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TiffanyC

Increased Anxiety With Starting Lexapro

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Hi all, I am new here. Just joined this morning because I'm feeling at the end of my rope, sooooo depressed and now to top it off my anxiety has spiked after starting Lexapro 5 mg 5 days ago. Yesterday it was so bad I could barely get my kids off to school before jumping back in bed overcome by fear and depression. I called my pdoc who told me to decrease my dose to 2.5 mg and stay there for a week before going back up to 5 mg. Eventually I am supposed to go to 10 mg. I also take Ativan 0.5 mg three times a day, which was barely touching my anxiety before the additional anxiety from Lexapro. Pdoc said to increase to 1 mg 3 x's a day. I am nervous to take that much Ativan because I don't want to get even more dependent on it at a higher dose, but I did take 1 mg this morning and it took some of the anxiety away.

I have a pretty long history of depression and anxiety....been on several different meds over the years....the last was Effexor, I took that for about 3 years, then was feeling so good I decided to try to come off it this past August. I really don't want to have to be dependent on meds, and I am also in therapy to address the underlying problems...so I came off, but after finishing the horrible withdrawal period, I felt ok for a few weeks, then the depression came back with a vengeance in December. I have continued to take the Ativan for anxiety, but without the AD, it isn't as effective, and like I said I don't want to increase the dose. I suffered though a depression and anxiety-ridden winter, taking vitamins, exercising, praying, doing therapy, eating well.....hoping when Spring came I would feel some relief with the nice weather, but no. I can't continue to function as a mom and wife and also work part time as a nurse with this depression and anxiety. So here I am, back on an AD, this time Lexapro, was hoping for relief, but sooo disappointed that I'm feeling worse than ever.

I guess I feel really hopeless right now, could use some encouragement. Thanks for listening.

Tiffany

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Hi Tiffany, sorry you are going through start up anxiety. It seems to happen when you either start a new med or increase your dosage. I'm kind of in the same boat, I started Lex 5 weeks ago for severe depression without anxiety. I have increased my dosage 5 days ago from 15mg to 20mg and am now having anxiety aswell for the past few days. It was the same when it started the meds at 10mg and again when I raised to 15mg but it seems to pass after a few days. I have a bottle of 5mg Valium tablets but I try not to use them at all. I think I've had 5 or 6 since I started the meds. Hang in there, we should start to feel the good effects of this med soon

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We also have another thing in common as I have recently come off Effexor as well. I came off Effexor 2 months ago after a very long tapper(12months). But I was on a ridiculously high dosage so I'm kinda paying for it now.

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Please be careful with taking the Ativan daily. A few days turns into weeks into a month or two, and you are dependent and withdrawals can be hell.

The safest way to take them is as needed, but not daily, if you can manage. If you need to take them daily, you might want to keep track of the days and try to stop taking them daily after a week or so if you are worried about dependency. I personally feel that two weeks daily is where you want to check yourself.

If you feel that you need to take them daily for a few months, talk to your doctor about moving over to Clonazepam (Klonopin), as it has a longer half life and should be easier to withdrawal from once you stop.

The startup anxiety WILL go away. It's hard to function until then, I know. I just am going through this with Zoloft.

Good luck!

Edited by Inbetween

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Start up anxiety is THE WORST. Makes you feel like you'll never be okay but believe me you will!! I went through it at almost every increase in lex but it does go away. For me, it would go away, come back, go away, for a few days. So even if you start to feel better, then worse, it will even out.

Might be good news or bad news for you but it took me about 6 weeks at 20 mg to feel "normal" again. Be patient!

**meaning I was on lex for a total of 6 weeks, worked my way up to 20 mg

Edited by henley

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This is my 7th day taking Lexapro, the 2nd day of decreasing to a measly 2.5 and I still have the intense anxiety and I feel more depressed than ever. Didn't know it was possible to feel this bad. The good news is that yesterday I felt an improvement at about 2:00 pm that lasted until I went to bed at 9, which was a blessing and a relief. Then I woke up with the racing heart and the deep, dark, depressed feeling. My days are completely shot because I have no motivation to do anything, and that makes me feel guilty, on top of the depression. Actually, I shouldn't be so hard on myself...yesterday after I felt better, I did about 4 loads of laundry, I took my son to his orthodontist appointment, cooked dinner and cleaned up the kitchen. And I showered. So I did accomplish something. I just wish I could feel happy again. Someone please tell me it will get better, I am sinking.

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Hi Tiffany-

I'm in EXACTLY the same place. I recently switched from generic Lexapro back to the name brand and am having to do the entire adjustment deal all over again.

I spend most of my day feeling really depressed, anxious, hopeless and exhausted. It lifts in the evening and I start to feel way better. Then morning comes and it's the same thing all over again. It's very rough, but it will end. We just need to keep reminding ourselves and each other.

Typically it takes about 2 weeks for the really intense SE's to subside. You're already half way there and you may start to see them lift before the 2 week mark.

These forums really help. Keep posting!

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Hi Eric,

Thanks for your reply. It does help to not feel so alone when you hear of other experiencing similar. Sorry you are going through this, too.

I wonder why it is that the depression and anxiety lift in the late afternoon/early evening? Whatever the reason, it is a relief that helps me make it through the day. It's not like I improve 100%, but it's more like I don't experience the intense side effects, and instead go back to feeling my normal level of depression and anxiety, which, while still bad, is much more bearable the the side effects.

You're right, these forums do really help. Glad I found this site!

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Day 9, feel like the anxiety has let up a little. I'm only on 2.5 mg, I think I might take 5 mg tomorrow instead of waiting the full week on 2.5. I think I have to resign myself to pushing through the side effects because the only way I have a chance at feeling better is to at least get to a therapeutic dose. I am afraid I will never get better. I know that is really negative thinking but I can't even help it. I'm just in such a low place right now.

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Hi Tiffany, I am still waiting for significant improvement from my latest increase. It was day 7 for me today, I guess I'm still dealing with increasing dosage side effects for now. I'm hoping to start seeing some good effects pretty soon. I have only had a few moments of clarity here and there over the last 2 weeks. But I'm in a much different situation as I have recently come off 375mg of Effexor(even though I tapered off for a year)lol. I was off meds completely for three weeks leading to starting Lexapro. I was hoping that I wouldn't need any meds but it didn't turn out that way. I'm sure once you get your self to a therapeutic dose you should be fine. I gave my self plenty of time between increasing dosages so that I could space out the start-ups. But then again I started with 10mg which was peanuts comparing to the Effexor dosage I was on for years, Since my issue wasn't anxiety I guess that the start up anxiety isn't that big a deal for me as much as the really low moods. Hope I was helpful, hang in there!

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It's my 12th day, I bumped back up to 5 mg three days ago....not feeling great today, still anxious and very depressed. I know I'm not at a therapeutic dose yet, so I guess I have to wait this out for a while. I'm so tired of being sad and afraid all the time. I want to be happy again. I don't even remember what it feels like to be happy and excited about life, just all the little things that make life great, like a hot cup of coffee in the morning, listening the the birds chirping, the whistle of a train in the distance, a warm breeze ruffling the curtains. Just to enjoy my husband and my kids and my pets and my days off, maybe shop for something new to wear instead of not caring what I put on because why does it even matter? Why does anything matter when you're depressed?

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You're getting closer to the finish line. You WILL feel better. I know that doesn't always help when you want to feel better NOW. I have been on Lexapro for years and it has really helped. As you know, I'm in the same boat with dosage changes and side effects. They are nasty, and I constantly need to be reminded that it will end and I will start to feel good. I will and so will you. Hang in there. :)

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First day bumping up to 10 mg from 5 mg, and the anxiety is just awful. I took 0.5 mg of Lorazepam this morning, and I just took 1 mg now because I am so jittery and nervous. I need some encouragement. Is it normal to feel more anxious the first day of an increase? I thought it would take a few days to kick in. I don't want to feel worse than this, don't think I can handle it. Feeling really scared. I know they are just feelings...it's just anxiety....it's just depression....they can't hurt me, they are just feelings....keep telling myself this.

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Hang in there, Tiffany. Mostly likely you will not feel worse since your body has already adjusted somewhat to the 5mg. I have found that the initial shock to your system is the worst. You'r right; they are just feelings. I know how hard it can be to combat them. Just remember that it will lift toward the end of the day and you will get a breather.

I downloaded The Mindfulness App for my phone. I know the LAST thing you want to do right now is sit and breathe, but I recommend giving it a try. I like to use it when I'm feeling a little lift in the side effects. I helps me to relax even furthur.

Another tactic I use is calling a parent or close friend who understands what you're going through. Tell them what you're feeling what you're afraid of. They will provide a more rational perspective even if it's just, "this WILL end." Take a walk or pace while you're talking. It will help to get you out of your own head...that can be a very dangerous neighborhood in times like this. ;)

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I just started Lex today. I am taking 2.5 for three days, then 5 for three, then 7.5 for three, then ten on going. I already had bad anxiety, and am really freaking out more now.

3mg of Ativan a day, which makes me feel like an anxious zombie.

I am really feeling hopeless right now. Also under a lot of pressure, as my issues are affecting my job and marriage. My wife and I basically had a "let's get you better before we decide if we stay together or not" talk.

Saw my first shrink and therapist yesterday. Doctor says I need to "fake it Till I make it". I just don't know that I have the energy left.

My therapist spend a good chunk of our first meeting trying to force religion on me. Think I need to find another therapist.

Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk

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Day 9, feel like the anxiety has let up a little. I'm only on 2.5 mg, I think I might take 5 mg tomorrow instead of waiting the full week on 2.5. I think I have to resign myself to pushing through the side effects because the only way I have a chance at feeling better is to at least get to a therapeutic dose. I am afraid I will never get better. I know that is really negative thinking but I can't even help it. I'm just in such a low place right now.

I'm not as far along as you on dosage, but I feel the same way. My wife seems to have expected me to come back from the shrink feeling good and hopeful... It actually made me feel worse. Telling total strangers how i feel made me feel bad.

Anyway, I know it's sick, but it makes me feel better to read others feeling the same way. Makes me feel less weird. I feel like I'm wearing a metaphorical mask most of the time, and it's exhausting.

Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk

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Yeah Zug, I know what you mean about reading of other people feeling the same way...it's oddly comforting and makes you feel less alone and odd. I totally get it. That's why this forum is so great. Really glad I found it. If you suffer from severe anxiety, I would probably try to ramp up slowly instead of skipping ahead too quickly. I have pretty bad anxiety, and I had to initally decrease from 5 to 2.5 and stay there until the start up anxiety got under control. 5 mg was just way to stimulating at first. I didn't feel so terribly anxious when increasing to 5 after a week at 2.5, but this increase to 10 mg hit me hard. I probably should have gone to 7.5 but like you, I'm anxious to achieve at least a therapeutic dose.

Eric, thanks for the suggestion about the mindfulness app, maybe I will look into that. I had a better morning today, not quite as anxious. Probably due to the fact that I didn't have to wake up at 6 am and get my kids off to school. I slept in until 10. Something about those early morning hours makes me extremely anxious and jittery. I think it's the rise in cortisol at that time of day.

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Well, I'm another going through this same exact thing. I was on Lexapro for years last decade, went off it, tried other meds, was on nothing for about a year. Went back on 10mg Lexapro last week, at first the generic but then switched to the name-brand. About 9 days so far total, and I'm still dealing with a horrible anxiety spike a few hours after I take each pill in the morning. It gets better mid-afternoon usually, though yesterday not until after dinnertime. Really hampering my productivity and making me feel cruddy. And what's worse is I don't remember this happening when I first went on it, which makes me feel like "something is wrong" and it's not going to get better. :(

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Hang in there, Dyzzying... I know exactly how you feel when you feel like it's not going to get better and something is wrong. Unfortunately, when our brain chemicals are in the adjustment phase, it's really difficult for us to feel hopeful that things will get better. I've made a lot of improvement over the past few days, but I still get times when I feel like it's just all falling apart again. I have to keep reminding myself that that's just the anxiety talking and the anxiety is from the medication, not me.

Keep posting on how you're feeling. You're not alone in this.

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Thanks for the reply, Eric. I do appreciate it a lot.

I tried last night moving to taking it at bedtime as I always used to do. I was able to fall asleep okay but was up in the middle of the night for a couple of hours before I was able to calm myself down. The morning was much better since I didn't have to take the pill in the am, so no side effects, but now this afternoon has been horrible, not side effects but I feel exhausted and panicky. I am really not sure what is going on.

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It's my 8th day of taking 10 mg, and I just wanted to report that my anxiety is improved...not gone, but not so intense. Just to encourage the others that it will get better. I still feel down, but not as majorly depressed. I didn't have to get back in bed this morning after sending the kiddos off to school. So that is an improvement too. I see my PDoc today. I guess he will probably want me to continue on the 10 mg for at least 4 weeks to see if it's effective...I really need to see a lot more improvement before I would be happy at this dose. So, we'll see what happens...

Hoping everyone else is feeling a little bit better too :)

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I'm on day 7 of lex. 3 at 5mg, 3 at 10mg, went up to 15 today and will stay there for two days, then up to twenty.

The startup anxiety sucks. I'm just crawling out if my skin. Can't sleep well either. Trying to go as easy with the Ativan as possible.

Had a great day two days ago, no depression, no anxiety. Then bumped the dose an am anxious as hell. Hopefully once I get to 20mg and stay there a while it will all sort out.

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I have been on lexapro for about 4 years and the start up with lexapro was the same as your going through. I was very anxious for about the first two weeks on 10 mg so my doc gave me xanax. By the 4th week most of my side effects went away except one which was foggy head which continued for the next 2 weeks. The doc lowered my dose to 5 mg and the foggy head went away. I remained on 5 mg until about a month ago when he bumped me up to 10 mg again and I went through the side effects all over again. Its just temporary it will go away after a couple of weeks.

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