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  1. Hey Everyone, I'm sorry if this gets long, it's been a very hard journey that I know yall will understand. I'm really hoping to get some sort of help or insight if the road I'm currently on is causing more harm than good. Back in 2009, I started taking Lexapro (escitalopram) 10 mg for very mild depression and anxiety. I began my career as a graphic designer in 2008 and the working environment was a bit stressful and I didnt adapt very well leading to more anxiety than usual. After speaking with my doctor, we felt it was a good idea to go on a low dose of lexapro. After a month or so, I started feeling really good. I even felt great after being on it for a couple of years on top with excercising and eating better. Well, in April of 2013 I got an opportunity to work from home which was great, no more hostile working environment and I was away from an over bearing/obnoxious co-worker. I continued taking lexapro until August of 2013 and more or less quit taking cold turkey since I "felt fine." The doctor never stressed the importance of tapering over months, or the coarse of a year for that matter, so I tapperd in a matter of 2 weeks...maybe a little less. He said I would probably exerience some dizziness or lightheadeness after stopping, which I did for a few weeks...but then it went away by September. On January 29th of 2014, I woke up with vertigo. I wasnt sure what to think of it to be honest. I was like, "Wow, weird"...time to get a shower, and went about my day. I had a little lightheadedness that wasnt too bad that caught my attention, but didnt concern me. Then about a week later, I had another episode of vertigo. The dizziness and lightheadedness became more and more constant and intensified. At this time, lots of things started to stress me out, and for good reason. My dog started having seizures around the same time I started getting vertigo. My wife told me we were going to have our first baby in March. My sister was about to have brain surgery and almost didnt make it in April. I started working at the previous company as I did before, with the overbearing/obnoxious co-worker (who is now my manager.) In May, that's when the withdrawals hit me REALLY hard. The depression, the anxiety, the doom and gloom, the uncontrollable thoughts. The unbearable tension in my neck and shoulders, the fatigue, the intense headaches. When all of this began, I went to see an ENT specialist thinking the dizziness/vertigo was an inner ear issue. I racked up medical bills getting tests done, cat scans, an MRI, blood work, trip to the ER, doctor visit after doctor visit. Once the medical bills started pouring in, that added a whole other level of stress. I cried uncontrollably, I was lashing out, had panic attacks...I seriously wanted to die, to be honest. That's when I had to call my mom and she came to stay with us for a week. Here I am, a 32 year old man calling his mommy. Pathetic! This has already gotten long, but currently I am seeing a psychatirst who has no idea why I'm experiencing withdrawls this far out which is very frustrating. Shouldnt the be more aware of these type of things? I re-instarted lexapro 10mg in June of 2014 but it made me feel worse. We messed around with the dosage, but my psychiatrist has since put me on Celexa 10mg. Right now, I am just "maintaining." I still have light headedness and intense headaches. I get these headaches probably 2-4 times a week, and they leave me feeling VERY exhausted. I stay tired, but I know part of that is probably working 40 hours a week and taking care of a 7 month old...on top of dealing with all of this. What I would like to know though, is am I doing the right thing by re-instating an anti-depressant? These headaches that I get make life very difficult...I dont know if it's a side effect of the anti-depressant or if it's still withdrawals? I'm still at a low dose, and any time I try to go up...I start to feel worse. I now take topamax for the headaches/migraines and I've been put on blood pressure medicine since now I've developed high blood pressure. Sorry for the long post and introduction, it's hard to sum all of this stuff up in a couple of short paragraphs...either that or I'm just way too long winded! Thank you for any help and insight!
  2. Moderator note - link to benzo forum thread - Freedom1975: Zopiclone and clonazepam So i have been reading advice on how to get off these drugs and following the protocol of the 10% taper. It is mentioned to only come off 1 drug at a time. Its a littlle scary thinking that this could take years just to get off one drug and then attempt the next drug after. I am not sure what i am looking for here. Just a friendly voice of encouragement and maybe some more guidance of how to navigate through this hell of withdrawal
  3. Hi you all! I am Athena. So my tough journey begins in 2001, when I am diagnosed with depression. I am then prescribed Effexor, which instantly gives me huge side effects: vomiting, tremors, sweats... But I am a tough warrior and I put up with them, for a year and a half. In 2005, depression comes back, and here starts the trial-and-error of many, many AD's: Celexa, Zoloft, Effexor, desipramin, Wellbutrin, mirtazepin, Lamictal, Remeron, Abilify, nortriptylin, Cipralex, Cymbalta, and others I don't remember. They all give me side effects that are almost as bad as the disease in itself. When I would try to stop them, I would have really bad symptoms of depression, so I began to believe that that was going to be my life, which is quite depressing in itself! Last summer (2012), while being on Cymbalta, I developped really bad sleeping problems: I would sleep maximum 3 hours per night, and only with a med called Imovane. So I started to be addicted to that in order to sleep. But I was so tired that I decided to stop the Cymbalta, so my doctor prescribed me Paxil. I was already on Wellbutrin as well. Paxil made me SO sleepy, that I tried to quit in Sept. 2012, first from 20mg to 10mg, which went well, and then 2 weeks later from 10mg to 0. Outch. That's when I found out about withdrawal symptoms, which I had never heard of before for AD's. It was awful, but it might have been my revelation, because they were really PHYSICAL symptoms. I started to read a lot about the subject on the internet. I have learned a lot, and I have started to think that the depression symptoms I have been having when I tried many times to stop my meds were maybe in fact WITHDRAWAL symptoms. My doctor didn't think so. Even so, I started to taper slowly from Paxil and to take good care of myself in other natural ways. So here I am now, on 7mg Paxil, 100mg Wellbutrin and 2.5mg Imovane. My doctor keeps telling me to try and taper Paxil faster than I am now... so he can be able to prescribe me something else... a MAOI (?).I am not really interested in trying a 20th (?) medication. All of the previous ones have given me really bad side effects that have put my life on hold for 10 years... Why would this one be different? He claims that I am going to have a depression relapse if I don't take any medication... So here is my first question: do you guys think what I have experienced as "depression relapse" when I was trying to stop the AD's many times in the last 10 years, might have been in fact withdrawal symptoms? And that if I taper them a lot more gradually, I might not have those "depression symptoms" forever? And therefore, I wouldn't have to take the so-called MAOI? My second question is: which one do you think I should taper first? Paxil or Wellbutrin? I wanted to get off Paxil as fast as possible because it was making me so sleepy, but right now, it seems like the side effects from Wellbutrin are more disturbing. It has always affected my breathing, like I have to make an effort to breath completely, and it has given me some joint pain. But right now these seem to be worse, breathing is more difficult and it makes the breathing muscles become too contracted and sore. Plus I know that breathing right is important during recovery... Also, the problem with Wellbutrin is that you're not supposed to cut the pill, since the covering is doing the "slow-release" job... Well this was my story! I know it's a looong and boring story but it's mine... If anyone would have any input or advice on one or both of my questions, I would be SO grateful!! Also, please forgive my English mistakes, it is not my mother tongue. I really wish a full physical and mental health to everyone here, and I am looking forward to know and discuss with you all!! All the best. -Athena
  4. Bruin

    Bruin

    Hi I am new to the forum and only just getting to grips with the damage that AD s have wreaked on my life. I took Effexor and Mirtazapine, AKA Californian rocket fuel, for nearly fifteen years before deciding to come of the Effexor. About one month after my much too quick taper....150 mg to 0 in six weeks. I started having dreadful symptoms..nausea, vomiting, weight loss, feeling that my essence had been completely taken away from me. I put some of this down to a successful chemo I had undertaken the previous year. I am now certain it was the withdrawal from Effexor. I was presenting at the Doctor with symptoms of anxiety, insomnia, pain etc and was given pregabalin AKA Lyrica. This was a horrible experience and I managed to get off it after just under 3 months but in that short time it wreaked even more havoc on my CNS. It is over a year since I quit Effexor but am still taking 30 mg of Mirtazapine a night. I desperately want to get off that too but am only sleeping 3 or 4 hours a night as it is. I am going to have to be very gentle with myself and incorporate natural healing and healthy into my life. I have cut out wheat, dairy, sugar, alcohol and take probiotic. multi vit, vit D, magnesium and try to do some Yoga and swimming. Am self employed but essentially not able to work at present . I am frightened that I will never come back. I look forward to being active on this forum and very best wishes to all
  5. I would like some advice on withdrawal please. I was on 20 mg prozac for about 5 years and 3 years ago I came off, after a 3 month taper. I started to get a serious ringing in my ears and severe insomnia and then I had a year of anxiety, terrible insomnia and intense anger which got worse and worse. The doctor said that I was obviously depressed and advised me to go back on the prozac, which after a year I did, starting with 40mg as the symptoms were so bad. A year later, one year ago, I lowered the dose and started suffering drowsyness and fatigue which lasted 5 months. Then in September I started suffering from the drowsiness and fatigue again and the doctor eventually told me that I needed to come off the prozac as it wasn’t working for me any more. That was about 3 weeks ago. I had a week tapering and then started sertraline. Since then the drowsiness has got worse, accompanied by really bad tinnitus. My query is about the year I had with anxiety, anger and insomnia. Could that have been withdrawal from the prozac? It didn’t get any better over the year – if anything it gradually got worse and worse. At the time I suspected that it was withdrawal as every so often my face would go numb, which was one of my symptoms when I first came off prozac but the doctor said that the symptoms had gone on far too long and I was just depressed/anxious again. (I had suffered form anxiety for a couple of years previously, which had led to CFS, which was why I had gone on the prozac to begin with.) Could that year have been withdrawal? In which case what do I do now? I can’t go back on prozac as it had started to have a bad effect on me. I’m a bit despairing at the moment – I have recently had to put my PhD on hold because the drowsiness got so bad and I’m dreading the withdrawal if it’s going be as bad as last time. Does anyone have any techniques which might help? I don't want to go back on, however long it takes to even out again.
  6. Hi friends, My name is Gibby and I'm a 25 year old male with a diagnosis of generalized anxiety disorder. I have been on medication for 5 years. I have been fairly stable while on medication, but I've been unhappy about taking olanzapine, even though my dose is very low (1.8mg for five years) and the physical side effects are more annoying than dangerous. However, I understand that serious complications can arise from taking this drug for a long time, so I've been looking to come off it for quite awhile. I started a withdrawal at the beginning of June, but it was mostly an experiment and I lasted about three days; I didn't really know what I was doing. Last Saturday night (with my doctor's consent!), I decided to try again with some more supports in place and some more coping techniques. These helped but I wasn't sleeping at all, and these last few days have been very bad. I haven't been able to eat or exercise much and my parents are exhausted in trying to care for me. I still feel like "me", my personality hasn't changed but I feel physically really unwell and anxious and depressed. I've decided to go back on the medication for awhile to get stable again (I expect to be a little zonked for the first five days or so back on, no big deal) and then try a different plan. My family wanted me to keep trying to get over the hump, but I can feel my nervous system freaking out and I don't have the practice in CBT techniques or keeping my mind safe, especially with no sleep and no real plan. I did my best for five days, and I hope that giving up now to try later doesn't make me some kind of chicken. I really wanted to but I guess my body-mind isn't ready. Do you guys/gals/others have any advice for next time? Anybody else gone through this? I'm also going to go off the citalopram eventually but the olanzapine is the main goal for right now. Thank you!
  7. Celen

    Celen

    Hi I am 43 and have been on numerous psychiatric drugs for over 20 years. I’ve been diagnosed with so many different mental health labels and have been on psych drugs for all. Over the last 8 years I have been basically bedridden. During the past two years I’ve had to fend for myself when I decided I wanted off all these pills. They have only made me worse. 2 yrs ago I came off cold turkey Abilify, Latuda and 20 mg of fluoxetine. I felt great until 3 weeks in the withdrawals set in. I haven’t felt well since but have managed to wean off 70 mg of vyvanse, 1 mg of clonazepam, 15 mg diazepam and 10 mg of fluoxetine. I am now working on the last 10 mg of fluoxetine. After that I’ll start tapering my trazadone or more of the benzos. All-of this has been a nightmare, nausea,vomiting, headaches etc. I can not leave my house most of the time because of debilitating anxiety. I guess what Im looking for here is information, support, and ideas on diet ( no gallbladder and severe GERD) and tips on helping withdrawal symptoms. I feel like I can’t think properly,my memory is shot and right now I really need some hope. Also I’ve gained 70 lbs.
  8. Dear all, I have been on drugs for 20 years. Initial cause for going on drugs was insomnia (impossible to sleep and fear of not being able to sleep), anxiety, depression. Treatment was amitryptilline 150 mg. (Elavil). Then the medication was gradually tapered and the sleeping problem reoccured. I then never stopped drugs. I developped Pure O : fear of not being able to sleep so I did not sleep, unable to go to work because of lack of sleep and terrible anxiety. For many years I was on Prozac and it contributed to destroy my marriage.It made me mean. from 2007 to 2017 I was on all possible ssris, anafranil, but also all types of neuroleptics xeroquel 50 mg, risperdal for a short time...... I am now still unable to sleep in other places or when there are wifi waves, unable to sleep in the same bed as someone, and cant work because of extreme anxiety. After a suicidal attempt due to anafranil poop out I am now on brintellix 10 mg and think I must let my brain stabilize before doing any changes. I have no home and boyfriend so I am staying by a friend. I try to develop a mindfulness attitude to accept how my life has been ruined. has anybody developped this kind of obsessions, how do you address them? Do you know how i will taper Brintellix since I have ocd and as soon as I make a change my own brain thinks "this is going to make your insomnia and anxiety worse". Are people also disabled from drugs and requested disability? Thank you. Current drugs Brintellix 10 mg, Nozinan 20 mg, Zopiclone 7,5 mg
  9. Greetings all. This is my very first post by the way. I have been reading a lot of the posts on this site and there is a wealth of information regarding tapering. However, what I would really like to know is why should I taper at all? I am currently taking the following drugs daily 187.5mg venlafaxine 150mg pregabalin (Lyrica) 2mg risperidone Sometime I take zopiclone to sleep but most nights I don't need it. I don't drink alcohol or take any other substances. I meditate and I eat reasonably well. I get moderate exercise. I am enjoying my work and in general I am feeling well. I was very ill in 2008 requiring hospitalisation though. The diagnosis was psychotic depression. I had a relapse in 2012 and I made a suicide attempt at that point. Since 2012 I have been reasonably well and I am getting better all the time. I can suffer from anxiety at times but it's very manageable. Sometimes I feel a little depressed but who doesn't. I have managed to taper the venlafaxine down to the current dose myself. I was taking 300mg not so long ago. Tomorrow I plan to taper it another 10%. I see a psychiatrist regularly and I told him that I was tapering. He just wrote my a prescription for the new dose. I will be back to see him next week. To be honest, I would like to be eventually free of these meds entirely but I worry that I may have a relapse of some sort if I stop taking them altogether. So far the tapering has been going well though. I keep a diary to monitor my mood and there has been no significant change since I started reducing the venlafaxine. I just don't know though. I feel as if I am stuck between a rock and a hard place. I want to be free of the drugs but perhaps they are keeping me well? But, in the long term, from what I have been reading they could be doing permanent harm. I just don't know. Please advise
  10. Hi I'm Kat At last after 25 years and after much begging my Mh team have said I can gradually withdraw from the cocktail of drugs I am taking. Starting a week on Friday. They have decided that the first med I should taper is the 30mg of Mirtazepine. They didn't explain why this particular drug should be the first to start with. They also didn't tell me what the lower dose will be. I take Diazepam, Risperidone, zopiclone and prn tamezepam. Any help would be appreciated so that I can make a decision whether to do what why MH team want me to do.
  11. A new member here, looking for some advice Two questions first, following my story (sorry, a bit long) 1) How to quit Wellbutrin XR 150mg safely, when IR or SR versions are not available? I have read the thread on tapering off, but I live in a country where the IR or SR versions are not sold, only 150mg and 300mg XR. I have now been on Wellbutrin for 6 weeks, when I was diagnosed with severe post-partum depression. 2) I've also on 100mg Ketipinor and 7,5-15mg Zimovane (I seem to be needing 15mg lately most nights) for the past 6 weeks. Which would be the best order of trying to get off the meds? So, I have an almost 6-month-old daughter, who decided to wean herself from breastfeeding at 2,5 months (early July 2016). After that I still continued to pump for another 4 weeks , after which Idecided enough was enough; I was pumping 4-5 times a day, which was exhausting. Around the same time as the breastfeeding ended I started having trouble sleeping. Even when the baby slept (and she's a great sleeper, thank goodness!) I could not. When I quit pumping, it got even worse. I was not really sleeping, and I was with the baby all day, and my mood really started to sink. A bit more than 6 weeks ago I went to see a psychiatrist. I had already self-diagnosed the PPD (all the symptoms matched; I was crying, having negative thoughts about being a mom, having disturbing thoughts, borderline suicidal). After chatting for 45 minutes (I'd never seen the doctor before), she wanted to put me on a small dose of Lexapro, I think it was 5mg. I have previously been on Lexapro and other SSRIs for years (~20) on and off. I quit Lexapro in Januart while pregnant, but I had started to taper off 1,5 years before, small steps at a time, coming from 20mg to 2,5mg before quitting altogether. However, this time I got horrible symptoms almost immediately after starting Lexapro. I didn't sleep for ~72 hours, my anxiety was through the roof, I could not stay still. My husband took me to the ER after the third sleepless night, and I was hospitalized for two weeks. The hospital psychiatrista immediately took me off Lexapro, and started me on Wellbutrin, as well as the rest of the meds (Seroquel every night, and Zimovane as needed). I was not in the mental capacity to really question any of these decisions, and (as typical of psychiatrists, I've found), they don't really seem to care too much - one drug doesn't work, let's just try the next one. No matter that Wellbutrin is basically a stimulant, and one of my most pronounced symptoms was insomnia! Fast forward 6 weeks, I'm still on all of those meds. I haven't slept one night without the Zimovane, and of course I've had to up the dosage. Obvioisly, the sleep has helped tremendously (and I'm also getting more help with the baby), but it feels like absolute craziness to take stimulants in the morning and then sedatives in the evening. Some mornings I feel completly groggy, to the point of being unable to care for the baby. And even though I stay asleep for hours, the quality of the sleep is poor. I've done a lot of reading lately, and I've come to the conclusion that while antidepressants can be necessary and helpuf in acute stages of severe depression, in long-term use they are not only ineffective, but downright harmful. That's why I do not want to stay on the meds any longer than I absolutely have to. Ask a doctor, however, and they *never* recommed coming off them, ever. Worse, they want to up the dose, or just get you to try yet another one. Now, I know that most of the studies indicating that antidepressants are ineffective in the long run have been done on SSRIs, and Wellbutrin isn't an SSRI. Nevertheless, it just messes with different neurotransmitters. I'm also pretty sure that my insomnia was/is hormonal, caused by the end of breastfeeding, which then lead to depression. Granted, I've was struggling even before that with the fact that my whole has been turned upside-down by the birth of my daughter. Anyways, I'd love any input, especially concerning the order of quitting the meds, and the mechanics of quitting Wellbutrin. If anyone here has suffered from PPD, I'd really like to hear from you
  12. Well my signature will tell you most, but I found this site as I was searching for how to wean off of my antidepressants. I read quite a bit all over on this site and found out that I need to start with 10% reduction. And I am also going to get a scale to help in my reduction of the effexor, money going towards my health. I tried going off the wellbutrin once and I became seriously depressed so had to go back on it. I thought it would be easier to start with that one since it was so low, but did not realise as I read on here that it is a slow release one and I need to change to another kind to be able to slowly go off of it. I do not know if my doctor will allow me without knowing what I am doing, and I do not want to tell her as she does not support me going off the medication, so not sure what to do for this drug? The Effexor, I went one does lower almost a year back because I found it was causing my vision to be blurry after allot of investigating to find out the cause. I just went one dose lower and I had brain zaps for a few months and the first week was like I was a drug addict on withdrawals for 3 days, crazy! I have not been able to go lower without allot of problems, so I am hoping the 10% reduction rule will help me, I will wait until I get my scale to begin. I am wondering, as a read early on another sight how some people are able to lower there dosage by using other natural supplements for the brain chemistry to help them to have less anxiety and depression as they came off there medications, some had to use alternative supplements to keep from getting sads or help with there anxiety, anyone know anything about this? it interests me as I have both long before I went on antidepressants and wonder what I can do to keep the anxiety and mild depression at bay from the long winters, and because for some reason, no one and nothing I have tried or read in almost 30 years has helped with my anxiety and I have been stuck with the clonazepam as my only option, and not a great one at that, as the more you take it, the more you need for it to stay effective and thus the addiction starts up. I have learned to sit still and meditate since then, but still it is not enough for the anxiety, I just do not know what to do about this problem when I am off of the medication, the antidepressants do not help with the anxiety unless I am on a higher dose that I cannot feel or cry, and I feel like I exist and that's it, so I will not take that high of dosage. Long story short, I do not like the side affects and the longer I am on these drugs the more drugs they start to prescribe for the side affects I am starting to get, this is unacceptable to me and I want off this drug roller coaster ride. Thank you for listening to my first long post. I like the saying "a problem shared is a problem halved" and so this site will be a great help as we all help each other. Here's to being the warrior, not the victim!
  13. As suggested by Alto, I am posting my experience with zopiclone here. I've used zopiclone a number of times in my life and found it very helpful, but I've tried to limit the period of use to about six weeks. As it is a z-drug, which are similar to benzos, it can be addictive. I've found lack of sleep can really keep the nervous system sensitised and careful use of a sleep med can help to break that cycle, allowing things to calm down somewhat. My approach is to always use the minimum effective dose and adjust the dose as needed. The usual advice here is to keep a daily consistent dose of whatever med, but I think for short term use of a sleep med it's best to take the minimum you need, aiming to taper off as soon as you can to avoid withdrawal issues. Here is how it worked for me: In the beginning I might need a whole pill to get to sleep, but after a few days my sleep would stabilise and I would start chipping down the pill a little, trying, say, three-quarters and if it worked, stay there for a few days until sleep stabilised. By sleep stabilising I mean good quality sleep. After each drop, sleep quality might be not quite as good for a few days, but I would still sleep okay, then my body would adjust to the lower dose and sleep better. Eventually I was able to use melatonin and valerian for sleep instead of meds. Of course, this approach may not work if your sleep does not stabilise due to ongoing severe w/d. I found it helpful during the period after updosing when I was waiting for the updose to work and restabilise.
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