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  1. Amira123

    ☼ Amira123

    Hi all, P.s english is not my first language I started taking 30 mg cymbalta back in june 2016 due to having panic attacks, OCD and depression. During the past 2.4 years things have been really amazing and i got so much better. in june 2018, i broke up with my fiancee, and in october i decided that i will stop the Medicine. I stopped in october 2018. And at the same time i left my job and become unemployed since then. I did not slow taper, took a 30 mg pill each two days for two weeks and then stopped completely under the supervision of my phsyicatrist. I have experienced brain zaps and dizziness which stayed for only 2 weeks and then went away, however, i have been living in hell since then, i have suicidal thoughts, severe depression, panick attacks, feeling of hoplessness and what really concerns me is heart pounding and extreme sensitivity to sounds and light. i need your advice, it has been now exaclty 3 months sine i stopped taking cymbalta. Should i return to it again and taper slowly and in a safe way? If yes, please advice me how to taper given that in mu country the minimum dosage we have in pharmacies is 30 mg. Thanks, Amira
  2. Bolouis Hi everyone - Firstly I'm so grateful for having found this forum through the podcast Let's talk withdrawal. I thought I was going mad as no one would believe the withdrawal symptoms I've been experiencing. Had I found these pages before I would have tapered much more slowly! I have suffered with depression since I was a child but no one has ever asked me about my life or explored why I might be feeling this way. Along with most people, I was told that I had a chemical imbalance in my brain that could be fixed with antidepressants. Over the last few years and with the knowledge that all these meds do is numb me but I remained depressed, I started researching the topic and was gobsmacked by some of the research and information I found. So, I have been trying to get off them since 2017. I am hoping that someone can help or advise me through the awful symptoms I have been experiencing every time I try to withdraw. My symptoms are: Crippling insomnia - I have been prescribed Zopiclone short term but without this I can only manage an hour or two dozing at best Foul metallic taste in my mouth Feeling flu like - hot/cold, shivery, achy, nauseous Headaches almost permanently, pain in my face and neck Tinnitus and brain zaps Anxiety/palpitations Gastric problems, constipation/diarrhea My first proper attempt in 2017 lasted about 8 months but I became so ill that I gave up. At that time I didn't know what was wrong with me and had various blood tests and investigations only to be told there was nothing wrong. I wasn't at first depressed though (not that anyone would believe me). I think I probably became depressed through the illness so hence, I gave in and went back on the meds. I do believe I know the difference between feeling ill and depression but when you've been labelled for so many years, not even your loved ones believe you. So this is my 2nd serious attempt and I've been off now for about 5 months. Again, the symptoms have returned exactly the same as the last time but more seriously this time I became extremely anxious and agitated and ended up in A&E in March this year having planned my suicide. I was put under the Acute mental health team and a psychiatrist but of course they said I had to go back on my meds and prescribed Mirtazapine 30mg. I tried to argue my case but felt I had to give in and took it for 3 days before stopping. I have still not told them that I'm not taking it because I'm scared that they will withdraw their support. I have been signed off sick from work for 2 months now and can't imagine how I will be able to return if this continues. I am aware that I probably tapered far too quickly but I can't go back now. I have great support from my brother and sister and they've helped me research this and claim benefits. I've also been doing daily meditations and yoga for the last couple of months. I think this helps a little especially with the insomnia. I've honestly been feeling so ill and exhausted that before finding this I was seriously thinking of just going back on the meds and admitting defeat once and for all. It's just so horrible when no one believes you or takes you seriously when you're trying your best to drag yourself through each day. So, any advice would be very welcome, so sorry if went on a bit...TIA
  3. Giulietta

    Giulietta

    Hello all, I am new to the forum after reviewing some of the posts intermittently since December 2018. I have posted my intro as a PDF (note: pasted below). When I tried to post it - the fonts and spacing were inconsistent and I couldn't edit it. This is my first online forum on any subject so please bear with me on the technical goofs I will make. 😉 Fortunately I did find the emoji and finally get the introduction written. Thank you! PDF information pasted below (CC manually reformatted as best as possible): Hello all, I am a new member and trying to liberate myself from duloxetine/Cymbalta 20 mg (compounded in a LIQUID). My goal is mood management without medication – and being able to cope positively with unwelcome (or sometimes welcome) events. I have been viewing information on the web site off and on since last December. My thanks and empathy to all of you on this site who are ridding themselves of Cymbalta and other ADs, benzos, etc. I remain optimistic that the light at the end of the tunnel is not that of an oncoming locomotive. J I am grateful for having found SurvivingAD and to the subject matter experts and people who administer it. I have been tapering duloxetine 20 mg (compounded) since December 15, 2018 under the care of an MD. I am at 10 mg (3.3 ml) as of July 20, 2019. I am decreasing by about 10% a month. I am also taking clonazepam 2 mg (my next taper goal) as well as meds for a childhood neurological illness (lamotrigine XR 600 mg and gabapentin 1000 mg). I have taken many medications since age 9 due to the latter. Because of my medical history and the many meds tried or used over the years to manage it, their efficacy, safety and side effects – I am anxious about medications. Anxiety exacerbates the neurological health issue. I was prescribed ADs about 15 years ago (and the clonazepam) to manage moods amid traumatic life events. I took Duloxetine for about the last 4 or 5 years; the highest dose was 60 mg. About my taper: The taper started in December 2018. However – before I knew better – I stopped cold turkey (per prescriber’s advice) in August 2018. I endured subsequent bouts of panic, elevated anxiety, auras and some agoraphobia - so I restarted the duloxetine and the symptoms went away. I figured out that cutting the medication maybe caused the symptoms. I found a new MD who reluctantly agreed to the taper. After learning I lack the fine motor skills to count beads, I found a compounding pharmacy and get the duloxetine in an oil-suspension. I decreased by 2 MG (10%) per his direction and I experienced 3 weeks of bad symptoms. Thereafter I tried a ‘micro-taper’ approach – a series of mini-cuts - per this website. This approach seems to have moderated many of the side effects– but the symptoms are still a problem a good proportion of the time. My process for the micro-taper is to reduce by about .5 mg a week (about 2 mg a month total) – with mini decrements across the week (in ml). I have symptoms for a few days, then a few days where I am feeling mostly OK, and then I make another mini-cut. This is fatiguing and difficult to manage. Some side effects I experience(d) on this medication at 20 mg– and they continue: • Hot flushing over head and torso and perspiration (in 70 F) and not attributable to endocrine function. • Blurry vision • Short-term memory impact • Focus and concentration and recall • Insomnia – awakening 2-3x night many nights…. • SSRI/SNRI sexual side –effects • And many more… Withdrawal effects Generally - the most consistent and prevalent withdrawal effects (thus far) have been: • Anxiety - which may often be markedly worse in mid to late afternoon and into the evening (about 7-8 hours after my dose). • Jitteriness/tremors/shakiness • Auras and other sensations (related to the neurological illness) which may be extremely uncomfortable • Tinnitus (hearing loss was ruled out as a cause) • Insomnia • Lower GI (one extreme or the other) • Appetite issues (one extreme or the other) • Maybe more sensitive to cloudy days – particulary when they cluster Less consistent: • Dizziness when quickly turning my head • Postural hypotension • Sinus headaches • Lightheadedness • Panic • Dysphoria • Short-term memory impact – worse at times during this taper than on the full dose • Focus and concentration and recall– worse at times during this taper than on the full dose June – July Withdrawal Symptoms Out of the blue in June I experienced additional and horrendous symptoms for 2-3 weeks (see ‘less consistent’ above). They were so acute I asked myself if this is worth it, whether I will ever get off this drug and so on with the nefarious what if’s. I have no idea what caused it but I made it through and I am now doing much better. Looking for another MD or NP The psych MD (started in December 2018) does not have my full confidence to taper me successfully off Duloxetine. I am looking for an MD or NP who sincerely wants to taper me off and take a holistic approach to mood management moving forward. Spending much time online and looking things up (like about ADs, tapering, etc.) elevates my anxiety to unhealthy levels. It’s therefore important to have an MD or NP on whom I may depend for this information. If it had not been for information I found on Surviving AD and other web sites – he would have tapered me to Viibryd or off duloxetine in 4 weeks. What I am doing to help myself • Joining Surviving AD and searching for an in person support group • Helping others through this and letting everyone I know about Cymbalta and AD withdrawal • (Re-) learning Cognitive Behavioral Therapy • Meditate (10 – 15 minutes a day I practice this – but 5 minutes are better than no minutes) – this may take me a while to learn…. • Exercise daily ( 45 minutes on the treadmill in the morning (and it would be good to do some walking in the afternoon). • Physical therapy and hand weight exercises most nights. • Eating plenty of protein, healthy (whole grain) carbohydrates, salad a day, nuts, and could do better with vegetables • Searching for a faith that aligns (mostly) with mine • Looking for a group to volunteer with • Write down (most days) what I am grateful for – even if I need to repeat things from one day to another J A few things I have learned – and wish I had known earlier – about exercise and diet and spending too much time online Maybe this may help someone out… 1. You may not want to start a ketogenic (or low carb) diet (depending on your medical circumstances). My personal experience with this: I was advised/told to restrict carbs (40%) to lower my a1c. I did 50% - and I suffered more anxiety, panic, etc. Ended up in ER with panic. No one told me about this and my MD wasn’t aware. Learn more about keto diets and psych meds: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/diagnosis-diet/201803/ketogenic-diets-andpsychiatric- medications. 2. Activate dopamine receptors and generate serotonin by EXERCISE (aerobic and/or weight lifting) and PROTEIN. Exercise releases endorphins and helps with dopamine receptor activation. Activating dopamine receptors is ‘critical’ to this process. A diet rich in protein helps with this. (this from the neuro RN) 3. A good snack in the mid to late afternoon – whole grains and protein - may help me with anxiety. It helps with blood glucose management –and a low BG will cause anxiety and a number of the symptoms that are also caused by AD withdrawal 4. To help cope with anxiety – I have found that doing something anything physical or with your hand (and focusing on it) can help (for example, clean the bathroom, knit, weed, etc.). I have a few questions, which I will post separately – and I would really appreciate your comments. Thank you Surviving AD Intro.pdf
  4. Hello, my name is Manny. I was diagnosed 0CD and schizophrenic in 2008, but I been taking benzos and amiptriptiline since 2005. Currently,taking abilify 20mg,risperidone 2mg,cymbalta 60mg,biperiden 4mg. I am tapering klonopin down to 0,27mg from a dose of 1,25mg. I went to see my doctor this week because a blood test that I did. He said my hepatic transaminases are high because of the medication that I take. I am assuming the APs that I take. What can I do to get my liver function well? I know, quitting the APs, but I can t cold turkey. Any advice,please.
  5. I haven't been able to reduce my Cymbalta dose for two years because of the horrible withdrawal symptoms I have experienced with both attempts (a year apart). I spent three years dropping from 60 to 30 mg. I have pretty much given up the goal of eliminating Cymbalta - afraid to cause more damage by tapering the than that caused by continuing to take 30mg. I am unwilling to risk further trauma and drama, so I haven't tried the crossover either. Prozac was too "activating" for me in 1989. I don't think it's likely to be a solution in 2012. I still have restlessness, sweats, problems with balance, an incredibly trigger-happy startle reflex and frequent headaches. After feeling progressively less brain fog during my three year taper, my cognitive processes are really abysmal at this point. I can't keep track of simple stuff, can't handle financial transactions, have problems with noise, light, just stimulus in general. And I haven't changed doses in two years. I wonder, do SNRIs poop-out the way the SSRIs tend to?
  6. Dear All I have been taking Duloxetine 60 mg and Rivotril (Clonazepam) 0.5 mg for almost 2 years and I would like to taper them off for the sake of my children. I need your help and advise please on the best plans and strategies regards ectactos
  7. Theswedking Hi, my name is Theswedking. I have dealt with depression and other mental illnesses for 32 years. It started quite young for me. I have been through multiple professionals, tests, and diagnoses. I am going through the worst SNRI withdrawal since I started medications 22 years ago. It has lasted 2 weeks thus far. The Dr. tried tapering me down off of Duloxetine (Cymbalta). I have quit cold turkey on other medications and been done with symptoms within a week. Been tampered down I wasn't expecting much withdrawals. Was I wrong and when I did research about with that medication causing havoc, I knew I was in for some hard times.
  8. HI Gridley, I have had this anhedonia like condition , when i was on SSRI, then my doc changed it to SNRI and Bupropion , it reduced some of the anhedonia like condition....However not recoverred completely.I read on research paper that dopamine agonist receptor are required for it to treat...So my doctor started Promipex 0.25 .....It helped ....I am on tapering currently for Dulexetine and bupropion..How to do it? WHat more needed for this anhedonia to lapse as this is taking heavy toll on my learning , happiness, social sphere.
  9. Need your help. Started Buspirone,10mg and Duloxetine, 30mg at 1 x 2 weeks and then 2 x 4 weeks. Reduction - 1 x 4 days and then “none”. This is day 3 and it has been pretty rough. Any recommendations would be great. Thanks
  10. I take Duloxetine 60 mg and want (not alone of course but with my psychiatrist) to start reducing the dose by 1 mg every week. I read the 10% method. but why not 1mg every week? seems to me more gradual. and during the last 10mg - only then - to do the 10% method. What do you think?
  11. Cymbalta comes in 20 mg, 30 mg, and 60 mg capsules. Full prescribing information: http://pi.lilly.com/us/cymbalta-pi.pdf Cymbalta is tricky to taper. It does not come in liquid form and cannot be compounded into a liquid. To protect the drug, each bead inside the gelatin capsule has an enteric coating to protect the drug from stomach acid, which would destroy the drug. (It is absorbed further down in the digestive tract.) The pellets cannot be dissolved in any liquid without destroying the active ingredient. You cannot crush the pellets (see http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/275-do-not-crush-list/page__view__findpost__p__3021 ) or dissolve them in a solution -- the drug would never get into your system, it would be destroyed in your stomach and you would have immediate cold-turkey withdrawal. Of course, the range of dosages from the manufacturer is inadequate for very gradual tapering. Like all psychiatric drugs, do not skip doses or alternate doses to taper Cymbalta. Its half-life is very short, about 12 hours. It is metabolized via the liver enzymes P450 1A2 (substrate, inhibitor) and 2D6 (inhibitor). This post has a chart that shows what happens with the level of Cymbalta in your bloodstream when skipping doses. See Doctor is shocked at severe Cymbalta withdrawal symptoms and testimony by Dr. Joseph Glenmullen regarding Cymbalta withdrawal syndrome: http://www.baumhedlundlaw.com/pdf/DrGlenmullenDeclarationSupportofCymbaltaClassCert.pdf (PDF) Reduce by 10% per month to start As with any neurologically active drug, a conservative taper is the safest way to go off Cymbalta. Some people find they can go faster and some people find they have to go slower -- they can only tolerate decreases of a fraction of a milligram at a time. A conservative taper for Cymbalta, like other psychiatric drugs is: Reduce by 10% per month, calculated on the last dosage. (The amount of the reduction gets progressively smaller.) See Why taper by 10% of my dosage? Cymbalta CANNOT be crushed, compounded into a liquid, or dissolved in a liquid The pellets in the capsule cannot be dissolved in a liquid; this would destroy the active ingredient. High-dosage Cymbalta: Using different dosages to decrease to 40mg If you are taking as much as 120mg Cymbalta, see this topic for an example of how to taper to 40mg using existing capsule dosages and a few compounded prescriptions: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/7060-razzlesf-off-abilify-tapering-cymbalta/?p=129252 To taper from a dosage of 40mg, you're going to have to either open up 20mg capsules and count beads, or get custom compounded dosages. The bead-counting method Like Effexor XR, some people have tapered by opening the Cymbalta capsule and taking out the beads to gradually reduce the dosage. (See http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/272-tapering-off-effexor-venlafaxine/page__view__findpost__p__2985 for the technique.) You can do this if you have brand-name Cymbalta or generic capsules containing hundreds of tiny beads rather than 4-12 "mini-tablets" (see below). The number of tiny beads in each Cymbalta capsule will vary within a given dosage, across dosages, and from different manufacturers. The capsules are filled by weight. To find an average number of beads per capsule, you will have to carefully count the beads in several capsules. Then you can estimate how many beads amount to 10% of the dosage and manage your taper accordingly by keeping notes on paper showing the number of beads removed and equivalent Cymbalta dosage. Take out 10% of the beads at each step of the taper. Put unused beads into a clean, dry, capped prescription bottle marked with the dosage of the original capsule and expiration date. You might want to use them later. Do NOT mix beads from capsules of different dosages, such as 30mg and 60mg. NOTE When you are taking loose beads, put them in an empty capsule to swallow them. Gelatin capsules and vegetarian capsules are available at health food store. The FDA reports here http://www.fda.gov/downloads/Drugs/DrugSafety/PostmarketDrugSafetyInformationforPatientsandProviders/ucm103473.pdf there have been some instances of the beads causing throat irritation when swallowed without a capsule. Dividing Cymbalta beads into empty gelatin capsules To make counting of the beads easier, this technique may work with Cymbalta, see details at http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/235-tapering-techniques/page__view__findpost__p__3033 Opening capsules and weighing beads Eventually, as you remove more and more beads, it may become too confusing and time-consuming to count out them. You may wish to weigh them instead, see Using a digital scale to measure doses and Counting beads in a capsule versus weighing. Have a compounding pharmacy make up capsules of smaller dosages For precise dosing, a compounding pharmacy will accurately weigh the doses and put the right number of beads into capsules for you. See http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/235-tapering-techniques/page__view__findpost__p__3001 Dividing Cymbalta beads into apple juice or applesauce Follow the instructions above for dividing the beads in a capsule and put your reduced dose apple juice or applesauce. --------- It has been scientifically demonstrated that the Cymbalta pellets survive being put into apple juice or applesauce but NOT chocolate pudding: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18691989 Clin Ther. 2008 Jul;30(7):1300-8. In vitro stability, potency, and dissolution of duloxetine enteric-coated pellets after exposure to applesauce, apple juice, and chocolate pudding. CONCLUSIONS: Results from this study found that the enteric coating of duloxetine pellets mixed with applesauce or apple juice was not negatively affected. The pellets were stable at room temperature for < or = 2 hours and should quantitatively allow delivery of the full capsule dose, provided that the pellet integrity is maintained (ie, not crushed, chewed, or otherwise broken). Therefore, mixing duloxetine pellets with applesauce or apple juice appears to be an acceptable vehicle for administration. However, exposing the pellets to chocolate pudding damaged the pellets' enteric coating, suggesting that pudding may be an unacceptable vehicle for administration. --------- Tapering generic Cymbalta (duloxetine) capsules containing "mini-tablets" The generic forms of Cymbalta may contain beads, like brand-name Cymbalta, or 4 to 12 "mini-tablets" rather than beads. From Lupin Pharmaceuticals http://medlibrary.org/lib/rx/meds/duloxetine-3/ The "mini-tablets" cannot be split or dissolved to make a liquid. Suggestions for gradual tapering: If you are taking 20mg, 30mg, or 40mg (two 20mg capsules) per day, switch to brand-name Cymbalta or a generic containing tiny beads rather than mini-tablets. Use the bead-counting method. If you are taking 50mg (20mg plus 30mg) per day, reduce by one mini-tablet from the 30mg capsule (5mg, or 10%) initially for a month, then switch to brand-name Cymbalta or a generic containing beads rather than mini-tablets. Use the bead-counting method. If you are taking one 60mg capsule per day, reduce by one mini-tablet (5mg) per month for 2 months until you are taking 50mg per day, then switch to brand-name Cymbalta or a generic containing beads rather than mini-tablets. Use the bead-counting method. If you are taking one 60mg capsule plus any of the other dosages per day (at least 80mg), reduce by one mini-tablet (5mg) from the 60mg capsule per month until you get to 45mg total daily dosage, then switch to brand-name Cymbalta or a generic containing beads rather than mini-tablets. Use the bead-counting method. You can combine brand-name Cymbalta or generic beads with generic duloxetine mini-tablets to taper. (This would cost less than using brand-name Cymbalta for your entire taper. A prescription for 60mg brand-name Cymbalta capsules will go further.) You could take part of your dosage in brand-name Cymbalta beads and the rest of your daily dosage in generic mini-tablets. For example: If your 30mg generic duloxetine capsules contain 6 mini-tablets, each mini-tablet contains about 5mg duloxetine. Let's say you want to reduce 10% from 30mg to 27mg. You can take 5 mini-tablets (25mg) and add 2mg in beads to it. If a 60mg capsule of brand-name Cymbalta contains 200 beads, each bead contains about 0.3mg duloxetine; you would take 7 beads (2.1mg) to total a daily dose of 27.1mg. (BE SURE TO COUNT THE TOTAL NUMBER OF BEADS IN YOUR CAPSULES -- THEY CAN VARY FROM THIS EXAMPLE.) When you are down to 5 mini-tablets (25mg) per day, take 4 mini-tablets and the rest in beads to reduce another 10%, and so forth. Reduce by micro-taper The very smallest dose of brand-name Cymbalta is one bead. Some people find they can better tolerate a reduction of one bead at a time rather than a 10% decrease. You may be able to make reductions of one bead more frequently; try reducing by one bead a week for a while to see what your tolerance is. See http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/2878-micro-taper-instead-of-10-or-5-decreases/ Do not reduce by one additional bead per day. This is too fast, you may develop withdrawal symptoms before you know what's happening. Here is an example of a micro-taper from cymbaltawithdrawal.com http://www.cymbaltawithdrawal.com/topic/8325-dose-down-bead-counting-chart-anywhere/?p=50499 Switch to Prozac Like its fellow SNRI Effexor, withdrawal from Cymbalta can be very difficult. Recently, I asked a knowledgeable doctor about how he switches patients to Prozac. He said if the dosage of Cymbalta is "normal" -- 30mg-40mg -- he would switch to 10mg Prozac with a week of overlap. In other words, take both medications for a week and then drop the Cymbalta. Later, taper off Prozac. He acknowledged Prozac can have its withdrawal problems, but given Prozac's long half-life, gradual tapering should be much easier than tapering off Cymbalta. And, at least Prozac comes in a liquid. He confirmed that Cymbalta cannot be compounded because the pellets are enteric-coated to get the medication past the stomach acid, which destroys it. Other than the Prozac switch, he said counting pellets is the only way to taper. See more about the Prozac switch http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1463-the-prozac-switch-or-bridging-with-prozac/ Here is more discussion about switching from Cymbalta to Prozac: NOTE Also see 2009: FDA hears testimony about Cymbalta discontinuation syndrome Study finds some Cymbalta withdrawal "severe and persistant" Doctor is shocked at severe Cymbalta withdrawal symptoms Cymbalta Withdrawal Lawsuits Progressing in US
  12. Hi, So I finally understood that it is strongly recommended to write a little something about my experiences here. I will just copy some parts of my posts I have shared in this forum to sum up. Recent developments: I myself have intolerable withdrawal symptoms even reducing 5% of the drug. They are unbearable, both physically and mentally. They totally incapacitate me for weeks (I sleep up to 15h a day, terrible brain fog and dizziness up to the point where I cannot walk, of course the brain zaps and lots of pains in different parts of the body etc) (I will not mention the mental effects, they are really bad...) and then on it is still bad but keeps stabilizing very slowly. At this point (after tapering for years) I am seriously considering coming off the 8,44 mg altogether because I am just unable to go through the symptoms that come after a reduction so many times any more. Because the withdrawal symptoms are extreme for me I am thinking it would be better to cut off the drug now at 8,44 mg and hope the nervous system will start balancing itself out than to go through this hell for at least another year (which is the very optimistic time frame). Note: I have decided to go with this idea - I am going from 8,44 to 1 mg in 8 days. (today being the 3rd day: April 3rd 2015 ). Before judging please read the history of my experiences to understand why I personally have decided to take this approach now in the very end of tapering. My experience: I have been tapering at different pace throughout the process. Since the beginning I have made the reductions by 10% or even 5 % when I realised that the symptoms were directly caused by the reductions. I was aware (theoretically) that my symptoms can be caused by the drug, its side effects and withdrawal, but I didn't really believe it for a long time. Or it would be more correct to say I always had doubts whether it was still more me being crazy and ill. So for a long time in the beginning (I have been tapering for over 2 years) I kept tapering with intervals that I now realise were not nearly enough for my brain to stabilize, but I was not fully aware that the withdrawal symptoms could be so severe and last for so long that I figured the reason had to be somewhere else. I just tapered according to the planned schedule, keeping aprox. 3 week intervals (and unfortunately, optimistically 2 week intervals). I also tried micro tapering every week, but needless to say that proved to be harsh on my nervous system and was keeping me in a constant state of agony. During the last 9 months or so I have had to keep longer periods between reductions in order to stabilize (I realised more and more that what I was experiencing was due to the reduction of the medication and the link got clearer by the day), but I cannot even estimate the stabilization point. For some of my friends it is perfectly clear - their withdrawal "cycle" is short and simple: they know that their symptoms will come 1-2 days after the reduction and last for about a week (max). This is not the case for me. One week for me is the extremely acute period (which would correspond to maybe the 1st 1-2 days of my friends' cycles) and as much as I would like to see a noticeable improvement during week 2, I can only say that it gets slightly better than the extreme, but not nearly enough to function to a standard that would/could be acceptable or tolerable. After recently having a 6 week and a 2 month gap between reductions I can say that during the 2 month gap I guess you cold say that I started to feel like the symptoms were starting to actually stabilize for the fist time for me subjectively. That enabled me to observe how the affects of withdrawal came about abruptly and directly connected to the reduction. In more detail: I'm having a hard time remembering exactly how long I have been taking certain drugs. Seems like forever. I was first prescribed Fluoxetine when I was 17. I am 30 now and for 13 years I have constantly been on and off different antidepressants - the whole spectrum of them. For a very short while I was even on antipsychotics (a month or so). I have always had awful side effects and have discontinued the drugs after a while, switched from one drug to another etc. It wasn't until a few years ago when I finally became aware and educated myself on the topic of antidepressant withdrawal and the harm they cause. (I would really suggest two books for a real eye-opening: Medication Madness: The Role of Psychiatric Drugs in Cases of Violence, Suicide, and Crime by Peter R. Breggin and Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America by Robert Whitaker). When I think back on the years on these meds and realising now what they have done with me, it makes me indescribably angry and sad. I have had awful side effects for years and discontinuation effects that I only realise in retrospect for what they were. Last drug I discontinued before Cymbalta was Venlafaxine (Effexor) which is another nightmare next to Cymbalta. Unfortunately then I was not aware of the methods of slow tapering and the discontinuation symptoms literally almost killed me (the "brain zaps", disorientation and dizziness were so severe that I almost tumbled in front of a moving car one day). By then I was already google-smart on the discontinuation side effects these meds have but was still unaware how to slowly taper. I was very reluctant to start taking Cymbalta but was convinced it was necessary by mu doctor. I started with the idea that I would only be taking the drug for a few months. Well, months become a year before I started tapering. I was taking 60 mg of the drug. When I started tapering it was very difficult for me to distinguish between the effects of withdrawal symptoms and my usual symptoms. A lot of the time I did not believe that the drug could be causing all the mental and physical symptoms and was afraid that it was just me. By know (as I described in my previous post) I have realised that a lot of this has been the drug's effect, but I am still afraid whether these effects can be undone. I have no way of knowing whether the decade of these drugs has caused permanent damage on my nervous system. I have tapered using different strategies. I have never tapered more than 10% of the last dosage, but I did reduce very often for a long time (after making a schedule I tapered every 2-3 weeks). It was because I could not really believe that my symptoms were so severely caused by the withdrawal. Later when I tried longer stabilizing periods I experienced how the withdrawal effects were sudden and obvious and followed a certain pattern (for Cymbalta and for me it is 1st day - no different, 2nd day slightly lowered mood, mild brain zaps etc, 3rd day - hell!). Withdrawal symptoms: The first week, on day 3 I start to have terrible crying spells. Literally for days I keep crying. Well, of course not 24/7 but for most part of the first days I am in tears. I am not sure how long that lasts but at least half a week. At some point the crying is replaced by despair and major depressive feelings. This is the worst symptom and the best I know to describe it is that while having this I feel that I cannot bear living for another minute more. I just want the suffering to stop. And it doesn't. And that can get better for half a day or even an entire day, but still last for... well, an unknown amount of time. I know I could handle any kind of symptoms - all the pain and crying and everything, but this is unbearable. The only thing that helps is numbing the feelings with Xanax. I do not drink alcohol but I can totally understand why people would choose to numb their pain with it. I suppose it is not at all different from taking Xanax - they're both a sort of a poison for the body and the brain. From physical symptoms the strongest ones I have is exhaustion (up to the point where it is ridiculous even), I have strong neurological symptoms (brain fog, brain zaps - they are a sort of a mini seizure, extreme sleepiness - sleeping up to 15h a day, not being able to shake the drowsiness and fogginess for the most part of the day, I have strong neural pain in the left side of my body - in the left arm, shoulder, back of the head, behind the eye, vision problems, extreme sensitivity to sounds (!) and a general sensory oversensitivity, nausea of course. Oh, I remembered for some period during the tapering I sweated extremely. I usually sweat really little. I also sweat a lot during the night. The flu-like symptoms occur. Ohwell... the list is so long it is embarrassing. And these symptoms don't really seem to pass fast. They just last and last so that I get to thinking it is ridiculous. But it still keeps happening. Oh and from time to time comes the agitation and irritability. I can feel how my thinking gets impaired - it slows down, the memory gets really-really bad, I cannot remember words and names (I used to think it was just me or a symptom of depression, but now I have established a clear link between the symptoms and the reduction of the meds). Oh, and the restless legs of course. My method of tapering: I have developed a method for myself for tapering off Cymbalta that I have not encountered in this forum or any others so I thought I should share it. For the very reason that the beads inside a Cymbalta capsule are not the same size (two capsules might not contain the same amount of beads) and I do not have a scale to measure such small portions, I have come up with an alternative. What I did is I folded a paper in half from the middle, creating a void where I could pour the beads and they would stay in a straight line next to each other. In that way I created a measurable line of the contents of a capsule. Right now I use a 30 mg capsule which creates a 25,5 cm line (fits on a regular A4 paper), but when I was using a 60 mg capsule I had to devide the beads into portions and measure them all and calculate from there on. Now I am not particularly fond of mathematics, but with a few simple calculations and a lot of concentration ( ) I was able to calculate how many mg of the medicine was in a line of the medicine of a certain lenght. So when 30 mg of Cymbalta is 25,5 cm, that meas for example, that 15 mg of Cymbalta would be 12,75 cm etc. (This is specific to the capsules I use bought from Estonia, yours could be very different so you should always measure your own medication!) I use the same folded paper (with markings on it) every day to pour a certain amount of beads out from the capsule. So if I am using a 30 mg capsule and I am - let's say - at 20 mg daily dosage I would have to calculate how many (what lenght) beads I would have to extract from the capsule before taking the medicine. So I have established that 30 mg = 25,5 cm. That means 20 mg = 17 cm. I know that there is 25,5 cm of beads (30 mg) in the capsule so I have to pour out 10 mg = 8,5 cm. It really makes no difference, if you calculate it in cm or mg after you have established the relation between the two. So I have a marking on the paper and each day I pour out a 8,5 cm line. And if i reduce the dosage I just make another marking. It is actually very easy to do the reduction just visually, when you have drawn the lines beforehand and calculated what necessary. You also have the history of your reductions right there under your eyes. I always write the date of the reduction next to the specific line every time, so I have a good visual overview of what, when etc.
  13. 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.
  14. Hello, Part 1, Intro. I would like to start by sincerly thanking websites such as Survivingantidepressants for essentially helping me to understand my plight more accurately. I have found the success story sections to be particularly helpful, and have turned to these wonderful stories to help raise my spirits in times of utter hopelesssness. After lurking around on these websites, often too incapacitated to do much in the way of meaninful writing, I decided that it might be helpful to someone out there if I shared a little bit about myself. This is going to be a long post, and I understand that some folks going through the ringer will not be able to read this post in its entirety due to eye issues, or just information processing issues. I've been there, I couldn't read for probably a year in total. Nevertheless, I hope that you can eventually read this and garner some useful information, or at least some knowledge that you are not alone out there going through this unjust, cruel, and totally unecessary hell that we've been subjected and in my opinion, decived into undertaking. 2 Background. To give a brief background, in January of 2013 I was prescribed 50mg of pristiq, had a bad reaction to it, then switched to effexor 75mg for ~2 months, and then after requesting a medication that doesn't give me sexual dysfunction, prescribed 30mg of cymbalta. All said, I spent about 6 months on medication and I must say that it definitely relieved my moderate depression and my above average anxiety. Simultaneously, I was taking ~10-15 mg of adderall nearly daily for over 7 years to relieve "ADHD". Unfortunately, after going on cymbalta, I had a severe manic and borderline psycotic reaction to all of this stimulating medication, and proceeded to spend a tremendous amount of money over a short period of time because I became convinced that the economy was going to crash and that I needed to prepare NOW. At the time, I had a sneaking suspicion that something was wrong, but I always trusted my brain's intuition, and my ideas just seemed "right". So I basically bought 400 pounds of non-perishable food, and nearly 4 grand worth of prep supplies and equipment. Seeing that I was employed as a graduate student, earning my PhD, my funding was very small, so this basically bankrupted me and I had to borrow money from my family just to stay out of debt. I also opted for a very invasive, and not entirely necessary shoulder survery to correct a torn labrum that had been annoying me for years. I went ahead and had the proceedur finished, and was excited at the prospect of having a fully functional shoulder again. As it turns out, my intentions were pure, but life had other plans for me (if you'll read on and bear with me). At the end of my 6 month stint on this medication, I started to have severe memory issues. I would be trying to explain something to someone, and all of a sudden I would hit a "road block" and couldn't figure out the correct word to say. Obviously, as a PhD student, this would not do, so I told my doctor I wanted off of this stuff and I wanted my old brain back. Well, I tapered from 30mg to 10mg somewhat quickly (as I have now learned), over about 1 month and from there, based on my doctors advice, I "bit the bullet" as he said, and went from 10mg to 0mg. What proceeded to happen was that I went through very similar symptoms over a 1 week period as people often describe for benzodiazapine withdrawal. Indeed, I had been prescribed clonopin for 5 years, and withdrew from thsi medication back in 2012, and for 3 whole months I was basically bedridden and completely incapactated before being able to function in the world again. At that time, I swore I would NEVER EVER take a benzo again for the rest of my life. Unfortuantely, I was unaware of the fact that SSRI/SNRI's could produce similar symptoms. I was even moreso unaware of the fact that SSRI's could produce symtpoms that were even worse and even more debilitating. To make a long and disappointing story short, I went on an epic vacation just 30 days after I quit taking the medication. I had planned this trip very meticulously during my medication induced mania, and spent a tremendous amount of money on this trip - it was essentially meant to be the trip of a lifetime. Instead, it became one of the more awful experiences of my life. Try navigating 5 countries and managing an expliciting budget just 30 days after coming off SNRIs and having awful symptoms. It was just really hellish, but by the halway point I was hoping that my symptoms would abate within 60 days and I would be able to resume normal functioning at the unviersity. I was hoping to put all of this behind me. Upon returning, I discovered to my horror that I was not much improved after 2 months. My symptoms included, but are not limited to: severe memory loss, burning sensations, problems with my eyes (blurry vision, floaters, etc), difficulty concentrating, difficulty thinking, hot flashes, vertigo, and depersonalization/derealization, fatigue, etc. You guys and gals know the deal, it was GRIM, GRIM, GRIM. Looking back however, I actually had it pretty good. 3. From bad to worse This is where the story goes from bad to worse. As a PhD student, I had worked exremely hard to make a good career for myself once I graduated. One way of doing this way to teach a college level class. So upon returning from my trip, I was meant to teach a laboratory class in an advanced course in Biological Sciences in the summer for 1 month. I was so severely depersonalized/derealized, and with all the other symptoms I listed above, that I could barely remember any of my students names, and I certainly couldn't remember any of the subject matter that I was supposed to be an expert in and deticated the last 6 years of my life to memorizing. Ouch. Nevertheless, I pressed on because the course had to be taught. So I did, and the student's didn't seem to mind, although I was acutely aware of the fact that I had lost a tremendous amount of intelectual ability and could no longer "speak off the cuff" and go on intelectual tangents. I recall one student asking me about a relatively simple mathematical formula, and my inability to easily answer this question that drove me to the point of calling my ex-psyciatrist back and demanding a meeting. In this meeting, he indicated that a quick fix for my problems would be a prescription of prozac which has a long half-life, and reinstating this medciation for about a month or two, and then going off of it again. I thought "well, this better work" and went ahead and tried. As I had mentioned earlier, I had shoulder surgery, and as a consequence I needed to take some pain meds to help me through the immensly painful physical therapy sessions. So I was prescribed tramadol, which is an SNRI (UH OH!). One day I will never forget, I took this tramadol, about 1 week after being on prozac, and I had an adverse reaction to this combination that has haunted me for about 1.5 years now. My entire body went numb, particularly my sensory neurons, and I felt like an strange tickling and itching sensation over all of my skin. I never took tramadol again, but as I continued to take prozac over the next couple of weeks, I began to have an odd sensation over all of my skin: it felt as if I had wet paper bags over my entire body, and my face was becoming anesthetized. I returned to the doctor, and told him about this a couple of times and he basically told me "how could that possibly happen, you're probably just anxious". At the 1 month mark, things were not improving, and all of the original cymbalta withdrawal symptoms were still there. Instead of taking me off the medication, like any reasonable human being would have done, this doctor UPPED my dose to 20mg (from 10mg) after I told him about these adverse effects. After just 2-3 days of this, I started having insomia, and I said "**** it" and tapered off quickly in a 4 day period. It was around September 1st, 2013 when I had my last SSRI/SNRI. I should note here that I was miraculously able to finish teaching the course in anatomy and physiology with decent reviews - the prozac did help in the sense that it produced a mild mania again, which allowed me to sort of interact with the students better. What also helped me was the fact that it was around this time that I got together with my then girlfriend who saw me through the worst of the issues, so I was not completely alone thorugh this hell. It was really this wonderfully patient and kind woman who, amongst others, I attribute to saving my degree and possibly my life. 4. Recovery begins Afer coming to the realization that reinstatement was not an option for my body, I had to deal with the fact that my reinstatment attempt was not only a failure, but it made my symptoms like 40% worse. Now I also had tingling and numbness in all of my limbs, profound sinous headaches, and trigeminal nerve problems, and more serious eye problems than before. I was seeing a psyciatrist through all of this, because I was still taking adderall and had developed quite a habit for this pill (later on, I did successfully quit), which was the only way I was going to write my dissertation and complete my degree. This doctor told me that many of these symptoms may disappear after 3 months, so I waited patiently and tried my best to be physcially active and write my dissertation. Unfortunatley, releif came VERY slowly, and it wasn't until the 6 month point that I began to feel substantially better (Feburary-March 2014). At this point, with the help of my wonderful girlfriend, and a moderate dose of adderall, I began to be able to write my dissertation, and in the next ~2 months I wrote a massive chunk of this work. The symptoms sort of started to melt away, and I began to be able to read and function again - although I was still severely damaged and had not recovered. In anticipation of the fact that this might take a very long time, I scheduled my PhD defense for Summer of 2014, so that I could be at my very best. I also began applying for jobs, and succeeded in securing an interview. One unfortunate event that I should mention is that I reinjured my shoulder, so that now it was worse than it was before I got surgery in the first place. I attribute my reinjury of the shoulder to the SSRI withdrawals, and the adderall - the level of fatigue and the lack of awareness of my body due to sensory nerve damage (or what ever the heck it is - I'm still not entirely sure I understand what precise physiological mechanism is responsible for all of the symptoms I experienced) caused me to just not work on my shoulder exercises like I should have, and to play with it the wrong ways while in bed one morning. 5. Hypersensitivity This is a very important part of my story because it explains my great downfall and what happened next most precisely. Basically, as I've read on this website, and others (particularly paxilprogress.com, which was my very favorite and brings me great disappointment to see it taken offline), many people experience an inexplicable hypersensitivity to various substances when going through an adverse reaction or an ssri withdrawal. I too had this experience, most profoundly after my issues with prozac and tramadol. For example, I would drink 1 beer and be totally incapacitated and brain dead for 3 days, and if I got drunk, I would be seriously messed up for no less than 14 days. This was also true for niccotine, or any central nervous sytem agent - and it severely limited what I could do and how I could enjoy my life. Thankfully, I was still able to escape my horrible existance by watching movies and playing videogames. Indeed, videogames very effectively passed time for me in the early stages of withdrawal. Anyways, I also noticed this in regards to other medication - I took one, ONE .5 mg clonopin pill to help releive the "rebound anxiety", if you can really call it that, during my recovery process in the spring of 2014, and it completely incapacitated me for like 2 weeks. I then took a valarin root to try to see if that might help calm my nerves, and another 2 weeks of my life were gone. It's very scary to realize that small doses of commonly taken medication can completely incapacitate oneself, and I seriously had no answer for any of this other than to very cautiously avoid any and all substances if it could be helped. I should have taken this as a warning for things to come, but unfortunately I did not. One night, with my girlfirend, I had ingested a marijuana brownie in an attempt to have a good time and to escape from my unimaginable horror of losing my intellectual ability, my career, and everythign that was important to me (especially losing my emotions, the anhedonia was SEVERE and pathlogoically bad - instead of feeling emotions, I would just feel a vague burning sensation in the frontal part of my brain). This pot brownie was suprisingly effective and I had a good night with her and her friends. The only reason I mention this is because that pot browning made me believe that I could handle a small dose of marijuana without any ill effect - maybe I could find a way to medicinally deal with the agony of my condition. 6. True hell: Boy was I wrong. One night I shall never forget, my friend and college invited me to a party where people were smoking some pot in a casual way. I was just coming down from a daily dose of adderall, so I was a bit anxious and thought I would now have an opportunity to relax and enjoy myself with these folks and have a nice weekend. I smoked the pot, and what happened next was that I went from euphoria stright to utter terror. It's still very difficult for me to write this, and I'm having some emotional issues with articulating what happened, but I basically had a terror (panic) attack for like 12 straight hours, and proceeded not to sleep for the next 2 months. Yes, you read that correctly, I did not sleep for 2 months. The hell of SNRI withdrawals and an adverse reaction PALED in comparison to what I experienced when I smoked pot. ALL of the original symtpoms came back in full force, simultaneously. I went from being partially recovered to fully incapacitated again, and this time I had the awful experience of constant panic attacks that could be set off from any little thing, and PROFOUND bodily anesthesia, in addition to profound derealization and depersonalization. I had esentially lost all progress I had made over the previous 10 months, and became WORSE than I was before any of this started. As I am still recovering from this experience, I can say with some confidence that what happened was that I overdosed on marijuana. The weed in California is NOT the weed I remember back in NY - it's VERY strong and one can overdose on just a couple of hits. I personally took 4 hits I think. I know this is not a forum for drugs, but I must be explicit in my story and explian this because I do not EVER want ANYONE to go through what I went through. Please, if you're on the fence about doing drugs to help edicinally allieviate your SSRI withdrawal symptoms, do not do it. Please, I beg of you, with all of my heart, please do not risk it. 7. Partial Recovery I'm not going to go into all the fallout from my terrible mistake of overdosing on that pot, perhaps I will once it's all over. I should just say that I just BARELY clung onto reality well enough to finish. I thank God every day that I lived alone, and that I was in contact with a very understanding Aunt who had gone through similarly difficult situations. She basically saved both my career and probably my life in the 6 months or so that I endured absolutel hell as a result of smoking that stuff. At this time, I also started attending 12 step meetings of AA, and these kind and amazing people helped me out so very much. I will forever be grateful to these wondeful people for their kindness during this time - these meetings esentially kept me out of the psych ward and off of medication. I want to point out and focus on the positive: I successfully completed my Phd in Biological sciences from a prestigous institution, and defended my PhD in front of the entire department and no one suspected a thing. I also stayed with some friends after I lost the lease in my appartment due to graduation, and then found an appartment in the state of California nearby my old university that I was able to hang out in until I was well enough to make the drive across the country back to my father's house in Pensilvania. I survived, barely. Just barely. *In the very unlikely, by theoretically possible chance that someone else in this wide world is experiencing something similar to that which I have just described, I would like to describe my timeline of recovery. First 3 months, absolute hell - but by the end of the 3rd month, I was able to be somewhat peaceful and calm from time to time. At the end of 6 months I was still having panic attacks from time to time, but I was getting pretty good sleep 75% of the time time and I was able to enjoy myself sometimes. At the end of 9 months is when the panic attacks stopped, and I just had bad migranes most of the time. This is when I began to be able to read and write fairly well, and enjoy life even more from time to time. I'm currently at 11 months, and still feeling pretty bad, but I'm much much better and get good sleep nearly every single night. *If someone else is also trying to quit a stimulant while going through SSRI withdrawal hell like I did, I can outline my timeline for recovery if it might help you. By the 3 month mark, I had all of my phiscal stamia back, and just lacked motivation. By the 6-7 month mark, I have begun to recover intellectual motivation, but I'm still beset by migraine headaches most of the time. I tapered from 10mg to 2.5mg and then off completely over a 6-7 week period. 8. Closing statements Now, I'm currently on the mend. I quit taking adderall immediately after completing my degree, and have been off that toxic and dangerous drug for about 7 months to date. I am also 20 months free from SSRIS, and certainly will never go back that route again for the rest of my life. I'm not employed, and really am not employable at all. I will probably have to find a job at some point, but I'll most likely not be able to go back into academia until my brain fully recovers. I don't know when that will be. For now, I'm grateful to A) be alive, and be able to enjoy some things again. I'm grateful for the fact that I have my health coming back, that I'm able to write somewhat articulately again, and that most of my symptoms are slowly improving. I apologize for this massive essay - I know first hand how difficult it is to focus on things like this when you're going through withdrawal, but I just felt inspired this evening enough to write this post. I hope that this helped someone in some way, and please let me know if you have any questions. There is A LOT that I've left out from my story, especially in regards to the hell I experienced after smoking the marijuana. I learned a tremendous amount about life that I really never wanted to learn, and I've learned a great deal about recovering from ssris, what works, and what doesn't. there's a lot that I don't really know yet, and I could use some advice from the community on a few things. 1) how the heck does one make money and support themselves through this? I'm not entirely sure how to proceed from here. I've attempted to figure out if there's another medical condition that I'm experiencing that is unrelated to ssri withdrawals - got an MRI (totally normal, from what the doctors at the ER said). One doctor said it's possibly a neuropathy, or a metabolic disorder - but nothing concrete. I'm scheduled to go see another doctor in an attempt to get an actual diagnosis so that I could possibly apply for disability, but I'm not too sure what to do. I'm not so sure if going back to western medicine is a great idea, but I did get a lot of releif from knowing that there's nothing highly abnormal with my MRI, so I figure it might be good to rule out common disorders that can cause the symtpoms I'm still experiencing. If there's one thing I've learned from all of this it's that the worst thing I can do to help myself is to introduce new chemicals in my body in order to fix the problem. I've read countless recovery stories on this website and on paxilprogress, and I've been able to determine that if what I'm going through is SSRI withdrawal/adverse reaction, the only real cure for all of this is: time. From what I've read, it takes between 6 months and 5 years for people to recover completely. That's a long time, and I'm not sure how to survive for that long. I've just barely made it through 2 years. Just BARELY. I've thought about taking my life so many countless numbers of times over the past 2 years, but never did it - I don't think I will either. I just think about it, because the pain is so severe and unending. Although things have improved a LOT, and I mean A LOT from last may when I smoked that pot, I'm still far from recovered. I have hope that I'll recover in the future, but I think this process will take a long time. Thank you for reading.
  15. I started on Cymbalta 60 mg 4 years ago, (after 1-2 weeks @ 30 mg); the scrip was from a psychiatrist for major depressive disorder. My depression lifted significantly. After 1 year (+/-) the psychiatrist and I agreed that my family practitioner would handle the prescription and supervision. I was ready to go off the cymbalta and was planning to go of the meds until a couple of deaths close to me occurred. I agreed with my doc that it wasn't the time to make changes in the meds. About 15 years ago I was on Effexor XR and had a helluva time getting off it, even with bead counting. After having read the slow pace recommended here, I probably decreased too quickly. I remember the roller-coaster ride of symptoms (physical, emotional, and cognitive) but forgot about the bead counting. When I started both Effexor & Cymbalta, I had nausea for a couple of days. On my FP's advice, I started going off cymbalta in Feb. by taking 30 mg every other day for a few weeks, then every 3 days, etc. This last week I was starting with 30 mg every 4 days. Fortunately I was using a calendar reminder in my google calendar to keep the schedule. I say fortunately because on Tuesday I had nausea and on Saturday. When I looked at my calendar to mark the reminder as "done," I realized that the nausea was probably related to the cymbalta. Now that I think of it, I started having disrupted sleep and messed-up wake/sleep cycles in March. A web search (DuckDuckGo instead of the big G) led me here and reminded me that slow tapering and counting the granules worked better for me before. My plan now: I have 6 capsules leftover from 60 mg doses. I'll split each into 3 doses, approx. 20 mg, and try 20 mg/day for 18 days (to use them up), making adjustments if necessary. Based on how that goes, I'll either continue at 20 mg or start a 10% taper to 18 mg over 28-30 days.
  16. DavidfromTexas

    DavidfromTexas

    Hi, everybody. My name is David. I just discovered these forums a couple days ago as I was searching the internet for answers and hope. I'm in pretty bad shape right now, even as I am typing these first lines I am starting to cry. I feel better about asking other people who have been through the same issues as me, as opposed to a psychiatrist that just wants to put me on medication. Warning: this is going to be a long post, I apologize and thank you in advance for reading. LONG-TERM MEDS HISTORY: I am now 30 years old, and have been on Anti-Depressant medication for 20 years. I was diagnosed with pretty severe OCD/Anxiety around age 10 or 11, and immediately started on Anti-Depressant medication. (It was warranted, I was in such despair and largely unable to function even in everyday activities like school and doing normal kid things, and was never going to be able to get through any kind of Behavioral Therapy at that point in my life). SO we started with Zoloft (Sertraline), and it made a HUGE difference pretty immediately. I was able to be much more of a "normal" kid, though I did have setbacks here and there. After the better part of a decade, when the Zoloft seemed to not be working as well anymore, we switched to Cymbalta (Duloxetine), which I have been on for approximately the last decade. Which brings me to... SHORT-TERM MEDS HISTORY: Sometime in 2017 (I think), I decided I finally wanted to try going without my medication. I began a tapering with my prescribing psychiatrist that lasted 6+ months UNTIL the beginning of 2018 when I dropped COMPLETELY off of the medication. The tapering process was 90mg down to 60mg, then down to 30mg, then eventually down to nothing. I had NO physical withdrawal symptoms when I did this, and I remained off of the Medication for maybe around 3 months. The only REAL reason I decided to go back on the medication after those 3 months was because I had been feeling much more down/sad since being off of them, BUT I was unsure how much of that was normal (my 4-year first-love relationship finally died at the end of 2017) and how much of that was possibly a side-effect of being without the medication. SO, by April of 2018 I had decided to go back on Cymbalta, and I pretty quickly went all the way back up to 90mg. The plan was to be on it for a little while longer to give myself time to heal from the loss of this relationship. By the end of Oct. 2018 I had made it back down to 30mg, where I would stay for the next 5-6 months. (I think I tried dropping off the medication once during this period but went back on pretty quickly because I started feeling some physical withdrawal symptoms that I hadn't before. At this point, my memory is kinda blending it all together.) I tried dropping off again this April and felt the withdrawal effects worse than I did the previous time. So once again, I went right back on it. THEN I started seeing a different Dr (a nurse practitioner) who has experience helping people wean off of meds. Following her suggestions, THIS TIME I weaned from 30mg down to 20mg daily for 2 weeks, then started taking the 20mg ever other day for 2 weeks, then down to half of the 20mg pill every other day for 2 weeks (opening capsule and pouring out approximately half of the beads), and then finally taking half a 20mg pill every 4 days for a couple weeks. Doing it THIS way prevented the physical withdrawal symptoms I had experienced the couple times before. BUT now it's the emotional despair that I am worried about... WHERE I AM NOW: I have now been completely off of the medication since July 2nd. If I can just get through this depression and sadness, I just KNOW that I will be able to handle the issues that originally plagued me 20 years ago. I have lived through it all, and with the experience and memories and knowledge that I have now, I should be able to cope with it much better. I am just worried that it's the worst timing ever. Here we are, over a year and a half since my relationship was fully dead, and I am struggling with it worse than I have at any point since its death. I have only recently decided I need to do whatever I can to get past it because it is CERTAINLY not coming back (talked with her a few days ago). BUT what is now troubling me, is that I'm not sure if my current depression is due to the loss of the relationship OR if it's due to me being completely off of medication now and my brain having to re-wire itself and recover. OR if it's a really bad combination of both. I've never been through heartbreak like this before, but it seems to be getting progressively worse, where in normal circumstances it should be getting progressively better as time wears on. How can I tell the difference between true, natural depression and depression that's an effect of withdrawal? I assumed (maybe naively) that if I didn't have any physical withdrawal symptoms then I probably wouldn't have any emotional symptoms either. Just looking for some thoughts/insight from people with similar experiences. I am scared that I will have to remain on Anti-Depressants for the rest of my life, and who knows how THAT might even damage my health. I have been researching alternate, more natural forms of therapy for someone like me with Serotonin issues, the use of things like magnesium supplementation and whatnot. MY MAIN CONCERN IS BEING ABLE TO BE HAPPIER AGAIN, and I'm just hoping I can do that without Anti-Depressants. (I'm also dealing with other smaller physical issues like PE, which began as soon as I started weaning and gradually got worse the less amount of meds I took. But again, at this point, the more important thing to me is my mental health and mood. I don't want to feel heartbroken and hurt anymore.) Thanks for reading. I appreciate your time. David
  17. I stopped using Paxil someone abruptly back in March. By April I began to suffer from discontinuation symptoms however not one doctor told me to start taking Paxil again. At one point I even asked if my symptoms could be from the fact that I stopped taking axle and I was told no. There was a lot of ignorance on my part for thinking that the quick taper I did would be enough however it's how I stop years ago and how they had me stop my son years ago . I have not taken Paxil for months and have developed a sensitivity to all medications. Things I took in the past with no problem now have a terrible effect on me. Less than a month ago I tried taking 30 mg of Cymbalta which caused in credible stomach pain brains apps and severe pain and pressure in my right eye. I only took 30 mg for two days and had this reaction. About 2 1/2 yrs ago I was taking 120mg a day. At this point I am trying to get the liquid paxil approved by my insurance company, but to be honest I am not sure if it will help or hinder or help me. Not to mention I'm not particularly thrilled about putting that poison back in my body. I was wondering if anyone else could advise me One what would be the best thing for me to do at this point. I cannot even find a Doctor Who will admit my symptoms are from discontinuation syndrome O and try and help me be able to function again like a normal person. If anyone has been in a similar situation or know of others who have and could advise me it would be so greatly appreciated. Thank you, Antionette
  18. I'm willing to travel for this one (hopefully within Washington state)....Can anyone recommend someone that can serve as an alternative to psychiatrists and mainstream doctors for help with withdrawal from an SSNRI? I've become frustrated with these people. They do not listen, assume what I am experiencing is simply the return of depression, and offer only to throw more dangerous meds my way. I need someone that has extensive knowledge of this subject along with compassion for the individuals afflicted.
  19. Hi everyone. I was diagnosed with major depression and an anxiety disorder in my early twenties, although I had my first mental breakdown/became seriously ill at seventeen. I managed to make it through university but had a second breakdown just as it was ending and have never fully recovered. I was first prescribed antidepressants (Effexor to start) at the time of my diagnosis and had a terrible reaction in the form of a mixed manic state, where I was both depressed and manic. However, I knew side-effects could happen and continued on through it as I was desperate for something to work. It did pass, but the nightsweats that kept me up all night eventually became too much and I had to go off of it. Over nearly the past decade I have dutifully tried antidepressants from every class, many different combos, as well as antipsychotics although I have never been psychotic, mood stabilizers, and benzos. Several years ago, I told my psychiatrist a long-standing fear of mine; that I thought I was treatment-resistant. I have one antidepressant that I feel may have worked moderately, and one that worked actually quite well for about a week - more about that later - but many of the others made me significantly worse and all had unbearable side-effects. My psychiatrist disagreed with me and tried me on more meds, but after my worst reaction ever last winter (Duloxetine) he finally agreed that I was, in fact, treatment-resistant. Duloxetine was the one med I thought really worked for me, but after only a short period of time on it I had a severe physical reaction with GI symptoms/vomiting that went on for over a month. All other causes for this but the med were ruled out through tests, and I became very ill/lost a lot of weight, and had to withdraw from it abruptly. The abrupt withdrawal was the worst I'd ever experienced, and caused a severe upswing in suicidal thoughts, and some sort of rage syndrome, which was completely uncharacteristic for me and the most terrifying thing I've ever gone through mentally. Anyway, after that, I wanted to try going off of antidepressants altogether and I had the support of my psychiatrist, who I had freaked out with my Duloxetine reaction and who at this point had put me on a useless antidepressant from the 50's, I guess as a last-ditch effort in his panic over my condition. He wanted to withdraw me from it too quickly, but I took a longer withdrawal period, and was able to do it! I'm currently off of antidepressants for the first time in many years. So I am no longer having the horrible mental or physical side-effects to the many meds I took, but am still suffering from the suicidal ideation that never left and am now at a loss as to what to try next. Not knowing what else to do, I asked my psychiatrist for a referral to ECT and was sent to an psychiatrist specializing in ECT, who approved me for it, but suggested I try a mood stabilizer first, as he said he'd seen many people who had treatment-resistant depression who actually had an atypical form of bipolar where they just hadn't presented with their first manic episode yet. This seemed sketchy to me, but again, I was really desperate. I was put on Lamotrigine, and have been having excessive crying spells, but it's impossible to tell whether that's from going off of antidepressants or the Lamotrigine itself. In any case, it's either causing crying spells or doing nothing, so I am currently tapering from it, and don't seem to be having the problems tapering I've had with antidepressants, at least. I have to be tapered from it fully to try ECT, as Lamotrigine is an anticonvulsant that would cause the ECT to be unsuccessful. I am also still taking Ativan, sometimes for anxiety but more often than not for when the suicidal thoughts get too much. I've gone off of Ativan before during times when I've been in a bit better place, so I'm capable of it, but I have to get the suicidal thoughts under control first. If anyone has any first-hand thoughts on or experiences with ECT I would appreciate it so much. I've been overprescribed by psychiatrists and traumatized by therapists over the years, I've only met the psychiatrist specializing in ECT once, and I just don't have much trust there or with anyone I've encountered in the mental health profession, unfortunately. I have done research and know the possible scary side-effects of ECT, but also that it has a much better success rate than antidepressants, something that I am pretty annoyed I had to discover on my own. But, yeah, I am still very unsure of it. I hope this is halfway articulate. Thank-you so much for listening.
  20. I’m actively slowly tapering off nasty cymbalta. I’m currently counting beads, taking 17.7mg / 93 beads. I also take 10mg of latuda. I haven’t had any problems dropping latuda from 20 to 15 or 15 to 10, but I’m wondering if staying on it for another two years before I’m off cymbalta completely is really a good idea. It’s also expensive which is a constant risk if insurance stops covering it. I know it’s a brake to the cymbalta and probably helps ease the cymbalta withdrawal... thoughts would be greatly appreciated! Not bipolar, if that matters - taking this cocktail for mostly situational depression that I’ve made life decisions to alleviate. Really don’t think I need these meds, and think the anxiety is a side effect from the AD. THANKS!
  21. Hello, I'm a new member to this forum! I was put on 20 mg (generic) Cymbalta (Duloxetine) in early June; at the time my husband and I had just moved to a new (to me) town/state and I had a difficult time learning my way around, in addition to being exhausted and in pain from the move! A new healthcare system = a new GP: "I think we can best address all your issues with a low-dose antidepressant" - next thing I know I'm diagnosed with "MDD" (major depressive disorder). Initially GP wanted me to increase dosage to 40 mg after one week on 20 mg. Due to troubling side effects I told her "no way"; it's been now a bit over two months, I know my way around town, my husband and I exercise lots daily (in addition to walking our dogs) so while I did feel a bit blue when we got here, it was definitely not MDD, but an adjustment period! I researched and researched and am so thrilled to have found your site! Today is Day 3 of my tapering off, I'll be attempting to go down 10% per week unless I experience withdrawal symptoms...so far, so good. Yes, I've counted beads and made "new" capsules by removing a certain number of beads (10%). Presently I don't notice any side effects - maybe getting off the pills will be easier than I have anticipated. I'll keep you posted! Again I'm SO GRATEFULl that this site/forum exists! It is criminal that doctors put us on this stuff, but don't counsel us how to get off it. It has been a learning experience...I am normally very assertive and surprised myself that I let her put me on this medication; I guess she got to me at a low point! I talked with a health nurse last week and she said they would want me on it at least for one year! Yeah right! Kind regards and many thanks, bayernbaby
  22. Back in 2012 I had an episode of major depression after a relationship break up. I was commended on duloxetine (Cymbalta) and quetiapine (Seroquel) for a couple of weeks to get sleep and appetite back. It all worked well and I had 5 very stable happy years on duloxetine 90mg. However as I have endometriosis we were due to undergo IVF to try to conceive so I very gradually weaned off duloxetine - got some brain zaps and other unpleasant symptoms but they only lasted a few days after each dose drop and i managed to get completely off. After a month or so I started to feel some depression symptoms returning (mostly lack of enthusiasm and tiredness) so in April 2018 just before IVF i went back on duloxetine but it was a COMPLETE DISASTER. Within days I was a quivering wreck, unable to sleep at all, extremely anxious (was never really anxious before), no appetite. After 10 days GP changed me onto mirtazapine (Remeron) which initially helped with sleep but then the anxiety and insomnia gradually. IVF proceeded and was successful so I am now pregnant and did due in March 2019 but mental health remains terrible Liz Transferred to care of psychiatrist and got put on quetiapine(Seroquel) too which unlike before was not successful in making me sleepy. Changed to sertraline - made me worse so stopped after 11 days - was hospitalised due to suicidal ideation. Quetiapine (Seroquel) pushed up higher and now at 500mg a day. Also give Ativan and Ambien but now tolerant and still can’t sleep. Started on Amitriptyline but anxiety did not improve so weaned off after 10 weeks. Still taking quetiapine, lorazepam (Ativan) and zolpidem (Ambien). Still nowhere near back to normal - anxious all the time and get a couple of hours of sleep max a night and wake with heart racing and feeling panicked. Terrified all these meds have not helped but I won’t be able to get off them desperate to try and get myself better before my baby is due but don’t know how :(?
  23. Topic title: 20 to 18mg duloxetine is harder than 30 to 20mg Hi there I spent most of last year on 30mg of duloxetine (20 years of depression generally pretty well managed by medication - lots of different ones). Having started meditating regularly in the summer which I've kept up along with regular exercise - I was feeling pretty good so went down to 20mg around November. I had no problems at all. Even with christmas and an operation to deal with! 2 weeks ago, I started following the guidance on this site on tapering duloxetine and used ball counting and gelatine capsules to taper to 18mg. It's been very hard. Tears and irritability. I haven't been like this in a long time. Why would it be harder to go from 20mg to 18 that it was from 90 to 60 , 60 to 30 or 30 to 20?? It doesn't seem right. I've booked to the see the psychiatrist next week because my family are a bit alarmed and worried. But he is very pro medication. I don't think he'll be happy about my plans. But now I know duloxetine is so hard to come off, I want off it more than ever! I would not be completely against starting something else additionally to see me through but I know Prozac is often preferred and it has a bad effect on me s isn't an option. I so grateful if you've taken the time to read this!
  24. I’ve been taking anti-depressants and a mood stabilizer for 20+ years. I want to wean off duloxetine first. I’ve experienced horrible withdrawal symptoms when I failed to get a refill about 3 years ago. After about 2 days not taking duloxetine I was in full blown withdrawal and it was a flipping nightmare. That experience led me to believe I would never be able to not use the drug. I am to the point of being tired of dry mouth, dry eye, constipation and sweating. This may not be a good time to wean as I’m planning my daughter’s wedding for next fall and going to school part time. I will be 59 in 2018. Finding this forum is a godsend for me and hope I can be active even if I’m unable to start a taper right away. I’m really scared that I will never feel like the self I was before taking these drugs. I’m not even sure if I remember, which is even scarier and causes some anxiety if I focus on it too much. Thanks.
  25. Hi all, I've been on and off psychiatric medications for over a decade now, starting with Lexapro in 2008. That led to a suicide attempt, which led to me being switched to Zoloft and then quickly to Wellbutrin. I was on Wellbutrin until September 2010 when I had a grand mal seizure and had to discontinue it immediately. No one ever discussed withdrawal issues with me at the time, now looking back I know I had serious mood issues but it was just considered part of my ongoing depression. Fast forward to 2014 and I went on Prozac. I didn't feel like it was helping me, so I quit cold turkey after a few months. Again, no one had ever discussed the possibility of withdrawal issues with me. Now looking back, I remember how I had sudden unexplained dizziness to the point of feeling like I was going to pass out, nausea, and constant forgetfulness and brain fog. Multiple trips to the doctor never brought up the possibility of withdrawal symptoms. In the spring of 2016 I started taking citalopram, and after having a complex partial seizure I was also prescribed divalproex sodium, twice a day 250mg pills, which I am still taking. EEGs and follow ups with neurologists have led to the general conclusion that psychiatric medications raise my "seizure threshold" high enough that I might have seizures; no medication, no seizures. Around October or November of 2017 I was switched to Lexapro because it's a more "modern" form of citalopram. After gaining 20-25 lbs I asked for a different medication and was put on 30mg of duloxetine, which I was taking until I started my tapering process. I read about this community and antidepressant withdrawal in a New Yorker article, which led me down a research rabbit hole, which led me to wanting off these drugs. I talked with my psychiatrist and he is supportive. He wanted me to drop down to 20mg for two weeks, starting April 11. I had read about the 10% per month rule but thought I'd try it the doctor's way at least one day. Well, I had dizziness, an inability to concentrate, and friends commented that I looked pale. So the next day I switched the the tapering methods recommended here. I counted all the little beads in the capsules and got an average of 180- took out 18 from each one and put the rest in new capsules. It's been going pretty well. I have been having some dizziness and nausea, and I think I'm reacting poorly to caffeine, but I'm going to try to keep an eye on it. Fortunately I never drink anything stronger than black tea anyway. I'm a little discouraged at how long the taper process will take, but I'm trying to think about how bad the cold turkey experience was with Prozac and remind myself that it will be worth it. I'm also not sure what I'll end up doing about the divalproex, my psychiatrist said he wanted me to stay on it for now so that we can control the variables. I do think he'll be supportive, he was happy that I was doing research on my own and was in favor of a conservative taper, but of course that's a conservative taper in the medical context which I think most people here would consider much too fast.
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