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Avatar universal

Lexapro -- Feeling emotionally numb...

I've been taking Lexapro for a little over 3 months now for anxiety.  Well, in some ways I can tell it has helped quite a bit as I'm not stressing over everything and am not as moody.  However, I don't feel as though it has really helped with the social anxiety much, which is my main problem.  I'm taking the medication and I've been speaking with a counselor as well.  Lately, I've been frustrated with the fact that I feel emotionally numb.  While I'm still frustrated with my circumstance at the same time I don't seem to feel happy, sad, or anything in between -- mostly I just feel indifferent.  When something really upsets me it's not that way but on a day-to-day basis my emotions feel off -- it's strange and I don't like it.  I briefly discussed this with my psychiatrist, roughly a month ago, and he said I needed to weigh how I feel now and how I felt prior to starting the Lexapro.  Well, I'm not sure which way I'm better off -- I guess continuing to take the Lexapro.  Is it likely that all SSRIs would have the same effect?  It really doesn't seem that things are ever going to get better for me.
10 Responses
1308134 tn?1295191219
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
It sounds to me as though you are experiencing the effects of serotonin reuptake inhibition. How these medicines work is that they reduce the sense that there are serious,urgent, and frightening things going on.
If you give serotonin reuptake inhibitors to anyone they will reduce irritability and increase prosocial behaviors and reduce the focus on negative events.
However, it is possible that you may be experiencing too much of this effect. When that happens people report that they feel apathetic ("whatever")... and they may neglect addressing problems that really are serious and urgent.
There are a couple of options - you can slightly reduce the dose (I keep my local pharmacy busy selling pill cutters) or you can switch to a medication that combines serotonin reputake inhibition and norepinephrine reuptake inhibition (an SNRI) such as duloxetine (Cymbalta) or venlafaxine (Effexor). The addition of norepinephrine reuptake inhibition seems to counteract the state of apathy from the inhibition of serotonin reuptake.
Avatar universal
In my experience meds (ciprimil, aropax, prozac, etc) all had a similar side-effect.  Different meds affect different people differently though.

I'm not sure what to advise about the meds (try a different medication, try a different dose, try a combination, persevere with what you're doing)??

Hopefully the expert will be able to answer your question for you.
Avatar universal
Thanks for your response.  My next appointment with my psychiatrist is coming up this week and I'll discuss with him how I'm feeling.  Somedays I think yeah, it's good that I'm on the Lexapro.  Other days I am frustrated by the lack of emotion.  Prior to beginning the medication I was having a ton of anxiety and was very irritable.  Everything was driving me crazy and I was convinced I had health issues that no one would be able to solve.  Overall, my anxiety has decreased in my everyday life.  However, I still experience a great deal of anxiety when having to deal with situations that are uncomfortable for me (going to the doctor and even sometimes going out in public where I may see people I know).  Guess medication isn't going to rid me of those feelings?  I know that's something I'll be working on in therapy, but I'm not sure I'm ready or willing to do the work.  In my mind I'm stuck this way -- and no matter how much I claim to want things to be different, I don't have the ability to change.  Sorry, I'm just needing to have a bit of a pity party.
1308134 tn?1295191219
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
The path that you are following is hard. For good or ill, medicines can't take that pain and difficulty away entirely.
I have confidence that you can change.
Change however begins with small steps, each one tentative, and it is through the process of making more steps in the right direction than steps in the wrong direction that you end up finding that you have reclaimed your life.
Good luck.
Avatar universal
Thanks again for your response.  Change is such a frightening term to me.  I often fight it as hard as I can because I try not to do anything unless I know what the final outcome will be.  My fear is -- even though I'm very unhappy currently -- that I will make things worse.  It's as if the social anxiety defines me -- it's who I am, all I know.  Maybe I just use it as an excuse to justify my actions -- or, rather, inaction.  If I put myself out there maybe I will find that I'm just a pathetic, boring, unworthy, lazy person.  Then, where does that leave me?  Most of the time I really hate myself.  I see other people out-and-about with their seemingly perfect lives and I can't help but be jealous.  Yeah, I know everyone has their problems, I understand this.  However, at least most people have life experience to guide them or help them relate to other people.  Gosh, I'm 26 and still living at home, couldn't finish college, and working at a lousy job because I don't have the courage to leave.  Perhaps the most frustrating thing of all...I've never been on a date.  Thanks for the good luck wish but I think I'm going to need a miracle.  Is it genuinely possible, for a person in a situation like mine, to overcome their fear/anxiety?  Are their some people that are just hopeless cases?
1308134 tn?1295191219
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
There is no doubt in my mind that it is possible for a person like you to have a great life.

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