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  1. Hi, You need a taper plan for your antidepressant(s) or benzodiazepine(s) and you don't know how to start? How about create by yourself your own taper plan? If you want to see how your possible taper plan may look like, have a look to the following online planners: - For antidepressants users: http://antdep.alwaysdata.net/ - For benzodiazepines users: http://benzo.alwaysdata.net/ and the related video: Have a look to the Help section first. Hope it can help.
  2. A big hello to anyone reading, I'm grateful for a place to find answers and to log what's going on in the process. Happy to be here and to find resources. I'm coming off of lamotrigene and Halcion, just recently started (an apparently too big of) a taper. Relevant hx: After major surgery involving my CNS (major neck surgery/fusion)last year, my brain has been "worse" - with sx of a major concussion. (I had a major concussion in '99 so I know how that feels) My neurosurgeon denied any anesthesia/apneic complications at both my 3 month and 6 month checkups, when I asked him why I felt as if I had a major concussion post-/intra-operatively- my memory is worse than ever, things that *should be* general knowledge in my brain area are not accessible for recall, just struggling with real life functions, very poor cognition, (worse than it was to the point I don't even want to tell anyone, because how my mind works/thinks is scary to me) like I'm inebriated and can't think or focus, can't remember recent conversations- even of earlier today- and have zero focus/ability to concentrate. Constant pressure in my head, feeling really dizzy like I've been spun in circles and then stopped, vision changes (bad eye is now the good eye and the good eye is bad) seeing double, have zero filter when I talk and things don't make sense, can't recall simple words and frequently mix them up. Vertigo. Dizziness. Lightheadedness. That was Before I started weaning off of meds. I've recently (3 weeks ago) read about post operative cognitive disorder and 2 wks ago saw my Dr (Dr H) review past brain MRI's and he is at a loss after several bloodwork panels. Referral made to out of state University Hospital Neurology dept. He mentioned low blood sugar but nothing otherwise remarkable with labs. He brought up "medications I take contributing to these things-- that the confusion and poor cognition been an ongoing complaint. I also read on drug interactions between each of the meds listed and realized this may be a huge part of the cognitive problems and CNS issues, so lets stop taking what's not working! I've been on lamotrigene for 10 years, 150mg Daily for the past year anyway. I've been talking Valium 5mg at bedtime, as well as Halcion (triazolam) 0.25mg-@HS for probably closer to 14+ years and don't feel it helps with sleep anyway.. It has been ineffective. Also taking an antihistamine at bedtime for allergies... But it potentates the effects of the other meds. Also pain medication A few times a week. Lots of autoimmune, neuroimmune diagnoses and chronic, debilitating nerve, muscle, skin and joint pain that adds to the depression. I won't go into all of that. *Lamotrigene brand change 6 weeks ago Really messed with my brain and systems, so I had to go from that 150mg tablet back to the "good" brand 100mg tablets I had an extra bottle of; (The "good" brand I used has been permanently discontinued.) So- 4 weeks ago my dose was cut to 100mg, trying to get out of the position of needing this med since it has become impossible to get the brand that has been effective. I started weaning from the Halcion 2 weeks ago, cut the dose in half after seeing my doctor and reviewing needs and MRI's etc. Both of these were done as the pharmacist and doctor instructed but I'm seeing much of the withdrawing sx mentioned in this website- And it is only compounding the feeling that I'm completely losing my mind that I have dealt with post-operatively since about March 2018. Low blood sugar has been ruled out as a causative factor for poor cognition over the past 2 weeks. NOW ....I'm noticing worsening cognition, memory and concentration, back pain and muscle spasms(back locked up in me- can't walk/sit past 2 days), fatigue is worse, no motivation, but also anxiety and a need to get out of the house, (manic?) do something besides hide in bed half the day feeling no purpose. The sx wax and wane a bit, afternoons are the worst. I see these are common withdrawal reactions after some browsing of this site, that helps me feel like I'm not totally losing my mind! I appreciate what this site offers- I'm glad to find it. I'm seeing information here that I know it's useful, but I'm already a month in on my lamotrigene dose decrease, don't know that I want to go back up on that. Do I???? I know I've only skimmed the very surface of material here, can't absorb any more right now. At least I've found help. I think. HS: Lamotrigene 100mg Valium 5mg Halcion 0.125mg Clemastine 1.34mg Thx for reading... Cat from USA
  3. Hey I have been on lexapro since 2012 after a lot of trials and errors I was prescribed mirtazapine 7.5 mg (half dose) and lexapro 10mg . I was on mirtazapine 7.5 for a couple of years until switching to amisulpride 50mg . Stayed on lexapro 10mg and amisulpride 50mg until last December I 'relapsed' and the psychiatrist started experimennting with different drugs . I decided to quit drugs and tapered off for the first couple of weeks took both the drugs in full dose and than for next couple of weeks half dose of amisulpride and full dose of lexapro. For the next couple of weeks I didn't take even a single dose amisulpride and slowly weaned off lexapro too. I remember I took my last lexapro pill on 13th Feb 2016. Right after stopping it started feeling like a zombie and days from 6-10were complete hell . Felt suicidal . However somehow I managed to stay afloat by telling myself it's just WD and I will soon get better . ilIstarted feeling better after the time passed . Yet I was not able to feel any emotion . No anger , no happiness ,no sadness , just felt like a zombie . Out of nowhere somewhere in late March I wioke up and felt like my old self . I was excited ,yet somewhere ilI newbie won't last long . THAT night had an anxiety attack and from than onwards started feeling foggy . it was extremely difficult to understand or feel anything. HOWEVER. in May I started running and somewhere near 21st of May I felt like myself again but it too didn't last long enough. And than after a month after exercising and sweating it out in gym I felt like returning to my old self again but than something really simple made it really worse . My college exams too played a role in it . Even after runningg miles and sweating it out in gym I was not able to sleep. I got 4-6 hours of sleep . And my cognitive functions have only worsened so far . I haven't been able to enjoy stuffs that I once enjoyed. I felt suicidal and went back to psychiatrist .He gave me a cocktail of drugs including lexapro , I attempted suicide just the next day . I again came off and after seeing no improvement in my cognitive abilities alwent back on drugs . Currently I am on Desvenflas 50mg and some benzodiazpine. Found about this sit recently and related to the people on them I would love to know our all's opinion on the mqtter
  4. I've been actively tapering klonopin for over a year now. I have been taking benzodiazepines for the last 26 years...yeah. About five years ago, I tried zoloft. It was amazing, and it helped my anxiety a lot. It helped it so much, that I realized how little tranquilizers were doing for me. Well, I switched because of side effect and for the last year I have been taking Pristiq, with pretty good effects. Last week, I took some migraine medication, called maxalt, and basically caused a mild seretonin syndrome. I stopped the pristiq for a day and my seretonin syndrome symptoms went away, but a whole new bunch of stuff started, which I realized was pristiq withdrawal. I didn't really want to come off the pristiq until I was done getting off the klonopin, but this is how it is going down now. So I've been breaking my pristiq pill up with a pill cutter into fourths, and I now take 1/4th a pill 3X a day. I feel better when I have just taken a dosage and dizziness, nausea, and a loss of balance are my biggest symptoms to date of pristiq withdrawal. I'm really only five days in, so I'm not sure how much worse this may get.
  5. Hi all! I have been reading these forums for months and finally decided to share my story in the hope that perhaps it will help others and also that some may have some good advice. I was prescribed Xanax 0.5 mg about 4 years ago after experiencing severe insomnia due to stress of starting a new job (new grad critical care nurse working night and day shift). I took it roughly 2-3 times per week for approximately 3.5 years. I occasionally took it a little more and slightly higher doses (up to 0.75 mg) if I felt like I needed to be knocked out to sleep. I never took it during the day. I got a new doc, who switched me to Lorazepam 0.5 mg last year after stating Xanax was too addictive. I found that I needed to take two pills and sometimes add a glass of wine in order to achieve the same sleep-inducing effect. A few times I experienced "brain zaps" or high levels of anxiety when the drugs wore off, but I never quite attributed this to interdose withdrawal. I went on vacation, May 2015, and I took both Xanax and Lorazepam at the same time due to being low on Xanax for about 4 days straight. I experienced terrible rebound insomnia and did not sleep for about 3 days straight. I did not associated this with the benzos and had a friend prescribe Lunesta 3 mg to help me sleep. I began taking this on top of Lorazepam 1 mg for about 2 weeks. After my first few days mixing these drugs, I began to feel very strange. Things did not look quite right (I now realize I was having depersonalization) and I began to get severe head pressure in the evening (very tight band around the head) and almost blacking out in the shower. I began to feel a sense of impending doom and constantly felt anxious. Caffeine and alcohol made things ten times worse. My GP had me wean off Lorazepam over 2 weeks and then stop altogether. My DP/DR became very severe and lasted approximately 3 months, slowly improving over that time. However, my original insomnia + withdrawal insomnia came back full force and I would be working 12 hour night shifts after days of no sleep. It was not safe for me or my patients, obviously. I had to work a reduced schedule for over a month. I felt depressed and highly anxious and could not function. Desperate, I found a psychiatrist and she suggested trying Lexapro and Trazodone for the anxiety/depression. After a few weeks of benzo withdrawal, I broke down and started Lexapro 5 mg/day and Trazodone 50-75 mg per night. Within a week I felt a little calmer and started sleeping better. I felt confused and spacey on the Lexapro but was willing to put up with it since I was sleeping better. Within weeks, my doc increased my dose to 10 mg Lexapro. I started feeling like I couldn't sit still and was constantly "buzzing" and felt restless just sitting down. I had increased hand tremors (these started after quitting benzos) and felt very out of it. I started having trouble with my eyesight and had to start wearing my glasses at all times. My most concerning symptom, though, was development of constant, dull head pressure and a clicking/grating/popping noise in my ears/forehead about 50-100 times per day. I felt like I could not think straight, as if there was literally something "blocking" me from focusing and concentrating. I was a straight A college student and graduated top of my class and was on the road to pursuing my graduate degree, so having difficulty with my speech and concentration was very concerning. I stayed at 10 mg for two weeks, waiting for the "side effects" to subside, as everyone assured me they would. They did not, and I went back down to 5 mg. However, decreasing the dose did not diminish any of the side effects I had been experiencing and I felt worse than ever. Every day I felt like I was living in a dream and it took all my energy to understand complex patients concepts at worse that previously were never a problem. After three months, I decided to start weaning off 5 mg with liquid Lexapro. I weaned off very slowly, over 3 more months. As I weaned, occasionally I started to feel a little more "normal" and less "numb." It has been 3 months since getting off Lexapro and Trazodone and my main issue/symptom is that I am having head pressure similar (but more intense) than what I had on Lexapro to some degree every single day. The clicking/popping/grinding noise is also still there and seems to occur any time the pressure changes in my head. The popping doesn't hurt, it's just annoying. The head pressure feels like someone has my head in a vice at all times, but occasionally cranks on it and increases the squeezing sensation. It is unlike anything I have ever felt in my life, and certainly not a normal headache by any means. Whenever I have intense head pressure, I have extreme trouble concentrating, thinking, and focusing similar to what I had while on Lexapro. My other symptom is shakiness and restlessness (trouble sitting still, body feels like it's vibrating). This comes and goes. So, I'm asking you guys....Could I still be in benzo withdrawal or is this probably more related to the Lexapro? I have seen reports of head pressure and weird head sensations from both benzo and AD forums. For those with severe head pressure, when did you start feeling better? Did anyone experience popping or clicking noises in their head? I am concerned because I would like to start graduate school this fall to become a nurse practitioner and I need to be able to think clearly. I feel devastated that I have gone from a highly capable and intelligent person to a depressed insomniac with cognitive impairment. Looking for a silver lining and some encouragement. I've been taking Melatonin and Lemon Balm to help combat the insomnia. Thank you!
  6. Hi all. I have been reading many post on this excellent forum for a while now. Time to say hello and start my own journal thread. A bit about me Don’t know if my story is very unique... I am broken. I have been on meds for a long time. I have tried to quit several times, failed and failed again. Struggle with low self esteem and dysthymia for as far as I can remember, but somehow still manage to keep my life together (at least it looks like that from the outside). There is a lot of negativity and dysfunction in me, and I have a have been in different kinds of therapy on and off. No real problems with anxiety before starting to taper the meds. During my more brighter moments I’m also very very happy for having a decent career at work, an loving girlfriend, a few really good friends, my cats, basic health and many other things that are important in life. The medication I was put on Venlafaxine in 2000 at age 33 after a separation that triggered both my first panic attacks and clinical depression. I needed the medication then, for perhaps 1 year it saved my life. Continued taking it out of habit and lack of good support from any doctor that knew something. During the 14 years on meds my life was actually quite ok. Most things worked fine, I was balanced and sane. No anxiety, no depression, stable mood and a quite active life. So why change a winning team? I wanted to try to stop taking meds when I realized that I had not cried at all for ten years, not even when one of my beloved cats died, that my life simply was not containing any real highs and no real lows. I somehow missed out on important emotional parts by taking SSRI/SNRI. The more I read on the subject, the more convinced I got that I really have to quit. Still, depression runs deep in my family, and I might end up having to take a low dose for the rest of my life. The plan is of course to not take any meds at all and deal with my problems in therapy instead. I have much more faith in talk therapy than in long term medication. Others probably see me as a rather calm person, but I’m also very restless, uncertain and often not patient enough for the slow pace that discontinuing psych meds demand. Sometimes do to to big drops or other drastic changes in meds or life. I know it's not good for me, but I can't help myself. SSRI is clearly the devil and benzodiazepine is his/hers evil partner in crime! The antidepressants keep my demons in their cages and benzo soothes my restless soul like nothing else. I have very mixed emotions to the medication. I don’t like to be dependent on them but the last 14 years I have always felt better on meds than off. Perhaps that has to do with the lack of patience. My current tapering project I started my current tapering from 150 mg Venlafaxine (Effexor) in April 2014. Have tried to follow all the tips on keeping it slow, stable and safe. There has been a lot of stress with traveling, new job, major illness in the family, big changes in my important volunteer engagement and a new love relationship during this year. So far I have managed to handle all these changes and the withdrawal effects without falling apart. There is still too much stress but compared to before tapering I’m trying to keep my ambitions fairly low and try to limit all activities and persons that generates stress. If withdrawal becomes worse I guess I will have to lower my ambitions even more. As you all know, lots of time and energy goes into dealing with waves, new emotions, mood swings and increased anxiety. In March 2015 I was down to 30 mg Venlafaxine per day, with some very clear withdrawal issues. This might be a too fast taper, but that was the way I did it. The withdrawal got a bit worse, and I slowly started started self medicating Diazepam (Valium) on a daily basis. However, I wasn’t feeling bad enough to reinstate or increase the Venlafaxine dosage. Two months later, in May 2015, I felt stable enough to start bridging to liquid Fluoxetine (Prozac) during 1 month. Hope that the long half life of the Fluoxetine will make the final steps down to zero manageable. I had to increase the dose a bit and now, in June 2015, I’m on 12 mg Fluoxetine (3.0 ml) which equals about 40 mg Venlafaxine. Not sure that this was the right move, but all previous attempts to go lower than 40 mg Venlafaxine has failed miserably and resulted in reinstating. The main drawback with Fluoxetine compared to Venlafaxine, is that it makes me very tired. The fatigue is constant and the energy levels way below normal. I feel like sleeping all the time. To deal with the lows I occasionally self medicate with the pain medication Tramadol, that clearly boost the serotonin levels. Try to not take it more than once a week, since it's easy to get dependent. I occasionally take other substances too, but never with such a frequency that they become problems. I know my limits in that area. I drink alcohol but not more than once a week and never more than a few glasses. To handle the anxiety i self medicate with Diazepam (Valium) or Alprazolam (Xanax). The last 2-3 months I have been taking between 2 and 5 mg Diazepam every other day. This is way to too frequent, and I’m clearly become dependent on the benzo now. This has happened before and I am slowly tapering the Diazepam. Currently taking about 1 mg per day. My main non-chemical weapon against the anxiety is the meditative relaxing audios from excelatlife.com and the headspace.com meditations, that I do on a daily basis. Recently I have started doing the “mixing the cake batter” anti-anxiety exercise that seem so help. I am not into supplements. Have tried both Vitamin E, Omega 3 and Magnesium at different occasions, but not found that it makes any kind of difference at all. At the moment I’m suffering quite a bit from both anxiety (mostly in the morning), mood swings, general nervousness, fatigue, memory loss and lack of motivation. Not sure what is related to the meds and what is new emotions emerging from the low dosage of SSRI. Sleep is one of the things that works fine though. I’m not giving up this time. I will follow through even if it takes several more years. Not sure how often I will update this journal or if I will get involved in the discussion on this site. Based on all my failed attempts to taper I do however believe it is very important to both give and receive support from others in the same situation. A big thank you to all the people who contribute to this site! You save lives.
  7. I am tapering off clonazepam. I was taking (3) 0.5mg pills a day. I told my doctor I wanted to try to cut back by one pill a month. The first month was fine. But now, month two, she has me taking (2) half pills a day, which is 0.25mg twice a day. It seems too sudden. I will let her know about the recommendation of taping off by 10% every 3 to 4 weeks. She is happy that I want to stop taking it and I think she will allow me to follow the 10% reduction plan.
  8. Hello everyone. I am glad this place exists. I am currently trying to get off antidepressants and have read many posts on this forum. I would appreciate any advice on my current situation. Here are the basics: March 2001 At age 18, tried marijuana and a high dose of coricidan cough & cold (dextromethorphan) along with alcohol on spring break. Experienced a 'bad trip', freaking out and thinking I was going to die. For the next couple weeks I felt 'off': experienced dissociative feelings, derealization and anxiety (feared I would never feel back to normal) April 2001 Returned to "normal"June 2001 Developed a cold, and upon taking cough medicine, the dissociative feelings returned and I had a panic attack, fearing I had brain damage from taking the drugs which was causing the feelings, along with heart palpitations, minor chest pain and shortness of breath. Went to the ER and they gave me Valium to calm down. The next day the dissociative feelings were still strong. Went to my PCP and he prescribed Paxil 20mg to anxiety. I was also given Xanax to use when the panic feelings were too strong. Along with anxiety symptoms, noticed ringing in the ears after starting Paxil. July 2001 After 6-8 weeks, the dissociative feelings lifted. I felt more normal.August 2001 Although feeling better, still had problems with anxiety and depression at night, so PCP increased Paxil dose to 30mg. After increasing dose, noticed ringing in the ears again, along with mild dizziness/vertigo and dissociative feelings. PCP assured me that these symptoms would subside in a few weeks, and that every negative feeling was a result of the anxiety disorder, while the medicine was making them go away. January 2002 Felt better and under doctor's advice, began tapering from Paxil.February 2002, Ringing in ears got worse after stopping Paxil, as did dissociative feelings and anxiety. Doc prescribed Xanax as needed. (can't remember if I went back on Paxil) December 2002 Overwhelming anxiety, dissociative feelings, depression and panic attacks return. PCP placed me on Prozac 20mg January 2003 Experiencing chest pain and tightness, panic attacks, and extremely high heart rates when exercising. Higher than normal. Anxiety still bad. Doc reassured me I would be fine and this is normal. Taking xanax almost daily to control anxiety Panic attacks became intense, and anxiety was 24/7. No relief. Had to drop out of college and come home. A few weeks later, went to PCP and he took me off Prozac and put me back on Paxil. April 2003 Anxiety, dissociative feelings and panic attacks have gotten better, but still 'on and off'. Feel okay for a week then feel bad for a week. Doc puts me on Paxil CR 50mg. August 2003 Things have improved. Feeling more 'normal.' Able to enjoy things. Went to the doc wanting to lower dose of Paxil. He put me on 12.5mg. October 2003 Switched to Zoloft 200mg because symptoms were returning Felt back to "normal" after a few weeks and able to enjoy things again. January 2005 Lowered dosage to 200mg Zoloft because of weight gain and feelings of fatigueOctober 2005 Dissociative symptoms, anxiety and depression returning. Doc takes me off Zoloft and puts me on Wellbutrin XL 300mg May 2006 Diagnosed with sleep apneaOctober 2006 Symptoms return. Doc places me on Effexor XR 150mg. After a few weeks feel back to "normal". Able to enjoy things again. September 2008 Wanted to get off medication for good. After getting my wisdom teeth out and being on Vicodin, I thought that would be a good time to do it. 2 weeks later, I freaked out and things were AWFUL. Went to the psychiatric ER and immediately restarted Effexor XR. Felt back to "normal" after a few weeks. July 2012 Begin having "episodes" where i feel lightheaded, and a "wave" feeling comes over me. This is accompanied by a significant raise in pulse and blood pressure, extreme panic and anxiety, and dissociative feelings. The episodes last about 10-15 minutes. Often times I vomit. They seem to happen after a lack of sleep, drinking lots of caffeine, or smoking too many cigarettes. Attack becomes so severe I head to the ER. They do tests, all come back negative. Over the next few months, these episodes become more frequent, and anxiety in between these episodes goes up. November 2012 Wake up in the middle night. Extreme fear and panic. Heart RACING. I call 911 and an ambulance has to come pick me up. At ER, all tests are negative and they give me xanax. Go to a psychiatrist who takes me off Effexor XR and puts me on Lexapro. Anxiety gets worse over the next two months. January 2013 Anxiety is worse than it has ever been. It is absolutely unbearable. Like a 24/7 panic attack from the moment I wake up to the moment I go to bed. Psychiatrist puts me back on Effexor XR 150mg, and Klonopin 25mg 3x daily to keep me from freaking out. Things are AWFUL. Like a mental pain and anguish as iff someone is constantly shaking my head. I can't even describe how awful it is. March 2013 Things have not improved. Pdoc raises my dosage to 225mg of EffexorXR. After a few days, things get even WORSE. They are so bad I have to go to the ER and we decide to put me in an inpatient facility. After a couple days in there, I realize there is nothing they can do for me other than mess with medications. I got out of there after a couple days.May 2013 Things have not improved. I decide to enter a partial hospitalization program where I go in for half the day. They do all sorts of classes about mood and attitude and stuff but this is a physical feeling of mental anguish and pain, not a state of mind. They try to convince me it is a state of mind and I can talk my way out of it. Pdoc tries to increase Effexor XR dosage again. Symptoms get even WORSE. My heart rate races up to 150bpm just walking down the street. BP is up to 140/100. (normally 120/80) June 2013 We finally decide to taper me off Effexor XR and back on to Zoloft. It takes about 2 months, but I finally get off Effexor and onto Zoloft. The transfer was HELL. I would have episodes of extreme anxiety and mental pain, and moments where it felt like my brain was being electrically 'charged up.' Every night I went to bed thinking I was going to die in my sleep. I wish there was a way to describe my anguish. Now taking 200mg Zoloft and 25mg Klonopin 3x daily August 2013 Not getting better. Discover benzobuddies.org. Decide I need to get off the Klonopin. It is making me feel drugged and fatigued and unable to live life. And makes me feel like my legs are tingling and asleep all day. Begin my slow taper from Klonopin. Every time I make a cut it SUCKS... November 2013 Finally get off the Klonopin It's rough for a while, but SLOWLY gets better February 2013 At this point I am able to have moments where I'm not thinking about the anxiety/mental pain. This is a step forward. I still have dissociation and derealization, no 'clarity', mental fog, confusion, unable to organize thoughts, feeling ADHD all the time... but slowly improvingApril 2014 Feeling better. No 'painful' anxiety. Only taking 200mg Zoloft daily. Still have dissociation and derealization and anxiety and depression. Can't feel excitement, love, passion, sex drive, etc. I want to get off all medications. I have felt better since getting off effexor and Klonopin, although it has taken so long. I want to get off Zoloft, but I'm not sure when to begin. Because I am not completely better, I am afraid I will get worse if I try to taper now. But I am ALSO afraid that if I do not taper soon, I will get worse and need more medications to help. Advice??? Thank you :-) Edit: I have always been told that all these symptoms are from my anxiety disorder. After years of research, I'm wondering if the original anxiety was from the imbalance, but all these other problems are from the medications. Do I need medications to get better? Or do I need to taper off them to get better. That is my fear :-(
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