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MattyB

MattyB: Hello, Looking for support and shared experience insight

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MattyB

I've never joined a forum before but I am not sure where else to turn.

 

I am 26 years old and feel like I have dementia. I can barely remember things, skills that I have possessed for years seem foreign to me, I can barely concentrate at work and I can't read a book / retain information to save my life.

 

I wasn't always like this but it seems like whenever I build up a tolerance to whatever meds I am on or try to get off of them completely this is what happens to my brain. I was once off of antidepressants for 9 months about 2 years ago and experienced the same thing. Eventually I couldn't take it anymore and got back on. This time I have been off for 5 months and am struggling deeply. I am wondering if my brain is irreversibly damaged by these drugs and if I'll ever be the same.

 

I wish I had never started down this path. The first 3 years of being on meds were great and then I built up a tolerance. Since then it's been a good year here, 2 bad years there, that kind of pattern until now. I have vowed never to go back to antidepressants that clearly have altered the chemistry of my brain. I don't know how to function without them. I get headaches regularly from stress and can barely function at work. I am not living with my parents anymore so taking too much time off work isn't really an option. 

 

I am wondering if anyone else has experienced similar symptoms and more so recovery from these symptoms post antidepressants. Maybe it takes over a year, maybe longer? Is there more I can be doing? Engaging in activities that I enjoy and exercising helps my mood but not these strange dementia symptoms. I have an appointment with a Neurologist in about 2 1/2 months. Not really sure what else I can be doing until then. Not sure if there is more that could be done to  speed up this healing process or give me the ability to focus better. Any feedback would be much appreciated. 


On and off antidepressants for almost 10 years. Off for 5 months now and experiencing major brain fog, confusion, dementia like symptoms. Is my brain irreperable? 

 

Effexor XR 150 - 300 MG (Eventually replaced with Pristiq 100 mg)

Wellbutrin XL 150 MG

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Happy2Heal

hi MattyB

a mod should be along shortly to help you but I wanted to welcome you (although this is a place none of us wanted to end up, it's a great forum with lots of support and good advice)

 

your brain is likely not permanently damaged but it can take some time for it to heal from being on the drugs and during that time we got thru withdrawal with a wide range of symptoms that can vary from person to person and with the same person, from day to day or even hour to hour.

 

once you know what is happening- your brain is repairing itself, in it's own time and it's own way- it's a bit easier to handle.

 

you might want to check out these threads if you haven't already, for some general information that may be helpful to you:

 

What is withdrawal syndrome

 

About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms

 

Non-drug techniques to cope with emotional symptoms

 

The Windows and Waves pattern of stabilization

 

 

Me, personally- I find eating as much healthy food as possible, cutting out caffeine and sugar and processed foods, eating regular meals and keeping to a regular schedule as much as is possible helps. I also do a lot of meditation/mindfulness and listen to calming CDs and music.

 

gentle exercise is helpful but don't overdo it. Try to stay away from negative people or upsetting situations as much as you can, don't watch the news, and just in general take good care of yourself, those things will help.

 

there are some supplements that are recommended here- magnesium and fish oil, I believe there's a thread about those but my eyes are bad today and I can't seem to find that one :P

 

anyway, I hope this gives you some good ideas while you are waiting for a moderator to answer your questions better than I can. I am just a fellow traveler on this journey we didn't want to have to take.

Edited by scallywag
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  • pysch med history: 1974 @ age 18 to Oct 2017 (approx 43 yrs total)
  •  Drug list: stelazine, haldol, elavil, lithium, zoloft, celexa, lexapro(doses as high as 40mgs), klonopin, ambien, seroquel(high doses), depakote, zyprexa, lamictalBrief trials of dozens of other psych meds over the years
  • started lexapro 2002, dose varied from 20mgs to 40mgs. I tried to get off it several times. WD symptoms were mistaken for "relapse". 
  •  2013 tapered down to 5mg but WD forced me back to 20mgs
  •  June of 2105, tapered again, too rapidly to 2.5mgs by Dec 2015. Found SA, held at 2.5 mgs til May 2016 when I foolishly "jumped off". Crashed in Sept, reinstated at 0.3mgs in Oct. 2106
  • Tapered off to zero by  Oct. 2017 Doing very well
  • Nov. 2018 feel 95% healed, current age 63 
  • Jan. 2020 feel 100% healed, peaceful and content 
 

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scallywag

Matty B -- Welcome to Surviving Antidepressants (SA)

Thank you for starting an introduction topic and for posting a medication and withdrawal history in a signature.

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.

The cognitive symptoms you've listed are known withdrawal symptoms. Many people experience them. Here's a link to our discussion topic on cognitive issues:
Brain fog: blank mind, comprehension, cognitive and memory problems


catnapt posted a link above to our discussion topic on reinstating. Some people get relief from withdrawal symptoms by reinstating a very small dose of the medication they discontinued. Please do not reinstate just yet. If you are interested in the idea, please read the topic and come back here to post your questions.
 
For reference:
Why taper by 10% of my dosage?
Tips for tapering off Effexor (venlafaxine)

It is very unlikely that your brain has been damaged. On this site, we work from the theory that symptoms are the result of a destabilized CNS (central nervous system). Your CNS made changes when you started taking the medication; when you stop, your CNS has to undo all those changes. Here are a couple of links that describe this in more detail and have useful metaphors:
How your brain responds to psychiatric drugs - aka "Brain remodeling"
Youtube video, 4 minutes: Healing from antidepressants

 

Please have a look at the links we've provided. Let us know your questions and how you're doing.


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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MattyB

Thanks for the responses. I have tried fish oil in the past and didn't see much of a difference. I'm feeling rather hopeless at the moment. Some of this information is not new to me but some of it is.

 

I am not interested in reinstating a small dose of medication after 5 months of being off of it. I tapered with my doctor the first time over the span of about 2 months, maybe not slow enough... But I haven't had any of the insane volatile ups and downs that some people experience when they go cold turkey or don't take enough time. It's more been like a slow progression downward ever since I got off. The first 2 months or so were actually not bad at all, it was also summer and I was able to take a little time off from work.

 

Since then the symptoms have gotten worse and worse. I think I also might be a hypochondriac. I comb the internet tirelessly looking for answers, SO many things cause brain fog and there are SO many different possible solutions. 

 

I understand that it takes some time for the brain to rewire itself but I'm afraid that soon i won't be able to work and will become broke and homeless as a result. I don't know what to do! I've considered filing for disability but can't even concentrate enough to fill out the paper work that is required, let alone find the time and energy to actually follow through with the process.

 

I'm scared for my well being and don't know where to turn...


On and off antidepressants for almost 10 years. Off for 5 months now and experiencing major brain fog, confusion, dementia like symptoms. Is my brain irreperable? 

 

Effexor XR 150 - 300 MG (Eventually replaced with Pristiq 100 mg)

Wellbutrin XL 150 MG

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scallywag

You may not notice a difference with Omega 3 fish oil, its effects are subtle. If I recall correctly the most noticeable improvement that people report seems to be a reduction or elimination of brain zaps. Most Western diets supply too much Omega 6 (in grains) and not enough Omega 3. If you are not experiencing negative effects, you are probably fine.

For many, probably the vast majority of people, symptoms resolve (disappear) over time. The time that it takes for your CNS (central nervous system) to recover is dependent on multiple factors, many of which probably aren't currently known because there has been so little research done.

 

The only known way to reduce symptoms after discontinuing an SSRI/SNRI or other antidepressant is to reinstate a very small dose, i.e. a few beads of Effexor or a few mg of Wellbutrin. Reinstatement doesn't work for everyone, but it is worth trying particularly if you are concerned about your ability to work and to function.

 

Many people after having a negative experience with medication are understandably reluctant to reintroduce that medication or introduce a similiar one.   "To fix my issues with discontinuing this medication, you're suggesting that I take the medication????" It seems illogical, irrational, even "crazy" but reinstatement works for many people.
 


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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MattyB

But am I not just prolonging the process of recovery? Reinstatement would mean that my brain would once again get used to being on meds. I'm very confused and surprised at this suggestion. I thought we were supposed to be getting off antidepressants on this forum, not back on.  

 

There must be other, more natural alternatives to help with the coping process besides going back to the actual drug...

 

Plus I've already been off of the meds for about 5 months. At this stage in the game is that sort of strategy really advisable? I feel like I'd be doing myself more harm than good. 


On and off antidepressants for almost 10 years. Off for 5 months now and experiencing major brain fog, confusion, dementia like symptoms. Is my brain irreperable? 

 

Effexor XR 150 - 300 MG (Eventually replaced with Pristiq 100 mg)

Wellbutrin XL 150 MG

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scallywag

Although reinstating increases the time you spend on the medication, the time it takes for your CNS (central nervous system) to recover will probably be shorter.

 

Please have a look at these links for a more detailed description and useful analogies:

 

Youtube video, 4 minutes: Healing from antidepressants

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


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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blackhill4

Hi Matty :) your symptoms sound pretty typical to what a lot of people say they experience during wd. I am 3 years in and still get that "dementia" feeling too lol, i also second the healthy eating advice. Everytime i drink/eat caffiene i still get severe head pressure and artificial coloring is horrible... was the worst for me actually.


Paxil 2007-2012, somnolence for a few months so quit, anxiety gets severe again, put on citalopram (horrible reaction). Used august 2013-September 2013, quit and doctor reinstates paxil (reaction again ) on from sep to dec. Quit cold turkey and suffer problems to this day

 

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healthyliving

This is exactly what I am going through as well. Any progress?

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blackhill4

Do you mean with sensitivities?


Paxil 2007-2012, somnolence for a few months so quit, anxiety gets severe again, put on citalopram (horrible reaction). Used august 2013-September 2013, quit and doctor reinstates paxil (reaction again ) on from sep to dec. Quit cold turkey and suffer problems to this day

 

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blackhill4

If you are referring to sensitivities then yes! I have gotten much better yeah, still have some of them but some have resolved as well :)


Paxil 2007-2012, somnolence for a few months so quit, anxiety gets severe again, put on citalopram (horrible reaction). Used august 2013-September 2013, quit and doctor reinstates paxil (reaction again ) on from sep to dec. Quit cold turkey and suffer problems to this day

 

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healthyliving

With the brain fog and concentration?

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blackhill4

Oh yeah tons my friend :D , I went from barely able to think to being pretty clear minded now. It took a long time but i am getting better. Cog fog still get me at times, I keep leaving things all over my house lol


Paxil 2007-2012, somnolence for a few months so quit, anxiety gets severe again, put on citalopram (horrible reaction). Used august 2013-September 2013, quit and doctor reinstates paxil (reaction again ) on from sep to dec. Quit cold turkey and suffer problems to this day

 

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healthyliving

COG FOG!! not sure why, but I find that term amusing. At least theres some humor in this hell hole of withdrawal. What was the time line on these improvements?? I am fighting myself everyday to NOT pick up the prescription I have waiting for me at the pharmacy. 

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