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  1. Hi everyone, I am hoping to help others and find support as I struggle through prolonged effexor withdrawal. Looking back, I can see so clearly how the nightmare roller coaster ride with medications happened to me. While living in the middle of it, however, it took me a long time to connect the dots and jump off that crazy ride!. And unfortunately, I am paying big time with my health. I am a 34 year old previously very healthy woman. It all started in 2006 with xanax and ambien. I was about 3 weeks away from finals week in professional school when my dad passed away. Dealing with the grief from that and the pressure to continue performing well and passing all my finals in professional school led to bad anxiety and insomnia. I saw a doctor at the health clinic on campus and was given xanax and ambien. At the time, I thought these medications were great! Finally I was sleeping and felt calm. I ended up using them off and on throughout the remainder of school until I graduated in 2007. A few months went by, and then I entered the work force in my new career. This, too, was a very stressful time and I developed insomnia again. I saw a doctor and mentioned the medications that had helped in the past, and with no hesitation was given a presciption for xanax and ambien. I continued to take these medications off and on, and over time needed to increase the doses. I started developing rebound anxiety and insomnia, which got really bad in 2011. At the time, I didn't realize what was happening- I thought I just wasn't coping with life well, and couldn't understand why. I went back to my general practitioner, and she said I had a severe anxiety problem and needed an SSRI. I was desperate to feel normal again and trusted my doctor completely, and readily accepted her prescription for Zoloft (after she assured me the medication was perfectly safe). I picked up the medication, and after reading the side effect list, became very concerned and called my doctor. She said "you shouldn't read that list, now you are sure to develop every side effect on it, because most of those are in peoples heads"). I felt reassured by this and started the medication. Well, I had pretty much every side effect on the list. I won't bother to describe them, we've all been there. I told my doctor what was happening, she said to stick it out. Well, after 2 weeks of pure hell, I stopped the medication. Believe it or not, I then went through withdrawal from that 2 weeks of Zoloft. I developed paresthesia, among many other things, and went to my doctor. She said paresthesia is caused by anxiety, and that this proves I need daily anxiety medication. Of course I believed her, I was so vulvernable and physically sick at the time. She proceeded to put me on and off lexapro, mirtazapine, clonazepam, lorazepam, among others. Every time I started a new med the paresthesia went away within a day or two, but the medication side effects would be unbearable. This is when it started to dawn on me that the paresthesia wasn't anxiety, but was drug withdrawal, as I was recognizing a pattern. My doctor said it wasn't possible, drug withdrawal from these types of meds doesn't exist. I argued that I knew in my heart the paresthesia wasn't caused by anxiety, and that if it's not drug related, it must be an illness of some time. She sent me off to a neurologist which led to about $8000 in tests (blood tests, MRI, ultrasound for the constant nausea, etc etc). All came back normal, at which point the neurologist stated, see- it's anxiety and has been the whole time. I felt very disheartened, accepted my diagnosis, and took her prescription for effexor. I told her that every single medication made me terribly sick, and that I believed the meds and withdrawal from them are what had given me so many problems, and that I was very concerned about taking effexor. She assured me the meds had caused no harm, and that effexor is a wonderful medication, and very safe. She said if I didn't like it, we would stop it, no problem. Silly me started swollowing the pills like a good little sheep. Well, within 2 days the paresthesia was gone. I took the medication for about 2 months and told the neurologist I wanted to discontinue it, as it was causing side effects, and my reason for taking it (paresthesia) had resolved. She told me to take one capsule every other day for a week then discontinue it. I followed her instructions and the withdrawal was out of this world. I had never been so sick in my entire life. After doing some research on line, I stumbled across a web site (probably this one) which explained how to taper effexor slowly. I quickly re-started the medication, and after a week or so, began to slowly wean myself off over 2 months. I had only ever been on the lowest dose of 37.5 mg and thought this would be sufficient. Well, I still experienced withdrawal- slightly more tolerable, but still hellish, and also developed paresthesia again. After about 2 months of dealing with this, I decided to re-instate and taper again over an even longer period. So, I started my third and final taper from effexor in October 2013, and finished in March 2014. Even after such a low dose, and a fairly lengthy taper, I suffered withdrawal. It lasted about 3 months, then I had a period of ~2 months where I was mostly normal, then I got slammed again with severe protracted withdrawal in August/September 2014. So, I have been taking it one day at a time (sometimes one hour at a time), and praying that this all eventually goes away. The most troublesome thing occurring for me right now, is that I feel as though I have fibromyalgia. I wake up each morning with pain at the base of my skull, and basically all over my body. My eyes are constantly burning and painful. My feet cramp up randomly. I also have severe digestive issues.These have been relentless for about 3 months now. These are things I had never experienced before my roller coaster med ride. I am very worried that these things are permanent. From what I have read, fibromyalgia never goes away. I just don't know if I have real fibromyalgia, or withdrawal-induced fibromyalgia. I am scared that I will have to live the rest of my life in pain and with bad tummy troubles. I am currently seeing a GI doctor and will have endoscopy soon (probably another big waste of money, will probably come back normal just like every other test). I just don't know what else to do. I take no meds, eat very healthy, and force myself to exercise almost daily. The weird thing is, when it comes to the pain- the more sleep I get, the worse I feel. Makes no sense to me! Anyhow, that is my story. I wish I had stopped after my first bad reaction to a drug, I would probably be recovered by now. If I had only known then what I know now! Sorry for the lengthy message. Any input or suggestions is much appreciated. Even if someone can just let me know the pain and stomach issues eventually went away for them, that would give me some hope. Thanks all, I appreciate you for taking the time to read this, more than you'll ever know!
  2. naturegirl

    naturegirl: please help

    Hi, I am in crisis right now and desparate for help. I tapered off effexor 1 year ago and have had no psychiatric meds since. The past year has been rough with prolonged withdrawal and bouts of anxiety along with way, but for the past 3 months I have been doing very well (working a stressful job and handling it well, traveling, etc). For the past week, seemingly out of the blue, I am having severe, debilitating anxiety and insomnia. I also have odd physical senstations that I haven't experienced in quite this way before (odd nagging nausea-not the anxiety kind, but the flu kind; extreme muscle pain; periodic cramping of my hands and feet; a buzzing or tingling sensation in my arms and legs; weakness. I saw my doctor, who ran blood tests- everything is normal. I saw her before the anxiety started- at first, I just had the flu-like symptoms, then the anxiety hit. I don't know what to do....I am going to have to resign from my job (a well-established, successful career of 9 years). I aleady took a leave for 1 month 6 months ago when I was having a bout of bad withdrawal. I feel desperate for relief, and am so desperate that I would even go on meds again (although I swore they were the worst thing I ever did to myself and that I would never touch them again). Is there any chance this is still a delayed withdrawal? Please if anyone can offer me advice, I really need help right now. Thank-you.
  3. Hi, I am new to this side, but unfortunately not new to antidepressants. In 2010 I managed to tapper Effexor, which took me more than two years. I made a terrible mistake and around 2 months ago I have started taking escitalopram. I was fulled by a psychiatrist that this is a safest antidepressant, which does not cause any side effects. I have also been on low dose of Doxepin at night to prevent migraines (this has been for over 2 years, but never caused any major problems...) I started on 5mg of escitalopram and I was ok on this, my anxiety stopped, I slept better, etc. Two weeks ago I increased to 10mg and this is when symptoms started. Firstly it was a weird sensation, each morning I was getting "pins and needles" in my arms, this was going away after getting up. Then I started sleeping badly...I wanted to cut back to 5mg, but a psychiatric said that it was only temporary, so I have stay on 10mg. In the meantime, I had a migraine and took my usual triptan; I almost got serotonin syndrom (at least I think)...This was the time I started to read about escitalopram and discovered horror stories... I want to stop this drug! I wonder if I have taken it for so short I could go with a faster than 10% tapper? Can I cut to 5mg straight away? Thank you Ikam
  4. I'm not sure I'll ever be able to get off medication. I've been on it longer than I have been off. I was prescribed Doxepin (Sinequan, Silenor, Zonalon, Prudoxin) after the birth of my second child 32 years ago, for postpartum depression. The truth was I just couldn't sleep and it was debilitating. Doxepin was a miracle drug for me at the time, but I was never able to get off it. Every time I tried, I would feel like I had the flue - extremely achy, nausea, headache, insomnia. I always wound up going back on. I remember my doctor telling me it was withdrawal, and I was so upset because, when I was prescribed it I was told it was not habit forming. That's when I learned that their definition of an addictive substance was different than I thought. Addiction involves increased tolerance they said. You abuse the drug if you are addicted because you need more and more to get the same effect. I don't believe that. If you can't live without something, you're addicted to it. I've cut down the amount over time (I keep trying). I got down to 100 mg, but that's as far as I've been able to get. I truly hate this drug and I wish I could get off it, but after so many years, and so many tries, I've given up. I'm hoping to gain some insight here. I do feel like a bit of a lost cause. Over time other drugs were added. Tranxene (clorazepate) for anxiety. That I take as needed. 3.75 mg, and Wellbutrin (Buproprion) to combat the side effects of Doxepin. I take 100 mg each morning. So for me it's downers in the evening and uppers during the day. My psychiatrist is due to retire soon. I wonder what will happen to me when he is gone. Doxepin 100 mg nightly since 1987 Tranxzene as needed, 3.75 mg since 1994 Wellbutrin 100 mg in the morning since 2004
  5. Hi I am new to this forum, coming from benzobuddies forum. I was on an AD wellbutrin for 7 years and then a P Doc took me off cold turkey and I wound up in a psych hospital for 10 days December 2012, I was reinstated on Wellbutrin in the hospital and upon leaving I found a new P Doc immediately. He diagnosed me with Bipolar ll. He kept me on the Wellbutrin and added Lamictal and 40 mg Valium for insomnia. I became tolerant after 3-4 months to the Valim and I started a micro taper off the 40 mg valium 1/2013. I am currently at 1.5 mg as of 10/01/2014. Withdrawl symptoms were not to severe with the micro taper until 3mg valium. Now down at 1.5 mg withdrawl symptoms are pretty intense ,insomnia, anxiety, feeling poorly. My P doc didn't want me to come off of the valium because he thought it helped with keeping my bipolar stable. He agreed to help me with the taper if I wanted to get off. I just wanted to get off because I was tolerant and didn't want to stay on a benzo any longer. I also recently decided I would like to decrease my AD dose after I am off the benzo, but I'm not certain I can completely taper off because of my bipolar. I discussed this with my P Doc and he said he would consider this after I'm stable on my valium taper. I was reading thru some posts here and noticed that tapering the AD first might have been better then tapering the benzo according to many here. I started my benzo taper first because I wasn't going to taper down my AD at the advice of my P doc.. I have decided that I would like to taper down my Wellbutrin at least to a lower dose but I assume I should wait till I am off the benzo at this point? If I do taper down my Wellbutrin will it be harder now that I am tapering off the benzo first Also I need some advice about getting off the 6mg of Doxepin (Silenor), I have been taking for insomna the past year, it is no longer helping with my insomnia. Since it is such a low dose do I need to taper off this slowly or can I just jump off. Thanks
  6. Hello, I just found this site a few days ago. I've never done anything with forums before so I'm still figuring out how to navigate--I feel a bit lost. If I post on a thread that no one's been on for a few months, will people see it? So...this is a question about tapering and melatonin, I guess, so not sure if this is the right place to put it... I've been working with a naturopath for a few years which has been very helpful in various ways. Early this year I wanted to get off meds, and I did get off Klonopin and Wellbutrin (yay!) but trying to taper off doxepin by 25mg steps was terrible--major sleep issues and anxiety/emotional stability. My naturopath gave me melatonin and a chamomile-based supplement called Babuna. She OK'd me going up to 9mg on the melatonin and I did and between those and going back up on the doxepin (eventually to 75mg) my sleep recovered and has been good since June for the most part. I know elsewhere on this site people have said that over 5mg of melatonin is pretty high. I have not done much research on it, partly because it's working for me. OK, so I want to start my taper, once I see my psychiatrist and can hopefully get prescribed 6mg tablets of doxepin. He won't be able to advise me on anything else (I'm on the waiting list to switch to another doc that was recommended to me, but won't see her till April.) But the question is what to do, if anything, about the melatonin? I thought it would be wise to try to cut back first, so that if I have trouble with sleep when I cut back on the doxepin (sleep is my bane), I could have the option of increasing the melatonin. I've not asked my naturopath how high she thinks is OK. So I did cut back on the melatonin for the past two nights, 6mg or so instead of 9mg (it's by droppers, not very precise) and had an awful time getting to sleep the first night--better last night. But I'm feeling crappy moodwise--so hard to know what begets what. I also do a lot of energy work which in general has been amazing for me, but it does mean I end up doing a lot of processing. I really hate messing with meds and all the upheaval and analysis of what's working and is it improving....but I want to get off. Other things about me--I do a lot of alternative/integrative health exploration and am really into nutrition right now--have learned a lot and made some changes that I feel really good about, my body likes it. Still learning, finding out what works. Should I post this in a melatonin thread instead?
  7. I have been on doxepin for 30 plus years. I am 65 and think it's time to get off. I went through a long arduous taper off Xanax and finally got off it in 2008. I have struggled with Valium off and on since then but took my last dose of that in September. I have conferred with my doctor and will begin a slow taper off doxepin with 10% cuts every 3-4 weeks. I am starting from 100mg and will go to 90 then 80 then 75mg and hold for a while. After that cutting no more than 5mg per cut. I will do holds for a period of time again at 50 25 and 10mg. Would like to know what folks think of this taper plan. Thanks Pokey
  8. I have been on 100 mg Doxepin more or less for 18 years treating insomnia. It has suppressed my adrenals enough that it could be contributing to Adrenal Fatigue but even on a sllllloooooowww taper (currently at 90 mg over course of 3 months), my system goes ballistic and I cannot sleep unless I increase my dose or am so zonked from not sleeping well that I get a good night in. Has anyone taken supplements or other medication to help with the taper? supplements I have tried but have had digestive of excitatory side effects: Seriphos (cortisol manager), L Theanine, 5 HTP, Melatonin, Magnesium, Hemp Sourced CBD oil). Melatonin was good but brought on depression. Most of these would have done the trick save for my tummy so perhaps this list will help someone else!
  9. I'm 73 and have suffered chronic depression and anxiety throughout my life. Have taken most of the antidepressants out there at one time or another. Only one that really helped was Anafranil but I was unable to hold down a job with it because I couldn't stay awake! In 2014 I felt hopeless and decided to try Doxepin because it had worked miracles in my daughter's life. She warned me about side effects but that's another story. I get my psychiatry at the VA and my doc there wanted me to take 200mg of Doxepin at night but I couldn't sleep after hitting 100mg. So I switched the timing to the mornings but when I hit 200mg in a single dose I slurred my words and really could barely function. So I dropped to 150mg and stayed there...but my mood did not improve. So I added 100mg at night for a total of 250mg/day. Stayed on 250mg from May 2016 to Sept 2016 when I told the VA doc that it wasn't working. Not only was I depressed but I had lost quite a bit of strength. VA doc wanted me to drop 100mg/week but I feared going off too fast and we settled on 50mg/week. I am at the end of my third week of tapering so am down to 100mg taken in the morning. BTW, the doc wants to start me on Bupropion as I taper the Doxepin but I have said no so far. But I feel w-a-a-y down...not suicidal but having difficulty with daily functioning. I wake up several times a night with a start and I dread the morning wakeup. Also, am feeling flu lilke symptoms and have loud ringing in my ears. So I need help. Where do I go from here? I already decided I am not dropping another 50mg tomorrow...but should I go back up? I should also mention that I have decided to work on my depression with mindfulness and somatic work. At my age it is no fun to play with meds!
  10. Hi there - I've been lurking on the site for weeks now, but decided it was a good time to go ahead and start my own thread. My background is that I went in for plastic surgery and was given a mix of meds that made me go nuts. I was given high doses of prednisone for 5 days (which is known to cause mental issues) and wasn't tapered. The doctor had given me ativan to use as needed and I only took 7 pills over a 10 day timeframe before realizing how bad they were. I still wasn't sleeping so I was given ambien but only used it for 5 days due to the addictive nature. I didn't sleep for 3 days and freaked out and went to my first psychiatrist appointment ever. She prescribed me gabapentin to use as needed between 300-1200mg/day and doxepin at 10mg. I took this cocktail for a week and still only ever slept for 5 hours at a time, so she added Remeron. I took Remeron at 15mg for 5 days and at 7.5mg for another week. It really screwed with my brain even more. I couldn't concentrate at work and was all over the map and I felt really mentally slowed. I started having really scary urges, so my family brought me back to my home town and I stopped taking everything. The first 5 days was okay - I was able to sleep for 5 hours every night and then the next week all hell broke loose. I wanted to reinstate but since the meds never helped a bit I decided that it wasn't worth it. It's now 6 weeks after and I'm still having a really rough time. I'm very OCD and I'm afraid that I'm never going to heal. I went a good week sleeping about 7 or 8 hours a night but now panic and sheer anxiety have set in and I'm just obsessed over the idea that I'll never be the same. I've been taking OTC medication to help me sleep, and for a while I didn't have to take anything at all. I've been getting twitches all over and right now the back of my skull is tingling. I feel scared. I feel like such a fool - I never asked for this and it's scary as hell. I'm trying to go to work and be productive, but it's insanely hard without sleep and I just feel like I'm coming unglued. I know that I've been getting better. I can see the progress, but I'm so scared of more stuff coming in the future. My sleep is all over the place mostly because I'm super anxious and afraid that I'm dying and I feel compelled to contact another psychiatrist (one recommended on this site) but I don't know what they would do with me. They would just offer more drugs which I don't want to take. So, I feel stuck between a rock and a hard place. The biggest thing for me is sleep - which hasn't been good ever since the surgery. I don't know what to do about that. Everything gets worse when I don't sleep and I'm so scared of not sleeping for a week!
  11. I would like to be able to wean myself off antidepressants, but have not been able to for more than a few weeks at the most. I am currently consulting a specialist in Bioidentical hormone therapies. I think I have thyroid issues also, and would like to see if balancing my thyroid will help eliminate the need for antidepressants. I found a link to this site on a Facebook group I am in.
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