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☼ Sunshine1234: Protracted withdrawal when ill?


Sunshine1234

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Hi Everyone,

 

I came to this site looking for a little validation and maybe a few answers. I was already ill with mold toxicity (unbeknownst to me at the time) when I got passed off to psychiatry and told that my anxiety was all in my head. Later I got a mold panel done and cortisol levels measured and found out that I had been poisoned by mold in my apartment and my cortisol levels had shot through the roof. So, physical cause that Kaiser did not wish to investigate even after I told them about the mold. They put me on Lexapro that made my symptoms worse (of course, raises cortisol even further), then nefazodone which was my old antidepressant (made me worse again), then mirtazapine. For about 5 weeks I was taking ativan daily to be able to function. The Kaiser psychiatrist told me to just quit the Ativan because I wasn't at risk for seizures. Then came 3 weeks of mirtazapine which made me irritable, depressed, and self destructive. I have never been like that in my life. I was told to just stop that as well. I have been off of everything for nearly 9 weeks. The last couple of weeks I was severely depressed but not anxious. This week I have been hit full force with a return of the anxiety. It doesn't feel natural at all. I'm wondering if since I was so sick to begin with I could still be having protracted withdrawal. I am away from the mold and every other time I have left the mold I have recovered within a week or two, minus this time after the drugs. I have had my serotonin levels checked recently by a functional medicine doctor and they are below the lowest value in the range. Before the drugs it was higher than the highest value. Am I STILL withdrawing after 2 months drug free? I feel awful and I'm terrified. Help! I have been reading that mirtazapine is one of the worst drugs to come off of. It still feels like mirt withdrawal even after all this time and only taking it for 3 weeks. Although on top of the ativan and other ADs maybe it really is that bad.

5 mg Lexapro 6/29/17 - 7/4/17

0.75 mg Ativan 8/1/17 - 9/7/17

50 mg Nefazodone 8/7/17 - 9/5/17

7.5 mg Mirtazapine 9/5/17 - 9/28/17

Not much but it caused a severe imbalance in an already ill body! Recovering slowly.

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  • ChessieCat changed the title to Sunshine1234: Protracted withdrawal when ill?
  • Moderator

Hello, Sunshine 1234, and welcome to SA.  I'm sorry you're having such difficult symptoms.  These withdrawal symptoms are a very common result of going off a drug too fast.  You have been on and off of five different psychiatric drugs in a short time.  The symptoms you are experiencing could be the result of withdrawal from any of these or a combination.  It appears from your post that you went off all these drugs cold-turkey (with no taper).   

 

This link will explain withdrawal syndrome so you better understand what you are going through.  It is quite common to be withdrawing two months after being drug-free.

 

What is Withdrawal Syndrome?

 

At Surviving Antidepressants, it is recommended that a person taper by no more than 10% of their current dose with at least a four week hold in-between decreases.  The 10% taper recommendation is a harm reduction approach to going off psychiatric drugs.  Some people may have to taper at a more conservative rate as they are sensitive to even the smallest drops.  Unfortunately, doctors know very little about discontinuing psychiatric drugs.  

 

Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

 

We ask all members to create a drug signature.  This'll enable the moderators to give informed advice.  Please follow this format:

Summarize your history in a signature - ALL drugs, doses, dates, and discontinuations & reinstatements, in the last 12-24 months particularly, especially the five drugs in your post.  Please be sure to put the start date, dosage and end date for each drug.

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

 

You might want to consider reinstating a very small dose of one of your drugs. After we receive your signature, we can advise you which drug to reinstate and what dosage. At this time, reinstatement of a very small dose of the original drug is the only known way to help alleviate withdrawal syndrome.  The only other alternative is to try and wait out the symptoms and manage as best you can until your central nervous system returns to homeostasis.  Unfortunately no one can give you an exact timeline as to when you will start feeling better and while some do recover relatively easily, for others it can take many months to many years.  

 

If you decide you want to reinstate, please let me know and I will consult with the other moderators as to what drug and what dosage to reinstate.  

 

Please do not reinstate without consulting with us.  Your brain has acclimated itself to some extent to being off the drugs and reinstatement of too large a dose can result in further destabilization.

 

Please be sure to complete your signature.  

 

This link explains reinstatement:

 

About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms ...

 

Edited by Gridley

Gridley Introduction

 

Lexapro 20 mg since 2004.  Begin Brassmonkey Slide Taper Jan. 2017.   

End 2017 year 1 of taper at 9.25mg 

End 2018 year 2 of taper at 4.1mg

End 2019 year 3 of taper at 1.0mg  

Oct. 30, 2020  Jump to zero from 0.025mg.  Current dose: 0.000mg

3 year, 10 month taper is 100% complete.

 

Ativan 1 mg to 1.875mg 1986-2020, two CT's and reinstatements

Nov. 2020, 7-week Ativan-Valium crossover to 18.75mg Valium

Feb. 2021, begin 10%/4 week taper.   

March 22, 2022: hold at 4.8mg and shift to Imipramine taper

Aug. 5, 2022: shift back to Valium taper.  

Current dose as of Sept. 22, 2022: 3.5mg

Taper is 81% complete.

 

Imipramine 75 mg daily since 1986.  Jan-Sept 2016 tapered to 16mg.  

Held until Aug 2021, tapered for 4 weeks to 14.4mg

March 22, 2022: Begin 10%/4 week taper.  Current dose as of Aug. 5: 9.5mg 

Aug. 5, 2022: hold at 9.5 and shift to Valium taper

Taper is 87% complete.  

  

Supplements: omega-3, vitamins C, E and D3, magnesium glycinate, probiotic, zinc, melatonin .3mg


I am not a medical professional and this is not medical advice but simply information based on my own experience, as well as other members who have survived these drugs.

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Hi Gridley and thanks for your response.

 

It is good to know that I am not losing my mind and that this can pass eventually. While I didn't take meds for very long, the switching and especially the mirtazapine, which was very strong for me left me severely imbalanced. I appreciate the support. Reinstating is not an option for me as it made me feel very very depressed. I also cannot handle dragging this out further than it's already gone. The prospect of having to do it all over again is just too much. I get windows of a day or two here and there so I figure I'll just stick it out. I would love to hear from anybody that can validate my experience as no one believes that I can be suffering this long from taking these meds for such a short time. 

 

Thanks all!

5 mg Lexapro 6/29/17 - 7/4/17

0.75 mg Ativan 8/1/17 - 9/7/17

50 mg Nefazodone 8/7/17 - 9/5/17

7.5 mg Mirtazapine 9/5/17 - 9/28/17

Not much but it caused a severe imbalance in an already ill body! Recovering slowly.

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Hey guys, I posted this in introduction but it was more of a general question so I'm reposting here. Just looking for anyone who can relate.

 

I came to this site looking for a little validation and maybe a few answers. I was already ill with mold toxicity (unbeknownst to me at the time) when I got passed off to psychiatry and told that my anxiety was all in my head. Later I got a mold panel done and cortisol levels measured and found out that I had been poisoned by mold in my apartment and my cortisol levels had shot through the roof. So, physical cause that Kaiser did not wish to investigate even after I told them about the mold. They put me on Lexapro that made my symptoms worse (of course, raises cortisol even further), then nefazodone which was my old antidepressant (made me worse again), then mirtazapine. For about 5 weeks I was taking ativan daily to be able to function. The Kaiser psychiatrist told me to just quit the Ativan because I wasn't at risk for seizures. Then came 3 weeks of mirtazapine which made me irritable, depressed, and self destructive. I have never been like that in my life. I was told to just stop that as well. I have been off of everything for nearly 9 weeks. The last couple of weeks I was severely depressed but not anxious. This week I have been hit full force with a return of the anxiety. It doesn't feel natural at all. I'm wondering if since I was so sick to begin with I could still be having protracted withdrawal. I am away from the mold and every other time I have left the mold I have recovered within a week or two, minus this time after the drugs. I have had my serotonin levels checked recently by a functional medicine doctor and they are below the lowest value in the range. Before the drugs it was higher than the highest value. Am I STILL withdrawing after 2 months drug free? I feel awful and I'm terrified. Help! I have been reading that mirtazapine is one of the worst drugs to come off of. It still feels like mirt withdrawal even after all this time and only taking it for 3 weeks. Although on top of the ativan and other ADs maybe it really is that bad.

5 mg Lexapro 6/29/17 - 7/4/17

0.75 mg Ativan 8/1/17 - 9/7/17

50 mg Nefazodone 8/7/17 - 9/5/17

7.5 mg Mirtazapine 9/5/17 - 9/28/17

Not much but it caused a severe imbalance in an already ill body! Recovering slowly.

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  • 1 month later...

I apologize to anyone out there who may be offended by this post. I know there are many of you out there who are recovering from years of antidepressant use and my heart goes out to you. Withdrawing from Mirtazapine and Ativan has been the worst experience of my life even though I took them very short term. If anyone out there has a similar horrific experience from just short term use let me know. I am still suffering waves of intense anxiety after windows of relative calm and am just worried. Much love.

5 mg Lexapro 6/29/17 - 7/4/17

0.75 mg Ativan 8/1/17 - 9/7/17

50 mg Nefazodone 8/7/17 - 9/5/17

7.5 mg Mirtazapine 9/5/17 - 9/28/17

Not much but it caused a severe imbalance in an already ill body! Recovering slowly.

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Yes. It’s withdrawal. 9 weeks is not a long time when it comes to this....Write your story on the introduction page and moderators will answer your questions 

200 Zoloft; 10 mg Zyprexa; 4 mg valium as of May 2021;  Valium taper: July 16: 3.5 valium; July 30: 3 mg (paused valium taper); Aug. 23: 2.5 mg
Zyprexa: July 26: 8.75 mg; Aug. 9: 7.5 mg; Aug. 30: 7.1 mg

-------
Dec 1, 2016. 10 mg zyprexa for 1.5 month. Started taper mid-Jan. 2017. Cut 1.25 mg every 2 weeks; smaller cuts 2.5 mg down. Stopped at .6 mg. May 7, 2017: zyprexa free. 
Zoloft: Dec1, 2016, 200 mg. Started taper: Jun12, 2017: 197.5 mg; Jun19,:195 mg; July 2:185mg; July 9,:180 mg; July16,: 175; July 23: 170; July 30: 165; Aug6: 160; Aug13: 155; Aug. 20: 150; Aug.27: 146 mg; Sept3: 145 mg; Sept10:143 mg; Sept17:140 mg....Nov5: 122 mg...Dec3:112.5 mg; Jan14, 2018: 95 mg...Jan28: 90 mg; Feb21:80 mg; Mar11: 75 mg; May2:70 mg; May15: 68 mg; May28: 65 mg; Jun9: 62 mg;Jun25: 60 mg:July22: 55 mg; Aug25: 45 mg. Aug28: 50 mg...Oct 28: 38 mg; Dec.4: 30 mg; Jan8,2019: 25mg; Feb6: 23.5 mg; Apr1:17.5mg; May1:1 mg; May 5: 18;  May 18:15mg; June 16:12.5mg; Sept 10:11 mg; Sept.16:10 mg; Oct. 1: 9mg; Nov. 27: 8mg; Dec.5: 7mg; Jan.1,2020, 6 mg; Feb1: 5 mg; May 1: 2.5 mg; Jn 1: 2 mg; Jy 1: 1.5 mg

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  • 1 year later...
  • Administrator

@Sunshine1234, how are you doing?

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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@Altostrata Hey there! I'm doing absolutely fantastic. That little fiasco with the mold and drug trials triggered a severe depressive episode that lasted a little over a year but I'm doing much much better now. Doing transcendental meditation got me functioning again and I got a job where I socialize quite a bit. With a little help from some brain re-wiring exercises I was back to normal in no time. Still experience ups and downs but that's just life. I just want everyone to know that it's possible to be happy without the use of antidepressants! Thanks for checking in!💕

5 mg Lexapro 6/29/17 - 7/4/17

0.75 mg Ativan 8/1/17 - 9/7/17

50 mg Nefazodone 8/7/17 - 9/5/17

7.5 mg Mirtazapine 9/5/17 - 9/28/17

Not much but it caused a severe imbalance in an already ill body! Recovering slowly.

Link to comment
  • Administrator

Because you're feeling better, I added our cheerful "here comes the sun" symbol ☼ to the title of your Intro topic, to show you're recovering.

 

It may be time for you to add your story to our Recovery Success Stories!

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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Hi Sunshine, mold toxicity is no joke, and it's such a shame you were passed off to psychiatry.  So glad to hear you are doing much better now!  Could you elaborate on the brain re-wiring exercises that helped you?

spring 2002 - summer 2008 - in chronological order: Effexor CT'd, Lexapro, possibly Luvox & Zoloft?, Prozac (brand name), Paxil, Geodon, and Prozac
summer 2009 - summer 2012 - Prozac (up to 80 mg but settled at 60 mg) and Wellbutrin (300 mg) - FT'd off both over a few months 
fall 2012 - fall 2016 - Prozac (60 mg) and Wellbutrin (300 mg) - also tried Anafranil close to the beginning of this period (unsure of dosage)
fall 2016 - fall 2017 - FT'd Wellbutrin to 0mg and Prozac to 10 mg (had FT'd both, reinstated at 300mg & 60mg, then FT'd again - very bad for my CNS)
fall 2017 - October 2018 - Prozac (10 mg) FT'd to switch to Anafranil
mid October 2018 - February 7th, 2019 - Abilify (2 mg to 5 mg) FT'd at 2.5 mg for 6 days due to psychiatric nurse practitioner's direction
late October 2018 - February 1st, 2019 - Anafranil (25 mg to 100 mg)
December 18th, 2018 - January 4th, 2019 - Luvox (25 mg) CT'd due to psychiatric nurse practitioner's direction
February 2nd - February 8th 2019 - Anafranil (50 mg) FT'd due to psychiatric nurse practitioner's direction
February 9th - February 15th, 2019 - Anafranil (25 mg) FT'd due to psychiatric nurse practitioner's direction

various supplements February 16th, 2019 to present - none have seemed to help or hurt 

July 24, 2019 - January 2020 - bio-idential bi-estrogen and progesterone creams, January - February 2020 - bio-identical progesterone pills

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