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  1. savinggrace

    savinggrace

    Moderator note: link to members-only benzo thread - Savinggrace: missed dose Hello, I have been following Surviving Antidepressants, off and on, for a few years but feel I must join now, as I could use some feedback. I have been poly-drugged for 15 years and on anti-depressants for 35 years. I am not sure how much I should write about how/why all this happened, but surely in the first decades, I just let it happen because I trusted my doctors and had no idea what I was setting myself up for. Since the internet made information so much easier to get, I have spent a lot of time learning about what these drugs have done to my brain, my body and and my life. I am joining this forum for two reasons...I am a person who has to taper extremely slowly. In fact, I just read a post of a man (2012) who planned to take 12 years to taper 25 mg. valium and I thought, "well, that sounds about right for me." On other forums, I have been almost laughed at when I admit how slow I have been, and must continue to taper. The other reason I like this forum is that it addresses the poly-drugging situation that so many of us have gotten ourselves into. This poly-drugging, in my opinion, has made everything so much more difficult. I guess there is a third reason, and that is that I have followed Rhiannon on BenzoBuddies and before that on a Yahoo group for years. She seems so rational, calm, and non-judgmental about all this. I have read many posts about not tapering from a place of feeling w/d symptoms. What if I said I have been in tolerance w/d (if that term is used here) for at least 14 years? I have not felt well, and in fact, have been quite sick all that time. About 6-7 years ago I got the courage, after tons of reading to start tapering. After making a 1 mg. cut (less than 10%) of valium, and suffering a near-seizure on the 5th day (that's what my doctor told me was happening and I believe him because 1 mg. valium relieved everything), I started tapering .5 mg/ month. (my signature will explain what happened before that) I did that for a few a year or so, but "hit the wall" so to speak, and tried .25 cuts (cut and suffer method). Very long story as short as possible, I only went from 17mg. down to 13 mg. before I was not able to cut any more and remain even remotely functional. A year or so ago, I decided if I couldn't cut valium, I would try another of my drugs. I have managed to taper 25% with small cuts and holds over a year, but again feel totally dysfunctional and unable to proceed. I think, at this point, up-dosing any of my drugs would require too big of an up-dose, and likely an unsuccessful one at that. I am holding now, but the reality is, I have many co-exisitng medical conditions, some caused by these drugs I suspect, and some not, that I really can't treat w/ meds as they interact with my psych meds and de-stabilize me immediately. I suffer a lot. I have no quality of life. I am 61. I can't go back; only forward. I am currently holding my trileptal cut to give my brain a rest. There is a lot more to share about myself but this was way too long already. How long should I hold? I feel like it will take quite some time before I feel like my brain has adjusted to this 25% cut. (done in 5-10 mg. increments, holding about a month w/ each cut) Here is my signature because I am not sure where to post it: Amitriptyline for 20 years and then remeron, 4 mg currently , ambien 10-15 mg. for 5 years and then updosed klonopin to get off ambien in 2011; klonopin 2 mg. for 10 years and then crossed over to valium 17.5 mg in 2010. 300 mg. trileptal for 13 years; tapered down to 225 in the last year. Holding on everything right now.
  2. Hi all I’ve tapered diazepam over three years now 5weeks off, towards the end baclofen was added at 30 mg per day now 8 months ago. I cannot Find much except 5mg per week reduction? To taper ? any knowledge here on tapering baclofen at all
  3. Hi all. I’m thankful I came across this group. Wow - where to begin... well, at age 7 I was given Paxil and 20 years later I am still on it. Throughout the 20 years I have tried ever SSRI and SNRI on the planet. I was given Valium and after five years by the grace of God somehow tapered off it myself. In the past 2 years I was put on effexor, pristiq, viibryd, lexapro, celexa, prozac, and landed back on 20mg Paxil. Four months ago I lowered by dosage to 15mg and it has been pure hell. Suicidal thoughts which I have never had, super strange thoughts, terror like I cannot explain. Reading your success stories on here gives me hope. How long should I hold at 15mg before continuing to do a 5-10% taper? How did you all manage to work during this time? With being put on these drugs at such a young age — is it possible to heal, or am I permanently damaged? How do you let go of your anger regarding this situation. I didn’t choose to take these meds. Much love, Sunflower414
  4. Hi all, I am new to this wonderful community. I have to say that it is an amazing place with so many interesting information! Thanks for making this possible! I read already a bit of things that are interesting to my personal situation. I am 41, from Belgium, and taking 3 different medications, all of them are psycho narcotics. I would like to get rid of them. I have adapted a new lifestyle the last couple of years and have been working on that and on myself and I hope that I am strong enough to taper the 3 medications that I am taking. Now my question. I am taking 30 mg Mirtazapine, 150 mg Effexor XR and I just came down from 60 mg Diazepam to 7 mg. Now 14 days on this 7 mg and somehow intuitively I felt that I need to stop withdrawing with the benzo's now and start tapering with the Effexor XR. And keep the benzo's stable for a while. The benzo tapering has been going well till the last couple of steps and the step from 8 to 7 mg now hit me pretty hard. I have to slow this tapering down and make smaller steps, but before doing that I would love to taper off Effexor XR first, at least to 75 mg ? I think the Effexor XR somehow neutralises my emotions big time and as well makes me very active. I do not sleep much, and still I am so active and never tired. I think that is caused by the Effexor XR. I would like to know advice on that ? Is that the good way to go ? I think it is. But here another question : would it be wise to wait tapering Effexor till I feel more stable after having tapered the Diazepam now. And maybe keep all my medication stable for another 2 weeks before I start tapering Effexor XR? I have had made by the pharmacy 145 mg and 140 mg Effexor, each 30 gelules. I can't make a mistake by starting now 140 mg and do it for a month ? Or better wait a few weeks till more stable ? Thanks for the advice on my last question and also about the further tapering strategy! Many regards, Nik
  5. Hi there. I am female, 41 years old, married with an almost 18 year old. I was diagnosed in 2018 with anxiety, depression and BP2. After my diagnosis I started to see a Therapist and Psychiatrist regularly. I realized I have dealt with these mental health issues my whole life and figured medication would be my saving grace. I was wrong. They made me a zombie and I was constantly sleeping. I had a suicide attempt in late 2017 and that is what started my experience with medication. I was in-patient for 9 days and came home with an abundance of new medication (please see signature for meds). I thought this would be the right step in the right direction for me. I had another close call with suicide in late 2019 and was subsequently hospitalized for that as well. Fluctuating between depression, BP2, hypo mania and anxiety was exhausting. Husband and I decided we wanted to try for another baby so my OBGYN suggested certain drugs be out of my system, hence coming off of them. I had been wanting to stop my meds anyways because I was tired of feeling numb. Psychiatrist took me off of my Depakote cold Turkey on May 19, 2022 and I decided on June 22, 2022 to come off the rest except my Buspar. June 22, 2022 was the day my IUD came out so it was the best time to end my meds as well, against my Psychiatrists wishes. So far the withdrawals have been probably run-of-the-mill (i.e. insomnia, nightmares, headaches, irritability, sweating, dizziness, body aches). I’m taking it one day at a time and trying to rest as much as possible when I’m feeling awful (like right now, while I’m typing this).
  6. Rhi's Introduction topic I want to crow, or at least jabber excitedly, about the improvements I'm finally seeing in my health and mental/emotional wellbeing as a result of my taper. But I'm not "fully recovered from withdrawal" so I was hesitant to post in this area. Then I decided what the heck. Recovery doesn't have to be all or nothing. There are all kinds of success stories. I know people will be encouraged by what I have to say, as I am encouraged by others. So here it is. As you can see from my sig, I'm in the process of a very long taper off five meds, with a long time yet to go. But I am ABSOLUTELY DELIGHTED at my improvement so far. Even though I'm still taking low doses of four psychiatric meds--I'm not sure I can find the words to describe how much better I'm doing and how happy I am at these lower doses, relative to how I was when I was taking those so-called "therapeutic" dosages. Neurontin completely savaged my ability to learn and remember things. Benzos and Lamictal are still making that something of a challenge, but the Neurontin was the worst. It also gave me the lack-of-impulse-control of a two-margarita drunk, and you can imagine what that did for my personality and peoples' impressions of me. I did and said stuff even just two years ago that makes me shudder to think now and thank my lucky stars I didn't get in more trouble. After I got down below 100 mg, all of this settled down a lot, especially the cognitive stuff. When I finally came all the way off Neurontin back in April, after about three months of recovery I seemed to stabilize out fully. My point is, though, I got the lion's share of my improvement not when I quit completely, but during the taper itself. Now I'm experiencing something that just makes me want to shout from the rooftops: I've gotten my motivation and enthusiasm back! After 20 years on antidepressants, I had forgotten what it felt like to actually WANT to do stuff! I used to go along with stuff proposed by other people, and I enjoyed it to the extent that I could experience "enjoyment" (something ADs cripple in me), but I usually felt like I would just have soon have stayed home, and left to my own devices that's pretty much what I did. It was hard, because my poor kids wanted to get out there and experience life. Fortunately their dad and some of my friends used to take them places and give them some adventures. I just never really wanted to do much. Which was weird, because before Prozac and Xanax, you couldn't keep me at home. I was always wanting to go out and do things. I was also very social, loved being with other people, got along well with them. Then for 20 years I became the opposite--agoraphobic, uncomfortable and awkward with people, socially anxious. Well--I'm getting myself back! I'm still on 2.7 mg of Celexa, but the zombie effect is lifting. You have NO idea how great it feels, and I don't think words can do it justice. Over about the past six months I've noticed that I'm back to being comfortable in social environments--more than comfortable, I love being with people, and people seem to enjoy me too. It's so much fun being a social human being again! And for the first time in 20 years I want to do stuff! When I have a day off work, instead of hanging around the house, I want to get out and explore the world, get out and try something new, meet people, see things, do things, touch the world, feel alive, explore, have fun! It's GREAT. So I'm here to testify (can I get a witness?--okay, that's a southern US cultural reference, ignore it if you don't get it) that at least for me, it's been possible to get back a lot of myself, a lot of what I lost on the "meds", just by slowly and carefully lowering my doses and getting down to low doses. The lower the doses go, the better I feel. There's a lot of room between "all" and "nothing", and that's the room where slow tapers play out. It was my hope that by tapering extremely slowly like I have been, all the meds together like I have been, that this would happen, that I would gradually and safely emerge from the nightmare miasma of "non-me" that the drugs had trapped me in. And it's happening. After two and a half patient years of tapering, it's definitely happening. For the first time in 20 years, you can't keep me at home, and I delight in social interaction. Just like how I remember myself being before they put me on the drugs. I'm not even going to go into the kind of karma that people earn by stealing 20 years from someone's life just so they can make money. That's not what this is about, although I have to say I feel pretty PO'd about it. I just want to say that you may not have to wait until you get to the end of your taper to enjoy a lot of benefit. And that tapering faster so you can get all the way off faster--it might not be worth the price, since tapering slow enough that you can still maintain a life and good health may turn out to be worth it when you get to a lower dose and you're functioning well enough to actually ENJOY that life and that health. And I want to say that YES, it's worth it. You can get yourself back. I've heard it from others, I've seen others do it, and I'm experiencing it myself. Hang in there! it's worth it!
  7. Hi everybody! I am Julz, a 33 year-old female - polydrugged to my eye-balls Ten years ago, I fell into anorexia and depression, soon unveiling terrible anxiety. I was referred to a psychiatrist (in France) who prescribed me medication and also gave me psychotherapy. Regarding the medication, different combinations and doses where tried and I eventually found myself on a prescription which seemed to suit my troubled mind (Escitalopram, venlafaxine, clonazepam and diazepam) - did it ever do anything? I still haven't got a clue. I trusted this doctor. This is my initial prescription: Escitalopram: 20mg 20mg 20mg - (yes, that is 60mg...!!!) Venlafaxine(MR): - - 75mg - Clonazepam: - 2mg - 2mg Diazepam: - - - 10mg Time passed and psychologically, a lot changed. I moved away from where I used to live, totally changed my environment, and went for a fresh start. But I was still taking my medication as prescribed. My General Practitioner (in charge of my prescription in my new environment) convinced me to lower the Escitalopram (on the grounds that it was "bad for my heart") and I managed, between 2011 and 2013, to come from 60mg/day to 15mg. How? By jumping 5mg at a time every now and again. I had no idea... again, I more or less trusted this doctor who was willing to prescribe me the drugs I was clearly physically dependent on. The withdrawals I experienced were uneventful. I did feel something was happening but within a few days, I always felt the same as before the drop. Between 2010 and 2014, a LOT had changed as I finally got an MSc BUT I had fallen into terrible exhaustion and had no life. How did I get my degree? A struggle every day. I then began to question this cocktail of drugs, I'd been on them for 10 years and was still taking them as prescribed because I was physically dependent. That was clear enough! It then hit me: my meds were probably incapacitating me rather than providing any help! The realisation came as in January 2013, after I managed to lower my Escitalopram intake from 20 to 15mg/day in a single 5mg step (...), I began to feel even more tired during the day, exhausted - I simply had to nap every single day. After some personal research, I went to my GP and told him I didn't believe in keeping our focus on the Escitalopram because it seemed that the more I decreased it, the more sleepy I'd get during the day, considering my benzo intake (at that point, I was taking 3 hours' naps), and I could not live like that! Fortunately, before I was able to drop a pill here and there as instructed by my GP, I found the BenzoBuddy website and managed to find a taper method to gradually come off clonazepam. From December 2014 to July 2015, I came from 4mg to 2mg and am now below 1.9mg and still tapering off successfully. I decided to join Surviving Antidepressants as I want off ALL any medication which alters who I am. I believe in other ways to manage my weaknesses - I am not ill, I have a tendency to be anxious and this is not new, I was an anxious child but I had emotions too. I'd like my emotions and my whole life back... I realise I know NOTHING about anti-depressants, I surely did not know about Escitalopram's potency and am still in shock from the news. My initial plans (supported by a psychiatrist I saw in February 2015) were to come off clonazepam (bz), then diazepam (bz), then Escitalopram, then Venlafaxine. In the light of what I read on this wonderful site, I wonder whether I should stay of Valium (diazepam) while at least tapering off Escitalopram, when I am done with clonazepam... I realise I need knowledge myself because sadly, doctors haven't been helpful at all... so far... Thanks for welcoming me on your wonderful Forum! Julz xxx
  8. My introduction topic: Female, 26 years old. Drugs I was on: Wellbutrin (Voxra) 300mg and Escitalopram (lexapro/cipralex) 20 mg. Valium 15-20 mg very sporadically, around once a month. Numbered in case someone wants to only read specific parts: 1: Hope 2: Backround 3: Tapering 4: Symptoms 5: Improvement 6: Experiences with doctors, nurses etc etc 7: Recovered, lessons learned Post after this one is about things that helped me. 1. The first thing I want to say, because it seems like such a common feeling for people in withdrawal, is that in my honest opinion it will get better, no matter how much doubt and hopelessness you feel. I think many here have felt that we're the exception because of how much we're suffering and it's hard to believe we can get out of it. The symptoms will lessen with time. So even if the recovery in total can take years, it doesn't mean that you will feel this bad for that whole time. The eighth month is most likely not gonna be just as bad as the first or second month (This is also why it's a good idea to keep some sort of record or journal, because we don't always see the improvement until we look back). Everyone is different, so just because our own recovery doesn't look exactly like others that's not a good reason to give up on hope. It seems like the thinking is extremely skewed for many during withdrawal. It's like we hold on to negative information a lot more than people usually do, and that's also important to remember I think. Just because we think something doesn't mean it's true. 2. Went on Escitalopram 20 mg and Wellbutrin 300 mg at 17 years old. I had severe depression and it was (I thought) my last resort. The first two years they seemed to be helping, later on I noticed I wasn't myself though and strangely numb/careless which led to questionable decisions at times. After a couple of years on them I started to feel very mentally unstable for seemingly no reason at all and read about antidepressants being a potential culprit. Second year on meds I also got benzos (valium (diazepam), 2 mg but I always had to take at least 15 mg for it to help) to calm my very sudden anxiety. I somewhat knew the risk of benzos, so I was careful about not taking them too often and managed to avoid creating a dependence on them. I decided I wanted to start tapering both antidepressants when I realised they might be the issue. My (one and only good) doctor agreed with me and thought it was a good idea to start tapering. Unfortunately this doctor retired. 3. Tapering Wellbutrin: 2015 I quit the wellbutrin completely by tapering from 300 mg straight to 150 mg. Went on 150 mg for around a month, then started taking 150 mg every other day for two weeks as instructed by doctor. From what I can remember tapering wellbutrin went relatively okay for me. Tapering Escitalopram: Started tapering beginning of 2016, 5 mg at a time with 4 weeks in between every taper. So for four weeks I'd be at 15 mg, then four weeks at 10 mg and so on. Tapering this drug gave me issues almost right away, but the more I tapered the worse it got. At 5 mg I started getting the most symptoms which got worse when I quit completely. Very important thing to mention I think, is that most of these issues I had never had in the past. In case someone not in withdrawal reads this I want that to be said because I was being presented as the issue by the doctors I met, rather than the drugs being the issue. I was not a worrying person before, and I barely knew what anxiety was despite being very depressed. Unlike many with depression I did not get anxiety with it, until I started taking the drugs. 4. Here are the symptoms I wrote down when it was happening: Tooth grinding, when awake and asleep. Often lead to headache Very severe anxiety, anger, irritation, sadness, stress, restlessness, self loathing, wanting to die Suicidal thoughts daily Very tired Weight gain Difficulties falling asleep Upset stomach Severe stomach ache from the constant worrying Ache in different parts of the body, mostly legs, stomach, neck and head A lot more timid and shy, couldn't walk out the door most days and waited until it was dark out. Difficulties breathing (anxiety symptom I assume) Heart palpitations and heart flutter Sensitive to noise Very easy to cry, often for no reason Strange yawns that would never be complete. Like feeling the need to yawn and not being able to fully do it, this could go on for long periods during the day. Bad time perception and short term memory Derealisation Severe semi voluntary motor tics, mostly in feet and hands but sometimes in other parts of body. Paranoid (thinking people want to do me harm and so on) Very easily frightened, skittish Strong and impulsive self destructive urges (this was very frightening and new to me) Strong sense of losing my personality and who I am, at times it was as if I was grieving my old self Occasional bed wetting Very depressed Burning feet syndrome Burning/warm sensation in head Later on I also felt manic some days, euphoric and over active for no reason (This would explain why the doctors suspected bipolar despite me not ever showing symptoms in the past) PGAD which went away after about a month more or less, caused pain as well. 5. I would say when it started to noticeably get a little better was in the summer of 2018. In the summer of 2019 several of these symptoms were gone, for example the tooth grinding, restlessness and self loathing, among others. 6. During all this time I got no support what so ever from any hospital. I told several different doctors, nurses and therapists what was going on and no one took me seriously. One laughed in my face. Another one asked what I was doing there if I was gonna refuse medication anyway despite me expressing concern about the new symptoms. When I once chose to mention that many people experience the same thing as I did, the first and only response I got was her questioning my credibility before moving on. Later in my medical journals I could read that most of my doctors were convinced I was bipolar and I was the reason for getting sick, not the drugs. It wasn't considered once that the drugs could have caused all of this. I also lost an old close friend because they didn't believe me or supported me, simply because they had never heard of this before. The reason I mention losing friends and not being believed is because it's a huge part of experiencing withdrawal for many, I think. It makes you feel extremely lonely, disappointed and betrayed. This lack of support and not being believed is dangerous when someone is in drug withdrawal and is already often suicidal. 7. Today the only symptom that I still have to deal with is the motor tics. I suspect I will have to live with that but that's okay. It doesn't stop me from being happy and moving forward in life and I can say for the first time in a very long time that I feel genuinely happy. I have my life mostly under control. I still have to work on my social anxiety but being happy and physically healthy makes it a lot easier to work on. I no longer experience mania or depression either. The most important thing to me was that I would someday feel like my old self again, and I do feel like that today. I also felt that all this added more depth to me as a person in a good way. It forced me to improve my ability to cope on my own and finding strategies that worked for me. Life feels more easy to take on after going through withdrawal (which probably isn't worth much to hear when in the midst of it, but so valuable afterwards). I'm so thankful for this site and everyone on it. It has been the only place where people have been willing to help and understand during the worst thing I've experienced. There is more I could say but this is already very long. I'll do a second post under this one where I'll write down specific things that has helped me.
  9. Hi. So, I had been having some health anxiety over 2021. It resulted in me getting a colonoscopy in November 2021. Leading up to it I had intense anxiety, a few panic attacks and perhaps even a nervous breakdown. The night before I woke at 3 am and had a panic attack. I really thought I was dying this time, so we called 911, and I luckily, not dying. During the procedure they did take a biopsy, and while waiting for the results (2weeks) I had very intense anxiety. It was benign. I'd had intense panic and anxiety for almost a whole month at this point. Around Dec 17, 2021 I contracted covid. It was pretty uneventful, but near the end of it I was waking around 5 am with adrenaline and diarrhea and I couldn't go back to sleep, this was creating anxiety in me that was getting harder and harder to control. So I went to a Dr on December 30 2021 who prescribed me Zoloft 50mg and Xanax 0.25mg. They were filled pretty fast and I took one of each as soon as I got home (around 1-2pm) I felt ok at first, but a few hours later all the side effects started. Irritable/uncomfortable, anxiety, nauseous, no appetite, chills, diarrhea, invasive thoughts that started pretty quick and intensely, and soon to find out - insomnia. I'd lay there with invasive thoughts and if I happened to drift off I'd be jerked awake and there was no sleeping for at least a week. I lived in a panic for around 2 weeks. I never took another dose of Zoloft. But I did take around 9 doses (some halved) of Xanax over the next 2-3 months. Sometimes to help sleep, but it was never worth it as I'd only get a 2-3 hours and then have intense anxiety the next day. It worked ok for panic during the day, but then I feel it intensified my anxiety for the next few days. I found some old Valium 5mg from a dental procedure, there were only 2 doses. They helped sleep some, but they left me feeling so sluggish, it didn't feel good. And it wasn't helping me sleep enough to want to try to get more, I was prescribed Restoril 15mg in April by a sleep Dr. I only took half doses 3 times. Again, it didn't help my sleep enough to ever make it worth it and just gave me bad rebound anxiety. Then I was prescribed hydroxyzine May 2021 (forgot about that when I wrote my signature, will add later). I've taken it around 5 times. It helped me sleep the first night, then not so much the next. Waited a week and tried again, it helped a little for sleep and calming, but not that much. It was mostly disappointing. Luckily it didn't seem to cause any rebound anxiety. But it doesn't help with much so I really don't take it. So, I did take my last Xanax around 1 month ago for a bad panic attack. And that was last time I took a benzo. My last hydroxyzine was around 1 week ago. My current symptoms are anxiety, depression, anhedonia, depersonalization/derealization (I'm never sure on the terms, it's the one where I feel like I'm in a dream, I can react to everyone normally and everything seems normal, but I just feel ... off, like I'm not connected to it all). Agoraphobia, I can push past it but it's hard and only if it's close to home or my husband and children are with me. Which really sucks because I used to love going out by myself or with my children, go on vacations etc... now I feel like I can't leave the house without forcing myself. This fear feeling is so horrible and there really is no reason, I just feel it. And intense insomnia, I can't fall asleep, can't nap, I get adrenaline rushes continuously as I'm trying to fall asleep, or less common are the hypnic jerks, and I wake early around 3-6am and can't fall back to sleep even if I've only slept for 1-2 hours. I like to think my sleep is getting better, as there some rare nights when I will get 5-7 hours. But those are followed the next night by not being able to fall asleep because of adrenaline surges. So, I'm probably only getting those nights from severe sleep deprivation, not that I'm actually getting better =( At one point I thought it was just anxiety keeping awake, but there have been plenty of nights I go to sleep with NO worries at all. I'm not over thinking or thinking of anything provoking and I still get the adrenaline surges at the point of falling asleep. It's seriously so maddening. It's going into 6 months since that day and my sleep is still not good. I thought it would last a few days, then weeks, then got my hopes for a few months. Now it's going into half a year. It started with panic and anxiety, but now depression is setting in and I just don't know what to do. I try to keep my hopes up, but it's so hard. I also have anhedonia and agoraphobia although I can push past it as long as it's close to home, but it takes a lot of effort. I do get some windows I stay home with my 3 small children and am not able to be the mother I want to be for them by feeling this way. Which again adds to the depression. So that's where I am. I hate that I took that zoloft and xanax. And for a long time now i was just blaming the zoloft. And now I've been wondering if the benzos have been negatively affecting me as well? I know I can't beat myself up over it. I try and accept my situation and believe that I will heal. But it's so hard and it all feels so dark sometimes.
  10. My story begins about eleven years ago. In 2011 my best friend died, and I began to have debilitating anxiety and a horrible fear of death. A family doctor made it worse by giving me xanax and lexapro, but I knew nothing about either one. I started having interdose withdrawal with the xanax, so they gave me ativan. Praise the Lord though, I found a good doctor that placed me on Zoloft, which worked well. After 5 years though, with my wife and I losing another great friend, then a stillborn, both grandparents, and two miscarriages all in a year and half the zoloft stopped working. I continually had ruminating thoughts that would not stop, so a psychiatrists placed my on Prozac, and eventually moved it up to 60mgs, along with valium to help ease the transition. I eventually weaned off of the vailum (which went really well), and stayed on Prozac ever since. After taking a year off from work, I slowly tapered off of prozac over that year, and now have been off of prozac roughly two months. I seemed to be doing well but two weeks ago the anxiety started to appear, and then stopped for about a week and a half. Today though, my anxiety and fear returned with a vengeance for most of the day. I start a new job in July, and I am working on my dissertation for my doctorate. I am seriously considering starting back on my prozac, and my pyschiatrist told me if I needed to, just start taking the prozac at 20mg again. The smallest dose I have is 20mg capsules, so I'm not sure how to start with a smaller dose, which seems to be wiser than starting right back on 20mg. My anxiety was so bad last night that I did not sleep. I had to take 5mg of valium to get just a little relief. This morning I reinstated 5mg of prozac by separating the 20mg capsules into 20ml of water. Any help or encouragement would be greatly appreciated.
  11. Hello I always wanted to return to the site and thank all that helped me in the dark hours and also the forum owner and originator for the tireless work that has helped so many people Heres my thread when I first asked for help http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6865-andy-hello-tapering-from-zyprexa/ I wont go into how I finally quit the drug because it wasnt the normal 10% approach although I tried 5 times and failed miserably.I found a good understanding doctor who helped me reduce and more than anything listened to me without prejudice.This helped enormously,I finally jumped off at 1.25mg and to be honest it wasnt to bad,by far the worst reduction was going just under 2.5mg,I had severe migraines ,nausea,heart palpitations,sickness,depression,mania,mood swings and relentless insomnia.The insomnia was by far the worst symptom as it made me anxious and very irritable ,all this while trying to be a good father and holding down a very stressful and demanding job.Of all the drugs I was put on Zyprexa was the hardest to quit,it was hell and back but it can be done I have recently started my Taekwondo training again that I practiced for over 15 years but couldnt while I was on this terrible drug,I now feel calmer and sleep well.I put on over 3 stone while on zyprexa even though I ate a well balanced diet,I felt lethargic and had no interest in life,that has all changed and the weight is coming off steadily. Excercise has been the most helpful tonic for me and even when I had had zero sleep I went to my class and worked out.It slowly but steadily improved my sleep and made me feel confident again that I could get over all of this,when you start to see improvements you start to see light at the end of the tunnel Things are heading in the right direction and my outlook on life is positive once again.I feel good Once again thankyou for all your help and for people just starting the journey dont ever give in it can be done,god bless you all Andy
  12. Benzo topic: pinkfairy-in-ad-withdrawal-possibly-zopiclone-and-now-benzo Hi everybody am new around here....right here goes!i need some advice an help.am a single mum to a nine year old with no family or support.in janurary I was taken off Paxil which I was taking at 40mg...I had no clue about tapering,they took me off in 4 weeks I was on it for 3 an half years.they then gave me diazepam to stop the with drawals...so now am also in the process of weaning off this at 10% a month.have now educated myself on this one!!am in a right state an I feel like am in a deep dark hole!have got real bad depression but they can't get another AD into me,probably because my CNS is in a mess....am I too late to reinstate Paxil?or would you guys keep on going.any help would be amazing!!am really struggling xx
  13. Female. Anxious disposition even as child. Did well making friends and enjoying life as a child. Struggled with getting to sleep though, due to worries. Displayed some ocd behaviour in teens ( maybe even before). Took and E aged 16 - big mistake. This exacerbated my anxiety and induced subsequent panic attacks. Age 19 ish ( 2001) was put on seroxat (not sure on dosage -it a strange time; experienced a lot of weird goings on with feeling weird, insomnia, - cant remember if this was before or on starting seroxat). started to feel better while on Seroxat. After a year or two, ( age 21) the doc, due to reports of suicidal behaviour on seroxat, decided to swap me to Citalopram ( 20mg i think). On starting Citalopram, I became very suicidal! Not sure why I wasn't swapped back but I perservered and must have evened out. Took Citalopram for 2 years and I felt good. Met my, now, husbandat 23 and thought life was brill and I did not need Citalopram anymore. Didn't follow any kind of tapering ( didnt know I needed to) and must have stopped cold turkey. Felt very suicidal so went back on Citalopram and evened out again. Must have cut fown to 10 mg and stayed on this for 4 years, functioning well. I did my degree. Am a bit of a perfectionist so worked very hard ( too hard), as well as working 16 hours. End of 4th year at Uni, I was burnt out. Overloaded, overwhelmed, run diwn physically and mentally. A 'nervous breakdown' ensued. I tried to go back to uni to finish the last couple of months but couldn't. I finished my dissertation abd transferred my degree so I still gained a 1st class degree but was very ill. I, nearly straight after became pregnant. I, however, suffered a horrid missed miscarriage at 13 weeks. I had told the docs that I thought something was wrong, 5 weeks earlier, but was dismissed. I took 2 months off work and was a mess. The doctor gave me diazepam and zopiclone which helped me ride the worst. Somehow I survived and became pregnant again not long after. Pregnancy was hard ( pains and bleeding) but I lasted. When my baby was born, it was tricky ( so much new to learn; I developed some ocd habits to help me feel in control but it was ok. Things leveled out. I was still on 10 mg Citalopram ( docs aware of this). I was doing well. I had snother baby a couple of years later, aged 29. Pregnancy was s bit better than the previous one but I still had bleeding, so was nervous but it was ok. I continued on 10 mg of Citalopram and was doing ok. When my son was 1 though, I took on too much. ( Lots of voluntary work with high expectations and serious responsibilities. I juggled trying to be a good mum, with several voluntary roles, housekeeping, got a small part time job too. over this time, for some reason i was slowly tapering Citalopram down ( no guidance really other than from the doc that you can take them every other day (? Is this where things started to go wrong?). I thought I was doing ok, although on reflection I was burning the candle at both ends. At the age of 32 I began to experience sciatica and fatigue. Doc suggested I try coming off the pill. This didn't help. This got worse until I developed severe abdominal pain/ heavy periods/ Nausea/ severe IBS - doc queried cfs but i was not yet referred. I was probably taking 5 mg of citalopram a couple of times a week ( not great I now realise as not steady) but as much as I was feeling physically crap, I was still functioning I stopped the Citalopram and took nothing for 10 months. The voluntary work took on another level; I imploded and had a 'nervous breakdown' ( I had a ridiculous amount of stress which was causing me to struggle with sleep and I was beginning to get suicidal ideation and brain fog before this, on top of the other physical issues, then a stressful voluntary work event sent me into a breakdown ( crying/ anxious/ ocd/ sleeplessness/ some kind of sleep apnea where id wake up gasping for breath.. I was put back onto Citalopram. I quit all voluntary work. I requested to start what i thought was low - 5mg. They pushed me to go to 10, saying 5 was ridiculous. At the same time, it was thought I may have endometriosis, so in 2017, aged 35 I had a laparoscopy operation to check; it was not. I think the operation and anaesthetic helped finish me off. The Citalopram made me increading suicidal to the point where I had suicidal ideation 24/7. i was somehow still getting sleep at this point but obe day was so suidsl, I went to A&E. Saw a psychiatrist for the first time in my life ( aged 35). Was tild to stip Citalopram strainght away. Discussed alternatives ( antipsychotics/ Mirtazipine, other ssris etc). I took nothing fir a week then another team of psychiatrists advised on possible meds. It was decided I would try Sertraline ( another Ssri??? why did i do that) I started it on 12.5 mg ( much to dismay of psychiatrists) but I was not given time to level out; They kept bumping up dose so i would get to the 'theraputic' dose of 50mg. Another level of Hell ensured which I hadn't yet visited. Loss of appetite, diarrhea, jitters, suicidsl ideation in the extreme, depression, muscle twitching, increased brain fog, intrusive thoughts, rapid weight loss, hellish insomnia. This on top of the fatigue and pain and ibs i was already experiencing. Despite my reaction, I was told to persist; I think they thought it wss my normal behaviour ( never felt this bad even when I wss 18 before starting Seroxat). Things levelled a bit after about 3 1/2 months. I was able to function a bit and go to my part time work and look after the home but it was tough. I developped tinnitus on Sertraline and had increasing brain fog. I also now suffered from depersonalisation and still had IBS and fatigue and body pain. In November last yesr, Another doc suggested i try the fodmap diet. i tried this and after 2 months it was very apparent that I had a gluten intolerance. Stopping gluten cleared up my IBS and most of the body pain. I still however battled with increasing brain fog and fatigue and severe depersonalisation to the point i couldnt go out at times and battled with it on the way to/ at work. Sertraline was not for me. I decided to cut down. the only advice id had about tapering was every other day from my doc but I thought Id do it slower. i cut miniscule amounts off from April 17, no real structure. I did this slowly but without checking i was stabilising, from April to August when i got to about 25mg. July and August, my brain fog became unbearable; unable to do shopping, unable to have a proper conversation, overwhelmed by simple questions, I became hypersensitive to light and sound. I often wore shades even on cloudy days ( looking back, noide and light sensitivity started with sertraline). I wore earplugs to limit noise at home with loud children. I became snappy due to loud noises. July August this got worse and worse but I was still functioning. I began doing sertraline every other day at 25 mg in August I think, maybe before then BAM one night in early September I had severe anxiety and total insomnia. This was relentless. I was desperate. I needed advice. Do i go back? Stop? go down? even dose to take each day. I was severely suicidal and devepped what seemed to be fit type episodes where i would be breathless, painful stomach, weird tingly head, palpitations, neck pain and lower back pain, loss of appetite, feeling flu like, becoming extremely dehydrated to the point i would guzzle water down cup after cup, My body contorted in painand tension, I eould then becime cold snd shiver. these episodes could last a couple of minutes but up to 16 hours at times. i was desperate for advise. over September/ early october, I visited A&E 4 times, desperately suicidal; I spoke to my doctor, I spoke to the nhs 111 line, I paid to dpeak to a psychiatrist but NO ONE would advise me, passing me round like a hot potato, telling me to do CBT and wait fir an appointment with a prescribing psychiatrist in december! I wouldn't live until then! I stayed with my mum as I felt so out of control with these fit type things ( including one where paramedics came and I was growling/ disorientated/ confused/ dehydrated so my eyeballs snd skin were dry- I was agressive ( never been like this in my life). I didnt want to be near my family due to my behaviour so I stayed with my mum for a few days. she lives in another county. I went to A&E there and they listened to me and made me feel worthwhile. they referred me to their home treatment team, who visited me but once again were unwilling to discuss specifics of medication. i was given zopiclone and diazepam. my husband and i didnt know what to do. we saw this website but I was still confused. I 'evened' out the 25 mg every other day dose to 12.5 in September. This may have made things worse, not sure which is why i wanted advice. The home treatment team managed to get my appointment with a prescribing psychiatrist movef to early october. I saw her and she laughed at my idea that it was withdrawal. she suggested I try an snri or mirtazapine. After reading this site, I wad reluctant. I am still referred with that team of psychiatrists but another appointment is in 2 months and they just want to throw more meds at me without showing any understanding of withdrawal. 5 weeks ago at an extreme point, before seeing the psychiatrist, I stopped Sertraline. I have been off it for 5 weeks. The fits seem to have all but stopped. but my anxiety is through the roof. I have severe stomach pain, reactions to shsmpoo, brain buzzy feeling whch zaps at times, particularly with high pitched loud noises. my sensitivity to sound is horrendous, as are my emotions and sensitivity to stress. I am overwhelmed by anxiety and ocd type ruminating thoughts about the situation and about my children's health. I am in sick leave from work since 2 months ago, as is my husband ( to look after me and the children). I have managed to taper off zopiclone and my sleep varies depending on my anxiety at night ( minutes up to 6 hours, broken sleep). I took dome diazepam but the ladt dose in September affected my breathing and I became severely breathless for 4 hours andmy gums bled so i haven't taken it since. I have applied for pip disability living allowance. we are shortly going to have no miney coming in and do t know if and my husband will be able to go back to work or if he will be fired ( I assume i will). I read this site but felt I couldnt reinstate as I never felt good on Sertraline. what now? do I try to ride it out? So suicidal and hopeless at times. Do I reinstate to citalopram instead? Do i try something else? Low dose mood stabiliser/ antipsychotic? Ps, I was referred a month ago to the ME/ Cfs people for diagnosis. Still waiting to hear.
  14. Spring 2014: Effexor ? mg for 2 months then cold turkey (didnt know better at the time). Originally put on this for depression after a break up. Fall 2014: Dizziness, extreme memory issues, pins and needles in hands and feet. Occasional adderall use. Working 2 jobs to pay for engineering school. Health anxiety started when doctors couldn't find cause of symptoms. Tried samE, 5htp. Winter 2014-2015: tried molly with a friend. Ended up in the ER. Months that passed included many ER visits and eventually klonopin (? mg) Spring 2015: after researching benzo dangers wanted off. Tried to taper. Horrid withdrawal. Switched to diazepam 6mg. Dog/best friend died of cancer. Started celexa 10 mg. Rest of 2015: Moved back in with mom, slowly tapered diazepam, stopped daily on new years 2016. Winter-Spring 2016: back in school. Stopped celexa 10mg in January. Pins and needles and depression in February. Started on wellbutrin 150mg. Increased anxiety but allowed me to finish school. Graduated. Stopped wellbutrin after graduation. Summer 2016: quit job too much stress while going through what I now know to be withdrawal. Drove for ride share service when feeling well enough. Felt like living with chronic fatigue syndrome. No doctors could find cause. Fall 2016: started back on celexa 15mg after rock bottom depression. Eventually wellbutrin added back at 75mg. Moved to a new state. PM panic attacks started after going back on celexa. Started full time engineering job. Winter 2016 - Winter 2018: wellbutrin gradually increased to 300mg. Started celexa taper. 15 down to 10mg. Increase in depression but tolerable. Spring 2019: tapered celexa down to 5mg. Extremely depressed. Affected relationship. Found a psychiatrist who wanted to switch me to zoloft. Relationship break up the week of starting zoloft. Zoloft lifted depression at first. Summer 2019: got back together with boyfriend. zoloft increased to 50 then 75 then 100. Horrible reaction to 100mg. Worst anxiety of my life. Stopped cold turkey. Back on 2.5mg celexa. Dr Then tried liquid zoloft increase from 0 by 1mg every few days to cross taper with celexa. Able to stop wellbutrin easily. Also had tooth extraction during all of this (infected root canal). Fall 2019: up to 8mg zoloft 1mg celexa. Horrible anxiety. Stopped zoloft cold turkey after getting suicidal thoughts from severe anxiety. Current: trying to find a celexa dose to stabilize on. Trying 2.5 mg. Anxiety and fatigue battles daily. going to write more soon. Just wanted a quick recap to start.
  15. Hello everyone, I have been reading many posts regarding Remeron/ Mirtazapine in the last few weeks. I found the information very helpful. I wish I had found this site earlier... I started taking 4mg of Ativan and 30mg of Remeron in February of 2014. In May 2014, I reduced Ativan from 4 to 3mg overnight. Was unaware of proper tapering technique, felt terrible side effects from 25% reduction. After becoming familiar with the Ashton manual, started a crossover taper 3mg Ativan to 30mg Valium in August 2014. Completed a slow taper on May 19 2016. Benzo free as of today, but still on 30mg of Remeron. I believe I am currently feeling strong side effects from the Remeron. I started feeling this way a few days after stopping the Valium. I am feeling dizziness like “walking on moving ship”, headaches, nausea, concentration problems, upset stomach. I find it difficult to function in this condition. I thought I had accomplished the hard work when I finished my benzo taper. I began reading about the Remeron on Surviving Antidepressants. I was really surprised by what I read: “When you remove the Benzo, the AD’s adverse effects come to the forefront.” and “ Mirt likely to be stimulating and might be uncomfortable without the Benzo.” The recommendations on which drug to taper first goes against what you would find in the Ashton Manual or a site like Benzo Buddies. “Benzo withdrawal before Antidepressant withdrawal increases the risk of a difficult antidepressant withdrawal.” All these ideas are news for me. I have read many comments on the forum which reflect the symptoms I have been feeling from the Remeron. I believe I need to taper the Remeron. I am questioning wether I can taper Remeron successfully in my present condition or in order to do this properly would I need to reinstate a low dose of Valium, possibly 2mg. I should add that where I am currently living I do not have access to liquid remeron or special pharmacies. I will need to create my own liquid mirt by using the Remeron Soltab 30mg. From reading the recommendations, 10% cut every 4 weeks is the way to go. A first cut would be by 3mg to 27 mg. Had a doctor (that helped me with my Benzo taper) suggest a Remeron taper by taking : 30 mg 1st night then 15mg 2nd night, back to 30mg 3rd night, then down to 15mg on 4th night, and so on for 3 weeks. If ok then stay at 15mg. Sounds risky to me… I am trying to figure out the best way forward. I would appreciate any suggestions. Thanks Karlos
  16. I have been reading posts about magnesium on the forum , and I decided to try magnesium glycinate. 2 weeks ago I tapered from 65 mg. Ellavil to 63 mg. I went slow to test the waters. My w/d symptoms have been some insomnia and feeling a bit hyper. So far, it's manageable with exersize and magnesium for sleep. After 30 days ,I intend to go down to 60 mg.which would be a 5 percent taper and see how that goes. I wanted to see if anyone knows about mag. Threonate which I hear is the only one that goes thru the blood. /brain barrier. Would that be beneficial for w/d symptoms or too much for the brain to handle?
  17. Hello everyone. I had been on this forum many times before reading all the posts, usually in the dead of night when feeling so desperate and alone with insomnia but did not sign up until now as hoping I would be feeling a bit better by now. I don't. I came off Duloxetine/Cymbalta, 60mg,in June 2016 cold turkey, probably a huge mistake to do it this way but I had been in touch with my doctor and he suggested to change antidepressant to Citalopram 20mg which I tried for a week and felt strange so ended up ditching both. I went through a terrible time of adjustment for the first 100 days but then seemed to manage slightly better, although it was tough I had hope for a while apart from the no sleep. After another few weeks all kinds of symptoms came at me like an express train and these now remain. I feel generally unwell all the time, depressed, no interest, no zest for life and just not functioning very well. I do have Citalopram tablets, 20mg, here in the house and feel tempted to take them but unsure of what to do. I also have Diazepam which I have taken on and off for 8/9 years 2mg. The Diazepam does not help me sleep at all but does calm me down a little but I feel it is not helpful to my withdrawal off the anti depressents and may be making symptoms worse. Would like to ask advice as to whether or not to reinstate antidepressents for a while as struggling so badly with suicidal thoughts and of little hope in recovering. 8 months of feeling so ill everyday is such hard work and is like living less than half a life. All hope I had in feeling better has gone, I cant believe I can feel this bad and still continue to try and get on with the days activities. I keep thinking that I should be in a hospital being looked after but of course any doctor would just dose me up, seems appealing today. Any suggestions would be appreciated very much.
  18. Okay, I am a newbie to posting online and have spent the last 2 months searching Google since this happened to me, so please bear with me if this seems a bit long. I just want to get my story out there so people can see what has happened to me and offer any possible advice. In October 2017, My GP put me on Lamictal for mood and 22.5mg Restoril for sleep. I have been on Restoril since 11/2016 roughly. At the time I had a diagnosis of BP2. My pdoc at the time 2 weeks later switched me from Lamictal to Lithium by tapering the Lamictal from 150 mg to 100mg then 50mg every three days, he felt it would be more effective. I went up to a dose of 1200mg of Lithium but it made me sick so we moved down to 900mg, which seemed to be effective. He added Latuda 40mg but it made me irritable, so he switched that to 5mg Abilify in 12/2017, no taper from the Latuda. That combo seemed to work for a while but then I felt emotionally blunted and numb, so my pdoc then lowered the dose to 2.5mg. I felt better so I then (stupidly) quit CT the Abilify in May of this year. At the same time he also tapered me off of Lithium which I was scheduled to stop taking on 6/27 due to constant diarrhea. He then prescribed me Klonopin for anxiety. I started feeling too high from it and was feeling depressed, so about a week and a half later was put on Lexapro. The Lexapro made me feel extremely sleepy and out of it, took from 6/18/28-6/21/18, stopped taking. Pdoc then switched me to Effexor XR 37.5mg on 6/22/18, felt extremely depressed and anxious, did not take Klonopin or Valium. I had little to not appetite and was not very talkative. 6/25-6/28/18 Felt much lest depressed, better than I had in the past month, taking Klonopin as needed for anxiety. Stopped the Effexor today and the Lithium. Started Paxil 10mg the same day. At this point still taking 22.5mg Restoril. I noticed since I started the Lexapro and stopped, I had been getting 3-4 hours sleep and started to feel thirsty. When I started Paxil on 6/29, it was at night and I woke up several times and had stomach cramps. Still had a stomach ache the next morning and felt depressed. Depression and brain fog got worse over next few days, the dose was increased to 20mg after 5 days. I would wake up with sweats in the middle of the night so on 7/4 at the advice of my pdoc covering on-call doc I stopped the Paxil because I became suicidal. At this point as of 7/8 all I was on was on Restoril for sleep. I noticed tinnitus and felt extremely anxious and regular stress almost gave me a panic attack. At this point I was having the following symptoms: Tinnitus, anxiety, depression, insomnia, feeling thirsty and dehydrated, heart palpitations, brain fog, stress intolerance. Restoril seemed to have no effect now. Pdoc prescribed me Ativan for anxiety and I told him I want to taper off of Restoril since not working any more. He advised me to taper by taking 22.5mg 3 days, then 15mg 4 days, 7.5mg 3 days, then stop. He also prescribed Mirtazapine 7.5mg for sleep. I noticed the Ativan raised my heart rate. On 7/16, as I started to doze off I got a brain zap. Ever since this day I never get sleepy and have TOTAL insomnia, can never fall asleep on my own without some kind of medication. Noticed increased palpitations and severe dehydration. Hands and feet sweating. On 7/18 I had a tingling sensation in my brain and then blurred vision in my right eye. I also noticed a weird smell of some kind of chemical or paint on 7/19. On 7/21 they advised me to switch from Trazodone to Mirtazapine 7.5mg for sleep again and also take Lunesta 3mg if needed (prescribed by a sleep specialist). Still not getting sleep. Now at this point I notice blurred vision and loss of appetite. On 7/24 my pdoc wanted to put me on Zyprexa for sleep but I refused. He prescribed Lorazepam to take as needed for anxiety. On 7/25 high blood pressure, then after then went back down to normal. At this point I feel like I am dying. My sleep specialist tells me to try cognitive behavioral therapy. (Yeah right, Been there, done that!) 7/27-7/30 I had been taking Lunesta for sleep and Ativan for anxiety (pdoc switched again because Lorazepam was not working), but sleep doc said long taper not needed to get off Ativan, withdrawals are psychological and not physical nothing will happen to me if I do not sleep and I don’t have to worry about withdrawals. 7/31 had muscle jerks when going to bed. Lunesta stopped working so GP said try Hydroxyzine and then Trazadone again if Hydroxyzine doesn't work. Of course this did not work, so my pdoc put me on Ambien CR 6.25mg and 1500mg Depakote as a mood stabilizer. I tried this for a few days and still had trouble sleeping, getting 2-3 hours. GP Prescribed Seroquel for sleep. Took 8/16-8/17, 50mg and 25mg respectively, and did not sleep for more than 1-2 hours. Now I am seeing a NEW pdoc, she has me tapering off of the 50mg Seroquel, taking 10mg Doxepin at night, 5-15mg Melatonin as needed, I am still on the 1500mg Depakote. I have totally gotten off of then Ativan by tapering using diazepam. Each day I feel like I am worse than the day before. I am trying to figure out where I go from here.... stay on the current dose of Seroquel and try to reinstate the drug that may have caused the HORRIBLE withdrawals and total insomnia I am experiencing now (either Abilify or Paxil), or follow my new pdoc advice and taper the Seroquel and see how it goes (whilst adding the doxepin and Melatonin, breaking the keep it simple rule)? I am desperate and totally sleep deprived and getting worse by the day, which is why at this point I think she is just trying to get me to sleep. I even have an EEG next week to check for problems there. Thanks for reading. Kevie
  19. Moderator Note: link to Neroli's benzo thread: Neroli: Could this be withdrawal symptoms How I wish I’d known BEFORE all this happened what I know now, how I wish there’d been more informed consent, more information, more care and that somehow I’d have found my way to Surviving Antidepressants to understand and be forearmed. Thank you to SA for the information and support you give to so many. The “professionals” still seem to be ignoring any hint of these drugs causing damage (in my experience of them anyway). And I, naively, thought they were like taking an aspirin - more or less benign. Started Citalopram in 2006 (for depression) took it for a year, no noticeable side effects (but also a very subtle benefit, if there was one). 2007-2011 on and off Citalopram, some side effects when off it (first anxiety attack ever, hmmm, now I wonder if this was withdrawal). 2011 back on Citalopram because of anxious feelings,
2013 report to doctor that I'm very tired all the time and yawning inappropriately. Doctor suggests trying another a-d. 
 Late 2013-mid 2014, taken through a series of meds.
Sertraline (no improvement)
Effexor (felt like I'd got a heavy flu if I was even an hour late taking the med, gastric problems)
Fluoxetine (panic attack, tension, insomnia, headaches, exhausted), Mirtazapine. BANG - insomnia, anxiety, black circles under eyes, exhaustion, dizziness, severe panic attack, headaches, sore eyes, hot face. Taken to emergency doctor and given Lorazepam, which calmed me down. 
 July 2014 stopped Mirtazapine (cold turkey, didn't know about severe or long-term, withdrawal effects then, but couldn't continue to take them as the side-effects were so monumental.) Went through acute withdrawal, which felt like I was being fried inside. Then began the long-term stuff - dizziness, nausea, anxiety etc. 
 February 2016 - having anxiety attacks, caved in and went to doctor. By this time, I’d started to find out more about the potential effects of these drugs and the possibly futile attempt to stabilise on more drugs and was extremely reluctant to re-instate. But I was in such a state of anxiety I could only think to try it. Re-instate on Fluoxetine - dreadful - bad gastro effects, insomnia, anxiety etc. 
 July 2016 - fast-ish taper off, after trying half dose for some time and still feeling dreadful.
Med free July 2016 - January 2017. Symptoms that persisted throughout all the times I was off the drugs - dizziness, unsteady on feet, blood rush from the head on standing (near fainting), sore stomach, gripey wind, heart palpitations, tiredness/exhaustion, tension, on edge, gripping anxiety attacks (these are the ones that make me feel like I'm never going to feel well again and hopeless), sensitivity to noise, other people and stress, tinnitus, dry mouth, sore eyes. Over December 2016 and January 2017 I had two massive panic attacks, one was after a run; I’d never had panic attacks before. I saw it as part of the long-term effects of the poly-drugging, cold turkey and re-instatement that I’d gone through. Over this period, I’d taken Lorazepam very occasionally and only at half-dose (0.5mg). Then my body collapsed, panic attacks increased, dizziness made me unstable, weak legs meant I could hardly walk, I was unable to shower or shop for myself and had 24/7 suicidal anxiety/akithisia. February 2017 - referred to psychiatrist, who did a 20 minute consultation (including asking what my birth was like???), and who flatly dismissed my proposal that this was the result of adverse effects of the drugs, and said he thought it was because I missed my mum (who’d died in 2012). Mid-February prescribed Escitalopram - felt I had no choice but to see if the drugs would even me out, even though I’d read (through this site and other avenues) that re-instatement didn’t always work. Continued to have acute anxiety - use of Lorazepam increases, although I try to keep it as low as possible. Early March 2017 Nortriptyline added. Mid February - to April 2017 Zopiclone and Lorazepam PRN - pretty regular use. April - August 2017 Prescribed Lithium - dreadful - raging insomnia, completely dried out - stopped after a week. Increased Nortriptyline over a number of weeks to 90 mg a day - insomnia eased, started to get 7 hours’ sleep. Felt weak and exhausted most of the time. Had used up all my annual and sick leave at work. Crossed to diazepam over many weeks - to 25mg a day in order to start a taper off. I began to be able to work from home, thanks to my employers who accommodated this, and have since increased to three days in the office and two days at home. I’m more mobile, can shop for myself and take care of myself. Legs still feel like lead and I have to use walking sticks for balance and help me walk. Have had a CT scan of my head - showed normal brain profile. This is where I’m at as I write - incremental improvement, very, very slow. Reducing Diazepam at 0.5mg a week. Want to taper off Escitalopram as it had no beneficial effect - but now scared that my system is SO messed up, any reduction will send me into a tailspin. Also, I understand tapering two drugs messes things up if there are adverse effects because you don’t know which taper is causing the problem. My life has been turned upside down by medications that the Dr told me would improve my quality of life.
  20. Moderator note: Link to Nikki74's benzo thread: lexapro kindling akasthesia Mirtazipine diazepam Help. i recently stopped lexapro after a short taper from ten to five mg over 9 days. i had been on 20mg since 2011 then tapered quickly in June and stopped. This was a few weeks after stopping pregabalin 150mg v abruptly. all this time I was also on 15mg Mirtazipine. my anxiety went crazy and gp told me to double Mirtazipine dose to 30. I lasted 3 weeks of hellish symptoms and was put on diazepam and Zopiclone. im now off Zopiclone which was tough. 6 weeks ago GP told me to go back to 15mg Mirtazipine and add in 10mg lexapro. This didn't help so now have stopped lexapro three days ago but took 2.5 mg last night as am feeling withdrawal. gp wants me to start tapering diazepam as I'm getting worse akasthesia when it wears off or even a paradoxical reaction to it. i have akasthesia. Insomnia. Severe anxiety. Shaking. Muscle weakness. Obsessive thoughts and suicidal ideation as cannot go on like this. The only brief ride break I get is the 15mg Mirtazipine which calms me for 2-3 hours. How can I go on? i am a single mum and have CFS already for many years. do I stay off the Lexapro now? How do I cope with withdrawals, akasthesia, and tapering diazepam?? I take 7mg a day been on it three months. i can't stop in one place and am smoking (just tobacco) every half hour. i got sober in 2013. this is hell.
  21. Hello. Getting started here with an intro as I prepare to start to taper from paroxetine after far too many years stuck on it. Grateful for this site / forum and write this in solidarity with everyone who's been on / going through this kind of journey. 1996/7 first tried fluoxetine and citalopram for depression/anxiety in my teens but stopped very quickly. I don't recall exactly why, though I know one of them gave me a skin rash and I don't think I stayed on either for long enough to notice any benefits. 1999 finally went on paroxetine, I think 20mg at first. Going on was awful (many physical effects such as upset stomach and pretty much everything listed on the leaflet at the time - which I had deliberately not read but ended up reading while bed-ridden) but felt I had no better options at the time, and there's no denying that it helped reduce my anxiety and allowed me to progress with my life. Having said that, I was never keen to stay on and the side effects sucked (skin itching, sexual dysfunction, crazy nightmares, chest pain) but my early withdrawal attempts all crashed and burned. Longest taper over 5 months back in 2005 was scariest experience of my life once I got really low and went from a tiny amount of powder to nothing for 3 days. I had intense crying spells, light/shade effects, dizziness, brain zaps, trouble even speaking, tiredness, stomach upsets, high anxiety and anhedonia. Reinstated after reading a Paxil Progress thread and realising I could end up with protracted withdrawal syndrome otherwise. Had to get on with my life and pretty much resigned to being stuck on it forever. As a 'compromise', have tried to keep the dose as low as possible. For about a year I got by on 5mg every other day, but this was not good: felt like I was barely saving off withdrawal syndrome and my old anxiety returned. Managed on 5mg daily for another few years till the same thing happened. Been on 10mg /day since 2013 but since 2018 I've been noticing numerous signs that I'm now becoming tolerant to this dose: experiencing diminished 'benefit', but more side effects (including new ones such as tinnitus and insane night sweats), plus WD effects starting if I'm ever more than about 8 hours late. Staying on 10mg doesn't seem like a sustainable solution as the tolerance will just get worse over time, so the options seem to be two extremes: stay on this treadmill of ever-increasing doses or try and taper off. Both are terrifying but I know it has to be the latter. If I don't try now while I'm still relatively young and healthy, I'll just be storing up problems for later in life when I'll be less able to cope: the idea of being old and frail, on a max dose that's worn off is just unthinkable. My GP is ok with me tapering now: has said to take as-needs valium (Diazepam) during slow taper but am scared of adding a benzodiazepine to the mix, especially after hearing some of the Mad in America podcasts from World Benzodiazepine Awareness Day. Also very scared that normal life will become impossible so stalling at this point and just reading as much as possible in the hope of preparing myself for success this time, even if it takes years.
  22. Hello everyone, I took my first anti-depressant at 21. I am now 43. In the years in between, I have had multiple psychiatric admissions, taken many many different medications, some at high doses, some inappropriate for my diagnosis, and for long periods of time, and had 8 sessions of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). I am posting here now because I believe I may be experiencing a withdrawal/discontinuation syndrome. My life has been razed to the ground and I am reaching out, to foster hope, make connection, and see if I can educate and empower myself and find guidance and support to get into healing and recovery. My difficulties began 9 years ago. The only drug I was taking at the time was Citalopram, and I was reducing it. The first thing I noticed was increased sensitivity to sound (e.g. hearing the radiators throughout the house I was staying in). I was working as a counsellor at the time, and I began to have feelings of falling through my chair when working with clients, a sensation of falling downwards and backwards suddenly. I then started to feel strange in the car, as if something toxic was coming through the ventilation system, leading me to feel a bit like I wasn't fully there; slightly afraid I would pass out (I never have) or "disappear". I would pinch my cheeks to try and "come back". I couldn't understand it. For 18 months, I followed the initial thinking from my GP, that I had labyrinthitis, and had various auditory system tests. This revealed nothing. I then went to the London Balance and Hearing Centre and had a thorough check there. They found nothing wrong and said that 40 % of people presenting there they referred on to psychiatry. By this stage, I had stopped driving, stopped working, had considerable difficulties walking - I walked using 2 sticks, and continued to have extreme sensitivity to sound (found the sound of the dishwasher on the floor below almost unbearable). The psychiatrist diagnosed "total serotonin depletion of the vestibular nucleus" with utter conviction (no sample/scan of anything has ever been taken by a psychiatrist in 22 years of treatment), and admitted me urgently to hospital. I was not depressed at the time. I was bombarded with medications. 3 weeks later, I went into depression, but the somatic symptoms I had been admitted for continued. More and more medications were administered. Eventually, I discharged myself and went to another psychiatric hospital. They were shocked at the levels of medication I was on (this was 2013) and proceeded to reduce and change the drugs. I left this hospital in 2014 but my somatic symptoms persisted (difficulty walking, unable to tolerate the sound of the fridges in the supermarket, clinging on to the shelves, tremors in my legs, unable to stand in line....). By this time, I had a diagnosis of Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (CPTSD) - which I identify with to this day. This was September 2015. Because, despite high levels of medication, the symptoms were still present and limiting my functionality (e.g. unable to tolerate short attending a short evening course on social media at my gardening group: I couldn’t cope with looking at the screen, sitting on a chair without sides, or the sounds – and had to leave), I decided to change tack and try a different approach. That was when I sought out a trauma therapist and a more holistic path. At this time I was on Quetiapine (250mg at night, 50mg breakfast and 50mg lunchtime), 3g L-Tryptophan, 15mg Diazepam, 60mg Citalopram. Over the course of 3 years, I brought myself down off the meds in a very measured way, one at a time, titrating at what I thought was a slow pace. I managed to come off the Quetiapine, L-Tryptophan and Diazepam. I continued to experience severe somatic symptoms but could walk about a little, go into a bookshop briefly - not able to work or go out for a meal, or the cinema or anything like that. When I began reducing the Citalopram, my symptoms became seriously bad. They emerged approx. 2 – 3 months after reductions e.g. 60 > 50 > 40 beginning May 2017, resulted in severe, disabling symptoms by August: severe tremors, terrifying hyperarousal, unable to tolerate sounds at all, using alcohol when necessary literally to be able to tolerate them or walk when necessary. I made another reduction 40 > 35 > 30 > 25 > 20 from December to April 2018, at which point I became housebound and called the paramedics as I was experiencing states of terror, feeling as if I was about to die, unable to regulate my nervous system at all. I now know, how terribly and tragically misguided my reduction pacing was. I wish I could turn the clocks back. But I can't. Hence my presence here, and prayers that there is still hope that I might recover my health. The emergency services suggested I increase the Citalopram back up to 30mg, which I did - and then up to 35mg, 3 weeks later. By this stage, I was housebound, having violent seizure patterning (not seizures - I never lose consciousness), unable to tolerate the sound of using a telephone, unable to stand to wash up or make food. My therapist began visiting me in my home. At the time, she and I had been understanding what was happening as partly being a releasing of the trapped energy of the trauma of the ECT which I had when I was 29. Indeed, the seizure patterning/muscle spasms look very like this. And my therapist described what she believed was going on in Somatic Experiencing language of "overcoupling": effects of psychological trauma/stress from earlier life + ECT shock trauma + long term use of meds.....all contributing to a dysregulated nervous system. I still believe this to be the case. However, very sadly, my therapist reached the point where she felt unable to continue to support me and pointed me back towards psychiatry. This was utterly devastating to me. I had derived considerable strength and hope from believing I understood what was happening in my body, that I had agency over its process, and was resourced and motivated by this. Being advised that all that was left was to go back to psychiatry, felt like the final straw. I went into severe, suicidal depression. Since then, I have seen several more psychiatrists, 2 neurologists, one neuropsychiatrist. None of them acknowledge that there is any possibility that psychiatric medications are implicated in my somatic symptoms. They put them under "medically unexplained" or "functional neurological disorder". I had 5 weeks in another psychiatric hospital in December 2018 which was largely pointless as I could not bring myself to take further medications, except for the introduction of one, Pregabalin, but at a low dose (because I was looking ahead to having to withdraw off this too eventually, and cautious accordingly.) I am now staying with my parents, in Luxembourg because I am unable to manage on my own in my own home without carers. I am at the lowest point of my life. The depression is severe but largely "reactive", ie an understandable response to losing my world - my work, my community, my functionality and all that that now deprives me of. I am just surviving at the moment. I hope I can find a way ahead. I am new to this website. I wonder how I might best use it to seek support and guidance? I will list the medications I am currently taking: Citalopram 40mg Pregabalin 50mg @ 09.00, 25 mg @ 13.00, 25mg @ 22.00 Diazepam 2mg @ 09.00, 25mg @ 13.00, 25mg @ 19.00, 25 mg @ 22.00 Zopiclone 3.75mg: began tapering under advice of GP 10 days ago, reducing by 1/4 = cutting the pill in half and half again and taking 3/4. He suggested I taper by 1/4 every 2-3 weeks. I feel trapped in a Catch22: I am unable to function in the world as I am. My symptoms are prohibitive of most activities and restrict where I can be, even within my parents' home, as my sensitivity to sound is so great and I am unable to be standing for very long due to the tremors. I am due to see the GP again tomorrow to ask his advice. I do not have a psychiatrist here. I am not keen to see yet another psychiatrist unless this person understands the fight/flight/freeze response, believes in withdrawal syndromes and tapering. My despair lies in the fact that I am sadly not in a position to be tapering really until I have adequate functionality restored. But I don't know how to restore that, how to address the tremoring and sensitivity to sound. The advice I have had from psychiatrists is to increase the dose of Pregabalin to quell the tremors. I am currently on a sub-therapeutic dose. I am reluctant to do this as this will be yet another drug to come off (which holds risks of seizures through withdrawal). Does anybody here have anything they could suggest to help? I am only just beginning to try to understand what the effects might be, on my nervous system, of extensive use of the drugs I have been on in the past, and am currently on. In particular, Quetiapine (I was on 800mg in 2005 and reduced over a couple of years - I never had any psychosis; and again 2013 - 2016 at 300mg), Diazepam (30mg in 2013, now 8mg) and Citalopram (60 for many years, now 40mg). I don't know if everything my body is manifesting is an expression of a depletion of receptors throughout my body? I am doing an online course on the nervous system and understand the intricacy of it, and how every cell in our bodies is affected by nervous system dysregulation. What is the next step? How do I address the somatic symptoms, in particular sensitivity to sound and to gravity: my sympathetic nervous system is "turned up way too high" in response to my standing up = tremors How/where can I find a clinician to guide me? I am due to see a Functional Medicine practitioner next Thursday with a view to try trying to do something myself to help heal my system. Any thoughts on this? I am also acutely aware that my life situation is such that I feel insecure and at sea. So, I need to find a way to create a secure base for myself, professionals I trust, decide which country to live in to do this (I will probably be unable to live alone until/unless I can heal this)..... I understand now that my nervous system is picking up cues about safety all the time. And if my life situation is unstable, it will keep going into fight/flight/freeze in reaction to that too. So, I need to also do some internal work on finding safety in the midst of uncertainty. This is so challenging. I feel very grateful to have this space in which to share and hopefully help each other. Thank you.
  23. Hi I am new to this forum, coming from benzobuddies forum. I was on an AD wellbutrin for 7 years and then a P Doc took me off cold turkey and I wound up in a psych hospital for 10 days December 2012, I was reinstated on Wellbutrin in the hospital and upon leaving I found a new P Doc immediately. He diagnosed me with Bipolar ll. He kept me on the Wellbutrin and added Lamictal and 40 mg Valium for insomnia. I became tolerant after 3-4 months to the Valim and I started a micro taper off the 40 mg valium 1/2013. I am currently at 1.5 mg as of 10/01/2014. Withdrawl symptoms were not to severe with the micro taper until 3mg valium. Now down at 1.5 mg withdrawl symptoms are pretty intense ,insomnia, anxiety, feeling poorly. My P doc didn't want me to come off of the valium because he thought it helped with keeping my bipolar stable. He agreed to help me with the taper if I wanted to get off. I just wanted to get off because I was tolerant and didn't want to stay on a benzo any longer. I also recently decided I would like to decrease my AD dose after I am off the benzo, but I'm not certain I can completely taper off because of my bipolar. I discussed this with my P Doc and he said he would consider this after I'm stable on my valium taper. I was reading thru some posts here and noticed that tapering the AD first might have been better then tapering the benzo according to many here. I started my benzo taper first because I wasn't going to taper down my AD at the advice of my P doc.. I have decided that I would like to taper down my Wellbutrin at least to a lower dose but I assume I should wait till I am off the benzo at this point? If I do taper down my Wellbutrin will it be harder now that I am tapering off the benzo first Also I need some advice about getting off the 6mg of Doxepin (Silenor), I have been taking for insomna the past year, it is no longer helping with my insomnia. Since it is such a low dose do I need to taper off this slowly or can I just jump off. Thanks
  24. Hello I need an advice , I m using mirtazapine 30 mg for 15 days and I then I took 22.5 mg 1 night then now I took 15 mg the last 2 nights. I want to get rid of it. Can someone please give me an advice if I can just stop it now or not.
  25. Hi guys, So here I am after being off antids for about 6 months, having tapered too quickly and suffering the consequences. I was latterly taking Citalopram 30mg, Lamotrigine 150mg and Venlafaxine 75mg. Summer 2015 I was officially diagnosed with major depression, which had obviously been there for a long, long time but had at that time got particularly bad. This was due to psychological issues, alcohol and drug abuse but wouldn't shift despite years of work fixing these. Now I know the long term citalopram use was probably making the depression worse. Around that time I saw 4 different psychologists and got 4 different opinions on how to recover/which meds to take. This of course was a ridiculous situation so I took matters into my own hands, taking what I thought was the 'best' advice and integrating it with my own research and experience . Following the 'advice' of one of the psychiatrists I added 75mg of Venlafaxine to the Citalopram and Lamotrgine. At the same time I'd heard about l-methylfolate so gradually ramped up to 15mg daily with b-6 and b-12. I know starting 2 things at once is not advisable but I was desperate and could hardly function. Within a couple of weeks something kicked the worst of the depression into touch which was a massive relief. After a couple of months on the 3 med cocktail the side effects were really starting to get to me so it was time to get off this stuff. Yes, I know, I did it all too quickly which is why I am where I am now....I should have listened more closely to the advice here :-) Hoping for a little advice and encouragement about my nervous system which in the last 3 months or so has got worse even though I stopped all meds 6 months ago. The lamotrigine taper had me shouting angrily at my wife a number of times - the intensity of the rage was incredible but passed quite quickly. She was very brave to be able to get through that! Citalopram taper was surprisingly easy. The final stages of the Venlafaxine withdrawl was tricky. I was down to 1 bead and if I didn't take it within a few hours I'd get head zaps, restless legs etc. At some point I had to stop so I did and put with these symptoms for a week or so. After all this I was however very fatigued which has improved to an acceptable level over the last 3 months. The fatigue was probably also due to recovering from the major depression. Right now I have anxiety issues, very easily stressed/snappy, can't sleep more than 5 hours a night and impossible to catch up with sleep during daytime as on the verge of dropping off I wake with intense terror/fear. Often trouble breathing properly, tight stomach and I am very sensitive to noise, light and touch. I also have panic attacks when the stress is high in my life. These have been occurring for a long time though and haven't really changed with changes in meds. Having done years of therapy and some bodywork I know that these are physical symptoms and I have quite a healthy psychological make up. I also do a lot of things to look after my physical and mental health which I won't go into here. On the plus side, I don't have the general low mood caused by taking Citalopram for years, blurred vision, muscle tightness, sexual problems, cognition and memory problems, sense of not being fully present + other well known side effects from these meds. I am having thoughts about re-introducing a very small amount of Citalopram or Venlafaxine - not sure which one of these is causing the nervous system issues - probably both. I'm aware that the likelihood of this helping after 6 months is low, but I'm willing to try to alleviate symptoms. Advice on this is very welcome! As my name suggests, I do finally feel alive after 16 years on these meds - something about taking them was just not 'right'. Even though I'm suffering right now I'd rather be here. I hope this gives some encouragement to others and also serves as a warning about what happens when you taper too quickly! Thanks to mods and users alike for this wonderful resource. Cheers
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