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Autumn

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Hello.  I have read a lot on this website.  I hope that it is okay that I post here despite not withdrawing from antidepressants myself, thought I can very much relate to symptoms of withdrawal.  I am facing the prospect of going on antidepressants (Zoloft, most likely).  I am terrified of this idea.  I have had pretty major health problems that resulted in a baseline mild depression, becoming very severe at points.  Right now I am in one of those severe episodes.  

 

This is the first time throughout all the years that I have genuinely sought help.  It's the first time that I have really addressed the trauma of the illness and the depression that resulted from it.  This depression has been severe recently and my clinician is recommending I go on medication.  Essentially to start a partial hospitalization program, which I think would be good for me and would want to do, I have to go on medication.  

 

My experience with trauma is tied up in taking prescription medications and having bad reactions, experiencing withdrawals from meds and all that fine stuff.  So that in itself is contributing to my dislike of taking medication.  I also have always felt bad on medication, just off.  It's hard to explain, but I just feel so uncomfortable and not right.  It feels like there's something in my body that shouldn't be there, and I'm always aware of it.  I have tried very hard throughout all my physical illness to be on as little medication as possible for this reason, going the natural route as often as I can.  I am also still recovering physically, and don't want to alter anything in my body.

 

I do not want to go on antidepressants.  I have read many stories that validate my fears of negatively affecting my physical health and my fears of withdrawal, which I have experienced from many other meds.  I don't know what to do because I know I need more help than I am getting, and this seems to be my only option now.

 

I was wondering if I could hear from you.  I'm feeling very lost right now.  Did antidepressants do anything positive for you?  Do you wish you hadn't begun them?

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Autumn.        Welcome. We don't recommend medication , here or talk about  which drugs are best !    A/D's do nothing good. Many here have been adversely affected.  If you are wishing to taper off , then we can help .  If not , then I'm not sure.   What are you wanting to do ?

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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  • Moderator Emeritus

I believe every single person on this site (and we have over 5000) members would say they wished they'd never started them. 

 

For myself, it was possibly the single most damaging decision I've made in my life.  I don't say that lightly. 

 

There will be another way - search for it with all your heart. 

 

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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Hi and welcome! What kind of medication have you been taking?

Follow your instinct about antidepressants. I am taking zoloft, and it has been really horrible. Wd is sometimes extremely hard.

Current dose: 0! Free!  Quit June 2017.

 

2017: Last dose zoloft: 17 June 0,00065 mg 18 May 0, 001 mg 14 May 0,002 mg 9 May 0,003 mg 28 April 0,006 mg 19 April 0,009 mg 8 April 0,013 mg 25 March 0,019 mg 22 March 0,039 mg 18 March 0,052 mg 16 March 0,079 mg 4 March 0,086 1 March 0,099 mg 22 February 0,11 mg 15 February 0,13 mg 6 February 0,145 mg 24 January 0,15 mg 19 January 0,19 mg 10 January 0,20 mg 3 January

 

2016: 0,98 to 0,22 mg

2015: 2,35 to 1,01 mg

2014: 4,9 to 2,5 mg

2013: 9,1 to 5,1 mg

2012: 15,7 to 9,7 mg

2011: Started on 25 mg - then 50 mg- dropped to 25- to 12.5 mg - back to 25 mg - after 18.75 mg started tiny tapering to 16.6 mg

 

Started on 25 mg Zoloft in March 2011 due to stressrelated tinnitus that gave me panicattacks. Had a terrible reaction to Zoloft from start, but was told to "hold on". After four months I was stuck. Therefore the long taper. Crazy, I know... Super sensitive to drops and have dropped by 4-6 % from the previous dose.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Autumn,

 

Welcome to SA.  I am really glad you have found this site and have posted your dilemma.  I wish I had never taken antidepressants and agree with what Karen has said.

 

"I do not want to go on antidepressants.  I have read many stories that validate my fears of negatively affecting my physical health and my fears of withdrawal, which I have experienced from many other meds.  I don't know what to do because I know I need more help than I am getting, and this seems to be my only option now."

 

It's great that you recognise that you need help.  I do have a suggestion as an alternative to drugs.  Find a really good supportive therapist (supportive of your decision NOT to take drugs) who is can teach you MCBT (Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy) OR you can do it online yourself.

 

There are many ways/things which are much better than popping a pill.

 

Audio:  First Aid for Panic (4 minutes)
 

Resources:  Centre for Clinical Interventions (PDF modules that you can work through, eg:  Depression, Distress Intolerance, Health Anxiety, Low Self-Esteem, Panic Attacks, Perfectionism, Procrastination, Social Anxiety, Worrying)

 

One member is working with Dare: The New Way to End Anxiety and Stop Panic Attacks by Barry Mcdonagh.  There are some videos on YouTube.

 

From what I have learnt since doing a CBT workshop online and since being a member here is that understanding how stressors affect us and knowing the signs leading up to the anxiety or panic means we can deal with it before it gets full blown.  Dr Claire Weekes explains it as being a 2nd fear or a fear of the fear.  Dr Weekes was a sufferer so understood it first hand.

 

It is presentation that someone has posted on YouTube about her techniques (CAUTION:  the volume goes UP after the first bit!!!)

 

Claire Weekes Self Help for Your Nerves

 

And this is our topic here on SA:  the-dr-claire-weekes-method-of-recovering-from-a-sensitized-nervous-system/

 

And I found this when I googled:  http://www.anxietycoach.com/claire-weekes.html

 

I hope this helps.  CC

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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I do not want to go on antidepressants.  I have read many stories that validate my fears of negatively affecting my physical health and my fears of withdrawal, which I have experienced from many other meds.  I don't know what to do because I know I need more help than I am getting, and this seems to be my only option now.

 

Autumn,

 

As far as I'm concerned, the question answers itself here.  You say you don't want to go on antidepressants.  The only reason you are considering this is because your clinician is essentially holding you hostage to the drugs as a means of getting into a program you view as helpful.  You need to find another clinician who will help you without the drugs.  The most important thing in all of this is to be true to you inner voice -- that thing inside you that is telling you that this is not right for you.

 

I can give you tons of statistics about the fact that A/Ds are no better than placebo (when using an active placebo) and that those that take the meds are at significantly greater risk for relapse into depression, and that depressions usually resolve on their own within 6-9 months at the outside, but that is all window dressing.  The pure and simple fact is that you are telling us you don't want to go on antidepressants.

 

As others have posted -- there are alternatives that have been demonstrated as equally or more effective than antidepressants without the side effects or the long term risk profile.

 

So, why would you? 

 

Best,

 

Andy

Sertraline 50mg and Clonazapam .375mg from 2000 -- symptoms of dizziness Spring 2012

increased to .5 Clonazapam and 100mg Sertraline -- no improvement

Benzo microtaper from November 2012 to November 2014 (followed benzo sites "taper benzo first")

Started Sertraline taper in December 2014 cut by 25mg to 75mg; 62.5mg 1/1/15 and 50mg on 2/1/15

Held at 50mg through April 5 to use liquid 
Reduced dosage in 10% or less drops from 50mg to 25mg -- at single tablet of 25mg on 10/5/15

Transitioned to all liquid for accuracy while tapering -- Horrible insomnia -- back to 25mg liquid and held until October 1, 2016

10/16 -- 11/18 tapered very slowly to 10.6mg.  No real improvement and never really stable so updosed to 12.5mg (1/2 a pill) for convenience and long hold.

After 8+ months of holding with no noticeable improvement decided to add .4ml of liquid Prozac (about 1.5mg) to see if that improves the situation

Supplements, Magnesium, D3, Omega 3, curcumin, Valerian, 81mg Aspirin, L-Theanine, Vit. C,

 

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I have to agree with all the above ~ if I could go back I would NOT have taken the Zoloft.

 

There are other avenues to help ~ i, personally, am consulting with a naturopath & am using the Dare response. Highly recommend it!

 

I'm glad you came here & hope that our advice helps. Take care.

On Zoloft for 10 years (50 mg) for GAD & panic attacks

Weaned off fall of 2013, terrible set back in Feb '14 back on 100 mg & trazadone to sleep.

Did CT off of Zoloft in May 2014 - bad decision!

Back on 50 mg Zoloft & Xanax as needed (was upped to 75 mg by doctor in Feb 2015)

Started to wean off of Zoloft in April 2015 ~ totally off Zoloft in Oct 2015 and now am on Buspar 11.25 mg to help.

I was on a 50 mg pill & 25 mg pill - I cut the 25 mg pill in half (12.5) and took that with the 50 for 6 weeks - 1st week June 2015

 50 mg for another 6 weeks. 25 mg in half and the 50 mg in half (37.5), 25 mg mid Sept for about 2 weeks.,1/2 of the 25 mg last week of Sept/1st week of Oct then off.

Update** 9 mg Zoloft reinstated early Nov 15, along with 1.5 mg Buspar daily. On .50 of Buspar & 9 mg of Zoloft. Oct '16 - off of Buspar, Nov '16 - down to 7.5 mg Zoloft. March'17 - 4 mg Zoloft. July'17 - 2 mg, Sept 1 mg. Oct'17 - off! Done!

I also take magnesium, L theanine, Gaba Calm, L Glutamine, Vit B complex(for methyl issues), Liver & Gall bladder support, Zinc, Whole Food Vit C & Fish Oil. DARE & the bible are the tools I use to help navigate this  process.

 

 

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You sound like you already have a sensitive system like many of us here do, since you've dealt with withdrawal from other drugs. I would highly recommend NOT going on A/Ds, no matter what you have to do to avoid it. There is therapy, natural supplements. I'm glad you are taking this seriously as I was prescribed A/Ds at 19, not knowing any better when I started having panic attacks when my dad got cancer and passed away. It was prescribed to me willy-nilly. I am tapering Effexor now and it will probably take me a few years to come off. Totally agree with the others here.

History: Began suffering from panic attacks when my father passed away in 2005. Been on and off SSRIs (Celexa, Lexapro, Effexor XR), and therapy since then.

2009 - Started Effexor XR 75mg. Consistent therapy starting Oct 2013

Feb 2014 - Therapist and I felt I was ready to come off Effexor - went to half dose (37.5mg) for a week and then off completely by advice of psychiatrist - bad w/d for a week then gone

May 2014 - bad protracted w/d came out of nowhere.. constant dizziness, agoraphobia(never had before), intense headaches, fatigue for 3 months, all tests (brain MRI, inner ear tests, blood tests, etc.) normal. could not drive, grocery shop, or live life.

Aug 2014 - back on Effexor XR 75mg as neurologist thought these symptoms were my anxiety coming back, all w/d symptoms disappear within 2 weeks. I should have went back on at a lower dose, but I hadn't discovered this site yet. I finally did discover this site, and gave myself a year to stabilize.

July 2015 - Started tapering from 75mg. 5% cuts every 3 weeks. From July 2015 - March 2016, reduced to 37.5mg (half dose). In March 2017, down to 18.3mg (quarter dose). April 2020 - down to 0.38mg.

 

Now: Finally med free as of Oct 31, 2020 after 5.5 years of tapering. Still med and withdrawal free, October 2021. ☀️

Supplements during tapering and now: Meditation, daily exercise, fish oil, clean diet, working from home (more sleep!)

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  • Moderator Emeritus

One thing to be aware of is that St Johns Wort is a natural version of Prozac.

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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Avoid ADs at all costs.

 

Not worth the pain and suffering that goes with it.

 

Try every non-drugged method you can to help you recover from your depression.

 

Hugs,

JC

Dose History: 19 Feb 2014 - Escitalopram 10mg daily June 2015 - Started taper, 5mg every other day July 2015 - 5mg every 2 days August 2015 - 5mg every 3 days September 2015 - 5mg every 4 days Sept 14th - Completed tapering, but at 7 weeks "drug free" I suffered serious WD symptoms as a consequence of "incorrect" tapering. Nov 25 2015 - Re-instated Cipralex @ 2.5mg daily. WD symptoms faded. Held at this dose and experienced "windows and waves". 12 Oct 2017 Reduced dose to 1.25mg. 13 Mar 2018 Reduced dose to 0.625mg (approx.). 16 April 2018 0mg. Windows and waves triggered by stress (IBS/reflux, headaches, sinus issues) Aug 2019 Mirena coil fitted 6 Jan 2020 MAJOR Wave hit 19 months following last dose (protracted WD).  Symptoms listed below Mar 2020 Mirena coil removal.

Therapy: Nov 15th 2016 Re-started therapy Jan 19th 2017 Started CBT Dec 2017 Started listening to Hypnotherapy CD (self-esteem). Nov 2019 Started couples therapy.

Supplements: "Bioglan" Biotic Balance Ultimate Flora 10 billion CFU, live Bacteria, Probiotic, suitable for Vegetarians, with Lactobacillus Acidophilus, Lactobacillus Rhamnosus, Bifidobacterium Longum"Pukka" Vitalise a unique blend of 30 energising botanicals.

Diet: 16 April 2018 Detox cleanse / anti-candida for 90 days. Jan 2020 Started "small plate" diet (i.e child size portions).

Exercise: Stretching, Yoga, Pilates, Spinning, Elliptical/upper body workout, walking.

Medical Test Results: 4 Jan 2017 Homeopathic Treatment starts 24 Feb 2017 Started weight loss program 24 Mar 2017 Naturopathic Treatment + anti-Candida diet started due to suspected Candida Related Complex (CRC). DETOXED for 7 weeks to "re-set" gut. April 2017 "Genova Diagnostics" Comprehensive Stool Analysis NEGATIVE; Full Blood Count (Normal) / Blood Cholesterol: 5.6 (Borderline) / Blood Sugar (Normal) / 28 Jun 2017 FSH 8.2 / 14 Nov 2017 FSH 17.7 Dec 2017 Blood Cholesterol: 3.9 (Normal) / Kidney Function (Normal) / Blood Sugar (Normal). December 2017 "Genova Diagnostics" Food panel allergy (bloodwork) analysis - a few "VERY LOW/VL" allergens; Mar 2018 "Genova Diagnostics" SIBO urine analysis: High Level of Yeast/fungal markers found in small intestine but NO SIBO.  April 2018 Thyroid (Normal) / Full Blood Count (Normal) / FSH (Normal). 16 April 2018 Started anti-Candida diet - 3 month protocol.   25 March 2020 All test results "Normal". CRP" 5 mg/L (normal range to 0-5 mg/L).

Symptoms:  Flu-like symptoms, anxiety, anhedonia, sinus headaches right-side (severe), IBS issues/reflux (severe)**, tinnitus, fatigue, inner tremor, nausea, chills/hot flushes, pounding heart, muscular issues including stiff left hip flexor, intense anger, PSSD (ongoing).  **Histhamine intolerance (suspected).

Major Life Events: 

Re-located to UK from Canada: Jan 2016

My father died: 5:05pm, Monday 5 Feb 2018 Last Lexapro dose: 16 April 2018 (its now been over a year since I quit ADs)  Moved house: Friday 23rd February 2018  "Divorced" toxic Mother: Monday 26 March 2018 Starting working again: 19 November 2018  Diagnosed with: 5th August 2021 PTSD/C-PTSD Diagnosed with: March 2022 Interstitial Cystitis (IC)/Painful bladder syndrome

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I want to thank everyone who listened and answered here.  This has been incredibly comforting to me.

 

I want to clarify that I do really like and trust my therapist.  She has never pushed meds on me at all.  We agreed that I needed a higher level of care, so I went to an intake at a partial hospitalization program.  I was actually excited to have a plan and thought this was going to be a good step for me.  After meeting with the clinician there, he said basically that I couldn't do the program without meds.  My therapist agreed with what they were saying but also understood my points and if I didn't want to do the program.  Hence, devastation.  I was so frustrated.  I was asking for help and being denied.

 

My gut is always no medication (of any kind) if I can help it.  But things have been so bad recently I have been wondering, is this even right?  I have loads of professionals telling me that medication is the only and right way.  So I felt like it was my only option because this is the only type of that program and the program seemed like a perfect fit to me.

 

I feel so validated right now having read your responses.  I was doubting my instincts because I was so desperate for help.  Thank you for all your answers, although I'm truly sorry what being able to give that advice has cost you.  Not that I have gone through this myself, but I have experienced withdrawals from some pretty heavy duty drugs so maybe I can relate a tiny bit to what it must be like.  I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy (who right now might be that psychiatrist... so maybe I would wish it).  

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Autumn ,  if the program insisted on you taking meds. to be involved , it clearly isn't the right program for you.

 

Keep looking - the help you want is out there , and will come .   In the meantime , please start to look at supporting your recovery through nutrition.

Magnesium and Omega3's (fish oil)  are recommended , you'll find threads in the Symptoms and Self Care section.

 

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

I'd have a go at those links Chessie posted - you may find even just starting to learn those things helps bring you out of this place of desperation and frustration.  

 

There is a world of strength in you Autumn, and I'd wager that building up your own 'program' will bring you more success than relying on somebody else's one-size-fits-all-drug-based program. 

 

Hugs,

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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