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  1. My story appears to be similar to many folks here on this forum. Reading all of these accounts has helped me accept my symptoms as a result of Zoloft, which has at least given me some piece of mind. Before I explain my timeline and struggle with getting off Zoloft, I want to bring to the forum’s attention something my psychiatrist informed me of which I have found no evidence of elsewhere. Hopefully someone can verify this. My psychiatrist explained the following: The FDA allows for a 30% upward or downward margin of error on Zoloft pills. He explained that a 50mg Sertraline (Zoloft) may have up to 65mg or as low as 38.5mg. Another example, a 25mg Sertraline may have have as much as 32.5mg and as low as 17.5mg. Can anyone validate this? If this is true, it is unimaginable. My story: I started 50mg of Zoloft in 2012 for general anxiety, social stress and general dissatisfaction. My psychiatrist at the time said “It was about as harmful as taking an aspirin.” In 2013 we increased my dose to 75mg. My psychiatrist retired in 2015 and I continued at 75mg through my general doctor’s refills. In 2018, I felt I was in a good place and tried to go cold turkey. After a couple of weeks of torture, I returned to 75mg. After learning that I should taper, and also feeling I was in a good place, I decided to reduce my dose to 50mg in July of 2019. Two weeks of intense symptoms ensued but by the end of the second week things became more manageable. I wanted to reduce the symptoms and requested (it took some convincing of my new psychiatrist) a liquid form of Sertraline in August. I reduced to 45mg but felt like I was not getting a consistent dose (sticking to the glass) and it was difficult to swallow even when mixed with water. My psychiatrist recommended that I switch to a 25mg pill + a half and a quarter of another 25mg pill bringing me to 42.5mg in September. I stayed at 42.5mg for September and October and was distracted by a series of sinus infections (antibiotics and 2 rounds of prednisone). Thinking I was ill from the infections, I did not realize most of my symptoms were Zoloft related. All of my symptoms were rationalized but my general doctors. Dizziness, light headed, extreme head pressure, headaches, persistent neck pain, fogginess, loss of appetite, ear pops and pings, jittery, imbalance, loss of equilibrium, flu-like symptoms and tingles in hands...doctors all rationalized them as symptoms of sinus/ear infection and the steroids. This went on for almost 2 months, while somehow I was still functioning. Until I called my psychiatrist last week and he informed me that it might be because we switched to a smaller pill which may have 30% less than is listed on the bottle. He prescribed the 50mg for me and within 2 days I felt somewhat improved, but noticed some brain zaps and the continuation of symptoms. My psychiatrist said that 50mg may not be enough to counteract a withdrawal and that we may need to go up to 75mg to stabilize. This past Sunday (10/27) I upped my dosage to 75mg. I am feeling some improvement, but still not feeling right: light headed, light sensitivity, headaches, fogginess, inconsistent appetite, ear pops and pings, jittery, imbalance and tingles in hands... So I am back where I started, 75mg, and hopefully stabilizing soon. Lots of information here from fellow “survivors” but I am scared. Shouldn’t I feel totally better? Could a couple months of enduring withdrawal make stabilizing more difficult? And most importantly, is the 30% margin of error that my psychiatrist shared with me true?? If so, we need to change that! Thank you for your time.
  2. Hi, I'm running out of what to read, who to ask and soon what to say. Ready for this? 1. I am consciously normal and functional 2. and only 2 I have a brain and body that is not cooperating. I feel guilty, or fake. When i'm at work and talking well - in my head I'm like "Who are you? You were never smart"... < probably my childhood echos > Once a major mistake occurred 6 years ago - I fell to the ground mentally - not able to let it go, no matter how many angles and closures I sought. 5 years this misery lasted to where I did get a human validation, but quickly was influenced into something else that made me question my "healing" - and now those 5 years of misery was much easier. To add to my pain - just months after ground 0, my Dad went to jail, my mom move in with me, my cat died weeks after that... Symptoms since: Head tension, Tinnitus, Neck tension, Dizziness, Anticipatory Anxiety, Feeling like I have a tumor in my head (pressure), Depersonalization moments / Derealization moments (Rare but terrible). Had a bout of agoraphobia. I think it's rooting in excessive guilt that I'm putting myself in mental prison. Now I lost my job in July and been on unemployment - and fearing getting a new one... not sure if I can mentally handle it. I feel total burnout. Medication History > After years of CBT - it was suggested I get on medication. Prozac - by day 22 I wanted to die (literally) but gladly i'm too afraid to and go off it when the Dr. kept pushing me to "Give it more time" Celexa & Paxil - gave me an intense panick attack. Paxil sent me to the hospital (One Pill did that) Zoloft & Lexapro - These numbed my brain, but I lost all emotions - that was my first de-realization and very scary Anafranil - this felt like someone poured mercury in my head - zips and zaps Buspar - These gave me brown outs of the brain Xanax - I put this last but I was on it for 6 years... it was great! BUT ... in time .25 didn't work, .5 gave me a hangover... 1mg wouldn't work if I was really scared - like going in an MRI Machine. When I tried to come off - my brain EXPLODED in Withdrawl. I tried many courses - as my DR just told me "stop it - it's ok"... That was when the Tinnitus and Pressure started (4/2016) along with the agoraphobia. I suffered through a water taper I came up with and it worked to a point and was too hard. My Dr. humored me giving me Valium to taper. It SORT of Worked but he gave me only 2 weeks and low dose. I pushed through and now I'm 9 weeks off (i did cheat on a 0.125 two weeks ago). Finally I'm trying St. John's Wort I followed an online suggestion ... but I did it wrong... by end of week 2 I got a massive Burnout feeling, brain buzzing and a STOP EVERYTHING cry in my sub-conscious mind... never had this happen. I dropped my cleaning tools and went to bed. I have not felt good since. I cut down to ONE 300 pill per day... but i'm all over the place. I now wonder if I even have a Serotonin issue? How do I know it's not an Acetylcholine issue? Or just a lack of GABA & Dopamine? (I took up a study of Neuro-Science among other medical classes... of course it's all theory) I'm just not happy, I can't play guitar or do anything I love... I don't care to eat. Thank you all for whatever input you have -Rob
  3. Hi! I'm Britt777. I joined this site to figure out what is causing me numerous symptoms. Here is my brief story: Took Lexapro for about 3 years or more, came off of it Tried Trintillex and Brintillex, didn't like the way it made me feel Doctor then tried Fluvoxamine 100mg and took that for 7 months. He decided to add Wellbutrin (Bupropion XL 150mg) along with it. A month later I ask to stop Fluvoxamine (Luvox) because I felt like I was experiencing "depersonalization" or pretty much felt like life was not real and was a dream. So, at that appointment he told me to stop the Fluvoxamine and upped my Wellbutrin to 300mg once a day. The first day from this switch I felt great. Then the second day came... had nausea, lightheadedness, dizziness, "brain zaps", increased tinnitus (ringing in the ears), blurry vision, feeling like I could pass out, headaches, head pressure, and crazy fluctuating heart rate. (Today I had a heart rate of 100 and dropped to 70 within 5 minutes without doing anything different.) This is day 7 since the switch. I just want to find out if it's withdrawal symptoms from the Fluvoxamine since he didn't advise me to taper or if it's a reaction to upping the Wellbutrin.
  4. Hi all! I have been reading these forums for months and finally decided to share my story in the hope that perhaps it will help others and also that some may have some good advice. I was prescribed Xanax 0.5 mg about 4 years ago after experiencing severe insomnia due to stress of starting a new job (new grad critical care nurse working night and day shift). I took it roughly 2-3 times per week for approximately 3.5 years. I occasionally took it a little more and slightly higher doses (up to 0.75 mg) if I felt like I needed to be knocked out to sleep. I never took it during the day. I got a new doc, who switched me to Lorazepam 0.5 mg last year after stating Xanax was too addictive. I found that I needed to take two pills and sometimes add a glass of wine in order to achieve the same sleep-inducing effect. A few times I experienced "brain zaps" or high levels of anxiety when the drugs wore off, but I never quite attributed this to interdose withdrawal. I went on vacation, May 2015, and I took both Xanax and Lorazepam at the same time due to being low on Xanax for about 4 days straight. I experienced terrible rebound insomnia and did not sleep for about 3 days straight. I did not associated this with the benzos and had a friend prescribe Lunesta 3 mg to help me sleep. I began taking this on top of Lorazepam 1 mg for about 2 weeks. After my first few days mixing these drugs, I began to feel very strange. Things did not look quite right (I now realize I was having depersonalization) and I began to get severe head pressure in the evening (very tight band around the head) and almost blacking out in the shower. I began to feel a sense of impending doom and constantly felt anxious. Caffeine and alcohol made things ten times worse. My GP had me wean off Lorazepam over 2 weeks and then stop altogether. My DP/DR became very severe and lasted approximately 3 months, slowly improving over that time. However, my original insomnia + withdrawal insomnia came back full force and I would be working 12 hour night shifts after days of no sleep. It was not safe for me or my patients, obviously. I had to work a reduced schedule for over a month. I felt depressed and highly anxious and could not function. Desperate, I found a psychiatrist and she suggested trying Lexapro and Trazodone for the anxiety/depression. After a few weeks of benzo withdrawal, I broke down and started Lexapro 5 mg/day and Trazodone 50-75 mg per night. Within a week I felt a little calmer and started sleeping better. I felt confused and spacey on the Lexapro but was willing to put up with it since I was sleeping better. Within weeks, my doc increased my dose to 10 mg Lexapro. I started feeling like I couldn't sit still and was constantly "buzzing" and felt restless just sitting down. I had increased hand tremors (these started after quitting benzos) and felt very out of it. I started having trouble with my eyesight and had to start wearing my glasses at all times. My most concerning symptom, though, was development of constant, dull head pressure and a clicking/grating/popping noise in my ears/forehead about 50-100 times per day. I felt like I could not think straight, as if there was literally something "blocking" me from focusing and concentrating. I was a straight A college student and graduated top of my class and was on the road to pursuing my graduate degree, so having difficulty with my speech and concentration was very concerning. I stayed at 10 mg for two weeks, waiting for the "side effects" to subside, as everyone assured me they would. They did not, and I went back down to 5 mg. However, decreasing the dose did not diminish any of the side effects I had been experiencing and I felt worse than ever. Every day I felt like I was living in a dream and it took all my energy to understand complex patients concepts at worse that previously were never a problem. After three months, I decided to start weaning off 5 mg with liquid Lexapro. I weaned off very slowly, over 3 more months. As I weaned, occasionally I started to feel a little more "normal" and less "numb." It has been 3 months since getting off Lexapro and Trazodone and my main issue/symptom is that I am having head pressure similar (but more intense) than what I had on Lexapro to some degree every single day. The clicking/popping/grinding noise is also still there and seems to occur any time the pressure changes in my head. The popping doesn't hurt, it's just annoying. The head pressure feels like someone has my head in a vice at all times, but occasionally cranks on it and increases the squeezing sensation. It is unlike anything I have ever felt in my life, and certainly not a normal headache by any means. Whenever I have intense head pressure, I have extreme trouble concentrating, thinking, and focusing similar to what I had while on Lexapro. My other symptom is shakiness and restlessness (trouble sitting still, body feels like it's vibrating). This comes and goes. So, I'm asking you guys....Could I still be in benzo withdrawal or is this probably more related to the Lexapro? I have seen reports of head pressure and weird head sensations from both benzo and AD forums. For those with severe head pressure, when did you start feeling better? Did anyone experience popping or clicking noises in their head? I am concerned because I would like to start graduate school this fall to become a nurse practitioner and I need to be able to think clearly. I feel devastated that I have gone from a highly capable and intelligent person to a depressed insomniac with cognitive impairment. Looking for a silver lining and some encouragement. I've been taking Melatonin and Lemon Balm to help combat the insomnia. Thank you!
  5. I general, how easily do people become dependent on nortriptyline? I really don't want to become dependent on nortriptyline and later have to taper it over months with similar withdrawal symptoms to my benzos. So I would welcome any views on the risks involved in my use of nortriptyline. BACKGROUND: I am taking 10mg nortriptyline to help reduce the terrible head aches and head pressure I have been getting during my taper off benzos. (After 10 years of taking different benzos, I have tapered from 18mg diazepam to 2mg over 20 months.) I may even have to increase the nortriptyline to 15mg or 20mg if my headaches return. I hope to take the 10-15mg nortriptyline for a total time of 6 to 8 months. I have never taken nortriptyline before and the last antidepressant I took was Parnate about 15 years ago. I know from my benzo experience and from hanging out on another benzo board that everyone responds differently but any generalizations would still be useful in helping me decide how to use nortriptyline. Thank you for any advice or information.
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