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bubblesbee99: Been on Prozac since age 10


bubblesbee99

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Hello all, 

I'm an 18 year old and have been on Prozac for 8 years. I was put on it 3 months after my younger sister died of cancer when I was nine by my pediatrician because I was crying a lot and showing depressive symptoms after losing her. 

I had no idea there were side effects to the meds at the time or that they could affect a child's brain development so I assumed it was medicine so it was fine.

Just recently, I have begun to realize that some symptoms I have dealt with for years now may not be because I am "depressed" but in

fact could be med related. These include: a lack of interest in romance or sexuality, restless legs, trouble sleeping and a general feeling

of flatness towards everything. My thought is to taper off the 80mg/day going 70, 60, 50, 40, 30, 20, 10, 0 over 6-12 months.

What I would like to know is if there are any success stories of people coming off them and recovering (even partially) after being on them as kids or

if my brain's developed so much on them that at this point coming off them would only make it worse.

Thanks so much guys,

I really appreciate your input and support.

Paige

8 years on Prozac (Current Dosage 80mg/day)

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  • ChessieCat changed the title to bubblesbee99: Been on Prozac since age 10
  • Moderator

Hello, bubblesbee99 and welcome to SA.  I'm glad you found your way here.

 

To start, in order to give members the best information, we ask them to summarize their medication history in a signature -- drugs, doses, dates, and discontinuations & reinstatements, in the last 12-24 months particularly?
  • 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. 
  • Please leave out symptoms and diagnoses. 
  • A list is easier to understand than one or multiple paragraphs. 
  • Link to Account Settings – Create or Edit a signature
The tapering schedule you propose is a bit too fast.  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.  At the lower doses it is advisable to go slower.  
  
To get you started, and familiarized with the protocols followed by SA, I am linking a few topics so that you have a better understanding of what is recommended here. 

 

 
The symptoms you list--flatness, lack of interest in romance, etc.--are typical of what antidepressants do.
 
Regarding your having been on Prozac during so much of your brain's development period, I believe you can come off the drug but it might be necessary to go even more slowly than 10%.  Some options that are good for people with very sensitive nervous systems:
 
This post on brain remodeling explains the process of the recovery of the brain.
 
This is your introduction topic--the place for you to ask questions, record symptoms, share your progress, and connect with other members of the SA community. I hope you'll find the information in the SA forums helpful for your situation. I'm sorry that you are in the position that you need the information, but I am glad that you found us.

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 Dec. 2, 2022: 2.6mg

Taper is 86% 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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2 hours ago, bubblesbee99 said:

Hello all, 

I'm an 18 year old and have been on Prozac for 8 years. I was put on it 3 months after my younger sister died of cancer when I was nine by my pediatrician because I was crying a lot and showing depressive symptoms after losing her. 

I had no idea there were side effects to the meds at the time or that they could affect a child's brain development so I assumed it was medicine so it was fine.

Just recently, I have begun to realize that some symptoms I have dealt with for years now may not be because I am "depressed" but in

fact could be med related. These include: a lack of interest in romance or sexuality, restless legs, trouble sleeping and a general feeling

of flatness towards everything. My thought is to taper off the 80mg/day going 70, 60, 50, 40, 30, 20, 10, 0 over 6-12 months.

What I would like to know is if there are any success stories of people coming off them and recovering (even partially) after being on them as kids or

if my brain's developed so much on them that at this point coming off them would only make it worse.

Thanks so much guys,

I really appreciate your input and support.

Paige

8 years on Prozac (Current Dosage 80mg/day)

Hi Paige. Wow I am really sorry that you have had to deal with that, especially at a young age. The symptoms you describe can definitely be caused by the prozac. They can make you feel numb to everything and they make it so you don't even realize that your drug may be the problem. Good for you for realizing that your problems may be from the drug and not from your underlying condition. Many people never realize that and end up on meds for decades. While I don't personally know anybody that was put on the drugs at such a young age, I will say that you are still very young. Your brain is still developing as we speak, so I don't think that you are stuck on them for life. I would read through the topics that Gridley has posted for you and inform yourself of what this process entails before you begin your taper. You are in a good position now, as you havent quit your meds yet and you are informing yourself of the dangers and risks before you do so. Just be prepared to take longer than you expect and to listen to your body. There is no reason that you can't live the rest of your life in a healthy manner if you take the time now to take care of your brain and body. I wish you the best of luck, feel free to message me if you have any questions. 

Drug History:  Zoloft(sertraline) since 2008. Was up to 100mg/daily before CT in May 2017. Reinstated 3 weeks later at 50mg.

                          September 10, 2017 Updose Zoloft to 62.5mg

                          Current dose as of 5/11/2018  50mg Zoloft and 0mg Remeron

                        Remeron(mirtazapine) started June 2017. Accidental CT after 1 month. Reinstated 7.5mg on 9/26/17 after hospital stay.

                        Current Symptoms: Depression, Anxiety, DP/DR, Anhedonia, SI, Tinnitus, Fatigue

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Welcome bubble so glad you found sa.

I have to be careful what i say here but i i think your doctor has left a lot of room for improvement in honoring the hippocratic oath.

These drugs carry black box warnings and not to be given to people under 24 yrs of age. How on earth does your doctor justify 80mg!!

Thought for the day: Lets stand up, and let’s speak out , together. G Olsen

We have until the 14th. Feb 2018. 

URGENT REQUEST Please consider submitting  for the petition on Prescribed Drug Dependence and Withdrawal currently awaiting its third consideration at the Scottish Parliament. You don't even have to be from Scotland. By clicking on the link below you can read some of the previous submissions but be warned many of them are quite harrowing.

http://www.parliament.scot/GettingInvolved/Petitions/PE01651   

Please tell them about your problems taking and withdrawing from antidepressants and/or benzos.

Send by email to petitions@parliament.scot and quote PE01651 in the subject heading. Keep to a maximum of 3 sides of A4 and you can't name for legal reasons any doctor you have consulted. Tell them if you wish to remain anonymous. We need the numbers to help convince the committee members we are not isolated cases. You have until mid February. Thank you

Recovering paxil addict

None of the published articles shed light on what ssri's ... actually do or what their hazards might be. Healy 2013. 

This is so true, with anything you get on these drugs, dependance, tapering, withdrawal symptoms, side effects, just silent. And if there is something mentioned then their is a serious disconnect between what is said and reality! 

  "Every time I read of a multi-person shooting, I always presume that person had just started a SSRI or had just stopped."  Dr Mosher. Me too! 

Over two decades later, the number of antidepressant prescriptions a year is slightly more than the number of people in the Western world. Most (nine out of 10) prescriptions are for patients who faced difficulties on stopping, equating to about a tenth of the population. These patients are often advised to continue treatment because their difficulties indicate they need ongoing treatment, just as a person with diabetes needs insulin. Healy 2015

I believe the ssri era will soon stand as one of the most shameful in the history of medicine. Healy 2015

Let people help people ... in a natural, kind, non-addictive (and non-big pharma) way. J Broadley 2017

 

 

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Hello Bubble.

 

I started young too and had a very difficult time and suffered terribly despite a 1 year+ taper. I became bedridden for months and had to reinstate. I'm going to write a few points here that I wish I knew in advance and that would have saved me years of extreme suffering. I hope that it is useful now, but more than that I hope that it is even more useful if you find yourself in a difficult place during your taper.

 

Let me tell you a few things from my experience that will be valuable to you. Here are some of my mistakes that caused enormous suffering that you do not need to make:

 

- You must not have a predetermined timeline of when you make reductions. Instead, reduce slightly then wait as long as it takes to feel stable. 1 year is likely way too fast, but even more problematic is the approach of sticking to an external deadline rather than being sensitive to how you feel.

 

- People who started young or were on a longer time need to go much slower. There's evidence the brain literally wires itself around the medication. When you start young, this would be much more pronounced, since the brain has developed with the presence of the drug.

 

- It's common to get hit hard 2-6 months after a reduction or after jumping off completely. I started young, tapered over 18 months, and this happened to me. I had to reinstate. As a result, after a reduction you must wait as long as it takes to feel stable, even if this is in the range of 6 months.

 

- The stress caused by reducing too fast is far more emotionally numbing and symptom inducing than the side effects of the medications are. Although I felt blunted on the medication, withdrawing too fast traumatised me and wiped out my ability to feel any positive emotion. Therefore, it is not a case of jumping off and suddenly feeling human again, more the opposite. You must go slowly and not cause yourself stress.

 

- It is never the right approach to endure suffering in the hope of feeling better. When withdrawals got bad for me, I thought I would simply ride it out, and kept reducing anyway. This approach led to a huge diminishment of my quality of life. I could no longer work, exercise, sleep, socialise, etc. I had to hide away. The approach was wrong because not being able to do those normal things impeded the healing process. You cannot heal if you are not functioning in life. Sleep and exercise especially. If you lose the ability to do anything you previously did, that's way too fast - slow the hell down! Another warning is that things can shift gradually and you can suddenly find yourself in a bad state, stay wary and ideally have someone tell you if you've changed at all.

 

- I believe for someone like you, this must be a 5 year plan. Your brain has developed and wired itself around the medication. You be must be gentle and sensitive to the rate of change that is possible. Have no deadlines. The only criteria for speed is your ability to stay well and functional at any particular dose. I believe the correct tapering speed would be in the range of 2.5% reductions then holding for a month minimum. As long as it takes until you feel totally healthy for at least several weeks. Then towards the end of the taper, holding even longer. I had the biggest problems below 10% and that's where I really should have slowed down.

 

- Do not glorify or idealise a version of you that is off the medication. For instance, more emotional depth, more human, more this, more that, less restless legs, less anxiety and so on. In my experience this kind of idealisation leads to poor decisions about tapering and insensitivity to one's own body. I said it earlier, but again, the stress on your nervous system of reducing too fast is far worse than the side effects of the meds. The way to become as healthy as possible is to be gradual and acutely sensitive to how tiny reductions effect your body and mind. The ideal self isn't reached by rushing - rushing will reach the opposite. Additionally, you might find that you get to a stage where you find you cannot reduce further (say 10% due to starting very young like me), be perfectly ok with this possibility and don't demonize the effects of the drugs or victimhood and so on. That can lead to psychological loops of suffering that just aren't helpful.

 

-Lastly, I believe most people can heal, even people who started young like us. The key is just to be slow, gradual, sensitive, and never compromise life at the gamble of feeling better at some unknown future time. Think in terms of 5+ years, not one year.

 

- I wish you all the best and believe you can be successful. A lot of this may not make sense initially if you have never tried to taper before, but I hope it becomes more useful as time goes on

 

Hope that was helpful, Jay

  • 2008: Started Citalopram 30mg
  • Sept 2014: Tapered down Citalopram over 6 months and discontinued Feb 2015
  • Severe withdrawals peaked in July/Aug 2015. Totally housebound.
  • Sept 2015: Sertraline started @ 100mg on GP advice.
  • Oct to Dec 2015: Reduced to Sertraline 50mg due to side effects. 
  • Jan 2016 to March 2017: Tapered Sertraline to 2mg @ 10% per month. 
  • Severe withdrawals peaked again June 2017. Totally housebound. 
  • Diazepam: July 2017 5mg // Aug 2017 2.5mg // Sept 2017 1mg // 12th Dec 2017 0.85mg 
  • Sertraline Reinstatement: 23 Oct 2017 5mg // 15 Nov 2017 10mg // 23 Nov 2017 15mg 
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I think JamesF has given some great advice. I'm sorry you were put on Prozac as a child, it's so not right but sadly not uncommon. I agree with a long taper schedule as James suggested, with no preconceived ideas about outcomes or timelines. My two cents would also be to have a robust healing system in place to help you rewire - by that I mean a therapeutic practice whether it be a combination of one on one therapy with someone you trust, regular exercise, a healthy diet, meditation practice, holistic therapies like massage, acupuncture or reiki, and some form of creative outlet (writing, dancing, art, music). I found that all these things were essential to support my recovery even while still on medication, but when coming off it is even more vital. Find what works for you and what you are comfortable with and make a mental note that you wish to heal - that will be the start of your journey.

 

All the best and keep us updated x

2008-2013 - Various meds on and off since age 18 incl. Sertraline, Prozac, Mirtazipine, Abilify. Prescribed for severe OCD.

CT'd several times over these years and reinstated after subsequent psych hospitalisations.

2014-2015 - Clomipramine, quetiapine and Epilum

2015-Jan 2017 - Prozac 40mg (stopped contraceptive pill, most stable period of time)

(Beginning of taper) Jan-October 2017 - Tapered Prozac to zero.

15 Jan 2018 - Reinstated Prozac at 2mg due to acute w/d symptoms

February 2018 - tapered to 1.8mg

May 2018 - reinstated at 5mg due to severe w/d symptoms. 9 month hold, stabilized well at around 6/7 months.

March 2019 - Tapered to 4.9mg

Current supplements: fish oils, probiotic, ashwaganda, colostrum powder, cannabis

 

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  • Moderator

bubbles,

 

I asked the other moderators about your question about success stories.  We've had a number of members over the years who started out extremely young, started tapering in their lat teens, and made good recoveries.  I think the members who've responded to your post had a lot of good ideas.  

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 Dec. 2, 2022: 2.6mg

Taper is 86% 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.

Link to comment
  • Moderator

bubbles, I have some more moderator input for you.  

 

First, it's important that people who started psych drugs as children do a very, very slow taper, as the drugs do change the architecture of the brain.  In my original post to you, I listed some examples of very slow tapers, and we can help you devise a taper that will be safe for you.

 

Also, it's not just the drugs themselves and the way they affect the brain and body but also those drugged as children or teens may not have developed self-soothing strategies to deal with emotional problems at key developmental ages.  So the non-drug coping strategies would be important for those drugged as children are teens.  I encourage you to read through the techniques and strategies in the following link:

 

Non-drug techniques to cope with emotional symptoms 

 


 

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 Dec. 2, 2022: 2.6mg

Taper is 86% 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.

Link to comment
  • Moderator
On 2/1/2018 at 8:42 AM, Gridley said:

 

 

That's great, bubblesbee.  

 

Please don't forget to do your signature.  It's very helpful to us.  Here are the instructions and link:

 

To give members the best information, we ask them to summarize their medication history in a signature -- drugs, doses, dates, and discontinuations & reinstatements, in the last 12-24 months particularly?
  • 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. 
  • Please leave out symptoms and diagnoses. 
  • A list is easier to understand than one or multiple paragraphs. 
  • Link to Account Settings – Create or Edit a signature.

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 Dec. 2, 2022: 2.6mg

Taper is 86% 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.

Link to comment

Bubbles would you be so kind to consider a submission to the Scottish govt.

see my drug sig for details.

They would be enlightened by hearing your story.

thanks

nz11

Thought for the day: Lets stand up, and let’s speak out , together. G Olsen

We have until the 14th. Feb 2018. 

URGENT REQUEST Please consider submitting  for the petition on Prescribed Drug Dependence and Withdrawal currently awaiting its third consideration at the Scottish Parliament. You don't even have to be from Scotland. By clicking on the link below you can read some of the previous submissions but be warned many of them are quite harrowing.

http://www.parliament.scot/GettingInvolved/Petitions/PE01651   

Please tell them about your problems taking and withdrawing from antidepressants and/or benzos.

Send by email to petitions@parliament.scot and quote PE01651 in the subject heading. Keep to a maximum of 3 sides of A4 and you can't name for legal reasons any doctor you have consulted. Tell them if you wish to remain anonymous. We need the numbers to help convince the committee members we are not isolated cases. You have until mid February. Thank you

Recovering paxil addict

None of the published articles shed light on what ssri's ... actually do or what their hazards might be. Healy 2013. 

This is so true, with anything you get on these drugs, dependance, tapering, withdrawal symptoms, side effects, just silent. And if there is something mentioned then their is a serious disconnect between what is said and reality! 

  "Every time I read of a multi-person shooting, I always presume that person had just started a SSRI or had just stopped."  Dr Mosher. Me too! 

Over two decades later, the number of antidepressant prescriptions a year is slightly more than the number of people in the Western world. Most (nine out of 10) prescriptions are for patients who faced difficulties on stopping, equating to about a tenth of the population. These patients are often advised to continue treatment because their difficulties indicate they need ongoing treatment, just as a person with diabetes needs insulin. Healy 2015

I believe the ssri era will soon stand as one of the most shameful in the history of medicine. Healy 2015

Let people help people ... in a natural, kind, non-addictive (and non-big pharma) way. J Broadley 2017

 

 

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