Jump to content

ChickenSoup7: Quality of life has plummeted - hoping for advice


ChickenSoup7

Recommended Posts

Hello,

 

This is my first post on this forum after lurking for a couple years while tapering off of Zoloft, starting at age 20. I thought I had the taper under control for most of that time, but all the changes seem to have caught up with me. I am feeling skeptical that this is going to pass and that I will ever be able to get off of this medication. Anxiety, panic attacks, and physical disorientation and discomfort have kept me effectively homebound for a few months now, with no sign of cessation; it is discomfort far greater than I have ever experienced in my life. My sleep is often interrupted, and sometimes I am awake for up to 40 hours at a time due to physical stress. I cannot walk around my neighbourhood, let alone take the bus, go to the store, or participate in work or school; I can do very little physical activity at home, and have to be extremely cautious with my dietary choices. I am currently taking no supplements, but I am considering trying L-Theanine or Taurine, which I understand to be neuroprotective. Gabapentin seemingly helped me through medication changes in the past before, but I am skeptical of adding a new drug into the mix.

 

My doctor had been helpful with the taper, but suddenly changed her tune after I was finally honest about the problems I was having, and is now of the opinion that I need to be on this drug forever (her words), completely disregarding the fact that many of my symptoms are purely physical and could not be explained by my "original condition"  (as she maintains is the case.) Additionally, I have been adamant that going back on medication is not an option; Zoloft caused me to uncontrollably engage in extremely self-destructive and reckless behaviour (drinking by myself until passing out, sleeping with strangers using no protection, reckless driving); prior to taking medication, I was a quiet, introverted guy who liked gaming and fantasy literature, and had neither taken a sip of alcohol nor intended to. I also believe it is responsible for a sudden complete and unprecedented shift in sexuality (from heterosexuality to homosexuality) and strong gender dysphoria. I do not know which mechanism of the drug could have caused this, but there is no other suitable explanation, as these acquired traits have both completely subsided, directly synchronous with my taper. When I told my doctor that the medication had these effects on me, she prescribed me Seroquel (which I am, of course, not taking); despite my calm demeanour over the phone, she clearly thinks that I am delusional. I certainly learned my lesson through this, and will no longer say any more than is necessary to avoid seeming belligerent. Out of all the people in my life, only my mother and my girlfriend believe me that Zoloft caused me to have this dramatic personality shift that endangered my life, and they are both very supportive of me in general. My father, who is currently financially supporting me, albeit reluctantly, is of the same mind as my doctor; he believes that I have a genetic defect and must be medicated permanently. Overall, however, he has been surprisingly tolerant, and I have a safe place to live where my needs are being taken care of.

 

I have undergone thorough medical examination, and have been determined to be in good physical health, aside from a recent POTS diagnosis that I believe is a result of my taper and is causing many of my symptoms.

 

To sum everything up: I am trapped in a world of discomfort, and have no idea what my next steps should be. Any help at all is appreciated. I am only a young guy, and the future is not looking bright right now. I am really scared that I have damaged my body and brain beyond repair both by taking the medication for so long at such a high dose and in tapering improperly. Having said that, I am feeling much more like myself, and I know that I am on the right track.

 

P.S. I apologize if any part of my post violates content guidelines. I was aiming for as much clarity as possible but any offending parts can certainly be removed.

Edited by Emonda
Name change to title as requested

Dosages are for Zoloft unless otherwise noted

9/2017 (Age 16): 25mg

10/2017: 50mg

11/2017: 100mg

1/2018: 200mg

6/2020: Klonopin 2mg daily, cross taper from Zoloft over the course of one month to Lexapro 20mg

9/2020: Last dose of Klonopin after a slow taper, cross taper back to Zoloft 200mg

3/2022: 75mg (reached in 25 mg increments per month)

5/2022: 50mg

10/2022 to 5/2023: Slow taper to 25mg using a dropper

7/2023 to 9/2023: 17.5mg

1/2024: Dosage gradually reduced to 16.5mg

Link to comment
  • LotusRising changed the title to henrym01: Quality of life has plummeted - hoping for advice
  • Moderator

Hi @henrym01

 

Welcome to SA,

 

I'm sorry to hear you've been struggling. Unfortunately, your story is not uncommon, in that others have been told they to, need to stay on medication indefinitely. Personally, I do not believe this to be true, nor is there evidence to support this.

 

We are a peer-run volunteer site dedicated to a harm reduction tapering approach in an effort to minimize withdrawal symptoms. We suggest tapering by no more than 10% of your most recent dose each month. See  Why taper by 10%.

 

Could you help us out by adding a signature, which will ensure your drug history appears at the bottom of every post, making it more efficient for those trying to assist. 

 

How to Create a Signature 

 

These two links will help you to understand withdrawal syndrome:

 

What is Withdrawal Syndrome?

 

Video on Recovery from Psych Drugs

 

When we take medication, the CNS responds by making changes over the months and years we take the drug(s). When the medication is discontinued, the CNS must then undo all the changes that were made. As the changes are undone, symptoms may occur. You can expect that they will follow 

The Windows and Waves Pattern of Stabilization  and since the CNS likes stability, we suggest to Keep it simple, slow and stable.

 

POTS symptoms (dysautonomia) is very common when tapering psych drugs. I developed POTs symptoms very early in my journey and it has slowly gotten better with time.

 

 

Here is info for your specific drug:

 

 

Please feel free to post any updates or questions related to your specific situation right here in your thread. It's helpful to keep everything related to your tapering journey in one spot, helps to keep the site tidy and makes it easier for us to assist.

 

Again, welcome to SA :) 

2003-2009 on and off various SSRI's for short periods, Ativan prn

2010-2011 Ativan, up to 1.5mg/day - tapered off without issue

2013-2021 ativan 1-1.5mg 10-12x/month, daily starting Oct 21 to help with buspar WD

2016 - Effexor 75mg, short-term

2021 Mar -Jun Buspar ADR at high dose, tapered 3 months

2021 Aug Wellbutrin 150mg for 5 days (ADR), then MIrtazapine 7.5mg for 7 days (ADR)

Oct 22/21 - Direct switch ativan to clonazepam (don't do this)

Tapered clonaz Oct/21 - Apr/23 0.25mg - 0mg!

 

Supplements: omega-3, mag-glycinate, vitamin D

 

"Believe that your tragedies, your losses, your sorrows, your hurt, happened for you, not to you. And I bless the thing that broke you down and cracked you open, because the world needs you open" - Rebecca Campbell

 

*** Disclaimer: Please note, my suggestions/comments are based on my own personal experiences. Please consult a knowledgeable practitioner to discuss decisions regarding your medical care *** 

 

                                                             *** Please do not send me PM's ***

Link to comment

Hello @LotusRising,


Thank you for taking the time to write up such a comprehensive response, it means a lot to me. I actually had a pretty good day today. I think simply posting to this forum represented a step forward. That and the fact that I tried some basic yoga for the first time have caused me to feel truly good for the first time in a while. I will spend the next couple days looking over the links you have provided, and will provide updates in this thread as my recovery continues. I will definitely add a signature; I have a complex background with medication, as I am sure is the rule rather than th exception here.

 

By the way, I decided to change my username to have more anonymity, my original choice was a bit of an oversight on my part. Is it possible for my previous username to be removed from this thread? Thank you.

Dosages are for Zoloft unless otherwise noted

9/2017 (Age 16): 25mg

10/2017: 50mg

11/2017: 100mg

1/2018: 200mg

6/2020: Klonopin 2mg daily, cross taper from Zoloft over the course of one month to Lexapro 20mg

9/2020: Last dose of Klonopin after a slow taper, cross taper back to Zoloft 200mg

3/2022: 75mg (reached in 25 mg increments per month)

5/2022: 50mg

10/2022 to 5/2023: Slow taper to 25mg using a dropper

7/2023 to 9/2023: 17.5mg

1/2024: Dosage gradually reduced to 16.5mg

Link to comment
  • Emonda changed the title to ChickenSoup7: Quality of life has plummeted - hoping for advice
  • Administrator

Hi @ChickenSoup7,

 

The reference to the previous name has now been removed from the title.

 

Have I missed it anywhere else in your post?

 

Welcome, and please remember your signature.

 

Emonda

*Please don't send me PMs* My comments are based on my personal experience with ADs and tapering. Consult your doctor about your own medical decisions.

 

2017 – 2022:   Vortioxetine 15mg, Jan ’22, 15mg->5mg over 4 weeks, Feb ‘22 5mg -> 7.5mg due to WD, July ’22 6.75mg (found SA website), Aug 6.07mg, Sep 5.46mg, 11 Oct 5.00mg, 18 Oct 4.88mg, 25 Oct 4.75mg, 1 Nov 4.63mg, 8 Nov 4.5mg, 3 Jan ’23 4.39mg, 10 Jan 4.28mg, 17 Jan 4.06mg, 13 Feb 3.95mg, 20 Mar 3.85mg, 3 Apr 3.75mg, 10 April 3.65mg, 31 May 3.58mg, 8 June 3.50mg, 15 June 3.43mg, 22 June 3.35mg, 12 Jul 3.29mg,  19 Jul 3.22mg, 26 Jul 3.15mg, 3 Aug 3.09mg, 30 Aug 3.02mg, 7 Sep 2.96mg, 14 Sep 2.89mg, 21 Sep 2.82mg, Oct 11 2.75mg, Oct 19 2.70mg, Oct 26 2.64mg, Nov 2 2.59mg, Nov 23 2.53mg, Nov 30 2.48mg, 7 Dec 2.43mg, 17 Dec 2.38mg, 19 Jan 2.33mg, 26 Jan 2.28mg, 2 Feb 2.24mg, 8 Feb 2.19mg,  29 Feb 2.15mg,  

Link to comment
  • Moderator
7 hours ago, ChickenSoup7 said:

I actually had a pretty good day today. I think simply posting to this forum represented a step forward. That and the fact that I tried some basic yoga for the first time have caused me to feel truly good for the first time in a while.

This is great to hear :) 

2003-2009 on and off various SSRI's for short periods, Ativan prn

2010-2011 Ativan, up to 1.5mg/day - tapered off without issue

2013-2021 ativan 1-1.5mg 10-12x/month, daily starting Oct 21 to help with buspar WD

2016 - Effexor 75mg, short-term

2021 Mar -Jun Buspar ADR at high dose, tapered 3 months

2021 Aug Wellbutrin 150mg for 5 days (ADR), then MIrtazapine 7.5mg for 7 days (ADR)

Oct 22/21 - Direct switch ativan to clonazepam (don't do this)

Tapered clonaz Oct/21 - Apr/23 0.25mg - 0mg!

 

Supplements: omega-3, mag-glycinate, vitamin D

 

"Believe that your tragedies, your losses, your sorrows, your hurt, happened for you, not to you. And I bless the thing that broke you down and cracked you open, because the world needs you open" - Rebecca Campbell

 

*** Disclaimer: Please note, my suggestions/comments are based on my own personal experiences. Please consult a knowledgeable practitioner to discuss decisions regarding your medical care *** 

 

                                                             *** Please do not send me PM's ***

Link to comment
On 1/8/2024 at 12:05 AM, ChickenSoup7 said:

Zoloft caused me to uncontrollably engage in extremely self-destructive and reckless behaviour (drinking by myself until passing out, sleeping with strangers using no protection, reckless driving);

Welcome to SA. You aren't alone for sure. I have read of others developing alcohol issues. Apparently it is how the drugs affect the liver and metabolism if I remember correctly. Other experiences on here and in my own family have dealt with risky sexual behaviour, cheating on mates, etc. One family member stayed she felt like she was in a dream just going through the motions and it wasn't real. When we are drugged to be numb our natural barriers seem to disappear. It's good you recognize this and can guard against it.

On 1/8/2024 at 12:05 AM, ChickenSoup7 said:

I certainly learned my lesson through this, and will no longer say any more than is necessary

This is wise. Even though my doctor seems supportive, I learned yesterday he was pushing SSRIs on my daughter for migraines. It is unfortunate we can't rely on them for help but we have each other here.

On 1/8/2024 at 12:05 AM, ChickenSoup7 said:

am really scared that I have damaged my body and brain beyond repair

Our bodies are amazing and resilient.💯 Getting that drug signature will help. The last 2 years are most important. You can always add more details after that. 

20 yr+ Paroxetine/ Dec2018-May 2022 20 mg/ May 2022 30mg/2022.07.28-2022.08.24 30mg to 0mg/ August 24-29 2022 10mg Prozac/2022.11.28-2022.12.04- 5mg Paroxetine/December 5&6 10mg Paroxetine/ December 8&9 2022 10mg Prozac/ 2022.12.07 to 2023.07.01 5mg Paroxetine

TAPER 23.07.02-58mgpw/4.9mgai/ 23.07.21-4.8 mg/23.07.28-4.73 mg/23.08.04-4.65 mg/21.09.23-4.58 mg/27.10.23-4.56 mg/5.12.23-4.54 mg/2.1.24-4.52 mg/9.1.24-4.51 mg/17.1.24-4.49 mg/26.1.24-4.47 mg/6.2.24-4.46 mg/19.2.24-4.44mg

8am-probiotics/9am-paroxetine, 200mg magnesium bisglycinate/ 1000mg Vitamin D/75mg DGL/ noon-2 x 1000 mg algae oil (500mg DHA/10mg EPA/620mg Omega 3)/5pm-75 mg DGL/200mg calcium citrate/8pm-.25 mg melatonin

I am not a medical professional just your peer. The suggestions I give are based on personal experience and/or the well documented experience of others.

Link to comment

Hello @Emonda and @LostInCanada,

 

Thank you both for the warm welcome. It is very reassuring to see that both you and @LotusRising have had success with tapering after taking medication for as long as I have or longer. I have just added a signature, hopefully that will make my situation more clear.

 

5 hours ago, Emonda said:

The reference to the previous name has now been removed from the title.

 

Have I missed it anywhere else in your post?

 

Emonda, I think that was the only place where it appeared. Thank you for changing it.

 

1 hour ago, LostInCanada said:

I have read of others developing alcohol issues. Apparently it is how the drugs affect the liver and metabolism if I remember correctly. Other experiences on here and in my own family have dealt with risky sexual behaviour, cheating on mates, etc. One family member stayed she felt like she was in a dream just going through the motions and it wasn't real. When we are drugged to be numb our natural barriers seem to disappear. It's good you recognize this and can guard against it.

 

This makes a lot of sense, I am glad to hear I am not alone in this. I have known a couple of people in my personal life, too, who have described the experience of utterly losing their sense of inhibition. The dream feeling is spot on. Just yesterday I was telling somebody that tapering off of Zoloft feels like gradually waking up from a bad dream, slowly becoming more and more horrified by the sort of person I became for years of my life. I know that I shouldn't, because I was not in my right mind, nor did I even go on medication by my own choice, but I feel completely humiliated by my behaviour during that time.

 

1 hour ago, LostInCanada said:

This is wise. Even though my doctor seems supportive, I learned yesterday he was pushing SSRIs on my daughter for migraines. It is unfortunate we can't rely on them for help but we have each other here.

 

It really is unfortunate, I have practically lost my faith in the medical industry altogether. Everything seemed so official and aboveboard when I first started taking Zoloft, I wasn't even out of high school and had never heard of any drugs having adverse reactions. I assumed it was just like taking an Advil, just follow the instructions on the box and you will achieve a desired result with rare side effects. I was in a lot of discomfort, and my parents didn't know what else to do for me, so I decided to trust them and the doctor and go along with the plan. But they didn't know anything about what the medication was capable of, and the doctor either didn't know or didn't care; she neglected to even inform my family of the FDA black box warning, which should be the first order of business, especially when prescribing to an adolescent.

 

I have hope, though. Sometimes I lose it for a little bit, but I have some really good days, and I do not truly believe it is all downhill from here. I am so close to getting off of this horrible medication, down to less than 10% of my original dose and at a sub-clinical dose (this also is reassuring, that taking the medication at this dose is likely not causing much further damage). I have been through a lot already and have been more resilient than I often think.

Dosages are for Zoloft unless otherwise noted

9/2017 (Age 16): 25mg

10/2017: 50mg

11/2017: 100mg

1/2018: 200mg

6/2020: Klonopin 2mg daily, cross taper from Zoloft over the course of one month to Lexapro 20mg

9/2020: Last dose of Klonopin after a slow taper, cross taper back to Zoloft 200mg

3/2022: 75mg (reached in 25 mg increments per month)

5/2022: 50mg

10/2022 to 5/2023: Slow taper to 25mg using a dropper

7/2023 to 9/2023: 17.5mg

1/2024: Dosage gradually reduced to 16.5mg

Link to comment

@ChickenSoup7 how have you been? Looks like a nice long hold will help your body stabilize. Once your symptoms have settled down you might want to consider the brass monkey slide method. It is just a bit easier on the CNS. At present I am doing microtapers. I think they are about 0.05 mg drops. Just remember it is not a race. You have come very far . Well done. Mitigating WD with a slower taper will make you more successful in the long run.  Also taking a break at various milestones helps as well...like 10 mg, 5 mg etc. 

You are doing great 

20 yr+ Paroxetine/ Dec2018-May 2022 20 mg/ May 2022 30mg/2022.07.28-2022.08.24 30mg to 0mg/ August 24-29 2022 10mg Prozac/2022.11.28-2022.12.04- 5mg Paroxetine/December 5&6 10mg Paroxetine/ December 8&9 2022 10mg Prozac/ 2022.12.07 to 2023.07.01 5mg Paroxetine

TAPER 23.07.02-58mgpw/4.9mgai/ 23.07.21-4.8 mg/23.07.28-4.73 mg/23.08.04-4.65 mg/21.09.23-4.58 mg/27.10.23-4.56 mg/5.12.23-4.54 mg/2.1.24-4.52 mg/9.1.24-4.51 mg/17.1.24-4.49 mg/26.1.24-4.47 mg/6.2.24-4.46 mg/19.2.24-4.44mg

8am-probiotics/9am-paroxetine, 200mg magnesium bisglycinate/ 1000mg Vitamin D/75mg DGL/ noon-2 x 1000 mg algae oil (500mg DHA/10mg EPA/620mg Omega 3)/5pm-75 mg DGL/200mg calcium citrate/8pm-.25 mg melatonin

I am not a medical professional just your peer. The suggestions I give are based on personal experience and/or the well documented experience of others.

Link to comment

Hi @LostInCanada,

 

I have been doing alright, all things considered. Thank you for asking, and thank you for the kind words and encouragement. It is easy for me to forget how far I have already come. I am so exhausted from dealing with medication issues for so long now, at a time of my life when I am supposed to be exploring as many different opportunities as possible. Instead, my life has been brought to a complete halt. It has taken a great deal of willpower to not drop the medication at once in frustration, even though I know that would only make the after-effects worse.

 

As far as current withdrawal effects, I decided (maybe foolishly) that I was stable enough to continue about a week ago and dropped to 16.5mg from 17mg. I think I may be feeling the change at this point though, 0.5mg at once is probably too much. I was steadily improving but now have had a couple bad waves, which fortunately only lasted a couple hours each. These waves are of intense anxiety accompanied by a feeling of physical numbness in my brain and body, clicking teeth and twitching throughout my body (especially my eyes and legs if laying down), overheating,  feeling as though it is difficult to swallow, and I am sure there are other things that I am forgetting. I tried taking 100mg of L-Theanine to see if it might help mitigate these symptoms, but instead it paradoxically caused me to feel very agitated for a few hours and unable to sit still or relax. This is very odd, considering that I used to take it at much higher doses for a long time to great effect. It is really hard to say at this point what symptoms are withdrawal symptoms and what symptoms are a natural reaction to the trauma caused by taking Zoloft for so long and to the effects it had on my life; therefore, it is hard to know if I am going to be able to feel truly stable in the near future. My development of POTS is almost certainly from tapering too fast, but I feel very nervous thinking about waiting for it to resolve before I continue. Ultimately, I am really wondering how stable is stable enough?

 

I think the brassmonkey slide method would work well for me, especially given the short half life of Zoloft. A tentative plan that I have been considering for the past couple days is to reduce by 0.2mg every three days, resulting in a total reduction of 2mg per month. Another post by brassmonkey advised that 2.5% of the original medication dose is usually a safe point to drop it altogether; in my case that would mean reducing my dose to around 5mg and then dropping Zoloft altogether. At a rate of 2mg per month, assuming that I am able to tolerate it well, this could allow me to be medication-free in under a year. This might be a bit of a reckless plan, though. I am really not sure.

Dosages are for Zoloft unless otherwise noted

9/2017 (Age 16): 25mg

10/2017: 50mg

11/2017: 100mg

1/2018: 200mg

6/2020: Klonopin 2mg daily, cross taper from Zoloft over the course of one month to Lexapro 20mg

9/2020: Last dose of Klonopin after a slow taper, cross taper back to Zoloft 200mg

3/2022: 75mg (reached in 25 mg increments per month)

5/2022: 50mg

10/2022 to 5/2023: Slow taper to 25mg using a dropper

7/2023 to 9/2023: 17.5mg

1/2024: Dosage gradually reduced to 16.5mg

Link to comment

@ChickenSoup7 

I need to tell you to put on the brakes. You are going way to fast. Please wait till these symptoms resolves before any more drops. It may takes a couple months or more. Your CNS has become destabilized and believe me it can get much worse if you don't give your body a decent break. 

10 hours ago, ChickenSoup7 said:

I tried taking 100mg of L-Theanine to see if it might help mitigate these symptoms, but instead it paradoxically caused me to feel very agitated

This is very common. Once in withdrawal are bodies do not react the same as previously. It is not a logical process and we have to remember that. Are you able to take magnesium bisglycinate or Omega 3? I can't remember if you mentioned that previously.

10 hours ago, ChickenSoup7 said:

I have been considering for the past couple days is to reduce by 0.2mg every three days, resulting in a total reduction of 2mg per month.

This is too fast. 2 mg is more than the recommended 10% and in the lower doses the taper usually has to become less than 10%. (Maybe a total of 5% would be worth exploring) It is the smaller doses that are more problematic. Our bodies have become dependent and the final weaning is much harder.

10 hours ago, ChickenSoup7 said:

Another post by brassmonkey advised that 2.5% of the original medication dose is usually a safe point to drop

It has been shown that is not always correct. Since then more research has proved we have to go even lower. For example jump off for me with an original dose of 20 mg is 0.016 mg. 

Your moderator can help you to know a safe jump off dose for Zoloft @LotusRising

 

Please just put the taper on the back burner and reassess in a couple months. That will prepare you for the final phase of the taper and set you up for success. 💯👍

20 yr+ Paroxetine/ Dec2018-May 2022 20 mg/ May 2022 30mg/2022.07.28-2022.08.24 30mg to 0mg/ August 24-29 2022 10mg Prozac/2022.11.28-2022.12.04- 5mg Paroxetine/December 5&6 10mg Paroxetine/ December 8&9 2022 10mg Prozac/ 2022.12.07 to 2023.07.01 5mg Paroxetine

TAPER 23.07.02-58mgpw/4.9mgai/ 23.07.21-4.8 mg/23.07.28-4.73 mg/23.08.04-4.65 mg/21.09.23-4.58 mg/27.10.23-4.56 mg/5.12.23-4.54 mg/2.1.24-4.52 mg/9.1.24-4.51 mg/17.1.24-4.49 mg/26.1.24-4.47 mg/6.2.24-4.46 mg/19.2.24-4.44mg

8am-probiotics/9am-paroxetine, 200mg magnesium bisglycinate/ 1000mg Vitamin D/75mg DGL/ noon-2 x 1000 mg algae oil (500mg DHA/10mg EPA/620mg Omega 3)/5pm-75 mg DGL/200mg calcium citrate/8pm-.25 mg melatonin

I am not a medical professional just your peer. The suggestions I give are based on personal experience and/or the well documented experience of others.

Link to comment

Hi @LostInCanada,

 

You’re right, I should be more cautious. I have been through enough already. I will hold for a month or two to stabilize. Do you think it is a better idea to reinstate my previous dose of 17mg, or to continue at 16.5mg now that I have decreased to that level?

 

I have some magnesium bisglycinate on hand, I will try taking some today. I have a Taurine supplement that I have not tried yet, but based on my reaction to the L-Theanine I am skeptical that it will help. Nonetheless, I will probably try it for a day once I have taken some time to see if the magnesium is working well, and worst case I will have one bad day.

Dosages are for Zoloft unless otherwise noted

9/2017 (Age 16): 25mg

10/2017: 50mg

11/2017: 100mg

1/2018: 200mg

6/2020: Klonopin 2mg daily, cross taper from Zoloft over the course of one month to Lexapro 20mg

9/2020: Last dose of Klonopin after a slow taper, cross taper back to Zoloft 200mg

3/2022: 75mg (reached in 25 mg increments per month)

5/2022: 50mg

10/2022 to 5/2023: Slow taper to 25mg using a dropper

7/2023 to 9/2023: 17.5mg

1/2024: Dosage gradually reduced to 16.5mg

Link to comment
  • Mentor

Hi @ChickenSoup7.  I just want to add some reassurance and help you explore some non-medication ways to help you manage your thoughts and feelings. I had many of the same symptoms as you, as well as severe health anxiety and feelings of extreme guilt (for just about everything).  I can assure you no matter how bad your think things are and regardless of what your anxious mind is telling you, it will get better.  My WD and recovery took about three years but it was worth the effort for myself and my family.   Its more like a rollercoaster, with hills and valleys (waves and windows), than a nice steady climb to recovery.  While I was going through withdrawal, I found a great therapist who helped me adopt some very good coping strategies and ways to manage my negative thinking.

 

I've come to view anxiety, OCD, and depression as chronic conditions like diabetes.  They may never go away completely but we can live normal and joyous lives if we learn acceptance that the thoughts will come--its the way we react to them that's important.  I still occasional anxious thoughts and invasive OCD ruminations, but through coping strategies like CBT and ERP, and practices like reality checking and intentional catastrophizing, I can manage them and make them fade away very quickly.  You will get there too.

 

Are you trying any therapy practices now?

Tim C

Started Paxil for GAD in 1999

Unsuccessful taper attempt in 2006

Paxilprogress helped with a successful taper completed in 2009

Using therapy and CBT to manage my anxiety

Link to comment
56 minutes ago, ChickenSoup7 said:

Do you think it is a better idea to reinstate my previous dose of 17mg,

I think it is up to you and how bad it is. If you decide to updose I would try 16.8 mg. But stability is the key. Always listen to your body. 

59 minutes ago, ChickenSoup7 said:

Taurine supplement that I have not tried yet,

I'd leave that alone for now. Just let your body settle...if it worked well it would be recommended on here and it isn't. It will get better. 👍

20 yr+ Paroxetine/ Dec2018-May 2022 20 mg/ May 2022 30mg/2022.07.28-2022.08.24 30mg to 0mg/ August 24-29 2022 10mg Prozac/2022.11.28-2022.12.04- 5mg Paroxetine/December 5&6 10mg Paroxetine/ December 8&9 2022 10mg Prozac/ 2022.12.07 to 2023.07.01 5mg Paroxetine

TAPER 23.07.02-58mgpw/4.9mgai/ 23.07.21-4.8 mg/23.07.28-4.73 mg/23.08.04-4.65 mg/21.09.23-4.58 mg/27.10.23-4.56 mg/5.12.23-4.54 mg/2.1.24-4.52 mg/9.1.24-4.51 mg/17.1.24-4.49 mg/26.1.24-4.47 mg/6.2.24-4.46 mg/19.2.24-4.44mg

8am-probiotics/9am-paroxetine, 200mg magnesium bisglycinate/ 1000mg Vitamin D/75mg DGL/ noon-2 x 1000 mg algae oil (500mg DHA/10mg EPA/620mg Omega 3)/5pm-75 mg DGL/200mg calcium citrate/8pm-.25 mg melatonin

I am not a medical professional just your peer. The suggestions I give are based on personal experience and/or the well documented experience of others.

Link to comment

Hi @mstimc,

 

Thank you for the thoughtful advice; although it is sad to hear that you have had a similar experience to me, it is also quite reassuring. I actually just began online counselling that I will hopefully be able to attend in-person soon. It is too soon to be able to say definitively whether it is helping me, but I feel positively about it. I have had OCD and anxiety for so long now (which the medication hardly scratched the surface of) that I cannot even imagine what it would feel like to live without the two. In a weird way, I have come to appreciate them for what they are and how they have somewhat shaped me for the better by keeping me from remaining in situations that were profoundly intolerable for me on a deep level. Having said that, I know what it feels like to be anxiety free from taking Klonopin and Ativan, and I was stunned upon realizing that many people feel like that all the time. I would love to attain that same feeling in a more wholesome and natural way (minus the cognitive impairment, of course). Though anxiety and OCD are problems that I feel comfortable gradually working on and improving, my panic attacks must be addressed as soon as possible. I don't know many other people who suffer from them, so I cannot say for certain, but it certainly feels like the attacks I suffer are at the upper end of severity. The last time I had a full panic attack (a couple months back), it took two off-duty firefighters who happened to be there almost a full hour just to get me up off of the floor of a Whole Foods; not coincidentally, this was the last time I went in a store. This is not sustainable at all, so I really hope counselling will help me to get my panic under control.

Dosages are for Zoloft unless otherwise noted

9/2017 (Age 16): 25mg

10/2017: 50mg

11/2017: 100mg

1/2018: 200mg

6/2020: Klonopin 2mg daily, cross taper from Zoloft over the course of one month to Lexapro 20mg

9/2020: Last dose of Klonopin after a slow taper, cross taper back to Zoloft 200mg

3/2022: 75mg (reached in 25 mg increments per month)

5/2022: 50mg

10/2022 to 5/2023: Slow taper to 25mg using a dropper

7/2023 to 9/2023: 17.5mg

1/2024: Dosage gradually reduced to 16.5mg

Link to comment

Thank you for the fast reply @LostInCanada, I appreciate it. I think I will feel it out today and see if it will be possible for me to ride out the WD effects of the most recent decrease comfortably enough, and then after it settles down a bit I will take a nice long break of a couple months or so. I will leave the Taurine alone, especially in light of my L-Theanine experience, and see if the magnesium can help me out.

Dosages are for Zoloft unless otherwise noted

9/2017 (Age 16): 25mg

10/2017: 50mg

11/2017: 100mg

1/2018: 200mg

6/2020: Klonopin 2mg daily, cross taper from Zoloft over the course of one month to Lexapro 20mg

9/2020: Last dose of Klonopin after a slow taper, cross taper back to Zoloft 200mg

3/2022: 75mg (reached in 25 mg increments per month)

5/2022: 50mg

10/2022 to 5/2023: Slow taper to 25mg using a dropper

7/2023 to 9/2023: 17.5mg

1/2024: Dosage gradually reduced to 16.5mg

Link to comment
  • Mentor
8 minutes ago, ChickenSoup7 said:

The last time I had a full panic attack (a couple months back), it took two off-duty firefighters who happened to be there almost a full hour just to get me up off of the floor of a Whole Foods; not coincidentally, this was the last time I went in a store.

Hi

This is the kind of power anxiety and panic want over your life. Anxiety can only survive if it controls as much of your life as possible.  Each time you retreat from a situation, anxiety gains a little more ground in your mind--I call it narrowing your life.  A lot of people try to deal with anxiety by withdrawing: staying home, staying in your room, etc.  But isolation is the worst thing for anxiety because it gives your mind nothing to do but ruminate. That's why distraction is such a powerful tool to manage anxiety, OCD and panic. If the thoughts can't control your actions, they lose power over you.  

Tim C

Started Paxil for GAD in 1999

Unsuccessful taper attempt in 2006

Paxilprogress helped with a successful taper completed in 2009

Using therapy and CBT to manage my anxiety

Link to comment
  • Moderator
16 hours ago, ChickenSoup7 said:

Another post by brassmonkey advised that 2.5% of the original medication dose is usually a safe point to drop it altogether; in my case that would mean reducing my dose to around 5mg and then dropping Zoloft altogether. At a rate of 2mg per month, assuming that I am able to tolerate it well, this could allow me to be medication-free in under a year.

I would try not to be tied to a specific timeframe. While brassmonkey advises 2.5% of the original medication dose is often a safe jumping off point, he also mentions that this isn't universal for everyone and perhaps the best course of action is to go as low as possible. But this will be largely dependent on how your body has responded to each reduction "With the caveat that if people are still feeling withdrawal every time they reduce, approaching that point they may need to taper further, and by smaller amounts."

 

4 hours ago, ChickenSoup7 said:

I think I will feel it out today and see if it will be possible for me to ride out the WD effects of the most recent decrease comfortably enough, and then after it settles down a bit I will take a nice long break of a couple months or so

This sounds like a great idea :) 

2003-2009 on and off various SSRI's for short periods, Ativan prn

2010-2011 Ativan, up to 1.5mg/day - tapered off without issue

2013-2021 ativan 1-1.5mg 10-12x/month, daily starting Oct 21 to help with buspar WD

2016 - Effexor 75mg, short-term

2021 Mar -Jun Buspar ADR at high dose, tapered 3 months

2021 Aug Wellbutrin 150mg for 5 days (ADR), then MIrtazapine 7.5mg for 7 days (ADR)

Oct 22/21 - Direct switch ativan to clonazepam (don't do this)

Tapered clonaz Oct/21 - Apr/23 0.25mg - 0mg!

 

Supplements: omega-3, mag-glycinate, vitamin D

 

"Believe that your tragedies, your losses, your sorrows, your hurt, happened for you, not to you. And I bless the thing that broke you down and cracked you open, because the world needs you open" - Rebecca Campbell

 

*** Disclaimer: Please note, my suggestions/comments are based on my own personal experiences. Please consult a knowledgeable practitioner to discuss decisions regarding your medical care *** 

 

                                                             *** Please do not send me PM's ***

Link to comment
5 hours ago, ChickenSoup7 said:

just began online counselling

I am in Victoria BC. Wondering if that is available here? Do you have a psychiatrist or just family doctor?

20 yr+ Paroxetine/ Dec2018-May 2022 20 mg/ May 2022 30mg/2022.07.28-2022.08.24 30mg to 0mg/ August 24-29 2022 10mg Prozac/2022.11.28-2022.12.04- 5mg Paroxetine/December 5&6 10mg Paroxetine/ December 8&9 2022 10mg Prozac/ 2022.12.07 to 2023.07.01 5mg Paroxetine

TAPER 23.07.02-58mgpw/4.9mgai/ 23.07.21-4.8 mg/23.07.28-4.73 mg/23.08.04-4.65 mg/21.09.23-4.58 mg/27.10.23-4.56 mg/5.12.23-4.54 mg/2.1.24-4.52 mg/9.1.24-4.51 mg/17.1.24-4.49 mg/26.1.24-4.47 mg/6.2.24-4.46 mg/19.2.24-4.44mg

8am-probiotics/9am-paroxetine, 200mg magnesium bisglycinate/ 1000mg Vitamin D/75mg DGL/ noon-2 x 1000 mg algae oil (500mg DHA/10mg EPA/620mg Omega 3)/5pm-75 mg DGL/200mg calcium citrate/8pm-.25 mg melatonin

I am not a medical professional just your peer. The suggestions I give are based on personal experience and/or the well documented experience of others.

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