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Unfi: Antidepressant failures and temazepam withdrawal


Unfi

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Sorry this is complicated, but this is a general overview of my history with antidepressants.  Overall the main problem I've dealt with most of my life is trouble sleeping.  One part of it is that I can have a lot of difficultly quieting down my thoughts.  Another current aspect is that my friends/roommates stay up all hours of the night, and I've been getting influenced by this way too much.  Over the past number of years I feel that I gotten too dependent on doxylamine/diphenhydramine for sleep, and it can be limited in how much it helps due to how fast the tolerance builds up.  My overall reactions to antidepressants suggest that I have some form of bipolar.

I did try a number of antidepressants around 1997-2000, and I tolerated them just fine, although I'm not sure if they really helped.  The next time I tried an antidepressant was 2008, which was 20mg of cymbalta.  This made me completely wired with racing thoughts, and unable to sleep for 3 days.

In 2012 I was given temazepam for sleep (30mg), and I was told that it would be fine to take continuously.  After about a month I started feeling strong tingling sensations through my whole body, and I this hunger that would not stop no matter how much I ate.  I told my doctor and he said to just stop taking it.  Once I did, my brain just went haywire.  I started getting rapidly alternating bouts of severe anxiety followed by calmness.  This turned me into complete emotional wreck over the next month.  I went to my doctor and he said me that withdrawal is not a problem with temazepam, so he sent me to a psychiatrist.

The psychiatrist told me the same thing about temazepam, he thought something else was going on.  I was given 7.5mg of remeron, and this solved everything after the first pill.  It was able to put me to sleep quite well for the first two weeks, but then the sedation wore off.  He upped the dose gradually to 22.5mg over a course of a month, and it eventually shifted to feeling like some sort of crazy stimulant.  He had me stop it immediately, and afterwards I didn't sleep for 3 days while not feeling at all tired, and my mood was quite good.  This is something I'd never felt before.  If took me about 5 months to settle out and start feeling normal again.  I found that during this time I was immune to all the sleep medications that had worked before.  Also, if I had anything that had any amount of caffeine, it felt maybe 10 times as powerful as it should.

In the beginning of 2015 some majorly stressful events happened to me, and a different physician sent me to another psychiatrist because I just couldn't sleep with all the stress.  I've always found that long periods of sleep loss can send me into an emotional meltdown, and once I start sleeping again my mood resolves itself.  I was given 50mg of amitriptyline, and it worked great for sleep for 2 weeks, but then the the sedation wore off.  They were quite surprised that I was no longer getting any sedation, but they wanted me to keep taking it anyway.  I had the same issues with caffiene feeling dramatically more powerful at any amount.  I've been strictly avoiding it ever since.  I stayed on the amitriptyline for about 3 months, until I started feel this building anxiety with this anger and frustration towards the end of the day.  When I would take the amitriptyline, this feeling would disappear.  This was another new thing that I hadn't experienced before.  I went off of it and then this feeling was gone within 3 days.

This past winter was particularly bleak.  I had next to no social contact and I got severely depressed.  My sleep became very restless where I would get maybe 1 hour of sleep a night for 4 days.  I started getting the same bouts of anger that I got from the amitriptyline.  I might be able to sleep well for a few days and start to feel normal, but then I would crash hard.  This was extremely alarming, because once again I had never experienced anything like this before.  I went back to the psychiatrist and I was put on lamotrigine and paxil.  I started with 25mg of lamotrigine and that was upped to 50mg.  For paxil I started at 5mg which was brought up to 15mg.  I was able to start sleeping again around the 5-10mg dose.  Once I got to the 15 dose, I started getting a lot of muscle twitching.  With in a day or two, my whole body was shaking uncontrollably.  This unbelievable amount of anxiety came out, and I was having a complete emotional breakdown.  I could sleep for maybe a hour after a few days when my body would sort of drop from complete exhaustion.  Another thing that happened is my pupils got really dilated, colors got incredibly bright, and I started getting hallucinations: where things would moving around and I was seeing faint, shimmering geometric patterns in objects.  This was an utterly horrifying experience.  I was given a bottle of temazepam (15mg) to help deal with this, and I think this is the only way I managed to survive this.  The psychiatrist was only available through email and she told me to just keep taking the paxil.  Once I got them on the phone, I got the shout down treatment.  They called BS on this being any form of bipolar, and they told me to get to work to take my mind off things and that I was sitting around worrying myself to death, however I did finally manage to convince them that antidepressants were not for me, and they had me stop taking the paxil.

I eventually got in contact with my work and explained the situation, and I decided to leave the hospital completely and switch health insurance.  I visited  a new physician that looks to be a very good one, and I discussed the temazepam with him, which I had been taking for about 3 weeks.  The only reason I had continued to take it that long is because I was afraid of the withdrawal.  The physician told me that some people can take it for a very long time and not have any withdrawal, while a smaller group of people can have quite a lot of trouble after only two weeks.  Temazepam, is proving to be very difficult to get off.  I've been trying for the last couple of months to balance getting rested, getting my life and work back together, figuring out of the new medical system, while trying to taper off the temazepam.  For a good long while I felt that I was totally back to normal.  I found that anytime I lowered the dose, the anxiety and sleeplessness would come back.  I did have 3 days when I was out of temezapam and I couldn't get anymore due to an insurance/pharmacy mix up.  I ended up getting powerful tingling sensation all through my body, along with sensation of things crawling across my skin.  Visually, I was seeing exaggerated after images.  Sleep was not happening.  This stopped once I was got more temazepam.

So, I'm about two and a half months into temazepam.  The tingling sensations and anxiety are continuously getting worse as I take it.  I went back to physician, and he sent me to a new psychiatrist, though he said with the new medical system he's on, he doesn't know the people he's referring the patients to, and he doesn't know if they're any good.

The new psychiatrist dismissed that the tempazepam could be a problem.  They interpreted the issues I had when I couldn't get tempazepam as a bipolar episode, and I'm having trouble buying into that.  They want me to up the dose of lamotrigine (bringing it eventually to around 300mg), which I'm on 50mg of and to keep taking the tempazepam.  I do agree with the bipolar stuff to a point.  Any description I've read of full mania is not something I can relate to in any way.  Hypomania only really fits how I felt after I stopped taking remeron, but I can't say ever felt like that otherwise.  Some things fit, like the difficulty with turning thoughts off, and taking on too many projects.  Atypical depression best fits the type of depression I get.  The elevated mood and euphoria is not something I can relate to.  But things get tricky when they say patients have a poor ability to recognize these things.

So, this is the point I'm at, and I'm not sure what move to make next.

 

(There are probably a lot of errors.  Sorry, writing is not my strong point.)

Was taking 50mg of lamotrigine, and of 15mg temazepam around the beginning of March

6/13: 50mg of lamotrigine, and 8.5mg of temazepam

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Welcome Unfi,

What do you mean writing is not your strong point ..i think you have written very well.

 

What may not be your strong point is saying 'NO' !

Its very easy to have a misplaced trust in doctors assuming that their so called 'medicines' are safer than what they are.

 

Had to google temazepam hadnt heard of that one before looks likes its a benzo mutated out of valium.

Hypomania is also a wdl symptom.

 

I' m sorry you are in this difficult position and the medical profession have left a lot to be desired and that is the politest way i can put it.

 

I do agree with the bipolar stuff to a point. 

I would not be buying into this.

 

I would check out the benzo thread and someone can advise tapering that and consider not updosing the lamotrigine. This is a complicated one.

 

Do you feel you are currently stabilizing?

Ive been on the computer too long today and i have pain so must stop typing now. Hopefully others will be in soon.

 

nz11

Added temazepam to my notes.

Cant help but wonder what that cat's been swallowing...

Thought for the day: Lets stand up, and let’s speak out , together. G Olsen

We have until the 14th. Feb 2018. 

URGENT REQUEST Please consider submitting  for the petition on Prescribed Drug Dependence and Withdrawal currently awaiting its third consideration at the Scottish Parliament. You don't even have to be from Scotland. By clicking on the link below you can read some of the previous submissions but be warned many of them are quite harrowing.

http://www.parliament.scot/GettingInvolved/Petitions/PE01651   

Please tell them about your problems taking and withdrawing from antidepressants and/or benzos.

Send by email to petitions@parliament.scot and quote PE01651 in the subject heading. Keep to a maximum of 3 sides of A4 and you can't name for legal reasons any doctor you have consulted. Tell them if you wish to remain anonymous. We need the numbers to help convince the committee members we are not isolated cases. You have until mid February. Thank you

Recovering paxil addict

None of the published articles shed light on what ssri's ... actually do or what their hazards might be. Healy 2013. 

This is so true, with anything you get on these drugs, dependance, tapering, withdrawal symptoms, side effects, just silent. And if there is something mentioned then their is a serious disconnect between what is said and reality! 

  "Every time I read of a multi-person shooting, I always presume that person had just started a SSRI or had just stopped."  Dr Mosher. Me too! 

Over two decades later, the number of antidepressant prescriptions a year is slightly more than the number of people in the Western world. Most (nine out of 10) prescriptions are for patients who faced difficulties on stopping, equating to about a tenth of the population. These patients are often advised to continue treatment because their difficulties indicate they need ongoing treatment, just as a person with diabetes needs insulin. Healy 2015

I believe the ssri era will soon stand as one of the most shameful in the history of medicine. Healy 2015

Let people help people ... in a natural, kind, non-addictive (and non-big pharma) way. J Broadley 2017

 

 

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Hello Unifi.      I'm so glad you found us. We can guide you through this. You will find a lot of support here. We can empathize and understand what you have been through.  Are you wanting to taper off  both medications? 

 

We generally recommend the 10 %  taper method. This enables you to slowly taper in a safe way that doesn't destabilize your CNS.  Thank you for adding your drug history signature.

Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

 

You have had a lot of medication changes, and your withdrawal symptoms are a result of that. It will take a while to stabilize your nervous system . It sounds like you could be extremely sensitive to Temazepam. I think it's probably wise not to updose the lamotrigine, but to taper slowly.

A lot of us have problems with sleep , as a result of the drugs. Eventually this will start to improve. There are natural alternatives to try.

Sleep problems - that awful withdrawal insomnia

 

Have a read of these links , which will help to explain a little more of what's going on :

Brain Remodelling

What is withdrawal syndrome?

The Windows and Waves Pattern of Stabilization

 

Healing from antidepressants. Patterns of recovery/

 

This is your thread to journal your progress and ask questions. Once you've had a read, come back with any other questions that you may have.

Welcome to S.A.

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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SquirrellyGirl

Hello Unfi, 

 

AliG gave you lots of good material to start with.  I just wanted to jump in and say hello.  As I read your post, the thoughts that crossed my mind were "your drugs may be your problem" a la Peter Breggin.  Also, you were suggesting diagnoses for yourself, and around here we have ditched the labeling.  Pscyhopharmacology today is about labeling everyone and then throwing them on drugs for these supposed "diseases," when there is no known disease process for depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, bi-polar, etc., no proven chemical imbalance that these drugs treat.  These drugs create states of altered consciousness, usually some version of a chemical lobotomy so that we aren't aware of our distress, numbing out.  Sure, that can help for the short term, but the long term risks are greater than the benefits; these drugs were never proven safe beyond 6-8 weeks!  These docs throw drugs at us willy nilly and see what  might stick.

 

Most of the time our distress is due to not having healthy coping mechanisms for the conditions that are "life."   We can learn those, however.  No med required.  

 

If you are here because you would like to say goodbye to psych meds and live a life of consciousness, we can help you with that!   No time like the present to learn Non-drug techniques to cope with emotional symptoms.

 

So welcome - we are happy you are here!

 

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 have taken meds for sleep in SSRI withdrawal insomnia(bad mistake), with bad outcomes and got addicted to Temazepam. I think it is really dangerous drug, and can ruin quality of your life soon, when you can't sleep without it and it can ruin your sleep for a long time after you quit it. I also know the desperate feeling, when your body is exhausted, but you just can't fall asleep, it is horrible and the only thing you want in that point is sleep.. i hope i would have been able to cope without meds for sleep, and wait for my sleep to get better.

 

I noticed I didn't tolerate meds anymore and something was not right after quitting Lexapro the last time, and got bad reactions to them I did not have ever before:overstimulation, pins and needles and tingling in my body, sensitivity to bright lights(could not watch big bright TV screens), sleeping problems, anxiety, agitation, feeling too wired and finally an emotional breakdown after trying to reinstate Lexapro...

 

I think insomnia,I had never had in my life was some kind of sign,something was not right and after it I have only got paradoxical reactions to meds after it. When I had started ssri:s with no problems, I did not have problems to sleep, although the doctor always wanted to add simultaneously something to help me sleep for some time. In my case I ended to be overmedicated after ssri withdrawal with too many drugs, when doctor just added drug to another to my cocktail, which made me basically a zombie and made my life miserable. I don't know does she had any idea what she was doing,or does she cared about my wellbeing at all, when I said I think I am sensitive to drugs, when I had 2 bad drug reactions and she just gave me even more drugs.

 

There are not a lot of research of safety of polypharmacy. After that I have lost my faith in psychiatry, read many books,and it really have opened my eyes. How many diagnoses are a result of reactions to drugs? How many bipolar diseases are a result of using antidepressants? How many people eat more meds because of drug reactions(mania,insomnia,anxiety, withdrawal symptoms...etc). And I have read that psychotropic drugs can have negative effect to REM sleep and sleep architecture, which is important to mental health. So taking those is like gambling. Psychiatrists want to find quick results, which end up many times to bad long term effects. Do yourself a favour and think many times( after that many bad reactions), are you sure meds gonna help.

Edited by AliG
Added paragraph breaks

2005-2009 Lexapro 10-20mg & Remeron 7,5mg: cold turkey

2010 tried Venlafaxine (month),

2011-2012 Seroquel 25mg (8 months) & 2011-2015 Lexapro 10-20mg (tapered off during 4 months) 

2014 6 days Cipro(antibiotics) adverse reaction

2015-2016 (all these drugs during 9 months,did not tolerate most of them ) : tried Remeron. Reinstatement of Lexapro 3 months after stopping it: fail. Akathisia, insomnia. Zyprexa10mg, Sodium Valproate, Temazepam(20mg), Oxazepam 30-45 mgs. switching meds: Seroquel 50-100mg, Oxazepam  30-45mg , Temazepam 20mg. Then back to Zyprexa 10mg, Temazepam20mg, doctor took me off Oxazepam fast. Then Zyprexa 20mg, Temazepam 20mg, melatonin10mg ( sometimes very rarely Valium 10 mg.) Zyprexa: cold turkey because Zyprexa made akathisia intolerable after every dose. After it insomnia, 24/7 akathisia. Bad reactions to supplements

2016 spring daily  Valium 15mg>0mg (used for 4,5 months and during that time slowly tapered off), Temazepam 40 mg > 25 mg (tapered in 3 months)

2016 summer Temazepam 25 mg > 20 mg, melatonin 2,5 mg

2016 november Melatonin 0,5 mg, Temazepam 20 mg.  Started tapering again.

2021 march (microtapering) Temazepam 4,0 mg Supplements: probiotics, magnesium oil occasionally, melatonin 0,5 mg

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  • 2 weeks later...

So, I haven't upped the dosage of the lamotrigine, and I've been lowering the dose of the temazepam.  I opened up a pill and found that it contained 200mg of power, so there's a lot of filler.  I removed 40mg of powder from 10 pills, which should bring it to about 12mg.  After I dropped from 30mg to 15mg of temazepam, I felt very wired and emotionally fragile which took 10 days to settle out to a point.  I figure I will drop the dose every 10 days by around this amount: 12mg, 10mg, 7.5mg, 4mg, 2mg.  After I went 15mg to 12mg I felt an increase in wiredness, but this has gradually settled down.  I'm probably at the calmest I've felt in a month and a half, and my mood is on the positive side.

I'm dreading my follow up visit with my psychiatrists.  I just don't see it going well.  I made sure to schedule a follow up visit with my physician before I see the psychiatrists, and I'll be asking for advise.  From the previous visits with my physician, my impression is that he has read the literature and has a better understanding of these drugs than the people who specialize in prescribing them.  From my visits with a number of psychiatrists, my feeling is that they are leading the conversation completely, and they have a narrative behind the questions and what the answers mean, which is probably reinforced with the years they they've been doing it.  With the few things that are brought up; there are more complicated underlining things behind them, and they are only getting a cartoon version of the situation, and they fill in the gaps with their narrative.

The evaluation from this psychiatrists is not something that I can agree with.  The stand out moment is when I described how physically sick I got during the 3 days when I couldn't get temazepam, and their interpretation was that this was a bipolar episode rather than withdrawal.  They also thought the same thing about the last time when took temazepam for too long.  Again, it seems that a lot of the medical world is stuck on the idea that temazepam doesn't cause withdrawal.  There diagnosis was that I have major bipolar illness, and that the only reason that I feel almost normal is because I'm between episodes.  They gave me the talk about resisting medication, and that I would need to be medicated for the rest of my life in order to function in the world.  I've had such a variety of psychiatric diagnoses through out my life.  The cognitive dissonance all it all; I just can't.

One reason for not upping the does of the lamotrigine, is this side effect I've been getting.  I don't know if it's from the temazepam or the lamotrigine, but I haven't had with temazepam alone.  I'm getting a lot of muscle twitching below my knees.  Every now and then it happens in other parts of my body.  When it does, strangely it's most likely going to be my tongue.  It came on very slow, so I'm not sure if it's increasing or not.  I want to be fully off the temazepam, before I try to mess with the lamotrigine.

The most alarming thing that I experienced was the recurrent depression I experienced last winter.  This is so drastically different from anything I've experienced in the past, that I have trouble believing that this would of happened on it own.  From my experience with things like remeron and ambien (which I haven't talked about), these things can have many months of fallout.  Another thing is that effects of these medication can change drastically once you are on it for awhile, stop and then try it again.  I've had my brain poked at a lot this past year.  I just don't know if a switch has been flipped and this recurrent depression could be a thing that returns from now on.  This is something that I try not to think about.

I'm at the point now that there's no way I can ever be convinced to try another antidepressant again, after how far things went with paxil.  I came into this with a lot of skepticism, but I left some wiggle room since self deception can run deep.  These drugs have flat out dished out the very worst experiences of my life, because no matter how bad things can get, I still had my mind.  I really can't get across to doctors how rattled these experiences have left me.  For example, I now struggle to watch displays of mental illness in movies; especially documentaries.  I used to feel nothing, and just not get it.  Now, the reality of these things is just too horrifying, and I have to turn it off.

Was taking 50mg of lamotrigine, and of 15mg temazepam around the beginning of March

6/13: 50mg of lamotrigine, and 8.5mg of temazepam

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  • Moderator Emeritus
SquirrellyGirl

Hi Unfi, 

 

I think you can see why many of us just go to our doctors for refills and don't tell them that we are tapering.  My doctor knows I am but is arrogant and dismissive, saying I have OCD to be weighing my meds and going so slow.  It sickens me.  We reach a point where we realize that if we complain about not feeling quite right (due to withdrawal) then they're going to slap a label on it and try to get us to take another drug.

 

 

I just rewatched Robert Whitaker's talk on Youtube.  If you haven't read Anatomy of an Epidemic, you might want to check it out, very enlightening.

 

 

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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The more I read into this stuff, the more things are starting to make a bit more sense.  This stuff is of course quite complicated, and have my face buried in NASA stuff and the last thing I want to read is more research.  I was always somewhat leery of them, but if I knew more I wouldn't have touched them.  I have some friends that have had good experiences with them, and had pushed them as the way to go.  I guess there was a silver lining in the 10 years that I found it impossible to get health coverage, as there were times in the past when I though I could of benefited from them.

Going down to 10mg is proving to be quite rough.  I'm just not sleeping unless I go back to 12mg.  I notice that the same anxiety I had a week and a half ago has returned.  One thing that is helping is n-acetylcysteine.  I'm taking roughly 3 grams a day and I feels like it really does blunt the anxiety.  A friend who's really into drug research and chemistry told me about this one many years ago.  If I forget to take it, I do notice it.

Was taking 50mg of lamotrigine, and of 15mg temazepam around the beginning of March

6/13: 50mg of lamotrigine, and 8.5mg of temazepam

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I saw the psychiatrist today and just played along.  She wants me to bring the lamotrigine up to 250mg, and she's adding risperidone at 0.5mg, once at night and once during the day.  She's giving this based on that I said I have trouble focusing at work when I haven't had much sleep and when I have unclear goals and not much to work on.  This can go on for months, although it's been this way for most of the last year and it's incredibly boring.

She's pushing pretty hard with the medications and the appointments.  She made a big deal out of me rescheduling an appointment.  I really want to get out of seeing this person.  My original plan was to see someone temporarily to get off of the temazepam, and then see someone else.  I wanted to see some that is also a researcher at Stanford, but the person who knows who this is proving impossible to get a hold of.  I wonder if I can ask to see someone else.  If I ask to see no one, I imagine I'll be seen as a problem patient.

Was taking 50mg of lamotrigine, and of 15mg temazepam around the beginning of March

6/13: 50mg of lamotrigine, and 8.5mg of temazepam

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  • Moderator Emeritus

It's tricky when our doctors aren't 'on our side' so to speak.  There are various approaches to this - some people here just tell their doctor what they need to in order to get the meds required for tapering.  Some find a doctor who doesn't mind much one way or the other. 

 

There are some ideas here for talking to doctors:  http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/2746-what-should-i-expect-from-my-doctor-about-withdrawal-symptoms/

 

Ideally we'd be able to be honest, and work with our doctors (who would also see it as their role to listen to and work with us.  Hold on, what dream and I in now?  It's a pity we can't label them as Problem Doctors.  Just remember, it is you who has final say over what happens to you (because it's you who has to live in your body). 

 

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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SquirrellyGirl

It seems like this doctor is wanting to assure herself work :-)  I have had moments where I wanted to answer the questions about how I was feeling honestly, but then caught myself, knowing that it would just cause my doc to say I have anxiety and need a, b and/or c drugs.  So, now I smile and say all is well at the med checks, and he keeps renewing my scripts that I need.

 

Toss the scripts, and in future, know with this doc that playing "all's well" will keep the appointments to a minimum.  Sad that it has to be that way :-(

 

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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On the other end of the spectrum, I saw a sleep doctor the other day, and he looked up my medication list and said: "Whoa, someone is taking really really good care of you.  Perhaps too good of care."  His office also happens to be directly next to my psychiatrists office.

He wants to refer me to the Stanford sleep clinic, but he said he's going to make some calls to figure out some way to do it so my insurance will charge me the least amount of money possible.

I'm going to go on health grades and give him a very good review.

Was taking 50mg of lamotrigine, and of 15mg temazepam around the beginning of March

6/13: 50mg of lamotrigine, and 8.5mg of temazepam

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  • 2 weeks later...

I was wondering if there's any chance that increasing the lamotrigine a bit (like around 25mg) might help smooth things over?  I'm dramatically better than I was through the winter, when I wasn't taking much of anything, except for having a round of random sleeping pills given to me.  It seem as though it could be helping.

Currently, I spend about a week or two feeling somewhat close to normal and then crash for whatever reason.  I'm starting to remember the sorts of things I experienced when I went off Remeron.  The last thing that threw me off was a series of 8:00am meetings for work.  This is far outside my normal schedule, and I was just not able get much sleep.  The day after these meetings my heart just started pounding like crazy, and I got this severe anxiety without any discernible reason.  I hardly slept at all that night as well.

I've also been experiencing all sorts bizarre and random physiological things that come and go.  The day after this anxiety the very strangest one of them all happened, and it wasn't entirely a bad thing.  I was driving past a park (filled with people) to get myself some food with my window rolled down, and then I noticed smells were intense.  After I breathed in a few times, I realized I was smelling everything all at once in extremely vivid detail.  I was smelling: cars, plants, trees, the things people were barbecuing, the lake.  As I drove past some restaurants, I could easily smell everything that was being cooked inside in detail.  At this point I was getting worried, and I wasn't sure this was real, or if I was going into some sort of hallucinations.  When got inside the restaurant I usually go to, the familiar smells of the ingredients were all there.  Being in there was really overwhelming.  It was almost too much to handle.  This lasted about 10 minutes in total.  I've only heard of something like this described once, and it was something I overheard from a friend of a friend.

Was taking 50mg of lamotrigine, and of 15mg temazepam around the beginning of March

6/13: 50mg of lamotrigine, and 8.5mg of temazepam

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Unifi.  What symptoms are you having now  ? How did it go with the sleep doctor ?

 

 

I've also been experiencing all sorts bizarre and random physiological things that come and go.

 

That's withdrawal . If you read through this list you'll see that this is " normal " withdrawal .

Dr. Joseph Glenmullen's withdrawal symptom checklist

 

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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  • Moderator Emeritus
SquirrellyGirl

Unfi, I'm a little confused about the lamitrogine - in your sig it says 6/13 50 mg - are you wanting to increase it to 75?

 

What are your current symptoms that you are hoping such an up-dose would address?  How do you feel about the fact that you would need to taper lamitrogine using the 10% taper and would be at a higher dosage to start from?  

 

I think it would be good for you to read this:  Tips for tapering off Lamictal (lamotrigine)

 

It sounds to me like you are experiencing Windows and Waves Pattern of Stabilization. The period of yuck, the wave, will end and you will arrive at another window.  Are you sure you want to increase meds when this will happen on its own? This can happen even on medication if your system has been yanked around on meds and is trying to stabilize.

 

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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savinggrace

Hi Unfi,

 

I just read your whole thread from start to finish.  If it were me, I would give it everything I had to NOT go back up on the lamictal.  I just feel you will really regret having 25 more mg. (or whatever) you choose, to taper once you are stable from the temazepam cut  and ready to taper off of lamictal.  I think you are doing better than you realize.  Anyone who is going through this hideous w/d process and working, what sounds like a high level job, and goes to work at 8 a.m. after sleepless nights, is truly amazing!

 

It is very possible that up-dosing the lamictal will make you worse instead of better.  These drugs have to learn to work together, and when you change one, you change the other.  Who knows what upping the lamictal will do to your temazepam taper? Have you tried any of the non-drug therapies like magnesium, magnesium oil, epsom salts baths?  Self-care and good nutrition can really support you.  I know it's especially hard when you are working, but try to make time for it if you can.

 

I so understand that this is all easier said than done.  I am holding on all my meds right now because of some serious medical conditions that I have to deal with, but NO ONE will get me to updose any of my meds EVER.  I fought too hard to get down to where I am, and I don't want to have to re-fight what might be a bigger fight next time.

 

Even while holding I have windows and waves, though I don't know if SA calls it that during tapering or not.  Last week I felt remarkably better than this week and I changed nothing...not drug-wise or life-wise.  Sometimes there is just no rhyme or reason.

 

I LOVE that sleep doctor you saw.  Too bad there aren't more around like him!

 

BTW,  one of my bigger problems is an acute sense of smell; I can smell toxins in things that no one else can smell.  Last summer we had to buy a new bed, couch, and chairs because very soon we needed them, and I knew I would have trouble adjusting to them, so I needed extra time and I did.  They spent the summer and winter in the garage 'out-gassing" the nasty formeldehyde in them.  It took almost a year for me to be able to be in the same room with them without having trouble breathing.  It is actually not the smell causing my reaction: it is my over-ly active nervous system brain sending me constant signals of danger...which sometimes is a blessing, but mostly is a curse.  There are many places I can't go now because of the toxic fumes from chemicals that no one else even senses.  Sometimes I wake up at night smelling things cooking...a very keen sense of something very specific...but there is nothing cooking.  Ah...the things these drugs do to our brains.

 

I hope this wave passes soon and you are able to keep going with your temazepam taper.

 

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 123 mg.; tapered to 12.74 valium and stayed at 4 mg. remeron

 

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Thanks for all the replies.

About upping the lamotrigine:  I read this at one point, and I managed to dig it up again (my memory as to what it said wasn't all that clear):  http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/3769-lamictal-lamotrigine-to-calm-post-discontinuation-withdrawal-symptoms/

Out of all the things I was given in the last year, I'm pretty sure going off the amitryptiline is the thing that caused the withdrawal.  This is when everything started, and it was unbelievably intense.  I just couldn't function in normal life.  I tried to ride it out, but I eventually went me back to psychiatry, and I was put on seroquel for awhile along with gabapentin and zaleplon.  Eventually I was given a combination of lamotrigine and paxil, plus temazepam to deal with the side effects of the paxil.  The paxil went horribly wrong, but once that was out of my system, all of the withdrawal effects where a fraction of what they were just a months ago.  So I feel like it might actually be helping.

The temazepam is my focus because that really did a number on me in the past, and in a short amount of time.  The lamotrigine is definitely going to be a temporary thing, and I plan to figure out what to do with that once I'm done with the temazepam.

I figure this is all withdrawal effects.  Thanks for pointing out the symptom check list.  I missed that one.  There's a lot of information spread across this site.

I'm still waiting to hear back from the sleep doctor with the referrals.  I'll have to get back to him at some point.  My attention is getting pulled in so many different directions at once, and somehow I'm managing to mostly hold it all together.

Was taking 50mg of lamotrigine, and of 15mg temazepam around the beginning of March

6/13: 50mg of lamotrigine, and 8.5mg of temazepam

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  • Administrator

Welcome, Unfi.

 

It seems to me that two (or more) things may be happening: 1) you are a person who is very sensitive to the stimulating effects of serotonergics (antidepressants); 2) going on and off drugs over the years has made you even more sensitive to all psychiatric drugs; 3) you are getting paradoxical reactions or rebound effects from the benzos, which are making the drug sensitivities even worse.

 

All of the above can be damaging to sleep.

 

There are no dates in your post, when did you go off amitriptyline? Did you have any change in your symptom pattern after that?

 

Any change after adding the lamotrigine?

 

If I were you, knowing what I know (and I'm not a doctor), I would 1) stay at 50mg lamotrigine (more is not better); 2) not add risperidone or any other antipsychotic; 3) go to our benzo forum and discuss your benzo schedule; 4) work out something with your roommates so there's not so much commotion.

 

You will need to keep daily notes on paper about your symptom pattern, when you take your drugs, and their dosages.

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

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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The sensitivity to antidepressants seemed to happen all on it's own.  I tried a number of antidepressants and sleep medications through 1997-2000, and I responded as expected at normal doses.  Next time I tried an antidepressant was cymbalta in 2008.  I took one 20mg pill and I was wired and unable to sleep for 3 days.  The only thing I took in between that time was occasional ambien, trazadone, or diphenhydramine for sleep.

I went off the amitriptyline at the end of September, and I was feeling normal for about a month.  At the start of November I started getting constant anxiety.  From the beginning of December to the end of February I started crashing hard.  I would have bouts of not being able to sleep or eat of around 3 days, along with bouts of anger and depression.  I would occasionally feel normal for a week.

I started lamotrigine a the beginning of Feburary, and then Paxil after two weeks.  Nothing really took effect until the beginning of March.  The bad reaction to Paxil lasted a week, and this is when I started the temazepam.  After that I felt like I snapped back to normal for a month.  During this time I was just focusing on getting rested, finding new doctors, and getting my life back in order.  I had a meeting with my physician, 4/15 about getting off the temazepam, and this is about when all the current problems started.

I should start taking notes.  My memory has been rather hazy for quite awhile, and I've been terrible with organization.

Was taking 50mg of lamotrigine, and of 15mg temazepam around the beginning of March

6/13: 50mg of lamotrigine, and 8.5mg of temazepam

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  • Moderator Emeritus

I think all our brains are a bit hazy like that.  I know when I look back at my notes, I'm amazed because I often cannot recall much of it at all. 

 

Have you been over to the benzo forum yet?  I see Alto thought that might be a useful move.  What did you think of Alto's other suggestions?

 

I went off the amitriptyline at the end of September, and I was feeling normal for about a month.  At the start of November I started getting constant anxiety.  From the beginning of December to the end of February I started crashing hard.  I would have bouts of not being able to sleep or eat of around 3 days, along with bouts of anger and depression.  I would occasionally feel normal for a week.

This sounds like waves, with a few windows starting to creep in, or in other words, some slow but good progress.  The more settled you can keep things, the more the stabilisation can happen.

 

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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  • 1 year later...

So I got myself off the temazpam at the end of last April.  The whole year feels like a blur.  I hardly remember much of it.  The were a number of months where I kept the dose the same (at 5mg) because I just couldn't have my life disrupted.  During this time I'd feel remarkably normal.  Once I started the final push around fall (sorry the exact dates elude me), the waves of withdrawal started up again.  With the extreme amounts of sleep deprivation I had to push through, no matter how much organization I had in place I messed up my dose of lamotrigine a few times and the whole thing would turn into a train wreck.  It was just insanely brutal.  Towards end I was tapering by 0.25mg every 2 weeks.

 

As of now I'm in the protracted withdrawal stage.  The waves have continued, and it's happened 3 times since I stopped.  The first time was startlingly bad.  My heart started pounding so fast and hard that I nearly went to the hospital.  It's happen two times since, which have not nearly been as bad, but still pretty miserable.  The symptoms have been anxiety, major sleep deprivation, muscle twitching below the knees, pins and needles, and mild hallucinations (seeing faint shimmering patterns in objects).  I'm wondering if anyone might have any idea of how long this might take to run down?

 

I have no idea what to do about the lamotrigine.  My main concern is that by staying on it this long it'll become a complete nightmare to get off of.

 

Other than that, since my last post I tried to stear clear of this site and have avoided reading about any the horror stories.  This stuff really scares the hell out of me, and I've found that I need to keep myself optimistic to get through this.

Was taking 50mg of lamotrigine, and of 15mg temazepam around the beginning of March

6/13: 50mg of lamotrigine, and 8.5mg of temazepam

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  • Moderator Emeritus

When your symptoms have stabilized, that's the time to start thinking about tapering off lamotrigine.  Do what you can to let that go until it's time and keep your attention on the present. You may find ideas in this topic:

Non-drug techniques to cope with emotional symptoms.

 

Would you update your signature to include the year you started lamotrigine (2016) and to update your temazepam dose?

Account Settings – Create or Edit a signature.

 

If you want to start thinking ahead about tapering lamotrigine, please read

Before you begin tapering -- what you need to know.

Why taper by 10% of my dosage?. -- first post

Tips for tapering off Lamictal (lamotrigine) -- first post

Edited by scallywag

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.
1997-1999 Effexor; 2002-2005 Effexor XR 37.5 mg linear taper, dropping same #beads/week with bad results

Cymbalta 60 mg 2012 - 2015; 2016: 20 mg to 7 mg exact doses and dates in this post; 2017: 6.3 mg to  0.0 mg  Aug. 12; details here


scallywag's Introduction
Online spreadsheet for dose taper calculations and nz11's THE WORKS spreadsheet

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