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CCFTZ - Lovan withdrawals or anxiety/depression relapse?


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Hello all


I am so grateful to find this site.  I’ve been vacillating about joining, but now here I am.  I feel kind of silly posting because when I read some of your heartbreaking stories mine aren’t as bad, but still, here I am and I’m suffering in my own way and would be honoured to get help or insight from those who have gone through this (going through this!) before me.


So, I’ve had life long anxiety, which I never got help for (say, 25+ years).  This all came to head after I had my baby late 2012 in about March 2013 with an EPIC nervous breakdown after months and months of gruelling anxiety and depression.  I was in a terrible state.  Psychiatrist convinced me to take Lovan 20mg and I reluctantly started and I honestly had such a huge relief of my symptoms within a week or two, which was a shock to me.  My psychologist didn’t believe that my improvement that quickly was real, which was a weird situation to be in.  I stopped seeing her after four sessions and haven’t had therapy since.


My psych was happy for me to stay on meds and started talking about coming off about a year in.  She just said skip days until you’re off and left me to it.  I stayed on meds another year because there was a lot going on in my life and I was terrified of doing it without the medication.  Once that settled down I started the ‘taper’ in about June last year (2015) and was off in a month.


I honestly don’t think I had withdrawals but there was a time about six months in that I got those old familiar anxious thoughts and feelings and terrible anxiety.  I found this site and was so shocked to find out about withdrawals and tapering.  That helped me push on and not seek out medication again.  But here I am another six months later in the same position.  I feel like such a damn mess.  No motivation, crippling anxiety, family life falling apart.  Not working well in the office.  Not reaching out to friends.  Hanging around in bed or at home glued to the internet or tv while my husband and child are out living life.  Creating a terrible wedge between my husband and young child - them against me.  I try to put on a happy face to the outside world but inside I am such a jumble of tangled up mess.  I have some physical symptoms too - migraines, back pain, weird burning fevers, insomnia.  Not sure if this is real illness or withdrawal symptoms.


When I’m golden I have a pretty great wellness program for myself.  Exercise, supplements (including a bunch for MTHRFTHR gene), a great diet at 50/50% gentle carbs/fat-protien, no alcohol or any other prescription medications.  I do meditation (Headspace) although it sometimes annoys the heck out of me for some reason.


I’ve read up on reinstating and I think I’m too far from tapering off to do this, which is kind of devastating.


I’m at a lost and not sure where to turn.  Is it withdrawals, is it relapse and if I leave it will I spiral into a hideous breakdown again and ruin my already fragile life.


Thank you so much for listening.

Lifelong anxiety - not diagnosed

Nervous breakdown after months of crippling anxiety/depression after baby - March 2013

20mg Lovan daily for two years, tapered quickly July 2015 - psychiatrist advised to skip days until done in about a month

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  • Administrator

Hi, CCFTZ. Welcome to SA.


Coming off Lovan with a quick taper a year ago could still leave your central nervous system in a fragile state, so the fact that you're still experiencing problems is not uncommon at all. 


You mention that you had symptoms starting about six months in. Many people report a delayed withdrawal which may start several months after coming off an antidepressant.  Most psychiatrists don't know enough about the drugs they prescribe to understand this and most likely will diagnosis this as a new depression and offer more pills. There are many ways of handling these symptoms without meds and in time, the symptoms resolve. Healing happens gradually, but it does happen. 


These links will give you more information about the withdrawal pattern that's very specific to antidepressants:


What is withdrawal syndrome? 


The Windows and Waves Pattern of Stabilization


There are many ways of handling not only the symptoms of withdrawal, but also the many anxieties and depressions of ordinary life. Many of us find that if we learn some valuable non-drug coping skills as we recover, we are actually most healthier and happier than we ever were before going on these drugs. Please read more here:


Non-drug techniques to cope with emotional symptoms


Neuro Emotions


I'm concerned about your use of supplements for the MTHRFTHR gene. Many people report not being able to tolerate certain types of supplements after the CNS is compromised due to withdrawal. We have a thread with more information on these types of supplements:


The importance of MTHFR, methylation, and B vitamins


I'm not familiar with these types of supplements, but we do have a number of members who are. Please list the supplements you're taking and the doses so you can get feedback. 


A year off of antidepressants makes reinstatement less likely to work. Please take a look at your supplement use and get a feel for any non-drug coping strategies that you either are already using or you would like to learn and then see if you might like to continue your recovery without meds. 


This is your thread to record updates, list symptoms, and to ask plenty of questions. I'm glad you're here for information and support. 



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Thanks for the links Shep. I am particularly interested in the supplements, I had no idea and will get reading. I will update my signature and a post with the supps. Thanks again.

Lifelong anxiety - not diagnosed

Nervous breakdown after months of crippling anxiety/depression after baby - March 2013

20mg Lovan daily for two years, tapered quickly July 2015 - psychiatrist advised to skip days until done in about a month

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Feeling very worried that my husband or friends don't understand or accept the withdrawal theory and I'll ruin all my relationships. They're all of the thought "just get back on the meds for crying out loud and put yourself and us out of this misery". Does anyone have any tips for dealing with this, particularly when you're a fragile mess? Thanks for your time.

Lifelong anxiety - not diagnosed

Nervous breakdown after months of crippling anxiety/depression after baby - March 2013

20mg Lovan daily for two years, tapered quickly July 2015 - psychiatrist advised to skip days until done in about a month

Link to comment
  • Administrator

Yes, this is unfortunately something most of us are dealing with. This is a thread that may help:


Helping Family Understand


I think it's important not to overload others, as this is very difficult for anyone on the outside to truly understand. Perhaps when you do discuss your symptoms, frame it in the narrative of things you are doing to help yourself, such as the non-drug coping skills you want to learn. Please see the link I placed in my earlier post.


It may also help if you can become as educated as possible so that when you speak to your family, you are speaking in the language of science, and not the language of withdrawal (which comes across to others as mental illness). There's a really great journalist, Robert Whitaker, who has written extensively about the danger of these drugs. This book comes highly recommended: 


Anatomy of an Epidemic by Robert Whitaker


Here is one of his videos:




This is a really good article on how antidepressants can make depression chronic:




Whitaker has a website with tons of useful information:




As you go on this journey off psych meds, you'll pick up a lot more information along the way. It's really hard to debate the fact that the more antidepressants are used for depression, the higher the disability rate rises. This speaks to a form of treatment that simply doesn't work. These are the kinds of "talking points" that may help. 


And getting off these drugs and healing will give you the final word in this debate. The more confident you are in this conversation, the more others are going to really "hear" what you're saying.


Please go ahead and write out a list of supplements and doses so that members that are familiar with them can give you some feedback. Perhaps there's something you can do to make this journey a bit easier. 



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  • Moderator Emeritus

CCFTZ - it's can be difficult when those closest to us don't understand or accept something important to us. You might ask them if they're open to learning another perspective. For those who say yes, Shep's linked resources are FANTASTIC.


Cheryl, another member here at SA, posted a link to a June 2016 article about "Big Pharma" and the neurotransmitter deficiency myth. SA discussion topic


Source article on the Collective Evolution website:

What Big Pharma Doesn't Want You to Know about Dopamine & Serotonin Imbalances Within the Brain


Reading just the opening paragraphs (quoted below) wouldn't take more than a few minutes. Two editors of two top-tier medical journals, The Lancet and The New England Medical Journal, have negative things to say about the quality of the research and about current medical practice based on that research. The article continues with a discussion about the faulty theory and questionable effectiveness of psychoactive drugs.



There are many uninformed individuals when it comes to knowing what’s happening within the modern day medical industry, and by no fault of their own. The world of medical science, unfortunately, has been plagued with scientific fraud and pharmaceutical company influence. The words ‘big pharma’ are far from a conspiracy theory, which is why so many physicians and doctors in influential positions are trying to let the world know.


For example, Dr Richard Horton, current editor-in-chief of The Lancet is one of them. He stated that half of all the published literature could be false


Mark Mattson, the current Chief of the Laboratory of Neuroscience at the National Institute on Aging said that pharmaceutical companies can’t make money off of healthy people, which is why there is no funding for research and why there’s a lot of pressure for regular eating patterns forced upon us by the food industry.


Physician and longtime Editor in Chief of the New England Medical Journal, Dr Marcia Angell, told the world that “it’s simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgement of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines.”


Just to be clear, pharmaceutical fraud and industry influence is a well known fact. Some people still refer to ‘big pharma’ as a conspiracy theory, but the small group of people and the corporations they hide behind them have tremendous amounts of power.

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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Thank you SO much for these wonderul resources and your quick responses. This place is truly such a beacon of light and hope and I'm so grateful to you all for sharing and helping. I will put my supps up tonight - I'm in the office working today and will need to have a proper look because there's so many and I want to get the doses right and when I started what. Thank you for the reminder! I also got lost on another thread somewhere here about the link between long term antihistamine use. Oh dear! I was on huge doses of prescription crappy fake folate (not folinic acid) and OTC antihistamines FOR YEARS, years! I will maybe add those points in my signature too, as it may all be helpful.


Thank you again.

Lifelong anxiety - not diagnosed

Nervous breakdown after months of crippling anxiety/depression after baby - March 2013

20mg Lovan daily for two years, tapered quickly July 2015 - psychiatrist advised to skip days until done in about a month

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