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Sunshine13 -- one month, no meds. "Protracted withdrawal?"


Sunshine13

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I have been on 23 psychiatric medications over 20 years, some more than once, and endured many uncomfortable side effects as a result (ended up in the ER once where I was approached with disdain and told I should have just stopped taking the medication and “rode it out” at home). The few times I havd tried to stop to say I felt horrible would be an understatement (ended up in the ER here too where I was just provided with the very medications I was trying to stop taking). The longest I lasted off of medication was 3 months before going right back on them to alleviate what I was feeling. It did not occurr to me that what I was feeling might be “discontinuation ayndrome” or “protracted withdrawal”. I just assumed I was unable to function without medications and doctors did not say otherwise. The few times I went off of medications there were minimal instructions, no talk of what to expect or how to alleviate what occurred…even when I asked I recieved vague ambiguous answers.

Two months ago I decided, “enough is enough”, after experiencing unpleasant side effects on 100mg of lamictal. I had started at 25mg in the beginning of April 2016 and was up to 100mg by the end of May 2016. So in July I began tapering. At the time I started a new job and my insurance hadn’t kicked in. I could not afford my doctor’s fees, but I knew it was the lamictal causing me to feel ill and was very uncomfortable, so I went about it myself. I tapered for one month and experienced some withdrawal, but nothing horrendous and was off of it entirely for 3 weeks with little trouble.

Last week I began to feel worse than I have ever felt. My brain is in a fog…I can’t remember things and keep zoning out. I feel deeply lost in my head…almost as if I were zapped with electricity. I am highly emotional and agitated. I just want to be alone. Everything annoys me…lights, sounds, people. Having crying jags, quick mood swings, a slight tremor, and weakness in my extremities, paranoia, hopelessness, absolute terror (keep waking up sweating and terrified), heart palpitations, slight cough amd flu-like feeling, restlessness, stomach issues,just want to sleep, weird sensations, the list goes on. I’m not sure of how I can continue to work like this. I sit in my office and either cry or nap, then pull it together when I have to interact with someone.

I am not sure of how to determine if this is just mee off of medication and I really do need to be on medication or if this is me experiencing “withdrawal”. My insurance only covers “typical psychiatrists” who will probably suggest the next med. I would love to see a holistic psychiatrist because they would look ay my whole being…test my hormones, genetics, etc among various other things that typical psychiatrists don’t take into account, including reccomend supplements/diet changes to ease withdrawal. However, the cheapest I have found so far asks $650 for consultation and $450 each visit after. I do not work in a field that is lucrative and I can't afford this.

So basically now I feel like it’s just another experiment on my body to contend with only I have no guidance. I am reading about supplements and started taking ashgawanda, but without fancy testing how do I even know what to supplement??? There are so many options (5-htp, SAMe, l-tryptophan, licorice, gaba, st. John’s wort, vit b, vit d, ltheazine, fish oil to name just a few I have read about) and I don’t want to keep toying around with my body.

Basically I feel lost and angry and just needed to vent. I joined Kelly Brogan’s Vital Mind Reset program yesterday so I am hoping that helps somehow. I am so jittery and unfocused I can’t seem to get started. I just wish I had a little more guidance. I hate our psych system with a passion today. I’m scared that this will last forever and wish I could afford the treatment I need.

Edited by scallywag
tags added

2015/2016 - Abilify briefly, Prozac 60mg, Tegretol 200mg for a few months before starting Lamictal.

 

Started Lamictal 4/11/2016 at 25mg, increased to 50mg on 4/26/2016, 75mg on 5/4/2016, 100mg on 5/27/2016. Tapered to 75mg on 7/31/2016, 50mg on 8/6/2016, 25mg on 8/12/2016, 12.5 on 8/20/2016 and stopped completely on 8/26/2016

 

On 2/15/2016 I dropped from 60mg Prozac to 40mg, then to 20mg on 4/10/2016, stopped completely 6/16/2016.

 

 

 

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Hi Sunshine and welcome to SA,

 

What you are suffering now, and most probably suffered previously when going off the drug/s, sounds very much like withdrawal.  Here is a list of symptoms.   glenmullen_symptoms_AS Appendix 1.pdf.  I was very sick with flu like symptoms when I cold turkeyed several years ago.  It is only now since joining SA that I have made the connection and realised it was withdrawal.

 

So that we can give you suggestions based on your individual situation.  Please put your Withdrawal History in Signature.  Please give details for the last 12-18 months and list all drugs, dates and doses, discontinuations & reinstatements.  If you can't remember actual dates, please include approximate time frames such as "early March" or "mid-August".  Any drugs prior to 18 months can just be listed with start and stop years.

 

Once we have more details of the last 18 months we will be better able to make suggestions regarding reinstatement and dosage.  Please do not reinstate the last dose you were on.  Your brain will have made some adaptations since you have been on the drug.  SA's recommendation about reinstating is to try a small dose.  We can make a suggestion about what dose to reinstate if you decide to do that.

 

 

I'm going to give you some links to check out and then you can ask questions here in your Intro/Update topic:

 

About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms

Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

 

These helped me to understand SA's recommendations:

 

Brain Remodelling (Rhi's Description of Brain Healing)


Video:  Healing From Antidepressants - Patterns of Recovery

 

This is you own Intro/Update topic where you can ask questions and journal your progress.

 

 

Please DO NOT TAG me - thank you

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

  MISSION ACCOMPLISHED:    (6 year taper)      0mg Pristiq      on 13th November 2021

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 from Oct 2015 - 13 Nov 2021   LAST DOSE 0.0025mg

Post 0 updates start here    My tapering program     My Intro (goes to tapering graph)

 VIDEO:   Antidepressant Withdrawal Syndrome and its Management

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"I am reading about supplements and started taking ashgawanda, but without fancy testing how do I even know what to supplement??? There are so many options (5-htp, SAMe, l-tryptophan, licorice, gaba, st. John’s wort, vit b, vit d, ltheazine, fish oil to name just a few I have read about) and I don’t want to keep toying around with my body."

 

Taking any of these at the moment will muddy the waters and if you have any issues we won't be able to work out what is causing what.  My suggestion would be to not take the ashgawanda from now on.

 

To search SA for information on any of those, use google and type in survivingantidepressants ashgawanda (eg)

Please DO NOT TAG me - thank you

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

  MISSION ACCOMPLISHED:    (6 year taper)      0mg Pristiq      on 13th November 2021

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 from Oct 2015 - 13 Nov 2021   LAST DOSE 0.0025mg

Post 0 updates start here    My tapering program     My Intro (goes to tapering graph)

 VIDEO:   Antidepressant Withdrawal Syndrome and its Management

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Hi Chessiecat! Thank you for responding so quickly. I am amazed by how many of those symptoms I am experiencing on the check list. I did not really consider reinstatement, but I guess it's something to think about. I just assumes I had made it this long I might as well keep going. I will look more into the ashgawanda and redo my signature to reflect te information you mention. Thank you!

2015/2016 - Abilify briefly, Prozac 60mg, Tegretol 200mg for a few months before starting Lamictal.

 

Started Lamictal 4/11/2016 at 25mg, increased to 50mg on 4/26/2016, 75mg on 5/4/2016, 100mg on 5/27/2016. Tapered to 75mg on 7/31/2016, 50mg on 8/6/2016, 25mg on 8/12/2016, 12.5 on 8/20/2016 and stopped completely on 8/26/2016

 

On 2/15/2016 I dropped from 60mg Prozac to 40mg, then to 20mg on 4/10/2016, stopped completely 6/16/2016.

 

 

 

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Hey Sunshine

 

Welcome to withdrawal world. The brain zaps, the crying jags, the heart palpitations, the brain fog are all pretty common symptoms of quitting these "meds". I am 2 1/2 years into wd from Zoloft and zyprexa after being on them for 15 years. Yeah, it's pretty difficult when we are supposed to navigate the health care system on our own in an incapacitated state and without a lot of means. I have been looking into neuropaths and holistic medicine too, but in Minnesota they are not covered by insurance so all their expertise and advice ends up being a mirage because I can't afford it.

 

the brain zaps usually subside after 2 months or so.

 

Taurine, a natural supplement that runs around $7 a bottle will help with the heart palpitations. I had them majorly for about 1 1/2 years, but the Taurine helped immediately.

 

I have the same brain fog or cognitive problems. I am not really sure what helps. For a couple months straight I was leaving my apt with my fly down. I am forgetting things all the time now. In conversations I will forget what I was going to say and end pausing to try and recall what is was while whoever I am talking to is staring at me wondering if I am alright. For the first couple of years I was filling up multiple handkerchiefs a day with tears. Now I am so exhausted from 2+ years of poor sleep that I hardly seem to have any feeling left.

 

You'll find so many stories similar to yours on this site. Psych medication side effects and withdrawal syndrome is basically just getting swept under the rug by our society. I hope you start to see some improvement soon.

 

PoetJester (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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You're welcome.

 

My personal situation:  I tried to drop my dose by half and experienced very bad brain fog for 3 weeks.  Suddenly I wasn't able to type.  I am a professional typist so I knew that something wasn't right.  I updosed and within 4 hours my foggy head started clearing and I was able to type again.  There was no way it was placebo.  I had a baseline to work from which proved it was the drug reduction which caused it, and the updose improved it.

 

The thing that a lot of people don't realise is that the brain has changed and relies on the drug.  It's physiological dependence, not physical dependence.  The brain's natural reaction to taking away the drug is to try to adapt, or reach homeostatis.  It's got nothing to do with how strong we are or whether we can tough it out.

Please DO NOT TAG me - thank you

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

  MISSION ACCOMPLISHED:    (6 year taper)      0mg Pristiq      on 13th November 2021

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 from Oct 2015 - 13 Nov 2021   LAST DOSE 0.0025mg

Post 0 updates start here    My tapering program     My Intro (goes to tapering graph)

 VIDEO:   Antidepressant Withdrawal Syndrome and its Management

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I hope I am replying correctly here. I changed my signature, but could not fit my entire history. It kept telling me I could only use a certain number of lines when I would try to save it. So I will put my entire history here. My signature contains 2015-2016.

 

1997 - Prozac 40mg, Klonopin .5mg PRN

2000 - Paxil, Celexa 40mg

2001/2002 Depakote, Lamictal 200mg, Neurontin 900mg, Risperdal, Buspar

2003/2004 - Wellbutrin, Effexor, Zoloft

2005 -  Klonopin 1.5mg, Seroquel 25mg, Lexapro 20mg (until 2014), Trazadone

2006 -Geodon, Ativan .5mg PRN

2007- Risperdal, Abilify

2005 - 2014 Lexapro (tried to stop in 2013 cold turkey and ended up in ER. Went back on)

2013 - Wellbutrin

2014 - Cymbalta, Prozac, Zoloft

2015/2016 - Abilify briefly, Prozac (since 2014) Tegretol 200mg for a few months before starting Lamictal.

 

Started Lamictal 4/11/2016 at 25mg, increased to 50mg on 4/26/2016, 75mg on 5/4/2016, 100mg on 5/27/2016. Tapered to 75mg on 7/31/2016, 50mg on 8/6/2016, 25mg on 8/12/2016, 12.5 on 8/20/2016 and stopped completely on 8/26/2016

 

On 2/15/2016 I dropped from 60mg Prozac to 40mg, then to 20mg on 4/10/2016, stopped completely 6/16/2016.

 

So are you saying if our brains come to rely on the medications then we can never actually fully come off of them? Or just a very, very slow process? I'm assuming just a very slow process...my brain is fried =P

 

 

 

 

 

You're welcome.

 

My personal situation:  I tried to drop my dose by half and experienced very bad brain fog for 3 weeks.  Suddenly I wasn't able to type.  I am a professional typist so I knew that something wasn't right.  I updosed and within 4 hours my foggy head started clearing and I was able to type again.  There was no way it was placebo.  I had a baseline to work from which proved it was the drug reduction which caused it, and the updose improved it.

 

The thing that a lot of people don't realise is that the brain has changed and relies on the drug.  It's physiological dependence, not physical dependence.  The brain's natural reaction to taking away the drug is to try to adapt, or reach homeostatis.  It's got nothing to do with how strong we are or whether we can tough it out.

2015/2016 - Abilify briefly, Prozac 60mg, Tegretol 200mg for a few months before starting Lamictal.

 

Started Lamictal 4/11/2016 at 25mg, increased to 50mg on 4/26/2016, 75mg on 5/4/2016, 100mg on 5/27/2016. Tapered to 75mg on 7/31/2016, 50mg on 8/6/2016, 25mg on 8/12/2016, 12.5 on 8/20/2016 and stopped completely on 8/26/2016

 

On 2/15/2016 I dropped from 60mg Prozac to 40mg, then to 20mg on 4/10/2016, stopped completely 6/16/2016.

 

 

 

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Hey SunshineWelcome to withdrawal world. The brain zaps, the crying jags, the heart palpitations, the brain fog are all pretty common symptoms of quitting these "meds". I am 2 1/2 years into wd from Zoloft and zyprexa after being on them for 15 years. Yeah, it's pretty difficult when we are supposed to navigate the health care system on our own in an incapacitated state and without a lot of means. I have been looking into neuropaths and holistic medicine too, but in Minnesota they are not covered by insurance so all their expertise and advice ends up being a mirage because I can't afford it.the brain zaps usually subside after 2 months or so.Taurine, a natural supplement that runs around $7 a bottle will help with the heart palpitations. I had them majorly for about 1 1/2 years, but the Taurine helped immediately.I have the same brain fog or cognitive problems. I am not really sure what helps. For a couple months straight I was leaving my apt with my fly down. I am forgetting things all the time now. In conversations I will forget what I was going to say and end pausing to try and recall what is was while whoever I am talking to is staring at me wondering if I am alright. For the first couple of years I was filling up multiple handkerchiefs a day with tears. Now I am so exhausted from 2+ years of poor sleep that I hardly seem to have any feeling left.You'll find so many stories similar to yours on this site. Psych medication side effects and withdrawal syndrome is basically just getting swept under the rug by our society. I hope you start to see some improvement soon.PoetJester (Derek)

Hi Derek,

 

Thank you for responding. It is so frustrating to not be able to get the care that we think we would benefit from most because we can't afford it. I wish this wasn't the case, but I guess for now we have to work with what we have. Sorry to hear you are struggling also. I wish there was more attention paid to this!

2015/2016 - Abilify briefly, Prozac 60mg, Tegretol 200mg for a few months before starting Lamictal.

 

Started Lamictal 4/11/2016 at 25mg, increased to 50mg on 4/26/2016, 75mg on 5/4/2016, 100mg on 5/27/2016. Tapered to 75mg on 7/31/2016, 50mg on 8/6/2016, 25mg on 8/12/2016, 12.5 on 8/20/2016 and stopped completely on 8/26/2016

 

On 2/15/2016 I dropped from 60mg Prozac to 40mg, then to 20mg on 4/10/2016, stopped completely 6/16/2016.

 

 

 

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Hey Sunshine

 

I have been trying to get help from General Practitioners and been getting nowhere for over 2 years now. All my regular doctors do is hand me a script for more anti-depressants after barely hearing me out for 5 minutes. I have been to cardiologists over concern about what all this sleep deprivation is doing to my heart. My blood pressure has shot up 25 pts in two years and I now have a double row of horrid bags under my eyes from lack of sleep. One doctor, told me it (my rising blood pressure) was merely the result of getting older even though I have been taking better care of myself, exercise and eating wise, since wd. Being poor and trying to receive adequate health care in America begins to feel like an episode of the Twilight Zone. I called the State Hotline about 1 1/2 years ago to see if I might qualify for Medical Marijuana as a sleep aide. I used to smoke pot in college and slept pretty well on it, but in MN in 2014, it had only approved for Chemo patients and ALS sufferers and when I pleaded my case that I wasn't doing very well due to incessant insomnia, the Operator that I talked to got peaved at me and told me "I don't think you need sleep to live" that was actually her exact quote. It gets strange when you try to demand help, probably because these professionals are the ones who caused our grief by giving us these junk pills in the first place. If you are interested, there is a Facebook page that about 60 of us from this site take part in. It's just a way to commiserate over what we are going through. Go to "Off-Topic" on the intro page and there is a link for it.

 

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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  • Moderator Emeritus

"So are you saying if our brains come to rely on the medications then we can never actually fully come off of them? Or just a very, very slow process? I'm assuming just a very slow process...my brain is fried =P"

 

It's a slow process.  If we take it away gradually, the brain adapts a bit at a time, then we take a bit more away and it adapts again.  The tapering process isn't without withdrawal symptoms.  It's generally that they can be tolerated and they usually don't last long.  But even during tapering you can get Windows and Waves.

 

Many members find that the lower their dose gets the slower they need to go.   Why taper paper: dose-occupancy curves  Alto, this site's founder, has posted the graphs here:  Post #12 & #18

Please DO NOT TAG me - thank you

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

  MISSION ACCOMPLISHED:    (6 year taper)      0mg Pristiq      on 13th November 2021

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 from Oct 2015 - 13 Nov 2021   LAST DOSE 0.0025mg

Post 0 updates start here    My tapering program     My Intro (goes to tapering graph)

 VIDEO:   Antidepressant Withdrawal Syndrome and its Management

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  • Moderator Emeritus

About providing quick access to your history in your signature

You'll see that some of us have added links to our signature: I have one to my introduction topic: Chessie has an intro link as well as one to her blog. 

 

If you wanted to provide a link in your signature to your post with the more detailed medication history, you could cut and paste either of these into your sig:

 

My full medication history: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/13103-sunshine13-one-month-no-meds-protracted-withdrawal/#entry248753

 

Sunshine13's full meds & withdrawal history

.

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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