Lexapro Withdrawal


Lexapro Withdrawals Also known as escitalopram, Lexapro is a drug prescribed by doctors to patients suffering with depression. The drug itself is known as an antidepressant, and can be categorised in the SSRI bracket of the medication – selective serotonin repute inhibitors.

When you suffer with mental health conditions such as depression, the chemicals in the brain are not working together as they should, often with one or more being out of balance. Taking the antidepressants such as Lexapro re-stabilises the chemicals and hormones to bring your mood back to a ‘normal’ level.

Not just used for treating depression, Lexapro is often given to patients who suffering with stress, and also anxiety.

This medication can only be given to patients over the age of 12.

How Long Does Lexapro Work For?

The half-life of Lexapro is quite long when compared to other drugs of the same nature. You’re looking at between 27-32 hours for half of the dose you consumed to be removed from the body. Obviously there are a lot of factors which can change this length of time.

Lexapro Withdrawal Symptoms 

One of the main Lexapro withdrawal symptoms that patients report is insomnia / sleeplessness, not being to fall asleep or stay asleep. This can often bring a number of other problems alongside it such as:

  • Irritability
  • Aggression
  • Lack of concentration or motivation
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Stress
  • Depression
  • Lack of energy
  • Lack of interest in interests and hobbies that would once make you happy

Not just that, there are a number of other Lexapro withdrawal symptoms reported by patients withdrawing from the drug:

  • Electric shock-like sensations, often described as ‘brain zaps’
  • Loss of balance
  • Feeling light-headed
  • Feeling as though you’re spinning
  • Pins and needles
  • Problems with eyes
  • Loss of vision
  • Muscle spasms
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Fever and chills (flu-like symptoms)
  • Lethargy
  • Headaches
  • Diarrhea and vomiting
  • Abdominal pain and / or cramps
  • Increased / decreased appetite

How Long Does Lexapro Withdrawal Last?

Lexapro Withdrawals As with many different drugs and many different cases, each person will react to Lexapro withdrawal differently. Although the withdrawal symptoms themselves are said to be intense and not very pleasant, the majority of cases seem to dissipate within a few weeks. However, on the other side of the coin, other patients have reported it took months for them to return to ‘normal’ again after weaning themselves away from the drug.

There are many contributing factors to how long your Lexapro withdrawal will last, including the following…

How long were you taking the drug?

It seems to be a running trend among drugs that the longer you have been taking something, the longer it will take for your body to get used to life without it again.

If you have been taking Lexapro for a long time, the withdrawal time will be longer. As a general rule, if you have been taking the drug for around twelve months or so, three moths or 90 days should be the time length of time you give yourself to get over with the withdrawals.

What dosage were you on? 

The dosage you were taking of Lexapro will also have an effect on how long it takes you to withdraw from it. The higher your dosage, the longer it will take your body to get used to life without it. If you’re taking a higher dosage for a longer time, it will take even further still. One report showed a patient taking almost four years to show no more Lexapro withdrawal symptoms.

Many patients start off taking a 10mg dose of Lexapro with the option of increased to 20mg if the dose proves not to be high enough. As with any drug, the higher the dosage, the longer it will take you to wean yourself away from it, and the harder the drug will be to quit should you decide to stop altogether, going cold turkey.

Are you prone to withdrawals? 

It’s something we’ve touched on a few times but sometimes, your genetics will have a part to play in how well you deal with the withdrawals from any drug. If you are a person who suffers terribly, you are likely to have a hard withdrawing from this drug, as well as many others.

If you have been an addict to something, smoking (for example), or alcohol, and you have found it virtually impossible to beat the habit, it could be that you are more prone to suffering at the hands of withdrawal symptoms than others.

How are you withdrawing from Lexapro?

There are two ways to withdraw from anything you have become dependant on. You can either go ‘cold turkey’, stopping the drug one day completely and just not taking it again. You can also wean yourself away from the drug, taking a long period of time to reduce the dosage, until eventually you are on the lowest dosage and your next step is to stop taking it.

Because you are weaning yourself away from Lexapro, the withdrawal symptoms won’t be such a slap in the face as they will be when you go cold turkey.

The good news is that weaning yourself away from Lexapro is often advised by your doctor, rather than taking the cold turkey approach. Reports have shown that the side effects are massively reduced when reducing your dosage over time, and although the drug will still be in your system, and therefore your life, for longer, you are more likely to have a successful journey as you try to quit.

Going cold turkey is very rarely recommend by the doctor because of the possible negative side effects it can cause, especially in patients with diminished mental health.

How long does it take to withdraw from Lexapro?

As we’ve stated, every case is different but a general rule seems to be that the Lexapro withdrawal time can range anywhere from a couple of weeks to over a year, with the rare case of even longer time frames than that. It will very much depend on you, your current state of health, and the help you have around you. The more tools or help you have on your side, the easier you will find it.

What can help with Lexapro withdrawal?

There are a number of ways you can make your battle against Lexapro withdrawal easier, and the best place to start is with yourself. By eating healthy, making sure you have a healthy and balance diet with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, and you drink plenty of water, you’re making an attempt to make your body healthier and happier and therefore better equipped to deal with your journey ahead.

Plenty of exercise is also wise, and you may even want to consider therapy or counselling to help you deal with the process of emotions you’re likely to go through. It is hard re-adjusting to life without something you have become dependant or addicted to, and sometimes you just need a little helping hand understanding what you’re experiencing. When you’re looking at mental health problems, sometimes the best thing to do is talk it out and a counsellor or therapist is well equipped to do just that.

You should also ensure your family and friends know of your current situation. There are risks associated when stopping taking any medication but antidepressants carry with them slightly higher risks. Without the right careful eyes on you, it would be easy to slip back into depression again, struggling to deal with the withdrawal symptoms and learning to live without the drug as your assistant.

This drug is a very powerful one and isn’t one to be taken, or stopped, lightly. If you think Lexapro is not right for you, or you want to look at taking yourself off the drug, have a chat with your doctor who will be able to advise you on how to do it properly, minimising the chances of nasty side effects and withdrawal symptoms.


  1. I have been on escitoplam for at least 10 years at 20mg. Was also prescribed clonazepam 2mg for same time period.. Wasn’t till I started to come off of clonazepam under Doctor supervision that I realized should never have been on both at same time. Also having horrible withdrawal on the slowest taper of clonazepam. The list is endless. To counteract the emotional side effects my doctor actually put my escitoplam prescription up to 30 mg. just at emerg couple days ago and feel I have mild seritonine syndrome so advised me to drop immediately to 20mg. What should I expect. I am already going through hell coming off benzo. Now a 10mg drop in escitoplam all at once!

    • Thank you for sharing your experiences. It is certain that your insights will support others when making their medical decisions. Your questions will be best addressed by speaking with your doctor. You may find benefit in speaking with a specialist or another doctor for a second opinion. Please share your thoughts and feelings in the future. Best of luck, Carrie!

  2. I was prescribed Escitalopram for a really bad case of anxiety and depression, and took it for a little over a year. It was only 10mg. But when December last year rolled around, I got really sick. I had an ear infection so bad that I threw up (my doctor misdiagnosed it as the common cold), it was at that point when I slowly started to stop taking the medication because after that, taking it made me want to throw up again (no, I didn’t overdose, I took it like I was told to, 1 a day).
    When I finally did come off of it, I started feeling tired all the time, and sleep didn’t help it. Recently, I started having very serious vertigo, to the point where I couldn’t even focus on anything I did without feeling like my head was going to explode. The vertigo has not stopped since July, and I finally found a moment to go talk to my doctor about it. But the fact that I’m so exhausted all the time combined with vertigo that affects me even when I’m asleep is really scaring me. I’m worried that all this constant weakness is something far worse, could it be?

    • If you are unable to make your appointment because you are unable to drive, then perhaps speak with a friend or family member. If no one is available to support you, then a cab or ambulance may bring you to the hospital. Continue to monitor your symptoms, as this will help you address any questions that your doctor may ask. You may find benefit in speaking with another doctor for a second opinion as well. Best of luck, Natalie!

  3. I’m so pissed off. I am reading everyone’s ost and I realized I have been way over prescribed Lexapro. I’m a women, 170 pounds 5’5 and they had me on 20 mg of this stuff. I literally started to have a psychotic break. Psychosis had set in and I was probably suffereing from Serotonin toxicity. I was on 20 mg of Lexapro for 10 years straight. I just stopped cold turkey. It’s been a month since I stopped taking them and I feel crazy as hell. Every side effect, I’m feeling them all. I can barely walk I’m so dizzy. I can’t find a psychiatrist in my area to see me. What do I do? I’m miserable.

    • You have decided to stop using your medication without speaking with a doctor. It is normal for you to be experiencing these symptoms. You should speak with a medical professional as soon as you are able to do so. Determine what you want for your future. It would be best for you to make a plan to visit a doctor when possible. Best of luck, Mandie!

  4. I have been on lexapro for about 10 years and have stopped on and off a few times but always went back to taking it. Right now I have been of it for about six weeks and I am feeling really off. I don’t know what to do…should I just try to suck it up and get through this or just start taking it and stay on it for the rest of my life. I don’t really have any of the physical side effects but feel depressed and exhausted. I have never felt this way. I’m afraid it’s going to get worse but feel like i just don’t want to deal with anything or anybody. any advise?

    • Your best option would be to make an appointment with your medical professional at this time. If you are not interested in using pharmaceuticals, then you may find benefit in speaking with a natural doctor. It is also possible that your diet is influencing you. Moving toward a plant based diet, as this will ensure that you have the proper nutrients and vitamins that you need. Best of luck, Katrin!

  5. This is literally the worst thing that I have ever had to deal with in my entire life. I was on lexapro for about to years for mild anxiety. I had previously been prescribed Ativan for anxiety. Those worked as needed and they did fine. One day after about 4 months of me hanging onto my 30 pill perspirmonth I noticed I was running low. I had probably 10 left. So as a precaution I went to my Dr to get a refill for my just in case moments. It was nice to have a bit of a security blanket. Keep in mind I had never been on any meds ever in my entire life. I was pretty conservative when it came to medications. When I got to my Dr I unfortunately was having an anxiety attack. Prefect timing right? So my Dr suggested lexapro. I was concerned about addiction to the Ativan and she said that this little pill was wonderful. I could take it daily and there is no worry of becoming addicted to it. Everything she was saying was perfect especially since I was having an active anxiety attack at that very moment. It was like music to my ears. Not only that but my wife and I just had our first child. She was going through some baby blues and my Dr suggested that we both try it out. Partly because of my concerns for her mental health and my heart beating 130bps due to the anxiety attack, I made the decision that it would be best for us to try it. After about a week of taking the lexapro I could finally start to feel the affects. It was nice. Not anything like Ativan at all. I could work . I could drive. I could function normally and I didn’t have that fear of a sudden anxiety attack. Which for the most part, caused my anxiety attacks. So I was fully on board with it. A few months later my wife told me she wasn’t going to take hers anymore. I wanted her to keep taking them because as I new dad I had every fear in world about anything negative that could impact my daughters. I was scared of the whole baby blues unthinkable scenario. Yet my wife is very independent and stuck to her guns. She had described the withdrawal symptoms that she was having and I just totally blew them off thinking that it was the baby blues returning. I was upset with her and totally did not understand what she was going through. Remember we were told that these were not addictive so in my mind she was just going through what most new mothers go through. Now a year and a half later and 3 weeks into my own personal nightmare of withdrawals, I’ve gone from every emotional extreme to the other. The Brain zaps and myoclonus is so bad that I’ve had at least 5 seizures. I’ve never ever in my life had any issues with seizures and this is literally insane. I’m a mess. I’m now taking Ativan again as needed and I so want to stay off the lexapro but I’m scared that I’m going to lose it. My wife is pregnant again and our son is due in 7 weeks. Do I keep fighting this or do I give up and go back on the lexapro. Both times I’ve gone back to see my Dr she has not been in. I’ve tried reaching out to her but I’m afraid she was unaware of these side effects before prescribing them and she may be dealing with embarrassment or guilt and is avoiding me.

    • It sounds as though your experiences are harmful. It is possible that the prescription is leading to these symptoms. It is also possible that these symptoms are caused by something else. If your current doctor is not meeting with you, then make an appointment with a different medical professional. You may want to speak with an emergency medical professional until you are able to have an appointment with your regular doctor. Best of luck, Adam!

    • It would be best for you to speak with a medical professional before stopping the use of any pharmaceuticals. If you have not spoken with your doctor, then do so immediately for instruction. If you have spoken with your doctor, then please let us know how you feel. Best of luck, Jane!

  6. If the general rule of thumb is that you will have 3 months of withdrawal per 12 months of use, does that mean that a 10 year use would equal over 2 years of withdrawal?

    • Some people will experience withdrawal symptoms for extended periods of time. It is unlikely that someone would experience such symptoms for two years. However, it may take a long time for the body to recuperate from such long term reliance on a drug. Best of luck, Jane!


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