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MikeyB

MikeyB: getting through withdrawal related depression and anxiety

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MikeyB

Hey all, 

 

Looking for some advice and encouragement :(.

 

Just to give you some dates and background.

 

October-November 2016 - suffered sudden hearing loss that was treated with high doses of prednisone.  Caused me to have severe anxiety and panic attacks, which I'd never had before.  

November 2016 - Went to a psychiatrist on encouragement of my doctor since I was having so many side effects from the treatment from my hearing loss.  Psych told me to take 50mg Zoloft for 3-6 months.  Upon starting Zoloft, I started feeling really depressed, jittery, anxious, fatigued, etc.  Felt really terrible.  

January 2017 - Evened out on Zoloft and started feeling pretty good again.

June 2017 - Was told my treatment was over and was told to just stop taking Zoloft.  I was told just to quit cold turkey.

June-August 2017 - Became very depressed (but was still functional), sensitive, crying spells, obsessive thinking etc.  Things I never had before.  Didn't know that I was possibly experiencing withdrawal and that I hadn't tapered.

September 2017 - Doctor recommended I take 10mg Lexapro.  On day 1 of 5mg, all my depressive symptoms went away, but the drug made me feel very anxious.  Never went up to 10mg.  Stayed on 5 mg for 2 months and then took 2.5 mg for 3 weeks and then got off.

November 2017 - Stopped taking Lexapro entirely. 

 

Since then it's been a rough journey.  Sometimes feel very depressed, sometimes very anxious, and sometimes fine.  It makes me very angry because I didn't experience depression at all before I started taking the first anti-depressant.  I'm doing what I think I should be doing to manage and let things take their course.  I exercise, see friends, am working, etc.  But there are some days it's just really tough.  

 

I don't want to go back on another drug because I'm 100% convinced that these drugs are the cause of these issues to begin with and I don't want to be on this crazy train for years and years.  

 

I know I took substantially lower doses of these drugs than other folks, but I'm generally extremely sensitive to all forms of medication.  Is there anything anyone can recommend to help me get through this, so that I can help with my recovery?

 

Is there anything else to do besides "just dealing with it?"  Any supplements, herbal remedies, exercises, relaxation techniques anyone can recommend?

 

I'm currently taking vitamin d, magnesium, and tumeric.  Doing running, yoga, weighlifting, swimming.  And trying to take it easy.

 

Any love, support, and advice would be very much appreciated.

 

All the best,

 

Michael

 

Try

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Altostrata

Welcome, MikeyB.

 

Yes, you had withdrawal syndrome from Zoloft and taking another SSRI, Lexapro, made the withdrawal symptoms go away. However, 5mg Lexapro was too strong for you -- milligram for milligram, it's several times stronger than other SSRIs.

 

You might find relief from the withdrawal symptoms without the side effects by taking perhaps 1mg Lexapro. You'd stay on that for a while, then taper off later. Read

 

What is withdrawal syndrome?
 
About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms

 

Tips for tapering off Lexapro (escitalopram)

 

Otherwise, many people do better with fish oil and magnesium supplements, see
http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/36-king-of-supplements-omega-3-fatty-acids-fish-oil/

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1300-magnesium-natures-calcium-channel-blocker/

 

A lot of people find them helpful. Try a little bit of one at a time to see how it affects you.

 

You have to decide if your withdrawal syndrome is severe enough to take a little Lexapro, If you do not want to try reinstatement, you'll have to manage your symptoms, see

 

Non-drug techniques to cope with emotional symptoms

 

 

 

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MikeyB

Hey Altostrata,

 

I really appreciate your message!  So one of the things that has been extremely frustrating for me is that I've been in touch now with 3 psychiatrists this past year and everyone says the following:

 

The dose I was on Zoloft was so small (50mg) that it shouldn't have caused any withdrawal symptoms. When I first started having issues after getting off the Zoloft, my psych said to me, "I guess it's the original symptoms coming back."  When I told him that I never had any of these issues (depression, severe anxiety, being highly emotional, crying spells) before taking Zoloft, he said, "Well I guess you have a chemical imbalance and you need something now." 

 

I believed him and that's why I started taking the Lexapro.  When I started on the Lexapro of 5mg and I told my doctor that I felt instantly better within one day, he told me that it was entirely just a placebo and that there was no chance that the drug actually had any effect in that short amount of time.  

 

That was when I got curious and started to really question whether my psychiatrist knew anything at all (and wondering why I was paying him).  The 5mg of Lexapro cured any depression-related symptoms, but I did get one really bad side effect.  It caused me to feel hyper anxious and jittery.  It was very uncomfortable, which was why I was so desperate to taper off of it after 2 months.

 

When I went down to 2.5mg, I felt better than I had on the 5mg, but I was still suffering from anxiety and jitteriness that was directly caused by the drug.  It was like one day on 5mg I felt Jittery Level 8 and on 2.5 mg I felt Jittery level 4.  Still uncomfortable, but easier to deal with.

 

At this point, I consulted with my psychiatrist and a different psychiatrist that my friend recommended.  Both of them agreed that the Lexapro was a bad pill for me.  But they both said that being 2.5mg was so small that I was taking the equivalent of "a sugar pill with side effects."  They both told me just to stop cold turkey and see how I do.  

 

Now, about your suggestion of possibly taking 1mg of Lexapro, the thing is I don't know exactly how to do that.  I live overseas and Lexapro only comes in 5 and 10mg tablets.  I was already using a pill cutter to cut it into 2.5mg.  Every time I tried to cut it lower than that, it just get terribly inaccurate.  There is no liquid version of the stuff over here either.

 

Due to how bad I felt on the Lexapro, I felt that stopping altogether was all I could do (as these psychiatrists recommended) and just suffer through the consequences with the hopes that my brain and body will go back to equilibrium.

 

I don't mean to come off as ungrateful since I know there are so many people on this forum that obviously started taking anti-depressants due to experiencing severe depression.  But it just makes me really upset because I never had this before.  I only started feeling depressed when I started taking Zoloft.  I was never warned about any of the potential side effects or of any withdrawal related symptoms.  When I started experiencing them, my doctor poo pooed it and said "You'll be fine soon." And I was and then I was addicted.

 

Altostrata, if you have any tips on how I could theoretically do the 1mg thing based on the current conditions, I'd appreciate it.  Otherwise, based on what I've written above, can you guess how long it'll take me to really even out?

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Altostrata

Very few doctors, even psychiatrists, know anything about tapering or withdrawal syndrome or even adverse effects of psychiatric drugs.

 

Going on and off drugs and experiencing adverse effects sensitizes your nervous system to the effects of the drugs. We have many people here who have reinstated tiny doses and found relief.

 

If you read Tips for tapering off Lexapro (escitalopram) you will see instructions for how to make a liquid from it to take a small dose.

 

Please read the links we give you, they explain what we're suggesting to you.

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MikeyB

Thank you so much for this information, but I have a few follow up questions that I couldn't seem to understand from the links.

 

1. Amount of water to mix it with - In the video example, it took a 50mg pill and combined it with 50ml of water, basically 1mg per 1ml.    Does that mean that if I have a 10mg tablet of Lexapro and I want to do this that I should combine it with a 10ml of water and that's all, so that it's 1 for 1?  Effectively if I want to take 1 mg of Lexapro, I would just take 1ml of this dose per day?

 

2. How long should I do this taper for?  A couple of weeks or a couple of months?  I currently nineteen 10mg pills of Lexapro left, which means if I did 1 per day, I could make that last for 190 days (not that I want to do this for that long).  

 

Thank you again for the info. If I do this 1mg thing, I'd like to do it right (of course), so if you could let me know about how best to mix it with water that would be great.

 

I'm also going to try upping the amount of magnesium and omega3 I take.

 

Looking forward to hearing from you.

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Altostrata
On 1/11/2018 at 11:05 PM, MikeyB said:

Amount of water to mix it with - In the video example, it took a 50mg pill and combined it with 50ml of water, basically 1mg per 1ml.    Does that mean that if I have a 10mg tablet of Lexapro and I want to do this that I should combine it with a 10ml of water and that's all, so that it's 1 for 1?  Effectively if I want to take 1 mg of Lexapro, I would just take 1ml of this dose per day?

 

A 1:1 dilution would be easiest to calculate, but you can mix the pill in any amount of water, just keep notes about your formula so you can figure out how to take 1mg Lexapro. For example, you could mix a 10mg tablet with 100mL and get 1mg in 10mL. That amount of water might work better to dissolve the tablet and be measurable in an oral syringe.

 

Please read Tips for tapering off Lexapro (escitalopram) for rate of taper. We recommend 10% per month, calculated on the last dosage, the amount of decrease keeps getting smaller.

 

However, tapering would be at least a couple of months after reinstatement. You need to let your nervous system settle down.

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MikeyB

Hey everyone,

 

As I wrote in my bio, I started taking Sertraline after experiencing adverse reactions to the cortisteroid prednisone.  This started an 18 month of journey of chaos from 12/16 to 07/18 when I finally got off all drugs entirely.  I wanted to tell you about how I got off, who helped me, and what my challenges have been since then.  The purpose of my post is to get your advice and also to share some things that have helped me.

 

I was in such a miserable state on the last psychiatric drug I was taking and my latest psychiatrist did not have a clue as to what to do.  I had literally gone through 5 psychiatrists.  She was very honest about that and I really appreciate that, but I couldn't believe I had gotten into this mess. I never had any history of anxiety or depression before I took prednisone and started taking an anti-depressant.  

 

My psychiatrist told me about a doctor in Israel (where I live) who practices orthomolecular medicine and she actually recommended I go see him and not to anymore psychiatrists.  For that I will be grateful.

 

I went to see this doctor in Tel Aviv, who is originally Canadian, and told him about everything I'd gone through.  He told me he knows exactly what happened and how to help me get back to "normal."  He said these drugs wreak havoc on your body and mind and that, since I was only on them for less than 2 years, I would be able to eventually feel normal again.  He did say there would be ups and downs.

 

The main thing he emphasized was that the prednisone and psychiatric drugs I was taking had likely depleted my body and brain of vital nutrients, as well as the psychiatric drugs changing the structure of my brain.  He said the only way to jumpstart the healing and to get off the drug was through appropriate supplementation using the right vitamins, minerals, and herbs. 

 

I've read in many of the posts here that many people here are very against supplementation.  When I brought what you've written to my doctor, he said that people feel terrible during their withdrawal for all kinds of reasons as the brain and body readjust. He said there is no way to quicken the healing process without taking the right amounts of vitamins, which proactively help the body heal.

 

The truth is that my first 4 months taking all the supplements he recommended, I really felt like a miracle had happened.  I felt so much better basically instantly (and no I don't believe it was the placebo effect).  It was literally like I came back from the dead.  Unfortunately, as time passed and I was off the drug longer and longer as well, a lot of my symptoms started returning. While the first 4 months were great (not perfect, but substantially better), the last 4 months I've backslid into feeling really awful a lot of the time.

 

Severe anxiety, agitation, chronic stress, depressed mood have plagued me tremendously.  My doctor says that he warned me that there would be ups and downs. He says that the fact that I started feeling so bad about 3 months off the drug is normal and that what I need to do is continue taking the all the supplements (and I have verified that he doesn't have a financial stake in any of the companies).  The supplements he's giving me are things he takes and gives to his own family.

 

On the one hand, I'm truly grateful for this doctor for having jumpstarted my recovery and I'm glad to say I'm almost 7 months off of any psychiatric drug.  On the other hand, the past 4 months have been truly terrible and it hurts me to think that the supplements have kind of pooped out.  Again, he told me the recovery process from this would be 1-2 years and much longer without any of the supplements

 

I wanted to get your thoughts and let you know the various things I'm taking:

 

Hardy Nutritionals Daily Essential Nutrients - https://www.hardynutritionals.com/products/28-daily-essential-nutrients

Restore ADEK COQ10 PQQ - https://liberationwellness.com/

Niacel 250 - https://www.thorne.com/products/dp/niacel-250

Hardy Nutritionals Essential Omegas - https://www.hardynutritionals.com/products/59-essential-omegas---new

Curcumin 2000mg per day in 2 doses

Ashwaganda 1500mg per day in 3 doses

Lots of Vitamin C - over 20 grams per day.

 

Once again I wanted to share this with all of you and get your thoughts.  Once again, I'm taking all of these things.  It really did give me a few months of feeling really great, even though the past few months have been really tough.

 

Is my doctor write in that it makes sense that 3 months after stopping all drugs it's the the lack of the drug that's making me feel so terrible?  Or are the supplements now causing problems?

 

Thanks a million for anyone who reads this and has some ideas.

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bheb

Hi Mikey, have you tried each of these supplements in isolation? It’s possible that some make you feel worse and some make you feel better, but there’s no way to tell if you don’t take one at a time (and give  each trial some time).

 

In time, it may turn out that you can tolerate them all and go back to taking them all everyday. Or you may figure out that one is the cause of your recent wave and can adjust accordingly.

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ChessieCat

 

Please create your drug signature using the following format.   Keep it simple.  NO diagnoses or symptoms please - thank you.

  • details for last 2 years - dates, ALL drugs, doses
  • summary for older than 2 years - just years and drug/s

Account Settings – Create or Edit a signature

 

 

From ashwagandha-herb-for-anxiety-stress-and-toxic-overload

 

On 7/31/2013 at 9:19 PM, GiaK said:

I used to take ashwaganda daily...it's one of many supplements that went south on me...it's now agitating and very unpleasant...just FYI

 

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MikeyB

Hey Bheb,

 

Thank you so much for your reply. I spoke with my doctor about that and he said that since each of the formulations includes "separate stuff" that it's important to take it all together.  

 

If I did only take one or so, how long would you say a good amount of time for a trial to see?

 

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eymen23

Mikey,

 

It’s possible that these supplements will help you to heal faster, but it’s also possible that they’re of minimal help and may even be making things worse.  

 

It’s good to hear that the new doctor acknowledges withdrawal and the damage from the drugs you’ve taken, but if there’s one thing I’ve grown to question, it’s that anyone in this game can tell you the answers with 100% certainty. His comment about supplements being ‘the only way to jump start the healing process’ sounds very fishy to me. Our nervous systems constantly adapt to the conditions we place them under. 

 

What you’re experiencing is not uncommon. Based on what you’ve written,

it appears you came off the Lexapro completely (and quickly I might add). You then experienced a ‘honeymoon period’ which is very common, in which everything seemed better. Then the fast taper caught up with you and you’re now experiencing protracted withdrawal. Sadly, that’s a common pattern for people that have gone through this. 

 

The supplements I’m afraid, have created a red herring. Because now, you are naturally questioning whether they have ‘pooped out’, as the longer term drug withdrawal has set in and symptoms ramp up.

 

Please fill in your signature as requested,  so we have all the facts available to try and assist. 

 

In regards to the supplements, that is a very, very high dose of vitamin c and I would strongly suggest dropping that down, if you wish to continue taking it at all. 

 

Is the 1500mg of aswahandha an extract or the root? If it’s an extract, that’s a very high dose and again I’d suggest lowering it. 

Edited by eymen23

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Glosmom

Hi MikeyB,

Oh my gosh....your story is eerily similar to my daughter's.  She took prednisone for hives in March of 2016 and it made her psychotic. She did not heal on her own after 7 months so we put her on an anti-psychotic (risperidone).  It did not help her and only made her a zombie.  She has now been tapering for 2 years after an unsuccessful CT in January of 2017.  We are getting close but she is still not herself.  We don't believe she will start to recover fully until she is off this poison.  You say you got off your last drug in July of 2018...what was that and at what dose?  That makes a huge difference in how long it will take for you to feel yourself again.  Before we put Glo on an anti-psychotic, i searched and searched for information about side effects from prednisone....not many doctors know that it can cause neurological issues and others think it will 'clear up' once you stop the med. I read stories of some people taking 2 years to get better after they stopped prednisone (for those that could stop it)....and sadly, some never recovered. 

 

We tried various supplements to help with the prednisone issues....but to no avail.  We don't use supplements now for her, as she seems super sensitive to everything since being on an anti-psychotic.

 

I believe Glo is now suffering less from the prednisone initial insult and is now fighting her way back from an anti-psychotic.  You are not alone.  I wish you continued healing and peace. Glosmom

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MikeyB

Hey all,

 

Thank you so much for your responses.  I'm not sure why my signature is not appearing.  My drug history is below. How do I create a signature?

 

Sertraline 50mg 12/16-06/17

Cipralex 5mg 09/17-11/17

Elatrolet 2.5 mg6 days 02/18

Sertraline 37.5 mg 02/18--04/18

Sertraline 25mg down to 0 05/18-07/18

 

Basically I'm experiencing wild mood swings and very severe agitation (akithisia?).  I've been taking all the supplements because my doctor says it's the only way to activate my healing.  I will give them credit in that I felt really good with them when I started to taper...maybe because the drugs actually caused nutrient depletion at the time?

 

Re: Ashwaghanda - This is what I'm taking: https://www.nowfoods.com/supplements/ashwagandha-450-mg-veg-capsules

 

Re: Vitamin C - I was advised by both my doctor and the specialists at Hardy's that when you're still feeling pangs of withdrawal to take Vitamin C to bowel tolerance as it can help tremendously with stress.

 

Once again the total supplements I'm taking are:

 

Hardy Nutritionals Daily Essential Nutrients - https://www.hardynutritionals.com/products/28-daily-essential-nutrients

Restore ADEK COQ10 PQQ - https://liberationwellness.com/

Niacel 250 - https://www.thorne.com/products/dp/niacel-250

Hardy Nutritionals Essential Omegas - https://www.hardynutritionals.com/products/59-essential-omegas---new

Curcumin 2000mg per day in 2 doses

Ashwaganda 1500mg per day in 3 doses

Lots of Vitamin C - over 20 grams per day.

 

How would you all recommend I do supplementation, if at all?  Would it be best to just not take anything for a month and then gradually add things to see how I react?

 

My doctor's attitude regarding all of this stuff is that it's basically food and that it's very important for the healing process.  

 

Curious to know what you all would recommend I actually do.

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eymen23

Mike,

 

Here at SA, we only recommend two supplements. Magnesium and fish oil. We suggest members try one at a time and start on low doses to observe for potential paradoxical reactions.

 

I will give you my honest opinion, and please take it as just that. Your supplement regimen is very comprehensive as it stands, and most of the supplements are likely of minimal benefit for your withdrawal symptoms.

 

However, I can sense that you have some faith in the supplements and the new doctor that you are seeing. Hence I feel somewhat reluctant to advise on the specifics of your supplement stack, I don’t feel qualified to help you if you’re looking for the optimal blend to aid in healing from protracted withdrawal. 

 

I would strongly suggest that if you haven’t already, you read this excellent post on how long it takes to heal from protracted withdrawal, written by one of the Mods here. 

Whether you choose to continue with the supplements or stop them, protracted withdrawal recovery can be a slow and frustrating process, but many find long term healing, with a pattern of ‘windows and waves’, where one goes through better and worse periods of symptoms. 

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MikeyB

Hey all,

 

Thank you so much for the replies.  You're right @eymen23 that I have had faith in the supplements and my doctor.  His message has been consistent and the truth is that the supplements did give me the ability to withdraw from Sertraline at last.  I am very happy and proud of the fact that I've been 7 months drug-free.

 

My doctor's (and Hardy Nutritionals) message has been consistent...he says that this is a 1 to 2 year long process and that without all of the supplementation, I would be looking at a 5 year process.

 

If the supplements I'm taking are of virtually no benefit when it comes to healing my protracted withdrawal, but are just good for me and good in the long run, I'm happy to continue taking them.  And I can also accept that what I'm going through is really just an issue of having had a very long window and I'm now I'm having a very long wave.

 

But I'm just trying to ascertain if the supplements themselves are causing the protracted withdrawal to be more protracted.  I can deal with the concept of waves and windows and even the idea of the supplements being a placebo.  

 

I'm just trying to do my best to regain my health.  

 

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eymen23

You’ve done well to become drug free and I completely respect your desire to regain your health.

 

Unfortunately, I don’t know if the supplements are making you better, worse or keeping you level pegging. As you have taken them since you stopped the drug, it’s not possible to untangle what is related to the supplements and what is related to withdrawal. 

 

SA recommends only two supplements as I mentioned above. I think you will need to go with your gut and instinct on this one. 

Edited by eymen23

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bheb

 

1 hour ago, MikeyB said:

Hey Bheb,

 

Thank you so much for your reply. I spoke with my doctor about that and he said that since each of the formulations includes "separate stuff" that it's important to take it all together.  

 

If I did only take one or so, how long would you say a good amount of time for a trial to see?

 

 

Mikey, looks like the mods have given you good advice. Definitely be mindful of these warnings about supplements. I tried many things when this first happened to me two years ago, and I just ended up short of cash with little relief. 

 

I also experience agitation and I understand that it is unbearable and you feel the need to quell it. But unfortunately there's really been no evidence of any magic supplement -- I find it kind of odd that your doctor feels so strongly about that large combination of (possibly stimulating) supplements. But it's good you did some research on whether he profits...he actually seems well meaning. But, as you've said, things are no longer working for you. 

 

I also don't feel like I'm in a qualified position to advise you about how to handle these supplements. And I don't have first-hand experience with those specific ones so I can't tell you my personal history. So I'm not really sure how long a trial is necessary. However, recently I'm trying out different forms of magnesium and I've been giving them about a week to see if there's an effect. But again, this is not informed advice...just my personal approach/experience. 

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MikeyB

Hey @bheb (and everyone else),

 

Thank you so much for the responses.  A question for @eymen23 about the supplements you do recommend and a question for @bheb about the agitation.

 

@eymen23 - How much magnesium do you typically recommend?  I'm getting about 600mg a day in the supplements I'm currently taking.

 

@bheb - Regarding the agitation, as I said, agitation was actually the first thing the supplements helped me solve originally.  Have you had any experience taking Benadryl, Vitamin B6, or Magnesium for the agitation/akathisia?  I've seen a lot of reports on Benadryl being an effective first line treatment of akathisia.  I haven't taken it yet because I really didn't want to go on any other "drug" (since I'm that traumatized by all of this).  Regarding Vitamin B6, there are studies saying that high supplementation (at least 600mg a day) can be effective.  Wanted to see if you knew anything about this.

 

Everyone else:

 

I wanted to ask you how you've managed to cope with work and travel through all that you have been through and are going through. 

 

I was working a really intense job up until a 3 months ago.  Since then I've started a services business with a partner.  Things are going well...a bit too well actually, which feels like a nightmare in disguise.  I really like my business and my business partner knows about everything I'm dealing with and insists he wants to stick by me and the clients we have love what we're doing and want to increase their activity with us.  But since I've felt so terrible over the past 3.5 months (the previous 6 months were wayyy better), I'm having a lot of doubts about what I can handle.  I want to continue doing my business since it's good to have something to do and focus on, but I have a lot of time periods where the agitation is just torture.

 

Regarding travel, I also wanted to know if any of you have any tips on travel and how you make adjustments based on how you feel.  I loooove traveling...I've been to over 75 countries and even wrote a book about my travels, which is why it's so painful what I'm dealing with here.  I'm supposed to go on a vacation to New Zealand next week with my Dad.  He's been looking forward to it for so long. He's aware of what I'm going through and today we had a talk about whether or not I was really up for such a trip with everything I'm feeling both emotionally and physiologically.  Since I got into this drug-induced mess, I've pushed through a lot of trips.  Since I first started on drugs in 12/16 I've been on 16 trips for work, vacation, and family.  Since I love traveling, I've always persisted in going because of the idea that "travel makes me feel better."  But the truth is I wonder if the stress of travel really just aggravates by WD symptoms.  I want to push through to go on the trip of a lifetime with my Dad (who has been super understanding through all of this), but I'm very worried about my present condition and am considering backing out.  

 

Would love to get your advice how you manage with these things.

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ChessieCat

There are many existing topics on this site where members have provided their experiences.

 

I like to use google and add survivingantidepressants.org to my search term.

 

So I suggest that you do a search for the things which you are asking questions about to see if there is already something about it on the site.

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MikeyB

Thanks @ChessieCat, but I wasn't able to find anything specifically about the magnesium and Vitamin B6.

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bheb
4 hours ago, MikeyB said:

Regarding the agitation, as I said, agitation was actually the first thing the supplements helped me solve originally.  Have you had any experience taking Benadryl, Vitamin B6, or Magnesium for the agitation/akathisia?  I've seen a lot of reports on Benadryl being an effective first line treatment of akathisia.  I haven't taken it yet because I really didn't want to go on any other "drug" (since I'm that traumatized by all of this).  Regarding Vitamin B6, there are studies saying that high supplementation (at least 600mg a day) can be effective. 

 

Yes I've tried all three, mostly early on so it's been a while. Benadryl was paradoxical for me -- made me sleep but then wake up way more restless and agitated. My doctor put me on high dose B6 -- I can't remember how much,  but it was whatever she had seen in the studies. I did notice it helping, but it was a high dose and made me intensely nauseous and I started to worry about toxicity. I didn't stay on it very long.

 

Magnesium I've taken with moderate success. It helps a bit, and most noticeably with just being able to fall asleep. I don't really notice it helping the actual deep itchy, agitated sensation. 

 

Also, about traveling and work -- it's really personal. During this time you really just have to listen to your body and notice which things make it worse and opt out of those if you can. Personally traveling for me is no fun. Mostly because of the long car/bus/plane ride I have to sit for. I still have done it, but sometimes gritting through the excruciating tension/restlessness isn't worth it. So I'm more picky these days about where I go. 

 

I feel that double-edged sword/ "nightmare in disguise" with work success -- I'm a student but definitely relate to wishing things could slow down and I didn't keep holding myself to the high standards I did before. I've managed to get by and do pretty well some semesters, but I'm always caught one foot in, one foot out. I don't want to engage too much with professors, collaborators, etc. because I know I can't give it my all. Yet parts of me are still so excited for my classes and research and I hesitate with scaling back. It's hard to strike a balance. 

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MikeyB

Hey all,

 

I wanted to write you a brief update on my symptoms as there have been some positive changes recently.  As you all know, I've chosen to go the supplement route and stick with what my doctor recommends.

 

I've been suffering the past few months with severe agitation and akithisia, which I think would cause me to so frustrated that I would crash into severe depression.  Like my body would just say it couldn't take it anymore and the only way it could get relief would be to get depressed.

 

The two people I've been consulting with on my symptoms are my orthomolecular doctor in Israel and the R&D team from Hardy Nutritionals, who do seem genuinely interested in providing alternatives besides just peddling their products.

 

My doctor suggested I take 300mg Vitamin B6 2X per day along with at least 200mg more of Magnesium glycinate.  He also suggested I try Hardy's amino acids product for neurotransmitter balance and take additional tryptophan as well.

 

I can say that after having done that for about 10 days, while I'm not perfect, I'm not longer suffering from akithisia and my agitation has gone done tremendously.  I've been able to get rid of the agitation and akithisia without becoming markedly "depressed."

 

I am still suffering from on and off stress headaches and some anxiety (which is different from akithisia and agitation), but on the whole it's much more manageable than the hell I was in the last few months.

 

Just wanted to let you all know.

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Altostrata

That's very good news, Mikey.

 

Did your headaches start when you began taking vitamin B6 2X per day or the tryptophan?

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MikeyB

Hey Alto,

 

Thanks for your message.  The stress headaches I'm getting now are things I've had frequently over the past few months.  They seem to have replaced the agitation/akithisia, but honestly I'd take a stress headache over that torture.  Also, the stress headache is not a feeling of being abjectly depressed.

 

It's totally possible that the supplements have helped me overcome the agitation and akithisia, but that "too much" of them go in a different direction, so I likely need to "play around" with the dose.

 

My doctor said to take Vitamin B6 and magnesium for a few weeks to the point where I'm not feeling the akithisia anymore and then try to gradually wean off of it.

 

The Hardy's people also say to take it easy on the amino acids...they can help one day or week and then hurt...and that if you start to feel worse from the aminos to take a lot more vitamin C.  It's something to monitor and I will report back as I continue testing.

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Altostrata

If any supplements give you a headache, that's too much of the supplement.

 

You can figure this out by keeping daily notes on paper with times of day for when you take your supplements, their dosages, and your symptoms before and after each dose.

 

If you're taking the supplements all at one time, you may wish to separate the dosing times so you can see what's causing what.

 

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MikeyB

Yes, this is true.

 

You've mentioned that you do recommend fish oil and magnesium specifically.  How much of each do you recommend?

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bheb

I'm glad to hear your akathisia is settling. I may give B6 another try some time.

 

Are you taking everything you were before as well? Or just the b6, mag, and aminos?

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MikeyB

Hey @bheb,

 

Great to hear from you.  I'm still taking everything I was taking before.  I understand there's a lot of disagreement about the value and safety of supplements on this forum.  However, I choose to listen to my orthomolecular doctor.  Precisely because our nervous systems and bodies have been affected so much by drugs makes me believe that extra nutrition is vital for the healing process. 

 

Not every supplement works for every person.  People do have different needs, but I would say it's imperative for people to not give up and continue to try to find what works for them.  

 

One of the things the people from Hardy Nutritionals told me is that when more nutrients get into the body, you may feel good and bad at different points as the nutrients interact with the medication still in your body.  Drugs stay in our brains and bodies for a very long time.  It makes me wonder whether when we take certain supplements and feel worse, it's really because we can't "handle" the supplement or because the supplement and drug are fighting for supremacy.  

 

As I mentioned, the only reason I was able to get off of drugs was because I felt such a radical change for the better immediately when I started taking Hardy Nutritionals DEN, Thorne's Niacel250 (Vitamin B3), and high quality fish oil.

 

My symptoms rebounded really badly over the past few months when I was about 4 months off of anything, and I was extraordinarily dismayed.  I really had thought I was one of the lucky ones and that my withdrawal would not be so drawn out.  But I learned this is a process with days, weeks, and months of better health and worse health.

 

Basically, last month I was desperate for a solution for severe akithisia.  I was jumping out of my skin, irritable, extremely uncomfortable, and just going nuts.  I would get relief at the gym or for  a few minutes here and there, and I was able to sleep okay, but it made being social and working productively extremely tough.

 

The only natural solutions for that crazy agitation and akithisia that anyone is discussing is Vitamin B6 and amino acids.

 

After speaking to my doctor (who had no opinion either way about the Vitamin B6 stuff), he agreed it would be alright for me to take 300mg twice a day for 600mg total (in addition to another 70mg inside the Hardy's product).  He said to combine the Vitamin B6 with at least 200mg more of magnesium glycinate.

 

And I started taking the Hardy's Free-Form amino acids product too, as it's meant to help with medication withdrawals and I felt better taking it over the summer when I was just getting off Zoloft.  

 

For good measure, I also took extra Tryptophan (on top of the Hardy's Amino Acids).

 

Gradually, my agitation, jitteriness, and akithisia has totally gone away over the last few weeks.  I noticed I was getting some headaches that didn't really feel like depression. When I removed the extra tryptophan that went away.

 

So with the Hardy's Aminos, Vitamin B6, and Magnesium, I'm doing substantially better.  It may not work for everyone, I think it makes sense to try things out.

 

That's all for now and I hope this helps!

 

 

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bheb

Thanks for the info! Yes, don’t think I’d try such an ambitious supplement regimen, but I’m glad it works for you. I am open to B6 though since its effectiveness for akathisia is well documented. Though I am worried a bit about numbness or any other neurological side effects on that high of a dose...but you haven’t noticed anything personally correct? Also, do you know anything about whether the “active” form of b6, P-5-P, is more effective?

 

I also might incorporate low dose aminos somehow — maybe in smoothie powder. I know some people have gotten IV treatment of aminos to treat akathisia, but that is definitely not something I want to risk (it’s also a wildly expensive procedure).

 

Anyway, thanks for sharing what works for you. That’s really good news that the akathisia and agitation has calmed down. Relief for akathisia is pretty much impossible beyond moving around, and like you said that’s incompatible with productivity at work, socializing, and just really finding any peace.

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MikeyB

The neurological side effects that you're describing are extremely rare and are documented on much higher doses for extensive periods of time.  

 

See this article of Vitamin B6 toxicity: https://www.hardynutritionals.com/blog/2018/11/should-you-be-concerned-about-b6-toxicity

 

It mostly states that doses of 1-6 grams of Vitamin B6 per day for 12-40 months can be toxic.  

 

There's a huge difference between taking that and taking 300mg-600mg a day for a few weeks or months because you're suffering from severe akithisia.  

 

Regarding the aminos, I don't know much about intravenous treatment.  I do know that the aminos I'm taking have a similar composition to human milk, which is good for neurological healing and development.

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bheb

Cool, thanks for the info.

 

Also, when reading up on akathisia I noticed that a handful of the research comes out of Israel. Do you know of a doctor named Michael Poyurovsky? He was an author on one paper and I had a brief email exchange with him...he said sees many patients with akathisia. Don't know if that will be helpful for you. 

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MikeyB

Hey Bheb,

 

Thank you so much for the info about Dr. Poyurovsky.  I'm not surprised he treats a lot of akithisia considering his work on schizophrenia (whose drugs cause severe akithisia).  If my withdrawal gets much worse, I may contact him for advice, but so far it seems Dr. Google provides everything one can learn right now about this condition and I am starting to feel better.  

 

I am very angry at the Israeli health system for getting me into this insane world called psychiatry.  I basically had an anti-depressant foisted on me after suffering a severe reaction to prednisone.  After suffering horrible side effects from prednisone, I actually had some success treating myself with supplements. When I went to see my doctor and a subsequent psychiatrist on my doctor's recommendation, I was told literally "Supplements are just placebo. If you don't take a drug you will never get out of this."  I was told this after having severe anxiety for 3 weeks following a serious medical procedure.  That was how I started taking Zoloft in December 2016.

 

That being said, I also acknowledge things seem far, far worse in the US and Canada when it comes to drugs being foisted on people.  In Israel, doctors were actually very conservative (at least as much as they knew to be) regarding doses and I was never encouraged to take more than just a low dose of an antidepressant.  I was never advised to take a benzo, anti-psychotic, or anything like that.  

 

And the culture in general is very open to treatment by natural/alternative means.  I guess that's why I'm able to go to an orthomolecular doctor in Israel now, whereas they seem to be very hard to find in the US if you don't live in California, Oregon or Florida.  

 

Visiting the US a few weeks ago to see my parents, I am absolutely horrified to see how many drug ads there are on TV and to hear how so many of my friends and family are taking multiple drugs for various common ailments: anti-depressants and sleep medication for insomnia, something for thyroid, something ADHD, etc.  

 

It's horrific.

 

Anyways, I hope your akithisia gets better. I know how horrible it is, and I also pray that I continue to heal and find strength in this experience.

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