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New member Safiyah - in hospital to stop antidepressants


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I'll try and make this brief. I was diagnosed with major depressive disorder about 10 years ago and have been on just about every antidepressant at some stage since. I'm currently taking Pristiq 400mg daily (since 2008), nortryptilline 200mg daily since 2013 and vortioxetine 10mg daily since July 2015. I'm also on lithium, tertroxin, prazosin and lamotrigine.

Given that I'm virtually non functional with severe depressive symptoms to the point of being unable to work at all for the last year despite all the meds, my dr has informed me that I have treatment resistant depression. The options I have been given are: MAOI, ECT or both. Given that I'm not keen on the possible long term memory problems that can occur with ECT, I've opted for starting a MAOI.

My dr has stopped all three of my antidepressants and admitted me to hospital because "it might get a bit rough". Having read some posts here I am mildly terrified by the possible impact of this decision - no doubt I would be properly terrified if my brain was working properly.

Has anyone been through this "cold turkey" option? How did things go for you? Did you have the option of any meds to alleviate withdrawal symptoms? What did you take? Did it help?

It's 48 hours since I had my last dose of any of my antidepressants, already hot, sweaty, nauseous, vertigo, crying for no apparent reason, trouble reading due to "jumpy" text, muscle spasms (apparently myoclonus) and some head zaps. Apparently I need to be off my antidepressants for "three half lives" before they can start anything else. I'm not sure how they figure out how long that will be though because I can't find anything on the half life for Pristiq but nortryptilline is 40 hours so it's going to be a bit of long haul either way.

Advice, suggestions, comments all welcome.

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I am so sorry you have been let down so badly by the medical profession. imo


Even the drug companies say don't cold turkey these.

The FDA in 2005 issued a public statement that 'abrupt changes in dosage can cause suicidal and homicidal ideations' So cold turkey is not the way to go here.


As it is only 48hours since a CT i would ri the drugs you were on and the good folk here can walk you through a safe taper. imo


Using ECT or switching to other drugs is not the best to get out of withdrawal symptoms from a CT.



Besides other drugs may not cover the wdl symptoms of these drugs.

it may be useful to check out this link:



Disclaimer: For medical advise ask a knowledgable medical practitioner for i am not. If you are already in the hospital that will be an easy thing to do.

Thought for the day: Lets stand up, and let’s speak out , together. G Olsen

We have until the 14th. Feb 2018. 

URGENT REQUEST Please consider submitting  for the petition on Prescribed Drug Dependence and Withdrawal currently awaiting its third consideration at the Scottish Parliament. You don't even have to be from Scotland. By clicking on the link below you can read some of the previous submissions but be warned many of them are quite harrowing.


Please tell them about your problems taking and withdrawing from antidepressants and/or benzos.

Send by email to petitions@parliament.scot and quote PE01651 in the subject heading. Keep to a maximum of 3 sides of A4 and you can't name for legal reasons any doctor you have consulted. Tell them if you wish to remain anonymous. We need the numbers to help convince the committee members we are not isolated cases. You have until mid February. Thank you

Recovering paxil addict

None of the published articles shed light on what ssri's ... actually do or what their hazards might be. Healy 2013. 

This is so true, with anything you get on these drugs, dependance, tapering, withdrawal symptoms, side effects, just silent. And if there is something mentioned then their is a serious disconnect between what is said and reality! 

  "Every time I read of a multi-person shooting, I always presume that person had just started a SSRI or had just stopped."  Dr Mosher. Me too! 

Over two decades later, the number of antidepressant prescriptions a year is slightly more than the number of people in the Western world. Most (nine out of 10) prescriptions are for patients who faced difficulties on stopping, equating to about a tenth of the population. These patients are often advised to continue treatment because their difficulties indicate they need ongoing treatment, just as a person with diabetes needs insulin. Healy 2015

I believe the ssri era will soon stand as one of the most shameful in the history of medicine. Healy 2015

Let people help people ... in a natural, kind, non-addictive (and non-big pharma) way. J Broadley 2017



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  • Moderator Emeritus

oh my gosh, Safiyah.  I don't know what to say!  No wonder you are so depressed and non functional with all those drugs in your body.  I would also suspect that you are having major interactions between them.


Why do doctors think they can just pile drugs on top of drugs?  


Personally, if i were you I would discharge myself. Reinstate all the drugs and then begin tapering at 10%.  It's going to be a long haul due to the number of drugs you are on AND the dosages of them, but a cold turkey is a cruel and dangerous proposition.


Best wishes and please stay in touch

Started in 2000 - On 150mg most of the time, (but up to 225mg at highest dose for 6 months in the beginning)
Reduced off easily first time - but got depressed (not too much anxiety) 6 months later
Back on effexor for another 9 months.
Reduced off again with no immediate w/d - suddenly got depressed and anxious ++ again 3 or 4 months later.
Back on effexor - this time for 3 years
Reduced off over a month - 6 weeks later terrible anxiety - back on.
Rinse and repeat 4 more times - each time the period before the anxiety comes back got shorter and shorter
Jan - July 2012 75mg down to 37.5mg;, 8/3/12 - 35mg. 8/25/12 - 32mg. 9/11- 28mg, 10/2 - 25mg, 10/29 - 22mg, 11/19 - 19.8mg; 12/11 - 17m,
1/1- 15.5mg; 1/22 -14mg, 2/7 14.9mg, 2/18 - 17.8mg - crashed big time: back to 75mg where i sat for 2 years....

4th  March 2015 - 67.5mg;   31st March - 60mg;  24th April - 53mg; 13th May - 48mg; 26th May - 45mg;  9th June - 41mg; 1 July- 37.5mg; 20 July - 34mg; 11 August - 31mg; 1st Sept - 28mg;  1st Dec - 25.8mg;  28th Dec - 23.2mg; 23rd Jan-21.9mg; Feb 7th- 21mg; March 1st - 20.1mg, March 30th - 18mg

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  • Administrator

Welcome, Safiyah.


Pristiq 400mg daily (since 2008), nortryptilline 200mg daily since 2013 and vortioxetine 10mg daily since July 2015. I'm also on lithium, tertroxin, prazosin and lamotrigine.



Please review your drugs. 400mg Pristiq is an unheard-of high dosage. It is beyond excessive. Adding 2 more antidepressants to that risks a very serious adverse effect called serotonin syndrome -- not to mention interactions with the 4 other drugs.


Is the doctor who put you in the hospital the same doctor who prescribed all these drugs? If so, he may have realized that he has endangered your health and is trying to fix or cover up his error. That is why he suddenly took you off the drugs and admitted you to the hospital.


Given that you are taking a highly inappropriate drug cocktail, it is unlikely that "treatment-resistant depression" is an accurate diagnosis for you. That is part of your doctor's self-protecting cover-up. Rather, you have long been suffering adverse effects from the drugs and their interactions.


(Or, if he's a different doctor, he's realized how terribly overdrugged you are.)


I am also not surprised that you are suffering a whopping withdrawal syndrome, which he expected -- that is why you are in the hospital.


To see the amount of risk in those 7 drugs, put ALL the drugs you take in the Drug Interactions Checker http://www.drugs.com/drug_interactions.html and copy and paste the results in this topic.


If I were you, I would immediately file a complaint against your doctor. I would not take an MAOI or any other new prescriptions from him. He is incompetent.


I would insist my drugs be minimized, rather than adding more drugs.


Are you still taking lithium, tertroxin, prazosin and lamotrigine? What are the dosages? Please also put them in the Drug Interactions Checker http://www.drugs.com/drug_interactions.html and copy and paste the results in this topic.


Please let us know how you are doing.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Safiya


Welcome to SA. I'm sorry you have and continue to go through difficulties. We are a website for people who have decided to come off their medication and deal with their issues without meds. Many people gave done this. This site and the website beyond meds - http://beyondmeds.com attest to that possibility. But it's often and long and difficult process. We recommend slowly tapering drugs to minimise withdrawal and putting in place an architecture that can support good health - diet, exercise, mindfulness, limiting stress, some supplements if they help.


In circumstances where someone has gone cold turkey we would recommend reinstating and slowly tapering. Here is a thread on reinstating - [url=http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/7562-about-reinstating-and-stabilizing-to-reduce-withdrawal-symptoms/]http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/7562-about-reinstating-and-stabilizing-to-reduce-withdrawal-symptoms/


I wish you the best



Please note - I am not a medical practitioner and I do not give medical advice. I offer an opinion based on my own experiences, reading and discussion with others.On Effexor for 2 months at the start of 2005. Had extreme insomnia as an adverse reaction. Changed to mirtazapine. Have been trying to get off since mid 2008 with numerous failures including CTs and slow (but not slow enough tapers)Have slow tapered at 10 per cent or less for years. I have liquid mirtazapine made at a compounding chemist.

Was on 1.6 ml as at 19 March 2014.

Dropped to 1.5 ml 7 June 2014. Dropped to 1.4 in about September.

Dropped to 1.3 on 20 December 2014. Dropped to 1.2 in mid Jan 2015.

Dropped to 1 ml in late Feb 2015. I think my old medication had run out of puff so I tried 1ml when I got the new stuff and it seems to be going ok. Sleep has been good over the last week (as of 13/3/15).

Dropped to 1/2 ml 14/11/15 Fatigue still there as are memory and cognition problems. Sleep is patchy but liveable compared to what it has been in the past.


DRUG FREE - as at 1st May 2017


>My intro post is here - http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/2250-dalsaan

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How are you doing, Safiyah?


Been on Paxil since 96”-97”, 40mg tried 3 times to get off and didn’t work, started a very slow taper Jan 2016, have only dropped down by 3 mg.. on 37mg currently.. have very delayed withdrawals. Last drop was in July 2017.. still have waves and windows. 


Magnesium 200mg, foilc acid 1 mg, vitamin d3 5000iu, Blood pressure meds-Verapamil & Irbesartan... Smoke cbd flower once in awhile. 

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Safiyah how are you doing?

Was on 30mg (Lexapro) for 7-8yrs20mg for 3 months (This was my choice my Doc wanted me to drop much faster)15 mg 2week10mg 2 weeks 5 mg 1 week0 since August 24th . PPI Dexlant  30 mg taper has begun. Cutting 20% currently.  using zantac as needed.  Benzo is currently 0.10mg 

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Thinking of you hope your doing okay

Was on 30mg (Lexapro) for 7-8yrs20mg for 3 months (This was my choice my Doc wanted me to drop much faster)15 mg 2week10mg 2 weeks 5 mg 1 week0 since August 24th . PPI Dexlant  30 mg taper has begun. Cutting 20% currently.  using zantac as needed.  Benzo is currently 0.10mg 

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