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  1. Hi all I'm on day 3 of tapering off venlafaxine XL 37.5, only 2 beads out at a time,I will get a scales soon because It will only get harder the more I have to count out the beads .I am going to take it extremely slowly this time.I did a taper in march 2016 and it lasted till the june and i didn't go beyond 5 beads out each day before going back to 37,5. Its been a very tough time , I have extreme anxiety,extreme iratibillaty ,intrusive thoughts,. to name a few. What I have learned since that time is to have compassion for ones self and b very patient when doing the taper . My advice to everyone is don't ever believe u cant get through it .our nervous system and soul take time to heal Over the last 3 years I have learned and practice mindfulness ,it is amazing. It has helped me to calm down during a couple of flights to the UK when starting to panic. Today I had a bad anxiety attack but I was able to snap out of the attack fairly quickly because I have been practicing it and I recommend always getting out for a walk in the sun if u can and clear your mind. Please always keep your mind open to new ways to heal.We all now its hard but don't ever let anyone break your spirit. Total respect to everyone .
  2. mmcdonald21

    mmcdonald21: intro

    Hey, I've been trying to get off medications for a while now, to no avail. I'm currently on 30mg Remeron, 300mg Effexor, and 10mg Abilify. I also take a lot of vitamins and fish oil with a high concentration of EPA. I don't feel very good right now, and I've had periods where I've felt good, but I'm pretty sure they were just times that were flukes. I think the things that really help me are exercise, meditation, and to some degree, my vitamins and fish oil, but I really do want to get off of the medications. For over four years I've been reliant on these medications, and still I haven't felt very good at all during the time. I started getting off of my medications by taking 75mg less of the Effexor XR (I was on 375mg). I will report back how that goes. Any tips or advice would be much appreciated.
  3. Hello, my name is Danielle. I am new to this site, but have been reading it for quite some time now. My parents put me on effexor xr when I was 6 years old for severe anxiety and childhood phobias. It worked great for years. I had very little side effects and life was hunky dory. I am now 24 years old and the medication is no longer working. I stupidly tried to come off of the Effexor over the coarse of 3 months under directions from my psychiatrist. Obviously, I crashed and I have been desperately trying to get my life back for the last 10 months. During those months, I was under the impression that I was ‘very ill’ and a ‘special case’ based on the severity of my symptoms, but now I am realizing what has happened to me is not my original illness resurfacing, but the effects of the discontinuation of the medication. I’m an RN and have been out of work for the last 6 months. I have read stories on here of people eventually recovering from ssri and snri withdrawl, but was wondering if anyone has any experience or knows of anyone who was prescribed one of these drugs as a child. Is there hope for me or will I have to live with the consequences of my parents decision for the rest of my life? Will these dehabilitating symptoms ever go away or are my receptors f***ed for life?
  4. Dear members of surviving antidepressants, It’s been now more than 2 years since I haven’t consulted this site. I wanted to write in order to show my gratitude to people who manage this site – it has been of tremendous help for me to understand what was going on – and to maybe, help some people to see the light through that process. Even if I’m still on withdrawal, I now consider myself as healthy and well. I’m 42 years old. I started Effexor withdrawal 6 years ago. I had then been taking it for 7 years, at a dosage of 150 mg a day, for generalized anxiety disorder, with dosage variations during my two pregnancies. When I decided to withdraw, many things in my life weren’t going right, but I was only partly aware of it. I was looking for meaning, and to find back a connexion with myself that had been lost. So I started to withdraw every 3 months, from 112,5 mg, by steps of 37,5 mg. I thought that it would be a slow and secure withdrawal At 75 mg, I had electric shocks in my neck and brain but thought it would pass. I kept on lowering the dose but even if I did it more slowly I had to bow to the evidence that I was unable to function without the medication so I reintroduced it at 37,5 mg. I had then all the symptoms of withdrawal which are well documented on this site. I stopped working because of all the symptoms. Two years after it had all begun, while discussing with a friend, she told me the symptoms I had looked like ME/CFS. I then looked at the symptoms and realized I had effectively them all. I had at that time seen three doctors and none of them had thought about that diagnosis. It took me quite a while to make the link between all those symptoms and the medication withdrawal because – being a health professional – I had learned that SSRI’s didn’t give withdrawal symptoms longer than a few days, and the symptoms were delayed a lot from the decreasing of the doses. When I knew Surviving Antidepressant, it helped me understand that all those symptoms could be caused by the withdrawal, and that I wasn’t alone. I started to use the 10% method and do long pauses. But I was still in a very bad shape, having difficulties, even if not working, to take care of my kids and to do household tasks. Brain fog, irritability and fatigue were the mainstay of my days. I was constantly trying to find new ways to improve my condition : diet, meditation, pacing, supplements, psychotherapy, acupuncture, osteopathy, …. And a lot of money… Some of them improved, other worsened my condition. Four years after the beginning of the withdrawal, in a moment of profound discouragement, I felt on the online program ANS rewire from Dan Neuffer. This is a program for which I have tons of gratitude. It literally helped me to regain my life, and more. The program, designed to help people with ME/CFS, fibromyalgia and POTS has all its relevance with antidepressant withdrawal as this often causes one of the syndromes above, and harms and dysregulates the autonomic nervous system. This program definitely helped me to put in place everything I needed to heal. I was very ill when I began the program and the way it is structured, watching one video a day, from your home, was very helpful. It found the program to be very supportive, so well intentioned and motivating. It makes you work on different aspects of the healing process at the same time, which has an incredible positive effect. I can now work again, exercise, share moments of joy with my kids and raise them, being connected with the ones I love, and continue to grow as a person, while still withdrawing the antidepressant. I am now taking 1,6 mg a day and I’ll probably be able to end the drug in 6 to 12 months – but this has absolutely no importance. I realized that if I wanted to withdraw my antidepressant – which made me really sick - I didn’t have just to withdraw slowly and wait but to actively take part in the healing process. I was actually already trying to do so, but in an inappropriate manner. The program helped me identify the missing pieces of the puzzle. Putting it all together, with the steps that I had already done, gave wonderful results. With hard work and patience, of course. I’m sure I wouldn’t be where I am now without the program. This program aims at identifying and working on the ANS triggers and on all the root causes of the symptoms. Of course, the withdrawal of antidepressant is an ANS trigger, among others. So please, don’t be in a hurry with the withdrawal. Stop if you need to. Time to achieve it has no importance. Use the energy you have to work on your life, positively and in a structured manner. With time and patience, you’ll get stronger. With all I’ve learned on this journey – with this program, daily meditation, ACT, making place for spirituality, self-compassion – I’m getting stronger and the generalized anxiety disorder weaker. Now I have energy to dive deeper, and to jump higher. For me, thinking that I’d be happier when the withdrawal will be over was a mistake. Life is now, and this is part of your journey. There’s no problem with increasing the dosage if needed, to pause, or to decrease very very slowly. I sincerely wish the best recovering and full life living to all.
  5. Tomorrow morning I’m starting the dreadful journey of withdrawing from Effexor. Currently taking 300mg mane. I’ve been taking for >10 years, so I’m expecting the worst. My GP is very much onside, thank goodness. Over the last 4 years, I’ve taken myself off quetiapine, nitrazepam, regular lorazepam (up to 8mg per day), dihydrocodeine and tapentadol (opiate). I’m still taking OxyContin and Pregabalin. I suppose I’ll have to get off them sometime.
  6. Hi I am new to this forum and this is my first post . I am currently on 30mg mirtazapine and 200mg of pregablin , I have been on these mess for about 3 to 4 months . I have just cut my mirtazapine from 30mg to 15mg and in the space of 4 days I have have horrible side effects , anxiety through the roof , shaking , lack of appetite poor sleep crying spells and the general feeling of feeling crap . The reason I have started to withdraw from the mirtazapine is that after 3 months I feel no benefit only get awfull side effects . No help with my anxiety and depression if anything it's made me more depressed . I have gone through withdrawing from Effexor and that was really tough , however just the drop for a few days of the mirtazapine has left me crushed , my doctor told me that mirtazapine was a easy drug to withdraw from , but after 4 days it has left me house bound . Has anyone got any idea on how I get through this or any experience in mirtazapine withdrawals
  7. Hello all, I am a 27 year old male that unfortunately fell into the vicious SSRI/SNRI cycle about 7 years ago. Thinking back, what a blurr it has been. Not feeling like myself on or off medication, I’ve made little progress on personal development through the foundational years a 20 something year old is suppose to go through. I currently am not working, moved back home with my father, still have yet to finish college, not many friends or connections i.e. networking etc. . . I feel like these drugs have taken a lot from me. I originally got on the meds for some social anxiety I have experienced basically my entire life. My anxiety could stem from undiagnosed autism as I do fit some of the criteria to be on the spectrum. Then again everyone has some trait they evaluate autism on. After all, we are human. Anyways, over the last 7 years I have been on citalopram, escitalopram, sertraline, possibly fluoxetine (not sure on that one), and most recently venlafaxine. I took venlafaxine for about 1.5 years at 150mg before I started what I consider a slow taper. I’m not sure exactly how long the taper took, but I’m guessing about 7-8 months. I understand that’s not slow for a lot of you on this forum, but that’s what I was comfortable with. I am now almost 9 months venlafaxine free and it has not been easy that’s for certain. Extreme brain fog, fatigue, head pressure, feeling off balance, information processing issues, reading comprehension issues, problems staying focused on tasks, anxiety, disorganized thoughts, reduced vocabulary, and other issues. The ones I listed seem to affect me the most on any given day. Progress has been very slow, but I do believe I am making some headway. The last three weeks I have been mega dosing a highly concentrated liquid fish oil and that seems to clear up some of the issues I listed above. I should also mention that for the past 2 years I have been in the gym for 2 hours 5 days a week. Staying active does help clear symptoms but unfortunately they are short lived. I also eat lots of vegetables and low glycemic index fruits daily. Overall I have a pretty well balanced diet. I feel like these drugs have stole so much from me; missed opportunities, loss of almost all interests, lost girlfriends because I wasn’t emotionally available on these drugs. . . It just hasn’t been fun, let’s put in that way. Now I’m a 27 year old with basically no life experience and a lot of catching up to do. So I’m hoping these ugly days of SSRI/SNRI use and crazy withdrawals will all be a distant memory sometime soon!!! Before I go, I’m just curious how we can tell for certain that we are experiencing withdrawals from medication and it’s not just symptoms of depression. I’m 100% positive I didn’t have the symptoms we all experience prior to antidepressants so there is that evidence. But can anyone point me to some studies that have been done? I’m convinced this is the aftermath of the drugs but nearly all medical professionals will tell you otherwise. I even know some nurses that have used these drugs and got off them with little to no problems. So when I tell them how I feel, they just presume I am depressed or have some other psychiatric issue going on. I am a premed student by the way, so I do have some connections in the field of medicine. I have yet to have one medical professional agree with me about the meds causing these issues.
  8. Hi, I'm new here I'm a 32-year-old woman from Denmark. I found you because I want to safely taper off of my low-dose Amitriptyline 10 mg. But as I read about withdrawal, I came across "post-acute withdrawal syndrome" or "protracted withdrawal" and I got chills because suddenly what has been happening since 2017 made sense! Long story short(er), I was on Venlafaxine/Effexor for 8 years because of generalized anxiety and body pains. In 2017 I tapered off from 2 capsules/150 mg, reducing with 1/4 pill every 2 weeks, so I was off them after a little under 4 months. (I didn't know about safely tapering off, only now have I come across your guide :)). By going off so "slowly" - well, compared to my doctor who told me I could do it cold turkey(!) - I didn't get the extreme side effects i would normally get when I would go up or down in dose. I felt the same when I stopped my dose and for the next 2 months, I was completely fine. But 2 months after I had taken my last dose, I started getting pain in my body, and after 2 more months, at the end of January 2018, from one day to the next I started having an extreme inner shaking/hightened fight-flight-response. It was like I had gotten a shock and I just stayed in that state every second of every day. Never being able to rest was so bad that I wanted to kill myself. It's so difficult to explain the sensation to anyone, so I usually use sleep deprivation as a related example: Sleep deprivation should be the worst form of torture and I get it now - stressing your body every second of every day is completely unbearable and you just want to die. I did sleep, though, but only 4-5 hours every night and I was never tired. My cortisol levels were high so I was checked for Cushing's (cortisol producing tumor) which meant I couldn't take any medicine to help me for 7 months because I needed accurate cortisol results (I didn't have any tumor, though). And also, nothing helped me, not benzodiazepines, sleeping pills, CBD oil or high doses of beta-blockers. After 7 months, my friend who had experienced the same "shaking" after a whiplash and after only a week had wanted to jump out the window from her apartment on the 3rd floor, recommended a low dose of Amitriptyline and that reduced the shaking by 30 % and after a month by 50 % (I only took 5 mg to begin with, though, and it worked after just a few hours, very weird). My symptoms then started to become predominantly psychological instead, like I would cry all the time. It opened up a deep developmental trauma wound that I started therapy for in December 2018. After that and body therapy like The Rosen Method, my symptoms are gradually decreasing. (I also have like 20 other symptoms, like body pain, fatigue etc.). Now, almost 2 years after I came off venlafaxin, I'm 50 % better than I was in December 2018, but my sympathetic nervous system is still firing too much. I thought that being on antidepressants for so many years, from I was 22 until I was 30 had made me so numb that I couldn't process all the stuff I had been through earlier in my life - and I still think that's partly the case - but now I see that there's an entire half of the picture I didn't know about!! That this must have been post-acute withdrawal syndrome!! So not only did I have all the past trauma that came up now that I didn't have something to artificially shut it down, at the same time my brain was also struggling with getting chemically back in balance! Woooow... #MindBlown! I don't even know what I feel... I feel so angry and want to sue someone, but that's not really possible I guess. I have missed work for almost 2 years, I'm only now starting a 10-hour internship. I can't believe you can go from feeling fine to 4 months AFTER you stopped the medicine get these extreme reactions. Has anyone else experienced something like that? And I still want to come off of the Amitriptyline, but slowly. It's only 10 mg, and this week I'm taking 9 mg. After I've done this for 2 days, I do feel some side effects like a bit of insomnia and hightened fight-flight, but it's minor. And might be because I made an oral solution from my tablets and now I read you should try to stay on your dose for 4 days before you reduce it. I did calculations based on the advice of the 10 % reductions of the new dose every month, and if I jump off at 0,1 mg, it will take me 43 months. It seems like a long time, but I would rather do this safely this time! Wow, I'm still in shock that it was protracted withdrawal symptoms that almost had me commit suicide, because no doctor could tell me what I was experiencing. I'm so glad I found you! And I also want to ask you if anyone has ever gotten completely over this syndrome, can your brain adjust completely? TIA
  9. InChristAlone

    InChristAlone

    I was in Lexapro 10 and 20mg (mostly 10) for 15 years. I was put on it when I was 19 after going through a breakup with my high school girlfriend. Also , I have dealt with minor anxiety issues most of my life and have a family history of anxiety and depression. Everything was going ok until I herniated a disc in Jan 2018. What felt like a nervous breakdown ensued. My GP stopped Lexapro cold turkey and started me on Luvox and this made things worse. I cold turkey quit everything for a couple months and things continued to get worse. My GP then put me on Effexor 150mg and Klonopin 1mg twice daily. Things improved for a while. After 6 months, I decided to taper Klonopin because I had found this site and benzobuddies. I am down to 0.25 mg of Klonopin daily and still on Effexor. I am living a life of waves and windows now. I am a middle school teacher and coach. Thankfully, God has strengthened me enough to continue to work through this WD process.
  10. I'm new here, but have been following this forum off and on for over a decade. I think I'm finally stable enough to try tapering off my current meds. I've been on some form of ssri for about 25 years. I've been working with a naturopath for about 5 years to address some other health concerns that have really been supportive to my healing. I'm entrenched in a wellness program that is also very supportive. I tried earlier this year to taper off with help of a dr and thought it would work (silly me). His suggestions for tapering were far too large and quick. I've read a lot of what has been written here and have prepared myself to go much much slower and realize it could take years. For this next attempt, the dr proposed a prozac bridge and I went along with it, as I've done something similar before and it worked pretty well. (Again, silly me). Prozac makes me very very tired and I do not want to continue it, plus I don't think I need it for the taper, given what I've read here. I'm in the process of tapering off the Prozac and went from 20mg to 10mg with no problem whatsoever. However, my jump from 10mg to 5mg was quite disasterous. I now realize I must go much much slower going forward. I'm at 10mg Prozac now and will start going down on that next week. I will eventually attempt tapering off my 75mg effexor, but that will be after prozac taper. I'm trying to get everything in place for this. I've printed out symptom logs to keep track of everything daily and will look into the jeweler's scale for my effexor. Here I go! 🙂
  11. Hello, I am a 50 year old woman with a history of depression. Here is my story and it is a long one, be warned - if you aren't in the mood for a long history, skip this now LOL! I'm one of those people whose family relations have also had histories of depression, and depression became an issue for me from maybe 10 years old and up, though no one really recognized it. I became bulimic at 16 and remained so for much of my adult life until about eight years ago. My adult-hood has been one of perfectionism, low self-esteem and under-performing, with all the self-hatred that that generates. My first experience with medication came after a rough relationship where I ended up feeling suicidal. I was put on Prozac. I think back to that being the beginning of the rest of my adulthood with virtually no libido. A major move after marriage led me to more depression, and at that time Wellbutrin was being marketed heavily, so I asked my GP to put me on it. No tapering of the Prozac, if I recall. Wellbutrin didn't work, but now I realize it was probably in part because I was having withdrawal from the Prozac - not sure and I don't have a lot of memories about that period one way or another. I forget if I continued the Wellbutrin up to the next change, but I had gotten the flu which turned into pneumonia for a month, and when I went to the doctor after that long of not getting better, he said "you are depressed." Well, yes, I said, I am depressed because of being sick this long! And he said, No, you are clearly a generally depressed person and you should see a p-doc. So, I did, and that doc put me on Effexor. This was somewhere back around 11 years ago. I upped the dose as they directed. I never felt like my depression was well-controlled because none of the therapy I had over the years was CBT - talk therapy would make me feel better for the moment but no change took place, so the low self-esteem and negative thinking remained. I guess the Effexor somehow made my life more tolerable, but I never felt happy or satisfied with myself. Somewhere along the line I began to taper down on the Effexor, and I have very few memories of when, how or why, other than that I hated needing ADs, and my libido sucked. A move and the loss of an old dog sent me into another bad depression, but this well could have coincided with stepping down the Effexor. Three years ago, I lost my job, and then my husband lost his, but then he got a new one which required relocating to a very hot climate where we were able to afford a home with acreage, the first time we were ever able to own, but it was very rural and the isolation quickly got to me, with anxiety increasing for various reasons. Again, I don't remember the stepping down process, but two years ago a new GP refilled my Effexor but prescribed the non-extended release version. Since these tablets were able to be broken, I began taking just half (37.5 mg). Last summer I had a bought of shingles and became very depressed and stressed again from the pain. I also was clearly in menopause and having severe hot flashes. My whole adult life had been marred by low libido since going on Prozac way back when, and the shingles were actually on my private parts (tested positive for zoster, not herpes) and I became very concerned that I didn't want the rest of my life to be joyless where sex was concerned, so I decided to go off BCPs and Effexor. In hind sight, that was madness! I stepped down the Effexor, going to every other day with the 37.5 mg. I wasn't aware of any severe symptoms, and this was last summer. Well, meanwhile, I was going through some stresses regarding a health crisis with one of my dogs. I found myself totally scatter-brained, forgetful, unable to concentrate, and also I had trouble articulating myself, unable to complete thoughts when talking with people, words hard to reach. A friend told me he always thought I was ADD, and indeed at this time I was losing things, forgetting what I was doing halfway through doing it, easily distracted, etc. I'm also a total clutter-bug who can't face doing the dishes or cleaning the house, though I've been that way for years. I had started taking Sam-e and tryptophan as a way to up serotonin. I was having a terrible time with insomnia. So, I went to get tested for ADD. I tested negative, but the psychologist doing the testing said I didn't have ADD, but that I did have OCD, depression, and GAD. He said, the good news is that there are medications that can make you "normal!" I bit, and went to a p-doc on a list he gave me. She put me on Viibryd. I stopped the serotonergic supplements. The first week at 10 mg was ok, but when I went up to 20 mg as instructed, all hell broke loose! My insomnia worsened, with the most severe anxiety I think I had ever experienced! All night I was thrashing around with racing, troubling thoughts. During the day, I would have squirts of adrenalin for no reason. I had days where I was so distressed and troubled, I couldn't stand to exist. I had global anxiety about climate change, getting old, my parents getting old losing them some day, the drought and how horrible life was! I have never experienced anxiety like that in my life! I stepped the Viibryd back down to 10 mg for about a week and then stopped it, and went back on the supplements. This time I was trying to follow the supplement plan laid out in the Mood Cure, adding GABA and some other stuff. I'd do ok for awhile, but the insomnia was still bad, and the general feeling of being ill-at-ease was so disturbing, I just couldn't stand it. So, I stopped the supplements and started taking 37.5 mg of Effexor again. After three days, I was in serotonin syndrome almost to the point of having to go to the ER! I stopped the Effexor and got an appointment with another p-doc who is a DO and actually not into psych meds. He said I'd been through about 3 years' worth of med changes in a very short period of time and that my nerves were very sensitive and that I needed consistency. He went through the meds and supplements I had a history with, and told me which supplements were safe to take (non-serotonergic). Since I had not been able to eat and lost weight, and the insomnia was so bad, he put me on Remeron, saying it was a very gentle med that worked on a different part of the serotonin pathway, and that it would help with sleep and appetite. He started me on 7.5 mg and said I could step it up as needed, that it was safe up to 60 mg. Well, I felt much better and it was nice to sleep all through the night without anxiety again. Yeah! But after a week, I was feeling down again so started upping the dose. Two weeks later I was at 37.5 mg, feeling totally apathetic and on the couch, unable to do anything I had previously enjoyed in life. I couldn't understand why the med wasn't working anymore! I was in a desperate way and called this p-doc's assistant, the fastest way to get to him, he said. I left four messages and never heard back! I suffered through to my next scheduled appointment with him two weeks later, and suffering it was! My family members were greatly concerned. The only thing that kept me going through this spell was the fact that a therapist I had recently seen told me about Emotional Brain Training, which I joined. It was developed by Laurel Mellin at UCSF and is based on neuroplasticity and rewiring the brain. It was perfect for me because I lived in the country, was isolated, and the city is 40 minutes away, so I was able to get support from home with weekly phone-in meetings with a coach and group members, daily work online, and daily phone-connections with group members. I am not hawking this, but if you want to learn more about it, go to www.ebt.org. Anyway, EBT kept me from going down the tubes through all of this. When I saw my p-doc, he said "let's add Effexor back to the remeron since you tolerated it well in the past." I started on 37.5 mg. The day I took it, I was having a non-functional couch day, and I would say within an hour of taking it, my mood lifted, like a light switch had been flipped! It was miraculous! Now, everyone knows that ADs are supposed to take weeks to start working. I now realize that the reason it worked so fast was because I was in withdrawal and it was like a junkie getting a hit of the drug they are withdrawing from - instant fix! Ok, I know my story is long but the final chapter is here: I added the Effexor back about 12 days ago. I actually had one day, about a week into it, where I was on the couch again. The next day, I saw a third p-doc my therapist said I should see since I had such a bad experience with the last guy's non-responsiveness when I left those messages. So, I saw this new guy on Wednesday. I didn't yet realize that all of the craziness I had endured since last fall was because of the withdrawal. I was convinced that genetically, I just had to be on ADs, that I had relapsed in a big way. I did think that the Viibryd had damaged me, since I had never experienced anxiety to that degree before, nor had I had depression this debilitating. This new guy said, "let's stick with this for now, since you haven't been on the Effexor long enough to see how it will work for you, but I want to up it to 75 mg (thanks to that couch day). We may end up changing you to other meds, but let's see how this goes for now." So, I began taking 75 mg Effexor ER on Thursday. It just so happens that one of my EBT connection buddies is going through withdrawal from ADs that she was put on for post-partum depression 8 years ago. She told me about this, and referred me to a neat video about neuroplasticity on beyondmeds.com. Her point in doing so was to point out about how EBT is so dead-on about retraining the brain, but in fact I had locked on to concept of withdrawal, and I began to realize that this was so much of what I had and am still going through, and this is why the Effexor worked immediately! So, I am faced with the fact that I am now back on the drug that I was hooked on. For now, I need to be consistent and not change anything, though I am going back to 37.5 mg Effexor since I'd only been on the higher dose for a couple of days. I will ride this out until my next appointment with the p-doc in five weeks. I am worried that he will be one to poo-poo withdrawal. I feel like, for the first time in my life, I am getting the cognitive help I need to eliminate the poor self-esteem and my negative black and white thinking that has ruined my life and got me started on ADs to begin with. I feel this will be critical to getting off these drugs some day. I feel so grateful to the universe for bringing me together with my connection buddy who brought this all to light for me. And beyondmeds.com brought me here.
  12. I was 22 when I went to the doctor because of a broken heart. He put me on effexor. I had faith in our medical system then, I don't these days. He did not even think the birth control I was on was causing a problem nor did he test for any nutrient insufficiency. It was a brief few minutes. I was crying over a break up and that was all he needed to see and hear to pack me up with several trial boxes full of effexor XR. It seemed like the end of the world and I wanted the pain to stop so I put my trust in my doctor and took the pill everyday until I got pregnant a year later. It was a difficult pregnancy. I was not aware I had a genetic mutation in my MTHFR pathway. I don't even know if that pathway was studied much back then...I am 38 now. Just so you have a time line. I don't know if they were aware that antidepressants made the lack of folate worse. No wonder I had preeclampsia and was on bed rest for the entire 3rd trimester. I felt like crap and was at risk for heart attack and stroke. They had to induce 2 weeks early. She was definitely worth it. Her father, however was not. I needed to go back on effexor after the pregnancy to deal with his abuse. In the end, I wound up with PTSD and he sat 6 years in prison. I had developed a drinking problem at this time. I was out of control. The second pregnancy helped me reel it back in. I went off the meds and did not go back on them until I was unable to handle the stress anymore which was about 2 years post partum. I had 2 daughters, I was working as much as possible and in school full time. My significant other was trying to "hook up" with other girls and my second attempt at a family was failing. They added trazadone this time so I could sleep. Instead of dealing with the problem, I numbed it. My behavior changed a lot. I lost interest in the things I was working so hard for, I became compulsive even more than usual, the alcohol abuse returned. The failing of the family sealed everything. I lost it completely, cut myself so badly and tried to commit suicide. I ended up spending a week in the psych ward where they changed up my meds and added abilify and buspar to the cocktail. Apparently I had gone from just depressed to bipolar. I got off the medication after I found myself pregnant for the 3rd time. I married this one. Love him to death too. After I had my 3rd daughter and even during the pregnancy I was having what I thought were a return of my old bipolar symptoms. I went back on all the meds believing they would help me. They actually made me lose control a bit more and eventually I felt so lost and sick that I knew it was time to get off the meds and actually work towards a happy, healthy life. I was weaned off everything except trazadone. I requested to stay on it for insomnia. I had not been able to sleep for years without a sleep aid and it worked for me. The initial withdrawl was bad. I was on the couch for atleast a month after taking my last dose. I made it through. Shortly after I began developing gastrointestinal issues. I was always nauseated and would have stomach aches. No one thought it was from withdrawl or from the trazadone I continued to take. I carried on in my health quest. I began running and cleaned up my diet. I fell in love with Crossfit and added that to the mix. My gastrointestinal problems continued and got worse. I started eliminating gluten and dairy from my diet. It helped a little. Then I woke up one morning with distorted vision, extreme fatigue, and a general feeling like I had the flu...but it wouldn't go away. I worked with a gastro thinking that something horrible was going on in my intestinal track. Blood work, a colonoscopy, ct scans, numerous emergency visits could not pin point anything wrong. It was a mystery. I thought I was dying at one point. Until I decided it was time to go off of trazadone...and miraculously after I was weaned off all the brain fog, headaches, fatigue went away. My gut did not improve much. But I then had an idea what was causing my issues. I was diagnosed with IBS and it was driving me nuts. I was not aware I was still going through withdrawls nor did I associate the deterioration in my mental state with those withdrawls. I thought, my gut was great when I was on effexor. Lets try it. My body rejected it twice. My gastro tried a low dose of elivil which my body also rejected. I worked out that weekend and woke up on Monday and all the symptoms I had before had returned times 10. I felt like I had fried my brain. I have been trying to recover for the past 6 months. I did see a lot of improvement after working with an integrative doctor. We are trying to increase my serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. My adrenals are shot. My cortisol curve is really messed up. The ability for my body to regulate blood sugar levels was horrible for a long time. But is better now. I can have coffee again in the morning when I need it most. I sleep more than I don't these days. Sleep hypnosis works like a charm to help with the racing thoughts at night. My gut has improved, but my diet is super clean and I try and exercise when I am feeling well enough to. I take methylfolate for my mutation and we are working on getting my body to synthesize B6 better with a ful spectrum of aminos I take as a bone broth protein supplement. I still have waves. They were manageable up until this week. I am having a really bad wave. Migraine, my thermostat is not working right (either freezing or sweating), muscle aches, horrible vertigo, vision problems, balance is off, muscle weakness, fatigue yet cannot sleep well. And the emotional roller coaster has not been fun. I can't wait to get off that ride. Horrible panic, paranoia, fear, anxiety, akathisia, and obsessive behavior, cannot handle any type of stress at all. My poor 13 year old got the brunt of it yesterday. I yelled at her because she needed me to pick her up from school because she was not feeling well. I could not handle the change in my morning plans. I apologized later that night, though. I do try and explain what is happening. This is what it is like, though. I know this is a lengthy post, but I feel it is important to tell my story and I am not going to sugar coat things at all. This whole process has been horrible. It is a nightmare for me and for my family. I just have faith and hope that one day I will wake up and I will be healed...atleast I hear that is how things are suppose to happen.
  13. Hello Surviving Antidepressant friends Around 18 months ago I posted this thread desperately seeking help for tapering gone wrong. I had been on a treatment dose of 300mg of Effexor, which I had reduced around 80%. I went to a psychiatrist to seek advice on tapering and bridging and he told me the amount I was on was almost nothing and there would be no issue if I tapered off over a couple of weeks. That caused the worst withdrawal I have ever had, including what felt like 48 hours of suicidal panic attacks and inability to sleep. My memory from that time is blurry. Anyway. After that I tapered back on to Effexor until the worst of the discontinuation syndrome subsided, which ended up being back up to 10mg, or 30 beads. I stayed that way for around 8 months before trying to go off again. I would take my dose every morning in the same place, around the same time, by pouring out the little beads onto my hand, counting them, taking them, then brushing my teeth. The next time I started going off I reduced by 1-3 beads every 3-4 days (more at the beginning, fewer at the end). I also conducted a little placebo conditioning experiment with myself, where I replaced the lost beads with white 100s and 1000s (I think Americans call them sprinkles?). I figured, after reading up on the classical conditioning mechanism in the placebo effect, that the eight months of "ritual" around taking the drug might be sufficient to allow the placebo sugar beads to have the same effect as the drug on my brain. Once there were no more drug beads I continued "taking" the 100s and 1000s each morning for a few weeks. I'm not going to recommend the placebo approach outright for obvious reasons (I am not a doctor or scientist; my understanding of the placebo effect is probably rudimentary). However, in my specific case, the experience of going from 30 beads to 0 beads, was a million times better the second time than the first. Other factors that likely helped: It was about 5 times slower than the first time; I had adjusted to the 30 bead dose before I started; I took even longer gaps between reductions of the last beads; I was not working as much as I went through this process. Now. While it was easier than the first time, it was still not easy. I felt churned up emotionally and was super irritable, I had rage flashes, my anxiety increased hugely, anhedonia returned, I had nausea, and my muscles, particularly in my legs, spasmed and twitched, often violently. I could, however, sleep for the most part, and none of these symptoms got too much in the way of life (granted I was not working very much and I work for myself anyway; it would have interfered if I worked for someone else). It helped to know that if I could just get through those few weeks then things would probably get better. These symptoms lasted around 2 weeks after the final drug dose, which was early April 2017. And things did get better. For me, most of the side effects of the drugs have now gone. Most significantly, my sense of self and my creativity have returned. It had felt like they were being numbed or muted by the drugs, and I couldn't access them. Off the drugs I now have access to them. Similarly, my ability to enjoy sex has improved, and I don't feel like that side of me is muted either. The above is really tremendous; feeling like yourself again instead of a weird muted robot alien is a big relief. However, while I consider the drug withdrawal to be 100% successful and 100% the right decision for me, I should caveat that with the following context: The drugs appeared to be muting extreme unresolved emotional distress, both from childhood stuff and from rape and sexual assault from a few years ago. The pain from this sort of exploded when the drugs went away. My primary diagnoses are anxiety and major depression, but it appears even those were symptoms of childhood stuff. When I came off the drugs it was the first time I had been drug free in around 13 years. I am highly sensitive and have a big emotional world, but I never learned how to regulate stimulation and emotion, and then had it muted by drugs. When I came off the drugs the emotions and stimulation were pretty extreme and often overwhelming. I took from that that I should learn skills of emotion regulation though, rather than that I should go back on the drugs. Even with only 3-4 months of practice, I am hugely improved and the emotions and stimulation overwhelm me much less frequently. (Now they inform my creative work and my service work, and are real positive assets for me, albeit ones that require sensitivity and management.) I have the great privilege of being able not to work for a while while I recover fully, which is lucky because I cannot currently work. I put that down to unresolved trauma that has now come to the fore rather than drug withdrawal. I am doing deep dive work with my psychologist that is helping more than any other talk therapy I've done, and I think that work will be sufficient to return me to work eventually. I see her weekly. That work is also subsidised by the government because it is about recovery from sexual trauma, meaning for now I do not pay anything for it (another enormous privilege). I have a partner who is extraordinarily supportive and gets what is happening for me. He judges fair contribution to the relationship by reference to each partner's capacity, and thinks that because he has more capacity right now it is fair that he do more housework, financial contribution etc than me. This has allowed me not to push myself beyond capacity, which has meant I have recovered more quickly. In conclusion, while I am currently not working and my capacity to do a lot of things is severely restricted, I could not be happier that I am off the drugs. I feel like I have real issues (childhood trauma and sexual trauma) that require serious work, but now I feel like I am actually properly addressing them, instead of having them be muted yet just as destructive. I also no longer have the drug side effects interfering with my ability to enjoy things, make music and comedy, have intimacy with my partner, meaning recovery feels more authentic and there is more joy in it. Things still hurt a lot, but my world feels real in a way it wasn't on the drugs. It's hard to explain to anyone who hasn't come off these drugs before. In simple terms: I have hope. I can experience joy and enjoyment. I am excited about what the rest of my life might bring. Even while I know that I am in the middle of pretty extreme emotional upheaval and trauma processing, life is better than it has ever been. I am finally able to be fully, authentically myself, in ways that the drugs (and the trauma and mental health issues) got in the way of. I am optimistic.
  14. Hello all. I've been shadowing this forum for a while, and I'd like to begin by thanking everyone involved (Altostrata in particular) for providing such a caring environment for all the battered brains out there. A lot of my questions have been answered already by virtue of all the great information here. Still, one feels a particular solace in telling their own story, and I'd like to do just that. I am twenty four, and I have been more or less continuously medicated since I was sixteen. I was a troubled and difficult teenager, and a drug addled and dysfunctional brain seems to be my reward. I've been prescribed various stimulants, but (thank god) I've mostly neglected them over the years. I've run the gamut of anti-depressants from prozac, to lexapro, and then onto Effexor. I don't really remember having any issues with the prozac and lexapro, except the sort of general malaise one experiences on those drugs. Effexor has been a different story. I've been on it now for about four years. A year ago I noticed a strange sort of free-floating despair from time to time, the sort of thing I'd struggled with years earlier in high school. But unlike before it's appearance was alarming and irregular, and it seemed somehow “unnatural”. It was clear something was changing, either my brain chemistry or the effect of the drug, or both. Whatever the cause, it didn't seem to have much to do with circumstance. A few months later I decided to come off the drug. I went down over a period of two months. The effects were highly unpleasant but not unbearable, the strongest symptom being fatigue. I was completely off the drug for about three weeks. The effects during those three weeks were slightly different than they had been while still weening. Along with the fatigue came a deep underlying anxiety, and a sort of anxious hopelessness that would wash over me a few times a day. I decided after three weeks that I couldn't deal with the withdrawal symptoms anymore, especially since they hadn't show any signs of abating. I went up to 75 mgs, and was able to remain there for one to two months. The worst was over, though I still suffered from fatigue (I would often have to take a nap in the late afternoon) and began to have cravings for alcohol for the first time in my life. I imagine that my cravings were somehow compensatory, and I've heard of other people experiencing them while on or withdrawing from these types of medications. Eventually I went back up to 150 mgs of the Effexor, and after feeling a little drugged for a few days I returned to my normal self. It took a few more months to work up the courage to try to taper off again. This time I was prescribed 40 mgs of Prozac to “soften” the effects of the withdrawal. I slowed my descent a bit and two months passed before I reached 75 mgs. The symptoms were bothersome but tolerable throughout, and I managed to maintain a diet and mild exercise routine. Great changes were beginning to occur in my life around this time. I'd rather not go into lots of detail, but I'll just say that I managed to address certain things that had haunted me for many years. As these inner tensions began to dissolve the world suddenly seemed alive and brimming with meaning. Colors appeared more vivid, and everything seemed to be suffused with a kind of mystery. This period is somewhat hazy, but I think I must have been convinced by this shift that I would be able to quickly withdraw from my drugs, so strong was my sense of well-being. I took only a month to come off the last 75 mgs, and because of some mistakes while measuring my doses, my taper was somewhat erratic. This period was pretty horrendous. The effects of these drugs come so close to your basic 'poles of being' that it's really hard to describe them in any kind of reliable way. But there was a certain manic and anxious character to this period that had been mostly absent from the previous withdrawal. Some of these new symptoms came in waves, while others were more or less constant. Twice I got into very intense arguments with my father over dinner, both of which ended with me sobbing and hyperventilating (which is quite unusual for me). Sometime before the arguments I had felt a kind of mounting irreversible tension, one that quickly transformed into aggression. There was something strangely primitive and hyper masculine about it, like my mind and body were preparing to fight off an enemy or predator. Deeply strange stuff, I've never experienced anything like it. Once off the meds I only lasted a week before deciding to go back on the Effexor. Here I made another error. I was so panicked and anxious to get rid of my symptoms that I went back up very quickly. 10 mgs for a few days, 35 mgs for two days, 75 mgs for three days, and then back up to the full 150 mgs. Somehow it didn't occur to me at the time that I might have been rushing things. The first day back on the 150 mgs was wonderful. That earlier sense of joy and clarity returned, colors had that dark and enhanced quality again. I was overwhelmed with relief and gratitude. But, to my horror, the “manic” type symptoms returned the next day. They returned, and then they seemed to get worse. Two to three times a day I'd have those indescribable surges of raw feeling, and a pervasive tense/drugged sensation returned as well. Fearing that I'd gone up too fast I quickly went down to 75 mgs, which seemed to help for a bit. But the surges and the tension remained. It's been about a week and a half since I've made this last switch, and the symptoms continue. I've read on this site that it can take three to six weeks to stabilize at a given dose, so it seems like I still have some time before I can expect any kind of peace. What's complicated this whole thing is this new way of seeing that's opened up to me. Not only do I have the fear that I'll never be “normal” again, but also a fear that this recent revelation will be torn from me. In short, I feel like I have more to lose now than I did before, that returning to “normal” would be just agonizing as not recovering at all. Still, I have the sense that the transformation I experienced is real and is a lasting one, and that it's just been obscured by the effects of the withdrawal. Plus “it” hasn't disappeared entirely, and at least once a day I'll feel that sense of peace, well-being and heightened interest in things seep through. Still, it's strange how little comfort those moments provide when the hell starts. I apologized if this was overly long or indulgent in any way. I have a few questions for you guys. Firstly, does any of this sound familiar? Am I within the range of what's considered “normal” for this kind of thing? (I think I am but it never hurts to be reassured) Should these new “manic” symptoms disappear eventually? It sounds like they're the sort of nervous system issues that Altostrata describes in his/her theory, though I don't remember all the details at the moment. My greatest fear is that I somehow won't be able to stabilize at this dose, and that I therefore will never reach a comfortable place from which I can withdraw again. Also, does anyone have any idea why my second withdrawal attempt was so different from the first? The addition of the prozac maybe? It goes without saying that my next withdrawal will be much slower. I don't have any more illusions as far as that goes. Also, I should mention that I'm no longer on the prozac. Thanks in advance for all comments! Wonderful place you've got here.
  15. Hello everybody, I apologize in advance for my English writing, it wil not be perfect but i hope you can understand me! My name is Andi and i am from The Netherlands, i am 31 years old! I have a history with social anxiety and panic disorder although i can honestly say that as for as the social anxiety goes im doing a lot better, the only major problem i have is the fact that i have a lot of fear for the fear if that makes sense! Anyway i started using Lexapro in 2012 and the first 2 years i was doing fine, no issues whatsoever, after 2 years i started to get severe neck nerve pain, i went to the doctor many times and the only thing he said was that is was due to stress! After walking around with crazy nerve pain for about 4 years and ruling out everything i then thought it had to be the Escitalopram! So then i made the biggest mistake ever!!! I quit cold turkey in 2017! For the first couple of weeks i was feeling kinda sick like the flue but it was actually not really that bad! My neck was starting to feel better so i was actually happy about it and thought that i was gonna feel fine in a couple of weeks! Wow was i wrong!! After 4 weeks i woke up with tinnitus, and after about 5 weeks the bomb exploded! I had the worst anxiety and panic attacks ever!! Whey worse than before the medication! I had severe restless legs and could not sleep! I was extremely emotional and also agressive! I had never been like that before!! I then obviously started googling these issues and came across this site as many others, i read a lot of different stories and thought wel maybe i will get better in time! But after 4 months of hell i had enough! I basically made an appointment with a psychiatrist and the first day they gave me Effexor! They could have given me anything because i didn't wanna go a day longer! Anyway after 2 weeks i went up to 75mg of Effexor and yes my emotional problems where a lot better but once again i got extreme neck pain, even worse than before so i had to go back to 37,5 mg! After a couple of days my neck was feeling a lot better but anxiety wise i was not great! Not as bad as before but also not great! The biggest issue i had with the anxiety that came was this weird thing where i felt like i could not breath!! That was horrible! Everytime the doorbell rang at home i immediately could't breath! Before the medication my anxiety was never like this!! Anyway after dropping to 37mg of Effexor i still felt like choking sometimes however i was sleeping a bit better (not longer than 4 hours in a row) but atleast the restless legs where gone! Emotional wise i was still doing oke. So because i was to scared to come off Effexor i was on it for about a year until the end of 2018! At that moment i felt reasonable and the anxiety was also a bit better so i decided to gett off the meds because i was getting some annoying side effects once again! So i tapered down over the course of 3 months, i know some people will say that this is to fast but i was done with the medication because of the very annoying side effects like teeth grinding, not being able to sleep long and once again neck pain! Anyway in February of this year i had my last pill! So the first 6 weeks i was doing okay! I definitely felt some withdrawal issues like restless legs and emotional, irritated and things like that but not as bad as last year when i came off lexapro! But once again after about 7 weeks things got bad, i got a lot more anxiety and emotional and somehow my neck started hurting again, i also feel extemely irritated and annoyed very fast! I can get really angry if something goes wrong and i hate this because i have never been like this before! My anxiety is also through the roof and once again i cant sleep! So its been 4 months now and still no progress! I still feel like im surviving and have no life! I talked with many people, i have a new psychiatrist and when i explain my problem she looks at me like she doesn't care, she keeps saying that i am probably one of the very few people with these issues! The only option she gives me is to take other medication! I really don't want to do it but i will probably take an other medicine in August because i just cant do this anymore! Nobody reassures me or anything! They act like i had these issues before the medication but i know that is such bulls... I really start to hate doctors!! Anyway the only option i see is to wait until August because then i have been off the meds for 6 months, if by then there is no progression i have no other choice but to try an other medicine! Again i really don't want it but right now my life is horrible! I need reassurence, i still cant sleep! Why is it that when i started taking Effexor i could not sleep longer than 4 hours in a row and now i am off this medicine and i still have the same issue!? Is this permanent? Can these meds really damage you for life? Can anybody tell me will this get better and what is the timeframe? Thank you for reading!
  16. Hi, this is long, but I enjoyed writing it. As a boy I was quiet and sensitive, never asked for much, never got much. I lived in constant dread, not so much from family violence but from the world around me, I struggled to cope, I wasn’t shown any compassion or given the tools to help, just a bang on the ear and told to shut up, so at 7yrs old I switched off, totally switched off and observed the world around me. I systematically created an alter ego. An amazing set of personality traits that got me through the days, weeks & years. The mental shaping that took place was phenomenal, I created such a diverse set of illogically triggers and personality traits that it was easier to carry on acting than attempt to unwind the neural paths and begin building a new life I could tell you how a quiet, sensitive boy, grew into a drunk, violent tyrant with suicidal tendencies, but that’s not what this is about. We’re here because I found a way out… I had been in a deep depression since childhood, I was 53 when I went to the doctor for help with my alcohol abuse, and he was ok, told me that the signs were there… I was suffering from a deep depression, but I had normalised it to get through and drank to hide from my emotions, he said that it is not unusual for people to go through life without seeking help. I came away with an optimistic wow! Was that all there was to it, a 6-month script for Effexor XR 150 mg and a new beginning. April 2018 - Three dumbed down, libido-less years later… Quite by accident, I rediscovered something, something I had totally forgotten about. As a 7-year-old, I discovered that if I placed my hands flat on a table top, closed my eyes, and relaxed. Soon my fingers and palms would begin to flow along with my breathing, but interestingly the table would undulate (not physically) in tune with my body. This was a child’s subtle way of getting away from the turmoil, but in reality, it dawned that it was my first go at meditating, but it took over 46 years to recognise. As I sat there that day five months ago, something clicked this was a way out a simple yet effective way. Sitting there without using thoughts or mental images, there is no way to even recognise that my hands were touching some other separate thing called a table. Without the thoughts, hard, smooth, or pressure appearing, there is no way to even describe what I was feeling or know what they are just raw senses that carry no conceptual information. The table does not whisper that it is hard or smooth or your hands do not whisper sensations are appearing. All of these are just thoughts. Without these thoughts, there is only life itself, without separation between the hands doing the touching and the table being touched. In fact, without thoughts or mental images, there is no way to know that I exist as something separate and apart from this world. Oh my, what a revelation, I consulted my wife, yes I am married, with children and hold down a successful career, but I had no life balance, I am either working flat out, comatose through alcohol or a wild party animal. The happy, sad clown, with a nasty alter ego. She shrugged, and who could blame her. The very next morning I got up a 5:30am and meditated, it was a delight. That day five months ago I gave up alcohol for good. After two or three weeks of misery, I really found that I could stop drinking, why because it was my choice and nobody else’s. But… I was on the clichéd health and wellness train, and for a month or two was happy, I was still taking the “wonderful” Effexor XR, but I had my second epiphany, I realised I was substituting my new found wellbeing lifestyle for the partying and alcoholic lifestyle, I was still a junkie. I had begun this new journey, how I had taught myself all those years ago to build a façade, an alter ego that I wanted people to see, I was still that fearful child acting like an adult. I had read that I needed to make my mind still, to overcome the destructive thoughts, but believe me it won’t be still. I realised this is not meditation, it is an idea or desire to be calm, my mind was disturbed enough, and there I was making it worse by wanting to make it calm. It’s just like depression. The more we desire to calm the more disturbed the mind becomes, until we just give up. We end up fighting with our minds all the time. Oh my, this was the depression, the falsehood of curing the depression with alcohol and drugs. I dropped the yoga classes and meditation retreats. I still got up every morning at 5:30am did some basic stretching, and just sat on the floor and meditated not any fancy whizz bang modern stuff a very simple practice I simply asked my thoughts WTF. As usual, we (the mind-voice and I) started fighting because the mind-voice believed I was trying to calm him down, right away in the first minute he would come to bother me. As soon as I breathed in, mind-voice would wander off looking for a subject I had taught him, drinking, fighting, good times, bad times, and self-pity. For decades his job was done, I would take the bait. I would dwell on them entertain them. But sitting quietly I identified the problem, it’s right there, from the very wanting of these thoughts to entertain me, I saw my mind-voice is simply behaving according to its conditioning, it’s naturally throwing suggestions at me like fishing hooks, and if I take the bait, off I would go. I simply stopped taking the bait. The mind-voice was google, it didn’t know any better, simply suggesting all kinds of things. I smiled at the suggestions but didn’t bite, the mind would tempt me with something else that worked before, I would smile, on and on we’d go. We blame our mind-voice but there is no obsession with the mind-voice it chatters and plays around like a child. It’s not harmful unless we take the bait and get obsessed with it's suggestions. That’s was the real cause of my troubles. That Buddha bloke taught to look within. “Look within, don’t look outwards.” This is all it takes, a simple understanding. When I sat, I just sat, not looking for the truth, I became aware of the thoughts that destroyed me, but stopped entertaining them, the mind-voice became stronger wanting to know what he had done to offend me, hadn’t he guided me, fabricating a false world so that I could navigate life with ease. I didn’t ignore him I just stopped playing along, this caused insight to pop-up, the mind-voice was changing his tactic, he began showing during the quiet spaces the workings of the mind, the language of the brain and the ways and means of thoughts themselves, there’s nothing special about any of them. They appear, hang about for a while, tempting me with suggestions, and then just disappear. I began to see more clearly, if I held fast to things, imaginary or real, I will suffer. This is how depression, alcohol and drug abuse begin. I saw that body and mind are merely the way they are. Now I don’t recommend this, but with Effexor XR, after 3 years I went cold turkey. Straight for the jugular, cut that bastard drug right off in his prime. Suffer, I sure did, head full of sand, flashes of electricity, night terrors, (if that’s lucid dreaming you can keep it). Sweating, anxiety, anger and sadness. Coming off this drug was worse than giving up a 40-year alcohol addiction. I went on a normal healthy diet, did some gentle exercise, ignored the tantrums going on with my old mate, mind-voice. For the first two weeks, I did take 5mg of Melatonin, an hour before bed. Stopped watching depressing news stories and violent movies and dramas, I deleted all social media, told friends and family if they wanted to talk, they knew where I was. I read for pleasure, listen to music safely, music used to be a drinking binge trigger, an aid to deepen depression. Now it’s a pure joy, sure memories come up, I smile at the recognition and let it pass. I switched my life around the hard way. By unleashing a talent that we all possess. You can’t buy it in any store or online. In actual fact, it’s free, and we use this talent every waking minute, of every single day. If you can discover something simple like I did, maybe you can turn this amazing power into one of the most powerful recovery tools! The very same tool that has created your sadness and this disturbed world we live in, is the very same tool that allows us to exist. The mind. Our one and only advisor... Give it enough scenarios and mind-voice will create the world you want. Mine was at the bottom of a glass. I simply asked my thoughts WTF. I am clean, sober and anti-depressant free. I think freely and openly, with no stress on the negatives that mind-voice likes to trick me with. Ah! that mind-voice, he is quieter and seems more at peace than before. I smile at him, he smiles at me. Mind-Voice has never said why he liked me drinking or in depression, he just smiles and nods, as each day passes we are both better for it because you see, he was me. Not for everyone, but that my story. XX
  17. I joined this site a couple of weeks ago. After finding that paxilprogress was no more. I was devastated. That site may have truly saved my life in some of my darkest moments. What is one to do? When essentially you've self-destructed in front of everyone you love; because of a nasty little "non-habit-forming" pill that's been shoved down your throat for decades. So here I am. Time (weeks really) has eluded me. I meant to reach out sooner. I'm just hoping I'm not reaching out too late. I feel like such a horrible failure. I know better than that at some level, know that maybe I failed but that I just have to pick up the broken pieces and keep moving forward. But I'm so I'll. I'm so weak. I'm so alone. And I feel so helpless. My life may not have been a picnic before the introduction of SSRIs. But this is one situation in which the grass was truly greener on the side of which I was already standing. Before popping that first "innocent" little pink pill, prescribed by a doctor who had seen me only once and only spent 10 minutes "getting to know me". I couldn't tell you who that doctor was, I never saw him again. Nevertheless he was the first in probably nearly a hundred who have insisted upon continuing the saga. And what better did I know? I was unhappy before the meds. I was often unstable on them. And I was clueless as to why I was saying and doing psychotic things (that I often didn't remember, or just have "snippets" of memory after the fact) and so violently ill when I decided I simply no longer wanted to take the pills. Or was even 12 hours late on a dose. (More about that and my travels down genetic testing road and CYP450 mutations later.) All that being said; Hello to all in these forums. I'm the antisocial one. The antisocial one that sometimes doesn't know when it's appropriate to shut up. Or how to appropriately ask for help. But if you've been through it (psych med-wise), I probably have too. And vice versa.
  18. Hi All, I've been reading up on the forum for the last few months and decided i might put a post in as would be keen to hear your thoughts and also share my experience. I've been on Effexor XR for around 10 years in total. Original condition was OCD - obsessive thoughts about food poisoning and my food being drugged - didn't help that i would feel strange after eating food & then become anxious / paranoid about it. This resulted in depression along with inability to function in social settings and a downward spiral. Originally was on Paxil in the beginning which didn't really work and then was transferred to Effexor XR 150mg. Have been on 75mg for the last few years though. In all honesty the effexor worked great and it helped me pull myself together and make a good life for myself. Education, job, family etc. Then about 2 years ago i thought that my life was going really well, so i didn't need the effexor any more. Attempted to stop it without tapering which didn't last long due to the brain zaps. Then tried a second time by a slow tapering process over 6 months from 75mg to nothing. Got off it without too many side effects (brain zaps and irritability, brain fog mainly). The brain fog was a bit of an issue and i just didn't cope well with stress any more. An incident last year at work got me back on to the effexor and i started to feel better. Until.... About 3 months into starting the effexor again i started getting strange physical symptoms including numbness and tingling, nausea and the OCD returned - would only get the symptoms around 2-3 hours a night after eating and taking my effexor. Now i did change brands of effexor (generic) during that period and to be honest i cant remember if i took generic effexor or the branded one for the previous 9 years. I honestly don't know if these symptoms were caused by the effexor though or by something else. With the strange physical symptoms and resurgence of OCD i decided i would quickly taper off the effexor. I went down 60mg to nothing (erratically cutting dose amounts as quick as i could) in about 4 weeks. Its now been 2 months and i have had plenty of strange symptoms including hives, numbness / tingling in limbs, memory loss / confusion, headaches & constant pressure in forehead, some nausea, tightness in chest, strange physical sensations and stabbing pains, feeling like ive had allergic reactions. The WORST symptom i have experienced is derealization - I've been in a state where everything i see seems surreal and often wondered if i was actually in a coma. This seems to have gotten a little better over the last week so i hope to god that its not a permanent thing. The brain fog is quite annoying and affecting my ability to do my job - i work in IT so not being able to concentrate is a real problem. From what i have read on the forum i wouldn't class my experience anywhere near as bad as what some other people have been through. I would say the symptoms have ranged from mild to moderate, but i guess without knowing how long this is going to go on for its a bit depressing. I've been using fish oil and magnesium / b vitamins which seems to have helped - fish oil got rid of most of the brain zaps. I do have some questions for other people who might have gone through similar experiences. Has anyone tried using st johns wort during the withdrawal phase to counter effect the effexor withdrawal? Is a small re-instatement of effexor likely to result in a bad medication reaction after 2 months of not having it? Has anyone had the derealization symptom during withdrawal? Is this likely to improve? I had a cholesterol level test whilst i was on effexor which returned a high result. After coming off the effexor i had a second test done and my cholesterol was back to normal - no diet change or new medications etc. I read somewhere that effexor can increase cholesterol levels? I guess im at an impasse at the moment. Ive got a bit to loose if i cant 'pull' myself together. Getting off medications all together would be great, but if it means i need to battle this for a long time and possibly loose my job and have it affect my home life i may need to consider re-instatement of at-least a small dose or some other alternative. Im reluctant to try other drugs as effexor is the devil i know. I also know that if i restart the effexor and the symptoms go away and everything returns to normal im likely to stay on it for the rest of my life as i wont want to gamble with coming off it again. Anyways thanks for reading & if you have any thoughts or similar experiences feel free to share =)
  19. PLEASE READ THIS ENTIRE TOPIC BEFORE GOING OFF PRISTIQ. Pristiq comes in insufficient dosages to taper. Do not alternate doses of Pristiq to taper -- this will cause the levels of this medication in your brain to go up and down and is second only to cold-turkey in causing withdrawal symptoms. AND DON'T COLD-TURKEY EITHER!!!!!!!!! To reduce the risk of withdrawal symptoms and post-discontinuation prolonged withdrawal syndrome, as with other psychiatric drugs we recommend reducing Pristiq 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? The official prescribing information from the FDA contains this: However, Pristiq is difficult to taper "at a more gradual rate" as it comes in only 3 dosages: low, average and excessive -- and officially, the tablets cannot be split. PROTEST THIS DANGEROUS DRUG Phone Pfizer, Pristiq's manufacturer, to make a complaint: (800) 438-1985 in the US Pfizer has not provided any specific information on how to taper from a dosage of 25mg Pristiq, the lowest available dosage. They may suggest alternating dosages to taper Pristiq. Don't do this -- it's like playing ping-pong with your brain. File a complaint about the difficulty of tapering off Pristiq -- the range of dosages is inadequate. Also complain to the FDA 1-800-FDA-1088 Mon–Fri between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. EST. Pristiq is Effexor's fancier sibling Pristiq is a drug made of Effexor's (venlafaxine) active metabolite, O-desvenlafaxine. Pristiq is to Effexor as Lexapro is to Celexa -- a tweaked and more powerful isomer molecule. In effect, Pristiq is concentrated Effexor. See http://www.primarypsychiatry.com/aspx/articledetail.aspx?articleid=2464 According to Pfizer http://labeling.pfizer.com/showlabeling.aspx?id=497, Pristiq is available in extended-release tablets of 25mg, 50 mg, and 100 mg; the most common dosage is 50mg. Unlike Effexor, which is metabolized primarily by liver enzyme P450 CYP2D6, Pristiq is metabolized via conjugation and liver enzyme P450 CYP3A4. It attains peak plasma concentrations in about 7.5 hours. As a chemical, before it's put into an extended-release tablet, desvenlafaxine has a half-life of around 11 hours. Pristiq's extended-release formulation According to this paper, the extended-release formulation releases desvenlafaxine over 24 hours. The mean half-life of desvenlafaxine, without the extended-release formulation, is around 11 hours. The extended-release formulation is a monolithic matrix -- it's in the glue that holds the tablet together, not in the coating. I confirmed this in a phone conversation with Pfizer medical information (1-800-438-1985). (Thank you, oaklily, for this information about the matrix formulation.) Rather than a timed-release coating, the coating on the Pristiq tablet is only protective. The extended-release mechanism is part of the tablet matrix, or the glue that holds the tablet together. This is called a monolithic matrix tablet. If the tablet is split, the matrix is damaged and may not reliably be extended-release, depending on the size of the fragments. Larger fragments are more likely to retain some extended-release capability. When the tablet is CRUSHED, the matrix is completely destroyed. The particles should be assumed to have NO extended-release capability. A Pristiq fragment becomes desvenlafaxine, with an 11-hour half life. (Here is a description of the similar matrix formulation for quetiapine XR (Seroquel XR) .) OPTIONS FOR TAPERING PRISTIQ Since medicine knows nothing about tapering Pristiq, the following are all informal suggestions. Try any of them at your own risk. Please let us know how you do by posting in this topic. Cut up Pristiq tablets Despite the warnings not to cut it up, from reports on the Web, cutting up Pristiq tablets does seem to work for some but it makes others ill, possibly because of "dose dumping." According to Pubmed on Desvenlafaxine: "....The extended-release tablet does not dissolve in the stomach after swallowing. It slowly releases the medicine as it passes through your digestive system. You may notice the tablet coating in the stool...." The extended-release mechanism is part of the tablet matrix, or the glue that holds the tablet together. If the matrix is destroyed, the entire dose is released at once or "dumped," instead of being gradually released through the matrix formulation. Without the extended-release matrix, a Pristiq fragment becomes desvenlafaxine, with an 11-hour half life. To avoid "dose dumping" of the entire dose, you might take smaller divided doses of Pristiq, more than once a day, like immediate-release Effexor, to mimic an extended-release dose. Cut-up Pristiq seems to sometimes cause stomach upset, which may be reduced by taking it with food. Now that the 25mg tablet is available, cutting it into quarters gives you the option to taper by 6.25mg per step. If you are taking 100mg Pristiq or 50mg Pristiq, you may wish to request part of your prescription be written for 25mg tablets. (For insurance coverage of multiple dosages, your doctor most likely will have to specify taking Pristiq in "divided doses.") You may find you need a precise way to measure your tablet fragments. See Using a digital scale to measure doses As you get down to a low dose, you may wish to switch to Effexor to more precisely control dosage decreases, see below. Reducing from 100mg Pristiq to 50mg Pristiq Drug switches incur additional risk. Before trying a switch to Effexor or Prozac (fluoxetine) from 100mg Pristiq, it's probably wise to go down to 50mg Pristiq first, or 25mg if possible. Combining whole tablets, with their extended-release qualities, with tablet fragments probably makes "dose dumping" less likely or noticeable. You might use a 50mg tablet plus a 25mg tablet plus 3/4 of a 25mg tablet (18.75mg) to make the first reduction to 93.75mg 2nd reduction: a 50mg tablet plus a 25mg tablet plus 2/4 of a 25mg tablet (12.5mg) to go to 87.5mg 3rd reduction: a 50mg tablet plus a 25mg tablet plus 1/4 of a 25mg tablet (6.25mg) to go to 81.25mg 4th reduction: a 50mg tablet plus a 25mg tablet to go to 75mg 5th reduction: a 50mg tablet plus 3/4 of a 25mg tablet (18.75mg) to go to 68.75mg 6th reduction: a 50mg tablet plus 2/4 of a 25mg tablet (12.5mg) to go to 62.5mg 7th reduction: a 50mg tablet plus 1/4 of a 25mg tablet (6.25mg) to go to 56.25mg 8th reduction: a 50mg tablet If withdrawal symptoms occur, some people have found taking an additional fragment of a tablet can smooth the transition from one dosage to another. Another way to get from 100mg to 50mg or 25mg is to combine Pristiq tablets with a liquid made from immediate-release Effexor (see below). Once at 50mg or 25mg, stabilize for a month at least and consider your plan for the next stage of tapering. Have Pristiq made into smaller dosage capsules or a liquid by a compounding pharmacy Compounding pharmacies can crush the tablets and put the powder into smaller capsules by weight. Like cutting up tablets or crushing, this destroys the time-release quality, but the compounded method is much more exact. In your body, crushed Pristiq is similar to regular immediate-release Effexor, with an 11-hour half-life. You may wish to have your dose compounded to take twice a day. If you are taking 50mg Pristiq, for example, you would have 60 capsules compounded per month. Each capsule would be 1/2 of 45mg (a 10% reduction of 50mg) or 22.5mg. You would take two capsules per day, once in the morning, and once in the evening. The next month, you would have 60 capsules compounded, each capsule being 1/2 of 40.5mg (a 10% reduction of 45mg) or 20.25mg. And so forth, for each reduction. (According to my compounding pharmacy, they can put in a slow-release additive distributing absorption over 8-10 hours. This is not as long as the Pristiq time-release coating, but at least it's something. Check with your compounding pharmacy about this. See getting-custom-dosages-at-compounding-pharmacies-us-uk-and-elsewhere ) If this does not work, you may wish to switch to Effexor XR and use the bead-counting method. Regular Effexor probably wouldn't be an advantage over Pristiq compounded to custom dosages. One of our members had a desvenlafaxine liquid made by a compounding pharmacy. Most likely, this compounder used pure desvenlafaxine succinate powder to make this liquid, as desvenlafaxine tablets contain a glue that might resist being made into a liquid. But he may have a way to grind tablets up to make a suspension. A liquid would have to be immediate-release, with a half-life of around 11 hours. Generally, you'd take a drug with that short a half-life twice a day. Crush Pristiq tablets, weigh powder with a digital scale This is similar to cutting up tablets -- Pristiq is a "do not crush" medication, as it is a time-release drug. The Pristiq powder becomes desvenlafaxine, with an 11-hour half life. If you pulverize the tablet, you might take smaller divided doses of Pristiq, more than once a day, like immediate-release Effexor, to mimic an extended-release dose. In principle, this would be a more precise way of tapering than cutting up tablets: Crush the tablet Make sure the shell fragments are evenly distributed in the powder Weigh the powder for a dose with a digital scale Put the powder into an empty gelatin capsule to make it easier to ingest Peer discussion of this method starts here http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/876-tips-for-tapering-off-pristiq-desvenlafaxine/page__view__findpost__p__27417 Switch to Effexor or Effexor XR Note: If you've had an adverse reaction to Effexor before, do NOT switch from Pristiq to Effexor. "Desvenlafaxine (O-desmethylvenlafaxine) is the major active metabolite of venlafaxine." Since the relationship is so close, switching to regular immediate-release Effexor tablets, which you can cut up or make into a liquid, this may be the best way to taper off Pristiq. Because it has a mean half-life of 5 hours, you'd have to take regular Effexor twice a day. Alternatively, you might substitute Effexor XR, which is released gradually like Pristiq and needs to be taken only once a day. You'd have the difficulty of tapering off Effexor or Effexor XR -- themselves notorious for withdrawal difficulties -- but at least you can do that gradually. See Tips for tapering off Effexor and Effexor XR (venlafaxine). According to FDA Prescribing Information for venlafaxine (Effexor), the usual dose of Effexor is 150mg per day. Since 150mg Effexor and 50mg Pristiq are both "normal" dosages of their respective drugs, they may be roughly equivalent. (If you've just quit Pristiq and are experiencing withdrawal symptoms, you may wish to reinstate a LOWER dose of Effexor XR, such as 37.5mg, to start. This may be enough to stop withdrawal symptoms and avoid a kindling reaction.) The psychiatrist who writes the 1boringoldman.com blog reports success in switching one patient from Pristiq to Effexor, then tapering Effexor, here (see comments) Another psychiatrist said when he tried this, the switch from Pristiq to Effexor was "seamless." Dr. Stuart Shipko posts here: Advice from a psychiatric pharmacist I have been corresponding with a professor at a prominent US university pharmacy department. Here is his best guess at how to taper Pristiq (he does not want his name published): Then taper off fluoxetine (Prozac). See Tips for Tapering Prozac Advice from Dr. Stephen Stahl, author of the manual Essential Psychopharmacology In his widely read psychopharmacology manual, eminent psychopharmacologist Stephen Stahl advises titration by crushing the tablets and mixing in fruit juice, see http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/876-tips-for-tapering-off-pristiq-desvenlafaxine/page__view__findpost__p__14799 According to our member oaklily, Stahl is wrong. Making a liquid from Pristiq does not work, see http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/876-tips-for-tapering-off-pristiq-desvenlafaxine/page__view__findpost__p__24822 Dr. Stahl intends to correct his book, according to this correspondence 09/15-9/16/13 with him: Use a combination of Pristiq tablets and Effexor liquid Pristiq cannot be made into a liquid, but its close relative immediate-release Effexor (not Effexor XR) can. You may be able to go off Pristiq by taking part of your dose in lower-dose tablets and part in liquid Effexor, gradually converting to all-liquid Effexor as you get to lower dosages. This may offer a convenient and gradual path off Pristiq. Only regular immediate-release Effexor can be made into a liquid (see Tips for tapering off Effexor (venlafaxine) ). As immediate-release Effexor has a short half-life and is usually dosed twice a day, you may wish to take the liquid portion of your dosage later in the day. For example, if you are taking 100mg Pristiq, you may wish to take your daily dose as one 50mg tablet and the rest later in the evening as a liquid made from immediate-release Effexor. You can titrate the liquid by 10% of your daily dosage to taper until you get to 50mg. Then you can take a 25mg Pristiq tablet with the rest in a liquid made from immediate-release Effexor. When you get to 25mg Pristiq, you might switch to splitting the tablet and taking the rest in Effexor liquid and so on until you are taking only liquid Effexor. To do this, you will have to request a prescription for Effexor tablets as well as Pristiq from your doctor. "Bridging" with Prozac or another antidepressant Any drug change incurs additional risk. A switch to Prozac from Pristiq may not work -- they are very different drugs -- or you might have adverse reactions to Prozac. Prozac is regularly used to "bridge" off Effexor. Given that Pristiq is a sibling of Effexor and Effexor XR, it is possible that one can, similarly, use Prozac to withdraw from Pristiq. Attributed to Joseph Glenmullen, the "bridging" technique is described by a doctor here http://www.bipolarworld.net/Phelps/ph_2005/ph1354.htm Read this entire topic before attempting a switch to Prozac: The Prozac switch or "bridging" with Prozac Later, taper off Prozac. At least Prozac comes in a liquid. To do this, consult a doctor knowledgeable about this technique.
  20. JulianaMoon

    JulianaMoon

    Hi! I've been diagnosed with major depression recurrant, PTSD, severe anxiety, bi polar, borderline personality syndrome and agorophobia over the 24 years I have been seeing psychiatrists and therapists after a 2nd violent sexual assualt. I still have no idea what my proper diagnosis should be, but I think major depression, PTSD, and severe anxiety would be my personal diagnosis. I was doing great on Paxil 30 mg and Ativan 2mg for many years. Than we relocated to a different state. I was put on Effexor XR 300 mg in addition to the others. I seemed to get better and was just cruising along. We moved to TN and I was doing OK. Somehow I ended up on 150 mg of Effexor. I don't remember if the Dr dropped the dosage or I did. When I was diagnosed with hyperhomocysteinemia in 2011 after a lifetime of being tired all the time, I was told to take B12, b6 and folic acid. Nothing changed. My psychiatrist put me on Nuvigil 150 mg, than 250 mg and what a difference. I remodeled my whole house myself with YouTube as my teacher. When I turned 50, everything changed and I started gaining weight and started getting very tired again. I had not changed a thing. I weaned off Paxil. No difference. Than I got high blood pressure and was put on Lisinopril 40 mg 2x a day. And Atorvastatin. Than I found out I had GERD and Barretts Esophagus and was put on Prilosec 40 mg. Than the pounds really started packing on. The more weight I gained, the worse my depression and fatigue got. Now, I am 100 pounds overweight, and never leave the house. I decided to get off of Effexor because I felt it wasn't helping, but actually making me worse. My Dr increased my dosage from 150 mg of Effexor XR to 225 mg Effexor. I got worse. So, I decided it is time to wean myself off of the Effexor and than try and get off the Prilosec. Work on my weight and try to be free of blood pressure meds. I am high stroke risk, and I think the Prilosec is adding weight to me. Anyways. I have already gone from 225 mg of Effexor to 100mg over the course of 2-3 months. The 1st 50 mg drop was bc my Dr kept forgetting to prescribe it, and the nurse insisted I was never on that dose. My pharmacist proved them wrong, but they still quit prescribing it. I felt better after 2 months, so I have actually been weaning myself off 175 mg for 2-3 months. The first drop was 17.5 mg for 5 weeks. Than 17.5 again for 4 weeks. I added 5 mg of Paxil to help with withdrawals when I dropped the 1st 17.5 mg. So I was on 137.5 mg and than I dropped another 17.5 mg for 3 weeks. Than I increased my dosage on Paxil to 10 mg and dropped the last 17.5 mg thru one week. When I dropped doses, I did every other day for a week, every 2 days for a week, than the drop to the new dose for 2-3 weeks. That last drop was 17.5 mg every other day, than the new dose, while I went up to 10 mg Paxil. It has been awful. I take 100 mg of Effexor at 10 am and 10 mg of Paxil at 6 pm. Around 9-10 pm I started crying, getting angry, crying and feeling so much despair about the death of my mother in Nov.I start making plans to auction the house off and move home. I obsess over finding a home in MI. I feel trapped in TN. I am literally having a major panic attack. It goes from mild to extreme over the course of 4-5 days. So once a week I add a 17.5 mg of Effexor, than I'm OK. So I am wondering if these are withdrawal symptoms from Effexor? Or is it because I increased the Paxil to 10 mg? Is it because the last drop was too quick? And I'm not sure what to do. I was thinking of cutting back to 5 mg of Paxil over a few weeks bc I flip out a few hours after taking it. But maybe I should increase the Effexor 17.5 mg to 2 times a week at night, than start weaning down from that. So that is why I am here. To finish the detox with others, and find out what helps during the bad withrawal days.
  21. Hello everyone! I am 26 years old. I tapered off 150 mg XR a little to quickly. I was on it for about two years. I was off completely for about a month. But the anxiety kept getting worse. The pressure in the top of my chest and bottom of throat. It's hard to describe. Also it was hard for me to speak. I was extremely irritable and edgy! I felt dead and wanted to die. The withdrawal just made me feel this way. I took 25 mg IR yesterday. This morning I took 25 mg. This afternoon i will take the second dose of 25. How long do you guise separate your doses of IR? I am also going to do the 10% deduction of the current amount. I am doing the math, this is going to take a very long time! But that's ok, my fault for taking it. When i get this low is it best to make it into liquid form? I watched the video and I understand. in 4 weeks my next dose will be 22.5 mg.
  22. I tapered from effexor 150 mg over 12 days, 11 weeks ago. I experienced nearly every acute side effect eg. derealisation/depersonalisation, euphoria, vertigo, tremor, intrusive suicidal thoughts, akathisia, blurred vision, crushing pressure in head, pins and needles in forehead etc. 2 weeks ago I started to feel increasing numbness in my forehead and cognitive problems with working memory etc. consistent with chemical lobotomisation. As of 10 days or so ago I am experiencing nausea, extreme intermittent confusion, memory loss, sweating, restless legs, heart arrythmias and tachycardia. I'm very frightened and don't know whether reinstating at a low dose could make things worse although its difficult to see how things could get much worse at this point. I feel as though I'm in late stage dementia and I'm 35. I have no appetite and have lost 10% of my body weight over the last week, from 54 kg to 49 kg at 167 cm. Has anyone reinstated this late from a rapid taper and found it beneficial or did it make things worse? Please help me I'm absolutely desperate.
  23. I've been on the Ven for 7 years, along with wellbutrin and trazadone, diagnosed with GAD and major depressive disorder. I'm 99% positive the doctor, based off what she said at the appts, didnt know what she was doing and in just pulling out an encyclopedia picked out a med (Ven) and put me on a major dose that wasn't needed. I think I had some PSTD and after years of being in a fog mentally and checked out, decided it was time to kick it. Out of the 3 ven's I took daily, I dropped down to one pill a day while in Mexico, I handled it pretty well after trying to ween down without success previously. Maybe it was the awesome trip I was on, maybe it was sweating it out the whole time, I have no idea, but I only felt a little dizzy for that week and I was good. A few months later (actually 4 days ago) I went off the last pill cold turkey and have never been so emotional in my life. I'm starving even after eating to the bursting point, I've gone from a size 6 from my Mx vacation to a 12 and am losing it. I definitely got the withdrawl syndrome bad right now, myalgia, blurred vision, flu like symptoms, irritability, tingling sensations, vivid dreams, sweating, you name it. Please tell me someone that it is going to dissipate soon. Will my hunger even out? I cant go back on meds but I cant gain anymore weight.
  24. I need some advice. I was on cymbalta for 7 years and very functioning on it. I was reduced from 120 to 60 mg from my doctor and slowly started to mentally decline. Physically too, not able to eat. My doctor thought I was just depressed, which I know now I was in withdrawal from a dosage reduction. He tapered me off in 2 weeks and placed me on lithium and abilify. I hated being so sedated and shouldn’t have been switched to anything at the time, I know now. I was then taken off those in 2 weeks and placed on Zoloft. That had my heart racing so fast I couldn’t take it. I was on that for 5 weeks and felt like I was dying. Tapered off in 1 week. Now I have been on Effexor for 10 weeks. I know now that my brain has been kindled. It’s in no shape of getting any good effects from any medicine because none of them help, especially if I am in Protracted withdrawals all along from reducing the cymbalta dosage. I hate the Effexor. It has no positives and I know I cannot slowly taper until my brain starts to stabilize. I just have been on Effexor for 10 weeks, in Protracted withdrawal, and don’t know how my brain will stabilize while still on Effexor. I know this is going to require a lot of time to heal. I just wish I could slowly taper Effexor and then I would feel as if I am healing. I know now that I should not have allowed myself to take another antidepressant after cymbalta. I should have re-instated the 120 and slowly weaned off. Too late. Now i I feel like I have brain damage and cannot find any joy in life at all. I’m scared because I am barely functioning and I will never allow my doctor to give me another medicine. Which he is trying to. Please help!
  25. Wow! First of all I would like to say how relieved I was to have found this forum. For the years I've been struggling with this I have gotten so tired of other people (including doctors and therapists!) telling me that what I've experienced isn't possible and that I'm either making it all up or still sick. Everything started in my junior year of college. I had struggled with varying levels of depression and anxiety for most of my life, even resorting to SI when I was younger, but had finally hit a point where I thought that I needed some professional help. Looking back, I'm sure that the sudden drop was situational as much as anything. Most of my friends had moved away or graduated, my family was going through some money trouble, and I was working more hours to be able to be more self-sufficient. I started to become more withdrawn and my academics started to drop. I was an A and B student so this was very stressful to me. Thinking I was being proactive and doing the right thing, I went to my school's counseling center who then referred me to the campus clinic. The psychiatric nurse practitioner prescribed Prozac (20mg). About two weeks later I was hit with the worse anxiety I had ever had. I barely left my house unless I had to for class or work, would start shaking at random times, and had near constant chest pain. I tried to wait it out but eventually gave up and went back. She switched me to lexapro(20mg). This seemed to do the trick so I stayed on it though the end of the semester and over the summer. Unfortunately, when I started back up at school I started to struggle again. I'd tried to make positive changes in my life: made some new friends, got in contact with old ones, and started trying to date. Then, as it happens all too often in college, the guy I was seeing got me drunk and took advantage. This led to me having a bit of a breakdown and my friends urged me to go to the hospital. While there they switched me to zoloft(50mg), remeron(15mg), and lorazapam(2mg as needed). This is where things start to get really wonky. At first I thought it was helping but about a month after I got out of the hospital I started having these intense intrusive self-harm thoughts. Violent and strong enough to scare me. I had a medication review and those three were dropped and I was put on WellbutrinXL(150mg). Again things were better for a little while but about a month later started to go south. The intrusive thoughts were back and I had started to feel very unlike myself. Impulsive and disconnected. I later learned that this was probably a kind of dissociation. One night all of the stress and darkness got to me and I impulsively decided to chase the rest of my pills with half a bottle of vodka. It was strange because I wasn't trying to kill myself, the mindset was more: "I wonder what this will do. It can't be worse that what I'm already feeling." It didn't feel real, like it was happening to someone else. That put me back in the hospital where I then dropped out of college and moved back in with my parents. I had to be on a wait list but eventually I started seeing a new psychiatrist who decided to diagnose me with Bipolar based on the impulsiveness and out of character behavior I had while taking Wellbutrin. She called it agitated depression or mixed mania. At the time I believed her. I was scared, desperate, and seriously doubting my sanity, and I felt like I couldn't trust myself. She started out by prescribing me Abilify(15mg) and Effexor (75mg). This was my second nightmare. A few days later I started having akathisia and had similar feelings of impulsiveness and feeling out of control. When I told my doctor she urged me to wait it out which led to me relapsing into SI for the first time in over 6 years to cope. That combination was obviously stopped and I had the most physical withdrawal symptoms that I had so far. I couldn't leave my bed for two days I was so nauseous and dizzy. I feel like I should point out at this point that I was on most of these medications for max of a few months and didn't taper at all. Cold turkey then right on to another. Next on the list was Latuda(40mg - 60mg). My insurance ended up not really covering that one so what I ended up on as my final medication was Lithium. This was a blessing in a way because it didn't really do anything, which turns out, is what I needed. At one point I was up to 1600mg a day to control my "symptoms" which I'm now convinced was almost entirely side effects mixed with withdrawal. That dose completely destroyed my short term memory. After finally stabilizing, I had gone back to school and this was making classwork almost impossible, so after much debating the dosage was stepped down to 800mg. Finally, in the summer of 2017, I took a summer job working at a research station in the forest. After a lot of solo time hiking in nature I had an epiphany. This was the best I had felt in years and that all of my serious problems started after I sought "help." When I got back to see my doctor I told her my plan to stop taking medication. She was extremely judgemental and basically told me I'd be back when I had a relapse and just told me to tapper off with the what I had left (about a weeks worth). I'm very happy to say that she was wrong. All I've done since then is get better. I still struggle with some depression and anxiety but if that is the trade off I will gladly live with that. After a year and a half of being free of psychiatric drugs I'm surprised at the difference. On medication I was dissociating, having panic attacks, paranoia, and suicidal ideation. I felt like a complete basket case. It's terrifying to me how easy it is to get stuck in a downward spiral like that. Not ONE of the doctors or therapists that I'd seen even considered that the medication could be what was causing me to get worse and worse. They just saw worsening "symptoms" that they had to "get ahead of" and I believed it too. Now, even that the worst is over, the experience still haunts me. I feel so guilty about the way that I behaved and I have no idea how much was my fault versus the medication. I know that it was a factor but I remember making the decisions to hurt myself and destroy my life and I'm not really sure how to live with that. I have nightmares where I'm back in the worst of it feeling like I'm slowly losing my mind and I have permanent scars from the SI. I saw a new primary care doctor recently and the first thing she tried to do was get me back on mood stabilizers after seeing "bipolar" on my chart. I don't know how to get that removed or if I even can. The only people who believe me are my friends and family who saw me go from a somewhat stressed young adult to nonfunctional almost overnight. I know that this hasn't ruined my life... but it certainly feels like it sometimes. I'm sorry that anyone else had to go through this hell but I'm so, so glad that I'm not alone in this. Even now I'm not sure that I'm completely recovered. I guess time will tell.
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