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TheFearfulFather: need help with Zoloft withdrawal symptoms after 17+ years


TheFearfulFather

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Original topic title before shortening:

 

Here goes... New Dad seeking help with Zoloft withdrawal symptoms after long-term dependency (17+ years)

 

 

Hello to Everybody,

 

I am both thrilled and horrified to have found this forum: thrilled that I am not alone, that there is help out there, that there are people who have had success and recovery; horrified that, at the dawn of this new phase of my live with a newborn child, I have so much suffering ahead of me.

 

Hello. I am a 36-year-old new dad living in Denver, Colorado. I have a beautiful, loving wife and a newborn girl. What should be a hopeful, wonderful time in my life has morphed into a waking nightmare, though I must acknowledge I have yet to experience darkness on the same level as some others on this forum.

 

As a child,  I was put on psychotropic drugs at age 19 after my first year of college. At the time, I would have gone on anything; my social anxiety had spiraled out of control, and I was desperate to feel "normal". For many years after and until very recently, I might have written a testimonial advertisement for my SSRI (Zoloft) as the savior of life and future. It melted my anxiety away. I was able to live the life I had seen as improbable as a teen: I made many friends, I was successful in my endeavors of love, I later married my best friend (we have been together for a decade), and now I have a beautiful daughter.

 

And yet, the drug finally began to show one very significant side effect: over the years, my libido began to wane. It scared me. And so I went into my GP with my concern. He had an idea: switch to a different drug (Wellbutrin / Buproprion). Ostensibly, the drug had no known sexual side effects. I was worried about the return of my anxiety - this had happened every time I discontinued Zoloft in the past - but I was willing to try in order to save my love life. The disappearance of my libido had begun to feel like some part of the very stuff that makes me human had run dry, and it had really begun to scare me.

 

The Wellbutrin was a disaster. I quickly tapered off, and at the 3.5 week mark off of Zoloft, I decided to reinstate, as the withdrawal effects had become acute and severe (brain fog, confusion, and memory issues; extreme sexual dysfunction / PSSD?; high anxiety and terror about the future; social anxiety; hopelessness; loss of appetite; etc., etc.). Without consulting my doctor who I no longer trusted (and without researching, or reading these forums), I reinstated the sertraline at 25 mg. I bumped that up to 50 mg. after 3 weeks. 

 

As of recently, I am experiencing:

- Anxiety and depression, though at much lower levels

- Continued brain fog on some days, and continued memory issues

- Low libido

- Much higher alcohol sensitivity (why? This never happened after any previous reinstatement)

- Low emotional affect; dull emotions

- The sense that something is "off" with my personality

- Lack of interest in former passions and hobbies

 

These seem to be standard for many experiencing withdrawal.

 

I feel the need to post my thoughts. I feel the need to ask for help from this community. I appreciate if you have read this far. Here are some final questions:

- How long after reinstatement does it typically take to restabilize? I have been at 50 mg. for about 10 weeks. Am I still restabilizing?

- Does anybody in these forums ever decide to stay on a low dose of their medication *forever*? What literature has anybody found about the risks of that?

- How much did I mess up in my recent reinstatement protocol (25 to 50 mg. in three weeks)?

- How in the holy hell would it be possible for a new parent to live through withdrawal and recovery while also trying to raise a new baby? Are there any resources for parents going through this?

- How do I even begin to broach this topic with my wife? I feel so, so terrible for her already. It feels like such a heavy, long-term issue. She didn't sign up for this. 

 

I have more questions; I am still so new. I admittedly haven't read enough, but I just need to get some thoughts written down. (I have already written a post that is far too long.) Again, I thank you for any thoughts you might have. 

 

May God bless you all. I am so, so sorry that we have had to go through this.

 

Edited by ChessieCat
added topic title before reducing length

Prescribed 50 mg. Zoloft for Social Anxiety at age 19. Here is the rest...

[Primary History / 2006 -  2021]

  • Sertraline (Zoloft) @ 50 mg. / Jun. 2005 - Jan. 2006 (felt "healed"; quit cold turkey)
  • Sertraline @ 50 mg. / Jan. 2006 - Mar. 2008 (felt "healed" again; quit cold turkey)
  • Sertraline @ 50 mg. / Jun. 2008 - Feb. 2013 (same story; tapered to 25 mg. for a month this time)
  • Sertraline @ 50 mg. / Apr. 2013 - Dec. 2021 (declining libido; thought I might switch drugs; began fast taper at 25 mg. - see below)

[Recent History / 2022 to now]

  • Sertraline @ 25 mg. / Dec. 2021 - 10 Feb. 2022 (switched to Wellbutrin)
  • Buproprion (Wellbutrin) @ 150 mg. / 10 Feb. 2022 - 4 Mar. 2022 (fast tapered Bup. for two weeks)
  • Sertraline @ 25 mg. / 5 Mar. 2022 - 27 Mar. 2022 
  • Sertraline @ 50 mg. / 28 Mar. 2022 up until present
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  • ChessieCat changed the title to TheFearfulFather: need help with Zoloft withdrawal symptoms after 17+ years
  • Moderator

Dear @TheFearfulFather

welcome to SA. I am so glad that you have found us. It seems like your brain has adapted to sertraline and withdrawal from it causes difficult symptoms. In this case we would advise you to stay on your current dosage for a good few months and once you stabilize you can slowly come off of the drugs. You reinstated back to your original dose which is less than we would have recommended but is ok given that you were off of the drug for such a short time. I wouldn't worry about that very much. What happens in withdrawal is that the brain makes adjustments to the change which makes you symptomatic. But at the same time the brain becomes sensitive to the introduction of new psychoactive drugs (and some supplements (St John's Wort, Sam-e, Vit D and Bs) and some antibiotics even). As a result we recommend that you not take any psychoactive substances for a very long time (years) - this includes pot and alcohol. It may also be helpful to avoid caffeine and nicotine.  Many of our members find magnesium and Omega-3s helpful though. 

https://www.survivingantidepressants.org/topic/15483-magnesium-natures-calcium-channel-blocker/

King of supplements: Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil) - Symptoms and self-care - Surviving Antidepressants

 

It may be helpful to see this video that explains the withdrawal process and you can understand what happened in your previous attempts to stop sertraline as well. 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PSjYH044-2Q

 

The links below explain the recovery process pretty well. I like the second one best.  

 

The Windows and Waves Pattern of Stabilization - Symptoms and self-care - Surviving Antidepressants

What is happening in your brain? - Symptoms and self-care - Surviving Antidepressants

How psychiatric drugs remodel your brain - Symptoms and self-care - Surviving Antidepressants

 

Recovery from withdrawal is slow as the brain has been destabilized (gotten out of homeostasis) and now needs to find its way to normalcy again.

The tips below help address some of the issues that are common 

Are We There Yet? How Long Is Withdrawal Going To Take? - Tapering - Surviving Antidepressants

Non-drug techniques to cope with emotional symptoms - Symptoms and self-care - Surviving Antidepressants

Important topics about symptoms, including sleep problems - Symptoms and self-care - Surviving Antidepressants

 

Things will get better and you can cope with this situation. You seem to have a wonderful partner who will understand this and her support will be invaluable in this process. Yes, it is difficult but you also have lots of resources and knowledge to deal with these issues. You will get through this and we are here to support you as well. 

 

OMW

 

"Nothing so small as a moment is insurmountable, and moments are all that we have. You have survived every trial and tribulation that life has thrown at you up until this very instant. When future troubles come—and they will come—a version of you will be born into that moment that can conquer them, too." - Kevin Koenig 

 

I am not a doctor and this should not be considered medical advice. You can use the information and recommendations provided in whatever way you want and all decisions on your treatment are yours. 

 

In the next few weeks I do not have a lot of capacity to respond to questions. If you need a quick answer pls tag or ask other moderators who may want to be tagged. 

 

Aug  2000 - July 2003 (ct, 4-6 wk wd) , citalopram 20 mg,  xanax prn, wellbutrin for a few months, trazodone prn 

Dec 2004 - July 2018 citalopram 20 mg, xanax prn (rarely used)

Aug 2018 - citalopram 40 mg (self titrated up)

September 2018 - January 2019 tapered citalopram - 40/30/20/10/5 no issues until a week after reaching 0

Feb 2019 0.25 xanax - 0.5/day (3 weeks) over to klonopin 0.25 once a day to manage severe wd

March 6, reinstated citalopram 2.5 mg (liquid), klonopin 0.25 mg for sleep 2-3 times a week

Apr 1st citalopram 2.0 mg (liquid), klonopin 0.25 once a week (off by 4/14/19- no tapering)

citalopram (liquid) 4/14/19 -1.8 mg, 5/8/19 - 1.6 mg,  7/27/19 -1.5 mg,  8/15/19 - 1.35, 2/21/21 - 1.1 (smaller drops in between), 6/20/21 - 1.03 mg, 8/7/21- 1.025, 8/11/21 - 1.02, 8/15/21 - 1.015, 9/3/21 - 0.925 (fingers crossed!), 10/8/21 - 0.9, 10/18/21 - 0.875, 12/31/21 - 0.85, 1/7/22 - 0.825, 1/14/22 - 0.8, 1/22/22 - 0.785, 8/18/22 - 0.59, 12/15/2022 - 0.48, 2/15/22 - 0.43, 25/07/23 - 0.25 (mistake), 6/08/23 - 0.33mg

 

Supplements: magnesium citrate and bi-glycinate

Link to comment
On 5/31/2022 at 12:51 PM, TheFearfulFather said:

How long after reinstatement does it typically take to restabilize? I have been at 50 mg. for about 10 weeks. Am I still restabilizing?

Hi FearfulFather, I just joined a few days ago and am dealing with Zoloft issues as well.

 

I amazed at the similarities between us. 37 here, married wife back in 2018 whom I met in mid 2010. I have been on ADs since 2012 and all the way up until this year my anxiety and depression were under control and I too would have praised the joys of sertraline, as in my mind it saved me from my benzo withdrawal.  However the emotional numbness and lack of libido seemed to get worse for me as time went on and I made the mistake of cutting a dose I was stable on for a year by 50% overnight. 2 months later it caught up to me. I slept one hour last night and called off work this morning. 

 

Now to answer your question, at 10 weeks you are probably close to the plateau of stabilization that your reinstatement can provide, but you may improve more with time. It is not uncommon for people to be on a med for a long time, try another med for whatever reason, and return back to the original med only to find out it doesn't work the same. 

 

If 10 weeks at 50 mg isn't making you feel like you did before you stopped the med, the med may have turned on you paradoxically from its absense.  You may want to test how you react to smaller doses via very small cuts once you feel you are ready. A mod or another member may help you figure out a good reduction schedule.

 

I am currently only 8 weeks at my current dose, and the withdrawals are horrible. I plan on holding out until they get "bearable" then do 10% monthly cuts until I am off.

 

Just like you I want my life back. I am amazed at how easily these meds can turn on us after we have been on them so long. Funnily enough, back in 2016 they tried to switch me to Wellbutrin but I only lasted 2 days, so I was never off my AD long enough for my brain to make changes.

 

There is a light at the end of the tunnel. Everything seems scary right now, I feel that fear too. Keep your wife and child in your heart and get well for them.

2008: March, Klonopin .5 mg to 1 mg

2009: Dec, CT Klonopin

2010: full year heavy alcohol use

2011: Jan - withdrawals start

2012: Apr- bad wave, start zoloft 50

2014 to 2020: Switch ADs

Sertraline 100mgs >Lexapro 20 mgs>Prozac 20 mgs >Lexapro 20

2021: Sertraline 25 mgs

2022: Mar. Cut dose down to 12.5

End of May, starting to crash physically/mentally.

 

Link to comment

Hi @Onmyway,

 

I just want to say thank you so much for your response. I will take a day or two to read through / watch all of the resources you so kindly provided.

 

I did just finish watching the first video, and it was a truly excellent, intelligent and concise explanation of... well, everything. (I plan to use it as an introduction to what's going on with my brain when I finally gather enough courage to broach this topic with my wife). It looks to have been posted very recently, and I'm hoping the video and the subject itself continues to get increased traction in the medical community. If I had only been aware of this information at any point over the last 17 years - and still I am so grateful that at least now there is an increasing awareness of just how traumatic withdrawal can be. 

 

I must reiterate that I am so, so grateful to you and to all site moderators. I have spent a great deal of time (I am currently on paternity leave for work) reading through all sorts of threads, stories, and experiences over the past week, and it's been humbling about my own situation to say the very least, as well as hopeful and as well as absolutely devastating. I am so appreciative of the volunteers like you who give their time to help people like me. All of the stories I have encountered are heartbreaking, and they are beautiful. You have given me hope when I needed it the most. 

 

Thank you again,

FF

 

 

Prescribed 50 mg. Zoloft for Social Anxiety at age 19. Here is the rest...

[Primary History / 2006 -  2021]

  • Sertraline (Zoloft) @ 50 mg. / Jun. 2005 - Jan. 2006 (felt "healed"; quit cold turkey)
  • Sertraline @ 50 mg. / Jan. 2006 - Mar. 2008 (felt "healed" again; quit cold turkey)
  • Sertraline @ 50 mg. / Jun. 2008 - Feb. 2013 (same story; tapered to 25 mg. for a month this time)
  • Sertraline @ 50 mg. / Apr. 2013 - Dec. 2021 (declining libido; thought I might switch drugs; began fast taper at 25 mg. - see below)

[Recent History / 2022 to now]

  • Sertraline @ 25 mg. / Dec. 2021 - 10 Feb. 2022 (switched to Wellbutrin)
  • Buproprion (Wellbutrin) @ 150 mg. / 10 Feb. 2022 - 4 Mar. 2022 (fast tapered Bup. for two weeks)
  • Sertraline @ 25 mg. / 5 Mar. 2022 - 27 Mar. 2022 
  • Sertraline @ 50 mg. / 28 Mar. 2022 up until present
Link to comment
  • Moderator

Dear @TheFearfulFather,

thank you for your kind words. They are much appreciated.

We have all walked this path (and some of us are still walking it) and understand what you are going through and are here to help. I think you may be underestimating your wife's capacity for empathy and understanding. I am sure you are both under a lot of stress with the new baby but you can get through this together. The acute symptoms should abate in a couple of months and the rest of the recovery will likely progress in the windows and waves pattern. And when you feel stable we can start tapering the drug and that itself should help make you feel better as well. 

 

Not sure if you saw this link - it is one that kept me going when I was in your shoes a few years ago! 

Success stories: Recovery from psychiatric drug withdrawal - Surviving Antidepressants

 

Welcome to SA! :)

 

"Nothing so small as a moment is insurmountable, and moments are all that we have. You have survived every trial and tribulation that life has thrown at you up until this very instant. When future troubles come—and they will come—a version of you will be born into that moment that can conquer them, too." - Kevin Koenig 

 

I am not a doctor and this should not be considered medical advice. You can use the information and recommendations provided in whatever way you want and all decisions on your treatment are yours. 

 

In the next few weeks I do not have a lot of capacity to respond to questions. If you need a quick answer pls tag or ask other moderators who may want to be tagged. 

 

Aug  2000 - July 2003 (ct, 4-6 wk wd) , citalopram 20 mg,  xanax prn, wellbutrin for a few months, trazodone prn 

Dec 2004 - July 2018 citalopram 20 mg, xanax prn (rarely used)

Aug 2018 - citalopram 40 mg (self titrated up)

September 2018 - January 2019 tapered citalopram - 40/30/20/10/5 no issues until a week after reaching 0

Feb 2019 0.25 xanax - 0.5/day (3 weeks) over to klonopin 0.25 once a day to manage severe wd

March 6, reinstated citalopram 2.5 mg (liquid), klonopin 0.25 mg for sleep 2-3 times a week

Apr 1st citalopram 2.0 mg (liquid), klonopin 0.25 once a week (off by 4/14/19- no tapering)

citalopram (liquid) 4/14/19 -1.8 mg, 5/8/19 - 1.6 mg,  7/27/19 -1.5 mg,  8/15/19 - 1.35, 2/21/21 - 1.1 (smaller drops in between), 6/20/21 - 1.03 mg, 8/7/21- 1.025, 8/11/21 - 1.02, 8/15/21 - 1.015, 9/3/21 - 0.925 (fingers crossed!), 10/8/21 - 0.9, 10/18/21 - 0.875, 12/31/21 - 0.85, 1/7/22 - 0.825, 1/14/22 - 0.8, 1/22/22 - 0.785, 8/18/22 - 0.59, 12/15/2022 - 0.48, 2/15/22 - 0.43, 25/07/23 - 0.25 (mistake), 6/08/23 - 0.33mg

 

Supplements: magnesium citrate and bi-glycinate

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  • Mentor

@TheFearfulFather Hello and welcome. I too am a father and have been in your shoes as many here have. The withdrawals causing dread and fear and trying to be a husband and father. Many responsibilities + wd = high anxiety.  

 

The good news is these feelings are temporary and do go away! 
 

I wanted off because of no energy, not wanting to do anything, laying around and sleeping much of the time. I have jumped off too fast and reinstated about 4 or 5 times before finding SA. Every time after having withdrawals And reinstating it took about 3 months to start seeing improvement and 6 months to get back to my normal self pre wd. But everyone is different. But from my experience and what I read here most folks is in that time range.  So I would say you are only 10 weeks out, so hang on be patient. 
 

Try to keep busy doing what you can with as low stress as possible. Staying busy with my hands working, walking in woods, and time with good friends and family helped me. Distract you mind to something else and before you know it you will stabilize. First thing is to get stable . After that you will be able to taper at a rate that will allow you to have some normalcy. 
 

you can be a parent during this time , do what you can and believe it or not this can actually help you recover faster- distraction, you have a job and a purpose 👍. That’s good for fathers. 
 

it’s very hard for folks to understand wd that haven’t been through it . But if you and wife read some together so she at least knows why you are having anxiety. There is a post on how to talk to family members on SA but I can’t find atm.  Should be under self care. 

 

acknowledge, accept it is wd, do what you can then float - continue on in life, distract. 
 

yes easier said than done believe me. Keep same dose, same brand, same time daily. Slow, steady, stable. 
 

All members and moderators have different tips from there experiences. 
 

onmyway has given you a lot of good information already! 
 

read what you can and when you need to stop reading about it and go do something else. 


Oh and I too agree with your reinstatement. You weren’t off it very long and you where ok on that for years. Drs know very little about this and all they have in their tool box is pills. And when they give you different brands and doses that will only compound you troubles. 

 

Hang in there it will pass! 

2000-2013 Paxil - 1 year fast taper

2013-2018 merry go round
zoloft, cymbalta, lamictal, Prozac.

 Nov. 2018 lexapro 15 mgs, Dec. 2019 to Mar. 2020 taper to 10mg. Jul 2020 to October 2020 taper to 8.5 ml.
Oct 2020 reinstated to 9 ml.
Apr 2021 to Jul  taper to 7ml. Oct 2021 to Jan 2022 taper to 5.9ml, Mar 5 2022 5.8 ml, Mar 12 5.7ml, Mar 20 5.6ml, Mar 27 5.5ml, April 23 5.4ml, April 30 5.3ml, May 7 5.2ml,  Jul 9 2022 5.4ml, 

Klonopin prn, Allegra 180 for 3 seasons, aspirin 81 mg, plavix , nitroglycerin 0.4 mg prn, 2k mg  turmeric Qunol, 4- Trader Joe’s omega 3 -2400 mg, Pepcid 20mg,  Prilosec 40 mg, Tylenol arthritis 4 tablets daily, 350mg calm magnesium citrate, melatonin 2.5- 5mg as needed to sleep. Saline spray as needed. 

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Hi @Kaervin! Thanks for your response.

 

Quote

I amazed at the similarities between us. 37 here, married wife back in 2018 whom I met in mid 2010.

 

I am too! It is comforting to know that other people have walked down similar, strange trails. How has your libido been since your dose was cut in half? Have you experienced any other PSSD-like symptoms? It might be helpful to continue to compare and contrast effects we have both been having or not having, so without getting too graphic, here is what I am and have been experiencing:

  • Immediately after dropping my 25 mg dose and switching temporarily to Wellbutrin, I experienced a glorious, three-day window of increased libido, desire, and sexual energy, all without any kind of ED or sexual dysfunction.
  • Within three more days, everything crashed: zero libido, full-fledged ED, and once I climaxed while not even erect (my wife was trying to get me "there", and it just happened). Again, sorry to be so specific for anybody who is squeamish, but I'd also like to be precise.
  • These symptoms continued until reinstatement at 25 mg on Mar. 5, 2022.
  • Since reinstatement, I have seen improvement, yes, but I still have dangerously low libido (20-40%, coming in waves), though no real problems with erections (aided by prescribed Viagra). 
  • Most troubling is, however, is my lack of passion. This bleeds into my next point.

Kaervin, do you relate to any of the above?

 

My only other real point that I'm curious about in your case, Kaervin, concerns passion. I feel much, much more emotionally blunted with the recent reinstatement compared to anything previous. Like you, I would say that emotional blunting has slowly crept up on me over the years -- but nothing like this. I have lost my drive to read, my drive to listen to and play music (I have always loved playing guitar, sometimes to hours at a time). My voice feels flat. My personality feels... less. 

 

I suppose this is a question for anybody reading, including you @Heath! (I'm also so grateful for your response. We have similarities in our situations as well, though I'm glad to see you've begun the tapering and look to be doing so with success.) To quote you, Heath:

 

Quote

And reinstating it took about 3 months to start seeing improvement and 6 months to get back to my normal self pre wd.

 

Back to my question about passion. First of all Heath, did you experience a similar loss of emotional affect at any point? If so, did you stabilization bring any of your passion back as your "normal self, pre wed" re-emerged? Kaervin, what about you? How are your emotions treating you? How does your passion express itself these days?

 

When I was younger, I enjoyed a fantasy series by Philip Pullman called His Dark Materials. In the first and most famous book, The Golden Compass, the real conflict of the story is based on the idea that a person's soul (represented in the novel by an animal of some kind) can be severed from that person's body in a kind of horrifying, dehumanizing procedure that leaves both the soul and the person sort of "flat": technically alive, yet without any real soul, any real passion. Any person who undergoes the procedure is left to sort of wander around, dull and aimlessly and forever. This is perhaps my greatest fear. Sometimes, the lack of passion that I once had makes me feel like I am a character in that novel. I wouldn't say I'm *there* yet, but it's horrifying to imagine that I might some day be rendered essentially soulless as part of the withdrawal process; even if I eventually heal, it might take years of wandering around dulled to all beauty and life, existing as a creature of pain, only hopefully to one day emerge from my chrysalis with renewed color. Do I still feel love? Yes. I still feel love, toward my wife, toward my new baby... but it is not felt with the same depth as it might have been before my recent cessation of the Z. 

 

Alas, I am rambling once again. Any thoughts either of you or anyone might have are always appreciated. 

 

Love to and for you all. I will not succumb to the horror. I will not.

 

FF

Prescribed 50 mg. Zoloft for Social Anxiety at age 19. Here is the rest...

[Primary History / 2006 -  2021]

  • Sertraline (Zoloft) @ 50 mg. / Jun. 2005 - Jan. 2006 (felt "healed"; quit cold turkey)
  • Sertraline @ 50 mg. / Jan. 2006 - Mar. 2008 (felt "healed" again; quit cold turkey)
  • Sertraline @ 50 mg. / Jun. 2008 - Feb. 2013 (same story; tapered to 25 mg. for a month this time)
  • Sertraline @ 50 mg. / Apr. 2013 - Dec. 2021 (declining libido; thought I might switch drugs; began fast taper at 25 mg. - see below)

[Recent History / 2022 to now]

  • Sertraline @ 25 mg. / Dec. 2021 - 10 Feb. 2022 (switched to Wellbutrin)
  • Buproprion (Wellbutrin) @ 150 mg. / 10 Feb. 2022 - 4 Mar. 2022 (fast tapered Bup. for two weeks)
  • Sertraline @ 25 mg. / 5 Mar. 2022 - 27 Mar. 2022 
  • Sertraline @ 50 mg. / 28 Mar. 2022 up until present
Link to comment
  • Mentor
3 hours ago, TheFearfulFather said:

Back to my question about passion. First of all Heath, did you experience a similar loss of emotional affect at any point? If so, did you stabilization bring any of your passion back as your "normal self, pre wed" re-emerged? Kaervin, what about you? How are your emotions treating you? How does your passion express itself these days?

@TheFearfulFatheryes my passion and love has been blunted for years just by the drug itself. Heavy wd can cause it to go up and down .  In my slow taper the emotional blunting is still there but steady and level.  So during slow taper you can still have emotional blunting to some degree. 
 

yes pre heavy wd passion did come back at stability for me. 
 

as for Ed and intimacy. Wd , the drug itself, anxiety and depression can affect this. Wd can cause anxiety and depression. So as you stabilize this should resolve also if the drug itself did NOT cause this problem before you stopped taking the drug. 

 

WheN I said 3 to 6 months to stabilize for me - that does not mean I was miserable for 6 months. Stability comes very slowly and gradually. So every day you are holding same dose, time and brand you are healing getting closer to stabilization. 

2000-2013 Paxil - 1 year fast taper

2013-2018 merry go round
zoloft, cymbalta, lamictal, Prozac.

 Nov. 2018 lexapro 15 mgs, Dec. 2019 to Mar. 2020 taper to 10mg. Jul 2020 to October 2020 taper to 8.5 ml.
Oct 2020 reinstated to 9 ml.
Apr 2021 to Jul  taper to 7ml. Oct 2021 to Jan 2022 taper to 5.9ml, Mar 5 2022 5.8 ml, Mar 12 5.7ml, Mar 20 5.6ml, Mar 27 5.5ml, April 23 5.4ml, April 30 5.3ml, May 7 5.2ml,  Jul 9 2022 5.4ml, 

Klonopin prn, Allegra 180 for 3 seasons, aspirin 81 mg, plavix , nitroglycerin 0.4 mg prn, 2k mg  turmeric Qunol, 4- Trader Joe’s omega 3 -2400 mg, Pepcid 20mg,  Prilosec 40 mg, Tylenol arthritis 4 tablets daily, 350mg calm magnesium citrate, melatonin 2.5- 5mg as needed to sleep. Saline spray as needed. 

Link to comment
9 hours ago, TheFearfulFather said:

Immediately after dropping my 25 mg dose and switching temporarily to Wellbutrin, I experienced a glorious, three-day window of increased libido, desire, and sexual energy, all without any kind of ED or sexual dysfunction.

That should tell you right there that your lack of libido is probably due to sertraline. The problem is that after 3 days the withdrawal from sertraline and the side effects from Wellbutrin were most likely kicking in and causing you great anxiety.

 

Emotional bluntness and lack of drive and passion often cited symptoms of antidepressants. Up until 2016 I used to go to the gym a lot and was in great shape. Eventually as time went on doing the things I used to enjoy required too much emotional energy from a reservoir that felt like it was running low. 

What matters right now is what you know, not what you feel. What you feel will change as your body changes, what you know will always be true. If you know you love your wife and child, don't worry about how you are currently feeling.

 

Take the knowledge that you love your wife to do simple little things like wrap your arms around her from behind while she is making coffee. You may not be able to feel the love nor the reciprocation, but you know it's there. Just let her know often what you know in your heart to be true. Share with her your struggles and let her know you are doing this not just for yourself but for her and your child as well.

2008: March, Klonopin .5 mg to 1 mg

2009: Dec, CT Klonopin

2010: full year heavy alcohol use

2011: Jan - withdrawals start

2012: Apr- bad wave, start zoloft 50

2014 to 2020: Switch ADs

Sertraline 100mgs >Lexapro 20 mgs>Prozac 20 mgs >Lexapro 20

2021: Sertraline 25 mgs

2022: Mar. Cut dose down to 12.5

End of May, starting to crash physically/mentally.

 

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9 hours ago, TheFearfulFather said:

Kaervin, do you relate to any of the above?

Yes my libido dropped to the point where I was no longer initiating. Also I would last so long that it started to feel more like a chore and it should never be like that. So I decided for the time being to make it all about her, and I don't mind that at all for the time being.

 

As I come off this medication I have no doubt that will self correct. The problem is when you are battling harsh withdrawal symptoms sexual activity is the last thing on the mind.

 

Going back to your issue with passion. Passion for life itself involves hobbies as well as sexual activity. The fact that you are losing passion for both should clue you in that neither the hobbies nor your feelings for your wife are the issue. The issue is what these antidepressants are doing to us. We can get our old selves back and we will. 

2008: March, Klonopin .5 mg to 1 mg

2009: Dec, CT Klonopin

2010: full year heavy alcohol use

2011: Jan - withdrawals start

2012: Apr- bad wave, start zoloft 50

2014 to 2020: Switch ADs

Sertraline 100mgs >Lexapro 20 mgs>Prozac 20 mgs >Lexapro 20

2021: Sertraline 25 mgs

2022: Mar. Cut dose down to 12.5

End of May, starting to crash physically/mentally.

 

Link to comment

Thank you both for your advice.

 

Quote

The fact that you are losing passion for both should clue you in that neither the hobbies nor your feelings for your wife are the issue. The issue is what these antidepressants are doing to us. We can get our old selves back and we will. 

 

❤️

Prescribed 50 mg. Zoloft for Social Anxiety at age 19. Here is the rest...

[Primary History / 2006 -  2021]

  • Sertraline (Zoloft) @ 50 mg. / Jun. 2005 - Jan. 2006 (felt "healed"; quit cold turkey)
  • Sertraline @ 50 mg. / Jan. 2006 - Mar. 2008 (felt "healed" again; quit cold turkey)
  • Sertraline @ 50 mg. / Jun. 2008 - Feb. 2013 (same story; tapered to 25 mg. for a month this time)
  • Sertraline @ 50 mg. / Apr. 2013 - Dec. 2021 (declining libido; thought I might switch drugs; began fast taper at 25 mg. - see below)

[Recent History / 2022 to now]

  • Sertraline @ 25 mg. / Dec. 2021 - 10 Feb. 2022 (switched to Wellbutrin)
  • Buproprion (Wellbutrin) @ 150 mg. / 10 Feb. 2022 - 4 Mar. 2022 (fast tapered Bup. for two weeks)
  • Sertraline @ 25 mg. / 5 Mar. 2022 - 27 Mar. 2022 
  • Sertraline @ 50 mg. / 28 Mar. 2022 up until present
Link to comment
  • 1 month later...

Hello Humans,

 

I am updating my thread as a way to keep track of my journey and as a way to provide information and help to others in similar situations. 

 

I would first like to say that my personal journey is only beginning. Because I interrupted my withdrawal by reinstating, my experience does not begin to compare to some of the worst cases on this website. This makes me feel fortunate in some ways. It also fills me with admiration for the brave people further along in the journey than me. I have a deep sympathy and affection for everybody suffering from antidepressant, Benzo, and/or antipsychotic withdrawal, no matter how severe. I am so sorry for anybody who has to experience withdrawal. I would like to express my deepest gratitude to everybody who contributes in any way, large or small, to this forum. I would especially like to thank and commend the site moderators and site administrators. You continue to contribute so much to advance what we know about withdrawal. The time you spend helping others is so incredibly amazing and appreciated. And what you do is often thankless, which makes it all the more selfless and inspiring. I myself am mostly a lurker, but I would still like to personally thank the people whose threads have helped inspire me or give me hope, especially @Onmyway @Kaervin @Heath @Ariel @ChessieCat @arbor @Oaktree1 @getofflex @brassmonkey @Altostrata (and many more). Most of you don’t know me — but having spent time in these forums, I feel like I know you, and I love who you all are and how hard you continue to fight. You inspire me.

 

In spite of any individual differences in my particular case — all of our withdrawals are unique -- I do think that my situation will have similarities to a lot of people out there somewhere, and I want to log my experiences for that reason. In spite of the trove of information on this forum, I still had and have many unanswered questions, and anything I can do to contribute to this body of evidence I feel the need to do. For any site admins.: I am currently not in need of support, so no need to reply to my thread. This post is, rather, a log update about restabilizing and reinstatement and how that has worked for my particular case so far. It’s a long post, and you might consider stopping reading now!

 

——

 

For the last few months, I have had a singular goal: to stabilize on my current dose after reinstatement following a 3 weeks and 2 days of discontinuation from sertraline at 50 mg. From the beginning of my withdrawal in March and up until early June, I consider my nervous system to have been in a severely destabilized sort of crisis mode. My main questions over the past several months have been:

  • How long does is take to restabilize after reinstating? Am I still stabilizing / approaching a new homeostasis even after months? Is it really possible to take 6 - 12 months to restabilize after reinstatement?
  • What will this “new” stability feel like? What will my withdrawal symptoms look like at stability? Can I expect to feel like I did before discontinuation?

I am mostly happy to report that I am approaching what I believe to be stability; that is, I am approaching a place that is not too dissimilar from the place I jumped off at in late February / early March. Before my discontinuation, I was experiencing side effects from the medication itself — not withdrawal — and these side effects were few and mostly mild in nature: namely, low libido and some emotional blunting. However, after jumping off, I went into a much more severe kind of withdrawal with a myriad of symptoms that are listed below.

 

My aim is to report on the progress of these withdrawal symptoms now that it has been approximately four months since I reinstated Zoloft at 50 mg as a reaction to the onset of withdrawal symptoms. Symptoms are listed from most to least troubling / severe:

  • Blunted Emotions / Blunted Affect / Blank Mind / Lack of Interest - For a while during the first couple months of withdrawal, I didn’t seem to have as many thoughts. I didn’t like my hobbies anymore. Things like reading, playing music, exercise, even watching TV shows could not pique my interest. My neurons didn’t seem to be firing with any kind of force or regularity. I struggled to engage in conversation or feel like I had anything to say. My internal monologue was dull and sometimes nonexistent. For a couple months, I’m not sure I had a single genuine laugh. This suite of symptoms probably amounted to a milder form of anhedonia, though I was nowhere near some of the more severe cases I’ve come across on the boards and Reddit. Overall, this grouping of symptoms has improved dramatically, especially in the past 6 weeks. On most days, I’m probably back to 60 or 70% pre-withdrawal levels, and I’ve had more than a few 100% days. I am back to reading, exercising, and playing music every day. I am back to enjoying being around friends. I am again able to feel love for those I care about. I am able to feel positive emotions as strongly as negative ones. I am able to laugh again, and I am able to cry again.
  • Moderate to Severe Brain Fog: This is 80% improved. It comes and goes and depends entirely on the day. The haze is there for the day or it isn’t there at all (at least not noticeably). At this point I am getting 4 good days to every bad day. At the beginning, I had one good day / window every couple weeks.
  • Memory and Concentration Issues: Also 80% improved. These symptoms are associated with the brain fog: good days are good days, and bad days are bad days.
  • Anxiety and Depression: Anxiety is why I began taking sertraline in the first place. However, withdrawal intensified the anxiety like a bellows burst on a bed of coals. I felt on fire for a number of weeks. The anxiety has mostly abated, though not quite to pre-withdrawal levels. I know that my anxiety cannot be conquered completely. But if anything, this experience has taught me how much work I need to do on myself to help mitigate my anxious feelings. It has taught me what a pill can’t do. The withdrawal depression is currently not a factor.
  • Low Libido and ED - This is much improved, but still a problem (and will be as long as I am on sertraline). I can’t put a percentage on the sexual dysfunction “recovery”, but considering that I went two full months without any kind of a sex drive at all, I am much improved here as well. I am to the point where I desire sex at least twice a week. I am using Viagra to alleviate ED symptoms, and it has been working well. (I am of course worried about long-term use of another drug, even one that seems more benign than an AD.)
  • Fatigue - This symptom is getting better, but much more slowly. I still need a lot of sleep, though not as much as I did at the beginning of withdrawal. If I don’t get at least nine hours per night, I need a nap. Ideal for me is 10 hours. The more sleep I have get, the faster my brain has been able to heal. If I get ten hours, chances are high I’ll have a “good” day. I am very grateful not to have experienced any insomnia that I read about for so many others.
  • Low Appetite - 100% improved and back to baseline. I have regained all of the weight I lost. Food tastes good again. I look forward to going out for a nice meal, and sometimes I even look forward to cooking one.
  • Sensitivity to Alcohol - When withdrawal kicked in, I was unable to metabolize a single beer without experiencing extreme fatigue, a heavy buzz, and an even cloudier mind. I love beer, and I’ve become something of a hobbyist over the years. Because alcohol has never been anything I abused, this symptom was disappointing to me, though less so than all of the above. I avoided alcohol for a couple months at the advice of those on this forum, then brought it back in slowly (splitting a half of a light beer with my wife, for example). By now, I am 100% back to baseline, and I can have my nightly thick and heavy IPA, as well as a couple drinks on the weekends with friends. The improvement of this symptom alone strongly suggests that I am approaching a kind of stasis or stability.

 

Other things that have undoubtedly helped me to stabilize:

  • Finding at least one person to confide in for support in withdrawal. For me it was my wife. 
  • Forcing myself to do things, even when I’m having a bad day. (Forcing myself to work. Forcing myself to socialize. Forcing my hobbies. Forcing myself to take care of myself.)
  • Lots of sleep.
  • Limiting time on these forums and in searching for explanations for my symptoms.
  • Exercise and meditation. 
  • Omega-3 fish oil three times a day. I take Trader Joe’s brand. (I take this with Vitamin E as well.)
  • Chelated Magnesium. I use Doctor’s Best brand, and I take it twice a day.

 

On another positive note, I begin real therapy next week. It is supposedly CBT and mindfulness oriented. This is the first professional therapy I will ever have done. It is what I wish I had pursued 17 years ago before foolishly opting for the bandaid of medication. I hope to finally begin developing tools to help treat the anxiety and depression symptoms that led to my getting on sertraline in the first place.

 

I have no doubt that my symptoms will continue to improve in the coming months. I have no doubt that my brain will continue to heal, that I still continue to approach a point of stability, and that I will more or less return to my pre-withdrawal state.

 

I also have no doubt that I will always have the side effects that led to my discontinuation in the first place, at least as long as I am on sertraline (low libido and emotional dulling). I do not doubt that for as long as I am on sertraline, I am slowly being poisoned in some way. So, I will also soon begin a taper. Currently, my plan is to begin in January of 2023, as I want to be as stable as possible when I begin tapering. 

 

My tapering goal in January will be to cut slowly from a daily dosage of 50 mg to 25 mg. I have serious doubts about my ability to eventually hit zero. At 10% per month reduction, it will take 6 or 7 months to hit half of my current dose. I plan to hold there, at 25 mg, for at least a year to reassess and restabilize. It’s possible that I will stay on 25 mg for the rest of my life, as I am deeply fearful about a full-fledged withdrawal and what that will do to my family. 

 

I still constantly wonder which is better: the slow poison of a low dosage of the SSRI… or the catastrophic trauma of a full-borne withdrawal? Do I have it in me to get all the way down to zero? Would my marriage withstand the horror of the process? In raising a child, is it better to withdraw fully and now, and potentially miss out on the first 5 to 10 years of my child’s life, assuming the withdrawal is that bad… or am I better off staying on a low dose and hoping for a few more good decades before the drug has laid waste to my body and mind? I don’t know how to answer these questions. 

 

I want to thank everybody on these forums, especially moderators and regular posters, for everything you do. May peace and recovery find you all. I hope you feel loved. Hang in there, and don’t lose hope.

 

FF

Prescribed 50 mg. Zoloft for Social Anxiety at age 19. Here is the rest...

[Primary History / 2006 -  2021]

  • Sertraline (Zoloft) @ 50 mg. / Jun. 2005 - Jan. 2006 (felt "healed"; quit cold turkey)
  • Sertraline @ 50 mg. / Jan. 2006 - Mar. 2008 (felt "healed" again; quit cold turkey)
  • Sertraline @ 50 mg. / Jun. 2008 - Feb. 2013 (same story; tapered to 25 mg. for a month this time)
  • Sertraline @ 50 mg. / Apr. 2013 - Dec. 2021 (declining libido; thought I might switch drugs; began fast taper at 25 mg. - see below)

[Recent History / 2022 to now]

  • Sertraline @ 25 mg. / Dec. 2021 - 10 Feb. 2022 (switched to Wellbutrin)
  • Buproprion (Wellbutrin) @ 150 mg. / 10 Feb. 2022 - 4 Mar. 2022 (fast tapered Bup. for two weeks)
  • Sertraline @ 25 mg. / 5 Mar. 2022 - 27 Mar. 2022 
  • Sertraline @ 50 mg. / 28 Mar. 2022 up until present
Link to comment
  • Moderator Emeritus
1 hour ago, TheFearfulFather said:
  • How long does is take to restabilize after reinstating? Am I still stabilizing / approaching a new homeostasis even after months? Is it really possible to take 6 - 12 months to restabilize after reinstatement?
  • What will this “new” stability feel like? What will my withdrawal symptoms look like at stability? Can I expect to feel like I did before discontinuation?

I believe it can take up to 2 or 3 months to fully stabilize, but each person is different, so I can't say this for sure.  This link will discuss what we mean by stability: 

 

Stability

 

1 hour ago, TheFearfulFather said:

I am mostly happy to report that I am approaching what I believe to be stability; that is, I am approaching a place that is not too dissimilar from the place I jumped off at in late February / early March

This is very good news.  

 

1 hour ago, TheFearfulFather said:

So, I will also soon begin a taper. Currently, my plan is to begin in January of 2023, as I want to be as stable as possible when I begin tapering. 

 

This is wonderful.  It's great that you are really taking your time, and not rushing things.  Please be sure and follow our protocol for tapering, which is 10% reduction of the current dose, no more than every 4 weeks.  This will give you a hyperbolic taper, meaning that each reduction in dose will be smaller and smaller.  

 

1 hour ago, TheFearfulFather said:

I still constantly wonder which is better: the slow poison of a low dosage of the SSRI… or the catastrophic trauma of a full-borne withdrawal?

There is a third option.  You can do an extremely slow and cautious taper, even if it takes many years to get off.  In this way, you will drastically reduce the chances of a full on withdrawal.  

 

You have a strong talent for writing, and I appreciate your well written posts.  It sounds as if you are doing a stellar job of learning and using non drug coping skills. 

Please do not private message me.  Only tag me for urgent questions about tapering and reinstating - thank you.  

 

***Please note this is not medical advice.  Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a doctor who understands psych meds and how to withdraw from them, if you can find one.

 

Lexapro   Started Apr 15 2010 - 10 mg;  started taper August 2017, recent taper info: Apr 2 '20  0.18 mg; Jul 16  0.17 mg, Aug 23  0.16 mg, Oct 7  0.15 mg, Nov 8 - 0.14, Jan 16 '21 - 0.13, Feb 7 - 0.12, Feb 22 - 0.11, Mar 26 - 0.10, May 21 - 0.09, June 15 - 0.08 Aug 16 - 0.07, Oct 6 - 0.06, Nov 21 0.05, Dec. 17 0.04, Jan 14 '22 0.03, Feb 19 0.02, Apr 18 0.01, May 15 0.005,  Jul 8, 0.00.  Psych Drug Free as of July 8, 2022!!  Woohoo!!!

other meds: Levothyroxine 75 mg

magnesium in small amounts at 4 AM, before bed

suppl AM: fish oil, flax oil, vit C, vit E, multivitamin, zinc

suppl 8 PM: magnesium 350 mg, extended release vitamin C, melatonin 2 mg

 

Paxil 2002 - 2010, switched to Lexapro 2010 

Trazodone 50 mg. 2002 - 2019, fast tapered in 2019 

Xanax 0.5 mg as needed 2002 - 2019, up to 3x weekly 

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  • Moderator

@TheFearfulFather, what great news! I'm so glad that you're stabilizing. 

 

If I were you, I would not hold myself to a timeline. If I were you, I might not wait until January. I know, I know, I always tell people to wait but if you feel better in November, you might wish to do a trial cut of 5-10% for example. You can use the time to experiment on what your body will take and find out your own schedule. I'm currently doing 0.25% every day for a total of 15-20 cuts a month for a total of around 5%/ month.

 

If I have something stressful or my sleep is not good, I don't make a cut that day. It's very flexible. You also get to know your own body. There are other ways to micro taper - Brass monkey has a method where you cut by 2.5% each week for 4 weeks and then rest for 2 weeks for a total of 6.6% (I think) every month.

 

The reason why I'm suggesting these is that you are traumatized from the withdrawal so this will be a way to regain control of the situation and be flexible with it while also not incurring horrible symptoms. 

 

It will also allow you to feel like you don't have to wait to feel perfect.

 

The one learning from WD that I have is that perfection doesn't exist. Some anxiety is ok, some miserableness is ok. I spent a large portion of my youth scared of my own emotions. It would have saved me a lot of heartache to not do that. And of course it would have saved me from taking these meds. Had I known the facing difficult emotions actually strips them of their power, life would have been fine.

 

So, you don't have to wait to be 100% every time and feel like you are poisoning your body (though I don't think of taking the drugs as extremely as poisoning either). There is a lot of space between horrible withdrawal and 100% stability and some of it is not that scary because you can have control over how far you go. 

 

TLDR: When you're ready to start tapering you will know and that may not be when you're 100%. You have control over your taper and you can start slowly to gain an understanding of your own body and leave yourself room to maneuver.

 

Also thanks for updating your story. It really helps us learn (even if everyone is unique) and helps new members know that there is recovery.

Edited by Onmyway

"Nothing so small as a moment is insurmountable, and moments are all that we have. You have survived every trial and tribulation that life has thrown at you up until this very instant. When future troubles come—and they will come—a version of you will be born into that moment that can conquer them, too." - Kevin Koenig 

 

I am not a doctor and this should not be considered medical advice. You can use the information and recommendations provided in whatever way you want and all decisions on your treatment are yours. 

 

In the next few weeks I do not have a lot of capacity to respond to questions. If you need a quick answer pls tag or ask other moderators who may want to be tagged. 

 

Aug  2000 - July 2003 (ct, 4-6 wk wd) , citalopram 20 mg,  xanax prn, wellbutrin for a few months, trazodone prn 

Dec 2004 - July 2018 citalopram 20 mg, xanax prn (rarely used)

Aug 2018 - citalopram 40 mg (self titrated up)

September 2018 - January 2019 tapered citalopram - 40/30/20/10/5 no issues until a week after reaching 0

Feb 2019 0.25 xanax - 0.5/day (3 weeks) over to klonopin 0.25 once a day to manage severe wd

March 6, reinstated citalopram 2.5 mg (liquid), klonopin 0.25 mg for sleep 2-3 times a week

Apr 1st citalopram 2.0 mg (liquid), klonopin 0.25 once a week (off by 4/14/19- no tapering)

citalopram (liquid) 4/14/19 -1.8 mg, 5/8/19 - 1.6 mg,  7/27/19 -1.5 mg,  8/15/19 - 1.35, 2/21/21 - 1.1 (smaller drops in between), 6/20/21 - 1.03 mg, 8/7/21- 1.025, 8/11/21 - 1.02, 8/15/21 - 1.015, 9/3/21 - 0.925 (fingers crossed!), 10/8/21 - 0.9, 10/18/21 - 0.875, 12/31/21 - 0.85, 1/7/22 - 0.825, 1/14/22 - 0.8, 1/22/22 - 0.785, 8/18/22 - 0.59, 12/15/2022 - 0.48, 2/15/22 - 0.43, 25/07/23 - 0.25 (mistake), 6/08/23 - 0.33mg

 

Supplements: magnesium citrate and bi-glycinate

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  • Mentor

@TheFearfulFather

Great news and Great news!

Glad you are healing! 

 You have a good plan
listen to your body

you will stabilize ! Just keep holding. 

As stated above you can go much much slower than 10% a month a lot of us do! 

I do the brass monkey slide at about 7% a month the hold around 2 weeks. Sometimes I go much slower. Sometimes I just hold for many months. 
 

Thanks for the positive update!

2000-2013 Paxil - 1 year fast taper

2013-2018 merry go round
zoloft, cymbalta, lamictal, Prozac.

 Nov. 2018 lexapro 15 mgs, Dec. 2019 to Mar. 2020 taper to 10mg. Jul 2020 to October 2020 taper to 8.5 ml.
Oct 2020 reinstated to 9 ml.
Apr 2021 to Jul  taper to 7ml. Oct 2021 to Jan 2022 taper to 5.9ml, Mar 5 2022 5.8 ml, Mar 12 5.7ml, Mar 20 5.6ml, Mar 27 5.5ml, April 23 5.4ml, April 30 5.3ml, May 7 5.2ml,  Jul 9 2022 5.4ml, 

Klonopin prn, Allegra 180 for 3 seasons, aspirin 81 mg, plavix , nitroglycerin 0.4 mg prn, 2k mg  turmeric Qunol, 4- Trader Joe’s omega 3 -2400 mg, Pepcid 20mg,  Prilosec 40 mg, Tylenol arthritis 4 tablets daily, 350mg calm magnesium citrate, melatonin 2.5- 5mg as needed to sleep. Saline spray as needed. 

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  • Moderator Emeritus
15 hours ago, Onmyway said:

Had I known the facing difficult emotions actually strips them of their power, life would have been fine.

Oh, this is such great wisdom.  I couldn't agree more!  Once we face our painful emotions, accept and express them in non harmful ways, they actually dissipate. 

Please do not private message me.  Only tag me for urgent questions about tapering and reinstating - thank you.  

 

***Please note this is not medical advice.  Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a doctor who understands psych meds and how to withdraw from them, if you can find one.

 

Lexapro   Started Apr 15 2010 - 10 mg;  started taper August 2017, recent taper info: Apr 2 '20  0.18 mg; Jul 16  0.17 mg, Aug 23  0.16 mg, Oct 7  0.15 mg, Nov 8 - 0.14, Jan 16 '21 - 0.13, Feb 7 - 0.12, Feb 22 - 0.11, Mar 26 - 0.10, May 21 - 0.09, June 15 - 0.08 Aug 16 - 0.07, Oct 6 - 0.06, Nov 21 0.05, Dec. 17 0.04, Jan 14 '22 0.03, Feb 19 0.02, Apr 18 0.01, May 15 0.005,  Jul 8, 0.00.  Psych Drug Free as of July 8, 2022!!  Woohoo!!!

other meds: Levothyroxine 75 mg

magnesium in small amounts at 4 AM, before bed

suppl AM: fish oil, flax oil, vit C, vit E, multivitamin, zinc

suppl 8 PM: magnesium 350 mg, extended release vitamin C, melatonin 2 mg

 

Paxil 2002 - 2010, switched to Lexapro 2010 

Trazodone 50 mg. 2002 - 2019, fast tapered in 2019 

Xanax 0.5 mg as needed 2002 - 2019, up to 3x weekly 

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@TheFearfulFather

Thank you for sharing your awesome update.

It sounds like you are doing an excellent job.

Give yourself lots of credit for your hard work!

Sending hugs and healing vibes <3

1996-2018 - misc. polypharmacy, incl. SSRIs, SNRIs, neuroleptics, lithium, benzos, stimulants, antihistamines, etc. (approx. 30+ drugs)

2012-2018 - 10mg lexapro/escitalopram (20mg?)    Jan. 2018 - 10mg -> 5mg, then from 5mg -> 2.5mg, then 0mg  -->  July 2018 - 0mg

2017(?)-2020 - vyvanse/lisdexamfetamine 60-70mg    2020-2021 - 70mg down to 0mg  -->  July 2021 - 0mg

March-April 2021 - vortioxetine 5-10mg (approx. 7 weeks total; CT)  -->  April 28th, 2021 - 0mg

August 2021 - 2mg melatonin   August 1, 2022 - 1mg melatonin   March 31, 2023 - 0mg melatonin

2024 supplements update: electrolyte blend in water sipped throughout the day; 1 tsp fish oil blend w/ morning meal (incl. vit. A+D+E); calcium; vitamin C+zinc

 

Courage is fear that has said its prayers.  - Karle Wilson Baker

love and justice are not two. without inner change, there can be no outer change; without collective change, no change matters.  - Rev. angel Kyodo williams

Holding multiple truths. Knowing that everyone has their own accurate view of the way things are.  - text on homemade banner at Afiya house

 

I am not a medical professional; this is not medical advice. 

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  • 1 month later...
On 7/25/2022 at 9:44 PM, TheFearfulFather said:

 

  • How long does is take to restabilize after reinstating? Am I still stabilizing / approaching a new homeostasis even after months? Is it really possible to take 6 - 12 months to restabilize after reinstatement. 
     
  • Sensitivity to Alcohol - When withdrawal kicked in, I was unable to metabolize a single beer without experiencing extreme fatigue, a heavy buzz, and an even cloudier mind. I love beer, and I’ve become something of a hobbyist over the years. Because alcohol has never been anything I abused, this symptom was disappointing to me, though less so than all of the above. I avoided alcohol for a couple months at the advice of those on this forum, then brought it back in slowly (splitting a half of a light beer with my wife, for example). By now, I am 100% back to baseline, and I can have my nightly thick and heavy IPA, as well as a couple drinks on the weekends with friends. The improvement of this symptom alone strongly suggests that I am approaching a kind of stasis or stability.

 

 

Hi FF

 

Just wanted to say I completely identify with the points above. I inadvertently put myself into withdrawal from 2mg Cipralex due to taking out of date drops. I realised this and reinstated at the start of June this year and thought I’d be better by now. I’ve had windows and waves, the waves generally being triggering by drinking too much alcohol socially. As I said, I thought I’d be better now and was blaming the fact that I’m not on hormones. I now realise I’m clearly still stabilising and I’ve not helped myself by drinking like I did before this nightmare. I’m going to do what you did and stay away from alcohol for a few months and hope this helps. I guess it takes as long as it takes to restabilise and we need to hang in there. Good luck in your journey!

  • August 2004:  Citalopram 20mg for "postnatal anxiety".  
  • May-Sept 2011:  Adverse reaction to the contraceptive pill, causing severe anxiety and panic.  Was switched from 7 years on Citalopram to Lofepramine briefly, then Mirtazapine 30mg.  Was an anxious, depressed, suicidal wreck and got misdiagnosed with GAD by a psychiatrist.  I now realise my symptoms were all medication related, as opposed to so-called psychiatric diagnosis.
  • October 2011:  Pregabalin 450mg and propranolol 40mg TID added by psychiatrist. 
  • Feb 2013: Tapered off pregabalin 450mg; stopped propranolol.
  • July 2013: Switched from Mirtazapine 30mg to Cipralex 10mg in a two-week cross titration, which caused horrific withdrawal symptoms lasting months.
  • April 2015: Increased to 15mg Cipralex. 
  • 2017:  Was treated by a clinical psychologist for medication-related trauma and slowly tapered down to 2mg Cipralex over the next four years. 
  • December 2021: Switched from Cipralex tablets to drops to facilitate further tapering; this caused withdrawal reaction lasting approx 6 weeks. 
  • May 2022: Experienced severe withdrawal reaction after inadvertently taking expired drops.  
  • 3rd June 2022: Reinstated 2mg Cipralex drops. Stabilisation hindered by drinking alcohol socially; didn't realise impact of this. Nil alcohol since September 2022.
  • Supplements: Cycling Magnesium, Omega 3, Evening Primrose, Vitamin D3, Vitamin C, Vitamin B Complex, Zinc, Ashwagandha, Sage.  Had been taking these prior to withdrawal incident.
  • Feb 2023:  Relatively stable and aiming to hold on 2mg Cipralex and with a view to tapering down in 2024.  Tapered off Ashwagandha.
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On 7/25/2022 at 9:44 PM, TheFearfulFather said:

I still constantly wonder which is better: the slow poison of a low dosage of the SSRI… or the catastrophic trauma of a full-borne withdrawal? Do I have it in me to get all the way down to zero? Would my marriage withstand the horror of the process? In raising a child, is it better to withdraw fully and now, and potentially miss out on the first 5 to 10 years of my child’s life, assuming the withdrawal is that bad… or am I better off staying on a low dose and hoping for a few more good decades before the drug has laid waste to my body and mind? I don’t know how to answer these questions


Glad to hear you are stabilising. This is great news. You sound very scared by withdrawal which isn’t surprising given what you experienced when you stopped the meds. But done slowly and steadily you may find that it doesn’t impact too badly on your life. Especially if you do the BrassMonkey slide. I do this and withdrawal effects are mild (a few hours at a time at the most, maybe feeling a bit anxious or scared.  Physical symptoms are also mild and are mostly fleeting pains in my limbs). You may well find that you can start interacting with life far more easily as you reduce the drug. I am certainly finding that. Fortunately I have only been on my drug a few years, with most of them spent trying to get off it. It can be harder for people who have been on them decades, but it is most certainly doable as all the mods and those who’ve written their success stories will testify. 
 

You will only go into full blown withdrawal if you stop cold turkey.  If you do a slow steady taper, listening to your body and holding longer when necessary you will almost certainly be able to get all the way off. Especially as you are taking steps to deal with your issues using methods other than drugs. 
 

It’s great that you are starting therapy. I hope it helps you. Be sure it addresses your needs and doesn’t just put a mindfulness sticking plaster over anything that actually needs to be dealt with.  
 

Keep us posted on how you’re doing ☺️

 

am not a medical professional. I provide information and make suggestions based on my own experience and SA guidelines. I am unable to respond to private messages. 

Mirtazepine 15mg Nov 2018 -April 2019  April - Sept 2019 Mirtazepine down to around 6mg - skipping days to taper

October 2019 - Dec 2019 unwell from failed taper including jumping about in doses 

15 December 2019 to 13 June 2021 15mg Mirtazepine 

14 June 2021 started brass monkey Slide.  
2021: 23 August 12.3mg, 28 October 11.1mg, 6 Dec 10mg

2022: 12 Feb 8.5, 25 Oct 4.5mg

2023: 16 Jan 3.6mg, 28 Sept 1.8mg

2024: 13 May 1.1mg

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