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  1. 2013 - 50mg Zoloft 2016 - increase to 150mg Zoloft 2016 - Lamictal in addition to Zoloft 2018 - Serequel in addition to Zoloft 2019 - 5mg Abilify in addition to Zoloft 2022 - tapered off Zoloft decrease of 25mg per week over 6 weeks and then tapered off Abilify 5mg over 2 weeks. It has been 4 weeks since my last dose of Zoloft and 2 weeks since last dose of Abilify. I had no withdrawal symptoms until 4 days ago. For the last 4 days, I have had severe anxiety that is constant and will not go away. The anxiety has contributed to difficulty sleeping as well. I tapered under the supervision and guidance of my doctor. Is this anxiety a withdrawal symptom? Is this a relapse? Should I reinstate? Reinstate at a low dose? 25mg or 50mg reinstate? Is there any hope for not reinstating? I don't know what to do...I'm so scared...I had no idea coming off the meds was going to be this hard. Please help!
  2. Hi,everyone. My name is Manny.my psiquiatrist wants me to reduce the cymbalta from 60 to 30 mgs. I know it is a 50% reduction.i should decrease only 10%.how do i taper off 10%? And how long it takes? Should i open the capsules and count the number of beads and remove that 10%? How do i ingest the 90% remaining? With water? With juice? Can i do water tritation? I take cymbalta 60,abilify 25,ativan 2.5,risperdal 7.5 mg.
  3. Hi - Been on Abilify 10mg and Artane 2mg for 3 plus years now. My taper of Abilify 10mg started in February this year and took 9,8,7 and 6mg within 6 weeks. Then Took 5mg and 4mg for a month each and took 3mg for 2 weeks before stopping Artane 2mg due to eye related issues. Thats when I got some leg tremors, panicked and switched to Abilify 2mg, which was a mistake. This caused wd symptoms like dry eyes, dry mouth, insomnia, heart palpitations, tremors and anxiety which are slowly subsiding. Now I am on Abilify 2mg for close to 2 months now and waiting to get oral medication to taper at 10% of last dose every month. My question is with the oral meds, one drop equals .05ml. So how do you measure such small amounts as we progress further? Also is a detoxing diet taken occasionally a good idea?
  4. Hi all!. So glad to have found this site. I was on abilify for 6 months but have tried to stop 4 times in the last 3 months and failed. I made a spreadsheet of it and my stopping was between two weeks and 1 week each time. Then I got hit bad, each time. I went from 2 mg. The last time I took 1 mg was 6 weeks ago. After that it was .5 mg or nothing for a number of the days. I couldn't bear to go back on 1 mg. It makes me dizzy and takes away all pleasure in life. I don't feel stabilized. Have panic, anxiety and depression, digestive symptoms. Had to cancel a trip and a medical procedure. Thinking now about making liquids or compounding pills. I don't feel comfortable splitting tiny pills into quarters when I feel this bad. I was thinking about going to .35 and then .15 but after reading some threads here I am not sure. Any wisdom is greatly appreciated.
  5. I had the first manic and psychotic break at 2006, I was 28, mother of a small child. I was admitted to the ER and given a high dose of olanzapine and mood stabilizer, sleeping pills. I don't even remember those first few days, I was locked in a psych ward without any visit from a psychiatrist for 3 weeks. Then I begged to go home (still psychotic but they didn't know) and they let me go home, where I continued the treatment, although I was feeling really unwell, desperate even. With time I got better, then went to a private psychiatrist that put me on quietapine and a mood stabilizer. I took the meds 2 years, struggling to lead a normal life. My brain wasn't functioning well, I felt incapacitated. I managed to find a job but I wasn't happy there to put it mildly and even though I was taking the meds I ended up manic and psychotic again, I divorced my husband, the police went to get me at work to take me to the hospital... This time they didn't commit me and I ended up taking arpiprazol, sleeping pills, and maybe a mood stabilizer. I lost the job, went into depression, but I found the doctor that still is my doctor today. He took me off aripriprazol when he could and I started taking lamotrigine. I never sought a job again because I felt humilliated by the whole situation, I eventually got together with my husband because our separation was all due to my mental health problems at the time. I stayed home with a lot of trauma and low self-esteem for 5 years but with no symptoms. My husband gor me a part time job in his company and that's what I do now. But in 2015 my doctor went to another hospital and I got a new one. I didn't dislike her, I had a crisis that year and after depression. I was put on olanzapine and sleeping pills, and when the olanzapine was over the sleeping pills remained so my brain got addicted to them. She gave me an antidepressant that got me manic and I was miserable, I decided to take matters in my own hands. I quit the antidepressants and the sleeping pills, changed my diet, started exercising (I was fat from the drugs) and lost 15kg while trying to control my mania with olanzapine but I didn't take enough and had another crisis, this was 2017. I was committed and took a huge dose of olanzapine and all the other meds again, the doctor told me that medication was for life and I nodded. As soon as I got out of the hospital sought out my actual psychiatrist that followed me in 2009. I said I wanted the least ammount of meds possible. I started making a very detailed diary of meds and symptoms and slowly got off of everything but olanzapine. He thought I should take preventively 5mg everyday but that dose makes me less human, so I went down to 2.5mg and he was very pleased with how I functioned although I was in a bad depression. In last May the depression finally lifted and I started exercising more and lost 10kg that meanwhile I had got from olanzapine. This winter I'm reducing even more olanzapine, my plan is to wean it off and try another antipsychotic in the spring doesn't mess with my sleep. I'm sleeping badly and having anxiety but I don't want this med anymore, or at least not take it everyday. It's a long story, I started trusting the doctors and doing everything they said but today I'm way more critical. Everyone is surprised when I say the little I take. My seasonality is also something peculiar, I don't get manic or psychotic in autumn of winter so I'm weaning off now. I'll get there eventually, wish me luck.
  6. Been on/off SSRIs and even a couple antipsychotics for several years. Always had some mild anxiety but major issue and reason for prescription(s) was OCD. None of the meds ever had a huge effectiveness for OCD, but within the last year or so discovered Dr. Michael Greenberg's rumination-focused ERP therapy for OCD and have learned to manage OCD using this therapy (highly recommend for others!). Have been on paxil for over a year and recently tried to taper off. Started at 40mg and went down 10mg per month, although when I got to 10mg I only stayed on for a couple weeks before stopping. Had no idea this med was notorious for withdrawals or what a problem this med is, or wouldn't have even started it. Started having very mild anxiety issues when I was sleeping while I was tapering off, but was able to go back to sleep. Kept getting worse while tapering and still while I was completely off. Symptoms peaked around week 6-7 and was having full blown panic attacks at night and eventually just all day, weird pain in the forehead like a sinus headache but from panic/stress. Had bad hand tremors, dizziness, nausea and had to miss work but eventually just went back on paxil. This time 10mg in the am and 10mg at night according to doc's orders. Now on 30mg paxil. Been back on paxil for about two weeks. Noticed immediately it helped although still have heightened anxiety and twinges of pain like a sinus headache. Feels like no one really knows how long withdrawals from paxil last; have heard 2-3 weeks, 4 months, a year, etc. Don't think its relapsing because never had panic attacks and never had problems like this getting off or switching meds. Really need to get off this med, especially because it makes me so tired which is a big reason I wanted to come off now that I have the OCD under control. Hoping to get stable again and then start tapering slowly, possibly with the liquid form so I taper in smaller increments.
  7. Here is my intro thread: ☼-armorall-ct-from-bupropion-and-risperidone Hello everyone! I will relay all the important things that I think serve people in WD (as did me, all I ever did was read the success stories part), then if you want to read more details, there’s a more detailed account following the abridged version, lol. Dosage and Tapering: I’m a 46 year old cis-female. I took 150 mg Bupropion for roughly 4 months alongside 2mg Risperidone for 3 months then switched to 10 mg Abilify for 3 weeks then 20 mg Latuda. So basically I took an SNRI plus an antipsychotic for 4 months. All were cold-turkeyed and no one I touched, not my psychiatrist, his nurse, his resident, my therapist or my GP said anything to warn me about it. I found this site two weeks after I started having symptoms. Trying to figure out how to reinstate drugs was too tricky amongst mod discussions, so we decided that nothing was probably the best solution. Symptoms: I couldn’t sing, write/listen to music, watch TV/music, read, take my son out to parks because I was either too tired/depressed, or the activity would send me into paroxysms of anxiety. At work, I slept through all my prep periods and had to leave early/show up late often because I was so beyond tired, even after sleeping for 8 to 20 hours. I couldn’t eat, I lost 70 pounds in 3 months, I lost 50% of my hair. I had heat dysregulation that would wake me up at night (heat would roll down my body), my skin peels off like a snake. I couldn’t eat sugar or carbs or else it would hyperstimulate me or make me super sluggish. I have tinnitus in my left ear, I still feel tremors at night. If I turn suddenly, either in my sleep or awake, my heart will start to race. Eating food or taking naps will also stimulate intense anxiety. I had to wear sunglasses while using the computer because the light was too bright. I will never be able to take cold medicine, drink coffee or alcohol ever again as it will bring me back to being ridden with symptoms. Hypnic jerks, waking panic attacks, fractured sleep, intense fatigue, floaters in the eyes, sound sensitivity while sleeping, expressive aphasia, inability to exercise for more than 10 minutes because it exacerbates symptoms, I often mix up homophones, and my short term memory suffers. Sore muscles if I do things that are slightly outside of the norm (reaching for a can on a higher shelf, using an unfamiliar computer mouse, twisting my body to tie something that I don’t usually tie, different shoes) will make my muscles sore. Recovery: Month 13 - I turned my first corner. I suddenly stopped having massive anxiety/rage episodes after napping, eating or upon waking in the morning. Month 18 - I then hit another benchmark of improvement. I could workout for 30 minutes without any repercussions. Month 22 - I found myself fully recovered!!! What had happened is that a friend was DJing on the beach and we decided that was a safe enough activity to try. We walked two miles to get there, danced all night, then walked the 2 miles back to car, then I got on the phone with a friend in distress and was up until 4:30am- I got up the following day at 11am and received house guests and never felt any ill effect, no waves, nothing. I realized then that I was fully recovered. At month 22, I could: sleep more or less normally and take naps with no consequence, wake up early in the morning without effect, exercise or dance as much and as long as I wanted to, eat sweets with no effect, listen and enjoy music, movies and other media. I feel like my old vivacious self again. I can work all day, plan parties, and am very active as an activist. I am fully present to my family. My husband and I are now seeing a sexologist (highly recommended) since we had lost our sex life before in withdrawal. It’s fun! At 29 months off now, I still cannot drink coffee, juice and most likely alcohol. I also can’t eat massive amounts of starch (but I will) it makes me beyond tired. It did before WD but it is brutal now, lol. If I’m out doing some activity, I don’t notice it, but if I’m home, I’m asleep from the effects. My short term memory is slightly taxed (you know when you walk into a room and then can’t remember why you’re there? I have more of those), and I have more moments when I’m not talking rapid fire (like at work) and in a more relaxed situation (like laying in bed with my husband) where I have to search for the words I mean to say (ex. So…I was at the store and I uh…trying to remember what words represent my experience at the store). Nothing big and nothing noticeable to others. If I get too hot (while I’m asleep or during the summer sitting in the heat) my heart will start beating faster, but it doesn’t do anything to me emotionally. The biggest tip I can leave here is about “turning the corner”. When I was in withdrawal, I kept scanning and scanning people’s success stories and feeling hopeless. Like, they still list symptoms they still have and it made me feel like no one “really heals”. What I found though, in that month 13 when I turned the corner, is that turning the corner is really the most important event on your healing timeline. Of course you want to heal and feel like your old self again. But, what I learned from that corner turn makes so much of a difference in relief, that once you do it, you know you can handle everything that come after it with ease. I often tell people, don’t worry so much about gauging when you have totally made it to the other side. Just hold on until you turn that corner (which will come way earlier to you than when you completely heal), because I swear, once you do, you know you can handle the rest and you are not suffering so much. That being said, when people post their success stories and they still list some lingering symptoms (like me) know that they probably felt good enough that the bulk of their suffering is over, and that’s why they felt good enough to post. I know it’s true for me, I’m so happy to be able to be happy every single day and have energy to enjoy life and get things done. I do feel resilient and capable, and if I can’t drink coffee anymore at the expense of that, well, no biggie. Only detriment is that when I feel really tired, I have to go to bed, there’s no more pushing through it to keep working with coffee, and I’ll take that exchange over what I don’t have to suffer with anymore. Life is beautiful again, and it will be for you! - ALSO thanks to the crew here at SA, aside from trying an acupuncture/herb regimen at the very beginning of withdrawal (which was completely disastrous), I never ever took anything to try to alleviate the WD state. I think that helped me a ton even though I kept asking in the forums about various things to try and noticing how risky it was. I never ended up taking/doing any of it. Just sleep, fish oil and magnesium. That lack of tinkering with supplements, drugs and weird devices probably got me here quickly and in a solid manner. So, please hold off on those for temporary relief whenever possible, it will help your receptors come back earlier in the long run! - I encourage everyone to start dropping reviews and doing what you can to get the word out about our suffering (like sharing the movie “Medicating Normal” - I have the link you can use so people can watch the 56 minute version for free! https://www.pbs.org/video/medicating-normal-kinbho/) once you are healed or feel up to it. I am available to help you write your reviews if you want. Just contact me here or via FB. Link is in my signature. Here is a breakdown that I had on a calendar of what new symptom was showing up/then later going away month by month. Month 1: Insomnia Month 2: Tinnitus Month 3: sore muscles from slight, but unfamiliar activity Month 4: fatigue/depression Month 5: nervous stomach Month 6: getting worse, turmoil Month 7: just absolutely awful Month 8: muscle twitches at night Month 9: more depression, more muscle twitches Month 10: inner tremor Month 11: expressive aphasia Month 12: dry eyes and mouth, more head pressure Month 13: Doing better! No anxiety anymore after dinner or nap. No new symptoms! Month 14: lots of muscle soreness as I try to increase my time on elliptical to 10 minutes Month 15: I can now listen to music and watch movies Month 16: my menstrual period stopped becoming erratic and is a normal cycle can workout for 16 minutes Month 17: Can eat sweets again! No cortisol from taking a nap. Month 18: Can workout for 30 minutes! Can eat A LOT of sweets and nothing happens to me. Month 19: Workout 40 minutes, sleep well even after exercising late in the day Month 20: Average heart rate lower. Up to 1.5 hours of exercise! Can listen to music and it feel the way I did before withdrawal Month 21: Doing well! Month 22: Breakthrough! Dance and walked 4 miles, stayed up all night, still felt good the next day! Month 23: Done! Functioning and feeling normal and good. When to write success story? Extra special thanks to @Shep, @Altostrata and @Undiagnosed1 for dealing with so many questions and keeping me grounded and unmedicated. Special thanks to the following SA members for their constant positive feedback and support: @Superwoman, @mustafa, @Erell, @Glosmom, @coldturkmama, @Hanna72, @ChessieCat, @manymoretodays, @Sassenach, @DrugfreeProf Here is the long and detailed version of my account if anyone wants to read it, otherwise take care and ask all the questions and requests for support that you want! As you can see from my drug history, I started out taking Bupropion and Risperidone after practically forcing (meaning I didn’t know my rights in the hospital, I thought I *had* to do what the psychiatrist told me, I found out later I was wrong. I was hospitalized on my own decision, so I didn’t have to take anything) me to take it via the hospital psychiatrist. Interestingly enough, her reviews show that polydrugging and overdrugging were definitely her thing. One complaint said that someone’s wife was on 9 medications because of her. Anyways, so after debating with the doctor on how deadly psychiatric drugs were (and my crappy therapist calling my husband to tell him to coax me into it because “it’s the only solution”) I was on both. Two months pass and even though I was spellbound from feeling better when I first took the drug, in retrospect, I was the same or worse. What was making me nuts prior to being hospitalized was probably how crazy I was while breastfeeding. I had learned before that I really don’t do well with hormonal changes- couldn’t take the pill without it driving me crazy, couldn’t take the Mirena IUD- just made me hungry and I bled for 6 straight months while others usually lose their period using Mirena. Anyways, so when I took Bupropion and Risperidone, I guess one of the side effects of the latter is that it ups your prolactin levels (related to lactating). So, even though I quit breastfeeding because I was on psychiatric drugs, I was still as jacked up or worse on them. The wellbutrin was super activating for me, too. I remember taking it and at night my eyes just dried out into raisins and I couldn’t sleep until 3am. So later, once the risperidone built up enough, I started getting suddenly sleeping at 11pm and couldn’t stay awake if I wanted to. My psychiatrist took a blood sample two months after I started and noticed that my prolactin levels were high. The next time I saw him, he said he’s switching me to Abilify, and that I should cut the Risperidone in half, take one the next day, the other half the next, then start a half of Abilify and the other half the next day. Yeah, that’s his idea of switching me out. So, 21 days pass and I’m slowly becoming more restless. I can’t lay in bed long enough to put my son down for sleep. I go get a facial and they cover my eyes with something and I freak out and rip one eye cover open. Simultaneously, I’m becoming more lethargic. I stop caring about hanging out with my adorable toddler son. I’m a teacher so I’m off for the summer, but I keep dropping my son off at daycare instead of spending time with him. The idea of having to make him breakfast seems overwhelming. I call the resident (because I can’t just get a hold of my shrink) and the resident approves me going off it. My shrink puts me on Latuda. I have crazy insomnia, then I go off of it. I continue to have insomnia. Mind you, I’m still taking Bupropion. My therapist says that bupropion is too activating for some of her clients. I go off it immediately in hopes of sleeping. After a week, I could finally sleep on my own, no melatonin or anything. Mind you, my psychiatrist knew, my GP knew, my therapist knew- I had happened to see each and every one of them within a week of quitting. NO ONE told me going off cold turkey was dangerous. No one. A month later, I start the heck that is withdrawal. And I’m so lucky I found Surviving Antidepressants at that time, or else I would have been even more kindled. I did go back to my psychiatrist to confront him about not protecting me (the psychiatrist in the hospital *also* never said anything about cold-turkeying drugs being dangerous). He said that withdrawal only lasts two weeks and when I asked him what he thinks I should do, he said he’d prescribe me Wellbutrin again and Trazadone for my insomnia. I never saw him again. So, that was my “taper plan”! And, I was scared to death. Like many of us, my symptoms changed every month, and for the WD-addled mind, it’s so scary. Looking back, some of the changes were very benign, too, like muscle twitches. You can see it all in my history. Through all this, I read success stories over and over. I also got in touch with Michael Priebe of the Lovely Grind as well as Undiagnosed1 who had posted his story here and offered to be an ear to anyone who is struggling. Both helped me, I paid for coaching from Michael (and Baylissa for a time- yes, I talked to EVERYONE- Stuart Shipko, Ann Blake Tracy, you name it!) I know you are not supposed to cling to other people’s timelines and compare yourself to them, or stick to a designated time on when you’ll think you’d be done, but I did it anyways (and yeah, got yelled at by one of my coaches- I won’t say which one). I tried to tell them, it’s just a goal, like when people say they will lose weight by a certain time- if they don’t hit it, they just make a new goal, but it at least gives me hope. So the strange thing is, my timeline was very close to Michael and Undiagnosed1. I was suffering pretty badly about 3 months in, I wasn’t asked back to my school of employment because I was struggling so much at work, my husband served me divorce papers at 7 months in because he was done with me being a wreck in front of our kid and blaming him for my medication usage. The only thing that really saved me was Covid- the courts weren’t in session so my husband *couldn’t* divorce me. We saw a therapist and she said to take advantage of this time to see if we could heal together. With Covid outside, I was able to rest a lot at home. My husband somehow trusted me to be with our son after all that and my son and I would just lay in bed and watch cartoons together and eat or go out to the forest and explore, it was actually really nice as my body continued to buzz with withdrawal. The insomnia portion had really died down after month 5 and I was really, really tired more than that, but of course deeply depressed/anxious. My husband and I still argued, mostly it would be me waking up anxious after a name, then being frustrated from the toxic nap and us getting into it. At month 11, a new symptom was expressive aphasia (it was hard for me to respond with the right words). I was so freaked out and contacted two different people who had had it on SA. Both said they recovered from it (I eventually did, too). Miraculously, at month 12, something in me settled. Like, eating and sleeping stopped triggering such a harsh response from me. I was still pretty messed up, but the fighting stopped. I stayed on that level and taught from home that year, which was also much more relaxing of course than managing behavior and teaching in person. I stayed at that level, then at month 20, I realized I could listen to music fully and it didn’t make me anxious and I could find it pleasurable in the same way that it did before WD. Month 22 we went out dancing and I realized I was probably mostly recovered. Before, I was only doing like 10 minutes on the elliptical (exercise) machine and that was enough to bring on symptoms. Here, we parked the car almost two miles away, danced all night, walked back. Nothing happened to me, it didn’t throw me into a wave or anything. Then on the way back to our house, my friend calls in turmoil. I get on the phone with her and stay up until 4:30am, yet another thing that would have taken me out in WD. Nothing happened to me. We even had guests the next day at noon and I was fine, didn’t feel wavy or even wiped from the night/early morning before! So, I’m sure I’m leaving out a lot about symptoms. I kept a journal the whole time as well as every month I would list on a sheet as it passed, I would write down any new symptoms each month, then after month 13, started writing improvements at each month. I will leave that list in another post as I’m getting tired now. One thing I did notice, expressive aphasia was probably my worst symptom, and after I experienced that one, a month later is when I finally started to get better instead of worse. I remember Undiagnosed1 had kaleidoscope vision right before he got better. So, I wonder if you do get some crazy symptom right before you start feeling better. The biggest tip I can leave here is about “turning the corner”. When I was in withdrawal, I kept scanning and scanning people’s success stories and feeling hopeless. Like, they still list symptoms they still have and it made me feel like no one “really heals”. What I found though, in that month 13 when I turned the corner, is that turning the corner is really the most important event on your healing timeline. Of course you want to heal and feel like your old self again. But, what I learned from that corner turn makes so much of a difference in relief, that once you do it, you know you can handle everything that come after it with ease. I often tell people, don’t worry so much about gauging when you have totally made it to the other side. Just hold on until you turn that corner (which will come way earlier to you than when you completely heal), because I swear, once you do, you know you can handle the rest and you are not suffering so much. That being said, when people post their success stories and they still list some lingering symptoms (like me) know that they probably felt good enough that the bulk of their suffering is over, and that’s why they felt good enough to post. I know it’s true for me, I’m so happy to be able to be happy every single day and have energy to enjoy life and get things done. I do feel resilient and capable, and if I can’t drink coffee anymore at the expense of that, well, no biggie. Only detriment is that when I feel really tired, I have to go to bed, there’s no more pushing through it to keep working with coffee, and I’ll take that exchange over what I don’t have to suffer with anymore. Life is beautiful again, and it will be for you! So, what are my lingering symptoms? At 29 months off now, I still cannot drink coffee, juice and most likely alcohol. I do try every couple of months to drink coffee, because it was my only religion before, lol. Even decaf messes me up (not terribly, but I really don’t want to feel bad at all). I have found though that I’m much, much more peaceful and less anxious than I ever was before WD, because I was a coffee fiend in that past life. I didn’t ever believe that coffee was making me anxious, but looking back, it was. It wore me out, it made me more irritable. Nothing like withdrawal, but still. I am much more peaceful than I was back then and much less irritable. I also can’t eat massive amounts of starch (but I will) it makes me beyond tired. It did before WD but it is brutal now, lol. My short term memory is slightly taxed (you know when you walk into a room and then can’t remember why you’re there? I have more of those), and I have more moments when I’m not talking rapid fire where I have to search for the words I mean to say (So…I was at the store and I uh…(trying to remember what words represent my experience at the store). Nothing big and nothing noticeable to others. I’m really bursting over with life now, constantly enthusiastic, met all the dreams I had when I was in WD, teaching my kid soccer and music, really being there for him and my husband. Gone back to being an activist and loving it. My husband and I started seeing a sexologist (yeah, I had never heard of one either, she’s a friend of mine who was licensed recently, that’s how I knew about it- I can refer you if you want! She works with a lot of people who are suffering from PSSD), and now we are embarking on improving our sex life. I’m at 29 months out. I would have written my success story around 24 months, but I wanted to wait until I was teaching in-person full time so that I could really celebrate being in the space that was destroying me when I was suffering with withdrawal fatigue. One step or one yell too many and it was like I had lost all life and energy. I wanted to come back to the space and see how much I could finally handle it again, with all the love and energy I have for the profession and my children. But…it looks like with how often schools are closing and opening because of Covid, it may be a while before I can actually go back into the classroom (I am privileged in that I can make that choice), so I thought now, while it’s the beginning of the year, is best. I am absolutely indebted to all the staff here (which reminds me I need to make my yearly donation). Without you, I would be kindled and who knows what else. I’d like to shout out Altostrata, Shep, and so many others that helped me along the way. You are incredible and save and improve so many lives. Please please ask any and all the questions you want. I also included my facebook link in my drug history signature if you need to inbox me and it is full. As those before me, I am here to support you, and remind you that you will heal soon.
  8. Jennifer78

    Jennifer78

    Hello...I'm new to this website and I'm still not sure how this works. I'm looking for some hope I guess that's what you'd call it. I have been on meds for 15 years. Only an SSRI until probably 3 years ago. I was on Celexa 40mg, Abilify 10mg and Wellbutrin XL. I was so over medicated I felt numb and I couldn't function. I didn't know what was wrong with me & then I thought maybe it's to much medicine. I lost my health insurance on 12-01-16 so I couldn't afford all these meds so I stopped taking the Celexa & Abilify on that day. I'm still on Wellbutrin. The reason I stayed on it was I heard it would cause seizures if I cold turkey off it. I did not know I shouldn't of done that with the other 2. It will be 5 months on May 1st that I stopped other 2 meds. The only reason I went on medicine was because I lost my grandmother and I was stressed. My friend suggested I see a Dr so I did. Stupid mistake! I didn't even know Abilify was an antipsychotic until I googled it looking for answers about what was going on with me after stopping meds. I came across discontinue syndrome and then this website. Most psychical symptoms are gone and insomnia has gotten a tiny bit better but the anxiety and I guess it's depression is awful!! I don't have insurance so I can't afford to go back on the meds & go back to not functioning. I'm just wondering if I'm going to make it through this? I'm really worried. God Bless!
  9. Original topic title before reducing the length of it: I cold turkey’d too many things, the worst being Celexa, due to misdiagnosis and emotional blunting. I’m struggling. Let me preface this by saying I have had unstable mental health as far back as I can remember. I was an anxious and depressed child. I used to SH as a teenager and was put on Paxil, but I hated it and quit after a couple months. I did not use medication for any mental health reasons for at least 10 years after that. I have been told I’m bipolar by people close to me, and I think doctors eat that up and once you’re branded bipolar, that’s your identity. But that’s neither here nor there; the main takeaway from that is I was put on several different medications and hated the way I felt on all of them. My first return to psych meds was in the summer of 2015 with a diagnosis of GAD which turned into GAD and bipolar 2. I was put on Celexa 20mg. It was pretty good for a while. I was then put on Lamictal 150mg and took both, but the Lamictal made me feel like a zombie so I didn’t take that long. I kept up with the Celexa. After my gastric bypass surgery, the Celexa didn’t work as well. I was then bumped to 40mg and that’s where I stayed. I was starting to feel severely depressed, emotionally numb, and had anxiety creep back in so I was put on Wellbutrin 300mg and buspar 15mg on top of the Celexa. I took this combo for maybe a year but I was horribly noncompliant for the most part and it never really did much for me. I CT’d the buspar and Wellbutrin. I was to a point (and still am) where laughing felt like a chore. Crying is almost non existent unless it is a major sad event (death). Interest in things and smiling are difficult to come by. The only emotion I felt was rage. I was either apathetic or enraged. That’s when I was given the ultimatum to treat my bipolar disorder, as I was often verbally abusive to my SO and would have meltdowns. Jesus this is embarrassing. I finally gave in and started seeing a psych through telehealth. Big mistake, told them about my previous dx. That was enough to not even evaluate me, and I was started on some antipsychotics in addition to the Celexa. This was the beginning of a long spiral of multiple medications that ended with Latuda that made me so depressed I cried constantly. There was no tapering involved really, maybe just a two week period of dropping while introducing something else. I went through Abilify, Trileptal, Latuda, Abilify again, and Lamictal. My brain felt so fried at this point I said I’m done, and stopped taking everything except my Celexa. After stopping all of these meds I was so far depressed and anhedonic I decided I was done taking everything and needed a brain reset. I ended up taking 10mg Celexa a few weeks and then dropped to nothing after 6.5 years. After reading this forum, I realized this was probably one of my big mistakes. Now not only did I have severe mood disturbances, I felt physically sick. The physical symptoms went away after a few weeks. The last time I took Celexa was at the end of February this year. Now I am dealing with a whole host of other issues. It turns out I’m not bipolar, I have ADHD. Again, not knowing any better that I shouldn’t take anything that alters my brain, I’ve been on stimulants and back to Wellbutrin. NOTHING is helping. The anhedonia and apathy are killing me. I feel no emotion towards anyone. I am not interested in anything. Every moment is painful. ADHD meds are doing nothing for me. I guess I am looking for support. Advice. Anything. Something that tells me my brain damage isn’t permanent. Something that tells me I will feel emotions again, that I won’t think my favorite past times are a waste of time, that I will feel love towards my SO and family again. I felt emotional blunting with Celexa, but nothing like this. I don’t know what to do, and my doctor is useless when it comes to this.
  10. Hey guys, My past medications: these were most recent, from the age of 15 onward: - Pristiq - 100 mg - Abilify - 15 mg - Fluoxetine - 20 mg - L-methyl folate (supplement) - Adderrall XR (in morning) - forget dosage - Adderrall , 2 throughout day - forget dosage When I was 10, I was dealing with a lot of anxiety due to an unstable home life at my Mom’s. I was diagnosed with anxiety and began taking Fluoxetine after an initial meeting with a psychologist followed by a psychiatrist. At age 15, I attempted suicide and was admitted to a teen unit at a local hospital. There, I was placed on many of the medications that would later be incredibly difficult to discontinue. By age 20, I had erectile dysfunction, weighed ≈285 pounds at 6’, couldn’t concentrate on anything, was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, had severely limited vision in both eyes, slept 12 hours per night, had a constant feeling of emptiness, and had an overall feeling of not being present in my life (just kind of floating around). On March 12th, 2020 (yes, at the beginning of the pandemic), I stopped everything Cold Turkey. It probably wasn’t the smartest move, but I’m so glad I did it. I went through about 4 months of what I can only describe as hell. Vomiting, diarrhea, alternating between sleeping for 12 hours and 3 hours per night, and a rollercoaster of emotions I’d never felt before. I’m currently 185 pounds, diabetes free, updated my license yesterday to remove my vision restriction (my vision corrected), have a pretty good running/ weightlifting habit / Nutrition approach going, I just finished 2 years at a local Community College with a 3.2 overall GPA in a transfer program to a B.S. in Chemistry, and life is fantastic. Everything works well, I’m feeling real, genuine emotions for the first time in my life, and I’m thrilled to be alive. The only drawback from this whole discontinuation process is that I now can’t stay in bed for more than 6-7 hours. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, getting the vision restriction from my license removed yesterday prompted me to speak about my story (I guess you could call it a personal milestone). I’m still navigating the whole relationship, being human, and experiencing emotions part of everything but I can say that for once in my life, I’m very happy. Feel free to ask me anything. Thanks everyone, Connor
  11. I had been on some form of anti-depressant and mood stabilizer/anti-psychotic since high school, 2002 or 2003. Initially I was put on Zoloft for depression which caused me to become "manic" which lead me to be put on Lithium, Abilify and Risperdal (not sure doses or when). Starting around 2008 I was put on Cymbalta and Lamotrigine/Lamictal. I got off the Cymbalta & Lamictal cold turkey on my own in 2011 and it resulted in brain-zaps and then a deep deep depression. I reluctantly got back on my meds. Beginning in 2020 (exact date I'm trying to find), my psychiatrist agreed to help me taper off my meds. I was able to get off the Cymbalta it seems fairly easily, which I have been off since the end of the Summer 2020. After getting off that I began tapering off the Lamictal ... I'm trying to find information on how much I lowered initially, etc., and don't have it right now. I do know I got down to 100mg by November 2020 and had to go back up to 150mg over the winter due to debilitating depression. Starting in ~March 2021 I began tapering again (again don't have exact dates/dosages as of now). I have detailed records of my tapering beginning in May 2021 when I began using the 25mg tabs to taper: 5/18/21 (May 18) - 6/13/21 (June 13): I alternated daily between 87.5 mg one day and 100 mg the next day (87.5mg/100mg/87.5/100) 6/14/21 - 6/21/21: 87.5mg each day 6/22/21 - 7/11/21: 75mg/87.5mg/75/87.5 7/12/21 - 7/26/21: 75mg each day 7/27/21 - 8/8/21: 62.5mg/75mg/62.5/75 8/9/21 - 8/30/21: 62.5mg each day 8/31/21 - 9/12/21: 50mg/62.5mg/50/62.5 9/13/21 - 9/26/21: 50 mg/day 9/27/21 - 10/10/21: 37.5mg/50mg/37.5/50 10/11/21 - 10/24/21: 37.5mg/day 10/25/21 - 11/7/21: 25mg/37.5mg/25/37.5 *On November 1, 2021, my dog and best friend of 10+ years, the Big Guy (110lb. half boxer/half mastiff), died after a brief fight with cancer... in retrospect I should have ceased tapering at this point; instead I continued my tapering in earnest and began to self medicate excessively with alcohol and cannabis 11/8/21 - 11/21/21: 25mg/day 11/22/21 - 12/5/21: 12.5mg/25mg/12.5/25 12/6/21 - 12/20/21: 12.5mg/day 12/21/21 - 12/31/21: 0mg/12.5mg/0/12.5 January 1, 2022 - Present: Off Lamicital Completely I had no idea about this site or a couple days ago. I have been realllllly struggling this whole year but especially the past couple weeks. Some days I am so depressed I can hardly get out of bed. Some days I am "functional." I have major brain fog where I can hardly think most of the time (which is not good for my job!). I can't hardly make even the most basic decision. It is bad. I am desperate. I do not know what to do. I really don't want to get back on the Rx. I'm looking for suggestions on how to cope with the withdrawal symptoms. I have been sober (no alcohol or cannabis) since January 1st as well. I workout, do Wim Hoff breathing, garden, meditate/pray and eat mostly organic. Supplements: EMPowerPlus Lighting Sticks, 5-HTP, Vitamins C, D, B-complex (6&12) & K2, Magnesium Glyinate, Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract; Just started taking St. John's Wort a couple weeks ago I don't really recall withdraw symptoms (depression) prior to my Dog being diagnosed with cancer in September 2021 (which coincides with me getting down to 50mg/day)--since he was diagnosed and then passed Nov. 1st, I have been mostly depressed. The brain fog didn't really start that I recall until ~January of this year when I was totally off -- but I could be wrong. Since November of last year, it has kind of been a blur. On another note, while not directly related to withdrawal, I am very unhappy with my current career and have been for some time. I think doing something that goes against my values and not really knowing what my purpose is has a big impact on me feeling depressed. However, right now with my brain fog and depression, I am having a really hard time doing any work whatsoever. So my purpose now is to get past these withdrawal symptoms so I can find my purpose in this world and what gift I can offer to other people. I am VERY wary of getting back on any RX and do not want to go that route if at all possible. Thank you if you read this far and I appreciate any advice on how I should proceed!! -Will
  12. Hi, I'm glad to have found SA. Here's my journey so far. Since 17 (I'm 46 now) I have had panic attacks and anxiety. I never knew what was happening to me and developed a phobia around eating in front of people for fear of embarrassing myself. I found it hard to sleep or eat. 2003 - had terrible obsessions and panic while pregnant and ended up with postpartum depression. It was horrible, my thoughts were very dark all while taking care of my newborn. I got an emergency Dr appointment and started Zoloft. It helped and after 9 months Dr told me to just stop taking it, so I did. 2012 - had constant high anxiety leading to a breakdown and suicidal ideation. I restarted Zoloft. In Nov 2014 I decided I didn't need it anymore and started a half dose taper. After coming off completely I was agitated, angry, with constant anxiety and insomnia. Restarted 50mg zoloft April 2015 and have been on it till now. After much thinking and journaling I realized my main problem is that I'd become completely obsessed with a topic, idea or person and the intensity of this obsession would lead to anxiety. The anxiety would be all encompassing, not just one panic attack but all day pacing, thinking. I couldn't keep food down or sleep. The depression would come after realizing I was now not able to function, take care of my kids or work. The Zoloft helped with this but not completely. This was a cyclical event with a baseline few months of stability in between. 2018 - when I was able to articulate this to my doctor, she said I needed something for the highs, that Zoloft was taking care of my lows. She claimed I was "probably somewhere on the bipolar spectrum" I started taking abilify. I did and do feel much more even. I have gained 20 pounds since taking it. I made some major changes in my life right at the same time I started taking abilify. I decided my religion I converted to in 1998 was no longer for me, especially the heavy focus on hell, which never helped my anxiety. I attribute my even mood working through my changing beliefs and the reasons I converted in the first place. I started making art again and found it very therapeutic. That doctor left the office soon after and I'm stuck with a new doctor who is uncaring and cold. 2022 - since January I have had really low energy, not depressed but just exhausted. After 10 years on medication, I want off and I want to lose the weight. I want to see what I'm like without it. Before finding this site, in March I decided to cut the abilify in half. It's been a great week at this dose. After some headaches, some energy has returned and I have way less problems with word retrieval. Since being told I might be bipolar, I took it to heart and started seeing myself thorough that lens. But my ups never matched up with other people's experiences on bipolar forums. I didn't talk fast or spend money, I just got really into something to an obsessive level. I'm starting to wonder if I'm letting doctors pathologicalize just me, who I am. I want work though my issues and deal with my mind naturally. I realize I shouldn't have cut the abilify in half, but I'm here now and will hold for a month and re-evaluate. Thank you for reading.
  13. Hi all, I haven't been on here for quite some time as I have been very busy with life. I guess that is a good thing? I thought that now is a good time to write my success story since I have been off Mirtazapine for well over 1 year and haven't had any symptoms related to that for 1 year also. Here is my introduction and journal I wrote to give you an idea of the journey I went through: The problem: So back in 2017 I was blighted with a severe case of anxiety, I won't go into how this was triggered as this could have been from a number of things that contributed to this happening including lifestyle, stress, partying too much, among other things. Initially i was prescribed Sertraline that literally sent me into panic after taking 1 tablet, this was then switched over to Mirt. I was prescribed Mirtazapine to relieve some of the symptoms which initially worked (It helped me sleep and get my appetite back). However as any of you on this medication will know this drug is very unpredictable and can cause all kinds of mental and physical symptoms. Withdrawing + Symptoms I was only on Mirtazapine for a total of 6 months which included 2 months of tapering (see journal for more information on this). Initially I found coming off the drug quite easy, some stomach pain, sleep pattern changes but not much more. After approximately 1 month my withdrawal symptoms began. I noticed that I was very emotionally unstable, meaning everyday worries/problems become huge anxiety triggers. This was even more worrying to me as I started to think that my inital 'anxiety' problem was starting to come back and it wasn't really the effects of Mirtazapine (I was wrong). As stated, my symptoms started at the 5th week of complete withdrawal from Mirt and lasted almost 7 months. Yes 7 months! Thats longer than I was even on the medication. They were as follows: - Severe waves of anxiety (some lasting up to 3 weeks) - Weird OCD style thoughts, totally alien and not what I'd usually be thinking about - Frequent migraines from exercising - Weird joint pains (between fingers, also in my thorax) - Rectal pain (this was very weird also, and would happen at random times) - Random nose bleeds (worse during full dose but also happening during withdrawal) There were more symptoms but I can't remember them all at this time, the anxiety however was the most problematic and painful. I kept a mood diary which allowed me to rate the severity of my anxiety and track any patterns. I also had psychotherapy privately which cost me alot, and actually wasn't useful to me due to the fact the professional was treating me for 'generalised anxiety disorder' rather than 'anti depressant withdrawal'. I cut this off during my taper which helped. I noticed that I was experiencing the typical 'waves, windows' scenario. Throughout the withdrawal process I experienced waves of anxiety approximately 5 weeks after each dose drop. This, to my knowledge, was my brain trying to re-adjust to not being medicated anymore. One thing I need to mention here is that - do not assume you are permanently screwed. I fell into this trap many times, breaking down into tears thinking "Is this how I'm gonna be forever?". This thought should be avoided, infact forcing positive thoughts to stop yourself catastrophising like this will help you get better. Recovery As it is for most, my recovery was very non-linear. I went through periods of little to no symptoms, then i could wake up with chronic anxiety and a whole host of physical symptoms to go with it. I almost gave up on my medication sobriety many times, including visits to the doctors only to be told i should re-instate. Thankfully I never re-instated once, I fully understand those of you who have re-instated though as withdrawal symptoms can be horrific and any form of relief is needed sometimes. The one thing that kept me going was the fact that I was experiencing windows of no symptoms at all, this could range from 1 hour to 2 weeks of no symptoms. I remember the moments where I was coming to the end of a window and was about to fall into another wave, this was probably the worst part of all this. The fact that I was fully aware that my window was over and i was now about to deal with a period of chronic mental and physical pain for an unconfirmed amount of time. The eureka moment for me happened at about the 7th month of withdrawal, I was still experiencing anxiety spikes but they were literally lasting only one day, followed by many weeks of calmness. I remember thinking "Wow, I totally forgot I was withdrawing from medication, its been weeks since i felt bad!". I strongly believe a point of recovery is reached when you actually forget that you have been unwell, I guess the science behind this is that new pathways have been created in the brain. Over-writing the anxious pathways our brain has trained itself to regularly follow throughout this process. Thoughts to take-away + Tips Its now been 1 year since I experienced any anxiety symptoms, I don't even get the "Am I going to have a panic attack in this situation" anymore. That's a huge leap for me as I knew when that happened, I was about to go back into the anxious loop. At times, my symptoms were so strong I was thinking about throwing it all away and just handing myself over to be hospitalised. Somehow I managed to soldier on and keep fighting.. I really feel that I am back to my normal self which I remind myself of everyday. I actually think this whole process has made me stronger mentally as I know that there isn't much worse than what I went through. Tips - Recovery is non-linear - don't set yourself a date to get better, it will happen naturally - Negative thoughts actually slowed down my recovery, consciously forcing positive thoughts reminded my brain that it was still 'normal' and not 'permanently damaged' helped alot - Positive self talk & speaking out loud to yourself allows your concerns to be aired if you are worried about what people will think - Don't read any worst case scenarios online! These will make you feel worse and actually trigger the mental symptoms - Take it as slow as you possibly can. Withdraw slowly, don't kick yourself because you still feel sh^t 6 months/2 years later. Your full recovery date is set for you, nobody else - Exercise, diet and sleep are of huge priority as they will give your brain/body what it needs to return back to it's healthy state - Track your progress and remind yourself of your 'windows'. they will become longer over time Please be aware I'm not a medical professional so any advice should only be followed through the advice of a medical professional. I'm sending positive vibes to anyone reading this who are going through recovery, KEEP GOING!
  14. Hi, I wrote my introduction on the 4th of October 2019 ☼-francisco-on-the-way-to-a-success-story At that time, I was seven months of all meds – I stated that the post was a combination of an introduction and a success story since things were on course at the time. Since that post, my mental has been put to the test like never before but it's now been around one year and 10 months since I stopped taking meds and I believe my mental health has passed the test. I was given a diagnosis of bi-polar by a consultant psychiatrist in the autumn of 2011 after years of volatility in my mental health and began taking meds six months later. I started with Lamictal (Lamotrigine) – after a few weeks on a low dose, the dose was increased – the next day I noticed a rash all over my body and stopped taking it. I was then given Abilify – I was on this over for a month or two but stopped taking it since it caused me insomnia and really intense pain in my wrists. Next, it was Olanzapine/Zyprexa (5mg) to deal with my elation – the 5mg worked well but when the dosage was increased to 10mg and 15mg, it caused nothing but depression so I went back to 5mg. I was then given Prozac to deal with the depression side of things – this however, caused me the worst depression I ever experienced. I was on it for a bit over a month until I could take no more and stopped taking it. My psychiatrist then prescribed me Venlafaxin/Effexor in September 2012 – I started at 75mg and eventually made my way up to 300mg. As the dosage increased, my depression did get better but the side affects most certainly got worse – constipation and intense sweating in bed at night. Also, I always felt the medication was causing me brain fog, despite what my psychiatrist was telling me – ‘all these meds do is treat depression’ I was told and basically, how limited intellectually I felt was in fact an actual reflection of the abilities I was born with. I was really getting fed up with the side affects and decided to do what a lot of people in my situation do – come of the meds without telling my doctor. I slowly tapered down the anti-depressant but came off the Olanazpine quite abruptly – result: disaster. The depression came back in a big way. Around this time, I remember one sleepless night lying in bed just saying to myself over and over – ‘I just want to die – I wish I had the courage to kill myself’. Went crawling back to the psychiatrist in July 2015 and told him the truth – needless to say, he was quite annoyed but prescribed me Cymbalta/Duloxetine (60mg) and agreed to reduce my dosage of Olanazpine to 2.5mg. The Cymbalta no doubt stabilized my mood at that time – I was pretty dam low, as you can imagine. Once again, I felt it was limiting me but after the volatility I had experienced, I was happy for a bit of stability. In the summer of 2017, I began to learn a lot about the affect diet and exercise can have on mental health. Up until that time, I thought I ate and exercised healthily – how wrong I was. Over the course of around a year, I completely changed my diet and exercise regime – I experimented a lot and ended up with my current diet which is essentially a Mediterranean diet – meat, dairy and eggs a few times a week but primarily plant based food – mainly unprocessed. A lot of my free time now is spent cooking and preparing food. After I started with Cymbalta and before I changed my diet and lifestyle, I felt that my depression/elation cycle was going on in the background but the medication was keeping it in check. As my dietary and lifestyle changes kicked in, I began to feel that the cycle was longer there – I was essentially stable. I got married in July 2018 to the woman who stuck with me through the diagnosis and all the mental volatility over the years. Immediately, we started trying to conceive – I really wasn’t mad about the idea of trying to conceive while I was on medication – I know that women are advised to come off meds before becoming pregnant and I wondered if my own meds could have an affect on any potential child I conceived. Did a bit of research – heard a bit about meds possibly causing fertility problems but nothing about meds causing birth defects etc. For a number of months after the wedding, we tried hard to conceive with no success. Consequently, I made the decision to start tapering. Not surprisingly, my wife was initially reluctant given what happened previously when I tried to come off meds – this shook my confidence a bit but I really believed that I could cope this time round, given the dietary and lifestyle changes I had made. Unlike the previous time, I told my psychiatrist who to my big surprise, did not object in the slightest. He initially suggested that I stop taking the 2.5mg of Olanazpine altogether – he told me that according to the research, 2.5mg has no real anti-elation effect – it only really aids moderate anxiety and sleeping. I genuinely believed that the olanzapine was indeed helping my sleep so I decided to continue taking it and instead drop the Cymbalta from 60mg to 30mg at the beginning of November, 2018. I was on the lower dosage for three months – I didn’t notice any major withdrawal affects during that period. Consequently, when I saw my psychiatrist three months later, I suggested to him that I stop taking the Cymbalta altogether – once again, to my big surprise he was very supportive. I continued to take the Olanzapine for another month – I had planned to stay on the Olanzapine for three months but given what the psychiatrist told me previously about 2.5mg not really having any anti-elation affect and given how I hadn’t experienced any major withdrawal affects up until that point, I decided to come off completely at the end of February 2019. A part of me was worried that my sleep would go to hell without the Olanzpine but once again, I really believed as long as I stuck to my diet and lifestyle, I would eventually enter into a natural, healthy sleeping pattern – this transpired. Also, around four or five weeks after I ceased the meds completely, I started having withdrawal effects – my nervous system reacted and consequently, I felt very edgy and jittery and my concentration levels went down significantly – obviously, work was quite difficult during this period. Also, it’s not easy to say this but my performances in the bed room were pretty mediocre during this period also (not uncommon I suppose). This was quite severe for around five weeks and then gradually started to diminish. I fully expected some withdrawal affects so they did not surprise me one bit when they came. Once again to stress the point, self-belief was hugely important at this stage – I just knew that as long as I stuck to my diet and lifestyle – essentially, the way I was designed by nature/evolution to eat and exercise – the withdrawal affects would pass and I would reach stability. In the year since I posted my introduction, I had to deal with an extremely stressful project at work which was further complicated by a certain pandemic, the very difficult birth of my first child and a lot of subsequent and extremely heated disagreements with my wife under very stressful circumstances – as I said above, my mental health has been put to the test but I haven't gone back on meds and have absolutely no intention of doing so. As I type this post, I’m in fact currently staying in my parent’s house following a particularly nasty exchange with my wife – in many ways, my family are great but I’ve already heard ‘I think you should be taking medication to get you through this difficult time’. I know they mean well and just want what’s best for me but they just don’t understand me and never really have. For most of my life, I’ve been miserable and it wasn’t because of some chemical balance in my brain which would have been triggered no matter what – I had to deal with some personal problems which were really inhibiting me. Like my medication, those problems have been put to bed – I’ve been married for over two years and have been a father for a year. The first year of my daughter's life has been extremely difficult for all the reasons mentioned above – it's been difficult but I've coped. My marriage is in a very bad place right now and if it does survive, it’s going to take a lot of work and compromise between my wife and I. If it doesn’t survive, I firmly believe I’ll be able to cope with all the difficulties which come with marriage breakup as long as I find the support I need – the kind of support which this forum offers – guidance from people who’ve experienced similar things. If I was still seeing a psychiatrist now, I reckon he would have drugged me up to my eye balls in an attempt to get me through this difficult time. If I wasn't taking meds and hadn't made all the lifestyle and dietary changes I made over the last couple of years, I would have completely collapsed in the face of all the adversity I've had to endure. I'm still standing, however. Life now is extremely difficult like it is for a lot of people but I've found a way to manage. Now, I want to find a good life.  I have no problem saying that I have the bi-polar gene. I experienced all the symptoms and those closest to me can verify that. However, I don’t consider myself mentally ill and do not believe that I was born with a chemical imbalance in my brain. As long as I live the way I was designed to live, my bi-polar gene will be completely suppressed – it simply won’t be an issue. For the most part, I believe that the symptoms I experienced were basically a reaction to all the things I was doing wrong – my diet, my exercise routine, my work environment, my learning environment, my past relationships etc. I plan to keep the potentially harmful parts of my bi-polar gene suppressed for the rest of my life and in order to do that, my life is going to be quite mundane – no substance abuse, regular moderate exercise, healthy sleeping patterns and I’m going to have to continue to spend a lot of time (but not too much time!) cooking and preparing healthy food. However, I will take ‘mundaneness’ any day of the week over mental volatility and side affects from psychiatric medication I’ve had to endure over the years. Having come through all that, the stability and strength I’ve found are all the sweeter – ‘spring would not be so welcome, if we didn’t have to go through winter’. As well as the mundane lifestyle I mentioned above, I’m also going to have find a working environment which I'm designed for. In January 2010, I had a nervous breakdown at work. The job I was doing at the time was a fairly basic office job. The company undertook a large project which I was part of which turn out to be extremely stressful for all involved and which I simply could not cope with. One day, I simply left the office and never went back – didn’t hand in my notice, didn’t tell my supervisor, didn’t tell family/friends. I went home, packed a bag and took off on a train to another city where I stayed in a hostel for a week. Subsequently, I was unemployed for three and a half years while I was trying all the medication mentioned above. Once I found the medications which stabilized me, I once again started doing similar type very basic office jobs – most were temp jobs completely unrelated to the what I studied in university and which needless to say, I didn’t exactly thrive in. These ‘go-nowhere’ jobs were all I felt capable of doing while I was on meds. I never built a career based on my university qualifications because I just felt so hindered by all the personal problems I was going through back then. I ain’t no office worker – I'm an introverted, insightful writer and researcher. In university, I received a first for my masters in International Relations. That was a hell of a long time ago but I feel I just have to get back into research once again. My own personal and fairly primitive research over the last decade or so helped me recover from a very serious mental health problem when all the so called experts were telling me that I would be on psychiatric medication for the rest of my life. I would love to build a career based on writing and researching about mental health and helping people who have also been told that they will be on medication for the rest of their lives. I believe I’m on the right forum to achieve this goal and look forward to contributing to the great work which is done here going forward. Many Thanks Francisco Quote: ‘Spring would not be so welcome if we didn’t have to go through winter’   Previous Meds taken (Not all at once - Mid 2012 to July2015): Lamictal, Abilify, Olanzapine, Prozac, Venlafaxin/Effexor Side Affects: Skin rash, insomnia, worse depression, constipation, intense sweating at night, brain fog Most Recent Meds: Cymbalta (60mg), Olanzapine (2.5mg) Taper: dropped Cymbalta to 30mg for 3 months until end of Jan 2019 - stopped Cymbalta completed at the beginning of Feb 2019. Stopped Olanzapine completely at the end of Feb 2019 Withdrawal: around 4/5 weeks after ceasing meds completely, my nervous system started to react - felt very edgy, irritable and couldn’t concentrate for around 3 or 4 weeks. Have been feeling stable since despite numerous stresses in my life
  15. 10 years ago I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety and began taking antidepressants. A year later I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and a year after that ADHD. In 10 years I have taken almost 50 different medications, the only ones that ever helped were a stimulant for ADHD and benzos for insomnia. Working with a new psychiatrist and discussing DSM 5 criteria for Bipolar we concluded it was a misdiagnosis and that ADHD symptoms and issues were actually the source of my problems, including the depression and anxiety because there is not enough for a separate diagnosis but rather triggered by ADHD issues, particularly rejection sensitivity, and childhood traumas. So after a decade of unnecessary psychotropic drugs I stopped suddenly in May of 2021 after insurance issues made getting my meds impossible. The two that were stopped abruptly were Abilify (Aririprazole) and Pristiq (Desvenlafaxine). I have always been very sensitive to withdrawal and experienced some level of symptoms with every discontinuation over the years. Beginning in May I went through withdrawal, including early wake insomnia (waking at 3am no matter what time I went to sleep, something never before experienced in my life), constant dry mouth, nausea, diarrhea, constipation, constant watery running nose, eyes itchy and either dry or watering constantly, concentration issues, working memory problems, unable to focus (stimulant medication went from very effective to intermittently helpful depending on the day), and severe fatigue that has continued to worsen. As of now, almost a year later, my biggest struggles are with the fatigue that continues to worsen, making an ice coffee at home is too much work and the energy required too much as an example, trouble concentrating, unable to focus and get engaged, working memory problems, cognitive impairment, irritability, and impulsive decisions. A lack of worsening depression or anxiety along with these symptoms I believe confirms that they were related to ADHD and trauma (I was treated for the trauma with EMDR, which was incredibly effective and ever since have not had the relationship (or lack thereof) issues that I had previously experienced). I work in the mental health field, would rather not say specifics, so I am well versed in doing appropriate research and using scholarly peer reviewed articles and looking directly at clinical studies and I am usually able to find information that is helpful. But PAWS has me completely stumped. I brought it up to my new psychiatrist and he seemed dismissive of my suggestion that PAWS is causing my issues, even though all other variables have been evaluated and discounted and the Sleep Specialist I saw for adjusting my sleep schedule with the early wake insomnia agreed that withdrawal from those medications was the only possible cause of the new insomnia, went over every other variable and almost all had been static or actually improving. While he seemed dismissive, he did firmly state that there is not enough literature or studies to show any efficacy of any treatment method for PAWS, regardless of if he agreed with me or not. I could not disagree with him because I have looked exhaustively and only been able to find vague references to possible treatments, such as an anti-convulsant like Lamotrigine. The only journal articles I can find that could possibly shed any light on this are on sites that only academic researchers can access so I cannot read them. Currently what I am going through is making me so miserable that I can't put it into words and it is ruining my life. It takes every bit of physical and mental energy I have just to function in my job, other than that I can't do much of anything other than sit on my couch and watch TV. I can't do my hobbies that I am super passionate about, something as simple as playing in a game of Dungeons & Dragons, because I don't have the energy to even talk on discord for 3 hours while sitting on my couch. I am constantly miserable, if its a day where my stimulants work somewhat then I am still miserable, just slightly less so. The fatigue and cognitive issues have ups and downs but the average continues to go down and if this pattern continues I will be unable to think well enough to do my job, which ethically I am then required to not do my job, and I'd rather not think about what will happen after that. I am extremely frustrated, mainly because this has been a known issues for decades, yet the only real research conducted seems to be related to substance abuse with alcohol, benzos, and opioids, even though a clinically significant percentage of people experience PAWS from antidepressants and/or antipsychotics, but also because this could potentially go on for years or forever, no way to know, or I could miraculously feel better one day. Thanks for reading this far if you have haha, I appreciate the opportunity to share my story and vent a little to people who could understand what I am going through finally, but also would love to know if anyone can share any scholarly, peer reviewed research on any possible treatments or any other information that could be helpful. Its been impossible to find much of anything, and what I do find is not only not very helpful but paints a potentially dark future as well. Thanks for your time and any help that can be offered. Alton
  16. HI All - I am currently dealing with medication issues again.... I was taking abilify 2mg and cylexa 30mg for the last decade - I most recently weened of abilify over 2 months and am completely off it as of last week. My cylexa has also stopped working so we're cross tappering me from cylexa to lexapro. I'm weening off cylexa going from 30mg to 10mg and adding 5mg of lexapro. I'm doing this for one week. Then switching to 10mg lexapro and 5mg cyxlexa. The third week will remove cylexa competely. They also want to add wellbutrin... At this point I've gone through withdrawals so many times. I'm scared and hopeless at this point. My wife is currently pregnant (great timing :)) and I need to be alert. Right now i'm dealing with intense anxiety as soon as I wake up - insomnia - waking up at 4-5am - light and sound sensitivity - headache - nausea/lack of appetite - depressed more so then ever. I'm fighting my way day by day but with work and life. I'm ready to just quit and go back on my original meds. I'm very very sensitive to withdrawal. as a recovering opiate addict - heroin withdrawals don't even compare to this. I'd love to hear any tips, guidance, support anything to help. Every doctor seems to not know how to properly taper.
  17. Cliff

    Cliff: Abilify withdrawal

    Tapering abilify I have been off Ativan for a year. Dr put me on abilify July 2021. Trying to get off. Could you tell me if I taper .1 mg month, I won’t get withdrawals. ... just wondering what others have reported
  18. Hi, I am a 27 year old male in India working as an engineer in a telecom company. At start of the year I had a brief psychotic breakdown from work related stress and consulted a psychiatrist. I was on olanzapine aripiprazole and fluoxetine. After a couple of months on the meds I started to notice that I was getting significantly worse and could not do my job properly, my mind became clouded and I was unable to think and slow to react. I started drooling in my sleep and hairloss began. In panic I decided to stop all medication cold turkey. The immediate withdrawal symptom was that I began to sleep 12-14 hours a day and getting off bed seemed next to impossible. Then slowly the tragedy began to unfold after a month or so. I started feeling so weak that I could hardly ever get off bed and go to office. Hunger vanished and I hardly managed two meals a day. Then I found out that music became unappealing so did movies and everything else including exercise that used to provide me relief from stress. I lost all interest in the opposite sex, cannot even masturbate to porn anymore.Orgasms are not pleasurable and sensitivity in my genitals is close to null. I am now basically an asexual being with nothing that gives me pleasure. Suffered severe weight loss. I feel trapped inside unable to react to the outside world. I have spent the last month searching for various means of suicide on the internet as I have nothing to look forward to in life. If you can't enjoy anything and always lie in bed life is not worth living. Also there's no chance of me being in a relationship or getting married. I can no longer hang out with friends, considering how different I have become from them, and can't enjoy anything. PSSD has made me more anxious than ever, with libido crashing to zero.
  19. Hello ! I was given an Asperger Disorder + Transient Psychotic Depressive episode as a young adult while being under huge stress related to work/studies and a dire financial situation all while living abroad in a foreign city. At first i was given psychiatric medication to "clean-up" my thought process of delusional content and calm my severe anxieties. The doctors who started my medication were clear you're going to take this medication for a number of years then you'll go back to your normal life. This "going back to normal life" never happened due to my actual psychiatrist ,who did the 2->5 Phases The medication reduction was a "success" at every step : Risperdal 4 mg +Abilify 30 Mg : 9 Months Switch to Abilify 30 Mg : 6 Months Abilify 15 Mg: 9 Months Abilify 10 Mg: 9 Months Abilify 5 Mg: 35 Months today i'm 100% healed,no trace of any delusional thought and no hint of depression i'm as in good mental health as one can be but i struggle everyday due to medication as my cognitive abilities are strongly reduced (even during illness i could read a novel in an afternoon now it takes me several days to finish a 500-page book and i can't enroll in classes as even my ancient writings look like chinese to my dulled mind ) My actual dose is the" very low" dose of Aripiprazole 5 mg (he insists on that) for more than 3 years and no amount of discusssion with the psychiatrist would change his mind as he unconsciouscly thinks my mind,like all his patient's minds are irreversibly broken,even now he seriously says to me that Asperger disorder is included into psychotic illness hence treatment (which is WRONG but i have no power to overturn his harsh opinions) This very low dose is sufficient to crush my ability to write and read computer code and to complete university work the only thing i can do i some basic reading and i depend on my aging parents for a living (if one of them dies i'm on the streets) I want to go further in life and continue my studies but i am given no chance. I need all your help and data on Abilify 5 mg withdrawal . Tomorrow i'm going to see a new psychiatrist,wish me luck !
  20. Hello: I am here after a person on another forum (BenzoBuddies) alerted me to the existence of this one when I queried if anyone there had experience with tapering/eliminating Aripiprazole (Abilify). I am currently working on titrating down from the Clonazepam I have been taking. I have hopes of eliminating all the medications listed in my signature, in time. Once I have eliminated the Clonazepam, I would next like to work on the aripiprazole, then the Mirtazapine. I have only very occasionally used the alprazolam. So, I do not see that as a real hurdle. There is an erroneous date listed in my signature. It should be 2012. If someone could guide me in editing it, I would sure appreciate it. It was kind of a mystery just to create it. I hope to find some useful information and encouragement here. I did a big drop of the Clonazepam (50%) on September 19, as instructed by my doctor. Withdrawal symptoms were uncomfortable, but not terrible. Days 1-3 met me with needing a bit more time falling asleep. Days 15-21 met me with some irritability, headache (most days), one night of insomnia, a few days of mild depression and some free-floating anxiety. Day 22 and onward, the aforementioned symptoms were gone and I was feeling better than what was my normal self. I am glad for this. After reading a lot of information (Professor Ashton's manual & on the BenzoBuddies forum), I decided to continue with reducing the Clonazepam at a rate of 25% every 14 days. Yes, I know it is more than recommended (5-10%), but I believe I am capable of proceeding at this rate and take comfort in the fact that I can always adjust my dosing, if needed. My dose tonight will be ~.4700. When I began taking the medications (in 2001), I was diagnosed with PTSD and Major Depressive Disorder (without psychotic symptoms). I did spend some time in a psychiatric hospital (~3.5 weeks), during which time several different medications were tried/thrown at me. I don't remember all of them (prozac & paxil, are two that were tried...). I did not take any but the Clonazepam longer than a few days/weeks. Oh, except lamictal. I took that for about 6 months (in 2001). Almost forgot about that one. A couple other antidepressants were tried just before I began taking the Mirtazapine in 2010: Effexor, Celexa and Trazadone. They all made me feel loopy, so I rejected them. Sleep is what I needed and the Mirtazapine helped to deliver that. The Abilify was a depression add-on which did seem to give me an overall improved affect/mood. Since 2001, I have remained steadfastly committed to and deeply engaged in an in-depth therapeutic relationship (with a couple practitioners). As a result, I have achieved a complete psychological, emotional and spiritual make-over. Over the course of the past couple years, I have questioned if I really have a need to continue taking the medications, for I simply am not the same person I was 17 years, 10 years, 5 years or even 1 year ago. It is my deep hope and desire that I will eliminate the medications. It will be very nice to see who I am today, without the medications. That's my history, in a nutshell. Cleerity
  21. I'm feeling pretty ill and dizzy and I want to know how to cut abilify tablet the proper way, I know how to calculate the amount. I have a pill cutter from the pharmacy, but when I cut the tablet it's not accurate at all. It's not even and it crumbles. I can buy a recommended digital scale linked from another thread here, but I'm not sure if I should crush the tablet or cut it to use it with a scale and how to get the most accurate amount of powder or pill pieces to my mouth from the scale without losing some of it Please excuse me if my question is answered before, but I'm feeling ill and getting more Ill from not finding the answer. If it's already answered somewhere you can just copy the response to my answer. I can't seem to ask a question in the tapering forum inside the threads so if you can move it for me please do so. Best regards.
  22. hello and thanks for your brilliant forum. I was only on the aripiprazole injection for two months and felt sure I could handle the cold turkey as I managed fine last year coming off the tablets (which I was only on for two months too) I've been off for three months (four months since last injection). the withdrawal has been horrendous and am suffering daily with deep depression and zero emotion beyond anxiety, fear, guilt and all that bad stuff. I am utterly exhausted at all times. is it normal to be suffering so long after being on it for so short? Has anyone else had experience of coming off this drug and coming through? I am scared that it had damaged my brain and I will never be my normal self again.
  23. Cigarettes at age 11. Alcohol periodically from age 13 to age 30. Valium episodically from age 18 to age 27. I have been on myriad anti-depressants since 1982 for major depression and generalized anxiety. Imipramine, desyrel, ativan. Off drugs from 1984 till 1995. Started Prozac 1995 till 2014 (did well from 1995 to 2011). Tried Wellbutrin, Cymbalta. Abilify and Trintellix from March 2014 till August 8, 2017 (depression free). Had to withdraw due to cervical dystonia and tremors which still persist. Terrible experience withdrawing from Abilify and Trintellix. Started Wellbutrin 150 mg. and Prozac 10 mg. for one week to help with withdrawal. Then increased Wellbutrin to 300 mg. and experienced ringing in ears; stopped the Wellbutrin and increased Prozac to 20 mg. (10 in A.M.; 10 in P.M.) Now on Prozac 20 mg. per day, occasional Propranolol for tremors (doesn't help). I've read that coming off Abilify can take up to 3 months or more, and it has been 2 months so far. I feel like I've spent (wasted) my entire adult life trying to feel better, first by self-medicating, then by psychiatric medicating. I'm 72 years old. I wonder if there is any hope for me.
  24. Here is a question for everyone who has used anti-psychotics (especially athletes): Have you experienced poor blood circulation after using anti-psychotics? please reply with your experience in decent detail. I myself am an athlete and after i took risperdal, my blood circulation dramatically weakened, i was much less vascular and could barely experience a muscle pump after working out; I recovered from that side effect after a rough 14 months. later i took abilify and the same exact thing happened, poor circulation, less vascular and of course fatigue in the gym. after bloodwork, the only thing that was abnormal was prolactin (it was high after risperdal and low after abilify).
  25. Hi All, Diagnosed schizophrenic here currently on a 300mg depot injection of Abilify monthly until March 2016, on a community treatment order. Am doing everything I can to get off medication ASAP, as am experiencing akathisia, anhedonia, complete loss of libido, numbness, and a loss of spirituality. I'm sure most of you know how horrible this can be, especially when previously I was a healthy & happy, loving guy full of life and energy. In total I'll be on the abilify for a year, what are my chances of recovery? Has anyone in a similar position ever come off medication and found their voices to return (mine were extremely loving, and quite special to me)? Could anyone provide me with tips to detox/cleanse, or peace of mind that I will recover? I smoke ciggarettes, take st johns wort, to try to counter the effects of the abilify, which help, along with numerous other supplements. Exercise regularly, eat as healthy as possible. Thanks for reading, I really appreciate any help or guidance on the topic of antipsychotics.
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