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  1. Recently my psychiatrist upped Abilify to the max dose 30mg. I am also taking Celexa 40 mg. Have been taking psychiatric drugs for 10 years now. Have tried to withdrawal by myself in the past and schizoaffective symptoms come back worse. Now I am scared of taking the drugs because my tongue keeps moving back and forth in my mouth, and I am afraid of making it worse. Can I just stop the medications and when I start experiencing withdrawal symptoms, just take a smallest dose possible to alleviate the withdrawal symptoms, as I wean off them? I have a family history with lots of schizophrenia, and it seemed to help with somewhat, and people said I seem better on them. But now want to try to go off and try alternative therapies/natural diets.
  2. Hey everyone, I said that once I was healed and felt back to normal again I would write a success story and I do believe that today is finally the day for it! It was a very long journey for me personally, but I know that others have been going through it for even longer. So for those of you that are still in the thick of it, I will tell you this! Keep on going and going and going!! Never ever give up! I truly do believe that everyone heals no matter how long it takes!! For some it is shorter than others, but it's coming for all of us! You can read my intro topic and see that I really didn't find this site until I was almost 8 months in deep. I was one of those who CT quit everything because nothing was working for me and I got tired of trying different things to feel better. I was extremely fortunate to meet a wonderful lady who had survived the process and she reached out to me. She was able to encourage me daily to keep going and helped me to get through the very worst of days! I was so lucky because most people do not have that support system, but it was a life saver. Some things that I learned while going through this process: 1. Stay as positive as you possibly can! I know it's hard, believe me. There were so many days I just wanted to get in a funk and stay there, but I knew how dangerous that was. If you let yourself always see the bad in things, then eventually that is all you will see! Take what is happening to you and turn it around. Find something positive in your day. When I was having the worst of symptoms, instead of feeling bad about it and moping about it, I would turn it around and tell myself that I was having a good strong day of healing! The harder the symptoms, the more healing that was taking place. I made it a positive thing!! 2. Acceptance!!! I know this one is hard!! It was for me and took me a very very long time to learn it, but once I did it made a world of difference for me. The symptoms no longer had the power over me that they once had. Yeah they were still there, but I would just acknowledge them and then move on. There was nothing I could do about them, so I just let them happen. Besides it just meant that I was doing some more healing. The sooner you can learn how to accept the process the easier the process becomes. 3. Time!!! Unfortunately in my experience I found that there are no shortcuts in this process. There is no magic pill or drug that I could take that was gonna heal me any faster. I had to be patient and wait for my brain and CNS to heal! There was no way to speed up the process or make it any easier. I just had to get through it! That was it. Time time and more time!! Each day you go through is one day closer to your ultimate healing so don't give up!! 4. Distract!!! Find something anything that you can use to distract yourself and make the time go by. For me it was long walks, paint by numbers, etchings, diamond dots, models, board games with my children!! Just anything to pass the time! The more I was able to distract myself, the more healing that was taking place without me worrying about it! When you sit around all day and don't engage your mind, it has nothing to do but ruminate on what you are thinking or experiencing. Distract!! 5. Keep track of the good days! I experienced the normal waves and windows pattern that is normal for a lot of people. I would keep a journal daily where I would write down what I was thinking, how things were going. And for me most importantly, when I was feeling good in a window, I would write about it in the journal. I would write notes to myself reminding myself that I could feel good again and that I would feel good again. That way on the hard days I could go back and see what I had written to myself to know that I was gonna be ok. And that's honestly about it! That's what worked for me! Just remember that what you are going through is temporary!! This is not the rest of your life. One day you will be healed and able to move forward with life and enjoy the days. This whole process has made me such a strong and more resilient person. Little things in life no longer really bother me and I have found I have so much more patience and understanding than I ever did before. As much as this whole thing sucked, it has made me a better person!! Just remember to keep going and going for as long as this takes!! You've got this and you know it! I will be sticking around the forums to help others. I always told myself once I made it through this I was gonna pay it forward and help others as well. Don't hesitate to reach out if needed! Ken
  3. Hi everybody I'm Soren from Denmark, 50 years old, and just started tapering 18 years of Mirtazapine-use. Earlier I have tried to withdraw from mirtazapine three times and every time by doctors instructions (50% two weeks, 50% of the remaining dose two weeks, then stop), and the last time I nearly hurt my beloved cat in rage. It was the most frightening out of control experience and periode in my life. I'm not long into my taper (down to 20 mg from 30 mg) and my taper it is going well at the moment (5% every three weeks). As almost universally experienced by other mirtazapine 'withdrawalees' I suffer day 4 or 5 after a reduction, but come day 8 and I am stabilized and on day 10 I feel a little better than before the reduction. I will write more about my experience with both citalopram, brintellix (trintellix), and mirtazapine later but for know I just want to say thank you. You see I have for over 6 months been browsing survivingantidepressants and even though I can feel the heartbroken, desperate loneliness in peoples struggles, I feel that you are a little more non-lonely when when you are visible for each other. More importantly I will no longer just be a browsing antidepressant surviver. If I (and everybody else who are anonymously browsing) continue to free ride on sites like surviving antidepressants the real magnitude of the antidepressant problem will never be known and the work you do never be recognized (enough). I have seen somewhere (maybe a YouTube video) that survivingantidepressants.org has over 14.000 members. My guess is for every site-member in the withdrawal community (on FB-groups, twitter, RxISK, innercompass etc) there are +1000 more browsing non members out there. So here you have one more grateful member so you hugely important work can become a little more visible. Soren from Denmark
  4. Hi All, Firstly thanks for the excellent site and taking the time to review my post. History is long, so in the interest of time, 20 yrs on SSRI's (i've tried virtually all but had most luck with prozac and lexapro) with a 4 month bout of Remeron (awful w/d not helped by cross taper) and benzo's on/off for 8 years or so. Benzo: I've successfully switched from .5mg of clonazepam/day to 10mg valium and i'm now at 2mg per day. A bit more about this below. SSRI: Was on 20 mg for celexa for the last several months but completely zombified so decided it's finally time to be done with this sh1t I dropped relatively quickly per docs orders with really no impact down to 5mg celexa completely stopping the celexa and valium on May 1. Started 10 mg prozac only May 1, by May 4 really awful DR with anxiety, inability to focus, sleeplesness, headaches. Reinstated 1-2 mg valium which helped a little bit. Yesterday i tested the waters and dropped the prozac down to 5 mg to see if agitation was from that which resulted in bad anxiety, chills,and shaking. Took the other 5 g prozac and an additional 1mg valium which helped a bit. Today slightly better back at 10mg prozac and 2mg valium in the morning. I have a pdoc appointment tomorrow and really don't know what to do and not sure i trust his opinion frankly but do believe he will be fine with what i recommend. I consider these the following my options: 1.) Reinstate celexa at last dose (5mg?), drop prozac entirely after a week or 2, and keep valium, then micro taper off at 10% per 3 weeks or so. 2.) Hold steady on prozac and valium for awhile (how long?) then micro taper 3.) Something else? Any thoughts are much appreciated and i apologize for any incoherence in this post but just got back from work trip and wanted to get this out there for the educated folks to review asap. Many thanks for any input and your time!!! methuselah
  5. KittenLePurr, here. Thank you so much for maintaining this site and for welcoming me here❤️ I was put on psych meds as a child, at age 12. I'm still working through a lot of anger around that. My parents did the best they could but, you know, they were traumatized by their parents, who were traumatized by their parents, etc., and they were all taught to blindly trust doctors and to essentially live in fear of their bodies. Thanks, Western medicine. Anyway, so, as a highly sensitive child who felt deeply depressed and uncomfortable in the world, I presented quite a set of challenges to my parents. I had a month-and-a-half-long period at age 11, so my mom took me to an OBGYN who did no tests or anything to see what was up with my hormones; she just wrote me a prescription for birth control. 🙄 My mom was concerned about that but gave it to me. I became even more depressed after that and, when I was 12, told my mom I thought I needed help. She took me to a counselor who suggested I see a psychiatrist, who wrote me a prescription for Zoloft. Oh, and talk therapy. The gold standard of care. Zoloft and therapy didn't seem to help, so I was then put on Prozac...and then, on a whole host of other meds. I took a jumbled handful of different cocktails I can’t even remember, including Effexor, Wellbutrin, Trazadone, Remeron, and a number of mood stabilizers. It was a rollercoaster on top of the hormonal rollercoaster I was already on, being a preteen on birth control. At age 13, things felt increasingly bleak, as I was having issues with my friends at school and felt unloved and completely hopeless, and I decided it was time to end it. I took as many pills from the medicine cabinet as I could without throwing up and lay down in my bed, waiting to die. But it took too long; I got impatient and decided maybe I didn’t really want to die...not if it meant lying there, excruciatingly nauseated. So when my dad got home, I told him I needed to go to the hospital and they pumped my stomach. The pills I'd taken the most of were Effexor leftover from my brief stint on it months prior. I thought I was going to throw up the charcoal until a social worker put a cool washcloth on my forehead, and the nausea passed and I felt this giant wave of relief and joy from still being alive. I told my psychiatrist about that, and she took that to mean Effexor was a good med for me. So I went back on it and stabilized on Remeron, and over the next few years, things did get a little better. Meaning we were sort of managing my depression. But I was still deeply, deeply troubled. I was attracted to drugs and alcohol because I was so depressed and uncomfortable in my own skin and altered states felt better to me. I was on a constant quest to find the best and most complete escape from the pain of normal, everyday life and started partying and skipping school to smoke pot and take drugs. I was diagnosed with ADHD and prescribed Adderall, which gave me horrible side effects but also appeased my longing to escape sobriety, so I took more and more of it. Up to 120mg a day. I flunked out of public school and my parents sent me to private school, at which point I finally chilled out on the partying and graduated. I was managing my symptoms a little better. In college, I had a serious boyfriend who pointed out it was not normal for a girl like me to have such severe sexual dysfunction. I’d never been told anything about that by my doctor or even realized it was abnormal, and when I found it was a common side effect of antidepressants, I was outraged and decided to stop taking my antidepressants, cold turkey, between doctor’s visits. I’d never heard of withdrawal symptoms. But I didn’t experience any! Different biology?? I don’t know. When I told my doc I’d stopped taking the meds, she was pretty surprised that I seemed okay. This was the most stable period of my life. I wasn’t “happy” or even well-adjusted but I was managing, even after I got off the meds. I wonder why my more recent experiences have been so different. I’d developed TMJ my senior year and in college, guzzling Adderall and stressing out, my anxiety and jaw pain got much, much worse. I would have flare-ups where it felt like my jaw muscles were being stabbed with an ice pick. I went to the emergency for a particularly bad episode and asked my psychiatrist if there was anything she recommended. She prescribed lorazepam. I started off only taking that here and there for my jaw but eventually, it became a daily habit for anxiety. Life was just better when I took it. It’s what I’d always been searching for: peace. I vowed never to take antidepressants again but benzos were okay in my book because I had no idea they also came with a slew of negative side effects, and they made a much bigger difference in how I felt. For a while, anyway. Eventually I graduated to Klonipin and was taking 1-2 mg a day, every day, sometimes more. I dropped out of college to pursue a music career and my love of getting inebriated spiraled out of control. During a particularly low point in my life, I started taking pain pills to get through work and got addicted to them. I spent the next few years battling opioid addiction which progressed to heroin addiction. I checked myself into rehab in 2012 and during that month, I was put on Lexapro for depression and Seroquil for sleep. Seroquil made me feel frightened, so I talked to the doctor and he put me on Remeron again. I was like a zombie. And I couldn’t stop eating the junk food they had there. I felt AWFUL. So, as soon as I got out, I stopped taking all the meds. Not sure whether I had withdrawals because, unfortunately, I also relapsed. I battled my addiction a while longer until my beloved boyfriend at the time OD’d and died in front of me. I was obviously crushed and blamed myself. I was more depressed than ever but didn’t want to die, so I entered a methadone maintenance program and stopped doing street drugs. I’m so grateful for that methadone clinic...it saved my life. But the doctor there kept urging me to get back on an antidepressant and I didn’t want to. Because I knew it would only be harder this time. But I still had no other coping skills and had these health professionals telling me I had a chemical imbalance and the only way to fix it was with medication, so I relented. I was on 75mg Effexor and 1.5mg Klonipin. My doc lowered my dose of Klonipin a few times over the next few years; he wanted me to get off of it now that the FDA released a black box warning about cognitive effects. In 2017, I switched from Effexor to 20mg Citalopram, which he thought would help with my anxiety. It didn’t. And she tapered me off the Effexor over the span of about a week and a half...it was brutal! I knew better by that point, too, but I chose to just trust her anyway. I barely slept and the anxiety was incapacitating. It took me a couple of years to connect the dots but Citalopram gave me horrendous brain fog. I’m a writer and musician, and I had a health and wellness blog I really took pride in. Once I was stable on the Citalopram, I stopped feeling able to write or make music entirely. I could barely think straight. For 3 YEARS. And for the first year and a half of that, I thought I was just tired and lazy because my doctor said it wasn’t related. But in 2017, I discovered holistic psychiatrist Kelly Brogan on a podcast and learned the truth about antidepressants and learned I was not the only person whose creativity was stunted by them. I learned game-changing lifestyle practices that actually DID help with depression and anxiety--unlike the meds--and I underwent a huge health transformation and had an awakening around the medical system and society at large. And I got to a place where I felt more centered, joyful, and more MYSELF than I’d ever thought possible. I vowed to get off meds for good--this time, not to just “manage my mental illness” without meds, but to live a full, vibrant, healthy life. I was most eager to get off the things that stifle my creativity, so I microtapered off my remaining 0.35mg Klonipin in Spring of 2020. I got through it using my lifestyle practices--clean eating, meditation, intentional movement, grounding, EFT/tapping and emotional regulating practices/shadow work--and had only a few severe panic attacks. The brain fog was INTENSE and I’m so grateful to have been laid off from the lockdown because I could not have worked. I basically lay around all day for months, aside from doing my self-care practices. I tried to move right into tapering Celexa because I want OUT but my body said NOPE just about immediately with severe insomnia, crippling anxiety and even worse brain fog. I’ve been balancing out over the past year and am feeling 9,000,000,000 times better than I was right off of Klonipin. I’m ready to get off of Celexa. I’ve lowered my dose of methadone over the past several years, too, and I’m at half my original dose. I know this isn’t a forum for that but it’s part of my journey...and getting off an opioid is no walk in the park but I’m honestly concerned that this Celexa taper is going to be even harder. That’s why I signed up here. I’m currently at 14.35 mg; my original dose was 20mg. I don’t really know what to expect (aside from anxiety and sleep disturbances) but I know I’m going to need support. Figuring out the math to do each cut feels really difficult. My brain fog is still really thick. I’m honestly disappointed it hasn’t improved more by now, having been off Klonipin for almost a year. I’m taking lion’s mane mushrooms, which definitely help but it’s still a challenge. I’m still unemployed and have been hesitant to cut my dose because I keep expecting to lose my unemployment and have to be able to perform, create, be productive, etc. I don’t feel comfortable going to a workplace with what’s going on out there now, so I started learning copywriting last year during lockdown and was planning to start a freelancing business but kept going back and forth between prioritizing that and my healing. I couldn’t write during Klonipin withdrawal; I don’t know if I’ll be able to during this taper. I have so much fear around this. I’m doing a lot of inner work, a course called Core Wound Healing and lots of shadow work, which I know will help me through this. Still, it’s difficult. So much fear! But since I only have 1 ongoing freelance client and it’s really easy work, I’m back to prioritizing my healing, and I cut my dose by 10% this morning. I’m just telling myself “I got this” over and over. Going to see how I feel in a few days, a week, 2 weeks. And I’ll go from there. Thank you so much if you made it to this point!! I know this was a novel!! (I'm a writer...I edited this about 10 times but brevity isn't one of my strong suits😬)
  6. Mod note: link to: Happy2Heal: Hope I'm doing this right (Introduction and update topic) I was just an 18yr old, a very confused, naive young woman, er no- more of a child, really- when I was given (by force) my first psych drug, stelazine, a major tranquilizer. that was the beginning of a long series- spanning almost 40 yrs!- of psych drugs and hospitalizations. All along the way, I was plastered with one diagnosis after another, or several heaped on at once. My physical health went downhill and I ended up a virtual shut-in, living my life all in my head, friendless, socially isolated to the extreme, my only contact with drs and therapists, leaving my house to go food shopping maybe twice a month. This wasn't living, and I knew it. But I didn't know how to change things. I didn't know what was wrong. I spent over two thirds of my life believing I was mentally ill and *needed* to be on those drugs. but at some point, it occurred to me that the drugs might actually be the problem, or at least, part of the problem. I knew I had to get off them. and I did. The process and the pain of that is reported on my thread, I don't care to go back over it, at least not now. I learned a lot along the way, but for now, I don't want to think about where I've been, I only want to think about where I am now, and the life I have before me. Here I am, now, one year off all drugs, of all kinds. I rarely even take a ibuprofen for a headache. I want to write my success story, but I'm not 100% ready yet However I do have to say that what I feel most of all, is a great deal of pride in having survived. I suffered all forms of abuse as a child, emotional, sexual, physical, verbal, went on to be a survivor of rape, of domestic abuse. I was abused within the mental health system. I've spent virtually all of my adult life in poverty, raising my daughter as a single mom on disability due to "mental illness". But today, I feel as if I've done more than just survive; I am thriving. I have friends. I have a very active social life. I volunteer and I feel like the work I do is making a difference, having an impact. while technically I am still 'poor' by income, I don't go without anything I need, with the possible exception of good dental care I have a good life. Is my withdrawal journey over? I'm not sure.While I took my last dose of lexapro over a year ago, I feel like I am still having some symptoms that must be related to the nearly 4 DECADES on psych meds. BUT you need to know, these symptoms are extremely mild. and after that long on so many different drugs, it stands to reason that there will be minor little tweaks that my brain will need to make, for some time to come. I'd like to say that all that has faded into the background of my life, but to be honest: I am more vigilant about them now, than at any time during active withdrawal- because I don't want to fall into a trap of thinking that any problems I may have mean that all those doctors were right, I'm permanently disabled by a mental illness and there's no hope for me. I am pretty sure that the only thing I suffer from is PTSD, and I don't see that as a mental illness so much as a natural reaction to extremely stressful, traumatic life events. so Today I feel Victorious. I've overcome a lot and need to soak in that feeling of doing a good job I don't often give myself credit for my achievements or feel like it's ok to feel good about them but today, I give myself permission to bask in this feeling. it feels like the right and honest thing to do. I guess I just have to be different, I don't want to call this a success story because that sounds to me like the end, when in fact it is not. It's not really a beginning, either, because the beginning of my new life dates back to when I first realized that the drugs were the problem. to me, this just feels like a victory over adversity- something to celebrate! so please, celebrate with me, and know that you are going to heal as well, those of you still going thru WD/recovery. it's worth it, believe me so very worth it!
  7. Hello everyone. I hope is doing well. I've been taking celexa for 10+ years now. I think from 2011 when I started it. But the last few years I've been feeling okay. Lately tried to jump into a new career. But because I take antidepressants I couldn't get the job. I want to use this opportunity to finally get off the medication for myself and be free. How I take celexa is a bit different. I would take 30mg then skip a day and take 30 the day after. I've been taking it like this for years. So my question is how do I taper from this?
  8. Hi friends. I have been getting information from this site for a while so it's about time I made an account. I have been handed a pretty crappy situation (like everyone else here) and trying to decide what to do. The beginning was very rough. The awakening of what happened and what was to come, then trying to cope after seeing it all. Thank God I found Benzo Buddies and SA or I probably would've been polydrugged even more....so for that, thank you to whoever started and helps keeps this site going. I would love some advice from you guys because right now, I feel stuck. And maybe that means holding? I'm not sure. Here's the low down: Zoloft 2008-2009? CT - No Issues - Underage! 14 years old. Had anxiety (looking back...gut issues/hormones/recurring UTI's caused it) Xanax - as needed VERY RARELY 2008-2018 - maybe 1-2 a year? for random bouts of anxiety Celexa 10mg - 2012-2014 - Started after a panic attack. Looking back, I didn't eat a good breakfast and had too much caffeine but here we go. Crossover to Paxil 20mg - 2014 - Celexa pooped out. Paxil "worked" Crossover from Paxil to Lexapro 20mg - 2016 - because I was told Lexapro is better when I'm ready to get pregnant 😐 Crossover from Lexapro to Celexa - May 2020 - gradually increased to 30mg. - because I had hormone issues/stomach issues that triggered anxiety (or Lexapro pooped, I don't know) Also prescribed Lorazepam for help with the anxiety. Took it randomly Once hit 30mg, adverse reaction. Akathisia/anxiety BAD - worst experience of my life. Was in this torture for 2 weeks - I was told it couldn't be my meds but that it may be so cold Turkey July 2020 Withdrawal hit hard 5 days later - hypersexual. Discovered PGAD through google - freaked out thinking the only "cure" was medicine because that's what PGAD facebook group said...bad idea - PGAD is a nightmare symptom. Was told to take Lorazepam for symptoms - around .25-.5mg/day Propranalol 5mg at night - current Tried Buspar 10mg 3 days (didn't help pgad), nortiptyline 1mg a week (helped pgad, heart symptoms) - STOPPED. Realized meds may be the problem. Stopped lorazepam for a day, AWFUL symptoms, realized I was dependent. Found Benzo Buddies Benzo Buddies and Google led me to SA.org - told doctor I wanted to reinstate Celexa at a low dose. Started 1mg Celexa liquid and held. PGAD calmed down A LOT (only random flares) so I knew reinstatement was working. Got on Lorazepam schedule of .125mg 3 times a day. Stabilized on 1mg Celexa and .375mg Lorazepam (rough - nowhere near 100% just a gradual state of feeling bad with waves that are worse) Started cutting lorazepam randomly with dry cuts. Got down to .20mg Lorazepam by January 2021. Tried to cut 15%, hit a wall. Realized with BB that it may be easier with liquid for cuts. Pill was tiny and I had a hard time weighing. I tried to make my own liquid, one dose and I was in bad shape so knew I needed a compound to help. Prescribed Lorazepam compound with almond oil, felt okay but almond oil caused worse PGAD (I have learned magnesium flares PGAD for me and almond oil, almonds, and almond milk contains magnesium - crazy I'm so sensitive) Switched back to pills, stabilized. Went back to try another liquid with olive oil. No pgad but they used a generic pill instead of the powder they used before, bad symptoms. Went back to pill, stabilized. Then switched to new compound with olive oil. Had to updose to .225mg to transition - stabilized for 3 days finally. Cut .001mg every week. Now down to .219mg and last few cuts have been really bad with insomnia/anxiety/feeling really bad. Insomnia only lasts for about 2 days each cut but the anxiety and feeling bad lasts for a while before I stabilize. I'm still not stable from my last .001mg cut on Sunday. ALSO - I found out last Monday I have a UTI. Initial test was negative, culture came in with E-Coli. Due to my severe sensitivies, I am treating with dmannose, cantharis and Uva Ursi tea I will start soon. The symptoms have calmed but still feel overall terrible. I'm hoping the last cut was bad because the UTI made it worse? Anyway - I have been through so much over the last year and I feel like I've hit a wall. I would really love some advice. Benzo Buddies has helped but they're not familiar with SSRI withdrawal. My initial thought at this point was to stabilize and lower SSRI using Brass Monkey Taper but the Celexa does keep the PGAD at bay most of the time. Since that is the case, my thought is to get off of the lorazepam first. I am definitely learning how to listen to my body/surrender to this all. With that said - my questions: 1. Should I have held longer with the switch to liquid? I'm starting to think I should have held longer to allow my nervous system to adjust but not sure. Is that why my teeny tiny cuts are bad right now? 2. Is it a good plan to drop lorazepam first? I am in a pickle because I started feeling worse (malaise) around the time I got on the Ativan schedule so I'm not sure if it's making everything worse, etc. I haven't felt good on it but I'm also in SSRI withdrawal so not sure what is what? 3. I know this is a really long time from now BUT after withdrawing from Lorazepam, how long should I wait to taper the Celexa OR do I just follow my gut/symptoms? I need to be as functional as possible, of course. Right now, I feel overall crappy when I'm stable but able to push through. Brain burning, anxiety, stomach issues, bladder issues, fatigue, malaise, body aches BUT sleeping okay and working and taking care of my family. Fighting! Each tiny cut I've made from Lorazepam since switching to liquid brings on insomnia for a couple of days and bad fear/anxiety/sensitive to noise/irritability/tinnitus/anger/laying on the couch a lot. I would love any advice. I will try to put this all in my signature! Thank you so so much for your help. I know one day healing will come but getting there is a struggle that you all know oh so well.
  9. Hello everyone I'm so glad I found this forum. I've been really unhappy with the prospects of my treatment, and was desperate to find an alternative. First, I must admit that I'm a bit overwhelmed by the website - there is so much information (which is amazing, but also daunting), so please forgive me if I'm doing something wrong, or not asking the right questions. So a bit about myself... I'm 42, assigned male at birth. I've suffered from very mild depression the majority of my life, I think. Definitely since my early 20s. All my life I refused to take anti-depressants or any sort of psychiatric medication, but then when I was 30 my mild depression became slightly less mild (but still very low) and I fell for peer pressure and people talking me into the fact that it's a chemical imbalance and by treating it, somehow my life will be perfect. So I was prescribed Citalopram (I can't remember the dosage, but it wasn't a lot). I hated it! And after about 6 months I weened myself off it according to the guidelines - but it was too late - and the damage was done. My mild depression turned gradually into severe depression, until when I Was about 36 it became debilitating. I was unable to move most of the time, but continued to refuse to take medication. Sadly, it became so bad that I couldn't keep on torturing the people around me and I decided to give medication another try - refusing to take SSRIs, but my psychiatrist suggested I take Elontril - which is Bupropion Hydrochrloride. I started off with a dosage of 150-300 a day before settling on 150mg a day. My psychiatrist also promised me that it's very likely that after a year I'd be able to quit (a reassurance I desperately needed). Now, I'm not going to lie... since I started taking them, I'm like a new person. I'm back to being my old self - I'm nowhere near perfect, but I'm experiencing happiness for the first time in forever. However, it's now been 3 years since I started, and I hate having to be dependant on medication. After a year, as promised, I tried weening off the meds, according to guidelines, and as I'm sure you all know - it did not turn out well! So I had to continue again, and now I'm taking 150 mg every day. I'm really scared of the potential side effects of quitting, but I also know that I have to do it, so I'm looking for advice from anyone who has taken Elontril or Bupropion - how best to do it, and what I can expect, or if there are any articles out there about this... Thank you so much for your attention.
  10. Any tardive akathisia success stories? Thought this might be a really nice post of hope for a condition that is usually seen as very hopeless. 🙂 I've seen a few people successfully heal from acute akathesia by changing their dosage etc. But was wondering if there was any success stories on tardive or withdrawal akathesia, especially for those who aren't even on meds anymore? Also if anyone has been in a similar position as me - I haven't been on any drugs since 2018, but I smoked weed for a few days in June 2021, then I was suddenly hit with akathesia 3 months later (I've never even had akathesia before).
  11. Hello and nice to meet everyone. I have been reading as much as I can the past two days and feel like it is time to introduce myself. THANK YOU for everything you all have contributed, this site is a game changer. So many questions answered and a new journey begins. You can see my drug history and four month taper in my signature over the spring/summer (my psychiatrist at the time recommended two weeks, go figure). I had planned on a few crappy months going into this. Oh if I had only found this site first... Withdrawal didn’t kick in for at least two weeks, and slowly at first. I spent all of September and October dodging and weaving through good days and bad days, which I observed simply as “anxiety” (my original diagnosis) but with unusual physical symptoms. I journaled and kept calendar entries, mostly to record when I had to resort to Ativan (usually 0.5mg, occasionally 1mg). Other than for flight anxiety (two trips), I can count 17 times I took it over those two months, and only as a last resort. I had two sudden midnight “surges” (after feeling great) with shivers, out of control heart rate, even some diarrhea, which would last hours. I was convinced it was Serotonin Syndrome. The second one took me to urgent care the next morning for a heart checkup. A few days later a new psychiatrist then put me on Propranolol (beta blocker) as my primary concern was my heart. Propranolol immediately helped me observe and evaluate the “anxiety” I was experiencing which helped a lot. The new psychiatrist also had me stop 5-HTP after only a few weeks which was probably smart. I speak to him again this Friday, not sure what to share/ask given what I am learning here. I am now clear on the fact that I am riding waves of withdrawal symptoms, anxiety responds to the unusual feelings and emotions created by the withdrawal and adds its own icing to the cake, but I am focused on observing and not reacting, and doing my best to “ride it out”. The most unusual part of this “pattern” has been the timing of it all - usually kicking into high gear in the evenings after dark (earlier and earlier in my part of the world). I am nervous about traveling this weekend (short flight) but also realize I need to try and have as “normal” a life as I can stand under these conditions. My wife is awesome, understanding and super supportive. At 12 weeks in, I am not sure reinstatement is an option for me, even though I still have 5mg Trintellix in my drawer, and could try taking microdoses. Leaning toward a no, but I realize I may have run out of time to make that decision? I have read almost all the “required reading” but would still appreciate an opinion on that one. Also considering stopping my multivitamin, turmeric and mulberry leaf extract and taking only my “Super Omega-3 Plus” (Fish Oil) and picking up magnesium pills. I just started the Probiotic so I could drop it too, but not feeling like it would impact all of this either way? I am intrigued by the Reishi 415 blend to get some non-psychedelic mushroom love. Lastly my wife and I are thinking about therapeutic float tanks (she would love to do it again) and I have begun using our hot tub as part of my daily routine, along with many failed attempts at meditating. Anxiety was never something I handled well to begin with, and I realize now I must absolutely be on my game to dance this intricate dance. I will post any new thoughts, findings and curiosities on this thread as appropriate. I appreciate everyone’s support! PS- I opted to not use the appropriate abbreviations as I wanted to easily share this summary with family
  12. Hi. I've been on SSRI meds for a long time. I'm currently tapering from Zoloft. I'm at 26 mg. I'm reducing at 2.5% every 2-4 weeks. My CNS is a mess and I can feel every taper. I'm so tired all the time and have no energy. I'm taking cal-mag citrate, Barleans Omega fish oil, Vitamin D3/K2, and an iron supplement for anemia. Sometimes I take Coq10. I'd like to know what has helped others with the inability to focus and with fatigue.
  13. Neeta

    Neeta: Hi

    Hi everyone. So grateful to still be here to be here!! Been a long 30 years! Am hoping to titrate down from last 10 mg of Prozac using the liquid form. Does starting with the 1 mg a month make sense? See how it goes? Finish off 1 mg of Valium first? Yes, scared to let go of the last milligram of safety net. Any suggestions would be much appreciated. Moments of regret for ever having gone done the med road, but so very ready to "heal" what only covered up....sound too familiar? Best wishes and thank you!! 1992 – 1999 Prozac 80 mg, Klonopin 4 mg, Buspar 1999 – 2000 Stop Prozac cold turkey 1 year. Hell. 4 mg Klonopin. 2000 – 2003 Celexa, Lexapro, Luvox, Paxil, Prozac, Zoloft. Cycle through each med. None work. Highest dosages. 2004 – Effexor, Klonopin, Zyprexa, Lamictal, Provigal, Sonata. Always high dosages. Don’t remember mgs…. 2005 – Klonopin, Lamictal, Seroquel, Anafranil, Luvox 2006 – Klonopin 4 - 6 mg, Prozac 120 mg 2009 – 2013 – Prozac 80 mg, Kononpin 1 mg (Titrate from 120 mg to 80, and 4 mg to 2 mg) 2013 – 2019– Prozac 30 mg, Klonopin 1 mg (Titrate from 80 mg to 30 and 2 mg to 1 mg) 2019 – Ashton Protocol. Convert Klonopin to 20 mg Valium 2021 – Valium 1 mg. Titrate Prozac 15 mg to 10 mg in 2 months. HELL. TOO FAST.
  14. Hi all Last June I stopped 20mg of Citalopram that I had been taking on and off for 8 years. My doctor advised me to taper over 2 weeks! Months 0-3 were bad but not too bad. 3-6 were bad, some very severe waves and really bad OCD, which Ive never normally had. 7-9 waves started decreasing. 9-11 windows have been more clearer but still getting bad waves My windows seem to be getting progressively better. I keep thinking I'm back to my normal self and then get hit with a wave and come back feeling more normal. Recently Ive been getting more intrusive thoughts. My nervous system and physical symptoms seem to have got worse recently. I had some MSG on friday which messed me up. Im still getting physical sweats now. This wave has been the most severe Ive had for a long time. Has anyone noticed their nervous system get worse? Thanks
  15. Hi, this will take a while to write down as i’m suffering to remembering things clearly. When I was 16(2013) I got diagnosed with ADD, social anxiety and a learning disability. I was put on Atomoxetin and Sertraline where I refused to take them most of the time as I just didn’t want to be different from the other kids. Didn’t experience any side effects at all and I quit taking the pills CT a year after without any WD. In mid 2018 I was put on citalopram 20mg and seroquel(25mg but told me I could take up to max 75mg a day and switch between doses if I felt like I needed it) for sleep, after I developed an ED and a depression due to a past abusive relationship. had severe side effects at first, but wanted to feel better desperatly so I held out. In 2019 my anxiety got worse and my doctor increased my dose to 40mg of citalopram and lastly to 60mg. In start 2021 I began feeling almost sicker, having severe headaches, extreme irritability, stomach aches, bloating and numbness. decided I didn’t want to live like this, I educated myself on the medications I was taking and I was shocked to say the least. I contacted my doctor and we started started tapering down from 60mg citalopram in 2021 in May to 30mg, with no problems but experienced extreme withdrawal when i tapered down too fast from 30 to 12mg after a month. on a steady dose of 15mg of citalopram from July up to now. Been Tapering down on quetiapine from august 16th 2021 to (75mg, 50mg, 25mg, 12mg and been on 6mg for my last dose in April 2022. I wanna keep updating my progress here since i’ve had horrible withdrawals from the quetiapine tapering for the past 4 months, with very little windows.
  16. I have been on Celexa 20 mg for 20 years. Wellbutrin 300XL for 18 years. I want to taper off as slowly as possible. Is there anyone out there that has been on this same cocktail for this long and tried weaning off? Is there any hope that I can do it? I'm thinking I should start with the Wellbutrin. 2 years ago I tried going off them extremely fast and crashed, of course. Bad BAD choice. Can someone point me in the right direction? Thanks!
  17. Medication HIstory: Prozac 1993 to 2016 for anxiety and depression (actually have Complex PTSD) Switched to Celexa in 2016 and took until Feb 2022 Switched to Lexapro in Feb 2022 then Zoloft in June. Switches were due to bad anxiety and now tapering off because SSRIs seem to be causing anxiety rather than reducing it. At 25 mg Zoloft presently for 3 weeks. Symptoms include nausea, loss of appetite, stomach ache, anxiety. Also taking Lorazepam 1 mg and Zolpidem 10 mg. Just started Accel for nausea and it's helping.
  18. Hi everyone (sorry for the misspellings and bad grammar - I'm from Denmark). Started on citalopram in 2010/2011 after a longer period of anxiety, where I was afraid that I was going insane. Checked my self for symptoms that I was about to go insane, had anxiety all the time, could'n sleep and could not relax as I constantly had and "what if"-thoughts. I didn't really share it with anyone - just hoped that it would pass. I can't remember exactly when I started on citalopram, but It was after visiting my parents for Christmas where I just started crying and was doing really bad. year. I went to see a GP, and I was put on citalopram (after my own wish, because I just wanted to get better). I didn't get any sessions with a pshycologist until later, and not until I was on 40 mg. I stayed on that dose for a while and then went to a pshycologist. After that I slowly started to feel better and was able to taper to 30 mg, to 20 mg without any problems. A couple of years ago i went down to 10 mg. This was a little harder, but at that time I didn't know about withdrawal. I have been feeling good these past years (still had some problems with tiredness and I have to watch my wieght). I have been talking with a GP every year at checkups about the possibility of me starting to taper, but I haven't feelt that it was the right time until now. So in may ad the advise of my GP I started to skip doses. That didn't go well. I got irritated at my girlfriend, had inner restlessness, burning sensation in the arms, started to having trouble to sleep and about a week after i started to taper I was just feeling overwhelmed and had a feeling of panick once in a while. Then I upped my dose by switching between 10 and 5 mg every other day. That helped, and I started to sleep better and experiencing the windows. But I was afraid that I would screw up the when to take 10 or 5 mg, so I'm now cutting my 10 mg pill into qaurters to take 7,5 mg a day. It seems like I got hit again with the same problems as when i skipped doses. It's a long time since I started on citalopram, but I'm pretty sure that this i withdrawal and not a relapse, because it feels so different from back then. I'm now 35, and I would like to hear if anybody else has had the same problems with skipping doses and cutting in quarters that I have? And where to go from now? I have an appointment with a psychologist in Denmark who is writing a Phd on withdrawal, and I hope that he will be able to get me in the right direction. Kind regards from Denmark
  19. Hi! I am a new member and found this group as I was searching the best way to taper from celexa. I have been on Celexa since 2017 for anxiety related to insomnia. I successfully tapered from 20 mg to 10 mg after I was on the drug for one year. As my anxiety reduced with getting better sleep, I found that 20 mg made me too groggy in the mornings. I successfully transitioned from 20 to 10 over four weeks with minimal side effects. I stayed on 10 mg for two years before increasing to 15 mg in June 2020 when my daughter was diagnosed with epilepsy. After three months, I felt calmer so I titrated back to 10 I alternating 1510 doses for two weeks with no side effects. I do want to mention that I was on ashwaghanda at that point which I had been on for years. in January 2021 I was feeling really stressed again so I went back up to 15 mg with no side effects. After three weeks my stress was noticeably less and I was trying to lose weight so I decided to go back to 10 mg. I did this cold turkey (as I had done a 5mg change in 2018) and suffered severe dizziness and heart palpitations for a month. I had forgotten how short of time I had been on the new dose and in hindsight I recognize that was much too quickly to change. I saw my doctor after four weeks of being on 10 mg and still experiencing moderate dizziness. He told me to reinstate to 15 mg which I did and again experienced severe dizziness even having my legs go out from underneath me once when I went to get up. The dizziness subsided after two weeks but I was still left feeling groggy in the mornings from the 15 mg dose as well as in the evenings. in late March my doctor told me that after being on 15 mg for four weeks I could again try tapering down using a 15 mg/ 10 mg alternating days schedule. I did this for five days before I felt very strong with drawl symptoms including jitteriness, difficulty finding words, twitching nerve under my eye, increased insomnia(waking up in the middle of the night, etc). I was not on ashwaghanda going into any of the 2021 titrations. I did use the pills a few times during my most recent titration as it seemed to help the symptoms at first but then I became concerned about mixing in this supplement but I was already having strong withdrawal effects. As of 4/1/21, I am now back on 50 mg and intend to stay here for a few months to allow my body to stabilize before trying to taper again. I’m planning to wait 2 months until 6/1 to try to taper again. My doctor suggested removing one 5 mg pill per week every three weeks when I try again. (Eg 10 mg on Monday, 15 mg every other day. Keep this pattern for three weeks. Then have Mondays and Thursdays at 10 mg for the next 3 weeks). i’ve read about the benefit of limiting tapering to 10% and support that idea. This program from my doctor would take me down no more than 10% per month when you average out the doses, but I wonder if it’s better to do a graduated taper like Brass Monkey outlined. Anyone have any thoughts? if I do the brass monkey method, do I literally crush up my Celexa pills into a powder and then weigh them or do I just cut off bits to try to get to the weight? Not sure how to physically execute this. I have 10 mg pills that I can easily cut in half, possibly into quarters. Would I need to get medicine from a compound pharmacy? I think I could go from 15 mg to 12.5 mg doses by cutting my pills. Appreciate any advice.
  20. In August of 2021 will be a four-year ordeal that began with a breaking through (tolerance) of the SSRI medication (Celexa) I was on for 20 years. During this four-year period, I experienced over 75 symptoms associated with psychotropic medication withdrawal and at two different times was at zero quality of life. Once for five months (within the first year) and the once for four months (in year two) three months after my last dose of medication. I have been treated by a Psychiatrist, several counselors, two functional medicine doctors, two nutritionist, two specialists with psychotropic medication withdrawal, a geneticist and spent over a year and a half treated by a Dr. who specializes with hard-to-treat depression and anxiety cases. I have been on several strict diets (anti-inflammatory, vegetarian) and taken countless supplements. I have been tested for many possible underlying conditions. Although my condition has improved slowly (many symptoms have abated) I am still impaired living with severe insomnia, depression and anxiety on a daily basis. Concentration, speech, motivation, fatigue are all residual issues that continue to come and go with no predictable pattern but as of late cognition, speech and energy level have all improved. Prior to taking psychotropic medications, I lived with dysthymia (PDD) with major depressive episodes until 34 years old. I was not aware of the condition until that time. Looking back it effected my motivation, outlook on life, self-confidence and career decisions. I took Celexa for 20 years and it worked well for about 12-15 years. A whole new world of consistent positive emotions opened up soon after starting the drug. The last five or so years I was emotionally numb with no real highs but depression, insomnia and anxiety were not factors. It should be noted that for about eight of those years the dosage was 80 mg. In the summer of 2017, I noticed increased anxiety levels and insomnia had returned similar to when I when on medication. I then realized I was breaking through the medication. Agitation and aggression also started increasing. My psychiatrist then prescribed multiple medications over a period of five months. I experienced intense acute withdrawal symptoms. These drugs included Lexapro, Cymbalta, and Prozac. I stopped all meds after five months in December of 2017 for a period of one and a half months (symptoms intensified). At the end of the month and a half, I tried Ketamine infusions and my quality of life was reduced to zero. This intense period lasted five months. During this five-month period, new and previously prescribed drugs were given including Prozac, Trintellex, Lexapro, Klonopin (5 mg.), and Trazodone. In May of 2018, I began a slow taper with an organization to come off all medications. The taper ended in August of 2019. The order of the taper was Trintellex, Trazadone, Klonopin, and Prozac. During the taper, a number of symptoms lessened but would return later with varying intensity and duration (e.g., visual distortions, brain zaps, dizziness, numerous cognitive issues). However, after the taper, several symptoms slowly increased in severity including insomnia (severe), depression (moderate to severe), concentration (moderate), anxiety moderate to severe), depersonalization/derealization (moderate). The symptoms of insomnia, anxiety and depression were the most constant. Immediately after my taper, quality of life was reduced significantly (close to zero). This in spite of working with a functional medical doctor and nutritionist for treatment. Three months later, I reached zero quality of life again and in the winter of 2019 I went to a clinic that specialized in hard to treat cases in hope they could help. My condition improved slowly but not much. I was put on supplements to address sleep and high free copper levels. The treatment for free copper lasted over a year with zinc supplements reaching 250 mg before it was determined my free copper levels were down. Sleep problems remained unchanged. After two years of being treating I was still severely symptomatic and was told I was one of only 10% of patients that they were not able to help. In desperation and on recommendation, I reached out to an organization the deals with genetic testing. They put me on more supplements in which I reacted negatively. Currently, insomnia remains bad. I wake every night after about three hours with an intense mixture of negative emotions (e.g. anxiety, depression, guilt, shame) that have no basis in circumstances. My sleep is tumultuous at best, waking multiple times before experiencing electrical like sensations about 45 minutes prior to waking. Most mornings I cannot go back to sleep because of these sensations. My sleep hygiene is very good and has been for a while. Nothing seems to help in this area. I take magnesium and have taken a number of other supplements and natural sleep aids, but none have worked. However, I now go through withdrawal if I forget to take the magnesium. In summary, this August it will be four years. Two of which have been medication free. My symptoms have improved in number, intensity and duration. However, I still deal with insomnia, depression and anxiety in varying patterns. I do have some windows but never a full day and have not slept through the night except once in 4 years. Trying to discern withdrawal symptoms from underlying symptoms is challenging. Sleep was never a problem prior to taking medications and nothing close to what I live with now. I do not understand why is so bad when I have practiced excellent sleep hygiene for a while. The anxiety and depression have similarities to my pre-existing condition but also have major differences. For example, I can be dealing with a situation in the morning that seems to be causing depression or anxiety and in the evening I am thinking about the same situation and feel neither anxiety or depression and can view the situation in rational emotionally stable state. I am very strong in my belief about my identity but will sometimes experience strong emotions of insecurity that I know are absolutely baseless and absurd. The same goes for anxiety and depression. The emotions seem to have a mind of their own. There is a strong disconnect between what I know to be true and my emotions. Like fearing something that you know is rationally nothing to fear. I have many questions that I probably already know the answer, but I will throw them out for your feedback. 1. Did the poly drugging exacerbate the withdrawal/healing process. 2. What about the ketamine? That drug sent me off into the abyss of torturous emotions. It was like I was being brutally tortured non-stop for five months night and day. The emotions were beyond description. Zero peace and joy. 3. Are my current symptoms (they still can be very debilitating and intense) uncommon this far out from being off meds? 4. I did a slow taper and was told I would probably heal quickly only to go back to zero quality of life three months later. Any thoughts? 5. Although most of the people who have tried to help have been well-meaning, none have been able to significantly alter my condition. I have appreciated their encouragement and compassion, but their treatments have not been able to move the healing needle. Most supplements inflated my symptoms or did nothing at all. The free copper diagnosis and treatment did bring a little relief but only a little. 6. I have read that sleep is one of the last things to return to normal, but four years later it still is bad. Any thoughts? Feel free to ask questions or make comments. Thank you for taking the time to read.
  21. Hello, This is my introduction post where I will be sharing my drug history, experience, and goals towards a drug free life. A little about me: I am a 26 years old male with interests in animals, nutrition, fitness, socializing, movies, and other things. I have been taking citalopram for 21 years and my goal is to taper off of my current 10 mg dose down to zero. I would appreciate tapering advice from anyone with experience with successful SSRI tapering, especially citalopram. Backstory: I started medication around the time I was 5 years old, just starting kindergarten. My parents had recently gotten divorced and I was taken to a child therapist and then a pediatrician. I had a lot of tantrums as a toddler, poor eye contact, trouble making decisions, and I would frequently get in trouble at preschool. At the advice of the pediatrician I was put on 40 mg of citalopram, brand Celexa, and what seemed to be at about the same time, 60 mg of dextroamphetamine, brand ProCentra. I still would get in trouble a lot at school up until high school, but I was a very happy kid. I stayed on both of these medications at the same doses till I was 17 when I successfully requested to be taken off of some medication. I tapered off of dextroamphetamine with no trouble at all. It was a little tougher to concentrate on hw, but I didn't mind. After graduating high school and starting studies at my local community college, I decided to taper off of citalopram. As with the dextroamphetamine, I worked with my pediatrician to help me taper off of the medication. I was told this would be difficult so I tapered off between spring and summer studies. I didn't notice any negative effects all the way down to 10 mg of citalopram. I felt different being on a lower dose, but I liked how it felt. Tapering from 10 mg to zero, however, did not go well. I developed pretty unbearable irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). At this time I am starting my second year of community college and I am 19 / 20 years old. Besides having IBS, I had heightened senses, a bit of depression and anxiety, and I was less hyper and less enthusiastic. I became diet obsessed and tried to find food I could eat without getting bloated and or having digestive pain. I lied to my pediatrician and I said I was fine and decided to stayed off of the medication. I visited digestive doctors, got blood tests, and looked for diets to solve my problems. After about 6 months, I saw my general care doctor and asked to go back on citalopram at 10 mg. Before taking citalopram I requested to try a different medication, a tricyclic antidepressant. I can't remember why I thought this was a good idea. I started at a low dose and had unpleasant headaches among other weird feelings. After a month or so I decided to go back to citalopram. I believe I started with 5 mg and then worked my way up to 10 mg. I had almost constant headaches getting back on the medication, and driving felt different, possibly due to the medications effects on balance. I can't remember if I had headaches tapering off of the medication. After two to three weeks, I felt pretty good. At this time I believe I was entering my third year at my community college. I found my digestive system was generally okay if I ate whole foods and stayed away from cooking oils. My anxiety was still much more present than when I was taking 40 mg, and I didn't feel as happy. I have stayed on my 10 mg dose of citalopram since then. To help manage my anxiety, I meditate, stay physically active, eat as healthy as I can, and socialize as often as I can. There is so much misinformation out there, even in scientific research. I am not sure what to believe about the harms and benefits of antidepressants. I was for sure much happier on a higher dose, but I was also a kid when things were easier and I was still growing up, so its hard to say. These are very stressful times in the world, but there might never be a perfect time to try to taper off of the citalopram. I would appreciate any advice on tapering or any shared stories of similar experiences. Thanks for reading, VeganLife
  22. I officially stopped antidepressants in January 2022 after being on a multitude of them over the last 12 years. Some of the symptoms once officially stopping are: -dizziness -intrusive and obsessive thoughts- I can’t get bad images or thoughts out of my head -panic attacks -suicidal thoughts -shivering/chills even though it’s not cold -fatigue to the point I can’t keep my eyes open Are these normal withdrawal symptoms and can I overcome them? I’ve been trying so hard to do everything possible to overcome my mental instabilities with therapy, mindfulness, journaling, exercise, etc, but nothing is giving me full relief. After being off of antidepressants for two months and doing research, it says my brain should be back to normal. After reading that apong with the symptoms I was having I felt like I can’t handle living like that so I got on celexa a week in a half ago. After one week I had such bad side effects I’ve decided to quit again. I have had side effects from every antidepressant I’ve been on (Effexor, lexapro, Zoloft, Prozac, Celexa). Although I’m mentally better, I can’t handle the side effects. The doctor doesn’t think there’s probably an antidepressant that would work for me, and that I’ll have side effects no matter what I’m on. Ultimately I don’t want to be on them, but feeling hopeless of whether I can be due to the symptoms. Is my brain truly messed up?
  23. Hi, I found this website from someone's post who seemed to be going through the same as what I am. Sorry if this is long but I'm not sure which info is necessary! I was taking Citolapram for alittle over 2 years, mostly 20mg but I upped to 30mg near the end. I weened off them within a week but after almost a month I went back of them (20mg). I only stayed on them for a week and then came off them cold turkey. About 7 or more weeks since, I randomly woke up one day with PGAD. It's a horrible, progressive, non-curable disorder that makes your genitals feel constantly aroused, sometimes stabbing, burning, feeling the need to pee, zap feelings and a lot of throbbing. I've had this for a month now and feels worse these past 2 days (coincidentally I was pescribed Amitriptyline 10mg but after 2 days of taking them I decided I don't want to go back to ADs - apparently PGAD is mostly caused by withdrawing from ADs) I've had so many breakdowns because of this and there is no way I can live with it, especially because it can cause spontaneous orgasms and a lot of pain which I haven't got yet. I'm so scared and my doctors have no idea about the disorder and just try to convince me it's in my head which despite my obvious symptoms and causes I'm hoping it is. My history of OCD could explain it too. Before taking ADs I had a fear of farting in public which as stupid as it sounds, kept me house-bound for years. It went away after I took ADs and started college. Then a year later I had a bad sickness bug which led me to a fear of throwing up, with that I felt sick literally every single day and not always just mildly. I had tests but nothing explained it. Then I started hearing alot about PGAD just before mine started, once mine started my sickness has completely gone (so all this time it must have been in my head which is crazy because I almost threw up it was so bad). And now I'm getting all these symptoms of PGAD constantly. But I'm still not convinced it's all in my head because it is a fact that withdrawing from ADs too fast can cause it, plus I think I have some damage in my pelvice since I went on an exercise bike during my 2nd withdrawals. This gave me what I thought was piles in my perineum which went away after a week and then came back with my PGAD. I have a huge skin tag in my perineum which fills and becomes solid if I'm too active and I start getting a pain around it (in my legs/butt cheeks). I'm thinking I've damaged my pelvic floor and that these things could be connected? Although the PGAD didn't start straight away? I'm sorry this was so long but I am so so terrified of having this disorder, it is honestly such a horrible, embarrassing, painful and hopeless thing to live with and has always been my biggest fear since I learnt about it. I have so many things that could have caused it which makes me think that maybe it isn't just in my head. It's driving me crazy and if anyone has any hope or experience like this I would really love to hear from you. Sorry again for the long post.
  24. My original post: So, as of right now I am 17 months completely off all medication. I consider myself fully healed and am so happy to be able to write this because I want others to know that full healing IS possible, even in extreme cases. As I spoke about in my original thread, I was put on an SSRI at 5 years old for anxiety. While at first it seemed to 'help', as I got older my psychiatrist kept on raising the dose until I was essentially a zombie from about age 14-18. It caused many problems and I went from being a very social and happy kid to a sullen, antisocial, shell of what I was. I believe it also gave me bouts of depression, as I never had depression before I was on it and my most depressed periods always came after a dosage increase. It was very painful to me to think about how I had my adolescence and happiness taken from me by this drug and the people who kept me on it not seeing what it was doing to me, but I've reached a point in my life now where I can forgive and am too happy about life now and my future to dwell on that. I really want others to know, if you were put on these meds before you were even old enough to consent to being on them, I understand your pain, and assure you that even in a case like this, you CAN heal, and a life without depending on these drugs IS possible. I know there likely aren't many of us but I know others like me do exist and I hope somehow you find this post and my story can help you in some way. The medications I was on during this period were Zoloft and Celexa (I switched to the latter when I was 13), and I was on the highest doses of each (200mg and 40mg, respectively). When I was 18 years old, I had a stressful period and since it was my first time living away from home at college I started to come to some realizations about how crazy the whole thing was that I was taking these medications without even really understanding as to why I was on them still and not feeling like it was in any way my decision to take them. This was in 2014 and because I was young, and felt invincible and naive I essentially just stopped taking it (Celexa 40mg at this point). I'm not sure about how much detail is necessary here about what followed (although I'm more than happy to answer any questions anyone has and am an open book), but basically, I was ok for a couple of months, but then suffered for the next 4 years with intense, excruciating withdrawal symptoms that ranged from extremely painful physical and medical things to hellish mental symptoms. To this day it amazes me what this drug did to my system, as I never imagined that it could affect things that it affected (my blood tests from my first year of withdrawal confounded even the fancy, expensive doctors I went to). I suffered more than any teenager/young adult should ever have to suffer. I spent literally 3 years basically bedridden, in severe physical and mental pain, not knowing what was going on or if it was ever going to end. I felt like my soul was in crisis, and like I had no sense of self or purpose anymore. Growing up on these meds, I had to come to terms with the fact that I hadn't really been myself from age 5 to 18. But instead of starting over, and forming who I really was, I was unable to even do that because of the physical and mental pain I was in and inability to do anything with my life. I could go on and on with more specifics, but I feel it's more important now to explain what I believe really healed me (And I do consider myself healed now-- I went from being bedridden in pain, dysfunction, and chaos, barely even able to stand and walk sometimes, and completely hopeless about life and feeling out of control, to completely healthy, functional, happy, and living my best life). I think all of us who go through this suffer on a level that others can't really comprehend. But some of us may not realize that there is, in fact, an upside to this. When we're immobilized by pain, and crippled with mental symptoms like depression and anxiety, we have no choice but to just sit and be with ourselves. And this is where we find and understand who our true selves are. This might sound strange or "woo woo", but the major catalyst that really jumpstarted my healing was finding the calm within the storm. I highly recommend meditation for everyone going through this because for me it is what helped me access the part of me that was happy and calm independent of all external circumstances. The more I was able to quiet all my thoughts, the quicker I felt my healing process going. I really went through a spiritual journey, especially this past year when my healing really cemented, and I can honestly say that I've emerged not only healed, but a happier and wiser person than before this all started. I made the decision that I was going to heal, I made the decision that I was going to find happiness and joy and the life I wanted, whatever it took. I feel happier and more excited about life than I ever have (and my body and mind feel amazing). When you let go of stress, worrying, sadness, and negative thoughts, even when the situation outside you really is negative, you will be shocked at how things change. This whole journey is a spiritual journey for all of us. Yes, there are physical effects from this drug, but healing really takes place when we harness the light that exists in us even when things are at their worst. It's a highly personal path, but I really believe it is possible for everyone to overcome this. Supplements can help, but the power of the mind is limitless and infinitely more rewarding. Sparknotes version - meditate daily- quiet your mind. This is so beneficial for mental and physical health. - be aware of your thoughts, and as best you can, limit stressful and negative thoughts. For the first few years of withdrawal, my thinking was constantly "Life is so unfair", "I'm in so much pain", "What if this never ends?", "I am in hell", "Life sucks", etc. If this process has taught me anything, it's that your thoughts do matter, more than you know. Once I started changing my thoughts, my body and mind literally started to change. - journal. Writing down your thoughts can be very cathartic and can even help purge negativity that could be holding you back. Also, as counterintuitive as it may sound, you can even "fake" journal, i.e. write as if you have already healed, write as if you are happy and healthy. - Something I didn't mention in the full post, but VERY important-- when it comes to supplements, start one at a time, and start at a low dose. I know this is mentioned on this site many times, but I didn't take it seriously. I can't tell you how many months I literally lost because my SUPPLEMENTS were giving me symptoms that I thought were just part of the withdrawal, but were actually from the supplements I thought were supposed to help my withdrawal! As Altostrata is always saying, our bodies are very sensitized when in withdrawal and we can have seriously adverse reactions to things that seem super benign. Fish oil, for example, gave me heart palpitations. Ashwagandha, a 'gentle herb' that I had only read good things about, gave me major joint pain and digestive issues. PLEASE start supplements one at a time, at a low dose, wait a couple weeks and see how you're reacting to them. Everyone is different, and only you know what works and doesn't work for you. Keep track of what you're taking and don't fall into the trap of thinking "Oh, it's just a natural supplement, that can't be causing anything". That's how I used to think too and I went through even more pain because of it. There were times that I thought because my brain had developed on these drugs and I was on them so long, I'd never heal. But I did, and I'm in an even better place than I think I would have been if I hadn't gone through this. I am a genuinely happy person, I've formed deep connections with people, I have hope for my life and feel so happy and secure on my path, and I have really learned to appreciate the little things. Most importantly, I learned the importance of my thoughts and how they really affect all aspects of my life. I believe we are all meant to have a happy and healthy life, and it's possible to reclaim that right even when things seem utterly hopeless and bleak. Remember that you have more power than you know. We are a greater and more powerful force than these drugs are!
  25. Hi, this site was recommended to me and I'm very grateful to have found a place where people might understand what I'm going through. My story with antidepressants starts 10 years ago, but I've only really had problems with them within the past year. In 2017, I was switched from fluoxetine to citalopram. The citalopram worked for me, and I was quickly upped to a dose of 30mg, which I happily stayed on for 4 years. This takes us to November(ish) 2021. In November I was really struggling with my anxiety, and physical symptoms which were new to me. I had lots of tests done to rule out any physical illness, and nothing abnormal came up so I was just really confused about what was happening. Everyone kept saying it was anxiety but I couldn't really believe it, because the symptoms were so strong and I'd been dealing with anxiety my whole life and it had never presented like this. My doctor suggested that I increase my citalopram to the maximum dose of 40mg. I'd never been on the maximum dose as I'd always been warned off it because I am underweight, but I did it anyway. I tapered up to 40 by January and stayed on it for about 6 weeks. It didn't help whatsoever - in fact I just felt worse, because I had some side effects from the increase that I'd never experienced previously. Skin crawling, tingling and numbness on my left side, etc. It was horrible so I decided to reduce back down to 30mg. I'd achieved this by late February. At this point, my mental and physical health has been feeling awful for about 4 months. I wasn't able to work, socialise, or do anything at all really. I'd developed extreme health anxiety from having all these new symptoms which I was convinced could be a serious medical condition, and I had now started to develop constant nausea (my worst symptom, as an emetophobe). At this point my doctor started to talk about me switching medications altogether. I was open to it, because in 2017 I'd made the switch from one SSRI to another and it went so smoothly that I just thought this would be the same. She suggested Sertraline, so I started to taper down the citalopram in preparation for that. I got down to 20mg by May and it was really difficult. The nausea, foggy headedness and tingling symptoms were constant. But, looking back, in mid May when I'd settled on 20mg I actually felt a bit better for the first time in a while. I was able to do slightly more and felt less sick every day. I think a wise decision at this point may have been to stay on 20mg and just allow my body to calm down and give myself the chance to have a life again. BUT back in April, I'd had my first appointment with a psychiatrist. After telling him everything, he suggested a medication I hadn't really thought about, Mirtazapine. He told me that when I came off citalopram completely, I should start 15mg of mirtazapine then work up to 30. I sort of took this as a better idea than sertraline, I'm not sure why really...I think because I knew that mirtazapine increased appetite, and I wanted desperately to gain weight because anxiety always takes my appetite away. So I ditched the idea of sertraline (which my doctor seemed fine with after hearing the psychiatrists new recommendation) and continued to taper down further. I got to 15mg by the start of June, and tried to drop again to 10mg. Things were just getting awful, I felt I was worse than I was in May, and I couldn't see myself being able to get all the way to 0 without just having no life anymore and becoming a shell of a person. At this point my doctor prescribes me 7.5mg of mirtazapine to take alongside 15mg citalopram, as a sort of crossover, so that I could continue to taper down citalopram but have the mirtazapine to make me feel a bit better. I took the mirtazapine for a total of 5 days - it made me very sleepy, very groggy in the mornings, and very emotional. I did in some ways feel mentally better - my overthinking definitely reduced and I was finally hungry again which was amazing. But when I told the doctor that I'd been very groggy and tired and had felt very off kilter, she told me to stop the mirtazapine immediately and just stick to 15mg citalopram for a while. This brings us to now. I'm at a loss - I stopped the mirtazpine last week (which has given me withdrawal symptoms too, even though I was only on it for 5 days - headaches, pulsatile tinnitus, worse brain zaps and tingling) and now I'm just sitting with being on 15mg of citalopram, half of what I've been on for 4 years and feeling pretty hopeless. The worst part of all this is the physical symptoms which just disrupt everything. After reading on here and on reddit, I think I'd describe them as brain zaps - a sort of constant tingling in my head which makes me nauseous and makes me feel like my head is fuzzy. I also feel sick at the thought of doing anything - its so hard to describe, but I literally cant picture myself doing anything without feeling spaced out and nauseous. I feel like I am just not on the same plane of existence as anybody else - my head is spaced out, I can't enjoy anything, I feel like crying, my thoughts are quite literally racing and my body is just messed up by all these medication changes. I feel such regret for ever trying to withdraw from citalopram in the first place, especially when I was in a bad place to begin with. I can't imagine how to get out of this hole that I've dug for myself. After reading about medication tapering online I realise I've done it at the wrong time, and far far too quickly, and I'm living with the consequences now. As for trying to settle the symptoms, I've of course tried lots of different supplements with limited success. In fact, since stopping mirtazapine, I'd say supplements make it worse. A few days ago I took a vitamin B supplement and the next day my head was pounding and I had pulsatile tinnitus, and last night I tried a magnesium supplement and today my head is pounding again. I'm very lucky that my family is able to look after me during all this, but they are constantly telling me to 'get out and do things', which I think is their reaction to the idea that all of this is just anxiety, and nothing actually physical. Its so hard to get people to understand that it feels like my body and brain are falling apart, and that withdrawing from my medication (something I chose to do which was meant to lead me on the road to recovery) has made things so so much worse, mentally and also physically. I hope that this will be the lowest point for me and that things will improve, but I have no idea. And I don't even know whether my next step will be more withdrawal, or reinstating the citalopram, or just staying at the dose I'm at. But I'm pretty scared for any of those directions because I've just bounced from one bad experience to another, and somehow I'm scared that it could get even worse.
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