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  1. Hello all, My name is Alex and I was prescribed 1/2 x 10mg Escitalopram (Cipralex), 0.5 x Clonazepam (Rivotril aka Klonopin) for about 5 months now, for mostly anxiety. After already 2 months I hit tolerance / dependence with Clonazepam and from that point, for the little I knew, I should have give up on it, but my psychiatrist pushed it even more from 3/4 to 1 (0.5 Clonazepam). Clonazepam is the "horror" benzo of them all, but I did not knew back then and would have been fantastic if I removed it since month 2, instead of keep it in 3 more months. Escitalopram did not help me either, as if it had did, I would not been feeling worse after 5 months, than I was in the first place before taking the medicine. I really I very sad of my decision to actually go to the psychiatrist in the first place, but I did now knew much then. As I know now, the symptoms that I had then where really easy compared to the ones I have now (after 5 months of "treatment"). But that is what usually people do, driven by fear, instead of actually be a little realist and powerful and first, at least, document yourself of what you are doing in the first place. I have found At last a life book, by Paul David and I can say it's a life saver for the anxiety suffering people out there, but I just found it 3 weeks ago, after that I decided to start tapper the benzo. All this being said I am now on this schedule of benzo withdrawal attached in the picture. Unfortunately I got to 0.3 from 0.5 in 3 weeks instead of 8 and I feel quite a lot of withdrawal symptoms ( mild depression, mild / intermediate anxiety (but much longer than before), mild headaches, dizziness, mild blurred vision. I thought as I was just 5 months on these 2 drugs would make it to a fast withdrawal, now I know it is not the case and I need to listen to my body. Will hold benzo for now at 0.3 to stabilize. The big question is : Should I start the Escitalopram taper as well ? I read a lot already on the forum and I see usually people take it 1 by 1. Of course I asked a psychiatrist of tapering both at the same time and she said if I do it slow it's ok as I did not took them for long time and the doze is quite small. But I know you guys know better and would be much appreciated if you give me a hint here. So a small taper from the 1/2 x 10 mg Escitalopram , like 10-20% each month at the same time with the benzo taper would make sense ? Of course I will try to listen to my body / brain response, but I am unsure how much time will be needed to feel the withdrawal from Escitalopram, from Clonazepam is easy, in 2-3 days you feel the "response" of the cut, because of the 18-50 hours lifetime of it. Cheers !
  2. KittenLePurr, here. Thank you so much for maintaining this site and for welcoming me here❤️ I was put on psych meds as a child, at age 12. I'm still working through a lot of anger around that. My parents did the best they could but, you know, they were traumatized by their parents, who were traumatized by their parents, etc., and they were all taught to blindly trust doctors and to essentially live in fear of their bodies. Thanks, Western medicine. Anyway, so, as a highly sensitive child who felt deeply depressed and uncomfortable in the world, I presented quite a set of challenges to my parents. I had a month-and-a-half-long period at age 11, so my mom took me to an OBGYN who did no tests or anything to see what was up with my hormones; she just wrote me a prescription for birth control. 🙄 My mom was concerned about that but gave it to me. I became even more depressed after that and, when I was 12, told my mom I thought I needed help. She took me to a counselor who suggested I see a psychiatrist, who wrote me a prescription for Zoloft. Oh, and talk therapy. The gold standard of care. Zoloft and therapy didn't seem to help, so I was then put on Prozac...and then, on a whole host of other meds. I took a jumbled handful of different cocktails I can’t even remember, including Effexor, Wellbutrin, Trazadone, Remeron, and a number of mood stabilizers. It was a rollercoaster on top of the hormonal rollercoaster I was already on, being a preteen on birth control. At age 13, things felt increasingly bleak, as I was having issues with my friends at school and felt unloved and completely hopeless, and I decided it was time to end it. I took as many pills from the medicine cabinet as I could without throwing up and lay down in my bed, waiting to die. But it took too long; I got impatient and decided maybe I didn’t really want to die...not if it meant lying there, excruciatingly nauseated. So when my dad got home, I told him I needed to go to the hospital and they pumped my stomach. The pills I'd taken the most of were Effexor leftover from my brief stint on it months prior. I thought I was going to throw up the charcoal until a social worker put a cool washcloth on my forehead, and the nausea passed and I felt this giant wave of relief and joy from still being alive. I told my psychiatrist about that, and she took that to mean Effexor was a good med for me. So I went back on it and stabilized on Remeron, and over the next few years, things did get a little better. Meaning we were sort of managing my depression. But I was still deeply, deeply troubled. I was attracted to drugs and alcohol because I was so depressed and uncomfortable in my own skin and altered states felt better to me. I was on a constant quest to find the best and most complete escape from the pain of normal, everyday life and started partying and skipping school to smoke pot and take drugs. I was diagnosed with ADHD and prescribed Adderall, which gave me horrible side effects but also appeased my longing to escape sobriety, so I took more and more of it. Up to 120mg a day. I flunked out of public school and my parents sent me to private school, at which point I finally chilled out on the partying and graduated. I was managing my symptoms a little better. In college, I had a serious boyfriend who pointed out it was not normal for a girl like me to have such severe sexual dysfunction. I’d never been told anything about that by my doctor or even realized it was abnormal, and when I found it was a common side effect of antidepressants, I was outraged and decided to stop taking my antidepressants, cold turkey, between doctor’s visits. I’d never heard of withdrawal symptoms. But I didn’t experience any! Different biology?? I don’t know. When I told my doc I’d stopped taking the meds, she was pretty surprised that I seemed okay. This was the most stable period of my life. I wasn’t “happy” or even well-adjusted but I was managing, even after I got off the meds. I wonder why my more recent experiences have been so different. I’d developed TMJ my senior year and in college, guzzling Adderall and stressing out, my anxiety and jaw pain got much, much worse. I would have flare-ups where it felt like my jaw muscles were being stabbed with an ice pick. I went to the emergency for a particularly bad episode and asked my psychiatrist if there was anything she recommended. She prescribed lorazepam. I started off only taking that here and there for my jaw but eventually, it became a daily habit for anxiety. Life was just better when I took it. It’s what I’d always been searching for: peace. I vowed never to take antidepressants again but benzos were okay in my book because I had no idea they also came with a slew of negative side effects, and they made a much bigger difference in how I felt. For a while, anyway. Eventually I graduated to Klonipin and was taking 1-2 mg a day, every day, sometimes more. I dropped out of college to pursue a music career and my love of getting inebriated spiraled out of control. During a particularly low point in my life, I started taking pain pills to get through work and got addicted to them. I spent the next few years battling opioid addiction which progressed to heroin addiction. I checked myself into rehab in 2012 and during that month, I was put on Lexapro for depression and Seroquil for sleep. Seroquil made me feel frightened, so I talked to the doctor and he put me on Remeron again. I was like a zombie. And I couldn’t stop eating the junk food they had there. I felt AWFUL. So, as soon as I got out, I stopped taking all the meds. Not sure whether I had withdrawals because, unfortunately, I also relapsed. I battled my addiction a while longer until my beloved boyfriend at the time OD’d and died in front of me. I was obviously crushed and blamed myself. I was more depressed than ever but didn’t want to die, so I entered a methadone maintenance program and stopped doing street drugs. I’m so grateful for that methadone clinic...it saved my life. But the doctor there kept urging me to get back on an antidepressant and I didn’t want to. Because I knew it would only be harder this time. But I still had no other coping skills and had these health professionals telling me I had a chemical imbalance and the only way to fix it was with medication, so I relented. I was on 75mg Effexor and 1.5mg Klonipin. My doc lowered my dose of Klonipin a few times over the next few years; he wanted me to get off of it now that the FDA released a black box warning about cognitive effects. In 2017, I switched from Effexor to 20mg Citalopram, which he thought would help with my anxiety. It didn’t. And she tapered me off the Effexor over the span of about a week and a half...it was brutal! I knew better by that point, too, but I chose to just trust her anyway. I barely slept and the anxiety was incapacitating. It took me a couple of years to connect the dots but Citalopram gave me horrendous brain fog. I’m a writer and musician, and I had a health and wellness blog I really took pride in. Once I was stable on the Citalopram, I stopped feeling able to write or make music entirely. I could barely think straight. For 3 YEARS. And for the first year and a half of that, I thought I was just tired and lazy because my doctor said it wasn’t related. But in 2017, I discovered holistic psychiatrist Kelly Brogan on a podcast and learned the truth about antidepressants and learned I was not the only person whose creativity was stunted by them. I learned game-changing lifestyle practices that actually DID help with depression and anxiety--unlike the meds--and I underwent a huge health transformation and had an awakening around the medical system and society at large. And I got to a place where I felt more centered, joyful, and more MYSELF than I’d ever thought possible. I vowed to get off meds for good--this time, not to just “manage my mental illness” without meds, but to live a full, vibrant, healthy life. I was most eager to get off the things that stifle my creativity, so I microtapered off my remaining 0.35mg Klonipin in Spring of 2020. I got through it using my lifestyle practices--clean eating, meditation, intentional movement, grounding, EFT/tapping and emotional regulating practices/shadow work--and had only a few severe panic attacks. The brain fog was INTENSE and I’m so grateful to have been laid off from the lockdown because I could not have worked. I basically lay around all day for months, aside from doing my self-care practices. I tried to move right into tapering Celexa because I want OUT but my body said NOPE just about immediately with severe insomnia, crippling anxiety and even worse brain fog. I’ve been balancing out over the past year and am feeling 9,000,000,000 times better than I was right off of Klonipin. I’m ready to get off of Celexa. I’ve lowered my dose of methadone over the past several years, too, and I’m at half my original dose. I know this isn’t a forum for that but it’s part of my journey...and getting off an opioid is no walk in the park but I’m honestly concerned that this Celexa taper is going to be even harder. That’s why I signed up here. I’m currently at 14.35 mg; my original dose was 20mg. I don’t really know what to expect (aside from anxiety and sleep disturbances) but I know I’m going to need support. Figuring out the math to do each cut feels really difficult. My brain fog is still really thick. I’m honestly disappointed it hasn’t improved more by now, having been off Klonipin for almost a year. I’m taking lion’s mane mushrooms, which definitely help but it’s still a challenge. I’m still unemployed and have been hesitant to cut my dose because I keep expecting to lose my unemployment and have to be able to perform, create, be productive, etc. I don’t feel comfortable going to a workplace with what’s going on out there now, so I started learning copywriting last year during lockdown and was planning to start a freelancing business but kept going back and forth between prioritizing that and my healing. I couldn’t write during Klonipin withdrawal; I don’t know if I’ll be able to during this taper. I have so much fear around this. I’m doing a lot of inner work, a course called Core Wound Healing and lots of shadow work, which I know will help me through this. Still, it’s difficult. So much fear! But since I only have 1 ongoing freelance client and it’s really easy work, I’m back to prioritizing my healing, and I cut my dose by 10% this morning. I’m just telling myself “I got this” over and over. Going to see how I feel in a few days, a week, 2 weeks. And I’ll go from there. Thank you so much if you made it to this point!! I know this was a novel!! (I'm a writer...I edited this about 10 times but brevity isn't one of my strong suits😬)
  3. InChristAlone

    InChristAlone

    I was in Lexapro 10 and 20mg (mostly 10) for 15 years. I was put on it when I was 19 after going through a breakup with my high school girlfriend. Also , I have dealt with minor anxiety issues most of my life and have a family history of anxiety and depression. Everything was going ok until I herniated a disc in Jan 2018. What felt like a nervous breakdown ensued. My GP stopped Lexapro cold turkey and started me on Luvox and this made things worse. I cold turkey quit everything for a couple months and things continued to get worse. My GP then put me on Effexor 150mg and Klonopin 1mg twice daily. Things improved for a while. After 6 months, I decided to taper Klonopin because I had found this site and benzobuddies. I am down to 0.25 mg of Klonopin daily and still on Effexor. I am living a life of waves and windows now. I am a middle school teacher and coach. Thankfully, God has strengthened me enough to continue to work through this WD process.
  4. I started taking MMJ two years ago to help “manage” my anxiety so I could come off of 50 mg of Amitriptyline and .50 of Klonopin. My doctor was completely on board with this as he said it’s “natural” and really wanted me off Klonopin. This past February I ended up accidentally overdosing on MMJ and started to hallucinate. I was told my metabolism must have changed and that I would have to readjust the dose. Even in my state of mind I knew that was a horrible idea and CT’ed the MMJ. I had NO idea what I was doing or what was in store for me. I was put on 2 mg of Abilify and was told that it would help “speed the withdrawal process.” I never even decreased the Amitriptyline or Klonopin the entire time I took the MMJ. I was told after a month to just stop the Abilify. I can’t even attempt to describe the terror I felt the next two months. I had de realization, depersonalization, disordered thinking, panic attacks, it goes on and on. I didn’t sleep AT ALL the first month and then the second month I was getting 1-2 hours a night. I didn’t even know that it was physically possible to go that long without sleep. I developed paradoxical insomnia as well as a fear of insomnia. I stopped the Ability after one month. I decided by the third month I would taper the Amitriptyline since I initially took it for sleep and it wasn’t helping. Did I mention I had NO idea what I was doing? I went from 50mg to 6mg in two months. I honestly was about to throw in the towel at this point and go on an antidepressant but then found this site. I knew at this point I was in PAWS from MMJ but didn’t realize cutting the Amitriptyline this fast was a contributing factor. I thought that this was my “mental illness” coming back. I increased back to 10 mg in July and am holding steady. I am currently on 10 mg Amitriptyline and .50 mg Klonopin. Seven months later I still have a lot of issues. More importantly I have a lot of hope. I worked with a wonderful hypnotist and am at the point where I don’t worry about sleep. I eat well and exercise every day. I practice gratitude and am learning to live in the moment. I still wake up every 1-2 hours a night; most nights I fall back asleep and I am grateful for that. I’m learning to observe my thoughts and use my anxiety and fear as guides. I am already the strongest person I know. I’m only starting my journey but wanted to share early hope for those that may be struggling with acceptance. I also want to thank everyone on this site, you have been a part of my journey.
  5. Was on Prozac for 3 weeks due to irritability, and generalized anxiety. I stopped cold turkey and have been experiencing symptoms that came on gradually since the last dose. I’m still having them 4 weeks later. In waves. Insomnia, derealization, brain fog, depression, dry mouth, random drooling, forgetfulness, sluggish, chills, intense anxiety and fear, brain zaps, head tingly/hot, headaches, sweats, fatigue, hyperarousal, impending doom, sensitive to light/sound, akathisia, restlessness, diarrhea, upset stomach, no appetite, weight loss, dry heaves, intrusive thoughts, jerking awake at night in fear. Lots… 🥺 is anyone else going through a similar situation and does this get better? I never felt like this before taking this antidepressant.
  6. Looking for some advice on what I should do with my Escitalopram (technically taking Escitalopram but Lexapro is easier to remember so I'm using that a lot here) dosage.. Made a lot of mistakes last week. Basically I'm a short-term Klonopin user (3 months total) who had a very rough time getting off of it. I had very extreme anxiety and burning sensations where I was basically limited to a couch. I was taking it as needed, and didn't realize I was putting myself through inter-dose withdrawals every few days. Doctor said it was my anxiety returning, and then I ended up on Lexapro because of that which made me take more Klonopin. Thankfully I found this forum else I would be in an even worse place with no hope. I tapered off the Klonopin roughly 1 month ago and I felt great for 3 weeks after. However, I'm pretty sure I've screwed up my withdrawal from Klonopin or my Lexapro taper or both. I'm hoping for a second opinion to guide me in what I should do next. Long story short I knew much better but I drank alcohol only 3 weeks after jumping off Klonopin and while fast-tapering Lexapro. I tried alcohol 1 night, thought I got away with it. And got excited to feel normal again and then drank a few more times over the week 1 or 2 drinks a night. Never felt bad the next day. Roll around to last Monday. I had a dentist visit for a cavity and received novocaine (or something like it, I don't know what they gave). A few hours after the novocaine I started getting some returning anxiety. I thought nothing of it, until the next morning I woke up feeling like I was going back into acute benzo withdrawal with extreme anxiety again. I've now been in this state for 5 days. At first I blamed myself for drinking and the novocaine, but now I've realized I've tried to taper my Lexapro too fast as well. I dropped from 9mg to basically 3mg in about a month. I know the 10% rule, I guess I just felt invisible since I was dropping fast and was a short-termer (1 month or so on 10mg when I started tapering) and seeing no withdrawal effects. My questions: 1) Is Lexapro withdrawal as anxiety intense as benzo withdrawal? Or do they feel the same? I have severe burning in my back / neck /arms and basically either sit in a ball, lay down, or have to pace the house. 2) Given that I definitely tapered Lexapro too fast, what amount of Lexapro should I updose to, to start over @ the 10% every month? If I should be updosing at all. Right now I have a pretty bad headache from going up today. I feel like I'm making all sorts of mistakes trying to fix this problem since the anxiety is pretty unbearable and unlike my previous withdrawal a few weeks ago it lasts all day with basically no windows. Any help is appreciated. I left my complete notes below. But if they need to be improved let me know. 5/24 - Started .5mg - 1 Klonopin as needed 7/20 - Started Lexapro 5mg (still on Klonopin) 7/27 - Lexapro 10mg 8/5 - Started tapering Klonopin stabilizing on a daily dose of .25mg 8/17 - Jumped at .065 (fast taper... but it seemed to work) 8/17 - Lexapro to 9mg (time to get rid of the next drug..) 8/29 - Lexapro to 6.5mg from 9mg (probably too fast but I had only been on Lexapro for a month so I felt like I could get away with it) 9/8-9/13 - Had alcohol all week sporadically (1 to 2 drinks) because I was feeling so much better. I tested with 1 drink, got away with it, and just kind of got excited.. ugh 9/13 - Lexapro was down to 2.78mg (so 8/29-9/13 6.5 to 2.78mg) way too fast I know. 9/14 - Had a dentist appointment, received probably Novocaine 9/14 - Had mild anxiety in the afternoon after Novocaine wore off 9/15 - Feels like I'm starting back into acute benzo withdrawal 9/16 - Definitely very back into acute something, feels like Benzo withdrawal with extreme feeling of anxiety and burning sensation on skin, doing laps around the house. 9/17 - Updosed Lexapro to 3.9mg 9/19 - Updosed Lexapro more to 4.46mg
  7. Male age 34. I was experiencing high anxiety from Jan 2021 to Feb 2021. After speaking with my counselor and parents I decided to take 10 mg Lexapro starting in March 4th. My anxiety went down during the first 3 weeks. And I started to feel good. About week 4 I noticed a libido change. I got scared and went cold turkey on April 2nd. For the month of April I seemed fine maybe some headaches and trouble sleeping. Then May 2nd I noticed severe libido changes. I wasn't getting an erection at all. I also noticed the week of May 2nd I had severe insomnia, chest pains, shortness of breath, felt lethargic, tired, and very anxious. The week of May 9th through May 15 I felt better. I was able to masturbate and had normal orgasm. Erection was 90 to 95% hard. During that week I was forcing myself to go run. Also decided to take supplements such as 5-HTP and MACA during lunch. Then taking Valerian Root, GABA, and D3 at night. Then this week starting May 16 I felt bad again as in the week of May 2nd to May 8 but not as severe. This is my first time trying any antidepressants. I did not understand what I was getting into. First question is will the sexual side effects fade with time or have I caused permanent damage? Second question is this just some type of withdrawal process that I just need to get through? Again I was only on 10mg Lexapro for a month. Its been 7 weeks out from stopping. Any help and advice would be very appreciated.
  8. What’s the best way to taper from klonopin ( .5x2) and also vyvanse (50) ? I suffer severe depressive bouts so stopping the vyvanse scares me, but I want off everything. Thanks!
  9. marsha-preparing-for-my-librium-taper Hi. I hope I'm in the right place because antipsychotic drugs and antidepressants and benzodiazepines have caused permanent brain damage and I have trouble navigating on this sight. Is it possible to taper off geodon before gabapentin? I have read in the Road Back Program that I must taper off gabapentin and clonazepam before I can finish tapering off geodon. I am terrified of antipsychotic drugs. I want to get off it after I finish tapering off clonazepam. I successfully completed tapering off trazodone and propranolol and have tapered the clonazepam to 1 mg and have tapered the geodon down to 80 mgs. I was misdiagnosed as having schizophrenia and now am working with a team of doctors to taper me slowly off the drugs that robbed me of my memory and pleasure and motivation. I am desperate to get off these terrible drugs. Especially the clonazepam and geodon. I'm tapering off slowly the clonazepam right now. I have read that if you taper off geodon before gabapentin and clonazepam it increases the clearance time of clonazepam and gabapentin by as much as 50% causing you to go into clonazepam and gabapentin withdrawal even without lowering the dosage of the clonazepam and gabapentin. However, I have also read in the book "Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal" by Peter breggin md that you should make it a priority to get off the antipsychotic drug first especially if you are non psychotic. My doctor thinks I can just stop taking the geodon but I know that is wrong. I appreciate any help you can give me.
  10. Hi Everyone, Sorry about any misspellings or rambling/fragmented sentences. I'm in the middle of a wave of high anxiety with severe insomnia. I figured it was time to give this a shot. I've been on and off Lexapro since 2014, mostly on. I had never taken a medication my whole life, barely took headache meds. Very active my whole life. I had flare ups of anxiety since I was a young child but I never knew what it was and just powered through. I'd always distract myself by working out, running, video games, etc. In 2012 my four year old son was having a lot of health issues and the doctors had him going through a lot of tests. This went on for over a year. My wife was scared, my son was scared, I was terrified. The cancer word was being thrown around. I was a ball of nerves, I couldn't outrun the anxiety this time. Our GP suggested I try an AD. I wasn't sure but my family really pushed me to try it as a crutch. I started taking Zoloft in March 2014 and I took it for 3 months. It made me insanely tired. I stopped working out and I could barely get out of bed in the morning. I wasn't anxious but I wasn't happy so I talked to my GP and he said I could just stop. I CT'd and got some minor brain zaps but nothing too bad. About a month later I had a full blown panic attack in Target, my first ever panic attack. It absolutely floored me. Then I had another panic attack a few weeks after that. I went to the hospital, got checked out and was told talk to my GP and see a psych. GP said you didn't like Zoloft, try Effexor. Also was told this was my mental illness progressing and now I would need this meds. I took Effexor that night and after about 3 hours I had worse anxiety I've ever had. Called GP practice, they said keep taking. I took it 3 more days and had to leave work and go to the hospital. I was in terrible shape with extremely high blood pressure and manic. I went inpatient where I saw a psych doc who put me on Lexapro 20mg and Klonopin 1 mg a day. I got out a week later and was allowed to work from home. I ended up back at work 2 months later after I started to feel better. I wasn't great but I could deal. You know the deal. Better more days than not. I started to gain weight, I stopped exercising, and I stopped socializing with family and friends. In July 2016 I started a taper. I went down 5mg a month and jumped in Oct 2016. I had a bad two weeks after every drop but got through. In January 2017, 3 months after I jumped off Lexapro, I started to get bad anxiety again. I was still on the Klonopin, now 1.5mg a day. It didn't help. My psych believed this was not withdrawal but my symptoms coming out again. She put me on Prozac and I had another bad reaction. Three days in I started having panic attacks and I ended up with insomnia for a month. I ended up back in the hospital where they put me back on Lexapro 20mg. I ended up getting more out of shape and lethargic. My BP, Cholesteral, and Sugar were up. I started CBT and pushed myself to exercise. I could not lose weight. I ended up finding a psych doc in my area that is great at tapering off benzos. So I joined a Benzo recovery discord and became active on Benzo Buddies. I tapered off 1.5 mg of Klonopin from December 2018 to December 2019. Actually took my last dose on Xmas eve. Coming of the benzo was terrible but I did it. It was a long terrible year. Next I turned my attention to the Lexapro and my psych doc got me liquid and I went down 1 mg every week from February 2020 to August 2020. When I jumped in August I had about 2 weeks of pretty bad symptoms but they resided over time. I was doing really well, very active and getting good rest. All of sudden I woke up insanely anxious last Thursday and it's been that way since. I'm having insomnia, insane anxiety, not hungry, face flushed, gastro issues and constant fight or flight. Just coming here for some type of support.
  11. Unsure if I'm posting in the right place but this is somewhat of an introduction. 1.5 years ago I started on 20mg of Prozac for OCD. There was restlessness with starting but it went away. Gradually I tapered down to 10mg of Prozac which I was on for a full year. 2 months ago, I felt the sudden onset of a a very severely agitated feeling. It was very vague but I can pinpoint the exact moment I noticed it -- I was sitting, doing nothing remarkable, and unstressed. I had felt something like this before throughout my treatment but it was very very temporary and felt more like an agitated depression brought on by external circumstances. When this feeling started I could not pinpoint anything else as the cause. Things were good in all parts of my life. I had not messed with the dosage of Prozac at all for a year. Is it still possible that the Prozac is causing this long term agitation/akathisia that I still experience today? A month into the feeling I decided to taper off Prozac completely. I experienced very little withdrawal...just mild headaches and dizziness. The akathisia didn't get worse or better. But it is still quite bad. And the longer it continues the more hopeless I become and probably the more depressed as well because I can't see a life without this agitation anymore. Started on some Klonopin to treat the restlessness and help me sleep. Has anyone else experienced akathisia without a dose change? And also only being on a low dose?
  12. 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.
  13. Moderator note: Link to Nikki74's benzo thread: lexapro kindling akasthesia Mirtazipine diazepam Help. i recently stopped lexapro after a short taper from ten to five mg over 9 days. i had been on 20mg since 2011 then tapered quickly in June and stopped. This was a few weeks after stopping pregabalin 150mg v abruptly. all this time I was also on 15mg Mirtazipine. my anxiety went crazy and gp told me to double Mirtazipine dose to 30. I lasted 3 weeks of hellish symptoms and was put on diazepam and Zopiclone. im now off Zopiclone which was tough. 6 weeks ago GP told me to go back to 15mg Mirtazipine and add in 10mg lexapro. This didn't help so now have stopped lexapro three days ago but took 2.5 mg last night as am feeling withdrawal. gp wants me to start tapering diazepam as I'm getting worse akasthesia when it wears off or even a paradoxical reaction to it. i have akasthesia. Insomnia. Severe anxiety. Shaking. Muscle weakness. Obsessive thoughts and suicidal ideation as cannot go on like this. The only brief ride break I get is the 15mg Mirtazipine which calms me for 2-3 hours. How can I go on? i am a single mum and have CFS already for many years. do I stay off the Lexapro now? How do I cope with withdrawals, akasthesia, and tapering diazepam?? I take 7mg a day been on it three months. i can't stop in one place and am smoking (just tobacco) every half hour. i got sober in 2013. this is hell.
  14. Hi Everyone, I’m looking for advice and support. Last February I began what I thought was a slow withdrawal from zoloft. I tapered from 150mg down to 25mg in the span of 6 months. I went to 25mg on July 1st and a little over a month later I started to notice profound feelings of helplessness/despair, monumental anxiety, increased panic attacks, and this overwhelming feeling that the ground was going to open up and swallow me. To complicate matters, I’d been taking xanax to “help” with the panic/anxiety—maybe .25 or .5mg every other day. As I can tapered the zoloft, I began to notice interdose withdrawal from the xanax. On 8/24/19, I cold-turkeyed off xanax, thinking it was doing more harm than good. After a couple weeks of Hell (becoming truly paranoid, not eating, waking up with lightning bolts through my head, nightmares, and just overall terror, I upped my zoloft to 50mg. Close to hospitalization, I called my psychiatrist and he said to go to 100mg of zoloft and start klonopin. 100mg of zoloft was too much, and so I went to 75mg, where I’ve been for the past 14 days. I am taking .25 to .5mg klonopin every morning. My question is this: How long does it take to get stable? Everyday I have intense fear/anxiety and I have developed agoraphobia. The abrupt xanax cessation brought back ptsd symptoms. I’m not working right now and very isolated. I want to begin tapering again as soon as possible because I feel like both these drugs are contributing to my intense fear/anxiety. Any suggestions/ideas are more than welcome. Thank you. (Oh, and I’ve been on zoloft for... 10 years and before that luvox, prozac for shorter stints. Also on xanax & klonopin as needed for 15 years but only recently was taking xanax frequently). Thank you so much.
  15. Hello: I am here after a person on another forum (BenzoBuddies) alerted me to the existence of this one when I queried if anyone there had experience with tapering/eliminating Aripiprazole (Abilify). I am currently working on titrating down from the Clonazepam I have been taking. I have hopes of eliminating all the medications listed in my signature, in time. Once I have eliminated the Clonazepam, I would next like to work on the aripiprazole, then the Mirtazapine. I have only very occasionally used the alprazolam. So, I do not see that as a real hurdle. There is an erroneous date listed in my signature. It should be 2012. If someone could guide me in editing it, I would sure appreciate it. It was kind of a mystery just to create it. I hope to find some useful information and encouragement here. I did a big drop of the Clonazepam (50%) on September 19, as instructed by my doctor. Withdrawal symptoms were uncomfortable, but not terrible. Days 1-3 met me with needing a bit more time falling asleep. Days 15-21 met me with some irritability, headache (most days), one night of insomnia, a few days of mild depression and some free-floating anxiety. Day 22 and onward, the aforementioned symptoms were gone and I was feeling better than what was my normal self. I am glad for this. After reading a lot of information (Professor Ashton's manual & on the BenzoBuddies forum), I decided to continue with reducing the Clonazepam at a rate of 25% every 14 days. Yes, I know it is more than recommended (5-10%), but I believe I am capable of proceeding at this rate and take comfort in the fact that I can always adjust my dosing, if needed. My dose tonight will be ~.4700. When I began taking the medications (in 2001), I was diagnosed with PTSD and Major Depressive Disorder (without psychotic symptoms). I did spend some time in a psychiatric hospital (~3.5 weeks), during which time several different medications were tried/thrown at me. I don't remember all of them (prozac & paxil, are two that were tried...). I did not take any but the Clonazepam longer than a few days/weeks. Oh, except lamictal. I took that for about 6 months (in 2001). Almost forgot about that one. A couple other antidepressants were tried just before I began taking the Mirtazapine in 2010: Effexor, Celexa and Trazadone. They all made me feel loopy, so I rejected them. Sleep is what I needed and the Mirtazapine helped to deliver that. The Abilify was a depression add-on which did seem to give me an overall improved affect/mood. Since 2001, I have remained steadfastly committed to and deeply engaged in an in-depth therapeutic relationship (with a couple practitioners). As a result, I have achieved a complete psychological, emotional and spiritual make-over. Over the course of the past couple years, I have questioned if I really have a need to continue taking the medications, for I simply am not the same person I was 17 years, 10 years, 5 years or even 1 year ago. It is my deep hope and desire that I will eliminate the medications. It will be very nice to see who I am today, without the medications. That's my history, in a nutshell. Cleerity
  16. Hello! Just discovered this forum recently. It has been an eye opener in how to get off psychiatric medications. Wish I knew about this in the beginning! I have been struggling with anxiety since I was young. Anxiety use to be nothing to me and as an anxious person, it kept me focused and in the moment. I always exercise and try to eat healthy. Im 35 years old. In the last few years, my anxiety has become different. I can say it also has been a stressful last few years with life changes and feeling more weight on my shoulder. One time during late 2016, I experienced what may have been an anxiety or panic attack (sweating, heart racing, racing thoughts, feeling impending doom, etc), then just feeling unusual and uncomfortable being in different places, waking up suddenly gasping for air with my heart racing, and head pressures everyday. I went to a doctor and everything was normal. She said to try zoloft. Im not someone that likes taking medication everyday. So I rejected her offer to try zoloft. Afterwards, I saw a psychiatrist and from what I told her, she diagnosed me with generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder. She wanted me on Klonopin and Lexapro. I also did not go through with the med recommendations. I thought with time and just keeping busy, these symptoms would go away. With time, I was sorta getting better. But I was still dealing with daily head pressures, waking up gasping for air, heart racing at night and being in places where there is alot of movement going on (big crowds). In 2018, I went to see a neurologist for the head pressures and anxiety. She prescribed me Elavil for two months. I thought that Elavil was not like the other medication types that were mentioned a year ago by my doctor and other psychiatrist. So I went ahead and tried Elavil at 10 mg everyday for two months. During those two months, I felt relief from daily head pressures but still was dealing with gasping for air at night and heart racing at times. My neurologist said its ok to stop Elavil after two months so I stopped it. I dont think I felt any withdrawals or any different after stopping Elavil. However, it wasnt until after about 3 months I stopped that things went totally off. It started with sleep. One night, i couldnt fall asleep and didnt have that strong feeling of tiredness or deep sleep that I usually do. My anxiety was heightened because of the fear of not sleeping and not having that feeling of deep sleep. However, I did have nights afterwards where I could sleep but only a few hours but I wasnt able to do a full 8 hrs. So I guess I had fragmented sleep following that night. I believe my anxiety went to another level. Watching tv felt strange, I had ringing in my ears, and my heart would race when I was driving at times on the road. After work one time, I became desperate for sleeping normal again that i saw a different psychiatrist. He diagnosed me as bipolar and put me on zyprexa (5 mg) and klonopin (0.50mg) to begin with. I told him I wasnt bipolar and just had anxiety issues. Anyways, I went ahead and took the zyprexa and was able to get alot of sleep on it. After a month on zyprexa, I tried stopping it abruptly. Bad choice. I could sleep for days and my anxiety got so bad. I ended up back on zyprexa and taking klonopin daily. In the start of 2019, I switched psychiatrists and went to another one thinking I can get off the meds and be back to my normal self. This new psychiatrist diagnosed me with GAD and panic disorder. She said I was on the wrong meds and to try a third med lexapro on top of the other two meds zyprexa and klonopin. I did lexapro for a week starting at 5 mg but had a manic episode on it so I stopped it after a week. Afterwards, she said to try zoloft. I did zoloft at 25 mg for a week but didnt feel comfortable being on a third med so I stopped it. For months, I was stuck on zyprexa (5 mg) and klonopin (0.25 mg). Everyday just felt like torture at work. I was able to function but I still felt uncomfortable being in different places. However, I did notice that during the months of 2019, I didnt have head pressures and rarely woke up gasping for air. I did at times have my heart racing. I must say that I was able to nap sometimes during the day being on these two meds and felt a sense of sleepiness at times. In August, I switched psychiatrists again. I saw a third psychiatrist based on online reviews and word of mouth. When I told him what I was going through, he said I had GAD and panic disorder. He wanted me to switched from zyprexa to seroquel since it had chemicals that would be better for me. So I went from 25 mg to 50 mg of seroquel and 5 to 2.5 mg of zyprexa in a month span. He said to go off of the 2.5 mg zyprexa but I told him I wanted to taper more. I was afraid that I would experience what I had from the time I ct’d zyprexa the first time. When I went down on zyprexa starting in August, I didnt notice much difference in how I felt. I went down further to 1.25 mg and now around 0.625 mg. So basically, I held each dose for a few weeks. Having discovered this group recently and now the 10 percent rule, I feel scared as to my taper off zyprexa. Right now, Im on Seroquel (75 mg), Zyprexa (0.625 mg and tapering very slowly), and Klonopin (0.25 mg). I feel bad now that I did 50% reductions in the beginning for zyprexa and didnt start the 10% rule until I got lower. I went by how I was feeling going down and didnt really experience any difference going down on zyprexa from August to this month. I still cannot sleep without medication which has now been seroquel. Id love to know your input about this situation and if what Im doing is ok so far. Also, what may have messed up my sleep to begin with if it was because of my anxiety or maybe stopping the Elavil to begin with may have contributed to sleep problems. Medication history: April 15 2018 to June 15 2018: Amitriptyline (10 mg) stopped after 2 months. Not sure about withdrawals. October 2018: Olanzapine (5 mg) November 2018: Olanzapine (5 mg) Klonopin (0.50 mg) December 2018: Olanzapine (5 mg) Klonopin (0.25 mg) January 2019: Lexapro (5 mg) stopped after 1 week. No sign of withdrawals. zoloft (25 mg) stopped after 1 week. No sign of withdrawals. Olanzapine (5 mg) Klonopin (0.25 mg) February 2019 to July 2019: Olanzapine (5 mg) Klonopin (0.25 mg) August 2019: Seroquel (25 mg to 50 mg) Olanzapine (2.5 mg) Klonopin (0.25 mg) September 2019: Seroquel (50 to 75 mg) Olanzapine (1.25 mg) Klonopin (0.25 mg) October 2019 to December 2019: Seroquel (75 mg) Olanzapine (0.625 mg) Klonopin (0.25 mg)
  17. 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.
  18. Admin note: link to benzo forum thread - Ichabod: Could somebody help? Benzo problems Hello guys, I am new here. I do apologise in advance for my English (I am italian). I would prefer not to bother you with my personal experience as it is probably similar to many others you got across, but I d need some encouragement because I am alone in this struggle. Briefly... I went on Paroxetine ten years ago for panic attacks. It helped but the side effects were brutal. I tried many times to quit it but I experienced all the withdrawal symptoms that my doctor confused with relapse and that scared me to hell and he always put me back on it. Two years ago I met a girl I felt in love with and I decided to quit it once for all, no matter what (primarily because of the sexual side effects). I asked my doctor to help me and he said to come off of it in a month (like I did the other times). I tried it again but what I felt was overwhelming. So I decided to do it by myself tapering slowly using a liquid form. It took me 7 months of pain but I really didn't know what to do and I couldn't find anybody to help while my doctor continued saying to go back on it. I felt really debilitated but after I finished tapering I noticed I was still in prolonged withdrawal. That was a shock because I was always reassured that once the drug was out of my body I would have been ok. I took my last dose on july 2019. I kept using klonopin as prescribed but I noticed I was really sick. Finally, in january, after a lot of research I found Professor Giovanni Fava who told me that I was in post acute withdrawal syndrome. It was a sort of relief being validated finally but also terrifying. I started researching and what I found out was shocking...people in withdrawal for years, pssd... it was to much. I started thinking about suicide. I was in a really bad place. Giovanni Fava's plan is to help me get rid of all this addiction so he put me on 5mg of amitriptyline in order to stabilize the situation a little bit while tapering klonopin. Then he will take me off amitriptyline . I am writing you in order to ask some encouragement and reassurance because I am completely alone (I have no family) and I don't know how long my girlfriend will stay by my side (she is getting tired of seeing me sick and she would like to plan a future. I don't blame her... plus, sex is pretty bad. I had moments when it was great followed by long periods of time when it was non existent. I don't function like I did and I really don't know if this is pssd or still withdrawal and if I will ever get back to normal). I feel betrayed by the modern medicine... if I knew what could have happened I would have never took Paxil in the first place. I came across this website and decided to write you in order to find some tips on how to go on in life and to ask you if it will ever get better. For sure I developed now sone sort of ptsd. Sorry I bothered and thank you in advance.
  19. Moderator note: link to benzo thread - Nolongeranxiousbut: lexapro/klonopin which to taper... see pdoc tomorrow hi all, I'm a new member. I had a medical incident (still dealing with but a lot has gotten better) that caused anxiety and insomnia back in October. Things got worse and I started medicines with a psychiatrist Jan 2nd for the first time. Was started on klonopin and Lexapro. Tapered lexapro two weeks up to 10mg. Klonopin was also increased to try and help with sleep up to 1.125 mg a day - 1 mg at night and .125 in the morning. Didn't help sleeping through the night. I did have 5 days above 1.125 mg a day - 1 day at 1.75, 1 day at 1.625 and 3 days at 1.25. Those were nighttime increases to 1.25 and 1.5 which didn't help. My pdoc is new (less than 1.5 years in practice) and had only ever heard of a klonopin withdrawal once when one of her 20+ year patients at .5mg at night didn't get her script refilled. She believes I feel what I feel from my one klonopin cut - down to .75 at night setting alarm to take at 2:30 in the morning as found Feb 21 that I no longer had anxiety keeping me from falling asleep which was a huge improvement and I enjoy sleeping naturally 4 hours... but hate getting up to take the required klonopin - she said... you can cut from 1 mg to 0! so no issue cutting .75 to .5 uhm, no. I had brain fog some of those early post-taper days but now down to headaches mostly from jaw clenching and gassiness (treating with beano and gasX). No increased anxiety. The stomach and jaw clenching (saw dentist and fitted for night lower mouthguard which I'll get this week) but also feel like want to clench and have to focus not to clench during day - started Feb 19th. I dropped the klonopin 10 Feb. I did go back up to 1 mg a night Feb 18 and 19 and .875 at night Feb 20. I had been sleeping with addition of benadryl and it had dried out my mouth so I had stopped and was hoping the klonopin .25 early in the evening would help with falling asleep. Anyhow... my pdoc doesn't think the jaw clenching is from the klonopin drop and wants me to reduce my lexapro. She suggested 10mg to 7.5mg but was open to liquid so I have 5mg pills and 1mg/ml liquid now. I haven't started. I still have good/bad days of headaches and gassiness - mostly don't start until late afternoon and better by the time I go to bed. The last 3 days I had two days completely good and then yesterday with headache and stomach upset from the gassiness. Has anyone here had relief reducing lexapro from 10 to 7.5 for jaw clenching? With two drugs it's hard to really know which it's from. If I drop I'll only do 5 or 10% on the lexapro and hold to wait to see if withdrawal symptoms. But I've also been trying to decide if I should try and reduce the klonopin a little more. So hard to figure out what to do first! And I expect I should wait longer although I read the stomach problems might be long term so not sure I can outwait that if I want to do another taper of something.
  20. Admin note: link to Rafatennis' benzo thread - Rafatennis: Clonazepam and Nortriptylene Withdrawal Really enjoyed reading the information by the administrator on this site. I too was sold on the idea that I needed to reduce a benzo Clonazepam before the Nortriptylene but have had little success. When I read that its best to taper off the activating AD first it made total sense. I'm currently holding at 1.5mg clonazepam and have recently started reducing the AD, dropped from 25mg to 23mg over the last two weeks using the water titration method from this site, what I did was put the 25mg capsule of Nort into 25 ml of water and shook the combination and drew out 2ml of the combination for a 2mg reduction. Lat night after two weeks I dropped to 20mg. My question is do I continue to reduce by 2mg all the way to zero or use some different % ratio. Thanks and glad to be connected with this group,
  21. Free from Zoloft and Benzos After 25+ Years of Use One-year post taper “success story” – http://survivingantidepressants.org Elbee (male) - August 27, 2020 At the time of this success story post, I have passed the one-year mark (15+ months) living drug-free. I am speaking to you from “the other side” of hell to let you know I made it through the nightmare of psychiatric drug withdrawal -- and so can you. I want to start by saying that everyone’s withdrawal from psychiatric drugs is going to differ – no two paths are the same. While there will be commonalities in what we each experience, there will also be differences. I also believe that none of us are uniquely or irreparably “broken,” and that each of us can find a path to living much fuller, healthier lives in greater freedom. To be clear, I had doubts throughout this process . . . believing that somehow, I was MORE “broken,” and that I wouldn’t find my way out of the darkness. But the natural, innate healing power we each possess is profoundly AWESOME, and it quietly, patiently works in the background in each of our lives. . . even if we can’t see it, and even if we don’t trust it. For me, the psychiatric drug withdrawal / tapering process turned out to be an invitation to learn how to live my life differently. It became clear to me in this journey that I could never go back to some idealized place I vaguely imagined myself clinging to . . . I could only move forward to somewhere I had not yet been. I need to be honest: It is still hard to revisit and write about just how painful this drug withdrawal process was. Now that I’m feeling so much better, a part of me wants to forget the whole ordeal . . . as if looking in a rear-view mirror, driving ever-further away. And the reality is that this rear-view mirror perspective is very much real -- I’m SO grateful not to be suffocating in such intense pain anymore! But it is also true I will carry the scars of this experience with me for the rest of my life. It is clear to me now that some of me died through this drug withdrawal process. It is also true that the most precious parts of me came back to life. And I am still healing. I was very much disabled through the most intensive parts of the drug taper. I was on these psych drugs for panic attacks, anxiety, and depression my entire adult life, over 25 years. Additionally, I was drinking alcohol abusively, and relying on multiple pots of coffee and a pack of cigarettes to get me through each day. Even before I had decided to get off the meds, I was utterly exhausted most of the time, barely functional, and unconsciously stumbling through life like a zombie. I knew I had to fundamentally change how I was living. The first step in my detox efforts was to quit alcohol in April of 2014, 30 years after taking my first drink as a kid. Thankfully, I was able to release alcohol from my life relatively easily. Whatever boost alcohol had given me previously was gone, and it was clear to me as a 44 year old man that the devastating hangovers I experienced were getting more difficult. Then, over that following summer and under doctor supervision, I “tapered” entirely off both the Lorazepam and Zoloft that I had been taking for 24 years. I experienced tons of anxiety in the process, but I did it, and after the 4-month ordeal, I thought I was in the clear. Unfortunately, about six weeks after taking my last dose of Zoloft, what I now know to be protracted withdrawal hit, and my life spun into a depth of hell that words cannot describe. Instead of re-instating the same drugs I had been taking, the doctors took me on an 8-month “trial-and-error” roller coaster ride of psychiatric drug experimentation. I finally ended up on higher doses of the drugs I had originally quit, plus Remeron added in for good measure. Through all of this, I landed in a very bad place – exhausted, functionally disabled, unable to work, and unsure what to do next. I had some savings in the bank I could live on for a few years, so I decided to “hole up” to do a new taper, following the much slower tapering protocol of the SurvivingAntidepressants.org website. But my savings were limited, so I used the 10% reduction protocol as a baseline, and pushed the taper as fast as I could without killing myself in the process. I’m not sure I would suggest this approach to anyone else, but in my situation, that’s what I did. Note: I’m going to refrain from listing out all the symptomatic horrors I experienced (there were many) as I write this success story. Here is the link, if you’re interested, to my introductory thread which details my four-year psychiatric drug withdrawal process: https://www.survivingantidepressants.org/topic/11862-%E2%98%BC-elbee-25-years-of-meds/ And I want to take a moment here to say how incredibly grateful I am to @Altostrata, @Shep @brassmonkey, @bubble, @apace41, @Gridley, @Rhiannon (her writings), @JanCarol, @KarenB, @ChessieCat, @Petunia, @scallywag and all the folks at SurvivingAntidepressants.org who helped save my life. I also came across Robert Whitaker’s book, Anatomy of an Epidemic around the same time I found this site, and from these resources, I knew I had stumbled into truth. It became clear to me that so much of what the mainstream medical establishment had told me about these drugs, and about my so-called “chemical imbalance,” was false -- I had been lied to. SurvivingAntidepressants.org helped me anchor into this truth and set me on a new course. THANK YOU! With these new resources, I came to understand that getting off the drugs wasn’t just a simple matter of refraining from ingesting chemicals, or even about waiting for those chemicals to dissipate out of my body. I learned that my brain had restructured itself around the presence of the drugs all these years and that by removing the drugs, my brain would have to, very slowly, restructure itself again to a healthy state. The metaphor of a plant (my brain) growing on a trellis (the drugs) for support is so profound to me. How can I expect to abruptly rip out the trellis and think that it won’t damage the plant in devastating ways? This metaphor was such a clear illustration to me of how a neuroplastic human brain builds tolerance, and how we can so easily become entangled in the physiological mechanisms of addiction. And to be very clear, our brains develop tolerance to psychiatric drugs just like they do street drugs, and the mechanics of addiction and withdrawal in each are the same. Gaining this knowledge and allowing it to sink in was probably one of the most important early milestones in my healing process. In preparing for writing this success story, I re-read my entire introductory thread. Several pivotal posts stood out to me as other milestones in my healing process, and while this testimonial might go long, I think it could be useful to touch on some of them . . . In my very first post, I am already talking about the value of meditation. Sitting with myself quietly and focusing on my breath helped me slow down my mind and learn to relax. As I continued with the practice, though, I began experiencing periods of discomfort. I had initially taken the psychiatric drugs to avoid feeling uncomfortable feelings, and as I practiced meditating space was again created for those feelings to arise. Learning to slowly sit with and tolerate whatever thoughts and feelings arose began to nullify my need to run away, and therefore, lesson my urge to drug the discomfort. Meditation became a cornerstone of my self-care practice, and self-care is what I ultimately found to replace the drugs. Next milestone -- about a year later, I wrote an entry about a decision I was struggling with on whether to consult with a renowned psychiatrist. A relative was able to get me an appointment for a psychiatric medication evaluation from a “leader in the field” (at the bargain price of $2,000). Looking back, it was then I decided I no longer believed in the efficacy of psychiatric drugs, nor the system that deals in them. I wrote: Next, in the summer of 2016, still early in my tapering and recovery process, I went on a 111-day, 9,000-mile solo road trip across the U.S. In retrospect, I was probably looking for something “out there” that was missing “in here.” I did a four-day vision fast in the wilderness, hiked a 14,000-foot mountain, roamed Death Valley, did a week-long silent meditation retreat, camped under redwoods, hiked numerous National Parks, etc. Was it really a good idea to take this pilgrimage in such a compromised state? I can’t say for sure, but it’s what I did, and I think it cracked through defenses that needed to open. In the Hoh Forest of Olympic National Park in Washington state, I experienced a release of emotions like I had never felt before. It was in that moment I finally realized that releasing stored emotional blockages could ease my anxiety: Another milestone: Upon returning home to Florida later that fall, I dove more deeply into my involvement with the Adult Children of Alcoholics and Dysfunctional Families (ACA) 12-Step program. In conjunction with doing EMDR with a skilled, compassionate trauma therapist, ACA helped me crack through layers of protective childhood denial that I had carried into adulthood. Some people advise NOT deliberately digging into the unconscious too much while going through psychiatric drug withdrawal, but my path has been that of heavy digging. I accepted living in a disabled state for a period of time and felt that if I was going to get off these drugs, I needed to address what drove me to take them in the first place. By early summer of 2017, my commitment to this recovery approach had strengthened. Along with addressing the trauma associated with childhood family dysfunction, I opened another door . . . into the shame and terror I experienced hiding as a closeted young gay boy and gay teen. I had initially come out 25 years earlier at age 20 (the same time I started taking the psych drugs), but that was only part of my truth I was hiding. The secrets of my sexual orientation were built upon the secrets of having grown up in family dysfunction: Homophobia turned out to be compounding trauma, and I had been living in a closet within a closet. I had more inner work to do. Perhaps one of my most significant milestones was realizing how important it was for me to take the lead in my healing, and how easily I had deferred to the “expertise of authorities” in my life. By June of 2017, I had navigated my way off the benzos completely, and I recognized the importance of building an internal sense of trust – connecting with my more authentic self to discover a new inner compass. Despite appearing outwardly confident most of my life, inner trust was something I lacked. By allowing myself to fully feel, I had opened to recognizing my own authentic needs, to directly and respectfully communicating my needs, and to setting healthy limits and boundaries. By learning these important skills that I had missed earlier in life, I discovered greater internal trust with myself, and greater discernment in trusting others. By January of 2018, I had another important insight: I more fully recognized I was going through an internal chemical withdrawal process in addition to detoxing from the drugs I was ingesting. Behavioral (or process) compulsions and addictions all have physiological and neurological correlates, and I had been heavily “dosing” throughout my life using my own “internal drug store.” This realization profoundly shifted my perspective on my psychiatric drug withdrawal process, seeing it in a more comprehensive context. A lot of my recovery has involved working with an “inner critic” that had been driving me most of my life, born and sustained from a lack of unconditional love. Ironically, this harshness was so pervasive that I had never consciously known it was there. My inner critic constantly pushed me into the extremes of all-nothing thinking. Again, meditative practices more than anything helped me identify this was going on, and ACA reparenting (inner child work) has allowed me to soften it. By the end of 2018, I started discovering something that had evaded me my whole life – moderation, and a general sense of “OK-ness.” By April 2019, I had found a new pace in life to accompany my new inner compass, and I was nearing the full completion of my psychiatric drug taper. I was one-year benzo-free at this point, and at times, I was overwhelmed with heights of new sensations and emotions. I was feeling things I hadn’t experienced since I was a teenager because I had been drugged my entire adult life. It was overpowering in many ways, but I was so grateful to be “awakening” to a much more fully human life. On April 28, 2019, I was finally free from Zoloft, and my psychiatric drug taper was complete. I had found a way out of the darkness, and I had survived. I couldn’t remember having ever felt so alive. So, while this isn’t my entire recovery story, I’m fulfilling my promise to report back and share my continuing journey with others. Where do things stand today, 15 months after taking a psychiatric drug for the last time ever? No need to panic. I’m not experiencing depersonalization, derealization (DP/DR), or panic attacks in frightening ways. I do still feel what I might call different states of consciousness, but often there is a positive, expansive quality to these experiences. Perhaps some might call this bliss? I haven’t really found ways to talk about it yet clearly, but I don’t experience panic attacks in the ways I used to. I still have fears of them returning, but less so with time. I also get “eerie” feelings now and again, but I have found ways to work with that when it happens, and it doesn’t usually last long. Scariest weirdness has ceased. Most of the “unexplainable” adverse reactions I experienced don’t happen anymore. I would get terrible flu-like symptoms for days at a time . . . hot flashes and chills, body aches, cramps, twitches, headaches, fogginess and disorientation, exhaustion, etc. Sometimes my heart would start racing for no apparent reason, or I would have trouble breathing. I had chronic digestion issues. I had intense agoraphobia, even paranoia at times. I had problems making the simplest decisions. All of this, for the most part, has subsided. Consistent rest. My sleep has changed dramatically, and I’m so grateful. I have struggled with sleep my entire life . . . unable to fall asleep at night and feeling anxious and “hungover” with crippling anxiety each morning. For as long as I can remember, I wanted nothing more than to sleep “normally” from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. and wake-up feeling well-rested. Today, more times than not, my sleep resembles very much what I used to wish for. I wrote an entry summarizing what I’ve done to address my sleep issues here. Keep gently working with triggers. I still have intense anxiety at times and find myself in hypervigilant states. I’ve come to understand this as a trauma response, and I can usually identify what has triggered me and/or how my inner critic has become activated. I’ve developed self-care routines that help to reduce these reactions, and that help me come out of this state much more quickly and easily. Some old wounds have healed permanently – some things that used to trigger me no longer do. AND I want to emphasize there are days now, thankfully, I live virtually anxiety-free. Self-care (reparenting) is my new drug. I had SO much resistance to doing self-care my whole life (for many reasons I won’t get into here). And by self-care, I don’t mean treating myself to a spa day (though that probably doesn’t hurt). I mean the day-in and day-out routines of physically, intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually tending to myself like I’m the most precious being in the world. Self-care is what got me to where I am today, and it will be the practice of my lifetime. Don’t overdo it. As my life continues to get fuller, I can easily start “checking-out” again. If I stay dissociated for too long, I will pay for it. If I overcommit while on autopilot, I will have adverse reactions when I reconnect with myself. If I try to shortcut too much on the self-care, I will most definitely feel it, and I will struggle. Moving forward, I have to be very careful not to take on too much too quickly, and simply take next best steps. The worst is over. I’ve come to accept that I will never know how much of the excruciating symptoms I experienced these past years were due directly to the psychiatric drug withdrawal, versus how much was due to all the “inner work” I was doing. What I can say is that the symptoms from folks going through psychiatric drug withdrawal and folks doing inner transformative (trauma) work tend to be very much the same. It’s uncanny really, and I can’t explain it. But these two processes seem to very much mirror each other. What I can say is that while there will still be “windows and waves” as my brain keeps healing, and while I still have more “inner work” to do, I’m confident the heaviest lifting for me is done now. Perhaps most indicative of the healing I’ve experienced, I’m feeling well enough now that I’m back in school earning a Master’s in Social Work (MSW) – I’m going to become a therapist. While I’m a bit uneasy stepping towards healthcare systems that betrayed me so deeply, I also feel this is how I can be of most benefit. I’ve come to fully believe that my wounds are intrinsically linked to my gifts, and as I continue to heal my wounds, my gifts will become increasingly available. I’ve been doing volunteer work for some time now, which has helped me to “move back out into the world,” and I hope to transition into paid work soon. I’ve been meeting with people in support capacities, and I envision “coaching” people at some point until I more formally earn my credentials. I plan to be very open about my history with psychiatric drugs, as well as my recovery process. I journaled extensively all throughout my recovery process, and perhaps I will share the “long version” of my story in the future (yes, this is the short version). For now, writing this success story is an important next step in my “coming out.” Thank you for witnessing my healing. Elbee-Success-Story_Free from Zoloft and Benzos After 25 years on them.pdf
  22. Wolverine

    Wolverine

    I have been on AD's for about 20 years. Don't know why, but about 4 years ago I started having some side effects (face and lips tingling, mouth watering and or weird taste) from what we thought was from AD's. During these past 4 years, my psyc. has prescribed about every AD out there I think with same results...very frustrating process to the point I've had suicidal ideations numerous times. Really been a struggle! About 2 months ago I reached a point where I felt nothing was going to work and decided I wanted to be "med free"...purge my body of these meds and start fresh. I didn't quit cold turkey, but it was a half ass tapering to say the least...about 2 weeks. The last 2 months have been hell and I don't know how long I can take it. Symptoms include: continued face and lips tingling, mouth watering or dry, achy, hand tremors/numb feeling, very very irritable/angry, stomach issues, headaches, anxiety, fatigue. I don't know what to do...I can't continue to be on AD's because the side effects from them. And so far, being off them the withdrawal symptoms are unbearable. HELP! Med History (best of my knowledge, especially the last 4 years) 2001-2013: celexa, xanax 2013-2017: lexapro, klonopin 2017-present: effexor, wellbutrin, trintellix, rexulti, buspar, prozac, lithium, paxil, celexa(again), lexapro(again), gabapentin. I know I'm forgetting some but that's all I can remember right now. I do continue to consult with PCP, Psychiatrist, Therapist but yet to find comfort or answers. I learned of this site today while googling "withdrawal symptoms" and hope to find light at the end of the tunnel. Thanks Sincerely, Wolverine
  23. I stopped Viibryd approximately 8 months ago. I was on it for 8 years. I felt much better and tapered. I still had the anxiety and found that I became even more stressed at work. A few weeks ago, I highlighted my hair with a touch up kit along the top and sides, and I left it on too long. ( was suppose to leave it on 10 min and left it on for 30). The next day (Easter), I was at a restaurant and all of a sudden my scalp felt like it was on fire, and the burning travelled to my shoulders, arms, and legs. I went to the dermatologiest the next day and he couldnt really see anything, but gave me some liquid steroid to use. I used it for 5 days but it burned badly when i used it, so he told me to stop. I have since gone to my doctor who thinks it could be anxiety, or it could be that the nerves on the scalp are irritated. Each time I get stressed, I can feel the burn starting again and traveling. It is very distressing. Perhaps this has nothing to do with the hair dye and maybe it is just anxiety and stress. I have never encountered this and it is causing my anxiety to be even worse. My psy doc gave me lexapro to startup, and I was on 5mg for 1 week, and then tried to go to 10 and the burning started again, so we stopped. So she gave me .25 xanax to splilt in half and take 1/2, twice a day. I am just praying that i dont have damage. I guess the next step would be to go to a neurologist, but I am so anxious. I try to tell myself that maybe these are withdrawal symptoms from the viibryd that have just now shown up. Please, if anyone has a word to offer, I would appreciate it so much. God Bless.
  24. Hello everyone, Im currently 21 years of age and have been taking Vyvanse at 60mg and Zoloft at 100mg for 14 years as I was diagnosed with pretty severe ODD as a child. I began taking Klonopin 3/2020. Fast forward to 4/2021- I’m currently in a state of just pure confusion is what it feels like. My appetite is out of whack. I will go a couple days eating maybe 2000 calories total then just eat like I’ve never seen food before. Same goes for my sleep, I’ll feel tired at some points then all of the sudden hit with a jolt of energy out of nowhere usually around 11-12pm. My memory is at an all time worst. I find myself forgetting nearly everything unless I tell myself in my head in the moment, “Hey, you need to remember this”. My mood is just so severely unstable I can’t commit to anything or follow through. I’ll be up for 24 hours then sleep for 12 then wake up and feel like I still need more sleep. The main symptom that is absolutely driving me up a wall is anxiety. And I feel like it’s getting worse every day even though I’m trying to put myself in situations I used to not think twice about, now it feels like every thing I say to anyone that I don’t know well, haven’t seen in a while, and especially with girls. I have isolated myself the past few years from any intimate relationships and it has resulted in me feeling like I’m living with that “awkward feeling”, or the “butterflies in your stomach” everyone knows. And it doesn’t go away even when i force myself to do something I’m not comfortable with. Like I want to be able to talk and conversations like I used to and every time I push myself to do something I’m not comfortable with I can’t stop thinking, “did I look like a loser”, “what if she thinks I’m weird”. In essence, my self confidence has been completely destroyed within the matter of a few months. I feel my trust in doctors is lost, as I’ve never had success with medication and switching them around. I don’t know if it’s my mind freaking itself out or the meds themself. Im dying for some stability. I just don’t know. It feels like I’ve exhausted so many options and that my brain is broken.
  25. I would put information in my signature, but I can't figure out how. I have been off and on more psychiatric meds than I can count over the last 20 years. Most of them were SSRI's but a few were mood stabilizers, atypical antipsychotics, and benzodiazepines. I didn't seem to have trouble stopping or starting medications until about 3 years ago, but I didn't understand what was happening. In Sept 2020 I had a terrible experience when I reduced paxil from 5mg to 2.5mg and tried to reinstated to 5mg after 2 weeks. After 4 days of reinstating, I ended up with extreme anxiety, agitation, and suicidal thoughts. I couldn’t tolerate the 2.5mg dose anymore and would get anxiety rushes each time I took a dose so my psych NP advised me to stop and switch to very low dose Vraylar. I stayed on that until early December. I was having some intrusive thoughts on it and some thoughts of suicide so I tried to switch to Effexor which I have been on many times in the past. It did not work. I kept getting adrenaline rushes and anxiety from 1/3 of a 37.5mg pill. I only took 4 doses. It sent me into a hole it seems. It made the Vraylar not work right and I was extremely depressed and anxious and developed more intense intrusive thoughts about death, derealization, and abnormal thinking that I have never experienced. I was on a very low does so my psych NP advised me that I could just stop. That was 2 weeks ago. The intrusive thoughts, abnormal thinking, and most of the derealization have subsided. However, for the past 2 weeks I have had extreme anxiety, fear, agitation, fear of being alone, insomnia, tinging, and burning sensations on my skin, trembling, and restlessness. I feel like my nervous system is ruined. I have taken a few doses of klonipin which have helped but I know this is not a long term solution. I’m terrified and thinking about going inpatient as I don’t know what else to do. I have been laying on the couch with my husband for the last two weeks mostly feeling terrified. I can't continue this way. I know the idea here is to get off of meds, but I don't know if I can do that. Has anyone had luck going inpatient. I'm scared to go and scared not to go. I'm scared of trying a medication and scared of not. Any help is appreciated. I'll add that I am still taking trazodone 50mg-100mg to sleep as well.
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