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Hi Friends, I went off of trazadone 5.5 months ago after 15 years of use for insomnia, and have been suffering from protracted withdrawal ever since. The most debilitating symptom is severe depression that often manifests physically as pain in my heart, and a myriad of new drug sensitivities. I have a few questions about other's experience's and/or recommendations. · Has anyone had success with st. john's wort, 5 htp, homeopathy, or other approaches? · Will attempting to treat the symptoms with herbs, or ssris prolong the period of withdrawal? · Does anyone understand the mechanism behind the symptoms of protracted withdrawal coming in waves? My preference would of course be to get through this without having to medicate the symptoms, but there are times when the depression feels so intolerable, I need to have another option for my own safety (I've been very proactive of finding alternative methods to deal with the depression, ie, meditation, exercise, support, etc. but they have a limited effect). I have read that in rare cases, protracted withdrawal can last years or be indefinite. Given that I was on trazadone for 15 years, and I tapered much too quickly, I imagine mine may be a slow process. I have included a detailed history of my experience to give context for anyone who is interested. Thank you. HISTORY: 15 years ago, at the age of 23, I went through a healing crisis of sorts, dealing with issues of childhood trauma. I went to a treatment center for depression, where I was put on a number of different drugs (as best I can remember: celexa, risperdal, trazadone, vistaril, and one or two others). The treatment center was beneficial for me - I did intensive therapy, and worked very hard on my own healing. Within a year or two of returning, I tapered off all of the mediations I'd been put on, with the exception of trazadone. I had had insomnia for most of my life and was under the impression that its only purpose was to treat sleeplessness. I was unaware it was an antidepressant for the next 15 years, until after I began the tapering process. Even my naturopath continued to prescribe it without question. Over the last 15 years, I healed myself through intensive therapy, even becoming a therapist myself. I build a successful business in a field I felt passionate about, combining therapy with an artistic discipline. For years I contemplated getting off the trazadone but didn't feel like I could risk not sleeping with my demanding career. A year ago, I decided to take sabbatical and travel the world, starting with an ayurvedic cleanse program in India. A couple years prior, I started to have the creeping suspicion that my medications (benadryl, alegra-D, singular, trazadone) were creating more symptoms than they were treating, and so began the withdrawal process before leaving for India. At first I cut my trazadone from 150mg to 75mg and cut out the Benadryl completely. I struggled with sleep, but more significantly, horrible nausea for about 6 months. I attributed the sleep to the trazadone, but the nausea to the Benadryl (now I'm not so sure that was accurate - it may have been the large reduction of trazadone). Luckily, I was able to treat the nausea with small doses of medical marijuana. I went off my other allergy mediations much more easily - with a week to two of acute symptoms that afterwards subsided completely. When I began my cleanse in India, I tapered the trazadone from 75mg to 0 in a matter of 5 weeks. Way to fast given what I now know, but again, at the time, I had no idea what I was dealing with. Each time I would decrease, I would have acute withdrawal symptoms for about a week which would then subside; mainly night terrors, sleeplessness, and irritability. For the next three months I only managed between 3-5 hrs of sleep a night, but although it was frustrating, it was manageable, given that I was spending hours each day mediating. My nausea went away after I tapered from 75mg to 50mg but for the first two weeks, I suffered from persistent sexual arousal disorder (pgad, the female version of priapism) - a nightmare which caused incredible discomfort as I was barely able to pee for two weeks. Luckily, I figured out it was due to the trazadone withdrawal after some research. That experience only made me more determined to get it out of my system, and quickly. The PGAD disappeared when I tapered from 50 to 25mg. After my final dosage (I had basically just been taking a crumb for a week), I began experiencing the most horrific emotional pain I have ever experienced. I often find myself at a loss for how to describe it as it's never felt like typical depression. It was something like a combination of an ongoing panic attack with a grief stricken/shock-like feeling - like when you learn that your beloved has died and it knocks the wind out of you. I felt a palpable heart pain -though it was clearly emotional in nature. It is not the first time I've felt that heart pain, and may just be how my body metabolizes severe depression - but it was the most extreme experience I've had, and totally devoid of content. At the time, I had never heard of protracted withdrawal and so assumed I was having some kind of spiritual crisis. I was staying at an ashram, and so spent many hours in meditation. The symptoms gradually got a bit better over the first month, but then came back with a vengeance, though usually with some breaks of relief during each day when the heart pain would subside briefly and I'd get a bit of perspective. The odd thing was that this 'depression' came seemingly out of the blue at a period in my life where I felt stronger and happier than I'd ever been before. After some research, and consulting with a colleague who specializes in psychiatric drug withdrawal, I realized I could be experiencing protracted withdrawal. I tried to stay in India as long as possible to heal myself there, hoping it would pass quickly and I could continue my travels, but at some point the pain became too intolerable and I decided to come back to the States where I would have more resources to treat the symptoms (or so I thought). I decided to stay with my family in the midwest while I figure this out, and enlisted the help of a wonderful holistic psychiatrist, who luckily recognized the symptoms (at that time - depression, arthritis, and gum pain) as protracted withdrawal. I first tried supplements, homeopathy, and st. john's wort, in an attempt to stay off SSRIs. The St. John's Wort did provide some relief after week 5, but I was experiencing extreme fatigue and rapid hair loss. My psychiatrist suggested I try a small dose of prosaic after weaning off the SJW in order to get through the protracted withdrawal. Over the next month I tried 4 different SSRIs in miniscule doses (Prozac, lexapro, celexa, wellbutrin) and had horrible adverse reactions to all - sleeplessness, panic, wired/restless leg syndrome, loss of appetite, migraines, nausea, diarrhea. I had to take Clonazepam (luckily only one dose for each attempt at a new SSRI) to counter the reactions. Next we tried SAM-E at 50mg/day. I had some mild reactions, but after 6 days, felt wonderful - depression had subsided though I was a bit wired, but on day 7, I ended up with the same reactions as the other SSRIs and had to discontinue. Interestingly, I've taken almost all of these medications in the past without issue. I was given zoloft twice during my life (once for chronic mononucleosis when I was a teenager and for two years for 12 days out of every month for endometriosis). I had no problem on the drugs, but did experience acute withdrawal symptoms when I was going on and off the zoloft each month. I had horrible dizziness, and only after thousands of dollars of mris and other tests did I realize from my own research that it was caused by my body going into withdrawal for two weeks of each month. A few weeks after my final dose however, I was fine. I swore never to touch another antidepressant - totally unaware that trazadone was one! I also tried SAM-E at one point when I was experiencing depression after a total hysterectomy (for the endometriosis). It didn't help but it also didn't have any adverse effects at the time. The depression subsided when we were able to get my estrogen levels back on track. My psychiatrist works in cooperative clinic, so together we saw the nutritionist there, who tested me for deficiencies and then started me on a regiment of supplements. As far as I can tell, I have not had any adverse reactions to the supplements, but have not felt improvement from them either. For the past three months I have been on a very strict diet: no grains, no dairy, no sugars, no caffeine, no alcohol, and no meat (my choice). I basically just eat vegetables, lentils, lots of fish, and a few nuts. I've also been adamant about making sure I get 1-3 hours of mild to moderate exercise/day. This seems to be the one thing that routinely brings me a bit of relief, though only while I'm walking, moving, etc. I am lucky to have a wonderful support system and minimal external stressors in my life at the moment. I have tried my best to keep a positive attitude and am often successful, though I continue to get knocked out by the intensity of the heart pain when it arises, even with my myriad of coping strategies. Having tried so many ssris, and then the SAM-E (last dose was 12 days ago), it's hard to know what my norm off of meds will be - if there is one.
Hi all, this is my first post on this forum I am confused and am looking for some advice regarding possibly tapering off of St. John's Wort. I was put on SJW by a naturopath back in June (2018) to help ease the withdrawal symptoms of tapering off of Paxil (10mg) which I had been on for 10 years. I basically began tapering off of Paxil starting in Feb 2018 and I believe I went a bit too fast; I definitely started to feel all of the typical WD symptoms once I got down past half of my original dose and by June (at the end) I was feeling pretty crappy. I went to see my naturopath who put me on a supplement to support mood (Thorne product "Mood Plus") which contains 100 mg of 5-HTP and 100 mg of GABA, 400 mg of L-Tyrosene, 100 mg of Rhodiola, and 100 mg of ginseng among other, more minor vitamins (including b12). She also gave me St. Johns Wort and told me to take one 400 mg capsule 3 times per day (total of 1200 mg) . I can't really say that I felt a huge difference in my mood after starting these supplements (nor that I do now), but I think there was some 'lift' to my spirits, bearing in mind that other factors that boosted my mood may have been the fact that it was summer, the sun was shining, and I was going on a big adventure in July (trip to Morocco). The one thing I have noticed since June / July is that I have had a lot of trouble with sleep. It is hard to really tell if it is the SJW though because there have been some good nights of sleep...and there are so many factors that influence mood and sleep. Generally speaking, my 'withdrawal symptoms' tend to be more on the anxiety and agitation end of the spectrum as opposed to depression... recently, I have begun to wonder about the SJW and if that wasn't causing or at least exacerbating my symptoms. I spoke with my naturopath just the other day and she said that this should't be the case and I should keep taking it (it has been basically 5 months now). She said that SJW is calming and most people really derive a soothing effect from it. But, after having read things on this site re how the sensitized nervous system can have different reactions to things versus the 'typically functioning' nervous system, I still have my doubts. I am also more than a bit peeved to read that SJW can cause withdrawal symptoms if it is stopped too abruptly. Given the hell the past few months have been after coming off the Paxil, I am not keen to go through another 'withdrawal saga'... I don't know what to do...should I keep taking the SJW? If not, how would it be best to taper, given that it has been 5 months on it? Right now I have decided to only take 2 capsules (so 800 mg) per day and only up to 1 pm...maybe that's too much of a drop, but I don't know how else to do it since the capsules cannot be cut. I figure I can do this for a few weeks then go down to 1 capsule..? Again, I am not sure it IS the SJW that is causing me symptoms, but I feel like I need to minimize what I have in my body at this point so that it can regulate / heal itself. Any advice / thoughts would be much appreciated. Oh, and BTW, when I asked the naturopath about tapering off of SJW she said she had never heard of people having adverse reactions to quitting SJW cold turkey...sheesh! Thanks!
Hi, I'm running out of what to read, who to ask and soon what to say. Ready for this? 1. I am consciously normal and functional 2. and only 2 I have a brain and body that is not cooperating. I feel guilty, or fake. When i'm at work and talking well - in my head I'm like "Who are you? You were never smart"... < probably my childhood echos > Once a major mistake occurred 6 years ago - I fell to the ground mentally - not able to let it go, no matter how many angles and closures I sought. 5 years this misery lasted to where I did get a human validation, but quickly was influenced into something else that made me question my "healing" - and now those 5 years of misery was much easier. To add to my pain - just months after ground 0, my Dad went to jail, my mom move in with me, my cat died weeks after that... Symptoms since: Head tension, Tinnitus, Neck tension, Dizziness, Anticipatory Anxiety, Feeling like I have a tumor in my head (pressure), Depersonalization moments / Derealization moments (Rare but terrible). Had a bout of agoraphobia. I think it's rooting in excessive guilt that I'm putting myself in mental prison. Now I lost my job in July and been on unemployment - and fearing getting a new one... not sure if I can mentally handle it. I feel total burnout. Medication History > After years of CBT - it was suggested I get on medication. Prozac - by day 22 I wanted to die (literally) but gladly i'm too afraid to and go off it when the Dr. kept pushing me to "Give it more time" Celexa & Paxil - gave me an intense panick attack. Paxil sent me to the hospital (One Pill did that) Zoloft & Lexapro - These numbed my brain, but I lost all emotions - that was my first de-realization and very scary Anafranil - this felt like someone poured mercury in my head - zips and zaps Buspar - These gave me brown outs of the brain Xanax - I put this last but I was on it for 6 years... it was great! BUT ... in time .25 didn't work, .5 gave me a hangover... 1mg wouldn't work if I was really scared - like going in an MRI Machine. When I tried to come off - my brain EXPLODED in Withdrawl. I tried many courses - as my DR just told me "stop it - it's ok"... That was when the Tinnitus and Pressure started (4/2016) along with the agoraphobia. I suffered through a water taper I came up with and it worked to a point and was too hard. My Dr. humored me giving me Valium to taper. It SORT of Worked but he gave me only 2 weeks and low dose. I pushed through and now I'm 9 weeks off (i did cheat on a 0.125 two weeks ago). Finally I'm trying St. John's Wort I followed an online suggestion ... but I did it wrong... by end of week 2 I got a massive Burnout feeling, brain buzzing and a STOP EVERYTHING cry in my sub-conscious mind... never had this happen. I dropped my cleaning tools and went to bed. I have not felt good since. I cut down to ONE 300 pill per day... but i'm all over the place. I now wonder if I even have a Serotonin issue? How do I know it's not an Acetylcholine issue? Or just a lack of GABA & Dopamine? (I took up a study of Neuro-Science among other medical classes... of course it's all theory) I'm just not happy, I can't play guitar or do anything I love... I don't care to eat. Thank you all for whatever input you have -Rob
DaMac1980 posted a topic in Introductions and updatesHello, I had a history of depression, moving randomly, quitting jobs randomly, etc. Eventually this culminated in a suicide attempt at age 30 (hotline saved my life, thank you to all who contribute). I was diagnosed Bipolar 2 shortly afterward thanks to family history (depression and anxiety diagnoses for mother, vague diagnoses but committed half her life mother's mother, suicidal death of mother's mother's father) and my behavior. I rejected this and self-medicated for years, volunteered overseas, used St. John's Wort (which was surprisingly effective) and other things but had a manic episode and went out of work for a while, which led me to finally getting psychiatric help long-term. I had seen around seven therapists and all diagnosed me bipolar 2, but the psychiatrist says I am true bipolar since I had at least a handful of real manic episodes. He seems more worried about mania than depression, which is my real issue on a day-to-day basis. He first prescribed me 10mg Saphris, which made me woozy 24/7 and super sleepy. When I complained about being tired all the time with no benefit he quickly switched me to 5mg Abilify without much discussion. It also makes me super sleepy, plus I have insomnia (weird combination, always half-tired) and I feel more anxious, irritable and suicidal. I cannot see him again until Thursday but I think I might stop the abilify today, it's making me feel really on a knife's edge. Reading it really seems like he is prescribing me all wrong. I feel I need an anti-depressant and a balancer, but he is just giving me antipsychotics. I don't know how to impress upon him depression is my main problem any more than I already have. Thanks to anyone who read. Any advice would be appreciated and I will peruse the abilify threads for tips on how to handle how it's making me feel.