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Lexapro Detox

What is Lexapro?

Lexapro (Escitalopram) is a medication used to manage and treat major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder. It belongs to a class of drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) [1]. Lexapro takes time to build up in the body. As a result, it can take a few weeks before a person notices its effects on the symptoms of depression or anxiety.

Lexapro is a prevalent antidepressant, possibly one of the most frequently prescribed in the United States. Therefore, it is essential to be aware of the symptoms of Lexapro detox withdrawal. In addition to treating depression, this drug is also prescribed for anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. SSRIs have long been associated with withdrawal symptoms. While medical professionals still refer to these symptoms as antidepressant discontinuation syndrome, many people believe the name minimizes the seriousness of the problem [2].

However, quitting to take Lexapro should not be done clinical supervision. Lexapro detox withdrawal symptoms can be severe, especially if you stop abruptly. Instead, the dosage should be slowly tapered down over a period of time and under the recommendation of medical professionals who can help mitigate or prevent any Lexapro detox withdrawal symptoms. Clinical supervision is valuable in the rare case of a complication as expertise is necessary for identifying and effectively addressing potential problems before they become critical. It would be best if you spoke with your doctor about any concerns in stopping this medication.

Lexapro Detox
Early identification of prescription antidepressant dependency and early intervention may prevent the problem from turning into an abuse and addiction

Side effects of Lexapro

SSRIs, including Lexapro, are tolerated well compared to other types of antidepressants. Normally, you may have more side effects if you take a higher dosage of the medication. Lexapro is more likely to cause gastrointestinal side effects at a high dosage, such as diarrhea [3].

Common side effects

Lexapro’s side effects seem to be the same in men and women. 

Side effects can include:

  • Nausea
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Sleepiness
  • Anxiety
  • Sleeping trouble
  • Sexual problems, such as decreased sex drive and erectile dysfunction
  • Sweating
  • Loss of appetitive
  • Dry mouth
  • Constipation
  • Infection
  • Yawning
  • Shaking

People with depression tend to have a low appetite and reduced body weight. Lexapro may cause a small amount of weight gain in adults [4]. However, if you gain weight, your weight may just be evening out because your depression is better managed and your appetite has returned. Other individuals lose weight when they’re taking Lexapro. The increase in serotonin may lead to loss of appetite. Most of these side effects are mild. They should ultimately fade on their own without treatment. If they’re more serious or don’t go away, tell your physician.

Other serious side effects

Lexapro may also cause other serious side effects. Call your physician right away if you have serious side effects. Call local emergency services or 911 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you have a medical emergency.

Serious allergic reactions

You should not ingest this medication if you’re allergic to it, its ingredients, or the antidepressant Lexapro. Symptoms can include:

  • Swelling of your face, tongue, eyes, or mouth
  • Breathing trouble
  • Severe rash, hives (itchy welts), or blisters that may come on with fever or joint pain

Convulsions or Seizures 

People with a history of seizures are at higher risk. There have been reports of some people having seizures while taking Lexapro.

Serotonin syndrome

This is a severe condition. It occurs when the levels of serotonin in your body increase. It’s more likely to happen if you use other drugs that boost serotonin, such as lithium or antidepressants. Symptoms can include:

  • Agitation
  • Hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren’t real)
  • Coma (loss of consciousness)
  • Coordination problems, overactive reflexes, or muscle twitching
  • Racing heart rate
  • High or low blood pressure
  • Sweating or fever
  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Muscle stiffness

Low salt levels

Lexapro can cause low salt levels in your body. This may be more likely to happen in people who take water pills, seniors, or dehydrated people. This side effect may cause:

  • Headache
  • Confusion
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Thinking or memory problems
  • Weakness
  • Unsteadiness that can lead to falls
  • Seizures

Manic episodes

Lexapro may cause a manic episode if you have bipolar disorder. Taking Lexapro without another drug for bipolar disorder may trigger an attack. Symptoms can include:

  • Greatly increased energy
  • Severe sleeping trouble
  • Racing thoughts
  • Reckless behavior
  • Unusually grand ideas
  • Excessive happiness or irritability
  • Talking quickly or more than normal

Lexapro Detox
Individuals can still develop a physical dependence on antidepressants. People with depression are also more likely to abuse other drugs.

Vision problems

Lexapro may dilate your pupils. This may trigger a glaucoma attack, even if you don’t have a history of eye problems. Symptoms can include:

  • Eye pain
  • Changes in your vision
  • Swelling or redness in or around your eye

Lexapro Detox Withdrawal

Some people who take Escitalopram (Lexapro) and feel better may assume that they no longer need the prescription drug and they stop taking it. However, quitting Lexapro abruptly is unwise because the drug has an essential relationship with serotonin, the neurotransmitter found in the central nervous system, and blood platelets associated with depression. As a result, when drugs like Lexapro that affect serotonin levels in the brain are suddenly stopped, you may experience very serious physical and emotional symptoms.

Lexapro detox withdrawal can take a real toll on your life, SSRIs like Lexapro work by increasing serotonin levels in your brain. When you stop taking them, it takes your brain a while to get used to the drug’s absence. Unfortunately, the amount of time this takes can vary widely.

Lexapro detox withdrawal symptoms typically arrive one to three days after your last dose. It can start sooner (within hours) or later (more than a week). Symptoms generally resolve within a few weeks, although they can potentially continue longer.

Lexapro Detox Withdrawal Symptoms

The immediate withdrawal period from Lexapro can contain a combination of both new symptoms and the intensification of symptoms that a person noticed prior to taking the drug. Some of the symptoms that are most commonly noticed during this period include:

  • Insomnia
  • Agitation
  • Headaches
  • Irritability
  • Nausea
  • “Zaps” or the sensation of electrical jolts that course through a person’s body

The second phase of Lexapro withdrawal happens weeks after using the drug. Unfortunately, many conditions that are noticed during this time fail to disappear on their own. Lexapro Symptoms that arise during this time can be so difficult that many people feel the temptation to stay on the medication for the rest of their life rather than continue the Lexapro detox withdrawal period. Some of the emotional symptoms that arise during the second phase include:

  • Anxiety. This is a result of the low levels of serotonin levels in the brain.
  • Concentration problems. This is partly due to the adverse effects of the other Lexapro detox withdrawal symptoms and is also related to imbalanced neurotransmitter levels in the brain.
  • Depersonalization. This is a sort of inexplicable sensation where a person does not feel quite like their natural self. They may feel emotionless or listless. 
  • Depression. Since the drug is often used to treat depression, once a person stops taking it, the depression may return or worsen in the absence of other treatments that can provide adequate emotional support in place of Lexapro.
  • Irritability or mood swings. Some people may experience bouts of unexplained anger and irritability and mood swings, either when taking or when quitting Lexapro.
  • Suicidal thoughts. These thoughts can increase or intensify during Lexpro detox withdrawal. It is essential to seek medical support as soon as possible if this occurs.

Many of these effects can be difficult enough to deal with independently. However, the results of Lexapro withdrawal are not limited to merely the psychological—there may be physical effects as well.

Complete Symptoms of SSRI withdrawal

The following is a complete list of symptoms linked with SSRI withdrawal:

  • Changes in motor control: Muscle tension, tremors, restless legs, or unsteady gait, difficulty controlling speech and chewing movements
  • Digestive issues: Nausea, cramps, vomiting, diarrhea, or appetite loss
  • Flu-like symptoms: Headache, weakness, muscle pain, and tiredness.
  • Instability: Dizziness, difficulty walking, lightheadedness
  • Mood changes: Anxiety, panic, agitation, suicidal ideation, depression, irritability, anger, mania, or mood swings
  • Sleep problems: Nightmares, unusual dreams, vivid and excessive dreams, or insomnia
  • Unusual sensations: Brain zaps (like an electrical shock or shiver in your brain), pins and needles, strange tastes, ringing in the ears, or hypersensitivity to sound
Lexapro Detox
Lexapro detox and withdrawal can lead rebound depression, or symptoms returning stronger than before.

Lexapro Medical Detox Treatment

You may hear the term “detox” used in a typical way to describe cleansing the body of unhealthy and harmful food. But what is medical detox, and how does it differ from our familiar understanding of the term?

Medical detox refers to freeing the body of toxic, addictive substances under the supervision of a team of licensed medical professionals. This team is usually headed by a doctor and consists of clinical staff, nurses, and therapists. In addition, some facilities employ advanced practice staff like physician assistants or nurse practitioners to deliver medical care during detoxification.

Like asthma, diabetes, or rheumatoid arthritis, addiction is a chronic condition that sparks up occasionally but can be managed. Medical detoxification recreates a similar role in addiction that a hospital emergency department plays in driving long-term medical conditions. Identical to an ER visit for an asthma attack, medical detox for addiction provides stabilization for an acute flare-up of a chronic illness but by itself does not change the long-term course of the condition.

For most individuals who seek inpatient or residential drug and alcohol treatment, Lexapro medical detox is the priority, and Lexapro detox occurs at the beginning of treatment. While detox by itself is not considered as a complete addiction treatment, those who finish medical detox are more likely to stay in treatment longer and have long stretches of sobriety.

There are a few methods that doctors have developed to manage Lexapro detox withdrawal. First, because sudden withdrawal from the drug also results in more severe conditions, doctors usually slowly taper the person off of the medication. In cases where even tapering off of the medication results in Lexapro detox withdrawal symptoms, some doctors help the person switch to another antidepressant with a shorter half-life, which is then slowly discontinued.

Find the Right Lexapro Detox Treatment at We Level Up NJ

There are a few methods that doctors have developed to manage Lexapro detox withdrawal. First, because sudden withdrawal from the drug also results in more severe conditions, doctors usually slowly taper the person off of the medication. In cases where even tapering off of the medication results in Lexapro detox withdrawal symptoms, some doctors help the person switch to another antidepressant with a shorter half-life, which is then slowly discontinued.

Someone who has become dependent on or addicted to an antidepressant such as Lexapro should seek professional help. Prescription drug treatment programs are designed to support drug-dependent individuals who detox and experience Lexapro withdrawal detox withdrawal symptoms medically.

During your rehabilitation, the staff from We Level Up NJ treatment facility will help you identify what caused your dependency and abuse and teach you skills that will help you change your behavior patterns and challenge the negative thoughts that led to your addiction. 

Lexapro detox
Antidepressants change the brain’s chemical makeup to treat mood disorders like depression. Those who abuse antidepressants might be struggling with an addiction to another substance.

We Level Up NJ provides proper care with round-the-clock medical staff to assist your recovery through our medically-assisted Detox Program. So, reclaim your life, call us to speak with one of our treatment specialists. Our counselors know what you are going through and will answer any of your questions.

Sources:

[1] NCBI – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK557734/

[2] NIH – https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a603005.html

[3] FDA – https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a603005.html

[4] WHO -https://www.who.int/selection_medicines/committees/expert/22/applications/s24.2.1_escitalopram.pdf

[5] We Level UpDual Diagnosis Treatment