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The role of serotonin & dopamine in antidepressant withdrawal


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Hellbutrin, the antipsychotics affect dopamine far greater than antidepressants and even though this forum started out as an antidepressant withdrawal forum,  there are several success stories from antipsychotic survivors: 

 

Success Stories - list of anti-psychotic recovery stories

 

Please don't stress yourself out. Repeatedly asking the same question is making it harder for your nervous system to heal. 

 

I'm riding the windows and waves of recovery myself, but even after 30 years of massive polydrugging including every class of psych drugs out there, I'm seeing recovery happening. It's a slow process, but it is survivable. 

 

41 minutes ago, Hellbutrin said:

I haven't had any fluctuation in my symptoms in the almost 7 months since I've been off, and I'm getting REALLY scared that I might have permanently down regulated my receptors leading to constant anhedonia/emotional bluntness and fatigue.

 

You really shouldn't be actively engaged in anything stressful until your mind and body have healed enough for this to be a safe thing to do. In a way, these types of symptoms are protective - they keep us from getting overly stimulated while the various parts of the brain are in recovery. Your mind and body are temporarily in a kind of shut-down mode while it has time to recover. This is for your own good. Trust that your mind and body know what is best. They do. 

 

Seven months is really early in withdrawal time. The more you can work on your non-drug coping skills and learn to self soothe, the easier a ride you'll have. 

 

Right now, you're feeding the fear side of your brain and playing into the "dark side" of neuroplasticity. Keep in mind that neuroplasticity is in play and by repeatedly telling yourself you won't heal and repeatedly looking for feedback on this, you're training your brain in that direction.

 

There is scientific literature that explores how mindfulness, yoga, and other non-drug forms of healing actually change the way the brain works at a fundamental level. Please look for those kinds of stories instead of searching for stories that make you think you'll never heal. I think you'll like what you find. 

 

This link will get you started.

 

Non-drug techniques to cope with emotional symptoms

 

There's a lot to chose from in that list, Hellbutin. There's art therapy, journaling, music therapy, mindfulness, yoga, etc. While it can be hard to get started when your emotions are shut off and you are carrying around those heavy weights of fatigue, start small, just a few minutes at a time. And then build from there.

 

A short video about how this works:

 

Healing from antidepressants: The power of neuroplasticity video (7. 5 minutes)

 

A short video about the "dark side" of neuroplasticity:

 

Norman Doidge - The Dark Side of Neuroplasticity video (2 minutes)

 

Just a few minutes at a time doing art therapy, music therapy, light gardening, taking short walks, etc. can start to build up a pattern of positive feedback loops in your mind/body. You start to empower yourself. This is the positive force of neuroplasticity. Your brain is going to change either way. Why not set it on a positive course? 

 

And if your brain starts to tell you otherwise, another very powerful technique is:

 

"Change the channel" -- dealing with cognitive symptoms

 

Healing can take a lot of time, but it does get better. 

 

 

Drug free May 22, 2015 after 30 years of neuroleptics, benzos, z-drugs, so-called "anti"-depressants, and amphetamines 

 

My Success Story:  Shep's Success: "Leaving Plato's Cave"

 

And what is good, Phaedrus, and what is not good — need we ask anyone to tell us these things? ~ Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance


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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1 hour ago, Hellbutrin said:

This is pretty scary to me because I'm almost at 7 months and I haven't seen any change at all in my symptoms. Were you also taking Wellbutrin, and if so is that the only drug that you took?

 

Hellbutrin,

 

Yes, around 12 years of WB and many years of other stimulants/ssris. Now down from 200 to 100 of WB and off the other stuff. It is scary, but I think we need to believe in ourselves. Thanks Shep for the solid encouragement.

 

This might also help you - I noticed a few months ago that exercise does something for me, so I bought a gym membership recently. If I don't go for 2-3 days I still start crying to my partner about how I can't think and I hate my life. Sometimes he drives me there and we sit in the parking lot and I'm crying cause I'm too tired to exercise and I don't want to go in. After I do it though, I'm pretty normal for a couple of hours and can often get something done. Like right now. I didn't think of exercise in a dopamine / norepi way though until I started reading more research articles yesterday after noticing your question. Generally, I've been trying to move away from seeing my mind as a bag of chemicals. Either way, this paper gave me some motivation, so I'd like to share it with you. 

 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4061837/

2004: Clonazepam and Celexa. 2005 - 2006: Effexor, then increased to high dose, then switched to Valproate and Seroquel. 2007: Wellbutrin + Strattera + Celexa. 2007 - 2008: Wellbutrin + Adderall + Paxil. 2008 - 2012: Wellbutrin + occasional SSRIs when I had worsened "depression", which happened around 4 times, usually after CT of WB. 2012 - 2014: WB + Sertraline, then WB + Pristiq (awful W/D) then WB + rTMS, then ketamine. 2014 - 2016: Wellbutrin 200 mg + Abilify 4 mg + Adderall 20-40 mg + Cipralex 20 mg. Oct 2016: "Tapered" Cipralex, felt outrageously anxious, irritable. Dec 2016: "Tapered" Adderall, then felt depressed, hopeless, fatigued.  Feb 6 2017: reinstated 20 mg Adderall. Mar 2017: switched to Vyvanse, upped to 30 mg. May - Aug 2017: "Tapered" Vyvanse + Abilify to zero. Oct 25, 2017: Wellbutrin from 200 to 100 mg. Sep 10, 2018:  Wellbutrin from 90 to 60 mg. Oct 29, 2018: WB from 60 to 50 mg. Dec 19, 2018: WB from 50 to 45 mg. Apr 15, 2019: WB 41 mg. May 14, 2019: WB 37 mg. Jun 8, 2019: WB 33 mg. Jul 22: WB 30 mg, then down by around 10% per month. Aug 2020: 0

 

Working hard to take my life back. Anything I say here is as a friend or peer supporter; it is not medical advice.

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the only certain way dopamine won't ever come back is if the cells that produce it die, as happens in Parkinsons disease, which is not the same as "parkinsonism".   

 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3325428/

various SSRI for years

 

20 mg Lyrica 2010

30 mg to 0 mg Prozac 2012

Reinstate 20 mg Prozac 2012

Drop to 19 mg Prozac 2013

Reinstate 20 mg Prozac 1 month later (2013)

Gradual decrease of Prozac dosage starting in late summer of 2015, currently at 11.2 mg/day

 

use of vitamin D3, fish oil, and magnesium at various times

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12 minutes ago, music321 said:

the only certain way dopamine won't ever come back is if the cells that produce it die, as happens in Parkinsons disease, which is not the same as "parkinsonism".   

 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3325428/

Thanks, this is the type of evidence that really helps put my mind at ease. I appreciate this more than you know, thanks so much. I so appreciate that. Do you know of any other sites that show empirical evidence that dopamine receptors recover?

  1. Started Wellbutrin 75 mg IR the end of 2015.
  2. Tried quitting cold turkey in June 30th- July 3rd 2017.
  3. Had severe withdrawals.
  4. Was placed on Wellbutrin 100mg SR so I could taper without withdrawal.
  5. Stabilized on 100mg SR for most of the month of July.
  6. Started tapering on July 17th,  2017.
  7. Completed taper on August 8th, 2017.
  8. Currently experiencing severe withdrawal.
  • Symptoms- Currently experiencing anhedonia, depersonalization/derealization, concentration/memory issues, chronic congestion, chronic dry eyes, dry skin, dislocated TMJ joint from teeth grinding during C/T withdrawal, waves of depression, anxiety, nausea, morning cortisol spikes, insomnia, agitation, food sensitivities, no tolerance for caffeine and chronic fatigue, burning muscle pain in upper and lower back and occasional tinninitus.
  • Supplements- Omega-3 fish oil supplement twice daily, 100 mg of magnesium once daily. 
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12 hours ago, music321 said:

the only certain way dopamine won't ever come back is if the cells that produce it die, as happens in Parkinsons disease, which is not the same as "parkinsonism".   

 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3325428/

Let me clarify a little more. How do we know with definitive proof that our dopamine receptors DON'T die off when we use stimulatory antidepressants like Wellbutrin?

  1. Started Wellbutrin 75 mg IR the end of 2015.
  2. Tried quitting cold turkey in June 30th- July 3rd 2017.
  3. Had severe withdrawals.
  4. Was placed on Wellbutrin 100mg SR so I could taper without withdrawal.
  5. Stabilized on 100mg SR for most of the month of July.
  6. Started tapering on July 17th,  2017.
  7. Completed taper on August 8th, 2017.
  8. Currently experiencing severe withdrawal.
  • Symptoms- Currently experiencing anhedonia, depersonalization/derealization, concentration/memory issues, chronic congestion, chronic dry eyes, dry skin, dislocated TMJ joint from teeth grinding during C/T withdrawal, waves of depression, anxiety, nausea, morning cortisol spikes, insomnia, agitation, food sensitivities, no tolerance for caffeine and chronic fatigue, burning muscle pain in upper and lower back and occasional tinninitus.
  • Supplements- Omega-3 fish oil supplement twice daily, 100 mg of magnesium once daily. 
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1 hour ago, Hellbutrin said:

Let me clarify a little more. How do we know with definitive proof that our dopamine receptors DON'T die off when we use stimulatory antidepressants like Wellbutrin?

I have done quite a bit of googling and can not find any proof that dopamine receptors die off, all i have found is that it takes time for the receptors to get back to normal, like can be seen by following the below link:

 

https://www.quora.com/Do-antipsychotics-damage-dopamine-receptors-permanently

 

you really need to stop worrying about this and think positive

 

take care

 

2001 - 2005 prozac,  2001 - 2017 various benzos, mainly diazapem and zanex,  2002 - 2017 olanzapine or seroquel,  2002 -2017 propanolol, 2005 - 2009 venlafaxine 75mg , forced to go cold turkey off venlafaxine as moved Thailand, doctor cut me off and couldn't get it there, severely ill for over 2 years, countered withdrawals with more zanex and seroquel

2014 returned to UK, mainly to get treatment getting off meds

doctor advised to taper seroquel over a few weeks, severely ill and bed bed-bound so reinstated it, 2015 tapered seroquel myself slower over a few months, was off it 2 months and was too ill so went on olanzapine, became zombie and too tired to get out of bed, went back on seroquel, very depressed so went back on venlafaxine, didnt work  so doctor swapped to zoloft became very agitated so back on venlafaxine

June 2016 - felt strong enough to begin tapering again, started what I thought was a slow taper of all meds,  2016 July Not had any alcoholic drink since this date, 

2016 October completely off diazepem, 2017 Feb completely off seroquel, 2017 March completely off proponanlol, 2017 April (day before birthday) completely off venlafaxine, OFF ALL MEDS 11/4/2017, was fine for nearly 3 months and then delayed withdrawal hit,

supplements taking: turmeric capsules, NiaCel (nicotinamide riboside), Vit B12 sublingual, Vit B3, Vit B6, Vit B1, apple cider vinegar, manuka umf 10 honey, camu camu powder,  melatonin when needed, epsom salt baths, juices, smoothies, 

Intro: http://survivingantidepressants.org/topic/15175-dj2010-off-all-meds-for-3-months-and-been-fine-now-bad-insomnia/

 

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2001 - 2005 prozac,  2001 - 2017 various benzos, mainly diazapem and zanex,  2002 - 2017 olanzapine or seroquel,  2002 -2017 propanolol, 2005 - 2009 venlafaxine 75mg , forced to go cold turkey off venlafaxine as moved Thailand, doctor cut me off and couldn't get it there, severely ill for over 2 years, countered withdrawals with more zanex and seroquel

2014 returned to UK, mainly to get treatment getting off meds

doctor advised to taper seroquel over a few weeks, severely ill and bed bed-bound so reinstated it, 2015 tapered seroquel myself slower over a few months, was off it 2 months and was too ill so went on olanzapine, became zombie and too tired to get out of bed, went back on seroquel, very depressed so went back on venlafaxine, didnt work  so doctor swapped to zoloft became very agitated so back on venlafaxine

June 2016 - felt strong enough to begin tapering again, started what I thought was a slow taper of all meds,  2016 July Not had any alcoholic drink since this date, 

2016 October completely off diazepem, 2017 Feb completely off seroquel, 2017 March completely off proponanlol, 2017 April (day before birthday) completely off venlafaxine, OFF ALL MEDS 11/4/2017, was fine for nearly 3 months and then delayed withdrawal hit,

supplements taking: turmeric capsules, NiaCel (nicotinamide riboside), Vit B12 sublingual, Vit B3, Vit B6, Vit B1, apple cider vinegar, manuka umf 10 honey, camu camu powder,  melatonin when needed, epsom salt baths, juices, smoothies, 

Intro: http://survivingantidepressants.org/topic/15175-dj2010-off-all-meds-for-3-months-and-been-fine-now-bad-insomnia/

 

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Hellbutrin,

My guess is that they’ll resensitize over time. I think the “windows and waves” pattern of recovery is specific to serotonergic drugs and related to how those receptors heal, or nervous system damage that occurs in people who have specifically taken ssris/snris. With dopaminergic substances, I’ve heard of a much more linear pattern of receptor upregulation (and recovery) occurring. Think of people who have use cocaine, stimulants, etc. Those are dopaminergic substances (like Wellbutrin) albeit they definitely do not work the same way (as Wellbutrin is a DRI), but people who have taken those and go to rehab do recover and brain scans reveal their receptors *do* resensitize. Dopamine receptors should heal just as quickly, if not more quickly, than serotonin receptors. I think you need to wait and notice gradual, linear recovery, especially if you’ve been on Wellbutrin for a relatively long time.

 

Good luck.

-Potions

Zoloft 50 mg from April 23, 2015 to August 28th, 2016 (1 year, 4 months).

4 week taper. Last dose on August 28, 2016

 

Mianserin 30 mg in an attempt to reverse PSSD from September 6th, 2017–around mid November 2017 after a few week taper. Did not fix PSSD

 

Currently taking: Melatonin and magnesium every night.

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Hellbutrin,

 

May I know why you decided to stop Wellbutrin?

 

What negative side effects did you have that made you stop taking it?

 

Best,

Ethan

~2008: Started escitalopram (Cipralex) 10mg

~2012: Tried stopping for 3 months, eventually relapsed.

~2013-2014: escitalopram (Cipralex) 20mg, Ritalin 10mg

~2015: escitalopram (Cipralex) 10mg only

~2017: Was dosing 5-10 mg, then stopped completely cold-turkey in May 2017.

 

Overall, a ~9-year course of escitalopram (Cipralex/Lexapro).

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On 2/9/2018 at 11:53 AM, EthanC said:

Hellbutrin,

 

May I know why you decided to stop Wellbutrin?

 

What negative side effects did you have that made you stop taking it?

 

Best,

Ethan

Hi Ethan,

 

I started getting chronic anxiety attacks towards the time that I decided to C/T off of Wellbutrin. I was originally taking Wellbutrin to help with my anxiety, and it ended up causing me more anxiety than I had before I started taking it. So I decided to get off of it before it did further damage. It's a terrible drug, and almost cost me my life, literally. 

  1. Started Wellbutrin 75 mg IR the end of 2015.
  2. Tried quitting cold turkey in June 30th- July 3rd 2017.
  3. Had severe withdrawals.
  4. Was placed on Wellbutrin 100mg SR so I could taper without withdrawal.
  5. Stabilized on 100mg SR for most of the month of July.
  6. Started tapering on July 17th,  2017.
  7. Completed taper on August 8th, 2017.
  8. Currently experiencing severe withdrawal.
  • Symptoms- Currently experiencing anhedonia, depersonalization/derealization, concentration/memory issues, chronic congestion, chronic dry eyes, dry skin, dislocated TMJ joint from teeth grinding during C/T withdrawal, waves of depression, anxiety, nausea, morning cortisol spikes, insomnia, agitation, food sensitivities, no tolerance for caffeine and chronic fatigue, burning muscle pain in upper and lower back and occasional tinninitus.
  • Supplements- Omega-3 fish oil supplement twice daily, 100 mg of magnesium once daily. 
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  • Altostrata changed the title to The role of dopamine in antidepressant withdrawal
  • Administrator

Merged similar topics containing remarkably similar recurrent misinformation about antidepressants, dopamine, and withdrawal symptoms.

 

Your body is run by hundreds of hormones. Serotonin and dopamine are only two of them. A mythology has been woven around them that has about the same validity as the Four Humors of ancient Greek medicine (blood, phlegm, yellow bile, black bile).

 

No emotional state or body function is governed by any one hormone. Serotonin and dopamine are not the happiness hormones.

 

Antidepressants don't do much to dopamine receptors. If you have emotional anesthesia, it has nothing to do with the condition of your dopamine receptors.

 

Be considerate of the staff and the other members of this community: Check your sources before posting "alarming" quotes here from Internet chit-chat or other questionable sources.

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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theloneranger86
On 6/13/2018 at 4:03 AM, Altostrata said:

Merged similar topics containing remarkably similar recurrent misinformation about antidepressants, dopamine, and withdrawal symptoms.

 

Your body is run by hundreds of hormones. Serotonin and dopamine are only two of them. A mythology has been woven around them that has about the same validity as the Four Humors of ancient Greek medicine (blood, phlegm, yellow bile, black bile).

 

No emotional state or body function is governed by any one hormone. Serotonin and dopamine are not the happiness hormones.

 

Antidepressants don't do much to dopamine receptors. If you have emotional anesthesia, it has nothing to do with the condition of your dopamine receptors.

 

Be considerate of the staff and the other members of this community: Check your sources before posting "alarming" quotes here from Internet chit-chat or other questionable sources.

 

 

Ok, so then what causes the anhedonia when you stop taking SSRIs.  If it's nothing to do with dopamine, why do we see classic dopamine related issues 

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They're not dopamine-related issues. The idea that dopamine is a happiness hormone and emotional anesthesia is a dopamine-related issue is wrong. No one hormone is the "happiness" hormone. We don't entertain that kind of "chemical imbalance" misinformation on this site, if you want to discuss it, you'll have to go somewhere else.

 

Well-being is a symphony of all the hormones and processes in the body.

 

Most withdrawal symptoms are due to autonomic instability or dysfunction. Read

 

What is withdrawal syndrome?

 

 

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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  • 3 years later...

I read this (serotonin causing depression) on SA yesterday and it blew my mind. I find it difficult to get my head around such a concept. It basically goes against everything I’ve read. Is there somewhere I can read more about this because surprise surprise I can’t find anything when I search for it. 
 

Second question is do SSRIs decrease dopamine levels because I’m basically  getting zero joy out of life. I’m back on 1mg citalopram having jumped off 10mg CT a month ago. The cit stopped working after 5 years hence the decision to come off. I’m wondering if this long term use has basically *******ed up my dopamine levels long term or something?

History of depression and anxiety

 

Drugs; Venlafaxine 1998-1999, Prozac 2006-2007, Sertraline 50mg 2013-15, cross-tapered to citalopram 20mg 2015

Citalopram 20mg 2015-2021 (brief increase to 30mg for 2/3 months in 2019

Dropped from 20mg to 10mg early 2021 and stopped completely 25th June 2021

Started 50mg 5htp after a week without citalopram in the hope this would balance out my seratonin levels. After 3 days increased to 100mg 5htp. Stopped 5htp 11th July, with the intention of reinstating citalopram at 1mg/day. Reinstated cit at 1mg/day 16/7/21. Increased dose to 2mg/day 2/8/21. Multiple unsuccessful attempts to taper off citalopram. Vegan, otherwise healthy lifestyle, moderate drinker. Other medications; cliovance (HRT)

Other supplements; magnesium glycinate and calcium

 

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  • Altostrata changed the title to The role of serotonin & dopamine in antidepressant withdrawal
  • Administrator
Altostrata

@Kat66 please read this topic from the beginning. Increased or decreased serotonin or dopamine levels are irrelevant to depression or withdrawal. There is no such thing as a "chemical imbalance".

 

Your problems are not due to a lack of dopamine.

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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