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Francis: my story


Francis

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I have been looking around the internet for months, now... looking for information that strikes a chord with me. So, last week, when I was googling high morning cortisol and found this site, I was amazed. My story is shared by so many others! Im not alone!

I took Celexa for around 6 years, starting when I was in a high stress school setting, but having struggled with anxiety (stomach pain, frequent hidden crying, chest tightness) my entire life. I was never told that getting off of the medication would be difficult. While taking the medication, I was never told and doctors never believed that it zapped my motivation to be creative or even productive in general. I was so happy that my chronic stomach pain was gone while on the medication, but to what trade off?

I went back and forth from 20 mg to 30 mg to 40 mg and back again. Then, in late 2010, after having been on 10 mg for around 6 months, I decided to go down to 5 mg for around 3 weeks and then stop the medication. My Dr had no opinion on any of this. A few weeks later, I developed some panic- something that I hadnt had prior to the meds. I went back on the 10 mg until 8/2011 and then went down to 5 mg for around 3 weeks and then stopped completely. In 10/2011, I developed horrible sleep difficulty, getting under 2 hours a night. I had panic in the mornings, which was new and very scary. I started seeing a new therapist, psychiatrist and a naturopath. The naturopath explained about withdrawal. The psychiatrist doesnt seem to want to discuss the withdrawal, but right now, due to the extreme fear I felt surrounding the early morning panic, the lack of sleep, and frequent sobbing (afraid that I wouldnt be able to keep my job), I am back on 30 mg of celexa and on ambien. I am on a long list of supplements from the naturopath, including support for sleep/cortisol control and support for my GI system. My cortisol levels tested high in the middle of the night and VERY high around 6am (off the chart).

 

Im just so afraid that things wont get better, even though, rationally, I know that they already have in the last 2 months.

Im so angry that I was never told about the possible withdrawal difficulties and was left on the medication for so long with no discussion about a long term plan. Im also angry with myself for not having started work with a naturopath and behavioral therapist earlier. I feel like somehow, I should have known not to start the celexa in the first place.

 

Im very grateful that Ive gotten to read so many of your experiences on this site. While I have a very supportive family, they dont know exactly what Im going through.

 

Thank you!

2003-2010 up and down 10-40mg celexa for anxiety
2/2011 10mg
8/2011 5mg for 3 wks, then stopped completely.
middle of night waking after apx 1-2 hours of sleep (nightly), panic/jitteriness after waking
11/11 back on 30mg celexa, ambien/many supplements-insomnia/panic.
2/12 30mg celexa, many supplements (Magnesium eliminated morning tight chest/jitteriness). Off ambien!
7/12 20mg
8/12 15 mg(sleep improving,mood pos)
12/12 2.3 mg got liquid celexa!
1/13 2.1 mg
3/13 1.2 mg
4/13 down to .6 too quickly- cortisol spikes, middle of night waking, night sweats...
4/13 held at .6 for 3 weeks so far. Off most supplements as well. Withdrawal depression almost gone!

7/13 OFF OF CELEXA!!!

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Im also scared that I'll never get off the meds successfully... but after reading about the 10% method on here, I feel a little hope. My psychiatrist believes there is no problem going cold turkey, but I won't be doing that!

Francis

2003-2010 up and down 10-40mg celexa for anxiety
2/2011 10mg
8/2011 5mg for 3 wks, then stopped completely.
middle of night waking after apx 1-2 hours of sleep (nightly), panic/jitteriness after waking
11/11 back on 30mg celexa, ambien/many supplements-insomnia/panic.
2/12 30mg celexa, many supplements (Magnesium eliminated morning tight chest/jitteriness). Off ambien!
7/12 20mg
8/12 15 mg(sleep improving,mood pos)
12/12 2.3 mg got liquid celexa!
1/13 2.1 mg
3/13 1.2 mg
4/13 down to .6 too quickly- cortisol spikes, middle of night waking, night sweats...
4/13 held at .6 for 3 weeks so far. Off most supplements as well. Withdrawal depression almost gone!

7/13 OFF OF CELEXA!!!

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Welcome Francis,

 

I'm glad that you found your way here. I personally experienced many of the same symptoms when I tried to stop taking psychiatric medication and listened to my doctor, following his taper plan. He didn't have much of a tapering plan actually. I am with a different doctor today but I've learned most doctors are underinformed about the difficulties and risks of stopping these medications. It is a shame because there directions needlessly put patients at risk.

 

I am sorry to hear how tough things have been lately for you. I know that when the anxiety and fear started humming it could envelope me and it sometimes even seemed hopeless. I found the more I thought about it, the scarier it got and then I thought about it even more... It was a torture.

 

The good news is you'll be able to come off the medication if you choose and will almost surely recover and get back to 'you'. This make take some time, unfortunately, but you're not doomed at all.

 

How do you feel the supplements are working? What are you taking?

 

Again, welcome to the board Francis.

 

Alex

"Well my ship's been split to splinters and it's sinking fast
I'm drowning in the poison, got no future, got no past
But my heart is not weary, it's light and it's free
I've got nothing but affection for all those who sailed with me.

Everybody's moving, if they ain't already there
Everybody's got to move somewhere
Stick with me baby, stick with me anyhow
Things should start to get interesting right about now."

- Zimmerman

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  • Administrator

Welcome, Francis. When you decide you want to taper, feel free to ask questions. We're here for you.

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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I don't know much but my advice I think would be to go really slow. I thought I was but clearly not slow enough. I think that people are tempted to go too fast because they feel ok. My own personal theory is that yes you do have some symptoms as you go down, but often feel not too bad and I think this is caused by a temporary high of receptors becoming upblocked and you get flooded with serotonin etc. Also these drugs can act as painkillers and so you think the damage is repairing as you go down, because you can't feel it until you get to the lower doses, when you find in fact it has not been repairing fast enough. So go slow because as bad as you might feel, if you go too fast there will probably be worse to come.

 

I know everyone is individual and it affects people in different ways, but I wouldn't chance it if I had my time again.

Sept 2010 - Citalopram 1 day

Sept 2010 - Zopliclone for ten weeks (paranoia ended a couple of months after coming off this and sleep settled down again until the last couple of months)

Ocober 2010 - Cymbalta 30mg

November 2010 - Cymbalta 60mg

February 2011 - 60mg to 30 mg (lasted 10 days)reinstated 60mg

March 2011 - Took 2 60mg tablets on one evening in error - paralysis of face, back of head, shoulder, stabbing in right kidney, lost 30% of hearing)

March - June 2011 went down quickly 1mg a day until I got stuck at 25mg, went up to 27mg, because couldn't breath.

26th June - 26mg

3rd July - 25mg

17th July - 24mg

24th July - 23mg

7th Aug - began reducing by a bead every couple of days or so went well at first then hit a wall

24th October - now on 18.5mg. Since the kidney infection at start of September, have been in constant pain and anxiety, no let up. Given Ciprofloxacin.

8th Jan 2012 17.8mg (currently reducing 0.2mg a week)

8th Jan 2012 17.6mg last reduction was 6 days ago.

15th Jan 17.4mg

21st Jan 17.2mg

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Thanks so much for your support.

Right now Im taking phosphatidyl serine before bed, to help control my super high cortisol levels. Im also on a product called adrenal distress guard.

I had amino acid testing done and Im low in tyrosine and arginine, so am taking those as well. Not surprisingly, since tyrosine is a building block of dopamine and epinephrine, I just got some labs back saying that my dopamine and epinephrine levels were too low for the test to detect. That scared me.

 

Because none of this is ever tested before antidepressants are prescribed, I dont even know what is withdrawal and what is my body... and what is caused by the celexa. Im back on the celexa, but my panic in the mornings (tight/burning chest, racing thoughts, jittery organs) and middle of the night waking (and not falling back to sleep) have not stopped... is that common after trying, unsuccessfully, to get off of an antidepressant?

 

Ive only been back on the celexa for around 2 months now... I dont want to be on it, but Im just so scared of how Im feeling. Ive been in a low level of panic all day today, with a burning tight chest and on the verge of tears.

 

I got a sleep mask yesterday and i think it helped a little last night- I got that tip from the forum- thank you!

 

Do you all have any tips for dealing with tight/burning chest panic?

 

thanks y'all

Francis

2003-2010 up and down 10-40mg celexa for anxiety
2/2011 10mg
8/2011 5mg for 3 wks, then stopped completely.
middle of night waking after apx 1-2 hours of sleep (nightly), panic/jitteriness after waking
11/11 back on 30mg celexa, ambien/many supplements-insomnia/panic.
2/12 30mg celexa, many supplements (Magnesium eliminated morning tight chest/jitteriness). Off ambien!
7/12 20mg
8/12 15 mg(sleep improving,mood pos)
12/12 2.3 mg got liquid celexa!
1/13 2.1 mg
3/13 1.2 mg
4/13 down to .6 too quickly- cortisol spikes, middle of night waking, night sweats...
4/13 held at .6 for 3 weeks so far. Off most supplements as well. Withdrawal depression almost gone!

7/13 OFF OF CELEXA!!!

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Hi- I had yet another unpleasant appt with my psychiatrist. Nothing surprising there.

I went off of the celexa for 3 months and am now back on. The Dr believes that there is no way that my horrible panic (new symptom that came when I stopped the celexa over a few weeks) cant possibly be from withdrawal because I am back on the Celexa... and the panic is not going away.

From what Ive read here, the upheaval from withdrawal from ADs can persist even once going back on the meds, right?

I just want to make sure Im understanding correctly.

I do NOT want to be on medication, but am now wondering if I should stabilize before I start a slow taper.

Not sure what my next step should be.

Thanks for any words of advice.

Francis

2003-2010 up and down 10-40mg celexa for anxiety
2/2011 10mg
8/2011 5mg for 3 wks, then stopped completely.
middle of night waking after apx 1-2 hours of sleep (nightly), panic/jitteriness after waking
11/11 back on 30mg celexa, ambien/many supplements-insomnia/panic.
2/12 30mg celexa, many supplements (Magnesium eliminated morning tight chest/jitteriness). Off ambien!
7/12 20mg
8/12 15 mg(sleep improving,mood pos)
12/12 2.3 mg got liquid celexa!
1/13 2.1 mg
3/13 1.2 mg
4/13 down to .6 too quickly- cortisol spikes, middle of night waking, night sweats...
4/13 held at .6 for 3 weeks so far. Off most supplements as well. Withdrawal depression almost gone!

7/13 OFF OF CELEXA!!!

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  • Administrator

Francis, if you just went back on Celexa, I would give it a little while to see if it will resolve the withdrawal symptoms.

 

Did your symptoms lessen at all when you started taking it? If so, stay on it a couple of months to stabilize and then start a very slow taper.

 

True, sometimes reinstatement does NOT resolve withdrawal symptoms. Going back on the medication is more likely to work within a pretty short window of time. You were off Celexa in September, correct?

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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I went off the celexa in august and remained off of it for around 2.5 months.

Then went back on and upped from 10 to 20 to 30 mg. Ive been on the 30 mg for around 6 weeks.

I think my anxiety symptoms decreased some when i went back on the Celexa (less crying). I cant completely tell whats going on with the insomnia because Im also taking some ambien and am taking phos serine (and using a sleep mask). The morning panic is still strong (tight/burning chest).

This panic is so scary.

 

Are psychiatrists typically open to liquid celexa, or resistant? Sometimes I feel like I don't anticipate my psychiatrist's reaction well and then I get very disappointed/anxious.

Thanks,

Francis

2003-2010 up and down 10-40mg celexa for anxiety
2/2011 10mg
8/2011 5mg for 3 wks, then stopped completely.
middle of night waking after apx 1-2 hours of sleep (nightly), panic/jitteriness after waking
11/11 back on 30mg celexa, ambien/many supplements-insomnia/panic.
2/12 30mg celexa, many supplements (Magnesium eliminated morning tight chest/jitteriness). Off ambien!
7/12 20mg
8/12 15 mg(sleep improving,mood pos)
12/12 2.3 mg got liquid celexa!
1/13 2.1 mg
3/13 1.2 mg
4/13 down to .6 too quickly- cortisol spikes, middle of night waking, night sweats...
4/13 held at .6 for 3 weeks so far. Off most supplements as well. Withdrawal depression almost gone!

7/13 OFF OF CELEXA!!!

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  • Administrator

Doctors know very little about tapering, so you may have to insist on liquid Celexa if that's what you want to do.

 

If your psychiatrist refuses to help, you may wish to work with another doctor who respects your wishes. Any MD can write the prescription.

 

I'm concerned that you still have the neuro-anxiety after 6 weeks of Celexa. How long have you been taking Ambien? Do you take it every night? What time of the night do you take it? What time are you waking up with anxiety?

 

Ambien has a half-life of 2-3 hours, I'm wondering if you are getting a rebound effect when it wears off.

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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You know, I had panic before I started taking the ambien, but you definitely have a point about the rebound in the morning. I take either 5mg, 10mg or an ambien CR (12.5 time release), depending on how Im feeling. I tend to take it around 10pm. I need to get out of bed at around 6:30 for work, but tend to wake up at around 4-4:30 and cant fall back to sleep. Sleep mask and some supplements have helped me fall back to sleep when I wake up prior to 4:30. The tight/burning chest tends to start around 5:30. Ive been taking the ambien for apx 8 weeks, with apx 4 nights w/o it over the course of those 8 weeks. (For around 3 weeks, I was taking an ambien CR PLUS 5mg of ambien each night... and that would get me 4-5 hours of sleep... I havent taken that much in apx 3 weeks).

 

Hearing that the half life of ambien is 2-3 hours is interesting because when I first took the 10mg ambien, it only kept me asleep for 2-3 hours.

 

I know that I should get off the ambien and being on it scares me... scared to be addicted to yet another medication. But my sleeplessness was getting so bad that I couldnt work (was having horrible rumination at night).

 

When you say that the persisting neuro-anxiety is concerning, do you mean with relation to the ambien or something else, more concerning about the Celexa?

 

Thanks so much for your help. Ive had a terrible day, with a lot of panic, crying on the floor. I feel so bad that my husband is going through this with me, but am very lucky that he is so supportive.

 

Francis

2003-2010 up and down 10-40mg celexa for anxiety
2/2011 10mg
8/2011 5mg for 3 wks, then stopped completely.
middle of night waking after apx 1-2 hours of sleep (nightly), panic/jitteriness after waking
11/11 back on 30mg celexa, ambien/many supplements-insomnia/panic.
2/12 30mg celexa, many supplements (Magnesium eliminated morning tight chest/jitteriness). Off ambien!
7/12 20mg
8/12 15 mg(sleep improving,mood pos)
12/12 2.3 mg got liquid celexa!
1/13 2.1 mg
3/13 1.2 mg
4/13 down to .6 too quickly- cortisol spikes, middle of night waking, night sweats...
4/13 held at .6 for 3 weeks so far. Off most supplements as well. Withdrawal depression almost gone!

7/13 OFF OF CELEXA!!!

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  • Administrator

I'm concerned that you reinstated Celexa but it didn't take away this panic symptom.

 

It could be your nervous system is hypersensitized and you are getting a paradoxical reaction to the Ambien (rebound when it wears off), the phosphatidylserine, or the adrenal supplement, or all of them.

 

As for adrenal issues in withdrawal, please read this http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1591-withdrawal-syndrome-vs-adrenal-fatigue/page__p__15032__hl__%2Badrenal+%2Bfatigue__fromsearch__1#entry15032

 

Is this the adrenal supplement you're taking?

 

Adreno Distress Guard 60 SG

http://www.mossnutrition.com/products/adrenodistressguard60sg/?listWidgetID=227

 

Each serving (2 softgels) contains:

 

Rhodiola (>3% rosavins + >1% salidroside) 300 mg

Relora® (Magnolia officianalis + Phellodendron amurense) 500 mg

Perilla Oil 800 mg

Medium Chain Triglycerides 250 mg

(MCTs from raw palm fruit)

Phospatidlycholine 90 mg

Beeswax 70 mg

Kosher Gelatin 500 mg

Water 20 mg

Turmeric powder 12 mg

Glycerine 12 mg

When do you take this?

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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That is it: I take it at around 4pm and then 9:30 pm.

 

I never had the panic symptom before I started the Celexa (or while I was previously on the Celexa). It started when I stopped the Celexa and didnt go away when i restarted it.

The morning panic started before I started the phos serine and the adrenal supplement (only started those a few days ago). Im trying to figure out if it has gotten worse over the last few days.

Thanks for giving me all of this to think about. Its very helpful.

 

Francis

2003-2010 up and down 10-40mg celexa for anxiety
2/2011 10mg
8/2011 5mg for 3 wks, then stopped completely.
middle of night waking after apx 1-2 hours of sleep (nightly), panic/jitteriness after waking
11/11 back on 30mg celexa, ambien/many supplements-insomnia/panic.
2/12 30mg celexa, many supplements (Magnesium eliminated morning tight chest/jitteriness). Off ambien!
7/12 20mg
8/12 15 mg(sleep improving,mood pos)
12/12 2.3 mg got liquid celexa!
1/13 2.1 mg
3/13 1.2 mg
4/13 down to .6 too quickly- cortisol spikes, middle of night waking, night sweats...
4/13 held at .6 for 3 weeks so far. Off most supplements as well. Withdrawal depression almost gone!

7/13 OFF OF CELEXA!!!

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Francis, I'm sorry you're having such a bad day. I'm not any good for advice but can definitely relate to all you're going through. I cried so pitifully one day that my dog whined pitifully with me. I also have had the waking between 2am and 4:30am. My GP gave me Ambien 10 mg. I refused to take it EVERY night so I tried it occasionally, hoping for an occasional good night. It didn't work for me at all. For me only time has seemed to help. Time for the WDs to subside somewhat. I even left caffeine off in afternoon and evenings. I don't know what's up with the 4-4:30 awakenings, but we are not alone. And it doesn't seem to matter how late we go to bed; therefore,I am trying to get there earlier. We must sleep to allow our body to heal. Hope this is somewhat helpful and I am praying for you. If you pray, please do so for me as well.

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Thanks so much for your support Tezza. It really does help to know Im not alone (although, of course, I wouldnt wish this on anyone). Ive totally cut out caffeine from my diet, as well as sugar, wheat and soy.

I take strength from your refusal to join the ambien bandwagon and am going to try to reduce my intake.

I started using a sleep mask this week and i think its helping me get better sleep.

2003-2010 up and down 10-40mg celexa for anxiety
2/2011 10mg
8/2011 5mg for 3 wks, then stopped completely.
middle of night waking after apx 1-2 hours of sleep (nightly), panic/jitteriness after waking
11/11 back on 30mg celexa, ambien/many supplements-insomnia/panic.
2/12 30mg celexa, many supplements (Magnesium eliminated morning tight chest/jitteriness). Off ambien!
7/12 20mg
8/12 15 mg(sleep improving,mood pos)
12/12 2.3 mg got liquid celexa!
1/13 2.1 mg
3/13 1.2 mg
4/13 down to .6 too quickly- cortisol spikes, middle of night waking, night sweats...
4/13 held at .6 for 3 weeks so far. Off most supplements as well. Withdrawal depression almost gone!

7/13 OFF OF CELEXA!!!

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  • Administrator

Francis, if I were you, I'd put the Adreno Distress Guard aside. You need to simplify your situation so you can figure out where the adverse effects are coming from.

 

When your system is sensitized by withdrawal, taking those mixed supplements is risky. If you have a bad reaction, you don't know which ingredient caused it.

 

If you want to experiment with any of those components, it's best to try them one at a time, and later when you have a better understanding of your symptoms.

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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Should I make getting off the ambien a priority?

Is there a protocol for doing that in a smart way?

Thanks,

Francis

2003-2010 up and down 10-40mg celexa for anxiety
2/2011 10mg
8/2011 5mg for 3 wks, then stopped completely.
middle of night waking after apx 1-2 hours of sleep (nightly), panic/jitteriness after waking
11/11 back on 30mg celexa, ambien/many supplements-insomnia/panic.
2/12 30mg celexa, many supplements (Magnesium eliminated morning tight chest/jitteriness). Off ambien!
7/12 20mg
8/12 15 mg(sleep improving,mood pos)
12/12 2.3 mg got liquid celexa!
1/13 2.1 mg
3/13 1.2 mg
4/13 down to .6 too quickly- cortisol spikes, middle of night waking, night sweats...
4/13 held at .6 for 3 weeks so far. Off most supplements as well. Withdrawal depression almost gone!

7/13 OFF OF CELEXA!!!

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  • Administrator

I don't know what to say.

 

It's hard to tell what's causing what.

 

If your system is hypersensitive, that panic you may feel in the morning may be rebound from the Ambien.

 

If the Ambien is enabling you to work, I don't know what the long-term consequences of taking it would be. You're only supposed to take 10mg per day for 2-6 weeks, see http://www.drugs.com/pro/ambien.html

 

If you stop the Ambien, you may get rebound insomnia from that. That would be on top of the possible withdrawal insomnia you're taking it for in the first place.

 

The only way would be to gradually reduce the Ambien and put up with sleeplessness for a while. You may want to take time off if this affects your ability to work.

 

The phosphatidylserine may also be contributing to a paradoxical reaction causing your alerting system to be activated, keeping you awake.

 

Perhaps you should put that aside first, let your system settle for a day or two, then reduce the Ambien slightly and see what happens.

 

I know not being able to sleep is a horrible thought. Many of us have gone through withdrawal insomnia for months, not being able to take any drugs for it because of hypersensitivity and paradoxical reactions.

 

I'm sorry this is so complicated and there are no clear answers. Doctors don't understand adverse reactions to psychiatric drugs, and they usually know next to nothing about withdrawal reactions.

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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I appreciate the support and wisdom so much. My pdoc doesnt seem to want to discuss any negative reactions Im having unless I want to increase dose or add more meds. THe ambien CR is 12.5 mg and when that didnt work, the pdoc said to add 5mg of regular ambien to it. I havent taken more than an Ambien CR (12.5mg) or a regular ambien (10mg) in a few weeks because I realized that the dr had me on too high a dosage. I discussed long term use with him and he didnt seem to think it mattered at all. I was so desperate from lack of sleep, that I was willing to believe him.

 

My sleep has gotten a bit better over the last few weeks, so Im hoping that reducing the ambien wont result in going back to 1-2 hrs of sleep a night, even if the reduction has other negative results (but I know there is no way of knowing what will happen).

Im going to reduce some of my supplements and am working with my naturopath on that right now- thank you for all the guidance.

2003-2010 up and down 10-40mg celexa for anxiety
2/2011 10mg
8/2011 5mg for 3 wks, then stopped completely.
middle of night waking after apx 1-2 hours of sleep (nightly), panic/jitteriness after waking
11/11 back on 30mg celexa, ambien/many supplements-insomnia/panic.
2/12 30mg celexa, many supplements (Magnesium eliminated morning tight chest/jitteriness). Off ambien!
7/12 20mg
8/12 15 mg(sleep improving,mood pos)
12/12 2.3 mg got liquid celexa!
1/13 2.1 mg
3/13 1.2 mg
4/13 down to .6 too quickly- cortisol spikes, middle of night waking, night sweats...
4/13 held at .6 for 3 weeks so far. Off most supplements as well. Withdrawal depression almost gone!

7/13 OFF OF CELEXA!!!

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  • Administrator

I believe you can just drop the phosphatidylserine, you've been taking it only a short time.

 

To very gradually sneak off Ambien, you will have to cut the tablets. This would eliminate the controlled-release characteristic of Ambien CR.

 

You may wish to cut the regular Ambien tab into quarters first and take only 3/4 of it for your first decrease.

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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Thank you. I have a pill cutter and have started cutting up the ambien (not CR).

I need to learn how to get out of bed when I wake up too early. Remaining in bed, trying to sleep definitely increases my anxiety/panic.

2003-2010 up and down 10-40mg celexa for anxiety
2/2011 10mg
8/2011 5mg for 3 wks, then stopped completely.
middle of night waking after apx 1-2 hours of sleep (nightly), panic/jitteriness after waking
11/11 back on 30mg celexa, ambien/many supplements-insomnia/panic.
2/12 30mg celexa, many supplements (Magnesium eliminated morning tight chest/jitteriness). Off ambien!
7/12 20mg
8/12 15 mg(sleep improving,mood pos)
12/12 2.3 mg got liquid celexa!
1/13 2.1 mg
3/13 1.2 mg
4/13 down to .6 too quickly- cortisol spikes, middle of night waking, night sweats...
4/13 held at .6 for 3 weeks so far. Off most supplements as well. Withdrawal depression almost gone!

7/13 OFF OF CELEXA!!!

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  • Administrator

Yes, you have to have a Zen attitude towards sleep. Anxiety definitely makes sleeplessness worse.

 

You might want to do mindful slow breathing meditation in those sleepless hours. Here's one of our topics on this http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/658-easing-your-way-into-meditation/page__p__6076__hl__%2Bmindful+%2Bmeditation__fromsearch__1#entry6076

 

Some people find the body scan meditation particularly effective for relaxing into sleep.

 

I try to be grateful for whatever the Sleep Fairy gives me.

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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  • Moderator Emeritus

I would just like to add that you seem to have been through a lot of medication changes in the past six months--that is, fairly drastic changes in dosages, up and down and up and down and off and up. All of these changes destabilize our neurochemistry. These drugs are not like aspirin, simply affecting us when they are in our bodies. They actually cause our brains to remodel themselves in an attempt to return to normal function.

 

These drugs cause powerful and drastic changes in our neurological chemistry, which our genes correctly interpret as dangerous. So things get changed--genes get turned off and others get turned on; proteins are manufactured, receptors are constructed and put into place; and all of this happens at every level with great complexity, because neurochemistry involves multiple feedback loops, so when any one thing changes, everything adjusts.

 

Also, Celexa has effects on glutamate and cortisol and other hormonal systems, which also struggle to regain balance and homeostasis when they are altered by the drug.

 

So all of these medication changes, every time you go up and then down, your brain and endocrine system struggle to turn genes on and off, to adjust things; if you go up and then down or down and then up, every time it's like crashing into a brick wall and having to turn and go the other direction.

 

So to me it does not seem odd at all that you are still experiencing neurological and endocrine symptoms at this point in time. I would expect things to still be quite destabilized. I would expect it to take a while--a while with no changes or disruptions at all--for your whole body to regain homeostasis.

 

I believe the best thing to do is stop any and all changes at this point, and avoid supplements as well for the time being. Do what you must to survive while you stabilize. Once you're stable you can then begin a controlled and slow taper program which will allow your physiology to adjust gradually to gradual, consistent changes in drug levels.

 

Given what you've already been though, however, you are likely to continue to be extremely sensitive to any changes for a while, so please be gentle and careful with yourself.

 

Oh, and: psychiatrists mostly don't seem to know much about neuroscience or even cell biology, as far as I can tell.

Started on Prozac and Xanax in 1992 for PTSD after an assault. One drug led to more, the usual story. Got sicker and sicker, but believed I needed the drugs for my "underlying disease". Long story...lost everything. Life savings, home, physical and mental health, relationships, friendships, ability to work, everything. Amitryptiline, Prozac, bupropion, buspirone, flurazepam, diazepam, alprazolam, Paxil, citalopram, lamotrigine, gabapentin...probably more I've forgotten. 

Started multidrug taper in Feb 2010.  Doing a very slow microtaper, down to low doses now and feeling SO much better, getting my old personality and my brain back! Able to work full time, have a full social life, and cope with stress better than ever. Not perfect, but much better. After 23 lost years. Big Pharma has a lot to answer for. And "medicine for profit" is just not a great idea.

 

Feb 15 2010:  300 mg Neurontin  200 Lamictal   10 Celexa      0.65 Xanax   and 5 mg Ambien 

Feb 10 2014:   62 Lamictal    1.1 Celexa         0.135 Xanax    1.8 Valium

Feb 10 2015:   50 Lamictal      0.875 Celexa    0.11 Xanax      1.5 Valium

Feb 15 2016:   47.5 Lamictal   0.75 Celexa      0.0875 Xanax    1.42 Valium    

2/12/20             12                       0.045               0.007                   1 

May 2021            7                       0.01                  0.0037                1

Feb 2022            6                      0!!!                     0.00167               0.98                2.5 mg Ambien

Oct 2022       4.5 mg Lamictal    (off Celexa, off Xanax)   0.95 Valium    Ambien, 1/4 to 1/2 of a 5 mg tablet 

 

I'm not a doctor. Any advice I give is just my civilian opinion.

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Rhi- do you think its a terrible idea to taper off the ambien now? Ive already started (only 2 days into it, but Im not feeling any worse for the wear so far... I know its still early).

I feel ridiculous for adding ambien to my issues, but I was so desperate when I was sleeping 1-2 hr a night that I believed the psychiatrist and didnt do enough of my own research on how to safely take the ambien. Taking it almost every day for around 8 weeks was a terrible idea, I realize that now.

 

I tend to be rather impatient and am trying to hold that at bay so I can get myself to a more stable/comfortable place. I know that changing everything quickly will actually result in a longer withdrawal (not to mention more damage).

 

I feel at peace with staying on the celexa for a while.

The ambien, however, I feel has become my enemy- probably because its come into my life fairly recently.

 

Alto- I do the 4-7-8 breathing when I wake up (and throughout the day to try to calm). I also started to learn the EFT technique a few days ago, but Im not sure thats helpful at all. I have a progressive relaxation cd and a visualization cd that I like. Thanks for the additional resources/relaxation techniques. I'll definitely take a look! (Im also trying to smile and laugh more... its amazing how much that improves mood immediately.)

 

Thanks!

2003-2010 up and down 10-40mg celexa for anxiety
2/2011 10mg
8/2011 5mg for 3 wks, then stopped completely.
middle of night waking after apx 1-2 hours of sleep (nightly), panic/jitteriness after waking
11/11 back on 30mg celexa, ambien/many supplements-insomnia/panic.
2/12 30mg celexa, many supplements (Magnesium eliminated morning tight chest/jitteriness). Off ambien!
7/12 20mg
8/12 15 mg(sleep improving,mood pos)
12/12 2.3 mg got liquid celexa!
1/13 2.1 mg
3/13 1.2 mg
4/13 down to .6 too quickly- cortisol spikes, middle of night waking, night sweats...
4/13 held at .6 for 3 weeks so far. Off most supplements as well. Withdrawal depression almost gone!

7/13 OFF OF CELEXA!!!

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  • 4 weeks later...

I have found magnesium to be almost like a miracle for me. I was having awful pain in my chest, burning in my arms, and tingling in my fingers every morning when I woke up. My psychiatrist called this "panic attacks" and encouraged me to take klonopin. I was scared of the klonopin, so only took it once. My naturopath realized that I never really spoke of panicked thoughts as a component of these "panic attacks." He suggested epsom salt foot soaks to get magnesium asap and I started taking magnesium threonate soon thereafter. I havent had any tight chest or burning arms since then. My mood is also significantly better. (still not sleeping great, but without the tight chest and burning, Ive been able to function a lot better.)

Pretty incredible.

I'm almost off of my ambien now and am feeling more hopeful now that I'll be able to get off of the ambien successfully at some point.

2003-2010 up and down 10-40mg celexa for anxiety
2/2011 10mg
8/2011 5mg for 3 wks, then stopped completely.
middle of night waking after apx 1-2 hours of sleep (nightly), panic/jitteriness after waking
11/11 back on 30mg celexa, ambien/many supplements-insomnia/panic.
2/12 30mg celexa, many supplements (Magnesium eliminated morning tight chest/jitteriness). Off ambien!
7/12 20mg
8/12 15 mg(sleep improving,mood pos)
12/12 2.3 mg got liquid celexa!
1/13 2.1 mg
3/13 1.2 mg
4/13 down to .6 too quickly- cortisol spikes, middle of night waking, night sweats...
4/13 held at .6 for 3 weeks so far. Off most supplements as well. Withdrawal depression almost gone!

7/13 OFF OF CELEXA!!!

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  • Administrator

Thanks for that update, Francis.

 

Yes, sometimes a simple thing like a little magnesium can ease symptoms.

 

Good to hear you're feeling more optimistic, too.

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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  • 10 months later...

Wow- its been over a year and Im still going through this battle with Celexa. I somehow got down to 2.5 mg with only minor bumps. I then went from 2.5 to 0 in Nov/December and that was a big mistake. My sleep dropped off again and the weepiness/depression, tight chest and lask of hope came back in full force. Well, thats not really the case- it was no where as bad as Oct-Dec 2011... and I HAVE to remember that. Overall, I AM doing better. Its just so difficult to be doing SO MUCH better and then have a set back. Well, I found a psychiatrist who believes in withdrawal and i finally got the liquid celexa. I am down to 2mg and I have my good and bad days (good days typically follow 6+ hrs of sleep). I will hold on the 2 mg for a few weeks before even thinking of reducing.

I had a ton of labs done and they dont look great.

Its maddening that on top of everything else, SSRIs damage the liver. Ugh.

 

Its so difficult to continue to have the intense emotions that are connected to nothing. To weep for no reason. To feel scared for no reason...

My chest tightens and I feel such deep sorrow.

I feel incredibly lucky to have a few health professionals who are on the same page as me now and I need to continuously remind myself that I AM improving... its not linear and I have my ups and downs... but Im certainly doing better than 1.5 hrs of sleep a night and hours of crying a day, with restless legs and desire to bang my head. Maybe this will finally teach me some patience!

2003-2010 up and down 10-40mg celexa for anxiety
2/2011 10mg
8/2011 5mg for 3 wks, then stopped completely.
middle of night waking after apx 1-2 hours of sleep (nightly), panic/jitteriness after waking
11/11 back on 30mg celexa, ambien/many supplements-insomnia/panic.
2/12 30mg celexa, many supplements (Magnesium eliminated morning tight chest/jitteriness). Off ambien!
7/12 20mg
8/12 15 mg(sleep improving,mood pos)
12/12 2.3 mg got liquid celexa!
1/13 2.1 mg
3/13 1.2 mg
4/13 down to .6 too quickly- cortisol spikes, middle of night waking, night sweats...
4/13 held at .6 for 3 weeks so far. Off most supplements as well. Withdrawal depression almost gone!

7/13 OFF OF CELEXA!!!

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Francis

 

From an outsiders perspective you have done a good job with your withdrawal and getting together some useful drs

 

My withdrawal has taught me patience, a resistant struggling kind of patience rather that a calm patient kind of patience (if that makes sense) but it's as good as its going to get

 

Best of luck from here

 

Dalsaan

Please note - I am not a medical practitioner and I do not give medical advice. I offer an opinion based on my own experiences, reading and discussion with others.On Effexor for 2 months at the start of 2005. Had extreme insomnia as an adverse reaction. Changed to mirtazapine. Have been trying to get off since mid 2008 with numerous failures including CTs and slow (but not slow enough tapers)Have slow tapered at 10 per cent or less for years. I have liquid mirtazapine made at a compounding chemist.

Was on 1.6 ml as at 19 March 2014.

Dropped to 1.5 ml 7 June 2014. Dropped to 1.4 in about September.

Dropped to 1.3 on 20 December 2014. Dropped to 1.2 in mid Jan 2015.

Dropped to 1 ml in late Feb 2015. I think my old medication had run out of puff so I tried 1ml when I got the new stuff and it seems to be going ok. Sleep has been good over the last week (as of 13/3/15).

Dropped to 1/2 ml 14/11/15 Fatigue still there as are memory and cognition problems. Sleep is patchy but liveable compared to what it has been in the past.

 

DRUG FREE - as at 1st May 2017

 

>My intro post is here - http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/2250-dalsaan

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Francis

I know, it's hard to "see" progress isn't it when you feel bogged down in horrible symptoms, but you are on the right track and with time and patience you will get all the way off. I find it hard to see the wood for the trees sometimes and have to remind myself how far I have actually come, and yes definately don't make any more reductions from the 2mg until you feel really on the level.

strawberry

*** Please note this is not medical advice,discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner***





http://prozacwithdrawal.blogspot.com/
Original drug was sertraline/Zoloft, switched to Prozac in 2007.
Tapering from 5mls liquid prozac since Feb 2008, got down to 0.85ml 23/09/2012, reinstated back to 1ml(4mg) 07/11/2012, didn't appear to work, upped to 1.05ml 17/11/2012, back down to 1ml 12/12/2012 didn't work, up to 1.30ml 16/3/2013 didn't work, bumped up to 2ml (8mg) 4/4/2013 didn't work, in July 2013 I reinstated Sertraline (Zoloft) 50mg, feeling better now. 

A few months down the line I switched to 5ml liquid Prozac and tapered down to a compromise dose of 3ml liquid Prozac and have stayed there ever since, no withdrawals and no emotional blunting/loss of libido.

 

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  • Administrator

Francis -- if you can recommend that doctor, please add his or her contact information to our list http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/988-recommended-doctors-therapists-or-clinics/ , or send me the info in a personal message.

 

This might help a lot of people go off drugs more safely!

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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  • 2 months later...

Ive been somewhat wary about actually recommending my new dr. While she believes in withdrawal, Im not sure she is attentive enough to the actual withdrawal (assuming most of my symptoms are due to preexisting issues and not the withdrawal). So, while Im improving and I think she is helping, it is not for a lack of fight from my end.

I had to fight pretty hard to end a discussion of me starting thyroid meds... I just dont think its the right time and I also dont agree that my labs showed hypothyroid.

 

On a different note, I can say that getting the liquid celexa has been such a blessing. I highly recommend it and a syringe (I have a bunch of syringes left over from giving various pets medications). I have been able to reduce my celexa by .1-.2mg very easily and have gotten down from 2.5mg to 1.0 mg slowly without any noticeable side effects. Going from 2.5 to 0mg was awful, so this is really exciting.

I learned about the liquid celexa on this site, so thank you very much!

 

Ive been feeling a lot better... just dealing with the awful insomnia and infrequent jittery mornings. Tonight Im going to try taurine along with my magnesium glycinate. Glycine helped with sleep for a few days but then stopped helping (at least I got 4 hours of more restful sleep!)

 

One issue that I have noticed is that melatonin gives me horrible morning diarrhea... but honestly, sometimes I'll put up with the diarrhea for the sleep help!

 

17 months into this quest to be free of celexa and withdrawal. Its frustrating, but I definitely can see improvement and am so excited to be so close to celexa free!!!

2003-2010 up and down 10-40mg celexa for anxiety
2/2011 10mg
8/2011 5mg for 3 wks, then stopped completely.
middle of night waking after apx 1-2 hours of sleep (nightly), panic/jitteriness after waking
11/11 back on 30mg celexa, ambien/many supplements-insomnia/panic.
2/12 30mg celexa, many supplements (Magnesium eliminated morning tight chest/jitteriness). Off ambien!
7/12 20mg
8/12 15 mg(sleep improving,mood pos)
12/12 2.3 mg got liquid celexa!
1/13 2.1 mg
3/13 1.2 mg
4/13 down to .6 too quickly- cortisol spikes, middle of night waking, night sweats...
4/13 held at .6 for 3 weeks so far. Off most supplements as well. Withdrawal depression almost gone!

7/13 OFF OF CELEXA!!!

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  • Administrator

Did you go off Ambien?

 

You may wish to take less melatonin. Even .25mg can be effective.

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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Francis:

Just to second Alto Strata's comment that you might wish to reduce the amount of melatonin. You probably know that Melatonin converts (actually reconverts) to Serotonin. Serotonin promotes smooth muscle activity and hello diarrhea.

Regards,

Ed

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Francis you are an inspiration..To stay so strong gives me hope.I am struggling with Celexa. I don't know how I missed your story. You made a few good sized drops in dose and persevered. I have not done so well. My Doc believes aspartame has hampered my attempts at WD. Now I taper diet soda. I think a little to quickly. I see you found magnesium helpful? I've not tried that yet.

C/T Celexa and Trazadone on Jan.29th 2014
Prescribed 1mg of Klonopin every 6 hours on Jan.29th
Began tapering Klonopin April 18th..stretching time between doses...at first one hour for 2 weeks then a half hour for app.10 days then another half hour 10days later.
Presently at .25 three times a day..6 2 and 10pm. Trying to stabilize.
Also still taking gabapentin 300mgs 2xs a day..

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Ive been off of ambien since 2/12. However, I was so desperate today, that I took a 10mg ambien (first on in a year) and it got me all of 1.5 hrs of sleep. Not enough to be tempting in the future.

 

Flower- Magnesium helped me greatly with a few of my worst withdrawal side effects- the jittery mornings, shooting pains down my arms, muscle cramping. All of that is now clearly a need for magnesium (magnesium being flushed out of the system in times of stress because the body doesnt want to be relaxed)... but at the time, my Pdoc (who I no longer see)decided those symptoms were signs of panic attacks and wanted me on klonopin... thank goodness I didnt go that route. In the beginning, I went trough a huge shift in my diet, cutting out sugar, dairy, wheat, soy, peanuts... etc and eat mostly organic. Im not sure if it has helped with the withdrawal, but I am at a much healthier weight and feel more in control of my health via the food choices Im making. At least thats something I can control!

 

Good point about the melatonin. I went down to 1.5 mg of the melatonin and will try to cut that in half again and see how that works. I love falling asleep but I also love having normal bowel movements!

 

Right now, unfortunately Im feeling really down/hopeless- just one of those days. Had horrible sleep the last few nights. Was trying to stay positive but woke up so tired, both physically and mentally... and my insides were so shaky (even after an epsom salt bath) that I had to stay home from work. Staying home from work always makes me feel like such a complete failure and I just get more depressed. I was sick for around 2 weeks, just now feeling better from it... and with the lack of sleep, Im finding it hard to break out of the fatigue caused by illness and insomnia. We are also having a bunch of repairs done to our apartment and the mess is driving in crazy- Im no neat freak, but having all of my bedroom furniture and kitchen stuff in the livingroom isnt relaxing at all.

 

Im really hoping that the spring is my friend and I sleep better with the better light. Ive been trying light therapy at night, to move my circadian rhythm back a bit (I get tired too early and wake up at 1 and 3am).

 

This really is a marathon and I am TIRED.

Sometimes its hard to imagine going on like this, with no real end in sight. I know a lot of people have it worse than me... maybe Im a big baby. Im incredibly grateful for my supportive husband who has been picking up my slack and who reminds me that this is temporary. I am grateful to my naturopath who also is incredibly supportive and patient and also strongly reminds me that this is temporary an that I am doing so much better then in the beginning... that I have ups and down, but am moving up overall.

2003-2010 up and down 10-40mg celexa for anxiety
2/2011 10mg
8/2011 5mg for 3 wks, then stopped completely.
middle of night waking after apx 1-2 hours of sleep (nightly), panic/jitteriness after waking
11/11 back on 30mg celexa, ambien/many supplements-insomnia/panic.
2/12 30mg celexa, many supplements (Magnesium eliminated morning tight chest/jitteriness). Off ambien!
7/12 20mg
8/12 15 mg(sleep improving,mood pos)
12/12 2.3 mg got liquid celexa!
1/13 2.1 mg
3/13 1.2 mg
4/13 down to .6 too quickly- cortisol spikes, middle of night waking, night sweats...
4/13 held at .6 for 3 weeks so far. Off most supplements as well. Withdrawal depression almost gone!

7/13 OFF OF CELEXA!!!

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I just wanted to mention that I recently found out that I am homogygous for the MTHFR A1298c gene mutation. Im on methylfolate for this. Is there any link between this mutation and SSRI withdrawal? I recognize that my initial anxiety ma be related to the mutation... but from what I have read, not a whole lot is known about this MTHFR mutation (seems the C677 one is more understood... although that seems lacking as well... ok, ok... most medical knowledge is lacking).

 

Just wondering what, other than methylfolate, others have done to address this gene mutation. Ive read a few different recommendations online but nothing that clear. Im already taking biopterin (BH4) and I think that that is something that might help with the gene mutation as well (this is my current understanding: BH4 helps get rid of ammonia and is involved in the production of neurotransmitters... but BH4 is produced by the folate cycle which is impacted by the gene mutation).

 

I dont understand why some say that the A1298c version hs more to do with ammonia detox and the C677 version has more to do with folate methylation... since the 2 issues seems so intimately linked.

 

I have a lot to learn but Im not sure where to look. Ive read a ton online.

 

(Im also very deficient in omega 6 fatty acids, which seemed so odd to me.)

 

Thanks!

2003-2010 up and down 10-40mg celexa for anxiety
2/2011 10mg
8/2011 5mg for 3 wks, then stopped completely.
middle of night waking after apx 1-2 hours of sleep (nightly), panic/jitteriness after waking
11/11 back on 30mg celexa, ambien/many supplements-insomnia/panic.
2/12 30mg celexa, many supplements (Magnesium eliminated morning tight chest/jitteriness). Off ambien!
7/12 20mg
8/12 15 mg(sleep improving,mood pos)
12/12 2.3 mg got liquid celexa!
1/13 2.1 mg
3/13 1.2 mg
4/13 down to .6 too quickly- cortisol spikes, middle of night waking, night sweats...
4/13 held at .6 for 3 weeks so far. Off most supplements as well. Withdrawal depression almost gone!

7/13 OFF OF CELEXA!!!

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