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DesperatelySeekingSusan: need info on alcohol cravings


DesperatelySeekingSusan

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DesperatelySeekingSusan

Hi All, I'm feeling so fortunate to have stumbled upon this site. I've read several books, research papers, and blogs over the past two months. I haven't had a chance to do a signature or proper intro yet, but will get to that as soon as I can. I'm tapering prozac and lamictal and down to 20 mg and 150 mg, respectively, and so far so good. There are weird symptoms that I wonder if others have experienced and will get to that later. Right now I'm wondering if anyone has found something to ease the alcohol cravings? While the prozac was at 40 mg beginning of August, and it's down by half, I feel like such a lush still. While it is a relief to know it's probably due to the bleeping prozac, I don't want to keep drinking a 6 pack of 9% beer on weekend nights...sometimes during the week too. Thank you in advance for any info you can provide.

Edited by scallywag
tags added

1997 – 2006:  prozac (40 mg) with trials of desipramine, wellabutrin, lamictal, straterra [CT when stopping the trials]

2005: CT lamictal after 2 years

Mid 2006: CT prozac

Late 2006:  several challenging life situations lead to depression, started prozac, lamictal and straterra again

2007-2015:  prozac (40mg), lamictal (200-300 mg), trials with seroquel and topamax [again, CT when stopping trials, no issues yet]

2016:  3 month taper of lamictal to 0 mg [caused rash], prozac 40 mg to 20 mg

2017:  prozac 20 mg to 10 mg [major oh ****, reinstated to 40 mg – now I know what AD withdrawal is]

Feb 2018:  Prozac 30 mg

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  • Moderator Emeritus

DSS -- Welcome to Surviving Antidepressants (SA)
 
I hope you'll find the information in the SA forums helpful for your situation. I'm sorry that you are in the position that you need the information, but am glad that you found us.

When a someone is taking multiple medications, we ask that that you post an interactions report. Follow the link below to get your report. Just select the text, copy it and paste it in a post here.
Drugs-dot-com Drugs Interactions Checker.

A request: Would you summarize your history in a signature -- drugs, doses, dates, and discontinuations & reinstatements, in the last 12-18 months particularly? Any drugs prior to that can just be listed with start and stop years. Please put your withdrawal history in signature

You are tapering faster than we suggest and are tapering lamictal and prozac simultaneously. To read more detail about these issues, read these topics:
Why taper by 10% of my dosage?
Taking multiple drugs? Which to taper first.
 
Some other links that are relevant for you:
Tips for tapering off Prozac (fluoxetine)
Tips for tapering off Lamictal (lamotrigine)

Psychoneuroactive medications, including antidepressants like Prozac, change certain functions in your brain while you're taking them.  When you stop taking the drug, your CNS (central nervous system) starts to restore itself to a non-drug state.  This restoration shows up as symptoms. Here are two links that gave me a better understanding of what is going on with antidepressants and other psych drugs.

 

How your brain responds to psychiatric drugs - aka "Brain remodeling"
Youtube Video:

 

Regarding the alcohol craving, that is likely a withdrawal symptom. It is also a known adverse "side" effect of SSRIs like Prozac. It may lift or lighten after you hold your current doses for a while to allow your CNS (central nervous system) to catch up.

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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DesperatelySeekingSusan

Hi Scallywag, Just a quick note to say thanks for all the links.  Still reading though it all, and I can see how a detailed background is going to be necessary for anyone to provide me with meaningful input.  But.... it's going to take a few days to get summary info together.  I don't want to rely on my memory for dates so I'll dig into my medical info so I can get it correct the first time.  BTW, the alcohol craving has been going on for about 5 years - it unfortuanly is not new. :mellow:

1997 – 2006:  prozac (40 mg) with trials of desipramine, wellabutrin, lamictal, straterra [CT when stopping the trials]

2005: CT lamictal after 2 years

Mid 2006: CT prozac

Late 2006:  several challenging life situations lead to depression, started prozac, lamictal and straterra again

2007-2015:  prozac (40mg), lamictal (200-300 mg), trials with seroquel and topamax [again, CT when stopping trials, no issues yet]

2016:  3 month taper of lamictal to 0 mg [caused rash], prozac 40 mg to 20 mg

2017:  prozac 20 mg to 10 mg [major oh ****, reinstated to 40 mg – now I know what AD withdrawal is]

Feb 2018:  Prozac 30 mg

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  • 1 year later...
  • Administrator

Hi, DSS, how are you doing?

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

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

All postings © copyrighted.

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DesperatelySeekingSusan

Hi Alto,

Thanks for asking.  I'm ok for the most part.  The major issue I'm dealing with is extreme apathy.  So much so that on three or four times over the last two months, l hit the snooze alarm every 10 minutes for 3 hours and end up 2 hours late for work.  I just don't care about getting up and doing anything - especilly work.  And I'm not sad depressed or anything like that.  I know I need my job and am grateful for it, but so far, I've also had back problems and used that as my excuse when I don't feel like getting up.  It's gotten to be a horrible habbit now.  I've burnt right through about 5 weeks of saved up vacation and sick time over the ADs and another issue that came over the last year or so.  Some supplements have helped, but I'm confident the major issue is the prozac by itself.  The lamictal at least cancelled out a good portion of the apathy.   Previously what I felt was lots of lack of motivation.  Now I enthustically just don't give a #$%&* about anything.  Pay bills on time, what for?  I rather wait until I can't flush the toilet and the lights don't come on.  Car registration? late again, pay the idiot fee, oh well.  Get food in the fridge?  Thank God for frozen meals.  The poor dog has had to eat rice for dinner since I didn't get the dog food.  Even writting this is such effort, but I don't feel right responding to posts without some info about me here.  I just finished the "poison" history, will try to move on to the background now.  Actually feel motivated, but only because I'm angry at reviewing my posioning history on a spreadsheet and so much seems clear now.  Especially the weight gain.

Thanks for all the time you put into this site, I don't know how you do it.

DSS

1997 – 2006:  prozac (40 mg) with trials of desipramine, wellabutrin, lamictal, straterra [CT when stopping the trials]

2005: CT lamictal after 2 years

Mid 2006: CT prozac

Late 2006:  several challenging life situations lead to depression, started prozac, lamictal and straterra again

2007-2015:  prozac (40mg), lamictal (200-300 mg), trials with seroquel and topamax [again, CT when stopping trials, no issues yet]

2016:  3 month taper of lamictal to 0 mg [caused rash], prozac 40 mg to 20 mg

2017:  prozac 20 mg to 10 mg [major oh ****, reinstated to 40 mg – now I know what AD withdrawal is]

Feb 2018:  Prozac 30 mg

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DesperatelySeekingSusan

oh, don't see the signature, can you?

1997 – 2006:  prozac (40 mg) with trials of desipramine, wellabutrin, lamictal, straterra [CT when stopping the trials]

2005: CT lamictal after 2 years

Mid 2006: CT prozac

Late 2006:  several challenging life situations lead to depression, started prozac, lamictal and straterra again

2007-2015:  prozac (40mg), lamictal (200-300 mg), trials with seroquel and topamax [again, CT when stopping trials, no issues yet]

2016:  3 month taper of lamictal to 0 mg [caused rash], prozac 40 mg to 20 mg

2017:  prozac 20 mg to 10 mg [major oh ****, reinstated to 40 mg – now I know what AD withdrawal is]

Feb 2018:  Prozac 30 mg

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  • Moderator

I don't see it.  Try this link:

 

 Account Settings – Create or Edit a signature.

Gridley Introduction

 

Lexapro 20 mg since 2004.  Begin Brassmonkey Slide Taper Jan. 2017.   

End 2017 year 1 of taper at 9.25mg 

End 2018 year 2 of taper at 4.1mg

End 2019 year 3 of taper at 1.0mg  

Oct. 30, 2020  Jump to zero from 0.025mg.  Current dose: 0.000mg

3 year, 10 month taper is 100% complete.

 

Ativan 1 mg 1986-1991 CT, soon reinstated.  CT 2000. RI 1 mg 2011-2016.  Sept. 2016  0.625mg X 3

Nov.27, 2020, 7-week Ativan-Valium crossover + change to one 18.75mg dose, w/1 month hold.

Feb. 9, 2021, begin 10% every 4 weeks taper.  Current dose as of May 18: 11.7mgai.  Taper is 37.6% complete.

 

Imipramine 75 mg daily since 1986.  Jan. 2016 began every 3-weeks 10% taper, down to 16mgai (44mgpw).  Aug 2016, discovered SA, holding at 16mg.  Taper is 78% complete.  

  

Supplements: omega, vitamins C, E and D3, magnesium glycinate, probiotic, zinc, melatonin .3mg.


I am not a medical professional and this is not medical advice, but simply information based on my own experience, as well as other members who have survived these drugs.

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DesperatelySeekingSusan

How I got started on antidepressants

It has taking a lot of thinking and typing and deleting to figure out what to put here.  When I think back, some of the worst things that have happened in my life don’t compare to the disillusionment and anger that I can end up feeling for the drug pushing doctors and the medical institution that is supposed to help people, and first - do no harm.   I believe my mom, brother, and myself have all been victims of the antipsychotic drugs for multiple reasons.  My mom was in and out of mental institutions for months at a time when I was growing up and prescribed lithium and haldol.  She was a wonderful person when well, but I still vividly remember some of her crazy, irrational behaviors from manic episodes.  I’ll never know if it was the drugs she was on or if someone can just go manic from a very stressful environment.

Forward to 1997.  I started seeing a psychoanalyst in 1997 to deal with a multitude of issues associated with a dysfunctional family life growing up, and to process the trauma related to my brother killing my mom and himself during my last year of college in 1993.  Back then, there weren’t the hazmat companies that do crime scene cleanup and I took it upon myself to clean up the mess from my brother’s gunshot wound to the head.  I never should have done that, but my dad hadn’t cleaned it up and it wasn’t going away on its own.  From what I know now, and going through some of my brother’s things years after his death, my brother’s actions may have been related to abruptly quitting an antipsychotic medication.  My dad died in 1994, so I had a lot of loss to deal with in a short time without any real support.  The therapist said an antidepressant could assist with processing difficult issues brought up in therapy.  She also said I should be able to come home from a full day’s work and do a few hours of stuff around the house and not just lay on the couch.  In hindsight, I think I was feeling down for the same reason I often do from November through December.  The holidays were coming and I had no one to spend them with.  That was the start of prozac at the end of 1997.  I never really liked the idea of the medications, but the doctor said it was safe.  I never really felt any improvement in mood and had mild side effects from some, constipation or severe sleepiness, so I quit those.  About a year after lamictal was added, I was convinced I had ADD because I couldn’t focus at work very well and started straterra.  The doctor said anxiety can do that.  He didn’t say prozac and lamictal or straterra could do that also.  In 2005-2006 I dropped various medications and then went back on them all after several stressful events in December 2006.  I don’t recall any withdrawal, but it took the first fews months in 2007 before I felt better.  In 2007 I went to the Amen Clinic because I thought they had some new tools and knowledge that could help.  Not too beneficial and was told to add seroquel to the mix which made me very aggressive.  Left them and went back to the same drug pushing doctor that I had seen for the previous 10 years.

From 2008 to 2016, I mostly kept with the prozac and lamictal with a few trials of other things because the doctor was convinced he could improve my mood.  During that time it seemed like it took so much focus to get anything done. On weekends, I’d try to work on bills, do dishes or laundry, or file papers and then get so frustrated after accomplishing so little after several hours, that I’d have some beers and go work in the yard, because at least I felt like I was accomplishing something. I wasn’t socializing very much and was reluctant to even try dating because I got so self-conscious about all the weight I had gained.

Fast forward to 2015 when I move closer to work, find a gym I really like and get determined to lose some of the 45 pounds I put on in the last 18 years.  I start working out a lot.  By mid-2016 I feel I have a bit more mo-jo (so to speak), but for the life of me, even with watching what I ate and working out 4 times a week, I could only lose a few pounds.  My alcohol cravings increased and I was having a lot of difficulty sleeping.  I never had a problem sleeping, I almost consider it a hobby and staying in bed too much could be an issue.  That’s when I started reading everything I could on the internet about antipsychotics causing alcohol cravings and all the other insidious side effects.  After lots of reading, I learned your muscles use and release glutamine and glutamate during/after exercise.  I don’t recall all the details now, so I may be misquoting a bit here.  The bottom line was I thought exercising was exacerbating the impact lamictal was having on my body’s natural gulatamine/glutamate balance and focused on getting off that first.  I probably did it a bit too fast, because I truly believe I got a mild case of Stevens-Johnson Syndrome.  This condition can be extremely serious.  I need to take a break, so will get back to the lamictal withdrawal issues after getting some grub.

1997 – 2006:  prozac (40 mg) with trials of desipramine, wellabutrin, lamictal, straterra [CT when stopping the trials]

2005: CT lamictal after 2 years

Mid 2006: CT prozac

Late 2006:  several challenging life situations lead to depression, started prozac, lamictal and straterra again

2007-2015:  prozac (40mg), lamictal (200-300 mg), trials with seroquel and topamax [again, CT when stopping trials, no issues yet]

2016:  3 month taper of lamictal to 0 mg [caused rash], prozac 40 mg to 20 mg

2017:  prozac 20 mg to 10 mg [major oh ****, reinstated to 40 mg – now I know what AD withdrawal is]

Feb 2018:  Prozac 30 mg

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  • 1 year later...
DesperatelySeekingSusan

Just wanted to make a quick post.  After 2 years and 8 months of tapering, I am prozac free.  The last of the 30 - 1 mg capsules I made ran out on this past Sunday.  I promise to take some time to post about things I learned along the way  that others might find helpful (including what I think of Dr. Shipko, in Pasadena, who I believe is riding on Altostrata's coat tails) and if I face any drug related challenges in the next few months.  If you are struggling with your taper, hang in there, success is possible. 🤗

1997 – 2006:  prozac (40 mg) with trials of desipramine, wellabutrin, lamictal, straterra [CT when stopping the trials]

2005: CT lamictal after 2 years

Mid 2006: CT prozac

Late 2006:  several challenging life situations lead to depression, started prozac, lamictal and straterra again

2007-2015:  prozac (40mg), lamictal (200-300 mg), trials with seroquel and topamax [again, CT when stopping trials, no issues yet]

2016:  3 month taper of lamictal to 0 mg [caused rash], prozac 40 mg to 20 mg

2017:  prozac 20 mg to 10 mg [major oh ****, reinstated to 40 mg – now I know what AD withdrawal is]

Feb 2018:  Prozac 30 mg

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  • 4 months later...
  • Moderator

Amazing! Have you made your recovery post yet? 

Apr 2018 - 10 mg Amitriptyline (Rx’d by neurologist for headaches & insomnia)

Jul + Aug 2018 - Reduced to 5 mg in July and then 2.5 mg in Aug (was too fast, hellish withdrawal at 2 weeks on 2.5 mg)

Sept 2018 - reinstated 10 mg Amitriptyline (emotional symptoms improved immediately, physical symptoms improved over time)

Oct 2018 - updosed to 11 mg Amitriptyline (compounded pills)

Stabilized in Apr 2019 (had 2 waves while stabilizing).

Began taper at rate of ~0.2 mg per month with liquid/dissolved taper. Current (Aug 2020) 5.3 mg.

 

Supplements: Omega-3 fish oil, Vit B12, coenzyme Q10, Hawthorn extract (for tachycardia)

Tools for insomnia/waves (as needed) : Epsom salt foot soaks, 0.5 mg Melatonin, quality time with supportive friends/family, remembering waves WILL PASS.

Lifestyle: Eat real foods, mostly plants; daily walking (30 min); track symptoms when needed on paper (adapted Glenmullen chart)

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  • 4 weeks later...
SouthernFreeze

Congrats 👏👏 I hope it goes we off the drugs. 

I was on effexor and stopped drinking for 5 years. To get off the effexor I bridged to fluroxatine. I then stopped for a year but now I am back on the fluroxatine as I just couldn't sleep. 

 

The alcohol cravings on fluroxatine have got the best of me and I have been drinking again. Its weird, it's like everything is fine enough but I just Need to feel something. 

I really have to stop but I'm wondering if I need to start tapering again to stop the cravings. 

10 years on various anti-depressants

5 years Effexor xr

tappered of 150mg in 6 months

nothing for two weeks

Reinstated 15 beads for 50 days

Tappered off then clean 2-3months

gradually went back up to 13 mg 3 years

bridged fluoxetine 10mg

2 week tapper

1 year clean

reinstated 5ml dispersed fluroxatine for 6months

 

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