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  1. It has been nearly 4 months since I quit Lexapro cold turkey. Before that I had been on Zoloft for a few months, and before that I had been on Celexa for about 10 years. Nothing seemed to be working anymore, and I felt like I had been in a coma of sorts for more than a decade. I pulled the plug, and shortly after, all hell broke loose. Though my username might suggest otherwise, I am a 43-year-old woman. I feel I should mention that, though I still have many symptoms, I am currently coping with these at the moment. I am most concerned about the mental/emotional issues currently, but I will list the physical first. My physical symptoms were/are: insomnia for about 3 wks (sleep is better now but far from ideal); numbness in my legs and arms for about 6-7 wks; electricity-like vibrations or tremors all over my body (still have these in varying intensity); tinnitus (on and off for 2 mnths, occasional now); it was very difficult to eat ( I lost about 30lbs in 2.5 mnths); intense head pressure (2.5 mnths, occasional now); pain in my ears (fairly constant still); body twitches for about 3wks; vivid dreams that wake me up several times a night (constant since the initial insomnia lessened); feeling like something was lightly crawling all over my face and the top of my head for almost 3 months; no energy for 2 months (slightly improved now); intense heat particularly in my chest (still happens 3-4 times/wk at night); confusion and difficulty concentrating (has improved quite a bit in the last month); problems with my eyes (blurry, tired) is ongoing; diarrhea (still fairly constant); dizziness (still happens but only occasional now);and I became extremely sensitive to sound; light; smells; taste; other people’s emotions and stress (still dealing with these). I’m sure I’m forgetting things, but typing this has been a bit exhausting. Okay, now for the mental and emotional stuff. I became intensely afraid of the dark for several weeks. Thankfully that passed. I was terrified to be alone, and I am still afraid to be left on my own for too long. I experienced terror like I had never felt before. I learned to sit with it and accept it without giving a narrative to it. At first I felt at its mercy, but in January, I decided to sit with it, feel it physically while not giving it a narrative, and accept it. I kind of spoke to it. I said that I accepted that it was there but that it could feel free to leave at any time. I would ride out those waves in this way. That terror hasn’t visited me in a few weeks. Anxiety has been a constant companion. I talk to it too and treat it like I did the terror. I can settle it down eventually, but I know it’s not done with me yet. I also wake up with panic in the middle of the night. I decided a couple of weeks ago to not entertain any suicidal thoughts anymore. It is not an option, and I will not do it. I have become a bit claustrophobic, and early on, I had to keep running out of rooms or running outside. I’m getting tired, so I think I’ll jump to some of my concerns and questions. Since November, I lost my ability to daydream, and I miss that escape desperately. Will it come back? Will any spark of creativity come back? I find it hard to enjoy things, but I make myself do things to keep me occupied, like crochet. I used to be obsessed with music, but I can barely listen to it now. I can’t really watch most tv, but I have, thankfully, been able to watch gentle anime in the evenings to settle me down for sleep. When I get through this, I think I will have to write some sort of love letter about the genre keeping me going. British panel shows and British painting and pottery shows I can also handle. Will I be able to enjoy tv, music, and fiction again? I feel like I don’t remember how to be a person. Why am I afraid to be alone with my thoughts? Why do I worry from the morning how I will distract myself enough to get through another day? Where is any feeling of fun or enthusiasm? I focus on gratitude and am making every effort to be kind to myself. I also make an effort to be kind to others. I feel love for my parents and brother, and I tell them so often. I’ve journaled about past pains and traumas and chosen to forgive those involved. So I’m trying to lay the groundwork for positivity in my brain. But I feel like I’m in an unending existential crisis. I have trouble making much of an effort to do things, and I often feel like there is no point. Sadness I can feel, but happiness is elusive. It all just takes time, right? I guess I’m looking for hope. Sorry if this is a bit of a disorganized mess. Thank you, SurvivingOnAnime Lexapro 5mg for 3 months (quit November 2019) Lexapro 10mg for 14 months (July 2018 - Sept 2019) Zoloft 50mg for 5 months (March 2018 - July 2018) Celexa for 10 years (2008- March 2018)
  2. Hi, I’ve been on lexapro, Citalopram, escitalopram (same thing?) for around 20 years, with a couple of gaps where I came off the drugs successfully through tapering. The only way I can taper in my country is through cutting pills in half then quarters. No liquid forms or doses smaller than 10mg in pill form seem to be available. i was on 10mg and have always resisted all suggestions I should be on more. I suffered depression, obsession, and low mood all through my teens, got a bit better. Then I suffered panic attacks in my mid twenties that got so bad I was struggling to work or function. I went to the doctor and was put on these drugs straight away. At first they gave me a huge sense of relief, they blunted all my feelings and moods- including joy- but that was a price I was prepared to pay. I assumed the doctors knew what they were talking about and believed the stories about these new gen drugs having no major issues etc. Over time it just became part of my routine, I didn’t consider stopping, why would I? in my thirties I stopped for a bit as I was in a new relationship and I felt good. About a year passed, some bad stuff happened, and I went to the doctor with anxiety, she put me back on the drugs. i stayed on them until late last year. I have always had a drink problem. Some life stuff happened and I decided to go to AA and deal with that. I got clean but nearly lost my relationship in the process. I started seeing an anxiety specialist and decided to taper my pills. I realised I had been asking the doc about this for yeArs and she would say, let’s just get through Christmas, then let’s just get through winter. This was a cycle that took the whole year and I never got off it. I would get anxious, think how hard life was and then decide not now. When I told her I was just going to do it, as if not now, then when? I almost had to have a argument about it. i pointed out it killed my libido, it robs me of all happy sensations as well as sad, it seems to make me fat, it flatlines my creativity (I used to be a writer) etc. her response was well let’s try a different pill. My instinct is no, why would I buy more problems. In the end I just did it without discussion. I told her this week and she is just anxious I have a supply ready to go in case I need them again, on the assumption I will. Makes me more determined to not take them! I have just discovered a different doctor has put my 15 year old stepdaughter on the same drug. Of course we didn’t know patient confidentiality. She assumes she will be on them forever and they will change her life. She is a creative spirited highly strung young woman, now flat as a pan cake and she assures me 1000 times better. Deja vu anyone? I have been very anxious about withdrawals, so I have done it over 5 months. When I shifted from half to quarter pill I noticed a few days of sadness and sleep disruption. I have just tapered to nothing have not been ok. It crept in a few days ago, crying at nothing, intrusive persistent thoughts, dizziness, resentment, hopelessness, and worst of all horrible nightmares and blasting awake with my heart beating fast in complete terror out of deep sleep. It feels manageable, but I want it to pass. And want assurance it will. Especially during this lock down, I can’t afford to go nuts. It might have been a stupid time to stop, but it felt like the right time. I’m just done with it. I don’t want to talk to the doctor about it. I am convinced it’s like a cult of psych drugs and they know nothing. I’m angry about all the wasted years. Fran
  3. Hi All , I need your help ! I was on low dose of Amitriptyline ( 10 mg ) from Sept 29 th to Nov 9th , approx for 1 month. Was given this for low grade vascular headache Now I am 2 months off the drug , but still have issues. Approx 2 weeks post stopping the drug i started having severe tinnitus in both ears and still have it now , light sensitivity , brain fog , difficulty in concentration I had anxiety which I feel has been reduced since beginning of January. I got my tests done for MRI and all health tests everything came out clean , visual tests and macula degeneration tests also done Opthamologist message : Amitriptyline is neuro and ototoxic : your body will wean it eventually , he said it will take a month and I was actually getting better but BAM ! Jan 3rd week I was down in dumps again November Post stopping the drug : No Changes , just little bit of fogginess , headache Dec 1st week to 2nd Week : Muscle pain /drowsiness dec 3rd week to Dec 4 th week ( worst ) : i had grainy vision ( visual snow ) only on walls may be and then night vision was pathetic , brain zaps I was miserable was in dumps . Jan 1st week to 2nd week : On Jan 2nd when I work up my anxiety was gone ( its been better ) and getting better and my grainy vision I felt had subsided , I continued to move on ahead with the tinnitus and less snow Jan 3rd week to now : Suddenly I felt my vision dimness has got better ( I could feel this ) , the places i thought was previously dim was bright , and along with this the snow also became more , for example I an see sparse dots in day light and also when I look at my computer screen , and the walls have gone bad, not sure why this happened, shoulder pain , eye fatigue , dizziness , like when I close my eyes I see patterns and circle , when I m in REM braiz zaps after images ( both negative and positive)[ the symptoms I faced in Jan was not faced before in my life ] All the above symptoms Never had them in months of Oct, Nov Tinnitus : More Muscle Pain More Due to which : I'm nervous and anxious Issues I have now : Tinnitus more on left now , previously more on right , afterimages , vision snow ( bothers me the most ) and I know its not more than many of ul here , lil bit anxiety due to all this issues Disclaimer : I didn't know amitriptyline was an antidepressants until the 7th day of me taking it , I forgot to check it up online . Never done drugs in past , not smoked , no alcohol , I was a independent girl doing things on my own but now I'm so dependant on my family for everything I hope I get over this , I'm only 29 never had issues like this .
  4. "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??????????
  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. Hello, this is my first post, it’s nice not to just float out in space with this very difficult experience. My story is that I had been on 250 mg of Seroquel in combination with Lithium for about 8 years which kept my bipolar II in pretty good control since 2012. I then had a hypomanic episode in November 2019 (after one of the toughest years of my life, finally cutting contact with my abusive family of origin and the related trauma) that lead to my psychiatrist raising my Seroquel from 250 to 350 mg to help me sleep as I was not sleeping for 3 nights (not to control the hypomania itself). It’s an understatement to say that turned out to be a terrible misjudgment as after about 2 weeks on the significantly higher dose, I started to have severe vertigo as an adverse reaction. This same psychiatrist would not believe my adverse reaction/toxicity was due to the sudden jump in Seroquel, so I ended up switching psychiatrists after feeling talked down to and essentially abandoned. The new psychiatrist believed me and is a reasonable, compassionate person. He and I agreed I must come off Seroquel and quickly due to the vertigo toxicity which had me basically immobilized. In 3 days, I came down from 250 mg to 50 mg. The vertigo disappeared but within days after, I started to have insomnia (I am now sleeping with sleep meds), nausea and acid reflux, headaches and now about 6 weeks in to the withdrawal, the headaches are replaced by terrible dizziness and even more severe nausea, reflux has abated with help of meds. It’s really frightening and painful going through this to say the least, especially not knowing when it will improve. I work full time and have a family to take care of and my husband and I are frozen in a state of perpetual anxiety and a deep sense of crisis. Anyone experienced anything like this with Seroquel/Quetiapine or other atypical antipsychotics? Psychiatrists seem to know next to nothing about this issue. As a side note, I feel unable to raise the Seroquel level due to the severe vertigo issues I had while on it at the higher dose. Thanks in advance for pretty much any guidance or rays of hope, this is hell and I feel I’m on my own.
  7. Hello everyone, Before I begin, I want to apologize for the length of my first post. While some of the information may seem irrelevant at first, I'm trying to provide context and useful details to be as helpful as possible. I have tried to follow the forum guidlines as much as possible, but there is a lot to read up on, so if I am missing anything or anything needs adjusted please let me know. I am a male student in my early thirties who was first prescribed Lexapro/Escitalopram when I was nineteen for situational anxiety. Following the doctor's taper advice, I went on and off it twice in my twenties. The reason I returned to the drug both times was, again, situational anxiety that became debilitating to daily life. I did not have any problems with these tapers, which were completed over a few weeks. My latest period on the drug started in late 2013. I was on this dose, Lexapro/Escitalopram 20mg, for approximately six years. Last fall, I decided I wanted to taper off for good. I was experiencing some effects such as sleeping long periods, morning anxiety, and a feeling of a constricted nasal passage in the morning that I thought might be related to the drug. More generally, being on the drug made me feel ashamed and I was coming upon a turning point in my life that had made me committed to living healthier. Given my experience with past tapers, I conceived a taper that, at the time, seemed cautious since it was a longer plan. I would alternate days and divide the dose in half every two weeks. When the dose became too small to prepare with a pill cutter, I used a pill crusher and made a water/drug solution that I administered with an oral syringe. This taper was completed from August to December 2019, over approximately four months. The negative effects I remember when tapering was some occasional irritability/emotional oversensitivity. I now realize that, given my situation, this taper was foolish and too fast. In my mind, I was just trying to do what I thought was a more careful version of the method I used in the past. In the middle of January 2020, I noticed one of my testicles was swollen. My PCP had me get an ultrasound, which indicated that I had developed a small hydrocele. A hydrocele is an accumulation of fluid that is generally harmless, but sometimes requires surgery to remove. Accompanying the hydrocele was some penile pain/burning. Although a urine test indicated that this was not from a urinary infection or STD, my doctor prescribed an antibiotic. I presume he was suspecting an infection of another kind. I began the antibiotic on February 13, and after about five to six days, I began noticing some very distressing symptoms: confusion, bad mind fog, short-term memory issues, anxiety, strange vertigo-like sensation behind the eyes, inability to feel emotions. I woke up in the middle of the night on day seven with a panic attack like none I'd ever had before. It was relatively short, but my heart felt like it was going to pound out of my chest, which isn't a symptom associated with my past panic attacks. The symptoms I described would come in waves of a few hours and then attentuate. Around days seven and eight I also was going in out of something I would describe as a dissociative state combined with intense anxiety. It was very bizarre and unlike anything I had ever experienced berfore. I just felt disconnected from everything, the world felt corrupted, and combined with the aforementioned symptoms was very terrifying. At the time the first symptoms (mind fog, anxiety) appeared, I thought they might be connected to coming off the SSRI. This seemed logical considering that they were primarily psychological symptoms. I went online and learned for the first time about the possibility of protracted withdrawal from SSRIs. My understanding prior to this was that talk of "discontinuation/withdrawal syndrome" referred to the brain zaps/flu-like symptoms that sometimes accompany tapering. Nevertheless, on day eight of the antibiotic (February 20), it occurred to me that the antibiotic was the only new factor to be introduced during the preceding week and these symptoms were so qualitatively different than anything I had ever felt before. After looking it up online, I found reports of this particular antibiotic causing the previously mentioned side effects - anxiety, panic attacks, psychosis, etc. (see https://www.medications.com/doxycycline-hyclate/39445). After learning this on the evening of day eight, I decided to quit taking the antibiotic, and within two to three days the side effects mostly subsided. The following week (February 23), the penile pain/numbness/occasional paresthesia returned. I had daily anxiety for a couple weeks worrying about this issue until the urologist did a physical examination (March 5) and assured me that everything was normal, but that the symptoms could possibly be coming from an issue with my pelvic floor muscles. She recommended that I look into pelvic floor therapy, which I have yet to look into. Since the urologist appointment, the penile symptoms have largely disappeared, which leads me to believe that they may have been psychosomatic effects combined with lingering antibiotic side effects. Most recently, over the last week (March 9-15), I've noticed a return of some of the psychological symptoms I was experiencing before while on the antibiotic, only not quite as intense: hours-long waves of anxiety, mind fog, heart pounding, memory issues. I'm just generally feeling "out of it" and not "like myself," kind of like a hangover. The last two nights I have had problems sleeping because of anxiety and heart palpitations. I am concerned with what is causing these issues. Some people who took the antibiotic I did said the side effects lasted weeks or months afterwards. This seems possible given that antibiotics can kill a lot of the "good" gut bacteria that have some relation to mood regulation. What is confusing is that some of the side effects of the antibiotic seem to overlap with those of SSRI withdrawal. So could it be that one triggered or exacerbated the other or that it is a combination of both? The last two months have been some of the hardest of my life. From being in the emergency room worried about the antibiotic damaging my brain, to worrying about having a debilitating genital issue that would ruin my ability to form a relationship or have kids, to worrying about the possibility of SSRI withdrawal, it's been one thing after the other. Currently, I'm dealing with trying to finish my semester remotely while holed up with my family because of the coronavirus situation. One family member was recently discharged from the hospital and requires a lot of constant assistance with certain medical procedures and therapies, so that has been stressing everyone out. So it is also possible that I'm just feeling burned out. In the meantime, I have started seeing a cognitive behavioral therapist who is sympathetic to people weaning of antidepressants and transitioning to more wholistic therapy. She thinks it is conceivable that the issue is any or all of the things I described above, and has advised me to live as healthy as possible in the meantime. I have adjusted my diet (including adding probiotic foods), spent time walking daily, cut out caffeine, and started on fish oil, a multivitamin, and gingko biloba. Overall, my purpose for posting here is to get any kind of guidance or perspective that may be helpful. I understand this is a complex situation that doesn't have a clear response. At this point it seems my options are to wait it out or to try to reinstate the Lexapro/Escitalopram at a lower dose which seems successful for some, although from reading here it seems that at three months since the last dose I am approaching the end of the window of opportunity where that seems effective. I found a psychiatrist from the forum's "recommended doctors" section who lives close to me and seems to recognize withdrawal, so scheduling an appointment is a possibility. Finally, I want to thank the administrators and moderators of the forum for their work in selflessly providing a space for those of us in need to receive advice.
  8. Hi guys! Its been almost 7 months since I ct Lexapro, having only used it in 1 month om 5 mg. Its only now for the last weeks that the zaps, vertigo, flu-sympthoms and burning are starting, and becoming more severe by each day.. And I have a constant low fever since one month. (No virus.) Im burning all over my body, not sensitive to touch really.. Just feels like im on fire. And feels like breathing.. Sulfur. Not a refluxprob. (Also kinda blushing in face) All worse in my belly. Having attacks where it kinda knocks me with burning nerves all over and then goes back to constant medium-burning.. My cold sheets in bed is a blessing to naked skin! Also, notice aches and getting weaker in all my muscles.. 😕 Im so afraid! Whats going on! Have someone felt like this?
  9. After three misguided (via doctors) attempts at Effexor tapering, I found out the truth in the summer of 2017 and began a very slow taper from 75mg to my most recent taper of August 1st, 2019 when I reached about 50mg. Primarily I experienced fatigue and insomnia but after the August taper I started experiencing a weird anxiety-dread-panicky feeling that came and went. Since December, it's gotten worse. Despite occasional short windows (a couple of hours now and then), it seems I can't get comfortable. My large muscle groups in my upper body are always filled with "tension ache". It's maddening. Trying to take a nap is so hard, because after 15 minutes I get an intense fearful feeling in my chest (cortisol?). I want to think that this is will pass and the pain is just part of the healing process. I'm confused as to why I'm getting this reaction since I've been tapering so slowly. Any suggestions or insights would be greatly appreciated. Thank you. Kingson
  10. I was on Celexa for 3 years. I started it in high school. Now I am 20 years old. It wasn't helping me anymore. I gave up on life. Quit my job and dropped out of college. I isolated myself and smoked marijuana. Didn't want to socialize with my roommates. I didn't want to go out in public because I felt mentally unstable and embarrass myself. My mood is so unpredictable that I just want to stay home alone. I became very destructive. I guess the Celexa wasn't working. My Mom thinks that Celexa was causing horrible side effects while I was on it and it was making everything worse. I tapered off 3 weeks ago. I feel the same as when I was on it but even worse now. I feel really weak mentally and totally hopeless. I don't feel like doing anything. I'm severely depressed, feel like a burden on everyone because I am. Everything is very stressful for me. I can barely feed myself. I have suicidal thoughts. I'm thinking about all the problems in my life all at once and can't stop. My brain is really slow. I have bad anxiety every morning, every day. I can't help myself get better. I'm just really stupid. I don't really enjoy anything. It's very hard to relax. Very lazy. My memory is awful. My confidence in myself is completely gone. Feel impending doom, waiting for the next bad thing to happen. I am so confused. How long before the side effects from Celexa wear off? I was told it would only be 2 weeks. I don't know how much more I can take.
  11. Hi all, I am writing from the BBC. The Victoria Derbyshire show in the UK are producing a short film about anti-depressant withdrawals and are looking to speak to individuals who have used local street drug dependency services for support throughout this process. If you are someone who has used the support services of street drug charities in the UK for antidepressant withdrawal and are interested in taking part, please do reach out to me via the personal messaging system . We appreciate the very sensitive nature of this difficult experience and anything spoken about will remain confidential unless otherwise agreed. Many thanks.
  12. 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.
  13. Dear all, I have done all the research possible and contact all persons in the Netherlands who could help me find the answers for coping with this rollercoaster ride of tapering my last 2,5 mg of paroxetine (paxil). I managed to get in touch with a researcher in the area of tapering and withdrawal effects of anti-depressants. He was really helpful with my questions about tapering of and was so kind to share his latest upcoming publication about withdrawal effects and the importance of good guidance from our doctors. I found this article very inspirational and heart warming to know we are not alone in this battle of coming of our medications. I wanted to share this with you, thought it could be helpfull for others as well. Here is the link to the manuscript. It is still under review but already publiced at https://iipdw.org/user-knowledge-psychotropic-drug-withdrawal/ greetings Julia
  14. I have been on citalopram since 2009 then it stopped working. The Dr put me on citalopram and mirtazapine combination which worked for a while then that stopped working. The Dr then put me on mirtazapine and Venlafaxine 150mg XL combination which workes for a while again ans then stopped working. The Dr put me on amitriptyline 50mg saying thay would be the best drug for me while i took 8 months to slowly remove each bead from Venlafaxine capsule to come off it. As soon as I took my last beed i went into crazy angry depression. The dr increased my dosage of amitriptyline from 50mg to 150mg but the side effects were horrible and at this point i got sick of these meds and decided to quit CT. I had horrible withdrawal symptoms and i started acting like a child and not being able to walk, had balance problems. I reinstated back to 50mg amitriptyline since april 2018 and i have been getting worse. I cannot sleep. My vision is so badly affected that i have grainy vision and floaters have increased dramatically . I see after images and it's as if the lights have been turned off. When i begin to fall asleep, i start to have dreams before i actually fall asleep and my brain keep. Waking up just before i am about to sleep. I cannot follow conversations, I mishear things all the time. I am totally dependant on others and i feel people think i have gone crazy. I don't know what to do i am getting worse and worse. I often trip, lose my balance. I hardly have any short term memory and cannot do simplest of things. I cannot even watch anything on TV as i cannot follow.it I'm having major concentration problems. I don't know how. I'm writing this. I cannot work or drive. Please you have no idea how i am putting these sentences together. I need urgent help. Please advice. I have no energy, no appetite. If I'm posting this in the wrong place, please accept my appology as I can hardly read and understand things. P
  15. Hello everyone, Background: I took Escitalopram (10mg) for about 22 months starting in January 2017. I got burned out around July 2016 which led to a panic disorder which got worse until I chose to go for the meds in january 2017. So the main reason for treatment was anxiety & panic. August 2019 I decided to start tapering down, as the panic attacks had worn off for quite some time, and I wanted to get rid of the fog the Escitalopram gave me. As I saw in other introduction posts, it was suggested to add my dosages/dates in the signature so you can find them there. In short I first tapered from 10->5 mg (which I stayed on for about 2 months, and then took about 6 weeks to taper from 5 to 0mg using liquid drops. I did not experience many side or withdrawal effects during the tapering, or in the first month after discontinuation. However after about a month (half december 2019) I started to feel a sadness/emptiness which gave me a little concern. This has slowly gotten worse over the past 6 weeks where it really feels like a full depression. (vulnerable to negative emotions, sudden crying spell - I hardly ever cry/cried, racing negative thoughts, worrying about my health) which in turn leads to me getting nervous over possibly relapsing. I have been to my GP to talk about this, and she has suggested that with previous clients of her on Escitalopram, some have also experienced a 'rebound depression''. We have agreed to keep a close eye on it for the coming months to see how it resolves itself. Now what gives me a little hope is that the symptoms I'm experiencing currently are mainly depressive, whilst my inititial treatment was for anxiety and panic. I have no trouble being in crowds or outside, but instead have trouble being alone (which is pretty much the opposite of my situation before meds). What worries me is that it's getting worse, and I'm not sure what i'm in for. I hope I can find some people on here to learn from some similar experiences, possible outlook and advice if possible. Fizer
  16. Hey Guys, m 24 years old.... I was prescribed escitalopram in 2014 10mg,then after my dose was reduced to 5mg...So in December 2017 I quit it without tapering, which m now learning was a big mistake..... Everything was fine till February 5th when I had my breakup.... Suddenly my brain started behaving differently..... I started feeling like everything is Getting away from me.... Anxiety came back.... Slowly slowly symptoms began to get worse.... I used to wake up in the middle of the night, felt like crying most of the time, loose motion, sweaty hands, chronic fatigue.... Now from the last three weeks I feel like my memory is fading, it's like I don't remember all these years wt actually happened, I do remember most of the things but it just feels like I don't remember them with all the feel.... So last week I went to see my psychiatrist and he said it's a relapse case.... I told him maybe it's the withdrawal symptom then he said they only last for 10-15 days..... AND told me to get back on 10mg again.... At night I took my first dose of 10mg, the next day in morning I started shivering and feeling cold..... I went to pee and felt like m gonna faint.... There was a burning sensation under the skin of my arms and back..... I decided not to take these meds.... So m asking you guys wt is the best thing for me to do now.... Should I reinstate with the small dose and then taper it down or just hope that everything gets better with time?
  17. 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
  18. Hi everyone, I'm male. 22, here's my story. I was misdiagnozed with schizoaffective disorder and put on strong meds this January, namely Haldol injections. I've been treated for two weeks and then received a prolonged shot of Haldol consta. Ever since I haven't felt like myself and still experiencing lot's of side-effects (or main effects) of the medication. Physical: I've always been in a good athletic form, but now my muscle mass has decreased a big deal and what's left feels very weak. I can't work out effectively anymore since I always feel some sort of pain in my body, mostly the legs, and my arms start shaking a bit. I've gained lot's of fat in just one month and I can't drop it off. I constantly feel fatigued and tired, my legs feel weak and start aching whenever I walk or stand for any prolonged period of time. I've also become virtually impotent, I don't feel any desire and my morning erections are gone. My orgasms feel very weak, my testicles have shrunk a little bit and there is very small amount of semen whenever I manage to reach an orgasm. I also experience body zaps and twitches all the time, especially when something touches my body parts, I just twitch really hard, almost jump. Emotionally I feel very numb, it feels like there is a filter between me and the world, the light and sound feel harsh to me, I can't experience joy from anything, the most scary thing is I've lost all interest in my favourite music, it just doesn't sound pleasant anymore, I don't get the chills like I used to. I can't feel any motivation for anything, as I've said I'm extremely numb and low-key all the time. I'm very scared these things are permanent, the long-lasting shot was 2 months ago but I don't feel any improvement at all, I just want to smoke all the time although I've never been a smoker, and I don't even feel nicotine now, same goes for alcohol. I've been working out hard for the last two months, to next to no improvement, I just feel very tired and working out doesn't bring any positive emotions like it used to. I just feel frustrated because these side-effects persist and being almost impotent sucks badly. Every day I just push through the day waiting for sleep time to escape this terrible condition. I'm also afraid the drug might still be in my body since its long half-life (3 weeks, and I've heard it might take up to 5 half-lifes to clear out of the system). I would greatly appreciate any advice on my condition and information about recovery time, it feels almost unbearable for me, I feel like a 60-year-old man although I'm supposed to be in my prime condition at this age. Thanks!
  19. HI, here santking, 34y "manic" diagnosed episode in 2004. treated w lithium, benzos and prozac. 1000 mg of depakote+benzos+prozac jun-ago 2004. ago-dec 750. + prozac Dec: just 500 depakote (treatment produced strong acne. treated with roaccutan between nov 2004 to oct 2006) 2005: depakote 500 (some months w 750) + prozac and benzos- (lorazepam) dec 2005 - aug 2007: depakote 500 mg aug 2007 - 2009 alternated depakote 500 mg to 250 mg jan 2010 i started with a new psychiatrist: depakote 500 mg until sep 2012 sep 2012 started depakote + antidepressants: depakote 500 + etifoxina / paroxetine and propanodol (?) (until jun 2013) jun 2013: depakote 500mg with paroxetine and propanodol. oct 2013: change paroxetine for trazadone. until Jan 2014. jan 2014: depakote 500mg and leave trazadone jan 2014-oct 2015: depakote 500 mg oct 2015: psychiatrist introduces sertraline. suicidal attempt with sertraline overdose in jan 2016. psychiatrists increases depakote to 750 mg and introduces wellburtin. jan 2016 - dec 2017: 750mg depakote + wellburtin dec 2017 consulting another psychiatrist changed wellburtin to seroquel 25 mg dec 2017 . until jun 2018: 750mg depakote and seroquel 25 mg in jul 2018 I meet the Peter BReggin's books and SA forum and start the withdrawal process. this included consuting with psycotherapist and intense researching meeting content like Icarus project, mad in america, Rachel Aviv articles and Laura Delano's Withdrawal Project (a daily reference) ago 2018: start tapering: depakote 500 mg and seroquel in 12mg dosages (cutting to half) until nov. in dec 2018 I felt the withdrawl synthoms of seroquel leaving (insomnia, vertigo, suicidal thoughts, paranoia, anxiety, fear) Jan 2019: changed depakote dosage -tablets o sprinkles- (125 mg) taking 4 pills daily. May 2019: tried tapering without scale (reducing "half" of sprinkle aprox 437 mg) causing a week of insomnia and panic. returned with 500 mg in June. Aug 2019: started tapering with scale. sep 2019: 450 mg Oct 400 mg. Nov: 375 mg (3 pills daily) DUring November I have been taking 375 mg I have been feeling intense laziness, lack of motivation and fatigue. I tried changing diet: avoiding caffeine, alcohol, sugar, dairy and ultraprocessed foods. I had a week w insomnia and next week felt sleepness and lack of motivation (after Dec 1) RIght now I'm worried because I still feeling down and need increase energy due to personal compromises. I'm doubting if back to 400 mg or still reducing the dosage. THis based on how I'm feeling and listening the body sensations. I'm doing the tapering based on the 10% standard seeing in Breggin books, TWP and here. This is my history w psychiatry treatments and I would appreciate your help and recommendations for my case. If you need some explanations I will do it. Thank you.
  20. 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
  21. Moderator note: link to benzo forum thread - Ryder: Clonazepam Hi guys, This question has to do with SSRI's and supplements. I was diagnosed with Chronic OCD in January 2015. I have been on and off medication between 2009-2015. Since 2015 I was prescribed 200mg (Sertraline/Zoloft) Daytime and 2mg Clonazepam for night time sleep. At the back-end-of 2016 I felt that I was well enough to come of all medications as I just felt able enough to cope on 100mg after a while. I did Cold Turkey for most of it before admittingly and slowly going on the lower dose of 100mg Sertraline. I was afterward sent to a Dr who specialised in withdrawing people from medications. She prescribed: - L-Carneitine (300 mg) - CoQ10 (200 mg) - N-Acetylcysteine - Vitamin C - Selenium - Magnesium. - A Gluten Free Diet. With Gluten diet, I did not stick to this religiously as some of the books advocated here on this forum. Mainly Elaine Gotschall's Breaking the Viscious Cycle. (Specific Carbohydrate Diet) and the GAPS Diet advocated by Dr Natasha Campbell-Mcbride. I am very skeptical when i read over these diets but since my Dad was on the diet, whatever was in the Pantry, I ate. I wasn't religious about it though if I ordered takeout. Back on topic, I reduced the supplements to L-Carneteine and CoQ10 in combination with SSRI Zoloft/Sertraline (100mg). I found that during the time taken them, I had trouble with Cognition and motor skills, driving, runnng and excercise. I also noticed that I couldn't stop feeling dizzy although they are supposed to aide mitochondria in the brain which the Zoloft dulls down. I also noticed real bad insomnia during the time taken these aided supplements. Has anyone else had success with L-Carneteine and CoQ10 prescribed with Zoloft? It seems that people are having great success with these two supplements to rave review, I am just wondering if Carneteine or CoQ10 has worked for anyone to either reduce withdrawal symptoms off SSRIs & Zoloft or taper off completely. **Note. I have looked through the other posts here, but most vary in opinion, so I just want this question answered. Many thanks. Ryder.
  22. Hi all, I had been taking 20mg Lexapro for about 8 years. About 3 months ago I was having a very bad bout of depression, anxiety etc. and was suggested by my doctor to change to 100mg Sertraline. In early November 2019 I CT'd the Lexapro, waited 24 hours and started taking the Sertraline (doctor's recommendation). I immediately suffered from extreme brain fog. Over the next 5 weeks the brain fog didn't ease up. I thought the brain fog was due to the Sertraline, so I stopped taking the Sertraline (fast taper over 3 weeks). I wanted to see how my mind and body would function without any medication so I did not reinstate the Lexapro (psychologist's recommendation). It has been about 4 weeks since I have stopped taking the Sertraline, and almost 3 months since I stopped taking the Lexapro. My anxiety and depression is ok (I am attending regular therapy to cope here, and have made positive life changes which has helped a lot). However, my heavy brain fog is still present, and my general concentration is far lower then what I am accustomed to. I have now come to realise that the brain fog was not caused by starting the Sertraline, but was due to withdrawal from the Lexapro. After doing some research over the past couple of weeks, and in particular reading stories about very slow tapering, it would seem going Lexapro CT was definitely the wrong choice! I am approaching 3 months out from stopping the Lexapro. I am thinking of possibly reinstating as I work as an engineer, and brain fog and lack of concentration is a major issue for me (as it would be for any job really). However, as I am almost 3 months out from taking my last dose of Lexapro, and my anxiety and depression is under control, and it is only the brain fog/concentration that is the issue, I am thinking it would probably be best if I don't reinstate, and hope that in the coming months (or even years as I have read) my brain slowly starts firing again. I guess I am looking for any form of advice about the possibility of reinstating, stabilising, and then slow tapering over a year or more (will this even cure my brain fog in the short term??), or am I best just to live with the brain fog and hope that it will fade in due time. What are some people's time frame for brain fog to disappear? Thanks everyone Dean
  23. Hi everybody. My name is Gus from Australia. I think i may have found the right site here. I've been on effexor 150mg/day (most of the time. 200mg/day at worst times, 100/day at better times)for about 11 years, was on zoloft, aropax and citolopram for short times beforehand. I wish i'd found this site earlier as it has some great advice for tapering. Too late though as i've already done that with a set of ebay scales and a calculator. Tapered over about 4 months(yeah i know, too fast according to this site). Even still, a lot slower than the doctors would have me do it. I'd just got down to 75mg and a dr told me to go on 37.5 for 2 weeks then just stop. I took his precription to avoid an arguement and threw it in the bin once i got home. Once i got down to about 60mg/day i only dropped it by about 5mg/week. I've been on zero for just over 9 weeks. If my wife hadn't suggested i try her magnesium powder(as it may help with stress) i'd be a complete mess. This stuff really helps. Are there many people out there who can please tell me how long it took to get back to where you were before you started effexor? What kind of symptoms, waves and windows you had and how often did you have each and how long did they last each time you had them? Also, i've heard omega 3's are usefull. Can anyone please tell me how so? What do they relieve and how much to take? Any informed/positive replies are very welcome. Regards, Gus.
  24. Hello everyone, I took my first anti-depressant at 21. I am now 43. In the years in between, I have had multiple psychiatric admissions, taken many many different medications, some at high doses, some inappropriate for my diagnosis, and for long periods of time, and had 8 sessions of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). I am posting here now because I believe I may be experiencing a withdrawal/discontinuation syndrome. My life has been razed to the ground and I am reaching out, to foster hope, make connection, and see if I can educate and empower myself and find guidance and support to get into healing and recovery. My difficulties began 9 years ago. The only drug I was taking at the time was Citalopram, and I was reducing it. The first thing I noticed was increased sensitivity to sound (e.g. hearing the radiators throughout the house I was staying in). I was working as a counsellor at the time, and I began to have feelings of falling through my chair when working with clients, a sensation of falling downwards and backwards suddenly. I then started to feel strange in the car, as if something toxic was coming through the ventilation system, leading me to feel a bit like I wasn't fully there; slightly afraid I would pass out (I never have) or "disappear". I would pinch my cheeks to try and "come back". I couldn't understand it. For 18 months, I followed the initial thinking from my GP, that I had labyrinthitis, and had various auditory system tests. This revealed nothing. I then went to the London Balance and Hearing Centre and had a thorough check there. They found nothing wrong and said that 40 % of people presenting there they referred on to psychiatry. By this stage, I had stopped driving, stopped working, had considerable difficulties walking - I walked using 2 sticks, and continued to have extreme sensitivity to sound (found the sound of the dishwasher on the floor below almost unbearable). The psychiatrist diagnosed "total serotonin depletion of the vestibular nucleus" with utter conviction (no sample/scan of anything has ever been taken by a psychiatrist in 22 years of treatment), and admitted me urgently to hospital. I was not depressed at the time. I was bombarded with medications. 3 weeks later, I went into depression, but the somatic symptoms I had been admitted for continued. More and more medications were administered. Eventually, I discharged myself and went to another psychiatric hospital. They were shocked at the levels of medication I was on (this was 2013) and proceeded to reduce and change the drugs. I left this hospital in 2014 but my somatic symptoms persisted (difficulty walking, unable to tolerate the sound of the fridges in the supermarket, clinging on to the shelves, tremors in my legs, unable to stand in line....). By this time, I had a diagnosis of Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (CPTSD) - which I identify with to this day. This was September 2015. Because, despite high levels of medication, the symptoms were still present and limiting my functionality (e.g. unable to tolerate short attending a short evening course on social media at my gardening group: I couldn’t cope with looking at the screen, sitting on a chair without sides, or the sounds – and had to leave), I decided to change tack and try a different approach. That was when I sought out a trauma therapist and a more holistic path. At this time I was on Quetiapine (250mg at night, 50mg breakfast and 50mg lunchtime), 3g L-Tryptophan, 15mg Diazepam, 60mg Citalopram. Over the course of 3 years, I brought myself down off the meds in a very measured way, one at a time, titrating at what I thought was a slow pace. I managed to come off the Quetiapine, L-Tryptophan and Diazepam. I continued to experience severe somatic symptoms but could walk about a little, go into a bookshop briefly - not able to work or go out for a meal, or the cinema or anything like that. When I began reducing the Citalopram, my symptoms became seriously bad. They emerged approx. 2 – 3 months after reductions e.g. 60 > 50 > 40 beginning May 2017, resulted in severe, disabling symptoms by August: severe tremors, terrifying hyperarousal, unable to tolerate sounds at all, using alcohol when necessary literally to be able to tolerate them or walk when necessary. I made another reduction 40 > 35 > 30 > 25 > 20 from December to April 2018, at which point I became housebound and called the paramedics as I was experiencing states of terror, feeling as if I was about to die, unable to regulate my nervous system at all. I now know, how terribly and tragically misguided my reduction pacing was. I wish I could turn the clocks back. But I can't. Hence my presence here, and prayers that there is still hope that I might recover my health. The emergency services suggested I increase the Citalopram back up to 30mg, which I did - and then up to 35mg, 3 weeks later. By this stage, I was housebound, having violent seizure patterning (not seizures - I never lose consciousness), unable to tolerate the sound of using a telephone, unable to stand to wash up or make food. My therapist began visiting me in my home. At the time, she and I had been understanding what was happening as partly being a releasing of the trapped energy of the trauma of the ECT which I had when I was 29. Indeed, the seizure patterning/muscle spasms look very like this. And my therapist described what she believed was going on in Somatic Experiencing language of "overcoupling": effects of psychological trauma/stress from earlier life + ECT shock trauma + long term use of meds.....all contributing to a dysregulated nervous system. I still believe this to be the case. However, very sadly, my therapist reached the point where she felt unable to continue to support me and pointed me back towards psychiatry. This was utterly devastating to me. I had derived considerable strength and hope from believing I understood what was happening in my body, that I had agency over its process, and was resourced and motivated by this. Being advised that all that was left was to go back to psychiatry, felt like the final straw. I went into severe, suicidal depression. Since then, I have seen several more psychiatrists, 2 neurologists, one neuropsychiatrist. None of them acknowledge that there is any possibility that psychiatric medications are implicated in my somatic symptoms. They put them under "medically unexplained" or "functional neurological disorder". I had 5 weeks in another psychiatric hospital in December 2018 which was largely pointless as I could not bring myself to take further medications, except for the introduction of one, Pregabalin, but at a low dose (because I was looking ahead to having to withdraw off this too eventually, and cautious accordingly.) I am now staying with my parents, in Luxembourg because I am unable to manage on my own in my own home without carers. I am at the lowest point of my life. The depression is severe but largely "reactive", ie an understandable response to losing my world - my work, my community, my functionality and all that that now deprives me of. I am just surviving at the moment. I hope I can find a way ahead. I am new to this website. I wonder how I might best use it to seek support and guidance? I will list the medications I am currently taking: Citalopram 40mg Pregabalin 50mg @ 09.00, 25 mg @ 13.00, 25mg @ 22.00 Diazepam 2mg @ 09.00, 25mg @ 13.00, 25mg @ 19.00, 25 mg @ 22.00 Zopiclone 3.75mg: began tapering under advice of GP 10 days ago, reducing by 1/4 = cutting the pill in half and half again and taking 3/4. He suggested I taper by 1/4 every 2-3 weeks. I feel trapped in a Catch22: I am unable to function in the world as I am. My symptoms are prohibitive of most activities and restrict where I can be, even within my parents' home, as my sensitivity to sound is so great and I am unable to be standing for very long due to the tremors. I am due to see the GP again tomorrow to ask his advice. I do not have a psychiatrist here. I am not keen to see yet another psychiatrist unless this person understands the fight/flight/freeze response, believes in withdrawal syndromes and tapering. My despair lies in the fact that I am sadly not in a position to be tapering really until I have adequate functionality restored. But I don't know how to restore that, how to address the tremoring and sensitivity to sound. The advice I have had from psychiatrists is to increase the dose of Pregabalin to quell the tremors. I am currently on a sub-therapeutic dose. I am reluctant to do this as this will be yet another drug to come off (which holds risks of seizures through withdrawal). Does anybody here have anything they could suggest to help? I am only just beginning to try to understand what the effects might be, on my nervous system, of extensive use of the drugs I have been on in the past, and am currently on. In particular, Quetiapine (I was on 800mg in 2005 and reduced over a couple of years - I never had any psychosis; and again 2013 - 2016 at 300mg), Diazepam (30mg in 2013, now 8mg) and Citalopram (60 for many years, now 40mg). I don't know if everything my body is manifesting is an expression of a depletion of receptors throughout my body? I am doing an online course on the nervous system and understand the intricacy of it, and how every cell in our bodies is affected by nervous system dysregulation. What is the next step? How do I address the somatic symptoms, in particular sensitivity to sound and to gravity: my sympathetic nervous system is "turned up way too high" in response to my standing up = tremors How/where can I find a clinician to guide me? I am due to see a Functional Medicine practitioner next Thursday with a view to try trying to do something myself to help heal my system. Any thoughts on this? I am also acutely aware that my life situation is such that I feel insecure and at sea. So, I need to find a way to create a secure base for myself, professionals I trust, decide which country to live in to do this (I will probably be unable to live alone until/unless I can heal this)..... I understand now that my nervous system is picking up cues about safety all the time. And if my life situation is unstable, it will keep going into fight/flight/freeze in reaction to that too. So, I need to also do some internal work on finding safety in the midst of uncertainty. This is so challenging. I feel very grateful to have this space in which to share and hopefully help each other. Thank you.
  25. Hi, I am a 24 year old female from Montreal, Canada. I keep my childhood close to my heart as it is evidence of life being enjoyable. At age 12, I was diagnosed with O.C.D. and after a year or two of therapy, I was able to rid myself of most of my obsessional behaviours. At age 13, entering high school, I was diagnosed with general anxiety disorder and depression, and was quickly put on anti-depressants. The following decade of my life consisted of continuous suffering (unwavering depression, hospital stays, self harm, suicidal tendencies, crisis after crisis, chain smoking cigarettes, chronic weed smoker, overweight, risky behaviour, terrible relationship with parents, couldn't work or go to school, ect). I was on anti-depressants /anti-anxiety /anti-psychotic/ sleeping aid medication during puberty and after. In 2016, after a decade of suffering, and realizing the two constants in my life have been meds and suffering, I started questioning the mental health system and what I have been told, and fed. 3 years later, here I am, almost off of my 10-year-long relationship with Cipralex(SSRI) (from ten years of 40mg to now, 5mg). I was lucky enough to find somebody online who is incredibly experienced and knowledgable about weening off of meds, and who has helped me taper safely. I am also very lucky to have parents who would do anything for me and support my journey and healing in every way possible. Since then I have been reducing my dosages every few months very slowly with little withdrawal symptoms, and it has been going really well. I started feeling hope that I never thought would be possible. Up until now. A couple of months ago, I dropped my dosage of Cipralex from 5mg to 4mg and within two weeks started feeling waves of panic that I had not felt in years. One night, I felt the surge of panic, and eventually fell asleep after several hours of struggling. I woke up the next day and I was still in panic. The following 3 or 4 days I was stuck in this panic. There are no words to describe how horrific it feels to be trapped in what I thought could only last an hour maximum. (Disclaimer: I have a deep fear of "going insane". At this point, when I speak of "insanity", I am describing the experience of being pulled away from the normal reality I am ''used'' to. But, if there wasn't a sense of complete terror, I probably would mind it less. Stuck in terror is now how I define my understanding of "insanity".) It has been several months now (3 or 4) that I am experiencing the most horrific episodes of complete terror. The feeling of a nightmare doubled down under the weight of the realization that this is as real as it gets, there is no waking up from this horror, there is no waking up in relief. This is it. It's similar to in a nightmare, I feel the presence of something evil, I'm afraid to look over my shoulder, I'm afraid I'll see it, I am completely on edge. "Derealization" and "depersonalization" happening heavily. How I feel in a storm of terror, my entire understanding of reality is Doom. Something right behind me, the imminent danger, something horribly, horribly dangerous is here. Right here. And something terrible, catastrophic, EVIL, is going to happen, is happening and will get worse. I am going to snap. My personal hell tailored to my exact dread and fears. It is not like a normal sense of panic, or dread. I have had countless panic attacks previously. This... every single fibre of my being is shrieking in terror. There is not a crack of light. The whole entire game is different. My body is spiking with the threat of death, evil, “insanity”. My mind is trapped. I am trapped. It feels like there is a pressure on the back of my head but from the inside, something urging to get out, to escape. Screaming, desperate, shocked. Nightmares end in relief. There is no end to this, there is no waking up in relief. Death is part of the terror, so I cannot end my life. My brain, my mind, my spirit, in danger, threatened by Imminent Doom. Trapped. Panic. Unreal panic. Inconceivable panic. Fire in my stomach. Then ice. Then fire. Dizzy from panic. It feels like I am being sucked away into Hell. My inner voice fades. Vision unable to coordinate with mind, I am sinking into my skull, into darkness. Reality is not safe. No where to hide. NO WHERE TO HIDE. My body cannot handle such terror so it trembles uncontrollably. Knees knocking together. I could release all bodily fluids from how terrified I am. Gagging, I sometimes puke. I can't look at my mom or dad without being sent further into torture, they seem wildly unfamiliar and really, really distant. They cant help. Nobody can save me. Praying to God, any God. My hands gripping my clothing, pulling. Jaw locked, clenching. Can't close my eyes. Can't keep them open. No options. My mind, my Being, terror ripping through Everything. All of this is not accounting for when I wake up from sleep in Terror. In that, my attachment to my 24 years of life, my identity, my name and hands and vision, my beliefs, my parents, my entire concept of what it is to be Me, my inner self and outer self, is unretrievable. The fear has no way of being calmed, effort cannot even be made, my thoughts are out of order, completely, there is a chaotic sense of disorder. Part of me wonders if I am going 'insane', or if my fate is to end up in a state of constant panic. I have a newfound perspective on my own mortality, on the fragility of my own grip on 'reality'. I don't know how to deal with these 'attacks' and something tells me I will live the rest of my life in the shadow of this clear sense of doom. It feels like I am living in a nightmare, surreal yet painfully real. I have some little windows of hope and a sense of being ''grounded''. Sometimes a few days where I am Okay. This is what I hold onto, or try to hold onto, desperately when I start feeling the terror. But when I'm really IN the state of panic, there really is nothing I can do. I feel so alone in this experience. I am currently living back with my parents (I was living on my own for a couple of years). I am back on 5mg, and don't plan to continue tapering, not for a while. Thank you for reading. I am so TERRIFIED.
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