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Harmony: Cold turkey Bupropion, Clonazepam, Methylphenidate and Sertraline


Harmony

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Hello everyone, thank you for creating and building such a fantastic resource. It’s  so helpful to read about the journeys of others here. 

 

I was advised by my GP to speak with a psychiatrist in April 2016. The GP suspected I had depression & anxiety. I met with a psychiatrist for an assessment. I’d  been through a lot of stressful experiences in life. Life had dealt me a tough hand, and I was already quite vulnerable when I arrived in his office. At the end of the assessment, the psychiatrist diagnosed me with depression and anxiety and prescribed me Bupropion 300mg and clonazepam 2 mg+ per day. I was never keen on the idea of taking medication, but the Dr said I needed it as I had “disorders” caused by chemical imbalances, and that I was lucky to have made it this far without it. I don’t believe that for one moment and now feel I was misinformed. If I had been warned about the side effects, I would never have put them in my body. I’ve been through some hard times, but the medication has served me with the hardest and most agonising four months of my life. 

 

To make things worse, after a couple of months seeing him every few weeks the psychiatrist offered me a job. It was a slightly unusual series of events, but I felt lucky to have been given the opportunity. I worked hard, was often praised for it and I was given reassurance my role was pretty much permanent. I loved my job. It gave me purpose and a role in the world. My self-esteem rocketed as I felt I’d been specially selected for showing signs of promise, it changed everything. However, the different roles called for different protocols, and the roles of “therapist” and “boss” required disparate and often conflicting styles of relating. The Doctor providing me with a job and treating me outside of the clinic caused the boundaries between Psychiatrist and employer to become extremely blurred. Even though it was unorthodox, I pinned a lot of faith on the Psychiatrist, his advice and the job he gave me. He gave me hope and faith for the future. 

 

August 2016:

Prescribed Sertraline 100mg due to depression remaining and increasing number of bad moods.

 

October 2016: 

While at work the Psychiatrist commented he suspected I had ADHD. Despite not suffering from day to day symptoms I completed the DIVA ( ADHD assessment ) with him, He prescribed methylphenidate 10mg 2-3 times a day. Over time I didn’t feel any improvement in mood, so the dose was increased to 20mg x5 (up to 100mg+ per day). I asked the Psychiatrist about alternative ADHD treatments as I was apprehensive about taking more medication. The Psychiatrist informed me that there were no ADHD treatments in my area and even if there were he would not be prepared to enter into a shared care agreement. I believed treatment with him was my only option. I was told there were no services or specialists other than him and the only treatment available was medication. 

 

March 2017:

The symptoms started with a lump sensation in my throat like there's some thing stuck, maybe it’s my thyroid. I went to the GP who said it was globus or anxiety and it was nothing to worry about, but I know it’s not anxiety as it’s there even when I’m not anxious. Next came tremors, dizziness and chronic fatigue. I was struggling to think, speak and walk. I felt as though a part of my brain had shut down. I had strong pains in my chest, dull aches that moved around my back and occasional shooting stabbing pains in my back and leg that stopped me in my tracks when I did walk. 

 

April 2017: 

The relationship seemed to work well initially but became very confusing until eventually I was dropped not only occupationally but therapeutically. My false sense of security was pulled from beneath my feet. I'm sorry to say last time the Psychiatrist, and I spoke he was abrupt, abrasive, insensitive and rude. I’ve been left in shock, fear, trepidation and with more health problems than before I met the Psychiatrist. At the time I thought the stress of losing my job caused me to become unwell, but after discovering James Moores Mad in America podcast, listing to peoples stories and reading a little, I think I’d reached a tolerance point with the medication and started to have terrible side effects. By this point, I’d lost faith in the Doctor so felt I couldn’t ask him for help. I think part of me knew it was the medication as I went to my GP, firstly to find the Psychiatrist hadn’t been keeping my records up to date. I told the GP what I had been prescribed, and I was told it would be impossible to identify what was causing the problems. I naively agreed with my GP that the best option would be to stop taking all medication, however stopping without tapering has left me with a long list of withdrawal symptoms. I stopped taking sertraline, clonazepam & methylphenidate that day and cut my dose of bupropion in half for one week then stopped the following week completely.

 

Every symptom I already had, got worse, tremors, dizziness, feeling unsteady, feeling like I might pass out, loss of coordination, back pain. The fatigue was so bad, I couldn’t walk for more than a minute or so which lead to me not being able to leave the house. My partner was having real trouble getting me out of bed in the morning, and after a few hours of being up, I’d need to go back to bed due to feeling exhausted. I think I was putting it down to severe depression, but I didn’t feel depressed, I just felt numb. After a couple of days of stopping I started to get really bad night sweats, I’d wake up stinky, drenched with my mouth tasting how I smelt, it was horrible. The chest & back pain continued to get worse and progressed to tingling and numbness in my arm. I’ve been to the hospital three times in the past four months in various states of feeling close to death but sent home every time. I’ve been to the GP many times as the side effects have left me with so many physical symptoms and feeling so ill. I had numerous blood tests and even though I felt like I’d been poisoned every test came back clear.

 

August 2017: 

The fatigue has lifted slightly, the part of my brain that felt as though it had broken is slowly coming back, and I’m smelling much better :). I continue to have flu like symptoms and intense joint and muscle pain, mainly in my back, shoulder and arm and I’m not entirely sure if the pain will ever go away. I feel like a very rickety eighty-year-old. My GP finally acknowledged some of these side effects last week. They haven’t been able to give me much support due to stopping taking so many different medications at the same time and stopping cold turkey. The GP did frustratingly say some of what I’m going through maybe down to the return of depression and anxiety. I’m only depressed as I’m in so much pain and have anxiety as my nerves are messed up. I’m a little worried that the medication has caused permanent damage. I accept a return in my depression and anxiety, but I have so many physical difficulties that began following and since stopping taking the medication. I trusted the Psychiatrist and put my life in his hands. Looking back, I feel like I was led astray, betrayed and like I’ve been chemically assaulted. 

 

Before everything went wrong, I recommended the Psychiatrist to some friends who also became patients of his. They were given a similar diagnosis to the one I’d been given, told they also had chemical imbalances and they too prescribed a similar cocktail of medication including methylphenidate and told to contact him when they needed a repeat prescription. After a couple of months, they both began asking me why he wasn’t returning their calls or emails. When I spoke with him about this, he said they had contacted him last minute, and for that, he wasn’t going to reply right away as he didn’t do last minute. Eventually one of my friends requested to have her care transferred as she lost faith in him. The other works at one of his clinics, and is still having problems with him returning her emails and calls and providing her with prescriptions when needed. She has told me there'd been many occasions recently that other patients of his have called his clinic in tears as they are unable to get hold of him. I also know a woman who was under his care at the inpatient unit long before I met him. She said he had given her a combination of medications. She told me it made her feel like a zombie. For one reason or another, she was transferred to a different psychiatrist who questioned why she was on so much medication and immediately began to reduce her dose. No one was warned about side effects and withdrawals, supported, monitored or made aware they’d have to request prescriptions on the Psychiatrists personal terms. It was hugely irresponsible of him to tell people they need medication due to a medical condition and chemical imbalance and to encourage dependence on medication and not provide support, information, monitoring and often fail to provide the advised medication to patients dependant on it.

 

I’m so happy to have found this incredible community and source of information, it's allowing me to start making sense of what I’ve been and am going through. It’s such a relief to learn I’m not the only one feeling this way. The support and compassion I’ve seen on this forum is incredible and a brilliant way of making good of what everyone here has been through. Trusting I’m going to get better and connecting with others isn’t easy at the moment, but I’m hoping it’s going to get easier.  

 

My heart goes out to everyone that has been through or who is going through withdrawal. x

April 2016:  Wellbutrin 300 MG + Clonazepam 0.5 MG when needed

September 2016: Sertraline 100 MG ( added )

October 2016: Methylphenidate 60-100 MG (Misdiagnosed with ADHD).

April 2017: Stopped all medication after suffering terrible side effects.

August 2017: 4 months medication free but suffering the consequences of cold turkey 

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/topic/15480-harmony-cold-turkey-bupropion-clonazepam-methylphenidate-and-sertraline/

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  • ChessieCat changed the title to Harmony: Cold turkey Bupropion, Clonazepam, Methylphenidate and Sertraline
  • Moderator Emeritus

Harmony -- Welcome to Surviving Antidepressants (SA)

 

Your tale is shared by far too many people -- that of being treated as a person with SSRI and benzodiazepine deficiencies.  I'm sorry you were so terribly abused by a medical hack, erm I suppose I should say "professional."

 

It sounds as if you're doing alright, despite having what must be intense symptoms from a CT off 4 psych medications. What non-drug techniques are you using and developing to cope with the symptoms?  Here are a few discussion topics that may offer ideas, or you may have ideas to add!

Non-drug techniques to cope with emotional symptoms.

Non-drug techniques for dealing with physical pain.

The Dr. Claire Weekes Method of Recovering from a Sensitized Nervous System

 

Many people find it helpful to supplement with omega-3 fatty acids and/or magnesium. Pick one or the other; start at a low dose and slowly increase until you find the right dose for you.

Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil).

Magnesium, nature's calcium channel blocker.

 

Our Symptoms & self-care forum has topics for just about every possible symptom and for a huge variety of coping and self-care tools. You can find topics using the site search functionality or a web search engine (google, bing, duck duck go, etc.) If you use a web search tool, include site:survivingantidepressants.org as a search term to get pages from this site at the top of your search results.

 

I know that I've tagged other introduction topics with the "cold turkey" tag. If you click on the tag just below your topic title on this page, you should get a list of others who have taken that same meds-discontinuation route.

 

This is YOUR introduction topic -- the place for you to ask questions, record symptoms, share your progress, and connect with other members of the SA community. 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.

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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  • 5 months later...

Harmony that really is some intro story of iatrogenic harm.

Are you able to provide any update?

 

Thought for the day: Lets stand up, and let’s speak out , together. G Olsen

We have until the 14th. Feb 2018. 

URGENT REQUEST Please consider submitting  for the petition on Prescribed Drug Dependence and Withdrawal currently awaiting its third consideration at the Scottish Parliament. You don't even have to be from Scotland. By clicking on the link below you can read some of the previous submissions but be warned many of them are quite harrowing.

http://www.parliament.scot/GettingInvolved/Petitions/PE01651   

Please tell them about your problems taking and withdrawing from antidepressants and/or benzos.

Send by email to petitions@parliament.scot and quote PE01651 in the subject heading. Keep to a maximum of 3 sides of A4 and you can't name for legal reasons any doctor you have consulted. Tell them if you wish to remain anonymous. We need the numbers to help convince the committee members we are not isolated cases. You have until mid February. Thank you

Recovering paxil addict

None of the published articles shed light on what ssri's ... actually do or what their hazards might be. Healy 2013. 

This is so true, with anything you get on these drugs, dependance, tapering, withdrawal symptoms, side effects, just silent. And if there is something mentioned then their is a serious disconnect between what is said and reality! 

  "Every time I read of a multi-person shooting, I always presume that person had just started a SSRI or had just stopped."  Dr Mosher. Me too! 

Over two decades later, the number of antidepressant prescriptions a year is slightly more than the number of people in the Western world. Most (nine out of 10) prescriptions are for patients who faced difficulties on stopping, equating to about a tenth of the population. These patients are often advised to continue treatment because their difficulties indicate they need ongoing treatment, just as a person with diabetes needs insulin. Healy 2015

I believe the ssri era will soon stand as one of the most shameful in the history of medicine. Healy 2015

Let people help people ... in a natural, kind, non-addictive (and non-big pharma) way. J Broadley 2017

 

 

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