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Worried about taking Lexapro not sure if should continue?

Hello all,
I know this is not the best place to be asking advice but I'm a little lost. So I saw a new primary care doctor back in July of this year and during my annual checkup told him I'm not extremely depressed or anything but I have been having a nagging "down" feeling and anxious feeling. I feel that I've kind of had this feeling for a long time but I could always deal with it since it isn't severe or debilitating. I think being an introvert but also sometimes feeling lonely when not going out has to do with it. Anyways he quickly jumped right to prescribing lexapro 5mg to start (admittingly I did say it was brought up in the past but that I was always too scared to try it because of having to deal with withdrawal when it came time to stop).

I've been through opiate withdrawal many years ago and relapsed a few times years ago and I cannot imagine going through withdrawal again for anything now, it terrifies me.

So I started the lexapro at 5mg as prescribed, didn't feel anything so I saw him last Wednesday and he bumped me up to 10mg. He said to take that for a month and if still not feeling much then we will do 20mg. I told him I'm very concerned about what happens when it comes time to stop and he just dismissed it like it's not worth worrying about and we will just taper at that point. I've started to notice side effects just recently that I thought were unrelated, very nauseous mostly in the morning for an hour or two in bed, and the worst part is really high anxiety today (which started around 3 am, then went away and actually thought I was feeling better than usual, then anxiety again).

Sorry, I know I'm rambling, but I'm just at a crossroad and don't know what to do. If I call to speak to the doctor, the nurse is pretty blunt and seems won't give to the phone to him but instead wants me to come in (i.e. when the 5mg dose wasn't working she said I need to come in for an appointment instead of being able to discuss via phone with him).

I have some normal stressful situations in my life right now and I'm just not sure if maybe I'm overthinking and I'm not really supposed to be taking an antidepressant and should try other ways of coping first. I'm not really worried about the side effects but extremely worried about the withdrawal when that time comes and I don't want it to be too late. Right now I've only been on it for about 3 months and know it should be fairly easy to quit now. The thought of withdrawal terrifies me.

Would love to see some outside opinions or anyone elses experience. Thank you so much.

Also, I was thinking that maybe I should be calling a psychiatrist, psychologist, therapist (not sure which one) but don't even know where to start. Is that covered by insurance, and is one type preferred over the other for this sort of thing?
2 Responses
Avatar universal
Sorry, I just realized I've been posting my responses as comments. Thanks for everyones comments so far, really appreciate it. Hard to think things through when in the middle of feeling these racing thoughts (really just been today and yesterday feeling this way but worse today).

Thanks in advance, I'm thinking since I've been at 5 mg lexapro for about 2.5 months and just switched to 10mg last Wednesday (5 days). What would be a normal taper since I've been only on it for about 2.5 months? I'm thinking I should just switch to 5mg today, then after a few days 5mg every other day, then after a few more days just stop? Or is it better to 2.5mg every day and then stop?
The racing thoughts could just be anxiety, since you are stressed plus now you are fearful of your med. Since you are in it now you might be better off to just continue.for a while to trial it, but you should ask your pharmacist about these thoughts (who sees many patients with this med) if you can't see the doc right now.
On the other hand, meds are sometimes helpful to get you through a bad spot so if your initial paragraph means you are just mildly unhappy then ignore that advice and taper off the med.
It is not possible to be a referee here and determine if your doc made a mistake prescribing it. Sometimes anxious or depressed people have been in that rut for so long that they think it is normal.
In any event whether or not you go on meds, you should try to get therapy to see if your mind is focusing on something that is making you unhappy, so steps can be taken to try to refocus - if therapy doesn't work because you are too deep in the rut you may need a med to help you remember what happy is like again.
Meds are not guaranteed, but they work for some people.
People here will tell you that you are best to tape as you feel your own body however I think the site administrator would say we can't give advice other than ask a doctor or pharmacist how to taper off.

No one reacts the same to any med, so you should take anyone's personal experience as anecdotal.
Avatar universal
Okay, I'll bite and go where nobody else is going but I think want to go.  They're trying to protect you, but the symptoms you're describing are in no way severe enough to be messing around with your brain neurotransmitters.  I know it's very hard to find a good psychologist and the best ones don't take insurance -- this is true.  But you're just suffering, at least from what you say, from some down feelings and some relatively minor anxiety but you're able to do what you need to in life without major problems.  That means therapy, or something else if you don't like that idea, such as lifestyle changes because something might be going on that's causing these feelings.  It could be just the way you are.  But you're not panicking and you're not stopping your life because you're so down.  As for the Lexapro, a common side effect of antidepressants is to be too stimulating for a particular individual, and that's why the increased dosage of Lexapro is making you more anxious.  It's a common reaction.  Sometimes it goes away and sometimes it doesn't.  It can mean it's the wrong med for you, but in your case you don't need meds at all.  Personally, I'd get a new primary care physician -- putting you on meds instead of trying therapy first for such a relatively minor problem, assuming it is as you've described here, is not a good sign.  As for the dosage, 5mg is a starter dose.  You taper up slowly if you have a good psychiatrist to let your brain get used to working in a new way, just as you taper off even more slowly when you decide to stop taking the med.  I'd predict you won't have a major problem stopping this med as your dose of 10mg, which is the therapeutic dose for anxiety (20mg is for depression, at least usually -- people react differently), hasn't been your dose very long.  Now, you have to make this decision, but if it were me, I'd try therapy for awhile and see if doesn't solve your problem, and I'd get off the Lexapro sooner rather than later.  If at some point the problem grows to a point where your life is severely affected, that's the time to consider medication.  
Thank you for the honesty. I switched back to 5mg yesterday and was thinking of just trying to stop today and see what happens since only been 2.5 months.

I think a lot of my problem comes from the fact that I work from home, moved to a new state with my girlfriend and her family lives nearby but no one else and I'm home most days / nights. I know that's no reason to be on meds, but it leads to just feeling depressed / anxious. Bought a new house with lots of unforeseen problems, work is in an uncertain transition period.

It's life and I guess I thought maybe the Lexapro could somehow make me feel content with everything and help me over this hump (especially when the doctor said "You're young, I don't want you to just feel alright, I want you to feel great and really enjoy life and that's what the Lexapro may do for you."), but look back on it, I guess I was just looking for a magical cure. In the past I would drink some nights as an escape and felt content while it lasted.  

Would you recommend calling a psychologist, psychiatrist, or a different type? I'm assuming a psychiatrist would be more likely to want to prescribe medication so maybe I should start with a psychologist first? Just would hate to have to switch down the line if anything changed since I'd like to stick with one therapist if I can find one I like.

Any suggestion is appreciated. Thank you.
Psychologists do therapy, psychiatrists usually don't and just prescribe drugs.  Psychologists are a lot less expensive and actually study more psychology than psychiatrists.  I'd see a psychologist.  If at some point you do get to a point where you need medication, and the more you describe your situation the more it sounds like you don't and that's a good thing, then see a psychiatrist.  Do you exercise?  Do you play?  
And by the way, these drugs don't make you "feel great."  They might make you feel more balanced but it's not like getting high.  Get a new doctor, is still my opinion.  You've got a pill pusher.
Thank you, that really helps a lot.

I just recently started exercising again and trying to set limits for when to stop working (easier said than done).

I will call a psychologist and get one scheduled. It really comes down to learning how to stop worrying about plan b, c, & d, and getting anxious over what may be. That's what leads to never truly feeling content, sort of a constant background anxiety that goes up and down. The only escape is a few drinks (but I don't abuse it, although I know that's still not a smart escape).

After reading your posts, it really opened my eyes a little so I can only imagine what a good psychologist could do. Thank you very much.
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