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  1. I took Effexor for a total of six months and got to 300 mg. Wanted to discontinue due to mania, insomnia, stomach issues. Had not heard about discontinuation syndrome. The Dr took me from 300 mg to 150 mg for a month. Added Straterra. Then 75 mg for 10 days. Severely ill so increased back to 150 mg. Went to new Dr for second opinion. Added Cymbalta took Effexor up to 187 mg. Ended up hospital 2 months after started taper. Now on 50 mg of Pristiq instead of those 3 antidepressants. Depressed, frustrated, severe cognitive and memory issues, scared, confused, anxious, sick,angry. New doctor tomorrow. Wishing I hadn't gone in hospital and had started a slower taper on my own. The Dr yanking me off 3 meds sounds like it will be difficult to get through on my own.
  2. Moderator note: Link to benzo forum thread: summitbound: Poly-drugged: Thinking about tapering an AD w/ benzo Hello, I'm brand new to this site. I've been so busy learning about benzo tapering (and suffering!) on benzobuddies.org that I have yet to tackle getting off any of my antidepressants. I've already been tapering the benzo for over a year. I know that the general rule is to taper off your benzos first, and then work on your antidepressants. That said, I probably have a year or more left on my benzo taper and I hate being poly drugged with three antidepressants. I'd like to safely chip away at at least one of them. I think the mirtazipine is really helping with my sleep during bezno withdrawal, so I don't think I want to touch it. It seems like the low hanging fruit would be the lithium, since it seems I'm on a less than theraputic dose at 675 mg. Thoughts? So far, I have been "blessed" during my benzo taper in that I have not suffered from depression, severe anxiety, or panic. So I do want to tread carefully. Thanks so much!
  3. Hi all I'm on day 3 of tapering off venlafaxine XL 37.5, only 2 beads out at a time,I will get a scales soon because It will only get harder the more I have to count out the beads .I am going to take it extremely slowly this time.I did a taper in march 2016 and it lasted till the june and i didn't go beyond 5 beads out each day before going back to 37,5. Its been a very tough time , I have extreme anxiety,extreme iratibillaty ,intrusive thoughts,. to name a few. What I have learned since that time is to have compassion for ones self and b very patient when doing the taper . My advice to everyone is don't ever believe u cant get through it .our nervous system and soul take time to heal Over the last 3 years I have learned and practice mindfulness ,it is amazing. It has helped me to calm down during a couple of flights to the UK when starting to panic. Today I had a bad anxiety attack but I was able to snap out of the attack fairly quickly because I have been practicing it and I recommend always getting out for a walk in the sun if u can and clear your mind. Please always keep your mind open to new ways to heal.We all now its hard but don't ever let anyone break your spirit. Total respect to everyone .
  4. Hi all,[/size] My name is Lisa, I am a 30 year old female and I believe I've experienced protracted withdrawal. I plan on starting to taper off Effexor XR in July. Here is some of my history: [/size] Starting in 2005, I began taking Lexapro after my father got cancer and passed away 4 months later as I started having panic attacks. I am not sure when I went off Lexapro, but I know I was put on Celexa for a while as Lexapro stopped working and I have now been on Effexor XR for 6 years. In the past, when I go off an SSRI/SNRI, I end up going back on after some time because my panic attacks come back. After 6 months of therapy, I went off Effexor XR in March 2014 with a week of a half dose (37.5 mg) and then completely off, by the advice of a psychiatrist. Actually, the book she referred to recommended 2 days of a half dose and then completely off, but she extended it.[/size] Withdrawal was horrendous. Insomnia, nausea, diarrhea, dizzy, not able to concentrate, felt just SO out of it. Finally it was over in a week or so. But in late May 2015 (3 months later, thinking it was all out of my system and I was good), I had just gotten home from vacation and was about to get into the shower when BAM, I was suddenly so dizzy that I couldn't tell which way was up or down. This remained for 3 months day in and out and after a ton of tests (took meclizine (anti-dizziness pill) which did nothing, ENT looked at my sinuses/ears which were clear, inner ear tests which were normal, brain MRI which was normal), until I went back on Effexor XR in August 2014 by recommendation of a neurologist who said it was my anxiety coming back. During what I'm thinking was protracted withdrawal, I was dizzy constantly. I'd wake up from a deep sleep completely dizzy, it did not go away. I also had excruciating headaches at night and could barely sleep 2-3 hours a night because of this (I NEVER get headaches). I was also severely exhausted because of the dizziness - everything was harder, and the low amounts of sleep due to headaches. I did not understand because other than being upset of my state of being constantly dizzy, I really was not anxious. I was meditating, exercising (as much as I could - it was a feat with being dizzy), nothing significant going on in my life. I had also been going to therapy and made huge strides.. I still continue to go to therapy weekly and it's been about a year and a half now. I was so confused as to how this could be anxiety. Now I'm reading this site and I'm learning this was probably protracted withdrawal. After I started taking the Effexor XR again, within 2 weeks I felt totally better. Now that I have been back on Effexor XR since August 2014, and after learning what I've read on this site, I want to start a slow taper in July after my next vacation. My therapist believes I am ready and now I know I am after having a great suspicion that those symptoms were not due to my anxiety. I have read the advice boards and will be doing the 10% per month taper. I also will be going to the recommended doctor in Farmington, MI and have an appt with him at the end of this month.[/size] Has anyone else experienced the protracted withdrawal symptoms that I had? Any other advice or tips that you can share? I will be coming here often and hoping to make friends [/size] Thanks![/size]
  5. Hello everyone, I am an Italian 25 year-old girl, who is experiencing WD syndrome from Effexor, sorry if my English is not so great. First of all, I have to say I am still taking medication. At the moment my doctor is Prof. Giovanni Andrea Fava (you may know him, I saw that you posted some of his research in the forum). He was the only one the understand the hell I was going through and when I first came to him saying that since taking ADs I wasn't feeling myself anymore and that especially Effexor gave me anxiety, racing thoughts, carelessness and hypomania, he immediately put me off of it and labeled it as "poison". After a 2 months tapering under his advice, I stopped in March of this year after over 1 year of Effexor (in the end I had switched from 75 mg to 150 mg after a romantic problem, back then I didn't know that my reaction could have been a drug tolerance episode) and 1 year of Zoloft before. My original issue was ROCD, Relationship-centered OCD. This exploded like a psychosis while I was taking an antibiotic for acne in November 2015, I don't know if there was any correlation between the two facts, of course I had problems with my boyfriend with whom I eventually broke up. I remember urging to the doctor and being put on Trilafon, Zoloft and Rivotril in a glimpse. While the obsession calmed down a little bit, the quality of my life worsened, so that I wasn't feeling myself anymore. I became really demotivated, I lost interest in university and I lost 1 year without taking exams. Now I am about to graduate after many efforts struggling with all of these bad feelings, but I am scared to death as with the new year I will have to seek a job as an engineer but I can't handle any stress right now. My "relapse" happened while I was in Germany working at my Master's thesis. Maybe it wasn't the best idea going for and exchange program after withdrawal (Fava knew, but didn't tell me to encourage me), I was doing quite but at some point I became suicidal without even being able to eat or get out of my room. I had to go back to Italy at the end of June in bad conditions and went to see Fava, who explained to me about the withdrawal syndrome and gave me 10 mg of Prozac and 0.5 mg of clonazepam to be taken daily to calm down the symptoms which are: -mood swings -terrible depression/hypomania -suicidal thoughts -exagerrated feelings of guilt, fear and low self-esteem -brain zaps occasionally -racing thoughts (got better though) -unexplainable anxiety -tingling -feeling like the brain is burning after some thoughts or events -low stress tolerance -nightmares and waking up in the morning in fear and confusion -demotivation -sensitivity to noise Oh, btw, I still have ROCD even if the partners changed. I've done CBT and it is way milder, it took me a lot, but the price to pay is this freakin syndrome and I think that life is such unfair, after all the sufferings I've been through since I was a child and this one is the worst for sure, because I don't know if it will end. I won't talk about the other ones, it is not an issue at the moment. I have to say that I am already better, I can have a living, but sometimes, as many people of you do I guess, I feel I will not get back to what I was. I want to experience sadness, like before, not despair. I don't want to live with that strange constant anxiety or uncomfortable feeling (it's hard to explain, I didn't have it before taking drugs) which I had had also while on Zoloft. It has not gone away, never, for almost 3 years. And I am not sure if its origin is psychological, because I have this also while doing crosswords or laughing with my sister or writing this post, even if I am focused and calm. The things that worry me the most are the aforementioned "feeling", the inability to hold a good position in the job world because I have to avoid any type of stress otherwise I feel like I am burning or I become very fearful and my blood freezes and... the sexual thing. One of the reasons why I developed this ROCD is that because I had sexual problems with my boyfriend. I couldn't get aroused with him, but with other stimuli I was functioning. Eventually we split up (best decision of my life, even if the depression had a role in this). Now I have a new boyfriend, who I love so much. The difference is that I want to have sex with him most of the times, but I can't get aroused, you know... wet, and feel no pleasure. And since this was my main concern even before taking the drugs, I am terrified that one wrong choice would have caused a permanent damage to my sexuality, the thing I was always craving for because I wasn't feeling satisfied. Dr. Fava says that WD Syndrome lasts 6 months on average. So the 6 months have passed but the improvement are really small, sexuality has not returned and here I see people struggling for YEARS. Should I trust him? Come on, he is one of the leading experts worldwide and one of the first to recognize the problem, but I still don't know. I just want to go back to the mess I was, stop obsessing about symptoms and tolerate adversities as I always did before. I can say that racing thoughts have got milder... but it's not enough for me. I've been feeling bad for three years and suffered all my life before, I am sick of this situation.
  6. New here, so will hope to fill in fuller history later. I am 71 and have had depression to varying degrees 1977 to date. Managed to work full time 1964-2001, though. 12 years on irregular shift pattern 1964-1977. Last month, went to new younger GP who arranged blood tests, (after I had given him my list of ill-health symptoms!) Blood, mostly OK, but indicated low folic acid, he said. I am on 5mg daily folic acid tab for last 5 weeks. I do feel better (carrying out lots of small projects in my retirement). Had so many ups and downs in last 40 years, though, that I think this may be a placebo effect. However, a more positive side of me thinks I may be on the way to breaking through the wall where "the drugs don't work anymore" at 225mg Venlafaxine slow release. I have been on Losec (Omeprazole 10mg) for decades, too. I read that it can spoil your absorption of certain vital items in the vitamin B family, at least? Thanks for reading, all.
  7. Is reinstatement still an option? I'm writing on behalf of my boyfriend who is going through a rough withdrawal symptoms. Hasn't been able to eat, sleep and he is unable to operate a computer right now. He has been off effexor for almost 5 months. Now he is is desperate and thinking about reinstating. His blood pressure has increased to normal high and sometimes high. He has very loud ringing in the ears. He can't eat or do any complex tasks. He sees distortions (things vent on his visual field), but his eyes are ok after confirming with his eye doctor. And he just seems to be getting worse. He has got much worse since the 3rd month off effexor. He took: Effexor XR of 150 mg for 4 years 2003 TO 2008 Bridge to Zoloft, took it from 2008 to 2011. Bridge to Prozac, from 2011 to 2012. Bridge to vibrid took it from 2012 to 2013. Then I was switched to effexor IR 200 mg from 2013 to 2016. Effexore XR 150 mg for 6 months and that's when he started to taper over a period of 11 months using his psychiatric method. Taking 150mg for 3 days then 130mg the next day, then repeat the 150mg dixe 2 days and 113 mg 3 days. Stay there for 2-3 weeks. And so on. We would like to know if reinstaiment is I still in the table and how likely it is to work for him. Thank you for any help and advice provided. Please pray for us.
  8. This is kind of long, but I think I needed the catharsis of it. I would appreciate any feedback or advice on how to survive this. Things in my life were looking up toward the end of 2017. I was doing well in my job, I was on my own for the first time in years (had been living with my parents), I quit drinking, and I had some friends. I felt it was time to go off of my meds (Effexor 300mg). I’ve been on some form of AD for the majority of my life since I was 12. It’s made me wonder if I really even know who I am. It scared me to think about how these drugs had affected my developing brain. I wish I had found this website before then, but hindsight is always better than foresight, right? I tapered down. Toward the end, I was splitting up a 75mg capsule into 8 doses. I still had brain jolts for 2-3 weeks when I went off of it completely. The first month or so I felt really good. Then I started getting anxious. Really anxious. Sleep has always been a bit of an escape for me, but I started waking up early with intense anxiety. It’s hard to move, but it doesn’t help anything to stay in bed. There’s no escaping it. I’ve tried meditation and exercise. When I’m in that intense place, there’s no way out that I’ve found. One of the hardest parts of it is that my brain is barely working. I’m in a fog at work. I’m really concerned that I’m not going to be able to get everything done that I need to. My current job has a pretty heavy workload. My boss has acknowledged that. I had to talk to her at one point about getting some help because I felt so overwhelmed. There are days where everything feels overwhelming. Just showering feels like a mountain to climb. A conversation with someone? Nearly impossible. Thankfully there are days, maybe more like hours, where I experience relief. I had a really good evening a few days ago. I felt happy. I was able to talk to people. My relationships have really struggled. I’m so insecure about my ability to talk to people. It’s always been there, but it’s intensified. I don’t have anything interesting to say. My world right now for the most part is anxiety which leads to depression. I have a friend who’s really been there for me, but I get irritated with him really easily. I’m scared to be around him because I’m going to get upset and say something mean, then go into a spiral of self-hatred. My spiritual connection and my family is all that’s keeping me going. I’ve started going to church and to some twelve step meetings. It’s nice to be around other people where I don’t feel like there are any expectations of me. My family knows I’m struggling, but not the extent. It’s a relief to be able to go stay with them on the weekends sometimes and just relax. I tried going back on the Effexor. I took 37.5mg for about a week. I don’t feel like I can go back on it which is scary. I was really needing some relief. My sleep was messed up and I just felt disconnected from everything. The hardest part was feeling like I was losing my spiritual connection. I’ve been suicidal for a little while, but things got really intense one night on the Effexor. I was actually scared that I might do something. That was the last day that I took it. I use canabis every now and then. Maybe once or twice a month. It brings some relief, but I think it may make the anxiety worse for the next week or so. I don’t feel like I have a clear view of myself and my life. Have I always had these struggles, they were just medicated with the ADs and alcohol? Am I just finally dealing with stuff and don’t know how? I don’t see a future for myself and that’s scary. I’ve thought about seeing a psychiatrist again. This has all been on my own, but I don’t know if I want to mess with going back on meds—trying them out, dealing with the side effects, the cost, etc. I don’t know if I have the resilience to go through all of that either. So yeah, not sure where to turn. Trying to just take one day at a time, but some days that’s really f***ing hard.
  9. I was prescribed citalopram around 2006 for anxiety when sitting exams at school. I was left on the drug for 6 years until I asked to come off it. I was given no advice as to how to do this. First failed attempt at coming off antidepressants. I won’t go into the detail but I ended up being hospitalised and put on Venlafaxine instead. This is when I began searching for my own answers. I learned about tapering and in April 2016 I began reducing my Venlafaxine by 15mg each time. I didn’t stick to a strict schedule, I just reduced each time I felt good and could handle it. This all went without a hitch until the last drop in January 2018. I was ok for 10 days apart from dizziness and the odd brain zap. Then I was hit with panic attacks in my sleep and severe anxiety. I went back to my gp who said that as I was anxious and not depressed I was to take 5mg olanzapine at bed time. I got better then stopped olanzapine then got worse so started it again. Eventually my mood changed and I got depressed and was put back on 225mg Venlafaxine as well as 2.5mg olanzapine. This continued for a few weeks then I got back to work and felt good. Then I saw a psychiatrist (after an 8 week wait) who said I could stop the olanzapine and I would be fine. Lies, withdrawal hit me bad. Severe anxiety. However I have read a lot and learned a lot and decided that with family support I am trying my best to stick it out. I have also started taking supplements from neuro genetics and I feel they are helping as my sleep has improved and sometimes I feel I can get through this. It’s been a month since I stopped taking olanzapine. I’m still very up and down. I’m still taking 225mg Venlafaxine. I’m in the process of changing my doctor to one who has been recommended to me as sympathetic to my situation. I feel like I am existing not living. I haven’t been at work full time for months. Family members are avoiding me because they don’t understand what’s going on. My plan is to taper off Venlafaxine once I have stabilised from quitting olanzapine cold turkey. I have read other forums and people say they took a few months to feel better. Others didn’t take as long. I wish someone could tell me how this will all pan out but I know that’s impossible. I’m looking for any support and advice people can offer me.
  10. ZenBearCO

    ZenBearCO

    Not sure if I should be here or not, cuz I broke the rule here about stopping cold turkey. My story is that I tried to refill my prescription, but by 2 days later hadn't heard back. Called the pharmacy and they said the Dr. had not returned any of their calls. On a Friday morning I called my Dr., and they said I had to come in to get a refill because "Effexor is a controlled substance" (which it is not, but they wouldn't listen). Unfortunately, they couldn't see me until Monday, and by this time I had begun severe withdrawals (last dose taken that Wednesday). I spent the entire weekend in bed and in utter hell, but by taking Benadryl it helped a little. By Monday I had decided that I had already come this far and wasn't about to go back on the drug only to have to go through withdrawals again even on a taper. So it's been a little over a month, and the only hope I get is at this site, but I don't know if the advice is relevant because everyone here is tapering. Any advice for those who are already through the worst of the physical symptoms but having a really hard time with out-of-control emotions?
  11. I am new to surviving antidepressants. Because my Internist did not authorize refill for Effexor xr 150mg for 7 days, I was forced into snir discontinuation syndrome. I did not know there was such a thing until then. I have since researched on line and have found out quite a bit. Did you know that brain zaps/brain shivers is discribed in Wikipedia? Anyway,. I got them plus a lot of other debilitating symptoms. I have since weaned myself off over a months period of time (probably too fast), and have now been without for 2 days. I am so irritable that I can hardly stand to be with myself. Plus I get cold very easily and feel like shivering, but don't. I also have a few brain zaps, but they aretolerable. I am determined to not take one more bead of Effexor xr, and would appreciate the support of anyone who is going through or has gone though Effexor xr withdrawal.
  12. Hi I am new to this forum and this is my first post . I am currently on 30mg mirtazapine and 200mg of pregablin , I have been on these mess for about 3 to 4 months . I have just cut my mirtazapine from 30mg to 15mg and in the space of 4 days I have have horrible side effects , anxiety through the roof , shaking , lack of appetite poor sleep crying spells and the general feeling of feeling crap . The reason I have started to withdraw from the mirtazapine is that after 3 months I feel no benefit only get awfull side effects . No help with my anxiety and depression if anything it's made me more depressed . I have gone through withdrawing from Effexor and that was really tough , however just the drop for a few days of the mirtazapine has left me crushed , my doctor told me that mirtazapine was a easy drug to withdraw from , but after 4 days it has left me house bound . Has anyone got any idea on how I get through this or any experience in mirtazapine withdrawals
  13. Hello folks, Wow I came across this website and it definitely helped my outlook on this horrid process of withdrawling from Anti- Depressants. Here is my story. Life was good I was 23 years old, sitting in my University Class seminar, participating with my class, when out of nowhere all these feelings came rushing over me, people started to go sideways, couldn't really talk. Long story short I dropped out of University and went home to parents. I Went to an emerg clinic and was diagnosed with Generalized anxiety disorder(Gad). Immediately I was giving a prescription for Effexor xr 150mg, followed up with my doctor and was up at 225mg for awhile and 150mg for awhile over a 6 year period. I am now 29 years old, about 4 months ago the effexor pooped out, well it may have pooped out a year before that, but we all know how addicting it is. Went through the stigma , perceived personality changes, felt brilliant and ability to talk, got lots of good jobs, was able to be social, felt at times like it was a miracle drug, then slowly over time I lost my jobs, gf's , starting smoking marijuana heavily, took up smoking cigarettes and had anger and frustration issues, never had this before the medication. My doctor just refilled my prescriptions and never really questioned how I was doing on this medication. If I missed a dose one day I would have horrible symptoms. Long story short I feel effexor got me through the first initial espisode I had, but eventually ruined my social life, career life etc. It's been a tough trip. So after this medication pooped out 5 months ago I figured lets try to go off this and tapered off during a two months period.150mg to 75mg to 37.5 then half of 37.5 and then half of that,then off. I quit Effexor on March 22/2012 after being on it since 2005. Wow Lets just say after I came off it I felt so amazing, I saw everything in a fresh new light- like this is what life is like off this? Colors are brighter, Smell is better, everything changed for the positive after coming off it. Rose colored glasses you should say came off. I quit my 2 addictions of Cigs and pot immediately, was so proud of myself, fixed up debts that I wouldn't have touched on effexor. I felt like I had total control of my life, except for how to deal with these raw emotions , felt like a brand new person. Until... The 3 month mark being off Effexor, wow. Anxiety, Insomnia( not sleeping til 730am), not being able to look at somebody and talk to them in a normal light( was never a issue all my life). One week ago I tried Wellbutrin for 5 days and then withdrawled off it 150mg xl. It was just making me more anxious etc. Now the biggest problem I face is feeling like my memory/words have disapeared, can't make sentences or think of what to say and this was never a problem in my life and it's bothering me big time and I don't know what to do, as I feel like my brain has been messed up by 6 years of effexor highest dose 225mg but mostly 150mg. How do I get this back? I need some good responses here because I feel like a complete dummie as my mind has been erased. Thank you for reading this extremely long post, but I didn't want to leave anything important out, and I really want to move on with a life that I can accept and enjoy. Where has my memory gone? Will it comeback? How long if so? My words and ability to talk to people and come up with things to say? Very scared, What can I do? Use to be so smart I am Martin and that is my story, Glad to be a part of this group (29 years old) ^6 years on effexor , now 3months off 2005-2012 , March 22/2012 Off Effexor
  14. Hello, I am a 50 year old woman with a history of depression. Here is my story and it is a long one, be warned - if you aren't in the mood for a long history, skip this now LOL! I'm one of those people whose family relations have also had histories of depression, and depression became an issue for me from maybe 10 years old and up, though no one really recognized it. I became bulimic at 16 and remained so for much of my adult life until about eight years ago. My adult-hood has been one of perfectionism, low self-esteem and under-performing, with all the self-hatred that that generates. My first experience with medication came after a rough relationship where I ended up feeling suicidal. I was put on Prozac. I think back to that being the beginning of the rest of my adulthood with virtually no libido. A major move after marriage led me to more depression, and at that time Wellbutrin was being marketed heavily, so I asked my GP to put me on it. No tapering of the Prozac, if I recall. Wellbutrin didn't work, but now I realize it was probably in part because I was having withdrawal from the Prozac - not sure and I don't have a lot of memories about that period one way or another. I forget if I continued the Wellbutrin up to the next change, but I had gotten the flu which turned into pneumonia for a month, and when I went to the doctor after that long of not getting better, he said "you are depressed." Well, yes, I said, I am depressed because of being sick this long! And he said, No, you are clearly a generally depressed person and you should see a p-doc. So, I did, and that doc put me on Effexor. This was somewhere back around 11 years ago. I upped the dose as they directed. I never felt like my depression was well-controlled because none of the therapy I had over the years was CBT - talk therapy would make me feel better for the moment but no change took place, so the low self-esteem and negative thinking remained. I guess the Effexor somehow made my life more tolerable, but I never felt happy or satisfied with myself. Somewhere along the line I began to taper down on the Effexor, and I have very few memories of when, how or why, other than that I hated needing ADs, and my libido sucked. A move and the loss of an old dog sent me into another bad depression, but this well could have coincided with stepping down the Effexor. Three years ago, I lost my job, and then my husband lost his, but then he got a new one which required relocating to a very hot climate where we were able to afford a home with acreage, the first time we were ever able to own, but it was very rural and the isolation quickly got to me, with anxiety increasing for various reasons. Again, I don't remember the stepping down process, but two years ago a new GP refilled my Effexor but prescribed the non-extended release version. Since these tablets were able to be broken, I began taking just half (37.5 mg). Last summer I had a bought of shingles and became very depressed and stressed again from the pain. I also was clearly in menopause and having severe hot flashes. My whole adult life had been marred by low libido since going on Prozac way back when, and the shingles were actually on my private parts (tested positive for zoster, not herpes) and I became very concerned that I didn't want the rest of my life to be joyless where sex was concerned, so I decided to go off BCPs and Effexor. In hind sight, that was madness! I stepped down the Effexor, going to every other day with the 37.5 mg. I wasn't aware of any severe symptoms, and this was last summer. Well, meanwhile, I was going through some stresses regarding a health crisis with one of my dogs. I found myself totally scatter-brained, forgetful, unable to concentrate, and also I had trouble articulating myself, unable to complete thoughts when talking with people, words hard to reach. A friend told me he always thought I was ADD, and indeed at this time I was losing things, forgetting what I was doing halfway through doing it, easily distracted, etc. I'm also a total clutter-bug who can't face doing the dishes or cleaning the house, though I've been that way for years. I had started taking Sam-e and tryptophan as a way to up serotonin. I was having a terrible time with insomnia. So, I went to get tested for ADD. I tested negative, but the psychologist doing the testing said I didn't have ADD, but that I did have OCD, depression, and GAD. He said, the good news is that there are medications that can make you "normal!" I bit, and went to a p-doc on a list he gave me. She put me on Viibryd. I stopped the serotonergic supplements. The first week at 10 mg was ok, but when I went up to 20 mg as instructed, all hell broke loose! My insomnia worsened, with the most severe anxiety I think I had ever experienced! All night I was thrashing around with racing, troubling thoughts. During the day, I would have squirts of adrenalin for no reason. I had days where I was so distressed and troubled, I couldn't stand to exist. I had global anxiety about climate change, getting old, my parents getting old losing them some day, the drought and how horrible life was! I have never experienced anxiety like that in my life! I stepped the Viibryd back down to 10 mg for about a week and then stopped it, and went back on the supplements. This time I was trying to follow the supplement plan laid out in the Mood Cure, adding GABA and some other stuff. I'd do ok for awhile, but the insomnia was still bad, and the general feeling of being ill-at-ease was so disturbing, I just couldn't stand it. So, I stopped the supplements and started taking 37.5 mg of Effexor again. After three days, I was in serotonin syndrome almost to the point of having to go to the ER! I stopped the Effexor and got an appointment with another p-doc who is a DO and actually not into psych meds. He said I'd been through about 3 years' worth of med changes in a very short period of time and that my nerves were very sensitive and that I needed consistency. He went through the meds and supplements I had a history with, and told me which supplements were safe to take (non-serotonergic). Since I had not been able to eat and lost weight, and the insomnia was so bad, he put me on Remeron, saying it was a very gentle med that worked on a different part of the serotonin pathway, and that it would help with sleep and appetite. He started me on 7.5 mg and said I could step it up as needed, that it was safe up to 60 mg. Well, I felt much better and it was nice to sleep all through the night without anxiety again. Yeah! But after a week, I was feeling down again so started upping the dose. Two weeks later I was at 37.5 mg, feeling totally apathetic and on the couch, unable to do anything I had previously enjoyed in life. I couldn't understand why the med wasn't working anymore! I was in a desperate way and called this p-doc's assistant, the fastest way to get to him, he said. I left four messages and never heard back! I suffered through to my next scheduled appointment with him two weeks later, and suffering it was! My family members were greatly concerned. The only thing that kept me going through this spell was the fact that a therapist I had recently seen told me about Emotional Brain Training, which I joined. It was developed by Laurel Mellin at UCSF and is based on neuroplasticity and rewiring the brain. It was perfect for me because I lived in the country, was isolated, and the city is 40 minutes away, so I was able to get support from home with weekly phone-in meetings with a coach and group members, daily work online, and daily phone-connections with group members. I am not hawking this, but if you want to learn more about it, go to www.ebt.org. Anyway, EBT kept me from going down the tubes through all of this. When I saw my p-doc, he said "let's add Effexor back to the remeron since you tolerated it well in the past." I started on 37.5 mg. The day I took it, I was having a non-functional couch day, and I would say within an hour of taking it, my mood lifted, like a light switch had been flipped! It was miraculous! Now, everyone knows that ADs are supposed to take weeks to start working. I now realize that the reason it worked so fast was because I was in withdrawal and it was like a junkie getting a hit of the drug they are withdrawing from - instant fix! Ok, I know my story is long but the final chapter is here: I added the Effexor back about 12 days ago. I actually had one day, about a week into it, where I was on the couch again. The next day, I saw a third p-doc my therapist said I should see since I had such a bad experience with the last guy's non-responsiveness when I left those messages. So, I saw this new guy on Wednesday. I didn't yet realize that all of the craziness I had endured since last fall was because of the withdrawal. I was convinced that genetically, I just had to be on ADs, that I had relapsed in a big way. I did think that the Viibryd had damaged me, since I had never experienced anxiety to that degree before, nor had I had depression this debilitating. This new guy said, "let's stick with this for now, since you haven't been on the Effexor long enough to see how it will work for you, but I want to up it to 75 mg (thanks to that couch day). We may end up changing you to other meds, but let's see how this goes for now." So, I began taking 75 mg Effexor ER on Thursday. It just so happens that one of my EBT connection buddies is going through withdrawal from ADs that she was put on for post-partum depression 8 years ago. She told me about this, and referred me to a neat video about neuroplasticity on beyondmeds.com. Her point in doing so was to point out about how EBT is so dead-on about retraining the brain, but in fact I had locked on to concept of withdrawal, and I began to realize that this was so much of what I had and am still going through, and this is why the Effexor worked immediately! So, I am faced with the fact that I am now back on the drug that I was hooked on. For now, I need to be consistent and not change anything, though I am going back to 37.5 mg Effexor since I'd only been on the higher dose for a couple of days. I will ride this out until my next appointment with the p-doc in five weeks. I am worried that he will be one to poo-poo withdrawal. I feel like, for the first time in my life, I am getting the cognitive help I need to eliminate the poor self-esteem and my negative black and white thinking that has ruined my life and got me started on ADs to begin with. I feel this will be critical to getting off these drugs some day. I feel so grateful to the universe for bringing me together with my connection buddy who brought this all to light for me. And beyondmeds.com brought me here.
  15. Lissakasey

    Lissakasey

    So hey all brutal year. Was on zoloft for like 10 years. Last march I got really bad anemia and started having crying spells. Doc upped my Zoloft dose and I became suicidal. Doc then changed me to lexapro which cause severe anxiety. Then briefly Paxil. Doc then said she thought I am bipolar so started lithium and zyprexa. Ended up hospitalized the end of september. They added Prozac and gabapentin. Depression got worse and anxiety restarted with Prozac introduction. Spent 3 months on Prozac only for it to make me feel lifeless and depressed. I got off the lithium, zyprexa, and gabapentin in that three months. Doc changed me to Effexor two and a half weeks ago, only now I'm having anxiety and extreme rage and irritation. So I'm planning to stop the Effexor. How bad do you guys think withdrawal will be for me. I really just want to get off the med wheel.
  16. Hi all! I'm 23 years old, about to start graduate school, and I've been on antidepressants since January of 2015. I've been anxious and depressed for pretty much as long as I can remember. My therapist at the time recommended medication after I went through the most severe depressive episode of my life, and my college's campus prescriber put me on Prozac. The Prozac made me sluggish, foggy, and basically a zombie, but at the time I thought it was better than the depression had been, so I stayed on until October of 2015, when I switched over to Effexor. I've been maintaining at Effexor XR 150 since then, and I've finally made the decision to come off of antidepressants completely. The hardest part of all this for me is not knowing what's a side effect of the medication, and what's just me--I think I used to go out more, have more energy, better concentration, but it's hard to remember. I find it hard to focus on my reading and writing now, nearly impossible without some sort of stimulant. I'm frequently exhausted and lethargic, have to force myself to leave bed and do things, often feel restless and lethargic at the same time. I still have bouts of anxiety and depression. I'm pretty certain the Effexor has greatly increased my sexual dysfunction (I already had sexual problems due to past trauma, but before the antidepressants I at least had a sex drive, and now I have absolutely none.) I've recently moved to a new city to start graduate school. I don't know anyone here, and my partner is staying with me for the summer but will be going back to his grad program halfway across the country at the end of August. He's the most wonderful and supportive person in the world, and we've been doing long-distance for a year and a half now, but I'm worried about tapering while starting a new program in a new city once he leaves. I found a psychiatrist here who agreed whole-heartedly with my decision to get off the Effexor, for which I am very grateful. She put me on a tapering schedule in which I would be off the Effexor in a month, and I reduced to 112.5 for a day before doing a lot of research (and thankfully finding this site), at which point I decided to do a 10% taper over a long, slow period. She's been completely supportive of that decision, thankfully. Anyway, I'm back up to 135 now, and will be holding here for a month before reducing again. I'm not sure when withdrawal effects normally kick in, and can't tell if the anxiety and brain fog I'm feeling are just what I normally feel like, or because of the drop. Either way, I'm grateful to have found this community, and to have a place to put down my thoughts.
  17. Hello, my name is Danielle. I am new to this site, but have been reading it for quite some time now. My parents put me on effexor xr when I was 6 years old for severe anxiety and childhood phobias. It worked great for years. I had very little side effects and life was hunky dory. I am now 24 years old and the medication is no longer working. I stupidly tried to come off of the Effexor over the coarse of 3 months under directions from my psychiatrist. Obviously, I crashed and I have been desperately trying to get my life back for the last 10 months. During those months, I was under the impression that I was ‘very ill’ and a ‘special case’ based on the severity of my symptoms, but now I am realizing what has happened to me is not my original illness resurfacing, but the effects of the discontinuation of the medication. I’m an RN and have been out of work for the last 6 months. I have read stories on here of people eventually recovering from ssri and snri withdrawl, but was wondering if anyone has any experience or knows of anyone who was prescribed one of these drugs as a child. Is there hope for me or will I have to live with the consequences of my parents decision for the rest of my life? Will these dehabilitating symptoms ever go away or are my receptors f***ed for life?
  18. Hi I am new to this forum. I have read through many posts and gained some very helpful info and it is comforting to know I am not alone. Looking some advice regarding my current AD regimen. I have OCD and depressive symptoms. Was started on Effexor XR by GP for mild low mood ( probably anxiety was more of the problem) after returning home from foreign charity work trip early due to homesickness in 2001. Had a number of years of anxiety and obsessive thinking (no psychology/counselling input) following severe depression in a close relative and then a long period of doing better. Anxiety and obsessive thinking on occasions throughout this period (looking back this was probably worse than I would care to admit to myself). Significant problem with anxiety; attended psychiatry and resulting (unsuccessful) change to citalopram and back to increased dose of Effexor XR 150mg. Further better period until 2012. Change in job circumstances requiring long hours shift work, long daily commute at same time as second child being born. Developed constant abdominal pain and subsequent reduced sleep, increased anxiety and lowering of mood over 2-3 years (but retained interest). Changed Effexor XR to sertraline equivalent dose by GP (to see if Effexor XR responsible for abdominal pain). Reduced work time and then had to stop working for a period due to pain (investigations all normal - likely IBS). Changed job (better hours) and had short period of relief from all symptoms. Further abdominal pain, recommencement of OCD symptoms. Developed increasing loss of interest, reduction in motivation and low energy. Return to psychiatry - nortriptylline added - no improvement. Medication changed or doses increased (see signature below) - no improvement. Weaned off Effexor XR over 5 weeks (during which I felt much better for about 3) and 2 weeks on nothing before commencing the MAOI Nardil. During those 2 weeks and first few of commencing nardil had brain zaps, nausea, dizziness, temperature dysregulation and severe OCD symptoms (worst I ever had). Nardil over a period of 3-4 months increased up to 120mg daily - intolerable side effects including insomnia, unable to pass urine or stool, dizziness, weight gain, panic attacks for first time. It was during this time I realised that it could be the medications that were not helping and potentially hindering my mental health. Recommenced Effexor XR at dose of 150mg. Have now been on effexor XR 150mg since Jan 2018. Symptoms since then have included increasing levels of: fatigue, brain fog (at times severe), low mood (I truly believe I was never severely depressed until I was on the high doses of ADs), loss of interest in everything, poor motivation and concentration, no libido. In the last 2 months I have had a couple of episodes of derealization, increasing levels of brain fog, nausea, headache, flu-like aches, dizziness on occasions, constipation, intermittent facial twitching around the eye, irritation (the slightest thing irritates me)/agitation. Now having crushing episodes during the day of what I would describe as severe fuzziness of the head where I feel like I lose focus mentally and visually, become more agitated, cannot seem to move my body without extreme effort and have racing thoughts (?depressive ruminations ? OCD). After reading many forum posts it seems I have gone from high doses of antidepressants to half that dose in a short period of time and that is far too fast. However I have now been on this dose for 5-6 months and wondering is it too late to re-increase the dose slightly to decrease more slowly? Also I have read that the 6 month period after reducing or going cold turkey the symptoms seem to get worse so is it better to ride it out longer at this dose hoping to stabilise and not lose the reduction I have made. Truly my days at the moment are largely unbearable and I feel very dysfunctional yet through years of pushing myself can manage to look after activities of daily living. But not sure exactly what would be best to do. I have tried to be concise here but it looks like a long post - apologies. This forum is great and thanks for all the great advice and encouragement. Wishing all who are here the best in their recovery. Salvo
  19. Hello fellow SA members! I am curious to know if anyone has come off antipsychotics and gone onto antidepressants and recovered from antipsychotics? My pdoc says that she's had ppl recover in this situation, but I'm in disbelief. Any comments and info would be greatly appreciated. Thank you! Xo
  20. Hi all, Thank you for letting me join this wonderful fountain of knowledge. I have been on Effexor since late 2008, when I was 20 years old. My first long term relationship had just ended and I was understandably an emotional mess. I was also alcoholic at the time and using a lot of recreational drugs, which didn't stop the doctor from providing me 75mg of Effexor XR. I loved it at first because I literally felt high. I had tried other antidepressants in the past but none had worked, whereas with Effexor I just seemed to have so much energy. Fast forward to 2011, I am in residential rehab for my alcohol and drug addiction problem. The counsellors there suggest it might be a good time to try coming off my meds- 300mg Effexor and I also taking 25mg Seroquel at this point, as I was unable to sleep on the Effexor. I am referred to a completely incompetent psychiatrist who gives me a taper programme which takes me from 300mg to nothing in a month. Not knowing any better, I complied with his insane schedule. Within a few weeks I was kicked out of rehab for out of character, rageful behaviour. Back home, I slowly lost my mind. Couldn't leave the house without feeling like I had a target sign painted on me- I felt everyone was looking at me and talking about me. I lost my temper at the drop of a hat over minuscule things. No one around me realised what was happening. My memory of this time is hazy, but I do remember being home alone one night and suddenly becoming obsessed that there was a government conspiracy to give people heart attacks by putting too much salt in food. I was walking around the kitchen in circles screaming, unable to stop. I considered the possibility of hanging myself to make it stop. Luckily I called my boyfriend instead and found another website which is no longer active, who advised me to go straight to a doctor and resume the Effexor at a maintenance dose. I did this and was put back on 75mg. The damage was already done and I fell into clinical depression. A month later I decided I couldn't be more miserable that I was and relapsed on alcohol. Luckily I got straight back into a 12 step programme and have been sober since that relapse. But I struggled with the after effects of that withdrawal for many months. i have been absolutely petrified to try coming off Effexor again since, despite many side effects including palpitations, mental confusion, dry mouth, bad breath, constant clenched jaw and every type of stomach complaint. I fell pregnant in 2014 and came down to a quarter of a 37.5mg tablet during pregnancy. I wanted to come off it entirely, but my relationship was very unstable and I was being constantly triggered (we have now split up). I was devastated to not be able to breastfeed my daughter, but I felt the Effexor presented too much of a risk to do so. I went back up to 37.5mg shortly after her birth. She is fine and healthy today, but the responsibilities of single motherhood have left me terrified to attempt withdrawal again. However, since giving birth I have found that the Effexor now has a sedative effect on me. I now have to take it at night time, or I am almost passing out during the day. Sometimes I forget (I'm insanely forgetful now, which fairly sure is a side effect of long term antidepressant use) and then I have a choice of spending the whole day "shocking" or being a half passed out zombie fighting to keep my eyes open. I realised I can't carry on my life like this, I want and need my energy back. I've become completely reliant on coffee to have any kind of energy, so I'm always up or crashing back down. My daughter needs me to be fully present in her life, which I don't feel like I am a lot of the time due to this horrid side effect. I found this website and have been reading up on safe tapering, and on June 14th began the 10% reduction method. At the moment it looks like it's going to take about 3 years in total. I'm in no rush after my last withdrawal experience, I can't risk ending up in such a bad way as I'm all my little girl has. I have been dissolving the 37.5mg tablet in 75ml water, making sure it's all evenly dispersed, then removing 7.5ml (equal to 3.75mg) with an oral syringe. In the UK they no longer prescribe the slow release Effexor so as I can't do the bead method, this is the only accurate way I can really do it. Yesterday I had tingling in both hands all day then at night I had some brain zaps when I was trying to sleep which went all down my left side, which has made me wonder if I should maybe hold this dose for longer that a month. If anyone could advise me on this, I would appreciate it. I find my daily meditation practice my most valuable asset in keeping me sane so I'm hoping it will aid me in my withdrawal. If you have made it this far in my mammoth post, you are truly amazing! Love and healing light to you all x L
  21. In Feb of this year I decided that the cons of Adderall were no longer to my benefit and decided to quit cold turkey. I spent a month weak, tired, irritable and unable to cope with all the "noise" of everything that was happening around me. Driving, shopping, even conversations felt like too much to handle. They say that Adderall is not addicting but it is, maybe not in the physical sense for some but in the emotional sense I became heavily reliant on the pills just to be around people, to get out of bed; basically just to do the simple things that "regular" people get up and do day after day. When I was first prescribed Adderall about 7 years ago, every few months I'd purposely stop taking them for an entire wknd just to reassure myself that I could stop. To be continued.
  22. Hi Everyone! Long time listener, first time caller etc. I found this site and the *amazingly* helpful advice here almost a year ago when I started making serious first steps into tapering off Effexor. Abridged personal history - Started Effexor for General Anxiety around 21 years ago after a short period of trying Zoloft, Remeron and Buspar. Tried to come off once around 10 years ago after tapering off over four months, but that didn't really work, and life circumstances were not ideal, so I've spent the last ten years working insanely hard to get to a place that I felt confident in along with my Psychologist and Psychiatrist where I could give it another go. So six months ago I found a great compounding pharmacy and started the taper, going down 10 percent each month, which has been going great! It's been going so great though, that I feel I've reached a plateau, and that at the current rate, it could take another three years using this method! So - I was just wondering if anyone here has any anecdotal or personal stories of what might work to potentially accelerate the process, so I can get it closer to a further 6-12 months. What would be a conservative figure to drop down by for this timeframe? Curious to hear how other people approach this Thanks in advance!
  23. Hello Surviving Antidepressant friends Around 18 months ago I posted this thread desperately seeking help for tapering gone wrong. I had been on a treatment dose of 300mg of Effexor, which I had reduced around 80%. I went to a psychiatrist to seek advice on tapering and bridging and he told me the amount I was on was almost nothing and there would be no issue if I tapered off over a couple of weeks. That caused the worst withdrawal I have ever had, including what felt like 48 hours of suicidal panic attacks and inability to sleep. My memory from that time is blurry. Anyway. After that I tapered back on to Effexor until the worst of the discontinuation syndrome subsided, which ended up being back up to 10mg, or 30 beads. I stayed that way for around 8 months before trying to go off again. I would take my dose every morning in the same place, around the same time, by pouring out the little beads onto my hand, counting them, taking them, then brushing my teeth. The next time I started going off I reduced by 1-3 beads every 3-4 days (more at the beginning, fewer at the end). I also conducted a little placebo conditioning experiment with myself, where I replaced the lost beads with white 100s and 1000s (I think Americans call them sprinkles?). I figured, after reading up on the classical conditioning mechanism in the placebo effect, that the eight months of "ritual" around taking the drug might be sufficient to allow the placebo sugar beads to have the same effect as the drug on my brain. Once there were no more drug beads I continued "taking" the 100s and 1000s each morning for a few weeks. I'm not going to recommend the placebo approach outright for obvious reasons (I am not a doctor or scientist; my understanding of the placebo effect is probably rudimentary). However, in my specific case, the experience of going from 30 beads to 0 beads, was a million times better the second time than the first. Other factors that likely helped: It was about 5 times slower than the first time; I had adjusted to the 30 bead dose before I started; I took even longer gaps between reductions of the last beads; I was not working as much as I went through this process. Now. While it was easier than the first time, it was still not easy. I felt churned up emotionally and was super irritable, I had rage flashes, my anxiety increased hugely, anhedonia returned, I had nausea, and my muscles, particularly in my legs, spasmed and twitched, often violently. I could, however, sleep for the most part, and none of these symptoms got too much in the way of life (granted I was not working very much and I work for myself anyway; it would have interfered if I worked for someone else). It helped to know that if I could just get through those few weeks then things would probably get better. These symptoms lasted around 2 weeks after the final drug dose, which was early April 2017. And things did get better. For me, most of the side effects of the drugs have now gone. Most significantly, my sense of self and my creativity have returned. It had felt like they were being numbed or muted by the drugs, and I couldn't access them. Off the drugs I now have access to them. Similarly, my ability to enjoy sex has improved, and I don't feel like that side of me is muted either. The above is really tremendous; feeling like yourself again instead of a weird muted robot alien is a big relief. However, while I consider the drug withdrawal to be 100% successful and 100% the right decision for me, I should caveat that with the following context: The drugs appeared to be muting extreme unresolved emotional distress, both from childhood stuff and from rape and sexual assault from a few years ago. The pain from this sort of exploded when the drugs went away. My primary diagnoses are anxiety and major depression, but it appears even those were symptoms of childhood stuff. When I came off the drugs it was the first time I had been drug free in around 13 years. I am highly sensitive and have a big emotional world, but I never learned how to regulate stimulation and emotion, and then had it muted by drugs. When I came off the drugs the emotions and stimulation were pretty extreme and often overwhelming. I took from that that I should learn skills of emotion regulation though, rather than that I should go back on the drugs. Even with only 3-4 months of practice, I am hugely improved and the emotions and stimulation overwhelm me much less frequently. (Now they inform my creative work and my service work, and are real positive assets for me, albeit ones that require sensitivity and management.) I have the great privilege of being able not to work for a while while I recover fully, which is lucky because I cannot currently work. I put that down to unresolved trauma that has now come to the fore rather than drug withdrawal. I am doing deep dive work with my psychologist that is helping more than any other talk therapy I've done, and I think that work will be sufficient to return me to work eventually. I see her weekly. That work is also subsidised by the government because it is about recovery from sexual trauma, meaning for now I do not pay anything for it (another enormous privilege). I have a partner who is extraordinarily supportive and gets what is happening for me. He judges fair contribution to the relationship by reference to each partner's capacity, and thinks that because he has more capacity right now it is fair that he do more housework, financial contribution etc than me. This has allowed me not to push myself beyond capacity, which has meant I have recovered more quickly. In conclusion, while I am currently not working and my capacity to do a lot of things is severely restricted, I could not be happier that I am off the drugs. I feel like I have real issues (childhood trauma and sexual trauma) that require serious work, but now I feel like I am actually properly addressing them, instead of having them be muted yet just as destructive. I also no longer have the drug side effects interfering with my ability to enjoy things, make music and comedy, have intimacy with my partner, meaning recovery feels more authentic and there is more joy in it. Things still hurt a lot, but my world feels real in a way it wasn't on the drugs. It's hard to explain to anyone who hasn't come off these drugs before. In simple terms: I have hope. I can experience joy and enjoyment. I am excited about what the rest of my life might bring. Even while I know that I am in the middle of pretty extreme emotional upheaval and trauma processing, life is better than it has ever been. I am finally able to be fully, authentically myself, in ways that the drugs (and the trauma and mental health issues) got in the way of. I am optimistic.
  24. Until July 2017 I was an active, healthy female (58). I'd been extremely fortunate in that, the only health problem I'd ever encountered had been anxiety/low grade depression. At least that's what the doctors diagnosed 20 years ago. I was put on Effexor 75mg and then, some years later, reduced the dosage to 37.5mg. In January 2017 I started tapering off my medication and by July was off Effexor. I did experience the odd brain zap but could easily go about my daily business. Suddenly at the end of July, I started having what I thought to be panic attacks (but which were, in actual fact, heart arrhythmias) and my then psychiatrist put me back on Effexor albeit 150mg/day. At 2am on August 12th, I had a sudden cardiac arrest. Thankfully one of our dogs wakened my husband and he and my daughter performed CPR until the ambulance arrived. My guardian angel was watching over me and after a week in the hospital, where I was fitted with an ICD and was put on 30mg Cymbalta, I returned home. Fast forward to three weeks later. My ICD fired. Off to hospital. In for observation for a week but no arrhythmias could be detected Returned home and 24 hours later the ICD fired again! In hospital for another 10 days, had a catheter ablation but no structural heart damage was found. What they did find was that one of the ICD leads had moved and pushed itself through one of the heart walls which could have explained the shocks. So another intervention to replace the lead. I was still on Cymbalta and an anti-arrhythmic drug. Just when I was beginning to think I was on the road to recovery, my ICD fired on the 12th of November. Off to hospital. In for ten days where I met a fascinating psychiatrist who thought that my SCA could have been induced by going back on Effexor as it's known to have a potential influence on cardiac rhythms. And since Cymbalta is also a SNRI, it would be advisable to stop taking it. Well since November 17th I'm Cymbalta-free and yes, I went cold turkey which I normally would not have done under other circumstances. Initially I experienced, brain zaps, anxiety and irritability. However, the symptoms were bearable. I’ve been taking vitamin D3, magnesium and Omega 3 supplements and trying to eat all the right foods. I walk my dogs every day so am getting exercise and fresh air on a regular basis and I go for acupressure treatments (suggested by my new psychiatrist). I was progressing quite well until March 2018 when I started experiencing severe anxiety, dizziness, muscle tension and headaches.The situation has improved every so slightly since then. Am I experiencing what is known as protracted withdrawal?
  25. I've been a widow and single mom since 2004. I have a history of asthma, osteoarthritis, and slightly elevated blood pressure that is controlled. I am very sensitive to many antibiotics and blood pressure meds so it is hard for me to find something that works but doesn't cause horrible side effects. I have a very short list of "approved by me" prescription medicines. My doctor suggested I try an antidepressant when I mentioned some off and on depression in 2010. She prescribed Effexor first which was unbearable to me as it caused brain zaps and extreme dizziness. She switched me to Sertaline at the smallest dose. It didn't have the same effects so I got used to it. My depression mostly disappeared and I thought I was fixed. I only felt side effects if I skipped a day. In 2015, I started having memory loss. Not every day, but on and off. I might wake up in the morning and take a longer than normal time to determine the day and if I had anything going on that morning. It was such an unnerving and scary feeling! I noticed a harder time retrieving names and words. I was a teacher and trainer and it really scared me! I started researching side effects and found that it's quite common to have trouble with memory when on antidepressants. I also noticed that, although I didn't have worrying or depressing thoughts as often, I also had begun to notice that I didn't care about so many important things in my life. It was like I had an even setting but not a true joy. I also was able to completely ignore important things that a little worry helps keep me motivated to get accomplished. I felt unconcerned about deadlines when in the past, that same concern would have helped me accomplish more.I tried to take myself off that year but soon went back on because of brain zaps and dizziness. In June 2017, I decided to start cutting the pills in half and then quarters over a two month period. I used Benedryl to help with sleep (as I had seen suggested somewhere online) and was finally able to get completely off of Sertraline. I thought it was finished and done until the middle of September when I started having strange symptoms. I had just returned from a month long trip to Europe so I thought my body was just recovering from travel. It's now December and I still have the symptoms so I figure it has to be the withdrawal. I went back to researching and found this site! Here are the withdrawal symptoms I'm dealing with now: on and off depression that lasts for 2-4 days at a time poor appetite and some weight loss (I gained about 20 while on Sertraline) tension and pain in isolated muscle groups that moves around numbness, cold or hot feeling in feet burning soles on both feet after standing and walking for a little while fatigue and low energy feelings waking up in early morning not able to sleep again anxious or catastrophic thoughts and worries constant sinus issues (I do have allergies but usually not year round.) This forum has already calmed many of my worries because I've seen many of these symptoms listed by others!
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