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  1. 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.
  2. Hi guys, sorry this may be a long post, I think it is okay to share my story on this. I am 21 years old, a college student about to graduate, and I have been on an SSRI for about 5 years now. I was diagnosed with ADHD and GAD when I was about 12, I have always been somewhat anxious and had issues with regulating my emotions. In 2013 my girlfriend broke up with me and I was really sad and feeling hopeless. After a few months of being down and also anxious, my doctor (pediatrician) decided to put me on 5mg of Lexapro. The Lexapro seemed to help (I think?) and I recovered somewhat quickly. Over the next few years, however, my doctor fluctuated my dosage quite a bit. I would get anxious, he would up my dosage, and then I would become a zombie and he would lower it. It did seem to blunt my emotions on a high dose. Other than that it was fine. However, the summer after my freshman college, I became extremely anxious and had an existential crisis, prompting my doctor to change me over to Zoloft and Trazodone. When starting Zoloft, I took 50mg and worked up to 100mg. It possibly helped my anxiety but my emotions became blunted again (or maybe it was depression?). I did not feel hopeless or sad, but I kind of lost the ability to have pleasure over simple things. After going through a hard time on Zoloft and Trazodone feeling empty and dull, my doctor and I decided to taper off to see if that would help. Every time I tapered, we would allow three weeks to go by to see if it helped. I went from 100mg to 75mg to 50mg to 25mg and eventually to nothing. Every time I lowered, I felt a little more in touch with my emotions. With the Trazodone, I stopped cold turkey on a dose of 50mg. When I went completely off of the Zoloft and Trazodone, I started having crying episodes, brain zaps, insomnia, anxiety, occasional anhedonia/brain fog, and severe social anxiety. After a month or two, all of these symptoms went completely away (except sometimes the anhedonia/brain fog). I was doing good and feeling very in touch with my emotions. After a few months off of the Zoloft though, the school year was coming back around, and the girl I had been dating for 2 years broke up with me unexpectedly. It devastated me and left me feeling sad and hopeless. I was crying all of the time, I was thinking about her all of the time, losing the ability to feel pleasure, and had anxiety because I still saw her every day. This continued on through the semester and I went home for winter break feeling depressed and anxious. I was feeling brain fog/anhedonia, and lost overall enthusiasm for life. It got bad enough that I knew I needed help, so I started talking to a therapist (I had seen a few before this one) and it was helping. I still was depressed, but was slowly improving. I started taking Adderall again to study for a certification exam over the break and this helped boost my mood tremendously. It cleared my mind, helped with the brain fog/anhedonia, and made me feel a little more peaceful inside (less racing thoughts). My psychiatrist decided he wanted me to take Trintellix and put me on a 5mg dose. I went back to school feeling down and anhedonic again. All the progress I made during seemed to start disappearing. I stopped taking the Adderall, and once the Trintellix seemed to start working I started becoming extremely anxious. I felt extreme depersonalization, started having weird sensory problems (visual snow, eye floaters, tinnitus, and my body started fluctuating between feeling tingly and numb) and was scared. My doctor upped my dose of Trintellix to see if that would help. I ended up taking Ativan to help with the anxiety. I was feeling less anxious but still had the sensory/depersonalization problems. Not to mention, my emotions went away again. The Ativan lowered my anxiety but made me feel completely dull and emotionless. I ended up tapering off of it and feeling better after a few months, but having a lot more anxiety/sensory issues. Since this (which was earlier in the summer), I started taking Adderall because I read a lot and it seemed my problems were kind of related to Adult ADHD. I always feel internally restless and have a hard time focusing, and taking therapeutic doses (20 mg or lower) seem to calm me down and clear my mind. Not to mention, it helps with my emotional regulation problem. Overall my academics and state of mind are improving. I have lowered the Trintellix from 20mg to 10mg over two months. I have had more sensory problems and anxiety since lowering the medicine, but it seems my emotions are slowly coming back. Every now and then, I get a nostalgic feeling that reminds me of what life used to feel like. It gives me hope. But I have been so up and down for the past 5 years, I am sick of feeling so unstable. I want to have emotions again and not deal with brain fog/anhedonia and anxiety for the rest of my life. I didn't have the former problem until taking medicine. I want the sensory problems to be gone. They only started after I started taking Trintellix. I need help with tapering off I think. Does anyone have any advice for me? I want to learn to treat my depression and anxiety in natural ways, and learn to regulate my emotions better. I want to believe I can live without taking medicine for these issues, because they only seem to exacerbate them. Do I have any hope of being stable again? I always feel uneasy inside and am constantly trying to distract my mind from this. I am sick of being anxious about these weird symptoms, everyone thinks I am crazy and writes me off. Will slowly tapering help this? I long for a day that I am not constantly thinking about being better, and can handle life's ups and downs. I am not wanting to be perfect, just to be able to not always think and worry about my mental health. I am always worrying about exercising enough, meditating enough, sleeping enough, eating well enough, and lowering stress enough. I think my issues could be related to tons of different things, but it is so hard to tell when you are put on medicines that only seem to compound the issue. School has been a big source of stress/anxiety and I am almost done, so I really want to take the time to improve my physical/mental/emotional/spiritual state of mind so life is not always this rocky. Thanks for listening, sorry this was so long.
  3. 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
  4. It has been 8.5 weeks since I ct'd off 30 mgs of generic lexapro and 2mg of Abilify. I was depressed because my father who lived with us had died and marriage was getting rocky from the stress. I had been taking the generic lexapro for 2 years. This doctor added Abilify in Jan '16. I trusted her. I was depressed over life issues. I have no previous mental health diagnosis other than some anxiety which I had taken Xanax over the past 5 years. Most .5 three times per day. varied in usage - often less. I quickly became dysfunctional and family doctor prescribed .5 Ativan twice per day or I would have died. I have only become a bit more functional. but barely. I don't know what to do. I am very scared.
  5. Hi everyone, I'm wondering if anyone has suggestions for any books and/or videos on fear/phobia. I have Claire Weekes' book, Hope and Help For Your Nerves and while it has been of great help, I'm looking for something related more to dealing with fears. TY
  6. panic27

    panic27

    Hi, I've recently got a prescription for Lexapro to counter panic attacks, ADD, and mild depression. I am supposed to take 5mg the first four days, then increase to 10mg. Now I've been using it for only two days, and I feel absolutely horrible. Reading all the negative experiences, side effects and withdrawal symptoms on the web, I'm convinced this poison won't help me at all in the long run. Can I stop taking this drug immediately, or do I even have to taper off after only two days on 5mg?
  7. Moderator note: link to benzo forum thread - Fightingawar Ativan Taper I have been on antidepressants for 16 years many different ones, the last one I was on was Clomipramine I was on it for a year and a half. I recently had to go the ER for high blood pressure and my heart rate being very high I was diagnosed with serotonin syndrome and was took off my antidepressant rapidly (10 days) I am now on day 16 of being completely off and suffering terrible withdrawals, how long does this last and how do you get through it. I am still taking Ativan twice a day but I feel like I’m fighting a war and I’m so desperate to win 😪
  8. 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.
  9. Hello all, my name is Alicia. I'm a mother to a small child with autism. My whole mess with these medications happened before she was even born, and I am ashamed to say that I was even on celexa during my whole pregnancy with my daughter and of course I was told that celexa was perfectly safe during pregnancy, but now I wonder if her autism is related to the stupid ad. I only wish I knew the dangers of these meds long before now. Anyways I first took celexa back in 2011 after I developed panic attacks, they also gave me clonazepam. I quit the clonazepam a little before I got pregnant with my daughter, but continued the celexa until October of 2016. In October of 2016 I was switched to Zoloft and given Ativan from a new psychiatrist. I continued to take the meds until November 23 of 2017. I just one day decided I'm sick and tired of going to psychiatrists it was becoming an inconvenience for me. So I just threw the rest of the meds down the toilet and been med free for 10 months now. I was unaware that these meds were not like other meds that you can just completely quit anytime you want, and I was flooded with weird symptoms. I have just been toughing it out for the past 10 months because I refuse to talk to doctors about anything anymore, I know they are just going to tell me to start the meds again.I know nothing will get better if I go back on them again, so instead I have turned to supplements to help with my symptoms. Insomnia and sensitivity to light and sounds are the most prevelant of my symptoms, I also been having a ton of fasciculations in my legs, something I never experienced until this withdrawal. At first I thought I was developing some motor neuron disease but now I'm just chalking it up to this withdrawal because after reading forums on this website I see just how crazy your body can get after these meds, and I wish I never started them.
  10. Please i need help. I am on cymbalta generic and have tapered down to approx 10 mgs from 90 using bead method. I also take a very low dose of ativan. I had tapered off the ativan in july 2016 and went back on much lower dose 4 months ago. I also take zyprexa at approx. 3.75 mgs. I have been trying to taper all three meds because i have fatty liver disease and need yo get off this junk before it turns into cirrhosis. So i made a cut last week and about 4 days ago i started to get severe anxiety. I was doing fine up until then but it seems like every time i get to a certain point with the zyorexa i get so anxious. I have tried several times to taper zyprexa. I am under alot of stress and i dont know if its me or withdrawal. I was put on these medications 9 years ago for anxiety. It was very bad. But i dont know if that anxiety was from klonopin or celexa. I did not have this kind of anxiety before those two meds. Someone please help me. I had to increase the zyprexa yesterday or i was going to end up in the hospital. I have to find a job because i will soon be homeless if i dont. How will i get off these horrible drugs and function at the same time??
  11. Littlegrandma

    Littlegrandma

    Moderator note - link to Littlegrandma's benzo thread Hello everyone. I wanted to introduce myself and give you my history june 2015 lunesta 2 mg for insomnia. . July 2015 started celexa for GAD and insomnia. S/A headache, nausea, stomach pain, increased anxiety, blurry vision. Sept 2015 celexa switched to lexapro due to extreme eye pressure I never felt right on the lexapro. My fog never cleared and I still needed lunesta every night to sleep. But it helped slightly with anxiety and I was able to go about life but never really enjoying it. I felt I was always trying to distract myself with menial activity. Very apathetic. June 2, 2017 tapered lex from 20 mg to 7.5. Migraine, nausea, fatigue, loss of balance, ringing in ears, depersonalization, anxiety, sweats, depression. June 25 physical symptoms subsided, so I went to 7 mg making my own liquid. I don't think I did it right. July 6th -7mg with compounded pill. july 11 dry heaves, migraine, increased anxiety, july 15 trembling, panic, racing heart july 20 went to ER for BP 210/207 was put on 25 mg metoprolol and .5 Ativan as needed. ( I was already taking .25 xanax occasionally). Aug 1 upped lex dose to 8 mg Aug 3 suicidal thoughts, panic, trembling Aug 5 upped lex dose to 10 mg at the suggestion of a new therapist. I have not been able to stabilize. I am taking more and more xanax but trying to not exceed total .75 mg day i am left incapacitated, unable to take care of my house or my grandchildren. The tremors and panic remain as well as constant nausea and headache. Aug 7 I had a 3 hour consultation to get into detox for benzo w/d. I was told I was not in w/d and they scoffed at the idea that lexapro could cause w/d issues either. They said it sounds neurological and wouldn't even be admitted for IOP until I was medically cleared by a doctor. I am in despair and have nowhere to turn. Most of my family doesn't believe this is real as they've never had a problem starting , stopping, or switching a/d meds. I'm hoping I can get some good advice from you. Sorry this is so long. I hope it makes sense. I spent a long time writing earlier and lost message when I tried to post. That took about all the energy I had, so this may seem garbled. Thank you for listening and for any advice you may be able to give me
  12. MilaB

    MilaB

    Thanks for adding me. I need encouragement. I have been on ADs for 15 years - Zoloft, Lexapro, Celexa, Effexor and now Cymbalta. Also Trazadone when I couldn’t sleep. I missed a dose of Cymbalta in 2016 and was shocked by how bad I felt and decided to get off the med. I was told the wrong way and ended up using advice from FB site. I was only able to taper about 3% every 2 weeks and I got down to 86 beads that way in a year. But I felt stuck, drops were getting harder. Then I met someone who suggested amino acids. I started using aminos in Oct 16 at 86 beads. I was very eager to get off the med (big mistake). I didn’t know how bad it could get or what I was in for. I got to zero beads by the end of Feb and all withdrawal hell broke loose. Started with physical - hands and feet sweating, anxiety running brought me constantly, no appetite and extreme insomnia. It then became akithisia - restless pacing and severe anxiety. I went on Ativan that calmed the akithisia and I am now sleeping after 2 months of very little to no sleep. I’m taking 1mg Ativan during the day (2 half doses) and 1.5 at night along with some hydroxyzine. The biggest challenge now is my emotional state. I feel like I have to die to escape this pain. I have a constant feeling of doom and anxiety - even with the Ativan - that is so overwhelming and uncomfortable. I have no good feelings at all. I have a family and I can’t die. I have to be here for them. It’s been since March 1 with all of this. It’s all my fault for trying to speed things up. I thought I’d be healthier off the Cymbalta - I hated the side effects. This all seems impossible. I still have 10 beads left and now I’m sure I’m addicted to Ativan and will have to taper that. I don’t want to die, but I am so miserable I can’t see this ever getting better. I have had only a few windows. And even the windows are just a slight improvement over this constant suffering. I never know what to do; I can’t read, can’t work, shop, do art. Nothing feels good. I tried adding in 10 beads of Cymbalta a couple of weeks ago at the advice of Dr Shipko and the anxiety got worse. I also tried a small dose of Prozac for just one day and that made my anxiety awful too. Am I just left to tough this out forever? Please help
  13. This site has been a sanctuary for several months and I would like to thank AltoStrata, her fellow Admins and all posting members for the invaluable information shared in the various forums. In this most confusing and isolating phase of my life so far, you have all helped me to feel less alone, less confused, and important teachers. I believe I may have created a meds signature line in my sign-up form, but if not I will correct that shortly. Briefly, I realized I was in a polypharmacy rut in February of this year. Prozac 10 or 20 mg (?) from early 1997 to early 1998. Newly sober, the Paxil caused "speediness" and I was switched to Paxil - Paxil 20mg/day (depression/anxiety) from 1998 to approximately Spring 2007. I simply stopped taking it after running out, was in long-term therapy and did not think twice about leaving such a "small thing" behind. Even though there were large stressors at work. The state of lability, extreme depression, dysphoria, DP, DR (terms I did not know then) were horrendous. I returned to the original psychiatrist who tried me on various other meds for a hellish 2 months, never once mentioning I might be in withdrawal from stopping the Paxil. The last straw was an Effexor trial, which put me in a state of agitation, physical heat, and inability to leave bed beyond imagination. It took months to find a new Psychiatrist, which happened about February 2008. He felt I had simply been on too small a Paxil dose - I had heard about "poop out" by that time but he dismissed it - I had not heard about withdrawal on Paxil cessation and he did not mention it. He put me back on Paxil and built up slowly from 10 to eventually 60mg. Unfortunately I don't remember the timeline for that buildup. However, 60mg became the maintenance dose at which I remained until Feb. 2017 of this year - nearly 10 years. He also became my psychotherapist and had a wonderfully humane aspect to him to which I attribute most of the great healing that happened over the first 3-4 years. My life became strong and rich and fulfilling again - in all areas. In 2010 there was a collision of traumatic stressors in work and family. As well, somatic experience of panic, high anxiety and heart palpitations such as I'd never experienced since childhood episodes of severe abuse became frequent. I made certain decisions in my life. We continued the meds and the therapy. In June (?) 2012 - after months of persistent inner agitation, weepiness, anxiety (following death of family member), he added Ativan 0.5 at night. A year later he added another 0.5 in the am. A year after that he added another 0.5 at noon. I can not know with any certainty but based on everything that I have read about tolerance and withdrawal with Paxil and Ativan, I believe that I experienced pre-taper withdrawal-like symptoms for several years. I wish I had known then - when he began adding the benzo to the Paxil - what I know now. I had trusted him so completely as a person and a professional. Fast forward to February 2017. He announced abruptly that he was closing his practice - in 3 months. We had been working together for about 9 years. The anxiety caused by the announcement led him to increase my RXs for Paxil to 80 and to double Ativan to 1mg 3 times a day. He acknowledged that the 2 drugs did not appear to be "working" or "ideal" anymore. Sadly I think his priority at that point was to get to the end of the three months without liability - so it was easier to simply up the meds and "explore referral options." Two months on the upped prescriptions saw me living like an outpatient in a chemical straightjacket - as a full on zombie. I found my way to Mad in America and the literature on iatrogenic psychotropic drug injuries, the psychiatric profession's blind faith in the hypothesis of the "chemical imbalance", and the frightening stories about withdrawing from SSRIs and benzodiazepines - especially the 2 I was prescribed. This was all quite frightening and overwhelming. I was able to find a wonderful and sympathetic therapist. The zombie straightjacket was too much. I decided to taper myself back to my "baseline" though no-longer-working (even according to the Psychiatrist) polypharmacy of Paxil 60mg and Ativan .05 3 times a day. I did that from April to August. Symptoms ranging from extreme loss of appetite, acute DP/DR, extreme and sudden heart palpitations and anxiety, and a slow-motion hyper depressive grey movie in the background looping "this is the end of the road for me" movies - but always behind a screen. The gestalt in terms of doing anything is a 1000 mile distance between a flourishing idea or thought and any action to carry it out. Including washing dishes! The search for a meds doctor who is sympathetic to a patient wishing to taper off psychotropic drugs that no longer work and are causing is still on. I will be meeting one next week, and I believe his name does appear on a list of potentially knowledgeable providers somewhere on this site. I will report back. He appears to be familiar with tapering patients off psychotropic drugs and he is also a holistic treater with experience in acupuncture, something called "functional psychology" (?), and other holistic practices. Thanks to SA I shall have with me a lot of information to discuss - very calmly - with him, including the formula of tapering 10% (vs. last dose), listening to the body even within a tapering protocol, and the question as to whether the Paxil or the Ativan should be tapered first. (I saw a psychiatrist one month ago who wrote out a taper schedule for Ativan that was very aggressive - I modified it and have "held" at an early stage after feeling my body rebelling and reading here about the 10% recommendation. Same psychiatrist was ready to have me start tapering Paxil simultaneously until I mentioned perhaps it was not a great idea and he very quickly agreed. Those fancy degrees, Research Hospital affiliations, decades of experience .... That's another story.) I wish to thank you all from the bottom of my heart - for being here.
  14. romalaine

    Romalaine: Freedom

    Where do I begin to end the misery of these panic attacks I have everyday I don't take the Ativan, started on bromazepam years ago , a few months ago I got off them expecting a smooth withdrawl then the panic attacks started, the hospital gave me Ativan but with Ativan the drug is in your system a short time. So one a night have worn off by morning and another panic attack, I would like to get off them.
  15. Hi- I've been reading a lot of the supportive threads regarding successful tapering off various drugs. I weaned myself off of Zoloft and Ativan 10 years ago, after taking it for 8 months for PPD. I started back on AD 7 months ago, this time Wellbutrin with an occasional Ativan (which quickly became daily). I started on 100, then 150 for 5 months, and now 300 mgXL for 1 month in. But today I started having near suicidal thoughts and the depression has gotten consistently worse instead of better. I upped it to 300 thinking that would help, but even after 4-5 weeks, the depression is worse than ever. I know it does a lot of good- It stops many negative thoughts and stops those extreme emotional swings and outbursts, but the constant depression and flatness is too much. I do not want to go on an SSRI, as it took me 6 weeks to taper off Zoloft the last time and I don't wish to inevitably have to go through that again. I did cold turkey Ativan, and had severe withdrawals for 10 days, including NO sleep and flu symptoms. It was horrid. That was just a couple months ago. I read threads where it says it takes 1-1 1/2 years to taper from 300 Wellbutrin. I have only been on 300 mg for 1 month! I can't imagine being on any dose of this for another year! If I've only been on it for the shorter length of time I have, I am hoping I can taper a litter quicker? I'd like to start by dropping back to 150, and then stay there for a month, and then begin tapering the IR. I'm just so nervous of those flu like symptoms and no sleep like the Ativan WD. Does that happen with too quick taper for W? Thanks in advance for any advice.
  16. Hello All, Thank you in advance for your help and support. I’ve had the worst year of my life and am praying to God that I can heal from this nightmare. In March 2017, I experienced my first panic attack regarding a physical injury, which brought on anxiety and insomnia. I tried for six weeks to not take medication, but eventually caved in and began Celexa and Trazodone. I had bad side effects from both and was switched to Lexapro. The Lexapro was very activating and I could not sleep at all. I was weaned off the Lexapro and Trazodone in July 2017. Ativan was added to help with sleep. In August, I tried Seroquel and Remeron, but also had bad side effects. In September 2017, I was switched to Elavil and then Nortriptyline per the results of genetic testing. At this time, I was diagnosed as having a single, current episode of MDD. The Nortriptyline seemed to helped a little, but gave me Tachycardia. I decided in January 2018, that I was going to taper down as none of these drugs gave me real relief and only added to my anxiety. I got down to 20 mg of Nortriptyline and .5mg of Ativan. I unfortunately decided to try TMS therapy, but gave up after 25 sessions - too much to bear. To make matters worse, I was switched to Doxepin and then back to Elavil. I have had ENOUGH of conventional medicine. It has taken a horrible toll on my body and mind. I was in good health before this happened and now I am in a lot of physical pain. As of April 2018, I am down to 12.5mg of Elavil and .5-1mg of Ativan (both at night). I try not to take the Ativan during the day. I want to get off the Elavil and am contemplating a cross taper to Valium to get off of the Benzo. I plan to do that very slowly. I’ve only been on the Elavil for a few weeks. All in all, this has been too much for a human to go through. It has greatly impacted my marriage, family and most likely cost me my job of 20 years as I am on long term disability. I am working not change my diet, exercise, meditate, supplementation and detoxify my body. I also found out I am heterozygous for the MTHFR mutation. I just want to know that it is absolutely possible to heal. All I want is to be able to sleep again naturally, organically. My mother warned me not to take these medications, but I did not listen. She was on the highest dosages of Lexapro and Wellbutrin and got off of them cold turkey and is totally healed. She also got a divorce and is happier than she has ever been. I guess that helps. I welcome any advice about tapering and would love to hear success stories. Thank you!
  17. Hello, I am a new member. I am currently tapering off Escitalopram, a generic Lexapro. I have been tapering since January of this year, 10 mg and now at 4.5 mg. I tapered quite fast at the start and now am reducing .5 mg every 3-4 weeks as I am not having too bad of symptoms. I should also mention I came off Lorazepam so don't know if the withdrawals I am having are from the Lorazepam or the Lexapro. I have heard as tapering gets lower on the Lexapro, symptoms may get stronger. Has anyone experienced this? I would very much appreciate hearing from anyone who has or is going through Lexapro tapering. Thank you.
  18. Lili

    Lili: Benzo/AD

    Hi, I'm brand new here and I'm struggling. I had a rough 2017. I was put on Ativan for sleep 6/20/17 & then on temazapam 6/23/7- I didn't know they were both benzos. I tapered off Ativan for 2 months and what ensued was a horrific withdrawal scenario that landed me in a psych ward with extreme suicidal ideation. I was reinstated on Valium and pretty much stabilized by end of December 2017. I went off Lexapro in the fall as I didn't want to be on an antidepressant but was put on Cymbalta 11/2017 first at 30 mg, then 60mg 2 weeks later. I didn't know so I started dropping down at beginning of January , had some anxiety, restlessness, so I went back up to 50mg over the course of a few days. Presently, some insomnia, some irregular heart beats and lessening anxiety. My Dr doesn't know about my Cymbalta escapade & thinks I can microtaper my Valium now. I will have to be forthcoming at my next visit in 3 weeks. I'm so worried about stabilizing and how this is going to affect my taper.
  19. Hi folks, I just found out about liquid titration and I am too excited to try it! I have been on ativan for about 4 months now, and I am on 1mg (from 2.5). I cant seem to get down (tried yesterday to .5mg and backfired!) Can someone please help me get the right measurements for 250ml of water? I am doing 1/8 tapering. Is that doable? and for how long? Thank you so much! Ann
  20. Moderator note - link to Sandfield's benzo thread - Sandfield: Try to taper off Ativan My name is Sandfield. I am on Cipralex and Ativan. I have been on Cipralex 10 mg for 6 months. Prior to that I was on 5 mg of Cipralex for 2 years. i was on clonzepam for 2 months May and June 2017 and tapered down to .375 mg at the end of June. The doctor then put me on Ativan .5mg twice daily and I was able to taper and get off 3 weeks ago for 2 days however the withdrawal was so bad I am now on .5 to .75 daily. My doctor is having me taper off the Cipralex by reducing fro 10mg to 7.5 mg and then to 5mg and then to .25 mg. i am experiencing interdose withdrawal from the Ativan, burning sensation, muscle spasm and tightness in the shoulders and neck and anxiety. Would appreciate any advice on how to handle the withdrawal or if anyone knows of a good doctor in Toronto who may be able to help
  21. HeatherRose

    Heather Rose: Hello

    Hi. My friend referred me here. She is concerned about all my medications and bad side effects I have been having for a long time such as forgetfulness, trouble concentrating, shaking and dependency. I am on many medicines and have been taking various meds for almost 26 years to control my mood disorder. I have had times of shaking problems. I also have trouble staying focused and concentrating. I used to be a big reader but now it is hard for me to read a whole book. My attention just drifts. I am dependent on them for sleep especially. I wanted to see what this was all about so perhaps can come down off of them without serious consequences.
  22. Hello, On March 29, 2017, I was prescribed 10 MG Ambien at ER after 3 nights of no sleep due to racy thoughts, and extreme anxiety that made me shake and my muscles twitched. I thought I was gonna die. Next day, I was prescribed 1 MG Lorazepam for anxiety. after a month, I cut Lorazepam to 1/2 pill and cut the Ambien to 1/2 pill too but was told by doctor to not cut the Ambien and just cut it after 6 months. During those months taking the pills, I experienced all side effects (extreme headches and weird sensations on my forehead, neck and ears, ramdom pain and pulses all over my body, fatigue, anxiety, more heart palpitations, abdominal pain, weightloss, etc.) The muscle twithcing did not disappear. I went to different doctors and complained about my symptoms, they said it was just stress and anxiety and told me to just take more of the Lorazepam. My blood test showed I was low in Vitamin D, low Iron, low HDL cholesterol & had slight dehydration. Everything showed "normal". I'm now taking supplements Vit D3, comfort Iron, Magnesium Glycinate, Sodium Ascorbate (non-acidic Vit. C), Omega 3 Fish Oil, some Whey Protein. I have asked my family doctor on getting off the pills and she said that I could just cut them and I won't have withdrawals since I've only been taking a small dose of Lorazepam. Starting June 26, 2017, I started cutting the Lorazepam dosage by cutting/weighing the pill deducting 0.02-0.03 MG everyday and the Ambien 0.3-0.4 MG everyday too. Since cutting the pills, I've had 0 sleep on some days which occurred every 2-5 days, extreme anxiety, heavy muscle twitching on my legs and back, extreme fatigue, depression plus all the other symptoms I had while on the higher dose of the drugs. These horrifying misery that I don't want to experience again. The Lorazepam went down to 0.22mg and Ambien to 8.2mg but my husband (who helps with the cutting/weighing) have since added doses everytime I get 0 hrs. of sleep. Since 2 nights ago, I've been taking 9.4MG Ambien (Zolpidem) and 0.27mg Loarazepam (ativan). I need help/guidance on how to taper properly, all the tips you can give on what to do to survive withdrawal and lots of encouragement (and love) to get off these drugs and heal. I want to get my old self back, the energetic, bubbly, hardworking mother of 4 that I used to be. Not the sickly, depressed, unfunctioning woman that these drugs have turned me into. I'd specially encourage those who have tapered off Ambien & Ativan successfully, to please post your tips. I appreciate any and all help that you could extend!!!
  23. I'm 5 months off Clonazepam. Was total hell! Was on only 2.5 months. Before that was Ativan. I was misdiagnosed as bipolar. I suffered almost a year on bad reactions from antidepressants and antipsychotics before being put on ativan then clonazepam. I'm in my 5th month of being off all the drugs. I'm wondering if anybody else has had a fear of never being able to drive again or being alone again? Does it go away? I tried driving by myself and it's really scary. It seems I can only get so far before fear kicks in. And I'm scared to be left alone. It seems like 3 weeks ago the bad anxiety and bad thoughts came back. I NEED hope!! I feel like I'm going to be like this forever!
  24. Hello, I've been reading posts on this site for a while but am reaching out for support in initiating a Gabapentin taper. I am currently taking both Ativan and Gabapentin, with the Gabapentin having been prescribed to me to aid in Ativan withdrawal and sleep. I was originally taking 600-700 mg at bedtime and another 100-200 mg in the middle of the night to extend my sleep. I had no doctor advising me on how best to take the medicine, so I wasn't totally consistent. Back in late January, I forgot to take my bedtime dose and woke up at 5:00 am and decided against taking the full 700 mg at that point. Instead I took 100 mg and thought I would resume dosing again that night. I had very bad withdrawals by early afternoon and decided to take 500 mg to get through the day. At that point I decided moving forward I would only take the 700 mg at bedtime, since I was not needing the middle of the night dose any more. I made it almost two weeks before reinstating the 100 mg in the middle of the night due to extreme anxiety symptoms. Another 10 days later, and more afternoon anxiety, I decided to reinstate 200 mg in the early morning. I'm now at 150 mg between 4:00 - 5:00 am and 700 mg at bedtime and still struggling to get stable. My Ativan taper has been on hold for almost a month while I try to stabilize, and I'm now seriously considering tapering the Gabapentin before the Ativan. I know that I need to be very consistent with my Gabapentin doses and timing in order to stabilize, and I'm reaching out for advice both on whether I need to ultimately consider adding an afternoon dose of Gabapentin to avoid afternoon anxiety, and whether I should consider tapering Gabapentin first. I really don't like this drug, and am concerned about continuing at this high amount for another year or more of an Ativan taper. Thanks in advance for your thoughts and advice. NW Guy
  25. Hello, I am in quite the conundrum currently. My CNS is completely destabilized due to several factors. Firstly, I have been on lorazepam for nearly 8 years. I was initially prescribed 1 mg three times a day along with 10 mg zolpidem after my mom died in August 2008 and I had a panic attack. I took the lorazepam basically at this full dose up until June 2013 when I was ripped off of the lorazepam after my previous doctor left his practice and ended up with a ruthless doctor. He prescribed me 30 mg for a month and that was it. I was able to obtain some diazepam which helped with this abrupt withdrawal. I was off of all gaba drugs and functioning in society with manageable symptoms until April 2014 when the stress of noisy neighbors pushed me over the edge. At this time, I didn't know how dangerous benzodiazepines really were, so I sought out an old psychiatrist who prescribed me 2 mg lorazepam daily plus 10 mg zaleplon at night for the ongoing insomnia. Fast forward to October 2014, when I had a life changing incident. I suffered a mild traumatic brain injury, which to this day has affected me greatly. I was going to school to be a chemical engineer but this injury caused me to have major issues with light, sound sensitivity, brain fog, fatigue. I managed to finish the semester barely. In February 2015, while attempting to start the next semester with a lighter course load, I bumped my head again. This is when all hell broke loose. The symptoms got so bad that I couldn't be in classrooms and I had to withdraw from university due to the light/sound sensitivity. In May 2015, I was prescribed gabapentin by my neurologist. I know this isn't a benzodiazepine but it does seem to have some gaba/glutamate action. Anyway, it seemed to help me at first for my anxiety. At this point I was forced to stay inside and wear sunglasses and earplugs a lot of the time. I could no longer read as I once did. Over the course of the summer I started to improve slightly, and I began tapering of the gabapentin. All the while I was still taking the 2 mg/ lorazepam daily. I didn't use the z-drugs often but I still had a supply that I used occasionally. It was clear that I wasn't going back to school any time soon. It was then that a tragedy occurred. My brother lost his life to a drug overdose. He was my only brother and I loved him dearly. This event took a lot out of me, emotionally and physically. I started to decline. I went to my psychiatrist and he upped me back to 3mg lorazepam/day and renewed a zolpidem prescription. My neurologist upped my gabapentin to 1800 mg/day. (It had been at 900mg over the course of the summer). Shortly after my brother died, my girlfriend and I moved to a quiet town in the hopes that I would heal with less noise bothering me. She became distant and left me in January 2016. This is when I hit rock bottom. I was suffering strange symptoms that seemed to be withdrawal even though I had increased dosages of both medications. I somehow managed to realize that the medications were not helping and I needed to get off of them. I spent 2016 reducing my gabapentin dosage from 1800 mg (600 mg three times a day) down to 300 mg (100 mg three times a day). This was not easy given that I have not been able to work, or go to school due to intense symptoms of sensory overstimulation. I can barely go for walks due to light sensitivity and driving in cars is just as bad due to sound/motion sensitivity. Over the course of 2016, I tried to convert over to a longer acting benzo twice. I tried using clonazepam for a few weeks using the Ashton conversion table. This didn't work well as I felt much worse on the clonazepam. In July I tried to convert to diazepam. I only took two 10 mg doses to replace one of my 1 mg doses of lorazepam on consecutive days. This caused a significant increase in visual symptoms I have been experiencing since 2015 and a failed SSRI effort. This visual phenomenon is known as visual snow and I have all the trademark symptoms now - palinospia, starburts, the static field over my vision, etc. along with tinnitus. So, anyway as it stands now, I have a pretty poor quality of life and I am basically on my own emotionally - no family support. My present dose is 1 mg lorazepam three times a day, and 100 mg gabapentin three times a day. I have not taken any other medications since the diazepam in July. My last zolpidem dose was in March, nearly a year ago. The last cut I made with the gabapentin was 5/31/2016. Prior to that I was making 100 mg cuts weekly as directed by my doctor. Looking back, I'm sure this was much too fast. One of my doctors has been quite sympathetic to my situation and he prescribed me the lorazepam solution to begin a taper. He seems to be willing to work at a slow pace that I'm comfortable with. I actually started writing out a plan for tapering with the liquid. I plan on cutting 5% over the course of the next month using a 0.1mg/mL solution. Thanks for reading, and take care to all.
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