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Is it the benzo or antidepressant withdrawal?


alexjuice
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From my signature, folks know I took several medications. I had a terrible time getting off Effexor and Risperdal and restarted some benzos which I've been taking for about 18 months. Last year, when I fooled with my benzo dose, in a period of heightened stress, it set off my worst round of w/d symptoms yet.

 

I am contemplating beginning to taper from my current dosage. But I have concerns.

 

I fear that several of my current w/d symptoms will never fully resolve so long as I take the benzos. But I also worry that tapering will worsen them. Finally, things have generally been getting better )in that nonlinear way) and maybe there is no need to rush anything quite yet.

 

Any advice?

"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

 

I have a benzo taper planned once I am solidly off of Effexor ... about a year out as near as I can figure.

 

My plan is to have a good idea of my baseline ... I log all of my supplements and meds daily and rate symptoms from 1 to 10 ... 1 being so bad I want to die and 10 being flippin' fantastic. A 7 would be feeling the symptoms, but reasonably functional; 7 is acceptable, an 8, 9 or 10 is obviously better. For me, I need a good solid two weeks at stable symptoms which would be at a 7 or above depending on the symptom. If it is a particularly nasty symptom, say anxiety, I would wait it out about 4 weeks or let it get up to and 8 an hold for two weeks.

 

You could check with BenzoBuddies for a recommended taper plan based on your particular benzo, history and current symptoms.

 

I'm on 1mg Xanax and only in the evenings ... kinda weird because people always wonder if I have daily withdrawals since it is short-acting and I only take it in the evening. I don't have daily withdrawals. But if I miss an evening dose I end up in a tense human ball with racing thoughts and clenched muscles.

 

When I start to taper I will get 0.25 mg Xanax and quarter them. I will decrease by 0.0625 mg every two weeks unless I notice unacceptable withdrawal symptoms and then I will hold my dose. This is a dry cut taper, but you can also do water titration with benzos. The other option is a cross-over taper.

 

Should you do it now? Only you can make that decision. My guidance would be to monitor your symptoms if you aren't already doing so and see if you have a stable baseline. It helps you tune into your body.

 

Oh, one more thing - once you start the taper try to keep everything else the same - I know you know this. But like I told Barb last night it is easier to provide common sense to someone else than to observe and follow your own common sense.

 

Take care

Karma

2007 @ 375 mg Effexor - 11/29/2011 - 43.75 mg Effexor (regular) & .625 mg Xanax

200 mg Gabapentin 2/27/21 - 194.5 mg, 5/28/21 - 183 mg, 8/2/21 - 170 mg, 11/28/21 - 150 mg, 4/19/22 - 122 mg; 8//7/22 - 100 mg; 12/17 - 75mg
Xanax taper: 3/11/12 - 0.9375 mg, 3/25/12 - 0.875 mg, 4/6/12 - 0.8125 mg, 4/18/12 - 0.75 mg; 1/16 0.6875 mg; at some point 0.625 mg
Effexor taper: 1/29/12 - 40.625 mg, 4/29/12 - 39.875 mg, 5/11/12 - Switched to liquid Effexor, 5/25/12 - 38 mg, 7/6/12 - 35 mg, 8/17/12 - 32 mg, 9/14/12 - 30 mg, 10/19/12 - 28 mg, 11/9/12 - 26 mg, 11/30/12 - 24 mg, 01/14/13 - 22 mg. 02/25/13 - 20.8 mg, 03/18/13 - 19.2 mg, 4/15/13 - 17.6 mg, 8/10/13 - 16.4 mg, 9/7/13 - 15.2 mg, 10/19/13 - 14 mg, 1/15/14 - 13.2 mg, 3/1/2014 - 12.6 mg, 5/4/14 - 12 mg, 8/1/14 - 11.4 mg, 8/29/14 - 10.8 mg; 10/14/14 - 10.2 mg; 12/15/14 - 10 mg, 1/11/15 - 9.5 mg, 2/8/15 - 9 mg, 3/21/15 - 8.5 mg, 5/1/15 - 8 mg, 6/9/15 - 7.5 mg, 7/8/15 - 7 mg, 8/22/15 - 6.5 mg, 10/4/15 - 6 mg; 1/1/16 - 5.6 mg; 2/6/16 - 5.2 mg; 4/9 - 4.8 mg; 7/7 4.5 mg; 10/7 4.25 mg; 11/4 4.0 mg; 11/25 3.8 mg; 4/24 3.6 mg; 5/27 3.4 mg; 7/8 3.2 mg ... 10/18 2.8 mg; 1/18 2.6 mg; 4/7 2.4 mg; 5/26 2.15mg; 8/18 1.85 mg; 10/7 1.7 mg; 12/1 1.45 mg; 3/2 1.2 mg; 5/4 0.90 mg; 6/1 0.80 mg; 6/22 0.65 mg; 08/03 0.50 mg, 08/10 0.45 mg, 10/05 0.325 mg, 11/23 0.2 mg, 12/14 0.15 mg, 12/21 0.125 mg, 02/28 0.03125 mg, 2/15 0.015625 mg, 2/29/20 0.00 mg - OFF Effexor


I am not a medical professional - this is not medical advice. My suggestions are based on personal experience, reading, observation and anecdotal information posted by other sufferers

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My intuition is there is no need to rush. A little more stability would be good for your system, alex.

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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hello Alex,

 

i think as Altostrata,

 

i would make a break maybe three (or six months if not well) and decide after what to do:

taper only one and slowly;

because after 13 years taken, it can be difficult as you approach the end, chemistry has been seriously changed and need time;

so i would wait the time needed to try delaying the suffering

for anxiety 

12 years paxil - cold turkey 1,5 month - switch celexa 1 year taper; total 13 years on brain meds 

67 years old - 9 years  med free

 

in protracted withdrawal

rigidity standing and walking, dryness gougerot-szoegren, sleep deteriorate,

function as have a lack of nerves, improving have been very little 

 

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Thanks for the feedback.

 

I'm not in a huge hurry and things are still a bit topsy turvy. I am doing better with stress, that's the good news. The bad news is that stress is still kicking m butt, just not quite as nastily. But better is better and it will get even better still.

 

And, stan, thanks for the comment. I hope you are doing well.

 

Alex

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

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

- Zimmerman

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Hi Alex. I'm not going to touch the benzo issue until I'm done and stable with the AD withdrawal. I had to make a decision about this and stick to it. The reason I had to do this is that in a depressed state and feeling really lousy about the world, my first reaction to this is "OMG stay away from EVERYTHING!". And then I'd be afraid of the benzos when I'm already in fear with the AD withdrawals. So, it had to be a decision to not worry or even think about the Xanax until I'm fine with the other. Unless of course, you are having trouble with the benzos. The Xanax doesn't seem to aggravate my symptoms at all. But then I'm only taking a half a pill at night, which is .5 mg.

Taper from Cymbalta, Paxil, Prozac & Antipsychotics finished June 2012.

Xanax 5% Taper - (8/12 - .5 mg) - (9/12 - .45) - (10/12 - .43) - (11/12 - .41) - (12/12 - .38)

My Paxil Website

My Intro

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Well, the question for me is if I am having problems with the benzos?

 

I've had a lot of gut issues in the last year, triggered by stress following a benzo change. One of my docs - ENT - suggested that the benzos were as good an explanation for my chronic issues as any. It wasn't news to my ears. It's possible that I am doing more damage by staying on, or it's possible that getting off from an unsteady footing will do more damage.

 

For now, I'm sitting still.

 

Thanks for your take, Shanti.

"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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  • 6 months later...

I have come off several psychotropic drugs over the past few years and am the last stages of a benzo microtaper. My symptoms have been all over the place, but one has been growing steadily worse over time: severe apathy/anhedonia.

 

At this point I'm wondering if it's being caused by the Lexapro as much as the withdrawal of the other drugs. As each drug gets peeled away, the SSRI component becomes a bigger player, right? My cocktail used to have many ingredients; now it's a glassful of Lexapro with just a dash of Klonopin.

 

How much of this crushing inability to feel and engage is coming from the antidepressant? I've been on SSR/NIs for 20 years, but since 2004 there have always been other drugs in the mix.

 

I've been typing and deleting for 40 minutes. I cannot communicate. Now I'm frustrated and want to go back to bed. But I can't bear another day laying in my dark lonely room. I feel trapped and desperate.

2009-2011: tapered off Trazodone, Namenda, Lamictal, Dextroamphetamine, Zyprexa; cold-turkeyed Pristiq; reduced Lexapro dose 50%.
On clonazepam since 2004, 0.5 - 1.0 mg daily PRN. Three failed (too rapid) partial tapers, 2010 - 2011.
Dec. 2011 - March 2013: Tapered off 0.5 mg clonazepam (Klonopin)

August 2013: Switched to liquid escitalopram (Lexapro) and began tapering from 10 mg.

January 2014: 4.5 mg escitalopram

March 2014: One year off benzos

May 2014: 3.0 mg escitalopram

June 2014: severe depression, updosed to 4.0 mg

Sept 1, 2014: 2.7 mg

Dec 7, 2014: Can't get below 2.5 mg without unbearable symptoms. Doing an extended hold (I hope)

March 2015: TWO YEARS POST-BENZO

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Emotional anesthesia is a side effect of antidepressants.

 

In your case, it might also be a withdrawal symptom. We have some topics on that in this forum.

 

You can't determine which drug does what, it all takes place in your nervous system.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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I have come off several psychotropic drugs over the past few years and am the last stages of a benzo microtaper. My symptoms have been all over the place, but one has been growing steadily worse over time: severe apathy/anhedonia.

 

 

Hi Sparrow, I've read post during 18 mos on benzo forums complaining of apathy and anhedonia during withdrawal. I wish you would slow more on the last of your benzo taper to give your system time to catch up. Sorry to hear you are still feeling so lousy with all this.

As always, LISTEN TO YOUR BODY! A proud supporter of the 10% (or slower) rule.

 

Requip - 3/16 ZERO  Total time on 25 years.

 

Lyrica: 8/15 ZERO Total time on 7 or 8 yrs.

BENZO FREE 10/13 (started tapering 7/10)  Total time on 25 years.

 

Read my intro thread here, and check the about me section.  "No matter how cynical you get, it's almost impossible to keep up." Lily Tomlin

 

 

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Sparrow,

 

I understand where you are because im there, too. Lucky I have a mobile device. Somedays, I look at pictures on Facebook travel sites for hours, just to have something to look forward to. Im trying to trigger any desire or motivation, connect with some emotion. It happens in spurts, then dies.

 

Are you able to watch TV or read? I'm having difficulty following anything right now.

 

This sure wasnt an uplifting message.. Im sorry. Only want to say you're not alone.

 

The unbearable deadness of being.

 

B

Pristiq tapered over 8 months ending Spring 2011 after 18 years of polydrugging that began w/Zoloft for fatigue/general malaise (not mood). CURRENT: 1mg Klonopin qhs (SSRI bruxism), 75mg trazodone qhs, various hormonesLitigation for 11 years for Work-related injury, settled 2004. Involuntary medical retirement in 2001 (age 39). 2012 - brain MRI showing diffuse, chronic cerebrovascular damage/demyelination possibly vasculitis/cerebritis. Dx w/autoimmune polyendocrine failure.<p>2013 - Dx w/CNS Sjogren's Lupus (FANA antibodies first appeared in 1997 but missed by doc).

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I recommend taking a walk in a nice place with your camera or camera phone and taking photos of anything that is appealing to you. Pet dogs and cats along the way.

 

When you get home, look at your photos. This will lift your spirits and remind you that although your capacity for joy is temporarily dimmed, it's not altogether erased.

 

It will get better, take care of yourself.

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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Lexapro definitely numbs the emotions, both while you're on it and in withdrawal. In fact, I just posted on this in my intro topic.

 

Between tapering off of a benzo and being on a steady dose of Lexapro, it's no wonder you're experiencing emotional anesthesia. So yes, it is the drugs. That doesn't fix anything, but it might make you feel a bit better knowing that there isn't something permanently wrong with you.

 

There's a topic on this subject under "Symptoms and self-care":

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/510-anhedonia-or-emotional-anesthesia/

 

Be sure to scroll down and read Alto's post, #18. I found it hugely comforting to know that there were two withdrawal-experienced doctors who noted that normal emotions are the last thing to return in withdrawal and its aftermath.

Psychotropic drug history: Pristiq 50 mg. (mid-September 2010 through February 2011), Remeron (mid-September 2010 through January 2011), Lexapro 10 mg. (mid-February 2011 through mid-December 2011), Lorazepam (Ativan) 1 mg. as needed mid-September 2010 through early March 2012

"Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity." -Hanlon's Razor


Introduction: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1588-introducing-jemima/

 

Success Story: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6263-success-jemima-survives-lexapro-and-dr-dickhead-too/

Please note that I am not a medical professional and my advice is based on personal experience, reading, and anecdotal information posted by other sufferers.

 

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For me, anhedonia and apathy have been the result of the withdrawal (as far as I can tell). When I took Celexa I was emotionally flat, but it felt different than the apathy and inability to desire anything or enjoy anything that I feel now. I guess ON the drug it felt more "cold".

 

I would assume that BOTH withdrawal from a benzo and/or SSRI use could contribute. I assume you are asking the question to figure out your tapering?

'94-'08 On/off ADs. Mostly Zoloft & Wellbutrin, but also Prozac, Celexa, Effexor, etc.
6/08 quit Z & W after tapering, awful anxiety 3 mos. later, reinstated.
11/10 CTed. Severe anxiety 3 mos. later & @ 8 mos. much worse (set off by metronidazole). Anxiety, depression, anhedonia, DP, DR, dizziness, severe insomnia, high serum AM cortisol, flu-like feelings, muscle discomfort.
9/11-9/12 Waves and windows of recovery.
10/12 Awful relapse, DP/DR. Hydrocortisone?
11/12 Improved fairly quickly even though relapse was one of worst waves ever.

1/13 Best I've ever felt.

3/13 A bit of a relapse... then faster and shorter waves and windows.

4/14 Have to watch out for triggers, but feel completely normal about 80% of the time.

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  • 9 months later...

I'm having a really bad day today and I'm wondering if its ativan... I started getting anxiety when I tappered paxil to 7mg.. started taking ativan for around 15 days now.. I average around .25 to 1mg a day .. Never constant with it.. Could this be why I'm feeling so bad today.only took .25 today. Can ativan be making everything worse???

2002 22.5mg paxil Cr for anxiety 2003 22.5 quit cold nighmare 2004 30mg paxil 2005 30mg quit cold nightmare 2006-2010 40mg-50mg generic paxil 2011 20mg 2011 MAY 10mg paxil then swithched to prozac failure..bad GI ISSUES 2011 sept back too 25 paxil .. major GI Issues 1 year and a 1/2..2012 15mg ..figuring it out. 2012 june paxil liquid to 14mg GI Issues disappeared!!2012 oct 13mg..1 mg a month weaning. 2013 Feb. 9mg headaches.Mar 2013 8.5mg, 3/27 7.6mg 4/24 7 Mg.. Made it back to 7mg 2015 but Im not using Liquid it irritated me to much.. Cutting the pills down..Bad GI Issues..

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From our friend who runs a benzo withdrawal support group on Facebook:

 

Kyla Phillip Yes!!! Please stop the ativan! It is worse than Ad's to get off. There are SO many other ways to deal with your anxiety . Please research coping skills. Like breathing techniques, guided meditation, yoga, cbt, etc. As it has only been 2 wks I would hold on your paxil taper & taper the bz, I am the admin of a bz wd support group with 400+ ppl I would HATE to see you as a member.

 

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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I Only averaged .5 , How should I taper..only been on 15 days..

2002 22.5mg paxil Cr for anxiety 2003 22.5 quit cold nighmare 2004 30mg paxil 2005 30mg quit cold nightmare 2006-2010 40mg-50mg generic paxil 2011 20mg 2011 MAY 10mg paxil then swithched to prozac failure..bad GI ISSUES 2011 sept back too 25 paxil .. major GI Issues 1 year and a 1/2..2012 15mg ..figuring it out. 2012 june paxil liquid to 14mg GI Issues disappeared!!2012 oct 13mg..1 mg a month weaning. 2013 Feb. 9mg headaches.Mar 2013 8.5mg, 3/27 7.6mg 4/24 7 Mg.. Made it back to 7mg 2015 but Im not using Liquid it irritated me to much.. Cutting the pills down..Bad GI Issues..

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  • Altostrata changed the title to Is it the benzo or antidepressant withdrawal?
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