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  1. Hi everybody! I started taking Lorazepam 0.5mg and escitalopram (Lexapro) 10mg for anxiety attacks back in Sep 2016 after 4 months of one-per-month short vertigo episodes, dizziness, imbalance and (unconfirmed later) misdiagnosis of Meniere's "Syndrome"). I never reached the prescribed limits started with 1/2 pill -> 3/4 pill of Lorazepam and 2.5 -> 5 ->7.5 mg of Lexapro. I wasn't feeling good. Constant dizziness, sometimes a bit of nausea and overall while feeling less anxious not feeling good most of the time (a bit dizzy in some situations like elevators or driving). Then, I think in Feb 2017 I decided to start tapering off scared by all the withdrawal descriptions I've read and no being able to have tests for my vestibular system. I bought mg scales, and I think for two months I tapered off Lorazepam, and then May 26 was my last day of escitalopram. For 2 weeks or more I felt more or less okay. Then, things started getting worse. In mid-July 2017, after a stress I felt really dizzy, and my anxiety attacks got back to me. I started having strange sensations of posture imbalance, like my feet were not in accordance with the rest of my body. I thought I have a chronic subjective dizziness, took some vestibular therapy (they said I have a perfect objective balance), it seemed to help, but still I was having difficulty concentrating, sitting in front of a computer, felt constant eye muscle pain and anxiety. Strange feet sensation / imbalance was more perceivable when I was standing. Then I started having sort of "excitement"/"dizziness" zaps in my brain like you are on a rollercoaster for a second. Then roughly 3 weeks ago it got gradually accompanied by tingling, numbness in my feet and also tingling/ hypersensitivity in my arms / body and all over the body. For a couple of nights I felt extremely fatigue and felt weakness in my leg muscles and overall body, went to bed 2 hours before my wife, woke up a couple of time in a cold sweat. I started thinking I was developing an MS and all that made me completely freaked out (not mentioning chronic subjective dizziness and prospective to taking ADs again). I'm doing MRI in a couple of weeks, MRI from Sep 2016 showed no lesions. A couple of days ago, maybe a week, I started feeling odd taste in my mouth, I searched for it and yes, the closest description is "metallic". These three months were the worst, I think I'm in depression now (my psychotherapist kind of shares my view), really preparing for the life with MS and, well, the joy of life has gone So I'd like to ask community a couple of questions and ask for support, because it seems my CNS is waving me a goodbye 1. Do you think I tapered too fast? 2. Was the dose good enough to "justify" what was going on? 3. Is all this more likely WD than suddenly appearing MS? 4. I'm taking Fish Oil, magnesium, Turmeric, taking St. John's Wort (800mg) right now. Should I add / remove anything from the list? 5. I'm doing yoga warm-up every day, try to visit yoga classes a couple of times per week With hope, citydweller.
  2. I took my last pill 4 days ago with the intention of quitting cold Turkey. Really hoping I can make it!! Going through the whole vertigo/brain zap phase right now...no fun. One day at a time.
  3. I stopped my antidepressants about 2-3 weeks ago, on accident. I make up a pill box and I guess I forgot to put my Zoloft in, also. Before I tell you about my withdrawal symptoms, let me tell you that I have been thinking about tapering off of Zoloft since I've been noticing a lot of symptoms that have been affecting me daily. I have also been wanting to go a more natural route, like eating more healthy, exercising, taking vitamins, meditating, etc. I have been on Citalopram, affexor, Citalopram again then sertraline. (That I can remember) I have had terrible memory loss since I was about 14 when my depression/bipolar has started. It seems that when I start a new antidepressant, it works great for about 3-4 months then slowly it sends to not be working and I become very depressed, irritated and suicidal. I stopped taking antidepressants in February 2012, found out I was pregnant with my son, had my son December 4, 2012. I was doing very well without any antidepressants until November 2014. I got back on Citalopram and it worked for a little while, switched to Zoloft about 6 months ago, now I'm back to square one. Right now, I have severe migraines daily, nausea almost daily, vertigo almost daily, memory loss daily. Those are the main symptoms I'm having trouble with. It is really effecting my marriage, my home life, etc. I'm mentally exhausted. Zoloft has made me so messed up, my daily struggle is just getting through the day without laying down in a ball trying to sleep the pain away. What should I do?
  4. The anxiety issue began after the death of my father when I was 19. He was 45. It was at college when the mother of all anxiety attacks occurred. The only two good things to come out of the emergency room visit that night was: I wasn't having a heart attack as I thought and it was the first I heard the term “anxiety attack.” For me, it helped to put a name to the face of the monster. However, that was the night that began an over twenty year dependence on Valium. Little yellow Cheerio-sized lifesavers on a treacherous, drowning sea. The Valium era ended abruptly when in 2001 an entire bottle of them ended up in my gut. Lucky for me, I was able to puke them up and lived to tell about it. Not lucky for me, I ended up in a hospital rehab where the first of the parade of many psychotropic drugs came into my life. (Creedence's Bad Moon Rising would be playing right about here if this were a documentary.) They weaned me off the Valium with some other drug and then promptly put me on Prozac. A very high dose of Prozac. I was told I was depressed so I needed to be on a drug that would “help my brain.” Anxiety attacks/panic attacks are a debilitating destroyer of lives. I would do anything to make them stop. So I took the damn pills. Then I got home. My husband had to scrape me down from the ceiling only to deal with me wanting to desperately put my hands through the window. Screaming and crying and not knowing why. With wild anxiety still plaguing me and believing that I needed medication for depression, to the doctor I went. This doctor put me on Paxil, a SSRI anti-depressant drug. After six months on Paxil, feeling drug induced exuberance, I wondered why I was even on any type of drug. I decided to wean myself off of it. I slowly reduced the Paxil a quarter of the dose every two or three weeks. The feeling of electric zaps through my body and into my head were the worst part. I was surprised that twitching away didn't bring any anxiety with it. However, about four weeks after I finished the taper, BOOM, the anxiety I experienced was off the charts. I remember trying all kinds of natural remedies like L-Tryptophan and Sam-E, but at that time I really didn't know enough and just gave up because neither helped with anxiety. (Anxiety attacks are by far the most painful thing I have ever experienced. It took years of understanding what was actually happening during an anxiety attack to help me to know how to make them stop. Without drugs.) Enter the next doctor who really was the epitome of everything that is wrong with the current western psychiatric modality of medicine. He had a “God complex.” It was his way or the highway. Plus he had the annoying habit of thinking his pontifications were something I found interesting instead of allowing me to talk about my emotional issues. Therein lies the problem with modern psychiatry: just drug them and my work here is done. In the end, he got better talk therapy than I did! I got the drugs. I was given Celexa, another SSRI drug. Celexa was a little different from Paxil in that it was both an anti-depressant and an anti-anxiety drug, therefore it is supposed to help reduce anxiety. At first, my reaction to Celexa was more like Paxil, where I had a frenzied, unnatural energy. Then I had a similar reaction as I had with the Prozac where I needed to be coaxed down from the ceiling and the backs of couches. But this time the doc gave me a reason why I was reacting this way: “I know the problem! You're bi-polar!” he exclaimed. A dangerous guessing game. That is what their bible, the DSM, is and nothing more. And when it comes to psychotropic drugs―and they will admit this―it is pharmaceutical roulette. They have no idea. They just throw drugs at you like pasta against a wall to see what sticks. So my bad reaction to Paxil was not a side effect in the doctor’s mind: Nope, I have a “disorder.” This reasoning allows the next step: stacking. This is where they attempt to fix the side effects of one drug by adding another drug. Along came the procession of “mood stabilizers.” There was Depakote, then Zyprexa, Risperdal, Geodon, and finally Neurontin was settled on. They all knocked me on my ass. Liquid lead. Then, the cherry on top of this noxious cake was the most hideous of all drugs for me: Klonopin. I was quite a zombie. Another doctor got involved and I ended up on Trileptal on top of the Neurontin, Klonopin, and Celexa. She was what is called, a “med doc.” What this means is she sees you for fifteen minutes to give you a “med check” to see if the meds are working and if not what to change and/or remove. No psychotherapy. Wham bam thank you, ma’am. Med docs do not have much time in their schedule for complaints. She decided that I should go into the hospital to have all these drugs tuned up since I was having a problem “acclimating” to them. So I entered a university hospital. A nice, little psych ward where I really didn't belong. Those of us with anxiety issues are not mentally ill. In fact, there are far too many people put on these drugs that have no business being on them. I really feel they do more harm than good for anyone―putting a synthetic material into our wonderfully, complex brains!―but I will speak for myself. It is up to the individual to decide. I left there with a new doc in the university’s Bi-polar Research Department. In the hospital, Neurotin was dropped, the Trileptal increased to dizzying heights, Celexa was switched out for Lexapro, another SSRI anti-depressant/anti-anxiety drug, and the Klonopin went up to a very high 6 mg. A few weeks later just about all my curly, long hair fell out. In gobs. What? You want me depressed, drugged AND bald? I asked. His reply was that I needed that drug, Trileptal, that caused the hair loss. He said it was a trade-off for my mental health. BULL. What mental health? I was unable to leave my house for two years. I was so drugged. I experienced “black-hole depressions.” I take exception with that word, depression. Another psychiatrist term, like “bi-polar.” These drugs caused both the “depression” and the so-called “manic episodes.” Whatever sadness I felt in my life―and who among us doesn't feel sad sometimes?―became something far beyond normal. The last psychiatrist entered my life in 2004. She was better than most in that she actually took the time to let me talk. And she listened. Also, she and I had the same Eastern belief system. Me, because of my interest in metaphysics which began shortly after the death of my father. Her, because her religion was Hindu; she was originally from India. She is currently my doctor of record. I have not seen her since last year however. We played a lot of pharmaceutical roulette. Off the Trileptal I went, and my hair grew back. Seroquel, Effexor, Lithium, Lunesta, Ambien, Sonata and many others were thrown but didn’t stick. In the end, she kept me on 6 mg. Klonopin and 20 mg. Lexapro, but then added Lamictal and Rozerem 8 mg. With Lamictal, I refused to go up to the 200 mg. she was planning. I weaned down to 100 mg. and stayed there. Then one night in 2009, I took them all. I remember very clearly how clear I was about taking them all. My brain was numb. I wrote notes nonchalantly as if they were shopping lists. This, my friends, is where the anxiety God gave us comes in: If only I was nervous about what I was about to do. If I had some kind of anxiety I would never have even contemplated it. I sold my soul and numbed my brain to relieve myself of anxiety. Now I had this impregnable drug-induced shield of armor. It was a lack of anxiety that almost killed me. I was unconscious for ten days. These were four full prescriptions I swallowed. This real creep, a physician's assistant (he comported himself as if he were a doctor, never explaining that he wasn't one) actually threatened to have me involuntarily committed if I did not commit myself to ten days of rehab at this hospital. So I paid the $750 co-payment and stayed because I did not want the state involved in my life. (Read Will Hall’s story at beyondmeds.com/2007/11/02/will-halls-recovery-story/). As the ten days were nearing a close, he felt I needed to stay longer. He felt. For the first time in my life I was glad my insurance company said no to something. The 12 Step Program may work well for those abusing alcohol or drugs recreationally, but us anxiety ridden souls who took the drugs given to us by doctors as directed, well, we are NOT drug addicts. These doctors prescribed these drugs to us but will not take responsibility for the fact that they can and DO cause suicidal tendencies! (The FDA does put warnings on the box stating this fact, among other side effects.) But, after a month in the hospital, I came home taking the same drugs. My doctor added Wellbutrin to the mix. They just load you up again, and then some, on the same thing that almost killed you. Epiphanies are glorious things. When you are on a seeker's path, as I had been since my father died, eventually the seeker gets answers. All the years of eating good food, yoga, walking, meditation, reading Edgar Cayce books, Neale Walsh and especially Emmet Fox―it all come together at the end of December 2012. Strangely, it was the Mayan calendar too. I had this grand awakening to God and the Universe. Some knob turned in me. And then, my son, the Paleo Diet advocate, told me to read an article by Chris Kresser wherein he mentions Dr. Peter Breggin. (See Breggin.com and watch four life changing videos, Simple Truths About Psychiatry.) Sound the music―ah, AHHHH! I got it! I am a big fan of common sense and Dr. Breggin’s information was perfect logic. A little information changed my life. Information I wished would have come much, much sooner! But hey, things happen when they happen―Life is that way you know. Right then and there I knew I had to get off those drugs forever. It was all a lie, those drugs. ALL OF IT. In February, I went to a holistic, naturopathic clinic to safely get off the Klonopin. I had weaned down from the Lexapro from the 20 mg to 10 mg and from the Lamictal 100mg to 75 mg in January before I left. Now here I am in June writing this. I am still recovering physically (my body took a hit while my brain recovered) from the Klonopin taper and am now a couple of weeks removed from the last bit of Lexapro. Free of them. Just the 50 mg of Lamictal to go. I plan finishing the taper of that next month after giving Lexapro enough time to get out of my body completely. For the first time in about twenty-five years, my brain is crystal clear. I feel like my brain was a carburetor that needed to be cleaned of years and years of gunk, rebuilt, and now is running like it is brand new. I can FEEL my life. I remember reading someone's post about how difficult it was to taper off of Lexapro. The writer said that he kept crying. Perhaps because he was feeling his life again and his brain no longer numb? I am emotional, and glad to be! My brain is a happy, apple-checked child running in the garden again. Was this easy to do? Hardly. Unrelenting heart palpitations, creepy-crawly pins and needles skin with the feeling of hair brushes biting it. The vertigo. Sleep, out the window. BUT, whatever you conquer, the more difficult, the more gratifying when you reach the goal. I can most definitely understand how other people found this incredibly difficult to get through. I have read many stories on the internet. Thank God for the internet! What a lucky generation we are have all this information at our finger tips. Lucky we are that we can share our stories and help each other out here. Pertinent cliches: What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Living well is the best revenge. Just say no. UPDATE: I DID finish the Lamictal taper July 20th, 2013 and my "happy, apple-checked child running in the garden again" has tears streaming down her face. The three months following the completion of the Lamictal taper has been more difficult emotionally than the previous months after the Lexapro taper ended in June. The totality of tapering from three potent psychotropic drugs did take it's whopping physical and psychic toll. The last two paragraphs (before "pertinent cliches) I wrote on a VERY good day. I left them in for those of you who can relate to feeling very okay one day and then on the next say, "Is THAT what I wrote yesterday? Who WAS that person?" I also wrote it for my son, Mr. Paleo, who told me my original essay sounded "too angry." And it was. However, I think I left enough anger in there against the psychiatrists and our allopathic medical society, in general. There are days when that anger is not present and that is very good. Then again, when the anger reappears sometimes, I let it. Then I let it go again. I CAN feel my life again, however. That part is true. And I am extremely glad I got off those dreadful drugs. Although I am still suffering from the unrelenting vertigo, and the crying and despair, I would NEVER want to go back to being that drugged zombie person who was labeled "bi-polar" because of a side effect from an SSRI drug. My anxiety issue has caused me to isolate myself. Now I find I don't want or like to be isolated anymore. Right now I am looking to others, like those of you reading this now, for support through this prolonged withdrawal period. No one can understand us like our peers. More importantly, I want to add what I can to the conversation and hope that my experience can help someone else. Ultimately, that is why we are all here on Earth, to help.
  5. Hello Everyone. I was on 20mg nortriptyline for 6 weeks. I tapered off the drug over a 1 week period due to it's side effects (increased heart rate, muscle spasms and hair loss). It's been 2 weeks since I stopped taking the nortriptyline and I am still having a very rough time dealing with withdrawal symptoms. I constantly have this constant rocking motion that I feel in my head as though I'm on boat that's bobbing up and down, left and right, forward and backwards. Although this seems similar to vertigo, things around me in the environment are not spinning. I just feel like my mind and head is always rocking ever so slightly with the beating of my heart. I should note that I had and am still dealing with constant rapid heartbeats throughout the day since I stopped taking the drug. This constant rocking motion in my head makes me feel dizzy and nauseated. And my head feels like a balloon all the time. Has anyone here experienced movement problems during nortriptyline withdrawal? If so, does it go away and how long does it take for it to go away? It's very bothersome. It greatly hinders my concentration and focus. I'd like to hear from anyone who's had this experience. Thanks.
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