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  1. See journal articles about PSSD in Papers about Post-SSRI Sexual Disorder (PSSD) Please note that SurvivingAntidepressants is a site for tapering and recovery from withdrawal syndrome. While we see PSSD sometimes as an aspect of withdrawal syndrome (and we see gradual recovery from it as well as withdrawal syndrome), this site is not specifically for discussion of treatment of PSSD or its neurological origins (which at this time are highly speculative). If you wish to discuss symptoms, theories, and treatment of PSSD, please go to these sites: PSSDforum http://www.pssdforum.com/ Yahoo group SSRIsex (log in to http://Yahoo.com to join) Facebook group (log into Facebook.com to join) Various pages on Rxisk.org
  2. PLEASE READ THIS ENTIRE TOPIC BEFORE GOING OFF PRISTIQ. Pristiq comes in insufficient dosages to taper. Do not alternate doses of Pristiq to taper -- this will cause the levels of this medication in your brain to go up and down and is second only to cold-turkey in causing withdrawal symptoms. AND DON'T COLD-TURKEY EITHER!!!!!!!!! To reduce the risk of withdrawal symptoms and post-discontinuation prolonged withdrawal syndrome, as with other psychiatric drugs we recommend reducing Pristiq by 10% per month, calculated on the last dosage. (The amount of the reduction gets progressively smaller.) See Why taper by 10% of my dosage? The official prescribing information from the FDA contains this: However, Pristiq is difficult to taper "at a more gradual rate" as it comes in only 3 dosages: low, average and excessive -- and officially, the tablets cannot be split. PROTEST THIS DANGEROUS DRUG Phone Pfizer, Pristiq's manufacturer, to make a complaint: (800) 438-1985 in the US Pfizer has not provided any specific information on how to taper from a dosage of 25mg Pristiq, the lowest available dosage. They may suggest alternating dosages to taper Pristiq. Don't do this -- it's like playing ping-pong with your brain. File a complaint about the difficulty of tapering off Pristiq -- the range of dosages is inadequate. Also complain to the FDA 1-800-FDA-1088 Mon–Fri between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. EST. Pristiq is Effexor's fancier sibling Pristiq is a drug made of Effexor's (venlafaxine) active metabolite, O-desvenlafaxine. Pristiq is to Effexor as Lexapro is to Celexa -- a tweaked and more powerful isomer molecule. In effect, Pristiq is concentrated Effexor. See http://www.primarypsychiatry.com/aspx/articledetail.aspx?articleid=2464 According to Pfizer http://labeling.pfizer.com/showlabeling.aspx?id=497, Pristiq is available in extended-release tablets of 25mg, 50 mg, and 100 mg; the most common dosage is 50mg. Unlike Effexor, which is metabolized primarily by liver enzyme P450 CYP2D6, Pristiq is metabolized via conjugation and liver enzyme P450 CYP3A4. It attains peak plasma concentrations in about 7.5 hours. As a chemical, before it's put into an extended-release tablet, desvenlafaxine has a half-life of around 11 hours. Pristiq's extended-release formulation According to this paper, the extended-release formulation releases desvenlafaxine over 24 hours. The mean half-life of desvenlafaxine, without the extended-release formulation, is around 11 hours. The extended-release formulation is a monolithic matrix -- it's in the glue that holds the tablet together, not in the coating. I confirmed this in a phone conversation with Pfizer medical information (1-800-438-1985). (Thank you, oaklily, for this information about the matrix formulation.) Rather than a timed-release coating, the coating on the Pristiq tablet is only protective. The extended-release mechanism is part of the tablet matrix, or the glue that holds the tablet together. This is called a monolithic matrix tablet. If the tablet is split, the matrix is damaged and may not reliably be extended-release, depending on the size of the fragments. Larger fragments are more likely to retain some extended-release capability. When the tablet is CRUSHED, the matrix is completely destroyed. The particles should be assumed to have NO extended-release capability. A Pristiq fragment becomes desvenlafaxine, with an 11-hour half life. (Here is a description of the similar matrix formulation for quetiapine XR (Seroquel XR) .) OPTIONS FOR TAPERING PRISTIQ Since medicine knows nothing about tapering Pristiq, the following are all informal suggestions. Try any of them at your own risk. Please let us know how you do by posting in this topic. Cut up Pristiq tablets Despite the warnings not to cut it up, from reports on the Web, cutting up Pristiq tablets does seem to work for some but it makes others ill, possibly because of "dose dumping." According to Pubmed on Desvenlafaxine: "....The extended-release tablet does not dissolve in the stomach after swallowing. It slowly releases the medicine as it passes through your digestive system. You may notice the tablet coating in the stool...." The extended-release mechanism is part of the tablet matrix, or the glue that holds the tablet together. If the matrix is destroyed, the entire dose is released at once or "dumped," instead of being gradually released through the matrix formulation. Without the extended-release matrix, a Pristiq fragment becomes desvenlafaxine, with an 11-hour half life. To avoid "dose dumping" of the entire dose, you might take smaller divided doses of Pristiq, more than once a day, like immediate-release Effexor, to mimic an extended-release dose. Cut-up Pristiq seems to sometimes cause stomach upset, which may be reduced by taking it with food. Now that the 25mg tablet is available, cutting it into quarters gives you the option to taper by 6.25mg per step. If you are taking 100mg Pristiq or 50mg Pristiq, you may wish to request part of your prescription be written for 25mg tablets. (For insurance coverage of multiple dosages, your doctor most likely will have to specify taking Pristiq in "divided doses.") You may find you need a precise way to measure your tablet fragments. See Using a digital scale to measure doses As you get down to a low dose, you may wish to switch to Effexor to more precisely control dosage decreases, see below. Reducing from 100mg Pristiq to 50mg Pristiq Drug switches incur additional risk. Before trying a switch to Effexor or Prozac (fluoxetine) from 100mg Pristiq, it's probably wise to go down to 50mg Pristiq first, or 25mg if possible. Combining whole tablets, with their extended-release qualities, with tablet fragments probably makes "dose dumping" less likely or noticeable. You might use a 50mg tablet plus a 25mg tablet plus 3/4 of a 25mg tablet (18.75mg) to make the first reduction to 93.75mg 2nd reduction: a 50mg tablet plus a 25mg tablet plus 2/4 of a 25mg tablet (12.5mg) to go to 87.5mg 3rd reduction: a 50mg tablet plus a 25mg tablet plus 1/4 of a 25mg tablet (6.25mg) to go to 81.25mg 4th reduction: a 50mg tablet plus a 25mg tablet to go to 75mg 5th reduction: a 50mg tablet plus 3/4 of a 25mg tablet (18.75mg) to go to 68.75mg 6th reduction: a 50mg tablet plus 2/4 of a 25mg tablet (12.5mg) to go to 62.5mg 7th reduction: a 50mg tablet plus 1/4 of a 25mg tablet (6.25mg) to go to 56.25mg 8th reduction: a 50mg tablet If withdrawal symptoms occur, some people have found taking an additional fragment of a tablet can smooth the transition from one dosage to another. Another way to get from 100mg to 50mg or 25mg is to combine Pristiq tablets with a liquid made from immediate-release Effexor (see below). Once at 50mg or 25mg, stabilize for a month at least and consider your plan for the next stage of tapering. Use a combination of Pristiq tablets and Effexor liquid Pristiq cannot be made into a liquid, but its close relative immediate-release Effexor (not Effexor XR) can. You may be able to go off Pristiq by taking part of your dose in lower-dose tablets and part in liquid Effexor, gradually converting to all-liquid Effexor as you get to lower dosages. This may offer a convenient and gradual path off Pristiq. Only regular immediate-release Effexor can be made into a liquid (see Tips for tapering off Effexor (venlafaxine) ). As immediate-release Effexor has a short half-life and is usually dosed twice a day, you may wish to take the liquid portion of your dosage later in the day. For example, if you are taking 100mg Pristiq, you may wish to take your daily dose as one 50mg tablet and the rest later in the evening as a liquid made from immediate-release Effexor. You can titrate the liquid by 10% of your daily dosage to taper until you get to 50mg. Then you can take a 25mg Pristiq tablet with the rest in a liquid made from immediate-release Effexor. When you get to 25mg Pristiq, you might switch to splitting the tablet and taking the rest in Effexor liquid and so on until you are taking only liquid Effexor. To do this, you will have to request a prescription for Effexor tablets as well as Pristiq from your doctor. Have Pristiq made into smaller dosage capsules or a liquid by a compounding pharmacy Compounding pharmacies can crush the tablets and put the powder into smaller capsules by weight. Like cutting up tablets or crushing, this destroys the time-release quality, but the compounded method is much more exact. In your body, crushed Pristiq is similar to regular immediate-release Effexor, with an 11-hour half-life. You may wish to have your dose compounded to take twice a day. If you are taking 50mg Pristiq, for example, you would have 60 capsules compounded per month. Each capsule would be 1/2 of 45mg (a 10% reduction of 50mg) or 22.5mg. You would take two capsules per day, once in the morning, and once in the evening. The next month, you would have 60 capsules compounded, each capsule being 1/2 of 40.5mg (a 10% reduction of 45mg) or 20.25mg. And so forth, for each reduction. (According to my compounding pharmacy, they can put in a slow-release additive distributing absorption over 8-10 hours. This is not as long as the Pristiq time-release coating, but at least it's something. Check with your compounding pharmacy about this. See getting-custom-dosages-at-compounding-pharmacies-us-uk-and-elsewhere ) If this does not work, you may wish to switch to Effexor XR and use the bead-counting method. Regular Effexor probably wouldn't be an advantage over Pristiq compounded to custom dosages. One of our members had a desvenlafaxine liquid made by a compounding pharmacy. Most likely, this compounder used pure desvenlafaxine succinate powder to make this liquid, as desvenlafaxine tablets contain a glue that might resist being made into a liquid. But he may have a way to grind tablets up to make a suspension. A liquid would have to be immediate-release, with a half-life of around 11 hours. Generally, you'd take a drug with that short a half-life twice a day. Crush Pristiq tablets, weigh powder with a digital scale This is similar to cutting up tablets -- Pristiq is a "do not crush" medication, as it is a time-release drug. The Pristiq powder becomes desvenlafaxine, with an 11-hour half life. If you pulverize the tablet, you might take smaller divided doses of Pristiq, more than once a day, like immediate-release Effexor, to mimic an extended-release dose. In principle, this would be a more precise way of tapering than cutting up tablets: Crush the tablet Make sure the shell fragments are evenly distributed in the powder Weigh the powder for a dose with a digital scale Put the powder into an empty gelatin capsule to make it easier to ingest Peer discussion of this method starts here http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/876-tips-for-tapering-off-pristiq-desvenlafaxine/page__view__findpost__p__27417 Switch to Effexor or Effexor XR Note: If you've had an adverse reaction to Effexor before, do NOT switch from Pristiq to Effexor. "Desvenlafaxine (O-desmethylvenlafaxine) is the major active metabolite of venlafaxine." Since the relationship is so close, switching to regular immediate-release Effexor tablets, which you can cut up or make into a liquid, this may be the best way to taper off Pristiq. Because it has a mean half-life of 5 hours, you'd have to take regular Effexor twice a day. Alternatively, you might substitute Effexor XR, which is released gradually like Pristiq and needs to be taken only once a day. You'd have the difficulty of tapering off Effexor or Effexor XR -- themselves notorious for withdrawal difficulties -- but at least you can do that gradually. See Tips for tapering off Effexor and Effexor XR (venlafaxine). According to FDA Prescribing Information for venlafaxine (Effexor), the usual dose of Effexor is 150mg per day. Since 150mg Effexor and 50mg Pristiq are both "normal" dosages of their respective drugs, they may be roughly equivalent. (See discussion of Effexor and Pristiq dosage equivalency starting http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/876-tips-for-tapering-off-pristiq-desvenlafaxine/page__view__findpost__p__42249 ) The psychiatrist who writes the 1boringoldman.com blog reports success in switching one patient from Pristiq to Effexor, then tapering Effexor, here (see comments) Another psychiatrist said when he tried this, the switch from Pristiq to Effexor was "seamless." Dr. Stuart Shipko posts here: Advice from a psychiatric pharmacist I have been corresponding with a professor at a prominent US university pharmacy department. Here is his best guess at how to taper Pristiq (he does not want his name published): Then taper off fluoxetine (Prozac). See Tips for Tapering Prozac Advice from Dr. Stephen Stahl, author of the manual Essential Psychopharmacology In his widely read psychopharmacology manual, eminent psychopharmacologist Stephen Stahl advises titration by crushing the tablets and mixing in fruit juice, see http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/876-tips-for-tapering-off-pristiq-desvenlafaxine/page__view__findpost__p__14799 According to our member oaklily, Stahl is wrong. Making a liquid from Pristiq does not work, see http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/876-tips-for-tapering-off-pristiq-desvenlafaxine/page__view__findpost__p__24822 Dr. Stahl intends to correct his book, according to this correspondence 09/15-9/16/13 with him: "Bridging" with Prozac or another antidepressant Any drug change incurs additional risk. A switch to Prozac from Pristiq may not work -- they are very different drugs -- or you might have adverse reactions to Prozac. Prozac is regularly used to "bridge" off Effexor. Given that Pristiq is a sibling of Effexor and Effexor XR, it is possible that one can, similarly, use Prozac to withdraw from Pristiq. Attributed to Joseph Glenmullen, the "bridging" technique is described by a doctor here http://www.bipolarworld.net/Phelps/ph_2005/ph1354.htm Read this entire topic before attempting a switch to Prozac: The Prozac switch or "bridging" with Prozac Later, taper off Prozac. At least Prozac comes in a liquid. To do this, consult a doctor knowledgeable about this technique.
  3. Hi. I have been reading different posts on here for about a month. I want to taper off Lexapro, but I've been on it for over 10 years. In 2005, I was put on a very short, and ended up with brains apps and went back on it because I was super agitated. When I told my doctor I wanted to Lexapro, her idea was to switch me to Prozac. Initially, she was going to help me switch to 20 mg, but I knew that the equivalent was 40 mg, so I asked if we can do that and she said yes. I am on day two of switching from 20 mg of Lexapro to 40 mg of Prozac. I feel dizzy and have a UTI. I don't know if that can be caused by this medication switch. It kind of creeps me out. The test only showed barely any evidence of the UTI, but the doctor said I was experiencing symptoms so gave me an antibiotic. I am thinking about a post I read on here that suggested people try wean off their current drug rather than bridging to Prozac. So now I am kind of freaking out thinking that I should just go back on Lexapro and when I see my doctor in a week and a half ask if she will prescribe the liquid. I think I asked that in A message, but she suggested Prozac. I have wanted to wean off the drugs for a long time, but actually had resigned myself to staying on it for life. I felt like I was stuck. But then it was getting migraines, and my family doctor wanted to add another antidepressant Pamelor, for the migraines. At that point, I did not want to add any more, and so now I decided it was time to try to taper down. I have seen that on some sites it says Lexapro can cause migraines.
  4. Hi everyone, this is my first time posting here, hope that I am doing everything correctly. I am recovering from fluoxetine (Prozac), I took it for about 8 months and I have been off it for about 3 months now. I have searched a lot on the internet and this forum but I was not able to find anyone who suffers from similar issues, so I was hoping for some kind of support from here Every morning, I wake up with horrible anxiety and a feeling of "depersonalization", it is kind of like sitting in the back of your head and having some kind of tunnel vision. Apathy is a big part of it and there is a weird feeling of having to supress a panic attack at any moment. The weird thing about it is that this feeling goes away in the afternoon and I feel completely fine the entire evening until I wake up the next day. I think this might be related to cortisol levels rising in the morning but I am not sure. Does anyone have similar experiences or tips to share with me? Thank you so much
  5. Hey everyone, My name is Abby and I have been off Prozac for 3.5 months now. I'm currently experiencing intense withdrawal and the return of mental states I never thought I'd have to experience again, and I would really like to connect with others who are going through similar during this long, difficult process. Background info: I always had tendencies towards anxiety, depression and obsessive compulsive disorder (the Pure-Obsessional variety) since childhood. At 16 these symptoms very rapidly became so severe my whole life fell apart within a matter of days (Going on the contraceptive pill at this time may have been a contributing factor). I didn't have a full breakdown until I was 18, at which point I was taken to the doctor, put on Sertraline, and referred to psychiatry. The following 8 years consisted of several psychiatric admissions, different drugs including clomipramine, seroquel, mirtazipine, prozac, and possibly a few others for shorter periods. I lost pretty much everything, my obsessional fears were so strong that I attempted suicide more than once, developed a bad cocaine/mephadrone habit, was a constant worry to my family. There were times, however, where the medication would help a lot. At 60mg of Prozac I went through some periods of being functional - I went to work, got into a relationship etc. These were a great relief but I can't say I was truly happy as the fears were never properly dealt with. My last hospital admission was in 2014 when I was 24. I had attempted to come off medication as I believed I had to deal with the underlying problems, and I hated the weight gain side effects. Looking back, this was doomed to fail as I was still using cocaine regularly, drinking a lot, and didn't have any proper support mechanisms in place. I was fine for 6 months then crashed, was borderline psychotic with the OCD symptoms, depressed and anxious beyond belief and desperately wanted to die (and believed I deserved to). I was in a psych ward for just over 2 months before new meds kicked in - clompipramine and (randomly, I don't know why) Epilum, as I was told it 'balanced moods'. A year later I went back on to old faithful Prozac and also came off the contraceptive pill. I had always been told the same about it, that it leveled out moods, and don;t think it's a coincidence that my symptoms became much more manageable a few months after stopping it. I then managed to stay at 40mg for 2 years and my life changed drastically for the better. to myself and everyone around me it was like a miraculous recovery - I stopped taking drugs, began volunteering at a Buddhist meditation centre, got my dream job, published a novel, did newspaper interviews about my experiences, ...I pretty much had my dream life. It was like being reborn after thinking everything was all over...forever. It was in January 2017 that I decided to gradually wean off Prozac. Over the following 10 months I reduced until stopping completely in October. In these past 2 years I have done extensive mind training and spiritual exploration, which has probably been the main factor in this recovery. My life is pretty much dedicated to this practice now - I still volunteer at the meditation centre, go on meditation retreats throughout the year, and have also completed a Reiki Mastership. It was always potentially on the cards after exploring my mind with psychedelic drugs in the past, doing past life regressions and also taking Ayahuasca twice in ceremonies. It was around the time of the reiki mastership that I was weaning off the last of the Prozac. Things became challenging - but at first I welcomed it. I was in a strong place mentally, and my mental health hadn't plagued me intensely for a few years. I was made aware that the Reiki energy can churn things up to be healed, but I think that the combination of this, a massive flare up of a back issue that left me not able to walk for weeks, family pressures and intensive mind exploration during retreat that has led me to my current situation. Since December just passed things have been incredibly difficult. I have experienced a return of old OCD obsessions, to the point where I've had panic attacks for days that made my vision blur, heavy depression, crying all the time, existential fears and experiences which medically would look similar to psychosis (although I believe that term can pathologize important and natural inner processes), identity confusion etc. I knew it would be hard, I just never expected to feel this level of horror ever again. Having said that, I know things are different this time round - I have a level of insight gained through spiritual practice that is keeping me going. Energetically, I'm aware that I am creating this reality on various levels, and that I need to relax as much as possible to allow it to pass through the way it's supposed to. I'm no stranger to facing the darkest parts of the psyche, but it's still terrifying and I'm struggling to cope day to day. To make matters worse, my Mum has gone abroad for cancer treatment and I'm now caring for my little brother and sister 4 days a week which is incredibly stressful (I'm used to having my own space and being able to retreat when I need to). My CBT therapist has discharged me as she feels I cannot engage with therapy under this amount of stress, but encouraged me to come back when my Mum gets back. To be fair, she never taught me anything I didn't naturally learn in meditation and I was only seeing her regularly to comply with services. I have however started going for reiki treatments with the person who facilitated the course I was on last year - he is exceptionally intuitive, knowledgeable and takes an all round, individual approach. One session with him last week was worth a year of 'traditional' therapy. So I'm hoping that continuing with this will help. Anyway, sorry for the essay. I don't have many people to talk to about all this. It's also weird for me to ask for help now as I haven't needed it in so long - I'm usually now the one that helps everyone else. It's a scary and heartbreaking thing to go back to a place you thought you'd left long in the past, but I do believe deep down that I have done so in order to face my demons fully and emerge stronger in the long run. Thank you if you made it this far, I'm looking forward to connecting with others on this site. You are all incredibly strong to be doing what you're doing, no matter what stage you're at. Much love x
  6. i've been off 60mg 40mg (see Post #4) of prozac for 2 months after tapering very quickly over 2 months. i took prozac for 20 years. i have really bad headaches most days, something i never used to have before unless i was dehydrated. i have terrible mood swings - i shout at people in the street if they're badly parked, i get road rage when i'm driving, i scream at the kids and my husband. fatigue is a big problem - i can fall asleep at any point during the day and often do. i sleep all night but am still exhausted the next day. i have constant vivid dreams and nightmares. my ocd is creeping back (which is what i was prescribed the prozac for in the first place). i thought i had it under control until my kids told me i needed to stop posting on social media so much as it was dominating my life. i was also alienating people online. i have constant diarrhoea. i cannot stop eating -i'm constantly ravenous, especially for carbs - crisps and potatoes are my downfall and i've put on a stone in weight since stopping. i have lots of pains in my joints and limbs. i did have crawling under my skin, especially in my knees and feet but this seems to have subsided. i'm scared of seeing or talking to people. this has always been a problem for me but it is worse right now. thankyou for listening if you made it this far. today is a bad day and i keep asking myself why i gave up the pills in the first place? i hoped i would have more energy, feel more emotionally, lose weight etc. but it was only after i stopped that i started to read up on protracted withdrawals. i had no idea it could be so bad to stop the drugs.
  7. Hello everyone. I'll try to organize this as best as I can. There is a lot going on. I was on benzos from age 17 to 36 and on Cymbalta from age 35 to 36. Went off both together for a 2 year nightmare. Absolute pure hell. I wont get into the details and symptoms of that withdrawal in this post as it is it's own little novel. Some things improved during those 2 years and I feel I've beat the benzo part of the nightmare even still, but at age 38 I was still suffering enough that I agreed to go on Lexapro to see if I'd improve. I did improve hugely but it stopped working as well after 3 years and I was switched to Prozac. I have taken the Prozac ever since and it felt like it was failing around 4 months ago. I missed a lot of doses around 3 months ago and just tried to stop CT for just over a week around a month and a half ago. I started feeling withdrawals so I went back on and the withdrawal feeling is still getting worse. My memory and focus went first, then the inner restlessness and anxiety started and dizziness. I am also having the disconnected dream like feeling 24-7. I am so depressed and fearful all of the time. I've been taking the Prozac without missing a dose for over a month again and this is still happening to me. It's as if the combo of Prozac tolerance and coming off for the short time has started a withdrawal that even going back on can't stop. My doctor wants to take me off the Prozac after a slow taper and start me back on the Lexapro. The hope is that since it worked before and I've been off of it for almost 3 years that it could pick me back up and end this nightmare I'm back in. I am really considering just tapering the Prozac and staying off all ssris; so no going back on Lexapro in that case. I am so afraid of entering back into a nightmare like a was in coming off benzos and Cymbalta. My current state is terrible but the previous experience was truly worse; being benzos and Cymbalta together. It is really hard t say what withdrawal symptoms were coming from which pill. There were so many. I am so terrified of how I am feeling right now, but mostly for the days to come. If I come off the Prozac entirely I know my current state will worsen. I will be thrown back into a situation similar to the first nightmare. If I taper the Prozac and go back on Lexapro and it actually works, I'll still be doomed because I'll be back on another pill waiting for it to stop working again and most likely going through it all again. If I go back on the Lexapro and it doesn't work I will just aggravate my current symptoms with throwing more chemicals on my already hurting brain. The first time around withdrawal I had terrible akathisia and I am already feeling it brewing and I am still on the Prozac. I don't want to go through this again! Also from what I've been experiencing this month it seems a lot of what I assumed were due to the benzos were possibly due to the Cymbalta withdrawal as it's so similar. Also, I forgot to mention that I am on 500 mg of Depakote XR as well. I was put on this a couple of months after the Prozac as I felt a bit agitated. It helped but I got worried about my liver and quit it after 4 or five months and had a mild withdrawal from that but it passed. Just a couple of weeks ago after my current situation started I went back on the Depakote to see if it would help and it hasn't. I'll most likely be stopping it again as well. I had an account on Benzo Buddies during that ordeal and it gave me an outlet and some hope. I've set this account up here and got my story out in advance as I am leaning towards just stopping the meds and I'll be needing all of the support I can get! I'm seeing my doctor on January 3 so whatever I decide to do it will be starting then.
  8. Hello, I'm still new to this site and apologize if I made a mistake that could get me banned by instantly starting a topic but I was too mentally drained to even read the description, I'm really desperate to get answers that will shed light onto my own case of what I assume to be withdrawal and hope administrators won't take offense in it. I was previously preparing this text so excuse if the start sounds somewhat artificial as followed up by this part of the text, I don't feel like re-editing it. Now, would you consider it out of the ordinary that I didn't feel any withdrawal symptoms the first two years after I quit medication? I heard it is not uncommon for antipsychotics (in my case risperidone 1mg) to have more bizarre withdrawal effects than other psychiatric drugs. All this just invokes worry in me that I might be severely mentally ill instead of merely going through the necessary withdrawal process. In respect to that are details that I find important to stress out as far as my own situation is concerned, one such would be that I can't clearly tell when my symptoms started, as if not knowing when they will end wasn't scary enough, some I can even recall as far back when I quit therapy. And they don't appear to be too problematic, at least not as much as people describe theirs (although still profoundly debilitating and present with almost all describing symptoms in the book including occasional physical pains, but I still feel like most of you go through worse than me as I can be surprisingly functional on certain days, of course I might also be wrong and projecting a humble vital mindset since I know complaining won't help me any further). Another thing to note is that I was compelled to quit cold turkey due to the risperidone having caused severe internal organ damage in the form of pancreatitis, and during my stay on it I was completely deprived from the other medication I was taking, prozac to be exact, in an amount of 20mg, all as instructed by my doctor, without any tapering process. And the first few weeks of therapy my dose was rashly decreased from 1.5mg to 1mg risperidone. Other important details concerning my medical history include infrequent xanax consumption as monitored by my mom and whenever I felt the need for it (which actually didn't impact me negatively and even helped), an attempt at suicide by overdosing with an unknown substance (it's really the hypnotic effects of risperidone to blame so don't judge me please, I woke up the next day after 16 hours of sleep without side effects so it couldn't be that fatal), frequent alcohol and marijuana consumption for several months to make the effects of risperidone more bearable, and later recreative drug use when I was already off and determined to celebrate my newly acquired health (especially morning glory seeds in case that information is of any significance, I even think the first dissociation symptoms were triggered by them but that was still a year prior to when the withdrawal symptoms truly started kicking in, in the sense of turning me dysfunctional), as well as the fact that I spent the previous year starving myself due to poor appetite as I had no clue what was wrong with me and that withdrawal syndrome does it (which probably already stunted my health development enough). Please also note that I was completely straight edge before these medicines, I don't want you to get a wrong of me as the type drug abuser who has himself to blame for ruining his life, everyone deserves a second chance and you should know yourself how heavy these medications are, they required certain measures of escapism and relief which I rediscovered in recreative drugs as they partially helped me regain my cognitive processes and fight off the continuous inner turmoil of being trapped in your own body. I deeply hope all this has left no incurable permanent brain damage and that there's still hope to start life anew in spite of all the mistakes I've made in the past 5 years and truly paid them and even have to carry them with me up to this day, I'm only 20 years old and already have to pay such burdensome consequences for my past actions. Looking back at all that I think I would have rather died from sepsis than spend any more time on these demonic medicines. Medications that I felt so horrible on for the entire time I was taking them couldn't be any good for me, all the while I was too restrained by the mental blockages they caused to say anything during this one-and-a-half-year stay, it's only when I was taken off that I finally felt like a happy fulfilled human being again, even in a problematic situation like the one that forced me to end them. All that being said, I'm not very informed on the topic and would be deeply thankful if someone could provide me additional information sources. Thank you for taking the time to read this.
  9. I came across this forum in the recent New Yorker article and I’m excited to connect with others going through similar experiences. I’ve been dealing with this in isolation for far too long. JAN 2019 Over the years, I’ve been put on an increasingly complex regime - see signature. At the start of the year as I understand it, the mainstays were Wellbutrin + Pristiq, augmented by Latuda. Plus Adderall to combat daytime lethargy. I wasn’t satisfied: 1) I don’t like being on so many meds. I felt a personal stigma, plus I’m scientifically trained. Surely this was too many variables in terms of optimizing further. 2) I was still suffering from evening lethargy, basically crashing out around 8-9pm which was impacting my relationship and family. 5mg Adderall and a coffee at 7pm, and I could still pass out an hour later. WHERE I AM NOW: STREAMLINING MY REGIME This year, I’m working to simplify the regime with my psych. Immediate goals - taper Pristiq, stop Latuda. 2019 goal - reduce to two or three meds. To taper the Pristiq, we added 10mg Prozac. We also added Abilify to replace the Latuda, which I hope to discontinue soon. So I went from 4 meds to 6, hoping this makes sense. The Pristiq tapering has been a real journey - The hardest phase was when I was taking 50mg every 2 days, then every 3 days. - Thanks to this forum, I read that that was a bad idea (the rollercoaster certainly felt like one), and we switched to 25mg daily. Thats where I am now. - The switch from 50 mg every 3 days -> 25mg daily surprised me by being the hardest transition in terms of depressive symptoms. This was combined with a foot injury which meant I couldn’t exercise much. When it rains, it pours! Would love to hear your thoughts on any of the above. Stay strong.
  10. Hey, everyone. Here's my introduction (I hope it's not too long): In 1994, at 19, I suffered panic attacks from being bullied in school and having cognitive errors in my thinking (perfectionism, negative self talk, etc.) My parents took me to a psychiatrist who told me I had a "chemical imbalance in my brain," prescribed me 80 mg of Prozac a day, and kicked me out the door. I received no therapy and from that day forward saw myself as a mental health patient. This diagnosis changed the course of my entire life. My Prozac took six weeks to kick in, and it brought with it a slew of side effects: generalized anxiety, hypervigilance (constant surveying the world and my body for signs of panic), stomach cramps, and irritable bowel syndrome. Like the proverbial boiling frog who doesn't notice the raising temperature, the side effects eased in to my life so slowly I thought they were a part of me and my "chemical imbalance." In essence I had a paradoxical reaction to the drug: it amplified my existing struggles but I had no idea my medication was the source. I was never told this was possible, nor was I told about the danger of trying to come off. The side effects made work outside the home, socializing, and dating extremely difficult because I was always afraid of the next wave of anxiety that would send me racing to the washroom. I watched my friends grow up and have careers, partners, and families, while I tried to buoy what was left of my self-esteem with self-help books and different therapists, none of who ever questioned the drug or the dosage. After two years of cognitive behavioral therapy to untwist the errors in my thinking, I tried coming off the drug under the supervision of my doctor in 2006 but the initial reduction of 20 mg every two weeks proved to be far too steep. When I reached zero I had a few days of bliss, then an absolute mental collapse. I developed akathisia and was unable to sit still and paced relentlessly and lost control of my emotions. I felt completely hollow and cried for no reason, all the while suffering from unspeakable anxiety. My parents debated admitting me to a hospital but was told that the doctors would check my medication levels then ask me to leave as there would be nothing they could do. I went to my psychiatrist who misdiagnosed my condition not as withdrawal but as depression and anxiety that the Prozac had been treating. Desperate not to lose my mind, I restarted the drug and lost another ten years to side effects. Two years ago I lowered my dose from 40 mg to 30 mg. Three days later I was to meet friends for dinner for as long as my anxiety would allow. I braced myself during the meal for the inevitable tsunami of mental anguish but what I felt instead was a mere ripple. I was stunned, then perplexed. When I realized what was happening and that the drug had been the cause, I burst into tears. Instead of racing home after the meal as I so often had in the past, my friends and I went to a movie. Over the past few months I've been easing off Prozac at 5 mg every six weeks. My quality of life improves with each reduction. My hypervigilance and anxiety all but vanished at 20 mg. At 15 mg I have become more social than I have ever been, and at 10 mg I feel like myself again - sort of. I've been on 10 mg of Prozac since May 9th, and I'm also on 50 mg of Seroquel. I want to get off the Prozac completely but I'm going to stay at 10 mg for at least three months until I know I'm stable. Though most of my anxiety is gone, I had a panic attack last week. I had an appointment with my psychiatrist yesterday over how much I've missed out on from the medication and cried through the whole thing. Naturally she was concerned that this might be a relapse of depression/anxiety, but I honestly feel better now than I ever did on the higher dose. So...that's me!
  11. Hello, I am new to the board. I am a 39 year old female, about a month completely off Prozac after taking 20 mg off and on (mostly on) for 20 years. I tapered at the advice of my doctor way too quickly (know that now, wish I knew it then!) over a 2 month period and have been suffering myraid symptoms over the past month that come and go: - headache - dizziness/lightheadedness - brain fog/memory issues - blurred vision - fatigue - irritability/mood swings I am taking Omega-3 and b-complex vitamins, also started using a CES machine this week, which I definitely feel like has helped with the emotional symptoms and maybe even some of the physical symptoms. The symptoms that are really persisting and making it difficult to function at work and home is the dizziness, headache and brain fog. I am even considering reinstating a small dose of prozac (say, 5 mg?) and tapering super slowly off that (5-10% every 4-6 weeks) as long as it takes to do it and allow my brain to adjust without all these terrible symptoms. Does anyone have any suggestions or words of advice? Would you recommend reinstatement or should I tough it out cause I have gotten this far? I know reinstatement doesn't work for everyone too, which makes me nervous. Thank you so much for your help!
  12. I'm on 2000 mgs of Valproate, 30 mgs of Prozac and 10 mgs of Abilify daily. I'm starting my taper with the Prozac first (the Accelerant). I won't taper the Abilify (the Brake) until after I'm off the Prozac (in October 2021). In the meantime, is it safe to taper off the Valproate at the same time as the Prozac? According to my schedule, I'll be off both the Valproate and the Abilify by March, 2023. If I taper each drug sequentially, I'll be at this until I'm 75. I want to get my joy back while I'm still able to enjoy it.
  13. I was diagnosed bipolar II in 1999, when I was 45. I was put on Bupropion first, then switched to a cocktail of 2000 mg of Valproic Acid (Valproate), a mood stabilizer, 30 mg of Prozac and 10 mg of Stelazine. The Stelazine was swapped out for 10 mg of Abilify in 2014. So now I'm 65 I've been taking a heavy duty cocktail for 20 years. As a retirement present, I'd like to try withdrawing and rediscovering my bliss. Is this dangerous? Not just the withdrawal, but, afterwards? Am I going to turn into a crazy old man? Go on shopping sprees? I've had prostate treatment, so I'm post sexual, that behavioural pattern isn't available, but I'm relatively well off, I could spend my brains out? Will this happen?
  14. Hi All, I'm feeling so fortunate to have stumbled upon this site. I've read several books, research papers, and blogs over the past two months. I haven't had a chance to do a signature or proper intro yet, but will get to that as soon as I can. I'm tapering prozac and lamictal and down to 20 mg and 150 mg, respectively, and so far so good. There are weird symptoms that I wonder if others have experienced and will get to that later. Right now I'm wondering if anyone has found something to ease the alcohol cravings? While the prozac was at 40 mg beginning of August, and it's down by half, I feel like such a lush still. While it is a relief to know it's probably due to the bleeping prozac, I don't want to keep drinking a 6 pack of 9% beer on weekend nights...sometimes during the week too. Thank you in advance for any info you can provide.
  15. I would like some advice on withdrawal please. I was on 20 mg prozac for about 5 years and 3 years ago I came off, after a 3 month taper. I started to get a serious ringing in my ears and severe insomnia and then I had a year of anxiety, terrible insomnia and intense anger which got worse and worse. The doctor said that I was obviously depressed and advised me to go back on the prozac, which after a year I did, starting with 40mg as the symptoms were so bad. A year later, one year ago, I lowered the dose and started suffering drowsyness and fatigue which lasted 5 months. Then in September I started suffering from the drowsiness and fatigue again and the doctor eventually told me that I needed to come off the prozac as it wasn’t working for me any more. That was about 3 weeks ago. I had a week tapering and then started sertraline. Since then the drowsiness has got worse, accompanied by really bad tinnitus. My query is about the year I had with anxiety, anger and insomnia. Could that have been withdrawal from the prozac? It didn’t get any better over the year – if anything it gradually got worse and worse. At the time I suspected that it was withdrawal as every so often my face would go numb, which was one of my symptoms when I first came off prozac but the doctor said that the symptoms had gone on far too long and I was just depressed/anxious again. (I had suffered form anxiety for a couple of years previously, which had led to CFS, which was why I had gone on the prozac to begin with.) Could that year have been withdrawal? In which case what do I do now? I can’t go back on prozac as it had started to have a bad effect on me. I’m a bit despairing at the moment – I have recently had to put my PhD on hold because the drowsiness got so bad and I’m dreading the withdrawal if it’s going be as bad as last time. Does anyone have any techniques which might help? I don't want to go back on, however long it takes to even out again.
  16. Prince1924

    Prince1924: Prozac

    I have just read this advice about keeping a withdrawal programme Simple ie 3KIS. Not sure but there doesn't seem to be a support network like this in the UK? Only one I've come across is the Royal College of psychiatrists which is a in the form of a video). I've taken great comfort from all this advice as I makes me feel I can try and come off Prozac one more time.
  17. Cigarettes at age 11. Alcohol periodically from age 13 to age 30. Valium episodically from age 18 to age 27. I have been on myriad anti-depressants since 1982 for major depression and generalized anxiety. Imipramine, desyrel, ativan. Off drugs from 1984 till 1995. Started Prozac 1995 till 2014 (did well from 1995 to 2011). Tried Wellbutrin, Cymbalta. Abilify and Trintellix from March 2014 till August 8, 2017 (depression free). Had to withdraw due to cervical dystonia and tremors which still persist. Terrible experience withdrawing from Abilify and Trintellix. Started Wellbutrin 150 mg. and Prozac 10 mg. for one week to help with withdrawal. Then increased Wellbutrin to 300 mg. and experienced ringing in ears; stopped the Wellbutrin and increased Prozac to 20 mg. (10 in A.M.; 10 in P.M.) Now on Prozac 20 mg. per day, occasional Propranolol for tremors (doesn't help). I've read that coming off Abilify can take up to 3 months or more, and it has been 2 months so far. I feel like I've spent (wasted) my entire adult life trying to feel better, first by self-medicating, then by psychiatric medicating. I'm 72 years old. I wonder if there is any hope for me.
  18. Hi all, I am so glad I found this site. I am dealing with what I now know is ssri withdrawal and this place has given me hope, knowledge, and peace of mind. It’s crazy what these drugs can do. To start, I will give you my story. Looking back, I grew up with low self esteem and emotional issues that I never faced. Through school and going into college, I still managed to adjust well, make friends, and didn’t have especially bad anxiety or anything. In high school and college I abused alcohol frequently, probably due to emotional distress. I never was addicted, but was a binge drinker. In my 2nd year of college, even drinking became stressful and not fun. I began to have a lot of social anxiety, and couldn’t handle any alcohol. Depression started to set in, and I was in denial for a long time. Because of this, I let it get worse, I let people hurt me, and I ended up in the ER because I realized I couldn’t function and was suicidal. There they decided to send me to an outpatient treatment facility, and there my medication history began. I first was given seetraline, then Effexor, neither for longer than a week. The side effects were too much. So the doc deicided to try Prozac with me. That one seemed to have me feeling better, so I stayed on that for the time being. Started at 20mg around May 2017, 40mg for a few months, then 60mg for a long duration. I was only at this outpatient thing for a couple months, then I started seeing a new doctor. She basically just kept giving me the Prozac, and I’d just say I’m fine. I guess I felt fine, but I was more or less a zombie that just went to work and slept. The thing is though that Prozac is what lifted me out of the horrible depression I was in, and helped my anxiety. I thought of it as miraculous. The one thing that made it a lot less miraculous was that I gained nearly 100 pounds in a year! This prompted my doctor to lower my dose to 40mg, which made me realize how much Prozac dulled me out. I felt so much more awake and clear headed, so I figured I should get off the meds totally! It’ll only be good news, or so I thought. So I went down to 20mg a couple months later around November 2018. Afterwards is when withdrawal started to hit. I really noticed it while visiting family for Christmas. I just wasn’t myself. The anxiety was back in full force, and that was enough to hinder my social ability. It sucks to think family members see me like that and don’t know what’s going on, that maybe they just think I’m mentally ill. Oh well. I went down to 10mg in February, and jumped clear off in March. I now know this was far to fast of a taper, but I didn’t know this at the time. My doctor obviously didn’t either, but she probably also thinks Prozac doesn’t give people withdrawals. Once at 10mg I started to have the very sever symptoms. Extreme anxiety, irritability, anger, sensitivity to movement light and sounds, depersonalization, tightness in chest and neck, paranoia, numbness, and headaches (sometimes long lasting). Once I went to 0 they got a little worse for a bit, and it was gradually improved since then. I’ve only been totally off the Prozac for about a month right now. My god has it improved since a month ago! I still wouldn’t say I’m doing well by any means but I at least feel kind of normal. I felt like everybody was staring at me when I went outside or drove around at first (still kind of do sometimes), so much so that I just felt overwhelmed and crazy. I quit my job, not super important since it was just a silly job to pay rent. All I can really say about the symptoms is that they are still there, and it feels like they’ve been gradually receding ever so slowly. I seem to have the windows and waves, but mine have been short, maybe only hour long windows sometimes. I just pray that I will not only feel normal again but find real happiness and relief. I’m currently taking D3 and fish oil daily, nothing else. Does anyone have any advice about those supplements and others I could try? That would be great. I’m also just wondering if my story sounds familiar to anyone and what to expect. But most of all, it’s just nice to get this all out. Feel free to ask me questions!
  19. Peter14039

    Peter14039: Intro

    I’ve always had mild anxiety issues but managed to deal with it. Usually they manifested through hypochondria. A lot of fixating on stomach issues or thinking about contagious diseases. About 15 years ago I had a hard time dealing with family issues and was prescribed Celexa. I forget the dosage. I took it for a few days and was plunged into extreme anxiety and was unable to leave my apartment for three days. I stopped immediately and stabilized. Not sure if it was all in my head or not. About a year ago I started having worsening insomnia. I think a lot of personal changes were contributing to it such as moving to a new home and city with my partner and changing jobs. I had panic attacks here and there and much worse anxiety. My psych put me on Zoloft. I switched it up after a few weeks because my partner thought it was making me behave differently. Maybe my anxiety issues were just coming out into the open more? He’s pretty suspicious of SSRIs. I then started prozac and took it for nine weeks. It was very difficult to tell if it was making any difference at all. At best it seemed to numb me a bit, but at the same time was feeling very agitated and anxious especially after taking my morning dose of 20mg. During the 8th week my dose was increased to 30 mg and this seemed to be the breaking point. Just didn’t seem to help any and the restlessness was too hard to bear. I was an idiot and experimented with going cold turkey. For the first week it seemed to be a huge improvement. My mood improved a great deal. But that didn’t last and now several weeks later I’m having such strong anxiety and depression I just can’t motivate myself to do anything. A lot of the symptoms are the same as during taking prozac but worse. I’m so confused as to what I’m going through. Tingling sensitive skin, inability to relax, difficulty sleeping and waking up too early, staying in my room all day. I put faith in the professionals but my psych just never seemed to help out much except give me vague statements. Not sure where to go from here at all. I have some of the 10mg doses left from when I was using them to increase from 20mg to 30mg. I don’t have health insurance at the moment so wondering what my options are for reinstating if necessary. This is all so difficult. Feels like I’m just so messed up for good. And the lack of energy just makes me want to hide from everything.
  20. Bluebird2009

    Bluebird2009

    Hi 8 am from the UK and was on Prozac for 18years but had been unwell and having physical problems the past few years but tests where all clear. I realised it was the drug that was the problem. I was taken off too quickly and my body went into shock and I have been in protracted withdrawal ever since which is 9months now. Every month I'm getting new symptoms and really struggling with living. I can't tolerate even a pain relieve tablet without a reaction. I have awful lung and chest pain, blurred vision, severe headache which has just started this week and feel like I'm dying. I feel I maybe shouldn't have came of but then maybe it's better to get the poison out of my body. Really need some positive vibes at the moment and if anyone else in UK can help please do as I'm frightened that I'm going to die.
  21. GracieAnn

    GracieAnn: Akathisia

    Hi Everyone. I’m new here and just realized that my severe akathisia has a name and a cause-Prozac. For years I just thought I had severe anxiety and a lot of adrenaline. It is ruining my life. Now that I have connected the dots I’d like to slowly wean and find a med to help my symptoms(clonidine?). i pray I can heal my brain and am hoping to hear some success stories. I’m very grateful for this group.
  22. 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?
  23. Hi just a little about me! I have been taking fluoxetine for approx 20 years! Throughout which time I have continued to struggle with coping and mood! I have made adjustments in my life to help me cope better: not overloading myself, mindfulness, taking it easy and trying to manage my reaction to situations and life better! I am now weening myself off Prozac! I have always taken 20mg. At the moment I am down to taking the tablet just 5 days per week. As for symptoms, I never felt well while taking them, tired moody, highs and lows, generally feeling unwell. Noticeably more recently foggy head, poor long and short term memory and a feeling that my head is full and confusion at times! So, I am thinking, yes there will be withdrawal symptoms, but I am hopeful that I can handle it! I have been taking 5 per week for 3 weeks now, and I am wondering when I could reduce to 4 per week? I would really appreciate your advice and thoughts on this. Many thanks x
  24. Hello, I am a 50 year old woman with a history of depression. Here is my story and it is a long one, be warned - if you aren't in the mood for a long history, skip this now LOL! I'm one of those people whose family relations have also had histories of depression, and depression became an issue for me from maybe 10 years old and up, though no one really recognized it. I became bulimic at 16 and remained so for much of my adult life until about eight years ago. My adult-hood has been one of perfectionism, low self-esteem and under-performing, with all the self-hatred that that generates. My first experience with medication came after a rough relationship where I ended up feeling suicidal. I was put on Prozac. I think back to that being the beginning of the rest of my adulthood with virtually no libido. A major move after marriage led me to more depression, and at that time Wellbutrin was being marketed heavily, so I asked my GP to put me on it. No tapering of the Prozac, if I recall. Wellbutrin didn't work, but now I realize it was probably in part because I was having withdrawal from the Prozac - not sure and I don't have a lot of memories about that period one way or another. I forget if I continued the Wellbutrin up to the next change, but I had gotten the flu which turned into pneumonia for a month, and when I went to the doctor after that long of not getting better, he said "you are depressed." Well, yes, I said, I am depressed because of being sick this long! And he said, No, you are clearly a generally depressed person and you should see a p-doc. So, I did, and that doc put me on Effexor. This was somewhere back around 11 years ago. I upped the dose as they directed. I never felt like my depression was well-controlled because none of the therapy I had over the years was CBT - talk therapy would make me feel better for the moment but no change took place, so the low self-esteem and negative thinking remained. I guess the Effexor somehow made my life more tolerable, but I never felt happy or satisfied with myself. Somewhere along the line I began to taper down on the Effexor, and I have very few memories of when, how or why, other than that I hated needing ADs, and my libido sucked. A move and the loss of an old dog sent me into another bad depression, but this well could have coincided with stepping down the Effexor. Three years ago, I lost my job, and then my husband lost his, but then he got a new one which required relocating to a very hot climate where we were able to afford a home with acreage, the first time we were ever able to own, but it was very rural and the isolation quickly got to me, with anxiety increasing for various reasons. Again, I don't remember the stepping down process, but two years ago a new GP refilled my Effexor but prescribed the non-extended release version. Since these tablets were able to be broken, I began taking just half (37.5 mg). Last summer I had a bought of shingles and became very depressed and stressed again from the pain. I also was clearly in menopause and having severe hot flashes. My whole adult life had been marred by low libido since going on Prozac way back when, and the shingles were actually on my private parts (tested positive for zoster, not herpes) and I became very concerned that I didn't want the rest of my life to be joyless where sex was concerned, so I decided to go off BCPs and Effexor. In hind sight, that was madness! I stepped down the Effexor, going to every other day with the 37.5 mg. I wasn't aware of any severe symptoms, and this was last summer. Well, meanwhile, I was going through some stresses regarding a health crisis with one of my dogs. I found myself totally scatter-brained, forgetful, unable to concentrate, and also I had trouble articulating myself, unable to complete thoughts when talking with people, words hard to reach. A friend told me he always thought I was ADD, and indeed at this time I was losing things, forgetting what I was doing halfway through doing it, easily distracted, etc. I'm also a total clutter-bug who can't face doing the dishes or cleaning the house, though I've been that way for years. I had started taking Sam-e and tryptophan as a way to up serotonin. I was having a terrible time with insomnia. So, I went to get tested for ADD. I tested negative, but the psychologist doing the testing said I didn't have ADD, but that I did have OCD, depression, and GAD. He said, the good news is that there are medications that can make you "normal!" I bit, and went to a p-doc on a list he gave me. She put me on Viibryd. I stopped the serotonergic supplements. The first week at 10 mg was ok, but when I went up to 20 mg as instructed, all hell broke loose! My insomnia worsened, with the most severe anxiety I think I had ever experienced! All night I was thrashing around with racing, troubling thoughts. During the day, I would have squirts of adrenalin for no reason. I had days where I was so distressed and troubled, I couldn't stand to exist. I had global anxiety about climate change, getting old, my parents getting old losing them some day, the drought and how horrible life was! I have never experienced anxiety like that in my life! I stepped the Viibryd back down to 10 mg for about a week and then stopped it, and went back on the supplements. This time I was trying to follow the supplement plan laid out in the Mood Cure, adding GABA and some other stuff. I'd do ok for awhile, but the insomnia was still bad, and the general feeling of being ill-at-ease was so disturbing, I just couldn't stand it. So, I stopped the supplements and started taking 37.5 mg of Effexor again. After three days, I was in serotonin syndrome almost to the point of having to go to the ER! I stopped the Effexor and got an appointment with another p-doc who is a DO and actually not into psych meds. He said I'd been through about 3 years' worth of med changes in a very short period of time and that my nerves were very sensitive and that I needed consistency. He went through the meds and supplements I had a history with, and told me which supplements were safe to take (non-serotonergic). Since I had not been able to eat and lost weight, and the insomnia was so bad, he put me on Remeron, saying it was a very gentle med that worked on a different part of the serotonin pathway, and that it would help with sleep and appetite. He started me on 7.5 mg and said I could step it up as needed, that it was safe up to 60 mg. Well, I felt much better and it was nice to sleep all through the night without anxiety again. Yeah! But after a week, I was feeling down again so started upping the dose. Two weeks later I was at 37.5 mg, feeling totally apathetic and on the couch, unable to do anything I had previously enjoyed in life. I couldn't understand why the med wasn't working anymore! I was in a desperate way and called this p-doc's assistant, the fastest way to get to him, he said. I left four messages and never heard back! I suffered through to my next scheduled appointment with him two weeks later, and suffering it was! My family members were greatly concerned. The only thing that kept me going through this spell was the fact that a therapist I had recently seen told me about Emotional Brain Training, which I joined. It was developed by Laurel Mellin at UCSF and is based on neuroplasticity and rewiring the brain. It was perfect for me because I lived in the country, was isolated, and the city is 40 minutes away, so I was able to get support from home with weekly phone-in meetings with a coach and group members, daily work online, and daily phone-connections with group members. I am not hawking this, but if you want to learn more about it, go to www.ebt.org. Anyway, EBT kept me from going down the tubes through all of this. When I saw my p-doc, he said "let's add Effexor back to the remeron since you tolerated it well in the past." I started on 37.5 mg. The day I took it, I was having a non-functional couch day, and I would say within an hour of taking it, my mood lifted, like a light switch had been flipped! It was miraculous! Now, everyone knows that ADs are supposed to take weeks to start working. I now realize that the reason it worked so fast was because I was in withdrawal and it was like a junkie getting a hit of the drug they are withdrawing from - instant fix! Ok, I know my story is long but the final chapter is here: I added the Effexor back about 12 days ago. I actually had one day, about a week into it, where I was on the couch again. The next day, I saw a third p-doc my therapist said I should see since I had such a bad experience with the last guy's non-responsiveness when I left those messages. So, I saw this new guy on Wednesday. I didn't yet realize that all of the craziness I had endured since last fall was because of the withdrawal. I was convinced that genetically, I just had to be on ADs, that I had relapsed in a big way. I did think that the Viibryd had damaged me, since I had never experienced anxiety to that degree before, nor had I had depression this debilitating. This new guy said, "let's stick with this for now, since you haven't been on the Effexor long enough to see how it will work for you, but I want to up it to 75 mg (thanks to that couch day). We may end up changing you to other meds, but let's see how this goes for now." So, I began taking 75 mg Effexor ER on Thursday. It just so happens that one of my EBT connection buddies is going through withdrawal from ADs that she was put on for post-partum depression 8 years ago. She told me about this, and referred me to a neat video about neuroplasticity on beyondmeds.com. Her point in doing so was to point out about how EBT is so dead-on about retraining the brain, but in fact I had locked on to concept of withdrawal, and I began to realize that this was so much of what I had and am still going through, and this is why the Effexor worked immediately! So, I am faced with the fact that I am now back on the drug that I was hooked on. For now, I need to be consistent and not change anything, though I am going back to 37.5 mg Effexor since I'd only been on the higher dose for a couple of days. I will ride this out until my next appointment with the p-doc in five weeks. I am worried that he will be one to poo-poo withdrawal. I feel like, for the first time in my life, I am getting the cognitive help I need to eliminate the poor self-esteem and my negative black and white thinking that has ruined my life and got me started on ADs to begin with. I feel this will be critical to getting off these drugs some day. I feel so grateful to the universe for bringing me together with my connection buddy who brought this all to light for me. And beyondmeds.com brought me here.
  25. Introduction Hi everyone. I have been lurking here since last year but decided to start my thread as my waves are getting more frequent. I am trying to stabilize at 20mg of generic Prozac (fluoxetine) daily, and have been taking it for 6 months. I thought stabilization was finally happening in January this year but waves are now weekly. I am here to see if anyone can shed light on why my horrible waves are more frequent now. I've read “The windows and waves pattern of recovery” (http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/82-the-windows-and-waves-pattern-of-recovery/). Maybe I'm missing something? I'm not feeling very bright since WD hit me! Wave and window frequency Stabilization seemed to work right away and my intense waves were about every 14 to 21 days (3 to 4 weeks). Last month and this month, waves have increased frequency to about every week and last 2 to 5 days, with a window inbetween. Currently working on a graph based on my daily notes to visualize my stabilization journey. WD waves This is how I recall them now but I will update this description when I consult my notes next during a window. A headache and dizziness accompany a vice-like tightness around my head. I then get intensely irritable, depressed, and quite sleepy. I then get akathisia, mostly in the legs. I have tried pushing through it but I find it very hard to concentrate on anything and I just can’t bring myself to talk or interact with anyone. Any conversation or touch terrifies me and I just have to dismiss myself and apologize to whoever is around me at the time and hope they don’t take my sudden departure personally. I then go to sleep. When I wake, I feel better but the wave is still there. I tend to get better over the next day or two, only for the cycle to repeat as mentioned above. Aside from sleeping the only relief I get, for but a moment, is when my rescue cat comes home and deigns to grace me with her presence on the bed next to me or in my chair. This WD has meant that I can no longer keep many commitments, I can only work on a casual basis (i.e. I put in a few hours a day in a window), and my relationships have become skeletal. My life is slowly falling apart and I am now dependent on my partner. She is understanding of my withdrawal, having been on SSRIs herself but luckily avoided a protracted WD. Sadly though, I just feel so guilty and frustrated at how I am now a slave to this window and wave cycle, and largely a useless partner. Windows (something positive) I am myself: productive, fairly positive, happy, thoughtful of others, and able to tackle my anxiety properly. I still live in fear of waves but I am learning to try not to ruminate on them. I feel a willingness to connect with people. I am starting to put too much pressure on myself to do everything during a window and that is leading to problems. To be fair to myself though, my waves are iatrogenic and I must forgive myself for feeling wretched, even during a window, because SSRI withdrawal is the worst thing I’ve ever experienced and it has ruined my life. Why are my waves more frequent? I will share some of my hypotheses below regarding why my waves are more frequent. If anyone has any thoughts please let me know, I’d love to hear them. I’ve learned so much from SA already. As mentioned in my signature I am working on compiling all the daily data I have into a graph so I can get a better picture of my stabilization journey (and what proceeded it). I don’t know when that will happen as my windows are now spent doing all the things I put off in my waves and just improving my loosening grip on the good things in life. I know though that I have to finish this data processing as soon as I can in case the waves merge into one big, long one. 1. My SSRI history during the last two years is peppered with ignorant tapering attempts, maybe it is catching up with me? 2. The optimist inside me is hoping that the frequency is increasing because it could be a pattern that occurs prior to a period of flatter frequencies (perhaps the ebbs and flows of homeostasis). I am perhaps just fantasizing but I imagine that if the frequency increases so much, like in a radio wave, the peaks and troughs (waves and windows) will be indistinguishable, which could be what homeostasis looks like. I am laughing at this hypothesis as I can see I am desperate for some good news XD 3. Maybe my reinstatement/stabilization dose was a little too low (considering I was on 40mg daily for the longest time) and I am catching up with the WD that it would have caused in recent months. If this is the case, I can’t see any benefit in updosing now anyway. Sure, it could always get worse but I think it would definitely get worse if I start guessing at an updose level. I could be wrong. 4. Some of my family wish to visit me later this month for a few days. I haven’t seen them in years. They planned it during one of my windows in December and I felt positive about it all. I also felt optimistic that given about 6 months of trying to stabilize, my waves would be a thing of the past, or a rarer occasion. I tried to get them to postpone but they can’t change their plans without losing all their money. I don’t want them to stop their holiday for me but as the reason for travelling is to see me, I have warned them that I may be in bed, only able to talk to them for a few minutes. I hope I have a window when they are here but I think I’ve had a huge amount of stress about the visit because I just don’t need the guilt I will undoubtedly feel when I am only able to see them for a few minutes. In other words, perhaps stressors and other factors in my life are making waves more frequent. My expectations for stabilization and my tapering plan I didn’t expect stabilization to take this long but after reading “After reinstating or updosing how long to stabilize” (http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/4244-after-reinstating-or-updosing-how-long-to-stabilize/?hl=%2Bhow+%2Blong+%2Bstabilize) I realize it could take a long time, maybe years based on how much damage my ignorant tapering did in the past. When I stabilize (I suppose I have to believe that I will) I plan to do an SA taper, spanning years, with water titration (I have done a few trial runs of it and it’s very easy to get accurate doses this way). I have the syringes ready but it could be a long time before I get to use them! My current plan is to keep plodding along at 20mg until I can get a more stable window and wave frequency. I don’t expect my waves to disappear completely but this increase in frequency means I am questioning things and hope that someone out there may have an idea about what’s happening and what I may expect to happen for the next 6 months. Lifestyle As for my lifestyle, I am healthy, eat well, and exercise most days. I take some supplements but I don’t think they’ve made much of a difference either way. I will list them later when I can manage it but they include B12, magnesium, and fish oil. Sadly, during waves I mostly lie in bed as it provides me some relief. One of the side effects from fluoxetine is sleepiness and lethargy, which I've always had, so that contributes to me lying about a lot. It took so much out of me to write this but I am glad I did it now! Good luck to you all and I wish you the best, regardless of what stage of withdrawal and recovery you are. Kittygiggles
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