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Danno: Elavil withdrawl - newbie


Danno

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So I had been taking elavil for migraine for 5 years. After undergoing neurofeedback treatment, my migraines went away. i decided to stop taking elavil. I tapered according to my doctor's instructions. Now, about a month later, i started having strange symptoms. Not really anxiety (i've had an anxiety disorder for 10 years), but sort of a mixture of numbness and intense full body tightness. No panic per se, but a kind of feeling of overwhelmed, and terror. some times i'll shake, and feel like curling into a ball, and have occassional crying spells. I often have tightness in the chest that is almost physically painful. I also have trouble sleeping, concentrating, and planning. Some of these feelings are totally foreign to me. i'm about 9 months out from when i stopped taking them.

 

 

 

Med details: was on a range of doses. most recently about 25 mg - high was around 100. duration was about 5 years. 

 

Questions i have:

 

- I'm curious if this might be some sort of protracted Elavil withdrawl. Everything i've read says that elavil withdrawl should be short. Also, that elavil basically causes every problem known to man. it's very confusing.

- Will by body heal itself naturally? Or do i need to go back onto elavil?

- is this permanent? 

 

I've been doing a lot of mediation and biofeedback (different than neurofeedback), both of which seem to help. Just curious if i need time, or something more. looking for hope!

 

thanks!

-Danno

Elavil 2011-15 for migraine.

Tapered from 25mg starting in 10/2014

Off since 2/2015

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Welcome, Danno. Hopefully a mod will be along to assist you soon. Unfortunately doctors' viewpoints of how to come off these drugs are extremely flawed. The same could be said of the information that is floating around out there as to how long withdrawal lasts. The taper rate recommended on this site is 10% per month, and withdrawal symptoms can last for many months, and in some cases, longer. I'm sure what you are experiencing is probably indeed withdrawal syndrome. The good news is that it does eventually end! Best of luck to you in your recovery!

Zoloft 100 mg. daily for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome since Oct. 1994 / Synthroid 88 mcg. daily / Supplements: Neptune Krill Oil-1,000 mg. twice daily/Astaxanthin 10 mg. twice daily/Ubiquinol 100 mg. twice daily (These 3 have allowed me to discontinue (approved by doctor) bp meds I was on. Calcium Citrate 500 mg. daily/Vitamin D3 2,400 iu daily/K2 (MK7) 100 mcg daily (osteopenia and fam. hist. of severe osteoporosis). Stress B Complex (1/2 dose)/Quercetin (for allergies/asthma)/Magnesium (400 mg. oral glycinate and about 50 mg. magnesium chloride spray oil a day, divided throughout day).

Tapered Zoloft about 6 wks. Totally off since the end of July (25-29, 2014). 3 wks. vertigo at end of taper, then 3-4 wks. OK, followed by withdrawal symptoms increasing in severity (nausea, gastric disturbances, loss of appetite, insomnia, restlessness, jitters, anxiety, agitation--jumping out of my skin--possible akathisia?) Seem to have paradoxical reactions to everything new, even Vitamin C. Severity of akathisia comes and goes, but is constant to some degree. Hard to leave house, and cannot be home alone. (Retired)

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Danno ,   welcome to the site.

 

Elavil is a tricyclic antidepressant , and the symptoms you describe are consistent with a/d withdrawal syndrome.

It's very common for new symptoms to appear anywhere between 1 and 6 months , or up to 12 months ,

after stopping.

 

Try reading What is Withdrawal Syndrome here http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/603-what-is-withdrawal-syndrome/

Also Why Taper By 10% in the Tapering section.

There are probably a bunch of threads in the Symptoms and Self care section that interest you and answer

some of your questions.

 

Best wishes ,  Fresh

1987-1997 pertofran , prothiaden , Prozac 1997-2002 Zoloft 2002-2004 effexor 2004-2010 Lexapro 40mg

2010-2012Cymbalta 120mg

Sept. 2012 -decreased 90mg in 6months. Care taken over by Dr Lucire in March 2013 , decreased last 30mg at 2mg per week over 3 months. July 21 , 2013- last dose of Cymbalta

Protracted withdrawal syndrome kicked in badly Jan.2014 Unrelenting akathisia until May 2014. Voluntary hosp. admission. Cocktail of Seroquel, Ativan and mirtazapine and I was well enough to go home after 14 days. Stopped all hosp. meds in next few months.

July 2014 felt v.depressed - couldn't stop crying. Started pristiq 50mg. Felt improvement within days and continued to improve, so stayed on 50mg for 8 months.

Began taper 28 Feb. 2015. Pristiq 50mg down to 45mg. Had one month of w/d symptoms. Started CES therapy in March. No w/d symptoms down to 30mg.

October 2015 , taking 25mg Pristiq. Capsules compounded with slow-release additive.

March 2016 , 21mg

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Welcome Danno,

 

I'm a little confused, did you stop taking Elavil one month ago or nine months? How did you taper? We need a few more details before knowing what to suggest. Adding approximate dates to your description makes it clearer.

 

It would be great if you would put your drug and withdrawal history in your signature. Doing this helps people understand your context, it appears below each of your posts. Here are instructions for how to do it:

 

http://survivinganti...your-signature/

 

As Fresh pointed out, withdrawal symptoms from any antidepressant can begin after some time. People do recover, over time, but sometimes its possible to reinstate a small dose to alleviate withdrawal symptoms, then after taking some weeks to stabilize, a slower taper can be started.  Are your symptoms getting worse, better or staying the same?

 

When we have a few more details, we will be in a better position to offer support and suggestions.

 

Petunia.

I'm not a doctor.  My comments are not medical advise. These are my opinions based on my own experience and what I've learned. Please discuss your situation with a medical practitioner who has knowledge of tapering and withdrawal...if you are lucky enough to find one.

My Introduction Thread

Full Drug and Withdrawal History

Brief Summary

Several SSRIs for 13 years starting 1997 (for mild to moderate partly situational anxiety) Xanax PRN ~ Various other drugs over the years for side effects

2 month 'taper' off Lexapro 2010

Short acute withdrawal, followed by 2 -3 months of improvement then delayed protracted withdrawal

DX ADHD followed by several years of stimulants and other drugs trying to manage increasing symptoms

Failed reinstatement of Lexapro and trial of Prozac (became suicidal)

May 2013 Found SA, learned about withdrawal, stopped taking drugs...healing begins.

Protracted withdrawal, with a very sensitized nervous system, slowly recovering as time passes

Supplements which have helped: Vitamin C, Magnesium, Taurine

Bad reactions: Many supplements but mostly fish oil and Vitamin D

June 2016 - Started daily juicing, mostly vegetables and lots of greens.

Aug 2016 - Oct 2016 Best window ever, felt almost completely recovered

Oct 2016 -Symptoms returned - bad days and less bad days.

April 2018 - No windows, but significant improvement, it feels like permanent full recovery is close.

VIDEO: Where did the chemical imbalance theory come from?



VIDEO: How are psychiatric diagnoses made?



VIDEO: Why do psychiatric drugs have withdrawal syndromes?



VIDEO: Can psychiatric drugs cause long-lasting negative effects?

VIDEO: Dr. Claire Weekes

 

 

 

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Thanks petunia!

 

To clarify, I had been on elavil for 5ish years. Started doing neurofeedback for migraine. It was successful so started tapering off. I had been on as high as 100mg, but found the side effects too troubling. When I started tapering, I tapered had been down to about 25mg. Previously I hadn't had much trouble changing doses. A little agitation and trouble sleeping, but it would pass in 2-3 days. I was still concerned about withdrawl, so I tapered by cutting my dose in half every month or so. Dates are a little hazy, because I was being way more conservative than my doctor has suggested, so I wasn't concerned. Last dose was in January or February sometime at 5mg. Things were fine for the first month or so. Then I started getting weird confusion spells, anxiety, agitation, and dissociation. At first I thought it as the neurofeedback, so I suspended tha treatment.

Symptoms got worse for the next few months. About 3 months after cessation I started getting crying spells. My concentration deteriorated to almost nothing. I found myself more and more agitated. And just lots of body tension (I'd find myself gripping things incredibly right for no reason).

Symptoms have sort of stabilized to slightly improved, but mostly seem to be evolving. Less crying. I've started a serious regimen of biofeedback and meditation which seems to help (recommend both). Also a lot of therapy with a fantastic therapist. I had no idea what was going on, so i was really focusing on accepting it. It was actually during a meditation session that it occurred to me to look up withdrawl. Like a light went off. Strangest thing.

 

Anyhow, I'm not sure where to go from here. I found a couple of the doctors recommend on this post in my town. One actually works at the same clinic I do biofeedback. I don't believe in fate... But that is one hell of a coincidence.

 

The thought of enduring this for years is daughnting. It's been horrible for my career. I don't mind the physical or emotional symptoms. It's the concentration and trouble thinking that is really disruptive for my life. I'm just not sure if I'm far enough a long I should just hang tough, or reassess with a doctor who gets it.

 

Thanks again everyone!

Elavil 2011-15 for migraine.

Tapered from 25mg starting in 10/2014

Off since 2/2015

Link to comment

it occurred to me to look up withdrawl. Like a light went off.

wow i had this same  lightbulb experience too. Then the humulation occured ...and still is occurring.

 

So glad you found sa.

 

You are experiencing classic wdl symptoms...this is a good pdf to read.

Dr. Joseph Glenmullen's withdrawal symptom checklist (PDF)

Thought for the day: Lets stand up, and let’s speak out , together. G Olsen

We have until the 14th. Feb 2018. 

URGENT REQUEST Please consider submitting  for the petition on Prescribed Drug Dependence and Withdrawal currently awaiting its third consideration at the Scottish Parliament. You don't even have to be from Scotland. By clicking on the link below you can read some of the previous submissions but be warned many of them are quite harrowing.

http://www.parliament.scot/GettingInvolved/Petitions/PE01651   

Please tell them about your problems taking and withdrawing from antidepressants and/or benzos.

Send by email to petitions@parliament.scot and quote PE01651 in the subject heading. Keep to a maximum of 3 sides of A4 and you can't name for legal reasons any doctor you have consulted. Tell them if you wish to remain anonymous. We need the numbers to help convince the committee members we are not isolated cases. You have until mid February. Thank you

Recovering paxil addict

None of the published articles shed light on what ssri's ... actually do or what their hazards might be. Healy 2013. 

This is so true, with anything you get on these drugs, dependance, tapering, withdrawal symptoms, side effects, just silent. And if there is something mentioned then their is a serious disconnect between what is said and reality! 

  "Every time I read of a multi-person shooting, I always presume that person had just started a SSRI or had just stopped."  Dr Mosher. Me too! 

Over two decades later, the number of antidepressant prescriptions a year is slightly more than the number of people in the Western world. Most (nine out of 10) prescriptions are for patients who faced difficulties on stopping, equating to about a tenth of the population. These patients are often advised to continue treatment because their difficulties indicate they need ongoing treatment, just as a person with diabetes needs insulin. Healy 2015

I believe the ssri era will soon stand as one of the most shameful in the history of medicine. Healy 2015

Let people help people ... in a natural, kind, non-addictive (and non-big pharma) way. J Broadley 2017

 

 

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My big question is which path is better for recovery: reinstatement or keep trudging on. Anyone have any insight?

Elavil 2011-15 for migraine.

Tapered from 25mg starting in 10/2014

Off since 2/2015

Link to comment

You are 9 months drug free .

Great going .Many would envy that.

Symptoms have sort of stabilized to slightly improved,

A good option might be to continue to stay the course drug free. imo

hang in there.

Thought for the day: Lets stand up, and let’s speak out , together. G Olsen

We have until the 14th. Feb 2018. 

URGENT REQUEST Please consider submitting  for the petition on Prescribed Drug Dependence and Withdrawal currently awaiting its third consideration at the Scottish Parliament. You don't even have to be from Scotland. By clicking on the link below you can read some of the previous submissions but be warned many of them are quite harrowing.

http://www.parliament.scot/GettingInvolved/Petitions/PE01651   

Please tell them about your problems taking and withdrawing from antidepressants and/or benzos.

Send by email to petitions@parliament.scot and quote PE01651 in the subject heading. Keep to a maximum of 3 sides of A4 and you can't name for legal reasons any doctor you have consulted. Tell them if you wish to remain anonymous. We need the numbers to help convince the committee members we are not isolated cases. You have until mid February. Thank you

Recovering paxil addict

None of the published articles shed light on what ssri's ... actually do or what their hazards might be. Healy 2013. 

This is so true, with anything you get on these drugs, dependance, tapering, withdrawal symptoms, side effects, just silent. And if there is something mentioned then their is a serious disconnect between what is said and reality! 

  "Every time I read of a multi-person shooting, I always presume that person had just started a SSRI or had just stopped."  Dr Mosher. Me too! 

Over two decades later, the number of antidepressant prescriptions a year is slightly more than the number of people in the Western world. Most (nine out of 10) prescriptions are for patients who faced difficulties on stopping, equating to about a tenth of the population. These patients are often advised to continue treatment because their difficulties indicate they need ongoing treatment, just as a person with diabetes needs insulin. Healy 2015

I believe the ssri era will soon stand as one of the most shameful in the history of medicine. Healy 2015

Let people help people ... in a natural, kind, non-addictive (and non-big pharma) way. J Broadley 2017

 

 

Link to comment
  • Moderator Emeritus

I agree with nz . . . there is no guarantee that reinstatement will work after this much time , and may make

things worse by giving you an adverse reaction.

It sounds like you're doing all the right things to help yourself heal.  I do CES (similar to biofeedback) and found it

stopped my w/d symptoms.  Brilliant!

 

I'd definitely try to see one of the doctors recommended on this site (and I do believe in fate , lol).  If you

click , it's a good investment for the future.  You just never know when you'll need a doctor. 

1987-1997 pertofran , prothiaden , Prozac 1997-2002 Zoloft 2002-2004 effexor 2004-2010 Lexapro 40mg

2010-2012Cymbalta 120mg

Sept. 2012 -decreased 90mg in 6months. Care taken over by Dr Lucire in March 2013 , decreased last 30mg at 2mg per week over 3 months. July 21 , 2013- last dose of Cymbalta

Protracted withdrawal syndrome kicked in badly Jan.2014 Unrelenting akathisia until May 2014. Voluntary hosp. admission. Cocktail of Seroquel, Ativan and mirtazapine and I was well enough to go home after 14 days. Stopped all hosp. meds in next few months.

July 2014 felt v.depressed - couldn't stop crying. Started pristiq 50mg. Felt improvement within days and continued to improve, so stayed on 50mg for 8 months.

Began taper 28 Feb. 2015. Pristiq 50mg down to 45mg. Had one month of w/d symptoms. Started CES therapy in March. No w/d symptoms down to 30mg.

October 2015 , taking 25mg Pristiq. Capsules compounded with slow-release additive.

March 2016 , 21mg

Link to comment
  • Moderator Emeritus

Thanks for adding more detail Danno. I agree with NZ and Fresh, at 9 months out, I wouldn't recommend reinstatement, you seem to be progressing in the direction of recovery.

 

Here is the link to our symptoms and self care section, you may find some useful ideas to help manage symptoms as you recover.  Especially read the topics pinned at the top.

 

Many people find  fish oil and magnesium helpful, see King of Supplements: Omega 3 Fatty Acids (Fish Oil) and Magnesium, Nature's Calcium Channel Blocker

I'm not a doctor.  My comments are not medical advise. These are my opinions based on my own experience and what I've learned. Please discuss your situation with a medical practitioner who has knowledge of tapering and withdrawal...if you are lucky enough to find one.

My Introduction Thread

Full Drug and Withdrawal History

Brief Summary

Several SSRIs for 13 years starting 1997 (for mild to moderate partly situational anxiety) Xanax PRN ~ Various other drugs over the years for side effects

2 month 'taper' off Lexapro 2010

Short acute withdrawal, followed by 2 -3 months of improvement then delayed protracted withdrawal

DX ADHD followed by several years of stimulants and other drugs trying to manage increasing symptoms

Failed reinstatement of Lexapro and trial of Prozac (became suicidal)

May 2013 Found SA, learned about withdrawal, stopped taking drugs...healing begins.

Protracted withdrawal, with a very sensitized nervous system, slowly recovering as time passes

Supplements which have helped: Vitamin C, Magnesium, Taurine

Bad reactions: Many supplements but mostly fish oil and Vitamin D

June 2016 - Started daily juicing, mostly vegetables and lots of greens.

Aug 2016 - Oct 2016 Best window ever, felt almost completely recovered

Oct 2016 -Symptoms returned - bad days and less bad days.

April 2018 - No windows, but significant improvement, it feels like permanent full recovery is close.

VIDEO: Where did the chemical imbalance theory come from?



VIDEO: How are psychiatric diagnoses made?



VIDEO: Why do psychiatric drugs have withdrawal syndromes?



VIDEO: Can psychiatric drugs cause long-lasting negative effects?

VIDEO: Dr. Claire Weekes

 

 

 

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