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  1. Hello everyone, I've been lurking on this site for a while now, gathering knowledge on how to come off psychotropics. I'm 37 year old female with a long history of depressive episodes and have been taking SSRI's of some sort (must have gone through most of them by now!) since 1998, when I was 17. Around 4 years ago (it's hard to tell, as my memory is utterly atrocious) I had a bad time again with depression and had psychotic symptoms. I was put under a psychiatrist who prescribed me 75mg quetiapine, and upped my sertraline from 100mg to 150mg. I've been on sertraline around 12 years and I haven't had much of an issue with it. The quetiapine, on the other hand, I am not prepared to live on indefinitely. I have put weight on (although not a huge amount), my blood sugar levels are causing concern (I exercise regularly, eat sensibly, have no diabetes in my family), I am like a zombie until lunchtime and I don't think there's been a night in 4 years where I haven't woken stuck to the sheets from profuse sweating. At night, especially if I've exercised in the day, my body is like a furnace. Makes not much difference if the room I'm in is cool; my body's thermostat is on the blink. If I miss a dose, I just don't sleep. The next day I'm a wreck. The last time I saw the psychiatrist (about 2 years ago) I asked him about coming off quetiapine - I've been on the lowest dose of 25mg since then. He was really cavalier in his attitude and said "it's fine - just come off it when you want to". So around a year ago, after I'd been stable for a good while, I did. And I didn't sleep for a week. So I caved in and started taking the 25mg again. 6 months later, I wanted to try again, so I went to my GP and asked for a short course of zopiclone so I could sleep whilst coming off the smallest dose. She would only give me 5 day's worth of Zopiclone (UK guidelines) - and even then, I still couldn't sleep without Quetiapine. In addition, I developed INTENSE itching all over my body, in really localised areas. I know now this is a histamine reaction and a common withdrawal symptom for quetiapine. At the time I thought I had some sort of weird invisible skin infestation! So I went back on the Q again after a week. THIS TIME, I'm even better armed. Despite being told that stopping 25mg quetiapine would not cause any problems, as it's such a low dose, I know better. The tablets are tiny, but I'm cutting them in half and then half again. My plan is to reduce in stages, taking once month for each stage. 25mg - > 18.75mg - > 12.5mg -> 6.25mg -> 0mg. If I manage this, I could be off it in three months. I'm currently 2 weeks into stage one (reduced by 25%). The first few days I had a little trouble getting to sleep, but that soon rectified itself. My mood over the last week has been steadily getting lower and I've been feeling more "mental" and unable to cope with stuff. I know the Q can augment the Sertraline. I haven't told my GP yet that I'm doing this, because every time I've brought it up there has been resistance and he tries to persuade me to stay on it. Probably because another hospital admission is far more costly than continuing the drug! (cynical..? Moi..?!) I'm being the most sensible I've ever been as regards self-care. No alcohol, eating well, exercising regularly, good sleep habits, etc etc. Anyways. Here I am. Hope my mood improves over the next two weeks in time for stage 2, though I am prepared to stick longer between reductions if needs be. Lunar
  2. Note from site administrator: Read this entire topic before attempting a switch to Prozac. Be sure to read details and cautions below . Consult a knowledgeable medical practitioner before changing medications. Also see Tips for tapering off Prozac (fluoxetine) Switching or bridging with another drug, usually of a longer half-life, is a recognized way to get off antidepressants, particularly those that people find difficult to taper. Many people with failed tapers from venlafaxine (Effexor), desvenlafaxine (Pristiq), paroxetine (Paxil), and duloxetine (Cymbalta) find they need to bridge in order to go off the drug. For many doctors, a switch to Prozac to go off a different antidepressant is routine. Fluoxetine (Prozac) has the longest half-life of any of the modern antidepressants. Because it takes about a week for a dose to be metabolized completely, if a switch to fluoxetine is successful -- that is, does not cause withdrawal symptoms from the original drug -- a careful taper off fluoxetine is easier for most people -- see information about Tapering off Prozac. And, at least fluoxetine comes in a liquid. (Citalopram or Celexa and its sibling escilatopram or Lexapro have half-lives of about 35 hours, a relatively long half-life among SSRIs, and are other candidates for a bridging strategy. They also come in a liquid form. The drawbacks and advantages of switching to another drug to get off the first drug, described below, apply to a switch to citalopram or escilatopram as well as fluoxetine.) While going off fluoxetine usually has less risk, one might still develop withdrawal symptoms going off fluoxetine. No bridging strategy is risk-free. You must find a knowledgeable doctor to help you to with a bridging strategy. You might wish to print this post out to discuss it with your doctor. When to switch or bridge A direct taper from the drug to which your nervous system is accustomed carries less risk than a switch to a new drug. You may have a bad reaction to a new drug, or the substitution may not work to forestall withdrawal symptoms. This is the "the devil you know is better than the devil you don't know" rule. The risk of a switch is justified if you find a taper from the original drug is simply too difficult. Usually people will do a switch when they find reducing the original antidepressant by even a small amount -- 10% or even 5% -- causes intolerable withdrawal symptoms. (I have heard doctors say they don't even try tapering off Effexor and Paxil, they do the Prozac switch from the beginning.) Sometimes when people go down to a low dose of an antidepressant (such as paroxetine), they find further reduction is very difficult. Substituting a longer-acting SSRI such as fluoxetine may be worth the risk. If you're thinking of switching simply as a matter of convenience, you need to weigh the risks against the amount of convenience you would gain. Generally, switching for convenience is a bad idea. Risks of bridging For most people the switch goes smoothly but for some it doesn't. A bridging strategy has the following drawbacks for a minority of those who try it: Adverse reaction to the bridge drug, such as Prozac. Dropping the first antidepressant in the switch causes withdrawal symptoms even though you're taking a bridge drug. If withdrawal symptoms are already underway, switching to a bridge drug doesn't help Difficulty tapering off the bridge drug. All of the bridge drugs can be difficult to taper themselves. So, like anything else, the Prozac switch is not guaranteed to work. But if you are having intolerable withdrawal from another antidepressant, it may be worth risking the worst case in the Prozac switch: It doesn't help and you have withdrawal syndrome anyway. CAUTION: A switch to a bridge drug is not guaranteed to work. It's safer to slow down a taper than count on a switch. A switch really should be used only when a taper becomes unbearable or there are other serious adverse effects from the medication. You must work with a doctor who is familiar with bridging, in case you develop severe symptoms. Below is information I've gathered from doctors about exactly how to do the Prozac switch. Healy 2009 method for the Prozac switch From Healy 2009 Halting SSRIs withdrawal guidelines: Phelps-Kelly 2010 method for Prozac switch From Clinicians share information about slow tapering (2010) Jim Phelps, one of the authors of the above, posted in 2005 in some detail about the so-called "Prozac bridging" strategy. He said it is described in Joseph Glenmullen's book, Prozac Backlash, maybe in the chapter titled of "Held Hostage." The technique Dr. Phelps described in this post skips doses and finishes with alternating dosages, which we do not recommend for people who are sensitive to withdrawal symptoms. Given that Prozac liquid is available, this is completely unnecessary. Foster 2012 method for Prozac switch Dr. Mark Foster, a GP whose mission is to get people safely off psychiatric drugs includes this in a presentation he gives to doctors. http://www.gobhi.org/spring_conference_powerpoints/safewithdrawal_of_psychotropics%5Bautosaved%5D.ppt. His method involves overlapping Prozac with the other antidepressant. Note on above: If you have tapered to a lower dose of Seroxat/Paxil, Effexor, Cipramil/Celexa, Lustral/Zoloft, etc., an even lower dose of Prozac may be more tolerable. If you are about half-way down, you might want to try 10mg Prozac. If you have decreased further, you may wish to try 5mg Prozac. More is not better for nervous systems sensitized by withdrawal. Prey 2012 method for Prozac switch Another knowledgeable doctor (whom I trust) explained his technique to me (this is the technique I personally would prefer if I had to do it, it seems much gentler😞 For a "normal" dose of Effexor (150mg per day or more) or Paxil (20mg) or Cymbalta (20mg), he would switch to 10mg Prozac with a week of overlap. In other words, take both medications for a week and then drop the Effexor. Lower doses of Effexor or other antidepressant require lower doses of Prozac as a "bridge." The lower dose of Prozac reduces the risk of excessive serotonergic stimulation (serotonin toxicity) from the combination of the two antidepressants during the overlap period. Do not stay on the combination of the first antidepressant and Prozac for more than 2 weeks, or you run the risk of your nervous system accommodating to the combination and having difficulty tapering off both antidepressants. Later, taper off Prozac. He acknowledged Prozac can have its withdrawal problems, but given Prozac's long half-life, gradual tapering should be much easier than tapering off Effexor. WARNING Serotonergic effects of an SSRI such as Prozac, Celexa, or Lexapro are ADDED when you are taking an SNRI such as desvenlafaxine (Pristiq), duloxetine (Cymbalta), venlafaxine (Effexor), venlafaxine XR (Effexor XR), milnacipran (Savella), and levomilnacipran (Fetzima). You run the risk of serotonergic toxicity if you are taking an SNRI, particularly at a high dose, with an SSRI. This is why doctors familiar with the Prozac switch will add in a LOW DOSE of Prozac to an SNRI. In addition, escilatopram (Lexapro) is several times stronger, milligram for milligram, than the other SSRIs. If you add 10mg Lexapro to, for example, the high dose of 60mg Cymbalta, you will run the risk of serotonergic toxicity -- 10mg Lexapro is equal to approximately 30mg Prozac. What should the final prozac dose be? Please note that if you cross-taper, you will be taking 2 drugs at once for part of the time. Because of the potential of serotonin toxicity by overdosing SSRIs as well as SNRIs, it's probably safest to err on the lower side of a Prozac dose "equivalent" -- such as 5mg -- to your original drug. Given Prozac's long half-life, it may take up to a couple of weeks to reach full effect. The effect of the amount you add at each stage of the cross-taper will build throughout the process. For an idea of equivalent doses of your medication to fluoxetine (prozac) read this post (January 7, 2018) in this topic. It compares fluoxetine 40mg/day (a fairly high dose of Prozac) to other antidepressants. Source of that data: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25911132 Also see this discussion about cross-tapering with Prozac: Smoothing out the transition to Prozac Even with a cross-taper, your system might feel a jolt after you finally drop the initial antidepressant, particularly if it is an SNRI, such as Effexor, Pristiq, or Cymbalta, or other drug that is not an SSRI like Prozac. (Other SSRIs include Paxil, Zoloft, Luvox, Celexa, Lexapro). If you go through a rough patch after the transition, patients find they can take a tiny chip of the original drug (or a bead or two, if it's a capsule containing beads) for a week or two to smooth out the transition. Eventually, you'd take a chip as needed only when you feel a wave of withdrawal from the original drug, and then finally leave the original drug entirely behind. (A gelatin capsule might make a tablet fragment easier to get down, but it is not necessary if you can wash it down with a good swallow of water. The gelatin capsule quickly dissolves in your stomach.) Here's an example. There is no shame in doing this. Whatever works, works.
  3. Hi everyone I have stopped my AD without taping, from one day to another. I felt this whole AD-thing took over my live and I was also afraid that the drug would not work anymore and I can't new ones because I am not in treatment. So I stopped. I had of course no clue what the symptoms would be, how long it takes to get to a normal state again. The first two months were ok, I felt fine but since a month I am really struggling, heavy anxiety, depression attacks, spiralling (which I also learned on this forum). I am basically clueless, so I apologize for my questions. How long will it take till I am completely off the ADs? When do the symptoms stop? What brings ease? Should I go back on meds for a while and then start going off again but then by tampering? Thank you all for your advice and help.
  4. Hi, After reading many many posts, I'm more confused than ever ... I just obtained a prescription to have Pristiq compounded and reduced by 10% of current dose each month in hopes of getting off this beast. After reading some of the posts, it appears that it may not be a good idea to compound this drug because of the extended release properties of the 50mg pill. Is there anyone on this site that has had success tapering off of this drug using a compound pharmacy to do a 10% taper per month? I"m now nervous to get the prescription filled after reading some of the posts. I contacted the compound pharmacy (Guardian Drugs in Toronto, Canada) and they have the same reservations about crushing the extended release tablets as they tell me, that while they can do it, they don't know exactly how the compounded drug with react in my system. In compounding it, the drug will most likely be weaker (by exactly how much they can't say with any accuracy) and therefore she cannot say with any certainty whether or not it will cause withdrawal symptoms which I am desperate to avoid. Tried to taper off about five years ago (second or third try) by cutting the pill and reducing it gradually and had such bad withdrawal symptoms, I thought I was going to go mad so back on the stupid drug I went. The compounding pharmacy offered to call my family doctor and suggest to her that I switch to Effexor (75mg) which she said is equivalent to 50mg of Pristiq. She said that Effexor is much easier to come off of and much easier to compound. She said it didn't sound like my family doctor has much experience with coming off antidepressants (don't think my doctor is alone on this point). She also suggested reducing the Effexor by 5% each month rather than 10% to help avoid withdrawal altogether. She said it is better to taper very gradually and to take as long as possible to get off these drugs. Even a year or more sounded reasonable to her. So I guess my questions are (1) is it feasible/best approach to switch to Effexor to taper or am I just switching to a different beast even more difficult to get off of? (2) should I just get the Pristiq compounded and hope for the best ... ? (3) better suggestions/experience than the above two points? I would really like to get off of Pristiq, have been on anti-depressants far too long and never able to get off of them properly because of the horrific withdrawal symptoms so basically I've been held hostage by a little pill and would like my life back. Tired of feeling flat and not having any real emotions and don't want to Stepford Wife/Walking Dead it anymore. I've been taking 50mg of Pristiq for about 7 years and prior to that was on Effexor extended release 37.5 x 2 for about the same amount of time. Any suggestions from people with experience getting off these drugs would be most welcomed and appreciated. Thank you for reading.
  5. Hey guys, I wanted to come back here and just pass on a few things that may help someone. My full story is in the introductions section, but I weaned off Prozac over last year (did the last bit a little too quickly) and due to a variety of factors had a few episodes of intense withdrawal symptoms over Christmas and the start of January. I reinstated at 2mg recently and am glad to report I'm doing absolutely fantastic. However, I noticed a few patterns which caused me to go into symptom mode. Number 1 was reading too many posts on the forum - I used to be a moderator on an OCD support forum and am aware of the dangers of excessive forum use! In fact it was one of the first things we'd advise newbies to the site. In the week before I reinstated, I went into a mode that I hadn't done for a long time. I was checking for success stories, reading other people's symptoms, and was preoccupied with my health for most of the day. I developed new symptoms and old patterns began to emerge. I've been practicing meditation for 2 years now. I stopped temporarily (funnily enough, just before withdrawal symptoms emerged) for a number of reasons. I forgot how wild an unobserved mind can get, and how we continually create our reality moment by moment. Thankfully I was seeing an amazing Reiki therapist once a week over the past month. He pretty much helped me drag myself out of a potentially long term situation, and helped me take responsibility for the symptoms in order to diffuse them incredibly quickly. I also became disheartened by the horror stories and the lack of success stories, but I knew on some level there was more to it. I've seen incredible recoveries over recent years from a variety of illnesses including severe mental illness, chronic pain, cancer. But as soon as I began getting too involved in the world of 'withdrawal', all of that was thrown into doubt. So I did a test. I know intellectually that my mind is a constant flux of thoughts created from my own awareness, nothing is really external or separate from us, it's all the creation and response of mind. When we know that on an experiential level, there is no reason to suffer, because you are aware that you are creating everything that appears to your consciousness. You can create anything. I mentally put out a request for real life success stories. Within about 6 hours an old friend got in touch. I havent seen her in years since we were in a psychiatric hospital, she was a bit older than me and was like a mother figure. She had been one a severe case of clinical depression, in hospital many times. Her doctors told her she was a lost cause and would be dead within the next few years. Turns out she stopped her meds three years ago, refused any medical help, found a great therapist who understood her desire not to be medicated, and she is happier than she's ever been. She is in a new relationship, has gone back to college, and has absolutely no symptoms in regards to withdrawal (she said there was at first but they didn't last intensely after she started therapy). The following day I bumped into a lady who owns a shop near me who I haven't spoke to in months. She confided that she is also medication free since last summer, after years of being on antidepressants. While things have been up and down, she was still positive, running her business, and very positive. From that day I stopped researching anything to do with illness or withdrawal, I got strict with myself in terms of observing thoughts, and detaching from as many as possible throughout the day. Letting them be there without making a 'story' out of them. Of course, the 2mg reinstatement took the edge off almost immediately, but the transformation between now and the horror I experienced a few weeks ago is unimaginable. In the midst of a crisis the smallest of things can mean the difference between a temporary episode and a wave of days or weeks of awfulness. My main withdrawal episodes lasted no more than a day or two at a time, whereas years ago they would have knocked me for six for weeks. I credit that in part to an ongoing understanding of the how the mind works and not exposing myself to negativity as much as possible, especially in such vulnerable states. Forums and the internet are a great resource, but that's just it, they are a tool and as much as it feels like it's the last thing we want to do, it's essential to spend the majority of our time in 'the world' so we get a fuller picture of it. So I guess what I mean is, don't spend time exposing your mind to anything that reaffirms sickness. People, media, tv, situations. In the psychiatric hospitals I was in in the past they had a term for it (I forget what it was), where patients who were around other patients for too long would develop similar symptoms. They would try and get people out quickly and not encourage them to become too close because the statistics for them later being diagnosed with further disorders was much higher the longer you were in there. I guess it's the same in life, we become what we fill our consciousness with. I was very aware that I was spending most of my time reading about withdrawal and thinking about what my symptoms were like day to day, rather than actually healing. Suffering is inevitable, for everyone, that is the nature of being human. But we have so, so much more power to react to it differently, and even be comfortable with it, than we ever imagine. Glimpses of this astonishing power have saved me many times, although we do need to be still enough for it to be revealed. This may or may not be of use to anyone, but I wanted to share it anyway in the hope that it may help. Love and courage to all of you who are struggling.
  6. Hi guys, sorry this may be a long post, I think it is okay to share my story on this. I am 21 years old, a college student about to graduate, and I have been on an SSRI for about 5 years now. I was diagnosed with ADHD and GAD when I was about 12, I have always been somewhat anxious and had issues with regulating my emotions. In 2013 my girlfriend broke up with me and I was really sad and feeling hopeless. After a few months of being down and also anxious, my doctor (pediatrician) decided to put me on 5mg of Lexapro. The Lexapro seemed to help (I think?) and I recovered somewhat quickly. Over the next few years, however, my doctor fluctuated my dosage quite a bit. I would get anxious, he would up my dosage, and then I would become a zombie and he would lower it. It did seem to blunt my emotions on a high dose. Other than that it was fine. However, the summer after my freshman college, I became extremely anxious and had an existential crisis, prompting my doctor to change me over to Zoloft and Trazodone. When starting Zoloft, I took 50mg and worked up to 100mg. It possibly helped my anxiety but my emotions became blunted again (or maybe it was depression?). I did not feel hopeless or sad, but I kind of lost the ability to have pleasure over simple things. After going through a hard time on Zoloft and Trazodone feeling empty and dull, my doctor and I decided to taper off to see if that would help. Every time I tapered, we would allow three weeks to go by to see if it helped. I went from 100mg to 75mg to 50mg to 25mg and eventually to nothing. Every time I lowered, I felt a little more in touch with my emotions. With the Trazodone, I stopped cold turkey on a dose of 50mg. When I went completely off of the Zoloft and Trazodone, I started having crying episodes, brain zaps, insomnia, anxiety, occasional anhedonia/brain fog, and severe social anxiety. After a month or two, all of these symptoms went completely away (except sometimes the anhedonia/brain fog). I was doing good and feeling very in touch with my emotions. After a few months off of the Zoloft though, the school year was coming back around, and the girl I had been dating for 2 years broke up with me unexpectedly. It devastated me and left me feeling sad and hopeless. I was crying all of the time, I was thinking about her all of the time, losing the ability to feel pleasure, and had anxiety because I still saw her every day. This continued on through the semester and I went home for winter break feeling depressed and anxious. I was feeling brain fog/anhedonia, and lost overall enthusiasm for life. It got bad enough that I knew I needed help, so I started talking to a therapist (I had seen a few before this one) and it was helping. I still was depressed, but was slowly improving. I started taking Adderall again to study for a certification exam over the break and this helped boost my mood tremendously. It cleared my mind, helped with the brain fog/anhedonia, and made me feel a little more peaceful inside (less racing thoughts). My psychiatrist decided he wanted me to take Trintellix and put me on a 5mg dose. I went back to school feeling down and anhedonic again. All the progress I made during seemed to start disappearing. I stopped taking the Adderall, and once the Trintellix seemed to start working I started becoming extremely anxious. I felt extreme depersonalization, started having weird sensory problems (visual snow, eye floaters, tinnitus, and my body started fluctuating between feeling tingly and numb) and was scared. My doctor upped my dose of Trintellix to see if that would help. I ended up taking Ativan to help with the anxiety. I was feeling less anxious but still had the sensory/depersonalization problems. Not to mention, my emotions went away again. The Ativan lowered my anxiety but made me feel completely dull and emotionless. I ended up tapering off of it and feeling better after a few months, but having a lot more anxiety/sensory issues. Since this (which was earlier in the summer), I started taking Adderall because I read a lot and it seemed my problems were kind of related to Adult ADHD. I always feel internally restless and have a hard time focusing, and taking therapeutic doses (20 mg or lower) seem to calm me down and clear my mind. Not to mention, it helps with my emotional regulation problem. Overall my academics and state of mind are improving. I have lowered the Trintellix from 20mg to 10mg over two months. I have had more sensory problems and anxiety since lowering the medicine, but it seems my emotions are slowly coming back. Every now and then, I get a nostalgic feeling that reminds me of what life used to feel like. It gives me hope. But I have been so up and down for the past 5 years, I am sick of feeling so unstable. I want to have emotions again and not deal with brain fog/anhedonia and anxiety for the rest of my life. I didn't have the former problem until taking medicine. I want the sensory problems to be gone. They only started after I started taking Trintellix. I need help with tapering off I think. Does anyone have any advice for me? I want to learn to treat my depression and anxiety in natural ways, and learn to regulate my emotions better. I want to believe I can live without taking medicine for these issues, because they only seem to exacerbate them. Do I have any hope of being stable again? I always feel uneasy inside and am constantly trying to distract my mind from this. I am sick of being anxious about these weird symptoms, everyone thinks I am crazy and writes me off. Will slowly tapering help this? I long for a day that I am not constantly thinking about being better, and can handle life's ups and downs. I am not wanting to be perfect, just to be able to not always think and worry about my mental health. I am always worrying about exercising enough, meditating enough, sleeping enough, eating well enough, and lowering stress enough. I think my issues could be related to tons of different things, but it is so hard to tell when you are put on medicines that only seem to compound the issue. School has been a big source of stress/anxiety and I am almost done, so I really want to take the time to improve my physical/mental/emotional/spiritual state of mind so life is not always this rocky. Thanks for listening, sorry this was so long.
  7. I was prescribed Citalopram (Celexa) by my doctor in London UK, when I was depressed during a period of unemployment. I took it for 3 years, taking 20mg once a day. I never felt like it did much good helping me, and it made me feel a bit spaced out, not all there. After 2 years on Citalopram I started to have some suicidal thoughts, but far more homicidal thoughts. I wanted to kill people. I had thoughts of driving head on into traffic, pushing people under trains, killing my partner, my dogs and burning the house down. I had never had these kinds of thoughts or ideas before, and was convinced they were a side-effect of the anti-depressant Citalopram which i was taking. I told my doctor about my suicidal/ homicidal thoughts and he was told me to double my dose of citalopram! I told him that the drugs were the problem, not me! I then slowly reduced my dose once each week for 10 weeks, taking the drug on alternate days, and then cutting the pill in half and only taking it on alternate days. Every time I reduced the dose I woke up the next day with cramps in my intercostal muscles? (muscles between my ribs), feeling very sore and stiff, like I'd been kicked in the ribs. I also felt quite sharp electric shock; in my neck and shoulders, and had some jerky twitches of my neck and shoulders from time to time. The symptoms went away after day or two, until the next time I reduced my dose. After 10 weeks I was off of Citalopram completely, and have been off them for 5 years now. It took about 3- 6 months for me to feel normal again after coming off of Citalopram, My life is much better without Citalopram, and I have had NO suicidal or homicidal urges or thoughts since I gave up the SSRI drug. I do not think doctors are not helping their patients by drugging them with SSRI's.
  8. Does anyone have ideas on a tapering schedule for those that have been using Phenergan more than 6 months. It comes in 10 and 25 mg oral tablets. It has moderate anticholinegic effects and is a mild dopamine antagonist alongside strong H1 histamine action. Given that I assume tapering is important.
  9. I am an almost 30 year old wife and mom of 2 beautiful kiddos. I stumbled across this website while trying to figure out if the current issues I have been having were from tapering off of Zoloft in November 2017. I started SSRI's (Paxil) at 11 years when diagnosed with OCD tendencies. (recurring thoughts, perfection/control issues). Switched to Celexa after weight gain issues after starting Paxil. Had issues with body image and eating (over eating and restriction). I started restricting heavily and binging and purging at 20 years old and was switched to Prozac. I also was on adderall for ADHD in my early 20's for a brief period. (I was mostly concerned about not being able to concentrate, brain fog, and irritability). I was diagnosed as anorexic with bulimic tendencies at inpatient care for eating disorder at 24 (2012). Had a couple of relapses after inpatient, but then became pregnant in 2013 and haven't relapsed since. I switched to Zoloft (100 mg) during early pregnancy (2013). In Summer of 2017 I realized that my medication didn't seem to be helping me at all anymore. I suffered from insomnia, irritability, fatigue, and brain fog. I decided to taper from the 100mg of Zoloft I was on. I dropped to 75 mg for a month, then 50 mg for a month, 25 mg for a month, and have been medication free as of November 2017!!! I had no withdrawal symptoms, but still had irritability, insomnia, fatigue, and brain fog. In February 2018 I started getting super itchy at night. I would get hives and I couldn't fall asleep. It was maddening!!! I switched laundry detergents, made sure I used fragrance free soap. I took all the normal precautions for skin issues and nothing helped. I tried relaxing through the issues and it has helped the itching, but I have developed Dermatographia (skin writing). I will get hive like marks where clothes rubs or any extra stimulation has occured on my skin (for example: if I carry a bag, I get tons of hive like marks where the bag was resting in the exact shape of the bag handles) Skin issues seem to occur more in the evening hours, but still can happen during the day, usually more mild. I do sometimes get a burning/tingly sensation in areas (usually hands or feet), but that goes away rather quickly. In April 2018, I started a new job and have had less issues with insomnia. Just a random night here and there where it is difficult to sleep, but I work a 12 hour rotation on first shift and have 2 young children, so that could very well play into that 😉 I also started having recurring stomach issues. Lots of gas/bloating. Sometimes it is super painful. I get so bloated at times I look like I'm in early pregnancy! It is usually more painful during the evening hours. I have diarrhea/loose stools every day. I do follow a balanced Vegan diet (dairy and egg introlerances) and I am very active, but it has never seemed to be an issue before. The fatigue just has me constantly feeling like I want to take a nap and thinking of picking up my 30 pound toddler or walking up a flight of stairs just exhausts me. It's hard to even push my kids on the swings. My last period was March 5th and I have never been this late (NOT pregnant.... husband has a vasectomy and I took 5 tests 😆) I am unsure of whether this is a result of being off of SSRI's or if it is a different health issue. It is driving me crazy trying to figure it out!!! I just want to enjoy my time with my family and function properly. I have a doctor appointment in June for a pap and to talk about my symptoms, but wanted to see if anyone else has went through something similar (and I honestly think the doctor may tell me I'm crazy-- lol). 💜a7xbabydoll 2000 - Paxil A few months later - Celexa 2010 - Prozac 2012 - Brief period of Adderall 2013 - Zoloft (100 mg) 8/2017 - 75 mg, 9/2017 - 50 mg, 10/2017 - 25 mg November 2017 - MED FREE!!!
  10. After having a stress induced psychotic break for the first time in my life, I was in the hospital for 13 days. The put me on the highest dose of Zoloft 200 mg and 20 mg for Abilify. The thing is, I don’t understand why they didn’t just try the Abilify at a lose dose as it seemed to help well at the 5mg level. As for Zoloft, it takes 2-4 weeks to kick in so why the 200 mg? Why not see if I responded to say, 25 mg? Because the hospital wants you too much of a zombie to consider having any fight left for or against your life and to get you out their doors. Anyhow. I have been on these 2 weeks and the side effects are worse then the issues I was dealing with in my life. I would like to taper slowly but not too slowly because I haven’t been on them that long and don’t want my body to depend too much. I of course want to avoid bad withdrawals. I honestly don’t think I need the meds for long term.. what I had needed was my insomnia cured. Once I got sleep in the hospital I calmed down. I hate these drugs, please help.
  11. Hello, I'm new to this forum and I'm working toward tapering off of 225 mg of venlafaxine. I am a 70 year old male, that has been very active and health conscious. My weakness has been depression. I previously had two periods of feeling depressed that involved obtaining an antidepressant from my general practice doctor. I would get to the point of feeling spacey and or lethargic, then do talk therapy to get back off of the drug. These where phase one antidepressants, and I would taper off slow over say 4 to 6 months without noticeable side effects. These events occurred between 2005 to 2008 per notes I still have. I retired from Highway Engineering March 1, 2014. Many emotional events piled upon me during the next five months. The stressors where; retiring and adjustment period, daughter coming home to live with us and get a divorce, a vicious son in law (being divorced), one or two other more minor stressors that I do not recall, and a huge spiritual crisis in which I felt I had not lived as graciously as God would have wanted me to. In July 2014 I became fixated on thinking about all these things. I sat in a stupor for days, lost 15 pounds, thought the devil was speaking and accusing me of my wrongs and tempted me to deny God and just die. My wife asked me If I had thought of suicide and I admitted that I had. She called 911 and got help. They took me to a hospital and put me on suicide watch till they could transfer me to a psych ward for treatment. I was confined for a week and given many medications. I also had a physical problem that they dealt with. I was released to an out-patient psychiatrist. The psychiatrist told me he would take me off all the previous medications except for increasing my dose of venlafaxine to 225 mg. I have been on venlafaxine for four (4) years. In May 2018 I stopped drinking all alcohol and also stopped experimenting with legalized cannabis. I quickly felt a bit more energy. I put this energy toward searching the internet for information about venlafaxine and antidepressants. I have learned much, but still want to keep learning. My Psychiatris agreed to allow me to get off Venlafaxine October 4, 2017, after telling him repeatedly about my desire to and why. He reduced my venlafaxine from 225 mg to 150 mg. The short of it is that I did not make it, and went back to the full dose. After learning more about how to decrease slowly, I am ready to try again. I have sought the help of my general practice doctor, who is supportive and has reduced me to 187.5 mg. Since I know that a 10% reduction is better, I cut open a 37.5 mg capsule, counted the beads, and took 40% of those beads, 15, and added them to the 187.5 mg, for a new total of 202.5 mg. I'm also taking daily notes of my physical and mental state, and dosage. I will see my general practice doctor monthly. I will be also talking to my Psychiatrist about my plans. I plan to start talk therapy also. Does anyone have any advise or comments?
  12. I’ve been on antidepressants since I was 13 diagnosed when I was 13 with depression and anxiety disorder. When I was 18 I was diagnosed with major depression after suicide attempt. At 27 years of age now my new doctor of just one month diagnosed me with bipolar 2, I believe solely on the fact that my mother is bipolar one and she believes I’m “genetically prone” to this disorder My medication history. First it was lexapto, then Prozac then Wellbutrin, then cymbalta and Xanax now tapering off pristiq which I personally find the worse. And now I’m put on lamictal. My doctor seems to think I can withdrawl from my pristiq (100 mg) which I’ve been on throughout a year time span, in “two weeks” and being put on 200 mgs of lamictal it should “ counteract the withdrawal “ . I’ve been out of work for a year (previously a full time teacher”. I feel like I’m losing my mind for lack of better words. I’m so desperate and truly believe big pharmaceutical agencies just want to make money off of me (us) . I’m lost and isolating myself, my life is falling apart, and I’ve never been in a worse mental state than I am now. I’m here for help and reassurance I suppose. Don’t know how much longer I can do this. -Amy
  13. ADMIN NOTE To search for whether there is a serotonin transporter occupancy study for your medication, google the generic name of the drug with this other search terms: 5HTT occupancy If you find a paper, please post the both the name of the medication and a link to the paper, such as 2016-July-01, Cymbalta (duloxetine) MMarie Found this paper on dose and 5HTT occupancy of duloxetine. Takano, 2005 A dose-finding study of duloxetine based on serotonin transporter occupancy The site, academia.edu, requires login: Link to screen shot of dose-occupancy and dose-plasma concentration curves 2016-November-12, Anafranil (clomipramine) and Luvox (fluvoxamine) Suhara, 2003 High levels of serotonin transporter occupancy with low-dose clomipramine in comparative occupancy study with fluvoxamine using positron emission tomography. Link to study on occupancy vs. dose Link to chart of occupancy-dose relationship Hi, I thought I'd share this as it's quite relevant, not 100% sure if this is the right subforum, will post in both this and research. PDF of American Journal of Psychiatry article or Summary and excerpts from study in the Journals forum of survivingantidepressants The pretty pictures are from page 4 onwards in the PDF. (Admin note: Pretty pictures here. See this post for graph of "perfect" 10% taper of previous dose with 4 week holds) What these fellows did here, was attempt to measure serotonin transporter occupancy at various doses for 5 different drugs. (Zoloft, celexa paxil, effxor and Prozac, not in that order). They fit curves for both the oral doses and blood concentrations. Long story short for anyone who doesn't know, SSRI’s ‘work’ by binding to the serotonin transporter protein (SERT) and stopping it doing it’s normal thing (reuptake of post-synaptic serotonin), resulting in serotonin hanging around for longer. Now a couple of interesting things: -at minimum therapeutic doses in every case, there was about 80% SERT occupancy. That shocked me personally. Even the minimum doses are locking down 80% of your brains reuptake ‘capacity’. Higher doses do more but it’s obviously not linear – they actually have plotted curves, and they’re quite a good fit statistically, particularly for the blood concentrations. Really good in fact. Point here though is that there’s a long way between 0% at no drug and 80% at the minimum dose. -the curves man, look at the curves. This gives a fairly good indication of why some people find tapering necessary. You NEED a percentage taper just to get a linear decrease in SERT occupancy. Linear decreases in dose will actually hit you with exponentially increasing drops in SERT occupancy, particularly drops between the minimum therapeutic dose and 0 Basically, this paper provides a real basis for percentage reductions in dose when discontinuing SSRI’s. I realize I'm kinda preaching to the converted and telling people what they already know, but it seems there may actually be a real reason why some people find it necessary to do these percentage tapers to get off SSRI's. Caveat: I have no idea what the relationship between SERT occupancy and post synaptic serotonin is, it’s probably not linear since if it was higher doses would have basically no effect, but this is nevertheless very interesting to look at. They were only looking at one part of the brain but pointed out it correlated strongly to elsewhere.
  14. Hi everyone, I am taking Effexor for chronic pain not depression. On Effexor for 10 years, half of those years on 112.5mg the other half 150mg Started reducing a year ago February 2012 - 150mg March 2012 - 131mg April 2012 - 112.5mg July 2nd 2012 - 92mg July 23rd - chronic pain got worse October 21st - started 75mg (chronic pain flare up subsided and has been stable ever since) November 16th - 56mg December 11th - 37.5mg January 5th, 2013 - 19mg January 22nd, 2013 - 22.5mg January 23rd, 2013 - 37.5mg January 24th, 2013 - 30mg From November 16th when I dropped to 56mg up to January 22nd the withdrawal effects gradually got worse. Prior to this I experienced no withdrawal effects. On January 22nd when I increased the dosage to 22.5mg I was trying to decrease the withdrawal effects because they were getting too strong. The small increase had no effect. On the following day when I increased to 37.5mg after an hour and 45 minutes the withdrawal effects got significantly worse. I went to my family Doctor (who was much more knowlegeable than I thought) and he recommended taking 30mg. Today I feel slightly better than yesterday but still not as good as when I was on 19mg. I'm wondering if I should stay at 30mg or should I decrease to maybe 25mg since I felt better at 19mg and I was on 19mg for 2 and half weeks? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Best of health to everyone! Thank you!
  15. My third and hopefully final attempt to get off Paxil is here I start March 1st of this year, which is just around the corner. I have a lot of hope It will be over 3 years, but I feel good about my taper plan. Thankful for this site of encouragement and testimonies - I will be praying for freedom for you all! I've included a photo of my handwritten taper plan. The length of time is in months. Will keep this updated for whoever cares to read. Let's do this.
  16. Hello Everyone, Let me introduce myself. You can call me Sebas (38), i'm from Amsterdam. Hope my English is okay. I was diagnosed with anxiety issues around 2004 and then started using Seroxat, I believe it's called Paxil in the US. I'm aware by now of all the problems this medicine is causing. In other words, i've read a lot, and i mean A LOT about it. I can almost graduate about the subject After several attempts to stop, I found out in 2015 or 2016 about the 5-10% reduction rule. That helped me from 20 mg (10 ml) tot 12 mg (6 ml) in about 1,5 years (estimated). I'm using the fluid suspension and some squirts for accurate dosage. From 6 ml down to 5,8 took me 5 weeks to feel allright, then i stabilized for a week and went back down from 5,8 tot 5,6. All the usual withdrawal symptoms occur during tapering periods such as illness, nerve system problems, visual, fatigue, stomache cramps and also i'm countering eye circles. Since the last dosage (from 5,8 tot 5,6) i've been feeling bad for 9 weeks already. Especially my stomache and my energy. So i'm now wondering what to do, wait (and wait...), go back to 5,8, go back to 6,0 of try to switch to another AD. Cause this one is really @#$%&* mainly cause of the fast half-life period. I've read about a cross tapering method. I asked my doktor for a psychiatric consult about it. Or...could it be my body (and mind) is telling me this dose is beneath the minimum that i just need for my personal wellbeing. I'm familiair with magnesium, omega 3/fish oil and multi vitamin for support. I'm looking forward fto exchanging some knowledge. Bye Sebas
  17. Hi. Was taking 4 mg of risperidone for two months. Suddenly stopped taking it for a week (didn't notice any withdrawal). Then took 2 mg for two weeks (approved by psychiatrist). Then took 1 mg for two weeks (approved by psychiatrist). Have not noticed any withdrawal symptoms. Asked psychiatrist if it was okay for me to suddenly go from 4 mg to 2 mg, and then 2 mg to 1 mg. She said it was okay since I hadn't been showing any symptoms. I have read that withdrawal symptoms can surface after months or even a year after you stop taking it. I am not sure what that person's credibility was. I have also read, from a .org website that the withdrawal symptoms are mild and rare. I have stopped taking the 1 mg for almost a week, and I am wondering if I will be alright. I have not noticed any withdrawal symptoms, and I feel like I will still be seeing my psychiatrist for a little while at least. I am also wondering if it is true that withdrawal symptoms can surface months or even a year after you stop taking the medication. That just seems far-fetched to me. Any help is appreciated!
  18. _________________________________________________________________________________________ ADMIN NOTE Also see What should I expect from my doctor about withdrawal symptoms? _________________________________________________________________________________________ You can mention to your doctor about the following DSM-5 diagnosis code. See this link for further information: Useful Excerpts from the thread Alto When speaking to a doctor, do not yell, scream, beg, cry, whimper, or weep. It confuses them and they start thinking of psychiatric drugs to give you. Speak clearly, firmly, and insistently -- but politely. Make a specific "request" that is actually a direction. Rhi There are a few tricks that I've found that sometimes help when dealing with doctors. One is, instead of saying "I want off my meds" say "I want to see how I do at a lower dose." Because all doctors know that the lowest effective dose is what you want to shoot for. So "let's find out my lowest effective dose" doesn't set off their alarms as much as "I want to stop taking the drug." Also, they believe these drugs actually are beneficial, and you can use that. Maybe your doc will continue to give you prescriptions and not rush you so much if you say, “Hm, I want to see how I do staying on this dose for a while. I sure don't want that doggone depression to come back, so I want to just hold here for a while and make sure it doesn't come back because golly gee willikers, maybe this drug is good for me.” (At the lowest possible effective dose.) You know, basically, just kind of speak their language so you can get them to give you what you need to do the taper at a speed that works for you. Having that pressure of "I have to get off before I run out" usually leads to trouble, and/or disaster, for people. Much better to have the freedom to taper at the pace your body is telling you is right for you. InvisibleUnless Compile detailed information in a package to show doctors. http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/4463-how-do-you-talk-to-a-doctor-about-tapering-and-withdrawal/&do=findComment&comment=161628 http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/4463-how-do-you-talk-to-a-doctor-about-tapering-and-withdrawal/&do=findComment&comment=163728 JanCarol A concise information page which can be shown to doctors. http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/4463-how-do-you-talk-to-a-doctor-about-tapering-and-withdrawal/&do=findComment&comment=267642 Alto Take the official instructions from the drug package insert to your doctor. This site is so full of information and clinical studies. I read quite a few in the journals section, but none really acknowledge withdrawal syndrome and the fact that it can last past the 2 weeks commonly believed by most psychiatrists. Including mine, who recently told me that withdrawal lasts 7-16 days and after that it's considered a recurrence. How do I educate my psychiatrist without her being offended or dismissing this information. What would be the most helpful studies, write ups from this site or elsewhere to print out and give to her? I'm overwhelmed by all this information and all this reading. It would be helpful if there was a topic that compiled the most recent studies or links that would be the most effective in getting her over to my side? It's hard enough to deal with reality while going through withdrawal and/or severe depression, than to also have to fight your own doctor and their pharmaceutical brainwashed beliefs. I just don't have the energy to keep searching and reading over and over, wondering if an article is credible enough for my psych to consider it. Is there proof of withdrawal syndrome? And what is the best literature on that? The same with taperin. Psychiatrists idea of tapering is pretty ridiculous. Out of all the topics an studies on this site, what would be the most helpful one to give to my doc? Thanks!
  19. My introductory post. I have a sleep disorder associated with Fibromyalgia. Fibro also is associated with anxiety and depression and inability to relax the muscles. So, Venlafaxine has been a real help for me to live a normal life for 20 years. But I'm 68 and want to get off. Today is the 6th day following a failed tapering, my second. My first tapering was a year ago. I have a terrible sleep disturbance: I have a panic attack while falling asleep. My husband is helping me find a better psychiatrist, one who is experienced with both a sleep disorder and tapering. But this time around as I tried to fall asleep a loud buzzing sound and vibrating sensation occurred inside my right nasal passage. As I type this I am aware it sounds unbelievable. It's so embarrassing. "Doctor, I have a bee in my nose." Well, I googled "my own snoring wakes me up" and found Sleep-Doctor http://sleep-doctor.com/blog/does-your-own-snoring-wake-you-up-from-sleep/ . Anyone have a similar weird sleep disorder? I bet it was due to tapering - some kind of neurological trauma. I'm exhausted. Last night I finally slept through the night.
  20. On Effexor (Venlafaxine) since Fall 2016; taking 200 mg for the past 6 months or so. I've decided to stop the effexor, as I feel that it is no longer working. I picked up a prescription for 25 mg effexor yesterday, in order to taper by 25 mg every 3-4 days (as recommended by my psychiatrist). 9/26/18 was my first night of 175 mg; I felt okay the next morning, if not a bit dehydrated. However, over the course of the day, particularly in the evening, I began to feel out of it, naseous, and just weird (for lack of a better description). That being said, I also had not eaten much that day; however, I've never felt "weird" while not having eaten, as I did 9/27. I will continue with the 175 mg dose for the next few days to determine whether the symptoms were due to lack of food or effexor. I’m terrified to taper off it it. I’ve been reading about it, and the stories of tapering off are terrifying! However, I still read them just so I know the possibilities. What kind of tapering experience have you had? Was it good or bad? Has anyone tapered off with zero side effects? Thanks!
  21. I am currently tapering off of Effexor (was at 200 mg) and I have been taking 175 mg for the last 10 days. So far, I feel absolutely zero withdrawal symptoms. I do not have any brain zaps, irregular moods, or anything like that. So, my question: has anyone ever tapered off of an antidepressant with absolutely zero withdrawal symptoms?
  22. Hello everyone! I am a new user here. I've lurked around this site before but have yet to introduce myself. I was a Prozac user for a year from August 2015 - September 2016. I had taken it for social and general anxiety. I was on 20mg/day. Initially, I was actually doing fine and great emotionally but had side effects like massive fatigue everyday (not even 3 cups of coffee could wake me up!) and constipation every time I went to poop (sorry for TMI). I also felt like a zombie for a brief period in which I was neither happy nor sad. In May 2016, I decided to abruptly stop taking the Prozac by choice without consulting my doctor (bad move!) and had brain zaps and mood swings which I assumed as worsening depression. I then just asked my doctor to simply increase my dose because I thought I was getting worse (bad move again!). I was put on 40mg/day from June - August 2016 in which I was ok at first but then I was hit with a panic attack so severe I had to rush to the ER. For that week, I was having very severe symptoms. So I was instructed to go back down to 20mg/day. From then on, I decided to stop taking it a few months ago in September because I felt better and didn't want to rely on medication anymore to make me happy. I consulted with my psychiatrist who said for me to just take 10mg for one month and then I can stop. I did just that. Over the month of October I was fine and felt completely normal. However, I realized symptoms would come later once the month of November started. I have since felt every type of symptom under the sun including brain zaps, hot flushes, insomnia, irritability, tingling sensation of the skin, anxiety, shortness of breath, sweating, tremors, and slight vertigo. I have never felt these symptoms in my life til now! I've talked to my doctor and he doesn't believe in withdrawals. At this point I feel helpless. I am experiencing waves and windows in which I have waves of really bad flare ups and then windows of good normal days where I feel fine. But they keep cycling back and forth. I now have questions to ask: 1. Do windows of no symptoms mean that my body is getting better? 2. Should I reinstate the Prozac and taper off more gradually? Someone suggested I shouldn't because I've already been clean for 3 months now. But what do you guys think? 3. Will symptoms go away if I keep pushing cold turkey? 4. Should I try medical weed to help ease tthe symptoms? I want to try natural ways of healing
  23. Hi all, I would like to come off of all the drugs I am on. I have an appointment with a Psychiatrist in November as I have asked for a re-assement (to consider a diagnosis of CPTSD rather than Borderline Personality Disorder) and I plan to begin my taper once under their supervision. I have been on Citalopram (now 40 mgs) for approx. 18 years. I was put on Quetiapine (now 200 mgs) approximately 5 years ago when I experienced a total breakdown after the birth of a baby. At the time I suffered from extreme insomnia (zero sleep for 5 nights), which led to relentless anxiety (non stop panic) and eventual psychosis. The Quetiapine wasn't relieving all my symptoms. I ended up admitted to hospital where I was put on Pregabalin (now 300 mgs). I would like to know the best way to approach this. I'd like to go to the Psychiatrist with a plan to propose. My GP wanted me to drop 25 mgs each med each week and I'm guessing that's too much at once?
  24. Hello! Seeking advice and support having discovered how dependent I am after over 20 yrs of taking paroxetine. Withdrawal symptoms of extreme sustained insomnia, excessive sweating and intense anxiety are making life unbearable and I am horrified at how ignorant I have been about my meds. I now realise GP probably made things worse by suggesting a change to mirtazapine before returning to paroxetine. GP suggested back to 20mg but I couldn't bare the thought of possibly having to repeat the withdrawal so decided on ½ dose (10mg). Not sure if I've done the right thing as still have severe symptoms after 7 days. I now realise all these changes were far too fast but do I hang on to this dose to see if I stabilise and how long do I give it?? I'm just beginning to realise that this is likely to be life changing....not what I'd planned at 58....as may well loose my job and it's a huge strain on family and friends. It's confusing and frightening. See gp on Thurs and feel it would be good to have an idea of what I should be aiming for re medication. He gave me propranolol (a beta blocker) for the anxiety but I've since discovered it could be contributing to the insomnia. Has anyone got any experience of that? With thanks and hoping to be able to share experiences!
  25. Hey everyone! I really need some answers because I've looked everywhere to try and find one answer which can relate to my question but sadly to no avail. I was on 20mg Cipralex for 7 years due to general anxiety disorder. I was feeling better last year so decided this year in February I would start tapering and weaning off. It all went great until roughly 7 weeks ago when I went from 5mg to 2.5mg. Withdrawal has hit me hard and I have been off work since then. My question is basically, after now 7 weeks is it safe to go back up to 5mg from 2.5? I felt fine on 5mg hence me wanting to move back up to it. And how long will it take for the WD symptoms to go away or just for me to feel better cos currently I'm just having a hard time functioning. I'm afraid of everything basically. Thank you for any reply
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