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  1. Free from Zoloft and Benzos After 25+ Years of Use One-year post taper “success story” – http://survivingantidepressants.org Elbee (male) - August 27, 2020 At the time of this success story post, I have passed the one-year mark (15+ months) living drug-free. I am speaking to you from “the other side” of hell to let you know I made it through the nightmare of psychiatric drug withdrawal -- and so can you. I want to start by saying that everyone’s withdrawal from psychiatric drugs is going to differ – no two paths are the same. While there will be commonalities in what we each experience, there will also be differences. I also believe that none of us are uniquely or irreparably “broken,” and that each of us can find a path to living much fuller, healthier lives in greater freedom. To be clear, I had doubts throughout this process . . . believing that somehow, I was MORE “broken,” and that I wouldn’t find my way out of the darkness. But the natural, innate healing power we each possess is profoundly AWESOME, and it quietly, patiently works in the background in each of our lives. . . even if we can’t see it, and even if we don’t trust it. For me, the psychiatric drug withdrawal / tapering process turned out to be an invitation to learn how to live my life differently. It became clear to me in this journey that I could never go back to some idealized place I vaguely imagined myself clinging to . . . I could only move forward to somewhere I had not yet been. I need to be honest: It is still hard to revisit and write about just how painful this drug withdrawal process was. Now that I’m feeling so much better, a part of me wants to forget the whole ordeal . . . as if looking in a rear-view mirror, driving ever-further away. And the reality is that this rear-view mirror perspective is very much real -- I’m SO grateful not to be suffocating in such intense pain anymore! But it is also true I will carry the scars of this experience with me for the rest of my life. It is clear to me now that some of me died through this drug withdrawal process. It is also true that the most precious parts of me came back to life. And I am still healing. I was very much disabled through the most intensive parts of the drug taper. I was on these psych drugs for panic attacks, anxiety, and depression my entire adult life, over 25 years. Additionally, I was drinking alcohol abusively, and relying on multiple pots of coffee and a pack of cigarettes to get me through each day. Even before I had decided to get off the meds, I was utterly exhausted most of the time, barely functional, and unconsciously stumbling through life like a zombie. I knew I had to fundamentally change how I was living. The first step in my detox efforts was to quit alcohol in April of 2014, 30 years after taking my first drink as a kid. Thankfully, I was able to release alcohol from my life relatively easily. Whatever boost alcohol had given me previously was gone, and it was clear to me as a 44 year old man that the devastating hangovers I experienced were getting more difficult. Then, over that following summer and under doctor supervision, I “tapered” entirely off both the Lorazepam and Zoloft that I had been taking for 24 years. I experienced tons of anxiety in the process, but I did it, and after the 4-month ordeal, I thought I was in the clear. Unfortunately, about six weeks after taking my last dose of Zoloft, what I now know to be protracted withdrawal hit, and my life spun into a depth of hell that words cannot describe. Instead of re-instating the same drugs I had been taking, the doctors took me on an 8-month “trial-and-error” roller coaster ride of psychiatric drug experimentation. I finally ended up on higher doses of the drugs I had originally quit, plus Remeron added in for good measure. Through all of this, I landed in a very bad place – exhausted, functionally disabled, unable to work, and unsure what to do next. I had some savings in the bank I could live on for a few years, so I decided to “hole up” to do a new taper, following the much slower tapering protocol of the SurvivingAntidepressants.org website. But my savings were limited, so I used the 10% reduction protocol as a baseline, and pushed the taper as fast as I could without killing myself in the process. I’m not sure I would suggest this approach to anyone else, but in my situation, that’s what I did. Note: I’m going to refrain from listing out all the symptomatic horrors I experienced (there were many) as I write this success story. Here is the link, if you’re interested, to my introductory thread which details my four-year psychiatric drug withdrawal process: https://www.survivingantidepressants.org/topic/11862-%E2%98%BC-elbee-25-years-of-meds/ And I want to take a moment here to say how incredibly grateful I am to @Altostrata, @Shep @brassmonkey, @bubble, @apace41, @Gridley, @Rhiannon (her writings), @JanCarol, @KarenB, @ChessieCat, @Petunia, @scallywag and all the folks at SurvivingAntidepressants.org who helped save my life. I also came across Robert Whitaker’s book, Anatomy of an Epidemic around the same time I found this site, and from these resources, I knew I had stumbled into truth. It became clear to me that so much of what the mainstream medical establishment had told me about these drugs, and about my so-called “chemical imbalance,” was false -- I had been lied to. SurvivingAntidepressants.org helped me anchor into this truth and set me on a new course. THANK YOU! With these new resources, I came to understand that getting off the drugs wasn’t just a simple matter of refraining from ingesting chemicals, or even about waiting for those chemicals to dissipate out of my body. I learned that my brain had restructured itself around the presence of the drugs all these years and that by removing the drugs, my brain would have to, very slowly, restructure itself again to a healthy state. The metaphor of a plant (my brain) growing on a trellis (the drugs) for support is so profound to me. How can I expect to abruptly rip out the trellis and think that it won’t damage the plant in devastating ways? This metaphor was such a clear illustration to me of how a neuroplastic human brain builds tolerance, and how we can so easily become entangled in the physiological mechanisms of addiction. And to be very clear, our brains develop tolerance to psychiatric drugs just like they do street drugs, and the mechanics of addiction and withdrawal in each are the same. Gaining this knowledge and allowing it to sink in was probably one of the most important early milestones in my healing process. In preparing for writing this success story, I re-read my entire introductory thread. Several pivotal posts stood out to me as other milestones in my healing process, and while this testimonial might go long, I think it could be useful to touch on some of them . . . In my very first post, I am already talking about the value of meditation. Sitting with myself quietly and focusing on my breath helped me slow down my mind and learn to relax. As I continued with the practice, though, I began experiencing periods of discomfort. I had initially taken the psychiatric drugs to avoid feeling uncomfortable feelings, and as I practiced meditating space was again created for those feelings to arise. Learning to slowly sit with and tolerate whatever thoughts and feelings arose began to nullify my need to run away, and therefore, lesson my urge to drug the discomfort. Meditation became a cornerstone of my self-care practice, and self-care is what I ultimately found to replace the drugs. Next milestone -- about a year later, I wrote an entry about a decision I was struggling with on whether to consult with a renowned psychiatrist. A relative was able to get me an appointment for a psychiatric medication evaluation from a “leader in the field” (at the bargain price of $2,000). Looking back, it was then I decided I no longer believed in the efficacy of psychiatric drugs, nor the system that deals in them. I wrote: Next, in the summer of 2016, still early in my tapering and recovery process, I went on a 111-day, 9,000-mile solo road trip across the U.S. In retrospect, I was probably looking for something “out there” that was missing “in here.” I did a four-day vision fast in the wilderness, hiked a 14,000-foot mountain, roamed Death Valley, did a week-long silent meditation retreat, camped under redwoods, hiked numerous National Parks, etc. Was it really a good idea to take this pilgrimage in such a compromised state? I can’t say for sure, but it’s what I did, and I think it cracked through defenses that needed to open. In the Hoh Forest of Olympic National Park in Washington state, I experienced a release of emotions like I had never felt before. It was in that moment I finally realized that releasing stored emotional blockages could ease my anxiety: Another milestone: Upon returning home to Florida later that fall, I dove more deeply into my involvement with the Adult Children of Alcoholics and Dysfunctional Families (ACA) 12-Step program. In conjunction with doing EMDR with a skilled, compassionate trauma therapist, ACA helped me crack through layers of protective childhood denial that I had carried into adulthood. Some people advise NOT deliberately digging into the unconscious too much while going through psychiatric drug withdrawal, but my path has been that of heavy digging. I accepted living in a disabled state for a period of time and felt that if I was going to get off these drugs, I needed to address what drove me to take them in the first place. By early summer of 2017, my commitment to this recovery approach had strengthened. Along with addressing the trauma associated with childhood family dysfunction, I opened another door . . . into the shame and terror I experienced hiding as a closeted young gay boy and gay teen. I had initially come out 25 years earlier at age 20 (the same time I started taking the psych drugs), but that was only part of my truth I was hiding. The secrets of my sexual orientation were built upon the secrets of having grown up in family dysfunction: Homophobia turned out to be compounding trauma, and I had been living in a closet within a closet. I had more inner work to do. Perhaps one of my most significant milestones was realizing how important it was for me to take the lead in my healing, and how easily I had deferred to the “expertise of authorities” in my life. By June of 2017, I had navigated my way off the benzos completely, and I recognized the importance of building an internal sense of trust – connecting with my more authentic self to discover a new inner compass. Despite appearing outwardly confident most of my life, inner trust was something I lacked. By allowing myself to fully feel, I had opened to recognizing my own authentic needs, to directly and respectfully communicating my needs, and to setting healthy limits and boundaries. By learning these important skills that I had missed earlier in life, I discovered greater internal trust with myself, and greater discernment in trusting others. By January of 2018, I had another important insight: I more fully recognized I was going through an internal chemical withdrawal process in addition to detoxing from the drugs I was ingesting. Behavioral (or process) compulsions and addictions all have physiological and neurological correlates, and I had been heavily “dosing” throughout my life using my own “internal drug store.” This realization profoundly shifted my perspective on my psychiatric drug withdrawal process, seeing it in a more comprehensive context. A lot of my recovery has involved working with an “inner critic” that had been driving me most of my life, born and sustained from a lack of unconditional love. Ironically, this harshness was so pervasive that I had never consciously known it was there. My inner critic constantly pushed me into the extremes of all-nothing thinking. Again, meditative practices more than anything helped me identify this was going on, and ACA reparenting (inner child work) has allowed me to soften it. By the end of 2018, I started discovering something that had evaded me my whole life – moderation, and a general sense of “OK-ness.” By April 2019, I had found a new pace in life to accompany my new inner compass, and I was nearing the full completion of my psychiatric drug taper. I was one-year benzo-free at this point, and at times, I was overwhelmed with heights of new sensations and emotions. I was feeling things I hadn’t experienced since I was a teenager because I had been drugged my entire adult life. It was overpowering in many ways, but I was so grateful to be “awakening” to a much more fully human life. On April 28, 2019, I was finally free from Zoloft, and my psychiatric drug taper was complete. I had found a way out of the darkness, and I had survived. I couldn’t remember having ever felt so alive. So, while this isn’t my entire recovery story, I’m fulfilling my promise to report back and share my continuing journey with others. Where do things stand today, 15 months after taking a psychiatric drug for the last time ever? No need to panic. I’m not experiencing depersonalization, derealization (DP/DR), or panic attacks in frightening ways. I do still feel what I might call different states of consciousness, but often there is a positive, expansive quality to these experiences. Perhaps some might call this bliss? I haven’t really found ways to talk about it yet clearly, but I don’t experience panic attacks in the ways I used to. I still have fears of them returning, but less so with time. I also get “eerie” feelings now and again, but I have found ways to work with that when it happens, and it doesn’t usually last long. Scariest weirdness has ceased. Most of the “unexplainable” adverse reactions I experienced don’t happen anymore. I would get terrible flu-like symptoms for days at a time . . . hot flashes and chills, body aches, cramps, twitches, headaches, fogginess and disorientation, exhaustion, etc. Sometimes my heart would start racing for no apparent reason, or I would have trouble breathing. I had chronic digestion issues. I had intense agoraphobia, even paranoia at times. I had problems making the simplest decisions. All of this, for the most part, has subsided. Consistent rest. My sleep has changed dramatically, and I’m so grateful. I have struggled with sleep my entire life . . . unable to fall asleep at night and feeling anxious and “hungover” with crippling anxiety each morning. For as long as I can remember, I wanted nothing more than to sleep “normally” from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. and wake-up feeling well-rested. Today, more times than not, my sleep resembles very much what I used to wish for. I wrote an entry summarizing what I’ve done to address my sleep issues here. Keep gently working with triggers. I still have intense anxiety at times and find myself in hypervigilant states. I’ve come to understand this as a trauma response, and I can usually identify what has triggered me and/or how my inner critic has become activated. I’ve developed self-care routines that help to reduce these reactions, and that help me come out of this state much more quickly and easily. Some old wounds have healed permanently – some things that used to trigger me no longer do. AND I want to emphasize there are days now, thankfully, I live virtually anxiety-free. Self-care (reparenting) is my new drug. I had SO much resistance to doing self-care my whole life (for many reasons I won’t get into here). And by self-care, I don’t mean treating myself to a spa day (though that probably doesn’t hurt). I mean the day-in and day-out routines of physically, intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually tending to myself like I’m the most precious being in the world. Self-care is what got me to where I am today, and it will be the practice of my lifetime. Don’t overdo it. As my life continues to get fuller, I can easily start “checking-out” again. If I stay dissociated for too long, I will pay for it. If I overcommit while on autopilot, I will have adverse reactions when I reconnect with myself. If I try to shortcut too much on the self-care, I will most definitely feel it, and I will struggle. Moving forward, I have to be very careful not to take on too much too quickly, and simply take next best steps. The worst is over. I’ve come to accept that I will never know how much of the excruciating symptoms I experienced these past years were due directly to the psychiatric drug withdrawal, versus how much was due to all the “inner work” I was doing. What I can say is that the symptoms from folks going through psychiatric drug withdrawal and folks doing inner transformative (trauma) work tend to be very much the same. It’s uncanny really, and I can’t explain it. But these two processes seem to very much mirror each other. What I can say is that while there will still be “windows and waves” as my brain keeps healing, and while I still have more “inner work” to do, I’m confident the heaviest lifting for me is done now. Perhaps most indicative of the healing I’ve experienced, I’m feeling well enough now that I’m back in school earning a Master’s in Social Work (MSW) – I’m going to become a therapist. While I’m a bit uneasy stepping towards healthcare systems that betrayed me so deeply, I also feel this is how I can be of most benefit. I’ve come to fully believe that my wounds are intrinsically linked to my gifts, and as I continue to heal my wounds, my gifts will become increasingly available. I’ve been doing volunteer work for some time now, which has helped me to “move back out into the world,” and I hope to transition into paid work soon. I’ve been meeting with people in support capacities, and I envision “coaching” people at some point until I more formally earn my credentials. I plan to be very open about my history with psychiatric drugs, as well as my recovery process. I journaled extensively all throughout my recovery process, and perhaps I will share the “long version” of my story in the future (yes, this is the short version). For now, writing this success story is an important next step in my “coming out.” Thank you for witnessing my healing. Elbee-Success-Story_Free from Zoloft and Benzos After 25 years on them.pdf
  2. I have been taking Trazadone since January 2014. I started with .75 Traz and have been slowly tapering the past six months. I am now down to .38 Traz after making a cut 2 nights ago from .45 Traz.. I take it at night to sleep along with 7.5 Remeron. I have been doing well with sleeping on the .45 which I have been holding the past 2 months. Last night my sleep was very light and fitful after the cut. I doubt I got that much sleep. Also, this October I will be on year off Ambien 10 mg. I am looking for some encouragement from folks who have been down this road before with Trazadone. Any success stories out there? How did you feel along the way with tapering? How was your sleep? How did you feel one week off Traz, three weeks off, a month off?
  3. Community of healing, hello. my name is dave. in february of 2012, things started going terribly wrong. i have always been a person with some anxiety and depression. in fact my parents began medicating me for this when i was in the first grade, when the nuns at the parochial school i attended informed them i wasn't "living up to expectations." at this time (early 80s), the medications were as heavy as they are today - in fact, many of the drugs that were put into my childhood body are currently considered barbaric in standard medical practice. nice. anyway, in my teen years and early 20s, i tried many different medications. prozac, paxil, zoloft, blah blah blah. i wanted to put out the fire - i wanted to mellow out and not feel the anxiety. i wanted to not feel the sadness. i was taught that those things were not ok to feel - that these human emotions were to be avoided at all costs. the line-up that my doctors settled upon were remeron and ativan. the remeron was 7.5mg daily, the ativan .5mg as needed. for over a decade, i kept the remeron between 3.75 and 7.5 - the ativan, between .25 and .5. i've always been a "little dab will do you" individual. when i still consumed alcoholic beverages, i was a totally cheap date. 1 drink felt good, 2 drinks was a nap on the couch. my system has always been highly sensitive, as so many of ours are. in late 2011, the ativan wasn't working anymore. the doctors threw in some xanax and bumped the ativan dose. it helped a little. in early 2012, i noticed some profound dizziness - like i was walking on a swaying ship. i had actually been noticing this for a year or more, doctors could find no pathology to explain it. but it was getting worse. i suspected it was the remeron. my doctor said, "well, stop taking it." so, i ditched the 7.5mg of remeron cold turkey YAHOOOOO! and my system went nuts. i could not eat, i could not sleep. i began losing weight - lots. in hindsight, i realize i was in full benzodiazepine tolerance withdrawal and remeron withdrawal. my doctors said it was "just the anxiety getting worse." they were just about ready to throw some klonopin into the mix when i bailed. i started a rapid taper that essentially amounted to a cold turkey from the ativan and began to suffer intensely. between the months of april 2012 and june 2012, i went from being a solidly built 162lb marathon runner to a 129lb human who could not lift his head off the pillow, barely acknowledged his wife and children, was confused as to who the president was and what month it was, and finally, began having intense violent intrusive thoughts - both suicidal and outwardly motivated. i checked myself into a hospital. i was so scared. i figured that was the thing i needed to do. get fixed. as soon as i got in, they tried to get me to reinstate the benzodiazepines. i refused. in my lucid moments, i had read too much online to do it. they put me on seroquil, which produced serious side effects. they switched me to risperidone and left me with that. i wanted out of the hospital. they became fairly insistent that if i were to do so, i would need to be on another medication. i mentioned reinstating the remeron. they liked that idea. they put me back on 7.5mg. a day later, they bumped me up to 15mg, a day later, they bumped me up to 30mg. my whole body was vibrating. i was having nocturnal emissions nightly in the hospital bed. the intrusive thoughts and all the other withdrawal symptoms skipped along merrily, unaffected by the drugs, but the hospital thought i was "good to go." so off i went. oh, and they handed me a script for valium on the way out "just in case." in the hospital, i mentioned both benzo and antidepressant withdrawal. even offering to show them the ins and outs of the ashton manual, which in the benzo world, is fairly revered. the doctors took a position that what i had to say was of little consequence. they were the doctors after all, they should know best. and any words on my part were greeted as a questioning of their authority. the next 8 to 12 months were essentially hell. i kicked the risperidone to the curb almost immediately. if anything, that anti-psychotic was making things worse. the 30mg of remeron was so damn activating, i wanted to jump out of my skin and climb up trees daily. but i felt stuck on it. when i began experiencing intermittent periods of gradually extending "windows" and "waves," i began to taper the remeron slowly. things were very bad for a very long time. very bad. did i mention that things were VERY VERY BAD? i managed to keep my job. it wasn't easy. when i was at my very worst, i would work from my bed at home. getting up to puke, sitting in a stupor, trying to answer e-mails and phone calls as if my brain were not a bashed-up mess. trying to put together sentences. when i was able to return to work, the intrusive thoughts were so bad, i either stayed glued to my desk, or else went back behind my office building and fought off the daily urge to throw myself into the waters. i wanted to die so bad. those waters were almost calling me into them. i fought back. and i am glad, beyond, that i fought. by the 8 to 9 month mark, things started improving somewhat quickly, the tapering of the remeron was becoming somewhat easier, the benzo symptoms were easing. the windows got longer and longer until the waves became basically a couple hours during a day or two per month. i need to cut this short. i could literally write a book about this whole experience, but i don't want to waste your time and i myself have to boogie. let me just say this. i am still tapering - i am now at 2mg of liquid remeron. i have a pharmacy compound for me. i make 10% cuts, hold for 4 to 6 weeks in between, and go in for another round. when i cut, i feel it the day after i make it - an intensification of the symptoms. things settle for a short while. around the 2 week mark after a cut, it kicks me harder. usually restless legs, nausea, intestinal disturbance, mild insomnia, intensification of anxiety and the desire to cry for no reason at all. the intrusive thoughts are totally gone. i don't experience these anymore. and i am thankful. they were my worst symptom. they plagued me and plagued me and plagued me and they are gone. i try to eat as clean as possible. higher protein, lower carbs, almost no refined sugars. i short-circuit the cortisol response by waking at 0345hrs each morning. i am at the gym very early, i put in a workout, i go to work. i could not exercise at all for the first year after withdrawal. it would activate my central nervous system to much. but now i lift weights and lift heavy and i do only enough cardio to keep that system as optimal as i feel it needs to be. i supplement with whey protein, vitamin d, b vitamin/folic acid, magnesium, and some occasional omegas in the form of either fish oil or hemp protein. i do not drink alcohol. i do not use pot. i consider these substances a colossal waste of time. i do not use any other chemicals that will interfere with my brain chemistry. i'm not sure how much of a hassle these last 2mg will be. i think i will probably be all done with the remeron by the end of 2015, if things keep ticking along. that is my goal at least. after benzo withdrawal, and the remeron withdrawal that followed, i know i can weather whatever storm. i'll own the pain. i'm not a tough guy at all. but withdrawal has showed me two things: that i can live through hell on earth and that the anxiety and depression that underlies my personal psychology is "normal," and manageable without the use of chemical substances. thanks for taking the time to read this. and no matter where you are on your own journey, hang in there. when i was 129lbs and barely able to move, barely cognizant of who i was, i doubted that i would ever heal. i am almost there, community. you will be too. hang in there...
  4. Muddles

    Muddles: desperate

    Hi there! Need a bit of advice. My father passed away Christmas Eve :-( I have been on mirtazapine 15mg for 4 years. Since my father passed I have been experiencing a lot of strange & worrying stuff which I can only explain as withdrawal symptoms from mirtazapine. Depression - severe, insomnia, mind chatter, body buzzing, twitches, jerks of legs/arms, panick attack, anxiety etc. I went to see my doctor as my friends and family are concerned. She wants me to up my dose but am not sure i should do it. Could it make things worse? I feel upping may cause more problems. I felt sooo depressed this morning and slowly withdrawing from everybody...scared! Thanks in advance.
  5. Hi folks, First of all I'm new to this site, so feel free to tell me I'm in the wrong area or redirect me.. But here's my story... I currently have what I think is severe anhedonia. Last July, I was a bit depressed (I stress a bit, not majorly).......doctor gave me lexapro 10. After taking this, I vomited on the first night and developed sleep problems. Later in the week, I was given 25 seroquel which apparently would help balance out adverse effects of lexapro.......by the end of the week, I wasn't sleeping and I was suicidal. I subsequently was admitted to hospital. In hospital, I got more and more meds thrown at me and my mid august I was on 125 seroquel, 30 mirtazapine, 20 lexapro, 20 Olanzapine/Zyprexa....My main problem was the medication ripped my stomach apart.....the docs didn't believe me and just gave me more and more meds. I left hospital anyway on the concoction I mentioned.....I spent the following four months on these meds. During those four months, I felt no emotion whatsever, nothing. I felt suicidal, and that I would never recover. I had no desire to do anything. I just stayed in bed until late in the day, even though my sleep did not feel like real sleep. By mid November, i realised that the medication was messing me up, I demanded that I gradually come off everything. On that day, the doctor dropped the mirtazapine, and cut everything else in half. There was a quick taper, maybe too quick, and by christmas eve I was off everything. There were brief windows of emotion during the taper but still 95% anhedonia. Days after I went off everything....I cried for the first time in six months.....days later I laughed for the first time in months... I'm now 6 weeks off everything, I had huge headaches up unitl last week. My stomach started to improve after going off everything and is on the mend. However, I'm still worried about emotions/desires/thoughts etc.....over the last six weeks....I've had maybe 5 occassions where I felt strong positive emotions...and maybe 3 times where I've been sad/angry to the point of proper crying. outside of those 8 occassions, there's still an awful amount of flat feeling, apathy etc... I'm worried and wonder how long or if I will recover at all. Feedback welcome!!
  6. Oldlady123

    Oldlady123: intro

    I have chronic insomnia from histamine intolerance after tapering off Remerom 3 years ago. I also have Chronic Akathisia for 5 years from tapering off Chlonazapam. Drs. can’t help. I’m down to eating mostly meat since plant based food increases histamine. I just stumble through my days still looking for answers. Right now I take tryptophan and Benedryl but it won’t help if I eat something wrong. I have taken anti depressants most of my life but can’t anymore. Weaned off of Cymbalta 6 years ago. Also took Vicodin for years. Now only take Propanolol for blood pressure. Just looking for support now.
  7. Hi all. I have been on a combo of Risperdal and Zoloft since 2012. I reached 3mg risperdal and 200mg zoloft in early 2016, tried to taper off both starting in June of that year, and had a bout of insomnia in November, at which time I reinstated along with an additional 15mg remeron. Adding the remeron, I've learned, was a huge mistake and most likely unnecessary. Since then I've slept at most 6 hours instead of my usual 8. For the first 2 months on remeron I avoided caffeine and tobacco. Then, after picking up both again, my sleep suffered, and I eventually had nights with 2-3 hours. I've since learned that caffeine and tobacco induce the enzyme CYP1A2, which metabolizes remeron, explaining this. By abstaining from both, my sleep has returned. I have also tried shaving a sliver off my 15mg pill with no luck...getting a full night without sleep. I would like to be able to drink coffee and smoke again. That leaves me with 2 options, get off the remeron (seemingly impossible) or tolerate the lack of sleep. If I do the latter, will my sleep eventually not recover even when abstinent due to repeated withdrawals? I had been planning to use coffee and cigs only sporadically, letting my sleep return before using them again, or using only on the weekends. If I that is not sustainable, then how do you recommend I get off the remeron, given my sensitivity to even a small dose decrease? My doc has suggested trazodone as a replacement, but that med interacts with my other meds and a post about it here scared me away. Thank you so much for your help.
  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. Hi I am new to this forum and this is my first post . I am currently on 30mg mirtazapine and 200mg of pregablin , I have been on these mess for about 3 to 4 months . I have just cut my mirtazapine from 30mg to 15mg and in the space of 4 days I have have horrible side effects , anxiety through the roof , shaking , lack of appetite poor sleep crying spells and the general feeling of feeling crap . The reason I have started to withdraw from the mirtazapine is that after 3 months I feel no benefit only get awfull side effects . No help with my anxiety and depression if anything it's made me more depressed . I have gone through withdrawing from Effexor and that was really tough , however just the drop for a few days of the mirtazapine has left me crushed , my doctor told me that mirtazapine was a easy drug to withdraw from , but after 4 days it has left me house bound . Has anyone got any idea on how I get through this or any experience in mirtazapine withdrawals
  10. 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.
  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. I have been on Prozac for about 25 years. I tried to taper few times in the past, but it didn't work. So what can be different this time? I am hoping this board will make the difference. I know I can't do it alone. I am now taking 10 mg Prozac daily. I was on 40 mg about 2 years ago, and took it down very slowly, cutting 5 mg every few months. One reason that it took so long was because I was also tapering clonazepam. Another reason was the failed attempts in the past. What I learned from tapering clonazepam I hope to put into use while tapering Prozac. One lesson that I learned is that you need to do it slow. There is just no other way. Another lesson is that you need support. I am looking for my next cut in a few months and my goal is to be completely drug free by the end of the year. I have been on disability during the last couple of years while recovering from clonazepam withdrawal. It's been hell and I'm still not completely recovered. I am looking to get back to work as soon as I can but I know it could still take more time. The biggest challenge will be to deal with withdrawal and setbacks without going back on Prozac. My hope is that I will be able to do that with the help of this board.
  13. if this isn't allowed I"m sorry. I promised a friend I'd try to get her help. She's 84yrs old and doesn't use a computer. she suffered the tragic loss of her husband 3 yrs ago (suicide, he'd had botched surgery that left him in terrible pain and he couldn't take it any longer) She "fell apart" she said, and went into a psych hospital for 2 1/2 mos. While there, she believes she was given meds to help her sleep and possibly started on lexapro, she's not sure. She thought maybe the lexapro was started some time later. In any case, she took lexapro for at least 2 yrs For some reason, her PCP (who has been prescribing the lexapro) switched her to remeron. She was going thru a hard time with a BF who was stalking her, damaging her car, etc. So it's possible she told her dr that the lexapro wasn't helping. So she was switched to mirtazapine/remeron. it's now Approx 2 mos after being off the lexapro and she's waking up with horrible anxiety attacks as well as severe GI symptoms. She's also dizzy and feels weak , hot and sweaty. She went to the ER and was tested for everything under the sun, nothing wrong. She was started on lorazapam/ativan at 0.5mgs once a day. her PCP has rather quickly upped that dose to 0.5mgs three times a day to now 1mg three times a day and she's been told not to drive which is not going to happen. She refuses to stay home and doesn't understand that the drug that an impair her ability to drive is also the drug that can make her unaware of her impairment (although I think I was able to get that thru to her by comparing it to being drunk) this 84 yr old woman has been active her entire life, kayaking hiking, etc etc, she would not just stay home. she's waking up with more and more anxiety every day and more GI symptoms, including a burning feeling in her stomach and nausea My feeling is that she's going thru lexapro withdrawal (delayed) she takes the remeron at night and she says it helps her to sleep but she's quickly gotten very fond of the ativan. I've warned her about addiction and tolerance and told her she needs to take the warnings about driving very seriously. she's at an age where she believes that only a dr knows best, so it's very hard for me to give her advice. Plus I don't want to cause her any harm she wants me to go with her to see a psychiatrist or other prescribing dr. I don't know that I'd be much good with that, since I HATE these drs so much for what they did to me (over 40yrs on psych drugs, given nearly every mental illness lable, etc etc) Is there anything I can do for her? My feeling was that a tiny dose of lexapro might convince her that her anxiety and GI upset are WD from the CT of lexapro... but I don't know if that would work now that she's got the other drugs in her system........?? what would be her best course of action? she does not want to be on these drugs but she's not been offered therapy!! she wants to go inpatient because she's recently lost her volunteer job and her BF and is lonely and needs things to do. I doubt they'll agree to admit her for that, but she may realize that her anxiety issues might be enough to get her admitted for a short while since she has good insurance I told her that they are likely going to keep her on meds and maybe increase them. They don't know how to get ppl off them. any suggestions welcomed. I'm so upset that she's going thru this. these damn drs dole these drugs out like candy, it makes me sick
  14. Hello all, i had found this site on google before and have some questions. I took 15 mg Mirtazapine 6 months and stopped 5 months ago, now i'm in big trouble. After stopping i slowly started losing my emotions and feelings but now i'm complete dead inside, it feels like my soul has gone, there is only silence in me, no matter what i'm doing i can't enjoy things anymore because i'm not connected to it in any way like emotions, thinking about it etc.. and it's almost impossible to sleep, because i simply don't feel anything and don't even know when i'm tired, when i read my name or see some old pictures of myself, i don't feel connected to it in any way, same thing if i look in the mirror, it simply is like there is nothing inside me anymore. I don't have panic attacks or feel sad, i can't say how i'm feeling because feelings are no longer there. If i remember some things i can't get some emotions or feel deep about something that was very important to me, i lost interest in everything that i loved, its hard to concentrate without feeling anything, or know what todo, what is important or not, what is right or wrong..... it's also almost imposible for me to go out or visit some friends, but i know that i'm in reality and never had hallucinations, some time after stopping mirtazapine i was manic My question now is what could this be? Is it permanent braindamage or is it some sort of DP? I had DR before but i had feelings and panic attacks, now i simply don't feel anything. I had depression for years but this for sure is no depression anymore. Please let me know anyone what i can do about this because im very suicidal the last time, but i don't want to give up and die in this condition, i had many plans for my life, i can't belive all that could happen to me and i don't wish such condition to anyone, well maybe to the doc only that gave me that pills... Regards, helpless.
  15. Aka Remeron, Remeronsoltab, Avanza, Axit, Mirtabene, Mirtaz, Mirtazon, Norset, Promyrtil, Remergil, Remergon, Remeron SolTab As with other psychiatric drugs, we recommend trying a 10% taper of mirtazapine per month, based on the last dosage you took. If you get withdrawal symptoms from a 10% taper, go down by smaller amounts. See Important topics in the Tapering forum, particularly why-taper-by-10-of-my-dosage A very common withdrawal problem with mirtazapine is rebound insomnia, which reinforces the need for very gradual tapering. From FDA information at http://www.drugs.com/pro/mirtazapine-tablets.html From Malhi, et al 2003 Dual-Action Antidepressants: Mechanisms of Action and Clinical Use Per http://www.drugbank.ca/drugs/DB00370, Half-life is 20-40 hours. Mirtazapine tablet dosages are 7.5mg, 15mg, 30mg, and 45mg. The "orally disintegrating" version melts in the mouth and is widely available as a generic or brand-name Remeron SolTabs. Reduce by splitting tablets Request that your prescription be filled with the lowest dosage tablets or combination that includes the lowest dosage and split them into quarters for the smallest decrements. (A quarter of a 7.5mg tablet would be 1.875mg.) If you are very sensitive to dosage reductions, you may wish to weigh tablet fragments, see Using a digital scale to measure doses Reduce by titrating a liquid A liquid is easier to measure in order to taper by small amounts using an oral syringe. Unfortunately, mirtazapine liquid is not widely available. In the UK, mirtazapine liquid is available from Rosemont Pharmaceuticals in Leeds. Ingredients of the liquid are here: https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/medicine/31587. Shelf-life after being opened is 6 weeks. Ordering information is here. To taper, many people make mirtazapine liquids themselves. While water solubility of mirtazapine is "slight" according to http://www.drugbank.ca/drugs/DB00370 you can make a suspension of it yourself with a tablet and water or a pharmaceutical liquid such as Ora-Plus. See How to make a liquid from tablets or capsules Refrigerate the DIY suspension for up to 5 days, then discard. Have a compounding pharmacy make a liquid for tapering Compounding pharmacies can make a liquid from the tablets. You will need a prescription written for the customized drug preparation. The only drawback is this can be quite expensive. While your pharmacy may say the liquid is good for a month, people have noticed potency decreases over that time: Please note the do-it-yourself liquids are kept for less than a week. Reduce by making a liquid with the "orally disintegrating" tablets You may be able to dissolve the orally disintegrating tablets ("Soltabs") in water and use an oral syringe to take a measured dosage. I couldn't find any reports of doing this but, since the orally disintegrating tablet is designed to dissolve in saliva, it seems likely to work. After making the liquid, I would take the dose immediately and discard the rest -- do not count on it keeping for any length of time. For instructions on how to make a liquid, see how-to-make-a-liquid-from-tablets-or-capsules If you do this and it works, please let us know in this topic. Using a combination of tablets or capsules and liquid Rather than switch directly to an all-liquid dose, you may wish to take part of your dose in liquid and part in lower-dose tablets or capsules, gradually converting to all liquid as you get to lower dosages. This can be very convenient and reduce any problems switching from one form of the drug to another. If your doctor prescribes liquid and tablets or capsules at the same time, most likely, he or she will have to indicate "divided doses" in the prescriptions to get the drugs covered by insurance. Tapering mirtazapine and venlafaxine or "California rocket fuel" This is a combination of mirtazapine and venlafaxine (Effexor) that has some popularity among psychiatrists, but also can have dangerous side effects. If you are taking this combination, you probably will want to taper the Effexor first with the hope that the remaining mirtazapine will maintain sleep. See About going off mirtazapine plus venlafaxine (Effexor) aka "California rocket fuel"
  16. Kornyboyo1917

    Kornyboyo1917: Remeron 15mg

    Hello, I was put on remeron 1.5 months ago after being hospitalized for severe benzo withdrawal. I have been off benzos for 9 months after a rapid taper. My symptoms are horrific and 24/7. - Racing thoughts/ruminations - Ear-worms (things I watch/read and conversations repeat over and over all day long) - Racing negative thoughts - Intrusive thoughts/memories - Loud inner critic/voice - Sensorimotor Hyperawareness OCD (thinking/thoughts and occasionally other themes) The remeron seemed to help with the pacing akatheisa and terror but did nothing else for my mental symptoms. I started at 7.5 for a week or so and then went up to 15mg. At 15 I got his with depression. Went up to 22.5 for a few days but couldn't handle the anxiety and fear it triggered so went down to 15mg. I don't want to be on remeron anymore because It's interfering with my benzo recovery but my mind is tormenting me on how to come off of it. I don't know much about tapering and what would be the best thing for me since I'm already in benzo withdrawal. I think its making the OCD worse (compulsive researching, chain smoking). The problem is i'm not going to know if I am having new symptoms from discontinuing the remeron or if it was masking some of the benzo withdrawal and it's coming back. Unless i develop new symptoms like DP/DR (which i don't have). I am looking for advice on a taper. I know my situation is different but any help would be appreciated. Thanks
  17. Hi All, I am new to the group--my name is Jennifer. I have had quite the journey post-partum with my 16 month old son. I was originally put on Zoloft 50mg about 3 weeks after my son was born and stayed on it until mid-March (so about 9 months). I was feeling great that I wanted to come off of the medication. I tapered off of it over a month...it was a difficult taper which makes me wonder if I should have stayed on it longer. But then 5 months after that I went on an intensive yoga retreat and came back with crying jags, anxiety, and insomnia. I went on some herbs for a while to help with adrenal function prescribed by a chiropractor and felt a little better energy wise but was not getting anywhere with the insomnia or crying jags. I discontinued the herbs. Then on the very next day, I went on a nasty ride with psychotropics again with my regular doctor. I wanted relief so I went back on Zoloft but it was so agitating, they needed to give me Lexapro (it's supposedly a little less activating) and Trazadone to sleep. Trazadone worked for one night but I still was so agitated. Then, they ordered me Xanax. After taking one, I felt I wanted to jump out of my skin. I called a psychiatrist and was put on Remeron and Klonopin right away and told to stop everything else. The Remeron helps me sleep but I still feel so overwhelmed at times since coming back from that intensive yoga retreat. The Klonopin helps at times too but I do not want to take it everyday. I am in therapy which is EMDR-based. It has helped but I find it focuses on the negative aspects too much. So we have done some CBT to keep me in the moment. What I am looking for is advice from anyone out there that has had a similar experience with antidepressants and what you did to help yourself. I will be taking saliva tests for cortisol and female hormones tomorrow. Thank God I can send them out on Monday. Other things : 1) I would like to know if anyone knows of a good doctor who understands conventional and holistic care that can help me to slowly get off the Klonopin. I only take 0.25mg twice a day but I am so sensitive to any movement in drugs right now. 2) I would like a doctor's viewpoint/knowledge person on this forum on how Remeron works with the adrenal glands. Could the Remeron be making things worse, better (because I am getting sleep), or is there no difference to the adrenal glands while taking it. 3) If the saliva tests come back with issues with both cortisol levels and female hormonal imbalances, how do I use herbs such Ashwagandha (adrenals) and/or Shatavri (balance female hormones) with Remeron? Or are there other suggestions out there? My biggest concern is adding these new herbs, if needed, while taking Remeron and Klonopin. I know I need my sleep but I also want to be as proactive as possible in finding the best solutions out there. And I have a feeling that there are some veteran people on the forum that could really help me. Thanks, Jennifer
  18. I joined this forum last June before I began an unsuccessful taper from Celexa, however, this is my first post. I honestly had no idea until then how horrific untethering from these substances is, and how devastating it can be long term. What I really need is some good news. Is there any good news in the midst of this real-life horror story? Right now I feel completely alone. I haven't found a medical practitioner to forge a partnership for helping me discontinue successfully--or even reach the psych NP who prescribed my meds for a change when things went really wrong. So, there is no "discussing anything with a trusted healthcare practitioner". All I have is you all. So, I'm sort of pleading with you for guidance. I am still not sleeping well. I slept fine, for years on Celexa, then weaned off and threw everything out of balance. To be fair, the year prior to my discontinuation was incredibly stressful. I abruptly ended Trintellix this week (because I ran out and can't get anymore) and am taking approximately 10mg of Prozac (approximately because I'm splitting 20mg of powder roughly in half) as of today. The Prozac instantly quelled my WD symptoms from the Trintellix within the hour, and my plan is to either formulate a liquid suspension of this drug or find a doctor who will prescribe one. I have exhaustively researched how to overcome this problem. I'm an athlete, so I've stacked as many cards in my favor with diet, lifestyle and nutrition as well as I possibly can. But I can't seem to find a way through this, or make a plan that makes sense, and I'm scared I'll never be okay.
  19. 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.
  20. I am so glad that I came across this forum! I feel like crying when reading peoples stories and their struggle with coming off the antidepressants! I was prescribed Zoloft for anxiety and Depression which I have been suffering for years! Mainly anxiety and panic disorder! I am otherwise healthy. Zoloft caused PGAD that has caused me so much anguish, I feel like I am living in a nightmare! I only took Zoloft for 3 days 25mg and this happened to me! I wanted to and still have thoughts of suicide! I felt that I was some kind of a freak and pervert! It has been 4 weeks and things have improved but not completely gone! I constantly feel burning sensation, and tingles that drive me crazy! I can deal with the burning sensations but tingles I can not stand! I got better then I took a herbal supplement for anxiety and it has come back today! I am taking fish oil supplement and I wonder if I am now sensitive to fish oil too??? Should I stop or cut back on fish oil? I just don't know what to take anymore! I never could imagine that this could happen to me as I was not aware! The doctor did not mention anything so I had no idea! I am naturally a slim person and my only worry at the time was if I was going to gain weight while on antidepressants, and my doctor reassured me "Very Unlikely". I took her word for it and I took the medication. In did not want to deal with, anxiety, depression and plus weight issues as a result of antidepressants! I told my doctor what happened to me and like many others have reported "she has never heard of it". That made me feel so humiliated and embarrassed. The point is that the doctors are not educated in regards to this issue. I recently went back to her and told her that I am still experiencing issued down below, burning sensation ever since Zoloft and she said that it is a coincidence! I am sick of doctors, they are full of ****! You tell them one thing and they turn it around! I just prey this eventually goes away and settles down! If this does not settle down I would consider removing sensitive part of my anatomy! I hate it! I can't stand it! How is everyone else coping with this? What have you found that helps? I have not felt peaceful down below for the last 4 weeks! I have never heard of this condition prior to taking antidepressants. Please help, Thank you.
  21. Hello everyone. I'm CF. Been of psychiatric medication for 4 years, when I was a teen - due to depression and eating disorders. After switching many drugs, by August 2019 (discharged from last hospitalization) I was taking: 100*2mg Lamotrigine, 20*2mg Clotiapine, 25mg Promethazine, 400mg Seroquel XR, 60mg Mirtazapine. In the past: Lustal, Lorivan, Clonazepam & more I don't have documentation of. As of today, I take 100*2mg Lamictal, 400mg Seroquel XR and 45mg Mirtazapine. I am interested in lowering all of those, currently very interested in lowering Seroquel... I was never psychotic or manic. I was given Seroquel, Clotiapine and Promethazine because I was agitated and would self harm constantly. These medications did not change my situation; ECT improved my situation for a month, than went away. Therapy in last year helped a lot. -- My withdrawal history: - Prozac: 20mg (1y) -> 30mg (short) -> 60mg (1y) -> 30mg (1d) -> 0. Side effects: Unknown. Withdrawal: I had no adverse reaction at all, the day I lowered to 30mg I was given Remeron and started having tics. - Clotiapine: 10*3mg (?m) -> 20*3 (4d) -> 20*2 (6m) -> 20mg (2w) -> 0. Side effects: sleepiness (on 20*3). Withdrawal: No symptoms, more energy. - Promethazine: 25mg (6m) -> 0. Side effects: helped with allergies. Withdrawal: no symptoms, allergies still way better than before Promethazine😉 - Lamotrigine: 100mg (?) -> 100*2mg (3m) -> tampering to 0 in 2-3 weeks -> 100*mg (1.6y) Side effects: dry mouth. Withdrawal: Can not recall due to ECT treatment. I believe there were none but not 100% sure. - Mirtazapine: 45mg (1d) -> 60mg (10m) -> 45 (1m). Side effects: 60mg: tics (2h after administration, went away by next morning), sleepiness. The first day I was given Remeron I had tics and couldn't sleep, until I was given a sedative. Became better in the next week. 45mg: sleepiness. Withdrawal: Went from 60mg to 45mg in 1 day. Immediately stopped getting tics, sleep about 1.5h less than on 60mg (7.5h/night now). - Seroquel/Seroquel XR: 20mg (?) - 200mgXR + 20mg (?) -> 300mgXR (2y) -> 400mgXR (2y). Side effects: major weight gain, sleepiness. Withdrawal: not exactly withdrawal, but when I skip a night I have insomnia (2-3h sleep max), and when I skipped two doses - next day was almost normal (5-6h) with no side effects. Slightly sensitive/agitated on day 1 (lack of sleep?). I stopped taking Promethazine and Clotiapine in October-December 2019, Mirtazapine 60->45mg - since March 2020. These are the ones I can remember. I was given other medication before but I can not recall anything. -- My current situation is, my Psychiatrist refuses to let me try and reduce Seroquel XR because of COVID situation. I take XR is cutting it myself is not an option. Don't know what to do, I want to stop taking it, more time = worse withdrawal. I stopped taking 60mg Prozac with no issues (SERT, NET inhibition), Entumine (can not find mechanism of action), Promethazine (D2 and H1). I never had any issues with using brand VS generic. -- I interchangeably use: Lamictal & Lamotrigine; Clotiapine & Entumin/Etumin; Mirtazapine & Remeron.
  22. leavingorganon

    leavingorganon

    Hello all. I've been on various meds since 2005 when I was 21. I was put on Remeron because of what I now see as situational anxiety due to then-undiagnosed ADHD. I think it's time for me to leave this state and move ahead. The trigger for this desire is a recent cognitive assessment I did where I found out that things that were once easy for me intellectually are now harder, which is especially concerning for someone who's always been over-achieving and has "being smart" as an integral part of their identity. My short term memory is really bad with all of those medications, and what drove me towards doing the assessment is struggles at work that have been going on for the last three years. Though the assessment was the acute trigger, there are larger themes at play that made me really struggle the last few years. My sense of self is vague and undefined. I used to be much sharper and brighter, passionate, and awake; qualities that I feel are lost under the haze of artificial neurotransmitter modulation. I'm at an impasse that simply can't be overcome by adding a new med every few months (believe me, I tried). I feel like I'm half the person I used to be at work and at life. I crave authenticity and clarity rather than an artificial sense of (over)confidence. Despite all of that, I really feel some gratitude for the journey. I did a lot in these 15 years in spite of/because of (can't tell at this stage honestly) these meds, including getting two master's degrees and meeting really wonderful people throughout. I try to avoid an attitude of being anti psych meds as they are really helpful in some life situations. I actually don't plan on going off the ADHD med I'm currently on, and I'm even open to the idea of being on an anti-depressant in the future if needs be and I can tolerate it. I recently gave stopping Remeron a try (jumped from 3.5mg dose or thereabouts, wasn't doing accurate cutting and weighing back then), and was actually doing fine (the most salient withdrawal symptom was itchiness, which is honestly fine). This went on until sometime in the second week when the usual acute withdrawal symptoms came at me (akathisia, insomnia, nausea, etc). Before that, I experienced a lovely sense of lucidity and intellectual playfulness that made me feel 20 again. I had the loveliest conversation with my best friend, without the recent robotic disinterest that these meds seem to cause me. I decided afterwards to reinstate, get off the other problematic meds I was on first (Klonopin and Latuda), regroup, then tackle the Remeron gently. For the last few months, I've been collecting stories of people who successfully overcame this mess as well as quotes from the Baylissa's book. I've also been training my faith, acceptance, and non-resistance/non-anticipation muscles. I am currently reading Hope and Help for Your Nerves, and determined to come up with a plan with my therapist to stock up on coping skills. This endeavor is, in essence, part of a greater desire to live a life that is built around my abilities (whatever those may be after I'm done with my tapering) and interests, instead of hysterically and aggressively going after situations that are overly ambitious but ultimately destructive for me. This, to me, is the reason I went on and continued to be lulled by these meds for a decade and a half. I really don't care about material ambitions at this point; I just want a pleasant and meaningful life. I've successfully got off Klonopin after a year of (low-dosage, 0.125mg every two or three nights) last month. I've also got off Latuda this week and I'm doing generally well. I do realize that I'm still not completely clear off of these meds, so my plan is to resume my tapering etc. after some weeks. When I started, my goals were as follows: 1. Stop benzodiazepines (DONE) 2. Overcome polypharmacy 3. Stop Remeron The order of 2 and 3 doesn't matter to me, though I'm currently leaning towards stopping Remeron first as I've been on it the longest and maybe staying on Brintellix while getting off of it can lessen the withdrawal symptoms. So yeah, this is my introduction post. Thank you for reading.
  23. Hi Everyone . New member here and in need of advice if possible . I've been taking mirtazipine for just over 7 weeks for sleep issues which caused me anxiety. My doctor subscribed me sertaline which only after 3 dosed send me to extreme anxiety and took my anxiety from 3 too 100 . When back to my GP and he subscribed me mirtazipine 15mg ...I was on it for 4 weeks and although it helped a little with sleep ...didn't knocked me out all night like most and as I didn't feel any improvement as was feeling very groggy , brain fog etc...my GP advised to increase to 30mg which I've been on just over 3 weeks . I definitely don't think it's helping at all and I'm feeling pretty the side effects and half of the time I feel like a zombie ...sorry for the long post but my question would be how should I tamper of this medication as I was to get out of this medication. Do I need to tamper slowly even if I only took this medication for 7 weeks ? I would realy realy appreciate and information regarding this matter as I'm new antidepressants. Many thanks in advance
  24. Hello everyone, At age 4 I developed PANDAS (unknown at the time). It was characterised by extreme OCD and comorbid Tourette Syndrome and ADHD. In my teens I was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome. At age 7 I recieved my diagnoses. At age 8 I was medicated with Paxil. My OCD improved dramatically. I was switched to Zoloft because of anti-cholinergic side-effects experienced with Paxil. I was maintained at 150 mg of Zoloft for several years. I developed worsening akathisia and emotional numbing. At age 15 I developed severe apathy in the absensce of depression. With the help of my mother over the next 3 years I titrated to 2/3 of a 25 mg pill. I could feel the difference between 12.5 and roughly 16 mg of sertraline, and I could not go lower than 16 mg without side-effects. Due to my lower dosage, some emotional range was restored and I fell in love and started what would become a 3-year long-term relationship. At some point I figured I could do without sertraline. I stopped it and did not notice much. Eventually a creeping relapse overtook me with intense obsessive thinking. I started back up on fluoxetine. It caused bruxism and akathisia. I switched to sertraline after realizing this. It caused me to become hugely dysphoric (with superimposed hypomanic features). I got into a fight and broke several bones in my face. I was sent to a psychiatric ward. I found a study that found that fluoxetine caused an increase in diazepam concentrations by as much as 50%. I decided that I was probably undergoing acute benzodiazepine withdrawal, so I requested to be switched to Luvox, which also vastly increases diazepam concentrations. I have a long history with benzodiazepines which I will not expand upon here, except to say that my GP, who is handling my medication, is always pushing me to go faster on my taper. I got him to approve an Ashton schedule, although I think I would do better if he gave some leeway to hold at a dosage for a while so I can adjust. I stabilized within a few days of the change, and my akathisia was relieved (or masked by diazepam?). I left the ward at 100 mg of Luvox. To achieve further reduction in my OCD, Luvox was titrated up to 300 mg by my GP. This again caused emotional numbing and akathisia. I reduced my dose to 200 mg. I sat at this dose for a while, but by accident, or fate, I started missing a few doses here and there. This triggered intense emotion reactions. Life had me hooked. I had an emotional reaction to a song, and I have told myself that I am never going back into no-where land. I am going to decrease my Luvox to 100 mg, as 200 mg leaves me wishy-washy about wanting to taper. I will request my diazepam be increased to 25 mg and hold for 1 month, and then recommence taper. I have taken an SSRI for the vast majority of my life, and I have a question: Here is what I believe to be one of the enigma's of SSRIs. I know that it is true for myself. I hope to see if it is true of others. At the dose of an SSRI required to stave off withdrawal, the desire to get off of the SSRI diminishes. This can shave years of "living" off of your life. On the other hand, if you CT or cut too low too fast, the withdrawal will force you to reinstate. I have also struggled with intense DP/DR at times. It was at its height when it was 24/7 and I felt like "I", (insert my real name, let's pretend Jay) had died. That was the most excruciating time of my entire life, save brief periods of bash-your-head-in-the-wall akathisia after being given an antipsychotic at a psychiatric ward. Thank you so much to anyone who made it to the end of this post, it means a lot, Peace. EDIT: Also, sometimes when experiencing distress I wonder if it is the SSRI or the benzo, withdrawal from either of these, or just normal.
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