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LostinOKC: Anyone go through simultaneous marijuana and SSRI withdrawal?


LostinOKC

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Where to begin... I've been off/on antidepressants since my ex and I broke up seven years ago. I've quit cold turkey (I know) at least half a dozen times and didn't notice much beyond irritability, but it might've been more noticeable or worse if I wasn't medicating with marijuana. In June of this year, I tapered off Fetzima from the full 80mg dose which I was on for two years. The only thing I noticed was a lack of motivation but I still managed to run five days a week and live my life. About three months in, I noticed when I smoked pot that my left arm would go numb or phantom-like. Sidebar: I used to NEED marijuana to function, but over the last year it was more of a nightly habit; I wouldn't race home or leave friends early to get high.

 

Anyway, soon after that started happening my anxiety levels just went off the charts. Not only that, I couldn't work out or run a block, much less the five miles I'm used to, without feeling like I contracted the flu. Also, smoking pot now sends me into an immediate panic attack despite my mind being at peace - my body says otherwise. For the record, I've tried other strains and edibles with the same result. So my anxiety increased and now suddenly I can't medicate with pot. Six weeks later (NOW), the anxiety has been replaced by extreme depression and complete apathy. Yoga and acupuncture hasn't helped all that much. I love both but the positive effects don't stay with me. 

 

I've been lurking on this site since day one, but I haven't seen anyone else having post acute withdrawal that didn't even begin until 3-4 months in, and I haven't seen anyone say it's hindered their ability to smoke pot. I finally found a doctor who understands my situation and I've sent off my blood, poo, and spit for a smorgasbord of testing that should be enlightening but the results won't be back until another ten days or so. I guess I'm just looking for someone, anyone, to help shed some light on my specific case as I've read countless stories on here and I'm about to watch Numb: the documentary, tonight which I hope gives me some comfort. 

 

Sorry for the length, but the only other piece to my puzzle is the symptoms got substantially worse once I started having stomach problems that I think are related to me having C.Dif in the past. My poop floats which I've read could be a sign of malabsorption which makes sense b/c despite my lack of appetite - I'm constantly hungry and feel incredibly ill if I don't eat throughout the day with meals and snacks. Ridiculous, unique case I know, but any advice, comment, or encouragement would be appreciated. The only people I can talk to are my parents and both are really irritated by me at this point. 

 

And thanks to everyone on this site, b/c this place has been one of the only resources I've found. It boggles my mind that there aren't clinicians all over the US who specialize in people trying to get off this ****. 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Welcome LostinOKC,

I'm glad you found us and have been helped somewhat by the resources here. We need a few more details of the drugs you have taken and how you stopped them.

 

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/

 

Delayed withdrawal is actually quite common, symptoms can begin anywhere from days, to months, up to a year in some cases. See:  Delayed Onset of Withdrawal Symptoms - Symptoms and ...

 

We also have a discussion topic filled with the changing reactions people have experienced to pot, while going through withdrawal:     

cannabis, THC or marijuana to ease withdrawal symptoms ...

 

Stomach issues are also very common in withdrawal, have a look through this topic and see if you relate to anything here:  Digestive problems: Nausea, Diarrhea, Bloating, GERD ...

 

Fetzima is a SNRI, similar to Effexor and needs to be tapered slowly. We suggest reducing by no more than 10% of the current dose every 4 weeks, this reduces the risk of withdrawal symptoms arising. Please read through this which will explain why:  Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

 

From what you have written, it sounds like you tapered much to fast, and started having withdrawal symptoms. Are depression, apathy and stomach problems the only symptoms you have at the moment?

 

When we have a few more details, we will be in a better position to offer support and suggestions. You can use this thread as your ongoing journal to track progress, write about symptoms, ask questions and communicate with the community, add to it whenever you want. Its a good idea to bookmark it or follow it, so its easy to find again.

 

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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  • 2 weeks later...
  • Moderator

Hey OKC - it's not that you are suffering cannabis "withdrawal" so much as - the Fetzima withdrawal has sensitized you, and the cannabis is no longer effective or causes side effects.

 

If you are having symptoms - it means you tapered too fast.  We'd love to see your signature line / drug history, including:

 

When were you put on the Fetzima?  When did you start tapering?  How did you taper?  (your taper sounds like the traditional doctor statement of "cut it in half for 2 weeks, then quit" - but please tell us how you did it?)

 

A rapid taper is only slightly better than cold turkey, and it may not be too late to reinstate a tiny amount of Fetzima to see if it will ease your suffering.  (this far out, it may be a crap shoot - maybe yes, maybe no)  About Reinstating and Stabilizing to Stop Withdrawal Symptoms

 

Most people say, "But I don't want to take the drug again!" But in our experience, a little of the "hair of the dog that bit you," eases symptoms and enables you to continue your life with less disruption from symptoms.  Then you can taper down slowly to control your symptoms.  I've never heard of your drug before today so I don't know strengths - you may be relieved by as little as 5-10 mg.  

 

Delayed reaction, as Petunia points out, is common, and we believe it happens because the drug changed your brain.  When it was ripped out so quickly, your brain didn't have time to "change back," and in the healing process, some functions may go a little "haywire" while repairs are taking place.  Please see Rhi's wonderful:  Rhi's description of healing the brain

 

So since you've had the cannabis crutch ripped out from under you, may I suggest:  Non Drug Techniques for Coping with Emotional Symptoms  (these work for physical symptoms, too).

 

Welcome to SA!

"Easy, easy - just go easy and you'll finish." - Hawaiian Kapuna

 

Holding is hard work, holding is a blessing. Give your brain time to heal before you try again.

 

My suggestions are not medical advice, you are in charge of your own medical choices.

 

A lifetime of being prescribed antidepressants that caused problems (30 years in total). At age 35 flipped to "bipolar," but was not diagnosed for 5 years. Started my journey in Midwest United States. Crossed the Pacific for love and hope; currently living in Australia.   CT Seroquel 25 mg some time in 2013.   Tapered Reboxetine 4 mg Oct 2013 to Sept 2014 = GONE (3 years on Reboxetine).     Tapered Lithium 900 to 475 MG (alternating with the SNRI) Jan 2014 - Nov 2014, tapered Lithium 475 mg Jan 2015 -  Feb 2016 = GONE (10 years  on Lithium).  Many mistakes in dry cutting dosages were made.


The tedious thread (my intro):  JanCarol ☼ Reboxetine first, then Lithium

The happy thread (my success story):  JanCarol - Undiagnosed  Off all bipolar drugs

My own blog:  https://shamanexplorations.com/shamans-blog/

 

 

I have been psych drug FREE since 1 Feb 2016!

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1.  I can't add too much that the moderators haven't mentioned, but I have a couple of tidbits I wanted to add that I thought were relevant:

 

2.  The phantom like sensations you experienced may be an early sign that your peripheral nervous system has been adversely effected by the combination of these drugs.  There's a growing body of hypotheses that SSRIs cause issues with the peripheral/sensory nervous system that you can read about on this website here: 

 

Your GI issues could be related to a dysfunctional enteric nervous system.  These symptoms are extremely common, but I don't usually see people indicate that it's the specific branch of the peripheral nervous system in the gut that's effected.  Imagine the phatom limb sensations taking place in your gut without you realizing it - that would cause dysfunction of the GI processes, possibly causing poor motility/absorption and communication between the various gut organs responsible for making everything go smoothly down there.

 

3.  I had a really bad experience after coming off of these drugs, and then I smoked marijuana one time - I smoked like WAYYYYYY WAYYYY too much, of very strong California-quality marijuana - and I just had an utter breakdown that lasted for the better part of a year afterwards.  I'm lucky it didn't kill me - it was the worst experience of my entire life - by a WIDE MARGIN.   It's been over 18 months since I smoked that pot, and I'm still not back to where I was before.  I didn't really have any issues with anxiety prior to that point, but afterwards I was a terrific nervous wreck for so many months that I've lost count - something like 9 months of insomnia, panic, terror, and akathesia.  It honestly felt like I was dying - and I still think it's miraculous that I managed to get back onto my feet and function again. 

 

4.  I think that your tests will all probably come back negative and that time away from these drugs, and not using recreational drugs will allow your nervous system to heal itself.

 

5.  Whether or not you want to reinstate is your choice, I've seen some people do ok with a small reinstatement, and others regret ever going back on the drugs.  I am one of the latter - I had a terrible experience reinstating prozac and ended up worse off than before.  That's not everyone's experience, though - some do well with a super super small dose.

 

Tread carefully, my friend.

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  • Moderator

I agree with Osk, except to say - if you have adversely affected your peripheral or enteric or any other nervous system, as you move away from the drugs, both psych and recreational - your nervous system will heal.

 

But you have to stop tampering with your nervous system in order to let it heal (that's the key takeaway from Osk's post for me).

"Easy, easy - just go easy and you'll finish." - Hawaiian Kapuna

 

Holding is hard work, holding is a blessing. Give your brain time to heal before you try again.

 

My suggestions are not medical advice, you are in charge of your own medical choices.

 

A lifetime of being prescribed antidepressants that caused problems (30 years in total). At age 35 flipped to "bipolar," but was not diagnosed for 5 years. Started my journey in Midwest United States. Crossed the Pacific for love and hope; currently living in Australia.   CT Seroquel 25 mg some time in 2013.   Tapered Reboxetine 4 mg Oct 2013 to Sept 2014 = GONE (3 years on Reboxetine).     Tapered Lithium 900 to 475 MG (alternating with the SNRI) Jan 2014 - Nov 2014, tapered Lithium 475 mg Jan 2015 -  Feb 2016 = GONE (10 years  on Lithium).  Many mistakes in dry cutting dosages were made.


The tedious thread (my intro):  JanCarol ☼ Reboxetine first, then Lithium

The happy thread (my success story):  JanCarol - Undiagnosed  Off all bipolar drugs

My own blog:  https://shamanexplorations.com/shamans-blog/

 

 

I have been psych drug FREE since 1 Feb 2016!

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