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  1. I have had the good fortune to confer with some of the top brain researchers in the world this past 4 years. Michael M. Merzenich who has had several PBS brain specials, Robert Sapolsky at Stanford, Daniel Amen (also many PBS brain specials) Malcom Lader in the UK and many others. Off the subject of exercise but Dr. Merzenich is considered the father of neuroplasticity research and he told me to study primates brain ability to heal they give them SSRI's then stop them. OK Exercise - none of these experts had a clue on how to heal a drug damaged brain. The one common theme was aerobic exercise. There is a great book out on this called SPARK on this. There is also the work of the Cooper Center on the benefits of aerobic exercise for anxiety and depression being better than medications. For the first 3 years I could not do any more than walk - any strenuous activity made me critically ill. I still walk a lot and more if I am in a wave (which seems to be continual) but now I have been able to do some 10 mile bike rides. Has anyone else found benefit/determent to exercise??
  2. nirubhai

    nirubhai: sleep restoration

    Day 54 of benzo freedom. Sleep acute hard to get. Took amitriptyline 10 mg yesterday which somewhat helped. Will it be OK to go with this drug for sleep?
  3. Hi, Is it possible to get natural sleep after heavy use of valium for about 40 years? I'm off from valium for last 3 years and tapering etizolam*. Took valium from 1970 to 2014. * Link to wiki information about this drug. Etizolam (marketed under the brand name Etilaam, Etizola, Sedekopan, Etizest, Pasaden or Depas) is a benzodiazepine analog.
  4. Started off on Clonazepam 0.5mg twice a day in Nov 2015 due to acute panic attacks linked to relationship and work related anxiety. Felt okish. Was put on prozac 10mg at night, additionally. Wasn't feeling all that great. By January 2016, started getting counseled by a psychologist at work. She tried to help me take a deep dive into the core reasons of my sudden, debilitating anxiety. It did help as I started working on them steadily. She then referred me to another psychiatrist who stopped clonazepam and Prozac and put me on escitalopram 10 mg at night and etizolam 1mg in the mornings. I was improving but nowhere close to being totally normal. He said it'll take 6-8 weeks, I ignorantly believed him and continued. In the meanwhile, got everything related to my palpitations and blood pressure checked. Things were ok except slightly high BP, which then made me insanely fear blood pressure readings and get more worked up and increase the anxiety more so. By May 2016, had issues with my sleep cycle so he added mirtazapine 3.75mg (1/4th) for my sleep. Continued this and the sleep got better but the anxiety plateaued and didn't improve (Should've realised the real reasons by now, sadly I didn't). On my next visit, he changed the whole prescription and I was put on chlordiazepoxide 5mg twice a day, zoloft 50mg at night for 2.5 months. Felt ok finally and by Dec 2016, in my haste to stop the meds( hated taking any sort of medicine), I quit taking any of them. Didn't know about any withdrawals whatsoever. Never visited the doctor again. After about 1.5 months (mid Jan 2017), suddenly woke up one morning feeling totally disoriented and severly sleepy even after 8 proper hours of sleep. Never had the slightest idea of what was happening. Continued in such severe misery for 5 months. Had sleep studies done (mild apnea), and tried some sleep apnea "gadgets" for 2 months. No relief. Nov 2017 and I was told I had moderate PLMD. Tried pramipex 0.25mg at night until March 2018. No change. Visited a psychiatrist in April 2018 and he started my back on escitalopram 10mg and lorazepam 1mg (temporarily to help my chronic insomnia since Dec 2017). I felt better initially as I slept more but was fatigued during the day. Felt better in the evenings. He put me on mirtazapine (AGAIN!) as my sleep wasn't getting better. I was taking 3.75mg (1/4th) and then 1.875 mg (1/8th). I felt close to 85% normal but had notoriously put on 4 pounds in a month during Apr-May 2018. He thought of stopping it as I was on a vry low dose. Put me bk on escitalopram 5mg, supposedly low. I feel disgusting again after I wake up. Don't trust doctors at all now. Did my own research and am using Mg transdermal, omega 3, B12 and D3 supplements. Have started excercise to lose weight. Should I stop escitalopram and start mirtazapine 1.875 mg again? That's what seemed to help me maybe
  5. Hi everyone, I have severe insomnia problem for more than a month. I was prescribed Zyprexa on March 29, 2018 and I took it only for less than 3 weeks. I stopped taking Zyprexa cold turkey and I switched to Risperidone 1mg. Now, I have severe insomnia. I cannot fall asleep and I just lied in bed from night to morning. My insomnia been going on for more than a 1 month. My questions for you. How many days, months, or years did it took you to sleep normal again after you withdraw or stop cold turkey from Zyprexa? Did you have to take another drug after stopping the Zyprexa to help you sleep? I’m desperate for advice and help. I really appreciate your input. Thank you.
  6. i stopped risperdal 4MG "Cold Turkey" and because of that that i can sleep only 3 hours per night. i am wondering regarding 2 issues: 1. How long will it last without start again and tapering ? 2. Can it make permanent damage to the brain so even after slow tapering the problem will persist permanently? If someone did the same, couldn't sleep and can share with his experience it will be great! Thanks
  7. Hi, my name is Trevor, I'm 28 years old and I have been recovering from Remeron withdrawal for a while now. I took 15mg Remeron for 7 years and every time I tried to stop taking it I experienced debilitating insomnia that would last for weeks til I just couldn't take it any more and went back on the medication. Finally I decided it was time to kick this drug for good and started out by reducing my dose to 7.5 mg for a few months, then I started the long process of slow reduction using the liquid titration method. I spent 5 months reducing from 7.5 mg to 0 and by the time I got down to 2 mg I was already experiencing insomnia along with other side effects like depression, anxiety, crying spells, body itching, heart palpitations, and chronic diarrhea. It's been three months now sense my last dose and I still can't manage to get consistent sleep. On good nights I might sleep 5-6 hours but most nights I only get 2-4. Even when I do fall asleep my dreams can get pretty disturbing and I wake up every 30 minutes to an hour. When I lay down to sleep my heart beats very heavy, not fast or sporadic like with anxiety, but slow and forceful. Even if I can get my mind to shut off and be completely relaxed my body will not relax. Any time I get my blood pressure checked it's completely normal but I have noticed my resting heart rate is kind of slow. The other day it was as low as 48bpm. I still get diarrhea some days, and it doesn't make a difference what I eat. It always happens first thing in the morning when I end up running to the bathroom every 15 minutes about 3-5 times. A few months back I went to an alternative health clinic and they started me on a bunch of supplements in an attempt to re balance my hormones and get me sleeping again. Some of the stuff I was taking was Chinese herbs so I don't even know what was in it. I got tired of spending 100's of dollars on supplements every month I didn't even know where helping or not so recently I began to cut back on the supplements. I even went to see a hypnotherapist last week and am going back later this week. The other problem is that I picked a very stressful time in my life to get off the meds. I had just quit my job and sold my house to go back to school plus my girl friend had just broke things off with me. Sense then I tried to date another girl who rejected me after a couple dates. My alcoholic father moved back to Missouri after living in Colorado for 14 years and just recently he got diagnosed with ALS and only has a few months to live. His ex wife came and got him and moved him to Michigan where she plans on taking care of him. I'm just glad I don't have to watch him die a slow death. School is going well but I'm taking easy classes right now, I'm afraid that if I don't start sleeping well by the time I get accepted into my program of study I might fail the program. It's so difficult for me to concentrate on my studies when I'm only getting 2 hours of sleep some nights. I used to be very healthy and full of energy, I was big into fitness like running, biking, and yoga. Now days I barley have enough energy to go for a walk. What advice would anyone have for someone who has already been off a drug for a while but is still experiencing side effects? I keep telling myself this can't go on forever and I will eventually start sleeping normal again but progress is so slow it gets very discouraging. This Friday I will be going to get my yearly check up with the VA. I haven't been to the VA clinic for any of this because I was afraid they would just try to put me on another medication. But now I'm beginning to realize there may be other things they can do for me like sleep studies or talk to a therapist. Any suggestions on how to approach my doctor about this? In my experience military and VA doctors are terrible when it comes to health problems like this, I want to make sure he gets me the help I need without me being disrespectful or acting like a know it all. Are there any treatments I should ask for directly?
  8. I went to see a chiropractor/homeopath who my mother recommended and who I'll call Magic Nancy. I don't no what training alternative practitioners typically receive -- it varies I'm sure -- but Magic Nancy got into the healing business fairly recently after a longish career in an unrelated field. My experience with Nancy was negative. (Here's the simplified story) First, I am pretty open to alternative therapies. I won't list all the crap I've tried, but take my word for it. So I was open to Magic Nancy. I saw her a couple of times and developed some concerns. Nancy likes to read my body talk and then tell me what I am thinking beneath the conscious level. I saw this practioner in December and she told me that I was ready to heal and that I needed to repeat a mantra -- something like "I'm ready to let my body heal itself" -- and I was only one week away from a full recovery and good health. Ok. My body didn't heal itself on her schedule and I moved on. Recently I've had some problems and to appease my mother I revisited Magic Nancy where I had an extremely upsetting experience. I brought along a number of medications and supplements for her to muscle test. She listened to my body and then told me I didn't need to take almost any of it. She got strong "NOs" from my body on diazepam and clonazepam and said I shouldn't take them. Okay, whatever, I'll keep your recommendations in mind. Then she did her body reading session where she said I said that I am struggling with fear of failure, memories from age 16 and self-posioning. She said, by and large, that I once again am "ready to be well" and that I should put the past behind me and go out and be healthy and ... I don't know, get off my ass, basically. Her dismissiveness frustrated me. I told her so and we then had an awkward conversation which ended with Magic Nancy saying "I'm only telling you what your body is saying it needs, you don't have to listen to it if you think this is crazy, you're in charge, I'm just the messenger." Yea, I said but I don't know these things that my body knows and speaks to you. You're claiming I should do x,y, &z but not a,b,&c and you can't tell me why besdies "that's what my body wants" which is not a good enough reason to cold turkey benzos or to follow other recommendations. It's just not enought. Finally, Magic Nancy, your general attitude that I am A-okay except for my persistent clinging to a "fear of failure" pisses me off. I don't know if I am afraid of failure or not. But you telling me I am, is not enough reason to stop medications or buy supplements from you. Clearly frustrated, she told me that her work was difficult to understand and based in quantum physics which is incompatible with western medicine. She said I take a course in quantum physics and human health to better understand. Then, on second thought, she told me there is no such course that would apply to what she does because she is on the cutting edge. Of quantum physics!! The cutting edge of quantum physics research and application is on a gravel road behind the market in Williamson County Texas, who knew!? In a trailer home to boot! Anyway, I left. This was a very upsetting experience because some of the things Magic Nancy said actually made sense to me. However some advice didn't ring true at all. But my biggest complain was her hostile attitude. Her attitude implied I could be healthy if I was willing and that by implication only psychological fears and my unwillingness to listen to my body (from my subconscious to her) is keeping me sick, if I'm sick at all. It's messed up to play head games with a sick person. My illness is not my fault nor is it imaginary. One layer here is that I'd seen Magic Nancy earlier and not taken her full recommendations fully seriously. She was upset that I didn't make an appointment earlier, I think, and clearly brought a lot of hostility to our meeting. That my mother is a regular customer made things more twisted up. Anyway, she didn't take me seriously and she played a very nasty game of blaming the victim that made me feel icky and angry. Magic Nancy was the most upsetting health experience I'd ever had or close to it. It was uniquely bad as the one that felt the most emotionally exploitative. I wanted to share this experience because I'm sure we've all been treating poorly or misunderstood by healthcare professionals when all we want is help.
  9. Aka methylsulfonylmethane. I first learned about this mineral from another mod, Fresh, who had success with it. I've copied the following posts from her thread and mine in order to bring together our discussion and experiences with MSM. Organic Sulphur as a Versatile Healer by Walter Last MSM, dimethylsulfone or methylsulfonylmethane with the formula (CH3)2SO2 occurs naturally in many fresh foods but is lost during processing. Its main use in the body is for collagen synthesis, forming skin, blood vessels, hair and nails. Its main benefit is to keep cells, skin and blood vessels elastic, which is the attribute of youth. That is why organic sulphur is often regarded as the beauty mineral. It keeps cell walls permeable so that nutrients can freely flow into the cells and wastes and toxins can easily be removed. Amino acid chains are usually linked with each other through flexible sulphur bridges. Also the oxidative energy production of cells requires reactive sulphur compounds. Without sufficient organic sulphur as in the form of MSM cells and body structures lose their elasticity and flexibility. The result are the well-known signs of aging: inelastic skin with increasing wrinkles, scar tissue, hardening arteries, varicose veins and also hardened lungs causing emphysema. Sufficient MSM is able to reverse these conditions to a significant degree, including emphysema. It is believed that the MSM in Aloe Vera is the active ingredient for repairing damaged skin. MSM is used by athletes to increase stamina and minimise sore muscles. Its use for this purpose is even more widespread with racehorses and greyhounds. This effect may be mainly due to the ability of MSM to greatly increase the body's ability to eliminate metabolic residues, wastes and toxins from the cells. In a similar way it appears to help those with chronic fatigue. With this it also helps us to recuperate from severe physical and mental exhaustion. MSM reduces the effects of stress and the incidence of stress related deaths in animals MSM tends to reduce or eliminate allergic reactions to foods, chemicals and inhaled allergens. It also reduces reactions to the bites of mosquitoes, bees, poisonous spiders and snakes. It lessens inflammation, pain, stiffness and swellings due to arthritis or from other musculoskeletal system disorders and helps to normalise the blood chemistry in these conditions. It also reduces inflammations of the skin and mucous membranes. MSM relieves leg and back cramps and muscle spasms, be it after periods of inactivity (night cramps) or during athletic activities. Other conditions that often benefit from MSM supplementation are hot flashes (or hot flushes) as well as discomfort due to the monthly cycle, also acne, asthma, back pain, Candida, constipation, diabetes, diarrhoea, diverticulitis, gastro-intestinal ulcers, hypertension, inflammations of all kinds, itching skin, migraines, nausea, pain, stress, sunburn and wound healing. It should also be helpful with other chronic degenerative or inflammatory conditions, especially Alzheimer's disease, cancer, Crohn's disease, myasthenia gravis and Parkinson's disease. Melanoma cells of a particularly aggressive strain were treated with a 2% MSM solution. After one day of exposure the cells had become completely normal and remained so indefinitely. Fingernails and hair have a high sulphur content and generally improve with MSM. It also reduces parasite infections in the intestinal and urogenital tracts. MSM appears to normalise our mental condition. Individuals on MSM tend to report increased alertness, reduced mood swings and less depression. It seems to improve the immune system and the senses of taste and smell. In addition, it neutralises the toxicity of anticholinesterase, thereby providing protection against insecticide exposure or ingestion. It also aids the liver in the detoxification of chemicals and, with this, is useful to ease drug withdrawal symptoms. The Oregon Health Service University demonstrated in many years of clinical use that MSM 1. inhibits pain impulses along nerve fibres (analgesia), 2. lessens inflammation, 3. increases blood supply, 4. reduces muscle spasm, 5. softens scar tissue. How to Use MSM MSM is a natural food ingredient and is free of unpleasant taste and odour. It is reported to be completely safe even in very high amounts. Because of its inert composition, it does not normally cause allergies or undesirable pharmacological effects. It can even safely be used to dilute blood. The body will use what it needs and remove any excess through the kidneys. The water-soluble MSM is easily absorbed and provides a therapeutically important source of organically bound sulphur. The daily maintenance intake commonly ranges from 5 to 20 g in several divided doses. Try to adjust the dose according to your wellbeing or observed effects. You may use more or less of these commonly used amounts. Initially I suggest starting with about 1 g and increase the dosage gradually to the full amount. The reason for a slow increase is that MSM often causes some beneficial but uncomfortable cleansing reactions. This may result in headaches, nausea, diarrhoea or weakness for a few days. If you are already on a high dose when this happens, just reduce or stop the intake until it is over. Cleansing reactions are a common and necessary part of effective natural healing methods. If you want to overcome a specific health problem faster you may experiment with taking more than your usual maintenance dose. To spread the intake more evenly during the day you may dissolve the daily amount in a glass of fruit juice or herb tea and taking a sip now and then. The exact amount used each day is not critical. You may equate a rounded teaspoonful of the fine, white crystals as being approximately 5 g. The benefit of MSM will be enhanced by a diet high in vitamin C or with additional vitamin C supplements. You may also use MSM externally to carry other nutrients or remedies into the skin. With arthritis or connective tissue problems or generally for skin rejuvenation, you may dissolve glucosamine, copper salicylate, sodium ascorbate, magnesium chloride and MSM in a small amount of (warm) water and aloe vera gel and rub it into the affected area, although DMSO is more effective for skin absorption. MSM in amounts of 10 to 20 grams in addition to several teaspoons of DMSO can be used as an alternative oxygen supply system to greatly increase energy. For details see Increase Your Energy. Caution: Individuals who are sensitive to sulphites (often used as preservative) also may react to MSM and DMSO. This is usually due to a deficiency of molybdenum and can be overcome with supplementation (try 500 mcg). Today is the 1st August, which makes it just over two weeks of excellent sleep. Even before w/d, even before using antidepressants, I never had sleep this good. If you've tried it, or seen some reputable studies on it, please add to the discussion. PLEASE NOTE: As with all supplements, please start at a low dose and slowly work your way up. And please also remember that not everybody gets the same results with the same supplements. We are all so different.
  10. Hallo all I was only on Mirtazapine for a few weeks after being given it in hospital for sleep after surgery. Did not know about the addictive properties I am very sensitive and never normally take medications. Thanks to this site I was able to taper with a liquid compound over 5 months, finishing 4 months ago, with no withdrawal at all. Great! However, I had rebound insomnia, waking all through the night for some time. I always slept well. Now, I go to sleep immediately, and wake up at either 3.30 or 4 if I am lucky, every night. Can anyone tell me if this is a normal effect after tapering, and how long it might go on? I have tried ALL the usual natural remedies to no avail. Health and diet is good otherwise. I do not do caffeine or alcohol. Will I ever be able to sleep longer like I used to? Thanks
  11. I accidentally stumbled onto this a few days ago while looking for a review of the book 'The Highly Sensitive Person' by Elaine N. Aron, Ph.D It was pure luck that I discovered ASMR, I've had this my whole life, but had no idea it was even a 'thing' or had a name. I found myself about to watch a youtube video review of the book, but was puzzled why the letters ASMR were in the title. Then when the video started, the guy was whispering, I could hardly hear it, I had to turn everything right up, at first it was a bit annoying, but then he started talking about the book and relating it to something called ASMR and I got very curious, left the video to find out what it was all about and found myself in a whole new world. ASMR stands for Autonomous sensory meridian response, apparently some people experience it and some don't. For people who have this, triggering this response can be extremely relaxing, calming and induce sleep. I was looking for a short video which explains it, there were a few I found, but the one I'm linking to, does an amazing job of not only explaining it, but also by incorporating some of the triggers for ASMR in the actual presentation. A comment below the video sums up what I think may be the potential this has for some people "...i can't thank you enough, you've done more for me than my doctors have over the last 17 years." It works best if you use headphones and you may need to turn the sound up. I've only just started exploring these kinds of videos, but already I've found some of my own triggers and can't believe how relaxed some of them make me feel, the most surprising is the sound of a pencil being sharpened. Of course its not a cure for withdrawal, but it may help with anxiety, stress and insomnia.
  12. As suggested by Alto, I am posting my experience with zopiclone here. I've used zopiclone a number of times in my life and found it very helpful, but I've tried to limit the period of use to about six weeks. As it is a z-drug, which are similar to benzos, it can be addictive. I've found lack of sleep can really keep the nervous system sensitised and careful use of a sleep med can help to break that cycle, allowing things to calm down somewhat. My approach is to always use the minimum effective dose and adjust the dose as needed. The usual advice here is to keep a daily consistent dose of whatever med, but I think for short term use of a sleep med it's best to take the minimum you need, aiming to taper off as soon as you can to avoid withdrawal issues. Here is how it worked for me: In the beginning I might need a whole pill to get to sleep, but after a few days my sleep would stabilise and I would start chipping down the pill a little, trying, say, three-quarters and if it worked, stay there for a few days until sleep stabilised. By sleep stabilising I mean good quality sleep. After each drop, sleep quality might be not quite as good for a few days, but I would still sleep okay, then my body would adjust to the lower dose and sleep better. Eventually I was able to use melatonin and valerian for sleep instead of meds. Of course, this approach may not work if your sleep does not stabilise due to ongoing severe w/d. I found it helpful during the period after updosing when I was waiting for the updose to work and restabilise.
  13. A few of my friends have suggested I have another sleep test to see what might be causing my sleeplessness. They see me struggling with severe insomnia, how not sleeping is making my life awful and impacting the neurological illness I have. I had a 24 hour sleep test maybe 7-8 years ago when my neuro muscular disease was out of control (pain, inflammation) and I wasn't 2 full years out from my psych drug taper completion so my sleep was deregulated. At this point I would like to see if the disease is a contributing factor and if not hopefully a sleep test could readily identify what might be causing my issues (or at least rule out some things). I do have a wonderful neurologist who'd evaluate the results. I was wondering from your perspective how effective sleep tests are, what do they diagnose and what information you could share/link me to?? What was your experience with sleep testing, problems found and how addressed? Have you had more than one sleep test?
  14. I am Charlene from Utah USA, I am withdrawing (w/d) from Lamictal, and would like some help with it. Shortish summary of most recent mental health drug history: 150 mg/day lamictal, 50 mg/night trazadone (as needed for sleep), are current medications. I have already sucessfully w/d from 300 mg/day effexor, prior to that abilify (prior med was respiradal). I have script for wellbutrim that I have not started on, though I have taken it previously without (w/o) serious side effects, but wondered if it was "working" for less depression. I was recently diagnosed with anxiety, due to great trouble at work, I started using proprananol, but have not continued taking it as I think the growing job anxiety was due to w/d from effexor, not "me". Diagnosis I have been tagged with in the last few years include: major depression, severe, recurring; bi-polar I, generalized anxiety, and the wonderful one, borderline personality disorder. I was hospitalized by consent in 2011 for 2 weeks (huge work related difficulties were a driver), which is when I got the BPD diagnosis, possibly due to continuing having suicidal ideations and conflicts in relationships there (and in usual life); which have continued most of these 2 years. But, I think some things like "getting along with others" is getting better, possibly due to w/d from effexor? I have been prescribed many tri-cyclic and SSRI and SNRI anti-depressants; my summary at this point on anti-depressant use for me is that at best some of them have "raised the bottom" of my low moods - which at times of stress has been crucial I suppose. None of them however are something that I want or intend on staying on the rest of my life, which I believe is the pro-pharma medical establishments recommendation for me up to this point. Augmentation with resperidal for irritability, then abilify later, depakote (more than a couple years ago) and now lamictal (taken previous periods too, w/d due to memory/concentration/focus Extreme problems in 2004 and 2010 - why do "they" keep putting me on it? I was on double the dosage back then than I was this time however. Other medical/physical diagnosis (most likely from taking the above!) include hypertension, pre-diabetes, high cholesterol, irritable bowel syndrome. I am currently interested in continuing Lamictal w/d and trying not to go back on any anti-depressants. I am a bit concerned that continuing w/d may exasperate my tendency to disorganization and sometimes fluctuating mood and more irritability......things I have noticed over the previous 2 months or so. I am trying to stay very motivated to deal with low moods by actions such as hiking, biking, possibly getting back to running trails, staying involved in community by tutoring and organizing hikes, try to get back to daily meditation and other ways to deal with repetitive thoughts and low and not useful thoughts/actions. I currently work part-time at a lower stress job, have financial difficulties due to being on private disability for 2 years, which payments have stopped now. How do I go about slow w/d from lamictal? So far have decreased to 150 mg/day from 200 mg/day, by cutting the blue tablets in quarters. I went down to 100 mg/day, but felt rising anxiety from the turmoil and lack of patience and such that I was feeling, so went back up to 150 mg/day and have been back there for more than a week now.
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