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  1. Hello all, I was first prescribed 25mg of zoloft late November of 2015 after a few days in the psych ward. Afterward when I found a psychiatrist, he raised my zoloft to 100 mg and then a month or two later he added topamax 25mg and Latuda (can't remember the dosage) into the mix. Shortly after I started to get brain zaps even when I was taking the medications on time and foolishly I decided to just stop taking them all together around March or April of 2016. I never returned to that psychiatrist or any psychiatrist for that matter. Now almost four years since taking them I am still plagued with brain zaps. They are not always present but appear every few months for a few days and then vanish into the wind. It went on that until about Feb of 2018 when I started experiencing numbness in my legs. I thought it was a stroke or blood clot so I went to the ER. After I got a MRI of my brain and an xray of my spine, the doctors told me that the findings did not explain my brain zaps or numbness in my legs and sent me home with an article from PsychologyToday that I had already read a million times detailing SSRI withdrawal syndrome. I felt defeated and never thought to contact a neurologist. Since then my symptoms got progressively worse. Every few months there would be relapses and a new symptom would appear; lhermitte sign, paresthesia, tingling, itchiness, fatigue, and pain behind eyes. I started to document my symptoms April of this year after another relapse. I had another relapse September/October. Today I am in the throes of another relapse. This time somewhat longer than normal. I decided once and for all to find out if what I am experiencing is just the repercussions of not tapering off some medication almost four years ago while being a stupid college kid or if what I have is something more serious since SSRI withdrawal seems to mimic quite a few other neurological diseases. Tomorrow I go in to see if I can get a referral to a neurologist. Wish me luck.
  2. kwdeer

    kwdeer: My story

    Hey there everyone. You can call me Fawn or Deer. I would like to share my journey with you all in this introduction. I'm hoping I can get some helpful feedback and advice on how to approach tapering off the medications I currently take. So, to start, I am 21 y/o and currently taking 40mg of Celexa, and 5mg of Abilify I also take vitamins and supplements which are listed in my signature. I think it's important to address my background briefly. I come from a very difficult background, I have been emotionally/psychologically abused by parental figures nearly since infancy up until the last few years, and had countless traumatic experiences both inside and outside of the abuse going on at home. I struggle with mental illness symptoms and physical pain, and I have since about 7 or 8 years of age. There's a lot to say, and I'm unsure of how much is relevant... I will just go into the medication aspect now. At 16, I asked my mom for help. I was experiencing severe depression and anxiety symptoms. I also suffered from an eating disorder and was severely underweight. On top of that, I was having audio and visual hallucinations. I suspect most of this was a result of complex trauma and malnourishment. I went to a hospital first, because I was suicidal. They put me on a medication for hallucinations (I can't remember the name) but it was making my symptoms worse so I didn't take it. My mom took me to see a psychiatrist, who said I was bipolar and anorexic and put me on Celexa and Topamax. The timeline is fuzzy but I think I was on these meds for a year or so before I saw a new psychiatrist through an intervention program for acute symptoms of psychosis. The new psychiatrist suspected that I had a personality disorder, and could possibly end up psychotic, so he started me on Abilify in addition to the Celexa and Topamax. I was 17. Of course, my symptoms became more manageable, and I started gaining weight (without changing my eating habits all that much, mind you). About 2 years went by. I went through periods where I felt like the medications weren't really helping me, so I would stop taking them cold turkey for a month or two. Not surprisingly, I would feel much worse and start taking them again. I was constantly pressured by my doctors, mother, and grandmother to continue taking these medications, but I couldn't help but feel like something wasn't right. I couldn't put my finger on it, though. When I was 19, the program I was in got a new psychiatrist. Around that time I had been taking my medications inconsistently, and when I told that to the new psychiatrist she said that if I wasn't taking them, they must not be working. She suggested something different. She decided to stop the Abilify, Topamax, and Celexa, saying if I wasn't taking them consistently for the last couple months it should be fine to stop them. Instead, she put me on Latuda and another medication (I can't remember the name). The next 3 months were utter chaos. I was more depressed than I had been in my life. I couldn't get out of bed, and I started eating more. A lot more. Especially sweets. I kept insisting that the new medications were making me this way. I was told repeatedly for weeks that I had to wait it out and it would get better. After 3 months I ended up in a psychiatric hosptial for 5 days. The psychiatrist at the hospital took me off the new meds and put me back on celexa and abilify. I have been on them consistently for the last 2 years. And in that time, my health has declined in many aspects. I have gained so much weight that I've gone from severely underweight to overweight in a few years. I crave sugar and caffeine all the time. I sleep a lot, sometimes 12+ hours, and I am fatigued almost 24/7. My anxiety and depression are not managed all that well, either. In doing research, I started seeing that many people taking these types of meds have experienced the same thing... and I've tried 3 times to taper off the Abilify without success. Every time, I go through severe withdrawal symptoms. I'm sick of this. I don't feel good, I don't feel healthy and I am almost certain my psychiatric meds are making it worse. I have a new therapist who is very supportive of holistic approaches to mental health and I have decided to talk to her about tapering off these meds. I want to get off Abilify first because I think that is the worst medication that I'm on. Then the Celexa. I'm really angry at the irresponsibility of the health professionals who put me on these meds and persuaded me, a vulnerable young person, to stay on them despite feeling like it wasn't in my best interest. I'm really angry at what's happened to my body and mind being on these medications. I'm angry at the system that allows this to happen. So... enough of my rambling... What does everyone think? I am open to questions, advice, anything really... help is very much appreciated. -Fawn
  3. I was dependent on Topimirate (Topamax) for over 4 years, and wish Id found these sights before I started. Had I known it'd be so horrible Id have stayed away. 4 or so years ago I checked myself in the hospital determined to stop binging, purging and starving. It had been on and on since I was 13 (was 27 at the that time). A psychiatrist prescribed Topamax upon my leaving the hospital, stating I had bipolar and body dysmorphia. At first, I was petrified of not having my eating disorder as a crutch. The first few weeks I muscled through, and kept myself as distracted as possible when I found myself worrying. I dug deep into my emotions in a journal as a healthy purge. And suddenly, I didn't care, I stopped thinking about food, and just enjoyed it. I simply just stopped. I stopped binging. I stopped worrying myself into a purge. I stopped obsessing about my intake, or ruminating over weight or image. I no longer sat in front of the mirror picking my face for hours. I was normal, worrying only a bit, and then letting it pass. So at 200 mg for over 4 years, I was okay, for better or for worse. Some side effects were annoying, like thinning hair and memory issues- but they were tolerable to self destruction. Then I saw a new psychiatrist in November 2014, who said I should have never ever been put on Topamax bc I had history of an eating disorder. She gave me 150 mg, and sent me away to see her in a month. Then my insurance changed again, and I couldn't make it into the appointment bc it wasn't covered. So I tapered myself after several months on 150. About one month into my taper at 150, I began to think something was really wrong. I was still working, but my mood and mental status began to change, and physical symptoms presented themselves. Mentally, I became paranoid, somnolent, agitated easily, felt faint and alternated between exhaustion and insomnia. I had eye pain and grittiness , blurred vision and halos, headaches daily (understandable as topamax treats migraines), jaw pain, back pain high and low, arms tingling and joint pain. And around May 2015, I was showering and noticed larger amounts of hair coming out into my hands and clogging the drain. And when I looked in the mirror to put up my hair, I saw several places where I could see my scalp CLEARLY. It wasn't the simple thinning topamax caused for the 4 years, it was clumps. My eyes hurt more, and i used artificial tears about 5-6 times a day. My eyebrows and eyelashes began falling out, and pubic hair They simply weren't staying in the follicles, if I touched them with any force, they fell out. For instance when I tried to use eyeliner, they'd attach to the pencil and just sit on my cheeks, dead. It wasn't the simple thinning topamax caused for the 4 years, it was clumps. I thought I needed to go off, but at this point saw my health was deteriorating with each taper (I took myself down to 125 in June). I thought I needed support physically because something was seriously WRONG. But I could NOT find a doctor who would help me through it. Most just wanted to prescribe more psychiatric medication instead. I surmised it was all from withdrawal, as symptoms were not an issue UNTIL I decreased my dose after 4 years. However, no doctor would admit to Topamax being the issue, or assist in my body withdrawing and getting me off it with physical support. I went to three different psychiatrists, 4 holistic or integrative doctors, a rheumatologist, 4 different internists, 2 obgyns, 4 eye doctors, 2 endocrinologists. Ive spent my entire past half year going to doctors and feeling suicidal. Each wanted to put me on another brain med. I found a psychiatrist with experience in treating with Topamax, and she helped me to decrease off 125mg that I'd been on two months. I tapered from 125 to nothing over two weeks. And Ive gotten worse. Now Im having stomach issues and sebbhorheic dermatosis, and have not had my cycle since June. It is not alopecia aereata, I have been to several dermatologists. I have now been off since September, and am so desperate, I am about to go back on it. My hair got worse, my mood got worse ( I can barely do anything, think about anything else, and feel overwhelmed by life). I know this isn't me. Something is wrong and I need guidance. Does anyone experience using topamax? My most recent doctor (integrative medical doctor) is a specialist in those who have found no answers and been to every doctor you could think. He said I have autoimmunity, and inflammation. I was told me I should not have gone off the medication without some sort of medical support, and told me to go back on topamax, or take lamictal for help. It seems a bit like a hair of the dog kind of treatment, but Im at the point where I can't fight this anymore. What do you all think? PLEASE HELP.
  4. Hi everyone, I joined this site because after 13 years of contributing to the pharmaceutical fund, and investing my retirement into the tuition of the children of my shrinks (eleven of them), only to mess up my brain chemistry and find no relief, I am tired of being on medication and looking for a way out. How it started. Fifteen years ago, I developed an eating disorder, which started as anorexia then after two years turned into bulimia. At the time, I had no other psychiatric issues. I was not depressed, did not suffer from anxiety (except relating to food) or cyclothymia... All of which I have been diagnosed with afterwards. I was started on medication immediately, before any other forms of treatment were tried. The doctor who diagnosed me with cyclothymia also had me on Topamax or Lamictal (can't quite recall), which can cause mood disturbances, mania, depression,etc. i am now convinced that I was suffering from the side effects of the drug. Also, my nutritional state was very deficient and affecting my cognitive abilities. This particular doctor was a nightmare. He had me committed to a mental institution for a month instead of considering that perhaps the drugs he had me on were responsible for my altered state. Before the medicines, I was mentally balanced. Two weeks after I started, I end up in a psych ward. The link is obvious. Its hard to keep track of what medications I have taken and when, so I will just list them, in no particular order: - prozac - zoloft - topamax - lamictal - zyprexa - cymbalta - welbutrin - xanax - effexor After six years of being a medical guinea pig, and finding no relief, I was prescribed wellbutrin, which helped significantly. At this point, I was very depressed. Wellbutrin helped me get out of bed i. The morning and helped me to get at a stable point, mentally and physically. It was the only drug that ever helped. However, after four years, I was still suffering from a chronic eating disorder I was functional but my quality of life sucked. I started working with a treatment team and the doc took me off Wellbutrin and put me on Effexor. I am now up to 225 of Effexor and wish I could go back in time and never have taken it, if I forget just one dose, the withdrawal is awful. If I go even one day without a dose, a migraine sets in. It is followed by dizziness, vertigo, brain zaps. Once the unquenchable thirst sets in, I begin to experience extreme moods that scare me and those around me. The worst part is that it hasn't really helped. I wanted so desperately to get better that I stuck out the initial side effects (anorgasmia, fatigue, nausea, dizziness) for months until I got used to the medication. Now I just sweat like I am going through menopause at 28, soak through my sheets at night, and feel blah all the time... Total apathy for everything. I feel trapped by this medication that doesn't help, but if I don't take it, I feel terrible. Slowly, my eating problems have improved, but that is through therapy, CBT, group therapy, mindfulness, yoga, and a variety of other tools. At first the Effexor seemed to help, since my eating issues were improving, but I now realize that it was a combination of the other tools I was using at the same time, which I had previously not been doing, I am planning on seeing a new doctor in two weeks to discuss going off Effexor. I would love to be drug free, but at this point I would be happy getting back on Wellbutrin or anything that is not Effexor. I am scared about getting of Effexor, since I have been doing so well despite it, but at the same time I am sick of being on it. I am happy I found a place where other people are going through something similar and appreciate your comments and thoughts.
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