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  1. Hi, I have been a long time lurker and didn't think I'd need to post but I am hoping for a bit of reassurance and support. I have so far not involved myself, because I am one of those who didn't take ADs for long and had a reaction. I am generally a happy, healthy and pretty confident, level person. My young son got ill in 2013 and had to have a couple of operations. He’s absolutely fine now but, having held it together all the while I think I started to process it once it was all over and I noticed that I was worrying excessively about him. By February 2014 I was getting concerned that, if left unchecked, my issues could smother his adventures and exclude my daughter so, when it spiked around the time he started school I decided to see someone about it. At this point I had never had a panic attack or anything even close to it, a few intrusive thoughts about my son’s health that I felt were gaining a bit too much traction for a couple of weeks but was generally still enjoying life and getting on with my days. The day before I saw the psych I went to the movies with my girlfriends and had a lovely time. The week before we had friends over and I remember feeling happy, almost to the point smug, thinking 'I love my life. I'm so lucky'. I went, just expecting to talk it through but instead spent 15 minutes with a psychologist who diagnosed me with GAD and did a real number on me about how sick I was and how I would never get better without medication, which I was reluctant to take. She phoned the female GP at my practice (my normal doctor was away) and told her that I needed meds but would resist. The GP scared the crap out of me, telling me the next stage is psychosis and I would be hospitalised if I left it untreated, did I want to be away from my children for a month if that happened, etc, etc. None of it stacked up against my own experience of myself and my husband didn’t get it either but these people were the experts, they should know, right? Anyway, I took pristiq and ativan for three days and everything just fell apart. Within hours of taking it I was being hit by wave after wave of panic attack, then came the hallucinations, suicidal and violent thoughts, agoraphobia, it just kept on giving. I was convinced I couldn’t be trusted around people, let alone my children. It was a living nightmare so I stopped taking them. The withdrawals were terrible; more obsessive suicidal and violent thoughts, vomiting, watery diarrhoea, dizziness, headaches, blurred vision and pain behind my left eye, adrenal jolts and just fear like I’d never known. I was determined not to go back on them and in hindsight should have just continued through it. Instead I went to see a naturopath who gave me a fairly hefty dose of St Johns Wort. I was worried about taking it so soon after discontinuing the pristiq but he assured me I would be fine. I wasn’t. It was awful but I stuck with it for several weeks. Worried about another set of withdrawals, my psych dismissing all symptoms as not possibly related to the meds or herbs (which she laughed at) and mistrusting doctors I had totally lost sight of who I normally was. I tapered off it as fast as I could – all the usual, though less pronounced physical withdrawals, increased anxiety, more suicidal thoughts and a very strange dysphoria – like someone else jumped into my mind, thought a load of random, truly awful negative stuff that I would never normal think and then hopped back out again leaving me muddled and anxious. Eventually I went to see my own doctor, who has been treating me and my family for the past ten years. I told him what was going on and he said that he had seen similar in people who are really sensitive to psychotropic drugs and that I had probably suffered serotonin syndrome and to ride it out. He pointed out that worrying about your kids, particularly after times of stress, isn’t a mental illness and that the hand pain I was experiencing (the psych told me these were a symptom of my anxiety, as my heart was pumping blood faster and I didn’t even realise it was happening) was more likely referred pain from a whiplash injury the month before. So fast forward to now, a little over a year later and I have been doing well. I have been having waves but they are manageable and I am back to my normal self during windows, which are lengthy (the last being four months). Until now. I am presently in a wave that has lasted for nearly a month (with the odd window within that time) and as about as bad as during the earlier phases of withdrawal. I am having some serious obsessive and scary thoughts and a whole barrage of physical symptoms; nausea, bloating and a butterflies feeling) headaches, a cold, trickily feeling down my spine, some brain zaps, pain behind my eye and, when there is a reprieve from those, an almost depressive state where the negative self talk takes over - like I am incapable and not good enough to do the job I have been doing perfectly well for years. If it wasn't for the emotional/psychological symptoms, I would think I was really sick (the anxious withdrawal-hypochondriac is chanting that I probably am. Very). Does anyone know of people getting such a pronounced wave after such a long time? I know it can't be a relapse, because I was never even remotely like this before, but it is scary. The further out from taking the pills, the less assured I feel that it is still withdrawal, which I guess is the catch 22. My normal doctor is away again and whilst he is sympathetic, I am frightened he will become sceptical as time draws on. I would appreciate any insights people can offer. Thanks
  2. Hello, I'm writing to introduce myself as I'm new to the forum...actually all forums as I've never joined one before today. I searched on Google and found this forum as I believe I'm experiencing withdrawal symptoms from Citalopram and feel quite isolated in what I'm going through. I was taking 20mg of Citalopram for 7 years, but took the decision in April this year to come off the drug as I'd been experiencing episodes of fatigue which at the time I had recently found out was a side effect of the drug. I've outlined my history in my signature as even though it's been 3 months since I completely stopped citalopram (i was tapering down 6 weeks previous to this) I'm still experiencing withdrawal symptoms. This week I've had to take time off work as I've had fatigue similar to when I was on the drug accompanied by insomnia, dry mouth, muscle aches, loss of appetite and stomach cramps. I joined today for support to maybe find out I'm not alone in experiencing withdrawal for this long period (my GP originally said withdrawal should only last 2 weeks) and to know roughly how long this could last. Thank you in advance.
  3. Greetings everyone. My heart goes out to all of you suffering with this stuff. I'm a 37 year old American man living in Northern Germany and have been taking Effexor XR 225mg for about 10 years. I married a German girl who passed away from Cancer a year ago leaving me and our 2.5 year old son. In my early twenties, I spent 4 years serving in the Marine Corps and started noticing I had mood swings that effected my ability to do the job on a daily basis. I remember having this horrible feeling in my chest like I was on the verge of having a heart attack. I felt really out of balance and could barely perform my job. I was crying alot and had all the typical symptoms of depression. I saw a psychiatrist who prescribed Zoloft but I quickly rejected (less than a week) it after feeling how nasty it made me feel and the immediate dampening of my libido. So I finished my service contract feeling generally unbalanced and anxious. I was eventually prescribed Effexor XR 225mg. At the time, I had no idea what I was getting into. It did actually rid me of anxiety but at the cost of my precious libido, emotional dulling, personality changing, etc. I could not, and still cannot feel romantic gratification as normal. I tried many times (4 or 5) early on to withdraw ( always way too fast ) and it always ended with severe symptoms and full reinstatement. I have lost ten good years to this damn drug. So now, I am 1.5 years into a taper and have managed to reduce to 50% of the original dosage (112.5mg). I take a 75mg generic form capsule each with 6 pellets inside. I split the pellets into four pieces and reduce by one of these 1/4th pieces (~3mg Venlafaxine). At the beginning of the taper, I was reducing by 3mg every week. I would feel brain fog and a bit of nausea for a couple of days and then return to "normal." I would halt the reductions when life required some stability. This seemed to work well enough for a long time. Then there came a point last year when the symptoms ramped up and it was clear they weren't going away. In retrospect, I think this may have been the catch up point of all the reductions. Out of desperation, I went to a local drug store and got some St. John's Wort. Here in Germany, they sell pharma grade St. Johns Wort in every corner drug store. I popped two (600mg) and in less than an hour felt that warm rush up the back of my head and my brain was once again online. I felt so good with the addition of the SJW and thought it may produce a "Prozac Bridge" type effect. I was too optimistic and tried doubling and even quadrupling the reduction amounts. This led to symptoms straight away. Then I hit a new low a month ago which led me to take another 300mg of SJW (total 900mg now) and an up dosing from 94mg to 112.5mg Effexor. To up dose, I simply added (1.5) 12mg pellets. This was too much of an increase and I felt agitation, restlessness and anxiety for a few days. Instead of holding and waiting to stabilize, I decided to reduce and or eliminate the SJW (big mistake). I endured 5 days in a mentally shut down zombie state before reinstating the SJW (900mg) which almost instantly returned my mood to "normal." Then today, I took the entire 900mg SJW together with the 112mg of Effexor first thing in the morning and it upset my stomach and my mood crashed while walking with my son early this afternoon. I had to call my in laws to immediately pick up my son and I went home and took a 300mg SJW which again provided relief. I think I need to space out the SJW and once I stabilize continue the reducing at a slower 3mg every two or three weeks instead of every week......
  4. Hi all, I had a case of severe depression several years ago, but fortunately I was able to beat and I have been healthy ever since. I never went an any antidepressants. I have been fine ever since. However the other week on Jan 4th I had a life event (death in the family) that hit me very hard. After a few days I decided St Johns Wort might be a good solution to prevent the return of a depressive episode. To head it off at the pass so to speak. Stop it before it starts. I realize now this was a big mistake. I was going through a natural grieving period and my symptoms were not depression at all. I started taking St Johns Wort on Jan 9th. Hypericum extract (40-73mg), equivalent to 300g st johns wart according to the bottle. 3 times a day as per the instructions. Breakfast, lunch and dinner. I started using a SAD lamp at the same time. I was starting to feel better and thought I would just keep it up through the winter, and then tapering if off into spring and come off it completely. I had no side effects of any kind. However on Jan 20, 12 days after starting I went to a party and drank heavily. Beer and red wine, and also many foods that are not supposed to be eaten on St Johns. I hardly ever drink normally as well. The next day on Jan 21 I felt fine in the morning, (surprisingly no hangover). But after taking my morning pill I started to feel anxiety which I normally never do. After my second pill at lunch I had a panic attack. I normally never have anxiety issues. I skipped the pill that evening thinking I ought to stop. After researching SJW (like I should have done before starting!!) I really want to get off this, and realize I need to taper. On Jan 22 I kept my dose reduced to 2 pills a day but spread out. I took a half in the morning, then a half a couple hours later then one quarter each 2 hours after that. Totaling 2 in the day. I felt fine that afternoon. Myself again. Every dose I take hits very fast, even dilating my pupils. I can feel myself getting a little high even. It seems to be affecting my serotonin levels very directly now. It wasn't like that taking the pills prior to the party. Its Jan 23. In the morning I had anxiety again, not as bad as the panic attack but still extremely uncomfortable. I took a quarter pill at 8 am, another one at 10am and I didnt start to feel normal again until 30 minutes after that. My plan is to stick to 2 pills a day with a quarter pill every 2 hours. Questions: How slowly do I need to taper this? I have found answers in this forum for people who have been on it for a long time. I've only started 2 weeks ago today. If I taper off 10% a month that seems really slow. Would 2 pills a day for a few days, then 1.5 a day for a few days and so on be slow enough? It seems to be worst in the morning, perhaps due to not taking anything overnight - should I be spreading my dose over the night as well? My impatience got me into this mess so I don't want to make the same mistake getting off it again. But I cant help but be concerned that that longer I stay on it the more my brain will become used to it, just making things worse.
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