Jump to content

LeoTheLion: Starting to Taper Tomorrow


LeoTheLion

Recommended Posts

Hi Everyone - I'm new to this site and very grateful that I discovered this community! I appreciate all the work that the moderators and volunteers do - thank you so much!

 

In the Fall of 2019, I began to descend into the worst depression of my life. I've lived with depression since I was 12 or 13 years old so I'm familiar with the ups and downs. especially the downs. I never took medication until I was in my forties when I began taking Lexapro 10 mg. It helped a little, but the depression persisted.

 

In January 2020, my depression and ensuing suicidal ideation became so acute that I admitted myself to the hospital and was in and out of it for about a month. I was literally at one of the best hospitals in the country with some of the top doctors, but nothing helped. I was diagnosed with Bipolar I. I don't remember what medications I was prescribed while hospitalized because I  barely have any memory of that time. I  also underwent ECT, which caused severe short-term memory loss (a common and well-known side effect). The ECT did not improve my depression. My understanding is that it only works in about 50% of patients.

 

When I finally left the hospital I was still extremely depressed and could barely function, and then...Covid hit, my business was decimated, and the social isolation crushed me.  Needless to say, my depression did not improve. I tried many different medications and finally ended up taking Abilify 2 mg, Lexapro 20 mg, Wellbutrin 400 mg and Modafinil 200 mg. It was only when I began taking the Modafinil in the summer of 2021 that my mood and energy lifted. I was also diagnosed with severe sleep apnea in summer 2021 and began using a CPAP.

 

Now, two years after this all started my side effects are: 50 lb. weight gain, no libido, sexual dysfunction, muscle twitches, GI issues (an extreme amount of gas), memory loss, internal restlessness, and muted emotions. All this has become intolerable to me so I've decided to begin to taper off the drugs.

 

I have an appointment with my doctor today to discuss going off the meds. I'm nervous about her reaction. She's been very supportive and I really like her, but I know she won't be happy about my decision. I still plan on tapering off. I'm going to start by decreasing the Abilify after all of the horror stories I've been reading on lots of forums about this medication.

 

I have good support in place and will be seeing my therapist, receiving acupuncture, working with an herbalist, using aromatherapy and flower essences. I also exercise and meditate. I plan on doing the slow 10% taper but I'm worried about possible withdrawal symptoms. If I can't successfully eliminate the use of my antidepressants and antipsychotic, I will probably try ketamine. Ketamine isn't covered by my insurance so I will have to pay out of pocket, which I'm willing to do to finally get off of these drugs!!

 

Wish me luck and thanks for reading :)

2015 Lexapro 10 mg

2020 Lexapro 20 mg, Wellbutrin 400 mg, Abilify 2 mg, Modafinil 200 mg ☹️

3/10/22 - begin 10% taper off Abilify 2 mg.

June 2022 - off Abilify

Link to comment
  • Frogie changed the title to LeiTheLion:Starting to Taper Tomorrow
  • Moderator

@LeoTheLion

 

Welcome to SA. We are a volunteer run site with member such as yourself tapering off or have tapered off psych medications.

 

Unfortunately, your experience is not uncommon, but there are ways to manage this situation and bring your life back under control. Nothing is guaranteed, but most members find that by utilizing the information and advise available here are able to taper off their medications.

 

I'm going to provide some links for you to read.

 

What is withdrawal syndrome?

 

 

 

tips-for-tapering-off-wellbutrin-sr-xr-xl-zyban-buproprion

 

 

Tips for tapering off aripiprazole (Abilify)

 

 

Why taper by 10% of my dosage? 

 

Taking multiple psych drugs? Which drug to taper first?

 

Digestive problems:  Nausea, Diarrhoea, Bloating, GERD

 

Anhedonia, apathy, demotivation, emotional numbness

 

Weight Gain, Weight Lose and Appetite Changes

 

Here is some information on how to talk to your doctor about this.

 

 

 

 

We don't suggest supplements on here except 2. If you want to try one, take a small amount and wait a few days before introducing the other.

 

Magnesium

Omega-3 Fish Oil

 

After you read these, please don't hesitate to reach out to us.

 

 

 

PREVIOUS medications and discontinuations: Have been on medications since 1996. 

 Valium, Gabapentin, Lamictal, Prilosec and Zantac from 2000 to 2015 with a fast taper by a psychiatrist.

 Liquid Lexapro Nov, 2016 to 31-March, 2019 Lexapro free!!! (total Lexapro taper was 4 years-started with pill form)

---CURRENT MEDICATIONS:Supplements:Milk Thistle, Metamucil, Magnesium Citrate, Vitamin D3, Levothyroxine 25mcg, Vitamin C, Krill oil.

Xanax 1mg 3x day June, 2000 to 19-September, 2020 Went from .150 grams (average weight of 1 Xanax) 3x day to .003 grams 3x day. April 1, 2021 went back on 1mg a day. Started tapering May 19, 2023. July 28, 2023-approximately .87mg. Dr. fast tapered me at the end and realized he messed up. Prescribe it again and I am doing "slower than a turtle" taper. Last dose June 24, 2024

19-September, 2020 Xanax free!!! (total Xanax taper was 15-1/2 months-1-June, 2019-19-September, 2020)

I am not a medical professional.

The suggestions I make are based on personal experience.

Link to comment

Thank you very much for your reply and all the information! I appreciate it :)

2015 Lexapro 10 mg

2020 Lexapro 20 mg, Wellbutrin 400 mg, Abilify 2 mg, Modafinil 200 mg ☹️

3/10/22 - begin 10% taper off Abilify 2 mg.

June 2022 - off Abilify

Link to comment
  • Moderator

@LeoTheLion

 

You are very welcome.

 

PREVIOUS medications and discontinuations: Have been on medications since 1996. 

 Valium, Gabapentin, Lamictal, Prilosec and Zantac from 2000 to 2015 with a fast taper by a psychiatrist.

 Liquid Lexapro Nov, 2016 to 31-March, 2019 Lexapro free!!! (total Lexapro taper was 4 years-started with pill form)

---CURRENT MEDICATIONS:Supplements:Milk Thistle, Metamucil, Magnesium Citrate, Vitamin D3, Levothyroxine 25mcg, Vitamin C, Krill oil.

Xanax 1mg 3x day June, 2000 to 19-September, 2020 Went from .150 grams (average weight of 1 Xanax) 3x day to .003 grams 3x day. April 1, 2021 went back on 1mg a day. Started tapering May 19, 2023. July 28, 2023-approximately .87mg. Dr. fast tapered me at the end and realized he messed up. Prescribe it again and I am doing "slower than a turtle" taper. Last dose June 24, 2024

19-September, 2020 Xanax free!!! (total Xanax taper was 15-1/2 months-1-June, 2019-19-September, 2020)

I am not a medical professional.

The suggestions I make are based on personal experience.

Link to comment
  • ChessieCat changed the title to LeoTheLion: Starting to Taper Tomorrow

Welp... that didn't go well. 😐

 

I talked to my doctor yesterday about my desire to begin to taper off of my Abilify 2mg due to my horrible side effects. She pretty much laughed at me when I told her I was concerned about withdrawal symptoms. She said my dose is so low that it won't happen and to just go cold turkey (not gonna happen). When I told her about my plan to do a 10% taper, she ignored me. She was also unaware that Abilify comes in a liquid form! yikes!

 

Up until this point, I've really enjoyed working with her. She has been a good listener and has treated me like a person, not just another number. 

 

I don't have the energy to find another doctor at this point, so I guess I will continue to work with her. Not sure how this will all play out, but I'm following my own intuition and doing a slow taper.

 

Has anyone done a cold turkey Abilify withdrawal from 2 mg or a fast taper? Interested to hear your experience.

 

On the bright side, I had my first acupuncture appointment yesterday and she was fabulous! She treated my nervous system to support any withdrawal symptoms and my liver to help with detox. I will see her weekly for support. I see my herbalist today for more natural/holistic support of my journey.

2015 Lexapro 10 mg

2020 Lexapro 20 mg, Wellbutrin 400 mg, Abilify 2 mg, Modafinil 200 mg ☹️

3/10/22 - begin 10% taper off Abilify 2 mg.

June 2022 - off Abilify

Link to comment
  • Moderator

@LeoTheLion

 

I moved this post to your introduction page. We ask that each member only have one page so we can keep all your information together.

 

Most dr's don't know anything about tapering or going off these medications. They have just been taught that once you are on it, you will be on it for the rest of your life. 

 

When I was tapering off my Lexapro, my dr told me the same thing. So I finally told him that I was not going to taper off, that I changed my mind. Then I was able to get my medication and I tapered off myself with the help of this site. I'm not telling you to lie to your dr at all. Take her the evidence that it comes in liquid and ask her to please prescribe it for you.

 

The only thing that I found was that I was my own best advocate when it came to talking to my dr. 

 

Take care.

 

 

Edited by Frogie

PREVIOUS medications and discontinuations: Have been on medications since 1996. 

 Valium, Gabapentin, Lamictal, Prilosec and Zantac from 2000 to 2015 with a fast taper by a psychiatrist.

 Liquid Lexapro Nov, 2016 to 31-March, 2019 Lexapro free!!! (total Lexapro taper was 4 years-started with pill form)

---CURRENT MEDICATIONS:Supplements:Milk Thistle, Metamucil, Magnesium Citrate, Vitamin D3, Levothyroxine 25mcg, Vitamin C, Krill oil.

Xanax 1mg 3x day June, 2000 to 19-September, 2020 Went from .150 grams (average weight of 1 Xanax) 3x day to .003 grams 3x day. April 1, 2021 went back on 1mg a day. Started tapering May 19, 2023. July 28, 2023-approximately .87mg. Dr. fast tapered me at the end and realized he messed up. Prescribe it again and I am doing "slower than a turtle" taper. Last dose June 24, 2024

19-September, 2020 Xanax free!!! (total Xanax taper was 15-1/2 months-1-June, 2019-19-September, 2020)

I am not a medical professional.

The suggestions I make are based on personal experience.

Link to comment

That's so funny! I was thinking the same thing about telling her that I decided not to taper and continuing to receive the meds and do it myself.

 

It's quite shocking how little they know, and sad - for us.

 

Thanks for your reply :)

 

2015 Lexapro 10 mg

2020 Lexapro 20 mg, Wellbutrin 400 mg, Abilify 2 mg, Modafinil 200 mg ☹️

3/10/22 - begin 10% taper off Abilify 2 mg.

June 2022 - off Abilify

Link to comment
  • Moderator

@LeoTheLion

 

You are welcome.

 

It worked for me lol... It is very sad that they don't understand the implications these medications cause us.

 

Please keep us posted.

PREVIOUS medications and discontinuations: Have been on medications since 1996. 

 Valium, Gabapentin, Lamictal, Prilosec and Zantac from 2000 to 2015 with a fast taper by a psychiatrist.

 Liquid Lexapro Nov, 2016 to 31-March, 2019 Lexapro free!!! (total Lexapro taper was 4 years-started with pill form)

---CURRENT MEDICATIONS:Supplements:Milk Thistle, Metamucil, Magnesium Citrate, Vitamin D3, Levothyroxine 25mcg, Vitamin C, Krill oil.

Xanax 1mg 3x day June, 2000 to 19-September, 2020 Went from .150 grams (average weight of 1 Xanax) 3x day to .003 grams 3x day. April 1, 2021 went back on 1mg a day. Started tapering May 19, 2023. July 28, 2023-approximately .87mg. Dr. fast tapered me at the end and realized he messed up. Prescribe it again and I am doing "slower than a turtle" taper. Last dose June 24, 2024

19-September, 2020 Xanax free!!! (total Xanax taper was 15-1/2 months-1-June, 2019-19-September, 2020)

I am not a medical professional.

The suggestions I make are based on personal experience.

Link to comment
  • Moderator Emeritus
5 hours ago, LeoTheLion said:

That's so funny! I was thinking the same thing about telling her that I decided not to taper and continuing to receive the meds and do it myself.

 

It's quite shocking how little they know, and sad - for us.

 

Thanks for your reply :)

 

 

The main thing is to be able to continue to get what you need to taper.  We have other members who haven't told their doctor that they are tapering.

 

See:

 

how-to-talk-to-a-doctor-about-tapering-and-withdrawal-what-to-expect

 

* 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

Link to comment

Quick Transitions between Medications

 

In the months before my horrible depression crash and subsequent hospitalization in January 2020, my doctor was quickly transitioning me on and off ADs, APs and stimulants. 

 

In the span of six months I went on and off of seven different medications. She was trying to address my depression, anxiety and possible ADHD. 

 

I, of course, experienced some pretty bad side effects due to all this change. 

 

In late December 2019, she had me stop 10 mg Lexapro with no taper.

 

I had been taking 20 mg Lexapro for about six years. 

 

I completely crashed, became suicidal and on January 8, 2020, admitted myself to a psychiatric hospital. 

 

My questions are: has anyone experienced this type of quick transition between meds? What happened? 

 

Also, any idea where I can learn more about the outcomes  and safety,  or lack thereof,  regarding this type of transitioning. 

 

Thank you. 

 

Edited by ChessieCat
added Intro topic title before merging with intro topic

2015 Lexapro 10 mg

2020 Lexapro 20 mg, Wellbutrin 400 mg, Abilify 2 mg, Modafinil 200 mg ☹️

3/10/22 - begin 10% taper off Abilify 2 mg.

June 2022 - off Abilify

Link to comment
  • Moderator

@LeoTheLion

 

There are many, many people on here that have been taken off and put on many different medications in a short period of time.

 

Sometimes a small amount of the drug you were taken off of (in your case it would be Lexapro) would relieve symptoms, but it is not a guarantee. You could try to reinstate 0.5 mg and see what may happen if you want to try.

 


About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms

 

Here is a link you can read about reinstating and let me know what you think.

PREVIOUS medications and discontinuations: Have been on medications since 1996. 

 Valium, Gabapentin, Lamictal, Prilosec and Zantac from 2000 to 2015 with a fast taper by a psychiatrist.

 Liquid Lexapro Nov, 2016 to 31-March, 2019 Lexapro free!!! (total Lexapro taper was 4 years-started with pill form)

---CURRENT MEDICATIONS:Supplements:Milk Thistle, Metamucil, Magnesium Citrate, Vitamin D3, Levothyroxine 25mcg, Vitamin C, Krill oil.

Xanax 1mg 3x day June, 2000 to 19-September, 2020 Went from .150 grams (average weight of 1 Xanax) 3x day to .003 grams 3x day. April 1, 2021 went back on 1mg a day. Started tapering May 19, 2023. July 28, 2023-approximately .87mg. Dr. fast tapered me at the end and realized he messed up. Prescribe it again and I am doing "slower than a turtle" taper. Last dose June 24, 2024

19-September, 2020 Xanax free!!! (total Xanax taper was 15-1/2 months-1-June, 2019-19-September, 2020)

I am not a medical professional.

The suggestions I make are based on personal experience.

Link to comment

Thank you! 🙂

2015 Lexapro 10 mg

2020 Lexapro 20 mg, Wellbutrin 400 mg, Abilify 2 mg, Modafinil 200 mg ☹️

3/10/22 - begin 10% taper off Abilify 2 mg.

June 2022 - off Abilify

Link to comment
  • 2 weeks later...

Hi, I have been on Abilify 10 mg for at least 10 years, don´t recall exactly, currently I also take Vibryd & Lamictal 200 mg. I started gaining weight after starting on Abilify, gained a lot. Several years ago I became so frustrated I stopped taking it w/o advice from my psych provider. During the following weeks my depression got to be so severe I finally spent a week in the hospital mental health unit, then another 10 days in a Crisis unit related to the same hospital, kind of a ¨step down¨ experience. It was the worse depression I ever remember having. Needless to say I started back on the Abilify but it took a long time, (months) to get back to being sort of ok. 

A few months ago I began to develop what I think is TD, where your mouth & facial muscles move around & you can´t really control it plus my fingers & thumbs can´t stop moving to the point where they hurt a lot. I already have chronic pain so I was pretty upset by these symptoms. I have a new psych provider, an ANP & she decided to do a cross taper, I went to 5 mg of Abilify for a week then to 2 mg the next week while starting 1.5 mg of Vraylar. It made me feel extremely agitated & I discontinued it after a couple of weeks. Didn´t let her know, (dumb) & also stayed off the Abilify. So it´s been around 5 weeks off Abilify now & my depression is super bad. I did let her know & we decided to try 2 mg of Abilify to see if it helps. I am just so frustrated at these side effects but am severely depressed. I´ve been on lots of antidepressants over the past 15 years, they throw you on a lot of meds when you have chronic pain. She called it treatment resistant depression. 

Now I don´t know what to do. My experience with many different providers, ( I go to a community mental health center that has a fair amount of turnover) is that they´re not very experienced with tapering it seems like. Mostly I end up seeing Psych NP providers & not psychiatrists. 

I think you´re right to taper slowly off even 2 mg. Of course it´s different for everyone but you should go with your gut feeling. 

Just my experience of course. 

Link to comment

@akbj

Hi and thank you for writing to me.

 

I'm so sorry that you're going through all this. The mental health system is broken in SO many ways. I hope you find what works for you. 

 

I've been doing a 10% taper off 2mg Abilify for about 2 weeks now, and so far so good. I'm also doing acupuncture, which is helping tremendously, and herbal medicine to help with the withdrawal process. I try to exercise 3-4 times a week and get outside for walks as much as possible. Fresh air and sunshine really help me. 

 

I became vegan last year, and have been reading so much about how diet affects mood and what foods ease depression. 

 

I've pretty much lost all faith and trust in psychiatric providers, as far as medication goes. 

 

When I was in the hospital, they threw so many drugs at me it was no wonder I couldn't function. At one point, I was on EIGHT different meds. And they kept starting and stopping the meds because I wasn't improving. They never tapered, but just stopped abruptly and started me on other drugs.😥

 

I became so desperate that I started doing ECT,  which didn't help and caused me to have severe memory problems.  My long-term memory is absolutely horrible now.

 

After I get off all my drugs, I will never take any of their toxic "medicine" again. 

 

I plan on doing holistic/ natural remedies for my mood issues. Holistic practitioners are the only people I trust now. They actually care about you as a whole person, and, IMHO, plant-based medicine is much, much safer long term than pharmaceuticals. 

 

I think psychiatric medication practices are generally horrific.  I'm sure they help some people, but at what cost? The side effects are awful.

 

Sometimes I can't even believe that these drugs get approved and that what doctors do with them is legal. It's so screwed up. 

 

I really hope you start to feel better and find the right treatments to lift your mood. I know it's not easy, but hang in there. 

2015 Lexapro 10 mg

2020 Lexapro 20 mg, Wellbutrin 400 mg, Abilify 2 mg, Modafinil 200 mg ☹️

3/10/22 - begin 10% taper off Abilify 2 mg.

June 2022 - off Abilify

Link to comment

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Terms of Use Privacy Policy