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  1. 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 . . .
  2. I need help and didn't know where to turn Today is 16 days off of Ecsotalipram. I was on 10mg of Ecsotalipram for 11 years I started when I was 15 and I am now 26. I started tapering off in December of 2018 and all went well except for the brain shocks. I tapered all the way down to 2.5mg and then stopped 16 days ago. This has been the hardest thing I have ever gone through mentally. The brain zaps have actually gone away now I am left with the nausea and dizziness if I move my head around, depression the literally makes me feel physically ill and weak, I'm experiencing feelings and emotions I remember having as a child and not good ones, the feeling of being trapped in a dream and not present in my body. I thought my anxiety and panic attacks would be through the roof but I'm feeling everything else. Has anyone experienced this and how long will this last? I just need help. I feel like I've lost who I am.
  3. Honza

    Anxiety disorder prior to drugs

    I've been thinking about this a lot: Will my body be able to cope with anxiety symptoms in the long term when I'm off meds? Will it withstand the physical stress from the prolonged periods of anxiety, or is this likely going to lead to stroke or heart attack or some other health problems? What I'm asking is: Are people with anxiety disorder likely to have a normal lifespan if they don't take meds? See, I don't want to put my health at risk, but at the same time I know what ADs did to me and I'll do my best to avoid them. It's a tough one. I'm ready to use techniques like meditation and CBT, and maybe some herbs/supplements if my CNS hypersensitivity normalizes. But is it going to be enough? I guess nobody can really answer this, but I'd like to know your opinion. Thank you!
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