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Digitime Need advice: Lithium/Lamictal/SSRI or nothing for WD?


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I have been reading for hours on this forum and I feel so sorry for all the pain everybody is experiencing. I am probably in WD hell as well and could really use some advice. Of course I know everybody's situation is different and of course I will discuss everything with my psychiatrists (although all the five that I have seen say they can't advise me on anything, it is just a random gamble on what I should do now according to them). I could just really use some points of views of people who have been through (and are still going through) WD. 



My meds history is in my signature. My original complaints for which I started prozac and later citalopram (celexa) were short 'depression attacks'. Out of nowhere I could find myself utterly depressed for about 2 - 3 hours in which I cried and I wanted to die. And then a few hours or 1 day later everything would be fine. Before I started med I would have those attack 200 times a year.



The Prozac helped but I became very tired on that. The Citalopram worked great for 8 years with no side effects, but November last year (when I also couldn't sport anymore because of severe back injury) the attacks returned (3 times a week). 



My psychiatrist then put me on Lyrica which worked for only 2 weeks. The idea came to switch celexa for lexapro (because they are very similar), but this was a big mistake. On lexapro I became depressed all the time. No attacks just a constant deep depression. Because I couldn't live this way the idea was to taper off. I wanted to take it slow but because I felt so utterly bad on lexapro the process went quicker under the assumption there was nothing to lose. 



No I am two weeks off lexapro and it's hell. The attacks now happy 2 to 3 times a day. I also feels like I have been off lexa for half a year because almost every second hurts during such an attack. In such an attack I only want to die because I can't take the pain. 



1,5 week ago I started 5HTP and Tyrosine and I immediately noticed an effect. But after 3 good days last week, the last 4 days have been hell again. 



Now I have the following options:



1. Start with Lithium: idea from psychiatrist nr 3. Because it is a mood stabilizer and because of my suicide idealization (but I don't think that's the real problem here, I don't really want to die, but I want to end this immense pain during an attack. Also I have a support system that can keep me safe. Furthermore lithium is of course known for it's many side effects)



2. Start with Lamictal: my idea. I have read a lot of good things about Lamictal (also bad things of course). Because my original complaints look like ultra rapid cycling, a mood stabilizer seems to make more sense than an SSRI (used for 'typical depression'). And because I have never experienced mania's I don't need the 'lowering effect' of Lithium for that.



3. Start (again) with an SRRI. I woudn't want to start with lexa again because I felt so horrible. Citalopram would be an option, but citalopram seemed to have stopped working since last year November when the attacks began to increase. I did so well on 1 SRRI, but had on horrible effect on another. I could try Zoloft, but if Zoloft doesn't help, WD from Zoloft will probably be hell as well.



4. Do nothing and wait till WD gets better. I know on paper this option looks the 'best' probably, but I don't think I can take another week of these attacks. And I know that some people on this board have or are going to WD for months/years, but I think I will be in an mental hospital if things stay like this for even a month more. Every attack (even though they last 'only' 2 hours), seems like a life time. I can't take the pain anymore.



I now take benzo to kill an attack but I don't want an benzo addiction and WD as well. Furthermore these attacks I have now don't only originate from WD I think, because I had them before I started Prozac so many years before. Probably I will need 'some' medicine to kill them. And wouldn't lamictal than be a better option than an SRRI? But on the other hand I did well on 1 SRRI for so many years.



So now I am stuck between the 4 options. Thanks for reading and any input is greatly appreciated!



p.s. I am from the Netherlands so my English isn't perfect. 



1998- sept. 2003: Prozac 90 mg

Sep.2003-July 2005: No meds

July 2005-March 2014: Citalopram 20 mg

March 2014 - Jun. 2014: Citalopram 20 mg + 225 mg Lyrica

Jun. 2014-July 2014: Tapering off citalopram from 20 mg to 0 in 2,5 weeks time

July-2014: One week after tapering off citalopram started with lexapro 5 mg

July 2014-Sept. 2014: Lexapro increase from 5 (2 weeks) - 10 (5 weeks) - 15 mg (3 weeks)

Sept. 2014-Okt. 2014: Tapering off lexapro from 15 - 0 in 1,5 weeks time

16/10/2014: started 5HTP (200-300 mg) and Tyrosine (1000 mg)

27/10/2014: 2 weeks off lexapro and experiencing hell. Take 10-30 mg oxazepam (a benzo) daily to kill 'attacks' and still take 150 mg Lyrica



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  • Administrator

Welcome, Digitime.


Your English is fine.


The answer is: None of the above. What we see here is that reinstatement of a very small amount of the drug causing withdrawal symptoms will reduce the symptoms. For example, 2mg Lexapro might alleviate the withdrawal symptoms while not causing the adverse reaction.


After stabilizing on 2mg for a while, you would then taper off by very, very tiny amounts.


Reinstatement is best done as soon as possible. See


About reinstating and stabilizing to stop withdrawal symptoms


Tips for tapering off Lexapro (escitalopram)

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

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