Weaning off of an Anti-depressant

Updated on July 05, 2010
M.C. asks from Leesburg, VA
10 answers

Hello out there, I would like to hear from anyone who has successfully been able to wean themselves off of anti-depressants. Over the years I was prescribed with a couple of different ones but the last one that I've been on for about 2-3 years is Lexapro. I have been weaning myself off very slowly to lessen the effects of withdrawal and wasn't feeling too bad. I finally reached a point where I felt ok enough to stop taking them completely and it's been about 5-6 weeks since I have taken the lowest dose possible. The past two weeks have been pure hell! I have been having the worst nausea and loose bowels for lack of a better term. I have been forcing myself to eat the bare minimum because just the thought of eating makes me sick but I know I have to eat something. I've dropped almost 10 pounds as well and am really feeling the effects of that. Just pure exhaustion, I can't focus and my mind just feels really foggy all the time.
The reason for my wanting to go off of the Lexapro is because I have been on something for so long and there is no real research as to the long term effects of these drugs. I would like to approach this from a more natural standpoint and really give it a shot because I feel like I wasn't given any other option at the time that I was prescribed these drugs.
I am really trying to be strong but I just feel so awful and am starting to get a little desperate I have a family to take care of but I know I must take care of myself as well in order to be there for them.
I currently live in Leesburg, Virginia and would like to know if there is a doctor in the area that might have helped you get through such a difficult time and of course any advice from anyone who has gone through something similar.
Thank you in advance for any advice you may be able to offer.
PS: I did speak with my doctor about weaning off of the Lexapro and her suggestion was to wean off much more quickly than I was comfortable with so that is why I decided to do it more gradually. Unfortunately over the years my doctor hasn't offered me any other option but to continue with the anti-depressants forever.

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So What Happened?

Hello again, I would like to thank everyone who took the time to answer my request. Little by little I have been feeling better and my withdrawal symptoms have gotten less severe over the past few weeks. I have found a new doctor that is both a board certified family practitioner as well as a holistic doctor and are in the process of having some tests done to make sure there aren't any underlying conditions. She also supports my decision to get off of the Lexapro and try a more natural approach but also wants me to seek some counseling as well to learn coping techniques for my depression/anxiety . I feel hopeful about the future and would love to hear from anyone who is willing to share their experience with me.
Thanks again!

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answers from Harrisburg on

I've tried to wean myself off of antidepressants myself and with the help of a doc. I would say definately do this with the help and guidance of a psychiatrist. This is their area of expertise and they can guide you on what to do. For me it was switching to a really low dosage of prozac and then to every other day then to nothing. It was so much better than the hell of withdrawel. I've been there...it is awful.

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answers from Atlanta on

OMG -your post actually makes me feel better! I "properly" weaned myself off of Zoloft about a month ago. Two weeks after completely stopping, I had the worst nausea, vertigo, headaches and diarrhea. The diarrhea just won't go away! I went to the doctor, and he said he didn't think it was due to the weaning off, but he did say it could be -that they honestly don't know what all of the side effects can be with anti-depressants! I'm sorry you're having those symptoms, but I have to say it does make me feel a little better to know that maybe this is something that happens.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Austin on

Why don't you ask your physician for the correct way to stop taking your medication? I was told in a very precise way how to stop one of my medications. The doctors office would call every few days to check on my progress and see how I was feeling..

Be very careful with these medications.



answers from Milwaukee on

wow! i was on lexapro too. i hated it! it made me feel groggy and out of it. i weaned myself off it. i was on it for maybe 2 months idk. i do not like brain altering things! good for you for getting off, idk it made me feel FAKE. there are holistic things we can do! some foods help too.good luck!!



answers from Washington DC on

I am currently on Cymbalta (after trying 2 other meds) and my Psychiatrist is fantastic. He actually listens to your issues with your meds and works WITH you. I also live in Leesburg and my psych is in Ashburn. His name is Dr. Abdel Bakey and he's with Sterling Behavioral Health (Yes i know it says Sterling but he is in Ashburn). He ALWAYS see's you at your appt time rather than 10-30 min later. He's great and I highly recommend him. He will also work with you and if you want to change meds or go off he'll discuss your options. I hope this helps. Good Luck!


answers from Dallas on

I would say that you shouldn't assume the lexapro withdrawal is causing your illness. 2 weeks is too long and you have lost too much weight. Get evaluated by a doctor soon.



answers from Orlando on

First find a new Dr.
Second, make sure you are taking some good vitamins & eating plenty of fruits & veggies.
(Vitamin B complex is good for stress & depression, there are also good alternatives such as Sam-E(this is what I take) or St Johns wart that you can buy at vitamins stores:please do research first to make sure they don't interact with other medications)
Third, exercise.
Fourth, prayer or meditation.

Its not easy coming of of anti-depressants, I've been off of them for 2 years now, so it can be done!

Good luck & God Bless!



answers from Phoenix on

Going off antidepressants isnt something to mess around with. I encourage you to find another doctor to find the right medication or alternative treatment for you. Its best to see a physician who supports you and it doesnt sound like your getting your needs met. Its sounds very unusual (to me) that your doctor would prescribe you antidepressants but yet encourage you to go off of it so quickly.



answers from Denver on


My guess is that part of what is going on is that you've gone from sufficient serotonin on the med because it inhibits reuptake, to an insufficient amount in your system off the drug, or a dysregulation of it because your system has been dependent on the help from the SSRI for so long that it can't regulate well, or at least is taking a while to adjust to regulating again.

Serotonin regulates bowl movements, and you're messing with it. My guess is that it may continue indefinitely or it may suddenly start to get better, depending on your body's capacity to make more.

I went off anti-depressants, but I didn't do it until after I had completely changed my diet to organics, low flash point oils, no dyes and preservatives, and much more raw plant material than was ever a part of my diet as a young person. I didn't have bowel complications once I went off the drugs, but I suspect my body was making more of what it needed naturally with less load on the systems overall.



answers from Charlotte on


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