Jump to content
Traneboy

Traneboy: Phenobarbital withdrawal

Recommended Posts

Traneboy

I'm 20 y/o, male, here's my story. Throughout my high school, i took sertraline, alprazolam, propranolol and others, never with any side effects, tho not on a regular use, only the sertraline was for 2 months and i didn't feel like it did any ****. Alprazolam was taken when needed, so was propranolol. I never stayed on a drug for years.

 

My mom bought phenobarbital for herself, so she could deal with stressful events in our life. She was taking it when needed to sleep better. I asked her to give me too, she then game me drops of phenobarbital with water that equate to roughly 15 mg of phenobarbital. This was around September 6 to 8, don't remember the actual day. She didn't give me anymore, till September 14, when she offered to give me again. I took this along a valerian herb. The same 15 mg of phenobarbital.

 

The next day, September 15, i noticed minor visual difficulty focusing on text and on September 16 i acknowledged that i see an increased visual snow in my vision, palinopsia, trails, more static. Just for you to understand, i took phenobarbital 2 times in total across a week and a half with the minimal dosage.

 

I've had visual snow before, but after that night on September 14, i was perceiving way more static and visual disturbances that i never had before, and this is still here, October 2.

 

Now, i'm asking, is this withdrawal and i should take it again on that small dose of 15 mg, or just leave it and hope it will go back to the state it was before? I know phenobarbital has a long half life, but it should've been gone from my system now. Please help.

Edited by Shep
added username to title and added more tags

Share this post


Link to post
Shep

Hi, Traneboy.

 

Welcome to Surviving Antidepressants. 

 

I moved your thread from the Benzo Forum over here to the main Intro forum. If you do have questions specific to benzos, you can, of course, start a new thread there for yourself. 

 

Here is some information on visual snow and other eye issue common in people coming off these drugs:

 

Vision symptoms: floaters, snow, blurred or dimmed vision etc

 

Before we can give you any advice, it will help to know more about your history. Please fill out a signature.  Please include drugs, doses, dates, and discontinuations & reinstatements, in the last 12-24 months. Also include supplements. This will help us give you the most accurate advice we can. 

  • Any drugs and supplements prior to 24 months ago can just be listed with start and stop years. 
  • Please use actual dates or approximate dates (mid-June, Late October) rather than relative time frames (last week, 3 months ago) 
  • Spell out months, e.g. "October" or "Oct."; 9/1/2016 can be interpreted as Jan. 9, 2016 or Sept. 1, 2016. 
  • Please leave out symptoms and diagnoses. 
  • A list is easier to understand than one or multiple paragraphs. 
  • Link to Account Settings – Create or Edit a signature.

Please use this thread to update your information, list your symptoms, and to ask plenty of questions. 

Share this post


Link to post
Traneboy

Born 1997 with birth difficulties, put into intensive care unit.

 

2003 - after moving out from the house I was born and lived my whole life in, I was emotionally affected and started to have involuntary eye blinking and nose twitching. I was then sent to an epileptologist who put me on Depakene (Depakote in US), I don't remember the dose, but it was like every other long term medicine, started low and upped the dose gradually, only thing I know is that every 3 months I was going off of it and then starting this route again, that's how my epileptologist considered back then. I took Depakene since late 2003 to late 2007, basically 4 years.

 

2008 - at this point, i completely got rid of my involuntary eye blinking and nose twitching, and was gradually off Depakene. I should mention that throughout all those years that i took Depakene, i was undergoing every half a year EEG (electroencephalograms) to examine my improvements. In 2008 i didn't take Depakene, but still went to get EEG just to check if no abnormality occurred within my brain waves.

 

2009 - summer of this year (around july) is when i got Visual Snow, 12 y/o at this point. I don't know how Depakene acts on the brain, but in summer 2009 i had been for roughly a year and a half off of it. I'm not sure if Depakene or any other long term medicine can have a withdrawal or any effect after that much time being off from it, but i wonder if it is to blame. Around the end of 2008 i was slightly getting depressed and would spend my days in front of a computer more, my mom was not letting me go out with a bunch of bad kids, so i found my hobby in playing PC games. I am convinced my half a year staying in front of a PC didn't cause my Visual Snow. I'm not sure if i was depressed in the late 2008 because of my mom or because i was off Depakene (?). Does Depakene act as an antidepressant?

 

2015 - summer (around late july/early august) of this year i went for the first time to talk with a Psychiatrist. Psychoanalysis wasn't helping me and i begged him to give me something to ease my high school social anxiety. Since my VS, I've been a shut in, because it is 24/7. And i was ashamed of myself being there with others. He prescribed me Alprazolam. I took Alprazolam when needed, i was taking once every few days when i had to get in front of audience to show off my homework. Typically, i would take 0.25 mg or 0.5 mg. The whole span of me taking Alprazolam is no longer than 3-4 months and, from September to November/December 2015, and taking it once in a week basically or two weeks. I recall only once taking a dose of 1 gram and that were 2 tabs of 0.5 mg and i had to speak in front of a bunch of people. I also took propranolol here and there, just to not get a panic attack when speaking in front of an audience.

 

2016 - January of this year is when i switched my psychiatrist because i felt the current one with his Psychoanalysis wasn't very helping, if at all.

That next psychiatrist immediately prescribed me sertraline and said it will help, the dose was 1/4 of a tablet the first 3 days, 1/2 the next 3 days and on the final 7 day take a full tab and so on for whatever time. A tab contained 50 mg of sertraline. I took it since January 14 2016 till around march, don't remember the actual time when i went off, but i went off abruptly without any dose management as i didn't feel like it was really helping me that much and just didn't believe in the pill. He then explained to me that i can't just go on and off expecting this drug to help, but whatever, he prescribed sertraline again and i certainly wasn't serious in taking it, as an impatient teen i couldn't have waited for months before it kicked in. I didn't use this last box of pills and just left them on my desk forever.

 

I didn't take anything since march and i only got to open the box of sertraline when i only got in College. The first 3-4 days when i entered college i took again sertraline 1 tab a day and since then i didn't take sertraline anymore, i guess i was stressed with my social anxiety, that i took them again, only to leave them again. Those first days of college were in October 3-6 2016. I managed myself to just lay off any pills, cause they weren't really helping and focused on learning, tho my social anxiety didn't improve, i still have it.

 

Throughout all these years, since july 2009 to September 2017 my visual snow stayed roughly the same as i didn't notice any big change. Now, in September, around September 8 2017 i took 15 mg of phenobarbital with valerian herb (took valerian before) for the first time. Didn't notice changes in my vision, maybe some focusing problems. The next time i took it, September 14, i noticed more focusing problems only the next day, September 15, not immediately after waking up, more like as the day went by. And on September 16, after coming home around 4 pm, i took my phone and freaked out because i couldn't believe i saw my first afterimage and trail ever. I had afterimages, but very mild before, that started with VS in july 2009. But on September 16 i acknowledged that what i saw was an increase in visual symptoms. I'm still not sure, is it because of Phenobarbital, since i took Sertraline and Alprazolam and i never experienced any increase with those. But what leds me to believe it is Phenobarbital, is because i never took it before and it is the only new thing i took recently, i also took Tolperison on September 3 2017 for some tension headaches (it's a muscle relaxant), but i don't think it might've been the cause. Took also some magnesium tabs here and there, but i took those before too.

Share this post


Link to post
Shep

Hi, Traneboy.

 

Thank you for this well-written narrative of your journey on these drugs. 

 

You're only 20 years old, so you're very wise to research these kinds of drugs now. Please be very careful with antidepressants and benzos. You can become dependent on an antidepressant in as little as 1 month and even sooner (within 2 weeks) for a benzodiazepine such as alprazolam. There are much better ways to handle anxiety and other symptoms. Please see:

 

Non-drug techniques to cope with emotional symptoms

 

Does your college offer yoga or meditation classes? Those are excellent ways of handling all kinds of stress. 

 

It looks like the visual snow started two years after coming off the depakene and years before you took the 2 doses of phenobarbital and valerian, so I wouldn't reinstate any of your drugs at this point. It's quite possible the phenobarbital and valerian increased the symptoms, but they don't seem to be the root cause. 

 

Have you had your eyes checked by an ophthalmologist? I would do that to rule out any other conditions that could be causing this. 

 

Please continue to update and let us know how you're doing. 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Traneboy

All I want is to go back to the state I was pre September. I don't chase visual snow cure at this point, I want to just continue to have it like I had it for years.

 

I went to an ophthalmologist and she said my eyes were ok.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Traneboy

One thing that really interests me the most about Depakene,  is it a GABA agonist? Reading through wiki is a bit hard without any knowledge on the subject.

If it is a GABA agonist, then it might've initially left me with visual snow.

Share this post


Link to post
Traneboy

Anyway, can someone get a withdrawal from a drug, like phenobarbital, if taken on low doses and only 2-3 times? If my visual snow increased because of it and I took it last time on sept 14, should I go back and take it again the same dose and then slowly taper off? I'm afraid it will be too late if I will start the slowly tapering months after my last use were i'll not be able to reverse my increased symptoms.

Share this post


Link to post
Shep
2 minutes ago, Traneboy said:

Anyway, can someone get a withdrawal from a drug, like phenobarbital, if taken on low doses and only 2-3 times? If my visual snow increased because of it and I took it last time on sept 14, should I go back and take it again the same dose and then slowly taper off? I'm afraid it will be too late if I will start the slowly tapering months after my last use were i'll not be able to reverse my increased symptoms.

 

I would look at your 2 - 3 phenobarbital doses as creating an adverse reaction, as opposed to creating a withdrawal syndrome. With an adverse reaction, you don't want to reinstate the offending drug. But instead, give yourself plenty of time to recover. 

 

Do you have any other symptoms? Also, did you have any trouble coming off the Sertraline in February 2016? 

Share this post


Link to post
Traneboy

I don't really know if I have other symptoms besides the obvious ones to me like my vision. Maybe I also have decreased attention, memory, but honestly, i'm very fearful for my vision and can't really concentrate on anything else, so I guess that's anxiety.

 

Not only I didn't have any problems, but I stopped it abruptly, cold turkey, however you wanna call it. I was a lot more uneducated back then, but that still didn't shoot me in my foot in any way. But then again, I, and everyone else, can notice only major changes, like seizures from benzo withdrawal, vision changes from SSRI for some people, tinnitus and so on. Those minor things like decreased attention (let's say 5% decrease) is practically impossible to notice, though they are definitely either withdrawal effect or adverse effect. What i'm saying with these is that you never really know.

Share this post


Link to post
Traneboy

I now think could my symptoms technically get worse because phenobarbital is an anti epilepsy drug and I need to start taking anti epilepsy drugs to make my visual snow stable again?  Not necessarily phenobarbital, but depakene. 

Share this post


Link to post
Traneboy

Ok, so I told a doctor about VS (he specializes in epilepsy) and he read about it and saw that Lamictal (Lamotrigine) might help, so he prescribed it to me. Should I try lamictal? I'm afraid It could make my visual snow worse, but at the same time I can hardly read and I'm in college, and I don't know if my increased visual snow will subside to what it was. Your thoughts Shep?

Share this post


Link to post
Icip

How are you @Traneboy?

Share this post


Link to post

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Terms of Use Privacy Policy