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robcbar1: Suffering after 20 years of SSRI


robcbar1

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Please pardon any grammatical issues as I have a hard time sorting my thoughts and typing these days. 

 

My story starts with the death of my father on my 1st day of college in 1995.  I took a few weeks off, and upon returning, experienced tension headaches, loss of appetite, difficulty concentrating,  nervousness, etc.  I was told to see a doctor so I did.  He diagnosed me with an "anxiety disorder" and prescribed an SSRI (Paxil).  I was only 18 and naïve to doctors, so I did what I was told.  The medicine helped me immensely and I thrived for almost 20 years - built a successful career, met my wife, started a family, and maintained healthy relationships.  During that time, I graduated from Paxil to Zoloft and finally to Lexapro. 

 

Life was good...UNTIL a traumatic event with my 2 yr. old son in August 2015 (discovery of a severe tree nut allergy – anaphylaxis/911/ER/etc.).  Shortly thereafter, while still taking Lexapro, my world was turned upside down when I awoke one morning and had my first major panic attack.  Since then, I’ve been suffering from constant severe derealization, anxiety, panic, mood instability, anger, irritability, confusion, and depression.  I fell into this abyss seemingly overnight and I've been there ever since. 

 

I've been highly proactive in seeking treatment including 2 primary care doctors, blood labs, MRI, EEG, 3 psychiatrists, endocrinology, CBT, hospital outpatient program for anxiety, weekly psychotherapy, supplements, acupuncture, reflexology, and medication without any real answers or relief.    

 

With regards to medication, the general consensus was that the Lexapro I was taking for ~13 years pooped out.  After increasing the dose without success, I eventually tapered (probably too quickly) and stopped in Mar 2016.  Then I did a 5 month trial on Zoloft which helped with anxiety but made the derealization 10x worse so I stopped.  I have also trialed several medications since (SSRIs/SNRIs) and needed to stop due to horrible reactions.         

 

I've come to the unfortunate conclusion that I am in a state a protracted SSRI withdrawal.  One of Alto's articles describes me perfectly in terms of a completely dysfunctional nervous system and paradoxical responses to most meds and even some supplements.  The exaggerated alerting only allows me to sleep 3-4 hrs a night and my startle reflex is out of control (a bird chirping will send shivers down my spine).  The most terrifying and unnerving symptom to me is derealization.  It's as if I am in a dream 24/7.  It breaks my heart not being able to truly connect with my wife, kids, family, and friends.  The derealization has created a secondary self-sustaining anxiety/panic loop which compounds my other withdrawal symptoms.  I feel trapped because no medicine seems to help (except for benzos which scare me) and I literally feel like I am dead waiting this out in hopes that I heal.  

 

I'm scared that my long-term use of SSRIs have damaged me in a way that won't heal.  Since I started taking them when I was 18, one could argue that it's all my brain has known.  I'm also disgusted at myself for never questioning what I was putting into my body and the potential long-term impact of these drugs.  Any advice on diet, supplements, homeopathy, MDs, naturopaths, etc. that can help heal would be a God send.  I will go to the ends of the Earth to get some relief.  Thank you for reading my story.

 

Edited by baroquep
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21 years of daily SSRI use in total...

Paxil                                                                                                                                                 1995-1998

Zoloft (50 mg)                                                                                                                                 1998-2002

Lexapro (10 mg)                                                                                                                              2002-2015    (**August 2015, Lexapro “stopped working" after near death of my 1.5 yr. old son**)

Lexapro (15/20 mg) - increasing dose only made SEs worse                                                     Nov 2015 - Mar 2016

Zoloft (25/50 mg) - made derealization worse                                                                            Mar 2016 - Jul 2016

Celexa (20 mg) - made symptoms worse                                                                                    Oct 2016 - Jan 2017

Remeron (7.5 mg) - helped me eat and sleep for 4 nights, then went bad                               Jan 2018 (stopped after 2 weeks)

Lamictal (5.0 mg) - horrific withdrawal                                                                                        Jan 2018 - Oct 2020

TODAY - 100% DRUG FREE 

(Trialed Prozac, Effexor, Wellbutrin, Cymbalta - severe reaction, couldn't tolerate longer than a few days)

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  • ChessieCat changed the title to robcbar1: Suffering after 20 years of SSRI use

Hi Rob. Welcome to Surviving Antidepressants ( SA).I'm sorry for all that you have been through. It sounds like you are indeed suffering withdrawal symptoms and have a sensitized system also. Thank you for filling in you drug history signature.

 

As it has been over 10 months since you quit Celexa and also had reactions, it is probably best to stay away from psych drugs in the future.

 

Please have a read of the Symptoms and Self- Care section as it is full of ideas and methods that can help to ease withdrawal as well as information on diets/ supplements etc. I'm sorry that you didn't have any success with any of your treatments . Often, it is just time and taking extremely good care of yourself that yields the best results.

 

Healing happens but it can take some time and patience. These links may help to explain the process:

 

Healing from antidepressants. Patterns of recovery/

What is withdrawal syndrome?

Brain Remodelling

I won't burden you with too much information to start with as it can be overwhelming.Please have a read and come back with any further questions. This is your thread to journal your progress ask questions and interact with the community.

Again, welcome.

Ali

 

Many SSRI's and SSNRI's over 20 years. Zoloft for 7 years followed by Effexor, Lexapro, Prozac, Cymbalta, Celexa, Pristiq, Valdoxan, Mianserin and more - on and off. No tapering. Cold turkey off Valdoxan - end of May 2014

 

                                                  Psych Drug - free since May 2014
.
         

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Thanks so much Ali.  Besides you, I don't know anyone who took an SSRI for 20 yrs and fully recovered.  I'm starting to have my doubts as to whether I will heal.  As I mentioned above, DP/DR is the most frightening symptom and I pray is lessens over time.  I also suffer from anxiety/panic over the slightest things (ex. the thought of making myself breakfast).  It's hard to explain to people who haven't experienced it.  I literally feel like I am going crazy.   

21 years of daily SSRI use in total...

Paxil                                                                                                                                                 1995-1998

Zoloft (50 mg)                                                                                                                                 1998-2002

Lexapro (10 mg)                                                                                                                              2002-2015    (**August 2015, Lexapro “stopped working" after near death of my 1.5 yr. old son**)

Lexapro (15/20 mg) - increasing dose only made SEs worse                                                     Nov 2015 - Mar 2016

Zoloft (25/50 mg) - made derealization worse                                                                            Mar 2016 - Jul 2016

Celexa (20 mg) - made symptoms worse                                                                                    Oct 2016 - Jan 2017

Remeron (7.5 mg) - helped me eat and sleep for 4 nights, then went bad                               Jan 2018 (stopped after 2 weeks)

Lamictal (5.0 mg) - horrific withdrawal                                                                                        Jan 2018 - Oct 2020

TODAY - 100% DRUG FREE 

(Trialed Prozac, Effexor, Wellbutrin, Cymbalta - severe reaction, couldn't tolerate longer than a few days)

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Together with AliG, our Shep is recovering from 30 years of drugs including antipsychotics. DP/DR is what she calls her signature symptom. I'm learning so much from her.

 

Maybe you will want to meet her: 

You will aslo like this thread:

 

Current: 9/2022 Xanax 0.08, Lexapro 2

2020 Xanax 0.26 (down from 2 mg in 2013), Lexapro 2.85 mg (down from 5 mg 2013)

Amitriptyline (tricyclic AD) and clonazepam for 3 months to treat headache in 1996 
1999. - present Xanax prn up to 3 mg.
2000-2005 Prozac CT twice, 2005-2010 Zoloft CT 3 times, 2010-2013 Escitalopram 10 mg
went from 2.5 to zero on 7 Aug 2013, bad crash 40 days after
reinstated to 5 mg Escitalopram 4Oct 2013 and holding liquid Xanax every 5 hours
28 Jan 2014 Xanax 1.9, 18 Apr  2015 1 mg,  25 June 2015 Lex 4.8, 6 Aug Lexapro 4.6, 1 Jan 2016 0.64  Xanax     9 month hold

24 Sept 2016 4.5 Lex, 17 Oct 4.4 Lex (Nov 0.63 Xanax, Dec 0.625 Xanax), 1 Jan 2017 4.3 Lex, 24 Jan 4.2, 5 Feb 4.1, 24 Mar 4 mg, 10 Apr 3.9 mg, May 3.85, June 3.8, July 3.75, 22 July 3.7, 15 Aug 3.65, 17 Sept 3.6, 1 Jan 2018 3.55, 19 Jan 3.5, 16 Mar 3.4, 14 Apr 3.3, 23 May 3.2, 16 June 3.15, 15 Jul 3.1, 31 Jul 3, 21 Aug 2.9 26 Sept 2.85, 14 Nov Xan 0.61, 1 Dec 0.59, 19 Dec 0.58, 4 Jan 0.565, 6 Feb 0.55, 20 Feb 0.535, 1 Mar 0.505, 10 Mar 0.475, 14 Mar 0.45, 4 Apr 0.415, 13 Apr 0.37, 21 Apr 0.33, 29 Apr 0.29, 10 May 0.27, 17 May 0.25, 28 May 0.22, 19 June 0.22, 21 Jun updose to 0.24, 24 Jun updose to 0.26

Supplements: Omega 3 + Vit E, Vit C, D, magnesium, Taurine, probiotic 

I'm not a medical professional. Any advice I give is based on my own experience and reading. 

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Hi all - This has been a really tough week for me.  I feel like my WD is getting worse over time vs. better.  My windows are so short, I’m not even sure if they are truly windows or minute–long mirages of the old days.  My anxiety is through the roof and the derealization is by far the worst symptom, followed by the newest issue of feeling like I am going to pass out whenever I talk to people.  It’s all so bizarre to me.  I’ve always been highly functional and it’s tough for me to be like this with a stressful job and two small kids.  As I mentioned earlier, I am very concerned that since I was on this poison for 20 yrs. that I will not heal.  This notion has become an obsession of sorts and has created a secondary anxiety on its own.  I literally have no one to talk to aside from this forum so I’m hoping to make a few buddies that can help me along the way.  Major pep talk needed from people who have walked in these shoes.         

21 years of daily SSRI use in total...

Paxil                                                                                                                                                 1995-1998

Zoloft (50 mg)                                                                                                                                 1998-2002

Lexapro (10 mg)                                                                                                                              2002-2015    (**August 2015, Lexapro “stopped working" after near death of my 1.5 yr. old son**)

Lexapro (15/20 mg) - increasing dose only made SEs worse                                                     Nov 2015 - Mar 2016

Zoloft (25/50 mg) - made derealization worse                                                                            Mar 2016 - Jul 2016

Celexa (20 mg) - made symptoms worse                                                                                    Oct 2016 - Jan 2017

Remeron (7.5 mg) - helped me eat and sleep for 4 nights, then went bad                               Jan 2018 (stopped after 2 weeks)

Lamictal (5.0 mg) - horrific withdrawal                                                                                        Jan 2018 - Oct 2020

TODAY - 100% DRUG FREE 

(Trialed Prozac, Effexor, Wellbutrin, Cymbalta - severe reaction, couldn't tolerate longer than a few days)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks so much for sending this Jake.  It’s been a tough couple of weeks, everything seems to be amped up.  Only sleeping 2-3 hrs a night, no appetite, dizzy, derealized, etc.  Hoping it passes soon.  

21 years of daily SSRI use in total...

Paxil                                                                                                                                                 1995-1998

Zoloft (50 mg)                                                                                                                                 1998-2002

Lexapro (10 mg)                                                                                                                              2002-2015    (**August 2015, Lexapro “stopped working" after near death of my 1.5 yr. old son**)

Lexapro (15/20 mg) - increasing dose only made SEs worse                                                     Nov 2015 - Mar 2016

Zoloft (25/50 mg) - made derealization worse                                                                            Mar 2016 - Jul 2016

Celexa (20 mg) - made symptoms worse                                                                                    Oct 2016 - Jan 2017

Remeron (7.5 mg) - helped me eat and sleep for 4 nights, then went bad                               Jan 2018 (stopped after 2 weeks)

Lamictal (5.0 mg) - horrific withdrawal                                                                                        Jan 2018 - Oct 2020

TODAY - 100% DRUG FREE 

(Trialed Prozac, Effexor, Wellbutrin, Cymbalta - severe reaction, couldn't tolerate longer than a few days)

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Robcbar1, have you considered reinstating a very small dose (i.e., lowest dose possible to reduce withdrawal symptoms) of an antidepressant to see if that might help calm your withdrawal symptoms?  Lexapro unfortunately is one of the most potent antidepressants on the market today and very difficult to withdrawal from.  Because it is so potent, it is imperative that you taper off of this drug cautiously.  Judging from your withdrawal history signature, your doctor tried to cover up withdrawal from Lexapro with Zoloft and Celexa which simply exacerbated your symptoms. 

It's not entirely clear how you discontinued Lexapro or the other antidepressants.  Could you please answer a few questions:  

 

Did you increase the dose of Lexapro through August 2015 and March 20166 and then switch to Zoloft?  

When Zoloft made thing worse were you switched  to Celexa?  How did you discontinue Celexa?  

You mention Prozac, Effexor and Cymbalta as well ... when did you take these drugs?  When did you stop?  

Are you completely antidepressant free as of today's date?  

What is your current symptom pattern?

Without having a clear picture of what has been going on with you between November 2015 and January 2017, as well as where you are right now, it will be impossible for us to suggest a plan on how to help you get back on track.  If you can answer the questions above, and update your withdrawal history signature, we will be better able to look at your history and make recommendations.  

 

Account Settings – Create or Edit a signature

 

I'm attaching a link on reinstatement so that you can familiarize yourself with what you can expect and the benefits and risks associated with attempting to reinstate.  Because it looks like you have been off of antidepressants since January 2017, you will want to note that under those circumstances reinstatement may not work for you though in my opinion, it is certainly worth a shot if you have not experienced any positive signs that you are heading toward healing since January.  

 

About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms
What to Expect in Reinstatement (James Heaney article)

Current Prescription Drugs for Hypothyroidism:  Synthroid 100mcg / Cytomel 5mcg (15 years Pristiq/Effexor)

Tapering Schedule
September 15, 2016 - switched from Pristiq 50mg to Effexor XR 75mg; November 10, 2016 - reduced to 67.5 Effexor XR
December 9, 2016 - reduced 60.75
January 5, 2017 - reduced 54.67
January 30, 2017 - reduced to 49.0
February 20, 2017 - reduced to 44.0 
May 20, 2017 - reduced to 40.25 (holding for additional month due to late onset of withdrawal symptoms after this taper)
July 17, 2017 - reduced to 38.24
August 15, 2017 - reduced to 37.5 (50% of my original dose)

October 15, 2017 - reduced to 35.6

November 12, 2017 - reduced to 33.8
December 15, 2017 - up-dose to 35.6
December 28, 2017 - up-dose to 37.5

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Thanks for reaching out baroquep.  My story is so complex/wordy that it didn’t fit in my signature! 

 

Here’s the Cliff’s Notes version…

 

After my “downturn” in Aug ‘15, I made an appt (first ever) with a psychiatrist in early Sept ‘15.  She told me that Lexapro (@ 10mg) “pooped out” and prescribed Prozac.  She had me cross taper onto Prozac over 2 weeks week and it went terribly wrong (severely depressed, anxiety, insomnia, auditory hallucinations, etc.).  I only lasted about 2 weeks on Prozac and went back to the doc begging to reinstate Lexapro @ 10 mg.  I did and leveled out to my previous not so great, but not horrible state.  We then played with the Lexapro dosage, up to 15 mg, no relief, and then to 20 mg, again no relief – just unbearable side effects. 

 

I wasn’t getting any better so in Feb ’16, we decided to try Zoloft (since I did well on it back in ‘98–’02) and I cross tapered from Lexapro to Zoloft (@25 mg) over two weeks in Feb ‘16.  The transition was relatively smooth and despite the Zoloft start up effects (mainly insomnia and loss of appetite), I did OK with noticeably less anxiety.  However, the derealization kicked in full force and it became unbearable, so I tapered off Zoloft in late July ’16.  I felt Ok not taking anything for a while (still had deralization) and then started struggling again in Oct ’16 with anxiety and low mood. 

 

I went back to the doc in Nov ’16 and we decided to try Celexa since it’s chemically related to Lexapro to see if it would yield a therapeutic effect.  I stuck with Celexa for a few months and all symptoms were markedly worse so I tapered off in Jan ‘17.

 

After that, I tried Effexor (only lasted 4 days), Zoloft again (only lasted 2 weeks), and Cymbalta (only lasted 1 day).  Each med made my symptoms much much worse and I was essentially bedridden during each trial.  I haven’t taken anything since except for the occasional benzo which is effective at calming me down and helping me sleep but they scare me (addictive, more withdrawals, etc.).

 

My biggest issues right now are extreme anxiety, derealization, and insomnia.  I only sleep ~3 hrs/night and the “alerting” that Alto speaks of makes it nearly impossible to relax.  My dr. recently prescribed Vistaril to help me sleep but I’m afraid to take it.   

 

I feel like I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place but maybe you can help me think of it differently.  If I am in protracted withdrawal, I feel like reinstating or trying a med will “undo” any healing that’s taken place.  Then again, my symptoms seem to be getting worse each week so I’m not sure how much longer I can endure not doing anything.  The windows and waves pattern that I have read about doesn’t describe me…I’m in more of a prolonged wave with little break in the suffering.  The fact that I took an SSRI for ~20 yrs. deeply troubles me and I don’t see a lot of people on here who have been able to dig out.  Any insight you can provide is much appreciated.  God bless.                               

21 years of daily SSRI use in total...

Paxil                                                                                                                                                 1995-1998

Zoloft (50 mg)                                                                                                                                 1998-2002

Lexapro (10 mg)                                                                                                                              2002-2015    (**August 2015, Lexapro “stopped working" after near death of my 1.5 yr. old son**)

Lexapro (15/20 mg) - increasing dose only made SEs worse                                                     Nov 2015 - Mar 2016

Zoloft (25/50 mg) - made derealization worse                                                                            Mar 2016 - Jul 2016

Celexa (20 mg) - made symptoms worse                                                                                    Oct 2016 - Jan 2017

Remeron (7.5 mg) - helped me eat and sleep for 4 nights, then went bad                               Jan 2018 (stopped after 2 weeks)

Lamictal (5.0 mg) - horrific withdrawal                                                                                        Jan 2018 - Oct 2020

TODAY - 100% DRUG FREE 

(Trialed Prozac, Effexor, Wellbutrin, Cymbalta - severe reaction, couldn't tolerate longer than a few days)

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  • Administrator

Welcome, rob.

 

Yes, it sounds like your nervous system is suffering from withdrawal syndrome compounded by many drug changes. This can make a distressed nervous system even more sensitized.

 

In situations such as these, I suggest looking at this topic, which describes how I was treated when I was in a similar state:

 

One theory of antidepressant withdrawal syndrome

 

and Lamictal (lamotrigine) to calm post-discontinuation withdrawal symptoms

 

Which of the doctors you've seen seemed most sympathetic to the idea your nervous system was upset?

 

 

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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Thanks for responding Alto.  I agree with your assessment and my symptoms are eerily similar to those you’ve experienced including the alerting and sensitivity to medications/supplements.  I will review these links right now.  Lamictal scares me a bit because of my sensitivity but maybe there’s hope if you did ok on it. 

  

It took me over 2 yrs to find a doctor who would acknowledge what’s going on, but I finally did!  I had an appt with him yesterday and he laid out his plan to help restore my nervous system.  He has me drinking a cocktail (OJ, cream of tartar, and Himalayan sea salt) to calm my adrenals.  He also prescribed an alpha blocker (prazocin) believed to help PTSD patients with sleep.  I took 1 mg last night and felt very woozy with no positive impact on sleep/alerting.  He also has me scheduled to meet with an herbalist as well as a craniosacral specialist. 

 

Please tell me it gets better???  This is torture.  L

 

Edited by ChessieCat
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21 years of daily SSRI use in total...

Paxil                                                                                                                                                 1995-1998

Zoloft (50 mg)                                                                                                                                 1998-2002

Lexapro (10 mg)                                                                                                                              2002-2015    (**August 2015, Lexapro “stopped working" after near death of my 1.5 yr. old son**)

Lexapro (15/20 mg) - increasing dose only made SEs worse                                                     Nov 2015 - Mar 2016

Zoloft (25/50 mg) - made derealization worse                                                                            Mar 2016 - Jul 2016

Celexa (20 mg) - made symptoms worse                                                                                    Oct 2016 - Jan 2017

Remeron (7.5 mg) - helped me eat and sleep for 4 nights, then went bad                               Jan 2018 (stopped after 2 weeks)

Lamictal (5.0 mg) - horrific withdrawal                                                                                        Jan 2018 - Oct 2020

TODAY - 100% DRUG FREE 

(Trialed Prozac, Effexor, Wellbutrin, Cymbalta - severe reaction, couldn't tolerate longer than a few days)

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  • Moderator Emeritus
4 hours ago, robcbar1 said:

He has me drinking a cocktail (OJ, cream of tartar, and Himalayan sea salt) to calm my adrenals.

 

This cocktail has been discussed in another member's topic (please see the mod note in red which was added to the post):

 
On 26/05/2017 at 5:25 AM, ShakeyJerr said:

 

I also drink what is referred to as The Adrenal Cocktail. Mix 4 oz of orange juice with 1/2-teaspoon of Cream of Tartar and 1/2-teaspoon of Sea Salt.

 

It's an acquired taste! But the vitamin c and balance of potassium and sodium, plus the micronutrients in the sea salt are supposed to strengthen the adrenals.

 

You can use other 100% juices, but citrus they say is best.

 

DO NOT use regular table salt. It lacks the micronutrients.

 

Most of all, know that you will heal. Positivity is very helpful in our circumstances.

 

Be well.

 

SJ

 

 

MODERATOR’S NOTE REGARDING THE “ADRENAL COCKTAIL” FOR THOSE WITH HEALTH ISSUES:

If you are healthy, cream of tartar (aka potassium tartarate) at 1 tsp/day total = 500mg (1/2 tsp 2x/day) with OJ should provide no harm at all. Daily amount needed 3400mg.
Those suffering from Addison’s disease, diabetes, acute renal failure, are on dialysis, or for those undergoing treatments that prevent the excretion of potassium from the body through urine should not use cream of tartar.  If you suffer from any cardiac, kidney, or electrolyte issues, or suffer from severe low blood pressure, or multiple health conditions you are medicated for, you should consult with your doctor/HCP before adding extra potassium bitartrate to your daily diet. When speaking to your HCP, please give both names: cream of tartar, & potassium bitartrate.

Please DO NOT TAG me - thank you

PLEASE NOTE:  I am not a medical professional.  I provide information and make suggestions. 

  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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Update...

 

I think the alpha blocker is making my heart pound (going up stairs, exerting effort, etc.) so I’m going to stop taking it. 

 

As for the B12 shot…at first I think it made my anxiety worse but today I was definitely less anxious. 

 

Lastly, the "Adrenal Cocktail"…it tastes like hell but I really think there’s something to it.  Like Alto (was), I am super sensitive to pretty much anything I put in my body these days, and most meds go paradoxical.  But the adrenal cocktail is very subtle.  Today is Day 2 and last night, the constant “alerting” died down a bit.  I’m going to give it a solid week and will report back.  Here it is again in case anyone who is burnt out from anxiety, suffering from adrenal fatigue/overworked nervous system, etc. is interested.

  • 4 oz of orange juice
  • 1/2-teaspoon of Cream of Tartar
  • 1/2-teaspoon of Himalayan Sea Salt

*Drink as soon as you wake up, ideally and hour before or after a meal, you can also try at night before bed to avoid the 3 am wake up (although I haven’t tried that yet)

 

Thank you all for your posts.  It really means a lot to me.  

21 years of daily SSRI use in total...

Paxil                                                                                                                                                 1995-1998

Zoloft (50 mg)                                                                                                                                 1998-2002

Lexapro (10 mg)                                                                                                                              2002-2015    (**August 2015, Lexapro “stopped working" after near death of my 1.5 yr. old son**)

Lexapro (15/20 mg) - increasing dose only made SEs worse                                                     Nov 2015 - Mar 2016

Zoloft (25/50 mg) - made derealization worse                                                                            Mar 2016 - Jul 2016

Celexa (20 mg) - made symptoms worse                                                                                    Oct 2016 - Jan 2017

Remeron (7.5 mg) - helped me eat and sleep for 4 nights, then went bad                               Jan 2018 (stopped after 2 weeks)

Lamictal (5.0 mg) - horrific withdrawal                                                                                        Jan 2018 - Oct 2020

TODAY - 100% DRUG FREE 

(Trialed Prozac, Effexor, Wellbutrin, Cymbalta - severe reaction, couldn't tolerate longer than a few days)

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I can honestly say that last night was the roughest so far.  Waves of extreme anxiety and panic.  Not even Xanax could settle me down.  I had to get up and pace downstairs, just kept telling myself that I was going to die even though my heart was pounding through my shirt.  I was also shaking/shivering uncontrollably, almost like a seizure, but I was fully lucid.  Can someone please tell me this is relatively normal for protracted WD and suggest ways to cope?  It’s really scary. 

 

On a side note…as far as reinstatement.  I’ve been off my longest standing SSRI (Lexapro) 10mg for ~22 months.  I’m assuming it’s far too late to re–introduce a small amount to curb some of my symptoms?  Any insight is much appreciated. 

 

Thanks all. 

21 years of daily SSRI use in total...

Paxil                                                                                                                                                 1995-1998

Zoloft (50 mg)                                                                                                                                 1998-2002

Lexapro (10 mg)                                                                                                                              2002-2015    (**August 2015, Lexapro “stopped working" after near death of my 1.5 yr. old son**)

Lexapro (15/20 mg) - increasing dose only made SEs worse                                                     Nov 2015 - Mar 2016

Zoloft (25/50 mg) - made derealization worse                                                                            Mar 2016 - Jul 2016

Celexa (20 mg) - made symptoms worse                                                                                    Oct 2016 - Jan 2017

Remeron (7.5 mg) - helped me eat and sleep for 4 nights, then went bad                               Jan 2018 (stopped after 2 weeks)

Lamictal (5.0 mg) - horrific withdrawal                                                                                        Jan 2018 - Oct 2020

TODAY - 100% DRUG FREE 

(Trialed Prozac, Effexor, Wellbutrin, Cymbalta - severe reaction, couldn't tolerate longer than a few days)

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I am sorry that you are going through this, but regarding your question, yes, all your symptoms are normal for protracted withdrawal. I am not an expert, but I have read a lot about protracted and the last time i tried to get off paxil I was in full and worst panic ever, felling tlike I was going totally crazy. Is normal but that doesn´t mean it is not harrowing. As I told you, i am not an expert on protracted withdrawal because so far i am in the middle of a very slow taper, but I am pretty sure that some moderator will be with you at any time. Hang in there, we are here for you.

Bianca from México

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  • Moderator Emeritus

You've made several changes in a very short space of time.  It is hard to know what is causing the increase in symptoms.  Possibly the B12?  Or the Adrenal Cocktail?  Sometimes other drugs we take can affect the way our AD is metabolised and you have just stopped your alpha blocker.

Please DO NOT TAG me - thank you

PLEASE NOTE:  I am not a medical professional.  I provide information and make suggestions. 

  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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You have kindled and are now sensitive to all stimulus, medications, supplements. Best is to heal naturally. Reinstatement will likely cause further symptoms. Treat your central nervous system with love, care and affection and one day you will recover

 

I wish you well

 

Will

Mirtazipine - 2013 (12months) - COLD TURKEY - NO SIDE EFFECTS
Zoloft - 2014 (6 weeks) - ADVERSE REACTION!!!

Currently only take 5mg Valium on a as needed basis (once a month)

Current symptoms - Sensitive CNS, Tinnitus, Insomnia, Erectile Dysfunction, Feel terrible every single day, No emotions, HELL!

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I’m hoping for a few more positive notes as I’m really struggling these days.  The derealization has subsided a little bit but it’s been replaced with severe head pressure and a constant whole body shiver/tremble.  It gets worse at night or when I get cold (looks like a seizure but I am fully lucid).  The only thing that calms it down is a benzo which I am afraid to take.  Is this akathisia or just a result of extreme 24/7 anxiety/panic and insomnia?  I’m totally freaked out.  If there’s anyone out there who’s gone through this and recovered, your words are priceless.  Thanks.       

21 years of daily SSRI use in total...

Paxil                                                                                                                                                 1995-1998

Zoloft (50 mg)                                                                                                                                 1998-2002

Lexapro (10 mg)                                                                                                                              2002-2015    (**August 2015, Lexapro “stopped working" after near death of my 1.5 yr. old son**)

Lexapro (15/20 mg) - increasing dose only made SEs worse                                                     Nov 2015 - Mar 2016

Zoloft (25/50 mg) - made derealization worse                                                                            Mar 2016 - Jul 2016

Celexa (20 mg) - made symptoms worse                                                                                    Oct 2016 - Jan 2017

Remeron (7.5 mg) - helped me eat and sleep for 4 nights, then went bad                               Jan 2018 (stopped after 2 weeks)

Lamictal (5.0 mg) - horrific withdrawal                                                                                        Jan 2018 - Oct 2020

TODAY - 100% DRUG FREE 

(Trialed Prozac, Effexor, Wellbutrin, Cymbalta - severe reaction, couldn't tolerate longer than a few days)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Is anyone out there?  I'm in dire need of some positivity.  I'm in a deep WD hole right now.  :( 

21 years of daily SSRI use in total...

Paxil                                                                                                                                                 1995-1998

Zoloft (50 mg)                                                                                                                                 1998-2002

Lexapro (10 mg)                                                                                                                              2002-2015    (**August 2015, Lexapro “stopped working" after near death of my 1.5 yr. old son**)

Lexapro (15/20 mg) - increasing dose only made SEs worse                                                     Nov 2015 - Mar 2016

Zoloft (25/50 mg) - made derealization worse                                                                            Mar 2016 - Jul 2016

Celexa (20 mg) - made symptoms worse                                                                                    Oct 2016 - Jan 2017

Remeron (7.5 mg) - helped me eat and sleep for 4 nights, then went bad                               Jan 2018 (stopped after 2 weeks)

Lamictal (5.0 mg) - horrific withdrawal                                                                                        Jan 2018 - Oct 2020

TODAY - 100% DRUG FREE 

(Trialed Prozac, Effexor, Wellbutrin, Cymbalta - severe reaction, couldn't tolerate longer than a few days)

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Hi there. What exactly are you feeling right now? Have your symptoms changed?

Aug-Dec 2015 Prozac 20mg / Dec 2015-Feb 2016 Prozac 15mg / Feb 2016-May2016 Prozac 20mg

May 2016-June 2016 15mg

June 2016-August 2016 10mg

October 2016-January 2017 15mg, alternating agitation/akathisia sets in --> cold turkey

January 2017 Clonazepam .5mg 

February 2017 Clonazepam 1mg (for a week) then .5mg morning and .25mg evening for about a month. Came down to .25mg morning and evening. 

May 1, 2017 Clonazepam .25mg morning and .125mg evening. // May 20, 2017 Clonazepam .25mg morning and .0625 evening (.3125 total).

early June .28125 // early mid june .25mg // mid june .21875 // late june .1875 // early july .15625 // early mid july .125 

mid july .09375mg // late july .0625 //early August 2017 down to .03125mg once a day, hopped off in mid August

reinstated at .0625mg late August // Oct 16 - updose to .07mg and switch to oral Rosemont solution

Nov 17 2017 reinstate Prozac .5mg // Nov 21 2017 prozac 1.6mg // Dec 18 2017  3mg prozac / fast taper off the reinstatement -- probably completely off early Oct 2018

June 2019 begin tapering off .07mg Clonazepam, Finish taper December 2019

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Hi Rob,

This is just to assure you that have hope that you will get better. I am still struggling but it has gotten better with time. And believe that it will continue.

 

Bhasski

08/13 - 01/14
Olanzapine, petril MD (Clonazepam ), Dicorate ER (divalproex). Soza 10 (Zolpidem)

02/14 - 05/14
Flunil ​20mg , Divaa OD 250 mg(divalproex), Amisulpride 50mg (1-0-2), zolfresh 5 mg , Quetiapine
05/14 - 08/14 Venlafaxine 75 xr ( 1-0-1), zapiz 0.25
10/14 Zaptra 12.5mg , Oxetol xr 150mg (0-0-1)
11/14 - 08/15
Paris CR 25 (paroxetine) , Oxetol xr 600 mg (0-0-1), nitrest 5mg , Quetiapine for a month.
09/15-11 Venlafaxine XR 75 ( 1-0-1), Mirtazipine 15, Respiredal 0.5, Lamitor 25, zillion 10.
12/15-02/16 Off Meds (C.T)

03/16-Mid April Sertraline, Aripropazole, Quetiapine, Etizolam.

After that : CT and on OTC supplements (Roadback), now on Ayurveda
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Hey Rob

just wanted to say hi. I’m struggling with the same- akathasia, dp, dr being the worse. I just got the Himalayan sea salt in mail yesterday. Need to pick up some cream of tartar and will try the adrenal cocktail. Hope it works. Keep us posted. I’ll do the same.   Lg

Lex  4.3mg,  3/2/18  Ativan ,5 mg,  lunesta 2 mg , toprol  25 mg                                                            

 

Oct 16-28 2018 C/O to 19 mg V from 1.5 mg Ativan, 1.3 mg lunesta 

jan 22 2019- 11 mg V

jan 23 - pneumonia, 2 AB’s. 

    Hold taper

july 5- 10.72 V

July 6- 11 mg V- ugly bad

july 11- 10.72 mg V, 4.3 lex, 

              25 mg toprol

 

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Hi Rob

 

I am 17 months off cold turkey and was on antidepressants for just over 20 years.  I have struggled very badly with so much emotional pain that I felt like throwing in the towel many times.

 

But if I did it would have meant trying out the meds again and I just don't want to.  Felt like jumping too, many times!!  My only two alternatives available and the last one would not be good and not necessary.

 

I have had a rough ride for a couple of months now but prior to that I was starting to feel better, not amazing but better.

 

Had many physical symptoms but they have mostly gone now so this is progress. I feel that the emotional unease is at times torture, but eases on and off.

 

At 11 months out I felt I was well on my way to recovery as my sleep had got better but I ran into waves time and time again, infact I have not had many windows at all but the ones I did get spurred me on enough to carry on.

 

My belief is that I will recover and patience has to be tried and tried until I sometimes feel insane with it all.

 

It is for sure a gruelling journey and you need balls of steel as they say, we all have that on here or wouldn't be bothering to search for solution.

 

Nobody at times could reassure me that I would be ok, I just had to trust the process, afterall the only way is to go through this, as difficult as it can be.

 

Hope you can relax a little and enjoy rest of day and evening.

Various antipressants from 1991 to 2016, Sertraline and many switches over the years.

Last AD's taken:

Citalopram for two weeks only May 2016  to June 2016, last AD taken and CT'd.

2012 to May 2016 Duloxitine 60mg. Doctor switched to Citalopram 20mg May 2016.

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Have you tried meditation? It really helped me battle thru my worst WD symptom, severe anxiety. I was on Paxil for 14 yrs. I am off of it almost 2.5 years now.  Things slowly improved for me and I feel much like my old self in many ways. I still have anxiety, which is manageable but annoying.  I always go back to my mindfulness meditation to help me calm things down.  

 

I stayed yer away from supplements because they seemed to have a paradoxical effect on me.  I cut alcohol and caffeine and ate a much healthier diet.  I had issues with insomnia too, and still I will get an insomnia wave but that’s overall improved with time.

 

Hang in there. I know it’s tough. I was there for many months. 

Been on Paxil 14 years. 40mg for the bulk of those.

20mg in 2014

10mg March of 2015 - then tapered to 5mg

Then to 2.5 to 1.5 - to 1mg, from Mar-August.

As of August 23 2015, I am flying without a net.  Paxil free!

WD symptoms since tapering mid- 2015:

Short temper, hostile. Brain zaps. Bruxism. Wild vivid dreams  Hives Food intolerance Lump in throat, . Joint pain. Knees, elbows.  Pain in feet. Numbness in hands. Shaking, like I'm cold. Trembling. Tremors, muscle twitches all over. Facial tics. Eye, lips. Head.  Floaters in my eyes. Severe Insomnia (between months 4-5)  then returned from March-October 2016. I'm sleeping better now. Dreams have returned to normal (month 7) High levels of anxiety when around large crowds or in large rooms. Intestinal spasms, heartburn.  Dizzy spells.  Panic/Anxiety Attacks suddenly developed months 8 out.  4 years out, 98% feeling back to normal.  (October 9 2019)

 

 

 

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Hi Rob

All i can say is things will get better trust your journey and have faith. 

As for me am dealing with withdraw symptoms as well, it's only been 2 weeks of he'll but as days goes by they get better hope so. I was only on zoloft for 2 months on 25 mg then taper off half the pill but even at a low dose and having a real hard time with withdraw symptoms, to name a few, derealization, depernolization, dizzines, mental confusion and some brain zaps.

 

Things will get better for you, me and everyone going trough this. Sn, take allot of fish oil, b vitamins and lots of water.

God bless we all here to help. 

My first antidepressant ever.

Zoloft September 12, 2017.

First 3, 4 days on 50 mg. 

My doctor lower my dose to 25 mg later that week. September 19.

From September 19 till November 14 taking 25 mg.

September 14 started to taper of 25 mg to half the pill.

Did that for a week only

September 14 is when i decided to quit completely.

December 2 marks 18 days off Zoloft.

Zyprexa for one week, November 

Ativan 1mg for one week, December 

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Hi Rob,

How are you doing ?

1995 started Paxil 20mg slowly increasing to 50mg until 2014

-2014 I decided to tapper myself not knowing how too and crashed , DR added 50mg Seraquel

-2015 tried tapering again and crashed

Seroquel Taper

2/11/16 43mg  1/09/17  37.5mg  10/03/10 36.25mg. 17/3/19 35mg 26/3/19 33.75mg  4/4/19 32.5mg  21/4/19 30mg

16/7/19 28.75mg  5/8/19 27.5mg. 19/8/19 25mg   4/8/20 23mg 18/8/20 22.5mg  12/10/20 18.25mg  10/1/21 15mg  3/8/21 UPDOSE 16mg

Paxil Taper

2/11/16 40mg 12/10/17 37mg  28/10/17 36mg  10/1/18. 35mg  24/05/18 33mg  28/8/18 31mg 16/12/18 30mg 20/10/19 29mg  17/11/19 28mg 7/1/20  27mg 12/2/20  26mg 7/3 /20 25mg  11/4/20 24mg 4/5/20 23mg  5/6/20 22mg 23/6/20 21mg 15/7/20 20mg

Untitled.rtf

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  • 3 weeks later...

Hi everyone – I haven’t checked in for a while because I thought this forum was leaving me for dead.  Kidding.  Thank you all so much for your replies.  It really means a lot to me.  So here’s my status…

 

October and November were pure hell.  I honestly didn’t think I would make it through the end of the year.  My nervous system was completely shot along with intense anxiety, agoraphobia, insomnia, derealization, sound sensitivity, tinnitus, high startle, shaking at night, lack of appetite, and overall low mood (none of which I’ve ever experience prior to withdrawal).  At one point I went 2 days without any sleep and went to the hospital.  They told me that they could admit me, but my experience “behind those doors” would most likely make me worse, not to mention the possibility of being guinea pigged with more meds.  They sent me home which was a blessing looking back, and I’m continuing my journey one day at a time.     

 

Fast forward to today…I am happy to report that I have experienced an uptick in my recovery.  I am now sleeping 4–5 hrs. a night and having less panic/anxiety.  What seems to be helping:

 

  • Morning adrenal cocktail highlighted above

  • A tea mixture of 6 or so herbs from an herbalist, 18–32 oz. every day

  • 1 tsp of Natural Calm Magnesium at night

  • 2.5 mg of melatonin before bed

 

Unfortunately every other supplement including omega 3 fish oil was not working and possibly making me worse.  Go figure. 

 

Derealization is still something I deal with every day, along with dizziness, head pressure, and rubbery legs.  All in all, I don’t feel like “me” but I keep reminded myself that it’s going to take time.  I just got over a bad cold which seemed to exacerbate my withdrawal.  I’m hoping these symptoms abate over time, especially the derealization which is the most crippling/scary (to me) of all my symptoms.

 

I’m still looking to connect people who have had a similar journey (20 yrs on an SSRI with a short taper) because I feel very alone.  What were your symptoms?  Are you better? Can this be done?  How long did it take?       

 

Thanks again.  Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas and happy healthy New Year.  WE WILL GET THERE!!!     

21 years of daily SSRI use in total...

Paxil                                                                                                                                                 1995-1998

Zoloft (50 mg)                                                                                                                                 1998-2002

Lexapro (10 mg)                                                                                                                              2002-2015    (**August 2015, Lexapro “stopped working" after near death of my 1.5 yr. old son**)

Lexapro (15/20 mg) - increasing dose only made SEs worse                                                     Nov 2015 - Mar 2016

Zoloft (25/50 mg) - made derealization worse                                                                            Mar 2016 - Jul 2016

Celexa (20 mg) - made symptoms worse                                                                                    Oct 2016 - Jan 2017

Remeron (7.5 mg) - helped me eat and sleep for 4 nights, then went bad                               Jan 2018 (stopped after 2 weeks)

Lamictal (5.0 mg) - horrific withdrawal                                                                                        Jan 2018 - Oct 2020

TODAY - 100% DRUG FREE 

(Trialed Prozac, Effexor, Wellbutrin, Cymbalta - severe reaction, couldn't tolerate longer than a few days)

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On ‎11‎/‎30‎/‎2017 at 2:29 AM, Toulouse said:

Have you tried meditation? It really helped me battle thru my worst WD symptom, severe anxiety. I was on Paxil for 14 yrs. I am off of it almost 2.5 years now.  Things slowly improved for me and I feel much like my old self in many ways. I still have anxiety, which is manageable but annoying.  I always go back to my mindfulness meditation to help me calm things down.  

 

I stayed yer away from supplements because they seemed to have a paradoxical effect on me.  I cut alcohol and caffeine and ate a much healthier diet.  I had issues with insomnia too, and still I will get an insomnia wave but that’s overall improved with time.

 

Hang in there. I know it’s tough. I was there for many months. 

That’s awesome!  So happy that you’re improving.  I tried meditation but my mind races too much, I can’t seem to get in the zone no matter how hard I try.  A lot of people have recommended yoga and I’m going to give it a try in the new year. 

21 years of daily SSRI use in total...

Paxil                                                                                                                                                 1995-1998

Zoloft (50 mg)                                                                                                                                 1998-2002

Lexapro (10 mg)                                                                                                                              2002-2015    (**August 2015, Lexapro “stopped working" after near death of my 1.5 yr. old son**)

Lexapro (15/20 mg) - increasing dose only made SEs worse                                                     Nov 2015 - Mar 2016

Zoloft (25/50 mg) - made derealization worse                                                                            Mar 2016 - Jul 2016

Celexa (20 mg) - made symptoms worse                                                                                    Oct 2016 - Jan 2017

Remeron (7.5 mg) - helped me eat and sleep for 4 nights, then went bad                               Jan 2018 (stopped after 2 weeks)

Lamictal (5.0 mg) - horrific withdrawal                                                                                        Jan 2018 - Oct 2020

TODAY - 100% DRUG FREE 

(Trialed Prozac, Effexor, Wellbutrin, Cymbalta - severe reaction, couldn't tolerate longer than a few days)

Link to comment
On ‎11‎/‎29‎/‎2017 at 12:29 PM, waves12 said:

Hi Rob

 

I am 17 months off cold turkey and was on antidepressants for just over 20 years.  I have struggled very badly with so much emotional pain that I felt like throwing in the towel many times.

 

But if I did it would have meant trying out the meds again and I just don't want to.  Felt like jumping too, many times!!  My only two alternatives available and the last one would not be good and not necessary.

 

I have had a rough ride for a couple of months now but prior to that I was starting to feel better, not amazing but better.

 

Had many physical symptoms but they have mostly gone now so this is progress. I feel that the emotional unease is at times torture, but eases on and off.

 

At 11 months out I felt I was well on my way to recovery as my sleep had got better but I ran into waves time and time again, infact I have not had many windows at all but the ones I did get spurred me on enough to carry on.

 

My belief is that I will recover and patience has to be tried and tried until I sometimes feel insane with it all.

 

It is for sure a gruelling journey and you need balls of steel as they say, we all have that on here or wouldn't be bothering to search for solution.

 

Nobody at times could reassure me that I would be ok, I just had to trust the process, afterall the only way is to go through this, as difficult as it can be.

 

Hope you can relax a little and enjoy rest of day and evening.

Thank you for this note Waves.  So happy to hear you have experienced improvement.  Windows = hope and they are very important.  My windows are short lived but they show progress nonetheless.  I too feel insane or like I am going crazy…as if I’m going to come unglued at any minute.  I think that’s anxiety talking to us.  Any windows these days?  Throwing in the towel means that the drugs have won, and that isn’t an option.  You are strong and I’m walking next to you.      

21 years of daily SSRI use in total...

Paxil                                                                                                                                                 1995-1998

Zoloft (50 mg)                                                                                                                                 1998-2002

Lexapro (10 mg)                                                                                                                              2002-2015    (**August 2015, Lexapro “stopped working" after near death of my 1.5 yr. old son**)

Lexapro (15/20 mg) - increasing dose only made SEs worse                                                     Nov 2015 - Mar 2016

Zoloft (25/50 mg) - made derealization worse                                                                            Mar 2016 - Jul 2016

Celexa (20 mg) - made symptoms worse                                                                                    Oct 2016 - Jan 2017

Remeron (7.5 mg) - helped me eat and sleep for 4 nights, then went bad                               Jan 2018 (stopped after 2 weeks)

Lamictal (5.0 mg) - horrific withdrawal                                                                                        Jan 2018 - Oct 2020

TODAY - 100% DRUG FREE 

(Trialed Prozac, Effexor, Wellbutrin, Cymbalta - severe reaction, couldn't tolerate longer than a few days)

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2 hours ago, robcbar1 said:

That’s awesome!  So happy that you’re improving.  I tried meditation but my mind races too much, I can’t seem to get in the zone no matter how hard I try.  A lot of people have recommended yoga and I’m going to give it a try in the new year. 

 

Happy to hear you're feeling a bit better.  My anxiety really got amped up the last couple of weeks.    As for meditation, if I can offer advice. Start slow. 2 minutes, 5 minutes. and so on, you have to build mental stamina, and it's natural for your mind to keep drifting, especially starting.  Download an app called 'calm'.   They have guided meditations for anxiety (and stress and others, you just pick your issue).  They start with a 7 minute calming anxiety one. I used that the other day and it helped me a bit.   I try to do 20 minutes 2 x a day or 30 minutes once a day nowadays. If you do it everyday you can look at it as your daily medication.  I'm not trying to push it on you, but it's really worth investigating how it helps calm your mind and brain activity.     Good luck and stay steady.   

Been on Paxil 14 years. 40mg for the bulk of those.

20mg in 2014

10mg March of 2015 - then tapered to 5mg

Then to 2.5 to 1.5 - to 1mg, from Mar-August.

As of August 23 2015, I am flying without a net.  Paxil free!

WD symptoms since tapering mid- 2015:

Short temper, hostile. Brain zaps. Bruxism. Wild vivid dreams  Hives Food intolerance Lump in throat, . Joint pain. Knees, elbows.  Pain in feet. Numbness in hands. Shaking, like I'm cold. Trembling. Tremors, muscle twitches all over. Facial tics. Eye, lips. Head.  Floaters in my eyes. Severe Insomnia (between months 4-5)  then returned from March-October 2016. I'm sleeping better now. Dreams have returned to normal (month 7) High levels of anxiety when around large crowds or in large rooms. Intestinal spasms, heartburn.  Dizzy spells.  Panic/Anxiety Attacks suddenly developed months 8 out.  4 years out, 98% feeling back to normal.  (October 9 2019)

 

 

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

I wish I could say I’m still doing well but I’m not (which is an understatement).  The stress and stimulation holidays was too much and left me shell shocked.  I couldn’t eat or sleep, and the anxiety/panic led to several akathesia-type episodes.  I landed in the hospital on New Year’s Eve, desperate and somewhat suicidal.  Since I wasn’t sick enough to be admitted to the psych ward, they sent me home.  So my wife and I researched facilities that may be able to help treat my severe withdrawal. Fast forward a few weeks, and I’m currently on day 10 of a two-week residential program in Boston. Many of the docs I have met with having acknowledged protracted withdrawal which is surprising, but the strategy on how to treat the symptoms leads them to prescribe more meds.  In desperation, I agreed to trial lamictal to quell my nervous system and a small dose of remeron to sleep.  The idea of being on meds again scares me but I don’t see another option at this point.  The remeron has allowed me to sleep ~6 hrs/night and eat again (I’ve lost 50 lbs in 2 yrs of WD).  Not sure if the Lamictal is helping at all.  If  anyone has any insight on this  strategy or would just like to provide words of encouragement, I’d really appreciate it.  I’m praying every day that I at least stabilize so I can function.  

21 years of daily SSRI use in total...

Paxil                                                                                                                                                 1995-1998

Zoloft (50 mg)                                                                                                                                 1998-2002

Lexapro (10 mg)                                                                                                                              2002-2015    (**August 2015, Lexapro “stopped working" after near death of my 1.5 yr. old son**)

Lexapro (15/20 mg) - increasing dose only made SEs worse                                                     Nov 2015 - Mar 2016

Zoloft (25/50 mg) - made derealization worse                                                                            Mar 2016 - Jul 2016

Celexa (20 mg) - made symptoms worse                                                                                    Oct 2016 - Jan 2017

Remeron (7.5 mg) - helped me eat and sleep for 4 nights, then went bad                               Jan 2018 (stopped after 2 weeks)

Lamictal (5.0 mg) - horrific withdrawal                                                                                        Jan 2018 - Oct 2020

TODAY - 100% DRUG FREE 

(Trialed Prozac, Effexor, Wellbutrin, Cymbalta - severe reaction, couldn't tolerate longer than a few days)

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Here is SA's topic: lamictal-lamotrigine-to-calm-post-discontinuation-withdrawal-symptoms

 

From Post #1 in this topicone-theory-of-antidepressant-withdrawal-syndrome:

 

 

"Cautionary note: Lamotrigine may not be a universal treatment for withdrawal syndrome. If you want to try it, make sure you consult a doctor who is very familiar with using it and start with very small doses -- .5mg to begin, slowly titrate up to 5mg or more; stay at the lowest effective dose. Nausea and headaches are signs of too high a dose. (2mg tablets are available by request from GlaxoSmithKline; 5mg tablets are available by prescription; lamotrigine can be made into a liquid by a compounding pharmacy.) In too large a dose, lamotrigine, like everything else, can make your symptoms worse.]"

 

Please DO NOT TAG me - thank you

PLEASE NOTE:  I am not a medical professional.  I provide information and make suggestions. 

  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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Any Remeron experts out there?  I've been taking 7.5mg to help me sleep and it's gone paradoxical (no surprise).  I want off ASAP but not sure if I need to taper as I've been taking it for 13 days.  Any insight is much appreciated.  Thanks. 

21 years of daily SSRI use in total...

Paxil                                                                                                                                                 1995-1998

Zoloft (50 mg)                                                                                                                                 1998-2002

Lexapro (10 mg)                                                                                                                              2002-2015    (**August 2015, Lexapro “stopped working" after near death of my 1.5 yr. old son**)

Lexapro (15/20 mg) - increasing dose only made SEs worse                                                     Nov 2015 - Mar 2016

Zoloft (25/50 mg) - made derealization worse                                                                            Mar 2016 - Jul 2016

Celexa (20 mg) - made symptoms worse                                                                                    Oct 2016 - Jan 2017

Remeron (7.5 mg) - helped me eat and sleep for 4 nights, then went bad                               Jan 2018 (stopped after 2 weeks)

Lamictal (5.0 mg) - horrific withdrawal                                                                                        Jan 2018 - Oct 2020

TODAY - 100% DRUG FREE 

(Trialed Prozac, Effexor, Wellbutrin, Cymbalta - severe reaction, couldn't tolerate longer than a few days)

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Any Remeron experts out there?  I've been taking 7.5mg to help me sleep and it's gone paradoxical (no surprise).  I want off ASAP but not sure if I need to taper as I've been taking it for 13 days.  Any insight is much appreciated.  Thanks. 

21 years of daily SSRI use in total...

Paxil                                                                                                                                                 1995-1998

Zoloft (50 mg)                                                                                                                                 1998-2002

Lexapro (10 mg)                                                                                                                              2002-2015    (**August 2015, Lexapro “stopped working" after near death of my 1.5 yr. old son**)

Lexapro (15/20 mg) - increasing dose only made SEs worse                                                     Nov 2015 - Mar 2016

Zoloft (25/50 mg) - made derealization worse                                                                            Mar 2016 - Jul 2016

Celexa (20 mg) - made symptoms worse                                                                                    Oct 2016 - Jan 2017

Remeron (7.5 mg) - helped me eat and sleep for 4 nights, then went bad                               Jan 2018 (stopped after 2 weeks)

Lamictal (5.0 mg) - horrific withdrawal                                                                                        Jan 2018 - Oct 2020

TODAY - 100% DRUG FREE 

(Trialed Prozac, Effexor, Wellbutrin, Cymbalta - severe reaction, couldn't tolerate longer than a few days)

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What is Paradoxical?

  • Ativan Mid April 1999-to end of May 1999 ( COLD TURKEY and flushed them down the toilet) I went through hell for 3 months-I had no idea what was happening to me there was no information on the internet about this drug)
  • Zoloft 200mg 1999 to 2017
  • Wellbutrin 2015 6 months Started having exterme anxiety-quit taking switched back to Zoloft ( I have quit about 6 jobs from this time0  Klonopin .5-1.0 of and on for two months (tapered off in Dec-Jan)
  • 15 mg Remeron 2012-presnt
  • **Started tapering down Zoloft 12/?/17 12/09/17 down to 50mg; 12/12/17-12/14-17 Zoloft 100mg; 12/16/201712/19 -Zoloft 150mg; 12/20/17-01/06/18 Zoloft 200mg; 01/07/18-01//18/18 Zoloft 180mg
  • 01/18/18-present Zoloft 200mg
  • February 2018-Copaxone 40mg (3 times a week shots) (for Multiple Sclerosis)2/17/18 begin transition to liquid 200mg
  • magnesium, fish oil

 

 
   

 

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Paradoxical means the medication does the opposite of what it’s intended to do.  Ex. Xanax causing anxiety/panic instead of chilling you out.  

21 years of daily SSRI use in total...

Paxil                                                                                                                                                 1995-1998

Zoloft (50 mg)                                                                                                                                 1998-2002

Lexapro (10 mg)                                                                                                                              2002-2015    (**August 2015, Lexapro “stopped working" after near death of my 1.5 yr. old son**)

Lexapro (15/20 mg) - increasing dose only made SEs worse                                                     Nov 2015 - Mar 2016

Zoloft (25/50 mg) - made derealization worse                                                                            Mar 2016 - Jul 2016

Celexa (20 mg) - made symptoms worse                                                                                    Oct 2016 - Jan 2017

Remeron (7.5 mg) - helped me eat and sleep for 4 nights, then went bad                               Jan 2018 (stopped after 2 weeks)

Lamictal (5.0 mg) - horrific withdrawal                                                                                        Jan 2018 - Oct 2020

TODAY - 100% DRUG FREE 

(Trialed Prozac, Effexor, Wellbutrin, Cymbalta - severe reaction, couldn't tolerate longer than a few days)

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