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  1. Original topic title before shortening: a story of lamictal, prozac, cymbalta all switched or tapered too fast, ending in a disastrous bout with an antipsychotic. Thank you for your amazing service. I was a very anxious child. And i started feeling depressive episodes as early as 7 years old. In my adolescence I self medicated with alcohol and quickly developed an addiction to this and other drugs as I grew into an adult. I mostlyd loved drinking (anti anxiety) and i loved psychedelics (anti depressive). In 2001 I was in my early twenties and spent a year living in New York, I was working in the Twin Towers when the attacks occurred. The experience triggered my addictive behaviors and my life in NY became very destructive. I entered a severe depression, complicated by substance abuse. I returned to my home in Mexico. I was in therapy but after some months my therapist said we were not advancing, she considered I could benefit from seeing a psychiatrist and getting some extra help for what seemed to her like a chemical imbalance. The psychiatrist prescribed me 50 mg of Lamictal. it helped me tremendously, I still had all the feelings, but I had an ability to distance myself from them, not let them pull me down into a hole. My life got back on track. I worked a lot, I made successful pieces, I started exhibiting my work, I got married, I found some stability. the only problem was the allergies, In my childhood I had been allergic to cats, but as an adult I adopted a pair, I was really allergic to them at first and slowly the allergies subsided. When I started taking Lamictal the allergies came back, but I solved it taking antihistamines almost daily (!!!) Then one day, after eating some strawberries I had a severe allergic reaction, my throat started closing up, my skin was full of red spots. I had to go to the pharmacy to get a shot. After that I always carried an epi pen with me, as it kept happening with different things I was not previously allergic to. Shrimp, Nuts, Concrete. My doctor related it to the Lamictal and decided I should go off it with a quick taper, as my psychiatrist recommended. After that I went back to drinking and drugging heavily. In 2007 I went to do an artist residency in Madrid, where my drug consumption led to me having a psychotic break. i was convinced I was on a mission, everything spoke to me, everything was a message. I never felt more connected. This trip was disastrous to my life, my career seemed to be thriving but my marriage was really hurt. I returned to Mexico and my husband and I separated. I hit a new bottom, I wanted to cut back on my drinking, I had never been more depressed. I would stop drinking for a few months but I always relapsed. I had no support, no tools to do it. I continued struggling with anxiety and depression, but considered them to be a normal part of my hangovers and periods of withdrawal from alcohol. In 2009 I met someone who lived in Barcelona, he suggested I should see a psychiatrist, I did and was put on 5 mg of Lexapro, I had a hard time adapting to it, especially because it caused me terrible nightmares, and when i drank I would immediately blackout, in the months that followed I moved to Spain, I was in love but still struggling with depression, the medication seemed to help but my emotional instability was intensifying, I was still drinking and doing psychedelics once in a while. We moved back to Mexico in 2010, I am ashamed as I write this since I realize how messy I was, taking medication while being an active alcoholic. I would go on and off the medication, I knew I shouldn't drink when on it because of the blackouts and so sometimes I would stop the medication in order to drink the way I wished to, then I would stop drinking and go back on the medication. Meanwhile my depression and anxiety were worse than ever. I kept cancelling everything, sometimes i would stay in the car crying unable to go into the grocery store, sometimes I couldn't get out of bed, but i was able to keep making work on the good days. I eventually went off the Lexapro completely, probably with a very fast taper. In 2012 I went to a new psychiatrist who started me on 20 mg of Prozac, I was on Prozac for years, every 6 months or so I would try to get off it. It was always a fast taper and I always failed, it felt like I relapsed (now I know it was ADWD), so i was put back on it and usually upped the dosage to 20 mg one day and 40 mg the next. I was on 40 mg daily for a while, and when i was feeling better went back down to 20. Prozac was easier, the only side effects I had were a constantly clenched jaw and I was anorgasmic (which at this time in my life I didn't mind). In 2015 I began my recovery from drugs and alcohol, I had been going to meetings for a while, but in 2015 I finally stopped relapsing ( I am over 7 years clean today). When I quit drinking and drugging my emotional stability got better. I still had ups and downs but the downs lasted a lot lot less, just a couple days tops. But usually just one day of being out of commission. In 2016 When I was one year clean, I tried going off Prozac, I thought being clean I would be able to do it, i felt good. I did (what i now know was) a fast taper (as my doctor suggested) one day on, one day off, one day on, two days off, etc. (I now know this is terrible) My body collapsed, I was in so much physical pain I couldn't walk. I had brain fog, I had panic attacks, I was in bed for weeks with the pain. I saw many doctors, I had an MRI, I was diagnosed with an autoimmune condition, inflammation of the nerves, dysautonomia, fibromyalgia, one osteopath said i would have to be on opiates from now on for the pain (Luckily being an addict in recovery I turned them down). Let down by allopathic medicine I went to see a naturopath, She put me on an elimination diet. I went off gluten, dairy and sugar and was able to walk again as the pain stopped. It was a scary episode that lasted around three months. I had gone back on the Prozac after 6 weeks of being off it, but my depression came back and I went to see the psychiatrist, when i explained the pain I had had she said i probably had fibromyalgia, she switched me to Cymbalta 60 mg. The switch was easy, my mood got better, the pain didn't come back. The major side effect with Cymbalta was that I was just perpetually constipated, I had to really watch my diet and take psyllium husk everyday if i wanted to go to the bathroom every other day. I did not like this but it was ok considering how horribly i had felt when off the medication. I was on Cymbalta from 2016 thru 2019, several times i tried to go off it with a taper (which I now know was extremely fast) as my doctor recommended. Usually cutting down to half my dose for a couple weeks and then half again. Every time I tried i failed and had to go back on it with a higher dose than before. (up to 120 mg when i had been taking 60mg) I was tired of being constipated forever. I was ready to go off the Cymbalta. I switched Psychiatrists, he said we could do it, first he switched me back to Prozac, and then we tapered off (again, not slowly enough!) For the first time in my life I was not able to work. I have not been able to work since 2020. When the depression came back the psychiatrist put me on another antidepressant (not an SSRI, something relatively new... I cant remember what!) i was on that for a month and when it wasn't working he proposed we switch to an antipsychotic, Sulpiride 200 mg, ( I think its not available in the US). The antipsychotic made me very calm, my mood was pleasant, but i felt as if my body was almost shutting down. And then it actually did, my libido was gone and then my period stopped. I thought maybe I was an early menopauser (I am 46) but after 6 months I suddenly started lactating. I went to a doctor, had some tests done and my hormones were all over the place, I had dangerous levels of prolactin and extremely low progesterone and estrogen. The doctor was shocked and asked if I was on any medication, when I mentioned the Sulpiride she said I have to go immediately off it. She mentioned i was at risk of developing a small tumor in my pituitary so i had to go off it and fast. I was afraid to go off the medication. I knew i had tried many times in the past and the results had been bad. So this is my recent experience going off medication: I tried to do it right this time, I am so bummed I hadn't found this site. I made A LOT of mistakes. I now know. First I got a Journal, so its all written down, I tapered of the 200 mg of Sulpiride during the course of 4 weeks, going from 200 mg to 150 the next week, to 100 the next, to 50 the next, one day on one day off the next. (this was the instruction from my psychiatrist) After only a week off the Sulpiride, on April 11th 2021, I started microdosing with psilocybin, i did the Paul Stamets protocol. I was told it would help my brain create "new connections", it sounded good. It actually was a mess. I went into the highest anxiety period of my life. I woke up feeling someone turned on a high voltage switch in my chest. My whole body vibrated. I felt like i was choking all day. I couldn't see people, I couldn't be indoors as the walls caved in, I couldn't be in the street as I was paranoid. I spent my days in the garden looking up at a tree, trying to breath. I was convinced the psilocybin would help me through the transition, but I am sure now that it only made my WD symptoms much worse. I was on the Psylocibin protocol for 2 weeks, then i decided to stop. The anxiety continued for another month, in that time I saw my naturopath and she prescribed St. Johns Wort 900mg daily, GABA supplement at night to sleep. Ive been practicing CBT techniques, EDT tapping, Ive been praying, I have a strong network of support from my 12step group, my boyfriend, my family, Ive been calling people everyday, Ive had so much help. But still it felt unbearable. On May 30th the anxiety stopped! I fell into deep sadness and cried for 3 days, but compared to the anxiety it was a huge relief to be crying. I then found your site and started reading non stop and getting informed. I got off the St. Johns Wort. I am still taking the GABA to be able to sleep. (Should I stop it?) Every day I have different symptoms, the anxiety has subsided mostly, but waves of depression hit me two days at a time, I lose all hope, I feel there is no help, I lose my faith. I have intrusive obsessive thoughts, too. But I am no longer maintaining suicidal thoughts. I have been able to label them as unreal and turn them off. Some days the anxiety comes back but nothing like the days on the psilocybin. These past 3 days my nerve and joint pain came back, I spent two days in bed since i could hardly move around. Its better today. But these days of pain my mood has been good. My last day on Sulpiride was April 10th. Its been three months and my period is back, Ive been testing my hormones and they are still off but getting slowly back to their normal levels. I feel like apart from the WD I am also dealing with a really tremendous hormonal imbalance caused by taking the Sulpiride. I feel like three months is too long now to reinstate, but Im not sure about this, and reinstating Sulpiride is out of the question due to my very bad reaction to the medication. Im very grateful for this forum, just knowing more about why I feel and how I feel is enough to make it more bearable. I was already losing hope and dreading the fact that i might have to go back on another antidepressant and probably be on them for life. I now know that is not true and i am willing to navigate the WD however long it takes. I feel that is possible because i wont have to do it alone. I am shocked by all the information shared here on this forum and feel it is so important to inform others who are on medication about how to get off them safely. Even if I didn't find out in time, I am so grateful to have found this valuable resource. Thank you for all your work.
  2. i swore i would never take an snri again after what i went through on effexor, but he suggested i try cymbalta for the chronic pain and told me that generally there are less side effects/zaps than with effexor, so i said i would give it a try. my psychologist and his super decided that i have bipolar 2 not mdd, but the pdoc waved this away and didn’t even consider mood stabilizers. when my pdoc raised my dose of cymbalta after i expressed a wish to discontinue, and wrote in my record that i display “abnormal illness behaviors” (which just means i disagree with him?), i have decided to get off the ADs once and for all.
  3. Hello, I’ve been on this site for months and finally decided to post. I can’t even write because I’m in so much pain so my wife is typing for me. I tapered for 6 months off of lamictal, lexapro and Wellbutrin (which I was on for 16 years) and took my last dose in June. Since then I’ve had all the symptoms-loss of self, insomnia, nerve pain, headaches, brain fog/feeling dumb like my brain doesn’t work, emotional symptoms- anxiety, depression, etc., and the worst of all is akathesia. This feeling of discomfort in my body is hell. I want to crawl out of my skin. It feels like my body is on fire. Ive had twitching and convulsing and lots of suicidal ideation but the inner akathesia is the worst. I’m currently at atmc and they pushed Ativan on me. I eventually gave in because I was in so much pain and I regret it with every ounce of my being. Ive been on it for 3 weeks now and I’m so scared. I don’t know what to do. Should I slowly taper? They’re telling me to just stop because it hasn’t been that long, but what do I do with the akathesia pain? I’ve gone down to 1/2 dose the last two nights and it’s been ok but the akathesia has started to return. While I was tapering I was working with a therapist who did “journey work”. Basically I had a full day session on MDMA, another one with mdma and psyilicibin, and another one with mushrooms and ketamine late june. He also had me microdosing for a few months in the spring but I stopped that because it wasn’t doing much. ive read that reinstating lamictal helped alto. Since I was already on it I’ve considered it at a very low dose like she suggests, but I haven’t found a psychiatrist I trust and I’m pretty scared of everything now that I’m living in hell. I’ve already been hospitalized once and to atmc and another mental health facility. Barely holding it together. any advice would be really appreciated. Thanks Ps. My testerone is really low too and I’ve been doing injections twice a week. Im wondering if I should stop that or continue. Everything in my body is thrown off 2008- lexapro 40 and Wellbutrin 450 2011- cold turkey went off everything. Deep depression. Reinstated pretty quickly 2018 tapered lexapro down to 20, Wellbutrin down to 300 added lamictal at 400mg 2021- January I started to slowly taper over the next 6 months. 2021 april/may/June’s mdma, mushrooms/psilocybin (microdosing) and ketamine. I continued the ketamine into October. 2021 September started testosterone because I was tested and was very low 2021 september- went to the hospital and got Delodid for stomach pain (very suicidal the next day) 2021- October lithium for 1.5 weeks December 2021-now- Ativan I take many supplements- fish oil, magnesium, theanine, etc.
  4. I can't believe I just found this and I can't believe the scam is so good, it's even been kept from the doctors. Had one tell me today that it was just a theory and dismissed it. Anyway... 50+ male, disabled veteran (Army) 1999 - I have symptoms that indicate pre-diabetes, but my doctor diagnosed anxiety and give me this magic little 10mg pull called Lexapro. It initially makes me feel great, but the symptoms I told my doc about persisted. Not many years later I would be diagnosed diabetic type 2. 2021 - Over 20 years of a rollercoaster of different SSRIs, temporary ups, deep dark downs, and several hospitalizations I took dramatic steps. I microdosed psilocybin using the Fadiman Protocol to help me weather withdrawal. Little did I know that psilocybin is a seratonin receptor agonist and I was helping myself neurochemically by accident. I was so messed up when I started that I don't know how long it's been. 6-10 months? 2022 - My mind is clearer than it has been in a while, but I have a way to go. My primary care doc is on board and says it's like my body chemistry is resetting. It's wreaking havoc on me physically and I know my mind is still recovering, but I'm ready to start this next phase of this adventure.
  5. Redrag


    I've been on the max dose of 200mg per day of Sertraline, an SSRI, since 1990. To begin with it was great. I was working faster, and for longer hours, than was really good for me, physically; but the Dopamine "highs" were so rewarding. Sertraline enabled me to cope - and work even harder. I was getting high on the success I was getting from work and get driving harder and harder. In 1996 I had a stroke, but returned to work after one year and resumed my "workaholicism". I never equated the SSRI as a possible contributing factor to my stroke, but that possibility has dawned on me recently. I had been diagnosed with "depression" but, in fact, my doctor should have diagnosed me with "workaholism". I'm not looking to apportion blame for my stroke - I take full responsibility for it - but in the lack of any physiological signs at the time my theory that Sertraline may have supported my "crash" is one that I hang out there. I retired in 2008, but remained on 200mg per day of the SSRI, simply because I had always considered the drug to be a "mood improver", rather than a "work enabler". My theory may be wrong, but I soon came to realise that, without the "high" that hard work was giving me, supported by the SSRI, I didn't like the person I had become during retirement. I assumed it was due to the change in lifestyle and I would soon relax and be more positive. After much reflection, I realised that the SSRI was, in fact, numbing my emotions; I was only ever pretending to enjoy myself and didn't get excited about anything. At first, I was in denial over this and kept organising grand projects and long holidays for myself. I realise that I was simply trying to escape who I'd become. A grandson came on the scene but I was doing all I could to avoid seeing him, my daughter, my friends - everybody. I was/ am like a zombie and I felt I could act as a normal person should anymore. It was as if I had had a chemical frontal lobotomy, the symptoms of which only became apparent when work ceased to be my "raison d'ertre". in 2019 I decided to come off Sertraline and try to recover my personality. I applied to be on a University Trial for psilocybin as a substitute for SSRI but was rejected due to my medical history. I decided to mirror the trial anyway and started tapering at a rate of 10% of the drug per week, commencing in April, 2019. After that, the plan was to wait a further 6 weeks to completely flush-out my system and then to experiment with 25mg of psilocybin. Psilocybin is, of course, an illegal substance in the UK, so I have to guess what weight of magic mushrooms represents 25mg of psilocybin. But, having got to that point, I have become troubled by some side-effects that I had not anticipated. I anticipated mood changes and emotional difficulties but, since mid-way through the tapering process, I have had severe pain in my right hand (the "weak" side following the stroke) and also a developing problem with my right hip. I have also lost all enjoyment of food and drink and have a constant "shooshing" in my head. The list goes on, but these are three most prominent symptoms. I had deliberately not acquainted myself with the possible withdrawal symptoms before I embarked on this because I did not want my subconscious to use them as a "shopping list" for my body! However, I am now preoccupied with a number of questions and feel "paralised" at this point until I can find answers: Is the pain, and the other physical symptoms I am experiencing, genuine symptoms of withdrawal, or are they something that the SSRI drug was masking (in the same way that it masked certain emotions)? (There is no physiological damage to any joints). If these are symptoms of withdrawal then: Will they ease naturally, and over how long? Will taking the planned alternative medicines help, or hinder recovery from these? If these symptoms were, in fact, entirely separate from the SSRI, but were being "masked" by it, then: Are these symptoms of chronic conditions that will only be eased by returning to the SSRI? Or can they be cured by traditional methods? Unless I am prepared to pay mega-bucks, the answers to these questions will only come very slowly. My hand has been examined at the local hospital who gave me a clean bill of health ("perhaps a little arthritis"). Given the severe pain I am experiencing, and have been unable to ease through painkillers, that diagnosis did not provide much reassurance! Anyway, moving on... Although the medical profession is set up very well to put one on to antidepressants, I have found that there is no support for someone coming off them. To be fair, I was offered CBT, but it soon became apparent that this approach was not appropriate. So I feel very alone, frighteningly so. I went back to the University who was conducting the trials into psilocybin and they referred to me cepuk.org; I followed links from their website and this forum is one of those links. In a search for answers I have followed other links from Cepuk and read papers by highly qualified individuals whose opinions vary from: Doctor Stuart Shipko, a Californian psychiatrist who has published on SSRI withdrawal, no longer advises patients who have been on SSRIs for more than ten years to try to stop unless they are willing to risk disabling symptoms, including a state of agitation and inner restlessness which he calls ‘tardive akathisia’. He states that his ‘clinical observation is that long lasting symptoms occur even in patients who taper very slowly, not just those who stop quickly, and that there is no guarantee that these symptoms will go away no matter how long the patient waits’. Medicalnewstoday.com, (a site referred to me by my CBT counsellor), which indicates that "Discontinuation symptoms tends to last for 1 to 2 weeks, but can last longer in some cases" So I'm no further forward; that's where I am at present (4 August, 2019). No answers, just more questions; I can only follow my instincts and take all that I read/ hear with a good degree of scepticism. The story continues.......
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