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tapering off escitalopram

Escitalopram Tapering

Help is available to a person considering escitalopram tapering at the Alternative to Meds Center. The program is housed in a luxurious, inpatient facility that is fully staffed with licensed physicians, nurses, clinicians and a host of compassionate, highly trained caregivers. Our caregivers are passionate about providing our clients the level of care that we consider to be the best in the world. The following is a brief overview of the Alternative to Meds Center escitalopram tapering program and may provide some guidance for how to get off citalopram safely, gently, and without harsh or lingering discomforts.

WARNING: The FDA and other regulatory bodies warn against abruptly stopping escitalopram as to do so can cause severe withdrawal symptoms. (1)

Is Stopping Escitalopram Right for You?

A person may have been prescribed escitalopram to get relief from symptoms such as depression, or anxiety, or a combination of these along with “off-label” applications. It is possible that other symptoms have emerged since beginning the prescription, and perhaps the initial symptoms have not improved to a satisfactory result. Common side effects of antidepressants may begin to appear such as sexual dysfunction in both males and females, unusual sweating, dizziness, shaking, nausea, insomnia and many others and these may be quite difficult to tolerate. if so, it may seem that stopping escitalopram may be worth considering.

A person may not have been given other treatment options before starting on escitalopram, and might wish to explore non-drug based treatments for which escitalopram cessation could be a prerequisite. Please be aware that getting off escitalopram can be made much more tolerable with proper guidance and compassionate care. Before attempting the process, we urge you to find out more about how to get off escitalopram gently, safely, with competent guidance to help you. Withdrawal from escitalopram can be surprisingly comfortable and predictable when administered with compassionate medical support.

Is it Possible to Find Relief From Symptoms Without Prescription Drugs?

Sometimes a person receives an initial “boost” when starting escitalopram treatment, but over time finds their symptoms have intensified instead of improved. This is not an uncommon outcome for antidepressants and may be puzzling as to why this has occurred. You may be interested in learning what other approaches could be considered for relief. Today, many roads lead to improvements in health, some of which were not as readily available as they are today. Escitalopram tapering could be a strategic option prior to beginning other treatments. (1)

A woman taking escitalopram may want to consider getting off escitalopram if she has concerns about planning to become pregnant. (1) Withdrawal from escitalopram is a significant change that one would be advised to plan well, and if possible, before becoming pregnant.

The drug label information tells us that escitalopram is not approved in pediatric patients due to the increased suicidality that is thought to be linked to the drug. (1) However, adults can sometimes also experience this unwanted side effect, and withdrawal from escitalopram may be indicated as a logical change so these suicidal thoughts can be eliminated.

Antidepressant medications tend to have an effect on cognitive functioning, (1) which may rule out driving an automobile or performing other types of activities that require alertness and uncompromised motor skills. Treatment for stopping escitalopram safely could help a person regain the ability to do these types of tasks once again, especially important where the ability to operate machinery or drive is essential for one’s job. Symptoms such as impaired cognitive ability may make the task of trying to quit escitalopram on your own particularly difficult. However, escitalopram cessation can be relatively easy and tolerable with proper guidance and compassionate oversight and care during the process.

Alternatives to Treatment With Escitalopram

For some, a prescription of escitalopram may have been recommended after a loss of a spouse or other tragic loss or traumatic type event. However, a person may seek to resolve such devastating issues with an appropriate type of cognitive/talk therapy or through other holistic means. It is not uncommon for a person taking escitalopram to experience emotional blocking, i.e., numbing of emotional responses, and cognitive impairment. Escitalopram tapering and cessation may help in this situation, and may help make your chosen form of counseling or talk therapy more effective as a result. It is a bit like cleaning the inside and outside windows of a house so you see your environmental/emotional landscape more clearly.

A person may have read the FDA “Black Box” warning on the label after starting on escitalopram and now just doesn’t feel comfortable with the potential risks of this medication. (2) These are just some reasons to consider an escitalopram tapering program, which can lead to alternative treatment for troubling symptoms.

escitalopram tapering

Biophysical/Social/Spiritual Links to Depression

Depression is categorized in psychiatric and medical practice and much of today’s literature as an illness. Based on the long history of the medical model of treatment, many in the mental health field view depression, as in other illnesses, through the “medical-model lens”. For example, a patient has an infection. So, the patient is prescribed medicine (antibiotics) to get rid of the infection. That is the medical model for treatment. Another common example is where a patient exhibits the required number of positive responses to certain questions (criteria) for a diagnosis of depression, and then is prescribed some medicine (antidepressants) to get rid of it.

However, some mental health practitioners regard the diagnostic criteria and the term depression itself as casting too wide of a net, and feel that depression might be more accurately and practically understood within other overlapping contexts, such as examining social, biophysical or spiritual factors or some combination of these. A priest or spiritual guide who ministers to the suffering of a person might view depression in a context of spiritual unease, and may lean toward spiritual help in the form of counseling, perhaps discussing and correcting negative behaviors, meditation, prayer, seeking happiness through good acts, repairing rifts in relationships, and the like. A naturopath might lean towards blood testing for vitamin deficiencies, allergies, or mineral imbalances and correcting these. There are many forms of help, and most work well in combination, one even enhancing the other.

However, where a patient has been diagnosed as having depression framed solely as a “mental illness”, without other extenuating examination or inquiry, the idea of giving the patient medicine to get rid of it still tends to serve as the first-line (or only line) of treatment. That is the medical model discussed earlier. However, a lot of good research has been done but perhaps disregarded, which shows many factors could possibly help resolve such issues without requiring antidepressant medications. For example, let us consider these:

  1. In Britain, Dr. J.C. Watt reported his findings that through blood testing, he found toxemia directly correlated to acute, chronic, or returning episodes of depression, especially after a flu attack where the intestines were left susceptible to absorption of dangerous toxins. He found a low-protein diet was effective as treatment. (3)
  2. Harvard University published information on the connections between certain medical conditions such as a deficiency in vitamin B12, viruses, weak adrenal glands, heart conditions, hypothyroidism, lack of exposure to sunlight, and many others as potentially causative factors regarding depression. Hence, their treatment could be both effective and non-drug based. (4)

There are many more examples that can be found with a little time spent researching. How often have patients been prescribed antidepressants within the context of the medical model mentioned above, and how many were given any sort of testing or bloodwork to test for nutritional deficiencies or to discover any of the other possible physical/environmental causes and contributors to depression? These of course, if discovered and treated, would probably not have required a prescription of antidepressant medication to address. However, statistics show that the majority of patients would have received prescription drug treatment immediately, and almost none would have been offered non-drug based options. Where this has occurred, a person may choose getting off escitalopram and utilizing investigative methods for finding and then treating the root cause(s) of their depression.

Searching for and Correcting Root Causes for Depression

If you or your loved one has been searching for answers concerning trying to quit escitalopram safely and gently, we can help. Getting off escitalopram does not have to be uncomfortable when done in a well-staffed and compassionate inpatient program such as the Alternative to Meds program. The bonus for our clients is that as well as stopping escitalopram or other antidepressant medications gently and safely, one can also receive expert help in discovering the possible root causes and contributing factors for depression and other symptoms. This may be especially welcomed where diagnostic testing methods such as the ones mentioned above may not ever have been used in treatment.

Find Out More About the Alternative to Meds Escitalopram Tapering Treatment Program

Trying to quit escitalopram on your own might seem too daunting a task. At the Alternative to Meds Center, the individual program for each client is designed by experienced and expert medical staff who understand how to get off escitalopram safely and without intense withdrawals. Each program is written up so that the individual gets a chance to not only complete their escitalopram tapering, but can spend the time necessary to test for and correct other things that need correcting.

We invite you to contact the Alternative to Meds Center for much more information on escitalopram tapering and the program steps that allow our clients to reach their health goals naturally, without the need to rely soley on prescription meds for relief.

  1. FDA Escitalopram Label, https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2017/021323s047lbl.pdf, published online 2017, accessed Sept 30, 2019.
  2. “Escitalopram (Lexapro) Summary of Black Box Warning”, https://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Treatment/Mental-Health-Medications/escitalopram-(Lexapro), accessed Sept 30, 2019.
  3. Article entitled “Toxins and Depression” published in the British Medical Journal and National Institute of Health, author Dr. J.C. Watt, published May 1933, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2368517/?page=1, accessed Sept 30, 2019.
  4. Article entitled “What Causes Depression?” published June 2003 and online updated June 2019, https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/what-causes-depression, accessed Sept 30, 2019.

This content has been reviewed and approved by a licensed physician.

Dr. Samuel Lee

Dr. Samuel Lee is a board-certified psychiatrist, specializing in a spiritually-based mental health discipline and integrative approaches. He graduated with an MD at Loma Linda University School of Medicine and did a residency in psychiatry at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle. He has also been an inpatient adult psychiatrist at Kaweah Delta Mental Health Hospital and the primary attending geriatric psychiatrist at the Auerbach Inpatient Psychiatric Jewish Home Hospital. In addition, he served as the general adult outpatient psychiatrist at Kaiser Permanente.  He is board-certified in psychiatry and neurology and has a B.A. Magna Cum Laude in Religion from Pacific Union College. His specialty is in natural healing techniques that promote the body’s innate ability to heal itself.

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