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How psychiatric drugs remodel your brain


Rhiannon
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Bruci,

I agree with you whole-heartedly.  This post by Rhiannon in 2012 (or about that time) changed everything for me and I believe is one of the most powerful posts ever written here.  Perhaps many would think it changed things in a bad way for me because I go so slow, but I finally understood why I couldn't make teeny-tiny changes w/o feeling complete withdrawal almost immediately.  One change affects everything else you take (including food and supplements)  Since I have been taking 3 psychotropic drugs for 20 years and been on an AD for nearly 40, my brain changed.  I am still plugging away one speck at a time but I have only "up-rooted" about 1/2 (or maybe less)  of the plant on my trellis over 10 years. That is all my brain will allow me to do.  I was not stable at the outset of my taper and have not been willing to updose enough in order to get stable so I just plug away one speck at a time, trying to feel okay about the fact that I won't be off these drugs before I die, but I am putting less toxins in than I was a decade ago.  Had I not done what I did then, I am sure I would not be here now.  I have a ton of iatrogenic illness due to poly-pharmacy so it is quite a juggling act.  The biggest take-home point here is that reducing one drug affects everything else you ingest...and the vine will collapse if you mess with too much of it.  Though I have not collapsed, I live on the edge of collapsing but am determined to continue going forward one speck at a time.  I do not compare my progress to anyone else's because they are not me!  So don't prune that vine too aggressively but keeping pruning.  Good luck.

 

Grace

amitriptyline from 1980-2002, along wi/ intermittent, infrequent use of benzos over 2 decades

2002-2010 Klonopin 1-2 mg., ambien 10--20, mg, remeron 4 mg. and  trileptal 300 mg

2011 Stopped ambien and crossed over to valium 17.5 mg. (updosing 2.5 mg. to cover ambien C/T ) tapered valium w/ long holds to 12.74 mg.

2015-present  tapered from 300 mg. trileptal to 103 mg.;  12.74 valium,  4 mg. remeron

 

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I've always used the anolgy, if that's the right word.  That people who don't take the drugs, their brains go through life flawlessly, like when we were all children. The worst ones on anti depressants, our brains have missed out on what naturally should have happened, including living with any anxiety/depression etc. That's how I kinda see it, and have said that before joining the site. My brain has had to work it out. 

 

I use the word flawlessly as for me personally on the drugs, everything got interupted. I don't think there's no shame in saying that I want to feel like I did prior drugs. If I have my old symptoms/worries back, will have to address them in another way

Social Anxiety diagnosis at root.

 

Born. 1983.

 

2001 - 2003  olanzapine and risperidone. 

 

2003 - 2007 Seroxat and prophanol. Cold turkey. Went on venlafaxine straight after.

 

2008- 2014. Venlafaxine. 6 month taper, crushing tablets powder form.

 

end 2014 - present. No meds.

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  • 4 months later...

Awesome read. Now I can explain this to my family members that view these brain altering drugs like Aspirin. 

2010–2022 paroxetine dosage has fluctuated between 40mg highest to 20mg lowest. Currently on 20mg once daily.

I stopped taking drug in Sep, 2020 to beginning of April 2021 & had to get back on within the same month.

No other drugs/medications being taken at this time.   

Prior drugs were Prozac for about a month while trying to come off of Paroxetine which didn't work. I don't remember exact date maybe 2019. 

"Stay hopeful, better days are coming".

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Hello everybody! I read this entire thread and was concerned about some statements. I had a very sudden withdrawal of medication according to medical advice, could this indicate that my brain will never go back to what it was? Will I always have sequelae from the drugs? How much does the dose interfere with withdrawal? If I used high doses for a short time or medium doses for long periods, how does that affect withdrawal? Which situation is worse? Do I run the risk of the brain having an imbalance in the future for having already used these drugs one day? Thanks to anyone who can answer these questions!

2021 Feb 25 - 15mg Mirtazapine and 5mg Aripiprazole

2021 March - 30mg Mirtazapine and 5mg Aripiprazole

2021 April - 30mg Mirtazapine and 10mg Aripirazole

2021 May - 45mg Mirtazapine and 10mg Aripripazole

2021 June - 45mg Mirtazapine and 10mg Aripripazole

2021 July - 30mg Mirtazapine and 0mg Aripiprazole

2021 July 20 - 15mg Mirtazapine  

2021 August - 0mg Mirtazapine

Supplements: I tried Zinc for a while, but it irritated my system and I always had headaches. I currently only take Omega 3.

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Gosh, Warrior. If only anyone knew the answers to these reasonable, yet unanswerable questions! We are all so different. I have been participating  in SA for years and I learned long ago that we are all so different. What causes a setback for one person, has no effect on another. Doses, time on drugs, multiple changes in drugs, genetics, epigenetics, diet, exercise and lifestyle, etc are remarkably different in each unique individual. I know someone on this forum who took an A/D for just a few weeks and was irreparably harmed. Others have taken huge doses of various drugs over decades, and managed to get off everything. Others, like me, have been tapering at a record snail’s pace and will likely never get completely off. I have had a lot of acceptance to do along the way and have learned not to compare my journey to anyone else. I have followed the general advice given here to the max, but health issues from a lifetime of chronic problems have made me choose the least bad path…which is terrible…but the least bad. I used Rhiannon’s analogy about clipping off too much of the vine at once to help me accept that 10% cuts at a set rate would not  get me off. Now I do what my brain and body allow. 
 

Good luck. SA is a guideline. There is no one set absolute for any of this. If only I had known all if this 40 years ago. By the time I knew what had already happened to me, serious damage had been done. 
 

please listen to what your brain and body can handle and just keep going…one “crumb” at a time…if necessary. 
 

Grace

amitriptyline from 1980-2002, along wi/ intermittent, infrequent use of benzos over 2 decades

2002-2010 Klonopin 1-2 mg., ambien 10--20, mg, remeron 4 mg. and  trileptal 300 mg

2011 Stopped ambien and crossed over to valium 17.5 mg. (updosing 2.5 mg. to cover ambien C/T ) tapered valium w/ long holds to 12.74 mg.

2015-present  tapered from 300 mg. trileptal to 103 mg.;  12.74 valium,  4 mg. remeron

 

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@savinggraceHi! Thank you very much for replying! It's sad to know that. So many lives damaged by this and unfortunately, we have no other way out than to face this process. I'm worried, because I was forced to use these drugs and I had to fight everyone to start the withdrawal, it was very difficult. I'm young and I was just going through a phase of stress, but because of these meds, I've already wasted more than a year of my life just suffering, stuck at home without being able to do the things I'd like to do. I've been on 0mg for 9 months now and I still have strong symptoms. Clearly we are in different stages of life and withdrawal too, you are probably a mature person and you have already faced a lot, you must know how to deal with it all much better than I do.
I'm trying to get through this as best I can, there are days that are very difficult and I think about giving up, but deep down, I have to believe that it's just a phase. Facing it all is only more distressing, no one really understands until they go through it. My body suffers a lot from all these symptoms and I end up destabilizing myself too, getting emotionally shaken.
I hope one day we will be here reporting different moments of joy and well-being, supporting other people who also need help.
I just have to thank you and everyone here at SA! Thank you very much!

2021 Feb 25 - 15mg Mirtazapine and 5mg Aripiprazole

2021 March - 30mg Mirtazapine and 5mg Aripiprazole

2021 April - 30mg Mirtazapine and 10mg Aripirazole

2021 May - 45mg Mirtazapine and 10mg Aripripazole

2021 June - 45mg Mirtazapine and 10mg Aripripazole

2021 July - 30mg Mirtazapine and 0mg Aripiprazole

2021 July 20 - 15mg Mirtazapine  

2021 August - 0mg Mirtazapine

Supplements: I tried Zinc for a while, but it irritated my system and I always had headaches. I currently only take Omega 3.

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There is so much hope for you Warrior, so please don’t compare yourself to me. My psych drug journey began post-partum  with my first child. I suffered for a year before I was diagnosed. (1980) Meanwhile I was given sleeping pills. I was young, trusted the doctor and felt so much better once put on amitriptyline…for years. Then it stopped working. In the meantime I suffered from poly/pharmacy for constant sinus infections and various other maladies which contributed to destroying my gut. It wasn’t until about 15 years ago that I realized what the drugs were doing to me. I had to retire from a teaching job I adored at age 48. 
 

I have barely been getting by since. I tapered all 3 drugs, one at a time, until life became unbearable. I chose to hang on to the “shreds” of life that were left. Long-term hospitalization would have been the psychiatric path off and I knew, from my incredibly sensitized system, that I would just survive that only to be put on different drugs. 
 

So I live a very very small life. I do get out of bed and have managed to maintain relationships with important people, just barely. I am 67. I still taper crumbs every few months and have never up-dosed once I made this choice. 
 

I am getting sicker and don’t expect to live much longer. I will not go into the hospital as I know it will just bring changes my brain/body can’t, and won’t handle. I take it one day at a time. My frail body is hanging on barely but my mental ability remains intact. For that I am grateful. 
 

You have accomplished so much that I never will. I hope you continue to make the choice not to turn back to the drugs. You have decades ahead for your brain to heal. 
 

Meanwhile be kind to yourself and do not engage with people who push you in the wrong direction. Live a clean lifestyle and wait and hope for the day your brain shows signs of healing. I am sure it will!

 

My best to you, Warrior. Keep on fighting. 
 

Grace

amitriptyline from 1980-2002, along wi/ intermittent, infrequent use of benzos over 2 decades

2002-2010 Klonopin 1-2 mg., ambien 10--20, mg, remeron 4 mg. and  trileptal 300 mg

2011 Stopped ambien and crossed over to valium 17.5 mg. (updosing 2.5 mg. to cover ambien C/T ) tapered valium w/ long holds to 12.74 mg.

2015-present  tapered from 300 mg. trileptal to 103 mg.;  12.74 valium,  4 mg. remeron

 

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Hi Warrior,

 

one more comment after more closely studying your drug history…

 

you were on high doses of powerful drugs. In my opinion, and in the protocol recommended here, you did an awfully rapid taper off both drugs. 
 

Many people have made the same mistake and they do eventually recover, but as in Rhiannon’s analogy, you likely tore off too much of the vine at once, causing your brain to need to work much harder (and possibly longer) to achieve homeostasis. 
 

It can, and it will. It is just going to take more time. You can do it. Every day free of drugs gets you one day closer to being your old self again!

 

Grace

amitriptyline from 1980-2002, along wi/ intermittent, infrequent use of benzos over 2 decades

2002-2010 Klonopin 1-2 mg., ambien 10--20, mg, remeron 4 mg. and  trileptal 300 mg

2011 Stopped ambien and crossed over to valium 17.5 mg. (updosing 2.5 mg. to cover ambien C/T ) tapered valium w/ long holds to 12.74 mg.

2015-present  tapered from 300 mg. trileptal to 103 mg.;  12.74 valium,  4 mg. remeron

 

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3 hours ago, savinggrace said:

There is so much hope for you Warrior, so please don’t compare yourself to me. My psych drug journey began post-partum  with my first child. I suffered for a year before I was diagnosed. (1980) Meanwhile I was given sleeping pills. I was young, trusted the doctor and felt so much better once put on amitriptyline…for years. Then it stopped working. In the meantime I suffered from poly/pharmacy for constant sinus infections and various other maladies which contributed to destroying my gut. It wasn’t until about 15 years ago that I realized what the drugs were doing to me. I had to retire from a teaching job I adored at age 48. 
 

I have barely been getting by since. I tapered all 3 drugs, one at a time, until life became unbearable. I chose to hang on to the “shreds” of life that were left. Long-term hospitalization would have been the psychiatric path off and I knew, from my incredibly sensitized system, that I would just survive that only to be put on different drugs. 
 

So I live a very very small life. I do get out of bed and have managed to maintain relationships with important people, just barely. I am 67. I still taper crumbs every few months and have never up-dosed once I made this choice. 
 

I am getting sicker and don’t expect to live much longer. I will not go into the hospital as I know it will just bring changes my brain/body can’t, and won’t handle. I take it one day at a time. My frail body is hanging on barely but my mental ability remains intact. For that I am grateful. 
 

You have accomplished so much that I never will. I hope you continue to make the choice not to turn back to the drugs. You have decades ahead for your brain to heal. 
 

Meanwhile be kind to yourself and do not engage with people who push you in the wrong direction. Live a clean lifestyle and wait and hope for the day your brain shows signs of healing. I am sure it will!

 

My best to you, Warrior. Keep on fighting. 
 

Grace

Hello, Grace! I'm impressed with your life story. I can't imagine what you've been through, it was certainly very difficult. I would like to be able to do something for you, help you in some way. I am sad to hear of your current situation, without a perspective. I imagine it is not easy and simple. Still, I wish you the best, Grace! May you stay strong too, just like you're asking me to be! The strength you are giving me is incredible.
I had no choice to get into these drugs, I was forced to use them, against my will, unfortunately. At the time I knew I was going through a difficult phase and I felt confident to overcome it and continue living.
I will follow your advice and help! I have to keep fighting this.

 

3 hours ago, savinggrace said:

Hi Warrior,

 

one more comment after more closely studying your drug history…

 

you were on high doses of powerful drugs. In my opinion, and in the protocol recommended here, you did an awfully rapid taper off both drugs. 
 

Many people have made the same mistake and they do eventually recover, but as in Rhiannon’s analogy, you likely tore off too much of the vine at once, causing your brain to need to work much harder (and possibly longer) to achieve homeostasis. 
 

It can, and it will. It is just going to take more time. You can do it. Every day free of drugs gets you one day closer to being your old self again!

 

Grace

True, Grace! The vine analogy is a very good one. In fact, with everything I've been going through, I feel like my brain is ripped apart, somehow incomplete, weakened, in shock at the new reality that has been presented to it. If that's the way, I just have to walk it, as you said. 

Thank you so much again! I thank you 1 million times if necessary and the entire SA. I don't know how I would have spent this time without this community and these diverse reports.

2021 Feb 25 - 15mg Mirtazapine and 5mg Aripiprazole

2021 March - 30mg Mirtazapine and 5mg Aripiprazole

2021 April - 30mg Mirtazapine and 10mg Aripirazole

2021 May - 45mg Mirtazapine and 10mg Aripripazole

2021 June - 45mg Mirtazapine and 10mg Aripripazole

2021 July - 30mg Mirtazapine and 0mg Aripiprazole

2021 July 20 - 15mg Mirtazapine  

2021 August - 0mg Mirtazapine

Supplements: I tried Zinc for a while, but it irritated my system and I always had headaches. I currently only take Omega 3.

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  • 2 weeks later...

i have been on zyprexa for probably nearly 15 years at 10mg everyday for that amount of time including a daily AD for even longer, now i can understand a AD affecting your neuro transmitters and your brain learning over time to adapt again without the drug and so becomes a new brain, however zyprexa actually shrinks the brain! how does your brain grow back to its original size? is that possible? at present i am not capable of thinking about anything that involves anything creative or thought provoking...just the basics eg what am i eating for dinner, do some shopping and cleaning..nothing that makes me anything more than just a monkey and works on auto pilot! any thoughts on this anyone?

Cipramil  40mg  1996 to October 2017 stopped cold turkey

Zyprexa 10mg solid form  1996 to October 2017

Zyprexa 7.5mg solid form  October 2017 to October 2019

Zyprexa 5mg solid form  October 2019 to April 2020

Zyprexa 3.75mg solid form April 2020 to May 2020

Zyprexa 2.5mg solid form  May 2020 to feb 2021

Zyprexa 2.5mg solid 3/4 and 1/4 liquid w/ 5mls water 6th Feb 2021 to 2nd April 2021

Zyprexa 2.5mg 1/2 solid and 1/2 liquid w/10mls water 3rd April to 26th June 2021

Zyprexa 2.5mg dissolved in 25mls of water from 27th june 2021 to 22nd Oct 2021

Zyprexa 2.5mg 1/2 solid, 1/2 dissolved in 10mls of water from 23rd Oct 21 to present

 

 

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3 hours ago, morgana said:

i have been on zyprexa for probably nearly 15 years at 10mg everyday for that amount of time including a daily AD for even longer, now i can understand a AD affecting your neuro transmitters and your brain learning over time to adapt again without the drug and so becomes a new brain, however zyprexa actually shrinks the brain! how does your brain grow back to its original size? is that possible? at present i am not capable of thinking about anything that involves anything creative or thought provoking...just the basics eg what am i eating for dinner, do some shopping and cleaning..nothing that makes me anything more than just a monkey and works on auto pilot! any thoughts on this anyone?

Hello @morgana! I don't know about brain shrinkage caused by these medications, but I don't doubt it can happen as they change everything in our body. And even more so because you say yes. I also feel like you described, like I'm on autopilot, I can't visualize my actions, thoughts. It's like I know what I'm doing, but I can't rationalize it. I answered a thread about this and it feels like the frontal lobe is turned off or blocked. It also happens with ideas, abstractions, as well as anesthetized emotions.
I believe these symptoms will pass, but I don't know how long it will take.

2021 Feb 25 - 15mg Mirtazapine and 5mg Aripiprazole

2021 March - 30mg Mirtazapine and 5mg Aripiprazole

2021 April - 30mg Mirtazapine and 10mg Aripirazole

2021 May - 45mg Mirtazapine and 10mg Aripripazole

2021 June - 45mg Mirtazapine and 10mg Aripripazole

2021 July - 30mg Mirtazapine and 0mg Aripiprazole

2021 July 20 - 15mg Mirtazapine  

2021 August - 0mg Mirtazapine

Supplements: I tried Zinc for a while, but it irritated my system and I always had headaches. I currently only take Omega 3.

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  • 1 month later...

Hi - reading this topic has been so interesting, I've been on citalopram for years and never really understood how it worked biologically. I've been on SSRI's since I was 14, and at that stage I was still not developed, so I've been on this type of drug since before my brain and body fully developed and matured. A decade later I've tried to reduce citalopram and its been awful, and I'm worried that because of how long I've been on SSRI's and the fact that I was on them from a young age has meant that it'll take my brain years to 'repair' or just get used to being on a lower dose. I tapered way too fast (trusted the doctors advice to just taper in a few weeks..) and even though I'm stopping all adjustments now (to let my brain heal) my brain feels zapped every day. It's so awful being in your early 20s and feeling like your brain just isn't okay, while everyone around you seems to be getting on with their lives. 

2012 - Fluoxetine 10mg. 10mg --> 20mg soon after 

2017 - direct switch from Fluoxetine 20mg --> Citalopram 20mg. 20mg -->30mg soon after.

2017 - addition of Pregabalin 50mg daily, stopped a year later in 2018. 

December 2021 - citalopram 30mg --> 40mg, 4 week updose taper. 

18th Feb 2022 - citalopram 40mg --> 30mg (due to side effects) 

30th March 2022 - citalopram 30mg-->25mg (rec by doctor, in order to ultimately reduce citalopram and switch medications). 

24th April - 30mg-->20mg. Side effects. 30th May - 20mg-->15mg. Side effects. 9th June - 15mg->10mg. 11th June - 10mg->15mg.

15th June - Addition of 7.5mg Mirtazapine. 20th June - stopped mirtazapine (bad side effects). 

11th June to 5th August - citalopram 15mg hold. 6th August - 15mg --> 16.5mg (to try and alleviate acute WDsymptoms)

Currently - on 16.5 mg citalopram. 

Supplements - 250mg Vitamin C daily 

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