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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. I've been on 20mg Paroxetine for over a decade. Regular cannabis user. Trying to taper off since 2019. Many mistakes along the way. My 2019 journey was too fast. I decreased 5mg steps every month, by splitting a 20mg tablet. I made it relatively stable into 5mg (although fighting some symptoms) and then quit. Symptoms were too overwhealming so I desperately and naively reinstated into 18mg. Then I started a slower taper on liquid. Went up and down a few times and parked at 16mg for over 6 months, seeking stabilization. Coudln't stay away from cannabis in that meanwhile. Then I had to relocate to Brazil (I'm Brazilian) because of the pandemic. Here there's no Liquid Paroxetine available on the market, so I was forced to adapt my strategy. Started compounding Paroxetine and went for the Fluoxetine Bridge in January. Longer half-life, etc. Got as low as 4mg Paroxetine plus 12mg Fluoxetine. Cannabis on and off. Until last month (June). I had to take a dose of antibiotics (Azithromycin). Had an instant reaction with Thunderclap migraines. So I started going up with the dosages, which helps only temporarily. After a few days, the migraines come back, along with insomnia. Not touching Cannabis. Now I'm at 6mg Paroxetine + 20mg Fluoxetine and I fear I'm spiraling out of control, since reinstating doesn't seem to solve the issue. Upping Fluoxetine doesn't seem to make much difference. Also trying some Magnesium supplements, no success. Maybe I should kick it up in larger steps? Go up to 10mg Paroxetine? I have 2 very hard problems to solve: What's the best short term strategy? How do I get rid of migraines, get some sleep and stabilize? What's the best long term strategy? Did I mess up my Fluoxetine bridge? I fear that my Fluoxetine bridge was too slow and now I'm stuck with 2 SSRIs instead of one. Plus the long-term synergistic effects of both are even less known, which makes things even scarier. Any help is appreciated 🙏
  4. Hi all. I really need some advice about reinstating. I was on Prozac for about 5 years (started at 20mg and was at 60mg for the last 1.5 years) for seasonal affective disorder and anxiety. A couple years ago, I started Adderall for suspected narcolepsy. My narcolepsy got much worse the following year and another stimulant, armodafinil, was added. I finally got approved for a treatment that treats the root problem by normalizing the sleep cycle and started Xywav in September 2021. A few weeks in, I woke up feeling rested for the first time in my life, but with some very unusual symptoms atypical for Xywav. Going down on the Xywav did not get rid of it. I did stop armodafinil which helped a bit. I was referred to a psychiatrist (scheduled 3 months out) and neurologist (scheduled 7 months out). I went 3 months with these symptoms (SEVERE anxiety, dizziness, tremor, muscle twitching and stiffness, feeling agitated by noise and light, and sensory overloads) and was finally diagnosed with serotonin toxicity from the psychiatrist. I did a rapid taper from 60mg to 20mg over 3 months. Each drop I made, I had withdrawal, then stabilized quickly and had the toxicity come back. My psychiatrist and I decided to try holding at 20mg because of a longer withdrawal period, but then I started to feel like the toxicity was coming back. I kept going and taking the pill because I didn't see how it could be toxicity at that point, but I kept getting worse each time I took it. I started having spasms and burning sensations on my skin and was very hyper-reflexive. I was eventually instructed to CT at 20mg. I immediately felt better the next day, pain and spasms were gone within 3 days and I improved dramatically over the next couple months with only mild withdrawal symptoms. I did treat the mild withdrawal by taking 0.25-0.5mg microdoses of Prozac as needed (which I realize now was probably a bad idea, but it worked at the time). At 4 weeks, I started to have mild tingling in my legs but didn't think much of it. At 6-7 weeks out I felt almost completely recovered and back to normal and then week 8 everything started going downhill with the burning and tingling sensations in my legs amping up. I tried my last microdose of 1mg on June 6 and didn't have much change in symptoms. Over the next several weeks, I developed burning and tingling in my arms, back/spine, chest, neck, face, and now stomach. Along with this, I also have had severe muscle spasms in various areas, stiffness/tightness, cramping, and general muscle/joint pain. Posting this, I have now been off for 4 months and am going through wave and window episodes of severe pain and less pain. Each wave I seem to have burning/tingling neuropathic type pain, muscle pain, spasm, or stiffness developing in a new area of my body, so it’s now widespread. The pain is milder during the day, but gets so much worse at night and is causing lots of fear and anxiety. Since starting 5-htp, curcumin, and modified cictrus pectin (recommend by a naturopath) I seem to be having a few more windows through the day of a lot less pain and even 1-2 nights a week where the pain does not become severe at night. My mental symptoms are anxiety/fear, detachment (happens 6-8pm everyday) and some mood swings/low mood. The intense fear caused by the pain is the worst one. Most of my other symptoms are physical (blurred vision, dizziness, nausea, fatigue, loss of appetite). I know reinstating can be a bit risky this far out, but I am a grad student and the semester will be starting soon. I would like to be more functional than I am... and in less pain. So is it worth trying a reinstatement at this point to see if the pain will go away or should I just try to wait this out? If I do choose to reinstate, my psychiatrist suggested reinstating 5mg, but would it be better to start at 1-2mg and work up? 4 months off at end of July and primary symptoms are pain (burning/tingling neuropathic pain, spasms, stiffness, aches bodywide), blurred vision, dizziness, detachment, nausea, loss of appetite, dry mouth and eyes, mood swings, and a lot of anxiety and fear. A couple other things. One thing I have working for me in withdrawal is my Xywav. I always get 8 hours of quality sleep a night with no insomnia, so maybe that will help me to stabilize just a bit faster than normal (or maybe its wistful thinking...). I also don't think I have a chemical sensitivity. I have started supplements, an antiviral (acyclovir), and lowered the adderall without any obvious worsening of symptoms. Also is there anybody here who can relate to this and has developed a lot of pain in withdrawal? I’m 24 and never had pain before. I have had a full autoimmune and blood work up as well as a brain mri. All normal, so hopefully it's just withdrawal. Sorry for the long post, but thank you for reading and any advice you can offer.
  5. Hello, my name is Ben from Germany, I am 26 years old. I stopped taking Fluoxetin 20mg After 4 weeks because of the immens problems with the medicine. I had stomache, brain and health problems, lost Libido and nearly no erection and lost feelings in my genitals. Now after 5 months off I still have so many Problems. I feel sick, have Brain/ thinking Problems and I am Always tired and have no power at all. I dont want to do anything... sad :( and I dont have any erection... its like if he‘s dead. So now I am wondering what could/ should I do? My girlfriend is really nice but I think she needs sex :( and I cant. Was the Cold turkey a bad decision? What would u recommend to me? Thanks for your answers, Ben (26)
  6. Unsure if I'm posting in the right place but this is somewhat of an introduction. 1.5 years ago I started on 20mg of Prozac for OCD. There was restlessness with starting but it went away. Gradually I tapered down to 10mg of Prozac which I was on for a full year. 2 months ago, I felt the sudden onset of a a very severely agitated feeling. It was very vague but I can pinpoint the exact moment I noticed it -- I was sitting, doing nothing remarkable, and unstressed. I had felt something like this before throughout my treatment but it was very very temporary and felt more like an agitated depression brought on by external circumstances. When this feeling started I could not pinpoint anything else as the cause. Things were good in all parts of my life. I had not messed with the dosage of Prozac at all for a year. Is it still possible that the Prozac is causing this long term agitation/akathisia that I still experience today? A month into the feeling I decided to taper off Prozac completely. I experienced very little withdrawal...just mild headaches and dizziness. The akathisia didn't get worse or better. But it is still quite bad. And the longer it continues the more hopeless I become and probably the more depressed as well because I can't see a life without this agitation anymore. Started on some Klonopin to treat the restlessness and help me sleep. Has anyone else experienced akathisia without a dose change? And also only being on a low dose?
  7. I will keep this short as I can. I gave up fluoxetine in my early 60s when I had the opportunity to retire, having been taking ADs for previous 15 years or so. I didn’t taper having tried it before, and with my personality type I was keen just to turn my back on the whole lot of it and see what happened. At the same time, this is 2018, my friend tried to give up by tapering. Now 4 years later having tried cutting down many times she has just been prescribed yet another type of AD this time stronger than ever. I went through hell giving up but you do come out of the other and I feel sorry for my friend who is still stuck and suffering. First six months. Pure unadulterated hell. I spent a lot of time crying. The psychological pain found a focus in the state of the world and the intense cruelty of humans towards animals (even thought of all the farm creatures penned up with no freedom felt like a hideous knife twisting into my heart). Everything was unbearable, I didn’t sleep well and woke hideously early.I could barely go out, would try having coffee with sympathetic friends and would end up just sitting in silence with tears running down my cheeks. 6 months to one year. Still a hellish existence, those close to me started losing patience and sympathy. I started getting comments like ‘maybe you’re just one of those people who always need to take them’, or ‘have you tried mindfulness/etc’ while putting on a why isn’t she pulling herself together by now face. The second year of withdrawal. At this point I realised it is all about the brain chemicals. There is not a thing you can do until your brain has had time to heal and recover and find its own balance and that will take as long as it takes, so don’t give up, nothing external really seems to help you just need time. I was still trying all sorts of things, eg cold swimming when I could, but it’s not a miracle cure nothing is. You just need to keep fighting it for another day, day after day. Realise that 99%of the advice and suggestions, both medical and ‘alternative’ are bullsh*t. People confuse their journey battling low mood where it worked for them to take that supplement and do that meditation with people like you and I who are suffering a chemical depression where every home grown good feeling the body can create has fled and won’t be coming back for a good long while. Hang in there! After about 18 months it was starting to ease in that by mid to late afternoon my mood was starting to lift and I was even getting some prolonged moments of inner peace from the tortured thoughts that continually plagued me. But really for the first two years there was a pattern; wake up (too early) and feel normal for about 30 seconds then countdown to the plunge into the abyss as the cortisol kicked in. And I really do mean the abyss. Third year. Generally started actually feeling I was on the road to recovery. The daily cortisol plunge was being shaken off earlier as each month went by. I still had terribly sensitive emotions related to my pain focus of choice (world/animals) and just hearing about the wrong thing would do the trick. My courage started to return in lots of little ways and life started to get back to normal although everything had changed at the same time. Looking back, some things that provided temporary relief: being outdoors, taking a walk, doing some gardening, cold swimming or showering, repeating a mantra to crowd out the repetitive negative thoughts - pick your own. I chose the Vedic spiritual mantra Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna… etc find it on the internet. This is with the greatest respect to that great Indian tradition from which the mantra comes, I followed transcendental meditation for many years so it had a spiritual meaning for me. A practical tip the mantra should be soothing, easy to repeat over and over. Late afternoons I started to look forward to a strong cocktail sipped in the garden with a little puff of homegrown (also the only reason why I was able to sleep at all). Obvious warning - if you have an addictive personality you will be particularly vulnerable during withdrawal so watch out. Now four years later. I am definitely 100% over it and have been for a while, now getting psychologically stronger all the time and better than ever before. if you are suffering at the start or in the middle of your journey that sounds like an awfully long time, almost too much to bear. But you must bear it for your long term benefit and when you are free you will finally have your life back in a way that you never truly had been able to perceive it before. You will have been through hell and survived. The great statesman Winston Churchill kept me going, I repeated a quote to myself all the time ‘if you find yourself in hell, keep going’. If you are young and have been prescribed these medications for anxiety and depression the one thing that will help you terminate your trajectory into lifelong suffering is the one thing in this modern world that is kept in short supply - peace and healing nature. This will be so difficult for you as the modern consuming lifestyle by which we are all tethered and controlled relies on providing constant dopamine hits from clicks and thrills, it is ultra addictive poison - avoid if you have any desire and hope of building a peaceful and meaningful life, and spend as much time in nature and with pets and other animals as you can. (IMHO of course!). For the first 18 months I scoured this website multiple times a day because the one thing that helped was hearing about other people’s experiences and knowing there were others like me suffering on this awful journey that we can only travel alone. As I started to get better I promised myself I would thank this website and the good people who run it for the support and for keeping hope alive that there is actually something worthwhile at the end of the long dark tunnel we’ve had to travel. I hope my experience is of benefit to you. Just keep going, if you do I promise you that the outcome will be unavoidable - freedom and relief.
  8. Been on and off antidepressants for the last ten years. Prescribed amiltriptalian 2012 to relief arthritis pain. CT as requested by surgeon pre operation 2013.. PTSD diagnosed by dr after surgery prescribed Dosulapin 2013. Was swapped to another antidepressant after a couple of years think it was duloxetine. CT. Cant remember year swapped to gaberpectin to help with OA!!! CTed. Eventually another antidepressant after a couple of years think it was fluroxetine?? No taper. Tried to come of but didn't understand taper diagnosed paroxetine 2019 30mg also given amiltriptalian to help with sleep again but luckily didn't use it. Been reducing current meds since 2021. Now doing ten percent taper every 4 weeks. Ups and downs!!!! use breathing teckniques, mindfullness,graditude diary,crafting , nature, essential oils, baths, books,support services such as berevement phone line, samartians, therapy of NHS for free or cheep charity counsellors but essentially do it all alone, no support from family limited support from friends
  9. 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!
  10. Hi all. I’m writing on behalf of my husband. Bit of background: 2003 was put on Prozac for 3 months- no adverse reaction and subsequently various doses of venlafaxine which he successfully came off of with no issues. 2013 was switched from Venlafaxine to sertraline. Had ‘activation syndrome’ (extreme anxiety) for 8 weeks (always thought it was him) but went away once body used to drug. August 2021 had been on 25mg for years and thought he would taper over 2 months, successfully came off no issues or problems. january 2022- I was having a C section and he was a bit worried, nothing extreme though, just normal worry and decided to reinstate the Sertraline. Within days, ‘activation syndrome’ was back. He stayed on for 5 weeks and then doctor said ‘come off as you weren’t anxious or depressed to start with’ symptoms of withdrawal started but manageable. He thought after 6 weeks that it wasn’t withdrawal as nhs website said it should have gone after 2 weeks! March 2022- started mirtazapine at 15mg going up to 30mg. Fine for 3 weeks, but then developed activation syndrome and quickly came off. GP advised to go back on to sertraline at a bigger dose- ended up in a and e, so agitated! 3 weeks later, he thought that the mirtazapine might be less activating at a smaller dose, so went back on at 15mg… alas, 3 weeks later, activation syndrome is back! june 5th came off and has been battling severe anxiety, but generally, every other day! I am aware of windows and waves but don’t understand this. One day he’s perfect and the next can’t leave the house! He also started propanalol in June which we feel makes it worse as apparently it blocks seritonin to a degree, but makes anxiety a lot worse if he reduces (or maybe he did too big a jump). NHS have left us to it, no help! Have a private appointment on Monday. Questions are: If he is getting windows this early on, is it a good sign?! The only symptom he has is extreme anxiety/agitation which seems more a reaction to lack of seritonin, thus firing out tons of cortisol? Could he go on a low dose of Prozac to see if that helps? Prozac is the only antidepressant he doesn’t think caused activation syndrome?! is there any experiences with propanalol making matters worse? I think there is a slight improvement in the anxiety but considering it’s only been out of his system for 6 weeks I expect takes a lot longer to build new pathways etc/level out. Thanks for reading. Just want my husband back, it’s destroying me and him!
  11. Hi, I'm new, thanks for letting me join. I started Prozac 7 years ago after having severe anxiety after my daughter was born. My anxiety particularly revolved around sleep. 7 years later and after CBT I felt ready to taper off them which I did slowly over months. I had the usual withdrawal symptoms tiredness, highly irritable, brain fog, sadness and a little anxiety. And some weird symptoms - Im hungry all the time for sweet things and constantly want an alcoholic drink. And the sensation of my eyes wanting to cry when I don't feel sad. Also all my emotions that had been numbed came flooding back - I cry at sad movies and have empathy again. The positive side is that my terrible drug induced sweating problem is gone which is so wonderful! I didn't revert to the sleep anxiety or panic attacks I had before so I thought hey, I'm succeeding, I'm doing ok. I'm now 6 weeks on but I have suddenly started feeling very sad and tearful and I'm worrying I'm going backwards. Is this normal? I didn't actually start the antidepressants for depression but that's how I'm starting to feel.
  12. 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.
  13. Hello everyone, I'm urgently seeking advice on my current situation, which is scary, unfortunate, and a complete mess. I'm a 30 year old female who has been on-and-off fluoxetine (20-40 mg) for depression and anxiety over the past 13 years. Due to personal instability, I was constantly moving around and seeing new providers. A cycle began where I would discontinue and within 4-6 months be put back on the drug due to a "recurrent episode." I now believe that these recurrent episodes were in fact withdrawal symptoms. I knew nothing about the long-term effects of the drug, and how these periods of discontinuation and reinstatement were priming me for hypersensitivity. The last time I discontinued the drug (fluoxetine 20mg), I noticed within 2 months that I could no longer tolerate, even at a very small dose, another drug that I had previously tolerated (spironolactone). That was the first sign that something was amiss. 4 months after discontinuing, due to severe distress and anguish, I decided to go back on fluoxetine. I started 10 mg fluoxetine for 12 days. I had some headaches, which was typical for me, but I also noticed some other physical side effects - like dizziness and just "feeling off" - which I thought was odd. I wasn't sure what was causing it, so I ceased the fluoxetine. 2.5 weeks after stopping, the physical side effects abated, and I was back to feeling normal. Then, 3 weeks after stopping, I had a huge emotional breakdown -- screaming, crying, urges to self-harm. I decided that I needed to re-start the drug immediately. I began taking the 10 mg fluoxetine again, and started having intense side effects from it that I had never had before. I didn't realize it at the time, but this was kindling. I figured I would stabilize on that dose, so I continued. While some of my side effects partially stabilized, I was still having issues, when all of a sudden a new side effect emerged at 3.5 weeks -- what appeared to be neurogenic bladder. I went to a doctor and they told me I needed to stop taking fluoxetine. With one skipped dose, the issue immediately resolved. I then went through an absolutely hellish 25 day withdrawal unlike anything I have ever experienced. The headaches and neck pain were so severe, and the insomnia so intense, that out of desperation I tried to re-instate at a low dose - approx. 2.5 mg one day, and 1.25 mg the next. This didn't seem to help, but make things worse, so I stopped. However, I'm now 4 days past the botched re-instatement, and I can tell it has had some improvement. The headaches have stopped, but now I am in almost a hypo-manic, jittery state from the increased dose. I'm at a loss as to what the next step should be, and my current provider is no help. Now that I've come to this website, I've realized all the errors I have made. I believe I have basically kindled twice, and I can tell that I have become extremely hyper-sensitive to the drug. At this point, is my nervous system so shot that I need to just give up on the fluoxetine and try to survive the second withdrawal? The only other option I can think of is to try to stabilize on a lower dose -- try taking 0.1 mg? 0.5 mg? -- but I'm not sure if that's feasible given my sensitivity and fluoxetine's long half-life, which will make the levels fluctuate in my blood for awhile before becoming consistent. I'm very scared, and none of the doctors or psychiatrists I've talked to understand what has happened. I'm honestly afraid that I might have a seizure and not survive this.
  14. Hello everyone, I am very thankful to be here. I am completely new to the site and looking for advice and guidance. I quit 20 mg of fluoxetine cold turkey about 7 weeks ago. I had been told by both my PCP and psych nurse practitioner that is was "such a low dose" that I would probably do fine. The first thing I noticed was irritability, followed by depressed mood, insomnia, and now anxiety/worry/fear. History: 2009 (age 27)-2019: Start 20 mg of escitalopram for eating disorder and major depressive disorder. Sxs alleviated. 2016-2019: Slow, gradual taper off of escitalopram with final dose July 2019. 3 months later: insomnia, fear/doom, excessive anxiety to the point of not functioning in life. 2020: Started 30 mg fluoxetine for anxiety sxs. 2021: Reduce to 20 mg, no problems June of 2022: Quit 20 mg of fluoxetine, cold turkey. Current complaints after 6-7 weeks: quickly noticed high irritability. Now bad insomnia. Also return of depressed mood, anxiety/fear/doom about things that are very much under control and okay, worse on days that I get very bad sleep. Occasionally able to sleep a solid night. In hindsight, I really wish I would've tapered off of the 20 mg despite it being a "small dose." Small dose but a world of difference. Motivation for getting off: I just want to see if I really need drugs to live or can my coping tools be enough. Potential future pregnancy. Worries about staying on a drug indefinitely. Experience while on Prozac: it works. No side effects that were bothersome, no emotional numbing like when I was on escitalopram. Life is good. Questions to you all: Aside from the insomnia, I'm not convinced I'm experiencing withdrawal sxs. It really just seems like a return of the emotional sxs that brought me to meds in the first place. No brainzaps, physiological oddities, etc. Just the insomnia. What is your take? Considering I quit cold turkey and shouldn't have, what are best next steps? Things are starting to get to the point where I'm getting desperate to get back on medication just to feel like my happy old self (prozac self) again. I do all the right things: good bedtime routine, regular exercise, good nutrition, no drugs, rare glass of alcohol, regular meditation, and back to seeing my therapist regularly. Could I be doing more harm by getting back on prozac rather than just waiting it out longer? Any insight is appreciated. I want to live my life free of SSRI's but I have serious doubts it's possible. Thanks for being here.
  15. Hi, I have been struggling with hearing sensitivity and eye issues ever since I made the mistake of listening to my neurologist and trying Effexor, and then upon recommendation of a psychiatrist, Prozac. Both were for short time periods. I am a little more than 4 months out of my last prozac dose. Ears/Hearing: hypersensitive to certain sounds - sudden sounds, sharp impact sounds, crinkling plastic wrappers etc. High pitched tinnitus that is generally not too instrusive and can be better or worse but always there. No hearing loss as of post-Effexor, pre-prozac. Eyes: “tight” feeling that is somewhat better than a few months ago but still not normal. I probably have some visual snow, and my night vision is worse because it’s like my eyes are amplifying light that’s not even there. Constantly bloodshot and dry eyes - taking restasis but opthamologist didn’t see any other eye issues. Balance: generally ok but occasional unsteadiness. Other: Mild constipation: gastroenterologist didn’t see anything wrong. Some TMJ pain and minor random muscle twitches. Occasional facial tremors that are better than a few months ago but not gone. Frequent trouble sleeping- falling asleep, getting enough sleep or deep sleep. Basically I believe that these drugs hypersensitized me. I sincerely hope that this hypersensitivity will decrease over time. I have seen some improvement vs say 2 months ago, but I have a long way to go. I have read on this site that it can take a long time for the nervous system to calm down. I believe that I am generally improved on magnitude of sensitivity vs say 2 months ago, but I am clearly not on a “some people take as much as a month to recover” timeframe.
  16. Hi all, I have been on/ off fluoxetine, approaching around 4 years now, having started taking it in around March 2017 when I was 18. I started taking it as I was experiencing high levels of anxiety from all of the stress in both my personal and professional life (I was doing A-Levels at the time). When I first started taking it, it was incredible and calmed my anxiety, unbelievably, within a week and so I kept taking it even though it was only meant to help get me through that time. In January 2019 I decided to no longer take it and went cold turkey - withdrawal was not too bad, a few left arm aches but nothing really other than that. In September 2019, I was back on it - I was starting my second year of uni and the pressure was really bad. In October of 2020, the fluoxetine stopped working and so I was recommended to discontinue the fluoxetine for one week and then start 25mg sertraline, then increasing to 50mg after one week. Sertraline was the worst medication I've ever taken; my heart was racing almost everyday, intense anxiety, chest pain and more. I only took it for 4 weeks, I physically and mentally couldn't take any more. So, I then came off the sertraline and the fluoxetine was reinstated at 20mg for 2 weeks in January of 2021, and then increased to 40mg to try to help my anxiety. The 40mg was even worse than the sertraline and so since late January 2021, I've been taking 20mg fluoxetine. Now though, after sex or a similar stressor, I'm full of anxiety for around 2 weeks before it starts to decline. The 20mg fluoxetine has always kept me emotionally numb though, and I'd like to come off it; it was only meant to be a temporary fix but has now been used for too long. I'd rather do it sooner than later, when my body becomes even more dependant on it reduce the anxiety. Is it a wise idea to start tapering it now, possibly to just 10mg, so soon after reducing from 40mg to 20mg? Thank you in advance for your help!
  17. Hey, my name's Leland. Last May, 2020, I started having Panic Attacks due to life stress, COVID fears, and unhealthy lifestyle habits. After a week of bad anxiety, DP/DR, I was prescribed 10 MG Prozac. The first week was managable, so I increased to 20 MG. Did all kinds of research on the drug to assuage my fears, but my side effects were pretty minimal. Panic attacks continued once a week or so, but began to slowly weaken. After one bad day in late July 2020, my doctor and I increased my dose to 30 MG. After a few weeks of this I felt pretty calm again. For the next few months, my anxiety was hit or miss, but I stopped having panic attacks, and I learned to live with the anxiety that would creep up, so largely that went away as well. I felt pretty detached and foggy with the medicine, but very calm, so it was worth it. This spring, I had gone 7 or so months without a panic attack, so I decided to taper off. My doctor recommended dropping 10 MG every 2-4 weeks, so I chose 4 weeks. Went from 30 to 20, then to 10 on May 8. On June 1 I took my last 10 MG pill. Immediately I felt withdrawal symptoms. Brain zaps, fatigue, body and head aches, and a feeling like I was underwater. Did some research on my own and found this site! Decided after 5 week of symptoms to talk to my doctor about reinstating and tapering again, from 5 MG. Before I received the liquid medicine, I went on a vacation with family and drank, a lot. Came back to California having new and severe anxiety attacks (not panic attacks, since I gained the skills to stop them from becoming panic). New feelings of DP/DR came from the anxiety. Took my first reinstated dose of 3 MG on July 30. The next week was full of dizziness, anxiety, DP/DR, aches. Came to an understanding with my Psychiatrist that binge drinking while having Withdrawal Symptoms led to my anxiety outburst. Increased to 5 MG liquid on August 7. Since then, my anxiety has lessened some, but I still have daily feelings of feeling underwater, occasional anxiety outbursts, and fatigue. Have cut my drinking by 85%, now only 2 beers per week. Sleeping well, eating well and exercising, walking to lessen my anxiety. Ultimately, I'm staying on 5 MG liquid for several more weeks before doing the 10% taper. Withdrawal symptoms *seem* better, definitely no more brain zaps. But it's hard to tell with all my new anxiety symptoms. I want to calm my anxiety holistically, instead of increasing my prozac back up to 10 or 20 MGs. The medicine really worked for me, but I want to be able to remove it from my life eventually as well. Will continue to take care of myself everyday, and hope both the medicine and anxiety symptoms even themselves out over time. Excited to have found this site!
  18. hello, this is my first time posting. I have read some of the forums on here but I still am having difficulty on how to proceed. I was on Paxil 40mg for 7 years. I hate it. I cross tapered onto prozac 40 over 9 days. I was stupid and tried to reduce the Prozac’s dose a couple days as well. The withdrawal is so bad now I can barely get up and I haven’t eaten much of anything in days. These are the same symptoms I felt from stopped Paxil before; intense nausea, headache, vertigo, lethargy, brain zaps, depressed. I can’t function at all. today and yesterday I’ve taken 40mg prozac. I’m going to call the psychiatrist on Monday but honestly they have no clue about anything related to withdrawal and never give me guidance. I have very little faith in them being able to help me. Does anyone know if this is just from stopping Paxil? Or starting prozac? Does being on another ssri not stop the withdrawal from another? I’ve tried withdrawal from Paxil on its own and it’s just impossible. I have no idea what to do at this point. If the United States had free healthcare I would go to the hospital but it doesn’t so I’m not doing that. I’m not sure how much they could even do.
  19. Firstly hi, i wish someone can guide me, may 2021 i started on paxil 10 mg then 20 mg to the end of mars then i switched to zolof 50 mg then 25 mg but it gave me insomnia and lost my appetite so i switched to lexapro 5mg after 7 weeks on zoloft.. Lexapro always made me lose my appetite so i just stopped then i got into withdrawal so i used prozac to get rid of them after one week like this : one week 5 mg prozac One week 2.5 mg One week 1.25 It got rid off dizziness and zaps but nauaea it still there after i finished prozac ( when i was on it i didnt have much appetite too ) Its 10 days ago So what should i do now plz help me Tough it out ? For how long ? Or reinstate lex 2.5 mg but it will make me lose my appetite anyways Can i taper if i wasnt stable on it and still give me side effects ? Plz help and opinions and thanks..
  20. Hi there, I'm a new one here. Luckily, I've found this website because we don't have any single website which helps people who want to stop taking antidepressants in my country. My name is Anastasia, I'm 32. I work as a teacher at school. I'm married and have a lovely cat. I take antidepressants for 11 years. I've always been a shy person with lack of confidence. Since my childhood I've suffered from intrusive thoughts just about any imaginable staff. The first time I went to the psychiatrist was because of intrusive thoughts about my relationship. And my horror story began. I had various reasons for my constant painful thoughts. I had permament nausea, irritable bowel, which didn't let me leave my house, a sense of guilt, depressive thoughts, anxiety. constant tears and just liying at home and staring at one point - not all at once, of course. These were the reasons for many many visits to the doctor. Each time antidepressants helped a lot and I was back to life again. Can't say I was always in a good mood, but, nevertheless, I could live. I really don't remember the years and dosage of medicines, but in different periods I took amitriptilin, venlafaxine, zoloft, duloxetine, fluoxetine, phenazipame, atarax. One day pills stopped helping me. I changed three doctors hoping someone'll help me. The first one finally said that my brain had become tolerant to drugs and I had to quit. I tried so many times and always my thoughts came back and tortured me. The second doc said I had endogenous depression and it's ok to take antidepresants just for the whole life. She also said that if one medicine didn't help, so let's try another. And we tried and changed. My thoughts and depression didn't go away, but I felt not well, not bad. The third doc finally said that my diagnose was anxiery disorder and eating disorder. Insisted on treating my depression to the end and then quit. My latest medicine was venlafaxine 75 mg. But I decided to come to my first doctor and tried to withdraw like 37, 5 - one week, 18,75 - two weeks. Now it's three weeks I'm off. And it's just a hell. My thoughts (now about my weight and shape) have become more painful than they were on medicines. I find it hard to go outside because I feel really uncomfortable in all my clothes. It seems they are too tight. I'm depressed, angry and nervous. I can't do anything and distract myself. Even in my pyjamas I feel fat and uncomfortable. The story of my eating disorder: when I got married, my husband and I gained some weight. Then we started keeping to a diet. We lost weight and I felt just great for some time. Then it wasn't enough and I started to eat 1000 calories a day. But still I had a fat belly and wasn't satisfied with my weight and the way I looked. I gave up dieting and gained half the weight I had lost previously. Now I'm obsessed with my weight and it's just a nightmare. I think about it 24/7 but can't stop eating. Food is the only thing that gives me pleasure. I tried Gestalt therapy and CBT a bit, but I'm convinced that these sessions just do nothing. I understand everything, nod to the psychologist but don't believe it can help. I'm really confused now if I have to be on medicines or not and don't know what to do... Living like this is not a real life. The only wish I have now is to stop this suffering, by means of drugs or not, I don't know. I 'm studying this website and try to understand all the mechanisms. I'm not sure I'll manage to tolerate this for many years, it's been only three weeks but I'm completely exhausted. The reason why I wanted to quit was to have a baby, but it's practically impossible to think about pregnancy and birth now because of my condition. Seeking for help and support. Thank you in advance. PS: I was really frightened to start my topic here because of the country where I live, because of my nationality. But I want you to know that I just can't stand all the hell that is going on right now in the world. Of course, it adds a lot to my anxiety and depression.
  21. In August of 2021 will be a four-year ordeal that began with a breaking through (tolerance) of the SSRI medication (Celexa) I was on for 20 years. During this four-year period, I experienced over 75 symptoms associated with psychotropic medication withdrawal and at two different times was at zero quality of life. Once for five months (within the first year) and the once for four months (in year two) three months after my last dose of medication. I have been treated by a Psychiatrist, several counselors, two functional medicine doctors, two nutritionist, two specialists with psychotropic medication withdrawal, a geneticist and spent over a year and a half treated by a Dr. who specializes with hard-to-treat depression and anxiety cases. I have been on several strict diets (anti-inflammatory, vegetarian) and taken countless supplements. I have been tested for many possible underlying conditions. Although my condition has improved slowly (many symptoms have abated) I am still impaired living with severe insomnia, depression and anxiety on a daily basis. Concentration, speech, motivation, fatigue are all residual issues that continue to come and go with no predictable pattern but as of late cognition, speech and energy level have all improved. Prior to taking psychotropic medications, I lived with dysthymia (PDD) with major depressive episodes until 34 years old. I was not aware of the condition until that time. Looking back it effected my motivation, outlook on life, self-confidence and career decisions. I took Celexa for 20 years and it worked well for about 12-15 years. A whole new world of consistent positive emotions opened up soon after starting the drug. The last five or so years I was emotionally numb with no real highs but depression, insomnia and anxiety were not factors. It should be noted that for about eight of those years the dosage was 80 mg. In the summer of 2017, I noticed increased anxiety levels and insomnia had returned similar to when I when on medication. I then realized I was breaking through the medication. Agitation and aggression also started increasing. My psychiatrist then prescribed multiple medications over a period of five months. I experienced intense acute withdrawal symptoms. These drugs included Lexapro, Cymbalta, and Prozac. I stopped all meds after five months in December of 2017 for a period of one and a half months (symptoms intensified). At the end of the month and a half, I tried Ketamine infusions and my quality of life was reduced to zero. This intense period lasted five months. During this five-month period, new and previously prescribed drugs were given including Prozac, Trintellex, Lexapro, Klonopin (5 mg.), and Trazodone. In May of 2018, I began a slow taper with an organization to come off all medications. The taper ended in August of 2019. The order of the taper was Trintellex, Trazadone, Klonopin, and Prozac. During the taper, a number of symptoms lessened but would return later with varying intensity and duration (e.g., visual distortions, brain zaps, dizziness, numerous cognitive issues). However, after the taper, several symptoms slowly increased in severity including insomnia (severe), depression (moderate to severe), concentration (moderate), anxiety moderate to severe), depersonalization/derealization (moderate). The symptoms of insomnia, anxiety and depression were the most constant. Immediately after my taper, quality of life was reduced significantly (close to zero). This in spite of working with a functional medical doctor and nutritionist for treatment. Three months later, I reached zero quality of life again and in the winter of 2019 I went to a clinic that specialized in hard to treat cases in hope they could help. My condition improved slowly but not much. I was put on supplements to address sleep and high free copper levels. The treatment for free copper lasted over a year with zinc supplements reaching 250 mg before it was determined my free copper levels were down. Sleep problems remained unchanged. After two years of being treating I was still severely symptomatic and was told I was one of only 10% of patients that they were not able to help. In desperation and on recommendation, I reached out to an organization the deals with genetic testing. They put me on more supplements in which I reacted negatively. Currently, insomnia remains bad. I wake every night after about three hours with an intense mixture of negative emotions (e.g. anxiety, depression, guilt, shame) that have no basis in circumstances. My sleep is tumultuous at best, waking multiple times before experiencing electrical like sensations about 45 minutes prior to waking. Most mornings I cannot go back to sleep because of these sensations. My sleep hygiene is very good and has been for a while. Nothing seems to help in this area. I take magnesium and have taken a number of other supplements and natural sleep aids, but none have worked. However, I now go through withdrawal if I forget to take the magnesium. In summary, this August it will be four years. Two of which have been medication free. My symptoms have improved in number, intensity and duration. However, I still deal with insomnia, depression and anxiety in varying patterns. I do have some windows but never a full day and have not slept through the night except once in 4 years. Trying to discern withdrawal symptoms from underlying symptoms is challenging. Sleep was never a problem prior to taking medications and nothing close to what I live with now. I do not understand why is so bad when I have practiced excellent sleep hygiene for a while. The anxiety and depression have similarities to my pre-existing condition but also have major differences. For example, I can be dealing with a situation in the morning that seems to be causing depression or anxiety and in the evening I am thinking about the same situation and feel neither anxiety or depression and can view the situation in rational emotionally stable state. I am very strong in my belief about my identity but will sometimes experience strong emotions of insecurity that I know are absolutely baseless and absurd. The same goes for anxiety and depression. The emotions seem to have a mind of their own. There is a strong disconnect between what I know to be true and my emotions. Like fearing something that you know is rationally nothing to fear. I have many questions that I probably already know the answer, but I will throw them out for your feedback. 1. Did the poly drugging exacerbate the withdrawal/healing process. 2. What about the ketamine? That drug sent me off into the abyss of torturous emotions. It was like I was being brutally tortured non-stop for five months night and day. The emotions were beyond description. Zero peace and joy. 3. Are my current symptoms (they still can be very debilitating and intense) uncommon this far out from being off meds? 4. I did a slow taper and was told I would probably heal quickly only to go back to zero quality of life three months later. Any thoughts? 5. Although most of the people who have tried to help have been well-meaning, none have been able to significantly alter my condition. I have appreciated their encouragement and compassion, but their treatments have not been able to move the healing needle. Most supplements inflated my symptoms or did nothing at all. The free copper diagnosis and treatment did bring a little relief but only a little. 6. I have read that sleep is one of the last things to return to normal, but four years later it still is bad. Any thoughts? Feel free to ask questions or make comments. Thank you for taking the time to read.
  22. Long story short, I have anxiety and panic disorder. My doctor stopped my Prozac CT in April 2022 after 14 years stable on antidepressants. Said would be no issue due to the long half-life. Started getting physical symptoms and severe depression 6 weeks later, so he started Effexor 75mg cause it worked in the past. Since the have had days I feel okayish but the past week has been hospital visits due to SI and severe panic. They just keep giving me benzos but it’s making me worse. I had clonaz once and fainted and still don’t feel right. They want me to wean my Effexor onto Zoloft. What do I do? I can’t go on much longer like this…
  23. Hi all. Since my history with SSRIs is relatively brief (3 years), I felt that tapering would be a piece of cake for me. I started on citalopram 20mg for severe depression in 2019. About a year and a half later I switched to fluoxetine 20mg. In early 2021 I started high dose Vitamin D3 (read—REAL high, no 2000iu child’s play) which did wonders for my mood. It actually did what I expected SSRIs to do. I wanted to wean off almost as soon as I started SSRIs but was terrified to until this April. I weaned over 60 days and boy, oh boy, withdrawal hit me hard. I’m talking insomnia, visual hallucinations, dizziness/balance/coordination issues, confusion and problems focusing, shock and zap sensations in my body and brain, and many others more intermittently. Mostly CNS stuff but if it’s not too much information I had severe diarrhea multiple times every day during the entire tapering process and for weeks afterward. I’m still facing the CNS symptoms daily. All of this caught me off guard and much of what I could find online gave me no validating information that what I was feeling can be normal. After reading many different threads here I feel like I’m not crazy, which is such a relief after feeling isolated from everyone for months. I am curious to ask the group—something odd that I’ve been experiencing in the last few days is paranoia over things that I know are totally outlandish—have any of you experienced paranoia as one of your symptoms? Im also wondering how long your withdrawal symptoms lasted (bonus points if you were on 20mg fluoxetine), months? Years? Just trying to feel out what I’m up against. Good to be here. Callie
  24. I would really appreciate your comments concerning my situation. I have always stopped AD (Escitalopram) too quickly simply because of lacking knowledge in the previous years. Now I may be a bit smarter. Doctors always say it's the underlying disease coming back. It seems that I don't benefit from SSRI/SNRI anymore, at least I'm not willing to try anything anymore, I just want to get out of the current poison (Venlafaxine) in a reasonable time. Mainly SSRI was described to anxiety in a difficult life situation. Symptoms: Main concern is a pressure type of feeling in my head (starts in the morning) which started after stopping Escitalopram abruptly in 2021 after feeling really sick on the medication for 4 weeks. I have also some inner restlesness but not akathisia and occasional anxiety. The symptoms have got a bit better but some drugs (Seronil) seemed to make them worse and was discontinued. I may be on a protracted withdrawal from Escitalopram but I'm not sure. At the moment I don't actually know what Venlafaxine is doing, in a way it might have lowered the symptoms but days vary - not feeling stable. I think my central nervous system is a bit shaky at the moment and I really would like to have some suggestions/comments that am I going to the right direction if I try to stabilize on a small amount of Venlafaxine (12.5-37.5 mg) for some months before WD? I didn't want to start this drug but it just happened and that's done, can't go back. Sleeping aids: Melatonin, Magnesium and L-Teanin for the last 3 months (sleeping 3-6 h/night) Used to take sleeping pills (Triptyl, Surmontil, Mirtazapine and Benzos) occasionally but built tolerance and stopped them. I have never been addicted to above meds.
  25. Hi All! I was born March 1997, meaning I began antidepressants at the age of 15, 2 years after my father died suddenly. I now believe I shouldn't have been started on them, as my problems were likely caused by raging hormones and a significant life event and probably better treated with talking therapy. These medications were initially prescribed to treat what presented as daily panic attacks and 'troublesome behaviour' (staying out all night, risky behaviour, drinking excessively, self-harm). I would like to mention that some of my mental health symptoms (rejection sensitivity, oversensitivity to criticism and suicidal ideation) have been present since I can remember. My only other symptom is panic attacks, which begun as soon as my father died suddenly. None of these symptoms have ever disappeared, regardless of being on medications. The only things that seem to help are exercise and a good social support system. I am currently attempting to taper down from Sertraline 150mg (see signature for full dosage history). The smallest possible tablet I can get where I am is 25mg and it is tiny, so I am quite nervous about how to taper when I get to the smaller doses, especially when they become very specific according to the 10% schedule. I have bought a scale which says it can weigh down to 0.001mg, but I couldn't afford a very expensive one so I'm not sure how accurate this will be. I'm also really keen to come off Sertraline probably sooner than 10% every 4 weeks, although I know this isn't recommended. I just have never felt like it has really helped me and due to my recent ADHD diagnosis, I feel that my problems are better dealt with by my newly prescribed ADHD medication. Would welcome any advice on a quicker tapering schedule, as well as how to deal with micro-doses when you are unable to get smaller pills than 25mg.
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