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My Struggle with Lexapro
  1. #1
    c3royce is offline New Member
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    Mar 2011
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    Default My Struggle with Lexapro

    I was on it for about 3-4 years..and have been on an antidepressant of some sort for a total of 8 years.. I just took it blindly, 10 mg...its just how it was. I got it from my general doctor, who wasn't an expert, but thats just how it was. If any of you know about being on it, or any antidepressant...u know how it is. Ure anxiety/depression may subside, but u just feel "weird." Cant put ure finger on it, u function good...excel at work...have friends...somethings just not right.

    In september of last year i said screw it...Im going to stop taking it. I needed to know what I was working with without being on medicine. I saw it as a challenge, and had this plan I would stop taking it, stop all the other stuff that was going on (somehow in there I developed a drinking problem)...get myself in Cognitive Behavior Therapy, and see what happened. Another part of that plan was to rededicate myself to brazilian jiujitsu...which is a martial art I have been involved in off and on throughout my life...all part of the master plan i had.

    Long story short...4 weeks ago i broke my leg..required major knee surgery...I cant walk for 3 months, its been brutal. I started CBT...im only a week in, so I cant comment on it too much, just that its the only thing thats ever "made sense" to me (I have been to other therapy before where they just want you to "talk"..and ure half afraid to tell them what ure really thinking, because you don't even trust that they know what their talking about)

    So here I am. Off Lexapro...have experienced really bad depersonalization/anxiety attacks...terrible depression. Ud think this would be the time to get back on the medicine...but ???????it it took me so much to get off the stuff, how can I rationalize getting back on it? its been a wild ride. I consistently say "I dont care how I feel now..im worried about how i'll feel years down the road.." I keep thinking that if I just stick it out, things will make sense and ill thank myself later.

    Just lookin for some support through this..anyone who can relate with the struggles of choosing whether or not they should be on an antidepressant, or whether they should learn to live life med free. Definitely a scary ride

  2. #2
    ChiariOCD is offline New Member
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    May 2011
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    Default I hear ya

    I just had to quit taking 40mg (yes, 40mg... I am an OCD patient and resistant to SSRI therapy) due to developing serotonin syndrome when they increased my long-acting opioid pain medication (Oxycontin) which competes with Lexapro for Cytochrome CYP2D6 and the OC was making the Lexapro build up to dangerous levels and I woke up one day with what felt like the worst hangover ever combined with a kidney infection. I had a fever from the muscle spasms and my kidneys were hurting from the high quantity of lactic acid from my muscles. I have Chiari Malformation which is a herniation of the brain through the hole where your brainstem leaves your skull. I have had part of my skull and part of my first three vertebrae removed, and although my condition is now stable I have chronic pain that is intense and they cannot find the reason why I continue to have it...I keep seeing different doctors all the time.

    Unfortunately, I wasn't able to do a taper. I had to quit cold turkey. Fortunately, I also have a prescription for Ativan. And Benadryl is great for SSRI withdrawals. I have been on/off several SSRIs because the side effects were worse than my OCD. Lexapro was the first drug with a "clean" side effect profile for me, and I loved it. Then the serotonin syndrome. I had a major meltdown, anxiety, near panic attacks, and insomnia.

    I am turning to cognitive-behavioral therapy more and more to control the panic (side effect of brain compression) and the anxiety. I don't think I will go back on an SSRI unless my OCD starts to interfere with my ability to live a functional life (not sleeping, excessive collecting, starting too many hobbies, insomnia, obsessing about a certain thing/idea/project and not being able to function until I complete it.)

    If you were taking an SSRI for GAD/depression/OCD/etc, you have to determine with the help of your healthcare professional and your therapist (if you have one... I have had one for years and don't do well without one) whether you can control your symptoms drug free. Your mind is very powerful, and if you learn good CBT techniques to control your symptoms and it works for you, kick the drugs to the curb. But if your life gets out of control, you need to realize that you may have to have meds to live a functional life or get back on track even though going on means that eventually you have to quit. A switch to Prozac and then quitting seems to help a lot of people; I usually just taper on a 25% every 4 days schedule and then take the smallest dose every other day for 8 days and then quit; this time I had to just quit and it is the hardest thing I've done. It makes me, like you, question whether or not I would go back on an SSRI. At this point in time, my answer is no, but time will tell whether or not I have a choice.

    Discuss it with your pdoc, find a therapist who specializes in cognitive-behavioral therapy, and give it a try along with regular sleep and a healthy diet. It's definitely worth a shot.

    Good luck!

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