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VinceC: Zoloft Nightmare


VinceC

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Hello everyone, 

 

 I need some serious help!!! I have stopped taking Zoloft completely by the request of my GP and am suffering immensely. I was originally on 100mg and began to tapper off mid November. My doctor had me alternate between 100mg and 50mg every other day for 2 weeks. He said that's the equivalent of 75mg. Then from there I went down to two days 50mg then one day 100mg for two weeks.  At this point the withdrawal started to get bad but I was able to suck it up. So I kept tapering. By the time I got to about 10mg (at Christmas) I was to dizzy to stand, nauseated, felling feelings of unreality, suffering from extreme neck and back pain, confused by everything, emotional as hell, and feeling deep anxiety and depression. I decided to raise my dose to 37.5 on dec 28th and left it there, I was struggling immensely for the first few weeks but by the 18th I started to come around. By the 26th I felt comfortable at 37.5 and decided to start tapering again. One day 37.5mg next day 25mg. Within a day or two I was dizzy, confused and emotional again. I road it out until about feb 16th and decided to start taking 31.25 everyday. I left it there and for the next few weeks it was like a roller-coaster, I cant really tell if i ever evened out at 31 because by march 15 my depression and dizziness had gotten so bad that I had to take sick leave from work. My GP told me because my dose was "so low" I should just cut off cold turkey now, and I would be fine in 2 weeks. It has now been 47 days since I took Zoloft and I am feeling the worst depression I have ever had, anxiety and confusion, constant dizziness and feelings of unreality. My symptoms are changing day to day, week to week and sometimes hour to hour. I do get windows once in a blue moon where I feel "somewhat" ok, but they are only once a week max if i'm lucky.  

 

Sitting here at home, all I do is research now. From what Iv gathered my GP made my tapper WAY to fast, and was telling me it was WAY to slow.. I am now torn between reinstating, or just riding it out? The depression this week is unbearable Iv been having crying spells every night this week and cant leave my house at all. Im constantly dizzy, physically ill like theirs a vortex in my stomach that feels like I need to puke (but wont actually happen).

 If I were to reinstate I definitively would not got back to where I was. Would 3.5mg or 6mg help a little with the symptoms???? And would tapering off that small amount be as bad as this has been? I will lose my job if I have to go through this again!!!!!!

 

Pls help me someone   

Edited by scallywag
tags added

Venlafaxine 150mg (Oct, 20 2008)

Venlafaxine 75mg (Aug, 2010)

Escitalopram 10mg (June,04,2014)

Sertraline 100mg (Dec, 2014 - March 22, 2016)

 

I have been on SSRI's a total of 8 years.

 

By doctors orders tapered off Sertraline from early Oct to March 22 2016. Drug free until May 14th, reinstated at 6.25mg due to completely debilitating withdrawal symptoms.

Have not stabilized since, and still suffering immensely.  

 

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  • Moderator
brassmonkey

Hi Vince-- welcome to the group.  I'm sorry to hear that you're having such a rough time right now.  You've done some good research and seem to understand what is happening and what to do about it. I think a small reinstatement would be a good idea.  It is always best to start low and see what happens.  The fast taper has left you in a sensitized state and any abrupt change could trigger more problems.  Starting on the 3.5 is a good place.  It takes four days for the drug to become steady state in the blood, during which time the symptoms can be all over the place.  Once things are steady state it can take several weeks for the the symptoms to start to resolve, but they will.  So don't be in a rush for results.  Here are some links to good information:

 

What is withdrawal syndrome? 

 

About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms 

 

Tips for tapering off Zoloft (sertraline)

 

Those will get you started, give them a read and then ask us a lot of questions.

 

Would you please add a signature block with all of your drug history, it will really help us to help you.

 

Please put your withdrawal history in your signature

 

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.

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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Hi Vince.  I moved your topic from Tapering to create an introduction for you , as you are new to the forum. If you click " Follow"  above,  you will be notified when someone responds to your post.

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

HI VinceC, 

 

I'd like to say that your doctor should be forced to undergo what you experienced with his bad handling of getting you off Zoloft!  We see stories like this far too often around here on SA!

 

Sorry you had to come here, but we are happy you did - you will be well-supported 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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Thanks for the warm welcome guys! 

 

Brassmonkey: What does steady state mean exactly. Some websites I read say problems should quickly resolve after reinstatement?

 

 

AliG: Thanks Ali, I planned to create an introduction but the past few days iv been so overwhelmingly depressed, and am stuck in an endless panic attack so I posted out of desperation :( 

 

 

SquirrellyGirl: I agree completely! He doesn't take my withdrawal seriously. I think hes convinced that I'm just "wired" this way and he suggested I stay on the meds forever! he says he has plenty of patients who have been on it for as long as he can remember and there happy on it. I was one of them, but didn't make the connection all these years that my terrible side effects were caused by this.  

Venlafaxine 150mg (Oct, 20 2008)

Venlafaxine 75mg (Aug, 2010)

Escitalopram 10mg (June,04,2014)

Sertraline 100mg (Dec, 2014 - March 22, 2016)

 

I have been on SSRI's a total of 8 years.

 

By doctors orders tapered off Sertraline from early Oct to March 22 2016. Drug free until May 14th, reinstated at 6.25mg due to completely debilitating withdrawal symptoms.

Have not stabilized since, and still suffering immensely.  

 

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So a little update today,

 

 Iv been really undecided whether I should reinstate or not. Mainly because I'm caught in a massive never ending panic attack/depressive state that wont let me think logically at all. Also because of many concerns including:

 

- Firstly how incredibly long it is going to take to tapper off, and the fear of suffering the whole time through it.

- A great fear that once I actually hit zero, the panic attacks and depression will just start again after a few weeks leaving me in the exact same position im in now.

- Absolutely no effective way to divide my pills accurately in 10% increments (Iv been opening the pill, emptying the power, and dividing it by eye up until now)  

 

So this morning I once again woke up heart racing, extremely anxious, and feeling like my life is ending. I said to myself I cant do this anymore; I need to make a decision. I took one of my 25mg pills divided it four ways giving me roughly 6.25mg and down the hatch it went. My anxiety obviously continued BUT after about a hour It was accompanied by a really sick feeling, and a almost drunk like state. I felt like vomiting, and really disoriented.

 

 While this was going on I went to my pharmacy to see if they could help me with my dosing in liquid form or something, and they directed me to a compounding pharmacy. I dropped by, explained my situation and to my surprise, when I explained my recent tapper attempt she replied with: "oh that's to fast, I usually recommend 10% reductions every 2 weeks'' she said the pills will be far more accurate then liquid and she can make the pills to any amount I desire, once my doctor approves!   

Venlafaxine 150mg (Oct, 20 2008)

Venlafaxine 75mg (Aug, 2010)

Escitalopram 10mg (June,04,2014)

Sertraline 100mg (Dec, 2014 - March 22, 2016)

 

I have been on SSRI's a total of 8 years.

 

By doctors orders tapered off Sertraline from early Oct to March 22 2016. Drug free until May 14th, reinstated at 6.25mg due to completely debilitating withdrawal symptoms.

Have not stabilized since, and still suffering immensely.  

 

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Vince. That's awesome  , but remember we advocate 10 % every 4 - 6 weeks. . If your doctor is on board , that's great !  

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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PoetJester

Hey Vince,

I was on Zoloft (200 mg) and zyprexa (17.5 mg) and had many of the same symptoms as you describe when trying to quit. I was on them for a number of years (15) and was constantly trying to wean myself off of them, but 2 or 3 days into each attempt at wd, I would experience nausea and dizziness and insomnia. By day 3 or 4, I would be forced to take the pills again to avoid these wd side effects. The dizziness was weird. Every time I would turn my head to look at something it seemed to take a second or two for my field of vision to catch up. It was kind of like the lightheadedness you might experience when you have the flu. I did manage to quit cold turkey in Feb 2014. I went 6 days without sleep and threw up all over my apartment during that time. I feel better off of the pills, but I still suffer from fatigue (I had it more severely when I was still on the pills) and never did find a way to cure my wd insomnia which is slowly wiping out my will and passion.  I have cried copious amounts since my feb 2014 wd.  Some days I fill up several hankerchiefs or dishtowels full of snot and tears, but as strange as this sounds I feel better than when I was in the chemical straightjacket of the pills, barely able to leave my apt and content to merely watch tv, eat and sleep (12-20 hours a day). 

 

I can totally relate to the fact that life nowadays sometimes seems like no more than a series of internet searches looking for ways to cure this horrific condition of withdrawal and I was furious every time one of my doctors (and sometimes my parents too) would look me in the eye and say that I would have to be on these pills the rest of my life, unaware or indifferent to the fact that the pills were incapacitating me and ruining my life.  If you are interested, there is a facebook page that about 50 of us from SA take part in.  Look under off-topics on the forums page.  Anyways, I wish you the best in your attempts to manage your life after the misery that these pills have caused.    PoetJester

Court committed to take Prozac, Paxci, and Respiradol from 8/95 to 3/96.   developed severe akithisia and brain damage.  Was unable to speak and walking in circles 15 hours a day.  Went in for 5 sessions of ECT during a 10 day period in March of '96 and my forced medication was discontinued at that time.  My akithisia and brain damage cleared up within a few days of stopping the meds.

 

On Zoloft (200 mg) and Zyprexa (17.5 mg) March 1998- Feb 2014

In between was placed on Effexor 200 mg and Abilify for six months in 2004.  Developed mild akithisia which went away once I stopped the Abilify.  Developed severe GI issues in Dec 2001 and from that time on suffered from fatigue and hypersomnia where I would sleep between 12 and 20 hours a day and rarely ever left my apartment. 

 

Had tapered to 100 mg of Zoloft and 7.5 mg of Zyprexa at the time of going cold turkey Feb. 2014

Went 5 days without sleep at the beginning while vomiting all over my apt.  Had brain zaps for a number of weeks and also lightheadedness which both eventually went away.  However 2 1/2 yrs later I still struggle with insomnia, depression, and fatigue.

 

 

 

 

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AliG

 

  Absolutely, I told her it two weeks was still to long and she had no objections. I was just surprised she new the 10% while doctors think you can do the FULL tapper in two weeks!! Somethings seriously wrong here!

 

 

PoeJesteer:

 

  Thank you for sharing your story, The way you described the dizziness is dead on what I feel. It also feels like my brain is not registering what i'm looking at, and i'm unplugged from the world. I am so sorry to hear what your going through, I'm going through it with you. No human being should have to go through what this drug has done to us. Can I ask what dose you were at when you quit cold turkey, And why you decided to do so instead of tapper?  I did it because i didn't know i was going to fast, and felt tapering wasn't working.  

Venlafaxine 150mg (Oct, 20 2008)

Venlafaxine 75mg (Aug, 2010)

Escitalopram 10mg (June,04,2014)

Sertraline 100mg (Dec, 2014 - March 22, 2016)

 

I have been on SSRI's a total of 8 years.

 

By doctors orders tapered off Sertraline from early Oct to March 22 2016. Drug free until May 14th, reinstated at 6.25mg due to completely debilitating withdrawal symptoms.

Have not stabilized since, and still suffering immensely.  

 

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  • Moderator
brassmonkey

Steady state means that the amount of the drug in the blood stays the same through out the day.  When you take a dose it enters the blood at a high rate which decreases over the course of the day.  There is still some left in the blood the next day when you take your next dose, so the amount increases and then slowly decreases over the course of the day.  After several days (4 in this case) these highs and lows even out to where you have about the same amount of drug in your blood at all times.

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.

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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Brassmonkey- I understand now. Does this mean different AD's with different half-lives take different amounts of time to reach steady state? or is 4 days typically the golden rule? Thanks for your response BTW! 

 

 

 

 

I woke up this morning at 6:45 and my heart immediately began to pick up, quickly followed by the the vortex feeling in my chest, excessive panic and depression, the constant feeling that my world is ending, and compulsive negative thought process. I cant stop pacing back and fourth. Every second feels like a year of painful suffering. This has been going on for 5 days straight, with no breaks. I cant take it any more! I need this to stop! I need to see the world through my own eyes again! 

Would having a drink mess up my brain getting back on track? (Iv had no alcohol or caffeine for 3 months) I know running or exercise could bring some temporary relief, but would this leave my brain in a more chaotic state in the long run or even immediately?    

 

Any help with dealing with this is appreciated, i'm seriously losing it. 

 

 

Also: I took my second dose of 6mg this morning, so far no help so far   :(

Venlafaxine 150mg (Oct, 20 2008)

Venlafaxine 75mg (Aug, 2010)

Escitalopram 10mg (June,04,2014)

Sertraline 100mg (Dec, 2014 - March 22, 2016)

 

I have been on SSRI's a total of 8 years.

 

By doctors orders tapered off Sertraline from early Oct to March 22 2016. Drug free until May 14th, reinstated at 6.25mg due to completely debilitating withdrawal symptoms.

Have not stabilized since, and still suffering immensely.  

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Vince, I'm taking Cymbalta a different SSRI/SNRI.  I was having awful insomnia as I tried my doctor's skip-a-day-then-skip-more-days "taper." I decided to do a consistent daily dose at a lower level, not exactly a reinstatement perhaps more of a dose stabilization. I just checked my notes and see that it took about 6 days for my insomnia to ease.

 

some thoughts about compounding:

I checked with a compounding pharmacy near me to find out what my doctor needed to prescribe when I want a compounded dose in the fall. I'm at 20 mg Cymbalta now (counting beads that come in the manufacturer's capsule) and anticipate being around 9 or 10 in Sept. I did read what you wrote about your Zoloft -- it's a powder so somewhat different. 

 

I told the pharmacist exactly what I wanted to do: Have the ability to taper down from 10 mg to 7.5 mg over the winter.  He suggested that I get 2.5 mg doses compounded; then take 4 capsules for 10 mg, 3 caps + beads to equal 10% reduction, then 3 caps for the 7.5.

 

When I asked why he suggested the 2.5 mg dose as a base, he said it was because there's work -- a fee -- for each dosage so it would be more cost effective for *me* to have him formulate a greater quantity of the same dose than to compound several different doses.  It also allows room for longer holds on a dose if I need to stay at a particular level longer than expected/predicted.

 

I asked what the doctor's prescription needs to say. He wrote that out for me.

 

The $ estimate he gave me for about 5 months was equal to what I paid for 3 months of 60 mg capsules.  In other words, the same price for about 25% of the quantity.

 

bottom line: I was really pleased with how helpful he was. I strongly recommend telling your compounding pharmacist what you expect the next few months of your taper will be and asking him/her lots of questions. Compounding specific doses is convenient but costly.

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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PoetJester

Hey Vince

 

When I quit Zoloft and zyprexa cold turkey I was down to 100 mg of Zoloft (from 200 mg) and 7.5 of zyprexa (from 17.5) .  The reason I didn't do a taper is that I didn't even have a computer or the internet when I went cold turkey in 2014 (I am not kidding.  I am way behind the times) so I was unaware of this website.  I didn't find Surviving Anti-Depressants until last Oct. when I was already 1 1/2 years into WD.  I only got internet service the month before that.

 

Your constant pacing is probably a form of akithisia which is one of the most torturous aspects of the pills.  I am not sure what to tell you exactly.  I would look around this site.  We all have similar, but different experiences coming off of the pills.  I felt a lot better getting off of them, at least after the 6 days without sleep vomit-fest, but my sleep afterwards was so awful that in the back of my mind I knew my condition was kind of hopeless which led to depression and crying.  I mean, if you don't get better, well then you slowly get worse.  There are success stories on this site and I try to stay positive even though I am not doing all that well and now look pretty gross with huge bags under my eyes from 2 1/2 years of poor sleep and insomnia.

 

You had mentioned running or exercise.  I go for nightly walks of 4 to 6 miles that tire me out and help me sleep better.  I am also constantly biking.  I live on social security which makes it easier for me because it would be impossible for me to hold a job considering what a wreck I am on days when I can't sleep.  I still suffer greatly from fatigue and sometimes wonder if it might be diet-related either a gluten allergy or a yeast infection (I had a totally severe one for many years where I smelt like a moldy gym sock) or sleep apnea.  These are the possible explanations I have come up with on my many, many computer searches, but so far, nothing has really helped. I also found out I have low iron.  I eat well, but I think with my screwed up stomach, that I don't absorb nutrients in the foods I eat.  I am also starting to take magnesium supplements.   

 

Were you doing ok on the Zoloft before you started the fast taper?  I knew the pills were bogus from the beginning.  I started having issues with blacking out shortly after starting the pills.  They screwed up my blood pressure so that when  I would squat on my haunches and then stand back up again, I would nearly pass out and have to hold on to something for about a minute until I regained my vision.  The pills also started to change the consistency of my poop.  My stool started hardening after a few months on the pills.  I was ok for a few years on the pills, I could function pretty well, but then I suffered a serious gastrointestinal ailment in late 2001.  The last 8 years on the pills from 2006 -2014, all I did was go from my bed to the couch and back to my bed.  I would sleep all the time.  Anywhere from 12 to 20 hours a day and I almost never left my apt.  Towards the end though, the pills ability to make me sleep went away.  When I quit in feb 2014 I was hardly sleeping and having horrid nightmares. 

 

Anyways, I hope the anxiety lessens for you so you can at least cope.  Beyond that, I would try to remember that, as corny as this sounds, God loves you and these troubles will eventually pass. 

 

Derek (PoetJester)

Court committed to take Prozac, Paxci, and Respiradol from 8/95 to 3/96.   developed severe akithisia and brain damage.  Was unable to speak and walking in circles 15 hours a day.  Went in for 5 sessions of ECT during a 10 day period in March of '96 and my forced medication was discontinued at that time.  My akithisia and brain damage cleared up within a few days of stopping the meds.

 

On Zoloft (200 mg) and Zyprexa (17.5 mg) March 1998- Feb 2014

In between was placed on Effexor 200 mg and Abilify for six months in 2004.  Developed mild akithisia which went away once I stopped the Abilify.  Developed severe GI issues in Dec 2001 and from that time on suffered from fatigue and hypersomnia where I would sleep between 12 and 20 hours a day and rarely ever left my apartment. 

 

Had tapered to 100 mg of Zoloft and 7.5 mg of Zyprexa at the time of going cold turkey Feb. 2014

Went 5 days without sleep at the beginning while vomiting all over my apt.  Had brain zaps for a number of weeks and also lightheadedness which both eventually went away.  However 2 1/2 yrs later I still struggle with insomnia, depression, and fatigue.

 

 

 

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus
SquirrellyGirl

 

SquirrellyGirl: I agree completely! He doesn't take my withdrawal seriously. I think hes convinced that I'm just "wired" this way and he suggested I stay on the meds forever! he says he has plenty of patients who have been on it for as long as he can remember and there happy on it. I was one of them, but didn't make the connection all these years that my terrible side effects were caused by this.  

 

Peter Breggin calls that "spellbinding," where we simply don't put two and two together that the drugs may be our problem!  I know that was my case! The old frog in the boiling water analogy.   I didn't realize that my inability to cope with big stresses was due to Effexor.  I didn't realize that my clumsiness, always dropping things I was reaching for, was due to Effexor, that my ongoing low moods despite being on an AD were likely due to the AD!  The list goes on and on!  I'm sure his other patients that were "happy" also have odd things going on that they're not connecting with the med.  I'd love to see a study done on that.

 

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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Scalawag - I have not inquired about pricing yet. If my cuts fall on even fractions or numbers then I will definitly keep in mind buying bulk to save a buck. :D  But on the other had after the amount of suffering I have endured the past 6 months, If my dose cuts fall on weird numbers I'm prepared to pay extra to have my pills spot on! The pharmacist I spoke to seemed very helpful, She was explaining some options we could do to save money but unfortunately i'm in such bad shape I cant really make sense of what people are saying to me. The main thing I'm ecstatic about is that i can finally take the guess work out of it! And do it by the book this time!

Thank you so much for your valuable information! 

 

 

 

PoetJester  - When I was completely stable at 100mg I seemed to be doing ok for the most part. Side effects I did have though included being pretty groggy in the morning not matter how early I went to bed. Also having to go to bed extremely early or else I would not feel good the next day. My sleep never actually felt refreshing, I wanted to sleep all day while at work but couldn't at night. I had constant dry mouth, and had to keep water beside me 24hrs a day which makes me use the bathroom 3-4 times a hour. Personality wise, I definitively didn't show much interest in social relationships anymore, And I think It gave me a bit of OCD because I felt like my entire day everyday was planned out with the exact same pattern, I really never wanted to change my schedule for anything. But the anxiety was gone, so i figured the pills were doing there job. 

 

 

SquirrelyGirl: I just googled this Peter Breggin and he has a few books, have you read them? I might order one and give it a read. Clearly I need as much info as i can get with this lol.

Venlafaxine 150mg (Oct, 20 2008)

Venlafaxine 75mg (Aug, 2010)

Escitalopram 10mg (June,04,2014)

Sertraline 100mg (Dec, 2014 - March 22, 2016)

 

I have been on SSRI's a total of 8 years.

 

By doctors orders tapered off Sertraline from early Oct to March 22 2016. Drug free until May 14th, reinstated at 6.25mg due to completely debilitating withdrawal symptoms.

Have not stabilized since, and still suffering immensely.  

 

Link to post
  • Administrator
Altostrata

Welcome, Vince.

 

You reinstated 6mg sertraline on May 14, correct? Today would be your third dose?

 

Has your symptom pattern changed since you reinstated? Please keep notes on paper about daily symptoms and drug dosage.

 

Are you taking any other drugs?

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.

Link to post

Welcome, Vince.

 

You reinstated 6mg sertraline on May 14, correct? Today would be your third dose?

 

Has your symptom pattern changed since you reinstated? Please keep notes on paper about daily symptoms and drug dosage.

 

Are you taking any other drugs?

 

Thanks Altostrata, 

 

Yes I divided a 25mg capsule of Sertraline into 4 giving me 6.24 "technically" (but who knows how accurate each cut is by eye) and took it at 11:00am on may 14th. Today was my third dose. 

 

 I have a book I write in everyday, keeping track of my daily symptoms. My symptoms are so sever right now that I cant really tell if there has been a change. Its equally as dreadful. The one difference i have notice yesterday and today is that I'm very tranquilized in the morning, sleepy, slow motion. But the anxiety/depression is still in the background stopping me from sleeping. 

 

I am not taking any other prescription drugs, I have taken robax, tylonal, or gravel to help with symptoms, but they do nothing at all.  

Venlafaxine 150mg (Oct, 20 2008)

Venlafaxine 75mg (Aug, 2010)

Escitalopram 10mg (June,04,2014)

Sertraline 100mg (Dec, 2014 - March 22, 2016)

 

I have been on SSRI's a total of 8 years.

 

By doctors orders tapered off Sertraline from early Oct to March 22 2016. Drug free until May 14th, reinstated at 6.25mg due to completely debilitating withdrawal symptoms.

Have not stabilized since, and still suffering immensely.  

 

Link to post
  • Administrator
Altostrata

Have your symptoms changed over the last 3 days? What time do you take Zoloft, are you "tranquilized" before or after you take it?

 

Please read  Tips for tapering off Zoloft (sertraline) , it will explain how to more precisely measure dosage.

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.

Link to post

Have your symptoms changed over the last 3 days? What time do you take Zoloft, are you "tranquilized" before or after you take it?

 

Please read  Tips for tapering off Zoloft (sertraline) , it will explain how to more precisely measure dosage.

 

I have noticed today was a "little less" on panicking/deppression intensity (still over the top) then Saturday. Today late afternoon starting to get tense neck and back muscles which i didn't have for the last 4ish days (but I have had many, many times before that). I take my Zoloft the second i wake up. I feel tranquilized a few hours after i have taken it. 

 

Thanks for the read, Great info! You should also know that I live in Canada and we do not have liquid formulation here, (I tried to get it). Also my "zoloft" is a generic brand "Apo-Sertraline" which is a capsule with white powder in it. Not a tablet. 

Venlafaxine 150mg (Oct, 20 2008)

Venlafaxine 75mg (Aug, 2010)

Escitalopram 10mg (June,04,2014)

Sertraline 100mg (Dec, 2014 - March 22, 2016)

 

I have been on SSRI's a total of 8 years.

 

By doctors orders tapered off Sertraline from early Oct to March 22 2016. Drug free until May 14th, reinstated at 6.25mg due to completely debilitating withdrawal symptoms.

Have not stabilized since, and still suffering immensely.  

 

Link to post

 Today is day 5 of my reinstatement. I am still having depressive feelings and panic in the mornings, but they seem to have weakened a bit. I am having serious issues coping with the drowsiness. I feel like I haven't slept in months. My whole mind and body feels drained, and my perception of reality feels extremely slow and delayed. Also i am very "light headed" when I'm walking around, or am around my family.  Is all this due to the reinstatement? also how long does the drowsiness typically last? I can deal with some BUT, this is EXCESSIVE!! 

 

I found a blog online: https://npanth.wordpress.com/2012/06/14/reinstating-ssri-use-during-withdrawal/

 

 This guy says that reinstatement should be your maximum dose before tapering minus 10% for every 4 - 6 weeks you have tapered AND off?? My total time tapering was 4 months, and total time off was 2 months, so 6 months total. 100mg  minus 6-7 cuts is only 54mg - 47mg :(  is my 6mg reinstatement correct or way off??  

Venlafaxine 150mg (Oct, 20 2008)

Venlafaxine 75mg (Aug, 2010)

Escitalopram 10mg (June,04,2014)

Sertraline 100mg (Dec, 2014 - March 22, 2016)

 

I have been on SSRI's a total of 8 years.

 

By doctors orders tapered off Sertraline from early Oct to March 22 2016. Drug free until May 14th, reinstated at 6.25mg due to completely debilitating withdrawal symptoms.

Have not stabilized since, and still suffering immensely.  

 

Link to post
  • Moderator
brassmonkey

Hi Vince--  It sounds like your reinstatement is going very well.  To show positive results after 5 days is great.

 

That theory of reinstatement is very similar to one I came up with back when I was very active on the Paxil Progress board. It's great in theory and has a lot of logic behind it. But it doesn't address one very important fact, that after a fast taper or CT (when reinstatements usually occur) the body is left in a very sensitive state and to suddenly throw a large dose of meds at it can frequently cause an adverse reaction which further sensitizes the body, is very painful to experience and is very difficult to recover from. An adverse reaction makes acute WD feel like a nice day and can take many months to resolve.

 

Given the possibility of such a reaction it is much better to error on the side of caution and start with a low dose, see how that reacts and then adjust the dose as needed.  Once a person is good and stable on the lower dose it makes it much easier to taper off of.  So in the long run it can be quicker to be drug free.  We have had very good luck with this method, and have helped a lot of people avoid a lot of pain.

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.

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

Link to post

Hi Vince--  It sounds like your reinstatement is going very well.  To show positive results after 5 days is great.

 

That theory of reinstatement is very similar to one I came up with back when I was very active on the Paxil Progress board. It's great in theory and has a lot of logic behind it. But it doesn't address one very important fact, that after a fast taper or CT (when reinstatements usually occur) the body is left in a very sensitive state and to suddenly throw a large dose of meds at it can frequently cause an adverse reaction which further sensitizes the body, is very painful to experience and is very difficult to recover from. An adverse reaction makes acute WD feel like a nice day and can take many months to resolve.

 

Given the possibility of such a reaction it is much better to error on the side of caution and start with a low dose, see how that reacts and then adjust the dose as needed.  Once a person is good and stable on the lower dose it makes it much easier to taper off of.  So in the long run it can be quicker to be drug free.  We have had very good luck with this method, and have helped a lot of people avoid a lot of pain.

 

 Ok that makes sense. You have no Idea how much I value this site and your input!!

 

 I have been panicking that my reinstatement is not going to help because 6mg sounds so low. My fear has been that this MASSIVE emotional wave is resolving itself and has nothing to do with my reinstatement. (I had one similar to it two months ago and that  was the reason I couldn't go back to work, so I just decided to cold turkey it. It resolved itself, re-appeard half way through and now this is the biggest one yet. I just want to make sure this doesn't happen again. I seriously cant handle it anymore. Throughout the two months the dizziness, off balance, and confusing state stayed almost constantly unbearable. (on VERY rare days I was well enough to leave the house) I just want to be on the best path possible for the quickest stabilization so I can finally do this the right way! I know I wont be 100% right away but I need to at least be able to leave the house so I can save my career (Iv been off way to long) :( :(  :(  

Venlafaxine 150mg (Oct, 20 2008)

Venlafaxine 75mg (Aug, 2010)

Escitalopram 10mg (June,04,2014)

Sertraline 100mg (Dec, 2014 - March 22, 2016)

 

I have been on SSRI's a total of 8 years.

 

By doctors orders tapered off Sertraline from early Oct to March 22 2016. Drug free until May 14th, reinstated at 6.25mg due to completely debilitating withdrawal symptoms.

Have not stabilized since, and still suffering immensely.  

 

Link to post

Day 6 and I cant take the drowsiness, my brain is literally asleep while i'm awake. I'm a complete zombie. I'm trying to sleep as much as I can, but this is out of hand. Mix together with the empty depressed feeling in my chest, and my panic attacks, my life is constant suffering.

 

How long does the drowsiness typically last for most people?  

Venlafaxine 150mg (Oct, 20 2008)

Venlafaxine 75mg (Aug, 2010)

Escitalopram 10mg (June,04,2014)

Sertraline 100mg (Dec, 2014 - March 22, 2016)

 

I have been on SSRI's a total of 8 years.

 

By doctors orders tapered off Sertraline from early Oct to March 22 2016. Drug free until May 14th, reinstated at 6.25mg due to completely debilitating withdrawal symptoms.

Have not stabilized since, and still suffering immensely.  

 

Link to post

anybody? 

Venlafaxine 150mg (Oct, 20 2008)

Venlafaxine 75mg (Aug, 2010)

Escitalopram 10mg (June,04,2014)

Sertraline 100mg (Dec, 2014 - March 22, 2016)

 

I have been on SSRI's a total of 8 years.

 

By doctors orders tapered off Sertraline from early Oct to March 22 2016. Drug free until May 14th, reinstated at 6.25mg due to completely debilitating withdrawal symptoms.

Have not stabilized since, and still suffering immensely.  

 

Link to post

 Its day 7 and I'm feeling terrible. I'm feeling "unreality" when I'm talking to family members. I cant walk properly and i'm bumping into things because my balance and coordination is so off, I feel really light headed, Iv been feeling nauseated and sick like i'm going to throw up, and my emotions are all over the place. I keep praying that there is a off switch, but every minute of every day is endless suffering. 

Venlafaxine 150mg (Oct, 20 2008)

Venlafaxine 75mg (Aug, 2010)

Escitalopram 10mg (June,04,2014)

Sertraline 100mg (Dec, 2014 - March 22, 2016)

 

I have been on SSRI's a total of 8 years.

 

By doctors orders tapered off Sertraline from early Oct to March 22 2016. Drug free until May 14th, reinstated at 6.25mg due to completely debilitating withdrawal symptoms.

Have not stabilized since, and still suffering immensely.  

 

Link to post
  • Moderator
brassmonkey

For a while I had bruising on my shoulders from walking into door frames and had to really concentrate to not appear drunk when I walked (I'd been sober for 18 months at the time).  It comes and goes with the WDs so It will get better.  Just takes a lot of concentration to get through it.

 

The "unreal" feeling is what we refer to as DR. It's actually a sign of healing, but it's also tough to go through. Slowing down, consideration, and not panicking are the keys. 

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.

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

Link to post

Is DR short for something? I used the search function but nothing came up. I'd like to know more about why symptoms are happening. 

 

My only goal right now is to stop the debilitating symptoms from happening, 7 days and i'm still incapable of saving my job, or even leaving my room.  

Venlafaxine 150mg (Oct, 20 2008)

Venlafaxine 75mg (Aug, 2010)

Escitalopram 10mg (June,04,2014)

Sertraline 100mg (Dec, 2014 - March 22, 2016)

 

I have been on SSRI's a total of 8 years.

 

By doctors orders tapered off Sertraline from early Oct to March 22 2016. Drug free until May 14th, reinstated at 6.25mg due to completely debilitating withdrawal symptoms.

Have not stabilized since, and still suffering immensely.  

 

Link to post
  • Moderator Emeritus
ChessieCat

Hi Vince

 

DR = derealisation; DP = depersonalisation  Link:  derealization-or-depersonalization

 

To search, I use google and type survivingantidepressants.org + topic.  In this instance I typed in DR DP.  Typing in DR only would not have brought up the topic on the first page.

 

This might help you understand why we experience different symptoms:

 

Brain Remodelling (Rhi's Description of Brain Healing)


Video:  Healing From Antidepressants - Patterns of Recovery


What is Happening in Your Brain

NEW!!!     INTERVIEW with Altostrata, SA's founder    NEW!!! 

 

Plodding along inch by inch:  12" = 1',  3' =  36 " or 1 yard,  1760 yards  = 63,360" or 1 mile

Current from 27 Mar 2021:  Pristiq 0.295 mg

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 Oct 2015 

My tapering program   My Intro (goes to my tapering graph)  My website

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

Link to post

Hi Vince

 

DR = derealisation; DP = depersonalisation  Link:  derealization-or-depersonalization

 

To search, I use google and type survivingantidepressants.org + topic.  In this instance I typed in DR DP.  Typing in DR only would not have brought up the topic on the first page.

 

This might help you understand why we experience different symptoms:

 

Brain Remodelling (Rhi's Description of Brain Healing)

Video:  Healing From Antidepressants - Patterns of Recovery

What is Happening in Your Brain

 

Thank you ChessieCat I tried using google as you suggested and It work great. I will conduct all my future searches this way. 

Venlafaxine 150mg (Oct, 20 2008)

Venlafaxine 75mg (Aug, 2010)

Escitalopram 10mg (June,04,2014)

Sertraline 100mg (Dec, 2014 - March 22, 2016)

 

I have been on SSRI's a total of 8 years.

 

By doctors orders tapered off Sertraline from early Oct to March 22 2016. Drug free until May 14th, reinstated at 6.25mg due to completely debilitating withdrawal symptoms.

Have not stabilized since, and still suffering immensely.  

 

Link to post

So today is Saturday, I reinstated last Saturday.

 

 I have noticed no difference in my withdrawal symptoms since. The only thing that has made a big change is how incredibly drowsy I am. (Making it even harder to cope with) I'm still feeling dizzy, light headed, depersonalized, and unable to understand what is going on around me. The morning anxiety/depression is horrible, and I'm still having crying spells throughout the day. I need something to hold on to, my well being is seriously in jeopardy. I cant have the room spinning around me all day this is to intense!

 

Does the fact that i'm getting absolutely no relief after a week mean I should try a higher dose? Something should have change by now shouldn't it!? Even a tiny bit of relief!? 

Venlafaxine 150mg (Oct, 20 2008)

Venlafaxine 75mg (Aug, 2010)

Escitalopram 10mg (June,04,2014)

Sertraline 100mg (Dec, 2014 - March 22, 2016)

 

I have been on SSRI's a total of 8 years.

 

By doctors orders tapered off Sertraline from early Oct to March 22 2016. Drug free until May 14th, reinstated at 6.25mg due to completely debilitating withdrawal symptoms.

Have not stabilized since, and still suffering immensely.  

 

Link to post
  • Moderator
brassmonkey

Hi Vince-- First off, please update your signature with details about your reinstatement.  It will make it a lot easier for us to follow what is going on.

 

So the drug has had a week to become steady state in your blood.  That's good, because now your brain has a constant level so it can start to figure out what's going on.  That's going to take some time, at least several weeks, maybe longer for the pieces to start to fall into place.  But the will.  Through no fault of our own we've been thrown into the deep end not knowing how to swim and now have to learn how while thinking we're drowning.  The discomfort you're feeling is temporary and will go away given time. All the while the symptoms will come and go as they like and we will have very little control over them.  Two very important things to remember: 1) no matter how bad they feel, the symptoms won't actually harm you and B) fighting the symptoms or being afraid of them will only make them worse.  I know you didn't want to hear that, but this is going to be a very long slow process that will be extremely uncomfortable at times, however, things do get better.

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.

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

Link to post
PoetJester

Hey Vince

 

If you are having trouble with the dizziness, I would rethink reinstatement.  I had been off of Zoloft/zyprexa for 1 1/2 years when I tried some mitzrapine for sleep last august.  I only slept 3 1/2 hours and the sleep wasn't very good at all and I was dizzy and tired without being able to sleep all the next day.  I quit taking it the next day.  I had problems with ambien too later that month.  On the two occasions I took ambien I only slept 4 hrs and had dizziness and terrible memory issues the next day.  I tried Trazadone earlier this year for sleep and only got 3 drugged hours of sleep and woke up with a horrid taste in my  mouth like I had ingested poison.  While I may not be doing all that good in wd,  I do a lot better without the pills.  It's bad enough to have wd symptoms without all the drowsiness you mentioned.  Clean out your system of the drugs.  It's better to suffer with a clear head.  It's ridiculous to think you should have to try to hold down a job going through this excrutiating torment all day long every day.  I would probably talk to whoever you can (parents, friends, family) because they may have to act as support for you as you deal with this injury/illness or whatever it is that these stupid pills induce in us.    You just sort of have to learn to cope at a lower level of functioning than you are used to.  It sucks, but for many of us, that seems to be the only option in all this withdrawal madness. 

 

I haven't come up with any ways to defeat the insomnia or InZombia as I call it, or really bring my health back, but I do a few things that have helped me cope at times. I am not doing terribly well these days, but I have managed to go 2 1/2 years into wd.   Keep in mind that these suggestions may not work for everyone and sometimes don't even help me, but sometimes they do.

 

1) as I mentioned before long brisk walks of at least 4 miles have helped.  The best sleep I have had in wd, came after a strenuous late night 8 mile walk. 

 

2) prayer- God knows best if you ask Him.

 

3) Sometimes, I have found 2 or 3 beers settles my mind and helps me sleep.  I went out this past Thursday, and had 2 pints at a local bar and slept for 8 hours.  I woke up every 2 hours, but didn't have any problem going back to sleep.   I got another 6 hours of sleep Friday night after 2 more pints.  I felt a pretty foggy or thick in the head the next day, but it was better than not being able to sleep.   Other times though, beer, hasn't really helped much.

 

4) This will sound gross, but sometimes masturbation can help me to sleep.  Several times I have managed to get 4 hrs of pretty restful sleep after self-gratification.  I also find that the next day after pulling one off, I can take decent naps of 2-3 hrs.  Sex releases a chemical called Prolactin that helps calm the mind and produce sleepiness.  masturbation can also make you feel slightly weakened the next day.

 

5) sometimes a natural sleeping pill can help.  I got 4 hrs of sleep on Somnapure one night, a couple months into my wd.  the next time I took it, it didn't do much.  Sleepy Time Tea and melatonin can calm the mind, but I haven't found them to help much with sleep.

 

6) This is a strange one, but I try to stay busy.  I started volunteering cleaning up area parks and lakeshores on a volunteer basis.  I did like 300 hrs of park clean up in 2014 and in 2015 I started going out to golf courses on my mountain bike spending about 6 hrs a day rounding up all the stray shots and selling the golf balls online.  Just anything that was strenuous and would tire me out.

 

I was reading your may 16th post where you were describing what your life was like on the pills and it totally rang true with my own experience.   I slept all the time and would wake up with my throat about as dry as old leather.  It would be completely parched from sleeping with my mouth wide open for 8 hrs.  Even though I slept all the time I never woke up refreshed and I would have the hardest time getting out of bed.  I kept a supply of ice cream sandwiches or donuts or chocolate chip cookies on hand.  the thought of eating sweets was the only thing that could get me out of my bed!!!! I gave up on going out and doing things (I was just so tired all the time) and had, outside of seeing my parents once a week to do laundry, get groceries and use the internet, no relationships with anyone whatsoever.  My life was like clockwork, the most lethargic and sleep filled clockwork and I didn't know how to escape from the repetitiveness of my shut-in existence, save from quitting the pills. 

 

Anyways Vince, I hope you see some improvement soon in your condition and keep checking in.

 

Sincerely

Poet Jester (Derek)

Court committed to take Prozac, Paxci, and Respiradol from 8/95 to 3/96.   developed severe akithisia and brain damage.  Was unable to speak and walking in circles 15 hours a day.  Went in for 5 sessions of ECT during a 10 day period in March of '96 and my forced medication was discontinued at that time.  My akithisia and brain damage cleared up within a few days of stopping the meds.

 

On Zoloft (200 mg) and Zyprexa (17.5 mg) March 1998- Feb 2014

In between was placed on Effexor 200 mg and Abilify for six months in 2004.  Developed mild akithisia which went away once I stopped the Abilify.  Developed severe GI issues in Dec 2001 and from that time on suffered from fatigue and hypersomnia where I would sleep between 12 and 20 hours a day and rarely ever left my apartment. 

 

Had tapered to 100 mg of Zoloft and 7.5 mg of Zyprexa at the time of going cold turkey Feb. 2014

Went 5 days without sleep at the beginning while vomiting all over my apt.  Had brain zaps for a number of weeks and also lightheadedness which both eventually went away.  However 2 1/2 yrs later I still struggle with insomnia, depression, and fatigue.

 

 

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hey everyone, 

 

I haven't been online all week because of how awe-full I feel and reading about it makes me even more sad.  :(  It has now been 17 days since i reinstated, and not a single day goes by that I don't have a massive panic attack that my reinstatement is to low, and that i'm just prolonging my suffering by sitting around waiting at 6.25mg. Some questions I have that are really bothering are:

 

1) If I raise my dose now is it like starting over again? or has the last 17 days started fixing my withdrawal regardless?

2) If I raise my dose will it take the same amount of time for my brain to acclimatize to the dose?

3) Is it possible that a higher dose can help stop the withdrawal faster? 

 

I do not care at this point what dose i'm on. I just want to see the real me back as soon as possible, I am completely disabled, depression and Anxiety from hell.. and i'm dizzy and off balance 24hrs a day. 

Venlafaxine 150mg (Oct, 20 2008)

Venlafaxine 75mg (Aug, 2010)

Escitalopram 10mg (June,04,2014)

Sertraline 100mg (Dec, 2014 - March 22, 2016)

 

I have been on SSRI's a total of 8 years.

 

By doctors orders tapered off Sertraline from early Oct to March 22 2016. Drug free until May 14th, reinstated at 6.25mg due to completely debilitating withdrawal symptoms.

Have not stabilized since, and still suffering immensely.  

 

Link to post
  • Moderator Emeritus
SquirrellyGirl

Hi Vince, 

 

I'm sorry that the reinstatement hasn't completely brought you relief.  Could you give us your current symptom pattern by time throughout the day?  Are you keeping notes on paper?  Alto is especially good at teasing out what is going on and whether reinstating more at this point would be a good idea.  I don't have that wisdom, but know that 17 days has been a good shot so maybe another little uptick would help. I'm simply not sure.

 

As to questions

 

1)  Raising your dose will give your nervous system a new challenge to respond to.  I doubt it has found homeostasis yet, given all your symptoms, so the question is, will the up-dose bring your system closer to homeostasis or cause more destabilization.  I don't know the answer, not sure any of us do.

 

2) Same amount of time as what?  It would take four days for the new level to become steady state in the blood, and then x amount of time for your nervous system to know what to do with it.

 

3)  Sure, it's possible. I'm of the feeling that the dose you started with undershot where your nervous system was in its healing process, but it had to be so small to be sure an adverse reaction wasn't triggered.  I'm concerned about the fatigue that seems to have been triggered by the up-dose; it wasn't there before that, right?  i'm not sure what that was about, so I'd like Alto to weigh in again.

 

There is no magic formula to figure out what the right dose would be.  I like npanth's formula in principle, but as the others mentioned, there are so many other variables at play that make that formula problematic in practice.  You could keep doing small up-doses hunting for the magic number but it's a dicey area with no certainties.

 

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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  • Moderator Emeritus

Vince - sorry you're having such a rough time, unresolved by the reinstatement.  These psychoneuroactive drugs require fine tuning for each person and situation.  Each of is an "n=1" experiment. You'll get good suggestions for the next phase of your personal experiment.

 

You may have missed the suggestion to add your reinstatement to your signature. That helps the moderators help you -- they can respond quickly if we give them complete information in a standard place. For your convenience, here's the link that explains it:

Please put your withdrawal history in your signature

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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  • Moderator Emeritus
SquirrellyGirl

I want to add that I sense your distress and that it is taking on Mammoth proportions.  The idea of staying like this freaks everyone out (I've been there!).  The thing is, it is super important at this time to try to calm down, to employ self-care methods to settle your nervous system, because secondary fear, fear about your situation, makes stabilization very difficult.

 

I know reading on SA has added to your fear, so refraining from any materials that are fueling your fear is essential.  The one area I encourage you to spend time is the Symptoms & Self Care forum, particularly:  Non-drug techniques to cope with emotional symptoms and Claire Weekes' Method of Recovering from a Sensitized Nervous System

 

Right about now, Acceptance is very important.  Over and over again, I read people on here saying that once they reached Acceptance, they began to improve.  Stress is so very bad for nervous system stabilization, so you need to dredge up inner resolve that you are not going down the rabbit hole with this "thing."  And that you can take one day at a time, one moment at a time, and not spend energy cogitating/fearing the future.  We have no control over the future, and spending worry agonizing over it does absolutely no good other than to prolong our suffering, yes?

 

Here's a nice post on Acceptance: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/3533-acceptance/

 

I hope this brings you some peace :-)

 

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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