Jump to content

Search the Community

Showing results for tags 'escitalopram'.

  • Search By Tags

    Type tags separated by commas.
  • Search By Author

Content Type


Forums

  • Support
    • Read This First
    • Introductions and updates
    • Success stories: Recovery from psychiatric drug withdrawal
    • Tapering
    • Symptoms and self-care
    • Finding meaning
  • Members only
  • Current events
    • Events, actions, controversies
    • In the media
    • From journals and scientific sources

Find results in...

Find results that contain...


Date Created

  • Start

    End


Last Updated

  • Start

    End


Filter by number of...

  1. GreatGigInTheSky

    GreatGigInTheSky

    Hello 👋 I wanted to introduce myself and say I am looking forward to reading through here, learn about safe, gradual tapering and getting to know you all. Thank you!
  2. Hi Everyone, I am just going to jump right into this. I developed anxiety 4 years ago after having several life crisis in a months time. My mom was diagnosed w Dementia. My little sister was diagnosed with stage 3 lung cancer. I was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma.A childhood friend died in his sleep from heart failure. I tipped over from the stress. I went to my GP and she started throwing AD's at me to help silence the anxiety. The AD's only made me worse. I went to the ER one night after experiencing my first panic attack The ER Dr gave me a script for Ativan. I took it for four weeks and then stopped because I was feeling much better. A few days later my world turned on it's axis. I didn't know what was happening. My anxiety was worse, I was pacing, heart racing, Panic attacks daily.... I went to my GP and she said I needed to see a Psychiatrist. To get in to see anyone was 3 months. I started to spiral. I had no idea I was in withdrawal! I ended up in the hospital to get help for my anxiety. I was put on Effexor (75mg)and Klonopin (.25mg). I stabilized and was sent home. I did really well on Effexor. After 4 months on Klonopin I started to slowly taper off. I tapered over 3 months. The taper went pretty well. I was cutting and weighing my pills. 8 months after that I felt good and talked to my Psychiatrist about tapering off of the Effexor. She strongly recommended to go slow and we did. I tapered for almost 7 months. To be honest, the Klonopin was easier to come off of than the Effexor. She put me on Prozac before my last cut of Effexor. Tapered off of the Prozac over 3/ months. I still had some anxiety but it was tolerable. It felt AMAZING to be free of AD'S and the Benzo....then COVID hit and my mom passed away. Anxiety came back w a vengeance. I ended up back in the hospital after a very bad reaction to Zoloft. My new psychiatrist kept telling me to "push through," the first 3 months. I was back on Klonopin but now it was.50mg twice a day.The hospital took me cold turkey off of Zoloft and started me on Remeron and Trazadone. The next day they added clonidine. The klonodine didn't agree w my system at all and I was taken off of that in two days. They released me from the hospital 5 days later. I lasted two weeks on Remeron. I was so disoriented, confused, high anxiety and felt like I could become violent on them so they weaned me off of that over 4 days and put me back on Prozac. Prozac didn't help my anxiety, I had constant headaches for months! I did get an MRI and it was normal. I started to feel more and more depressed on it. I was on Prozac for maybe two months when my psychiatrist took me off of that (tapered over 6 weeks) and put me on Lexapro. I had to have back surgery during this. I did NOT take a single pain med out of fear of making my WD worse. At first I thought the Lexapro was helping? I was still having breakthrough anxiety so he bumped it up. My Psychiatrist retired and a new woman came in to take his place until they could find a new one. She bumped my Lexapro up to 25mg when I told her I was having major anxiety rushes, my face would get bright red, I wasn't sleeping very well. That increased dosage was the worst! I was like a zombie but w heightened anxiety. I couldn't work, I would sit at my desk and space off for hours! I felt awful. So, she told me to start tapering off of the Lexapro (4 weeks total! I knew better...) and she wanted to cross taper me onto Effexor. I started that and boy....the depression was BRUTAL! I was not sleeping well, could hardly focus, anxiety was high, my legs felt like jelly, my head would burn, I felt my brain tingle all the time... I was nearing the end of my rope. I was desperate for a Psychiatrist that CARED. The interim Psych left and a new one came in. She wanted me off of the Effexor because she felt it was too hard to come off of and if it didn't work for me, I would be in for hell. I told her I was scared to switch AGAIN and she assured me that switching to Duoloxetine was it's "sister drug," and I shouldn't have an issue. I trusted her. The last 3 months have been.... (How do describe this hell?!) a daily battle to push through hell on earth. I am still working, I can still function, I take care of myself, my home, my dog. I am a divorced woman with a 22 year old son. I live by myself with my Rottweiler. Life is so friggin' hard when you are trying to get thorough this mess. I now have a WONDERFUL and caring Psychiatric nurse practitioner who truly cares. She is holding me on the last 10mg of Lexapro until the Effexor/Lexapro WD calms down...IF it calms down. I should tell you that I can't believe I have pushed through the last year. My symptoms have been Burning in my head, headaches, tingling in my head, mood fluctuations, burning on my skin, bloodshot eyes, pressure on my chest, sensitivity to heat, depression, sweat easily, joint pain, ringing in my ears, no motivation, grinding my teeth, feeling mentally off at times, at the beginning I couldn't sit still, short tempered, at times in the beginning of the Lexapro taper, I didn't want to talk at times...like I almost couldn't, buzzing in my body, feel like I'm going crazy sometimes, anxiety rushes...etc I am interested in this group for support and the combined knowledge from it's members. I know that NO ONE can tell me when this is going to end. What I am hoping is that someone can tell me what I am going through is normal for all of the med changes? I am honestly concerned if I am still having problems because of the Duoloxetine? My anxiety IS better since I have been on it. I get 8 hours of sleep. I don't drink. I don't use illegal drugs, don't smoke. I eat pretty healthy. I don't exercise. It's tough to get out for walks when you feel like hell and I guess I save my mental energy to work. I know I have rambled on. My mind feels like it's in a vice and also these drugs affect how well I put my thoughts into words. For the most part I am a happy and well adjusted person. I feel like the last few years have been stolen from me because I faithfully followed Dr's instructions and thought they knew best...I was so wrong. Thank you for your time. Blessings to all of you.
  3. Hello, first of all, excuse me for my English, which is not my language. I’m a 50 years old man, long term SSRI/SNRI user who is trying to survive after a lot of mistakes made with this poisons. First SSRI was prescribed me in 1998: a psychiatrist decided to solve my panic attacks, anxiety and fears to be sick with a 20 mg of paroxetine. My journey with SSRI began: I took paroxetine from 1998 to 2008; then escitalopram from 2008 to 2010; venlafaxine XR from 2011 to 2016. During this period, 3 or 4 times I attempted to stop but after six months free I reinstated the drug; my doctor said that the difficulty to stop was a problem of mine because “SSRI don’t give dependence” and anyway said “if necessary you can use it for all the life”. For sure from 2006 for me was IMPOSSIBLE to decrease paroxetine under 10 mg!!! From 2017 drugs seem not work as in the past: my doctor tries firstly with escitalopram (from december 2017 to august 2018), sertraline (from november 2018 to july 2019) and finally vortioxetine (november 2019 to february 2020). On february the 6th I took for last time vortioxetine which was giving to me just problems More than nine months have passed since then during which I experienced extremely heavy symptoms that reduced my mental energies and threw me into a profound discomfort that makes it increasingly difficult to carry out my normal activities. Some of the symptoms are those that I have already known in the past (although they present themselves in a more severe way): agitated anxiety; insomnia (I have occasionally taken xanax which fortunately I have used very rarely in these 20 years) and sudden and agitated awakenings; obsessive search for information and explanations about my malaise (via the internet). Others are new: an unbearable mood swings; a certain emotional lability (I get very easily moved and angry); physical symptoms such as fatigue with pain in particular in the legs and frequent palpitations. In the background then there are distressing thoughts for the future: evolution of my malaise (fear of irreversible damage to my nervous system induced by prolonged use of drugs). What seemed surprising was requent change in symptoms from week to week. At the end I found this site and with it a little hope: I have learned many things, even about my mistakes, and discovered that I’m not alone. Now I’m just surviving and my days are (very) often hard to pass, but there are moments (1 or 2 hours in a day) when I feel this journey through the hell is a long and necessary way to live again, to see the stars again. My long journey to healing has started, and I hope you would support me with your advice.
  4. Hello- as my topic title shows, I have been on anti-depressants for 24 years (20mgs Lexepro, 175 mgs Wellbutrin). It is hard to face. After the birth of my first son, I began having acute anxiety. When I told my gynecologist he told me it was common after giving birth because of hormonal changes. In such cases, he recommends about six months of medication to help with the symptoms and recommended a psychiatrist that he works with for patients such as me. I'm sure none of you are surprised to know that, as is all too common, I never got off the drugs for very long. Each time withdrawel symptoms were interpreted as my illness returning. My mother suffered from anxiety and depression all her sad life, so it wasn't hard to believe that I was ill. Yet, I still tried a few times to stop the drugs. Interestingly, once it became clear how difficult it was to get off the drugs, I knew with certainty that I needed to stop taking them. I Thought I would put if off until I was retired, so I would have less stress, etc. to deal with the WD, but when I learned about the10% taper it gave me hope that I can be AD free by my 60th birthday! I will start with the Lexepro. Getting myself a scale and using a spreadsheet to calculate the decreases. I'm getting my yoga and walking on, and continuing meditation for success! I'm so glad to have this site for reference, information and support!
  5. Amid disparaging anguish, I’m looking for experienced advice about how to move forward for relief and healing. Background: After being on Zoloft beginning in 2000 and Paxil since 2004 (failed taper before resuming at 25 mg in 2007, slow wean to 10 mg and held until 2016 - back up to 20 mg before SLOW liquid wean back to 10 mg), I felt well enough (working with Mensah Medical since fall 2018 and a naturopath since May 2020) to begin very slow descent from 10 mg in November 2020. Used liquid to go down 0.02 mL/0.04 mg per day through early February 2022. Was eating VERY healthy (mostly natural/organic, gluten/dairy free).Noticed sleep issues around beginning of March (waking up 3-4 hours early), OCD symptoms, irritability.Around Mother’s Day 2022, began losing whole nights of sleep in fairly regular succession. Horrible anxiety and panic. *I’m still baffled by what went wrong with my careful, supported wean - so disheartening! After Unisom wasn’t consistently helpful,PCP prescribed both Ambien (took only 3 times) and Trazodone for sleep. Starting May 16, my first 2 nights on Trazodone at 50 mg - ineffective for sleep, went to 100 mg after one night of 10 mg Ambien/50 mg Trazodone. Stayed at 100 mg for about 1 week before coming down (75 mg one night, then 62.5 — 1.25 pill — for two nights, to 50 mg one night, back to 62.5 mg one night, then 50 mg for 9 nights). Tried adding hydroxyzine a bit - had script for that too - but not helpful enough and too blanked out next day. Notes from being on Trazodone: ”Over the past two nights, I’ve taken 2 Trazodone. It seems to be taking a toll on my body (some constipative, raw stomach, alarming clamped feeling in head and arm/leg/feet muscles) while providing partial sleep (~4 hours last night with some resting after). This morning, I woke up about 4 AM!” “Continuing to take this Trazodone has felt overwhelming to my body. It recently seems to hinder my rest. It’s super-alarming to have a pounding heart, electrifying grip on my head/body muscles (writhing/jerking for relief), stomach distress, constipation, and an unpleasant skin warming as I struggle to relax in the night. The sleep support seems to be dwindling while the intensely unsettling body impact continues. I dread nights because of the experience. I feel scared with wanting relief from Trazodone side effects while hoping my body wouldn’t overreact to sudden change. As my function and coping diminish, I feel at a loss. As much as I want good rest, sleeping meds seem to be counterproductive for me.” On 6/9, started going down from 50 mg Trazodone by 1/8 pill with 2 nights at every level - was at 25 mg by 6/17 and totally off around July 4. So, I was on Trazodone for around 6 weeks - definitely less than 8 weeks. In the meantime, some of my closest associates were/are convinced that I need some level of Paxil for the rest of my life. Such negative experiences with Trazodone probably indicated that my Paxil dosage was insufficient. So - bewildered and despondent, I resumed 5 mg Paxil on 5/17, increased to 10 mg around 5/26, tried increasing to 20 mg on 6/6 but scaled back to 15 mg on 6/15 due to Trazodone wean, and went back to 20 mg on 7/8 — twice as much as before I started the wean! I so much wish I’d stopped Trazodone earlier (or never started) and not gone up nearly so high on Paxil! Now off Trazodone and on 20 mg Paxil for about 1 month — sleeping better, BUT …(alarming tinnitus, burning nerve/muscle pain in limbs/extremities/back - want to writhe out of my skin, gastrointestinal soreness, intense pressure headaches - worse in evenings, nauseating dryness in nose/mouth/ears, twitching urge and restless agitation). Symptoms are persistent, worse at times, and can seem so unbearably awful. I struggle to function, think, process, and socialize. Psychiatrist wants to add Remeron and remove Paxil later (I’m disinterested), BUT I wonder if it’s somewhat due toTrazodone withdrawal (some Paxil side effects too maybe but never felt this dreadfully rotten with Paxil before) — have begun 0.02/0.04 liquid Paxil wean again (takes 125 days to drop 5 mg). Is this something to bracingly wait out while I wean down on Paxil again (is there a better/safer way to wean Paxil?), or am I unwise not to reinstate Trazodone for a more gradual wean (how would I do that)? Also, am I correct to avoid adding Remeron to the mix? God bless you for reading and considering what support you can offer in response!
  6. 9 years ago, I was prescribed 10mg of generic Prozac after a traumatic incident in my life that left me nearly catatonic. I continued on that dose for 7 years. Approximately 2 years ago, after a stressful work situation, my primary care doctor suggested I switch my antidepressant as he thought it became ineffective after so many years. He switched me to a dosage equivalent of generic Lexapro for a short time. I complained about a spike in anxiety so he then switched me to 50 mg of generic Zoloft. Shortly thereafter, I experienced major depersonalization and brain fog. I eventually went down to 25 mg of Zoloft and, somewhere in the midst of this, I experienced some other obscure health symptoms (pressure in head, tinnitus, dizziness, fatigue, neck and head pain, etc). I saw many specialists who all said my health checked out. I ultimately decided I wanted off of my antidepressant and my doctor recommended halving my dose for a week, and another, then stopping. I experienced some peculiar insomnia/hypomania, agitation and flatness the first few weeks, but, overall, I faired well. It wasn’t until about 2-3 months later, I would know literal hell. I have been imploding with anxiety, trembling, not eating, experiencing an avalanche of panic attacks, and not sleeping for 24 hours at a time- during which time I have rapid, intrusive thoughts teetering on hallucinations. I can feel my nervous system destabilizing and have an overwhelming feeling of dread. It has felt as if I’m on the precipice of permanent insanity. Sunday, I went to urgent care where I was prescribed Hydroxyzine for sleep and I was told I could not experience withdrawals 2-3 months after discontinuation; I was told I was experiencing a relapse. I have never experienced this kind of insomnia and anxiety prior to antidepressants. Yesterday, I started back on 25 mg of Zoloft. Today, I was prescribed 7.5 of Mirtazapine for sleep until the Zoloft takes effect. I will eventually address tapering again, but it won’t be through the suggestions of healthcare providers. Hopefully, I can rely on another’s experience for a successful taper. For now, I feel highly skeptical and disappointed in modern practitioners. I am hoping to stabilize my nervous system soon.
  7. I was on 40 mgs Lexapro. started on 20 mgs then increased over 5 years. Have been on various antidepressants for over 20 years. Seeing a Homeopath and trialing remedies. Told by Psychiatrist reduce 20 mgs a week. Frightened by all withdrawal horror stories. Have to work to pay mortgage. Suffering from discontinuation Syndrome. -suicidal thoughts - brain fog - anxiety - panic attacks -stomach upsets - debilitating lack of concentration - constant fear of living My family are supporting me Dont want to go back on meds but scared this may continue for years. Any advice welcome.
  8. I find the greatest irony in all of this is that I didn't experience clinical depression until I was in medical school. I still have some regret over pushing myself and being so ambitious. I know I've got a victim mentality going on and it'll be apparent in the summary below. I'm trying to change my narrative but it's a process. Fall 2013 - first diagnosed with adjustment disorder, not sure what diagnoses I actually got next but pretty sure it all neatly fit into major depressive disorder successfully treated with therapy, group therapy/support groups, daily exercise, acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, meditation, leave of absence from school, spending time with family and friends naively assumed that it was just a one-time thing and that depression does not necessarily have to be "chronic" Fall 2017 - started feeling poorly and knew I didn't have time for self-care when working 12+ hours/day and wanted to keep chugging along in my medical career and at least get a license to practice so only solution seemed to be drugs started on zoloft but experienced bad side effects so switched to lexapro 10mg and started therapy again, even took time off work for an intensive month of therapy Spring 2018 - decided to leave my toxic medical training program and put in my letter stating I'd be resigning after completing this first year of training, felt immensely better but waited a few weeks to make sure it wasn't a temporary relief before approaching my psychiatrist to wean off medication he agreed it seemed like a situational depression and we tapered off somewhat rapidly, had occasional dizziness but mostly when descending stairs in the hospital Fall 2018 - expected to feel so happy after quitting that position but immediately fell into a very deep and the deepest at that point in my life, depression really didn't want to be on medication again, continued therapy, tried to go on runs a doctor I was shadowing and hoping to work with noticed something was off and gave me a sample of the latest antidepressant which he took himself and thought was great; I tried it but had nausea/vomiting each time so only took it for a few days; might have had some dry heaving afterwards too went back to psychiatrist to restart on lexapro and we upped it to 20mg pretty fast since my depression was so severe saw PCP who could manage this as well and wanted to taper but he didn't recommend it; I went against medical advice (yup, docs really do make the worst patients ) and waited for a few months, then planned a really slow taper myself while acquiring healthier habits like exercising again and eating a more plant-based diet; finally off of it completely in February/March 2020 May 2020 - I think that's when I started stressing again and in July/August, I hit what is now my worst level of depression. I've never had so many and such intense suicidal thoughts. This is the first time I've planned and even attempted. Each time, there was still an essence in me that wanted me to live so here I am. I've also been experiencing a high level of anxiety and what felt like a slow long burning panic attack and panic attacks. I've never had any of this before. I started seeing a new therapist who at first suggested and then strongly urged me to go back on lexapro. I luckily had 1 more refill left on the medication so I didn't have to find a new doctor as I just moved to a new area. Placebo effect or perhaps being back on an SSRI which the body was so used to must be strong because I felt better the first day after I took my first pill. It's still been hard but a lot better too. I've created and been able to stick to a system of getting out of bed and exercising. This time, I've kept more detailed track of my medication and tonight should be day 20 of taking it. I have a pretty immediate question though. I read through the post on whether now is a good time to taper or not and I'm undecided on where I fit. While I am going through a tough transition right now, underemployed and currently interviewing for a better job that will certainly bring back some small level of PTSD since there will be some medical practice involved, I also am "young" in starting this new trial of lexapro so I want to quit while I'm "ahead." I am hopeful I will get this new job and even if I don't, either way will be stressful because I'll either have to learn a new position or I'll have to apply for more jobs (each job search and application leads me to panic attacks and shutting down completely). Perhaps it's better I stay on the medication so I don't even have to worry about withdrawing/relapsing again. Ugh, I'm so confused and lost. I hate this and I feel like ever since I started on medications, I've lost my previous ability level to cope. It's like my emotional pain threshold is lower. Perhaps it's because I have a diagnosis to fall back on and instead of seeing things as just another life stressor or bump in the road, I'm conditioned to see it as another relapse. I don't know. Frustrated and annoyed and hate meds.
  9. Medication HIstory: Prozac 1993 to 2016 for anxiety and depression (actually have Complex PTSD) Switched to Celexa in 2016 and took until Feb 2022 Switched to Lexapro in Feb 2022 then Zoloft in June. Switches were due to bad anxiety and now tapering off because SSRIs seem to be causing anxiety rather than reducing it. At 25 mg Zoloft presently for 3 weeks. Symptoms include nausea, loss of appetite, stomach ache, anxiety. Also taking Lorazepam 1 mg and Zolpidem 10 mg. Just started Accel for nausea and it's helping.
  10. Hello everyone! Here is my introduction topic. Today marks one year I stopped antidepressants (Escitalopram). I have been completely symptom-free for 2 months as of March 2022, but the biggest improvement in symptoms came past month 6-7 into withdrawal, I would say last October (2021). I am aware that this is quite fast and that I was lucky, but nonetheless I wish to document my journey to give hope to everyone that's struggling, be it 2 weeks or 2 years in. Because despite my WD being short, I 100% honestly started to believe I would never ever feel "normal", let alone feel like myself again. My history with Escitalopram I wanna preface this by stating that Escitalopram helped me immensely with my initial issues in the first place. I have always been anxious and I will always be anxious. In August of 2017 however, I was put on Escitalopram 10mg when it spiraled out of control (I developed severe OCD and hypochondria (health anxiety)). Within 3 weeks, the medication allowed me to live a normal life again. As it was a success, in 2018 I stopped the medication (10mg to 5mg in june and then stopped completely). I had no withdrawal syndrome at all and spent a wonderful summer. I relapsed in October 2017 (it was OCD and not withdrawal, 100% sure), and was put back on Escitalopram 10mg in November 2018, following therapy along too. I therefore followed therapy and stayed on Escitalopram 10mg for another 2 years and 2 months from Nov 2018, up until January 2021 when my psychiatrist and I both agreed to try and stop antidepressants again as I felt much more stable and able to live without its help. From 10mg, the taper was: 5mg through Jan-Feb 2021, and then 5mg one day out of two through Feb-March, until I stopped mid-March 2021. Through the taper, I did not notice any symptom save from fatigue, but to this day I'm unsure if it was the taper or just the season (I suffer greatly from seasonal lack of sunlight!!). My withdrawal journey and symptoms A few days after my last Escitalopram dose, around March 18th 2021, my anxiety ramped up for no reason. On days 7-10 I got GI symptoms, and thought I had a stomach flu (still unsure if it was the start of WD or stomach flu!). Then a couple days later, I awoke brutally a few hours after falling asleep to full-body tremors that scared me a lot, I never had this before. This moment, for me, marked the start of my WD journey, for when I woke up later again in the morning, I felt a dread I never felt before. March-May of 2021 were atrocious. I believe it was the "acute" part of WD. I was feeling such a wide array of very physical and mental symptoms that I never had to deal with before, not even before medication when my mental issues were debilitating. I woke up every single day drenched in anxiety, filled with INSANE dread the whole day. I had huge crying bouts and intrusive thoughts, feelings of very very intense despair and helplessness. Anxiety would usually alleviate in the evenings but I was exhausted due to how my body was in flight or fight mode the whole day. My "windows" lasted a few hours, or half a day at max. My appetite was gone and I had nausea every single day on and off (else I would just not have any appetite) for a rough 4-6 months, which was one of the hardest things for me to deal with. I'm still undoing the damage of this extreme weight loss as I type this. It is in June-July of 2021 that the physical symptoms were the hardest. I had full-body exhaustion, maybe due to the severe weight loss, I remember doing my things on auto-pilot. However, this is what helped me move forwards: even at my lowest, I was able to pull through and my body helped me move forwards despite feeling so crippled. In WD it became SO important to hold on such "reminders" and remember that I could trust myself and my body. I also developed photophobia in June-July, which lasted for 1 month and a half. It was very very weird, I had unilateral sharp eye pain upon looking at anything bright. I cannot stress enough that I never had such symptoms before ever, never had migraines etc, and it remained something isolated as I didn't have photophobia since!! In Sept-December of 2021 , I mentally felt at a much better place and much more confident in my ability to heal despite symptoms still being part of my everyday life: mostly because my appetite slowly, FINALLY came back. On a daily basis, I had to deal with headaches still, pin and needles, derealisation, tough time focusing and dizzy spells that were quite scary. I was feeling off and/or derealisation, or anxious with some intrusive thoughts. Mid-January of 2022, I realised I had no symptoms at all for a week and that my last wave was probably a few weeks ago already. Maybe a couple dizzy spells through the beginning of January, but they wore off. Another week passed. And another... and a month... and here I am now, 2 months after what I consider to be my last symptoms, and one year after my last Escitalopram dose. This forum, along with the resilience I built through the past years, allowed me to brunt the force of what is to this day the hardest thing I've gone through. I kept going on because I said to myself everyday that this will pass, that healing will happen. And it did. It was slow at first. I was counting the good days, and at one point I stopped paying daily attention to how I was feeling, rather noticing the days where I felt off: they were getting rarer. I kept track of all my symptoms in a journal, and looking back I cannot believe I experienced this whole list (I haven't listed everything here else this post would be even longer lol), it sounds absolutely mental, yet here I am, at the top of a mountain I wasn't expecting to have to climb. And what a hike it was. What helped me with some of the symptoms? To deal with nausea, I paid great attention to eat more often but in small amounts and drink a lot. My GP prescribed me proteinated fruit juice as well. I would eat "bland" foods such as unseasoned rice or pasta as it gives you energy and sustenance still. The days (or hours) where the nausea gave me a break, I tried to eat varied foods. I kept a very balanced diet, and didn't cut anything save from caffeine for 2 months (without changing from what I usually ate, as I feared this would destabilise me further). When anhedonia hit me I just let the day pass, because sometimes "existing" is enough of an effort and it's okay; and I tried to not mull over the fact that even my hobbies didn't bring me joy. I tried to focus on the absolute smallest things that felt nice: the breeze from my ajar window, the feeling of fresh water as I washed my hands, the odd birds outside in the distance... It's a great habit to take, actually, to become a bit "contemplative". A shame I had to discover this when everything else felt bad, but better late than never. A warm shower would usually help my anxiety and/or crying bouts. It is the simplest yet most efficient thing honestly now that I remember it. Restorative yoga was also helpful sometimes (I never tried yoga before WD and it is one good habit I took during my journey!) Repeating to myself that things come and go, including the hardships. Radical acceptance was a great read (I ought to find the link to the specific post again, I'll edit this later). And now... I can now drink coffee/alcohol just like before (I never abused it!). I can focus on and write my thesis, read complicated theoretical books, hold a conversation without feeling alien, hell I'm even less shy than before, I eat in great amounts and I have almost put back all the weight I lost. I just feel... profoundly normal. Back in my shoes. I think my outlook on life changed a bit. It became more optimistic, more appreciative mostly because I coped with the atrocious feelings of withdrawal by focusing on the small things (when you've got nothing else...); and/or repeating to myself what people said on this forum and what I came to learn as I progressed, which is that healing eventually happens and that good days and bad days will always alternate, even if sometimes one part overpowers the others. Eventually, it evens out, and it's worth it when you look back at what you've been through. Thanks everyone on SurvivingAntidepressants for making this possible - with your support, your advice, your journeys. We'll all get there and I hope from the bottom of my heart that all of you feel the relief that I got the chance to feel very soon. If you're struggling and reading this: you're insanely strong for having soldiered on every single difficult day in your life. I'm just an internet stranger, but I'm proud of you, and I want to promise you that better days are ahead.
  11. hello. i'm going to attempt an introduction. i reserve any possible ambition about a coherent, comprehensive history for a potential future recovery success story. i'll do what i can for now. first and foremost, THANK YOU to everyone here at SA. THANK YOU for starting this website, for contributing, for keeping it going, for sharing, for being here, for fighting the good fight. in regards to tapering safely i did not find you in time; but since i found you it has helped immeasurably. before i found SA i'd been suffering through PW and PAWS for well over 3 years with no clear understanding of what the F was happening to me. although i had a working strategy of how to approach the embodied experience i was living, it took up a lot of energy not having an official explanation. i had a kind of makeshift, workaround idea along the lines of "maybe this is latent C-PTSD that has surfaced in the wake of SSRI cessation" and "clearly my nervous system is hypersensitive and destabilized, and i am intolerant of stress, possibly also as a result of a lifetime of chronic stress and trauma", etc. somewhat luckily these working hypotheses led me to a variety of tools that were entirely applicable to dealing with withdrawal syndrome, and so, ultimately, i was practicing many of the same non-drug coping strategies that i have since seen recommended on this site. for years i was on my own and it was trial and error. the bottom line is, it has been so much better since finding SA and knowing that i'm not alone and finally figuring out, "oh, this is what's going on!" (not that one cannot have C-PTSD / chronic stress / or the like in addition to WS, but WS is certainly also its own thing in addition to whatever underlying vulnerabilities may present) anyway -- THANK YOU to everyone for everything. i am currently in my fifth year of protracted withdrawal and post-acute withdrawal syndrome following an incorrect, too-fast taper of lexapro/escitalopram that basically amounted to CT + decades' worth of going on and off dozens of different psych drugs/cocktails, incl. most recently vyvanse/lisdexamfetamine, etc. i don't have energy or access right now to write in more detail about the long and illustrious drug history and the numerous failed attempts to get out of psychiatry (it's clear to me now that i've been in protracted withdrawal with PAWS multiple times before, but at the time i didn't know what it was and when i sought help consistently received a new and more extreme diagnosis every time; it seemed, according to psychiatry, that i was getting sicker and sicker, and would get more heavily drugged each time around -- psychiatry suffers from munchhausen by proxy in its absurd closed-loop system) bottom line -- TODAY I AM DRUG-FREE. i was first committed to a psych ward as a minor (below the age of consent), that's where i was first drugged. i clearly remember being so overmedicated that my hands were shaking non-stop, i couldn't properly hold a fork to eat or a pencil/pen to write. i fainted in the shower. i knew it was the drugs, i knew they were giving me too much, i know i said as much. i have no recollection of being listened to. my first ever "psychotic episodes" also occurred during this first ever hospitalization, subsequent to which my diagnosis was augmented to include my being labeled as "psychotic". i am convinced the sensory hallucinations were caused by the drugs they were giving me. i have spent my entire adult life thus far (approx. 17 y.o. - 42 y.o.) under the influence of psychiatric drugs. WTF. although i am currently drug-free i don't consider myself out of the woods yet as i'm still very much in recovery and reeling from the extensive physiological and psychological/existential harm. i cannot even begin to really truly process that. i don't dwell on it, i try not to think about it, really, although of course the thoughts come occasionally, but for the most part i let them pass bc my thinking is currently rather unreliable and murky, colored as it is by WS (monkey mind chatter which does not allow for proper processing). maybe one day when my cognitive/emotional/spiritual/etc. capacities are healed, if it is still relevant and required, i will mourn any loss as necessary. for now i sometimes touch upon grief (primarily on behalf of our collective loss and the tragedy of psychiatric violence afflicting countless human beings and indeed our global ecosystem as a whole) but my mind is too feeble to truly grasp the staggering atrocity / swirling galaxy of bullsh*t. for the time being i'm mostly just sorta left stunned and reeling; and sometimes in a moment of clarity i feel a call to arms and long to spring into action and up onto the barricades (etc.), but i lack the abilities for any kind of follow-through, which can be distressing as i think, "i'm not doing my part to save my fellow suffererers out there!" in these moments i have to remind myself that first i have to get better, and for now i just gotta hang on to my own life raft, bc that's pretty much all i can do, and most of the time it's a tall order as is, at least for now. i have to tell myself that what i cannot currently comprehend, is not currently my job. i try to do the tasks i am able to do, that is what is for me to do here and now. for example: currently i am able to shower once a week, sometimes twice a week. i am able to do a gentle yoga session about once a week. leaving the house is very difficult, but i manage to get out about twice a week. i am able to do my own grocery shopping (usually once a week), which brings me a sense of satisfaction and purpose. i am able to cook for myself (i've been on a self-designed, tried-and-true nutritional regimen for a couple of years now, which works quite well for me); nourishing myself is a vital part of my day and one of the few ways i'm able to actively engage with life on a daily basis. there are many, many things i'm unable to do and many, many ways in which i'm functionally disabled. i don't feel like getting into that now. in this moment i'd like to focus on markers of progress. for example: here i am, writing an introduction post. i have not posted here before bc writing and verbal communication, esp. disembodied/virtual kind without being in the physical presence of the other person, is something that has been extremely difficult for me in withdrawal and continues to be very, very challenging. so this is really hard and scary right now; and at the same time it is a marker of progress that i am able to be here writing this at all, since for so long i have not been able to and now i'm giving it a try. we'll see how it goes. these days i feel like i'm in my little WS groove. doing my thing, doing the best i can. i tell myself that this too shall pass -- based on the accounts of people on this site and the many success stories, it's possible to recover and heal. i trust that this is true; which means that there's a finite number of WS days/hours/moments (that number is unknown and unknowable, i call it X). and so it follows that every single day/hour/moment of WS-related suffering is 1 down, X to go and brings me that much closer to the conclusion. this is my way of conceptualizing the unpleasantness and discomfort as healing-in-process. instead of thinking of it as "i'm still sick" (which connotates stuck-ness and static state), reminding myself "i'm continously healing" (which conveys movement and development and some notion of constructive progress). it's very, very hard. i do feel like things are getting better ... lately one of the odd things about feeling better is that the WS symptoms have decreased somewhat in intensity, and now that some of the WS symptoms are less extreme, it's as though it's less clear to me that they are indeed WS symptoms. i sometimes find myself thinking, "wait, what if this particular thing is no longer WS and now this is just 'me'?" overall i tell myself that this line of thinking is still WS, as these are "anxiety thoughts" and fear-based, and i pay them as little mind as possible. it's a strange sign of progress that as WS is gradually lessening in intensity the lines between "syndrome" and "self" seem to be blurring more and more. this is, of course, compounded by an underlying all-pervasive tension around the question, "who am i?" at this point i accept that i have no idea who i am. i don't know who i am now, i don't know who i was before, i don't know who i will be after. my sense of identity is flimsy at best, i have difficulty with any sense of continuity or understanding "me", "my life", or anything along those lines. it's okay. i'm not sure my sense of self has ever been that strong to begin with. i don't know where i'll be dumped at the end of this fun-house-mirror-lined chute of WS bizarro-world ... it's kinda funny sometimes, when i think about it. it's all so absurd. all these illusions and so many people out there running around all serious and self-important and convinced of what's "real". maybe i'll feel like that one day, who knows? ... (feel free to skip to the end of the book, eh?) anyway. i don't have much more to say for now. this is the most words i've used in any one sitting in any context possibly in years. i mostly don't like social contact due to conventions/exigencies of verbal communication (i don't mind context of shared social presence as long as there is no speaking/conversation involved) and so i spend most of my time alone. i'm actually surprised this many words have come out of me! and now i'm babbling, i've got the feeling this is all very messy. but the most important part is: ABSTRACT hello. thank you. i'm here. ain't that a trip with love, "me" 1996-2018: various polypharmacy combinations incl. SSRIs, neuroleptics, lithium, benzodiazepines, stimulants, etc. (approx. 30+ different drugs over the years) 2018 - inadvertently CTed lexapro/escitalopram from 10mg -> 5mg, then from 5mg -> 2.5mg, then 0mg (over the course of 6 months, and under the "supervision" of a psychiatrist whom i trusted at the time) July 2018 - 0mg lexapro/escitalopram 2017 - 2020 - vyvanse/lisdexamfetamine 70mg 2020 - 2021 - tapered off of vyvanse/lisdexamfetamine from 70mg down to 0mg (gradually but unsystematically and probably too quickly) July 2021 - 0mg vyvanse/lisdexamfetamine February 2022 - 0mg - no psychopharmaceuticals - no drugs/medications of any kind supplements: magnesium powder (dissolved in water) as needed throughout the day; 2mg melatonin at 9pm
  12. I dont have anything to say about myself because I have nothing to reflect on unfortunately. So I am sorry but this is a pretty heavy post. I have severely kindled myself beyond repair. Is this possible? I dont have anything left. I forgot to mention in my history that after going off my antidepressant rapidly a second time that I took benzos twice weekly along with other gaba supplements and took other supplements that raised serotonin and dopamine. Kindling everytime withdrawing from gaba meds/supplements .And not consistently taking them. I believe messing with my gaba system is what did me in. I also came off progesterone very quickly late February and that's what ended my life. After that I used benzo again once to sleep because I had complete insomnia for 4 days. I probably withdrew just from one dose. Was getting horrible sensations in my gut like terror/tickling/stabbing. Took more supplements to try to help...made it worse. The last supplement I knew it was the end. Took NAC which I have before in the past. For 5 days and I became so agitated I was beyond suicidal. The problem is I was already mildly anhedonic on meds then coming off I had more anhedonia and dp/dr. So it was hard to know what I was feeling when doing all this damage. The more changes I made the worse it got. Now I hit the end. I'm completely lobotomized but can feel this severest internal anxiety. Complete apathy.I feel Like in dying 24/7 but it's not a panic attack. Everything looks and feels exactly the same and I mean that at the severest level. And everything I do keeps making it worse. Everyday I eat, sleep, do anything...the internal Agitation and anxiety and anhedonia/brain dead feeling gets worse. I never feel comfort and dont feel anything except pain. I dont have normal anxiety anymore with physical symptoms. I do not connect at all to anything at any level. I dont know what it means to do anything. I think I've lost many connections in my brain. I have nothing to do. I look at the tv and see nothing and I mean with my mind. I cant talk about anything. I have no soul left. No recognition of who I was. I no longer get comfort out of anything at all. I don't know what i look like. I dont recognize myself..cannot see myself in the mirror like a person with dementia. I am so bored because there is nothing I can do. I cannot engage in anything. But the severe internal restlessness is the worst. If I never went off my med the second time last summer I would be so okay. Everything I do makes it worse. Even positive thoughts. Any stimulation. MRI made me 10x worse. I'm stuck in some void with severe panic and no person inside to help save me or reflect on past memories or emotions. Cant feel time at all, dont register days/nights/months. Brain doesn't register going from one place to another. It's all the same. I never relax ever. Extreme restlessness beyond anything. This last time I messed up my brain knew it was the end and i completely lost all connections. Cant use any higher thinking to help. I didnt want my life to end at 33 with a 2 year old daughter. I wish I was never put on meds in the first place. I was a highly emotional person who was sensitive. Musically inclined. I loved nature and connected to nature and animals. All that completely taken away since ive done all this. But even on antidepressants I still had me, although I was becoming less emotional over time. But emotions were still there. There is no feeling more dead than this. Theres nothing left for me to do and my brain has seen everything that has happened and cant unsee. At least in February before the coming off progesterone and then messing with those last few supplements I had something still. I could still eat with only minor problems and was working a couple days a week and slightly enjoyed going to friends house and I connected at some level with my daughter and could feel empathy. Is there anyone who can tell me what may be going on with my CNS?
  13. Gridley

    Gridley

    In 1986 I was prescribed a tricyclic antidepressant, 75 mg Imipramine PM, to slow bowel function and to relieve pain resulting from ulcerative colitis. I was also put on 1 mg Lorazepam. In 1991 I went CT off both the Imipramine and the Lorazepam, resulting in a terrible colitis flare-up. After a few months I reinstated with success. However, these medications, and everything else I did for the colitis ceased work about three years ago, and in January, 2015, I underwent surgery to remove my colon and replace with an internal J-pouch, which cured the colitis. But that left me with the 30-year-long Imipramine situation. In January, 2016, I began tapering the Imipramine 10% every three weeks, which went fine until I got down to 19 mg, then 12 mg, at which point I began experiencing severe anxiety as well as dizziness. Realizing I had tapered too quickly, I updosed to 25 mg a month ago but have not as yet stabilised at this dose, as I am still experiencing considerable anxiety as well as insomnia. Until September 23, my tapers were approximate percentages as I hadn't yet bought a scale. I use the supplements Theanine and Nature's Balance Happy Camper to help with the anxiety, along with magnesium glycinate. It's only been a month, but I'm a little worried that I am never going to stabilise at 25 mg. In 2004, due to depression, I was put on a succession of SSRIs, in addition to the Imipramine, including Zoloft, Prozac and Effexor. Lexapro 20 mg seemed to finally work and I remain on it at this time. In 2011 I was prescribed 1 mg Lorazepam for insomnia, now 1.5 mg.
  14. Hello all, My name is Alex and I was prescribed 1/2 x 10mg Escitalopram (Cipralex), 0.5 x Clonazepam (Rivotril aka Klonopin) for about 5 months now, for mostly anxiety. After already 2 months I hit tolerance / dependence with Clonazepam and from that point, for the little I knew, I should have give up on it, but my psychiatrist pushed it even more from 3/4 to 1 (0.5 Clonazepam). Clonazepam is the "horror" benzo of them all, but I did not knew back then and would have been fantastic if I removed it since month 2, instead of keep it in 3 more months. Escitalopram did not help me either, as if it had did, I would not been feeling worse after 5 months, than I was in the first place before taking the medicine. I really I very sad of my decision to actually go to the psychiatrist in the first place, but I did now knew much then. As I know now, the symptoms that I had then where really easy compared to the ones I have now (after 5 months of "treatment"). But that is what usually people do, driven by fear, instead of actually be a little realist and powerful and first, at least, document yourself of what you are doing in the first place. I have found At last a life book, by Paul David and I can say it's a life saver for the anxiety suffering people out there, but I just found it 3 weeks ago, after that I decided to start tapper the benzo. All this being said I am now on this schedule of benzo withdrawal attached in the picture. Unfortunately I got to 0.3 from 0.5 in 3 weeks instead of 8 and I feel quite a lot of withdrawal symptoms ( mild depression, mild / intermediate anxiety (but much longer than before), mild headaches, dizziness, mild blurred vision. I thought as I was just 5 months on these 2 drugs would make it to a fast withdrawal, now I know it is not the case and I need to listen to my body. Will hold benzo for now at 0.3 to stabilize. The big question is : Should I start the Escitalopram taper as well ? I read a lot already on the forum and I see usually people take it 1 by 1. Of course I asked a psychiatrist of tapering both at the same time and she said if I do it slow it's ok as I did not took them for long time and the doze is quite small. But I know you guys know better and would be much appreciated if you give me a hint here. So a small taper from the 1/2 x 10 mg Escitalopram , like 10-20% each month at the same time with the benzo taper would make sense ? Of course I will try to listen to my body / brain response, but I am unsure how much time will be needed to feel the withdrawal from Escitalopram, from Clonazepam is easy, in 2-3 days you feel the "response" of the cut, because of the 18-50 hours lifetime of it. Cheers !
  15. Hi, I'm 20 years old male from Canada, and I was prescribed Cymbalta for depression back in November of 2019. I took Cymbalta on and off and didn't like it at all, it made me feel really dumb, I could stare at simple math questions and nothing would come to my mind for 5 minutes straight, I felt jittery and anxious, numbing in genital and it just wasn't helping at all, so I didn't stay on it for longer than 1-2 weeks max, and whenever I quit it, my old self would always return to normal, however Lexapro is a different story. Later down the road when my anxiety got really bad, and I was desperate so I return to my doctor and told him Cymbalta didn't work and I needed something else, he gave me Lexapro for GAD and this was around December 2020. This time I was more determined and so I took Lexapro for 2 months straight at 10 mg daily, but I believe due to my undiagnosed ADHD, all Lexapro did was made me a zombie, unable the positive feelings or negative feelings, it made me feel flatline which then got kicked out of my online course because I procrastinated the entire time and lied on my bed the entire day and didn't care about a thing, also it gave me gynecomastia (man boobs). I decided to quit Lexapro, I first cut the pill in half to 5 mg and took it for 1 week then stopping completely like an idiot, because I'm supposed to do this taper for as long as months. The first month of discontinuation was cool, I didn't notice much of withdrawal effects, but when the second month came in, everything felt as though it just flipped a switch, I couldn't focus or concentrate, I felt very brain dead, reading was impossible, my short term memory was extremely bad that my digit span went from 10 to 5 (how many numbers I can remember at once = https://timodenk.com/blog/digit-span-test-online-tool/), I lost emotions, motivation and pleasure, got PSSD (orgasm weakness), anhedonia, slow processing in information and reaction time (https://humanbenchmark.com/tests/reactiontime, I could get 210 ms consistently prior to lexapro, now it's 210 ms one moment, and 400 ms next moment, so focus issues), very bad fatigue, and my video gaming skills went down the drain, I just felt as though my dopamine got depleted which is weird because this drug acts on serotonin. Now it's 3 months out and I still feel different, never the same again, though oddly enough, there was a window of 2 weeks where I felt completely recovered, orgasm was extremely powerful and my cognition was powerful, then after those 2 weeks, it's back to withdrawal symptoms. I just feel like it made my undiagnosed ADHD symptoms worse. I really hope within this year, everything will be back to normal.
  16. I had been on Lexapro about 16 years and am 57 years old. Tried to quit several times, would taper from 20mg to 10mg to 5mg, then go off. But had horrible bouts of uncontrolled outbursts due to having a short fuse and wasn't worth being on edge and getting angry easily. But for the past year, I've been at 5mg. And would forget to take a pill every few weeks. That got me thinking that maybe I can quit. So in mid June I stopped. And it's been difficult. I've had lots of sadness, find myself getting irritated quickly and have to really watch myself that I don't react immediately (and have failed a few times, which increases level of sadness due to regret of actions). I just don't think it's healthy for a person to take this drug for this long. My brain is probably screwed up now. But I want to try to fix it the best I can, naturally. So as I understand it, Lexapro increases serotonin levels, right? So going off Lexapro would create a shortage of serotonin. My question is what about supplementing with Mucuna Pruriens and/or Ashwagandha to help offset this? Does anyone on here recommend this? Also, for a person who has been on Lexapro for 16 years - how long would the withdrawal symptoms typically last? Thank you so much!
  17. I have panic disorder with General anxiety. I had taken mirtazapine 45mg and I think 60mg at one point over 10 years. Due to a big relapse of major daily panic attacks and severe nausea a Psychiatrist changed me over to escalitopran but left me on 7.5mg of mirtazapine for sleep. For approx 3 years I've been on 20mg of escalitopran and 7.5mg of mirtazapine but doctors keep asking to remove the mirtazapine. Lately I have been quite Nausea each day and wondering if its the two drugs interacting? I am now trying to remove the mirtazapine and cut the 7.5mg cold turkey and was awake all night not having it and severe panic attacks in the night and during the day with severe nausea. So now Im trying to take a 1/4 tablet of mirtazapine which is approx 3.75mg. How should I go about this? I do have a doctor appointment booked as I think withdrawal is already an issue.
  18. Hello, I quit drinking alcohol 11 years ago and a doctor at that time thought the anti depressant Zoloft would be beneficial for my "anxiety" from quitting. This is how I started using these drugs. It has taken me forever to finally quit. I'm a 43 year old male. I've quit Lexapro 2.5 mg 24 days ago and have had the worst three day stretch to date. I feel extremely tired and fatigued. I feel symptoms of brain fog, memory failures, cognitive decline, crying spells, sadness, slight headache, head pressure, eyes tired, some body ache, and slight brain zaps. I'm trying to stay positive and day to day but this is brutal. I feel like a zombie and would just want to sleep. I also have mild sleep apnea in which I have started using a cpap machine a week ago but have found no relief. I think I'm going to stop using the Cpap machine for a month to rule out the machine being the cause for recent three day stretch. I want to believe that the withdrawal symptoms are what is causing me to feel this way but I'm unsure now. I have always had some of the described symptoms on a day to day basis before. These symptoms went as far back as the last two to three years. They weren't nearly as severe. I haven't heard of anyone having the described symptoms as a result of actively taking the antidepressant drug. If this is something that can be confirmed I would feel much more at ease as I would have to wait out the withdrawal process. I guess I am looking for words of encouragement and hopefully some validation that these symptoms are from the withdrawal and this is a normal process. Last night I started myofacial exercises as an alternative to the cpap. I know it will be sometime before I see any benefit from them. I also ran 2 miles yesterday. This morning I practiced some Pranayama and will continue this daily. I'd appreciate any feedback and thank you for reading my story. Matthew
  19. Mod note: link to: Happy2Heal: Hope I'm doing this right (Introduction and update topic) I was just an 18yr old, a very confused, naive young woman, er no- more of a child, really- when I was given (by force) my first psych drug, stelazine, a major tranquilizer. that was the beginning of a long series- spanning almost 40 yrs!- of psych drugs and hospitalizations. All along the way, I was plastered with one diagnosis after another, or several heaped on at once. My physical health went downhill and I ended up a virtual shut-in, living my life all in my head, friendless, socially isolated to the extreme, my only contact with drs and therapists, leaving my house to go food shopping maybe twice a month. This wasn't living, and I knew it. But I didn't know how to change things. I didn't know what was wrong. I spent over two thirds of my life believing I was mentally ill and *needed* to be on those drugs. but at some point, it occurred to me that the drugs might actually be the problem, or at least, part of the problem. I knew I had to get off them. and I did. The process and the pain of that is reported on my thread, I don't care to go back over it, at least not now. I learned a lot along the way, but for now, I don't want to think about where I've been, I only want to think about where I am now, and the life I have before me. Here I am, now, one year off all drugs, of all kinds. I rarely even take a ibuprofen for a headache. I want to write my success story, but I'm not 100% ready yet However I do have to say that what I feel most of all, is a great deal of pride in having survived. I suffered all forms of abuse as a child, emotional, sexual, physical, verbal, went on to be a survivor of rape, of domestic abuse. I was abused within the mental health system. I've spent virtually all of my adult life in poverty, raising my daughter as a single mom on disability due to "mental illness". But today, I feel as if I've done more than just survive; I am thriving. I have friends. I have a very active social life. I volunteer and I feel like the work I do is making a difference, having an impact. while technically I am still 'poor' by income, I don't go without anything I need, with the possible exception of good dental care I have a good life. Is my withdrawal journey over? I'm not sure.While I took my last dose of lexapro over a year ago, I feel like I am still having some symptoms that must be related to the nearly 4 DECADES on psych meds. BUT you need to know, these symptoms are extremely mild. and after that long on so many different drugs, it stands to reason that there will be minor little tweaks that my brain will need to make, for some time to come. I'd like to say that all that has faded into the background of my life, but to be honest: I am more vigilant about them now, than at any time during active withdrawal- because I don't want to fall into a trap of thinking that any problems I may have mean that all those doctors were right, I'm permanently disabled by a mental illness and there's no hope for me. I am pretty sure that the only thing I suffer from is PTSD, and I don't see that as a mental illness so much as a natural reaction to extremely stressful, traumatic life events. so Today I feel Victorious. I've overcome a lot and need to soak in that feeling of doing a good job I don't often give myself credit for my achievements or feel like it's ok to feel good about them but today, I give myself permission to bask in this feeling. it feels like the right and honest thing to do. I guess I just have to be different, I don't want to call this a success story because that sounds to me like the end, when in fact it is not. It's not really a beginning, either, because the beginning of my new life dates back to when I first realized that the drugs were the problem. to me, this just feels like a victory over adversity- something to celebrate! so please, celebrate with me, and know that you are going to heal as well, those of you still going thru WD/recovery. it's worth it, believe me so very worth it!
  20. Hello guys , please spare a few minutes to read it and help me with this. I am from India 25 male In April of 2019 ,during my 3rd semester break, I had a breathing issue (one side nose block )and a sleep (cycle )problem,so I went to ent doc- dx with right sinusitis (not severe ) . For the sleeping cycle issue ,he told to see psychiatry (his wife ) and she prescribed DEP®@n L combination of ( Le×@pro 5 mg + clo≠zepam 0.25 mg ) for 14 days and told to stop After stopping , I had symptoms like - heart pounding ,anxiety , concentration issues, irritability . So I expected it to go away, but it didn't .So I went to another psychiatrist after 6 month (oct 2019),and he prescribed p®@xil (p®@xidep cr 12.5 mg ) ( oct 2019 to Jan 2020) i took for 3 months. while taking this durg my irritability ,anger increased .After stopping the drug I had symptoms of acid reflux ,pounding heart , muscle twitching,anxiety ,anger issue , irritability , indigestion i couldn't eat like before my food consumption decreased,sweating at night , waking at midnight 2am ,mild erectile dysfunction , orgasm decreased slightly ,mild heat intolerance . These severe affects lasted 6 months (aug 2020) and gradually decreased ,but the following symptoms did not -anxiety ,acid reflux, sexual side affects Somehow, I graduated in 2020 Feb 2021 due to exam pressure my sleep cycle changed - anxiety increased so I decided to take it again p®@xil (p®@xidep cr 12.5 mg ) this was the biggest mistake that i have ever made. . While taking the drug I felt dizzy all the time . on 12 th day I got severe gi distress and complete sexual dysfunction that shocked me so I stopped (Feb 2021) that drug cold trukey after that I had total sexual dysfunction ,can't feel emotion,severe acid reflux, heat intolerance ,throat pain ,blurry vision ,fatigue ,muscle pain , shivering, frequent urination ,fear increased , social anxiety ,panic attack,bloating , inability to burp , indigestion,muscle twitching, heart palpitation , headache,bounding pluse , wake up at midnight , can't able to sleep at right time always varies , exercise ability decreased , anger to the peak , irritability, confusion,can't concentrate ,eyelids felt always tired ,anxiety increased . this lasted about 7 to 9 months severely (June 2021) and gradually decreased .now this is my 17 th month slightly improved i can exercise more than 20 mins but still have most of this symptoms especially total sexual dysfunction ,anxiety ,indigestion ,muscle pain , concentration problem . In my first 2 attempts I couldn't study properly and in my 3rd attempt I did some but not enough, so I failed in all my attempts. I am going to write another one this year .my problem is that i can't study for long (8hrs-10hrs) and have concentration problem .Almost wasted a year and a half of my life .i have read "withdrawal and tapering 101".i am planning to reinstate very low dose ssri ? Anyone here been through something similar and recovered ? What lab tests do I have to take ? Can anyone help me with this ? I am obsessed with my sexual dysfunction always thinking about it makes me sick . My friends passed the exam a year ago ,but I am still struggling . I shouldn't have taken antidepressants 😔 What should I do ? Plz give me some suggestions
  21. Hello! First of all I want to thank all the beautiful heros around here, who share their storys, it helped me a lot to read the success storys again and again to stay focussed and motivated, to keep hope and not give up during the last 2,5 years. I am 35, female. Last friday I hit the 18 months mark after coming off Escitalopram for the third time in April 2020. Most people, especially professionals doubt that the physical and mental symptoms I experience are due to coming off Escitalopram and think it is all in my head. I am very exhausted of the horrible symptoms and having to fight all the time for being supported or even believed. Probably loosing my job and getting no financial support any more at the end of this month, the pressure becomes higher and higher and I am close to giving in and going back in the psychiatric system...and back on meds. I don't know what to do at the moment and hope to get some helpful advise here. Here is my whole history especially of the last about 3 years of struggling: - On holiday in Spain in 2011, while on a city tour, I had a panic attack after feeling faint. After that, I developed agoraphobia with panic attacks – something that has become manageable after psychotherapy. - Having sat the medical exam in 2012, I worked in internal medicine in a hospital setting from 2015 to 2016, with enormous workload and pressures, constant understaffing and a feeling of being out of my depth and overwhelmed while also having incredibly high expectations of myself and my care for the patients. Having reached exhaustion, the panic attacks returned 12 months into the job, and I left. - I restarted psychotherapy, and in September 2016 started taking 15mg Escitalopram (prescribed by a psychiatrist) - I stabilized quickly and took a job as an occupational GP in a very large company in November 2016. I enjoyed that job, felt valued by my colleagues and managers and did’nt feel overwhelmed. It gave me a good work-life balance, and I started volunteering at a charity offering medical support to homeless people, something I thoroughly enjoyed. I had a great relationship, supportive family and friends, enjoyed being active and sporty. - In July 2017, after about 9 months, I attempted to come off the drug, having discussed it with the psychiatrist, tapering by 5mg/ per week over 2 weeks. After that, I felt unwell, was restless, anxious and had stomach issues. The psychiatrist said this was a sign I wasn’t stable enough and 15mg Escitalopram was reinstated. I stabilized and felt better. - In summer 2018, I made a second attempt to come off the drug, but tapered much more slowly. Having reached 10mg we celebrated a beautiful wedding in August 2018, and I then reduced further to 8mg before going on honeymoon in September 2018. A couple of days later I began experiencing panic attacks again, along with exhaustion. I reduced further to 6mg, but then went back up to 15mg because I felt too bad, following psychiatrist advice. I stabilized again. - In March 2019, I attempted tapering for a third time, reducing by 5mg/week over 2 weeks, because the psychiatrist thought the slow tapering might be introducing a psychological issue that was making me feel worse. During the tapering process I started experiencing symptoms, and 3 days after I reached 0mg I was completely floored, with massive physical and mental symptoms. I was unable to work for 3 months, having never been off sick in the 2.5 years before. - There was no improvement after 6 weeks, and so after taking advice from 2 psychiatrists, I started taking the medication again – increasing the dosage by 1mg every 2 days. I had to stop that at 6mg because my symptoms became too severe. - I found a psychiatrist in Berlin who is aware of withdrawal issues, and he recommended to reduce to 2.5mg, which I did in July 2019, the aim being for me to stabilize. At that dosage, I was able to work reduced hours (20-24 hours/week), but it was a constant battle and I felt unwell all the time. - I began to think that maybe I had developed an intolerance to the medication, and so after months of no improvement, I began to taper off it again, following the Horowitz-paper, and reaching 0mg in April 2020. The symptoms got continuously worse as I tapered and got more severe when I reached 0mg. I have been unable to return to work since July 2020. This is a list of my symptoms – although their intensity and the range I may be experiencing on any given day varies. While I never experienced all of them, I haven’t felt “normal” or really well. - autonomic dysregulation: stomach and gut issues (nausea, reflux, stomach cramps, abdominal tension, gut-hyperperistaltic, flatulence and many more), incontinence (in 2019, I wet myself 3 times during the night), difficulty breathing, orthostatic dysregulation, palpitations/irregular heartbeats, sweating - adrenalin rushes/overstimulation of the autonomic nervous system, even smallest stimuli can lead to a fight and flight response - emotional dysregulation: crying fits, extreme mood swings, overwhelming emotions - extreme anxiety: general, agoraphobic, social, paranoia (can’t stand someone walking behind me, feel observed and judged all the time) - depressive symptoms: feeling extremely down, hopeless, desperate, coming and going randomly - myalgia (legs, back, neck, shoulders, arms, whole body) - neuralgia (toes, fingers, earlobes, shoulders, neck…) - headache, neuropathic face, jaw and toothache - abdominal pain - tingling paresthesia (legs, neck, head) - trouble regulating temperature (very sensitive to heat or cold, feeling very hot, shivering with cold), hot flushes, hot skin and feet - extreme sweats at night - trouble swallowing - extreme sensitivity to light, sound, movement and smells, quickly overwhelmed with sensory input, driving or cycling has become difficult, often impossible - dizziness, vertigo - vivid dreams, horrible nightmares, oversleeping - restlessness, agitation - panic, flush, palpitaions, sweating, muscleache in the morning - eye-issues (trouble focusing, burning, dry feeling) - ear-issues (pain, sore feeling) - issues with perception (flickering lights, colour distortion, static items appear to be moving, the floor goes blurry, sounds where there are none) - depersonalisation, derealisation - extreme exhaustion, lack of energy and strength - brain fog, confusion, desorientation, like being on a drug (not off) - cognitive issues with memory, concentration, finding or writing words, reading, understanding - flu-like symptoms - trouble regulating stress (feel overwhelmed quickly) - trouble calming my thoughts, very intense, ruminating thoughts, interrupting cognition - flashbacks (to all kinds of situations, some totally banale) - travel sickness Trigger that provoke/intensify symptoms: - stimuli of any kind, such as light, sound, movement, noice - multitasking - driving (also being a passenger) - eating - physical activity (exercise almost impossible and has been for months, but even walks or getting dressed can overstimulate the autonimic nervous system and lead to a fight and flight response) - screen time - reading - being on the phone - music - conversation, especially talking myself - being in the sun - period and ovulation - social contact of any kind - napping during the day Of course, there have been issues in my life along the way, if that was not the case I would not have started taking Escitalopram in 2016. I struggle with anxiety, but it is something I am addressing. What I have been living through for the last 2,5 years does not compare to anything I have previously experienced, and most of the symptoms I experience I never experienced before I started to take the SSRI. The anxiety I feel since tapering is extreme, complete terror. It is, to be honest, hell. Since April 2020, it has got worse, and I alternate between days where I can cope and do things like take care of the household, go for walks or go to the supermarket, to days where I have to rest a lot, and days where I am house- and bedbound for most of the day. I have found nothing that eases the symptoms, having tried a whole range of things from homeopathy and acupuncture to food supplements (fish oil, magnesium). I meditate daily, do Yin Yoga a number of times a week, eat healthy, don’t drink alcohol or have caffeine, and try to walk out in the fresh air whenever possible. I sleep and rest plenty, but nothing has led to a lasting easing of the symptoms so far. I have had a neurological checkup, including an MRI, have had my bloods and heart checked, all results were great. After all this time, I can’t help but feel huge doubt whether the path I have chosen – accept and hang in there – is the right one. I was convinced I could live without the drug, but 3 years of fighting coming off and the intensity of the symptoms have taken me to the edge of what I can suffer through. My goal to lead a normal life feels a very long way off. I am terrified that I have misjudged this and overestimated my mental health and am questioning myself and my decisions constantly. I am hoping that with your experience, you can give me your objective assessment of whether this indeed is withdrawal, and if I am right in that, if there is anything that might help with the symptoms or move the healing process forward. Thank you in advance from my deep heart for your time and advice. 🙏
  22. Junglechicken

    ☼ Junglechicken

    Hi, I joined this forum today and wanted to introduce myself. All it took was a family trauma to set off my depression/anxiety (my father's inability to stop spending money he didn't have, led to no money and my having to pay for my parents housing etc.,). I have suffered from underlying depression and anxiety for many years but managed to keep a lid on it by exercising and I guess being younger and able to forget the darker stuff by clubbing and going out. Then 6 years ago hubby and I moved to Canada from the UK and I dive-bombed into hell. Daily panic attacks at home and work, I was bullied at numerous work places as well as dealing with the work pressure, feeling of isolation and no support network. Then in June I lost my job and have been more or less house bound with the exception of having to go out to do chores. Went to my doctor who prescribed Cipralex (Feb 2014) - I was on it for 18 months in total and came off it mid-September 2015 after a 3 month taper at 5mg. This happened after I had got a job at a large company (Nov 2013), and I had to take 3.5 months medical leave. Upon my return to work, I was met with resentment and disdain by my colleagues who saw it that I was just looking to get "free vacation" time. This made my life even more hellish - my Manager had wanted to get rid of me upon my return but couldn't by law. I lost my job about a year after returning to work due to redundancy. Since then I have experienced extreme fatigue (had to stop marathon training), intense muscle and joint soreness, weird dreams, tinnitus, headaches, sinusitis, pressure changes in my ears and ear pain, sub-clinical migraines, crying spells, GI issues, heightened anxiety and depression. Despite these things, doctors never seem to find anything actually wrong with me. I honestly feel as though I am in hell - I feel as though someone has taken a photocopy of me and the photocopy is a completely different person (withdrawal). The weekdays are a drag, and I dread them as my hubby is at work. I fear the worst will happen while he is away. I am a total basket case and freak out very easily if there is a withdrawal symptom I don't recognise. If I can survive this, I can survive anything.
  23. Hope everyone is doing well. I wanted to start with a quick synopsis of my medical background below. I took SSRI antidepressants for 17+ years. I started with Prozac for 5 years from 15-21. Then I took Escitalopram from 22-32. Along the way I was put on Trazodone, Buspar, Ambien and Wellbutrin as well. All in an attempts to control my anxiety/depression and inability to sleep. Also a little mental history - I was bullied from about the age of 9 to the age of 16. It's pretty obvious in hindsight why I was depressed/anxious. I thought the people in this world were mean. I thought everywhere I went was an unsafe place because at this time it was. In response to this I took up boxing and working out so I could become stronger than my bullies. In all honesty it worked. As soon as I became strong and in shape I became popular out of nowhere, which was an interesting transition. Anyways, that's another story for another time. At 15 I visited the doctor because I always held things to myself because I never told my parents I was being bullied or that life outside of my bedroom sucked. They just thought I was sad/depressed. Depression also runs deep in my family. My mother has been on an extreme cocktail of antidepressants since she was about 20. Although this cocktail has been quite a rollercoaster for her as well. She thought this was the only way to help. I had no one to talk to and I felt like the world was an unsafe and scary place so when the doctor prescribed anti depressants and the anxiety disappeared I thought it was a miracle. At this time the extreme side effects didn't matter to me. The fact I lost my ability to feel empathy because I was numb didn't matter because I didn't like people enough to care to empathize with them. I thought I was going to make it in this world on my own come hell or high water. This idea set me off on a path of perfectionism, egocentrism, hedonism and drug abuse. This life is not meant to be lived alone. To make sure this story doesn't become a novel I'm going to go ahead and summarize it here. For 16 years I went on a binger of sorts. Chasing all the highs this world has to offer. Whether this be dating multiple women, chasing drugs and festival culture, chasing adrenaline highs in the form of mountain biking, power lifting or cliff diving. I kept chasing thrills to fill the emotional void left by the SSRI. I also had to be perfect at this point. I had to have a straight A's in college. A quick aside (I had a long period of alcohol addiction that ran in parallel with my SSRI usage from about 16-21). This caused me to fall behind in life so I felt like I had to catch-up quick, mixed with the perfectionism created from early bullying it caused an immense amount of anxiety in my day to day life. I wasn't allowed to rest, make a mistake or simply apologize when I was wrong. This caused insane amounts of chaos in my relationships throughout these years. Finally when I hit about 31 I decided I had enough of this chaos. A 6-year relationship and all of my life long friendships finally collapsed on me. They were built on a false human. They were built on a man that didn't exist. I see myself as two people honestly. The person that was on anti-depressants is not the same human I am off them. Honestly in my mind half the withdrawal is realizing you built a life not suitable to the person you are off the medicine. I moved to a new area and started a new life. I also quit my anti-depressants. I began hiking and looking inward. It took about 6 months from the insomnia, brain zaps, panic attacks and extreme social anxiety to subside. I managed these symptoms with extreme self inquiry. I also started walking daily. I'm running out of time to write this so let me summarize this pretty quickly here. I'm not perfectly better now. I think anxiety/depression are a part of existence now. I accept there will be days I'm tired/scared and will have panic attacks, but I've learned to sit with these emotions and understand this too shall pass. Getting of my anti-depressant also gave me my empathy back. I built closer connections with people than I've had in the past 17 years. It was extremely hard to rebuild a social support system and a new life while quitting the SSRI though. I would say overall life feels deeper now though. In summary: 1) Took SSRI's for 17+ years. Felt like a zombie. I won't say it was all bad. If you are suicidal and have no other options I would say these are better than that alternative. If you believe you have any other options though I would urge you to try them all out. 2) Quit SSRI's at 32. Created a new life. 3) Anxiety/depression still exists but I now just believe these to be a part of life as opposed to something to get rid of. 4) Found a social support system that saved me, built around the real me. Sorry for jumping around so much on this post. I was trying to work from home at the same time. So I kept jumping back into it. If anyone has any questions feel free to let me know!
  24. Day 600 (March 11th 2017) 4 months shy of my two year mark. My Introduction: - http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/10847-%E2%98%BC-rockingchaircat-recovery-from-psychotropic-drugs-that-were-prescribed-willy-nilly/page-1 I’m a male in my early 50’s, and I’ve been on several antidepressants: Zoloft, Lexapro, Celexa, Wellbutrin, and Paxil, and other psychotropics (as prescribed by the pill pushing Docs): Benzos- Xanax and Ativan, and other crap. These pills do not ‘balance your neurotransmitters”, that is a lie- for there is no balance. Instead it’s more akin to a Symphony: Every neurotransmitter has its own part to play at it’s own time and place. My taper strategy was something I came up with in desperation after trying out some boneheaded strategies involving either: A) going cold turkey and then following the advice of a medical doctor. The Route: Cold Turkey- Freak Out. Go on Benzos. Reinstate Antidepressants. Taper off Benzos. Taper off Antidepressants. Lose what’s left of my mind. Try to regain it in recovery. The Cold Turkey route resulted in my freaking out, which segued me into trying out the Benzos on the advice of a medical doctor- which worked GREAT, but only for a short time. Then they stopped working completely. After a while with more of the same useless advice of “give it a few weeks” Or “increase the dose”- I got fed up with the docs and found the website: Benzo Buddies. http://www.benzobuddies.org/forum/index.php?topic=122050.0 There- I learned of the Pharmaceutical Blasphemy- of the necessity of not taking pills. Then I got better advice about how to go about weaning myself off of Benzodiazepines properly. It took a few months but I managed to wean myself off of the Benzos that I was on. Then after a couple of stable months- I decided to taper off of my antidepressant ‘slowly’, as recommended by a different doctor. But, even that was faster than I should’ve tapered-. I thought at the time that my antidepressant withdrawal would take about the same time as it took me to wean myself off of the Benzos. Boy was I wrong. It took me much longer. Which doesn’t come as a surprise now- after all I’d been on more of them for longer than I was on the Benzos. My Coping mechanisms/Strategies during my withdrawal- included the following: 1) Amino acids, 2) Beans, 3) Exercise, 4) A Full Spectrum Light, 5) Hobbies, 6) The Internet, 7) Meditation, 8) Motivation 9) Music, 10) Nature, 11) (Orgasms), 12) & Sunlight. I also found it helpful to cut out chocolate, coffee, and eventually dairy products. Chocolate left me with a severe heartburn. Coffee left me an increased level of anxiousness- cutting it out decreased my anxiety by a measurable amount. And dairy foods made me sleepy- to the point that it was a miniature nasty fatigue day. My Withdrawal Problems: 1) Anxiety 2) Depression 3) Nasty Fatigue Days 4) General Fatigue 5) Cortisol Spikes 6) Mood Swings So- what was it like for me? Hell. I cannot put it any other way- It was Hell- it was the absolute WORST thing I’ve ever had to endure. Anxiety- A general fear that dogged me constantly- from the numerous times I woke up in the middle of the night, dealing with it’s intensity during the day- and then trying to cope with my existence after work and not being too terrible an Ogre to my wife, daughter, friends, and house cats. The fear had grown, to where everything wasn’t worth it. I couldn’t even read a novel- because of fear that the fictional characters were going to encounter hardship. And the boredom, despite the almost constant anxiety waves, I was bored out of my mind. Every hour felt like a day. Every night when I couldn’t fall asleep long enough to catch rest- I stared at the ceiling and tried to get my racing heart to calm down- for hours. Ironically enough- the first few hours of most nights I could sleep- until I started to dream. And when I started to dream- the Cortisol Spikes started up. But dreams are the time when you need the rest the most. Depression- will come back with a vengeance since you don’t have a pill to push it away anymore. So you must fight it. Depression is the Enemy. Depression- Lies. It will do its utmost to deny you reality. It will tell you that it’s not worth trying. But it’s all lies. Because it IS worth it, life is worth it. It’s all worth the trouble. During the early withdrawal phase- I often thought of steering my car into a tree, but I had to fight those thoughts, what I came up with: That driving into a tree was no guarantee of the release I sought. That in fact (knowing my luck) I’d be horribly injured, out of a truck, left with a massive amount of bills to pay with no way of paying for them- and lose my house, my job, and most importantly- the medical insurance my daughter needs to survive on. I refused to let myself end that way – that would’ve been a coward’s way out. In fact- just about anything and everything depression tells you isn’t ‘worth it’: IS. Try to remember this: If depression tells you it ain’t worth it- then you know it is. Nasty Fatigue- That was something I used to get on a regular basis- every two weeks or so during my early days. A depression so extreme that it was torture to get out of bed, and all I could manage was to lie around utterly depressed with existence and stare at the wall in complete and utter despair- for hours, often days. It was an effort to get up and go to the bathroom. I would eat- but only at the behest of my wife, and even then I could only manage a half sandwich- a day. Like so many other symptoms- it’s gone, but it took a while for it to go away. It didn’t so much stop as it melted away. In the depths of it- I would sleep. But it wasn’t in the least restful sleep. And the only way out of it that I could find- was to fight it. I forced myself to get up and stay awake. Words fail me- I simply do not have the words necessary to convey how difficult it was. It was stubborn- I had to out stubborn it. General Fatigue- everything was hard. I had no energy. I went so far as to have my Thyroid hormones checked. ALL of them, not just the usual ones the docs usually pawn off onto you as being ‘comprehensive’ when it’s not. But even that checked out fine. So in the end- no matter how awful I felt about it- I just forced myself to do things. Eventually, my body stopped fighting me so vigorously – and gave in. It was an uphill battle. Cortisol Spikes- During my Benzo withdrawal- I got to enjoy waking up in the middle of the night at FULL ALERT! Often- many times a night. Every time I dreamed- I woke up in a panic. Naturally- this ended up with me not having a decent night’s sleep- so I tried to compensate by increasing my napping. That didn’t work- because invariably I’d wake up after a second or two with still MORE anxiety from another Cortisol Spike. It took me over a year before I could nap again. Alas, I still have a bit of a phobia against naps now. Eventually the Cortisol Spikes increased to the point that I simply wasn’t getting sufficient rest. And in fact I broke down several times at work in hysterics- from sleep deprivation. Most, yet not all, were when no one else was around. Mood Swings- Self Pity- was the biggest one. Which often segued into Furious Rage at the seemingly endless hours of unending mental and physical torture. So how did I endure all of this withdrawal crap? By getting my Neurotransmitter Symphony working again; and how did I do that? Read on. Windows/Waves. I too got the Waves and Windows that just about everyone gets. But along the way I learned of ways to extend the Windows, and shorten the Waves. Full Spectrum Light/Sunlight- I got a window or two even during the beginning. But they didn’t occur often enough- or for that matter long enough- I’d get a few hours once a month- maybe. But there was one thing that initiated my first several day long window: A Verilux Full Spectrum light. It helped pull me out of the winter blahs and the crippling depression that came from decreased sunlight. Now though I never had another several day window start up because of it-even so it has helped in the subsequent recovery process. I’d recommend one for your own use- but I’d also recommend following the instructions- no more than a few minutes a day at first. Why? Because we’re all photo-phobic during our early withdrawal, and you might end up with a sunburn if you’re not careful. Because you need sunlight to help you get better. Our bodies- crave it. Sunlight sets our Circadian Rhythm- that same rhythm that was thrown out of whack by the pills. It helps us release Serotonin (to wake up) and Melatonin (to fall asleep), both neurotransmitters that help us. And I use mine every day. I’ve got the tan to match. Exercise- During all of my withdrawal- I exercised. For me, in earlier days (prior to my withdrawal) I had obtained and used a small work out gym set that I placed in my garage for weight training. I’m hardly buff, let alone ripped, but it has helped keep me fairly strong. And it made for a nice routine 3x a week. Additionally I had a bicycle I used for aerobic activity 3x a week. 1x a week I just didn’t do either- but even then I did something. Usually I did yard work or went for a walk. The point is- do something, anything. Even if all you can manage is one set of pushups- DO IT! Even that little bit will do you good. Walking- Walking is Good. I preferred to do that every day (weather permitting). Walking in a natural setting- it helps. I’m lucky in that I have a pine forest in which I can skirt. And the body needs that. You NEED to get out of the house. You MUST get out and get some fresh air. You’ll hate it at first, I guarantee it. But nonetheless You NEED to do that, Every-Single-Day. (And exercise is excellent dealing with the excess energy that comes with constant anxiety attacks.) Exercise comes with it’s own built in Happy Ending: The Endorphin rush. You’ll eventually get it, and crave it enough to keep going at it. Why? Because the Endorphins are another form of Neurotransmitters that you need. Amino Acids- Along about the time I started getting hysterical due to lack of sleep I was getting desperate. I was grasping at straws- and that’s when I discovered Taurine. It, along with some magnesium- was as close to a god send for my sleep as the Happy Light was for my depression and fatigue. The first couple of weeks taking Taurine/Magnesium- I was able to turn a corner and started getting something akin to a decent night’s sleep. Not much, but even that little was better than none. Nowadays- I still get the occasional middle of the night wakefulness from a Cortisol Spike- but it’s usually after a long stretch of dreaming. And with that success- I started researching into other aminos and eventually settled upon: Tyrosine, Taurine, and Theonine. They all had one thing in common. They were/are Neurotransmitter Pre-cursors. And what is a Neurotransmitter Precursor? It’s something the body can take and create a Neurotransmitter with. Now backing up a bit- what I learned at Benzobuddies- was that our brains and bodies- are inherently Lazy. Our bodies produce a Neurotransmitter called GABA. It’s used by the brain to calm things down. When we use a Benzo- the body adapts to it and stops producing GABA. That would be one thing. But our bodies are fiendish in that after we’ve gotten used to the pill- we develop ‘tolerance’- which is to say- that the pills stop working. The tolerance is when our bodies chose to stop producing the neurotransmitter we were augmenting/replacing with by using a pill. Thus if we stop using the benzo - what little defense we have against overstimulation- isn’t there in the quantities that it was prior to the pill use. This end result creates the waves and windows we all get to ‘enjoy’ during withdrawal. Our bodies still produce the needed neurotransmitters- just not often enough or in large enough quantities. And every now and again- for I’ve no idea reasons why- for a few hours or days our bodies produce just what level of them we need to feel OK. Those are the windows. But they don’t last- and the Waves of symptoms start up again. It’s the same thing with anti-depressants. The pills cause us to stop producing enough Serotonin or Dopamine (depending on what you’ve been prescribed). So what the hell are we supposed to do when we go off the pills? We need those neurotransmitters- yet we don’t produce enough of them anymore. Taking straight neurotransmitters such as Serotonin, Dopamine, or GABA, is counter-productive, when what we need is to get our bodies to produce them again. So after a suitable amount of self-research- I settled on the Amino Acids that are neurotransmitter precursors. Tyrosine is used by the body to create: Dopamine. Theanine is used by the body to create: Serotonin. And Taurine is used by the body to create GABA. And the nice thing is that you won’t overdose on them. Your body will use them to make ‘just enough’. The aminos helped me immensely. They didn’t cure the problem, but they took a LOT off of the rough edges and made my recovery- tolerable. It’s gotten to the point that my body does produce the necessary neurotransmitters on it’s own- that I’ve started tapering off of the aminos I’ve been taking. And on a couple of days- I’ve forgotten to take them without noticing that I hadn’t. Meditation- During all of this- I meditated when I could. Invariably during such meditations- I fell asleep. But even that helped in its own way. It helped me learn how to suppress in a small way the anxiety that did occur- a bit of biofeedback that helped me learn to calm down and distract myself. The suppression techniques still come in handy even now on day 600, and I imagine that they’ll still be doing me good for years to come. Though in the early days I often just wrapped myself in a heavy comforter, turned on the room fan, and stared off into space for hours while sitting on the bed in the middle of the night, and I’d do the same on the weekends both during the day and night. Hobbies- Do something you enjoy- or did. Go back to it. Even if it’s a mighty burden, sit yourself down and work on your hobby. Even if it takes you an hour- to do something that you have done in seconds before- do it. Eventually- you’ll remember the fun that you had with it before. You’ll notice that by immersing yourself into it- you can ignore the pain for a bit. Naturally you’ll look forward to doing it again. Me? I work on spaceship models. And from what I’ve learned- by taking the time to do even 5 minutes a day, and doing it slow- I do a much better job on them now. See- I learned something. Internet- I spent many an hour researching these conditions that fell into my lap. Such research led me to Benzo Buddies and Surviving Antidepressants. But it also made me appreciate how wonderful that the internet can be when it comes to distracting myself from my pain. I read somewhere that we all get a dose of Dopamine when we open another interesting page on the net. Hey- whatever works. Online games- such as Lumosity- give me something to gauge my progress in such things as fine motor skills, memory skills, and Hand/Eye coordination- all of which has suffered during the worst of my withdrawal. Of late- I’ve been trying the stuff I had to cut out: Chocolate, Coffee, Dairy foods. I’m back to eating those things again, and in fact it does make feel better to be able to do so. Chocolate makes me feel good after eating a bit. Coffee makes me feel good after drinking it. I had my first slice of pizza just the other day- it felt good after eating it. (I imagine that if I eat too much of the above I won’t be feeling quite so good- after seeing what my bathroom scale has to say!) Motivation- It’s what kept me going. What kept me going? My Wife, My Daughter- they are what kept me going. (And my Mom- she made me promise to keep going too). (No Dad though- that’s another story) I was needed - my family needed me. It wasn’t much. But sometimes that was the only thing that kept me going- was the thought that they needed me. I cannot remember how many times I woke up just as it was time to get up- and simply didn’t want to keep going anymore. I didn’t want to face yet another day of constant anxiety or fear. But I got up and did it anyways. Snuggles with the wife- helped me, the physical touch was something I needed. And Snuggles releases a neurotransmitter- Oxytocin. And there were some phrases that helped motivate me through many a hard day- and they’re still something I occasionally have to fall back on when things get tough mentally: 1) Be Here Now 2) Accept 3) Pain is Mandatory- Suffering is Optional These three phrases tie in with each other. #1 Be Here Now; is the motivation that you are only in the now- and for you to not fixate upon the timeline of your withdrawal. The past is done, the future will come, but it’s best to focus on the immediate now and what you can do with it. #2 is about the immediate now- refusing to accept what’s going on in withdrawal will just make it worse. By Accepting that this is the way things are- you actually gain a sort of control over it all # 3- There is the Pain of Withdrawal- you can find ways to cope with the pain. Suffering is what comes about when you refuse to accept what is. You can choose to not be the person subjected to an endless misery of withdrawal. Yes I was in Withdrawal- but I choose to be more than a person in withdrawal- I chose instead to try and enjoy life as much as I could in between the wave crests. In both my benzo and antidepressant withdrawal blogs- I griped something fierce about it all. For that I make no apology. For I also chose to try and grab onto whatever little pleasures and triumphs I could garner when I was able to. Nature- There’s something about the forest, or even alone time next to a lake that helped me to calm down after a particularly grueling week or day. I got a few spiritual moments from the interplay of light in the clouds along with the wind in the leaves. Those few moments came at a time that I needed them. Music- I remember reading in a Science Magazine- that Music gets just about every area in the brain running. And that’s something that you need. The pills make our brains ‘soft’, music helps reboot it, it’ll evoke memories both good and bad. It’ll make you cry, it’ll make you laugh. And that’s what you need to do to get your neurotransmitters kicking in again. Beans- So what’s the big to do about beans? Gastrointestinal Health is paramount. Even though all of the other stuff I’ve listed above helped- I’ve also still had a number of problems involving Cortisol Spikes, the one thing that helped me well with that (after the Taurine) were Beans. I’ve found that the addition of a couple of tablespoons worth of Black Beans with dinner- seemed to lessen the number and frequency of Cortisol Spikes. I’m not exactly sure why this happens- though I have my suspicions. From what I understand- they’re a good source of something called Oligosaccharides. I learned about them after watching a documentary about Human Breast Milk. Apparently- Human Breast Milks’ primary ingredients include: 1) Water, 2) Fats, 3) Proteins, and 4) Oligosaccharides. So what are they? They’re a form of sugar that humans cannot digest. Now why on earth would humans produce something that babies cannot digest? Apparently the oligosaccharides are digested by a form of bacteria in the human gut- Beneficial Bacteria. The kind of bacteria that not only promotes our health in our guts but also helps us from - amongst other things- getting depressed. Long story short- Beans help you calm down and helps to prevent you from getting depression. Weird huh? Orgasms- Orgasms make you feel better. Orgasms release several feel good neurotransmitters. If you can- go for it. Hitachi wands are helpful in that regard for some folks. What’s it like for me now? I still get depressive. I still have bad days. But I’m also having good days. I’m enjoying life again. My hobbies are fun again. I’m spending time with my wife enjoying the amenities that my house and internet has to offer. (Netflix!) I’m honestly laughing again. For the longest time I forced myself to. After a while- I was able to give an honest laugh. That was a relief. Laughing- makes me feel better. Now- I can laugh spontaneously. Laughter releases Neurotransmitters. Crying- that too was near impossible for me. Now- I cry every few days. Crying- makes me feel better. I’m not up to crying spontaneously- but I’m working on it. I appreciate the time I have with my wife. I appreciate the time I have with my daughter. These times are so precious to me now. Weight loss- I still get hungry and I’m inclined to overeat if I’m not careful. Somehow I’ve still managed to lose about three pants sizes. I’ve still a ways to go, but such is a nice feeling. On the antidepressants- even mild hunger felt like I starving to death. In fact, there were times that I kept shoving food down my throat despite being so full that I was vomiting out food- but I was still famished- I couldn't achieve satiation. Now- it’s not. It’s bearable. I feel hunger, and it’s easily satisfied. I’ve lost a lot of my health due to trusting the medical doctors. I now am short one gall bladder- due to the gastrointestinal upsets my body underwent from the initial cold turkey. It was a journey of discovery for me when I found out that so many medical doctors- just don’t give a damn about folks’ suffering. Compassion Fatigue it’s called. My antidepressants- also caused me to react to allergens even more violently- I now need a CPAP to breathe at night- due to an Emergency Room visit in which some idiot botched my intubation during a visit due to a food impaction in my esophagus caused by a food allergy. During that little escapade they also managed to pierce my esophagus and I came close to needing a transfusion. And it managed to screw up my trachea too, Joy. For some reason- I find I cannot trust the Medicos as much as I did before. Why should I? They give us pills when they know they shouldn’t. During my withdrawal- I ended up going to the ER at least 6 or 7 times for things. On 5 of those visits- they gave me a scrip for Oxycodone tablets. Only two of which I put in for at the time. The other 3 I just tore up and threw away. And of those I kept- I used maybe a half dozen tablets- the rest of the contents of the bottles- I threw away. Day 600. March 11, 2017. 4 months shy of my two year mark. That’s the two year mark after tapering off of my antidepressant. That’s not including the time I spent from going cold turkey to now. Let’s see, including that turns out to be: 1048 days. Nasty. I’ve lost nearly 2 decades of my life to this crap. Thanks for nothing there Mr. Hippocratic Oath. And I’ve found that I’ve been having an issue with a short temper quite often of late. It could be a form of PTSD, it could be part of my personality that I’ve always had but never learned to control or channel. If so- then it’s past time for me to learn some anger/frustration management techniques. Which I'm doing now. Now, I'm having to relearn how to be a mature and responsible adult. It's an interesting time.
  25. ADMIN NOTE: Read this entire topic before attempting a switch to fluoxetine. Be sure to read details and cautions below . Consult a knowledgeable medical practitioner before changing medications. Also see Tips for tapering off fluoxetine (Prozac) Switching or bridging with another related drug, usually of a longer half-life, is a medically recognized way to get off psychiatric drugs, particularly if you find tapering your original drug to be intolerable. Many people with failed tapers from venlafaxine (Effexor), desvenlafaxine (Pristiq), paroxetine (Paxil), and duloxetine (Cymbalta) find they need to bridge in order to go off the drug. For many doctors, a switch to Prozac to go off a different antidepressant is routine. Because of the risks of switching drugs -- see below -- we recommend attempting a very gradual direct taper from your drug, with bridging with a different drug only a last resort. There are a lot of unknowns in bridging. Fluoxetine (Prozac) has the longest half-life of any of the modern antidepressants. Because it takes more than a week for a dose to be metabolized completely, a careful taper off fluoxetine is easier for many people -- see information about Tapering off Prozac. And, at least fluoxetine comes in a liquid. (Do not assume fluoxetine is "self-tapering"! We have many people here with Prozac withdrawal syndrome. While going off fluoxetine usually has less risk, one might still develop withdrawal symptoms going off fluoxetine. No bridging strategy is risk-free.) Citalopram (Celexa )and its sibling escilatopram (Lexapro) have half-lives of about 35 hours, a relatively long half-life among SSRIs, and are other candidates for a bridging strategy. They also come in a liquid form. You must find a knowledgeable doctor to help you to with a bridging strategy. The cross-taper method discussed below is probably the safest way to make a change in drugs. You might wish to print this post out to discuss it with your doctor. For most people the switch goes smoothly but for some it doesn't. The drawbacks of switching to another drug to get off the first drug, described below, apply to ALL bridging strategies for ALL drugs, including benzodiazepines (where people often want to bridge with diazepam per the Ashton method). Risks of bridging A bridging strategy has the following drawbacks for a minority of those who try it: Dropping the first antidepressant in the switch may cause withdrawal symptoms even though you're taking a bridge drug. Adverse reaction to the bridge drug, such as Prozac. Serotonin toxicity or adverse effects of a drug combination. If withdrawal symptoms are already underway, switching to a bridge drug may not help. A cross-taper requires a number of careful steps. Difficulty tapering off the bridge drug. All of the bridge drugs can be difficult to taper themselves. So, like anything else, a drug switch is not guaranteed to work. When to switch or bridge "The devil you know is better than the devil you don't know". A direct taper from the drug to which your nervous system is accustomed carries less risk than a switch to a new drug. You may have a bad reaction to the substitute drug, or the substitution may not work to forestall withdrawal symptoms. The risk of a switch is justified if you find a taper from the original drug is simply too difficult. Usually people will do a switch when they find reducing the original antidepressant by even a small amount -- 10% or even 5% -- causes intolerable withdrawal symptoms. (I have heard doctors say they don't even try tapering off paroxetine (Paxil) or venlafaxine (Effexor ), they switch to Prozac at the beginning of the tapering process.) If you are having intolerable withdrawal or adverse effects from an antidepressant, it may be worth risking the worst case, which is that a switch to a bridge drug doesn't help and you have withdrawal syndrome anyway. If you're thinking of switching simply as a matter of convenience, you need to weigh the risks against the amount of convenience you would gain. Generally, switching for convenience is a bad idea. CAUTION: A switch to a bridge drug is not guaranteed to work. It's safer to slow down a taper than count on a switch. A switch really should be used only when a taper becomes unbearable or there are other serious adverse effects from the medication. You must work with a doctor who is familiar with bridging, in case you develop severe symptoms. Overview of cross-tapering method For drug switches, many doctors prefer cross-tapering, where a low dose of one drug is added and gradually increased while the first drug is reduced. For a period, both drugs are taken at the same time. Here is a graphic representation of cross-tapering: If you are making a switch to Prozac, the second antidepressant is fluoxetine (Prozac). Given fluoxetine's long half-life, it may take a couple of weeks to reach full effect. The effect of the amount you add at each stage of the cross-taper will build throughout the process. As it is possible to overshoot Prozac dosage, it's best to be very conservative about increasing fluoxetine throughout the cross-taper, you could end up with serotonin toxicity from too much fluoxetine (see below). Also see this discussion about cross-tapering with Prozac: Serotonin toxicity and serotonin syndrome You run the risk of serotonin toxicity if you are taking too much serotonergic. Most antidepressants (and some other drugs, such as triptans and MDMA) are serotonergics. Serotonergic effects of antidepressants are added when you take more than one of them, particularly if you add an SSRI (such as Prozac, Celexa, or Lexapro) to an SNRI (such as desvenlafaxine (Pristiq), duloxetine (Cymbalta), venlafaxine (Effexor), venlafaxine XR (Effexor XR), milnacipran (Savella), and levomilnacipran (Fetzima)). (Other types of antidepressants should not be combined with tricyclics or MAOIs.) Symptoms of too much serotonergic can be: Nervousness, anxiety, akathisia, sleeplessness, fast heartbeat. Symptoms of serotonin toxicity can be these plus disorientation, sweating, and others. Serotonin syndrome is even more serious. See Serotonin Syndrome or Serotonin Toxicity Reduction of the drug dose should resolve serotonin toxicity. Note that if you cross-taper, you will be taking 2 drugs at once for part of the time. Because of the potential of serotonin toxicity by overdosing SSRIs as well as in combination with SNRIs, it's safest to err on the lower side of a Prozac dose "equivalent" -- such as 5mg -- to your original drug. This is why doctors familiar with the Prozac switch will cross-taper by adding an initial LOW DOSE of Prozac to an SNRI. Start low, the effect of fluoxetine will increase over several weeks. Another concern: Escilatopram (Lexapro) is several times stronger, milligram for milligram, than the other SSRIs. If you add 10mg escilatopram to the high dose of 60mg duloxetine (Cymbalta), for example, you run the risk of serotonergic toxicity -- 10mg escilatopram is equal to approximately 20mg-30mg duloxetine. How much fluoxetine (Prozac) to substitute for my drug? Since fluoxetine's half-life is so much longer than those of other antdepressants, its effect is a little different. It's not a stronger antidepressant, but the effect of each dose lasts much longer. This may be the reason a lower dose of fluoxetine often seems to adequately substitute for other antidepressants. For an idea of equivalent doses of your medication to fluoxetine (Prozac) read this post (January 7, 2018) in this topic. It compares fluoxetine 40mg/day (a fairly high dose of Prozac) to other antidepressants. Source of that data: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25911132 If you have tapered to a lower dose of an antidepressant, an even lower dose of Prozac may be more tolerable. If you are about half-way down, you might want to try 10mg Prozac. If you have decreased further, you may wish to try 5mg Prozac. If you have substituted fluoxetine for your drug and after two weeks, you feel you have withdrawal symptoms, you may wish to gradually the fluoxetine dosage. After each change in fluoxetine, wait at least 2 weeks to see the effect before deciding on another increase. More is not better for nervous systems sensitized by withdrawal. EXAMPLES OF THE PROZAC SWITCH Below is information I've gathered from doctors about how to do the Prozac switch. You will see there is no standard protocol. Healy 2009 method for the Prozac switch From Healy 2009 Halting SSRIs withdrawal guidelines: Phelps-Kelly 2010 method for Prozac switch From Clinicians share information about slow tapering (2010) Jim Phelps, one of the authors of the above, posted in 2005 in some detail about the so-called "Prozac bridging" strategy. He said it is described in Joseph Glenmullen's book, Prozac Backlash, maybe in the chapter titled of "Held Hostage." The technique Dr. Phelps described in this post skips doses and finishes with alternating dosages, which we do not recommend for people who are sensitive to withdrawal symptoms. Given that fluoxetine liquid is available, this is completely unnecessary. Foster 2012 method for Prozac switch Dr. Mark Foster, a GP whose mission is to get people safely off psychiatric drugs includes this in a presentation he gives to doctors. http://www.gobhi.org/spring_conference_powerpoints/safewithdrawal_of_psychotropics%5Bautosaved%5D.ppt. His method involves overlapping Prozac with the other antidepressant -- cross-tapering. Prey 2012 method for Prozac switch Another knowledgeable doctor (whom I trust) explained his technique to me (this is the technique I personally would prefer if I had to do it, it seems much gentler) For a "normal" dose of Effexor (150mg per day or more) or Paxil (20mg) or Cymbalta (20mg), he would switch to 10mg Prozac with a week of overlap. In other words, take both medications for a week and then drop the Effexor. Lower doses of Effexor or other antidepressant require lower doses of Prozac as a "bridge." The lower dose of Prozac reduces the risk of excessive serotonergic stimulation (serotonin toxicity) from the combination of the two antidepressants during the overlap period. Do not stay on the combination of the first antidepressant and Prozac for more than 2 weeks, or you run the risk of your nervous system accommodating to the combination and having difficulty tapering off both antidepressants. Later, taper off Prozac. He acknowledged Prozac can have its withdrawal problems, but given Prozac's long half-life, gradual tapering should be easier than tapering off Effexor. Smoothing out a transition to fluoxetine Even with a cross-taper, your system might feel a jolt after you finally drop the initial antidepressant, particularly if it is an SNRI, such as Effexor, Pristiq, or Cymbalta, or other drug that is not an SSRI like fluoxetine. (Other SSRIs include Paxil, Zoloft, Luvox, Celexa, Lexapro). If you go through a rough patch after the transition, patients find they can take a tiny chip of the original drug (or a bead or two, if it's a capsule containing beads) for a week or two to smooth out the transition. Eventually, you'd take a chip as needed only when you feel a wave of withdrawal from the original drug, and then finally leave the original drug entirely behind. (A gelatin capsule might make a tablet fragment easier to get down, but it is not necessary if you can wash it down with a good swallow of water. The gelatin capsule quickly dissolves in your stomach.) Here's an example. There is no shame in doing this. Whatever works, works.
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Terms of Use Privacy Policy