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  1. Hi. I just want to ask if anyone here underwent ERP therapy for OCD during his withdrawal syndrome? If yes I would like to hear your experiences. I´m 2 years off meds cold turkey and for a long time I realize that what i suffer from the beggining of my mental problems is primarily OCD. It is actually really developed and only thing that was helping me sedative my strong anxiety since meds went off was compulsively playing video games. Now i stopped playing and decided to treat my condition. Of course my cold turkey video games stop hit my nervous system hard and I´m back in a really bad wave, but that´s minor. What I know about ERP is that it really trigers anxiety which can be not very helpful with withdrawal syndrome. Thx for your answers.
  2. Hello everyone my name is Ryan and I am 31 years old, and I have been on antidepressants since about the age of 15. My first anti-depressant experience was with Zoloft which I took for about six years at a maximum dosage of 100 mg. After a stressful life events it’s in the medication stop working so I was then switched to Cymbalta which I took for another six years at a maximum dosage of 60 mg. After another stressful life events occurred all of my symptoms return back for the second time and I was then placed on the combination of Effexor and clomipramine, Both dosed at 75 mg. I am originally from the East Coast, New York City to be exact, and about nine months ago my partner and I moved out to Seattle after I had completed my Masters degree to pursue a new job. Upon arriving to Seattle I looked for a new psychiatrist who would be willing to continue my medication regimen. Upon consultation with the psychiatrist he was convinced that I had ADHD so he convinced me, and I naïvely agreed with him, To try a new medication regimen. So he very quickly weaned me off the clomipramine, And started me on a stimulant called dextroamphetamine. I took the combination of dextroamphetamine and Effexor for a few weeks and then on Mother’s Day 2018 I was at work and had the worst panic attack I have ever had in my entire life. My panic attacks typically last for 10 to 20 minutes but this one lasted for well over two hours. I was dizzy, I was lightheaded, I felt as if I was going to pass out, which I actually did because of hyperventilation. I was having feelings of Losing my mind. I was sweating I was shaking and I was almost certain I was going to die. Since that day I had requested to be on a leave of absence from work which I have never done in the past, and I am still currently on that leave. I return back to see that same psychiatrist and he decided to increase my Effexor to 150 mg, obviously I stop taking the stimulant, and he placed me on Klonopin 1 mg twice a day. After about two weeks on the higher dose of Effexor I was having horrific side effects such as insomnia, tremors, sweating, hallucinations, inability to focus, inability to concentrate, severe brain fog, severe anxiety, severe depression, and more frequent panic attacks. So from there I decided to see a new psychiatrist who recognize that the side effects were due to the increased dose so I was titrated back down to 75 mg and I was slowly wean down on the Clonopin to my current dose of 0.25 mg twice a day. Because of this Trumatic experience that I went through I decided that I wanted to come off antidepressants altogether so about five weeks ago I cut my dose to 37.5 mg from 75 mg and instantly started feeling horrible withdrawal effects. I had severe brain fog, I couldn’t concentrate or focus, I feel numb with my emotions, I have severe lightheadedness and dizziness which won’t go away, I have severe Agoura phobia, anxiety through the roof, and depression which typically was never a huge issue when I was back in New York City. After about 3 1/2 weeks I’m 37.5 mg I was not seeing any improvement in my symptoms so I decided to reinstate back to 75 mg and that was about nine days ago. Since then I am still continuing to have horrible dizziness/lightheadedness, severe anxiety, severe brain fog, inability to focus or concentrate, Agoura phobia, depression, and every morning I wake up with horrible anxiety. In reference to alternative therapies I have started seeing a naturopathic doc, And acupuncturist, a chiropractor. I have started doing meditation, journaling, changed my diet to completely alleviate gluten and dairy and I pretty much just stuck to fish as a protein source. I am taking supplements such as fish oils, vitamin B complex, CBD oil, and I’m also seeing a therapist. However all that I am doing I am not seeing the improvement happen at the rate that I want. I know this time is meant for me to work on myself, but the problem is I can’t stop worrying about work, my relationships, and just my current state of being. I Find it very difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel, many days I feel super hopeless but this is never going to go away and I’m going to feel like this for the rest of my life. I just want this all to go away and I want to return back to the way that I was. My goal is to eventually come off of all antidepressants and I know that it’s going to take time and I know that I’m going to be going through an uphill battle. I main decision to come off of antidepressants was Because even when I was feeling somewhat “normal” I was still having side effects of brain fog and difficulty focusing/concentrating, but not to the extent that it is right now. I guess what I’m looking for our answers or maybe somebody who has gone through similar issues that I have and somebody who’s willing to tell me that there is light at the end of the tunnel and I will eventually get through all this. Sorry again for the long post and I hope everybody has a blessed day! Ryan
  3. Hello all, after much reading and looking around I finally mustered the courage and concentration to post my account. It all Started around August of 2016. My doctor had put me on Viibryd due to the sexual side effects that I had experienced from being on Trintellix. I have to say, I really did well on Trintellix . Everything was coming together. I think I was in a really good place in my life and everything felt like it was going to fall into place sooner or later. During this period I remember having an overwhelming sense of optimism. So believing that antidepressants are harmless off I went onto my next one, Viibryd Boy, little did I know the hell that would ensue. Shortly thereafter I started to experience hair falling out. Then the hip, and joint paint. All the while feeling like a numb zombie the entire time. I talked to my doctor about the side effects. She stated the hair loss was not a known side effect of the Viibryd therefore it was not possible. The joint and the hip pain she said would go away just like the extreme gastro side effects I had in the beginning. She recommended I go to the “therapeutic” dose which was 40 mg. Me being the good little guinea pig I was, I obliged. This only spiraled into further and stronger side effects. The straw that broke the camels back was that one day I started to feel severe burns in my skin. It really felt like my skin was burning, not just an itchy rash but actual burning sensations. All over my arms, back, and scalp. I had enough! At this point I said to myself I would no longer take whatever this poison was, I simply couldn’t. I was terrified. So at that moment I decided that no withdrawal could be worse than the hell I had been through in the past 2 months of taking Viibryd. So I decided that the best thing to do was to quit all antidepressants, cold turkey. Boy do I regret that dearly. I think it was a couple of days after my last dose that I began to experience erectile dysfunction. I didn’t really begin experiencing any real withdrawal symptoms until after about 3 weeks. Then it all hit me hard like a ton of bricks. First was the eye problems/pain. For me I couldn’t see out of my contact lenses anymore. It’s almost as if my eyeball had swollen, I remember the contact lenses would just not fit, it felt like they were just dancing around my eye. I could not get them to stabilize and I just couldn’t see properly. I think for me, aside from the horrible anxiety, this was the most devastating symptom. I know I experienced at least a dozen symptoms simultaeously these are only a few of them. - Hair loss - Not being able to see in low light - dozens of eye floaters - sensitivity to loud noises - Seeing Halos - Erectile dysfunction - constant brain fog - memory loss - carpel tunnel like symptoms - pins and needles under my feet, legs, and arms - hand pain In the cold - dizziness/off balance And the the list goes on and on but these We’re the lasting side effects. I’m happy to report that most of these symptoms have greatly diminished. Had this been a couple of months ago I would’ve said many were completely gone. However, it appears that I was experiencing what is referred to on this site as a window. Fast forward 2 years and I was inpatient I’m the psych ward for suicidal ideation. This hospitalization further taught me that doctors really don’t know what the hell theyre doing, especially when it comes to psychiatry. It has been over 2 years since my last dose of Viibryd and I’m still dealing w/ the overwhelming withdrawals symptom till this day. Some days are better some days are worse, but I can definitely agree w/ the windows and waves. So here I am reaching out to you guys because I thought by now I would be completely healed. Sadly I have to report that I have not. Furthermore, I have to say I am so impressed w/ the layout, organization, and overall insight of those that contribute to this forum. I feel like I finally understand what is happening to me and I am compelled to share my experience. I also hope to find answers and serve as support for those going through this hellish journey! May we all heal and be restored to our previous lives.
  4. ChessieCat

    Email Campaign

    At the beginning of February I sent an email to Australian Psychiatrists, Psychologists and Counsellors and to NZ & UK (counsellors, if I remember correctly). Members are welcome to use any parts of the following Email & Business Card and refer to my website if they wish. The website is meant to be a "one stop spot" for ease of getting important information and as a pointer to SA's website. Please note that the website is not searchable in search engines. ________________________________________________ Email stats: 5,935 - successfully sent 2,029 - opened (but it is possible to read an email via preview without opening) Unique click stats: 35 - Surviving Antidepressants (link to Welcome to SA) 44 - Intro to AD WD Syndrome (link to SA's Intro to AD WD Syndrome) 21 - Founder of SA's Bio About Paxil Withdrawal (link to Alto's Bio on patientslikeme) 43 - adwithdrawal.weebly.com (my website created with info links to keep email brief but point interested people in right direction) Total: 143 ________________________________________________ PLEASE NOTE: I have tried to be careful regarding copyright etc but if there is anything I had done incorrectly please let me know. ________________________________________________ THE EMAIL I SENT: Dear Sir/Madam, I am writing in the hope that by sharing information I have recently discovered people will not have to suffer debilitating withdrawal symptoms when reducing or stopping antidepressant drugs. Of course a person’s original condition, for which they were prescribed an antidepressant, will still need to be addressed with non-drug methods of coping taught/learnt. My aim is to inform so people don’t suffer unnecessarily The brain changes when an antidepressant drug is taken and it becomes physiologically dependent on the drug. Because of this the process needs to be REVERSED SLOWLY to allow the brain to adapt to not receiving as much of the drug. Unfortunately, many people are advised to stop the drug cold turkey, reduce it too quickly, take it on alternate days or take different doses alternately. Any of these methods may, in many cases, result in the person suffering bad withdrawal symptoms. Although the person may feel okay for a while, symptoms can appear weeks or months later, with ongoing symptoms occurring for several years. When this occurs they may be told that their original condition has returned or may be diagnosed with a new condition. They may be put back on the same drug (possibly at an even higher dose), prescribed a different drug, or a combination of these. When researching my own antidepressant withdrawal issues I found that there is a way to minimise withdrawal symptoms. The Surviving Antidepressants support website recommends that a drug be tapered by 10% (of the previous dose) followed by a holding period of 4-6 weeks to allow the brain to adapt to receiving a little less of the drug. The analogy is given of it being like a plant growing on a trellis. If you take away the entire trellis the plant will collapse whereas if you take it away gradually the plant is able to adapt to the changes as parts of the trellis are removed. To gain an insight into what stopping antidepressant drugs can do I urge you to visit the following links: Introduction to Antidepressant Withdrawal Syndrome Founder of Surviving Antidepressent’s Bio About Paxil Withdrawal My website adwithdrawal.weebly.com (this is not searchable) has links to more withdrawal and various other related information. Thank you for taking the time to read my email and I hope I have provided you with some valuable information. If you have found it helpful I would appreciate you forwarding this email to anyone you think would benefit so that they too can become informed. I can be contacted via my website if you have any comments or questions. Regards, A Concerned Individual (I am not receiving any form of payment for my website or contacting you) ________________________________________________ I have also printed up Business Cards to hand out to pharmacies and people who I might chat with: Front: ANTIDEPRESSANT WITHDRAWAL Information Website: http://adwithdrawal.weebly.com Support & Information Website: http://survivingantidepressants.org Back: If antidepressants are stopped too quickly a person might feel okay at first but start feeling worse after a week or more. Doctor may say it's original condition back or diagnose new condition, not recognise it's caused from stopping the antidepressant. Please visit websites listed to get information about antidepressant withdrawal issues and safer, better ways to reduce antidepressants slowly to reduce withdrawal symptoms and their severity. I can be contacted via: http://adwithdrawal.weebly.com __________ Responses I received to my email: "I totally disagree with what you have written. It is ill-informed, technically incorrect, and a danger to patients who require the medication in the same way a diabetic requires insulin." _____ "This has been standard practice in medicine for decades." _____ "I understand you are well intentioned and wish to share your experience with others. The thing is that there are many types of antidepressant medication and what you describe applies to some, but not others. There are some that have less physiological habituation and thus need less gradual withdrawal than others. So really you probably need to work with someone who understands both the pharmacology of antidepressant medications and their use in psychiatry if you wish to issue some guidelines for people contemplating ceasing to take this medication. The doctors who understand psychotropic medications well are the psychiatrists. Many general practitioners prescribe this kind of medication without really knowing a lot about it. It is possible you were in this kind of situation where the prescribing doctor was not much help to you in dealing with ceasing to take an antidepressant. I am sorry you had this experience. It does happen but it is not a universal one." _____ "Thank you. I will pass it on. I like the metaphor of the trellis." _____ "Good on you for getting this together." _____ "I agree with the main points in your letter! My view is as follows; In my practice I have always told people if are taking SSRI antidepressants and decide they want to stop after talking with their doctor, the process must be slow! The drug company recommendation is almost always too fast. Rapid reduction in the medication can in my experience produce dissociative effects which can be disconcerting or even frightening to the patient. This can cause the person to conclude that they must keep taking the medication. (going cold turkey is of course at the high end of rapid reduction of the medication) My experience of nearly 29yrs as a psychologist is to (after discussing with their doctor) suggest they come off slowly over a period of 2-3 months and keep in contact with their doctor during this time. Obviously post antidepressant medication the patient needs to find other ways of dealing with their depression. My efforts are directed at giving the patient new skills showing them ways of reducing stress and dealing with anxiety and depression." _____ "thank you, This has been a big concern for me. It is very hard to advise clients about antidepressant use, usually conflicting the advice of their GP or Psychiatrist, and their own subjective experience. At the very least antidepressant complicate issues, especially regarding reactive depression." _____ "Thank you very much for this email, and for sending out (I assume to psychiatrists and others Australia wide) your very reasonable and well-founded concerns regarding effectively withdrawing from SSRI/SNRI medications." _____ "Thank you very much for this information - it segues well into a presentation I made to my peers about antidepressant medication." __________ CC
  5. Hello everyone! I'm only interested in full recovery ( mental and physical wise ) and wanted to ask You all a question concerning this. Hope somebody more experienced can help me. It's been 34 days since I got out of the hospital ( entered 2017-06-16, got out 2017-07-07, so overall 21 days, hospitalized for the first time in my life, before that I was in perfect physical and cognitive shape, morphology before administering drugs also great ). The "medicine" I took was ( max dosages for a day ): Haloperidol 50 mg, Relanium 1 capsule ad hoc, Depakine Chrono 600 mg, Pernazinum 75 mg and, as a bonus, Captopril ( no dosage specified ). The side effects for present are as follows: NEUROLOGICAL Quite big loss of hearing, especially lower tones, tinnitus ( noticed it got gradually worse, day by day, after quitting all medication "cold turkey" style, since I'm against any type of drugs ), lack of concentration, memory, spacial orientation, trouble having to walk in a straight line, bouncing off of objects, weird smell sensations OTHER Loss of libido, urine pressure, probably something with pancreas, because my stool is smelly, sticky after mixing fats with carbohydrates, color brown or a little darker brown. Are those changes with hearing and brain permanent? ( not worrying about lower parts for now like intestines and testicles ). Is 20 days ( 20, because first didn't count ) long enough to make serious damage with these drugs/dosages? I'll be very grateful for any feedback or advice.
  6. Hi, I just wonder how much time you went through your withdrawal syndrome until you felt totally fine? Weeks? Months? Years? Thank you.
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