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  1. "I've come to the unfortunate conclusion that I am in a state a protracted SSRI withdrawal. One of Alto's articles describes me perfectly in terms of a completely dysfunctional nervous system and paradoxical responses to most meds and even some supplements. The exaggerated alerting only allows me to sleep 3-4 hrs a night and my startle reflex is out of control (a bird chirping will send shivers down my spine). The most terrifying and unnerving symptom to me is derealization. It's as if I am in a dream 24/7. It breaks my heart not being able to truly connect with my wife, kids, family, and friends. The derealization has created a secondary self-sustaining anxiety/panic loop which compounds my other withdrawal symptoms. I feel trapped because no medicine seems to help (except for benzos which scare me) and I literally feel like I am dead waiting this out in hopes that I heal. " quoted from another member I could ever be a mother ( since there is no long term evidence on risk to unborn child). This seems laughable now. I live in complete dissociation and I'm unable to function. My depression is so bad I have hardly been able to leave my bed (psychomotor retardation). One psychiatrist said it was a relapse. But it is a different kind of despair.my nerves grated on - and a feeling that I cannot even describe. I only once tried to come off my meds, 2 years ago, my high-functioning partner said I should do without them. I couldn't function and felt constant emotional pain/sadness so went back on. I know it is hard to exctricate what is withdrawal and what is not. I went on them, off the back of mirtazipine and a depressive relapse ( from a traumtic indcident). I was still getting depressed on citalopram. This feels like a very different type of feeling. I feel pretty frightened that there is so little evidence about their long-term use. I have come off ssri's 3 times-- once at 17, once at 22 ( after 3 years) and do not remember symptoms like these. I feel, at 34, if I don't get off them now I never will but how long will this hell go on for? It's such a trap. It makes me think of the documentary of the same name, "The Trap" by Adam Curtis. He talks about antidepressants in it. Different family members of different generations have always been sceptical of the medical profession and especially drugs/pharmaceuticals. I think they had wisely, seen drugs introduced and then eventually recalled from the market and the medical professions role in this. I feel like I willingly went along with being a 20th century guinea pig. It always plagued the back of my mind that the drugs had been on the market for so little time, no-one really knew the long-term implications/behaviours of the drugs. We have no controls, I will never know what I would have been like living through my mid twenties to mid thirties without these drugs. I don't know if this nervous breakdown is due to the "truth" of my emotions repressed under the drugs or if this is withdrawal. It's scary to know that it may become protracted. I can't live like this- it's hell. I can't read up enough on pharmapsychology because I am so dissociated. I have been told that ssri's don't involve structural changes but like Joanna Moncrieff states, "we just don't know". Any help/ideas/comments??????????
  2. Hi, So quick background.. i took LUVOX (fluvoxamine) a few years ago and was able to come off of it safely and with minimum withdrawal. (I reduced 50mg at a time over a few months) (I know this wasn’t the right way to taper but I didnt know at the time) I took Luvox again this year and as I been withdrwaling, I realize it is MUCH harder. I can BARELY withdrawal 10mg at a time and I strongly feel the withdrawal. I been withdrawing less than 5% to. It just does not make sense to me that I withdrew much faster and easier before and now it is so much harder the second time... I don’t think it has todo with my diet or stress. If you Any thoughts as to why this is, it would be great thanks...
  3. My third and hopefully final attempt to get off Paxil is here I start March 1st of this year, which is just around the corner. I have a lot of hope It will be over 3 years, but I feel good about my taper plan. Thankful for this site of encouragement and testimonies - I will be praying for freedom for you all! I've included a photo of my handwritten taper plan. The length of time is in months. Will keep this updated for whoever cares to read. Let's do this.
  4. Hey everyone, My name is Abby and I have been off Prozac for 3.5 months now. I'm currently experiencing intense withdrawal and the return of mental states I never thought I'd have to experience again, and I would really like to connect with others who are going through similar during this long, difficult process. Background info: I always had tendencies towards anxiety, depression and obsessive compulsive disorder (the Pure-Obsessional variety) since childhood. At 16 these symptoms very rapidly became so severe my whole life fell apart within a matter of days (Going on the contraceptive pill at this time may have been a contributing factor). I didn't have a full breakdown until I was 18, at which point I was taken to the doctor, put on Sertraline, and referred to psychiatry. The following 8 years consisted of several psychiatric admissions, different drugs including clomipramine, seroquel, mirtazipine, prozac, and possibly a few others for shorter periods. I lost pretty much everything, my obsessional fears were so strong that I attempted suicide more than once, developed a bad cocaine/mephadrone habit, was a constant worry to my family. There were times, however, where the medication would help a lot. At 60mg of Prozac I went through some periods of being functional - I went to work, got into a relationship etc. These were a great relief but I can't say I was truly happy as the fears were never properly dealt with. My last hospital admission was in 2014 when I was 24. I had attempted to come off medication as I believed I had to deal with the underlying problems, and I hated the weight gain side effects. Looking back, this was doomed to fail as I was still using cocaine regularly, drinking a lot, and didn't have any proper support mechanisms in place. I was fine for 6 months then crashed, was borderline psychotic with the OCD symptoms, depressed and anxious beyond belief and desperately wanted to die (and believed I deserved to). I was in a psych ward for just over 2 months before new meds kicked in - clompipramine and (randomly, I don't know why) Epilum, as I was told it 'balanced moods'. A year later I went back on to old faithful Prozac and also came off the contraceptive pill. I had always been told the same about it, that it leveled out moods, and don;t think it's a coincidence that my symptoms became much more manageable a few months after stopping it. I then managed to stay at 40mg for 2 years and my life changed drastically for the better. to myself and everyone around me it was like a miraculous recovery - I stopped taking drugs, began volunteering at a Buddhist meditation centre, got my dream job, published a novel, did newspaper interviews about my experiences, ...I pretty much had my dream life. It was like being reborn after thinking everything was all over...forever. It was in January 2017 that I decided to gradually wean off Prozac. Over the following 10 months I reduced until stopping completely in October. In these past 2 years I have done extensive mind training and spiritual exploration, which has probably been the main factor in this recovery. My life is pretty much dedicated to this practice now - I still volunteer at the meditation centre, go on meditation retreats throughout the year, and have also completed a Reiki Mastership. It was always potentially on the cards after exploring my mind with psychedelic drugs in the past, doing past life regressions and also taking Ayahuasca twice in ceremonies. It was around the time of the reiki mastership that I was weaning off the last of the Prozac. Things became challenging - but at first I welcomed it. I was in a strong place mentally, and my mental health hadn't plagued me intensely for a few years. I was made aware that the Reiki energy can churn things up to be healed, but I think that the combination of this, a massive flare up of a back issue that left me not able to walk for weeks, family pressures and intensive mind exploration during retreat that has led me to my current situation. Since December just passed things have been incredibly difficult. I have experienced a return of old OCD obsessions, to the point where I've had panic attacks for days that made my vision blur, heavy depression, crying all the time, existential fears and experiences which medically would look similar to psychosis (although I believe that term can pathologize important and natural inner processes), identity confusion etc. I knew it would be hard, I just never expected to feel this level of horror ever again. Having said that, I know things are different this time round - I have a level of insight gained through spiritual practice that is keeping me going. Energetically, I'm aware that I am creating this reality on various levels, and that I need to relax as much as possible to allow it to pass through the way it's supposed to. I'm no stranger to facing the darkest parts of the psyche, but it's still terrifying and I'm struggling to cope day to day. To make matters worse, my Mum has gone abroad for cancer treatment and I'm now caring for my little brother and sister 4 days a week which is incredibly stressful (I'm used to having my own space and being able to retreat when I need to). My CBT therapist has discharged me as she feels I cannot engage with therapy under this amount of stress, but encouraged me to come back when my Mum gets back. To be fair, she never taught me anything I didn't naturally learn in meditation and I was only seeing her regularly to comply with services. I have however started going for reiki treatments with the person who facilitated the course I was on last year - he is exceptionally intuitive, knowledgeable and takes an all round, individual approach. One session with him last week was worth a year of 'traditional' therapy. So I'm hoping that continuing with this will help. Anyway, sorry for the essay. I don't have many people to talk to about all this. It's also weird for me to ask for help now as I haven't needed it in so long - I'm usually now the one that helps everyone else. It's a scary and heartbreaking thing to go back to a place you thought you'd left long in the past, but I do believe deep down that I have done so in order to face my demons fully and emerge stronger in the long run. Thank you if you made it this far, I'm looking forward to connecting with others on this site. You are all incredibly strong to be doing what you're doing, no matter what stage you're at. Much love x
  5. Hello Everyone, Let me introduce myself. You can call me Sebas (38), i'm from Amsterdam. Hope my English is okay. I was diagnosed with anxiety issues around 2004 and then started using Seroxat, I believe it's called Paxil in the US. I'm aware by now of all the problems this medicine is causing. In other words, i've read a lot, and i mean A LOT about it. I can almost graduate about the subject After several attempts to stop, I found out in 2015 or 2016 about the 5-10% reduction rule. That helped me from 20 mg (10 ml) tot 12 mg (6 ml) in about 1,5 years (estimated). I'm using the fluid suspension and some squirts for accurate dosage. From 6 ml down to 5,8 took me 5 weeks to feel allright, then i stabilized for a week and went back down from 5,8 tot 5,6. All the usual withdrawal symptoms occur during tapering periods such as illness, nerve system problems, visual, fatigue, stomache cramps and also i'm countering eye circles. Since the last dosage (from 5,8 tot 5,6) i've been feeling bad for 9 weeks already. Especially my stomache and my energy. So i'm now wondering what to do, wait (and wait...), go back to 5,8, go back to 6,0 of try to switch to another AD. Cause this one is really @#$%&* mainly cause of the fast half-life period. I've read about a cross tapering method. I asked my doktor for a psychiatric consult about it. Or...could it be my body (and mind) is telling me this dose is beneath the minimum that i just need for my personal wellbeing. I'm familiair with magnesium, omega 3/fish oil and multi vitamin for support. I'm looking forward fto exchanging some knowledge. Bye Sebas
  6. Started off on Clonazepam 0.5mg twice a day in Nov 2015 due to acute panic attacks linked to relationship and work related anxiety. Felt okish. Was put on prozac 10mg at night, additionally. Wasn't feeling all that great. By January 2016, started getting counseled by a psychologist at work. She tried to help me take a deep dive into the core reasons of my sudden, debilitating anxiety. It did help as I started working on them steadily. She then referred me to another psychiatrist who stopped clonazepam and Prozac and put me on escitalopram 10 mg at night and etizolam 1mg in the mornings. I was improving but nowhere close to being totally normal. He said it'll take 6-8 weeks, I ignorantly believed him and continued. In the meanwhile, got everything related to my palpitations and blood pressure checked. Things were ok except slightly high BP, which then made me insanely fear blood pressure readings and get more worked up and increase the anxiety more so. By May 2016, had issues with my sleep cycle so he added mirtazapine 3.75mg (1/4th) for my sleep. Continued this and the sleep got better but the anxiety plateaued and didn't improve (Should've realised the real reasons by now, sadly I didn't). On my next visit, he changed the whole prescription and I was put on chlordiazepoxide 5mg twice a day, zoloft 50mg at night for 2.5 months. Felt ok finally and by Dec 2016, in my haste to stop the meds( hated taking any sort of medicine), I quit taking any of them. Didn't know about any withdrawals whatsoever. Never visited the doctor again. After about 1.5 months (mid Jan 2017), suddenly woke up one morning feeling totally disoriented and severly sleepy even after 8 proper hours of sleep. Never had the slightest idea of what was happening. Continued in such severe misery for 5 months. Had sleep studies done (mild apnea), and tried some sleep apnea "gadgets" for 2 months. No relief. Nov 2017 and I was told I had moderate PLMD. Tried pramipex 0.25mg at night until March 2018. No change. Visited a psychiatrist in April 2018 and he started my back on escitalopram 10mg and lorazepam 1mg (temporarily to help my chronic insomnia since Dec 2017). I felt better initially as I slept more but was fatigued during the day. Felt better in the evenings. He put me on mirtazapine (AGAIN!) as my sleep wasn't getting better. I was taking 3.75mg (1/4th) and then 1.875 mg (1/8th). I felt close to 85% normal but had notoriously put on 4 pounds in a month during Apr-May 2018. He thought of stopping it as I was on a vry low dose. Put me bk on escitalopram 5mg, supposedly low. I feel disgusting again after I wake up. Don't trust doctors at all now. Did my own research and am using Mg transdermal, omega 3, B12 and D3 supplements. Have started excercise to lose weight. Should I stop escitalopram and start mirtazapine 1.875 mg again? That's what seemed to help me maybe
  7. Hi everyone Hope someone on here will be able give me some sound advice. I was on citalapram for a year and a half for anxiety and as a result of extreme anxiety depression. I was on 40mg. I felt alot better about 6 months in but decided not to rock the boat as had alot of changing life circumstances and moving around the country. I did a short course of CBT but it wasn't deep enough a the time really. When I felt ready to come off. I went from 40mg to 20mg, took me about 8 weeks to stabalise and then from 20mg to 10mg for 3 weeks. As I was then following the Advice of the Linden method I stopped after 3 weeks even though I hadn't stabilised. I had withdrawal for about a week and then had 4 weeks of feeling pretty good and like my old self( without major brain fog which was my main big bear). But then I had horrendous rebound anxiety starting about week 5 of the pills. I tried to stick it out for 2 months as thought it might be withdrawal and my body needing to readjust. But one day it was just so horrendous I ended up going to a n e to get some diazapam and they restarted me on citalapram. Only problem was that after about 2 months it was clear that citalapram for some reason was no longer working for me. My doctor therefore immediately switched me to paroxitine( paxil). And I have been on that for about 7 months. It took a while but it has made me feel normal again.. albeit with bloody brain fog which I think makes normal feelings feel ten times worse. Anyway I decide that I was ready to withdraw from paroxitine but slowly this time. My dose was 40mg. My doctor wanted me to go from 40mg to 30mg over 6 weeks but given my hellish experience coming off citalapram I wanted to do it even slower and so I cut my tablets to go down by 5mg. So in effect I reduced my dose to 35mg. I have now done this for 4 weeks and had definite anxious withdrawal symptoms early on for about the first two weeks. I then had two days of feeling really good and with a really clear head. Horray!! However at about week 4 I've begun to experience some extreme anxiety again and don't know a) whether this is withdrawal or relapse. ( I've had soon much CBT while I've been on paroxitine regarding changing core beliefs tho that I really feel I have a good handle on what my issues were) b) whether I should ride it out c) reinstate my 40mg dose. Also given how violently I came off citalapram 9 months ago I wonder whether even tho I was feeling stable again on paroxitine i should have waited alot longer before begining to reduce my dose even tho I felt better. My doctor doesn't really know what to say on these issues so any advice is greatly appreciated thankyou very much!
  8. Hi all, I'm new here and would like to thank everyone for sharing their experience and helping others. I wish every one of you success on your path to recovery! My story and symptoms: 2 years ago I tapered off citalopram/escitalopram, because after 6 years taking it I built tolerance to it, as well as some unbearable sinusitis-like side effects. I was prescribed this drug for GAD treatment (for details see my signature below) During the 5th year on citalopram I started to feel its antidepressant effects slowly vanish, and I also noticed I couldn't handle much stress anymore. Actually, my working name for this problem is "impatient stress" and it's one of the most unpleasant symptoms. I would describe the feeling as a mix of impatience and stress without any apparent stressor. I rush to finish whatever I'm doing, but my muscles are clenching and I'm feeling strong physical and emotional unease, sometimes to the extent it feels I'm going to faint or have a heart attack. Kind of stress over-reaction to even simple tasks like chores. My body and mind force me to stop, although there is no apparent stressor. 2 years after getting off meds, this poor stress tolerance doesn't seem to get better, in fact it seems to be worse these days. I try to help my body deal with this artificial stress by supplementing vitamin C and magnesium, but it doesn't seem to have much effect (although it probably does help a bit) Somehow related to this is perhaps my extreme sensitivity to stimulants (tea, coffee, even chocolate). Even small doses make me agitated and anxious next day. At the moment I seem to be even more sensitive than I was a few months after withdrawal. Maybe it's because now I tend to really avoid stimulants as much as I can, which is probably making me more sensitive to them... But is my body going to readjust if I never expose it to such substances? Or is it better to avoid all stimulants and wait if my brain heals from hypersensitivity over time? What's your experience? For example, last week I tried two adaptogenic herbs (ashwagandha, rhodiola) for just a few days, in very small doses. Although I only ingested one capsule of rhodiola (which is 1/2 of recommended daily dose) it made me feel like a new person for two days in row! I felt great and focused. The next morning I had an erotic dream (which I normally don't have) and just when the dream got too exciting, I woke up with a terrible spike of agitation, which pretty much resembled the stressed-out feeling, but much more intense and terrifying. It only lasted a second, but it felt like I was losing my mind, as if I'm going to faint or vomit. Extremely unpleasant feeling. (It wasn't a panic attack though, these are completely different. I'm also familiar with these morning cortisol surges, but this was more like a momentary shock.) I could feel my heart beating strong. I never experienced such a strange shock and I was quite scared. Perhaps the single small capsule of Rhodiola (which apparently is a MAOI) messed up neurotransmitter levels too much? I would love to know what's your experience with hypersensitivity to stimulants following SSRI withdrawal. Did stimulants also trigger anxiety for you? Did you register any change over time? For the last 4 months I seem to be having some kind of anxiety episode triggered by emotional stress and accidental ingestion of green tea. The anxiety is getting worse every day, my sleep is getting shorter and shorter, giving rise to more anxiety. Is there a way to escape this vicious circle? Sometimes I have pinkeye. Not sure if it's something to worry about, I guess it's linked to sleep problems. There's also this sharp "pulling" sensation which I get from time to time in my hands or legs. Feels like if my veins were being pulled into body, shortened. Anyone experienced this? Just recently I started to have occasional chin twitches, although very subtle, hardly noticeable. I hope they'll go away once I manage the anxiety and bodily tension. And the last problem is lower back pain which I have ever since I discontinued SSRI, which makes me think that the physical damage to my back was done probably much earlier, but the pain has been temporarily suppressed by SSRI. Is it possible? Or maybe my lower back isn't damaged that much, but the elevated stress hormones intensify pain signalling in the body. I came to this hypothesis because last week, when I was in better mood for two days, the back pain almost vanished. I've practiced daily meditation for 2 years since withdrawal, I underwent 6 week CBT course, tried fasting, self-help books, supplements, etc. Meditation and CBT provided some help and I'll definitely keep using them. But still... these days I feel so anxious, sensitive, unstable... scared. Since I cannot handle any work load, I had to leave my job. I moved to my family's house, and recently I applied for disability pension (I hope I'll need it just for a few years). Everything has turned upside down for me. I feel I'm doomed to suffer for the rest of my life. I'm worried every day that the taper was too fast (I was so stupid to rush it), and I'm afraid my brain will never recover from the dependency on SSRIs, which terrifies me so much! Can you please help? Any ideas what might be happening with me in regards to the poor stress tolerance? What is actually going on there? Your experiences regarding any of these symptoms will be much appreciated! Do you think the damage is permanent? It's been 2 years now. Thank you! PS: As I'm rereading this post, it all seems so negative... But there are positives also - I'm no longer depressed these days. The depression transformed into anxiety 4 months ago, and although that's not necessarily a great thing one would desire, at least I know something is going on and I can feel motivated again.
  9. Hello fellow withdrawers (if that's a word), I'm Bokart and I'm here on a journey to quit my medication of Olanzapine. Down to 7,5 mg at the moment (see my signature). My story short: back in February 2015 I got admitted in psych ward due to psychosis (due to my destroyed sleep because of my night-shift work). There began my involuntary medication of Olanzapine, which pulled me out of a psychosis, so at least it did some good. I was released from the hospital after two weeks of being there. Now, after jojoing with my olanzapine dose (see signature), I'm finally set to quit it for good. I found this community after searching for succesfull withdrawal stories on the internet and found this community to be great, people being helpful and supportive and giving good advice... I know it can get rough when I approach smaller doses so I do know I will need support. And hopefully I can give support too and offer people hope after and during my taper. I know lots of people are in the same boat as me. Why I want to quit? I got no sexuality anymore, my motivation lacks big time, even personal hygiene is suffering because of that. I can't memorize things like before - learning is difficult. I have very little emotions left in me, basically I'm a dumbed down version of myself nowadays with this drug. I have little social skills - which I would badly need because I plan on working with children in school so some situational awareness is needed (I might have to quit my studies due to me making no progress in my studies... due to this drug). No happines, no enjoying things, lethargy and demotivation... About my psychosis, after it was gone I haven't had any symptoms of it returning (like delusions, paranoia, hallucinations), even after trying to quit my drug cold turkey once, which I see as a good sign. Now I don't want to slip into psychosis again so I need to be extra careful with my taper. After I hit 5,625 mg I will go on tapering by feeling, so no reductions until I feel stable enough. My main concern is sleep. I have a prescribed medication of temazepam (a benzodiazepine), which I can use when my insomnia has hit a threshold of needing immediate attention. I'm trying to limit my use of it to every three days to prevent tolerance and dependence (I know benzodiazepine withdrawals can be bad). But the thing is, lack of sleep led me to psychosis once, so it is a big deal to me. I need at least one night on a while to hit at least 4 hours of uniterrupted sleep, which 40 mg of temazepam does. I've tried many other sleep aids such as low to medium dose of quietiapine (no effect), low to medium dose of levomepromazine (didn't help), low dose of doxepine (no effect), even melatonine and l-tryptophan and 5-htp and none of those helped. One thing that helped me though was phenibut combined with temazepam - I slept 13 hours with that combination! So I know I have an emergency brakes on my train now (assuming that combination works again, haven't taken phenibut in 2 months to avoid tolerance and dependency), but I'm planning on limiting the use of this combination to once a month. On this dose of 7,5mg I'm currently having 2-3 hours of good uninterrupted sleep plus 3-4 hours of bad, constantly waking up kind of sleep So, thank you all for being here! And I wish a speedy recovery to those who are withdrawing from their drugs, we are all here together.
  10. Hi All, Firstly thanks for the excellent site and taking the time to review my post. History is long, so in the interest of time, 20 yrs on SSRI's (i've tried virtually all but had most luck with prozac and lexapro) with a 4 month bout of Remeron (awful w/d not helped by cross taper) and benzo's on/off for 8 years or so. Benzo: I've successfully switched from .5mg of clonazepam/day to 10mg valium and i'm now at 2mg per day. A bit more about this below. SSRI: Was on 20 mg for celexa for the last several months but completely zombified so decided it's finally time to be done with this sh1t I dropped relatively quickly per docs orders with really no impact down to 5mg celexa completely stopping the celexa and valium on May 1. Started 10 mg prozac only May 1, by May 4 really awful DR with anxiety, inability to focus, sleeplesness, headaches. Reinstated 1-2 mg valium which helped a little bit. Yesterday i tested the waters and dropped the prozac down to 5 mg to see if agitation was from that which resulted in bad anxiety, chills,and shaking. Took the other 5 g prozac and an additional 1mg valium which helped a bit. Today slightly better back at 10mg prozac and 2mg valium in the morning. I have a pdoc appointment tomorrow and really don't know what to do and not sure i trust his opinion frankly but do believe he will be fine with what i recommend. I consider these the following my options: 1.) Reinstate celexa at last dose (5mg?), drop prozac entirely after a week or 2, and keep valium, then micro taper off at 10% per 3 weeks or so. 2.) Hold steady on prozac and valium for awhile (how long?) then micro taper 3.) Something else? Any thoughts are much appreciated and i apologize for any incoherence in this post but just got back from work trip and wanted to get this out there for the educated folks to review asap. Many thanks for any input and your time!!! methuselah
  11. I work around a lot of physically vulnerable people, and don't want to expose them to the flu. So, in most years, I get a flu shot. But I'm nervous about getting the shot while I'm doing my AD taper. Has anyone else gotten a flu shot while tapering? Did you react differently compared with when you'd previously had the shot? Did it aggravate your WD symptoms? Thanks for your thoughts and feedback. -Mtnbkr
  12. Hi, I have been going througha really tough time the past little while and am hoping to find some people who can relate. I went to see my family Dr. around 8 weeks ago because my life had gotten very stressful and I was having some uncomfortable physical symptoms (itchy skin, tingling hands, rining in ears chest pain etc.) I have always been on the anxious/woryer side of things and have always noted that it got worse when I am stressed (work, life, etc) and generally got better when the stress lessened. A number of factors over the past year compounded together made my anxiety worse than it ever was before and I felt I was having a hard time coping. Some of the stresses were difficult to remove (work, worries about family members etc) so I decided to go and seek help from my family Dr. who diagnosed me as having generalized anxiety disorder and recommended that I try Zoloft. I was on Zoloft was Zoloft for approximately 6-7 weeks and was tapered on to the medication at 25mg/week (started at 25mg) to a maximum of 100mg/day. Almost immediately I started to feel "unwell". It's difficult to describe but something just didn't feel right inside my head. My feeling of anxiety got much worse and were consistent (where they were only sporadic before starting the drug. My brain felt "foggy", I had a hard time concentrating and I developed a headache "pressure on both sides of my head" that was almost consistent throughout the day. Most days I felt tired and needed to rest in the afternoon but when I closed my eyes to try to have a nap I would wake up within. 15mins with a sense of panic. I also experienced worse insomnia (that was one of the reasons I had gone to the Dr. in the first place) I returned to my Dr. and asked to be taken off of Zoloft and he sad that these were normal side effects which should stop at around week 4 of taking the drug. He pointed out that it would be shame to stop taking the Zoloft before seeing the positive effects and so he prescribed me .5mg of Clonazepam (taken twice daily) to help with the side effects and to help me sleep. I have a history of drug addiction and alcoholism (sober now for 11 years) and was was afraid of taking the Clonazepam, so i decided to only take .5mg in the evening to help with the insomnia I was experiencing. The Clonazepam helped me sleep better but the combination of the drugs left me feeling groggy the next day. Overall my sense of anxiety got worse than before I initially asked for help so I returned to my Dr and asked to be tapered off the Meds. He agreed that what I was experiencing was not the "normal"/desired effects of the drug and told me to begin tapering off. Per the Dr's instructions I tapered off of the Zoloft by 25mg every 5 days and stopped taking both the Zoloft and Clonazepam (no tapering of Clonazepam) 5 days ago and have felt terrible since then. Below are the symptoms I have had since then: -My head started to hurt immediately - I have been unable to fall asleep and have experienced the worst insomnia I have ever had. I feel as if I am in between sleep and awake for most of the night. - During the day I am dizzy and have a headache. -If I turn my head I feel as if I am going to fall over/dizzy -Almost constant headache/pressure on my temples -I have tinnitus in my ears and my left ear feels fully plugged. -I have an electric feeling that radiates from my head (worse when I turn my head or stand up) which I have read online is called a "brain zap". -When I stand up too suddenly I feel like I'm going to pass out -I am feeling (slightly) paranoid and on the verge of crying (sporadically) throughout the day (particularly when trying to explain to people how I feel) -I feel generally unwell and anxious when I have to go out in public I went back to my Dr. yesterday and he said that he thinks I'm experiencing withdrawal from the Zoloft and that it is normal. He also said that I am not experiencing any withdrawal from the Clonazepam because it was such a low dose for such a short time. He prescribed me Torazadone to help me sleep, which I took last night in a desperate attempt to get some rest and feel "normal" again but I am now very afraid of becoming dependent on that and then needing to go through all this withdrawal again...I'm wondering if I should just "tough it out" and not take anything but the lack of sleep make me feel almost like I'm losing my mind. Part of me feels as if I haven't been taking these drugs long enough to feel this bad and that maybe I am losing my mind or that I should just "suck it up", but the truth is I feel truly awful and am pretty damn scared at the moment. I have come off of street drugs in the past, and do not remember feeling this bad, but maybe that is just because so much time has passed since then. I am hoping I can look back and laugh at tis experience one day. My wife/family are being as supportive as they can but it's hard to verbalize what I am feeling so I came here hoping to gain some support/advice from people who can empathize. I apologize in advance for to those who just had to read through my whole novel..lol
  13. https://metro.co.uk/2018/01/24/woman-shares-coming-off-antidepressant-ruined-life-7255570/ See link for images that accompany article By Ellen Scott, Lifestyle editor Wednesday 24 Jan 2018 10:36 am When Tabitha Dow was six, she had her first migraine. Now and again she’d be stuck with headaches, but when she hit 29 they became more regular and more severe. Soon her migraines were debilitating, so she sought out medical support at the National Migraine Centre in London. There, Tabitha was advised to ask her doctor for the antidepressant Venlafaxine at a maximum dose of 150mg. She was told that this would help not only with her migraines, but also with her persistent low moods. ‘This was the start of my downfall,’ Tabitha tells Metro.co.uk. ‘Neither the neurologist, nor the GP who subsequently prescribed the drug, explained that it was extremely chemically addictive. ‘I was not told how long to take it for, it was prescribed indefinitely, and there was no mention that coming off the drug would likely result in severe withdrawal symptoms and a need to taper off like you would heroin. ‘Neither mentioned that one of the common withdrawal effects of Venlafaxine are migraines.’ Venlafaxine didn’t work to help Tabitha’s mood, so after a year, she decided she wanted to come off it. Asking her GP about a plan to taper off the antidepressant, Tabitha was told that the medical professional had ‘no idea’ how to proceed. ‘I was completely by myself,’ says Tabitha. She followed the instructions recommended by her GP, but was quickly confront with severe and debilitating withdrawal symptoms. The plan the doctor recommended was fast and drastic, and Tabitha feels she was left completely unprepared for what she was about to face. Tabitha before withdrawal. Picture: Tabitha Dow) ‘The migraines increased dramatically and on top of these I developed intense crushing pressure in my forehead which was constant and unbearable for months,’ Tabitha remembers. ‘I also experienced chronic fatigue, internal tremors, startling easily, sensitivity to light and sound, sensory overload, anger, brain zaps, pressure behind my eyes, tired eyes, extreme fear, panic, confusion, being unable to speak, being unable to move, my brain feeling sick, my heart beating fast when I stood up, mental turmoil, night terrors, hypnagogic hallucinations, night sweats, gasping in my sleep, feeling unwell after a bath/shower, severe difficulty waking up in the morning, feeling drowsy and stuck until several hours after waking, feeling drugged and toxic after napping and sleeping, a sensation of my brain moving from side-to-side, squeezing/tight sensation inside my head, right eye-brow pulling upwards, a chemical “metally” sensation in my forehead, vibrating and electrical sensation in my head, being unable to cope with everyday tasks, deterioration in mood, agitation, feeling like my brain was shutting down, light-headed when I stood up, feeling like my body was rocking as if on a boat, feeling catatonic, scrambled thinking, feeling as if there was a block in my thinking, difficulty planning, difficulty carrying out sequential tasks, and feeling detached from my environment.’ Having found out that she has a lesion in the frontal lobe in her brain, Tabitha believes she may have even had a seizure during this time. ‘I’ve had two episodes where I couldn’t speak,’ she says. ‘It felt like an electrical storm in my head, which I’ve read is what a seizure feels like.’ Tabitha during withdrawal. (Picture: Tabitha Dow) At first Tabitha didn’t realise that her symptoms were the direct result of withdrawal from Venlafaxine. When she asked her doctor for help and her test results came back normal, she was offered no further support. ‘I was left to cope alone,’ she says. NICE's current guidelines on Venlafaxine, and what Tabitha wants to change: ‘Associated with a higher risk of withdrawal effects compared with other antidepressants. ‘Gastro-intestinal disturbances, headache, anxiety, dizziness, paraesthesia, tremor, sleep disturbances, and sweating are most common features of withdrawal if treatment stopped abruptly or if dose reduced markedly; dose should be reduced over several weeks.’ Tabitha suggests that the recommendation to reduce the dose over several weeks isn’t accurate. It takes months to come off the antidepressant safely, and two years later she’s still experiencing debilitating symptoms. She notes that NICE’s guidelines also fail to mention that Venlafaxine can cause withdrawal symptoms even when not stopped abruptly, and tapered off in accordance with GP’s tapering guidelines. Unable to work, Tabitha had to quit her job and leave her flat in West London to move home with her parents, so they could look after her. She lost everything – her job, her health, her home, and yet, she says, doctors still refuse to listen to her struggles. The doctors Tabitha has seen don’t believe that withdrawal can cause the severe symptoms Tabitha listed. The only psychiatrist she could find to back up her claims is Dr Healy, who’s dedicated his time to researching the effects of Venlafaxine’s withdrawal symptoms. Dr Healy wrote a letter to Tabitha’s GP confirming that she was experiencing intense withdrawal symptoms, but Tabitha says she’s still not receiving any help. It was only when Tabitha found a Facebook group dedicated to Venlafaxine withdrawal that she learned she wasn’t alone in experiencing her symptoms. Scrolling through the group, Tabitha found comment after comment repeating her experience, listing a ‘crushing pressure in their foreheads every single day’, that feels like your head is ‘in a vice’ or you’re being ‘smashed in the head with a brick’. ‘It’s ruined my life’ (Picture: Tabitha Dow) ‘It wasn’t until I joined this group and saw that there were hundreds of people in the group all experiencing the same symptoms as me,’ Tabitha tells us, ‘and that I realised that my symptoms were caused by Venlafaxine withdrawal. ‘I told two GPs that I was experiencing withdrawal symptoms from Venlafaxine. One didn’t comment but agreed to refer me to see Dr Healy, the other disagreed even once I had written evidence from Dr Healy.’ Doctors Tabitha has seen believe that the symptoms she’s experiencing are not the result of coming off Venlafaxine, but are simply her original condition returning. We spoke to a psychiatrist with experience in Venlafaxine, Dr Cosmo Hallstrom, who told us that it’s one of the most popular antidepressants out there, and is generally regarded as the most effective. While legally, GPs are required to give patients all the information regarding drugs they prescribe, Dr Hallstrom says that the reality is quite different. ‘A doctor’s interest is to get patients treated, and to persuade them to take medication that will help,’ Dr Hallstrom tells Metro.co.uk. ‘So maybe they don’t start listing off all the possible side effects.’ He notes that a GP’s perception of risk is different to that of a patient, and doctors may be reluctant to note all the possible risks in case it puts a patient off getting help. Two years later, Tabitha is still experiencing withdrawal symptoms. (Picture: Tabitha Dow) SSRIs do have withdrawal symptoms, Dr Hallstrom explains, but these tend to be short-lived. He states that data shows that in the majority of patients who believe they’re having withdrawal symptoms, what they’re actually experiencing is the return of their initial condition. He does admit, however, that there’s a chance some people may experience genuine withdrawal – but recommends a simple ‘test, retest’ as a way to check it out. ‘I understand that a lot of patients might not want to take the medication again, having been through a bad experience,’ Dr Hallstrom says. ‘They say “that stuff’s poison”. ‘But if it is withdrawal, when they start taking the drug again their symptoms should disappear within 24 or 48 hours. That’s a simple test.’ But having been ‘traumatised’ by her experience, Tabitha is reluctant to go near medication again – especially as Venlafaxine didn’t work to remedy her depression in the first place, and she doesn’t want to be tied to taking medication for the rest of her life. Two years on, she’s still debilitated by withdrawal symptoms. She’s unable to work, relies on PIP and ESA benefits, and is now trying to raise money to fund alternative therapies to help her cope – not only with her side effects, but with her thyroid cancer, which she was diagnosed with in the last few years. It’s the withdrawal symptoms that concern her most. MORE: HEALTH These are the 20 most painful illnesses, according to the NHS Women take to Twitter to vent over how they are treated by doctors Mums over 35 should wait at least a year between pregnancies, says study Women are more likely to be addicted to cannabis than men, suggests study ‘I’d rather have thyroid cancer than go through coming off Venlafaxine,’ Tabitha tells her. ‘Thyroid cancer doesn’t cause any symptoms. Withdrawal ruins my life every thirty seconds. ‘I have really bad cognitive symptoms. It was like my brain had been drugged. ‘I feel like my intelligence has gone, along with my memory.’ Naturally, the experience has put Tabitha off taking medication. She now relies on alternative therapies, but as this is a huge financial burden, she’s taken to GoFundMe to ask for help. Now, by sharing her story, Tabitha hopes she can affect change. ‘It’s too late for me,’ she tells us. ‘Taking Venlafaxine has ruined my life; I’ve lost my income, my social life and my independence. ‘But I would like doctors to believe me. I’d like them to listen. ‘I want there to be better information about coming off antidepressants and I want there to be a change to the NICE guidelines, so no one has to go through this again.’ Read more: https://metro.co.uk/2018/01/24/woman-shares-coming-off-antidepressant-ruined-life-7255570/?ito=cbshare Twitter: https://twitter.com/MetroUK | Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MetroUK/
  14. Hey guys! So here is an abbreviated version of my story. I know you all can relate in some way and I'm looking for a glimmer of hope. I'm so confused. I started Zoloft at age 14 when I was a moody teen with hormonal imbalance due to a lot of my really poor diet habits and extremely negative thinking based on traumas from childhood with an alcoholic father. I had no trouble sleeping just lots of sadness and moodiness around my cycle, and general feelings of hopelessness. So at 14 y/o my doctor put me on 100mg Zoloft and birth control to balance me out. I did well with them! I noticed a "good" feeling that was really strong! I liked it! And I coasted on that for many years while growing and changing into a young adult. When I was 23 in 2011 everything changed. My digestion just stopped working. My guts were a wreck. I was diagnosed with SIBO and food allergies, and Candida, a few years later and completely revamped my diet and whole way of thinking around food! After cutting dairy and gluten my inflammation levels went WAY down. Amazing change. From 2013-15 I added probiotics, enzymes, and lots of nutritional supplements into my regimen. by 2015 I was seeing much better changes in digestive health but was noticing that the "healthier" I got the more fatigued I felt. It took me 3 days to recover from the gym. It was awful. in April 2016 I met my amazing partner, Brian, and my hormones changed again. I came off of BC pills and it threw the metabolism of Zoloft through the roof. I immediately had to start tapering off of Zoloft. I did this with a GP at first and a psychiatrist later that year. I first went from 100mg to 50mg with very little withdrawal in 3 weeks or so. I was a little weepy one or two days but that was it. I felt AMAZING at 50mg. By July or so I did 50 to 25 mg but didn't stay at 25 for more than a few weeks. I stopped cold turkey, crashed HARD, almost committed suicide, but I started working with a psychiatrist whom I love and came back up to 25 and stayed there from August til October. In October I went to 17.5mg which was harder but once I stabilized I had so much more energy. Each taper my digestion improved so much and I just felt BETTER! I've always tapered in 6 week cycles. The first three weeks are light and airy, I almost feel even better than before! And at the 21 day mark I crash and my serotonin levels have to rebuild. The second three weeks I'm an anxious, irritable, moody mess with brain zaps and insomnia. But I always balanced. Each time though the world was a little less rosy. I realized I was having my thoughts follow the medication instead of my thoughts generating the good feelings. Still though, at 17.5 I was having the time of my life. It's the last time I remember being so fulfilled. I stayed at 17.5mg until the New Year and that's when everything fell apart in a way. I tapered to 12mg and I had no more brain zaps but lots of emotional trauma showed up. With tapering its like my senses blew wide open. I could SMELL more, TASTE more, colors were more vivid, sounds were louder, and I had this constant anxiety that just never let up. I used subconscious reprogramming work to help harmonize and shift through old patterns and traumas and I slowly learned how to process emotion in a much different way. Lots of self compassion learned in this time. Even still I felt so anxious all the time. 2017 was full of trauma for me... My Dad was dying of cancer Boyfriend wanted me to move with him to another state and I couldn't do it because I would have to have sacrificed everything I worked so hard to build here. I had no idea if we'd make it and I was put face to face with my abandonment issues. He ended up staying here but I was furious with him for a little over a year because of anger of not being "heard." I had a mild traumatic brain injury in March 2017 that didn't heal for awhile. I was functional by May but not fully recovered in August when I went on a roller coaster and hurt myself a little again. I had a UTI that went off the rails in May 2017, healed in June, developed kidney stones in August and it turned into Interstitial Cystitis. In late November I almost completely healed the cystitis but it came back again once I saw my Dad near death. January 2018 I was with my father as he died and was deeply traumatized by it. I let go of so much during this time. I didn't know if I could ever feel joy ever again. My psychiatrist said the Zoloft was no longer working so we tried switching over to Celexa 7.5mg. I took both together as we weaned off Zoloft but by the end of it I was so fed up with not feeling good or like myself anymore and I decided no more. I stopped both the tiny amount of Zoloft I was on and the 5mg or so of Celexa on April 2018. It was sort of cold turkey but not at the same time. The first 6 weeks of withdrawal were so strange. I simultaneously had the light and airy feeling I always did when coming off Zoloft, but this time it was with the withdrawals of what felt like a junkie. Each system cleared, for two weeks I had pain in my muscles, 2 weeks nerve pain, and 2 weeks joint pain, I can't recall if it was in that order. I was also using a product called ASEA which changed my life and made it so much more bearable. The withdrawals weren't as irritable as before and I felt a newer sense of vitality. Something started to happen at 8 weeks though. I felt this mounting, raising, anxiety coming back. I knew something was coming up and it was big. My GI health completely tanked even with all my probiotics, enzymes, and supplements. At 8 weeks off, in May 2018 I was excited because yet again I almost completely healed the cystitis in that airy place I was in. I kept calm and my bladder responded well even though I was having all the pain. But what happened at 8 weeks off everything was I felt this extreme restlessness inside of me and my sleep started to get extremely disturbed. With it my health crashed, cystitis returned, any my lady parts reacted with lots of burning and itching (I was checked and its not a yeast infection) June, July, and August were a blur of night terrors and insomnia. June I woke up contorted and contracted (think t-rex arms) and shaking every night. I felt like I was on another planet and couldn't stay inside my body or grounded. It was hell. July I started to come back more and the sleeping started to level out. By August though, I was having some major spiritual epiphanies and the excitement of it all triggered more waves of severe insomnia. I was up for 36 hours at a time, then slept for 9 hours the next night. I did this over and over for weeks and at that point I really felt like I might actually die. I've always awoken with a lot of adrenaline in the morning, but this was truly explosive. In September I finally started getting some sleep once I started taking an adrenal supplement and changed my diet to eat a huge variety of healthy foods instead of the ones I was limiting myself to. A few sprays per day and some sleep was happening. That and some Valerian root tea broke the insomnia cycle for me in a big way. That and coming to the spiritual place of knowing that I first had to fully believe in my heart that I was in fact a healthy person, and no longer seeing myself through the lens of being a sick person all the time. This took HARD work. That and letting go of the anger at my boyfriend. I was trying to exercise this whole past year from 2017-2018 but after the cystitis exercising became extremely difficult. I lost core strength and even though I was trying to walk regularly, it wasn't helping me sleep as much as I wanted to. I started to go for a run (historically my sport of choice) and promptly herniated my L3 and developed Runner's knee on both knees with psoas and IT band spasms. I'm now working to heal this as well. In a few days I'll be 6 months off Zoloft and my body feels broken. I know that isn't my truth but sometimes I feel huge anxiety and overwhelm. I'm doing my best to heal from the cystitis, GI troubles (which are improving tremendously even with the sleep deprivation), back issues, all while trying to sleep. The sleep has been the worst. Without it I'm so inflamed all the time and my mind feels completely scrambled. I hit levels of surreality and irritability that I never knew to be possible. But I always trusted that somehow I could get back to me. Last week I only had one 36 hour stretch. This week only one as well. My sleep still heavily depends on adrenal supplementation, magnesium, ASEA, prebiotics, probiotics, and CBD balm at night. Now with some sleep I'm aware that my brain crashes the way it did with my concussion. I wake up, function OK and usually around 1pm my brain melts down and I'm a mess for the rest of the day. With more rest it isn't so bad. Yesterday was extremely stressful which is why I'm writing here to you at almost 5AM. I didn't meditate and do my reprogramming work which has been critical for me. Has anyone had experiences with really high adrenaline after coming off Zoloft? That and bladder trouble? Severe insomnia? I'm so hopeful someone will respond to this. I feel so hopeless sometimes still. I do my best to pull myself up but I haven't been able to have sex in over a year because of my bladder trouble. It's hurting me so much, physically and emotionally. I know I can heal all of it. I almost healed the bladder twice! But when it all hits at once I sometimes freak out. Any encouraging words would be so helpful and I would love to get a better idea of a timeline here. I've heard that the first year is the worst. With brain health I get it. It took almost 1 year for my concussion to fully heal. But my god I can't live like this forever. I hope to hear from you soon ❤️
  15. Hi All, I've been reading this forum for a while and the topics here have been indispensable, especially regarding dealing with withdrawal symptoms as I prepare myself for a slow taper off of my remaining dose. Pre-backstory I’m in my early 20s and I just graduated college in late 2014 with a high GPA and a degree in Computer Science. I’ve got a strong resume with projects under my belt. I should be starting my career right now but can’t due to antidepressant withdrawal, but I keep telling myself that I will get better and it will happen, I just need some more time to heal mentally and spiritually. Backstory On January 1st of this year (2015) I suffered the first panic attack of my life. I’ve always had weird heart flutters and missed beats, so I thought I was having a heart attack and dying. The day that I had this awful panic attack, I didn’t get much sleep the night before and I didn’t eat much that day (triggers, I know). I also smoked pot regularly (I am clean now) which in retrospect I figure could be messing with my seratonin. I had bad depersonalization that day, basically forgot who I was for a few hours, and over the next month or so I was bedridden feeling shaky every day, suffering a chain of panic attacks in bed. I was immediately prescribed ativan (lorazepam) to help dull the panic attacks, and shortly thereafter, desperate for something to stop the chain of panic attacks, I was prescribed Lexapro. I took the Lexapro 5mg for the first week and 10mg for the second week, and basically over the next few months my panic attacks got generally better but my mental health got generally worse. My doctor upped me to 20mg Lexapro and I got so disoriented and out-of-it that my mom had to start walking me up to the door of my therapy appointments, because I didn’t feel like I could do it alone. I decided to taper down off the Lexapro because my panic attacks had basically vanished, the Lexapro was causing some bad side effects (at higher doses making me confused and disoriented all the time, at the lower doses mostly just preventing me from getting decent sleep, so I was feeling tired all the time). I felt like the panic attacks would probably not come back, since I was on a good new pattern of diet, exercise, supplements (fish oil, magnesium, probiotic and multivitamin), and I also stopped smoking weed completely, which I think may have been a big contributor to the initial panic attack. Anyways, I had miraculous success taking the dosage down from 20mg to 10mg, from 10mg to 5mg, and from 5mg to 2.5mg, with almost no withdrawal effects. The side effects improved steadily with each dosage decrease, and I’m very grateful that I had so little trouble getting down this far. The big trouble started happening about a month ago. I had thought that I had tapered down successfully from 2.5mg because I felt pretty great for 3 weeks on 1.25mg (¼ of a 5mg pill) with no discernible withdrawal symptoms (Sept 9 2015 to Sept 29 2015). On my psychiatrist’s suggestion, I dropped the lexapro completely (0mg) on Sept 30 and I felt worse and worse for about 4 days. On the 4th day I almost had a panic attack, and I felt so depressed and shaky that I took a small fragment of my pill to try to stave off the symptoms. Literally 15 minutes after taking the pill fragment I went from feeling terrible to feeling great, browsing the internet on my phone. So I stabilized again on 1.25mg after about 5 days, or so I thought. 1.25mg (¼ of a tiny 5mg pill) is terribly difficult to measure - there was one time I wasn’t sure if I even took my pill fragment or if it fell on the floor, since it was so small I couldn’t feel it on my tongue. So I started pushing it against the roof of my mouth so I could be sure it was actually in my mouth. But that made it start to disintegrate before it hit my stomach, so… basically I think that my true dosage was getting really uneven. I felt really tired some days and needed naps, and other days I felt mostly fine. So I figured I could get a more consistent dose if I switched to the liquid, which my psychiatrist prescribed for me. Latest Chapter So on 10/28/2015 I switched to the liquid. I figured that the liquid form would be much more readily absorbed by my body than the pill fragments and I was right. I started out with 1.2mg of the liquid and it felt like way too much (cloudy head, sleepy all day), so over the course of 2 days I lowered it to 0.9mg, which felt pretty fine for 5 days. I felt like I was getting better and that I could even start driving and running errands around town with my mom again if I just waited a few more days. On 11/4 I made a really, really stupid headstrong decision. I felt like I could reduce my symptoms even more if I just reduced the dose by a tiny bit further. So that day I cut from 0.9mg to 0.8mg (which in hindsight was a HUGE cut especially considering how recently I had changed the dose before that). The depression came back in such full force that I immediately had to put the dose back up to 0.9mg 2 days later, but reupping the dose didn’t help at that point. I continued to get worse and worse (more depression/anxiety) until my mom pointed out that I was only eating like 800 calories every day - I knew that my appetite was shot, but I had no idea I was eating so little. On 11/11 I started counting calories and now I’m getting at least 2000 per day, with an ultimate goal of 2500. I upped the lexapro from 9mg to 9.5mg daily and the crippling depression is partway gone now. Anyways now it’s 11/14 and I think I’m seeing some progress, but I can never be sure, and these symptoms are very difficult to work through every day. Today Over the last few days, every morning I wake up nauseous and depressed, and every night I get anxious and need to take a 0.5mg lorazepam to calm down. Progress is slow for me and I’m impatient, but I keep trying to remind (convince?) myself that my body is working very hard to right itself chemically, and that if I just hold this dose and don’t do anything else stupid with it, I will feel a little better by next week, and yet a little better by the week after. I could really use some reassurance though :/ My First Question I’m taking 0.95mg in 2 doses daily (0.475mg at 11am and 0.475mg at 1:30pm). On 0.95mg I feel like my seratonin levels are very unbalanced (depressed/hopeless in the morning, decent around noon, anxious by afternoon/evening). When I accidentally took my second lexapro dose at about 4pm one day instead of 1:30pm, that night I went into a drug-trip kind of sleep (almost like an alternate reality) which was a little scary but most of all exhausting and made me feel disoriented and confused and anxious the next day. As of the last few days, I wake up after vivid dreams exhausted, not at all rested, depressed, and with a burst of adrenaline. Will my body actually be able to get used to such a low 0.95mg dose taken mostly towards the beginning of the day like this? If I just stick it out for another week or two, my mood will start to level out again so that I’m not getting these big daily mood swings, right? If not, where do I go from here? Thank you everyone for your support.
  16. Hello. I'm supporting my mum 63 who has been experiencing some severe withdrawal symptoms these past 6 weeks. I suspected possible withdrawal but I did not know for sure until 2 weeks ago after reading work by Dr Peter Breggin. Mum was on Zoloft 14 years and Lexapro 4 years over a 20 year period. After a 6 month reduction (which mum did on her own) my mum has been completely off meds now 9+ months. Mum seemed to be doing ok, although looking back I can now see withdrawal symptoms, up until 6 weeks ago when she really hit rock bottom and I had to go pick her up. Mum's been living with me for 6 weeks. Some days are good but some are bad and bad days are awful. Mum is very thin from the anxiety she experiences on her bad days. I am keeping a diary. I'm so happy to have found this group. I'm tired though and going to bed. I look forward to reading your stories and learning more tomorrow. I am DESPERATE to know how much longer mum's withdrawal symptoms will go for? We are eating a mostly organic whole food diet with a GAPS focus. We do use 5 ml whisky in 30 ml water during desperate times.... Its been 10 months since the last med was taken. Mum sleeps thank fully and experiences some very good days among the bad ones. Frances
  17. Hi everyone, I'm wanting advice on how to taper if my withdrawal symptoms are delayed - ie they occur several months after the taper is completely finished. If I have no symptoms during taper, should I proceed to the 'Fast Taper' guidelines (4 weeks x2, then 3weeks x2, then 2 weeks x2, then weekly until done)? In the past I have thought I was relapsing, and resumed the medication. Now I understand it was probably WD from too fast a taper (4 months). Any thoughts? Tikki Tikki
  18. Hello everyone, I am a first time poster, long time Paxil user. I have been on Paxil for about 12 years or so, prescribed by my doctor to combat anxiety. My anxiety was never severe, I just fell down the slippery slope of Paxil use after what should have just been a bump in the emotional road for me. Long story short, I've decided to taper off of the Paxil 20mg (down from 40mg a couple years prior). This year my doc advised me to cut from 20mg to 10mg. (I know now, way too much and too fast). I had brain zaps, irritablilty, and vivid dreams (which I actually don't mind since they are usually pleasant) and some dizziness. After a few weeks I was feeling OK enough to go from 10mg to 5mg. I was good for about 3 weeks. But the next two weeks I suffered from severe anxiety - unlike any kind of despairing feeling I've ever had in my life! I suddenly became an emotional wreck and was just at wits end. So I went from 5mg Paxil back up to 10mg. A week or so later - hives. Hives, - small ones, on my neck or forearms. They'd go away after a couple hours so I didn't put too much worry into it. Then a week after these small hive appearances, I had a really bad outbreak of hives on my legs, which I thought was just a heat rash. I didn't take an anti-histamine, I hate the way they make me feel. Big mistake. I ended up waking up at 4 in the morning, itching terribly all over my body. I was searching for Benadryl downstairs when my wife found me - at which point I was getting dizzy and nauseous. I was going into anaphylactic shock. My wife and I both thought I was dying, my children sobbing as they waited by the front door for the ambulance to arrive. I've never had allergies really. I am allergic to cats, it turns out, but I've had my cat for 3 years (a Persian which I found to not feel allergic reactions to in the past- and who has since been living with my brother till this all gets ironed out). So this anaphylaxis was not something I was prepared for. An amulance ride later, they told me I had some kind of allergic reaction. A few weeks later, after seeing an allergist, he suspected my bizarre reaction to be caused by a medicine (not a food or other allergen). I only take Paxil, and Propecia. (which I've stopped last week to try to rule that out as a cause of the hives). I still get small areas of redness on my skin, primarily when I wake up in the AM. And for now I'm on antihistimines, which I dislike greatly. I am wondering if the traumatic, despair-like anxiety feelings I suffered, and then yo-yo-ing back to a higher dosage of Paxil did a number on my body and made me overly sensitive to histamines, or my cat. Since my allergist suspected Paxil as a possible cause of the hives/anaphylaxis, I have since tapered back down to 5mg, and three days ago down to 2.5mg. I suspect its not the actual Paxil causing the hives, but the withdrawal itself, the toll it takes on my body and mind. Just hoping putting my story out there, if anyone can relate to such a physical reaction like what I experienced, and if they too, think it is related to the Paxil withdrawl. Thanks for reading. Cheers
  19. (mod note)link to teePeer1's benzo forum thread: https://www.survivingantidepressants.org/topic/19092-how-to-taper-the-used-as-needed-benzo-or-sparing-benzo-use/ Dear all, I gradually tapered to 10 mg of paxil from 40 and also tapered off benzo (3mg to 0) both slowly over a period of months. Long story short, I thought I was near the fonish line. However, when I taperedd to 10 mg from 15 mg paxil and stopped a doze of less than .25 benzos things got rough after two weeks. My issues are mostly related to night:severe anxiety, hyper alertness, pounding heart. It was so bad a couple of nights that I resorted to taking a small dose of lexatonil. Now I am afraid of what strategy to follow next. My experience with psychiatrists have been pretty bad during my taper and I am afraid if I go back they will put me on more meds. Should I go back to 15 mg paxil from 10 and is it safe to use half a tablet of benzo at night to brave through the night? (Though i am afraid of benzo withdrawals too) I would appreciate any suggestions on how to stabilize my situation at this stage and dosage?
  20. Hi. Was taking 4 mg of risperidone for two months. Suddenly stopped taking it for a week (didn't notice any withdrawal). Then took 2 mg for two weeks (approved by psychiatrist). Then took 1 mg for two weeks (approved by psychiatrist). Have not noticed any withdrawal symptoms. Asked psychiatrist if it was okay for me to suddenly go from 4 mg to 2 mg, and then 2 mg to 1 mg. She said it was okay since I hadn't been showing any symptoms. I have read that withdrawal symptoms can surface after months or even a year after you stop taking it. I am not sure what that person's credibility was. I have also read, from a .org website that the withdrawal symptoms are mild and rare. I have stopped taking the 1 mg for almost a week, and I am wondering if I will be alright. I have not noticed any withdrawal symptoms, and I feel like I will still be seeing my psychiatrist for a little while at least. I am also wondering if it is true that withdrawal symptoms can surface months or even a year after you stop taking the medication. That just seems far-fetched to me. Any help is appreciated!
  21. Hello, I am new to this site and not sure how it works. Need some info and perhaps some reassurance.; I've been having a history depression and anxiety since my teenage years, I am 49 years old, which I have been able to manage it more or less. I attempted to use the antidepressants but also had an adverse reaction that I was not able/ready to put up with. Yet, living with the depression isn't easy either. In short, yet again, I started taking Lexapro last October in order to deal with the painful state of depression, and did seem to work in the past. I increased the dose very slowly from 2 mg and started feeling much better in January, at the 7 mg. At the same time I started some problems with my memory (to the point of a few seconds of blackouts) , persistent fatigue and lingering morning anxiety, and problems with the night sleep. The psychiatrist dismissed my memory problems, attributed my fatigue to the depression and decided to see if my sleep would approve. He also told me to increase my dose slowly aiming for 15 mg at some point. However, when I reached 8.9 mg, I could hardly function: feelings of being very unwell and under the weather allowed me to function only until lunch time, after which I would need to recline somewhere for the rest of the day. I started tapering on the 24 Mars and today is the 2nd day of 4.25 mg of Lexapro. I didn't follow the 10 per cent protocol, and my doses were fluctuating within 0.5 - 1 mg depending on my physical and emotional symptoms. However, in the last 10 days I've started having a strange heavy sensation in my head, it's difficult to describe, They are not brain-zaps, just uncomfortable feeling: a mix of resembling kind of heaviness, fogginess, slight headache and feeling/sensation. I have put this down to cutting down sugar and change in my diet (transitioning to being vegan). However, this sensation 8 days later is still there. In addition, I have got muscle ache at the minimum effort, have been unable to jog and do much of the physical activities for the past 3 days: stopped exercising, want to isolate, difficult to concentrate and get on with my daily activities. I do have "waves" when I do feel better for an hour upon awaking and yesterday, after I spent 3 hours on the sofa! We are in the process of moving , also need to book a holiday but I am feeling incapable of doing anything. So frustrating! Emotionally, I am not depressed though.... In addition, feeling rather scared, is it due to the antidepressants and will my brain heal and gets "remodeled" back? Have I got some other serious medical condition? In ideal world I would like to get off this drugs that do not work well for me and find some ways of dealing with the anxiety and depression, unfortunately, I did manage in the past to taper off the meds without too many problems only to get depressed 4-9 months later and be back on them. If this is what I feel are withdrawals, I am quite surprised why I had not experienced them in my past tapers? I would really welcome and would greatly appreciate any feedback and input! I also would like to know, if I should wait it out and stabilise on 4.25mg of Lexapro or need to updose it? Thank you in advance F47
  22. Hello Everyone, I always intended to return when I felt that my recovery was at such a stage as to be no longer the main focus of my existence. For me that was a sign of 'success'. I probably reached that point over a year ago. This was my original thread in 'Intro's and Updates'. Like others my withdrawal developed in clear stages:- Months 0-3: Nausea, sweating, increased energy etc Months 4 - 12: everything listed in my topic. Hell on earth. My topic doesn't do it justice. Months 12 onwards: The major symptoms (acute anxiety, suicidal ideation, chronic fatigue, intense rage, an inability to function at any level as a human being) are gone. Residual issues: my sleep is lighter and more broken than it was whilst on the AD's and pre AD's. Memory problems relating to name recall. Neither issue impacts my quality of life to any great degree. Today? I feel well, my pre-drug personality has been fully restored (for better and worse) and I deal with the emotional problems that first led me to the drugs with exercise and a well-practised shrug of the shoulders. If that fails the odd hour of stewing in a pot of my own self-pity never did me any harm! Those days are thankfully rare and are alleviated by a swift kick to my own ample arse😃 I always thought I'd write more in my 'success story' but my ordeal feels very much a part of my past now. Things have returned to normal... 'normal' in this case meaning being free from the maelstrom of chemically-induced madness that is acute withdrawal from an SSRI. Looking back that is the only way to accurately describe it. My only advice (if I may be so bold) is to never ever think what you are going through will stay the same. There will be deep despair and flickers of hope. There will be false dawns and genuine improvements. REGARDLESS, YOU WILL GET BETTER. It just takes time. As a wise-owl once wrote on here 'it takes at least a year' if you cold-turkey from these drugs after prolonged use. That's pretty much what it took for me to return to a sense of normality. The improvements in the 2nd year off the drugs were immeasurable. As Claire Weekes once wrote about recovery from nervous breakdown (and which equally applies to withdrawal-induced breakdown IMHO): "Once you are on the right road to recovery, recovery is inevitable, however protracted your illness may have been" If anyone has any questions I'm more than happy to answer them. I know how much I needed some perspective and reassurance when I was in the pit of despair. For those who supported me in my thread you will never know how much I needed and appreciated it. A huge heartfelt thanks. A huge thanks also to the owners and the mods who do such a selfless and brilliant job. . To everyone else. Keep going. It will come right. xxx
  23. ShakeyJerr

    Why did you stop the meds?

    I'm putting this question out there, partly as a reminder to myself, hopefully as a help to others who are struggling... I am in such physical and emotional pain these past few weeks. It is getting unbearable. My wife and I are trying to stick to the commitment not to go back on the meds. But boy, do I think I want to at times. Especially right now. So I'm here to remind myself why I stopped the psych-drug merry-go-round. I hope it helps you too. And I would love to hear your "why" story. It will be encouraging to all of us, I think. Anyway, I went off of the meds because I didn't like who I was as a person, and more and more I got the feeling that the meds were a big part of the reason. I was an angry person all of the time. And selfish. I would give in to rage - even in the most inappropriate situations to do so (like my daughter's 7th birthday party, for instance). I treated my wife horribly. I would go off the rails, feel like killing myself, and take handfuls of the meds at once (wow - I never admitted that ever before). I would fantasize about hanging myself (even though I would never have the guts to do so). And as these things were happening - especially over my last year before going off the meds - there were more and more times where there was a part of me inside of my mind saying "stop it, stop that crazy person" - as if the real me was trapped inside of this raging body that had been taken over by another mind. I had to find out who God created me to be. I even needed to find out what a real relationship with God was like. Turns out that He created me as a pretty nice guy. I'm loving and caring and helpful now (well, as helpful as I can be given the immense physical pain the withdrawal has caused me, and the anxiety that keeps me from running errands some of the time). I was even more engaged in activities during the window as I tapered (completely incorrectly and too fast) and for the first 3 months after I was drug free. And that is part of the problem. I can remember a time during the taper, towards the end, when I was in a "sweet" spot - where there was no withdrawal syndrome, and 90% of the time I was a great guy. I keep fantasizing about going back to that "sweet" spot. But I don't think going back on the drugs after being off for over 4 months would really work - and it could cause actual harm (I fear, for instance, the suicide bug that bites some people during the early days of psycho-med use). Or, it could just cause me to go back down the rabbit-hole of using the psych-meds - and that will bring back evil me. So I'm writing this to remind myself why I quite the psych-go-round. I hope it helps remind some of you too. SJ
  24. On Effexor (Venlafaxine) since Fall 2016; taking 200 mg for the past 6 months or so. I've decided to stop the effexor, as I feel that it is no longer working. I picked up a prescription for 25 mg effexor yesterday, in order to taper by 25 mg every 3-4 days (as recommended by my psychiatrist). 9/26/18 was my first night of 175 mg; I felt okay the next morning, if not a bit dehydrated. However, over the course of the day, particularly in the evening, I began to feel out of it, naseous, and just weird (for lack of a better description). That being said, I also had not eaten much that day; however, I've never felt "weird" while not having eaten, as I did 9/27. I will continue with the 175 mg dose for the next few days to determine whether the symptoms were due to lack of food or effexor. I’m terrified to taper off it it. I’ve been reading about it, and the stories of tapering off are terrifying! However, I still read them just so I know the possibilities. What kind of tapering experience have you had? Was it good or bad? Has anyone tapered off with zero side effects? Thanks!
  25. I am currently tapering off of Effexor (was at 200 mg) and I have been taking 175 mg for the last 10 days. So far, I feel absolutely zero withdrawal symptoms. I do not have any brain zaps, irregular moods, or anything like that. So, my question: has anyone ever tapered off of an antidepressant with absolutely zero withdrawal symptoms?
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