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  1. Hi all, and thank you for this site. After multiple attempts to taper over the last 5/6 years, some medically supervised, some not, I came off citalopram 10mg at the end of June this year with the intention of pushing through withdrawal come what may. I had been on 20mg until earlier this year and decreased straight to 10mg which I’d been on for about three months. Needless to say now I am now not having fun at all and am considering reinstating. My intention was to replace the SSRI with 5htp which I’ve been taking for a week at 50mg then 100mg. I still have some citalopram tablets left (I’ve asked my husband to hide them) so am wondering if I should crush them and weigh them or just go straight to the liquid version and do it that way. I have a history of depression and anxiety, but at the moment am in a mental state I do not recognise, it’s utterly bleak and strange, like everything around me looks the same but I am a stranger to myself and my surroundings. I’m not sure I can do this long term. I’m not suicidal but have had fleeting very dark thoughts. Thank you in advance for any advice/thoughts. X
  2. 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.
  3. Hi, I found this website from someone's post who seemed to be going through the same as what I am. Sorry if this is long but I'm not sure which info is necessary! I was taking Citolapram for alittle over 2 years, mostly 20mg but I upped to 30mg near the end. I weened off them within a week but after almost a month I went back of them (20mg). I only stayed on them for a week and then came off them cold turkey. About 7 or more weeks since, I randomly woke up one day with PGAD. It's a horrible, progressive, non-curable disorder that makes your genitals feel constantly aroused, sometimes stabbing, burning, feeling the need to pee, zap feelings and a lot of throbbing. I've had this for a month now and feels worse these past 2 days (coincidentally I was pescribed Amitriptyline 10mg but after 2 days of taking them I decided I don't want to go back to ADs - apparently PGAD is mostly caused by withdrawing from ADs) I've had so many breakdowns because of this and there is no way I can live with it, especially because it can cause spontaneous orgasms and a lot of pain which I haven't got yet. I'm so scared and my doctors have no idea about the disorder and just try to convince me it's in my head which despite my obvious symptoms and causes I'm hoping it is. My history of OCD could explain it too. Before taking ADs I had a fear of farting in public which as stupid as it sounds, kept me house-bound for years. It went away after I took ADs and started college. Then a year later I had a bad sickness bug which led me to a fear of throwing up, with that I felt sick literally every single day and not always just mildly. I had tests but nothing explained it. Then I started hearing alot about PGAD just before mine started, once mine started my sickness has completely gone (so all this time it must have been in my head which is crazy because I almost threw up it was so bad). And now I'm getting all these symptoms of PGAD constantly. But I'm still not convinced it's all in my head because it is a fact that withdrawing from ADs too fast can cause it, plus I think I have some damage in my pelvice since I went on an exercise bike during my 2nd withdrawals. This gave me what I thought was piles in my perineum which went away after a week and then came back with my PGAD. I have a huge skin tag in my perineum which fills and becomes solid if I'm too active and I start getting a pain around it (in my legs/butt cheeks). I'm thinking I've damaged my pelvic floor and that these things could be connected? Although the PGAD didn't start straight away? I'm sorry this was so long but I am so so terrified of having this disorder, it is honestly such a horrible, embarrassing, painful and hopeless thing to live with and has always been my biggest fear since I learnt about it. I have so many things that could have caused it which makes me think that maybe it isn't just in my head. It's driving me crazy and if anyone has any hope or experience like this I would really love to hear from you. Sorry again for the long post.
  4. Hello, This is my introduction post where I will be sharing my drug history, experience, and goals towards a drug free life. A little about me: I am a 26 years old male with interests in animals, nutrition, fitness, socializing, movies, and other things. I have been taking citalopram for 21 years and my goal is to taper off of my current 10 mg dose down to zero. I would appreciate tapering advice from anyone with experience with successful SSRI tapering, especially citalopram. Backstory: I started medication around the time I was 5 years old, just starting kindergarten. My parents had recently gotten divorced and I was taken to a child therapist and then a pediatrician. I had a lot of tantrums as a toddler, poor eye contact, trouble making decisions, and I would frequently get in trouble at preschool. At the advice of the pediatrician I was put on 40 mg of citalopram, brand Celexa, and what seemed to be at about the same time, 60 mg of dextroamphetamine, brand ProCentra. I still would get in trouble a lot at school up until high school, but I was a very happy kid. I stayed on both of these medications at the same doses till I was 17 when I successfully requested to be taken off of some medication. I tapered off of dextroamphetamine with no trouble at all. It was a little tougher to concentrate on hw, but I didn't mind. After graduating high school and starting studies at my local community college, I decided to taper off of citalopram. As with the dextroamphetamine, I worked with my pediatrician to help me taper off of the medication. I was told this would be difficult so I tapered off between spring and summer studies. I didn't notice any negative effects all the way down to 10 mg of citalopram. I felt different being on a lower dose, but I liked how it felt. Tapering from 10 mg to zero, however, did not go well. I developed pretty unbearable irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). At this time I am starting my second year of community college and I am 19 / 20 years old. Besides having IBS, I had heightened senses, a bit of depression and anxiety, and I was less hyper and less enthusiastic. I became diet obsessed and tried to find food I could eat without getting bloated and or having digestive pain. I lied to my pediatrician and I said I was fine and decided to stayed off of the medication. I visited digestive doctors, got blood tests, and looked for diets to solve my problems. After about 6 months, I saw my general care doctor and asked to go back on citalopram at 10 mg. Before taking citalopram I requested to try a different medication, a tricyclic antidepressant. I can't remember why I thought this was a good idea. I started at a low dose and had unpleasant headaches among other weird feelings. After a month or so I decided to go back to citalopram. I believe I started with 5 mg and then worked my way up to 10 mg. I had almost constant headaches getting back on the medication, and driving felt different, possibly due to the medications effects on balance. I can't remember if I had headaches tapering off of the medication. After two to three weeks, I felt pretty good. At this time I believe I was entering my third year at my community college. I found my digestive system was generally okay if I ate whole foods and stayed away from cooking oils. My anxiety was still much more present than when I was taking 40 mg, and I didn't feel as happy. I have stayed on my 10 mg dose of citalopram since then. To help manage my anxiety, I meditate, stay physically active, eat as healthy as I can, and socialize as often as I can. There is so much misinformation out there, even in scientific research. I am not sure what to believe about the harms and benefits of antidepressants. I was for sure much happier on a higher dose, but I was also a kid when things were easier and I was still growing up, so its hard to say. These are very stressful times in the world, but there might never be a perfect time to try to taper off of the citalopram. I would appreciate any advice on tapering or any shared stories of similar experiences. Thanks for reading, VeganLife
  5. Hey everyone, I said that once I was healed and felt back to normal again I would write a success story and I do believe that today is finally the day for it! It was a very long journey for me personally, but I know that others have been going through it for even longer. So for those of you that are still in the thick of it, I will tell you this! Keep on going and going and going!! Never ever give up! I truly do believe that everyone heals no matter how long it takes!! For some it is shorter than others, but it's coming for all of us! You can read my intro topic and see that I really didn't find this site until I was almost 8 months in deep. I was one of those who CT quit everything because nothing was working for me and I got tired of trying different things to feel better. I was extremely fortunate to meet a wonderful lady who had survived the process and she reached out to me. She was able to encourage me daily to keep going and helped me to get through the very worst of days! I was so lucky because most people do not have that support system, but it was a life saver. Some things that I learned while going through this process: 1. Stay as positive as you possibly can! I know it's hard, believe me. There were so many days I just wanted to get in a funk and stay there, but I knew how dangerous that was. If you let yourself always see the bad in things, then eventually that is all you will see! Take what is happening to you and turn it around. Find something positive in your day. When I was having the worst of symptoms, instead of feeling bad about it and moping about it, I would turn it around and tell myself that I was having a good strong day of healing! The harder the symptoms, the more healing that was taking place. I made it a positive thing!! 2. Acceptance!!! I know this one is hard!! It was for me and took me a very very long time to learn it, but once I did it made a world of difference for me. The symptoms no longer had the power over me that they once had. Yeah they were still there, but I would just acknowledge them and then move on. There was nothing I could do about them, so I just let them happen. Besides it just meant that I was doing some more healing. The sooner you can learn how to accept the process the easier the process becomes. 3. Time!!! Unfortunately in my experience I found that there are no shortcuts in this process. There is no magic pill or drug that I could take that was gonna heal me any faster. I had to be patient and wait for my brain and CNS to heal! There was no way to speed up the process or make it any easier. I just had to get through it! That was it. Time time and more time!! Each day you go through is one day closer to your ultimate healing so don't give up!! 4. Distract!!! Find something anything that you can use to distract yourself and make the time go by. For me it was long walks, paint by numbers, etchings, diamond dots, models, board games with my children!! Just anything to pass the time! The more I was able to distract myself, the more healing that was taking place without me worrying about it! When you sit around all day and don't engage your mind, it has nothing to do but ruminate on what you are thinking or experiencing. Distract!! 5. Keep track of the good days! I experienced the normal waves and windows pattern that is normal for a lot of people. I would keep a journal daily where I would write down what I was thinking, how things were going. And for me most importantly, when I was feeling good in a window, I would write about it in the journal. I would write notes to myself reminding myself that I could feel good again and that I would feel good again. That way on the hard days I could go back and see what I had written to myself to know that I was gonna be ok. And that's honestly about it! That's what worked for me! Just remember that what you are going through is temporary!! This is not the rest of your life. One day you will be healed and able to move forward with life and enjoy the days. This whole process has made me such a strong and more resilient person. Little things in life no longer really bother me and I have found I have so much more patience and understanding than I ever did before. As much as this whole thing sucked, it has made me a better person!! Just remember to keep going and going for as long as this takes!! You've got this and you know it! I will be sticking around the forums to help others. I always told myself once I made it through this I was gonna pay it forward and help others as well. Don't hesitate to reach out if needed! Ken
  6. Mod note: link to: Happy2Heal: Hope I'm doing this right (Introduction and update topic) I was just an 18yr old, a very confused, naive young woman, er no- more of a child, really- when I was given (by force) my first psych drug, stelazine, a major tranquilizer. that was the beginning of a long series- spanning almost 40 yrs!- of psych drugs and hospitalizations. All along the way, I was plastered with one diagnosis after another, or several heaped on at once. My physical health went downhill and I ended up a virtual shut-in, living my life all in my head, friendless, socially isolated to the extreme, my only contact with drs and therapists, leaving my house to go food shopping maybe twice a month. This wasn't living, and I knew it. But I didn't know how to change things. I didn't know what was wrong. I spent over two thirds of my life believing I was mentally ill and *needed* to be on those drugs. but at some point, it occurred to me that the drugs might actually be the problem, or at least, part of the problem. I knew I had to get off them. and I did. The process and the pain of that is reported on my thread, I don't care to go back over it, at least not now. I learned a lot along the way, but for now, I don't want to think about where I've been, I only want to think about where I am now, and the life I have before me. Here I am, now, one year off all drugs, of all kinds. I rarely even take a ibuprofen for a headache. I want to write my success story, but I'm not 100% ready yet However I do have to say that what I feel most of all, is a great deal of pride in having survived. I suffered all forms of abuse as a child, emotional, sexual, physical, verbal, went on to be a survivor of rape, of domestic abuse. I was abused within the mental health system. I've spent virtually all of my adult life in poverty, raising my daughter as a single mom on disability due to "mental illness". But today, I feel as if I've done more than just survive; I am thriving. I have friends. I have a very active social life. I volunteer and I feel like the work I do is making a difference, having an impact. while technically I am still 'poor' by income, I don't go without anything I need, with the possible exception of good dental care I have a good life. Is my withdrawal journey over? I'm not sure.While I took my last dose of lexapro over a year ago, I feel like I am still having some symptoms that must be related to the nearly 4 DECADES on psych meds. BUT you need to know, these symptoms are extremely mild. and after that long on so many different drugs, it stands to reason that there will be minor little tweaks that my brain will need to make, for some time to come. I'd like to say that all that has faded into the background of my life, but to be honest: I am more vigilant about them now, than at any time during active withdrawal- because I don't want to fall into a trap of thinking that any problems I may have mean that all those doctors were right, I'm permanently disabled by a mental illness and there's no hope for me. I am pretty sure that the only thing I suffer from is PTSD, and I don't see that as a mental illness so much as a natural reaction to extremely stressful, traumatic life events. so Today I feel Victorious. I've overcome a lot and need to soak in that feeling of doing a good job I don't often give myself credit for my achievements or feel like it's ok to feel good about them but today, I give myself permission to bask in this feeling. it feels like the right and honest thing to do. I guess I just have to be different, I don't want to call this a success story because that sounds to me like the end, when in fact it is not. It's not really a beginning, either, because the beginning of my new life dates back to when I first realized that the drugs were the problem. to me, this just feels like a victory over adversity- something to celebrate! so please, celebrate with me, and know that you are going to heal as well, those of you still going thru WD/recovery. it's worth it, believe me so very worth it!
  7. Hi everybody I'm Soren from Denmark, 50 years old, and just started tapering 18 years of Mirtazapine-use. Earlier I have tried to withdraw from mirtazapine three times and every time by doctors instructions (50% two weeks, 50% of the remaining dose two weeks, then stop), and the last time I nearly hurt my beloved cat in rage. It was the most frightening out of control experience and periode in my life. I'm not long into my taper (down to 20 mg from 30 mg) and my taper it is going well at the moment (5% every three weeks). As almost universally experienced by other mirtazapine 'withdrawalees' I suffer day 4 or 5 after a reduction, but come day 8 and I am stabilized and on day 10 I feel a little better than before the reduction. I will write more about my experience with both citalopram, brintellix (trintellix), and mirtazapine later but for know I just want to say thank you. You see I have for over 6 months been browsing survivingantidepressants and even though I can feel the heartbroken, desperate loneliness in peoples struggles, I feel that you are a little more non-lonely when when you are visible for each other. More importantly I will no longer just be a browsing antidepressant surviver. If I (and everybody else who are anonymously browsing) continue to free ride on sites like surviving antidepressants the real magnitude of the antidepressant problem will never be known and the work you do never be recognized (enough). I have seen somewhere (maybe a YouTube video) that survivingantidepressants.org has over 14.000 members. My guess is for every site-member in the withdrawal community (on FB-groups, twitter, RxISK, innercompass etc) there are +1000 more browsing non members out there. So here you have one more grateful member so you hugely important work can become a little more visible. Soren from Denmark
  8. My original post: So, as of right now I am 17 months completely off all medication. I consider myself fully healed and am so happy to be able to write this because I want others to know that full healing IS possible, even in extreme cases. As I spoke about in my original thread, I was put on an SSRI at 5 years old for anxiety. While at first it seemed to 'help', as I got older my psychiatrist kept on raising the dose until I was essentially a zombie from about age 14-18. It caused many problems and I went from being a very social and happy kid to a sullen, antisocial, shell of what I was. I believe it also gave me bouts of depression, as I never had depression before I was on it and my most depressed periods always came after a dosage increase. It was very painful to me to think about how I had my adolescence and happiness taken from me by this drug and the people who kept me on it not seeing what it was doing to me, but I've reached a point in my life now where I can forgive and am too happy about life now and my future to dwell on that. I really want others to know, if you were put on these meds before you were even old enough to consent to being on them, I understand your pain, and assure you that even in a case like this, you CAN heal, and a life without depending on these drugs IS possible. I know there likely aren't many of us but I know others like me do exist and I hope somehow you find this post and my story can help you in some way. The medications I was on during this period were Zoloft and Celexa (I switched to the latter when I was 13), and I was on the highest doses of each (200mg and 40mg, respectively). When I was 18 years old, I had a stressful period and since it was my first time living away from home at college I started to come to some realizations about how crazy the whole thing was that I was taking these medications without even really understanding as to why I was on them still and not feeling like it was in any way my decision to take them. This was in 2014 and because I was young, and felt invincible and naive I essentially just stopped taking it (Celexa 40mg at this point). I'm not sure about how much detail is necessary here about what followed (although I'm more than happy to answer any questions anyone has and am an open book), but basically, I was ok for a couple of months, but then suffered for the next 4 years with intense, excruciating withdrawal symptoms that ranged from extremely painful physical and medical things to hellish mental symptoms. To this day it amazes me what this drug did to my system, as I never imagined that it could affect things that it affected (my blood tests from my first year of withdrawal confounded even the fancy, expensive doctors I went to). I suffered more than any teenager/young adult should ever have to suffer. I spent literally 3 years basically bedridden, in severe physical and mental pain, not knowing what was going on or if it was ever going to end. I felt like my soul was in crisis, and like I had no sense of self or purpose anymore. Growing up on these meds, I had to come to terms with the fact that I hadn't really been myself from age 5 to 18. But instead of starting over, and forming who I really was, I was unable to even do that because of the physical and mental pain I was in and inability to do anything with my life. I could go on and on with more specifics, but I feel it's more important now to explain what I believe really healed me (And I do consider myself healed now-- I went from being bedridden in pain, dysfunction, and chaos, barely even able to stand and walk sometimes, and completely hopeless about life and feeling out of control, to completely healthy, functional, happy, and living my best life). I think all of us who go through this suffer on a level that others can't really comprehend. But some of us may not realize that there is, in fact, an upside to this. When we're immobilized by pain, and crippled with mental symptoms like depression and anxiety, we have no choice but to just sit and be with ourselves. And this is where we find and understand who our true selves are. This might sound strange or "woo woo", but the major catalyst that really jumpstarted my healing was finding the calm within the storm. I highly recommend meditation for everyone going through this because for me it is what helped me access the part of me that was happy and calm independent of all external circumstances. The more I was able to quiet all my thoughts, the quicker I felt my healing process going. I really went through a spiritual journey, especially this past year when my healing really cemented, and I can honestly say that I've emerged not only healed, but a happier and wiser person than before this all started. I made the decision that I was going to heal, I made the decision that I was going to find happiness and joy and the life I wanted, whatever it took. I feel happier and more excited about life than I ever have (and my body and mind feel amazing). When you let go of stress, worrying, sadness, and negative thoughts, even when the situation outside you really is negative, you will be shocked at how things change. This whole journey is a spiritual journey for all of us. Yes, there are physical effects from this drug, but healing really takes place when we harness the light that exists in us even when things are at their worst. It's a highly personal path, but I really believe it is possible for everyone to overcome this. Supplements can help, but the power of the mind is limitless and infinitely more rewarding. Sparknotes version - meditate daily- quiet your mind. This is so beneficial for mental and physical health. - be aware of your thoughts, and as best you can, limit stressful and negative thoughts. For the first few years of withdrawal, my thinking was constantly "Life is so unfair", "I'm in so much pain", "What if this never ends?", "I am in hell", "Life sucks", etc. If this process has taught me anything, it's that your thoughts do matter, more than you know. Once I started changing my thoughts, my body and mind literally started to change. - journal. Writing down your thoughts can be very cathartic and can even help purge negativity that could be holding you back. Also, as counterintuitive as it may sound, you can even "fake" journal, i.e. write as if you have already healed, write as if you are happy and healthy. - Something I didn't mention in the full post, but VERY important-- when it comes to supplements, start one at a time, and start at a low dose. I know this is mentioned on this site many times, but I didn't take it seriously. I can't tell you how many months I literally lost because my SUPPLEMENTS were giving me symptoms that I thought were just part of the withdrawal, but were actually from the supplements I thought were supposed to help my withdrawal! As Altostrata is always saying, our bodies are very sensitized when in withdrawal and we can have seriously adverse reactions to things that seem super benign. Fish oil, for example, gave me heart palpitations. Ashwagandha, a 'gentle herb' that I had only read good things about, gave me major joint pain and digestive issues. PLEASE start supplements one at a time, at a low dose, wait a couple weeks and see how you're reacting to them. Everyone is different, and only you know what works and doesn't work for you. Keep track of what you're taking and don't fall into the trap of thinking "Oh, it's just a natural supplement, that can't be causing anything". That's how I used to think too and I went through even more pain because of it. There were times that I thought because my brain had developed on these drugs and I was on them so long, I'd never heal. But I did, and I'm in an even better place than I think I would have been if I hadn't gone through this. I am a genuinely happy person, I've formed deep connections with people, I have hope for my life and feel so happy and secure on my path, and I have really learned to appreciate the little things. Most importantly, I learned the importance of my thoughts and how they really affect all aspects of my life. I believe we are all meant to have a happy and healthy life, and it's possible to reclaim that right even when things seem utterly hopeless and bleak. Remember that you have more power than you know. We are a greater and more powerful force than these drugs are!
  9. Hi, this site was recommended to me and I'm very grateful to have found a place where people might understand what I'm going through. My story with antidepressants starts 10 years ago, but I've only really had problems with them within the past year. In 2017, I was switched from fluoxetine to citalopram. The citalopram worked for me, and I was quickly upped to a dose of 30mg, which I happily stayed on for 4 years. This takes us to November(ish) 2021. In November I was really struggling with my anxiety, and physical symptoms which were new to me. I had lots of tests done to rule out any physical illness, and nothing abnormal came up so I was just really confused about what was happening. Everyone kept saying it was anxiety but I couldn't really believe it, because the symptoms were so strong and I'd been dealing with anxiety my whole life and it had never presented like this. My doctor suggested that I increase my citalopram to the maximum dose of 40mg. I'd never been on the maximum dose as I'd always been warned off it because I am underweight, but I did it anyway. I tapered up to 40 by January and stayed on it for about 6 weeks. It didn't help whatsoever - in fact I just felt worse, because I had some side effects from the increase that I'd never experienced previously. Skin crawling, tingling and numbness on my left side, etc. It was horrible so I decided to reduce back down to 30mg. I'd achieved this by late February. At this point, my mental and physical health has been feeling awful for about 4 months. I wasn't able to work, socialise, or do anything at all really. I'd developed extreme health anxiety from having all these new symptoms which I was convinced could be a serious medical condition, and I had now started to develop constant nausea (my worst symptom, as an emetophobe). At this point my doctor started to talk about me switching medications altogether. I was open to it, because in 2017 I'd made the switch from one SSRI to another and it went so smoothly that I just thought this would be the same. She suggested Sertraline, so I started to taper down the citalopram in preparation for that. I got down to 20mg by May and it was really difficult. The nausea, foggy headedness and tingling symptoms were constant. But, looking back, in mid May when I'd settled on 20mg I actually felt a bit better for the first time in a while. I was able to do slightly more and felt less sick every day. I think a wise decision at this point may have been to stay on 20mg and just allow my body to calm down and give myself the chance to have a life again. BUT back in April, I'd had my first appointment with a psychiatrist. After telling him everything, he suggested a medication I hadn't really thought about, Mirtazapine. He told me that when I came off citalopram completely, I should start 15mg of mirtazapine then work up to 30. I sort of took this as a better idea than sertraline, I'm not sure why really...I think because I knew that mirtazapine increased appetite, and I wanted desperately to gain weight because anxiety always takes my appetite away. So I ditched the idea of sertraline (which my doctor seemed fine with after hearing the psychiatrists new recommendation) and continued to taper down further. I got to 15mg by the start of June, and tried to drop again to 10mg. Things were just getting awful, I felt I was worse than I was in May, and I couldn't see myself being able to get all the way to 0 without just having no life anymore and becoming a shell of a person. At this point my doctor prescribes me 7.5mg of mirtazapine to take alongside 15mg citalopram, as a sort of crossover, so that I could continue to taper down citalopram but have the mirtazapine to make me feel a bit better. I took the mirtazapine for a total of 5 days - it made me very sleepy, very groggy in the mornings, and very emotional. I did in some ways feel mentally better - my overthinking definitely reduced and I was finally hungry again which was amazing. But when I told the doctor that I'd been very groggy and tired and had felt very off kilter, she told me to stop the mirtazapine immediately and just stick to 15mg citalopram for a while. This brings us to now. I'm at a loss - I stopped the mirtazpine last week (which has given me withdrawal symptoms too, even though I was only on it for 5 days - headaches, pulsatile tinnitus, worse brain zaps and tingling) and now I'm just sitting with being on 15mg of citalopram, half of what I've been on for 4 years and feeling pretty hopeless. The worst part of all this is the physical symptoms which just disrupt everything. After reading on here and on reddit, I think I'd describe them as brain zaps - a sort of constant tingling in my head which makes me nauseous and makes me feel like my head is fuzzy. I also feel sick at the thought of doing anything - its so hard to describe, but I literally cant picture myself doing anything without feeling spaced out and nauseous. I feel like I am just not on the same plane of existence as anybody else - my head is spaced out, I can't enjoy anything, I feel like crying, my thoughts are quite literally racing and my body is just messed up by all these medication changes. I feel such regret for ever trying to withdraw from citalopram in the first place, especially when I was in a bad place to begin with. I can't imagine how to get out of this hole that I've dug for myself. After reading about medication tapering online I realise I've done it at the wrong time, and far far too quickly, and I'm living with the consequences now. As for trying to settle the symptoms, I've of course tried lots of different supplements with limited success. In fact, since stopping mirtazapine, I'd say supplements make it worse. A few days ago I took a vitamin B supplement and the next day my head was pounding and I had pulsatile tinnitus, and last night I tried a magnesium supplement and today my head is pounding again. I'm very lucky that my family is able to look after me during all this, but they are constantly telling me to 'get out and do things', which I think is their reaction to the idea that all of this is just anxiety, and nothing actually physical. Its so hard to get people to understand that it feels like my body and brain are falling apart, and that withdrawing from my medication (something I chose to do which was meant to lead me on the road to recovery) has made things so so much worse, mentally and also physically. I hope that this will be the lowest point for me and that things will improve, but I have no idea. And I don't even know whether my next step will be more withdrawal, or reinstating the citalopram, or just staying at the dose I'm at. But I'm pretty scared for any of those directions because I've just bounced from one bad experience to another, and somehow I'm scared that it could get even worse.
  10. Hello everyone I developed an anxiety disorder during the pandemic. I didn’t know I was having anxiety at first because I never had it before so it took forever for me to actually start treating it. My anxiety was so bad it caused silent acid reflex. Anyways with time it got better naturally & then I started meditating everyday for about 3 weeks & it really got better the acid reflex was improving too. I got impatient because I wanted my life back already so I thought that taking 10mg celxa pill for a few months to finally get rid of the acid reflex would be ok. I took the pill at night time & felt calm when I woke up, I also noticed my reflex was like 95% gone which just proves it was from anxiety. Anyways later on that day I all of a sudden out of no where I got a headache, rapid heartbeat & shaky hands then I got a “s” thought ( I don’t wanna say the word) which I never had before it was like a voice in my head. I immediately threw all the medication down the drain & didn’t take another one. So I only took ONE pill. After a about a week my acid reflex came back. Since then I’ve had intrusive thoughts, ocd thoughts, brain zaps, memories of bad things that have happened, thoughts focused around violence, fear for no reason, mood swings sad for no reason, crying for no reason, extreme anxiety, frequent urinating, increase of my acid reflex, unable to sit still for long etc. This is obviously all from the pill. this is ridiculous & super scary that just one pill can cause all of this. I don’t know what to do besides wait. I do yoga every morning & breathing exercises & sometimes ride my bike. I had to quit my job. I’m only in my 20’s. Any advice or similar story is welcomed. I took the pill on April 25th so it’s been about a month now
  11. 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.
  12. Hello. I'm 21 y.o. male. My story with ADs. I was taking Cytalopram ~8 months in 2019, then I stopped it myself as I was not seeing any effect. 07.07.2022 I took first 30mg of prescribed duloxetine before sleep. (Also I was prescribed it with Lamotrigine, Atarax. I strated them a week or two before.) After 2.5h of sleep I woke up with strange feeling. It was difficult to focus, it was getting dark in my eyes. Seems like my pressure got low so I even called to ambulance, but they said ti is just adverse effect and it's ok. Then it got better, but it was a strange feeling in my head all next day. I drank a lot of water (~6 liters) to decrease this drug effect. I was trying to sleep, but wake up every 1-2 hous. I read about a possible PSSD, even after a few days of taking it. Fortunately, yesturday I tried and it seems like it was ok with orgasm. Also I slept today and seems I'm feeling better, but have slight kind of lightheadedness. Of course, I wouldn't take this drugs anymore. Maybe you can reassure me that nothing terrible will happen to my brain from one pill? I would like advice about some lifestyle changes/supplement/diet to minimize effects of this drugs and reduce anxiety. Btw last few months I used to go to the gym and eat healthy diet. When is the best time for me to exercise? Thank you in advance. I appreciate this community.
  13. ADMIN NOTE: Read this entire topic before attempting a switch to fluoxetine. Be sure to read details and cautions below . Consult a knowledgeable medical practitioner before changing medications. Also see Tips for tapering off fluoxetine (Prozac) Switching or bridging with another related drug, usually of a longer half-life, is a medically recognized way to get off psychiatric drugs, particularly if you find tapering your original drug to be intolerable. Many people with failed tapers from venlafaxine (Effexor), desvenlafaxine (Pristiq), paroxetine (Paxil), and duloxetine (Cymbalta) find they need to bridge in order to go off the drug. For many doctors, a switch to Prozac to go off a different antidepressant is routine. Because of the risks of switching drugs -- see below -- we recommend attempting a very gradual direct taper from your drug, with bridging with a different drug only a last resort. There are a lot of unknowns in bridging. Fluoxetine (Prozac) has the longest half-life of any of the modern antidepressants. Because it takes more than a week for a dose to be metabolized completely, a careful taper off fluoxetine is easier for many people -- see information about Tapering off Prozac. And, at least fluoxetine comes in a liquid. (Do not assume fluoxetine is "self-tapering"! We have many people here with Prozac withdrawal syndrome. While going off fluoxetine usually has less risk, one might still develop withdrawal symptoms going off fluoxetine. No bridging strategy is risk-free.) Citalopram (Celexa )and its sibling escilatopram (Lexapro) have half-lives of about 35 hours, a relatively long half-life among SSRIs, and are other candidates for a bridging strategy. They also come in a liquid form. You must find a knowledgeable doctor to help you to with a bridging strategy. The cross-taper method discussed below is probably the safest way to make a change in drugs. You might wish to print this post out to discuss it with your doctor. For most people the switch goes smoothly but for some it doesn't. The drawbacks of switching to another drug to get off the first drug, described below, apply to ALL bridging strategies for ALL drugs, including benzodiazepines (where people often want to bridge with diazepam per the Ashton method). Risks of bridging A bridging strategy has the following drawbacks for a minority of those who try it: Dropping the first antidepressant in the switch may cause withdrawal symptoms even though you're taking a bridge drug. Adverse reaction to the bridge drug, such as Prozac. Serotonin toxicity or adverse effects of a drug combination. If withdrawal symptoms are already underway, switching to a bridge drug may not help. A cross-taper requires a number of careful steps. Difficulty tapering off the bridge drug. All of the bridge drugs can be difficult to taper themselves. So, like anything else, a drug switch is not guaranteed to work. When to switch or bridge "The devil you know is better than the devil you don't know". A direct taper from the drug to which your nervous system is accustomed carries less risk than a switch to a new drug. You may have a bad reaction to the substitute drug, or the substitution may not work to forestall withdrawal symptoms. The risk of a switch is justified if you find a taper from the original drug is simply too difficult. Usually people will do a switch when they find reducing the original antidepressant by even a small amount -- 10% or even 5% -- causes intolerable withdrawal symptoms. (I have heard doctors say they don't even try tapering off paroxetine (Paxil) or venlafaxine (Effexor ), they switch to Prozac at the beginning of the tapering process.) If you are having intolerable withdrawal or adverse effects from an antidepressant, it may be worth risking the worst case, which is that a switch to a bridge drug doesn't help and you have withdrawal syndrome anyway. If you're thinking of switching simply as a matter of convenience, you need to weigh the risks against the amount of convenience you would gain. Generally, switching for convenience is a bad idea. CAUTION: A switch to a bridge drug is not guaranteed to work. It's safer to slow down a taper than count on a switch. A switch really should be used only when a taper becomes unbearable or there are other serious adverse effects from the medication. You must work with a doctor who is familiar with bridging, in case you develop severe symptoms. Overview of cross-tapering method For drug switches, many doctors prefer cross-tapering, where a low dose of one drug is added and gradually increased while the first drug is reduced. For a period, both drugs are taken at the same time. Here is a graphic representation of cross-tapering: If you are making a switch to Prozac, the second antidepressant is fluoxetine (Prozac). Given fluoxetine's long half-life, it may take a couple of weeks to reach full effect. The effect of the amount you add at each stage of the cross-taper will build throughout the process. As it is possible to overshoot Prozac dosage, it's best to be very conservative about increasing fluoxetine throughout the cross-taper, you could end up with serotonin toxicity from too much fluoxetine (see below). Also see this discussion about cross-tapering with Prozac: Serotonin toxicity and serotonin syndrome You run the risk of serotonin toxicity if you are taking too much serotonergic. Most antidepressants (and some other drugs, such as triptans and MDMA) are serotonergics. Serotonergic effects of antidepressants are added when you take more than one of them, particularly if you add an SSRI (such as Prozac, Celexa, or Lexapro) to an SNRI (such as desvenlafaxine (Pristiq), duloxetine (Cymbalta), venlafaxine (Effexor), venlafaxine XR (Effexor XR), milnacipran (Savella), and levomilnacipran (Fetzima)). (Other types of antidepressants should not be combined with tricyclics or MAOIs.) Symptoms of too much serotonergic can be: Nervousness, anxiety, akathisia, sleeplessness, fast heartbeat. Symptoms of serotonin toxicity can be these plus disorientation, sweating, and others. Serotonin syndrome is even more serious. See Serotonin Syndrome or Serotonin Toxicity Reduction of the drug dose should resolve serotonin toxicity. Note that if you cross-taper, you will be taking 2 drugs at once for part of the time. Because of the potential of serotonin toxicity by overdosing SSRIs as well as in combination with SNRIs, it's safest to err on the lower side of a Prozac dose "equivalent" -- such as 5mg -- to your original drug. This is why doctors familiar with the Prozac switch will cross-taper by adding an initial LOW DOSE of Prozac to an SNRI. Start low, the effect of fluoxetine will increase over several weeks. Another concern: Escilatopram (Lexapro) is several times stronger, milligram for milligram, than the other SSRIs. If you add 10mg escilatopram to the high dose of 60mg duloxetine (Cymbalta), for example, you run the risk of serotonergic toxicity -- 10mg escilatopram is equal to approximately 20mg-30mg duloxetine. How much fluoxetine (Prozac) to substitute for my drug? Since fluoxetine's half-life is so much longer than those of other antdepressants, its effect is a little different. It's not a stronger antidepressant, but the effect of each dose lasts much longer. This may be the reason a lower dose of fluoxetine often seems to adequately substitute for other antidepressants. For an idea of equivalent doses of your medication to fluoxetine (Prozac) read this post (January 7, 2018) in this topic. It compares fluoxetine 40mg/day (a fairly high dose of Prozac) to other antidepressants. Source of that data: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25911132 If you have tapered to a lower dose of an antidepressant, an even lower dose of Prozac may be more tolerable. If you are about half-way down, you might want to try 10mg Prozac. If you have decreased further, you may wish to try 5mg Prozac. If you have substituted fluoxetine for your drug and after two weeks, you feel you have withdrawal symptoms, you may wish to gradually the fluoxetine dosage. After each change in fluoxetine, wait at least 2 weeks to see the effect before deciding on another increase. More is not better for nervous systems sensitized by withdrawal. EXAMPLES OF THE PROZAC SWITCH Below is information I've gathered from doctors about how to do the Prozac switch. You will see there is no standard protocol. Healy 2009 method for the Prozac switch From Healy 2009 Halting SSRIs withdrawal guidelines: Phelps-Kelly 2010 method for Prozac switch From Clinicians share information about slow tapering (2010) Jim Phelps, one of the authors of the above, posted in 2005 in some detail about the so-called "Prozac bridging" strategy. He said it is described in Joseph Glenmullen's book, Prozac Backlash, maybe in the chapter titled of "Held Hostage." The technique Dr. Phelps described in this post skips doses and finishes with alternating dosages, which we do not recommend for people who are sensitive to withdrawal symptoms. Given that fluoxetine liquid is available, this is completely unnecessary. Foster 2012 method for Prozac switch Dr. Mark Foster, a GP whose mission is to get people safely off psychiatric drugs includes this in a presentation he gives to doctors. http://www.gobhi.org/spring_conference_powerpoints/safewithdrawal_of_psychotropics%5Bautosaved%5D.ppt. His method involves overlapping Prozac with the other antidepressant -- cross-tapering. Prey 2012 method for Prozac switch Another knowledgeable doctor (whom I trust) explained his technique to me (this is the technique I personally would prefer if I had to do it, it seems much gentler) For a "normal" dose of Effexor (150mg per day or more) or Paxil (20mg) or Cymbalta (20mg), he would switch to 10mg Prozac with a week of overlap. In other words, take both medications for a week and then drop the Effexor. Lower doses of Effexor or other antidepressant require lower doses of Prozac as a "bridge." The lower dose of Prozac reduces the risk of excessive serotonergic stimulation (serotonin toxicity) from the combination of the two antidepressants during the overlap period. Do not stay on the combination of the first antidepressant and Prozac for more than 2 weeks, or you run the risk of your nervous system accommodating to the combination and having difficulty tapering off both antidepressants. Later, taper off Prozac. He acknowledged Prozac can have its withdrawal problems, but given Prozac's long half-life, gradual tapering should be easier than tapering off Effexor. Smoothing out a transition to fluoxetine Even with a cross-taper, your system might feel a jolt after you finally drop the initial antidepressant, particularly if it is an SNRI, such as Effexor, Pristiq, or Cymbalta, or other drug that is not an SSRI like fluoxetine. (Other SSRIs include Paxil, Zoloft, Luvox, Celexa, Lexapro). If you go through a rough patch after the transition, patients find they can take a tiny chip of the original drug (or a bead or two, if it's a capsule containing beads) for a week or two to smooth out the transition. Eventually, you'd take a chip as needed only when you feel a wave of withdrawal from the original drug, and then finally leave the original drug entirely behind. (A gelatin capsule might make a tablet fragment easier to get down, but it is not necessary if you can wash it down with a good swallow of water. The gelatin capsule quickly dissolves in your stomach.) Here's an example. There is no shame in doing this. Whatever works, works.
  14. Hello everybody, First of al I would like to excuse for my English, since it is not my native language. In august 2020 I started using citalopram (first 2 weeks 10 mg and then raised to 20 mg). I used it until february 2021 and quit cold turkey midst february 2021. One of the side effects of citalopram was intolerable concentration problems. I used to have very sharp cognitive abilities, but almost immediately after starting with citalopram my cognitive abilities declined. My memory was awful and I could not conceptualize and make connections any more. I first thought that it was a temporary phenomenon, but it did not fade away. In february 2021 I started with a new job, which requires high intellectual effort. I kind of got in to panic because of the still present cognitive issues. Midst the month february I decided to quit cold turkey. The first two weeks were really not different to hell on earth. I had awful physical symptoms and enormous brain fog. I expected the problems to fade away within 3 to 4 weeks because that was the official indication. The reality was however very different. the physical symptoms faded away within 3 weeks but the mental ones still are with me. I have been having awful headaches and and indescribable awful form of brain fog. It has been 4 months now since i have quit cold turkey. The first three months were awful, and I thought I would never ever recover. Since this month however I finally have clear moments. The development of the clear moments gives me hope. The length of their presence is getting longer each day now. I expect to get fully recovered. The only sad thing is that it seems that it takes a hell of a long time to get recovered fully. I wanted to share my experience with people who are in the same position. For now my message is: don't loose hope we will get better! One thing I also want to share with you is that I have been in contact with two psychiatrist. I was really shocked by the fact that that they really did not have any knowledge about possible long-term side effect of ssri's. It was really frustrating. Luckily I found other sources on the internet like this website where I could find an explanation and recognition.
  15. Hello. This is my first post. Can someone please direct me towards how to make a signature and a drug history. From what I understand the signature is a condensed version of the drug history and visible to all users whilst the drug history is visible only to moderators. Is this correct? The drug I am beginning to withdraw from is Mirtazapine. The only other drug I am currently taking is HRT which I don’t intend to change at present. I’ve been taking an antidepressant of some sort or another for about 20 years and have changed from citalopram to Mirtazapine about 2 years ago. There were other drugs and alcohol in the mix intermittently until quite recently too which I will go into as I go along and figure out how this site works. Until a couple of months ago I was taking 30mg of Mirtazapine. After a couple of cuts I am now taking 20mg. The first cut was down to 22.5. My main symptom kicked in after a few days and was characterised by feelings of anger, rage and difficulty sleeping. Thinking back, maybe the cut was a bit too big, but my symptoms abated after a couple of weeks. Once I felt comfortable and stable from this dose (just over a month), I cut another 2.5 mg to my current dose. I experienced irritability and trouble sleeping again, but this is now improving. I don’t feel that I am stable yet and plan to stay on this dose for at least another month. I don’t have any terrible symptoms but just feel like my brain is still catching up. It’s like an intuitive thing and trying to tune into my body. So in general I feel like it’s going quite well so far. I’ve been dipping into this site and found it very helpful in driving home the importance of going slowly. I’ve had some horrific cold turkey withdrawals from other substances and want to approach this methodically and do it properly. I’ve spoken to a doctor about it as I wanted to change the format of the drug from oral dispensable to tablet so they are easier to cut. He was completely uninterested and neither asked questions about my decision or offered any helpful tips. I didn’t really expect anything different but it’s kind of funny how people always tend to stress the importance of talking to a doctor before making any decisions regarding changes in medication. He offered me 15mg instead of 30 and I said I wasn’t ready to go to that amount yet and said I would be in touch when I am. Most people I speak to about this seem to think I am foolish for attempting this, especially given my dubious history around substance use. The popular opinion is that if a doctor prescribes you a drug, it is safe, and you need it. But I have come to a point where I have had enough and want out. So here I am, and that’s my current status.
  16. In August of 2021 will be a four-year ordeal that began with a breaking through (tolerance) of the SSRI medication (Celexa) I was on for 20 years. During this four-year period, I experienced over 75 symptoms associated with psychotropic medication withdrawal and at two different times was at zero quality of life. Once for five months (within the first year) and the once for four months (in year two) three months after my last dose of medication. I have been treated by a Psychiatrist, several counselors, two functional medicine doctors, two nutritionist, two specialists with psychotropic medication withdrawal, a geneticist and spent over a year and a half treated by a Dr. who specializes with hard-to-treat depression and anxiety cases. I have been on several strict diets (anti-inflammatory, vegetarian) and taken countless supplements. I have been tested for many possible underlying conditions. Although my condition has improved slowly (many symptoms have abated) I am still impaired living with severe insomnia, depression and anxiety on a daily basis. Concentration, speech, motivation, fatigue are all residual issues that continue to come and go with no predictable pattern but as of late cognition, speech and energy level have all improved. Prior to taking psychotropic medications, I lived with dysthymia (PDD) with major depressive episodes until 34 years old. I was not aware of the condition until that time. Looking back it effected my motivation, outlook on life, self-confidence and career decisions. I took Celexa for 20 years and it worked well for about 12-15 years. A whole new world of consistent positive emotions opened up soon after starting the drug. The last five or so years I was emotionally numb with no real highs but depression, insomnia and anxiety were not factors. It should be noted that for about eight of those years the dosage was 80 mg. In the summer of 2017, I noticed increased anxiety levels and insomnia had returned similar to when I when on medication. I then realized I was breaking through the medication. Agitation and aggression also started increasing. My psychiatrist then prescribed multiple medications over a period of five months. I experienced intense acute withdrawal symptoms. These drugs included Lexapro, Cymbalta, and Prozac. I stopped all meds after five months in December of 2017 for a period of one and a half months (symptoms intensified). At the end of the month and a half, I tried Ketamine infusions and my quality of life was reduced to zero. This intense period lasted five months. During this five-month period, new and previously prescribed drugs were given including Prozac, Trintellex, Lexapro, Klonopin (5 mg.), and Trazodone. In May of 2018, I began a slow taper with an organization to come off all medications. The taper ended in August of 2019. The order of the taper was Trintellex, Trazadone, Klonopin, and Prozac. During the taper, a number of symptoms lessened but would return later with varying intensity and duration (e.g., visual distortions, brain zaps, dizziness, numerous cognitive issues). However, after the taper, several symptoms slowly increased in severity including insomnia (severe), depression (moderate to severe), concentration (moderate), anxiety moderate to severe), depersonalization/derealization (moderate). The symptoms of insomnia, anxiety and depression were the most constant. Immediately after my taper, quality of life was reduced significantly (close to zero). This in spite of working with a functional medical doctor and nutritionist for treatment. Three months later, I reached zero quality of life again and in the winter of 2019 I went to a clinic that specialized in hard to treat cases in hope they could help. My condition improved slowly but not much. I was put on supplements to address sleep and high free copper levels. The treatment for free copper lasted over a year with zinc supplements reaching 250 mg before it was determined my free copper levels were down. Sleep problems remained unchanged. After two years of being treating I was still severely symptomatic and was told I was one of only 10% of patients that they were not able to help. In desperation and on recommendation, I reached out to an organization the deals with genetic testing. They put me on more supplements in which I reacted negatively. Currently, insomnia remains bad. I wake every night after about three hours with an intense mixture of negative emotions (e.g. anxiety, depression, guilt, shame) that have no basis in circumstances. My sleep is tumultuous at best, waking multiple times before experiencing electrical like sensations about 45 minutes prior to waking. Most mornings I cannot go back to sleep because of these sensations. My sleep hygiene is very good and has been for a while. Nothing seems to help in this area. I take magnesium and have taken a number of other supplements and natural sleep aids, but none have worked. However, I now go through withdrawal if I forget to take the magnesium. In summary, this August it will be four years. Two of which have been medication free. My symptoms have improved in number, intensity and duration. However, I still deal with insomnia, depression and anxiety in varying patterns. I do have some windows but never a full day and have not slept through the night except once in 4 years. Trying to discern withdrawal symptoms from underlying symptoms is challenging. Sleep was never a problem prior to taking medications and nothing close to what I live with now. I do not understand why is so bad when I have practiced excellent sleep hygiene for a while. The anxiety and depression have similarities to my pre-existing condition but also have major differences. For example, I can be dealing with a situation in the morning that seems to be causing depression or anxiety and in the evening I am thinking about the same situation and feel neither anxiety or depression and can view the situation in rational emotionally stable state. I am very strong in my belief about my identity but will sometimes experience strong emotions of insecurity that I know are absolutely baseless and absurd. The same goes for anxiety and depression. The emotions seem to have a mind of their own. There is a strong disconnect between what I know to be true and my emotions. Like fearing something that you know is rationally nothing to fear. I have many questions that I probably already know the answer, but I will throw them out for your feedback. 1. Did the poly drugging exacerbate the withdrawal/healing process. 2. What about the ketamine? That drug sent me off into the abyss of torturous emotions. It was like I was being brutally tortured non-stop for five months night and day. The emotions were beyond description. Zero peace and joy. 3. Are my current symptoms (they still can be very debilitating and intense) uncommon this far out from being off meds? 4. I did a slow taper and was told I would probably heal quickly only to go back to zero quality of life three months later. Any thoughts? 5. Although most of the people who have tried to help have been well-meaning, none have been able to significantly alter my condition. I have appreciated their encouragement and compassion, but their treatments have not been able to move the healing needle. Most supplements inflated my symptoms or did nothing at all. The free copper diagnosis and treatment did bring a little relief but only a little. 6. I have read that sleep is one of the last things to return to normal, but four years later it still is bad. Any thoughts? Feel free to ask questions or make comments. Thank you for taking the time to read.
  17. I have struggled with the evil twins of depression and anxiety for all of my adult life. I'm now in my late 60s. Current meds: citalopram 40mg/day; bupropion SR 100mg/day; buspirone 20mg/day; I've been on citalopram and bupropion for many years. Buspirone was added about three years ago. Under medical guidance I tapered too fast off benzos two years ago, a hellish withdrawal experience. I'm 99% recovered and ready to chip away at the heavy load of psych meds I'm on. I'm determined to do a slow careful taper to avoid anything resembling what I went through with benzo withdrawal. I just ordered the Gem I'm not certain which med to start with. I'm thinking the citalopram dose is the most immediate concern because it's so high but I'm hoping to get feedback on SA. Thanks
  18. I have bad brain fog, can’t focus, can’t remember anything, have problems falling asleep and staying asleep. I also get headaches, anxiety, digestive problems, dry mouth, neck and shoulder stiffness, crying spells, and tinnitus. I suspect a lot of these are side effects from taking Citalopram or Buspirone, or both. I have had depressions off and on since I was a teenager. 2003 I had a burnout, and started taking Lyrica for anxiety. Some years after that I got diagnosed GAD and started taking Citalopram, the doc thought my anxiety was caused by an underlying depression. 2014 I replaced Lyrica with Buspirone. I dont know if I am depressed anymore, and I still have anxiety (but less the last 3-4 years) so I am not convinced my meds are doing much. Im not seeing a psychiatrist ’cause I don’t have insurance. I get my medicine from a GM. A couple of times I tried tapering buspirone on my own (can’t remember when or how, but maybe three times the last six years), but every time it got so bad I had to start taking them again. After reading about tapering and how accelerators and brakes work, I now realize I did it wrong... My plan is to start tapering Citalopram VERY SLOWLY. If it takes years that’s fine, as long as it’s working. I’m pretty sure I will have plenty withdrawal symptoms even if I go slowly. For now I’m reading up on slow tapering, and thinking about how to do it. How much do I go down, and how often? Do I cut pieces off the tablets? I’m glad I found this forum, and any input is welcome, I know basically nothing about tapering.
  19. Hi, I'm purplehummingbird, PHB for short My journey with psych drugs started 20 years ago when I was 17. I was experiencing emotional difficulties stemming from a traumatic childhood and subsequent recreational drug taking from the age of 15. My doc prescribed me fluoxetine. I took one that night, felt like a zombie the next day and so threw the rest away. I wish that had been my only brush with psych drugs, but 9 years later, still experiencing the emotional difficulties and still recreational drug taking, I went back to the doc who put me on 50mg Citalopram. I took it for four months, decided it wasn't helping and then tried to stop. Queue 11 years of unrecognised withdrawal, misdiagnoses, medical gaslighting, more drugging, repeated attempts to stop and finally poly drugging. Currently taking 7.5mg of Citalopram and 11.25mg of Mirtazapine. I quit recreational drugs in 2013 and last year I quit nicotine, alcohol and caffeine. I am so relieved to have found this incredible site and to finally realise what's been happening all along. That I was never 'mentally ill' (whatever that means), that I never 'needed' to take psychiatric medication and that it was the drugs themselves causing all the problems. I'm looking for (and hoping to give) support, guidance, connection, help and encouragement and to explore the deeper lessons in all of this as I finally taper off these drugs for good. I am intrigued by the non drug coping tools, as my toolbox is pretty bare, and I hope that I can use this opportunity to create healthy habits that can last me throughout my journey to freedom and beyond. PHB x
  20. I have had the good fortune to confer with some of the top brain researchers in the world this past 4 years. Michael M. Merzenich who has had several PBS brain specials, Robert Sapolsky at Stanford, Daniel Amen (also many PBS brain specials) Malcom Lader in the UK and many others. Off the subject of exercise but Dr. Merzenich is considered the father of neuroplasticity research and he told me to study primates brain ability to heal they give them SSRI's then stop them. OK Exercise - none of these experts had a clue on how to heal a drug damaged brain. The one common theme was aerobic exercise. There is a great book out on this called SPARK on this. There is also the work of the Cooper Center on the benefits of aerobic exercise for anxiety and depression being better than medications. For the first 3 years I could not do any more than walk - any strenuous activity made me critically ill. I still walk a lot and more if I am in a wave (which seems to be continual) but now I have been able to do some 10 mile bike rides. Has anyone else found benefit/determent to exercise??
  21. Hi everyone. Thanks for this wonderful site, it's helped me loads already. I'm a recovering alcoholic/drug addict, been clean & sober in a 12 step recovery fellowship since 2007. Was prescribed Citalopram 20mg & Olanzapine 2.5 for depression and have been taking it for for nearly 13 years. I've only just started to feel ready to think about coming off. Halved the Olanzapine to 1.25 & held for 4 weeks. Pills too small to cut any further so started alternating every other day but read this is not a good idea. Decided to jump off at 1.25 and took my last dose on 6.6.20 (4 days ago.) Had some withdrawal symptoms starting a couple of days ago: slight agitation, disturbed sleep, reduced appetite, mild stomach pains, slight increase in anxiety but on the whole I'm ok. Just ordered magnesium, omega 3 & vitamin E to help with the withdrawal, as per one of the threads I read on here. I'm aware that there may be waves of withdrawal, potentially after weeks/ months so am prepared for this (or as prepared as I can be) I'm committed to doing this & hope I won't have to start taking it again, but also accept if it gets really bad then I might have to. Anybody got any guidance for me with this? Any info/ support gratefully accepted. x
  22. I was on Citalopram for 2 years - first year was 20mg, second year was 40mg. I basically cold turkey'd by going from 40mg to 0mg in 4 weeks in August 2015. My withdrawals were somewhat delayed and unusual. Just one night I experienced a sharp shooting pain in my head (about a month after stopping) and that made me panic (never felt anything like this before). All was fine thereafter until at night time I started to experience this very strange restlessness in my leg, which one iterate from one leg to the other over a space of a month. Only at night. Then I was fine for a month until the shooting pains started to come back along with this bright white dot that would fly across my vision in a split second - went to the optician to get checked up and all was fine. Then I never had a symptom up until a few months later (5 months off) after a heavy night of drinking alcohol, I woke up still drunk - no biggie, I've had that before from drinking too much - I sat down, had a cup of coffee along with a bun (my diet is usually strict, this is a one off) - I then had a sudden urge to go to the toilet, then I found blood... I then had an immediate panic attack along with a dropping sensation whilst on the toilet. The panic just got worse and worse and I couldn't breathe. I rang the ambulance and the took me to hospital. Whilst I was waiting to be seen, my most horrific symptom started there - this rocking/swaying boat sensation. I also felt very sick to my stomach. That lasted for a while, until I left... then I was fine. For 2 days I was quite nauseous. Then the swaying struck again a few days later in a parked car, I got out and ran to the middle of the carpark not knowing what to do - I honestly had this terrible fear inside me that I was about to die... but I didn't. I kept getting hypnic jerks everytime I tried to sleep thereafter. Long story short, my symptoms all got much worse and my doctors diagnosed me with an inner ear infection (which I believe at the time), then they told me its normal to have anxiety with it, which would explain all the other symptoms. It will be my 1 year anniversary since my symptoms all began and nearly 1.5 years since finishing the drug. During that time though, they tried to put me back on Citalopram (one doctor thought it to be withdrawal) he gave me the top dose I was originally on, 40mg and that near killed me - sent me straight to hospital. They didn't know what was wrong with me, but did every test under the sun for my heart rate was all over the place and temperature was very high. That took weeks to recovery from, it made me feel like I was walking on trampolines! Then they tried Sertraline, similar affect but not as bad. Then they tried an anti-vertigo med Prochlorperazine which I trialed for a few days and I felt very cold and sicky on that. Little did I know I was doing myself big big damage. I got a Brain MRI and everything which was clear, then they diagnosed me with Lyme disease. BUT THEN THE PENNY DROPPED! IT'S WITHDRAWAL! I'm better than I was and most symptoms are gone, and my anxiety has definitely subsided. However, considering all the reinstatements and bad reactions - will I be recovering for years? Not many people seem to have that internal rocking/swaying sensation I have... Mostly Benzo people do. Do we know anyone that has been cured completely of this? Because its by far my worst! PS. I also get burning/prickling on the tops of my hands sometimes after eating turkey or chicken. Its hard to tell. I also get pins and needles VERY easily. Anyone on the same boat?
  23. mod note: introductions merged: first introduction was titled how soon should I consider re-weaning off citalopram Hello there, Am really glad I found this site. I have been on Citalopram since 2008 for anxiety/depression. In the time between Jan 2008 and now, the highest dose I have taken is 20mg. I had one clear year of being off completely between April 2015 and April 2016, but then took MDMA recreationally in March 2016 and triggered a relapse. I ended up taking 10mg of citalopram again (doctor's advice.) You can see from my signature that in 2018, I was down to 2.5mg, I had actually held there for a whole year. My taper wasn't the advised 10 per cent reductions however, I had done 50 per cent at a time (ie 10mg to 5 mg to 2.5mg). I took a tiny amount of MDMA in May 2018, and two weeks later I was suffering with symptoms of anxiety and depression again. These continued, and I panicked a bit and over the next three months updosed to 10mg again in three stages (again at advice of my GP, from 2.5 to 5 to 10mg.) Even though I still wasn't really feeling much better after a few weeks at 10mg, I declined to increase any further. Instead, I tried acupuncture to help regulate my nervous system. This seems to have paid off. Apart from the fact that I have thoroughly learned that I can no longer tolerate an even miniscule amount of recreational drugs, I now realise that my reduction and increases in doses have all been too drastic. It has taken me since August 2018 to re stabilise on 10mg of Citalopram. I'm now beginning to understand why, and what I've put my CNS through. I'm generally feeling a lot better although I do still notice some antidepressant side effects such as fatigue, a bit of a 'racing head/racing thoughts' and some sleep disturbance, although gradually my sleep is improving.I also seem to keep catching colds/ having flu like symptoms, and I'm wondering if this is actually another side effect. I'd really like some advice on how soon I should consider beginning a taper, in the light of all that yo yoing around on dosage that happened between May and August last year. My guess is that I may need to hold and stabilise a while longer, I'd be interested to know your thoughts. With thanks
  24. Hello all, I could use some help determining whats happening to me. Went to bed around 11pm and woke up around 2pm. Woke in panic around 6am to write an email, uncomfortable sleep (pain in ribs), headache, feeling like withdrawal but I haven't started tapering yet. Sorry for (TMI) but I had significant diarrhea earlier and havent had an appetite; slight ringing in my ears also. Can someone help with this? Thanks so much.
  25. Hi I started with anxiety and panic attacks almost a month ago, I had been under stress at work and had lost my appetite and considerable amount of weight, and was not sleeping. My GP prescribed Citalopram 20mg, and within a few hours of taking this I was almost crazy, pacing up and down the house, feeling I needed to get out of my own body and on day 3 started with horrible dark thoughts and images of me killing myself. Mainly the images were around knives. I must stress that prior to taking this medication I had never had a dark or suicidal thought.On day 7 of taking this drug I stopped due to the awful side affects which I now believe was Akathisia. I seen a private pysicatrist who put this down to a bad reaction with the citalopram and recommended sertraline, I waited almost two weeks before taking the sertraline as the dark thoughts still persisted, the majority of the other symptoms seems to subside. Earlier this week I started on the sertraline 25mg, once again the same symptoms have returned as in the beginning when taking the citalopram, this is only on day 2 of the sertraline. I have only recently learned about this condition but I am now going to discontinue with the sertraline given that Akathisia can last longer than the time the medication was taken. Has anyone experienced this due to the combination of these SSRI's? My GP is absolutely no help at the minute hence me having to seek help privately.
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