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12 long years...just write me the script, doc


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57 year old female here. 12 years ago I went through a horrific divorce and was placed on lexapro for depression. This made me more depressed, so, Wellbutrin was added to the mix. I got better! Then, crashed again, meds were changed over and over for about 3 years. Over this time period, I had ups and downs, ups and downs. Was diagnosed as Bipolar 2, placed on Lamictal. Am now on Lamictal 150 mg., Zoloft 100 mg, and Ambien 10 mg. I AM going to taper off these. I do believe that the Lamictal and Zoloft are stimulating, and would like to come off them first, while continuing to take the Ambien. Then, when stabilized, will come off the Ambien.


Am horrified at how glibly these psychiatrists will just take out their pads and write you a script for "whatever!"


I was planning on weaning off Lamictal and Zoloft at the same time, then Ambien later. What do you all think?


Thanks SOOOO much.

57 year old female...desiring to get healthy, and get off psychiatric drugs. You name it, I've been on it!

Currently on:

Lamictal 150 mg.

Zoloft: 100 mg.

Ambien: 10 mg.

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  • Moderator

Hi Positiveone-- welcome to the group, I think you found us just in time.  Being on multiple drugs can be a challenge to come off of but done correctly it can be done with a minimum of trouble.  We have found from bitter experience that it is best to taper one drug at a time.  We have a lot of information for you to go through so I'll start you off with a couple of threads to look at:


Taking multiple psych drugs? Which drug to taper first?


Tips for tapering off Lamictal (lamotrigine)


Tips for tapering off Zoloft (sertraline)


Why taper by 10% of my dosage?


Thank you for adding a signature block, if you would please add the information about your specific drugs it would be really helpful.

20 years on Paxil starting at 20mg and working up to 40mg. Sept 2011 started 10% every 6 weeks taper (2.5% every week for 4 weeks then hold for 2 additional weeks), currently at 7.9mg. Oct 2011 CTed 15oz vodka a night, to only drinking 2 beers most nights, totally sober Feb 2013.

Since I wrote this I have continued to decrease my dose by 10% every 6 weeks (2.5% every week for 4 weeks and then hold for an additional 2 weeks). I added in an extra 6 week hold when I hit 10mg to let things settle out even more. When I hit 3mgpw it became hard to split the drop into 4 parts so I switched to dropping 1mgpw (pill weight) every week for 3 weeks and then holding for another 3 weeks.  The 3 + 3 schedule turned out to be too harsh so I cut back to dropping 1mgpw every 4 weeks which is working better.

Final Dose 0.016mg.     Current dose 0.000mg 04-15-2017


"It's also important not to become angry, no matter how difficult life is, because you can loose all hope if you can't laugh at yourself and at life in general."  Stephen Hawking

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Positiveone ,   welcome to the site.


Your story is the story of so many of us .... put on ad's , they stop working , try a different one , double the dose , other meds. are added - a mood stabilizer , a benzo (to try and dampen the toxic effects) , and they call it bipolar and just pull out that script pad when they see us coming.  So glad you've found your way here .... we have all the information and support you need to taper off safely.


I'm going to give you a number of threads to read to start off with.


We suggest tapering just one medication at a time , starting with the most activating , in your case zoloft.

See http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/2207-taking-multiple-psych-drugs-which-drug-to-taper-first/


Ah ,  brassmonkey beat me to it , please read the threads provided above.

Please could you have another go at your signature / drug history , including current dosages and dates.

Instructions are here  http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/893-please-put-your-withdrawal-history-in-your-signature/


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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Thank you, brass monkey, and fresh....

I've already read some of the threads you've posted. I'm eager to get started, and of course feel like I want to cut 50% tomorrow, and then be off by next week. Haha, I guess that is not likely. I need to plan just how to do this, whether by dissolving the pills in water, or by weight? Not sure.


Also, my doctor loves to hand out pills, and is not going to be at all happy about me getting off. I may need to find another doctor, and am not quite sure how to go about that.


What is the consensus on here about diet? Paleo? Low Carb? Doesn't matter?


Also, I have been reading some interesting info from Kelly Brogan, and was wondering what you all think of her writings?


Thank you soooo very much for this ministry of yours, of the encouragement and help you offer.

57 year old female...desiring to get healthy, and get off psychiatric drugs. You name it, I've been on it!

Currently on:

Lamictal 150 mg.

Zoloft: 100 mg.

Ambien: 10 mg.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Positiveone, I like your handle!


Your story of polydrugging is a very common one.  Seems like everyone who has been on multiple ADs ends up diagnosed as bi-polar.  I could easily have been polydrugged had I stayed in touch with p-docs and mentioned my mood swings, but instead I just kept to myself even though I wasn't doing great on my drug, and had GPs renew.  They seemed to be happy to do so without enquiring about how I was doing or how long I had been on them.  I wish one of them had asked about an exit plan!


I'd try your doctor out, let him know you want to come off your meds and want to follow a conservative taper, have been researching it, and would he be willing to keep prescribing as you do so?  If he gives you trouble, the next p-doc you try out will likely be okay with prescribing once you lay out your needs since hey, he/she is getting you as a new patient from someone else!  At least that's my theory!  My current p-doc thinks it is OCD of me to do the 10% taper, weighing my doses, but he is willing to work with me.


I have been dry-cutting my meds using the Gemini20 milligram scale I bought on Amazon.  http://www.amazon.com/American-Weigh-GEMINI-20-Portable-MilliGram/dp/B0012TDNAM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1458700610&sr=8-1&keywords=gemini20+scale


I weigh out two weeks of doses at a time and put them in empty gel caps:  http://www.amazon.com/Capsule-Connection-Wholesale-Gelatin-Capsules/dp/B00428B6X6/ref=sr_1_1_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1458700664&sr=8-1&keywords=oo+gel+capsules


If you choose to go this route, that scale has some quirks so we will help you when the time comes.


As for diet, basically eat a clean diet, organic when possible, fruits and veggies and clean proteins. Which version of that is your preference.  And lots of water, something I have trouble with!  Omega 3 fats are very important for a healing brain, and 2-4 g/day are recommended.  The brain is made up of a lot of fat!  I like coconut oil now that it has been deemed a good fat.


Magnesium is another supplement that most of us take, good for anxiety and insomnia.  You can learn more about it here:




I think Kelly Brogan is well regarded here.  Since you seem to be a researching type like me, you might enjoy surfing around MadInAmerica.com where you will learn tons about psych meds and withdrawal.


As you begin tapering, the first rule is to listen to your body.  Never do a "scheduled" cut if you are currently experiencing symptoms.  You will want to keep  a journal of when you do what, and note when and if withdrawal symptoms appear.  This will give you an idea of how long after a cut you experience symptoms, how long they last, and then what a reasonable interval is between cuts.  You want to allow for a period of stability after symptoms rise and fall off before doing the next cut.  SA recommends every four to six weeks, but if your symptoms come up at day 5, fall off at day 10 and you are solid for a week, you could move up to every 3 weeks.  Even then, it is good to hold for a couple of months now and again to allow your system to truly get caught up, as faster tapers can add up and overtake the nervous system.


I'm glad you found SA!


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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