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  1. Hi and thanks for letting me in. I would like to hear from others, who suffers a lot from physical pain in withdrawal - possibly also from anybody who did a cold turkey from both antidepressants and benzos. My story short. I got sertraline two times. First for 1.5 year, then 8 months break, and then I got it for half a year, before I stopped cold turkey. Among all that, I also took zopiclone for 5 years (benzo-like sleeping pills). These I also cold turkied 4 months after sertraline. It's now been 14 months since I stopped sertraline and 10 months since I stopped zopiclone. I stopped because, I functioned very poorly. It became harder and harder to take care of work and my three kids (I'm alone with them every second week). I realized that maybe I functioned poorly because of the drugs, and that's why I stopped. I couldn’t find any other explanations. Since then, I still suffer from fatigue, burning pain in my brain and body (like someone poured acid in my brain/body), muscle and joint ashes (especially in arms, legs, hands and feet), head aches, brain pressure, chest pain, stomach issues. In the morning it is so bad that it takes me an hour or two to get out of bed. I really try to be active, but it is soo hard to do anything with all the pain and fatigue. I had a doctor saying I got Fibromyalgia, but I think my self that it is protracted withdrawal syndrome. The symptoms are just similar, I guess. I really don't have so much windows and waves pattern. It's awful most of the time, and then - maybe - there is a very seldom window lasting a few hours, before next day, It's awful again. It has been like this since I withdrawed from sertraline the first time, and got much worse when I reinstated and did a vold turkey Can anybody relate to all this? Thank you so much for any support.
  2. Hi there, I was taking 10-20mg lexapro for 3 years and recently decided to come off. Doctor advised following taper shedule: 2 weeks alternating 10 - 5 mg. 2 weeks on 5mg. 2 weeks skipping alternate days. 2 weeks skipping 2 days and then off. I've been off for 2 weeks now and feeling terrible. Less worried about the emotional symptoms but feeling completely ground down and at my wits end by constant niggly physical symptoms.(headaches, muscle tension, nausea, inability to focus, fatigue, sore glands) A friend told me that taking fluoxetine temporarily really minimised her withdrawal symptoms. I'm unsure what to do. Did I taper too quickly? And in which case do I go back on a tiny dose or try fluoxetine? Or is it early days and I should be feeling this crap and do I just need to ride it out? Any advice would be so greatly appreciated as its completely limiting my life.
  3. Hello, this is my introduction. I am a long time Effexor user, age 38 male. It never was completely effective and I struggled with side effects, so I ended up cycling off and on periodically for the last 10 or so years. For the last two years, I have been using Pristiq instead, and don't feel I need it, but I have not been able to stay off. Even after tapering to where I am off it with no short term withrdawal, I will get bad symptoms of withdrawal (characteristic headache and dizziness) returning about 6 weeks after. I just restarted 25mg Pristiq and am hoping to successfully get off. I have a lot of questions, including whether I should switch back to Effexor just for the ability to count the time release balls and taper that way. I would like to post in the tapering forum. Thanks you.
  4. Hello everyone, I am from India 28-YO Male. I was prescribed Paroxetine (sold in India by the name of Pari CR) in Mar 2021 after developing debilitating health anxiety thanks to post covid complications (Dec 2020 - blurred vision, weakness, head issues) I started Paroxetine on a dose of 12.5mg under my GP's supervision and went up to 25mg. This is when my GP and i decided to taper off slowly over a period of 5 months. First month : 25mg Second month : 18.5mg Third month : 12.5mg Fourth month : 6.25mg Fifth month : 6.25mg/every alternate day During this time i did not face any withdrawal symptoms Just two occasions of tension headaches in a span of 4 months. In Jan 2022 i went off the meds ahead of the schedule (Feb / mar 2022) 15 days later i had tension headaches for 10 days which really impacted and i had to take leave and they they disappeared. I thought i was good. But in March 2nd week, I got an acids reflux issue followed by tension headaches, weakness, dizziness , extreme hunger and this issues are still prevalent right now. And i am sure this is the second wave of my withdrawal symptoms . Does anyone has any advise on mitigating these symptoms? Currently I am not on any other meds And things i do to help : 1. Walk to get my heart rate up 2. Laugh and laugh more 3. Meditation 4. Sports on Saturday (badminton) if my body allows.
  5. I got on Fluoxetine after 2 years of aggressive anxiety and deep depression. I was prescribed 10 mg and then 20mg and eventually to 30 mg at one point. I didn't know better at the time but I was constantly fatigues I had slight depression and not much anxiety after the 2 years but I had no energy and headaches. When I started the Fluoxetine it gave me the energy I was craving. I was sleeping 8 + hours prior to the fluoxetine, eating healthy and very often and then napping before soccer practice (I played college soccer) just to try and have enough energy to go 75% at practice. When I got on the fluoxetine I didn't have to sleep as much, and I had energy! It was awesome. I didn't really look into side effects or other options at the time because I just wanted to have the energy to play soccer. It relieved headaches and removed my fatigue. It felt like the vitamin my body was craving but I couldn't ever get it satisfied with the healthy eating and sleep. I had spouts of extreme anxiety flare ups whenever I would try and get into a relationship. So during my 4 years at the university I tried one relationship for a year and it was extremely difficult causing out of body experiences, anxiety, and overall felt like my nervous system was dying. I continued on the fluoxetine at the time but it didn't solve for the OCD / Anxiety I was experiencing and I didn't have the skills to know how to lean into it and start trying to think about things differently and change my brain and nervous system. I finished my soccer career and moved from a very warm environment to a part of the state that has very cold winters and hot summers. The winter brought on all sorts of depression and hopelessness. I was working at a Bank at the time. I pushed through that winter and started working on trying to change the way I was thinking and the beliefs I was holding. I felt that I had made very good progress and decided to start tapering my fluoxetine. I dropped to 10mg for a few weeks and then I just stopped taking it all together. I started to experience sever brain zaps. I re instated at 10mg every other day for a month or so. I then stopped and the brain zaps were gone! I thought I was home free! But I was not, 4 months later I started having the headaches I was having before I started taking the fluoxetine. They were so severe and would come on so strong around 1 or 2 pm in the afternoon. I started experiencing brain zaps again as well. Then one night Tinnitus hit me like a sledge hammer. My ears started ringing so loud. And on occasion they would hurt. I couldn't sleep, the ringing had gotten so loud. I went to every doctor I could see. I saw my general doctor and she said to try sertraline. I got on 25 mg of it for a few weeks. I had all kinds of symptoms trying to get on it. I was fatigued, felt like I had the flu, achy, headaches, etc. It wasn't solving the current headaches, fatigue, and tinnitus. We then switched me to Fluoxetine 10mg it was just giving me different kinds of headaches along with the ones I was having. When I got on Fluoxetine the first time I did not experience any side effects at all. I had CT scans done to see if I had tumors. Nothing. No doctor could explain what was going on with me. I had enflamed sinuses so they gave me some steroids to help with the inflammation which helped a little bit. I eventually tried just doing 5mg a day but that was still an issue. So went back down to zero. I have been struggling with headaches for over 12 months and tinnitus for over 8 months now. My vision has gotten blurry and I have tried to get glasses to see if that was causing some of the headaches. It has been a living hell. I found this website and some success stories. Trying to figure out what to do and how to move forward. Wondering if I should try and get back on 5mg of fluoxetine a day and see if that will clear the headaches without the reinstating headaches and then taper from there? Would love to hear any and all experiences that could help. Thanks.
  6. I am only 3 months into the withdrawal process so I am learning a lot rather quickly. So far my first 2 waves have started with a sudden ballooning sensation in my head. The feeling is brief but after that my anxiety is heightened and balance is off. Weird head sensations continue for a few days and then my skin starts burning or tingles which starts the intense withdrawal. The first balloon sensation was triggered on the second lap of a mile run and the other most recent time was triggered by being on my phone for an extended period of time. I did some brief research and it seems like it could be some sort of nervous system head ache? My symptoms didn’t match up perfectly but it was all I could find. Can anyone relate?
  7. 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.
  8. Admin note: link to benzo forum thread - LaughingKat: Switch from Ativan to Klonopin Hello, everyone, and thank you for being here. Here's my story: In July 2017 I started a severe bout of anxiety, mostly health-related, that I never entirely got over, although I'm not having daily panic attacks anymore. I worked on it with talk therapy, which I continue, but in January 2018, I decided I needed pharmaceutical help and saw a psychiatrist who prescribed 10 mg of Celexa daily as well as Ativan as needed. Something similar had happened to me 20 years before, so I knew to be cautious about how much Ativan I took. The Celexa did help take the edge off my anxiety but the sexual side effects depressed me. In November 2018, having made some progress in therapy, I decided they were unacceptable and decreased the dose to 5 mg. I didn't consult the psychiatrist but I figured that since Celexa wasn't addictive like Ativan, it wouldn't matter. (Haha.) Actually I didn't feel any withdrawal effects until March 2019, which puzzles me. I started having ferocious headaches and intense neck and jaw tension, along with little painful "sparks" in my eyes every once in a while. I have never been a headachey person and I'd never felt anything like this before. They feel like electric knives going into my scalp. I thought it was just tension (my daughter had been in an auto accident and I was taking care of her while she recovered from injuries) but in early April 2019 I called the psychiatrist and told him about the headaches. He said the headaches were "likely" from the Celexa and since I was on "a baby dose" at that point I should stop taking them. It's been a month and I still have the headaches, neck and jaw tension, eye pain. Not every day but most days. At this point the psychiatrist says just don't worry about the headaches, they're not important or major. But they feel major to me! Sometimes I take ibuprofen and that helps. But I resist taking it. I've had up to 5 days without headaches and then when they come back I'm heartbroken and scared. But I'm grateful to have learned here on this site that SSRI withdrawal isn't always a straight line. Can anyone reassure me further, especially about the weird timeline of the headaches? Why did they start three months after I decreased the Celexa dose? And why do they continue a month after I stopped entirely? Has someone had a similar experience, similar symptoms with Celexa? I know several things in my story go against the good advice on this site. But I do not want to go back to taking Celexa, even a small dose. I vowed to myself I would never take a ssri again unless I was prepared to take it for the rest of my life. Thanks for listening.
  9. HI all, I am currently on day 11 of no zoloft. I was pretty much on zoloft since I turned 16 ( 20 years), I went on it for depression but I believe it created me to have anxiety. I have seen many psychiatrist and my GP and no one ever asked why I am on it still. It was not until I started doing some research of my own the last few weeks because I have been increasing tired and my memory is so bad. I found that the zoloft can cause memory loss and anxiety. Since being off zoloft I have noticed a huge increase in energy along with my anixety decreasing. Up until yesterday, I had little side effects. Starting yesterday (day 10 of no zoloft) I have the WORST headache that will not go away. I have tried ibuprofen, claritin, excedrin, magnesium fizz. Anyone else have a similar story? If so, when will these headaches stop??? OR can you suggest something that will help?
  10. Hi, I am 6 weeks into withdrawing from citalopram 20mg. I have taken it for 20 years. I initially halved the dose to 10mg for 4 weeks then 10mg every other day for 3 weeks now. I am experiencing severe, debilitating headache on an almost permanent basis. I think I've reduced the dose too quickly. After reading this site, I am thinking about reinstating 10mg daily. I see my doctor tomorrow. Any advice gratefully received. I feel terrible.
  11. SeattleKee


    I began tapering escitalopram six weeks ago (December 2017). I did so in conjunction with advice from my physician, a naturopath. I was at 20 mg. I began by reducing to 15 mg twice a week and 20 mg the remainder of the week. The sequence, then, was reduction to 15 mg three times weekly, reduction to 15 mg every other day. Then 15 mg daily. I then moved from 15 mg to 10 mg twice a week, then 10 mg every other day, then 10 mg daily. I have been at 10 mg. for about two weeks. I am now experiencing withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms include a sharp headache along the medial line between the right and left hemispheres of the brain. The intensity of the headache fluctuates, but, even at minimum, I am aware it is there. I also experience slight periodic nausea, never to point of vomiting, some irritability and a certain edginess or low level anxiety. In addition, I am noticing in increase in hypervigilance and self-critical thinking. All symptoms have been tolerable, if uncomfortable. My history with antidepressants is a long one. I started in 1982 when prescribed lithium carbonate for depression. Later, in the late 1980s, I moved to prozac. In the early 2000s I began taking Lexapro. I am choosing to taper and end medication as the stressors exasperating previous depressive episodes have been resolved for some time. I wish to be medication free in order to evaluate my psychological and emotional state in that condition. Secondarily, as I live in a state the has legalized THC and CBD. I am interested in using these for symptom relief and would like to hear from others who have tried these for self-medication. My physician is aware and supports this as a potential for symptom relief. Thank you.
  12. Hello Everyone, I am very glad to have found this forum. As you will see in my signature, I am a 28 year old female with a long history for Sertraline use. I began taking Sertraline at age 15 for severe OCD/anxiety and have been on it ever since then. At one point, probably around 18 or so, I maxed out at 200 mg/day of Sertraline and stayed on that does to about age 25. Around age 25 I was able to taper from 200 mg to 100 mg successfully without really any symptoms of withdrawl that I can recall. I have worked extremely hard to overcome my illness, and am finally at a point in life where I feel I have amassed enough tools through therapy and support to try to come off of Sertraline completely, especially because we would like to have children within the next 5 years. With the support of my doctor, I am tapering down to 75 mg from 100 mg. It has been about a week and a half since I began the reduced dose and the past few days I have experienced very serious dizziness, headaches, nausea, and fatigue. I have joined this forum with hopes that someone may be able to provide me with tips for dealing with these uncomfortable symptoms. It is so bad that I really should not be driving and had to stay home from work today. My understanding is that pain relievers such as advil and aleve can make SSRIs less effective, so I don't want to take any pain relievers for the headache if it will make the situation worse. I am determined to get off of this medication though it seems it will be a difficult journey. *I would just like to mention that perhaps there is one confounding factor in my situation - I began Gabapentin about 3 weeks ago to help with numbness/tingling in my forearm from cubital tunnel neuropathies. I know this is also a neuro drug, so I figured I would mention it as well. Any tips, support, or encouragement that you can provide would be a huge help! Thank you in advanced! Mademoiselle
  13. cheery

    Cheery Here

    Hello! I am SO grateful to have found this site. What a wonderful place and great form of support! I had never taken antidepressants but was prescribed escitalopram after a tragedy I experienced. I started last August and had terrible side effects. So lethargic, jaw clenching, hair loss, tooth pain, swallowing issues to name a few. I believe now I tapered far too quickly. On the advice of a friend I simply cut the pills in half during a two week period and was done. I had some brain zaps and dizziness for the first few weeks and then felt fine. After about two months I started experiencing new symptoms each day. Started with weakness in one arm that got to the point my wrist would just flop over. Then horrible ear pain. Then numbness, tingling, burning, twitching, muscle aches, joint pain all over. Electric shocks through my body were horrible also. Tender spots on my scalp really freaked me out. I had NO idea until I found this site these were withdrawal symptoms. I thought something was terribly wrong with me. I had gone to the doctor and had every test and they were all perfect. He said I was stressed which I am not. I just returned from vacation so very relaxed. The symptoms have started to subside thank goodness but now 6 months out I am having terrible sinus pain and sinus headaches that have lasted for days. My sinuses will also get inflamed when irritated but certain things but it is never consistent. Sometimes it's food, sometimes perfume, sometimes the cold weather. This is all so depressing. I just want to feel normal again. I have literally tried every over the counter drug for my sinus headaches and nothing works. I have bought a million supplements and nothing seems to help either. Some bring my nerve symptoms right back to the forefront. It is still mind-blowing to me that a drug I was on for such a short period of time could do all this. Has anyone else had these sinus headaches and found something that has helped reduce the pain? How long should I expect all this to last? Thanks for your responses and reading my story.
  14. Hello- I am taking 37.5 mg of venlafaxine. I have been on it since March 2015 for treatment of migraines caused by a concussion. My doctor said I could try going off now (no migraines since May) because we want to start trying to conceive again. I could tell that withdrawal wouldn't be easy from a dizzy/vertigo feeling and headaches I get when I take a dose a bit late. I also had a hard time starting the drug- not sleeping for 3 days and lost 7 pounds. I started taking it every 36 hours, but was feeling quite groggy, no attention span. I found this forum and saw that is never recommended to increase time between doses, which makes sense given the short half life. So I called my dr and pharmacist several times until I finally received a prescription for tablets. I started though by tapering the beads of drug. For the past couple days I removed 6 of the 36 beads. This is more like 26%... But I am giving it a try for now. I am wondering about the 4 week period between tapers. Is this a conservative timespan meant to apply to all drugs? For something with a short half life, such as venlafaxine would symptoms really appear 2-3 weeks later? I was thinking I would taper 20% every 2-3 weeks and then drop by 3 mg when I hit 12 mg. But even at this rate it would take a minimum of 22 weeks to wean off. That's almost as long as I've been on it! Any advice from someone who weaned off the lowest dose and how it went for them? The dose is so small, I'm hoping that a 'larger' drop of 6 mg or so would not be so impactful. Why is it important for the drops to keep becoming smaller? I can't imagine, but this plan with a typical dose of 100 mg or more would take years! As a note I do take a fair amount of supplements that I've found to help with my headaches.. These are Mg, B2, vit E, omega 3, and Co Q10.
  15. Hi, I found this forum when I was looking for information on tapering off of Effexor. I've been on Effexor about six or seven years and stopped taking it after a brief taper three weeks ago. I first started taking antidepressants after the birth of my son sixteen years ago. After a prolonged labor, C-Section, and spinal tap that went too high, I was intubated and sustained a throat injury. I could not lie down because that would cause me to cough. I can remember trying to sleep with a cough drop in my mouth to keep me from coughing. I basically didn't sleep for about three months and sank into a depression. Prozac was a wonder drug and gave me an amazing amount of energy. Eventually the drug stopped working, and I tried Celexa which didn't work before trying Effexor. On Effexor, I was pretty happy. I felt like I developed strong coping skills including exercise, and mindfulness. I started to train to be a life coach, and I was pretty much on top of the world and believed that if we try hard enough and have good enough coping skills we can manage our emotions. My psychiatrist started being pulled away into management duties, and the office cancelled several of my appointments. Finally, he was pulled into management full, time. I also became really annoyed with the clinic, and their, "it can take seven to ten days to authorize a refill" policy. Once I went an entire weekend without Effexor and became severely debilitated, and I was thinking that I would prefer not to have to deal with that. I mentioned this to my GP, who supported my desire to get off, and wrote me a six week taping prescription which I started August 15th. Taping from 150 milligrams August 15th: 75 milligrams for two weeks Sept. 1: 27.5 milligrams for two weeks The last two weeks I was supposed to go every other day at 37.5, but I had read that would just put me on a roller coaster, so I just decided to stop. I can see that this may not have been a good choice. I think tapering all the way to 27.5 milligrams was not too bad. I experienced some dizziness and crankiness but it was manageable. Here's how it's been since then: Week one and two: The worst symptom was the feeling that my brain was sloshing around in my head with every step I took. For about three days, I was filled with rage. I wanted to get away from my husband and two teenagers because I was so irritable. I thought about going to a hotel or flying to NYC to see a friend, but I didn't do any of that. I have also had chills and nausea and hot flashes. If I had been expected to perform anything at a high level, it would have been nearly impossible. Three weeks in to this, I find that I am having crying spells. I have never had crying spells, and I have never felt as off-balance as I do now. I'm trying to figure out what my next step should be. Should I stick it out since I'm almost a month in, or do I go back on Effexor? I just finished Theresa Borchard's book, and I found it quite disturbing. She describes trying all the alternative therapies and ultimately finding a traditional drug cocktail that works. It's a great book, but I wonder if I have a brain like hers, or if I can get through the withdrawal to be the person I thought I could be, or if my serotonin is now so depleted I'll have to stay on these drugs for life.
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