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Withdrawal or relapse? Or something else?

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Jemima

I have not tried homeopathy. It has come up before and I have yet to try it. I know some people here dont believe in it, and some do. I have been corresponding with a retired MD who used to work alongside Dr. Carl Pfieffer at the Brain Bio Center doing orthomolecular psychiatry. She has now moved to Italy and gives free advice to people via email. Her name is Dr. Cambo and she is the one who told me about homeopathy. She was practicing orthomolecular medicine and she said she had some patients come in saying that homeopathy worked better than the orthomolecular medicine and so she became interested in it and eventually opened her own practice. She is writing a book on it and sent me a couple chapters about it. I believe it can help some people but and I recently spoke with Dana Ullman who promotes homeopathy and I think practices it. He said he has seen some great things with it as well. The problem is that this type of medicine is looked down upon and bashed by not only doctors, but many people. People seem to hate it and see it as a scam. I believe it can work based on talking to those two people, but I have no experience with it. Can you elaborate on your experience with it? What symptoms did it help with?

 

 

When I was still a kid and living with Mom and Dad, our family doctor was homeopathic. He was no quack - he graduated from Johns Hopkins with honors. He saved my life when I was six years old and had somehow contracted a deadly disease. He sat up with me all night when it got to its worst stage, giving me medicine every tweny minutes until the fever broke. (This was back in the 1950's when doctors made house calls.)

 

I'm looking for a homeopathic doctor right now. My personal doctor is one of the best conventional medicine has to offer, but I'm done with conventional. As you go through your personal experience with withdrawal you may find, as I did, that most doctors have absolutely no idea of what they're doing. :(

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Shanti

 

Oh that makes me angry that they try to push drugs like that. Abilify is an antipsychotic. I've been on it and it has horrible side effects like all other antipsychotics. You said you've tried many things, but have you tried homeopathy? I've had good success with that.

 

Can you elaborate on your experience with it? What symptoms did it help with?

 

Can you also tell me more about your condition and what other things have helped? Why did they give you abilify? I have been off antidepressants for five months and hit bottom the other day. Really bad depression and anxiety. I am now feeling a little better. Exercise, amino acids, nutrients, and omega oils seem to help me out. Alto says i probably am still experiencing withdrawal which is very possible.

 

I'll just copy what I take from my website. Many people can't understand how it works when they think in terms of regular physics. It's Fourfold Quantum Memory that explains how it works. All I can say is that it saved my life. It works. I read of another person in withdrawals that said it got rid of their symptoms too. Granted, I'm not totally symptom free, but the worst symptoms of all are gone, and haven't come back since I started homeopathy. If you want, look at my site listed in my signature to read more about it, also I have links about how it works and how to take it right.

 

Arum Metallicum 30C - Depression, wanting to die, loathing life, suicidal.

 

Stramonium 30C - Anxiety, fear, nightmares, depression, suicidal feelings.

 

Arsenicum Album 30C - Brain shocks and zaps. depression, nausea. Also try Cicuta Virosa 30C for brain zaps.

 

Agaricus Muscarius 30C - Clumsy, off balance, shaky, feeling out of body and uncontained, insecure, twitches, jerks, jittery.

 

Calcarea Carbonica 30C - Heart Palpatation (PVC), Head noise, dreams, fear, depression, sweating, tinnitus

 

I was on Abilify for Schizophrenia, along with many other trials of antipsychotics. I now only use homeopathy and niacin for Schiz. Right now I'm tapering off Prozac and having mild w/d symptoms. Nothing severe. The only thing the Homeopathy didn't quite help as much with are the brain zaps. I'm not having them now though since I switched to Prozac. I also take fish oil, calcium and magnesium.

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Altostrata

Zepp, the reason your withdrawal symptoms have varied is because they represent an unstable nervous system.

 

It's like a guy walking a tightrope. He might sway one way or the other, regain his balance, then lose it again and start swaying. That's your nervous system trying to recover from withdrawal syndrome.

 

Some of the things you've tried may have contributed to the instability.

 

You're over 18, right? You can refuse any treatment suggested by a doctor. They're not God. If you don't like what they're telling you, as a consumer you can go elsewhere and get advice that suits you better.

 

Being that so little is known about withdrawal syndrome, you're going to have to direct your own treatment.

 

You're also going to have to rethink your attraction to what look like high-science treatments! A doctor-like person in white coat spouting a bunch of jargon does not indicate a miracle cure, in a machine or a pill.

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Karma

Zepp

 

I used homeopathy to help heal from undiagnosed celiac disease and associated other conditions ... I absolutely believe in homeopathy, but I caution you that what might work for someone with a stable nervous system, might not work as well for you since it is evident that your nervous system is on a tight rope. If you try it, go slowly. Only change one thing at a time and give it some time to see how it will affect your symptoms.

 

I agree with Alto, you have the right to refuse treatment that you believe is not in your best interest. I would personally avoid Abilify. I agree you might consider a small reinstatement of your previous med - give it awhile to get stable and then try weaning off of it slowly. But there is no guarantee that this would work for you either since you've been off so long.

 

Keep in mind that doctors get continuing education sponsored by pharmaceutical companies ... so big pharma gets to keep directing doctors to prescribe things that make them (big pharma) more money. There is no money in admitting that people go through withdrawals - there is no money in admitting that the standard of care is not really helping people. Of course, main stream allopathic western medicine is going to disparage homeopathy - it threatens everything they have been taught. In many states integrative medicines is threatened for the same reasons.

 

Know that at one time a Hungarian physician who had great results in birthing babies resulting in low mortality rates by washing his hands before the procedure was ostracized by his peers and died in an asylum. His results were undeniable reducing mortality to below 1%. The doctor's protocol "... conflicted with the established scientific and medical opinions of the time and his ideas were rejected by the medical community." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ignaz_Semmelweis

 

I believe that many doctors are benevolent and have good intentions, but they are virtually brainwashed by pharmaceutical companies. Ask questions and stand your ground. If the pdoc can only offer more meds ask for a referral to a medical professional who can offer you alternatives.

 

Ideally, look for a pdoc who has experience with withdrawals. Consider finding a wellness doctor, a naturopath, or even a D.O. who can help you more holistically.

 

Best wishes for continued progress.

 

Karma

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Shanti

... I absolutely believe in homeopathy, but I caution you that what might work for someone with a stable nervous system, might not work as well for you since it is evident that your nervous system is on a tight rope. If you try it, go slowly. Only change one thing at a time and give it some time to see how it will affect your symptoms....

 

 

I just want to point out that my nervous system was on a very tight rope and that my nervous system was in no way stable when I started Homeopathy. The only reason it's "somewhat" stable now, is because of the Homeopathy and now the Prozac Switch. I'm talking the worst of the symptoms which is the extreme anxiety, wanting to suicide, extreme depression and depersonalization. These symptoms were the most horrific for me, but that doesn't mean I wasn't experiencing all the other symptoms as well; nausea, tinnitus, brain zaps, etc. My immediate concern in all that was to save my very soul from the pits of hell, and that's why I list the top two remedies and will say, they are the most important. Homeopathy does not effect the nervous system in any way like other supplements and has no side effects.

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Altostrata

Right, the system is designed (by doctors in collusion with pharmaceutical companies) to funnel people into treatment with drugs.

 

Unpatient yourself. Just say no!

 

("I'll think about it" is a good way to avoid getting a prescription.)

 

Zepp, any MD can prescribe Celexa for you. Is there a doctor you trust who will cooperate with your request? Whatever amount is precribed, if I were you I wouldn't take more than 5mg to start.

 

PS Please put your withdrawal history in your signature, instructions here http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/893-please-put-your-withdrawal-history-in-your-signature/

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Nadia

Zepp, the reason your withdrawal symptoms have varied is because they represent an unstable nervous system.

 

It's like a guy walking a tightrope. He might sway one way or the other, regain his balance, then lose it again and start swaying. That's your nervous system trying to recover from withdrawal syndrome.

 

That's a great description.

 

I too did not get the worst of my symptoms until months after I had quit ADs. This time around was the first time it sunk in that I was not dealing with a "resurgence" of an original problem, even though doctors insisted on it.

 

It makes sense that if your nervous system has gone haywire, you will not be dealing with a constant or steady state of a group of symptoms, but that rather, you are more reactive and prone to be off kilter. I think it is similar to autoimmune problems. A certain trigger can spark off a whole chain reaction.

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bruno2016

hello everyone,

 

thank you all for your replies. I am doing much better now.

 

I have been doing acupuncture and herbs. I go to a local oriental medicine college and so its very affordable. I boil the herbs (not just herbs but things like ginger and dates and other things but are collectively called herbs) and then drink the tea three times a day. I am no longer waking up with the anxiety and I am laughing a lot more which naturally relieves stress and elevates mood. I am very thankful I am experiencing this break from the horrible symptoms I was going through. Lets hope that I can stay in this state and the oriental medicine does not poop out. For now, I am feeling good and needed this really bad.

 

I have completed my consultation with Dr. Bonnie Camo (she is retired and lived with her Italian husband in Italy now but offers free help to people) and she will soon recommend a homeopathic remedy that may help me. So later on if things don't go well with the TCM, then I can try this.

 

Since I am doing TCM, one of my "herbs" is ginger and I have read that this can help people with SSRI withdrawal. Have you all heard anything about this?

 

Lastly, I am currently in a debate with a psychiatrist about the safety of psych drugs and the recent story of Alyssa Bustmante (she killed a little girl while on prozac and yes I already know that just because she was taking prozac does not mean that this is why she killed but the incident is bizarre and I believe the drugs played a role in her distorted and sick thinking). We are debating via Huffington Post and if anyone wants to back be up or put in your own comments then that would be great (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/zepplin2011/alyssa-bustamante-prozac-defense_n_1260634_136378280.html)

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Whatever

Good for you Zep. I love your calmness and tenacity in that "discussion". My blood pressure rose as I read the response, until I read the bit about the FDA inwhich I burst out laughing. What a haughty ignoramus.

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bruno2016

Good for you Zep. I love your calmness and tenacity in that "discussion". My blood pressure rose as I read the response, until I read the bit about the FDA inwhich I burst out laughing. What a haughty ignoramus.

 

hahah thanks for your comment whatever. You know all I did was simply leave a comment about this incident and the psychiatrist came and left me a message saying how I was spreading lies. I know what I said does not obviously apply to everyone who has taken the drugs, but come on, people need to be more aware of these drug side effects. I thought the FDA thing was quite funny myself. You notice he says it as if the FDA were the almighty honest authority on food and drug safety and efficacy? I thought that was quite funny how he said it. We all know very well the long standing relationship between FDA and Pharma. Sorry the links are all messed up. Here is the original story and you can see my original comment. I was really upset when the court called a university of Mass psychiatrist who testified that the drugs could not be the cause of the violent act. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/07/alyssa-bustamante-prozac-defense_n_1260634.html

Scroll down and you can see my original comment there. you can click on the link under my comments to see the rest of them.

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Shanti

Very good responses Zep! I had to register and add my 2 cents as well, as usual. Can you tell me what herbs you are using in your teas? I am so happy for you that you found some that are giving you relief!

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EllaMae

Zepplin - your posts make me glad I have no health insurance, and don't have deal with doctors! LOL. I know they are good for some things but like you, I don't think they are very helpful. So many people who have all sorts of illnesses just keep going to more & more doctors, and they keep getting sicker and need more doctors.....

 

I am reading on here about taking ginger to calm oneself. Is is best in a tea? I have some powdered ginger in my cabinet....

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Zeldazonk

Hi,

 

I've come across a lot of people saying that their psychiatrists were treating symptoms that actually turned out to be side effects.

I'm just wondering how one tells which is which?

I guess I can say that I've had physical symptoms that I've definitely attributed to withdrawal because of the timing and their "uniqueness" - they weren't really something I'd experienced before. But psychological stuff...I don't think I've had psychological symptoms (having come off a med) that are hugely different from my usual experience. I've never felt emotionally / psychologically well though.

Are there any good articles I should read about this? ie that antidepressants can be detrimental to mood disorders?

 

Thanks, Zel.

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Barbarannamated

Zel,

There is a great deal of information. David Healy, Peter Breggin, Robert Whitaker, Charles Whitfield, Joanna Moncrief are a few who have written books on the subject. You can also find many articles in the Scientific Journals section http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/forum/16-from-journals-and-scientific-sources/

 

There are treatment-emergent side effects that are recognized (agitation, anxiety, akathisia, suicidal/homicidal,sleep disturbance, bruxism, to name just a few). These are more 'activating'. After long term use, many authors have noted worsening of depression, emotional blunting, apathy, loss of motivation. The activating side effects are often misdiagnosed as anxiety and treated as such. The later worsening of depression is often diagnosed as treatment-resistant depression and additional meds added on (antipsychotics are common). Giovanna Fava and Andrews are two researchers who come to mind in the latter category. Their articles are in the section linked above.

 

Irving Kirsch and others have written extensively about the placebo effect and lack of efficacy of SS/NRIs.

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Altostrata

Distinguishing between illness and side effects is not that difficult, though it seems too hard for many doctors.

 

Side effects are described in the medication package inserts, in FDA publications, in the Physician's Desk Reference, and many places online. They're not secret. If your doctor doesn't know about them, it's because your doctor is lazy and maybe a bad doctor.

 

Doctors too easily blame the patient for adverse effects from the drugs. Then they add more drugs to counter the side effects, adding the side effects of those drugs, too, and the danger of drug-drug interactions. Polypharmacy is bad for the patient's health.

 

One good place to read about drug side effects is http://www.drugs.com/pro/

 

Put your drug name into the search box, and you'll get official US FDA information. Doctors cannot argue with it.

 

Another thing about drug side effects:

 

Drug side effects occur after you start taking the drug.

 

If you, personally, did not have that symptom before, and it started after you took the drug, it is a drug side effect.

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Sally3

Hello - I have been tapering 10 months off of Prozac and am now down to 9 mg. I am 21 months benzo free....I am very very depressed - it is becoming worse....and I am wondering if that is now due to the lower dose of Prozac....is it always certain that as we lower our dose of the a/d, that we will get depressed. I mean it is an anti-depressant so that would make sense. I had been hoping that the depression was due to the benzo w/d....and that is would subside but it looks like it is doing the opposite. Hope this isn't a silly question. Thanks

Sally3

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Altostrata

Depression is a common withdrawal symptom from benzos and from antidepressants.

 

It's not always a symptom. Some people are overcome with neuro-anxiety or emotional anesthesia or physical symptoms rather than something they identify as "depression." Usually, simply feeling terrible no matter how you describe it makes people "depressed."

 

Given that the drugs change your brain and it takes some time for your brain to recover, it's far more likely that what you get when you withdrawal from drugs is withdrawal symptoms rather than "relapse."

 

At any rate, whether you are feeling neuro-depression or your own endogenous depression, you need to learn to manage it if you want to go off drugs.

 

The neuro-depression from withdrawal will eventually go away, or you will learn to cope with your own "depression," so either way it's all good.

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strawberry17

Why did he want you off Prozac in three months? after all you have been on it a long time, I'm no expert beccause we are all different, but I have been tapering 20mg Prozac and it's taken me four years so far, I am/was very sensitive to withdrawal. I wonder if the very fast taper off Prozac might be making you feel even worse? dunno, just a thought.

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Sally3

Thanks for your responses - Strawberry - he wanted me off in 3 months because he is UNINFORMED.....as are most medical people. I'm doing it my way, not his. Four years is a long time tapering, wow - I guess I am going too fast. If I can ever get stable again, I am staying put for awhile.

Thanks again.

Sally3

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doref11

How do you know that your Anxiety and Depression Symptoms its Because of the Withdrawal and Because  you become addicted to the drug?. and its not Because the Recurrence of your Disease?

maybe the drug did helping you and only After you stoping takeing it you realize and Understand how much the drug makes you feel good and Important for you.

some People Thinks that the drug do not  helping them but only after they stop with it they Understand.

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Rhiannon

From the first topic at the link mentioned above:
 
"How do I know it's withdrawal and not relapse?
Typically, in withdrawal symptoms such as melancholia, anxiety, and disorientation come in intense waves, which differentiates them from relapse of a psychological condition.

In withdrawal, symptoms are much more intense than the original psychological condition. People suffering from withdrawal often say things like

- "This doesn't feel like my depression."
- "I've never had symptoms like this before."
- "I feel very weird and not like myself."

It's up to the individual to decide whether your body and brain are behaving "normally" as they did before you tried medication, or if you are feeling differently."
 
For me, the kind of depression that I experienced after I took an antidepressant was way more intense and deeper than anything I had ever experienced before taking an antidepressant.  And I became suicidal, which I had never before in my life been. After I tried to get off ADs a couple more times, I learned that there are other characteristic kinds of feelings and thoughts that I only get during withdrawal.

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dunerbug

Level of ocd, anxiety and depression  I have now look nothing like what I experienced pre-med.

 

Also, for me, I have all the other physical symptoms along with it. 

 

Then when I start to doubt any of this I remember the very overwhelming "not myself feeling"

 

Nobody is going to convince me it's a relapse. 

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Lexy

Hi

From my experience, depression comes in unexpectedly out of no where. Then suddenly leaves. I am not sure if these are mood swings or depression. I've never felt like this before, I just know this is not me, it is the med.

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Hexal

I have now dealt with these withdrawal symptoms for at least 15 months, despite being on a low dose of Sertralin for a relatively short period of time. And this idea keeps nagging me; how do I know for certain this is not anxiety appearing in a new form with added physical symptoms? Most of my symptoms are also well-known symptoms of something like chronic generalized anxiety.

 

I have no doubt withdrawal syndrome is a real thing, but my own doubt stems from several factors, like the aforementioned low dose I was on, my delayed response to tapering off (I was fine initially) and my very real anxieties about seeking work, relationships, self-confidence, life in general etc etc, that I also had before trying a SSRI. Also, my symptoms started at a very stressful time in my life when I was working too many hours while writing my thesis. How do I know for certain this is not a prolonged stress reaction combined with anxiety/depression?

 

The counter-argument is that, while I have dealt with a lot of anxiety before, they have never felt anything like these physical symptoms I have after stopping a SSRI at all. And I have not had this sensitivity to caffeine, alcohol and exercise before. People will say "the mind can play a lot of tricks on the body" and they're right but I just don´t understand how my anxiety could change so much in a year's time to include these physical symptoms and it just so happens to coincide with me stopping Sertraline. But my thoughts about this and the constant self-doubt remains...

 

Again, just to emphasize it, I'm not denying withdrawal is a very real and terrible thing for a lot of people, I'm just having my own personal doubts about this.

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Cberg

Hello,

 

Something I have wondered about that fits in with what you are talking about, is when I hear of people going through withdrawal for 'years' I can't help but wonder are they in withdrawal or is their original illness flaring up due to the fact that they are no longer on medication? Shouldn't there be a limit to how long a person can continue to be in wd? At one point does a person say 'this is no onger withdrawal?" Thank you!

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Karma

Hi Hexal

 

You already know that the way you tapered off the SSRI was not the best method and a 2 month taper is a rapid taper by our standards.  By alternating doses you batted your central nervous system around like a pinball machine.  In your case it appears that this has resulted in prolonged withdrawals.

 

Your system will attempt to adjust to the meds and then the changes in the meds.  This causes changes in various systems in your body like your endocrine system.  Specifically your cortisol regulation.  Low or high cortisol will result in anxiety.  Over time cortisol can regulate itself back to a normal rhythm.

 

The changes in your system result in the anxiety you are experiencing.  What we find is that we tend to have neuro-anxiety after our system is sensitized by these drugs.  That means that things that might have given us some mild anxiety before now gives us intense anxiety.  It does not mean that it is a return of your previous condition.  While it may feel similar to what your originally experienced, this is new and it is caused by the effects of the drug and withdrawing the drug from the system.

 

I encourage you to find non-drug methods to deal with your anxiety. 

 

You may find additional information in the links found is this section: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/604-important-topics-about-symptoms-including-sleep-problems/

 

Karma

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WinningThrough

I think one way to know if it's withdrawal or anxiety is whether you can distract or not. When I had panic disorder (without meds) I was able to distract and forget about the anxiety. Since being on meds and being in withdrawal, I have never been able to distract, no matter what I do. I do all the things that worked before I went on 'meds' and now they don't work. The most I manage is a few seconds. This is how I know it's the drugs. Plus things like brain zaps are definite withdrawal symptoms.

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Hexal

You already know that the way you tapered off the SSRI was not the best method and a 2 month taper is a rapid taper by our standards.  By alternating doses you batted your central nervous system around like a pinball machine.  In your case it appears that this has resulted in prolonged withdrawals.

 

Correct, but what I don't get is why I would get a delayed withdrawal reaction then. If I battered my CNS for 2 months with a botched withdrawal attempt, why would it take 1-2 months before my symptoms became apparent? It just seems illogical that I wouldn't get an initial reaction during the tapering period like most people seem to do, especially now that I mistreated my CNS.

 

You're right about finding other ways to deal with anxiety and I'm trying to do so :-) It's just damn hard when the anxiety is tightly linked to a surge in symptoms that I don't control and that seems to shift daily.

 

WinningThrough: Seems like a reasonable way to discern the two. Though, I have never been sure what brain zaps are exactly. I have felt, and still feel, a ton of weird and unpleasant sensations in my head, but none of them seem to fit the description of "zaps" that happen when I move my head fast.

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Fenrir
I started to slowly feel worse when I had a ct scan and a wisdom tooth (bottom-left) removed in the mid of june.
Since that moment I started to get a folliculitis and some acne which I still have now and does not go away. I feel much more fatigued than before. I have much lower libido than before. All after that surgery.
Is this a coincidence, is it withdrawal or there is something more?

 

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Petunia

Hi Lex,

Some people in withdrawal can have an increase in symptoms as a reaction to the anesthetic or other medications used during oral surgery.

 

Here is a thread which discusses it:

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/4615-oral-surgery-during-multi-med-taper/

 

Perhaps you could hold for a while and let your nervous system settle down before continuing with your taper.

 

Petu.

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Zenwind

 

You already know that the way you tapered off the SSRI was not the best method and a 2 month taper is a rapid taper by our standards.  By alternating doses you batted your central nervous system around like a pinball machine.  In your case it appears that this has resulted in prolonged withdrawals.

 

Correct, but what I don't get is why I would get a delayed withdrawal reaction then. If I battered my CNS for 2 months with a botched withdrawal attempt, why would it take 1-2 months before my symptoms became apparent? It just seems illogical that I wouldn't get an initial reaction during the tapering period like most people seem to do, especially now that I mistreated my CNS.

 

You're right about finding other ways to deal with anxiety and I'm trying to do so :-) It's just damn hard when the anxiety is tightly linked to a surge in symptoms that I don't control and that seems to shift daily.

 

WinningThrough: Seems like a reasonable way to discern the two. Though, I have never been sure what brain zaps are exactly. I have felt, and still feel, a ton of weird and unpleasant sensations in my head, but none of them seem to fit the description of "zaps" that happen when I move my head fast.

 

I read your post and your WD history.  I have exactly the same symptoms.  

I am new here.  I didn't know about WD until a week ago and did so many wrong things with my meds.  It is because of the delayed acute symptoms 1-2 months, I always thought that was the relapse of my depression.  

 

With this condition, how people function their daily life?  I work from home but I try to go out everyday and it is so difficult to make myself get out of the house.  

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LoveandLight

So severe depression in withdrawal is also down to cortisol?

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Rachelina

One way to distinguish between a neuro-emotion from withdrawal and "normal" depression (I hate that word, it's a psychiatric term to describe every kind of sadness) is that neuro-emotions come in intense waves without apparent emotional triggers.

But what if there ARE emotional triggers? Many people in withdrawal also have stressful or painful life circumstances. I am having a very hard time sorting out what is withdrawal, what is "depression" (I hate the word too) and what is a normal response to a huge amount of stress and pain in my life. It's all one big mess. And so am I.

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