25 Feb 2005
To all with Lexapro withdrawal problems, I am currently experiencing what I unlovingly call "Stage Two" of withdrawal. This is the stage when the dizziness becomes only a haunting echo and the sweats and chills diminish. However, the emotional withdrawal has begun. I am prone to crying spells, thoughts of self-harm, and hopelessness, especially at night.
Overall, I have been on Lexapro for a year and a half, and don't think I should ever have been put on it. Psychotropic drugs are very easily prescribed these days, especially to teenagers who experience mood swings due to hormonal fluctuation. Usually you don't even need someone who specializes in psychology to prescribe you, just a fifteen-minute physician's visit and two weeks of samples.
Also, while clinical studies have guaranteed no serious short-term side effects, long-term side effects are generally unknown. My doctor also thought Lexapro was the least-addictive, best-ever anti-depressant she could have put me on. And sure, maybe she didn't do her homework, but most likely she thought it would be okay: because it was relatively new at the time, and no one knew much about it.
The best thing to do is look to our own inner strength and the help of professional therapists to solve one's depression and anxiety. No one knows how artificially increased serotonin levels will effect us in the long run. No one even really knows that much about neurochemistry and serotonin to begin with! Neuroscience, much like medicine in general, is vague and semi-scientific. And the brain is such an important organ to preserve that I recommend strongly one waits until some years in the future when man understands the chemistry of the brain better.
So, from one who is suffering from a desire to 'fight back against the madness,' kudos to those doing the same. It is difficult, and I will update if anything new occurs related with withdrawal.
And advice for those tapering--- please do it more slowly. Let your body be your guide. On the second day you experience the side effects of dizziness, take your usual dose. Over a period of two weeks you should be able to cut your dose in half. Your body adjusts itself, but it takes time. Remember that it took at least 2 weeks for Lexapro to work in the first place. Do not put yourself at risk by tapering too quickly. At this point I've been tapering for a month and the dizziness is nearly gone. I take a 10mg dose a little less than twice a week (about every 4-5 days).
Remember that, although psychotropics are an easy answer, sometimes the most lasting changes in life are the hardest. And please don't put your teenager on Lexapro--- it is NOT SAFE AND CAN CHANGE THEIR BRAIN CHEMISTRY PERMANENTLY. You do not want to saddle them with a life-long addiction. For those who unwittingly put their children on the drug, seek a professional rehabilitation center (there is usually one associated with your local hospital). Don't let their doctors psychoanalyze your child, just ask them to help him/her get off the drug.
Hope some of this helps.
"A man of clear-cut convictions is impervious to anyone's influence." -A.R.