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  1. Hi- I've been reading a lot of the supportive threads regarding successful tapering off various drugs. I weaned myself off of Zoloft and Ativan 10 years ago, after taking it for 8 months for PPD. I started back on AD 7 months ago, this time Wellbutrin with an occasional Ativan (which quickly became daily). I started on 100, then 150 for 5 months, and now 300 mgXL for 1 month in. But today I started having near suicidal thoughts and the depression has gotten consistently worse instead of better. I upped it to 300 thinking that would help, but even after 4-5 weeks, the depression is worse than ever. I know it does a lot of good- It stops many negative thoughts and stops those extreme emotional swings and outbursts, but the constant depression and flatness is too much. I do not want to go on an SSRI, as it took me 6 weeks to taper off Zoloft the last time and I don't wish to inevitably have to go through that again. I did cold turkey Ativan, and had severe withdrawals for 10 days, including NO sleep and flu symptoms. It was horrid. That was just a couple months ago. I read threads where it says it takes 1-1 1/2 years to taper from 300 Wellbutrin. I have only been on 300 mg for 1 month! I can't imagine being on any dose of this for another year! If I've only been on it for the shorter length of time I have, I am hoping I can taper a litter quicker? I'd like to start by dropping back to 150, and then stay there for a month, and then begin tapering the IR. I'm just so nervous of those flu like symptoms and no sleep like the Ativan WD. Does that happen with too quick taper for W? Thanks in advance for any advice.
  2. My story: I started taking anti depressants about 15 years ago for mild anxiety. I saw my doctor and he gave me a prescription after about 15 minutes without any exam. He said I had a guess what? Chemical imbalance. For the next 15 years I switched a few times and increased the dosed so in the end I was on 50mg of Paroxetine CR daily. Through the years I had always had a feeling that something just wasn’t right with me, I was drinking way too much sometimes and I felt like I just didn’t think right, like a normal person. After 8 years dry, I started drinking again following my divorce. I slowly drank more and more and continued to take my 50mgs of paxil every day. I didn’t realize it but I was slowly taking away my conscience. I also didn’t realize it until recently but the paxil was actually giving me the overwhelming urge to drink. It screws up your blood sugar which creates a craving for sweets. Alcohol derived from sugar, so it satisfies this need in your body. But what happens is afterward your blood sugar crashes again which starts a cycle of craving. As a result of the paxil and alcohol I was lying to everyone including myself about my drinking but it didn’t seem wrong to me. Anti depressants and the like are very powerful drugs that not only affect us physically but they do horrendous things to our brains and our personalities. I found myself praying frequently and asking God to help me. I knew I was drinking too much but I also felt something else was drastically wrong but I couldn’t put my finger on it. God answered my prayer and I guess I wasn’t prepared for what it meant. He sent an angel into my life who when she learned about these drugs urged me to get off of them. We came up with a reduction strategy not wanting to go through the possible severe discontinuation syndrome, which is a nice name for a visit to hell in withdrawal. I started cutting my dose and feeling some minor discomfort every so often but nothing unmanagable. It wasn’t until about 8 months into it that I got hit by a freight train of withdrawal. It turns out that these drugs are stored in our body’s tissue and our blodd levels drop much slower than expected from redu cing the dosage. So when my body caught up my nightmare started. I know this is a benzo site, but I also know that many are in the same situation as I was so I want to talk about antidepressants as well because that is what led me into getting trapped by benzos. They sent me to hell on earth where I met benzodiazapines. So at 8 months I was thrust into full blown a/d withdrawal what seemed like overnight. I was extremely anxious, disconnected, confused and scared. Looking back I don’t know how I got through each day. Well actually it was my angel who was there for me every second that is the reason I made it through this whole ordeal. She talked to me all day long and spent untold hours doing exhaustive research to try to help me in every way possible. Through nutrition, essential oils, anxiety management techniques and on and on. My anxiety and dp/dr got worse every day and after about a month of trying certain supplements and hoping for relief, I decided I couldn’t take it anymore so I went to see my primary care doctor. He was all to willing to prescribe me something to help me with the anxiety. Xanax, .25mg, 3 times a day as needed. I was instantly addicted and very soon right into tolerance so I visited the doctor a few more times. The end result was ending up an 3mg of Ativan a day. It wasn’t long until that wasn’t enough to put a dent in my anxiety and other symptoms so I started adding more pills on the worst days. I also drank periodically to try to get any kind of relief. It got so bad that one day I actually ended up taking 8mg of Ativan along with drinking a lot of beer and wine. I don’t know how I lived through that day but my angel was there to watch over me and make sure nothing happened to me. I thank God for her every day. It takes a special kind of person to be a care taker for someone in a/d and benzo withdrawal. And she never left my side for the 2 years it took me to start the reduction of the a/d to this day as I sit hear and prespare to share my story. The benzo’s were making me crazier and crazier the higher I went. I can’t really provide too much detail for this time in my life because I was in a benzo induced haze and I don’t remember too much. I know I did some really stupid things and couldn’t take care of myself. I was starting to get really paranoid and agoraphobic. I would stay alone in my apartment in the dark, afraid to go anywhere. I was still drinking from time to time and I was also having a lot of phsyical symptoms too. I was dizzy a lot and my vision was out of focus. I felt like I was a small version of myself and that I was inside my own head looking out through my eyes like windows. I was feeling like I didn’t belong in this world and was feeling like what I was going through was surely going to result in my life being over soon. It got so bad and I got so scared I did the worst thing I could have done. I went to the hospital. I knew I needed to get off the benzo’s and I figured they could help me, WRONG!! I spent about a week in the first mental hospital while they took me off the remaining paxil and put me on cymbalta at the same time they were weaning me off of 3mgs of Ativan over the course of a week. By this time I was crazy, I was crying all the time and just thinking that my life was over. I got out of the hospital and immediately starting abusing the benzo’s again in a futile attempt to calm myself down. I was on an adrenaline rollercoaster along with all my other symptoms. After a week I realized what I was doing and went back to the hospital. A different one this time and they tried to wean me off 4mg in 4 days……4, 3, 2, 1 and done. I ended up getting out of the hospital before being completely off but I was an absolute basket case. Going to the hospital once was a mistake. Going back was catastrophic. I am very lucky that I wasn’t diagnosed with bipolar or something else. The hospital was determined to get me to talk so they could diagnose me and prescribe more meds. Everytime I had to see the doctor in the hospital they would try to lead me into saying something that would confirm with them that I was mentally ill. I AM NOT mentally ill, there is actually no such thing as mentally ill. The whole of psychiatry is based on lies. These drugs do things to your brain to make you act abnormally. Take away the drugs and take care of yourself and your mental state will heal along with your body. My angel stepped in and helped me reestablish so that I could wean slowly. Right out of the hospital I had to go stay with my angel. I was psychotic and I hadn’t slept for 2 weeks. I was stupid enough to try ambien so that I could sleep. I took 9, 25mg pills over the next three days and didn’t sleep at all. Imaging taking 225mg of a sleeping pill and not being able to sleep!! There must be something seriously wrong with that, it just shows you that once these drugs screw up your brain chemistry there is only one way to heal and that is by weaning off, going through wit drawal and trying to use anything natural to help strengthen your body. At this point I was in the deepest part of my withdrawal. I was reduced to the mental and emotional capacity of a child. I was helpless to take care of myself and I was a physical and mental basket case. I was shaking from head to toe constantly. I was pacing around, smoking cigarettes and I was in a state of absolute continual panic. The benzo’s had taken away my ability to feel any happiness or normality. All I could feel was overwhelming fear and sadness. I cried continually over everything. I felt like my life was over, I could not ever have imagined feeling so bad. I know why they call benzo withdrawal hell. It put me in a state of torment, which I would have as a constant companion for the next year. My fear of everything was so intense I believe my brain shut down to some degree to protect itself but even that did not relieve the fear and sadness. I could stand the slightest noise or any kind of activity. I could watch tv or listen to music. I could barely put 2 words together. I know most of this because my angel filled me in. I don’t really remember much at all from this time period. I was on watch 24 hours a day to make sure I didn’t have a seizure or just plain go beserk. At one point I scratched my face until it was bleeding and I don’t know why. These drugs hijack your brain and body and they don’t let go. I have experience drug and alcohol dependency and withdrawal and they were like a walk in the park compared to what I was to experience with both a/d’s and benzos. With benzos being by far the worst experience I have ever had. I also had a constant fear that I was going to die. I was certain that I had some horrible illness. I was constantly thinking I was going to have a heart attack or find our I had some incurable disease. I was actually so filled with panic I was afraid to go to sleep. I could picture dying in my mind and it seamed so real to me at the time. I was like feeling death over and over. I could picture life going on after I was dead, the thought were torturous. So in this state we reestablished me on 3mg’s of Ativan a day. We started weaning a ¼ of a pill every 7-10 days. This was a pretty fast weaning schedule and I would definitely recommend to anyone going much slower, but we were determined to get me off of benzos as quickly as we could safely. And after have been forced to go cold turkey twice by the hospitals, I don’t know that it would have made a difference to me to go any slower. I was so screwed up and the damage had already been done. It took about 4 months to wean off the benzos and I had been thinking that I would not feel as bad as when I started withdrawal but I was wrong. About a week or so after taking my last dose I starting feeling so much worse. I didn’t think it was possible but it was. My body had finally gotten rid of the drug and all hell was breaking loose. I would spend the next month in the dark locked in my apartment. I would just lay there for days, only getting up to go to the bathroom. I had my shades drawn and I was wrapped in a blanket on my couch. Like a child the blanket gave me some tiny feeling of security. Every noise I heard made me jump and I would be paranoid that someone was going to come and take me away. Everytime I heard an ambulance go by I was certain they were coming for me. My angel took care of me every second. Feeding me and watching out for me, comforting my fear and gently reassuring me every day that I was not going to be like this forever, this was withdrawal and it would end. Despite her encouragement I could not comprehend the concept. I was obsessed with my symptoms and I was absolutely certain that this was the real me. A paranoid basket case. I did not see how it could be possible to ever return to feeling like a human being again while feeling the way I felt. I felt really alone because I was so disconnected from myself, my emotions and the rest of the world. I cried every day for months and I don’t mean a few tears. I was sobbing uncontrollably at the slightest provocation. I tried to distract myself with tv, but I found that the slightest emotion shown would send me into a panic or I would breakdown into the deepest despair I have ever felt. At one point I found that I could watch an animated movie and I watched it over and over again. I don’t exaggerate when I say that I watched it 1000 times. I don’t know how I still have a job today. I was constantly calling in sick and taking off days at a time. My angel is the only reason I am still employed. I couldn’t drive an she drove me back and forth to work and kept me going day after day despite my desire to just give up and loose my job. I am so thankful for what she did I would not be alive today if it wasn’t for her. During this time my angel was doing exhaustive research trying to find anything that might help me in the slightest way. Supplements, healing foods, essential oils and on and on. I didn’t realize it at the time but the foods and the oils saved me from a much worse experience and they were helping repair the damage that I did to my mind and body. I know it was extremely difficult for her because I was very uncooperative and I wasn’t doing what she told me to do with any consistency. When I finally starting following her instruction at the end I realized that I should have been listening since the beginning. Nutrition and natural remedies are the key to any real health. For the next 7 months I barely existed. I was going to work and then going home and then laying in the dark in a state of constant terror. I had a number of physical symptoms but the mental symptoms were the most unbearable. I said every day that I wished I could trade the mental for the physical. I realize I was actually fortunate after hearing of the physical suffering that so many were enduring. My mental state was totally obsessive and focused on my own suffering so I was unable to experience the empathy that I now have for others. My physical symptoms included blurred vision, dizziness, various pains, heart palpitations, night sweats and I had a rash on my face for the entire duration of withdrawal. I still have it but it is fading now. During withdrawal I saw a doctor on numerous occasions trying to explain my withdrawal and the symptoms I was having and the doctors all said they would like me to see a psychiatrist. Basically dismissing what I was telling them. Unwilling or unable to accept the idea that the drugs they prescribe were tearing me apart. They would talk to me with that all knowing condescending town offering their forced compassion all the while insisting that it couldn’t be withdrawal and implying that I had a mental disorder. One doctor told me to consider increasing the paxil. I can’t believe the willing ignorance of the medical profession in the face of such overwhelming evidence of this epidemic. I saw a psychiatrist as infrequently as possible. It was a necessity to avoid having to cold turkey off the last of 20mg’s of paroxetine. I would muster all my inner strength to tell them I was doing fine, knowing full well telling them about the withdrawal would result in a life changing diagnosis. It was until last December I was giving the name of a doctor that was practicing functional medicine. A combination of treatment by short term medicine along with long term nutritional approach to health and well being. I am so thankful because it turned out to be the turning point for me. I started out being given tests for vitamin levels and food allergies along with a complete blood panel. At first I was put on a few supplements. They didn’t have any impact and I felt worse every day. Hopelessness was growing and I was constantly wondering how much longer I could keep going. I ended making another appointment with this doctor in a desperate attempt to find the slightest bit of relief. After talking to the doctor she said she would be willing to prescribe a small dose of abillify to see if the could provide enough relief to enable me to function. What we didn’t know at the time was there was a neurologist in California that was having success treating patients with minute amounts of these types of drugs for short periods of time and seeing results. I took the abilify for 2 weeks and over the course of that time I was becoming more and more aggressive each day. It continued until I got so paranoid and aggressive that I turned on the one person who had devoted herself to caring for me and never leaving my side. I was delusional and this new drug had made me think that she was trying to control me and keep me captive in my apartment. The place that I had confined myself for the last 2 years. I have to take every opportunity I have to express my sorrow for having treated her so badly, because she saved my life and I will never forget what she has done for me. Even though my actions were induced by psychotropic drugs hijacking my thinking I still have no solace in that having turned on her like a rabid dog. That is what these drugs do to people it is disgusting. Because I felt so bad it finally made me see through the psychotic fog and I decided to stop taking the medicine. After 3 days to my absolute surprise I noticed that I actually felt a little better and over the course of the next few days I felt better and better. I actually experienced happiness which was an emotion I forgot how it felt to have. Since then I have continued to fell better and better with the passing time. I changed my diet and stuck to doing what my angel was telling me to do and as a result I am no longer in withdrawal and I am getting ready to start weaning the last of the paroxetine, extremely slowly!! We believe that the small dose of anti psychotic drug stimulated the receptors which had basically been shut down from the a/d’s and benzo’s. As a result I have lost all of my mental symptoms and I only have minimal physical symptoms. My cns is still very sensitive and I am only sleeping 3-4 hours a nite but I am eager to face each day with happiness and an undying gratitude for my life and my angel. I believe that I was divinely guided through every step of this journey and I can see now the reason for everything that happenend. I thank God each day and look forward to the future hoping that I can pay forward the gifts I received
  3. godiswithme-xanax-taper-after-cold-turkey-of-lexapro-and-abilify It has been 8.5 weeks since I ct'd off 30 mgs of generic lexapro and 2mg of Abilify. I was depressed because my father who lived with us had died and marriage was getting rocky from the stress. I had been taking the generic lexapro for 2 years. This doctor added Abilify in Jan '16. I trusted her. I was depressed over life issues. I have no previous mental health diagnosis other than some anxiety which I had taken Xanax over the past 5 years. Most .5 three times per day. varied in usage - often less. I quickly became dysfunctional and family doctor prescribed .5 Ativan twice per day or I would have died. I have only become a bit more functional. but barely. I don't know what to do. I am very scared.
  4. Hello all, my name is Alicia. I'm a mother to a small child with autism. My whole mess with these medications happened before she was even born, and I am ashamed to say that I was even on celexa during my whole pregnancy with my daughter and of course I was told that celexa was perfectly safe during pregnancy, but now I wonder if her autism is related to the stupid ad. I only wish I knew the dangers of these meds long before now. Anyways I first took celexa back in 2011 after I developed panic attacks, they also gave me clonazepam. I quit the clonazepam a little before I got pregnant with my daughter, but continued the celexa until October of 2016. In October of 2016 I was switched to Zoloft and given Ativan from a new psychiatrist. I continued to take the meds until November 23 of 2017. I just one day decided I'm sick and tired of going to psychiatrists it was becoming an inconvenience for me. So I just threw the rest of the meds down the toilet and been med free for 10 months now. I was unaware that these meds were not like other meds that you can just completely quit anytime you want, and I was flooded with weird symptoms. I have just been toughing it out for the past 10 months because I refuse to talk to doctors about anything anymore, I know they are just going to tell me to start the meds again.I know nothing will get better if I go back on them again, so instead I have turned to supplements to help with my symptoms. Insomnia and sensitivity to light and sounds are the most prevelant of my symptoms, I also been having a ton of fasciculations in my legs, something I never experienced until this withdrawal. At first I thought I was developing some motor neuron disease but now I'm just chalking it up to this withdrawal because after reading forums on this website I see just how crazy your body can get after these meds, and I wish I never started them.
  5. Please i need help. I am on cymbalta generic and have tapered down to approx 10 mgs from 90 using bead method. I also take a very low dose of ativan. I had tapered off the ativan in july 2016 and went back on much lower dose 4 months ago. I also take zyprexa at approx. 3.75 mgs. I have been trying to taper all three meds because i have fatty liver disease and need yo get off this junk before it turns into cirrhosis. So i made a cut last week and about 4 days ago i started to get severe anxiety. I was doing fine up until then but it seems like every time i get to a certain point with the zyorexa i get so anxious. I have tried several times to taper zyprexa. I am under alot of stress and i dont know if its me or withdrawal. I was put on these medications 9 years ago for anxiety. It was very bad. But i dont know if that anxiety was from klonopin or celexa. I did not have this kind of anxiety before those two meds. Someone please help me. I had to increase the zyprexa yesterday or i was going to end up in the hospital. I have to find a job because i will soon be homeless if i dont. How will i get off these horrible drugs and function at the same time??
  6. Littlegrandma

    Littlegrandma

    Moderator note - link to Littlegrandma's benzo thread Hello everyone. I wanted to introduce myself and give you my history june 2015 lunesta 2 mg for insomnia. . July 2015 started celexa for GAD and insomnia. S/A headache, nausea, stomach pain, increased anxiety, blurry vision. Sept 2015 celexa switched to lexapro due to extreme eye pressure I never felt right on the lexapro. My fog never cleared and I still needed lunesta every night to sleep. But it helped slightly with anxiety and I was able to go about life but never really enjoying it. I felt I was always trying to distract myself with menial activity. Very apathetic. June 2, 2017 tapered lex from 20 mg to 7.5. Migraine, nausea, fatigue, loss of balance, ringing in ears, depersonalization, anxiety, sweats, depression. June 25 physical symptoms subsided, so I went to 7 mg making my own liquid. I don't think I did it right. July 6th -7mg with compounded pill. july 11 dry heaves, migraine, increased anxiety, july 15 trembling, panic, racing heart july 20 went to ER for BP 210/207 was put on 25 mg metoprolol and .5 Ativan as needed. ( I was already taking .25 xanax occasionally). Aug 1 upped lex dose to 8 mg Aug 3 suicidal thoughts, panic, trembling Aug 5 upped lex dose to 10 mg at the suggestion of a new therapist. I have not been able to stabilize. I am taking more and more xanax but trying to not exceed total .75 mg day i am left incapacitated, unable to take care of my house or my grandchildren. The tremors and panic remain as well as constant nausea and headache. Aug 7 I had a 3 hour consultation to get into detox for benzo w/d. I was told I was not in w/d and they scoffed at the idea that lexapro could cause w/d issues either. They said it sounds neurological and wouldn't even be admitted for IOP until I was medically cleared by a doctor. I am in despair and have nowhere to turn. Most of my family doesn't believe this is real as they've never had a problem starting , stopping, or switching a/d meds. I'm hoping I can get some good advice from you. Sorry this is so long. I hope it makes sense. I spent a long time writing earlier and lost message when I tried to post. That took about all the energy I had, so this may seem garbled. Thank you for listening and for any advice you may be able to give me
  7. MilaB

    MilaB

    Thanks for adding me. I need encouragement. I have been on ADs for 15 years - Zoloft, Lexapro, Celexa, Effexor and now Cymbalta. Also Trazadone when I couldn’t sleep. I missed a dose of Cymbalta in 2016 and was shocked by how bad I felt and decided to get off the med. I was told the wrong way and ended up using advice from FB site. I was only able to taper about 3% every 2 weeks and I got down to 86 beads that way in a year. But I felt stuck, drops were getting harder. Then I met someone who suggested amino acids. I started using aminos in Oct 16 at 86 beads. I was very eager to get off the med (big mistake). I didn’t know how bad it could get or what I was in for. I got to zero beads by the end of Feb and all withdrawal hell broke loose. Started with physical - hands and feet sweating, anxiety running brought me constantly, no appetite and extreme insomnia. It then became akithisia - restless pacing and severe anxiety. I went on Ativan that calmed the akithisia and I am now sleeping after 2 months of very little to no sleep. I’m taking 1mg Ativan during the day (2 half doses) and 1.5 at night along with some hydroxyzine. The biggest challenge now is my emotional state. I feel like I have to die to escape this pain. I have a constant feeling of doom and anxiety - even with the Ativan - that is so overwhelming and uncomfortable. I have no good feelings at all. I have a family and I can’t die. I have to be here for them. It’s been since March 1 with all of this. It’s all my fault for trying to speed things up. I thought I’d be healthier off the Cymbalta - I hated the side effects. This all seems impossible. I still have 10 beads left and now I’m sure I’m addicted to Ativan and will have to taper that. I don’t want to die, but I am so miserable I can’t see this ever getting better. I have had only a few windows. And even the windows are just a slight improvement over this constant suffering. I never know what to do; I can’t read, can’t work, shop, do art. Nothing feels good. I tried adding in 10 beads of Cymbalta a couple of weeks ago at the advice of Dr Shipko and the anxiety got worse. I also tried a small dose of Prozac for just one day and that made my anxiety awful too. Am I just left to tough this out forever? Please help
  8. This site has been a sanctuary for several months and I would like to thank AltoStrata, her fellow Admins and all posting members for the invaluable information shared in the various forums. In this most confusing and isolating phase of my life so far, you have all helped me to feel less alone, less confused, and important teachers. I believe I may have created a meds signature line in my sign-up form, but if not I will correct that shortly. Briefly, I realized I was in a polypharmacy rut in February of this year. Prozac 10 or 20 mg (?) from early 1997 to early 1998. Newly sober, the Paxil caused "speediness" and I was switched to Paxil - Paxil 20mg/day (depression/anxiety) from 1998 to approximately Spring 2007. I simply stopped taking it after running out, was in long-term therapy and did not think twice about leaving such a "small thing" behind. Even though there were large stressors at work. The state of lability, extreme depression, dysphoria, DP, DR (terms I did not know then) were horrendous. I returned to the original psychiatrist who tried me on various other meds for a hellish 2 months, never once mentioning I might be in withdrawal from stopping the Paxil. The last straw was an Effexor trial, which put me in a state of agitation, physical heat, and inability to leave bed beyond imagination. It took months to find a new Psychiatrist, which happened about February 2008. He felt I had simply been on too small a Paxil dose - I had heard about "poop out" by that time but he dismissed it - I had not heard about withdrawal on Paxil cessation and he did not mention it. He put me back on Paxil and built up slowly from 10 to eventually 60mg. Unfortunately I don't remember the timeline for that buildup. However, 60mg became the maintenance dose at which I remained until Feb. 2017 of this year - nearly 10 years. He also became my psychotherapist and had a wonderfully humane aspect to him to which I attribute most of the great healing that happened over the first 3-4 years. My life became strong and rich and fulfilling again - in all areas. In 2010 there was a collision of traumatic stressors in work and family. As well, somatic experience of panic, high anxiety and heart palpitations such as I'd never experienced since childhood episodes of severe abuse became frequent. I made certain decisions in my life. We continued the meds and the therapy. In June (?) 2012 - after months of persistent inner agitation, weepiness, anxiety (following death of family member), he added Ativan 0.5 at night. A year later he added another 0.5 in the am. A year after that he added another 0.5 at noon. I can not know with any certainty but based on everything that I have read about tolerance and withdrawal with Paxil and Ativan, I believe that I experienced pre-taper withdrawal-like symptoms for several years. I wish I had known then - when he began adding the benzo to the Paxil - what I know now. I had trusted him so completely as a person and a professional. Fast forward to February 2017. He announced abruptly that he was closing his practice - in 3 months. We had been working together for about 9 years. The anxiety caused by the announcement led him to increase my RXs for Paxil to 80 and to double Ativan to 1mg 3 times a day. He acknowledged that the 2 drugs did not appear to be "working" or "ideal" anymore. Sadly I think his priority at that point was to get to the end of the three months without liability - so it was easier to simply up the meds and "explore referral options." Two months on the upped prescriptions saw me living like an outpatient in a chemical straightjacket - as a full on zombie. I found my way to Mad in America and the literature on iatrogenic psychotropic drug injuries, the psychiatric profession's blind faith in the hypothesis of the "chemical imbalance", and the frightening stories about withdrawing from SSRIs and benzodiazepines - especially the 2 I was prescribed. This was all quite frightening and overwhelming. I was able to find a wonderful and sympathetic therapist. The zombie straightjacket was too much. I decided to taper myself back to my "baseline" though no-longer-working (even according to the Psychiatrist) polypharmacy of Paxil 60mg and Ativan .05 3 times a day. I did that from April to August. Symptoms ranging from extreme loss of appetite, acute DP/DR, extreme and sudden heart palpitations and anxiety, and a slow-motion hyper depressive grey movie in the background looping "this is the end of the road for me" movies - but always behind a screen. The gestalt in terms of doing anything is a 1000 mile distance between a flourishing idea or thought and any action to carry it out. Including washing dishes! The search for a meds doctor who is sympathetic to a patient wishing to taper off psychotropic drugs that no longer work and are causing is still on. I will be meeting one next week, and I believe his name does appear on a list of potentially knowledgeable providers somewhere on this site. I will report back. He appears to be familiar with tapering patients off psychotropic drugs and he is also a holistic treater with experience in acupuncture, something called "functional psychology" (?), and other holistic practices. Thanks to SA I shall have with me a lot of information to discuss - very calmly - with him, including the formula of tapering 10% (vs. last dose), listening to the body even within a tapering protocol, and the question as to whether the Paxil or the Ativan should be tapered first. (I saw a psychiatrist one month ago who wrote out a taper schedule for Ativan that was very aggressive - I modified it and have "held" at an early stage after feeling my body rebelling and reading here about the 10% recommendation. Same psychiatrist was ready to have me start tapering Paxil simultaneously until I mentioned perhaps it was not a great idea and he very quickly agreed. Those fancy degrees, Research Hospital affiliations, decades of experience .... That's another story.) I wish to thank you all from the bottom of my heart - for being here.
  9. romalaine

    Romalaine: Freedom

    Where do I begin to end the misery of these panic attacks I have everyday I don't take the Ativan, started on bromazepam years ago , a few months ago I got off them expecting a smooth withdrawl then the panic attacks started, the hospital gave me Ativan but with Ativan the drug is in your system a short time. So one a night have worn off by morning and another panic attack, I would like to get off them.
  10. Hello All, Thank you in advance for your help and support. I’ve had the worst year of my life and am praying to God that I can heal from this nightmare. In March 2017, I experienced my first panic attack regarding a physical injury, which brought on anxiety and insomnia. I tried for six weeks to not take medication, but eventually caved in and began Celexa and Trazodone. I had bad side effects from both and was switched to Lexapro. The Lexapro was very activating and I could not sleep at all. I was weaned off the Lexapro and Trazodone in July 2017. Ativan was added to help with sleep. In August, I tried Seroquel and Remeron, but also had bad side effects. In September 2017, I was switched to Elavil and then Nortriptyline per the results of genetic testing. At this time, I was diagnosed as having a single, current episode of MDD. The Nortriptyline seemed to helped a little, but gave me Tachycardia. I decided in January 2018, that I was going to taper down as none of these drugs gave me real relief and only added to my anxiety. I got down to 20 mg of Nortriptyline and .5mg of Ativan. I unfortunately decided to try TMS therapy, but gave up after 25 sessions - too much to bear. To make matters worse, I was switched to Doxepin and then back to Elavil. I have had ENOUGH of conventional medicine. It has taken a horrible toll on my body and mind. I was in good health before this happened and now I am in a lot of physical pain. As of April 2018, I am down to 12.5mg of Elavil and .5-1mg of Ativan (both at night). I try not to take the Ativan during the day. I want to get off the Elavil and am contemplating a cross taper to Valium to get off of the Benzo. I plan to do that very slowly. I’ve only been on the Elavil for a few weeks. All in all, this has been too much for a human to go through. It has greatly impacted my marriage, family and most likely cost me my job of 20 years as I am on long term disability. I am working not change my diet, exercise, meditate, supplementation and detoxify my body. I also found out I am heterozygous for the MTHFR mutation. I just want to know that it is absolutely possible to heal. All I want is to be able to sleep again naturally, organically. My mother warned me not to take these medications, but I did not listen. She was on the highest dosages of Lexapro and Wellbutrin and got off of them cold turkey and is totally healed. She also got a divorce and is happier than she has ever been. I guess that helps. I welcome any advice about tapering and would love to hear success stories. Thank you!
  11. Hello, I am a new member. I am currently tapering off Escitalopram, a generic Lexapro. I have been tapering since January of this year, 10 mg and now at 4.5 mg. I tapered quite fast at the start and now am reducing .5 mg every 3-4 weeks as I am not having too bad of symptoms. I should also mention I came off Lorazepam so don't know if the withdrawals I am having are from the Lorazepam or the Lexapro. I have heard as tapering gets lower on the Lexapro, symptoms may get stronger. Has anyone experienced this? I would very much appreciate hearing from anyone who has or is going through Lexapro tapering. Thank you.
  12. Lili

    Lili: Benzo/AD

    Hi, I'm brand new here and I'm struggling. I had a rough 2017. I was put on Ativan for sleep 6/20/17 & then on temazapam 6/23/7- I didn't know they were both benzos. I tapered off Ativan for 2 months and what ensued was a horrific withdrawal scenario that landed me in a psych ward with extreme suicidal ideation. I was reinstated on Valium and pretty much stabilized by end of December 2017. I went off Lexapro in the fall as I didn't want to be on an antidepressant but was put on Cymbalta 11/2017 first at 30 mg, then 60mg 2 weeks later. I didn't know so I started dropping down at beginning of January , had some anxiety, restlessness, so I went back up to 50mg over the course of a few days. Presently, some insomnia, some irregular heart beats and lessening anxiety. My Dr doesn't know about my Cymbalta escapade & thinks I can microtaper my Valium now. I will have to be forthcoming at my next visit in 3 weeks. I'm so worried about stabilizing and how this is going to affect my taper.
  13. Hi folks, I just found out about liquid titration and I am too excited to try it! I have been on ativan for about 4 months now, and I am on 1mg (from 2.5). I cant seem to get down (tried yesterday to .5mg and backfired!) Can someone please help me get the right measurements for 250ml of water? I am doing 1/8 tapering. Is that doable? and for how long? Thank you so much! Ann
  14. Moderator note - link to Sandfield's benzo thread - Sandfield: Try to taper off Ativan My name is Sandfield. I am on Cipralex and Ativan. I have been on Cipralex 10 mg for 6 months. Prior to that I was on 5 mg of Cipralex for 2 years. i was on clonzepam for 2 months May and June 2017 and tapered down to .375 mg at the end of June. The doctor then put me on Ativan .5mg twice daily and I was able to taper and get off 3 weeks ago for 2 days however the withdrawal was so bad I am now on .5 to .75 daily. My doctor is having me taper off the Cipralex by reducing fro 10mg to 7.5 mg and then to 5mg and then to .25 mg. i am experiencing interdose withdrawal from the Ativan, burning sensation, muscle spasm and tightness in the shoulders and neck and anxiety. Would appreciate any advice on how to handle the withdrawal or if anyone knows of a good doctor in Toronto who may be able to help
  15. HeatherRose

    Heather Rose: Hello

    Hi. My friend referred me here. She is concerned about all my medications and bad side effects I have been having for a long time such as forgetfulness, trouble concentrating, shaking and dependency. I am on many medicines and have been taking various meds for almost 26 years to control my mood disorder. I have had times of shaking problems. I also have trouble staying focused and concentrating. I used to be a big reader but now it is hard for me to read a whole book. My attention just drifts. I am dependent on them for sleep especially. I wanted to see what this was all about so perhaps can come down off of them without serious consequences.
  16. Hello, On March 29, 2017, I was prescribed 10 MG Ambien at ER after 3 nights of no sleep due to racy thoughts, and extreme anxiety that made me shake and my muscles twitched. I thought I was gonna die. Next day, I was prescribed 1 MG Lorazepam for anxiety. after a month, I cut Lorazepam to 1/2 pill and cut the Ambien to 1/2 pill too but was told by doctor to not cut the Ambien and just cut it after 6 months. During those months taking the pills, I experienced all side effects (extreme headches and weird sensations on my forehead, neck and ears, ramdom pain and pulses all over my body, fatigue, anxiety, more heart palpitations, abdominal pain, weightloss, etc.) The muscle twithcing did not disappear. I went to different doctors and complained about my symptoms, they said it was just stress and anxiety and told me to just take more of the Lorazepam. My blood test showed I was low in Vitamin D, low Iron, low HDL cholesterol & had slight dehydration. Everything showed "normal". I'm now taking supplements Vit D3, comfort Iron, Magnesium Glycinate, Sodium Ascorbate (non-acidic Vit. C), Omega 3 Fish Oil, some Whey Protein. I have asked my family doctor on getting off the pills and she said that I could just cut them and I won't have withdrawals since I've only been taking a small dose of Lorazepam. Starting June 26, 2017, I started cutting the Lorazepam dosage by cutting/weighing the pill deducting 0.02-0.03 MG everyday and the Ambien 0.3-0.4 MG everyday too. Since cutting the pills, I've had 0 sleep on some days which occurred every 2-5 days, extreme anxiety, heavy muscle twitching on my legs and back, extreme fatigue, depression plus all the other symptoms I had while on the higher dose of the drugs. These horrifying misery that I don't want to experience again. The Lorazepam went down to 0.22mg and Ambien to 8.2mg but my husband (who helps with the cutting/weighing) have since added doses everytime I get 0 hrs. of sleep. Since 2 nights ago, I've been taking 9.4MG Ambien (Zolpidem) and 0.27mg Loarazepam (ativan). I need help/guidance on how to taper properly, all the tips you can give on what to do to survive withdrawal and lots of encouragement (and love) to get off these drugs and heal. I want to get my old self back, the energetic, bubbly, hardworking mother of 4 that I used to be. Not the sickly, depressed, unfunctioning woman that these drugs have turned me into. I'd specially encourage those who have tapered off Ambien & Ativan successfully, to please post your tips. I appreciate any and all help that you could extend!!!
  17. I'm 5 months off Clonazepam. Was total hell! Was on only 2.5 months. Before that was Ativan. I was misdiagnosed as bipolar. I suffered almost a year on bad reactions from antidepressants and antipsychotics before being put on ativan then clonazepam. I'm in my 5th month of being off all the drugs. I'm wondering if anybody else has had a fear of never being able to drive again or being alone again? Does it go away? I tried driving by myself and it's really scary. It seems I can only get so far before fear kicks in. And I'm scared to be left alone. It seems like 3 weeks ago the bad anxiety and bad thoughts came back. I NEED hope!! I feel like I'm going to be like this forever!
  18. Hello, I've been reading posts on this site for a while but am reaching out for support in initiating a Gabapentin taper. I am currently taking both Ativan and Gabapentin, with the Gabapentin having been prescribed to me to aid in Ativan withdrawal and sleep. I was originally taking 600-700 mg at bedtime and another 100-200 mg in the middle of the night to extend my sleep. I had no doctor advising me on how best to take the medicine, so I wasn't totally consistent. Back in late January, I forgot to take my bedtime dose and woke up at 5:00 am and decided against taking the full 700 mg at that point. Instead I took 100 mg and thought I would resume dosing again that night. I had very bad withdrawals by early afternoon and decided to take 500 mg to get through the day. At that point I decided moving forward I would only take the 700 mg at bedtime, since I was not needing the middle of the night dose any more. I made it almost two weeks before reinstating the 100 mg in the middle of the night due to extreme anxiety symptoms. Another 10 days later, and more afternoon anxiety, I decided to reinstate 200 mg in the early morning. I'm now at 150 mg between 4:00 - 5:00 am and 700 mg at bedtime and still struggling to get stable. My Ativan taper has been on hold for almost a month while I try to stabilize, and I'm now seriously considering tapering the Gabapentin before the Ativan. I know that I need to be very consistent with my Gabapentin doses and timing in order to stabilize, and I'm reaching out for advice both on whether I need to ultimately consider adding an afternoon dose of Gabapentin to avoid afternoon anxiety, and whether I should consider tapering Gabapentin first. I really don't like this drug, and am concerned about continuing at this high amount for another year or more of an Ativan taper. Thanks in advance for your thoughts and advice. NW Guy
  19. Hello, I am in quite the conundrum currently. My CNS is completely destabilized due to several factors. Firstly, I have been on lorazepam for nearly 8 years. I was initially prescribed 1 mg three times a day along with 10 mg zolpidem after my mom died in August 2008 and I had a panic attack. I took the lorazepam basically at this full dose up until June 2013 when I was ripped off of the lorazepam after my previous doctor left his practice and ended up with a ruthless doctor. He prescribed me 30 mg for a month and that was it. I was able to obtain some diazepam which helped with this abrupt withdrawal. I was off of all gaba drugs and functioning in society with manageable symptoms until April 2014 when the stress of noisy neighbors pushed me over the edge. At this time, I didn't know how dangerous benzodiazepines really were, so I sought out an old psychiatrist who prescribed me 2 mg lorazepam daily plus 10 mg zaleplon at night for the ongoing insomnia. Fast forward to October 2014, when I had a life changing incident. I suffered a mild traumatic brain injury, which to this day has affected me greatly. I was going to school to be a chemical engineer but this injury caused me to have major issues with light, sound sensitivity, brain fog, fatigue. I managed to finish the semester barely. In February 2015, while attempting to start the next semester with a lighter course load, I bumped my head again. This is when all hell broke loose. The symptoms got so bad that I couldn't be in classrooms and I had to withdraw from university due to the light/sound sensitivity. In May 2015, I was prescribed gabapentin by my neurologist. I know this isn't a benzodiazepine but it does seem to have some gaba/glutamate action. Anyway, it seemed to help me at first for my anxiety. At this point I was forced to stay inside and wear sunglasses and earplugs a lot of the time. I could no longer read as I once did. Over the course of the summer I started to improve slightly, and I began tapering of the gabapentin. All the while I was still taking the 2 mg/ lorazepam daily. I didn't use the z-drugs often but I still had a supply that I used occasionally. It was clear that I wasn't going back to school any time soon. It was then that a tragedy occurred. My brother lost his life to a drug overdose. He was my only brother and I loved him dearly. This event took a lot out of me, emotionally and physically. I started to decline. I went to my psychiatrist and he upped me back to 3mg lorazepam/day and renewed a zolpidem prescription. My neurologist upped my gabapentin to 1800 mg/day. (It had been at 900mg over the course of the summer). Shortly after my brother died, my girlfriend and I moved to a quiet town in the hopes that I would heal with less noise bothering me. She became distant and left me in January 2016. This is when I hit rock bottom. I was suffering strange symptoms that seemed to be withdrawal even though I had increased dosages of both medications. I somehow managed to realize that the medications were not helping and I needed to get off of them. I spent 2016 reducing my gabapentin dosage from 1800 mg (600 mg three times a day) down to 300 mg (100 mg three times a day). This was not easy given that I have not been able to work, or go to school due to intense symptoms of sensory overstimulation. I can barely go for walks due to light sensitivity and driving in cars is just as bad due to sound/motion sensitivity. Over the course of 2016, I tried to convert over to a longer acting benzo twice. I tried using clonazepam for a few weeks using the Ashton conversion table. This didn't work well as I felt much worse on the clonazepam. In July I tried to convert to diazepam. I only took two 10 mg doses to replace one of my 1 mg doses of lorazepam on consecutive days. This caused a significant increase in visual symptoms I have been experiencing since 2015 and a failed SSRI effort. This visual phenomenon is known as visual snow and I have all the trademark symptoms now - palinospia, starburts, the static field over my vision, etc. along with tinnitus. So, anyway as it stands now, I have a pretty poor quality of life and I am basically on my own emotionally - no family support. My present dose is 1 mg lorazepam three times a day, and 100 mg gabapentin three times a day. I have not taken any other medications since the diazepam in July. My last zolpidem dose was in March, nearly a year ago. The last cut I made with the gabapentin was 5/31/2016. Prior to that I was making 100 mg cuts weekly as directed by my doctor. Looking back, I'm sure this was much too fast. One of my doctors has been quite sympathetic to my situation and he prescribed me the lorazepam solution to begin a taper. He seems to be willing to work at a slow pace that I'm comfortable with. I actually started writing out a plan for tapering with the liquid. I plan on cutting 5% over the course of the next month using a 0.1mg/mL solution. Thanks for reading, and take care to all.
  20. Currently taking 40 mg Prozac (fluoxetine), approx 1.5 mg Ativan, and 600 mg Gabapentin for nerve pain. The gabapentin is new (2-3 mos) after a year of awful nerve pain in feet. I am convinced it is related to 12+ years of Klonopin/Ativan (either intra-dose withdrawal or just exhausted receptors, because it would subside with extra Ativan). Basically always low and tired, with intermittent awful anxiety and despair. Can will myself to do things but get exhausted. Foot pain flares up occasionally. Need Ativan to sleep and have weird spacey dreamy sleep. Also being treated for adrenal exhaustion: basically, no cortisol at all. Low serotonin, GABA, dopamine, very high epinephrine. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- I was first prescribed Klonopin in 2001 for anxiety and IBS symptoms, which were causing me to lose weight. I also needed it for sleep in unfamiliar or stressful situations. I didn't take it regularly until around 2004 (0.5 mg and never increased), and twice switched to Ativan, back and forth. I disliked the nightmares I often got from Klonopin, but found the same issue with Ativan. I was diagnosed with major depression in 2011, and given different AD's like Pristiq, Abilify, Wellbutrin, and Prozac. The Prozac is the one I tolerated best so I have stayed on it except for about a year in 2015 when I tapered off it because I didn't feel any better. Wanted to use acupuncture and diet for mood swings. But I felt worse without it and was weepy and overwhelmed. Back on Prozac in 2016, doc went straight to 40 mg. She wanted to try other things for sleep but I didn't want to add something new when I knew I couldn't stop Ativan. Foot nerve pain finally diagnosed and treated with gabapentin, no one mentioned that this is even more GABA receptor confusion. I'm exhausted and don't know how to make changes without major symptoms and crises.
  21. Hi, Off Lexapro for two weeks and took my last Ativan (0.5mg) pill last night. Have muscle and joint pains- more on my right side than on my left. Also have cold tremors when waking up in the morning. Lots of crying and anxiety - any advice or sharing of stories with similar symptoms will be much appreciated. See below for full story. Does anyone have bad muscle knots, pain - primarily more on one side than the other? My Psychiatrist told me it couldn't be side-effects if it was more on one side. I am predominantly right-handed and have more pain there. I have been on Prozac off and on since my mid-20s. I will be 45 this year. My last and highest dose was 60mgs. I decided to wean myself off last August (2016). I was sick of constipation, no libido, and emotional numbing. I had also gained about 30 lbs. despite eating healthy and working out 5 times a week. I thought I weaned slowly - took about 3 months and was reducing by 10mg every 2-3 weeks. But in October, I experienced high anxiety and cold tremors when waking up in the morning. I thought my anxiety was back and went to see my Psychiatrist. He was upset that I had weaned off without seeking his help. He then prescribed Lexapro which he called a "clean drug". I started at 5mg and was also given a benzo - Restoril which gave me hives 3 days of usage. I then just used Lexapro and Benadryl for sleep. At 10mg of Lexapro I woke up 1 day with pain in my right arm,right forearm, shoulder and neck. I had some pain on my lest hand near my thumb but not as bad. I was told by my Psychiatrist that since the pains were one-sided that they were not side effects of the drug. I continued using Lexapro slowly increasing dosage till I was at 20mg. My anxiety was worse than ever and I had a Panic Attack for the first time and went to urgent care. I went off of Lexapro essentially cold turkey. Was given 1 mg of Ativan for 7 days by Urgent Care Dr. And now I'm here.
  22. I have switched from Wellbutrin 150 XL to 150 IR. I am now tapering from 75 mg at 9:00 am and 75 mg at 3:00 pm (more than one pharmacist said not to take Wellbutrin after 3:00 pm). I am experiencing disrupted sleep, which I expected, and nausea in the morning, which I did not. Thoughts?
  23. I was put on Wellbutrin generic, which I didn't think was doing anything. I take Ativan too, which is helping a lot. I gradually realized that he waking up earlier and earlier came on gradually. I read some stuff and thought lack of seratonin was my prob. Not! I took a small dose this morning and came down with every side effect (almost) that Wellbutrin causes. Then I realized that the Wellbutrin Was causing sweats and trembling and all the other stuff. I took Prozac for years but then it stopped working. Took trawhatsisab which worked well for a couple years and doc did not tell me I should taper. That was a horrible experience, especially since I didn't realize what was going on. Did it for myself on the Internet while feeling awful. I'm interested in supplements but no doc m knows anything about them. I have diabetes and take met for metformin and Victosa, and when they don't work, cinnamon and fenugreek. And some other stuff. This can take my blood sugar down a hundred points or more. It's always too high. I had anxiety attacks even as a little kid, which I hid. Right not I have nothing objectively real to be anxious about. Have 2 lovely kids, a hub whow loves me after 50 years, plenty of moneY and a paid for house. My job was nerve wracking, but now I'm retired. Why is everyone such a mess? Even our financial adviser confessed he had taken Prozac for many years and not it wasn't working. Thanks for being here.
  24. Hi everyone I've been reading about protracted withdrawal for the first time today and am terrified about what to do next. I tapered off Citalopram 6 months ago over a 2 weeks period which I now know was too fast. Since stopping Citalopram my mood has been flat and at times I felt emotionally fragile, but it was tolerable for the first few months. Things got hard hard when I started studying again and the stress kicked in. I suspect my current anxiety and depression is due to withdrawal but it could also be due to stress. I work 40 hours per week and also study 20 hours per week on top of that for a professional qualification which is very stressful (my exam is in 4 weeks so less than ideal timing). The lack of ability to concentrate (either due to withdrawal or depression) has made study much more challenging. I don't know if I should start taking Citalopram again (maybe 10 or 20mg?) to take care of my withdrawals and then taper off very slowly over (say) 12 months?. Alternatively, should I persevere and hope things get better given it's been 6 months already and I don't want to have to start all over again? I've been taking 1mg Lorazepam when I need it to manage the anxiety and depressive states, but things are getting progressively worse and I'm struggling to cope. Yesterday I was going to start the Citalopram again after repeated crying fits over nothing (actually I saw a picture of a bumble bee and for some reason that set me off), and so I took 40mg which in hindsight was too high a dose, so hopefully that doesn't come back to bite me. Should I restart Citalopram or stick it out? Please could someone help? Thank you
  25. I have been depressed most of my life and most of my childhood is completely blank. I can't remember it at all. Often times, I have wondered if depression ran in my family and I have a suspicion that it does. My sister suffers from it, I can just tell my mom does (though she would not admit to it), and I know my dad did (before he passed away in 07). I am a Christian and have been most of my life. But a large number of people within the Christian community, and my family, feel like Antidepressants and any type of mental illness means you aren't praying hard enough, your life isn't right with God, you need to work harder, you are doing something wrong, etc. However these same people would have no problems with taking medicine for heart problems, antibiotics if you have an infection, etc. It is idiotic to believe that people can have this mindset but it is very real. After my dad passed away suddenly in 2007, my depression got much worse. I finally reached out to a General Doctor to talk about sleeping issues and depression. He refused to give me any medication and just told me I needed to get through it. Not really a good thing to say to someone as depressed as I was. I sought out help from another General Doctor and the Nurse Practitioner, in the office, put me on a variety of different pills to try and help me. I don't recall all of the medications except the last one: Paxil. Whatever dose of it I was on, it made me ANGRY. I had extreme road rage and any little thing could set me off. I recall being so mad one day that I tried to punch through our front door. I am surprised I didn't break my hand. Looking back, because the nurse Practitioner would keep me on the medication for a short period and then take me off, cold turkey, if it wasn't working, I could have been going through some sort of withdrawal symptom when I began Paxil. After this experience I gave up on trying to resolve this issue until I had an experience with God after reading a book called The Shack. I don't know if you, reading this, are a Christian or not. So you may discount what I just said. My religion is an integral part of my life and impacts me in all I say and do. After having this "mountaintop experience," I knew I couldn't continue living with depression. I sought out a Christian Counselor and we spoke for many weeks before he suggested I see a psychiatrist. I found a local psychiatrist as there doesn't seem to be any Christian psychiatrists around. This may be due to the mindset Christians have on this issue that I spoke about above. When I saw the psychiatrist, I remember specifically telling him that I was willing to try medication again, after describing the problems from the past, but I did not want to be on anything that would change my mind or cause me to lose any type of spiritual connection I had with God. I now know that to him, and most psychiatrists that practice, they don't feel any of these medications do anything to your brain. You have minor "discontinuation syndrome" for a few weeks max after ceasing the medication. For a few years, we tried a combination of different medications that included: Wellbutrin, Pristiq, and Cymbalta. I don't recall the specific dosages of each but they either quit working or had so many side effects, that I couldn't live with it. Finally, we landed on Lexapro. We started with 10 MG and moved that up to 20 MG. After a few years on Lexapro, I noticed that the medication was not making me feel good anymore. My psychiatrist suggested that in some cases adding the drug Abilify would help things work better. We added in a 5 MG dose of Abilify to go along with the 20 MG of Lexapro and I was on both of those for several years--until January of 2016. After appearing to "be cured" by my psychiatrist, he suggested that I stop taking Abilify immediately because he says there are long-term health issues if you are on the drug for extended periods of time. Because Lexapro alone made me have this feeling I would describe as "dead head," where my mind just feels empty and everything feels off, I told him I didn't want to take Lexapro alone. He suggested I shouldn't need it anymore and had me cut the dosage in half for two weeks and then quit the medication completely. To summarize: I stopped years of Abilify 5 MG use on January 13 cold turkey I cut my Lexapro 20 MG in half to 10 MG on January 13 I stopped Lexapro 10 MG on January 27 I never had any sexual side effects or anything noticeable while on Lexapro and Abilify. After I stopped both, I slowly noticed changes. within a week or two, things got bad--really bad. (I am going to list out the symptoms on separate lines.) I had the worst headaches of my life that would just last for days with no relief from anything. Complete loss of appetite. I would get hungry for maybe one meal a day. If I ate anything, I normally had to force myself to eat something. My libido vanished completely. I wasn't attracted to anyone or anything. Even my wife of 15 years, who I am very attracted to, suddenly was not attractive to me. In addition, sex, is just a lifeless act that has no physical/emotional connection at all. I also showed many others signs of PSSD which I know is not the focus of this forum. I can go into those in detail if anyone is curious or think they can help. I have lost all sense of spirituality. It is like my soul has been sucked out of my body. I can't read my Bible, pray to God, or even worship at Church. I go and sit and it means nothing to me. I was extremely angry almost all the time. Almost any little thing could set me off. I am not an angry person and it takes a lot to make me mad. I have never experienced anger like this. I started experiencing insomnia. I could not sleep at all no matter what I took over the counter (more on this later). My personality seems completely different. I have no compassion for people. I don't care what their opinions are. I seem to want to cause arguments, fights, etc. I have a hard time concentrating and remembering things. I made an appointment to see my psychiatrist to follow-up about all of this. While I was waiting for the appointment I started doing research on SSRI Withdrawal and learned that psychiatrists don't believe in withdrawals from SSRI drugs and believe once they are out of your system, your withdrawal goes away. I also learned that I should have weaned off both Lexapro and Abilify over a longer period of time. Anyway, when I saw my psychiatrist, he told me that he has been practicing for 40 years and there is no proof that SSRI Drug Withdrawal exists for any period longer than two weeks. Anything I found online in forums or wherever was not scientifically proven and has no basis in reality. He refused to look at any links I had or entertain the possibility that I was experiencing a real withdrawal to SSRI Drugs. I saw him in March of 2016--over a month since I stopped all drugs. He also offered to put me back on Lexapro and Abilify to prove it wasn't causing these problems. I told him I would throw the bottle at him if he prescribed them to me. I said these drugs are dangerous and should not be taken by anyone unless they are fully aware of what they can do to your body. Finally, I did ask the psychiatrist to answer a question for me. "Do I seem like the same person you saw a few months ago?" He said no. The transformation of personality was that different even a skeptic to see it. The only thing he offered me was a drug called Lorazepam 1 MG to help me sleep. Due to laws, I have to see him about every 3 months in order to get refills. Since taking 1MG of Lorazepam, I can finally sleep again. With no hope from the medical industry, and knowing I am not crazy, I sought out natural help. From a Chiropractor I have seen for the last 5 years, who also does acupuncture, I asked him for any help he could offer. He researched some acupuncture points, which we have just started doing later, on April 3, and also suggested I get in touch with a Naturopath. On April 1, 2016, I first saw a Naturopath. The Naturopath started me off by doing a full panel of bloodwork and they looked at any areas of concern. It showed a few problems but nothing that would cause the current state of emotions found above. She put me on a Gluten, Soy, and Dairy free Paleo Diet. She had me take some supplements, which were really expensive, and start a 8 week full body detox. I am currently waiting on a follow-up with her and in the midst of the diet changes and taking these supplements. I also am going to see a massage therapist, from the same office, who is going to do a Raindrop Technique (I believe that is done with essential oils) and a lymph node massage. In addition, I have seen another lady, in the same office, who does Emotional Freedom Release. This is something like voodoo to me. She taps into my "energy field" to figure out what emotions are plaguing me and tries to get my body to release them. In the first visit, she told me several things about me she would have no idea of knowing about by tapping into my "energy field." Supposedly I need to recite a phrase: “I willingly and lovingly release all that no longer serves me in a positive and productive way.” In addition, I have been diffusing specific Essential Oils my body says it needs and using them on my skin. I don't know if I buy into this Emotional Freedom Release or not. It seems a lot like getting your palm read (though I have never had that done before). Sadly, a Naturopath and acupuncture is not covered under my insurance and this part of my journey is getting really expensive--especially with all of these supplements and diet changes I have been asked to make. I am roughly 10 weeks out since I stopped all antidepressants. Symptoms now listed below: The Anger seems to be better but it varies what sets me off. The headaches are still present just don't last as long. My appetite is better on this new diet but has started to go away again in the last week, April 11, 2015. My Libido is still completely gone. I am still not attracted to my wife or anyone else. I still cannot have a physical/emotional connection in sex. I still have various other PSSD symptoms. I still have no sense of spirituality. This and my PSSD are the worst symptoms. I sleep only with Lorazepam 1 MG with the exception of 1 night. My personality still is completely different. I still have no compassion for others. I am slightly better in terms of wanting to cause conflicts or hearing other opinions. I still have noticed it is hard to concentrate and remember things. In the last few days, April 11, 2016, I seem to be developing the worst depression of my life (much worse than anything I experienced above) In the last few days, April 11, 2016, my mood can swing from normal to completely sad in moments. Today, April 15, 2016, I started experiencing slight tremors in my hands making it difficult to do things like crack an egg, wipe down a pan, etc. That is my story so far. I am hoping it gets better but, to be really honest with you, I am pretty hopeless. As a Christian, that believes the Holy Spirit is inside of me, having that vanish is pretty hopeless. This and the lack of a physical/emotional connection with my wife are very hard to live with. Can anyone relate to what I am going through? I have read in places that SSRI withdrawal takes place in an initial phase and a Phase 2 that is much worse. Supposedly Phase 2 comes anywhere from 6 weeks to a few months later after you discontinue medication. Any truth to this?
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