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pinkcurly: Cold Turkey


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Hi Everyone.


I'm new to the site. I have suffered from depression for 16 years and have not been on a forum like this before but am feeling very desperate for advice at the moment and as my doctors are useless i thought maybe someone on here who understands could help me. I have a Psychiatrist appointment but not for a month yet!


Anyway i have been on anti depressants for 16 years. I was on Citalopram(60mg) for 10 years and then Nortriptyline (150)mg for 6 years. Now 3 months ago i did something i know was very stupid and not recommended and came off the Nortriptyline cold turkey.


I did this because at this point i was just desperate to get them out my system. I believe they have caused all my mental problems which include memory and concentration problems, jerking, seizures, electric shock feelings, brain pressure and constant sleeping. It was starting to scare me and that is why i did it.


Anyway at first i experienced what i expected horrific physical withdrawal symptoms where to be honest i did just want to die but i was determined and after 3 weeks these faded. I then experienced a weird depression i had not had before where i couldn't even move for a while and then that passed.


I am now at a stage where my depression is basically back to how it used to be but at its worst. My depression has always been up and down and the drugs never worked but i just cant seem to get out of this major low and its been longer than normal. I am really worried this is going to ruin my relationship as i don't want to see my boyfriend and just spend the whole time crying and sleeping and i feel like there is no way out anymore.


Part of me just wanst to start taking some drugs again to see if it improves but part of me is scared to go back on them again as i know how hard they were to get off. I know the Psychiatrist will be able to advise me on this but i don't think i can carry on like this for that long. Do you think i should just try and stick it out and it will improve as this is just withdrawal or start taking a small dose of drugs again. Thanks so much for reading this :)

Edited by scallywag
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It's always good to taper off...cold turkey is generally never a good idea.

June 2013 - Vyvanse 40mgs and Adderall 20mgs


March 2015 - Concerta 36mgs and Seroquel 50mgs


August 2016 - Vyvanse 50mgs


November 2016 - Current - Vyvanse 60mgs, Seroquel 50mgs (I cut them in half and only take 25mgs), Wellbutrin 450gs (I hardly ever take it)


Current Withdrawal Symptoms: Very abnormal pins and needles/bubble feeling on the right and backside of my head (thought it was a brain tumor, so got both an MRI and CT Scan that came back normal), random waves of extreme depression sometimes with suicidal thoughts, tired most of the time, get anxious for seemingly no reason, sometimes hard to sleep. 


September 6, 2021 - Completely off all drugs.  Still smoke a lot of cannabis.  Take Animal Pak, L Tyrosine, and Organic Mucana as supplements.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hello Pinkcurly,


So glad you've written an intro to get some help.  What you are experiencing - depression, crying, sleeping etc - are withdrawal symptoms caused by a cold-turkey.  The lack of feelings is also very common.  You could read this thread for more discussion on that:  http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/2873-anhedonia-apathy-demotivation-emotional-numbness/


Your psychiatrist is unlikely to understand withdrawal (as most don't), and will probably try to tell you that the withdrawal symptoms are in-fact ‘relapse.’  This is why many people get drawn back into using drugs, believing they are not healed.  


However, reinstatement of a small amount of Nortriptyline is worth considering.  We have a thread that discusses it here:http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/7562-about-reinstating-and-stabilizing-to-reduce-withdrawal-symptoms/  If you decided to reinstate, it would be of a very small amount, and once you were stable again you could taper off according to our 10% monthly guide.


The troublesome thing with SSRIs is that you can't just flush their effects out of your system.  They change the way your brain works, and that takes much longer to heal.  Suddenly stopping the drug puts your brain and Central Nervous System into shock.  It's like yanking a trellis out of a garden instead of gently untangling the plants and slowly removing the wood – it’s too much trauma for the plants/your brain.  (For the source of that simile, plus further discussion, see http://survivinganti...el-your-brain/)


So considering you'll be affected in an on-going manner either way, you may as well choose the path more conducive to healing.


In the mean time you may like to try Fish oil and Magnesium which many people find useful during withdrawal.   


Keep it Simple; Keep it Slow; Keep it Stable

Non-Drug Techniques to cope with emotional symptoms.

Please put your withdrawal history in your signature – all drugs/dates/dosages etc - so we can see your situation easily whenever you post, and help you more accurately.  Thanks.


Have a read of those and then you can come back to this thread to discuss things further.  This can be your journal to record your tapering and healing progress, and to ask questions. 


Welcome to SA,


2010  Fluoxetine 20mg.  2011  Escitalopram 20mg.  2013 Tapered badly and destabilised CNS.  Effexor 150mg. 

2015 Begin using info at SurvivingAntidepressants.  Cut 10% - bad w/d 2 months, held 1 month. 

Micro-tapering: four weekly 0.4% cuts, hold 4 weeks (struggling with symptoms).

8 month hold.

2017 Micro-tapering: four weekly 1% cuts, hold 4 weeks (symptoms almost non-existent).

2020 Still micro-tapering. Just over 2/3 of the way off effexor. Minimal symptoms, - and sleeping well.
Supplements: Fish oil, vitamin C, iron, oat-straw tea, nettle tea.

My story of healing:ContinuedHealing

***I am not a doctor; please do your own research and be able to take responsibility for decisions you make.*** 

           'The possibility of renewal exists so long as life exists.'  Dr Gabor Mate.

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Thank you so much for your advice. It really helped to have someone that understood what i was going through. I read all the info and i was pretty sure that this was due to withdrawal so decided to reinstate 25mg of Nortriptyline ( i used to be on 150mg) a week ago now and am feeling much better. I am still very depressed and do not really leave the house but i have stopped crying constantly and am not being so cold with my boyfriend so that's a start. I am not sure what to do from here. I think i will just have to wait to see what the Psychiatrist says and hope they can help me in some way. I will keep you updated on how being on 25mg is going. Thanks so much again for your help.



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  • Moderator Emeritus

As previously requested Please put your Withdrawal History in Signature.  Please include details for the last 12-18 months of  all drugs, dates, doses and discontinuations & reinstatements.  If you can't remember dates, please write it as "early March" or "mid-August".  Please provide a summary of any drugs prior to that which can just be listed with start and stop years. Please include all prescription, non-prescription drugs and supplements you are currently taking. If you are using a phone there are instructions in Posts 9 & 10.


It sounds like your reinstatement is working.  It's a good idea to Keep Notes on Paper and Rate Symptoms Daily to Check Patterns.  This way you will be able to pick up small improvements which you may not notice.


It takes about 4 days for the drug to get to full state in the blood and a bit longer for it to register in the brain.  The idea of reinstating isn't to get rid of the withdrawal symptoms completely but to bring them to a level that is bearable.  If you find that things don't get to a bearable level 2 weeks after your reinstatement please post here, Providing your symptom pattern since reinstatement, and the mods can discuss whether you might increase your dose by a small amount.


Once you get settled on your dose, you would then stabilise over at least 3-4 months and depending on what withdrawal symptoms you were experiencing you could then start to taper by 10% of the previous dose followed by about a 4 week hold to allow the brain to adapt to not getting as much of the drug.


I suggest you read the following before seeing the psychiatrist.  It wouldn't surprise me if the psychiatrist recommends going up in dose and/or adding another drug.  You may even be told the same myth I was that like a diabetic needs insulin you will need to be on a drug for live.  Before following their recommendation regarding the drug/s I suggest that you post here BEFORE you change anything so that you can get a second opinion.


How do you talk to a doctor about tapering and withdrawal?


What should I expect from my doctor about withdrawal symptoms?

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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  • 1 year later...

Hey pinkcurly. Are you off the drug now? How are you doing?

Zoloft 50 mg from April 23, 2015 to August 28th, 2016 (1 year, 4 months).

4 week taper. Last dose on August 28, 2016


Mianserin 30 mg in an attempt to reverse PSSD from September 6th, 2017–around mid November 2017 after a few week taper. Did not fix PSSD


Currently taking: Melatonin and magnesium every night.

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