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  1. In August of 2021 will be a four-year ordeal that began with a breaking through (tolerance) of the SSRI medication (Celexa) I was on for 20 years. During this four-year period, I experienced over 75 symptoms associated with psychotropic medication withdrawal and at two different times was at zero quality of life. Once for five months (within the first year) and the once for four months (in year two) three months after my last dose of medication. I have been treated by a Psychiatrist, several counselors, two functional medicine doctors, two nutritionist, two specialists with psychotropic medication withdrawal, a geneticist and spent over a year and a half treated by a Dr. who specializes with hard-to-treat depression and anxiety cases. I have been on several strict diets (anti-inflammatory, vegetarian) and taken countless supplements. I have been tested for many possible underlying conditions. Although my condition has improved slowly (many symptoms have abated) I am still impaired living with severe insomnia, depression and anxiety on a daily basis. Concentration, speech, motivation, fatigue are all residual issues that continue to come and go with no predictable pattern but as of late cognition, speech and energy level have all improved. Prior to taking psychotropic medications, I lived with dysthymia (PDD) with major depressive episodes until 34 years old. I was not aware of the condition until that time. Looking back it effected my motivation, outlook on life, self-confidence and career decisions. I took Celexa for 20 years and it worked well for about 12-15 years. A whole new world of consistent positive emotions opened up soon after starting the drug. The last five or so years I was emotionally numb with no real highs but depression, insomnia and anxiety were not factors. It should be noted that for about eight of those years the dosage was 80 mg. In the summer of 2017, I noticed increased anxiety levels and insomnia had returned similar to when I when on medication. I then realized I was breaking through the medication. Agitation and aggression also started increasing. My psychiatrist then prescribed multiple medications over a period of five months. I experienced intense acute withdrawal symptoms. These drugs included Lexapro, Cymbalta, and Prozac. I stopped all meds after five months in December of 2017 for a period of one and a half months (symptoms intensified). At the end of the month and a half, I tried Ketamine infusions and my quality of life was reduced to zero. This intense period lasted five months. During this five-month period, new and previously prescribed drugs were given including Prozac, Trintellex, Lexapro, Klonopin (5 mg.), and Trazodone. In May of 2018, I began a slow taper with an organization to come off all medications. The taper ended in August of 2019. The order of the taper was Trintellex, Trazadone, Klonopin, and Prozac. During the taper, a number of symptoms lessened but would return later with varying intensity and duration (e.g., visual distortions, brain zaps, dizziness, numerous cognitive issues). However, after the taper, several symptoms slowly increased in severity including insomnia (severe), depression (moderate to severe), concentration (moderate), anxiety moderate to severe), depersonalization/derealization (moderate). The symptoms of insomnia, anxiety and depression were the most constant. Immediately after my taper, quality of life was reduced significantly (close to zero). This in spite of working with a functional medical doctor and nutritionist for treatment. Three months later, I reached zero quality of life again and in the winter of 2019 I went to a clinic that specialized in hard to treat cases in hope they could help. My condition improved slowly but not much. I was put on supplements to address sleep and high free copper levels. The treatment for free copper lasted over a year with zinc supplements reaching 250 mg before it was determined my free copper levels were down. Sleep problems remained unchanged. After two years of being treating I was still severely symptomatic and was told I was one of only 10% of patients that they were not able to help. In desperation and on recommendation, I reached out to an organization the deals with genetic testing. They put me on more supplements in which I reacted negatively. Currently, insomnia remains bad. I wake every night after about three hours with an intense mixture of negative emotions (e.g. anxiety, depression, guilt, shame) that have no basis in circumstances. My sleep is tumultuous at best, waking multiple times before experiencing electrical like sensations about 45 minutes prior to waking. Most mornings I cannot go back to sleep because of these sensations. My sleep hygiene is very good and has been for a while. Nothing seems to help in this area. I take magnesium and have taken a number of other supplements and natural sleep aids, but none have worked. However, I now go through withdrawal if I forget to take the magnesium. In summary, this August it will be four years. Two of which have been medication free. My symptoms have improved in number, intensity and duration. However, I still deal with insomnia, depression and anxiety in varying patterns. I do have some windows but never a full day and have not slept through the night except once in 4 years. Trying to discern withdrawal symptoms from underlying symptoms is challenging. Sleep was never a problem prior to taking medications and nothing close to what I live with now. I do not understand why is so bad when I have practiced excellent sleep hygiene for a while. The anxiety and depression have similarities to my pre-existing condition but also have major differences. For example, I can be dealing with a situation in the morning that seems to be causing depression or anxiety and in the evening I am thinking about the same situation and feel neither anxiety or depression and can view the situation in rational emotionally stable state. I am very strong in my belief about my identity but will sometimes experience strong emotions of insecurity that I know are absolutely baseless and absurd. The same goes for anxiety and depression. The emotions seem to have a mind of their own. There is a strong disconnect between what I know to be true and my emotions. Like fearing something that you know is rationally nothing to fear. I have many questions that I probably already know the answer, but I will throw them out for your feedback. 1. Did the poly drugging exacerbate the withdrawal/healing process. 2. What about the ketamine? That drug sent me off into the abyss of torturous emotions. It was like I was being brutally tortured non-stop for five months night and day. The emotions were beyond description. Zero peace and joy. 3. Are my current symptoms (they still can be very debilitating and intense) uncommon this far out from being off meds? 4. I did a slow taper and was told I would probably heal quickly only to go back to zero quality of life three months later. Any thoughts? 5. Although most of the people who have tried to help have been well-meaning, none have been able to significantly alter my condition. I have appreciated their encouragement and compassion, but their treatments have not been able to move the healing needle. Most supplements inflated my symptoms or did nothing at all. The free copper diagnosis and treatment did bring a little relief but only a little. 6. I have read that sleep is one of the last things to return to normal, but four years later it still is bad. Any thoughts? Feel free to ask questions or make comments. Thank you for taking the time to read.
  2. April 2013 I was originally put on Fluoxetine for social anxiety, at 17 years old, 10mg raising up to 40mg daily. For the first 6 weeks I lay on the sofa feeling worse than ever. It gradually started to have some effect. . Stayed on till May 2014, when I decided to come off. It did lift my mood slightly, but didn't help with anxiety. It was making me lethargic and I wanted to get my energy back. I reduced by half then half again, then stopped. . A few weeks later, after a couple of "big nights out" I woke up with intense mood swings, derealisation, anxiety and light headedness/vertigo. I started to get brain zaps, a sense of impending doom. Doctor put me back on meds - Sertraline, 50mg up to 100mg after a few weeks, then 150mg a few months later. This made me feel a bit better, but coincided with a period of heavy drinking. Late 2015, started to feel unwell again, went to Psychiatrist and was put on 200mg Sertraline, 15mg mirtazapine, 50mg quetiapine. This helped me to feel good, if a little detached and spaced out. Early 2016 I decided I was feeling so good I could stop taking everything. I took no advice, and tapered off extremely quickly. I got very intense withdrawal symptoms - brain zaps, derealisation, impending doom, very intense anxiety, labile mood. I ended up going back on Sertraline but it didn't alleviate the symptoms so I tapered off more slowly, and was off by May 2016. By September 2016 I wasn't coping, and my doctor put me back on Sertraline, which didn't work, so I changed to 45mg Mirtazapine, then added 50mg Quetiapine for sleep.. Life was "bearable" but it didn't make me feel as good as the first time on meds, and certainly didn't feel well or healthy. I was drinking heavily throughout this period. 2017 - stopped drinking Jan - September - this removed my crutch for socialising, so I became isolated and depressed. The meds weren't helping but I was afraid of the withdrawal symptoms. August 2017 I tried TMS, which i don't think really made any difference. I started University October 2017 which made me extremely anxious, and I found it hard to attend seminars and lectures. Around Christmas 2017 my gut problems began, and i have been diagnosed with IBS. 2018, still drinking too much, I started exercising more and managed to get through the first year of Uni. January 2019, I had to defer Uni due to anxiety. Mirtazapine was causing weight gain and I didn't think it was helping, and i believed there must be the "right drug" for me. The psychiatrist advised cross taper from Mirtazapine to Venlafaxine - 150mg raising up to 225mg. I had a bit more energy on this. During 2019 I was drinking heavily again. March 2020 I was returning to Uni and decided to try a strict weight loss diet. I had an intense dream one night which meant I woke up feeling tearful and extremely emotional. Looking for causes, I stopped my diet and returned to normal eating, but the emotional intensity carried on . I took some 5HTP without effect, so went to Psychiatrist. Venlafaxine was increased to 300mg. This is when the akathisia started. My emotions were blunted, and terrible insomnia. My IBS continued to get worse and worse. (nausea, constipation, cramps) I had intense periods of suicidal thoughts, noise sensitivity and brain zaps, (linked - noise led to brain zap and jump, and a peak of anxiety), headaches. I couldn’t concentrate or remember things. I couldn't continue with University and had to defer again. Quetiapine was increased to 125mg to address the akathisia, and Zopiclone for occasional use to help sleep. Several weeks later, no change, so I was cross tapered quickly from Venlafaxine to Vortioxetine 10mg rising to 20mg. This had no positive impact. By early August 2020 i was put back on Mirtazapine 45mg and still on Quetiapine and occasional Zopiclone. This seemed to make me worse, so I wanted to come off everything. I started to taper off Quetiapine quickly, and it seemed to make no difference. I stopped the Zopiclone and went down to 30mg Mirtazapine. I also consulted a private psychiatrist for a second opinion at this time and he put me on Pregabalin for the anxiety, quickly put up to 600mg daily, which he assured me I could stop easily and immediately once my withdrawal symptoms were better. Early September to end of December 2020 I tapered off Mirtazapine and felt awful every time I went down, but i was desperate to get off it. I am now only on Pregab 250mg daily. Current symptoms - insomnia, akathisia, anhedonia, suicidal thoughts, intense feeling of impending doom, general anxiety, digestive problems, brain zaps, noise sensitivity, poor memory, lack of concentration, derealisation. How am I now - most days bad, some tortuously awful, very few are somewhat bearable. Anhedonia and derealisation are constant.
  3. I really can't go into many details right now, as I am in the midst of things. You guys can read my history. I had a mini nervous breakdown after a period of intense life threatening stress, with with a war of nerves from family members, strangers etc. etc. too long of a story. I was misdiagnosed with depression, then as you can read I was repeatedly attacked with drugs. At the moment I can't read a book, go out, hold a conversation... I used to be a computer whiz and I can't re-arrange a few folders on the computer, I am completely drained of any energy, I can't cook for myself, and I suffer from mental pain that ranges from the horrible, completely intolerable pain to the barely tolerable. I 've seen all facets of hell. I 've gone out 10 times in 8 months. I smoke tobacco like a chimney. I 'm terribly addicted to benzos.I am mortified by what I am reading about tardive dysphoria. ------------------------------ Invega 9mg tapered to zero over 6 months Levomepromazine 25mg for 3 months Citalopram raised from 20mg to 80mg over 3 months, at 80mg for 1 year and 5 months Venlaxafine raised from 150mg to 450mg over 3 months (after citalopram) maintained for 1 year and 2 months. Alprazolam from 0.5 to 7(!) mg due to the immense stress of the ads. Down to 2.5mg. Discontinued abruptly with almost no tapering within a week and a half, against all guidelines first the citalopram then the effexor. Moclobemide raised from 200mg to 800mg during a month and half discontinued with no tapering. Fluvoxamine and Venlaxafine 300mg and 450mg, abrupt start, no tapering in discontinuation. 30mg Mirtazapin at night. Currently on 2.5mg alprazolam, Diazepam 5mg for 1.5 months.
  4. Hi, my name is Brianna. I’m 24 years old and a mom of 3. I have always suffered with anxiety. For many years I treated my anxiety with marijuana and that seemed to work although I would still have anxiety in certain situations. Mid/late last year I got fed up with the outside judgment of being a mother that smokes & being told I should be on medication so that’s what I did. A “holistic doctor” prescribed me Effexor 37.5 for a week then up to 75 and I think I got to 100 and something mg. Then I started to feel terrible! So I decided to stop taking them, (big mistake, I know but I was new & naive) I went 3 days without anything and then reinstated at 37.5 after having unbearable withdrawals. It took me over 2 months to become stable on 37.5. During those 2 months i was put on hydroxyzine at night to help me sleep & I was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism and put on Methimozole as well as propranolol (beta blocker) to help with the hyperthyroid symptoms. Eventually I stabled out and joined the Effexor support group on facebook. That’s when I realized I needed to get off Effexor safely and slowly. I then did my first 10% taper. It messed me up for 2 weeks. Symptoms included- constipation, diarrhea, loss of appetite, nausea, racing heart, muscle tremors, anxiety, etc.. It was awful and I was advised by the support group to try to taper less next time after I stable out since 10% may be too much for me. But here I am about 4/5 months later and having those same withdrawal symptoms again and I have NOT done another taper. Some people have called it tolerance withdrawal, others have said it could be from my other medications I’m taking. 4 days ago I started magnesium glycinate supplements, & last night I added a omega 3 to that before bed. I’m not sure if the supplements are helping at all yet but I’m just looking for some kind of relief. That’s when I was advised to come here and for advice. I don’t know what to do and I’m extremely overwhelmed by all this. I’m praying somebody here can help me pin point the cause of my issues.
  5. Hi! I’m losing hope. I need to hear at least ONE story of someone who has been in my situation and recovered … I can’t locate any. Was bridged from Lexapro to Cymbalta due to poop out. Crashed into withdrawal from Lexapro. One month later, stopped Cymbalta and reinstated full dose Lexapro. Didn’t know of site at time and listened to dr. It has been a year. Do feel some improvement but still bad brain fog and derealization (disassociation to world around me). Tried to cut Lexapro by 1mg and had severe reaction. Feel trapped.
  6. Hello, my name is Mike. I am a 52 yo man who was first put on psych meds over 12 years ago. I'm sure my story is similar to many of yours: go to the family doc depressed, get a scrip for an antidepressant, get worse, get sent to a psychiatrist, get put on more meds, get worse, go inpatient.... It goes on and on. I have been hospitalized 5 times in the past 12 years and at my worst I was taking 6 meds daily (14 pills). I have been on 24 different meds and nothing has worked. For the past year my pdoc has been pushing ECT. I am diagnosed Bipolar II, GAD, and OCD. About a year ago I started reading on the internet about iatrogenisis on mental patients and decided with the help of my pdoc to start whittling down some of these meds. It has taken all that time but I am now down to two meds, both low dose (geodon and Luvox) and I am tapering both of those now. Geodon will be last to go because it has been the only one that has had a positive effect, it will be hard to quit I think. It has been tough but I am feeling better, more stable than in years and I've even lost a bunch of weight that the meds put on. I happily stumbled across this site today and hope to get and give help to others who are in a similar situation.
  7. I'm 45 years old. I have been on psychiatric drugs since I was 25. For years, 17, I was on Paxil 20mg and tegretol 200mg. I believed I tripped off my first depression after using ecstasy, which I think altered my brain's serotonin functioning. Four years ago I went to my gynecologist seeking help for worsening pms, as I believed perimenopause was coming into play. I failed to consult with my psychiatrist and trusted her. After a too-quick taper off of Paxil and onto Lexapro things just completely deteriorated. After 6 months I was a wreck, did another, even shorter, taper off of Lexapro back onto Paxil. But I was sunk...I think my central nervous system was wrecked. The ensuing year of onto and off of a variety of drugs was nothing short of a nightmare. Sparing all the details, I landed on the following drugs: Remeron 15mg Paxil 20mg Lamictal 125mg Pristiq 100mg Lithium 600mg Klonopin .5mg Trazodone 50mg It's criminal. A John's Hopkins psychiatrist specializing in women's hormone related mood issues said my gynecologist's cavalier actions verged on malpractice. A recent, and current, rash believe to be pityriasis rosea prompted my current psychiatrist to insist I stop Lamictal cold turkey. The dermatologist diagnosed it. He, without seeing the rash himself, is insistent. In light of what I feel is a damaged central nervous system I have decided to trust my dermatologist. That said, this situation has prompted me to consider the idea of eliminating the Lamictal. It's a start. I also believe Lamictal in some way tinkers with estrogen, something I'd like to avoid. It has been a hellish journey. I do not trust the psychiatric industry. I believe that how my case has been handled, so carelessly and without regard to actual true health, is shameful. I never, ever thought I'd be on multiple drugs like this. I am a high functioning, intelligent woman with a constitution sensitive to endocrine changes. I have been terrified of even considering touching any of this. While in the back of my mind wondering....what will happen to me after years of being on so many drugs? For the record, I have never been manic, ever. Lithium does function for me as an antidepressant. I understand that I'm somewhere on the spectrum, and because of long periods of happiness and wellbeing interrupted by 3 episodes of major depression, each with clear origins, I have been labeled bipolar2. I don't care much for labels. All I know is I'm on a serious amount of drugs. And I'm finally willing to find the courage to wrap up this bizarre ride. Lamictal first. Thanks for reading. Any encouragement or feedback gladly welcomed. Hope
  8. Hi everyone, I've been on and off a slew of drugs since having depression starting in March 2016. I'm in the U.K. so was treated by our NHS who initially put me on mirtazapine then when that didn't work they introduced me to prozac at 25mg and my anxiety went sky high. I'd been on and off prozac several times in the last 20 years but the reaction was horrific. To calm me down they put me on Diazepam at 15mg until I became so ill I was hospitalised for 2 weeks in May 2016. Prozac was withdrawn and replaced by Escitalopram which gave me the same severe reaction. To counter this I was put on Lyrica at 300mg and within 10 weeks became suicidal so I've just finished a taper from lyrica and am still suffering withdrawals after 8 weeks off the med. To try and counter my increasing depression lofepramine was prescribed along with Quetiapine at 150mg. The lofepramine did nothing so I tapered off of that but the quetiapine was kept in place by my shrink. My Lyrrica withdrawal was painful and my shrink added Dosulepin as an A/D. All this time I was kept on diazepam. I'm now trying to untangle this mess and am suffering badly with depression and anxiety and none of my medication appears to be helping. I've made the decision to get off of as many meds as I can and am unsure of the order in which to reduce them. I feel I've been the victim of psychiatry and any advice would be appreciated.
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