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billy: Advice for surviving Pristiq and Lamictal withdrawal


billy

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I have been medicated for 8 years on a variety of medications after hurting my back on the job as a firefighter. They treated me for post traumatic stress disorder. I was also being fed loads of opiates to kill the pain from the injury which I believe caused the dression in the first place.Loads of mood stabilizers,a/d's,valium & xanax's later i realized I had a drug problem.Five years ago I started the weaning off of all twelve druggs I was being given for my injury and the side effects.Sussessfully got off all the benzos,opiates(PURE HELL).But I didn't have the endurrance to get off the a/d's, at which time I was given Effexor. I stayed with Effexor for a few years till I had a rage incident at home and as a result of being arrested I overdosed on clonipin and was taken to a mental hospital.There they court ordered my to take Lamictal and Pristiqe and was released two weeks later(worst experience of my entire life,bar none).I realized it was time to address the Effexor(Pristiqe that is much like Effexor)and Lamictal.I tapered down off the Pistiqe successfully and then started the taper off Lamictal and am now 11 days off all medication. I have moments of clairity and encouraging feelings,then days with anxiety and regrets.I AM EXHAUSTED ALL THE TIME & I feel as though my mind is playing tricks on me and need some encouragement from someone that had gone through the hell and is on the other side successfully with no depression or weird feelings,anxiety etc.. I am adament on not going back on ANY mind altering medication and regret listening to the crazy sh*tty doctors that have taken 8 years of my life thinking they were helping me. PLEASE RESPOND WITH ENCOURAGEMENT AND TRUTH SO I CAN GET BACK TO BEING A FATHER AND HUSBAND AGAIN WITH OUT PILLS..thanks.

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Welcome, Billy.

 

So sad to read your history of being given too many drugs.

 

Yes, people do recover. Sometimes it takes time.

 

How did you get off the Pristiq and Lamictal?

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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Pristiqe 100 mg- two weeks breaking them in half. Lamictal-3 weeks tapering down from 50mg(never went higher than 50mg),breaking them in small pieces till off. 11 days today without either. Amazingly no depression,just anxiety,naseua,extremely exhausted,weak,worried. Still can't really function or be relied on,Bed ridden mostly and wife thinks because when the Effexor stared not working anymore at the end, before my nervous breakdown, I was sleeping alot.But I told her I'm not depressed really. Achy joints, not motivated. But from nowhere I'll feel great ,optimistic and like myself before all the medication,so I am encouraged-then I'll go to bed and wake up with the exhaustion,anxiety and worry that I'll be like this forever.Rollercoaster ride from hell...Please help-Tips from exact diet, excercise, suppliments,mind excercises etc that might help... if you can or anyone can. Ive searched all over the internet and with no exact story to say how long this will last exactly..

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Hi Billy. Welcome :)

 

Sorry you had to go through this though. I know it's rough. I'm not through yet so I'm not a success story. Though I have beaten the emotional and mental anguish. I do have some success stories and links at my website though. Maybe it will help give you some encouragement. There is light at the end of this tunnel.

Taper from Cymbalta, Paxil, Prozac & Antipsychotics finished June 2012.

Xanax 5% Taper - (8/12 - .5 mg) - (9/12 - .45) - (10/12 - .43) - (11/12 - .41) - (12/12 - .38)

My Paxil Website

My Intro

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  • Administrator

Billy, this won't be forever.

 

It seems you tapered very quickly off two drugs that each can cause a withdrawal syndrome.

 

Pristiq (Effexor) alone is known for a vicious withdrawal syndrome. Anxiety, nausea, and exhaustion are common withdrawal symptoms.

 

If I were you, I'd take a quarter tablet of Lamictal (12.5mg) for 4 days and see if that helps.

 

Do you have any Pristiq left?

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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Altostrata -I don't have either drugs and I really don't want to taper anymore.It seemed that all the same withdrawal symptoms were there when I was tapering anyway.Can't i be successful with out more tapering???? From what information is out there it seems that the brain chemicals need to start producing the nomal levels again to start feeling well ,I just want to know if anyone can give me a testimony on their experience and what exactly the brain needs to replenish itself,the way I did it(quick taper).A testimony from the other side so to speak.I've read people tapering down for long long periods of time,and my marriage doesn't have anymore time.I need to get off this crap now.Mentally I haven't felt clearer about what needs to done for 8 years now, and physically I am being held back from that success.I mean tell me to "Just Stick It Out" if it's the truth and i will do it, but more drugs are not the answer for me. I'm listening... Shanti-thanks for the website..

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  • Administrator

It's not surprising you've had withdrawal symptoms all along as you tapered too quickly. That's exactly how withdrawal syndrome comes about.

 

Sometimes when people taper too fast, it helps to "do over" part of the taper.

 

Lamictal may help reduce withdrawal symptoms from Pristiq, and it will reduce its own withdrawal symptoms, if you are also suffering Lamictal withdrawal.

 

The idea is to go up to a low dose of Lamictal, stay on it a bit, and taper from there, perhaps by using a compounded liquid.

 

Yes, tapering is tedious and no one wants to go back on the drugs, but if your withdrawal symptoms are bad, going back to "do over" might reduce them.

 

You may wish to stick it out, that's your choice. It may take months for you to recover, or it could be weeks. No way to tell. After too much time goes by, the "do over" window closes and reinstatement at a low dose is less likely to work.

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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Altostrata I am very gratefull for your advice,thank you.. If anyone else wants to chime in with any other advice I will be gratefull for any and all input on this supject. Everyones experience I understand is different, and I am hopefull for this too shall pass. Psychotic drugs and the doctors that push them should be ashamed with the way they indiscriminantly dispence this poison to all those in need of help only to cause more dammage and no solutions on how to survive without them and no help on how to get off them.They use us like labratory rats part of a big sick experiment....

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Hi Billy,

 

I relate to so much of your story. The worst of my story happened over the last four years starting with a number of life crises including my divorce, and the deaths of my father and a close friend. I was already on an AD and was prescribed Ativan at that time as well. Over the 4 years I was prescribed a bunch of other things and then last spring I figured out that the Ativan was agitating my nervous system in a horrendous way and that began my taper from both Effexor and then Ativan and now Lamictal.

 

I tapered Effexor over about 4 months and the same for Ativan. Both totally sucked and I can't believe that the current taper of Lamictal is just as bad in its own way. I started the Lamictal taper in mid-September going down from 100 to 75 to 50 to 25. Big mistake for me as it landed me in a dark dark place and now I've gone back up to 75 over the last 2 weeks. Clearly it was way too fast for my system and I have to go much slower.

 

Things that have helped me--especially with the Effexor and Ativan tapers--were swimming outside all summer (sad that the season is over:(). It wasn't just the gentle exercise that helped it was also being in nature on a regular basis. Diet has been huge for me too. I am also dealing with Candida and have had to eliminate all sugars from my diet. For me my system seems to do best with a mostly cooked food diet high in vegetables, with moderate amounts of fish, poultry, grains (mostly quinoa and brown rice). The less processed the better (ie. less bread, pasta, chips, store bought cookies, etc.). I have cut out caffeine as well which upsets my nervous system. I have a lot more thoughts on diet if interested.

 

I totally understand your desire to get back to your parenting and family life--I have two young boys myself.

 

All the best,

Karen

Zoloft:  1997-2010

Effexor:  2010-2011 cross taper to Prozac

Prozac:  2011, 60mg, current 17mg

Ativan:  2005-2006 PRN, 2007 daily, tapered off June-Sept 2011

Mirtazapine:  2010-2012

Lamictal:  2011, 100mg, current 45mg

Klonopin:  Sept 2011- Feb 2012 3mg

Seroquel:  2013, 150mg, current 45mg

 

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Hi Billy;

 

I am sad to read your story and am glad that you that are working toward getting off of meds. You can and will get your life back. I think that Alto makes a good point about getting off the drugs too quickly. These are powerful chemicals and after months of weaning from Effexor (still on a tiny amount) I have a lot of respect for how strongly they effect my whole nervous system.

 

I have caused myself a lot of problems by tapering too quickly and then had to go back up a tad just to get rid of horrific side effects, so in hindsight wish I had known how to deal with it better the first time.

 

Problem is we are all out on the "psych med frontier" here and just trying to find our way while the prescribing doctors are often oblivious to what kind of undertaking this really can be for so many us when we taper off the meds.

 

You can do it, and there is more than one way to get there. We all have to make tough choices in an arena where western medicine has failed us miserably.

 

Here is an interesting article from one of the doctors who I put a lot of stock in:

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1454-dr-david-healy-on-prolonged-antidepressant-withdrawal-syndrome-2009/

 

Sometimes I think all we can do for our kids is model how to be self-loving and how to get through tough times - you sound like a man who loves his family and will be a better dad than ever. Crocus

xxxx

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Thank you Karen for the kind words of support.. Crocus the letter from Dr. Healy is very interesting and not sure where I find myself in it. Sounds like the road ahead is uncertain at best and guessing and theories are all we have.But it is very helpful and I will try and stay active because now I just stay inside and rest alot.I am so gratefull for the support and help offered by all thank you and God bless.

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How do I know the difference between what is a syndrom and symptom? Effexor/Lamictal quick taper sufferer here. 5 weeks for both and 12 days since last Lamictal dose of 6mg..Exhausted and more 'bad' days bad than good.Mind is clearing but anxiety,nausea,and fear of never recovering plage me durring the bad days.The good moments and days are filled with optimism and hope but they are fewer than the bad days.HELP!!!

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I don't know specifically what the difference is. Both symptoms and syndrome does heal over time though.

Taper from Cymbalta, Paxil, Prozac & Antipsychotics finished June 2012.

Xanax 5% Taper - (8/12 - .5 mg) - (9/12 - .45) - (10/12 - .43) - (11/12 - .41) - (12/12 - .38)

My Paxil Website

My Intro

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  • Administrator

Hi, Billy. I merged your new topic in to this one -- only one Intro topic to a customer.

 

A syndrome is a collection of symptoms that characterizes a condition.

 

Nausea is a symptom. Nausea, anxiety, and exhaustion following quitting an antidepressant indicate withdrawal syndrome.

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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Hi Billy,

 

A belated welcome.

 

As an FYI, I tapered off of my med cocktail very slowly. While I am definitely not yet a success story due to my insomnia which may or may not be withdrawal related, I am very convinced that if I had tapered too quickly, things would have been alot worse.

 

If you're having intense symptoms from tapering too quickly, it seems that is a sign you need to reinstate and go more slowly. Actually, for many people a too quick taper or CT can actually make the symptoms last alot longer than if a person goes too slowly.

 

Obviously, you have to do what you feel is best but I wanted to provide my experience.

 

CS

Drug cocktail 1995 - 2010
Started taper of Adderall, Wellbutrin XL, Remeron, and Doxepin in 2006
Finished taper on June 10, 2010

Temazepam on a PRN basis approximately twice a month - 2014 to 2016

Beginning in 2017 - Consumption increased to about two times per week

April 2017 - Increased to taking it full time for insomnia

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Anyone have a taper strategy I can follow? I have been off Effexor(150mg) for a month now and tapered off the exact way the doctor told me to. I didn't consult him on my Lamictal(50mg) tapering for I don't trust him and fear him pushing more medication.Lamictal I cut in half(25mg)for a week,then cut them again(12.5)mg for another week,then cold turkey.PLEASE HELP ME I AM BED RIDDEN AND FEARFULL OF ENDING UP IN THE HOSPITAL,JUST TO BE FORCED BACK ON THIS POISON.

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  • Administrator

Yep, we're all about tapering strategy here. Unfortunately, doctors know little about safe tapering, or recognizing withdrawal symptoms when they appear.

 

Did your doctor tell you to alternate doses to get off Pristiq? Here are our Tips for tapering off Pristiq.

 

If I were you, I'd go back on a bit of Lamictal, starting with 12.5mg. That would be a quarter of your 50mg tablets, correct?

 

Within a few days, you'll be able to tell if 12.5mg gives you any relief. If not, you might want to add another 12.5mg.

 

There's a possibility the Lamictal will dampen your withdrawal symptoms. It won't immediately take away all the symptoms, you may need to take it for a while, but it might help a bit and set you on the way to recovery sooner.

 

Then you can very gradually taper off the Lamictal.

 

Now, we don't know if your symptoms are from withdrawal from Pristiq or Lamictal, or both. Like Effexor, Pristiq is a prime offender for withdrawal difficulties. You might want to CAREFULLY reinstate a small amount of this drug as well.

 

To see if I could "do over" the Pristiq taper, I might try either 1) cutting up a Pristiq tablet into quarters and see if it relieves your symptoms or 2) taking a low dose of regular Effexor (cutting up Pristiq more or less converts it to regular Effexor or 3) getting liquid Prozac and taking a low dose of that to "substitute" for the Pristiq.

 

Here's a discussion of the Prozac switch. More information about how to taper off Prozac here.

 

None of these techniques is guaranteed to stop withdrawal symptoms, but have a better chance of reducing them than doing nothing. Medicine knows a lot more about how to get you dependent on drugs, but not much about safely getting you off them.

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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Altostrata- I started yesterday a 6mg (1/4th of a 25mg piece) and another one today with some relief,actually able to get out of bed and go to the store and feel ok till I ate something,then it hit me again,I rested and in a few hrs I was feeling kind of ok again,not as good as how I'd like to feel but better than bedridden psychosis. I tool some Emitral(anti-naseua)and am reading this hoping the small dose of Lamictal will be enough,but my mind is obviously crying out for your help.As you know confusion is a strong withdrawal symptom and making a decission and sticking to it is tough for me,so plese be patient with me. I have read about the Prozac switch thing and talked today with a Pharmasis familliar with this and she said the same thing you suggested short of re-instating The Prisiqe or Effexor...How long should I give the low dose Lamictal to work to see if I can tollerate that route?Should I just keep upping the dose till I feel well again? Then when will I know when I can taper and at what rate?I thought I was feeling well enough to taper off the lamictal initially till 13 day off it caused this panic.If I find a level of comfort should I just stay there for a while?? My Phychiatrist recommended all the tapering steps I took and don't have a Doctor to turn to for this information.Thanks.

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  • Administrator

It's very common that people in withdrawal have hypersensitive systems. You may react to things in unusual ways for a while.

 

When we eat, hormones are released and your autonomic nervous system is working. Since it's already confused, eating might confuse it more. Then it regains what shaky equilibrium it had.

 

You'll get through this, this will go away in time, stay calm.

 

It takes about 4 days for Lamictal to reach a stable level in your bloodstream. Be sure to take it at the same time every day.

 

Good to hear it's helping. You may be able to get by with just the partial reinstatement of Lamictal. Prepare to be on it for a while.

 

If 12.5mg turns out to be too much Lamictal, you'll get a headache and/or nausea a couple of hours after taking it. This is a sign to take less the next time.

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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Altostrata-Amazing how much better I am feeling today. I just got back from our annual "Turkey dinner drive" at my church and I worked for 4 hours with minimal side affects.Once I left though my mind started worrying about eating soon ,but am encouraged with the Lamictal on board.I now consider you a friend ,and am grateful for the encouragement and insight. I will follow the instructions you gave me and stay stable at 12.5 mg. I will check back with you soon and give you updates.GOD BLESS YOU for helping me and steering me straight when I thought things will never be normal again. I'm not through the woods yet I know but anything is better than bedridden.I'm sure the withdrawals symptoms will still be a problem,but with clear thinking and a great friend that gives of their time and insight to help the lost I am hopefull for the future!! THANK YOU TONS!!

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  • Administrator

Thank you. Fortunately I have a little experience with Lamictal and withdrawal syndrome.

 

If you feel okay at 6.25mg, you might stay there, Billy. Let's see how it goes.

 

Please pay it forward and help others.

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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I will forever be against the use of psych-meds.I will testify to anyone that will listen and offer my help through the experienceses I have had with this poison. It didn't help me in any way,but took 8years of my life from me and almost cost me my marriage and my kids. The leagal dope pushers(psychiatrists)sould be ashamed at the lives they ruin every day by believeing that they really offer a service to anyone.Counselling and a strong support group is all anyone really needs in my opinion to deal with depression.Self esteem can be buit by love and acceptance through various means(church groups,friendships,couselling,etc..) but people have to be pushed in the right direction instead of given another pill to solve thier problems.Thanks a million Altostrata.I will be in touch on here to keep you updated.:)

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Hi Billy;

 

I am sad to read your story and am glad that you that are working toward getting off of meds. You can and will get your life back. I think that Alto makes a good point about getting off the drugs too quickly. These are powerful chemicals and after months of weaning from Effexor (still on a tiny amount) I have a lot of respect for how strongly they effect my whole nervous system.

 

I have caused myself a lot of problems by tapering too quickly and then had to go back up a tad just to get rid of horrific side effects, so in hindsight wish I had known how to deal with it better the first time.

 

Problem is we are all out on the "psych med frontier" here and just trying to find our way while the prescribing doctors are often oblivious to what kind of undertaking this really can be for so many us when we taper off the meds.

 

You can do it, and there is more than one way to get there. We all have to make tough choices in an arena where western medicine has failed us miserably.

 

Here is an interesting article from one of the doctors who I put a lot of stock in:

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1454-dr-david-healy-on-prolonged-antidepressant-withdrawal-syndrome-2009/

 

Sometimes I think all we can do for our kids is model how to be self-loving and how to get through tough times - you sound like a man who loves his family and will be a better dad than ever. Crocus

 

Thank you Crocus for the support and kind words my friend.:)
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Hi Billy,

 

A belated welcome.

 

As an FYI, I tapered off of my med cocktail very slowly. While I am definitely not yet a success story due to my insomnia which may or may not be withdrawal related, I am very convinced that if I had tapered too quickly, things would have been alot worse.

 

If you're having intense symptoms from tapering too quickly, it seems that is a sign you need to reinstate and go more slowly. Actually, for many people a too quick taper or CT can actually make the symptoms last alot longer than if a person goes too slowly.

 

Obviously, you have to do what you feel is best but I wanted to provide my experience.

 

CS

 

Thank you CS :)
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  • Administrator

Billy, I'm very glad you're feeling better.

 

Some words of caution: Don't overdo it. Your nervous system has been under a lot of stress. It will need time to recover. Try to avoid stress, stay on the sunny side, let your family know you're still convalescing. Be strong in this. If you get sick again, it's not going to help them.

 

Take care of your sleep. It seems the sleep cycle is particularly vulnerable to withdrawal damage. Keep very regular hours, go to bed and get up at the same times every day, follow the natural dark-to-dawn cycle.

 

If you go back to work, try to get light duty.

 

Treat your nervous system very gently for maybe 6 months. Take the Lamictal at the same time every day. Stay on it until you get the signs your nervous system doesn't need as much -- headache or queasiness at about the same time every day. Then reduce very carefully, 1mg or less at a time, wait for the headache or queasiness signal to reduce again.

 

Have a lovely holiday season, minimize rushing around! Be happy with your family and simple joys.

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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Yeah the hardest part is not confusing my family & friends.One moment I'm so happy not having the symptoms&functioning w/clear head and clarity, and in an hour everything changes and the anxiety,nausea,confusion and worry hit hard."You were just feeling fine,whats the matter?" like questioning my sincerity. I was just at a holiday play for one of my children when it hit me, I started sweating,getting dizzy, and freaking out on the inside and had to leave.It came out of nowhere.Laying down is all that comforts me and I try stayin on a normal sleeping schedule, but for now I have to "rest" alot still.Psyical anything is tough. I used to be a worout regular and now can't really do much.. My wife is starting to understand and support me more with every passing "episode", so I grateful to have that. She can see my charater comming through again and is very excited to start have glimses of me back, even if it's for a monent.I will be "ME" again!! soon .. thanks for the support.:)

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  • Administrator

When you have those waves, try slow meditative breathing. I found it helped me a lot.

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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Starting to level out nicely, but not all the way there yet.Definately getting more good hours than bad ones.Some energy comming back.I think looking back at my other posts I miscalculated on the dosage.Thought I was cutting up 50mg and it was 25mg,so I am stabilizing at 6mg a day.Seeing improvement and as long as I don't overwhelm my digestive system it seems I do better.Anxiety still my best friend but we aren't as close as we have been in the past,LOL.Dealing with situations better,but still resting alot,but not as much as a few days ago(bedridden).Relating to others and avoiding stressfull situations when i can.Man this really sucks how slow this process really is!;( . Drugs are crap and I will forever be A/D free for the rest of my life.Losing controll isn't all that it's cracked up to be.Thank GOD for this site and Alostrata..

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  • Administrator

Thanks for checking in, Billy. It's good to hear you're doing okay.

 

If 6.25mg is enough to keep you stable, stay there on that dose. More is not necessarily better.

 

You might have to take this for a while. Better to support your nervous system while it rebuilds rather than take away the support while it's still shaky.

 

When it's time to reduce it, you may wish to get a liquid prescription from the compounding pharmacy. Out of pocket, it would be $60-$70, but worth it because you can be very precise with your dosages.

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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Alto-can you help me to understand this phase I'm in now that seems to never end? Mornings are the worst-I wake up fearfull and full of anxiety, in an hour I am on the verge of crying at anything and usually do alot of crying.Waking up takes all morning and the urge to go back to sleep is overwhelming.When I am around people I do better,when alone I obsess and worry.Confused alot and VERY mellow people tell me,slow reaction time.I can fake it pretty good when I have to,but it exhaustes me to.As the day goes on things get better but still foggy all day and by the evening is when I feel the most comfortable and able to handle reality more..I would rate my days when I first wrote you at a 0 from 1 to 10, and now only a 4.I am prgressing but not as fast as what I had hoped for. Wondering if this is all I can expect for a long stetch, or will my brain start feeling better and thus the rest of me feel better too? 6mg. is where i'm at didn't know if and up dose to 12.5mg might help, but don't want to if not nessarry of course. Thanks Billy

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  • Altostrata changed the title to billy: Advice for surviving Pristiq and Lamictal withdrawal

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