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Discontinuing SSRI's
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Discontinuing SSRI's

Hi, i've read a lot of forums and personal experiences from people trying to taper off SSRI's and what I haven't been able to find is any timeframes that the symptoms last.  I have been tapering off Lexapro and after being on 1/8 of a tablet decided to cease taking.  I have been suffering from the worst vertigo/dizziness I can imagine and instead of getting better, a week later i'm getting worse.  I am hesitant to take a tablet in fear i'll have to keep going through this everytime I try and stop.  Have their been any clinical trials on cessation of these drugs or has anyone been through this and have some time frames to share?
Many Thanks
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Avatar_f_tn
When I tapered off of Zoloft I had the same sort of experience. About 10 days after my last dose, my dizziness/vertigo had gotten so bad that I was bumping into walls and doors. My experience sort of went like this: I felt 'weird' the entire time I was tapering. Once I had completely discontinued the Zolot my symptoms worsened (though they were never bad enough that I *seriously* considered restarting Zoloft). My worst day was about 2 1/2 weeks after I had stopped, and then every day I started to feel a little better. I've been off of Zoloft for just over 3 weeks now and the withdrawal symptoms are nearly gone. The only good part about the last few weeks is that even as my physical symptoms worsened my emotional state improved. I could definitely see the difference in my cognitive abilities and my emotional resilience.

The whole time I just ket reminding myself that if I restart taking Zoloft, the past week/10 days/2 weeks was a waste and I'd have to go through the withdrawal again. The worst part was that no one could tell me when it would be over.

I don't know how Lexapro compares to Zoloft in terms of time frames. Talk to your doctor if you can or try posting on the Expert Forum here.

Good Luck.
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432009_tn?1304753441
First off, I hope that you are working with your Dr. on the right tapering schedule. Trying to wean off too quickly many times results in no success for those people who are trying to stop their SSRI's completely.

Second, post a question in  the medical expert forum. Dr. Gould is the psychiatrist here under mental health.

Thirdly, google everything that you can possibly find under Lexapro withdrawal symptoms, etc. That has been my salvation as I wean off of xanax....reading what other experts have said about tapering off this drug. The more I know, the more the info. has helped me - during those really difficult times.

Good luck...
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Avatar_n_tn
I just posted a question concerning this issue on this forum.  I was on Lexapro for 8 months and have been having a horrible time since I discontinued it one month ago.  I'll look for answers as well.  If I find an answer for you, I will let you know.  Hang in there.
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Avatar_f_tn
Thanks everyone for your advice, information and support, it really helped.

I experienced the worst of it only for 2 weeks after completely stopping (and a week before when tappered down to 2.5mg).  At the time I thought I couldn't cope but now I am so glad I did.  I wake up in the morning and i'm awake!  I feel so much better, less naps and more energy to work on losing the weight i'm sure is the result of lexapro.

Anyone who is going through this, just hang in there and the side effects will go away!
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Avatar_m_tn
Yep, had the same experience(s).  It's tough to avoid some level of symptoms when stopping SSRIs.  Even with a slow tapper.  Maybe try an ever slower tapper.  

I had some success by tappering slowly and adding Prozac.  Prozac stays in your system for a lot longer than the other SSRIs.  Adding it will help minimize some of the effects of discontinuing another SSRI.  Then when you are off the other drug, Prozac generally is not as hard to stop taking since it stays in your system for a lot longer and slowly gets out of your system.  I took 30 days to then get off Prozac and had no side effects.  

Good luck---you can get through this.  Just know there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
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Avatar_f_tn
well i got off of lexapro and felt the same way.. extremely dizzy.. but instead of getting mad.. i just tried to laugh at it... you know .. like when you were a kid and spun around.. but it did annoy me at first.. and it only took a couple of days for me..
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Avatar_n_tn
I had been taking Effexor XR (SSRI) for 9 1/2 yrs due to general anxiety disorder due to marriage issues.  I finally decided it was time to stop.  I had read many articles about the horrible side effects in trying to discontinue SSRI's.  Well, I decided to go cold turkey. It has been 7 days now.  I have minor withdrawal symptoms (some insomnia, buzzing in my ears, blurred vision, a little headache), but so far so good.  They say the first two weeks are the worst..well only one week to go.  But in the interim I have also changed my lifestyle.   I work out every day for 1 hr, chg'd my eating habits (no carb's, lots of protein, vegetables and fruits) and have lost some weight.  All these have helped.  I don't dwell on the fact that I have these symptoms, but instead go ahead with my busy day and try not to think about them.  I'm not saying quitting cold turkey is the best way for me, or for anyone, but the changes I made in my lifestyle certainly seem to be helping.
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Avatar_m_tn
I have been on Lexapro 30mgs for three years or so.  The daytime sleepiness has gotten so bad that I am about to lose my job.  I can sleep for days at a time.  My psychiatrist suggested I have another sleep study, I had one about a year ago.  This time I had/have to stop taking Lexapro for a week.  It has been five days.  I just found out that my sleep study is postponed for another week.  This is very tough.  I have been tearing constantly.  My head is spinning.  The electric zaps started a few hours ago.  I have only slept 6-7 hours total in the last three nights.  On a positive note, my sex drive is back today (three times) after having sex only a couple times in the last three years.  Not sure what to do.  I can't get ahold of my psychiatrist until tomorrow, but it sounds from reading posts on the net for hours today that there isn't much to be done to help with the symptoms.  
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691935_tn?1282008141
I s-l-o-w-l-y tapered off of lexapro after taking it for many years.  The brain zaps didn't start for about 2-3 wks, mistakenly thought I had lucked out.  I'm going on day 70 with the brain zaps / vertigo but they have gotten much more tolerable.  I suffered with a horrible (embarassing) temper for weeks but that is now over.  Noise, Tinnitus is still prominent but I think that is something I will have to live with.  Like Madge I have been tearing a lot which I find odd.

If I ever get rid of the brain zaps, I will post it but I'm wondering if this is a permanent side effect.

One more thing, my doctor prescribed me a low dose prozac to help but I haven't taken them.  I'm trying real hard to become "drug" free.
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Avatar_m_tn
Many report that fish oil helps with the brain zaps.  Worth a try.  Don't understand completely the sleep study -- if the sleepiness started with the Lexapro and has been there all along, it's probably the Lexapro.  No sleep study is going to change that if it's been around that long, certainly wonder why the cold turkey stoppage to do it if that's the reason.  Unless I'm reading this wrong and it predated the Lexapro.  
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Avatar_m_tn
I had been on Citalopram (celexa) 20 mg for 4 years. I had tried getting off of the pills several times but each time I got through about 1 week and then couldn't handle it. About 3 weeks ago I took my last pill and I am starting to feel pretty decent, here's how I did it:
1) I tried to make sure I had my **** together in my life and attempted to avoid things that stressed me out (which I didn't - but I tried! still went out for drinks... not good)
2) I tapered my dosage over 1 month - if it takes 4 weeks for the medication to work then it should take as long to taper off (my opinion). 1 week at 15 mg, then 10 mg, then few days at 7.5 mg, then 1 week at 5 mg, then a few days at 2.5 mg - yes I broke down the pills and sorted them.
3) I took high quality Omega's 3's (high in EPA). And I started taking Advanced B complex supplements (with Choline) last week when I was struggling as I read they help restore or maintain a chemical in your brain that is depleted when you discontinue.
-my withdrawal symptoms were typical: crying spells, restlessness, angry at times, dizzy or just feeling 'out of it'. Sometimes its really tough but keep trying, its takes time (longer than they say).

Hope this helps someone.
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301640_tn?1302655934
my name is michelle i suffer from chronic dysthymia and its a life time of roller coasters up and downs. i dont have the cognitive abuility to go off it cause of my disabuility which is autism i dont understand my own feelings and other peoples.
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Avatar_m_tn
I supposedly have Asperger's Syndrome, which is mostly just a social thing, but back in middle school I had a hard time dealing with certain situations which caused me a lot of annoyance and discomfort at home around my family, and my parents thought I had OCD, so they forced me to take Luvox. I don't think it was necessary, and for a couple reasons, I decided to try coming off of it two summers ago. The physical withdrawal symptoms came a few weeks after I took my last pill, but they went away after a couple weeks. A few months later, I started having nasty mental effects, including both visual and auditory hallucinations and increased anxiety and intrusive thoughts. I have been dealing with them ever since, not wanting to take anymore meds unless it's only temporary. I think I came off the stuff too fast, having been on it for 7 years plus, coming off of it a week at each lower level, and completely off in all of 3 or 4 weeks. My question is, is there anything I can do now, or take temporarily, to get rid of these effects? Should I go back on Luvox temporarily, then try coming off more slowly? I just want to get rid of the nasty mental effects, I NEVER had problems like this before I took Luvox, and I don't want it interfering with classwork or anything.
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Avatar_m_tn
try tappering off over a few months with weeks / days of stabilization as you maybe personally sensitive to the drug. Been and done this with various SSRI's ( seroxat & prozac) with seroxat being the worst, although was my first experience with anti-depressants. Recently and thankfully came off in 2 weeks with mirtzapine with no major withdrawals. Venlafaxine has a bad rep as there's a lot of scare stories as again everyone is different as will have that joyful possible experience in the future. minimal stress, good sleep, good diet and minimal or no alcohol will also aid you through the zaps, disorientation, the stomach cramps / upsets and diaorrehea, headaches
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi -

I have been tapering for the last 3 weeks and have been off for 4 days with very minor, in comparison to many stories, side effects.

This is what I did. I am not saying this will work for you, but this is my story.

I opened one of my capsules (generic) and there were 37 – 40 pellets in each one. So the first cut, I just took out 5 pellets. I did that for 3 days. Everything was fine (just a little tired). Then after that I decided to take more pellets out. I cut the full dose in half (19 pellets). I did this for 4 days. The first day was fine, the second day I felt emotional and some anxiety, but then my evening went fine. The third day I felt better, but had a headache. The 4th day was much better. My next step, I cut dosage down to 9 pellets for 4 more days. For these four days I have had some slight dizziness, and some tiredness, but have been able to function fine. This is when I decided to slow down the process a little bit, just because I had alot of things going on in my life. Teaching VBS, Play practices, etc. So my next step down was 8 pellets for 2 days, 7 pellets for one day then 6 pellets for 3 days, then 5 pellets for 5 days. All of these days were pretty manageable. I was able to teach Vacation Bible School, and get my daughter to all of her activities, as well as get all of my home stuff done as well. I have felt a little outside of myself, a little bit of a headache, and my head just feels a little bit full, like when you have a cold. After those 5 days, I decided to make the BIG JUMP to zero effexor. I have currently been officially off effexor for 4 days. So far so good. Same as all of my other drops. Symptoms have been the same as above.

I have been using the following supplements, etc.

I take advil every 6 or so hours for the headaches. I base that on how bad the headache is. If it is dull, I hold off.
I take benedryl every 4 or so hours for the dizzy and head zaps. Once again I base how often on how I feel.
I take 1-2 omega-3 supplements at each meal. This is suppose to help brain function.

I am taking a very good multi-vitamin supplement (RELIV Classic, Fibrestore, Provantage), rather expensive, but for me, I feel like it is worth it). I take this 3 times a day.

I also found some amazing little homeopathic drops. They are made by BACH and the one I use all the time is the Rescue Remedy. It has really helped me with the anxiety that I feel. Whenever I feel anxious, I just take a few drops and the anxiety level drops considerablly.

These are the things that I have been using since day 1.

Once I dropped to ZERO, I added another RELIV product, Reversage.
This contains several herbs (acetyl L-Carnitine, Alpha liponic Acid, etc.) that are good for brain function.

Also I am taking salt baths. Almost every night. One, it is relaxing, and two it is suppose to draw out toxins. I have been keeping my mind really busy which seems to be helping. I seems like when I let myself sit and do nothing, is when my mind starts racing and then I start having anxiety. That is when I use my Bach drops.

Lots of Water and Lots of Protein.  When I start feeling dizzy I have some protein.

Sorry for the long post, but when I started this journey, I was looking for some success stories, and really didn’t find much. I am hoping this helps not only you, but many, many people. It hasn’t been an easy journey for me either. Lots of talking myself down, talking to friends and family about what is going on, which really helps to. Prayer (asking for help), Prayer(thaning GOD for his help),and more Prayer (for others going through this). With GODS help, we are getting through this pretty well.

I WILL CONTINUE with this journey, and I WILL conquer this Dragon called Effexor.

Quotes by my daughter who is 7 : When the Sun Rises: God Heals
Don’t follow your dreams: Chase Them !!

I am really trying to follow her very sound advice. Have a great journey !! I am looking forward to an effexor free life.

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Avatar_n_tn
I have just completed my 6th day off of Effexor.  So far, so good.  Felt a little dizzy yesterday, but took some benadryl, vitamin b complex, and  a double dose of my Omega 3 complex.  I just hope that someone can find my posts and that they help someone.  I will keep you all posted as to progress over the next couple of weeks.  I do know that if I don't take the Benedryl that the head shocks come back.  I tried today to go as long between as possible.  The longest I could go was 7 hours, then I needed to take another.

Thanks everyone
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