I wasn’t on Lexapro, but I did take Celexa for a few years. In the beginning, it was great. Anxiety had been destroying my life and I really did feel like I got my life back. But over time (I was on it 4-5 years), the side effects seemed to crop up.
– weight gain – I gained about 15 pounds on Celexa despite eating about the same amount. Like PitBullLover I am not someone who gains weight easily. Once I went off Celexa, the weight gradually came off and I got my metabolism back. SSRI weight gain is not just about watching what you’re eating to stave it off. Obviously it doesn’t happen to everyone who takes it, but a close friend went on Lexapro for a year or two and gained 30 pounds despite barely eating anything. (I’m a little sensitive about this stuff not because 15 lbs is a huge deal compared to getting my life back, but because 15 lbs + celexa withdrawal led to my eating getting really disordered as an anxiety coping mechanism / body image issue when I went off of it.)
– sex drive – definitely decreased, but it went from being omg why don’t guys put out enough to a more manageable level.
– alcohol + celexa = bad things. this was probably only a big deal because I was in college, about 1/3 times that I drank on Celexa I would have a bad reaction and get sick / throw up prior to actually getting all that drunk
– exhaustion – this was the absolute worst. I literally felt like my greatest ambition in life was to go back to sleep. no matter how many hours of sleep I got, I was listless. I would walk down the street and want to go join the homeless people because they got to sleep all day. (and, I really don’t mean that in a mocking way. just stopping the exhaustion became such a huge priority in my life)
– withdrawal – ok maybe this was even worse. headaches, nausea, dizziness and generally feeling out of it. i would get these intermittent feelings like I was being electrically shocked. I got very, very depressed despite not being depressed to begin with. I thought I was dying. I thought I had diabetes. I even got an MRI because my head was so messed up. Turns out it was just a really, really, really bad case of SSRI withdrawal. My psychiatrist said it was just about the worst he’d ever seen. I weaned off it gradually, but something went pretty seriously wrong in my system. Fortunately, it only lasted a few months and there wasn’t any permanent damage.
That said, I’m not going to trash the drug. I think they work differently for everyone and I’m not sure what would have happened if I never went on it in the first place. I just wish I’d gotten off of it sooner and at a less already-stressful point in my life (first winter living on my own in New York… not a great idea). I’ve also taken Ativan as-needed for close to 10 years. I’ve probably taken about 50 pills total in that time, but just having it and knowing I have it has been TREMENDOUS. Feel free to PM me for more info if you want though this may be all the info you could ever possibly want about me. 😛