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Withdrawl Symptoms from Lexapro

Oh man.  Glad I found this site.  I stared on 10mg daily of Lexapro by my prescription happy DR. in June 2005 for GAD.  He also scripted me .5mg pills of zanax for "whenever" I needed it,   almost immediately I started feeling tired all the time.  I constantly yawned all day long.  I noticed that quite quickly (7-10 days) my GAD lessoned but also my drive for just about everything else lessoned as well and I started drinking very heavily almost every night.  Didn't care about being hung over for work cause it was just no big deal.  I started paying bills late, missing appointments, not following my business as much and quite frankly not being all that upset about it.  My doctor said this was normal, etc.  I did not have the extreme weight gain that it seems many of you have had.  By early August, I self medicated down to 5mg daily of Lexapro and reduced the zanax from a habit, to a true necessity, which was not very often.  My tiredness reduced, drank less, became a little more focused and anxiety reduction was still about the same, so I thought I had cured myself.  WRONG-By Mid October, I was at the point where I wanted to go off the Lexapro because the yawns and lack of motivation, although reduced, were still there.  By the end of December, I quit cold Lexapro Cold Turkey but would still take some zanax from time to time.  Here is where life as I knew it got real weird.  Within maybe 3 or 5 days of quitting Lexapro, these really weird sensations started shooting through my body and mind, like electrical jolts and I had kind of an out of body sensation...all the time.  This would be really bad during the morning hours and seemed to worsen with caffeine.  Mid January I couldn
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242532 tn?1269553979
Those brain zaps are withdrawals, they should have stopped by now but if they haven't will stop soon.  There is no evidence that any permanent brain damage takes place, but you should not have stopped cold turkey...you are lucky you didn't have convulsions, or other withdrawal symptoms.  You, like so many others, have learned to rely on pills to regulate your moods...why don't you try talk therapy...it works, and often it works better and lasts longer.
Avatar universal
Lexapro generally doesn't cause "brain damage", and while going cold turkey isn't generally the best idea (weaning off of it tends to minimize side-effects), it generally doesn't cause very adverse symptoms. Xanax is a cousin of the benzodiazepine family, which is what kind of concerns me when you say began drinking heavily concurrently with your meds. However, you were probably taking a small-enough dose to minimize any potential long term damage. If you're clear of the medications, symptoms associated with them should decrease over time, probably within 2-4 months as long as you minimize your drinking. If you're worried about long-term damage as a result of the meds, you should probably schedule an appointment with a physician, and possibly get an MRI, so if anything, you get the peace of mind that your experiences with the drugs didn't cause any serious damage. Good luck!
Avatar universal
Avatar universal
Hello everyone! :)

I am new to this board! First off I would like to say I am from Hawaii..born and raised, and glad I found this site. And glad to meet all of you!

I am here to tell you ALL my HORRID experiences from Lexapro withdrawls. OH my God... where do I begin? Ok...I started taking Lexapro in Octorber of 2004. Also was put on klonipin. Because what I have is Depression/Anxiety/panic attacks. Yes I have all those 3 wonderful traits. My psychiatrist started me on 20 mgs of Lexapro, then my sex drive dissapeard..( not good). So he lowered it to 10 mgs, then my sex life was back to normal. Then at 10 mgs my hair started to fall out, the doctor then lowered it to 5mgs. So I was on Lexapro for 1 yr. Along with klonipin on and off for those panic attacks.

My eyes hurt right now. I will continue another time. Im sorry. I have a very long story ahead that Im sure you would want to know.

lots of hugs
Oahu_gal ~

Avatar universal

Ok my story is continued...( Lexapro withdrawls)

I was taking 5mgs of Lexapro for several months and doing just fine. Of course the whole time I took Lexapro I had really no BAD side effects other than the ones I listed before. So Lexapro was generally making me feel really good and happy. I gained weight but it filled me out in all the right places. :) I was doing fine. THEN in November of 2004 I started to have head jerks when I would fall asleep..and I would be thinking..("what the hay is going on)" I wouldn't have them during the day, only when I would fall asleep. But it got annoying cause the head jerks would wake me up sometimes cause my head would go flying to the left. Then.....I started having headaches, and dizziness. So Im like "ok Im am so off this Lexapro stuff". So I told my Psychiatrist ( this was a different doctor by the way, not the one that put me on lexapro in the beginning). So I told him that I wanted to get off the lexapro because I was getting scared. He told me it wasn't a wise decision, but he had to respect my wishes. SO.....He told me to ween off of it from 5mgs to 1/2 of 5mgs for 7 days ( thats it). I told him isn't that stopping too quickly..I mean I was on it for a year. He told me since I was only on 5mgs there shouldnt be withdrawls. So I trusted him. I did what he said and weened off the lexapro. I still had the same symptoms of head jerks and headaches for weeks even after stopping the lexapro. My headaches worsened and worsened. I then got a brain zap at night sleeping ( which frightned me to death), its like someone electricuting your brain). Then I had these whooshing sounds when I would move my eyes from left to right ( very odd), I started having insomnia and nausea and dizziness. Then one night I awoke to my whole body aching with pain from head to toe. If I touched my body it would hurt so much. Like nerve pain. That night which was November 24, (yeah Thanksgiving morning). I couldn't bare the headaches and pain no more. I was taken to the hospital E.R. I told the doctor "Doc im in so much pain pls give me something for my headache and pain. I told him it was Lexapro withdrawls...he was like "what is Lexapro withdrawls"?  I almost laughed. I couldn't believe it. Anyways he gave me a shot. He didnt tell me what it was. All I know is it made me sicker. He gave me MORPHINE! Yikes!  It took my pain away but made me sick for 3 days straight. I was allergic to morphine. SIGH! I was okay for Thanksgiving, I didnt have the pain nor the headaches. But when the next day came around that headache was back again!!!  To make a long story short.....I was sick from November to January new years eve. I was bed ridden, not eating nor drinking, just crying and suffering with headaches that wouldnt go away. I finally got a cat scan and Mri that showed negative. ( which was good news), but it left me baffled to as why was I so sick? My neurologist also advised me to go to a pt ( physical therapist), which did help loosen my neck muscles that stopped that head jerking. But the headaches continued. I had a horrible birthday, a horrible Christmas. My Neurologist told me that he didnt think Lexapro damaged my brain, cause thats all I kept saying over and over. I had this incredible pressure on my left side of head , and temples like my head was in a vice. Like my head was being crushed. I wanted to die. I just couldn't take it anymore, I was losing weight at a incredible speed. I decided to go back to my original psychiatrist, the one who put me on Lexapro. He told me that the other doc was wrong in getting me off that drug too fast. I was getting tired of being in and out of the hospital and couldn't even walk ( someone had to hold me up) for balance. I was so weak from not eating. :(  I cried desperately in his  hands, (my doc is a close friend of the family's) I  told him Please help me..I feel Im dying! He said Come to my office on New years eve and I will do all the blood work and put you on celexa. He said my serotonin level may have dropped and needed to be corrected. I DIDNT want to go on another SSRI, but when You are at the end of your rope and you feel you are dying you will do ANYTHING to get better! So he gave me a shot of Ativan and that took care of my headaches for 2 days! :) I was happy. Then when I started the Celexa, all my headaches went away like majic!! I was soooooooooooooooooooo RELIEVED! OMG! He also put me back on klonipin 0.5 mgs, and celexa 10mgs. I had a great New Years Eve,,and I have been fine ever since. Now I made a decision to get off the Celexa because I don't want to be on these meds for long. So he got me slowly off Celexa. I am doing fine so far. I am still taking the klonipin, but eventually will taper off that also. I don't want to be taking these meds anymore. I'm just hoping that I will be okay off all these meds. I needed to do this for myself. And I am very dissapointed in my GP, she never helped me at ALL! And all the phychiatrists say "its not withdrawls"!!  Which angered me more!  How can these doctors give out these meds and not tell us about withdrawls?

I will write more later, fingers are tired of typing :)

Avatar universal
Doc, have there been any cases that you are aware of where a Lexapro withdrawl patient has never had these brain zap feelings dissapapte entirely and that they then have had to go back on Lexapro?

I ask only becuase I am concerend with your comment that these "zaps" should have stopped by now.  Every day that passes, I get more concerend about this very odd "floating and zapping" sensation that I have throughout the day.

Avatar universal
Enlighten us, would you please?
Avatar universal
I wont be posting here anymore. I can tell that this site is only about questions and not getting any answers. I still wish you all the best.

Avatar universal
Please continue to post here, with information on your progress. You could be helping out a lot of people, who may think they are the only ones with these problems, and are scared as much as you were. You may even be saving a life.
Avatar universal
I have been trying to wean myself off of Lexapro for about a month now and I here comment about "brain zaps".  I'm not sure if it is what I am experiencing.  I feel almost like a wooshing feeling going thru my body.  It starts in my head and goes down.  Not so much a ZAP or anything painful, it's more of an annoyance.  Are these brain zaps that everyone talks about painful?  If anyone could describe their brain zaps to me that would be very helpful...LEXAPRO IS THE WORST STUFF EVER!!!
Avatar universal
At least im not the only one who has these crazy pulsating whoooshing feelings..its like its coming out of the sides of my head.  I was on lexapro for probably 5 months and it was pretty much causing me more problems then i had before starting it, like i was more depressed and i never felt like myself, it was like a false-sense of feeling good.. so i decided i was just gonna stop cold turkey, and the only side effect i've have (and i've been off for about a week) is these whooshing feelings and they come like every minute..its really weird and i just wonder whats really going on in my head.  im sure a doctor wouldn't just say "oh thats just your head whooshing" anyone know?
Avatar universal
It's really good to find this site and to know I'm not alone in this.  I did some research and found this website, which might be of interest to those of you trying to get off this drug.  I have NOT read the website yet so I may be posting it prematurely, but if nothing else it's nice to know someone got mad enough to build a website around it.  

Toodles, and good luck to you all.  

Avatar universal
I have withdrawn from Lexapro on 5 occassions and always went back on it after as much as 6 months off. First off let me say Im a 47 year old male my weight was about 245 lbs I now wiegh close to 380 lbs since being on Lexapro Im starving all the time and im fatigued all day long I haven't dreamed since i have been on Lexapro and have since developed Diabetes. This is why i well stop for the final time taking this drug. My first withdrawl was hell Lasted 2 months Brain Zaps, sweating all the time, and developed FMS so i resarted after 4 months in hopes of reversing the FMS That never happend. the 2nd and 3rd time I could not take the withdrawls and resarted the drug within weeks The 4th time I quit i was feeling pretty Good mentally and physically and hardly noticed any withdrawl symptoms at all in fact about 5 months later I had a FMS flare up that lasted for months so i decided to restart the Lexapro to help relive some of my FMS symptoms which I think it does. But now I have come to point in my life were I have to control the Diabetes I have developed and I can,t do that with this craving to eat all the time besides Im afraid of dropping dead anyday of Heart attack with all this wieght the Lexapro takes away my Motivation to do anything about it Im to fatiged to exersise let alone leave my house other that to buy more food. And Forget my sex drive My 380lbs takes care of that. This last time I have been on Lexapro non stop since 7 /2/2004 so Im afraid this might be a battle. But I well prevail or die trying My withdrawls always consisted of Heavy sweating, wide spread pain, Brain Zaps, Im not a Headache person so I don,t really suffer from that, Loss of Appetite, General Ill feeling (like The Flu) Fatiged TMJ flare ups, Neck pains,
Insomnia. And these withdrawls have lasted up tp 2 months in the past after stopping I am going to tapper off 5 mg for 2 weeks than 2.5 for a week and Then stop. I feel determined so i well  do it Good luck to all who are going through similar Feel free to Contact me if I can comfort your thoughts about what your feeling going through withdrawls Best of Luck everyone
Mike E
Avatar universal
Maybe because I'm a newby to this site and haven't seen it ... have any of you guys had problems with your ... well erection while on this crummy med or after you quit?  
I'm 38 years old very good health, exercise 5 days/week, weight lift and cardio every session. I had taken Paxil for two years lost all cares in the world, gained a little weight, 165 up to 172, but lost most of my sex drive.  After complaining to the Paxil sales incentified "Psych Dr." My family practitioner had prescribed Lexapro 20mg - was on it 2 years or so and was just weaned off slowly with a coctail of Wellbutrin and reduced dosage of Lexapro.  I was done by mid February - I think the 15th or 16th.  Had no problem with getting an erection while on these drugs, but had difficulty sustaining one to orgasm.  Since quitting, I had a really disappointing episode - two weeks after quitting, during foreplay with my girlfriend the erection was OK, not the best, but during intercourse - I felt like I had spent my load and was going limp! That really ruined my confidence and made her feel like she wasn't arousing me talk about a depressant!  
Prior to these meds, I could get a hard on like a 19 year old - only last a little longer due to experience, but whoa, this girl is hot, and yet I felt like an ice cube melting away. No matter what she or I did - it was gone.
Help me out ... was I expecting too much too soon, is this stuff still in my bloodstream?  When will I be back to normal? Please Help???  I'm crazy about this girl, but don't want to have to switch from antidepressants to the blue V pills just to maintain an erection! Should I consult my doc this soon?
Avatar universal
I'm at 23/M.

10mg of Lexapro March 2005 to Feb 2005.  Feb 2005 til March 8, 15mg lexapro.. then quit cold turkey.

Had no problems getting an erection or reaching orgasm before taking the meds to deal with GAD/depression.  Didnt have sex until Almost a year later, yea, long stretch without it I know!  But anyway, I get an erection fine but have a hell of a time reaching orgasm even though my girlfriend is really attractive.

So I quit lexapro cold turkey, enter the withdrawal symptoms of brain shocks and sleeplessness.  Yuck.  At least now, I can orgasm like before without any problems, completely like before I ever took the ****.. that's my story.  Maybe it's pyschological, maybe it's physical from the pills, who knows.
Avatar universal
Hi...just commenting on how happy i am to have found this website.  I took Lexapro for only 6 months for PMS symptoms and decided I didn't like the way it made me feel.  Now, after following the doctors orders for weaning myself off, i feel like i'm left feeling worse than before I started.  I have every withdraw symptom that i saw listed by everyone.  I have been pretty scared with the dizziness, tightness in my neck and shoulders, and the nausea just started today.  I finished my last pill about 5 days ago.  I will come back and type more later.  I need to try to get some sleep.  Just wanted to THANK everyone who has wrote about their symptoms so the rest of us don't feel all alone!
Avatar universal
Wow!  I am both releived and scared to death!  I have been on 10mgs a day for 2 months now.  About 3 weeks ago I missed a dose and began having these head zaps.  Scared the living Hell out of me!!!  25yrs ago I had a brain tumor and while I still have severe headaches, this kind of pain was foreign to me.  A couple of days later when I was back on track the head pains stopped and I hadn't thought much more of it until I did the search about weening.  The Lex has definitely helped my depression, but there have been side effects...extremely vivid dreams, sexual side effects and the occasional leg jerk while drifting off to sleep.  My counselor says I need to stay on it for at least 6 months for it to make a difference but I'm scared of staying on it for much longer.
Avatar universal

I have been searching and communicating in online chat forums of all sorts on this subject.  I read so many desperate postings about people who have suffered and continue to suffer because of their meds.  

There are SERIOUS side effects that people need to be aware BEFORE they get on these meds.  That does not include being given an explanation in their medication box that consists of a 4-font, and one should not need a Ph.D to read about clinical trials on this information.  (I was getting my Ph.D. in a social science the first time I was prescribed these things.  When I asked my doctor some technical scientific information about the meds, he didn
Avatar universal
I'm new here and thought I would post. I have been on Lexpro for two years now. I loved it in the beginning and thought it had made me such a better person.  WRONG!  Now that I am 20 pounds heavier, depressed, irritable, night sweats, nightmares, jerks when I'm sleeping and pretty much have the "don't give a d-mn" attitude, I have an appt. this week to try and wean myself off of this horrible drug!  I was put on it for major panic attacks and not sleeping for 72 hours straight.  
I'm ready to get back to halfway normal if I can. This is not the person that I know me to be.  

Avatar universal
Ok... Can you guess how I got my nickname??? I quit cold Turkey from 10 MG of Lexapro. I've felt Dizzy and almost sick since I quit about 10 days ago. I wasn't sure what this feeling was until I saw this site.
Thanks everyone. I guess I'll try to come off it slower.
Avatar universal
This site is one that has been helpful to many, I am sure.   Here is my story.
I have recently hit on some depression and anxiety, built up over the years for a variety of reasons.  I am 57 and in the "Middle years of Life" so to speak. My internal med doc said to try Lexapro....he sees a lot of this with guys my age.   He said the only real side effects are sexual function stuff.  Oh, I thought, is that all?   What!!!????.   anywya, after a few days of really hard times getting out of bed in the a.m., I decideed to give it a try.
I am very drug-shy....even hating to take antihistimines or antiobiotics that I know make me sick.....the whole pharmacology thing scares me....look at the Vioxx deal....
so for me to do this was a big deal.
The first three days were the weirdest I have ever had in my life.  I couldn't go to work, I would lay in the hallway, on the floor in the bed, in every  bedroom in the house, pace the floor, felt like my chest was going to explode, but my heart rate was ok.  thought I would go nuts with chills and agitation, had insomnia.  thank God no one saw me, they would have put me away....about this time I would have WELCOMED some sexual side effects...I was about to knock it off when it started to moderate after about the 5th day, and by the 8th day,I was feeling less nuts and more able to  function.  
Prior to the med, I ached everywhere, legs back neck shoulders head........I came to find out it was probably the depression.....go to depressionhurts.com for more info on this....then ater the week from Hell, this moderated a bit.  Still, I had the oddest buzzes in my brain, like a humming only you couldn't hear it......first one side then the other....
off and on for days....The brain getting realigned, getting a new wash job of seratonin?     I guess so....still....very strange.  I described it ot my kids,the older ones at least, and they got scared. so I quit talking to them about it.  
(a work here about support.  I have the best wife in the history of the world.  she kicks my butt when I need it and is tender and loving about it.....I hope you all can have someone to be there for you as you go throught this stuff.  It makes recovery and withdrawal, which comes next in my saga, so much more tolerable.)
so this all took place in late February.  Oh yeah, my dosage was 10 mg. A counselor thought it might be too low, but said get used to it first.  the doc, who wasn't all that concerned with my response to the med..."that could be the medication causing that".... duh...said to stay with the 10 for awhile, as did others who we talked to , saying that the med can take from 4 to 6 months before it really gets working full steam.  
well after about 6 weeks, I was still feeling the anxiety, especially in the mornings....fear of the new day????  So I wondered if I needed to go up on the dose, or down or what.  So I called doc,....and he leaves a message to go to 20mg.   HUH?  
Dude, I wanted to talk a bout this, not get more drugs.   So, I decide to go to 15 for awhile.  Bad move.  the next day, I was wired, agitated, angry......goofy like when I first started, but not as bad, still not what I wanted......I tried it one more day, but decided this was not what I wanted.   So I took nothing that night, and started on 5 for about two weeks.  which brings me up to now.
I feel less anxious, almost no depressive episodes, and if they do come only for a short time.  I guess I needed the med to get the juices and receptors and all that brain stuff reset....althougth I am not sure.   Maybe I need to stay on longer, maybe I need to go back to 10, maybe I should start titrating soon, or at least after I have been on 5mg as long as I was on 10....about 6 weeks.  
Not too happy with the doc.....he seemed to blow me off.  
Still drug-wary....with Lexapro being relatively new, the jury is still out on long term damage, if any.  Don't want to stay on it if I don't need to....get off as soon as I can...but how does one know if its too early....until one tries it out.    
From what I hear and read, slow titration is the safest.  Perseverance and persistence are key elements.
Healing takes time....lots of time....it didn't take me 6-8 weeks to get the ole noodle in a tangle....so I need  to take it slow.
Feedback is welcome....anyone else in the same spot as I am?
God Bless anyone who has this happen to them.  Remember that it is a chemical thing....you aint nuts.....and good for you for seeking help.
Avatar universal
Just a follow up from my earlier concern.  OMG get off this drug if you are confident that you can deal with life without it.  I had been on Paxil before Lexapro - a psych doc prescribed the Paxil, my gen prac doc prescribed the Lexapro.  Granted my GP was doing what he could to help medicate me to deal with my environment.  Now that  I realize that my "problems" at home and work have been my soon to be ex-wife NOT ME! I have thankfully been off this med since mid Feb of '06. This drug will mask all your emotions, make you automatically go through life as though everything is just OK. Life is not just OK, there are issues to deal with emotions to experience - Lexapro takes it all away from you and robs you of your life experience.  

Since being off the drug I noticed some withdrawal symptoms:  I have been able to cry, I laugh more, I am less irritable, I have more patience, I have confidence in myself, sexually - now that it has been out of my system for 9 weeks - my sex drive is substantially increased and performance - absolutely amazing.  

My new psych doc that I stopped seing in early Feb '06- because I no longer need one, said I do not need these drugs - she said I needed to get off of them - yes a doc told me that it is not helping me at all. There is nothing physically - or mentally wrong with me she said and then proceeded with a plan to wean me off of it. God Bless this woman - she was totally right!  

If you are taking this med under the guise of a GP or psych - get a second opinion - talk to a counselor - be absolutely sure that you need this med because if you are taking it for temporary reasons as I thought I did - over the period of 4.5 years - you will feel more dead than alive, more miserable on it than off and trust me, you will regret your life that you missed being on it.

Peace to all of you, I really wish everyone well! Keep writing, without this blog, I would not have had the confidence to consider going without Lexapro, thank God I did.
Avatar universal
I was just prescribed Lexapro by my GP last week. I've been on it for only 3 days and I feel horrible. I feel like my heart is going to beat out of my chest, I have a tingly feeling throughout my body, I haven't slept in those three nights, I get panic attacks and can't go to work (I'm a teacher). Is this normal? I feel afraid to leave the house? Since I've only been on it for three days, can I quit cold turkey?
Avatar universal
i was the same way when i started it it goes away in a couple of days just get up and start moving around it will get better
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