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Hello. My story is somewhat strange and I could really use some help and advice. I have been on fluoxetine from age 25 to 38. I did try and taper off it twice during that time and it didn't turn out well. It was originally prescribed for anxiety by a PCP. Right away I noticed muscle spasms, tics and twitches, and brain zaps but doctor said this wasn't a big deal. It made me feel better to be on it, so I stayed on it. About 4 years ago I had a bad period of depression and suicidal thoughts while on this drug. It was very unlike me as I had never really been a depressed person, mainly an anxious person. I started drinking too much wine to cope. Then dose was raised from 20-40mg. Over the last few years I noticed I often felt "keyed up" and aggravated, which I thought was anxiety, but didn't really feel like regular anxiety. I had to do a lot of physical exercise to exhaust myself and relieve the feeling. Then I started having parathesia and muscle pain, which was diagnosed as fibromyalgia. Then I developed what seemed to be a movement disorder starting in 2018? Tremors, muscle weakness, coordination problems, and being shaky and wobbly all the time. I suspected the prozac and planned to get off of it. In June 2019 I had a vaccine reaction, was prescribed prednisone 20mg tablets for 3 days, and had a horrible reaction to it which sent me to ER with hallucinations and many other symptoms including worse tremors and balance issues and hyperarousal. I have been extremely ill ever since. After the prednisone episode, due to continuing symptoms I wanted off the prozac too, so was tapered over a month. I originally did ok until I hit the 1-2 month mark. The akathesia that started after prednisone (I'm not sure if that is what I have. I can hold still but feel jittery inside, shaky inside, with constant internal tremors all over) got worse, tremors inside and out are worse, brain zaps, fatigue, parkinsonism and possible dystonia in my hands, trouble walking, migraines, smaller pupils, nausea, etc. I feel like I am going through a horrible withdrawal, and I don't know what to do. I have been seeing neurologists to rule out diseases and have had MRI, emg, nerve conduction study, etc. (which have come back normal.) Have had extensive bloodwork. Doctors blame the drugs. Psychiatrist wanted to put me on Gabapentin but I have been holding off because I am worried about side effects and withdrawal from that as well. I have migraine and am very sensitive to prescriptions. The doctors I am seeing are at Mayo clinic and appts are a month or more apart. I feel like I am not getting the treatment I need. I am also having some neck and spine issues on top of this which could be causing some of the numbness, but MRI'S aren't showing anything that could cause all the coordination problems I am having. At this point I am having trouble walking and functioning. It is terrifying. I am extremely stiff. Everything cramps up when I try to do things. Especially if I tense up even a little. I am extremely hyperaroused. Everything bothers me, sounds, lights, etc. I have no stress tolerance, no cold tolerance. I am fatigued and jittery at the same time. I have insomnia, poor appetite and I keep losing weight. I hurt all over. I am tingly all over. I have blurred vision (had eyes checked too). My hands and arms feel disconnected from my body. The tremors just keep getting worse. So... I do not know what to do here. The withdrawal is horrible. The tremors are getting worse in my face, tongue, eyes and neck. I am worried what they will progress to. I am scared to go back on prozac, but what else can I do? If I go back on, how much do I start with? Worried this is just going to keep getting worse, but since the prozac was probably causing or exacerbating a movement disorder, should I go back on? Also, doctors don't seem to know what to do with me and I'm worried about taking the wrong treatment. Should I stay off prozac and take the Gabapentin? Thank you for reading this and for any help you can give. I am only 38, with a young son. I am going through hell and very scared.
My story appears to be similar to many folks here on this forum. Reading all of these accounts has helped me accept my symptoms as a result of Zoloft, which has at least given me some piece of mind. Before I explain my timeline and struggle with getting off Zoloft, I want to bring to the forum’s attention something my psychiatrist informed me of which I have found no evidence of elsewhere. Hopefully someone can verify this. My psychiatrist explained the following: The FDA allows for a 30% upward or downward margin of error on Zoloft pills. He explained that a 50mg Sertraline (Zoloft) may have up to 65mg or as low as 38.5mg. Another example, a 25mg Sertraline may have have as much as 32.5mg and as low as 17.5mg. Can anyone validate this? If this is true, it is unimaginable. My story: I started 50mg of Zoloft in 2012 for general anxiety, social stress and general dissatisfaction. My psychiatrist at the time said “It was about as harmful as taking an aspirin.” In 2013 we increased my dose to 75mg. My psychiatrist retired in 2015 and I continued at 75mg through my general doctor’s refills. In 2018, I felt I was in a good place and tried to go cold turkey. After a couple of weeks of torture, I returned to 75mg. After learning that I should taper, and also feeling I was in a good place, I decided to reduce my dose to 50mg in July of 2019. Two weeks of intense symptoms ensued but by the end of the second week things became more manageable. I wanted to reduce the symptoms and requested (it took some convincing of my new psychiatrist) a liquid form of Sertraline in August. I reduced to 45mg but felt like I was not getting a consistent dose (sticking to the glass) and it was difficult to swallow even when mixed with water. My psychiatrist recommended that I switch to a 25mg pill + a half and a quarter of another 25mg pill bringing me to 42.5mg in September. I stayed at 42.5mg for September and October and was distracted by a series of sinus infections (antibiotics and 2 rounds of prednisone). Thinking I was ill from the infections, I did not realize most of my symptoms were Zoloft related. All of my symptoms were rationalized but my general doctors. Dizziness, light headed, extreme head pressure, headaches, persistent neck pain, fogginess, loss of appetite, ear pops and pings, jittery, imbalance, loss of equilibrium, flu-like symptoms and tingles in hands...doctors all rationalized them as symptoms of sinus/ear infection and the steroids. This went on for almost 2 months, while somehow I was still functioning. Until I called my psychiatrist last week and he informed me that it might be because we switched to a smaller pill which may have 30% less than is listed on the bottle. He prescribed the 50mg for me and within 2 days I felt somewhat improved, but noticed some brain zaps and the continuation of symptoms. My psychiatrist said that 50mg may not be enough to counteract a withdrawal and that we may need to go up to 75mg to stabilize. This past Sunday (10/27) I upped my dosage to 75mg. I am feeling some improvement, but still not feeling right: light headed, light sensitivity, headaches, fogginess, inconsistent appetite, ear pops and pings, jittery, imbalance and tingles in hands... So I am back where I started, 75mg, and hopefully stabilizing soon. Lots of information here from fellow “survivors” but I am scared. Shouldn’t I feel totally better? Could a couple months of enduring withdrawal make stabilizing more difficult? And most importantly, is the 30% margin of error that my psychiatrist shared with me true?? If so, we need to change that! Thank you for your time.
2014 the beginning of November I went to a psychiatrist and got misdiagnosed with psychosis and depression and was prescribed Rispolept (Risperidone) 3 mg and Cipralex (Escitalopram) 10 mg. I took these drugs at home, then in the psychiatric hospital until around the end of December, so for about 1.5 month, until I was discharged, then cold turkeyed. Antipsychotic - 3 mg/day, SSRI - 10 mg/day. I felt very bad, suicidal that whole time, at first not even realizing it was the drugs affecting me and in fact almost committed suicide. While on medication I experienced akathisia, severe fatigue, anhedonia, weak emotions, almost non existent libido that gradually got worse, slowed reaction time, thinking, talking, moving, poor memory, what I'd call derealization, zombie like state, frequent urination, dizziness , headaches, one side of brain, frontal lobes especially, abnormal gait, strange feeling in frontal lobes, increased appetite, too high body temperature, especially after running, nerve pain in left leg, arm, numbness in left arm, leg and left side of face I think. After quitting the drugs I thought everything would go back to normal, but it didn't. After about a month drug free I had: severe sexual dysfunction (post antipsychotic sexual dysfunction-PAPSD), my left hand was somewhat numb, and to a lesser extent, my left leg. I also started noticing dystonia in my left cheek and eyelid. Slight tremor in left arm fingers. Dizziness when turning head. I also noticed I had developed slight gynecomastia. After two months the painful tingling in my left arm was very severe some days lasting the whole day. Very bad pain. Dizziness disappears. Month 3: painful dystonia in middle of back, left side of spine appears, more pronounced in the evening. Weak morning erections appear. Month 4: (2015-04-09) tingling in left arm subsided, but it's still numb. I think the tingling is the nerves recovering. Hoping for recovery. Will update. I'm optimistic about the dystonias, paresthesia (but probably won't recover sensation fully), sexual dysfunction, as far as I know my new man boobs should also reduce in size with time. But I heard that the neuroleptic induced parkinsonian tremor does not always disappear, and I'm not seeing a reduction in the tremor, so I'm worried about that. Also, obviously worried about the sexual dysfunction. I used to be very sexually active, but now have very infrequent orgasm, because they're so very difficult to achieve and not so rewarding. My pre-neuroleptic emotionality has fully returned after stopping the drugs, I think. I also heard Risperidone can permanently reduce testosterone, but I haven't seen a reduction in facial hair growth. Been drug free for 4 month now. Never took any psych drugs before in my life. Now only taking fish oil, multivatamin and mineral tablets, sometimes magnesium 300 mg. I tried Vitamin B Complex but I think I'm allergic to it. Psychiatrists truly are ignorant.