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  1. I have stopped Zoloft on November the 15th, after having reduced my dose of 50mg by a half during 5 days (I took 25mg), but I still experience pain since, and I feel confused all the time. I didn't reinstate the medication before because I was absolutely disgusted by it (I was forced to take it during 8 months at 15 years old) and didn't want to think to it *at all*. Two months after the withdrawal, I am in a bad state, probably due to the SSRI... what are your advices ? Could I still recover from the lethal product ? I planed to reinstate Zoloft on January the 25th, because it would allow me to take the thing about 2 weeks and a half, to recover during 2 weeks and then to complete my exams. Those aren't really important so it wouldn't be fatal to me to fail them, but I originally imagine this strategy to avoid being paralyzed during a too long time. It will be hard for me to live with the antidepressant after what it did to me... I am ready to make efforts to get back the capacities that allowed me to always be the first. My unique condition is the recovery before 1 year. Thank you. I already love this forum's principle and would absolutely be happy if I could recover from Zoloft. P.S. As implied : the faster you answer, the greater it is to me.
  2. Greetings, I've been on Zoloft|Prozac for about 17 years now. First, a little bit about my pre-SSRI history. When I was in middle/high school I struggled to pay attention in class and complete homework assignments, and when I was ~13 I was diagnosed with moderate ADD and mild OCD (though I cannot recall exactly what led to the OCD diagnosis). I was prescribed Ritalin for a year or two, but wasn't comfortable with how it made me feel and eventually ceased use. During high school I experimented heavily with illicit drugs and it as during this time period that anxiety manifested itself in my life. I was ~15 when I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder as well as social anxiety disorder. After taking ecstasy at age ~16 I began to regularly experience a feeling of impending doom, an awful anxiety-like sensation that I now believe is a panic attack or something similar. At 16 or 17 I became addicted to Oxycontin. Near my 18th birthday, I was lucky enough to receive help for my substance abuse issues, and have been clean and sober from Oxycontin and heavy drugs ever since. I did struggle with alcoholism in my early twenties but ended up quitting alcohol altogether and haven't had a drink in ~8 years. As part of substance rehabilitation at ~17, my doctor put me on Zoloft. This helped immensely with my social anxiety for long periods of time, but eventually the effects would always become muted. When this muting occurred, my doctor would often switch me to Prozac (or, if I was on Prozac, back to Zoloft), or increase my dosage, in an attempt to recapture the effect. This treatment was effective for a few months at a time, but never effective long-term. It's difficult for me to recall my medication history in that 17-year timeline, but I do know that I've been on Zoloft or Prozac for the majority of that timeline, and that my Zoloft dosage has ranged from 25mg to 200mg. My average Zoloft dosage in that time period was probably 100-150mg, and my current Zoloft dosage is 150mg. During that time period I have quit SSRIs altogether at least 4-5 times, generally with "fast taper" of 1-4 weeks, but I've always ended up back on medication. Social anxiety is what generally drives me back to the medication. I've been taking 150mg for around 4 months, and the benefits of 100mg->150mg have dwindled considerably. Like many times before, I'm wondering whether I really want to be on SSRIs for the rest of my life. The potential negative SSRI side effects I experience are as follows. The majority of my emotions are dull. I rarely feel happiness, excitement, sadness, affection, etc. When I do feel these emotions, they feel muted and distant, as if I am observing the experience of someone else. On the other hand, some negative emotions are still quite sharp, such as anxiety and fear. Brain fog. I often have difficulty finding the right words when speaking. My mind feels significantly less "awake" than it did when I was younger. Twitches/tremors. Stomach issues. I was diagnosed with IBS around 8 years ago. Muscle/nerve pain. I've been diagnosed with several Repetitive Stress Injuries, such as cubital tunnel syndrome. In some ways over the years my social anxiety has gotten worse, rather than better. I feel "out of step" with others in conversations. I have trouble finding the cadence of a conversation and knowing when to interject. I often find myself bored or distracted during conversations, and jump from topic to topic quickly. Trouble sleeping. I wake up a lot, have lots of intense dreams, and typically do not feel fully rested when I wake up in the morning. I recognize that these may or may not be related to my SSRI usage, as I've listed all symptoms that spring to mind which may possibly be related. In fact it is probably impossible to establish causation for many of these. So that's me. I haven't yet made the decision of whether to go off SSRIs. If I do decide to quit, then I will slow taper as recommended on the site, as I am susceptible to the withdrawal symptoms we all know and hate. I also understand that I will need to address the root causes of my anxiety, and to that end I am seeing a therapist and practicing meditation. Having said that, I'm still scared that I won't be able to identify/address the underlying issues. I appreciate you reading, and am grateful for any thoughts which may spring to mind. - Carn1523
  3. Greetings! I am 6 months into withdrawal (off zoloft 25-50mg since July 2019) and am experiencing such an intense wave of muscle burning, pain, and tension, also burning eyes, and irritated skin. I have been used to painful muscle tension ever since stopping it, but this is amped up to a degree I have never endured. I don’t know how much longer I can make it before questioning if reinstatement at a very low dose would help? I really would like to avoid doing that but need advice if you can help. And any personal experience you can share that helped you with these symptoms. I think it is withdrawal but maybe something else is going on that is new? Just weary and wary of doctors now as they are not validating or versed on the ugly messiness of these meds and withdrawal. Thanks so much! My history follows: 2000-2012 50 mg zoloft Fast taper and stayed off for several months but panic attacks (never had before) began and reinstated 2013-2019 20 mg celexa and transition to 25 mg zoloft within that time frame July 2019 rapid wean over 3 weeks symptoms of back pain primarily and muscle tension, rosacea, food sensitivities, dry burning eyes
  4. Extreme anxiety and pure O began in early 2017. Placed on 50 mg Zoloft then. Started with 25 mg for 2 weeks and then upped to 50. Do not remember now how long it took to feel better, but I have had a completely happy 2.5 years, aside from a 25 lb weight gain. Somewhat decrease in libido, but not enough to cause concern. Felt so much better, thought I could try to live life independent of med. Decided to taper slowly. Two weeks of 25 mgs...no symptoms. 2 weeks of every other day 25 mgs...no symptoms. 2 weeks of every third day 25 mgs...no symptoms. As of Nov. 28, no Zoloft at all. Felt fine, no zaps, headaches, sleep issues, etc. decided to try adipex (or phentermine) to lose some weight. 5 days into adipex 37.5 mg extreme ocd and ruminations were back. Stopped adipex for 5 days. Still pretty anxious. Was hoping that ocd would go away after ending adipex. didnt. Broke down today and refilled my Zoloft prescription. Took 50 mg. Any advice on reinstating ? Should I take 25 mg instead since my body has been used to much less ? Also, if anyone has been in my situation before, how long did it take for reinstatement to help you feel better? I’m feeling very hopeless. I wish I could go back in time and tell myself to not start the taper. Why mess up a good thing? Sigh. Has anyone struggled with anxiety, ruminating thoughts after reinstating? I’ve also purchased some omega 3, b complex, and magnesium supplements to help get me over this hump. Thanks for the help in advance, just looking for a sliver of hope that my reinstatement will work ! Would be willing to try tapering again , just not anytime soon.
  5. Where do I go from here? The first week of Nov. I tried to CT .5mg of k. I think I was off 4 days and then reinstated once the withdrawals hit me. I thought I would be able to stabilize so suffered for a month with intense anxiety and nausea with no relief. I thought for sure the V would save me so I crossed over to 10mg the first week of Dec. Unfortunately I was one of the rare, unlucky ones and couldn’t handle it. It caused horrific depression. After giving it 2 weeks I went back on .5mg k. Since then I’ve just been trying to make it day by day. Although the depression lifted a little bit I still cry everyday and the anxiety/nausea has slowly crept back in. I don’t know how or when I’ll be able to start my taper. I’m so scared. Prior to CT off benzo- I gave up my life in Arizona and moved home to live with my parents in Michigan this past Oct. I was on 6 psychiatric medications for depression. I CT the mirtazapine and Abilify I was on and felt amazing until I tried the same thing with the benzo. I also went down to 200mg from 300mg Zoloft and went down from 60mg Adderall to 10mg. I had to increase my dosage of Trazodone from 100 to 200mg. I’m 36 yo, divorced, no friends, no job. I don’t want to live with my parents forever. I don’t know how I am ever going to rebuild a life for myself.
  6. Hi there I’m a new member. I figured it might be good to give some back ground of my journey and maybe get some tips while I’m at it. So I have been on antidepressants for about half my life. So between 15 and 20 years. I’m not quite sure when I started but it was when I much younger. I started with Prozac 20mg and have switched between Zoloft and Prozac a few times. Prozac always seemed to work best for me. This last switch to Zoloft was due to having kids and its said that its safer for them while pregnant and breastfeeding. I have had a couple of times where I would get off the medication but always seem to get back on it. Looking back I was probably have withdrawals rather then reoccurrence. The last few years I felt healthy enough to try to get off. I started tapering in October 2018 from Zoloft 50 mg. I initially was going down about 5 mg a month. I was doing really well. My main side effects where some headaches, tiredness, less of appetite. Nothing too serious to be honest. Then the last two months or so have been really bad. I had some stressors at work that have made it extremely difficult to feel normal. This last month I went down about 3 mgs. So from 8 to 5 mgs. This has been the roughest month yet. Extreme anxiety, insomnia, waking up from sleeping with panic, crying spells for almost no reason (even if someone asks me how I’m doing coming off the medication I will cry), some days no appetite at all, irritability, depression (although I live in Michigan so this is some what normal just not as bad normally). I realized in this low of a dose that I should have went smaller but I feel its bit late now. I started this taper on November 15th. I just really want to get off these darn pills but now I’m paying for it. The worst part for me is that I’m afraid to go to sleep in fear of waking up to panic. I have some Xanax but I know that’s only masking it and not fixing it. In fact its probably getting worse due to it being addictive. I’ve taken 5 times in the last month but would like to make it maybe 1 or none at all. Current things I’ve done to help with these problems – starting seeing a new therapist that works more holistically. I have been using lavender essential oils in my room while sleeping. Supplements that I take: · Magnesium with vitamin b co factors (Jigsaw health is the brand) · CBD oil · Trying to stop drinking pop or reducing it. I wasn’t an every day drinker but I know it can mess up your system. · I tried 5htp 200 mg but gave me lose stools so I do have a lower dose (50mg) now but scared to take it since I don’t I don’t want it to make me feel bad (ugh anxiety). · I take a multi vitamin from Garden of Life that has probiotics · I take separate probiotics · I take an amino acid supplement · L-Theanine · Vitamin D I’m at a loss right now.
  7. Hello all, I was first prescribed 25mg of zoloft late November of 2015 after a few days in the psych ward. Afterward when I found a psychiatrist, he raised my zoloft to 100 mg and then a month or two later he added topamax 25mg and Latuda (can't remember the dosage) into the mix. Shortly after I started to get brain zaps even when I was taking the medications on time and foolishly I decided to just stop taking them all together around March or April of 2016. I never returned to that psychiatrist or any psychiatrist for that matter. Now almost four years since taking them I am still plagued with brain zaps. They are not always present but appear every few months for a few days and then vanish into the wind. It went on that until about Feb of 2018 when I started experiencing numbness in my legs. I thought it was a stroke or blood clot so I went to the ER. After I got a MRI of my brain and an xray of my spine, the doctors told me that the findings did not explain my brain zaps or numbness in my legs and sent me home with an article from PsychologyToday that I had already read a million times detailing SSRI withdrawal syndrome. I felt defeated and never thought to contact a neurologist. Since then my symptoms got progressively worse. Every few months there would be relapses and a new symptom would appear; lhermitte sign, paresthesia, tingling, itchiness, fatigue, and pain behind eyes. I started to document my symptoms April of this year after another relapse. I had another relapse September/October. Today I am in the throes of another relapse. This time somewhat longer than normal. I decided once and for all to find out if what I am experiencing is just the repercussions of not tapering off some medication almost four years ago while being a stupid college kid or if what I have is something more serious since SSRI withdrawal seems to mimic quite a few other neurological diseases. Tomorrow I go in to see if I can get a referral to a neurologist. Wish me luck.
  8. Hello everyone. Don't know where to start. Firstly excuse my english because it is not my native language. My first experience with psychiatric drug was with elicea in 2015 when I visited my first psychiatrist (can't remember the dose). Took it for 2 months then stopped cold turkey. Suffered severe depression and brain zaps for short period after that. I recovered. Also I took xanax occasionally then and in 2017. 2018 took xanax more often for like 3 months (never more than once a day, 0.25mg, maybe 0.50mg sometimes). Never suffered withdrawals after I quit. At least nothing that I am aware off. Fast forward to august 2018 I visited another psychiatrist and was put on calixta (mirtazapine), can't remember the dose atm. Took it until december or january when she got me off it cold turkey and put me on seroxat. Never had any problems until I started noticing double vision (ghosting) of bright letters and lights from a distance but It wasn't that bad. After like 3 months on seroxat she wanted to switch to zyprexa and diagnosed me with borderline personality disorder. Keep in mind that I never suffered psychosis and was only depressed and unmotivated person. I had trouble with my insurance and needed to sorted it out first because it is an expensive drug. I quit seroxat first around april this year. Never had any problems except the double vision one. After I got my insurance in june I started Zyprexa. First I was on smaller doses (2.5mg-7.5mg) then i got to 10mg on september. I started losing interest in my hobbies and got very suicidal and depressed. She started me on zoloft around middle of october (first few days on small doses then on 25mg) and cut my zyprexa dose to 7.5mg. Around 13th of november (a week ago) I decided to quit both drugs and stop poisoning myself after a very fast tapper (few days). I am in hell since. I have lots of symptoms (most are probably from zyprexa because I took it for longer) but what I find worst is not sleeping. First I was very tired and sleepy from not sleeping but recently I am never tired and I probably don't even sleep one hour in total. It is scaring me. I always slept on my back but now I can't do that because my mouth make a weird noise and I start panicking. I am very scared and don't know what to do. I was thinking of tappering but going back to drugs scare me. I am afraid I will never sleep and my brain will detoriate. My god what have I done to myself.
  9. Dear withdrawees ... I hope i find you all well... Or at least amidst a window rather than a wave . I've been scouring SA for some time now, picking up whatever bits of helpful and positive information i can about this horrific ordeal. I now feel its time to introduce myself and my history on AD's to the community with the hope of being provided with additional support and a view helping others in the future when this experience is more of a bad memory rather than a living hell . I have been taking Sertraline on and off for the last 6 years since 2013 after a series of horrific circumstances happened one after another. Despite the drugs having good effect, I've always been uncomfortable with masking what are obviously important emotions using a daily consumption of a drug. This has led me to unwittingly withdraw multiple times across the 6 year period which lead me to believe i was confined to a life of drug taking, this was until June this year when I first found SA and became aware of SSRI withdrawal . Of course I was left somewhat shocked but not surprised after feeling neglected previously on multiple occasions by the medical sector. Despite that though i found a new sense of hope knowing that a life beyond drugs was not only possible, but likely. Recent Drug History OCT 2016 - I quit Sertraline 50 mg CT after a family bereavement had turned my life upside down .. as a result it felt the drug was totally ineffective. MAY 2017- After what had been an appalling 6 months (which i thought was horrific grief but now realise it is likely withdrawal is the more likely culprit) I reinstated Sertraline at 50 mg before raising the dose to 100 mg due to not feeling any effect (again this is something that makes sense now). In time i had started to feel normal again and presumed it was because I had worked my way through my prolonged grief. FEB 2019 - Life was now back on track and decided it was time to try and rid myself of the shameful daily pill pop that is AD's. I quit Sertraline Via a fast taper... but may aswell have been a CT. JUN 2019 - I found SA . .. realised i was withdrawing .. and had inadvertently made multiple mistakes along the way. NOV 2019 - I'm roughly 8-9 months into withdrawal & STRUGGLING MY SYMPTOMS: A thick brain fog Anxiety an inability to feel emotions / make connections with people Loss of communication skills & wit muscle weakness Fatigue As I've said previously.... i am currently at the 9 month mark and I'm coping okay (I Think🤔 ) when i compare my battles to that of others.. but i am beginning to really struggle with the isolation that seems to be a natural part of the process. I have always naturally been an extroverted person who loves talking to people and being at the centre of attention although currently this couldn't be further from the truth and is taking a huge toll on my daily life. Every time I am confronted with some form of social situation my brain draws a blank. Its as if the lights are on but nobody's home. WHAT HAPPENED TO MY CHARM AND CHARISMA? I wanted to ask for advice from anyone whose been in a similar situation: What can i do right here and now to aid myself when dealing with these symptoms? If you've surpassed the 9 month point of withdrawal with these symptoms still rearing their ugly head, at what stage did you notice a marked improvement? Has anyone any advice on how to work towards improving other areas of my life, such as love or working life and learning new skills whilst withdrawing? If you've made it this far thanks for reading and i look forward to any replies? Cheers
  10. I need some advice, and reassurance. I have been on Zoloft (Setraline) for about 5 years and I have never really had any problems going on it from what I remember, I was on 50mg and never went up any higher occasionally if I forgot a dose I would be reminded with brain zaps, I occasionally got dilated pupils which may have been the zoloft and thats really the only issues I got. Then one day I went to my Dr about some issue and she then decided to up my dose to 100mg. Faithfully like a good patient I took it and about a month later I had horrible insomnia and racing heart so I was put back on 50mg. The side effects subsided within a week and that all was fine until, 2 months being back on the 50mg I got the same symptoms again, racing heart and insomnia, so I decided to quit them. After about a week my heart is back to normal but 3 weeks later i'm still suffering really bad insomnia.... Will this go away... I have never had any issues falling asleep before but now I can lay awake trying to sleep for hours! Sometimes I will try all night and sleep won't come, its given me really bad anxiety about bed time, I also seem to never feel tired.. I will have to force sleep even after a day without it, This is horrible and giving me real anxiety over it. The Dr gave me Quitapine 25mg for sleep but I just want my normal sleep back. Is this the Zoloft? Will this fade?
  11. HI everyone - thank God I just found you! My 19 year old daughter has been on 50mg Zoloft (sertraline) since 2008. This summer we tapered her off over a 6-week period (which unfortunately I now know was WAY too fast). She did great, no issues, until last week, almost EXACTLY 3 months later. Withdrawal symptoms of fatigue, dizziness, syncope, headaches, falling, nausea, stomach pain have been coming and going for 5 days straight. She's missed two days of school during mid-terms. It started on the day she got her period so at first I attributed it to that. Then I thought maybe she had the flu. Then I thought she was overwhelmed with her first semester of college. Never dawned on me it was the sertraline. But when it hit her hard again last night I stayed up all night researching and once I came across this board and read the intro pages I KNEW that's what we are dealing with. It seems to be getting worse each day. I feel horrible that I didn't research more before doing the taper. I stupidly trusted her Dr. Now that we are close to a week past the 3-month mark, I'm thinking I need to immediately try reinstatement to see if it will help. I have a call into her Dr. to call in an Rx, because we used all of hers up when she tapered off. Since it's a Sunday of a holiday weekend I'm not too hopeful, and am considering taking her to Urgent Care to see if we can get an Rx there to get started today. I also think he won't believe that these symptoms have anything to do with the sertraline. Based on my reading here I'm guessing that if we try the reinstatement, I would start her at 1mg and leave it there for 1 week? If symptoms improve, leave it there, but if they don't, maybe move to 1.5mg? Does that sound right? But if she seems worse then do I taper off for about a week, or faster or slower? I'm just sick this is happening to her - I feel totally responsible and like a horrible parent. Thank you all so much for being here to help those of us who come after you.
  12. I joined 3 years ago when tapering from Effexor. After 18 days of being off , I couldn’t take it any longer and started Zoloft which I remained on until early September 2019. Have been tapering per medical provider schedule of 1 month. Again unsuccessful. I would like information on tapering from Zoloft and Pristiq, please. MVGS
  13. Spring 2014: Effexor ? mg for 2 months then cold turkey (didnt know better at the time). Originally put on this for depression after a break up. Fall 2014: Dizziness, extreme memory issues, pins and needles in hands and feet. Occasional adderall use. Working 2 jobs to pay for engineering school. Health anxiety started when doctors couldn't find cause of symptoms. Tried samE, 5htp. Winter 2014-2015: tried molly with a friend. Ended up in the ER. Months that passed included many ER visits and eventually klonopin (? mg) Spring 2015: after researching benzo dangers wanted off. Tried to taper. Horrid withdrawal. Switched to diazepam 6mg. Dog/best friend died of cancer. Started celexa 10 mg. Rest of 2015: Moved back in with mom, slowly tapered diazepam, stopped daily on new years 2016. Winter-Spring 2016: back in school. Stopped celexa 10mg in January. Pins and needles and depression in February. Started on wellbutrin 150mg. Increased anxiety but allowed me to finish school. Graduated. Stopped wellbutrin after graduation. Summer 2016: quit job too much stress while going through what I now know to be withdrawal. Drove for ride share service when feeling well enough. Felt like living with chronic fatigue syndrome. No doctors could find cause. Fall 2016: started back on celexa 15mg after rock bottom depression. Eventually wellbutrin added back at 75mg. Moved to a new state. PM panic attacks started after going back on celexa. Started full time engineering job. Winter 2016 - Winter 2018: wellbutrin gradually increased to 300mg. Started celexa taper. 15 down to 10mg. Increase in depression but tolerable. Spring 2019: tapered celexa down to 5mg. Extremely depressed. Affected relationship. Found a psychiatrist who wanted to switch me to zoloft. Relationship break up the week of starting zoloft. Zoloft lifted depression at first. Summer 2019: got back together with boyfriend. zoloft increased to 50 then 75 then 100. Horrible reaction to 100mg. Worst anxiety of my life. Stopped cold turkey. Back on 2.5mg celexa. Dr Then tried liquid zoloft increase from 0 by 1mg every few days to cross taper with celexa. Able to stop wellbutrin easily. Also had tooth extraction during all of this (infected root canal). Fall 2019: up to 8mg zoloft 1mg celexa. Horrible anxiety. Stopped zoloft cold turkey after getting suicidal thoughts from severe anxiety. Current: trying to find a celexa dose to stabilize on. Trying 2.5 mg. Anxiety and fatigue battles daily. going to write more soon. Just wanted a quick recap to start.
  14. Hi Everyone, I’m looking for advice and support. Last February I began what I thought was a slow withdrawal from zoloft. I tapered from 150mg down to 25mg in the span of 6 months. I went to 25mg on July 1st and a little over a month later I started to notice profound feelings of helplessness/despair, monumental anxiety, increased panic attacks, and this overwhelming feeling that the ground was going to open up and swallow me. To complicate matters, I’d been taking xanax to “help” with the panic/anxiety—maybe .25 or .5mg every other day. As I can tapered the zoloft, I began to notice interdose withdrawal from the xanax. On 8/24/19, I cold-turkeyed off xanax, thinking it was doing more harm than good. After a couple weeks of Hell (becoming truly paranoid, not eating, waking up with lightning bolts through my head, nightmares, and just overall terror, I upped my zoloft to 50mg. Close to hospitalization, I called my psychiatrist and he said to go to 100mg of zoloft and start klonopin. 100mg of zoloft was too much, and so I went to 75mg, where I’ve been for the past 14 days. I am taking .25 to .5mg klonopin every morning. My question is this: How long does it take to get stable? Everyday I have intense fear/anxiety and I have developed agoraphobia. The abrupt xanax cessation brought back ptsd symptoms. I’m not working right now and very isolated. I want to begin tapering again as soon as possible because I feel like both these drugs are contributing to my intense fear/anxiety. Any suggestions/ideas are more than welcome. Thank you. (Oh, and I’ve been on zoloft for... 10 years and before that luvox, prozac for shorter stints. Also on xanax & klonopin as needed for 15 years but only recently was taking xanax frequently). Thank you so much.
  15. TNnightowl

    TNnightowl

    Hi there, everyone. I have been hanging around this site for a few weeks now, and I've discovered so much valuable, helpful information. Actually putting myself out there is a big step for me, but I am convinced that this is where I belong. I have recently made the decision, after much research & thoughtful/prayerful consideration, to come off all the psych meds I am taking. I understand this will take time, but I'm in it for the long haul. So much of what I have learned over the past few weeks, and much of it from this site, is terrifying...and very much an eye-opener. I was first prescribed antidepressants back in 1989, and I may not be able to recall all the different meds I've taken since then nor the exact time frames taking each one. I will try to be as accurate as possible. Major Depression 1989, hospitalized for 22 days Amitriptyline (strength/dosage ?) Can't recall the anti-anxiety med prescribed. Maybe Xanax. Since that time I have been prescribed numerous antidepressants & anti-anxiety meds over the years. I am unable to be more specific than to name a few that I can recall. Time frames are impossible to recall as well. Lexapro Xanax Paxil I was med-free for a few years and functioned very well...even as a single mom of three very active boys. Then, approximately 10 yrs. ago I went down into that pit of depression again. Began antidepressants again and have been on them ever since. About 5-6 years ago, I resigned myself that I would need these meds for the rest of my life. I have lived in my own little world, functioning, but I have realized I want my life back. Currently: Sertraline (generic Zoloft) 100mg. 2 X a day Bupropn (gen. Wellbutrin) HCL 150mg. XL 1 X a day Lorazepam (gen. Ativan) 1mg. 1/2 - 1 tablet up to twice daily as needed. Have been taking a whole tablet before bed each night for about a year. As of 4 weeks ago, I am in the process of tapering and will begin tonight with a nightly dose of 1/2 tablet. (Was taking this dosage until a major event in my life about a year ago, then I began with one whole tablet at bedtime.) I have a pill cutter and have tapered slowly. I intend to hold it at this dosage until I have my med check appt next month, then go from there. Abilify 5mg. (on and off this one for about 3 years at different strengths, 5mg. being the highest) Started tapering off about 3 months ago but as I discovered on this site, taper wasn't slow enough. Experienced nightmarish w/d symptoms for 2-3 weeks, then began slowly to feel better. Symptoms have since subsided...ups and downs, though, over a few weeks. Will NEVER put this poison in my body again! I am making changes in my diet, exercising, and being mindful of & rerouting my thought patterns...and socializing more, which is very difficult for me. My grown sons & daughters-in-law, brothers & sis-in-law, and a couple close friends are aware of my goals. They are all very supportive and are "there" for me...24/7. This is very comforting to me. I have my faith, and I have a wonderful therapist who has been & is extremely helpful to me and is supportive of my efforts to become psych meds-free. I am very thankful to have found this site. Reading others' experiences helped me to survive the w/d symptoms after tapering off Abilify. So thank you to all who share here!
  16. Hello- I am new here. I've been on psychiatric drugs for almost two decades now. I currently take Zoloft 300mg, Adderall 60mg, Abilify 15mg, Mirtazapine 45mg, Trazodone 100mg and Klonopin .5mg. I've only ever been diagnosed with depression which started in 2002. I don't have ADHD, bipolar, schizophrenia or any other known disorder. After suffering for many years and wanting to get off these medications I am finally going to do it. I am wondering if anyone has used the tapering strips from Dr. Groot? I am highly sensitive to these medications and from the withdrawal effects I've had briefly in the past- they were excruciating. I currently reside in Arizona but will be moving home to Michigan to start the withdrawal process very soon. Thank you and God bless us all. If you'd like to learn more about my story and experience or if I can be of help to anyone please let me know.
  17. Kristeebee

    Kristeebee: hi there

    Hi my name is Kristy. I am during doing a slow taper of Zoloft (50 mg). Because my system cant handle going higher than that snd gives me more anxiety. At this point, I'm not sure if Zoloft is giving me more anxiety or not. I have tried most antidepressants with anxiety being worse. I am currently on Clonzasapam, which I really want to come off of but I am scared. Im looking for support. I am 2 weeks into the taper and its been tough already and I dont know how I will survive the 10 month plan and beyond that.
  18. I' m a 35 year old female with a history of anxiety and I had spinal surgery due to scoliosis at age 13/14. I have rods in my spine. Over the years I had some spasms in my back which have made me stiff while trying to straighten out. These were linked to my periformis muscle. I still have a slight scoliosis so my body is not aligned well. In winter my vitamin d levels were very low at 25. I experienced massive work related stress anxiety for the past 2 years which increased in April. I had massive burn out and was overworking myself and not eating or hydrating well. I started having panic attacks and insomnia At the end of April 2019 went on anti anxiety medication, brintellix which caused bruises on my legs. Overall I felt good on the medication. I was also taking supplements, LGlutamine, Vitamin b, probiotic, magnesium. By the end of June 2019 I went to the ER due to very bad leg pains. The weekend before I had these symptoms I did a lot of very hard labour around my house and walked for 2 h. Im not very active. Also the week before I drove 8 hours straight with very short stops in between. I did the same trip back 10 hours after 3 days. Initially I ignored the leg soreness as just lactic acid build up but by thursday night I realized it was not normal. I thought I developed a blood clot. Turned out my CPK muscle enzyme was at 11, 200 so my muscles were breaking down. I was diagnosed with rhabdomyalysis cause unknown. Had to stay in the hospital for 3 days on intense IV fluid flushing. My CPK levels have been consistently down at normal since discharge which is a good sign. Rhabdomyalysis can be caused by intense workout, crush injury, ssri's which i was on but it is also linked to muscular/neurological issues. During this time I also quit my anti-anxiety meds cold turkey as apparently 4 days was enough according to my doctor. I believe I had withdrawals. Brain fog, insomnia, resless leg syndrome, vertigo those stopped. For about a week and a bit after hospital discharge I was okay then the following happened: A week after hospital discharge, I decided to go down 23 flights of stairs and carried my friends 18 month old son around a mall. Not the smartest decision after muscle breakdown. The following day my calfs were inflamed. I could barely walk on my left leg. I rushed to the doctor to check my CPK which were normal. My legs were ok and I was able to walk fine.After that week everything went downhill. Since June 17, I started twitching in my left bicep. The twitches spread to other parts of the body: legs, feet, back, ribs, you name it I had it. The twitches are daily some days worse than others. They are not constant and happen when I'm at rest or when I'm not moving the area. Initially I had these weird sensations in my legs as if I had bugs crawling inside or bubling. That has since ended. I also have cramps in my legs after walking or numbness primarily in the left leg. This also comes and goes. I did have a band like sensation around my head that's gone. I had one tiny tongue twitch. I have gastro issues. Before being on medication I had IBS. I started having a a right hand tremor that comes and goes. On July 23 i had a massive facial twitch on my left side. I was crying so much that day and felt my nerves building up inside me when I found out my MRI and nerve study will not happen until November. After I stopped crying the twitch happened. I thought I was having a stroke. Sometimes still get a bit of a twitch around the crease of my mouth, my eye lids are more shaky when I close them and I had a bit of a twitch to my left eye lid. I had to take predisone steroid for 5 days as my face did droop a bit. I also have tingling in my hands that come and go and burning sensations in my arms. I had electrical like sensations running from my elbow to my fingers once at night. I already had autoimmune tests and muscle related blood tests all came back normal. I had a brain mri and cspine mri, a ct scan of my brain all normal. One of the ER doctors wrote peripheral neuropathy as his diagnosis which scared me even more. He wrote that my leg reflexes are hyper but im symetrical on both sides and I'm still within the 2 to 3 range which I read is normal. During my time off brintellix I developed high anxiety thinking I have MS or ALS. I had daily crying spells. ER doctor told me to take lorazepam every 4 hours so I went to my doctor as I felt that was too much. She gave me clorazapam to take 2x per day. I was also prescribed zoloft and went from .25 mg to .75 mg over the past 3 weeks. I went to a neurologist who reassured me I have absolutely no neurological conditions and believes my symptoms are caused by high anxiety and sensitivity to ssris. Since I increased the Zoloft dose I feel wired as if I'm on some crazy drugs, I'm talking fast and have more body jerks and body tremors. The neurologist told me to go down to .50 mg. I feel extremely jittery. I don't want to be on these drugs they are messing up my system. I feel very scared of what is happening to my body.
  19. Hello and welcome to my hell. Lexapro 2 years along with heavy marijuana use, CT ... Fine for 5 months then all hell broke loose. April 2019 Took 1 10mg lexapro and woke up vomiting and diahrea. Cut back to 5mg for 2 days but couldnt move and also had the flu. Dr. Says try again when flu gets better. May 2019 took 2.5mg lexapro and awoke two hrs later7 in sheer panic and full blown akathesia. No good. Ended up in mental hospital and put on 10 mg celexa. After 5 days thrown back into full blown akathesia. No good so stopped and got worse. Second hospital stay now on lithium and zyprexa which lasted less than a week. 3 weeks later back in another mental hospital. Third time not the charm .. Put on Zoloft 25 and 3 days later up to 50. Did okay for 4 weeks then got really ill, could not get out of bed. Tapered off over 2 weeks. That was 3 weeks ago from today (Sept 1 2019). Felt pretty good first week, slowly declining 2nd week and now I am in a lot of body pain, sweats, tingles, head pressure, si, inner restlessness, trouble sleeping, crying spells, anger, and at times just ok. Supplements are Lions Mane, l theanine, B vits, methyl b12 and folinic acid since I am a mthfr! Vit D. Omega's and mag.
  20. Hi all, my name is Matt, I am a 36 year old husband and father of three whose life has been turned upside down by these drugs. Although after reading the wealth of information on this site, I feel I finally understand what is happening to me, though it doesn’t make going through it any easier. I reinstated Zoloft on May 1st and I know I probably reinstated at much too high a dose, but I unfortunately was following “doctors orders.” It has been a tough four months to say the least, and at times I feel I will be stuck this way forever. However I have gone on vacation twice in the last 4 months. The 1st one was over the Fourth of July, during that time I would say I was 50-60% of my normal self. Only to come back, get to work, and get slammed by waves again. Last week I went on an end of summer vacation with my family, this time I would say I was closer to 75-80% of normal, and hopeful this was finally the beginning of the end for me and I was stabilizing and could in a few months begin a slow taper the proper way. However this past week back home and back to work have been unbearable. Unrelentingly anxiety and akathisia from the second I wake, that eventually calms a bit at night, but sometimes not til like 8-9PM. My question would be, can being on vacation really make that big of a difference in withdrawal? I would think it was just a fluke, but it has happened twice now. But it is like, almost feeling back to normal, vs not being able to fathom making it through another day. The difference is astounding. Any thoughts would be appreciated, also should I be getting worried that I am 4 months into reinstatement and holding and not stabilizing? Thanks, this site is amazing and all these people are amazing SURVIVORS!
  21. Hey all, From original topic title: 8 months of hypomania, increasing irritability, two major manic episodes, then CT Wish I found this site before. Prescribed 50 mg in October 2018, reported immediate response, eventually asked to cut the dose to 25 mg when symptoms were arising more frequently. Doc said go up to 100 mg, thankfully I disagreed and we went down instead. Kept having increasing symptoms and eventually started taking 12.5 mg twice a day thinking I was a fast metabolizer. Then: suicidal ideation and one hell-ish manic episode (with a good 50 mini-episodes over a months time). Quit CT once I learned what was happening. BP2 diagnosis came, but now a month removed from sertraline, I don’t see it. I’m dealing with some crazy withdrawal symptoms... mostly headaches and irritability. I sometimes blink really hard, kind of like a brain zap. I’m on intermittent leave from work, and didn’t burn all the bridges I have, but came damn close. now I’m learning healing takes months/years. Why is this a drug prescribed so frequently? What a nightmare it has been.
  22. Good morning all, My name is Erica and I was taking Zoloft for over 20 years before recently tapering off due to side effects. My journey with Zoloft started with my PCP using it to control debilitating migraines. It ended with poisonous spider bites, and an infection causing the hospital to dose me with steroids. I had already been experiencing some side effects but I didn't know it and the steroid sent me over the top. I developed weakness, fatigue, OH, tremors, daily headaches, dizziness, and lost my mental focus all at once. I'm no longer taking Zoloft but I'm still feeling the wreckage it left behind. I'm now on an anti-seizure med for migraine prevention and a Parkinson's med to control my other symptoms. Official diagnosis is Neurological Tremor as of now, but its most likely Drug Induced Parkinsonism. It takes a Neuro to make that diagnosis and I haven't found a good one so far...the first 2 didn't even listen to my symptoms. This has been a terrible, frustrating journey for my family. Some days I can't think, can't work, can't drive, and can't hold onto anything. I'm only 42. This drug seriously messed up my life and I had no idea that could happen. Hoping to find and give support here. Thank you.
  23. Hi everyone. I've been on SSRIs of one sort or another for 23 years. I had depression, generalized anxiety disorder, and severe social anxiety my entire childhood, and felt like I only became myself when I got on Prozac at age 12. My social skills hadn't developed normally because I had been too scared and depressed to interact with other children, but I was able to catch up in my teens with the help of medication. I tried to get off a couple times, once in my late teens and once in my mid-20s, but it didn't go well. With medication, I have mostly done well, except for chronic insomnia that can at times be crippling. I have gone through many kinds of treatments, therapies, medications, and lifestyle changes in an effort to manage my insomnia. Now I'm 35, and until a couple months ago, I was the happiest I'd ever been in my life. I was recently married, had an exciting career, and was mostly keeping the insomnia under control through a strict cognitive behavior therapy regimen. I was taking 50 mg of Zoloft, a low dose that I had slowly reduced to over several years. I started a two-month taper using a liquid formulation with the goal of starting a family medication-free. I know Zoloft is considered one of the safest SSRIs during pregnancy. But I really wanted to be medication-free for my baby, and it seemed with all the life skills and support systems I had built, that should be within reach. All seemed to be going well until I got down to about 20 mg. Then I started having awful, crippling bouts of insomnia that would leave me sobbing in despair and frustration for hours at night. I became emotionally hyper-reactive to everything; even something silly like not being able to find my socks could send me into violent fantasies, yells and sobs. I also had physical symptoms -- excessive sweating, diarrhea, and nausea. I held steady at 5 mg for a couple weeks, and it seemed to be getting better, so I slowly dropped the rest of the way. Things were rocky for a few days, then seemed to ease off, and I relaxed thinking I was on the way out. I've been off Zoloft completely for just over two weeks now, and it's suddenly gotten much much worse. That makes no sense to me because Zoloft has a short half-life, so I wasn't expecting a delayed reaction. But my insomnia is so bad lately that just thinking about my bed makes my throat close up, dreading the hours and hours of torture that will be my night. Half the time I am so tired that I can't function, literally not safe to drive to work. And for the past few days I have felt a rising cloud of depression and constant misery. A big part of me now believes on a bone-deep level that I am worthless and have never done anything worthwhile in my entire life. It seems obvious to me that the things I took pride in while I was on medication were stupid delusions, and I was just making a fool of myself with everything I did. Part of me does not want to go back on medication, even though I know it would fix this, because I don't want to be the stupid pathetic deluded fool again. Better to huddle in clear-eyed torment. And I can't bring myself to believe that it's okay to have a baby on Zoloft, even if my medicated self would have said I was being irrational. I know that untreated depression during pregnancy is associated with worse outcomes than taking Zoloft. So having a baby like this isn't an option either. But right now that seems moot, because I no longer feel I have the right or capacity to bring a child into the world. When I leave the house now or do anything besides curl up and cry, I am like a puppet-master pulling the strings of my own body, putting on a grisly charade of a functional living human.
  24. Hi, all. Thank you so much for providing this site. I’ve been inspired by the stories here, and look forward to my own recovery and hope to help others as I can along the way. It’s been a hellish year… I have a rather long story – 99% of which takes place within the last year – so please bear with me. I’ll write this out in a timeline for organization’s sake. In essence, I have a history of anxiety and depression, and have OCD. I have been suffering from severe postpartum anxiety (PPA) and depression (PPD) since delivering my son in May 2018 – exacerbated by a move out East so I could start my PhD, the decline and death of my dog, dealing with childhood trauma, etc. I was on Prozac and Xanax as needed before I was pregnant and went off without any problems while we were trying to conceive. I had an uncomplicated pregnancy. Here we go… 1999ish – 2005 (6th grade – high school) (Zoloft, Lexapro, Wellbutrin) I was diagnosed with severe academic perfectionism and OCD and put on (I think) Zoloft first (not sure of dosage). In the years that followed, I was on Lexapro and Wellbutrin, all in various combinations. I don’t remember timing or dosages. I don’t remember having a hard time coming on or off any of the meds. I was chronically ill in high school, though, with fatigue, mono, sinusitis, shingles (to be fair, I had immunological issues before going on meds, too, and a complicated family situation). I took the year after high school off to recover, went off all meds. All I remember is feeling tired and my sleep being on a weird schedule. 2005 – 2009 (no meds) I started taking some community college classes, started volunteering, and then working full-time. Started paying more attention to my diet (went off gluten and most dairy after I realized it made me feel better). Was doing very, very well. Summer 2009 – Summer 2017 (40 mg Prozac daily, ? Xanax PRN rarely taken; occasional supplements - multi vitamin, vitamin D, fish oil, probiotics) Started on 40mg Prozac (slow taper to START it), as a ‘preventative’ measure against OCD and perfectionism (I know… probably wasn’t necessary, but I can’t prove a negative) as I was about to start at a university in the fall of 2009; I was pushed by family (also on psych meds) to start. I think it helped somewhat but it’s hard to know. Eventually, I had an Rx of Xanax, which I took maybe 5-10x/year as needed. I did well in college, though, started a great career, went to the UK on scholarship to do my Master’s and then decided to QUICKLY taper off the Prozac when my husband and I (we married in 2014) decided to conceive. I don’t remember having any issues coming off the Prozac. I was on it fairly consistently for 8 years. Summer 2017 – May 2018 (no meds; supplements: prenatal vitamin, 800 mg folic acid, 1,000-2,000 mg vitamin D, ? fish oil) Pregnant, more depressed than usual, especially after moving back home from the UK and being unsure of what was next. Still, did the damn GRE, applied to PhD programs, got into a great program out East, started setting up our life out there. Obsessive compulsive symptoms were worse than usual but not unmanageable. Late May 2018 (no meds; supplements: prenatal vitamin, 800 mg folic acid, 1,000-2,000 mg vitamin D, ? fish oil) Delivered my son. Epidural, long labor. Started breastfeeding. Early June 2018 (no meds; supplements: prenatal vitamin, 800 mg folic acid, 1,000-2,000 mg vitamin D, ? fish oil) Had a week of awful insomnia and anxiety and intrusive thoughts, but it went away. Early June – Mid-July (no meds; supplements: prenatal vitamin, 800 mg folic acid, 1,000-2,000 mg vitamin D, ? fish oil) Doing okay, just exhausted and depressed (I was breastfeeding around the clock). One week in mid-July 2018 (? Xanax, one-time dosage ~6mg Zoloft, and one-time dosage 2mg Ativan, one-time dosage ? Klonopin in hospital; supplements: prenatal vitamin, 800 mg folic acid, 1,000-2,000 mg vitamin D, ? fish oil) Then, at around 7 postpartum weeks - BAM - I was hit with a week of NO SLEEP. I just couldn't sleep and I lost my appetite. I had been given an Rx for Zoloft by my OBGyn and took a very small amount that Friday (I wanted to ease in). That night, all my symptoms were much worse – and I also felt this severe restlessness in my limbs. It was AWFUL. I even tried Xanax to calm me down (I gave to my son pumped breastmilk). My anxiety was so bad that I went to the ER that Sunday. They drew blood and it turned out that my blood sodium was dangerously low (126) - possibly due to not eating enough and drinking too much water. They gave me Ativan (2 mg – which was A LOT for my system), some Klonopin, too, eventually, and fluids overnight and I felt MUCH better the next day. I was given Ativan and Remeron as needed but didn't need to take it for a few weeks. Mid-July to Late Aug 2018 (0.5 – 1mg Ativan daily; supplements: prenatal vitamin, 800 mg folic acid, 1,000-2,000 mg vitamin D, ? fish oil) I was fine for a few weeks, and then my family and I moved out East, where I was attending grad school (I’m now on medical leave). The anxiety and insomnia came back around the move in August. I took Ativan (0.5 – 1 mg) as needed each day and had some rebound anxiety but was able to get through until setting up care there. I was assigned an interim psychiatrist (before being placed with a regular one), who Rxed me 0.5 Ativan to take at night to sleep for 10 days. This worked for sleep, but not the overall anxiety and depression. Due to breastfeeding concerns, they switched me to Trazodone (25-50 mg), which worked ok for sleep. Eventually, I was able to fall asleep on my own for a couple/few nights. That would be the last time I could do that to-date. Late Aug to Late Sept 2018 (0.5 – 1mg Ativan daily, 1-5mg Prozac, 25-50 mg Trazodone; supplements: postnatal vitamin, 800 mg folic acid, 1,000-2,000 mg vitamin D, ? fish oil, started taking some B complex, probiotics?) I started seeing a regular psychiatrist in early September, and we agreed I should go back on the Prozac with 1 mg Ativan/day as needed. We started sloooow on the Prozac - 1mg, then 2, then 5. By week 3, I had lost my appetite completely, and my anxiety was through the roof - just on 5mg (I was on 40 before becoming pregnant, so I couldn’t understand why I was feeling so terribly). The Trazodone was no longer helping me sleep, and was giving me terrible dry mouth. My limbs felt like they were vibrating. My psydoc FINALLY directed me to go off the Prozac and Ativan, and Rxed me just Klonopin 0.75mg/day. In addition to the psychiatrist, I saw a primary care doc, who checked my thyroid, adrenal glands (several tests there), vitamin levels, and other things - all normal. My blood sodium has still been a little low, but they believe it's due to not eating enough. Oct 2018 (Klonopin 0.25 – 0.75mg/day; postnatal vitamin, 800 mg folic acid, 1,000-2,000 mg vitamin D, ? fish oil, started taking some B complex, I might have tried some hormone-balancing herbs – I don’t remember exactly, probiotics?) My appetite returned but it was never the same. I was sleeping better, but not well – maybe 6 hours at most, sometimes waking in a panic. I could only take one class. I was very depressed and frustrated, and deeply confused as to why I wasn’t responding to medications. But I felt BETTER than when I was on the Prozac, and was able to feel like I could sleep on my own again, and on just 0.25mg Klonopin/day – but the plan was to let me ‘settle’ and then try a new AD, sooo… Nov 2-4 2018 (25mg Anafranil at night, 0.25-0.5mg Klonopin/day; postnatal vitamin, 800 mg folic acid, 1,000-2,000 mg vitamin D, ? fish oil, started taking some B complex, I might have tried some hormone-balancing herbs – I don’t remember exactly, probiotics?) The psydoc suggested Anafranil, a TCA. The day I started it, we put my dog down and I stopped breastfeeding (I had been tapering on that for months). It wasn’t a great time to start something. But I did. I took it the night of the 2nd, fell asleep instantly, then woke up feeling SO GOD AWFUL about 3 hours later. I had a tremor, I vomited, I couldn’t eat. My husband had to hold me while I shook in bed. I called the psydoc and she told me to keep taking it, sounding annoyed with me. So I pushed through for three days – but that was all I could do. Until then, that was the worst I have ever felt. Nothing could calm me down. Things start heating up here, so I’ll spare some details and focus more on the med changes… Nov 5-8 2018 I barely remember these days. Sleep was poor, I felt awful. Then on a Thursday night, I was up all night with panic attacks. I called my therapist and made the decision to go into the psych hospital. Nov 9 – 15 2018 (In hospital, put on 0.5mg Klonopin 2x/day and worked up to 100 mg Seroquel at night) I didn’t start sleeping until I was put on a combination of Seroquel and Klonopin. BUT, I remember this creeping feeling of “buzziness” and restlessness when I woke up everyday. That feeling would continue to get worse over the coming weeks and stay with me to the present. Nov 15 – Early Dec 2018 (0.5mg Klonopin 2x/day → 0.25mg Klonopin 2x/day; 100mg Seroquel at night; some supplements – don’t remember) I left the hospital taking 100mg Seroquel at night and 0.5 mg klonopin 2x/day. I officially went on medical leave from grad school. I stuck with this doseage for 2ish weeks, was sleeping well but feeling horribly depressed and anxious, then started to quickly taper the Klonopin. I don’t remember how quickly – but I wasn’t taking anymore than 0.5mg/day by early December. I then tapered on the Seroquel after feeling SO much worse when an IOP psydoc tried bumping the dose to 125mg; I remember not being able to sit still – going outside to pace. No tremor – just pacing, fidgeting, and losing a lot of weight. Early December 2018 – Early Jan 2019 (1mg Ativan at night, 2.5mg Zyprexa at night, 25-100mg Lamictal; postnatal vitamin, 800 mg folic acid, 1,000-2,000 mg vitamin D, ? fish oil, started taking some B complex, I might have tried some hormone-balancing herbs – I don’t remember exactly, probiotics?) I made the decision to move back home to do a program specialized in PPD (we ended by moving back entirely later that winter). In the program, I was put on 0.5-1mg Ativan at night, 2.5 mg Zyprexa at night (for sleep – though it never helped), and titrated up to 100mg Lamictal (the psydoc suspected a bipolar spectrum diagnosis). I was still incredibly restless, unable to sit down and just enjoy a movie. And my sleep was growing worse and worse. It was awful – then my mood grew worse and worse as we went up on the Lamictal; I also had increasingly bad tinnitus and TMJ. I was hospitalized as my thinking became suicidal – just ideations, but I was ready to go back in… Early to Mid-Jan 2019 (0.5mg Klonopin 2x/day, 5mg Paxil/day, 50mg Benadryl at night; 0.25-1mg Risperidone 1-2x/day; some supplements?; THEN back to 150mg Seroquel) In the hospital, I was taken off the Lamictal and put on 5mg Paxil once/day, 0.5 mg Klonopin 2x/day, Benadryl 50mg at night (for sleep), and Risperidone 0.25mg once or twice a day (I don’t remember). I became increasingly orthostatic (low BP, high HR). I stabilized mood-wise – sorta – and left the hospital feeling off, but better… Within days, though, we tried increasing the Risperidone, and my HR went up to 140 (I think we tried 1 mg). I wasn’t sleeping AT ALL. I was taken off the Risperidone, stayed on 5mg Paxil once/day, 0.5 mg Klonopin 2x/day, Benadryl 50mg at night (for sleep). Eventually, as my sleep diminished, the PPD IOP doc put me back on Seroquel (I has actually asked to go back on) – but suggested as much as 150mg. After that, my mood really shifted and became erratic; I was really upset and angry at my husband and suicidal ideation returned. So it was suggested I go back in the hospital... Late Jan to Mid-Feb 2019: 3-week hospital stay (see below for crazy med changes) All the docs agreed I didn’t need to be in there this long (everyone kept asking why I was still there), but there I was so they could keep throwing stuff at me to see if something stuck. I was holding out hope SOMETHING would work this time...: First week: 0.5 mg Klonopin 2x/day, 100 mg Seroquel at night, 300mg XR lithium 2x/day (HORRIBLE stomach reaction, especially when the doc abruptly pulled the Seroquel) Second week: 0.5 mg Klonopin 2x/day, 50mg Seroquel at night, some amount of Depakote (I don’t remember – wasn’t improving, irritable), tried PRNs of 12.5mg Seroquel and became really depressed Third week: 1 mg Klonopin 2x/day, 50mg Seroquel at night, 1200mg gabapentin (taken as 300mg twice during the day, and 600mg at night). That’s how I left the hospital. Mid-Feb to Early-March 2019: (0.75mg Klonopin 2x/day, 50mg Seroquel at night, 300mg Gabapentin 2x daytime and 600mg at night, brief re-trial of lithium – 150mg; multivitamin, 1,000-2,000 mg vitamin D, ? fish oil, 1200mg evening primrose oil, probiotics?) Instantly went down to 0.75mg Klonopin 2x/day (fear of dependence). New trauma-based IOP. Was very constipated. Tried low-dose lithium (150mg) as lithium seemed to be the only med to be helping to-date (along with benzos); was improving somewhat mood-wise, but the stomach issues were SO bad, so we went off. After going off lithium, my restlessness SKYROCKETED, and was particularly bad for 10 days. My stomach was AWFUL; I was taking antacids all the time; seemed to be worse after taking gabapentin, so the new IOP doc cut THAT dosage in half. Developed a tremor. The new IOP psydoc diagnosed me with akathisia – FINALLY. I had NEVER heard of that before (although, in retrospect, I think it has been mentioned to me in the hospital as a possible side-effect of the antipsychotics – but I remember them saying “you can get this, but I don’t see that in you, so…” and so I ignored it (dumb)). When I read about it, I felt so frustrated; this had, no doubt, been plaguing me since at least the one-time Zoloft attempt in July - and in particular since the first Seroquel doseage in November. Doc suggested I reduce my Seroquel from 50 to 25mg; I couldn’t do that for a couple of weeks. Early to Mid-March (→0.25mg Klonopin during day and 0.5-0.75mg/night, 25mg Seroquel at night, 200mg Gabapentin 2x daytime and 300mg at night, brief re-trial of Depakote – don’t remember dosage; multivitamin, 1,000-2,000 mg vitamin D, ? fish oil, 1200mg evening primrose oil, probiotics) Continue reducing my Klonopin down to 0.25mg during the day and 0.5mg at night. We tried XR Depakote as a Hail Mary in the med department. It seemed to help a bit, but also increased some of the restlessness. At this point – and this should have come sooner for me – I was done – just DONE– with med changes. My body needed a break. I haven’t added or taken away and particular meds since (with one exception - the propranolol, see below) – though I have reduced the dosages… Early April (0.25mg Klonopin during day and 0.5-0.75mg/night, 25mg Seroquel at night, 200mg Gabapentin 2x daytime and 300mg at night, up to 70mg propranolol throughout the day; multivitamin, 1,000-2,000 mg vitamin D, ? fish oil, 1200mg evening primrose oil, probiotics) Was diagnosed with thyroiditis (my thyroid had been normal as recently as January) – a relatively common thing postpartum, but it was ‘late’ to arrive to be postpartum thyroiditis, so doctors suspected the lithium. B/c I was hyperthyroid first (usually follows a pattern of a few months in 'hyper'/overactive mode, followed by anywhere from 3 to 18 (or more) months underactive. I was put on propranolol (taking as much as 70mg throughout the day). That seemed to help the tremor, heart palpitations, and restlessness maybe 50-75% of the time. But it crashed my BP. Early-April to Present (see below) We’ve moved into a new, stable house (both good and really stressful). As of early June, I am off the Seroquel. I tapered from 25 to 0mg by reducing by about 6.25mg every two weeks or so. I tried re-starting it to do an every-other-day ending taper, and felt instantly WORSE, so I am done. But it was probably too quick a taper. I NEVER want to take another antipsychotic again, though; I can point to the beginning of the worst parts of this whole cluster to starting Seroquel, and the akathisia that ensues and continues. I reduced the daytime Klonopin to 0 (though I’ve had to take a 0.0625mg to 0.125mg PRN three times in June as things have grown worse). I still take 0.5mg Klonopin at night. In June, I also went off the propranolol – too quickly – and have been having heart palpitations, and have been orthostatic. My BP was just getting to be so, so low. Now, taking any amount of it seems to make me more agitated/restless or, at best, woozy. In June, I also got ambitious and reduced the gabapentin from taking 400 mg during the day (200mg 2x/day) to 0 at the end of June, mostly b/c I thought it was making me feel worse; I’m not sure on this STILL (or if it ever did much of anything). I still take 300mg at night with 0.5 mg Klonopin. May was my best month - not great (I was still constantly restless, struggled with my appetite, and was really disoriented and depressed), but it felt more manageable. I should have done a slower taper on all things when I felt more stable, then – but here I am. June started out okay but, after going off the Seroquel and trying a glass of wine again (out with a friend), it’s been awful; the akathisia is back in full swing. NOW I seem to have reached this point where my body won’t tolerate much of anything again – as if it’s saying “if you’re done with one, then you’re going to be done with them ALL.” I’ve also noticed that the first half of my menstrual cycle is FAR AND AWAY WORSE than the latter half – and am trying to explore ways to (as naturally as possible) balance my hormones. I tried bioidentical progesterone cream that an integrative MD Rxed and it helped somewhat, but caused cramping and spotting and an upset stomach – no go. Currently Taking 0 – 200mg gabapentin during the day; 300mg gabapentin at night 0.5mg Klonopin at night 5mg melatonin (+10mg B6 – combo pill) at night Fish oil (1400mg EPA + 480 DHA) in morning and afternoon 1500mg primrose oil morning and afternoon 200-400mg magnesium glycinate at night, and magnesium oxide throughout day 2000mg vitamin D afternoon Cal+Mag+Potassium supplement afternoon 2 kinds of probiotics morning Multivitamin morning What Makes Things Worse Alcohol; I haven’t been able to tolerate this since sometime early spring – makes me SUPER anxious. Any antihistamine; it used to help me sleep but something in the last 2-4 months has changed my brain so I now feel WORSE the next morning. Some vitamins (I say that b/c I sometimes feel more buzzy after taking a multivitamin; on the other hand, sometimes I feel better) Caffeine (not that I’ve tested this too much; the most I ever drink is a cup of green tea, and I haven’t been able to do that in weeks) Antacids (found that out the hard way) What Helps Epsom salt baths Sweating Crying (when I am able to) Walking (especially in sunshine) Melatonin (at night – for sleep) Klonopin (but I am trying not to go over 0.5mg/day – mostly at night; and want to taper off) Massage Stretching Kombucha (not too much, though b/c caffeine) Apple cider vinegar + lemon water (ahead of meals and when I have an upset stomach – at east once/day) Eating enough (really tough to do right now) Not Sure if it Helps (tried/trying it) Acupuncture (doing this for a few months now) Therapy – CBT, talk Gabapentin (want to taper off anyway) Primrose oil Multivitamin Fish oil Magnesium Calcium CBD oil What I Need Help With I’m here b/c I need to feel like I’m not crazy when the psydoc says this isn’t still akathisia. I KNOW it is – I KNOW it’s protracted withdrawal and the effect of such a brain-altering year. I know this b/c, even in my most anxious moments pre-postpartum medications, I never felt this protracted insatiable restlessness and dread. I was a champ at sleeping (though a night owl). And my appetite was always solid (too much so, at times). This is DIFFERENT. I also want to get off the gabapentin and the Klonopin – but do so in a smart way. I’m not sure the gabapentin is a net evil right now and shouldn’t be taken off altogether? And is the gabapentin the best thing to drop first? And I need help managing the akathisia. I've read some tips here, and will explore those. Any help on the hormone piece would be invaluable. There is something there. I feel the effects of akathisia/withdrawal/autonomic disregulation far more at the start of my cycle. And this whole postpartum period has been inherently hormonally disregulating (compounded by meds like Depakote, which altered my cycle). Anyone else? Anything help? I plan to keep a more focused journal as this site recommends and track my symptoms alongside food, supplement, and med changes. Of course, what sucks THE MOST is the lost time and what's been taken - from the joy of being a new mother, to what was supposed to be a fulfilling career move in pursuing my PhD (I might have to give up my place now b/c I'm so disabled), to feeling defective for not responding to the 'right treatments.' The worst year of your life should not also be the first year of motherhood. To those of you that read this monster of a post – or event 10% - THANK YOU.
  25. Wow! First of all I would like to say how relieved I was to have found this forum. For the years I've been struggling with this I have gotten so tired of other people (including doctors and therapists!) telling me that what I've experienced isn't possible and that I'm either making it all up or still sick. Everything started in my junior year of college. I had struggled with varying levels of depression and anxiety for most of my life, even resorting to SI when I was younger, but had finally hit a point where I thought that I needed some professional help. Looking back, I'm sure that the sudden drop was situational as much as anything. Most of my friends had moved away or graduated, my family was going through some money trouble, and I was working more hours to be able to be more self-sufficient. I started to become more withdrawn and my academics started to drop. I was an A and B student so this was very stressful to me. Thinking I was being proactive and doing the right thing, I went to my school's counseling center who then referred me to the campus clinic. The psychiatric nurse practitioner prescribed Prozac (20mg). About two weeks later I was hit with the worse anxiety I had ever had. I barely left my house unless I had to for class or work, would start shaking at random times, and had near constant chest pain. I tried to wait it out but eventually gave up and went back. She switched me to lexapro(20mg). This seemed to do the trick so I stayed on it though the end of the semester and over the summer. Unfortunately, when I started back up at school I started to struggle again. I'd tried to make positive changes in my life: made some new friends, got in contact with old ones, and started trying to date. Then, as it happens all too often in college, the guy I was seeing got me drunk and took advantage. This led to me having a bit of a breakdown and my friends urged me to go to the hospital. While there they switched me to zoloft(50mg), remeron(15mg), and lorazapam(2mg as needed). This is where things start to get really wonky. At first I thought it was helping but about a month after I got out of the hospital I started having these intense intrusive self-harm thoughts. Violent and strong enough to scare me. I had a medication review and those three were dropped and I was put on WellbutrinXL(150mg). Again things were better for a little while but about a month later started to go south. The intrusive thoughts were back and I had started to feel very unlike myself. Impulsive and disconnected. I later learned that this was probably a kind of dissociation. One night all of the stress and darkness got to me and I impulsively decided to chase the rest of my pills with half a bottle of vodka. It was strange because I wasn't trying to kill myself, the mindset was more: "I wonder what this will do. It can't be worse that what I'm already feeling." It didn't feel real, like it was happening to someone else. That put me back in the hospital where I then dropped out of college and moved back in with my parents. I had to be on a wait list but eventually I started seeing a new psychiatrist who decided to diagnose me with Bipolar based on the impulsiveness and out of character behavior I had while taking Wellbutrin. She called it agitated depression or mixed mania. At the time I believed her. I was scared, desperate, and seriously doubting my sanity, and I felt like I couldn't trust myself. She started out by prescribing me Abilify(15mg) and Effexor (75mg). This was my second nightmare. A few days later I started having akathisia and had similar feelings of impulsiveness and feeling out of control. When I told my doctor she urged me to wait it out which led to me relapsing into SI for the first time in over 6 years to cope. That combination was obviously stopped and I had the most physical withdrawal symptoms that I had so far. I couldn't leave my bed for two days I was so nauseous and dizzy. I feel like I should point out at this point that I was on most of these medications for max of a few months and didn't taper at all. Cold turkey then right on to another. Next on the list was Latuda(40mg - 60mg). My insurance ended up not really covering that one so what I ended up on as my final medication was Lithium. This was a blessing in a way because it didn't really do anything, which turns out, is what I needed. At one point I was up to 1600mg a day to control my "symptoms" which I'm now convinced was almost entirely side effects mixed with withdrawal. That dose completely destroyed my short term memory. After finally stabilizing, I had gone back to school and this was making classwork almost impossible, so after much debating the dosage was stepped down to 800mg. Finally, in the summer of 2017, I took a summer job working at a research station in the forest. After a lot of solo time hiking in nature I had an epiphany. This was the best I had felt in years and that all of my serious problems started after I sought "help." When I got back to see my doctor I told her my plan to stop taking medication. She was extremely judgemental and basically told me I'd be back when I had a relapse and just told me to tapper off with the what I had left (about a weeks worth). I'm very happy to say that she was wrong. All I've done since then is get better. I still struggle with some depression and anxiety but if that is the trade off I will gladly live with that. After a year and a half of being free of psychiatric drugs I'm surprised at the difference. On medication I was dissociating, having panic attacks, paranoia, and suicidal ideation. I felt like a complete basket case. It's terrifying to me how easy it is to get stuck in a downward spiral like that. Not ONE of the doctors or therapists that I'd seen even considered that the medication could be what was causing me to get worse and worse. They just saw worsening "symptoms" that they had to "get ahead of" and I believed it too. Now, even that the worst is over, the experience still haunts me. I feel so guilty about the way that I behaved and I have no idea how much was my fault versus the medication. I know that it was a factor but I remember making the decisions to hurt myself and destroy my life and I'm not really sure how to live with that. I have nightmares where I'm back in the worst of it feeling like I'm slowly losing my mind and I have permanent scars from the SI. I saw a new primary care doctor recently and the first thing she tried to do was get me back on mood stabilizers after seeing "bipolar" on my chart. I don't know how to get that removed or if I even can. The only people who believe me are my friends and family who saw me go from a somewhat stressed young adult to nonfunctional almost overnight. I know that this hasn't ruined my life... but it certainly feels like it sometimes. I'm sorry that anyone else had to go through this hell but I'm so, so glad that I'm not alone in this. Even now I'm not sure that I'm completely recovered. I guess time will tell.
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