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Busterwiles: Getting used to life with waves and windows


Busterwiles

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I am a new member to this site, but have visited it before. I have been off Wellbutrin for 6 months, after a 3 year course of treatment. Tapering off Wellbutrin was much easier for me than tapering off Zoloft.  I just tapered off Zoloft, and have been off 3 weeks. After am initial what I am going to call "honeymoon period" when I was having side effects but they seemed manageable, I think I am currently experiencing a "wave" as described in the "waves and windows" phenomenon on this site. For the last 2 days I have had flu-like symptoms, fatigue, and brain fog. It clears somewhat in the afternoon, and I feel best in the evening. I am surprised that I am having a much harder time tapering off Zoloft, as I had tapered down to 25 mg over a year ago, and then tapered down to nothing over a 3 month period? Since tapering off Zoloft, I am experiencing episodes of cold hands and feet, which is helped with application of a heating pad. I will also add that my situation is somewhat complicated by the fact that I have had a diagnosis of autoimmune thyroid disease for 10 years, for which I take Synthroid and liothyronine. I have an excellent endocrinologist who monitors my bloodwork closely. I am curious about other member's experiences tapering off an SSRI; and if anyone out there has autoimmune thyroid disease (like me) and also has had a diagnosis of anxiety/depression (like me), I am interested to hear how tapering of antidepressants went for you, and sharing on related topics.

 

Thank you.

Medication History

  1. Prozac 20 mg x 12 months 1996-1997; half-dose of 10 mg for 6 weeks, then stop
  2. Zoloft 50 mg 2007 to 2009, decrease to 25 mg dose
  3. Wellbutrin XL 300 mg September 2014 to May 2017
  4. Wellbutrin XL 150 mg June 2017 to September 2017; taper to 75 mg x 4 weeks, then 50 mg x 4 weeks, then 25 mg x 4 weeks, then stop
  5. Zoloft 25 mg 2010 to January 2018; taper to 12.5 mg x 2 weeks, then 6 mg x 2 weeks, then stop
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  • ChessieCat changed the title to Busterwiles: Getting used to life with waves and windows
  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Busterwiles and welcome to SA,

 

What you are describing, the flu-like symptoms and brain fog are withdrawal symptoms from getting off your drug too quickly.  Dr Joseph Glenmullen's Withdrawal Symptoms

 

SA recommends tapering by no more than 10% of the previous dose followed by a hold of about 4 weeks to allow the brain to adapt to not getting as much of the drug.  The brain becomes physiologically dependent on the drug, not physically like nicotine or caffeine.  If you had followed SA's tapering protocol to go from 25mg to 1mg would take about 29 months.

 

You might want to consider reinstating.  Please do not go back on the last dose you took.  Your brain will have made some adaptations during the 3 weeks you have been off and that dose might be too much.  SA recommends starting with a small dose.  It is better to start low and if the symptoms remain unbearable to increase by another small amount.  Please read Post #1 of this topic:  About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms  Once we have the information about the doses you were taking and how you tapered we can suggest a dose for you to try.

 

I will tell you of my own experience trying to reduce my drug.  I was taking 100mg Pristiq and reduced by 1/2 to 50mg.  I experienced extreme cog fog for 3 weeks.  At the end of the 3 weeks I was unable to type.  Because I have been a typist for about 40 years or so I knew that something was wrong.  I had joined SA a few days before this happened and they had suggested updosing.  When I couldn't type I took extra Pristiq and about 4 hours later the cog fog was lifting and I was able to type again.  I knew it was because of the drug.  I have been following SA's tapering protocol and have managed to reduce from 100mg Pristiq to 12mg in that time.  I have only suffered minor withdrawal symptoms.  I am working 3 days per week.

 

We ask all members to create a drug signature.  This appears below every post you make.  Please update it whenever you make a change.  This is the preferred format which makes it easier for us to see your drug history at a glance:

 

A request: Would you summarize your history in a signature - ALL drugs, doses, dates, and discontinuations & reinstatements, in the last 12-24 months particularly?

  • Please leave out symptoms and diagnoses.
  • A list is easier to understand than one or multiple paragraphs. 
  • 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.
  • Link to Account Settings – Create or Edit a signature.

 

Here are more links to check out.  Please don't feel overwhelmed, just work your way through them one at a time as you feel able.

 

Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

 

Tips for tapering off Zoloft (sertraline) 

 

It is easy to make your own liquid from Zoloft tablets.  You can use a combination of tablet and DIY liquid to get your dose.

 

Windows and Waves Pattern of Stabilization

 

How do you talk to a doctor about tapering and withdrawal?


What should I expect from my doctor about withdrawal symptoms?

 

Brain Remodelling


Video:  Healing From Antidepressants - Patterns of Recovery

 

Keep it Simple, Slow and Stable


Keep Notes on Paper

 

Rate Symptoms Daily to Check Patterns and Progress

Tapering Calculator - Online

 

Patience is needed to get off these drugs.  We suggest throwing out the calendar and listening to your body and your symptoms.  If after 4 weeks you don't feel stable or life circumstances are a bit more stressful than usual (for example the Christmas period, winter time, or job change) it is better to stay at that dose for a bit longer until things settle down.

t is best to make only 1 change at a time.  It is also better not to start taking a complex vitamin because if you experience issues you will not know what exactly is causing it.  B vitamins can be stimulating especially B6.  hypersensitive-to-b-vitamin-or-b-vitamin-complex  If trying anything new, start with a small amount to see how you react and build up to the recommended amount.  The only supplements which SA recommends are Magnesium and Omega-3 Fish Oil.  Try a small amount one at a time to see how you react.

 

Even with a careful and slow taper you will most likely experience times of discomfort.  It is best to learn and use Non-drug techniques to cope

 

There are many existing topics and discussions on this site.  You can use the site search function at the top right, or use a search engine and include survivingantidepressants.org in your search string.

 

This is your own Intro topic where you can ask questions and journal your progress.  We suggest that members visit each others Intro topics so that can support and encourage each other.

Please DO NOT TAG me - thank you

PLEASE NOTE:  I am not a medical professional.  I provide information and make suggestions. 

  MISSION ACCOMPLISHED:    (6 year taper)      0mg Pristiq      on 13th November 2021

ADs since ~1992:  25+ years - 1 unknown, Prozac (muscle weakness), Zoloft; citalopram (pooped out) CTed (very sick for 2.5 wks a few months after); Pristiq:  50mg 2012, 100mg beg 2013 (Serotonin Toxicity)  Tapering from Oct 2015 - 13 Nov 2021   LAST DOSE 0.0025mg

Post 0 updates start here    My tapering program     My Intro (goes to tapering graph)

 VIDEO:   Antidepressant Withdrawal Syndrome and its Management

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Thank you ChessieCat, for your comprehensive response, I really appreciate it. Trying to figure out how to taper off of psychotropic medication safely has felt like stumbling around in the dark with a dim flashlight. I am going to read through the information about tapering first, then read about reinstatement. I will summarize my history in a signature, thank you for explaining how to do that, I don't think my brain is working properly at the moment (finding it hard to process information at the moment). 

 

Thanks again, for your help. I will be back, I just have some reading to do right now.

Medication History

  1. Prozac 20 mg x 12 months 1996-1997; half-dose of 10 mg for 6 weeks, then stop
  2. Zoloft 50 mg 2007 to 2009, decrease to 25 mg dose
  3. Wellbutrin XL 300 mg September 2014 to May 2017
  4. Wellbutrin XL 150 mg June 2017 to September 2017; taper to 75 mg x 4 weeks, then 50 mg x 4 weeks, then 25 mg x 4 weeks, then stop
  5. Zoloft 25 mg 2010 to January 2018; taper to 12.5 mg x 2 weeks, then 6 mg x 2 weeks, then stop
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  • Moderator Emeritus

You are very welcome.

 

9 hours ago, Busterwiles said:

I don't think my brain is working properly at the moment (finding it hard to process information at the moment). 

 

That's the way most of us feel when we get here.  If felt like my head was stuffed with cotton wool when I got here.

Please DO NOT TAG me - thank you

PLEASE NOTE:  I am not a medical professional.  I provide information and make suggestions. 

  MISSION ACCOMPLISHED:    (6 year taper)      0mg Pristiq      on 13th November 2021

ADs since ~1992:  25+ years - 1 unknown, Prozac (muscle weakness), Zoloft; citalopram (pooped out) CTed (very sick for 2.5 wks a few months after); Pristiq:  50mg 2012, 100mg beg 2013 (Serotonin Toxicity)  Tapering from Oct 2015 - 13 Nov 2021   LAST DOSE 0.0025mg

Post 0 updates start here    My tapering program     My Intro (goes to tapering graph)

 VIDEO:   Antidepressant Withdrawal Syndrome and its Management

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I am familiar with the sensation of my head being stuffed with cotton wool, yes. It is comforting to know that others understand.

Medication History

  1. Prozac 20 mg x 12 months 1996-1997; half-dose of 10 mg for 6 weeks, then stop
  2. Zoloft 50 mg 2007 to 2009, decrease to 25 mg dose
  3. Wellbutrin XL 300 mg September 2014 to May 2017
  4. Wellbutrin XL 150 mg June 2017 to September 2017; taper to 75 mg x 4 weeks, then 50 mg x 4 weeks, then 25 mg x 4 weeks, then stop
  5. Zoloft 25 mg 2010 to January 2018; taper to 12.5 mg x 2 weeks, then 6 mg x 2 weeks, then stop
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