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  1. Hi everyone I have read a lot on this site. And very happy to introduce myself. Just over 20 years ago I had a panic attack at work. And my doctor recommended 20 mg of paxil. About a decade ago, I started weaning off as per my doctor's guidance and noticed intestinal bleeding increased every time I lowered the dose. Psychologically, it was not hard to taper down but the colitis got so bad I was hospitalized. I had to go back on the full 20 mg of paxil to try to stop the flare-up but the colitis never went into remission. I suspect that fluctuations to the serotonin in the gut could have been connected to this. Anyways I had gone on paxil all over again ever since. Now it's been about ten years and I tried to lower the paxil again. I got down to 10 mg without much trouble. A month ago I reduced it to 7.5 mg and it's been a month of agitation from the moment I wake up till the time I go to sleep. The worst of it was about 2 weeks ago but it's still not fun now. The doctor recommended wellbutrin to ease the withdrawal, which I tried, and I had the most despairing sad nights that I never want to try that protocol again. Had to stop that within 48 hrs. Now I'm just staying the course at 7.5 mg hoping things get better. The next drop won't happen for several months at least to give time to the nervous system to repair and I'll try to follow your protocol of titration of 10%/m at that time. What I'm curious about now is how long will these feelings of agitation and irritability continue? I acknowledge the last dosage drop was 25% and will not do that again. But will this be the case(severe bad moods) every time I do a 10% drop? it's scary to think how bad the next few years of tapering could feel. My work is quite hard, we have a small business facing real stresses due to covid, and barely any staff so the days are long and hard trying to keep it all together. It's not an ideal calming lifestyle but there's not much I can do about that because we need to survive financially. I sleep well, however, am on a good consistent sleep cycle and get regular exercise. I eat well. That being said, life would be so much better if there were not these constant agitation feelings with me through the entire day. The bright side of all this is that it's good training for listening to feelings but not listening too much(over identifying with them) because I know they are amplifying things well beyond reality.
  2. Unsure if I'm posting in the right place but this is somewhat of an introduction. 1.5 years ago I started on 20mg of Prozac for OCD. There was restlessness with starting but it went away. Gradually I tapered down to 10mg of Prozac which I was on for a full year. 2 months ago, I felt the sudden onset of a a very severely agitated feeling. It was very vague but I can pinpoint the exact moment I noticed it -- I was sitting, doing nothing remarkable, and unstressed. I had felt something like this before throughout my treatment but it was very very temporary and felt more like an agitated depression brought on by external circumstances. When this feeling started I could not pinpoint anything else as the cause. Things were good in all parts of my life. I had not messed with the dosage of Prozac at all for a year. Is it still possible that the Prozac is causing this long term agitation/akathisia that I still experience today? A month into the feeling I decided to taper off Prozac completely. I experienced very little withdrawal...just mild headaches and dizziness. The akathisia didn't get worse or better. But it is still quite bad. And the longer it continues the more hopeless I become and probably the more depressed as well because I can't see a life without this agitation anymore. Started on some Klonopin to treat the restlessness and help me sleep. Has anyone else experienced akathisia without a dose change? And also only being on a low dose?
  3. 22 year old male, this is my first post here, but I have been lurking here for awhile and have read many other peoples experiences... History of mild depression, anxiety, cannabis use had a overall great life and had no reason to take ssris Jan 2017 (17 years old)- Prozac 10 mg by family doctor for a single panic attack and some anxiety. This didn’t do much, maybe lifted my mood artificially for a few months May 2018 rapid taper, had no withdrawal besides some anhedonia and felt pretty good through the summer October 2018: reinstated 10 mg Prozac had a cycle of some anxiety which isn’t uncommon for that time of year, could have either been delayed withdrawal or just seasonal December 2018: began taking the legal supplement Kratom (partial opiate agonist, serotonin receptor agonist) for back pain. Soon started taking it every day Jan 2019: upped to 20 mg prozac August 2019: upped to 40 mg prozac Through 2020 I slowly worked up to my maximum dose of Kratom being 25 grams per day (a moderately high dose) September 2020: had a serotonin syndrome like reaction from the double whammy on my serotonin system of Prozac and Kratom. I dropped my dose instantly by 10 grams ( to 15 gpd) this ended the serotonin syndrome like effects but left extreme anxiety and depression. Sept 2020- January 2021: tapered my Kratom dose ton 7 grams per day, had a tough time but it was bearable, I had good and bad days Jan 2021: my doctor suggested I switch to lexapro because the Prozac “wasn’t working” so he put me on 10 mg per day (under half of the equivalent dose of Prozac which I had been taking) and told me no need to cross taper. Feb 2021: Had some mild accutes in the first 2 weeks (anxiety, trouble sleeping) which subsided march 2021: had a mild window, felt better than I had felt in months may 2021: window slowly transformed into extreme fatigue, weakness, horrible internal agitation (not akathesia more like a sick disgusting uncomfortable feeling in my body), insatiable appetite and thirst crushing depression and low self esteem like I’ve never had before etc. At the time I thought it was from either the Kratom taper or lexapro adverse reaction, I now suspect it was delayed withdrawl) the majority of days were absolutely terrible then I would have some days where I randomly felt pretty good, almost manic summer 2021: continued tapering Kratom, had a pretty brutal time with withdrawals sept 2021: had a window all fall (not complete remission of symptoms but I felt better, much much less internal agitation, and had much more goodish days) which I think was a combination of moving to Montana for school and doing a bunch of fun new stuff, and possibly from taking a supplement for gut health which contained grapefruit seed extract which enhances absorption of ssris december 2021: window ends and symptoms went back to almost as bad as they were in the summer, this exactly coincided with both me stopping the grapefruit seed supplement and also going home for Christmas break and going from occupied with fun stuff to being very bored Jan 2022: continued terrible symptoms February 2022: complete my Kratom taper at 0.8 grams per day (from 25), continued terrible symptoms but slightly more clear headed after getting off Kratom March 2022: continued terrible symptoms but had a week long window while I was in a fishing trip in California (possibly triggered by the warm weather and fun stuff) April 2022: continued terrible symptoms, feeling very frustrated, seemingly little progress may 2022: I decide the best course of action is to try to go back on the Prozac because I was on it for the longest and at the highest dose (I thought it could be an adverse reaction from the lexapro, or Prozac specific wd). I also had a fainting incident that was related to that internal agitation feeling I have had since I cut and switched to lexapro. I requested to be put on 20 mg Prozac (about the equivalent to the dose of lexapro I had been taking) my doctor agreed to give me Prozac but refused to give me the 20 mg equivalent dose because he said it didn’t work last time and said I would be fine taking 10 mg. May 2022: within days of switching to 10 mg Prozac my worst symptoms alleviated, I felt more clear headed and less depressed, but much more anxious (this was a welcome change, and an overall improvement) this improvement continued into a window in which I haven’t felt as good since the beginning of this all. I still was/am depressed (but not nearly as bad) and have more anxiety/ocd but overall I don’t feel sick, brain dead, and internally agitated I don’t feel 100% but I feel like I can actually enjoy my life. June 2022: I am greatful for the improvement, but I know if it is too good to be true then it probably is. I am expecting this window to end with a crash of delayed withdrawl a month, two months or three months out. I don’t understand how I could feel better by further dropping my ssri dose unless it was an adverse reaction to lexapro which I find unlikely at this point. I spent much of June worrying about this July 2022: it’s now July and I have been worrying a lot about what to do, either wait it out and see if it was a bad reaction to lexapro and see if delayed withdrawals come. Or see if I should go up to 20 mg Prozac (the equivalent of the dose of lexapro I was taking) and not run the risk of letting my CNS get out of wack. It could totally be in my head because I’m worrying but I feel like symptoms have been starting to come back the last few days. I feel like the odds of this window lasting and not turning into an even worse wave than before I cut aren’t great. The internal agitation/sick/brain dead feeling have been gone since a few days after the drop, my fear is that coming back far worse. I can deal with regular depression and anxiety but this crushing agitation and sick feeling paired with the depression is my greatest fear should I see if I can go up on the Prozac? should I wait? has anyone else had similar experiences? Has anyone else felt better after a drop only for delayed withdrawl to come?
  4. Hello, thought I'd post here as it seems like a fairly supportive place. Here's my story... In 2003 I was put on 20mg of prozac for instrusive thoughts (mainly the fear that I would lose control and attack others). It improved my mood, however, it did cause emotional blunting. Incidentally, it didn't have any effects on either sexual function or cognition, so I was happy taking it. I was able to function fairly well whilst taking it. I then stopped it (cold turkey) for 8 months in 2008. Had no physical withdrawal symptoms, but I did feel really depressed for all the time I was off it - more so than I had been before I started taking psych-meds. I then went back on it and experienced some minimal start up effects - was then largely back to my old self. Could work, enjoy life again, etc. However, around 2010 to 2011, I started to find that things weren't so great. I developed really bad IBS around that time - frequent bowel movements, lots and lots of wind and bloating etc. At the time I just tried to bear it/treat it with things like peppermint oil, probiotics etc - I didn't think it could be related to the prozac (now I suspect it was). I also started to become a bit more anxious around that time. I felt more on edge, felt very fidgety, even had some days where I had the fear of harming myself or others again. As I felt the prozac was quite activating, I felt that it was contributing to me feeling on edge. So in August 2011, I switched from fluoxetine to citalopram. The doctor told me to wait 3 days after stopping prozac, then go for 10mg cit, rising to 20mg after 10 days. I think I lasted around 2 weeks before feeling incredibly agitated with the intrusive thoughts affecting me badly. The doctor told me to stop the citalpram for the time being and gave me a small supply of diazepam to take if things got worse. However, I didn't need to take it, as after a few days of quitting, I felt much calmer. I told the GP that I wanted to remain drug-free for a while. I felt great for a while - no agitation, yet by December, the depression had kicked in again...so I went back to the GP and asked for citalopram again, and that's when the real fun began... I took 10mg of citalopram from December through to late January - probably around 6 weeks maximum. However, I found that I had quite bad agitation around the 5-6 week mark, which was probably just when the drugs were starting to kick in. Aside from that it had minimal affects on sexual functioning, cognition and vigilance So I then stopped taking it. I thought that cold turkeying would be fine given I'd only been on it for 6 weeks. I experienced some mild brain zaps, and then thought that the worst had passed. However, the intrusive thoughts came back with a vengeance around 6 weeks after stopping it. They were really bad this time - I felt unbelievably agitated, felt like I was about to lose control, etc. In desperation I went back to the GP who prescribed clomipramine. I lasted 11 days because of bad IBS, anorgasmia, and nasty blurred vision. I then decided to go back onto 20mg prozac again as it seemed to have worked in the past. However, I experienced nasty agitation as my body was getting used to it - also, this time it gave me really bad sexual dysfunction. I took it around late July 2012, cutting down to 5mg by early November. It worked well for depression, but didn't touch the intrusive thoughts - I still had the 'pure OCD' thoughts of harming myself and others. I also had sexual problems on 5mg, so I quit at 5mg. Didn't have much in the way of physical withdrawal. Lasted around 3 months before the depression kicked in. In addition, even though I was off the drug, it seemed to have messed with my sexual function. It was ok one week, but non-existent the next. Kind of like some kind of PSSD. It was affecting my studies, and although I didn't want to take any more drugs because of my experience with citalopram, I decided it would be the best thing to do. So, in March this year, I tried sertraline 25mg. I was going to give it a good couple of months but had to quit at 4.5 weeks because it literally made me stupid. I was sleeping 10 hours a night, had really blurry vision, so had to stop taking it. I just couldn't study/function like that. Incidentally though, it led to improved sexual functioning for some reason. I knew that the depression/pure OCD thoughts would return unless I was on something else, so I went back on citalopram, this time at 5mg. After a month, all the intrusive thoughts were gone. I felt sedated, could drink coffee again, and it improved my mood too. However, the problem was, was that citalopram had caused visual problems just like the sertraline had. While not as bad, they were still annoying and prevented me from studying as well as I wanted to. Around 6 weeks ago I made the decision to cut 25% - I know this was a big cut, but I figured that since I'd been on it for a few months only, it would have been ok. However, while it improved my vision, around a week ago I felt the intrusive thoughts/anxiety returning again, so have updosed back to 5mg/day. I am therefore in a bit of a dilemma. While ideally I want to get off these drugs, using the 10% taper this time, at the same time, 5mg of citalopram, whilst working well for anxiety and depression, has also meant that I can't function as well as I want to. I'm a postgraduate student and have to use a computer a lot. Also, I'm coming to the end of my course, and will need to find a job soon. I'm not sure how I can support myself for several months that it will take to drop from 5mg to 3.75 or lower, which is when the visual problems become less of an issue. I may even have to go slower than 10% of my previous dose each month. I have a number of questions I'd like to ask you all: 1) Why is it that when taking prozac again last year it caused sexual side effects when previously it had not? (ps - I have had a blood test and everything, inc testosterone, is ok) 2) Is it possible that the 6 week spell of citalopram last year, followed by the cold turkey, changed my brain in some way? I'm saying this because I didn't have the blurred vision on citalopram when I took it for 6 weeks at 10mg, but do now at 5mg. 3) Would a switch to 2.5mg of escitalopram be a possible solution? I really don't want to take any more drugs, but I'm thinking that because escitalopram is so similar to citalopram, it may be ok to switch over (and could possibly have fewer visual side effects). Many thanks for reading. PS: I know that I was put on these meds for a reason, and that reason still remains. However, at the same time, the feelings of tenseness and agitation (which trigger these intrusive thoughts) are considerably worse than they were before taking meds, which leads me to think that the meds have messed up my brain in some way (part of me worries that its permanent). However, I am working on the deep seated issues with counselling and self-CBT.
  5. Having successfully, after many years of extraordinary struggle, come off Klonipin, I mistakenly assumed that tapering venlafaxine/Effexor would be a relatively mild and tolerable experience. Instead, it has been horrific. My psychopharmacologist is a decent person, but is not only resistant to the reality of this withdrawal - he actively presumes that withdrawal symptoms reflect recurrence, which I know to be incorrect. I know what “my” anxiety and depression feel like, and I know what withdrawal feels like. This is withdrawal, and it’s brutal. I have four kids and a husband and I am deeply reluctant to put them through another round of what I went through with Klonipin. I am frightened and desperate. Plan to go back up from the 37.5 I’m down to now and taper from 75 more slowly but need support. I am a clinician and a writer with familiarity with and access to medical journals ans current relevant research - I knew that Effexor had a substantial withdrawal profile, which is why I think I avoided tapering foe so long. But early last May, I woke up with idiopathic, unilateral tinnitus which has never for one moment subsided since then, and I discovered some clinical evidence suggesting a link between SSRI’s and tinnitus. That was the impetus foe finally making the attempt. The first time, I failed. The withdrawal was too overwhelming and I was contending with the COVID crisis here in NYC. This time, I was fine dropping from 112.5 to 75mgs, but after three weeks at 75, I went down to 37.5 and it has been hell. I imagine I need to taper hyperbolically, reducing the doses by smaller increments, by percentage, as I go down, in order to stop these unbearable withdrawal symptoms. But I need support in determining how often to drop by an increment, and how large or small those increments should be. I am grateful for any help you can provide. Thank you.
  6. Hi, My husband suffers from Insomnia since Nov 2013 and has been on/off several antidepressants, benzos and other potent psychic drugs. He had 2 ECTs which only gave him temporarily recovery. We are now slowly tapering off his drugs. Meanwhile, since starting the drugs, he has this morning agitation and yellings which is really agonizing him and everyone around. Days when we added or reduced a drug would aggravate his yellings louder and will last longer, from 7am till late afternoon. He says the yellings stemmed from the tight chest and discomfort He is fully aware of all this but can't control it. Our rooms are dimmed by curtains, and he says he's not bothered by the lights. His docs always dismissed it as "Anxiety" and denied as side effects. More and more drugs are added to sedate his yellings and long naps are their only remedy for him. Since joining this forum recently, I discovered many incidences are similar to ours and regretted for trusting the docs so much! After all, his problem was just Insomnia! As we are tapering off his drugs (without the docs knowledge), his yellings and agitation also became more aggressive. If anyone has any similar experience on dealing with such agitation and yellings, pls do share it here. Thank you so much!
  7. Hello, My name is Cathy and I live in Minnesota. I have a long history of depression, numerous meds, ECT, a study for VNS, a study for genotypes, etc. Typically I would get into more detail but it hurts too much to type. I started Nardil about 7-8 weeks ago and was on a steady 60 mg. dose for at least five weeks. Early on I started developing "carpal tunnel" type symptoms. I had done a short MAO trial in the late 80s and remembered when I was on one, I had almost had carpal tunnel surgery. I went off the MAO for other reasons and the symptoms all went away, prior to surgery fortunately. I later learned that Nardil depletes B6. When my symptoms started this time, I began adding in B6. I was not sleeping well, often up til 4 or 5 am unless I took Trazadone, in which case I would sleep until 4 or 5 pm. About two weeks ago, I started getting more fidgety, restless legs, etc (the insomnia was different from what I typically have--if I can't sleep it is usually because my brain will not shut off. This insomnia was as if my body did not want to go to sleep--tossing, turning, etc. My back and neck started becoming tighter too--I am a typical type A, first born, Taurus, former lawyer--so they are usually tight to begin with. This was worse. With insomnia, restlessness, etc. I stayed up and did a lot of housework, cleaning the basement, cleaning the garage, etc. Somewhere along the way, my shoulders, neck, arms, and hands developed excruciating pain. The hands were typical neuropathy symptoms. I could not drive or type. I used heat, ice, lots of Ibuprofen, Naproxen, Tylenol, and even some old celebrex. I did gentle stretches. I had chiropractic. Nothing helped. I went to urgent care and was given muscle relaxers (one that was safe with an MAO) and a referral to physical therapy. Those did not help either. All in all, I think the symptoms were due to pyridoxine depletion (my nerves were probably more prone to damage--recovered alcoholic who had footdrop--although the college incident makes me wonder if I am just low on B6 to start with), a lack of sleep (thus no healing), and the added movements and tension. I am still experiencing the neck and hand pain. It is a little better now, thus the typing. However, in the last few days, it has been to the point where I can't even move my fingers. I am now going off Nardil. I feel more depressed, angry, irritated, jumpy, fidgety, extremely restless, tired but not sleepy, and in general, bad all over. I am not sure when the use symptoms overlap with the withdrawal symptoms. Typically I do not have much for withdrawal symptoms, but this sucks. I did read the advice--keep it simple and stable and taper slowly. Right now I am about one step away from checking in to the hospital--but it is the weekend and the holiday on Monday. Plus once I get there, I will have wished I stayed home. Just looking for support and understanding. My fiancee (provided our relationship makes it thru this) does not really get depression or meds. He tries, but his understanding of it is limited. Thank you, Cathy
  8. Congress Proposes Research on the Link Between Psychiatric Drugs and Suicide By Chuck Ruby, PhD Featured Blogs March 30, 2016 Congressman David Jolly (FL-13) has recently introduced the Veteran Suicide Prevention Act (H.R. 4640). The bill calls for the VA to study veteran suicides over the past five years and to determine what extent psychiatric drugs are implicated in those suicides. The International Society of Ethical Psychology and Psychiatry (ISEPP) has long been concerned about this issue, and more broadly, how our veterans and military members suffering from the horrors of war and other traumatic experiences are being treated. I sent letters of support to Mr. Jolly’s office, offering ISEPP’s assistance in any way possible. In 2012, ISEPP launched “Operation Speak Up” (OSU) as a response to the alarmingly high suicide rate of veterans. The name signifies our desire to help veterans speak up, rather than being shut up with psychiatric drugs. Although it started as an effort to encourage Congress to consider a non-medical model approach to helping those suffering from trauma, it quickly turned into a grassroots and consumer focused endeavor from the ground up under the leadership of our OSU Director, Mary Vieten, Ph.D., ABPP, U.S. Naval Reserve Commander. Mary has since made great strides in partnering with Melwood, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people with disabilities in the greater Washington DC area. Together with Melwood’s support and funding, Mary has created a program called TOHIDU (a Cherokee word meaning “peace of mind, body, and spirit”) as a wonderful alternative to conventional treatment. You can see more about TOHIDU here. Mr. Jolly’s bill will be the first to establish congressional oversight of this alarming problem of using psychiatric drugs shotgun style to quiet the screams of trauma. Despite the increasing concerns of the deleterious effects of psychiatric drugs, they continue to be the mainstay form of treatment within the VA and Defense Department, as they are on the outside. This has to change.The extant research makes it abundantly clear that psychiatric drugs do not correct chemical imbalances. It would be better said that they cause chemical imbalances. They artificially alter brain chemistry in ways that are not clearly understood, and that numb important emotions that signal meaningful issues in our lives. The brain tries to counteract their effect by making changes in how neurotransmitters are used. The person experiences these changes in very agonizing ways, the most worrisome is called “akathisia,” or a state of agitation, restlessness, and a terrible sense of not feeling welcome in one’s own skin. This can lead to unpredictable irritability and violent behavior, including violence toward oneself. To read more on this, see ISEPP’s White Paper. More here: http://www.madinamerica.com/2016/03/congress-proposes-research-on-the-link-between-psychiatric-drugs-and-suicide/ Also on that page is information about how to contact Congress to express your support for this bill. It would be a great idea to also encourage them to investigate the suicide-drug link in other populations too!
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