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  • Unfortunately, coming off of Lexapro is not as easy as it is to start taking it. While the drug is not addictive, your body can become used to it over time. And when that happens and you try to quit, uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms can occur.

    Lexapro is the brand name for the selective-serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) and antidepressant medication escitalopram. It’s FDA-approved for the treatment of major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). 

    The drug works by increasing the amount of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain and that helps ease the symptoms of depression and anxiety.

    Lexapro Withdrawal Symptoms

    Coming off of Lexapro, especially cold turkey, can lead to a number of withdrawal symptoms and side effects due to how the drug affects serotonin levels in the brain

    Healthcare providers may refer to these symptoms as antidepressant discontinuation syndrome or withdrawal syndrome. While withdrawal is usually not life-threatening, it can be very serious.

    Symptoms can range in intensity from mild to severe depending on how long you took the medication and what method you used to come off it.

    Some of the symptoms of Lexapro withdrawal may include:

    • vomiting
    • vivid dreams
    • flu-like symptoms
    • tingling in the hands or feet
    • confusion
    • anxiety
    • depression and suicidal thoughts
    • shaking
    • mood swings
    • trouble sleeping
    • impaired concentration and memory
    • brain zaps (like an electric shock to the brain)

    Lexapro Withdrawal Timeline

    How long Lexapro withdrawal lasts differs from person to person. It depends on a variety of factors including how long you took Lexapro, what dosage you took, if you took it with any other medications, and whether you quit cold turkey or through tapering.

    That being said, there are some guidelines you can follow to determine whether your symptoms are typical or not.

    A general timeline for Lexapro withdrawal can look like this:

    1-3 Days After Last Dose

    This is when the first round of withdrawal symptoms are likely to occur. They may be relatively mild, especially if you’re tapering your dose. 

    4-5 Days

    Withdrawal symptoms will become more intense during this period but may eventually start to fade. You may experience dizziness, nausea, vomiting, tremors, and fever. This period may be especially intense if you took a higher dose of Lexapro for a long period of time.

    1-3 Weeks

    Lexapro withdrawal symptoms can last up to three weeks, but the intensity of those symptoms will likely begin to fade after the first week.

    4+ Weeks

    For some, withdrawal symptoms can last longer. In this stage, symptoms are related to mental health and can include anxiety and depression. You may need further professional treatment for those health conditions if they continue to persist.

    Lexapro Detox

    Detox programs for Lexapro withdrawal likely include two different forms of care: tapering and medication. 


    Tapering involves taking lower and lower doses of Lexapro over a period of time and is done with the help of a medical professional who reduces your dose over a period of weeks or months until you can stop taking it entirely and not feel any (or very few) withdrawal symptoms.


    Medication is given as needed for withdrawal symptoms that do occur. For example, If you experience insomnia, you may be prescribed a sleeping pill or sedative. If your anxiety starts to rebound, you may be prescribed a different anti-anxiety medication. 

    Because there are no approved medications designed to treat SSRI withdrawal, the help of a physician is vital.

    If you do continue to experience withdrawal symptoms, your healthcare provider may switch you to an antidepressant or SSRI medication with a shorter half-life and then have you taper with that medication. 

    If you or a loved one struggles with prescription drug abuse or withdrawal, contact us today to learn about our inpatient and outpatient treatment options.

    Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
    ©2023 Ark National Holdings, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.
    This page does not provide medical advice.

    Clinical Neuropharmacology - Characteristics of Escitalopram Discontinuation Syndrome
    Harvard Health Publishing - Going Off Antidepressants
    National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus - Escitalopram
    National Library of Medicine: StatPearls - Escitalopram

    Medically Reviewed by
    Kimberly Langdon M.D.
    on November 11, 2022
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