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  1. I was put on 20mg of Seroxat in May 1996 (directly after two weeks of Valium). I was 19 years old. Prescription was for Panic Disorder, GAD and Mild Depression (although I had never felt depressed and explained that many times over the years to my doctor(s)). As were many, I was told I had a chemical balance which, just like a diabetic needs insulin, I needed seroxat. Since then, I have tried approximately 5 times to come off the medication (with taper of sorts - usually 10mg for a few weeks and then to zero). Each time, the anxiety came back, always with new symptoms (extreme nausea, vertigo, increased anxiety, obsessive dark thoughts). I also developed irrational fears (fear of driving on highways and over bridges, fear of ski lifts, fear of heights, fear of flying, fear of business meetings. In fact, pretty much fear of everything.). Each time I visited a doctor, I was told the same thing: you have a chemical imbalance and need to go back on Seroxat. Sure enough, a single tablet would have me feeling back to “normal” within a matter of hours. I used to joke about it with doctors “wow, what a placebo effect. This should take weeks to work?”. Now I realise I was (probably) in withdrawal. Two years ago, after being in a protracted depression for the best part of 10 years (something I hadn’t realised as it had become my baseline state), I had got myself down to approximately 7mg a day. The reason I was trying to come off was two fold: firstly, my wife and I wanted to start a family and I was concerned about both my fertility and damage to any baby I conceive. Secondly, I had made a huge effort to get fit, was running 40km a week and had dropped from 92kg to 78kg-I’m 178cm. This gave me the confidence that I was in the best physical place to achieve it. Soon after, I suffered what I considered to be a mental breakdown. I was ready to leave my loving wife and had developed a clinical apathy to everything. I became petrified I would commit suicide (I never felt this was realistic but the thought of it gave me panic attacks). Furthermore, I started wondering such thoughts as “will I jump off the balcony whilst sleep walking”. I had been seeing a psychologist for some time but talking about things seemed to make the situation worse. I also started seeing a CBT therapist. I would feel better during a session but on leaving, my mood would severely crash, like nothing I had ever experienced in my life. I knew I was in a bad place. The psychologist recommended me to a psychiatrist who was the most uncaring person I have ever met. How she medically practices, I have no idea. She wasn’t interested in my drug history, offered me barely five minutes of her time, and prescribed 50mg Trittico to be taken before bed. I took it for a few nights but decided that it was not right for me. She then offered me several other kinds of SSRIs. I declined them all and went back to 20mg of Seroxat. However, this time felt different. I was sure that seroxat was nothing more than the placebo (how could you explain the fact I got better after taking a single favor each time I had a “relapse”. As suspected, i had lost belief in the drug, and it did not bring the immediate relief like it had every time previously. I was petrified. To me, this confirmed my worse fears. It had been a placebo all this time, and now, because I was sure it wasn’t going to work, it didn’t. I was a lost case. This created severe anxiety and panic. All I could think was that I had been on a placebo for 20 + years and now I had uncovered this fact, ADs would never work for me again. I was destined to suffer dibilitating anxiety and depression for the rest of my life. Things improved slightly after being back on 20mg for a few weeks. But I was still anxious and depressed, and the mood swings were unbareable. During this time, i had had a medical for my work which showed I had very high cholesterol (7.99 in European measures) and the doctor put me on Crestor. At the time, the cardiologist told me “this is not the first time I have seen somebody at the surgery who has unusually high cholesterol following a long period of exposure to SSRIs”. This was the first time I considered what the meds had been doing to me over the years. My dark moods seemed to get worse during this period of being on Crestor. My cholesterol dropped by 50% in this time, but I could now barely function. I did some research into the link between statins and depression and decided to quit the Crestor cold turkey. My moods improved somewhat (at least I could hold a conversation now). I had also started to suffer from eczema on my arms, forehead and legs (first time in my life). Furthermore, I suffered from a bout of Diverticulitis (the doctor told me the main risk factor was constipaiton) and also blood in the urine (which after every test, scan, x-ray known to man, a cause could not be found). Further research made me realise that not only could all of these problems be linked to seroxat, so could my unexplained depression and mood swings. I made the decision to come off seroxat for good. That was in October of last year. I found a new psychiatrist who was supportive of my decision and recognized the importance of taper. However, he didn’t believe that my problems could be caused by seroxat, and thought taper over a month was perfectly acceptable. By this time, I had been on seroxat 22 years. I decided to taper for longer. I immediately dropped to 10mg per day as this is something that I had down many times throughout the years without too many problems. I would get the usual brain zaps but nothing I couldn’t handle. As I started to reduce mg by mg (1mg per week) using liquid, I could actually feel my constant depressive mood lifting somewhat (perhaps only by 10%, but there was something ). This encouraged me to go on. I sped up towards the end to 1mg per week as I just wanted to be off it. I took my last dose in the second week of January. Since then, I have been going through withdrawal. The first couple of weeks were ok (brain zaps I have suffered since 1996 so they don’t scare me). My general depressive level definitely improved. The hardest part for me was (and still is) the rapid onset of change in mood. One minute I am fine, the next my mood crashes. During every crash, I immediately think “the only reason I feel better is the placebo effect. The depression and anxiety is going to come back and get me”. CBT has helped with this catestrophic thinking and the moods seem to only last for a few hours (rather than days or weeks as previously). Every week, as a whole, I am seeing huge improvements. I have cried a lot (and it feels great). I am starting to look forward to things again. The apathy has lifted by 75%. I had a few days of panic and GAD earlier on that would seem to come out of nowhere. I would just wake up and feel down and have fear. I also started to wake during the night in a panic. But I stayed with it. A few weeks ago, I started waking more often during the night. 3 or 4 times. That developed into full blown insomnia for a few days. Last night, I slept without waking once for the first time in a month. The anxiety is now 75% better. Two days ago, I feel I had my best day for years and years. I am generally excited but scared. Since January, I have dropped from 86kg to 78kg. My skin condition has totally cleared up. What if me feeling better is a coincidence? Or the placebo effect? I have read that it can feel you are through the withdrawal, only for it to come back even harder in the future. How will I cope with that!? Now that I’ve felt well, I don’t want to go back where I was. I currently live in Zurich, Switzerland. I can find almost no support here. No doctor, psychologists, psychiatrist or therapist seems to have any idea about withdrawal. They are all desperate to tell me I have relapsed. I so truly want to believe they are wrong, that this whole thing is a drug induced nightmare, and that I will continue to get better. However, the devil on my shoulder is still there. During any period of weakness, he reminds me that the recovery is all in my head and it’s only a matter of time before I relapse. And so here I am. Hoping to be part of a support group that can help me with my withdrawal and keep me believeing. Even more importantly, I want to help others.
  2. Anyone tapering off experience rush of severe anxiety that is overwhelming because of it’s intensity and persistence? I haven’t made any recent reductions or changes in my meds for a full month and my anxiety has taken on a new life. I feel uncomfortable talking to my parents, my brother. I just went back to work after vacation and I am starting to feel like I did last year where I left in an ambulance due to severe anxiety. I have more to post... but need to get back to my job. I have had Akathisia the last month and it has been really bad. I try to hide it when I play catch with my daughter because I move back and forth and make strange movements. I feel like my problems are affecting my wife and children negatively.
  3. Hey everyone! I really need some answers because I've looked everywhere to try and find one answer which can relate to my question but sadly to no avail. I was on 20mg Cipralex for 7 years due to general anxiety disorder. I was feeling better last year so decided this year in February I would start tapering and weaning off. It all went great until roughly 7 weeks ago when I went from 5mg to 2.5mg. Withdrawal has hit me hard and I have been off work since then. My question is basically, after now 7 weeks is it safe to go back up to 5mg from 2.5? I felt fine on 5mg hence me wanting to move back up to it. And how long will it take for the WD symptoms to go away or just for me to feel better cos currently I'm just having a hard time functioning. I'm afraid of everything basically. Thank you for any reply
  4. my husband was diagnosed about 18 months ago with MDD and GAD, and has been taking zyprexa (evil, evil drug), ativan, paxil, mirtazapine and gabapentin at various dosages. as i learned more about these (he is too scared to do the research himself and refuses to look up anything on the web), it seemed that we should start with getting him off the zyprexa (originally 15 mg and then down to 2.5mg over the 18 month period.) but the movement from 2.5mg to 0, which has been in the last 2 weeks or so, has been extremely difficult and his doc is resistant to the idea of microtapering because "it doesn't work." the doc is an idiot and we must find a better provider asap who will write a microtapering Rx. he continues to take the ativan (.5mg at night, sometimes during the day when he feels like he's "jumping out of my skin.") he's taking 30mg of mirtazapine. the stupid doc wants to increase this to 45mg, because more is better. last nov., the same stupid doc thought that it would be good to increase the paxil from 20mg to 30mg. that little experiment resulted in suicidal ideation, return to the ER and 5 days in the locked-down unit. he's taking about 1200 mg/day of gabapentin, which stupid doc says is "benign" but it strikes me that NONE of these poisons are benign enough to stay on them for one more nanosecond than is necessary. i'm also interested in your point of view on TMS. we have a facility nearby, it's covered by our insurance, and they claim they can deliver good results for folks with depression/anxiety issues. we're getting ready to try this (i hope) before changing up any of the other meds so we'll know if in fact any improvement comes actually from the TMS vs. other change. i should point out that i have been married to this man for 15 years, and have known him for nearly 20. he was exceptionally normal for 18.5 of these years. all of this pile of crazy started following a kidney transplant in the summer of 2012. he had had an earlier kidney transplant in 1986, which lasted 25 years, so we were optimistic abt this one. in all of those 25 years, he had no psych issues. initially he was fine following the recent transplant, but about 6 months later, everything went to hell in a handbasket, and nobody can tell us why. all i can tell you is that my normally calm, collected, unflappable hubby has become agitated, anxious beyond belief, scared, irritable, timid, hysterical and a whole bunch of other not-normal behavior SINCE HE STARTED TAKING THE MEDS. idiot doctor says the symptoms now are the underlying disease. but since hubby didn't have this disease before, doesn't it seem that the meds are in fact what's making him crazy? does anyone have any suggestions on how to manage the zyprexa WD symptoms? (especially the anxiety, fear/dread, "pit in stomach" feeling, racing thoughts?)
  5. Nickneedshelp

    Nickneedshelp

    Me and my doc. have been discussing medication for my GAD, severe panic disorder and social anxiety. I have been on and off benzo's for years with hellish withdrawal syndrome each time. SSRI has been suggested to treat my anxiety, sertraline or paroxetine. I know you guys are all suffering from SSRI withdrawal, just like i did with benzo's. I do want to try an SSRI though, my anxiety is out of control and talk-therapy doesn't work! My anxiety is mainly genetic. sertraline and paroxetine have been suggested, but i could use any other SSRI. So again, according to users of this forum, which SSRI is the easiest to taper? And which one works best for overall anxiety? Edit: What do you guys think about TCA's? Like mirtazepine?
  6. Hello All, I'm new here and am looking for some help. I've suffered from major depressive disorder my entirelife. My depression is a fairly constant part of my life with brief windows of freedom from it. 2 years ago I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder also, and at that time decided to try medication. I've tried multiple antidepressants and NONE OF THEM HAVE HELPED. I don't remember the first few I tried, but I tried paxil for a month, gave me my first panic attacks ever, then I switched to zoloft, which made me so tired I couldn't function, and then I came to effexor. I was on Effexor for 6 months, but all it did was numb my anxiety, and did nothing for my depression. So, I've been off effexor for a month now. I didn't tapper off too well. Was on a 70mg dose(I'm very sensitive to medication that was a very high dose for me) and in the span of two weeks kept cut down the dose/stopped. I couldn't take it though, the drug made me so sick everyday for 6 months, it was horrible. Now my depression is in full swing and I don't care about anything. I'm a full time grad student in a studio art program and since getting off effexor I can't make anything, I'm too depressed, I don't want to do anything and have been isolating in my room, sleeping up to 15 hours a day, just excessive depression symptoms. I'm afraid to go to a therapist/psych because all they ever want to do is give me meds and they don't work for me! Not a single one has helped. Has anyone else experienced that? No med working? and could anyone give me advice about stopping antidepressants and depression symptoms? It's been about a month so idk if I should introduce a little bit of effexor back in or not? I tried to do 15mg a while ago and it made me sick and very sleepy like when i was taking my full 70mg. Should I just ride out this depression and hope for the best? I hate antidepressants, they really have been a horrible part of my life. Any info/help greatly appreciated here. xo, vi
  7. Honza

    Anxiety disorder prior to drugs

    I've been thinking about this a lot: Will my body be able to cope with anxiety symptoms in the long term when I'm off meds? Will it withstand the physical stress from the prolonged periods of anxiety, or is this likely going to lead to stroke or heart attack or some other health problems? What I'm asking is: Are people with anxiety disorder likely to have a normal lifespan if they don't take meds? See, I don't want to put my health at risk, but at the same time I know what ADs did to me and I'll do my best to avoid them. It's a tough one. I'm ready to use techniques like meditation and CBT, and maybe some herbs/supplements if my CNS hypersensitivity normalizes. But is it going to be enough? I guess nobody can really answer this, but I'd like to know your opinion. Thank you!
  8. On the 18th December, 2016, I took my last Lexapro and within days, I started feeling excessively tired and in January I got very sick with infections and have been really low. A week ago my Lyrica was reduced from 200mg to 100mg due to weight gain. My head is all over the shop at present, OMG.. so low. Having death visions of like me [details removed by moderator] How the hell do I get out of this?? Want to give it a go without the Lexapro (SSRI's) as I have been on them 10 years on and off for GAD and hear very bad reports about Lyrica for weight gain and brain fog...
  9. I am making a final decision about getting off antidepressants/stimulants for good. Please help me decide. I am in great need of encouragement and wisdom. It has been about 2 years since I started my journey. But some history: In college (2005) I was started on 20mg Adderall XR to help with ADHD which was said to be causing a lot of anxiety and perhaps depression. Adderall induced depression in me after my dose would wear off, so the doctor prescribed Lexapro 20mg. I felt probably the best I've ever felt in my life. However, I still wanted see who I was without the meds. I wanted to re-connect with parts of me that felt lost. I also never wanted to take brain medications for life. So from 2005 to 2014, I took the drugs and tried maybe 3 different times to get off; never really tapering much like I should have. It never worked and I always ended up back on them, happy, and enthusiastic about life again. I decided to make my final, serious effort to get off the meds in 2014. Happily married, with a good career and social support at this point (and still). I tapered off Adderall XR over the course of at least 4 or 5 months. The primary care doc warned me to get totally off the Adderall first, then deal with the Lexapro. Big mistake. After I was done with the Adderall and just on Lexapro, I was depressed, lethargic, weepy. This went on and got worse, so the Lexapro was replaced with wellbutrin, and I felt better. Over the next year though, I started getting bad anxiety, and had trouble sleeping. 25mg of Zoloft was added in Nov or Dec of 2015, and I got a lot better. Then I began my taper... but not very responsibly, again. Will I ever learn?! Split the Zoloft in half for a few weeks, then stopped it. Waited awhile and the anxiety returned, as well as the sleep problems. Psychiatrist and I agreed that the Wellbutrin must've been exacerbating my anxiety, so suggested I stop it cold turkey. I resisted a little bit, but not enough; I stopped pretty much cold turkey. That was 3 months ago, and here I am, very shaken and having had major issues with anxiety, insomnia, fear, worry, and other issues including the 2nd panic attack I've had in my life. I've worked hard on mindfulness practices over this time. However, my wife and I have agreed that it's time for me to get help again. I started Buspar 2 weeks ago and don't like the side effects. I was given 5mg Adderall XR to try and help as needed. I am planning to get back on meds now... but I don't know which ones because I don't know if I should resign to taking them for the rest of my life or try to taper again. Tapering on Adderall XR and Lexapro will be harder than Wellbutrin and Zoloft was. So I've got a couple options as I see it: 1. Bite the bullet, swallow my pride, and take Adderall and an SSRI for life. Live long and enjoy life; it's too short to keep causing myself this much pain. I truly enjoyed how I felt on Adderall and Lexapro, despite my adamant desire to stay off of them. 2. Own my setbacks and move forward. Take the Wellbutrin and Zoloft again and after 6 months to a year, conduct a true, gradual 10% taper off of each one. If it takes years to be med-free, so be it. Either way, I NEED to get better ASAP; my job feels like it's falling apart, and my wife and son need a capable man in their lives to hold onto. I need myself back. So either way, I plan on getting back on medication(s) (unless you guys can somehow convince me that staying off and risking my work and family life is better). What do you guys think? I've frequently written in my journals that all I want in the whole world is to just be free of these medications. But I could also see myself being happy and feeling great the rest of my life if I just give in and take the combination I used to THRIVE on; Adderall and Lexapro (or another SSRI). And what about the tapering? If I get back on the Wellbutrin (150mg XL) and Zoloft (25mg), wait until I've had some time to recover and enjoy my life and family again (at least 6 months), and then begin with a true, gradual, 10% taper off both medications, do you think I'll still have to deal with crippling anxiety, fear, dread, and insomnia that has plagued my family and I over the past few months? Or do you think that a 10% taper over a series of years will allow me to reach my goal and be medication free, while still being able to enjoy my family and be a good father... I mean, would the taper make my problems significantly easier to cope with? And once I'm fully off the medications, would I still have to deal with the crippling protracted withdrawal? I keep thinking I might still be dealing with increased anxiety from such a long time taking Lexapro. I was never in my life this anxious or stressed by such little things (big things, yes, but not these kinds of things). I ruminate and obsess so much, it kills me. The Adderall helps, but I can't keep taking that if my plan is to get off meds. Any advice would be deeply appreciated. I am open to staying on medication for life if need ends up being. But I'm not in the best state of mind and I've constantly gone back and forth between the two options. Advice will be so much appreciated, encouragement as well. Thank you guys so much for the excellent website you've created.
  10. At 21 I started taking 10mg paroxetine for 8 months to combat depression, then failed trying to quit it for 4 months, mostly due to intense withdrawal symptoms, only to succeed by taking citalopram to taper it with. After that, I felt decent for 6 weeks, but, as I was making a sandwich, I suddenly endured something it would take me weeks to identify: a panic attack. In a span of minutes, I went from a sound mind to suffering from OCD, GAD and depersonalization/derealization disorder, which took me 4-5 months to identify and link back to the paroxetine use. In those months prior to obtaining that knowledge, I was obsessed with the idea I would go crazy, lose my mind and ruin the life of my family by burdening them with my problems. Every day for months on end I would scrounge through dozens of forum posts and studies relating to developing psychosis, even after my mental health professional basically mocked the idea and wanted to get rid of me as a client, thinking I was a massive hypochondriac. Another, more experienced mental health professional is now treating me for said anxiety disorders and just being taken seriously is a massive relief. My biggest worry right now is having done permanent or long-term damage to my brain, particularly relating to memory, concentration and being able to not feel like I'm playing tennis while the sun blinds me all the freaking time. I don't think the paroxetine even helped to ammeliorate my depression beyond a placebo effect. As is, I have pretty much lost the past 1,5 years of my life to depression and now anxiety disorders. I just want to be who I once was again and get on with my life. Why is this **** still the no. 1 prescribed anti-depressant in The Netherlands? Why did I comply with my mental health professional in continuing taking the medication for so long, despite me not feeling so much better on it? The thing I consider doing is taking citalopram for a couple days and see if that helps, though this time I want to be sure this doesn't expose me to new risks or puts me at the beginning of recovery from the anxiety disorders again. I've gradually improved (no longer am in a derealized state or suffer continuous inner turmoil), but, as is, it would probably take another year to attain 90% recovery. Maybe 3-5mg citalopram for 3-5 days will speed that up?
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