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Tiedemies: quitting ssris and antipsychotics cold turkey is rough


Tiedemies

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Tiedemies

Hi everybody!

 

I'm Finnish, so please excuse my english, I'm very used to reading it, but not necessary writing myself.

 

I try to keep my story short, but in a nutshell I was put on Sepram 20mg (Citalopram?, which later was changed to Escitalopram 15mg) and Olanzapin 5mg because of my depression and ocd. Now, I have to say that I really did not feel that depressed to begin with and in hindsight, I was really doing well (especially compared to now) without any meds whatsoever. Anyway, I took them for roughly 2 and a half to 3 weeks and then stopped, foolishly I might add, them both pretty much cold turkey before starting my ECT therapy.

 

I should have discussed about it with someone, but the ECT therapy got started so suddenly and I did not really have an opportunity to talk about my concerns with anyone. I just felt uncomfortable having that many external things affecting my brain at the same time, so I figured I better get of the meds for my own peace of mind. It really didn't even occur to me, that getting off these meds could have any negative effects, cold turkey or otherwise. So I stopped taking them and about the halfway in my ect therapy, I started having increased anxiety and panic attacks. I also got one of those "brain zaps", that really scared me and started one pretty rough anxiety attack. Without knowing any better, I blamed the ect therapy for messing up my brain, but now later came to realize that I was, and still am, suffering from ssri and antipsychotic withdrawal symptoms.

 

I feel restless, anxious, nauseous and have trouble sleeping. I have lost my appetite and really only want to lay down in quiet most of my time. I'm scared easily and for the first week since the symptoms appeared I was having constant panic attacks. I was certain that I was going to die and with the lousy feeling I'm having, still get these feelings, just not so overwhelmingly. Sometimes I'm feeling really cold, other times like I'm having a fever. I feel sluggish, constantly kinda "out of it" and have these internal tremors/shakes. My palms are sweaty most of the time and I'm having trouble to concentrate or doing pretty much anything.

 

It's been two weeks since the symptoms started and I've really had enough of them. I took multivitamins from the start, but just started taking extra magnesium and fish oil, hoping to relieve my symptoms. Now, I was only taking the drugs for a short while and with pretty low doses, but still. I feel pretty horrible 24/7 and hope there's light at the end of the tunnel. Oh yeah, just to add: I took Escitalopram for maybe four days before quitting, Sepram for the couple of weeks before that.

 

I just hope I get through this and did not cause any long lasting damage to myself with this. Thanks for letting me went out a bit!

Late March 2017: started Sepram 20mg for ~2 weeks, changed to Escitalopram 15mg for 4 days in early April

Late March 2017: started Olanzapin 5mg for ~2 & 1/2 weeks

Quit both cold turkey before ECT treatments early April

Withdrawal symptoms really kicked in on 21/4/17

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PoetJester

Hi Tiedmiedes,

 

I also quit olanzapine (I was on it for 14 years along with sertraline) and am having huge problems with sleep.  I am also part Finnish (through my mother's father family).  you weren't on the drugs for very long so maybe your symptoms won't last very long.   sometimes people can just quit them with few symptoms and sometimes the withdrawal symptoms go on and on even if the person wasn't on the drugs for long.   For me, 3 years of bad sleep and I am mostly ruined.  I have big sagging bags under my eyes now and am often too tired to do much.  I feel like crying every time I look in the mirror, but I was on the these drugs for 14 years it will probably go better for you.  Sorry, to sound depressing.  I am actually a poet and a comedian in real life, but when you don't sleep, life is not much fun.  sorry, about the tone of this message.  I usually try to have a sense of humor, even though withdrawal is mostly awful.

 

 

Poetjester 

Edited by ChessieCat
removed family name

Court committed to take Prozac, Paxci, and Respiradol from 8/95 to 3/96.   developed severe akithisia and brain damage.  Was unable to speak and walking in circles 15 hours a day.  Went in for 5 sessions of ECT during a 10 day period in March of '96 and my forced medication was discontinued at that time.  My akithisia and brain damage cleared up within a few days of stopping the meds.

 

On Zoloft (200 mg) and Zyprexa (17.5 mg) March 1998- Feb 2014

In between was placed on Effexor 200 mg and Abilify for six months in 2004.  Developed mild akithisia which went away once I stopped the Abilify.  Developed severe GI issues in Dec 2001 and from that time on suffered from fatigue and hypersomnia where I would sleep between 12 and 20 hours a day and rarely ever left my apartment. 

 

Had tapered to 100 mg of Zoloft and 7.5 mg of Zyprexa at the time of going cold turkey Feb. 2014

Went 5 days without sleep at the beginning while vomiting all over my apt.  Had brain zaps for a number of weeks and also lightheadedness which both eventually went away.  However 2 1/2 yrs later I still struggle with insomnia, depression, and fatigue.

 

 

 

 

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Tiedemies

Hi PoetJester, thanks for sharing your thoughts and don't worry about the tone, I understand completely. Adequate sleep is so important, even if you are completely healthy otherwise.

 

Compared to you and many around here, I was on my meds for so little time, but that's also part of the reason I've been quite surprised about how strong my symptoms have been. Guess it's all about the individual and the fact I stopped not one, but two drugs at the same time. Perhaps the ect treatments while just starting to have my withdrawal symptoms had also something to do with this. Who knows.

 

Fascinating to hear that you're a poet and a comedian, I find both occupations very interesting. I'm a journalist and normally try to look for funny/humorous aspects in everything, but it's indeed kind of hard to laugh when you're down and out like this. 3 years of sleep trouble sound really rough though. I really hope you'll get better and can get back to sleeping normally eventually. Hang in there!

Late March 2017: started Sepram 20mg for ~2 weeks, changed to Escitalopram 15mg for 4 days in early April

Late March 2017: started Olanzapin 5mg for ~2 & 1/2 weeks

Quit both cold turkey before ECT treatments early April

Withdrawal symptoms really kicked in on 21/4/17

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  • Moderator Emeritus
scallywag

Tiedemies -- Welcome to Surviving Antidepressants (SA)

I'm sorry to read that you are having symptoms after such a short time on psych medications. Sadly, you are not alone in this.

Thank you for creating a signature with the medications and doses you took. Would you add dates to your signature -- when did you start and stop taking Sepram, Olanzapin and Escitalopram? If you can't remember exact dates, an approximation is find -- something such as "late in 2017/03" or "early April."

I agree with PoetJester that because you took the drugs for less than 3 weeks, you are likely to have a shorter recovery period than many other people.

You may want to read a discussion here at SA about ECT. Some people have done it to "treat" their withdrawal symptoms. In that discussion topic, they have written about their experiences with the treatment and its results on their symptoms. Other people have posted about their symptoms after ECT. It's possible that what you're feeling right now are symptoms from the ECT treatment. Have a look at the link and you may want to search the web a bit to read what others who have undergone ECT have to say about their post-treatment symptoms.

 

I hope you'll find the information in the SA forums helpful for your situation. I'm sorry that you are in the position that you need the information, but am glad that you found us. Please let us know how things go for you.

 

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.
1997-1999 Effexor; 2002-2005 Effexor XR 37.5 mg linear taper, dropping same #beads/week with bad results

Cymbalta 60 mg 2012 - 2015; 2016: 20 mg to 7 mg exact doses and dates in this post; 2017: 6.3 mg to  0.0 mg  Aug. 12; details here


scallywag's Introduction
Online spreadsheet for dose taper calculations and nz11's THE WORKS spreadsheet

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Tiedemies

Tiedemies -- Welcome to Surviving Antidepressants (SA)

 

I'm sorry to read that you are having symptoms after such a short time on psych medications. Sadly, you are not alone in this.

 

Thank you for creating a signature with the medications and doses you took. Would you add dates to your signature -- when did you start and stop taking Sepram, Olanzapin and Escitalopram? If you can't remember exact dates, an approximation is find -- something such as "late in 2017/03" or "early April."

 

I agree with PoetJester that because you took the drugs for less than 3 weeks, you are likely to have a shorter recovery period than many other people.

 

You may want to read a discussion here at SA about ECT. Some people have done it to "treat" their withdrawal symptoms. In that discussion topic, they have written about their experiences with the treatment and its results on their symptoms. Other people have posted about their symptoms after ECT. It's possible that what you're feeling right now are symptoms from the ECT treatment. Have a look at the link and you may want to search the web a bit to read what others who have undergone ECT have to say about their post-treatment symptoms.

 

I hope you'll find the information in the SA forums helpful for your situation. I'm sorry that you are in the position that you need the information, but am glad that you found us. Please let us know how things go for you.

 

 

Hi Scallywag and thanks for the welcome.

 

I added some dates/timelines to my sig, hope they're helpful.

 

Also, thank you for the link, I'll definitely check it out. I don't rule out anything and it's entirely possible that I'm having some kind of post-ECT symptoms as well. Maybe that's the reason I've had such severe reactions, despite the fact that I took my drugs for such a short period of time.

 

This place has been really helpful and I've found loads of interesting and assuring information about what I'm experiencing, so it's been great. The last few days my main gripes have been with feeling pressure/fullness and a bit of heaviness in my head along with the dizziness. It's pretty frustrating, since it's kind of hard to concentrate on anything while feeling this way. It's almost like I have some kind of blanket over my brain, preventing me from thinking straight. Hopefully it will settle down with time.

Late March 2017: started Sepram 20mg for ~2 weeks, changed to Escitalopram 15mg for 4 days in early April

Late March 2017: started Olanzapin 5mg for ~2 & 1/2 weeks

Quit both cold turkey before ECT treatments early April

Withdrawal symptoms really kicked in on 21/4/17

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well, no relief in sight yet.

 

It's been six weeks since my last doses and I'm still super anxious/nervous all the time. This has got me thinking, could it be possible that my actual withdrawal symptoms are almost/fully gone, but I'm left with chronic anxiousness because of them? I was never anxious before my treatments, but when I stopped, I had constant panic attacks for a week-week and a half, multiple times a day and basically felt like I was dying everyday. For some reason, I was especially concerned about my heart and still am. If I've understood correctly, the anxiousness and panic attacks can settle in if not treated and I'd be inclined to say that what I went through should have been more than enough to have that effect.

 

Now I'm thinking that since anxiousness along with depression is linked to heart problems in some studies, where the theory is that elevated cortisol levels are doing the damage, I'm worried that letting myself be in this situation I'm risking my heart health. I've been to doctor, who listened to my heart with stethoscope, I've had blood tests done and been to resting EKG and everything's been fine, but for how long. I feel this weird shakiness in my chest all day long and I guess it's not the heart doing it, but it's just weird sensation. Like inner tremors that don't show outside.

 

I've realized that when I go to town, shopping or such, I get very dizzy and start feeling uncomfortable, like I should leave as soon as possbile. Would seem like textbook social anxiety, which again, I never had before this. I can go walking and running without the same symptoms though. Still, most of the time I'm really this nervous, shaky mess. I've been contemplating reinstating, but I really would like to be without any meds and since I took them for only two weeks, I don't really like the idea of being on them for months first reinstating and then tapering off. What if I have to go through this again? Maybe they would not even work now. Maybe I'm over them, but just have the anxiety now, or maybe it's the last single symptom going and I'm so close to getting through if I just keep at it. Without really knowing, it's so hard to say what's going on. Maybe that's the hardest part in all this.

Late March 2017: started Sepram 20mg for ~2 weeks, changed to Escitalopram 15mg for 4 days in early April

Late March 2017: started Olanzapin 5mg for ~2 & 1/2 weeks

Quit both cold turkey before ECT treatments early April

Withdrawal symptoms really kicked in on 21/4/17

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Maybe you just need to wait it out? I think if everything else is going well for you, then perhaps you should try to focus on that. If it gets unbearable, then maybe reinstate, but I wouldn't recommend it b/c antipsychotics are poison.

Dec 2016 Risperidone 1 mg, Seroquel 25mg, Latuda 40mg 

Jan - Mar 2017 Paliperidone (invega) 6 -9mg, Zoloft, Mirtazapine, Proprananol, Ativan

Mar - Apr 2017 Aripiprazole (abilify) 10 mg

Apr 2017 - July 2017 Olanzapine (zyprexa) 5 mg tapered to 0mg

Oct 2017 - Present Effexor 37.5mg and Prozac 10mg 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

You only took the drugs for a short time, did you suffer any side effects? Why did they decide to give you ECT so soon after starting the drugs? I had ECT many years ago and had some lasting effect that took some time to settle. Unfortunately my memory has never recovered properly, but is better than it was right after the ECT.  It is hard to say whether reinstatement will help, but I would be reluctant to suggest reinstating drugs that you only took for 21 days and have taper them for years. You will recover and get better, your nervous system is struggling but get better with time. Take good care of yourself, get planty of gentle exercise and good simple nutritious food to help you recover.  

**I am not a medical professional, if in doubt please consult a doctor with withdrawal knowledge.

 

 

Different drugs occasionally (mostly benzos) 1976 - 1981 (no problem)

1993 - 2002 in and out of hospital. every type of drug + ECT. Staring with seroxat

2002  effexor. 

Tapered  March 2012 to March 2013, ending with 5 beads.

Withdrawal April 2013 . Reinstated 5 beads reduced to 4 beads May 2013

Restarted taper  Nov 2013  

OFF EFFEXOR Feb 2015    :D 

Tapered atenolol and omeprazole Dec 2013 - May 2014

 

Tapering tramadol, Feb 2015 100mg , March 2015 50mg  

 July 2017 30mg.  May 15 2018 25mg

Taking fish oil, magnesium, B12, folic acid, bilberry eyebright for eye pressure. 

 

My story http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/4199-hello-mammap-checking-in/page-33

 

Lesson learned, slow down taper at lower doses. Taper no more than 10% of CURRENT dose if possible

 

 

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Maybe you just need to wait it out? I think if everything else is going well for you, then perhaps you should try to focus on that. If it gets unbearable, then maybe reinstate, but I wouldn't recommend it b/c antipsychotics are poison.

 

I think I should. It's very annoying, but I can still function, so I guess I should just wait and see. Reinstating seems like a bad idea the more I think about it. Thanks.

 

You only took the drugs for a short time, did you suffer any side effects? Why did they decide to give you ECT so soon after starting the drugs? I had ECT many years ago and had some lasting effect that took some time to settle. Unfortunately my memory has never recovered properly, but is better than it was right after the ECT.  It is hard to say whether reinstatement will help, but I would be reluctant to suggest reinstating drugs that you only took for 21 days and have taper them for years. You will recover and get better, your nervous system is struggling but get better with time. Take good care of yourself, get planty of gentle exercise and good simple nutritious food to help you recover.  

 

I just started to get sexual side effects (inability to orgasm mainly) and night sweats. I don't recall anything else. Regarding the ECT thing, I think what happened was that I was having a rough spell, made it sound like even worse for the docs and just as I was getting over it, I had to start with the treatments, ECT included. Why ECT before trying the meds for longer? No idea. I just somehow got talked into this mess, but thankfully was able to put a stop on it somewhat fast. All in all I think I was overtreated, but then again, around here you'll get drugs right away for just about everything and leading psychiatrists really want to increase the ECT usage, since it's such an "safe and effective" treatment.

 

I have to say though, that ECT had no effect what-so-ever on my memory, which seems quite rare. Anyhow, I think you are right about the reinstating and I should just ride it out the best I can. This anxiety and constant teetering on the edge of panic just gets a little overwhelming and really hinders my ability to enjoy life at the moment. Thanks for your thoughts!

Late March 2017: started Sepram 20mg for ~2 weeks, changed to Escitalopram 15mg for 4 days in early April

Late March 2017: started Olanzapin 5mg for ~2 & 1/2 weeks

Quit both cold turkey before ECT treatments early April

Withdrawal symptoms really kicked in on 21/4/17

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  • Moderator Emeritus

It is shocking ( literally! ) that they are using ECT so readily. You obviously reacted to the drugs so reinstating would not help in any way and could make things worse so riding it out is the best thing. You will recover and get your life back. Have you checked out the symptoms and self care forum? There are lots of topics there about non drug ways of dealing with emotional issues and anxiety. The anxiety and panic that you are experiencing sounds like high cortisol levels. Cortisol is the fight or flight hormone that is prodused in response to stress and when the nervous system is unstable it can produce execss cortisol that manifests as anxiety or panic. 

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/33-waking-with-panic-or-anxiety-managing-cortisol-spikes/?hl=%2Bwaking+%2Bpanic

 

There are many topics that might help, here is a link to the list of important ones for you to go through. 

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/604-important-topics-about-symptoms-including-sleep-problems/

**I am not a medical professional, if in doubt please consult a doctor with withdrawal knowledge.

 

 

Different drugs occasionally (mostly benzos) 1976 - 1981 (no problem)

1993 - 2002 in and out of hospital. every type of drug + ECT. Staring with seroxat

2002  effexor. 

Tapered  March 2012 to March 2013, ending with 5 beads.

Withdrawal April 2013 . Reinstated 5 beads reduced to 4 beads May 2013

Restarted taper  Nov 2013  

OFF EFFEXOR Feb 2015    :D 

Tapered atenolol and omeprazole Dec 2013 - May 2014

 

Tapering tramadol, Feb 2015 100mg , March 2015 50mg  

 July 2017 30mg.  May 15 2018 25mg

Taking fish oil, magnesium, B12, folic acid, bilberry eyebright for eye pressure. 

 

My story http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/4199-hello-mammap-checking-in/page-33

 

Lesson learned, slow down taper at lower doses. Taper no more than 10% of CURRENT dose if possible

 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

It is shocking ( literally! ) that they are using ECT so readily. You obviously reacted to the drugs so reinstating would not help in any way and could make things worse so riding it out is the best thing. You will recover and get your life back. Have you checked out the symptoms and self care forum? There are lots of topics there about non drug ways of dealing with emotional issues and anxiety. The anxiety and panic that you are experiencing sounds like high cortisol levels. Cortisol is the fight or flight hormone that is prodused in response to stress and when the nervous system is unstable it can produce execss cortisol that manifests as anxiety or panic. 

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/33-waking-with-panic-or-anxiety-managing-cortisol-spikes/?hl=%2Bwaking+%2Bpanic

 

There are many topics that might help, here is a link to the list of important ones for you to go through. 

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/604-important-topics-about-symptoms-including-sleep-problems/

 

Yeah, my shrink just said to me: "You know what you need? Electricity." and prescribed me to triple the amount of Olanzapine and changed Sepram to Escitalopram. When I said that it sounds like a pretty hard treatment, he just said that "it works" and reassured me by saying "I've been doing it for 20 years and no one has died yet." When receiving the first treatment, nurses told me that ECT just simply does not have any side effects other than the possible temporary memory loss (which I never had) and said that between that and the drugs, they would pick ECT every time.

 

Thanks for the links by the way. I've decided to just hang on there without reinstating, it's been over two months already and I've been slowly improving, so I don't want to mess this up even more. I think my main problem is the constant dizziness/lightheaded feeling which in turn feeds my anxiety. I'm not at all used to feeling this way, so I just naturally fear that something more is going on. Last night I woke up to a massive twitch/jerk (felt like I had been launched into air) and world spun in my eyes for a few moments. That has never happened before, so of course I got scared. Usually my dizziness is not vertigo type of thing, but just the general imbalance and feeling like I'm on a boat. 

Late March 2017: started Sepram 20mg for ~2 weeks, changed to Escitalopram 15mg for 4 days in early April

Late March 2017: started Olanzapin 5mg for ~2 & 1/2 weeks

Quit both cold turkey before ECT treatments early April

Withdrawal symptoms really kicked in on 21/4/17

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well, still no relief in sight. I had one of the worst panic attacks of my life today. I was sure I'm about to die. Bright lights vibrated in my eyes, I felt extreme dizziness/right on the edge of fainting and my muscles twitched/cramped uncontrollably. I was lucky in a way that this happened just before my nurse appointment (I'm seeing her once a week because of my anxiety, although not taking any meds, mind you) and doctor came to see me as well. He wasn't as helpful in easing my mind because though, because he just said that going by my age (34), it should not be anything serious. They said my skin color was "normal", but my blood pressure was around 150/90, eventually going down to 128/80-something.

 

This time was pretty different than my previous panic attacks, since I had no pressure in chest, tightness in throat or tingling sensations going though my body. Maybe that's one of the reasons I was particulalry scared that I'm having something else going on.

 

I'm guessing this all happened partly because I've been on penicillin from last friday (thanks to my wisdom tooth) and feel nauseated most of my time, and partly because I also got mysterious calf/leg aches and of course think I have a blood clot in there (my wife is a nurse and does not believe I have it and also consulted a doctor at work who agreed that it's very, very unlikely).

 

All in all, my health anxiety has been off the charts the last few days. Before this mess, I've had many good/ok days, when I've felt pretty good all around.

 

Frustrating is all.

Late March 2017: started Sepram 20mg for ~2 weeks, changed to Escitalopram 15mg for 4 days in early April

Late March 2017: started Olanzapin 5mg for ~2 & 1/2 weeks

Quit both cold turkey before ECT treatments early April

Withdrawal symptoms really kicked in on 21/4/17

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