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  1. Hi everyone. I am hoping to get some much needed (and very much appreciated) advice on my situation. As you see, I had been on Sertraline for almost 2 years, or around the two year mark, before I began a too fast taper in 2016 which lead to my withdrawal syndrome in September 2016. My doctor had me taper in 6 weeks completely off Sertraline, jumping off at 25mg and not even tapering the 25mg, just cold turkeying the 25 per his instruction. Well, I was feeling some withdrawal symptoms, I just didn't realize what they truly meant, and my doctor had told me not to worry 'they will clear up in a few weeks" well they didn't really clear up, but actually got worse two-three months later. I want to make this as short as possible so it is easy to read, but long story short, I ended up reinstating Sertraline at 12.5mg first week, at the same time tapering the 30mg of buspirone my doctor had tried to test out on me for almost two weeks. Each week, he upped my dose of Sertraline during my reinstatement, until I reached 57mg and my body rejected anything above the 57mg. However, I did not know anything about withdrawal or tapering back then, and realize that I was put on way too high of a dose for reinstatement. This has me very scared and very anxious, I try hard not to be, and most of it is likely neuro related, but I wonder what I can do if I feel it's too high? I've got the anhedonia, but I've had this since December, and it actually was brought on more or less by my doctor trying to put me back up to 75mg, maybe that was just a coincidence, but I am not so sure. Each adjustment of the sertraline left me with worsened insomnia, worsened panic, trembling and what I can only describe as body jolts every morning for four months straight. And trying to sleep at night I felt like I was having seizures almost, where my body would jolt me awake just as I was drifting off to sleep, heart would be racing, fear and panic would run rampant and worsen in the morning. I still have mild teeth chattering every morning and especially when the anxiety or stress comes on. I reinstated pretty quick, where I reinstated as soon as my withdrawal symptoms started getting worse, I didn't wait it out even though I really wanted to. I didn't want to go back on the medication after what it had done to me, but didn't know what else to do. Then, everyone I trusted, my doctor especially, had me convinced I had developed several new mental disorders in a matter of three days. I was so so scared, and my anxiety was through the roof. I really stressed myself out a lot trying to figure out "what was wrong with me" because I did not know at the time. On top of that I had the professionals I trusted assuring me it was my "symptoms coming back" (they actually said that right after I already told them I never ever had these symptoms before in my life, not even one of them.) Then I happened to find SA, during my research into my symptoms and the ssri I was taking. I learned a lot in one night, and my jaw dropped. My gut had been telling me all this time it was the drug, it was withdrawal. But I ignored it and listened to the "experts" instead. HUGE MISTAKE!! Now I am stuck in a situation that makes me fear for the future, and not sure what I can do now that I am back on a higher dose. If I would've known better, I would not have allowed my doctor to titrate me up so high. I would've sat at the lowest possible dose, even the 12.5mg. My withdrawal symptoms had really settled down a lot for the last two or three months now though. My appetite came back, libido came back, depression lifted almost instantly upon reinstatement, the anxiety and panic took a while to lift but that has really settled down a ton and only sporadically (maybe lasting a second or two) I'll feel a blip of panic and anxiety (typically when under a lot of built up stress), and my biggest gripe for withdrawal symptoms as of now is the anhedonia, but even that was beginning to lift where I'd get moments of joy or contentment or my interests peaking through the veil of anhedonia. My sleep actually went back to normal in the last week or two, and I haven't been waking with the dread or anxiety for the past three months now, and I have been feeling pretty good except now I got back into this wave and I think it's because I'm stressing over tapering and my dosage after what I read last night. I read on SA someone said that being on too high a reinstatement dose can permanently damage your brain, where you will never heal from it. So I am really scared... I really need advice or wisdom on where to go from here. At this point, I worry I'll always feel this way and I'll never recover any further than where I currently am. I'd be fine if I felt somewhat normal, where I could handle the withdrawal symptoms temporarily until they pass, and I do admit that on my better days I certainly can handle them. But I feel like reinstatement was pointless or worse for me than just muscling through the withdrawals after what I read about high dose reinstatement. I feel like A) it's going to take forever just to stabilise on this dose and B it's going to be painful trying to taper when the time comes, due to that I may have permanently damaged my brain with my reinstatement. I guess what I am wondering now is, do I stay on this dose and wait for the anhedonia to completely go away, or how do I know when I am ready to begin tapering? At this point I am just feeling very confused and afraid about my dose and tapering in the future. I feel lost. I'd really appreciate any help! Thank you!
  2. This is the second time I have tried to reduce my reliance on citalopram and I have sought more help this time. I am also a recovering alcoholic with 23 years sobriety and drugs and withdtawls are the bane of my life. Over the last 2months I have tapered from 30mg down to 10 mg a day. Doing 20 one day and 10 the next seemed to be ok, but been on 10mg for 5 days and the symptoms have got worse, headaches and light heads seem the norm now and i would appreciate any feedback on reducing further or taking a slightly higher dose. I also take BP controlling tablets.
  3. sorry for being confused but I am, I just don't want to start off doing the wrong thing. I don't understand about signatures with dosage underneath.Could you give me an example.I looked at peoples names on their posts but often what was written underneath seemed like gobbledeegook? (Australian for nonsense) would I write lyrehs then 35 mg pristiq currently. used to take 375 of effexor??? lyrehs. also what files would I need to attach? and this is not a topic so much as a question that I cannot find an answer to that makes sense to my addled brain.
  4. Hello Everyone, This is my first post. My oh my, where to start. I guess from the beginning. I'm a 24 year old male. A year and a half ago, while still in college, I would smoke weed almost everyday. I had only started smoking about a year before that, so I would consider my experience with it slightly amateurish. I'm a normal kid, but I'm definitely shy, more than the average, introverted I guess. I'm also very sensitive. I don't like to be shy, I just care too much about what others think. I think this is why I turned to weed. It gave me happiness I guess you can say. I never had any serious problem with weed until February of 2015. Someone that I went to elementary school with committed suicide. He wasn't a friend but I knew who he was and when I heard the news, it really stunned me, I got really sad. Anyways, I carried on with my normal life and smoked a big blunt with a friend that night. I got really high, too high. All of a sudden I felt a big shift in my consciousness, something clicked in my brain. Everything felt very dull. Thoughts going through my head such as significance of life, purpose of anything, thoughts that I never thought about in my whole life, and anxiety that felt like a 20 lb weight on my chest. I thought to myself could this happen to me what happened to the kid who committed suicide. For the first time in my life I felt depressed. I didn't know what to do, I felt like I was on a different planet, everything just seemed really peculiar. The next morning was a Saturday, and all I could think is I need to see a psychiatrist, of course had to wait till Monday to make any calls. I just felt like crying because I didn't know what to do with myself. I was so mentally unstable. Let me fast forward a little. I finally got to a psychiatrist, after already meeting with a psychologist who recommended this psychiatrist. I told her all about how I was feeling and She prescribed me 10mg of escitalopram and 2.5mg of abilify because I was having racing thoughts. The escitalopram made me really tired, but it did help with the depression/anxiety. The abilify made me feel really weird. I got off of the abilify within a couple of months. By the summer of 2015 I got up to 20mg of escitalopram, going from 10 to 15 to 20. I guess you could say my depression and anxiety was pretty much gone by then, but I was always out of energy and I was already gaining weight. In September of 2015, now I've been on the lexapro for 7 months, I decided I really want to get off this drug. I would tell the psychiatrist that I just don't feel myself on it. The depression was gone, but I wouldn't laugh as much, couldn't cry, just felt very flat, and felt what some people call brain fog. I just don't want medication to help me function. I want my body/brain to heal itself naturally with time/diet/exercise/yoga/therapy/ anything that will help. I drop down to 15mg from 20 without telling my shrink. After about a week, I started feeling depressed. I talked about it with my psychologist( i was going to therapy weekly). Eventually telling my shrink, she recommended i go back to 20, but I didn't want to and after a couple of weeks, the depression subsided. I stayed at 15 for a couple months and i was feeling fine and still encouraged to get off this drug. I told my shrink I want to do this, so she gave me a taper schedule: go from 15 to 10 for 6 weeks, then 5 for 6 weeks, and then i can just stop. I had already been reading up on tapering and how difficult it is so i knew this would probably be too fast, but i dropped down to 10 anyways. Everything was fine i didn't feel any withdrawals. After those 6 weeks, i figured 10 to 5 is just too fast, so I dropped to 7.5mg instead. Again, everything was fine except for some dizzy spells i got once a day that would last about 10 minutes. I took some motion sickness medicine daily after feeling those withdrawals and the dizziness subsided. After those 6 weeks i dropped to 5mg. After about a week, I started feeling depressed. I couldn't handle the feeling, i had to stay strong because i'm an accountant and i have to work long hours sometimes. I called my shrink and she says "I think you were doing better at a higher dose and you should go back to 10mg". I just couldn't keep going backwards, so i just went back up to 7.5mg and i stayed there for about a month. After researching more, I found the 10% rule. I called the shrink and had her call in a prescription of the liquid form of lexapro. I dropped down to 6.75mg, i felt a little melancholic for the first week of dropping but i've leveled out, been going to the gym everyday, doing hard cardio. This is where I am now as of March 18, 2016. I plan to drop another 10% on April 1st. This has already felt like a really long road. If i continue with 10% reduction per month, I won't reach zero for a year and a half. Will it really take that long to get off of this drug??? that's longer than I've been on it. I'll never go on an SSRI ever again. I think this is a very pre-mature antidepressant and should only be prescribed to people who have a chronic illness that can only be fixed with medication. I never felt right while on this, and it feels close to impossible to get off of it. It's very easy to understand how people get stuck on these drugs for several years, to decades, or possibly indefinitely. To wrap this up, I'm on 6.75mg, following the 10% rule, Exercising daily, I still don't feel like myself before I ever took lexapro, but hopefully I will go back to myself When I reach zero. I haven't lost any of the weight that I've gained so that's even more the reason why I want to reach zero. I'm tired of the lack of energy, flatness, weird dreams, weight gain, etc. I'm sorry this is so long, but I wanted to give the whole story. For anyone who read till the end, Thank You!
  5. Hello everyone, New here, terrified, desperate and doing everything in my power to fend off suicide. I just exchanged several emails with Dr Shipko who first agreed to consult with me, but then said my polypharmacy history was too complicated for him to help me. The pattern, as i have experienced it, is quite straightforward though: I have been on Lexapro, the drug that destroyed my brain, for approx 13 years. 80-90% of that time I was on 10 mg. I have stopped the drug three times, and each of those times a very similar pattern occurred: Mar. 2006 rapid wean-1.5 months post-WD severe melancholic depression with insomnia, appetite loss and dysautonomic symptoms emerged--1 month later reinstated 10 mg--symptoms rapidly resolved but became impulsive and manic, made some very self-destructive decisions and took 2 years to regain balance. I was not fully functional until 2009. Jun 2012 rapid wean-again, 1.5 months post-WD severe melancholic depression, same dysautonomic symptoms. Waited again to reinstate until a little past 2.5 months post W/D. Right around the 2.5 month mark (before reinstatement), I developed EXTREME akathisia, insomnia, dyskinesia and other bizarre symptoms. I had recently weaned off of a benzo and opioids, but this was definitely not the cause of this syndrome as reinstating them even at much higher doses did not help (I had been on benzos and painkillers a couple times before while ON Lexapro, and it was quite easy to wean off); also, this akathisia syndrome felt very continuous with the "Lexapro depression"--it was a smooth and inexorable degeneration down from the depression into the neurological syndrome. Unfortunately I had not yet known that SSRI withdrawal could cause such extreme symptoms so I was on a merry-go-round of neurologists, infectious disease specialists etc, wondering if I had a prion disease or a rare brain infection. Bashed my head into a wall several times, episodes of weakness, twitching, screaming, nearly constant violent shaking. I had to give up my life and move back in with an ex-boyfriend I didn't like because it was the only way I could get the 24/7 care I needed to survive. (Jun 2012 cont'd) After reinstating the Lexapro 10 mg approx 2.5 months post-WD, I did not notice any particular change (there was so much going on I don't recall; my memory is damaged and there may have been a change I don't remember) However, by 3 months post-reinstatement (late 2012) the severe symptoms were completely gone (whew!) and I was able to start on the long road back to finding a "life" again, albeit with some disabling symptoms which seemed quite tolerable in comparison: GERD, hot and cold flashes, hypersomnia, intermittent depression, memory loss. In summer 2013 I started treatment with Xyrem (a strong sleep medication, for my hypersomnia) and Klonopin. This rid me of all of my residual health problems but I felt the combo of 3 drugs was dulling my mind so I began to wean down Lexapro slowly, by 1 mg every 2 months. I was OK during this time; in Dec. 2014 I stopped Xyrem. I was on a low dose of 3 mg Lexapro at this time, and my only other psych med was 1.5 mg Klonopin. I felt great, clear, better than ever. A rapid taper of Klonopin (to 0.25 mg within 3 weeks) made me very ill. Reinstating Klonopin at 1 mg worked and I was feeling good again by Feb. 2015. I very gradually tapered Klonopin to 0.75 mg, held the dosage, and continued weaning Lexapro. I discontinued my last 1 mg of Lexapro on May 18. I was doing well until that same 1.5 month point when depression emerged, but it was not as severe as in 2012. I also noticed some mild autonomic instability--HR and BP went high easily. But it was all manageable until that dreaded 2.5 month mark which I have just now passed. 1.5 weeks ago a mild surgery sent me into a severe episode of hypertension and ever since, I've been on the fast track back to the worst parts of 2012. I've had attacks of severe akathisia, screaming, twisting and uncontrollable violent behavior. My BP and HR go through the roof at the slightest notice, I can't eat or sleep. The scariest part is that I have become INSENSITIVE to all sedatives--the Ambien that helped me sleep in 2012 barely gives me 2 hours now, my tolerance to any sedative med goes up instantly. So while I am super-sensitive to anything stimulating, and super-sensitive to any delay in getting my Klonopin, I am not at all sensitive to sedative meds, it's like my nervous system is on fire. In 2012 I was in a similar state but a couple months after reinstating 10 mg Lexapro, the benzos and Ambien became much more effective. The best times of my life were when I was on a LOWER dose of Lexapro, say 3-5 mg, not the 10 mg I reinstated to before...and of course, the times before I started the $#@&ing drug! But I know I can't even live through another week of this if it becomes chronic, so it seems like my best chance is to reinstate the Lexapro. Since I have only one prior experience to go on and even then I don't know whether the akathisia would have been better or worse had I reinstated lower (or higher? Dr. Shipko mentioned sometimes having to increase from the original dose), I am terrified that this time reinstatement won't work, especially if I pick the wrong dose. It is also different than before in that I weaned slowly and was very stable and happy on a 3 mg dose last winter. So what do people think? What dose should I try to reinstate at, and how soon should I increase it if symptoms do not improve? It's so scary thinking that if I make the wrong move I could be condemned to an agonizing death, because that's what will happen if anything worse than 2012 happens (or for that matter, even if 2012 were to start again and become permanent). Sorry the message is so long. I'm having a very hard time controlling/calming my thoughts and it is hard to think calmly so this is the best I can do. I really appreciate your help!!
  6. I'm in the process of weaning off of Cymbalta. I started on Citalopram for depression, but was switched to Cymbalta following shoulder reconstruction surgery as it is apparently good for both depression and pain management. I started at 30 mg, increasing to 60, then finally 90 as a maintenance dose. Now I've started weaning off. I went from 90 to sixty, and stayed on sixty for 3 months, now I'm moving down to 30 (today is first day at 30) without much in the way of side effects, other than a little bit of dizziness. My concern is how to get from 30 to zero. I am also on Lorazepam for a gerneralize anxiety disorder, and I do find that taking it it helps to reduce the Cymbalta side effects. As well, I take Melatonin at night to ensure a restful and easy sleep. Any help or suggestions would be great and much appreciated. Cheers Duncan
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