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  1. Medication HIstory: Prozac 1993 to 2016 for anxiety and depression (actually have Complex PTSD) Switched to Celexa in 2016 and took until Feb 2022 Switched to Lexapro in Feb 2022 then Zoloft in June. Switches were due to bad anxiety and now tapering off because SSRIs seem to be causing anxiety rather than reducing it. At 25 mg Zoloft presently for 3 weeks. Symptoms include nausea, loss of appetite, stomach ache, anxiety. Also taking Lorazepam 1 mg and Zolpidem 10 mg. Just started Accel for nausea and it's helping.
  2. Hi, I am in crisis right now and desparate for help. I tapered off effexor 1 year ago and have had no psychiatric meds since. The past year has been rough with prolonged withdrawal and bouts of anxiety along with way, but for the past 3 months I have been doing very well (working a stressful job and handling it well, traveling, etc). For the past week, seemingly out of the blue, I am having severe, debilitating anxiety and insomnia. I also have odd physical senstations that I haven't experienced in quite this way before (odd nagging nausea-not the anxiety kind, but the flu kind; extreme muscle pain; periodic cramping of my hands and feet; a buzzing or tingling sensation in my arms and legs; weakness. I saw my doctor, who ran blood tests- everything is normal. I saw her before the anxiety started- at first, I just had the flu-like symptoms, then the anxiety hit. I don't know what to do....I am going to have to resign from my job (a well-established, successful career of 9 years). I aleady took a leave for 1 month 6 months ago when I was having a bout of bad withdrawal. I feel desperate for relief, and am so desperate that I would even go on meds again (although I swore they were the worst thing I ever did to myself and that I would never touch them again). Is there any chance this is still a delayed withdrawal? Please if anyone can offer me advice, I really need help right now. Thank-you.
  3. Day 600 (March 11th 2017) 4 months shy of my two year mark. My Introduction: - http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/10847-%E2%98%BC-rockingchaircat-recovery-from-psychotropic-drugs-that-were-prescribed-willy-nilly/page-1 I’m a male in my early 50’s, and I’ve been on several antidepressants: Zoloft, Lexapro, Celexa, Wellbutrin, and Paxil, and other psychotropics (as prescribed by the pill pushing Docs): Benzos- Xanax and Ativan, and other crap. These pills do not ‘balance your neurotransmitters”, that is a lie- for there is no balance. Instead it’s more akin to a Symphony: Every neurotransmitter has its own part to play at it’s own time and place. My taper strategy was something I came up with in desperation after trying out some boneheaded strategies involving either: A) going cold turkey and then following the advice of a medical doctor. The Route: Cold Turkey- Freak Out. Go on Benzos. Reinstate Antidepressants. Taper off Benzos. Taper off Antidepressants. Lose what’s left of my mind. Try to regain it in recovery. The Cold Turkey route resulted in my freaking out, which segued me into trying out the Benzos on the advice of a medical doctor- which worked GREAT, but only for a short time. Then they stopped working completely. After a while with more of the same useless advice of “give it a few weeks” Or “increase the dose”- I got fed up with the docs and found the website: Benzo Buddies. http://www.benzobuddies.org/forum/index.php?topic=122050.0 There- I learned of the Pharmaceutical Blasphemy- of the necessity of not taking pills. Then I got better advice about how to go about weaning myself off of Benzodiazepines properly. It took a few months but I managed to wean myself off of the Benzos that I was on. Then after a couple of stable months- I decided to taper off of my antidepressant ‘slowly’, as recommended by a different doctor. But, even that was faster than I should’ve tapered-. I thought at the time that my antidepressant withdrawal would take about the same time as it took me to wean myself off of the Benzos. Boy was I wrong. It took me much longer. Which doesn’t come as a surprise now- after all I’d been on more of them for longer than I was on the Benzos. My Coping mechanisms/Strategies during my withdrawal- included the following: 1) Amino acids, 2) Beans, 3) Exercise, 4) A Full Spectrum Light, 5) Hobbies, 6) The Internet, 7) Meditation, 8) Motivation 9) Music, 10) Nature, 11) (Orgasms), 12) & Sunlight. I also found it helpful to cut out chocolate, coffee, and eventually dairy products. Chocolate left me with a severe heartburn. Coffee left me an increased level of anxiousness- cutting it out decreased my anxiety by a measurable amount. And dairy foods made me sleepy- to the point that it was a miniature nasty fatigue day. My Withdrawal Problems: 1) Anxiety 2) Depression 3) Nasty Fatigue Days 4) General Fatigue 5) Cortisol Spikes 6) Mood Swings So- what was it like for me? Hell. I cannot put it any other way- It was Hell- it was the absolute WORST thing I’ve ever had to endure. Anxiety- A general fear that dogged me constantly- from the numerous times I woke up in the middle of the night, dealing with it’s intensity during the day- and then trying to cope with my existence after work and not being too terrible an Ogre to my wife, daughter, friends, and house cats. The fear had grown, to where everything wasn’t worth it. I couldn’t even read a novel- because of fear that the fictional characters were going to encounter hardship. And the boredom, despite the almost constant anxiety waves, I was bored out of my mind. Every hour felt like a day. Every night when I couldn’t fall asleep long enough to catch rest- I stared at the ceiling and tried to get my racing heart to calm down- for hours. Ironically enough- the first few hours of most nights I could sleep- until I started to dream. And when I started to dream- the Cortisol Spikes started up. But dreams are the time when you need the rest the most. Depression- will come back with a vengeance since you don’t have a pill to push it away anymore. So you must fight it. Depression is the Enemy. Depression- Lies. It will do its utmost to deny you reality. It will tell you that it’s not worth trying. But it’s all lies. Because it IS worth it, life is worth it. It’s all worth the trouble. During the early withdrawal phase- I often thought of steering my car into a tree, but I had to fight those thoughts, what I came up with: That driving into a tree was no guarantee of the release I sought. That in fact (knowing my luck) I’d be horribly injured, out of a truck, left with a massive amount of bills to pay with no way of paying for them- and lose my house, my job, and most importantly- the medical insurance my daughter needs to survive on. I refused to let myself end that way – that would’ve been a coward’s way out. In fact- just about anything and everything depression tells you isn’t ‘worth it’: IS. Try to remember this: If depression tells you it ain’t worth it- then you know it is. Nasty Fatigue- That was something I used to get on a regular basis- every two weeks or so during my early days. A depression so extreme that it was torture to get out of bed, and all I could manage was to lie around utterly depressed with existence and stare at the wall in complete and utter despair- for hours, often days. It was an effort to get up and go to the bathroom. I would eat- but only at the behest of my wife, and even then I could only manage a half sandwich- a day. Like so many other symptoms- it’s gone, but it took a while for it to go away. It didn’t so much stop as it melted away. In the depths of it- I would sleep. But it wasn’t in the least restful sleep. And the only way out of it that I could find- was to fight it. I forced myself to get up and stay awake. Words fail me- I simply do not have the words necessary to convey how difficult it was. It was stubborn- I had to out stubborn it. General Fatigue- everything was hard. I had no energy. I went so far as to have my Thyroid hormones checked. ALL of them, not just the usual ones the docs usually pawn off onto you as being ‘comprehensive’ when it’s not. But even that checked out fine. So in the end- no matter how awful I felt about it- I just forced myself to do things. Eventually, my body stopped fighting me so vigorously – and gave in. It was an uphill battle. Cortisol Spikes- During my Benzo withdrawal- I got to enjoy waking up in the middle of the night at FULL ALERT! Often- many times a night. Every time I dreamed- I woke up in a panic. Naturally- this ended up with me not having a decent night’s sleep- so I tried to compensate by increasing my napping. That didn’t work- because invariably I’d wake up after a second or two with still MORE anxiety from another Cortisol Spike. It took me over a year before I could nap again. Alas, I still have a bit of a phobia against naps now. Eventually the Cortisol Spikes increased to the point that I simply wasn’t getting sufficient rest. And in fact I broke down several times at work in hysterics- from sleep deprivation. Most, yet not all, were when no one else was around. Mood Swings- Self Pity- was the biggest one. Which often segued into Furious Rage at the seemingly endless hours of unending mental and physical torture. So how did I endure all of this withdrawal crap? By getting my Neurotransmitter Symphony working again; and how did I do that? Read on. Windows/Waves. I too got the Waves and Windows that just about everyone gets. But along the way I learned of ways to extend the Windows, and shorten the Waves. Full Spectrum Light/Sunlight- I got a window or two even during the beginning. But they didn’t occur often enough- or for that matter long enough- I’d get a few hours once a month- maybe. But there was one thing that initiated my first several day long window: A Verilux Full Spectrum light. It helped pull me out of the winter blahs and the crippling depression that came from decreased sunlight. Now though I never had another several day window start up because of it-even so it has helped in the subsequent recovery process. I’d recommend one for your own use- but I’d also recommend following the instructions- no more than a few minutes a day at first. Why? Because we’re all photo-phobic during our early withdrawal, and you might end up with a sunburn if you’re not careful. Because you need sunlight to help you get better. Our bodies- crave it. Sunlight sets our Circadian Rhythm- that same rhythm that was thrown out of whack by the pills. It helps us release Serotonin (to wake up) and Melatonin (to fall asleep), both neurotransmitters that help us. And I use mine every day. I’ve got the tan to match. Exercise- During all of my withdrawal- I exercised. For me, in earlier days (prior to my withdrawal) I had obtained and used a small work out gym set that I placed in my garage for weight training. I’m hardly buff, let alone ripped, but it has helped keep me fairly strong. And it made for a nice routine 3x a week. Additionally I had a bicycle I used for aerobic activity 3x a week. 1x a week I just didn’t do either- but even then I did something. Usually I did yard work or went for a walk. The point is- do something, anything. Even if all you can manage is one set of pushups- DO IT! Even that little bit will do you good. Walking- Walking is Good. I preferred to do that every day (weather permitting). Walking in a natural setting- it helps. I’m lucky in that I have a pine forest in which I can skirt. And the body needs that. You NEED to get out of the house. You MUST get out and get some fresh air. You’ll hate it at first, I guarantee it. But nonetheless You NEED to do that, Every-Single-Day. (And exercise is excellent dealing with the excess energy that comes with constant anxiety attacks.) Exercise comes with it’s own built in Happy Ending: The Endorphin rush. You’ll eventually get it, and crave it enough to keep going at it. Why? Because the Endorphins are another form of Neurotransmitters that you need. Amino Acids- Along about the time I started getting hysterical due to lack of sleep I was getting desperate. I was grasping at straws- and that’s when I discovered Taurine. It, along with some magnesium- was as close to a god send for my sleep as the Happy Light was for my depression and fatigue. The first couple of weeks taking Taurine/Magnesium- I was able to turn a corner and started getting something akin to a decent night’s sleep. Not much, but even that little was better than none. Nowadays- I still get the occasional middle of the night wakefulness from a Cortisol Spike- but it’s usually after a long stretch of dreaming. And with that success- I started researching into other aminos and eventually settled upon: Tyrosine, Taurine, and Theonine. They all had one thing in common. They were/are Neurotransmitter Pre-cursors. And what is a Neurotransmitter Precursor? It’s something the body can take and create a Neurotransmitter with. Now backing up a bit- what I learned at Benzobuddies- was that our brains and bodies- are inherently Lazy. Our bodies produce a Neurotransmitter called GABA. It’s used by the brain to calm things down. When we use a Benzo- the body adapts to it and stops producing GABA. That would be one thing. But our bodies are fiendish in that after we’ve gotten used to the pill- we develop ‘tolerance’- which is to say- that the pills stop working. The tolerance is when our bodies chose to stop producing the neurotransmitter we were augmenting/replacing with by using a pill. Thus if we stop using the benzo - what little defense we have against overstimulation- isn’t there in the quantities that it was prior to the pill use. This end result creates the waves and windows we all get to ‘enjoy’ during withdrawal. Our bodies still produce the needed neurotransmitters- just not often enough or in large enough quantities. And every now and again- for I’ve no idea reasons why- for a few hours or days our bodies produce just what level of them we need to feel OK. Those are the windows. But they don’t last- and the Waves of symptoms start up again. It’s the same thing with anti-depressants. The pills cause us to stop producing enough Serotonin or Dopamine (depending on what you’ve been prescribed). So what the hell are we supposed to do when we go off the pills? We need those neurotransmitters- yet we don’t produce enough of them anymore. Taking straight neurotransmitters such as Serotonin, Dopamine, or GABA, is counter-productive, when what we need is to get our bodies to produce them again. So after a suitable amount of self-research- I settled on the Amino Acids that are neurotransmitter precursors. Tyrosine is used by the body to create: Dopamine. Theanine is used by the body to create: Serotonin. And Taurine is used by the body to create GABA. And the nice thing is that you won’t overdose on them. Your body will use them to make ‘just enough’. The aminos helped me immensely. They didn’t cure the problem, but they took a LOT off of the rough edges and made my recovery- tolerable. It’s gotten to the point that my body does produce the necessary neurotransmitters on it’s own- that I’ve started tapering off of the aminos I’ve been taking. And on a couple of days- I’ve forgotten to take them without noticing that I hadn’t. Meditation- During all of this- I meditated when I could. Invariably during such meditations- I fell asleep. But even that helped in its own way. It helped me learn how to suppress in a small way the anxiety that did occur- a bit of biofeedback that helped me learn to calm down and distract myself. The suppression techniques still come in handy even now on day 600, and I imagine that they’ll still be doing me good for years to come. Though in the early days I often just wrapped myself in a heavy comforter, turned on the room fan, and stared off into space for hours while sitting on the bed in the middle of the night, and I’d do the same on the weekends both during the day and night. Hobbies- Do something you enjoy- or did. Go back to it. Even if it’s a mighty burden, sit yourself down and work on your hobby. Even if it takes you an hour- to do something that you have done in seconds before- do it. Eventually- you’ll remember the fun that you had with it before. You’ll notice that by immersing yourself into it- you can ignore the pain for a bit. Naturally you’ll look forward to doing it again. Me? I work on spaceship models. And from what I’ve learned- by taking the time to do even 5 minutes a day, and doing it slow- I do a much better job on them now. See- I learned something. Internet- I spent many an hour researching these conditions that fell into my lap. Such research led me to Benzo Buddies and Surviving Antidepressants. But it also made me appreciate how wonderful that the internet can be when it comes to distracting myself from my pain. I read somewhere that we all get a dose of Dopamine when we open another interesting page on the net. Hey- whatever works. Online games- such as Lumosity- give me something to gauge my progress in such things as fine motor skills, memory skills, and Hand/Eye coordination- all of which has suffered during the worst of my withdrawal. Of late- I’ve been trying the stuff I had to cut out: Chocolate, Coffee, Dairy foods. I’m back to eating those things again, and in fact it does make feel better to be able to do so. Chocolate makes me feel good after eating a bit. Coffee makes me feel good after drinking it. I had my first slice of pizza just the other day- it felt good after eating it. (I imagine that if I eat too much of the above I won’t be feeling quite so good- after seeing what my bathroom scale has to say!) Motivation- It’s what kept me going. What kept me going? My Wife, My Daughter- they are what kept me going. (And my Mom- she made me promise to keep going too). (No Dad though- that’s another story) I was needed - my family needed me. It wasn’t much. But sometimes that was the only thing that kept me going- was the thought that they needed me. I cannot remember how many times I woke up just as it was time to get up- and simply didn’t want to keep going anymore. I didn’t want to face yet another day of constant anxiety or fear. But I got up and did it anyways. Snuggles with the wife- helped me, the physical touch was something I needed. And Snuggles releases a neurotransmitter- Oxytocin. And there were some phrases that helped motivate me through many a hard day- and they’re still something I occasionally have to fall back on when things get tough mentally: 1) Be Here Now 2) Accept 3) Pain is Mandatory- Suffering is Optional These three phrases tie in with each other. #1 Be Here Now; is the motivation that you are only in the now- and for you to not fixate upon the timeline of your withdrawal. The past is done, the future will come, but it’s best to focus on the immediate now and what you can do with it. #2 is about the immediate now- refusing to accept what’s going on in withdrawal will just make it worse. By Accepting that this is the way things are- you actually gain a sort of control over it all # 3- There is the Pain of Withdrawal- you can find ways to cope with the pain. Suffering is what comes about when you refuse to accept what is. You can choose to not be the person subjected to an endless misery of withdrawal. Yes I was in Withdrawal- but I choose to be more than a person in withdrawal- I chose instead to try and enjoy life as much as I could in between the wave crests. In both my benzo and antidepressant withdrawal blogs- I griped something fierce about it all. For that I make no apology. For I also chose to try and grab onto whatever little pleasures and triumphs I could garner when I was able to. Nature- There’s something about the forest, or even alone time next to a lake that helped me to calm down after a particularly grueling week or day. I got a few spiritual moments from the interplay of light in the clouds along with the wind in the leaves. Those few moments came at a time that I needed them. Music- I remember reading in a Science Magazine- that Music gets just about every area in the brain running. And that’s something that you need. The pills make our brains ‘soft’, music helps reboot it, it’ll evoke memories both good and bad. It’ll make you cry, it’ll make you laugh. And that’s what you need to do to get your neurotransmitters kicking in again. Beans- So what’s the big to do about beans? Gastrointestinal Health is paramount. Even though all of the other stuff I’ve listed above helped- I’ve also still had a number of problems involving Cortisol Spikes, the one thing that helped me well with that (after the Taurine) were Beans. I’ve found that the addition of a couple of tablespoons worth of Black Beans with dinner- seemed to lessen the number and frequency of Cortisol Spikes. I’m not exactly sure why this happens- though I have my suspicions. From what I understand- they’re a good source of something called Oligosaccharides. I learned about them after watching a documentary about Human Breast Milk. Apparently- Human Breast Milks’ primary ingredients include: 1) Water, 2) Fats, 3) Proteins, and 4) Oligosaccharides. So what are they? They’re a form of sugar that humans cannot digest. Now why on earth would humans produce something that babies cannot digest? Apparently the oligosaccharides are digested by a form of bacteria in the human gut- Beneficial Bacteria. The kind of bacteria that not only promotes our health in our guts but also helps us from - amongst other things- getting depressed. Long story short- Beans help you calm down and helps to prevent you from getting depression. Weird huh? Orgasms- Orgasms make you feel better. Orgasms release several feel good neurotransmitters. If you can- go for it. Hitachi wands are helpful in that regard for some folks. What’s it like for me now? I still get depressive. I still have bad days. But I’m also having good days. I’m enjoying life again. My hobbies are fun again. I’m spending time with my wife enjoying the amenities that my house and internet has to offer. (Netflix!) I’m honestly laughing again. For the longest time I forced myself to. After a while- I was able to give an honest laugh. That was a relief. Laughing- makes me feel better. Now- I can laugh spontaneously. Laughter releases Neurotransmitters. Crying- that too was near impossible for me. Now- I cry every few days. Crying- makes me feel better. I’m not up to crying spontaneously- but I’m working on it. I appreciate the time I have with my wife. I appreciate the time I have with my daughter. These times are so precious to me now. Weight loss- I still get hungry and I’m inclined to overeat if I’m not careful. Somehow I’ve still managed to lose about three pants sizes. I’ve still a ways to go, but such is a nice feeling. On the antidepressants- even mild hunger felt like I starving to death. In fact, there were times that I kept shoving food down my throat despite being so full that I was vomiting out food- but I was still famished- I couldn't achieve satiation. Now- it’s not. It’s bearable. I feel hunger, and it’s easily satisfied. I’ve lost a lot of my health due to trusting the medical doctors. I now am short one gall bladder- due to the gastrointestinal upsets my body underwent from the initial cold turkey. It was a journey of discovery for me when I found out that so many medical doctors- just don’t give a damn about folks’ suffering. Compassion Fatigue it’s called. My antidepressants- also caused me to react to allergens even more violently- I now need a CPAP to breathe at night- due to an Emergency Room visit in which some idiot botched my intubation during a visit due to a food impaction in my esophagus caused by a food allergy. During that little escapade they also managed to pierce my esophagus and I came close to needing a transfusion. And it managed to screw up my trachea too, Joy. For some reason- I find I cannot trust the Medicos as much as I did before. Why should I? They give us pills when they know they shouldn’t. During my withdrawal- I ended up going to the ER at least 6 or 7 times for things. On 5 of those visits- they gave me a scrip for Oxycodone tablets. Only two of which I put in for at the time. The other 3 I just tore up and threw away. And of those I kept- I used maybe a half dozen tablets- the rest of the contents of the bottles- I threw away. Day 600. March 11, 2017. 4 months shy of my two year mark. That’s the two year mark after tapering off of my antidepressant. That’s not including the time I spent from going cold turkey to now. Let’s see, including that turns out to be: 1048 days. Nasty. I’ve lost nearly 2 decades of my life to this crap. Thanks for nothing there Mr. Hippocratic Oath. And I’ve found that I’ve been having an issue with a short temper quite often of late. It could be a form of PTSD, it could be part of my personality that I’ve always had but never learned to control or channel. If so- then it’s past time for me to learn some anger/frustration management techniques. Which I'm doing now. Now, I'm having to relearn how to be a mature and responsible adult. It's an interesting time.
  4. Moderator Note: link to Moonpie's benzo thread - Moonpie: Need help Ativan weight tapering My name is Moonpie. I feel so blessed to have found this site. I was put on Ativan and BuSpar and Lexapro, one at a time for a medication thyroid mess up. For eight months my thyroid was going crazy in my anxiety was off the charts. It normalized in March and I am trying to take her off the Ativan. I'm extremely sensitive to it. I just realized I have been doing a 5 per cent reduction instead of 10 and I have still had withdrawl symptoms! I am using a file and a jeweler scale. My taper started at .069 in weight and I am down to .035 in all three doses. But I think I took a little too much off last time and for the past week I've had panic anxiety nausea and depression. I am holding this reduction on the third dose for 3 weeks now as strong symptoms started the end of last week and continue. I had labs done to see if it was thyroid and am waiting on results. My 1st question is, should I be tapering on only one dose until it goes to zero instead of doing 1 every two weeks. Because if I continue this way I will go off of all of them at the same time. I appreciate any help. Have really been discouraged and frightened With this past symptoms
  5. I have been on lexapro for a short time of 1 month taking 5mg. Over the past few days maybe 5 days I have reduced this to 2.5 mg. I’d like to know if I’m tapering correctly for this short time period and if not how should I approach doing so? I’m also taking 1mg of lorazepam for sleep for the past 1 month which I’d eventually like to taper. thanks
  6. Hello Everyone, I am down to 1mg of Clonazapam .5 twice a day. I take .5 at 10:00pm and .5 at 6:00am. I now wake up ever morning in terror. Dizziness. Anxiety. I just lay there for hours praying it will subside. I tapered off Clonazapam years ago and had the same thing happen until I was finally off. I have been tested for high cortisol and it was borderline high. The dr. Gave me meds to lower cortisol did not really help. I have kids and I am basically non functional until the afternoon. Any suggestions? Should I cross over to Valium? All input appreciated.
  7. Hi, thank you for having me. I began taking Ativan in 2018 for panic. I took it for 3 months PRN. Once I stopped the terror started. I wound up the in the ER where I was sent on my merry way with a bag full of Zopiclone and told that they would make me feel better. They did not. I got increasingly worse, over the Zopiclone period. I then saw a new doctor who diagnosed me with benzo withdrawal. He put me on 5mgs of Valium. I tapered this very slowly over the course of 10 months. It was a great success and I felt very good. I got down to 0.25mgs and stayed at that dose for 18 months as i was scared of the jump, and just needed to be able to take care of my kids. Nov 12 2021 I had a huge setback to my recovery and was basically thrown into acute. It was awful and so scary for me given I had done that before. I wasn’t sleeping or eating. I was becoming obsessed with my withdrawal. I had never up-dosed once in my taper and it was promise I made to myself when I started this journey. I did end up updosing a few times (this is in my signature). When I CT’d in 2018 my worst symptom was this horrible fear that I would hurt my family, I’ve never felt that before, I would never act on it but it was always there. I also did not feel like myself and spent days and weeks trying to find her. These feelings started in November again. Updosing made no difference and the terror continued for me. I am now trying to hold at 1mg of Valium to see if it helps at all (so far it feels like nothing). My doctor has prescribed pregabalin to try to help me cope. I will say it did work at 300mgs but I felt totally drunk and sleepy. I took this dose twice - so total usage 600mgs. I don’t want to be on such high of a dose, but now because of the above experience I am terrified I will withdrawal if I don’t taper correctly, so I need to taper after 2 times? I haven’t decided yet if I am ready to commit to another drug, but I am scared. Thank you for reading
  8. My story begins about eleven years ago. In 2011 my best friend died, and I began to have debilitating anxiety and a horrible fear of death. A family doctor made it worse by giving me xanax and lexapro, but I knew nothing about either one. I started having interdose withdrawal with the xanax, so they gave me ativan. Praise the Lord though, I found a good doctor that placed me on Zoloft, which worked well. After 5 years though, with my wife and I losing another great friend, then a stillborn, both grandparents, and two miscarriages all in a year and half the zoloft stopped working. I continually had ruminating thoughts that would not stop, so a psychiatrists placed my on Prozac, and eventually moved it up to 60mgs, along with valium to help ease the transition. I eventually weaned off of the vailum (which went really well), and stayed on Prozac ever since. After taking a year off from work, I slowly tapered off of prozac over that year, and now have been off of prozac roughly two months. I seemed to be doing well but two weeks ago the anxiety started to appear, and then stopped for about a week and a half. Today though, my anxiety and fear returned with a vengeance for most of the day. I start a new job in July, and I am working on my dissertation for my doctorate. I am seriously considering starting back on my prozac, and my pyschiatrist told me if I needed to, just start taking the prozac at 20mg again. The smallest dose I have is 20mg capsules, so I'm not sure how to start with a smaller dose, which seems to be wiser than starting right back on 20mg. My anxiety was so bad last night that I did not sleep. I had to take 5mg of valium to get just a little relief. This morning I reinstated 5mg of prozac by separating the 20mg capsules into 20ml of water. Any help or encouragement would be greatly appreciated.
  9. Hey guys, I'm just going to create a topic about myself, my current situation and my experience with antidepressants/benzos as well as ask for some advice for what to do next. This is going to be a full picture. Lorazepam = Ativan Sertraline = Zoloft I'm a 22 year old. Starting the 19th November - I caught respiratory infection due to being extremely stressed and highly anxious (never before seen in my life, literally pulling my hair out from irrational worries) Starting the 26th November - I started to get headaches and nausea, most likely due to this stress. On the 1st December - stress ended, but the nausea and loss of appetite with the headaches persisted. 20th December - I started to take a beta blocker for stress due to paranoia about the headaches (thinking it could be a tumour due to the continued headaches with loss of appetite) 23rd December - I was prescribed Sertraline to help with the stress and freaking out about the headaches and health issues. I took one pill, where I noticed my pupils went completely dilated for the next week. I didn't continue the drug after that one pill as it gave me insomnia. It may be worth considering serotonin syndrome? Around the 23rd December - I started to get a numbness squeezing/bandlike pain in my foot that climbed all the way up to the top of my leg over the next few days, my current hypothesis that this was either, stress, the beta blocker, or starting the sertraline that caused this. 25/26/27 December - I went to Accident and Emergency, where the Doctors thought I could have MS and didn't consider ask about current drugs. This sent me into a big spiral as I worried a lot about this. Around this time my headaches, nausea and loss of appetite stopped. 27th December - I started Lorazepam (2mg) 31st December - Started up Sertraline 50mg at the advice of the doctors to help with my stress. My head MRI came back fine, all normal (So not MS). 5th January - Muscle cramps, and widespread pain with bandlike sensations in legs and arms. 14th January - 3mg Lorazepam with and increase to 100mg advised by my doctor. 19th January - Tapered off lorazepam and started to notice stiffness in back, legs and wrists. 26th January - completed off lorazepam. 1st February - Reduction of symptoms around this time, except obvious lorazepam withdrawal of shaking and sweating. The only other symptom that persisted was very tight calves. 2nd February - Reduced to 50mg of Sertraline. 6th February - Started to get a whole host of symptoms -Burning Legs and lower spine, muscle spasms, vibrating left eye, nausea, diarrhoea, dark stools, less appetite, insomnia, numbness/tightness in limbs, vertigo, enhanced smell - (I could smell empty wine glass from the other side of the room, slight instability. 10th February - Reduction to 25mg Sertraline. 14th February - Saw a neurologist who told me the sertraline had nothing to do with this since I was on such a low dose, but also said everything seemed fine from an neurological assessment (I could walk fine, I could feel everything he done). Thus, he told me to stop taking the Sertraline completely. ( I now see this as a big mistake.) Present day (3rd March) - Many of those symptoms have gone, although currently persisting: Much rarer burning (less than before), muscle spasms (less than before), slight instability, nausea, tight bandlike sensations in legs and arms, hyper sensitivity to cold (causes pain if something too cold touches me, almost like my nerves are hyper sensitive to everything. I did start to have really bad physical ticks for a week after stopping the sertraline completely, but they seem to have stopped completely now. I also got brain zaps, but that seems to be very rare now. I was thinking about going back on the Sertraline to help with the burning sensations and muscle pains (and other symptoms.) It's interesting to note that these were also the same symptoms I had first coming on/ upping my sertraline dose. Does anyone have any advice whether it would be best to: A.) Wait out the withdrawal, and if so, how long until I'm back to normal again? Will these symptoms eventually go? The muscle tight band pain is definitely the worst effect I have. B.) Reinstate at a low dose. If so, how low a dose should I reinstate back at? How long should I stay on that dose for before dropping the dose? How much should I drop the dose? I also wonder if some of these effects could be lorazepam protracted withdrawal coinciding with the sertraline side effects/withdrawal. It seems the lorazepam could have been masking some of the side effects I may have had from the sertraline. Thank you for reading, any advice would be much appreciated. I'll be sure to return the favour once I'm well and help others suffering from withdrawal and antidepressant mis-advice from doctors.
  10. Free from Zoloft and Benzos After 25+ Years of Use One-year post taper “success story” – http://survivingantidepressants.org Elbee (male) - August 27, 2020 At the time of this success story post, I have passed the one-year mark (15+ months) living drug-free. I am speaking to you from “the other side” of hell to let you know I made it through the nightmare of psychiatric drug withdrawal -- and so can you. I want to start by saying that everyone’s withdrawal from psychiatric drugs is going to differ – no two paths are the same. While there will be commonalities in what we each experience, there will also be differences. I also believe that none of us are uniquely or irreparably “broken,” and that each of us can find a path to living much fuller, healthier lives in greater freedom. To be clear, I had doubts throughout this process . . . believing that somehow, I was MORE “broken,” and that I wouldn’t find my way out of the darkness. But the natural, innate healing power we each possess is profoundly AWESOME, and it quietly, patiently works in the background in each of our lives. . . even if we can’t see it, and even if we don’t trust it. For me, the psychiatric drug withdrawal / tapering process turned out to be an invitation to learn how to live my life differently. It became clear to me in this journey that I could never go back to some idealized place I vaguely imagined myself clinging to . . . I could only move forward to somewhere I had not yet been. I need to be honest: It is still hard to revisit and write about just how painful this drug withdrawal process was. Now that I’m feeling so much better, a part of me wants to forget the whole ordeal . . . as if looking in a rear-view mirror, driving ever-further away. And the reality is that this rear-view mirror perspective is very much real -- I’m SO grateful not to be suffocating in such intense pain anymore! But it is also true I will carry the scars of this experience with me for the rest of my life. It is clear to me now that some of me died through this drug withdrawal process. It is also true that the most precious parts of me came back to life. And I am still healing. I was very much disabled through the most intensive parts of the drug taper. I was on these psych drugs for panic attacks, anxiety, and depression my entire adult life, over 25 years. Additionally, I was drinking alcohol abusively, and relying on multiple pots of coffee and a pack of cigarettes to get me through each day. Even before I had decided to get off the meds, I was utterly exhausted most of the time, barely functional, and unconsciously stumbling through life like a zombie. I knew I had to fundamentally change how I was living. The first step in my detox efforts was to quit alcohol in April of 2014, 30 years after taking my first drink as a kid. Thankfully, I was able to release alcohol from my life relatively easily. Whatever boost alcohol had given me previously was gone, and it was clear to me as a 44 year old man that the devastating hangovers I experienced were getting more difficult. Then, over that following summer and under doctor supervision, I “tapered” entirely off both the Lorazepam and Zoloft that I had been taking for 24 years. I experienced tons of anxiety in the process, but I did it, and after the 4-month ordeal, I thought I was in the clear. Unfortunately, about six weeks after taking my last dose of Zoloft, what I now know to be protracted withdrawal hit, and my life spun into a depth of hell that words cannot describe. Instead of re-instating the same drugs I had been taking, the doctors took me on an 8-month “trial-and-error” roller coaster ride of psychiatric drug experimentation. I finally ended up on higher doses of the drugs I had originally quit, plus Remeron added in for good measure. Through all of this, I landed in a very bad place – exhausted, functionally disabled, unable to work, and unsure what to do next. I had some savings in the bank I could live on for a few years, so I decided to “hole up” to do a new taper, following the much slower tapering protocol of the SurvivingAntidepressants.org website. But my savings were limited, so I used the 10% reduction protocol as a baseline, and pushed the taper as fast as I could without killing myself in the process. I’m not sure I would suggest this approach to anyone else, but in my situation, that’s what I did. Note: I’m going to refrain from listing out all the symptomatic horrors I experienced (there were many) as I write this success story. Here is the link, if you’re interested, to my introductory thread which details my four-year psychiatric drug withdrawal process: https://www.survivingantidepressants.org/topic/11862-%E2%98%BC-elbee-25-years-of-meds/ And I want to take a moment here to say how incredibly grateful I am to @Altostrata, @Shep @brassmonkey, @bubble, @apace41, @Gridley, @Rhiannon (her writings), @JanCarol, @KarenB, @ChessieCat, @Petunia, @scallywag and all the folks at SurvivingAntidepressants.org who helped save my life. I also came across Robert Whitaker’s book, Anatomy of an Epidemic around the same time I found this site, and from these resources, I knew I had stumbled into truth. It became clear to me that so much of what the mainstream medical establishment had told me about these drugs, and about my so-called “chemical imbalance,” was false -- I had been lied to. SurvivingAntidepressants.org helped me anchor into this truth and set me on a new course. THANK YOU! With these new resources, I came to understand that getting off the drugs wasn’t just a simple matter of refraining from ingesting chemicals, or even about waiting for those chemicals to dissipate out of my body. I learned that my brain had restructured itself around the presence of the drugs all these years and that by removing the drugs, my brain would have to, very slowly, restructure itself again to a healthy state. The metaphor of a plant (my brain) growing on a trellis (the drugs) for support is so profound to me. How can I expect to abruptly rip out the trellis and think that it won’t damage the plant in devastating ways? This metaphor was such a clear illustration to me of how a neuroplastic human brain builds tolerance, and how we can so easily become entangled in the physiological mechanisms of addiction. And to be very clear, our brains develop tolerance to psychiatric drugs just like they do street drugs, and the mechanics of addiction and withdrawal in each are the same. Gaining this knowledge and allowing it to sink in was probably one of the most important early milestones in my healing process. In preparing for writing this success story, I re-read my entire introductory thread. Several pivotal posts stood out to me as other milestones in my healing process, and while this testimonial might go long, I think it could be useful to touch on some of them . . . In my very first post, I am already talking about the value of meditation. Sitting with myself quietly and focusing on my breath helped me slow down my mind and learn to relax. As I continued with the practice, though, I began experiencing periods of discomfort. I had initially taken the psychiatric drugs to avoid feeling uncomfortable feelings, and as I practiced meditating space was again created for those feelings to arise. Learning to slowly sit with and tolerate whatever thoughts and feelings arose began to nullify my need to run away, and therefore, lesson my urge to drug the discomfort. Meditation became a cornerstone of my self-care practice, and self-care is what I ultimately found to replace the drugs. Next milestone -- about a year later, I wrote an entry about a decision I was struggling with on whether to consult with a renowned psychiatrist. A relative was able to get me an appointment for a psychiatric medication evaluation from a “leader in the field” (at the bargain price of $2,000). Looking back, it was then I decided I no longer believed in the efficacy of psychiatric drugs, nor the system that deals in them. I wrote: Next, in the summer of 2016, still early in my tapering and recovery process, I went on a 111-day, 9,000-mile solo road trip across the U.S. In retrospect, I was probably looking for something “out there” that was missing “in here.” I did a four-day vision fast in the wilderness, hiked a 14,000-foot mountain, roamed Death Valley, did a week-long silent meditation retreat, camped under redwoods, hiked numerous National Parks, etc. Was it really a good idea to take this pilgrimage in such a compromised state? I can’t say for sure, but it’s what I did, and I think it cracked through defenses that needed to open. In the Hoh Forest of Olympic National Park in Washington state, I experienced a release of emotions like I had never felt before. It was in that moment I finally realized that releasing stored emotional blockages could ease my anxiety: Another milestone: Upon returning home to Florida later that fall, I dove more deeply into my involvement with the Adult Children of Alcoholics and Dysfunctional Families (ACA) 12-Step program. In conjunction with doing EMDR with a skilled, compassionate trauma therapist, ACA helped me crack through layers of protective childhood denial that I had carried into adulthood. Some people advise NOT deliberately digging into the unconscious too much while going through psychiatric drug withdrawal, but my path has been that of heavy digging. I accepted living in a disabled state for a period of time and felt that if I was going to get off these drugs, I needed to address what drove me to take them in the first place. By early summer of 2017, my commitment to this recovery approach had strengthened. Along with addressing the trauma associated with childhood family dysfunction, I opened another door . . . into the shame and terror I experienced hiding as a closeted young gay boy and gay teen. I had initially come out 25 years earlier at age 20 (the same time I started taking the psych drugs), but that was only part of my truth I was hiding. The secrets of my sexual orientation were built upon the secrets of having grown up in family dysfunction: Homophobia turned out to be compounding trauma, and I had been living in a closet within a closet. I had more inner work to do. Perhaps one of my most significant milestones was realizing how important it was for me to take the lead in my healing, and how easily I had deferred to the “expertise of authorities” in my life. By June of 2017, I had navigated my way off the benzos completely, and I recognized the importance of building an internal sense of trust – connecting with my more authentic self to discover a new inner compass. Despite appearing outwardly confident most of my life, inner trust was something I lacked. By allowing myself to fully feel, I had opened to recognizing my own authentic needs, to directly and respectfully communicating my needs, and to setting healthy limits and boundaries. By learning these important skills that I had missed earlier in life, I discovered greater internal trust with myself, and greater discernment in trusting others. By January of 2018, I had another important insight: I more fully recognized I was going through an internal chemical withdrawal process in addition to detoxing from the drugs I was ingesting. Behavioral (or process) compulsions and addictions all have physiological and neurological correlates, and I had been heavily “dosing” throughout my life using my own “internal drug store.” This realization profoundly shifted my perspective on my psychiatric drug withdrawal process, seeing it in a more comprehensive context. A lot of my recovery has involved working with an “inner critic” that had been driving me most of my life, born and sustained from a lack of unconditional love. Ironically, this harshness was so pervasive that I had never consciously known it was there. My inner critic constantly pushed me into the extremes of all-nothing thinking. Again, meditative practices more than anything helped me identify this was going on, and ACA reparenting (inner child work) has allowed me to soften it. By the end of 2018, I started discovering something that had evaded me my whole life – moderation, and a general sense of “OK-ness.” By April 2019, I had found a new pace in life to accompany my new inner compass, and I was nearing the full completion of my psychiatric drug taper. I was one-year benzo-free at this point, and at times, I was overwhelmed with heights of new sensations and emotions. I was feeling things I hadn’t experienced since I was a teenager because I had been drugged my entire adult life. It was overpowering in many ways, but I was so grateful to be “awakening” to a much more fully human life. On April 28, 2019, I was finally free from Zoloft, and my psychiatric drug taper was complete. I had found a way out of the darkness, and I had survived. I couldn’t remember having ever felt so alive. So, while this isn’t my entire recovery story, I’m fulfilling my promise to report back and share my continuing journey with others. Where do things stand today, 15 months after taking a psychiatric drug for the last time ever? No need to panic. I’m not experiencing depersonalization, derealization (DP/DR), or panic attacks in frightening ways. I do still feel what I might call different states of consciousness, but often there is a positive, expansive quality to these experiences. Perhaps some might call this bliss? I haven’t really found ways to talk about it yet clearly, but I don’t experience panic attacks in the ways I used to. I still have fears of them returning, but less so with time. I also get “eerie” feelings now and again, but I have found ways to work with that when it happens, and it doesn’t usually last long. Scariest weirdness has ceased. Most of the “unexplainable” adverse reactions I experienced don’t happen anymore. I would get terrible flu-like symptoms for days at a time . . . hot flashes and chills, body aches, cramps, twitches, headaches, fogginess and disorientation, exhaustion, etc. Sometimes my heart would start racing for no apparent reason, or I would have trouble breathing. I had chronic digestion issues. I had intense agoraphobia, even paranoia at times. I had problems making the simplest decisions. All of this, for the most part, has subsided. Consistent rest. My sleep has changed dramatically, and I’m so grateful. I have struggled with sleep my entire life . . . unable to fall asleep at night and feeling anxious and “hungover” with crippling anxiety each morning. For as long as I can remember, I wanted nothing more than to sleep “normally” from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. and wake-up feeling well-rested. Today, more times than not, my sleep resembles very much what I used to wish for. I wrote an entry summarizing what I’ve done to address my sleep issues here. Keep gently working with triggers. I still have intense anxiety at times and find myself in hypervigilant states. I’ve come to understand this as a trauma response, and I can usually identify what has triggered me and/or how my inner critic has become activated. I’ve developed self-care routines that help to reduce these reactions, and that help me come out of this state much more quickly and easily. Some old wounds have healed permanently – some things that used to trigger me no longer do. AND I want to emphasize there are days now, thankfully, I live virtually anxiety-free. Self-care (reparenting) is my new drug. I had SO much resistance to doing self-care my whole life (for many reasons I won’t get into here). And by self-care, I don’t mean treating myself to a spa day (though that probably doesn’t hurt). I mean the day-in and day-out routines of physically, intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually tending to myself like I’m the most precious being in the world. Self-care is what got me to where I am today, and it will be the practice of my lifetime. Don’t overdo it. As my life continues to get fuller, I can easily start “checking-out” again. If I stay dissociated for too long, I will pay for it. If I overcommit while on autopilot, I will have adverse reactions when I reconnect with myself. If I try to shortcut too much on the self-care, I will most definitely feel it, and I will struggle. Moving forward, I have to be very careful not to take on too much too quickly, and simply take next best steps. The worst is over. I’ve come to accept that I will never know how much of the excruciating symptoms I experienced these past years were due directly to the psychiatric drug withdrawal, versus how much was due to all the “inner work” I was doing. What I can say is that the symptoms from folks going through psychiatric drug withdrawal and folks doing inner transformative (trauma) work tend to be very much the same. It’s uncanny really, and I can’t explain it. But these two processes seem to very much mirror each other. What I can say is that while there will still be “windows and waves” as my brain keeps healing, and while I still have more “inner work” to do, I’m confident the heaviest lifting for me is done now. Perhaps most indicative of the healing I’ve experienced, I’m feeling well enough now that I’m back in school earning a Master’s in Social Work (MSW) – I’m going to become a therapist. While I’m a bit uneasy stepping towards healthcare systems that betrayed me so deeply, I also feel this is how I can be of most benefit. I’ve come to fully believe that my wounds are intrinsically linked to my gifts, and as I continue to heal my wounds, my gifts will become increasingly available. I’ve been doing volunteer work for some time now, which has helped me to “move back out into the world,” and I hope to transition into paid work soon. I’ve been meeting with people in support capacities, and I envision “coaching” people at some point until I more formally earn my credentials. I plan to be very open about my history with psychiatric drugs, as well as my recovery process. I journaled extensively all throughout my recovery process, and perhaps I will share the “long version” of my story in the future (yes, this is the short version). For now, writing this success story is an important next step in my “coming out.” Thank you for witnessing my healing. Elbee-Success-Story_Free from Zoloft and Benzos After 25 years on them.pdf
  11. Hello, I’ve been on this site for months and finally decided to post. I can’t even write because I’m in so much pain so my wife is typing for me. I tapered for 6 months off of lamictal, lexapro and Wellbutrin (which I was on for 16 years) and took my last dose in June. Since then I’ve had all the symptoms-loss of self, insomnia, nerve pain, headaches, brain fog/feeling dumb like my brain doesn’t work, emotional symptoms- anxiety, depression, etc., and the worst of all is akathesia. This feeling of discomfort in my body is hell. I want to crawl out of my skin. It feels like my body is on fire. Ive had twitching and convulsing and lots of suicidal ideation but the inner akathesia is the worst. I’m currently at atmc and they pushed Ativan on me. I eventually gave in because I was in so much pain and I regret it with every ounce of my being. Ive been on it for 3 weeks now and I’m so scared. I don’t know what to do. Should I slowly taper? They’re telling me to just stop because it hasn’t been that long, but what do I do with the akathesia pain? I’ve gone down to 1/2 dose the last two nights and it’s been ok but the akathesia has started to return. While I was tapering I was working with a therapist who did “journey work”. Basically I had a full day session on MDMA, another one with mdma and psyilicibin, and another one with mushrooms and ketamine late june. He also had me microdosing for a few months in the spring but I stopped that because it wasn’t doing much. ive read that reinstating lamictal helped alto. Since I was already on it I’ve considered it at a very low dose like she suggests, but I haven’t found a psychiatrist I trust and I’m pretty scared of everything now that I’m living in hell. I’ve already been hospitalized once and to atmc and another mental health facility. Barely holding it together. any advice would be really appreciated. Thanks Ps. My testerone is really low too and I’ve been doing injections twice a week. Im wondering if I should stop that or continue. Everything in my body is thrown off 2008- lexapro 40 and Wellbutrin 450 2011- cold turkey went off everything. Deep depression. Reinstated pretty quickly 2018 tapered lexapro down to 20, Wellbutrin down to 300 added lamictal at 400mg 2021- January I started to slowly taper over the next 6 months. 2021 april/may/June’s mdma, mushrooms/psilocybin (microdosing) and ketamine. I continued the ketamine into October. 2021 September started testosterone because I was tested and was very low 2021 september- went to the hospital and got Delodid for stomach pain (very suicidal the next day) 2021- October lithium for 1.5 weeks December 2021-now- Ativan I take many supplements- fish oil, magnesium, theanine, etc.
  12. Hi, I’m new and this is my first post. I have been tapering off 10 mgs liquid Prozac since September 28, 2021. As of February 9, 2022 I am down to 3.6 mgs. I am a slow metabolizer of Prozac so the half life makes adjustments easy but the side effects are painful. My psychologist, who retired December 2021, who I went to off and on for 13, told my new psychiatrist June 2021 his opinion that I no longer needed antidepressants and needed my Ativan only rarely, as they were, in his opinion, now creating the anxiety and depression. My psychiatrist, after speaking with my psychologist and with me has agreed, the medication, especially the antidepressant is not what I need this the reason for tapering off. Which was the reason I tapered off lexapro in 2018. After a two and a half year taper down from five to one, my then psych pa told me to stop. That didn’t go well. One month later I started on five mgs liquid Prozac and from July 2018 to October 2018 , after another doctor took over, and he slowly raised me to 20 mgs. Because my psychologist and I both were in agreement, with my doctor at that time, in 2020 I did a 4 month taper from 40 mgs (I was only on that dose a week because it really messed me up, the dose that worked best for me was ten, why I went to forty is long story)to nothing in five months. Doctor said it was okay to do it this way. That went well until withdrawal hit three months later. Back to February 2022. With my last dose changeover a week ago, I have gone the gambit of emotions. From here on out it’s smaller dose changes. But my issue now is, (Prozac has always had a stimulant (ramped up feeling) effect on me,) I feel so ramped up now physically I’m having to take more Ativan. I have texted my psychiatrist about this but still have yet to hear back from him. This ramped up feeling is physical and it hasn’t really effected me emotionally. Which is odd for me. A good thing, a great and wonderful blessing is, it hasn’t triggered the suicidal ideation that Prozac can cause and it hasn’t triggered anxiety, just makes me so nervous I feel like jumping out of my skin, in all the 17+ years I have been on and changed or tapered medicine, this is new to me. Does anyone have thought about this? I am a Christian and I have a strong and close relationship with Christ. Just wanted to add that important information.
  13. Posting this success story is long overdue. I am pleased to say that I am fully recovered. I was mostly recovered at around 18-24 months but still suffered the odd niggling wave. I have been entirely symptom free for over 2 years now. I have so much respect for the people on here, giving support to those who are suffering. Thank you. I don't come on here much but I do check in. I'm open to PMs, especially if I can help anyone suffering during and after a reaction.
  14. Hello and nice to meet everyone. I have been reading as much as I can the past two days and feel like it is time to introduce myself. THANK YOU for everything you all have contributed, this site is a game changer. So many questions answered and a new journey begins. You can see my drug history and four month taper in my signature over the spring/summer (my psychiatrist at the time recommended two weeks, go figure). I had planned on a few crappy months going into this. Oh if I had only found this site first... Withdrawal didn’t kick in for at least two weeks, and slowly at first. I spent all of September and October dodging and weaving through good days and bad days, which I observed simply as “anxiety” (my original diagnosis) but with unusual physical symptoms. I journaled and kept calendar entries, mostly to record when I had to resort to Ativan (usually 0.5mg, occasionally 1mg). Other than for flight anxiety (two trips), I can count 17 times I took it over those two months, and only as a last resort. I had two sudden midnight “surges” (after feeling great) with shivers, out of control heart rate, even some diarrhea, which would last hours. I was convinced it was Serotonin Syndrome. The second one took me to urgent care the next morning for a heart checkup. A few days later a new psychiatrist then put me on Propranolol (beta blocker) as my primary concern was my heart. Propranolol immediately helped me observe and evaluate the “anxiety” I was experiencing which helped a lot. The new psychiatrist also had me stop 5-HTP after only a few weeks which was probably smart. I speak to him again this Friday, not sure what to share/ask given what I am learning here. I am now clear on the fact that I am riding waves of withdrawal symptoms, anxiety responds to the unusual feelings and emotions created by the withdrawal and adds its own icing to the cake, but I am focused on observing and not reacting, and doing my best to “ride it out”. The most unusual part of this “pattern” has been the timing of it all - usually kicking into high gear in the evenings after dark (earlier and earlier in my part of the world). I am nervous about traveling this weekend (short flight) but also realize I need to try and have as “normal” a life as I can stand under these conditions. My wife is awesome, understanding and super supportive. At 12 weeks in, I am not sure reinstatement is an option for me, even though I still have 5mg Trintellix in my drawer, and could try taking microdoses. Leaning toward a no, but I realize I may have run out of time to make that decision? I have read almost all the “required reading” but would still appreciate an opinion on that one. Also considering stopping my multivitamin, turmeric and mulberry leaf extract and taking only my “Super Omega-3 Plus” (Fish Oil) and picking up magnesium pills. I just started the Probiotic so I could drop it too, but not feeling like it would impact all of this either way? I am intrigued by the Reishi 415 blend to get some non-psychedelic mushroom love. Lastly my wife and I are thinking about therapeutic float tanks (she would love to do it again) and I have begun using our hot tub as part of my daily routine, along with many failed attempts at meditating. Anxiety was never something I handled well to begin with, and I realize now I must absolutely be on my game to dance this intricate dance. I will post any new thoughts, findings and curiosities on this thread as appropriate. I appreciate everyone’s support! PS- I opted to not use the appropriate abbreviations as I wanted to easily share this summary with family
  15. Matt Samet's book about his ordeal, Death Grip, will be published in February by St. Martin's Press. At 7 years, he is fully recovered. See his article http://www.madinamerica.com/2012/12/the-other-side/
  16. Hello. I’m Brydon age 36 male. I am so happy to have found this site. I really hope someone is able to shed some light on this as my doctor l, er doctors, psychiatrist and every other medical professional has no idea. i had been on citalopram for 9 years. Starting at 10mg and have a bit of a anxiety increase about 3 years ago I was upped by my doctor to 20mg. i seemed to do great on this and it got me back to eating well l, working out and feeling like my old self again. however just this past august I had a long road trip coming up that I have been flaking on for years as my anxiety was still a fear on long trips. I conquered the trip and felt amazing after. When I got home I was so proud of myself. I went out camping the following weekend and had the most liberating time I’ve had in years. Suddenly when I got back home the nightmare started. I was getting bad anxiety, heart pounding, head pressure, in a 24/7 state of panic where even my home was an uncomfortable place. I tried riding it out but it got worse and worse until I was having attacks like never before constantly. I went to the ER. Had. A heart scan and checkup and I was told I was fine and given ativan. I still kept having the same feeling nom stop. A psychatirist I found decided to take me off cipralex and try some new anti psychotics with Ativan daily as well. This didn’t seem to help a lot. The anxiety curbed but I felt so weird and gross on them. I ended up having a mental breakdown going to see my family doctor and he recommended Zoloft at 150mg. Zoloft has been terrible for me. I get an itchy throat when I take them. Head clamp feeling. Throat feels sore, head aches and more. I tapered for a month and a half from 150 to 50mg. Then I stoppped. Today I woke up day 3 of no medications and the zaps were happening anytime I moved a muscle or moved my eyes. I decided to take my pill right in the morning of 25mg being my lowest dose of Zoloft to save me issues. i am still a wreck and now my throat hurts again. can anyone tell me why my cipralex would have crapped out that way? I was doing so well. Do you think it’s worth reinstating the cipralex tonight before bed? The Zoloft has only made things worse for me and I feel like I’m at the end of the road after 6 long months of complete hell. I’ve been eating well taking fish oil supplements and doing push-ups when I’m not on the verge of zapping out but nothing works. Please any advice or thoughts could really save my life right now. if anything what would you do in my situation at this moment? thanks you so much everyone
  17. Community of Healing, hello. In December of 2014, just a bit more than 6 years ago, I came to this site after already weathering two years of nearly life-terminating withdrawal. I'd been on psychotropic medications for most of my life and in my estimation, my nervous system had decided it'd had enough. From February 2012 to approximately March of 2014, I felt I was literally living in hell. I was hospitalized twice, lost long-running friendships and new career opportunities, tried a plethora of medications, supplements, and herbs in an attempt to "fix" withdrawal, and ultimately came to the realization that pharmaceutical medications would not be the answer to my suffering. Pharmaceutical medications had been the cause of my suffering. And what my brain and body needed was support, tenderness, forgiveness, care and time... TIME... to heal. Benzodiazepines had been the first drugs I withdrew from. That was a brutal, nightmarish withdrawal, but relatively short-lived (acute @ 8 months). Tapering from Mirtazapine proved a longer journey, a much longer journey that I shared here. So this is my success story, my chapter-turning post. This is my declaration that I have been successful in tapering from medications that had deranged my nervous system to such a degree that I was scarcely able to operate in the world anymore. I took much time to make this declaration of success as I am by nature skeptical, and wanted to be sure that healing had indeed come - and come to stay. I feel that it has. I discontinued Mirtazapine, my last psychotropic medication, on June 15, 2019. There are still some echos of it that I deal with in day to day life. My issues with histamine intolerance I believe are directly attributable to Mirtazapine's affinity for histamine receptor occupancy. I manage this issue with dietary and exercise modifications as well as use of select vitamins and herbs. It is not life-deterring. It can be inconvenient and sometimes unpleasant, but it is nowhere near as debilitating as withdrawal itself had been. Despite posting this success story, I'm not going anywhere really. I am always happy to answer questions about my journey. When I was in the worst of my own withdrawal, the feedback from moderators and members of this community and elsewhere were absolute lifelines. Not that anyone could necessarily fix my problems - but I could walk away with sound, compassionate advice and if nothing else, the knowledge that my suffering had been heard, and that someone ultimately cared about me. Your suffering is heard, and someone ultimately cares about you. I want to thank @Altostrata and every moderator past and present for their kind forbearance, compassion, and dedication. I want to thank every member for their strength, endurance, bravery, and perseverance towards a healthy life free of the chemicals that have caused them harm. You all have something, many things, to be proud of. I believe in every human's potential to heal. Take your time, taper well, make the most sound choices you can, and know that healing is absolutely within your power to achieve. Hang in there, Dave
  18. I am going through same bad times. I was started ( 4/21) on Zoloft, Lunesta and Diazepam for my anxiety, after a health scare. Not my first episode. Usually on Effexor, Valium and some Z drugs. Always been able to taper to zero once the crisis is over. This episode I and took Lunesta and Diazepam for a couple weeks, and sertraline, after my surgery (for a few days). Due to increased jitteriness and sleep issues, my doc switch me to mirtazapine, increasing to 45. Sayed there for 6 weeks or so...no improvement. Cut the mirtazapine down to 30 in a month (I know, too fast...). Switched to Ambien, then to Ambien CR, since I was sleeping 3-4 hrs a night. Switched to Ativan, since Diazepam was making me sleepy during the day. Even tried Risperidone for a couple weeks. Used to have windows in the evening. After cutting to 30 mir and adding/discontinuing risperidone, no windows. Until last evening. Got a good 5 hr window. As of today (8/22/21) I am on 2 or 3 mg Ativan (depending on the day), Ambien CR and Mirtazapine 30mg. No more risperidone. I am torn between doing nothing, tapering something (mirt , I guess) and cross-tapering. The cross tapering would be to Zoloft, since my last episode (5 year ago) Effexor stopped working and I was put on Zoloft (which helped, I assume, since I recovered). I need some advise. I can't say I am stable. What should I do : hold and do nothing, keep tapering mirt, cross taper to Zoloft. I would also need a mentor, ideally someone who was on mirt and get off of it. For now, I don't want to touch the benzos and Z drug. My understanding is that you taper the sedatives last. I really appreciate you reading this and giving it some thought. Thank you, Mario
  19. I cold turkeyed off Lexapro 10mg in august of 2020. Big mistake. After a year of taking every supplement known to man I relapsed really bad. My relapse was triggered by chronic UTIs, numerous rounds of antibiotics, and hypothyroid. I relapsed into severe depression, anxiety and insomnia. It’s been six months now and docs have tried to reinstate me four times on the ADs including the one I cold turkeyed off of. I got really sick on all of them and quit within a week. Also on lorazepam daily for severe anxiety which I still take. Finally my psych put me on trintellix and was able to eat again and felt like maybe it could work. I did four weeks on five mg and started to sink again. Doc moved me up to 10 mg two days ago and I feel the worst anxiety Ive ever had. I’m losing hope. I think im permanently damaged from quitting cold turkey. I dont think I will ever be the same again and don’t want to live this way anymore. Im now on two drugs that are both very hard to quit and feel like Ive taken 10 steps backwards. I have no interest in anything. Im not myself and haven’t been since I quit the AD. My psych doc doesn’t call me back when im having a crisis. I’ve been to the ER for severe anxiety three times. I need help real bad.
  20. HI, I found this site while searching around on Google in an attempt to figure out what could be going on with my brain right now. Quick summary: Most of last year, I'd been experiencing some fairly annoying anxiety - mainly situational type anxiety, like having to sit for prolonged periods of time on an airplane, or the dentist's chair. Long car rides were pretty awful. I finally decided to do something about it, met with a therapist, who pretty quickly recommended medication. So I met with a nurse practitioner, who initially prescribed Hydroxyzine. I did notice some reduction in anxiety, but it was extremely short-lived, and then the 'rebound' anxiety was nuts! Took it off & on for 1-2 weeks, but was not impressed. So next I was prescribed Zoloft. I was told it would take weeks to notice anything, but I felt the drug almost immediately, like the 2nd day. At first, it wasn't bad - my thoughts calmed significantly, and I remember thinking 'ahhh, this is what it feels like to have a quiet mind'. But by day 5, I was having nightly panic attacks, which I had never had before in my life. It scared the crap out of me, and I was told to stop taking them. So then I was prescribed Ativan. I took it fairly regularly (4-5 times/week), for about 3-4 weeks. I don't know what's up with my wiring, but I did not feel much relief from it. I always hear stories about how great benzos are for lowering panic/anxiety, but I just felt weird (and not in a good way). The odd thing though, is that even though I did not feel much relief after taking a dose, the rebound anxiety was insane. It's like I could physically feel the stuff leaving my body, and this indescribable terror/dread would creep in. So I was told to stop taking that as well. A few days after stopping the Ativan, everything went really bad. It felt like floodgates were released in my brain, and those gates had been holding back every horrible feeling imaginable, but couldn't hold on any more. It really was like a gushing of complete terror. I'm kind of freaking myself out just typing about it. Since then, it's been pretty much like that constantly, with not much let up (about 3 month). I will occasionally get a day that gives me hope, but it is quickly replaced with another dark run of days. It's getting to be unbearable, so I guess that leads to my questions: 1. Is it really the meds that caused all this? I only took them for a short amount of time - it doesn't seem possible that they could have done so much damage in such a short amount of time. 2. What should I do now? Should I attempt some other medication, but at a much lower dose? I don't really want to, but this feeling is unbearable. My dr. has mentioned gabapentin, and Trintellix. But I'm hesitant. 3. What about other non-medication options, like TMS? Anyone had success with that? Anyway, this is getting long and rambling. Thank you in advance for any advice. I look forward to reading other's suggestions.
  21. @brassmonkey Help feels like my body’s collapsing I reinstated 0.5 ativ and became stable after months of hell and pollydrugging I fear my drugging has been so extensive … I am working on coming down off these drugs, but after such history it’s proving to be very hard do I updose the ativ? The symptoms are very bad, like I’m having a stroke I could take a tiny bit more? It’s the only thing that has helped when I dropped from 150mg to 100 mg quietiapine I had bad withdrawals since it’s been waves and windows but now feels like I’m becoming totally destabilised it’s terrifying as I was totally gone before! Like really bad!!! No way back sort of bad.. I’m thinking can the benzo hekp me through this taper … it’s my only chance..
  22. Hi All, I've been reading this forum for a while and the topics here have been indispensable, especially regarding dealing with withdrawal symptoms as I prepare myself for a slow taper off of my remaining dose. Pre-backstory I’m in my early 20s and I just graduated college in late 2014 with a high GPA and a degree in Computer Science. I’ve got a strong resume with projects under my belt. I should be starting my career right now but can’t due to antidepressant withdrawal, but I keep telling myself that I will get better and it will happen, I just need some more time to heal mentally and spiritually. Backstory On January 1st of this year (2015) I suffered the first panic attack of my life. I’ve always had weird heart flutters and missed beats, so I thought I was having a heart attack and dying. The day that I had this awful panic attack, I didn’t get much sleep the night before and I didn’t eat much that day (triggers, I know). I also smoked pot regularly (I am clean now) which in retrospect I figure could be messing with my seratonin. I had bad depersonalization that day, basically forgot who I was for a few hours, and over the next month or so I was bedridden feeling shaky every day, suffering a chain of panic attacks in bed. I was immediately prescribed ativan (lorazepam) to help dull the panic attacks, and shortly thereafter, desperate for something to stop the chain of panic attacks, I was prescribed Lexapro. I took the Lexapro 5mg for the first week and 10mg for the second week, and basically over the next few months my panic attacks got generally better but my mental health got generally worse. My doctor upped me to 20mg Lexapro and I got so disoriented and out-of-it that my mom had to start walking me up to the door of my therapy appointments, because I didn’t feel like I could do it alone. I decided to taper down off the Lexapro because my panic attacks had basically vanished, the Lexapro was causing some bad side effects (at higher doses making me confused and disoriented all the time, at the lower doses mostly just preventing me from getting decent sleep, so I was feeling tired all the time). I felt like the panic attacks would probably not come back, since I was on a good new pattern of diet, exercise, supplements (fish oil, magnesium, probiotic and multivitamin), and I also stopped smoking weed completely, which I think may have been a big contributor to the initial panic attack. Anyways, I had miraculous success taking the dosage down from 20mg to 10mg, from 10mg to 5mg, and from 5mg to 2.5mg, with almost no withdrawal effects. The side effects improved steadily with each dosage decrease, and I’m very grateful that I had so little trouble getting down this far. The big trouble started happening about a month ago. I had thought that I had tapered down successfully from 2.5mg because I felt pretty great for 3 weeks on 1.25mg (¼ of a 5mg pill) with no discernible withdrawal symptoms (Sept 9 2015 to Sept 29 2015). On my psychiatrist’s suggestion, I dropped the lexapro completely (0mg) on Sept 30 and I felt worse and worse for about 4 days. On the 4th day I almost had a panic attack, and I felt so depressed and shaky that I took a small fragment of my pill to try to stave off the symptoms. Literally 15 minutes after taking the pill fragment I went from feeling terrible to feeling great, browsing the internet on my phone. So I stabilized again on 1.25mg after about 5 days, or so I thought. 1.25mg (¼ of a tiny 5mg pill) is terribly difficult to measure - there was one time I wasn’t sure if I even took my pill fragment or if it fell on the floor, since it was so small I couldn’t feel it on my tongue. So I started pushing it against the roof of my mouth so I could be sure it was actually in my mouth. But that made it start to disintegrate before it hit my stomach, so… basically I think that my true dosage was getting really uneven. I felt really tired some days and needed naps, and other days I felt mostly fine. So I figured I could get a more consistent dose if I switched to the liquid, which my psychiatrist prescribed for me. Latest Chapter So on 10/28/2015 I switched to the liquid. I figured that the liquid form would be much more readily absorbed by my body than the pill fragments and I was right. I started out with 1.2mg of the liquid and it felt like way too much (cloudy head, sleepy all day), so over the course of 2 days I lowered it to 0.9mg, which felt pretty fine for 5 days. I felt like I was getting better and that I could even start driving and running errands around town with my mom again if I just waited a few more days. On 11/4 I made a really, really stupid headstrong decision. I felt like I could reduce my symptoms even more if I just reduced the dose by a tiny bit further. So that day I cut from 0.9mg to 0.8mg (which in hindsight was a HUGE cut especially considering how recently I had changed the dose before that). The depression came back in such full force that I immediately had to put the dose back up to 0.9mg 2 days later, but reupping the dose didn’t help at that point. I continued to get worse and worse (more depression/anxiety) until my mom pointed out that I was only eating like 800 calories every day - I knew that my appetite was shot, but I had no idea I was eating so little. On 11/11 I started counting calories and now I’m getting at least 2000 per day, with an ultimate goal of 2500. I upped the lexapro from 9mg to 9.5mg daily and the crippling depression is partway gone now. Anyways now it’s 11/14 and I think I’m seeing some progress, but I can never be sure, and these symptoms are very difficult to work through every day. Today Over the last few days, every morning I wake up nauseous and depressed, and every night I get anxious and need to take a 0.5mg lorazepam to calm down. Progress is slow for me and I’m impatient, but I keep trying to remind (convince?) myself that my body is working very hard to right itself chemically, and that if I just hold this dose and don’t do anything else stupid with it, I will feel a little better by next week, and yet a little better by the week after. I could really use some reassurance though :/ My First Question I’m taking 0.95mg in 2 doses daily (0.475mg at 11am and 0.475mg at 1:30pm). On 0.95mg I feel like my seratonin levels are very unbalanced (depressed/hopeless in the morning, decent around noon, anxious by afternoon/evening). When I accidentally took my second lexapro dose at about 4pm one day instead of 1:30pm, that night I went into a drug-trip kind of sleep (almost like an alternate reality) which was a little scary but most of all exhausting and made me feel disoriented and confused and anxious the next day. As of the last few days, I wake up after vivid dreams exhausted, not at all rested, depressed, and with a burst of adrenaline. Will my body actually be able to get used to such a low 0.95mg dose taken mostly towards the beginning of the day like this? If I just stick it out for another week or two, my mood will start to level out again so that I’m not getting these big daily mood swings, right? If not, where do I go from here? Thank you everyone for your support.
  23. Brief history: Prior to 2018 I was a healthy, happy, highly productive professional (31 then, 34 now). In March of that year, had a medical procedure that went wrong and got anxiety and panic attacks. Given ativan which proved impossible to get off of quickly only two weeks later. Hospitalized and put on remeron 22.5mg. Tapered slowly off Ativan over 2 years, ending in June 2020. Decided to start tapering mirt in August of 2020 using a liquid microtaper as I did for ativan. Dropped fairly quickly from 22.5->7.5 mg over 5 months. Then started final descent from 7.5mg on January 25 and hit somewhat disabling withdrawal symptoms on April 18th. My withdrawal symptoms through the taper generally are malaise, head pressure, brain fog, fatigue, allergy symptoms, etc. that wax and wane in intensity with some good days scattered among mostly crappy days (for three years... feels the same as ativan withdrawal). Despite the speed, I actually started to feel better the lower that I got up until recently. My mind has been somewhat clearer, personality coming back, memory improving. Part of the reason I have been going so quickly is that I was eager to be off by July when I will be starting a new intense job and also I have had pretty bad dry eyes and dry mouth on this drug as a side effect even before tapering. Even during the taper from 7.5 I felt pretty okay until April 18 when I think I was exposed to a lot of pollen and other allergens. That is when things started to unravel. Intensification of all my withdrawal symptoms plus congestion, dizziness, etc. So I held my dose hoping it would resolve. Then on March 30, I started to have pretty bad insomnia which has been up and down since then. Often not falling asleep until 5 am with some nights where I sleep generally okay. With the insomnia has also come bad physical anxiety and now somewhat depressed and despairing. I updosed to 2mg on maybe 5/10, but didn't write it down so I don't remember the exact date. At this point I am really struggling and considering a further updose and would like some advice about how much to updose if I do so, and at what pace. Should I titrate up or just reinstate a dose? Seems like titrating up would be safer, but I don't see that talked about much here so unsure of the experience. Any advice from those experienced with this would be helpful. I am nearing my wits end and feel like I have no hope for recovery. Thank you, Steve
  24. I'm new around here, kind of. I've dropped in over the years and made a couple GP assisted withdrawal attempts. Back story: During a marital separation in 2000 I had a deep depressive episode, I'm fortunate to be here. I sought counseling which led to psychiatry and being started on Paxil and Ativan. Paxil worked very well, however when my wife and I got back together Paxil's sexual debilitations became apparent prompting a switch to Wellbutrin. I spent a few years on Wellbutrin as the marriage continued to devolve, but had terrible sweating episodes; which led to a switch to Effexor and minor sexual issues. Fast forward I am 14 years into a second marriage, doing well and my trusted General Practitioner is handling my Effexor in a maintenance manner. With his help (but limited experience) I have tried backing off using starter packs a couple times but quickly found coming off from 150mg in 37.5mg increments a week at a time was not going to work. Brain zaps, irritability, anxiety, returning depressive state. As I've aged, 55, ED has become an issue that the usual treatments don't adequately treat. So I taken renewed interest in tapering off and maybe getting off Effexor. I purchased gelatin caps, a pill stomper and tiny funnels from Amazon. I already had a beam scale as I am a shooter/reloader. Inexpensive digital scales are notoriously unreliable from a repeatability standpoint especially at the lower end. I've read of folks using a folded sheet of paper with a ruler printed on it to measure the length of the beads lined end to end and gradually tapering, but I already had scales. The contents of a generic 150mg Effexor is @ 470mg of beads, my scale measures in grains, 7.3gr to be exact. A 10% reduction equals 6.6gr. I started at 6.6gr for a week then eased to 6.3gr, 13% taper. At about a week minor brain zaps occurred and some mild irritability, I pushed through and after 3 weeks at 6.3gr these have subsided. BUT I find I have more expressive feelings. Not that I was ever uncaring, it was just muted/subdued in there, and Cialis has a more pronounced effectiveness for me. I was hoping to go in 10% steps of a month each; maybe I need to reevaluate and go in 5% steps of a month to 6 weeks. I'll probably try 6.1gr for a few weeks before attempting 5.8gr or 20% reduction.
  25. Hello community, So glad to have found this site!! I've been reading, reading, reading for almost two months. Unfortunately I did not find y'all and Dr. Glenmullen's book until after eight months of thinking I was doing a gradual taper per my GP's advice. Without proper information I tapered too fast, alternated doses, and failed to recognize that the difficult symptoms I was having could be coming from antidepressant withdrawal. I'm currently trying to stabilize before embarking on the 10% taper, starting with sertraline. The symptoms I currently have are: rapid heartbeat and resulting fatigue, anxiety and agitation, including:dizziness and fainting upon standing up (orthostatic hypotension) inability to alter heart rate with exercise (exercise intolerance) ears ringing morning depression heat intolerance (like hot flashes only longer) intense dreams and nightmares head tremor Once I realized I was tapering too fast, I stabilized/increased to 25 mg sertraline and 0.75 mg lorazepam. In the two months since then, some other symptoms I had went away and the above symptoms have seemed to improve, except for heartbeat and head tremor. I had a normal EKG. All blood tests normal except cholesterol (and I consider high cholesterol a good thing for me as a post-menopausal woman). Starting in 2013 or 2014, my antidepressant was increased and I started regularly taking lorazepam due to several years of extreme emotional stress (caring for my physically and mentally declining spouse). I also experienced severe disrupton of my sleep cycle and used alcohol at night. During and before this time, I had many years of blood sugar fluctuations. So I imagine my HPA axis was already severely out of whack even before my mis-guided fast taper. I stopped alcohol 15 months ago, after my husband died. (My symptoms are complicated by the effects of my grief process.) I've been gradually removing stressors from my life. I have recently addressed my blood sugar via a low-carb unprocessed way-of-eating. Am also phasing out caffeine. I am addressing my sleep cycle by using amber glasses to counter the effects of evening screen time. (Hope to reduce the screen time too). Anyway, I am frustrated that my heart palpitations make me unable to exercise, but I understand that all the nervous system problems can be slow to resolve. Trying to be super patient. Appreciate hearing everyone else's stories, questions, and answers. This site is a wonderful resource.
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