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What do We Know (or Mostly Know)


alexjuice
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Following a talk with a good friend: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/102-alexejice-about/page__view__findpost__p__1160i've been thinking. Of those who've investigated protracted w/d longer than I, I have a question. Allowing for a good diversity of responses among sufferers, have any approaches been discovered that generally seem to assist the process?

 

I don't mean do we know 'how to' resolve a specific symptoms, say, bloating or agoraphobia. Rather I wonder if there are any specific things that seem generally assist healing? Or even retard it? I realize this may not be possible to ascertain given a smallish sample and drugs that simply are not all that old. Still, I think it's worth the college try.

 

I can think of tons of things that theoretically could have a propensity to assist or slow the healing process. Here are some things that come to mind:

 

1. Mild exercise like walking Anyone know how this tends to affect w/d? Generally helpful, unhelpful, or unknown?

 

2. Stretching exercises like yoga Generally helpful, unhelpful, or unknown?

 

3. Rigorous exercise Generally helpful, unhelpful, or unknown?

 

4. Diet Have any correlations been found with any diet, for instance low calories, high carb, high protein, veggie, dairy/no dairy, generally alkaline v. acidic. Do we know anything about any diet elements, helpful or unhelpful.?

 

5. Talk Therapy CBT? Helpful? CBT for Social Anxiety (which is less reliant on the B and more on the C)? Helpful?

 

6. Spirituality Prayer and meditation? ... I know there are others who know so much more about this than I. I am hopeful everyone can pool their knowledge to aggregate info about various approaches and their result.

 

There should, assuming we are all suffering from a similar disease, though of considerable variation, be some things more likely to assist and others more likely to inhibit recovery. At least, in my mind's theorizing.... Even the anecdotal information can be helpful.

 

For myself, I want to learn more about what might work for me or might set me back. This information, such that exists, is not centralized. For instance, I didn't learn about antihistamines until it was too late and I'd had a reaction. I suppose I could have searched 'antihistamines' on some other site, but it never occurred to me to search them out. If there had been a resource in which they appeared that was stickied or something of the sort, maybe that bad reaction would have been avoided.

 

So, if anyone has any information about these things, please share what you know. ... Of course, I am a newer member to the club. Maybe reactions are too diverse to make these type of categorizations. Still, I hope we can start to consolidate some guidelines beyond basic tapering instructions and calls for patience to let time do its thing. Really, I just want to get better. Thanks guys.

Edited by Altostrata
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"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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Hi Alex... all of us want to feel better... that's for sure!

 

Things I've heard or read:

 

- light exercise like stretching/walking is great - strenuous exercise doesn't seem to help most people.

 

- talk therapy is helpful for me, while other types of therapy help others.

 

- meditation is very calming and it seems that everyone who meditates says it's very helpful.

 

- yoga - I forgot the name, but gentle yoga seems to help people.

 

- diet - eating healthfully helps in any situation. You have to find what is right for you. Some folks can't drink coffee, some can't go without it. There are so many ways of eating. Some say absolutely no diary. For others diary isn't a problem. It's a matter of finding what works for you. Some people eliminate what they think causes problems, and then add it back later on to see if they can tolerate it.

 

I take a multi vit and vit D. Others take or have tried every supplement out there. As you know, what works for one doesn't work for all. One rule of thumb is, if you decide to take a particular supplement, start with a very small amount. We all react differently... even a simple multi vit.

 

It's late here and I'm off to sleep. I'm sure others will chime in tomorrow, and you'll get many more suggestions.

 

Think dark chocolate... wonderful! :D

 

 

Charter Member 2011

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1. Mild exercise like walking

 

Anyone know how this tends to affect w/d? Generally helpful, unhelpful, or unknown?

If you can tolerate it, walking is excellent for recovery. It draws upon an ancient pattern in your neurological system and helps stabilize it. Physical activity helps stimulate neurogenesis in the brain and "feel-good" hormones.

 

In general, walking helps regularize all the autonomic functions in your body, such as heartbeat, circulation, and digestion. Improving your general health assists recovery.

 

If you walk in a pleasant or interesting area, it will take give you something else to think about and ease your mind a bit. Try to breathe slowly, regularly, and deeply -- the rhythm may be meditative, which is good for relaxation.

 

And, unlike more strenuous physical activity, walking does not increase cortisol. Cortisol is an anxiety hormone. Most of us with withdrawal syndrome have too much of it -- it's the biochemical source of many of our symptoms.

 

2. Stretching exercises like yoga

Affects people different ways. Some find it relaxing and meditative, others too strenuous and stressful.

 

3. Rigorous exercise

If it makes you feel lousy, don't do it -- it can increase your cortisol.

 

4. Diet

Diet is important, to improve your general health. It's the best way to get nutrients into your body and brain. For high-quality nutrients, ingest a good amount of protein and fresh vegetables every day.

 

Avoid additives or artificial flavoring, these cause reactions, however subtle, in some people.

 

Some people with withdrawal syndrome react strongly to processed meats and cheeses similarly to people who are taking MAOIs. MAOIs (ex: Nardil, Parnate) are a heinous class of antidepressants that cause dangerous interactions with some foods along with the usual neurotransmitter dysregulation. See http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/maois/HQ01575 for information about the MAOI diet.

 

Minimize sugar intake -- it puts stress on the hormone system involving insulin, which stresses your body overall. If you have anxiety or sleep problems, gradually eliminate caffeine entirely.

 

In other words, fresh food, avoid junk food.

 

Some people find specific foods make them feel better, or worse. This is because we are hypersensitive. Listen to your body and cut back on anything that makes you feel worse.

 

Also, eliminate alcohol. This unquestionably batters your nervous system, puts stress on your liver and pancreas, and lowers your general health.

 

5. Talk Therapy

This can be helpful. Talking to an understanding human or animal reduces anxiety in itself.

 

Any kind of talk therapy can be helpful. Often it depends on the skill of the practitioner. If you have a therapist who make you feel defensive, it is increasing your anxiety and is not helpful at all. CBT is one of the talk therapies that can be helpful, it varies by the individual.

 

Learning stress or anxiety reduction techniques can give temporary relief from symptoms, making recovery a little easier, and perhaps giving your nervous system mini-breaks from the biochemically induced anxiety. In those mini-breaks, your nervous system works to repair itself, so any relief you can get is worth it.

 

If you are worrying constantly about your health, generating fear about brain tumors or other dread progressive neurological diseases, anxiety-reduction techniques could definitely help you. You are adding to the burden of biochemical stress with scary thoughts you can manage. CBT might be good for this.

 

6. Spirituality

 

Prayer and meditation?

Any time you can give your nervous system a break from the relentless biochemical anxiety helps it heal. Some find peace in religious or spiritual contemplation.

 

Meditation, spiritual or not, can also give your nervous system mini-breaks from stress. There is evidence if you do it enough (this is called the "practice"), clearing of the mind becomes more habitual and relaxation more pervasive.

 

Rhythmic deep breathing with concentration on the sensation of breath going through your nose is a simple and effective way to initiate a meditation practice. The breathing is good for you, too, getting oxygen into your body and brain.

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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If you can tolerate it, walking is excellent for recovery. It draws upon an ancient pattern in your neurological system and helps stabilize it. Physical activity helps stimulate neurogenesis in the brain and "feel-good" hormones.

 

This is good. I have been walking everyday for the last few weeks. I think it has been helping to some degree, so i'll keep at it.

 

Diet is important, to improve your general health. It's the best way to get nutrients into your body and brain. For high-quality nutrients, ingest a good amount of protein and fresh vegetables every day.

 

I think I need more nutrient quantity (more cals) but am otherwise eating well. I don't really eat junk and do eat veggies and meat.

 

Minimize sugar intake -- it puts stress on the hormone system involving insulin, which stresses your body overall. If you have anxiety or sleep problems, gradually eliminate caffeine entirely.

 

This makes sense. I really used to love coffee - it was top 10 favorite thing. Miss it.

 

Some people find specific foods make them feel better, or worse. This is because we are hypersensitive. Listen to your body and cut back on anything that makes you feel worse.

 

Right.

 

Any kind of talk therapy can be helpful. Often it depends on the skill of the practitioner. If you have a therapist who make you feel defensive, it is increasing your anxiety and is not helpful at all. CBT is one of the talk therapies that can be helpful, it varies by the individual.

 

I have been trying some CBT and general mind-control tricks. I find them helpful to a degree but they might become more helpful with more practice. I have to see a psychiatrist, two in fact, to get benzos. These appts can be awful because there is a lot of underlying tension for several reasons. I will be glad when this is over.

 

I even told my Doctor, that found I seeing him very stressful and that I'd like to reduce the frequency. He disagreed and thought the meetings were helpful (?). This led to a passive aggressive standoff that I don't think was good for me at all. Eventually, I got the meeting regularity reduced.

 

I could not agree more that "therapy" with a psychologist/shrink/therapist who fights you is a torture that can not be helpful to your recovery. Unfortunately for me, I do have a history of hypochondriasis that started in my 20s. Because of this, my health issues are viewed skeptically which only adds to the stress. I am somewhat understanding on this point. There was a time in my life, almost surely due to medications, that I developed health concerns that always proved unwarranted. Even today, every time I modify my benzos, I become more health conscious for 7-10 days. For instance, right after a benzo adjustment, if I go to a DRA or AA meeting, I will leave a few minutes before the close -- we hold hands and say a prayer to close. This is like clockwork.

 

Learning stress or anxiety reduction techniques can give temporary relief from symptoms, making recovery a little easier, and perhaps giving your nervous system mini-breaks from the biochemically induced anxiety. In those mini-breaks, your nervous system works to repair itself, so any relief you can get is worth it.

 

Any time you can give your nervous system a break from the relentless biochemical anxiety helps it heal. Some find peace in religious or spiritual contemplation.

 

I need to investigate meditation. I have tried it in the past and never, literally never, been able to get into the grove. Historically, I considered it one of my least favorite activities because I just couldn't relax. The time would seem to tick by so slowly and I would grow restless. I really hated it.

 

Because I've been in rehabs, meditation sessions were required. After a while, I started sneaking out for "bathroom breaks" that conveniently lasted the whole period because I found the process so frustrating.

 

Maybe I should give another try.

 

Thanks for your insight, surviving. I've been really focusing on reducing stress. I'm going to experiment with some new things.

"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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I even told my Doctor, that found I seeing him very stressful and that I'd like to reduce the frequency. He disagreed and thought the meetings were helpful (?). This led to a passive aggressive standoff that I don't think was good for me at all. Eventually, I got the meeting regularity reduced.

Alex, this is a very important step in taking care of yourself! Sometimes it's so hard to put your own welfare ahead of judgment by authority figures. We have a reflexive respect for doctors and sometimes their attitude is not helpful.

 

You may not realize it, but your strength and honesty and self-respect has made that doctor a better doctor and human being, by maybe a tiny bit.

 

....Unfortunately for me, I do have a history of hypochondriasis that started in my 20s. Because of this, my health issues are viewed skeptically which only adds to the stress. I am somewhat understanding on this point. There was a time in my life, almost surely due to medications, that I developed health concerns that always proved unwarranted. Even today, every time I modify my benzos, I become more health conscious for 7-10 days. For instance, right after a benzo adjustment, if I go to a DRA or AA meeting, I will leave a few minutes before the close -- we hold hands and say a prayer to close. This is like clockwork.

First of all, forgive yourself for those mistakes in the past.

 

Second, now that you know you have a tendency to over-react, do what you can to manage it. Holding hands during the prayer might have other benefits. Being with supportive people and friendly touches like holding hands is good for your nervous system. It builds trust. You may lay the groundwork for friendships.

 

If you need to, take hand sanitizer with you and put it on your hands afterward, or just wash your hands with soap, which is just as good for killing germs.

 

....I need to investigate meditation. I have tried it in the past and never, literally never, been able to get into the grove. Historically, I considered it one of my least favorite activities because I just couldn't relax. The time would seem to tick by so slowly and I would grow restless. I really hated it....

You may be expecting too much of yourself and the magic of meditation.

 

There's not much to it. Get comfortable and breathe slowly and deeply, pay attention to the breath in your nose, and when thoughts pop into your head, observe them drifting away and replace them with a comforting image. (I like to think of kittens or gardens.)

 

Even the very best meditators are constantly slipping into thoughts and worry. Don't think you're failing because you get thoughts. The trick is to let the thoughts go by instead of grabbing onto them, and go back to a meditative image or, if you can do it, mind empty of everything but paying attention to your breath.

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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