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Chochka

Chochka: Prozac/zopiclone withdrawal got worse after 6 months

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Chochka

I would like some advice on withdrawal please. I was on 20 mg prozac for about 5 years and 3 years ago I came off, after a 3 month taper. I started to get a serious ringing in my ears and severe insomnia and then I had a year of anxiety, terrible insomnia and intense anger which got worse and worse. The doctor said that I was obviously depressed and advised me to go back on the prozac, which after a year I did, starting with 40mg as the symptoms were so bad. A year later, one year ago, I lowered the dose and started suffering drowsyness and fatigue which lasted 5 months. Then in September I started suffering from the drowsiness and fatigue again and the doctor eventually told me that I needed to come off the prozac as it wasn’t working for me any more. That was about 3 weeks ago. I had a week tapering and then started sertraline. Since then the drowsiness has got worse, accompanied by really bad tinnitus. My query is about the year I had with anxiety, anger and insomnia. Could that have been withdrawal from the prozac? It didn’t get any better over the year – if anything it gradually got worse and worse. At the time I suspected that it was withdrawal as every so often my face would go numb, which was one of my symptoms when I first came off prozac but the doctor said that the symptoms had gone on far too long and I was just depressed/anxious again. (I had suffered form anxiety for a couple of years previously, which had led to CFS, which was why I had gone on the prozac to begin with.) Could that year have been withdrawal? In which case what do I do now? I can’t go back on prozac as it had started to have a bad effect on me. I’m a bit despairing at the moment – I have recently had to put my PhD on hold because the drowsiness got so bad and I’m dreading the withdrawal if it’s going be as bad as last time. Does anyone have any techniques which might help? I don't want to go back on, however long it takes to even out again.

Edited by scallywag
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brassmonkey

Hi Chochka--  welcome to the group.  I'm sorry to hear that you're having so much trouble and having to put those big plans on hold.  However, you are right, that lost year was more than likely due to you fast taper, the symptoms were then compounded by the reinstatement and subsequent CT.  I don't think the Sertraline is going to do you much good either. We have found that most of the time switching to another drug just compounds the problems.  These drugs are not interchangeable so at best the new drug will just cover up some of the symptoms if you're lucky.  Here are some things that you should read through while we are getting you settled in:

 

What is withdrawal syndrome?

 

About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms

 

Tips for tapering off Prozac (fluoxetine)

 

Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

 

That will give you a lot of information to digest, then ask us a lot of questions

 

If you would please add a signature block with the details of you experience it would really help us to see what is going on

 

Please put your withdrawal history in your signature

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KarenB

Hi Chochka and welcome to s/a,

 

I moved your post to the intro forum so more people will see it and we can get to know you.  I'm glad you are here for some support.

 

Brass gave you some good links - I'm just chiming in here to say hello, and that you are not alone.  You're in a scary time right now, but with some reading and understanding you can get yourself onto a good pathway to healing.  We've all been where you are now :)

 

If you're interested in some self-care, magnesium and fish oil seem to help many people.

 

Hugs

Karen

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downtongirl

Hi SquirellyGirl, it's Chochka. Thanks for your advice to join this forum. I've felt terrible for months now, even though I've only just come off prozac. I don't want to go back on again as I think it stopped working for me a while ago. I've just got to get through this. I will certainly listen to these. See you soon.

 

Hey chochka if you don't mind me asking how long have you been off of Prozac and what are your withdrawal symptoms? I stopped Prozac September 30th of this year...I used it to get me off of Effexor...been on psych drugs for 20 years and I am in a bad wave right now...insomnia, waves of trembling inside and out, anxiety, blurred vision, heart palpitations, weak legs feel tired but energized at the same time. Been in this wave since Sunday night.

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downtongirl

Hey chock ha I am in Prozac withdrawal too... Sorry you are not feeling well...I am going to my psych tomorrow to see about reinstating but I don't really want to do that

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SquirrellyGirl

Chochka, I am so glad you made it here!  You are in good hands!

 

When you say that Prozac started having a bad effect on you, can you explain?

 

A lot of times it seems that these drugs "poop out" on people, causing withdrawal without a change in dosage.  Though Prozac may have had a bad effect on you, you are likely suffering from withdrawal from Prozac, and reinstating a tiny amount may actually make you feel better.  It's odd that poop out causes us to start feeling bad again (usually withdrawal anxiety and depression, not "relapse,") yet, reducing slowly can make people feel better.  I know it might seem like the last thing you want to do, to take a tiny bit of Prozac again, but it may be just what is needed to make you feel better.  I'll leave that to the moderators, who know much more than me, to determine.  

 

So you have been off the Prozac for 3 weeks after a one week taper and are now on sertraline. What dosage of Prozac were you on before the one week taper?  How did your doctor have you do the taper?   If you could fill out your signature with this information, that will help the mods and people who drop into your thread see your history at a glance, especially as more posts pile up in your thread.  Please include what you took when, what dosages, what your taper schedule was, dates as best you can. The instructions on how to do this are here, but it helps to look at other peoples' signatures to see how they did theirs:

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/893-please-put-your-withdrawal-history-in-your-signature/?hl=introductions

 

This is important information for the mods to know before they can advise you of whether a reinstatement dose might help and if so what amount. 

 

brassmonkey gave you loads of good links to check out.  Here's another one with information about poop-out:

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/437-tolerance-or-poop-out-what-happens/?hl=downregulation#entry4363

 

Cheers, 

SG

 

SG

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nz11

Chochka how are you doing?

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Chochka

I had to go cold turkey from prozac last April and took a very small dose of zopiclone for 5 months to get over the insomnia. (It was half a 3.5mg tablet, 2 nights on and 2 nights off.) I stopped that at the end of August when I realised it was making my symptoms worse.

 

After that I had anxiety and tearfulness a lot for about 3 and a half months, along with intense drowsiness, fatigue, headaches, flu-like symptoms and a range of other physical stuff. That eased over Christmas, apart form a week when I was ill with a cold and I had really bad irrational fear and insomnia. Then i had a couple of weeks where all the symptoms really faded and I thought i was coming to the end of the withdrawal.

 

Unfortunately the drowsiness and fatigue returned about 6 weeks ago, not quite so bad this time, along with some of the physical symptoms. Now I have another cold and the symptoms have got much worse again - the irrational fear has returned too, along with anxiety and periods where I fluctuate between being really hot and having serious chills. These periods last about an hour or two. The cold was bad last week but has improved, although the fear and anxiety is as bad as it was when I first stopped.

 

It's been 6 months now and it feels that the symptoms have gone from being just about manageable to worse than they were when I first stopped. Anyone else with experience of this? And does a cold bring on symptoms? Any help would be welcome here - I am feeling really despondent now and I'm getting tot he point where I think I will be like this for ever.

Edited by ChessieCat
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Chochka

I have had two periods recently where my withdrawal has gone through a few days or so of being a lot worse. Both times I have had a cold. Is this coincidence? I am going through a really bad period now after 6 months of things slowly getting better and I am losing hope of getting over this.

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Petunia

Welcome back Chochka,

I found the topic you started about a year ago and joined it with your new one, its one intro topic per member, helps to keep all your information and history together in one place.

 

I'm wondering if you saw the responses to your original post?

 

Are you taking any medication now?

 

It would be great if you would put your drug and withdrawal history in your signature. Doing this helps people understand your context, it appears below each of your posts. Here are instructions for how to do it:

 

Please put your withdrawal history in your signature

 

Recovery from these drugs, especially after stopping them too fast can take quite a while, much longer than might be expected. The recovery process is rarely linear and often happens in a pattern we call  The Windows and Waves Pattern of Stabilization

 

So what you have described sounds fairly normal, and yes any kind of stress, including a head cold, could exacerbate symptoms for a while.

 

But you will get better, just not as fast as you would like.

 

Here is the link to our symptoms and self care section, you may find some useful ideas to help manage symptoms as you recover.  Especially read the topics pinned at the top.

 

You can use this thread as your ongoing journal to track progress, write about symptoms, ask questions and communicate with the community, add to it whenever you want. Its a good idea to bookmark it or follow it, so its easy to find again.

 

Please stay in touch and let us know how you are doing.

 

Petunia.

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Chochka

Hi Petunia.

 

I didn't see the responses to my original post - it's really good to find them now though. The site isn't alerting me to responses through my email - can I set it to do that? I can't work out how. Thanks to everyone who has replied: Brassmonkey, KarenB, downtongirl, squirellygirl and everyone else. I've been completely med free now for 6 months and although the WD has got a bit easier I'm still struggling. It's good to know this is here - my doctor has been worse than useless - just encouraging me to go back on something else so since September I've really been going through it alone. For a long time I haven't wanted to talk about it as I've just wanted to get on with my life and ignore it as much as possible but I've really crawled through the last 6 months and then had an explosion of unmanageable symptoms over the last couple of weeks which have really freaked me out. I have had a bad cold though, and the symptoms have been the same as last time I had a cold - hyperventilation syndrome, insomnia, anxiety and uncontrollable fear and dread. After the last cold and the bad symptoms had passed I had a couple of weeks where I didn't have many symptoms and was actually symptom free for a day or two here and there. I'm wondering if that will be the same again now. 

 

I've actually had symptoms for the best part of the last 2 and a bit years and sometimes I've wondered if I have done myself permanent damage. For a while I followed my doctor's advice until I learned to trust my instinct and then got on the internet to find other people's experiences. It's encouraging to hear of others going through the same thing and getting through - yesterday I read the success stories and it was so uplifting for me. I will never, ever touch psychiatric drugs again and I wonder if in 20 or 30 years people will look back at our use of these drugs like we do now with valium and see them as they really are - poisonous and dangerous. 

 

Again, thank you to all who have answered and everyone who posts on here - it's been a godsend in my last few days of need.

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scallywag

To get notifications when someone posts in your thread, follow this topic.  Here's how:

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ShakeyJerr

Check back in here, Chocka, so we can all see what is up and help you through it!

 

SJ

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Chochka

Has anyone had new symptoms a long way in? I stopped cold turkey 14 months ago and have slowly started to feel better. My main symptoms were intense drowsiness and fatigue. About 3 weeks ago I entered a new window and then I had a stomach bug which laid me pretty low. I had just recovered. From that and for the last 2 or 3 nights have felt really wired and wide awake. It's horrible. I'm not sure how long I can cope but do not want to go to the doctor as he will give me pills again. I thought this was finally getting better, I'm so desperate. 

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MiguelFreeman
On 16/11/2017 at 4:00 AM, Chochka said:

Has anyone had new symptoms a long way in? I stopped cold turkey 14 months ago and have slowly started to feel better. My main symptoms were intense drowsiness and fatigue. About 3 weeks ago I entered a new window and then I had a stomach bug which laid me pretty low. I had just recovered. From that and for the last 2 or 3 nights have felt really wired and wide awake. It's horrible. I'm not sure how long I can cope but do not want to go to the doctor as he will give me pills again. I thought this was finally getting better, I'm so desperate. 

hi you are in the wrong area of the forum post this on your Introduction post so the moderators can replay in my opinion you can do 2 things Reinstate a small amount (what has the risk of an adverse reaction ) or try to hold and try holistic way to try to fix it a let the healing keep going 

i  my shelf am going slow on the taper and I 2 have some mental symptoms but we got to be strong 

 

but post this on your introduction section so they can replay 

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ChessieCat

Any stress, whether internal or external, good or bad, can affect our withdrawal symptoms.  This would include being sick.  Last week I had a helicopter flying lesson for my 60th birthday.  For several days after I noticed increased anxiety.  Did you take any type of treatment for your stomach?  Some members find that when in withdrawal things they take, including supplements, antibiotics, and even food and alcohol can affect how they feel.  The only two supplements which SA recommends are Magnesium and Omega-3 Fish Oil.  If you do try them, try them separately and start with a small amount to test it.  

 

Dr Joseph Glenmullen's WD Symptoms Checklist

 

Sleep problems - that awful withdrawal insomnia

 

Brain Remodelling


Video:  Healing From Antidepressants - Patterns of Recovery

 

From What is Happening in Your Brain

 

"Basically- you have a building where the MAJOR steel structures are [...] to be rebuilt at different times - ALL while people are coming and going in the building and attempting to work.

It would be like if the World Trade Center Towers hadn't completely fallen - but had crumbled inside in different places.. Imagine if you were [...] to rebuild the tower - WHILE people were coming and going and [...] to work in the building!  You'd have to set up a temporary elevator - but when you needed to fix part of that area, you'd have to tear down that elevator and set up a temporary elevator somewhere else. And so on. You'd have to build, work around, then tear down, then build again, then work around, then build... ALL while people are coming and going, ALL while the furniture is being replaced, ALL while the walls are getting repainted... ALL while [...] is going on INSIDE the building. No doubt it would be chaotic. That is EXACTLY what is happening with windows and waves.  The windows are where the body has "got it right" for a day or so - but then the building shifts and the brain works on something else - and it's chaos again while another temporary pathway is set up to reroute function until repairs are made. "

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Chochka

My waves include boredom and lack of motivation too. I've been off for 19 months now and although my waves are a lot easier these days I have a permanent feeling of just not being interested in anything. 

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Nena59

Chochka,

I also have a lack of interest in anything. I used to be such an energetic person. I worry that this is now my life. I am at the 18 month totally off meds mark...I had hoped wd would be over by now. The symptoms I still have are occasional brain zaps, problems with sleep, and anhedonia. I just have to keep reading the success stories!

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Pepita

I know that kind of bored feeling as well... sometimes I think this is because I am so busy and focused on WD the past 2 years that Inforgot to have fun;) I am now trying new things... my main hobby used to be sports which I still do but can't perform like it was before so I figured I need something new. Now I bought a kalligraphie boom and yesterday went to a live drawing group which I really enjoyed a lot! But it takes a lot of effort and first I feel no motivation to do so... but then, joy comes back:))) 

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Chochka

Before I took these dreadful things I was a triathlete. Busy all the time, very motivated, etc. Now I'm an overweight middle aged woman waiting for it all to come back again. Today is particularly bad - I barely feel motivated enough to write this post! But I do have days that are much better and I can feel my old self returning. 

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Pepita
2 hours ago, Chochka said:

Before I took these dreadful things I was a triathlete. Busy all the time, very motivated, etc. Now I'm an overweight middle aged woman waiting for it all to come back again. Today is particularly bad - I barely feel motivated enough to write this post! But I do have days that are much better and I can feel my old self returning. 

I know! this sport-subject ist particularly frustrating 😵 when I am in a window I can train almost my "normal" amount but in a wave or somewhere in between it just doesn't work that way🙄 I get headaches right during workout and my nerves are on fire. I then try to accept that I will only do light cardio, walk the dog exceptionally long- stuff like that. If I don't do anything I feel like a total victim

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Chochka
2 hours ago, Pepita said:

I know! this sport-subject ist particularly frustrating 😵 when I am in a window I can train almost my "normal" amount but in a wave or somewhere in between it just doesn't work that way🙄 I get headaches right during workout and my nerves are on fire. I then try to accept that I will only do light cardio, walk the dog exceptionally long- stuff like that. If I don't do anything I feel like a total victim

My main symptom is drowsiness and fatigue so training is completely out when I'm in a wave. When I'm in a window I can go running with my local fell running club and cycling with the local triathletes but that doesn't happen very often. I try to run 10 minutes every day but in reality when I'm in a wave running is out of the question. It's very frustrating and I'm constantly 'waiting' to get better. My life has been on hold for years.

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Pepita
44 minutes ago, Chochka said:

My main symptom is drowsiness and fatigue so training is completely out when I'm in a wave. When I'm in a window I can go running with my local fell running club and cycling with the local triathletes but that doesn't happen very often. I try to run 10 minutes every day but in reality when I'm in a wave running is out of the question. It's very frustrating and I'm constantly 'waiting' to get better. My life has been on hold for years.

how long have you been on them? and for how long are you off? 

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ChessieCat

I've moved these posts from the Windows and Waves topic because they are about Chocka's situation.

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Chochka

Hi Pepita.

 

I was on 20mg prozac for 4 years 2008-12. I tapered under doctors advice at the end of 2012 and went into a horrible withdrawal which consisted of intense insomnia, anxiety and irritation for a year. At the end of it I was in a different dimension! I knew at the start it was withdrawal but my doctor wouldn't believe it so eventually I tried to reinstate. It took about a year and I was a mess then too. Then I tried numerous times to taper under doctors advice for the next couple of years before getting fed up of it all and finally going cold turkey about 18 months ago. That was really horrible and I spent a year feeling like I'd been it by a truck but now it's finally started to subside and although I feel pretty dreadful a lot of the time it is manageable now and I do get days and even weeks where I don't have any symptoms. I'm reckoning it's going to be at least a year before I feel ok for the majority of the time. It's been really hard and I wouldn't advise going on antidepressants without very careful consideration. I wasn't even on them for mental health problems and now that's what is on my medical record. 

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Chochka

I've been withdrawing for two years now and after a really awful first year things started to improve. My symptoms started to ease and there were frequent windows which made the bad times easier to take. Recently though my symptoms have got worse again with no windows. I've been drug free now for 2 years. Has anyone else experienced this? How long did it last and how did people deal with it? I guess I'm looking for answers which I know are probably not there but I'm in need of some encouragement at the moment. 

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Rosetta

I'm at 21 months off after a very fast taper.  I'm really sorry you were given Prozac.  It's clearly not safe.  

 

You are going to get better.  This is "just" another wave. (Really irritating to hear that, I know.) The "2 year wave" is often talked about here.  After months of feeling better and thinking it's over another wave hits.  Sometimes people try ADs again which I think is a mistake.  Almost everyone who gets through the 2 year wave seems to see a lot of improvement in the 3rd year and then some of them write success stories or simply stop posting.  

 

I suppose some who stop posting have another wave and try the drugs again, but I'm not going to.  I am convinced that this nightmare is almost over.  (Just don't ask me what I think when I'm in a deep wave.  Then, I feel the opposite, of course.)  I have dug very deep into the threads of people who are still ill after 2.5 years or 3 years, and I'm quite sure that the fact that I never tried another AD or benzo in all this time is a good thing.  Trying to use timeframes to make decisions about this awful syndrome is folly in my opinion.  This syndrome doesn't stop because the calendar says "Are you kidding me?!!"  Some people feel better at 18 months and never get another big wave.  Some of us see a wave at 2 years or a few months after, but the same process of healing is happening in each case.  Some people are luckier than others, that's all.  

 

The success story people often say "after 2 years I was still having symptoms, but they were milder and I continued to see improvement throughout year 3."  So, I think it's worth waiting out year 3 off the drugs from a cold turkey/ fast taper.  That's my plan -- not that I would ever touch another AD or benzo - ever -- but in terms of being discouraged, I'm not (as long as I'm not in a wave like the one you are in right now).  I'm sick to death of this, but I honestly believe that I'm getting well, and that my life will be mostly back to normal in a year or two.  I believe I am thinking clearly right now and that I don't think clearly in a big wave.

 

You have been through the worst based on all the SA threads I have read.  If you stay way from all the different drugs that can harm you -- even the numbing agent at the dentist and some antibiotics that have fluoride in them -- I believe you will come out of this wave and get well.  Just make sure to search here for any drug a doctor prescribes to avoid being "floxxed" by the fluoride antibiotics and ask for the non-adrenaline numbing agent at the dentist.  The doctor never seem to provide informed consent -- tell the patient of the risks of the drug.  Oh, avoid alcohol and caffeine, too.  Your system will be sensitive for years, I think, but the really hard part is almost over, in my opinion.  I hope you feel better very soon, Chochka.

 

Rosetta

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