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Saynotopoison: Wanting to get off pills, trying to minimize the misery


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My history is a mess. It's probably easier to make a list of pills I haven't been on than pills I have been on. But I'll try to keep this relevant. I was on Lithium, Seroquel, and Zoloft until January of 2011. I went to a chiropractor in 2010 that convinced me to get off all this. Then one day I passed out do to a chiropractic situation and my mom thought it was the meds, so I went all off all of them cold turkey (dangerous, I know). I just stopped taking everything except some of the Seroquel at night to help me sleep. It went over surprisingly well. No mood issues or anything. So I took the Seroquel for sleeping purposes for another year, then that stopped working for sleep. The doctor gave me Xanax which worked like magic and I've been taking that for 3 years, and in September of 2012 I switched from Seroquel to Trazodone since the doctor said it would be lighter duty. But I don't want to have to rely on pills for sleep, especially Xanax.


At the maximum point I was taking 1.5mg of Xanax and 150mg of Trazodone. I've cut that down to 100mg of Trazadone and in June during a depressive episode I went from 1.5mg to 1mg on the Xanax, then a few months later I went down to 0.75 on the Xanax, without any kind of withdrawal symptoms or other mood issues. I understand that's far faster than the 10% tapering this forum recommends. I'm not trying to brag or anything but I think that history might be relevant when reviewing my story. So as it stands I'm at 100mg of the Trazodone and 0.75mg of the Xanax.


I want to get off both drugs, but Xanax is my priority. So here's the situation now. My old doctor retired and I had my first appointment with my new one today. Understandably she didn't want to make any changes on my first visit, especially since I'm doing well. But here's the thing. She's pushing me to keep a mood journal. While I don't really have an issue with keeping one per se, especially given how it helps you understand yourself, she mentioned prescribing Seroquel XR for when I see patterns in my mood that aren't going in a good direction. To be blunt I don't want any new meds, especially Seroquel which I was on for some time and I've heard horror stories about its effects.


I was sick for a few days once I stopped taking it (I assume those were withdrawal symptoms) and I'm not taking that crap anymore. It goes against my goal of getting off everything. And of course she raised the prospect of me sinking into a depression and being suicidal if I didn’t do this scheme of hers. Never mind that I've never been suicidal in my life, even during my worst depression. It seemed like fear mongering to be blunt. I’m not saying she wasn’t well meaning. I just think that when your only tool is a hammer every problem looks like a nail. I haven't really approached this new doctor about the idea of going off the meds, and this might be a change since my old doctor was supportive of that goal.


As for my mom, she's generally supportive of me going off since I'm old enough to make my own choices but she's convinced that I have issues that can only be dealt with meds, something I'm not convinced about. She believes in the whole chemical imbalance theory. To be honest I'm not sure about anything regarding the science of this kind of thing, all I know is I'd rather manage whatever issues I have without drugs. I'm finding it hard to take her advice seriously these days as well. When I wanted to go down on the Xanax when I was having mood issues she kept telling me now is not a good time to play around with meds. But the thing was part of what contributed to that meltdown was the stressor of being dependent on this poison. Then I dropped the Xanax and that didn't affect me negatively at all.


I guess I'm wondering if you guys have any advice on how to deal with the issues with my mom, the issues with the new doctor, and any advice on continuing to go down on the meds. Honestly as far as the physical symptoms go I've been very lucky and had no problems with my reductions so far. What scares me the most is the prospect of insomnia. If I can't sleep then I get stressed about not being able to sleep, which in turn makes it harder to sleep, and that creates a vicious cycle.


So I guess to conclude I was wondering if you guys had tips on how to deal with not being able to sleep, should this issue ever come up, as well as some of the more political aspects of it (dealing with my mom and the new doctor).



400mg of Seroquel from January 2011 to October 2012


Xanax: Was at 1.5mg at the most starting in January 2012, have reduced to .75.mg 


Trazodone: 100 mg since December 2012

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Let me be the first to say WELCOME  Sayno . . .    glad you've found your way here while you're in a good space.     There's loads of information on this site about

withdrawing , so it's sure to be helpful.


It makes it easier for people reading if you can summarize your drug history under your signature so we can see at a glance.   I'm not clear how long you've been on the 100mg trazodone. 

Hopefully with more knowledge from this site , you'll be able to feel more confident to  JUST  SAY  NO   to additional meds from your doctor.


Happy healing  , Fresh

1987-1997 pertofran , prothiaden , Prozac 1997-2002 Zoloft 2002-2004 effexor 2004-2010 Lexapro 40mg

2010-2012Cymbalta 120mg

Sept. 2012 -decreased 90mg in 6months. Care taken over by Dr Lucire in March 2013 , decreased last 30mg at 2mg per week over 3 months. July 21 , 2013- last dose of Cymbalta

Protracted withdrawal syndrome kicked in badly Jan.2014 Unrelenting akathisia until May 2014. Voluntary hosp. admission. Cocktail of Seroquel, Ativan and mirtazapine and I was well enough to go home after 14 days. Stopped all hosp. meds in next few months.

July 2014 felt v.depressed - couldn't stop crying. Started pristiq 50mg. Felt improvement within days and continued to improve, so stayed on 50mg for 8 months.

Began taper 28 Feb. 2015. Pristiq 50mg down to 45mg. Had one month of w/d symptoms. Started CES therapy in March. No w/d symptoms down to 30mg.

October 2015 , taking 25mg Pristiq. Capsules compounded with slow-release additive.

March 2016 , 21mg

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi, welcome!


Well, we have more information than you want to be hit with all at once, believe me. This forum's been around a while and there's a lot here. The best way to search is to use Google: "surviving antidepressants" followed by your topic (for example" surviving antidepressants coffee" or whatever.)


For tapering information, it sounds like you've looked things over already, but as you have time, explore deeper. Read the pinned threads then follow the links in those threads. Take your time, it's a lot to digest.


If you taper slowly enough and you're stable and sleeping at the start, you can probably manage it so that you have only intermittent and manageable bouts of insomnia. We have tons of stuff about sleep in the Symptoms and Self Care area; this is a very common issue.


I would highly recommend that you get hold soon of a copy of Anatomy of an Epidemic, by Robert Whitaker, and read it, and maybe share some of your favorite selections with your mom and anyone else on your support team. Give her time, it's a bit of a shock to find out that the whole "chemical imbalance" thing was always just a theory and in spite of throwing gazillions of dollars at it nobody has been able to prove it, and at this point even the major psychiatric associations are saying it was never true. Gee, that news sure hasn't made it to the TV commercials, has it? Perhaps the news that these are some of the most profitable drug$ ever created will not come as a huge surprise. 


And the website "cepuk.org" has some short videos on that and other topics.


So, there's a start! We have a lot of resources to share with you. It sounds like you're in a good place. I would say the main thing you need to look out for is getting cocky and assuming that because you came down on the Xanax pretty easily, you can just go crazy and make big cuts now. It turns out it's trickier the lower you get, and each time we come off we lost a bit of slack and it's harder the next time, so please be cautious at first and take it slow until you learn what your limits actually are. Your body will tell you.


Okay, that's it for me, 2 am, bedtime, welcome to the forum, good luck!

Started on Prozac and Xanax in 1992 for PTSD after an assault. One drug led to more, the usual story. Got sicker and sicker, but believed I needed the drugs for my "underlying disease". Long story...lost everything. Life savings, home, physical and mental health, relationships, friendships, ability to work, everything. Amitryptiline, Prozac, bupropion, buspirone, flurazepam, diazepam, alprazolam, Paxil, citalopram, lamotrigine, gabapentin...probably more I've forgotten. 

Started multidrug taper in Feb 2010.  Doing a very slow microtaper, down to low doses now and feeling SO much better, getting my old personality and my brain back! Able to work full time, have a full social life, and cope with stress better than ever. Not perfect, but much better. After 23 lost years. Big Pharma has a lot to answer for. And "medicine for profit" is just not a great idea.


Feb 15 2010:  300 mg Neurontin  200 Lamictal   10 Celexa      0.65 Xanax   and 5 mg Ambien 

Feb 10 2014:   62 Lamictal    1.1 Celexa         0.135 Xanax    1.8 Valium

Feb 10 2015:   50 Lamictal      0.875 Celexa    0.11 Xanax      1.5 Valium

Feb 15 2016:   47.5 Lamictal   0.75 Celexa      0.0875 Xanax    1.42 Valium    

2/12/20             12                       0.045               0.007                   1 

May 2021            7                       0.01                  0.0037                1

Feb 2022            6                      0!!!                     0.00167               0.98                2.5 mg Ambien

Oct 2022       4.5 mg Lamictal    (off Celexa, off Xanax)   0.95 Valium    Ambien, 1/4 to 1/2 of a 5 mg tablet 


I'm not a doctor. Any advice I give is just my civilian opinion.

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  • Administrator

Welcome, Sayno.


You might let your new doctor know politely but firmly that you intend to minimize your drug intake and deal with emotional problems with non-drug therapies. You might ask her advice about counseling, etc.


Please see our Relationships forum for topics about dealing with family members.

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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  • 2 months later...

So here's the story. I was doing just fine on all the meds I was on then all the sudden I stopped being able to sleep. I never got around to trying to taper the Xanax and now it seems impossible to do anything. The doctor told me the inability to sleep might have been the mania from my bipolar coming back so she suggested Seroquel XR at 50mg 2.5 hours before bedtime, which I did last night out of desperation. Heaven knows I didn't want to do it and honestly I'm skeptical about the mania explanation because the sleeping issues are my only problem. It may have helped since I got some sleep last night (even though it was very light and I woke up several times and I had to use the couch to fall asleep). But today my brain feels like there's a little fog. I don't really know how to explain it but I feel a bit numbed. It's not impairing my function at all but it concerns me. Is this normal for this medication? I know if I want to be able to sleep reasonably I'm going to have to go up on the dose, and make this issue worse. The other thing is the doctor kept pushing the XR on me even though I requested the regular stuff because I didn't want this in my system all day and I think that's what's causing this issue. What should I do? Should I try to get the regular stuff or should I just give up on the Seroquel all together and just deal with the lack of sleep? 



400mg of Seroquel from January 2011 to October 2012


Xanax: Was at 1.5mg at the most starting in January 2012, have reduced to .75.mg 


Trazodone: 100 mg since December 2012

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  • Administrator

Sayno, I moved your recent post here.


Are you older than 18? It sounds like you are having difficulty communicating with this doctor. You may wish to talk to one who doesn't exclusively depend on prescribing drugs and who can re-evaluate your diagnosis -- which you seem to doubt anyway.


I don't know what part of the US you're in. You may wish to consult one of the doctors on this list Recommended doctors, therapists, or clinics


Your sleep problems might be due to reducing the benzo or a paradoxical reaction to the benzo. Generally, for sleep problems, doctors prescribe 25mg Seroquel. 50mg may be too much for you. At any rate, Seroquel is a drug that, used long-term, causes serious health problems and is very much overprescribed.


This is a site for going off drugs, we can't really help you fine-tune a drug cocktail.

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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