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Breezy96: Stopped pristiq and going crazy, Is this withdrawal?


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Hey guys, 

I'm Breezy, I'm 28 years old and up until recently, have been on antidepressants and other meds since grade school.

I tapered of Klonopin in 2020, and after going off it, Pristiq was the only drug I was still taking.

I had been on Pristiq for 12 years but decided to get off it because I was feeling dizzy, losing words and experiencing derealization, I just didn't feel like myself anymore. 

My doctor came up with a taper plan for me but it was way too fast, I went from 100mg, to 0mg within less than two months. 
 

The first month after the taper felt like a bad flu, but things seemed to level out until January when I was hit with a wave of insomnia that lasted for nearly a month. Things seemed better in February and March, but this April something in me snapped; The derealization came back, with more insomnia, coupled with paranoia and a deep feeling of hopelessness.

I experienced a week where I couldn't sleep or eat, when I can't sleep I fly into a rage and scream.  I think of self harm when I spiral, but so far I havent hurt myself.

 

Is this withdrawal or depression?

 

I've heard that people can mitigate the effects of withdrawal by reinstating their meds, but I'm terrified that doing so with Pristiq will make me suicidal, not to mention that there's no way to taper as you cant cut the pills. I've heard that Effexor could be used as a substitute, but once again, I'm scared that doing taking another drug will make my symptoms worse or make me suicidal. I'm already very unstable, and my will to live is the only thing that is keeping me going, I can't afford to lose that.

 

I need help really badly, this is destroying my work life and my relationship. I don't know what to do to stabilize myself.

 

2009: Cymbalta and Wellbutrin

-2011: Cymbalta switched to Pristiq 75 mg. Still on Wellbutrin. Constantly switching between Adderall and similar stimulants

-2013-14: Started Klonopin at 1mg a day. Pristiq up to 100mg, Wellbutrin discontinued. Went off stimulants.

-2018: Klonopin upped to 2mg, still on 100 mg of Pristiq. Self tapered Klonopin down to .5mg  by the end of the year. Dizzy and sick all the time.

-2020: Still on 100 mg of Pristiq. Tapered Klonopin from .5mg to .25mg with doctor's supervision. 

-2021: 0mg Klonopin, 100mg Pristiq

-September 2023: Asked Doctor to help me get off Pristiq. Pristiq tapered from 100mg to 50 mg in two weeks,then 50mg to 25mg in two weeks, before hitting 0mg after the next two weeks.

Experienced brain zaps and flu symptoms for a month after. Felt "normal" for the next two months, before depression and anxiety got worse in December. Started experiencing insomnia and severe mood swings by January. Insomnia hit its peak in April, starting to feel paranoid and have suicidal thoughts. 

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  • Administrator

Welcome @Breezy96

 

7 hours ago, Breezy96 said:

My doctor came up with a taper plan for me but it was way too fast, I went from 100mg, to 0mg within less than two months. 

 

Yep, way too fast: Why taper by 10% of my dosage?.

 

Tapering at the rate you did would leave you with WD symptoms? Daily Checklist of Antidepressant Withdrawal Symptoms (PDF) 

 

7 hours ago, Breezy96 said:

The first month after the taper felt like a bad flu,

 

7 hours ago, Breezy96 said:

hit with a wave of insomnia that lasted for nearly a month

 

7 hours ago, Breezy96 said:

this April something in me snapped; The derealization came back, with more insomnia, coupled with paranoia and a deep feeling of hopelessness.

 

7 hours ago, Breezy96 said:

Is this withdrawal or depression?

 

These things sound like WD symptoms as a result of the very rapid taper.

 

You may benefit from reading this (I'm just sharing the link - not suggesting it will or will not work). Reinstating is normally best if done close to the time you stopped. It's been 7 months for you? That's far longer than ideal.

 

About Reinstating and Stabilizing to Reduce Withdrawal Symptoms

 

Kindling

 

7 hours ago, Breezy96 said:

I've heard that Effexor could be used as a substitute, but once again, I'm scared that doing taking another drug will make my symptoms worse or make me suicidal.

 

I've swapped ADs three times...never again. It was tough.

 

7 hours ago, Breezy96 said:

I need help really badly, this is destroying my work life and my relationship. I don't know what to do to stabilize myself.

 

I feel your pain.

 

You may benefit from reading these links:

 

Windows and waves pattern of stabilization

 

Emotional Spirals

 

Non-drug coping strategies

 

Melatonin for sleep

 

We don't suggest many supplements, but two that many of us find helpful are magnesium and omega-3 fish oil. Here are the links for info about those. Add one at a time and start with a low dose to see how it affects you. 


Magnesium

 

Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil)

 

Avoid alcohol and recreational drugs. 

 

This is your own Introduction topic.  Each member has only ONE Introduction topic.  Your own Introduction topic is the best place to ask questions and the place to journal your progress.  This keeps your history in one place and means you do not have to repeat your story. 

 

Once again, welcome to S.A.

 

Emonda

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

Start of taper: Jan ’22 Vortioxetine 15mg, 

End year 1: 4.5mg, 

End year 2: 2.38mg, 

Year 3: 19 Jan 2.33mg, 26 Jan 2.28mg, 2 Feb 2.24mg, 8 Feb 2.19mg, 29 Feb 2.15mg, 7 Mar 2.10mg, 14 Mar 2.06mg, 21 Mar 1.99mg, 10 Apr 1.95mg, 17 Apr 1.91mg, 24 Apr 1.87mg, 1 May 1.83mg,

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  • Emonda changed the title to Breezy96: Stopped pristiq and going crazy, Is this withdrawal?

Thank you so much for your response Emonda.

After reading about withdrawal symptoms, I'm quite certain that withdrawal is what I'm experiencing.

 

I'm considering either reinstating my meds or starting Effexor so I can taper off it more easily than the pristiq, but like you said, 7 months is not ideal, and I know introducing a new drug could make everything worse. At this point I only want to do what's safest for my nervous system, and if reinstating is too risky I'd rather ride out the withdrawal. 

I wish I could ask the last doctor I've seen for advice, but he's a GP and I don't think he knows that much about psych meds; he tried to put me back on Klonopin even after I told him about all the hell I experienced coming off of it. Every doctor I've seen has just wanted to put me back on Pristiq.

 

I'd love to be able to find a psychiatrist who understands protracted withdrawal, and to work closely with them, but that's like finding a needle in a haystack.

 

 

2009: Cymbalta and Wellbutrin

-2011: Cymbalta switched to Pristiq 75 mg. Still on Wellbutrin. Constantly switching between Adderall and similar stimulants

-2013-14: Started Klonopin at 1mg a day. Pristiq up to 100mg, Wellbutrin discontinued. Went off stimulants.

-2018: Klonopin upped to 2mg, still on 100 mg of Pristiq. Self tapered Klonopin down to .5mg  by the end of the year. Dizzy and sick all the time.

-2020: Still on 100 mg of Pristiq. Tapered Klonopin from .5mg to .25mg with doctor's supervision. 

-2021: 0mg Klonopin, 100mg Pristiq

-September 2023: Asked Doctor to help me get off Pristiq. Pristiq tapered from 100mg to 50 mg in two weeks,then 50mg to 25mg in two weeks, before hitting 0mg after the next two weeks.

Experienced brain zaps and flu symptoms for a month after. Felt "normal" for the next two months, before depression and anxiety got worse in December. Started experiencing insomnia and severe mood swings by January. Insomnia hit its peak in April, starting to feel paranoid and have suicidal thoughts. 

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6 hours ago, Breezy96 said:

I'd love to be able to find a psychiatrist who understands protracted withdrawal, and to work closely with them, but that's like finding a needle in a haystack.


Oh I feel you! Being in Quebec too, just having access to a family doctor is a nightmare. Finding one (or a psychiatrist) that understand our condition feels impossible.

It suck :(

Supplements: Vit D3, Fish oil, Magnesium bisglycenate 200mg (when needed), Melatonin 2.5mg, Camomile tea (1 cup before bed), THC oil (0.03ml once a week, don't do this to yourself), Vit C 500mg a day
Started effexor in 2011.

Stopped effexor in 2012 (fast tamper).

Got back on effexor in 2012.

Tried stopping effexor again in 2014 (I'm not sure?), fast tamper again.

Started effexor again in 2014.

Switched to Escitalopram in 2016 I believe

Stopped Escitalopram 10mg cold turkey on January 3 2024.

Reinstated Escitalopram 5mg on april 2 2024.

Down to 1mg on april 3 2024, 1.25mg on april 11 2024

 

 

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Does anybody know where I could find a directory of private psychiatrists in montreal? I'm not in the public system, so I can't go to the clsc or a hospital clinic to see a doctor.  

2009: Cymbalta and Wellbutrin

-2011: Cymbalta switched to Pristiq 75 mg. Still on Wellbutrin. Constantly switching between Adderall and similar stimulants

-2013-14: Started Klonopin at 1mg a day. Pristiq up to 100mg, Wellbutrin discontinued. Went off stimulants.

-2018: Klonopin upped to 2mg, still on 100 mg of Pristiq. Self tapered Klonopin down to .5mg  by the end of the year. Dizzy and sick all the time.

-2020: Still on 100 mg of Pristiq. Tapered Klonopin from .5mg to .25mg with doctor's supervision. 

-2021: 0mg Klonopin, 100mg Pristiq

-September 2023: Asked Doctor to help me get off Pristiq. Pristiq tapered from 100mg to 50 mg in two weeks,then 50mg to 25mg in two weeks, before hitting 0mg after the next two weeks.

Experienced brain zaps and flu symptoms for a month after. Felt "normal" for the next two months, before depression and anxiety got worse in December. Started experiencing insomnia and severe mood swings by January. Insomnia hit its peak in April, starting to feel paranoid and have suicidal thoughts. 

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