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  1. Hi everybody! I am Julz, a 33 year-old female - polydrugged to my eye-balls Ten years ago, I fell into anorexia and depression, soon unveiling terrible anxiety. I was referred to a psychiatrist (in France) who prescribed me medication and also gave me psychotherapy. Regarding the medication, different combinations and doses where tried and I eventually found myself on a prescription which seemed to suit my troubled mind (Escitalopram, venlafaxine, clonazepam and diazepam) - did it ever do anything? I still haven't got a clue. I trusted this doctor. This is my initial prescription: Escitalopram: 20mg 20mg 20mg - (yes, that is 60mg...!!!) Venlafaxine(MR): - - 75mg - Clonazepam: - 2mg - 2mg Diazepam: - - - 10mg Time passed and psychologically, a lot changed. I moved away from where I used to live, totally changed my environment, and went for a fresh start. But I was still taking my medication as prescribed. My General Practitioner (in charge of my prescription in my new environment) convinced me to lower the Escitalopram (on the grounds that it was "bad for my heart") and I managed, between 2011 and 2013, to come from 60mg/day to 15mg. How? By jumping 5mg at a time every now and again. I had no idea... again, I more or less trusted this doctor who was willing to prescribe me the drugs I was clearly physically dependent on. The withdrawals I experienced were uneventful. I did feel something was happening but within a few days, I always felt the same as before the drop. Between 2010 and 2014, a LOT had changed as I finally got an MSc BUT I had fallen into terrible exhaustion and had no life. How did I get my degree? A struggle every day. I then began to question this cocktail of drugs, I'd been on them for 10 years and was still taking them as prescribed because I was physically dependent. That was clear enough! It then hit me: my meds were probably incapacitating me rather than providing any help! The realisation came as in January 2013, after I managed to lower my Escitalopram intake from 20 to 15mg/day in a single 5mg step (...), I began to feel even more tired during the day, exhausted - I simply had to nap every single day. After some personal research, I went to my GP and told him I didn't believe in keeping our focus on the Escitalopram because it seemed that the more I decreased it, the more sleepy I'd get during the day, considering my benzo intake (at that point, I was taking 3 hours' naps), and I could not live like that! Fortunately, before I was able to drop a pill here and there as instructed by my GP, I found the BenzoBuddy website and managed to find a taper method to gradually come off clonazepam. From December 2014 to July 2015, I came from 4mg to 2mg and am now below 1.9mg and still tapering off successfully. I decided to join Surviving Antidepressants as I want off ALL any medication which alters who I am. I believe in other ways to manage my weaknesses - I am not ill, I have a tendency to be anxious and this is not new, I was an anxious child but I had emotions too. I'd like my emotions and my whole life back... I realise I know NOTHING about anti-depressants, I surely did not know about Escitalopram's potency and am still in shock from the news. My initial plans (supported by a psychiatrist I saw in February 2015) were to come off clonazepam (bz), then diazepam (bz), then Escitalopram, then Venlafaxine. In the light of what I read on this wonderful site, I wonder whether I should stay of Valium (diazepam) while at least tapering off Escitalopram, when I am done with clonazepam... I realise I need knowledge myself because sadly, doctors haven't been helpful at all... so far... Thanks for welcoming me on your wonderful Forum! Julz xxx
  2. Hi. I'm new here. Here are the basics of my story. I had been on 150mg of Zoloft for 17 years for dysthymia and generalized anxiety disorder. I decided to taper off, with the blessing of my pdoc. My depression and anxiety returned, and I had to not only increase the Zoloft to 200mg but add 1mg of Abilify (plus Konopin as needed). It's been a year and a half since the episode began and a year since starting Abilify. I'm feeling quite a bit better--I hardly ever take the Klonopin, and my pdoc said I can try doing without the Abilify. I just went 16 days at only 0.5mg of Abilify, but I'm feeling anxious and depressed again and bumped back up to 1mg. I'm so frustrated with the whole situation. I'm working hard to recover: I'm in weekly therapy, I run just about every day (3-6 miles), and I meditate almost daily. I don't want to come off the Zoloft, just the Abilify. Maybe I won't be able to, in which case I need to come to terms with that. Any comments or questions would be greatly appreciated.
  3. Hi, I have been taking Celexa for about 8 years now and am currently tapering at 10% every 3 - 4 weeks. I have usually slept well but recently found myself taking hours to fall asleep. I have always taken my dose before bed and have recently found out that Celexa can disrupt sleep, especially in those that are suffering from protractive benzo withdrawal (something I am also dealing with after a successful taper 10 months ago and has actually gotten a lot better). On the other hand, I am on my 3rd week of my first 10% reduction of Celexa. Could it be the reduction in Celexa that is impacting my sleep or could it be that I should start trying to take my dose in the morning? I don't know much about the implications of SSRIs so any help would be much appreciated. warm regards, James
  4. ...and still dealing with anhedonia. Is that what you'd call this? It's not nearly as bad as it was back in 2012. The first few years off prozac were a nightmare. I was a total robot, unable to feel present, to empathize, etc. I could barely compose a facebook status, even that required too much focus. (You can tell how much better I'm doing by the fact that I'm FINALLY POSTING IN HERE.) I had a job but didn't do much. The weird thing was, whenever I got my period, I would kind of "come alive" - at least somewhat. It was like a wall went down and I was able to connect with myself again. I could feel my feelings (kind of), feel more present (kind of). Even though the switch wasn't perfect (didn't get all the way back to "normal"), the change was always very drastic. I would feel like this during the first day or two of my period, when I was bleeding heavily. Immediately I would get online and start researching, trying to figure out WHY I felt better on my period... and then the bleeding would end and I'd go back to being a robot... At some point I thought that perhaps my serotonin was too high (isn't your serotonin supposed to be "low" on your period? so maybe my period brought my serotonin down to "normal"?) - like the SSRI had increased my serotonin too much and left my brain kind of stuck that way. The only thing I figured I could try to drastically lower serotonin was to take MDMA - simply for the serotonin crash/reset the next day. I was able to try it in early 2015 and it did exactly what I'd hoped it would do. The CRASH felt like heaven. The wall went down. I was suddenly able to concentrate. I could stand outside and look up at the sky and feel the breeze and watch the birds and just be still and present. That day I curled up and read half a book - something I had been unable to do for years. My therapist noticed a difference in me right away - how I seemed more connected and present. I don't think she believed in my prozac story (I mean, it sounds crazy to me as well - why would I still be messed up YEARS LATER???), but she did agree that I had changed. After this, my life started moving forward much faster... but I still wasn't completely myself. I still felt more myself on my period, which meant I was still somewhat out of it and disconnected the rest of the time... But at this point I had become so used to the anhedonia, or whatever you want to call it, that I just accepted that that was how I was. And then... last year, I tried a benzo for 2 months, for stress. Obviously a big mistake. I had only taken prozac for 6 months, and I still feel strange 5 years later... Why the hell would I try another psych med??? BUT I did. So anyway. The benzo withdrawal nightmare lasted a good 6 months...and a little longer than that to get all the way back to normal, which I feel like I am now. At least the benzo didn't cause permanent damage. Anyway, what I wanted to say is: twice during benzo withdrawal, when I was on my period, I felt COMPLETELY, 100% NORMAL. The "normal" I had once felt before prozac. Totally emotionally with it. Had totally fluid social interactions. And so on and so forth. Colors were actually BRIGHTER and DEEPER. My vision literally changed!!! My palms were sweaty - random, I know, but usually my skin is SO dry - that was just one of the things I noticed, and I want to document it here. One night I laid in bed and started listening to music and I just cried and cried because I could FEEL AGAIN. And it was so ******* sad because I knew my ability to feel would slip away yet again... So, anyway, a good 4 years later I finally had real genuine windows...pretty depressing, right? I'm sorry to anyone reading this...I'm sure most people don't take this long to recover. My brain is ridiculously fragile, I guess... I had a bit of a window this month on my period, too (not as amplified as the windows from a few months ago, but I still felt way more normal than usual)... I'm not sure what all of this means. Maybe the recovery my brain had to go through after getting off klonopin helped to further heal whatever change happened in my brain from prozac? At this point, at least, I'm convinced that I don't have "brain damage" (which for years I figured I must have, and so I avoided this forum and avoided thinking about it because it was so terrifying). I guess there IS some kind of slow gradual healing going on. Maybe at this point it comes down to a hormonal or mineral imbalance of some kind? I don't know. I'm terrified to go to a doctor and ask for help about this, I assume they'll just laugh. I can never take another medication again after all of this, anyway...I'm scared to even try something like birth control. I don't know. Anyway. It's been many years and I wanted to finally admit to myself that this is actually going on by joining this forum... I have had some hope lately that I can find myself again after all of this. Oh, and another awful thing is prozac made me lose all sense of gender. I think because of that, for these past few years, I have identified as trans... and just in the last few weeks I have had moments where I look at myself in the mirror and feel a strong connection to myself (rare) and I "realize" I am not trans...and it's just that I couldn't feel my gender for a very long time... It's ******* horrifying. But I wanted to write that down here. I need to admit this. My period just ended the other day, which is why I'm thinking about all of this at all. I'm sure these feelings will slip away soon... I'm seeing how long I can hold onto myself this time. I'm hoping I will keep posting here and not give up. Thanks for reading. P.S. I've read about inositol resensitizing serotonin receptors - not sure how true that is, but I have started taking large doses of it. I'm not really sure what else to try at this point. So I guess we'll see how that goes. God I feel nuts writing about all of this.
  5. 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?
  6. Moderator note: link to Linus' benzo thread - Linus: Klonopin question Hi everyone, I like this forum, I think the moderators are sensible people who give good advice, compared to some other websites. I have already come a long way with regards to withdrawing from Escitalopram, from 30mg to 1.8 mg. It has been hell but hey here I am I know that by now even small cuts are problematic. My first question would be if anyone has a clue as to whether there comes a point in the withdrawal where things get easier (like at 1mg or 0.8 mg) or does it stay funky all the way down to zero?
  7. Hi all, My name is Joel, and first of all I want to say I really appreciate the resource of this site. I never realized how insane things could get on starting or stopping antidepressants. I knew about withdrawal syndrome, but I didn't realize it could be 100 times worse than the worst of my anxiety. I'm currently seeking support for a tapering schedule I'm on. A bit of my history. After a whirlwind year in 2013 of getting married and losing a job, I had my first panic attack. At the end of the year, I started having more pronounced anxiety episodes – instead of 30 minute attacks, overwhelming anxiety that would come for hours at a time. My doctor at the time prescribed 50mg sertraline. After reading a bit about antidepressants, I decided to start with 25mg, and it worked for me. My life changed. I felt like myself again. Even on that low dose, my panic went away, I felt more confident, and I was able to not only survive but thrive through getting a new job, two babies, two dogs, and a house in a matter of 3 years. In mid-2016, I talked with my doctor again about going off the sertraline. My largest complaint was it made me sleepy at night and occasionally I'd feel mild brain zaps. I tapered over a week and had no issues. Fast forward to the end of 2017. On a business trip, I felt anxious one night, and I had brought my old Xanax/sertraline bottles as a safeguard, which I've always done when traveling. Knowing how addictive Xanax can be, and because sertraline helps me sleep, I took the sertraline. The next month, I felt anxious again while traveling, but didn't take anything. Then, in March 2018, I was traveling for work in Ethiopia and had a major anxiety episode. I had taken a sertraline the first night there, again ignorant that I probably shouldn't be popping them for the occasional time I want to fall asleep. About 6 days in, while traveling back from the south of the country, I felt a panic attack hit. It wasn't your typical panic attack: I had no overwhelming feeling of doom or fast heart rate, just an extreme urgency to urinate and a sick stomach. When I got back to my hotel, I took Xanax and started on the old script of sertraline. Within two days, I felt better, was able to travel home without incident, and was fine through April. The old prescription ran out after a few weeks, and I did a few-day taper, and wanted to see if I could survive without the drug, scheduling an appointment with a new doctor in July. I was feeling more anxious in July. Not every day, just occasional evenings. Mostly, my gut was sometimes a mess — I had a lot of IBS symptoms. When I saw my doctor, I asked to be put back on 25mg sertraline. It worked, and then it didn't. In late September, I began getting chronic, all-day headaches that lasted from early morning to the time I went to bed. I thought it was some kind of sinus infection, and to save money, did a teledoc appointment where a nurse practitioner wrote me a script for antibiotics. The antibiotics didn't work, and over the course of a month, I felt sicker. It was then I began to worry about some serious ailment, and after going to a walk-in clinic when I was feeling rather sick, I was sent to the ER with 160/100 blood pressure. They did a CT scan and tested my blood and everything was normal. The next day, my doctor's PA upped my sertraline to 50mg, convinced it was anxiety. Within 12 hours, I knew something was wrong. My whole body was shaking, I felt like my heart was beating through my chest, I had to urinate every 30 minutes. It was crazy. At first, I told myself it was just the anxiety, but it was always bad after taking the pill and got better in the evening. After 5 days of this hell, my doctor said to taper over a week. I didn't listen, but went cold turkey. At first, I was shaky but fine. Then I experienced a week of near-black depression. I've never struggled with that before, but they only way I can describe it is like staring at a black wall. You can't even see or think about anything. By Thanksgiving, I was stabilizing, and doing better and better. In early December, I then had an episode of anxiety that hit in the evening. My heart was pounding and I felt sick to my stomach. Angry, I decided to try taking 12.5mg of the sertraline again. Within an hour, it felt like my brain was on speed. My wife woke up and found me running around our basement because I felt I had to move. She suggested, actually demanded, going to see a psychiatrist. She works with moms who suffer from anxiety/PPD. I put it off, thinking I would stabilize, but I didn't. By the next week, I felt like all my nerves were on fire, I had no patience, noises were making me jump, and I began to have the complete inability to sleep. Every time I would drift to the edge of sleep, I'd wake up with a racing heart. My doctor saw me and prescribed buspirone and Ambien. I tried the Ambien twice — both days after were hellish and painful beyond belief. I had to take Xanax to get rid of the horrible fiery pain they caused me. As Christmas approached, I was desperate. I had been so normal just a few weeks prior. I had my girls and pregnant wife to think about. I couldn't fall apart, but I was. I ended up in a day program at a psychiatric hospital for 3 days where I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety and given 100mg of trazodone. It helped me sleep, and boy was I happy for it! At a followup the next week, I was then prescribed 5mg escitalopram. I began to stabilize. I was sleeping, I wasn't jumping at sounds, my anxiety was slowly resolving, but I still felt off. My body still felt out of sync. I learned about autosomatic dysfunction. I also tried to taper the trazodone because it made me feel zonked all day every day, but within two days felt like someone had poured battery acid in my veins. I was fine again within 24 hours of taking the 100mg again. In early February, I began researching something I'd thought of way back in October — the effects of different generics. For years, I had been on the generic sertraline manufactured by Pfizer's subsidiary Greenstone. Last July, I was started on a brand from the Indian company Aurobindo. As I researched, I began finding testimonies of people saying the Aurobindo brand make them feel like they were on speed. I asked my psychiatrist about it and talked to my pharmacist who used to work for Pfizer and had heard of similar situations. My psychiatrist then had me stop the escitalopram and trazodone (he said cold turkey, but I tapered to 25mg of trazodone in a week) while restarting the sertraline at 25mg. Within a few days, most of my symptoms went away. I learned more about post acute withdrawal and generic switches. I was angry no one had thought of that except my pharmacist. Stopping the escitalopram had to effects, but the trazodone nearly killed me. I learned about trazodone's short half-life and was, again, angry no one had explained this to me. I came home from work one day in horrible, burning pain and felt panic setting in. I couldn't even play with my girls – I had lost the ability to sit still. I called my doctor who said to take .75mg of Xanax and that stopped the pain. He then met with me and prescribed .5mg Klonopin as needed and planned a 6 week taper of the trazodone. I am currently 3 weeks in and at 37.5mg. Every little step has come with pain and a few restless/sleepless nights, but I've been in a good mood and have been very productive the past few weeks. The most recent taper had me switch to 50mg pills that are made by Tiva, a different generic, so I am concerned that this might exacerbate withdrawal symptoms. Overall, I am very angry with the way these medications are offered without talking about the risks. I'd pay everything in my bank account to be able to deal with the occasional anxious nights I had last summer as opposed to the painful misery of today. I am grateful to now know, however, that it wasn't me going crazy and that I don't have major generalized anxiety disorder – that 90% of my symptoms have been medically induced. My questions in coming to the forums are as follows: 1) Has anyone ever experienced such pronounced withdrawal symptoms after less than 3 months on an antidepressant? 2) Has anyone had a similar experience tapering from trazodone? 3) One of the major symptoms I had on the Aurobindo brand of sertraline was chronic all-day headaches. I've been getting them again more again now that I'm back on the sertraline (but on the Greenstone brand). I have no idea if the headaches are simply being caused by the fluctuations in my serotogenic systems or by the drug itself. Has anyone else experienced dull, constant headaches that last all day? My research into it has turned up nothing. 4) Has anyone experienced changes switching from one generic to another? Thanks for being a resource! - Joel _____ Current medications: 37.5mg trazodone, 25mg sertraline, .5mg Klonopin as needed during taper (I should mention I also completed 3 months of CBT which was far more helpful than the meds)
  8. I’m new to this website/forum, but I’ve been researching and finding great information about people getting off their psychiatric medication. I’m 46, and I was 20 years old in college when I experienced my first full blown panic attack (official diagnosis, panic disorder without agoraphobia, generalized anxiety disorder, depression). Looking back (after lots of therapy), I can now understand the stress I was under at that time. But the main point is that I was put on zoloft and lorazepam which, combined with lots of “social drinking” seemed to put a lockdown on the panic attacks (though I would still wake up with some varying degrees of anxiety most mornings). I put my head down and just sort of pushed my way through life, graduating from college with honors, holding a job doing community education / organizing / speaking, shifting gears and going back to school, and then starting my own successful business. Jump to about 4 years ago, 2012 and things just seemed to begin falling apart. The successful company I had created was now failing, a relationship I actually felt invested in was failing, and the hangovers from drinking had become really intense. In short, I ran out of steam. I gave up drinking in the spring of 2014, and that summer decided I was going to get off the damn meds. I did it the “right way,” tapering off the benzos first, and then the SSRI. And though the anxiety would increase while tapering and it was tough, by the end of the summer (early September) I was actually med free! Unfortunately, mid-October the panic attacks returned full force. Again, I can see now that this was a particularly stressful period of my life, but of course I was really disappointed when I decided I just had to get back on the meds (the panic attacks were relentless and excruciating). The problem was that the meds no longer seemed to work like they did before. And now I’m on MORE meds (add in remeron and extra 50 mg of zoloft). I have made some changes, doing lots of therapy, ACA support groups (and looking at childhood issues generally), exercising again regularly, EMDR, meditation, etc. And I want OFF the meds! I know I need to do this slowly, and at this point, I cut the remeron from 15 mg to 7.5 (about 1.5 months ago) and I’ve cut the benzo (now clonazepam) from 2 mg to 1.5 per day (just started that 3 days ago). My thought is to cut the benzos first, then the last of the remeron. I know with the relatively long half-life of the clonazepam, I need to take it slowly. I’m thinking .5 mg every 2 weeks. From the information I've come across, it seems like some taper off even more slowly than that? I'm looking for others to share their experiences with their own clonazepam withdrawal schedules (for panic disorder, preferably). I just don’t know what to do about the SSRI (zoloft). I realize this website is about benzo withdrawal, but I’m hoping to find others with experience on panic disorder and SSRI withdrawal too (as well as benzo withdrawal support). I hope this is OK on this forum? I’ve been “working with the anxiety” (trying to “make friends” with it as they say in the meditation circles). I know I’m less scared of it now, but I'm also not experiencing the full blown panic attacks. My concern is that I would get off everything (including the SSRI/zoloft) and then the panic attacks return, and it takes SO LONG for the SSRI to build up in one’s system. Do I just prepare myself to weather that storm? Will that storm really pass eventually without the meds? After years of trying to make my physiology match the lifestyle I felt I should lead, I’m now accepting the idea that I need to make my lifestyle match my physiology. The panic attacks are just so damn awful when they hit relentlessly all day long, day after day. I’m scared. Is there anyone out there that has had any experience with the meds and panic attacks along the lines that I have had? Are there other resources out there I should know about? Is it really possible that I can live a purposeful (and perhaps at least semi-peaceful) life without meds after 25 years of being on them? Much gratitude . . .
  9. Hello, my name is Manny. I was diagnosed 0CD and schizophrenic in 2008, but I been taking benzos and amiptriptiline since 2005. Currently,taking abilify 20mg,risperidone 2mg,cymbalta 60mg,biperiden 4mg. I am tapering klonopin down to 0,27mg from a dose of 1,25mg. I went to see my doctor this week because a blood test that I did. He said my hepatic transaminases are high because of the medication that I take. I am assuming the APs that I take. What can I do to get my liver function well? I know, quitting the APs, but I can t cold turkey. Any advice,please.
  10. naturalborn-successful-story hi i'm new at this forum and i'm brazilian, 20 years old, started effexor when i was 18 for depression, stayed on it for 8 or 10 months, with almost no side effects, after this tried going cold turkey , since then have been dealing with all possible kinds of side effects, i tried reinstatement on january of this year (after 4 months of wd) obviously didn't worked, stayed on them for more 5 months, went to rehab. tapered effexor there and started trazadone and seroquel. now i've been taking 150 mg of trazadone and 25 mg of seroquel, was kind of "ok" so tried to reduce trazadone to 100 mgs, wasn't able to sleep for 3 days, went back on 150 mgs, and added 2 mg of klonopin to use when needed, but since that abruptly quitting of effexor i haven't been the same, dealed with EXTREME anxiety (never was a problem before), SEVERE imsonia, sometimes 5 days without any sleep, chronic pain and numbess and poor coordination on the right side of my body. the left side seems ok, i have no idea why. derealization, poor memory, poor concentration, diahrrea, akastisia, poor stress tolerance, emotional numbess, brain zaps and brain fog, anyway i have been dealing with pretty much all the symtoms you can come up with, pretty hopeless, desesperated, regreted, scared, feeling like it will never be the same. i really want to know what you guys think, is there any hope for me ever being the same again?
  11. 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
  12. Hello, New member here. Had been on Klonopin for 15 months for insomnia caused by hypothyroidism. Been off K for 10 months now, with the help of 75 mg Trazodone for sleep. About 2 months ago, T was losing its effectiveness and I decided it's time for a drug-free me. I went from 75 mg to 50 with no problems; at 50, withdrawal hit hard. Insomnia (of course), shakiness, anxiety, you name it. I did a fast taper as I did not have it in me to go through another long taper after the K experience. In 2 months, I went from 75, down by 1mg every night to 50, to 25 for 2 weeks, 12.5 for another 2 and finally off. I have been off for only about 3 nights. Withdrawal after quitting seems manageable so far, although it is too early to tell if it will get worse. My main issue is with insomnia. I feel if I can manage this, I will be OK, especially after the horrific K withdrawal. My question for those who have used Trazodone: how long did it take for sleep to return after quitting trazodone? Please include how long you had been using T and the dosage. Thanks for your input and hope we all survive the trials of psychotropic drugs. Survivor1
  13. Angoze

    Angoze

    Moderator note: link to benzo thread - Angoze: Help with Klonopin Start klonoping march 2018 2 mg for one panick attack, started new symotoms anxiety and insomnia, decreasing since may, now in 0.5625. (before klonoping did not have problems to sleep or anxiety affevting my dayli) Paxil may 20 mg first week, did no tolerate, down 10 mg since that. Is not working. Remeron 3.5 mg or less to sleep, has helping me, and noticed my mood is better. Some day i do not want to use medicine to made my lifa as was before. Simptoms with benzo reduction and adition of paxil:sleep disturbamce, anxiety, dizzyness, depression, lack of hope
  14. thesureshot

    thesureshot's journey

    Moderator's note: link to benzo thread - Thesureshot - The Benzo Thread Hi everyone! First and foremost, I'm so grateful to have found this website and thank you for sharing all of your stories - they've really helped me realize that I'm not alone. A little on my background -- had a major life event (move abroad) in 2016 that eventually lead to a nervous breakdown in early 2017. Severe depression, anxiety, several panic attacks a day -- all that kind of fun stuff. I was referred to a psychiatrist in the UK who put me on Effexor and Xanax almost immediately. In desperate need of relief, I acquiesced. After 2 months, the drugs weren't helping and my company decided to move me back to my home in the US -- a major disappointment. There I was referred to another "highly regarded" psychiatrist who CT'd me from Effexor and immediately put me on Cymbalta. I suffered severe withdrawal -- nausea, sweating, zaps for a month. After "overcoming" the Effexor withdrawal, I CT'd Xanax because I thought it was making me lethargic. I experienced no withdrawal symptoms, thankfully. Cymbalta was proving to be ineffective, so Abilify was added at 2mg to help "boost" it. This is where things started going off the rails. My spending became out of control for the first time in my life (normally very frugal), and I started exhibiting classic hypomanic behavior. I couldn't sleep, so I was put on Trazadone 50 mg to help with that issue. I missed more work than I ever have in my life. This eventually led to a BP2 diagnosis, which in turn led to a Latuda 20 mg prescription. I was also switched to Lexapro 10 mg, then eventually to 20, and CT'd off Cymbalta upon starting the Lexapro. I stayed on Abilify. This is where the anhedonia set in. I used to be a big music lover, an avid nature enthusiast, a gym rat, a writer -- and all of these things stopped giving me any pleasure at all. Apathy set in. I quit my job. My psychiatrist started reducing the Latuda rapidly, dropping me from 40 to 10 mg within a span of three weeks. Shortly thereafter, she recommended stopping the Latuda and put me on Trileptal and reduced my Lexapro to 10mg. At this point, I developed excruciating headaches and SEVERE anxiety that led to a one-week hospitalization. This was in early June of this year. In the hospital, I refused Lithium and started Lamictal as well as Wellbutrin 150mg to "help with the side effects of the Lexapro." I was taken off the Abilify and Trileptal. After my first dose increase of Lamictal, I developed the rash so had to CT after two weeks. I was feeling uncomfortably jumpy on the Wellbutrin so I CT'd that after 10 days. Oddly enough, I finally "stabilized" from the bipolar-like symptoms on just the 10 mg Lexapro, 50 mg Trazadone, and .5 mg Klonapin. That's when I started to realize that maybe the pharmaceuticals were the problem. I found a new psychiatrist who supported me going off meds and recommended I try to cut the Trazadone and Klonopin in half in early July. I did so with little issues. That brings me to today. My poor nervous system and brain! I've been yanked on and off so many drugs that I'm not sure which way is up anymore. I'm currently on 10 mg Lexapro in the morning, and 25 mg Trazadone & .25 mg Klonopin nightly. My current symptoms are: - Brutal anhedonia - Apathy/lack of motivation - Hair loss - Morning anxiety - RLS/(possibly akathisia? More like uncontrollable leg and foot twitching) especially in the morning (this is new and started after discontinuing Wellbutrin) - Agitation - Sexual Dysfunction - Night sweats - Reduced Cognition/Concentration - Memory Issues - Inability to lose weight/gain muscle mass despite strict diet and exercise I do think that most of these are simply side effects of the SSRI/SARI and not necessarily withdrawal. After reducing from 20 mg of Lexapro to 10, I experienced much more severe anxiety and headaches/head pressure that have subsided significantly over the past 6 weeks or so. Regardless, I think it's too late to reinstate the 20mg dosage. I also believe that my morning anxiety/rls/akathisia could be rebound anxiety from the klonopin I'm taking at night, despite the long half-life. My new psychiatrist recommended eliminating the Trazadone first, then doing 25% cuts of the Lexapro for a month at a time, but from the research I've done here that seems far too quick with far too drastic reductions, so I plan to do a 10% taper schedule on the Lexapro every 3-4 weeks, possibly alternating dose reductions of the Trazadone, and to leave the Klonopin for last. Any suggestions are welcome. My goals are simple: to live a psychotropic-free life and reclaim my passion for living. I want my love for music back. I want my sexuality back. I want the driven, goal-oriented, outgoing individual that my friends know back. I'm fortunate to have a supportive wife, a great therapist, and at least the next two months off work to start this process. Even though I've lost my motivation, I'm determined to repair myself. I just hope and pray that the damage isn't permanent. I wish all of you all the best things in this world, and hope that healing comes to all of us. Thanks for reading!
  15. 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.
  16. Hello everyone. I'm very, very grateful to have found this site before I found my way back to a secluded ledge at the Grand Canyon I found four years ago with my now ex-wife. The ledge had no appeal then, but has come up repeatedly during rough periods. I just found this site and I just came to understand just how extensive and pervasive my WD symptoms have become. They did not really start to become that active until 5 months ago. Now they rage. I have to laugh and cry at the same time because currently I am living in a travel trailer and I have no idea where my next stop or step is going to be. 5 months ago I sold my condo, closed my art business, ended an engagement, bought a travel trailer, and have been staying with a friend in rural VA. Now I'm in Phoenix, AZ. Several times in the last 3 months I have tried to start over by making decisions and implementing a plan of action for work and living arrangements and have been unable to follow through with even the beginnings of restabalizing my life situation. Once I start to initiate changes to my situation, violently intense emotions begin to arise and my ability to think clearly falls away. I abandon the plan and fall back. Strangely, in the midst of this pattern, I have been in some intense therapy sessions, uncovered and addressed some deep wounded issues from my past that I'm sure were being masked by the meds. I had a 7 week period recently during the therapy where every day was filled with almost nonstop continuous waves of shame, sadness, and some rage (all I believe being old repressed and masked emotions but probably way more intense from WD or is it the sum total of repressed emotions finally getting out). It's like I'm split at times with two completely different personalities with two completely different agendas. I just read the posts about neuro emotions and realized I have been experiencing them intensely. They have been running my life since I become abstinent. There is a lot of intense healing going on inside me physically and emotionally, and I didn't realize just how deep it goes. I am not the same person anymore and it frightens and excites me at the same time. It's like a spiritual journey through hell. I feel at times very peaceful and supported by the universe and at times like a want to die. I will stop there and ask for the wisdom of the forum for what I have posted. I am a sponge for your help now. Thank you!! Mark
  17. Moderator's note: link to benzo forum thread - EmmiseA: Can I taper an antidepressant and benzo at same time? Hello, I came on here for some much needed advice/ reassurance. Back in March 2018 I had a horrific reaction to being put on Sertraline 25mg for postnatal anxiety/depression. After 2 weeks, the insomnia was dreadful, anxiety and depression was through the roof. I switched onto citalopram 10mg and after no change in symptoms after a few days apart from developing horrible Hypnic jerks, I was told to come off it by my psychiatrist. The brain zaps, skin crawling, heart palpitations and other side effects lessened over a few weeks but I couldn’t sleep due to these awful jerks and my anxiety and depression were through the roof. I went back to my psychiatrist who put me on quitiepine and pregabalin and 1mg clonazepam. I slept on the clonazepam no problem, but still noticed a few jerks on sleep onset. I successfully tapered off the pregabalin, quitiepine and clonazepam with no new effects but the doctors decided I needed an antidepressant and put me on 30mg of Mirtazapine. I am now on Mirtazipine and down to 0.375mg clonazepam, this being given to me again to help the jerks. 5 months later I still have the Hypnic jerks and muscle fasciculations. They haven’t got any worse on the Mirtazapine - if anything they have got somewhat better - but I still have a few nights a month even when I’m this low dose of clonazepam where they don’t allow me any sleep at all, the twitching is so bad. I really really need to hear some success stories of the jerks going away, please!! I’m afraid to touch anything at the moment in terms of the antidepressant, but am still tapering clonazepam with the aim of being off it soon. My aim is to try and get stable with these jerks and my sleep patterns and then very slowly taper off mirtazipine. Please no horror stories, my nerves just can’t take it!! I need to hear success stories. Many thanks xxx
  18. Hi, I was on .5 Mg 1x day of Klonopin for 28 years, my GP updoses it to 3 x day....terrible pyridoxal reaction, Dr. added 10 Mg Prozac which helped the terrible reaction. Did a 2 year taper off Klonopin. 6 Months after being off I started a 5 - 6 month taper off the Prozac. Been off Klonopin 15 months; Off Prozac little over 4 months. Having terrible monophobia (which I kinda had over these last 28 years), huge terror, obsessive thoughts, ruminating thoughts, extreme anger / rage, insomnia. I called both my dr. and therapist crying today. Dr. wants me to re-instate the Prozac. Is this still benzo withdrawal or Prozac wd ??? I am SO scared of meds.....I wonder if this is me or meds ???
  19. I was given 20 mg of Prozac back in 1997 for depression. I was still technically a minor back then. I had an initial "high" from the Prozac which was mistaken for me not being depressed anymore. A few months later, Prozac stopped working and I had completely lost my sexual functioning. I told my doctor about this, so I was switched to Effexor. I kept on being switched from medication to medication in an attempt to achieve the initial "high" of the Prozac and to reverse the sexual functioning but things just got worse. One day I was put on a medication called Wellbutrin and that caused a manic episode from the first dose which caused me to have to be put into an inpatient facility. I was now switched from just being depressed to having bipolar disorder. I was put on Depakote which stopped the manic episode. Depakote caused me a lot of suffering, so I decided to cold turkey the medication about 6 months later. This led to another inpatient hospitalization and now I was polydrugged with Depakote and Zyprexa. This was the first polydrug combination I was on. This combination of medications was even worse because I was sleeping at least 16 hours a day. After another 6 months or so, I cold turkeyed both of these medications and that led to another inpatient hospitalization. I was fortunate in some ways to have the Zyprexa removed and be able to function somewhat ok on just Depakote and now Klonopin. I stayed on Depakote for years but my sexual issues were never solved and I had a lot of other side effects from Depakote such as multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's disease like symptoms. In around 2005, I discovered the first person who had described the same sexual issues I experienced. It was called Post SSRI Sexual Dysfunction. I discovered forums similar to this one, and consumed books by people like Dr. Breggin. In 2007, I was able to successfully withdraw safely from all medications by switching over to lithium and valium and using a compound pharmacy to taper down. I felt a lot better and recovered from some of the damages caused by the medications. I began social drinking in 2008 because I felt like I missed out on such a big part of my life. About 6 months later, I completely lost my ability to sleep probably due to the alcohol damaging what the benzos had already damaged. I was forced into a state psych ward and given a diagnosis of bipolar NOS, psychosis, anxiety etc. After 3 or 4 months in the state psych ward, I left on a combination of Depakote ER and Ativan. I had to eventually updose the Depakote ER and switch to Klonopin again. So for the last 3 years or so, I've been on 1250 mg of Depakote ER and 3 mg of Klonopin. While I am not suffering nearly as much as I did when I was bombarded with antipsychotics like Haldol and Geodon, life isn't nearly as good as I know it could be. That's why I want to get help in coming off of the Depakote ER and Klonopin safely. My confidence level is a bit low because I feel like I may be damaged beyond repair due to being on dozens of psychiatric medications and due to the past experience with insomnia I freak out when I cannot sleep and that is what is happening now. I started to taper off of Depakote ER on 11/24/2014 and I'm on 750 mg Depakote ER now and 3 mg of Klonopin. That's my intro but I'm not sure what to do next...
  20. Edie

    Edie: my story

    Hello, I'm Edie from Estonia and I struggeled with antidepressants for years now. I have also been addicted to Klonopin, but fortunately I'm free from it now. My worst enemy was venlafaxine. At first it really helped with my anxiety problems, but then one day it completely stopped working and soon I fell into a really dark depression, which I had not felt before psychiatric meds. I was sleeping all the time, had no feelings at all, no motivation- just tired and zombie-like. And ofcourse.. if I wanted to stop the medication I just couldn't. Every time the horrible venlafaxine withdrawal kicked in. I somehow managed to switch from venlafaxine to prozac and now I feel a little bit better. I have been on 10 mg of prozac for almost two months now and I think that soon I should make my first taper, but I am a little bit afraid of that, because of the big changes my brain has gone through the past months. 75mg venlafaxine to 10mg prozac was a really difficult thing to do - during the switch I had severe panick attacks, suicide thoughts, extreme pressure in head ect. The thing is that I'm not sure when I should start tapering. Should I do it now or wait a little bit longer? I also take inositol powder and 500 mg niacin in the evenings and I think that these supplements are helping a little bit with the anxiety.
  21. Moderator note: link to benzo forum thread - Kasey: Question about insomnia Hi, I'm glad I found this site. I'm an older male, and have been suffering from depression for much of my life, pretty deep but not major. I was always able to got to work and live but since retiring early some years ago I lost my zest, which would come back when taking Yoga classes, studying music, etc. Anyway, I had some problems starting last summer, and went into a funk. I asked my GP doctor last month for a prescription to Lexapro, which I started about 3 weeks ago (10 mg.) I now have very strong reservations about continuing this drug, due to what I've read about withdrawal symptoms. I have been going for CBT and Mindfullness therapy for a couple of months, which has helped quite a bit. I know nobody can tell me what is right, but I think that I should just cut my doses in half for a week and stop. If I get too far into it, and suffer withdrawals when quitting, in the future, I am afraid that I will return to benzos, besides other problems that quitting may entail. I didn't know that Lexapro withdrawal is comparatively brutal, otherwise I wouldn't have started it. I would appreciate some opinions. Thank you.
  22. Hello, I am new here and 3 months fully off of Paxil, tapered from 20mg over the last year. I am experiencing debilitating panic and anxiety with cortisol spikes from early morning to about noon, and in the 3-4 weeks I resorted to taking tiny doses (7 total, of 0.125mg to 0.25mg) of clonazepam which really help an *unbelievable* amount (even at tiny doses). I am overall doing better than I was from my 5th month into tapering to about a month ago I guess, the progress is slow and painful, but it is there. I feel I am stalled though, or exasperated with the extreme tension, which made me reach for the clonazepam. My history with clonazepam is that it was prescribed to me over many years along with paxil, 0.5mg to be taken once a day or as needed, for anxiety. I never took it daily, rather as needed on a particularly stressful day. Overall one 30 pill bottle always lasted me way longer than the month. I admit I monitored my use poorly though, so I have no real idea how addicted my system is to it. I had stopped it altogether on Jan 17, and was totally without for about a month. I am wondering whether it is ok to use these tiny doses once a week or so, to help me along while I recover - or if I am simply prolonging the process by staying hooked on something which may very well also be responsible for the withdrawal anxiety, depression, depersonalization (big time), etc? If anyone has a similar experience or advice I would greatly appreciate it. Reading the wealth of information on this site has been helping me immeasurably through this ... Thank you in advance! ps - I have tried non drug methods for the anxiety; mild exercise, asmr videos, soothing music and Bliss Johnson's clips, milk and triptophan foods, valerian root a few times, omega 3 fish oil supplements, magnesium ... it all helps a bit, but those morning insomnia/cortisol spikes have become unbearable again.
  23. Greetings! I am very fortunate I found this site. I will not go into to much detail but here are some facts about my current situation. I have had anxiety/panic my entire life, from the earliest I can remember I used to have horrible separation anxiety, agoraphobia, and just plain being scared of silly things, like when I was younger I was terrified of thunderstorms and elevators I had to do exposure therapy while I was little and that was pretty difficult but it defiantly was not enough. My mother didn't put me on pharmaceuticals until I was 12 or so because the SSRIs were fairly new and she wanted to wait as long as she possibly could do try one of these medications. Flash forward to 2005, my father dies on the treadmill right in front of me, I am still in high school, and my anxiety up to that point was manageable, put when that happend my anxiety went through the roof. I couldn't finish high school in public but I was fortunate enough to have some retired teachers come to my house so I could graduate with my class. Of course during this time I was seeing a psychiatrist. Now he is an intelligent man and I have a number of medications to be thankful for, especially getting me out of that trauma. I was on a Tricyclic Anafranil 150 mg, from 2006 to 2013 for anxiety. During November 2013, I tried getting off the medication because it wasn't working and it was effecting my speech (probably from the anticholinergic effects). I tried to get off of it several times before but was given bad withdrawing advice (cut dose in half and 2 weeks you will be good), well that never happened of course. The old, see you need your medication, none of these brain zaps you speak of cannot occur with these drugs. So I followed the doctors advice and continued taking the Anafranil for a few more years. In November 2013 I tried to get off Anafranil for good. I wanted to do half the dose but just stay on that dose for like a month and then go down another quarter or something and try it that way. I had no idea how wrong both the doctor and I were. As soon as I lowered the dose I became a basket case. I started crying for no reason, I lost a bunch of weight (about 25 pounds in a month), vertigo, heart palpitations which scared the crap out of me because my father died from a birth defect we were not aware of at 49. I went back to the psychiatrist who I had seen for 6 years and was slapped with a bi-polar diagnosis. After doing a lot of research and looking into these drugs I didn't realize that the withdrawal could be so severe, or that most doctors had no idea that these drugs were capable of producing such a profound effect upon discontinuation. I reinstated the drug after 6 months of shear terror and my heart rate returned to normal, my crying stopped and it was like none of it ever happened. Now my main concern is with my heart because part of my anxiety would be dying in a similar fashion my father did. I have a great cardiologist who I have been seeing for years. He was fortunate enough to understand what was happening to me. I had every test imaginable and everything came back normal. Even when my heart was skipping a lot during the withdrawal, the holter monitor didn't pick up anything. He said its not so much your heart, its the receptors on your vagus nerve which is the main problem which makes since because they up regulate and down regulate depending if you are starting or stopping a drug. He said these drugs can effect the QT prolongation of the heart sometimes, but every EKG and Echo looked good so thank god for that. I stared back on the 150 in mid 2014 and currently I am on 60 mgs as of now. Now I think I misread because I tapered 10 mg every month instead of 10 percent of the dose, which is what a lot of people recommend. So what I am going to do as of now is try to stabilize on 50 mgs for a few months, since I am almost done with the 60 mg, and then taper down 5 mg every month which is roughly about 10 percent of the dose, I have calculated. I just hope this process goes a lot smoother than it did before because when I first tried my psychiatrists way it was absolutely horrible.
  24. Moderator note: link to benzo forum thread - Jill28: Klonopin adverse reaction Hi everyone- I’m desperate and was hoping for advice... I had been on Zoloft for 4 months and decided to taper off. Did way too quickly (1 week) and has serious anxiety and panic attacks from it. After about 6 weeks, my brain finally bounced back and I was almost back to normal. My psychiatrist convinced me to get back on my old trusty Prozac (10mg) justto keep my depression at bay. On the third day of taking Prozac, I had the most severe anxiety of my life... and I had never had anxiety other than when I came off the Zoloft. I’m at day 9 of being off and the anxiety hasn’t let up even a tad. I am miserable and can’t live this way. My face titles constantly and I can’t eat or think clearly. Any thoughts or advice is deeply welcomed.😢
  25. 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.
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