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  1. 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?
  2. Hi, all. Thank you so much for providing this site. I’ve been inspired by the stories here, and look forward to my own recovery and hope to help others as I can along the way. It’s been a hellish year… I have a rather long story – 99% of which takes place within the last year – so please bear with me. I’ll write this out in a timeline for organization’s sake. In essence, I have a history of anxiety and depression, and have OCD. I have been suffering from severe postpartum anxiety (PPA) and depression (PPD) since delivering my son in May 2018 – exacerbated by a move out East so I could start my PhD, the decline and death of my dog, dealing with childhood trauma, etc. I was on Prozac and Xanax as needed before I was pregnant and went off without any problems while we were trying to conceive. I had an uncomplicated pregnancy. Here we go… 1999ish – 2005 (6th grade – high school) (Zoloft, Lexapro, Wellbutrin) I was diagnosed with severe academic perfectionism and OCD and put on (I think) Zoloft first (not sure of dosage). In the years that followed, I was on Lexapro and Wellbutrin, all in various combinations. I don’t remember timing or dosages. I don’t remember having a hard time coming on or off any of the meds. I was chronically ill in high school, though, with fatigue, mono, sinusitis, shingles (to be fair, I had immunological issues before going on meds, too, and a complicated family situation). I took the year after high school off to recover, went off all meds. All I remember is feeling tired and my sleep being on a weird schedule. 2005 – 2009 (no meds) I started taking some community college classes, started volunteering, and then working full-time. Started paying more attention to my diet (went off gluten and most dairy after I realized it made me feel better). Was doing very, very well. Summer 2009 – Summer 2017 (40 mg Prozac daily, ? Xanax PRN rarely taken; occasional supplements - multi vitamin, vitamin D, fish oil, probiotics) Started on 40mg Prozac (slow taper to START it), as a ‘preventative’ measure against OCD and perfectionism (I know… probably wasn’t necessary, but I can’t prove a negative) as I was about to start at a university in the fall of 2009; I was pushed by family (also on psych meds) to start. I think it helped somewhat but it’s hard to know. Eventually, I had an Rx of Xanax, which I took maybe 5-10x/year as needed. I did well in college, though, started a great career, went to the UK on scholarship to do my Master’s and then decided to QUICKLY taper off the Prozac when my husband and I (we married in 2014) decided to conceive. I don’t remember having any issues coming off the Prozac. I was on it fairly consistently for 8 years. Summer 2017 – May 2018 (no meds; supplements: prenatal vitamin, 800 mg folic acid, 1,000-2,000 mg vitamin D, ? fish oil) Pregnant, more depressed than usual, especially after moving back home from the UK and being unsure of what was next. Still, did the damn GRE, applied to PhD programs, got into a great program out East, started setting up our life out there. Obsessive compulsive symptoms were worse than usual but not unmanageable. Late May 2018 (no meds; supplements: prenatal vitamin, 800 mg folic acid, 1,000-2,000 mg vitamin D, ? fish oil) Delivered my son. Epidural, long labor. Started breastfeeding. Early June 2018 (no meds; supplements: prenatal vitamin, 800 mg folic acid, 1,000-2,000 mg vitamin D, ? fish oil) Had a week of awful insomnia and anxiety and intrusive thoughts, but it went away. Early June – Mid-July (no meds; supplements: prenatal vitamin, 800 mg folic acid, 1,000-2,000 mg vitamin D, ? fish oil) Doing okay, just exhausted and depressed (I was breastfeeding around the clock). One week in mid-July 2018 (? Xanax, one-time dosage ~6mg Zoloft, and one-time dosage 2mg Ativan, one-time dosage ? Klonopin in hospital; supplements: prenatal vitamin, 800 mg folic acid, 1,000-2,000 mg vitamin D, ? fish oil) Then, at around 7 postpartum weeks - BAM - I was hit with a week of NO SLEEP. I just couldn't sleep and I lost my appetite. I had been given an Rx for Zoloft by my OBGyn and took a very small amount that Friday (I wanted to ease in). That night, all my symptoms were much worse – and I also felt this severe restlessness in my limbs. It was AWFUL. I even tried Xanax to calm me down (I gave to my son pumped breastmilk). My anxiety was so bad that I went to the ER that Sunday. They drew blood and it turned out that my blood sodium was dangerously low (126) - possibly due to not eating enough and drinking too much water. They gave me Ativan (2 mg – which was A LOT for my system), some Klonopin, too, eventually, and fluids overnight and I felt MUCH better the next day. I was given Ativan and Remeron as needed but didn't need to take it for a few weeks. Mid-July to Late Aug 2018 (0.5 – 1mg Ativan daily; supplements: prenatal vitamin, 800 mg folic acid, 1,000-2,000 mg vitamin D, ? fish oil) I was fine for a few weeks, and then my family and I moved out East, where I was attending grad school (I’m now on medical leave). The anxiety and insomnia came back around the move in August. I took Ativan (0.5 – 1 mg) as needed each day and had some rebound anxiety but was able to get through until setting up care there. I was assigned an interim psychiatrist (before being placed with a regular one), who Rxed me 0.5 Ativan to take at night to sleep for 10 days. This worked for sleep, but not the overall anxiety and depression. Due to breastfeeding concerns, they switched me to Trazodone (25-50 mg), which worked ok for sleep. Eventually, I was able to fall asleep on my own for a couple/few nights. That would be the last time I could do that to-date. Late Aug to Late Sept 2018 (0.5 – 1mg Ativan daily, 1-5mg Prozac, 25-50 mg Trazodone; supplements: postnatal vitamin, 800 mg folic acid, 1,000-2,000 mg vitamin D, ? fish oil, started taking some B complex, probiotics?) I started seeing a regular psychiatrist in early September, and we agreed I should go back on the Prozac with 1 mg Ativan/day as needed. We started sloooow on the Prozac - 1mg, then 2, then 5. By week 3, I had lost my appetite completely, and my anxiety was through the roof - just on 5mg (I was on 40 before becoming pregnant, so I couldn’t understand why I was feeling so terribly). The Trazodone was no longer helping me sleep, and was giving me terrible dry mouth. My limbs felt like they were vibrating. My psydoc FINALLY directed me to go off the Prozac and Ativan, and Rxed me just Klonopin 0.75mg/day. In addition to the psychiatrist, I saw a primary care doc, who checked my thyroid, adrenal glands (several tests there), vitamin levels, and other things - all normal. My blood sodium has still been a little low, but they believe it's due to not eating enough. Oct 2018 (Klonopin 0.25 – 0.75mg/day; postnatal vitamin, 800 mg folic acid, 1,000-2,000 mg vitamin D, ? fish oil, started taking some B complex, I might have tried some hormone-balancing herbs – I don’t remember exactly, probiotics?) My appetite returned but it was never the same. I was sleeping better, but not well – maybe 6 hours at most, sometimes waking in a panic. I could only take one class. I was very depressed and frustrated, and deeply confused as to why I wasn’t responding to medications. But I felt BETTER than when I was on the Prozac, and was able to feel like I could sleep on my own again, and on just 0.25mg Klonopin/day – but the plan was to let me ‘settle’ and then try a new AD, sooo… Nov 2-4 2018 (25mg Anafranil at night, 0.25-0.5mg Klonopin/day; postnatal vitamin, 800 mg folic acid, 1,000-2,000 mg vitamin D, ? fish oil, started taking some B complex, I might have tried some hormone-balancing herbs – I don’t remember exactly, probiotics?) The psydoc suggested Anafranil, a TCA. The day I started it, we put my dog down and I stopped breastfeeding (I had been tapering on that for months). It wasn’t a great time to start something. But I did. I took it the night of the 2nd, fell asleep instantly, then woke up feeling SO GOD AWFUL about 3 hours later. I had a tremor, I vomited, I couldn’t eat. My husband had to hold me while I shook in bed. I called the psydoc and she told me to keep taking it, sounding annoyed with me. So I pushed through for three days – but that was all I could do. Until then, that was the worst I have ever felt. Nothing could calm me down. Things start heating up here, so I’ll spare some details and focus more on the med changes… Nov 5-8 2018 I barely remember these days. Sleep was poor, I felt awful. Then on a Thursday night, I was up all night with panic attacks. I called my therapist and made the decision to go into the psych hospital. Nov 9 – 15 2018 (In hospital, put on 0.5mg Klonopin 2x/day and worked up to 100 mg Seroquel at night) I didn’t start sleeping until I was put on a combination of Seroquel and Klonopin. BUT, I remember this creeping feeling of “buzziness” and restlessness when I woke up everyday. That feeling would continue to get worse over the coming weeks and stay with me to the present. Nov 15 – Early Dec 2018 (0.5mg Klonopin 2x/day → 0.25mg Klonopin 2x/day; 100mg Seroquel at night; some supplements – don’t remember) I left the hospital taking 100mg Seroquel at night and 0.5 mg klonopin 2x/day. I officially went on medical leave from grad school. I stuck with this doseage for 2ish weeks, was sleeping well but feeling horribly depressed and anxious, then started to quickly taper the Klonopin. I don’t remember how quickly – but I wasn’t taking anymore than 0.5mg/day by early December. I then tapered on the Seroquel after feeling SO much worse when an IOP psydoc tried bumping the dose to 125mg; I remember not being able to sit still – going outside to pace. No tremor – just pacing, fidgeting, and losing a lot of weight. Early December 2018 – Early Jan 2019 (1mg Ativan at night, 2.5mg Zyprexa at night, 25-100mg Lamictal; postnatal vitamin, 800 mg folic acid, 1,000-2,000 mg vitamin D, ? fish oil, started taking some B complex, I might have tried some hormone-balancing herbs – I don’t remember exactly, probiotics?) I made the decision to move back home to do a program specialized in PPD (we ended by moving back entirely later that winter). In the program, I was put on 0.5-1mg Ativan at night, 2.5 mg Zyprexa at night (for sleep – though it never helped), and titrated up to 100mg Lamictal (the psydoc suspected a bipolar spectrum diagnosis). I was still incredibly restless, unable to sit down and just enjoy a movie. And my sleep was growing worse and worse. It was awful – then my mood grew worse and worse as we went up on the Lamictal; I also had increasingly bad tinnitus and TMJ. I was hospitalized as my thinking became suicidal – just ideations, but I was ready to go back in… Early to Mid-Jan 2019 (0.5mg Klonopin 2x/day, 5mg Paxil/day, 50mg Benadryl at night; 0.25-1mg Risperidone 1-2x/day; some supplements?; THEN back to 150mg Seroquel) In the hospital, I was taken off the Lamictal and put on 5mg Paxil once/day, 0.5 mg Klonopin 2x/day, Benadryl 50mg at night (for sleep), and Risperidone 0.25mg once or twice a day (I don’t remember). I became increasingly orthostatic (low BP, high HR). I stabilized mood-wise – sorta – and left the hospital feeling off, but better… Within days, though, we tried increasing the Risperidone, and my HR went up to 140 (I think we tried 1 mg). I wasn’t sleeping AT ALL. I was taken off the Risperidone, stayed on 5mg Paxil once/day, 0.5 mg Klonopin 2x/day, Benadryl 50mg at night (for sleep). Eventually, as my sleep diminished, the PPD IOP doc put me back on Seroquel (I has actually asked to go back on) – but suggested as much as 150mg. After that, my mood really shifted and became erratic; I was really upset and angry at my husband and suicidal ideation returned. So it was suggested I go back in the hospital... Late Jan to Mid-Feb 2019: 3-week hospital stay (see below for crazy med changes) All the docs agreed I didn’t need to be in there this long (everyone kept asking why I was still there), but there I was so they could keep throwing stuff at me to see if something stuck. I was holding out hope SOMETHING would work this time...: First week: 0.5 mg Klonopin 2x/day, 100 mg Seroquel at night, 300mg XR lithium 2x/day (HORRIBLE stomach reaction, especially when the doc abruptly pulled the Seroquel) Second week: 0.5 mg Klonopin 2x/day, 50mg Seroquel at night, some amount of Depakote (I don’t remember – wasn’t improving, irritable), tried PRNs of 12.5mg Seroquel and became really depressed Third week: 1 mg Klonopin 2x/day, 50mg Seroquel at night, 1200mg gabapentin (taken as 300mg twice during the day, and 600mg at night). That’s how I left the hospital. Mid-Feb to Early-March 2019: (0.75mg Klonopin 2x/day, 50mg Seroquel at night, 300mg Gabapentin 2x daytime and 600mg at night, brief re-trial of lithium – 150mg; multivitamin, 1,000-2,000 mg vitamin D, ? fish oil, 1200mg evening primrose oil, probiotics?) Instantly went down to 0.75mg Klonopin 2x/day (fear of dependence). New trauma-based IOP. Was very constipated. Tried low-dose lithium (150mg) as lithium seemed to be the only med to be helping to-date (along with benzos); was improving somewhat mood-wise, but the stomach issues were SO bad, so we went off. After going off lithium, my restlessness SKYROCKETED, and was particularly bad for 10 days. My stomach was AWFUL; I was taking antacids all the time; seemed to be worse after taking gabapentin, so the new IOP doc cut THAT dosage in half. Developed a tremor. The new IOP psydoc diagnosed me with akathisia – FINALLY. I had NEVER heard of that before (although, in retrospect, I think it has been mentioned to me in the hospital as a possible side-effect of the antipsychotics – but I remember them saying “you can get this, but I don’t see that in you, so…” and so I ignored it (dumb)). When I read about it, I felt so frustrated; this had, no doubt, been plaguing me since at least the one-time Zoloft attempt in July - and in particular since the first Seroquel doseage in November. Doc suggested I reduce my Seroquel from 50 to 25mg; I couldn’t do that for a couple of weeks. Early to Mid-March (→0.25mg Klonopin during day and 0.5-0.75mg/night, 25mg Seroquel at night, 200mg Gabapentin 2x daytime and 300mg at night, brief re-trial of Depakote – don’t remember dosage; multivitamin, 1,000-2,000 mg vitamin D, ? fish oil, 1200mg evening primrose oil, probiotics) Continue reducing my Klonopin down to 0.25mg during the day and 0.5mg at night. We tried XR Depakote as a Hail Mary in the med department. It seemed to help a bit, but also increased some of the restlessness. At this point – and this should have come sooner for me – I was done – just DONE– with med changes. My body needed a break. I haven’t added or taken away and particular meds since (with one exception - the propranolol, see below) – though I have reduced the dosages… Early April (0.25mg Klonopin during day and 0.5-0.75mg/night, 25mg Seroquel at night, 200mg Gabapentin 2x daytime and 300mg at night, up to 70mg propranolol throughout the day; multivitamin, 1,000-2,000 mg vitamin D, ? fish oil, 1200mg evening primrose oil, probiotics) Was diagnosed with thyroiditis (my thyroid had been normal as recently as January) – a relatively common thing postpartum, but it was ‘late’ to arrive to be postpartum thyroiditis, so doctors suspected the lithium. B/c I was hyperthyroid first (usually follows a pattern of a few months in 'hyper'/overactive mode, followed by anywhere from 3 to 18 (or more) months underactive. I was put on propranolol (taking as much as 70mg throughout the day). That seemed to help the tremor, heart palpitations, and restlessness maybe 50-75% of the time. But it crashed my BP. Early-April to Present (see below) We’ve moved into a new, stable house (both good and really stressful). As of early June, I am off the Seroquel. I tapered from 25 to 0mg by reducing by about 6.25mg every two weeks or so. I tried re-starting it to do an every-other-day ending taper, and felt instantly WORSE, so I am done. But it was probably too quick a taper. I NEVER want to take another antipsychotic again, though; I can point to the beginning of the worst parts of this whole cluster to starting Seroquel, and the akathisia that ensues and continues. I reduced the daytime Klonopin to 0 (though I’ve had to take a 0.0625mg to 0.125mg PRN three times in June as things have grown worse). I still take 0.5mg Klonopin at night. In June, I also went off the propranolol – too quickly – and have been having heart palpitations, and have been orthostatic. My BP was just getting to be so, so low. Now, taking any amount of it seems to make me more agitated/restless or, at best, woozy. In June, I also got ambitious and reduced the gabapentin from taking 400 mg during the day (200mg 2x/day) to 0 at the end of June, mostly b/c I thought it was making me feel worse; I’m not sure on this STILL (or if it ever did much of anything). I still take 300mg at night with 0.5 mg Klonopin. May was my best month - not great (I was still constantly restless, struggled with my appetite, and was really disoriented and depressed), but it felt more manageable. I should have done a slower taper on all things when I felt more stable, then – but here I am. June started out okay but, after going off the Seroquel and trying a glass of wine again (out with a friend), it’s been awful; the akathisia is back in full swing. NOW I seem to have reached this point where my body won’t tolerate much of anything again – as if it’s saying “if you’re done with one, then you’re going to be done with them ALL.” I’ve also noticed that the first half of my menstrual cycle is FAR AND AWAY WORSE than the latter half – and am trying to explore ways to (as naturally as possible) balance my hormones. I tried bioidentical progesterone cream that an integrative MD Rxed and it helped somewhat, but caused cramping and spotting and an upset stomach – no go. Currently Taking 0 – 200mg gabapentin during the day; 300mg gabapentin at night 0.5mg Klonopin at night 5mg melatonin (+10mg B6 – combo pill) at night Fish oil (1400mg EPA + 480 DHA) in morning and afternoon 1500mg primrose oil morning and afternoon 200-400mg magnesium glycinate at night, and magnesium oxide throughout day 2000mg vitamin D afternoon Cal+Mag+Potassium supplement afternoon 2 kinds of probiotics morning Multivitamin morning What Makes Things Worse Alcohol; I haven’t been able to tolerate this since sometime early spring – makes me SUPER anxious. Any antihistamine; it used to help me sleep but something in the last 2-4 months has changed my brain so I now feel WORSE the next morning. Some vitamins (I say that b/c I sometimes feel more buzzy after taking a multivitamin; on the other hand, sometimes I feel better) Caffeine (not that I’ve tested this too much; the most I ever drink is a cup of green tea, and I haven’t been able to do that in weeks) Antacids (found that out the hard way) What Helps Epsom salt baths Sweating Crying (when I am able to) Walking (especially in sunshine) Melatonin (at night – for sleep) Klonopin (but I am trying not to go over 0.5mg/day – mostly at night; and want to taper off) Massage Stretching Kombucha (not too much, though b/c caffeine) Apple cider vinegar + lemon water (ahead of meals and when I have an upset stomach – at east once/day) Eating enough (really tough to do right now) Not Sure if it Helps (tried/trying it) Acupuncture (doing this for a few months now) Therapy – CBT, talk Gabapentin (want to taper off anyway) Primrose oil Multivitamin Fish oil Magnesium Calcium CBD oil What I Need Help With I’m here b/c I need to feel like I’m not crazy when the psydoc says this isn’t still akathisia. I KNOW it is – I KNOW it’s protracted withdrawal and the effect of such a brain-altering year. I know this b/c, even in my most anxious moments pre-postpartum medications, I never felt this protracted insatiable restlessness and dread. I was a champ at sleeping (though a night owl). And my appetite was always solid (too much so, at times). This is DIFFERENT. I also want to get off the gabapentin and the Klonopin – but do so in a smart way. I’m not sure the gabapentin is a net evil right now and shouldn’t be taken off altogether? And is the gabapentin the best thing to drop first? And I need help managing the akathisia. I've read some tips here, and will explore those. Any help on the hormone piece would be invaluable. There is something there. I feel the effects of akathisia/withdrawal/autonomic disregulation far more at the start of my cycle. And this whole postpartum period has been inherently hormonally disregulating (compounded by meds like Depakote, which altered my cycle). Anyone else? Anything help? I plan to keep a more focused journal as this site recommends and track my symptoms alongside food, supplement, and med changes. Of course, what sucks THE MOST is the lost time and what's been taken - from the joy of being a new mother, to what was supposed to be a fulfilling career move in pursuing my PhD (I might have to give up my place now b/c I'm so disabled), to feeling defective for not responding to the 'right treatments.' The worst year of your life should not also be the first year of motherhood. To those of you that read this monster of a post – or event 10% - THANK YOU.
  3. Fair warning: my journey revolves around PMDD (my menstruation cycle). If this is not your cup of tea, turn back now. Hi! I'm so happy to be here! Here's the short version of my story... I was misdiagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder when in fact I had PMDD. At first, the symptoms were bearable, but after my last child, everything changed. Suddenly, I was not able to make myself or my children food, not showering, not able to pick my kids up from school. Not only that but my self-esteem was shot and anxiety soaring, and I had about one week a month where I could gather myself back up and try to heal before everything started all over again. This went on for over three years. I was completely broken. During all of this, my Psych started throwing meds at me to see what would stick. Unfortunately, nothing would work, and I ended up on 6 meds for depression and anxiety. Finally, I had had enough and approached my Psych and my Gyn about a full hysterectomy and BSO (ovary removal) to stop the fluctuation in my hormones. By this time I had tried all methods of care ranging from DBT to exercise, birth control to relaxation techniques, and so much more. Anyway, I had the surgery, and I felt (and feel) amazing. Like I had been missing out on living. Unfortunately, I was still stuck on all six meds. And so began the titration. I began titrating risperidone at the beginning of 2015. It is important to me to get off this med because I believe it to be the most dangerous. I started at 1 mg, and currently, I am at 0.18 mg. I am taking a break on my titration but intend to jump after my summer vacation and be done with this demon of a drug once and for all. Here is a list of my other meds: Morning: Zoloft 200 mg Wellbutrin XL 300 mg Lorazepam 0.5 mg and 0.375 mg ( also take around 3 pm) Night: Clonazepam 1 mg Trazadone 50 mg Risperidone 0.18 mg (liquid) StuckOnMeds
  4. Topic title: Welbutrin use for 10 years have done with tapering but awful things happening almost 2 months still My daughter has been in and out of er spent a week in the mental ward. Since getting off these meds we are at a dead end she is a awful mess. She was put on buspar 2 weeks ago to help cope , any insight any help would be so welcome at this point.
  5. Moderator's note: link to Musk's members-only benzo thread - Musk: how to taper 5 mg diazepam every two days Hello, this is my first post. So grateful to find this forum. I am in Spain, not able to comunicate properly in english, I use googletraslator. My history: since spring 2015, postnatal depression with anxiety and somatization due to extreme fear of diseases, especially autoimmune diseases. Sertraline 100 mg & diazepam 5 mg from June 2016 to August 2017. Right after appendicitis with surgery (28 august 2017) and chronic hip and lumbar pain since 4 months. In consultation of rheumatology I discover that I have a hlab27 gene related to ankylosing spondylitis, which conditions me mentally more and more. But pain has not an inflammatory pattern and there is no sign of inflammation in blood. Now progressively more and more depressed with new symptom really the most disabling: severe insomnia. Medical proposal: return to sertraline. Big temptation, but I refuse. I continue with diazepam 5 mg (ocasionaly). Is this a possible case of withdrawal sindrome? Opinions welcome. In psycotherapy, I had some little epyphany (childhood trauma, obsesive negative thoughts...) Many many thanks.
  6. I hope this post is not too long, but I have been through the pharmaceutical wringer and I'm not being heard, believed or helped by my doctors: 2 years ago around May 2016, I had my first panic attack. ER doc rx'd Ativan .5mg 3x a day. Never said a word about dependence. After 3 weeks the script ran out and so I just stopped, and of course, all hell broke loose. Went to my PCP who dx'd me with anxiety and rx'd xanax and Effexor. After 1 night of throwing up, I stopped the Effexor. What I didn't know at the time was that the dose of xanax he prescribed was HALF the equivalent of the ativan I had been taking. He obviously knew nothing about dosage equivalencies. I could not understand why I was so very sick. I found a Pdoc who I thought was very understanding and said she could help me. She switched me to Klonopin and rx'd 25mg Zoloft, and upped the dosage to 50 mg after two weeks. After stabilizing on a whopping 3mg Klonopin, I started to cut, taking 50 mg Zoloft all the while. All during this time I was very weak and shaky, which I attributed to the benzo, but now I'm not so sure. I finished my benzo taper in Nov of last year, and really suffered very little, if any, acute, but still felt a little shaky. I then decided to come off the zoloft, as the Pdoc stated it was "very gentle" and I could just quit. Being gun shy after the benzo fiasco, I did do a short taper and came off with no issues in January of this year. Shortly after that, my leg shakiness and hand tremor went away, but I still did not connect them to Zoloft, because all the emphasis was on benzo withdrawal and how "gentle" zoloft was. In May of this year, it was clear that my mother, who had been very, very sick for very, very long, was dying. By this time, I had a new PCP and no Pdoc. Since I was extremely stressed and grieving, my PCP suggested I go back on zoloft, and I didn't see why not, so I restarted 50 mg. Immediately, I had weakness and tremor again. In August 2018, two months after my Mom died, I decided to come off the Zoloft. Still believing it was a benign drug, I once again did a fast taper of about 3 weeks. I felt fantastic off of it - no more weakness or tremor, TONS more energy - until 31 days later when it all came back full force. The trembling, weakness, and anxiety just all of a sudden came back. Finally, the penny dropped for me, and I found this site and realized it was withdrawal. I went back to my old Pdoc who laughed in my face and said withdrawal is impossible after 1 month. She told me to face the fact that I needed to be medicated and gave me the smallest dose of Lexapro. I took it for a week, but was feeling progressively worse, and I knew I didn't want her to treat me anymore. I went to my PCP and told her the whole story. She does believe me and is trying to help, but I think she's out of ideas. She did give me a DNA test for drug sensitivities, which shows me to be a slow metabolizer of most SSRIs and SNRIs, and an "intermediate" metabolizer of one SSRI, Prozac. For lack of a better answer, she put me back on 25 mg of Zoloft to attempt stabilization, but its been 3 weeks and I just keep getting worse. I now have insomnia, very high chemical anxiety, muscle twitches, no appetite, cold feet, temp changes, diarrhea and morning cortisol spikes along with the weakness and tremor. I am effectively bedridden. As of today, I have upped my dose to 37.5, but knowing that I retain high concentrations of zoloft for longer than normal, I worry about serotonin syndrome. My PCP wants to switch me to Buspirone, since my DNA test indicates I would tolerate that well, but she wants me to find a Pdoc to help with the switch, so here we go again!! I just want to stablize on something so that I can function, and then down the road a couple or few months, start the long taper that should be done. Does anyone have any suggestions for me? I'm really struggling. Thanks for reading this long post.
  7. 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.
  8. Hi everyone, beware! My story is very long, I’m mostly just sharing my experience in hopes that anyone else this has happened to knows they’re not alone or crazy despite what they’re doctor says and it’s reassuring to know people have experienced this and recovered. i am new to this site so i am still getting the hang of how things work! i am a 21 year old female, a mother of two beautiful babies and married to a very amazing supportive and kind husband. Approximately two and a half weeks ago both of my children (2 yrs old and 10 months old) came down with croup, a common illness in children that causes inflammation and restricts the airways sometimes making it difficult for them to breathe. So naturally, like any mother, i became very anxious and when my son was struggling to catch a breath i began having a panic attack. i have had panic attacks in the past (maybe once a year if that?) and they never lasted longer than a few minutes at a time. Well in the middle of this panic attack i remembered that my OB had prescribed me 50 mg Zoloft after id had my daughter just Incase i were to have post partum depression because I’d had it after having my son. (It had been a very dark two months of crying spells and feeling hopeless. I’d taken Prozac for the PPD and found it odd but also great that only a few doses brought me right out of the ppd so quickly when they said it’d take a few weeks to even work, so i never took any again after that week and was fine ever since!) Typically i only take medication as a last resort, even Tylenol. i will not take it unless i absolutely need it, but in the middle of this panic attack i told myself i could take it for a few days to help me the way the Prozac did. 😑 So i took it, determined it would help me. I had just finished a z pack the day before that (I’d been sick with my children) and i now know that z pack and Zoloft have a moderate reaction together. Anyways, i awoke the next morning with my heart racing and i sweating and i could not sit still to save my life. Just pacing around the entire house standing up and then sitting back down but no matter what i did nothing could calm me down or relax me. I felt like i had just smoked a ton of crack or something! My mind was racing and there was this burning sensation beginning in my chest and just spreading and shooting through my extremities. It was constant but would intensify in waves, the panic attacks were constant too, I’ve seen alot of people who say they thought they were having a heart attack while feeling this way but i knew this wasn’t that, i knew immediately that this was from the Zoloft. But i was sure this was it, i had destroyed my brain, i was on the verge of losing it completely. But at this point I️ got horrible pains in my stomach and (TMI) i began having diarrhea followed by complete loss of appetite. My mom had come over and ended up taking me and my two kids to work with her because i was terrified to stay home alone with the kids while my husband was at work. This continued for the next three days. I became a zombie just completely consumed by my own thoughts, like there was a war going on in my own head. I couldn’t understand what was happening to me, the ONLY emotions i had were dread, fear and hopelessness. I broke down when my son was looking for my approval when he did something funny and i couldn’t even force a smile. I couldn’t feel a single bit of happiness, excitement or anything towards other people even my freaking children. My mom took me to my doctor, my HR was 162 and i don’t remember my blood pressure but it was higher than normal but not dangerous and i explained everything going on and watched as he wrote down that i had general anxiety disorder and panic disorder (which is not true at all) and told me that one dose could not effect me. I began crying and told him that this WAS NOT ME. Ive never been so unstable and i told him three days ago i was completely functional and perfectly fine!!!!!! Of course I’ve struggled in the past with some depression and anxiety when things happened like a family member dying or after having a babyAfter explaining this he said maybe i am a low cyp2 producer or something like that and wrote me a prescription for Xanax to stop the panic attacks and to come back in one month. And we could look into other SSRIs 😂 yeah SURE. I didn’t even need them in the first place!! i left feeling a little better about having something that should calm me down but freaked out again when the Xanax did nothing. My heart was STILL racing, my mind wasn’t slowing down, the burning was still there in my chest but physically my body felt heavier and slower. I ended up going to the ER the next day when nothing changed where the doctor denied blood work at first and asked if I’d like to see a psychiatrist. I was mostly calm while explaining everything to her but I could just see in her face she didn’t believe a word i was saying. She told me Zoloft couldn’t do something like this and that it was just me. She was, and i quote, “98%, actually 99% sure that this is not the medication doing this.” Then proceeded to tell me maybe i am just now beginning to exhibit symptoms of panic disorder because some people don’t exhibit any symptoms until they’re in their twenties and then used PSYCHIZOPHRENIA as a freaking example 😡 and then that’s what began the intrusive thoughts. I left the hospital feeling more hopeless (aside from the random nurse who came and told me that Jesus loves me on my way out, that was encouraging) than before. I started convincing myself i was just losing my mind and it terrified me, what if i snap and hurt my kids? What if i black out and try to kill myself? What if i hurt my husband? Y’all, my family is everything to me and these thoughts were KILLING ME. The worst things i could think of just kept running through my mind over and over. Just as i was about to have my mom take me to a facility where i could be monitored or get some help or anything because i was so afraid i would just lose my mind, i got my first window. It was the first bit of hope i had felt since it all happened! And then i knew, what is happening, is not me. I finally had the ability to get out of my damn head for a little bit and i began googling and googling every single thing i was experiencing. By discovering that this exact same thing has happened to so many other people gave me great comfort, not that anyone else having to go through this is comforting but that IM NOT ALONE AND I AM NOT GOING CRAZY!!! So currently it has been 2 weeks and 4 days. The only remaining side effects are loss of appetite and waves of anxiety which trigger intrusive thoughts followed by depression. I still get some windows and distractions help a lot. But mornings are extremely hard, i wake up anxious and depressed and it takes a while to calm myself down, reading a lot of other people’s stories helps me to relax some. Driving around helps a lot too and sun light makes me feel much better. I’m hoping since it was only a single dose that i will fully be back to my regular self soon since thanksgiving and Christmas are just around the corner and I’d love to have my appetite back so i can enjoy the food!! I guess the only plus side I’ve found to all of this is i will have a much greater appreciation for life after overcoming this and i lost 12 pounds lol i just really hope to enjoy my baby girls first Christmas with her too. Three weeks ago i loved mornings, waking up before the kids and having my coffee and enjoying tv waiting for them to get up and come play. Now i dread mornings and have constant mom guilt because i feel as though i have been failing them. I think the hardest thing has been the intrusive thoughts, it absolutely terrifies me when i have them. It just blows my mind how carelessly they prescribe this medication to people. I feel so stupid for not feeling the need to research or check what I’m actually taking and what it can do to me. I just always trusted that doctors wouldn’t prescribe anything to you that could hurt you, i know there are a lot of good doctors out there but i feel like they should be more careful with this stuff. I mean both the doctors i saw gave me a list of benzos to choose from and i just looked at them like they were crazy both times. Im not touching any of that crap again. I’ve even looked into anti biotics and those are even dangerous too!!!!
  9. I have been on Zoloft for over 40 years. I have been on Vicodin and Xanax for almost that long but have recently rapidly discontinued these two drugs over the course of 2 months. After one month of severe W/D sxs, I crossed over to Valium 30mgs. After stabilizing for a month, I began slowly tapering the Valium from 15mg, which is going well. I feel that the Zoloft has completely stopped working for me a long time ago and that it is now only preventing W/D sxs. I am at the maximum dose and I think that I would feel better at a much lower dose or completely off of it. I read here on SA that it is a good idea to taper off of your AD first and then taper your benzo. I am now considering holding my taper of the Valium and beginning the taper of my Zoloft, keeping the Trazadone for sleep. I realize that this process will take a long time, especially with me being at the maximum dose of Zoloft. I really want to taper off of the Valium at some point due to the possibility of future dementia issues. I am 65 years old and am wondering if it is even worth the trouble to start this process knowing that possibly the next 10 years, or more, of my life could be a living hell. I would like any and all thoughts on my predicament and if you think that I should begin this journey, which should I begin with and how to go about doing it. I know that slow, slow, slow is the key with any taper. Thank you for reading my story, Leon
  10. Hi. I'm new here. Here are the basics of my story. I had been on 150mg of Zoloft for 17 years for dysthymia and generalized anxiety disorder. I decided to taper off, with the blessing of my pdoc. My depression and anxiety returned, and I had to not only increase the Zoloft to 200mg but add 1mg of Abilify (plus Konopin as needed). It's been a year and a half since the episode began and a year since starting Abilify. I'm feeling quite a bit better--I hardly ever take the Klonopin, and my pdoc said I can try doing without the Abilify. I just went 16 days at only 0.5mg of Abilify, but I'm feeling anxious and depressed again and bumped back up to 1mg. I'm so frustrated with the whole situation. I'm working hard to recover: I'm in weekly therapy, I run just about every day (3-6 miles), and I meditate almost daily. I don't want to come off the Zoloft, just the Abilify. Maybe I won't be able to, in which case I need to come to terms with that. Any comments or questions would be greatly appreciated.
  11. Wow! First of all I would like to say how relieved I was to have found this forum. For the years I've been struggling with this I have gotten so tired of other people (including doctors and therapists!) telling me that what I've experienced isn't possible and that I'm either making it all up or still sick. Everything started in my junior year of college. I had struggled with varying levels of depression and anxiety for most of my life, even resorting to SI when I was younger, but had finally hit a point where I thought that I needed some professional help. Looking back, I'm sure that the sudden drop was situational as much as anything. Most of my friends had moved away or graduated, my family was going through some money trouble, and I was working more hours to be able to be more self-sufficient. I started to become more withdrawn and my academics started to drop. I was an A and B student so this was very stressful to me. Thinking I was being proactive and doing the right thing, I went to my school's counseling center who then referred me to the campus clinic. The psychiatric nurse practitioner prescribed Prozac (20mg). About two weeks later I was hit with the worse anxiety I had ever had. I barely left my house unless I had to for class or work, would start shaking at random times, and had near constant chest pain. I tried to wait it out but eventually gave up and went back. She switched me to lexapro(20mg). This seemed to do the trick so I stayed on it though the end of the semester and over the summer. Unfortunately, when I started back up at school I started to struggle again. I'd tried to make positive changes in my life: made some new friends, got in contact with old ones, and started trying to date. Then, as it happens all too often in college, the guy I was seeing got me drunk and took advantage. This led to me having a bit of a breakdown and my friends urged me to go to the hospital. While there they switched me to zoloft(50mg), remeron(15mg), and lorazapam(2mg as needed). This is where things start to get really wonky. At first I thought it was helping but about a month after I got out of the hospital I started having these intense intrusive self-harm thoughts. Violent and strong enough to scare me. I had a medication review and those three were dropped and I was put on WellbutrinXL(150mg). Again things were better for a little while but about a month later started to go south. The intrusive thoughts were back and I had started to feel very unlike myself. Impulsive and disconnected. I later learned that this was probably a kind of dissociation. One night all of the stress and darkness got to me and I impulsively decided to chase the rest of my pills with half a bottle of vodka. It was strange because I wasn't trying to kill myself, the mindset was more: "I wonder what this will do. It can't be worse that what I'm already feeling." It didn't feel real, like it was happening to someone else. That put me back in the hospital where I then dropped out of college and moved back in with my parents. I had to be on a wait list but eventually I started seeing a new psychiatrist who decided to diagnose me with Bipolar based on the impulsiveness and out of character behavior I had while taking Wellbutrin. She called it agitated depression or mixed mania. At the time I believed her. I was scared, desperate, and seriously doubting my sanity, and I felt like I couldn't trust myself. She started out by prescribing me Abilify(15mg) and Effexor (75mg). This was my second nightmare. A few days later I started having akathisia and had similar feelings of impulsiveness and feeling out of control. When I told my doctor she urged me to wait it out which led to me relapsing into SI for the first time in over 6 years to cope. That combination was obviously stopped and I had the most physical withdrawal symptoms that I had so far. I couldn't leave my bed for two days I was so nauseous and dizzy. I feel like I should point out at this point that I was on most of these medications for max of a few months and didn't taper at all. Cold turkey then right on to another. Next on the list was Latuda(40mg - 60mg). My insurance ended up not really covering that one so what I ended up on as my final medication was Lithium. This was a blessing in a way because it didn't really do anything, which turns out, is what I needed. At one point I was up to 1600mg a day to control my "symptoms" which I'm now convinced was almost entirely side effects mixed with withdrawal. That dose completely destroyed my short term memory. After finally stabilizing, I had gone back to school and this was making classwork almost impossible, so after much debating the dosage was stepped down to 800mg. Finally, in the summer of 2017, I took a summer job working at a research station in the forest. After a lot of solo time hiking in nature I had an epiphany. This was the best I had felt in years and that all of my serious problems started after I sought "help." When I got back to see my doctor I told her my plan to stop taking medication. She was extremely judgemental and basically told me I'd be back when I had a relapse and just told me to tapper off with the what I had left (about a weeks worth). I'm very happy to say that she was wrong. All I've done since then is get better. I still struggle with some depression and anxiety but if that is the trade off I will gladly live with that. After a year and a half of being free of psychiatric drugs I'm surprised at the difference. On medication I was dissociating, having panic attacks, paranoia, and suicidal ideation. I felt like a complete basket case. It's terrifying to me how easy it is to get stuck in a downward spiral like that. Not ONE of the doctors or therapists that I'd seen even considered that the medication could be what was causing me to get worse and worse. They just saw worsening "symptoms" that they had to "get ahead of" and I believed it too. Now, even that the worst is over, the experience still haunts me. I feel so guilty about the way that I behaved and I have no idea how much was my fault versus the medication. I know that it was a factor but I remember making the decisions to hurt myself and destroy my life and I'm not really sure how to live with that. I have nightmares where I'm back in the worst of it feeling like I'm slowly losing my mind and I have permanent scars from the SI. I saw a new primary care doctor recently and the first thing she tried to do was get me back on mood stabilizers after seeing "bipolar" on my chart. I don't know how to get that removed or if I even can. The only people who believe me are my friends and family who saw me go from a somewhat stressed young adult to nonfunctional almost overnight. I know that this hasn't ruined my life... but it certainly feels like it sometimes. I'm sorry that anyone else had to go through this hell but I'm so, so glad that I'm not alone in this. Even now I'm not sure that I'm completely recovered. I guess time will tell.
  12. 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
  13. I'm really struggling with severe anxiety, derealization and depression. I have been having windows and waves (both follow a pattern of 2-7 days each). Currently on 75mg Zoloft and thought I was actually improving and felt ready to reduce again after 4 weeks. Then I get a day like this and it knocks me for six. I have this horrible feeling that this is the real me but I can't remember how bad I was since I've been on SSRI'S since I was 16. I'm 25 now. Please advise, I'm getting desparate feeling like I may need to be on these meds for the rest of my life.
  14. 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!
  15. Prestorb

    ☼ Prestorb

    Hello, I am encouraged to find this site as I feel like I am on an island alone in this effort to withdraw from SSRIs. I'm sure my husband is sympathetic, but he doesn't understand and he is probably just really tired of dealing with it. So I basically don't talk to anyone other than my therapist about it. It sucks, and yet I know the SSRIs need to go. I asked for a change in SSRI about six weeks ago, so my Pdoc recommended I taper off the 40 mg of Paxil at 10 mg per week, while starting Zoloft at 25 mg per then up to 50 mg. So now I am off the Paxil (generic) and only on the Zoloft at 25 mg - I didn't tolerate it well at all. I know I am having a lot of WD symptoms, and I am just trying to manage them as best I can, which is okay some days and not good other days. I also have an 11 year old son, although I am not working outside the home right now - which I often feel is part of the problem. But I am afraid to commit to anything until my emotions stabilize. I start crying for no reason and can't stop. Sorry to ramble, I'm not sure what else to write, just hoping to find support here. Thank you.
  16. 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
  17. 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
  18. Scotty

    Scotty

    Drug History 2002 - Started Zoloft 100mg. Gradually reduced to 50mg, intending to come right off. 2009 - Went back up to 100mg - no ill effects. 2011 - Began slowly reducing again. 2017- Down to 25mg. October 2017- Dose increased to 50mg. I started taking Sertraline 100mg in 2002 because I’d developed panic disorder after a stressful mature-age college course. The medication worked immediately and continued to help me - I was well for 7 years with no anxiety. I gradually reduced to 50mg, but in 2009 went back up to 100mg with no ill effects during a life crisis. In 2011 I determined to come off again and began reducing very slowly with no ill effects. By October 2017 I was down to 25mg. I went to my GP to get a counselling referral. I was quite well with no anxiety, but she advised me to go back up to 50mg to mop up any underlying depression I might have. So I did - one of the worst decisions of my life! Within 24 hours I developed horrible symptoms... terrifying anxiety/dysphoria, palpitations, severe insomnia. I was certain they were caused by the increased dose of sertraline but my GP denied that this was possible ‘on such a small dose’. She said I woud soon adjust. So I stupidly continued to take it for 2 more weeks before another doctor in the practice told me to go back to my normal dose immediately. I was expecting that I would then return to ‘normal’ but I did not - instead I continued to suffer bouts of toxic anxiety as well as the other symptoms. I consulted other GPs and a psychiatrist - all reluctant to link my symptoms to the increased meds and instead going with the ‘pure anxiety’ diagnosis. Recently I found a GP who was willing to listen and referred me to a psychiatrist who tested me positive for clonus and hyperreflexia. He said that on the basis of these together with my other symptoms I definitely have non-acute sertraline syndrome. Although it is unusual, he thought it was triggered by the increased dose of medication in my system. He told me to titrate down fortnightly in 5mg increments using a solution. However when I got down to 15mg last week I soon developed withdrawal symptoms including ataxia, burning, nausea. But then yesterday I started to feel much better - almost normal! So this is my dilemma. I’m told that serotonin syndrome disappears soon after the medication is withdrawn. If that’s the right diagnosis then I should follow the 5mg taper and get off as soon as possible. But if this quicker rate gives me severe withdrawal then I should stick to the much slower 10% monthly regime - thereby possibly prolonging the agony. What to do? Can’t go forward, can’t go back! I’m so confused. I’d appreciate any help the forum can give me.
  19. 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?
  20. I got off 75mg zoloft in about 2 months, had horrible withdrawal and went back on 2 months later on escetalopram. Got off escetalopram over the course of 2-3 months ish... wasnt a 10% taper but also wasn't too fast of a taper either. 6 months drug free and I experience anhedonia, and in those 6 months I had ***** up symptoms, unexplainable anxiety constant hyperarousal etc bunch of ****. Should I go back on escetalopram maybe? is it too late for me to reinstate?
  21. Hi all, I have been struggling off and on over the last 14 years with what I thought was anxiety the whole time, but am now realizing it was more likely withdrawal from stopping antidepressants too quickly. The first SSRI I was put on was Paxil. I tapered off after 7 months because I never really liked the idea of being on an antidepressant. I started having anxiety a few months later and was switched to 50 mg of Zoloft. I tried multiple times over the next 13 or so years to stop Zoloft, but the anxiety always returned, so back on I would go. In the fall of 2015 I had a return of anxiety after reducing the Zoloft to 25mg and tried to go back to 50, but it wasn't helping, so ended up going to 150mg before I felt relief. I again tried tapering last summer and got down to 25mg and experienced increased anxiety as well as insomnia. My doctor switched me to Lexapro last October, but it only made me more anxious, so after 10 weeks he switched me to Paxil. I got up to 20mg of Paxil for 3 weeks and wasn't feeling any better, so finally decided I had enough and wanted off the antidepressants. I started tapering at the end of January down to 15mg for 2 weeks, then 10 for 2 weeks, then to 7.5, and after about a week and a half at 7.5 started feeling really anxious again. I found this site and decided to go back up to 10mg of Paxil and stabilized for about 2 weeks and then started tapering 10%. Was doing pretty well for a couple of weeks at 9mg and then started feeling a little anxiety creep in. I talked to my doctor about switching to Prozac to make the tapering hopefully easier, so a week ago this Friday I started taking 4.5 mg each of Paxil and Prozac. I have experienced some ups and downs with anxiety since then, and am having a particularly difficult time right now. Feeling quite anxious and can't sleep. I took .5mg lorazepam tablet and am feeling a bit better, but not sure what to do now. I was going to switch to just 9mg of the Prozac and eliminate the Paxil tomorrow, but not sure if I should continue with the half and half mixture I have been doing or maybe even just go back to the Paxil alone? This just sucks so bad. I know I have probably screwed up my system so much with all of these changes and can only pray the damage is reversible. I was feeling pretty good earlier today, but then started feeling terrible as the evening went on. Haven't felt this bad in a while. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
  22. Hello everyone My name is Eva, 20 years ago I gave my power to someone in lab coat and believed them that I have serotonin deficiency and need to take antidepressants. I was on one at the time on regular doses but don’t remember now. Over the years they would poop out and that’s when I would be changed to a different one always did really well with transition had no side effects either so I kept on taking them. Always was told by doctors that antidepressants are not addictive, never was advice to get off them even for years I did not have any symptoms of depression which was the reason I was put on them. I came to USA from Poland at age 23 in poursuit of American Dream ,was very home sick did not have friends, was working nights at dive bar, and studying in the morning, for two years I slept only 4 h at night and ate very poor diets that’s why I got depressed. In past 10 years I tried to get off twice with doctors help was tapered down too fast as doctors do, and as soon as I was on 0mg I would “relapse” now I know it was withdrawal. Second time it was the same story. For past 4 years I was in the best shape of my life i did yoga and other fitness at least 5 times a week I was very happy mother to my daughter and wife my husband is awesome and I love him dearly. I was in great shape mentally and physically. I kept asking myself this question why am I taking antidepressants I’m not depressed, I want to know who am I without this drug because I started to believe that I never should take them in first place. In February 2018 my cousin gave me medical marijuana ( i only smoke couple times in my life, never was attracted to it) i started to smoke and all the sudden i had that idea that I didn’t need to take antidepressants anymore so I stopped cold turkey in February 2018 from 60mg Cymbalta to nothing. Almost instantly i went into mania state, was euphoric and nothing was bothering me, i slept only couple of hours at night, i could not eat food that i ate my whole life, my tast became very sensitive, I lost appetite and had diarrhea for over month. Nothing was alarming me because I was in mania. That went on for 6 month it was starting to loose its high towards the end. And in the end of August I started to notice that I was crushing my memory was becoming very impaired, my cognitions too and I had anxiety that was scaring me because I had never had anxiety in my life. I was sure I’m relapsing and was very scared because my symptoms were much was then ever before. I started to take 60mg Cymbalta because I still had it in my house, that was August 2018, I called my doctor and she said I was relapsing , gave me Benzodiazapine for my anxiety 0.5 mg. My condition became worse I was not improving but getting worse. I could not sleep I couldn’t not eat, I could not think my cognitions was gone, I started to have sucidle ideation ( never in my life I had them before) I became dead a zombie. I had insomnia and sleeping pills were not helping ( never before in my life I had issues with sleeping) Between September 2018 and February 2019 I was switched to new antidepressant every two months. After Cymbalta it was , Effexor, then Remeron. I was in hell and totally in the hands of people who where making my condition worse but at that moment I didn’t know it I was sure I’m going crazy. In the January 2019 I did ketamine therapy but that made me worse. I was in hospital 5 times between September 2018 and February 2019. After ketamine I went to hospital again and agreed to have ECT at that time I did not care anymore I was devastated from smallest atom in my body I was broken chemically broken. After 4 session of ECT I felt better first time in 7 months I went home and was able to function some what. I got back my cognition to the point where I started to look back at what has happened to me and looking for answers, deep down inside of me I knew that it was not my body making me sick I knew that something was happening to me that was outside of my body control. That’s when I found this site SA which explained everything I was searching for, I was crying I was so relieved but also became so angry at doctors at whole system. I understood that after I started to take Cymbalta in August 2018 my body rejected it and it made me lot worse. After ECT my doctor put me on Zoloft first 25 mg and then up to 100 mg. It was March 2019 end i was saying to my husband I’m so scared i don’t know why because i know I’m safe but I’m scared. After I found S.A. I understood that the only way to heal for me is to be drug fee I understood that what has happened to me was severe withdrawal symptoms from Cymbalta. I realize that I will never trust doctor again I know that I have to heal my body and no doctor will help me to do this. I wean myself of Zoloft and have been drug free for 1 month, I also stopped taking Benzodiazapine I was only on 0,5 mg as needed but was very reluctant on taking them because deep inside I knew that this is not right. And it was not it was very wrong everything that has happened and the way we are being lied to about devastating withdrawal and addictives nature of antidepressants . So now I’m one month drug free. I have anxiety about doing basic things like grocery shopping and cooking it’s extremely difficult, my short term memory is very bad, my cognitions is better then between August 2018 and February 2019 but still not as normal, my appetite is still gone I have to force myself to eat I’m 16 Ib underweight, my sleep is broken but much better then it was before. I have tormenting thoughts like I cannot stop my brain from thinking, it’s usually related to what has happened in past year, I have depression very hopeless like a child very helpless like a child, I’m ashamed of myself for being in this condition even though i know it’s not my fault, I cannot enjoy enjoy anything that I loved in the past, I feel very disconnected from outside world and every human being. My daughter is my main reason I decided to get through it, but I feel so guilty for not being able to take care of her the way I would before withdrawal. My husband is been my biggest support and I’m worried that he will get tired of me being like this it’s must be so hard on him. I am totally different person now , I was highly functional and happy very social with everything organized. Now I’m like a child helpless hopeless afraid of my own shadow. Emotional suffering is beyond anything I have ever experienced, I cry every day for no reason other that the pain inside of me. Physically I only have problem eating and extreme blotting after I do eat. I know I’m very lucky compared to people who went through physical hell too. I’m not myself and I’m so scared that I will never be who I was before. I’m scared I not going to feel happiness and joy. I don’t even remember how it is to be happy. Please help me to get through it I feel so lost most of my friends think I’m crazy because I decided to take charge of my life and not to trust doctors but they don’t understand that trusting doctors are the main reason I’m suffering now. I feel so lonely Please help me to get through this hell Thank you Ps. This website gave me hope and probably saved my life, I do want to thank the man who created it , thank you from all my heart even though I cannot feel my heart Its still there because I’m alive.
  23. I’m new to this website/forum, but I’ve been researching and finding great information about people getting off their psychiatric medication. I’m 46, and I was 20 years old in college when I experienced my first full blown panic attack (official diagnosis, panic disorder without agoraphobia, generalized anxiety disorder, depression). Looking back (after lots of therapy), I can now understand the stress I was under at that time. But the main point is that I was put on zoloft and lorazepam which, combined with lots of “social drinking” seemed to put a lockdown on the panic attacks (though I would still wake up with some varying degrees of anxiety most mornings). I put my head down and just sort of pushed my way through life, graduating from college with honors, holding a job doing community education / organizing / speaking, shifting gears and going back to school, and then starting my own successful business. Jump to about 4 years ago, 2012 and things just seemed to begin falling apart. The successful company I had created was now failing, a relationship I actually felt invested in was failing, and the hangovers from drinking had become really intense. In short, I ran out of steam. I gave up drinking in the spring of 2014, and that summer decided I was going to get off the damn meds. I did it the “right way,” tapering off the benzos first, and then the SSRI. And though the anxiety would increase while tapering and it was tough, by the end of the summer (early September) I was actually med free! Unfortunately, mid-October the panic attacks returned full force. Again, I can see now that this was a particularly stressful period of my life, but of course I was really disappointed when I decided I just had to get back on the meds (the panic attacks were relentless and excruciating). The problem was that the meds no longer seemed to work like they did before. And now I’m on MORE meds (add in remeron and extra 50 mg of zoloft). I have made some changes, doing lots of therapy, ACA support groups (and looking at childhood issues generally), exercising again regularly, EMDR, meditation, etc. And I want OFF the meds! I know I need to do this slowly, and at this point, I cut the remeron from 15 mg to 7.5 (about 1.5 months ago) and I’ve cut the benzo (now clonazepam) from 2 mg to 1.5 per day (just started that 3 days ago). My thought is to cut the benzos first, then the last of the remeron. I know with the relatively long half-life of the clonazepam, I need to take it slowly. I’m thinking .5 mg every 2 weeks. From the information I've come across, it seems like some taper off even more slowly than that? I'm looking for others to share their experiences with their own clonazepam withdrawal schedules (for panic disorder, preferably). I just don’t know what to do about the SSRI (zoloft). I realize this website is about benzo withdrawal, but I’m hoping to find others with experience on panic disorder and SSRI withdrawal too (as well as benzo withdrawal support). I hope this is OK on this forum? I’ve been “working with the anxiety” (trying to “make friends” with it as they say in the meditation circles). I know I’m less scared of it now, but I'm also not experiencing the full blown panic attacks. My concern is that I would get off everything (including the SSRI/zoloft) and then the panic attacks return, and it takes SO LONG for the SSRI to build up in one’s system. Do I just prepare myself to weather that storm? Will that storm really pass eventually without the meds? After years of trying to make my physiology match the lifestyle I felt I should lead, I’m now accepting the idea that I need to make my lifestyle match my physiology. The panic attacks are just so damn awful when they hit relentlessly all day long, day after day. I’m scared. Is there anyone out there that has had any experience with the meds and panic attacks along the lines that I have had? Are there other resources out there I should know about? Is it really possible that I can live a purposeful (and perhaps at least semi-peaceful) life without meds after 25 years of being on them? Much gratitude . . .
  24. Hi! I have read this forum many times and finally I decide to create own account. I understand english well but I'm not good english speaker or writer. So this is my story: I had very bad depression for many years. Finally my condition was so severe in November 2009 that I went to psychiatrist. He put me on Sertraline. Unfornately he didn't told me anything about side effects or risks what SSRI drugs might cause. First time in my life I got panic attacks when my dose was 100 mg. So the psychiatrist sayed that I must douple the dose. After that I felt little maniac sometimes but usually my mood was pretty good. After few months I lowered the dose slowly and finally it was 100 mg for many years. First time I decided stop taking Sertraline in September 2013 because I felt like my emotions had blunted a little. For example I didn't cry when my cat died and that was odd because naturally I am very sensitive guy. I also thought that I couldn't live my whole life with Sertraline. I had lowered the dose slowly and before I quit it was 25 mg. At the begining everything went good but after few months I noticed that I'm not interested in sex anymore. I didn't realized yet that it was caused by SSRI because I got prostate problems at the same time. So unfornately I started to take same pills again in april 2014. My new dose was 50 mg and after few months I changed it slowly to 25 mg. On summer 2014 my prostate problems were gone but my sex drive was still bad. So I started find information from net and finally I thought that maybe the use of Sertraline might have changed my sex drive. So I found information about PSSD. At the same time I met a new girl and I got little of my sex drive back but when I quit Sertraline again in November PSSD kicked in totally. It was very hard to me and I decided to end my new realtionship with that girl. In February 2015 I noticed that my mind was turned very anhedonic. I couldn't feel music anymore same way as before even if I'm guitar player. It's maybe the hardest thing to me. I lost the way to feel pleasure at all. I also lost the feel of hunger for many months but I get it back about six months later. So I wrote this very quickly. I'm going to give you more information about my condition later when I have more time to write.
  25. After 2 weeks on escitalopram and then 4 weeks on sertrilene, I can't say I've ever stabilized. I decreased the sertrilene 10 days ago and symptoms seem overall slightly better. I'm trying to decide whether to stay at my current dose or continue to taper.
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