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  1. Hi, i'm new to this forum, so forgive me if i make mistakes, i'm still learning. I'm about two years out from withdrawing off of Paxil that i tapered down on, and about one year from one situational exposure to benzodiazepines, and two years from consistent benzodiazepine usage (the klonopin,) as i withdrew both the antidepressant and the benzodiazepine at the same time. I am drug free for an entire year. The drugs tagged in my post are also drugs i have been previously exposed to, or had other exposures in the same class of drugs, (E.g, i have also been exposed to zoloft, prozac, and pristiq in the "Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor" category over the course of 14 years, though paxil was my last exposure to an SSRI drugs.) For the sake of simplicity, i will spare the details. I am posting here today because i am struggling with a couple issues that the specialists i've seen cannot help me with, and i hope to find resources here. I have ruled out thyroid issues, cardiovascular issues, vitamin deficiency in standard ranges, and other infectious disease issues through doctors and testing. I am debating about seeing an endocrinologist, but have lost a lot of faith in medicine since my psychiatric outpatient stent and the answers for my health that continue to elude me. I have listed my main issues below: 1. Fatigue - From what i've read and am trying to understand, fatigue can be a huge factor in antidepressant and benzodiazipine post acute withdrawal because of potential effects on hormones and neurotransmitters. I've also read that amphetamine withdrawal, especially in the context of abuse can cause fatigue, but my exposure to amphetamines was a decade ago, so i don't know if that could still be a contributing factor or not? The fatigue seems to come on intermittently, i drink green tea to help with wakefulness as the fatigue can feel debilitating throughout the day, and i feel like my brain just doesn't want to function on all gears. I am also sensitive to caffeine - if i ingest more than normal it can send me into a panic attack. My intermittent benzodiazepine exposure last year was in part induced by too much coffee, but i used to drink a pot of coffee a day without too much anxiety on paxil. 2. Emotional Blunting - I know that emotional blunting is also a factor in both benzodiazepine and antidepressant use and withdrawal, but i am a little perplexed that i still feel difficulty with emotional attachment. I theorize that this may be due to the benzodiazepine withdrawal mostly, for the reason that benzodiazepines inhibit or prevent neurological recovery from trauma, from what i understand. Is it possible that my body and mind are still in a state of survival even two years out from antidepressant and benzos? I understand that the psychological trauma from years of being medicated may also play a key factor in trust and developing relationships, but that is a psychological piece that should resolve itself through counseling, CBT, once the body begins to function correctly again. My other theory is that all my exposure to drugs over the years, (especially in the context of intermittent antipsychotic and benzodiazipine exposure) has caused irreversible atrophy to the neurological circuitry that is responsible for those functions (pre-frontal cortex and frontal lobe?) I'm looking for any input, resources, or suggestions that might help with those pieces Thanks, - NR EDIT: I don't have any recreational drug exposure either, all my drug exposure has been exclusively psychiatric with the exception of alcohol on a few celebratory occasions. I have also had antibiotic exposures on three separate occasions in the past five years.
  2. I’ll start with the Success Part, before I unfold the story. I am a classic poster-girl story of “Why You Should Taper.” I thought I couldn’t come off the drugs, I was convinced I was a “biological bipolar” – but by using SA’s conservative 10% or less tapering system, I hardly had any withdrawals this time, and could control my symptoms and make space for my stressors by holding. I’m a living example of why anyone should taper and hold in order to come off. And there is no such thing as too slow. I attribute my success to the SA taper, and a number of coping strategies. I got support. I had a psychologist, who was wholly supportive. I bullied my psychiatrist to do the taper “my way” instead of her way. She actually had helpful suggestions for lifestyle changes, too. I got an acupuncturist, a massage therapist, and later added an orthomolecular doctor and osteopath. I told my husband and all of my friends. I prepared for my taper. I owe so much to those who walked this path before me: AltoStrata, GiaK, Rhiannon, Petunia, BrassMonkey, MammaP, Bubble, Dalsaan, MeiMeiQuest, CymbaltaWithdrawal5600, and many more. And – to go further afield – Robert Whitaker for his excellent book, “Anatomy of an Epidemic,” and Will Hall for the “Icarus Harm Reduction Guide to Coming off Psychiatric Drugs” for showing me that it could be done, and how. And for helping me to accept that I may be different – but that different is not a medical condition. I got curious and read everything I could on the web, and learned a lot. I learned the most from SA and Beyondmeds.com. Most of what I have written as a moderator is not original – but is something I learned here or in my researches, that I applied to my life, and which I found effective. My psychiatrist resisted my desire to taper, but she told me she would support me if I put some things in place. We established a contract with my hubby, so that if I went off the rails, he would be able to get help for me. She would not taper me unless I made a commitment to take sun walks for light therapy and mood stabilization. I also eat meat and fish for mood stabilization & brain nutrition. I took up a tai chi practice and found a yoga studio which supports me. My karate mates have always supported me, even when I was too sick to participate. Meanwhile, my psychologist went to hear Robert Whitaker talk, and she came to realize how many of the cases she saw were people suffering from drug effects. She wrote glowing letters of progress to my psychiatrist, who really had no choice but to say, “Okay, I guess she’s doing well.” Nuts and bolts, I took a year to come off a low dose of reboxetine (it’s the least effective SNRI in the world, actually less effective than placebo), and another 2.5 years to come off the lithium. As I was suffering lithium toxicity (diabetes insipidus), I alternated some of my SNRI tapers with lithium tapers. I tapered 10% per month, or if while dry cutting, I had to drop by 15% (my largest taper), I would hold an extra month. I held an extra month if I had any upsets or stressors – funerals, travel, illness, bad news, etc. I held 3 months after the SNRI was gone before tapering the lithium again. My tapers were relatively symptom free. Most of my symptoms were from worry that I really was crazy – and there were mood spikes until I learned to manage my mood on my own. That’s what I should’ve learned when I got diagnosed 20 years ago. Nobody tells you that you can manage your own mood. In fact, nobody tells you that you are the only person who can manage your own mood! I greatly reduced gluten, especially wheat, and dairy. I cut the coffee way back. I start my day with protein (good for adrenals), and finish my day with carbs. I take magnesium baths whenever I feel "crunchy" and after every exercise session. I have raw food smoothies 2x a week. I take a number of supplements to manage my health without drugs. Most important: magnesium and fish oil. For mood & energy: NAC. I couldn’t take up meditation exactly, because of cult abuse in my past, but I can do tai chi and yoga, and I love breathing and mindfulness meditation. I found a great benefit to shamanic practice, because it is not worship of any foreign deity or guru, and my own inner experience is the guide to what I am learning and how I am growing. I took up creativity practices, like music, coloring, drawing, painting and writing. I took up correspondence with special people here on SA and in other places, so I could learn and grow by sharing with others. I was well supported by all of these people and practices, and I feel I have a web which will catch me if I ever fall down again. Sometimes now, I miss a practice. I might not get all the sun walks in, or I might eat wheat or dairy. But now I am well enough – I am buoyant enough – and I have enough practices – that missing one or two Jenga blocks doesn’t make the tower fall. (it also helps to not have a tall tower - our society asks too much of us, I believe, it's inhuman sometimes) When I come back, I’ll give more of my history – how crazy, abused, wild, suicidal, depressed, with unrelenting fatigue, and how I was convinced I was “bipolar.” Now, I have no diagnosis (I leave it on the medical charts so that I can refuse drugs – “No doctor, you can’t give me that, I’m bipolar!”), my body is broken from surgeries, abuse, accidents and pain. My major lasting drug effect is metabolic and autonomic dysfunction but those are compounded by surgeries, too. I still have severe delayed cycle sleep (but I always did: it is my difference), and unrelenting tinnitus. But my mental and emotional life is healthier than I’ve ever been before. I have compassion for my fellow human in a way I couldn’t before. I have passion for what I am doing, and a sense of purpose. I am driven to create, to share, to learn, to grow. I love meeting with people and listening, and feel so incredibly fortunate. I’m older and wiser than ever before, and I still have a lot of healing to do. But I am awake, alive, and grateful to be so.
  3. Kristine

    Kristine: Not alone

    Moderator note: link to Kristine's benzo thread - Kristine: Protracted clonazepam withdrawal? Hello, I am new to this site and would firstly like to extend my gratitude to all the people who have shared their stories and support. I now know I am not alone. My story is long and complex so I will attempt to condense it. I am 43 years old and was introduced to antidepressants 10 years ago after being diagnosed with MDD, GAD and PTSD (l do not feel comfortable with labels) by my psychiatrist. During the first 8 years of treatment multiple antidepressants and other psychotropic medications were prescribed. I will fast forward to October 2015 when I attempted to end my life (I had never been suicidal prior to taking antidepressants). I had to resign from work and was hospitalised for 1 month. At the time I had been taking citalopram for a number of years and had reached the maximum dose. My intuition told me it was not helping. I wanted to stop this medication and my psychiatrist was supportive of this decision. However, it is obvious to me now that she was inexperienced and uneducated with this process. The citalopram was ceased over one week and due to severe anxiety I was commenced on seroquel and diazepam. After leaving hospital I managed to taper off the seroquel and diazepam but became increasingly unwell both mentally and physically. My psychiatrist convinced me that my mental illness had returned and I was commenced on Parnate which was increased in dose over 3 months. Instead of improving my mental and physical ailments worsened and my psychiatrist sort a second opinion. I was hospitalised again in May 2016 under the 'care' of another psychiatrist. This was the beginning of an indescribable hell where I was treated like a human lab rat. Looking back the medications he prescribed were beyond belief and I was the victim of poly pharmacy without adequte professional rational. Unfortunally, like so many others, I was vulnerable and trusted his guidance. He treated me as both an inpatient and out patient over a one year period. Over this time I was prescribed over 14 psychotropic medication some of which were abruptly ceased and crossed over with other medications. If this wasn't enough I was subjected to 15 sessions of unnessaccery ECT. Not surprisingly, I was in a zombified state, unable to function and unable to return to work. My anxiety and depression was not alleviated and I was plagued with tremors, nausea, vomiting, fatigue and migraines. By April 2017 I ceased my appointments with this psychiatrist (he had little belief in withdraw symptoms or side effects of the medication he prescribed - he resorted to blaming me) and returned to my previous psychiatrist. Over the past eight months I have the mammoth task of withdrawing from multiple medications. These include escitalopram (completed reduction), Lithium (competed reduction), clonazepam (partial reduction), bupropion (completed reduction), seroquel (completed reduction), dexamphetamine (partial reduction) and fluoxetine (no reduction). My withdrawal symptoms are horrendous and relentless. My psychiatrist has been unable to advise me along a comfortable path. She appears to be in denial and her support has mostly evaporated. I feel abandoned, alone and frightened. I was forced to seek information independently (for which I am grateful), which continues to be a hideous realisation that for years I was in a constant state of drug withdrawal, side effects and drug interaction. I also feeling very angry about my treatment. I am tapering at the 10% rate now (one medication at a time) but even though I know road ahead will be long and rocky, I feel a sense of empowerment from educating myself. What I am experiencing is common and I am finally breaking free from the clutches of psychiatry.
  4. Moderator note: Link to benzo forum thread: summitbound: Poly-drugged: Thinking about tapering an AD w/ benzo Hello, I'm brand new to this site. I've been so busy learning about benzo tapering (and suffering!) on benzobuddies.org that I have yet to tackle getting off any of my antidepressants. I've already been tapering the benzo for over a year. I know that the general rule is to taper off your benzos first, and then work on your antidepressants. That said, I probably have a year or more left on my benzo taper and I hate being poly drugged with three antidepressants. I'd like to safely chip away at at least one of them. I think the mirtazipine is really helping with my sleep during bezno withdrawal, so I don't think I want to touch it. It seems like the low hanging fruit would be the lithium, since it seems I'm on a less than theraputic dose at 675 mg. Thoughts? So far, I have been "blessed" during my benzo taper in that I have not suffered from depression, severe anxiety, or panic. So I do want to tread carefully. Thanks so much!
  5. Hi all, This is my first post here and my first real attempt at tapering off of all psychiatric medications. A very brief background, I have been on 20+ medications since I was 12, ranging from antidepressants, mood stabilizers, benzodiazepines, anti-convulsants, anti-psychotics, and sleep drugs. I am 22 now and finally, (sober this time) investigating some of the core issues that caused me to self medicate-via doctor and drug dealer-and I'm ready to really sit with my emotions and feel them fully. Currently I am on Lithium-1050mg, Gabapentin-600mg, Celexa-5mg I have been reading as much as I can on comingoff.org and SA and would like to prepare myself and set myself up for success. From what I understand 10% taper is ideal. I am not in any hurry, I just want this to be as positive experience as possible so this is fine. I met with my psychiatrist today and she had some smaller dosages prescribed for me and is on board and on my team for which I am thankful. I am wondering if there are other things I can do smartly prepare. I read briefly about remineralization but am not sure what that entails. Any foods, supplements, behaviors that would ease me into this journey? Ideas? Thoughts? I start this process April 1st and will post updates. Thank you!
  6. I want to know how to detox from all the psychiatric drugs that I took in order to make possible for my body not to need to take them anymore and to eliminate all the side effects that the psych drugs gave me. This is all the drugs that I took from psychiatrists: when I was 16 years old I took first paxil and rivotril (clonazepam) for a year and then only epival er (valproate semisodium) for a year and Then when I got 21 I took paxil and rivotril for 6 months. I changed to a 2nd psychiatrist he gave me symbyax (olanzapine and fluoxetine) I was with him for 4 months, then I went with a 3rd shrink that gave me lamictal and abilify for 6 months so then I changed with a 4th doctor which was a "neurologist" who gave me strattera for ADD and told me to go with his partner who is another psychiatrist (5th doctor) who added me sertraline, topamax (topiramate), olanzapine, lamictal, and because of the tachycardia that were produce by this drugs he added inderalici for my tachycardia. So after 7 months with this doctor I went with a 6th doctor that gave me paxil, rivotril, lithium and for my ADD he gave me methylphenidate (commercial name is tradea LP which is similar to Concerta). After 6 months with this doctor I changed to a 7th doctor that gave me sertraline in a very high dose and with this I decided to stop taking that pill a was taking but in a one day span it caused me to have a psychosis that made my father send male nurses to kidnapped and locked into a clinic (like hospitalization), in which the skrink that trated me was the one that treated me when I was 16 and he injected me haldol and gave pills more haldol, biperiden, triazolam and risperdal. I LIVED HELL WITH THESE DRUGS. Then the shrink after he saw that I recover reality, I was super depressed so he gave me citalpram but it didn't work so he gave me paxil and lithium. Then I started coming off meds and now I just take one quarter of a lithium pill every day in the morning. My actual side effects that I want to eliminate are: anxiety, very strong heart palpitaions or beats/beating that cause bad breathing and chest pain, difficulty to take decisions, nausea, extreme itching in my face, head, chest and back, buzz in the ears, difficulty to focus or concentrate, bad short-term memory, and wanting to pee all the time. Thank you very much.
  7. Hi all, This is my I don't know, 6th? Maybe 7th? Time coming off of cipralex. I have been trapped over the last four years in a cycle of stopping and starting the medication and this past time taking it I became so suicidal that I had to stop cold turkey from 10 mg. I am also taking lithium which I will remain on until I have discussed being weaned off of it and reassessed with my doctor(I say my symptoms match PMDD and seasonal affective disorder with social anxiety more closely than bipolar disorder). Lithium makes me violently sick all night and morning almost every day for over a year now and the worst part is that it doesn't do anything useful for me as I've only experienced manic symptoms when taking antidepressants. I'm feeling frustrated the last few days. I had for whatever reason had this timeline for myself where I would be in the gym doing light exercise by now, getting some peer support and seeing friends. Meditating and living healthier. Instead my days are saved for napping to make up for how horribly I slept the night before. I have to keep cancelling appointments because sleep is more important. And I'm always in pain. I'm frustrated this process takes so long. Between the vomiting, the insomnia and the pain I don't even know how anyone makes it getting off these meds. The emotional spirals every day and cognitive problems.. I was staying positive but it's hard right now.
  8. I am 54 years old, and experienced my first manic episode, starting 1st November of last year, requiring a month of involuntary hospitalisation starting 14th November brought on by numerous stressors. I was on Lithium and Haloperidol, from the 15th Nov, then ±900mg Lithium and 0.5mg Risperidone from the 15th Jan . I started tapering the Risperidone from the Feb 16th. My last dose was 0.125mg on 15 March. How long will the withdrawal symptoms last? The reason why I'm asking is I'd also like to know if I am experiencing withdrawal symptoms or bipolar depression? The intense depressive feelings arrive and leave suddenly and unexpectedly, sometimes lasting a few minutes, sometimes a few hours, after which I feel mildly depressed again, which is a general state. I am able to be lifted, for example by gardening, good cooking, humour etc, during this general milder state. I have general anxiety about several factors which triggered the original mania, namely money (increased now, due to difficulty working), accommodation for my and my spouse's ageing parents who are both difficult to work with, those being by far the most major among other stressors. I have found that very carefully-considered and rare - perhaps twice a week - use of Diazepam can also return me to this state from the more intense state. I intended to start tapering the Lithium once I feel more stable and know myself better after this current tapering. I apologise if this has been covered before, but I find reading and writing about my condition extremely stress inducing, which is to say getting to this point has not been easy. I am eternally grateful in advance for the help.
  9. Help777

    Help777: Journal

    Effexor x12 years. Added lithium in sept 2015. Added prozac in october to help bridge taper from effexor as i started having symptoms. Started withdrawing effexor in September 2014. Over last 4 months i went From 112.5 to 14mg as of last week.. Last week I seemed to all of a sudden hit a wall. Crying uncontrollably constantly. Shaking, nausea, extreme fear and overwhelming need to cry. Ive read your site. Ive reinstated to 20 mg of effexor for last 3 days but absolutely no improvement. Im so scared. I cant go to work like this. Continuing prozac 20 and lithium 300. Please help.
  10. I took Effexor for a total of six months and got to 300 mg. Wanted to discontinue due to mania, insomnia, stomach issues. Had not heard about discontinuation syndrome. The Dr took me from 300 mg to 150 mg for a month. Added Straterra. Then 75 mg for 10 days. Severely ill so increased back to 150 mg. Went to new Dr for second opinion. Added Cymbalta took Effexor up to 187 mg. Ended up hospital 2 months after started taper. Now on 50 mg of Pristiq instead of those 3 antidepressants. Depressed, frustrated, severe cognitive and memory issues, scared, confused, anxious, sick,angry. New doctor tomorrow. Wishing I hadn't gone in hospital and had started a slower taper on my own. The Dr yanking me off 3 meds sounds like it will be difficult to get through on my own.
  11. I am a little over a month into this part of my tapering story, (Celexa-free now) and last week I had a lot of anxiety, which did not come as a surprise to me. I had somatic obsessions, tactile hallucinations, paranoia, and sometimes I wince from the intrusive thoughts or images that come up. My partner has been witnessing moments of this struggle which sparked a discussion. She says it hurts her to see me in pain and she urged me to think more critically about why I am doing what I am doing. When I tried to explain that sometimes withdrawal is just hard and requires patience, she said that I was rationalizing everything and didn't have any plan in place for when I should stop what I was doing or increase dosages again. She feels as if I don't leave enough room for her feelings or take into account how my actions in this process affect our relationship. She does not have personal experience with mental illness or medication which for some reason makes hearing that from her feel even harder. I feel judged in moments, though I really do think this is my own projection, and as a result I am not able to comfortably voice how I feel. I responded to all of this rather defensively. It felt like she wasn't trusting me to know what I need and it also seemed like this process, (which is hard for me already) was burdensome to her somehow. I felt like this is incredibly challenging for me and I need her amazing strength, love, and support right now, more than ever. I care so much about how she feels and this relationship but I want to be in control of this very personal process. She also thinks I am undergoing this journey in hopes of an idealized vision of reality without medication. While I do have hope for what life might be like drug-free, I try really hard to stay grounded and not have too many expectations. Maybe she's right in that regard. I don't know how to create more space for her to have feelings about how I'm feeling. It feels messy. I start dissociating during our conversations and losing time, losing information. She is very sharp and has an amazing memory so I simply cannot compete. We have barely talked in the past two days, we both feel really frustrated. We have both explicitly stated our needs and yet this still does not feel resolved. Neither of us can seem to relax into a willing state of mind until the other does. I feel so angry and I can't tell where it is coming from. Does anyone relate to this? I'm not sure how to move forward? Otto
  12. Hello, Everyone here seems really wonderful and pretty knowledgable. I am trying to get off Lithium and Risperidone. But I need to do it safely as I am in college and can't take time off like I would like to. It seems it is hard to get off of these meds for many people. I got the "ok" from my doctor to get off of them, as I was only on them to begin with because of some traumatic things that happened in my life and I needed help adjusting.. however my doctor isn't really practicing anymore it seems.. its impossible to get ahold of her, so I am trying to figure out how to do this on my own. I really feel I am ready to be off of them yet cannot find a clear answer on the web as the how to do it. Can anyone help me? I have a very long history with medications (I was pretty sick for about 10 years.. only some of the meds are listed in my signature, mostly just ones during my worst) and while getting off of them, I never had withdrawals from any of them besides Citalopram. Currently, I am on 4.5mg of Risperidone and have been for a couple of years and I am on 1200mg of Lithium and have been on it for the same amount of time. I'm not sure if weight/height/age matter for getting off medications but in case it does I am 5'2 124lbs and am 24 years old. I would like to know how slowly I have to go off of these in order for it to not really effect much of my life or if I just need to be prepared to feel awful. Also, should I go one at a time? And if so, which medication should I start with? I am also on Amitriptyline. I deal with depression sometimes. Will going off of Lithium and Risperidone effect my mood? Also, when I was sick those years, I lived in a room and never left, it effected me very much. Thats why I am on Lithium and Risperidone now. When I re-entered society, it was pretty scary and created a lot of anxiety. Just having to ask someone a question was so foreign and startling to me that I decided to go on these drugs to help lower my anxiety and urges that I would get because of fear. I have readjusted really well, am doing great in school, finally able to talk to people, and hopefully will soon be able to better make friends, but these medications effect parts of my brain that I think I need. These medications make me feel less and I miss feeling what is around me. My art practice has kind of crumbled since I've been on them. They were helpful when I needed them but as I have said, I just feel it is time to be off of them. However, I am worried that going off will effect my ability to think clearly. I have come across this information in a few different places. But all in all, I just need some advice as to how to get off of these. If anyone has any advice for me about anything I have shared in terms of these medications, why I am on them or what to do to get off of them, I would really appreciate it. As I am worried I will fall back into a bad place if I don't go off of Lithium and Risperidone carefully. And although I don't have many withdrawals, I am very prone to side effects. If you have shared experiences or stories with either of these medications that would help me, please share them with me.
  13. Hi, I hope to be a regular contributor. Here is a bit of background: Throughout high school I was mildly depressed and anxious, which turned into a pretty horrible social anxiety and moderate depression in first year of university. Eventually I left school and was pretty depressed for eight months. I started Paxil when I was nearly 20 in 11/06 and immediately my anxiety and depression seemed to vanish. I returned to school and withdrew my Paxil six months later with no noticeable withdrawal. Two and a half years later when I was 22 I began experiencing some horrible anxiety triggering some gastro issues. I took one dose of Paxil and woke up that night with some sort of terrible panic attack. I ceased taking the Paxil but the panic attacks (flu-like symptoms) continued and lasted hours at a time. I feared that I was dying. Eventually I was hospitalized and put on Cipralex and Olanzapine. My anxiety eventually halted and the Cipralex gave me more energy and motivation than I typically have. Eventually I was labelled bipolar ii because of the initial but short lasting activating effects that some antidepressants have in me. The Cipralex pooped out in three weeks and I was polydrugged for the next four years, including two more hospitalizations in that first year for depression. Eventually my mood and anxiety stabilized for two years on Cymbalta, lithium, and Alertec; however, the fatigue was unbearable. In 08/13 I came off Cymbalta and my mood started to deteriorate (I probably experienced about a month of withdrawal syndrome including insomnia, irritability, brain zaps, and flu-like symptoms). After more polydrugging, I decided that the drugs may be making things worse. At nearly age 27, I came off of Pristiq and lithium. Pristiq brought on a similar syndrome as Cymbalta. I came off of both antidepressants too quickly, however, usually in a matter of a month. I also came off of lithium way too quickly, in about six weeks. As I was coming off lithium I began to feel normal again for the first time in four and a half years. About three weeks after my last lithium dose (02/14) I woke up vomiting. I then had severe anxiety for a couple of days but it lifted in a week. It was replaced by a mild or moderate depression that was, for the most part, quite manageable. I was actually hopeful, had normal energy for the first time in years, and beginning meditation and psychotherapy and thought I might recover. Unfortunately, some bad life events happened: there was conflict in the house that I live in and I ended up living on my own for a while (not a good thing). Worse, however, is that I injured by back. It remains injured and I am now getting some tests done to try and figure out what is wrong with it. I can't walk more than five minutes without it getting quite achey and knotty. Eventually this bodily stress had me thinking thoughts that I was dying again and that my back will never heal. This lead to me to being in a constant state of panic. I was losing lots of weight and my body had been in panic mode for nearly a week. I was terrified. I went to a community crisis centre who I thought might help me without psych drugs -- but they basically told me to go get drugs. I ended up hospitalized (06/14) and was immediately put on mirtazapine and then Lyrica. A few days later the anxiety left and I entered the most severe depression of my life: it was incredibly painful, I could barely move, my voice had no emotion, and I was asking my parents to kill me. The depression would occasionally lift at nighttime and I would be normal again. The depression lifted one morning and was replaced by a depressive/anxious hellish state that did not lift in the evening. Defeated, uncertain how the pain would go away, and pressured by my nurses and my psychiatrist, I upped everything and began lithium again albeit at a lower dose: mirtazapine 30mg, Lyrica 100mg, lithium 600mg. I was discharged from the hospital last week. I feel incredibly discouraged. Before I found this site (and the 10% rule) I tapered 25mg off of Lyrica so that now the Lyrica fog is much more bearable during the day. My biggest questions at this point are: after tapering off of drugs or during the taper for some people, how does one deal with severe panic anxiety or with severe, profoundly painful depression? I am beginning to browse these forums looking for these answers. I fear that there may not be answers and that people just ride through it which takes a lot of courage. I tried to ride out depressions when I was younger but they it went on for over a year and a half before I took Paxil. It is especially challenging as I live in Toronto and I cannot find much support here for tapering off of psych drugs or for dealing with a crisis that comes during or post taper. I am in the process of finding a new psychiatrist, which is quite difficult, as my psychiatrist is as biology-based as possible (he wanted me to have shock therapy in December which is partly why I came off drugs around then as I realized he didn't know what he was doing.) Unfortunately, I still had to see him when I was recently in hospital, which is another trigger. I just never imagined I would be back on psych drugs. The injury to my back is also depressing me. I've gone from hopeful to hopeless in a matter of months. Right now my anxiety is not too severe and neither is the depression. I've read that Mirt has a habit of pooping out early, which is partly why I think every minute is invaluable in determining tapering and eventual crisis. The crisis pattern for me seems to be severe anxiety followed by depression, then maybe a mixed anxious/depressed state. Anyone with similar experiences, advice, or encouragement? The scariest things for me are how to deal with severe panic anxiety and a physically excruciating depression. Thanks for reading.
  14. Hi all, I am writing here in desperation as I find myself feeling so bad after 11 weeks off all medications, that I am just wanting to die every day. I am feeling horrendous physically, mentally and emotionally. I have been on many medications in various combinations over the last 12 years, none of which ever worked...I just kept going, blindly trusting my psychiatrists and treating team and hoping that the next medications would be the one that finally worked. I have done 13 years of therapy alongside this, and have tried many alternative/complimentary therapies along my way. That said though, I have been reduced to being a 'mental patient' for the last 10 years now, going in and out of hospital and attending medical and therapy appointments being my life... But now I'm trying to move away from that. To start life anew, away from all the medical diagnoses and destructive medications. In July 2017, after a particularly bad hospitalisation, I decided it was time to walk away from the mental health system, and get off the medications which never helped. I have tried this 3 times before, but was not successful. I have now done a lot of research and know about tapering, but unfortunately, I was nearly off everything by the time I had this knowledge. So I have come off my medications very fast, particularly given that I have been medicated for so long. The medications I was last on include Prozac, Lithium and Seroquel. I came off Prozac between June and July 2017 under doctor supervision (it was giving me horrendous sweats). In August-September, I came off 500mg of Lithium (down to 250mg then nothing). With Seroquel, I had been on about 600mg and had already been slowly cutting that down from maybe January 2017 (perhaps earlier) and was down to 200mg in July. Whilst in hospital, that was reduced down to 50mg in one hit (long story!). I then tapered it down until I came totally off it at the beginning of November 2017. Physically, I have been feeling like a have a combination of the flu and a really bad hangover most of the time, feeling nauseous, achy, and dizzy and absolutely exhausted, with absolutely no energy. It has actually become worse over the last month and a half or so, where it is now to the point where it is hard to go out and I need to be lying down a lot of the time. Lights and sounds can be quite intrusive. I am seeing a naturopath for support with this, but nothing is helping yet. I suspect it may be a long process. Mentally and emotionally, things have become really really dark. I am aware that all this could well be withdrawals, but with everyone's experience being so different, it is hard to know if/when this may come to an end... It has been suggested by some that it may be worth going back on a small dose of a medication at this point to help, and then slowly tapering it again once I've stabilised a bit... Is this a wise thing to do this far after withdrawing? And if it is something recommended, which medication? Would I go back on a small dose of Seroquel as that's the last thing I tapered off? It is a pretty horrible and destructive medication... Thanks for reading Amy
  15. I'm 45 years old. I have been on psychiatric drugs since I was 25. For years, 17, I was on Paxil 20mg and tegretol 200mg. I believed I tripped off my first depression after using ecstasy, which I think altered my brain's serotonin functioning. Four years ago I went to my gynecologist seeking help for worsening pms, as I believed perimenopause was coming into play. I failed to consult with my psychiatrist and trusted her. After a too-quick taper off of Paxil and onto Lexapro things just completely deteriorated. After 6 months I was a wreck, did another, even shorter, taper off of Lexapro back onto Paxil. But I was sunk...I think my central nervous system was wrecked. The ensuing year of onto and off of a variety of drugs was nothing short of a nightmare. Sparing all the details, I landed on the following drugs: Remeron 15mg Paxil 20mg Lamictal 125mg Pristiq 100mg Lithium 600mg Klonopin .5mg Trazodone 50mg It's criminal. A John's Hopkins psychiatrist specializing in women's hormone related mood issues said my gynecologist's cavalier actions verged on malpractice. A recent, and current, rash believe to be pityriasis rosea prompted my current psychiatrist to insist I stop Lamictal cold turkey. The dermatologist diagnosed it. He, without seeing the rash himself, is insistent. In light of what I feel is a damaged central nervous system I have decided to trust my dermatologist. That said, this situation has prompted me to consider the idea of eliminating the Lamictal. It's a start. I also believe Lamictal in some way tinkers with estrogen, something I'd like to avoid. It has been a hellish journey. I do not trust the psychiatric industry. I believe that how my case has been handled, so carelessly and without regard to actual true health, is shameful. I never, ever thought I'd be on multiple drugs like this. I am a high functioning, intelligent woman with a constitution sensitive to endocrine changes. I have been terrified of even considering touching any of this. While in the back of my mind wondering....what will happen to me after years of being on so many drugs? For the record, I have never been manic, ever. Lithium does function for me as an antidepressant. I understand that I'm somewhere on the spectrum, and because of long periods of happiness and wellbeing interrupted by 3 episodes of major depression, each with clear origins, I have been labeled bipolar2. I don't care much for labels. All I know is I'm on a serious amount of drugs. And I'm finally willing to find the courage to wrap up this bizarre ride. Lamictal first. Thanks for reading. Any encouragement or feedback gladly welcomed. Hope
  16. Eaglesoar

    Eaglesoar

    Hello, I have been taking psychotropic meds for 30 years, primarily antidepressants initially...desipramine, Prozac, Wellbrutrin and then adding ability. I then had 3 manic episodes and started lithium with a number of different antipsychotic meds including zyprexa, seroquill,abiify , and respirdone. I gained a great deal of weight and felt terrible. I worked with a mental Heath naturopath for two years to try to get off my medication. I got down to 45mg of Lomictal and then did very poorly and had to see a new psychiatrist who prescribed 600mg of lithium, 200mg of Lomictal, 300mg of Wellbrutrin, and 100mg of Seroquill , which is now down to 50mg. I know I have to go slow with tapering and only do one medication at a time. I may have to stay on lithium.
  17. Angelles66

    Angelles66

    Hi i have suffered from anxiety off and on am 51 years old but usually have gotten through life alright had a bad episode last year stressed out and blacked out for about 15 minutes accidentally opened a car door i thought was mine anyway the owner called the cops and i was hospitalized for no reason was put ontu halidol and lithium for three months fought to get off it as i did nothing wrong they let me off it but still suffer from headpains and dizziness 20 months later life has been tough as i just want to get back to life and work wonder if anybody suffered similarly and if theres a way out of this thank you
  18. Hi! I'm from Philippines, 20 yrs. old, female. 3 yrs. ago I develop depression due to severe stress. It lasted 6 months. Now, again because of so much stress, I develop Mania, got delusions and psychosis. So I was admitted at the hospital and got injected that make me sleep.That was Feb. 2016. When I wake up, I feel nothing. I lost my personality, got anhedonia, lose focus and concentration! I wonder if anyone got there emotions and their normal life back. It's so frustrating cause Here I was, “The Joy Engineer” of all things, who could not feel joy! It was the ultimate irony. : (
  19. I was diagnosed with BP after a severe depression following childbirth 32 years ago . Was put on 1800 mg lithium by a shrink who later lost his license for sexual harassment . Stopped two years later with the help of a GP-Homeopath In my opinion , I was never manic . I had a second depression six years later , another doctor put me back on lithium 900mg , when I told him I had taken it before . No mention of bipolarity in his files , but he later send me to a specialist who said I had it on the first visit . I went down to 600 mg. Seven years later , another depression , I asked for 20 mg Paxil , which I have now been taking for 15 years . I saw a fantastic psychiatrist for two years to re-evaluate the bipolar diagnostic , he said I have unipolar depression , not bipolar. He kept my meds as is , said lithium helped for depression . However , he retired and my files were destroyed . In 2006 , I wanted the diagnostic on paper . Went to see another psychiatrist : she confirmed bipolarity after 20 mn because I do have racing thoughts at times , especially when depressed. I told her I can tackle different projects ( single-parenting , work , renovations on the house ). I talk a lot ( this is a family character trait ) and expressed poor judgment in partners . Sometimes I spend , never more than I can afford . But : I never hallucinated ,no voices , sleep 8-10 hrs a night , no bipolarity in the family ( depression yes ), no megalomania , no over-spending and I pay all my bills as they come , no multiple partners . Never went on sudden highs , except when I did drugs as a teenager ( loll ) – I ‘ve been sober since 2001 ( was sober before in 1985 , but relapsed into periodical drinking for a few years ). I do get anxious at times , also have a good sense of humor. I always had a doubt about the verdict , it doesn’t seem to fit . In 2015 , I see another psychiatrist ( colleague of the previous one ) : He says ‘’ well , three doctors diagnosed you ….could they all be wrong ? ‘’ My answer is ‘’ they each saw me in depression , perhaps they rely on each other’s diagnostics ? What about the one I saw for two years , each week ? ‘’ We go through all the questions , he’s scratching his head , then says ‘’ you can make a very careful attempt to stop lithium ‘’ . He’s surprised that I’ve been on Paxil for so long , still had depression , and never went into a manic phase . None of my friends ( one used to be a psychiatric nurse , her late husband was a shrink ) see me as bipolar . As much as I’ve watched for signs over the years , there are few . I’m 60 years old , have put 40 lbs since taking Paxil and my libido is dead . I also have Hepatitis C . Would love your feedback
  20. Moderator's note: link to RainbowDbc's benzo thread - RainbowDbc: What should I do now? Hi everyone..My name is Diana. I am 30 years old. I have been on many drugs but particularly rivotril and lithium. It all started at the age of of 18. I had a psychotic episode and was labeled as bipolar. I didnt have a history before on mood swings or any bipolar traits. So they gave me many drugs and I was convinced I needed them. I was told maby lies. That my brain needed or did not produce enough lithium. That it was for life. I gradually developed insomnia and was given rivotril. 5 years later I realized my body and brain had changed a lot. I started to investigate on youtube and other sources. But no one listened. I was coerced by police my psychoatrists especially my parents. I was being forced on meditation even though my instinct told me it was the wrong path. Its been another 5 years. My memory is gone, I have mental fatigue, I am not creative or very empathic anymore or expressive and spontaneous. My life has turned grey. I feel generally stupid and cannot hold a task for too long. I have tapered from 3 pills to one and am having experiences that werentbthere before. Suicide ideation, fatigue, strong insomnia, feeling empty or adhedonia...generally like my brain is really sick and fragile. I have angry bursts but they make no sense as my braon can make all my thoughts coherent when Im a bit emotional. There is more it to my story but this is what is most prevalent. I wish I had cancer to stop this. Im 30 and have been missing out due to being so drugged and spellbinded. Id like to try amino acids and a very healthy diet..Exercise..Tanning. But I dont have a real way to do things effectively with such strong withdrawal effects. I barely want to leave the house. I dont know of anyone that has taken lithium to talk about this with. I hope anyone could give me some orientation and support. Thank you...
  21. Hi everyone, this is my first post and I would like to get your feedback on two questions: 1. I had a strange episode am I am trying to understand if it had anything to do with a lithium taper: I was in treatment for a digestive disorder taking some strong herbal antibacterials (like oregano, coptis, etc). I began to have severe digestive sensitivies, bloating, pain, and cramping. I had a reaction to the treatment that created more symptoms than the disease. I also began to have worsening sleep problems. I would be awakened at night after 2-4 hrs sleep often with heart palpitations, nausea and a cortisol rush. It was extremely hard to get back to sleep. I was sleeping 4-6 hrs a night. At the same time I had been reducing lithium. (see below) After reading extensively on this site, I can see that I reduced by too much at one time. However, I had gone cold turkey off all lithium for 6 weeks without any symptoms. I had a pretty severe reaction to witnessing a trauma during this time and I could feel my brain and body stuck in the fight or flight response. I've never had such a difficult period of little sleep. I felt frozen inside. Then, perhaps due to lack of sleep, I began to experience many neurological symptoms exactly like a concussion I experienced years before (significant light, sound sensitivity, difficulty talking, thinking, and following people's conversation, unable to drive, headaches, etc). After a few months, most symptoms are now gone. Could the anxiety, sleep problems, and PTSD like response be caused by the taper or by tapering too quickly? I've asked several psychiatrists and they disagree. What are your thoughts? Lithium history 900 mg started in 2000 went off cold turkey for a couple months in 2016. No withdrawal sx. Went back on 600 mg before a surgery as a preventative measure August 2016. Reduced to 300 mg around beginning of March 2017 with some increased fatigue. Then reduced to 150 around April, 2017. Very anxious and sleepless with nighttime cortisol surges by May 2017. Had PTSD type of response to witnessing a trauma, then mild TBI sx. Returned to 600 mg 2. Based on history, and this info, which drug would you taper first: Have been on Paxil - 20 mg for around 19 years for major depression which I have not experienced since being on the combo of Lithium and Paxil. My psychiatrist is not sure If I am on the bipolar spectrum or not. I started lithium so I could augment and reduce the paxil from 30 mg. He doesn't have a strong feeling either way about which one I should begin to taper. If any part of the above scenario indicates that I could be on the bipolar spectrum than it would make sense to go off Paxil first. I wanted to go off lithium first since it has caused a thyroid disorder and because I thought it would be much harder to go off Paxil. Thanks for your responses.
  22. G'day folks! I've only just arrived, I've read a few threads here, but not had much to say. I've been lucky, really. Because I'm not heavily medicated and never have been - I've fought that every step of the way. Likewise, I've never been hospitalized or jailed - I've fought against that every step of the way. It started in my 20's when Doc's decided that my depression would clear up better with a bit of Prozac. Just to help me "over the bump" until I had frank hallucinations, watching Bigfoot amble about in traffic and around town. Time to get off the Prozac. So I go off, and persist in an empty marriage with unfulfilling work. So the Doc's (I can't even remember which Doctors did this, it's strange because I was in a new town in Indiana, and you'd think I"d remember going to the clinic or Doc's office, but oh well) prescribe Zooloft. I get jittery and palpitations, so I go off again. Over the next 10 years, from about 25-35, I'm prescribed various antidepressants, and most of them fail. The only one to stick was Wellbutrin, but I get ahead of myself. So after these 3 month each infusions of brain chemical bursts, for 10 years, is it any wonder that when the marriage fell apart in 1995 I went full blown, psychotic mad manic? At the time I described it as if a weight that I had held on my shoulders for years and years was suddenly pulled away and I came unstuck. I was talking to bees (and making contracts with them), stalking potential lovers, stripping my clothes off in the woods so as to be "invisible," paranoid that the lights in my windows were UFO's. This was not treated by medical doctors as mania. Nor was it treated as psychosis at any time: because here is the key - even though I was mad and manic, I was LUCID. I could tell you, "This just isn't right, I need to get help." Ergo, I escaped hospitalization, and the overdrugging that happens there. This was treated with yet another antidepressant (Wellbutrin?) and antianxiety meds (likely Xanax). I met a yoga guru at about that time, and he "cleaned me up" and stabilized me but that was another abusive relationship - because now I "owed him" my life. I was on Wellbutrin for 3 years after this, but the depression just kept sinking deeper and deeper as I had sold my soul to this yogi. When I told the yogi, finally, to go away, that I would be happier without him telling me "who to be," and "how to be it," I got marginally better. At the same time I met my birthfamily, Birth Mom, birth aunt, a sister and 2 brothers. When I got the family history and heard about great-grandma hanging in the shower, and grandma finding her, and the resultant paranoia about menopause this caused....when I heard about the uncles who were chameleons and bigamists....I thought, well. Maybe I am "manic depressive" or "bipolar." So again: with lucidity and clarity I presented myself to the hospital charity system for treatment. to be continued.......
  23. My personal history is in my signature, but I'll put it here in my introduction aswell. I tried three different anti-depressants from December 2012 to December 2013, to treat anxiety. The first was Celexa, the second was Zoloft and the last one was Prozac. In December 2013 I had a manic episode after being on Prozac for a month and a half. Then I stopped taking any medications for about a month. Then I had a second manic episode in February 2014. Then I visited a psychiatrist in March 2014 and was given a bipolar diagnosis (now I know it was an anti-depressant induced mania, not true bipolar disorder). So I was prescribed Lithium 900 mg in March 2014. Then in April 2014 I started taking 50 mg Zoloft again for anxiety (along with the 900mg lithium I had just started taking). Since that time, I have spent 1.5 years at a 50mg level, 6 months at a 100mg level, 1.5 years at a 75 mg level. As of a couple months ago, I am now at the 50mg level again. (Not knowing much about withdrawal, my reduction from 100mg to 75 mg was a single 25mg reduction all at once- I survived that but didn’t recognize the withdrawal symptoms at the time, and I will not do that again! 6 months later I started a process of going from 75mg to 50mg, in 6 to 12 mg chunks. So as of May 2017, I am at the 50 mg level. And I am still taking 900mg Lithium. Luckily I have not experienced any manic behavior since the second manic episode in February 2014. But I know that Lithium withdrawal can cause mania so I know that I need to be careful not to make reductions too quickly.) Now I need to figure out how to taper off BOTH Lithium and Sertraline. My question is- how do I know what order to taper off this drug combination? -Seeing as antidepressants are what triggered a manic episode in me a couple years ago, it makes sense to taper off / quit Sertraline first … and it seems like it would be best to wait to wait to taper off Lithium until I feel “stable” after quitting the antidepressants. -But on the other hand, these two medications seem to have opposite effects. Antidepressants seem to be a little bit more stimulating. Lithium seems to be a little bit more sedating. If I completely quit my antidepressants first, am I going to be extremely sluggish and glum (having no positive emotion)? Could the antidepressant withdrawal effects take longer to recover from in this scenario, because I’m still taking a high dose of Lithium? What do you guys think about my situation- how should I proceed? Has anyone here tapered off the lithium/antidepressant drug combination? Thanks in advance for your help!
  24. Hello out there! I'm 10 months into quitting lithium and citalopram cold turkey after more than 10 years of use. I've always been a highly functioning overachiever but became increasingly depressed, agitated and anxious at the age of 15. I was soon diagnosed with bi-polar II disorder and put on dozens of different medicines at the request of my parents and many doctors. But after gaining 50 pounds from seroquel, experiencing an increase in anxiety and anger and a host of new symptoms I decided to get off. The bad news... This has been the HARDEST 10 months of my entire life. From suicidal depression to random aches and pains, muscle stiffness, intrusive thoughts and now obsessive compulsions I can't believe I'm still here! This has been incredibly hard on me, but also on my family. Being in social situations is difficult and many of the things I use to enjoy, no longer make me happy. On top of all that I work a 9-5 which means I mask my symptoms 8 hours a day, 5 days a week so I can pay rent. Life is generally unpredictable and overwhelming... The good news... In 10 months I lost 35 pounds- down 50 from from my heaviest. Everything is SO vivid and bright-all my senses are heightened and I experience a state of awareness I never knew existed. On top of that, getting off medicine led me to a spiritual awakening. Now meditation, mindfulness and intentional living fill the space between the windows and waves. Despite my mood swings and anxiety, I am more in touch with my spirit than ever before and HOPEFUL that the worst of the depression and physical pain is OVER. Now if only the anxiety and compulsions would end....
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