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  1. 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.
  2. Hello SA, SleepyMagee here. I'm a first-time caller, long-time listener, and I've been meaning to do this for such a long time. I'm sure you all know how hard it is to get started, especially when your story is a long and painful one. But I feel like I'm ready. The following will be an account of my history with mental illness and how the medication I was prescribed made a bad situation worse. I'll try and keep it as short as possible, for all our sake. I hope updates and eventually a recovery story will follow. So here goes... In September 2009 a relationship ended. It had been on and off for most of that year, and really isn't particularly important except that precipitated my first bout of serious depression. I was 26, had very little direction in life, had been working dead-end jobs and really didn't care much. But when that relationship went south and I started to feel bad, I realised that I hadn't been particularly happy for a long time. The relationship ending was just the last straw. The suffering I felt was new and scary, but I got through it. I saw my GP and was offered antidepressants but decided against taking them. After a few months I started to feel better and exactly one year after I first noticed that something was wrong I enrolled in college and felt pretty good. School was fun and stimulating, but there was always a fear that I would fall back into the darkness, and when I had a dip in my mood about a year in, I went to my Dr and asked him to prescribe me something. Looking back I don't feel like I needed the pills. But I was really worried that the depression would get worse and it would affect my work. I really wanted to finish my studies and do well. So I ended up taking 150mg of Sertraline for six months and I have to say, it was pretty good. My mood improved after a couple of months and the side-effects were minimal. The worst issue was a terrible case of the runs which lingered for about six weeks before disappearing. I had no issues coming off the drugs and I finished college, passing with flying colours. Between 2011 and 2013 I was on and off Sertraline twice, for about six months each time, and had no real problems. Then, in early 2014, I felt my mood had started to dip a little and so I knew what I was going to do. I went back to the GP and asked for medication, but I thought I was clever. The old Sertraline had given me that pesky Diarrhoea, and I would like to avoid that if at all possible. Surely the answer was to just try a different medication? I'd be back to my old self in no time and avoid the runs as a bonus. Simple, no? No! This is the point in the story were everything starts to go wrong and it's the watershed moment. I haven't felt right since then. The Doc prescribed Fluoxetine (Prozac) 20mg and I duly took it. Within a couple of weeks I could tell that something was wrong. I started to feel very uncomfortable in my own skin- itchy, agitated, jumpy. It was very strange. I also started to have trouble sleeping. After a month or so I went back to the GP and I don't remember how the exchange went but somehow I came away with a prescription for 40mg of the drug. As time passed I felt more ill until I realised that what I was experiencing was anxiety. Eventually the anxiety progressed and turned to panic. I had my first panic attack at 3 am one night and it was caused directly and completely by the medication. I had never had any issues with anxiety before taking that drug and the only time I've had it since is when I have introduced new medication or adjusted the dose of medication I'm on. It's never been as bad as it was at that time though. At the same time I was so activated that I was getting just 2-3 hours sleep a night and working full time. I remember telling my girlfriend at the time I was too tired to go see her after work. When she got upset I agreed I would head over to her place, but when I got there she put me straight to bed. She said I looked like a corpse and her apologies were profuse! In September 2014 things had gone too far, and I was falling to pieces. I had missed so much work over the past six months that I couldn't take it anymore and quit my job. I haven't worked since. Shortly after that I was finally taken off the Fluoxetine and went straight on to Mirtazipine. You'll have to forgive my inability to remember how long I took to updose/downdose for these meds- it was a long time ago and my memory has been effected by the drugs (note: there is no recognition from the Doctors I saw that my anxiety and continued depression may have been caused by horrible crap they were giving me. I however, was starting to suspect.) Mirtazipine was prescribed because of my difficulty sleeping, and boy did it do the trick. 45 minutes to 1 hour after my dose I was nodding off. Once I fell asleep I was dead to the world for 10 hours solid. Pretty great? Eh, no. No matter how long I slept, I woke up feeling like I'd hardly slept at all. I couldn't focus, felt 'fuzzy' in my head, was always tired and was completely numb. I was basically a zombie. I had originally hoped that I would get back on the employment horse pretty quickly after my Fluoxetine experience- I was even told by the company I left to get in touch when I felt better- but I was no more functional on the Mirtazapine than I was on the Fluoxetine. I have never felt so physically exhausted in my life, and have never recovered my energy. To this day I wonder about which was worse/more damaging. I suffered more on the Fluoxetine, but on the Mirtazipine I lost any semblance of being a functional human being. Pick your poison. I suspect that a combination of the 2 drugs effects, one so quickly after the other, has done the long term damage. So I spent a year on Mirtazapine, sleepwalking through a living nightmare. I barely left the house and when I did, I was shattered for days afterward. I think it was around this time I began to insist that the pills were making me sick, and yet I was still convinced to take the maximum dose (45mg) and made to doubt my own instincts. My symptoms, I was told, were obviously depression and an adjustment in the dosage may be all that was needed to fix all my problems. I'm slightly ashamed that it took me another couple of years to admit the truth to myself. So my relationship ended, I had to move out of the home I shared with my partner and move back in with my parents at 32 years of age, and had no quality of life to speak of. But I finally got off the Mirtazapine. It was hell. My anxiety returned with a vengeance and I had the worst insomnia I've ever had. It genuinely felt like I was physically dependent on the stuff. Apologies, I can't recall how long it took and how often I dropped the dose, but I do remember that by the end I was nibbling tiny portions of a pill every few days just to get some kind of sleep. At the same time I began to take Sertraline again because my Doctor still couldn't believe that all the problems could be caused by the medication. I doubted enough myself to allow it, but part of me knew that I shouldn't be replacing the Mirtazapine. At the very least I feel like it may have ameliorated some of the symptoms of withdrawal to have something else working on my serotonin. If I had gone completely CT off the Mirtazapine I may have gone insane. Although the most pernicious symptoms passed after I ditched the Mirtazapine, I never recovered in any meaningful sense, probably because I moved on to another drug and my system never had time to recover. By this time I feel like my body was just so beaten up and my nervous system so damaged that a careful, slow taper was needed, but the fun was far from over. I made one attempt to get off medication completely in 2016, but failed, but in 2017 I managed it. It was, however, a disaster. I dropped from 150mg of sertraline to nothing in about six weeks. I was assured that this was a conservative approach to tapering. It wasn't, but I soon started to feel better. June and July of were pretty good and I started to feel like my energy was returning. I thought I was free and clear. In August I began to feel ill and depressed. By mid September, six months after my final dose of Sertraline, I was almost catatonic and competely suicidal. I lay in bed all day and formulated a very specific plan to end my life. Somehow, in late September, I made the most difficult call I've ever had to make. I called my sister and told her what was happening. She took me to the Doctor and from there I was referred to my local mental health services. Within a few days I was back on medication - Vortioxetine 5mg, then 10mg after 1 week). At this point I had the epiphany I needed to admit to myself fully that the medication had ruined my life. The standard line is that the medication will take 2-4 weeks to have an effect. Within a few days of taking the vortioxetine I felt much better. Not weeks, days. Bingo! This was NOT depression. It was withdrawal syndrome. The dose was increased to the maximum of 20mg a few weeks later and at this point I didn't fight because I was so happy that I didn't want to kill myself anymore. I have to be honest now, and it might be something that isn't heard much on these forums - the Vortioxetine was... ok. There were no new major side-effects, and it improved my mood (undoubtedly because withdrawal was terminated), but the rest of my problems sort of just hung around. I was tired all the time, my sleep was disturbed and broken, I had occasional anxiety, I felt numb, I was cognitively compromised (confusion, poor memory, poor focus) and felt generally ill and weak almost all the time. But at least I wasn't depressed. So I formulated a plan. I would take my time, stabilise, educate myself and prepare for the end goal, my final tapering and withdrawal from the medication. And this time I was determined to do it for good. SA has been invaluable for mesince then. I began to taper in June18. I went from 20mg to 10mg overnight. No problems. In September I went from 10 mg to 5mg. No problems. In January this year, I believe it was the 5th, I stopped taking the medication. No problems... for 2 months. And then withdrawal began. I am almost 7 months free of the medication now, and the short version of the story is that things are going ok. Not great, not terrible, but ok. I'm think I'm about where I expected to be. I guess I'll keep you updated if I can as my recovery progresses, but this isn't the time or place. But I will say this- the waves and windows are REAL, folks! So, thats the end of my sad (and very, very long) story. If you made it this far, thanks for reading and don't be afraid to ask me anything. Sleepy
  3. Kernol's benzo topic Hi everyone, I was doing so well on my sertraline tapering over the last few years which i originally took for anxiety 10 years ago. It was only as I quit completely 6 weeks ago after doing my best to measure down from 25 mg to 12.5mg then 7.5mg - i must have gone too quickly as after 2 weeks completely off it I was hit with out of the blue anxiety attacks that seemed off the scale compared to anything I had experienced in my 10 years on it. I am now really struggling with these adrenaline rushes and so the doctor suggested that I go back onto 25mg to see if it was because I did it too fast. I have now been taking the 25mg for 1 week and the anxiety attacks are still very bad and frequent. I feel like I have been plugged into an electric socket. I am now starting to really panic about panicing and my biggest fear is - have I done the right thing going back on it like this? And if this anxiety doesn't settle in a week or so - then what? I am scared stiff after reading forums of people saying these drugs can cause permanent brain issues - what if I never get my anxiety under control again due to this drug. I am scared witless of people talking about months of hell of withdrawals. I just want to be stable like I was for the 10 years I was on it. I am just looking for help, guidance anything that will let me know if this should settle - could it be that this anxiety is the anxiety like when you start the drug originally? I really am scared - please somebody help me.
  4. Hi all, New here. Was on Sertraline for 2.5 years until this Christmastime. Initially 25 then 50mg, attempted to go up to 100mg under the direction of my doctor. Suffered significant diarrhea due to this change, and so went back down to 50mg. And that is when the real issues started. Though I was not aware of what was happening. I was prescribed it during the midst of the breakup of my marriage, which started to break down due to the fact that my ex suffered significant pain on intercourse, which had meant our sex life had pretty much always been one of disappointment and difficulty. Towards the end of last year, I started to realise something wasn't right. I was in a fog, I have moved several times in the last few years as I got my life back on track. I moved to the Bay area in June. I am in the process of trying to start a new relationship, which started just before Christmas last year. I had the sudden realisation that I was having significant sexual side effects. To my horror, once I realised this, I also 'came to' and realised that this had been going on for maybe 6-8 months previously, and progressively getting worse, but I simply hadn't noticed because I had been in a complete fog. I was skipping doses... just unaware of my surroundings. I was having brain zaps, dizziness, confusion, night sweats, significantly decreased cognitive ability, memory loss, depersonalised. I remember people commenting that I seemed distant. I remember my doctor up in Fort Bragg California asking me last June if the sexual side effects were problematic and I cheerily said 'no'. When in fact they were - but I simply wasn't aware. How can that be?! Cue seeing my general practitioner, who is managing my medication here in the Bay area, plus quickly making an appointment with a psychiatrist. Psychiatrist - who was the only one I could get an appointment with at short notice - told me I didn't have depression, and could stop taking the zoloft immediately. I told him I wasn't comfortable with that, and would like to taper, and was met with a response that I was the kind of person who got anxious about taking pills, and promptly asked me what I would feel comfortable with. Clearly he didn't believe in the need to taper at all. We ended up doing a taper over 2 weeks. To 25mg and then cold turkey. I then went back to my GP as I did not trust the opinion of a psychiatrist who went against everything I had read. I am working to get in with another psychiatrist, but no appointments until April. My GP has prescribed Wellbutrin, I am 2 weeks into that but honestly want nothing more to do with antidepressants. It is also making me break out into a rash and increasing anxiety. At present I am about 3 weeks in to withdrawal. I get spells of intense anxiety, partially I think due to the wellbutrin, partially due to WD. I did have anxiety before being prescribed an SSRI. My brain gets tired easily. On the positive side, I have started dreaming again - just little bits and pieces. Mostly odd/weird dreams, but dreams nonetheless. Sometimes I wake in a sweat and a panic. But if I can find a way to go back to sleep then often I wake up calmer and more in my body. The sexual side effects worsened initially, but have probably plateaued about where they were before I stopped sertraline. However, I am now aware of just how much difference there is between how I am now, and how I once was. Suddenly my memories of what it was like to have a solid erection have come back. Memories of past sexual encounters where I didn't feel ashamed and broken. And so my desire to be sexual is something I have to fight for. My new partner has been very understanding, but I have to get myself out of a mindset of shame in order to want to be sexual in any way. Sometimes I can, sometimes I can't. I have started to be aware of birdsong, smells that I had forgotten about - woodsmoke, flowers. And I am generally more aware of myself and my environment. Like waking up from a long sleep and wondering where on earth I have been. Some sensation has returned to my genitals. But not much. Sometimes I notice what I feel is desire and attraction. But it feels weak. And erections are weak and unreliable. I have a meditation practice. I have started running and taking longish walks. I am taking fish oil with my food, and working hard to stay positive. I have a network of friends who are amazing and show up for me. At this point I am hopeful as things are early on in the WD process and I am coping. However, I am petrified that I will never get to fully enjoy sex again. It feels cruel, given that my past history was one of being a very sexual person, in a relationship with someone who couldn't give me a fun sex life, despite their best attempts. I am angry that I am in this situation. No one mentioned long-term sexual side effects or withdrawal when I was being counselled for this drug. It wasn't even mentioned as a possibility, although sexual side effects during treatment were. I will not be beaten. One way or the other I will become okay with myself again, whatever that looks like. I would very much like it to look like a regular healthy sex life and relationship again. Who knows. Maybe it will be with an asexual partner or as a Buddhist monk. But I have hope and am working to keep in a positive mindset overall. Not going into these negative thoughts, but just keeping moving at all cost. This is my journey thus far. I'm grateful to be here with you all...
  5. so here i am building a public diary about my experience with sertraline. my intent is quite selfish i assure you - i seek catharsis - but with a little luck this introduction will evolve into a success story, and someone else who also struggles may be uplifted in the process. it helps to read about the experiences of others and I'm hoping it helps to talk about my own even more. i guess thats why we're all here, to talk. i just wish i could cuss here cuz its like half my vocabulary. anyway, after taking sertraline 50mg for seasonal affective disorder for three years with no adverse effects i figured i would quit. after a little research i did what amounted to a taper over the course of 6 weeks. i felt fine and had no side effects for two months after my last dose. i thought i had moved on, no biggie. about a week ago i had a panic attack seemingly out of nowhere. it basically didn't subside for three days and i was clueless as to what the problem was. i figured i had finally snapped. i was afraid to be home alone so most of the first 72 hrs were spent driving around aimlessly searching for meaningless tasks to keep me occupied and visiting friends on high alert at best, full blown panic at worst. i couldn't eat or sleep or think and my vision was screwy and my adrenaline pumped and my ears rang and my heart beat and my breathing was labored. confusion ruled and still i was determined to ride it out like a bad trip. through conversation with friends and internet research i realized i was experiencing withdrawal. it was something i hadn't considered and i was floored by the implications. after researching this site and the horrors contained within it i decided to reinstate sertraline at 25mg on 7-7-16, 3 days after withdrawal symptoms began in the hopes of stabilization and eventual slow taper. as of now it has been about 48 hrs since reinstatement of 25mg once daily in the morning. i realize it takes time for the drug to build and have an effect but i suspect there has already been some improvement. i haven't have a bad reaction and have had limited success with food and sleep so for now i hold and hope. ill hold forever if need be, i can be rather tenacious when properly motivated, even if this is the weakest i have ever felt. it has been and still is quite the roller coaster of fear but i am hopeful…ish. this forum has helped so much already and may prove to be my rock, my arm floaties in rough seas, and my fuzzie kitten for my nerves. thank you. stay tuned for the next freak out!
  6. This site is a go-to to reassure myself that others are traveling and have traveled this road. The discussions about emotional spirals (check) and anxiety, rumination and dread on waking up (check) and depression even worse than before medication (check) have been helpful. I am being extra mindful now of taking Mag powder in the morning and before bed. I started AA and kundalini yoga in mid-May which have both been helpful. Although I really didn't drink much, it was enough (and mostly alone, not social) and any depressant when you are coming off an antidepressant can't be helpful. Also, I changed from hatha/vinyasa yoga to kundalini yoga which is more focused on the spiritual component of yoga. I won't lie: at 4 months, I still fall daily into waves of depression and loneliness. But I do find that there are glimmers of happier times and I am getting clearer -- I hope -- about how to handle the tough times (for instance, I just now think that my beloved dog has a fever and am trying not to emotionally spiral -- ugh). I will be reading this site like mad just to remind myself that I am not alone. Farm Girl Works Tapered 75mg Sertraline March 2017 in 4weeks after 6 years mostly on with a few unsuccessful WD Stopped Sertraline April 1, 2017
  7. bubbles

    Bubbles

    Hi everyone I'm in my pre-taper phase of going off 20mg of Lexapro, which I've been on for 5 years. I've got an appointment to get Lexapro in liquid form to aid the taper in a couple of weeks. I've tried this before, and not succeeded, but am determined to get off them this time. At the moment I'm spending a few weeks setting myself up to have a good run at this. I'm: * filling up my freezer with home made meals for bad days.. * getting really organized at home. * taking a good multi, folate, magnesium and fish oil. * lining up some distractions, like audio books and a (hobby) evening course. * getting enough sleep. * cutting out caffeine. * doing clinical pilates as a way to transition into some more exercise. * getting some sunshine and fresh air every day. * introducing mindfulness meditations as a daily thing. * might start that tapping EFT thing I've seen at Dr Mercola's website - just can't hurt! At this stage I expect to start my taper at the end of the month. Or so... Bubbles
  8. Referred to psychiatrist approximately 4 years ago due to chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). Have experienced depression all of my life and have been taking SSRIs for a long time, now late 60’s. My psychiatrist said that the CFS was the single symptom of depression, furthermore he diagnosed me as being bipolar II. He prescribed various anti-psychotic and anti-depressants all of which had unwelcome side effects. The most recent anti-psychotic has been abilify and sertraline has been my most recent SSRI. The only instance of a manic episode in the last 4 years was when I was taking an SNRI. Experienced very unwelcome side effects from abilify, the worst being impulsiveness and anxiety so decided to taper. Did some research regarding tapering protocol but probably have tapered too fast. Gradual reduction of both over a one month period. Yes, I have read since that I should only have tapered one at a time and I should have tapered a lot more slowly. Have informed my psychiatrist regarding my decision to taper abilify and he indicated that I should stop taking sertraline. He wanted me to start taking lithium or other anti-psychotics similar to abilify, I have agreed to try another anti-psychotic if I experience manic symptoms. The only withdrawal side effects that i have noticed have been; a mild headache for a few days, restless leg syndrome (RLS) only at night and, disturbed sleep. I have supplemented with GABA and L-Theanine at night. The RLS is gradually diminishing in severity. My GP prescribed Alepam to address anxiety issues but I have only used very sparingly. Wish I had found this site sooner, but I have completed tapering both and the RLS is diminishing. I will continue to consult with my psychiatrist and have started sessions with a psychologist to address anxiety issues.
  9. Deblou46

    Deblou46: Withdrawal

    So glad I found this page I was on citalopram for 18 years tried to come off 6 years ago and 6 weeks later thought my anxiety had come back now realise it was withdrawal! Fast forward 6 years and it was suggested to me to meet with a psychiatrist to help with my meds as citalopram 40mg had stopped working . She said taper down from 40mg in 2.5 months and start sertraline which I did went into depesssion signed off work for 7 weeks now 11 weeks later and been on 100mg for 8 weeks I am suffering severe withdrawals Bugs crawling in head Tingling on face feel like a cobweb on it Clenching jaw Anxiety Will this ever get better ?
  10. Hello: I am new to this forum. I am tapering zyprexa. I was put on 10 mg in the hospital at the beginning of December. In the first week of January, I cut down to 8.50, then 7.5. for 10 days. Right now I am at 6.25 mg, and have been at that level for 1 week. They decided to put me on zoloft in the hospital as it "works fast" the doctors said, and is being used "until the zoloft kicks in". I am very impatient to get off zyprexa, and figured if I join your group, I would get support from people to help me be patient and wait enough time between cuts. Still figuring out how to do the signature. Will add it when I do. I am also on a whopping dose of 200 mg Zoloft, also given in the hospital. Before that, I had been 6 months free of Zoloft after tapering it for at least 3 years or even more. It was a huge disappointment to end up in the hospital and to have to go on it again.
  11. HI, here santking, 34y "manic" diagnosed episode in 2004. treated w lithium, benzos and prozac. 1000 mg of depakote+benzos+prozac jun-ago 2004. ago-dec 750. + prozac Dec: just 500 depakote (treatment produced strong acne. treated with roaccutan between nov 2004 to oct 2006) 2005: depakote 500 (some months w 750) + prozac and benzos- (lorazepam) dec 2005 - aug 2007: depakote 500 mg aug 2007 - 2009 alternated depakote 500 mg to 250 mg jan 2010 i started with a new psychiatrist: depakote 500 mg until sep 2012 sep 2012 started depakote + antidepressants: depakote 500 + etifoxina / paroxetine and propanodol (?) (until jun 2013) jun 2013: depakote 500mg with paroxetine and propanodol. oct 2013: change paroxetine for trazadone. until Jan 2014. jan 2014: depakote 500mg and leave trazadone jan 2014-oct 2015: depakote 500 mg oct 2015: psychiatrist introduces sertraline. suicidal attempt with sertraline overdose in jan 2016. psychiatrists increases depakote to 750 mg and introduces wellburtin. jan 2016 - dec 2017: 750mg depakote + wellburtin dec 2017 consulting another psychiatrist changed wellburtin to seroquel 25 mg dec 2017 . until jun 2018: 750mg depakote and seroquel 25 mg in jul 2018 I meet the Peter BReggin's books and SA forum and start the withdrawal process. this included consuting with psycotherapist and intense researching meeting content like Icarus project, mad in america, Rachel Aviv articles and Laura Delano's Withdrawal Project (a daily reference) ago 2018: start tapering: depakote 500 mg and seroquel in 12mg dosages (cutting to half) until nov. in dec 2018 I felt the withdrawl synthoms of seroquel leaving (insomnia, vertigo, suicidal thoughts, paranoia, anxiety, fear) Jan 2019: changed depakote dosage -tablets o sprinkles- (125 mg) taking 4 pills daily. May 2019: tried tapering without scale (reducing "half" of sprinkle aprox 437 mg) causing a week of insomnia and panic. returned with 500 mg in June. Aug 2019: started tapering with scale. sep 2019: 450 mg Oct 400 mg. Nov: 375 mg (3 pills daily) DUring November I have been taking 375 mg I have been feeling intense laziness, lack of motivation and fatigue. I tried changing diet: avoiding caffeine, alcohol, sugar, dairy and ultraprocessed foods. I had a week w insomnia and next week felt sleepness and lack of motivation (after Dec 1) RIght now I'm worried because I still feeling down and need increase energy due to personal compromises. I'm doubting if back to 400 mg or still reducing the dosage. THis based on how I'm feeling and listening the body sensations. I'm doing the tapering based on the 10% standard seeing in Breggin books, TWP and here. This is my history w psychiatry treatments and I would appreciate your help and recommendations for my case. If you need some explanations I will do it. Thank you.
  12. I would like to say hello and thank this website for giving me hope. I have spent the last few days reading a lot of the posts and have found them to be full of information and great advice. The success stories are wonderful to read. I have never been in a medical situation like this and I was feeling lost and alone until I found Surviving Antidepressants. I was put on Zoloft (50 mg then upped to 100mg) in February 2016 due to depression over a long-term illness that at that time was still un-diagnosed. I got a diagnosis for my illness in April of 2016. I was hospitalized for that illness both in April and March and it was eventually brought under control. Once I got home from the hospital (both times) I was very weak and I had very confused thinking. I had multiple at-home treatments and medications to keep track of. Somewhere in there I messed up my Zoloft and either went cold turkey or was only taking it intermittently, but did not realize it at the time. Starting in May and ramping up in June I had all sorts of symptoms, which nobody in the medical field could figure out, including me. I was put on Gabapentin (600mg then upped to 900mg) to help with the symptoms. My symptoms included headaches, nausea, feeling hot and sweating but having a low body temperature, as well as the feeling of internal tremors in arms and legs, and actual external tremors. I also had jerky arm movements. I had what I call “vertigo light”, the whole room didn’t spin, just the floor moved when I tried to walk; I felt like I was drunk. I had brain zaps, motion sickness, insomnia, dizziness, nausea, and pressure in the ears like when flying on a plane. My memory was also bad. After endless nights of searching the Internet with my symptoms I realized I had withdrawal. Counting the actual amount of pills in the bottle and looking at the day it was prescribed confirmed that I had not been taking my medication. Once I realized what was going on I contacted my psychiatrist and I went back on at 50mg, which was twelve days ago. A dosage that high might be a mistake after reading about “reinstating” here on this sight, I don’t know yet. Since reinstating the brain zaps and vertigo have disappeared, and the other symptoms have gone down in intensity, however I am getting them more frequently. I’m now getting them every day, for at least a few hours and sometimes all day. Before going back on Zoloft they were really brutal but only for a few hours at a time, none of this all day stuff. Klonopin seems to help however my psychiatrist has suggested that I use it sparingly, he said that the Gabapentin should be helping with the symptoms. By the way, I feel I have an excellent psychiatrist. He did warn me when he put me on Zoloft not to go off of it without talking to him first and that there was tapering involved. He also responds to my frequent and desperate e-mails on a timely basis. I do recognize though that I need to be proactive when it comes to my health. This is my first time with a drug in the SSRI class. At this moment my goal is to stabilize. Eventually I would like to get off, but right now I just want the physical symptoms to go away. By the way, the depression, which was acute in February, seems to have disappeared, both while on and off the Zoloft. I am open to opinions, questions, and suggestions. Thank you for taking the time to read this.
  13. Admin note: link to benzo forum thread - Oliver1974: Benzo withdrawal and backache Are there any support groups specifically dedicated to Zoloft titration and withdrawals.
  14. Hello all! I've been having a troubling time and at last I've found a place where people can listen. For around two months I had been very stressed by university decisions and having a major existential and academic crisis. After taking my exams my mind was working at 1000000 miles per hour and I was constantly stressed and evaluating everything. I'd found my self slowed down and constantly riddled by worry and regret and anxiety. I began taking '5-htp' which I was told would help somewhat. I then discontinued it and went on holiday and when I came back I felt slightly better. However my psychiatrist recommended going on Sertraline and prescribed it for me. I didn't really want to take it as I was feeling better but my family pressured me into it so I took it. That night, I was lying in bed and my brain was racing with worries and regrets and stressing and suddenly I felt something attack those thoughts, resist against them and dull them down. Initially, this frightened me inordinately but then I thought 'this is what this drug is meant to do' and just sort of let it happen. I then felt it attack against my verbal fluency and vocabulary and writing and evaluative skills. This seriously scared me and I felt my whole body fill with immense tension and stress and anxiety and felt as though I had gone into overdrive. My brain went into overdrive and I felt as though I'd never sleep again. I took it the next day and insisted that I stop it and didn't want it in my brain anymore so I went to the doctor and she told me the psychiatrist should never have prescribed it for me in the first place. She told me to stop it. I stopped taking it after only two days. The symptoms persisted and the world felt weird, dull and my perception of it awry. I suddenly developed this intense headache unlike anything ever experienced before - it was as though my whole brain was disintegrating. Like someone'd opened up a door in the sides of my head and it was all disintegrating away. This went away. I then started the 5-htp again, foolishly, unaware that it interacts with sertraline. I then stopped the 5htp after a couple of weeks of feeling strange, slowed down and sick. I hadn't slept at all since the sertraline. I then went away to Cambridge for a week to study English Literature and felt weird, slowed and dulled. Talking to people was hard and I found it difficult to form sentences, opinions and have conversations. Anyway, sitting in the lectures the pain in my head came on 10 fold. IT waslike my whole mind was disintegrating and I couldn't focus or concentrate or anything. I was petrified this and scared that at anymoment I may have a stroke or faint or something serious. I came back from Cambridge and told my parents and they simply thought I was psychotic, anxious and depressed. I insisted something was physically wrong with me and pushed to try and see a doctor. We went to the doctors who told me what I was experiencing wasn't real aand the drugs had no effect on me. They then prescribed my Valium because they said it was anxiety . I didn't want to take it but my parents forced me to. The Valium spaced me out and blunted my thoughts significantly. I then started to feel my brain shake and pump and wobble and light would effect me and I found myself talking strangely and so forth. It felt like my whole brain was sick and trying to be sick, like there's some horrible nocuous chemical eroding my brain and intelligence. I was walking around school confused and now it's like my brain has just shut down. I've discontinued the valium now but everything is wrong. I am completely Depersonalisation, I can't really remember my life and short term memory or process any new information or understand anything. My speech is terrible and I can't talk to people because when I do I frost over and it's like there's no-one inside me. it's like the lights have been turned off inside my own head and every day it is worse. No doctors think there is anything wrong and they just want to put me on Prozac and anti-psych meds now to shut me up. I don't know what to do anymore. My whole life is falling apart. I've gone from being someone who was intimidatingly intellectual, confident, creative, gregarious, sociable, quick witted, eloquent and so on to a bumbling, seemingly half brain dead zombie with no emotions, thoughts, feelings, opinions, memories or anything. Bear in mind I am only 17. What do I do? Every day it gets worse. The headaches are worse, the DP is worse, my cognition is worse, emotion lability is worse and the doctors are having none of it other than wanting to prescribe MORE ADs and APs. It feels like my whole brain is fizzling and wrong. Thanks! Any advice or similar experiences would be welcomed inordinately
  15. Stormstrong

    Stormstrong: in pain

    Hello. I need help! I've been taking Zoloft on and off for close to ten years. Went up to 150mg last month. Since I got back from the psych hospital last month, I've been having a sensation of being stabbed repeatedly in the brain, the whole day after taking Zoloft. This is why I had to start taking it during the day time. Otherwise I cannot sleep - keep jolting up awake, as if though electrical currents of stress run through my body. Today I got up, and was quite happy, energetic. An hour later I took Zoloft. What happened?: the feeling in my body and brain is that of continuous assault by toxins. I feel at the same time very agitated, very lightheaded and sleepy, nauseous, no longer happy, with diarrhea. Music, my true love and saving grace, is now an irritant. For a long time I've been considering tapering off for good (I'd follow the 10% rule). But now it's clear to me that this medication is no longer good for me. I had my psychiatrist (of a few months) call me and I suggested that we taper me down to 135mg. He said that it's not a "good idea", and that it won't help me. I don't think I can get another psychiatrist, because I'm applying for SSI disability (for PTSD), and people at the hospital told me that my case will be quite strong, if I show that I've had the same psychiatrist for a long time. If I go against his wishes, he would never write a good letter for my SSI case. Should I just do it behind his back? Greetings, by the way!
  16. Dear withdrawees ... I hope i find you all well... Or at least amidst a window rather than a wave . I've been scouring SA for some time now, picking up whatever bits of helpful and positive information i can about this horrific ordeal. I now feel its time to introduce myself and my history on AD's to the community with the hope of being provided with additional support and a view helping others in the future when this experience is more of a bad memory rather than a living hell . I have been taking Sertraline on and off for the last 6 years since 2013 after a series of horrific circumstances happened one after another. Despite the drugs having good effect, I've always been uncomfortable with masking what are obviously important emotions using a daily consumption of a drug. This has led me to unwittingly withdraw multiple times across the 6 year period which lead me to believe i was confined to a life of drug taking, this was until June this year when I first found SA and became aware of SSRI withdrawal . Of course I was left somewhat shocked but not surprised after feeling neglected previously on multiple occasions by the medical sector. Despite that though i found a new sense of hope knowing that a life beyond drugs was not only possible, but likely. Recent Drug History OCT 2016 - I quit Sertraline 50 mg CT after a family bereavement had turned my life upside down .. as a result it felt the drug was totally ineffective. MAY 2017- After what had been an appalling 6 months (which i thought was horrific grief but now realise it is likely withdrawal is the more likely culprit) I reinstated Sertraline at 50 mg before raising the dose to 100 mg due to not feeling any effect (again this is something that makes sense now). In time i had started to feel normal again and presumed it was because I had worked my way through my prolonged grief. FEB 2019 - Life was now back on track and decided it was time to try and rid myself of the shameful daily pill pop that is AD's. I quit Sertraline Via a fast taper... but may aswell have been a CT. JUN 2019 - I found SA . .. realised i was withdrawing .. and had inadvertently made multiple mistakes along the way. NOV 2019 - I'm roughly 8-9 months into withdrawal & STRUGGLING MY SYMPTOMS: A thick brain fog Anxiety an inability to feel emotions / make connections with people Loss of communication skills & wit muscle weakness Fatigue As I've said previously.... i am currently at the 9 month mark and I'm coping okay (I Think🤔 ) when i compare my battles to that of others.. but i am beginning to really struggle with the isolation that seems to be a natural part of the process. I have always naturally been an extroverted person who loves talking to people and being at the centre of attention although currently this couldn't be further from the truth and is taking a huge toll on my daily life. Every time I am confronted with some form of social situation my brain draws a blank. Its as if the lights are on but nobody's home. WHAT HAPPENED TO MY CHARM AND CHARISMA? I wanted to ask for advice from anyone whose been in a similar situation: What can i do right here and now to aid myself when dealing with these symptoms? If you've surpassed the 9 month point of withdrawal with these symptoms still rearing their ugly head, at what stage did you notice a marked improvement? Has anyone any advice on how to work towards improving other areas of my life, such as love or working life and learning new skills whilst withdrawing? If you've made it this far thanks for reading and i look forward to any replies? Cheers
  17. I was on sertraline 75mg for 2.5 years for postpartum depression. During that time I sought counseling and my therapist diagnosed me with bipolar 2 because I had irritability along with my depression. My therapist referred me to the Psychiatric NP in the same practice. The NP told me to "wean" off the sertraline within a month so she could introduce latuda. She put me on 20mg of latuda and increased it to 80mg within 4 months. At 80mg, I immediately experienced heightened anxiety, insomnia (I still haven't had more than 2-4 hours of sleep per night since December 2016 and some nights ZERO sleep!), and SEVERE akathisia. When I brought up the adverse reactions, the NP assured me these were side effects that would eventually subside - she was wrong. I suffered entire month and begged her to come off of latuda. She finally agreed and told me to taper 20mg every 2 weeks. My taper looked like this: 60mg to 40mg to 20mg then off. With each decrease I noticed my anxiety would spike and I'd go into an emotional tailspin about 4-5 days after a drop in dose and then stabilized a bit. I assumed once I tapered off the latuda I'd be able to sleep again, my anxiety would lessen and the akathisia would go away. I was partially right, the Akathesia went away as I lowered my dose, but the insomnia and anxiety remained. The NP had also put me on 100mg of lamictal two months after introducing latuda. I wanted to come off this medication as well, but she told me to stay on it because she thought it would prevent mania or depression while coming off the latuda. She was wrong again. One week after my last dose of latuda, I had a complete emotional breakdown and was severely suicidal. I voluntarily checked myself into a psych hospital. There I was told that I had been misdiagnosed by the NP and was abruptly taken off the lamictal. Then they reintroduced sertraline 150mg to bring me out of my depressive state. That seemed to stabilize me so I was released with a Rx for sertraline 150mg. A week after I was home from the hospital I knew instinctively something wasn't right. Instead of steadily improving, I felt worse physically (mentally I was actually doing ok). I began to have muscle twitches, tingling throughout my body, my eyelids kept twictching, my heart was racing, I would get hot and cold flushes radiating over my entire body, my skin felt like it was burning, headache, weakness, and the left side of my face was completely numb. I went to the Psychiatric urgent care where the NP diagnosed me with break through anxiety. I told her she was wrong and that I believed I was suffering from serotonin syndrome. She looked dubious, but sought out the medical director who conducted a neurological test and concurred with me. I was placed in psych hospital again and taken off the sertraline. I felt better within a day. They gave me remeron 7.5mg that knocked me out for almost two days. Needless to say, I refused to take another dose. A day before my release, the doctor and I discussed reintroducing sertraline at a very low level - 25mg to 50mg. I was sent home with a Rx for sertraline 50mg. Within 1 hour of taking the sertraline, all the serotonin syndromes came back so I had to stop taking sertraline with no possibility of reinstatement. All this time, I believed my insomnia, anxiety and akathesia were related to the Latuda. I also believed that my emotional distress and depression stemmed from latuda withdrawal, but now I'm wondering if it was actually protracted withdrawal from the first time I weaned off of sertraline 75mg and the weaning off latuda being merely coincidental. I did not experience any acute withdrawal symptoms with the exception of a little Weepiness from time to time. Is it possible to experience withdrawal symptoms from sertraline SIX months after the last dose? It's been 3 weeks since my last dose of sertraline 50mg and I've experienced the following: headaches, muscle twitching, shivers, tingling, internal restlessness, body aches, a general feeling of being unwell, severe mood swings: rage, depression, apathy, suicidal thoughts, hypomania, uncontrollable crying, and anxiety. I've had some good functional days, followed by days of being physically & emotionally incapacitated. Is the what's known as waves & windows? I'm trying to figure out if this is withdrawal from the latuda & lamictal or a continuation of the the possible withdrawal of the sertraline. I'm also hoping that the reintroduction of sertraline followed by the abruptly stopping won't prolong whatever it is that is going on. I am also worried because after doing much research I realized that I did the first taper much too fast, but there is absolutely nothing I can do about it now due to the serotonin syndrome. Any advice, insight or shared experiences are most welcome. This site makes me feel less alone. My new psych told me I shouldn't be experiencing any withdrawal and I was just having breakthrough symptoms.
  18. Hi, I would like to introduce myself as I’m new to the forum. I’m really glad I found this website – some really good information regarding withdrawal and can definitely see some of the characteristic signs of withdrawal in what I’ve experienced since reducing some of my psychiatric medication. So to give you a bit of background about what drove me to investigate adverse effects to psychiatric medication – both being on it and trying to get off it! (Sorry it’s a bit long!). It all started with a psychotic episode that I endured for 3 months before finally getting help. I know that I needed some treatment – I wasn’t getting better on my own and I was struggling to live my life not to mention being scared out of my wits most of the time. I have no problem with the fact that I needed psychiatric medicine to intervene at this time. I was put on mirtazapine as the doctors put my symptoms down to depression. I started sleeping again which I hadn’t been doing for more than 2 – 3 hours a night for over 3 months. Very quickly the worst of the psychotic symptoms – the paranoia, fear of being in the house and the worst of the voices went away and I started living my life again. However, I still had some residual voices which I wanted to get rid of. I saw a psychiatrist and he prescribed aripiprazole and this is where everything started to go downhill. I wish I had just lived with the voices as they weren’t very bad (certainly nothing like when I was first ill.) and I felt good on the mirtazapine. The aripiprazole made me extremely depressed and gave me bad anxiety. The psych tried upping my dose of mirtazapine to 45mg to combat this. This left me extremely agitated and unable to sleep at all for days so I reduced it back down. I decided to taper off the aripiprazole. For a whole month after reducing the aripiprazole I had the worst suicidal depression I have ever had, which took me back to the psychiatrist. He changed my medication completely – taking me off the mirtazapine which had worked initially and putting me on sertraline and olanzapine. This, also has been a disaster. I wish I had just ridden out the depression after the aripiprazole which I expect was withdrawal symptoms. I think the sertraline gave me anxiety, although I would have a few good days here and there, so just thought the dose needed increasing. Ended up on 200mg sertraline and 7.5mg olanzapine for good measure. I was so anxious I was having trouble just talking to people about very mundane things, as well as days of bad depression, punctuated by a few good days here and there. I also still had some voices so the anti-psychotic wasn’t that helpful anyway. Eventually the inability to live my life properly made me suicidal and I told the psychiatrist that we needed to do something. I wanted to go back onto mirtazapine and get off the sertraline. He wouldn’t take me off the sertraline but did agree to add mirtazapine back into the mix so I was on 200mg sertraline, 30mg mirtazapine and 7.5mg olanzapine. I definitely improved with the addition of the mirtazapine but still felt the sertraline was doing more harm than good so set about reducing it once I had stabilised after the addition of the mirtazapine. I reduced from 200 down to 50mg over the course of 6 weeks – back in January 2019. Way too fast. Have been experiencing waves of severe depression and crying spells (although these are getting less intense) and windows where I have felt better. Generally apart from the nasty waves I feel much better than I did when on 200mg sertraline. Have also decreased the olanzapine to 5mg which resulted in 6 weeks of extreme fatigue and severe depression again. Ironically, since the addition of the mirtazapine and in combination with the olanzapine the voices have nearly gone. My aim is to get off the sertraline completely and also get off the olanzapine, which makes me very tired and lacking in motivation. I am holding for the moment as we are due to go on holiday in 5 weeks time and I don’t want to have any nasty withdrawal symptoms to deal with. I would like to do the remainder of the reductions with your support as doing it with people who understand what you are going through will, I reckon, make it a whole lot easier. I look forward to interacting with you all.
  19. I am new here. I have tapered myself off of a low (50mg) dose of sertraline. (This time) I have been on and off Zoloft/ sertraline for decades. It's been several months of no SSRI and I am looking for any and all help with learning more about surviving and staying off of these drugs after watching several videos and checking into Mad in America.
  20. Hi , so it was about mid October of 2019 I had a panic attack, I’m not really sure why , I was under some stress I guess . I went to emerge because I was terrified, heart was ok and they gave me Ativan to settle down and said I should make an appointment with my gp to get something for anxiety. I was put on Sertraline starting at 50 mg which was way too much but I didn’t know anything about these drugs , made my anxiety worse , horrible stuff but dr said to keep going until it kicks in , and to up my dose to 100 mg or more , made me even worse. I was really questioning whether it was my anxiety or the drugs . I was pretty sure it was the drugs but you listen to drs because they are supposed to know. Huge mistake to do so , horrible symptoms. I gave it to the 8 week mark because that’s what they say it should be working at . No such luck, so I tapered down for about a week and have had none for 9 days now . I feel better then I was on that crap but I’m dizzy , light headed , high pulse , and startle extremely easy which is concerning, and overall feel like crap . Did I taper to fast ? How long will this last? No way in hell will I ever put that poison in my body again.
  21. Admin link - link to benzo forum thread - SwingCobra: Choosing Ativan taper method Hello everyone, Ever since my first manic/psychotic episode back in October of 2012, I have been using a variety of psychiatric drugs, most of which being antipsychotics. Up until late July of this year, my drug regimen included 5 mg of olanzapine and 0.5 mg of lorazepam nightly; I had actually stopped taking lorazepam from March to mid-July, but restarted taking it due to the presence of stressful circumstances in my life. However, the same stressful circumstances led me to a state of anxiety for which my psychiatrist prescribed me sertraline. After reading a bit about antidepressants online and seeing how long-term use of these drugs can be troublesome, I'm not too interested in continuing taking sertraline on the long term. Right now, I've been taking 50 mg every morning for 8 days straight, and I'm not seeing my psychiatrist until August 19th, nine days from now. What would be the safest option for me to stop taking sertraline? My guess is I should wait to see my psychiatrist in order to discuss tapering methods with her, but I thought that receiving input from people on these forums would be beneficial.
  22. Hello all. I'm 2 months off benzos after 7 years daily use (prescription) and after a hell of a 2.5 year taper. I've been on sertraline since 2006 starting at 100mg, however, during the benzo taper I got myself down to 37.5mg. The lamotrigine was added at the end of the benzo taper to help me finally jump off, to prevent seizures, ease my mind, whatever, etc. I was at 75mg at the beginning of the year and started tapering this month and am now down to 50mg. I could go into more detail about everything, but basically I'm extremely sensitive to these medicines and I need some advice and support on the best way to get off of the sertraline and lamotrigine, when to start, what method to use, etc. I'm very familiar with all the different kinds of tapering from just having got off benzos and trying nearly every method in an attempt to find anything that would work out better. Please let me know your thoughts on tapering these final 2 medicines and which to go for first. Thanks guys!
  23. Sertraline 18 years. 6 on mirtazapine... Been tapering by 50 % over 3 years by dropping one night a week for 3 weeks and if now symptoms drop by another night... Was fine 45mg to 30mg.....did 30 mg to 15mg and didn't realise fatigue was withdrawal so went to 7.5 for 1 night and then 2 nights a week and felt awful. Went back up to 15mg but still experiencing aches, sweats and tearfulness. Now back up at 30mg and just balancing out. Nightmare! I have documented it
  24. Dear all, I took Sertraline 50 (French name for Zoloft). for only a month and I have developped PGAD (Persistent Genital Arousal Disorder) following a too fast withdrawal. I read the story of some of your members who had PGAD when they withdrew from an antidepressant and their stories looked like mine and gave me hope and I hope they can confort me and assist me because I am in a very dark place. I read the stories of Hopefull anf Broken. Are they still on the forum ? How are they doing ? Until December 2016, I had never taken any antidepressant or a benzo in my entire life. I was leading an happy life with my husband and son in the West of France. We had a chemical accident in december. I mixed 2 products while cleaning my house, bleach and a cleaning product with acid and stupidly burnt my lungs and got a toxic choc on the 27th of december. My doctor thought I was anxious afer the accident and put me on Xanax 0.25, half a pill at night. I took it for a month in January 2017 and was sent to a psychiatrist who put me on Lisanxia 10, a pill a day. I felt suicidal because i didnt understand I was suffering from the Xanax withdrawal the doctors kept changing the pill without any tappering, I stayed on Lysanxia 10, a pill a day the whole February , then another psychiatrist decided to put me on Bromazepan 6 (4 quarter a day). I stayed on Bromazepan the entire March and he put me back on Xanax, all of that cold turkey. And that how I met my worse nightmare, the Sertraline AD: I was feeling very agitated on benzos, my lungs and entire skin were burning and everybody told me it was in my head. I didn't agree so I was hospitalised againt my wish in a psychiatrist hospital. There, they made me stop my Xanax 0.25 cold turkey and put me on Sertraline 50. This happened on Easter monday 2017 (April 17 th). After 2 weeks, I was sent home and started feeling very ill, I had tremors, agitation, fatigue, shakes, flu like symptoms and suicidal thoughts. I went to see a GP who told me I could drop the Sertraline to 25 because I had only been on it for 2 weeks and I could slowly stop it. I went on the 25 pill and then I started having violent withdrawal side effects (I don't know which ones came from Xanax or from Sertraline) : My symptoms : Sensitivity to light and smells, burning skin, hyperacusis, agitation, akathisia, tinnitus and when I thought it couldn't get worse, I started peeing every 10 minutes, got a hyperactive bladder, terrible pains in my genitalias, bladder and pelvic area and the worse of it permanent arousal. Since I have kept the tinnitus in my left ear, the akatisia and PGAD. I was sent to another mental hospital at the beginning of June because I thought they could help me with PGAD. They put me on Risperidone for a week while they made me stop the Sertraline very fast (they made me take it every 2 days for a week then they replaced it with Anafranil 25 that I kept for a week. My tinnitus got worse and my PGAD stayed the same. I was getting sicker and sicker so the psychiatrist stopped the Anafranil and the Risperidone and I was put back on Xanax. I am now back at home, my PGAD symptoms are terrible and I am considered manic and hypocondriac. My doctor wants to put me back in a mental hospital. I can't look after my family and Iam in a very dark place with suicidal thoughts My 3 main withdrawal symptoms : high pitched tinnitus, agitation and PGAD. Pins and needles in my lower back, legs and arms when the PGAD crisis start. . MY PGAD symptoms : Overactive bladder, ongoing arousal sensations in and around the genitals, having to go to the toilets every 10 minutes, pelvic pains, Pins and needle, shaking. It is atrocious and it makes me suicidal. I take 3 Xanax 0.25 a day and a Zopiclone 7 to sleep. I cannot sit because the symptoms get worse and I can barely walk because my bladder hurts. I spend my days crying on my bed with an ice pack on my lower parts. At night I cannot sleep well because of the tinnitus. I went to see an urologist, I had a cystoscopy done and they told me it is not an interstitial cysticis and gave me Lyrica (I am scared of taking it because I fear it will make my tinnitus worse). Nobody knows this symptom in France and people think i am crazy. Thank you for reading my story. Please can you reassure me ? I am terrified and I am suffering greatly. Would it go away ? Is it a withdrawal symptom ? Thank you so much for having this site on the internet. It gave me a lot of confort. Cathyfrench (I am french so I hope my English is not too bad, my apologies for my grammatical errors)
  25. Hello I recently withdrew from two psychiatric medications, Zoloft (Sertraline)and Zyprexa (Olanzapine) after a 15 year forced dependency which started when I was court-ordered to take them in 1998 for depression. In Feb. 2014, I finally quit the pills for the 4th and final time. The withdrawal symptoms were quite severe, probably similar to those of heroin, only instead of the people who care for you trying to help you get off the drugs, in the case of psych meds., everyone is dead set on you continuing to stay on them. I went about 6 straight days without sleep while trying to get off the pills, constantly throwing up all over my apartment (my parents had to bring over a steam cleaner to clean up all the huge piles of vomit, while at the same time admonishing me to go back on the meds.) I developed extreme lightheadedness. When I would turn my head to look at something it would take a moment or two for my field of vision to catch up. I suffered from those brain shocks which I thought might be some suppressed memories of the many rounds of ECT that were administered to me, against my will, back in the mid 1990's. I nearly died on a couple of occasions during the withdrawal as my blood sugar levels plunged so low that I was forced to crawl to my kitchen and shove wadded-up pieces of white bread soaked in either oyster sauce, fish sauce or salad dressing (for proteins and sugars) into my mouth to avoid collapsing on the floor, but somehow I did it, I got clean. I had kicked the pills cold turkey three times previously (twice in 2004 and again for 10 months in 2005-6) only to be put back on them. The last time in 2005-6, I had been given the choice of either taking the pills and being given a bed in a local group home on a 0° F January evening or else to go rough it in a snowbank (I had been evicted from my apt. after falling a month behind in rent). The pills (Zoloft originally at 200mg that on my own advice I scaled back to 100mg at the time of my withdrawal. Zyprexa originally at 17.5mg that I had reduced to 10mg) basically ruined my health. Within a couple of years of starting on the meds in 1998, I had gone from a lithe and slender 6' tall 160 lbs man to a portly 230 pounder,, with all the weight gain going into my belly and thighs (Blech!). My cholesterol and triglyceride levels tripled. I had copious amounts of diarrhea daily. My blood pressure was absolutely wrecked. When kneeling down or squatting on my haunches, at say a grocery store or maybe a bookstore, to look at something on a low shelf, upon rising I would start to nearly black-out or swoon due to massive head rushes and would have to hold on to shelving for about a minute or so until I regained my vision and sense of balance. And from about 2006 on, I became no more than some sluggish, gorging hibernating animal that slept between 12 and 16 hours a day, sometimes as much as 20 hrs a day (watching T.V. was my only other occupation) where I would hardly more than move from my bed to the couch only to fall asleep 3 hours later for upwards of 4-6 hours, sometimes for as much as 10 hours. I was sleeping so much that when I woke, I often had no idea if it was early morning or late evening. I would have the most awful and depressing nightmares of being strapped into a dentist's chair while doctors would be cramming every conceivable pill down my throat in an attempt to kill me. The sedative-like effects of the drugs, combined with a horrible and untreated case of sleep apnea due to smoking and a severely broken nose as a teenager, left me completely fatigued all the time. I usually only left my apartment once a week to stock up on groceries. Since the harrowing experience of withdrawal, my health and spiritual well-being have greatly improved. I began a 4-6 mile a night brisk walking regiment and starting biking between 10-20 miles a day which resulted in me losing 45 lbs in 3 months. While before on the pills, I could hardly stay awake, now I can barely get to sleep. My insomnia is sometimes so bad (3-4 hrs of sleep a day, often none) that I resemble a real live? zombie (I call my condition, Inzombia) but considering how low my spirits had been on the pills, I'm just happy to live an active life again, even if I do suffer bouts of sleeplessness. I've spent several hundred hours since early last year either volunteering picking up trash from local parks and lakes or else helping out at a local thrift store and my creative spirit has flourished. I have filled something like 15 fifty page notebooks full of my poetry (both of a serious and humorous nature) and have written many short pieces of memoir, one of which is entitled In Servitude to the Devil, and is about my nearly indescribable and entirely hellish experience in 1995-1996, when for six months, I suffered from brain damage and akathisia brought on by the forced administration of Resperdine, Prozac and Paxcil. I thought I might end this piece with two short poems of mine The Psychiatrist His pills amount to fool's gold; his lab-coat: starched and anti-sceptically white He professes to be a doctor, but he's a neuro-nazi in my sight. A Reflection On Our Times So much lust and vanity under the sun Surely God is our pariah as we have our fun.
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