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  1. 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
  2. I have been on duloxetine since middle of January, first 20mg for three weeks, then 30mg for a few days and then back to 20mg. Doc said continue for one week than stop but after seeing some of the issues people are having I was afraid to just stop. I have been opening the 20mg capsule and am now down to 55 beads, can I simple stop.
  3. Original topic title before reducing the length: FosterTheCritters: after 19 years on antidepressants, I discontinued, reinstated, tapered up and down, and discontinued again, and I'm a mess. Looking for helpful advice. _______________________________ Hi. I'm so grateful to have found this amazing group; it has given me hope which I badly needed. I have a very complex situation and don't know, even after reading a lot on this site, what my next move should be to help myself. Here is my story. In fall 2004 I started on 20mg of citalopram for GAD and panic disorder. I had typical side effects for a week or so and charge through because the improvement of my symptoms was fast and drastic. I increased to 40mg after one or two weeks with no trouble and I felt amazing. My anxiety was so diminished and my life got some much easier. Fast-forward to 2015. I had many stressful years leading up to 2015 and 2015 was particularly bad. I thought maybe I could use something different to help with my increased anxiety and situational depression, so I switched to 60mg duloxetine. The psychiatrist had me switch with no taper at all and fortunately the switch went smoothly. I didn't notice any change on the duloxetine, but my husband was also on it, so it seemed convenient to stay on it. After a few years I started to feel apathetic and lost motivation for doing a lot of things I enjoyed. I wasn't really depressed and my anxiety was managed fine, so I hit the pause button on switching meds even though I figured the medication might be causing the apathy. In May 2021 my husband was diagnosed with salivary gland cancer (he's cured now via surgery). Even on meds, I'm terrible with uncertainty, and I had a really rough patch of anxiety as there was a lot of waiting involved in diagnosing and staging and my brain got away from me. Sometime in early June my duloxetine refills ran out; I needed to reach out to my doctor to submit a new prescription and I forgot. I take so many supplements and medications each day, and fill containers weekly; combine that with my worry about my husband and I didn't even notice that I wasn't putting duloxetine in the tubs. So, I stopped the duloxetine cold turkey and I don't really know when. I do know that at the end of June I recognized that I was having abnormally bad anxiety and panic along with some eye movement abnormalities and realized my mistake. I wish I could go back to just those withdrawal symptoms as that was easy mode compared to my life since then! I contacted my psychiatrist to correct the issue and he prescribed 30mg duloxetine, which I started on July 2nd, 2021. I used to take my duloxetine at night and did that again; I didn't sleep at all the first night and the very first day after restarting I had terrible eye pain, neck pain, stomach cramps, diarrhea, felt like I was on stimulants 24/7, and severe facial and neck flushing in addition to emotional fluctuation and intense anxiety. Since I had never tapered up on Cymbalta before, and didn't know my reaction to that process, I assumed all the symptoms I was having were that, and stuck with it a week. My symptoms did not improve at all throughout that week even as I switched to taking it in the morning instead of at night. My psychiatrist told me that I must be in withdrawal and prescribed going up to 60mg duloxetine after that first week at 30mg. I had the same symptoms but more intense even after some time at 60mg. I continued at 60mg at least a week, but things were so bad I asked my psychiatrist for a change. He prescribed 10mg citalopram. I stopped having the stimulated feeling I was having on the duloxetine, but all my other symptoms persisted. My psychiatrist was still convinced that a higher dose was going to ease what he was still sure were withdrawal symptoms so on August 27th, 2021 he had me to go to 20mg after two weeks on 10mg. Again my symptoms seemed to worsen, so I dropped back to 10mg after about 2 weeks on 20mg. I'm not sure if my symptoms were improved after dropping back to 10mg because they were still very bad. When I saw the psychiatrist again, he told me that the physical symptoms I was having were clearly not related to the medication both because they weren't improving on the meds, and he'd never heard of anyone having eye pain or flushing due to antidepressants. So, I decided not to see him again and went to get my eyes checked by an ophthalmologist. She couldn't find anything, so assumed eye inflammation and prescribed steroid drops that didn't help. I also asked my excellent primary care doctor to take over managing my antidepressant journey and he agreed. At this point I was taking so little medication in comparison to what I had been before June 2021, and my googling had me convinced that I was having some sort of serotonin toxicity with the flushing and diarrhea, so my irrational conclusion was that I must have a carcinoid tumor. That fear consumed me and I had my doctor run the urine test for carcinoid tumors which came back negative. At this point, my husband, who has been very supportive, started searching for other answers and found survivingantidepressants.org. He suggested I try doing a very slow taper and see if I could get off the medication and see if my body would reset. I talked to my primary care provider about this, and I got discouraged when my doctor found out the local compounding pharmacy would need at least two weeks before they could provide my first taper dose. I didn't want to continue with the current situation any longer, so I discontinued the citalopram at the end of September after being back at 10mg for about 3 weeks. My symptoms are still awful, but they have improved a bit after being off the medication a week and seem so be in a positive trend. I have slightly fewer crying bouts/meltdowns. My flushing is fainter and the facial telangiectasias that developed have faded considerably. My eye pain happens in shorter segments throughout the day. I still have stomach cramping at times of the day and night, but the diarrhea has become less frequent and less severe. My sleep is still terrible, and I forgot to mention that during this four month journey I've tried clonazepam, trazadone, Lunesta, Ambien, and Xanax for sleep, and I'm still on the Ambien and Xanax. Even with those drugs I struggle to fall asleep, wake up one or more times per night, and often feel pretty hung over in the morning. Thankfully, after spending time on this site, I have at least realized that whatever is going on is likely a nervous system reaction to the antidepressant changes that have occurred and it has given me hope that I will recover. My questions are these: 1. What does it sound like happened when I tried to go back on the meds and developed physiological and mental symptoms and couldn't tolerate the medication? Does that sound like a sensitized nervous system that didn't want to readjust? Does it sound like I was in withdrawal the whole time? Is this likely just because of the speed and flip-floppy nature of all the changes? 2. Has anyone out there had eye burning and pain and neck and facial flushing as side effects/symptoms going on or off antidepressants? 3. Now that I've been off the medications over a week and have had some improvement, does it make sense to try to go back on to something and slowly taper or just continue to try to heal from withdrawal? 4. I have no idea what to do about the sleep meds. This is the first time in my life I've had trouble sleeping aside from one week in 2004 when I was starting citalopram. This poor sleep has been going on for four months and I'm scared. Should I stay on them until I hopefully have some improvement in sleeping on my own or try to wean off now? 5. I've been taking LDN for autoimmune disease for a few years now and it has been amazing for me. However, in trying to rebalance my nervous system, it seems like anything that affects neurotransmitters might be a problem right now? Plus there is a little bit of evidence that suggests naltrexone might affect serotonin and norepinephrine, in addition to, dopamine. Should I discontinue it, reduce it, or leave it alone? Thank you so much for reading and for any advice/experience you can offer!
  4. Hello everyone. I had been on this forum many times before reading all the posts, usually in the dead of night when feeling so desperate and alone with insomnia but did not sign up until now as hoping I would be feeling a bit better by now. I don't. I came off Duloxetine/Cymbalta, 60mg,in June 2016 cold turkey, probably a huge mistake to do it this way but I had been in touch with my doctor and he suggested to change antidepressant to Citalopram 20mg which I tried for a week and felt strange so ended up ditching both. I went through a terrible time of adjustment for the first 100 days but then seemed to manage slightly better, although it was tough I had hope for a while apart from the no sleep. After another few weeks all kinds of symptoms came at me like an express train and these now remain. I feel generally unwell all the time, depressed, no interest, no zest for life and just not functioning very well. I do have Citalopram tablets, 20mg, here in the house and feel tempted to take them but unsure of what to do. I also have Diazepam which I have taken on and off for 8/9 years 2mg. The Diazepam does not help me sleep at all but does calm me down a little but I feel it is not helpful to my withdrawal off the anti depressents and may be making symptoms worse. Would like to ask advice as to whether or not to reinstate antidepressents for a while as struggling so badly with suicidal thoughts and of little hope in recovering. 8 months of feeling so ill everyday is such hard work and is like living less than half a life. All hope I had in feeling better has gone, I cant believe I can feel this bad and still continue to try and get on with the days activities. I keep thinking that I should be in a hospital being looked after but of course any doctor would just dose me up, seems appealing today. Any suggestions would be appreciated very much.
  5. I take Duloxetine 60 mg and want (not alone of course but with my psychiatrist) to start reducing the dose by 1 mg every week. I read the 10% method. but why not 1mg every week? seems to me more gradual. and during the last 10mg - only then - to do the 10% method. What do you think?
  6. HI Gridley, I have had this anhedonia like condition , when i was on SSRI, then my doc changed it to SNRI and Bupropion , it reduced some of the anhedonia like condition....However not recoverred completely.I read on research paper that dopamine agonist receptor are required for it to treat...So my doctor started Promipex 0.25 .....It helped ....I am on tapering currently for Dulexetine and bupropion..How to do it? WHat more needed for this anhedonia to lapse as this is taking heavy toll on my learning , happiness, social sphere.
  7. hello, I'm Brazilian, please ignore grammatical errors, because I'm using the translator. I need your help. I spent 3 years taking duloxetine 60mg and a few weeks ago I started to funnel the drug on my own. I removed the equivalent of 1mg a day from the capsule, I was doing well, but when I reached the equivalent of 25mg, I started to have severe withdrawal symptoms. I contacted my doctor and he ordered 50mg trazodone and stopped duloxetine altogether. That was when hell started, zaps, nausea, vomiting, shaking, pressure on the head among others. I spent 4 days without duloxetine, I couldn't continue and drank a 60mg capsule. After that 60mg capsule, I started taking 30mg a day, but I'm having bad symptoms, lots of gas, chest tightness, extreme anxiety. I think I did the reintegration with the wrong dosage. Please help me! I can't stand this shortness of breath, a lot of belching and extreme anxiety. What has helped me is aprazolan 0.5mg, but I don't want to be dependent on it.
  8. Hi SA, I've lurked this site for a while for information but have decided to make myself part of the community. I have a long intensive history of psychiatric abuse, and I've finally been fighting taking my life back. I'm a 27 year old transsexual male, I reject my psychiatric diagnosis but rather identify as a traumatised neurodivergent psychiatric survivor, I will offer a brief which will inevitably be long history of my psychiatric journey and explain where I am at now. I will write it in bullet points for easier reading. - My initial diagnosis was when I was 9 Dyspraxia (a neurological motor-co-ordination problem) and Sensory Processing Disorder which led to peer alienation, problems with school, behavioural problems, and emotional and mental distress. - When I was 13, I had a scarf osteotomy (operation to remove bunions) and was prescribed 120mg of Codeine, which took my emotional pain away along with my physical pain away, I was taken off CT, and I was isolated, depressed and didn't sleep for a long time, I went through withdrawals and I didn't know what was happening to me. After this I started smoking weed. - When I was 14 I ended up under the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services, I had to do all this extra special educational needs stuff, I heard the message everywhere that there was something wrong with me, psychometric testing shoes I have processing speed in the bottom 1% percentile and working memory in the bottom 3 and I self-harmed and starved myself and binge drank - I was traumatised sexually. Dx Depression/Anorexia - When I was 15 I started using harder street drugs, I was traumatised violently and sexually. I got put on 40mg Prozac - 2 months later I revealed to my psychiatrist I was hearing voices and I got put on 5mg of Risperadone - I experienced Hyperprolactinemia, galactorrhea, amenorrhea and gynecomastia (rapid breast enlargement, lactation) my unusual experiences became worse, I was in severe distress, I was switched to 200mg of Seroqual, and in May 2009 tried to take my own life via laceration and overdose, I was put into adolescent psychiatric care and traumatised. My voice hearing was deemed 'non-psychotic pseudo-hallucinations' and I was taken off Seroqual over a few months. I was also given Zopiclone and Ativan. Dx: Severe Depression, Anorexia - At 16 I was drawn to self-medication/substance abuse/drug addiction - Some party drugs - Some hallucinogenics. Expereince trauma events - At 17-18 I came off Prozac and self-medicated with skunk - I pushed my mental health aside to help out an abusive friend with hers. I am diagnosed with demoid Ovary cysts and have them removed - At 18 as I transitioned into Adult Mental Health Services, I was pushed around different clinics, no follow ups, often psychiatrists ot following up I remember having a hard time after a Psych put me on trial of Setraline and after month, cancelling and disappearing leaving to me go through withdrawals. - At 19 - I self-medicated with Ketamine, Skunk, Valium and Alcohol - struggling with my mental health and numbing myself - DX Anxiety, Depression, Borderline Personality At 20 - (2013) I moved to Canada for university, experience new traumatic events. I was diagnosed with ADHD and put on 20mg Adderall, 2mg Ativan, 1mg Clonazepam and 7.5mg Zopiclone (taken for 2 and half months) - I didn't take as prescribed, and experienced psychosis around psychiatry spying on me and insects under my skin and crawling in my bed - terrifying and erratic unusual behaviours but for the first time started to actually thrived in school. Cold Turkey Meds, Crash and try to Overdose and Zopiclone and whiskey at Xmas and then CT 2014 - Told my psychiatrist to **** off and that I didn't want to take meds. She writes I was lying about Adderall withdrawal because there is no such thing, and that I'm an attention seeker whose at chronic risk of acting out. 2 months I go back asking for psych help because I'm struggling get put on Paxil, 20mg Ritalin and 1mg Clonazepam, I stop Paxil soon after taking - after 3 months cold turkey off meds, get put on 50mg Trazadone and then 7.5mg Zopiclone - 5 a week - experience lots of trauma events. I am diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, Attend 12 step program, but can't stop drinking . Age 21 - Get refused Stimulant meds due to history of drug abuse, self-med with amphetamine/meth tablets, alcohol and coke - Physical Health rapidly declines, I start puking up blood multiple times a day, I get clean for a month but relapse and am worse than ever. I come out as Transgender and begun social transition - Doctor tells me I have 18 months to live at best. I clean up but my mental health declines and I wind up on psych-wards here and there. Everyone is worried about me and urges I 'get help' - I get put on Citalopram 40mg, Ablify 2.5mg, 200mg Trazadone - My psychiatrist just throws prescriptions at me increasing doses and changes them every 3 months, The meds just make me feel physically and mentally unwell. I stop, Ablify and Citalopram, CT and Psych gives me 100mg of Seroqual, Psych Adds 50mg Strattera Age 22 - I am off and on with sobriety still puking blood, start taking Testosterone pills - I stop Trazadone and Seroqual CT and get put on 40mg Ritalin, 50mg Remeron, 1mg of Clonazepam and 35mg of Loxapine - I move into a mad-friendly ***** punk house that is home. 2016 - I develop an abssess in my tonsil and get put on Oxycodone for a few weeks after it is removed, I stop taking Loxapine due to lactation, in and out of psych wards - usually 48 hours. I stop drinking and attend 12 step meetings. in April I am struggling so much with mental / physical health - I attempt suicide using all the leftover pills - end up in ICU. I get taken off Remeron cold and back on my way, I switch from Testosterone pills to SubQ shots low dose - Accumulation of psych med withdrawals, Post-traumatic Stress, constant transphobia, violence and invalidation of identity, along with the pressure of university - leads to serious mental distress - Ritalin gets Switched to 30mg Adderall, 300mg of Pregabalin Seroqual 50 mg is added, and 200mg Lamatical is added - I move out of my home into an anarchist sober collective. my mental health is worse than ever at this point. I attempt suicide again using all the left of meds - I end up in the ICU again. I am severely mistreated in the psych-ward. I organise a protest/performance and protest the hospital Age 23 .I cold turkey of Lamatical and Seroqual. I relapse and start injecting ketamine. I get put on 5mg Zopiclone for a month, I become preoccupied with an instrusive image of death via fentynal injection, I try to actualise this, but don't die. I get rejected by my friends/support/community and just cannot cope with the increasing and relentless serious and enduring mental health problems that have swallowed me up anymore, I start living alone, very isolated, but still at art school, where all this time I have thrived by documenting and turning my psychitaric trauma into elaborate conceptual, installation pieces and performance pieces, drawings and paintings, For those past few years when I am not at the clinic, psych-ward hospital, church basement or bed-ridden with debilitating symptoms - I have been in the studio challenging it into my art which I call Manic Expressionism / Emotional Exhibitionism. I get put into intensive 3x a week OP - DBT treatment - I develop tendonitis and chronic pain - I get put on 20mg Oxycodone, Cyclobenzoprine, my Pregabalin doubled to 600mg for 3 months, I graduate my final exhibition is an installation closet covered in my psych-notes, painted with demons and photocopies of all my sketchbooks that have documented the hell I've been through, I also make a 60 Minute film of me nodding out on Oxycodone, and sardonically thank my class for critiquing and grading my suffering for 4 years - I graduate with a 3.75 GPA. I cold turkey off the pain meds, I suffer but I feel a sense of life again and start dating and falling in love, I rebuild my friend circles. I CT off Adderall move across the country into a derelict punk house with mice and black mould, my health is worse than ever, I can't get out of bed , I get put on Suboxone and have a seizure, the pharmacy by mistake gives me hundreds of extra Clonazepam - I start taking 5-6mg a day - I start to bottom out - I experience police trauma.I go back on 30mg Adderall, My Visa ends and I go back to the U.K in horrific physical, emotional, mental and shape. Age 24 - get on 200mg Tramadol and hit a dramatic bottom at my parents house - I decide I want off pills and ask for help from the Drug and Alcohol services, I get put on 40mg of Valium tapering 2mg every two weeks, and switch from Adderall to 70mg Lisdexamfetamine, I am bed ridden - my physical pain is at it's worst point, I am in serious mental distress, having unusual experiences and problematic behaviour - but I think you can imagine and get the point by now. I get a diagnosis of Complex Reigional Pain Syndrome and self-med with large amounts of Ketamine. At this point I am awaiting to get into detox/rehab it takes 9 months to get a bed. I briefly go back to Canada and start an intense romantic relationship. My bottoming out, becomes a live performance piece, with 10,000 empty pills in a bathtub in a gallery, and installation showcasing a mix of all my mad art. I enter Detox on the verge of death on - 70mg Lisdexamfetamine, 600mg Pregabalin, 200mg Tramadol, 4mg Valium. I am taken off Tramadol in 4 days, then in the next 3 weeks I am taken off the 4mg Valium and then 600mg Pregabalin - I was reduced to 50mg Lisdexamfetamine the first week of detox. I had seizures, I don't get as much as 15 minutes sleep for 6 weeks, and don't sleep a night for 3 months, I have journals of all the horrific things I went through - After 2 months I am taken off Lisdexamfetamine cold turkey and thing get from bad to worse. I complete my 12 weeks and am moved to secondary rehab. Age 25 - I am put on 30mg Duloxatine due to my mental health not improving after being in treatment for 4 months, I work my recovery really hard, I believe in being clean and 12 step program, I look at my self, my behaviours, I become passionate about my recovery because I just don't want to be in pain anymore. I get out of treatment I go back on 70mg Lisdexamfetamine and move back to Canada to be with my love, I make the 12 step program the centre of my world, I am happy for the first time in my life, I develop regular seizures, I cold turkey off Duloxatine and lisdexamfetamine - I experience 6 weeks of acute physical withdrawals then protracted withdrawals - my relationship gets strained - My 6 months in Canada ends I am heartbroken in England, I go back on lisdexamfetamine but stay clean, my protracted withdrawals reach an unbearable point but I just think I am suicidally depressed, and I reinstate Duloxatine and have scarily immediate relief - Age 26 - I get into my dream Grad School program - MSc in Art and Mental Health after starting my application with psych ward anecdotes 2 months after being introduced to the Power Threat Meaning Framework, Anti-Psychiatry and Critical Disability, schools of thought my life changes, I learn about the slow taper and begin 10% every 2 weeks. The symptoms are severe due to my nervous system ruptured by neurodivergence, trauma, addiction and psychitary - I have documented all of it via painting most days. I experience abusive unstable housing and have now moved every 3 months for 2 years - global pandemic, heartbreak, I thrive in my course school I am believed, my experiential knowledge is valued. I push through my withdrawals because I want to survive psychitary and emerge the other side, I want to live, even though my withdrawals are debilitating, I have hopes and dreams, I am fatigued much of the time, my exucutive functioning is shot, but I can excel in my writing and reading critical psych material, Age 27 - I just got kicked out yet another place because of my motor-disability, and was denied housing everywhere in the seaside town I tried to escape due to discimnation for me being transsexual (my IDs doesn't match) I moved back to family home and repaired the very damaged relationship - I am now housesitting for them while they are away. I'm down to 3.2mg of Duloxatine (20 beads) , I graduated my MSc with distinction which blows my mind, because some days I can't remember how to pour a glass of water and just pace in a confused delirum, unable to do tasks. My sleep has recovered from the benzo damage, I am 2 years sober and still in 12 steps - Things are tough but could be worse. I am studying a Hypnotherapy course right now. I am working on a book that will include academic mad studies papers, personal essays and all my artwork from my AD taper from I have been removing 2 beads at a time - I have windows where I start to feel alive I am day 10 into my last cut and my mood is bright, physically not too great but not sure what is my base. and plan on slow tapering the 70mg of Lisdexamfetamine once I have done the Duloxatine - There's so much more to story that's long but vague version - a lot more extraordinary both positive and negative has happened, I tried to include what I thought was important to my story, I didn't really list symptoms but it varies, and honestly I don't know what is me, what is having a body, what is the meds, what is the trauma, what is the chronic pain, what is the neurodivergence and processing/memory struggles I had before I was severely traumatised, became an drug addict, and had all this iatrogenesis, I'm trying not to mourn who I could've have been, embrace the uncertainty, ride the waves. My aim is too take back my life that was stolen, and change the outcome of my future, I believe in neuro-plasticity, I'm not trying to recover any aspect of who I was before medication, but I have through my creative practice learnt to make the most out of the hand I've been dealt, and channel that anger at my oppression and being abused by psychiatry into creative means, and helping and supporting others who have also been damaged - Look forward to talking to some of you, I haven't been on a forum since I was 16. I am not always positive about it, I am so tired of tapering, and detoxing and being ill, and it's so daunting that I have such a long way to go, but I can do today, and that's all I ever need to do. If anyone is interested would love to share some of my artwork! Dirtvoid
  9. Hi,everyone. My name is Manny.my psiquiatrist wants me to reduce the cymbalta from 60 to 30 mgs. I know it is a 50% reduction.i should decrease only 10%.how do i taper off 10%? And how long it takes? Should i open the capsules and count the number of beads and remove that 10%? How do i ingest the 90% remaining? With water? With juice? Can i do water tritation? I take cymbalta 60,abilify 25,ativan 2.5,risperdal 7.5 mg.
  10. I was on 60MG Cymbalta for a little over a year. I started taking it again after initially quitting a year before that cold turkey. Except the time I quit before I was prescribed 120MG dosages. I had a major panic attack a year after quitting and IMMEDIATELY jumped right back on it because that what I thought the cure was. After over a year with a great counselor who is strongly against me taking medication, I decided to start tapering. I then got Covid. After I recovered I realized that I had not taken my Cymbalta at all, and was feeling really good. I had a few really good and clear weeks, and then BOOM. WD hit me like a train. I have been having terrible DS and DR which triggers these INTENSE panic attacks that I get once or twice a day. I do take a low dosage of Xanax (0.5 MG) when I start to feel it coming on. It somewhat helps, but more than often I find myself mentally fighting for my life for 30-45 minutes. It feels like my central nervous system is being attacked. Like lighting is going through my nerves throughout my entire body. This then leaves me with what I believe is a migraine that goes from my temple area all across my forehead. Its like wearing half of a sweatband of pain. I started trying to take different supplements (fish oil, vitamin d, magnesium, and vitamin b complex) to help "balance myself out." I now know that's not a real thing. I also get massages about 4-5 times a week to help calm and level myself out so I can sleep. I go into these spells and FLIP OUT. I want to go to the hospital, hurt myself, or find ANYTHING that will end the "fit' that I go through. I finally reached out to a friend today during one of my more potent attacks and she came over and showed me this site. She has gone through the same thing I have (and you all have) with multiple medications. She is living proof that I can do this. I just need some help because NOBODY UNDERSTANDS WHAT I AM GOING THROUGH IN MY FAMILY! I DO NOT want back on Cymbalta AT ALL, but would a shorter version of tapering help me out? If I went and started taking 5-10MG and taper from there would I get a little more relief? I just really need your help and advice on HOW I am going to make it through this, what supplements should I be taking to help, what activities you all have found helpful to distract or heal the mind during this process, and whether or not I should get back on a small dosage and taper off from there. PLEASE HELP ME ANYONE! PLEASE! I am begging for your help!!! How do I do this??
  11. 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.
  12. Hi there I’m new to the group was kept on benzos for over a year been off them 11 months (temazepam, diazepam snd lorazepam) horrific horrific withdrawals was on clomipramine for over a year been off it a few weeks when I came from 20mg to zero over 4 days (on advice of pscy) my brain went totally weird two sets of hideous withdrawals severe anhedonia loss of sense of self, personality, consciousness takeover, severe disconnect from self and past memories DR/DP no feelings of love or joy or hope or happiness was so suicidal they put me on duluxotene was on it 9 days made me feel worse came off it- my brain is absolutelu fried have also tried over the last months for sleeping melatonin, night nurse, herbal Nitol, ashwaganda, I feel so weird and disconnected ever single second it freaks me out will I ever return to normal ? Please send hope thanks
  13. Hi everyone, this is my first post. Just want to say thank you so much to Altostrata for creating this website and spending so much time over the years to develop this as a resource. I am a 26 year old with ADHD and I take dexamphetamine 2.5mg up to three times daily so that I can manage my focus and concentration on tasks throughout the day. I am also prescribed Cymbalta 30mg. I take this every evening for anxiety. Over the years since I started it in 2015 it has helped me along in life rather well. I am in a stable job in the IT sector and have had a reasonable social life also. However the time has come to rid myself of the sexual side effects. You will see in my signature (hopefully) the timeline of my tapering. Honestly, I wish I could do it faster but I am not sure that I can. For now I have not tapered since the 26-05-21 as I have decided to stay stable for July and August. Somthing that I have noticed is that, whilst tapering, maybe about 3 weeks into a taper I feel relatively stable etc and I might have some drinks at the weekend. But I have noticed, even 3 weeks after a taper (approx) I can be such a lightweight when it comes to alcohol. Has anyone else experienced this? Why would tapering cause such an effect like this? Also, does anyone have any tips on dealing with the withdrawals that come within the first week of a taper? Such as the agitation, tiredness, apathy, grogginess. Does magnesium help, if so which type?
  14. Hi, So I finally understood that it is strongly recommended to write a little something about my experiences here. I will just copy some parts of my posts I have shared in this forum to sum up. Recent developments: I myself have intolerable withdrawal symptoms even reducing 5% of the drug. They are unbearable, both physically and mentally. They totally incapacitate me for weeks (I sleep up to 15h a day, terrible brain fog and dizziness up to the point where I cannot walk, of course the brain zaps and lots of pains in different parts of the body etc) (I will not mention the mental effects, they are really bad...) and then on it is still bad but keeps stabilizing very slowly. At this point (after tapering for years) I am seriously considering coming off the 8,44 mg altogether because I am just unable to go through the symptoms that come after a reduction so many times any more. Because the withdrawal symptoms are extreme for me I am thinking it would be better to cut off the drug now at 8,44 mg and hope the nervous system will start balancing itself out than to go through this hell for at least another year (which is the very optimistic time frame). Note: I have decided to go with this idea - I am going from 8,44 to 1 mg in 8 days. (today being the 3rd day: April 3rd 2015 ). Before judging please read the history of my experiences to understand why I personally have decided to take this approach now in the very end of tapering. My experience: I have been tapering at different pace throughout the process. Since the beginning I have made the reductions by 10% or even 5 % when I realised that the symptoms were directly caused by the reductions. I was aware (theoretically) that my symptoms can be caused by the drug, its side effects and withdrawal, but I didn't really believe it for a long time. Or it would be more correct to say I always had doubts whether it was still more me being crazy and ill. So for a long time in the beginning (I have been tapering for over 2 years) I kept tapering with intervals that I now realise were not nearly enough for my brain to stabilize, but I was not fully aware that the withdrawal symptoms could be so severe and last for so long that I figured the reason had to be somewhere else. I just tapered according to the planned schedule, keeping aprox. 3 week intervals (and unfortunately, optimistically 2 week intervals). I also tried micro tapering every week, but needless to say that proved to be harsh on my nervous system and was keeping me in a constant state of agony. During the last 9 months or so I have had to keep longer periods between reductions in order to stabilize (I realised more and more that what I was experiencing was due to the reduction of the medication and the link got clearer by the day), but I cannot even estimate the stabilization point. For some of my friends it is perfectly clear - their withdrawal "cycle" is short and simple: they know that their symptoms will come 1-2 days after the reduction and last for about a week (max). This is not the case for me. One week for me is the extremely acute period (which would correspond to maybe the 1st 1-2 days of my friends' cycles) and as much as I would like to see a noticeable improvement during week 2, I can only say that it gets slightly better than the extreme, but not nearly enough to function to a standard that would/could be acceptable or tolerable. After recently having a 6 week and a 2 month gap between reductions I can say that during the 2 month gap I guess you cold say that I started to feel like the symptoms were starting to actually stabilize for the fist time for me subjectively. That enabled me to observe how the affects of withdrawal came about abruptly and directly connected to the reduction. In more detail: I'm having a hard time remembering exactly how long I have been taking certain drugs. Seems like forever. I was first prescribed Fluoxetine when I was 17. I am 30 now and for 13 years I have constantly been on and off different antidepressants - the whole spectrum of them. For a very short while I was even on antipsychotics (a month or so). I have always had awful side effects and have discontinued the drugs after a while, switched from one drug to another etc. It wasn't until a few years ago when I finally became aware and educated myself on the topic of antidepressant withdrawal and the harm they cause. (I would really suggest two books for a real eye-opening: Medication Madness: The Role of Psychiatric Drugs in Cases of Violence, Suicide, and Crime by Peter R. Breggin and Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America by Robert Whitaker). When I think back on the years on these meds and realising now what they have done with me, it makes me indescribably angry and sad. I have had awful side effects for years and discontinuation effects that I only realise in retrospect for what they were. Last drug I discontinued before Cymbalta was Venlafaxine (Effexor) which is another nightmare next to Cymbalta. Unfortunately then I was not aware of the methods of slow tapering and the discontinuation symptoms literally almost killed me (the "brain zaps", disorientation and dizziness were so severe that I almost tumbled in front of a moving car one day). By then I was already google-smart on the discontinuation side effects these meds have but was still unaware how to slowly taper. I was very reluctant to start taking Cymbalta but was convinced it was necessary by mu doctor. I started with the idea that I would only be taking the drug for a few months. Well, months become a year before I started tapering. I was taking 60 mg of the drug. When I started tapering it was very difficult for me to distinguish between the effects of withdrawal symptoms and my usual symptoms. A lot of the time I did not believe that the drug could be causing all the mental and physical symptoms and was afraid that it was just me. By know (as I described in my previous post) I have realised that a lot of this has been the drug's effect, but I am still afraid whether these effects can be undone. I have no way of knowing whether the decade of these drugs has caused permanent damage on my nervous system. I have tapered using different strategies. I have never tapered more than 10% of the last dosage, but I did reduce very often for a long time (after making a schedule I tapered every 2-3 weeks). It was because I could not really believe that my symptoms were so severely caused by the withdrawal. Later when I tried longer stabilizing periods I experienced how the withdrawal effects were sudden and obvious and followed a certain pattern (for Cymbalta and for me it is 1st day - no different, 2nd day slightly lowered mood, mild brain zaps etc, 3rd day - hell!). Withdrawal symptoms: The first week, on day 3 I start to have terrible crying spells. Literally for days I keep crying. Well, of course not 24/7 but for most part of the first days I am in tears. I am not sure how long that lasts but at least half a week. At some point the crying is replaced by despair and major depressive feelings. This is the worst symptom and the best I know to describe it is that while having this I feel that I cannot bear living for another minute more. I just want the suffering to stop. And it doesn't. And that can get better for half a day or even an entire day, but still last for... well, an unknown amount of time. I know I could handle any kind of symptoms - all the pain and crying and everything, but this is unbearable. The only thing that helps is numbing the feelings with Xanax. I do not drink alcohol but I can totally understand why people would choose to numb their pain with it. I suppose it is not at all different from taking Xanax - they're both a sort of a poison for the body and the brain. From physical symptoms the strongest ones I have is exhaustion (up to the point where it is ridiculous even), I have strong neurological symptoms (brain fog, brain zaps - they are a sort of a mini seizure, extreme sleepiness - sleeping up to 15h a day, not being able to shake the drowsiness and fogginess for the most part of the day, I have strong neural pain in the left side of my body - in the left arm, shoulder, back of the head, behind the eye, vision problems, extreme sensitivity to sounds (!) and a general sensory oversensitivity, nausea of course. Oh, I remembered for some period during the tapering I sweated extremely. I usually sweat really little. I also sweat a lot during the night. The flu-like symptoms occur. Ohwell... the list is so long it is embarrassing. And these symptoms don't really seem to pass fast. They just last and last so that I get to thinking it is ridiculous. But it still keeps happening. Oh and from time to time comes the agitation and irritability. I can feel how my thinking gets impaired - it slows down, the memory gets really-really bad, I cannot remember words and names (I used to think it was just me or a symptom of depression, but now I have established a clear link between the symptoms and the reduction of the meds). Oh, and the restless legs of course. My method of tapering: I have developed a method for myself for tapering off Cymbalta that I have not encountered in this forum or any others so I thought I should share it. For the very reason that the beads inside a Cymbalta capsule are not the same size (two capsules might not contain the same amount of beads) and I do not have a scale to measure such small portions, I have come up with an alternative. What I did is I folded a paper in half from the middle, creating a void where I could pour the beads and they would stay in a straight line next to each other. In that way I created a measurable line of the contents of a capsule. Right now I use a 30 mg capsule which creates a 25,5 cm line (fits on a regular A4 paper), but when I was using a 60 mg capsule I had to devide the beads into portions and measure them all and calculate from there on. Now I am not particularly fond of mathematics, but with a few simple calculations and a lot of concentration ( ) I was able to calculate how many mg of the medicine was in a line of the medicine of a certain lenght. So when 30 mg of Cymbalta is 25,5 cm, that meas for example, that 15 mg of Cymbalta would be 12,75 cm etc. (This is specific to the capsules I use bought from Estonia, yours could be very different so you should always measure your own medication!) I use the same folded paper (with markings on it) every day to pour a certain amount of beads out from the capsule. So if I am using a 30 mg capsule and I am - let's say - at 20 mg daily dosage I would have to calculate how many (what lenght) beads I would have to extract from the capsule before taking the medicine. So I have established that 30 mg = 25,5 cm. That means 20 mg = 17 cm. I know that there is 25,5 cm of beads (30 mg) in the capsule so I have to pour out 10 mg = 8,5 cm. It really makes no difference, if you calculate it in cm or mg after you have established the relation between the two. So I have a marking on the paper and each day I pour out a 8,5 cm line. And if i reduce the dosage I just make another marking. It is actually very easy to do the reduction just visually, when you have drawn the lines beforehand and calculated what necessary. You also have the history of your reductions right there under your eyes. I always write the date of the reduction next to the specific line every time, so I have a good visual overview of what, when etc.
  15. Hi, I'm 20 years old male from Canada, and I was prescribed Cymbalta for depression back in November of 2019. I took Cymbalta on and off and didn't like it at all, it made me feel really dumb, I could stare at simple math questions and nothing would come to my mind for 5 minutes straight, I felt jittery and anxious, numbing in genital and it just wasn't helping at all, so I didn't stay on it for longer than 1-2 weeks max, and whenever I quit it, my old self would always return to normal, however Lexapro is a different story. Later down the road when my anxiety got really bad, and I was desperate so I return to my doctor and told him Cymbalta didn't work and I needed something else, he gave me Lexapro for GAD and this was around December 2020. This time I was more determined and so I took Lexapro for 2 months straight at 10 mg daily, but I believe due to my undiagnosed ADHD, all Lexapro did was made me a zombie, unable the positive feelings or negative feelings, it made me feel flatline which then got kicked out of my online course because I procrastinated the entire time and lied on my bed the entire day and didn't care about a thing, also it gave me gynecomastia (man boobs). I decided to quit Lexapro, I first cut the pill in half to 5 mg and took it for 1 week then stopping completely like an idiot, because I'm supposed to do this taper for as long as months. The first month of discontinuation was cool, I didn't notice much of withdrawal effects, but when the second month came in, everything felt as though it just flipped a switch, I couldn't focus or concentrate, I felt very brain dead, reading was impossible, my short term memory was extremely bad that my digit span went from 10 to 5 (how many numbers I can remember at once = https://timodenk.com/blog/digit-span-test-online-tool/), I lost emotions, motivation and pleasure, got PSSD (orgasm weakness), anhedonia, slow processing in information and reaction time (https://humanbenchmark.com/tests/reactiontime, I could get 210 ms consistently prior to lexapro, now it's 210 ms one moment, and 400 ms next moment, so focus issues), very bad fatigue, and my video gaming skills went down the drain, I just felt as though my dopamine got depleted which is weird because this drug acts on serotonin. Now it's 3 months out and I still feel different, never the same again, though oddly enough, there was a window of 2 weeks where I felt completely recovered, orgasm was extremely powerful and my cognition was powerful, then after those 2 weeks, it's back to withdrawal symptoms. I just feel like it made my undiagnosed ADHD symptoms worse. I really hope within this year, everything will be back to normal.
  16. Hi everyone, thank you for reading this. I have been on Cymbalta for a few years now. I use med trays because I take many supplements for Hashimoto’s and other autoimmune conditions. I guess I didn’t realize my bottle had rolled away in the drawer, and neglected to refill my Cymbalta in the medicine tray. I had gone almost 2 full weeks off of it before noticing it was missing. I had begun crashing emotionally, crying constantly and losing coping skills, but it wasn’t until some very dark thoughts came that I considered I might be missing the medication. As soon as I realized it, I went back on. Can you give me an idea of how long it will likely take before I begin feeling better? Thank you again.
  17. Hi folks, Need advise as I fear my situation is not improving and years after first coming off Mirtazapine, I feel like I'm being pushed back on to try another drug to try and stabilise me. I've just started to taking citalopram at 2mg. Symptoms are.as worse as ever. Was on Mirtazapine at 40mg for a year came off very quickly with doctors advise. Whoke set of new symptoms arrived from my original illness plus I was developing a phobia of people while on thr drug. This persists today. Was off Mirtazapine for 6mths went back on and back up to 40mg. Symptoms just seemed to get worse and my energy levels were being depleted very quickly, felt like i was dragging my body around. Came back off very quickly again after 3 years- still no idea about withdrawals at this stage. I've been basically bed bound since 2017. Tried Duloxetine for a year. My mood improved but my sensitivities grew and I was still bed bound. Came off Duloxetine about a year ago. Had been bed bound since then with a diagnosis of ME. Was starting to see little bits of improvements (mould was an issue in our previous house) since we moved house in May but my nervous system was still extremely sensitive. My wife is at her wits end and we talked about trying Citalopram to see if that will stabilise me. I an fearful of losing my family through this as they don't believe in withdrawals and believe a lot of this is to with my past history. I know in my heart of hearts its to with the drugs. Anyone offer any advice what I shoukd do here? I'm about 5 days in to taking Citalopram at 2mg. I'm fulk of dread at the minute.
  18. Amira

    ☼ Amira

    Hi all, P.s english is not my first language I started taking 30 mg cymbalta back in june 2016 due to having panic attacks, OCD and depression. During the past 2.4 years things have been really amazing and i got so much better. in june 2018, i broke up with my fiancee, and in october i decided that i will stop the Medicine. I stopped in october 2018. And at the same time i left my job and become unemployed since then. I did not slow taper, took a 30 mg pill each two days for two weeks and then stopped completely under the supervision of my phsyicatrist. I have experienced brain zaps and dizziness which stayed for only 2 weeks and then went away, however, i have been living in hell since then, i have suicidal thoughts, severe depression, panick attacks, feeling of hoplessness and what really concerns me is heart pounding and extreme sensitivity to sounds and light. i need your advice, it has been now exaclty 3 months sine i stopped taking cymbalta. Should i return to it again and taper slowly and in a safe way? If yes, please advice me how to taper given that in mu country the minimum dosage we have in pharmacies is 30 mg. Thanks, Amira
  19. Duloxetine (Cymbalta) is tricky to taper. It does not come in liquid form and cannot be compounded into a liquid. To protect the drug, each bead, mini-tablet, or flake inside the gelatin capsule has an enteric coating to protect the drug from stomach acid, which would destroy the drug. (It is absorbed further down in the digestive tract.) The contents of a duloxetine capsule cannot be crushed dissolved in any liquid without destroying the active ingredient -- you would have immediate cold-turkey withdrawal. Like all psychiatric drugs, do not skip doses or alternate doses to taper duloxetine. Its half-life is very short, about 12 hours. It is metabolized via the liver enzymes P450 1A2 (substrate, inhibitor) and 2D6 (inhibitor). (While duloxetine's half-life is short, it can be dosed once a day because the coating on the beads inside the capsule delays their dissolving, and the drug itself is more persistent in the central nervous system. See https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2695226/ Steady-state after about 3 days is seen in other antidepressants with half-lives closer to 24 hours. Of course, the range of dosages from the manufacturers of duloxetine is inadequate for very gradual tapering. Available dosages are: 20 mg; 60 mg; 30 mg; 40 mg This post has a chart that shows what happens with the level of duloxetine in your bloodstream when skipping doses. See Doctor is shocked at severe Cymbalta withdrawal symptoms and testimony by Dr. Joseph Glenmullen regarding Cymbalta withdrawal syndrome: http://www.baumhedlundlaw.com/pdf/DrGlenmullenDeclarationSupportofCymbaltaClassCert.pdf (PDF) Reduce by 10% per month to start As with any neurologically active drug, a conservative taper is the safest way to go off Cymbalta. Some people find they can go faster and some people find they have to go slower -- they can only tolerate decreases of a fraction of a milligram at a time. A conservative taper for duloxetine, like other psychiatric drugs is: Reduce by 10% per month, calculated on the last dosage. (The amount of the reduction gets progressively smaller.) See Why taper by 10% of my dosage? Tapering by counting beads Tapering by counting out the beads is the most common way to taper duloxetine. Name brand Cymbalta comes in 20 mg, 30 mg, and 60 mg capsules filled with tiny beads. Full prescribing information: http://pi.lilly.com/us/cymbalta-pi.pdf Generic duloxetine in bead form is made by these manufacturers. You cannot crush the beads (see http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/275-do-not-crush-list/page__view__findpost__p__3021 ) or dissolve them in a solution -- the drug would never get into your system, it would be destroyed in your stomach and you would have immediate cold-turkey withdrawal. Like Effexor XR, people taper duloxetine beads by opening the capsule and taking out the beads to gradually reduce the dosage. (See http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/272-tapering-off-effexor-venlafaxine/page__view__findpost__p__2985 for the technique.) You can do this if you have brand-name Cymbalta or generic capsules containing hundreds of tiny beads rather than 4-12 "mini-tablets" (see below). The number of tiny beads in each Cymbalta capsule will vary within a given dosage, across dosages, and from different manufacturers. The capsules are filled by weight. To find an average number of beads per capsule, you will have to carefully count the beads in several capsules. Then you can estimate how many beads amount to 10% of the dosage and manage your taper accordingly by keeping notes on paper showing the number of beads removed and equivalent Cymbalta dosage. Here is a video about bead-counting technique. Take out 10% of the beads at each step of the taper. Put unused beads into a clean, dry, capped prescription bottle marked with the dosage of the original capsule and expiration date. You might want to use them later. Do NOT mix beads from capsules of different dosages, such as 30mg and 60mg. NOTE When you are taking loose beads, put them in an empty capsule to swallow them. Gelatin capsules and vegetarian capsules are available at health food store. The FDA reports here http://www.fda.gov/downloads/Drugs/DrugSafety/PostmarketDrugSafetyInformationforPatientsandProviders/ucm103473.pdf there have been some instances of the beads causing throat irritation when swallowed without a capsule. Dividing Cymbalta beads into empty gelatin capsules To make counting of the beads easier, this technique may work with Cymbalta, see details at http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/235-tapering-techniques/page__view__findpost__p__3033 Opening capsules and weighing beads Eventually, as you remove more and more beads, it may become too confusing and time-consuming to count out them. You may wish to weigh them instead, see Using a digital scale to measure doses and Counting beads in a capsule versus weighing. Have a compounding pharmacy make up capsules of smaller dosages For precise dosing, a compounding pharmacy will accurately weigh the doses and put the right number of beads into capsules for you. See http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/235-tapering-techniques/page__view__findpost__p__3001 Dividing Cymbalta beads into apple juice or applesauce Follow the instructions above for dividing the beads in a capsule and put your reduced dose apple juice or applesauce. --------- It has been scientifically demonstrated that the Cymbalta pellets survive being put into apple juice or applesauce but NOT chocolate pudding: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18691989 Clin Ther. 2008 Jul;30(7):1300-8. In vitro stability, potency, and dissolution of duloxetine enteric-coated pellets after exposure to applesauce, apple juice, and chocolate pudding. CONCLUSIONS: Results from this study found that the enteric coating of duloxetine pellets mixed with applesauce or apple juice was not negatively affected. The pellets were stable at room temperature for < or = 2 hours and should quantitatively allow delivery of the full capsule dose, provided that the pellet integrity is maintained (ie, not crushed, chewed, or otherwise broken). Therefore, mixing duloxetine pellets with applesauce or apple juice appears to be an acceptable vehicle for administration. However, exposing the pellets to chocolate pudding damaged the pellets' enteric coating, suggesting that pudding may be an unacceptable vehicle for administration. --------- High-dosage Cymbalta: Using different dosages to decrease to 40mg If you are taking as much as 120mg Cymbalta, see this topic for an example of how to taper to 40mg using existing capsule dosages and a few compounded prescriptions: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/7060-razzlesf-off-abilify-tapering-cymbalta/?p=129252 To taper from a dosage of 40mg, you're going to have to either open up 20mg capsules and count beads, or get custom compounded dosages. Tapering generic duloxetine capsules containing "mini-tablets" The generic forms of duloxetine may contain beads, like brand-name Cymbalta, or 4 to 12 "mini-tablets" rather than beads. From Lupin Pharmaceuticals http://medlibrary.org/lib/rx/meds/duloxetine-3/ The "mini-tablets" cannot be split or dissolved to make a liquid. Suggestions for gradual tapering: If you are taking 20mg, 30mg, or 40mg (two 20mg capsules) per day, switch to brand-name Cymbalta or a generic containing tiny beads rather than mini-tablets. Use the bead-counting method. If you are taking 50mg (20mg plus 30mg) per day, reduce by one mini-tablet from the 30mg capsule (5mg, or 10%) initially for a month, then switch to brand-name Cymbalta or a generic containing beads rather than mini-tablets. Use the bead-counting method. If you are taking one 60mg capsule per day, reduce by one mini-tablet (5mg) per month for 2 months until you are taking 50mg per day, then switch to brand-name Cymbalta or a generic containing beads rather than mini-tablets. Use the bead-counting method. If you are taking one 60mg capsule plus any of the other dosages per day (at least 80mg), reduce by one mini-tablet (5mg) from the 60mg capsule per month until you get to 45mg total daily dosage, then switch to brand-name Cymbalta or a generic containing beads rather than mini-tablets. Use the bead-counting method. You can combine brand-name Cymbalta or generic beads with generic duloxetine mini-tablets to taper. (This would cost less than using brand-name Cymbalta for your entire taper. A prescription for 60mg brand-name Cymbalta capsules will go further.) You could take part of your dosage in brand-name Cymbalta beads and the rest of your daily dosage in generic mini-tablets. For example: If your 30mg generic duloxetine capsules contain 6 mini-tablets, each mini-tablet contains about 5mg duloxetine. Let's say you want to reduce 10% from 30mg to 27mg. You can take 5 mini-tablets (25mg) and add 2mg in beads to it. If a 60mg capsule of brand-name Cymbalta contains 200 beads, each bead contains about 0.3mg duloxetine; you would take 7 beads (2.1mg) to total a daily dose of 27.1mg. (BE SURE TO COUNT THE TOTAL NUMBER OF BEADS IN YOUR CAPSULES -- THEY CAN VARY FROM THIS EXAMPLE.) When you are down to 5 mini-tablets (25mg) per day, take 4 mini-tablets and the rest in beads to reduce another 10%, and so forth. Reduce by micro-taper The very smallest dose of brand-name Cymbalta is one bead. Some people find they can better tolerate a reduction of one bead at a time rather than a 10% decrease. You may be able to make reductions of one bead more frequently; try reducing by one bead a week for a while to see what your tolerance is. See http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/2878-micro-taper-instead-of-10-or-5-decreases/ Do not reduce by one additional bead per day. This is too fast, you may develop withdrawal symptoms before you know what's happening. Here is an example of a micro-taper from cymbaltawithdrawal.com http://www.cymbaltawithdrawal.com/topic/8325-dose-down-bead-counting-chart-anywhere/?p=50499 Facebook group for duloxetine tapering The Cymbalta Hurts Worse group on Facebook has a detailed guide for tapering duloxetine here. If you are a member of Facebook, you may wish to participate in the group for specialized duloxetine tapering support. Switch to Prozac Like its fellow SNRI Effexor, withdrawal from Cymbalta can be very difficult. Recently, I asked a knowledgeable doctor about how he switches patients to Prozac. He said if the dosage of Cymbalta is "normal" -- 30mg-40mg -- he would switch to 10mg Prozac with a week of overlap. In other words, take both medications for a week and then drop the Cymbalta. Later, taper off Prozac. He acknowledged Prozac can have its withdrawal problems, but given Prozac's long half-life, gradual tapering should be much easier than tapering off Cymbalta. And, at least Prozac comes in a liquid. He confirmed that Cymbalta cannot be compounded because the pellets are enteric-coated to get the medication past the stomach acid, which destroys it. Other than the Prozac switch, he said counting pellets is the only way to taper. See more about The Prozac switch or "bridging" with Prozac Here is more discussion about switching from Cymbalta to Prozac: NOTE While duloxetine is primarily a norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (occupying NERT receptors), it also has serotonergic effects (occupying SERT receptors at a rate a little less than SSRIs). See Takano, A., Suzuki, K., Kosaka, J., Ota, M., Nozaki, S., Ikoma, Y., Tanada, S., & Suhara, T. (2006). A dose-finding study of duloxetine based on serotonin transporter occupancy. Psychopharmacology, 185(3), 395–399. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00213-005-0304-0 Also see 2009: FDA hears testimony about Cymbalta discontinuation syndrome Study finds some Cymbalta withdrawal "severe and persistant" Doctor is shocked at severe Cymbalta withdrawal symptoms Cymbalta Withdrawal Lawsuits Progressing in US
  20. Bolouis Hi everyone - Firstly I'm so grateful for having found this forum through the podcast Let's talk withdrawal. I thought I was going mad as no one would believe the withdrawal symptoms I've been experiencing. Had I found these pages before I would have tapered much more slowly! I have suffered with depression since I was a child but no one has ever asked me about my life or explored why I might be feeling this way. Along with most people, I was told that I had a chemical imbalance in my brain that could be fixed with antidepressants. Over the last few years and with the knowledge that all these meds do is numb me but I remained depressed, I started researching the topic and was gobsmacked by some of the research and information I found. So, I have been trying to get off them since 2017. I am hoping that someone can help or advise me through the awful symptoms I have been experiencing every time I try to withdraw. My symptoms are: Crippling insomnia - I have been prescribed Zopiclone short term but without this I can only manage an hour or two dozing at best Foul metallic taste in my mouth Feeling flu like - hot/cold, shivery, achy, nauseous Headaches almost permanently, pain in my face and neck Tinnitus and brain zaps Anxiety/palpitations Gastric problems, constipation/diarrhea My first proper attempt in 2017 lasted about 8 months but I became so ill that I gave up. At that time I didn't know what was wrong with me and had various blood tests and investigations only to be told there was nothing wrong. I wasn't at first depressed though (not that anyone would believe me). I think I probably became depressed through the illness so hence, I gave in and went back on the meds. I do believe I know the difference between feeling ill and depression but when you've been labelled for so many years, not even your loved ones believe you. So this is my 2nd serious attempt and I've been off now for about 5 months. Again, the symptoms have returned exactly the same as the last time but more seriously this time I became extremely anxious and agitated and ended up in A&E in March this year having planned my suicide. I was put under the Acute mental health team and a psychiatrist but of course they said I had to go back on my meds and prescribed Mirtazapine 30mg. I tried to argue my case but felt I had to give in and took it for 3 days before stopping. I have still not told them that I'm not taking it because I'm scared that they will withdraw their support. I have been signed off sick from work for 2 months now and can't imagine how I will be able to return if this continues. I am aware that I probably tapered far too quickly but I can't go back now. I have great support from my brother and sister and they've helped me research this and claim benefits. I've also been doing daily meditations and yoga for the last couple of months. I think this helps a little especially with the insomnia. I've honestly been feeling so ill and exhausted that before finding this I was seriously thinking of just going back on the meds and admitting defeat once and for all. It's just so horrible when no one believes you or takes you seriously when you're trying your best to drag yourself through each day. So, any advice would be very welcome, so sorry if went on a bit...TIA
  21. I've been on anti-depressants since I was 15 years old. Now aged 31 I have decided to come off them because Radiohead were right "the drugs don't work they just make you worse." As a psychologist in training, my sense is that I have been wrongly diagnosed. My most recent diagnosis is borderline PD. But through experience and my profession, I'm fairly certain I'm Autistic. About one month ago I reduced my 90mg of Duloxetine to 60mg. It actually wasn't an active decision but because the pharmacy didn't have any 60mg in stock. So I thought "**** it" I will give it a go and reduce. It's been awful. I have pretty much constant suicidal ideation and have stopped talking to friends and family. But I would rather live a miserable life and have no friends than to be on medication that I hate with a passion. SSRI's and SNRI's DON'T WORK long term. if they did then why would I have exhausted the list of them over the years? I'm now considering Ketamine infusion treatment but I can't afford that at the moment and thats pretty much the same issue. I have been one of those people that believes that anti-depressant medication is like taking heart medication... unfortunately that rationale is far too simple to apply to such a complex organ as the brain. I think back to my 15 year old self. I wish some one would tell me not to take that Citalopram. But I was told by my family and doctors that I should. No one told me of the risks, that I would be on them long term. And that's why I've decided that I have to come off them. To be an example. I feel for GP's that believe the medication that they prescribe works. So I have made it my duty to fight against oppression. Because essentially that's what it is. They way I can do that is to try and come off the drugs that make things worse.
  22. I’ve been taking duloxetine since September 2020, starting with 30mg. I then increased this to 60mg in October. Although the drug helped my mood and fibromyalgia pain, it caused severe constipation and gut motility issues (including an intestinal blockage) and I was prescribed prucalopride to help with this. I also had sleep issues. So my doctor suggested changing duloxetine to trazodone. In order to avoid a dip in mood, he suggested I drop to 30mg of duloxetine for 2 days, then start trazodone and continue both for 7 days and then start alternating doses of duloxetine for 10 days then stop this and continue with trazodone. The withdrawal symptoms (and possible side effects of trazodone) include flu like symptoms with heavy fatigue alternating with restlessness, headaches, sore throat, anxiety, weepiness, mood swings, widespread pain due to fibromyalgia flare up. I have been on 30mg of duloxetine for 10 days and 50mg of trazodone for 8 days. Yesterday I skipped the dose of duloxetine to begin the alternate day schedule but began experiencing brain zaps and a feeling as though my brain was trailing behind my body movements. I feel awful and I’m not sure what to do. I want to stop taking trazodone now and just taper off duloxetine and try to get by without medication now because this has been an awful experience. Can I stop the trazodone now and just stay on 30mg duloxetine for a week or two then slowly taper off using the pellet counting method?
  23. I haven't been able to reduce my Cymbalta dose for two years because of the horrible withdrawal symptoms I have experienced with both attempts (a year apart). I spent three years dropping from 60 to 30 mg. I have pretty much given up the goal of eliminating Cymbalta - afraid to cause more damage by tapering the than that caused by continuing to take 30mg. I am unwilling to risk further trauma and drama, so I haven't tried the crossover either. Prozac was too "activating" for me in 1989. I don't think it's likely to be a solution in 2012. I still have restlessness, sweats, problems with balance, an incredibly trigger-happy startle reflex and frequent headaches. After feeling progressively less brain fog during my three year taper, my cognitive processes are really abysmal at this point. I can't keep track of simple stuff, can't handle financial transactions, have problems with noise, light, just stimulus in general. And I haven't changed doses in two years. I wonder, do SNRIs poop-out the way the SSRIs tend to?
  24. Giulietta


    Hello all, I am new to the forum after reviewing some of the posts intermittently since December 2018. I have posted my intro as a PDF (note: pasted below). When I tried to post it - the fonts and spacing were inconsistent and I couldn't edit it. This is my first online forum on any subject so please bear with me on the technical goofs I will make. 😉 Fortunately I did find the emoji and finally get the introduction written. Thank you! PDF information pasted below (CC manually reformatted as best as possible): Hello all, I am a new member and trying to liberate myself from duloxetine/Cymbalta 20 mg (compounded in a LIQUID). My goal is mood management without medication – and being able to cope positively with unwelcome (or sometimes welcome) events. I have been viewing information on the web site off and on since last December. My thanks and empathy to all of you on this site who are ridding themselves of Cymbalta and other ADs, benzos, etc. I remain optimistic that the light at the end of the tunnel is not that of an oncoming locomotive. J I am grateful for having found SurvivingAD and to the subject matter experts and people who administer it. I have been tapering duloxetine 20 mg (compounded) since December 15, 2018 under the care of an MD. I am at 10 mg (3.3 ml) as of July 20, 2019. I am decreasing by about 10% a month. I am also taking clonazepam 2 mg (my next taper goal) as well as meds for a childhood neurological illness (lamotrigine XR 600 mg and gabapentin 1000 mg). I have taken many medications since age 9 due to the latter. Because of my medical history and the many meds tried or used over the years to manage it, their efficacy, safety and side effects – I am anxious about medications. Anxiety exacerbates the neurological health issue. I was prescribed ADs about 15 years ago (and the clonazepam) to manage moods amid traumatic life events. I took Duloxetine for about the last 4 or 5 years; the highest dose was 60 mg. About my taper: The taper started in December 2018. However – before I knew better – I stopped cold turkey (per prescriber’s advice) in August 2018. I endured subsequent bouts of panic, elevated anxiety, auras and some agoraphobia - so I restarted the duloxetine and the symptoms went away. I figured out that cutting the medication maybe caused the symptoms. I found a new MD who reluctantly agreed to the taper. After learning I lack the fine motor skills to count beads, I found a compounding pharmacy and get the duloxetine in an oil-suspension. I decreased by 2 MG (10%) per his direction and I experienced 3 weeks of bad symptoms. Thereafter I tried a ‘micro-taper’ approach – a series of mini-cuts - per this website. This approach seems to have moderated many of the side effects– but the symptoms are still a problem a good proportion of the time. My process for the micro-taper is to reduce by about .5 mg a week (about 2 mg a month total) – with mini decrements across the week (in ml). I have symptoms for a few days, then a few days where I am feeling mostly OK, and then I make another mini-cut. This is fatiguing and difficult to manage. Some side effects I experience(d) on this medication at 20 mg– and they continue: • Hot flushing over head and torso and perspiration (in 70 F) and not attributable to endocrine function. • Blurry vision • Short-term memory impact • Focus and concentration and recall • Insomnia – awakening 2-3x night many nights…. • SSRI/SNRI sexual side –effects • And many more… Withdrawal effects Generally - the most consistent and prevalent withdrawal effects (thus far) have been: • Anxiety - which may often be markedly worse in mid to late afternoon and into the evening (about 7-8 hours after my dose). • Jitteriness/tremors/shakiness • Auras and other sensations (related to the neurological illness) which may be extremely uncomfortable • Tinnitus (hearing loss was ruled out as a cause) • Insomnia • Lower GI (one extreme or the other) • Appetite issues (one extreme or the other) • Maybe more sensitive to cloudy days – particulary when they cluster Less consistent: • Dizziness when quickly turning my head • Postural hypotension • Sinus headaches • Lightheadedness • Panic • Dysphoria • Short-term memory impact – worse at times during this taper than on the full dose • Focus and concentration and recall– worse at times during this taper than on the full dose June – July Withdrawal Symptoms Out of the blue in June I experienced additional and horrendous symptoms for 2-3 weeks (see ‘less consistent’ above). They were so acute I asked myself if this is worth it, whether I will ever get off this drug and so on with the nefarious what if’s. I have no idea what caused it but I made it through and I am now doing much better. Looking for another MD or NP The psych MD (started in December 2018) does not have my full confidence to taper me successfully off Duloxetine. I am looking for an MD or NP who sincerely wants to taper me off and take a holistic approach to mood management moving forward. Spending much time online and looking things up (like about ADs, tapering, etc.) elevates my anxiety to unhealthy levels. It’s therefore important to have an MD or NP on whom I may depend for this information. If it had not been for information I found on Surviving AD and other web sites – he would have tapered me to Viibryd or off duloxetine in 4 weeks. What I am doing to help myself • Joining Surviving AD and searching for an in person support group • Helping others through this and letting everyone I know about Cymbalta and AD withdrawal • (Re-) learning Cognitive Behavioral Therapy • Meditate (10 – 15 minutes a day I practice this – but 5 minutes are better than no minutes) – this may take me a while to learn…. • Exercise daily ( 45 minutes on the treadmill in the morning (and it would be good to do some walking in the afternoon). • Physical therapy and hand weight exercises most nights. • Eating plenty of protein, healthy (whole grain) carbohydrates, salad a day, nuts, and could do better with vegetables • Searching for a faith that aligns (mostly) with mine • Looking for a group to volunteer with • Write down (most days) what I am grateful for – even if I need to repeat things from one day to another J A few things I have learned – and wish I had known earlier – about exercise and diet and spending too much time online Maybe this may help someone out… 1. You may not want to start a ketogenic (or low carb) diet (depending on your medical circumstances). My personal experience with this: I was advised/told to restrict carbs (40%) to lower my a1c. I did 50% - and I suffered more anxiety, panic, etc. Ended up in ER with panic. No one told me about this and my MD wasn’t aware. Learn more about keto diets and psych meds: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/diagnosis-diet/201803/ketogenic-diets-andpsychiatric- medications. 2. Activate dopamine receptors and generate serotonin by EXERCISE (aerobic and/or weight lifting) and PROTEIN. Exercise releases endorphins and helps with dopamine receptor activation. Activating dopamine receptors is ‘critical’ to this process. A diet rich in protein helps with this. (this from the neuro RN) 3. A good snack in the mid to late afternoon – whole grains and protein - may help me with anxiety. It helps with blood glucose management –and a low BG will cause anxiety and a number of the symptoms that are also caused by AD withdrawal 4. To help cope with anxiety – I have found that doing something anything physical or with your hand (and focusing on it) can help (for example, clean the bathroom, knit, weed, etc.). I have a few questions, which I will post separately – and I would really appreciate your comments. Thank you Surviving AD Intro.pdf
  25. Hi everyone, I have been following this site for quite awhile but this is my first time posting. I slow tapered my way down to 16 mg of Cymbalta from September, 2019-August, 2020 and was hit with severe withdrawals. It was absolute hell: severe anxiety and panic attacks, no appetite, insomnia and it went on for five weeks. After that I had two weeks of absolutely no withdrawal symptoms and then they hit again with the same force as the first time even though I had been holding at 63 beads the entire time with no change. The second episode of withdrawal was in some ways scarier than the first and in a panic and under pressure from family I updosed to 30 mg and had severe suicidal ideation so I updosed to 60 mg thinking that would help. It has in some ways, I do have my appetite back and am sleeping better but I still feel the low level unease most of the time and cry frequently. Now that my head is a bit clearer, I am so incredibly upset with myself for updosing because I certainly don't feel as good as I had hoped. I still have a tremendous amount of anxiety and am just feeling very down on myself. I am a member of another support group for getting off Cymbalta but have experienced too much fear and blaming on that site and prefer the encouragement I have found on this forum. If I understand correctly, my only option at this point is to hold until I stabilize and then start the taper over but at a much slower rate. My question is will I ever stabilize? It's been 2.5 months and I'm still struggling quite a bit. Thanks so much for your help.
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