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Brenda84: Complicated and fast taper


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I am totally new to this sight and feeling super overwhelmed. I am hoping I can start here and get some guidance as to my next step.

I have struggled with depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive behavior, and adhd since childhood.


August 2015 -  Started sertraline 50mg (and talk therapy)  

   This was a literal "life-saver." I was diagnosed with post partum depression and this pulled me out of the darkness. I also began cognitive behavioral therapy and EMDR. Continued with great success for about two years, then anxiety issues came up again.


June 2017 - Switched to Escitalopram 10mg. major side effects but managed them, depression stayed at bay and anxiety was a little better. 


March 2018 - added Vyvanse 40mg for Binge Eating Disorder, compulsive behavior, and adhd. Also helped tremendously with "everyday anxieties". 


 April 2018  - changed antidepressants under guidance of psychiatrist.

Began weaning escitalopram from 10mg SID to 5mg SID for 7 days, then 5mg SID EOD, at the same time adding Trintellix 5mg SID for 7 days, then Trintellix 10mg sid for 7 days. After 10 days on trintellix 10mg, my anxiety was out of control, I was having rage issues and continuous "brain zaps". I immediately contacted my doctor, and we decided to wean completely off the antidepressants (which had been discussed previously with psychiatrist and another doctor). I went down to trintellix 5mg sid for five days, then trintellix 5mg EOD, which I did for 3 doses.  I was unable to function properly since mid April. Mood swings are out of control, rage episodes, hysterical crying, as well as physical lethargy and "brain zaps". Extremely low self esteem and self talk, guilt, shame, total emotional spiraling every couple of days. I am taking magnesium glyconate and iron supplements in hopes it would help a little bit. A friend who went through something similar recommended low dose of Xanax (which I have a rx for), so when I am really feeling out of control I can take .25mg. This has helped a ton but it's not something I have any desire to take everyday. I have looked at cbd oil as well but I don't know if it will help or not. 


I am hoping it's not too late to either reinstate to do a slower taper, or some advice on how to get through this. I am totally at a loss as to what to do. I have been tempted to just start taking the escitalopram again in hopes I would feel back to "normal", but I have been advised to be off of SSRIs if we decide to have another baby, and I don't want to start this whole process over again if I don't have to. 

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  • mammaP changed the title to Brenda84: Complicated and fast taper
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Hi Brenda, welcome to SA.  I am sorry to see that you are overwhelmed by withdrawal, it certainly is difficult to cope with. 

You took sertraline which helped for 2 years. then the anxiety started again. This is what we call 'poop out', and it is common for the drug to be changed or new drugs added.  Unfortunately with each change the nervous system has to work hard to adapt to the new drug, or drugs, leading to many weird and sometimes frightening symptoms.   Stopping drugs cold turkey has the same effect.  You have had a lot of changes in a short time and you are suffering from all those changes and withdrawal, there is little wonder you are feeling so bad and my heart goes out to you.  When the brain has adapted to working along with drugs, the drugs turn off neurotransmitters and change the way it works. 


When the drugs are changed the brain has to start to adapt to the new ones, and very often there are many in quick succession. One will cause a side effect then another is added to combat this, and another symptom starts from that drug. Then when the patient is struggling they are all yanked away leaving nothing.   You are now in a difficult position because you want to have a baby.  No one can tell how long withdrawal will last, everyone is different.  some take many years, others months,  the only ones who recover quickly seem to be those who have been on them for a short time. Some will say they have quit several times and been fine, but if that was the case they would not have had to go back on.


The ones who seem to do best are the ones who understand withdrawal and what it is doing to their bodies. There will be many changes, symptoms will come and go.  As one is 'fixed' another is started on. All the symptoms are your brain and nervous system healing itself. The brain is a remarkable organ!  If you want to ride it out, you will need to take very good care of yourself.  Eat as healthily as possible. Caffeine can cause anxious feelings, palpitations and many of us have to switch to decaff, others can't tolerate it at all. Alcohol is best avoided too, it never helps in withdrawal. Exercise is important but needs to be gentle. Walks in the fields, on the beach or even better in the forest or woodland.  Having a good sleep routine is essential. Turn off the screens an hour before bed, screens stimulate the brain and prevent the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone. It is important to keep stress levels as low as possible because stress produces cortisol, and while the brain is healing hormone production can go haywire, so your body becomes flooded with cortisol which causes feelings of intense anxiety. This is where the walking is very beneficial.  Breathing exercises and mindfulness also help tremendously.   


The only supplements we universally recommend are fish oil and magnesium, fish oil is proven to help brain function and megnesium is deficient in most people because of todays farming methods, it is good to see that you are already taking it. Epsom salts baths are amazing,  start with a handful only, just wahat you can hold in your fist. You can increase if it is tolerated. I have lots of them, they calm me right down and ease the pain. 


Reinstatement is an option, many of us here, including myself did well with a very tiny dose. Because you have had so many different drugs in a short time it could take a while longer to stabilise but reinstating a very small 0.5mg dose of escitalopram could make a difference , it is available in a liquid too which would be easier for tapering. If  0.5 does not help at all, after a week you could go up to 1mg.  We recommend very tiny doses for reinstatement because once the nervous system is sensitised it can react to normal doses. I reinstated effexor at 1mg and it worked well. Esitalopram is stronger which is why I recommend 0.5.

When you have stabilised you can start a slow taper off that tiny dose.  It is available in liquid which is easier because it can be diluted, or you can make your own liquid. Instructions are in the tapering topic. It can take a long time to taper off even a tiny dose but it is well worth it to keep functional and stable.  


You will also need to learn coping skills, so that you can cope in stressful situations, and deal with issues you have in order to stay off the drugs. 

We have many members who have been successful in lerning to 'unpatient'  and 'undiagnose' themselves! 


You need to be very very careful with the benzo, they are highly addictive in a very short time and then you have to taper off those. 

Are you still taking vyvanse?  


I will get some links for you to read.  but first, we ask all our members to list their drug and taper history on their signatuire, just the drugs, doses and approximate dates but we need more specific dates for the last 6 months if you can remember. This link will take you to the signature box. This is essential for us, so we don't have to keep going back through the topic for the info. 



About reinstating to stabilise 



Tapering escitalopram



Explaining withdrawal



Windows and waves explains the process of healing. 




**I am not a medical professional, if in doubt please consult a doctor with withdrawal knowledge.



Different drugs occasionally (mostly benzos) 1976 - 1981 (no problem)

1993 - 2002 in and out of hospital. every type of drug + ECT. Staring with seroxat

2002  effexor. 

Tapered  March 2012 to March 2013, ending with 5 beads.

Withdrawal April 2013 . Reinstated 5 beads reduced to 4 beads May 2013

Restarted taper  Nov 2013  

OFF EFFEXOR Feb 2015    :D 

Tapered atenolol and omeprazole Dec 2013 - May 2014


Tapering tramadol, Feb 2015 100mg , March 2015 50mg  

 July 2017 30mg.  May 15 2018 25mg

Taking fish oil, magnesium, B12, folic acid, bilberry eyebright for eye pressure. 


My story http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/4199-hello-mammap-checking-in/page-33


Lesson learned, slow down taper at lower doses. Taper no more than 10% of CURRENT dose if possible



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I decided to try cbd oil as a last resort. It has been a godsend to me for controlling the side effects of weaning off .abilify. I plan to keep using it to wean off. Lexapro. It calms the stomach and controls the shaking. I sleep well at night and I am able to function better during the day. Wishing you success if you decide to try it.

Lexapro 2m Feb 2000

Ambien cr 6.5 April 2006

Abilify March 2016

Abilify taper started Feb 5 2018 

started taper at 1.5  now at 1

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