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  1. i've been off 60mg 40mg (see Post #4) of prozac for 2 months after tapering very quickly over 2 months. i took prozac for 20 years. i have really bad headaches most days, something i never used to have before unless i was dehydrated. i have terrible mood swings - i shout at people in the street if they're badly parked, i get road rage when i'm driving, i scream at the kids and my husband. fatigue is a big problem - i can fall asleep at any point during the day and often do. i sleep all night but am still exhausted the next day. i have constant vivid dreams and nightmares. my ocd is creeping back (which is what i was prescribed the prozac for in the first place). i thought i had it under control until my kids told me i needed to stop posting on social media so much as it was dominating my life. i was also alienating people online. i have constant diarrhoea. i cannot stop eating -i'm constantly ravenous, especially for carbs - crisps and potatoes are my downfall and i've put on a stone in weight since stopping. i have lots of pains in my joints and limbs. i did have crawling under my skin, especially in my knees and feet but this seems to have subsided. i'm scared of seeing or talking to people. this has always been a problem for me but it is worse right now. thankyou for listening if you made it this far. today is a bad day and i keep asking myself why i gave up the pills in the first place? i hoped i would have more energy, feel more emotionally, lose weight etc. but it was only after i stopped that i started to read up on protracted withdrawals. i had no idea it could be so bad to stop the drugs.
  2. Hello everyone. I'll try to organize this as best as I can. There is a lot going on. I was on benzos from age 17 to 36 and on Cymbalta from age 35 to 36. Went off both together for a 2 year nightmare. Absolute pure hell. I wont get into the details and symptoms of that withdrawal in this post as it is it's own little novel. Some things improved during those 2 years and I feel I've beat the benzo part of the nightmare even still, but at age 38 I was still suffering enough that I agreed to go on Lexapro to see if I'd improve. I did improve hugely but it stopped working as well after 3 years and I was switched to Prozac. I have taken the Prozac ever since and it felt like it was failing around 4 months ago. I missed a lot of doses around 3 months ago and just tried to stop CT for just over a week around a month and a half ago. I started feeling withdrawals so I went back on and the withdrawal feeling is still getting worse. My memory and focus went first, then the inner restlessness and anxiety started and dizziness. I am also having the disconnected dream like feeling 24-7. I am so depressed and fearful all of the time. I've been taking the Prozac without missing a dose for over a month again and this is still happening to me. It's as if the combo of Prozac tolerance and coming off for the short time has started a withdrawal that even going back on can't stop. My doctor wants to take me off the Prozac after a slow taper and start me back on the Lexapro. The hope is that since it worked before and I've been off of it for almost 3 years that it could pick me back up and end this nightmare I'm back in. I am really considering just tapering the Prozac and staying off all ssris; so no going back on Lexapro in that case. I am so afraid of entering back into a nightmare like a was in coming off benzos and Cymbalta. My current state is terrible but the previous experience was truly worse; being benzos and Cymbalta together. It is really hard t say what withdrawal symptoms were coming from which pill. There were so many. I am so terrified of how I am feeling right now, but mostly for the days to come. If I come off the Prozac entirely I know my current state will worsen. I will be thrown back into a situation similar to the first nightmare. If I taper the Prozac and go back on Lexapro and it actually works, I'll still be doomed because I'll be back on another pill waiting for it to stop working again and most likely going through it all again. If I go back on the Lexapro and it doesn't work I will just aggravate my current symptoms with throwing more chemicals on my already hurting brain. The first time around withdrawal I had terrible akathisia and I am already feeling it brewing and I am still on the Prozac. I don't want to go through this again! Also from what I've been experiencing this month it seems a lot of what I assumed were due to the benzos were possibly due to the Cymbalta withdrawal as it's so similar. Also, I forgot to mention that I am on 500 mg of Depakote XR as well. I was put on this a couple of months after the Prozac as I felt a bit agitated. It helped but I got worried about my liver and quit it after 4 or five months and had a mild withdrawal from that but it passed. Just a couple of weeks ago after my current situation started I went back on the Depakote to see if it would help and it hasn't. I'll most likely be stopping it again as well. I had an account on Benzo Buddies during that ordeal and it gave me an outlet and some hope. I've set this account up here and got my story out in advance as I am leaning towards just stopping the meds and I'll be needing all of the support I can get! I'm seeing my doctor on January 3 so whatever I decide to do it will be starting then.
  3. Bluebird2009

    Bluebird2009

    Hi 8 am from the UK and was on Prozac for 18years but had been unwell and having physical problems the past few years but tests where all clear. I realised it was the drug that was the problem. I was taken off too quickly and my body went into shock and I have been in protracted withdrawal ever since which is 9months now. Every month I'm getting new symptoms and really struggling with living. I can't tolerate even a pain relieve tablet without a reaction. I have awful lung and chest pain, blurred vision, severe headache which has just started this week and feel like I'm dying. I feel I maybe shouldn't have came of but then maybe it's better to get the poison out of my body. Really need some positive vibes at the moment and if anyone else in UK can help please do as I'm frightened that I'm going to die.
  4. Hi all, I am so glad I found this site. I am dealing with what I now know is ssri withdrawal and this place has given me hope, knowledge, and peace of mind. It’s crazy what these drugs can do. To start, I will give you my story. Looking back, I grew up with low self esteem and emotional issues that I never faced. Through school and going into college, I still managed to adjust well, make friends, and didn’t have especially bad anxiety or anything. In high school and college I abused alcohol frequently, probably due to emotional distress. I never was addicted, but was a binge drinker. In my 2nd year of college, even drinking became stressful and not fun. I began to have a lot of social anxiety, and couldn’t handle any alcohol. Depression started to set in, and I was in denial for a long time. Because of this, I let it get worse, I let people hurt me, and I ended up in the ER because I realized I couldn’t function and was suicidal. There they decided to send me to an outpatient treatment facility, and there my medication history began. I first was given seetraline, then Effexor, neither for longer than a week. The side effects were too much. So the doc deicided to try Prozac with me. That one seemed to have me feeling better, so I stayed on that for the time being. Started at 20mg around May 2017, 40mg for a few months, then 60mg for a long duration. I was only at this outpatient thing for a couple months, then I started seeing a new doctor. She basically just kept giving me the Prozac, and I’d just say I’m fine. I guess I felt fine, but I was more or less a zombie that just went to work and slept. The thing is though that Prozac is what lifted me out of the horrible depression I was in, and helped my anxiety. I thought of it as miraculous. The one thing that made it a lot less miraculous was that I gained nearly 100 pounds in a year! This prompted my doctor to lower my dose to 40mg, which made me realize how much Prozac dulled me out. I felt so much more awake and clear headed, so I figured I should get off the meds totally! It’ll only be good news, or so I thought. So I went down to 20mg a couple months later around November 2018. Afterwards is when withdrawal started to hit. I really noticed it while visiting family for Christmas. I just wasn’t myself. The anxiety was back in full force, and that was enough to hinder my social ability. It sucks to think family members see me like that and don’t know what’s going on, that maybe they just think I’m mentally ill. Oh well. I went down to 10mg in February, and jumped clear off in March. I now know this was far to fast of a taper, but I didn’t know this at the time. My doctor obviously didn’t either, but she probably also thinks Prozac doesn’t give people withdrawals. Once at 10mg I started to have the very sever symptoms. Extreme anxiety, irritability, anger, sensitivity to movement light and sounds, depersonalization, tightness in chest and neck, paranoia, numbness, and headaches (sometimes long lasting). Once I went to 0 they got a little worse for a bit, and it was gradually improved since then. I’ve only been totally off the Prozac for about a month right now. My god has it improved since a month ago! I still wouldn’t say I’m doing well by any means but I at least feel kind of normal. I felt like everybody was staring at me when I went outside or drove around at first (still kind of do sometimes), so much so that I just felt overwhelmed and crazy. I quit my job, not super important since it was just a silly job to pay rent. All I can really say about the symptoms is that they are still there, and it feels like they’ve been gradually receding ever so slowly. I seem to have the windows and waves, but mine have been short, maybe only hour long windows sometimes. I just pray that I will not only feel normal again but find real happiness and relief. I’m currently taking D3 and fish oil daily, nothing else. Does anyone have any advice about those supplements and others I could try? That would be great. I’m also just wondering if my story sounds familiar to anyone and what to expect. But most of all, it’s just nice to get this all out. Feel free to ask me questions!
  5. GracieAnn

    GracieAnn: Akathisia

    Hi Everyone. I’m new here and just realized that my severe akathisia has a name and a cause-Prozac. For years I just thought I had severe anxiety and a lot of adrenaline. It is ruining my life. Now that I have connected the dots I’d like to slowly wean and find a med to help my symptoms(clonidine?). i pray I can heal my brain and am hoping to hear some success stories. I’m very grateful for this group.
  6. Unsure if I'm posting in the right place but this is somewhat of an introduction. 1.5 years ago I started on 20mg of Prozac for OCD. There was restlessness with starting but it went away. Gradually I tapered down to 10mg of Prozac which I was on for a full year. 2 months ago, I felt the sudden onset of a a very severely agitated feeling. It was very vague but I can pinpoint the exact moment I noticed it -- I was sitting, doing nothing remarkable, and unstressed. I had felt something like this before throughout my treatment but it was very very temporary and felt more like an agitated depression brought on by external circumstances. When this feeling started I could not pinpoint anything else as the cause. Things were good in all parts of my life. I had not messed with the dosage of Prozac at all for a year. Is it still possible that the Prozac is causing this long term agitation/akathisia that I still experience today? A month into the feeling I decided to taper off Prozac completely. I experienced very little withdrawal...just mild headaches and dizziness. The akathisia didn't get worse or better. But it is still quite bad. And the longer it continues the more hopeless I become and probably the more depressed as well because I can't see a life without this agitation anymore. Started on some Klonopin to treat the restlessness and help me sleep. Has anyone else experienced akathisia without a dose change? And also only being on a low dose?
  7. Hi just a little about me! I have been taking fluoxetine for approx 20 years! Throughout which time I have continued to struggle with coping and mood! I have made adjustments in my life to help me cope better: not overloading myself, mindfulness, taking it easy and trying to manage my reaction to situations and life better! I am now weening myself off Prozac! I have always taken 20mg. At the moment I am down to taking the tablet just 5 days per week. As for symptoms, I never felt well while taking them, tired moody, highs and lows, generally feeling unwell. Noticeably more recently foggy head, poor long and short term memory and a feeling that my head is full and confusion at times! So, I am thinking, yes there will be withdrawal symptoms, but I am hopeful that I can handle it! I have been taking 5 per week for 3 weeks now, and I am wondering when I could reduce to 4 per week? I would really appreciate your advice and thoughts on this. Many thanks x
  8. Hello, I am a 50 year old woman with a history of depression. Here is my story and it is a long one, be warned - if you aren't in the mood for a long history, skip this now LOL! I'm one of those people whose family relations have also had histories of depression, and depression became an issue for me from maybe 10 years old and up, though no one really recognized it. I became bulimic at 16 and remained so for much of my adult life until about eight years ago. My adult-hood has been one of perfectionism, low self-esteem and under-performing, with all the self-hatred that that generates. My first experience with medication came after a rough relationship where I ended up feeling suicidal. I was put on Prozac. I think back to that being the beginning of the rest of my adulthood with virtually no libido. A major move after marriage led me to more depression, and at that time Wellbutrin was being marketed heavily, so I asked my GP to put me on it. No tapering of the Prozac, if I recall. Wellbutrin didn't work, but now I realize it was probably in part because I was having withdrawal from the Prozac - not sure and I don't have a lot of memories about that period one way or another. I forget if I continued the Wellbutrin up to the next change, but I had gotten the flu which turned into pneumonia for a month, and when I went to the doctor after that long of not getting better, he said "you are depressed." Well, yes, I said, I am depressed because of being sick this long! And he said, No, you are clearly a generally depressed person and you should see a p-doc. So, I did, and that doc put me on Effexor. This was somewhere back around 11 years ago. I upped the dose as they directed. I never felt like my depression was well-controlled because none of the therapy I had over the years was CBT - talk therapy would make me feel better for the moment but no change took place, so the low self-esteem and negative thinking remained. I guess the Effexor somehow made my life more tolerable, but I never felt happy or satisfied with myself. Somewhere along the line I began to taper down on the Effexor, and I have very few memories of when, how or why, other than that I hated needing ADs, and my libido sucked. A move and the loss of an old dog sent me into another bad depression, but this well could have coincided with stepping down the Effexor. Three years ago, I lost my job, and then my husband lost his, but then he got a new one which required relocating to a very hot climate where we were able to afford a home with acreage, the first time we were ever able to own, but it was very rural and the isolation quickly got to me, with anxiety increasing for various reasons. Again, I don't remember the stepping down process, but two years ago a new GP refilled my Effexor but prescribed the non-extended release version. Since these tablets were able to be broken, I began taking just half (37.5 mg). Last summer I had a bought of shingles and became very depressed and stressed again from the pain. I also was clearly in menopause and having severe hot flashes. My whole adult life had been marred by low libido since going on Prozac way back when, and the shingles were actually on my private parts (tested positive for zoster, not herpes) and I became very concerned that I didn't want the rest of my life to be joyless where sex was concerned, so I decided to go off BCPs and Effexor. In hind sight, that was madness! I stepped down the Effexor, going to every other day with the 37.5 mg. I wasn't aware of any severe symptoms, and this was last summer. Well, meanwhile, I was going through some stresses regarding a health crisis with one of my dogs. I found myself totally scatter-brained, forgetful, unable to concentrate, and also I had trouble articulating myself, unable to complete thoughts when talking with people, words hard to reach. A friend told me he always thought I was ADD, and indeed at this time I was losing things, forgetting what I was doing halfway through doing it, easily distracted, etc. I'm also a total clutter-bug who can't face doing the dishes or cleaning the house, though I've been that way for years. I had started taking Sam-e and tryptophan as a way to up serotonin. I was having a terrible time with insomnia. So, I went to get tested for ADD. I tested negative, but the psychologist doing the testing said I didn't have ADD, but that I did have OCD, depression, and GAD. He said, the good news is that there are medications that can make you "normal!" I bit, and went to a p-doc on a list he gave me. She put me on Viibryd. I stopped the serotonergic supplements. The first week at 10 mg was ok, but when I went up to 20 mg as instructed, all hell broke loose! My insomnia worsened, with the most severe anxiety I think I had ever experienced! All night I was thrashing around with racing, troubling thoughts. During the day, I would have squirts of adrenalin for no reason. I had days where I was so distressed and troubled, I couldn't stand to exist. I had global anxiety about climate change, getting old, my parents getting old losing them some day, the drought and how horrible life was! I have never experienced anxiety like that in my life! I stepped the Viibryd back down to 10 mg for about a week and then stopped it, and went back on the supplements. This time I was trying to follow the supplement plan laid out in the Mood Cure, adding GABA and some other stuff. I'd do ok for awhile, but the insomnia was still bad, and the general feeling of being ill-at-ease was so disturbing, I just couldn't stand it. So, I stopped the supplements and started taking 37.5 mg of Effexor again. After three days, I was in serotonin syndrome almost to the point of having to go to the ER! I stopped the Effexor and got an appointment with another p-doc who is a DO and actually not into psych meds. He said I'd been through about 3 years' worth of med changes in a very short period of time and that my nerves were very sensitive and that I needed consistency. He went through the meds and supplements I had a history with, and told me which supplements were safe to take (non-serotonergic). Since I had not been able to eat and lost weight, and the insomnia was so bad, he put me on Remeron, saying it was a very gentle med that worked on a different part of the serotonin pathway, and that it would help with sleep and appetite. He started me on 7.5 mg and said I could step it up as needed, that it was safe up to 60 mg. Well, I felt much better and it was nice to sleep all through the night without anxiety again. Yeah! But after a week, I was feeling down again so started upping the dose. Two weeks later I was at 37.5 mg, feeling totally apathetic and on the couch, unable to do anything I had previously enjoyed in life. I couldn't understand why the med wasn't working anymore! I was in a desperate way and called this p-doc's assistant, the fastest way to get to him, he said. I left four messages and never heard back! I suffered through to my next scheduled appointment with him two weeks later, and suffering it was! My family members were greatly concerned. The only thing that kept me going through this spell was the fact that a therapist I had recently seen told me about Emotional Brain Training, which I joined. It was developed by Laurel Mellin at UCSF and is based on neuroplasticity and rewiring the brain. It was perfect for me because I lived in the country, was isolated, and the city is 40 minutes away, so I was able to get support from home with weekly phone-in meetings with a coach and group members, daily work online, and daily phone-connections with group members. I am not hawking this, but if you want to learn more about it, go to www.ebt.org. Anyway, EBT kept me from going down the tubes through all of this. When I saw my p-doc, he said "let's add Effexor back to the remeron since you tolerated it well in the past." I started on 37.5 mg. The day I took it, I was having a non-functional couch day, and I would say within an hour of taking it, my mood lifted, like a light switch had been flipped! It was miraculous! Now, everyone knows that ADs are supposed to take weeks to start working. I now realize that the reason it worked so fast was because I was in withdrawal and it was like a junkie getting a hit of the drug they are withdrawing from - instant fix! Ok, I know my story is long but the final chapter is here: I added the Effexor back about 12 days ago. I actually had one day, about a week into it, where I was on the couch again. The next day, I saw a third p-doc my therapist said I should see since I had such a bad experience with the last guy's non-responsiveness when I left those messages. So, I saw this new guy on Wednesday. I didn't yet realize that all of the craziness I had endured since last fall was because of the withdrawal. I was convinced that genetically, I just had to be on ADs, that I had relapsed in a big way. I did think that the Viibryd had damaged me, since I had never experienced anxiety to that degree before, nor had I had depression this debilitating. This new guy said, "let's stick with this for now, since you haven't been on the Effexor long enough to see how it will work for you, but I want to up it to 75 mg (thanks to that couch day). We may end up changing you to other meds, but let's see how this goes for now." So, I began taking 75 mg Effexor ER on Thursday. It just so happens that one of my EBT connection buddies is going through withdrawal from ADs that she was put on for post-partum depression 8 years ago. She told me about this, and referred me to a neat video about neuroplasticity on beyondmeds.com. Her point in doing so was to point out about how EBT is so dead-on about retraining the brain, but in fact I had locked on to concept of withdrawal, and I began to realize that this was so much of what I had and am still going through, and this is why the Effexor worked immediately! So, I am faced with the fact that I am now back on the drug that I was hooked on. For now, I need to be consistent and not change anything, though I am going back to 37.5 mg Effexor since I'd only been on the higher dose for a couple of days. I will ride this out until my next appointment with the p-doc in five weeks. I am worried that he will be one to poo-poo withdrawal. I feel like, for the first time in my life, I am getting the cognitive help I need to eliminate the poor self-esteem and my negative black and white thinking that has ruined my life and got me started on ADs to begin with. I feel this will be critical to getting off these drugs some day. I feel so grateful to the universe for bringing me together with my connection buddy who brought this all to light for me. And beyondmeds.com brought me here.
  9. Introduction Hi everyone. I have been lurking here since last year but decided to start my thread as my waves are getting more frequent. I am trying to stabilize at 20mg of generic Prozac (fluoxetine) daily, and have been taking it for 6 months. I thought stabilization was finally happening in January this year but waves are now weekly. I am here to see if anyone can shed light on why my horrible waves are more frequent now. I've read “The windows and waves pattern of recovery” (http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/82-the-windows-and-waves-pattern-of-recovery/). Maybe I'm missing something? I'm not feeling very bright since WD hit me! Wave and window frequency Stabilization seemed to work right away and my intense waves were about every 14 to 21 days (3 to 4 weeks). Last month and this month, waves have increased frequency to about every week and last 2 to 5 days, with a window inbetween. Currently working on a graph based on my daily notes to visualize my stabilization journey. WD waves This is how I recall them now but I will update this description when I consult my notes next during a window. A headache and dizziness accompany a vice-like tightness around my head. I then get intensely irritable, depressed, and quite sleepy. I then get akathisia, mostly in the legs. I have tried pushing through it but I find it very hard to concentrate on anything and I just can’t bring myself to talk or interact with anyone. Any conversation or touch terrifies me and I just have to dismiss myself and apologize to whoever is around me at the time and hope they don’t take my sudden departure personally. I then go to sleep. When I wake, I feel better but the wave is still there. I tend to get better over the next day or two, only for the cycle to repeat as mentioned above. Aside from sleeping the only relief I get, for but a moment, is when my rescue cat comes home and deigns to grace me with her presence on the bed next to me or in my chair. This WD has meant that I can no longer keep many commitments, I can only work on a casual basis (i.e. I put in a few hours a day in a window), and my relationships have become skeletal. My life is slowly falling apart and I am now dependent on my partner. She is understanding of my withdrawal, having been on SSRIs herself but luckily avoided a protracted WD. Sadly though, I just feel so guilty and frustrated at how I am now a slave to this window and wave cycle, and largely a useless partner. Windows (something positive) I am myself: productive, fairly positive, happy, thoughtful of others, and able to tackle my anxiety properly. I still live in fear of waves but I am learning to try not to ruminate on them. I feel a willingness to connect with people. I am starting to put too much pressure on myself to do everything during a window and that is leading to problems. To be fair to myself though, my waves are iatrogenic and I must forgive myself for feeling wretched, even during a window, because SSRI withdrawal is the worst thing I’ve ever experienced and it has ruined my life. Why are my waves more frequent? I will share some of my hypotheses below regarding why my waves are more frequent. If anyone has any thoughts please let me know, I’d love to hear them. I’ve learned so much from SA already. As mentioned in my signature I am working on compiling all the daily data I have into a graph so I can get a better picture of my stabilization journey (and what proceeded it). I don’t know when that will happen as my windows are now spent doing all the things I put off in my waves and just improving my loosening grip on the good things in life. I know though that I have to finish this data processing as soon as I can in case the waves merge into one big, long one. 1. My SSRI history during the last two years is peppered with ignorant tapering attempts, maybe it is catching up with me? 2. The optimist inside me is hoping that the frequency is increasing because it could be a pattern that occurs prior to a period of flatter frequencies (perhaps the ebbs and flows of homeostasis). I am perhaps just fantasizing but I imagine that if the frequency increases so much, like in a radio wave, the peaks and troughs (waves and windows) will be indistinguishable, which could be what homeostasis looks like. I am laughing at this hypothesis as I can see I am desperate for some good news XD 3. Maybe my reinstatement/stabilization dose was a little too low (considering I was on 40mg daily for the longest time) and I am catching up with the WD that it would have caused in recent months. If this is the case, I can’t see any benefit in updosing now anyway. Sure, it could always get worse but I think it would definitely get worse if I start guessing at an updose level. I could be wrong. 4. Some of my family wish to visit me later this month for a few days. I haven’t seen them in years. They planned it during one of my windows in December and I felt positive about it all. I also felt optimistic that given about 6 months of trying to stabilize, my waves would be a thing of the past, or a rarer occasion. I tried to get them to postpone but they can’t change their plans without losing all their money. I don’t want them to stop their holiday for me but as the reason for travelling is to see me, I have warned them that I may be in bed, only able to talk to them for a few minutes. I hope I have a window when they are here but I think I’ve had a huge amount of stress about the visit because I just don’t need the guilt I will undoubtedly feel when I am only able to see them for a few minutes. In other words, perhaps stressors and other factors in my life are making waves more frequent. My expectations for stabilization and my tapering plan I didn’t expect stabilization to take this long but after reading “After reinstating or updosing how long to stabilize” (http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/4244-after-reinstating-or-updosing-how-long-to-stabilize/?hl=%2Bhow+%2Blong+%2Bstabilize) I realize it could take a long time, maybe years based on how much damage my ignorant tapering did in the past. When I stabilize (I suppose I have to believe that I will) I plan to do an SA taper, spanning years, with water titration (I have done a few trial runs of it and it’s very easy to get accurate doses this way). I have the syringes ready but it could be a long time before I get to use them! My current plan is to keep plodding along at 20mg until I can get a more stable window and wave frequency. I don’t expect my waves to disappear completely but this increase in frequency means I am questioning things and hope that someone out there may have an idea about what’s happening and what I may expect to happen for the next 6 months. Lifestyle As for my lifestyle, I am healthy, eat well, and exercise most days. I take some supplements but I don’t think they’ve made much of a difference either way. I will list them later when I can manage it but they include B12, magnesium, and fish oil. Sadly, during waves I mostly lie in bed as it provides me some relief. One of the side effects from fluoxetine is sleepiness and lethargy, which I've always had, so that contributes to me lying about a lot. It took so much out of me to write this but I am glad I did it now! Good luck to you all and I wish you the best, regardless of what stage of withdrawal and recovery you are. Kittygiggles
  10. Hi i wanted to ask if anyone in here experienced extreme fatigue ? All day I feel so tired and the only activity I can manage is an hour walk but even through walking I feel very weak.. the mornings are the worst when I wake up after 10 hrs sleep I have no energy my body just lies in bed but have absolutely no energy did anyone experienced something similar ? Thank you in advance
  11. Hey, everyone. Here's my introduction (I hope it's not too long): In 1994, at 19, I suffered panic attacks from being bullied in school and having cognitive errors in my thinking (perfectionism, negative self talk, etc.) My parents took me to a psychiatrist who told me I had a "chemical imbalance in my brain," prescribed me 80 mg of Prozac a day, and kicked me out the door. I received no therapy and from that day forward saw myself as a mental health patient. This diagnosis changed the course of my entire life. My Prozac took six weeks to kick in, and it brought with it a slew of side effects: generalized anxiety, hypervigilance (constant surveying the world and my body for signs of panic), stomach cramps, and irritable bowel syndrome. Like the proverbial boiling frog who doesn't notice the raising temperature, the side effects eased in to my life so slowly I thought they were a part of me and my "chemical imbalance." In essence I had a paradoxical reaction to the drug: it amplified my existing struggles but I had no idea my medication was the source. I was never told this was possible, nor was I told about the danger of trying to come off. The side effects made work outside the home, socializing, and dating extremely difficult because I was always afraid of the next wave of anxiety that would send me racing to the washroom. I watched my friends grow up and have careers, partners, and families, while I tried to buoy what was left of my self-esteem with self-help books and different therapists, none of who ever questioned the drug or the dosage. After two years of cognitive behavioral therapy to untwist the errors in my thinking, I tried coming off the drug under the supervision of my doctor in 2006 but the initial reduction of 20 mg every two weeks proved to be far too steep. When I reached zero I had a few days of bliss, then an absolute mental collapse. I developed akathisia and was unable to sit still and paced relentlessly and lost control of my emotions. I felt completely hollow and cried for no reason, all the while suffering from unspeakable anxiety. My parents debated admitting me to a hospital but was told that the doctors would check my medication levels then ask me to leave as there would be nothing they could do. I went to my psychiatrist who misdiagnosed my condition not as withdrawal but as depression and anxiety that the Prozac had been treating. Desperate not to lose my mind, I restarted the drug and lost another ten years to side effects. Two years ago I lowered my dose from 40 mg to 30 mg. Three days later I was to meet friends for dinner for as long as my anxiety would allow. I braced myself during the meal for the inevitable tsunami of mental anguish but what I felt instead was a mere ripple. I was stunned, then perplexed. When I realized what was happening and that the drug had been the cause, I burst into tears. Instead of racing home after the meal as I so often had in the past, my friends and I went to a movie. Over the past few months I've been easing off Prozac at 5 mg every six weeks. My quality of life improves with each reduction. My hypervigilance and anxiety all but vanished at 20 mg. At 15 mg I have become more social than I have ever been, and at 10 mg I feel like myself again - sort of. I've been on 10 mg of Prozac since May 9th, and I'm also on 50 mg of Seroquel. I want to get off the Prozac completely but I'm going to stay at 10 mg for at least three months until I know I'm stable. Though most of my anxiety is gone, I had a panic attack last week. I had an appointment with my psychiatrist yesterday over how much I've missed out on from the medication and cried through the whole thing. Naturally she was concerned that this might be a relapse of depression/anxiety, but I honestly feel better now than I ever did on the higher dose. So...that's me!
  12. See journal articles about PSSD in Papers about Post-SSRI Sexual Disorder (PSSD) Please note that SurvivingAntidepressants is a site for tapering and recovery from withdrawal syndrome. While we see PSSD sometimes as an aspect of withdrawal syndrome (and we see gradual recovery from it as well as withdrawal syndrome), this site is not specifically for discussion of treatment of PSSD or its neurological origins (which at this time are highly speculative). If you wish to discuss symptoms, theories, and treatment of PSSD, please go to these sites: PSSDforum http://www.pssdforum.com/ Yahoo group SSRIsex (log in to http://Yahoo.com to join) Facebook group (log into Facebook.com to join) Various pages on Rxisk.org
  13. Hello everyone! I’m on my last leg of tapering right now at 2.5 mg of Prozac and boy does that small dose of 2.5 mg make a difference! I’ll give you all some background information about me and my history with SSRI’s and just overall tell my story so to speak. I’m currently 19 years old attending university (I had to drop out last semester because of the withdrawal from tapering, but I’m back at it!). The first SSRI I ever took was sertraline (Zoloft) at 50 mg for social anxiety and subsequently depression. I think I was thirteen at the time. It pains me to think back to that little boy and how much pain he was in. The sertraline helped a bit. My mother noticed a change in me more than I did. After only a couple of months however, I started to experience some emotional blunting. I didn’t know what it was at the time, I just knew I felt flat. We told our family doctor and he agreed that I should stop taking it. I did not taper and I did not experience any withdrawal. The next couple of years I don’t think I took any SSRI’s. I was still depressed and socially anxious at times, but I made a promise to myself that I would make a serious effort to make friends. It was my first real effort at exposure therapy and I did it all by myself. It wasn’t until I was sixteen that my obsessive rumination eventually became too strong for me to handle. It was then that I began taking 20 mg of Prozac. I can’t remember when I started. Most likely between August 2015 to December 2015. I do remember however that I did not have any notable side effects. I still felt the full range of emotions and my sexuality functioned like clockwork. In May 2016, my obsessive thinking got worse due in part to a rejection from a girl I liked. I began to believe that the Prozac wasn’t doing anything, so I went to a doctor and he switched me onto 20 mg of Paxil. It would be later on in the summer of 2016 that I would see a psychiatrist. I complained of extreme lethargy and often times couldnt sleep until four in the morning so he prescribed Wellbutrin at 150 mg and some Trazodone that I would take as needed. The Trazodone effectively zombified me so I avoided it often. (Side note: eventually I mentioned the Trazodone to this druggy kid in my creative writing class. He was literally on acid at the time and he said, “You take Trazodone?! Dude I used to snort that stuff. Don’t **** with that ****.”😂) Over time I stopped believing the Paxil or Wellbutrin had any effect on me. I even started to believe they might be a placebo at the time. I did however notice that I was becoming extremely angry all the time, something completely unlike myself. It was as if the only thing the pills had done was replace my depression with anger. I could also cry at a moments notice. I remember my family and I visited the freedom tower memorial in NY and it took everything in me not to burst out into tears. Because of the anger and my belief the pills were placebos, I eventually decided to stop both the Paxil and Wellbutrin cold turkey. This was in December 2016. I didnt have any notable withdrawal symptoms. No brain zaps or physical problems. My sexuality functioned as it always had. My depression however began to amplify. Sometimes, knowing what I know now, I wonder if this extreme depression was induced partly from withdrawal. It was stronger than any I’d previously had. I was constantly ruminating. I couldn’t sit still for a second without being uncomfortable and anxious. My mind was constantly replaying loops of embarrassing things I had done. Often times I would wake up in the middle of the night with an embarrassing memory and then spend the rest of the night in terror as it played over and over in my head. When I went to school, I felt paranoid. I absolutely hated myself. It is important to note however that I was not suicidal. Eventually I gave up. It took two week of me not going to school or even leaving my room for that matter for my parents to decide what to do with me. Eventually my mom found a treatment center for OCD and anxiety. I was skeptical at first. I had seen therapists in the past. They were well meaning, but they had little impact on my depression. We made an appointment with the director of the clinic. When she first walked in I expected nothing. She was very direct and got right to the point telling me that she might be able to help me or she might not. Either way it would be up to me to put in the effort. I agreed to do their intensive outpatient program. For three hours every day I would be exposed to my deepest fears. Initially she suggested medication, however I refused because of my bad experience on Paxil and Wellbutrin. After a month of IOP however, I still wasn’t getting better. Eventually I caved in. I was desperate. I went to the doctor and he prescribed 40 mg of Prozac and 25 mg of lamictal. When I began taking the Prozac at 20 mg, my mood lifted immediately. For the first time in forever my onslaught of obsessive thought began to abate. Suddenly I was convinced these pills weren’t placebo. I worked up to 40 mg and quickly graduated from the IOP. There were no side effects. I still had a considerable range of emotion and my sexuality worked just fine. But then the Prozac pooped out on me in December of 2017. By then I was beginning to feel depressed again. This should have been a warning that this med wasn’t a long term solution, but I was oblivious to the side effects at the time. I made my way up to 60 mg for a month and then eventually 80 mg in February 2018, the maximum dose. This dose was effective. My depression ceased almost instantly. It wasn’t until around June 2018 on 80 mg that I began to notice some strange things happening. At first I didn’t realize they were due to the Prozac. I began to have these odd states where my thinking was clouded, almost like my brain was fried. It was difficult to form words, and I often felt no emotion whatsoever in these states, but it would go away after a good night sleep, so I didn’t think too much of it. Then I met a girl and began dating her. I quickly noticed that I simply couldn’t fall in love with her, despite the fact that we got along together great and she was beautiful. All my romantic feelings we’re muted compared to what I had felt before. And then my dog ran away. At the time I knew I should be sad, but I couldn’t muster up the emotion. It was like I had to sneeze but the sneeze wouldn’t come. The sadness was almost there, I just couldn’t experience it fully. It was around this same time that I realized that my interest in sex was beginning to dwindle. Because of these things I realized I need to make a change. I began taking two 40 mg pills every other day and then two pills on the rest of the days. This was in the beginning of August 2018. My goal was to get to 40 mg. I did not have any significant withdrawal issues. In fact, initially, my sex drive increased. What did happen is that my depression returned. Because of this my doctor prescribed Wellbutrin at 150 mg. I had to stop taking it because I became extremely suicidal. Every waking thought revolved around me killing myself. I was anxious and irritable and definitely had the energy to do carry out my plans. Thankfully, I stopped taking the Wellbutrin after a week and these thoughts went away. It was this experience that convinced me how harmful these meds can be. Unfortunately I did not know how to taper properly and went way too fast with decreases of 20 mg every 2 weeks. Eventually I got to zero for a couple days but my therapist convinced me to stay on them. Stupidly I jumped all the way back up to 40 mg. But then after two weeks I decided once again that I needed to get off them. I did not know I was playing with fire. Once again I went super fast. When I made it to zero this time however, new symptoms began to hit. I got what I realize now is akathisia. If I tried to read my brain couldn’t form the words into sentences. I began sleeping very little. Most disconcerting, my penis had shriveled up and gotten freezing cold and I stopped getting nocturnal erections(morning wood). It was this that caused me to reinstate my taper after only four days at 0 mg. I went back up to 40 mg over two weeks and my sexual functioning more or less returned. My sex drive however did not. By then I knew what I was really in for. After that I began to taper much slower. This was probably stupid, but I would cut the pills in half and estimate the amount of powder I would take. I did this until December 2018 and made it to 10 mg. Then I got pills that I could cut into smaller pieces and bought a scale and I have been using this method ever since. Throughout the taper, emotional anesthesia arose as a prominent symptom. My sexuality is no longer similar to pre drug levels or even similar to what it was while I was on the drug. It has definitely gotten worse as I’ve decreased the drug. However, so far it seems that after each time I have decreased my dose, my ability to maintain an erection would vanish and then more or less reappear after a couple weeks. Currently I am at 2.5mg! 🎉The akathisia has mostly abated (although I’m sure it’ll come back once I’m fully off the drug) I feel emotionally numb all the time. I feel like I have lost my identity and have no access to my memories. I remember them but I feel nothing when I do. Listening to music is pointless. I no longer play my guitar. My erections are fickle, and I have no sex drive at all. I do still have feeling in my penis, so I am not dealing with genital anesthesia. The closer I get to zero however, the less my penis functions. I even went down to about 0.5 mg and my penis went cold like the time I went to 0 mg a couple months ago. It seems the blood flow returned when I went back to 2.5 yesterday; however, my penis head has these odd striations on it. I am afraid of developing genital anathesis post taper. For those who had genital anesthesia, when did this symptom appear for you? My fear is that the lack of blood supply and lack of erections will lead to nerve atrophy in my penis. For this reason I am taking the rest of my taper even slower than initially planned. As long as my penis doesn’t get cold, I will continue to taper. I have also turned my diet around and cut out sugar and gluten. I want to exercise but this seems to trigger the akathisia so I’ve put it on hold. Im against all supplements as I’ve had bad experienced with them. One thing this site taught me is how cautious I have to be so that my nervous system can heal. Does anyone have any advice for me? Do you think because I haven’t experienced physical symptoms (yet at least) like nausea or muscle pain or even brain zaps that I’ll be able to heal fairly quickly? Or will these effects most likely simply appear once I’m finally off the drug. Prozac does have a long half life after all. What do you guys think? Im also wondering when (or if) my emotions will return post taper. For those who have regained the full range of emotions, were you able to look back at emotional memories and feel what you felt in that moment? Does music sound good again? Lastly, when can I expect symptoms of nueroemotions? I’m actually looking forward to this symptoms as it will mean my emotions are returning and that I don’t have permanent damage. Thank you if you took the time to read this, and sorry if it’s a little long. (p.s. Altostrata if you read this thank you for everything you have done. I’ve spent the past month browsing this site on and off and the level of charity you display is phenomenal. Thank you!)
  14. Help777

    Help777: journal

    Effexor x12 years. Added lithium in sept 2015. Added prozac in october to help bridge taper from effexor as i started having symptoms. Started withdrawing effexor in September 2014. Over last 4 months i went From 112.5 to 14mg as of last week.. Last week I seemed to all of a sudden hit a wall. Crying uncontrollably constantly. Shaking, nausea, extreme fear and overwhelming need to cry. Ive read your site. Ive reinstated to 20 mg of effexor for last 3 days but absolutely no improvement. Im so scared. I cant go to work like this. Continuing prozac 20 and lithium 300. Please help.
  15. Moderator's note: Link to AwareButStruggling's benzo forum thread Hello, I have been going through a very symptomatic taper off of benzodiazepines, and my goal is to keep gradually tapering the Ativan-first, as it is a very potent, short-acting benzodiazepine. I am very familiar with Ashton manual and have found a lot of information on benzodiazepine tapering, but am finding it hard to communicate the bizarreness of symptoms to those who have not been afflicted. I am also wondering if my fairly abrupt discontinuation of Prozac after 16 years of use has worsened the benzodiazepine withdrawal. For roughly around 13 years, 20mg of Prozac was my one and only psychiatric drug. I had some side-effects on it, but my experience with it was not as bad. At times, I could go down to 10mg but could never quite go off of it. Still, I worked, functioned, and my emotions were very much there. I do speculate, that, after a while, Prozac wasn't really as effective. However, at the same time, I'm pretty sure it was masking the depressive effects of sporadic Ativan use. After a while, the ativan has really sensitized my CNS, all the while I thought it was Prozac doing that, so I tapered the Prozac off in a month, and also stopped taking ativan for a month minus a couple of doses. But looking back, I am not sure if that was the best decision, because I found myself really depressed and disoriented and kept myself on a maintenance dose of ativan just to keep functioning. However, I kept getting worse and worse, not realizing that the prolonged use of ativan along with high stress was worsening the anxiety I was feeling. I kept going to my doctor and he kept giving me Prozac again, which, once a gentle AD for me, turned into a harsh stimulant. I was also given lexapro, and I tried a few doses, and cut the 10mg tablet in half, but 5mg was too much. Then I tried Lexapro 2.5 (5mg tablet cut in two) and that was too much, as well. I didn't dare try Wellbutrin. I tried 5mg Prozac through this dismal period and even that was stimulating. So, I've arrived to the conclusion that antidepressants will never be an option for me again, and that a slow gradual taper off of ativan, and then valium and then Gabapentin may be the only way to go. I tried a full crossover to valium, but due to such differences in potency and all the crashes and burns due to to all medication starts and stops and changes, I am petrified of trying anything new and just want to reduce the chemical dependency on these psych meds as much as I can and in a safe manner. Currently tapering abut 0,02mg ativan per week or so. Planning a hold once I reach 0.5mg. I come from a background where anxiolytics and anti-depressants were considered to be very effective tools, and, needless to say, due to my experiences, my relationships to these medications have drastically changed.
  16. Link to father's topic: paranoidandroid Hello everyone, Iv'e actually been looking at this site for quite a while now to get me through and decided to make an account now I feel in a slightly better place to do so. Currently I'd just like peoples opinions on my situation.. do you think I'll ever fully recover? My history in the signature sums it up quite concisely so if you want to ask any questions please do. I believe I will but I just want to hear it from other people, as you may know this can be a lonely place to be. I wasn't aware for all this time how damaging these drugs are and assumed my visual snow and DP was just related to anxiety. But now I have no doubt in my mind they caused these symptoms. I may not go back to exactly how I was 6 years ago, which is upsetting, but as long as going forward I'll be able to make a better reality for myself, then I think I'll be okay. I'd also be very interested in what people think of my diet and if you think I should refine it in any way.
  17. Hi, I am female, 48 years old, and have been on Prozac or Zoloft for 26 years for panic attacks. There is a lot more to share but, I have an initial question that is time-sensitive... I went off of 20 mg per day of Prozac 2.5 weeks ago without tapering. I have been reading that this was not a good idea! Please let me know what to do now that I have already done it. Do I start up again with a lower dose? Do I go back to my regular 20 mg and start to taper off the way you have described? My WD symptoms are numerous and ridiculously bad most of the time but, I have been surviving. I want to stay off the medication but am now worried that my worst symptoms may be in my future. I would love to know what your thoughts are. Thank you! 4peace
  18. Cigarettes at age 11. Alcohol periodically from age 13 to age 30. Valium episodically from age 18 to age 27. I have been on myriad anti-depressants since 1982 for major depression and generalized anxiety. Imipramine, desyrel, ativan. Off drugs from 1984 till 1995. Started Prozac 1995 till 2014 (did well from 1995 to 2011). Tried Wellbutrin, Cymbalta. Abilify and Trintellix from March 2014 till August 8, 2017 (depression free). Had to withdraw due to cervical dystonia and tremors which still persist. Terrible experience withdrawing from Abilify and Trintellix. Started Wellbutrin 150 mg. and Prozac 10 mg. for one week to help with withdrawal. Then increased Wellbutrin to 300 mg. and experienced ringing in ears; stopped the Wellbutrin and increased Prozac to 20 mg. (10 in A.M.; 10 in P.M.) Now on Prozac 20 mg. per day, occasional Propranolol for tremors (doesn't help). I've read that coming off Abilify can take up to 3 months or more, and it has been 2 months so far. I feel like I've spent (wasted) my entire adult life trying to feel better, first by self-medicating, then by psychiatric medicating. I'm 72 years old. I wonder if there is any hope for me.
  19. Hey everyone, My name is Abby and I have been off Prozac for 3.5 months now. I'm currently experiencing intense withdrawal and the return of mental states I never thought I'd have to experience again, and I would really like to connect with others who are going through similar during this long, difficult process. Background info: I always had tendencies towards anxiety, depression and obsessive compulsive disorder (the Pure-Obsessional variety) since childhood. At 16 these symptoms very rapidly became so severe my whole life fell apart within a matter of days (Going on the contraceptive pill at this time may have been a contributing factor). I didn't have a full breakdown until I was 18, at which point I was taken to the doctor, put on Sertraline, and referred to psychiatry. The following 8 years consisted of several psychiatric admissions, different drugs including clomipramine, seroquel, mirtazipine, prozac, and possibly a few others for shorter periods. I lost pretty much everything, my obsessional fears were so strong that I attempted suicide more than once, developed a bad cocaine/mephadrone habit, was a constant worry to my family. There were times, however, where the medication would help a lot. At 60mg of Prozac I went through some periods of being functional - I went to work, got into a relationship etc. These were a great relief but I can't say I was truly happy as the fears were never properly dealt with. My last hospital admission was in 2014 when I was 24. I had attempted to come off medication as I believed I had to deal with the underlying problems, and I hated the weight gain side effects. Looking back, this was doomed to fail as I was still using cocaine regularly, drinking a lot, and didn't have any proper support mechanisms in place. I was fine for 6 months then crashed, was borderline psychotic with the OCD symptoms, depressed and anxious beyond belief and desperately wanted to die (and believed I deserved to). I was in a psych ward for just over 2 months before new meds kicked in - clompipramine and (randomly, I don't know why) Epilum, as I was told it 'balanced moods'. A year later I went back on to old faithful Prozac and also came off the contraceptive pill. I had always been told the same about it, that it leveled out moods, and don;t think it's a coincidence that my symptoms became much more manageable a few months after stopping it. I then managed to stay at 40mg for 2 years and my life changed drastically for the better. to myself and everyone around me it was like a miraculous recovery - I stopped taking drugs, began volunteering at a Buddhist meditation centre, got my dream job, published a novel, did newspaper interviews about my experiences, ...I pretty much had my dream life. It was like being reborn after thinking everything was all over...forever. It was in January 2017 that I decided to gradually wean off Prozac. Over the following 10 months I reduced until stopping completely in October. In these past 2 years I have done extensive mind training and spiritual exploration, which has probably been the main factor in this recovery. My life is pretty much dedicated to this practice now - I still volunteer at the meditation centre, go on meditation retreats throughout the year, and have also completed a Reiki Mastership. It was always potentially on the cards after exploring my mind with psychedelic drugs in the past, doing past life regressions and also taking Ayahuasca twice in ceremonies. It was around the time of the reiki mastership that I was weaning off the last of the Prozac. Things became challenging - but at first I welcomed it. I was in a strong place mentally, and my mental health hadn't plagued me intensely for a few years. I was made aware that the Reiki energy can churn things up to be healed, but I think that the combination of this, a massive flare up of a back issue that left me not able to walk for weeks, family pressures and intensive mind exploration during retreat that has led me to my current situation. Since December just passed things have been incredibly difficult. I have experienced a return of old OCD obsessions, to the point where I've had panic attacks for days that made my vision blur, heavy depression, crying all the time, existential fears and experiences which medically would look similar to psychosis (although I believe that term can pathologize important and natural inner processes), identity confusion etc. I knew it would be hard, I just never expected to feel this level of horror ever again. Having said that, I know things are different this time round - I have a level of insight gained through spiritual practice that is keeping me going. Energetically, I'm aware that I am creating this reality on various levels, and that I need to relax as much as possible to allow it to pass through the way it's supposed to. I'm no stranger to facing the darkest parts of the psyche, but it's still terrifying and I'm struggling to cope day to day. To make matters worse, my Mum has gone abroad for cancer treatment and I'm now caring for my little brother and sister 4 days a week which is incredibly stressful (I'm used to having my own space and being able to retreat when I need to). My CBT therapist has discharged me as she feels I cannot engage with therapy under this amount of stress, but encouraged me to come back when my Mum gets back. To be fair, she never taught me anything I didn't naturally learn in meditation and I was only seeing her regularly to comply with services. I have however started going for reiki treatments with the person who facilitated the course I was on last year - he is exceptionally intuitive, knowledgeable and takes an all round, individual approach. One session with him last week was worth a year of 'traditional' therapy. So I'm hoping that continuing with this will help. Anyway, sorry for the essay. I don't have many people to talk to about all this. It's also weird for me to ask for help now as I haven't needed it in so long - I'm usually now the one that helps everyone else. It's a scary and heartbreaking thing to go back to a place you thought you'd left long in the past, but I do believe deep down that I have done so in order to face my demons fully and emerge stronger in the long run. Thank you if you made it this far, I'm looking forward to connecting with others on this site. You are all incredibly strong to be doing what you're doing, no matter what stage you're at. Much love x
  20. ...and still dealing with anhedonia. Is that what you'd call this? It's not nearly as bad as it was back in 2012. The first few years off prozac were a nightmare. I was a total robot, unable to feel present, to empathize, etc. I could barely compose a facebook status, even that required too much focus. (You can tell how much better I'm doing by the fact that I'm FINALLY POSTING IN HERE.) I had a job but didn't do much. The weird thing was, whenever I got my period, I would kind of "come alive" - at least somewhat. It was like a wall went down and I was able to connect with myself again. I could feel my feelings (kind of), feel more present (kind of). Even though the switch wasn't perfect (didn't get all the way back to "normal"), the change was always very drastic. I would feel like this during the first day or two of my period, when I was bleeding heavily. Immediately I would get online and start researching, trying to figure out WHY I felt better on my period... and then the bleeding would end and I'd go back to being a robot... At some point I thought that perhaps my serotonin was too high (isn't your serotonin supposed to be "low" on your period? so maybe my period brought my serotonin down to "normal"?) - like the SSRI had increased my serotonin too much and left my brain kind of stuck that way. The only thing I figured I could try to drastically lower serotonin was to take MDMA - simply for the serotonin crash/reset the next day. I was able to try it in early 2015 and it did exactly what I'd hoped it would do. The CRASH felt like heaven. The wall went down. I was suddenly able to concentrate. I could stand outside and look up at the sky and feel the breeze and watch the birds and just be still and present. That day I curled up and read half a book - something I had been unable to do for years. My therapist noticed a difference in me right away - how I seemed more connected and present. I don't think she believed in my prozac story (I mean, it sounds crazy to me as well - why would I still be messed up YEARS LATER???), but she did agree that I had changed. After this, my life started moving forward much faster... but I still wasn't completely myself. I still felt more myself on my period, which meant I was still somewhat out of it and disconnected the rest of the time... But at this point I had become so used to the anhedonia, or whatever you want to call it, that I just accepted that that was how I was. And then... last year, I tried a benzo for 2 months, for stress. Obviously a big mistake. I had only taken prozac for 6 months, and I still feel strange 5 years later... Why the hell would I try another psych med??? BUT I did. So anyway. The benzo withdrawal nightmare lasted a good 6 months...and a little longer than that to get all the way back to normal, which I feel like I am now. At least the benzo didn't cause permanent damage. Anyway, what I wanted to say is: twice during benzo withdrawal, when I was on my period, I felt COMPLETELY, 100% NORMAL. The "normal" I had once felt before prozac. Totally emotionally with it. Had totally fluid social interactions. And so on and so forth. Colors were actually BRIGHTER and DEEPER. My vision literally changed!!! My palms were sweaty - random, I know, but usually my skin is SO dry - that was just one of the things I noticed, and I want to document it here. One night I laid in bed and started listening to music and I just cried and cried because I could FEEL AGAIN. And it was so ******* sad because I knew my ability to feel would slip away yet again... So, anyway, a good 4 years later I finally had real genuine windows...pretty depressing, right? I'm sorry to anyone reading this...I'm sure most people don't take this long to recover. My brain is ridiculously fragile, I guess... I had a bit of a window this month on my period, too (not as amplified as the windows from a few months ago, but I still felt way more normal than usual)... I'm not sure what all of this means. Maybe the recovery my brain had to go through after getting off klonopin helped to further heal whatever change happened in my brain from prozac? At this point, at least, I'm convinced that I don't have "brain damage" (which for years I figured I must have, and so I avoided this forum and avoided thinking about it because it was so terrifying). I guess there IS some kind of slow gradual healing going on. Maybe at this point it comes down to a hormonal or mineral imbalance of some kind? I don't know. I'm terrified to go to a doctor and ask for help about this, I assume they'll just laugh. I can never take another medication again after all of this, anyway...I'm scared to even try something like birth control. I don't know. Anyway. It's been many years and I wanted to finally admit to myself that this is actually going on by joining this forum... I have had some hope lately that I can find myself again after all of this. Oh, and another awful thing is prozac made me lose all sense of gender. I think because of that, for these past few years, I have identified as trans... and just in the last few weeks I have had moments where I look at myself in the mirror and feel a strong connection to myself (rare) and I "realize" I am not trans...and it's just that I couldn't feel my gender for a very long time... It's ******* horrifying. But I wanted to write that down here. I need to admit this. My period just ended the other day, which is why I'm thinking about all of this at all. I'm sure these feelings will slip away soon... I'm seeing how long I can hold onto myself this time. I'm hoping I will keep posting here and not give up. Thanks for reading. P.S. I've read about inositol resensitizing serotonin receptors - not sure how true that is, but I have started taking large doses of it. I'm not really sure what else to try at this point. So I guess we'll see how that goes. God I feel nuts writing about all of this.
  21. Prince1924

    Prince1924: Prozac

    I have just read this advice about keeping a withdrawal programme Simple ie 3KIS. Not sure but there doesn't seem to be a support network like this in the UK? Only one I've come across is the Royal College of psychiatrists which is a in the form of a video). I've taken great comfort from all this advice as I makes me feel I can try and come off Prozac one more time.
  22. Admin note: link to benzo forum thread - gretta: Tapering off klonopin while on prozac problems
  23. 26/F. Depression/anxiety. History of being somewhat underweight. Family history of severe mood disorders. My brother killed himself about 6 months ago. 2007-2013: Lexapro 10-20 mg. Took this on and off, with 2 cold turkey "quits." I remember it took about 7-8 days of sleeping and withdrawal symptoms both times. Luckily this time around, my SSRI has a much longer half-life, and wellbutrin has been pretty tame so far in terms of withdrawl side effects. 2015: Moved out of state by myself. Lived alone. Started seeing psychiatrist regularly. After trying: citalopram, sertraline, and the SR version of bupropion, my stable prescription has been 150 mg bupropion XL (wellbutrin) and 30 mg fluoxetine (prozac) in the morning everyday. Wellbutrin was my "Godsend." I was crying for 12 hours a day for no reason. Wellbutrin made it possible to get out of bed. 2017: Moved back with family. They're feeding me and taking care of me. I'm trying a taper because of side effects. There are so many "mild" ones that it's difficult to even identify them anymore - I've accepted them as just "normal". The dizziness, the foggy brain, the random "blank" moments when I forget what I'm saying mid-sentence. GI symptoms... Etc. I stopped the wellbutrin earlier this week. According to this website: https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/going-off-antidepressants it should be out my system 99% by now. Keeping the prozac consistent. I have a ~10 or so pills of .025 generic xanax that I'm keeping for panic attack emergencies or acute withdrawal symptoms. I'm taking 3 capsules of 10mg each. I might try dropping one whole capsule for a week and see how I do. I will be of work for a few weeks so it will be a good time to experiment. I'm trying to add lifestyles changes that will help me manage depression. Here is what I am trying right now, in approximate order of perceived efficacy: 1. exercise: 3-5 days a week, trying to get 150min of moderate cardio and 2 days of full body strength (per CDC recommendation). Has helped with mood, self-esteem, dramatically improved sleep quality and appetite. 2. meditation: using an app for this. started with 3 minutes, went up to 10. Haven't done it the last few days, will start again tonight. 3. sleeping hygiene - work in progress. 4. diet: avoiding processed foods and junk foods, eating 3 good meals a day, lots of water. I have been experiencing huge pangs of thirst since stopping wellbutrin. I'm taking a few supplements (curcumin, probiotics, among others) but I don't know if that's doing anything. I'm interested in "gut health" - apparently there's a huge connection between the gut and the brain, eh? Trying to take care of it. I'm also reading some books. Currently reading Upward Spiral. Has anyone read it? Here's the description: "Depression can feel like a downward spiral, pulling you into a vortex of sadness, fatigue, and apathy. In The Upward Spiral, neuroscientist Alex Korb demystifies the intricate brain processes that cause depression and offers a practical and effective approach to getting better. Based on the latest research in neuroscience, this book provides dozens of straightforward tips you can do every day to rewire your brain and create an upward spiral towards a happier, healthier life." Here's to managing symptoms... of the meds, withdrawal symptoms, and depression.
  24. PLEASE READ THIS ENTIRE TOPIC BEFORE GOING OFF PRISTIQ. Pristiq comes in insufficient dosages to taper. Do not alternate doses of Pristiq to taper -- this will cause the levels of this medication in your brain to go up and down and is second only to cold-turkey in causing withdrawal symptoms. AND DON'T COLD-TURKEY EITHER!!!!!!!!! To reduce the risk of withdrawal symptoms and post-discontinuation prolonged withdrawal syndrome, as with other psychiatric drugs we recommend reducing Pristiq by 10% per month, calculated on the last dosage. (The amount of the reduction gets progressively smaller.) See Why taper by 10% of my dosage? The official prescribing information from the FDA contains this: However, Pristiq is difficult to taper "at a more gradual rate" as it comes in only 3 dosages: low, average and excessive -- and officially, the tablets cannot be split. PROTEST THIS DANGEROUS DRUG Phone Pfizer, Pristiq's manufacturer, to make a complaint: (800) 438-1985 in the US Pfizer has not provided any specific information on how to taper from a dosage of 25mg Pristiq, the lowest available dosage. They may suggest alternating dosages to taper Pristiq. Don't do this -- it's like playing ping-pong with your brain. File a complaint about the difficulty of tapering off Pristiq -- the range of dosages is inadequate. Also complain to the FDA 1-800-FDA-1088 Mon–Fri between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. EST. Pristiq is Effexor's fancier sibling Pristiq is a drug made of Effexor's (venlafaxine) active metabolite, O-desvenlafaxine. Pristiq is to Effexor as Lexapro is to Celexa -- a tweaked and more powerful isomer molecule. In effect, Pristiq is concentrated Effexor. See http://www.primarypsychiatry.com/aspx/articledetail.aspx?articleid=2464 According to Pfizer http://labeling.pfizer.com/showlabeling.aspx?id=497, Pristiq is available in extended-release tablets of 25mg, 50 mg, and 100 mg; the most common dosage is 50mg. Unlike Effexor, which is metabolized primarily by liver enzyme P450 CYP2D6, Pristiq is metabolized via conjugation and liver enzyme P450 CYP3A4. It attains peak plasma concentrations in about 7.5 hours. As a chemical, before it's put into an extended-release tablet, desvenlafaxine has a half-life of around 11 hours. Pristiq's extended-release formulation According to this paper, the extended-release formulation releases desvenlafaxine over 24 hours. The mean half-life of desvenlafaxine, without the extended-release formulation, is around 11 hours. The extended-release formulation is a monolithic matrix -- it's in the glue that holds the tablet together, not in the coating. I confirmed this in a phone conversation with Pfizer medical information (1-800-438-1985). (Thank you, oaklily, for this information about the matrix formulation.) Rather than a timed-release coating, the coating on the Pristiq tablet is only protective. The extended-release mechanism is part of the tablet matrix, or the glue that holds the tablet together. This is called a monolithic matrix tablet. If the tablet is split, the matrix is damaged and may not reliably be extended-release, depending on the size of the fragments. Larger fragments are more likely to retain some extended-release capability. When the tablet is CRUSHED, the matrix is completely destroyed. The particles should be assumed to have NO extended-release capability. A Pristiq fragment becomes desvenlafaxine, with an 11-hour half life. (Here is a description of the similar matrix formulation for quetiapine XR (Seroquel XR) .) OPTIONS FOR TAPERING PRISTIQ Since medicine knows nothing about tapering Pristiq, the following are all informal suggestions. Try any of them at your own risk. Please let us know how you do by posting in this topic. Cut up Pristiq tablets Despite the warnings not to cut it up, from reports on the Web, cutting up Pristiq tablets does seem to work for some but it makes others ill, possibly because of "dose dumping." According to Pubmed on Desvenlafaxine: "....The extended-release tablet does not dissolve in the stomach after swallowing. It slowly releases the medicine as it passes through your digestive system. You may notice the tablet coating in the stool...." The extended-release mechanism is part of the tablet matrix, or the glue that holds the tablet together. If the matrix is destroyed, the entire dose is released at once or "dumped," instead of being gradually released through the matrix formulation. Without the extended-release matrix, a Pristiq fragment becomes desvenlafaxine, with an 11-hour half life. To avoid "dose dumping" of the entire dose, you might take smaller divided doses of Pristiq, more than once a day, like immediate-release Effexor, to mimic an extended-release dose. Cut-up Pristiq seems to sometimes cause stomach upset, which may be reduced by taking it with food. Now that the 25mg tablet is available, cutting it into quarters gives you the option to taper by 6.25mg per step. If you are taking 100mg Pristiq or 50mg Pristiq, you may wish to request part of your prescription be written for 25mg tablets. (For insurance coverage of multiple dosages, your doctor most likely will have to specify taking Pristiq in "divided doses.") You may find you need a precise way to measure your tablet fragments. See Using a digital scale to measure doses As you get down to a low dose, you may wish to switch to Effexor to more precisely control dosage decreases, see below. Reducing from 100mg Pristiq to 50mg Pristiq Drug switches incur additional risk. Before trying a switch to Effexor or Prozac (fluoxetine) from 100mg Pristiq, it's probably wise to go down to 50mg Pristiq first, or 25mg if possible. Combining whole tablets, with their extended-release qualities, with tablet fragments probably makes "dose dumping" less likely or noticeable. You might use a 50mg tablet plus a 25mg tablet plus 3/4 of a 25mg tablet (18.75mg) to make the first reduction to 93.75mg 2nd reduction: a 50mg tablet plus a 25mg tablet plus 2/4 of a 25mg tablet (12.5mg) to go to 87.5mg 3rd reduction: a 50mg tablet plus a 25mg tablet plus 1/4 of a 25mg tablet (6.25mg) to go to 81.25mg 4th reduction: a 50mg tablet plus a 25mg tablet to go to 75mg 5th reduction: a 50mg tablet plus 3/4 of a 25mg tablet (18.75mg) to go to 68.75mg 6th reduction: a 50mg tablet plus 2/4 of a 25mg tablet (12.5mg) to go to 62.5mg 7th reduction: a 50mg tablet plus 1/4 of a 25mg tablet (6.25mg) to go to 56.25mg 8th reduction: a 50mg tablet If withdrawal symptoms occur, some people have found taking an additional fragment of a tablet can smooth the transition from one dosage to another. Another way to get from 100mg to 50mg or 25mg is to combine Pristiq tablets with a liquid made from immediate-release Effexor (see below). Once at 50mg or 25mg, stabilize for a month at least and consider your plan for the next stage of tapering. Use a combination of Pristiq tablets and Effexor liquid Pristiq cannot be made into a liquid, but its close relative immediate-release Effexor (not Effexor XR) can. You may be able to go off Pristiq by taking part of your dose in lower-dose tablets and part in liquid Effexor, gradually converting to all-liquid Effexor as you get to lower dosages. This may offer a convenient and gradual path off Pristiq. Only regular immediate-release Effexor can be made into a liquid (see Tips for tapering off Effexor (venlafaxine) ). As immediate-release Effexor has a short half-life and is usually dosed twice a day, you may wish to take the liquid portion of your dosage later in the day. For example, if you are taking 100mg Pristiq, you may wish to take your daily dose as one 50mg tablet and the rest later in the evening as a liquid made from immediate-release Effexor. You can titrate the liquid by 10% of your daily dosage to taper until you get to 50mg. Then you can take a 25mg Pristiq tablet with the rest in a liquid made from immediate-release Effexor. When you get to 25mg Pristiq, you might switch to splitting the tablet and taking the rest in Effexor liquid and so on until you are taking only liquid Effexor. To do this, you will have to request a prescription for Effexor tablets as well as Pristiq from your doctor. Have Pristiq made into smaller dosage capsules by a compounding pharmacy Compounding pharmacies can crush the tablets and put the powder into smaller capsules by weight. Like cutting up tablets or crushing, this destroys the time-release quality, but the compounded method is much more exact. In your body, crushed Pristiq is similar to regular immediate-release Effexor, with an 11-hour half-life. You may wish to have your dose compounded to take twice a day. If you are taking 50mg Pristiq, for example, you would have 60 capsules compounded per month. Each capsule would be 1/2 of 45mg (a 10% reduction of 50mg) or 22.5mg. You would take two capsules per day, once in the morning, and once in the evening. The next month, you would have 60 capsules compounded, each capsule being 1/2 of 40.5mg (a 10% reduction of 45mg) or 20.25mg. And so forth, for each reduction. (According to my compounding pharmacy, they can put in a slow-release additive distributing absorption over 8-10 hours. This is not as long as the Pristiq time-release coating, but at least it's something. Check with your compounding pharmacy about this. See getting-custom-dosages-at-compounding-pharmacies-us-uk-and-elsewhere ) If this does not work, you may wish to switch to Effexor XR and use the bead-counting method. Regular Effexor probably wouldn't be an advantage over Pristiq compounded to custom dosages. Crush Pristiq tablets, weigh powder with a digital scale This is similar to cutting up tablets -- Pristiq is a "do not crush" medication, as it is a time-release drug. The Pristiq powder becomes desvenlafaxine, with an 11-hour half life. If you pulverize the tablet, you might take smaller divided doses of Pristiq, more than once a day, like immediate-release Effexor, to mimic an extended-release dose. In principle, this would be a more precise way of tapering than cutting up tablets: Crush the tablet Make sure the shell fragments are evenly distributed in the powder Weigh the powder for a dose with a digital scale Put the powder into an empty gelatin capsule to make it easier to ingest Peer discussion of this method starts here http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/876-tips-for-tapering-off-pristiq-desvenlafaxine/page__view__findpost__p__27417 Switch to Effexor or Effexor XR Note: If you've had an adverse reaction to Effexor before, do NOT switch from Pristiq to Effexor. "Desvenlafaxine (O-desmethylvenlafaxine) is the major active metabolite of venlafaxine." Since the relationship is so close, switching to regular immediate-release Effexor tablets, which you can cut up or make into a liquid, this may be the best way to taper off Pristiq. Because it has a mean half-life of 5 hours, you'd have to take regular Effexor twice a day. Alternatively, you might substitute Effexor XR, which is released gradually like Pristiq and needs to be taken only once a day. You'd have the difficulty of tapering off Effexor or Effexor XR -- themselves notorious for withdrawal difficulties -- but at least you can do that gradually. See Tips for tapering off Effexor and Effexor XR (venlafaxine). According to FDA Prescribing Information for venlafaxine (Effexor), the usual dose of Effexor is 150mg per day. Since 150mg Effexor and 50mg Pristiq are both "normal" dosages of their respective drugs, they may be roughly equivalent. (See discussion of Effexor and Pristiq dosage equivalency starting http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/876-tips-for-tapering-off-pristiq-desvenlafaxine/page__view__findpost__p__42249 ) The psychiatrist who writes the 1boringoldman.com blog reports success in switching one patient from Pristiq to Effexor, then tapering Effexor, here (see comments) Another psychiatrist said when he tried this, the switch from Pristiq to Effexor was "seamless." Dr. Stuart Shipko posts here: Advice from a psychiatric pharmacist I have been corresponding with a professor at a prominent US university pharmacy department. Here is his best guess at how to taper Pristiq (he does not want his name published): Then taper off fluoxetine (Prozac). See Tips for Tapering Prozac Advice from Dr. Stephen Stahl, author of the manual Essential Psychopharmacology In his widely read psychopharmacology manual, eminent psychopharmacologist Stephen Stahl advises titration by crushing the tablets and mixing in fruit juice, see http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/876-tips-for-tapering-off-pristiq-desvenlafaxine/page__view__findpost__p__14799 According to our member oaklily, Stahl is wrong. Making a liquid from Pristiq does not work, see http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/876-tips-for-tapering-off-pristiq-desvenlafaxine/page__view__findpost__p__24822 Dr. Stahl intends to correct his book, according to this correspondence 09/15-9/16/13 with him: "Bridging" with Prozac or another antidepressant Any drug change incurs additional risk. A switch to Prozac from Pristiq may not work -- they are very different drugs -- or you might have adverse reactions to Prozac. Prozac is regularly used to "bridge" off Effexor. Given that Pristiq is a sibling of Effexor and Effexor XR, it is possible that one can, similarly, use Prozac to withdraw from Pristiq. Attributed to Joseph Glenmullen, the "bridging" technique is described by a doctor here http://www.bipolarworld.net/Phelps/ph_2005/ph1354.htm Read this entire topic before attempting a switch to Prozac: The Prozac switch or "bridging" with Prozac Later, taper off Prozac. At least Prozac comes in a liquid. To do this, consult a doctor knowledgeable about this technique.
  25. Hello everyone! I first started Prozac in the beginning of 2009 to help with social anxiety and public speaking at work. I had to delivery training and couldn't simply face the situation where I'd be in the center of attention. I had had previous failings in this area and couldn't think of screwing up again. Especially, I could lose my job. So, after googling and researching I decided to give fluoxetine a try. As you can see, no doctors were involve and I could only blame myself . I even sourced the pills by ordering from the internet. I started with 20 mg and noticed effects after approx 2-3 weeks. The main thing that I remember was calmness and confidence. With the chemicals fully kicked in, I was so relaxed about the future ordeal that I thought that even if I failed, I’d not care too much. The training went fine though and I had a massive boost of confidence from this fact. The nature of my work, requires me to constantly communicate with people, which had always been hard for me. For this reason I stayed on AD. So that I could function normally and establish myself. I had recently moved to the UK from another country and had to survive. On the other hand I was very cautious, as I had had some past dependency on substances at a tender age, and never exceeded 20mg/day. Also, I never intended to use the pills forever. I just liked how they made me feel in social situations. I had always been a bit shy and fluoxetine helped me to be more relaxed. I continued to take Prozac, but with breaks where I'd be completely off for weeks and even months! I'd go off medication cold turkey (I didn't know about tapering at the time!). And to be honest, I didn't have any major symptoms during years 2010-2013 apart from anxiety (but I'd always been anxious), irritability, anger. No major physical symptoms as far as I could remember. I consider myself to be a person with some self control and I'd try to disregard what happens inside me and try to look normal. Maybe being young(ish) and the fact that I always did some sport help as well? With time as I was becoming more relaxed about my job security and with thoughts that I probably better off AD eventually, my breaks would become longer and longer. And in Jul 2015 I first decided to go off completely. As always, I just stopped cold turkey! Well, I tapered by taking 20 mg every other day for couple of weeks, but I don't think it can be considered tapering in pure sense. WD was probably a bit harder this time with anxiety, irritability, fatigue more pronounced. But I tolerated it fine. I thought maybe I was getting older? No other major physical symptoms. I went back on Prozac again in Feb 2016 because of a new project where I'd need to socialize and communicate. And when work situation calmed down, I went off again in Sep 2016. This time WD a bit harder still. Major symptoms: anxiety, depression, fatigue, irritability, stress intolerance, anger, insomnia. Surprisingly, insomnia only hit me first in month 7 (still suffering)! This is probably the worst symptom, a torture, when you can't sleep for several nights at a time and then had to function during the day... Thanks a lot for all your attention!
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