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FatherOfLewis: My Meds Roller Coaster - Help and Advice?

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FatherOfLewis

I am making a final decision about getting off antidepressants/stimulants for good. Please help me decide. I am in great need of encouragement and wisdom.

 

It has been about 2 years since I started my journey. But some history:

 

In college (2005) I was started on 20mg Adderall XR to help with ADHD which was said to be causing a lot of anxiety and perhaps depression. Adderall induced depression in me after my dose would wear off, so the doctor prescribed Lexapro 20mg. I felt probably the best I've ever felt in my life.

 

However, I still wanted see who I was without the meds. I wanted to re-connect with parts of me that felt lost. I also never wanted to take brain medications for life. So from 2005 to 2014, I took the drugs and tried maybe 3 different times to get off; never really tapering much like I should have. It never worked and I always ended up back on them, happy, and enthusiastic about life again.

 

I decided to make my final, serious effort to get off the meds in 2014. Happily married, with a good career and social support at this point (and still).

 

I tapered off Adderall XR over the course of at least 4 or 5 months. The primary care doc warned me to get totally off the Adderall first, then deal with the Lexapro. Big mistake. After I was done with the Adderall and just on Lexapro, I was depressed, lethargic, weepy. This went on and got worse, so the Lexapro was replaced with wellbutrin, and I felt better. Over the next year though, I started getting bad anxiety, and had trouble sleeping. 25mg of Zoloft was added in Nov or Dec of 2015, and I got a lot better.

 

Then I began my taper... but not very responsibly, again. Will I ever learn?! Split the Zoloft in half for a few weeks, then stopped it. Waited awhile and the anxiety returned, as well as the sleep problems. Psychiatrist and I agreed that the Wellbutrin must've been exacerbating my anxiety, so suggested I stop it cold turkey. I resisted a little bit, but not enough; I stopped pretty much cold turkey. That was 3 months ago, and here I am, very shaken and having had major issues with anxiety, insomnia, fear, worry, and other issues including the 2nd panic attack I've had in my life. I've worked hard on mindfulness practices over this time. However, my wife and I have agreed that it's time for me to get help again. I started Buspar 2 weeks ago and don't like the side effects. I was given 5mg Adderall XR to try and help as needed. I am planning to get back on meds now... but I don't know which ones because I don't know if I should resign to taking them for the rest of my life or try to taper again. Tapering on Adderall XR and Lexapro will be harder than Wellbutrin and Zoloft was.

 

So I've got a couple options as I see it:

1. Bite the bullet, swallow my pride, and take Adderall and an SSRI for life. Live long and enjoy life; it's too short to keep causing myself this much pain. I truly enjoyed how I felt on Adderall and Lexapro, despite my adamant desire to stay off of them.

2. Own my setbacks and move forward. Take the Wellbutrin and Zoloft again and after 6 months to a year, conduct a true, gradual 10% taper off of each one. If it takes years to be med-free, so be it. 

 

Either way, I NEED to get better ASAP; my job feels like it's falling apart, and my wife and son need a capable man in their lives to hold onto. I need myself back. So either way, I plan on getting back on medication(s) (unless you guys can somehow convince me that staying off and risking my work and family life is better).

 

What do you guys think? I've frequently written in my journals that all I want in the whole world is to just be free of these medications. But I could also see myself being happy and feeling great the rest of my life if I just give in and take the combination I used to THRIVE on; Adderall and Lexapro (or another SSRI).

 

And what about the tapering? If I get back on the Wellbutrin (150mg XL) and Zoloft (25mg), wait until I've had some time to recover and enjoy my life and family again (at least 6 months), and then begin with a true, gradual, 10% taper off both medications, do you think I'll still have to deal with crippling anxiety, fear, dread, and insomnia that has plagued my family and I over the past few months? Or do you think that a 10% taper over a series of years will allow me to reach my goal and be medication free, while still being able to enjoy my family and be a good father... I mean, would the taper make my problems significantly easier to cope with? And once I'm fully off the medications, would I still have to deal with the crippling protracted withdrawal?

 

I keep thinking I might still be dealing with increased anxiety from such a long time taking Lexapro. I was never in my life this anxious or stressed by such little things (big things, yes, but not these kinds of things). I ruminate and obsess so much, it kills me. The Adderall helps, but I can't keep taking that if my plan is to get off meds.

 

Any advice would be deeply appreciated. I am open to staying on medication for life if need ends up being. But I'm not in the best state of mind and I've constantly gone back and forth between the two options.

 

Advice will be so much appreciated, encouragement as well. Thank you guys so much for the excellent website you've created.

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ccb73

I feel your pain as I'm going through withdrawal too.

 

It's extremely complicated even when you slow-taper! Why add more trouble???

 

Also, I see option 1 tempts you more based on the way you express the view...

 

Things to consider: Long life, questionable; happy, until poop out; love, dead; sexual arousal, dead; Identity, confused; Well being, zombie like.

 

One of the complications in withdrawal is, how much mind over matter. Is it withdrawal or inability to cope with life situations. In either case, you should highly consider dropping the poison as slow as you need. The meds won't always do the trick, especially when you have a new situation or real difficult issue (sounds familiar? Hey, up the dose, down the dose)...

 

I found over my 23+ med years that they really don't work and I had najor poop out after about 19 years; not one of them working anymore. Never mind the kidney damage from the lithium.

 

You should try 10% per month. If you need slower, go ahead. Win the battle or the war???

 

You will have to swallow pride on option 2 anyway when frustration why you can't taper a certain percentage all the time...

 

I'll swallow pride 2 and do it right rather than do it wrong.

 

Please do the math for 10% and you'll find it'll happen faster than you think.

 

I'm 45% off after 1.75 years approx. So it'll take another 2, at least I'll have a life...

 

Now I'm separated, difficulty working, no drive, lack of many body functions but look at the big prize.

 

Love and Care

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mammaP

Hi FOL, welcome to SA.  You have had so many changes in drugs in a short space of time that your poor brain and nervous system is struggling to cope.

Can you tell us when you started Adderall and buspar, and the doses. Also your symptom pattern in relation to taking them. 

 

It would help if you could fill out your signature for us, you can find instructions here... 

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/12364-please-put-your-withdrawal-history-in-your-signature/

 

I have asked for other mods opinions here, it is very late and my brain is struggling, someone will be along shortly and I will be back in the morning. 

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scallywag

Father of Lewis, -- Welcome to Surviving Antidepressants (SA)!

 

I hope you'll find the information in the SA forums enlightening and helpful for your taper.  I'm sorry that you are in the position that you need the information, but am glad that you found us.

 

I'm going to summarize the drugs, doses, dates, and discontinuations from your first post in list form:

 

--- ADDERALL XR & LEXAPRO ---

 

Adderall XR 20 mg + Lexapro 20 mg, first prescribed 2005

Adderall prescribed for ADHD,

Lexapro was added because of depressive symptoms induced by Adderall

***felt great***

2005 - 2014: continued on both drugs with several discontinuations and reinstatements

2014:

wanted to stop both drugs because life was good

doctor (primary care physician) said taper adderall first, then lexapro

tapered adderrall to 0mg over 4-5 months

Lexapro only symptoms: depressed, lethargic, weepy

discontinue Lexapro, month = __________ 2014

start Wellbutrin

 

--- WELLBUTRIN & ZOLOFT ---

Wellbutrin, dose = _________, start month= ________ 2014

 

2015 on Wellbutrin only for most of year

started having bad anxiety and trouble sleeping

Nov or Dec 2015: doctor prescribed Zoloft 25 mg for anxiety & sleep, in addition to Wellbutrin

March/April 2016: psychiatrist says that anxiety and sleep problems

which returned after discontinuing Zoloft were probably being

exacerbated by Wellbutrin, recommends stopping wellbutrin

March/April 2016: stop wellbutrin from full dose, cold-turkey

 

Zoloft, 25 mg, started Nov/Dec. 2015

2016 start taper date = _______ (before April?):

discontinued by fast taper: 50% for a few weeks then off

date of last dose = _______

after stopping, anxiety and sleep problems returned

 

Symptoms after discontinuing Zoloft (first in a fast taper) then Wellbutrin (cold turkey)

anxiety, insomnia, fear, worry, panic attack -- only the 2nd one ever

 

--- Current prescriptions: ---

started Late June 2016: date = ___________

Buspar 2mg

Adderall XR 5 mg as needed

---- end ----

 

Would you provide the dates for the blanks? Also, please let us know what your wellbutrin dose was?

 

You say you don't like the symptoms you're getting from Buspar. What are the symptoms and when are you experiencing them? A daily timeline listing your meds and doses as well as your symptoms would be help us troubleshoot.

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FatherOfLewis

Thank you so much, scallywag. Here's the dates and specifics filled out best as I can remember:

 

Adderall XR 20 mg + Lexapro 20 mg, first prescribed 2005

Adderall prescribed for ADHD,

Lexapro was added because of depressive symptoms induced by Adderall

***felt great***

2005 - 2014: continued on both drugs with several discontinuations and reinstatements

2014:

wanted to stop both drugs because life was good

doctor (primary care physician) said taper adderall first, then lexapro

tapered adderrall to 0mg over 4-5 months

Lexapro only symptoms: depressed, lethargic, weepy

discontinue Lexapro, month =  Dec 2014

start Wellbutrin

 

--- WELLBUTRIN & ZOLOFT ---

Wellbutrin XL, dose = 150mg , start month= Dec 2014

 

2015 on Wellbutrin only for most of year

started having bad anxiety and trouble sleeping

Nov or Dec 2015: doctor prescribed Zoloft 25 mg for anxiety & sleep, in addition to Wellbutrin

March/April 2016: psychiatrist says that anxiety and sleep problems

which returned after discontinuing Zoloft were probably being

exacerbated by Wellbutrin, recommends stopping wellbutrin

March/April 2016: stop wellbutrin from full dose, cold-turkey

 

Zoloft, 25 mg, started Nov/Dec. 2015

2016 start taper date = January

discontinued by fast taper: 50% for a few weeks then off

date of last dose = ~Feb 01 2016?

after stopping, anxiety and sleep problems returned

 

Started out feeling great after discontinuing Zoloft & Wellbutrin (first in a fast taper) then Wellbutrin (cold turkey), progressively got worse

anxiety, insomnia, fear, worry, panic attack -- only the 2nd one ever, (1st was induced by taking sinus medicine with Adderall) this 2nd one came on its own in the middle of the night.

 

--- Current prescriptions: ---

started June 25 2016

Buspar 20, then 30 mg

Adderall XR 5 mg as needed

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FatherOfLewis

I am worried guys. I'm worried about a lot of things:

1. Was I on Lexapro too long; will I develop TD, face numbness, etc?

2. Will I be ok if I just get on Zoloft and not a stimulant? Or will I have to grab that stim again?

3. Have I been taking these medications too long to have a successful withdrawal? If I keep taking them, am I just pushing hell into the future, and stoking the fires?

4. If I decide to do an extremely slow taper; over many years, will I just become too dependent on the medication to ever be able to quit?

5. Is it even worth it to go through all the pain people seem to have to go through to be med-free? Perhaps it'd just be better to try and rely on meds my whole life; they'll keep coming out with newer and better treatments, right? Also, I don't seem to have too bad of a time on the medications usually; I felt great for 9 years after all!

 

I'm seeing my psych today, in about 45 minutes, and I plan on trying to get on Zoloft only, maybe 50mg, and see where that puts me.

Looking forward to enjoying life and my family again after nearly 2.5 years of putting my wife through a roller coaster ride of periodic anxiety, fear, and torment. But also worried about ever being able to be free of these medications; whether I should care about that, I don't know. A lot of friends tell me that I've nothing to fear taking these for the foreseeable future. But something inside me dreads that eventuality...

 

Or would I have less of a risk of TD or other things if I go back on the Lexapro? What's the risk/benefit of taking different medications? I can't decide between Lexapro and Zoloft. But I seem to hear more success stories with less horrors on Zoloft, so I think maybe I'll go with that? Plus my grandma took Zoloft for 30 years...

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Nicki1722

I just want to give you some insight into what I've been through. I always thought I would be on antidepressants my entire life. Effexor was a serious lifesaver but also seemed to turn its back on me recently (aka poop out). If you read my signature it explain what medication changes I have endured. In the beginning I did not want to stop anditdepredsants. I wanted to feel normal. I was having paradoxical reactions to the Effexor and needed to try something else. Then lexapro didn't work. Then Zoloft didn't work. I decided that, if new meds were not working maybe I just need to get off of them? I was stuck in Effexor withdrawal with no advice from my psych doc (she didn't believe that I was withdrawaling but, rather, should try something else).

 

If I were you (in hindsight I would have done differently) I would take it into my own hands to get off an antidepressant before trying others. Other meds did not work for me and has now put my Central nervous system into overdrive. I'm still recovering from this. My mother and grandfather also are on Zoloft but it made me horribly dizzy. No single person is alike. It may work for you but please have the lexapro lowered slowly at least. I think that could have saved my nervous system a lot of unneeded stress and I possibly would not be in this situation. These meds are much more powerful than you realize. And although your doc may claim you can do a direct switch to another med, I would never do it again. Not trying to scare you but just really want to put into perspective what has happened to me and others on here.

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scallywag

I am worried guys. I'm worried about a lot of things:

1. Was I on Lexapro too long; will I develop TD, face numbness, etc?

2. Will I be ok if I just get on Zoloft and not a stimulant? Or will I have to grab that stim again?

3. Have I been taking these medications too long to have a successful withdrawal? If I keep taking them, am I just pushing hell into the future, and stoking the fires?

4. If I decide to do an extremely slow taper; over many years, will I just become too dependent on the medication to ever be able to quit?

5. Is it even worth it to go through all the pain people seem to have to go through to be med-free? Perhaps it'd just be better to try and rely on meds my whole life; they'll keep coming out with newer and better treatments, right? Also, I don't seem to have too bad of a time on the medications usually; I felt great for 9 years after all!

 

Or would I have less of a risk of TD or other things if I go back on the Lexapro? What's the risk/benefit of taking different medications? I can't decide between Lexapro and Zoloft. But I seem to hear more success stories with less horrors on Zoloft, so I think maybe I'll go with that? Plus my grandma took Zoloft for 30 years...

I hope you can let go of worrying; it never helps.

 

Your questions:

  1. No one can tell you which withdrawal symptoms will occur for you, when they'll occur, or how long they'll last.

     

  2. No answer to your question. A question about your question: Why are you considering Zoloft?

     

  3. Many people successfully remove themselves from the drugs after long term use.  No studies have been conducted into long-term use of most psych drugs, including the ones that you are taking or have taken. No one knows what the long term risk is.

     

  4. Many people successfully remove themselves from the drugs after long term use. Paying attention to your symptoms and tapering doses slowly and in small decrements is the best way known right now to become med-free safely.

     

  5. Only you can decide whether the effort of tapering and potential withdrawal symptoms are worth the benefit.

     

    As for "new and better" treatments, I remain skeptical. They don't know how these drugs actually work.  Their use is based on a discredited hypothesis that was always very weak.  Virtually every new drug is hailed as a "wonder drug" that will transform the treatment of condition [X] upon introduction. Then users discover something nasty or harmful occurs. Then the manufacturer denies users experiences saying it's a preexisting condition or some other words to avoid responsibility.

I'm reminded of a line from All in the Family: Meathead is looking at grocery items that Edith (his mother-in-law) has brought home. He says, "New and improved, new and improved -- everything is new and improved, What did we have before, old and lousy?"

 

As a non-medical peer-support informational site about discontinuing psych drugs, we can't help you with a recommendation about which drug might be best for you. It's not our focus nor where the expertise lies.

 

So 2 questions for you:

  • Why are you considering reinstating an SSRI antidepressant, i.e. Zoloft vs. Lexapro?

     

  • What are your current symptoms? When do they occur during the day?

 

Let us know what you decided during your appointment with your doctor.

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FatherOfLewis

I'm reinstating Zoloft, starting at 50mg. I've been spiraling out of control over this and anything I can think of for the past few days... my family can't handle me like this, I've missed some work, and I can't focus on things. I'm having a lot of anxiety, though some moments of clarity and calm (maybe the Buspar).

 

To answer your questions, scallywag,

1. I'm reinstating Zoloft because of the symptoms I just wrote about. My mom's taken Zoloft and it did wonders for her, and my grandma took it for 30 years. I have obsessions (with this WD theory and how I might be screwing myself up by continuing to take antidepressants) constantly... they've grown more constant the past few days (this decision has been fuel for the fire). I want to do the right thing, and it sounds from you guys like that's getting off antidepressants. But I want to do right by my family; I can't lose my job, I can't keep ignoring my family to obsess over whatever the "flavor of the day" is. I NEVER prepared myself properly to get through potentially *years* of protracted withdrawal symptoms, and I'm not prepared at all for it right now. I could lose everything; my family, my job, etc...

 

2. My symptoms are #1: obsessive thoughts, #2: anxiety and fear, #3: utter despair about the future and major regret over the past, #4: difficulty concentrating on anything besides this potential nightmare I could have in front of me and anything else I can come up with at the time. These symptoms get a little better at different times of the day, but are pretty constant. Usually they get worse from 8AM to 5PM, then get a little better starting around 5PM but lately still persist a bit and by bed time I'm usually able to sleep, but I wake almost every morning around 4:30/5AM. Usually when I wake up like that I'm kinda calm, but sometimes I have nervousness and anxiety when that happens.

 

I hope to God that the Zoloft helps, and I can reclaim a little bit of life back while I regroup and decide what's best for me and my family going forward.

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mammaP

Will you continue the buspar?  I have gone through your posts again and it looks like your doctor yanked you off wellbutrin when your nervous system was unstable with all the drug changes in a short time.This is what could have caused the symptoms rather than the wellbutrin and taking it away sent you into withdrawal, reinstating a very small dose might have helped. 

 

I would suggest a very tiny dose of zoloft first to see if you can tolerate it.  Maybe a quarter of a tablet instead of the full 50mg. It will take about 4 days to get a steady level in your blood, and if it helps you might be able to stay on that small dose which will be less to taper and less chance of side effects. When your nervous system is unstable you could be sensitive to drugs that you have taken before. 

 

Let us know how it goes, I hope things improve for you. 

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scallywag

I hope the Zoloft diminishes the symptoms for you. :)

 

Thanks for responding to my questions about your symptoms. It's beyond unfortunate that you are suffering in this way as a result of your doctors' best intentions and because we don't know enough about psycho-neuro processes to help quickly and effectively.

 

It's not that going off depressants is THE. RIGHT. THING. to do. It's that often the only answer doctors have is more or different medication and they don't understand the impact of those recommendations. Many doctors have bought into manufacturer's studies that say the drugs are harmless. As you are discovering, these drugs are NOT harmless. They have effects that extend far beyond the reasons they are prescribed.

 

When I needed a shift in my depressive symptoms, both Effexor and Cymbalta worked wonders for me; going off Effexor was as bad as being depressed, though in a different way.

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FatherOfLewis

I'm reluctant to get on the Zoloft. I've been practicing mindfulness meditation for the past 8 weeks and I have to say that being mindful of your emotions, body sensations, and thoughts can have a profound effect on your state of being. I do for a minute start to think I might be able to do this without drugs. But back to reality, I start to see that, although on one *day* I may be able to calm myself using exercise and meditation, the pure psychological hell of getting off meds is no joke.

 

Perhaps I will simply have to further test mindfulness as I begin the next leg of my journey that starts with Zoloft. If I can recover from my obsessiveness, delusions, anxiety, etc... with flying colors, perhaps I can stick to the low, 50mg dose of Zoloft and be ok.

 

mammaP, I am not going to continue the Buspar; I am tapering pretty fast; 20mg for today and tomorrow, 10mg for Friday and Saturday. That's the doc's advice, and since I've only been on it about 2.5 weeks and it isn't associated with too many withdrawal symptoms, I think it's ok.

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MMarie

I'm reinstating Zoloft, starting at 50mg. I've been spiraling out of control over this and anything I can think of for the past few days... my family can't handle me like this, I've missed some work, and I can't focus on things. I'm having a lot of anxiety, though some moments of clarity and calm (maybe the Buspar).

 

To answer your questions, scallywag,

1. I'm reinstating Zoloft because of the symptoms I just wrote about. My mom's taken Zoloft and it did wonders for her, and my grandma took it for 30 years. I have obsessions (with this WD theory and how I might be screwing myself up by continuing to take antidepressants) constantly... they've grown more constant the past few days (this decision has been fuel for the fire). I want to do the right thing, and it sounds from you guys like that's getting off antidepressants. But I want to do right by my family; I can't lose my job, I can't keep ignoring my family to obsess over whatever the "flavor of the day" is. I NEVER prepared myself properly to get through potentially *years* of protracted withdrawal symptoms, and I'm not prepared at all for it right now. I could lose everything; my family, my job, etc...

 

2. My symptoms are #1: obsessive thoughts, #2: anxiety and fear, #3: utter despair about the future and major regret over the past, #4: difficulty concentrating on anything besides this potential nightmare I could have in front of me and anything else I can come up with at the time. These symptoms get a little better at different times of the day, but are pretty constant. Usually they get worse from 8AM to 5PM, then get a little better starting around 5PM but lately still persist a bit and by bed time I'm usually able to sleep, but I wake almost every morning around 4:30/5AM. Usually when I wake up like that I'm kinda calm, but sometimes I have nervousness and anxiety when that happens.

 

I hope to God that the Zoloft helps, and I can reclaim a little bit of life back while I regroup and decide what's best for me and my family going forward.

I could have written your #2 above. I am struggling with these exact thoughts and the pattern of this angst is the same, too. It's EXHAUSTING! I would love to learn about your mindfulness sources if you would be so kind to share. Good luck to you.

 

Marie

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ccb73

I feel for you from the depths of my heart. I'm withdrawing after 23+ years on cocktails than ruined my life.

 

I like to ask a question, if I may. It's VERY important:

 

What was the indication and reason you went on this stuff in the first place?

 

Sudden onset or life trauma of any kind, etc?

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FatherOfLewis

 

...

 

2. My symptoms are #1: obsessive thoughts, #2: anxiety and fear, #3: utter despair about the future and major regret over the past, #4: difficulty concentrating on anything besides this potential nightmare I could have in front of me and anything else I can come up with at the time. These symptoms get a little better at different times of the day, but are pretty constant. Usually they get worse from 8AM to 5PM, then get a little better starting around 5PM but lately still persist a bit and by bed time I'm usually able to sleep, but I wake almost every morning around 4:30/5AM. Usually when I wake up like that I'm kinda calm, but sometimes I have nervousness and anxiety when that happens.

 

I hope to God that the Zoloft helps, and I can reclaim a little bit of life back while I regroup and decide what's best for me and my family going forward.

I could have written your #2 above. I am struggling with these exact thoughts and the pattern of this angst is the same, too. It's EXHAUSTING! I would love to learn about your mindfulness sources if you would be so kind to share. Good luck to you.

 

Marie

 

 

 

I feel for you from the depths of my heart. I'm withdrawing after 23+ years on cocktails than ruined my life.

 

I like to ask a question, if I may. It's VERY important:

 

What was the indication and reason you went on this stuff in the first place?

 

Sudden onset or life trauma of any kind, etc?

 

Thanks for your posts, MMarie and ccb73!

 

MMarie, my mindfulness resources:

1. I'm working through this workbook. It's amazing and I strongly feel that one of the best ways out of this nightmare may lie with mindfulness (though I've had some trouble workin on some of the things lately with my obsessiveness and anxiety): https://www.amazon.com/Mindful-Way-Workbook-Depression-Emotional/dp/1462508146

2. I also read this book on mindfulness: https://www.amazon.com/Mindful-Way-Through-Depression-Unhappiness/dp/1593851286/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1467859284&sr=1-1&keywords=mindfulness+for+depression

 

ccb73,

I started Adderall at the beginning of college; was starting to go absolutely crazy worrying about my future, whether I chose the right path, what I should do next, etc... Adderall made me feel on top of the world and able to get my schoolwork done, but induced depression in waves throughout the day... so I was put on Lexapro 20mg.

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Altostrata

Welcome, FatherofLewis.
 
I read your history as intermittent withdrawal syndrome treated by other drugs, with limited success. That brings us to the present, when you are having withdrawal syndrome-related
 

#1: obsessive thoughts, #2: anxiety and fear, #3: utter despair about the future and major regret over the past, #4: difficulty concentrating on anything besides this potential nightmare I could have in front of me and anything else I can come up with at the time.

 
It is possible to continue to have withdrawal syndrome even though you're taking additional drugs. In fact, additional drugs may make withdrawal syndrome worse.
 
Please read

What is withdrawal syndrome?
 
The Windows and Waves Pattern of Stabilization

Neuro emotions
 
Your nervous system thrives in stability. Going on and off drugs, especially going off them suddenly, throws the nervous system into chaos. That is what withdrawal syndrome is. Quite often, the nervous system becomes hypersensitive to all kinds of things when it's in this dysregulated state.
 
Your nervous system has been in a state of chaos probably since you went off Lexapro, which sensitized you to Wellbutrin side effects. Subsequent drug switches exacerbated the dysregulation.
 
I hope that taking Zoloft regularly helps stabilize your nervous system. Please be sure to take it at the same time each day. It will take at least 4 days to reach steady state in your bloodstream. Please let us know how you're doing.
 
It could be that after some months of stability, you might try to very carefully go off Zoloft. See

About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms
 
Many people here, maybe most, had misdiagnosed withdrawal syndrome that was treated with other drugs and had to go the stabilization route before finally tapering off.

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FatherOfLewis

Update: I ended up in the hospital; inpatient, first time.

 

The last day of my Buspar taper and first day of Zoloft, I hit a weird, obsessive, manic like state and scared the crap out of my wife. Stopped the Zoloft, stopped the Buspar (thought Buspar was making me act crazy), and felt completely like myself for 1.5 days. Then I hit deeply disturbing depression and anxiety and akathisia. Took one Buspar pill. Went crazy obsessive again and had suicide ideation. Was taken to ER, ended up inpatient.

 

The result of this has been: I am now on Zyprexa 5mg, Zoloft 50mg, and Wellbutrin 150mg XL.

 

The plan was always to get off Zyprexa, and I will start quitting that in a few days if I'm doing ok. Frustrating setback, but I think I can try & get off the Wellbutrin at some point, then just have the Zoloft to deal with.

 

Any ideas?

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FatherOfLewis

Welcome, FatherofLewis.

 

I read your history as intermittent withdrawal syndrome treated by other drugs, with limited success. That brings us to the present, when you are having withdrawal syndrome-related

 

#1: obsessive thoughts, #2: anxiety and fear, #3: utter despair about the future and major regret over the past, #4: difficulty concentrating on anything besides this potential nightmare I could have in front of me and anything else I can come up with at the time.

 

It is possible to continue to have withdrawal syndrome even though you're taking additional drugs. In fact, additional drugs may make withdrawal syndrome worse.

 

Please read

 

What is withdrawal syndrome?

 

The Windows and Waves Pattern of Stabilization

 

Neuro emotions

 

Your nervous system thrives in stability. Going on and off drugs, especially going off them suddenly, throws the nervous system into chaos. That is what withdrawal syndrome is. Quite often, the nervous system becomes hypersensitive to all kinds of things when it's in this dysregulated state.

 

Your nervous system has been in a state of chaos probably since you went off Lexapro, which sensitized you to Wellbutrin side effects. Subsequent drug switches exacerbated the dysregulation.

 

I hope that taking Zoloft regularly helps stabilize your nervous system. Please be sure to take it at the same time each day. It will take at least 4 days to reach steady state in your bloodstream. Please let us know how you're doing.

 

It could be that after some months of stability, you might try to very carefully go off Zoloft. See

 

About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms

 

Many people here, maybe most, had misdiagnosed withdrawal syndrome that was treated with other drugs and had to go the stabilization route before finally tapering off.

 

 

Altostrata,

I'm really struggling here. My wife is not supportive of my endeavor to get off of meds at all, and my obsessing over this is making her even less supportive. Also, I'm having trouble focusing on the short-term goal of getting off Zyprexa, and keep obsessing over whether, and how, to get off Wellbutrin and Zoloft some day. It sounds like your journey off psych meds was long and harsh as well. Do you have any encouragement or advice for me? Any thoughts on how to get my wife and family to be on board with my decision?

 

Also, did you experience anhedonia the whole time you were trying to get off the meds? I'm worried that I'm starting to experience that now.

 

And were you able to hold down a job through your journey off?

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Altostrata

Emotional anesthesia is a very common side effect of psychiatric drugs. It can take some time to go away even when you're off the drugs.

 

You will have to decide whether you want to minimize the drugs or not. If your wife opposes your plans, you will need to resolve conflicts in your relationship. We can support you but we can't do that for you.

 

Also, you will need to carefully manage your taper. We recommend tapering one drug at a time by 10% per month, calculated on the last dose. Read Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

 

Taking multiple psych drugs? Which drug to taper first?

 

Generally, Zyprexa is a "brake" while Wellbutrin (and Adderall) are stimulating. Zoloft can be either.

 

Are you still suffering side effects from Wellbutrin?

 

Please put ALL the drugs you take in the Drug Interactions Checker http://www.drugs.com/drug_interactions.html
and copy and paste the results in this topic.
 

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FatherOfLewis

Unsaved Drug ListEmail | Print | Save | New list Wellbutrin XL (bupropion) Zoloft (sertraline) Zyprexa (olanzapine)

 

Interactions between your selected drugs
Major bupropion  sertraline

Applies to: Wellbutrin XL (bupropion), Zoloft (sertraline)

Talk to your doctor before using buPROPion together with sertraline. Combining these medications may increase the risk of seizures, which may occur rarely with either medication. In addition, buPROPion can increase the blood levels of sertraline, which may increase other side effects. You may be more likely to experience seizures with these medications if you are elderly, undergoing alcohol or drug withdrawal, have a history of seizures, or have a condition affecting the central nervous system such as a brain tumor or head trauma. Your doctor may be able to prescribe alternatives that do not interact, or you may need a dose adjustment or more frequent monitoring by your doctor to safely use both medications. You should avoid or limit the use of alcohol during treatment. It is important to tell your doctor about all other medications you use, including vitamins and herbs. Do not stop using any medications without first talking to your doctor.

Switch to professional interaction data

Major bupropion  olanzapine

Applies to: Wellbutrin XL (bupropion), Zyprexa (olanzapine)

BuPROPion may rarely cause seizures, and combining it with other medications that can also cause seizures such as OLANZapine may increase that risk. The interaction may be more likely if you are elderly, undergoing alcohol or drug withdrawal, have a history of seizures, or have a condition affecting the central nervous system such as a brain tumor or head trauma. Talk to your doctor if you have any questions or concerns. Your doctor may be able to prescribe alternatives that do not interact, or you may need a dose adjustment or more frequent monitoring by your doctor to safely use both medications. You should avoid or limit the use of alcohol while being treated with these medications. Also avoid activities requiring mental alertness such as driving or operating hazardous machinery until you know how the medications affect you. It is important to tell your doctor about all other medications you use, including vitamins and herbs. Do not stop using any medications without first talking to your doctor.

Switch to professional interaction data

Moderate sertraline  olanzapine

Applies to: Zoloft (sertraline), Zyprexa (olanzapine)

Using sertraline together with OLANZapine may increase side effects such as dizziness, drowsiness, confusion, and difficulty concentrating. Some people, especially the elderly, may also experience impairment in thinking, judgment, and motor coordination. You should avoid or limit the use of alcohol while being treated with these medications. Also avoid activities requiring mental alertness such as driving or operating hazardous machinery until you know how the medications affect you. Talk to your doctor if you have any questions or concerns. It is important to tell your doctor about all other medications you use, including vitamins and herbs. Do not stop using any medications without first talking to your doctor.

Switch to professional interaction data

No other interactions were found between your selected drugs.

Note: this does not necessarily mean no interactions exist. ALWAYS consult with your doctor or pharmacist.

Other drugs and diseases that your selected drugs interact with Interactions between your selected drugs and food
Moderate bupropion  food

Applies to: Wellbutrin XL (bupropion)

Using buPROPion with alcohol may increase the risk of uncommon side effects such as seizures, hallucinations, delusions, paranoia, mood and behavioral changes, depression, suicidal thoughts, anxiety, and panic attacks. On the other hand, sudden withdrawal from alcohol following regular or chronic use can also increase your risk of seizures during treatment with buPROPion. If you are prone to frequent or excessive alcohol use, talk to your doctor before starting buPROPion. In general, you should avoid or limit the use of alcohol while being treated with buPROPion. Also avoid activities requiring mental alertness such as driving or operating hazardous machinery until you know how the medication affects you. It is important to tell your doctor about all other medications you use, including vitamins and herbs. Do not stop using any medications without first talking to your doctor.

Switch to professional interaction data

Moderate sertraline  food

Applies to: Zoloft (sertraline)

You should avoid or limit the use of alcohol while being treated with sertraline. Alcohol can increase the nervous system side effects of sertraline such as dizziness, drowsiness, and difficulty concentrating. Some people may also experience impairment in thinking and judgment. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions or concerns.

Switch to professional interaction data

Moderate olanzapine  food

Applies to: Zyprexa (olanzapine)

Alcohol can increase the nervous system side effects of OLANZapine such as dizziness, drowsiness, and difficulty concentrating. Some people may also experience impairment in thinking and judgment. You should avoid or limit the use of alcohol while being treated with OLANZapine. Do not use more than the recommended dose of OLANZapine, and avoid activities requiring mental alertness such as driving or operating hazardous machinery until you know how the medication affects you. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions or concerns.

Switch to professional interaction data

Therapeutic duplication warnings

Therapeutic duplication is the use of more than one medicine from the same drug category or therapeutic class to treat the same condition. This can be intentional in cases where drugs with similar actions are used together for demonstrated therapeutic benefit. It can also be unintentional in cases where a patient has been treated by more than one doctor, or had prescriptions filled at more than one pharmacy, and can have potentially adverse consequences.

Duplication Antidepressants

Therapeutic duplication

The recommended maximum number of medicines in the 'antidepressants' category to be taken concurrently is usually one. Your list includes two medicines belonging to the 'antidepressants' category:

  • bupropion (active ingredient in Wellbutrin XL (bupropion))
  • sertraline (active ingredient in Zoloft (sertraline))

Note: The benefits of taking this combination of medicines may outweigh any risks associated with therapeutic duplication. This information does not take the place of talking to your doctor. Always check with your healthcare provider to determine if any adjustments to your medications are needed.

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JanCarol

Hey FOL

 

FIrst you wanted off the Wellbutring, then you wanted off the Adderall, and now you want off the Zyprexa.  You tapered the Buspar way too fast, and suffered fallout and a hospitalization.

 

You need to slow down, make a plan, and do harm reduction in regards to your tapering.  That is choosing changes and doses that cause the least amount of disruption to your life.  I learned about harm reduction, here:  Will Hall - Coming of Psychiatric Medications: A Harm Reduction Approach  and my knowledge deepened the more I read on SA.

 

Maybe a harm reduction taper just 5% that you will hold for 3 months.  Maybe it's 10% per month.  You have to listen to your body.  

 

But you decreased your Zyprexa by 50% and that is a worry.  There may be fallout from that 6 months from now.

Delayed Onset of Withdrawal Symptoms

 

So please hold at your current dosing, and when you've settled, maybe you can work on tapering the Wellbutrin, next.  (yes, that is before finishing your Zyprexa taper - you are on 2 accelerators, it would be good to get one of those off the table before addressing the Zyprexa again)

 

Your drug interactions indicate that Zyprexa seems to be at the heart of your problems (though 2 antidepressants is a problem, too)

 

Maybe if you can stabilize on your 5 mg Zyprexa - for about 3-6 months

Then consider tapering the Wellbutrin.

Are you still taking the Adderall?  Please put it in your signature, as well.

 

This place may seem upside down, if you are used to listening to and trusting your doctors.  Please consider reading "Anatomy of an Epidemic" to understand better the consequences of these drugs.

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FatherOfLewis

Hey FOL

 

FIrst you wanted off the Wellbutring, then you wanted off the Adderall, and now you want off the Zyprexa.  You tapered the Buspar way too fast, and suffered fallout and a hospitalization.

 

You need to slow down, make a plan, and do harm reduction in regards to your tapering.  That is choosing changes and doses that cause the least amount of disruption to your life.  I learned about harm reduction, here:  Will Hall - Coming of Psychiatric Medications: A Harm Reduction Approach  and my knowledge deepened the more I read on SA.

 

Maybe a harm reduction taper just 5% that you will hold for 3 months.  Maybe it's 10% per month.  You have to listen to your body.  

 

But you decreased your Zyprexa by 50% and that is a worry.  There may be fallout from that 6 months from now.

Delayed Onset of Withdrawal Symptoms

 

So please hold at your current dosing, and when you've settled, maybe you can work on tapering the Wellbutrin, next.  (yes, that is before finishing your Zyprexa taper - you are on 2 accelerators, it would be good to get one of those off the table before addressing the Zyprexa again)

 

Your drug interactions indicate that Zyprexa seems to be at the heart of your problems (though 2 antidepressants is a problem, too)

 

Maybe if you can stabilize on your 5 mg Zyprexa - for about 3-6 months

Then consider tapering the Wellbutrin.

Are you still taking the Adderall?  Please put it in your signature, as well.

 

This place may seem upside down, if you are used to listening to and trusting your doctors.  Please consider reading "Anatomy of an Epidemic" to understand better the consequences of these drugs.

 

I was never supposed to be on Zyprexa long term; they wanted me to take it for a brief period. I'm hoping to get off of that soon and just be on the Wellbutrin and Zoloft.

 

I have a big concern: I have always needed two medications; a "downer" and an "upper". Hence the Wellbutrin and Zoloft, and the Adderall and Lexapro. When I was on JUST Adderall, I'd go sky high then get super depressed. When I was on JUST Lexapro I was tired, lethargic, and depressive. When I was on JUST Wellbutrin I was super anxious. I've never been on JUST Zoloft.

 

So if I have to take an "upper" and a "downer" in order to be stable, how do I taper off the drugs?

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FatherOfLewis

Thanks Scallywag!

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FatherOfLewis

Update: I'm planning on getting off Zyprexa first because I've not been on it very long and I don't want this powerful poison in my body any longer than necessary. Plus it's making me eat like crazy and laze around the house.

 

But I have a problem. As I reduce the dosage of Zyprexa (and I plan to do so rather quickly), I seem to obsess more over SA and the antidepressant issue in my life right now. Any advice on how to stop obsessing so much so I can minimize how bad it looks to my psych that I'm getting all worked up again?

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ChessieCat

When I first found SA and became informed I wanted to shout it from the rooftops and street corners.

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FatherOfLewis

Update:

I'm down to 2.5mg of Zyprexa now. I've not been feeling like I'm really recovering and stabilizing as fast as I'd expected. A lot of times I feel flat or somewhat depressed. Sometimes I feel like I've traded anxiety for depression now.

 

However, I was able to enjoy a date night with my wife on Sat. It was a memorable time.

 

I wrote out a tapering schedule, where I taper Zoloft to 25mg over 5 months, then Wellbutrin to 75mg SR over 2 months. Then I do Zoloft again, to 12.5mg over 6 months. After that I reassess. Seems like such a long road ahead :-/, and so many possible setbacks. I don't even know if I'll be ok off Zyprexa!

 

I been thinking now that perhaps I've been experiencing withdrawal effects from getting off of Lexapro almost 2 years ago. I tapered by my psych's standards, so was probably pretty fast.

 

Because the problem may have been Lexapro and not Zoloft, I wonder if Zoloft will even help?

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Altostrata

Does Zoloft diminish symptoms that may be attributed to withdrawal syndrome? If so, then you might as well stick with it.

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JanCarol

Hey FOL, Lexapro is a big, bad wolf, to be sure.  But this far out, you wouldn't want to go back on it.

 

If you are obsessing, that may mean that you are on too many accelerators, and need to taper an antidepressant (pulling down the Wellbutrin should be easiest) before coming off the Zyprexa.

 

I know the Zyprexa is scary and strong and was added last - but obsessing and anxiety symptoms are signs of overactivation - too much accelerator.

 

Zoloft is one of the more "chilled" antidepressants.  How is this for a plan - taper the wellbutrin all the way down, then chip away at the zyprexa for a bit, and see how low you can get before addressing the zoloft again?

 

What do you think about that?  How does that feel?

 

You had a great date with your wife - that's a window!  A period of time where you didn't think about "thoughts and feelings" or obsess over your situation - a moment of breath and freedom that is an indicator of the good things to come.  It will get better, the windows will come more frequently, and you will gradually become more resilient and less sensitive as you heal.

 

Take your time.  There are many many people who regret coming off too fast, but I've yet to meet anyone who regrets coming off too slowly!  It does get better!

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