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thecowisback

thecowisback: wondering why I'm giving up Prozac

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thecowisback

i've been off 60mg 40mg (see Post #4) of prozac for 2 months after tapering very quickly over 2 months. i took prozac for 20 years. 

i have really bad headaches most days, something i never used to have before unless i was dehydrated. 

i have terrible mood swings - i shout at people in the street if they're badly parked, i get road rage when i'm driving, i scream at the kids and my husband. 

fatigue is a big problem - i can fall asleep at any point during the day and often do. i sleep all night but am still exhausted the next day. 

i have constant vivid dreams and nightmares. 

my ocd is creeping back (which is what i was prescribed the prozac for in the first place). i thought i had it under control until my kids told me i needed to stop posting on social media so much as it was dominating my life. i was also alienating people online. 

i have constant diarrhoea. 

i cannot stop eating -i'm constantly ravenous, especially for carbs - crisps and potatoes are my downfall and i've put on a stone in weight since stopping. 

i have lots of pains in my joints and limbs. 

i did have crawling under my skin, especially in my knees and feet but this seems to have subsided. 

i'm scared of seeing or talking to people. this has always been a problem for me but it is worse right now. 

 

 

thankyou for listening if you made it this far. 

today is a bad day and i keep asking myself why i gave up the pills in the first place? i hoped i would have more energy, feel more emotionally, lose weight etc. but it was only after i stopped that i started to read up on protracted withdrawals. i had no idea it could be so bad to stop the drugs. 

 

Edited by ChessieCat
Changed dosage amount. Edited text at OPs request.

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ChessieCat

Hi Cow, and welcome to SA,

 

SA recommends tapering by no more than 10% of the previous dose with about a 4 week hold to allow the brain to adapt to not getting as much of the drug.  You have tapered very quickly from 60mg and from the description of your symptoms you are most probably experiencing withdrawal symptoms.

 

You might want to consider reinstating.  If you decide to do this let us know and we can suggest a dose - please do not go back on 60mg 40mg as your brain will have already made some adaptation in the 2 months since being off.

 

Please create a drug signature Create Your 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. Phone Instructions:  Withdrawal History Signature. Please also remember to update it with date and dose whenever make a change so that it remains current. Thank you.

 

Here are some links to check out:

 

Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

 

About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms

 

Tips for tapering off Prozac (fluoxetine)

 

These helped me to understand SA's recommendations:

 

Brain Remodelling


Video:  Healing From Antidepressants - Patterns of Recovery

 

This is your own Intro topic where you can ask any questions you have and you can also journal your progress.  If you click "Follow" top right you will be notified when someone responds.

Edited by ChessieCat
Changed dosage amount as per Post #4

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thecowisback

thankyou - will have a good read of that later :) i'll have to edit my original post, it should have said 40mg, not 60. i'm making mistakes like that all the time!!! 

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ChessieCat

Thank you for advising that you had made an error. I've amended it for you.  A member can only edit a post within an hour.

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thecowisback

thankyou  :D

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powerback

HI thecowisback welcome .the mods will be by  ASAP.

I've had this waking panic/fear/anxiety for a long time and you will have to work on techniques to reduce it and cope with it . ,i learned to ignore it as best i can ,i told my partner to ignore me when i wake up  .

its horrible isn't it .

I have actually noticed the last week that the usual waking gauntlet of despair is dissipating a good bit .hopefully it lasts .

the mods will give you all the techniques and tools to help with this .

take care

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mammaP

Hi Cowisback, I have merged your new oic wih your original introduction. It is one topic per person in the intro forum. This means all your posts and questions are in one place and easy to follow. 

 

It is still possible to reinstate a very small dose of prozac, it is available in liquid form which makes it easy to get very small doses. I would start with 1mg, this will test whether you can tolerate it. Often we can't tolerate drugs that we have taken previously. Everything changes in withdrawal. Hopefully it will help but there are no guarantees at 6 months off which is why we recommend such a small dose to start with. The sooner you reinstate the better because as time passes we can become sensitive to the drug. Reinstatement is the only cure for withdrawal, other things can help symptoms but the original drug is what can stop withdrawal. If it helps you can then start a slow taper off that small dose once you are stable. Try not to worry, the anxiety is withdrawal and not you. Let the thoughts come and let them go again. You can open the door but don't invite them to sleep over, it takes practice but works for me! 

 

 

 

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thecowisback

thankyou both :) 

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thecowisback

i've been searching for answers but i can't seem to find anything that says how long paws lasts on average. i'm 6 months into withdrawal now and feeling so bloody  low. my anxiety is still through the roof though i'm reading books and stuff on how to deal with that. i now think i have mild depression - can't be bothered with anything, everything seems overwhelming, tired, lethargic, bursting into tears at the drop of a hat. this is something very new to me that i've never had before in my life. i first took the prozac for ocd but i've never had depression before.

i really don't think i could face going back on even a tiny dose of the prozac but there must be some light at the end of the tunnel soon, surely? i keep reading about waves and windows but i seem to have been on a wave for a long time and it just keeps getting higher - when will my window come? (i know that is like asking how long is a piece of string....)

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thecowisback

thankyou - i'll have a read through those now :) 

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thecowisback

after several weeks now of anxiety beyond belief lasting 24/7 i took my family's advice and saw the doctor for meds. i really don't want to go back on ssri's but i;m living in hell right now. the doctor gave me sertraline 50 and i took one on monday night. yesterday was spent with abdominal cramps, diarrheoa (sorry if too much info!) and headaches and i swore never to touch another pill. i phoned the doctor who said my symptoms were from a bug i'd caught as sertraline doesn't cause side effects like that (yes he is an idiot!). 
today i have been left with a really high feeling, the same as i used to get when i took codeine. 
i really want to conquer this anxiety on my own but i'm scared now that i've put back my recovery by taking the pill on monday. 

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PoetJester

Hi thecowisback

 

yeah, your dr is an idiot.  i had diarrhea daily for 8 years on zoloft.  it went away after i stopped the drug in 2014.  when i first took zoloft i didn't have diarrhea (probably like you with prozac), but after stopping it for a while in 2005 and going back on it, i developed diarrhea.  it was a torrent of liquid terd every day. sorry for the graphics.  it was pretty awful.   i think diarrhea is common with stopping and restarting meds or going up and down in dose.  i hope you see some relief from the wd symptoms soon.

 

poetjester

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thecowisback

i feel terrible this afternoon. really high, dizzy and i have blurred vision. how long will it take for that one pill to leave my system? 

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thecowisback

just an update. i never took any more sertraline. i don't want to go back on ssri's. i'm still as anxious as ever and my ocd has hit the roof over christmas. 

someone somewhere out there must have some hope for me that this will pass. i have no idea why i ever stopped prozac so quickly - i feel like i've ruined my life and mental health. i no longer know how to laugh, but can cry at the drop of a hat. someone please  tell me my life will get better......

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thecowisback

After a 2 months taper (far too fast!) i stopped 40mg prozac in february. after the physical withdrawals wore off i was left with horrible anxiety and ocd. i also have depression now which is something i've never had in the past. i've plodded through the last few months telling myself over and over it will get better - the anxiety and ocd will go eventually but if anything they're getting worse. i've always had ocd - it's what i took the prozac for in the first place, but never ever this bad. my mind is a constant whirlwind of thoughts, terror, guilt, etc.

i tried taking sertraline last month but only took one pill. it knocked me for six and i didn't dare touch any more. i'm wondering if i should ask the doctor to try another ssri, or try prozac again. it really is the last thing i want to do. i so wish someone could come along and say 'hey - you're nearly at the end of your withdrawals - hang on in there for another couple of weeks then you'll be fine' but we all know that isn't going to happen. 

i'm terrified of starting pills again - all the side effects to get through for weeks on end and then maybe finding they don't work and having to try another one, then another one etc etc. it's a merry go round i really don't want to go back on but i'm beginning to think i have no choice. my adult kids have begged me to restart meds as they can see how low i've got. 

i know no-one can answer these questions for me, but i would be grateful for some advice from other's who've been here and felt like this. also, is it safe to take another ssri or is my brain too sensitised to them now i'm abused it by dropping the prozac so quickly? 

 

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MiguelFreeman

the admins will answer but you did taper way 2 fast remember that these drugs are not meant to be taken forever  and you taper down in 2 weeks fro ma 20 + y of taking it it's normal you are like that maybe a reinstatement of a small dose will help  and pls hold on 

 

pls post this on your introduction thread or create one if you have not created already 

the longer on drugs the more time to go off slowly 

 

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RealMe
5 hours ago, thecowisback said:

After a 2 months taper (far too fast!) i stopped 40mg prozac in february. after the physical withdrawals wore off i was left with horrible anxiety and ocd. i also have depression now which is something i've never had in the past. i've plodded through the last few months telling myself over and over it will get better - the anxiety and ocd will go eventually but if anything they're getting worse. i've always had ocd - it's what i took the prozac for in the first place, but never ever this bad. my mind is a constant whirlwind of thoughts, terror, guilt, etc.

i tried taking sertraline last month but only took one pill. it knocked me for six and i didn't dare touch any more. i'm wondering if i should ask the doctor to try another ssri, or try prozac again. it really is the last thing i want to do. i so wish someone could come along and say 'hey - you're nearly at the end of your withdrawals - hang on in there for another couple of weeks then you'll be fine' but we all know that isn't going to happen. 

i'm terrified of starting pills again - all the side effects to get through for weeks on end and then maybe finding they don't work and having to try another one, then another one etc etc. it's a merry go round i really don't want to go back on but i'm beginning to think i have no choice. my adult kids have begged me to restart meds as they can see how low i've got. 

i know no-one can answer these questions for me, but i would be grateful for some advice from other's who've been here and felt like this. also, is it safe to take another ssri or is my brain too sensitised to them now i'm abused it by dropping the prozac so quickly? 

 

Hello thecowisback,  I am  sorry you are suffering so much.  I also took Prozac for 20 years and was up to 80mg. It had pooped out long before.  No one ever suggested tapering off.  The doctor just gave me more and more meds that caused problems I am still coping with.  I finally found this site and have found some ideas to help me manage my symptoms.  I hope you get some help and advice from the experienced moderators here.  I don't know much, except that I am trying to stabilize on 9mg. of fluoxetine (prozac) and plan to hold for as long as necessary.  In the meantime, I am reading everything I can (Glenmullen, Briggen, Glasser, Divine Secrets of YAYA Sisterhood), corresponding with others on this forum, reaching out to family and being as sociable as I can (which is not much but more than I was) and taking care of myself the best way I can on all fronts.  Exercise was helping me, but I can't seem to do it without exciting the tinnitus I am experiencing.  Maybe it would help you.  I at least try gentle walking in the sunshine even though it's very cold here.  I only watch television that doesn't upset me emotionally.  I'm not eating sugar or white flour, am eating vegetables, protein, limited fruit and fat; and that keeps the cravings somewhat under control.  I fired my psychiatrist and therapist (not that they noticed) because they never accepted that I had terrible withdrawal syndrome and insist I was just suffering from depression.  I am trying out a new therapist, and I made an appointment with my gp.  I hope he will prescribe liquid prozac so I can continue my slow taper.  I have enough to last till my appointment on February 6th.  I don't know how much he understands, but my husband is very supportive, thank goodness.  Do you have a support person?  I search this site for everyone who has a prozac history and read about their experiences.  Sometimes I cry a lot, but I didn't cry at all for years no matter what happened.  I play scrabble on facebook and do whatever I can to distract myself from feeling poorly.  I sleep too much to escape, but even that symptom is a lot better than when I first got here.

I could relate to what happened to you with the one pill you took.  Even supplements set me off. I wish you the best and hope you find some help.

Best wishes for hope and healing,

RealMe

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JamesF
6 hours ago, thecowisback said:

After a 2 months taper (far too fast!) i stopped 40mg prozac in february. after the physical withdrawals wore off i was left with horrible anxiety and ocd. i also have depression now which is something i've never had in the past. i've plodded through the last few months telling myself over and over it will get better - the anxiety and ocd will go eventually but if anything they're getting worse. i've always had ocd - it's what i took the prozac for in the first place, but never ever this bad. my mind is a constant whirlwind of thoughts, terror, guilt, etc.

i tried taking sertraline last month but only took one pill. it knocked me for six and i didn't dare touch any more. i'm wondering if i should ask the doctor to try another ssri, or try prozac again. it really is the last thing i want to do. i so wish someone could come along and say 'hey - you're nearly at the end of your withdrawals - hang on in there for another couple of weeks then you'll be fine' but we all know that isn't going to happen. 

i'm terrified of starting pills again - all the side effects to get through for weeks on end and then maybe finding they don't work and having to try another one, then another one etc etc. it's a merry go round i really don't want to go back on but i'm beginning to think i have no choice. my adult kids have begged me to restart meds as they can see how low i've got. 

i know no-one can answer these questions for me, but i would be grateful for some advice from other's who've been here and felt like this. also, is it safe to take another ssri or is my brain too sensitised to them now i'm abused it by dropping the prozac so quickly? 

 


Hello thecowisback

I recently tried to wait out severe withdrawals, for 7 months. I had previously done so for 9 months back in 2015. I thought it would get better but it didn't for me personally. I had to reinstate the original medication and now I'm perhaps 50% better after a few months of stabilising. 

I think if things get severe in terms of anxiety, insomnia, etc, this is a sign that the approach was wrong. It should not get severe, and you should not have to ride it out. That's a terrible place to be in, both for the stress and trauma, and also the not knowing when it will get better. Believe me, I wanted someone to tell me it would get better at X date too. It just doesn't work that way.

The key with this whole thing is to make changes that are so slow, and so gradual, that you feel almost no impact to your life and that you remain functional. I also tried to run to the finish line in the hope of being off the drugs for good. I hated the idea of the long term effects of these medications. In fact, I sacrificed my entire life and became housebound for months in order to try and get better.

It harmed me, rather than helped me. My withdrawals were so severe that I lost the components of a normal life: normal sleep, normal socialising, normal work, and so on.

All of these components are what help to heal. Symptoms were so bad that I was forced to give them all up in the hope of a magical recovery. It just doesn't work that way...

Anyway, the results of trying to rush to the finish line and being hard on myself by trying to out-endure withdrawals were that I had to go back on the pills. You could say that my months of enduring horrific anxiety were for nothing in a way. It only harmed me, because I was too brutal on myself. You must be gentle, you must be slow, you must be kind.

I see now, that the stress of withdrawals and the loss of ability to enjoy  your own life and be functional, is FAR worse than any potential long term effects of the medication.

If you simply wait, it could be months, or years, or longer. It might be that your brain simply can't adjust to a drastic jump you made over 2 months, no matter how long you wait. 


First. Do you think you're getting any better, are there longer windows of feeling good vs feeling bad? Or is it the same? Or is it getting worse? 

If it's the first two, maybe there is hope for you to heal quickly. (It wasn't the case for me, it simply got worse over time.)

If it's the same or getting worse, I'd encourage you to reinstate a small amount of the original medication. Not a new one or different SSRI, and not a different class of drugs. Exactly the same drug you were on before. 


They all have unique pharmaceutical properties, they effect receptors and remould the brain in unique ways. They are not substitutes. Especially after 20 years. 


I would say from experience, that when I reinstated, things got temporarily worse for a few weeks then got better. This was not an "adverse reaction" or "kindling" or some other language used on this site. I think it was just the onset effects of the medication on a hypersensitive nervous system. If I had quit after a few days and put it down to an adverse reaction, I wouldn't have known there was a future of getting better. 

So I can't advise you medically what to do, but will say that if or when you reinstate, it may get a little worse before better as it did for me. 

Wishing you all the best. Please don't try to endure it in the hope you will magically get better. This is a losing strategy and your normalcy can slip away faster than you are aware. Either be sure that there is evidence of improvement, or consider reinstatement at a low dose. 

Jay

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thecowisback

i get roughly one day a month when i feel almost normal, then it's back to hell the next day :(

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Petunia

Hi thecow,

We have a similar history, in that I took SSRIs for many years and then did a too fast taper over about 2 months. That was at the end of 2010 and I certainly was getting worse before I started getting better. But my biggest mistake was not knowing what was wrong and trying to go back on the meds after too long off them. I first tried going back on  Lexapro then I tried a small dose of Prozac. I had been recovering, albeit very slowly, but trying to reinstate made me worse than I'd felt in my life and set my recovery back, maybe 2 years, that's just an estimate, but I got new symptoms which persisted for a long time. Once the nervous system becomes sensitized by withdrawal, there's no predicting how any drug, supplement or even foods will effect you.

 

I'm not trying to scare you, reinstatement and then a slow taper might work for you. But there's a risk it will make you worse. I wish I had found this site and learned what was wrong with me before I tried to reinstate. I might be completely recovered now. Of course its your decision if you want to try it. Here is our reinstatement topic:  About reinstating and stabilizing to stop withdrawal symptoms

 

You will get better over time, but it may take a while. There really are no short cuts to recovering from the changes these drugs make. Time, acceptance and taking care of myself have been what has helped me get better. I'm still not completely recovered, but life is ok now, I'm getting there and have hope for a full recovery.

 

I'm so sorry you are going through this, you're not alone.

 

Petunia.

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Longestroadhome

My heart goes out to you. I think JamesF made a valid point. There are a couple of people on the forum who did reinstate and after the initial response to a higher dose did start to feel better. One whom I follow allowed himself to stabilise before recommencing with a slower withdrawal. He is doing very well second time around. Here is the link  

I am not a moderator though nor do I have medical experience with which to offer advice. I am just sharing my observations. Ultimately the decision is yours. 

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thecowisback

i think i'm going to keep on fighting - the thought of going back on more pills scares me even more than these feelings of fear. it's the thought that at some point in the future i'd have to go though tapering and withdrawal again. thankyou everyone for your input - i'll just keep waiting for a window. at the moment it's one day a month. i'll keep my fingers crossed that they increase. 

 

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Downbutnotout
17 hours ago, RealMe said:

Hello thecowisback,  I am  sorry you are suffering so much.  I also took Prozac for 20 years and was up to 80mg. It had pooped out long before.  No one ever suggested tapering off.  The doctor just gave me more and more meds that caused problems I am still coping with.  I finally found this site and have found some ideas to help me manage my symptoms.  I hope you get some help and advice from the experienced moderators here.  I don't know much, except that I am trying to stabilize on 9mg. of fluoxetine (prozac) and plan to hold for as long as necessary.  In the meantime, I am reading everything I can (Glenmullen, Briggen, Glasser, Divine Secrets of YAYA Sisterhood), corresponding with others on this forum, reaching out to family and being as sociable as I can (which is not much but more than I was) and taking care of myself the best way I can on all fronts.  Exercise was helping me, but I can't seem to do it without exciting the tinnitus I am experiencing.  Maybe it would help you.  I at least try gentle walking in the sunshine even though it's very cold here.  I only watch television that doesn't upset me emotionally.  I'm not eating sugar or white flour, am eating vegetables, protein, limited fruit and fat; and that keeps the cravings somewhat under control.  I fired my psychiatrist and therapist (not that they noticed) because they never accepted that I had terrible withdrawal syndrome and insist I was just suffering from depression.  I am trying out a new therapist, and I made an appointment with my gp.  I hope he will prescribe liquid prozac so I can continue my slow taper.  I have enough to last till my appointment on February 6th.  I don't know how much he understands, but my husband is very supportive, thank goodness.  Do you have a support person?  I search this site for everyone who has a prozac history and read about their experiences.  Sometimes I cry a lot, but I didn't cry at all for years no matter what happened.  I play scrabble on facebook and do whatever I can to distract myself from feeling poorly.  I sleep too much to escape, but even that symptom is a lot better than when I first got here.

I could relate to what happened to you with the one pill you took.  Even supplements set me off. I wish you the best and hope you find some help.

Best wishes for hope and healing,

RealMe

Good post. 

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Downbutnotout
54 minutes ago, thecowisback said:

i think i'm going to keep on fighting - the thought of going back on more pills scares me even more than these feelings of fear. it's the thought that at some point in the future i'd have to go though tapering and withdrawal again. thankyou everyone for your input - i'll just keep waiting for a window. at the moment it's one day a month. i'll keep my fingers crossed that they increase. 

 

 

54 minutes ago, thecowisback said:

It’s hard to know what to do, and harder to keep spirits up. One day at a time. One minute at a time. 

 

 

 

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Downbutnotout
56 minutes ago, thecowisback said:

i think i'm going to keep on fighting - the thought of going back on more pills scares me even more than these feelings of fear. it's the thought that at some point in the future i'd have to go though tapering and withdrawal again. thankyou everyone for your input - i'll just keep waiting for a window. at the moment it's one day a month. i'll keep my fingers crossed that they increase. 

 

It’s really hard to know what to do. One hour at a time. One minute at a time. 

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thecowisback

:)

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thecowisback

i'm sinking even lower today. i tried reading some of the success stories but they make me feel even more depressed and anxious. no-one seems to heal in less than around 3 years, usually much longer. i cannot live like this for another 2 years at least. i will go completely mad. i feel so stupid that i've done this to myself. i honestly can't even remember why i cut down so quickly and didn't research more. 

when i search protracted withdrawal or paws it always says it can take many months to come out of it, sometimes more than a year, yet everything i read on here says it will take much much longer than this. 

does anyone get any relief at all before 3 years???? 

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powerback

Hi there TCIB ye it gets overwhelming that's for sure ,no1 you'll have to pull yourself back from thinking so far ahead ,this will eat you alive .Distract distract quick ,I did it  this morning and I'm doing it all day ,practice is the name of the game ,months ago I would of spiralled for much longer than I did it this Moring ,keep at the coping   strategies .  

 

Of course we don't want to practice this stuff ,but think of it like ,we learn great coping skills for life after withdrawl. 

All we have is time if we have totally given up the quick fixes doctors peddle .

Hope your wave ends ASAP .

 

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Bobo71

I am 8.5 months of the drugs and it is very hard. I have rejected reinstatement as an option because I realise my CNS is massively sensitised and putting a powerful drug into the mix, even at a low dose, is a huge risk. You have been off drugs for a similiar time period it seems. That time counts towards recovery even if it’s been hell. Everyone has to pass through hell on this journey whether you CT or do a taper it seems. My reading of the success stories is a little different. Yes, a full recovery may take 2-3 years but we are looking for something less than that right now. We are looking for evidence that some of the symptoms are becoming less intense and that seems to typically  happen at the year to 18 month mark. Once this happens you will have concrete evidence you are healing even if not feeling well. Hang in there to get to that point. Yes, this requires superhuman endurance but don’t put at risk the time you have already got under your belt. There are many people who have suffered more than this (hard to believe but it is true). 

 

In terms of coping with this in the meantime; there is a lot on this site but the key message that comes through is that it’s only time that really makes a difference. Lots of time. Supplements tinker around the edges. Walking is very good and continual distraction to keep your mind fully occupied. Crosswords, chess whatever. One success story refers to ‘burning through time’. Crying helps too. 

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thecowisback

thankyou so much both of you - your words have helped me so much already xxxxx 

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Longestroadhome

One thing that I have realised is that no two withdrawals are the same. I tend to read the stories of others who are taking my medication ( lexapro) and honestly every story is different. Some have more physical symptoms and others more mental. Some recover quicker than others. I can not base my recovery on the testimony of someone else. Try not to worry unnecessarily. 

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thecowisback

i know i shouldn't read too much into others withdrawal stories. it's just that when i'm feeling right at rock bottom i'm looking for any glimmer of hope on the horizon. it's very hard not to think that i've done irreparable damage and i'll never recover. 

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RealMe

I see you last visited on Jan 21. Hope you are doing well.

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thecowisback

thankyou so much for asking. 

i've had some horrendous days lately, days when i thought i really couldn't carry on, but then i've also had 3 days in the past month when the intrusive thoughts didn't seem so bad or prominent and i could actually think straight. 

before i had a one day window each month, but looking at my diary i've had 2 in january and i had another one yesterday. this gives me hope that maybe i will get more windows and that is just the ***** of light i was looking for. 

i had an appointment at the mental health signposting service in our town a couple of days ago. they asked how i was doing and told them i felt better now i had found other people on the internet struggling with antidepressant withdrawals. they practically told me i was stupid - withdrawals don't last more than a few weeks and i should be over all that by now. i guess that's par for the course when dealing with anyone in the medical profession. i don't trust any of them any more. 

 

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