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  1. 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.
  2. Hi all, I've been off antidepressants for about three months now after 14 months on them. See end of post for full tapering schedule (if you can call it that). Note that I didn't find this resource/community until today, so unfortunately the only guidance I had on tapering was my general practitioner, which didn't work out too well... In the first 1.5 months, I experienced nausea and intrusive thoughts as well as increased general irritability. Then, those symptoms went away but I started getting new symptoms. Intermittent numbness and cold in feet which started spreading to my calves and hands/forearms. Body pain all over when waking up in the morning. One severe panic attack (first ever in my life). General feelings of panic (again, first ever despite a lifetime of anxiety). I've tracked these symptoms and am finding that the strength of these symptoms cycles; every 2-4 days, there is a strong (5x) increase in these symptoms, to the point that it can become debilitating. Have seen the doctor 3 times on this and they've run blood tests, but didn't find any other underlying causes, so he attributes it to me being too sensitive, dismissing antidepressant discontinuation given that I've been off them for more than 1 month and "symptoms don't last that long". So, after lots of frustration there, I saw an osteopath for some alternative diagnostics, and she was able to reduce some of the symptoms through cranial osteopathy. Will continue this to see if it provides lasting relief. I also did some searching on my own, and that's what brought me here. Looking forward to reading around on the forum and engaging. If anyone has any recommendations based on these issues, let me know. Thanks! Sertraline: 0mg->30mg (immediate) Held 30mg for about a month Experienced significant side effects and doctor recommended switch to citalopram 30mg->0mg (immediate; -100%) Citalopram: 0mg->10mg (held for 1 month) 10mg->20mg (+100%; held 3 months) 20mg->30mg (+50%; held 2 months) Experienced side effects so doctor recommended drop to 20mg 30mg->20mg (-33%; held 3 months) Started getting better so doctor recommended drop to 15mg 20mg->15mg (-25%; held 2.25 months) 15mg->12.5mg (-17%; held 4 days) 12.5mg->12mg (-4%; held 13 days) 12mg->11.5mg (-4%; held 1 day) 11.5mg->10mg(-13%; held 2 days) 10mg->9mg(-10%; held 2 days) 9mg->8.5mg(-6%; held 2 days) 8.5mg->8mg(-6%; held 1 day) 8mg->7.5mg(-6%; held 2 days) 7.5mg->7mg(-7%; held 2 days) Started experiencing more severe side effects so went up again 7mg->8.5mg(+21%; held 6 days) Feeling okay so started tapering again 8.5mg->7.5mg(-12%; held 5 days) Met with doctor and he told me that if I'm already under 10mg, may as well just drop to zero because I'm "prolonging the discontinuation symptoms by tapering".......... 7.5mg->0mg(-100%)
  3. 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
  4. 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
  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. Yes, it will feel like a miracle when it happens for you; and it will happen for you, it is just a matter of time. I want to get that out there first thing; it is my belief that we will all heal in time; it has happened for me and is continuing to happen and it will happen for you. Am I completely 100% done healing? No. Am I so, so much better? Oh yes! Now for some basics: Male, mid 50s, took zoloft for over 20 year, quit cold turkey 3.5 years ago, was off 5 months, thought I was relapsing, so started prozac for 3.5 months and then quit that cold turkey. Then I found S.A. and discovered what I was dealing with was not a relapse but withdrawal (and recovery). So yes, I did everything completely wrong and more than once! I am proof that given time we can heal. I currently just celebrated 30 months of being drug free. Now, how to begin to describe the inhumane torture that I have endured until very recently; not sure but I will try. I have gone through both the windows and waves pattern and the continuous misery pattern. I was one of those that suffered a great deal after quitting, but really got slammed at about 6 months off. At 1 year I was barely functioning; at 1.5 years I was still miserable, and at 2 years off I was wondering if I was doomed to endless suffering with no end. But now as I have hit the 2.5 year mark I feel as if I have turned the corner. Windows and waves general comprised the first year and then it became continuous misery for pretty much the next 6 to 12 months or more; and then back to windows and waves. My last serious wave was in months 25-26 and now finally what feels like solid progress the last month or so. I am hesitant to list symptoms because I know how much it use to scare me to read what others were going through; but on the other hand it really helped when a new symptom would start, because I knew it was part of the recovery process and not some disease or sickness, and most of these are gone or have become minimal although they lasted for months or years. And just because I experienced them does not mean that you will, we all have a very individual road to recovery; so here they are in no specific order: Dark depression, anxiety, paranoia, obsessive compulsive, panic attacks, intrusive/obsessive thoughts that tortured me, hopelessness, irrational thinking, suicidal thoughts, brain zaps, intense organic fear, severe inner-body tension that felt like my whole insides were clamped up, sexual dysfunction, severe tension, tremors and pain in the back of my legs and calves, terrible shoulder and upper arm pain, mania, extreme bloating and stomach pain, nausea, dizziness, vertigo, feeling like my brain was on fire, feeling like a part of my brain was missing, feeling like a bomb had gone off in my head, floating head feeling, super-hot face, body temperature regulation problems – being super-hot or cold, constipation, dehydration, lack of appetite and weight loss, feeling dead, anhedonia, akathisia, mood swings, insomnia, terrible brain fog and inability to think clearly, sensitive vision and hearing, inching and burning skin, cold like symptoms, head congestion, phantom smells, constant tinnitus, severe fatigue and exhaustion, health anxiety, I could not read, listen to music, or meditate, heart palpitations, random traveling aching and stabbing pain throughout my body, headaches, and so many other symptoms that I can’t remember. The torture, pain, misery, suffering and utter despair was never ending…until it did finally start to end for me and it will for you too. Did anything help me along the way? I tried many things; acupuncture, vitamins and supplements, alpha-stim, gluten free diet, no sugar diet, no caffeine, no alcohol, and anything else I could do to try and feel better. Did it work? In a sense it all worked because it kept me focused on recovery and gave me hope when I had none, and the possibility that I might feel better. But time passing has been the real healing agent; although that was the last thing I wanted to hear when I was suffering so intensely. I did find that mindfulness, breathing exercises and physical exercise helped when all else failed and I was so truly desperate. Many hours were spent just trying to pay attention to my breath going in and out; and I still use this practice as a relaxation method. It also helped me greatly to visit this website daily as well as Benzo-Buddies. I read success stories for hours at a time, read the Bloom in Wellness facebook page each day and anything by Baylissa Frederick and also Don Killian. So, what remains for me? I still have tinnitus (although it has gotten much better over the last month), stomach bloating and pain on occassion, nerve pain, some brain zaps at night, fatigue and tiredness, and sleep issues. If I had to put some percentages on where I am at now I would say physically I am at about 85-90% healed and mentally/emotionally at 90-95% healed. I now eat anything that I choose although I eat as healthily as possible because I value life so much now and I want to live as long as possible; I exercise regularly and it feels wonderful; I enjoy caffeinated drinks including regular tea and coffee which I had given up for many months; I also drink wine and beer a couple times a week if I choose to and enjoy it. I am in the best shape since high school, and have lost 75 pounds (on purpose). Life is good again and just the simple things are more than enough to bring joy and happiness. So that is my story and I hope it will encourage you as you read it that you will recover and become yourself again. I remember reading similar statements in success stories and thinking, “Yea, right, that is easy for you to say, you are not suffering through this terrible hell right now!” And maybe you are thinking the same thing as I did, but please listen to my words; you will make it, you will recover, you will feel better, and you will join me in loving life once again; just please don’t give up or give in and keep going! As I sit here with a cup of coffee and contemplate what I have been through the last several years, it all seems so strange and foreign. Success stories promised that I would make it to recovery, and they were right, so now it is my turn to tell you that you will make it, “You will make it!”. Wishing everyone here all the best and a quick recovery. Please let me know if you have any questions and I will be happy to try and help. All my love. Pug
  7. Good evening people, I am a recovering alcoholic who was three years sober, but relapsed severely three months ago for two weeks, and had to pay £3500 to enter a private detox clinic. Now I am two months sober and my GP has prescribed 50mg Sertraline to "help" with depression. After reading posts from this site, plus much research on Youtube, I am now too terrified to take it. I took it for 5 days and now I have stopped - with no side effects apart from fish eye vision for one morning which passed by midday. My own thoughts are that if I am depressed then it is no wonder at the moment after drinking a bottle of vodka a day, in blackout drinking, as alcohol is a depressant. I am a regular member of AA and I know that I will get back to normal in time. Time is the biggest healer in all addictions, plus withdrawal. Apparently, in studies done in America, there are two types of alcoholic - Class A, and Class B. Class A are people who drink but alcoholism doesn't hit them until later on in life (this is me). Class B are people who have a genetic "allergy" to alcohol and alcoholism hits them early and young. Apparently, the results of the study showed that Class A alcoholics benefit from anti depressants, whereas Class B alcoholics are more likely to relapse if they take them. I now don't trust any GP or psychiatrist - and I really believe that none of them know the reality of what these drugs actually do. We all seem to be an experiment - and when you come to withdrawal from them, no one wants to know. Anyway, I have decided not to take them, and to battle things along in my own way with the help of AA. Have I made the right decision?
  8. Hi everyone. I am hoping to get some much needed (and very much appreciated) advice on my situation. As you see, I had been on Sertraline for almost 2 years, or around the two year mark, before I began a too fast taper in 2016 which lead to my withdrawal syndrome in September 2016. My doctor had me taper in 6 weeks completely off Sertraline, jumping off at 25mg and not even tapering the 25mg, just cold turkeying the 25 per his instruction. Well, I was feeling some withdrawal symptoms, I just didn't realize what they truly meant, and my doctor had told me not to worry 'they will clear up in a few weeks" well they didn't really clear up, but actually got worse two-three months later. I want to make this as short as possible so it is easy to read, but long story short, I ended up reinstating Sertraline at 12.5mg first week, at the same time tapering the 30mg of buspirone my doctor had tried to test out on me for almost two weeks. Each week, he upped my dose of Sertraline during my reinstatement, until I reached 57mg and my body rejected anything above the 57mg. However, I did not know anything about withdrawal or tapering back then, and realize that I was put on way too high of a dose for reinstatement. This has me very scared and very anxious, I try hard not to be, and most of it is likely neuro related, but I wonder what I can do if I feel it's too high? I've got the anhedonia, but I've had this since December, and it actually was brought on more or less by my doctor trying to put me back up to 75mg, maybe that was just a coincidence, but I am not so sure. Each adjustment of the sertraline left me with worsened insomnia, worsened panic, trembling and what I can only describe as body jolts every morning for four months straight. And trying to sleep at night I felt like I was having seizures almost, where my body would jolt me awake just as I was drifting off to sleep, heart would be racing, fear and panic would run rampant and worsen in the morning. I still have mild teeth chattering every morning and especially when the anxiety or stress comes on. I reinstated pretty quick, where I reinstated as soon as my withdrawal symptoms started getting worse, I didn't wait it out even though I really wanted to. I didn't want to go back on the medication after what it had done to me, but didn't know what else to do. Then, everyone I trusted, my doctor especially, had me convinced I had developed several new mental disorders in a matter of three days. I was so so scared, and my anxiety was through the roof. I really stressed myself out a lot trying to figure out "what was wrong with me" because I did not know at the time. On top of that I had the professionals I trusted assuring me it was my "symptoms coming back" (they actually said that right after I already told them I never ever had these symptoms before in my life, not even one of them.) Then I happened to find SA, during my research into my symptoms and the ssri I was taking. I learned a lot in one night, and my jaw dropped. My gut had been telling me all this time it was the drug, it was withdrawal. But I ignored it and listened to the "experts" instead. HUGE MISTAKE!! Now I am stuck in a situation that makes me fear for the future, and not sure what I can do now that I am back on a higher dose. If I would've known better, I would not have allowed my doctor to titrate me up so high. I would've sat at the lowest possible dose, even the 12.5mg. My withdrawal symptoms had really settled down a lot for the last two or three months now though. My appetite came back, libido came back, depression lifted almost instantly upon reinstatement, the anxiety and panic took a while to lift but that has really settled down a ton and only sporadically (maybe lasting a second or two) I'll feel a blip of panic and anxiety (typically when under a lot of built up stress), and my biggest gripe for withdrawal symptoms as of now is the anhedonia, but even that was beginning to lift where I'd get moments of joy or contentment or my interests peaking through the veil of anhedonia. My sleep actually went back to normal in the last week or two, and I haven't been waking with the dread or anxiety for the past three months now, and I have been feeling pretty good except now I got back into this wave and I think it's because I'm stressing over tapering and my dosage after what I read last night. I read on SA someone said that being on too high a reinstatement dose can permanently damage your brain, where you will never heal from it. So I am really scared... I really need advice or wisdom on where to go from here. At this point, I worry I'll always feel this way and I'll never recover any further than where I currently am. I'd be fine if I felt somewhat normal, where I could handle the withdrawal symptoms temporarily until they pass, and I do admit that on my better days I certainly can handle them. But I feel like reinstatement was pointless or worse for me than just muscling through the withdrawals after what I read about high dose reinstatement. I feel like A) it's going to take forever just to stabilise on this dose and B it's going to be painful trying to taper when the time comes, due to that I may have permanently damaged my brain with my reinstatement. I guess what I am wondering now is, do I stay on this dose and wait for the anhedonia to completely go away, or how do I know when I am ready to begin tapering? At this point I am just feeling very confused and afraid about my dose and tapering in the future. I feel lost. I'd really appreciate any help! Thank you!
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Admin note: link to benzo forum thread - Oliver1974: Benzo withdrawal and backache Are there any support groups specifically dedicated to Zoloft titration and withdrawals.
  12. 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!
  13. Hi all, my story is so very long but the short story is i was on zoloft 50 mg for 15 years (only drug i was ever on). I tried multiple times to get off but would get severe discontinuation syndrome each time so i thought i just had to stay on it for life. I will go into those symptoms if you ask. Anyways about 4 years ago i developed benign fasiculations and resting tremor. It took seeing multiple docs and finally a second neurologist and he said this is common with zoloft. So i had to get off it but i was scared to death because of the severe discontinuation that i would compare to heroin withdrawal. So i was so scared i never went back to the doctor and thought maybe i can live with BFS and the tremor. But then my neurological symptoms got worse and led to parkinsons which was drug induced and dyskinesia. The facial grimacing was way more annoying than the fasiculations and it affected my blood pressure too, thats how parkinsons works, it affects the autonomic system so i had bad orthostatic hypotension and that was dibilitating but somehow i pushed through. I had many more issues, if you ask i can write about them. Anyways this time i was ready to get off zoloft so i go to the doctor and he says "wow you've been on it for 15 years" and i thought "WOW you idiot. Your office is the one who has been prescribing this to me all these years". They never once told me to make an appt if i hadnt been there in a few years, they just kept refilling it. They should require patients to have biyearly appts and check them for neurological signs and if the patient doesnt make an appt than they should not get a refill. I am very mad at my poor healthcare and management (total lack thereof) but again my story is so long i can write it if you ask. Anyways my doc said to wean off over like 2 months. That was too fast so i did it on my on and weaned off 50 mg over a 6 month period and for the first time i did not get discontinuation syndrome! I was scared to death but i did it and was shocked i did not get discontinuation. Weaning that slow is the answer. I only had some mild things like some mood swings, swollen lymph nodes which always happens when i wean off for some reason, headaches, i can go into detail if you ask. My neurological disorders are also going away. I am 20 days off zoloft and feel great and i would say my neurological issues are like 80% better and i hope to recover completely with time (i might have permanent damage). Anyways i am posting because i am very angry at the healthcare community for their lack of knowledge on how zoloft, though rare, does cause dyskinesia, BFS, and parkinsonism. Docs do not seem to know to look for these signs and put a stop to it before irreversible damage occurs which is a disability. They are too freely handing out these meds to your average person with basic stress that can actually manage without meds like seeking CBT, meditation, yoga, qigong, etc. i am one of those type of people. Patients are never checked up on on these meds. I know personally from working in gastroenterology for years that almost everyone is on anxiety or antidepressants and that to me is a crime because every single one of them are having unexplained problems with a lot of expensive negative testing and they are frustrated but no one is relaying it is the medication causing it and how imperitive it is to get off it. I am against all these meds (unless the patient has true mental disorder like bipolar or is in a stage of suicidal ideation etc). I am just very angry. For me, to address that, i want and need to raise awareness but i feel no one would believe my story because it is so rare but i think more common than we know because it is being unreported and doctors dont know enough to spot tardive dyskinesia etc so it takes years. Anyone else with a story like mine?
  14. pecanut

    pecanut

    Hi I'm new here. Hoping to come off sertraline and lithium. I believe that my 13 years on lithium have caused me to have cognitive impairment and a severe lack of motivation and my executive functioning is just awful. I've only been on sertraline for about 10 months so I'm hoping it will be a bit easier. Any advice or encouragement would be really welcome. I'd also really like to start a support group for people here in Belfast but I've no clue how to do this. Bye for now and good luck to all
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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
  18. I'm wondering if anyone has any experience/knowledge regarding switching from sertraline to fluoxetine. I'm currently on 25mg of sertraline daily. I've been taking this drug for 11 years on and off and have been trying to taper, but find it very difficult. My doctor has switched me to prozac WITHOUT a crosstaper. (Because fluoxetone has a huge half-life it is easier to taper, which is why he is switching me.)He says to take 20mg of fluoxetine every 2 days and cease taking the sertraline immediately. Information on the web regarding crosstaper from sertraline to fluoxetine states to cease sertraline before starting fluoxetine. This is in contrast to other cross tapers betwenn SSRI's (e.g sertraline to paroxetine etc) which recommend crosstaper. It's all confusing. To make matters worse I start a new job a week on monday. I've ceased the sertraline yesterday and am starting the prozac 20mg every 2 days. Apparently this dose of fluoxetine is roughly equivelant to 25mg sertraline. My question is, will I be ok for my job starting in 10 days? I suffer pretty bad from nerves, so I don't want to walk into the job on the first day on the verge of apanic attack. Also, fluoxetine has a very long half-life and takes a while to build into your system, so I'm worried if this will be enough to combat the sertraline withdrawal.
  19. Spring 2014: Effexor ? mg for 2 months then cold turkey (didnt know better at the time). Originally put on this for depression after a break up. Fall 2014: Dizziness, extreme memory issues, pins and needles in hands and feet. Occasional adderall use. Working 2 jobs to pay for engineering school. Health anxiety started when doctors couldn't find cause of symptoms. Tried samE, 5htp. Winter 2014-2015: tried molly with a friend. Ended up in the ER. Months that passed included many ER visits and eventually klonopin (? mg) Spring 2015: after researching benzo dangers wanted off. Tried to taper. Horrid withdrawal. Switched to diazepam 6mg. Dog/best friend died of cancer. Started celexa 10 mg. Rest of 2015: Moved back in with mom, slowly tapered diazepam, stopped daily on new years 2016. Winter-Spring 2016: back in school. Stopped celexa 10mg in January. Pins and needles and depression in February. Started on wellbutrin 150mg. Increased anxiety but allowed me to finish school. Graduated. Stopped wellbutrin after graduation. Summer 2016: quit job too much stress while going through what I now know to be withdrawal. Drove for ride share service when feeling well enough. Felt like living with chronic fatigue syndrome. No doctors could find cause. Fall 2016: started back on celexa 15mg after rock bottom depression. Eventually wellbutrin added back at 75mg. Moved to a new state. PM panic attacks started after going back on celexa. Started full time engineering job. Winter 2016 - Winter 2018: wellbutrin gradually increased to 300mg. Started celexa taper. 15 down to 10mg. Increase in depression but tolerable. Spring 2019: tapered celexa down to 5mg. Extremely depressed. Affected relationship. Found a psychiatrist who wanted to switch me to zoloft. Relationship break up the week of starting zoloft. Zoloft lifted depression at first. Summer 2019: got back together with boyfriend. zoloft increased to 50 then 75 then 100. Horrible reaction to 100mg. Worst anxiety of my life. Stopped cold turkey. Back on 2.5mg celexa. Dr Then tried liquid zoloft increase from 0 by 1mg every few days to cross taper with celexa. Able to stop wellbutrin easily. Also had tooth extraction during all of this (infected root canal). Fall 2019: up to 8mg zoloft 1mg celexa. Horrible anxiety. Stopped zoloft cold turkey after getting suicidal thoughts from severe anxiety. Current: trying to find a celexa dose to stabilize on. Trying 2.5 mg. Anxiety and fatigue battles daily. going to write more soon. Just wanted a quick recap to start.
  20. I've been on antipsychotics for nearly 20 years after I had a psychotic breakdown whilst I was taking an antedepressant and experiencing several major life stressors. I've tried to withdraw numerous times but have always become psychotic very quickly. My memory has been affected, I now have diabetes and my weight soared as I put on 10 stone. I'm here because several people recommended this site. I currently take 300mg amisulpride plus medication for diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
  21. I hope someone may be able to give me some advice. I am currently in an episode of Agitated Depression triggered by chronic pain & associated losses. I have had two previous episodes in 2014 & 2015/16. I eventually got well in about 6 months on each occasion & was taking 150mg Sertraline at the end of each episode. I'm not sure how much was to do with sertraline or whether the episodes just ran their course. I have been well for two years medication free but had a further breakdown in February this year. I started sertraline again & am currently taking 150mg I am also taking Mirtazapine 30mg as I wasn't sleeping. I am getting very concerned as I am not getting any better & am now taking two medications that I don't think are helping me. I feel really stuck as I am still very unwell. I live alone & am very isolated. My pain has increased as a result of the depressive episode. I have been to a psychiatrist privately as it took too long to get help from NHS in UK & I was taking zoplicon for sleep which was only a short term solution. The psychiatrists only solutions are to keep increasing doses or swap so usual story. I tried mirtazapine at 45mg but couldn't sleep & fealt worse. When I went to see him originally he increased sertraline to 200mg after only being on 150mg for a few days & it was way too much. I have been taking 150mg sertraline for about 4 weeks now & 30mg mirtazapine a little longer probably 8 weeks. I started sertraline at 50mg in February. To be honest I am scared stiff to up the sertraline to 200mg. The psychiatrist has prescribed diazepam for breakthrough anxiety but I think I have already been taking this too often. I just don't know what to do. I am barely coping at the moment & live alone with just a few friends checking in on me. I don't know whether to cut my losses & taper off sertraline so that I am just on one drug go or go up to 200mg sertraline which does not sit well with me. The psychiatrist does not think I can get well without meds nor do my friends & want me to stay on them! I already feel worse if anything I am terribly agitated & anxious & have bad GI problems, constipation & mouth so dry I find it hard to speak sometimes. I am 66 by the way. If anyone has any help they can give me I would really appreciate it I feel incredibly alone at the moment. Many Thanks Chris
  22. Hi all. Found this site a few months ago. I am beginning to attempt getting off ADs and Benzo. I have been taking antidepressants for 17 years. I am 44. I do not work outside the home. My goal is to incorporate healthy activities (suggestions please) to help lessen the withdrawal symptoms. I am realistic about the amount of time it will take and hope everyone here can be a support system. I am married. Hubby is supportive, but doesn't really understand what is going with my body. I have really bad health anxiety currently. I was diagnosed with bipolar about 5 years ago and was put on lamictal 200mg. Wellbutrin was added shortly after. I tapered of Zoloft over about 18 months. I had my first anxiety attack exactly 2 weeks after the last dose. So we decided to stay in 25 mg. which held off the anxiety attacks since then. About 8 months ago I started having increased anxiety along with some peri menopausal symptoms. Then the health anxiety followed, probably because of all the weird symptoms I was having. I went up to 50mg on the Zoloft and taking Ativan to help me sleep. I realized I was building a tolerance to it, so I weaned myself back off and was doing fine. Then the cycle started again. New symptom (breast pain this time), then the health anxiety and back on Ativan. I only take .125mg at a time. If I don't feel much relief in about 30 minutes, I will take another one. That usually does it. Then I stop when I feel better. However a couple of weeks ago, I noticed I was having muscle twitches and jerks. Don't google that!! Now looking back I think they may be related to stopping the Ativan after taking it for several days. I really don't know. So I decided today to take a dose to see if it settles down over the next few days and go from there. 3 days ago I started a taper on the Wellbutrin 150 mg xl. My doctor wrote prescription for 100mg sr tabs...and I started taking 75 in the morning and 50 in the afternoon. I am hoping this won't be too fast, but I am going to try it. I also started having stomach upset a couple of days ago with some diarrhea today. Very unusual for me. Is that possibly Ativan w/d? Thank everyone. Not sure how to add signature. Attach a file maybe?
  23. Hello, guys! My name is Haley, and since I quit taking the SSRI Sertraline, I have been experiencing a tingling/burning/pins and needles/somewhat electric sensation that takes place in my thighs and genital area. It has been the most persistent/hard to deal with symptom I have experienced, and I want to know if any of you have experienced as well, and if you have gotten over it yourselves. Thank you so much for the feedback!
  24. Hi, I've been tapering from Zoloft for almost 4 years now. I started at 150mg and am down to 12.7mg. I'm reducing 10% every 8 weeks. Except for minor withdrawals around week 6, so far so good. My question is - how far down is it necessary to go before you finally quit? 3mg, 1mg? Less than 1mg? Also, I'm using the Gemini 20 scale with the 10mg weight. How far can you go with this scale and be accurate enough? It seems like the scale is getting touchier the farther I go down. I saw someone on here say they bought a new scale every few years because of this. Sound like a good idea? Or should I try switching to a liquid?
  25. Hello everyone. I am desperate and I am sure some of your experience can be of help. Needless to say, my psych doesn´t even acknowledge SSRI withdrawal. I started Zoloft in March, 25 mg and then 50 mg. It was wonderful, lots of energy, but after a few weeks of the common side effects, it started causing me nausea, extremely debilitating nausea. I tried taking it at different times and different doses, and although it still retained the stimulating effect, I thought it was a gamble and having this nausea during the examination would be a dead sentence. So I quit cold turkey after 25 mg first week of September (no one told me about withdrawal). After an unbearable fatigue this whole month, now I recognize the so-called brain zaps, which were mild and ocurred only after waking up, which took an huge effort. No problems sleeping, but waking up. I didn't even knew ssri had serious withdrawal symptoms, and always assumed it was due to something else. Brain zaps faded around 3 weeks ago but the extreme fatigue and nausea persisted. I have the most important examination/interview of my whole life in 7 days, and it consists of a 1 hour exposition from memorized content for which I have been preparing two years. So I commited one terrible mistake: In a desperate effort to stop the fatigue, I took 25 mg before going to sleep 6 days ago, to check if the symptoms would subside and in such case, return temporaly to the med until the exam. I had no idea about the kindling effect, nor my psych. So from the day after until right now, an extreme, extreme fatigue and nausea, 100x worse than what I was feeling before has taken hold of me. No brain zap though. After reading this site, I have decided to take a small dose via tritration, in fear of withdrawal getting worse and worse. I have been taking low doses of clonazepam (0.25 per day) since a few years, but I ramped it up to 2mg Clonazepam /day for a month, and I plan on starting detox as soon as I finish my exam. I have been taking methylphenidate for years, but now it has lost all its effectiveness when the nausea hits. I was relying on clonazepam + methylphenidate for the exam (1 hour oral exposition of memorized content and then Q&A), since it has made me able to perform rehearsals and such, and now this just does not work as if is as if the clonazepam effects had been incremented x 100. I know this is far more serious than a work issue, and might leave me scarred for life, but right now my focus is the exam I have on 7 days. Would it be worth to try titrating a small dose or is it better to do it after the exam, just in case it gets EVEN worse? I think in any case titrating after the exam would be the right thing to do, so my brain can heal better. Thanks a lot in advance. Please don't be harsh on me for using those drug just to pass an examination, I was always accompanied by a psych and I suffer from extreme anxiety and stuttering and it's a whole hour oral presentation. But know I am well aware of the damage I've done to myself because of this, and I deeply regret it.
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