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  1. Questions: I have been withdrawing from Sertraline for 9 weeks. Doctor put me on two sleeping aids in between to help with insomnia and had Serotonin Syndrome again (trazodone and mirtzopan). Did this put me back at square one with withdrawal symptoms from Sertraline? 9 weeks ago my body began rejecting Sertraline after I was tapering (bad tapering for a year). I developed Serotonin Syndrome and was told to stop the medicine cold turkey. I have been on Sertraline for 7 years transitioning from Cymbalta right before that b/c of pregnancies. Was on it for 5 years) After 3 weeks I had to find relief b/c of the horrible side effects and dark thoughts. I was put on Buspar (just six weeks ago). I read that Buspar doesn't help with withdrawal which was disappointing. But in between the cold turkey of Sertaline (9 weeks ago) my doctor has put me on two serotonin sleep aids because of the horrible insomnia (which I've never suffered with as an adult). I had Serotonin Syndrome again both times. I"m so much better than i was that first month. Dizziness is mostly gone, my appetite is back, I'm laughing again, enjoying activities, but still struggling. BUT my insomnia is still horrible. I took a few days off of .5 klonopin to try over the counter sleep aids. Worked for a few days and then wore off. So my pharmacist put me on both the over counter sleep aids to take with my low dosage of Klonopin (taking .25 or less at night) so that I can eventually wean off of the klonopin. Some nights bendryl has been enough. Other nights, not at all. I"m so discouraged b/c I want to stop the klonopin. This is really the thing that is making me the most depressed. This is when my neuropsychologist put me on mirtzopane and trazadone. Both caused the serotonin syndrome. My question is this. 2 weeks ago was when I took my last dose of trazadone (which i had the adverse affect) does this mean I'm at square one again with my withdrawal symptoms? I"m definitely feeling better but i have to admit. These have been the hardest 9 weeks of my life! I know I will get better but this is hard. Any help and encouraging words would be great. My withdrawal symptoms are now at the moderate stage from the sheets people have posted on here. Thanks and light and love to you all!
  2. I'll try to keep this kind of short. I've finally decided to post an intro today after reading posts on this site for a few years now which has helped a lot with understanding what's going on since most doctors just told me my SSRI discontinuation/withdrawal symptoms-which were unlike anything I'd ever experienced before and physically and emotionally worse than I'd ever felt-were a return of my depression & anxiety or possibly a bipolar disorder according to one doctor. I knew for a fact that it was not my original anxiety & depression, but I had no idea what was happening in the beginning or how to explain it. I had social anxiety, depression, & general anxiety since age 12 and was not allowed to drive/take the bus/go out or do much by myself other than going to school (because everything was too dangerous) by controlling, religious parents with their own high anxiety and agoraphobia. I was never allowed to receive counseling for these issues & when I went off to college, it was an extremely difficult struggle going from not being allowed to do almost anything to suddenly being responsible for figuring everything out on my own. I was also not great with time management skills & knowing how to plan ahead. (I actually relate to a lot of symptoms of ADD & Asperger's, which both greatly affect social skills & ability to get through college and would explain a lot of problems I've had. I have learned more about them in the past year, but can't afford to get diagnosed right now so I've just been looking at support groups for days when my nausea is lessened.) I felt overwhelmed all the time and all my negative thoughts worsened severely. I didn't see the free counselor at college during this time either because I was embarrassed about everything and about asking for help. I finally decided I wanted to try to make a change and try counseling the summer after sophomore year of college at age 20 and was at rock bottom, desperate to not feel depressed. I knew someone who said their antidepressant helped them, so I asked a doctor for medicine and they prescribed sertraline. After taking the first pill, I had a surge of anxiety and racing thoughts that made it impossible to concentrate. Within the first couple days on 25 mg of sertraline, I was gagging and dry heaving over and over for at least 20 minutes as soon as I ate anything. I would also throw up multiple times in a short timespan after one snack or meal. I called my Dr & was told to skip a dose and then change the time I took the dose from morning to night. After a week of this (dry heaving & vomiting all meals) on 25 mg, and another call to the doctor, I was told that digestive issues are a possible starting symptom and to increase to 50 mg. As soon as I increased, the gagging & vomiting increased even more. After 6 days of this, I called the doctor again and was told I could stop taking it altogether since it had been such a short amount of time on it. And to come in for a different medicine Rx after the weekend. The very first day that I didn't take the sertraline, I felt the worst nausea I had ever felt in my entire life. I ended up asking a friend to drive me to the ER because I felt so sick. I told the Dr how I had just stopped sertraline. The doctor said that my pupils were dilated and my reflexes were overactive. Then, he listed off illegal drugs & asked if I had taken those. (No, I've never tried any drug before). He said "You need to tell me what else is going on because the antidepressant couldn't have caused this." And I said "I don't know" and started crying. I do know that people in my family are highly sensitive to medicines and have since found out I have a gene that causes me to metabolize slowly so things build up for longer in my system. Anyway, the Dr left the room and at one point I was given Ativan in an IV by the nurse which did ease the nausea. When the Dr came back, he told me I had SSRI discontinuation syndrome, (he didn't explain what that meant), that I could never try another SSRI, and gave me a Rx for a small bottle of Ativan. My mom said he mentioned something on the phone to her about serotonin syndrome which dilated pupils and overactive reflexes are symptoms of, but I don't remember him saying anything about it directly to me. He also mentioned reinstating a small amount might help but my mom didn't pass this on to me until much later because she didn't want me to take it. After that, I experienced: -more dry heaving which gradually lessened in frequency -random times of vomiting after eating and after exercising when I wasn't sick & the food wasn't bad (or sometimes nothing was left to vomit & only a small amount would come up) -continuing debilitating nausea & dizziness -olfactory hallucination (putrid smell that wouldn't go away, would intensify around strong scents such as soap & car exhaust) -uncontrollable crying at every tiny thing (neuro-emotion, not regular sadness) -uncontrollable rage (neuro-emotion) -intrusive thoughts & floods of bad memories which I "word vomited" in texts to my sisters -didn't want to be around people who I associated with bad memories because it would greatly intensify neuro-anxiety. (I'd guess the feeling is similar to what people mean who talk about experiencing bad drug trips and how it's important to be with people you trust) -nightmares -paranoia/suspicion/distrust (felt like my mom & sister were not really my mom and sister even though logically, I knew it was them. Things feel creepy & sinister -almost like a horror movie sometimes. A post I read here compared the sinister feeling to a bad LSD trip. I have never tried LSD, but I understood what they meant & is the closest way I found to describe it. -cognitive fog (thinking, processing speed, & reaction time is noticeably slower) (I was a slow thinker/processor before, but it feels like I have brain damage now) -memory problems (I was somewhat forgetful before, but am even more so now) -depersonalization ("it feels like the medicine changed who I am & I don't have an identity/sense of self which I still hadn't fully formed before sertraline) -derealization (feel emotionally disconnected & distant from people/atmosphere. I know things are real, but they don't feel real. Sometimes it feels like consequences won't matter or there is no sense of helpful anxiety even in a potentially dangerous situation. Logically, I know they do matter and still want to do the right thing) -anhedonia/apathy/emotionally numb (don't care about things or have the same amount of passion for interests or feel empathy for other people's emotions or feel spiritual even though I had some spiritual beliefs before. Couldn't feel hopeful about anything/future or feel love towards or from anyone. These emotions have slowly returned to a certain degree since then & levels of ability to feel them have changed at different courses of time) -blurred/cloudy vision (when DR was at most intense, vision was different. Hard to explain) -eye floaters ( random black specks & lines) Didn't notice these until a year after DC-ing -constant yawning/air hunger -stomach/digestion issues -burning, tingling, itching, numbness, redness in feet -brain zaps/"crackles" (sometimes annoying, sometimes painful, but my most tolerable symptom) -head pressure/tightness, feels like head is being squeezed -headaches There was also a period of 6 months where I thought certain symptoms were over and after that period, the dizziness returned. Those are most of the symptoms I've experienced in the past approx 3.5 years. They're not in order. I'm 24 now. A few have gone away for the most part (vomiting, olfactory hallucination, yawning) and most are less intense. I have really improved a lot, I don't mean to sound overly negative. But, I still have the issues I went on the SSRI for & I have trouble accepting where I am & worrying about where to go from here & the uncertainty of how long this lasts because it has put lots of areas of my life on hold (I wasn't able to go back to college, I hope to someday) and ended up making things harder to deal with when I was told it would make them easier. (BTW, I am now seeing a counselor). I don't understand why people say SSRI's are not technically drugs when they have this much of an effect on your mind, mood, & perceptions. Sorry if I have over shared, I might need to post a shorter version of this at some point that's easier to read. And I'm still figuring out the layout of the website & where to post about certain questions & topics. I just know that sometimes other people's explanations made me feel better because I had some understanding of what was happening & words to describe feelings I'd never had before and didn't know how to explain. I've also had other stress & health issues and a few (physical health) medicines that have affected my withdrawal progress, but I guess that's a topic for a separate forum. Any advice, similar experiences, recommendations, tips for using the site, or insight into what happened to my brain is appreciated if anyone feels so inclined :)
  3. Hello everyone, It is very good that I finally found a place to talk about my issues. Started sertraline in June, overdosed in August, now cold turkey with serotonin syndrome So, as stated above, I've been going through many things in a short frame of time. I've had anxiety problems as long as I could remember. As a kid, I was anxious. As a teen, I was anxious. My anxiety problem got out of control this year, as I started university and many things that I couldn't control happened simultaneously (mainly family stuff - mum's verbally abusive, my sibling has a cognitive disability, and my dad has health issues). I was getting constantly frustrated and depressed, and ultimately developed a suicidal ideation around June. That is when I first went to a GP to talk about my mental issue and the GP prescribed me with 50mg of sertraline. At first, it helped me a lot with my anxiety but when I think about it now, what sertraline did was numbing all my emotions; tranquilising my mind. As soon as I started taking the pills, I had several side-effects, including severe insomnia and lack of appetite which never really disappeared until I went cold turkey. I could barely sleep for 4-5 hours per day for several months. From the beginning, I had problems with my dosage. A few weeks after initially taking pills, I increased the dose by myself to 100mg because it was during the exam period, I was extremely anxious and wanted to die because of the stress and anxiety. I've told my GP later and she said it'd be ok to continue taking 100mg if I'm good with taking it. So from then on, I took 100mg per day. However, I was going nuts as I wasn't getting enough sleep and there were persisting side-effects that kept me from being functional. I could barely concentrate on anything. Although I believed I wasn't anxious anymore, I was seriously getting depressed due to the physical fatigue and other things that were going around me. I think I went through some personality changes as I started acting more impulsively without thinking about the consequences. Probably because nothing was rewarding as all my emotions were blunted due to the pills. I overdosed myself with sertraline during late August. It was during the exam period (again), I couldn't study properly because I couldn't concentrate, I was suffering from insomnia. I talked about the insomnia problem to my GP and she told me exposure to sunlight, drinking warm milk and exercising mindfulness activities would help... which didn't. I was also very depressed during that time. I took a blood test around that time due to irregular menstruation and the GP told me that there were two hormonal abnormalities and they could be either because I was too stressed/due to the antidepressant, or because I had PCOS and a tumour on my pineal gland. Everything accumulated and I was getting extremely anxious. So, without thinking much about the consequences, I started binge-eating my pills. I had no intention of committing suicide as I researched beforehand and the case study I read stated that overdosing a very high amount did not kill the person. Moreover, whenever I was getting anxious, I had cravings with my pills because I wanted to numb all my feelings (I still do sometimes, even after going through serotonin syndrome - so I started suspecting that the pill may be addictive despite what everyone's saying). Additionally, I had access to plenty of sertraline as I had 2 prescriptions - one for 50mg, and one for 100mg. Now when I think about it, one of the things that contributed me to overdosing was the generic pills; sometimes I went to other pharmacies and they only had the generic ones. Because I didn't know that the generic ones may have a different effect in terms of time, I just took generic ones and found them not as effective as the brand pills and took even more to gain the effect. I did know that sertraline did not have instant effects (well the side-effects were quite instant though). My highest overdose on 1 day was 450mg. I didn't take the pills at the same time; it was more like 100mg in the morning, 150 in the afternoon, and 200 at night. during that insane week, I took a total of 1500mg, which was more than double my supposed weekly dose (700mg). The effects of sertraline syndrome were instant. I've acquired high blood pressure (around 150) and fast heart rate, to the extent that I woke up in the middle of the night because my heart was beating so quickly and my blood vessels were constricting. My hands started to tremble constantly. I went to my GP on that following Monday. And... the interesting thing was that the GP advised me to keep taking my usual dose (100mg) because she was worried about the withdrawal syndrome. She told me that the symptoms should cease several weeks later. Well, I should've realised that GPs don't have much knowledge regarding the psychiatric drugs because I saw her searching up about sertraline on her computer. Anyways, I kept taking the usual dose, thinking that I would get better within a few weeks. Then like a week later I self-decreased my dose to 50mg because the symptoms were getting severe. The trembling spread through my entire upper limb. I've developed bilateral upper limb clonus, spasticity, and hypertonia - I was jerking my upper limb violently all the time except when I was asleep. All my upper limb muscles (including the rotator cuff muscles) were contracting involuntarily. I was suffering from constant muscle ache, tendon ache as well as severe insomnia. So, in mid-September, around 3 weeks after the overdose, I finally decided to go to the hospital emergency department although I initially planned to wait until I see the psychiatrist in mid-October. Serotonin finally screwed up my autonomic nervous system as well - I developed problems breathing and regulating my body temperature. I was in constant agony as I had neuromuscular, cardiovascular, respiratory, ANS problems as well as insomnia and other antidepressant side effects. Muscle spasticity finally started to spread to my lower limbs as well. Because of those problems I was very depressed at that time. I finally went to the emergency department and the doctors and people from the toxicology department assessed me. I was given a pill of valium and IV fluids. The doctor there advised me to stop taking the pills and told me that my problems are probably a combination of serotonin syndrome and withdrawal syndrome (from overdosing then quickly decreasing my dose). From then on, I was cold turkey with sertraline. The week after the trip to the emergency department, my dad took me to his GP. I told him (the GP) that I went to the hospital, and had serotonin syndrome. I also told him that I had insomnia. My dad's GP gave me a weeks supply of valdoxan (aglomelatine - melatonin based antidepressant) and told me that I could start taking it from that day (although I raised concerns about taking new antidepressant while having serotonin syndrome) because it won't interact with serotonin and it doesn't have many side-effects. But the funny thing about valdoxan is that you need to get blood test done every month to check your liver enzyme level. It can potentially damage and fail your liver but isn't it ironic how the doctors say it doesn't have many side-effects?!? I started taking valdoxan but had to quit it after 4 days because the side-effects were immense. It could've been serotonin syndrome but as soon as I started valdoxan, I had constant dizziness, nausea, headaches (brain zaps?) and severe fatigue for several weeks even after I quit it. The only good thing about valdoxan was that it instantly fixed my insomnia; I no longer have sleeping problems which I had for several months. So, around late September to mid-October, I had serotonin syndrome, withdrawal syndrome, and the side-effect from the new antidepressant at the same time - which was excruciatingly painful. Then around mid-late October, I finally met the psychiatrist. I booked the appointment like 3 months before... then finally saw him. He asked me about my family issues, where my depression and anxiety stemmed from, but he didn't really discuss with me about all the pill-related issues. Whilst he agreed with me in not prescribing any psychiatric pills, when I told him about my upper limb trembling due to the serotonin syndrome, he told me that I can't have serotonin syndrome because it's been a while since I stopped taking it and the trembling must be because of my anxiety issue. The thing I don't get is that I still do have trembling, as well as bilateral clonus, spasticity, and muscle hypertonia right now as I write this down. I can't fully stretch some of my fingers because they are curled up!!!! IT'S A NEUROLOGICAL PROBLEM, NOT SIMPLY ANXIETY STUFF. I didn't tremble all day because of anxiety before I started taking pills, even though I was struggling with anxiety! Now, I'm currently having CBT with a clinical psychologist which is also my university lecturer of the psychology course. It's going well, but I'm still suffering a lot from the pill side-effects. I still have neuromuscular issues and other issues I've acquired since starting sertraline - hypersensitivity with food, fatigue, and many other things. Before taking pills, I at least knew why I was depressed. Nowadays I get depressed out of blue. I think taking sertraline made my mood-swings and depression worse. I'm not anxious anymore, but I don't know if it's because my anxiety has been cured by the pills or it's just that I don't care anymore about my original problems which made me depressed because the pills made me really sick. I think the whole experience with antidepressants really lowered my pain tolerance threshold and now I'm in constant, chronic pain. My muscles still contract involuntarily all day, my hands and arms still tremble, and there's nothing I can do about the pain right now except taking painkillers which are effective for a few hours. I don't think the GPs and the psychiatrist can do much about it either. Any recommendations? Anyways, thanks for reading my long post.
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