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Lexapro and Memory Problems?
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Lexapro and Memory Problems?

I've been on Lexapro (20 MG) for a little over a year now. It quickly fixed my depression/anxiety problems, and I feel okay mood-wise. Although for the first few months, the libido change (MUCH lower) and anorgasmia had been hard to deal with in the begining, but seems to be better.
The only thing is that I've noticed over the last several months an effect that is rather disturbing and I don't know if it's due to lexapro? Kind of an inability to think straight sometimes, or loss of short term memory. Just an overall feeling of almost a blank mind. (IE I used to write a lot, but since taking lexapro, if I pick up a notebook, i've got nothing).
Is it feasible that my brain-dead feelings are attributed to Lexapro?
I'm afraid to go off of it because of my previous moods before Lexapro (suicidal ideation, etc).

Any input would be greatly appreciated.
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76 Comments Post a Comment
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Avatar_n_tn
Reading your post was like reading my own thoughts. I have been on 20mg of Lexapro for over 7 yearsrs now. One of the biggest things I have been struggling with is this memory issue and general "flat" brain feeling. It has affected my work and life because I struggle so much trying to recall events. I too considered weening off but I was scared I wood be worse off mood wise. The anxiety and depression was pretty bad. I had in fact cut my dose in half with the supervision of my Dr. and was struggling at half the dose, so I went back up to 20mg. I have also suffered from little to non-existent libido. I have tried being on other medications, Paxil etc...but I did best on Lexapro mood wise. I am not sure what the solution is here, but for what it is worth I have experienced similar symptoms while taking this medication  
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387056_tn?1200447377
Memory and cognition can definitely be affected by Lexapro, do not let your doctor tell you otherwise. I was a healthy 24 year old when I started lexapro and when I went off it at 26, my short-term memory had permanently changed. Which made things difficult when I went to graduate school.
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Avatar_n_tn
I am sorry to hear about your continued struggled with the short term memory issues. I was afraid of hearing that it wouldn't get better after coming off it. I just wanted to share. I struggled a great deal through law school because I was having so much trouble retaining and recalling information. In fact I took the Bar several times without success because I would spend hours re-reading the information and it would leave me so quickly. No matter how many times I would read it, it was like I was reading it for the first time or when I would try and recall it there was nothing or fragments of information. This affected me greatly. I was not able to pursue my career in law and have since settled in a position that doesn't strain me as much. I had told my psychiatrist about it and he looked at me puzzled and as if he had never heard this before and didn't believe it had to do with the medication. I still believe it does because I know from this forum I am not the only one who has experienced this. I really hope with time your memory will approve. I hope there is hope for the rest of us.  
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377600_tn?1225167036
I'm on the same dose and have the same problem. However, I also think my deep depressions also result in memory loss. I feel like my depression is making me dumber by the day.  

If this helps, I was in graduate school--I got through the tough times by telling my brain that I was loading for long-term memory.  I swear to you--it works.

I have always chosen between long term and short term memory--ever since I was a kid.  I realized that the brain holds so much of both.  Then later, as a teen, I read computers do the same thing by scanning information.

Just tell yourself what will be long-term memory and what will not.  I save short-term memory for around the house things and junk news--not the real hard stuff--and movies.

I know this might sound insane, but it has worked for me.

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387056_tn?1200447377
I wish it would come back, but I don't think it will anymore than I have tried. All you can do are brain exercises to keep your mind going. I went through a really rigorous grad school program where memory was key. And it never really came back, no matter how many books I read, papers I wrote etc. I was able to bring my math skills back by practicing for the GRE. I wonder if that is a different part of the brain...
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Avatar_n_tn
I, too have been on Lexapro for a long time and suffer from brain fog and short term memory loss.  Finding words can be difficult especially as I am in the mental health field myself and am always going to seminars and learning new things and retaining information is so important.  I definitely believe it is the medication, which is very helpful in other ways.  It's a really difficult tradeoff to have to make!
witwaser  
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644988_tn?1236368148
My experience for what it's worth, I started on 20mgs 18 months ago, increased over few months to 60mgs (and other stuff too). I had severe brain fog and terrible memory/general cognitive impairment but didn't know what was which..depression/meds etc. Now my brain fog has gone and my memory is much better, the depression whilst still with me is considerably better than it was. I'm still taking 40mgs plus other things too but the brain fog has cleared as 1) depression improves and 2) long-acting benzodiazepines cut down/out..my thinking is way smoother than it was ten months ago, despite not changing dose of citalopram (Lepraxo in UK). I guess we're all different.
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365714_tn?1292202708
Interesting... I was on Celexia for about a month and a half and I started to notice similar symptoms. They wanted to change me to Lexapro, but I hesitated and eventually got out of having to take it. From the sounds of it, when I looked it up, it seems Celexia and Lexapro are similar in composition or at least use about the same compounds.
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Avatar_f_tn
I was on Lexapro 20mg for 9 months. My memory loss is horrible. If I don't write it down, I don't remember it. It is very difficult for me to concentrate on anything. I space out a lot.... and find it difficult to think. I have always been a deep thinker..a writer...and a person that can spit out facts left and right. I feel like now, I am the opposite. I feel so dumb, as silly as that sounds. I have always been extremely smart... when I began my last year of undergrad, I had to leave. I couldn't do it anymore. I didn't care about anything.  

I want more than anything to go back to school....I hate feeling like a failure.  

I hate when people ask me things,and I don't know the answer. I hate when people tell me something that I said or did, and I have absolutely no recollection. I hate catching myself spacing out.....and thinking about absolutely nothing.  
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Avatar_f_tn
This is frustrating becuase I have also noticed a decrease in memory/intelligence.  However, I have only started taking antidepressants a little over a month ago, and it's a type of effexor (37.5 mg).  
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Avatar_f_tn
A doc posted on this board a month ago that a high percentage of artists have suffered from depression, in response to an artist complaints about the effects of her med.
He said that it may be her depressed side being shut down that is affecting her creativity, so some of the posters on this thread may be experiencing that.
My doc also said Celexa does not cause memory loss, which differs from what many here feel.
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Avatar_n_tn
I have been on Effexor 37.5mg) for 3 years now and at first I just thought it was being a 40 year old 1st time mother, but lately it's so bad, I've forgotten I had left the iron laying on a shirt "for just a second" while I went to another room to grab the next thing to iron, and numerous other things.  That's why I came to this site, I wasn't sure if it was age, hormones, I really didn't think that much about the medication, but now I wonder.  I'm gonna check the side effects, but like so many have said, it seems to affect everyone different.  
How about anyone else --on Effexor?
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Avatar_n_tn
I found this site by looking for the keywords "Lexapro and Memory"... My memory problem is confined to recall. Apparently, I learn and have a sense of knowing the concept but can not recall the words to express myself. I have been on a very low dosage of 10mg for 4 years. I think about weining myself... but I don't know what else to take. At work I communicate by email 80% of the time so I'm able to take the time to pull the words from my memory... or look it up.

Any ideas about diet, vitamins etc that would help.?
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Avatar_n_tn
I also have been on Lexapro for about 4 years.  My short-term memory has all but disappeared.  Someone can tell me something and if I get side-tracked for just a moment I forget. If I have something that is really important I try to associate something to the thought to help me remember.  I also find that I will randomly remember something from a previous day or week that I could not recall that day.  Last year I was forced to look for another job due to layoffs.  I had to completely go cold turkey so I could answer the technical questions required for my profession.  It helped but I was a bear to live with.  I was lucky enough to find a job very quickly so I went back to taking the Lexapro.  I do what I can to stay on the drug since it really has helped me cope.  I used to have the crazy mood swings which went from extreme highs to thoughts of suicide. I can live with the side effects for now. Just wish someday I will get better.
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Avatar_f_tn
Lots of people start losing parts of their memory (men in their 30s start, from what I remember reading....) as a normal aging process, so don't rule that out as the cause of your problem.
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Avatar_n_tn
I'll had mixed emotions when it comes to Lexapro and memory.

I had memory problems before taking Lexapro. They were depression and anxiety related. After taking Lexapro, these memory problems improved.

I used to always forget things. I think it was because I never paid attention. I never tried to remember things due to my depressed mood. I will still forget things now but not nearly as bad as before.

My mind used to go blank when I was under stress. Lexapro has reduced my stress. My mind no longer goes blank like it did before.

I have experienced memory issues due to Lexapro. I will be thinking of doing something, my mind will switch to something else, and then I'll forget what I wanted to do. I think this is a result of getting distracted easily due to the Lexapro. I never got a chance to put into memory what I wanted to do.

I no longer remember the feelings associated with past events. However, this isn't so bad, because I had some horrible and painful past experiences. Now I no longer have such horrible and painful feelings about them and have less social anxieties and depression as a result.
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Avatar_n_tn
I take Lexapro for a condition called neuro-cardiogenic syncope.  Nothing to do with mood, depression, anxiety, etc.  I've had terrible memory problems (to the point that I went to get myself a glass of water, poured it then with a tiny distraction walked away and forgot it for 2 hours).  My memory is at the point that I feel like I've got early onset alzheimer's (not exadurating).  I've wondered if it could be because of the medication and after reading these posts it seems possible.  
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Avatar_n_tn
WOW I love that I have found this site. I have taken Lexapro for 5 years 10-20mg for anixiety and My short term memory has all but dissapeared. The Doctors can say all they wnat that Anixety meds do not effect your memory but we know differently!! I would love to have all the doctors who have said the Memory loss is a side effect of depression and take Lexapro and then talk to me in 6 months. I have just stoped taking Lexapro (in fact this is my first week totallly off of the meds because of the memory loss.
I had to turn down a very good paying job because the first day I went there I was in alot of meetings and as I sat in these meeting I noticed that I did not remember half of the stuff they were talking about!!! I got laidoff in Jan and this job started in May so not that much time had gone by that I would not remember how to do a job that I have done for the past 5 years!!! If it was not an old boss of mine that I loved I would have stayed BUT I knew my boss was expecting me to take the floor running with no supervision from her and that was just not going to happen. So we talked and I quit. I am hoping that getting off the Lexapro will help my memory loss. I will make sure I come back in a month or two and let everybody know.

Hang in there!!!
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404138_tn?1308945256
I believe lexapro does contribute to memory loss. I will be in the middle of a sentence and will lose my train of thought, cant finish the sentence because my mind completely forgot what I was about to say or what I wanted to say or what I was even talking about to begin with.
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Avatar_f_tn
If the docs told you that Lex doesn't cause memory loss, it is probably true. The meds are double blind tested using scientific procedures to verify the effects long before they are approved. I would doubt the researchers are so stupid that they don't figure out if there is a memory effect that many on this thread have convinced themselves exists.
It is extremely difficult to self-analyze any effects of a med, but to analyze personal memory loss presents lots of challenges, especially since it takes a good memory to do the testing. As I mentioned on May 19, lots of people lose memory early.

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Avatar_n_tn
I have been on Lexapro for four years and I just got fired because I could not retain information in my new job, therefore it was taking me forever to learn the job. I have a double degree and I have always been a bright person, even when I suffered depression throughout most of my life, thus I do not believe the depression contributed to my memory loss, as I did not have a problem before starting the drug.

I used to be incredibly witty, and now my conversations are littered with 'you know that guy from that movie who was also in that other move with that girl .." It's incredibly frustrating. My recall is completely shot.  

I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place here because on or off the drug I am dysfunctional in some way. I'm just wondering whether the benefits really do outweigh the drawbacks and how much more deterioration is in store.
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Avatar_f_tn
I checked a few sites and these are all the side effects listed.
http://www.healthyplace.com/lexapro/patient-center/lexapro-has-a-favorable-side-effect-profile/menu-id-1865/

I find it hard to believe that any drug would be approved that causes brain damage, such as memory loss. Perhaps call the mfgr. or the FDA for more info.
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Avatar_n_tn
I have been taking 20mg of Lexapro for over a year. In the beginning it felt like a miracle drug because my depression and anxiety was so bad at the time it really did help me.. But just like I have found with another antidepressant-zoloft. The good affects they once had on me changed after a period of time and the once miracle drug is no longer doing the job. In fact with zoloft I had started experiencing a more negative effect. Suicidal thoughts started swarming my mind, even though I didn't want them there. The thoughts were very strong. My doctor at the time wouldn't listen to me (the drug was all the rage at that time because it was supose to be non addicting-which I found not to be true when I stopped taking zoloft cold turkey as the doctor said I would be able to-the doctor reminded me that that was the great thing about that particular drug-no withdrawal symptoms.She said it could be stopped at anytime)
Anyways I really came on this sight because I too am concerned about my increasing loss of memory, focus, and disorientation from taking Lexapro. I get lost (disoriented driving in areas I know very well). Daily forget what I am set out to do. My kids will be at the door saying, "mom are you ready". I will look at them puzzled, and ask,"ready  for what?" Apparently my kids tell me I do that alot. I forget what I tell them or what I say. I forget where I am driving to. I even try to repeat in my head when I leave the driveway "I am going to the bank " to keep focus and remember.Sadly at about I guess after the 4th time going over it , as much as the thought was there a second ago-it is gone. There's me driving in my car aimlessly down the road. Sometimes something will trigger my mind and I will do that task I set out to do. Umfortunately most of the time I am side track and end up stopping at stores and places that I am really not sure why. Later I will get home or a week later I will see a bill or papers or a note I wrote to myself and then and only then will I relize,"oh my God, that is what I originally went out for the other day" This all makes me feel dumb and a bit insecure in my ability to function as a normal productive person on a daily basis. I am going to call my doctor this week-(that is if I don't forget), since I have been meaning to ask her about this possible side affect along with the fact that I am having increasing anxiety and feelings of depression re-occuring now for the past month)  I will let everyone know what her response is.
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Avatar_f_tn
I am so happy and sad to see other people experiencing the same memory problems I have been experiencing. My doc put my dose at 40mg and I feel like I lose more short term memory daily. I don't recall what I say or other people say. I cannot recall events from earlier in the day. Writing things down helps but you have to remember where you write them. I find the only way to survive at work is organization. Even so, it is still difficult to get by. I am an intelligent, educated woman with a successful career. I am only 41 and am very engaged with work, school and family. I too get lost, forget my words, lose track of where I was driving, have difficulty in everyday conversation. The depression is so debilitating that I have no choice but to take meds. It runs in my family and has just been something we all deal with. There must be a better way.
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Avatar_n_tn
I am so happy to find this site and to know that I'm not alone in feeling this way! I'm 34 and have been on Lex 20mg for 2 years.  I have always been intelligent, witty and had a fountain of "useless knowledge." I went back to school 2.5 years ago and have been really struggling for the past 2 years. I can't seem to retain any information and immediate comprehension is even difficult. I've always been an A student and done well on tests. Now, I'm getting Cs and Ds. This is not me. And I too would be completely lost without making lists everyday. There absolutely is a connection between Lex and memory.  I decreased my dose to 10mg a month ago and I can feel a difference. My mind just feels more open. It is hard to describe.  I'm just feeling and thinking more. I hope my memory will grow stonger.
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Avatar_f_tn
Is there no other med that you could go on? You should talk it over with your doctor or even bounce this off your pharmacist for some ideas.
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Avatar_f_tn
I am amazed at the posts I am reading here- I have been thinking I was developing early onset alzheimers- which runs in my family- at the ridiculously young age of 27-
I have very directly asked my psychiatrist if Lexapro causes memory issues and he said that he did not think there was any hard proof of that- I would have to wholeheartedly disagree- as ever since I have been on lexapro- a little over 2 years now- I can not remember anything- and think I am losing my mind- I used to retain everything- and the foggy feeling is something I feel also-
I have an appointment with my Doc tomorrow and after reading this info feel like I want to be off Lexapro ASAP!  This is scary stuff- maybe they should do more extensive trials if this is a concern- as we are all using a drug that may be effecting our memory??  That is just not ok!
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Avatar_f_tn
I am only 19, but I have been on Lexapro (10mg) for 6 or so years now. I use it for Anxiety. I have been experiencing the same problems. I am always forgetting things. I zone out a lot. Especially while driving. It's scary. I do the oddest things like washing my hair twice before I realize I meant to do my body wash instead. I put things in te wrong places. (ex. Milk in cabinet, cup in fridge.) I usually catch myself doing it and correct it. But it makes me feel like a total mindless freak. I'm an undergrad and I forget assignments a lot even when I write them down. (I forget to look at the calendar...) I wonder if coming off the Lexapro would help. It is extremely frustrating. I'm glad to know I am not alone though. It gives me hope. :)
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Avatar_m_tn
Wow, glad that I found this site.  I am a 50 year old male who has been on lexapro (10mg) for 2 years.  I have found my short term memory has become increasingly worse - lost a job because I couldn't learn the new skills and co -workers got frustrated saying, "I have already explained that".  
Lexapro has been great for my depression but the memory factor plus fatigue (and lack of sex drive) are making me reconsider.
I too thought that I may have been having early onset dementia as I couldn't remember where I had put my coffee cup on so many occasions.  Unfortunately most doctors just read the literature that the drug companies supply and therefore dismiss so much of the anecdotal evidence.
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Avatar_f_tn
I have been on Lexapro for about 2 months now and have noticed the change in memory (reason for looking up this forum). I also know that it increases the amount of serotonin in your brain. Serotonin is linked to learning and memory so I believe that this definitely has something to do with the consumption of lexapro. If your doctor doesn't know this perhaps you should consult someone else. I am unsure if this will effect people after the discontinue use, however, like all drugs and toxins in the body it does take a while to leave the system. So being off the drug for atleast a month to two months you may see a change. This is just my opinion, so don't take it too far, but it should be something to consider and maybe brought up with your health care professional.
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Avatar_m_tn
I've been on Lex for a little over a year.  These posts are breaking my heart.  I started lex for a combination of post concussive disorder, and anxiety.  within a month of being on lex my anxiety was incredibly better.  I didn't worry or over analyze, both things I had a nasty habit of doing to death. Killer on a personal life, but great for who I was professionally.  Pretty quickly, I lost the ability to be an executive assistant and office manager.  I actually forgot an important location had been switched, sent people to wrong place... I felt like details were escaping me. I found myself looking at my calandar 100 times in five minutes.  Then forgetting where my calandar was at all... It's kind of pleasant to stop worrying, however, there ARE things that should send a spark of worry to you "pay attention, you are DRIVING." and I don't have that anymore.  I used to be a trivia whiz, remember authors, movies, everything I read.  A+ tester. Now... blah.  I also felt like my wit and ability to joke on the fly were gone.  I am trying to get off. went every other day for a week, then every two days, and then back to one, as I felt so sick-head swimming-faint.  I almost had a panic attack on Saturday. Forgot how awful those are...  I don't know what the solution to my anxiety and depression are, but if I want my mind back the solution does not include lex.  I would rather just take something like valium, anything to get my mind back.  I miss reading and writing and being smart.  
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Well, I guess there is some comfort in at least knowing I'm not crazy.  I've been on 15mg of Lexapro (started on 10 and it wasn't enough, 20 was too high, so I cut a 20mg pill in half and then cut one of the halves in half) and my memory has been HORRIBLE since being on it.  My boss even put in my review that I've made little mistakes that are unlike me lately.  It is a trade off that I don't want to have to make either...A. irritable all the time and stricken with anxiety or B. forget every little detail!  What do we do?  :o(
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Avatar_m_tn
This is an interesting one because I have dealt with anxiety/depression for over 23 years.  Mostly it was very manageable until April 2010 when I had a nice bout with double depression.  Anyway, I was scared enough to take meds.  Before I always just read, but thoughts of suicide scared me enough to get on the med train.  I was on 10 mg of lexapro and 1/2 tab of ativan for 4 months. I had really no side effects other than some tingling sensations.  My sex life was even better as I lasted longer...if you know what I mean.  But anyway, lexapro helped and I'm glad I took it.  But after awhile it made me feel "drugged" in the evening and especially when waking in the night.  Anyway, in addition to the medication, I started training for a marathon (running 20 plus miles a week now), starting weight lifting, changed my diet, my sleep routines, and got rid of excess baggage that dragged me down.  After about 3 months of running and the other lifestyle changes, I started feeling great.  And since the Lexapro made me feel like a zombie, I weened myself off of it with my doctors approval.  I also got rid of the ativan. It's been two weeks off lexapro and I definitely have blue feelings again and short term memory loss, but I don't think only from the lexapro, as my memory seemed better on it.  I just think it's the depressive mind that is so focused on various thoughts that it gets side tracked often and you can't remember or you forget those little things.  So, you have to write down notes, stay highly organized....and just learn to deal with it.  I think if you're a person with anxiety/depression, you need to learn how to manage your life and situation.  It cannot just be taking a pill.  It's much more...it's a full on life style change.  For memory loss, I know I have it for now, so I just force myself to follow my thought and stay focused.  Or I prioritize thoughts/tasks in order of importance.  I feel medication helps to a certain extent, but you should really try exercise, diet, no alcohol, no caffeine, sleep, herbs, vitamins, CBT therapy, classes, support groups, anything but medications if possible.  Or if you can swing it, very low dosages of the meds with positive life style changes.  It takes complete dedication and motivation for change, and the knowing it doesn't happen overnight.  I feel it can be done....and that's why I am doing it.  I am not going for 100% happy.  I am just going for 80% happy, 20% whatever.  I accept who I am and now it's time to enjoy life...with all it's ups and downs.  So keep faith, stay alive and do great things for yourself.  You are worth it.  
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Hello everyone -  I work in public health research and also happen to be weaning off of lexapro after 5 yrs of use. I found this forum after suffering many of the same symptoms as you all: memory loss, word searching, blank brain, inability to retain new information. I strongly encourage you to report your symptoms to the FDA. You can do it confidentially at this website. http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch/default.htm
The reason this is important is that after doing a search of PubMed, it appears that no research has been done on lexapro and cognitive impairment (aside from the initial industry sponsored studies). This is why your physicians think that there is no connection between lexapro and cognitive impairment. Further research needs to be done on this product if everyone is reporting this type of adverse reaction to the drug. I'm taking several memory supporting supplements in the meantime trying to charge up for additional graduate work. Good luck to everyone & may our cognitive impairment not be permanent.

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Andrea,

The depression gives you a low self-esteem.  Having a bad memory and feeling like you're in a fog makes you feel even worse.  You should see how many post-it notes are on my desk at work.  Oh, and movies are interesting.  I can watch a movie a year after I saw it the first time and it's as though Im seeing it for the first time again.  I'm going to try to wean myself off the meds altogether (with the help of my doctor) b/c the memory loss is a major problem.  I've been dating a very intelligent man and feel like a moron when I stumble to think of an easy word.  Hang in there...
Nancy
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Avatar_f_tn
Omega-3 fish oils by LEF, 2 gr daily; B-complex, Mg Citrate at night with zinc.

For non-stimulant nootropics I suggest you get some Aniracetam powder works best.  Safe, proven, and....it acts as a anxiolytic (lessens anxiety)

I also take Sulbutiamine occasionally, vit. B-1 analogue for neurasthenia, to combat the weakness and lethargy from Lexapro and other drugs.

I'm off any stimulants and can't drink coffee, so thinks like aniracetam, alpha GPC, and b-complex go a long way.

I'm studying for the CPA exam and work 50-60 hr/week so believe me I'm fighting the  same battle.  Good luck everyone!
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So glad I found this site!

I was on Lexapro for about 9months back in 2002. I've been off of it for 9 years, but looking for answers to why I have had some disturbing events, lately. It wasn't until I read this that I remembered the hell that I went through at the end of my prescription and weaning off of Lexapro. At first, it was a godsend, as I was fighting postpartum depression. I, too, experienced cognitive dis-abilities a couple of months after starting the medication. Namely, words would not come out of my mouth as I had intended. They would either come out in reverse order or a completely unrelated word would be substituted.  I needed to come off of it. It was worse than the depression that I was fighting. Well, I did finally get it out of my system, but my name recall has never fully returned. Just recently, I had an episode where I was trying to read with my son & I couldn't recognize any of the words on the page. I thought I was just tired, but then my daughter asked me to contact someone & I swore that she had the persons name wrong. I went to my phone directory & didn't recognize any of the names in the listings! I was scared & decided I should just go to bed. When I woke in the am, I was back to my normal self. Has anyone heard of this before?
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I am marveled at all the post I head just read.  I have been on a high dose (60) mg of lexapro.  The pat=st year my family noticed slurred speech, no short term memory and a off balance appearance.  My husband thought it physical like alzhiemers, brain tumor ect.  Turning out it was yhe lexapro and I have been on too high a dose for 5 years.  I went cold turkey, this is my second week and am dealing with side effects.  I have a electrified feeling, overwhelming feeling, cold sweats or feverish always.  will this all diminish? Did I do the right thing?  I checked with my PCP and she did not seem to mind.  I fired my med manager for I was on 8 different meds at once.  I am BiPolar,  ADD, PTSD and have totaled 3 new cars in one year and have had 21 minor mishaps on the road.  I could go on and on.  Is there anyone out there who have experienced such a life changing thing?  Thank you for listening.

Joy
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It is too late now, but cold turkey is the worst thing you can do. People must think antidepressants are narcotics when they quit this way?
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I've been on Lexapro for several years. One of the first things I noticed after starting Lexapro was the memory problems. I take it for server panic attacks. Don't really have any depression and the medicine is a godsend for the panic attacks. I've tried weening down at time to half doses and memory improves, but panic attacks come back. Short term memory is the worse (like one poster stated, forgetting you've just washed your hair in the shower and doing it again), but I also have problems with some longer term stuff occasionally (forgot my own phone number today).Learning is the worse. My job requires udated learning constantly and it's a huge struggle. Lexapro is a blessing and a curse at the same time.
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regarding coming off lexapro: take it slow. I've come off it at least twice and had a terrible time of it. The withdrawal is overwhelming, but I would also experience a panicky feeling that I needed to be off the meds asap. I'm coming off the meds again and have made myself take it slow. I'm taking over month to come down 10mgs. It's not scientific, but I prepare a weeks worth of pills by scraping one side down. I'm staying  at the new dose for at least a week. If I feel the zaps I up the dose a little. I'm thinking it will take another couple months for the last 10mgs. I was on 40 a couple years ago and went almost insane getting it down to 20... of course I was going as fast as possible. So the good news is that it's really not been bad! don't try to tough out the withdrawal symptoms. it's just a sign your going too fast.

As far as the memory problems. Yup they are terrible. i'm so similar to others who have posted. loss for words, short term memory loss, fear of early onset alzheimers. it makes me incredibly sad and more than a little angry. I read these posts waiting for someone to say it gets better after you come off. I'm going for the best.
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I was on 10mg lexapro for the first time in my life after I experienced psychosis, I took it for 1 month and then I felt better and thought I didn't need it because I had some strange dreams...anyways, then I didn't take it for 3 or 4 nights and I started to have nightmares, really bad. I get more emotional and I knew that it wasn't a good sign, so I called my therapist and she wanted to see me the next morning, I asked her if I should increase Lexapro to like 20mg she said I should increase to 30mg, but do it slowly.
2 days ago I took 15mg in the morning.  I have zoned out, foggy minded. My wife called me at work to buy her a calling card and I totally forgot about it. Now she said did you buy the card? I was like I forgot but I don't recall when I heard it from her. I am only 33 and usually I can recall things very well.  At work I dial the same number 10 times and I still cannot recall 3 numbers out of 7.  Its a strange medicine.  
I joked that I am becoming more like God, who doesn't remember our sins :) Hopefully there is a better option out there!
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Could I ask you all a question as this is general. I have been taking anti-depressants for over a week now and they have stopped my anxiety, well lessened it at least, but I'm really worried about the side-effects of taking SSRI's; for example weight gain and sexual dysfunction. Has anyone experienced these? What I'm saying really is do the positives outweigh the negatives.Thanks
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I have been on lexapro for 5 years and same thing, can't remember words, bad memory, feeling dumb and so less confident when I used to be witty and bright. I have a job where I have to be smart, I'm a scientist, but it is hard to keep up when it used to be so easy. The problem is that without the lexapro I want to die, have awful nightmares, and cry every night. I feel trapped, but given the options, have to stay on the meds. Plus my sex drive all but disappeared. Sigh.
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I, too, have been on Celexa & then Lexapro for some years. I have the brain fog, memory loss, and problems finding the right words. I am well educated, a professional, and have a high I.Q.. I am weaning myself off of the Lexapro.
I don't trust the pharmaceutical companies and their "research" or doctors that either get kick backs from the companies or just blindly mouth what the "research" says or doens't say.
I wonder if there is the possibility of a class action suit. Patients need to know what the side effects are in order to make an informed choice. If I had known about these side effects, I would have chosen to do without anti-depressants.
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On this site I've had a major aha! I put my memory loss down to menopause and age (54) but now can see how my worsening short-term memory loss began 8 months ago when I started Lexapro (10mg). Also, brain fog (another symptom of menopause) has been very worrying. I've developed an intermittent inability to work out a simple problem. So I'm still wondering if the memory loss and brain fog are menopause or Lexapro. I'm also having nightmares and feel a whole-of-body 'hangover' every morning and really struggle to wake up my muscles and brain. This only serves to exacerbate my depression. It takes me at least half an hour to wake myself up and develop enough willpower to eventually get up. I hate it - it's such a waste of life. I told my doc this week I wanted to come off Lexapro. He cautioned me to think about it and reminded me how severly depressed and anxious I was before I started - within 4 days of starting Lexapro my depression and anxiety reduced markedly. Amazing. So now I really want to stop taking it (I'll reduce by half for a month and then every second day for two weeks - should be okay). But, I'm really going to have to work hard on my mental recovery if I want to stop anti-depressants altogether. It's just all so tiring, mentally and emotionally. I'm sure you all know exactly what I mean. I would never suicide, but I do understand how appealing the 'nothingness' of death must seem to those who do.
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I was on Effexor while in graduate school getting a Ph.D. I had no problem with memory. However, now when I am depressed I have great trouble with long term memory. When my depression is under control my memory is fine.
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I can totally relate to your issues and this forum truly validates my feelings! With my divorce, it was determined I was depressed and doctors placed me on several different meds (some alone or in combination) including Lexapro, Celexa, Wellbutrin, Zoloft, etc. at various times, since 2003.  Side effects experienced included brain fog, concentration/focus issues, fatigue, weight gain, sleep problems, memory issues, difficulty solving even simple math problems, etc.  I finally weaned myself off these type of meds by 2008, but continue to have major sleep problems, memory/concentration concerns, new skill retention difficulties, etc. which are now affecting my work. I was recently demoted from my current position because I wasn't learning/retaining new info/training. There are times I have blamed this on my menopause/hormones, my age (56), possible continued depression, etc. but these side effects continue and have even become worse over time.  I recently went for neuropsychiatric testing and have an appt. with a neuropsychologist to determine what these tests will show. The tests were difficult and I actually couldn't answer many of the questions, recall/recite the lists/words asked of me, and felt I was going to be diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer. My Oct. 20 appointment will not be soon enough, as I NEED some answers and validation of my symptoms.
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That's interesting but very difficult for you, particularly with being demoted - that must be so disheartening and worrying. I've been thinking the same things as you i.e. that my confusion, compromised memory and seemingly disordered thinking might be early onset demetia or Alzheimers. I do understand how you must feel. I have wondered also about being tested but keep thinking it must be menopause. Please let me know how your tests go via this site if you're comfortable with that.
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My neuropsychological testing came back 'average' for a person my age. The doctor suggested my chronic insomnia could be a cause for my memory loss, but I would also like to explore any menopause-related issues. I emphasized my continued memory loss concerns but he quoted me the words to the "Serenity Prayer" and said also suggested reading "No More Sleepless Nights" - author Hauri. I still question my previous use of antidepressants which precipitated my insomnia and memory loss, so will look for more answers with future appointments. I still marvel at the fact that some persons my age are like a walking historical book, as they can remember EVERYTHING and I can't remember what I did last weekend much less what I did last year.  How are you doing?
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I am 37 years old and started Lexipro at the age of 31.  Lexipro did wonders for my anxiety/depression.  I got online tonight and searched memory loss looking for an answer of where to start researching.  I often experience brain fatigue, or can't quite seem to focus on a simple email.  I am not nearly as sharp, and have recently noticed increased absence of words.  As I read father down this post everyone here seems to be describing my symptoms exactly.  Obviously short term memory is extremely important, specifically in my position.  Has anyone been able to find any remedies?  I worry that quitting will not help my situation as per previous people who posted.
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I don't know if anyone has mentioned any remedies for our symptoms, particularly short-term memory.  I was told by my doctor that lack of sleep and depression can be major causes for this, but also medication has been noted to contribute to this symptom. I hate not being able to actually say the word that I KNOW or just totally losing my focus when I'm talking.  I will be seeing a psychologist next week to explore a possible mood disorder and/or medication options.  All I want to do is be like a 'normal' person with a bright/positive attitude, good recall of items/events, a feeling of purpose, and not feel fatigued all the time!  We'll see what my next appointment results will be.
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I also have scheduled an appointment.  A lot has changed over seven years and I am sure there are now other options on the market.  I find I have trouble focussing with multiple things going on around me.  I am normally an excellent reader and find myself struggling at times to absorb, especially later in the day.  It s during those times that my thought process is clouded.  Has anyone switched from Lexipro and found a safe alternative without the "brain fog"?
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I've been taking 30mg of Lexapro for a couple of years now, and have noticed a serious issue with short-term memory and that "blank" feeling that others are describing here.  The Lexapro has done wonders for the depression and anxiety, but I can't stand losing my wit and creativity like this.

Is there *anyone* on this list that posted previously, has gotten off or reduced their dose of an SSRI, and has noticed a marked improvement in memory or cognition?  Is it worth trying, or should we all just kiss our short term memory goodbye?

Thanks!
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Wow, the fact that you believe that the FDA and doctors would not be releasing drugs that could potentially harm consumers is fairly laughable considering the huge issue they found with the arthritis drug Celebrex a couple of years ago. The problem is that you can do as many studies as you can possibly think of but everyone is different and therefore everyone has different brain/body chemistry and will be affected differently by medications. I know for a fact that Lexapro causes memory loss because I was on it for two years and I still cannot recall things like favorite childhood memories. It's like they were erased. It's been over three years since I stopped taking the drug and they still haven't come back. My family will ask me if I remember so and so time and my answer is usually "No" and they'll go into detail about what happened and I still can't remember. I can also assure you it is not an age related issue because I started taking Lexapro when I was 19. When I spoke to the doctor who prescribed the Lexapro for me, she actually had about the same reaction as you did "No, there's nothing wrong with your memory" "No, there is no way this drug is causing the symptoms you're describing", but there is no other explanation for my memory loss except for the Lexapro. Getting off Lexapro was one of the best things I've done for myself. I haven't been on anti-depressants since. If I need a little extra help managing my mood I take St. John's Wort and I can still recall enough to get through my classes at the end of the day. Good luck to everyone out there struggling with depression or anxiety and taking Lexapro. I hope this helps some of you.
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You may want to try taking Ginko Biloba. This herb is used in Germany to help Alzeimer patients improve their cognitive functions and memory. It helps to improve your blood circulation to the brain and is way safer to take than medication! The only thing you have to be careful of is not to combine it with blood thinning medication including Ibuprofen. You can easily find information about it on the web. Good luck!
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I have been on Lexapro 20mg for at least 7 years and my mind is always blank.. I can't remember anything.. I use alot of sticky notes thru out the day to remind what to do next at work.. I have a high pace job and can't afford to make a error. Its really bad at home with memory.. I can know one min that I need to take my son to his school for a instrument and when I leave work and start driving I totally forget about it. I just blank out all the time.. Its really hard to diet also.. because I forget I'm on a diet at times.
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I had been taking lexapro for about 2 years (I have been off for over a year, though). I began to notice short term memory loss within several weeks after my first dosage. I have always been an absent minded person, but this was SO bad. I was forgetting things that were extremely important, things that I would have never forgotten otherwise. I missed appointments, I missed work, classes.... Just completely slipped my mind! So anyway, now that I've been off lexapro, I've noticed an extreme change in my ability to retain and recall information, especially in school. I havte never had issues with school and it's really upsetting/frustrating when I've always been that person who doesn't have to study and is able to succeed. I used to be able to sit in class, take zero notes, and retain/recall the info for the exams very easily. In my bio courses, I made many notecards to study the terms and was able to memorize them all by looking through them twice... Now, in my third year of college, I find myself struggling with my ability to concentrate, absorb, retain and recall information... My GPA went from a 4.0.... to a 3.2. A 3.2 is not "bad" but I should be getting upwards of 3.8+ AND I will never get into medical school with a 3.2 GPA. I have changed my plan to pharmD, but who knows if I will even get into there! I've thought so many times about giving up... I truly think I have mild brain damage from lexapro :( It ***** bc I suffer from severe depression/suicidal thoughts but I don't think I want to risk taking lexapro again bc the damage could always get worse.... :(
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I had been taking lexapro for about 2 years (I have been off for over a year, though). I began to notice short term memory loss within several weeks after my first dosage. I have always been an absent minded person, but this was SO bad. I was forgetting things that were extremely important, things that I would have never forgotten otherwise. I missed appointments, I missed work, classes.... Just completely slipped my mind! So anyway, now that I've been off lexapro, I've noticed an extreme change in my ability to retain and recall information, especially in school. I havte never had issues with school and it's really upsetting/frustrating when I've always been that person who doesn't have to study and is able to succeed. I used to be able to sit in class, take zero notes, and retain/recall the info for the exams very easily. In my bio courses, I made many notecards to study the terms and was able to memorize them all by looking through them twice... Now, in my third year of college, I find myself struggling with my ability to concentrate, absorb, retain and recall information... My GPA went from a 4.0.... to a 3.2. A 3.2 is not "bad" but I should be getting upwards of 3.8+ AND I will never get into medical school with a 3.2 GPA. I have changed my plan to pharmD, but who knows if I will even get into there! I've thought so many times about giving up... I truly think I have mild brain damage from lexapro :( It ***** bc I suffer from severe depression/suicidal thoughts but I don't think I want to risk taking lexapro again bc the damage could always get worse.... :(
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I've been on lexapro for almost 5 years and i have the SAME problem.
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I am quite sure that Lexapro or Cipralex, in the long run has an effect on memory. I have been on 5 mg of Cipralex for around 3 years, for general anxiety. Psychiatrist prescribed 10mg., but I know I am very sensitive and stayed on the 5mg. I experience that I dont recollect words or names as fast as I used to do. and I have had instances that my mind was completely "blank". I am going to wean off Cipralex. My anxiety is much less than it was and I am not expecting it to come back so strongly. I am certain that having more Serotonin floating around the brain is helpful with heavy depression, and it also numbs you somewhat. When you are super sensitive, that numbing effect can be desirable. When you're not, you can feel like a zombie. I am super sensitive, but still i want to stop. They do not yet know waht the effects are of years of taking SSRI's.  I also feel that exercise, being in nature, connecting to friends, or self-help methods like co-counseling or other forms of psychological work in pairs, might help better than SSRI's and with no side effects. It just asks more: you have to work on yourlf and not give up! For heavy depression SSRI's can be a godsend, but do try exercise and connecting to friends and the outside world as well!
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I thought what they heck I will Google "Lexapro and memory loss" because I feel like for the past few months I cant remember anything.  I am a 6th grade teacher and find myself searching for words when I am giving a lecture to the class.  It is getting very frustrating.  I have been on Lexapro -20mg-consistently for over a year.   I was self diagnosing for a while because when I felt better I quit taking it :)  Anyway has anyone gone off Lexapro and found another med that is better for anxiety?  just wondering
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Hi everyone

Thank you for this. I like you, Googled 'Lexapro and mind fog' after reading through listed side effects and not finding any reference to it. It was relief to read that others have expereinced the same as I...feeling like I was losing my intelligence, unable to respond to issues effectively, going 'blank' regarding words.

As others have said, Lexapro was great for my depression. I have been on it for abou t8 months and only 5mgs. I stopped using it on Tuesday this week and didnt expereince any adverse side effects (such a low dose).

I want to let you know that I am feeling much better and more like my old 'intelligent' self. I noticed the difference almost straight away. Words and memory capacity, cognitive ability have returned!

I was on Aropax (ugh) for two years, then nothing for a few years, the Lexapro....my advice would be to consider your own situation, the dose I was on was very low and only for eight months, however I am now convinced the Lexapro effected my cognition significantly. Like many of you I am also an Honours levels student but noticed that I was barely able to string together an intelligent sentence and others often offered the word I was looking for...writing was fine as I had time to think about it.

The good news for me is that it doesnt appear permanent.
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PS to add to my above post, I stopped taking the Lexapro this week after reading this info.
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Recent published studies (and referenced in Primary Psychiatry journal) indicate that SSRI's can cause memory problems.  The pharma industry studies that you refer to were not performed to look for memory impairment.  The current theory is that long-term use of an SSRI causes a reduction in the number of serotonin receptors on neural cells and a reduction in the plasticity of the brain.  These two changes decrease the likelihood that new memories can be formed or retrieved. The big question is whether these changes are fully reversible after SSRI's are discontinued.
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Interesting. Do you have a link to these studies? I have taken SSRI's on and off throughout college. Tried Zoloft, Paxil, and Celexa. Every time I have stopped because I always felt "Brain Fog" and my studies come first. My anxiety and depression have gotten bad recently, definitely affected my memory and cognition mainly due to my inability to concentrate. So I have recently started taking Lexapro. After taking 5mgs for two days and 10mgs for two days I feel drunk and tired (starting side effects I know) but I am very worried about memory and cloudiness. Now I am skeptical about starting up... So if you could post that link that'd be great.
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I really like to know a Doctor's comment on this please.

I'm really scared because Ive been using cipralex 20 mg for 8 months now and there are nights that I cant sleep because I try to remember something that I forgot that day and I feel it was important. I really like to know if its because depression? Is it because i think so much? or is it because of Cipralex/Lexparo?

Is it going to be permanent?

Please help me with this. I'm only 20 years old and I always wanted to become somebody who can help the world's problems but I don't think I can become that kind of person with a bad memory.
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This forum is for people with depression, not doctors.
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wait what?

I thought there were experts on these forums who would answer questions from time to time. isn't it like that?
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I have been on some forums that included psychiatrist's comments but I have never seen one on this forum. I have been reading comments for years and only read comments by people who have bipolar or have a family/friend with bipolar.
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You can try the Mood Disorder Expert Forum also at this site.
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This is depressing. My short-term memory is awful, and as a result I've struggled throughout University and may end up not graduating with a honours degree. I'm on 20mg of Escitalopram and, whilst it helps with my depression and anxiety to an extent, sometimes I can barely think straight and I struggle to recall what I did yesterday or to remember something simple like the number 524 when someone has repeatedly said it. I can empathise with mind blanks and the foggy feeling that a number of you have described. I don't know what to do. I could come off it when I finish Uni (in about a month) but I'm going to go into work so it might not be the best time (when is the best time to come off medication; life just gets in the way).
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Same with me.  I work in a physics lab while going to school and have been on lexapro 10mg for about 9 months.  I noticed pretty quickly that my short term memory changed and that when I went to write computer code for work and school I struggled with it a lot even though I was very good at it before.  6 months in my mood suddenly and significantly worsened and my dose was upped to 15mg.  After a few weeks of that I noticed while driving that I completely did not understand a billboard I saw.  Thats right, I had trouble comprehending what is one of the easiest things to read on the planet.

I am back down to 10mg, and after working with a psychologist/councilor I feel much better and hope to wean myself off of lexapro in a month.  Though with the 10mg I still have a hard time writing computer code and with my short term memory, by ability to understand/comprehend what I read has gotten better.
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This is in respone to lexapro but this may be an issue only when its combined with stimulants as I also take amphetamines and have been since I was around 6yrs old. Anyway I was put onto lexapro and I forgot to get the script, within a week I noticed a sudden change... I tried to read things like books and billboards and it was like I could see every letter but my mind didn't want to give it meaning in a word.

Before the medication I had no reading problems at all, but after I simply couldn't read.

After a few weeks I was able to read but with great difficulty and now, almost 2 years later I can read but not even remotely like pre meds. I can understand the words but my attention skips and it feels like my mind has blanked out and skipped most of the sentace.

Has anyone had the same extreme reaction?
Note, I am 26 and don't take any ilicid substances and only drink lightly so this is isolated from any external influences besides these two meds.
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i feel the same my head is in bits trying to concentrate ...its a horrible horrible feeling im on 5mg a day came down from 10mg and definitely feel my memory has disimproved
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Lexapro helps me not dwell on negative thoughts, but that's because it makes it so I can't hold the thought. It takes me longer to memorize things. Experiences are not getting put into long-term memory. I've been on 10 mgs five days a week. My doctor wanted me to go back up to 10 mgs every day. I did. My memory went down the toilet, and my anxieties didn't improve. My doctor's solution was to double my medication. I'm going back down to 10 mgs five days a week. And then I'll be very slowly tapering from there until I'm off this stuff. Lexapro was a life-saver for me, but it's not giving me the benefits that it once was. It's time I live my life without medication.  
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