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How to talk to loved ones

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I'm in trouble. I had been struggling with some withdrawal symptoms several weeks ago and some stress from the job triggered a very bad wave. I got dizzy / lightheaded easily, lost appetite and my sleep became very interrupted. I asked my parents for some support and understanding and seeing the situation, they got me a doctor recommended by one of their friends. She turned out to be the typical AD prescribing psychiatrist whose verdict was that my depression relapsed and I needed to go back to SSRIs for a long term.


Depression seems to be more or less common among relatives and it has been standard for them to go to a psychiatrist and start taking ADs An uncle was quite desperate and sad as of late and his apparent recovery has cemented among my family the whole notion of the chemical imbalance and how certain people need drugs to function


Reluctantly and under pressure from family and the psychiatrist, I accepted to take fluoxetine and alprazolam. The last I don't mind that much because it has helped me sleep in a moment I badly needed it but fluoxetine I already regret it (worse than paroxetine for me). What kind of site or book I can show them to convince them of the dangers of ADs? I would happily show them this site, but knowing them, they are going to call this forum biased and dismiss it as "you can find any opinion over everything on the internet". Is there something in the mainstream speaking against ADs that can make my family open their eyes?

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I don't think you can.


My mum watched an official video by a scientist on this and she said - I'm still not convinced ad's do this much damage arrghh!


Some people just won't get it unless your having seizures maybe then but it's invisible to others.

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I like these: 





But I think LoveAndLight is right. It is very hard to convince people if they have already formed a belief. A belief is something cemented in a person's brain. If a person has formed a belief and you show them facts that contradict their belief, they are only going to stick to it even more. 


It's some weird quirk of the human mind. If we believe something, we believe it. No matter which facts speak against it. 


But on the other hand you need to protect yourself and do what you think is right. It's a hard thing to do, especially when you're unwell.

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It has been years since my SAR to prozac and I could only get part way thru the video above it causes me trouble.. and I know what is bad for me now.  I would like to put a warning here for others who had SAR this video may cause you trouble so be prepared to shut it off. 

maybe just skip it. 


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Oh sorry bdtd!

I didn't mean to trigger anything in you. I didn't realize there were more people where the reaction got that bad. I'm so sorry to hear this.


I can't edit the post anymore, so I can't remove the video. If a moderator comes a long, maybe you can put a disclaimer or edit the link or something? 

What does SAR stand for? Again, sooooo sorry that you had to go through this.

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Thanks to everyone for the help, I'm showing them the cepuk site for sure (I'm not much of a video kind of guy, call me outdated but I still prefer the written word), but I'm gathering courage because it is going to be a quite serious confrontation whose outcome may be a separation, since it's true that people can hardly change some beliefs. I'm choosing the weekend to tell them, with the option of going to a place to live on my own as backup.

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Primum non nocere: an evolutionary analysis of whether antidepressants do more harm than good.

Andrews PW1, Thomson JA Jr, Amstadter A, Neale MC.

Author information

1Department of Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour, McMaster University Hamilton, ON, Canada.





Antidepressant medications are the first-line treatment for people meeting current diagnostic criteria for major depressive disorder. Most antidepressants are designed to perturb the mechanisms that regulate the neurotransmitter serotonin - an evolutionarily ancient biochemical found in plants, animals, and fungi. Many adaptive processes evolved to be regulated by serotonin, including emotion, development, neuronal growth and death, platelet activation and the clotting process, attention, electrolyte balance, and reproduction. It is a principle of evolutionary medicine that the disruption of evolved adaptations will degrade biological functioning. Because serotonin regulates many adaptive processes, antidepressants could have many adverse health effects. For instance, while antidepressants are modestly effective in reducing depressive symptoms, they increase the brain's susceptibility to future episodes after they have been discontinued. Contrary to a widely held belief in psychiatry, studies that purport to show that antidepressants promote neurogenesis are flawed because they all use a method that cannot, by itself, distinguish between neurogenesis and neuronal death. In fact, antidepressants cause neuronal damage and mature neurons to revert to an immature state, both of which may explain why antidepressants also cause neurons to undergo apoptosis (programmed death). Antidepressants can also cause developmental problems, they have adverse effects on sexual and romantic life, and they increase the risk of hyponatremia (low sodium in the blood plasma), bleeding, stroke, and death in the elderly. Our review supports the conclusion that antidepressants generally do more harm than good by disrupting a number of adaptive processes regulated by serotonin. However, there may be specific conditions for which their use is warranted (e.g., cancer, recovery from stroke). We conclude that altered informed consent practices and greater caution in the prescription of antidepressants are warranted.

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Hey Lost,


I hope you are well. How did things go with telling your family?

My husband has been supportive of my tapering my psych meds, but there is no way i will ever tell my sister (nurse practitioner) & mom (former RN) because they are so stuck on their misguided beliefs.

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I am brand new here.  This is a personal letter to some of my family.  I try to tell them what I'm going through, but I don't speak eloquently any more and I get frustrated and quit when I'm interrupted speaking.  If it wasn't for this forum, I would have thought I was going crazy.  Now I know I'm not alone and I can speak, hopefully, somewhat sensibly to my family now.  I offer a copy of this personal letter in case it helps anyone else who needs love and support to get through this.  Thank you, forum, for giving me hope.  


A letter to those I love to try to explain what I’m going through:



I have to write because my brain isn’t doing a good job lately of stringing words together well orally.  If I get interrupted with questions, I am literally unable to proceed.  I hope I can be more eloquent in writing – at least it will be easier for me to keep my train of thoughts going, in a way that hopefully makes some sense.  I am aware, though, that parts may be confused. 


I have some bad news and I have some good news.


The good news is I’ve figured out what’s going on with me.  The bad news is I’ve figured out what’s going on with me. The bad news is it is going to still take me quite awhile to get better, but the good news is I eventually will heal. 


I am going through a strong withdrawl from an antidepressant (Zoloft) that I have been on for nearly 20 years.  I tapered off it in a way that I thought was slow, but obviously it wasn’t slow enough. 


I have been doing a lot of reading in a very short amount of time, but I have come to this conclusion from reading many people’s posts going through this, and I see that I am not going crazy after all, but experiencing the same symptoms that they are going through. 


What are some of the symptoms that I’m going through?  Well, I’m sure everyone around me has witnessed some, but it is still not like being inside my head, so I will attempt to explain.  Poor xxxx (my fiance) has experienced the brunt of this.  I feel his frustration. 


I am barely functioning in any aspect of my life.  Until I found out that there are many other people feeling the same way, I was seriously considering ending my life as there is no joy at all.  But now I have hope because others say that it gets better.  I am so relieved to hear that this is not just me.  This knowledge alone has been the biggest help to me in months.  Sometimes the feelings of despair and hopelessness really are too much to handle, and it helped so much to know that others understand this feeling too. But I still feel on the verge of a nervous breakdown.


If you are wondering what has been going on for me, this will give you some idea of what I experience on an almost continual basis.  Needless to say it is making work and regular life feel next to impossible.  This is what life is like for me while I am healing.  I had no idea until recently that the following hellish symptoms I’ve been going through are somewhat common withdrawl symtpoms!




·      Biggest one is intensified emotions Neuro-emotion: (n.) Exaggerated emotion as a result of iatrogenic drug reactions, does not indicate relapse or emergence of mental illness. 

·      neuro-emotion of "getting in trouble." Sometimes in vaguely realistic ways. Sometimes in really far-fetched ways.

·      Always exhausted, but wake up many times a night and early morning

·      Unfocussed – hard to follow explanations

·      Unexpressive demeanor – (it’s just me trying not to overreact)

·      Inability to make simple decisions (making a meal feels like a big accomplishment)

·      Creativity gone (can’t even imagine playing the piano or writing)

·      A sense of despair and grief.  It's very difficult to describe but a sort of sense that my life has been futile, a sort of obsessive feeling of worthlessness

·      Overhwelmed by everything (why I couldn’t do the family dinner)

·      spontaneous crying

·      I am aware that I am unpleasant to be around, but I am unable to control it

·      Anger is huge – littlest thing I will stew about all day

·      For me this feels like depression on steroids.  And please note, I was never a depressed person before Zoloft.  I had some anxiety (which I should have dealt with in healthier ways!)

·      Very hard to laugh or see humour in anything.  Hard to smile. 

·      Socially isolate myself – see other people as trivial

·      Anhedonia (inability to feel pleasure)

This is not 100% constant all the time, but pretty consistent nevertheless



And although I have enough stress in my life to account for some overwhelming feelings (Dad’s health, high maintenance parents at work, etc), trust me that the way I feel is magnified so much more than would be “normal.”  Please don’t take anything personally until I am healed (assuming that you stick around that long). 

Obviously, I need help to get through this.  I promise you, though, that if I get strong suicidal thoughts, I will get myself to the hospital.  Otherwise, I need your understanding and patience in big doses.  I don’t expect you to understand what I’m going through, but I know this will be a test of your love for me and I’m sorry.   I will try to find someone who does understand what I’m going through to counsel me through it.  It could take a year or so because I was on this crap for so long.  I might have to quit work.  I don’t know.  I can’t really figure things out clearly yet.  I’m finding it really challenging to make decisions and get a grip on this.  Just know, that I do want to heal as life is currently a living hell.  I have tried to hide it to the best of my ability, and even giving it my all I can see now that it is not possible.  I just ask for your patience, love and understanding (to the best of your ability).  That will give me the strength to get the help I need and heal.  For the relatively mild panic attacks I originally went on Zoloft for, the removal of it has brought on symptoms a million times worse.  Some might think this is a relapse, but as other sufferers agree, none of us felt like this prior to the meds.  This is not a relapse.  It is something entirely different and brought on by the drugs.  My brain needs to heal;rewire.  Please don’t give up on me.  I know that I’m a good person, and I’m in here somewhere screaming to get out.  Without your support, though, I will give up. 


My GP, who has been pushing me to go back on Zoloft every time I tried to get off it, will be no help to me.  She will just say that “See, I told you that you need to stay on this stuff your whole life”.   I came off it finally for good, when XXXX (fiance) insisted I not be on Zoloft any more.  What he didn’t realize, nor did I (nor most of the medical world!) is that the side effects are much worse than the initial vertigo/brain zaps that I tapered off slowly enough to mostly avoid.  But I must have tapered off not slowly enough as the other side effects are much scarier.  Even if I was to go back on Zoloft, the reading I have done indicates that it would not be as effective for me as it was in the past.  The bottom line is I believe I need to heal my brain.  This is the biggest challenge of my life.  (or is that just the withdrawl of the chemicals exaggerating again?  All I know is how it feels to me – and for all intents and purposes that’s all that’s real to me right now). 

David Foster Wallace, (a prominent writer), committed suicide because he couldn’t deal with what I’m going through.  I know I am not making this stuff up and that I shouldn’t be ashamed at how weak I feel.  At least, I have to keep telling myself that.


I believe, as I write this letter, that I will try to find time to locate an understanding psychiatrist/psychologist and a naturopath to help me heal faster and smoother.  Please know that if you have received this letter it is because I love you and I need your patience and your love.  That is the support that I need from you. 


Thank you for taking the time to read this.  I didn’t know how else to go about trying to explain this.  I knew that speaking would not have worked for me at this time.  And please, there is no need to burden Dad with this.  I feel badly enough to have burdened you.   Also, I want to protect xxxx (my daughter).  I want to her to think of her mother as a source of strength, not someone who adds more stress to her life. 


Love,  xxxxx


This letter took me a few hours to write.  And even then, I'm hesitant to give it to my family.  Mental illness is a frightening thing to admit.  I can't admit it to friends or co-workers.  I am hoping I am making the right decision to share this with my family.  I am about to give this letter to my fiance while I go for a walk.  Wish me luck, as I wish all of you on the tough road ahead.  xo

Edited by KarenB
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Wow Goodname welcome.

My what a letter, you sure have joined the dots to your plight very well.

Undrugged family members can find it very difficult to comprehend this but you have certainly given it your best shot at spelling it out.


20 yrs on zoloft is a long time ...how are you tapering?

In order to put a stop to the 'revolving door' and to stay safe it is critical you follow the advise here imo and the rec rate of taper is 10 % of previous dose per month. Are you following this method?

It may be that after such a long time on the drug and with 3 previous failed wdl attempts that 10% may be too fast as well. You may need to go slower even.


I promise you, though, that if I get strong suicidal thoughts, I will get myself to the hospital.

It would be more preferrable to taper slower in order to reduce wdl symptoms than to go for the try line and feel the 'hospital visit' is a safety net...trust me you will end up receiving a 'hospital pass' resulting in the triggering of a  cocktail of chemicals because wdl is not acknowledged by doctors.


It would be time well spent if you read this link on tapering



Wishing you strength


ps Mental illness is a frightening thing to admit.

i dont know so much about the M I bit. What imo you have is a serious drug addiction with disabling withdrawal symptoms that can go on for a very long time and doctors are clueless redrugging people and maintaining addictions based on erroneous pharma propaganda.  

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Hello Goodname,


I wish you well with your letter - it has such clarity and honesty in it, so you have done all you can do.  If it doesn't get the response you are hoping for, it will only be because your family is stuck in their own beliefs and issues. 




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Great letter, I should have done that instead of feeding information to my family piecemeal over the last year and expecting them to be on board with my recovery.


One word of caution, if you do resort to going to the hospital, which is a good idea if you have uncontrolled suicidal ideations, I would be very hesitant to allow them to give you benzodiazepines (xanax, ativan, etc).  That was the ER doc's first response and I paid for it dearly, suffering a very bad rebound and overall setback.  Different people react differently, just be prepared.  


Best of luck.

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I appreciate all your comments so much.  I gave the letter to my fiance today and he has responded very well.  Although it's not possible for him to completely understand, he is so relieved that the way I have changed has nothing to do with him.  For both of us, my letter has lifted quite a bit of weight off our shoulders and it feels like the beginning of getting better.  I have second thoughts about giving the letter to my siblings and mother right now.  I am afraid of burdening them further as my father is slowly dying in the hospital.  However, there has been tension lately (because of my dad and also because of me) and we have a family dinner at my mom's tomorrow (originally at my house, but I cancelled because I couldn't handle the stress of it), and I will have copies handy to give to any if I feel I need to explain my behaviour.  I have removed my promise to go to the hospital as I agree with a couple of comments that they will just give me different meds and complicate matters.

PETUNIA:  Thank you for the resources.  I will check them out.  I tapered my Zoloft from 50 mg for the previous year without my MD's help.  She was insistent that I stay on it for the rest of my life or if it wasn't working well anymore she was ready to prescribe something new.  Therefore, silly as it sounds, I felt safer tapering without her help.  I reduced by 50% to 25 mg and that seemed to be okay because I wasn't getting the brain zaps.  Occasionally I would get a zap and then take an additional 25 to get me over it and then when I had gone weeks without zaps I cut the capsules in half and poured half the powder into the two halves.  So I was taking 12.5 mg for several weeks, then began alternating days, then just took 12.5 mg as I'm doing now every couple of weeks.  I have only 6 capsules left.  I don't even want to go to my GP and tell here what I've been doing in order to get more.  Funny, I thought the only withdrawal symptoms were brain zaps!  I had no idea that the reason my life was going to hell in a handbasket was also withdrawal symptoms!Also, I AM SOOOOO ANGRY that big Pharma doesn't make them any smaller than 25 g.  12.5 g is tricky enough.  I have no idea how to taper 10% increments, but I have not looked at your resources yet.  It feels like they only make 25 g the smallest in Canada to keep you on them for life!!!  Who's with me on this? Also, PETUNIA, you said I'm in protracted withdrawal.  What does that mean?  Please tell me you are getting better and that you will be well some day soon?!?

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