Lexapro is drug prescribed for patients suffering from major depression, and anxiety disorders. Such disorders involve a reduction in the levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter involved in inducing sleep, memory formation, as well as mood changes.
Lexapro is acts as a Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI), and prevents the reabsorption of serotonin. Persistent use of this drug may lead to addiction, and in such cases, withdrawal symptoms are experienced when the consumption of this drug is suddenly discontinued. These symptoms may persist for 1-10 days after the discontinuation.
Effects of Lexapro Withdrawal
Under the effect of this drug, the brain becomes used to high levels of serotonin. A sudden episode of Lexapro withdrawal disrupts the levels of serotonin. The nerve cells rapidly absorb significant amounts of serotinin. This may lead to excessive sweating, abdominal discomfort, flu-like symptoms, dizziness, headache and fatigue.
Other side effects that may occur include pain in the muscles and joints, insomnia, vomiting, nausea, tremors, diarrhea, and lethargy. The affected person may feel that his memory, concentration, and vision are getting worse with time. Nightmares and vivid dreams have also been reported in some individuals, after the discontinuation of Lexapro. In certain cases, irritability, vertigo, aggression, dry mouth, weight gain, anorexia, agitation, restlessness, tingling sensation, may occur. In severe cases, hallucinations and suicidal tendencies have been observed.
One must never suddenly stop the intake of Lexapro, without discussing the possible repercussions and solutions with the respective professional. The professional will prescribe the right doses, reducing it gradually, so as to minimize the withdrawal symptoms. In rare cases, the side effects may occur despite such a gradual decrease. Here, the patient will again be prescribed with the usual dosage, which is then weaned off more gradually.
Apart from following the expert recommendations provided by the professional, certain self-care measures can be taken to manage the withdrawal symptoms of Lexapro. In case of insomnia, avoid drinking caffeine or alcohol up to six hours before bed time. It is also beneficial to have a glass of milk, just before retiring to bed. Taking a warm bath also helps in inducing sleep. In case of dry mouth, sipping water frequently, chewing gum, and avoiding salty foods, alcohol, tobacco, etc. is recommended. Inculcating a balanced diet and regular exercise, provides a great deal of help in countering the withdrawal symptoms.
The most severe effect of Lexapro withdrawal, is the induction of suicidal tendencies. Hence, if a patient has attempted suicide in the past, or exhibits suicidal tendencies, extra caution must be exercised if the person is to be administered with this antidepressant.
Disclaimer: This Buzzle article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice.