro for 5 months, & it worked wonderful until recently, it started working adversely. This is my sixth night off, I am extremely dizzy, off balance, low fever, & have mild brain zaps, migraines, & insomnia, however, it has not really affected my concentration. If I had known that it would be this bad just to stop I would’ve never started taking it! I also feel disconcerted! UGH hopefully it let up soon, the dizziness is the hardest thing to deal with!

    • Tammy November 6, 2014, 3:18 am

      I almost forgot, I also gained over 50 lbs, & should’ve actually been losing weight… was working out, among other things, so I was on Lexapro for depression, but ended up being more depressed due to weight gain – just can’t win.

      • Ki December 21, 2014, 11:28 am

        How are you doing? I’m just entering week 3 and have many of the same symptoms. Was also on Lexapro for 5 months, my symptoms were the same for the first 2 weeks but have changed a bit the past week. Wanted to know how you’re going? How your symptoms have progressed and have they stopped yet? Thanks so much in advance.

      • Lindsay June 28, 2016, 2:51 am

        My weight gain is the biggest reason I looked into stopping since my script got screwed up and I couldn’t have taken it until tonight (4 nights late). I gained 50 when pregnant with twins, was put back on it and never lost the baby weight.

  • Anne November 7, 2014, 12:40 am

    I am tapering off Lexapro after 7 wks of 10 mg because I started to get a muscle jerking in my legs. Now I recall too late that something similar happened a few years ago with Trazadone – also an SSRI (weaned myself off that). Now down to 5 mg Lexapro after one week legs still jerking periodically during the early part of the day. Tonight I dropped the 5 mg and will take it every other day for another week. I have increased difficulty falling asleep and decreased appetite with loss of 4 pounds over the past 10 days. So far none of the other symptoms others have mentioned – thank goodness! Stopping cold turkey is dangerous, always taper.

    • Anne November 17, 2014, 3:26 am

      Since my post 11/7/14 I decided to stop entirely rather than continue the 5 mg 1/2 dose and I have done well. It was another 7 days till the leg spasms finally stopped and I believe I am free of this drug. I have been more fortunate than others I believe because I was only taking it 7 weeks when the leg issues got my attention. I am now starting to wean off Benadryl for sleep… seems that is no fun either! I will try Valerian or Melatonin but no more drugs for me.

      • Lindsay June 28, 2016, 2:52 am

        Happy for you. :)

  • Yvette November 8, 2014, 6:01 am

    I too Lexapro for 4 years due to panic attacks and peri menopause symptoms. I quit cold turkey 12 days ago. I was fatigued for a few days and had off and on migraines. Now over the last couple of days the symptoms are much worse: dizziness, brain zaps, nausea, headaches, flu like symptoms and feeling feverish, horrible weird dreams, fatigue, diarrhea. I can’t focus/concentrate. I have been SO frustrated by the weight gain (25+ lbs) over the last 4 years. I also have this awful sensation at night watching TV. I can’t sit still. My legs feel like they need to run around the block. I am trying to take vitamins (including extra D3) and exercise which gives me some brief relief. I am praying the flu symptoms and diarrhea get better and the dizziness!

  • Miss B November 9, 2014, 12:36 pm

    Today is day 31 off Lexapro & doing pretty well considering what I know a lot of people go through with withdrawals & what hell it can be. I was on Lexapro for 4 years no more than 10mg but mostly 5mg. I tapered very slowly over many months. This is my second time coming off Lexapro,first time wasn’t as easy or successful. This time I did a lot of preparation prior to taking my last dose. I’ve also had the assistance of a naturopath which has been very helpful.

    The naturopath put me on a gluten, dairy, sugar, soy free diet which has been tough, but well worth it to minimize withdrawals. Supplements wise I take a lot & have had hardly any brain zaps…fish oil, vitamin e & d, mega B, probiotics, ginger for nausea, liquid herbs including passionflower & liquorice. Just started on St Johns wort & amino acids. Naturopath said first 6 weeks is the ‘critical time’ & expect at least 3 months before you’re ‘in the clear’ & feeling much better. Just waiting for energy levels to pick up now. Good luck all & hang in there!

  • Girl November 10, 2014, 12:18 pm

    Hi, I have a question. I took lepraxo for 2 months because I had a terrible depression, I think I had a serotonin deficiency. I stopped because of side effects and its been one month now without the drug. I expected my depression to come back but the only thing I felt were brain zaps. I steel feel like I’m on the drug and sometimes I even feel euphoric. I don’t understand, is the drug still in my system? I’m scared it altered my brain forever. I don’t want to feel artificially happy.

    • GLOOM November 10, 2014, 6:33 pm

      The brain zaps are part of withdrawal. The euphoria should reset itself unless the drug triggered a manic switch (and you have Bipolar disorder). The drug didn’t alter your brain forever – you will eventually revert to homeostasis. Also, when you stop taking this medication, it is cleared from your system within 2 days. Best of luck.

  • jen November 11, 2014, 3:23 pm

    After 5 years taking 20 mg lexapro, my 53 yr old husband stopped cold turkey about 4 weeks ago. He had minor withdrawals off and on for the first few weeks, but the last few days have been horrific. He has all the symptoms except brain zaps and eye floaters – worst being anxiety, fatigue, insomnia, mood swings, and gastrointestinal issues. He attempted to go cold turkey a year ago but resumed dosage after suffering withdrawals for a week. Now he has resumed taking 10 mg hoping this will be enough to see him through for a few weeks. He hopes to taper off soon. Any advice on how to do this with least amount of discomfort? Is there better treatment for general anxiety?

    • C November 12, 2014, 4:01 pm

      Hi! Just a suggestion… It’s best to taper off these medications. Two to four months is a suggested time-frame given in the book The Antidepressant Solution, by a Harvard professor/psychiatrist (Dr. Glenmullen). It’s worth reading if you want some suggestions regarding how to go about the process safely. If your husband hasn’t tried counseling (e.g. CBT), it’s a safe and effective option to try for anxiety and depression.

      • P May 9, 2016, 3:51 am

        Anyone on antidepressants, thinking about going on antidepressants, thinking about getting off antidepressants, or prescribing antidepressants needs to read this book. It’s an invaluable resource and was a huge relief to me to read. Basically, 99% of GPs out there don’t have the slightest clue when it comes to withdrawl (or prescribing, for that matter). Thank you for mentioning it (and to the person upthread who did the same); it has saved my sanity.

  • igor November 12, 2014, 3:14 pm

    Hi, 10 years ago my marriage broke. After few months of trying to reconcile I had to accept the faith. I was angry to everybody. I went to the doc to get some pills to help me in the moments of anger (by the way I’m nerd not a violent guy). He gave me Lexapro 20 mg telling me all is going to be fine as long as take the pills regularly. 3 years ago went overseas for holiday, run out of lexapro due to unexpected delay (two weeks).

    It was like I can see clear trough the symptoms all those years. Went back home decided to quit and change my life. I quit the pills and the cigarettes at the same time. Crash 3 days latter broke my hand hitting the door (ME?). Went back on the pills same story… life passes by, me? I’m just watching. I have been working on this program for over a year now stuck without an answer. Did few courses to get the answer no result.

    40 days ago while working on other program forgot to get the refill, end up on long holiday, no pharmacy working. As distraction to the side effects I started playing with problems – I was stuck in and I fixed it within 5 hours. 2 days later my program was finished and sold. I lost 10 years on Lexapro lived day by day numb about my life and surroundings. So far I’ve experienced every freaking withdrawal symptom. It’s hard to have mood swings during presentations and chills are the worst.

    Being able to write this down and open up to other people its the biggest plus I’ve got since the quit. I’m getting my life and my brain back no matter the cost of the withdrawal. By the way every time when I spoke to a doc to quit the pills he would ask me why quit if you’re feeling better. I cannot understand that. People get upset, anxious, angry it’s part of our character – it’s what makes us who we are.

  • CK November 13, 2014, 8:05 am

    Wow so relieved to hear everyone else’s experiences. I’m day 6 off the stuff and can hardly get about with the dizziness and the weird vision. Can hardly describe it but everything is ultra-clear vision wise one moment then I have to try and refocus. Brain is fuzzy and yesterday I got the sweats and could feel a rage happening for a while (not great when you’re sitting in a work meeting trying to control it).

    I’ve gone cold turkey off these things because I’m over feeling numb to life. Sure it took the edge off the panic attacks and anxiety but not feeling is no way to live. Am hoping that as these withdrawal symptoms decrease, some life will come back. Good tip on an earlier post re fish oil and other supplements. Will have to give those a go. None of this was on the info leaflet and none of this was on the agenda when I started taking the stupid things. Good luck everyone else!

  • AllieB November 13, 2014, 8:22 am

    I have experienced “brain/body zaps” when i discontinue Lexapro for 2 days or more. I haven’t been off it for more than a few days in several years, and the only gap is when I haven’t filled my prescription in time. The withdrawal effects are pretty immediate.

  • mom-of-3 November 14, 2014, 2:00 pm

    This has been so refreshing to read! I’ve been on 20 mg. for about 3 years. In that time I’ve lost my sex drive, gained about 20 pounds, and have developed Gastrointestinal problems. I’m sure now that at least those first two are a result of the Lexapro. I felt that I needed it initially for depression and generalized anxiety. I wish my Dr had really talked to me about it more and encouraged other options for me first – I have three young kids!! A lot of what I was feeling was probably just NORMAL for a mom!

    I just don’t want to be on it anymore and I decided to stop. I’ve been cutting my pills in half and taking 10 mg daily for about a week now. I’ve had a continuous headache for about 4 days. I was hoping I could just quit after taking only 10 for another week or two. After reading all these posts, I’m going to take it slower before quit completely and look into some of the natural supplements discussed. Thank you all for sharing and I wish you all the best!

  • Danielle November 15, 2014, 10:50 pm

    Hi everyone, I was having bad panic attacks so I started taking lexapro was on 5mg for 1 week and had to stop due to all the side effects nausea, diarrhea, tremors, jittery feeling then 2 days later my dr put me on Zoloft… I took half of 25mg for 1 week and just stopped that as well both without tapering. It’s been 3 weeks since I’ve taken the Zoloft and 4 weeks since taking a lexapro and I am having extreme withdrawals. Everyone thinks I’m crazy I have already ended up in the ER due to anxiety.

    My heart felt like it was racing out of my chest and tremors. I went to see a psychiatrist yesterday and his advice was for me to go on Paxil. I’m not taking another pill but also I feel so hopeless I can’t function at all when is this going to go away. I wasn’t on either of them very long but I am very hypersensitive to medication as well. I have been taking 0.25mg of Xanax to help with the anxiety and tremors but I just want to feel normal again without any meds. Please help I’m desperate.

    • GLOOM November 16, 2014, 3:55 am

      Hi Danielle, I totally empathize with you and know what you’re going through. Withdrawal symptoms can persist even after being on these meds for short periods of time – especially if you are naturally hypersensitive to them. I was in a similar boat and had been told there’s no way I was experiencing any withdrawal symptoms, when in fact I knew it wasn’t in my head.

      An important thing to keep in mind is that hypersensitivity and anxiety (constant analysis) go hand-in-hand. You are naturally more alert and aware of any sensations from the medication because you are primed with anxiety. What I would recommend for you is to start seeing a high-rated or good psychotherapist. Going to therapy will help you learn how to cope with your anxiety and whatever else you are experiencing.

      Additionally, make sure you are eating healthy, getting exercise, and not spending too much time on your computer or phone dwelling on symptoms. Stay as busy as you can, and get yourself in ASAP to see a psychotherapist. If you think you need meds, tell your pDoc that you are hypersensitive and that you’d like to start on the lowest possible dose (this will reduce the potential for withdrawals in the future). For example, at one point my pDoc prescribed Paxil 10 mg and instructed me to take 1/4 each day (so 2.5 mg). Hope you feel better soon.

  • Master SSRI Addict November 18, 2014, 5:49 pm

    I feel unhappy. I must be depressed. “Here, take this anti-depressant.” I feel unhappy, castrated, and suicidal. “Must be the anti-depressant. Take it in conjunction with this pill.” I feel unhappy, castrated, suicidal, and unable to do anything. “Interesting. Must be both pills. Stop taking them.” I feel constantly near death, can’t sleep, can’t stand, can’t sit, can’t talk, can’t read, and ache, cry, and so on. “I see. Take this anti-depressant. It’s new.”

    Unhappiness is the baseline of existence. The only effective medication is opioids, which stop the two-way flow of pain and relief from pain (i.e., pleasure). Of course, you become a subhuman addict if you take opioids.

    Anti-depressants don’t work. No study shows otherwise. Publication bias within big pharma’s research activity is not an exception but the rule. If you are unhappy it’s because you’re a human being. If you are depressed you will find relief in hard work, physical exertion, companionship and talk therapy. At the very least take a walk. The positive effect is more dramatic and instant than any SSRI.

    When you submit to taking an SSRI, you are experimenting with yourself — and the deck is stacked against you from the start. The chance of positive, negative, or no effects is 50/50. Typically you get some of each, and then you must decide if your new pain/pleasure ratio is preferable to your original non-medicated state. Withdrawal is 100% assured in every case. And the solution for any “snags” is more medication, with more risks and more assured withdrawals.

    • GLOOM November 18, 2014, 7:32 pm

      Very well stated. Not sure that I agree with the statement about opioids being the “only” effective option, but most evidence would suggest that they are superior to that of SSRIs. Absolutely spot-on portrayal of dialogue between patient and psychiatrist… You’d think that eventually they’d get the hint, but as it becomes worse, a patient becomes further medicated… here take this antipsychotic too ;).

  • Meri November 18, 2014, 11:45 pm

    In one hand I am very glad I found you… but on another, I can’t find a “happy end” example here… Does it ever stop? Or it’s just getting worse? I’m 34 and want to get pregnant. But with these side effects of the withdrawal I really can’t handle having a baby. I can’t take care of myself, I cannot walk, I cannot think straight, my mind is blurred! So from what I can see, pregnancy is out of question. I feel like quitting my job and staying in bed all day. Or having my meds back and leading a “normal” (as far as it can be) life. Because I really can’t handle anything else, my quality of life is equal to zero.

    • Sara December 13, 2014, 6:32 pm

      I stayed on Lexapro for 2 pregnancies + nursing. Obviously not ideal, but if you need to be on them, benefits outweigh risks. I have two healthy, happy kids and despite my history of severe depression, did not suffer any post-partum issues.

      • Lindsay June 28, 2016, 2:58 am

        I echo this. Two pregnancies I went off it cold turkey both times. A few days of dizziness for me. I think any of the symptoms that may have returned during pregnancy were masked by pregnancy symptoms. I was given it immediately following my twins’ birth for post partum (they were in NICU and I was awful). I want off permanently.

  • Tsuki November 19, 2014, 1:41 am

    God, I’m so grateful I found this. Everywhere I look, withdrawal symptoms seem to be lasting a few weeks tops, and mostly mental symptoms. I was on Lexepro 20mg for 6 years, ages 16-22. Never really felt it helped much with my depression or anxiety symptoms…so I went down to 10mg for a month before going off it, as my doctor suggested. I started losing weight and appetite when I dropped the dosage, and almost as soon as I was off the medication, a flurry of symptoms began. I could barely eat, and couldn’t keep even bread or cheese down. I’ve had flu-like symptoms: nausea, vomiting/dry heaving, diarrhea, hot and cold spells, feeling feverish, insomnia, fatigue, and dizziness.

    Mentally, I’ve been a train wreck. Irritability, depression, and anxiety are not enough to describe it. I’ve gone stomping out the house by myself and just walked until I barely could in the middle of the night. I’ve gotten in total screaming fests over misunderstandings. I’ve gotten the closest to cutting since…well, since I stopped cutting. Hopelessness and pessimism are my closest friends now that I’ve pushed all my real ones away. It’s been three weeks and little has improved. My parents are worried sick. I’ve lost a total of 15 lbs, and the people I care about don’t want to be around me.

    I don’t blame them. Medical marijuana is the only way I’ve been able to eat and keep food down (and has helped with other symptoms), but I still either dry heave or vomit every other day. When I go out and do things, I end up sleeping 12-16hrs straight to recover from it, now that the insomnia has cleared up. I’m absolutely miserable. I’ve had several sessions of reading up on SSRI withdrawals, up to and including published scholarly articles.

    Yours is the first to show me that because I’ve been on the medication so long, even if I weened off it slowly, my withdrawals could REASONABLY last well more than a month. No other site even suggested that. This has really given me some peace of mind when I thought I was an outlier who might be stuck with these symptoms for who knows how long. So really, I can’t express my thanks.

    • Sb May 4, 2015, 2:52 am

      Sorry to hear you are feeling so awful, but I too wanted to know how long this would last and nowhere else accept people’s real experiences did I find out that the adjustment period could take months. I tapered off slowly and have been off lexapro for 2-3 months. I actually can remember how long, but I have brain zaps, dizziness, feel unbalanced, and all the other things people have said. I also just don’t feel right, and have this sort of crawling feeling in my body, it’s horrible. Hang in there, we all our and let’s pray for our adjustment period to finish quickly.

      • Kitty August 2, 2015, 8:24 pm

        Wow, can I relate to this. Two-months post Lexapro. The sinus issue, brain zaps, and nausea are gone — however the irritability, horrible anger/striking out, and little “electric crawlies” are still present mainly in thighs, also a tad bit of self-loathing is present. Withdrew gradually on doctor’s suggestion. Will be talking with doc regarding he needs to give info to patients about withdrawal.

        I, like others on this site, wish I had never started the drug. After 20 days of beginning the symptoms I found this site. May God bless you for this site. I thought I was totally alone. Whoops, started crying writing this. Hope the remaining symptoms go away soon. Oh, forgot – still having sleep issues, just not as bad as the first 6 weeks.

        Sometimes I’ll go to bed at 10:00 and will still be awake to see the clock strike 4:00 before my body and mind finally quiet down enough to sleep. Hang in there everyone. There must be light at the end of this tunnel!!

  • Kim November 22, 2014, 6:24 am

    Hello! I have been off lexapro for about three weeks..didn’t taper properly (shocker), I was on 30mg for about 2 years I believe. I was on adderall, mirapex and lexapro. Adderall I quit in August, Mirapex in September, my Shrink in October and finally Lexapro. I have to say that so far I have lucked out a bit…this is NOTHING like when I went off Effexor. Severe vertigo right away and those awful scary head-zaps.

    Why does no Dr. warn you about it beforehand? Mine knew, and I still get them from time to time. Right off the bat, SMOKI, I am getting my laughing fits back too. They are uncontrollable and it actually hurts. I got these before, even having one of these fits at my fathers funeral :/, but it’s been years since my last. I forgot how humiliating they are. I am also crying again over nothing.

    They said I had PTSD after they misdiagnosed me with the less severe bipolar. I am 37 right now and this hit me at 29. At this point I would feel safer going to a witch doctor. I am extremely fatigued and I was hoping my appetite would calm down but it is brutal. I’m starving all the time, I get what feels like hunger pains. Anyways, one thing that is really bothering me is that besides slight dizziness, I have just in the past week started to get a sound in my ears.

    It’s like when you are in the car on the highway with the window slightly open. I notice the more I concentrate to hear, the worse it gets. Anyone else have this? It almost comes in waves- if that makes any sense. Anyways, hang in there everyone :) hope to get feedback from ya’ll soon!

  • Jason November 23, 2014, 11:06 am

    I was on lexapro around 2-3 months at 20 mg and then decided to go off it cold turkey. Never got the brain zaps, but did experience panic attacks, visual trails, dilated pupils, severe night sweats and inability to stay asleep longer then two hours. I’ve went through 2 jobs because of the extreme misery it caused going off it. Its been about 2.5 months now and all the primary withdrawal symptoms have subsided, but I still have memory impairment and the feeling of being detached from my emotions (e.g. I no longer look up at the stars in awe, but feel nothing).

    I’m also a poet and feel that it took away all my creative powers. I have no novel thoughts anymore. I read that there is a primary withdrawal that can last about 6 weeks and then there is a post withdrawal that can last months or even years. I just hope I go back to my old self soon. Each day for me is like a semi hell that keeps dragging on while feeling this way.

  • Saskia November 25, 2014, 5:11 pm

    I was on 30mg of escitalopram for about six years, until about 20 months ago, when I started tapering off. I have been doing it very very slowly, finally dropping to 10mg about a month ago (from 12.5mg). Mostly I hadn’t experienced any side effects until the last two weeks. Suddenly I am having mood swings, am extremely irritable, extremely fatigued (feeling utterly depleted), intermittently very anxious and even sometimes having mild brain snaps. Is it normal to experience such extreme symptoms while you are still actually on the medication, and even when you have been going off it so slowly? Thank you so much! Saskia

  • Mish November 26, 2014, 7:45 pm

    I’ve been on lex for about 18 months. 10-15mg not enough and 20mg was too much. Currently weaning before starting another med and the withdrawal process has made me feel like crap!!!! Haven’t been able to work because of dizziness, excessive tiredness and mood swings. Not to mention the headaches. I saw the post about vitamin therapy to help so I’m going to give that a go. Good luck to everyone who is experiencing this type of private hell.

  • Michelle November 28, 2014, 4:55 am

    Hi all. I have been on Lexapro 20mg for over 10 years and decided to go off them. I am 62 years old and always eat healthy. I cut my 20mg tablet in half (10mg) and did this for 2 weeks. I then cut the half in half (5mg) and did this for 2 weeks. Because I could not cut in half again, I just took the 5mg dose every 2nd day for 2 weeks then stopped.

    I noticed in the 1st week I felt calmer and the anger in my body had disappeared. (Never realized I had this, as after 10 years you do not know the real you). My only side effects when giving up, were a slight headache in the morning, and I did not need any medication as it was easy to manage, and a few sweats. After reading all the comments before I started out I was ready for everything but it was easy.

    As long as you go off gradually and I had always taken Vitamins (e.g. Vit B, C, D, E). Magnesium, Zinc, L-lysine, and Omega 3 Fish Oil 1000mg. I also eat real food lots of salads, and vegetables, meat, butter. No artificial products. My weakness is 3 Chocolate Mint Biscuits for my afternoon tea. I do not drink coffee, only tea. I weigh 50 kg and 163 cm. Weight only changed about 1 kg reduction. The reason I gave up was I suffered really bad depression in the last couple of years, and had been to several psychiatrists to no avail. Good luck to all of you.

  • Paul December 2, 2014, 11:48 am

    Great Blog – I too have had some of the above withdrawal symptoms – brain zaps, fatigue, nausea etc…was on 10mg Lexapro for just over a year – took one month to gradually withdraw then went cold turkey…started getting the withdrawal effects but I have found this routine helped enormously. I started exercising at a moderate to vigorous level every day (I run along the beach , but it could be any exercise) – I also take a complex vitamin B tablet everyday and combine this with a fish oil table daily. I have been off totally now for a mere 7 days and have seen my withdrawal effects lesson dramatically….so much so that I think if I follow my routine I should be all clear within 2 to 3 weeks. Hope this helps.

  • Glo December 3, 2014, 2:35 pm

    I was on Lex for approx. 5 years after my husband died. I quit cold turkey 5 weeks ago. I have every symptom listed in the above comments. I keep thinking maybe I should go back on it, but do not know what to do. I know I cannot continue to feel like I do presently. I don’t like the person I am now and I feel so bad I do not want to go to work or anywhere else. My GI problems have worsened, I am so jittery, mean, angry, etc. I wish someone would address if the damage done by the lexapro to our brains is permanent and/or if we go back on it what happens to the receptors and brain.

  • Smoki December 3, 2014, 7:16 pm

    Hi Glo, I know exactly what you are saying. Please read my reports above. However after being off Lexapro for about 6 weeks, I had to go back on them. I went to my family doctor this time and explained everything. She said to go back on them (10 MG) and I did. It took a lot to stay off of them for 6 weeks. I was so proud but so miserable! I hated myself and had no patience with anyone or anything.

    I don’t know if those symptoms would ever have gone away and I know people around me were having a hard time coping with my anger (which I never had). I would love to know what causes the anger? I skipped one the other morning and by the end of the day I was biting everyone’s head off. That is not me. Why did you stop taking them? I stopped because I just thought there was no need after all these years but I think the pill caused the need to take them. Hope you feel better.

  • Gil Clark December 3, 2014, 11:13 pm

    I have been taking Lexapro for 2 years (10mg). Is there any danger in cutting my dosage 50% before I go completely off?

  • Heather December 5, 2014, 1:33 am

    Thank you so much for sharing this information. I have had no idea that the horrible way I’ve been feeling was completely due to Lexapro withdrawal. I swear the symptoms have gotten worse after the first few weeks off of the meds. Pain, fatigue, crying, rage, confusion, awful sweating and incredibly frightening dreams. I’ve bee panicked big time. And forget talking to a professional! I tried explaining the brain zaps to my psychologist earlier this week and she had no clue what I was talking about. I honestly thought I might be having mini strokes. Again, thank you for sharing your experiences. Reading the other posts has given me some hope. :)

    • Maeve December 8, 2014, 10:34 pm

      I’ve been taking 10mg Lexapro since Feb this year and I’ve been weaning off it now for the last month. I reduced to 5mg for 2 weeks and then 5mg every second day for 2 weeks. I’ve only totally stopped taking it for 3 days now. The dizziness is ridiculous. I thought maybe my iron levels were low but from reading this it is obviously a side effect of the withdrawal. My dreams recently have been nuts. So vivid and frightening!!!

      My doctor never mentioned any side effects so I never even thought it could be withdrawal but reading your experience and that of others here, it all makes perfect sense. It’s amazing the number of people here who have spoken to their health care professionals who can offer no help or advice on this. I understand that everyone’s symptoms are different but seriously there are obviously side effects!! It’s is such a relief to at least know I’m not going crazy or alone in this. Thank you all for sharing your experiences!!!! It has really helped. :)

  • Zeb December 6, 2014, 3:02 pm

    Yeah, been on it for 9 months due to anxiety disorder 20 mg and a high stress job that I lost due to losing focus. Wanted to taper off now that Im at my new job. Started taking 10mg a week ago.Experiencing all the above and really started to question if I were going crazy or not so I Googled and found this article. Glad it is here others described my symptoms to the T. I am at the point of either baring with it or going back up in dose. The anxiety, brain fog, mood swings, and depression and insomnia is terrible. I just hope it does not cause me to screw up my new highly technical career.

  • Ella December 10, 2014, 7:05 am

    I have been on Lexapro for almost 12 years. I’ve tried 8 or more times getting off this medication and the withdrawal symptoms are a nightmare.
    I feel stuck. I went back up to 20mg after last time withdrawing on Nov 2013. By March I went to 10mg. Then by April I alternated 5mg every other day. My dad passed in June and depression set in, scary thoughts came back (does anyone experience that?) Obsessive worry, mind would not stop over thinking things. Constant worry. It wore me out!

    It was mentally exhausting. It’s called obsessive compulsive thoughts…. From my research. My mind would not shut down. So back up to 20mg I went!For about two weeks, then down to 10mg. By Sept. Back to 5mg everyday. Going to try 2.5 in January. Goal is to be off by February. I’m slowly tapering. I’m scared to get off, BC of the side effects coming off. The obsessive scary thoughts scare me:( I’ve never done that before the medication! I just want to be off of this medication without any side effects!

    They just prescribed it to me after I had a baby instead of checking my hormone levels. I should have been given something to level out hormone levels not lexapro. I have felt stuck on this medication bc of withdrawal symptoms. I pray for strength and pray everyday that I can get off of this medication. Any suggestions or support would be great. Getting off this medication has been a 12 year battle and it feels like I’m losing to Lexapro :(. Bless you guys that were able to get off. I hope I can eventually!

  • Jane December 14, 2014, 8:59 am

    Hi, so glad I found this page. I have been on lexapro for 2 years. I had a breakdown and was desperate to find some clarity and be able to get out of bed. I think the medication helped me function, and to find a way to keep going. It didn’t make me ‘happy’ just a functioning member of society. Now that my life is coming back to normal and I feel lexapro has lost most of its effectiveness, I decided to see how I feel on a lower dose, then possibly off it all together. I Have been on 30mg daily which I’m taking down to 20. This gap has caused excessive fatigue and terrible dreams. I think I’m more emotional as I’m feeling things more deeply. (But this is a good thing). I have been on lexapro back in 2011, I experienced severe sleep paralysis as I withdrew. I am relieved to read your journeys and to know this fatigue seems a common effect.

  • Overit December 17, 2014, 5:31 am

    I have been on Lexapro for about 6 months for menopause symptoms which seemed to work until about a month ago. I too had very vivid dreams every night. I started to wake up totally soaked and thought well this is not helping my night sweats so I decided to taper and discontinue the mess. Now I have this annoying buzzing in my head and light saber noises when I look up down or any direction with just my eyes. I thought it was due to a cold but reading the above posts I am starting to think it is attributed to stopping the meds.

  • Wow Just Wow December 21, 2014, 6:13 pm

    So I have been struggling with migraine headaches over the past two months, and doctors were having a tough time figuring out the root of the problem. So naturally my doctors thought the migraines were do to the stresses of life, and prescribed Lexapro to combat the symptoms. At the time I was under the impression that the meds were to treat headaches, not the anxiety that for me is not difficult to deal with.

    Immediately upon taking 1 pill I had a fire sensation in my belly, which immediately traveled into my head. Then I received my first “brain zap” as people call them, and lost my vision for about a second. I went to the ER the next day after vomiting a couple of times throughout the day, and realized my blood pressure and heart rate was abnormally high for me. The had to admit me over night for possible serotonin syndrome.

    In retrospect, I wish I did not trust what my doctor was telling me, and should have look into how powerful this drug really is. After one dose, I’m still have several symptoms five days later. Each day is slowly getting better, but I know its going to take time for my body to get to where it was.

    Any advice I could give about this drug, is to use this as a last resort. It will not work for everyone! The side effects or long term damage is not worth it. Exercise, sleeping properly, and eating right is probably the best remedy to making sure any type of anxiety is put in check.

  • Mimi December 29, 2014, 6:59 pm

    I am 8 days off Lexapro after 3-4 month taper from 4 years on 10-20 mg. PTSD and lots of personal and family issues resulting in additional severe depression and anxiety. I feel better mentally, but the physical symptoms are awful. I am half blind, feel like I am stuck in a time warp, and dizzy. Floaters, visual auras, and tinnitus so loud I think others can hear it. Some chest pain and shortness of breath but the worst are the headaches. Never had migraines but I think this is what they must feel like.

    Have resorted to taking pain med prescribed for an orthopedic injury last year for the headaches. Hope this is okay. I am trying to get through this on my own as insurance is not good. I have taken a lot of comfort in the posts of others and am trying the supplements others have recommended. I thank you all for being here and sharing this horrible experience so we know we are not alone. Those who have never experienced it surely do not understand it, even family members who are medical personnel. This, and other posting sites like it, have probably saved my life.

    I am an older adult and have relatively little stress and daily responsibilities left to worry about (Got rid of most all of my stressors). I truly feel great compassion and empathy for those of you who have to keep on going with jobs and kids etc. I will pray for all of you daily and ask you to do the same for me. In the mean time I will continue to hibernate, and hope this gets better soon. I understand it may take a while. On the upside, my long lost forgotten libido is back with a vengeance. My husband hopes this doesn’t change. Me too! Again, good luck and God Bless.

  • ashley January 4, 2015, 7:01 am

    I was on lexapro for 5 years at 20 mg then took 10 mg for 3 months. then I stopped taking it for a week, switched to prozac for a week, but the side effects were so bad the doctor said to try going back on lexapro. Did that for a week to no avail and the doctor now told me to come off again entirely. It’s been about a week and a half of taking nothing.

    I feel really bad…worst is the headache which is all over my head, in places that have never hurt before. My neck, jaw, ears, and behind my eyes are under immense pressure and pain. Constant ringing in the ears and tingly sensations as well. Are there ANY success stories out there? All the comments make me believe that I will feel like this for another few months which is unbearable.

    • Mimi January 4, 2015, 9:54 pm

      Miss Ashley, I am about 2 weeks post last weaning with no Lexapro now. Did it over 3-4 months. As I said before, the headaches are the worst. I have had a few days with only a few hours of pain, then today almost all day. Also threw up a couple times. Talked to my local pharmacist who happened to be rather knowledgeable. She suggested I treat the headaches like migraines and use Excedrine Migraine or similar. It does help some. Still other fleeting symptoms come and go.

      But everything I have read says it may take a good while, even months and the symptoms will change as the body restores each layer of itself. I am sure there are success stories, it just takes a while. I keep telling myself to hang on. I know I can do this. You can too. It took years for me to fall apart and now it will take time to put myself back together. If there is any one who has made it and still hangs around the site, please let us know and give us a little encouragement. We would appreciate it. -Mimi

  • Zeb January 5, 2015, 5:54 am

    Well I gave in and got back on the full dose due to side effects and wore down from insomnia but just cant stand the foggy head and lack of motivation while using the drug. I spent a couple days away from my prescription over the holidays so I took opportunity to quit cold turkey. It has been a week or so and it was easy till now withdraws setting back in insomnia, vertigo, hard to focus mind and vision, irritability mood swings, but with irrational overwhelming depression and lack of drive to do the simplest things, and what I assume to be brain zaps, night sweats, and insane dreams. Pretty bad I was just a normal guy at the Dr office for something unrelated and asked for something to help with the stress and anxiety from my high pressure job. Now I find myself feeling lobotomized and trying to keep it together at 3 am.

  • SJ January 5, 2015, 8:45 pm

    As the new year begins I’m hopeful that I will be off Lexapro come summer. I’ve started my second month of tapering and currently taking approx. 7.5 mg daily. Headaches were the biggest problem last month with a little nausea which I relieved with Dramamine. I’m also taking 2400 mg of Fish Oil, Vit D, Folic Acid. Around the third week of December I felt extremely irritable, angry for really no good reason, it passed and since I’ve felt better. I’ve been on Lex 12 years…it’s gotta go! I hope everyone who is attempting to get off Lexapro will succeed. Please continue to share.

  • MyKa January 6, 2015, 6:07 am

    I’m so grateful to all of you from this website. My prescribing doctor is clueless to the side-effects of this drug Lexapro, much less the challenges of withdrawal. To hear her tell it, it has no side-effects, and there are no challenges to stopping it, everybody loves it, and are happy happy happy. I was feeling stupid, like, it must be just me, (that’s what my doctor would have me believe). You people have confirmed what I felt, and have supported me in this lonly mind &@#+ of a drug. You know how several of you mentioned the anger? Well, now I’m really pissed.

  • JillT January 8, 2015, 6:30 pm

    I also am grateful for finding this site. Thank you to everyone who told their stories and made suggestions for easing the withdrawal symptoms. If anyone feels like reading through my rant, please do. I could use some feedback. I have read through almost everybody’s stories but don’t see any exactly like mine. I started on Lexapro about 8 (?) years ago until it wasn’t covered by the latest insurance. So, I tried citalopram for a couple of years which didn’t help and then when the generic came out, I was on escitalopram for quite a while, which also didn’t work like the original.

    Now, I had been back on Lexapro and feeling sort of normal, when our insurance changed policies again and it’s not covered again. This being January 2015, I was sent escitalopram without my permission from last year’s mail order company and lost a chance to get one more 90 day supply of Lexapro. Then the new company is sending me a 90 day supply of escitalopram because my idiot physician’s assistant didn’t ask them not to send it automatically. So, I will then have 180 pills I don’t use and I have to pay for the newer one.

    The doctor’s office has no compassion, do I want to try a different medicine?? I guess I was stupid to start getting my scripts through my general physician’s office because they obviously have no idea how complicated it is to just suddenly stop or change drugs! So, I decided I’d quit cold turkey after my last pill is gone. When I was prescribed Lexapro originally, I felt so normal, it was wonderful. My psychiatrist told me I would probably have to take it the rest of my life since I had depression/anxiety symptoms since I was a child and it runs in my family along with suicide. I accepted that since depression has always ruined everything good in my life.

    So here is my big, complicated question… I have not been taking my pills consistently for a long time. I keep forgetting, then take it when I remember or when I am being especially angry or sad. I have has a lot of other health issues come out the past year or so. I ended up in the hospital when my lower back hurt so much, I couldn’t get up off the floor. I have had terrible gastrointestinal bloating and pain. My migraines appear more and more often.

    I have had really angry outbursts and crying jags. After reading the comments, I’m thinking I have been going through side effects of starting and stopping pills every few days? Does that make sense? I have gained another 30 pounds on top of the previous 20. I guess I’m just convincing myself that the cold turkey thing is right. My husband told me it hasn’t exactly been working anyway, by the way. How much worse can it get? I already feel crazy half the time, severe migraines/headaches and exhaustion all the time, stomach bloating. Any thoughts?

    • GLOOM January 9, 2015, 5:44 pm

      I’m thinking you are spot on with your self-observation of going through “mini withdrawals” associated with stops and starts of your medication. The drug is meant to be taken consistently (once daily). You are going through brief stints of withdrawal, which may be disrupting your nervous system – followed by reintroducing the medication, which can a few days to stabilize.

      I would weigh the pros and cons of being medicated vs. non-medicated and determine whether you truly function better with medication or would be best suited pursuing other options. Hope this advice helps and wish you nothing but the best in your personal journey to finding what helps.

  • SJ January 9, 2015, 3:51 am

    Zeb, I’ve previously failed to get off Lexapro and that’s why this time I’m so committed to a slow, slow taper. And, even this time I’m experiencing some unpleasant withdrawal. You might try reinstating at a lower dose until you stabilize and then begin 10% taper. I always reinstated to full dose but looking back believe I could have relieved symtoms at lower dose. I base that on all the experiences others have shared online. Good luck and keep trying.

  • Mimi January 10, 2015, 3:14 am

    Into 3rd week of no Lexapro after 4 month taper. Worst day yet. Vomiting, headache, eyes hurt with weird visual issues and very emotional among other things. Can’t stand bright lights or loud noises. I have had some good days where I think the worst is over then it comes back. I have been trying to carry on with my life with only slight modifications, but I think I just need to give in to the misery and let it run it’s course. I may be expecting too much too soon. I have been angry at everything and everyone. Hope the worst is over soon. So miserable. So miserable. Please consider very carefully before you begin this med. Good luck and many prayers to each and every one of you. Group Hug!

    • ashley January 12, 2015, 3:45 am

      Thanks for your response earlier. I am so sorry you had a bad day today! I did as well :( On the upside, my headache has significantly lessened. Now I cant seem to keep any food inside me. I’ll eat something and have to spend the next 20 minutes in the bathroom. Not fun. I’ve also developed sleep paralysis and even had a panic attack the other day which Ive rarely had since before I started on lexapro in 2009.

      The worst part is waking up and not knowing how I’m going to feel. There seem to be new symptoms every day! Some disappear as quickly as they come. If I ever recover from this successfully, I am going to make a point of it to stick around and encourage people. I have been telling myself that everyone who did it and feels great would have no reason to post on a page like this. So just because I don’t see any success stories, doesn’t mean they’re not out there.

      • Mimi January 14, 2015, 11:49 pm

        It is now better than 4 weeks and I have had the best day I have had in a long time. I know that it is probably just a glimpse into the future but encouraging. Thank you Ashley for your encouragement. I would like to send it back to you as well. Thanks also to all of you who have beat the beast and have come back to tell us it can be done. Without all that I would not have made it. My GP, my pain management physician, and my mental health therapist are all clueless. They all just mumble and rush me out the door. You guys have been my salvation. I send love and prayers to all of you and many thanks. Please don’t give up. I won’t. By the way, I have 2 other mental health drugs to rid myself of but I know by far that SSRIs are the very worst so did it first. I too will make a point of staying around for those just starting their journeys.

  • Tsuki January 12, 2015, 5:10 am

    Hey guys, I just wanted to come back here now that my withdrawals have ended and give you guys a confirmation that the withdrawals do, in fact, end. In my personal case, as you can find somewhere above in the comments OR a more detailed, personal version I put as my website, mine lasted a bit longer than most of them say it will…My symptoms didn’t drop off until about three months of being off the med. BUT! I’m so glad to be off it.

    It was hell and a half, but I feel alive. Anti-depressants numb who you are as a person. They dull down your ambitions and desires and even your personality to dull down your depression. For me, it wasn’t worth it. I’m back to having depressive episodes. It’s hard to control the amount of emotion I’m feeling now that I’m off the meds. I’m very glad I have supportive people in my life. It’s a challenge, but it’s better than the feeling of not much at all.

    Overcoming the withdrawals has inspired me in ways that my depression kept me from. To those of you in this thread experiencing withdrawals, keep your chin up. There is an end to the misery. I don’t know how long it will last for you; hopefully not as long as it lasted for me. But when you get to the other side you will be proud of yourself for making it there. I wish all of you well.

    • Mimi January 14, 2015, 11:59 pm

      Thank you Tsuki. The encouragement means a great deal. God Bless

    • Kathie March 31, 2015, 7:26 pm

      Tsuki, I am so relieved to read a positive outcome from this horrific withdrawal process. My 15 yr old daughter is withdrawing and I am saddened and heartbroken by the numerous stories of lives that have been shattered and permanently altered by this drug. She too is experiencing symptoms that are unimaginable to me, and as her mom, I am trying to help her through this process as best I can.

      I won’t let her read any of these posts – I cannot allow her to give up, but, I can at least reassure her that these terrible things she is experiencing are normal and give her a somewhat accurate timeline for the occurrence of the symptoms. IF ONLY THE DOCTORS WOULD HAVE INFORMED US ABOUT WITHDRAWAL!! I am so so sorry for you and everyone else who has and is suffering, and… I want to thank you all for these posts and wish you continued success.

  • Sandy B January 15, 2015, 9:39 pm

    THANK YOU!!! I’m 2 weeks clean from Lexapro after 5 long years. I have also been on Wellbutrin this entire time. I am just going nuts right now with the Lex withdrawals – the quickie dizzy episodes are getting old, real fast. I often get dizzy and have to shake my head to make it go away and sometimes my eyes don’t focus. Not great for when you work looking at computer screens all day. Just very thankful there are others here who say you can get through all of these side effects/withdrawals. 2 weeks down… more to go.

  • Jan January 18, 2015, 1:23 am

    I was taking Lexapro for about 1 year for depression. Approximately 1 month ago started tapering off and am now totally off medication. Experiencing: fatigue, flu like symptoms and extreme joint aches. Glad Lexapro was available to me for my depression. Will just push through these withdrawal symptoms, was worth it.

  • Mimi January 21, 2015, 2:36 am

    Around 5 weeks now. It does get slowly better. Killer headaches are now down to annoying. Visual disturbances are better but get worse with noise and lights. GI stuff off and on. Tinnitus better but not gone. Feel hot almost all the time, like menopause only constant. Wearing shorts and tank-tops in Jan. For a long time, all I have wanted to do is hide out from everyone and everything. I am going to play golf tomorrow with my husband… I can’t believe it.

    I may only make 3 holes but at least I am trying now. Hope it snows! Probably will be the only people on the course. Ashley, Tsuki and everyone else, hang in there. Get out and moving as soon as you feel like you can. Don’t let the depression come back. I am finding that activity of any kind but especially physical, helps tremendously as soon as you can do it. Just remember that those who have never been in our shoes cannot possibly understand, so don’t expect them to. Come back to us. Someone will be here for you.

  • Zeb January 24, 2015, 6:59 am

    Update, I’m still off the med but do not recommend cold turkey like I did. Do I still have withdraws? Damn right. I went to my doctor and he recommended staying off but does not believe I could be still having withdrawals 20 some odd days later, typical. Insomnia, anxiety through the roof, no memory, a deep dark gloomy depression that feels more physical than emotional. Which I did not have prior to taking Lexapro. I can hardly focus on anything mentally or with my eyesight, it’s almost tunnel vision.

    I seem to have no sense of time whatsoever almost like being high if anyone remembers that from high-school. Ringing in my ears never stops. I get vertigo when I cut my eyes left or right and a general scene of not being real. Hard to explain. Anyhow I am in my 30s, a professional, and do not use any other drugs. Hoping praying this will all pass in time and I will feel like myself again and be mentally sharp again soon. I can’t trust myself now and have to double check myself constantly and remind myself of what the hell I’m doing.

  • Alex January 24, 2015, 11:58 am

    I am amazed to hear SO many stories of withdrawal horror! I’ve been on lexapro just over 6 years. I’ve previously tried to stop but had similar stmptoms.. Extremely vivid dreams that were so frightening. I have just tapered down from 20mg and been on 10mg for 5 days. The irritability and tiredness has affected me most. I really want to get off this drug. My worry is that I have a new job which I love, but I need to be in “top form” when I’m teaching students. I’m scared I will have bad withdrawals and side effects… Some of which sound quite debilitating!

    Firstly I want to know if anyone had experience with 5-HTP and has any advice on using this whilst tapering down lexapro? I will also get omega 3s. I was prescribed lexapro initially as I had post natal depression. Looking back I was not surprised I was depressed considering my situation. I had never suffered depression before. I have a supportive family and a low stress life. Hopefully now knowing your stories, it will help pull me through the dark moments. Thanks.

  • Myka January 24, 2015, 11:12 pm

    I am now nine weeks off the drug, my symptoms continue unabated. Getting up from bed or a chair causes my head to rush. It is the dumbest, most difficult sensation to describe. I am headachy, woosy, detached, volitle, intolerant. No Dr. has been of any help. Apparently, they accept what the manufacturer tells them, and those of us who suffer are “special cases”. I’m really annoyed that I was never warned, at least then I would have known.

    • Mimi January 25, 2015, 5:39 am

      Myka, please don’t give up. Try all the helpful advice you find here but of most importance is staying very well hydrated. It truly does help your body to readjust itself and flush all the bad stuff out. The Fish oil/omega 3 and other supplements help also but hydration is so important for this and many other reasons. Physical exercise is also important. All together since the start of my taper and quitting it has been probably better than 6 mos. I have experienced all the symptoms you describe and more. I am now having good days instead of just 1 good day. You can do it.

  • Zeb January 24, 2015, 11:51 pm

    I just had something I haven’t had in a long time. A day where I felt like myself. I knew a difference when I woke up this morning. Still have the symptoms, but I had a (much needed) good day where I was not constantly fighting, but could ignore them somewhat and could manage to enjoy the day. Getting outside early and exercising make a huge difference also. I’m on day 26 and this is at least encouraging for all of us at this time.

  • Mimi January 25, 2015, 5:27 am

    Nearing 5 weeks off Lexapro following a 4-5 mo wean, I had 2 good days, played golf and made it to 10 holes. Today was again back to withdrawal. A few zaps, headache, and visual disturbances. Horrible dream last night. It would make a great movie. Felt myself getting angry over stupid stuff. Had to concentrate on backing away. I have also been back to the “I am losing my mind” mentality. Can’t remember even simple things.

    Have been obsessed with worry over things that I can’t control. Then all of a sudden tonight, all was well again. Hope I have 3 good days in a row this time. Everyone hang in there. There are special cases, and there are also doctors who do not need to be doctors. Did you guys know that many physicians now work for hospital owned groups and are on “production” type contracts? This means that they are required to see so many patients in a given time frame.

    So don’t for a minute think it is you. It is all about the all mighty dollar. At our expense. It is also about the fact that there are so many “patients” out there abusing the system that the ones who are really hurting don’t get the care and compassion they need to get well. It is also about doctors listening to the hype from pharmaceutical reps rather than the experiences of patients. Have you ever been in a Dr’s office around lunch and smelled that delicious aroma?

    It is more than likely a rep of some sort feeding the good doc and his office staff. Enough of that. I hope that each of you take heart from hearing about each other’s experiences as I have. It has been a lifesaver and didn’t cost me a dime. Blessings to all and please, please hang in there.

  • Rob January 26, 2015, 12:43 am

    This will probably sound a bit crazy, but I took Lexapro for three days and found myself reacting extremely badly to it. Intense anxiety rushes that I had never before experienced, feeling as if I wanted to die, etc. On day one and two I took 10 mg each day. On day three, after the adverse reaction, I took only 5 mg. On day four, I stopped completely, because it was driving me nuts. In the four days since, I have gone through such an intense battle with anxiety that I wouldn’t wish this on anyone.

    Fortunately, each day I seemed to be getting a little better and today I feel pretty much my old self — or at least close to it. But the last two nights I’ve had terrible insomnia with a feeling that every time I’m about to fall asleep, by brain zaps me back awake. Before I took this I had some fairly mild to moderate hypochondria. When I asked my GP if there was something I could take to level me off, she suggested Lexapro. She didn’t bother to mention the possible side effects and I blindly took the pills. Worst decision of my life.

    I write this having only been able to sleep for about and hour or so over the last couple days. I find it unbelievable that this drug could affect someone so strongly in three days. My doctor says it’s all in my head. That’s it’s my own anxiety causing these symptoms. She said the drug would have been out of my system the day after I stopped taking it. Funny, but everything I’ve read says it takes several days to leave you because the half life is something like 27-32 hours.

    Somebody please tell me how these doctors can prescribe something they know nothing about? And somebody please tell me that I’ll be able to sleep soon. Because I don’t know how long I can take this.

    • GLOOM January 26, 2015, 6:45 pm

      I’ve had a similar experience to you with many medications. Although you may have hypochondria, which certainly amplifies the symptoms and the amount of obsessing done over them, it doesn’t mean they are any less real than someone without hypochondria. Doctors like to assume that hypochondria = always imagining effects, when this is clearly not the case.

      I’ve found that having hypochondria makes you even more sensitive to slight physiological alterations. Despite having taken the drug for only a short duration, withdrawals are still common… taking any drug and then discontinuing will result in some sort of “comedown” – it’s common sense.

      Best of luck getting back on track with your sleep. You may want to consider various relaxation exercises and/or consider supplementation with melatonin.

  • JD January 27, 2015, 3:18 am

    Withdrawal story, after tapering for one year. Tapered by lowering dosage every 3 months: From 20mg, started at 15mg then to 10mg then to 5mg then to 2.5mg. Days 1-3: minimal symptoms. Days 4-9: all-day brain zaps, dizziness and lots of sweat when moving or at rest. These were the most noticeable symptoms. Didn’t really know how long this period would last. Day 10: First day I felt like there was a light at the end of the tunnel, brain zaps 50% gone. Avoiding stressors outside of work.

    Day 11: Brain zaps 80% gone, still sweaty, but no more dizziness. Days 4-9 were the worst, and after everything I’ve read about the unpredictable nature of the duration of the zaps and other symptoms, I was keeping my head up knowing I did a disciplined one year taper. I’ll continue to post progress. Hang in there and consider a longer taper before you quit.

    • Kelly October 27, 2015, 4:24 pm

      Are your days of symptoms listed referring to when you began tapering or after stopping fully? I plan to do a similar taper.

  • Zeb January 28, 2015, 8:03 pm

    Feeling better. Not 100%, but better. My focus has come back thank God! and many symptoms are much less intense. The ringing in the ears with mild zaps persist and learning to cope with the rebound of heightened anxiety, depression, and insomnia. There will eventually be good days and bad days, not just horrible days like at 1st. Stay in contact with your Dr, if you don’t like what he says, get another one.

    Get out and exercise the first part of your day this really helps a lot. Drink plenty of water. Just remember if you can hold out there is a point where it begins to let up around day 30 for me @ 9 months on 20mg. The other things, it seems you may have to live with a while before they resolve themselves. I’m there now. I cannot speak for everyone. The anxiety I had was manageable except during times of excessive stress, and I had no problems with depression to start with. I went to my Dr and asked to be placed on something. But in hindsight, I would never take that route again.

  • L.P. January 30, 2015, 12:02 pm

    I was on Lexapro six years with excellent benefit for four of those years then it just made me feel awful. My psychiatrist refused to believe the Lexapro was the culprit. I finally begged him to please get me off of it. He tapered me down for four weeks and let me tell you it is the worst withdrawal. I only get severe flu like symptoms, but they never go away or improve. People are asking if I am okay, I just tell them it’s allergies. I can not wait for the day this stops.

  • Jessica January 30, 2015, 11:20 pm

    Hi. I’m going through withdrawal from Lexapro right now and am blogging about it daily because it’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. Here are some tips I’ve found: for brain zaps, fish oil (krill oil too) seems to be working for me. For nausea and vertigo, dramamine is working – although it may be making me tired. Here is my website where I’m blogging every day about what it is like: https://ssriwithdrawal.wordpress.com. I hope it helps someone.

  • Matt February 3, 2015, 2:16 am

    I was on for 30mg of ciprelex for 6 years. Had to get off because my body was consistently over heating plus it was time. It’s been 5 months and I still have very bad stomach discomfort. At first I had trouble digesting food than that went away after 2 months. Now my whole abdominal area feels sore and really uncomfortable. I’ve been to the hospital a million times to rule anything else out because my doctor doesn’t seem to think withdrawal symptoms are this bad. Anyways, everything is fine but this is one heck of a ride.

  • Mary singleton February 5, 2015, 8:39 pm

    Reading other people’s experience has been of tremendous help to me. The whole experience trying to withdraw from antidepressants has simply been a nightmare. There’s been times when I actually thought I was losing my mind. I pray for each of you. I cannot understand why our doctors readily give us this but do not tell us of these terrible withdrawal problems.

  • Yvonne February 6, 2015, 1:04 am

    I have now been off of this dreadful medication for 63 days and still feel terrible. I’ve felt the dizziness, brain zaps, depression, and all other symptoms including a cough that I’ve had since I stopped taking them. I hyperventilate myself. I know it has to all stop, but when oh when. Terrible things. If I’d been told all these things there would have been no Lexapro for me. -Von

  • Kevin February 6, 2015, 8:07 am

    So glad to find this page. My Dr. Put me on 20 mg Lexapro for PE. It helped a little bit with my problem, but after being on it for 2 years, I decided to wean myself off the Lex. I went down to 10 mg for a week. Then down to 5 mg for a week. Then nothing. I’ve been off it now for about 2 weeks, and I’m having some of the symptoms. I have gotten really bad tinnitus, crazy scary dreams, and now I’m having anxiety when I’m just laying in bed. I was really thinking about just going back on the meds. After finding this page, I can see that I don’t want to do that. I’m hoping I can get through the hell that is the withdrawal of this awful drug. I just hope it doesn’t take too long.

    • mimi February 8, 2015, 12:50 am

      Kevin, do not give up and go back on. Expect the worst and hopefully it won’t be so bad, but do not go back on. You only have to start all over again. Just remember that it will eventually end. Some times weeks sometimes months. For me it is since the first of December and finally getting better. And it changes from day to day like a chameleon. If you find that you come to the end of your rope, and can’t cope any more, go to your mental health provider or doctor or the closest psychiatric hospital. Or come here and talk to us. It helps.

  • Yvonne9nne February 6, 2015, 10:10 pm

    Well I’ve been up since 3.30 am today started cleaning at 5.30 am. I just refuse to give in to these wammies I have. Nice clean house but now I’m really tired. I try to occupy myself . I’ve been taking 5HTP and I’m finding it very useful. My naturopath wants to now change me to B3 as she has said it balances brain chemicals to stop real weird dissociation moments I have. I can be having a conversation with my husband (who’s my rock) and just stop half way through and forget what we were talking about.

    He laughs at me and with me which does help me. I find I paint a lot to distract me to which also helps me. Stay with it. I’m sure we can only get better. This fight has given me the strength to keep going. I’m sure doctors do know the side effects and it’s probably why they would never use the tabs themselves. They just live off of the kickbacks. Have a good day everyone.

  • Mimi February 8, 2015, 12:44 am

    About 7 weeks off Lexapro… Brain zaps and visual disturbances along with worst of H/A mostly gone, but still having multiple withdrawal symptoms. I am very quick to anger, particularly my spouse. But maybe he deserves it. He is part of the reason I was having A and D in the first place. Also periods of depression, last night had a panic attack but finally overcame it. (I have Xanax if I really need it). I knew what it was and that I want to recover to a state that does not require drugs to function, but I will use the Xanax if necessary.

    I am considering a divorce as I have eliminated all the other sources of stress from my life, and I feel like maybe this is the final step. It is a long, lonely and sad story that should have ended long ago. My fault for being so dependent. My message to you all is to hang in there and realize that this is a long and very uncomfortable journey but that it will get better. It won’t solve all your problems. You have to find the courage to do that, but the withdrawal symptoms subside and you can then decide what your next step will be.

    Don’t give up. I hope 1 more month will be the magic date, but who knows. Please everyone, make it known to your doctor, therapist, friends, but most importantly the drug company, about your experience with this drug. You can find info on line about reporting adverse drug reactions. You might just save someone else from the hell that we have all gone through. God Bless you all and much courage. Know that I pray for you all daily. I would not have made it without you guys.

    • Sally Miller April 28, 2015, 6:49 pm

      Interesting that you mention anger at your husband and divorce. It’s been almost three months since I stopped (weaned) the 10 mg of Lexapro that I had been taking for 12 years – and I’m a total nag to my husband. I don’t know if it’s the Lexapro or just how I really feel! Everything he does irritates me, and I too have thought of divorce. I don’t know what to trust of my feelings so I am going to hang in awhile and see what shakes out at about the 6 month post-withdrawal mark. He is not the reason I started taking it.

  • Baret Yacoubian February 10, 2015, 11:59 am

    Dear All, I started out on 20mg of the SSRI drug Cipralex (escitalopram) almost 4 years ago. I had systemic intestinal candidiasis which causes a whole host of mental problems due to the effect it has on the gut and nervous system. Recently, after taking new tests (and a whole host of supplements to combat the infection), it became obvious that the infection has long since been cured and that my ongoing intestinal and mental issues are probably because of the escitalopram.

    I’ve been reducing my meds by 5mg at a time every 2-3 months. I have now been off the meds for 2 weeks. I still have gut issues and have experienced eye floaters, anxiety, depression, burning/freezing sensations on the skin, the occasional UFO sounds in my inner ear and swelling emotions. I am thankful that I found this site and read that it is normal to have such effects for months. I will keep you informed on my progress. I will say this: I don’t care what the effects are or will continue to be – there is no way I am getting back on meds. Good luck all and I will post again.

  • Gary Mathews February 12, 2015, 5:26 pm

    I recently went cold turkey on Lexapro, I have been on it since May of 2014. I was prescribed the drug right before I got divorced (whole separate issue, I got set up!) Two weeks ago I made the decision to quit taking it and everything was fine up until this week. My whole mood has gone from upbeat to gloomy, it’s like I don’t care what happens now, I’m having drastic appetite swings, and shaking a lot. I really want to stay off of Lexapro but scared that I’m doing more damage to myself by not staying on it. :(

  • LauDel February 15, 2015, 10:03 pm

    Took lexapro for about 2 years, before that was on bupropion for 3 years. I decided it was time to venture into life med-free. About 2 months ago I started tapering off, and 2 weeks ago was my final dose. The withdrawal symptoms have been getting worse the last few days – nausea, no appetite, dizziness, “brain-zaps”… And I’ve lost 10 lbs in a very short period of time. I’m already a very petite person so 10 lbs is very shocking. Feeling very sensitive, I indulged in an hours-long crying spell yesterday – something I haven’t felt the need for in years. Just feeling a bit stripped down and raw. I really hope it ends soon. Hard to stay strong and positive when no part of myself is feeling strong physically or emotionally.

    • Mimi February 18, 2015, 5:26 am

      Laudel, this sounds a lot like what others have gone through. As I am almost over the worst of it after more than 2 months off after a slow taper, it is easy to be optimistic. It does get better, I promise. And the only common denominator for all of us is that each experience and misery are different. There were days when I thought I might die from the misery. Still have bad days, but they get further and further apart. Please hang in there.

      • Baret Yacoubian February 27, 2015, 5:10 pm

        Hi Mimi, I find your posts to be very helpful. I just wanted to ask: when you decided to wean yourself off Lexapro, were you fine while you were on them? The reason I ask is because I weaned myself off Cipralex which is escitalopram (so basically the same as Lexapro) and quit because I’d been feeling awful on them for my last year (out of 4 years on them). Thanks. -Baret

  • Ian February 21, 2015, 1:23 pm

    Well I am glad I found this post and reading all your feedback as I was so worried about my dizzy spells and severe headaches I was about to go to the emergency dept! After 7yrs on Lexapro 20mg I have now been weaning off it for the past 5 weeks, am now down to 2.5mg every 2 days but still suffering the withdrawals you are all experiencing. My plan is to move a day between half a pill every week. So next week will take 2.5mg every 3 days etc. Yep it’s a terrible experience and was well and truly hooked. Perseverance will see us all off these sh*tty little pills.

  • Rose February 25, 2015, 1:19 pm

    I took lexapro for 3 months and I stopped for 4 days out of pure forgetfulness. I felt tired and slept a lot and was a bit irritable. But I started taking it again finally and I’m scatter-brained, I can’t sleep, and the anxiety is too much. I feel like I’m better off without it.

  • robyn February 26, 2015, 8:13 am

    Great to find this website and thread! I have been on lexapro for approx 7 yrs with a couple of breaks. I have found it to be great for my (mild) anxiety, however the sexual dysfunction I experienced has been the biggest disappointment. I was toying with the idea of coming off it but then spoke to my GP who recommended I switch to Valdoxan, an SSRI with no side effect of sexual dysfunction.

    She said to stop the lexapro outright and immediately commence the Valdoxan. I was dubious at first, but thought that as one SSRI was taking over from another it would be fine. But I have been experiencing vertigo and associated nausea, change in appetite, some headaches, feeling spaced out, neck and shoulder aches and some flu like symptoms. It has been 8 days now. I thought I was experiencing side effects of the new drug but since reading these posts have realized it is the Lexapro withdrawal.

  • SJ March 1, 2015, 4:03 am

    Started my 10% taper off 10 mg Lexapro in December and this month has gone smoothly. I haven’t had the usual dizziness, nausea or irritability that normally happens the third week of a new taper. This is a slow process but I’ve been on Lexapro 12 years and I’m determined to successfully get off this time. My previous attempts failed because I tapered too much, too quickly. Please everyone continue to post your experiences. And, good luck to all.

  • Rob March 2, 2015, 9:09 pm

    I stopped taking Lexapro 20 MG 3 full weeks ago. I have thus far been able to avoid any of the above listed symptoms by using 5-HTP in it’s place. I tapered down my 20 mg tablet to cut it in 1/2 for 1 week. I then cut that in 1/2 for the following week. On Thursday of that last week, I took my last quarter pill. The next night (Friday) I took my 1st 5-HTP and haven’t looked back since. It’s nice to finally be free of the big parma drugs.

    • Em March 10, 2016, 7:10 am

      That’s great! How were you feeling on lexapro? I started to feel worse after 11 weeks so I want to come off it too, but I’m scared to loop out and lose my job and my boyfriend. I’ve already been crying depressed panic attacks this week just from messing around with my dose. Was feeling down on 10 mg so went up to 15mg for 4 days then got much worse. Back to 10 yesterday then 5 today. How much 5 HTP do you take? Thanks.

  • Laurie March 3, 2015, 5:46 am

    I’ve been on 20 mg. Lexapro for 7 years when I got diagnosed with cancer. All well now, but kept on it because it made life easier. I wasn’t so nervous all the time. I’m currently have health coverage through the ACA and just recently changed plans. My new prescription plan has forced me to go cold turkey. They refilled all my scripts from my former PCP except Lexapro. Old provider won’t respond to their requests for documentation and I don’t have a new provider yet.

    Hence the cold turkey. So far it’s been three days and I’m doing pretty good but given everyone’s comments, I can’t imagine that lasting. I’m thinking I would like to see if I can live w/o the medication. My cancer is in remission, the stressful job is gone and my life is more calm, to a degree that life can be calm. What I’m wondering is what is happening in my body by getting off Lexapro? Can it chemically get back to the way it was before I started taking Lexapro? Thanks. -Laurie

  • Laurie March 7, 2015, 8:27 am

    This is my first full week off of Lexapro and really interesting. From some searching found out that the medication is out of my body after 4.5 days (half lives and all that.) I realize I’m early in the withdrawal process but so far, so good. No brain zaps, just an occasional internal warm feeling. Some lightheadedness, but I had that while taking the meds, so, no big difference. Fatigue, yes, there have been times I felt I would fall down if I didn’t lay down. Luckily I’m self-employed and work from home so I can take naps if needed.

    The biggest thing, and this has made it all worth it, are the majority of joint aches and pains that I attributed to osteoarthritis, are gone. It’s just incredible. My body doesn’t hurt and movement is so easy and painless. My mood hasn’t changed and I’m conscious about not talking myself into side effects if they don’t exist. But like I said, it’s early in the game. I’ll have to see how it unfolds.

    • Sherry March 15, 2016, 7:41 am

      I too have been suffering with a lot of pain that my Dr says is osteoarthritis! I’m wanting off the lexapro because of fatigue and brain fog. I’ve been on half dose of 5mg for 4 days. Was wondering how you’re doing? My brain fog has already lifted a lot. I’m considering just staying at this dose if I can get the weight to come off.

  • LJ March 13, 2015, 7:00 pm

    I’ve been on 10 mg Cipralex (now Lexapro) for about 7 years. Psychiatrist talked to me about coming off but I felt it would be good to stay on to keep the brain “balanced”. Turns out it was causing runs of heart palpitations that concerned me so the Cardiologist recommended I come off it. I had over the last year been taking it 10 mg every other day so I had already started the weaning process. I started with 5 mg every other day for two weeks then every three days for two weeks.

    By sheer forgetfulness I ended up off it completely a little over a week ago. The withdrawal symptoms have been so bad the last few days. I can’t sleep, get dizzy, lightheaded. I feel like when I turn my head my brain is spinning in my skull. Feel nauseated during the middle of the day. The side effects really only last from about 10 am to 4 pm (sometimes just a couple of hours, sometimes the full 10-4). The good news is I have more energy, feel like myself more and am actually able to have real emotions. The withdrawal symptoms are just causing some feelings of malaise.

    I’m trying acupuncture tonight for it. My doctor is pretty good at helping any kind of illness with acupuncture. I’ll also try the vitamin mixture too. I’m just wanting this feeling of my brain being crazy to go away. I had tried the magnesium for sleep aid and it did work. I’ve got Vit D and E at home as well as a multivitamin. Hopefully all of that will help reduce the seriousness of the side effects. Or the amount of time per day I feel like crap.

    • LJ March 16, 2015, 7:37 pm

      Two days after the vitamins and acupuncture I’m feeling a bit better. Well, compared to how I felt Friday, I’m about 75% better. I did the acupuncture for it and the doc did the needles for nausea, sleep issues, and headaches (forearms, back, neck, top of the head). She agreed with the vitamin mixture. I started Saturday taking one niacin, vit e, vit d, b complex, multivitamin and an omega 3 (6-9 was on the bottle). I added the Magnesium at night as it helps with sleep. Sunday I felt immensely better. I was able to function for most of the day and sleep well.

      My headache came back at night (had been bad late afternoon-evening on Saturday) and the dizziness was not as bad as it had been Friday. No nausea at all. Today still better. My head still has the “shocks” in it and it feels off balance when I turn my head. The pain behind my eyes is gone though which was another good thing. I have another acupuncture appointment tonight and then again Wednesday. Of course this is just my results and my body. I was down to 5 mg for several weeks. I’m hoping that I’m feeling much better next week after this vitamin mix and the acupuncture has been ongoing for a week.

  • elaine w. March 13, 2015, 8:48 pm

    I was prescribed prozac in 1999 and just took my last dose 2 weeks ago. I tapered off 10 mg starting 6 months ago down to 2 mg at the end. Wow! Terrible side effects! Every one on the list was as bad as listed. I never received info concerning “end game” effects! I’m 67 years and always hard working mother of 3, fully functioning, and successful.

  • Robin March 15, 2015, 2:52 pm

    I have been on antidepressants since 1995. I have tried them all. Zoloft (couldn’t cry if I wanted to), Wellbutrin, Effexor, Prozac, Celexa, and Now lexapro for the past year or so. My prescription ran out and I didn’t make my appointment to see the doctor for a refill so I have been without it for two weeks. I guess I then quit cold turkey. Having night sweats but don’t know if that is withdrawal or Menopause.

    I am having weird dreams and cannot sleep but again, don’ know if insomnia is because of withdrawal or Menopause. Can’t concentrate, dead tired all of the time. No brain zaps thank goodness and no tingling. I am moody and seems like just Mad all of the time. Anyone over the age of 50 experiencing withdrawals while going through menopause?

    • K Ann July 21, 2016, 8:41 am

      I am 47 and have been on Lexapro for 10 years only off during pregnancy. I went back on after pregnancy due to postpartum depression. I was originally given lexapro when diagnosed with debilitating chronic pain issues. I am not a great responder to narcotics, they make me feel awful. The lexapro took the edge of the anxiety from having pain.

      I once traveled and left all my meds at home leaving me cold for 4 days. The depression and other emotions hit like a ton of bricks so I got right back on. Over all this time gained 45 lbs. I now have a good grip on how to manage and deal with the pain and wanted off the lexapro as I felt it was causing the weight gain. 10% decrease each week by crushing in 10 ml water and using a 10 ml dose syringe (oral sln).

      I started perimenopause symptoms prior to tapering so thought that was it at first. I am now certain that what I feel is withdrawal. Night sweats, brain fog… I actually got lost on my way to a place I had been 2x before, even while using GPS. Horrible insomnia and occasional body zaps. That’s a bizarre sensation. I don’t have them in my head but various areas on my body and unexpectedly, usually at night.

      My dr. gave me phentermine to help with weight loss but that is a whole mess of insomnia. Stopped that, may begin after completely off lex first. Metabolism seems shot but getting off the lex is priority one. Can’t tell if some of symptoms are menopause or withdrawal but I don’t care either way, just pushing through and hoping to feel better eventually.

      I’m glad I found this site. Had I not, I would probably still be on this awful drug. I had no idea. My dr. Also said I could go off cold turkey. I don’t hold that against her. Doctors are not perfect. We have to make informed decisions and be proactive. It’s a catch 22 for patients and doctors. Do they have time to research every new drug?

      No… but I have A LOT of time to research just this one. We have sat down and talked about a game plan which she is supportive of… MY plan BTW, not hers. She knows I’m intelligent and I need her MD. Next I’m working out the supplementation, nutrition, and diet. If anything focusing on this process keeps me occupied and my mind of the I’ll feelings of withdrawal.

      I am married with an 8 yr old child and a demanding full time job… doing the best I can. Onward.

  • Sally Miller March 17, 2015, 2:25 pm

    I am 60 years old and started 10 mg of Lexapro 12 years ago for PMDD – premenstrual dispahoric dysfuntion. Lexapro helped me through that peri and menopause time, and I continued to take it just out of habit. I recently spoke to my doctor about weaning myself from it, because although Lexapro deadens the lows, it also deadens the highs. I don’t think I’ve cried in 12 years. On his advice, I went from 10 mg to 5 mg for a month.

    He said if I could tolerate that I could “let go.” I did, and it’s been almost three weeks now. I’m feeling pretty good: I do get the occasional headache, my dreams are all about anxieties, and I’ve barked at my husband more than once. But my sex drive is back, my appetite is down, and I’m feeling pretty darn good. No brain zaps, depression, no stomach ailments. The one odd thing I do notice though, is I do have times where I am feeling euphoric – almost in a manic state, where I’m hyper alert and really excited.

    I am not bipolar and I was never on Lexapro for typical depression, so this is new to me. Although I don’t have the manic flip side – I go from euphoria to normal. I can live with that. It’s nice to have strong feelings again – even anger! And, I now tear up over commercials, happy moments, and sad events. I can’t imagine that after 12 years I am coming “down” this easily, and maybe it’s too early on for the serious withdrawal symptoms to start. Time will tell!

    • Tara August 15, 2016, 7:20 pm

      Sally, can you please update me on how it all went for you? Were you able to stay off of Lexapro?

  • SJ March 17, 2015, 5:37 pm

    I’ve been tapering off Lexapro since December and doing really well until the end of last week when I began having anxiety, nausea and feeling light headed along with head pressure. I had just started an antibiotic and thought it was the cause and, in fact reading the side effects of the antibiotic convinced me and I discontinued it after only three doses. I assumed it wouldn’t take long for my system to clear the antibiotic so I was surprised on Monday I felt no better.

    Today, (Tuesday) I’m a smidgen better but the brain fogginess is still evident, nauseous, dizzy and not sure footed. At last a light went on this morning and I decided the taper has reached a low enough dose that withdrawal has arrived. I’ve been on 10 mg of Lex for approx 12 years and while it helped for the situational depression the time to get off is way passed due. I have tried 3 times before but with what I’ve learned… now know I tapered too much, too quickly and was destined to fail.

    This time I’m taking it much slower and dosing down approximately 10%. Because I take Lex pills and splitting isn’t an exact science I’m tapering as close to 10% weekly as possible. And, up until this last week it’s worked out fine. Currently my weekly dosage is 42.5 mg and I won’t reduce again until I’m totally adjusted to this dose. I’m due to reduce again April 1 to 35 mg weekly but I need to feel stable for at least three weeks before that happens and think I might just wait until May. I don’t mind if it adds a month or two to my schedule…I just want to succeed.

    Good luck to everyone who is on this journey and sharing your experiences keep the rest of us on track. Thank you. P.S. BTW…I took a Dramamine today and it has relieved some of the dizziness and head pressure. Keep it in your arsenal to relieve withdrawal symptoms.

  • Laurie March 19, 2015, 3:23 am

    Its been helpful to read everyone’s posts. I’m 3 weeks cold turkey after 5+ years of 20 mg. a day. I still have increased energy, fewer body aches and less brain foggy. The thing is, while on Lexapro I didn’t think I was foggy. Still have bouts of light headedness and extreme fatigue, and really vivid dreams. I have been more emotional, but I think that’s okay.

    It’s not out of line, but rather appropriate to the circumstances. I’ve cried also. I remember once on Lexapro I almost fell down the stairs and I didn’t even get an adrenaline rush. I read an article on the web recently about how a large percentage of women are on SSRI’s. I think Lexapro played an important role for me initially and for a while after that.

    What I’m hoping now, is that since the reasons for the prescription no longer exist and I have developed behaviors to respond to situations that used to send me into a panic, that getting off of it is the best for me. I still think it’s crazy that this decision was forced on me by an insurance company and not a doctor, but that’s a whole different topic! Good luck to everyone, I’ll check back in a couple weeks to post how I’m doing.

  • Catalina March 25, 2015, 4:45 am

    I took lexapro for 6 years 10mg. I stopped cold turkey 2 weeks ago and I thought I was going crazy. Nightmares, nervousness, super tired. My biggest concern is my memory I feel like I cannot retain information, I forget things easily (even when I was taking lexapro) I am freaking out because I have to take my nursing examination for my license and I feel nothing is in my brain. Any suggestions, please!

  • Andrea March 25, 2015, 9:24 pm

    I am 28 years old and went on lexapro 20mg for 2 years. I have gradually reduced the dosage and quit approximately 10 days ago. I’m still feeling dizziness and nausea. But the worst symptom is the rebound depression. Sometimes I just want to disappear. I haven’t given up yet because I believe that after a while it will be worth it.

  • Trish March 26, 2015, 5:34 am

    I feel like I’m going through hell, it’s been not even two weeks and I was only on 5mg. All day I feel dizzy, sick with no energy and headaches. It’s becoming unbearable, every day feels like a marathon I just want to my body to feel normal again. Mentally I’m fine except when I feel just overhwelmed by feeling so crappy all the damn time. I’m scared there’s no end in sight.

  • Gus March 27, 2015, 11:11 pm

    I was prescribed Lexapro fir severe panic disorder several years ago. It helped me so much for a couple years. Unfortunately, I began having the most severe panic attacks of my life. I would wake up in a full blown panic and have no idea who I was. It was horrifying. I made the decision to stop taking Lexapro. I began taking smaller doses every week at a pretty relaxed pace to prevent withdrawal symptoms. Did. Not. Work.

    I cut down on the meds for a little over a month and was feeling pretty alright once I was on 5 mg ( I had been taking 20 for 5 years). I got a bad sinus infection and blamed my symptoms on that initially, except it had been a month and I felt worse everyday. Strong brain zaps, dizziness, stomach aches all of the time, horrible mood swings, thoughts of suicide, you name it. I feel completely defeated. I had to take 10 mg again today because I it is too much for me to handle right now. I hope I can eventually stop taking it.

  • Bruce April 3, 2015, 7:25 pm

    I was on Lexapro different levels for 3 years. I tried different methods on quitting including switching to Paxil. I’ve been off of both for 5 years now. At first I experienced most of the withdrawals listed. It was painful, the brain zaps and blood rush was the worse. No joke, 5 years later and I still experience the anxiety, brain zaps, blood rushes, headaches, dizziness, fatigue, insomnia. These are not as frequent, maybe once or twice a month. I’m 43 years old. I envy those that have not had the withdrawals, you have no idea what we go through. Sometimes I think the side effects of the drug are better to deal with than the withdrawals.

  • Johnny April 4, 2015, 9:09 am

    Hello everyone. Thank you all for sharing your experience with me in regarding going cold turkey on lexapro. The main reason why my doctor suggested me to take lexapro was because I tried to commit suicide by locking myself inside my car in a very hot weather and I passed out inside until someone saw me and called 911 and they took me to the hospital. The paramedics found my suicide note in my car and the hospital want me to admit myself to a psych ward for at least 10 days and if I refuse then I will have to stay for 30 days or more.

    It left me no choice. The reason why I did it because my wife wants a divorce right out of the blue after 15 years of marriage even though I still love her very much and we have four beautiful handsome boys. She fell in love with another woman and she lied to the court stating that I have abused her and wanted a restraining order against me and force me to leave my home and become homeless, so her girlfriend can move in with her. I really felt like I am in a twilight zone. I was lost until my family member took me in to recuperate.

    The doctor told me that he suggested me to take lexapro so I would not feel depressed and feeling the anxiety. I took 10 mg of lexapro and it’s been two years now. My wife and her girlfriend and my children has moved and she feels that I am taking medication because it can endanger my children and she wanted to “protect” them. I haven’t seen my boys and I do not know where they are now. The last I heard was someone told me they are in Canada. My wife did not ask for child support, nothing.

    I have moved on, and I have a job and I work like 6 days a week. I do not have much of my social life at all because lexapro has made me lose interest in sex. I haven’t been with anyone since my wife. I wanted to move on because I feel the medication is giving me a clay like bowel movement, gained weight and sleep too much. I wanted to have a life and the reason why I wanted to get off lexapro is because I wanted to start the weight loss program and also detox my body and start living a healthy lifestyle.

    I got to admit that I really love sex, but the medication is making me lose interest in it and I hated it. I stopped taking them a week ago, and my only symptoms are brain zaps and feeling lazy. I had hard time going to sleep but I work night shift like 5 pm to midnight and by the time I get home I don’t feel tired until like 3 to 4 hours later then slept for 9 to 10 hours. Maybe it’s a normal thing? I am not sure. I really miss having a nice glass of wine because u can’t drink alcohol with it. I wanted to change myself so I can be myself for who I am. I wish you all the luck going cold turkey and all I can say is wishing you the best of luck.

  • Jim April 6, 2015, 4:33 pm

    Wow! and I thought meth was tough to kick! Child’s play compared to lexapro. It worked well for me as an antidepressant. Unfortunately, I came across a circumstance that has had me off of it cold turkey for 7 days now (@20mg, but was up to 40 at one point) day 1 and 2 I didn’t notice anything. right now I am having trouble typing this, headaches (bad), Foggy like pea soup “foggy,” shaky limbs, shortness of breath, high pulse (I haven’t had so much energy since I started on this stuff – sucks. I’m too whacked to do anything productive), and scariest of all is my eyes are bloodshot, and I’m having some minor issues with bloody-nose-globs.

    I think I remembered that I’m also having some memory issues, and decreased appetite. some occasional visual effects I cant help but notice don’t exist. Generally I gotta say, right now I really miss my meth withdrawal, LOL that was way easier than this. Guess I should have listened to my social worker when she warned me about this withdrawal issue. I guess I didn’t realize how hard a drug this little pill really is. BEEF! – that was almost 20 minutes worth of my life to write that. It works well, but beware!!

  • Steve April 8, 2015, 6:24 pm

    Been on Lexapro for about 2 years. On the 10mg dosage. Stopped it cold turkey about 12 days ago. Experiencing tingling feelings, sleepiness. Worst of all is a weird sensation in my eyes; moving my eyes around makes my vision jerky and I seem to “hear” my eyes moving. Really freaky! I may have to go back on 1/2 dose and taper off over time, this really sucks.

    • Matina April 9, 2015, 1:50 pm

      Steve, I don’t know why you stopped your lexapro cold turkey, but that was a big mistake!! I am not in the medical profession but I have been on and off antidepressants for the past 15 years of my adult life. Lexapro was and is one of them. Though there is no perfect scientific proof as to what exactly it does do to your brain; but there are enough studies that point towards them stopping your natural production and activity of your own serotonin and other chemicals. When you stop cold turkey the serotonin and other chemical balances in your brain stop too.

      Here is one illustrated way to look at it. You live in a small town with numerous back roads to get here and there. You’re happy you know nothing different and you function and travel that way. Consider that as the picture of the way your brain may naturally work. No problem for your brain it is used to that too. All the different little paths carrying our chemicals from here to there. Now think about this. The town decides that it takes too long on those small roads and more cars could fit and go faster if we put in an interstate high way.

      Consider that as your new antidepressants – an interstate for your chemicals. So when the new interstates go into towns less travel goes on the old roads and some are no more traveled. Those roads are no longer cared for and grow up with weeds and rubble causing cars to no longer travel them. Consider that as the way your brain has become since the use of antidepressants. When you stop cold turkey it is like the town putting in an interstate and ten years later ripping it before fixing the the old roads and leaving the town stranded or taking too long to get to their destination on the old roads.

      If they were to decide to take out the newer interstate they would first have to begin to repair the old roads and let traffic use it a little at a time to get it used to the travel that way again. When everything is running smoothly on those roads and everyone knows they are being used again they can begin to slowly take down the interstate. Kind of a long story but that it sort of how it works. Your brain can not function productively on its own any more. You ripped out the interstate without setting up the old roads.

      You need to call your doctor to find out how to get back on your lexapro at the full dose most likely and stay there for a couple of months to stabilize. Then you and your doctor can create a weaning plan if you want off. From past experience it will take you a minimum of 100 days if you do a 1 milligram reduction every ten days. That is still rushing it a little and you will have some withdrawal symptoms, but it will be a lot better than the cold turkey or rushing the weaning process. Hope this helps.

  • CJ April 12, 2015, 7:36 am

    I did my best to keep this as short as possible but my experience(s) with Lexapro withdrawal, and it’s cohorts over the past 7 years has been a hellish journey that upon reading might be of benefit to some coming here for help on this topic. I was always relatively normal emotionally. Heavier drinker, but manageable. Came to realize I had some underlying depression and drinking was my go to. Cut back, aged a bit and found some solace in my marriage, God & my 3y/o daughter.

    Soon, wife was pregnant with our 2nd child and we lost our baby girl about a week before her due date. Anxiety, major depression and emotional chaos ensued and my drinking progressed. I couldn’t sleep out of fear God would take my girls from me and reality seemed too much to cope with for extended periods of time. Then I found legalized drug dealing in the form of a psychiatrist who was happy to make my problems subside with the following:

    -10mg Lexapro for anxiety and depression
    -Welbutrin for depression
    Reality was now softer/number. Realized I could further avoid the uneasiness life often brings.
    -Added Xanax
    When life started to get real again
    -Upped dose of Lex to 20mg and more welbutrin too

    Now being awake was just dreamy. Things leveled out, but I couldn’t drink like I used to and I would blackout from drinking what would have only given me a mild hangover in the AM. One serious blackout nearly cost me my job right after being promoted, moving into a new home and now two children and one more on the way (surprising to me since Lexapro killed my mojo and kept me from finishing). This incident scared me straight for 10 months. I didn’t drink out of the uncanny fear that came along with losing it all.

    5 years along the meds were less potent. I gradually drank a little here and there and then things started to get real again. One doctor suggested I try Vivanse for BP Disorder. I didn’t drink because I couldn’t function enough to lift a glass to my drooling mouth. My wife was hopeful, supportive and patient. While I got off that horrible stuff. Back on Lex/Wel b and….perhaps I’m ADD? How about some Adderall?
    So for about a year my day looked like this:
    7am -1pm: Lance Armstrong
    1pm -3pm: Elmer Fudd
    3pm-5pm: Sleeping beauty
    5pm-9pm: Kim Jong Il
    10pm-1am: Just a tired, restless, selfish, lazy jerk

    I never got what I was looking for no matter what I took, when I took it or how consistently I tried. Self medication was what I knew best and the ability to feel and sense the world around me while experimenting being off the Lexapro and WB, even with the withdrawals, and mood swings was preferred. Feeling real emotion again made me want to experience life that way again, but my underlying issues were still there waiting for me.

    The love of my life I are now separated and I am not able to see my beautiful children every day like I used to. The very real emotion I feel most often each day is utter heartache and sadness. I struggled with drinking, but became very active in a support group, spiritual growth and my relationship with God. I chose to go off of Lexapro and Wellbutrin. Adderall will come next, but I can’t afford to be off work right now. I pray every minute that I will one day have my family and my complete sanity back.

    Everything you read about the withdrawals you’ve likely found to be what you’re experiencing. It sucks, but it will pass eventually. There is little mention of God or a higher power on these message boards which is in itself something to be pondered. This is not a forum for that, but I share my story with you because most of us made a decision to take drugs like Lexapro to alleviate one malady or another. And most of us came to this board because for whatever reason we didn’t like how we were feeling.

    First when we went on it and now that we want off. I’m sure there are great success stories to be shared and I may have been one of them at another time, but I know now just how painfully horrible life can be. But I also know some mental anguish can be endured and conquered. When we become dependent upon anything other than a higher power, particularly when it’s our own will, we only compound or mask that pain. The Lexapro withdrawals will subside within weeks or a couple of months for most.

    While that’s happening, talk about it with other people in a forum like this, pray to a higher power when it gets bad and be thankful to that higher power when it’s good. Read, watch TV, go bowling, spelunk… whatever you can bring yourself to do and… it will pass. If you’re hearing voices in your head, tell them to shut up. If you’re dizzy be careful not to fall. Brain zaps, insomnia, ugh. I just write really long posts on forums until 3 am and fall asleep at my computer. Good luck. God bless. I hope this helps someone out there.

  • Yvonne April 20, 2015, 11:03 pm

    I had been on 40 mg. Lexapro daily, for about 10 years. Suddenly, during my last med check, my doctor told me I had to go off because I’m over 60 years of age and warnings to physicians say that dose and my age can cause heart Arrhythmia. He gave me a plan to taper off over a month’s time, then I was to start Effexor. I got to the end of the Lexapro taper-off and had barely started on Effexor. One day I woke up with severe nausea and vomiting. I spent the next 4 days, unable to eat or drink anything. That progressed to severe dehydration and erratic blood pressure.

    I’m now 6 weeks past the first “draw-down.” I no longer have vomiting. Nausea happens several times a day. I stumble badly and have nearly fallen many times. I have so many of the withdrawal symptoms others have mentioned, I can hardly believe it. I am beginning to wonder if I’ll ever feel normal again. Like so many others on this website have said, if I had known how awful the discontinuation would be, I never would have taken Lexapro. I am unhappy with my Psychiatrist for not being more forthcoming with details of what might happen. Unless my depression becomes unbearable I will not take SSRI’s, ever again. The cure is almost worse than the disease!

    • T58503 May 15, 2015, 4:45 am

      I can’t BELIEVE you had to taper down that fast! Longer time would have made the side effects a non-issue. So sad the doctor is stuck on an age. I hope your new drug will be a good replacement, and will be thinking of you…T

  • Kathryn April 23, 2015, 9:20 pm

    I was on up to 60 mg of lexapro recently but mostly on 40mg for the last 15 years. The dumb doctor took me off the last 20mg cold turkey and my brain feels like it’s being zapped non stop. I want to yell and cry at everyone and I feel super nauseated. If this lasts as long as some of y’all claim I’ll never make it. I’m totally non functional.

  • Susan April 26, 2015, 7:06 am

    I was on 20mg of Lexapro for approximately 15 years and on Cipramil for about 5 years prior to that. I recently questioned myself on the need for me to continue with the Lexapro after being on it for such a long time, and I also read that after the age of 60 (I’m 61) the dose should be no more than 10mg. I also believe that in the early days my depression was situational and that, 20 years on, my ‘situation’ has changed dramatically for the better.

    Even though I visit my doctor regularly, she has never queried my continued use of Lexapro (and I’ve never queried it), other than to offer me a new script so, instead of consulting with her, I decided to wean myself off gradually over 3 months. I used to get brain zaps every afternoon even when taking the medication, however their frequency and intensity upon withdrawal was something else. Fortunately, 5 weeks after taking my last tablet, they have subsided a lot and I only experience the odd weak one from time to time.

    Other symptoms which I have that I attribute to withdrawal are: nausea (gets worse as the day wears on), loss of appetite (unheard of for me), anxiety, restlessness (especially in legs in bed at night resulting in insomnia), spaced out feeling, feeling very emotional (crying at slightest thing), feelings of dread, shakiness, tiredness and feeling unmotivated. I have a friend who has successfully weaned herself of Lexapro and she said that it took a good 8 to 9 months until her withdrawal symptoms had completely subsided.

    She has lost a lot of weight which she believes is due to stopping the medication as she says that she is now eating more than ever and the weight is still dropping off after all this time. So I know that I have to be patient and I believe it will be for the best in the long run. After reading the experiences of others here on this Forum I realize that a lot of you are doing it tougher than me, so good luck and thank you for sharing.

  • Stella April 27, 2015, 5:09 pm

    Hi all. I’m 26 years old, and was on Lexapro (different name where I live) 15 mg for 8 months due to mild reactive depression. It really helped me out in the most difficult moment so far in my life. Since then I had a lot of therapy with a good psychologist, I felt much better and 2 months ago I decided to stop taking the medication. I did 2 months of tapering (1 month on 10 mg, 1 month on 5 mg), and ten days ago I quit – following the schedule planned with my shrink.

    Side effects during the treatment were anxiety (which fortunately lasted shortly), extreme tiredness, hands shaking, weight gain (around 10 kg), delayed and pleasure-less orgasms, dizziness, tachycardia, absence of feelings (but that was OK because I was surrounded by suffering and I couldn’t really deal with it). Symptoms during tapering and after quitting included: super annoying restless legs during night which gave me problems in falling asleep, vivid and creepy dreams, headaches, strong dizziness (almost like balance problems), mood swings, anger and irritability with no reason (like having PMS 24/7).

    However, there were also good news: I started losing weight (which I really needed) with no effort, I have much more energy and even if I don’t sleep much it’s OK because with the meds I used to sleep around 12 hours per night. And most importantly, my orgasms are just back to normal, which is so so great. About the mood swings and the fact that I burst into tears for kind of no reason (like reading love letters on journals – my god).

    My shrink says it’s normal, life is full of emotions and I just have to learn back how to live them but also keeping them under control. Its been harder than I thought, but not unbearable: I know I have been lucky. Thank you for reading my experience, I send a big hug to all those in the same situation. Be strong, and don’t feel lonely: we’re all in the same boat!

  • T58503 May 15, 2015, 4:35 am

    Hey everyone, I feel like it’s important for me to comment–after having read other comments below. I’ve been on 30 mg Lexapro for probably 15+ years, and have decided to see how things may have changed in my brain as I’ve gotten older. I’ve been tapering off for the last four months now. Lexapro helped me feel normal. You do realize this is medication, right? Why would anyone fight a doctor about a three week trial period? I’m sure the doctor would tell you it has to build up in your system for you to start feeling “normal”.

    Some will say you may feel better very quickly–but your brain still has to get used to it. If you are depressed, you are willing to do this to get your life back. But taking it for a couple of days or weeks, stopping, and you have to stay home? Suck it up, and work through the pain, fog, nausea or whatever until your next appointment when you try a different drug. Drink caffeine. Take nausea medicine, go for a walk. Remember why you started down this path–it’s not because you have a stubbed toe.

  • TMP May 17, 2015, 10:08 pm

    I’m a 54 year-old female (if that matters). I was experiencing lightheadedness 10 years ago, and was put on Lexapro for anxiety (which I didn’t feel I had). Anyway, I took it for 10 years because I was afraid to go off it and be dizzy again. Decided to go off it though, because 10 years is a long time to go without being able to cry or have intense orgasms. I tapered off in my own way – one pill every two days for about a month, and then a full stop.

    Its been about two months and there hasn’t been any dizziness. The only withdrawal symptoms I’m experiencing are decreased appetite, impulsivity, crazy mood swings, a lot of crying, and amazing orgasms. As long as I can be careful with impulsivity (like not go out for an oil change and come home with a new car)… I will consider it a very good thing to be rid of this medication!

  • Mark May 22, 2015, 2:52 pm

    Hi All, I’ve been in Lexapro (escitalopram) 20mg for 3 years. I started with 2.5mg for 2 days, then 5mg for 1 week, then 20mg for 3 years. I started this due to Panic Attacks and anxiety. First of all it was intended to be just a 1 year treatment but then my psychology and my doctor found out that I had lot of similar symptoms when I was a kid (I am 28 now) and never treated them so they decided together to continue with therapy and with 2 more years of Lexapro.

    I started taking the meds on November 2011. A few months back I started to taper off the Lexapro. Here is what my Doctor told me. The body of humans needs 21 days to make a habit and this is for everything we need to get used to. For the brain is the same so the reduction of the pill must be very slow and every 21 days (minimum). I asked my doctor if I could choose to make that longer and she said that it will be better also. So I started to taper of 2.5mg every 45 days.

    Now I am at 10mg. I did 20, 17.5, 15, 12.5 and now I am at 10. I had no issues at all, not bad feelings not symptoms. I will save this page and I will let you know every time I reduce 2.5mg and let you know what I feel. I did sports all my life but I was very thin. (70kg) I am 1.83 meters tall. This was before starting to take lexapro. After starting the treatment I begun to do CrossFit and started to eat very health and I am now 83kg and my 13kg I increased was just muscle with no fats. I feel better than ever in my life.

    I am Argentinian. Sorry for my poor English if you see something that doesn’t make sense… hahaha. Feel free to contact me at anytime I will be happy to share my story details with any of you and help as much as possible my small knowledge. Mark :)

    • Mark June 10, 2016, 7:22 pm

      Hi Guys, More than one year later I am at 5mg now and feeling well. Nothing serious just a few anxiety symptoms but not a big deal.

  • David June 2, 2015, 5:38 am

    I was on lexapro 10 mg for about 7 months. About 2 months ago, I decided I really didnt want to have to take a pill everyday and told my Dr I wanted off. Having not consulted about the withdrawal symptoms and knowing nothing about tapering off, I thought nothing of it when she told me just to stop taking it. Well, it was a tough week or two. It really wasn’t that I was depressed, I just felt weird. The brain zaps that everyone talks about were the biggest annoyance. That is how I would describe getting off it: an annoyance.

    Each day that went by made me never want to be reliant on any substance and made me more motivated to get off it, regardless of the withdrawal symptoms. I understand that I wasn’t on it as long as many of you and was also on a low dose, but I just want others who are getting off it to know that their is light at the end of the tunnel. It took about 2 weeks before I felt back to my old self. The first week is the toughest, but it gets slightly better each day. Trust me, you can do it! And you will be glad you did.

  • Candace June 4, 2015, 2:52 pm

    Been taking Lexapro for 6 years at 10mg/day. Came off cold turkey last sunday. My feet and ankles are now swelling and feel a little sore. Is this normal??

    • Lindsay June 28, 2016, 3:08 am

      There’s no timestamp but I wanted to say yes that edema is common.

  • Raquel June 10, 2015, 10:57 am

    I took Lexapro for over 15 years, I have been tapering down for 6 months almost to nothing. I feel worse than when I started taking it. I can’t feel normal again. The stress level is very high, and the worst feeling is I can’t get rid of a gastritis. Everything I eat upsets my stomach. I wonder how long am going to feel this awful?

  • Kathy L June 10, 2015, 10:37 pm

    I took Lexapro for 2 1/2 years after losing my Mother and Father-In-Law in a 5 day span. I have been working my way off of the medication for over 6 months now by decreasing the dosage and now taking it every other day. The withdrawals are crazy, I can’t sleep but I am so tired I can’t keep my eyes open at work during the day. I am dizzy and lightheaded to the point that I hesitate to drive some days, I have numbness in my face and hands, especially my lips.

    I feel nauseous and lethargic. I am only on my second day without taking medication but I am realizing the the medical Doctors who are prescribing this stuff have no clue what it does to people. My Doctor told me to quit cold turkey and I would be fine. They need to educate themselves and their patients before prescribing medication. Next time I will know to educate myself BEFORE I take any medication. Good luck to everyone who is on this journey.

  • Toni June 14, 2015, 4:47 am

    I’ve been taking lexapro, 40mg per day for over ten years. Prior to that I’d been on effexor, worst drug ever for me. It made everything worse and the Dr solution was to up the dosage. I cold turkeyed off that and it was 6 months of hell. all of the symptoms that have been mentioned. And I’d only been on it for about 8 months. Its been 4 days since my last pills and the zaps are constant today.

    So far I haven’t had the sleep paralysis (and I hope I don’t, that was incredibly awful). I haven’t told anyone in my family that I’ve stopped them. They don’t understand that I’ve had enough and just think if I keep taking them everything will be OK. I’m also on seroquel, 600mg at night, and once I get through this w/d I’m going to start reducing the seroquel.

    I’m just so tired of taking pills. If I talk about not taking pills I’m told they they keep me stable but I want to know if I am stable without them. I’d like to keep a check on myself by posting where people understand. I note that one of the w/d side effects can be suicidal ideation. I am scared of that. the rest of it is awful, but physical and I know it will pass eventually. My thoughts changing is what scares me.

  • Amy June 19, 2015, 12:37 am

    This is all very helpful. I went off cold turkey when I kept forgetting to pick up my refill at CVS. I was having a lot of stomach bloating on Lexapro and wanted to lose weight, plus I didn’t have a lot of energy. Quitting cold turkey was really quite misguided! Mostly struggling with quite a bit of nausea even though its been about a month now. Thought I had some kind of fatal disease but I bet it’s withdrawal! Also a bit manic. But loads more energy and some spurts of increased creativity and productivity. It is so helpful to connect with other people in this boat. I was just starting to think I was going crazy!

  • Mermaid June 19, 2015, 5:21 am

    I’ve been on 20mg escitalopram for 5 years for PTSD and depression. Tried reducing to 10mg a year ago but after 2 months, had a major relapse and had to go back to 20mg. After a few months though, felt it wasn’t helping, so I became my own guinea-pig and took an extra 10mg to see if it would help – you bet it did. This ‘test’ showed me that I would need to increase my dose to feel better – and then what, after another year would I need to increase it again to 40mg?

    No. It was time to plan another taper but this time, in combination with supplements and antioxidants. So in Feb 2015, I started taking 200mg S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe) and 600mg N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC) and B3 (Niacin) for 2 weeks in addition to escitalopram, then halved the escitalopram while still taking supplements…after 4 months all is well…had anxiety and ‘brain fog’ for first week but have been OK on 10mg without a relapse.

    I feel better in the mornings now (usually couldn’t get out of bed till round 10am). These supplements aren’t for everyone, but just sharing what has worked (so far) for me and what hasn’t worked. Onto my next taper now… peace and love to all!

  • M. July 6, 2015, 5:08 am

    My friend is having problems with withdrawal having stopped these a month ago and wanted me to find some information. First thing, these comments are so helpful! Thank you all for being honest and frank about your experiences, you have really laid to rest many of her concerns. She thought she might be losing her mind with the disassociation of thoughts and not feeling like she is herself.

    Second, I am quite concerned with how readily this drug is being prescribed by Doctors. It sounds alot to me like the heavy withdrawal, deep psychological and physiological effects it has are somehow on a par (or worse) than the initial depression. I don’t know much about it at all but my impression is not a good one. Anyway, once again thank you all so much.

  • SJ July 7, 2015, 3:29 am

    I began my taper in December, 2014 by reducing my dosage 10% of the weekly dose. That was my schedule until May when my anxiety and irritability reached a point where it seemed either I needed to up my dose to stabilize or hold tight on the current dose until I stabilized. It was a tough decision as my husband really wanted me to up my dosage to relieve the symptoms but I decided to stay the course and work through the difficulties.

    During this period my patience was at an all time low, raging over nothing was common and suicide ideation creeped into my days as well. Lack of energy, occasional nausea and light headiness had also returned. I don’t recommend my decision to anyone as I believe upping my dose by just a little would have saved me and my family concern and discomfort but it was the course I took.

    There really is no hurry and I had even mentioned in a previous post that I didn’t care how long my taper schedule took as long as I was moving forward but the thought of upping my dose seemed as if I was losing ground. Clearly that wasn’t the case and those thoughts perhaps was an indicator of my state of mind. At any rate, within 3 weeks I was feeling better and my family could clearly see I was stabilizing.

    After some thought I decided to change my taper to 5% and I have hopes of experiencing fewer withdrawal symptoms. Thanks to all of you who have posted, please continue with your updates.

  • Rebecca July 8, 2015, 1:10 pm

    Hey I’ve been reading through all your comments nice to know I’m not alone. I’m trying to come off lexapro for the 3rd time in 2 years I’m determined this time as some of the stress has gone from my life. I have been “tapering off” as recommended. I kept forgetting to take the lexapro & felt it was my saying time to get off because I didn’t need them anymore, when I really needed them I NEVER forgot.

    It’s extremely hard the side affects have been so bad that it makes you feel like your not better yet & need to go back on. Very confusing!! I’ve experienced the teariness, brain zaps, overwhelming tiredness, hopelessness and lack of concentration. But I’m hanging in there because I feel like I’m doing the right thing lexapro helped me when I needed it but now I feel I can handle it without them. Praying I can make it the few months for these symptoms to pass. Good luck others out there.

  • Dwayne July 9, 2015, 7:07 pm

    First, I would like to thank everyone who has shared the details of their journey with Lexapro. I began taking it close to 5 months ago and I am currently on Day 8 after quitting cold turkey last week. I know it sounds cliché, but if I had known then what I know now – I would have never agreed to start taking this drug. I have always been a slave to my faulty psychology. I have been diagnosed as major depressive with a healthy dose of PTSD. My “episodes” can last anywhere from a day to a month. I have always possessed the typical depressive traits.

    If you are reading this you are likely already familiar with that list. I understand the components and contributing factors for my affliction: inherited genetic factors from my mother, extreme physical and emotional abuse as a child and the lonely and complicated journey of coming to terms with my homosexuality. I have always understood the Why…but never the How. How do I make it stop? How do I move on? How do I become whole? I thought Lexapro and psychotherapy would be the answer. After days of crying and weeks of contemplation – I decided to take the plunge.

    Initially, things were fine…but then side effects slowly crept in – weight gain, inability to focus, emotional numbness. It seems there was a new side effect every other week. Eventually they outweighed the benefits. I made the informed decision to quit – cold turkey. I understood the dangers, reached out to friends and researched natural ways to counter some of the withdrawal symptoms (fish oil, 5htp, melatonin, B vitamins, etc.) It has still been hell.

    I feel as if I am existing outside myself. I feel as if the world is whirling around me and I can’t seem to keep up. I exercise daily and have restricted my caloric and fat intake and my weight is STILL increasing. The insomnia alone is enough to keep me agitated and impatient; and the vertigo just makes it impossible to feel physically or emotionally steady. But I will push forward – without Lexapro. I am not sure when my withdrawal symptoms will subside but I have to believe they will. They must – right? The only consistency in my life is my inconsistency. This will change. Change is certain. Change is necessary. Change is life. I choose life. Thanks for reading.

  • KH July 16, 2015, 7:30 pm

    Major vertigo/dizziness/headaches after withdrawal being on 10mg for 6 months. What has helped me is Dramamine Motion Sickness Relief — Non-drowsy with Natural Ginger.

  • RH6 July 18, 2015, 11:59 pm

    This is really helpful, thanks to all who shared their experiences so candidly. I started taking celexa 13 years ago and switched to lexapro sometime several years back, but finally decided I was leaning on a drug that wasn’t doing me much any longer. Things in my life are stable, which they weren’t when it was prescribed.

    So I decided to self-taper, after reading directions online. It has been about six weeks since the tapering started and two since I stopped the medicine completely, and I’m pretty damn miserable. Depressed and anxious mostly. I have not seen much improvement, but after reading the blog will hang on a few weeks as I’d really like to be med free. -RH

  • WD July 28, 2015, 9:37 pm

    Wow, I’m glad to see I’m not the only one with side effects, but more than that I hate to see so many others are experiencing it. I was put on 20mg over 5 years ago for anxiety. Turned out all I had was tachycardia that was causing the anxiety, I found this out a year later after the Lexapro wasn’t doing any good. Trying to get off of it has been one of the hardest things ever, I’ve experienced just about every side effect listed in the comments of others.

    I’m down to 5mg every other day as I cut myself down and the side effects are no appetite, trouble concentrating and just overall lack of interest in anything, some episodes of depression here and there, but NO brain zaps… they were the worst for me. With them I couldn’t function, couldn’t drive safely so I didn’t. Since taking it it has actually given me a real generalized anxiety disorder which sucks, but I’ll never take another SSRI again.

    My doc just started giving me small doses of Xanax which treat the anxiety without the “high” (which is why it is abused soo much). This works wonders and I actually feel like my old self before I ever started taking any of these meds. I’ve been on Xanax before and when I stopped I never had any withdrawal symptoms. I’m not pushing for others to try taking any other meds, I’m just saying what has worked for me and may be worth discussing with a doctor about.

    I hope that as I cut the Lexapro even more over the next few months I’ll be completely off of it by the fall. I believe this med, Lexapro, and other SSRIs should be off the market completely. Looking at all the horror stories of patients how can they justify the small percentage of people that it may actually help? I’m sure there are safer options for those patients.

    I think that the only reason that SSRI’s gained so much traction in the first place is because they were being pushed as drugs that wouldn’t be abused for recreation. If that’s the main factor for approving a drug, well, I think that is a major sign of trouble in the health care industry as a whole, but that’s a whole other topic… Thanks for sharing your stories everyone it’s good to not feel alone when going through these effects, a lot of people don’t believe what it’s actually like, which sucks LOL.

  • Lauren July 29, 2015, 5:08 am

    I have been taking Lexapro for the last 13 years. I have been on a dose of 30mg for 8-10 of them I think. It’s been so long I can’t remember. I have attempted to taper off before but always chickened out. I’m now over 30 and am hearing up for getting pregnant. My psych dropped me to 25 for the next two weeks then we will check in. Its been almost a week and I’m feeling crazy.

    I have had dizzy spells, funky stomach, insomnia, anxiety, racing thoughts, low appetite, OCD, anxiety related thoughts, increased libido, feeling like I’m going to cry then laughing. I’m worried about what I will be like off the meds. Life was awesome on them but I’ve always wanted children. I don’t drink or smoke or take any other medications. I eat a good diet and am active but don’t run or workout but walk a ton.

    I’m terrified it will take forever to feel okay since I’ve been on the meds so long and on such a high dose. Has anyone experienced withdrawal from this high a dose? Any suggestions? Am I screwed? I’m entering my second and final year of grad school and I’m worried this tapering will make it too hard to succeed. I’m getting older though and want to have my body be ready for children in the next few years at least. Help!

    • Kevin July 30, 2015, 5:08 pm

      Lauren, you are in for a wild ride! 8 years at 20mg a day. I weaned off over a 6 month period under my docs supervision. My last month I was doing 5mg every other day. Thats when it all started! Everything mentioned above is true. The brain zaps are starting to subside after 3 months of no Lex. Anger remains a problem.

      I am pissed at the whole world and my fuse is always lit. My mind races again as I can think about hundreds of things that I need to do all the time. My emotions are all over the place. Mostly pissed, then sad, then pissed. Laughing and joy are rare for me. Suicidal thoughts sometime happen for no reason.(Just thoughts) I have lost about 10lbs, cant remember anything anymore (granted I’m 47) and am always tired.

      Feeling overwhelmed is constant. I know this is not what you wanted to hear but there it is. I have considered going back on it but I don’t want to be numb to the world anymore (that’s what Lex does to me). The suffering is worth it because I know eventually I will get back to normal. I have read that some people take YEARS to return to normal.

      I hope this is not my case or yours! OK, now for the positives of 3 months Lex free: My libido is back and I have lost about 10 lbs. That’s it. Good luck!

  • Julie August 1, 2015, 9:43 am

    I have been on an antidepressant since I had post partum depression with my 2nd child 5 years ago. I was on Cipram which was great until they discontinued and now am on LexaPro. I was only 10 mg but a few months ago wanted to go off, and now am down to 2.5 every night and am nervous to start going off every other night for 2 weeks then I’m done. I too have been feeling dizzy, seeing floaters, irritable, etc.

    I know I still have a road ahead of me once I discontinue. It seems like the side effects keep going for awhile even after being off of it. Now I’m telling anyone who asks my opinion not to go on Lexapro in the first place if you can avoid it. I have a great supportive husband who’s been going through all this with me and keep praying that going off with go smoothly.

  • SJ August 10, 2015, 3:55 am

    Changed my dosage August 1 and even the slight 5% has me feeling withdrawals. Having been on 10 mg of Lex for 12 years I can see this is not going to be a short trip. I’ve stated before that I don’t care how long it takes but with feeling withdrawal at a 5% decrease is disappointing. I also noticed my BP is elevated. Is this associated with the decrease or something else? I’ve felt punk since around August 5 and hoping the 15th will bring improvement. Really amazed with people who successfully made it through the taper process and those who went cold turkey…oh my, you’re tougher than me.

  • Joey August 14, 2015, 5:56 pm

    So I decided that I wanted to quit taking lexapro (20mg) for the second time. The first time I tried cold turkey but couldn’t stand those “zaps”. I went back on it and slowly tapered off but I don’t think I did for long enough because those “zaps” came back. I tried different type of all natural pills and medicines and nothing worked. Until I took only two 5-HTP pills and woke up with those “zaps” immediately gone. So I high recommend it and it did wonders for me. Good luck !

  • Imran August 19, 2015, 7:45 am

    I have taken escitalopram 10mg for six months, now a month ago I have stopped taking it. I experience the same side effects mentioned above except insomnia, I feel brain zaps and some kind of wheezing sounds in my ears all the time specially when jogging or walking. My depression and irritation have returned even more worse than before. Should I restart Escitalopram? Kindly suggest me.

  • SJ August 21, 2015, 4:43 am

    Committed to 5mg Lexapro until I stabilize. I had hoped for a shorter trip but not totally disappointed as I’m still moving forward. August has been tough and at this point I plan on continuing 5mg the entire month of September. Please keep posting progress.

  • Matt August 24, 2015, 4:33 pm

    Figured I’d add my own story to chain. Currently withdrawing from both 30mg mirtazapine and as much as 20mg lexapro. It’s been a week since my last crumb of either. Most of my symptoms I had while on the drugs: anhedonia, concentration problems, insomnia. Like Kevin above, I quit because I was tired of feeling numb to the world (not to mention downstairs). I have no idea how long it will take my neurotransmitters to rebalance, or if I will be able to maintain my career in the process, but life on SSRIs is not living; it’s existing.

  • E August 31, 2015, 5:03 am

    I have been on Lexapro 10mg for about 8 years. I felt I didn’t need it anymore. My doctor told me to cut it to 5mg for about a week then stop. I have to say I always drank wine while taking this drug. I have a pretty good social life and now worry about drinking and this drug. Well I have been off it for about a week and feeling not right. First of all I have having problems sleeping, feeling dizzy, headaches and bloated. I start back to school soon and
    not sure how I am going to deal with this. Any suggestions?

    • Aaron September 1, 2015, 6:06 pm

      Pay close to attention to your body and mind. For me, it didn’t get really bad for several weeks to months. If I had to do it over, I definitely would have taken MUCH more time to wean off… 8 months later, I’m still thinking about going back on.

  • Greg L September 1, 2015, 5:08 pm

    There are no magic pills. Antidepressant withdrawal is daunting, not to be trivialized. Be careful.

  • Aaron September 1, 2015, 6:05 pm

    I stopped taking 15mg of Lexapro abruptly in December of 2014. I know it was a mistake but I really don’t want to go back on it. The discontinuation syndrome is horrific. It’s still very bad. It made my tinnitus much worse. The brain zaps are still around. They’re not nearly as bad, but they’re there. I have this type of tension headache that sticks around… it moves around my head, gums, roof of my mouth, teeth… all around my head.

    There’s nothing wrong with my sinuses or teeth, it’s the withdrawal. I’m really congested. I have a tingling in the middle of my spine and there’s nothing wrong there. It moves around, I think it’s from the withdrawal. The depersonalization is bad, the anxiety is absolutely horrible. The depression is quite bad. I have this intense look in my eyes and have a hard time looking at or talking with people for very long… and I love people, normally.

    I just don’t want to back on any drugs. It’s a tiny bit better then a few months ago, but it’s still very bad. I have absolutely no libido… zero. You have to be a real fighter bear this kind of torture.

  • Sue September 11, 2015, 4:25 am

    I was on lexapro for about 6 months for depression. The highest dose I was on was 10 mg, I cut to 5 mg because I was feeling super sleepy during the day. I decided to stop altogether several months ago and I reduced the dose by half every couple of weeks – yes I was only taking .125 mg a day when I stopped. I initially got headaches but they went away pretty quickly.

    What really bothers me is the vertigo/dizziness. I’m determined to stick with it since I have more energy and am a lot less sleepy during the day. I’m going to try the supplements suggested in one of the comments below. Thanks for all the helpful information.

  • Barbara Henneke September 13, 2015, 11:28 pm

    I always suffered from Pre-menstrual dysphoric syndrome, much worse than ordinary PMS. I never sought help because I didn’t think there was any help available and my gynecologist wasn’t much help. I thought that after menopause my hormones would change and it would go away. That didn’t happen. I couldn’t find anything about this in any literature, so couldn’t decide between treatment from a psychiatrist or a different gynecologist. My family doctor put me on Lexapro for crying, irritability, aggression, etc., eventually 40 mg, which I took for 2 years.

    I guess I reached a plateau, so I quit by tapering off myself. My irritability, depression, crying, etc. have returned. My side effects seem to consist of night sweats, wakefulness, and daytime dizziness. But, how do I distinguish some of these from hormonal imbalance or needing another psychiatric drug? Sometimes the depression, crying seem so cyclical. That’s why I’ve always believed it was hormonal. I’ve been toughing this out for years on my own. Any thoughts? I’d really like to see a psychopharmacologist.

  • Diane September 14, 2015, 12:00 am

    I can’t tell you how relieved I am after reading many of these comments and this article. I truly thought I was permanently screwed up! Was on Lexapro for close to 10 years – first for post partum depression then for my second child PPD and the death of my father. Really didn’t feel any benefit and had unexplained weight gain and NO libido. NONE. So I tapered off very slowly and my doctor gave me Wellbutrin to aid with withdrawal and it really seemed to work. Normally I wouldn’t think of starting something new but I know how bad withdrawals can be.

    The Wellbutrin really helps but I still have concentration trouble, I have ZERO patience with my kids (this is the part that kills me the most), and I am anxious. Begging my husband to hang in there, that my mood swings are normal, but I understand he’s frustrated. I wish I could just fast forward because I’m not the mom I want to be, but I know that being on something isn’t the answer for me. Thanks to everyone who shared – it has helped!

    • Kim December 1, 2015, 8:16 pm

      I hope you are evening out now. Hang in there. I have the same impatience with my children who are now older teens. Knowing others feel this when they go off Lexapro really helps.

  • Sandra September 14, 2015, 4:53 pm

    I have had the worst withdrawal symptoms after being on Effexor for years. Back then it took me 9 months to taper off, and I promised myself I would never get back on any antidepressants. Until last year when I struggled with difficult life events. I took some Escitalopram for a year and stopped last week after dropping from 10mg to 5mg for a week. Same symptoms as with my previous experience of SSRI withdrawal.

    My doctor mentioned that I should not have any, as well as my spouse, who is a doctor as well. They both undermined the effects of withdrawal which makes me think that most health professionals don’t mention those to patients about to start and/or quit the medication. I feel dizzy, I have no emotion and feel lifeless. I am confused (probably because I am so dizzy all the time), my eyes feel strained, I have restless sleep because of the crazy vivid dreams I have all night, and I have sweats and hot flashes that force me to bring extra clothes at work and change at least once during the night because I wake up drenched in sweat.

    I know from experience that these symptoms will go away eventually, but they are difficult to manage while they last. Good luck to all of you out there going through it like me! It gets better eventually :)

  • Eric September 15, 2015, 3:38 pm

    So far so good. From 10 mg since sometime in 2006 to cutting those pills in half 5 mg for two weeks. It has now been six days. The most prevalent symptom is a form of brain zap and feeling a little weird. I don’t think I would call it full fledged depersonalization. Overall I am good!! I really wanted to share that it is not all bad.

  • KS September 21, 2015, 10:20 pm

    I have been on lexapro for almost 8 yrs, 20 mg. I went on because I was having multiple panic attacks every day, beginning a few months after my dad died. I am also on Wellbutrin (for 6 yrs) because the lexapro screwed up my dopamine levels. (Apparently this happens to 15% of people who take lexapro.)

    I have tried to go off lexapro 4-5 times. I am trying again w/ a slow tapering off. Have been on 15 mg for almost a month, and will go to 10 mg at 30 days. Then I will see how I do, before attempting 5mg. The longest I have made it before, after tapering to 10mg, is 6 weeks total.

    Having tried before I know some of what to expect. This site helps validate that my symptoms aren’t just in my head. (Thank you!!) It is the anger & anxiety that have proven to be my worst problems. Plus I’ve gained 40 lbs while on the drugs. (My doctor denies that is why.)

    This time I am also taking some supplements & keeping a journal, so I am hopeful I can get off it for good. Reading everyone’s stories helps too. Knowing I am not alone. Wish me luck!

  • Stephanie September 22, 2015, 2:27 pm

    I read most of the comments on here and I’m sorry if this is a repeat. I, like you, thought I could easily come off Lexapro without weaning, because my doctor told me there wouldn’t be any side effects. Wrong, so very wrong. Anyway, I saw some were asking about how this drug effects pregnancies. I have had three children, while on Lexapro. Here is how it went for me.

    Boy 1- I was assured Lexapro should still be taken for my mental heath. I continued on the same 10mgs. He was born at 8lbs 15oz. He wasn’t floppy, but he did have lower tone. He was a W-sitter and his joints are still very flexible and lax. I nursed him for 11 months and weaned him by 13 months. He did not walk until he was 16 months old due to low tone and the laxness of his body. He received physical therapy for 6 months to help strengthen his muscles and help him learn to walk. He had no withdrawal symptoms, perhaps because he was weaned off my milk. He is very happy go-lucky, laid back kid.

    Boy 2- I wanted to prevent the low tone, so I cut the Lexapro to 5mg. I was so miserable with this pregnancy from beginning to end. Looking back, I wonder if I had been going through a little withdrawal from backing down the med. On top of that, I was so sick the entire time. It makes me wonder how this drug effected him, if he too was going through withdrawal. He was born at 9lbs 3oz and walked the week of his first birthday. I’m not sure it was worth it, because this child screamed ALL day. If he wasn’t sleeping, he was screaming. It was hell. They said he had severe reflux. We put him on Zantac and Prevacid at the same time. I stopped nursing by 2 months due to his inability to tolerate my milk. Eventually, we ended up on soy, which seemed to help. He was a miserable child until at least 9 months of age when he started becoming normal. He is still quirky, and we did have him tested for autism, but they ruled that out. He is a nervous child and a worrier. He is now 6 years old and he is starting to adjust to life. It’s been a long, difficult road with him.

    Girl- Somehow I convince my husband to have another. He said if the second had been born first, we would never have had any others! Three always felt right for me. I went back up to 10mg of Lexapro. The pregnancy was easy, no complications and was much like Boy 1. She was born at 8lbs 6oz. Girl is a W-sitter, but was never as low tone as Boy 1. She did not walk until she was 14 months old, which isn’t too bad. The concerning thing was that she would pull her feet up and refuse to put weight on her feet. She had physical therapy as well for about 3 months. She also nursed until she was about 12 months old and was weaned. She is also laid back, happy-go lucky. I never notice any withdrawal symptoms with her either. I always thought it was interesting the differences with the pregnancies. There are no studies done, that I know of.

    • Lindsay June 29, 2016, 12:54 am

      I don’t think they ethically can do studies of pregnant women using drugs. I was taken off of lexapro for each pregnancy. My first son is extremely flexible and began walking on his first birthday. One of my twins is not as flexible, the other doesn’t like putting weight on his legs, and neither are walking yet at 16 months.

      The oldest didn’t talk much until after two to two and a half and while the babies can say a few things they, too, prefer not to. The oldest is nearly four and flat out refuses to potty train. But he has an incredible vocabulary and is very creative and mechanically inclined. I think he may be aspie like me.

  • Nan September 24, 2015, 1:28 pm

    I took 20mg of Lexapro for eight years. The reason I was prescribed Lexapro was because I couldn’t sleep. I was having some anxiety at the time, and the sleeping pills being prescribed were either not working or had terrible side affects. I never had any issues being on Lexapro, so it was easy to continue to take the drug. However, about three years ago, I was diagnosed with sarcoidosis. Since that diagnosis, I have taken steroids to deter the symptoms, and they did not work.

    Last year, the doctor wanted to prescribe a chemo pill, and that is when I decided to do some research to see if there was a holistic approach, which I did. Since September of last year, I have changed my diet to 75% alkaline and 25% acidic foods in order to keep my body’s PH balance neutral. Since all medication is acidic, I decided to stop taking Lexapro and gradually reduced my dosage for approximately a month and a half. This process began in December of last year.

    The first symptoms I endured were anxiety, crying, chills, and nausea. I could not get warm. I had to run a hot tub bath every day/night in order to get warm. The next symptoms were brain zaps, fatigue, clumsy, and constantly feeling car sick. That lasted for at least a month. The worst of the symptoms lasted for at least four months. Although the worst of the symptoms are over, I still experience extreme body sensations in the middle of the night and a desire to cry.

    I sometimes experience these body sensations during the day, without the desire to cry. I also am still clumsy. At this point, nine months being off the drug, I still don’t feel normal. I, like so many others, would never have taken this drug if I had known the withdrawal symptoms would be so awful. I hope that soon I will begin to feel like my normal self. It is sad to know that I have gone through all of this because I couldn’t sleep.

  • mark September 25, 2015, 3:51 pm

    Holy cow How many of us are out there? I am in absolute disbelief how such a massive secret can be swept under the rug by the medical community. I’m with you NAN. I’m 13 months off that damn poison and I don’t feel normal yet. Granted some things have improved dramatically but this is ridiculous! Can we all get together and write a book, or sue the damn drug companies who withheld all the Withdrawal information?! It’s bullshit and there are so many of us in the same spot. We are not a minority in this. Most people don’t get off these meds, and when they do, doctors tell them the side effects are in their head. We need to stop the madness!

  • Jennell September 28, 2015, 12:35 pm

    I’ve been on lexapro for about two years. I felt like a zombie with no feelings, I didn’t get mad, but I didn’t get happy either. I went on it shortly after having my second daughter. I think I had some postpartum depression. I have always been against these drugs, but now I know they do help people with depression, and it did help me a lot…but after being on it for a couple of years, I decided I didn’t need it anymore.

    So I went to the doctors and told her that I’m not depressed, but I feel like I don’t have any emotions either. She though maybe the lexapro was not doing anything for me. So we decided to try Wellbutrin. Well, I decided that I don’t want to be on anything and decided to stop. Well its day 4 with out, the previous week I took one every other day. The 2nd day I stopped completely, I had a major panic attack, which I have had these before and they’re not fun.

    Had to take a .5 of a ativan to calm me. So decided to research the withdrawal symptoms…so glad I found this post, cause I’m not sure of what I’m going through and if it was normal or not. Brain zaps wow, feeling a outside of my body feeling, yep. Dizziness, yep, But I have noticed I am starting to feel a little more. I have always been a high energy person, even on the lexapro, meaning I always got my stuff done.

    I don’t think that has changed cause yesterday regardless of how I felt, I still had the to do, going for me. But today I woke up in a fog. Very tired, feeling of a high. I have a strong mind, and I am determined to get through it. Hoping this feeling does not last long and I get my pre depression self back!! I just want to feel my emotions again!!

  • Donna October 1, 2015, 2:59 am

    I’ve been on Lexapro for almost 10 years off and on. This time has been the longest I’ve taken it uninterrupted (~5 yrs). I did the taper method, and much more conservatively than the Dr. recommended; 5mg/wk for 4 weeks. I started at 20mg and I was completely off last Friday (9/25). I’m surprised that I feel just as bad as I did when I stopped cold turkey one time. But having done some research, that is likely due to the longevity of the dose taken.

    I can manage many of the “discontinuation symptoms” such as the low grade headache, insomnia, increased energy and decreased appetite, inability to focus, dizziness…

    I really don’t like the “brain zaps.” It feels like someone has put my head on an elevator and cut the cables at the top floor. That’s really what causes the nausea for me. I’m not particularly fond of the sweating either, but I did that anyway (GAD) just not quite so badly. Has anyone experienced being extremely cold as one of the discontinuation symptoms? I can’t get warm to save my life…

    I am hoping that these symptoms will subside in the next week b/c I don’t think I can handle feeling like this for 3 months. I do remember in previous discontinuations, the “major” symptoms only lasting 2 weeks and being symptom free in 4 weeks. We’ll see though — I’ll keep you posted.

    • Joyce November 4, 2015, 12:38 am

      Yes I have experienced being cold. I live in South Texas and the temperature today 11/03 is still in high 80’s and after 2 weeks no lexapro I’m wearing sweats! I’m freezing!

  • W October 2, 2015, 2:38 am

    This is really helpful. I was on 40 mg for about 15 years and my doctor recently took me off because of all the research showing that SSRIs are ultimately counterproductive for bipolar patients. I’ve been on and off almost everything out there, and this SUCKS. But, reading this blog entry as well as other people’s experiences makes me feel less crazy and more hopeful. It can be so hard to remember that things like this are temporary, even as a veteran mental health patient with a neuroscience degree.

  • kara October 2, 2015, 7:06 pm

    I am noticing that most if not all of the posts from previous users were on 20mg or less. I have been taking 60mg/daily for 4 yrs and my meds were just changed three weeks ago when I unfortunately had a huge meltdown. I suffer from anxiety, depression and slight OCD. I feel like garbage! I can barely function. Between the nausea and dizzy spells all I really can do all day is lie down. Do any of you have any advice on how to deal with these withdrawal symptoms? I would be forever grateful just to feel a little bit better as seeing from previous posts this isn’t going to end any time soon.

    • Kim December 1, 2015, 8:23 pm

      Were your meds decreased? Have you tried taking Wellbutrin to help? I’m sorry you’re in such a state. Ask your Dr. about Wellbutrin.

  • Jon October 6, 2015, 9:50 pm

    I’m now 14 days free of taking any Lexapro after twelve years. Tapering and quitting was the most difficult thing I have ever done. I wrote about how I was successful here https://lifewolexapro.wordpress.com/.

    • nivek October 16, 2015, 10:07 pm

      11 October 2015 – 08:48 PM. Hello…I’ve been tapering from 20 mg and now at 1.6 mg liquid soon to 1.4mg one of the biggest problems I have experienced is terrible bloating, pain, pressure & nausea feel like I’m going to explode sometimes 2 or so weeks after cutting dose. Wondering if others experience this? Also I experience withdrawal more than once after dose reduction maybe a week apart…and am tired all the time.

      Anxiety and depression are usually short lived maybe a day or so here and there. I have had insomnia for months just can not sleep for more than a few hrs a night. Lots of other things as well. The most glaring are insomnia, gas, bloating, and nausea…wondering if this stuff is normal…please feel free to offer suggestions that may help in my endeavor. TY.

  • Tam October 9, 2015, 12:08 pm

    This is my second time coming off lexapro. I really didn’t want to even go back on it but was not coping at the time and had no choice. I was on it for 18 months. Decided to wean off due to terrible fatigue and feeling no emotion. I have found it so much harder to come off this time! I was only on 10mg. The first time I just remember having the brain zap sensation for about a week and then being fine. This time I had the brain zaps for 2+ weeks.

    Then the emotions hit. Everything makes me want to cry or laugh and I have mood swings. I’m at the two month mark and have had mild depression as well. Both seem to be improving but I’m afraid I wont get better and will have to go back on lexapro. I really really do not want to go back on it ever again. I like having energy and emotions! I actually feel like I want to avoid any stressful life situations so I never have to go through all this again. It’s horrible!

  • Mort October 10, 2015, 9:52 pm

    Everybody here whos suffering from withdrawal symptoms or knows of somebody needs to go to RXISK (dot) Org and report your side effects in order to make this medicine safer. Please guys a team of doctors started this website and is trying to help us. Just takes 10 minutes and they send a copy of your report to your country medical regulators! The medical community is unaware this can even happen which causes doctors to prescribe more meds to fix a problem that the meds caused, which only compounds the problem! Rxisk (dot) Org!

  • larz October 14, 2015, 5:07 pm

    Glad to have found this site. I have been on Lexapro for the past 10 years. I was having trouble with my anxiety and wasn’t sure why. Later I would find that I had Lupus and when it flared, it tends to exacerbate the anxiety. But when I didn’t know, it seemed as if I didn’t start the Lexapro or something, they would disregard my being open to what was happening to me.

    Long story short, 5mg seemed to work for me. As I’m sensitive to medications anyway, it seemed like that would do the trick. In honesty, as they treated the Lupus, I got better with how the flare affected the emotions. Long story short, flash to now. In the last two months, I’ve experienced the loss of my father brutally to cancer, my godfather died 4 months later. We have an empty nest as our youngest headed off to college.

    Then there is the job issues with my position hanging in the balance. All of this seems to have produced a Lupus flare, but of course, the docs think it’s all the stress I’m under. Sigh. I hate that. so they want me up to 10mg. Tried to do it. Went up to 7.5 and after five days of headaches, sweating and insomnia, I thought no…I’m not doing this.

    Went back down to my five. I am having symptoms after such a short period, but I have the insomnia, sweats, stomach issues, etc. Does that make sense to anyone?? I read about these 6 years, etc. But coming down after a few days? That said, I was having symptoms going up, so I suppose. Any help would be appreciated.

  • Jill October 19, 2015, 8:41 pm

    Could anyone help me out? I was on Lexapro for a very long time, about 9 years. I tapered from 20 mg slowly down to 2.5 mg, which I sustained for 2 months. I began to feel great on 2.5. Now I’m off of it completely and it’s been pretty bad, which I didn’t expect since 2.5 mg to nothing doesn’t seem like a big change. The idea that it could last for months is really depressing. Do you think this is likely, or if I readjusted nicely on the 2.5mg, do you think this won’t last too long either?

    • kim December 1, 2015, 8:25 pm

      Just from reading this whole comment section, I think you are ahead of the game. Others have suggested natural supplements. You might want to read back a year, see what they were. Good luck!

  • SC October 23, 2015, 3:26 pm

    It was such a relief to read this and to know that I am not crazy. I had been taken Lexa pro for 10 months (20mg) and my doctor just went up to 30mg because I was feeling emotionless on 20mg, so I thought a higher dose (30mg) was the answer. However, it was after getting the higher dose I started thinking that maybe it was the higher doses (started out on 5mg and was increased by 5mg at a time to the 20mg and then jumped to 30mg over a short period of time) that was making me feel emotionless.

    So, I decided to quit taking my Lexa pro cold turkey without consulting my doctor. By day 2 of no Lexapro, I started feeling these weird electrical shocks. I had know idea what it was or what it was from. I thought I was having mini seizures or something like that. By day 3 of this I not only had the electrical shocks, but I could harldy get up and move around without extreme pain, dizziness and nausea and of course, the electrical shocks.

    I started trying to think about what had changed in my routine. The only thing I could think of was I had stopped taking my Lexapro. I immediately turned to the Internet to Google my symptoms and abruptly stopping Lexapro. I cannot tell you how received I was to get an answer for what I am experiencing. I am now 6 days Lexapro free and although I my withdrawal symptoms have not improved (they have actually worsened to include insomnia and difficulty concentrating) I am relieved to at least know what is going on and that it will eventually pass.

    Had I known the severity of sudden withdrawal symptoms, I probably would have spoken with my doctor and tapered off, but I not interested in going back on Lexapro just to come back off.

  • RoseD October 24, 2015, 7:40 am

    FOLINIC ACID & B12 SPRAY are amazing with knocking the withdrawal symptoms. Make sure its Folinic Acid not Folic Acid. Have 2 Folinic Acid tabs a day and 2 sprays of B12 a day. I have been on Lexapro 30mg for 18 yrs and thought I would never get off it due to withdrawal symptoms when I tried to cut back. I started dropping 5mg each week then went from 10mg to nothing. Still brain zaps for two days and now just tremors but otherwise I couldn’t complain. Give it a go…

  • Joyce November 3, 2015, 4:09 pm

    I have been taking Lexapro 10mg for 11 years for anxiety. This dosage heed me tremendously, I was able to experience emotions, but they were held at a reasonable level. I truly believe this drug and a high level of spiritual faith, was a miracle for me during YEARS of issues that would have taken down the strongest. I recently started experiencing symptoms similar to the symptoms that made me start taking Lexapro in the first place.

    Rather than taking a higher dose, I decided to start weaning off the drug all together. I knew it would be difficult due to the length of time I was taking it. Although I prepared myself for the brain zaps, brain fog and high levels of anxiety, I was not prepared for the ‘flu like’ symptoms. Nausea, sweats, headaches and fatigue have been awful. But there is one more symptom that I have not seen listed anywhere and I’m hoping others will see this and open the discussion…

    I have been experiencing sleep paralysis. At first I thought it was an anxiety attack, but the brain zapping along with dreaming with my eyes wide open, overwhelming feeling of doom and evil and being frozen with fear has me rethinking coming off the drug. Overall, I am a healthy and active person. Lexapro was the only medication I took, so I am completely drug-free and that is one of my motivators to stay off this drug. I want to also add that it has taken me about 20 minutes to write this simple message, the brain fog is bad! Has anyone experienced these nightmares and paralysis?

  • Smoki November 3, 2015, 10:58 pm

    Joyce, I had terrible nightmares (along with everything else) but most of all was the irritability that after being off it for a little over two months, made me go back on it. You can read my blogs above. I felt bad about going back on it but there was no way I could continue to have a job, family & friends and absolutely no patience. Hope you do better than I did. ;(

  • Carla November 4, 2015, 4:36 pm

    I have been having withdrawal symptoms for over a year now. At one time I was taking 30 mg a day for over 3 years. The dizziness and nausea are the worst. I also have many other symptoms that are aggravating.

  • Emily November 6, 2015, 2:46 am

    Hi all, I was on lexapro 10mg for around 6 months but was on effexor before that for approx 2 years. I have now been off lexapro for 5.5 weeks and have been suffering from withdrawals as well. I am in a conundrum as what to do- to either go on another antidepressant or to just try and ‘ride out’ what may be these withdrawals. I have had extreme dizziness which comes out of no-where, nausea, re-bound depression, extreme anxiety, constant headaches and this weird feeling of ‘pressure’ in my head, trouble sleeping and irritability and paranoia.

    It’s got the the point now where it’s affecting a reasonably new relationship I am in which is worrying me. Are there any success stories here of people coming ‘out’ the other side? I also have the brain fog thing which is really hard for me with my job. I also have gained 5kg in the 6 months of being on this drug and have wondered if anyone has managed to lose that weight since coming off the drug? My GP seems to just give me very generic answers. Hoping for some help.

  • SJ November 6, 2015, 5:14 am

    I last posted in August and this process is exhausting. I’m still at 5 mg but have started reducing the Friday dosage to 2.5 mg. Yes, it’s slower than most would prefer but knowing how my responds to medication I felt it was the only way I might be successfully. I started my taper from 10 mg a year ago and still have frequent times when I feel angry for ridiculous reasons, sad and crying for no reason and as if living is just not worth the frustration.

    I’m highly sensitive to most medication and that’s why I chose the long taper but this ride is tiresome and I would love to see some success stories posted. Stories from someone who was on lexapro for years and has successfully tapered and been off for years. I’ve been on Lexapro for 12 years and tried unsuccessfully to taper off before. I’ve also gained 30/35 lbs. in that time. Hoping to be totally off before another year rolls around.

  • Victoria November 9, 2015, 6:08 am

    I am glad to find this website. It has helped me tremendously to read everyone’s posts. I have been on 10mg of Lexapro for a little over a year now. I decided to quit cold turkey because I never went by to pick up my last refill. I have been of the medication for a little under 3 weeks now. The withdrawal symptoms are coming in waves. I have had a headache everyday since I have stopped.

    Every 3 or so days I have a day of intense depression. The irritability is at it’s worst, I snap at every little thing. My poor boyfriend is getting the brunt end of all of my symptoms. Although he does know I’m going through withdrawal symptoms, it is understandably difficult for anyone to realize just how bad the withdrawal symptoms are until you experience them. My Dr was extremely nonchalant about me tapering off.

    I had 5 10 mg pills left and she told me to split them in half and take a half over the next 10 days and that it would be enough for me to taper off. Wow was she wrong. I figured after a few weeks the symptoms would subside, but the headaches continue, irritability is worsening, and I have crying spells that come out of nowhere. I have 1 more refill left of the Lexapro and these symptoms are so bad, I want to go pick up the refill.

    Should I get the refill and taper off even more slowly or will this just continue to feed my withdrawal symptoms? I wish the withdrawal symptoms were discussed before I ever went on this medication. I will never take something like this again.

  • Ron November 10, 2015, 1:02 am

    Starting Taking this drug about two weeks ago for aniexty. Just stopped today. Your comments have been helpful. Thank you all. I wish my doctor would have discussed the withdrawal issues.

  • Gary November 15, 2015, 4:00 am

    Took Lexapro 10 mg for 7 years for GAD. Began stepping down my dosage on 6/13/15 to 7.5 mg, then 5 mg on 7/13/15, 2.5 mg on 8/11/15. First day of being Lexapro-free was 9/11/15. My main issues during withdrawal and even now, two months after 9/11, have been irritability, anxiety, lightheadedness and dizziness.

    I had one episode of syncope since 6/13, but had many episodes while on the drug over 7 years. Doctors, regardless of their specialty, are no help. They show little interest and poo-poo the symptoms as being related to Lexapro withdrawal. However, they have been unable to find any other cause of the dizziness. I am very frustrated with the entire life experience and will never take an SSRI again.

    I am just trying to tough it out and hope the anxiety and dizziness will go away. Meclizine helps some and a very low dose (1 to 2 mg) of diazepam helps me sleep. I have not experienced any increased libido or weight loss as a result of stopping Lexapro. Any weight loss I am experiencing is due to eating healthy foods that taste awful.

  • E November 19, 2015, 1:25 am

    First off I just want to say that this thread of hundreds of people’s experiences with lexapro is AMAZING. I feel very lucky to have dodged several of the physical symptoms. I took 10mg a day of Lexapro for 14 months , and stopped September 1st of this year. I only tapered down my dose for about a week. I was under the impression that I was on a very “low” dose , that was obviously not true at all.

    After almost 3 months off of the drug I feel like I’m coming back to normal in some ways yet in other ways I feel changed, like something deep inside me has been altered. I am an artist, I wanted to stop taking lexapro because I felt all of the creativity had been drained out of me. So I did, yet I don’t feel the same way anymore about making art or being creative, it’s like the fire that used to burn inside me has sort of just slowly gone out over time.

    I know that this will probably take much more time to reset itself than I originally thought. My question is for anyone who chooses to read this, When did you start to get over the “depersonalization”? The feeling that you’re here in the same body yet feeling almost like a different person. I was honestly very driven in the pursuit of my passion but now it just doesn’t seem to matter very much anymore. Has anyone felt their personality return it a normal state? Your answers are very appreciated!

    • NeQ November 24, 2015, 9:07 am

      Yes I felt the same way… Dr told me that I am on ‘extremely low dose’ of 2.5mg lexapro, but in fact when I tapered gradually it still hits me pretty bad. Stopped in September 2014. Between that time and 3 months after that everything is completely fkd up. OCD, digestive problems and everything… it’s a nightmare. It’s been more than a year since I stopped, digestive problem is still pretty bad, can’t drink coffee, OCD is still there (but getting a bit better hopefully).

      In terms of your depersonalization, I started to feel like I am myself again before the drug use around September 2015. So it was about just 1 year after I stopped. The ‘double personality’ feeling did come off… but still battling the other side effects even until now. Horrible acid reflux… hopefully I can be cured soon… any thoughts?

  • Emily November 27, 2015, 1:43 am

    I have been taking 20 mg of lexapro for close to 4 years now but stopped taking it about 7 days ago. Previously I haven’t been able to go this long without it because of the severity of withdrawal symptoms, mainly migraines and brain zaps. However, I decided since this past week since I’ve been in the comfort of my family’s home and care that I would begin to get the worst out of the way. Insomnia and the brain zaps have been the worst thus far.

    I’m really hoping to stay off of it because it really worries me to be on something that adversely affects me this badly when I don’t take it. I really appreciate everyone’s insights into what has helped, especially the supplements. Does anyone know a good place to get the pharmaceutical grade fish oil and other supplements? I have 2 weeks left of grad school and would like to be as comfortable as possible during this time, as well as alleviate the heart palpitations and sweating that has also started up. Thank you all!

  • Kim December 1, 2015, 8:35 pm

    I took Lexapro for 12 years, ending at 20 mg. I tried to go to 10 several times but it was hard. Then 2 weeks ago, I took 1/2 pill, then 1/4 and have been pill free for 10 days. I’m a bit bitchy but am aware enough to hold back and realize what’s happening. The big thing is that I can cry again. I’m actually relieved at that little tidbit! Not that I want to cry all the time but I haven’t cried in years, even when I really wanted to.

    The ability to shed tears has got to be a metaphor for what was going on in my body all these years. Let me say that Lexapro might have saved me all those years ago. I know my children had better upbringings because of it. I stopped yelling and stressing about every little thing and life was much better for them. Now I want to be me again, even if that means being an emotional mess sometimes.

    I’ve been lucky so far with only some dizziness and insomnia after two weeks. I think I was actually getting immune to the Lexapro over the last few years because I had horrible headaches and anxiety and depression. That is one of the reasons I decided to try Cold Turkey again. I figured if things were bad on the stuff, it couldn’t be much worse off it.

    And now that my brain is re-learning how to cope, I’m thinking the lexapro was becoming less and less effective over the last year and I was doing my detox without knowing it. I don’t recommend Cold Turkey for everyone and from reading this blog, I see there’s a holistic supplement as well as B12 and other things you can take for problems. Good luck everyone and hang in there if you want to get it out of your system.

  • Skip December 6, 2015, 6:20 pm

    Have been on Lexapro 20mg for seven years. Several months ago I started taking 10mg every other day for 3-weeks. Then 10mg a day for 3-weeks. I repeated this process alternating 10mg and 5 mg for 3-weeks then 5mg for 3-weeks. Last step was 5mg every other day…for 3-weeks and I stopped. Headaches…you bet…have been taking Advil when needed.

    Water is important. Concentration has been hard and frustrating…just have to push your self. Upset stomach due in part to all the Advil I’ve been taking and my appetite is all over the place. Biggest concern is irritability. Have on a couple of occasions snapped at people…nothing major but something to watch. I have a feeling it will take me a bit of time to shake the effects.

    Lexapro has served me well. Depression, Panic Attacks, Anxiety…got to experience the whole gamut. Time…positive attitude…exercise even if it only to walk once a day…eat healthy…and learn to smell the roses! Good luck, God Bless…and stay strong!

  • diane December 8, 2015, 7:17 pm

    I tried multiple times to stop taking lexapro 10 mg (I had no problem going from 20 to 10). I could never get past the first three weeks after decreasing to 7.5 mg – I would get all jumpy and irritated. I googled and read all kinds of information. Finally found an article stating that one needs to decrease by 10% at a time to avoid side effects.

    How do you decrease by 10%?? LIQUID lexapro! I have had NO side effects – other than feeling real again! I went down by 10% until I got to 5 mg. After that it was by .5 mg at a time (otherwise it was going to take over a year to get to 0 and after 5mg. the decreases are so small.) I also read and follow the advice in The Mood Cure as far as taking 5HTP supplements and in Dr. Weil’s “Spontaneous Happiness” for other advice and supplements.

    I am at 1 mg now and not even sure I need to take this, but I am keeping with the plan and will be lexapro free by the New Year! Woo HOO!!

  • laural December 11, 2015, 11:46 pm

    I have been on lexapro for almost a year and decided that in the last couple of months my anxiety and just generally not feeling as good as I did when I initially started this drug. I stopped taking it 4 days ago and have had no side effects so far. If anything I am feeling more energy and less anger and not so much if any at all of having anxiety.

    I had been taking 20mg since the first day my doctor prescribed it. I hope this gives others some hope in wanting to come off this drug whether it be slowly or cold turkey. I also gained over 30 lbs with taking it. So for now I am really feeling good and no side effects so far.

  • Osteo girl December 12, 2015, 6:53 am

    I’ve been taking Lexapro 20mg for over a decade. I’m 33, a marathon runner, and a PhD student, who started lexapro for generalized anxiety disorder (biggest problem was having panic attacks while driving after a bad accident). I didn’t have any side effects while on lexapro, and I did a cold turkey stop over a week ago.

    So far, pretty minimal withdrawal. A light headache one day, and a few weird electroshock feelings in my head, but I put in 100 solid hours of publication work over the past week, so I haven’t been too affected. We shall see if this continues, but after reading some of these comments, I think I’m in for a rough ride!

    • Lindsay June 29, 2016, 12:59 am

      No timestamp. Do you have an update? Over a decade here too, 31, MA student.

  • D. Dockins December 12, 2015, 3:04 pm

    A short story – a family member was mis-prescribed for this Lexapro poison almost 3 yrs ago (10 mg). Life with it is intolerable for all of the above noted symptoms – depression!, spaciness, dizziness, nausea, insomnia, sweating and more, but attempting to quit has been a recurring nightmare. It depresses her even worse because she thinks she is stuck with this crap for life.

    Both of our lives have been ruined and her hatred for her “doctor” for doing this to her/us is bottomless. In sheer desperation, after any number of aborted attempts, we have gone to a part tablet, part liquid regimen starting late in 11/2015. Our plan is to use a simple pill splitter (to help with accuracy of the tablet cut) and supplement the tablet with liquid on a controlled downward withdrawal.

    We cut a 10 mg tablet in half, then one of the halves into quarters, then supplement that with a controlled graduated syringe. Presently at 8.2 mg and dropping .1 mg each day, yes, DAY – about 3 drops). Results? Horrid as you would expect, but the only way to get this junk out of our lives is, well… to just get this junk out of our lives. Better to feel awful on the way down and out than to go back on it and begin this rat-wheel existence yet again.

    Justice? The “doctor” who did this to her ought to be force fed 40 mg of Lexapro for about a year and then forced to go cold turkey. Assuming he lived through the experience, it would be the last time he would ever so obtusely prescribe any SSRI for any of his patient / victims. We will advise from time to time to let you know how this method turns out. Thanks… you are not alone.

  • Kendra December 15, 2015, 5:05 pm

    This is the second time that I have tried to get off of 10 mg Lexapro having been on it over six years after the death of my mother. I did the taper throughout the entire month of November 2015. The first week totally off of it I felt amazing! I had energy as I titrated down. Last Monday I hurt my back so I was convalescing. Somewhere during this time I fell apart.

    I’m exhausted, I have little appetite, I’m depersonalized. Last night one of my cats that rarely will get on my lap was all over me and got underneath the blanket on my recliner and was just purring up a storm. My thought was, she’s like the cat in the nursing home who can sense when someone is going to die. And all that night as I went to sleep is what I could think about was not waking up.

    I’ve been often on antidepressants through out my marriage of 35 years. I was melancholy growing up but generally happy. I want to be free from my brain feeling like it needs antidepressants! I’ve gained 20 pounds and for a while although I wanted to do was stay in bed anyways so I wasn’t even sure that was working. I just feel like my brain is broken.

    I’m so tired and here it is the holiday season and I don’t care. When will I feel normal again and be my happy self? Why did I feel so good during the tapering and the first week after I was totally off of them? And now I can barely get out of bed even don’t want to watch TV. I’m really discouraged.

  • Vicki December 17, 2015, 5:02 am

    Reading this makes me want to cry, my doctor had me on one and a half 20mg tablets a day, about 2 years use, she refused to refill my prescription because she wanted me to see a psychiatrist, (but I had no insurance) which forced me to taper myself down. It’s been 4 days since my last pill, and my main symptoms are dizziness and nausea. The dizziness is making my life hell. I’m a waitress and I feel like I’m going to fall over constantly. I tried dramamine today which helped with the nausea, but not the dizziness. Anyone have any tips to help combat this? I don’t know if I can last months like this.

    • andre January 2, 2016, 1:16 pm

      It’s been 10 days since I am off 10mg lexapro. I understood that every week has different withdraws for me. 1st week was the brain zaps and dizziness. Now at the second week my brain zaps almost completely vanished (maybe from fish oil I am taking for 5 months now). I still have dizziness and flu-like feelings, but the worst is my panic attacks and anxiety. 3rd week maybe it will be depression who knows. But I have hope and I believe I will be normal in 2 months from now

  • JR December 24, 2015, 4:19 am

    I had been on Lex for 8 years for GAD up to 20mg at one point. Recently tapered down from 10 to 5, then 2.5 over the course of a couple months. I’ve been completely off now for 4 weeks. I’ve had all of the typical symptoms such as headaches, insomnia, diarrhea, brain zaps, nausea, lethargy, etc. Those have gone, except for brain zaps which get less frequent and more mild by the week now I believe.

    But now I am experiencing wild mood swings and irritability as my brain tries to moderate itself. This is very disconcerting and I’m struggling as difficult life events are testing me hard right now. But I have an iron will and I refuse to go back. I am hearing a lot of estimates, from 3 months to 3 years, in returning given my duration on the drug. It varies so much by testimony that I can’t set my expectations and that uncertainty in itself is stressful. I’ve been taking vit D, fish oil, and magnesium.

    • andre January 2, 2016, 1:21 pm

      You can try L-tryptophan or 5-HTP as well. They help boost serotonin levels. Also a good B-complex is very important for recovery.

  • allison December 25, 2015, 2:59 am

    I’ve been taking lexapro for over a year now. When I went in to get my refill from the pharmacy they told me it hadn’t been a month yet, which doesn’t make sense to me because I take one a day nothing more! So I was forced to stop cold turkey about 5 days ago because didn’t think about calling my doctor.

    The second day I experienced chills and major headaches, and then yesterday my heart was acting up and ended up in the E.R., but I have history of heart problems. Today I am extremely dizzy every time I get up I feel like I’m going to fall. I believe all of those symptoms are due to withdraws. I’m glad I know why I feel this way now!

  • Heather December 28, 2015, 8:01 am

    I have been on lexapro 10mg for 12mths, before that I was on cipramil which just stopped working. I decided to wean off because I wanted to ‘feel’ proper emotions again and most of the original stressors in my life had gone. I went down to 5mg for 6 months, 2.5mg for 6 months (very hard to do even with pill cutter) an then on 16th Nov 2015 I stopped completely.

    I had read some previous people’s comments about feeling great at first, almost euphoric and energized, and I went exactly the same way, but after two weeks the symptoms of withdrawal set in, all of them. I am two and half months into being off lexapro and some symptoms have subsided (headaches, zaps, dizziness also now sleeping ok) but each day the anger, irritability, tiredness and flu-like symptoms get worse. I now, like some others, want to leave my other half and be on my own (animal instinct perhaps to hide and get well?)

    I find this new me unlikable and nasty with a tendency to lash out very quickly. I am taking all the suggested vitamins, fish oil etc, seeing a Phsycologist, but nothing is helping. I seem to be going down not recovering. My question is this, do we damage or shut down our own brain’s ability to produce the ‘feel good’ chemicals by being on artificial ones, even for a short time? Some are still suffering months and even years after stopping.

    It is very dispiriting as there are not many positive comments out there. I send my prayers and blessings to all walking alongside me on this road.

    • andreas January 2, 2016, 1:35 pm

      Your symptoms seems to be from serotonin deficiency. I recommend you try L-Tryptophan or 5-HTTP supplements. Also a magnesium, vitamin D3, and B-complex can help dramatically. A healthy diet and exercise are very important too. Also if you are near stressful situations such as at work or have other responsibilities while recovering, they may be making the problem worse.

  • D. Dockins December 29, 2015, 7:56 pm

    An add-on to our post on 12/12/2015. A few observations of other posts and given as pure opinion from lay people trying to survive the Lexapro withdrawal nightmare; sorry it is so long, but we want to be very clear. The ‘drop’ method outlined here hopefully allows brain chemistry to catch up, in its own good time, with a graduated withdrawal regimen without going crazy.

    1. Many have remarked that there is little or no difficulty curtailing from 40 mg to 20 mg, then from 20 mg to 10 mg – it is below 10 mg that so many hit ‘the wall’. We opine that, for most body weights, this is because blood concentration levels at a dosage above 10 mg keep the blood fully saturated – the brain doesn’t notice the drop in dosage down to 10 mg because the blood concentration level remains very near saturation; the body tosses the extra ‘spill-over’ away through normal processes.

    Somewhere around 10 mg, the blood concentration level begins to decrease below saturation, whereupon the long-suppressed brain recognizes that it is not getting enough of its ‘fix’ and rebels with terrifying withdrawal symptoms, which persist until the brain catches up, which generally seems interminable. This is the point where the withdrawal symptoms plague victims for so long, at such an extreme level, that it causes many to give up, return to 10 mg, suffer through yet another dosage yank-around scenario and begin their rat-wheel existence all over again ad nausea.

    2. We had originally dropped down in one day by 10% (10 mg to 9 mg), then down to 8 mg at .1% per DAY – this turned out to be WAY TOO FAST! Some victims are extremely sensitive to this ‘medicine’ and require a slower progress downward. So, we have rat-wheeled back to 10 mg and are still waiting for the inevitable dosage yank-around symptoms, which are horrible (mostly a days-long raging headache), to subside.

    Assuming we balance out well before then, we plan to start over again beginning 02/01/2016 with a method coarsely outlined by another blogger – what we term the titration method. This procedure depends on having concurrent prescriptions from your ‘doctor’ for both the 10 mg tablets as well as the liquid formula, which generally comes from the pharmacy in a 240 ml bottle at a 1 ml = 1 mg concentration (24 days). This makes it easy to calculate the dosage amount. Our ‘doctor’ (and I use the term in desperation) prescribed a 30-day refillable supply, so our pharmacy supplies the remaining 60 ml with a separate, smaller bottle – actually easier to work with.

    At first, we will use our pill splitter to cut a single tablet down to 7.5 mg (1/2 + 1/4) and supplement the tablet pieces with 2.5 ml (also = 2.5 mg) of liquid (VERY carefully measured with a graduated syringe). We will ‘hold’ at that same original 10 mg level for at least a week or two to make sure the brain gets used to the two different forms (we hypothesize that the liquid is absorbed faster than the tablet and want to give the brain time to adjust).

    Then after being pretty sure there are no repercussions, start decreasing 1 DROP at a time… wait… another DROP… wait… and so on. This method is certainly experiential, but we want to get out from under with as little withdrawal difficulties as possible – better to take more time than necessary than hit ‘the wall’. For techies interested in pursuing this method, here are some details from our personal ‘research’. We have 3 different syringes – 5 ml, 3 ml and 1 ml.

    The 5 ml is way too coarse to measure gradations as precisely as we need, so for convenience we will use a combination of the 3 ml at first and the 1 ml syringe at amounts of 1 ml and below. When we hit 7.5 mg exactly, we will just use the 1/2 tab and go back to 2.5 ml for awhile, again allowing the brain to adjust. (Throw the odd tablet pieces away – they may oxidize or otherwise lose potency if retained). I have measured that, held vertically, using the 3 ml syringe yields slowly dispensed drops at a RATE very close to 300 drops for the entire 10 mg (10 ml) original dosage.

    The smaller 1 ml syringe, probably because the nozzle end is also a trifle smaller, yields 400 drops. This means a steady decrease of 1 drop per day from a 3 ml syringe = 300 days to completion, or 10 months; 1 drop per day decrease from a 1 ml syringe = 400 days, or 14 months. Even this ‘per day’ decrease seems a trifle too fast to us; a 1 drop decrease per day from a 3 ml syringe = 30 drops per month = approximately a 10% decrease per month, quite a lot and too fast for many. Waiting an additional day in between a 3 ml syringe single drop decrease pushes the days to completion out to 600, or 20 months… and 28 months for the 1 ml syringe; so we will play it by ear.

    Perhaps the ‘wait time’ could be alternately daily or every other day, again, experiential. If we hit a (hopefully smaller) ‘wall’ at any time during this process, we are committed to maintain that current dosage, whatever it is, until the crisis subsides, then perhaps more cautiously continue on downward – it has become a desperate, now or never situation – we can’t live like this any longer. To make this long time span to completion more palatable, we plan to make this slow downward decrease a part of our normal daily routine; coffee (a must!), breakfast, medicine, then go on with our day.

    The bad news is that this rather lengthy process, as ‘safe’ as it hopefully will be, allows this poison, even though steadily decreasing, to be present at relatively high levels for quite some time; and we also don’t want to accelerate, say, below 5 mg, thinking it’s safer to increase the per drop decreases at relatively lower absolute levels (many say their experience is that this crap remains dangerous right down to the wire), so it’s steady as she goes all the way to the end. The good news is that sooner or later, this poison must release its hold on our lives and we will win… it will be us one, medical establishment zero!

    3. If any other bloggers have used or have an opinion about this method, we would appreciate feedback through this forum.

    We will advise from time to time to let you know how this method turns out. May our 2016 escitalopram experience be better than it has been in 2015! Thanks again… you are not alone.

  • rocky December 30, 2015, 7:07 pm

    Positives: Lexapro worked well for my anxiety and depression. Negatives: I’m not myself, always lethargic, lost, stomach burning, ringing in ears, and lot more. Comments: I wish I hadn’t started this medicine. I am trying to come off after taking only for three months. Started 10 mg, went to 20 mg, dropped to 10 mg. Now I’m on 5 mg per day, but still not myself and numbness in my finger tips and tongue tip, dizzy, drowsy etc. My suggestion: Try something else if you can. If lexapro works for you that is great. Wishing you all the best.

    • Lindsay June 29, 2016, 1:06 am

      It helped keep my emotions level, very true. But I haven’t felt the range, and miss the “very good “. I have tools now to help me through the harder parts. I’m hoping that’s enough.

  • Carolyn January 2, 2016, 2:01 am

    I have been taking 20 mg of Lexapro for 10 years. I’ve been off it (cold turkey) for 3 weeks because I need to see the doctor for a new prescription. The withdrawal symptoms are awful and am ready to beg a walk in clinic to give me three week’s worth to get me through my next appointment. The dizziness is the worst. I have so much to do, but am completely incapacitated. I don’t know that I can live this way for 90 days or more.

  • Brain Q. Zappa January 2, 2016, 2:33 am

    I have cold-turkeyed it from 20-30mg Lexapro a couple of times, and am currently nursing a two-week cold turkey due to bad holiday planning on my part (ran out on Christmas day) and unreliable receptionists forgetting to notify my prescriber about my refill and never returning phone calls. This will be a 2-week cold turkey until my appointment and I’m currently on day 9. I last cold-turkey’d from 20mg for three months after being on it for seven years, and it was a living hell.

    All the classic symptoms of SSRI withdrawal to a degree I never thought possible, and it only got WORSE as time went on. I could scarcely function at all. When I got back on the Lexapro, I was right as rain within a day or two. This drug does not mess around, it can seemingly cure you and/or curse you depending on your mental/physical makeup.

    At the point I’m at with Lexapro, my brain chemistry has been permanently altered, and I’m resigned to the likelihood that I’ll be on it for life. Given what I’m experiencing on this latest cold turkey, I have a love/loathe relationship with it. It has helped me through a lot of traumatic life events and allowed me to “function”, but there are time I wish I could turn back the clock and maybe go a more “holistic” route to health.

    I have a few recommendations for those undergoing a voluntary or involuntary cold-turkey from Lexapro:

    1) Treat yourself as you would if you were “handicapped” in some way … you are likely to feel emotions and mood swings you never knew existed, and these can be so random and unpredictable that you feel you’re losing your mind … IT WILL PASS … I recommend trying any and all the New Age self-healing cliches at times like these, including daily Epsom Salt baths, massage, yoga, meditation, guided imagery, relaxing music, and watching funny movies or anything to activate the laugh reflex.

    A sense of humor about the absurdity of your situation can often keep your thoughts from going into those negative patterns. Don’t despair when you find yourself pacing around, yelling at the walls and cursing the world. It will pass. Breathe, try to relax, and let your mind “do its thing” without latching on. This is a meditation technique more or less, and it works, even in the most desperate of times.

    2) Remember, Lexapro affects, to a very large degree, the central nervous system. Sudden removal of the drug from the brain makes the neuromuscular system say “WTF?!?” I spent last night (New Year’s Eve) bedridden and vomiting. In fact, no cold turkey from Lexapro is complete, at least for me, without a puke fest somewhere around the 1-2 week point. It happens like clockwork.

    Again, this is totally common, and is part of the process of the body adapting to the chemical changes. You’ll feel like dying, but you won’t, and it will pass. Again, try to relax and lay down. Find a calming distraction and let your thoughts run. I find when I try to force myself not to think about such-and-such, it makes the nausea/vertigo worse. Again, it may seem like you’re going insane at times, but it will pass if you let it.

    3) Crying. Your brain isn’t getting what it is accustomed to getting for its thought patterns to remain in balance. Thus, emotional molehills quickly become mountains, and in my experience, crying can help you decompress. Don’t be afraid of the tears, let them come and go. I’m a 35-year-old man, and if it’s true what they say that “real men aren’t afraid to cry,” then I am Hercules.

    Yesterday morning I put on Simon & Garfunkel’s Bridge Over Troubled Water and bawled my brains out. It’s a strange feeling when it happens, but I don’t fear these crying spells anymore, they are normal, and once again, THEY WILL PASS.

    4) Don’t overstimulate yourself. Wanting to be alone is common during SSRI withdrawal, and you should honor the fact that your brain is resetting itself. I often find my anxiety increases exponentially when I try to force myself into social situations during withdrawal. This is a slippery slope. On one hand, you might increase your isolation and depression by doing so, but if you expect to feel like “good old you” in social situations during cold-turkey, think again.

    I find that whenever I feel okay, small steps out into my usual habitats work best. If you work fulltime, my only advice is NEVER try a cold turkey from Lexapro. Slow and steady tapering is the name of that game. If you are cold turkeying and can take some down-time from work/family/friends, DO IT, and give yourself every opportunity to succeed by finding a healthy balance between exposing yourself to stress and letting time and rest restore your mind to homeostasis.

    I hope some of this helps someone out there navigate the treacherous jungles of SSRI withdrawal. Keep the faith, and if you believe in a higher power, there is never a better time to consult with said power. All of thesee recommendations are virtually useless without some sort of guiding faith to propel the process and keep one from losing all hope. You will be alright. Sincerely, Concerned Citizen

    • Lindsay June 29, 2016, 1:09 am

      This is amazingly written and incredibly helpful. Thank you!

  • A.H. January 5, 2016, 5:25 am

    Thank you to everyone that commented on the withdrawal of Lexapro. This was so helpful. I was on 10mg for about 6 months. My Dr prescribed when I told her I was grumpy and just not myself. I didn’t notice any difference being on it nor did I want to be on Lexapro. I stopped taking it cold turkey.

    About 7 days later the side effects hit. Flu-like issues and terrible brain zaps (learned the name from this site). From reading what others posted I started to take muti vitamins, fish oil and B-complex. I took them every 12 hours hoping to find relief. After 3-4 days of this the side effects were minimal. I plan to continue taking these for another week (double dosing) and then following the bottle instructions.

    Others mentioned different side effects at different times. I will be so pleased when Lexapro is out of my system and I begin to feel good again the natural way. You are reading this to become informed of Lexapro and the side effects. Hang in there and hopefully you find the right suggestion that works for you.

    • A.H. February 1, 2016, 2:17 am

      After a month of double dosing vitamins – I still get a brain zap here and there but nothing like in the beginning. Not sure if it’s all the vitamins I’m taking that is the key, but I feel so much better and happier.

  • judi potter January 9, 2016, 12:33 am

    Congratulations to all that are working on getting off Lexapro!! I’m on my 3rd go around getting off in 10 years but I’m only good on them for about 3-4 months when they stop working. This time it was 6 months…even went from 10’s to 20’s for about 2 weeks thru the “holidays” but found out that mostly anything over 10 mg doesn’t change any thing. Now I’m working my way off, like I’ve done before.

    One 10, every other day, for another week or so, then One 10 every 2 days, then 3 days…etc. & I will be done this month. Yes, I’m having side effects but they a livable. I can’t cry, I’m tired of feeling Nothing….I’ve lost ME & I don’t like that. One side effect is how Tired I am, but I’m catching up on much needed sleep with short naps thru out the day.

    My house is a wreck but at soon to be 69 I don’t care….I’ll fix it when I’m ready…Maybe even paint a wall soon. Yeah, I lost my creativity too. Just holding a paint brush may change my life again?? I’ve found that taking antidepressants only postpones, delays what we are really feeling… Grief, Anger, Things we can NOT control. It all comes back when you go off the pills…sometimes even harder.

    I truly understand that there are many that Need the pills but from what I’ve read, most of you don’t even want them! There’s a few things I want to mention that have helped me… A good multivitamin (from a Good Health food store…I use Solgar), a good basic B-Complex (50mg of all of them), magnesium w/potassium at night & melatonin (I use 5 mgs) 2-3 at bedtime while I read Stephen King for 20 minutes until I have to go pee (takes that long for your body to relax).

    I don’t want the life I HAD. I want the life ahead of me without antidepressants!! It’s do-able & worth the effort. Life is meant to be a roller coaster ride & I’m strapped in… ready to go. :-) Blessings <3.

  • Ipo January 17, 2016, 5:01 pm

    Took Lexapro for 14months and tapered down from 15mg to 10mg to 5mg to 2.5mg in two months. Last week took the last 2.5mg. First three days everything was fine; day four the brain zaps started. Whenever I move my eyes just a fraction to the left, I experience a short electrical buzzing zap on the right side of my body; especially in my righthand and foot. And the other way around; so zaps on the left side when I move my eyes to the right even just a little.

    Together with a heavy brain fog, bad concentration and dizziness, it altogether causes some problems to get through the day. What helps me is taking short brakes during the day for breathing exercises and meditation. (many apps for that in the appstore) It helps calming the brain and the central nervous system. It is not a solution, but helps a little to prevent thoughts going in a spin all day and prevents getting too anxious again.

  • Little Brother January 19, 2016, 8:14 pm

    When my doctor prescribed Lexapro about 6 years ago I asked him about potential side effects, like liver damaged. He assured me that it was completely safe… yeah right. Anyway about a year ago I had a blood test and one of my liver enzyme’s was high. (ALT) I haven’t touched alcohol for over 20 years. I have since stopped taking all natural medications and over the counter things like aspirin and ibuprofen.

    The only thing I didn’t stop was Lexapro, 10mg. So I had my blood tested about 1 month ago and figured my liver test would be normal but no, it was actually higher. Now I’m going through kicking the habit and am on my 12th day without any Lexapro. I have an incentive called life so it really has not been that hard. I would definitely recommend that everyone get their blood tested… if you’re on any kind of SSRI.

  • Ozzie January 22, 2016, 3:02 am

    Hi. I appreciate reading the experiences of others-it helps me understand what is normal and also to know I’m not alone. I have been grateful that Lexapro was so effective for me for the past 9 years (with a debilitating depression and anxiety that came on in my early 40’s), but have decided to try to decrease my dosage and possibly go off it completely. The side effects from Lexapro for me are lower energy, motivation, and a good bit of weight gain (20 lbs the first year-10 more since then)

    I think it is important to decrease the dosage slowly and with a doctor’s guidance. I understand how some may try to go cold turkey, especially if there are uncomfortable side effects, but there is a danger in that. I have decreased from 30 mg to 15 in the past 2 1/2 months. My doctor wanted me to go slower, so I also haven’t been completely careful in terms of doing the prescribed speed for withdrawal.

    I have agreed to stay at this dose for the next several weeks to slow my body to adjust. I have not had any brain zaps-although I am familiar with them because I had them when withdrawing from Effexor years ago, before starting Lexapro. That withdrawal was much, much worse (at least so far). My stomach is very upset and I think this is related to the withdrawal. I have had IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) all my life and on Lexapro I had a lot of stomach upset on the diarrhea end of the spectrum. I am now experiencing the opposite and it feels awful.

    I am hopeful though that it may indicate that once I am off or on a lower dose, I may have less stomach upset. I am also sweating a lot and I just realized that is likely related to the decrease in Lexapro too. If I experience any great mood issues, I would continue on this medicine, but I am hopeful that I can manage stress with mindfulness techniques and exercise and also hopeful that perhaps the onset of anxiety and depression was related to hormonal changes at the time that may have stabilized now.

    I would really like my energy back and would really like to lose the weight. On the other hand, I would sacrifice those things if I had to for my mental health. Time will tell. For those of you on this site who have not had success with Lexapro, but struggle with severe mood issues, I recommend working with a psychiatrist you like (it took me awhile to find the right person and that was a very hard process) to try other medications. In my experience, it was very, very much worth it to try other medications until I found a good fit and I have no regrets.

    I would not have been able to handle the responsibilities of life, including parenting my children, or enjoyed life as I have been able to thanks to this medication. Best wishes to all who are on this journey.

  • Robert January 25, 2016, 9:41 pm

    I’ve been tapering down from 20mg a day, which I was on for 18 months. It’s taken me two months so far to go from 20mg to 10mg. So far, so good. There are times I feel tired, or low, or a bit obsessive, but that’s just normal in my opinion. In any case, I have’t experienced any of the severe withdrawal symptoms. I should qualify that I tried once before to taper very quickly, and that did’t feel so great. I think the key is to do it very slowly, and to just ensure a good balance in life. I’ve been exercising more, which seems to help quite a bit.

  • wobbles January 27, 2016, 9:33 am

    I have been on Lexapro 10mg for around 2 years. It has helped me greatly with my panic/anxiety attacks, but I found my energy levels dropped, my libido dropped significantly and put on weight also as I was more tired than ever before. I felt my energy levels drop and couldn’t be bothered doing stuff around the house for example. I have been off the tablet for the last 5 days and found I get lightheaded and reflux/upset stomach at present.

    Headaches are minor, but have been getting them. I have been doing deep breathing techniques and that helps immensely. I have started changing my eating habits for the positive even though I was eating healthy beforehand, but as it is only earlier days, time will tell. All the best to everyone who is traveling down this path.

  • Rachael February 2, 2016, 2:24 am

    I was on lexapro for 2 years (50mg) and just finished tapering. I feel awful even after tapering. I have the dizziness, nausea, restlessness, sweats, can’t concentrate and very emotional. Any suggestions on how to deal with these and how long did these symptoms last for other people?

  • Ouch February 4, 2016, 6:17 pm

    I’m so glad I found this post. Thank you for writing it. Thanks to all the commenters for sharing their experiences. I had been ~2yrs at 20mg daily Lex. I tapered over ~ 3wks. No noticeable effects during the taper. I told my PCP I was tapering and was at 5mg at that time. He said that was as a ‘pediatric dose’ and that I might experience unpleasant but not dangerous withdrawal-like symptoms about 3 days after my last dose.

    Took my last dose of 5mg on a Sunday morning. By Tuesday I felt like crud (dizzy, tired, irritable). By Wednesday I was experiencing ‘clamminess’ and very vivid dreams. While not themselves nightmares, they’d wake me with a feeling of “fear”. By Thursday (today), I’m using ibuprofen for the headaches. My jawbone activity tracker’s telling me I’m restless at night and not getting nearly as much ‘sound sleep’.

    Which might explain tiredness, fatigue, irritability the next day. I’m on a high potency daily multi vitamin (Garden of Life Vitamin Code for Men) with an additional daily 5000-10000 IU Vitamin D3 (same brand). PCP tells me this is high, but it’s winter and I’m not getting nearly enough sunshine. I plan to reduce D3 dosage in the spring.

    I am very thankful my symptoms aren’t as bad as what I’m reading here. I attribute this in part to the supplements and vigorous exercise. Lex is powerful and risky stuff. Discontinuation Syndrome should be discussed much more openly and widely upfront. My heart goes out to those that have been through this and those thinking of doing so.

  • Kristine February 8, 2016, 7:41 pm

    I just went completely off escitalopram and went from 20 mg to 10 and finally 5 mg over the course of a few months and now I’ve been completely off for 3-4 days and I feel so dizzy, sleepy and strange I can’t hardly stand it. I just want to lay down and sleep, and whenever I do something I feel so dizzy I almost fall over.

    I also experience horrible heartburn and nausea, but that is actually something I can live with if it hadn’t been for the dizziness and feeling so sleepy. Today I went out to shop for groceries and found myself suddenly not understanding where I was and felt completely disoriented and I have no concept of time… thinking I had been in the store for 10-15 minutes at the most, I had actually spent over 40 minutes, and most of them spent staring at the fruit section not remembering or understanding where I was.

    This can’t be normal?? I have been on escitalopram for 2.5 years after becoming clinically depressed after years of hormone imbalance because of goiters – and thyroid disease. I went off it now because my hormones now have been in balance – and so has my thyroid disease for the last 6 months.

  • Sonny February 15, 2016, 8:07 am

    I just need to know that at some point I WON’T FEEL LIKE THIS. 4 years on 20mg and one month reduced by half 10 mg tapering off… I am 5 days with no medication. I went thru the brain zaps, headaches and like others thought I had a tummy bug only to realise now that it’s withdrawal. Today I am foggy, sad, frustrated and a little teary.

    I am doubting my decision to get off this medication. I worked really hard to get my mental health to a point where my doctor and I worked towards coming off this. I eat well, exercise, nothing could have prepared me for the overwhelming sadness I feel today.

    I don’t like it and I am tired of feeling tired. Body aches and pain, headache still the fatigue is horrible. Someone please tell me that at some point I won’t feel like this for too much longer? Maybe being on the medication was working better than I thought? So unsure right now…

    • Kristine February 18, 2016, 7:15 pm

      I am on my second week, soon third without the medication and I am feeling utterly and completely miserable… the withdrawals are just unbearable and I am already on a downward spiral feeling horribly depressed and irritable, sad, blue and just… blah! I am going back on it and taking my first tablet tomorrow again to get back on it.

      My doctor and psychologist both suggested I should be on it for a year longer and I didn’t take their advice and stopped way too early. I talked to them both this last week and they both suggested that I should start back up… so, listen to your doctor’s advice for sure! If you feel as bad, you shouldn’t quit either!

      • AJ March 3, 2016, 12:26 pm

        Kristine: I am going through the same thing where it’s like mini panic attacks all day long and can’t control my thinking. I try but still go down the dark path of this drink controlling me in withdrawal. Are you feeling better these last 3 weeks?

    • Turbo February 28, 2016, 7:33 pm

      Hi Sonny. You tapered way too fast and are suffering from bad withdrawal. It lasts much longer than most doctors know.What people often don’t know is that this isn’t an old condition coming back it’s a chemical firestorm in your brain. Unfortunately when doctors say you need this med for life, they are saying it for the wrong reasons. You may need it because your brain has remodeled itself around the drug and it takes an awful long time for it to come back on its own. I check out DR David Healy. Best psych doctor in the world.

    • Turbo March 11, 2016, 5:18 am

      Sonny you need to taper 10% cut on dose and wait a month or longer to see how you feel. Reinstatement at a lower dose is only way to immediately resolve withdrawal symptoms.

  • Jose February 17, 2016, 12:21 am

    Hi, Just writing my experience just in case it could help anyone out there; I was on Lexapro for 6 months for Panic Attacks. I first tried 10 mg and it was awful. It was like been on ecstasy and then a sudden crash all in 3 hours so I asked my doctor if I could reduce it, so I did for 3 months I took only 5 mg then I took 10mg for 3 months.

    This medication helped me with my panic attacks but gave me way more problems I became a teenager too impulsive, obsessive and I became ‘numb’ to emotions. So I’ve decided to stop it. When tapering the drug, my doctor told me to take 5mg for 3 days and just to be extra cautious I added another 3 days with 2.5mg. It has been 3 weeks without any lexapro and today I had a panic attack.

    It was a weird one cause I haven’t had them in more than 2 weeks. Interestingly I had more panic attacks on Lexapro. I’ve had mood swings, confusion, dizziness it’s important to tell yourself (if you suffer from Panic Attacks) that it’s just withdrawal effects and nothing major. I’m feeling way better without Lexapro I feel more human.

    There has been a couple of bad days here and there where I feel emotionless, but overall if you can never go on this drug. Also when you stop taking lexapro drink chamomile tea and take fish oil, they help greatly. Stay positive, it gets better overtime. Thankfully I wasn’t on the awful med for years.

  • Billie February 17, 2016, 6:37 pm

    I was on escitalopram (Lexapro) 20 mg for at least 5 years; prescribed for anxiety. It gradually dawned on me a few months ago that I wasn’t the same person I used to be – I couldn’t cry like a normal person, I didn’t laugh as hard as I used to, just seemed to be less of myself than I used to be. I also had horrific sweats (in Florida not a good thing) and weight gain, as well as some of the other symptoms I’ve read about on this site – joint pain, difficulty sleeping, etc.

    Since I’m in my 60’s, I’ve chalked a lot of this up to just aging. Anyway, I asked my (new) primary care doctor to wean me off Lexapro, and he tapered my dose gradually, while starting me on Buspar (buspirone) to treat just my stress/panic/anxiety. I went through withdrawal migraines, irritability, and all that. Now at about 8 weeks out, I feel like a depressive mess!

    Granted there are some situations going on with finances and family health issues, but I’m not sure where the situational depression starts and the chemical influence from the Lexapro ends. Does anyone have any experience similar to this? I can weather another few weeks of feeling this down and alone, but I’m hoping there is an end in site. I don’t want to go on another medication, and certainly don’t want Lexapro again.

    The Buspar is managing the panic/anxiety pretty well. I would really like to hear from others. Thanks.

    • Rokmum February 26, 2016, 11:12 pm

      Hi Billie. Your situation is very similar to mine. I’ve been on Lexapro 20mg for anxiety for eight years. I decided it was time to rid myself of this about two months ago. My doctor weaned me off over a two week period. I’ve been completely off for about 6-7 weeks now. After the initial period of feeling like crying constantly, headaches, nausea, depression, insomnia etc, I still have most of these symptoms!

      Two weeks ago I kicked my husband out of the house! He’s back now thank god. I think I’ve passed that horrific stage of wanting to die, run away whatever, but I still feel dissociated from myself, and so irritable and sad. Everything is annoying. I have a friend who went through the same thing and it took her six months to start feeling normal again.

      I hope it doesn’t take that long for me. I don’t know how I’ll get through it! I’d really like to know how you’re feeling now? Is it getting any better for you?

  • Lisa February 26, 2016, 11:27 pm

    I had been taking Lexapro for about 10 years (with one 2-year long break). I was on 10mg until about 1 year ago, when the dosage was increased to 20mg. For years I had been feeling very lethargic, disinterested, unmotivated, and fatigued. But I had been taking Lexapro for so long that I just continued with the routine.

    Recently I have been adding exercise and eating holistically in an effort to lose about 35lbs that have crept up on me (I am 43 yo), and to gain some energy, motivation, and interest in life outside of my house. About 1 week ago my refills ran out, and I ended up missing a few days. I noticed that I was a bit edgier, wasn’t sleeping as well, and had these strange dizzy spell moments (when I would turn my head it felt as if my eyes were following much slower, and I felt “dippier” and not “with it”.)

    The dizzy feeling mentioned above is what prompted me to look for withdrawal symptoms of Lexapro. It was either my new eating habits or the Lexapro. The previous time I had quit I was taking 10mg and I didn’t recall feeling any withdrawal symptoms. I was glad to see it was the Lexapro (as opposed to the new eating habits), and that the symptoms aren’t too terrible – although apparently I am just beginning.

    I am looking forward to being my old self again (before the Lexapro).

  • Mae February 29, 2016, 12:50 am

    I’m currently withdrawing from Lexapro and I feel terrible. It was time for me to go off it though because I was experiencing other symptoms that were really interfering with my life while being on it rather than helping at this stage. I was using Lexapro for 3 years. My main withdrawal symptoms are dizziness, headache, irritability and crying a lot which I think is due to the flood of emotions that are coming back after being on it for so long.

    I know there is a light at the end of the tunnel, so I’m focusing on that rather then getting discouraged about the temporary side effects of withdrawing which is really tough. I keep telling myself, “this to shall pass.”

  • C March 1, 2016, 3:46 am

    I was on Lexapro for over a year. I went off cold turkey 2 months ago because I thought I didn’t need it anymore. I have experienced the worst anxiety of my life. I have frequent panic attacks, and I am excessively irritable. I experienced about 30 brain zaps. I will probably go back on the drug soon. I cannot stand living like this.

  • AJ March 3, 2016, 1:28 am

    I had been on prozac for many years but at a low dose (10mgs). I felt like it wasn’t working anymore and all my friends swore by Lexapro so went on it. I was on for 5 weeks and it was/is an emotional rollercoaster for me. I can’t even describe it properly. I felt so hopeless and sad and just went through the motions.

    I really wanted to keep pushing on. I too got the meds from a PCP. I finally saw a psych and he said to go off and return to the prozac again. That was a week ago. I still feel crappy. I have the brain zaps and the worry about worrying thing. Anyone else have that where you are engaged in an activity and then your brain reminds you there is something to panic about… like false panic?

    I am hoping it’s just an adjustment. Sometimes it feels like it will never end. I am waiting for the PGT results next week which tells you what meds are right for you according to your genetics.

  • SJ March 3, 2016, 2:50 pm

    It’s well beyond a year since I began weaning off 10 mg Lexapro and it’s been one long, bumpy and rocky road. I’ve reached a comfortable dose of 5 mg but it’s been hard on me and even more so on my family. The irritability, anger outbursts, uncontrollable crying, general sadness and the questioning of why life is so hard has left me feeling and appearing as totally unstable.

    I’m exhausted with this ride and plan on staying with the 5 mg until I regain the motivation to consider further reductions…which hasn’t crossed my mind for sometime. Good luck to all who are on this journey and, to all who make it please post your story and details as that will serve as inspiration to everyone struggling to get off Lexapro.

    • Priscilla March 4, 2016, 5:32 am

      Been off cold turkey just over 3 weeks. Was on almost 3 years. “The irritability, anger outbursts, uncontrollable crying, general sadness and the questioning of why life is so hard” describes me almost entirely. Hang in there, you are not alone!!

      Stomach pain, nausea and headaches, while all terrible and annoying, are nothing compared to the BACK and muscle pain I have been experiencing. I have not read anyone else talk about back pain and I’m nervous it is not related to coming off the meds.

      Whoever mentioned the glass of wine at night is spot on. After a long day of work with a 2 hour commute each way, I find I can try and relax before bed and get some sleep. I have not tried supplements yet but would like to after reading all the positive experiences.

      The biggest struggle I am facing is determining what is a side effect and what is reality? Am I really sad and unhappy or are these just mood swings from a chemical imbalance?

  • Amy March 7, 2016, 10:18 pm

    Hi all. I ran out of my prescription and my inner voice/spirit was telling me I don’t want to put this garbage into my body any longer! I think it’s been about 4 days. A few days ago, I had bad depression but I am doing surprisingly well now. The brain zap are minimal and I plan on getting supplements to help with this.

    I just want to feel like my old “self” again, whatever that is after 15 years, now on 20 mg. per day. I am suddenly more outspoken. Also, in the past I have let my husband/doctor convince me to either a) go back on the med or b) taper off. However, I just don’t want to go back and try to taper off now since I’ve gotten a head-start. One thing I feel is confused.

    I wonder if I am acting weird and other people can see that. I just want my life back and wait and see how I feel after all this garbage is out of my system. I feel that I am tired of polluting my body with chemicals! I am just looking for reassurance that I am doing the right thing, as opposed to being some crazy person who needs her “meds.” Can anyone relate to wanting to regain their “selves?” Thanks in advance!

  • Jeff N March 8, 2016, 3:45 am

    Been on this for awhile. Prescription ran out (I thought it was auto refill). While waiting for it, I stumbled onto this thread. I have been without for over a week. These symptoms suck. I don’t think that I will continue these even after I get them. Thanks for the posts.

  • Hopeful March 9, 2016, 12:55 pm

    I am so glad that I found this website. I was to thank all of you for sharing your journeys. I am been on Cipralex 10 mg for about three years for brutal panic attacks. Has been a mostly positive experience except for the weight gain. I’ve gained about 40 pounds. I’ve always been a healthy active person so this has affected my self-confidence.

    I’m not vain but I can’t help feeling that when people don’t know that you’re on a medication they think you just eat badly. I I feel sluggish being so large and my joints ache from the extra weight. It’s definitely affected my relationship with my husband as I feel so unattractive. Anyway for that and other reasons my doctor and I have decided that now is the time to reduce my dose. He is a great doctor and says it’s basically a numbers game that we will work at.

    I have now started on 9mg using a compounding pharmacy that reduces the pills and puts them in capsules. It’s been 3 days and so far no symptoms from losing the 1 mg. I’m going 90 days on the 9 mg then we will move to 8 mg. I will write again to let you know how it is going. I hope as I am tapering so slowly I can avoid some of the withdrawal symptoms you have mentioned. I also take 2000 in Vit D3 a day.

    You are all so brave. Reading this and knowing I’m not alone has helped a lot. Thank you.

  • NoAutofill March 14, 2016, 7:12 am

    I’ve been taking Serpentil for 2 years, which is also based on escitalopram. I forgot to take it due to stomach sickness, and after the recovery I completely forgot to get back to it. It’s been more than 3 weeks. I’m personally able to take it, but my studies and projects and sleep are suffering. I don’t know if I should get back to it until summer or keep not taking it.

  • Dene March 15, 2016, 3:52 am

    I was on 20 mg for 5 years. Finally came off with my doctor’s help. The tapering helped. But, taking magnesium and B12 has really helped the head issues. Magnesium helps your confused neurotransmitters that don’t quite know what to do on their own now. Omega 3’s are highly recommended for the brain zaps, but I have a bad fish allergy. I stayed away from them. You can do this… It is worth it.

  • Nancy March 15, 2016, 7:30 am

    I have read through many of your posts and believe that they will help prepare me for my withdrawal from Lexapro 20 mg. I am currently less than a week reduced from 20 down to 15. I feel some buzzing at the back of my head and hope that nothing will be worse than this. I’m hoping for an easy recovery. Thanks to what I have read I have shared the information with my immediate family and friends so that they will not be taken by surprise.

    I live alone and I’m retired so I am hoping that I will be able to handle the withdrawal privately. I already take fish oil, E, D, and a multivitamin. I am committed to the process and have booked a first class trip to Hawaii in September as additional incentive to power through the rough times. I already hit the gym 2-3 times a week and use my stationary bike at least 3 days a week.

    You all have helped me to prepare as best as I can. Thank you to each of you, and I hope to share my progress so that I may help others.

  • Karie March 15, 2016, 6:17 pm

    I have decided to wean myself from Lexapro after 10+ years of taking it. I did not quit cold turkey as my doctor did not recommend that. I can honestly say I was addicted without realizing it. I am having all of the listed side effects except the vomiting, so far. I am so VERY angry that no one ever mentioned how addicting this would be.

    Over the years I have gained 50+ lbs, I am constantly hungry. This is one of the biggest reasons I decided to try a more natural approach to curbing depression/anxiety. I am concerned that it may take years to rid my body of this horrible crap I have ingested on a daily basis for the past 10 or more years. I have been taking 20mg since day one. The doctor who prescribed this medication has left the state I live in and therefore I have not been properly monitored while taking it for the last 6-8 years.

    My current primary care doctor just keeps refilling the prescription…he says I can take it as long as I feel I need it! ??? The way I am feeling is very frightening, not that I am violent, I just feel bad for my family having to put up with me. SO dizzy, tired, foggy and I can finally cry again, mostly for no reason but…😳. I am looking for NATURAL ways do deal with depression/anxiety now. Any suggestions from my fellow addicts? Best regards to all and, hang in there!

    • Tracy April 11, 2016, 9:07 pm

      Hi! Have you tried yoga, or any form of exercise or even just going for a walk)? Maybe meditation or journaling? Journaling helps me. Just writing my problems and pretending I’m telling them to someone who isn’t even there. Sometimes diffusing oils that smell really good or lighting a candle can make me relax and feel calmer and happier.

      Stay away from tv and MOST social media. That only makes things worse if you ask me. I say MOST because I hate Facebook (Twitter, etc) yet there is something very calming to me about scrolling through Pinterest for hours. Ha ha. Also look stuff up on YouTube about dealing with depression and anxiety. There are TONS of videos that may help you.

      Some are just videos meant to relax you with music and imagery and nothing more. You probably have already heard all these things but just thought I would put that out there since you asked for suggestions. :) Good luck!

  • IANMAC March 17, 2016, 12:36 am

    Down to 10 from 20mgs. Having all the above symptoms although I am going slow. 1/8 of a pill less every 10 days. I am ok (just ok) today but it’s a long road ahead to get this crap out of my body.

  • Jordan March 20, 2016, 9:41 am

    Wow! I have been on lexapro 10mg for a year. I tapered off by taking 5 mg for about a month instead of the full 10. I stopped taking it at all a week ago. Apart from feeling tired and lacking concentration I haven’t had any other side effects. I’ve found it more difficult to get to sleep, but once I’m asleep I’m good all night.

    I was worried that I would be anxious again, but I haven’t been. After reading all these comments I’m feeling pretty lucky. Hoping I lose some of the kgs I’ve put on over the year. To anyone who is thinking about quitting just remember to taper off slowly, don’t be scared. Withdrawals aren’t going to last forever and everyone is different.

  • Leigh March 20, 2016, 11:03 pm

    Hi everyone, I stopped 20mg of Lexapro (after 3 years) cold turkey a week ago. I’ve only experienced three key side effects so far, the worst by far is the brain zaps. Walking, each step, zap zap zap, all day, zap zap, it’s awful. Does fish oil really help? Other two side effects I’m having are sweating (but I live in a hot climate), and I guess you could call the other symptom ‘mood swings’, or ‘irritability’.

  • Jenna March 22, 2016, 3:15 am

    You said the amount of time you were on the drug was a factor in how long the symptoms lasted, but you didn’t give any specifics, like the average length of time withdrawal lasts for someone who’s been on Lexapro for several years vs the withdrawal period for someone who’s merely been on it for a few months, a few weeks, or even a few days. It would also be nice to have some specifics for the other factors too.

    HOW does individual psychology affect the withdrawal period? What does that even mean? Do more anxious people have a longer withdrawal period? People who are going through this just want to know if what they’re experiencing is normal & how long that hell is going to last.

  • Amy March 23, 2016, 3:54 pm

    Hello Y’all. I originally wrote/added this under another poster’s post, in response to what another lady shared here. But on second thought, I decided to re-post here to make it easier for all to read and respond to.

    I’m just reading this wonderful blog. I’ve been on Lexapro for 5 years, from 5mg – 20mg, but mostly 10mg. In the beginning, I started having severe burning, tingling, cramping, numbness and twitching from hips down to my feet. This began over night. In the same year, I was also diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis with small goiter, biopsy confirmed Celiac Disease, perimenopause, chronic migraine – although now it’s much better.

    I was diagnosed with all these things 5 years ago and no one could figure out why I had/have these leg issues. I’ve been all over the country including the Mayo Clinic and Johns-Hopkins. I’ve had 4 spine surgeries without relief, including the implantation of a spine stimulator. I couple of weeks ago, I discovered info about leg problems and Lexapro and now believe that’s mostly my problem.

    I went cold turkey 2 & 1/2 weeks ago and went from 100mcg patch for fentanyl down to 50mcg with break through oxycodone if I need it. That’s as far as I can taper due to the leg pain. I am under the care of a pain management doctor I’m seeing every week or two. He knows everything about me and what I’m learning. And, of course, he’s never heard of these issues with Lexapro. I’m now a woman on fire with the mission of finding out if it’s really Lexapro.

    All this to ask, and I know your experience has nothing to do with me and you aren’t responsible for anything pertaining to strangers on the internet, like me. However, in the last 5 years, I’ve gone from a very healthy, active, athletic person weighing 130lbs with muscles at 5’6″, to 105lbs and spending most days in bed. I was in a wheelchair for a year too! I’m in my 40’s.

    Never smoked, drank wine on occasion and exercised on most days. I’m just looking for some experience, strength and/or hope from others who may know what I’m talking about with Lexapro pain. If you would like to share, I would love to know how bad your leg issues were and how long it took to resolve, if ever. Thank you so much! Amy

  • Emily March 26, 2016, 6:16 am

    You guys show a real compassionate understanding for people on SSRIs. I’m so used to scrolling through mental health information articles and it being informative but completely analytical. I missed two doses by accident and am going through this now but it’s not so bad, just REALLY uncomfortable, argh.

  • SJ March 26, 2016, 11:47 pm

    Hi Karie, so happy to see your post. Please update us on how your weaning process is going and how fast you are weaning. Ten percent is usually recommended but I will tell you that was too much for me. I too have have gained a lot of weight after being on 10 mg Lexapro for 12 years (35-40 lbs). I’ve managed over a year to reduce my dosage to 5 mg and it was a brutal journey for both me and my family.

    I have basically stopped and stabilized at 5 mg. The anger, crying and thoughts of suicide finally got the best of me and I decided to hang tight for awhile. Hopefully at a later point I will be able to continue the process. I’m still hoping to hear from someone who was on lexapro for an extended time, weaned off and has been off for a few years. It’s not a walk in the park and I haven’t given up…only taking a break.

    And, btw, since being on the reduced dosage I have not lost one pound. So disappointed!!! I just wish I had worked through the situation some other way that first landed me on this drug in the first place. My doctor told me it was weight neutral and getting off of it would not be a problem and he was totally misinformed.

  • Smiley23 March 28, 2016, 6:12 pm

    Hi I was on lexapro for 4 months and I did exactly what the Dr told me to do to get off. I tapered off, my last pill was on 3-7-16. It’s going on 3 weeks without it and just so few days ago my anxiety has gotten really bad. I’ve been taking xanax like everyday, I don’t know what I should do, should I go back on the lexapro or just ride this out?

    I really don’t want to be on lexapro because it was messing with my sex drive. Is there anything else or should I just stick to my xanax??? Please help! 😔

  • Ash March 29, 2016, 2:43 am

    Reading all your comments has made me feel so much better… I thought I was going crazy and like one understands why or what I’m going through.
    I have been on Lexapro for over 12 months as I was on Valdoxan before Lexapro. I had been so busy that I hadn’t had time to go to the doctor to get another script.

    So I have been off it for 7 days and my mind & emotions are going crazy!! I feel dizzy and very tired. I couldn’t work out what was wrong with me and my poor bf thinks Im total nut case. I feel that I am not ready to come off Lexapro and have got my script filled in.

    Coming off it for just a couple of days has made me realize I still have a long way to go till I find that inner peace/happiness within myself. Also seeing other people going through what Im going though has given me a lot of comfort & the strength to keep going :).

  • KV April 2, 2016, 4:45 am

    Any doctor that prescribes this drug of Satan should be arrested. I was on Lexapro for a little over a year. I tapered off for about 4 months. I am going through the worst withdrawal symptoms. The brain zaps are the worst. I can’t sleep, eat & I cry at least 5-8 hours a day. If I knew any of this about Lexapro I would’ve never had started taking it. I was put on for General Anxiety Disorder. All this medication did was make my anxiety 10 times stronger.

  • Jennifer April 2, 2016, 2:29 pm

    I am so glad I found this!!! I thought I was losing my mind. I have every single one of these side effects right now. I didn’t know it would be this bad. I have been on Lexapro 40 mg and Welbutrin 150 mg for close to 10 years probably. It started with going through a divorce and then my father suddenly dying of a massive heart attack.

    Last month I stopped taking the Wellbutrin with no problems, no side effects (that I had noticed). I also started trying to cut back on doses and skip days on the Lexapro over a month ago. Nothing too drastic at first. The last couple of weeks have been tough. I haven’t had one in about 6-7 days but I think I am going to have to take a half of one today because this is almost unbearable.

    I have had the sweats, tremors, lack of sleep, nauseous, nervousness, dizziness, very funny feeling in my head, CRAZY dreams, inability to focus, etc. I really thought that a lot of this was just the “normal” crazy me going off the medication. I am very relieved to find out that this IS normal for withdrawal. I really never would have imagined it would be like this.

    I knew that I had some issues before when I would skip doses or try to cut back but I didn’t see this coming. I didn’t expect it so much that I didn’t even realize these are side effects from withdrawals until I read your posts. Thank you so much for taking the time to tell your stories. For whatever reason, I feel some relief after reading these.

  • Nancy April 4, 2016, 7:14 am

    An update to my previous post: I’ve reduced from 20 to 15 and now to ten. No major side effects so far, just some minor tingling at the back of my head and some brief periods of nausea. I’ll stay on 10 through April, then move to 5 for May. Hope it continues to be mild, and I am counting my blessings. I think my vitamin and supplement regimen is helping.

  • Riya April 6, 2016, 12:46 am

    I haven’t taken the medicine for months although I’m stilling having symptoms from the withdraw. They include things like insomnia, fatigue, irritability, and even a worsened feeling of depression.

  • Hopeful April 6, 2016, 3:14 am

    UPDATE: It’s been a month now that I have been on the 9mg. No major symptoms except mood swings, short temper and a bit of an upset stomach. (Maybe down to the compounding version?) The first few days I noticed a twitch in my left eye but it went away. I will be staying on 9 mg for another 2 months before going down to 8mg. My tapering off will be a gradual process. I am taking fish oils and 2000 in Vitamin D 3 which I am sure helps. I haven’t had any weight loss.

  • Tracy April 11, 2016, 8:56 pm

    Ugh, this is the worst. I’ve only been on 5mg for about a year. I cut my pills into 1/4ths (which just seems ridiculous) but these brain zaps are no joke. That’s the only side effect I’ve had other than right when I first quit I thought I had a stomach virus (I’ll leave that to your imagination) until 2 weeks later when I realized it couldn’t possibly be a 2 week stomach virus.

    And I’ve been eating like a horse but that could possibly be due to something else I’ve been dealing with. I will never take this again. Can’t stand these brain zaps. Keep hearing people talking about taking fish oil for the brain zaps but I’m vegan sooooo… maybe I’ll try eating some walnuts (loaded with omega 3s). Sigh.

    • Patrick April 17, 2016, 4:05 am

      Not personal experience, but my boss is vegan and has lots of Alzheimer’s and heart problems in her family so she talks a lot about proper omega-3 intake and whatnot. If you can’t do fish oil, walnuts are good, and also try flaxseed and eat LOTS of leafy greens (kale, spinach etc). Fish oil is still probably the best but I understand if you object to it on moral grounds. I hadn’t heard about fish oil for the zaps but I’m definitely willing to try it.

  • Brook April 12, 2016, 12:31 pm

    I always wanted to go off my lexapro but 4 days ago I was forced because someone stole my pills out of my bag!! On day 5 without taking them and last night I had absolutely horrible nightmares. Also, I’m scared because I tried going off cold turkey before and experienced sleep paralysis which was the scariest thing I have ever experienced!! Please, what are my best options to get these nightmares to go away?

  • Amy April 12, 2016, 7:10 pm

    I have wanted to get off Lexapro for a long time. I have been on it for 12 years. About 10 days ago I ran out of my RX and decided to just do it. Boy, has it been difficult. It is really a struggle to get anything done at work. My focus is awful. I feel somewhat depressed but mostly so very exhausted.

    I am trying to decide if I can really do this. Maybe I should get back on and then wean myself instead of cold turkey. My mind is very clouded right now. I do not like this feeling. I am usually a very happy, get along with everyone kind of person. Not the cases over the past 10 days. As the day goes on I just need a nap. Any advice?

  • Ellen April 13, 2016, 9:49 pm

    Hi All, It’s been 3 weeks to the day of my last dose of Lexapro and TODAY I’m seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. I feel more like myself, less anxiety, no feet/palm itching, and NO hot flashes. I didn’t wake up with terror either. I still feel out of it but the part where I felt like my insides were being strangled is gone… I’m hoping I will continue to improve and not go backwards but I’ll keep you posted.

  • Patrick April 17, 2016, 3:56 am

    Man, I’ve been on escitalopram for years. Like literally 6-8 years, I don’t even remember (my memory is pretty shoddy these days). Last time I talked to my doc about quitting he doubled my dose, and I went with it because hey, he’s the professional, right? My sex life is gone. Dead.

    My wife and I have sex maybe 1-2 times a year. On top of that, I find myself almost completely unable to feel any strong feelings about anything. I’ve had 3 kids born, barely felt a twinge. My grandma (who raised me) died and almost nothing. I feel dead on the inside.

    But reading about these awful withdrawals, people suffering for months after taking it for <1 year… it's sorta terrifying. I've been on it nearly a decade… jesus. I haven't taken it in 3 days and the zaps have started… I'll start taking it again so my head doesn't explode (either naturally or via shotgun blast)… but how long am I gonna have to taper this?

    Years? I don't know if I can handle this that long.

  • Mike April 25, 2016, 2:45 pm

    Have been on Lexapro since 2006, that’s 10 years. It absolutely stuffed my libido. But, it stopped my taking my life. I have gradually worked my dose down to 5mg and now I have quit for 10 days. I’m still feeling very dizzy and the brain zaps are constant. Thanks for the article. It explained a lot, the wonky sea legs and all. I want to stay off it and wonder if there’s a natural medication like St Johns Wort (??) that will do the same thing without the side effects.

    • Barbara April 29, 2016, 6:56 pm

      Hi Mike, Yes St. John’s Wort will help. I have just come off Lexapro 10mg because I started to have bad dreams and waking through the night in a cold sweat. Then I was sleepy and lethargic most of the next day. Not much difference to the depression I felt after my brother died. I still get the drowsiness in the day but it is getting less.

      I take one 450 mg SJW tablet with my breakfast. I’m going to add 5HT one tablet at lunch when I can find them – been a bit disorganized for a while. Like antidepressants they take a few weeks to work but have no side or withdrawal effects as far as I can tell. I have taken them before. Just follow the instructions and don’t take more than suggested. Hope this helps!

  • Leanna April 26, 2016, 9:21 pm

    I’ve been taking 20mg Lexapro for the past year and due to recent changes I’ve decided to come off the drug. Lexapro helped me immensely whole being on it but they way I feel now is AWFUL. My head hurts, I feel disconnected from reality. My emotions are on a roller coaster.

    I screamed at several people today, cried and laughed. I threw up, felt dizzy, exhausted and just plain uncomfortable all day. I also gained thirty pounds in the last several months and I’m starting to wonder if it was bc of the Lexapro. I’ve also been unmotivated as well as extremely tired the past several months.

    The Lexapro did help me to stop feeling anxious but all these terrible side effects and the withdrawals are making me think twice about ever suggesting this medication to someone else.

  • hope April 28, 2016, 4:10 pm

    I took my last dose (2.5 mg) of Lexapro two days ago after tapering from 10 over about 5 weeks. I have experienced nausea, vomiting at random times, and now just plain feel “off balance.” Does this sound consistent with discontinuation? I have been to my internist to check in about the vomiting as it is so unusual for me; now they are sending me for an endoscopy. All bloodwork fine. I think it’s all in my head, but I do not feel myself at all…
    Please comment.

  • Eli April 29, 2016, 3:01 pm

    I have been on Lexapro for about six years 20 mg. I decided to go off with the help of my doctor and tapered to 10 mg for a month and then down to 5 mg for a month. I have experienced a lot of the symptoms dizziness being the worst. I am hoping that within the next month I will no longer feel this way.

    The nausea has gotten better the mood swings have also gotten better I have been off completely now for 4 days and if I could just shake this dizziness. I will post in a month to let you know how I feel a month later.

  • Joanne May 2, 2016, 12:34 pm

    I have been taking 5mg of Lexapro per day for 10 years. I have tried several times in the past to get off of this drug, however, I get severe symptoms of nausea, muscle aches, fatigue and extreme sensations of being cold. The reason I want to come off of Lexapro is to see if my present feelings of being emotionless, having difficulty with focus and memory return.

    I also take 300mg of Gabapentin twice a day which helps with chronic pain. I’m not planning to come off of this yet but in the future would love to be free from daily pill taking. I just started reducing the Lexapro by taking 5mg every other night, from there I hope to keep spacing the distance between pill taking.

    I find it really hard to split a 10mg pill into quarters to take 2.5mg but this might be the better way to reduce. Does anyone have a successful way of doing this? Thanks for your help.

  • Julie May 4, 2016, 8:48 pm

    I took Lexapro 10 mg for about 3 years. Started it going through my divorce. I’ve always dealt with severe anxiety and panic but never medicated until then. My anxiety had gotten much worse this year, the last couple of months. I was very irritable, anxious, unmotivated and unable to focus. I didn’t feel like the medicine was working for me anymore but I was afraid to go off of it.

    I saw my Dr in April and when I told him all of my symptoms, he immediately prescribed 20 mg. No other action was even discussed. Well, I never filled that prescription and I decided last week that I was going to stop the medication. It will be a week tomorrow. I have to say, I am so happy that I did. I know it’s early, but I have felt so much better! Way more alert.

    I did experience bad mood swings the first couple of days and a headache off and on. But nothing like what I have read on here so I am hopeful that I won’t have bad withdraw symptoms. I didn’t have any side effects other than weight gain while on the meds, so maybe there is some correlation between how the side effects affect you, and the withdraw.

    Meaning if it’s mild, the withdraw might be mild. Anyway, I just wanted to tell about my experience because after reading some of the stories on here, I was determined to get off of it for good. Good luck to all!

  • Robin May 6, 2016, 12:04 am

    I want to thank you for this website. 2 years on 10mg and I have no sexual desire, not a lot of emotion, a extremely poor memory and a lot of pain. As I’ve read the countless post I realize that taking this medication has caused more problems than the original depression and moodiness that I was seeking help for. Now I go to my doctor complaining of the above and countless more issues only to get a look.

    I’ve decided to stop taking lexapro, for a week I cut them in half only to have a feeling of being zapped the shakes, the feeling of a bad trip so I just stopped all together since it was bad how much worse could it get? Well, It’s been two weeks, and it’s worse. I feel like I’m losing it at times and I thought it would be done out of my system by now however, it looks like I could have a long ride.

    It wasn’t until I read this post and realized the length and intensity of the withdrawals, but there will be an end. I know it will be worth it. The next time I deal with depression I’m heading for the great out doors to find my balance, a person to talk to, maybe some yoga. Never Never again. No more antidepressants.

  • Rags May 9, 2016, 1:43 pm

    I just quit cold turkey after several years of 20mg per day dosage. So far it’s been just a few days, 5 to be exact and I feel no differences yet. I intend to continue with the withdrawal and hopefully things will work out.

  • Fudge May 10, 2016, 6:14 am

    Week 7 after gradual cessation. Feel like I’m going stark raving mad and taking everyone with me. :/ I have moments of feeling calm and happy being drug-free and then, BANG… on comes the tears, intense feelings of gloom, feeling scared of life, totally overwhelmed by receiving one unexpected bill or witnessing a spilt drink, anxiety attacks and increased heart beat.

    I’m desperate for the old me to come crawling out from deep inside… I know she is in there, she talks to me all the time, but this insidious depressive cloud keeps over-shadowing her and muffling her beautiful familiar positive words. Exercise is brilliant! (The only time I feel in control.) And it produces natural feel good hormones but I feel I am now addicted to the gym!!

    Deep breathing helps, in through the nose totally filling the chest. Wine is nice too. :) Also, get bloods checked for any other possible physiological reasons e.g. thyroid, hormones, iron, etc. I’m going to choose to believe that it will all smooth over and be a distant bad memory in a few short weeks… fake it till I make it. :) The strength you all are showing in these blogs is remarkable. HUGS!

    The fact that we all put our faith in a little white pill so we could do the daily things we have to do shows guts. We will most likely try anything to smile through our day and enjoy our children, our work, our one chance at life. The shame here falls on the pharmaceutical companies and the seemingly deliberate lack of research and/or sharing of information. But in this current climate none of us will be even slightly surprised by that… Power to us.

  • Susie May 10, 2016, 9:03 pm

    I quit cold turkey a little over a week ago after 10 years on 20 mg for most and then 10 mg mixed with Wellbutrin for last 2 years The withdrawal symptoms are horrific, the dizziness and headaches are almost too much to function. I feel like I am experiencing the worst hangover of my life, nonstop.

    Good news is I made decision to stop due to 10 years of irritable bowel and diarrhea, which no one every attributed to the Lexapro. But its already better, no symptoms in last 3-4 days. Funny my doctors could never connect those dots. Just hope that continues. I wonder if I should try tapering off now, or if I just stay strong since I’m already a week in?

    • JS May 19, 2016, 2:03 am

      Hello everyone, I just wanted to share something with you. Today is May 19 2016 and from past 5 days I used lexapro 5 mg which I filled in 2012. I started facing withdrawal symptoms and I was going crazy. The only reason I took this is because I relocated and I might have called several psychiatrist to see if I can get an appointment. Most did not accept my insurance and other did not accept new patient.

      Can somebody help me understand whether the symptoms I was facing were from that expired lexapro? Now I got few pills from my pharmacy and started taking that and after I take it I feel fine for almost more than half a day and then again brain zaps. Today is the second day I took an unexpired pill.

  • Tiffany May 19, 2016, 11:06 pm

    I’m a week into no-Lex too, and did taper for 3 weeks (20 – 10 – 5). I wish I had done it even more slowly, the brain zaps and dizziness, irritability, sensitivity to everything is literally putting my relationship and job in jeopardy. Only 1 week into withdrawals! I ended up going back to my psychiatrist and getting prozac to taper off of that. It has a 30 day half-life, meaning it sort of does the super slow tapering for you as it exits your body.

    I think a good way of describing the withdrawals is like:

    Imagine all those bad feelings, the depression, the anxiety, the anger, the hopelessness and confusion, plus all the physical symptoms that come from those things (cramps, nausea, headaches, back and neck pain, restless leg syndrome) were never taken away by Lexapro. Only put aside. Then you come off Lexapro and all those bad things came rushing back in at the SAME TIME. In my case, 3 years worth. It’s so overwhelming, mentally, physically, emotionally.

    I feel like I’m typing with mittens on. I vomited this morning and would have at lunch if I wasn’t at work. The lady at my juice place asked if I wanted for here or to go – and I couldn’t even process what that meant. My boyfriend and I were supposed to sign a lease together a few days ago, but I freaked and pulled out after months of looking. And I can’t get out of my head thoughts of dumping him and his cruelty, when objectively he really did nothing wrong.

    There’s a definitely split between rational thought and emotional thought – and emotional thoughts always wins out. Again, this is only a WEEK into withdrawals! If I knew all these things, I would never have gone on lexapro, or at the very least stopped when I was feeling better after my traumatic life event. Maybe 9 months max. It really did help, but I had to stop because the restless leg syndrome was torture, and I couldn’t smoke weed until I passed out every night for the rest of my life.

    Treating the side effects of Lexapro snowballed so badly that I had a whole box of 30 medications and supplements next to my bed. Plus, my weed tolerance was getting too high (pun intended). You read about people’s experiences in a forum like this, but its hard to think of them as real people. Not just worried words on a website. Until of course it happens to you!

  • Pey May 23, 2016, 5:40 pm

    I stop taking the pill 2 weeks ago. Been taking it for 10 years for GAD. Now I’m hearing this sound in my head for days… I cant describe it but it’s like the sound you hear when you stretch your body when you wake up in the morning… and I hear it also when I try to look at the corners of my eyes. Anyone experienced this also? Or am I having an episode of anxiety again?

  • Brittany May 26, 2016, 1:50 pm

    I was put on Lexapro at age 14 for my IBS and recently found out it was an SSRI and decided to get off of it. I have never had depression or anxiety, but I have had moments of anxiety while traveling (only on the place). I was on 20mg and went down by 5 mg every 3 weeks and recently had my last dose 5 days ago.

    During the tapering process, I did have current headaches, 1 brain zap and I was irritable as all hell. Some days I could rip peoples head off, and others I was the friendliest person on earth. I also had a loss of balance every few weeks, but never fell. Since my last dose, I have had a few headaches but have had a lot of fatigue within 5 to 6 hours of waking up. Today, I am dizzy and lightheaded and can’t move too fast.

    It seems as if I haven’t had too bad of an experience compared to others. Does anyone know how long after stopping the final dose the symptoms will go on for? I need my energy back!

  • Murphy May 26, 2016, 3:49 pm

    I was on Lexapro for 8 years. I was told, but apparently misunderstood what my doctor said to go off of it in two days, down to zero. 12 days into the worst medicinal experience of my life. It’s at least good to see that someone out here would understand what I am going through.

    No one understands the brain zaps, the headaches, the anger, and this whole list. I have every single symptom listed to an intense degree. Now I find out that I misunderstood what my doctor said. Never again with this business.

  • Sherrie May 29, 2016, 2:14 am

    I cannot thank you all enough for sharing your experiences in the withdrawals from Lexapro. I am 68 years old, live alone and have no one to help me with all this craziness. My doctor of 24 years flat out told me to just stop, that there were no withdrawals!

    I knew better and began weaning off, but it’s been horrible! Everything makes me cry or throws me into a rage, then I cry again. My poor 10 and 11 year old cats stay so upset, which really hurts me.

    It’s a blessing to know that I am not alone in this and to not give up. Thanks again and may God bless you all.

  • Paul Thompson June 6, 2016, 7:21 pm

    I landed here after wanting to find out if there was any withdrawal effects. I’ve been on escitilopram (spelling?) for 18 months, and this past week I “lost” my meds, so haven’t had a dose for 6 days. We got a new cleaning lady, and my wife put the meds in a spot I didn’t find. I was feeling dizzy at times to the point of almost falling down, and some extra bursty energy.

    It was nice to read everyone’s stories about going off the drug. I didn’t intend to go cold turkey, but even after 4 days off, things started happening, and I didn’t attribute it to lexapro until I read the above. I got my dose (only 10) today, and hopefully will fix everything until I go off it for real next week after I meet with my doctor.

    The strongest problem I have is that my right hand has that tingling like it’s asleep, but I have full function of it. can’t seem to wake it up. I also get real dizzy if I turn my head fast. Like I was on a rollercoaster.

  • Anna June 7, 2016, 2:12 am

    Hello everyone! I stopped Cipralex seven days ago after five years of taking 20 mg per day (for depression). I spent over three months tampering (thanks god!) but still got some mild withdrawal symptoms. My doctor, who seemed so great with everything else, suggested that I could get off this drug within a month. OMG, I can’t even imagine the horrific results if I have listened to him.

    If I could go back, I would have taken at least 10 months to get off it (10% decrease every month to avoid any side effects). The third day was the worst – total fogginess, multiple head zaps, nausea, dizziness. Lucky for me, I have been feeling better every day! I understand that there is a small chance that I might get worse, but I expect it’s unlikely as Cipralex’s half life is no more than 37 hours & I have been steadily getting better.

    I wanted to post on this thread because I read it all on day 3 & I got REALLY SCARED. I want to tell you that tampering does help, tremendously. Please-please take MANY MONTHS to wean off this drug! You are in NO RUSH at all!!! Slow is better! Our nervous system is very slow to re-built (and this is literally what’s happening), so please don’t go cold turkey and don’t take a fast tampering approach.

    I feel almost perfect today on day 7, physically & emotionally (emotionally there has been no changes, which is great). This could be done! Please go slowly. I know I probably should wait at least a few more weeks before writing this review, but I know myself – when I get perfectly well, I no longer care & won’t find time to write this. Again, please go very slowly and ask your doctor to prescribe you liquid Cipralex so that you can go as slow as necessary.

    I have been working out every day, eating very healthily, and started taking vitamins (especially omega-3 as a result of reading this thread) – please take care of yourself. Help your body in this fight! And one last thought – there are many people on this forum who mentioned that, if they knew how hard it would be to get off this drug, they would have never started it.

    Likely, you are perfectly right in your case. In my case, Cipralex was the only thing between me and suicide, on MANY-MANY occasions. Without a doubt, this drug saved my life. Good luck to all of you!!! You can do it but please go super slow!!!

    P.S. Sherrie, your message almost made me cry. Please stay strong and maybe go even slower with you process. Take good care of yourself & your cats. They will forgive you.

  • Darren June 13, 2016, 4:47 pm

    This has been a great read. I was on the 20 mg’s of Lexapro for 3 and a half years. I just stopped taking it 9 days ago because I feel I’m in a right place to stop and I just don’t want to take this anymore. So anyway it’s day 9 and I am getting continuous dizzy spells when I’m not sleeping. I’m getting them now.

    I’m going to have to go to the Doc tomorrow and see if I’m doing the right thing going cold turkey because I only thought these symptoms might only last 2 – 3 weeks tops. I’m hoping to persist with going cold turkey but I suppose the next week will answer my question. I’m not getting head aches or neither do I feel depressed or getting bad thoughts (which put me on this in the first place). I just want these dizzy spells to go away because it’s annoying now.

    It’s great people make an effort to explain what you go through. Good luck to all. Darren

  • Andrea June 14, 2016, 10:50 am

    Maybe my experience and with escitalopram with help someone. I’m now 32 and I’ve been taking escitalopram for 6 years now. Started with 10, but I’ve also been on 15 and 20 mg. I started this drug for obsessive thinking (I’ve got one intrusion that keeps popping up and dealing with depression because of this as well).

    The last 24 months it got better and better and I was free of this obsession. So the last 6 months I took only 5 mg’s and recently I took one pill every other day. What I noticed the last 3-6 months:

    -I began to dread my work (not always, but certain bigger and more important stuff I had to do)
    -Every once in a while I had eye floaters

    I don’t know if this is from tapering off. Could be. I decreased my dose very slowly, not because I really want to quit taking the drug, but because I thought I could handle stuff with just 5 mg’s. My intrusive thought(s) weren’t coming back so it seemed 5 mg’s was quite enough.

    At this moment I’m on 10 mg again, but planning to go back to 5 tonight. I had a relapse about 6 weeks ago and increased my dosage (to 15 even) but this doesn’t do anything for me anymore, so I’ve decided to try it for a while without medication and give my brain some time to reset.

  • Pete June 14, 2016, 12:46 pm

    I have taken lexapro for about two and a half years and if felt like it stopped working. Throughout the day (when I was taking it) I was getting major head spins and dizzy spells all the time. I also experienced weight gain and head aches. I spoke to my Dr and asked if I was able to come off the drug and replace it with a similar one.

    The detox from the lexapro were really bad. I had all of the symptoms like brain zaps and head aches. I figure the biggest problem with doing something this big in your life if that you just have to ride the wave. It sucks. It really does. I’m only a week into my detox from lexapro and I still have all the symptoms but they are nowhere near as bad as they were before. I was also on 20mg lexapro.

    I hope that helps some people out there with the same story as me. Just remember ride the wave.

    • Andrea June 16, 2016, 7:47 am

      Hi Pete, Thank for sharing. I think you’re right about riding the wave. It’s tough at the moment, not physical, but I’m more depressed then ever and I can’t concentrate on anything. Don’t feel happiness anymore and don’t care about living, but I’m guessing it’s the Lexapro talking. I don’t know if I’m having any physical withdrawal effects, except for muscle twitches in my legs.

      I really want to quit taking the drug today, but cold turkey isn’t really a good idea…so I’m stuck at 5mg for a few weeks I think… Oh and which drug are you going to switch to? My Lexapro stopped working. I have intrusive thoughts/obsessions and had a major relapse after 6 years.

      Can consider it as a poop-out…and I think it’s no use to switch to another SSRI, so I figured I need to get rid of the Lexapro first and see if I can do this on my own…

  • Darren June 15, 2016, 7:13 pm

    So I went to the Doc and this is day 12 now. Still head spins but I’m not feeling too bad. The Doctor reckons this feeling I’m getting will last 2-3 week tops. He was going to put me on a lighter strength but I still have my prescriptions for the ones I was taking and I can cut them in halves or quarters just like most people said if I have to.

    I’m hoping this is it because then it’s been easy for me for some reason, for these tablets that I’ve relied on so much for so long. If I crash badly I’m going to try and persist for as long as I can. I’m a Restaurant Manager so I cannot lose it. It makes me feel good teaching and training staff.

    Thanks again everyone. Darren

  • matt brown June 20, 2016, 11:30 pm

    I’ve done 5 days of enforced cold turkey after 10 years at 40mg per day. I’m doing night shift in a remote location offshore and I forgot to pack my meds. How stupid of me! I’m a little worried because I feel amazingly well. Singing and dancing at work, clear headed and energetic! Perhaps I’m in denial and trying to remain super positive because I’ve got 7 more days until I’m home. I cannot understand how well I feel and I’m worried that something bad is going to hit me hard soon. Has anyone ever come off lexapro and had the same experience?

  • Tim June 21, 2016, 1:38 pm

    I’m went from 20 mg to 10mg down to 5mg and have now stopped for 7 – 10 days. Am experiencing brain fog, disassociation, etc… But the worst is the brain zaps. Like an electric shock running through your brain. My eyes can’t keep up with my head movements which makes me dizzy. I’m also getting zaps through my limbs and tingling in my hands and feet. These are very disorientating and my limbs involuntarily jerk.

    Makes it very hard to work as I’m an electrician and spend a lot of time up ladders. I had a car accident 18 months ago that led to trauma, anxiety and depression, the doctors had me on Panadeine Forte, Endone and Lexapro as well as sleeping tablets. They just seemed to want to give me more drugs to counteract the effects of the other drugs I was taking. I have now come off the Panadeine forte, slowly reduced the Lexapro and went cold turkey off 5mg and have reduced the Endone dramatically.

    I can cope with the withdrawals during the day as i am occupied but have reduced my work load, have to finish early as the brain shocks and spasms increase in the afternoon. The only thing I find that reduces them is one Endone when I get home. Otherwise I’m a mess. This gets me through to bed time and then I take 2 Temazepam to sleep. Other wise I toss and turn to 3 or 4 in the morning and have a shit day the next morning.

    Very much looking forward to being off all the doctor drugs soon. Thought I was going mad with these zaps and spasms, even began to wonder if I had a brain tumour or something. But after reading the reams and reams of reviews above I’m feeling like there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Thank you.

    • Andrea June 22, 2016, 2:19 pm

      Hi Tim, how long have you been tapering? To reduce withdrawal symptoms as much as you can you should taper very slowly. The people at Surviving Anti-depressants forum actually advice the 10% schedule: “In a nutshell, the 10% taper method recommends a 10% dosage reduction every 3-4 weeks, with the 10% calculated on the last dosage. The amount of decrease is proportionate to the dosage and keeps getting smaller.”

      I wanted to do a rapid taper myself (bad idea but didn’t know this at the time) and dropped from 20 to 10 in one week and then dropped down to 5 after taking 10 mg just a few days. Feeling tired wasn’t such a bad thing…kept yawning as well, lost some of my appetite and didn’t sleep as good as I used too. But I also had terrible mood swings and suicidal thoughts. This wasn’t the case when I tapered Lexapro the first time (far more gradually over years).

      Now I will stay on 5 mg for a few weeks, because I don’t want to experience these withdrawal symptoms again. Thinking about asking my doctor for the liquid form of Lexapro so I can reduce my dose with 1 mg every month. I wish you a speedy recovery!

      • Melissa June 29, 2016, 1:56 pm

        My daughter dropped Lex cold turkey, but was so bad I made her at least take 10 mg. (She was also on 20) Her side effects are really bad. The vision problems have me the most worried. They’re getting worse. She has 5 – 10 mg pills left. I think I’ll ask about the liquid form to ween her down to 5 mg after 10 mg for a while.

  • Sharon June 22, 2016, 4:44 am

    Hoping that someone may have experienced the same symptoms as me. It has been 5 months since I stopped taking Lexapro and I had all the terrible withdrawal symptoms. Two months after the worse was over I started to have tension and pain in my back progressing to spasms that had me in the hospital emergency room having morphine injections to stop the pain.

    Many tests later, bloods, MRI, US, CT etc., as well as Physio, acupuncture, Pain management Specialists and Doctors – nothing! Would have liked to continue with an alternative therapy but lost my job (due to not being able to sit for more than 2 or 3 hours without my back tightening and spasms), and so have been affected financially as well. Very sensitive to other drugs – have sores on my arms, neck, face and legs and look terrible (biopsy done and came back as drug allergy).

    I still feel lightheaded and fatigued. Now have diazepam (Valium) and panadeine Forte just in case I feel the spasms coming on. Taking some Vitamin D and Magnesium. Affecting my whole life! Anyone come through the other side of these type of symptoms and how long did it take?

    P.S. I worked for Doctors who thought I was mad to come off Lexapro and all the advice I’ve had so far is to start taking them again. I’m thankful my husband is supporting me through this – I just want my life back!

  • Melissa June 29, 2016, 1:46 pm

    My 17 year old daughter has been taking 20 mg Lexapro for 8 months. She has decided that she wants to try to cope with her anxiety either on her own or with supplements. She stopped taking it cold turkey June 16 and didn’t tell me. I knew this was something she would need to ween from, but alas…here we are. I had no idea how BAD the side effects would be and how many there are!

    I wish I had researched this drug more before I let her take it. Her WD symptoms are worse than the reason she needed it in the first place. I am so worried for her and scared. I don’t know if I should have her go back on it and then try to wean off the right with supplements. She can’t see and it is getting worse. Blurry vision that at first was just distance. Now she said it’s all of it.

    Headache, depression, anxiety, insomnia, disassociation and other side effects. I took to the internet a few days ago and to my surprise there are so many similar stories about withdraw and long it takes. My daughter’s doctor did not tell us how this would be to get off of. I have to say I am angry that we were not warned how difficult this is to rid from the body.

  • Johanne July 3, 2016, 12:01 pm

    Hey guys! This website helped me get through my withdrawal symptoms when I decided to stop taking Lexapro. I was diagnosed with Anxiety & OCD and was prescribed Lexapro. I was on it for 4 years until about 3 months ago. It took me 2 weeks until I started to feel better. Those 2 weeks were hell.

    I was EXTREMELY dizzy, spaced out / disorientated, angry / irritated, moody, I had brain zaps – really bad, my vision kept shuddering, my tongue and face went numb, headaches. I felt as though I couldn’t do it, I couldn’t get through it, but I did, I didn’t take one day off work because a colleague was already on sick leave for a week.

    I went to see my doctor who said there was no medication or anything to help (apart from a tablet to stop me from being dizzy, but it only took away 20% of my dizziness). I’d start to feel better, and then the next day I was back to all those awful symptoms. I just had to get through it. After the 2 weeks the only thing that stayed around was the brain zaps.

    They stayed around for over a month. But 3 months on and I totally forgot about my withdrawal symptoms, I don’t have any symptoms anymore! I’m free of Lexapro! You guys can do it too! (:

  • Clare July 6, 2016, 3:23 pm

    I was on Lexapro for…4 years. I lost my prescription and my doctor wouldn’t give me another script until I filed a police report (yes, this is true) so I said screw it I’ll just quit taking it. It’s been almost a week and I’m going crazy. I’m dizzy all the time, I’m nauseous, my heart beat is really hard (it’s the only way I can describe it) and my migraines are horrible.

    I know it’s the best decision but these withdrawals are terrible. I have an almost 4 year old and I can’t even play with him or make him food. It kills me. I feel like a horrible mother. Everything is on his father and I cry everyday all day. I just need to know that this is going to get better.

    I need to get back to my life, I can’t lay in bed anymore. I’m an independent person and to be too sick to even take care of yourself is awful and humiliating.

  • Gina July 7, 2016, 12:11 am

    Without Lexapro I could not have survived an extremely difficult occurrence in my life, an event that is not normal and should not have happened. I’m grateful Lexapro was there to help me. After 3 years of taking it, I’ve weaned myself from 10 mg to 5 mg to 2.5 mg (a little tricky to cut) and now nothing for the last 5 days. I’ve experienced headaches, nausea, some confusion and dizziness.

    The dizziness being the worst side effect so far. It’s reassuring the read others experiences. Although I’m not feeling great physically at the moment, I’m pleased I had Lexapro to get me through a very hard time, I think I’m strong enough now to handle it, I hope so anyway. Good luck to everyone out there, stay strong.

  • Lexy July 9, 2016, 4:49 pm

    Wow. I am SO glad I found this information. I thought I was loosing my mind. I have been on Lexapro since I was in 7th grade (almost 8 years ago) and I decided I had enough after dealing with side effects such as anxiety. I weaned off about a month ago now and I feel as though I am on auto-pilot in someone else’s body.

    I’ve had some instances where I was almost willing to go back on the drug, just to see if I felt normal again. But reading this information has given me strength to press on. It also gives me hope to come out stronger on the other side. I have noticed that writing down my thoughts and recognizing what it is that I am feeling, has been very comforting to me. Thanks again for this post, and god bless you all in this process!

  • KS July 18, 2016, 11:52 am

    I tapered off from 20mg lexapro – after 10 years – over the course of 10+ months. I went “free” on US Independence Day (July 4th). Still on 300mg Wellbutrin tho. I am taking supplements (B-complex, omega 3, magnesium & an A, C + E combo) intermittently. Also taking ginkgo for brain fog. Somehow I am getting things done, despite brain zaps & feeling overwhelmed.

    Worst problem so far has been the anger/irritability. I have tried to cut down before (4-5 times) so I am aware of how I’m acting. It is what always made me go back to full dose. I am trying to tell myself – lighten up, whatever is bothering me is not important, doesn’t matter. Remind myself to “not engage” with the situation. Also trying to read “positive thinking” material in the morning for at least a few minutes.

    I am not naive about how withdrawal works – I’ve failed before. So am trying everything I know. Even if it seems silly on the surface. It helps me slow down the nervous energy to sit still & read. I might be better off exercising the energy away, but not there yet. Doing what I can to push thru. Just like the rest of us. Helps to know I’m not alone.

  • Tara July 24, 2016, 8:01 pm

    Glad I found this site or I would continue thinking I had MS or another brain disease! I was on Lex for 3 yrs. 15 mg tops. Most of the time I was on 10 mg. I did a fast wean/almost cold turkey from 10mg a year ago and it ended badly. Back on it again. 5-10mg. I slowly weaned off for a cpl months down to 2.5 mg every other day for 2 wks. I’m on week 6 off Lex. The worst of the symptoms for me is depersonalization and detachment.

    It’s absolute hell. Also have some dizziness, off balance, muscle weakness. After 4 wks I started getting no appetite, lost some weight and lethargic. This is very very very hard. I am about ready to turn myself in. But after reading, I know I have to wait longer. I barely recognize myself in the mirror. It’s pure horror. I see a Naturopathic Dr and I’m taking L-theanine, B Complex, D3, lots of Vit C, Zinc, Magnesium.

    I still take a half of a klonopin a day. I am constantly worried that I will be stuck like this. I use to be SO energetic. I was a triathlete and runner and super motivated person. I went on Lex b/c of severe anxiety from a Lyme Disease diagnosis in 2012. I do wish I never went on it. But I cannot think of that now. What’s done is done. Do ppl really make it out of the withdrawal symptoms!?!?

    Our brains must somehow make it back to homeostasis eventually. This is so mentally exhausting! I consider myself to be a tough person. But this is way too much. I’m going to keep going. I have no choice. Never again will I touch Lexapro. Thank you to everyone on this site and I pray for recovery for all of us.

    Oh! I forgot to mention the Anger and crying spells! Ugh Started after week 4. I am a very hard person to be around at this point!

  • Hopeful July 25, 2016, 1:42 pm

    Update #2: I’m still slowly tapering. I did my three months at 9mg, started to feel great towards the end and so encouraged, started my three months at 8mg. If you haven’t read my previous posts I am taking a compounded Cipralex in capsules. I have an amazing doctor and am going down 1mg every three months. 8mg has been difficult.

    Upset stomach, memory loss, and panic attacks. I put things down and forget them. I was on vacation and had a day of such bad anxiety I spent most of it in the bathroom. I am seriously tempted to go back to 9mg, but then the last two months would be wasted… I have decided that I am not yet ready for 7mg which was my plan. I have to function as a mother and at work. I can’t be debilitated by anxiety – that’s what got me on this medication to start with.

    I will stay on 8mg for another 3 months. I am still taking 2400mg of Omega 3-6-9 and 2000 IU of Vitamin D3 daily. No weight loss.

  • Andrew July 30, 2016, 12:51 pm

    I took just two doses of Lexapro 10mg earlier this week and it completely killed my sex drive. I stopped taking it ‘cold turkey’. How long does it take to recover your sex drive after you stop taking this stuff?

  • SJ July 31, 2016, 1:43 am

    I don’t recall when I last posted but still taking 5 mg of Lexapro and while not feeling 100%… will not increase the dose. After taking the long taper from 10 to 5 mg I’ve still not lost one pound… now know you must be totally off to experience weight loss. What a disappointment!!!! Wanting to start another taper but not sure my family is up to the anger and irritability I went through before and they certainly need to be considered. Sadly the process of tapering affects every family member. Please keep posting progress and how you managed symptoms. Peace be with everyone on this journey.

  • Cheryl August 13, 2016, 2:29 am

    I was on Lexapro for about 2 years, 10 mg. I wanted to get off because I no longer feel it is working. I have no sexual drive anymore and had gained about 20 lb. After 2 weeks of taking a reduced dosage of 5 mg I just took my last pill. In the past 2 weeks I have experienced such dizziness that I fell down my front steps and hit my head, bruising my whole body. I also am experiencing nausea and intestinal discomfort. I wish I could fast forward a few months and feel like myself again.

  • Angela August 21, 2016, 10:37 pm

    I have been weaning off Lexapro for 6 weeks and the past couple days I have felt lightheaded, off balance and I’m so out of it I feel like I could pass out sometimes. If it doesn’t get better I still may go to the doctor and make sure something else isn’t going on. I’m hoping this feeling I am having is just withdrawal symptoms.

  • JC September 10, 2016, 7:10 am

    I have been on Escitalopram for two years and now I am tapering off. I bought a big 50ml syringe, the kind you use to inject flavor into a turkey. I use it to dilute the pills and discard part of the dose. I am reducing my dose by 10% every 3 weeks (10% of the remaining dose). So far, I went from 15mg to 10mg and my side-effects have been only two or three headaches behind my left eye and some mild dizziness when I move my sight from place to place. I plan to taper this way very slowly for some months until I get to zero to let my brain adjust and avoid major withdrawal symptoms.

  • TK September 11, 2016, 7:24 pm

    I was feeling dizzy all the time when I stopped taking cipralex. So, I had to go through a VERY gradual decrease of dosage over time. From a 5 mg pill, I started taking 1/2 for 1 month, then 1/4 for one month, then 1/8 for one month, and finally 1/16 for one month. After completing stopping the medication, I felt dizzy for about 1 one week and then I was fine. The best feeling ever.

  • Hannah September 11, 2016, 11:07 pm

    I have been on lexapro for about 3-4 years and my GP upped my dose from 20mg to 30mg and now I am weaning down off the 30mg. I am on day 3 of 20mg and already had a massive anxiety attack that landed me in hospital, experiencing nausea, depression and insomnia. I have to do 7 days of 20mg, then 7 days of 10mg and 14 days of nothing. If this is what the 20mg withdrawal is I am dreading to think of the 10mg and nothing stages. If anyone else has any of the same withdrawal symptoms please help me as to how you are getting through them. Any help would be much appreciated.

  • JustinTyme September 19, 2016, 9:10 pm

    I have not started my Lexapro detox because I came off of 7 years of .50 Klonopin just 4 months ago and just quit pot a week ago. I had no problems with the klonopin detox, but believe it or not, I had anxiety/insomnia/nausea from pot. My question is: when I start my detox in a month or so, is there a schedule on how to detox from 10 mg -4 years successfully. I would appreciate that. I am totally scared to do this!

    • KSmith September 28, 2016, 2:35 am

      I’m not sure about the Lexapro detox but I’m curious about how you were able to get off Klonopin? I’ve been on it now for five months and worry about addiction to it. I’ve heard it’s difficult to stop. I worry too that since I’m not recovered yet from the lexapro withdrawal, now might not be the time to try to get off Klonopin. Congratulations on getting off of it… I’m sure you’ll do fine with the Lexapro as well.

  • Sharon September 21, 2016, 10:29 pm

    I’ve been taking Lexapro for 12 or 13 years and was just diagnosed with Narcolepsy, since Lexapro causes drowsiness, my doc obviously wants me to stop taking it. I have been having all of the symptoms listed, but my ears ring like CRAZY! In addition to withdrawal from Lex I started taking Wellbutrin, so I’m not sure which symptoms are from the Wellbutrin or Lex.

    I was on 20 mg, tried to drop to 10 right away but couldn’t work from the dizziness and the brain zaps… which were the worst. I’ve been taking 15 mg for about 12 days now, and have been able to work, but I don’t know when I should try to cut it down again. I thought maybe I would wait until the symptoms go away, but it sounds like that could take months or years.

    Anyone have any suggestions? I’m starting to think I should take a leave of absence from work and drop the dose every week until I’m off. I’m not worried about the depression because the Wellbutrin is working just fine.

  • KSmith September 28, 2016, 2:13 am

    I was prescribed Escitalopram back in April of this year. I’ve taken it in the past with good results, however this time, I suffered the entire time. My PCP kept trying to get me up to the once therapeutic dosage of 40 mg (worked years ago), so I stayed on it until I reached it. Throughout the whole process, I was sick, brain foggy, not myself, mood swings, and personality changes. I’ve never had a mental illness either except for manageable anxiety; some panic.

    I decided to quit this PCP and went to a psychiatrist for the first time in my life who prescribed Buspar and wanted to lower my Escitalopram to 10mg so I went with it. I felt a little clearer but had fast heart rate and elevated bp so stopped it. He also stopped by Escitalopram, “Try going off of it for a week”. This was in response to continued tearfulness and not feeling myself. This psych didn’t monitor me well; wouldn’t allow me to correspond with him to note any problems so I found a new PCP who appears to be good.

    He’s been monitoring me and the fact that I’ve now been off the Escitalopram for one week. He agreed that I should have been titrated off of it slowly. I’m still experiencing what I did while taking the med which I think is unusual; brain fog/dp/dr, mood swings, irritability, heightened anxiety…just not myself at all. I took the Escitalopram a total of three months so I’m wondering how long I should experience withdrawal and why, I felt the same way while on the med as I do off…most horrific experience of my life.

  • Jsaig October 3, 2016, 2:38 pm

    I am glad to have read this and the many comments. I have been taking Cipralex for nearly eight years, before that Paxil. I had never experienced withdrawal symptoms like this before. Thank you to those who have shared. I was afraid that I might be having mild seizures these ‘zaps’ are alarming, and the dizziness that accompanies it didn’t help. Here is what has helped: taking frequent breaks.

    I have three young children and the sudden stress I’ve been experiencing has made me short tempered. I have also spoke to my husband, shown him this article, and he is more than willing to cover for those moments when I need a little time out. I know it will take time to adjust to living without this medication, thankfully the withdrawals are temporary.

    I have been keeping cool. Heat makes the zaps and dizziness worse, even now I have a fan on me. And reducing TV and internet use helps with the headaches.

  • Christine October 3, 2016, 7:00 pm

    Hi everyone. I took Lexapro during the time of my fathers death. Started out on 10MG and increased to 20mg for a total of almost 4 months. With my DR, I slowly tapered off. I noticed it made me super tried when on it. The first week off, I felt great! The 2nd week, so tired I can’t keep my eyes open, emotional and the worst is lightheaded and dizzy sitting or walking.

    My DR said if it was from the withdrawals, it would have been the first week. I have never taken anything like this before. Am I crazy, or is it from the withdrawals?! I don’t agree with my DR. on this one. Yes, I tapered off however everything I have is a listed symptom with withdrawals. Opinions anyone?!

    • Gert November 12, 2016, 8:32 pm

      Dear Christine, I’m a Belgian citizen who used lexapro (sipralexa) – 10 mg – for one year. I wanted to quit and took the last pill the 20th off September. I also slowly tapered off. Now, almost 2 months later, I still feel withdrawals from it: tired during the day, light in my head, sometimes pain all over my body… How are you doing from the moment? Did the withdrawals stop? Regards.

    • Rachelle November 29, 2016, 10:18 pm

      I am having the exact experience! Week 1 off these after tapering down and I felt great. Now week 2-3 the dizziness is almost unbearable. I thought I’d pass out today. I don’t know how old your post is, but would love to know how you’re feeling now. :)

  • Kristin October 9, 2016, 12:37 am

    I was on 10 mg of Lexapro for 3 yrs. I have been on 20 for a little over a year. Due to a lapse in health insurance I am on about week 2 of no meds. This drug worked wonders for me. I was put on it because I was plagued w anxious thoughts that I could not shut down. I am very anti drug. I did everything in my power with no success before I finally cried uncle. I would lay in bed at night and create scenarios in my head and then emotionally respond to them as if they were actually occurring.

    It was God awful! So now without the meds I’m back to nurturing anxious thoughts and what’s really concerning me is the dizziness. After reading many of your comments I’m wondering if I want to go back on this drug. Insurance should be squared away some time in the next week. Not sure if I should push thru this withdrawal and accept that part of being me is over thinking or run and get my refill ASAP.

  • KK October 9, 2016, 4:41 pm

    I have taken Lexapro for a month now and after 2 weeks of withdrawal due to me moving and losing my meds I feel like a total zombie. My symptoms had me thinking I was pregnant. I can’t think because my head hurts. I can’t eat because my stomach hurts. I can’t sleep because of my panic attacks and I’m just tired. None of my family understands how I’m feeling which is pissing me off as well because it’s not a “big deal” to them. What can I do about my head and stomach. Please someone help me!

  • Bart October 12, 2016, 10:09 pm

    I started on a dose of 5mg three days ago, I feel a lack of energy and a dry mouth all of the time. I took this medication for premature ejaculation, and even after day one it has worked. WOW. Reading these comments has made me question if it is worth it. I don’t think I will ever increase above 5 mg. Does the dry mouth and lack of energy ever go away?

  • Jackie October 19, 2016, 12:37 am

    I have been on Lexapro for quite some time. Probably around 8 years. I tried coming off it about 3 years ago and I lasted two weeks. I was so angry and upset. I was having a lot of other problems in my life at the time, it just wasn’t good timing. I have bipolar 2 disorder, been diagnosed for ten years. I have also had substance abuse problems. I am now clean and sober, and my life is very steady.

    I only take 20mg of Lexapro and 50mg of Seroquel. I have always thought that I would like to get off medication one day and manage my life drug free.
    I have been thinking that this time of my life is a good time to do it. The only thing is that I intend to start studying in March next year. Reading this info I am wondering if now is really a good time… Its really daunting to think how much time it could take to level out.

  • T November 11, 2016, 3:49 am

    I have spent the last month tapering down from 30mg to 10, but I have brain zaps all day everyday when I try to go down from 10 mg. I don’t know what to do!

  • Phil November 12, 2016, 9:38 pm

    I was prescribed Lexapro 10 mg as an adjunct to Bupropion, which had stopped working for my depression. I found it to be a very effective antidepressant with an unusally fast onset of action: I felt better in less than a week. It made me feel dizzy for a week or to, but that effect wore off in a week or two.

    The continuing side effects were what made me quit after 6 months:
    1) The sexual side effects were terrible: erectile dysfunction and anorgasmia. Taking Bupropion is supposed to mitigate these effects, but not in my case.
    2) Night sweats that literally soaked the sheets.
    3) Constant diarrhea for months.

    The initial withdrawal symptoms were what I expected: despite tapering off, I felt dangerously angry and had the classic electric shock sensations. I was not prepared for the long period of crippling fatigue that followed the cessation of the other symptoms. This lasted well over a month and my psychiatrist said that this was not normal, so I am now taking Adderall, which has helped a lot.

    This is a very powerful medication: I was taking a low dose for a relatively short period and I have been dealing with the withdrawal effects for months. Lexapro can be very effective for depression, however, I strongly suggest that others consider the pros and cons before trying it.

  • Rachelle November 29, 2016, 10:09 pm

    I just wanted to thank everyone for sharing their experiences. I was on this a couple years and just been off it completely for about 2 weeks. The first week and a half I felt amazing. No more brain fog, I was actually feeling rested after sleeping at night, and way more energy. BUT, the last couple days the dizziness has hit me like a mac truck. Really bad today, to the point I thought I might pass out. I’m a little quicker to anger and more moody, but it’s nice to have feelings again. ;) Thanks for showing me the light at the end of the tunnel y’all. Bless you xoxo

  • LAURI j December 5, 2016, 4:56 am

    I been on 20mg of Lexapro for 7 years. I tried to stop about 4 years ago cold turkey and experienced the worst of all withdrawals symptoms listed and described above. I caved an took another pill and have continued. I never felt like it aided to my quality of life and I have always felt victim to a pill ever since.

    Well last week, I decided I was “done”. I quit cold turkey once again and refusing to get on another “pill” to get off of this one. I am experiencing all of the symptoms, mood swings, zapping, nausea, eye floating ,irritability, headaches, fogginess… I will fight this. I have been drinking red wine at night and taking lots of vits and supplements.

    I have 4 kids – young – and I have told them we will do it together. Time and Patience. One day at a time. Rest when I need. Pray when I can’t take it. One moment, one withdrawal, one memory – without a pill. We will win.

  • jlbhope December 5, 2016, 11:17 pm

    I was prescribed Lexapro for the panic and agoraphobia that followed my thyroid removal. I’ve been on it for about 10 years. Recently, I became aware that I had no joy. I wasn’t unhappy. I just didn’t have fun. No fun. No joy. Nothing like that. A psych nurse tried to switch me to another anti-depressant and one day I realized I was actually PUNCHING my beloved dog.

    So much for that. I stopped the new drug. I stopped Lexapro. These drugs are dangerous, I think. Now I am in withdrawal and it ain’t pretty all the time. Anger, hyper panic, hostility, impatience. ALONG WITH COLOR. Suddenly I notice colors. I love them. I notice I like my living room.

    Why… I thought I hated everything about my house. But, surprise, I like my living room. But suddenly I realize it needs a touch of blue. I find a vase and a pillow. I love how they look. I love my living room. And I am a tad twisted coming off of Lexapro. But somehow, I suddenly see color. What is up with that?

    Oh yeah. I am also dizzy and nauseous. All the time. But I find that cold air helps. Going out of the house helps. I try not to breathe too loudly. But it helps.

  • Sharon December 6, 2016, 2:08 am

    I was taking Lexapro for about 9 years, due to heavy depression. I tried a few others like Zoloft and Celexa. Lexapro really helped my situation. I felt alive again. 9 years later I decided I want to stop taking it, my life is better, I don’t think I need it anymore. I also gained weight and have been fighting to lose it, with no avail.

    I was at 20mg, I dropped to 10 and then 5mg. Here comes the zaps and dizziness. It’s been horrible. I started this in July. The doctor said not to go cold turkey. I stayed on 5mg for awhile and then cut them in half. 5 days ago I stopped taking it all together. I still have the Zaps and dizziness but not as bad. I just want to stop this medication.

    I’ll just deal with it. Hopefully it will end soon. This is how the Big Pharma companies keep us taking meds. All pills somehow lead to some other symptoms and problems. Look at some commercials “Take this, but it will lead to this” I also stopped taking Lipitor for cholesterol.

    I was having such back pain. I couldn’t walk a block, my back muscles would cramp up so bad. Stopped taking it and my back pain went away. That’s how they make money. I had MRIs and all kind of testing on my back which led to nothing. It was the Lipitor.

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