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  1. Hello! I am new here. Please forgive how long this is, but I’m trying to be as concise as possible from the beginning for the moderators (and have a bad habit of digression, ha!). I so appreciate this page. I’ll try to add on my drug signature. But if I don’t do that correctly at first, I apologize in advance, as well as, for any repetitiveness, since my brain isn’t always on par and I just may not feel like overly editing any repeated information in different sections below. Please see my “thoughts about this forum” below “my history and withdrawal symptoms” further down the page here. Again, I am so grateful for this website and realize my situation is not nearly as extreme as many, but it is all relative on bad days I suppose ;). From everything I have read, it appears time is the KEY with all of this withdrawal malarkey. I am trying to be patient and positive and do have faith all will be ok in time, but I must admit I am totally blown away that I continue to have symptoms (sometimes new ones or variations on old ones) at 8 months out, after my last Zoloft, which I was on for only 2.5 months (25 mg and only the full 25 mg for the first 2 weeks – see below). Holy crikey Batman! And yes, I do know how quickly SSRI’s can start to change the pathways, etc. So, back on point… Please see below. AND THANK YOU so much in advance for all your help and my thoughts, heart and well wishes go out to all of those suffering FAR MORE than I am. This is enough for me. I can’t imagine some people’s hell in all this, though I’ve read enough on here to know I am grateful that, so far, I am not in that level of hell. SSRI HISTORY: I am currently 49 years old (2017) 1992-1998 (+/ - a year: in my early 20’s) - 20 mg Prozac (no major side effects, SE’s, and quit CT with no problems) 2001-2002 (+/- brief period of time after divorce: in my early 30’s) - 10 mg Prozac (again no major SE’s and quit CT no problems) I just didn’t like how Prozac kind of flat lined me and I didn’t like the idea of staying on anything when I really didn’t feel like I needed anything. THEN… RECENT LIFE EVENTS… 2017 April 27 - Start 25 mg Zoloft (generic sertraline) very reluctantly (after the passing of my mom in October 2017 and a VERY PAINFUL bad relationship break-up only a few months later. My doctor thought Zoloft would help break my cycle of poor sleep and anxiety and sadness – though I really just wanted to try a sleeping pill of some kind. Though in hindsight, benzos can be difficult too and I am apparently pretty sensitive to many drugs. Weeks prior to Zoloft, she gave me some trazadone, which I realize is not a benzo and, holy crap, hell no, never again. One pill and I WAS NOT MYSELF. Quit immediately and returned to normal, other than my original circumstantial sadness, anxiety and insomnia.) 2017 May 15 - Start cutting the Zoloft down to about 15-20 mg of Zoloft (because OMG it is wiring/amping –akathisia?- the crap out of me and not helping me sleep and I’m having fuzzy eyes and head off and on. I could have cleaned a house with a toothbrush. It got me motivated, but I was still edgy and couldn’t sleep on that crack feeling.) 2017 May 26 - Start 12.5 mg of Zoloft (because still SE’s of bleary eyes, extreme jaw clenching at night, mild fuzzy head with pressure – brain fog, still some anxiety and sadness) 2017 June 30 - Start 6.25 mg (because still a lot of jaw clenching, paresthesia – including prickling and burning, body vibrations – like every cell in my body was wired) 2017 July 10 - Stop Zoloft completely (because I suddenly developed tinnitus in my left ear and I was like “Eff This I’m done!” Yes, I know, now that that was probably too fast of a taper, but my doctor and the pharmacist insisted should be fine and quite frankly, I was having such a horrible paradoxical reaction to it while I was on it, I doubt anyone could have made me understand to stay on it longer at the time to wean off more slowly. It is what it is now. THEN WITHDRAWAL (WD) SYMPTOMS: In a nutshell… Immediately after stopping had painful neuropathy for a few days in some places, mostly my left arm. (I am familiar with neuropathy because I experienced it for several weeks years ago after only 1 dose of Cipro – won’t touch fluoroquinolones again either). After stopping the zoloft still had inner vibrations (or what some may call minor akathisia at night…?) and paresthesia, mostly at night, but some paresthesia during day as well. About a week after stopping developed severe brain fog. Off and on quite severely for several weeks, but still with tinnitus and paresthesia. Totally messed with my menstrual cycle for about 4 months in terms of missing one and then crazy flow (perimenopause, maybe, but now a wee more normal again and it was NEVER like that before Zoloft). And as an Update – totally missed one in Feb 2018. Perimenopause possibly happening as well, but fun times to have both withdrawal and that. Makes it hard to distinguish some things. However, the crazy brain fog, internal tension and vibrations at night at times, the paresthesia and burning skin (not painful, but not normal), neuropathy at times (is painful), muscle weakness at times (not extreme, but notice when doing certain exercises), tinnitus, weird muscle tightness and head sensations at times, especially when trying to sleep and just overall, not quite me feelings at times… ah, yah, I’m gonna go with SSRI withdrawal on all that, because I was premenopausal prior to Zoloft and did not have any of those symptoms, other than some peri anxiety. Plus, I find it quite fascinating that almost all people have many of these symptoms across the board no matter what SSRI they were on. Coinkydinky…??? Hmmm, not as far as I’m concerned thank you very much. Ooooppps… I digress again… J Anxiety off and on, but some of that could be residual from prior losses mentioned above. FAST FORWARD TO… End of September 2017 to January 2018 to present… 2017 October - So to recap, I think I had a bit of a Window in some things in end of Sept and through October 2017. I was not “right”, but definitely felt better in some ways, even with some symptoms, felt more “normal” and hopeful. And the inner vibrations or mild akathisia while on the drug at night seemed to be gone. And the jaw clenching had stopped not long after stopping the drug. 2017 November - some things came back with a vengeance, like more sadness and anxiety and tinnitus more prevalent again. (Tinnitus changed from just left ear to a more of a high pitch in head or both ears off and on, which I still have, off and on, and especially in bed at night and first thing in the morning as of today March 2, 2018. I had had moments off and on in past months of the high pitch not being there at all and just some tinnitus in left ear from when originally started at end of Zoloft. But the high pitch, almost ringing in head-ish as well as both ears, has been present consistently for over a month now. Sigh. Just keep hoping eventually it will go away in time.) December 2017 - Same as November but with Stupid Crazy Brain Fog Awfulness again, like cotton head, and couldn’t do cognitive things for diddly and still sometimes have moments where if I think too hard my brain just says, whatever, pack up and leaves the room. This went on and off until around January 12, 2018. AND AT THE END OF DECEMBER - THE FIRST TIME I think I had the beginnings of mild akathisia since when I was the Zoloft, but it felt a bit different with some weird “internal tension in my chest and head and arms and just uncomfortable weirdness. And sometimes coupled with neuropathy in arms. I swore I might be having a heart attack and realized, nope, just more new withdrawal BS. Nov – present (ongoing at times)… Muscle weakness and weirdness (not extreme, but not normal to me) At some point in this time frame, I started to notice an overall muscle weakness feeling at times when exercising (weight bearing exercise and cardio), but I still do as much exercise as I can anyway for my sanity AND because at my age I can’t afford to lose any more of my fitness and tone. It’s just too hard to get back and I don’t have that much to begin with. I am grateful I can exercise at all (even if it flares a symptom or two at times, but mostly I’m ok), because I have read on this site how many can’t do that yet. 2018 Jan 12-19th – POSSIBLE MINI WINDOW…? About a week of almost “normal me mood” feeling Jan (though off and on all this time, still some tinnitus and minor paresthesia at times). 2018 Jan 19th to present – ANOTHER WAVE - the beginning of low grade akathisia for several weeks with awful paresthesia, neuropathy – all worse at night. So far, this wave is not absolutely 24/7, but many days for most of the day, with a minor window of 3 days lessened aka/pare/neuro/jingly symptoms. And some more of the tinnitus high pitch at times, but very little brain fog. Just more of an “off” feeling. And overall sad and anxious feeling. Less upbeat like in the window week. 2018 Feb 26th to present … Ruh-oh, as of today, super Brain Fog day – Crap ability to think or focus and brain just super fuzzy. So add Brain Fog back in to the mix now off and on as well. But had a few days with less to no akathisia or neuropathy or paresthesia. BUT SUPER TIRED off and on for the last week, including today. AS A SIDE NOTE ON WINDOWS AND WAVES: Windows for me happen in a way that not ALL symptoms have ever ALL been gone, just marginally better at times and it fluctuates as to which symptoms decides to rise up more. During Windows, if that is what they are, I feel more “normal” overall in feeling like ME and my mood is pretty good, even if I’m having tinnitus or some minor paresthesia, etc. And windows may even just be a day in the midst of things, where I “feel” so much better overall, even if other symptoms still happening on a subtle level. What I consider Waves are when my mood is crap sad or anxious and I don’t feel as “normal”, and/or I have a bad bout of the physical things like Brain Fog and/or mild akathisia, and/or paresthesia/neuropathy and tinnitus ( the tinnitus hasn’t really ever gone away yet, though there have been “moments” when it seems to have, only to come back. Mine is not as severe as some peoples, but is DEFINITELY annoying at times and something I have never had before). MEDS, SUPPLEMENTS, SLEEP, EXERCISE, CAFFEINE, ALCOHOL, ETC.: Some things I have been on since before the Zoloft. Thyroid (23 years) EPA only about 500-1000mg day (started just before Zoloft) Mild multi-vitamin (Dr. Furhman’s women’s with 1000mg D3 – sometimes take an extra 1000mg D3). Started before the Zoloft I believe. Mg citrate (just before zoloft - anywhere from 200-300mg, depending on what I feel like a day) Quercetin (500-100mg day for years for another medical condition I’ve had for 20 years) Hydrolysed Collagen for my skin (just before Zoloft). Does help my skin (doesn’t seem to matter one way or the other with WD, but can make me sleepy at night). Biotin (1000mg) for my hair (lost a lot after mom passed, but it is coming back) Play around with NAC 500 mg a day for a few days a week (not sure it helps, doesn’t seem to hurt). Vit C every now and again (500 mg), but not always very regular about it. Play around with caffeine (had some of my best days on it and so it doesn’t seem to directly affect WD. But I do limit my caffeine accordingly at times. But I do limit my caffeine accordingly at times. I think I’m finding WD does whatever it wants to, whenever it wants to, and, in my case, seems to be mostly independent of anything I specifically do, eat, drink, etc at any given moment. I have experimented many times. As many on this forum have said, TIME AND PATIENCE ARE THE KEY FACTORS. I am currently 8 months out and may have months to go... Alcohol is a crap shoot and I rarely drink anyway (once or twice a month or not at all). Sometimes it has been helpful and sometimes, maybe not. But I mostly avoid it right now. Try to keep to a strict sleep schedule because though I do sleep finally some now (didn’t while on Zoloft or before due to the losses I had and anxiety) I rarely sleep all the way through the night But a broken 5-6 hours of sleep or so, is way better than 4 or less or none! I also have found that the collagen at night (it has a lot of glycine in it) along with some magnesium helps me. But too much magnesium at night can seem to do an odd paradoxical thing and agitate me, so I have to be careful. I have exercise class about 3 times a week (when I can). And I walk or hike when I can or the weather allows. Exercise has helped a lot. Though, when the chips are down, the chips are down, even with exercise. But I refuse to not exercise and should probably do more. But sometimes laziness/tiredness, lack of time, or withdrawal symptoms win. THOUGHTS ABOUT THIS FORUM and just stuff in general: Thank goodness it exsists, ha! Thank you all for being here and for those who started it! My doctor didn’t think this withdrawal was a “thing”. I had to send her an article from Harvard Med Page showing that it is (but even the Harvard article doesn’t think it lasts this long). Have had 2 people, another doctor of mine (later into withdrawal) and one a psychologist confirm withdrawal or discontinuation syndrome is a “thing” and that it will take longer than I like or think it will. So, yay, I’m not crazy ;). My Withdrawal (WD) is far less that many people on here, but enough to definitely get my attention and still disturbing, despite that I am mostly functional, because I feel very “off” kilter. I refuse to believe it will not get better, but am a bit blown away that after only 2.5 months at 25mg or less of Zoloft (the generic), I would still be dealing with any of this, but of course, this forum proves this is definitely not unusual for some. Am getting on this site to just confirm that getting worse before better, etc, is “normal”, even for such a short period of time on the drug (yay, not the way I want to be “normal”, snort, but one must keep a sense of humor ). I will probably not “live” on this site because I am trying to just get on with it and give it time as much as I can and because I, so far, knock on wood, am not as severe as some people. But I am grateful for this site, as I have been on it many times for my sanity (but equally I try not to go down the rabbit hole too much with it either), and am in awe of those who have walked through hella worse. Despite a strong family history of anxiety and depression on my mom’s side, which I have subtly dealt with all my life (with some severe depression from situational events), I will do everything I possibly can to be happy and healthy without drugs. I know I was desperate for relief and sleep before this zoloft Sh*tstorm , but the bright side is I will have learned some valuable cognitive skills and behavior (I do have a counselor and have for a long while, but this is definitely making me up my game on my thought processes ;). And I will not take another SSRI again. I was going to go to Italy for my 50th this summer and hike in the Dolomites, but have decided to wait until WD is done. Stupid WD. Whenever I’m in a Wave I think I’m going to do a TED talk on all this Withdrawal stuff to help educate and save the world! And then I have a good day and think, heck No, I don’t want to spend any more time on this malarkey at ALL when it is all GONE for good! (so, I can see why there may not be more success stories actually online – people just want to get on with living). Again, I’m not nearly as bad off as some, but I also know I’m not supposed to feel all these side-effect-like symptoms. I know what “normal” feels like and WD most definitely is NOT IT! WOW. SORRY THAT WAS SOOOO LONG! And not very well written (I'm sure there all kinds of typos etc). But I just want to get this out into the ether, before I keep putting it off and then have a wave and wish I had done that, ha! Many thanks for this site. I may have questions in time, but for now, I’m just trying to get my basics on here in the event anyone or the moderators have any helpful words and affirmations and so that I can ask questions if I need to do so later. Also, I may have totally forgotten some things which I may add later on. IN ADVANCE, please do not feel I am being rude or slighting anyone if I do not respond should anyone post to me. I may just be getting on with things as best I can and not checking this site too often. But I still appreciate everyone on here and what everyone is going through. My best wishes to all! KimLou DRUG SIGNATUE (FROM ABOVE)... SORRY, I'M NOT SURE HOW I "ADD" THIS ON... SSRI HISTORY: I am currently 49 years old (2017) 1992-1998 (+/ - a year: in my early 20’s) - 20 mg Prozac (no major side effects, SE’s, and quit CT with no problems) 2001-2002 (+/- brief period of time after divorce: in my early 30’s) - 10 mg Prozac (again no major SE’s and quit CT no problems) I just didn’t like how Prozac kind of flat lined me and I didn’t like the idea of staying on anything when I really didn’t feel like I needed anything. THEN… RECENT LIFE EVENTS… 2017 April 27 - Start 25 mg Zoloft (generic sertraline) very reluctantly (after the passing of my mom in October 2017 and a VERY PAINFUL bad relationship break-up only a few months later. My doctor thought Zoloft would help break my cycle of poor sleep and anxiety and sadness – though I really just wanted to try a sleeping pill of some kind. Though in hindsight, benzos can be difficult too and I am apparently pretty sensitive to many drugs. Weeks prior to Zoloft, she gave me some trazadone, which I realize is not a benzo and, holy crap, hell no, never again. One pill and I WAS NOT MYSELF. Quit immediately and returned to normal, other than my original circumstantial sadness, anxiety and insomnia.) 2017 May 15 - Start cutting the Zoloft down to about 15-20 mg of Zoloft (because OMG it is wiring/amping –akathisia?- the crap out of me and not helping me sleep and I’m having fuzzy eyes and head off and on. I could have cleaned a house with a toothbrush. It got me motivated, but I was still edgy and couldn’t sleep on that crack feeling.) 2017 May 26 - Start 12.5 mg of Zoloft (because still SE’s of bleary eyes, extreme jaw clenching at night, mild fuzzy head with pressure – brain fog, still some anxiety and sadness) 2017 June 30 - Start 6.25 mg (because still a lot of jaw clenching, paresthesia – including prickling and burning, body vibrations – like every cell in my body was wired) 2017 July 10 - Stop Zoloft completely (because I suddenly developed tinnitus in my left ear and I was like “Eff This I’m done!” Yes, I know now that that was probably too fast of a taper, but my doctor and the pharmacist insisted should be fine and quite frankly, I was having such a horrible paradoxical reaction to it while I was on it, I doubt anyone could have made me understand to stay on it longer at the time to wean off more slowly. It is what it is now.
  2. Hi all! I have OCD and panic attacks and have been on Zoloft for 7 years. Description of dosage in signature. Tapered off of Zoloft with doctor over a month. One week 50, 25, 50, 25. One week, all 25s. One week 25, 0, 25, 0. Then 0. Withdrawal symptoms while tapering: Brain zaps that lasted a few weeks, vertigo, fits of anger, shakes. All these went away relatively quickly with the zaps being the most annoying. Panic is manageable and therapy has made OCD manageable also (yay!) Current symptoms: Sharp pin prick pain in neck (right side) along with burning, tingling, and tightness. It's like someone lit a fuse in my neck and it keeps going up and down. Feeling has started to spread down my right arm and to my hand. Popping sensation sometimes also. Haven't been able to get to sleep. A lot of restlessness (I have to get up and walk around instead of lying down). MRI and Xray at doctor turned up negative. Trying to get into a specialist for nerve pain soon. After doing research it seems like it could possibly be Paresthesia. However, the only thing that makes me second guess this is that I remember hurting my neck while turning it and holding a heavy object. I felt a pop and a huge burning sensation. It went away but now has gotten progressively worse. This sensation happened 2 months ago. Again, doctors are currently perplexed. Can't work because of it. Hoping to see if anybody has recommendations for dealing with Paresthesia that worked for them to see if it makes a difference or to see if anybody else has similar symptoms or possible solutions.
  3. 2014 the beginning of November I went to a psychiatrist and got misdiagnosed with psychosis and depression and was prescribed Rispolept (Risperidone) 3 mg and Cipralex (Escitalopram) 10 mg. I took these drugs at home, then in the psychiatric hospital until around the end of December, so for about 1.5 month, until I was discharged, then cold turkeyed. Antipsychotic - 3 mg/day, SSRI - 10 mg/day. I felt very bad, suicidal that whole time, at first not even realizing it was the drugs affecting me and in fact almost committed suicide. While on medication I experienced akathisia, severe fatigue, anhedonia, weak emotions, almost non existent libido that gradually got worse, slowed reaction time, thinking, talking, moving, poor memory, what I'd call derealization, zombie like state, frequent urination, dizziness , headaches, one side of brain, frontal lobes especially, abnormal gait, strange feeling in frontal lobes, increased appetite, too high body temperature, especially after running, nerve pain in left leg, arm, numbness in left arm, leg and left side of face I think. After quitting the drugs I thought everything would go back to normal, but it didn't. After about a month drug free I had: severe sexual dysfunction (post antipsychotic sexual dysfunction-PAPSD), my left hand was somewhat numb, and to a lesser extent, my left leg. I also started noticing dystonia in my left cheek and eyelid. Slight tremor in left arm fingers. Dizziness when turning head. I also noticed I had developed slight gynecomastia. After two months the painful tingling in my left arm was very severe some days lasting the whole day. Very bad pain. Dizziness disappears. Month 3: painful dystonia in middle of back, left side of spine appears, more pronounced in the evening. Weak morning erections appear. Month 4: (2015-04-09) tingling in left arm subsided, but it's still numb. I think the tingling is the nerves recovering. Hoping for recovery. Will update. I'm optimistic about the dystonias, paresthesia (but probably won't recover sensation fully), sexual dysfunction, as far as I know my new man boobs should also reduce in size with time. But I heard that the neuroleptic induced parkinsonian tremor does not always disappear, and I'm not seeing a reduction in the tremor, so I'm worried about that. Also, obviously worried about the sexual dysfunction. I used to be very sexually active, but now have very infrequent orgasm, because they're so very difficult to achieve and not so rewarding. My pre-neuroleptic emotionality has fully returned after stopping the drugs, I think. I also heard Risperidone can permanently reduce testosterone, but I haven't seen a reduction in facial hair growth. Been drug free for 4 month now. Never took any psych drugs before in my life. Now only taking fish oil, multivatamin and mineral tablets, sometimes magnesium 300 mg. I tried Vitamin B Complex but I think I'm allergic to it. Psychiatrists truly are ignorant.
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