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  1. Hello everybody, I am new and I want to tell my little story about escitalopram (cipralex)and to share some thoughts. I have been using it for about 1,5 years back in 2013/2014 and I am now "clean" from that moment on. So, about 3, 3 years. I want to share some withdrawal symptoms I had and how I treated them ( still treating some of them) and I would love to have some feedback on it. Let's start from the first signals I got once I stopped ( I stopped really gradually and I haven't experience nothing strange at first, I mean in the first months I would say): 1)In about 5 months I gained 10 kg ( 22lbs) without changing any eating or sport habits. I haven't lost them up untill I did some food intolerance tests and I discovered many of them. I stopped eating gluten for a while ( 1,5 years) and I Iost them in the first 3 months of diet. Now ,paradoxically, I'm struggling with the opposite problem, I cannot put weight on anymore, I believe I eat 5 times the calories a normal person eat but nothing change. I am an ex- professional football player and I believe that my body now has problem to put muscles on, I would say I need about 4/5 kg of muscles to be back to normal but there is no way to achieve that. So first consideration for me, beyond the weight gain problem that is well knows, I have the impression that this drug makes it harder to put muscles on again. 2) I have some kind of permanent chronic telogen effluvium, I lost tons of hairs since I stopped that drug, but I'm not going bald. Just hairs everywhere, sometime more, sometime less. I am not able to deal with this problem and I won't go into other drugs at all. Usually hair loss occurs during medication, but for me it started right after the discontinuation... any other with same problem? 3)I have almost all the time a constant feeling of not being comfortable with my body, I mean it is difficult to explain... after that diet it improved a lot, but I still have some "signals" that my body sends to warn me that something isn't going in the right direction.... I find a lot of relief with mindfulness and sports, but still I am feeling strange physically speaking...my skin is drier and other stuff... Just to be clear, I like myself, I still like my body and I do fully accept it as it is, but there is something wrong, I know it better than anyone, it is not responding in the best way. 4) Libido stuff : a light loss of libido, and missing or weak mornig erection...During sex everything is kind of normal, I believe in a scale from 0 - to 10 I would say I feel 8,5 normal down there, but still something is going wrong. I am supplementing with ashwuaganda and I am doing 1 day water fast per week since couple of months, I feel great after it in terms of body sensations, but I am not sure it is helping with libido... 5) Alchool makes me feel a bit weird too... It is a strange effect, like I am poisoned( not drunk !!) after a glass of wine or a beer. I mean, it's not a big deal I am basically not touching alchool anymore, but I used to love wine and alchool in general, with moderation, and now there is this problem. 6) I feel I have lost a lot of motivation in life in general, to better say I need to motivate my self 300% times more than before ssri to do stuff... I am dealing with this problem again with mediatation, sport and with a second job... The sensation is that I am ok whilel I am doing stuff, but when I stop or I rest I do not feel great, I do not enjoy rest anymore as it used to be. To conclude, I would like to say that for me the first year after SSRI has been a nightmare for me.... a proper body shock, I am not sure how I managed not to take them again.... but slowly everything is going in the right direction, I still need to figure out some small problems and deal with them, but I would NEVER take them again for any reasons. I think I want to consider the fasting method more seriously, I would like to do it for 3 or 4 days in a raw in the near future, I read that many people recovering for post-SSRI syndrome found it very usefull. In these years I have taken a lot of supplements too... like curcumin, inositol, various herbs, cbd oil... a lot believe me... but I am quitting them all... I will leave the body free Maybe the post was a bit too long and boring, sorry for that... I appreciate any comments and suggestion.
  2. Hello I'm Jo This is the fist time I've reached out for help I can say I've been depressed since a very young age but was diagnosed in my late 20's I was on Floxitine for a long time with no real problems with the drug. As the dose had to go up and I was nursing a child at the time the drug had to be changed. I have now been on Venaflaxine for a few years now and its not very good for me. When I do get anxious I have a sensation of standing on a bouncy castle and it feels like a load of toddelers with a suger rush bouncing me all around. I would rather have the adrenalin. I'm also very tired all the time and mostly numb. I cant get excited or happy by anything and still find some situations overwhelming depending on how tired I am. I'm keen to swap back to Fluoxetine and then once that is achieved come off completely if possible. I have been trying to taper down 150g Venaflaxine for some time now I got down to approx 100g before consistent and persistent feelings of low energy, low mood and suicidal thinking started. When I miss a dose I'm left with the most awful side affects of what I can only describe as vertigo, more of a ship rolling around on a sea state 7 rather than a bouncy castle.Also I get the feeling that my brain is being zapped. I was rather relived to hear that these are quite common symptoms. I'm having some trouble communicating with my doctor. They no longer take routine appointments, so I have to take an emergency appointment and its a diffrent doctor everytime. Also my work is interfering with the fact that I need to schedule a withdraw period in. But I am hopeful for tying again in mid October. I guess I joined to site to hopefully get some help and touch base with anyone else that is really struggling to come off Venaflaxine.
  3. I am writing this while I can function. It comes and goes. I have been off work since this thing started almost four weeks ago. I am very scared. Please help me. I've been on Prozac since late 2002. Prescribed because I was depressed. Initially at 20mg / day. Later the effect wore off somewhat and within a year or so it was upped to 60mg / day. I stayed on this dose until December 2013. While on it I sometimes reduced the dose to 40mg and sometimes skipped days to see what would happen if I come off it. After at most two or three weeks, I think I felt somewhat flat and took the full dose again. I suspected that the worse that could happen was that if I come off it I would feel depressed. I was led to believe this drug is safe for long term use. But I was in for a nasty, nasty, nasty surprise. In December 2013 I decided to fully come off it. Things went ok for a few weeks. I did notice that my muscles would lose power when exercising during January and early February 2014. By mid February I developed loss of appetite; nausea and brain zaps, muscle and joint pain and tiredness. This was followed within days with what appeared to be the worst flu that I ever had, exhaustion and fever. My blood pressure went down and my heart rate went up. I wondered if it might be related to the Prozac. So I took 40mg and waited. For about 1-2 hours. Symptoms were gone. By the next day I was back to normal. This scared me senseless as I realized for the first time what incredible power this drug has. Little did I know that the acute withdrawal was no big deal compared to what was to follow later. I started tapering in April 2014, reducing by 0.8mg / week over 50 weeks. When I reached zero mg by mid March 2015 it was *not* followed by acute withdrawal. There is one complication at this point. Between February and July 2015 I took about 35 doses of 100mg of Tramadol for chronic lower backpain. I was led to believe it is a mild opioid only. In early July I took it three days in a row. My vision blurred. I looked up Tramadol side effects and what I saw was scary. I learnt that in addition to being a mild opiod, Tramadol also contains two additional unwelcome guests in the form of an SSRI and an SNRI: "Tramadol provides analgesia through 3 mechanisms: mu-opioid binding (through its metabolite O-desmethyltramadol), serotonin reuptake inhibition (through (+)-tramadol) and norepinephrine reuptake inhibition (through (-)-tramadol). O-desmethyltramadol (which is formed from tramadol through O-demethylation catalyzed by CYP2D6) is responsible for theopiate-type effects of tramadol." I dropped the Tramadol there and then. Within a couple of days I was a weeping from sadness and melancholy. This phase lasted about two and a half weeks then improved slowly. Back to main story: Five months free and clear of Prozac and 7 weeks free and clear of Tramadol I slipped into a nightmare that I am still fighting as I type this. One night in late August 2015 I slept only half the normal time. 3.5 to 4 hours (Usually 7.5 hours) for two consecutive nights. This was followed with restlessness and then, akathisia (look it up - it is not bearable). I panicked and took 0.8 mg of Prozac. In about three hours the symptoms gradually faded out and I felt normal. At that point I thought I could just stay on a super low Prozac dose. Woke up around 2am the next morning with severe symptoms again. Took 0.8mg Prozac again, then every 2 hours until eventually I reached 6.4 mg for the day. It did not work like the day before. It might have relieved the symptoms somewhat for a part of the day. By the evening symptoms resumed. It then occurred to me that Tramdol might have something to do with it and not the Prozac. I took 1/6th of the usual Tramadol dose (1/3 of a 50mg capsule). Within an hour I was calm, but it is hard to say at this stage whether it was due to the Tramadol or not based on subsequent experience (I learnt that it comes and goes in waves through the day). At this point I decided not to take any further Prozac or Tramadol. I was now on a rollercoaster. (I am keeping hour-by-hour logs of what is happening and will post here maybe later in a chart or something.) Severe symptoms for hours on end, followed by a respite. Then the symptoms take over again. On some days it went on with almost no respite for two consecutive days. One unusual observation. One night ( a week in) I slept a full 7 hours or so. The next day I was back to normal. My relief was short lived, however, as I woke up with an incredible surge of fear in my chest and the symptoms returned, seemingly stoked on by the fear. After a week of this, I was desperate. I got a prescription for a beta blocker Bisoprolol (2.5mg). I took it and seem to have gotten relief as I was feeling normal later that day. But alas, at about 2am I was up again with the same symptoms. Tried 2mg of Diazepam. Nothing. The next day I switched the prescription to Propranolol. For the next week I tried the beta blockers on their own and together. At this point the Akathisia seemed to be easing off somewhat but in its place there was an absolutely paralyzing fear and anxiety that is hard to describe. "The Scream" by Edvard Munch comes to mind. At the beginning of this week my total sleep seemed to shrink to between zero hours(one night) and 2.5 hours. I took Midazolam sleeping pills a few times to try and get relief and some sleep. On the best day I got 3 hours extra. On the worst I got barely 30 minutes extra on it. Then I had three nights of 5.5 hours or so. That was followed by a 2 hour night. By this time the anxiety/fear was getting unbearable. I was getting exhausted. The fear and anxiety was ramping up in spite of the beta blockers. Throughout this time I had very little if any appetite. But I forced myself to eat because I needed energy to keep moving. The akathisia and anxiety compelled me to keep moving, moving, moving, pacing back and forth back and forth back and forth, sometimes without respite for up to 10 hours, starting between 2am and 4 am. My muscles were starting to indicate that they couldn't take this much longer. I made a rational calculation that I have only a few days left before muscle spasm or something sets in. I wondered if the "normal" day I had at the end of the first week might have been due to the 6.4 mg dose of Prozac I took at the beginning of that week. SO I decided to see if I could reinstate. I did not take this decision lightly. But after weighing it up for another day I took 4mg of Prozac. Symptoms eased off after that (but it could be coincidence as it comes and goes in waves). That was Friday. I took my last dose of beta blockers the day before (Thurs) and decided to stop beta blockers is I was going to re-instate. On Saturday morning I took 4mg and then 2 hours later anther 4mg. On Sunday morning I took 8mg On Monday morning I took 8mg. For the past few days things seem bearable between mid-day until I go to sleep. But early morning until the afternoon I get overwhelmed with panic and fear and I pace relentlessly. I still don't know if it was the right choice and whether I should abort reinstatement. I still cannot see a clear pattern of improvement, I do not know if I should up the dose or wait. I read the reinstatement page and also Eva's story (seem very similar to mine) on the edge of my seat. http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/5715-eva-struggling-after-20-years-prozac-and-now-without/page-4 But it ends with a cliff hanger. She never reported whether her dose increase stabilized her. I am thinking if I can stabilize then I can regroup and plan the next step. Should I continue to try and reinstate or abort reinstatement? Will I be able to taper again if I can stabilize on this reinstatement? I have not been able to go to work for the past three weeks. I am now in week 4. I am very scared and need help. Please, please help me.
  4. I came to this site in hopes of finding some answers or a timeline for this awful withdrawal, but I'm going to take this chance to join a community of people who will understand how horrible what I'm going through actually is. I have been taking some form of anti-depressant for about 10 years, with Effexor XR being the last 8 years of that. I was prescribed Celexa through my physician as a way of combating college anxiety issues, and my body took that and ran with it. After two years on Celexa I started to have problems with it and my life and through my physician again I was given Effexor XR. Over the next few years life was ok. It wasn't perfect, but Effexor gave me the ability to live without the crippling depression that I was starting to experience at that point. Then I hit a wall. I spent the better part of 6 months laying in bed crying and depressed beyond anything I could have ever imagined. I ended up checking myself into the psychiatric unit of our local hospital and my life of medication took a giant leap forward. I was then given psychiatrists and therapists and any medication they thought could ease my blues. Disappointingly, the answer I was given was to increase my Effexor to a 150 mg and a 75 mg and then work some trial and error until I found something to combine with it. At this point I had zero health coverage and was using Wyeth, and then Pfizers, patient assistance programs. Years pass, my emotions calm down, life happens, and I'm ok. In the last year of my Effexor use, I moved and lost any form of funding I had, I was no longer able to meet with my therapist or have prescriptions filled by my psychiatrist. Pfizer would no longer fill my prescription and I was unable to find a way to have my medications covered. *Insert sob story about the poor healthcare system and treatment of those with mental disabilities or addictions to prescription medications that were no fault of the party going through the struggle.* I decided, without the help of a doctor (I was pretty much told "too damn bad" by the doctor's office), I decided to use the medication I had left to taper off entirely. I was, and still am, convinced that the Effexor was a crutch that I no longer need in my life. I tapered off of the medication over the course of 5 weeks. I experienced no real problems until the last week of tapering and the 2-3 weeks after completely stopping the medication. I think anyone here is well aware of the hell coming off of one of these medications can be. Brain zaps, nausea, roller coaster emotions--all the great things where my life for those couple of weeks. Luckily most of those problems have since faded. Now, however, 3 months out, I've hit a wall, and this is why I'm here on this site. I've read that at the three month mark people do tend to see some relapse, but I did not expect the emotional and physical pain that I'm experiencing. I can't sleep, my body aches, and I cry and pick fights for no reason. This issue is for another post entirely, but it's the main reason I'm here introducing myself now. I'm terribly sorry I've made this so long, but this is the first forum I've ever joined with the full intent of being an active member, so I figured a decent story should be thrown out there. Ok, in short: Hi, I took Effexor XR and now I'm angry that no one told me how much it would mess up my life. Hugs?
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