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Ramy: My SSRI withdrawal story


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Hi everybody,

 

I was prescribed antidepressants 12 years ago for very mild depression symptoms. After a few months, I started having terrible side effects like severe insomnia and derealization.

 

I called my doctor who, with my great surprise and disgust, was denying my symptoms and telling me to continue taking my medication. I insisted and he told me to taper down from 10 drops to 8 and then down by two drops every weak.
 

That was clearly too fast!! But because I didn't trust the medication and neither the doctor, and I was convinced that I was poisoned, I tapered down even faster. i had symptoms like brain zaps and mental fog which lasted for a lot of time and it took me several months before getting back to an acceptable level. 
 

After about one year my symptoms were gone back to the point that I could have a decent life, even if they were not totally gone. I had recovered at 90% I would say, but my cognitive skills mever went back to normal even after years.

 

Nice to meet you all! Always free to pm me if you have any question or if you need advice.

MEDICATION:

1) Lexapro (escitaloparam):

10 mg: Jun 2012 - Oct 2012

Quitted in Oct 2012

SUPPLEMENTS:

Calcium, melatonin, fish oil, vitamim D + K

St. John Wort 375 mg (started Jan 2024)

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  • Erimus changed the title to Ramy: My SSRI withdrawal story
  • Moderator

Hello, and welcome to Surviving Antidepressants. We are a peer support forum to assist in tapering off psychiatric drugs safely, or recovering from psychiatric drug withdrawal.

 

Your first task is to create a drug signature, with the following:

 

  • All current medication you take, the dose you take, when you started the drug, and when you made dose changes
  • All current supplements you take
  • An accurate history of recent drugs, taken in the last 12-24 months
  • Dates for recent should be written as 7 Oct 2023, or Oct 7 2023, or early Oct 2023, or mid Oct 2023
  • A history of drugs taken 24 months ago and beyond - if applicable
  • Dates for historical drugs can simply be listed as start and stop years
  • Please do not use 07/10/23 // 10/07/23 as this is intepreted differently around the world

 

  • Please leave out symptoms and diagnoses. See my signature for example of clear and concise information.

 

Active Monday-Friday UK time

 

Taper calculator spreadsheet

 

MEDICATION:

1) Sertraline:

50mg - Oct 2020, 100mg - Dec 2020, 50mg - April 2021, 75mg - May 2021, 50mg - Sep 2021, 55mg - 23 Feb 2024, 60mg - 20 March 2024, Start tapering - 24 April 2024

Current dose: 55.09mg  (1 July 2024)

2) Mirtazapine:

15mg - Nov 2020

SUPPLEMENTS:

Cod liver oil, Magnesium, Vitamin C

Link to comment
On 7/10/2024 at 5:13 PM, Erimus said:

Hello, and welcome to Surviving Antidepressants. We are a peer support forum to assist in tapering off psychiatric drugs safely, or recovering from psychiatric drug withdrawal.

 

Your first task is to create a drug signature, with the following:

 

  • All current medication you take, the dose you take, when you started the drug, and when you made dose changes
  • All current supplements you take
  • An accurate history of recent drugs, taken in the last 12-24 months
  • Dates for recent should be written as 7 Oct 2023, or Oct 7 2023, or early Oct 2023, or mid Oct 2023
  • A history of drugs taken 24 months ago and beyond - if applicable
  • Dates for historical drugs can simply be listed as start and stop years
  • Please do not use 07/10/23 // 10/07/23 as this is intepreted differently around the world

 

  • Please leave out symptoms and diagnoses. See my signature for example of clear and concise information.

 


Thank you for your answer, I appreciate any help. I will need to ask some important advice after my introduction, so I think it's indeed useful to add the signature.

 

I added my signature, please let me know if it's in the correct form.

MEDICATION:

1) Lexapro (escitaloparam):

10 mg: Jun 2012 - Oct 2012

Quitted in Oct 2012

SUPPLEMENTS:

Calcium, melatonin, fish oil, vitamim D + K

St. John Wort 375 mg (started Jan 2024)

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


Thank you for your answer, I appreciate any help. I will need to ask some important advice after my introduction, so I think it's indeed useful to add the signature.

 

I added my signature, please let me know if it's in the correct form.

Yes it is fine. Just be careful using St John's Wort with your history of psychiatric medication. It can act in similar ways.

Active Monday-Friday UK time

 

Taper calculator spreadsheet

 

MEDICATION:

1) Sertraline:

50mg - Oct 2020, 100mg - Dec 2020, 50mg - April 2021, 75mg - May 2021, 50mg - Sep 2021, 55mg - 23 Feb 2024, 60mg - 20 March 2024, Start tapering - 24 April 2024

Current dose: 55.09mg  (1 July 2024)

2) Mirtazapine:

15mg - Nov 2020

SUPPLEMENTS:

Cod liver oil, Magnesium, Vitamin C

Link to comment

I used SSRIs in the past and for me they weren't worth it, they had too many side effects and the withdrawal syndrome for me was terrible, I had probably a brain damage that doctors will never recognize and they will blame it on my anxiety. So I stopped 12 years ago and never took any other antidepressant.

Months ago (I think it was January but I'm not too sure exactly), I wanted to start taking St. John's Wort because I'm too anxious. It's not that i have terrible anxiety or panic attacks, but I just realized that I am not enjoying my life because I'm afraid to speak with people and to do things that I should normally be able to do. 

 

So I started a low dose of full spectrum St. John's Wort (375 mg), and in the beginning it did absolutely nothing to me. I kept taking it every day and then something happened that left me confused because I still don't know the real cause. I started experiencing mental confusion and memory problems. I noticed that it was happening specially at night, with dim lights or when transitioning from a dark environment to a very illuminated one. I had a few episodes with troubbles remembering the directions of my house. Not to the point that I couldn't find them, but like that I stop 300 meters from my house, thinking where I should go while I was supposed to know it right away. It felt strange that I need to stop and think about it. Then I had a day where for a few hours I was totally confused. I didn't even remember that I had my last vacation in June, I had troubbles struggling to remember if it was one or two months ago and in my head for a few minutes I didn't know if it was July or August. Terrible! 🙃

 

Then I suddenly realized that it might have been the St. John's Wort, I checked the package and I saw that the expiration date was erased! I don't know how it could have been possible, but I had two packages so I could compare then and on the one that was open the expiration date was erased and unreadable. I threw it away in the trash and I will never know if the side effects that I had were caused by discountinuation (possible because the package was expired and it was therefore ineffective), or by the supplement itself.

I started using the new one and my mood suddenly improved, the problems I had became milder but I still have them. I developed also light sensitivity. I also found out a lot of precautions that I was not considering when taking St. John's Wort like not drinking too much coffee (when I had my mental confusion episodes I drank 4 cups of coffee in one day!), and to avoid seasoned cheese and cured meat which I wasn't considering. I am not a big cheese or cured meat consumer but it's nice to know. I decreased my caffeine and I tapered down to 300 mg of full spectrum, but I still don't feel fine. I have light sensitivity and mild episodes of mental confusion and troubbles remembering things. 

What confuses me the most is that I don't know if it's the St. John's Wort itself or the fact that i was possibly using an expired one. I think most likely the former but I cannot be sure.

I want to taper down and then decide if it's better to stop forever or to find the right dose, which should probably be much lower than the current one. I also purchased the standardized one. 

 

Can anybody give me any advice on how to taper down and also transition from the full spectrum to the standardized one? I am keeping a journal and I plan to switch slowly.

Is switching from 375 mg to 300 mg ok or it's too fast? Is the standardized dose (which I still didn't start) more or less effective than full spectrum? 

MEDICATION:

1) Lexapro (escitaloparam):

10 mg: Jun 2012 - Oct 2012

Quitted in Oct 2012

SUPPLEMENTS:

Calcium, melatonin, fish oil, vitamim D + K

St. John Wort 375 mg (started Jan 2024)

Link to comment

I used SSRIs in the past and for me they weren't worth it, they had too many side effects and the withdrawal syndrome for me was terrible, I had probably a brain damage that doctors will never recognize and they will blame it on my anxiety. So I stopped 12 years ago and never took any other antidepressant.

Months ago (I think it was January but I'm not too sure exactly), I wanted to start taking St. John's Wort because I'm too anxious. It's not that i have terrible anxiety or panic attacks, but I just realized that I am not enjoying my life because I'm afraid to speak with people and to do things that I should normally be able to do. 

 

So I started a low dose of full spectrum St. John's Wort (375 mg), and in the beginning it did absolutely nothing to me. I kept taking it every day and then something happened that left me confused because I still don't know the real cause. I started experiencing mental confusion and memory problems. I noticed that it was happening specially at night, with dim lights or when transitioning from a dark environment to a very illuminated one. I had a few episodes with troubbles remembering the directions of my house. Not to the point that I couldn't find them, but like that I stop 300 meters from my house, thinking where I should go while I was supposed to know it right away. It felt strange that I need to stop and think about it. Then I had a day where for a few hours I was totally confused. I didn't even remember that I had my last vacation in June, I had troubbles struggling to remember if it was one or two months ago and in my head for a few minutes I didn't know if it was July or August. Terrible! 🙃

 

Then I suddenly realized that it might have been the St. John's Wort, I checked the package and I saw that the expiration date was erased! I don't know how it could have been possible, but I had two packages so I could compare then and on the one that was open the expiration date was erased and unreadable. I threw it away in the trash and I will never know if the side effects that I had were caused by discountinuation (possible because the package was expired and it was therefore ineffective), or by the supplement itself.

I started using the new one and my mood suddenly improved, the problems I had became milder but I still have them. I developed also light sensitivity. I also found out a lot of precautions that I was not considering when taking St. John's Wort like not drinking too much coffee (when I had my mental confusion episodes I drank 4 cups of coffee in one day!), and to avoid seasoned cheese and cured meat which I wasn't considering. I am not a big cheese or cured meat consumer but it's nice to know. I decreased my caffeine and I tapered down to 300 mg of full spectrum, but I still don't feel fine. I have light sensitivity and mild episodes of mental confusion and troubbles remembering things. 

What confuses me the most is that I don't know if it's the St. John's Wort itself or the fact that i was possibly using an expired one. I think most likely the former but I cannot be sure.

I want to taper down and then decide if it's better to stop forever or to find the right dose, which should probably be much lower than the current one. I also purchased the standardized one. 

 

Can anybody give me any advice on how to taper down and also transition from the full spectrum to the standardized one? I am keeping a journal and I plan to switch slowly.

Is switching from 375 mg to 300 mg ok or it's too fast? Is the standardized dose (which I still didn't start) more or less effective than full spectrum? 

MEDICATION:

1) Lexapro (escitaloparam):

10 mg: Jun 2012 - Oct 2012

Quitted in Oct 2012

SUPPLEMENTS:

Calcium, melatonin, fish oil, vitamim D + K

St. John Wort 375 mg (started Jan 2024)

Link to comment
  • Administrator

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This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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I tried St. John's Wort and it caused me profound discomfort. I was already in withdrawal having stopped the antidepressant 2 months earlier.I remember that after taking St. John's wort for 10 days I was very sick I couldn't stay anywhere the akathisia was skyrocketing through internet searches I landed on this and it saved my life, I immediately stopped taking it and reinstated a small dose of the antidepressant and it worked.

I started very young taking psychotropic drugs with various suspensions and withdrawals mistaken for relapses, I don't know if this can affect what happens to me now. I can neither The drug nor the dose.

2013-2014 wellbutrin (I don't remember the dose)

2015-2016 brintellix 30 mg 

2016-2017 sertraline 50 mg I stopped taking it and had a seizure which was mistaken for a flare of the disease replaced with mirtazapine in 2018 30mg at 10.30pm then stopped taking it because I was gaining weight Too september 2019 has november severe withdrawal symptoms anxiety i woke up shaking then found this site reverted to 3mg mirtazapine and within 15 minutes all symptoms vanished.After stabilizing for 4 months I began to reduce by 10% every 4 weeks manageable symptoms end of reduction 28 January 2022 Last dose of mirtazapine January 27 0.1 mg manageable symptoms until July 2023 where a wave caused by Stress made me incapacitated in bed. I take micro doses of lamictal 0.5mg for 4 days 0.7mg for 4 days 1.2 for 4 days 1.7 for 4 days the dose that seems to help is 2.2mg more than this starts to cause problems.Now down to 2mg 

 

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