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☼ cakesgimmecakes: Couple Qs for you warriors out there


cakesgimmecakes

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Hello, warriors!

Thanks for having me. I've been perusing this site for years, and the HOPE it offers is priceless. I have a few questions.

 

1. It's over now, but I'm curious: I tapered 10 mg from March 2015-Nov. 2015, at 1 MG a month. Was that too fast?

 

2. I've tested for high cortisol at noon, evening (6 PM), and bedtime, making it nearly impossible to get normal sleep. How long did your raised cortisol last after you withdrew from your SSRI? I have read that this issue resolves itself eventually; I'm just wondering how long it took for you.

 

I appreciate any insight you have.

September 2001 - 10 mg Sarafem (fluoxetine) for mild case of PMS that could have been helped by exercise and diet modification! I was NOT depressed prior to taking this drug. July 2002 - CT, no issues except stomach distention (honestly, I think daily running helped, but I didn't know a thing about WD or that it even existed)

August 2003 - reinstated to resolve severe stomach bloating (a WD symptom from year before; didn't realize it was a WD symptom)

2003-2009 - on and off 10-20 mg, CT at several points with no issues! Literally no issues except stomach distention.

March 2009 - CT, no issues except estrogen/progesterone imbalances and stomach distention 

March 2010 - reinstated 10 mg for one month, CT, no issues except estrogen/progesterone imbalances and stomach distention 

November 2010 - reinstated 10 mg for one month, CT, insomnia began one month later.

January 2011-January 2015 - went on 10 mg fluoxetine every six months for one month, always CTing.

March 2015-November 2015 - Finally learned to taper! 

September 2019 - fully recovered from WD; gut issues remain

 

"The only way out is through." 

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hello cakesgimmecakes,

 

I see it's the day for lurkers to un-lurk themselves - lovely to meet you. 

 

Your recent taper was fairly slow and seems to have prevented you from getting too many w/d symptoms.  The only point I'd make about it is that it was 10% reductions based on your original dose, so you reduced the same amount each time.  That can end up being too much for your CNS in the last part of the taper.  The idea is to reduce 10% off each current dose, so the reductions get smaller as you go. 

 

If you're interested there's a graph with pretty curves that shows why that makes a difference. 

 

I wouldn't worry about still having insomnia at this point - it's still very soon after your final drop off.  But it is an option generally for you to reinstate a very small amount, stabilise, and then reduce more gently from there.  (Sorry, sometimes we need to say the 'R' word :wacko:)

 

How are you feeling within yourself?  Pretty good?  Or a bit low about things?  That's also a good indicator of success - you don't want any other side-effects sneaking up on you a few months out. 

 

Best wishes,

KarenB

2010  Fluoxetine 20mg.  2011  Escitalopram 20mg.  2013 Tapered badly and destabilised CNS.  Effexor 150mg. 

2015 Begin using info at SurvivingAntidepressants.  Cut 10% - bad w/d 2 months, held 1 month. 

Micro-tapering: four weekly 0.4% cuts, hold 4 weeks (struggling with symptoms).

8 month hold.

2017 Micro-tapering: four weekly 1% cuts, hold 4 weeks (symptoms almost non-existent).

2020 Still micro-tapering. Just over 2/3 of the way off effexor. Minimal symptoms, - and sleeping well.
Supplements: Fish oil, vitamin C, iron, oat-straw tea, nettle tea.

My story of healing:ContinuedHealing

***I am not a doctor; please do your own research and be able to take responsibility for decisions you make.*** 

           'The possibility of renewal exists so long as life exists.'  Dr Gabor Mate.

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Hi, KarenB, Thanks for replying. I appreciate it!

 

No use in reinstating. Without going into it too much, my last attempt at Prozac rendered it ineffective, and while I stayed the course at 10 mg for 8 weeks, it never kicked in and worked, much to my horror. It always worked after 2 weeks, and I'd be sleeping once again. Not this time. Yes, I could have jumped to 15 or 20, but I had extreme anxiety all 8 weeks, and barely slept. I tapered instead. So, reinstating would just jolt my nervous system and shoot my cortisol up even more. My body says a loud "NO."

 

I'm glad to hear I shouldn't worry about the insomnia. I know it's from high cortisol from my adrenals getting whipped for so very long (I tested my cortisol whilst on my last taper, and it was quadruple what it should normally be for the time of day). 

 

Frankly, I think I'm dealing more with adrenal fatigue than WD, but I know the multiple chemical sensitivity thing is WD. I can't take fish oil. Just started being able to take magnesium. Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, gives me anxiety. Even vitamin C (which is recommended for high cortisol). My nervous system is so very sensitive. Drinking green tea, something I used to relish every morning...ha! FORGET IT.

 

For those who have sensitized their nervous systems, how long did that take to heal?

 

I appreciate your insights. And thanks for the bid of HOPE, KarenB.

September 2001 - 10 mg Sarafem (fluoxetine) for mild case of PMS that could have been helped by exercise and diet modification! I was NOT depressed prior to taking this drug. July 2002 - CT, no issues except stomach distention (honestly, I think daily running helped, but I didn't know a thing about WD or that it even existed)

August 2003 - reinstated to resolve severe stomach bloating (a WD symptom from year before; didn't realize it was a WD symptom)

2003-2009 - on and off 10-20 mg, CT at several points with no issues! Literally no issues except stomach distention.

March 2009 - CT, no issues except estrogen/progesterone imbalances and stomach distention 

March 2010 - reinstated 10 mg for one month, CT, no issues except estrogen/progesterone imbalances and stomach distention 

November 2010 - reinstated 10 mg for one month, CT, insomnia began one month later.

January 2011-January 2015 - went on 10 mg fluoxetine every six months for one month, always CTing.

March 2015-November 2015 - Finally learned to taper! 

September 2019 - fully recovered from WD; gut issues remain

 

"The only way out is through." 

 

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Didn't answer your question -- I feel pretty OK. On days my sleep is pretty OK, I feel pretty normal. Keeping busy, meditation, and cognitive behavioral therapy are helping.

September 2001 - 10 mg Sarafem (fluoxetine) for mild case of PMS that could have been helped by exercise and diet modification! I was NOT depressed prior to taking this drug. July 2002 - CT, no issues except stomach distention (honestly, I think daily running helped, but I didn't know a thing about WD or that it even existed)

August 2003 - reinstated to resolve severe stomach bloating (a WD symptom from year before; didn't realize it was a WD symptom)

2003-2009 - on and off 10-20 mg, CT at several points with no issues! Literally no issues except stomach distention.

March 2009 - CT, no issues except estrogen/progesterone imbalances and stomach distention 

March 2010 - reinstated 10 mg for one month, CT, no issues except estrogen/progesterone imbalances and stomach distention 

November 2010 - reinstated 10 mg for one month, CT, insomnia began one month later.

January 2011-January 2015 - went on 10 mg fluoxetine every six months for one month, always CTing.

March 2015-November 2015 - Finally learned to taper! 

September 2019 - fully recovered from WD; gut issues remain

 

"The only way out is through." 

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi cakesgimecakes!  I just love your handle!  You'll notice, my avitar has "cake" in the blue!

 

So, in reading your sig, I'm curious:  you mentioned reinstating in 2003 due to stomach issues, but why did you reinstate for such short periods and CT again so frequently over the years?  I don't understand the going on for one month every 6 months from 2011-2015.  Was that a strategy your doctor had you use?  Just never seen AD use like that :-)  I could see going off once feeling better, but 4 weeks isn't really long enough for the drug to supposedly start working.

 

I'm just blown away to finally meet someone who didn't have the wheels come off the bus with all that CT'ing and reinstating!  I'd heard of folks like you, but hadn't run into them on this forum, yet!  

 

Again, Welcome!

SG

Started ADs back around 1995 after bad break-up, starting with Prozac.  Switched to Wellbutrin, and then to Effexor in 2002
Effexor XR 2002-2014 up to 225 mg at one point, down to 37.5 mg towards end but back up to 75 mg in 2014; now realize I had W/D as I dropped down, memory very poor about history.  Extreme emotions, poor concentration as I stepped back down, didn't connect the dots!
Summer 2014 reduced to 0 very quickly, was sick of anhedonia/sexual dysfunction due to meds, depression never controlled if not worse. Didn't recognize WD since symptoms built slowly (thought I had ADD! and menopausal on top of it), starting with severe sweats, very bad cog-fog and memory issues, culminating in weight loss, severe anxiety and depression, panic, severe apathy and insomnia by eight months off.  Saw p-doc who put me on Remeron, increased from 7.5 mg/day to 37.5 mg by May 22, 2015; still doing very badly though able to sleep.

June 1. 2015 Reinstated Effexor XR 37.5 mg, Remeron dropped to 30 mg PM. Immediate relief of symptoms, like nothing had ever happened!  Joined SA and began on advice of friend who recognized it was WD all along! Began tapering in July 2015.

Been tapering both meds ever since, focusing on one more than the other or doing no more than 5% of each per month.

12 mg Effexor and 5.8 mg Remeron (mirtazapine SolTabs to make a solution with OraPlus) as of 5/4/2017 

Update 3/14/18: 2.9 mg Remeron and 6 mg Effexor; 6/10/18:  2.6 mg Remeron and 4.9 mg Effexor

 

My intro: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/9313-squirrellygirl-effexor-withdrawal-etc/page-2#entry196679

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

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Thanks for the warm welcome, SquirrellyGirl!

 

You ask a good question. I always went back on to alleviate the stomach bloating (spent THOUSANDS of dollars of testings and hospital visits and false diagnoses to realize this was a Prozac WD CT symptom). It's gone now, which is wonderful. In the last five years, I went on and off every six months to "reinstate sleep," thinking just a short time of sleep would reset me (foolish), AND I went off so fast because I came to loathe the way Prozac made me feel. Blunted emotions and blunted creativity (I'm a writer!). I'd take it, feel it, and then say "NOPE." I should have quit and stayed off before my CT'ing caught up with me and fried my system and stole my sleep. :( I probably would be going down the same rabbit hole had I not found this board, which has educated me beyond measure, and I'm so grateful to find STRENGTH and hope in my resolve to avoid psych drugs and let my body heal itself. In truth, I have no choice but to stay this course. I believe I can't touch an SSRI. My system just can't handle the stimulation.

 

I am going to heal, right? :/

September 2001 - 10 mg Sarafem (fluoxetine) for mild case of PMS that could have been helped by exercise and diet modification! I was NOT depressed prior to taking this drug. July 2002 - CT, no issues except stomach distention (honestly, I think daily running helped, but I didn't know a thing about WD or that it even existed)

August 2003 - reinstated to resolve severe stomach bloating (a WD symptom from year before; didn't realize it was a WD symptom)

2003-2009 - on and off 10-20 mg, CT at several points with no issues! Literally no issues except stomach distention.

March 2009 - CT, no issues except estrogen/progesterone imbalances and stomach distention 

March 2010 - reinstated 10 mg for one month, CT, no issues except estrogen/progesterone imbalances and stomach distention 

November 2010 - reinstated 10 mg for one month, CT, insomnia began one month later.

January 2011-January 2015 - went on 10 mg fluoxetine every six months for one month, always CTing.

March 2015-November 2015 - Finally learned to taper! 

September 2019 - fully recovered from WD; gut issues remain

 

"The only way out is through." 

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

You'll heal.  You might find it encouraging to read or watch on you-tube things about neuroplasticity.  Brain's have an amazing capacity for growth and healing.  You can also learn how to encourage that neuroplasticity - with meditation and such-like - to thicken good brain connections.

 

I have a very sensitised nervous system too.  I've slowed my taper right down (to drops of less than 1%) and I seem to be functional at this level.  However I still can't have caffeine, sugar, white-flour, bath-oils, perfume, alcohol, anything that smells too strong, cocoa, much exercise, lots of people...  I don't expect this all to heal any time soon, but I do believe I am building a strong basis for healing by allowing my CNS to stabilise.

 

Or in other words, I am already healing, but it's just not at a stage where I can see the results yet.  

 

I'm glad you're feeling generally okay - that's a good sign.

Karen 

2010  Fluoxetine 20mg.  2011  Escitalopram 20mg.  2013 Tapered badly and destabilised CNS.  Effexor 150mg. 

2015 Begin using info at SurvivingAntidepressants.  Cut 10% - bad w/d 2 months, held 1 month. 

Micro-tapering: four weekly 0.4% cuts, hold 4 weeks (struggling with symptoms).

8 month hold.

2017 Micro-tapering: four weekly 1% cuts, hold 4 weeks (symptoms almost non-existent).

2020 Still micro-tapering. Just over 2/3 of the way off effexor. Minimal symptoms, - and sleeping well.
Supplements: Fish oil, vitamin C, iron, oat-straw tea, nettle tea.

My story of healing:ContinuedHealing

***I am not a doctor; please do your own research and be able to take responsibility for decisions you make.*** 

           'The possibility of renewal exists so long as life exists.'  Dr Gabor Mate.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Well, I'm especially glad for you that you made it here, cakesgimmecakes!  The education is really eye-opening, and I, too, have come to the conclusion that these drugs definitely are toxic for the long haul and that I will NEVER entertain putting another one in my mouth once I am done tapering!  It is tough to accept that I must keep taking them as I taper, but I know the alternative is just not do-able!

 

We will and ARE healing!

 

SG

Started ADs back around 1995 after bad break-up, starting with Prozac.  Switched to Wellbutrin, and then to Effexor in 2002
Effexor XR 2002-2014 up to 225 mg at one point, down to 37.5 mg towards end but back up to 75 mg in 2014; now realize I had W/D as I dropped down, memory very poor about history.  Extreme emotions, poor concentration as I stepped back down, didn't connect the dots!
Summer 2014 reduced to 0 very quickly, was sick of anhedonia/sexual dysfunction due to meds, depression never controlled if not worse. Didn't recognize WD since symptoms built slowly (thought I had ADD! and menopausal on top of it), starting with severe sweats, very bad cog-fog and memory issues, culminating in weight loss, severe anxiety and depression, panic, severe apathy and insomnia by eight months off.  Saw p-doc who put me on Remeron, increased from 7.5 mg/day to 37.5 mg by May 22, 2015; still doing very badly though able to sleep.

June 1. 2015 Reinstated Effexor XR 37.5 mg, Remeron dropped to 30 mg PM. Immediate relief of symptoms, like nothing had ever happened!  Joined SA and began on advice of friend who recognized it was WD all along! Began tapering in July 2015.

Been tapering both meds ever since, focusing on one more than the other or doing no more than 5% of each per month.

12 mg Effexor and 5.8 mg Remeron (mirtazapine SolTabs to make a solution with OraPlus) as of 5/4/2017 

Update 3/14/18: 2.9 mg Remeron and 6 mg Effexor; 6/10/18:  2.6 mg Remeron and 4.9 mg Effexor

 

My intro: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/9313-squirrellygirl-effexor-withdrawal-etc/page-2#entry196679

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

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Hi Cakes, the thing about cortisol is that there doesn't seem to be anything you can do about it, except use generally good health practices. I would steer away from supplements, gaba, seriphos, etc...as they might work for a while, but your body quickly adapts, and then you are a bit worse off as you don't want to quit the supplement. None of them ever worked well for me, and they don't seem to work very long for anyone. You could try melatonin at a really low dose (1mg or less), it had a paradoxical reaction for me (kept me awake all night, common in menopausal women). Here are things you can do to help with insomnia:

--good sleep hygiene, go to bed and get up at the same time every day.

--as Karen pointed out, avoid all stimulants including caffeine, chocolate, tea, etc...I also cut out sugar completely. Alcohol definitely bad.

--black out the windows in your bedroom, and/or use a sleep mask.

--don't do a lot of computer time, especially in the evening, and download f.lux for your screen (darkens in evening, also in day if you adjust settings).

--I use a blue-blocker bulb for my bedroom, as well as blue-blocker lenses if I get up in the middle of night.

--try not to worry about not sleeping (hard I know), have non-screen activities ready for when you can't sleep.

If you can get enough sleep to function, you will be okay! It will get better.

Sarah

1975--first signs of depression

1981--started on imipramine (Tofranil) for IBS and depression

1983-1986--severe depression, rotated through several drugs, on MAOI for one year, eventually back to tricyclics

1986-1994--chronic low grade depression, on tricyclics

1994-96--severe depression, rotated through several drugs inc. Prozax, Effexor, etc..

1996-2013--chronic low grade depression, SAD, on amitryptiline usual dose 12.5-25mg

     flurazepam (Dalmane) as needed for insomnia

2013--developed temazepam (Restoril) dependance for 2 months, tapered off over 1 month

   started bio-identical progesterone 5 mg., depression has lifted completely to this day

March 2016--forced to c/t both amitryptiline and flurazepam, zolpidem not helpful

reinstated small dose (.5 mg) amitryptiline due to stomach issues and tapering w/titration

June 19th--jumped from amitryptiline--drug free!

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Thank you to all of you for your insights and kind words and for responding so fast. Just a little bit of reassurance goes a long, long, long, long, long way. I went to a yoga nidra class tonight, and my mantra/intention was "I am healing, and I will be well soon."

 

Sarabera (and any others who can chime in), any idea how long this cortisol thing goes on for? I assume it gets better every day I don't stimulate the heck out of my CNS and adrenals.

September 2001 - 10 mg Sarafem (fluoxetine) for mild case of PMS that could have been helped by exercise and diet modification! I was NOT depressed prior to taking this drug. July 2002 - CT, no issues except stomach distention (honestly, I think daily running helped, but I didn't know a thing about WD or that it even existed)

August 2003 - reinstated to resolve severe stomach bloating (a WD symptom from year before; didn't realize it was a WD symptom)

2003-2009 - on and off 10-20 mg, CT at several points with no issues! Literally no issues except stomach distention.

March 2009 - CT, no issues except estrogen/progesterone imbalances and stomach distention 

March 2010 - reinstated 10 mg for one month, CT, no issues except estrogen/progesterone imbalances and stomach distention 

November 2010 - reinstated 10 mg for one month, CT, insomnia began one month later.

January 2011-January 2015 - went on 10 mg fluoxetine every six months for one month, always CTing.

March 2015-November 2015 - Finally learned to taper! 

September 2019 - fully recovered from WD; gut issues remain

 

"The only way out is through." 

 

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Hi Cakes,

 

It can be different for everyone.  We all react in individual ways , to these drugs and it depends how sensitized our systems are to them. No one can say , how long anything is going to take, in this process. The best we can do, is to do everything we can to settle our C.N.S. , and then just " carry on" with our lives, as best we can. No one can say ,for sure. Yoga is a positive move , and your self- talk is very healing , as well. This will all help with the cortisol, short and long term . I think you are doing exceptionally well.

 

Best wishes,

Ali

Many SSRI's and SSNRI's over 20 years. Zoloft for 7 years followed by Effexor, Lexapro, Prozac, Cymbalta, Celexa, Pristiq, Valdoxan, Mianserin and more - on and off. No tapering. Cold turkey off Valdoxan - end of May 2014

 

                                                  Psych Drug - free since May 2014
.
         

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Thank you for all the fast replies.

 

Just got test results back and my vitamin D is very low, as are my ferritin stores. I also have candida. So...onto address these things, undoubtedly caused by high cortisol (stress). Stress leads to candida infections, leading to poor iron absorption (I've been taking iron and eating red meat/clams daily...and my iron went DOWN since last month --- that was a red flag I wasn't absorbing a dang thing....due to candida).

 

Perhaps if these things improve, my body won't feel so stressed and my cortisol will come down....I'm taking all the emotional and physical steps I can to lower stress. I don't really have much stress. Life is good. And yet...the poor sleep strains the body so very much. It's a vicious cycle....bad sleep, high cortisol, high cortisol, bad sleep. It's really awful.

 

Now I'm rambling. :)

 

The joys of healing! 

 

Thanks again, everyone.

September 2001 - 10 mg Sarafem (fluoxetine) for mild case of PMS that could have been helped by exercise and diet modification! I was NOT depressed prior to taking this drug. July 2002 - CT, no issues except stomach distention (honestly, I think daily running helped, but I didn't know a thing about WD or that it even existed)

August 2003 - reinstated to resolve severe stomach bloating (a WD symptom from year before; didn't realize it was a WD symptom)

2003-2009 - on and off 10-20 mg, CT at several points with no issues! Literally no issues except stomach distention.

March 2009 - CT, no issues except estrogen/progesterone imbalances and stomach distention 

March 2010 - reinstated 10 mg for one month, CT, no issues except estrogen/progesterone imbalances and stomach distention 

November 2010 - reinstated 10 mg for one month, CT, insomnia began one month later.

January 2011-January 2015 - went on 10 mg fluoxetine every six months for one month, always CTing.

March 2015-November 2015 - Finally learned to taper! 

September 2019 - fully recovered from WD; gut issues remain

 

"The only way out is through." 

 

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Cakes--you must be sugar addict with a screen name like that! Also having a candida infection makes me suspicious that your sugar/carb intake is quite high. If there is any way that you can cut down your sugar intake, as well as at least refined carbs, I think it would be very helpful for you. I know it is difficult, I was a complete sugar addict also. Look into natural sweeteners such as stevia and monk fruit, not artificial ones. Giving up sugar (as well as most carbs) has been super helpful for me and my health--I really am more healthy at this age (53) than ever in my adult life, and I don't miss it at all.

 

Last night I also tried sleep sounds again (after a failure before). You can pull up hundreds of options on you-tube. I found the right track put me almost in a hypnotic, very relaxed state, and did put me to sleep. I'm going to experiment with those more, but I highly recommend giving it a shot if you aren't sleeping.

Sarah

1975--first signs of depression

1981--started on imipramine (Tofranil) for IBS and depression

1983-1986--severe depression, rotated through several drugs, on MAOI for one year, eventually back to tricyclics

1986-1994--chronic low grade depression, on tricyclics

1994-96--severe depression, rotated through several drugs inc. Prozax, Effexor, etc..

1996-2013--chronic low grade depression, SAD, on amitryptiline usual dose 12.5-25mg

     flurazepam (Dalmane) as needed for insomnia

2013--developed temazepam (Restoril) dependance for 2 months, tapered off over 1 month

   started bio-identical progesterone 5 mg., depression has lifted completely to this day

March 2016--forced to c/t both amitryptiline and flurazepam, zolpidem not helpful

reinstated small dose (.5 mg) amitryptiline due to stomach issues and tapering w/titration

June 19th--jumped from amitryptiline--drug free!

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I noticed this post on insomnia and high cortisol due to SSRI withdrawal or reinstatement. I bet most folks on here that went through WD had high cortisol as that kills stage 3-4 REM sleep. I'm suffering now that I had to reinstate at 5 MGS of Lexapro on Jan 1 after being off for 28 days. The anxiety is still there due to insomnia and high cortisol levels. But it's not as severe as when I was WD'ing. But it's only been 7 days of reinstatement and I hear insomnia goes with starting Lex as well as WD. With that said I've noticed some recommendations for Seriphos. A supplement that lowers cortisol. Has anyone tried it? A lack of sleep causes anxiety. A vicious cycle that needs all the help it can get.

Lexapro: started in 2002 at 10 mgs.

Ambien: started as a as needed sleep aid in 2010.

Quit Lexapro cold turkey in June 20015 due to contributing to low sodium issues.

Restarted Lexapro in late November for a week (only 5 mgs) but quit due to dizziness side effects. Side effects worsened for 3 weeks until

12/24/15: Protracted WD hit, experienced extreme anxiety, insomnia lack of full concentration and social challenges.

Reinstated Lexapro on 1/1/16 at 5 mgs. Increased per Dr to 7.5 MG. Tapered off Lexapro in March 2016.

Started 50MG of Seroquel in late January 2016 for bedtime to help in eliminate Ambien. Tapered off both Seroquel and Ambien in March 2016.

2/14/16: Prescribed both Remeron (15 MG) and Temazapam (15 MG) for sleep. Also use Klonopin and Ambien again in place of Temazapam to avoid addiction. However I did take Temazapam 60 straight days

6/15/16: Stopped use of all benzo's and now use Belsomra 1-2 times a week. Still on 15 MG of Remeron

10/11/16: Off all psych medications

 

After kindling, trying to regain my strength suffering from severe mental and physical fatigue.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

HI Christian, I'm glad to hear you're doing better.  I don't know about Seriphos though I've seen that name floating around.  I'm just curious, how are you monitoring cortisol?  I'm wondering if there is a home test for this, like pH test strips?  Or is it a matter of the feeling of cortisol surges?   

 

I've only had minor blips with sleep since reinstating, though back in the day when I was on just Effexor, I remember having sleep problems, waking in the night.  With coming off mirt, I dread sleep becoming a problem so am thinking ahead.

 

It seems that withdrawal mimics a lot of the start up side effects of these drugs, and it stands to reason, as the process of up/down-regulation is just in reverse coming off from going on!

 

SG

Started ADs back around 1995 after bad break-up, starting with Prozac.  Switched to Wellbutrin, and then to Effexor in 2002
Effexor XR 2002-2014 up to 225 mg at one point, down to 37.5 mg towards end but back up to 75 mg in 2014; now realize I had W/D as I dropped down, memory very poor about history.  Extreme emotions, poor concentration as I stepped back down, didn't connect the dots!
Summer 2014 reduced to 0 very quickly, was sick of anhedonia/sexual dysfunction due to meds, depression never controlled if not worse. Didn't recognize WD since symptoms built slowly (thought I had ADD! and menopausal on top of it), starting with severe sweats, very bad cog-fog and memory issues, culminating in weight loss, severe anxiety and depression, panic, severe apathy and insomnia by eight months off.  Saw p-doc who put me on Remeron, increased from 7.5 mg/day to 37.5 mg by May 22, 2015; still doing very badly though able to sleep.

June 1. 2015 Reinstated Effexor XR 37.5 mg, Remeron dropped to 30 mg PM. Immediate relief of symptoms, like nothing had ever happened!  Joined SA and began on advice of friend who recognized it was WD all along! Began tapering in July 2015.

Been tapering both meds ever since, focusing on one more than the other or doing no more than 5% of each per month.

12 mg Effexor and 5.8 mg Remeron (mirtazapine SolTabs to make a solution with OraPlus) as of 5/4/2017 

Update 3/14/18: 2.9 mg Remeron and 6 mg Effexor; 6/10/18:  2.6 mg Remeron and 4.9 mg Effexor

 

My intro: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/9313-squirrellygirl-effexor-withdrawal-etc/page-2#entry196679

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

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In mid December went to my Internal Medicine Dr about other issues and he gave me a 24 hour urine test. It's not fun as you have to pee in a jug all day and night. It was 33% higher than the range. He then sent me to an Endocrinologist thinking it might be Cushings Disease. The Endo gave me a midnight saliva cortisol test. That was slightly over the range. In guessing since then it's increased not decreased as my sleep is worse. But I am starting to feel a little less relaxed at bedtime the last two nights. But once my alert system wakes me up after an 1-2 hours. It's a challenge to get back to sleep.

Lexapro: started in 2002 at 10 mgs.

Ambien: started as a as needed sleep aid in 2010.

Quit Lexapro cold turkey in June 20015 due to contributing to low sodium issues.

Restarted Lexapro in late November for a week (only 5 mgs) but quit due to dizziness side effects. Side effects worsened for 3 weeks until

12/24/15: Protracted WD hit, experienced extreme anxiety, insomnia lack of full concentration and social challenges.

Reinstated Lexapro on 1/1/16 at 5 mgs. Increased per Dr to 7.5 MG. Tapered off Lexapro in March 2016.

Started 50MG of Seroquel in late January 2016 for bedtime to help in eliminate Ambien. Tapered off both Seroquel and Ambien in March 2016.

2/14/16: Prescribed both Remeron (15 MG) and Temazapam (15 MG) for sleep. Also use Klonopin and Ambien again in place of Temazapam to avoid addiction. However I did take Temazapam 60 straight days

6/15/16: Stopped use of all benzo's and now use Belsomra 1-2 times a week. Still on 15 MG of Remeron

10/11/16: Off all psych medications

 

After kindling, trying to regain my strength suffering from severe mental and physical fatigue.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

That's interesting! Sorry you're still having trouble with the wakes during the night.  Blast the drugs!

 

I've been reading Medication Madness and Breggin talks about the benzos causing rebound anxiety and insomnia.  Can't get something for free with these meds :-(

 

SG

Started ADs back around 1995 after bad break-up, starting with Prozac.  Switched to Wellbutrin, and then to Effexor in 2002
Effexor XR 2002-2014 up to 225 mg at one point, down to 37.5 mg towards end but back up to 75 mg in 2014; now realize I had W/D as I dropped down, memory very poor about history.  Extreme emotions, poor concentration as I stepped back down, didn't connect the dots!
Summer 2014 reduced to 0 very quickly, was sick of anhedonia/sexual dysfunction due to meds, depression never controlled if not worse. Didn't recognize WD since symptoms built slowly (thought I had ADD! and menopausal on top of it), starting with severe sweats, very bad cog-fog and memory issues, culminating in weight loss, severe anxiety and depression, panic, severe apathy and insomnia by eight months off.  Saw p-doc who put me on Remeron, increased from 7.5 mg/day to 37.5 mg by May 22, 2015; still doing very badly though able to sleep.

June 1. 2015 Reinstated Effexor XR 37.5 mg, Remeron dropped to 30 mg PM. Immediate relief of symptoms, like nothing had ever happened!  Joined SA and began on advice of friend who recognized it was WD all along! Began tapering in July 2015.

Been tapering both meds ever since, focusing on one more than the other or doing no more than 5% of each per month.

12 mg Effexor and 5.8 mg Remeron (mirtazapine SolTabs to make a solution with OraPlus) as of 5/4/2017 

Update 3/14/18: 2.9 mg Remeron and 6 mg Effexor; 6/10/18:  2.6 mg Remeron and 4.9 mg Effexor

 

My intro: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/9313-squirrellygirl-effexor-withdrawal-etc/page-2#entry196679

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

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I've been trying to avoid benzo's entirely. My Dr wants me to take one at bed with a sleeping pill. I did try that and got an 2-3 hours (not consecutive). I hear the Seriphos can be used a couple times (even if you wake up) and is effective. I just ordered some. Btw, I also read that Melatonin can cause insomnia and is not recommended for insomnia patients. Though it works for many and is healthier it's overrated according to a couple of sources.

Lexapro: started in 2002 at 10 mgs.

Ambien: started as a as needed sleep aid in 2010.

Quit Lexapro cold turkey in June 20015 due to contributing to low sodium issues.

Restarted Lexapro in late November for a week (only 5 mgs) but quit due to dizziness side effects. Side effects worsened for 3 weeks until

12/24/15: Protracted WD hit, experienced extreme anxiety, insomnia lack of full concentration and social challenges.

Reinstated Lexapro on 1/1/16 at 5 mgs. Increased per Dr to 7.5 MG. Tapered off Lexapro in March 2016.

Started 50MG of Seroquel in late January 2016 for bedtime to help in eliminate Ambien. Tapered off both Seroquel and Ambien in March 2016.

2/14/16: Prescribed both Remeron (15 MG) and Temazapam (15 MG) for sleep. Also use Klonopin and Ambien again in place of Temazapam to avoid addiction. However I did take Temazapam 60 straight days

6/15/16: Stopped use of all benzo's and now use Belsomra 1-2 times a week. Still on 15 MG of Remeron

10/11/16: Off all psych medications

 

After kindling, trying to regain my strength suffering from severe mental and physical fatigue.

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Hi, it's me again. Thanks for the suggestions, Sarah.

 

I've been treating my candida (4 Diflucan tablets 3 days apart, plus probiotics). When I did this over the summer, my sleep improved (and I was in the middle of my taper at 4 mg of Prozac). When I stopped the probiotics, my sleep declined, and I didn't make the connection until now. I also have very low vitamin D (I live in CA but am in Chicago for the month), and low ferritin. Slightly low thyroid as well. For me, it's hard to treat these things because I have bad reactions to most supplements due to my central nervous system being jacked up by the Prozac withdrawal! It makes healing VERY VERY challenging.

 

SquirrellyGirl - you can test your cortisol on your own via ZRT Labs. I order mine through John Lee MD's website (something about shipping to certain states or something). You test your cortisol at four points in the day: morning, noon, early evening, and just before bed. Normal patterns show that cortisol is highest in the morning and declines healthfully throughout the day until it's low at night and you feel relaxed and ready for sleep. For me, mine is normal in the morning (somewhat low but in range), high at noon, and it shoots up in the evening and at night. Currently I'm treating it with lots of sea salt and minerals (especially our trusty friend: magnesium). Also trying ashwagandha (see below).

 

Christian - I did the benzo route years ago. Personally, it was a living hell to get off. As desperate as I get, as sick as I get with insomnia (sometimes I'm awake for 50-hour stretches), I will not reach for a benzo. That's how traumatized I was by the withdrawal from that. Besides, they don't really provide that much relief, and the last thing I need is to mess with my GABA, which regulates ANXIETY. I have enough problems with that caused by the WD process and the high cortisol. As for Seraphos, proceed with caution. It jacks me way up. It can stimulate some people. I played around with doses, and nope, just shot me through a canon. It astounds me people can take it and sleep. As for simple phosphatidylserine, that, too, gave me weird reactions. I think it lowered cortisol but then had some kind of rebound situation going on. Not sure what it was, but I'm avoiding it. It DOES lower cortisol (many, many clinical studies prove this, and not clinical studies funded by the very manufacturer of the supplement), but it just didn't go well for me, and I'm not sure why, but something tells me it's due to WD. My brain is just sensitive as heck, and phosphatidylserine does touch on certain brain centers. 

 

Just wanted to update everyone. I'm giving ashwagandha a try again. It makes me feel somewhat apathetic (some people use it as a natural antidepressant, and while I don't want to mess with my serotonin any further and just want to let it recalibrate on its own, I need to get my cortisol DOWN so I can sleep...sleep heals many many things [obviously] and assists with the impact of WD). When I was on it in October my cortisol was a bit lower, and then when I tested again in November after I stopped the ashwagandha, my cortisol went back up. I'm also taking a very low dose of vit d until I get back to CA and in the sun (it does raise my D), and since my candida is clearing, I'll be able to absorb more iron in my intestines, so I'll be raising my iron. Exercise is my next frontier. With so much fatigue, it's nearly impossible for me. REALLY SUCKS. I was a marathon runner! Damn these psych drugs.

 

Cheers to all of you. I'll keep you posted on my journey. 

September 2001 - 10 mg Sarafem (fluoxetine) for mild case of PMS that could have been helped by exercise and diet modification! I was NOT depressed prior to taking this drug. July 2002 - CT, no issues except stomach distention (honestly, I think daily running helped, but I didn't know a thing about WD or that it even existed)

August 2003 - reinstated to resolve severe stomach bloating (a WD symptom from year before; didn't realize it was a WD symptom)

2003-2009 - on and off 10-20 mg, CT at several points with no issues! Literally no issues except stomach distention.

March 2009 - CT, no issues except estrogen/progesterone imbalances and stomach distention 

March 2010 - reinstated 10 mg for one month, CT, no issues except estrogen/progesterone imbalances and stomach distention 

November 2010 - reinstated 10 mg for one month, CT, insomnia began one month later.

January 2011-January 2015 - went on 10 mg fluoxetine every six months for one month, always CTing.

March 2015-November 2015 - Finally learned to taper! 

September 2019 - fully recovered from WD; gut issues remain

 

"The only way out is through." 

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hello, everyone,

Wanted to provide an update.

 

I didn't end up taking the ashwagandha because, in fact and finally, my adrenal glands crashed. My new insurance kicks in on 2/1/16, and I'll be going to the doctor to assess that situation as well as my low iron, low thyroid and recurrent candida (I'm sure I can't fend off infections because of my low vitamin D AND cortisol situation).

 

Low cortisol is almost worse than high cortisol. You get adrenaline rushes while trying to sleep. It's truly one of the worst experiences of my life.

 

​Everything I've read about adrenal fatigue has said that eventually high cortisol levels crash out your adrenals. My going off and on Prozac so many times over so many years destroyed by adrenals. Now, I'm in a position of attempting to mend them with a compromised (read: HIGHLY sensitive) nervous system. Although, I've been downing walnuts like no one's biz and I haven't had anxiety from them (their omega content). Still scared to try a piece of salmon (fish oil is not an option - got severe anxiety from it in early Dec.). I sort of use these sensitives as barometers of my WD progress. I remember when just a year ago I could take fish oil. Heck, I used to down 6 GRAMS a few years ago with no issues.

 

​Not sleeping has stalled any progress in my life. I used to run daily, marathons, have a lot of fun, lots of friends. Now, I'm mostly bed ridden. It's my adrenals and exhaustion from insomnia, but THOSE things were brought on from Prozac wrecking my nervous system.

 

Just wanted to update everyone. I'm three months out from my last Prozac dose. I'm hoping things improve once I address my adrenals and get some SLEEP.

 

Cheers to all of you in your healing journeys.

September 2001 - 10 mg Sarafem (fluoxetine) for mild case of PMS that could have been helped by exercise and diet modification! I was NOT depressed prior to taking this drug. July 2002 - CT, no issues except stomach distention (honestly, I think daily running helped, but I didn't know a thing about WD or that it even existed)

August 2003 - reinstated to resolve severe stomach bloating (a WD symptom from year before; didn't realize it was a WD symptom)

2003-2009 - on and off 10-20 mg, CT at several points with no issues! Literally no issues except stomach distention.

March 2009 - CT, no issues except estrogen/progesterone imbalances and stomach distention 

March 2010 - reinstated 10 mg for one month, CT, no issues except estrogen/progesterone imbalances and stomach distention 

November 2010 - reinstated 10 mg for one month, CT, insomnia began one month later.

January 2011-January 2015 - went on 10 mg fluoxetine every six months for one month, always CTing.

March 2015-November 2015 - Finally learned to taper! 

September 2019 - fully recovered from WD; gut issues remain

 

"The only way out is through." 

 

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  • 2 months later...

Hello,

I've been off Prozac for 6 months. I've been doing relatively OK. No real anxiety -- any I had was a little and I could control it with deep breathing and distraction (changing my thoughts, learned in CBT). My other persistent symptom of withdrawal is insomnia, which I think is exacerbated by low T3 in my thyroid as well as my emerging perimenopausal state (I'm 39 and I think I'm low on progesterone). I took about 200 mg of tryptophan and B6 two mornings ago, and I'm having extreme anxiety waves ever since...seems to be increasing. Of all the years I've CTed off Prozac, and even during my long taper from 10 mg last year, to the past 6 months, I've never, EVER had these waves of anxiety that come out of nowhere. It's frightening, and I feel like I can't take it and I'm scared they're a new normal. 

 

Is this the tryptophan? I had sort of shocks in my head last night and then a cascade of anxiety after that. OR am I entering protracted Prozac withdrawal 6 months later? I'm very frightened this is protracted withdrawal, but I know my progress changed as soon as I took that damn tryptophan. I'm never touching tryptophan again. What can/should I do?

 

 

September 2001 - 10 mg Sarafem (fluoxetine) for mild case of PMS that could have been helped by exercise and diet modification! I was NOT depressed prior to taking this drug. July 2002 - CT, no issues except stomach distention (honestly, I think daily running helped, but I didn't know a thing about WD or that it even existed)

August 2003 - reinstated to resolve severe stomach bloating (a WD symptom from year before; didn't realize it was a WD symptom)

2003-2009 - on and off 10-20 mg, CT at several points with no issues! Literally no issues except stomach distention.

March 2009 - CT, no issues except estrogen/progesterone imbalances and stomach distention 

March 2010 - reinstated 10 mg for one month, CT, no issues except estrogen/progesterone imbalances and stomach distention 

November 2010 - reinstated 10 mg for one month, CT, insomnia began one month later.

January 2011-January 2015 - went on 10 mg fluoxetine every six months for one month, always CTing.

March 2015-November 2015 - Finally learned to taper! 

September 2019 - fully recovered from WD; gut issues remain

 

"The only way out is through." 

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Cakes, welcome to SA.  It sounds like you did actually have withdrawal when you C/Td as  went back, if you really had been fine you wouldn't have needed to go back!  Going back likely solved the issues right away so you C/Td again, have I got that right?

 

Looks like you were suffering withdrawal insomnia, it was a big thing for me and very hard to cope with. Most of us here have thought there was some other reason for withdrawal because symptoms is so physical it is hard to imagine they can be from withdrawal. 

 

You could have reacted to the tryptophan and B6, many people can't tolerate B6 or tryptophan in withdrawal and have reactions but they do settle in time. 

We have a topic on 5HTP and tryptophan (same type of supplements) 

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/9933-5-htp-5-hydroxytryptophan-and-l-tryptophan/

 

Hopefully this will pass for you but if it is protracted withdrawal you might benefit from a very tiny dose of  fluoxetine, even  0.5mg might help, then you can taper off very slowly. You can get a liquid which is easy to taper at low doses.  

 

I am sorry that you find yourself in this predicament after tapering carefully but sadly it wasn't long enough. I found my way here after tapering effexor for a year then suffering withdrawal after being off for a month and feeling great! 

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/7562-about-reinstating-and-stabilizing-to-reduce-withdrawal-symptoms/

**I am not a medical professional, if in doubt please consult a doctor with withdrawal knowledge.

 

 

Different drugs occasionally (mostly benzos) 1976 - 1981 (no problem)

1993 - 2002 in and out of hospital. every type of drug + ECT. Staring with seroxat

2002  effexor. 

Tapered  March 2012 to March 2013, ending with 5 beads.

Withdrawal April 2013 . Reinstated 5 beads reduced to 4 beads May 2013

Restarted taper  Nov 2013  

OFF EFFEXOR Feb 2015    :D 

Tapered atenolol and omeprazole Dec 2013 - May 2014

 

Tapering tramadol, Feb 2015 100mg , March 2015 50mg  

 July 2017 30mg.  May 15 2018 25mg

Taking fish oil, magnesium, B12, folic acid, bilberry eyebright for eye pressure. 

 

My story http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/4199-hello-mammap-checking-in/page-33

 

Lesson learned, slow down taper at lower doses. Taper no more than 10% of CURRENT dose if possible

 

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Givemecakes,

 

I've merged you newer intro topic into your original topic.  It is one Intro/Update topic per member.

 

Click FOLLOW (top right) and you will be notified when someone replies.  You can also save it as a Favourite so you can find it again.

Please DO NOT TAG me - thank you

PLEASE NOTE:  I am not a medical professional.  I provide information and make suggestions. 

  MISSION ACCOMPLISHED:    (6 year taper)      0mg Pristiq      on 13th November 2021

ADs since ~1992:  25+ years - 1 unknown, Prozac (muscle weakness), Zoloft; citalopram (pooped out) CTed (very sick for 2.5 wks a few months after); Pristiq:  50mg 2012, 100mg beg 2013 (Serotonin Toxicity)  Tapering from Oct 2015 - 13 Nov 2021   LAST DOSE 0.0025mg

Post 0 updates start here    My tapering program     My Intro (goes to tapering graph)

 VIDEO:   Antidepressant Withdrawal Syndrome and its Management

Link to comment

Thank you, ChessieCat.

 

I wanted to update everyone on the tryptophan situation. It wasn't the tryptophan. I was having reemerging candida issues (yeast). I took some Diflucan and had "die-off" and thank God the anxiety went away for the most part. That kind of anxiety makes you want to jump off a bridge. 

 

Overall, I'm sleeping a bit better and my mood is better when I have the yeast under control (STRICT DIET, NO SUGAR EVER). I think the chronic candida is caused by high cortisol due to low thyroid, low progesterone, and, of course, those things are caused by Prozac withdrawal and my body readjusting and my brain recalibrating serotonin. I'm able to tolerate a little fish oil and a little B-complex now. I'm able to exercise on most days (when I've slept decently the night before). 

 

Anyway, I hope you all are doing well and progressing. I keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

September 2001 - 10 mg Sarafem (fluoxetine) for mild case of PMS that could have been helped by exercise and diet modification! I was NOT depressed prior to taking this drug. July 2002 - CT, no issues except stomach distention (honestly, I think daily running helped, but I didn't know a thing about WD or that it even existed)

August 2003 - reinstated to resolve severe stomach bloating (a WD symptom from year before; didn't realize it was a WD symptom)

2003-2009 - on and off 10-20 mg, CT at several points with no issues! Literally no issues except stomach distention.

March 2009 - CT, no issues except estrogen/progesterone imbalances and stomach distention 

March 2010 - reinstated 10 mg for one month, CT, no issues except estrogen/progesterone imbalances and stomach distention 

November 2010 - reinstated 10 mg for one month, CT, insomnia began one month later.

January 2011-January 2015 - went on 10 mg fluoxetine every six months for one month, always CTing.

March 2015-November 2015 - Finally learned to taper! 

September 2019 - fully recovered from WD; gut issues remain

 

"The only way out is through." 

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi GMC,

 

Sorry to hear about your issues, but at least you know what the problem is and know what to do.  It's good to hear that you are doing okay.  Continuing taking care of yourself.

Please DO NOT TAG me - thank you

PLEASE NOTE:  I am not a medical professional.  I provide information and make suggestions. 

  MISSION ACCOMPLISHED:    (6 year taper)      0mg Pristiq      on 13th November 2021

ADs since ~1992:  25+ years - 1 unknown, Prozac (muscle weakness), Zoloft; citalopram (pooped out) CTed (very sick for 2.5 wks a few months after); Pristiq:  50mg 2012, 100mg beg 2013 (Serotonin Toxicity)  Tapering from Oct 2015 - 13 Nov 2021   LAST DOSE 0.0025mg

Post 0 updates start here    My tapering program     My Intro (goes to tapering graph)

 VIDEO:   Antidepressant Withdrawal Syndrome and its Management

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thank you, 

ChessieCat!

September 2001 - 10 mg Sarafem (fluoxetine) for mild case of PMS that could have been helped by exercise and diet modification! I was NOT depressed prior to taking this drug. July 2002 - CT, no issues except stomach distention (honestly, I think daily running helped, but I didn't know a thing about WD or that it even existed)

August 2003 - reinstated to resolve severe stomach bloating (a WD symptom from year before; didn't realize it was a WD symptom)

2003-2009 - on and off 10-20 mg, CT at several points with no issues! Literally no issues except stomach distention.

March 2009 - CT, no issues except estrogen/progesterone imbalances and stomach distention 

March 2010 - reinstated 10 mg for one month, CT, no issues except estrogen/progesterone imbalances and stomach distention 

November 2010 - reinstated 10 mg for one month, CT, insomnia began one month later.

January 2011-January 2015 - went on 10 mg fluoxetine every six months for one month, always CTing.

March 2015-November 2015 - Finally learned to taper! 

September 2019 - fully recovered from WD; gut issues remain

 

"The only way out is through." 

 

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  • 1 month later...

Hey, gang,

Thank goodness you're here to turn to.

 

I'm 7 months off Prozac. I have some good days. Currently have PMS, so I'm feeling super low mood and engaging in excessive worry. I'm scared I have tardive dysphoria, and from science papers I've read, it can be permanent in some people. Lately, I'm apathetic, lack zest for life (I used to have so much before I ever touched Prozac), and I'm isolating like crazy because of the FATIGUE. I just don't have the energy or want to be with friends and family. My insomnia has improved as long as I keep yeast (candida) down with probiotics and avoiding refined sugar (want to note that I tried the anti-candida diet, which is low carb, and low carbing REALLY made depression worse).

 

Anyway, I'm here looking for encouragement and hope. The "real" me is a go-getter and super creative. But I'm currently not working, home pretty much round the clock, isolated. I'm running almost every day, so that's good. Doing fish oil. 

 

Am I permanently damaged. Depressed for life? Will I turn a corner at the year mark? Do people really recover? Or are we all just kidding ourselves?

Edited by JanCarol
Moved from "Worried about Tardive Dysphoria"

September 2001 - 10 mg Sarafem (fluoxetine) for mild case of PMS that could have been helped by exercise and diet modification! I was NOT depressed prior to taking this drug. July 2002 - CT, no issues except stomach distention (honestly, I think daily running helped, but I didn't know a thing about WD or that it even existed)

August 2003 - reinstated to resolve severe stomach bloating (a WD symptom from year before; didn't realize it was a WD symptom)

2003-2009 - on and off 10-20 mg, CT at several points with no issues! Literally no issues except stomach distention.

March 2009 - CT, no issues except estrogen/progesterone imbalances and stomach distention 

March 2010 - reinstated 10 mg for one month, CT, no issues except estrogen/progesterone imbalances and stomach distention 

November 2010 - reinstated 10 mg for one month, CT, insomnia began one month later.

January 2011-January 2015 - went on 10 mg fluoxetine every six months for one month, always CTing.

March 2015-November 2015 - Finally learned to taper! 

September 2019 - fully recovered from WD; gut issues remain

 

"The only way out is through." 

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Cakes,

 

Your sig says that insomnia was the only WD symptom you were dealing with; could you update your sig to show when these latest symptoms showed up?

 

How long have you been feeling this way?

 

It's still early days.  If you had done a 10% taper for eight months you still would have been at 4.3mg when you stopped, so I gather you still went a bit too fast and still had a lot of remodeling/up-regulating to do when you came off.   I would not worry about you having irreversible tardive dysphoria.  You are just 7 months out and in fact this is a time when people have a bad wave.  You still have some remodeling to do, but I would not see your current symptoms as a sign of TD.  Studies done looked at two months after quitting and if the person went back on an AD by then, then they were considered to have treatment resistant depression, but NO studies have been done looking at people many months and years out.  We have many success stories on SA from people were on meds for many years, and sure, some of them took years to recover, but recover they did. 

 

So hang in there!

SG

Edited by JanCarol
Moved from "Worried about Tardive Dysphoria"

Started ADs back around 1995 after bad break-up, starting with Prozac.  Switched to Wellbutrin, and then to Effexor in 2002
Effexor XR 2002-2014 up to 225 mg at one point, down to 37.5 mg towards end but back up to 75 mg in 2014; now realize I had W/D as I dropped down, memory very poor about history.  Extreme emotions, poor concentration as I stepped back down, didn't connect the dots!
Summer 2014 reduced to 0 very quickly, was sick of anhedonia/sexual dysfunction due to meds, depression never controlled if not worse. Didn't recognize WD since symptoms built slowly (thought I had ADD! and menopausal on top of it), starting with severe sweats, very bad cog-fog and memory issues, culminating in weight loss, severe anxiety and depression, panic, severe apathy and insomnia by eight months off.  Saw p-doc who put me on Remeron, increased from 7.5 mg/day to 37.5 mg by May 22, 2015; still doing very badly though able to sleep.

June 1. 2015 Reinstated Effexor XR 37.5 mg, Remeron dropped to 30 mg PM. Immediate relief of symptoms, like nothing had ever happened!  Joined SA and began on advice of friend who recognized it was WD all along! Began tapering in July 2015.

Been tapering both meds ever since, focusing on one more than the other or doing no more than 5% of each per month.

12 mg Effexor and 5.8 mg Remeron (mirtazapine SolTabs to make a solution with OraPlus) as of 5/4/2017 

Update 3/14/18: 2.9 mg Remeron and 6 mg Effexor; 6/10/18:  2.6 mg Remeron and 4.9 mg Effexor

 

My intro: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/9313-squirrellygirl-effexor-withdrawal-etc/page-2#entry196679

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

Link to comment

SquirrellyGirl - First, I want to say thank you for being the held-out hand I need so much right now. I really feel like some people would take their own lives if this website didn't exist. Just the glimmer of hope is enough to go ahead and live to see another day.

 

You're right about the tardive dysphoria studies. I hadn't taken that into account. I guess I just get to that habit of reading on the Web of people who are three years out and depressed. But I remind myself that these people may not exercise, or may not modulate their negative thinking, they may isolate, vitamin D might be low...there are 1,000 different factors with depression, not just the removal of an AD.

 

I'm a bit better today. Damn sleep deprived, but at least my monthly arrived, and usually my sleep gets a bit better. I do know my heading down a down path is very much related to isolating. The fatigue that causes the isolation is from poor sleep, which is caused by poor gut health. I'm working very hard on that! Poor gut health has slowed my thyroid, so low T3 doesn't help matters! (Saw a dr. in Dec. who wanted to put me on an AD instead of thyroid meds --- don't get even me started!) Saw a naturopathic dr. who is working with me to repair and heal my gut (it's called "leaky gut"), and then my thyroid should improve and sleep should be fully restored, and then I'll have more energy to socialize and get on with my life and my AD recovery.

 

THANK YOU FOR BEING THERE FOR ME and replying. Just knowing that recovery is possible and I can be happy once again keeps me hanging on every day. As a return for the kindness, I will say extra extra extras prayers for you and all these poor souls here at SA.org. XOXO

Edited by JanCarol
Moved from "Worried about Tardive Dysphoria"

September 2001 - 10 mg Sarafem (fluoxetine) for mild case of PMS that could have been helped by exercise and diet modification! I was NOT depressed prior to taking this drug. July 2002 - CT, no issues except stomach distention (honestly, I think daily running helped, but I didn't know a thing about WD or that it even existed)

August 2003 - reinstated to resolve severe stomach bloating (a WD symptom from year before; didn't realize it was a WD symptom)

2003-2009 - on and off 10-20 mg, CT at several points with no issues! Literally no issues except stomach distention.

March 2009 - CT, no issues except estrogen/progesterone imbalances and stomach distention 

March 2010 - reinstated 10 mg for one month, CT, no issues except estrogen/progesterone imbalances and stomach distention 

November 2010 - reinstated 10 mg for one month, CT, insomnia began one month later.

January 2011-January 2015 - went on 10 mg fluoxetine every six months for one month, always CTing.

March 2015-November 2015 - Finally learned to taper! 

September 2019 - fully recovered from WD; gut issues remain

 

"The only way out is through." 

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Cakes, thank you so much!  Your comments bring me joy!

 

You are doing so many wonderful things for yourself, such a loving thing to treat yourself so well.  I know the isolation can be hard.  I live in the country well away from people and only have my dogs for company.  I tend to hate getting out of the house and going out "there," so I understand that tendency. It really does help to connect with someone even if through keyboard. 

 

We'll get through this together :-)

 

SG

Edited by JanCarol
Moved from "Worried about Tardive Dysphoria"

Started ADs back around 1995 after bad break-up, starting with Prozac.  Switched to Wellbutrin, and then to Effexor in 2002
Effexor XR 2002-2014 up to 225 mg at one point, down to 37.5 mg towards end but back up to 75 mg in 2014; now realize I had W/D as I dropped down, memory very poor about history.  Extreme emotions, poor concentration as I stepped back down, didn't connect the dots!
Summer 2014 reduced to 0 very quickly, was sick of anhedonia/sexual dysfunction due to meds, depression never controlled if not worse. Didn't recognize WD since symptoms built slowly (thought I had ADD! and menopausal on top of it), starting with severe sweats, very bad cog-fog and memory issues, culminating in weight loss, severe anxiety and depression, panic, severe apathy and insomnia by eight months off.  Saw p-doc who put me on Remeron, increased from 7.5 mg/day to 37.5 mg by May 22, 2015; still doing very badly though able to sleep.

June 1. 2015 Reinstated Effexor XR 37.5 mg, Remeron dropped to 30 mg PM. Immediate relief of symptoms, like nothing had ever happened!  Joined SA and began on advice of friend who recognized it was WD all along! Began tapering in July 2015.

Been tapering both meds ever since, focusing on one more than the other or doing no more than 5% of each per month.

12 mg Effexor and 5.8 mg Remeron (mirtazapine SolTabs to make a solution with OraPlus) as of 5/4/2017 

Update 3/14/18: 2.9 mg Remeron and 6 mg Effexor; 6/10/18:  2.6 mg Remeron and 4.9 mg Effexor

 

My intro: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/9313-squirrellygirl-effexor-withdrawal-etc/page-2#entry196679

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • Moderator

topics merged.

"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 month later...

 

prozac-wd-update-3-years-out-cakesgimmecakes

 

Hey, Survivors,

I hope you're doing well. I keep you ALL in my thoughts every single day.

 

I'm almost a year off my last taper of Prozac (you can see my signature for the nearly 15-year roller coaster that only got bad about 6 years ago).

 

I have more windows than waves now. I'm feeling more like "me" every day, and I can't put into words how much I enjoy being in my own mind again and not under the haze and cloudiness of an antidepressant. I'm more me than I've been in 16 years, and it's weird and crazy and fun and pleasant. I get emotional about it sometimes, because it's such a gift to be off the poison.

 

My remaining withdrawal symptoms are:

 

Complete and total havoc of my female reproductive system, which is most likely caused by adrenals that are still recovering from being WAY TOO worked during my taper. My cortisol is only just starting to come down to Earth. This has caused low T3 in my thyroid, which has led to my female hormone problems and digestion problems (I'm constantly fighting off Candida even though I have not had refined sugar anything in 5 years -- I'm not exaggerating either). My sleep is ok. Some nights are good, some are bad. The worst symptom I have is constant pounding heart and weird anxiety right after I eat (anything -- even foods I've tested as not being intolerant/sensitive/allergic to). I think the pounding heart has to do with (take your pick!): low T3, screwy progesterone or estrogen (or both), blood sugar spiking from something adrenal related (I don't have diabetes or anything, though). I hope the heart nonsense goes away because it's so unpleasant and I did not have it until month 3 off Prozac and after I started and stopped a thyroid med (my ferritin iron is too low to tolerate ANY thyroid meds). I'm eating nutritiously, exercising about 4 days a week, and I take Vit B6, magnesium, vit C, iron, and a little cod liver oil. I'm low on vit d, but vit d supps are too stimulating; they give me mild anxiety and insomnia. 😕

 

I'm utilizing CBT and meditation. I'm doing something I love and remaining SOCIALLY ACTIVE. No more isolating and ruminating. Those two behaviors always lead me down to Pittsville (where, NO, Brad isn't mayor!).

 

I'll update again at my one-year mark. I seemed to have turned a good corner at month 9. Months 6, 7, 8, were a bit tough, but I survived. We are all "surviving antidepressants."

 

I'm not 100%. Know that. Nope. But I wanted to share my story so as to give you hope. I do feel there is a light at the end of all our tunnels.

 

 

Edited by ChessieCat
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September 2001 - 10 mg Sarafem (fluoxetine) for mild case of PMS that could have been helped by exercise and diet modification! I was NOT depressed prior to taking this drug. July 2002 - CT, no issues except stomach distention (honestly, I think daily running helped, but I didn't know a thing about WD or that it even existed)

August 2003 - reinstated to resolve severe stomach bloating (a WD symptom from year before; didn't realize it was a WD symptom)

2003-2009 - on and off 10-20 mg, CT at several points with no issues! Literally no issues except stomach distention.

March 2009 - CT, no issues except estrogen/progesterone imbalances and stomach distention 

March 2010 - reinstated 10 mg for one month, CT, no issues except estrogen/progesterone imbalances and stomach distention 

November 2010 - reinstated 10 mg for one month, CT, insomnia began one month later.

January 2011-January 2015 - went on 10 mg fluoxetine every six months for one month, always CTing.

March 2015-November 2015 - Finally learned to taper! 

September 2019 - fully recovered from WD; gut issues remain

 

"The only way out is through." 

 

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Hi, did you total sleep time each night gradually improve from the 6 month mark to where you are at now?

  • 1992-Feb. 2016- Took almost every antidepressant on the market. Cold turkeyed most of the medications I took.

Stopped taking Paxil February 8 2016. I tapered the dose from 50 mg to 0 over the course of about 10 weeks

On no medications as of Feb. 8, 2016

As of 10/23/16-Still unable to sleep more than 4 to 5 hours a night, sometimes less

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My sleep improved, yes. I'll have 6-hour streaks. Or it'll be 5 and 3, or 4 and 4. One night about a month ago I slept 7 hours straight! Also, I'm sleeping more heavy now, whereas a few months ago my sleep was extremely light.

 

I do think it's my hormones all out of whack. A cascade of issues from withdrawal.

September 2001 - 10 mg Sarafem (fluoxetine) for mild case of PMS that could have been helped by exercise and diet modification! I was NOT depressed prior to taking this drug. July 2002 - CT, no issues except stomach distention (honestly, I think daily running helped, but I didn't know a thing about WD or that it even existed)

August 2003 - reinstated to resolve severe stomach bloating (a WD symptom from year before; didn't realize it was a WD symptom)

2003-2009 - on and off 10-20 mg, CT at several points with no issues! Literally no issues except stomach distention.

March 2009 - CT, no issues except estrogen/progesterone imbalances and stomach distention 

March 2010 - reinstated 10 mg for one month, CT, no issues except estrogen/progesterone imbalances and stomach distention 

November 2010 - reinstated 10 mg for one month, CT, insomnia began one month later.

January 2011-January 2015 - went on 10 mg fluoxetine every six months for one month, always CTing.

March 2015-November 2015 - Finally learned to taper! 

September 2019 - fully recovered from WD; gut issues remain

 

"The only way out is through." 

 

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Congratulations! ????So happy for you, it's a tough road but it does has slow improvement for better, month after month. I am almost 14 month off med, and for the past 2 month felt a great shift, noticable improvement overall. Healing happening, it just takes time. Slowly but surely it is happening. I think about it and it makes me genuinely happy that there is a way out of this nightmare. And I lived trough it and so many of us. It's a great hope for people who is tapering, people who is not taking medicine any longer! Just believe and be patient, continue working hard on the ways to better yourself in every area of your life, don't grow weary.

~ 2004 was started on Paxil 40 mg

~ 2004 reduced dose to 10 mg by cutting pills (without dr advice)

~ 2006 reduced dose to 7.5 mg and started taking Paxil every 3d day 

~ 2014 (June) started feeling anxious (symptoms of restlessness and anxiety severe)

~ 2014(July) was placed on Buspar and Xanax, stopped after 1 week, could not tolerate

~ 2014 (September) started on 12.5 mg of Zoloft, stopped in December 2014

~ 2014 (December) restarted Paxil 5 mg/day

~ 2015 (February) fast taper from Paxil due to severe restlessness and anxiety

~ 2015(March) 0 Paxil, severe WD symptoms

~ 2015 (April) placed on 5 mg Lexapro by Dr, but split pill in 4, 1.25 mg/day

~ 2015 (May) started tappering, symptoms started getting worst

~ 2015 JUNE 26th completely off Lexapro till present day~

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My sleep improved, yes. I'll have 6-hour streaks. Or it'll be 5 and 3, or 4 and 4. One night about a month ago I slept 7 hours straight! Also, I'm sleeping more heavy now, whereas a few months ago my sleep was extremely light.

 

I do think it's my hormones all out of whack. A cascade of issues from withdrawal.

 

This is awesome news. Glad you are doing better and have the energy to socialize!

  • 1992-Feb. 2016- Took almost every antidepressant on the market. Cold turkeyed most of the medications I took.

Stopped taking Paxil February 8 2016. I tapered the dose from 50 mg to 0 over the course of about 10 weeks

On no medications as of Feb. 8, 2016

As of 10/23/16-Still unable to sleep more than 4 to 5 hours a night, sometimes less

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