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ARTK: Success & Flashback & Success

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 It was 1980, and started to develop severe headaches (Clusters?) like a hot knife in my head on a daily basis. I thought I had a brain tumor. I wound up at a neurologist and was prescribed Tofranil, for head/neck pain, without being told about side effects. There was no internet/side effects papers with the meds that I could look up. Shortly after taking them I started to feel foggy, (which I thought was normal) then I experienced ringing in my ears, electric feeling in my nerves, nightmares, feeling depersonalized, hallucinations. I remembering saying to myself it cant be Torfranil, the doctor said it was for pain. After 1-2 months I stopped taking Tofranil, and anything else (vitamins etc). It took a year plus, for the symptoms to subside, some quicker than others, yet it was like I was at times observing myself when I would be at work or home. Very scary/unnerving experience. Lots of exercise, progressive relaxation helped me, but there was a lot of trial and error.  I recently saw somebody from that time in my life and these memories flooded back. I felt the need to understand what happen to me, and with some Google research I discovered the symptoms were a adverse side effect to Tofranil.  I wanted to share this, to provide some insight/hope to others that are experiencing troubling symptoms.

Edited by mammaP
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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi ArtK, thank you for sharing your success story with us. It is good to hear from people  sevaeral years after quitting a drug. It gives others hope and reassurance that they too can recover from protracted withdrawal. Can you tell us more about how your withdrawal progressed? Did it get better as time went by or was there a sudden improvement? Many people experience windows and waves, when symptoms get worse and then improve only to get worse again (waves). It would be interesting to know how your recovery progressed if you can remember and don't mind sharing. I believe what you described is depersonalisation, a very odd feeling!

**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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I didn't consult a doctor once I started to experience the adverse reactions.  I was trying to understand where my symptoms were coming from, so I decided to stop taking Tofranil without going through a withdrawal processes.  In retrospect this most likely exacerbated my symptoms.  My symptoms were bad (Scary, unnerving...this is an understatement) as I never experienced anything like them before.  Somehow I was able to work and conduct myself, yet I had these symptoms.  It was as if my mind was cleaved, experiencing the symptoms and being aware that I needed to calm down and let them subside.  They subsided gradually,  from the worst to becoming less intent and ultimately going away.  I'd say it took about 12-15 months to go through this healing process.  For the longest time I suspected it was Tofranil, but I buried this experience and didn't want to relive the pain I went through doing research on the drug.   Now with access to the internet and seeing somebody from that time in my life, I guess I needed to get closure on that chapter.   


Patience, prayers, and never giving up, realizing this is something that was happen to me, knowing/believing this is temporary, and that I can and will get through this event.   I believe I carry some hidden resentment about going through this, that it was unfair and the "why me" mind set and wanting revenge for this have happen to me, that surfaced when I think about this event.  Sometimes life is unfair, but extremely thankful that my symptoms left me, and if I can use my experience to help and give hope to other people, then that is a blessing.


Here's a list of activities and books that have helped me on the journey: Exercise (Cardio/Weight), proper sleep, Progressive relaxation, Stress control, Structure in my life,

books from Dr Claire Weeks, she details the "Face, Accept, Float, Letting Time Pass"  technique for dealing with symptoms/sensations,   Learned Optimism Dr Martin Seligman, RET/CBT Albert Ellis.


My hope and intent with sharing my experiences is that others can learn from my experiences, and that it would give them hope and help them heal.


God Bless. 


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Are you completely healed ?what symptoms did you have? And how are they now?


2004-2007 paxil

2015- zoloft 3 months zyprexa 3 months lexapro 3 months xanax

Med free since Feb 28th 2017

Mostly experiencing PSSD

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My symptoms are listed on my first post on this thread.  I have been healed/symptom free for a long time.  Thinking back on this experience does give me pause, and I am thankful I got through it.   It was a journey of self discovery and healing that I was on, without a road map.  There is a lot more information that is easily accessible today (good and bad) and forums like this that can help people learn from others. 


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How long did it take for your symptoms to resolve ? I took lexapro and zyprexa now 6 months off I really have bad brain fog and confusion. I took each drug 3 months 

2004-2007 paxil

2015- zoloft 3 months zyprexa 3 months lexapro 3 months xanax

Med free since Feb 28th 2017

Mostly experiencing PSSD

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  • 5 weeks later...

Thank you so much ArtK!

its very generous of you taking time and giving hope to others who are still in the battle getting their lives back with doubt if they will ever recover from this most hurridious harm.


wish you all the best to every aspect of your life!


Drug free Sep. 23 2017

2009 Mar.: lexapro 10mg for headache for 2 weeks.

2009-2012: on and off 1/4 to 1/3 of 10mg

2012 June--2013 Jan,: 1/4-1/3 of 10mg generic, bad jaw pain

2013 Jan-Mar: 10 mg generic. severe jaw and head pain;

2013 Mar--Aug. started tapering (liquid ever since) from 10 to 5 (one step) then gradually down to 2.25 mg by July. first ever panic attack, severe head/jaw pain

2013 Aug.: back to 2.75 mg; Nov: back to Brand Lex. 2.75mg -- 3mg,

2014 June: stopped PPI, head pressure/numbness. up-dosed 4.5mg, severe reaction mental symptoms added on

2014 Aug--2015 Aug: Micro taper down to 3.2mg, .025mg (<1%) cut holding 2-3 weeks.

2015 Aug 15th, Accidental one dose of 4.2mg. worsening brain non-functional, swollen head, body, coma like, DR

2016 Feb., started dosing 10am through 11 pm everyday 2/13--3.2mg, 3/15-- 2.9mg, 4/19-- 2.6mg, 6/26--2.2mg, 7/22 --1.9mg, 8/16--1.8mg,8/31--1.7m g, 9/13--1.6mg, 9/27--1.5mg, 10/8--1.4mg, 10/14--1.3mg, 11/1--1.2mg, 11/29--1.1mg, 12/12--1mg, 12/22--0.9mg

2017: 1/7--0.8mg, 1/15--0.7mg, 1/17--0.6mg, 1/20--0.52, 1/21--0.4mg, 1/22--0.26, 1/23--0.2, 2/13--0.13mg, 2/20--0.06mg, 3/18--0.13mg, 6/1--0.12mg, 7/6--0.1mg, 7/14--0.08mg, 8/17--0.04mg, 8/20--0.03mg, 8/28--0.02mg, 9/6--0.0205mg, 9/8--0.02mg, 9/17--0.015mg, 9/20--0.01mg, 9/21--0.0048mg, 9/22--0.0001mg,

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  • 1 year later...
  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi there,


The staff at SA are wondering how you are.  We'd love to hear how you are doing now.   Would you mind dropping by and giving an update?





MISSION ACCOMPLISHED:  (6 year taper)      0mg Pristiq  on 13th November 2021

ADs since ~1992:  25+ years - 1 unknown, Prozac (muscle weakness), Zoloft; citalopram (pooped out) CTed (very sick for 2.5 wks a few months after); Pristiq:  50mg 2012, 100mg beg 2013 (Serotonin Toxicity)  Tapering from Oct 2015 - 13 Nov 2021   LAST DOSE 0.0025mg

Post 0 updates start here    My tapering program     My Intro (goes to tapering graph)

 VIDEO:   Antidepressant Withdrawal Syndrome and its Management

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  • 1 year later...

Thanks, Artk


I think my experience is completely similar to yours. I went to a general practitioner because I was suffering from minor problems and he put me on Seroxat which I took for 4 months After that, I felt that the medication changed me Then I stopped the medication without graduating due to my ignorance of these matters and the doctor did not tell me, then strange symptoms and sensations began to appear that I had never dealt with now, after 18 months they seemed to fade away and less severe and I began to feel healing and I think it is a matter of time

starting date: Seroxat 20 mg :1/1/2019 

Discontinuation date: 1/4/2019  

(Cold turkey)

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  • 1 year later...

@Artk I too took imipramine 75 mg for 4 months then I cold turkeyed.


I feel so scared and wants to hide from the world.


I have another strange symptom I have developed, I am not able to poop after quitting imipramine after 2 months-3 months. I am 7 months off the last drug.

Yet I feel very afraid.


How did you manage? What helped you to poop? Man I can't poop.

2017 october--2018 march->(6 month) fluoxetine 20,30 mg-->cold turkey= after 2 month semen leakage

2018 july---2018 Aug-->(24 days) fluoxetine 20 mg --> cold turkey = vivid dreams begin

2018 december 2019 Jan-->(1 month) Amitriptyline 25--> cold turkey
--------++++--horror of drugs begins. Taking one after another and cold turkey-------+++------------------
2019 May--2019 May--> (12 days) Lexapro cold turkey

2019 May--2019 august -->(3 month)Cobazam 10 mg +amitriptyline 25 mg --> clobazam cold turkey

----2019 october ---> went cold turkey amitriptyline 25 mg.

2019 october--2020 Jan -->(3 months) duloxetine cymbalta 30mg --->cold turkey

2020 jan-2020 Apr--> (3 months) paroxetine 25 mg --> Cold turkey

2020 July--2021 Jan--> (6 months) amitriptyline 50 mg ,75 mg,100 mg ,125 mg -> cold turkey

2021 jan--2021 May--> (4 months) imipramine 75 mg -->cold turkey

2021 may-2021 Aug--> (3 months) nortriptyline 25 mg --> cold turkey== still semen leakage and vivid dream

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