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  1. Hi Everyone, I am just going to jump right into this. I developed anxiety 4 years ago after having several life crisis in a months time. My mom was diagnosed w Dementia. My little sister was diagnosed with stage 3 lung cancer. I was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma.A childhood friend died in his sleep from heart failure. I tipped over from the stress. I went to my GP and she started throwing AD's at me to help silence the anxiety. The AD's only made me worse. I went to the ER one night after experiencing my first panic attack The ER Dr gave me a script for Ativan. I took it for four weeks and then stopped because I was feeling much better. A few days later my world turned on it's axis. I didn't know what was happening. My anxiety was worse, I was pacing, heart racing, Panic attacks daily.... I went to my GP and she said I needed to see a Psychiatrist. To get in to see anyone was 3 months. I started to spiral. I had no idea I was in withdrawal! I ended up in the hospital to get help for my anxiety. I was put on Effexor (75mg)and Klonopin (.25mg). I stabilized and was sent home. I did really well on Effexor. After 4 months on Klonopin I started to slowly taper off. I tapered over 3 months. The taper went pretty well. I was cutting and weighing my pills. 8 months after that I felt good and talked to my Psychiatrist about tapering off of the Effexor. She strongly recommended to go slow and we did. I tapered for almost 7 months. To be honest, the Klonopin was easier to come off of than the Effexor. She put me on Prozac before my last cut of Effexor. Tapered off of the Prozac over 3/ months. I still had some anxiety but it was tolerable. It felt AMAZING to be free of AD'S and the Benzo....then COVID hit and my mom passed away. Anxiety came back w a vengeance. I ended up back in the hospital after a very bad reaction to Zoloft. My new psychiatrist kept telling me to "push through," the first 3 months. I was back on Klonopin but now it was.50mg twice a day.The hospital took me cold turkey off of Zoloft and started me on Remeron and Trazadone. The next day they added clonidine. The klonodine didn't agree w my system at all and I was taken off of that in two days. They released me from the hospital 5 days later. I lasted two weeks on Remeron. I was so disoriented, confused, high anxiety and felt like I could become violent on them so they weaned me off of that over 4 days and put me back on Prozac. Prozac didn't help my anxiety, I had constant headaches for months! I did get an MRI and it was normal. I started to feel more and more depressed on it. I was on Prozac for maybe two months when my psychiatrist took me off of that (tapered over 6 weeks) and put me on Lexapro. I had to have back surgery during this. I did NOT take a single pain med out of fear of making my WD worse. At first I thought the Lexapro was helping? I was still having breakthrough anxiety so he bumped it up. My Psychiatrist retired and a new woman came in to take his place until they could find a new one. She bumped my Lexapro up to 25mg when I told her I was having major anxiety rushes, my face would get bright red, I wasn't sleeping very well. That increased dosage was the worst! I was like a zombie but w heightened anxiety. I couldn't work, I would sit at my desk and space off for hours! I felt awful. So, she told me to start tapering off of the Lexapro (4 weeks total! I knew better...) and she wanted to cross taper me onto Effexor. I started that and boy....the depression was BRUTAL! I was not sleeping well, could hardly focus, anxiety was high, my legs felt like jelly, my head would burn, I felt my brain tingle all the time... I was nearing the end of my rope. I was desperate for a Psychiatrist that CARED. The interim Psych left and a new one came in. She wanted me off of the Effexor because she felt it was too hard to come off of and if it didn't work for me, I would be in for hell. I told her I was scared to switch AGAIN and she assured me that switching to Duoloxetine was it's "sister drug," and I shouldn't have an issue. I trusted her. The last 3 months have been.... (How do describe this hell?!) a daily battle to push through hell on earth. I am still working, I can still function, I take care of myself, my home, my dog. I am a divorced woman with a 22 year old son. I live by myself with my Rottweiler. Life is so friggin' hard when you are trying to get thorough this mess. I now have a WONDERFUL and caring Psychiatric nurse practitioner who truly cares. She is holding me on the last 10mg of Lexapro until the Effexor/Lexapro WD calms down...IF it calms down. I should tell you that I can't believe I have pushed through the last year. My symptoms have been Burning in my head, headaches, tingling in my head, mood fluctuations, burning on my skin, bloodshot eyes, pressure on my chest, sensitivity to heat, depression, sweat easily, joint pain, ringing in my ears, no motivation, grinding my teeth, feeling mentally off at times, at the beginning I couldn't sit still, short tempered, at times in the beginning of the Lexapro taper, I didn't want to talk at times...like I almost couldn't, buzzing in my body, feel like I'm going crazy sometimes, anxiety rushes...etc I am interested in this group for support and the combined knowledge from it's members. I know that NO ONE can tell me when this is going to end. What I am hoping is that someone can tell me what I am going through is normal for all of the med changes? I am honestly concerned if I am still having problems because of the Duoloxetine? My anxiety IS better since I have been on it. I get 8 hours of sleep. I don't drink. I don't use illegal drugs, don't smoke. I eat pretty healthy. I don't exercise. It's tough to get out for walks when you feel like hell and I guess I save my mental energy to work. I know I have rambled on. My mind feels like it's in a vice and also these drugs affect how well I put my thoughts into words. For the most part I am a happy and well adjusted person. I feel like the last few years have been stolen from me because I faithfully followed Dr's instructions and thought they knew best...I was so wrong. Thank you for your time. Blessings to all of you.
  2. unblocktheplanet


    It is possible to taper & wean. What I'm not sure about is whether it's possible to actually feel normal! Mirtazapine worked for depression & sleep for 15 years & then it didn't. A compounding pharmacy made me 3mg Mirtazapine capsules & I dropped 10% a month for ten months. I'm now planning on the same tapering timetable for Trazodone, 10% a month. My sleeps are still awful. I'm 72. I doubt I'll ever be able to wean Alprazolam. 86% relapse. Perhaps cognitive decline or even dementia. I don't blame my docs. It might have been easier to taper & wean earlier on but, then again, it might not. Frankly, I blame it on pharma...& on capitalism. Mirtazapine 30mg 2003-2022 Trazodone 50mg 2003-present Alprazolam 1mg 2019-present
  3. Amid disparaging anguish, I’m looking for experienced advice about how to move forward for relief and healing. Background: After being on Zoloft beginning in 2000 and Paxil since 2004 (failed taper before resuming at 25 mg in 2007, slow wean to 10 mg and held until 2016 - back up to 20 mg before SLOW liquid wean back to 10 mg), I felt well enough (working with Mensah Medical since fall 2018 and a naturopath since May 2020) to begin very slow descent from 10 mg in November 2020. Used liquid to go down 0.02 mL/0.04 mg per day through early February 2022. Was eating VERY healthy (mostly natural/organic, gluten/dairy free).Noticed sleep issues around beginning of March (waking up 3-4 hours early), OCD symptoms, irritability.Around Mother’s Day 2022, began losing whole nights of sleep in fairly regular succession. Horrible anxiety and panic. *I’m still baffled by what went wrong with my careful, supported wean - so disheartening! After Unisom wasn’t consistently helpful,PCP prescribed both Ambien (took only 3 times) and Trazodone for sleep. Starting May 16, my first 2 nights on Trazodone at 50 mg - ineffective for sleep, went to 100 mg after one night of 10 mg Ambien/50 mg Trazodone. Stayed at 100 mg for about 1 week before coming down (75 mg one night, then 62.5 — 1.25 pill — for two nights, to 50 mg one night, back to 62.5 mg one night, then 50 mg for 9 nights). Tried adding hydroxyzine a bit - had script for that too - but not helpful enough and too blanked out next day. Notes from being on Trazodone: ”Over the past two nights, I’ve taken 2 Trazodone. It seems to be taking a toll on my body (some constipative, raw stomach, alarming clamped feeling in head and arm/leg/feet muscles) while providing partial sleep (~4 hours last night with some resting after). This morning, I woke up about 4 AM!” “Continuing to take this Trazodone has felt overwhelming to my body. It recently seems to hinder my rest. It’s super-alarming to have a pounding heart, electrifying grip on my head/body muscles (writhing/jerking for relief), stomach distress, constipation, and an unpleasant skin warming as I struggle to relax in the night. The sleep support seems to be dwindling while the intensely unsettling body impact continues. I dread nights because of the experience. I feel scared with wanting relief from Trazodone side effects while hoping my body wouldn’t overreact to sudden change. As my function and coping diminish, I feel at a loss. As much as I want good rest, sleeping meds seem to be counterproductive for me.” On 6/9, started going down from 50 mg Trazodone by 1/8 pill with 2 nights at every level - was at 25 mg by 6/17 and totally off around July 4. So, I was on Trazodone for around 6 weeks - definitely less than 8 weeks. In the meantime, some of my closest associates were/are convinced that I need some level of Paxil for the rest of my life. Such negative experiences with Trazodone probably indicated that my Paxil dosage was insufficient. So - bewildered and despondent, I resumed 5 mg Paxil on 5/17, increased to 10 mg around 5/26, tried increasing to 20 mg on 6/6 but scaled back to 15 mg on 6/15 due to Trazodone wean, and went back to 20 mg on 7/8 — twice as much as before I started the wean! I so much wish I’d stopped Trazodone earlier (or never started) and not gone up nearly so high on Paxil! Now off Trazodone and on 20 mg Paxil for about 1 month — sleeping better, BUT …(alarming tinnitus, burning nerve/muscle pain in limbs/extremities/back - want to writhe out of my skin, gastrointestinal soreness, intense pressure headaches - worse in evenings, nauseating dryness in nose/mouth/ears, twitching urge and restless agitation). Symptoms are persistent, worse at times, and can seem so unbearably awful. I struggle to function, think, process, and socialize. Psychiatrist wants to add Remeron and remove Paxil later (I’m disinterested), BUT I wonder if it’s somewhat due toTrazodone withdrawal (some Paxil side effects too maybe but never felt this dreadfully rotten with Paxil before) — have begun 0.02/0.04 liquid Paxil wean again (takes 125 days to drop 5 mg). Is this something to bracingly wait out while I wean down on Paxil again (is there a better/safer way to wean Paxil?), or am I unwise not to reinstate Trazodone for a more gradual wean (how would I do that)? Also, am I correct to avoid adding Remeron to the mix? God bless you for reading and considering what support you can offer in response!
  4. I have been taking Trazadone since January 2014. I started with .75 Traz and have been slowly tapering the past six months. I am now down to .38 Traz after making a cut 2 nights ago from .45 Traz.. I take it at night to sleep along with 7.5 Remeron. I have been doing well with sleeping on the .45 which I have been holding the past 2 months. Last night my sleep was very light and fitful after the cut. I doubt I got that much sleep. Also, this October I will be on year off Ambien 10 mg. I am looking for some encouragement from folks who have been down this road before with Trazadone. Any success stories out there? How did you feel along the way with tapering? How was your sleep? How did you feel one week off Traz, three weeks off, a month off?
  5. Hi, I am in crisis right now and desparate for help. I tapered off effexor 1 year ago and have had no psychiatric meds since. The past year has been rough with prolonged withdrawal and bouts of anxiety along with way, but for the past 3 months I have been doing very well (working a stressful job and handling it well, traveling, etc). For the past week, seemingly out of the blue, I am having severe, debilitating anxiety and insomnia. I also have odd physical senstations that I haven't experienced in quite this way before (odd nagging nausea-not the anxiety kind, but the flu kind; extreme muscle pain; periodic cramping of my hands and feet; a buzzing or tingling sensation in my arms and legs; weakness. I saw my doctor, who ran blood tests- everything is normal. I saw her before the anxiety started- at first, I just had the flu-like symptoms, then the anxiety hit. I don't know what to do....I am going to have to resign from my job (a well-established, successful career of 9 years). I aleady took a leave for 1 month 6 months ago when I was having a bout of bad withdrawal. I feel desperate for relief, and am so desperate that I would even go on meds again (although I swore they were the worst thing I ever did to myself and that I would never touch them again). Is there any chance this is still a delayed withdrawal? Please if anyone can offer me advice, I really need help right now. Thank-you.
  6. Hi all, I'm new and needing assistance. I was on antidepressants/stimulants for years and have managed to quit the stimulants, but am living through the hell of withdrawal from my SSRI, Zoloft after tapering too fast as you'll see below. This nightmare started in late May of 2020. I have some physical symptoms besides extreme fatigue, and the withdrawal itself is extreme anxiety, panic, depression, brain fog, confusion, poor memory... most of what is on the list of typical symptoms, and what I have come to understand is OCD. The crushing, breathless feeling of just having to get by minute to minute is like nothing I have ever experienced before. After reinstating Zoloft 12.5 mg in July, I seemed to stabilize a little bit after a few months, and withdrawal symptoms are just slightly better although the OCD is not budging. I need help/advice with moving forward with a taper. Right now I am not sure if I should wait a while and stabilize further since I just tried to stop the 12.5mg cold turkey less than two weeks ago and realized after 3 days it was a bad idea (although it did lead me to this site). I have been back on the 12.5mg Zoloft for a week. I was able to get liquid sertraline (Zoloft) from my doctor but I am unsure how to do the dosing. What I mean is, I recognize that I should reduce by 10% every 4 weeks, but I am unsure of how to dose this out from the liquid. I would really appreciate some help with this and advice on how long I should wait until trying to reduce.
  7. I started to taper off Prozac 20mg 5/2020. I got down to 3mg 11/2020. I became depressed. Under the care of my Doctor Psychiatrist, From 12/2020 to 5/2021 I have started and stopped 5 different meds and increase and decrease Lamictal. My brain is a mess. I have had every thing from Brain zapping, brain numbing, paranoia, headaches, insomnia, muscle weakness, unexplainable fear, intrusive thought that have turned into ocd, left side of my face and eye hurt on and off, unable think clearly, slow speech, anxiety, depression, thoughts of suicide, nausea, weight loss, I can't even name it all. On 5mg Lexapro 37.5mg lamictal, and 25mg of trazadone Started Lexapro 4/3/2021 Slow titration,, my brain is very, very drug sensitive, 4/14 7.5mg. side effects so bad, and anger, anxiety through the roof, doctor encouraged my to go up 4/30 10mg. Could not take the side effects dropped 4/10 7.5mg. Doctor said he does know if he can help me. Told me to stop Lexapro, and go on a med holiday . 4/16 Lexapro 5mg. Holding,. don't know what to do? Do I hold here for awhile. Doctor is no help. He thinks I can stop Lexapro with in 2 weeks. Since I dropped down lexapro 5mg and started L theanine and Magnesium glycinate, things are slightly better. I found a new doctor but can not get in until the end of June. Since I am so close to no drugs I would like to see if I can continue my goal of being drug free. Med history 1995? Prozac 20mg not help anxiety ? Paxil Caused anger stop Serzone More depressed 1998 St Johns wart stop 1998 Prozac 20mg 1998 trazadone 50mg took for a few months stop 2000 lexapro 20mg. 2015 taper off Lexapro, fast taper a few month crash tried to reinstate Lexapro did not work Tried Effexor, did not work stop Oct 2015 Hospital 1 week Seroquel xr 50mg Viibryd 20mg. Did not even get up to 20mg. So drugged, I could not hardly work 30 minutes after taking so dizzy. Stopped at home 12/2016 Abilify, couldn't tolerate stop 12/16 Wellbutrin couldn't tolerate stop 12/16 Stopped Seroquel xr 50mg. To nauseated and couldn't eat. Heartburn Don't remember tapering 1/2016 Prozac 20mg. slight improvement 5/2016 Lamictal 200mg. 5/2020 through 11/2020 taper Prozac down to 3mg. depression and anxiety insomnia 12/2/2020 Zoloft 12.5mg 12/13 25mg. 12/24 37.5mg 12/28 50mg. Bad side effects Felt like brain sitting on eclectic fence 4 day tapper stop 1/5/2021 up lamictal from 200mg to 300mg. 1/13 lamictal 400mg. Brain started ruminating and obsessing 1/17 lamictal 300mg. 1/22 lamictal 200mg 1/22/2021 Seroquel 50mg for sleep Became paranoid. nausea headaches 1/29 stopped 1/29/2021 Trazadone 50mg 4/25 25mg 2/5/ 2021 Lamictal 150mg. 2/24 100mg 4/9 75mg 4/21 37.5 2/12/2021 Wellbutrin 75mg. Became hypo manic 2/16 stopped 2/16/2021 Seroquel 50xr 3/3 100mg 3/17 150mg side effects to much, arm and leg muscles became very week, nausea headaches 4/23/2021 panicked and stopped. doc not return my call Brain went crazy, paranoia ( should have learned, not to try it again) 4/3 2021 Lexapro 5mg 4/14 7.5mg 4/30 10mg 5/10 7.5mg 5/16 5mg Now: 5mg Lexapro 37.5 Lamictal 25mg trazadone L theanine 200mg Magnesium glycinate 100mg Omega 3 2000mg Turmeric 1500mg .5 mg melatonin
  8. Hope everyone is doing well. I wanted to start with a quick synopsis of my medical background below. I took SSRI antidepressants for 17+ years. I started with Prozac for 5 years from 15-21. Then I took Escitalopram from 22-32. Along the way I was put on Trazodone, Buspar, Ambien and Wellbutrin as well. All in an attempts to control my anxiety/depression and inability to sleep. Also a little mental history - I was bullied from about the age of 9 to the age of 16. It's pretty obvious in hindsight why I was depressed/anxious. I thought the people in this world were mean. I thought everywhere I went was an unsafe place because at this time it was. In response to this I took up boxing and working out so I could become stronger than my bullies. In all honesty it worked. As soon as I became strong and in shape I became popular out of nowhere, which was an interesting transition. Anyways, that's another story for another time. At 15 I visited the doctor because I always held things to myself because I never told my parents I was being bullied or that life outside of my bedroom sucked. They just thought I was sad/depressed. Depression also runs deep in my family. My mother has been on an extreme cocktail of antidepressants since she was about 20. Although this cocktail has been quite a rollercoaster for her as well. She thought this was the only way to help. I had no one to talk to and I felt like the world was an unsafe and scary place so when the doctor prescribed anti depressants and the anxiety disappeared I thought it was a miracle. At this time the extreme side effects didn't matter to me. The fact I lost my ability to feel empathy because I was numb didn't matter because I didn't like people enough to care to empathize with them. I thought I was going to make it in this world on my own come hell or high water. This idea set me off on a path of perfectionism, egocentrism, hedonism and drug abuse. This life is not meant to be lived alone. To make sure this story doesn't become a novel I'm going to go ahead and summarize it here. For 16 years I went on a binger of sorts. Chasing all the highs this world has to offer. Whether this be dating multiple women, chasing drugs and festival culture, chasing adrenaline highs in the form of mountain biking, power lifting or cliff diving. I kept chasing thrills to fill the emotional void left by the SSRI. I also had to be perfect at this point. I had to have a straight A's in college. A quick aside (I had a long period of alcohol addiction that ran in parallel with my SSRI usage from about 16-21). This caused me to fall behind in life so I felt like I had to catch-up quick, mixed with the perfectionism created from early bullying it caused an immense amount of anxiety in my day to day life. I wasn't allowed to rest, make a mistake or simply apologize when I was wrong. This caused insane amounts of chaos in my relationships throughout these years. Finally when I hit about 31 I decided I had enough of this chaos. A 6-year relationship and all of my life long friendships finally collapsed on me. They were built on a false human. They were built on a man that didn't exist. I see myself as two people honestly. The person that was on anti-depressants is not the same human I am off them. Honestly in my mind half the withdrawal is realizing you built a life not suitable to the person you are off the medicine. I moved to a new area and started a new life. I also quit my anti-depressants. I began hiking and looking inward. It took about 6 months from the insomnia, brain zaps, panic attacks and extreme social anxiety to subside. I managed these symptoms with extreme self inquiry. I also started walking daily. I'm running out of time to write this so let me summarize this pretty quickly here. I'm not perfectly better now. I think anxiety/depression are a part of existence now. I accept there will be days I'm tired/scared and will have panic attacks, but I've learned to sit with these emotions and understand this too shall pass. Getting of my anti-depressant also gave me my empathy back. I built closer connections with people than I've had in the past 17 years. It was extremely hard to rebuild a social support system and a new life while quitting the SSRI though. I would say overall life feels deeper now though. In summary: 1) Took SSRI's for 17+ years. Felt like a zombie. I won't say it was all bad. If you are suicidal and have no other options I would say these are better than that alternative. If you believe you have any other options though I would urge you to try them all out. 2) Quit SSRI's at 32. Created a new life. 3) Anxiety/depression still exists but I now just believe these to be a part of life as opposed to something to get rid of. 4) Found a social support system that saved me, built around the real me. Sorry for jumping around so much on this post. I was trying to work from home at the same time. So I kept jumping back into it. If anyone has any questions feel free to let me know!
  9. In August of 2021 will be a four-year ordeal that began with a breaking through (tolerance) of the SSRI medication (Celexa) I was on for 20 years. During this four-year period, I experienced over 75 symptoms associated with psychotropic medication withdrawal and at two different times was at zero quality of life. Once for five months (within the first year) and the once for four months (in year two) three months after my last dose of medication. I have been treated by a Psychiatrist, several counselors, two functional medicine doctors, two nutritionist, two specialists with psychotropic medication withdrawal, a geneticist and spent over a year and a half treated by a Dr. who specializes with hard-to-treat depression and anxiety cases. I have been on several strict diets (anti-inflammatory, vegetarian) and taken countless supplements. I have been tested for many possible underlying conditions. Although my condition has improved slowly (many symptoms have abated) I am still impaired living with severe insomnia, depression and anxiety on a daily basis. Concentration, speech, motivation, fatigue are all residual issues that continue to come and go with no predictable pattern but as of late cognition, speech and energy level have all improved. Prior to taking psychotropic medications, I lived with dysthymia (PDD) with major depressive episodes until 34 years old. I was not aware of the condition until that time. Looking back it effected my motivation, outlook on life, self-confidence and career decisions. I took Celexa for 20 years and it worked well for about 12-15 years. A whole new world of consistent positive emotions opened up soon after starting the drug. The last five or so years I was emotionally numb with no real highs but depression, insomnia and anxiety were not factors. It should be noted that for about eight of those years the dosage was 80 mg. In the summer of 2017, I noticed increased anxiety levels and insomnia had returned similar to when I when on medication. I then realized I was breaking through the medication. Agitation and aggression also started increasing. My psychiatrist then prescribed multiple medications over a period of five months. I experienced intense acute withdrawal symptoms. These drugs included Lexapro, Cymbalta, and Prozac. I stopped all meds after five months in December of 2017 for a period of one and a half months (symptoms intensified). At the end of the month and a half, I tried Ketamine infusions and my quality of life was reduced to zero. This intense period lasted five months. During this five-month period, new and previously prescribed drugs were given including Prozac, Trintellex, Lexapro, Klonopin (5 mg.), and Trazodone. In May of 2018, I began a slow taper with an organization to come off all medications. The taper ended in August of 2019. The order of the taper was Trintellex, Trazadone, Klonopin, and Prozac. During the taper, a number of symptoms lessened but would return later with varying intensity and duration (e.g., visual distortions, brain zaps, dizziness, numerous cognitive issues). However, after the taper, several symptoms slowly increased in severity including insomnia (severe), depression (moderate to severe), concentration (moderate), anxiety moderate to severe), depersonalization/derealization (moderate). The symptoms of insomnia, anxiety and depression were the most constant. Immediately after my taper, quality of life was reduced significantly (close to zero). This in spite of working with a functional medical doctor and nutritionist for treatment. Three months later, I reached zero quality of life again and in the winter of 2019 I went to a clinic that specialized in hard to treat cases in hope they could help. My condition improved slowly but not much. I was put on supplements to address sleep and high free copper levels. The treatment for free copper lasted over a year with zinc supplements reaching 250 mg before it was determined my free copper levels were down. Sleep problems remained unchanged. After two years of being treating I was still severely symptomatic and was told I was one of only 10% of patients that they were not able to help. In desperation and on recommendation, I reached out to an organization the deals with genetic testing. They put me on more supplements in which I reacted negatively. Currently, insomnia remains bad. I wake every night after about three hours with an intense mixture of negative emotions (e.g. anxiety, depression, guilt, shame) that have no basis in circumstances. My sleep is tumultuous at best, waking multiple times before experiencing electrical like sensations about 45 minutes prior to waking. Most mornings I cannot go back to sleep because of these sensations. My sleep hygiene is very good and has been for a while. Nothing seems to help in this area. I take magnesium and have taken a number of other supplements and natural sleep aids, but none have worked. However, I now go through withdrawal if I forget to take the magnesium. In summary, this August it will be four years. Two of which have been medication free. My symptoms have improved in number, intensity and duration. However, I still deal with insomnia, depression and anxiety in varying patterns. I do have some windows but never a full day and have not slept through the night except once in 4 years. Trying to discern withdrawal symptoms from underlying symptoms is challenging. Sleep was never a problem prior to taking medications and nothing close to what I live with now. I do not understand why is so bad when I have practiced excellent sleep hygiene for a while. The anxiety and depression have similarities to my pre-existing condition but also have major differences. For example, I can be dealing with a situation in the morning that seems to be causing depression or anxiety and in the evening I am thinking about the same situation and feel neither anxiety or depression and can view the situation in rational emotionally stable state. I am very strong in my belief about my identity but will sometimes experience strong emotions of insecurity that I know are absolutely baseless and absurd. The same goes for anxiety and depression. The emotions seem to have a mind of their own. There is a strong disconnect between what I know to be true and my emotions. Like fearing something that you know is rationally nothing to fear. I have many questions that I probably already know the answer, but I will throw them out for your feedback. 1. Did the poly drugging exacerbate the withdrawal/healing process. 2. What about the ketamine? That drug sent me off into the abyss of torturous emotions. It was like I was being brutally tortured non-stop for five months night and day. The emotions were beyond description. Zero peace and joy. 3. Are my current symptoms (they still can be very debilitating and intense) uncommon this far out from being off meds? 4. I did a slow taper and was told I would probably heal quickly only to go back to zero quality of life three months later. Any thoughts? 5. Although most of the people who have tried to help have been well-meaning, none have been able to significantly alter my condition. I have appreciated their encouragement and compassion, but their treatments have not been able to move the healing needle. Most supplements inflated my symptoms or did nothing at all. The free copper diagnosis and treatment did bring a little relief but only a little. 6. I have read that sleep is one of the last things to return to normal, but four years later it still is bad. Any thoughts? Feel free to ask questions or make comments. Thank you for taking the time to read.
  10. Hi I was just wondering how to taper the small tapers people are managing to do on this site. I would really appreciate your help I have been on Anti Depressants for almost 20yrs 2003-2014 seroxat 20mg 2014-2020 venlafaxine 150mg tapered off for 2years Aug 2020 - now mitazepine 15mg approx 4/6 weeks after tapering off I developed insomnia and severe anxiety, palpations, tinnitus vertigo in bed and finally depression from chronic insomnia. I have been given Zopliclone, diazepam , trazadone all helped for about 3/4 days then made my symptoms worse again. I want to get off these drugs forever I feel they have completely ruined me. I was never anywhere near like this before I took them. how do I get from 15mg Mitazepine to 0mg ? With a pill cutter I can only seem to cut the pills in half otherwise if I try to cut into quarters they crumble .
  11. Hi. My story should maybe begin with med history I suppose. Back in 2017 I was hospitalized and put on trazadone, zoloft, and zyprexa. After only barely a year of this cocktail it was determined that I was too tired to function with trazadone and zyprexa caused an odd issue with blood sugar which required immediate discontinuation. After another year and a half of zoloft, I asked my PCP (primary care physician) to manage my meds and help me try something new. I was tired of driving to see my nurse practitioner, who formally managed them. My PCP suggested Paxil, and also placed me on imitrex for chronic migraines. She discontinued zoloft, she felt it was a low enough dose. Shocker. This was the end of January 2020, so covid was nearly upon us. After only one month of being on it she decided to bump it by 10mg, to 30mg. We also decided imitrex sucked so I got put on maxalt which I'm still on today. I felt as though it was helping me with irritability, which is a problem I've had for a long time. Paxil mellowed me out it seemed. It made me not really care much. All visits after February were done via zoom due to covid. In November of 2021 I was feeling at a wit's end with the increase in head pain frequency. Taking all 9 of your maxalts every month and having more migraines on top of it just sucked. I also was having more s******l ideations, I always have had passive ones but having more than usual was bothering me. She said she would add 10mg of amitriptyline because "it helps with migraines and mental health so it'll kill two birds with one stone". Well it seemed to help me sleep. However, I'd been slowly gaining weight while on paxil due to my low motivation and lack of caring... which I think amitriptyline just further encouraged. My pharmacist was a little concerned about the combination. She mentioned serotonin syndrome being a common issue, but my doctor said I'd be fine. Well I continued to just kinda suck things up, my fault, but I just really appreciated how chilled out I was. May 26th 2022 I go to my PCP in person because 1. I developed a twitch in my thumb, tendinitis from typing. 2. Because I finally got the courage to talk about my meds via pro con list. She determined the tendinitis, we got that fixed. However, when I wanted to address meds she actually cut me off and just started talking about my blood pressure and (obvious) 30 pound weight gain. This was the first time she's seen me since increasing the paxil, mind you. I understand her concern. My blood pressure was some kind of record high, I'll admit it was so high I couldn't believe it for my age. She said I needed to get blood work done asap and that after she looks at lab results THEN she will discuss meds. That Friday, may 27th I messaged her on mychart (she's nice about this) about my concern regarding med combination. I told her I was curious about whether paxil in combo with other meds could've been my reason for high blood pressure. She said "well, hold your paxil until you get your blood work and until I can get another blood pressure reading". LOL. I said sure thing, because what could ever go wrong. I got very sick, but got the labs done that next tuesday and sadly couldn't get my blood pressure done until that next Friday due to staffing issues at her clinic..I ended up having my work do it since we have nurses, and just messaged the bp read on mychart. Believe it or not my blood work was pretty emaculent. My blood pressure went down 30 points on systolic and 10 diastolic (idk if points if the right term) but still it was high. She messages me on Mychart that friday afternoon to say she got my results, and wanted me to continue "hold (not take) your paxil because I think it was affecting the blood pressure". Yay. She scheduled to see me June 10th to talk about a beta blocker if my blood pressure was still high. June 10th comes and she still wants me on a beta blocker, it's still high but going down slowly. I have tachycardia on top of it, so she was pretty concerned. I told her about my very horrible experience with paxil withdrawals, to which she said "you're the first to say that. I've never had a patient have a problem or get withdrawals from stopping paxil". So I said, well maybe I'm sensitive and reminded her about my zyprexa problem. I thought it kinda sucked to have her brush off my withdrawals that took two weeks to go away completely. =/ I ended up added omega 3 and magnesium to help with brain zaps, which actually helped me but I can't say how or why. She was fine with the new supplements and said I would now start atenolol (beta blocker). Scheduled me out to see her on June 24th. So I guess that's my story so far. My blood pressure is slowly but surely going down. I'm feeling more energy again, less headaches, less weird hyperthermia feeling, still some issues with motivation but still seeing small improvements. My concern is how my body will adjust to not having paxil in the long run. It very much wasn't good for me, and I feel bad for not getting it check out sooner but I really just didn't care enough at the time. It was kind of scary. I know CTing can have long term effects, but I also JUST started feeling somewhat normal again and don't want to go back to feeling addicted to paxil to ever return. I also just feel alone in this, if that makes sense?
  12. I have been on Sertraline (Zoloft) over the last 11 years. These were prescribed by a physician in an effort to treat my GAD/panic condition caused from high stress levels in college. Prescribed within a 10 minute appointment. I was 20 years old. And with no information on how long to take it or how to stop taking it. "Take this, it will help." The medication seemed to work OK for a few years. However, my experience over the last 2.5 years on this medication and with the psychiatry system has been a complete mess. My symptoms of anxiety (and the addition of depression) were exacerbated with many new symptoms and side effects: heightened anxiety, suicidal ideations, uncontrollable movements, cognitive impairment, and many others. I continued to speak to my psychiatrist about all these symptoms and my deep sense that we were on the wrong track. In fact I showed up in tears to the office. I was told I needed to increase my dosage, as I had more than likely become tolerant to my current dose. So as a good patient would, I listened to my doctor’s recommendation- increase from 50mg to 100mg. I increased to 75mg, had a follow-up appointment and relayed that I was feeling ‘OK’, but not great. So, I threw out an idea. How about this? Since increasing isn’t making me “better”, I’m going to reduce and taper off. Do the opposite. My psychiatrist was hesitant, but agreed if I wanted to take that journey then she’d support my decision and want me to continue check-ins. Was I given any advice or direction from the psychiatrist on tapering? Not really. I researched myself. I read many testimonials and clinical trials about the challenges of tapering off medications. I was ready for what I thought might be a very bumpy ride and determined I would decrease slowly over many months. I made myself a plan. Make a reduction every 6-8 weeks, so I have time to acclimate in between reductions. So I did just that. I also journaled my symptoms- physical, mental and emotional feelings daily. It wasn’t a fun process (def had some issues), but it wasn’t all that terrible. The added global pandemic definitely did not help the situation (super great time to come off medication). My last dose taken May 31, 2020. Six weeks go by and I’m doing pretty good. THEN, like a freight train, I’m hit with delayed post withdrawal. The most horrendous physical, mental and emotional pain I’ve ever experienced in my life. Nerve shocks, body aches, headaches, cognitive disorientation, tremors, severe insomnia, panic, crying spells, chest pain, no appetite, extreme anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation. Things I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. Overall I lost 10 pounds. I cried every day. The insomnia got so bad (only slept 2 hrs each night), I was put on Trazodone for a short period. I was in a tailspin. I felt so alone. This lasted a very long 3 weeks. And honestly without my support system, this forum, and my stubborn attitude I don’t think I would have gotten through it. After those 3 weeks, I could feel myself getting closer to the surface again. I still struggled, but each day got a little better. A little more healed. Symptoms still lingered, but things were subsiding slowly. My body working out the kinks. I started feeling real improvements and larger windows at the 6 month mark. Still some bumps in the road, the occasional stress induced anxiety symptoms, but overall better. Every day got a little brighter. I now genuinely know the medication was the culprit in making me ill- inflaming all of my anxieties. Today I have been 1 year 3 months without any medication. Last dose taken on May 31, 2020. I can wholeheartedly tell you it does get better. I feel the best I’ve felt in years. My symptoms have all subsided. I still have general anxiety, but it is very minor in comparison to being on the medication. I have learned so much about myself, my strength and the coping mechanisms/exercises that work for me. And I’m still healing. Everyone’s story and timeline is different, however I hope sharing my experience gives you hope. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. You can and will weather the storm and get through this journey. You may not see it now, but there is an end in sight. And it’s beautiful. Keep going. **On a personal note, THANK YOU to those of you that have also shared your experiences on this forum, as this undoubtedly helped me hang on during my journey of tapering and withdrawal.** XX Amber
  13. Hello everybody, I'm a girl from Europe and I am having some troubles with withdrawal. I started taking Venlafaxine 75mg 10 years ago when I was still very young because of light depression and was pretty quickly upped to 225mg. 5 years ago I first started tapering. Down to 37,5mg in about 1,5 years and then stopped. It was pretty tough but mostly not completely debilitating until around 8 months of stopping when I started having severe insomnia and a lot of other difficult symptoms like DR, akathisia, anxiety (or maybe I should say terror), aches and a lot of other stuff. I thought I was going crazy. I was put on a few different antidepressants but nothing helped and I ended up with the Venlafaxine again on low dose. I was still feeling pretty bad on it and was not really depressed and could not stand being on it anymore so I tried to get off it several times over the next year but always had immediate insomnia and panic and went back on. Then I finally found this site and stayed on the same dose of 10mg for 8 months. I was feeling very bad for a while but I felt I recovered quickly so I made the decision to just quit it (I tapered the 10mg slowly over 2 months) around 8 months ago. The past months have been very hard but it was bearable, I got quite good at handling all the weird things that were happening to me, avoiding triggers as good as possible. The most persistent and horrible symptom is my insomnia. I never used to have any troubles with insomnia but since it started the first time I went off the medication, it never really went away. There were times when it was better but for 8 months now it takes me hours to fall asleep, often I wake up soon after. It was bearable because I would still get a couple of hours of sleep most nights but for two weeks now I am barely sleeping at all and of course that makes all the symptoms so much more difficult. I am freaking out a little. I try to stay positive but I tried pretty much all the advice on here and nothing seems to help. Before this started two weeks ago I actually felt like I was getting better, now I wonder if it was just a torturous honeymoon phase. I am so scared of my good sleep not coming back. How will I recover then I wonder? What if it isnt even withdrawal? I read other peoples stories but it seems most do not have this problem for so long or so severely and I am worried it wont go away anymore. I know it is part of WD to constantly question whether one will ever get better and I try to tell myself that it will but it is really hard right now. This whole thing is quite exhausting, this has been going on for so long and I am upset with myself for quitting so rapidly when I had finally stabilized a little. But I am trying to stay positive, hopefully someone has some advice. I have been browsing this site for a while now and it has helped me a lot, so thank you to everybody working here to help others through this time.
  14. Hi. I'm currently having the worst time tapering off Trazodone. However. My problems started in April 2017 with emotional blunting/Anhedonia after coming off Prozac. I went a year after until I started more treatment on Citalopram in October 2018. This didn't help at all (it kept me the same). I switched to Mirtazapine in June 2021. This didn't help at all - the withdrawal gave me insomnia and what I can only describe as shear terror in the pit of my stomach, reducing me to a shaking crying wreck with no hope. Then came Prozac a second time and within the month I experienced overwhelming Depersonalisation and Derealization, my skin felt like rubber and being so emotionally stunted I couldn't even think my thoughts and my suicidal thoughts and feelings hit a peak. I switched over to Trazodone - in the first week I started to violently shake, however this also put me to sleep. On higher doses it increased my Derealization and caused me to shake. - on lower doses I stared to feel better, the shakes were gone and my Derealization lowered. I've gone three weeks now without medication and I'm truly skeptical about them. This week has been particularly hard. I've been constantly suicidal over the past few months and need advice.
  15. Hi! Long story short I already screwed up my brain, I need urgent help I was on escitalopram and trazodone on 2017 (8 months 10mg, 4 months 50 mg), went cold turkey because I couldnt get an appointment, major depression but nothing else 2021, alcohol withdrawal went back to trazodone 50-100 mg up and down (didnt know about kindling or withdrawals) until a lot of neurological issues started to appear, I was on 100 mg for almost 3 months and then cut to 50, never reinstated more and was left suffering for 6 months, then tried to completely wean off and went down to almost 20 mg and then off, had a massive withdrawal because it was way too fast, I reinstated to 25mg but felt more or less and went to 50 the next day (probably more kindling ), and now I am having an absolute adverse reaction (2 nights since reinstatement) should I go back to 25mg, should I stay on the 50, whay should I do, I am in utter hell, I have burning skin all over please help
  16. Introduction topic: karenrose-what-a-journey Hi everyone. I guess this is my success story check in. I've been off for almost a year (just a few more weeks) and feel better than I have in years. This forum and the help I got here was literally a life saver. Thank you so much to the people who helped me when I was suffering so much I could not stand being alive anymore. I still struggle a little bit with blood sugar issues, mucus, and restless sleep but it's getting better. I am no longer depressed - amazing. Not anxious. I have had many waves but the last few ones have been tiny. I am prepared for bigger waves but no longer scared of them. And haven't had one for a while. I feel healed and withdrawal is becoming a distant memory. What helped me the most to come off and to heal? I am not recommending any of it - just saying what worked for me after trying just about everything for years. In case it can inspire someone. Ultra slow tapering - feel free to take a look at my journey. The key was listening to my body, not the numbers. It made all the difference and I learned it here. Whole foods super nutritious diet without allergens. No sugar, caffeine, alcohol. I used the AIP diet. Lots of clean water. EFT tapping and EMDR for pervasive trauma, emotional pain, stress and anxiety. Dancing for exercise and stress release (no need to go out - did it at home). Still working on getting back in shape. Coffee enemas for migraines and feeling toxic and achey. I know this is controversial and may not be for everyone. It worked very well for me. Meditation in the morning - five to ten minutes. I was convinced at several points I could not do it. If this is you, know that you can. Much support and hope, Karen
  17. Good day I would like to hear sincere advice. I started taking Cipralex 10 mg after an uterus myomas operation for severe headaches. When I started taking this medicine, I had a serious side effect, I suffered from it and thought it should be. Insomnia occurs, there was high anxiety, inequality, headache, nausea, dizziness. It all lasted about six weeks. Five months later, with the permission of a doctor, I try to stop taking medication, but this is almost impossible. High anxiety and fear (it was not against drug abuse). The burning body, headache and whole body, the doctor does not know what to do. I do not need to take drugs for 10 days. Please advise what to do, how can I overcome these exclusion cases? How long will it last?start to understand why many people take medication for a long time, it is not possible to stop them directly, and feel less well off than before taking medication. When I reduced my medication, I took 5 mg for one month, then in a week at 2.5 mg and I completely stopped. Now I'm taking vitamin c, b vitamins, minerals, omega 3. My doctor's only advice is to go back to medicine. I also go to psychotherapy, KET.If you did not have depression before taking medication, then such a terrible symptom might really occur.
  18. I go by Jacq/DemonOfSarila/Sarila/she/her. Currently taking: 10mg Lexapro (escitalopram) & 50mg Trazodone & tracking them in a google spreadsheet Starting dose: 20mg Lexapro & 100mg Trazodone Taper started: July 2020 Max dose: 20mg Lexapro & 150mg Trazodone Meds started: 2014 Anyway, as far as detailed history, I guess let's start at the very beginning? Issues with depression symptoms started in high school, some time 2002-2006. Major depressive episode in 2014, about March to November. Saw a few doctors, tried a few pills and amounts, and ended up on 20mg Lexapro and 100mg Trazodone. Stayed like that for years. Sometimes I needed to take 150mg of trazodone or only 50mg to keep me sleeping enough for long enough without leaving me super exhausted at all times. In either 2016 or the first half of 2017: failed taper attempt under doctor's orders of something like 20mg-10mg-5mg-2.5mg-0mg over the course of like a month, maybe two. Can't remember if I took 15mg or 7.5mg during that process. Withdrawals were just too much, I was majorly upset and felt like crap (surprise, surprise). So I ended up back on the 20mg & 100mg combo, both taken at bedtime. Found this site/form in or before July 2020. By Aug 1, 2020 I started to taper without doctor's orders or knowledge (previous doctor was too far away, and I didn't have insurance, but I had refills and goodRx). To be clear: I do NOT recommend doing this. Please see this google spreadsheet for more details & graphs of my journey since Aug 2020. Basically I was alt dosing (another thing I do NOT recommend) the lexapro sometimes: Aug was 20mg & 15mg. Sept was all 15mg. Stayed at 15mg only until the last half of Oct was 15mg & 10mg, until Nov 17. Since Nov 17, 2020 I've been taking 10mg as half of a 20mg pill. Around that same time in Nov, I felt very tired and foggy at all times, and it felt it was the Trazodone. So I switched to taking just 1 of my 50mg pills instead of 2 of them, which completely fixed the "tired as hell cuz trazodone" feeling without causing other issues. I read about how bad alt dosing is, wanted to give everything some extra time to normalize, did not want to risk dealing with symptoms during the holidays, and knew I would have insurance in Jan, so I stayed with the 10mg of lexapro and therefore the 50mg of trazodone for more than 4 weeks. Jan 2021 I've (finally) gotten insurance again and found a new PCP/GP that isn't too far away. As of this writing, I'm scheduled to see him to talk about decreasing my med in less than a week. In my previous appointment (as a brand new patient), his was dismissive of 10% tapering & wants to stop the trazodone first, and I'm not sure how I feel about either of those. But he did not like the alt dosing, so maybe he'll work out? I don't know at this time.
  19. scallywag

    scallywag's Dad

    Sweet scallydaddy is in the hospital after falling then being confused. He is uninjured but has been hospitalized for several weeks because recovery from the fall is complicated by previously diagnosed early or middle stage dementia. While in the hospital, the dementia sometimes results in confusion about where he is and he gets "agitated." The first instance of agitation resulted in the "as needed" administration of zopiclone and trazodone. After an extremely unproductive cycle of late night PRN dosing that left him slurring his words well into the next day and too weak to do the brief physio recommended exercises, I asked that they pick one medication and provide it regularly. Thank you to all here at SA who helped me educate myself about this. Somebody (I've yet to find out who <grrr> ) started him on trazodone with dinner and citalopram with breakfast. WTAF?? Major interaction effects which include confusion, fever (dangerous for someone with a diagnosed arrhythmia), and increased risk of arrhythmia. Fortunately he's been stable on that for 10+ days until a confused agitation episode today. After the early "cocktail," I knew enough to ask about PRN (as needed) meds in the event of agitation. The PRN med that will be administered is halo-effing-peridol which, imagine your surprise, interacts in major ways with both trazodone and citalopram. It's beyond me how anyone thinks that's going to help him recover to a condition for safe discharge. I anticipate talking with his doctor about next steps and will ask, "Sometimes medications interact with each other. Are there effects we should be concerned about with Dad's prescribed meds?" Not sure what I need from other members of SA or the moderators. I guess the good news is that I've learned a few things and that it's early enough to interrupt predictable negative outcomes. Teasing out which symptoms are dementia progression and which are iatrogenic might not be possible until he's off all the meds.
  20. Hi! First of all apologize for my english, it’s not my native language. I’m a 35 year old male and I’ve been diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder and depression when I was 21. Since that moment I took so many different antidepressants that I can’t even remember all their names. Until I was 30 years old I took mainly Lyrica (Pregabalin) and Entact (Escitalopram) and I never experienced any sexual collateral symptoms from them. When I was 30 years old a traumatic event changed my life (the girlfiend I had since I was 22 left me) and those meds were no longer effective to treat my anxiety and depression. Since that moment I changed a lot of different types of antidepressants (and also some antipsychotics) without any sexual problem. The one who worked better for me was Anafranil (Clomipramine) 25 mg. I started taking it 2 and a half years ago in combination with Lantanon (Mianserin) 15 mg and Rivotril (Clonazepam) 3 drops each day. I have to admit that they worked great for my symptoms, I was feeling very well. I started taking them in May 2019 and after some months I started suffering from anorgasmia. My psychiatrist assured me it was a temporary effect of Anafranil. During the following year and a half I was single, so not sexually active. Anyway I noticed a progressive decrease in libido but I didn’t give too much importance to this problem (my bad). I also replaced Mianserin with Trazodone for a couple of months because for a certain period it was difficult to find it in my country. 5 months ago I had the first occasions to have sex in 1 and a half year and was in that moment that I truly realized how my libido has been destroyed by the meds. I tried to have sex in 3 different occasions but failed miserably every time. Since that moment I can’t achieve a full and stable erection without Cialis (but it doesn’t work all the time) even during masturbation. I immediately told to my psychiatrist about the situation and he told me that Anafranil could do that but it was reversible. So I stopped taking Anafranil in October 2021 and I started taking Buspirone, since he said it has always worked to resolve those side effects of tricyclic antidepressants.I took only Buspirone for 3 weeks but without any significant improvements. So I decided to go to an andrologist, who prescribed me a “rehabilitation therapy” with cialis 5 mg 3 times a week for a month (ormonal values are normal). In his opinion my impotence was caused by a mixture of organic and psychological factors. At this point I started panicking. I went back to my psychiatrist and I explained him the situation and told him I was afraid i got PSSD. He told me that there isn’t any scientific evidence of PSSD and that it is all in my head. In his opinion i developed an obsession for the sexual dysfunctions I had when I was taking Anafranil and now some psychological dynamics cause the dysfunctions to persist after discontinuation. He prescribed me another SSRI (Fluvoxamine) in order to get rid of this obsession. I told him I was too afraid to take it because I’m worried it could worsen my symptoms but he answered me there isn’t any risk. I went to another andrologist two months ago who prescribed me 3 months of Cialis Daily (5 mg) and one month of complete abstinence from porn and masturbation (???). The abstinence improves the situation a little bit and Cialis daily almost resolved the ED but I’m afraid to develop tachyphylaxis taking it every day. I found a new psychiatrist who believes me and recognize PSSD. She told me that there’s no cure and the only thing I can do is to avoid SSRI and wait. Two months ago I started to do cognitive behavioral therapy to reduce the distress caused by the situation, which helps me a little bit. At the moment I’m taking only 1 drop (0.1 mg) or Rivotril (Clonazepam) any other day to contain the severe anxiety caused by this condition. Since I stopped Anafranil I don’t suffer of anorgasmia anymore but my libido is still very low and I have pretty severe ED along with a strong anhedonia and cognitive dysfunction (sh*tty memory, can’t focus etc..) Right now because of this situation i suffer from extreme anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts every day. Anyway I try to stay phisically active (I run 1/2 times a week) and to spend time with my friends to get some relief from this mental torture but I can’t open up with them because I’m ashamed of the condition I put myself into. Since I also have traits of OCD I’m worried that psychogenic factors could play a huge role in my situation, preventing me to feel any possibile improvements.
  21. Hi Everyone I just wanted to introduce myself. I have been lurking this forum for long enough now. 🙂 Male, 28 My story starts in November 2018 when I went partying with a few friends and consumed different recreational drugs (MDMA, Cocaine, Speed and Alcohol). I wasn't new to these drugs but I made the huge mistake to not test any substance and not dosing correctly. However I didn't feel bad throughout that weekend and the hangover was as expected. After four days the panic attacks and the depression started and it just did not get any better over time. A month later I had enough and went to my GP who immediately put me on Effexor and Seroquel. Later on Seroquel has been exchanged first to Mirtazapine and then Trazodone (see signature). The drugs definitely helped with the panic attacks but Side Effect were just unbearable I felt 40 years older, manic, aggressive, suicidal, without any motivation and completely emotionally numb. There was just no way I would stay on this horrible stuff any longer so I went cold turkey after two months. The first two months were kind of ok but I still felt drugged. After that the emotional symptoms kicked in and it became a fight for survival day by day. I will not go into detail about it because you probably all know what I am talking about. Sixth month later I made some progress, the symptoms became a little bit less intense and I had some windows. Over the next four months I made some further minuscule improvements, windows became longer. I started to feel kind of stable in my recovery, it gave me some hope that I didn't lose my job and my girlfriend throughout all this time. Next month I will be drug free for a year but it is still a massive struggle every day. Right now I seem to be in a long wave (5 weeks so far) with a great change of symptoms. The anxiety and the panic attacks have become a lot worse recently and there are a lot of physical symptoms like dizziness, nausea, loss of appetite and generally feeling miserable. I have become less active, less motivated to exercise but on the other hand I am also feeling kind of ok with it. Also my sleep seems to have changed quite a bit, I didn't have very bad insomnia so far only very intense and draining dreams. They are mostly gone now but instead I am sleeping two to three hours less per night. I try to see these changes as my brain being at work 🙂 I can't differentiate if I am still in Withdrawal or if this is the after effect of the recreational drug incident (any ideas?). All I can hope for is that my brain will heal the same way as it does if I had taken psychiatric drugs only. Throughout my life I only had a few bouts of mild depression and anxiety (and three mild panic attacks), nothing I couldn't cope with. I also have never been on any psychiatric drug. I will try to document my recovery in this topic. Massive thanks to the people of this forum without you I would probably have gone back on psychiatric drugs a long time ago. You can't imagine how much hope I got reading through these pages! 🙂
  22. I am posting this basically as an introduction to my situation and perhaps just to find some sort of support or encouragement from the excellent people here. After being on a myriad of psychiatric medication for 13 years, I discovered the untold dangers of these drugs when I started feeling that they were taking a toll on my normal functioning and cognition. I spent most of these years going back and forth from one drug to another, in varying doses (see my use history below). I was never really able to identify withdrawal symptoms when coming off some of the drugs (despite the fact that several were fast tapered) apart from my withdrawal from Xanax, Valium and most lately, Fluoxetine. I had no idea about proper tapering until discovering this forum. Currently, I am a psychological mess who is on a cocktail of drugs and about to enter a psychiatric hospital for the fourth time. The past two weeks have been a hellish experience: unbearable anxiety and depression, an inability to think clearly or perform everyday tasks, complete loss of appetite, inability to converse with people, anhedonia, disrupted sleep, poorer coordination, of and alcohol misuse to numb the pain, to mention a few. During the past few months, I have simply been looking forward to night time, when I can take my 150mg of Trazodone and 10mg of Zolpidem to feel relief from it all. Unfortunately, the past few nights have seen me increasing the dosage of these drugs. Yesterday morning, I started straight back on 20mg of Fluoxetine (again, I had no idea about the possible kindling effect until I happened to come across it later in the day). After switching drugs several times and stopping and starting, I can only imagine that I am certainly susceptible to this effect? Tonight, I found myself awake after only 1 hour of sleep, despite taking 10mg Zolpidem and 250mg Trazodone. My nervous system feels overexcited (I am thinking probably from the reinstatement of the Fluoxetine?) and with the terrible restlessness this brought I found myself taking another 10mg Zolpidem to try and knock me out. It has not helped and I am still wide awake. I realise that increasing the dosages of these drugs is a recipe for long-term disaster but the pain is horrendous. I know that tomorrow, when I get into the hospital, I will most likely meet a new psychiatrist who will be the same as most of the rest and want to increase dosages or rapidly switch things up. I will let her know that this is not the route I want to take and hope that she is informed and empathetic to my concerns. I have a deep sense of hopelessness at my situation right now and feel completely trapped. At the same time, I don't feel like I am ticking any of the right boxes to be able to taper down. So my thinking is that the first step needs to be restarting on the lowest dose of fluoxetine (here in South Africa I believe this is only available at 10mg) in order to try and 'stabilise' the reinstatement and possibly get back into productivity that will allow me to save my very valued job and relationships. Of course, my biggest concern is that I have dosed highly on the Trazodone and Zolpidem for the past three nights, and that alcohol has also played an insidious role in my life for the past few months. In addition, I had ketamine infusions in December due to thoughts of ending all the pain, so this further complicates this terrifying situation. I truly want to be off the drugs and other treatments but I realise that my case is particularly complicated and I don't know how to go about solving it. Any thoughts and observations would be deeply appreciated. 2008 - Escitalopram 20mg2009 - 2011 Epitec 200 mg (fast tapered, no noticeable WD symptoms) and Seroquel 200 mg (fast tapered, no noticeable WD symptoms).2012 - 2019 Intermittent use of Escitalopram 20mg. Prescribed Xanax 1mg for anxiety in 2018. Was on them for 2 years. Developed tolerance, cravings and withdrawal when attempting to stop. Tapered off with Valium bridge in 2021. Fast tapered off Valium after six weeks. 2020 - Trazodone 150 mg and 10mg Zolpidem nightly (still taking). 2021 - Fluoxetine 20 mg (fast tapered, experiencing delayed withdrawal six weeks later). IV Ketamine infusions for debilitating depression. 2022 - more frequent overuse of Trazodone and Zolpidem, together with alcohol. Reinstatement of 20 mg Fluoxetine caused insomnia and akithesia on night 1. Supplements: Vitamin B Complex; Magnesium Glycinate; Vitamin C; Lions Mane Mushrooms; Omega 3.
  23. Was on Prozac for 3 weeks due to irritability, and generalized anxiety. I stopped cold turkey and have been experiencing symptoms that came on gradually since the last dose. I’m still having them 4 weeks later. In waves. Insomnia, derealization, brain fog, depression, dry mouth, random drooling, forgetfulness, sluggish, chills, intense anxiety and fear, brain zaps, head tingly/hot, headaches, sweats, fatigue, hyperarousal, impending doom, sensitive to light/sound, akathisia, restlessness, diarrhea, upset stomach, no appetite, weight loss, dry heaves, intrusive thoughts, jerking awake at night in fear. Lots… 🥺 is anyone else going through a similar situation and does this get better? I never felt like this before taking this antidepressant.
  24. Hello Everyone, I was prescribed Trazodone 50mgs in March of 2020 for acute insomnia (i only took 12.5mg to 25mg in the evening before bed because I am a lightweight). I used it for a year because it seemed to work perfectly with my atomoxetine (for ADHD) which I have taken at night for more than 10years. The only odd thing was that it caused a slight bit of brain fog. Suddenly in June of 2021 it stopped working and I started waking after only 3hrs of sleep. I did try increasing the dose but it didn't work. I also starting taking my atomoxetine in the AM to see if that would help. The doctor prescribed me Hydroxyzine and while that worked to get me knocked out it has a really long half life and too many side effects and next day drowsiness. But it seemed to help me wean off of the Trazodone within a few weeks. I was fine off the Trazodone until about 6 weeks after I stopped taking it. The insomnia came back with a vengeance along with obsessive thoughts before bed. Through reddit and this site I discovered Magnesium. I take 200mg of Nature Made Magnesium glycinate taken 1 to 2 hrs before bed and for the past month it has helped me sleep 7-8hrs and I can fall back to sleep if I wake during the night. The sleep is not very deep but I was able to function. The problem is that the benefit of Magnesium Glycinate is starting to fade a bit. I still have nights where I wake after only 2 hrs of sleep and have to take a Trazodone. Unfortunately it doesnt help me get sleep when I wake during the night. It only helps me if I havent fallen asleep yet. The next night after I have taken Trazodone I can usually sleep. I can sometimes go 2 weeks without needing Trazodone. It's a vicious cycle. And to add to it, my atomoxetine which I used to take in the evening to help me sleep, now keeps me awake. I suspect it's because it acts on my NMDA receptor site. Magnesium also acts on that receptor and can cause an excitatory effect or calming effect depending on other variables. My thought is that the supplement and ADHD meds are interacting. Plus taking Trazodone for a year may have changed my brain chemistry. So my question is - Has anyone else had a similar issue? Any advice? I was thinking of re-instating Trazodone and trying to taper. AND maybe experimenting with different combinations of magnesium supplementation to help me sleep. I am desperate for a solution and completely at a loss. I have never had chronic insomnia before. I have only ever had acute bouts. So grateful for this site. Hope you all are well! Not sure how to add my details in signature but here they are 3/27/2020 started on 12.5-25mg of Trazodone for acute insomnia trouble falling asleep 6/4/2021 sudden onset insomnia (waking to early) 6/28/2021 tapered completely off Trazodone (doctor said it's fine to do that) July to Sept - took Trazodone PRN 9/25/2021 another bout of insomnia (trouble falling asleep or waking too early) 9/25/2021 started taking Magnesium glycinate 200mg 1-2 hrs before bed Oct- Nov- Magnesium working well 11/12/2021 - experimented a few nights taking atomoxetine in evening, magnesium closer to bedtime failed 11/19/2021 - 2 hrs of sleep on Magnesium Glyc - took 25mg of Trazodone PRN in middle of night, didnt work
  25. I apologize in advance for the long post. Like many of you, my story is very nuanced and some details are difficult to skip. The past year has been a nightmare. I took my last dose of Klonopin in late November 2021, and I am feeling a mixture of shame and confusion and anger over what happened to me and who I’ve become. History Like many of you, my story starts in my primary care physician’s office. In 2010, I went to my doctor because of depression. I was 19 and was prescribed Lexapro (or Celexa – I honestly can’t remember). I was told I had depression and generalized anxiety disorder and honestly, it was a relief. It was so validating that my pain was not dismissed and comforting to know there was effective treatment. In retrospect, although I took those pills everyday, my depression never lifted. After I gained 50 lbs, my doctor suggested I switch medications in 2015. I was in the middle of my master’s program and had trouble sleeping. I had a terrible reaction to Prozac; I experienced severe anxiety and panic attacks. Looking back, I’m not even sure if my doctor tapered me off of Lexapro; I think she just told me to start taking Prozac. She referred me to a psychiatrist, a harsh and demeaning woman who prescribed me Wellbutrin, Xanax and Buspar. When nothing worked, she told me I must have borderline personality disorder which, according to her, is not treatable with medication. I was desperate for help. I saw a couple of practitioners at my university health center for the severe anxiety and insomnia. I had gone a few days without sleep. The health center gave me Trazodone and Effexor and assured me I didn’t have BPD (at that time, I cared about diagnoses – I cared that I would not be seen as ‘crazy’). For the next few years, I was relatively stable on 150 mg of Trazodone and 150 mg of Effexor. I finished my master’s degree while juggling multiple internships and a full-time job. I still struggled with severe anxiety, even more so than depression. Panic attacks were a once a week occurrence for a long while, and by the end of 2019, they happened nearly daily. I was working full-time and obtaining my doctorate by that point. I had some family issues that really stressed me out. Plus, I am naturally extremely sensitive – an empath, I suppose. Hearing sad stories, even if it’s just on the news, greatly affected how I was feeling. I was ambitious and was offered a well-respected job two hours south of my hometown. It would be my first time away from home. I remember a distinct moment in October 2019 when, due to stress from family issues and stress about the new job, I had a panic attack that rendered me paralyzed on the living room floor, held all night by my mom. I thought, “Wow, I really need professional help.” I made an appointment with a new psychiatrist. That’s when the real hell began. The nightmare of 2020 I did extensive research on a new psychiatrist. I found someone with great reviews who specialized in women’s health and said she did not believe in overprescribing. After three months on a waiting list, I had my first appointment. She actually listened to my life story, asked good questions, and I opened up my heart to her. I thought, wow, she must be such a great doctor because she didn’t try to push pills on me after one 15 minute appointment. I was so grateful. Over the course of a few appointments, she told me that she treats lots of patients like me who don’t respond to antidepressants. She said it was because people like me are actually bipolar. I told her I had never experienced mania before. She said that I could be bipolar II – and that my “hypomania” manifests as anxiety. Saturdays where I spent hours writing my dissertation, or days when I would Zoom with my friends, I found myself suddenly second guessing my behavior – was I only productive and engaging because I’m hypomanic? The doctor took me off of Trazodone and Effexor and prescribed me the following in the span of a year: Lamotrigine, Zoloft, Mirtazapine, Symbyax, Seroquel and Klonopin. I was usually on three medications at a given time. While under her care, I had panic attacks daily, experienced intrusive thoughts and even had to sleep with my mother most nights. I accumulated some other diagnoses: panic disorder, OCD. I voiced concern throughout the process; I wasn’t comfortable leaving antidepressants and introducing antipsychotics and benzos, which I knew were highly addictive. She reassured me that under her expert care, I had nothing to worry about. Withdrawal from hell I read “Anatomy of an Epidemic” in the beginning of 2021 and did a lot of research online. I decided I wanted to get off medication. When I voiced this to her, she started writing in my medical records that my judgment was no longer fully in tact. She was vehemently against me coming off of medication, saying that I will not be stable, but stated she couldn’t force me to be on meds. So she withdrew me off of Klonopin, Seroquel and Lamotrigine in five weeks. I experienced terrible side effects. When I voiced my concern to her, after a night of vomiting, she said that there is no such thing as psychiatric withdrawal. “Withdrawal” was a term for street drugs, not medication. She said that the vomiting is from my increased anxiety, which is what my life would be like if I wasn’t medicated. So I stopped telling her what I was feeling and she discharged me a week prior to me taking my last dose. A few days after I took that last dose, my body gave up on me. I experienced horrific physical and emotional side effects. I was rendered absolutely disabled. I did not sleep for five days straight. I couldn’t attend work. I sobbed to my boss and HR when asking for time off. My brother and mother took time off of work to take care of me. I had to be transported to my aunt's home when they could no longer take time off of work. My extended family saw me as a broken shell. I begged them with everything I had not to hospitalize me. To summarize, I experienced: Physical convulsions (not actual seizures; I think they are psychogenic seizures) Severe insomnia Anxiety unlike anything I had believed possible; irrational fear Panic attacks several times a day Crying spells Depersonalization and derealization Constant intrusive thoughts Suicidal thoughts Deep shame and questioning my core values Brain fog and confusion Rumination Hypersensitivity Nausea and vomiting Headaches Emergence of an autoimmune condition Over the course of two weeks, I lost 20 lbs. I needed help bathing. My abs hurt from the constant convulsions. I couldn’t think straight. I called my psychiatrist’s office, but she discharged me as a patient because I was no longer on medicine. I had an emergency session with a different psychiatrist, and my family made the decision for me, with my permission – I needed to get back on Klonopin. I needed to sleep to heal. I was prescribed Klonopin, Ambien, and Amitriptyline. Over the course of the next few weeks, I slowly regained my strength. I could no longer drive, I could no longer read (I have been a bookworm since I was a child, so this was very hard for me). I couldn’t listen to music. I could only watch nature documentaries and kids shows. Everything else was too intense. Second withdrawal On memorial day in 2021, about a week after finishing my doctorate, I made the decision to start tapering Klonopin again. I learned about the Ashton manual and websites like these, which helped. I talked to people who went through similar experiences. I decided to go slow. I ignored my psychiatrist, who told me that, despite what I went through, my Klonopin dose was tiny and that it’s fine to take it for the rest of my life, or to stop taking it after a week of cutting the pill in half. I found a new psychiatrist who genuinely believes in these poisons they prescribe, but nevertheless agreed to help me taper slowly and follow my lead. I don’t tell her much about how I’m really feeling. I experience the dehumanization that people with mental illness feel on a daily basis. When I share my story with others, people look at me like I am crazy. Doctors have told me that what I went through is not possible. Even my loved ones… I could feel at times that they were humoring me. I slowly regained my strength, and though I am not fully myself again, I am better than I was. I can drive, and I can go to work, and I can listen to music, and I can even read sometimes. I took my last dose of Klonopin a couple weeks ago, and I sure do feel it. The depression is heavy, and panic attacks returned, and I still convulse sometimes. I have one more medication to go – Amitriptyline – and I hope to start tapering next year. Mourning and finding meaning What I am struggling the most with is fully coming to terms with what I went through. I don’t mean to self pity, but it’s how I feel. I trusted a system so wholeheartedly only to be fired as a patient and left worse off. I can’t help but wonder… who even am I? Sure, I’m starting to feel more like who I was before I began withdrawing, but looking back – I’ve been medicated my whole adult life. How do I know what was me and what was the medication? Who am I underneath it all? Will the depression that I felt as a teenager just remain as my normal? I also don’t understand the point of what I went through. What is God or the universe trying to tell me? What am I supposed to do with this knowledge? Everytime I discuss it, I am met with humoring looks and pitying stares. Was I such a bad person that this is punishment? At the end of the day, I realize I have a lot of privileges that other people don’t. I’m not ungrateful. I know that my family saved me. I know that it could have been so much worse. I could have been on the streets. I could have been hospitalized. But I am so angry, so hurt, so upset for myself and the thousands who went through this and more, only to be sidelined with a story that will never be considered credible by the powers that be. Thank you for reading.
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