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MikeB1983: Ready to be done with these poisons


MikeB1983

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New to this forum, but not new to these psych meds.  I was started on them when I was 19 after a series of panic attacks (had no idea what they were at the time, thought I was dying as most people do when they start).  I am now 34 and have been on various meds ever since, except for a six month med-free period in 2010.  Here is a brief history of what I have taken over the years:

 

2003-2005 Klonopin. No w/d, probably due to alcohol use at that time (got sober later that year and have stayed that way since).
2003-2006 Zoloft
2006 Wellbutrin, terrible anxiety, stopped after a few months
2006-2007 Zoloft
2007-2010 Celexa.  Decided I wanted off meds early that year, tapered down in 6 weeks, no w/d at time.  Things got bad later that year, due to life circumstances at the time.  So restarted.
2010-2012 Celexa
2012-2016 Effexor
2013-2014 Deplin
2016, this is where it started to get messy.  Dx with high blood pressure, doc believed it was from Effexor and had me cross-taper from that to Viibryd in 6 weeks.  Viibryd was a nightmare for me, anxiety was awful, felt like I was going crazy.  Later that year, went back to Celexa.  Gave it two months, did nothing.  March 2017, started on Cymbalta, have been on it since.  Doesn't seem to do much.  April 2017, added Abilify.  Seemed to help for maybe a few months.  After reading about the frightening potential long-term side effects, I decided it needed to go.  Being at a dose of 0.5 mg, I stopped it from there two months ago.  Going back to Dec 2017, Buspar was added in.
Current regimen is 40 mg Cymbalta daily and 30 mg Buspar daily (divided into two doses)

 

I've been through so many different meds, cross-tapers, etc. that I may have forgotten one or two.  But those are the "highlights."

 

Lately, I'm realizing that for the first few years or so, the meds did what I hoped they'd do.  I rarely had bouts of depression or severe anxiety in those years (like, 2003-2008).  Granted, I drank heavily and used street drugs from 2001-2005, but after getting clean and sober, I felt well for a long time via meds, therapy, a 12-step recovery program, and so forth.  

 

But in the last few years, I've had bouts of pretty heavy depression a couple of times a year, with the accompanying anxiety.  After reading some info on this site and looking into how meds lead to nutritional deficiencies (started reading about that a year ago or so), I'm convinced that all these meds are hurting more than they are helping at this point.  I am ready to do something about it.  So here's where I'm at.

 

The other day, I called my psych to discuss discontinuing Cymbalta.  She suggested going from 40 mg to 20 mg for a week, then stopping.  That is the worst advice I've ever gotten about anything.  I made an appointment today with a new psychiatrist who supposedly is known for having his patients taper very gradually.  But that isn't until April 23 and I am ready to start now.  

 

Now, I mentioned in my history that I started Buspar in December.  It was 20 mg a day divided into 2 doses.  It seemed to help for a few days, then the anxiety returned.  A month ago, I upped to 30 mg a day.  Same thing, helped for a few days, then not much of anything.  In addition, the last couple weeks, I am noticing I can hardly eat more than a small amount of food without feeling some combination of nausea, acid reflux, and/or severely bloated.  I am also tired and drained, more so than before.  After Googling buspar side effects today, I am fairly sure it has to do with the increase.

 

I read elsewhere on this site that it is best to do a 10% reduction at a time.  With the Buspar, since I have only been on the 30 mg for a month, is it likely that dropping back to 20 now would cause severe withdrawal?  I don't want to make things worse for myself, but I am also absolutely fed up with these toxins and ready to be done with them as soon as reasonably possible.  

 

I know this is a very long intro, but this seems like a great community.  In closing, let me just say I think it is absolutely criminal that these drugs are being marketed as "safe" and that most doctors seem to have little to no understanding of how to get patients off them in a way that causes as little harm as possible.  It is a shameful situation and once I am off these drugs, I do not plan to ever use them again.  

2003-2005 Klonopin, 2003-2006 Zoloft, 2006 Wellbutrin, 2006-2007 Zoloft, 2007-2010 Celexa, 2010-2012 Celexa, 2012-2016 Effexor, 2013-2014 Deplin

Sept 2016 cross-tapered from 150 mg Effexor to 20 mg Viibyrd over 3 weeks

Dec 2016 cross-tapered from 30 mg Viibyrd to 20 mg Celexa; January 2016 increased Celexa to 30 mg

Dec 2016-Jan 2017 Klonopin 0.25-0.50 mg/night, stopped CT

Mar 2017 cross-tapered from Celexa to Cymbalta; Cymbalta dose has varied from 40 to 60 mg, currently 40 mg/day

Apr 2017 - Feb 2018 Abilify, from 2 mg to 1 mg to 0.5 mg, then jumped off from 0.5 mg (too many side effects)

Nov 2017 Wellbutrin 75 mg/day, too agitating

Dec 2017 Buspar 20/mg day, increased to 30/mg day late Feb 2018

Current regimen: Cymbalta 40 mg/day, Buspar 30 mg/day (divided into 2 doses)

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  • ChessieCat changed the title to MikeB1983: Ready to be done with these poisons
  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi MikeB and welcome to SA,

 

We ask all members to create a drug signature.  Please update it whenever you make a change.  Please keep it nice and simple.  We only need details for the last 2 years.  Date, drug and dose only, no symptoms or diagnoses.  The other years can just be an overview.  

 

This is the preferred format which is helpful for the mods.  Thank you.

 

A request: Would you summarize your history in a signature - ALL drugs, doses, dates, and discontinuations & reinstatements, in the last 2 years particularly?

  • Please leave out symptoms and diagnoses.
  • list is easier to understand than one or multiple paragraphs. 

 

I'm going to give you lots of links to check out.  Please don't feel overwhelmed, just work your way through them one at a time as you feel able.

 

SA recommends tapering by no more than 10% of the previous dose followed by a hold at that dose for about 4 weeks to allow the brain to adapt to not getting as much of the drug.  This is because psychiatric drugs create a physiological dependence, not physical like caffeine or nicotine.

 

Patience is needed to get off these drugs.  We suggest throwing out the calendar and listening to your body and your symptoms.  If after 4 weeks you don't feel stable, are unwell or life circumstances are a bit more stressful than usual (for example the Christmas period, winter time, or job change) it is better to stay at that dose for a bit longer until things settle down.

 

Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

 

Dr Joseph Glenmullen's Withdrawal Symptoms

 

Important topics in the Tapering forum and FAQ

 

Taking multiple psych drugs? Which drug to taper first?

 

Windows and Waves Pattern of Stabilization

 

How do you talk to a doctor about tapering and withdrawal?


What should I expect from my doctor about withdrawal symptoms?

 

Brain Remodelling


Video:  Healing From Antidepressants - Patterns of Recovery

 

Keep it Simple, Slow and Stable


Keep Notes on Paper

 

Rate Symptoms Daily to Check Patterns and Progress

Tapering Calculator - Online

 

The only supplements which SA recommends are Magnesium and Omega-3 Fish Oil.  Try a small amount one at a time to see how you react.  It is best to make only 1 change at a time.  It is also better not to start taking a complex vitamin because if you experience issues you will not know what exactly is causing it.  B vitamins can be stimulating especially B6.  hypersensitive-to-b-vitamin-or-b-vitamin-complex  If trying anything new, start with a small amount to see how you react and build up to the recommended amount.  

 

Even with a careful and slow taper you will most likely experience times of discomfort.  It is best to learn and use Non-drug techniques to cope

 

There are many existing topics and discussions on this site.  You can use the site search function on the main page of the site at the top right, or use a search engine and include survivingantidepressants.org in your search string.

 

As I said, lots of information, but I really want you to have what you need so you can have a successful taper.

 

This is your own Intro topic where you can ask questions and journal your progress.  We suggest that members visit each others Intro topics so that can support and encourage each other.

* NO LONGER ACTIVE on SA *

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED:  (6 year taper)      0mg Pristiq  on 13th November 2021

ADs since ~1992:  25+ years - 1 unknown, Prozac (muscle weakness), Zoloft; citalopram (pooped out) CTed (very sick for 2.5 wks a few months after); Pristiq:  50mg 2012, 100mg beg 2013 (Serotonin Toxicity)  Tapering from Oct 2015 - 13 Nov 2021   LAST DOSE 0.0025mg

Post 0 updates start here    My tapering program     My Intro (goes to tapering graph)

 VIDEO:   Antidepressant Withdrawal Syndrome and its Management

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Thanks for all the info.  I've been reading a lot on this forum, though sometimes I get more anxiety because I start thinking I'm going to be one of the "horror stories" of coming off these meds, so I am pacing my reading.  I am convinced at this point to do the slow tapering.  I figure I can either taper slowly over a couple years, or I can risk a protracted withdrawal that lasts that long anyway.  

2003-2005 Klonopin, 2003-2006 Zoloft, 2006 Wellbutrin, 2006-2007 Zoloft, 2007-2010 Celexa, 2010-2012 Celexa, 2012-2016 Effexor, 2013-2014 Deplin

Sept 2016 cross-tapered from 150 mg Effexor to 20 mg Viibyrd over 3 weeks

Dec 2016 cross-tapered from 30 mg Viibyrd to 20 mg Celexa; January 2016 increased Celexa to 30 mg

Dec 2016-Jan 2017 Klonopin 0.25-0.50 mg/night, stopped CT

Mar 2017 cross-tapered from Celexa to Cymbalta; Cymbalta dose has varied from 40 to 60 mg, currently 40 mg/day

Apr 2017 - Feb 2018 Abilify, from 2 mg to 1 mg to 0.5 mg, then jumped off from 0.5 mg (too many side effects)

Nov 2017 Wellbutrin 75 mg/day, too agitating

Dec 2017 Buspar 20/mg day, increased to 30/mg day late Feb 2018

Current regimen: Cymbalta 40 mg/day, Buspar 30 mg/day (divided into 2 doses)

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  • Moderator Emeritus

It's not an either-or choice.  Protracted withdrawal can last an unforeseeable amount of time and definitely will be more unpleasant.  With a 10% per month taper, you know the amount of time you';re looking at and you're at much less risk of "horror story" problems.

Gridley Introduction

 

Lexapro 20 mg since 2004.  Begin Brassmonkey Slide Taper Jan. 2017.   

End 2017 year 1 of taper at 9.25mg 

End 2018 year 2 of taper at 4.1mg

End 2019 year 3 of taper at 1.0mg  

Oct. 30, 2020  Jump to zero from 0.025mg.  Current dose: 0.000mg

3 year, 10 month taper is 100% complete.

 

Ativan 1 mg to 1.875mg 1986-2020, two CT's and reinstatements

Nov. 2020, 7-week Ativan-Valium crossover to 18.75mg Valium

Feb. 2021, begin 10%/4 week taper of 18.75mg Valium 

End 2021  year 1 of Valium taper at 6mg

End 2022 year 2 of Valium taper at 2.75mg 

End 2023 year 3 of Valium taper at 1mg

Jan. 24, 2024: Hold at 1mg and shift to Imipramine taper.

Taper is 95% complete.

 

Imipramine 75 mg daily since 1986.  Jan.-Sept. 2016 tapered to 14.4mg  

March 22, 2022: Begin 10%/4 week taper

Aug. 5, 2022: hold at 9.5mg and shift to Valium taper

Jan. 24, 2024: Resume Imipramine taper.  Current dose as of June 28: 5mg

Taper is 93% complete.  

  

Supplements: multiple, quercetin, omega-3, vitamins C, E and D3, magnesium glycinate, probiotic, zinc, melatonin .3mg, iron, serrapeptase, nattokinase, L-Glutamine


I am not a medical professional and this is not medical advice but simply information based on my own experience, as well as other members who have survived these drugs.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

SA's tapering protocol is a harm reduction process with the idea of keeping the withdrawal symptoms to a minimum.  It doesn't mean that you aren't going to get any symptoms at all, but generally they are mild to moderate and/or will hopefully not last for an extended period.

 

I have been following SA's protocol for 2.5 years and have reduced my Pristiq from 100mg to 10mg.  I do experience withdrawal symptoms.  However, I am usually able to recognise them and have learned to accept them and use non drug techniques to cope with them. See Acceptance and Acceptance and Mindfulness  I've also done 2 long holds during this time, 3 months at 50mg and another 7 week hold at 20mg, to allow my brain to catch up if it needed it.

* NO LONGER ACTIVE on SA *

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED:  (6 year taper)      0mg Pristiq  on 13th November 2021

ADs since ~1992:  25+ years - 1 unknown, Prozac (muscle weakness), Zoloft; citalopram (pooped out) CTed (very sick for 2.5 wks a few months after); Pristiq:  50mg 2012, 100mg beg 2013 (Serotonin Toxicity)  Tapering from Oct 2015 - 13 Nov 2021   LAST DOSE 0.0025mg

Post 0 updates start here    My tapering program     My Intro (goes to tapering graph)

 VIDEO:   Antidepressant Withdrawal Syndrome and its Management

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