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  1. ADMIN NOTE Also see: How to cope with worry, stress, and anxiety -- and what's the difference? Non-drug techniques to cope with emotional symptoms ____________________________________________________________ From: https://www.getselfhelp.co.uk/anxiety-self-help/ see website which includes some self help videos ____________________________________________________________ List of symptoms - more details are provided below: Smothering sensations and Shortness of breath Racing heart, slow heart beat, palpitations Lump in throat & Difficulty swallowing Skin losing colour (blanching) Sweating Shaking or shivering (Visibly or internally) Neck & shoulder pain & numbness in face or head Rapid gastric emptying Sexual Dysfunction Symptoms of urinary tract infection Skin rashes Weakness in arms & tingling in the hands or feet Electric shock feeling anywhere in the body Insomnia Nightmares Fears of going mad or losing control Increased depression & suicidal feelings Aggression Symptoms like 'flu' Distorted vision Disturbed hearing Hormone problems Headaches & feelings of having a tight band around head Sore eyes Agoraphobia Hallucinations Creeping or pins and needles sensations in The skin Hyperactivity Dramatic increase in sexual feelings Pain in the face or jaw that resembles a toothache Derealisation and Depersonalisation Good article Panic & Anxiety disorder www.npadnews.com/anxiety-symptoms.asp Anxiety & Panic Attacks Symptoms It is not important to try and understand the physiology of the human body but it is important to remember that each of the anxiety symptoms you experience can be explained. Do not dwell on what you are feeling, instead, project yourself into more useful subjects, do something constructive, exercise, learn a skill or craft and escape the body trap. The following list of anxiety symptoms includes the most common ones reported by actual anxiety sufferers. Whilst the list is fairly comprehensive, there may be symptoms that you experience that are not listed; this does not mean that you are more ill or suffering from something else, we are all biologically different in many ways and some people simply react differently during anxiety. If you have any symptoms to add to this list, please email them to me with a description of the sensations you experience. .... Smothering sensations and Shortness of breath These sensations are amongst the more distressing anxiety symptoms. Sometimes it feels as if your chest will not expand to accommodate the air your body needs, other times it feels as if someone is pushing a pillow into your face. The one thing to remember should you experience this is that it is only a sensation caused by exaggerated nerve impulses. These symptoms will not and cannot harm you; you will not stop breathing, pass out or suffocate. Racing heart, slow heart beat, palpitations Anxiety releases adrenaline into the blood stream making the heart race and feel as if it is missing beats, (palpitations). This is perfectly natural and will not and cannot harm you in any way. Later I will discuss methods you can use to help stop these feelings. A slow heart beat is also a common feature of anxiety, again it does not mean that your heart will stop beating, it may feel odd and alarming but again do not give it any credibility and it will go away. Chest Pain Caused by muscle tension, chest pains can make you feel very scared. The initial reaction of anyone with anxiety who gets pains in their chest is that they are dying of a heart attack. This is not true. Heart pain is very different to this pain and very often does not start in the chest. Deep breathing and relaxation exercises are a very effective way of diminishing these unpleasant symptoms. If you can get somebody to massage your upper back, shoulders and chest, it will help to relax tired and achy muscles. Lump in throat & Difficulty swallowing Globus Hystericus is the correct term for this symptom. It is caused by the muscles in the throat contracting due to anxiety or stress. Sometimes it feels like you cannot swallow anything and trying to makes it worse. This is another example of a symptom, which will improve if you give it no credibility. It is totally harmless and will not cause you to stop breathing, eating or drinking, it is just very unpleasant. Skin losing colour (blanching) As blood is diverted to the muscles during the 'fight or flight' response, the fine blood vessels in your skin that gives the skin that pink, healthy colour receive reduced blood flow and the skin loses some of its colour. It is not dangerous and will return to normal as the body starts to normalise after an attack. Some people with generalised anxiety can look a little pale most of the time, again this is quite normal and will return to normal. Sweating Sweating is a normal bodily reaction and is designed to reduce the body temperature. As the body heats up sweat is released onto it through sweat glands. As the sweat evaporates it takes heat with it, cooling the body. During periods of anxiety the body is preparing itself for either flight or fight and releases sweat to cool the impending exertions. As the anxiety subsides sweat levels return to normal. Shaking or shivering (Visibly or internally) We all shake or shiver when we are nervous or cold. Shaking is a normal reaction to fear and/or a drop in body temperature. Shaking occurs when the muscles spasmodically contract creating friction between muscles and other body tissues. This friction creates heat which raises body temperature. During anxiety it is quite normal to experience shaking or shivering. It will pass. Neck & shoulder pain & numbness in face or head The blood vessels and nerves, which supply the face and head, originate in the neck and shoulders. Many of these nerves and blood vessels are routed across the head to the face. When the body is under stress these areas of the body are usually the first to become tense. Facial numbness can be very disturbing but is usually nothing to worry about and is usually the result of this tension. Rapid gastric emptying This can be a very unpleasant side effect of both anxiety and tranquilliser use. This condition causes the sufferer to feel full very early on in a meal, sometimes making them feel as if they cannot breathe. Then soon after eating they can experience diarrhea and feel as if their whole digestive system is emptying very quickly indeed. Indigestion, heartburn, constipation and diarrhea During periods of anxiety the body diverts blood from various parts of the body to the muscle tissues in order to supply them with the oxygen needed by them during the flight or fight response. One of the main areas where blood is used most is around the digestive tract. Blood is sent there to absorb nutrients from the food we eat. As blood is diverted away from the stomach during anxiety, the digestion slows and the muscles around the stomach can become knotted. This can cause indigestion, heartburn and diarrhea or constipation. Sexual Dysfunction Impotency, or failure to achieve or maintain an erection, effects many men for many reasons, sometimes there is a physical reason for this but more often than not there is a psychological element. Symptoms of urinary tract infection Medication can have many and some times quite obscure side effects including the symptoms of a urinary tract infections. It is always advisable to get these things checked out by your doctor but even if you do have an infection it can be easily treated. Drinking plenty of water is always advisable to maintain good, general health but even more so when the body is under stress. Skin rashes Skin rashes, spots or dryness are all very common symptoms of anxiety and stress. It is quite common to get an eczema like rash around the nose, cheeks and forehead. They are nothing to worry about and usually disappear when you start to feel better. Weakness in arms & tingling in the hands or feet The flight or fight response is an intense reaction and causes many systems of the body to react. Circulation, blood oxygen and blood carbon dioxide levels change and muscle tension is altered in preparation for action. All of these bodily changes have a profound effect on bodily sensations, feeling week in the extremities, (arms, hands, legs or feet) is one of these sensations. Tingling is usually caused by the pooling of blood carbon dioxide in the limbs, shaking the hands, arms, legs and feet can help increase circulation to these areas. These symptoms are not harmful and will return to normal. Light exercise is very helpful in reversing these sensations. THEY DO NOT MEAN YOU ARE EXPERIENCING A STROKE OR ANY OTHER NEUROLOGICAL CONDITION! Electric shock feeling anywhere in the body The nervous system is a very complex network of electrically charged nerves which are found in every square centimeter of your body, around every organ, muscle and across your skin, the largest organ in the body. Abnormal nerve impulses due to anxiety can cause a vast array of strange sensations; although quite harmless these can be very disturbing. Dry mouth As fluids are diverted for use in other parts of the body during anxiety, the mouth becomes dry. Sip water or suck sweets to lubricate your mouth. In extreme cases your doctor can prescribe a liquid to do this but it is expensive. It cannot harm you and will go away after the anxiety subsides. Insomnia One of the more distressing effects of anxiety, insomnia is the inability to fall asleep or to remain asleep. It is important to regain regular sleep patterns as lack of sleep can lead to disturbing symptoms. Follow this link to The Linden Method cure for insomnia Nightmares Dreams and nightmares tend to mimic what is going on in our daily lives. If we are relaxed and contented we have pleasant dreams and usually do not remember them. If we are disturbed or confused our dreams are more likely to be too. Nightmares are unpleasant but harmless, the more you master good sleep and practice breathing and relaxation exercises the better your dreams will become. Fears of going mad or losing control We all have a fear of going mad or losing control but rest assured you are not going mad. Going mad is not a conscious act; those who are suffering from severe mental illness are unaware of their journey into it. You are not going mad. Confused nervous messages to the brain along tired nerves in a tired body do not constitute madness. Thoughts are an unconscious product of brain activity. If you are anxious, angry, sad or stressed your thoughts are affected, not only by mood, but also by your physical body chemistry. Blood oxygen levels can affect brain activity and the central nervous system, as can many other bodily chemicals like adrenaline, hormones and even vitamins. These un-pleasant thoughts, emotions and totally irrational fears are not harmful to yourself or others. Any thoughts of harming yourself or other people are perceived only. As you body becomes more relaxed and less anxious your thought processes will return to normal. Increased depression & suicidal feelings Depression is a word that is commonly misused to describe a variety of conditions. I hear many people in every day life who say, "I am depressed, I feel terrible, I am so fed up". This is, in most cases, not depression. Depression is a series of chemical imbalances that create a clinical illness that has strong links with anxiety disorders and can be a side effect of them. Anxiety has many features of depression and can mimic it quite strongly. When someone goes to the doctor complaining of feeling run down and fed up, it is all too easy to write a prescription for Prozac, Seroxat or another anti-depressant. I wonder how many people are on anti-depressants who just needed to reassess and restructure their lives. Aggression When you feel tired, ill, fed up and held back by your condition you are bound to feel angry. One of the main causes of true anger is actually sadness. Think back to a situation that has made you feel anger, if you dissect that event you might find that the true reason for feeling so angry was a feeling of sadness. Aggression is a normal reaction to fear also, the fight or flight response prepares us to either run or fight, sometimes to fight may seem to be the best response. Symptoms like 'flu' Influenza causes the body to release anti-bodies into the blood stream to attack the virus. This combination of anti-bodies and infection makes the body feel weak, sweaty and painful. Anxiety can have a similar effect, weakening the muscles, making you clammy and achy. Believe it or not the more you do physically the better this will become. Distorted vision In order to prepare the body for impending danger, adrenaline release causes many physical changes. During the anxiety response the body prepares the eyes to notice any slight movements; it does this by dilating the pupils allowing more light to enter. This is why anxious people become more sensitive to bright light and often wear sunglasses to minimize the eyestrain it causes. Disturbed hearing This is called tinnitus and is usually experienced as whistling or screeching noises in either or both ears. Hormone problems Anxiety can affect various systems of the body, one of which is the endocrine system. This system is responsible for balancing the glands, which secrete hormones in the body. Although these glands secrete the hormones needed by the body, they do not control the levels of these chemicals, this is done by the brain. Disturbed messages in the brain and nervous system can cause slight irregularities in the secretion of these chemicals. When anxiety levels return to normal so will the hormone levels. There are few examples where these hormones cause serious problems and if they do your doctor can correct them. Women may find that their menstrual cycle is temporarily effected and men may find that they have mood swings whilst testosterone levels are affected. Headaches & feelings of having a tight band around head As discussed earlier, tension in the neck and shoulders can cause immense discomfort, migraine and numbness. The feeling of having a tight band around your head is caused by muscular tension in the sheath of muscles covering the skull. Restricted blood vessels and nerves within this tissue can cause very severe symptoms including pain in the eyes, face and teeth. Sore eyes Reduced lubrication in the eyes when body fluids are diverted elsewhere during anxiety causes the eyes to feel sore, dry and painful. Agoraphobia Agoraphobia is a natural response to anxiety and self-preservation. If we feel threatened we tend to retreat to somewhere safe, like a tortoise into its shell. In anxiety it is important to gain control of this response as soon as you feel it developing. Avoidance of situations is not an effective tool in the fight against agoraphobia. Hallucinations Mostly experienced by people in withdrawal, hallucinations can be very frightening indeed if you do not understand what they are and where they come from. Hallucinations are another example of transient symptoms. If you are in withdrawal they will pass, if you are not in withdrawal consult your doctor, as they may be a side effect of the drugs that you have been prescribed. Creeping or pins and needles sensations in The skin The nerve endings in your skin are alive with electrical impulses, these can feel like creeping sensations, pins and needles or tickling, they are the result of confused nerve impulses and cannot harm you. Increased sensitivity to light, sound, touch, and smell All of these sensitivities are to prepare your senses to see, smell, hear and feel more when in impending danger during the fight or flight response. All of these feeling are unusual but not dangerous, they are temporary and will return to normal as your anxiety levels reduce. Hyperactivity Hyperactivity is a way of describing a range of symptoms that cause you to feel as if you need to talk faster and do things faster. It can make you feel confused and irrational and can make you do things that you would not usually do. This is a common feature of anxiety and drug withdrawal and will pass in time. Dramatic increase in sexual feelings As the brain copes with disturbed and confused messages from all around the body, some of the mind's thought processes can become a little distorted or exaggerated. Sexual thoughts and emotions are typically very strong even when in good health, they are what drive the attraction mechanism when we meet people we find attractive and create the sexual feelings we feel for some people. Pain in the face or jaw that resembles a toothache The term 'face ache' comes from this feature of anxiety. Most of this symptom is caused by tension, not only in the face, neck and shoulders, which can refer pain to the jaw and teeth, but also in the jaw itself. Derealisation and Depersonalisation These are both symptoms, which affect the way you experience yourself. Derealisation is the sensation that you and everything around you is not real or dreamy, as if you are seeing everything through a fog or some kind of filter. It has been noticed that people experience both depersonalisation and derealisation during panic. It seems that some people dissociate first which then causes panic and derealisation. poodlebell
  2. Hello. Thanks for inviting me to the forum. I am a 24 yo artist and writer who is stuck in my house and unable to move forward. I tapered off my Prozac 3 months ago and can’t say I am any worse off but do feel waves of sadness and panic and increasing OCD symptoms. I’m not sure if this is withdrawal or relapse as I was never really better. My history includes Dissociation that just started one day in a grocery store around age 12 and never stopped. I just split from myself and feel a veil between me and my world. Doctors think it’s anxiety. I had generalized Anxiety as a child and later was diagnosed with OCD and Panic disorder in college I Started Prozac at age 13 for generalized anxiety but specifically dissociation. 10 mg - 40 mg over the years. My Panic and anxiety slowly increased over high school and college. During college a psychiatrist tried it all Trileptal (to rule out seizures as cause of dissociation), Dextraamphetamine (which energized me), Buspar (made me feel manic), lamactil (anger), abilify (anger), Risperidone (anger) Effexor (made me angry), Wellbutrin (made me sad), propranolol (made me jittery) Clonazepam and Ativan (helps with Social Anxiety but makes me sad and is addictive). All these medications were added to Prozac in some combination. Nothing helped and generally made me worse. I was switched from Prozac to Nortryptiline and nearly lost my mind. All of this over 4 years in college as I became unable to leave the house and was diagnosed with OCD and continued to be constantly dissociated. I had to finish college online due to panic. I returned to just Prozac alone after college and went through 2 more psychiatric doctors who wanted to replay the same medications. I ultimately slowly tapered to nothing over 6 months and use an occasional Ativan 1 mg now. I have been off Prozac at age 24 for 3 months. I recently learned my testosterone is low and will be investigating that. I feel tired, depressed, sad and feel my OCD symptoms are worsening. I am not suicidal but don’t see the purpose to life at times. I’m wondering how other people felt after stopping medications and thought I would look here for advice after reading your paper. Thank you.
  3. See also: high-cortisol-and-ssris This seems to be a very common symptom of withdrawal syndrome. Many people report waking up with a surge of panic or anxiety, or a feeling of anxiety early in the morning. People generally feel this around 3:30-4:30 a.m. or closer to dawn. The first glimmers of morning light signal the nervous system to start the morning cycle with a normal rise in cortisol. This is a normal part of your circadian rhythm. Normally, cortisol gives you energy. When you have withdrawal syndrome, your system is on "high alert" all the time. For people whose nervous systems have been sensitized by going on and off psychiatric drugs, the normal morning peak of cortisol is felt as exaggerated. What you would normally feel as "wake up" becomes a surge of unease, panic, anxiety, or dread at the start of the day. Since the cortisol increase is signaled by early morning light, you can reduce the stimulation by reducing light in your bedroom with the use of blackout shades and curtains and a sleep mask to shield your eyes. Strengthening your sleep also helps. See What is the sleep cycle? Tips to help sleep -- so many of us have that awful withdrawal insomnia Sleep and withdrawal Path to Better Sleep FREE online for everyone from the US Veterans Administration Music for self-care: Calms hyperalertness, anxiety, aids relaxation and sleep Melatonin for sleep: Many people find it helpful TV or computer use in evening can disrupt sleep: Bright light signals the brain that it's daytime
  4. Hello, thank you for reaching out. I’ve crashed in my tapering of Effexor and I am now in a extreme situation with daily anxiety, panic and severe gastrointestinal issues. I desperately need advice. Background: over the last year (since March 8 2021) I’ve been tapering brand name Pfizer Effexor XR by using the bead method under the guidance of a Facebook group. I’ve reduced from 75mg to 25mg using 10% reductions every 4-8 weeks. I weighed the beads while reducing all the way from 75mg to 25mg. Unfortunately, on Jan 13 2022 - just a week out from a 10% taper - I switch and reacted badly to a generic formulation (Sandoz venlafaxine XR 25mg) which I only took for 1 day and switched back to brand name with beads. From then on I decided to count instead of weigh. I settled on 91 beads. Things seem to go fine until Feb 16 I noticed I had unusual symptoms and I began to suspect I my dose was too high (nausea, vertigo, restlessness, anxiety/dysphoria); so I decided to check and see if 91 beads was a good average number for my previous pill weight of 83mg I had switched from. I weighted out 5 of my previous doses, counted the beads in each, and the average was actually 86 beads. So Feb 20 I began to take 86 beads. Things seemed go fine with the usual withdrawal symptoms I am used to. But on March 2nd and 3rd I experienced hypomania and anxiety which was unusual. On March 4 all hell broke loose and from the moment I wake up I start experiencing extreme anxiety, diarrhea, nausea, dry heaving, RLS in the morning On March 5th I decided to stop all supplements because I was afraid I was destabilized. My gastrointestinal symptoms became so severe (anorexia, abdominal cramping, nausea, dry heaving, anxiety and panic) that on March 6th I admitted myself to the emergency room. They did nothing for me but refer my to a gastroenterologist (I have yet to see). Since then I have been trying to hold it together but each day I wake up an anxious wreck with my stomach in knots and it doesn’t even began to ease even a little until the late afternoon. I’m terrified that I may have akathesia. On March 8th I saw my GP who prescribed Ativan 1mg just in case of panic attacks. I am so afraid I destabilized myself and scared to updose or decrease my dose or take the Ativan. I am getting desperate but I don’t want to see a doctor or psychiatrist because I’m afraid they will advise to go back to 37.5mg of Effexor or higher; CT me, bridge me or add more drugs. I don’t want to suffer an adverse reaction from going back up or on something else and ending up polydrugged. So I’ve been just holding but each day is a battle and I’m very scared. Please help me know what I should do! 🙏
  5. 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.
  6. Awhile back JanCarol asked me what I was going to do if tapering lithium didn't work. It hasn't been disastrous, but I am really stuck. I am thinking about going to Mensah Medical in the Chicago area. Has anyone related to them? The two doctors there were part of the Pheiffer Institute which closed. Dr. Walsh was head of the Institute and now heads the Walsh Institute, which does research into the biochemical basis of mental illness (this whole post may need to be deleted) and educates physicians on nutrient therapies. The Mensah Medical docs are the clinical people. The website mensahmedical.com has a resources page, if you can get it to come up with lots of resources, they are really interesting. Sadly, I am not nearly smart enough to know if the theories are true. My sister has been going to a very expensive integrative doc for about four years. I think he has been doing these concepts (she isn't quite as fascinated as me, lol). Anyway, he pronounced her ready to go off Prozac after seventeen years of therapy with a two-week taper...and so far she is fine. I'm not jealous at all .
  7. Has anyone tried a Stellate Ganglion Block (i.e. needle in neck) to alleviate severe anxiety/panic in protracted WD? I read a story on Beyond Meds that mentioned relief but for only 2 days, so it doesn’t sound like a viable option. I know there has been limited success with soldiers experiencing PTSD. Thoughts?
  8. Do any of you have trouble making decisions these days? I am wondering if it is a symptom of withdrawal. I used to be a fairly decisive person. I always trusted my gut. The thing is, ever since I started changing up my medication in 2020, and then withdrawing in 2021, I can no longer trust my gut feelings. I am so full of anxiety that my gut feeling is constantly screaming at me to run and hide. When I meet someone new, it tells me not to trust them. When I think about going somewhere or doing something, it tells me it'll end up badly. If I trusted my gut these days, I'd be bedridden and immobile. I have a bad feeling about everything. It's making it difficult to make important life decisions. I was in a sort-of relationship nearly a year ago and I could not commit for months, and was ultimately broken up with. I honestly just couldn't decide what to do. Everything on paper was perfect but my gut was filled with so much anxiety it made me sick. I was also offered a couple of jobs, and I was frozen. I decided not to go for them and stay at my current position because change freaked me out, and I wondered if I was making the wrong decision. My therapist told me that when I feel this way, that means the decision to not do anything or make any changes is the right one. She said I need to wait it out, and if someone leaves me or opportunities go, then they weren't meant for me anyway. I'm hoping I'm not the only one feeling this way. I meet regularly with some people withdrawing from psych meds and they always emphasize the importance of trusting your instincts and listening to your gut. But in my case, my gut can't be trusted.
  9. Hello all, I am new here and joining because the last three months have been something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. It started in January when I decided to finally start seeing some specialists instead of just my Family Doctor. I started with a neuro for my migraines and a psych to try and figure out a better med for me. I had been on Lexapro (20mg) for just over 2 years ish I think. We had added Wellbutrin to fix some of the side effects about a year ago. Lexapro was just making me so very tired and I was still finding myself having anxiety. So I went to a highly regarded psychiatrist in the area and that is where it all went to hell. First, they wanted me to drop Lexapro and Wellbutrin and start Trintellix. Trintellix gave me terrible nausea and the cost was going to be $350/month WITH insurance. So they looked at my genomind and decided to try prozac instead. After about a week on Prozac (10mg) I began having the worst anxiety of my life. I became instantly agoraphobic and was having panic attacks multiple times a day. I ended up just stopping because I couldn’t handle the side effects. Now they want me to take gabapentin instead. I’ve been off prozac for 3 weeks and the last week and a half has been awful again. Feeling so anxious all the time, increased panic, depression. Not getting out of bed and then all the physics symptoms. I’m trying to figure out where to go from here. I’m currently wanting to try to go back on Zoloft or Lexapro because I never ever would have stopped cold turkey under normal circumstances. any help navigating this hellscape would be so wonderful. thanks.
  10. Hi, I hope to be a regular contributor. Here is a bit of background: Throughout high school I was mildly depressed and anxious, which turned into a pretty horrible social anxiety and moderate depression in first year of university. Eventually I left school and was pretty depressed for eight months. I started Paxil when I was nearly 20 in 11/06 and immediately my anxiety and depression seemed to vanish. I returned to school and withdrew my Paxil six months later with no noticeable withdrawal. Two and a half years later when I was 22 I began experiencing some horrible anxiety triggering some gastro issues. I took one dose of Paxil and woke up that night with some sort of terrible panic attack. I ceased taking the Paxil but the panic attacks (flu-like symptoms) continued and lasted hours at a time. I feared that I was dying. Eventually I was hospitalized and put on Cipralex and Olanzapine. My anxiety eventually halted and the Cipralex gave me more energy and motivation than I typically have. Eventually I was labelled bipolar ii because of the initial but short lasting activating effects that some antidepressants have in me. The Cipralex pooped out in three weeks and I was polydrugged for the next four years, including two more hospitalizations in that first year for depression. Eventually my mood and anxiety stabilized for two years on Cymbalta, lithium, and Alertec; however, the fatigue was unbearable. In 08/13 I came off Cymbalta and my mood started to deteriorate (I probably experienced about a month of withdrawal syndrome including insomnia, irritability, brain zaps, and flu-like symptoms). After more polydrugging, I decided that the drugs may be making things worse. At nearly age 27, I came off of Pristiq and lithium. Pristiq brought on a similar syndrome as Cymbalta. I came off of both antidepressants too quickly, however, usually in a matter of a month. I also came off of lithium way too quickly, in about six weeks. As I was coming off lithium I began to feel normal again for the first time in four and a half years. About three weeks after my last lithium dose (02/14) I woke up vomiting. I then had severe anxiety for a couple of days but it lifted in a week. It was replaced by a mild or moderate depression that was, for the most part, quite manageable. I was actually hopeful, had normal energy for the first time in years, and beginning meditation and psychotherapy and thought I might recover. Unfortunately, some bad life events happened: there was conflict in the house that I live in and I ended up living on my own for a while (not a good thing). Worse, however, is that I injured by back. It remains injured and I am now getting some tests done to try and figure out what is wrong with it. I can't walk more than five minutes without it getting quite achey and knotty. Eventually this bodily stress had me thinking thoughts that I was dying again and that my back will never heal. This lead to me to being in a constant state of panic. I was losing lots of weight and my body had been in panic mode for nearly a week. I was terrified. I went to a community crisis centre who I thought might help me without psych drugs -- but they basically told me to go get drugs. I ended up hospitalized (06/14) and was immediately put on mirtazapine and then Lyrica. A few days later the anxiety left and I entered the most severe depression of my life: it was incredibly painful, I could barely move, my voice had no emotion, and I was asking my parents to kill me. The depression would occasionally lift at nighttime and I would be normal again. The depression lifted one morning and was replaced by a depressive/anxious hellish state that did not lift in the evening. Defeated, uncertain how the pain would go away, and pressured by my nurses and my psychiatrist, I upped everything and began lithium again albeit at a lower dose: mirtazapine 30mg, Lyrica 100mg, lithium 600mg. I was discharged from the hospital last week. I feel incredibly discouraged. Before I found this site (and the 10% rule) I tapered 25mg off of Lyrica so that now the Lyrica fog is much more bearable during the day. My biggest questions at this point are: after tapering off of drugs or during the taper for some people, how does one deal with severe panic anxiety or with severe, profoundly painful depression? I am beginning to browse these forums looking for these answers. I fear that there may not be answers and that people just ride through it which takes a lot of courage. I tried to ride out depressions when I was younger but they it went on for over a year and a half before I took Paxil. It is especially challenging as I live in Toronto and I cannot find much support here for tapering off of psych drugs or for dealing with a crisis that comes during or post taper. I am in the process of finding a new psychiatrist, which is quite difficult, as my psychiatrist is as biology-based as possible (he wanted me to have shock therapy in December which is partly why I came off drugs around then as I realized he didn't know what he was doing.) Unfortunately, I still had to see him when I was recently in hospital, which is another trigger. I just never imagined I would be back on psych drugs. The injury to my back is also depressing me. I've gone from hopeful to hopeless in a matter of months. Right now my anxiety is not too severe and neither is the depression. I've read that Mirt has a habit of pooping out early, which is partly why I think every minute is invaluable in determining tapering and eventual crisis. The crisis pattern for me seems to be severe anxiety followed by depression, then maybe a mixed anxious/depressed state. Anyone with similar experiences, advice, or encouragement? The scariest things for me are how to deal with severe panic anxiety and a physically excruciating depression. Thanks for reading.
  11. Can anyone share if while coming down off of Effexor XR and bridging and going to Prozac they had horrible panic and anxiety symptoms with numbness, tingling and weakness? I feel like I'm coming out of my skin and have a terrible dread, panic waking up. My feet feel cold at night, then on fire in the morning. I can't get any relief. Any help will be appreciated. Thanks.
  12. 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?)
  13. I have suffered most of my life with OCD, Tic related OCD, (Complex Tic Disorder/Tourettic OCD/TOCD) and Panic Disorder. I have taken SSRI antidepressants and benzodiazepines with no or little success other than keeping panic at bay for over 20 years. I have discontinued the usage of antidepressants for almost a year now. I experienced acute withdrawl (“discontinuation syndrome”)and now I am enduring a protracted adverse reaction do to Dr. prescribed usage of SSRI antidepressants. I now have symptoms that I never had before taking the medication and during the time I was on the medication. Symptoms that I have had in the past are more severe and much harder to cope with. Simply, my question is can anyone relate. Thank you! Celexa, Prozac, Zoloft, Luvox, Lexapro, paxil, anafranil, Klonopin
  14. Hi, I am a 24 year old female from Montreal, Canada. I keep my childhood close to my heart as it is evidence of life being enjoyable. At age 12, I was diagnosed with O.C.D. and after a year or two of therapy, I was able to rid myself of most of my obsessional behaviours. At age 13, entering high school, I was diagnosed with general anxiety disorder and depression, and was quickly put on anti-depressants. The following decade of my life consisted of continuous suffering (unwavering depression, hospital stays, self harm, suicidal tendencies, crisis after crisis, chain smoking cigarettes, chronic weed smoker, overweight, risky behaviour, terrible relationship with parents, couldn't work or go to school, ect). I was on anti-depressants /anti-anxiety /anti-psychotic/ sleeping aid medication during puberty and after. In 2016, after a decade of suffering, and realizing the two constants in my life have been meds and suffering, I started questioning the mental health system and what I have been told, and fed. 3 years later, here I am, almost off of my 10-year-long relationship with Cipralex(SSRI) (from ten years of 40mg to now, 5mg). I was lucky enough to find somebody online who is incredibly experienced and knowledgable about weening off of meds, and who has helped me taper safely. I am also very lucky to have parents who would do anything for me and support my journey and healing in every way possible. Since then I have been reducing my dosages every few months very slowly with little withdrawal symptoms, and it has been going really well. I started feeling hope that I never thought would be possible. Up until now. A couple of months ago, I dropped my dosage of Cipralex from 5mg to 4mg and within two weeks started feeling waves of panic that I had not felt in years. One night, I felt the surge of panic, and eventually fell asleep after several hours of struggling. I woke up the next day and I was still in panic. The following 3 or 4 days I was stuck in this panic. There are no words to describe how horrific it feels to be trapped in what I thought could only last an hour maximum. (Disclaimer: I have a deep fear of "going insane". At this point, when I speak of "insanity", I am describing the experience of being pulled away from the normal reality I am ''used'' to. But, if there wasn't a sense of complete terror, I probably would mind it less. Stuck in terror is now how I define my understanding of "insanity".) It has been several months now (3 or 4) that I am experiencing the most horrific episodes of complete terror. The feeling of a nightmare doubled down under the weight of the realization that this is as real as it gets, there is no waking up from this horror, there is no waking up in relief. This is it. It's similar to in a nightmare, I feel the presence of something evil, I'm afraid to look over my shoulder, I'm afraid I'll see it, I am completely on edge. "Derealization" and "depersonalization" happening heavily. How I feel in a storm of terror, my entire understanding of reality is Doom. Something right behind me, the imminent danger, something horribly, horribly dangerous is here. Right here. And something terrible, catastrophic, EVIL, is going to happen, is happening and will get worse. I am going to snap. My personal hell tailored to my exact dread and fears. It is not like a normal sense of panic, or dread. I have had countless panic attacks previously. This... every single fibre of my being is shrieking in terror. There is not a crack of light. The whole entire game is different. My body is spiking with the threat of death, evil, “insanity”. My mind is trapped. I am trapped. It feels like there is a pressure on the back of my head but from the inside, something urging to get out, to escape. Screaming, desperate, shocked. Nightmares end in relief. There is no end to this, there is no waking up in relief. Death is part of the terror, so I cannot end my life. My brain, my mind, my spirit, in danger, threatened by Imminent Doom. Trapped. Panic. Unreal panic. Inconceivable panic. Fire in my stomach. Then ice. Then fire. Dizzy from panic. It feels like I am being sucked away into Hell. My inner voice fades. Vision unable to coordinate with mind, I am sinking into my skull, into darkness. Reality is not safe. No where to hide. NO WHERE TO HIDE. My body cannot handle such terror so it trembles uncontrollably. Knees knocking together. I could release all bodily fluids from how terrified I am. Gagging, I sometimes puke. I can't look at my mom or dad without being sent further into torture, they seem wildly unfamiliar and really, really distant. They cant help. Nobody can save me. Praying to God, any God. My hands gripping my clothing, pulling. Jaw locked, clenching. Can't close my eyes. Can't keep them open. No options. My mind, my Being, terror ripping through Everything. All of this is not accounting for when I wake up from sleep in Terror. In that, my attachment to my 24 years of life, my identity, my name and hands and vision, my beliefs, my parents, my entire concept of what it is to be Me, my inner self and outer self, is unretrievable. The fear has no way of being calmed, effort cannot even be made, my thoughts are out of order, completely, there is a chaotic sense of disorder. Part of me wonders if I am going 'insane', or if my fate is to end up in a state of constant panic. I have a newfound perspective on my own mortality, on the fragility of my own grip on 'reality'. I don't know how to deal with these 'attacks' and something tells me I will live the rest of my life in the shadow of this clear sense of doom. It feels like I am living in a nightmare, surreal yet painfully real. I have some little windows of hope and a sense of being ''grounded''. Sometimes a few days where I am Okay. This is what I hold onto, or try to hold onto, desperately when I start feeling the terror. But when I'm really IN the state of panic, there really is nothing I can do. I feel so alone in this experience. I am currently living back with my parents (I was living on my own for a couple of years). I am back on 5mg, and don't plan to continue tapering, not for a while. Thank you for reading. I am so TERRIFIED.
  15. Hi, everyone! My name is Franny, and I don’t know if I’m doing this right, but I need to just type this out. So I just got over the flu and have just been catching no break, but for some reason, after I recovered, I started having anxiety symptoms I’ve never had before such as waking up in the middle of the night with elevated heart, feeling hot, then trembling and just an overall, very terrible feeling every day. (This is just so out of the blue and just so severe that I’m scared). I haven’t taken paroxetine in a year (quit cold turkey) and was doing pretty well. Life is good, I’m surrounded by good people. However, this panic/anxiety has been so bad recently, that I dug out the paroxetine (20 mg) and took one yesterday and the day before (haven’t taken one today yet). This morning when I woke up with this panic attack, I went to the hospital because maybe it was something else, and of course, I just have terrible anxiety so they gave me a lorazepam. (I did notify them I took paroxetine within the past two days). I felt pretty calm from the lorazepam but now I’m kinda getting anxious again. The only time I could get in with a psychologist is 2 weeks from now. In the mean time, I just don’t know what to do. Do I continue taking this 20 mg of paroxetine everyday until then? I just felt so desperate, and I’m just so upset because college is where I thrive and I just don’t know what’s happening; I could just cry right now. Again, I apologize if I’m not going about this in the right way, but I really appreciate your support and how strong you all are. Thank you.
  16. Greetings! I am very fortunate I found this site. I will not go into to much detail but here are some facts about my current situation. I have had anxiety/panic my entire life, from the earliest I can remember I used to have horrible separation anxiety, agoraphobia, and just plain being scared of silly things, like when I was younger I was terrified of thunderstorms and elevators I had to do exposure therapy while I was little and that was pretty difficult but it defiantly was not enough. My mother didn't put me on pharmaceuticals until I was 12 or so because the SSRIs were fairly new and she wanted to wait as long as she possibly could do try one of these medications. Flash forward to 2005, my father dies on the treadmill right in front of me, I am still in high school, and my anxiety up to that point was manageable, put when that happend my anxiety went through the roof. I couldn't finish high school in public but I was fortunate enough to have some retired teachers come to my house so I could graduate with my class. Of course during this time I was seeing a psychiatrist. Now he is an intelligent man and I have a number of medications to be thankful for, especially getting me out of that trauma. I was on a Tricyclic Anafranil 150 mg, from 2006 to 2013 for anxiety. During November 2013, I tried getting off the medication because it wasn't working and it was effecting my speech (probably from the anticholinergic effects). I tried to get off of it several times before but was given bad withdrawing advice (cut dose in half and 2 weeks you will be good), well that never happened of course. The old, see you need your medication, none of these brain zaps you speak of cannot occur with these drugs. So I followed the doctors advice and continued taking the Anafranil for a few more years. In November 2013 I tried to get off Anafranil for good. I wanted to do half the dose but just stay on that dose for like a month and then go down another quarter or something and try it that way. I had no idea how wrong both the doctor and I were. As soon as I lowered the dose I became a basket case. I started crying for no reason, I lost a bunch of weight (about 25 pounds in a month), vertigo, heart palpitations which scared the crap out of me because my father died from a birth defect we were not aware of at 49. I went back to the psychiatrist who I had seen for 6 years and was slapped with a bi-polar diagnosis. After doing a lot of research and looking into these drugs I didn't realize that the withdrawal could be so severe, or that most doctors had no idea that these drugs were capable of producing such a profound effect upon discontinuation. I reinstated the drug after 6 months of shear terror and my heart rate returned to normal, my crying stopped and it was like none of it ever happened. Now my main concern is with my heart because part of my anxiety would be dying in a similar fashion my father did. I have a great cardiologist who I have been seeing for years. He was fortunate enough to understand what was happening to me. I had every test imaginable and everything came back normal. Even when my heart was skipping a lot during the withdrawal, the holter monitor didn't pick up anything. He said its not so much your heart, its the receptors on your vagus nerve which is the main problem which makes since because they up regulate and down regulate depending if you are starting or stopping a drug. He said these drugs can effect the QT prolongation of the heart sometimes, but every EKG and Echo looked good so thank god for that. I stared back on the 150 in mid 2014 and currently I am on 60 mgs as of now. Now I think I misread because I tapered 10 mg every month instead of 10 percent of the dose, which is what a lot of people recommend. So what I am going to do as of now is try to stabilize on 50 mgs for a few months, since I am almost done with the 60 mg, and then taper down 5 mg every month which is roughly about 10 percent of the dose, I have calculated. I just hope this process goes a lot smoother than it did before because when I first tried my psychiatrists way it was absolutely horrible.
  17. Hi All I'm relieved to find a forum out there that fits my situation. The doctors say withdrawal symptoms should stop a month or two after stopping ssri's but I think they are wrong and I'm sure many of you agree. Thanks for listening to my story, I'll try to keep it brief. 13 years ago at age 25 my anxiety got the better of me I developed social phobia in the form of constant blushing and shaking when interacting with people. It psychologically crippled me. I lost my job and could barely leave my house. I left it a year before I went to a doctor by which time I was a complete mess. The doc prescribed me 20mg citalopram and that drug worked wonders! It stopped me blushing 95% of the time and meant I could lead a normal life again plus it made me cheerful and carefree. Amazing! But, every time I tried to come off it my blushing would return so I ended up staying on it for 11 years. I didn't really have any side effects until after 8 years when I started getting tinnitus and night sweats. These got worse and worse, I would lay in bed with my ears ringing so loud it was like I'd been to a nightclub! And the night sweats became unbearable, I would wake up 4 times a night soaked to the skin, freezing cold, need to change my clothes, bedding, take a shower I got so tired from bad sleep. So I went to doc and she put me on beta blockers which are working great and I don't need to take them that often as my blushing is nowhere near as bad now I'm 38. Great news BUT the side effects/withdrawal of coming off citalopram has been sooooo tough. Ive been off 8 months now. For the first 3 months I was so depressed, I wanted to cry all day and even felt suicidal at times. For the second 3 months I had terrible anxiety and would get to almost having panic attacks. For the last 2 months I feel a little better but have little interest in people, people just get on my nerves and I feel distant from everyone, I have a 'don't care' attitude and my marriage is suffering because of it as I'm moody and quick to anger Plus throughout the 8 months I still have those damn night sweats combined with bad insomnia! It's been 8 months but I still wake up soaked to the skin and even when I'm not sweating I just can't sleep! I don't know how I'm functioning normally as I slept better when my kids were newborns!! Some nights I just lay in bed with my eyes shut but awake for hours and hours looking at the clock every so often and thinking 'I can't believe it's 4:30am, I havent slept yet and I need to get up for work at 7am!' Has anyone else been in this situation? How long do the sweats last? My doc says they should have gone after a month or so and has booked me blood tests to check for early menopause, but I know it's due to citalopram use. How about the insomnia? Have I somehow damaged my nervous system and it's going to take years to repair itself, if ever?? I'd never have stayed on citalopram that long if I'd known it's legacy would be so long lasting. Thank you for reading my history. I'm glad I'm not alone in feeling like I am 'surviving' antidepressants. I have no one to talk to as I'm a private person and none of my friends know about my history and my husband lost interest a long time ago. Any advice is welcome xxx
  18. Last summer, after I quit the last antidepressant (after 7 years of antidepressants and anxiolytics) under the guidance of my former psychiatrist, I started rapidly to develop old and new symptoms. I tried to resist but in two months time I fell into the abyss of withdrawal, without knowing what was happening to me. I went back to my psychiatrist who not only did not recognize or mention the withdrawal status, but prescribed new drugs that didn't help and made things worse, like paroxetine. I was lost and fearfully sick, I lost 3 kilos in one week, then I contacted another psychiatrist who still didn't say a word about withrdrawal but prescribed benzodiazepines that immediately reduced the symptoms. Then he added two antidepressants and diagnosed "major depression, relapse". I was in shock. I tried to explain that my initial and main problem were anxiety and panic but he said thet it was all part of the depressive state. As soon as we tried to reduce anxiolytics the symptoms burst out again. That's when something clicked in my head. I searched the Internet for weeks to find someone who could help me out of the maze, and fortunately I did. Now I'm following a program to eliminate antidepressants under strict medical a psychological control, and I feel confident. Psychiatrists in Italy never talk about the risk of withdrawal symptoms, turning people into lifetime patients. I was lucky enough, being a psychologist and speaking English to be able to find the help I needed, but most people go on taking more and more drugs that work less and less. The site people can refer to in Italy is: https://www.smettereglipsicofarmaci.unifi.it/index.php (University of Florence).
  19. Hello, I have had OCD and GAD since childhood and panic disorder since I was 30 years old. I am 48, and this summer completed a taper from Luvox. I plan to taper off other meds under doctor supervision but am currently considering when to schedule tapers since teaching and tapering may not mix. The Luvox taper was diifcult indeed but was not the beast it might have been had I moved too quickly. I have experienced a long road of meds, cessation of meds, and new meds followed by the old meds, and I have been in periodic therapy for many years. I am currently working with self-guided CBT and mindfulness. Several of the OCD symptoms have intensified, so I am willing to do the work. I am literally terrified of stoping the Xanax; my panic attacks were debilitating and drove me to telecommute for years. However, I want to leave anything close to a benzo behind me. Thank you all for sharing your experiences and for this forum.
  20. Hi everyone. I've been dealing with severe derealization, panic, insomnia, anxiety, depression, dizziness, vertigo, migraines, agitation, irritably etc. for 3 years now. I'm scared out of my mind. I am on geodon 20 mg 2x a day zoloft (I'm weening. Just went from 25 mg to 12.5 mg) remeon 7.5 mg 2x a day scheduled Ativan (5 mg total per day) i am at at the end of my rope. I believe be chronic insomnia is at the heart of the way I feel. I have recently come to the realization that the derealization could be coming from pharmaceuticals. In an attempt to feel better, I have started weening off Zoloft- under doc approval (had to start somewhere and this medication has never helped me). I have been on Zoloft for 13 years, since the birth of my son when I developed post pardum depression. Is it it possible that going off the Zoloft will help? Or is the derealization likely to get worse? I'm still on 12.5 mg. This is my 2nd day on 12.5 from 25 mg. I believe I went from 50 mg to 37.5 in mid July. Then only went from 37.5 to 25 mg a week ago. And started 12.5 yesterday. Is this too quick? Or should I stay on 12.5 for a couple weeks and see how I do? Sounds like medication withdrawal can certainly cause DP/DR, but is it possible that coming off of them can actually help? Will things ever get bettter? Any adcice woukd be greatly appreciated.
  21. Hello all, I am new here and so glad I found this site in my research. I have been on Paxil 20 mg since college about 18 years ago when I was seeing the school psych for mild depression due to college and my young marriage breaking up. Sometimes I am so mad at the Dr. who put me on this stuff I just want to scream. I have spent many years with many different doctors trying their recommendations for getting off Paxil. They have included everything from cold turkey, to large drops, to alternating dosages on different days. All Epic Fails! I finally have a family physician who not only understands but has had to wean off an anti-depressant before herself. Now I have been using the liquid form for about three to four months and it was going very well. I have been dropping 2 mg from 20 mg about every two weeks. The first week I have some symptoms like head fog, dizzy, anger,etc. Then it seems to level out and the second week I feel great. I thought after many failed attempts of weaning off I was actually getting somewhere. Currently I am down to half of my original dose to 10 mg for the last two weeks and this weekend, BAM out of no where, I had my first ever panic attack. The last couple of days have been so out of whack with panic and fear and I really don't know what to do or why this is happening now after doing so well. Reading posts here I realize maybe I was going to fast, but I was having success and now I am ready to go back up because I am so scared. Any advice or experiences would be welcome! I just don't know what to do.
  22. 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.
  23. Hi guys. I've just started tapering off Efexor XR 75mg tablets once a day. I've been reducing the beads by 1 every two days. For e.g. I take out one tablet today, one tomorrow, then two beads on the third day, two on the fourth, three on the fifth, etc. I have been experiencing withdrawal symptoms of sore eyes, (I do wear glasses), become very tired and have to take a nap half way through my day, brain fog, flu like symptoms such as slight runny nose, cough. I was wondering, and read somewhere previously that there are other things to take while on the taper to help. I was wondering if anyone knows other things to help such as fish oil tablets. I'm a male, 40 years of age, and I am getting off this horrible drug because I want my life back. Efexor has made me like a zombie for a while now, I am tired all the time, have low motivation and it is terrible for me, because I am a singer/songwriter musician, and I haven't worked for months as this drug has just controlled my life, and I want to get off it. I originally had to get back on it as I was having regular panic attacks. The Efexor has kept the panic attacks away, but the cons far outweigh the pros for mine. I know some doctors have even tried to have this drug taken off the register. Just a horrible drug!
  24. Hi, Im Lauren, I've been on lamictal 150mg and celexa 10mg for about 2-3 years, originally for major depression with some "bipolar II qualities" ie hypomania, panic attacks. For the last 6-9 months I havent been taking them every day, more like every other to 3rd day sometimes as long as every 4th day. I didn't notice any ill effects and thought this was maybe a good way to limit my dependence if/when I ever wanted off. In retrospect I can see some increasing anxiety (esp rebound anxiety from other meds) over the last year but I chalked that up to the other meds. Then I got the bright idea to come off both of them cold turkey, thinking because I wasn't taking them every day it would probably be ok and if I started feeling sh*tty I'd get back on. I was "fine" for over 2 weeks...didnt notice the increaseing but subclinical anxiety over the last week, or didn't chalk it up to that, until 3 days ago. If I had trouble with it I'd take a little clonidine blocker or gabapentin, because I thought it was a side effect of mild opioid withdrawal (one of my opiate meds is causing more trouble than its worth so Ive been limiting its use off and on) and those meds help. Then things got a LOT worse; last night I HAD to take a benzo to make it through school, and today I woke up in full panic/terror, the kind where I feel like if I had to feel this way indefinitely I would surely kill myself. (PS I do know a lot about benzo and opiate withdrawal, and Im terrified of becoming dependent on benzos so every time I have to use more than one in a week period I feel anxious about that) In retrospect I feel SO stupid after reading this site, I should have known better, and with all of the complicated things I had going on that I thought I was doing to better my health when really it was just destabilizing my nervous system (esp GABA/glutamate which all the drugs Ive mentioned have some effect, even indirectly like opiates). I am still in the throes of panic (klonopin and redosing helped but still unstable feeling) and so Im sure my thinking is extra irrational and catastrophic right now, but Im really scared Ive been messing around too much here and didnt realize it and that Im going to have a lot of trouble restabilizing, or maybe be one of those people who can't restabilize at all. Does the fact that the klonopin worked AT ALL (and I dont know really how much of my feeling better was that vs reinstating the lamictal and celexa) mean that my system is still ok, able to respond well to these meds, and therefore I can restabilize without a lot of suffering? Should I continue to reinstate both meds at once? At what dose? ANy other tips for getting restabilized as quickly and painlessly as possible? How long should I stay on again before trying a MUCH SLOWER more mindful taper? I now know not to do alternate dosing, btw. Please pray for me that I didnt **** things up badly here and can get back to where I was, soon.
  25. Hi guys well I've finally become a member after visiting the forum many times in an attempt to try and build up the courage to get off Effexor once and for all. I've been on between 225mg and 75mg for the last 10 years. Originally to treat Major depression and Borderline Personality. Took 75mg through two healthy pregnancies. I've tried twice in the past to get off this drug with no success. I experience heavy sweating and derealisation as a side effect. I'm struggling to find a doctor that a) believes in venlafaxine withdrawal and knows how to combat the withdrawal symptoms The first time I came off cold turkey as instructed by my psychiatrist. This was about 5 years ago before my first pregnancy. Prior to any warning labels being on the medication which now say 'Do Not Stop Taking This Medication Abruptly'. I had really bad anxiety and panic which I had never experienced before in my life. As soon as I got back on I was back to normal. The second time I reduced my dose from 75mg to 37.5mg then to 0 over the course of about two weeks. As per instructions by my GP. As soon as I stopped I felt like I was pretty close to losing it (as in my mind). Major anxiety and panic again. Started taking Effexor again after three days. I am seeing a new doctor and she has suggested halving my dose straight away from 75mg to 37.5mg. Then after two weeks start taking half a 10mg Endep tablet before bed for three days. After three days stop the Effexor completely. She said the Endep should combat the withdrawals. Having read a lot on here about tapering I said to her that that reduction sounds way too fast and I started freaking out because I don't want to end up in that psychotic limbo like I have all the other times I've stopped. I hope this makes sense. Any advice would be very much appreciated. Thanks
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