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  1. Hey guys! So every time I've tapered down a dose of Effexor xr (starting at 112.5), I notice for a day or so I get this feeling like i'm under water, or my ears have water in them. Or like they need to be popped-like i just drove up a mountain. Is this what is commonly known as the 'brain shivers' ? I hope I'm not the only one who this happens to. While it's annoying, it's tolerable. I get that, a migraine, a runny nose, and the feeling like i'm coming down with a cold at the end of the day. Physical symptoms actually don't bother me..i feel "lucky" that I haven't had any emotional side effects (yet cautiously optimistic) - I'm also on 20 mg of citalopram so that could be why too. Just seeing if the water in the ears thing sounds familiar to anyone or if this is a completely separate physical ailment. I just notice it's always within the first few days of my latest taper. Thanks in advance
  2. Hey guys! So I've been meaning to see this guy around the corner from me. He's a psychologist who worked in pharmaceuticals for a part of his career and couldn't take what he saw and now is a certified nutritionist, counselor and owns a natural health store where he takes patients, and puts them on tapering plans and monitors their new plan of supplements, etc. I made an appointment with him (not telling my husband). Most around me have either been on meds, think taking anti depressants 'work great' and don't understand that these meds are just not for me and i'm trying to find my way safely off of them. I even have a friend who says 'i'm just never going off Cymbalta so I don't have to worry about withdrawals' - and a cousin who's been on prozac for 6 years who says 'i can't cry and i have insomnia but i'm cranky without prozac' - So these are the people i'm surrounded by. My gut, my heart and soul are telling me to get off of these now matter how low I'll get, I'll get out of it through exercise, nutrients, etc. So here's this guy. (of course he's heard of Dr Peter Breggin) http://www.earthfoods.us/page1 His name is Dr. Pappas. I've talked to him before in the store but I made an actual one on one appointment with him. If you can help me come up with questions for him maybe or things to look out for I will. Thanks so much!
  3. I'm a mature adult - now 69 years young. Started with Strattera several years ago when I had focus problems in writing grant applications for a new nonprofit (see missrubyskids.org). I was very happy for awhile; the irritable bowel I'd had forever vanished, I could do a public presentation without melting down, and I was able to focus like a laser. There was a side effect - loss of libido - but that was not a problem as hubby was no longer interested. However, when I tried to stop the med cold turkey a couple of years later as I was no longer writing grants. the fallout was awful. After just one week I had mood swings, digestive upsets, scrambled brain, etc. My family practice doctor put me on 50mg Pristiq about two years ago. Again, I was happy. No digestive upsets as with Strattera - caused by dumping? - and I felt normal. But I began reading that SSRIs might contribute to alzheimers so now I'm determined to get off this med.
  4. Hi all, I'm new and have been reading the forums for a couple of months and I have to say everything I have read so far has given me hope and a new found attitude towards my health and well-being. I'm ready to take control and be accountable for what I do and do not do to my body. I have always trusted in doctors and medical professionals; it gets instilled in many of us from a young age that if you're sick, the doctor will help. Unfortunately for me, and probably many others, it was like a "blind faith" and I never thought to question my doctor's opinion and trusted he/she knew what they were prescribing; that they had taken the risks and/or side-effects into consideration before they scribbled away on their pad and had me tottering off to the pharmacy. I realise now that this is, sadly, not true of the medical professionals that I have trusted with my care. I lived at home until I was 21. My childhood had a rocky start with my father abusing (beating) myself and my siblings. It went on for years. I was about 5 by the time I told my mother, and 6 by the time he had gone to prison. I had good support, my mother took me to a child psychologist to talk about what had happened and I think I dealt ok with it. I often had nightmares, or imagined things had turned out differently and I would work myself up and cry, but I didn't feel truly sad or depressed about it; it was what it was. I think the hardest part for me came a lot later, years later. When I was at uni and out in the real world, dealing with real relationships and people and stress and responsibility. My family never talked about what had happened with my father, we all knew it had happened, but whenever any conversation came close to the subject, someone steered it away. We just, never talked about it. All this time I still had, on occasion, fantasies about what had happened, what might happen, and eventually I had convinced myself that it hadn't happened. No one wanted to talk about it, so maybe it didn't really happen the way I remembered. Maybe I made it all up? Did I ruin my family by making it all up? So many maybes and no way to sort them out. My self-esteem was never great. I was very shy and had a lot of problems talking to people. Add to this my conviction that my childhood hadn't happened the way I thought it had, that I had made it all up, and you get me 10 years ago: low self-esteem, self-doubt, guilt. I guess this wasn't so bad on its own, a lot of people suffer from these things; they aren't pleasant, but they aren't the end of the world. The real problems started when I began a romantic relationship. I had dated guys before, but I saw this as my first adult relationship. It all went well at first, but I had massive, MASSIVE, blinkers on (hindsight huh!). In short, he was manipulative and emotionally abusive. I knew the entire time I was with him (4 years) that he wasn't good for me, that I deserved better, but my bags of low self-esteem, self-doubt and guilt convinced me that it was better to be in a relationship than be alone. When I was still living at home and going to uni, we had a big bust up which sent me into a guilt and shame spiral, even though he was the one that did something wrong, he manipulated me into thinking it was my fault. My friend found me at my desk, head down, exhausted. She suggested I talk to a doctor and I did. He prescribed me Zoloft and I didn't sleep for two weeks. That was my first contact with anti depressants, and after not sleeping for two weeks (not literally of course, I'm sure I fell asleep at some point each night, it just didn't feel like it) I was a zombie. I chucked those pills away, not thinking about the consequences of going cold turkey. I figured it was fine because it had only been two weeks, and they're just "happy pills", right?! What could go wrong. I was ill. I felt like I had a really bad flu and was in bed for a few days until my body adjusted. I didn't realise I was having withdrawal symptoms, I didn't know there was such a thing, my doctor had said nothing about it. I got over it after a few days and didn't think of it again. My boyfriend planned to move states, back to his home-town, and me being me, I followed. Things were ok for a while, but he wore me down slowly. I let him. I didn't stand up for myself and one day I was standing in the shower crying and I didn't know why. He told me there was something wrong with me and that I had to go to the doctor. So I did. The doctor I found was quite good. We talked about how I was feeling, what my options were, how he normally deals (medically) with these issues, and we decided to start me on St John's Wort. He told me of the risks involved and that I had to be careful taking it. I took it for about 6 months, but didn't notice any significant improvement, so I went back to the doctor again, but because it was a Saturday and I was desperate, I had to make do with the on-call doctor. My first impression of him was horrible. He was rude and arrogant, and made me feel like I was wasting his time by "being a little bit sad". He was completely flippant about how I was feeling that it made me feel worse. Nevertheless, he prescribed me 20mg Cipramil (Citalopram) and said I should talk to the clinical psychologist that worked at the practice. I left feeling like s**t. I went to the pharmacy, got the prescription filled and drove to the beach. I sat in my car and watched the waves crash against the sand. I pulled a pill from the box and just stared at it in my hand for the longest time. Eventually I just shoved it in my mouth and swallowed. And that was the start. I was on 20mg Cipramil for a few years as well as seeing the clinical psychologist which helped a bit, but I don't think I really, truly had a grip on what was wrong with me, so I was just "going through the motions", thinking I was getting better. I ended up finally standing up for myself and getting out of that relationship. I met my current (wonderful) partner, who is now my fiancé a few months later. Things were great, I felt great, but I still hadn't dealt with my initial problems, and when work became stressful, I unravelled. I went back to the doctor, yet another new one (same practice though), and she had me fill out a quick form about how I felt and then gave me a few sample boxes of 100mg Pristiq (desvenlafaxine) and sent me on my way. There was no talk about the drug itself or possible side effects, and at the time I was still naive enough to not question. When I got my prescription filled, there was no information leaflet in the box - there still isn't today (Oct 2013) - and I didn't think to research it. I started taking the Pristiq and after a few weeks I felt ok. I didn't feel like laying in bed all day, I wasn't crying at the drop of a hat, I was better able to manage the work stress. Overall I felt better than I had in months. I continued taking the drug and at subsequent doctor visits I would get a new prescription. I remember asking about when to come off the drug, and my doctor said I had to be on it for at least a year if not more. I don't remember if she offered any reasoning behind this length of time, but me being me again, I blindly accepted it as truth. I eventually switched to another doctor within the practice after my current one left, and although she is nice, my first appointment with her didn't fill me with confidence. All I took from that first appointment was yet another prescription and the advice to get some exercise and read "the good book". I don't know which book she was referring to, I can only assume she meant the Bible. I'm not a religious person, and while I didn't take offence, I was pretty angry and baffled by the suggestion and that the Bible would "cure" my depression, like it was a misunderstanding or that a lack of religion was the cause of my depression. (Now that I think back on it, I'm getting offended by it.....calm blue ocean, calm blue ocean...rainbows and puppy dogs...). Anyway, over the last two years, every time I have had an appointment with this doctor, I have had to correct her case history of my prescriptions. She is constantly under the impression that I have only been taking Pristiq for a "couple of months". I find this pretty annoying, but I'm not a confrontational person, so I don't say anything other than to correct her. She wrote me a prescription for 50mg Pristiq about a year or so ago and said that I could start taking this when I felt better. I was really apprehensive as I was still going through stress and I hadn't sorted out or dealt with my underlying feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem, etc. So I kept going. It wasn't until my fiancé and I had a rough patch that started in late 2012 and ended just recently that I realised I needed to get a handle on things. I was just drifting through life, not really engaging and as I thought more and more about it, I realised that I was a zombie, a robot, and it was really, really difficult to remember things. Even now, I can't remember most of the conversations I've had with people over the last few months, it's like the words reached my ears, and I engaged with them, but there's no record of it. Sometimes I will have just spoken with someone and have no idea what it is they said; I remember the context, but not the actual words. It's pretty scary. It's like there is a warm fuzzy blanket over my brain. During our rough patch, I was seeing my psychologist and a counsellor. The counsellor really, really helped. My psychologist has helped a great deal too, but I found the counsellor to be a much better resource for me. She helped me to figure out and really focus on how I was feeling, which has led me to where I am today. Once I started feeling better and more in control, with the help of the psych, counsellor and my wonderful fiancé, I decided that I no longer wanted to take antidepressants. If I am going to be stressed, or sad, or frightened or anxious I want to face it and deal with it. I don't want to put a warm, fuzzy blanket over the difficult feelings anymore, because they're still there, they haven't gone away. I want to talk about things, really talk, really understand, really deal, and be here, for real. I got my prescription for 50mg pristiq filled and started taking it. I think it was a Sunday. I felt fine all week until Friday night. It was raining and our electric gate becomes dodgy in the rain. We ordered pizza for tea and after about an hour I picked up my phone, which I had left on silent and there were 3 missed calls from the delivery driver, saying he couldn't open the gate to deliver our pizza. I managed to call the company and get him to come back, and by that time it was fairly terrible pizza. In rushed the guilt - I had missed the calls because my phone was on silent, it's my fault the pizza was terrible, what must my fiancé think, I can't even get a pizza delivered...and on and on down the irrational road my brain skipped. I Iay on the couch and cried over pizza. My fiancé didn't know what to do. It was a fairly quick episode and I went on watching TV, not thinking much of it. The next day I couldn't focus on one thing for more than 10 - 30 seconds. Literally. I was fidgetting, picking things up to put them away, only to abandon them somewhere between where I picked them up and where I got distracted with something else. I picked up 4 books to read, only to put them down again, I started to get my old knitting project out, put it back, cross-stitch project out, put it back, start a computer game, quit, start another, quit. It drove my fiancé crazy. Eventually I settled on watching some TV and calmed down. The next day (Sunday) we talked and I decided to go back up to 100mg. It was only then that I realised that the headache that had been in the background all week was getting worse. I went to the chemist and they gave me the strongest over-the-counter pain killers (1000mg paracetamol and 12.5mg codeine I think), and I took them for a week before the headache went away. I started researching coming off antidepressants and found a new term: antidepressant withdrawal. What I had gone through the last week was a real thing and I wasn't the only one suffering. I read more and found the 10% taper method in these forums and read associated links and materials and finally had a good idea about how I needed to do this. I went back to the doctor and told her that I had gone down to 50mg and had suffered headaches, fidgetting, and mood swings and that I wanted to come down slower. All she heard was "mood swings" and told me that it meant I had to be on the higher dose. After all the reading I had done, I finally realised that even though she was a doctor, she didn't really know how to deal with depression or the medication she had been prescribing me. But I knew what I wanted, I wanted out. So I managed to convince her that I was ok and still wanted to come down, and that my crying episode was just because I felt crappy having had a headache all week. She then told me that I should cut the 50mg tablet in half and take 75mg. I know there have been some success stories posted here where people have done this (cutting Pristiq tablets), but at this point, I felt she was reaching at straws; uninformed. I didn't want to be an experiment anymore, "try this, see how you go". If I was going to try anything, it would be my way. I mentioned the compounding pharmacy I had found and asked if that would be a better way to go. She just said they wouldn't be able to make my medication for years to come because it isn't a publicly available formula. I had already done some research and suggested that they could just crush the 100mg tablets and make me a dose of 90mg instead. She waved me away, saying "no no". This was my last attempt, so I accepted her prescription and went to the compounding pharmacy the next day. They were a little skeptical at first too: "oh yes I've been there too honey, it's not nice, but you're doctor knows what they're doing", "you should be fine with this dose". But I was insistent that I was tapering in 10% doses. They spoke to the pharmacist and it was all agreed and my 90mg tablets were ready to pick up a few days later. It's gone very well so far, I have been taking the 90mg for a month now. I have had 3 "brain zaps" so far, which have been in the evening, and not too serious or unpleasant - I was disoriented for a couple seconds and my brain felt kind of heavy (if such a thing is possible!). I have ordered my next batch at 80mg which should be ready this week. I'm feeling so good at being in control!
  5. Sorry for my bad English but I use Google translator. I am a woman of 45 years old, housewife, living in Italy with her husband and parents who live in the adjoining. Before having psychiatric problems in 2006, I was found a leucoencelopatia vascular disease. In January 2006 I began to take Zoloft ( 1 x 50 mg) for generalized anxiety and depression. After one month and a half I was fine, I continued to take it until November 2006 when I had a relapse and I have replaced it with Cymbalta ( 1 x 60 mg). I took it up to July 2007 and then climb it in two months. In September 2007 I was fine without medication. In March 2008 I start to feel bad , they gave me Cymbalta again until January 2009 . From the middle of the month I took it every other day for two months to remove it completely to March 2009. In October 2010 I was sick again. For two months I took Cymbalta but this time I continued to get sick so I have given back to Zoloft starting with small doses because I was very bad and it seemed that my symptoms were dependent on this medication. I had anxiety , tachycardia, sweating . I also took a bit of Tavor and then Lexotan in drops. Finally I begin to get better and in April 2011 took only 1 pill of Zoloft 50 mg per day. In December 2011 I started to climb the taking Zoloft every other day for two months. In early March 2012 broke out strong anxiety so I have given back to Zoloft for about a month and then change it to Paroxetine ( Sereupin ). I started gradually up to June 2012 with 1 tablet of 20 mg and a bit of Lexotan. The anxiety was reduced but was still not well. During this time I started vision problems. I began to see I was bleary-eyed and puffy eyes. In August 2012 I see a new psychiatrist that I recommend to double the Zoloft. After 13 days I was getting worse so I stopped , switching to a pill and a half. In January 2013 I have another symptom: noise started on the left side of the head. In February 2013 I went back to 1 tablet of Zoloft per day, 5 drops of Remeron in the evening and a little Tavor. Then I took 13 drops of Lexotan but my anxiety was getting worse. In June 2013 I tried to take a half pill then every other day, then I went back to 1 pill. The symptoms were always worse. At the end of August 2013 I try to climb to 25 mg , add B-complex vitamins on the advice of a holistic doctor. I'm getting worse every day. CURRENT THERAPY : 25 mg Zoloft ( 4:30 pm ) Lexotan 5 drops in the evening Remeron 5 drops in the evening. SYMPTOMS HIGH ANXIETY : I do not know where I stand, do not leave the house, bad breath, wheezing constantly, I can not do anything, I am unable to follow any type of diet. I am underweight. BLEARY-EYED : I feel constantly wet and swollen eyes NOISE IN HEAD: Constant noise on the left side . TOOTHACHE : neuralgia sharp left, I have trouble talking. IRREGULAR SLEEP : even if sometimes I can get enough sleep, I always wake up tired. MY EXPECTATIONS I got to the bottom, do not take it anymore . I do not want my doctor to ask for help because I would admit. I do not want to be hospitalized in the psychiatric ward because I know that I will take even more drugs. I've heard of people ruined for life in this way. I do not trust most of the psychiatrists who are only able to dispense these toxic drugs. I asked for help from naturopathic or holistic doctors but nobody wants to take responsibility for me to climb these psychiatric drugs. Everyone says that I need a psychiatrist. I feel trapped, I tried to contact many people even within anti-psychiatry. Almost everyone advised me to call my doctor and get hospitalized. If I find someone who thinks like me, and tries to help me I can not follow his advice and I can only become more confused. How do I if for example you may want to go outside or do sports when I am not able ? Here in my country now I've tried everything, and the only hope now is you. Suggestions are truly appreciated. Thanks Terry
  6. I'm new here, I'm glad to find this site. 60 year old Male, I've been in SSRIs for 17 years, Paxil for the first 14 years. It all began when I got CFS, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome when I was 42. Paxil really helped to get me functional again for many years, but now I am over the CFS but stuck on the SSRIs. Despite being an old man I would still like to have my libido back, which is diminished by the 2.5mg Lexipro I take. But also I'm interested in doing a different kind of healing using psychedelics and plant medicines which are counter indicated in combination with SSRI. Serious brain damage can occur if I combine them. Therefore I must get off the SSRIs, and I intend to take seven months to taper off this 2.5 using liquid as I have read about here in the thread about tapering off Lexapro. Despite this apparently small dose of SSRI I still have a completely miserable time when I've try to get off it or even skip a day of my medication. I have the bleakest, worst kind of suicidal thoughts when I try to get off the stuff, every time I try. I'm hoping the slow taper method using the 10% formula over seven months will be my ticket to success. I really appreciate this forum!
  7. Abilifyneedhelp88

    Important Empowering Technique...

    Hello All, I recently was curious as to how the pharmaceutical company (Otsuka) for Abilify had any info on discontinuation studies for the drug and if they had guidelines for discontinuation. At first I got the generic answer, everybody's different, everybody reacts differently on the drug and was redirected back to my doctor who I know gets his info from the company, from his experience with patients and of course his drug rep. The person I spoke to was a Pharm D. She would only give her first name and last initial. She was hesitant to give me any further info but when I said I was an RN, she said she could give me more info than just would a patient receive. So this is where it got interesting. She said there were no specific guidelines as to discontinuation. She said results done in studies were all over the board. She gave me specifics of the double blind studies and the percentages of relapse which are very low in the discontinuation. She then asked me if I would talk to their quality control department and go on record as to what my side effects are in which she came back and said that they were not available so I could talk to her. I had an hour conversation with her regurgitating all of my side effects, how I felt about the drug and how I thought that they should have more studies about discontinuation. I told her what I was currently doing in tapering in which I feel comfortable and thought that the Doctor was giving advice that was bringing patients down too fast and possibly encouraging relapse. I told her that I would like to come off the drug faster but that in reality going slower with all things considered and prior past history was the safest way to go for me. I also told her that it is difficult to live with the SE's and because of that and wanting to get pregnant is the reason for withdrawal. I found that expressing myself to this drug company liberating because in speaking with them it sounded like many people do not call in and share with them their experiences. So please, please call your manufacturer and tell them what is going on. They may not be able to give you a clear answer but their is some hope in being able to express yourself and go on record. It may be just what you need right now. They also want to know if your SE's or withdrawal symptoms get worse, better or stay the same. It is vital to express this to the manufacturer so they can take your story into consideration when developing new drugs. It is only from the patient do they hear and those that are proactive in their suffering. And it goes a long way when the other person on the other line says they are grateful for you calling in.... Just my two cents...Heather RN
  8. SugarDollMary


    I found this site after beginning to taper off venlafaxine. Effexor was prescribed for me ten or so years ago to help with fibromyalgia. Through the years doctors or nurse practitioners have upped my dose (usually due to situational depression and dysthymia). Somewhere I was switched from regular to XR and to the generic. My dose ended up at a high of 225 mg/day of venlafaxine XR. The few times I forgot to take my dose, I had quite a set of discontinuation symptoms: wild dreams, nightmares, "acid flashbacks." Because I have learned healthy ways of coping with fibro and dysthymia, I want to taper off the venlafaxine. My NP and I discussed and on Friday March 22, I started the taper as per what we figured out: 2-75 mg of XR + 1-37.5 nonXR, for a total of 187.5 mg/day. She told me to hold at this level for two months. What is that? 17%? A couple days later I had one night of insomnia, and then when I finally slept, my dreams were really crazy. One week and one day after, I had the worst migraine of my life. Usually I just get the aura and a slight headache for about 20 mins., but this one lasted all day; I was sick to my stomach and felt bad for two days. I also noticed I am sort of trembly and mentally dim. (What complicates this is that I also have had a nagging flu/cold for the last three weeks, and my head is still stuffed up, so I don't know what might be that and what might be the withdrawal.) Anyhow, I'm able to function, but feel crappy. The insomnia ended after one night as did the dreams. No more headache but I feel real tired and achy and still sort of dull. After reading about the 10% guideline, I'm wondering if I should go back up to 225, then drop 10% (I'd actually just split the 37.8 in half; it would be less than 10%), or if I should muddle through and reduce 10% the next time. Looking forward to support on this site. SugarDollMary Venlafaxine for 10+ yrs. For fibromyalgia, situational depression and dysthymia. Highest dose 225/day XR Taper #1 = 187.5 mg/day (2-75mg XR + 1-37.5 regular)
  9. SourCherry

    SourCherry: Pristiq

    I have been taking Pristiq now for over two years. I stumbled accross forums on the topic and was shocked to see side effects I was experiencing, and had not made the connection to Pristiq. I never had a weight problem before I started taking it, but I am constantly hungry! Lack of motivation, I had no clue this was associated to Pristiq!! I thought I was just changing into a hermit! It was all I could do to go to visit my sisters! I never had a problem before I started this medicine. I guess I didn't associate lack of motivation because it didn't happen right away. At first I was full of energy! Felt great! But as time went on I put on a lot of weight and had to talk myself into the simplest tasks! After a year of being on Pristiq, I was diagnosed with high blood pressure. I have read that this has happened to other Pristiq users. However, my father has high blood pressure so this may just be hereditary. I decided to taper off!! I have read the horror stories of withdrawal and it scared me. However, I want off of this medicine! So Monday I took my 50mg dose and decided to take one every third day. Today is the third day, and although I am dizzy, it isn't anything that I can't tolerate. I decided to take one if the withdrawal gets bad enough. I know that cold turkey is not recommended but I figure if it isn't keeping me from working or doing my everyday things it was ok?! I will keep you all posted about the process for me. I know everyone is different so I would never recommend this method to anyone!!!!! I was just wondering if anyone else went this route? What kind of withdrawal symptoms you had? How did you taper off? Just stories about your experiece being on Prisitiq, the side effects you had while on it, and what made you decide to quit taking it and regain your life back:)
  10. Hi everybody! First post here. I have been on Pristiq for about 4 years. At first it was 50mg per day then a little less than 2 years ago I was increased to 100mg a day. (in there somewhere I was on klonopin for less than a year at the same time. quit that mess cold turkey with some pretty brutal withdrawals) 3-4 months ago I tapered myself down to 50mg a day. Last week my doctor advised me that I could start to ween off completely by taking half a pill every other day. This morning should have been my half a pill day but I didn't feel horrible and I am very excited to be off this medication so I didn't take it. I've got a tiny bit of dizziness but only when I'm moving around. No bad brain zaps yet. I am weepy though. Crying over weird things, remembering things from the past and crying over them, etc. I don't feel nearly as bad as I did when I stopped the klonopin so now I'm wondering- do I just not take anymore and let my body ride it out? Or am I kidding myself and by this time tomorrow I will be a complete mess of a human if I don't take my half a pill because my body hasnt caught up? Sorry if none of this makes sense. Thanks in advance for any insights.
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