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LostWaves: Few questions about Risperidone

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LostWaves

Hi. Was taking 4 mg of risperidone for two months. Suddenly stopped taking it for a week (didn't notice any withdrawal). Then took 2 mg for two weeks (approved by psychiatrist). Then took 1 mg for two weeks (approved by psychiatrist). Have not noticed any withdrawal symptoms. Asked psychiatrist if it was okay for me to suddenly go from 4 mg to 2 mg, and then 2 mg to 1 mg. She said it was okay since I hadn't been showing any symptoms. I have read that withdrawal symptoms can surface after months or even a year after you stop taking it. I am not sure what that person's credibility was. I have also read, from a .org website that the withdrawal symptoms are mild and rare.

I have stopped taking the 1 mg for almost a week, and I am wondering if I will be alright. I have not noticed any withdrawal symptoms, and I feel like I will still be seeing my psychiatrist for a little while at least. I am also wondering if it is true that withdrawal symptoms can surface months or even a year after you stop taking the medication. That just seems far-fetched to me.

 

Any help is appreciated!

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Shep

Hi, LostWaves.

 

Welcome to Surviving Antidepressants.

 

Yes, it is possible to have a delayed withdrawal with these drugs. It only takes a month to develop a dependency on an antipsychotic. So it's possible you are dependent after 2 months, but with dependency, there's no way of knowing who is or isn't dependent. 

 

Here is some information that may be helpful. 

 

Tips for tapering off Risperdal (risperidone)

 

Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

 

How psychiatric drugs remodel your brain - NOTE: this is on antidepressants, but antipsychotics also remodel the brain in relation to dopamine. 

 

Did you go on this drug for what is termed a "psychotic" symptom (i.e. hearing voices, seeing visions, being in an altered state)? If so, it's important to taper so you don't have any rebound symptoms. The reason you went on the drug is important in us helping you make the decision to reinstate or not and to provide more specific non-drug coping information. 

 

It's possible you could reinstate a small amount and do a more rapid taper than 10% due to only being on the drug for 2 months. If you do consider reinstatement, here is some information:

 

About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms 

 

If you decide not to reinstate, it's important to develop some non-drug coping skills in case symptoms arise. There could be a delay, so it's important to learn how to handle these symptoms so you don't get caught back up in the system. 

 

Non-drug techniques to cope with emotional symptoms

 

Please keep in mind that there is a windows and waves recovery from these drugs:

 

The Windows and Waves Pattern of Stabilization

 

What is withdrawal syndrome? 
 

Coming off an antipsychotic can get difficult if insomnia becomes a problem because that can make rebound symptoms more likely. Also, have you been off and on antipsychotics or other psych drugs before? That can also play a role in how you'll do. Are you on any other drugs or supplements? 

 

Please add a signature.  Include drugs, doses, dates, and discontinuations & reinstatements in the last 12-24 months. Also include supplements. This will help us give you the most accurate advice we can. 

  • Any drugs and supplements 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. 
  • This is a direct link to your signature:  Account Settings – Create or Edit a signature.

 

Please use this thread to ask questions and let us know how you're feeling. 

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LostWaves
Posted (edited)

Hi Shep. Thanks for the reply. I updated my signature. I went on this drug because I told people that I heard a voice in my head. I read in a book that there was scientific evidence for telepathy, and I thought I could talk to my friends in my head (or verbally), like it was a Skype call. At some point, I realized I wasn't communicating with my friends telepathically. And since then, I haven't had trouble with 'voices.'

If I were to reinstate, how would you recommend I do it? I was already on 1 mg for two weeks. Would you want me to take it down to .5 or .25 mg? And for how long? Is it safe to cut risperidone pills?

 

Currently, I plan on staying off risperidone. I believe I am going to keep seeing my psychiatrist for the next five months, and will have ready access to 1 mg of risperidone, throughout that time, if anything comes up. I am wondering what the odds are, that I will experience delayed withdrawal symptoms, even after the five months have passed.

 

Edited by ChessieCat
removed quote

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Shep
16 hours ago, LostWaves said:

If I were to reinstate, how would you recommend I do it? I was already on 1 mg for two weeks. Would you want me to take it down to .5 or .25 mg? And for how long? Is it safe to cut risperidone pills?

 

Hi, LostWaves. Thanks for the additional information.

 

Yes, you can cut the pills. Please see:

 

Tips for tapering off Risperdal (risperidone)

 

The farther out you are from when you took your last dose, the less medication you should reinstate. It's only been 11 days, so you could return to your 1 mg dose or maybe a lower dose at .75 mg since you're not having any symptoms so far. 

 

If you decide to ride it out a bit longer and wait to reinstate, you would start at an even lower dose. The first post in the reinstatement thread explains why. 

 

16 hours ago, LostWaves said:

Currently, I plan on staying off risperidone. I believe I am going to keep seeing my psychiatrist for the next five months, and will have ready access to 1 mg of risperidone, throughout that time, if anything comes up. I am wondering what the odds are, that I will experience delayed withdrawal symptoms, even after the five months have passed.

 

 

You really need to weigh the effects of delayed withdrawal with your ability to self manage and cope. If you experience hearing voices again, do you know how to cope? You may want to read over information on some alternatives and see if you can find a therapist who does Open Dialogue or other similar treatments in lieu of medication. That kind of treatment is by far more effective. 

 

Open Dialogue: Alternative Care for Psychosis

 

Alternatives for psychotic outbreaks

 

You may also find the website Mad in America helpful, as it has articles and blogs about non-drug treatments, as well as information on the dangers of these drugs.

 

Mad in America

 

And they have great podcasts:

 

Mad in America podcasts

 

And a great list of non-drug coping skills in case you do get withdrawal symptoms, which could include other symptoms besides the reason you started taking the drug in the first place. Some people find they experience insomnia and anxiety when they come off an antipsychotic, so there are some great resources for mindfulness, CBT, yoga, etc which may help: 

 

Non-drug techniques to cope with emotional symptoms

 

How are you feeling as far as motivation goes? How is your sleep? 

 

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LostWaves

Shep, thank you again for the response. I am confident that I will not hear 'voices' again. My hearing of the voices, was contingent upon me believing that I had telepathic capabilities. Since I no longer have this belief, I strongly believe that I don't have anything to worry about. If for some reason I do hear voices again, I will meditate.

I am more concerned about developing withdrawal symptoms, that I did not have before. I had a mild headache last night, but I think it is gone now. My sleep is fine. I have felt unmotivated recently, but I believe that is more due to my life circumstances (having trouble deciding on a career path). I also felt this lack of motivation was present, even while I was on 1 mg of risperidone. Also, I have been able to go to the gym, as well as work, even while dealing with motivation issues.

 

I also have a therapist (different from my psychiatrist) who has known me before any of this started, and who I see every two weeks. I am going to see him soon. I can talk to him about any unpleasant emotions I have, but lately, I haven't felt the need to.

Right now my plan is, to taper from .75 mg for two weeks, then .5 mg for two weeks, then .25 mg for two weeks; if I reinstate between the 14 to 21 day period (of discontinuation). Or, I would taper from .5 mg for two weeks, then .25 mg for two weeks, if I reinstate between the 21 to 28 day period (of discontinuation).

Does this seem reasonable to you?

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Shep

This is a hard call, LW. The fact that you've solved your problem with the voices is great, as rebound psychosis is the main concern when people come off an antipsychotic. 

 

So reinstating at this point, especially when you don't have any withdrawal symptoms, may not be warranted with only 2 months' use. While it is possible to become dependent in that time, the fact that you're sleeping 11 days off is also a good sign. 

 

Also, you have a nice support system set up with people you can reach out to should you start to feel unwell. 

 

I'm going to ask the other mods for feedback. 

 

Two other questions that will help us help you sort this out: 

 

1. In your signature, you wrote that you took a very short round of Seroquel in April of 2016 - was that for the same issue as you had in December 2017? 

2. Did you have any withdrawal symptoms from going cold turkey from 4 mg on February 6 that led to you reinstating 2 mg on February 14? 

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LostWaves

Shep, thanks again for the continued feedback.

 

1. The seroquel was for depression. I stopped taking it, only because the doctor asked me how it made me feel. I said that I did not like it, and he said that I did not have to take any medication after that.

 

2. No. I simply reinstated because I wanted to taper. I did not want to develop withdrawal symptoms.

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Shep

Thanks for your response, LW. I'm not comfortable with any psychiatrist who prescribes an antipsychotic for depression so I'm glad you came off that one so quickly. I'm glad you have a separate therapist to talk to, as there are so many options for handling depression without medication (and certainly not an antipsychotic!). 

 

Let's see what other mods have to say because at this point, I'm wondering if reinstating is really wise with such short term use and no withdrawal symptoms after a rapid taper. With a month or so of use, you can get away with a much more rapid taper, so you're in a bit of a gray area, but not by much. 

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Shep

Hi, LW. How are you doing? 

 

I talked to another mod about your case and we think it best for you to not reinstate at this time. If you continue to sleep well, are able to work on non-drug techniques for any withdrawal symptoms that might pop up AND for your pre-existing depression (if you are still having problems with that), you may do very well without reinstating. 

 

There is a risk to both reinstating and not reinstating. The risk in not reinstating is you may have some withdrawal symptoms later on, as we've discussed. However, there's a risk in reinstating because if you aren't already dependent (and there's no way of knowing ahead of time), you may develop dependency or a greater dependency by staying on the drug longer. 

 

What do you think about not reinstating and giving yourself a lot of self care, working with meditation, gentle yoga, a healthy diet, etc. over the coming weeks and see how you do? 

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LostWaves

Hi Shep. I'm doing decent, how are you?

Thank you again for the feedback. I greatly appreciate it. I am fine with not reinstating. I do not know how to do yoga, and I believe I am relatively healthy with my diet choices as it is (but you are welcome to offer suggestions). I will continue to meditate. Considering the fact that I was only on the drug for two months (three months, if you count the tapering), is there any way of knowing when I would be most likely to experience any withdrawal symptoms?

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Shep

Hi, LostWaves. Sorry, we cannot predict withdrawal, but the best advice I can give you is to live life fully but gently. Explore new things but don't stress out your nervous system. 

 

Meditation is awesome and highly recommended, so you have a great non-drug coping skill already. 

 

As far as diets go, you may want to limit sugar and caffeine for the next few weeks. These can be very stimulating. Try to have clean, organic (when possible) meats and veggies and fruits. Make sure you're eating regularly throughout the day, as some people in withdrawal experience drops in blood sugar. Low blood sugar drops can mimic withdrawal with anxiety, dizziness, weakness, depression, etc. So it's important to fuel the body. 

 

And try to keep a regular routine as far as bedtime goes. Basically, the more stability and routine you can have, the less bumps to the nervous system. 

 

Please post from time to time and let us know how you're doing. The main reason we have so little advice for short time users is we've had very few short time users who show up on this website. Very well done for researching your drugs and getting this information early on. :)

 

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LostWaves

Hi. Have been clean since March 14. I don't meditate anymore, but I haven't noticed anything unusual. I don't imagine myself having conversations with my friends, telepathically, anymore. I heard that risperidone still stays in your body for a while, even after you've stopped taking it. I heard that it was 2-3 months. Could I get a more specific answer from anyone here?

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Shep
Posted (edited)

Hi, LW, thanks for the update.

 

I'm not familiar with Risperidone staying in your body for 2 - 3 months after you stop. Some of the long-lasting injectable forms of antipsychotics will last from a couple of weeks to several months, but you were taking the pill form of Risperidone. The half-life of the pills is 20 hours, so at nearly two months off, the drug is out of your system by now. 

 

But it's not so much about the drug "being in your system" but rather, what the drugs did to "change your system". 

 

This is about antidepressants and serotonin, but it really is transferable to the antipsychotic and dopamine:

 

How psychiatric drugs remodel your brain

 

How are you feeling overall? How is your sleep? 

Edited by Shep

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LostWaves

Shep,

 

Could I get some input from the other mods? I remember being told by my psychiatrist that risperidone was still in my system, even four days after not taking it. I also remember being told by my psychologist that risperidone stays in your system for about two months after not taking it. I also strongly believe I read something similar, either on this site, or another one. I'm pretty sure I found the site through Quora, which is also how I found this site.

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brassmonkey

The half life of risperidone tablets is 3 hours. So if you take a tablet at 8am on Monday you would have 1/64th of the original dose in your blood at 8am of Tuesday.  By 8am Wednesday it would essentially be gone from your body. According to studies the effects of the tablets can be felt for up to seven weeks after stopping. But the presence of the drug and it's effects are two different things.  If you're getting the injections it's a different story.  The half life for the injections is 3 to 6 days because they are designed to stay in the body for a long time so you only have to get injections once a month.

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Shep

LW, this from the FDA:

 

"The apparent half-life of risperidone was 3 hours (CV=30%) in extensive metabolizers and 20 hours (CV=40%) in poor metabolizers."

 

 FDA - Risperidone

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LostWaves

Thank you both for your responses. They were very helpful.

 

I now have another query. When I first started seeing my psychiatrist, I told her that I had spent nine days in the hospital, because I had taken between 11 and 15 melatonin pills within 2 days, and then called the hospital. I also stated that my rationale at the time of the event, was that a voice in my head told me that I was dying, and that I should call the hospital. I also told her that in previous years, I used to make threatening statements (not directed toward anyone) as a form of coping, and that I had thoughts of hitting someone (which I never actually did). I told her that I had been seeing a psychologist, and that one of my previous providers wrote a letter stating that I had calmed down. She stated that I exhibited psychosis. She reduced my dosage from 4 mg to 2 mg. This was in February. She also told me to bring my father with me to the next appointment. She also said that she would have to see me for six months to be able to say that I don't have a serious mental disorder (schizophrenia) and that I would have to stop doing 'weird things,' (I think she was referring to talking to myself, and hearing voices in my head).

 

I saw her again after two weeks. She mentioned that I had problems emotionally, based on what I had told her in the last meeting. I mentioned that I would prefer a lower dosage, and then she brought up the possibility of reducing it to 1 mg (from 2 mg). She said that she recommended the 2 mg, but if I felt more comfortable at 1 mg, she could reduce it. My father was pushing for her to give me the 2 mg, but since I mentioned that I felt more comfortable at 1 mg, she gave me the 1 mg.

 

I then saw her 2-3 weeks later. My father said that I get angry at times, but that it was normal. Psychiatrist kept me at 1 mg. She said she would see me in 2 months, unless I wanted to see her sooner.

 

I then saw her 2 months later, which was today. My father mentioned that I don't spend enough time with my family, and that I don't talk to most of them. He also mentioned how I was much more interactive with them when I was on 4 mg for 6 weeks. I started talking to only my father, since late 2014, and he's convinced that the medicine will make me spend time with the family. I only spent more time with my family during that period, because I was extremely frightened, after my experience in the hospital; and I thought that being around them would prevent me from falling into a a long-lasting depression (I did not mention this). He also mentioned how I'll laugh to myself, and how I explain it by saying that I'm thinking about something. I told the psychiatrist that I would be laughing because of a joke that I read on the internet. Father also mentioned how I 'stay isolated in my room,' with my door locked. She said that my behavior wasn't dangerous, but she still attributed all of this to my 'condition.' At first she was saying that I have a lack of social interaction, but then I told her that I interact with my friends. She then told me that I need to interact with my family. My father was pushing for me to go back on 2 mg, and the psychiatrist was going to do it, but then I tried bargaining. I asked if I could stay on 1 mg for a month, given that I agree to interact with my family more, and leave my door open; and then we could re-assess the situation from there. She agreed, but instead of a month, I'm seeing her in 3 weeks.

Additional information: When I was trying to be friendly and make conversation with her, she said to my father that I constantly talk, which is another sign of schizophrenia (this was during the second meeting) [I felt like she was being unfair to me]. I spend all of my time with my psychologist (different person) talking face to face, whereas this psychiatrist asks some questions here and there, and spends a lot of time typing on her computer. In my first meeting with her, I challenged something she said to me, by saying that my Psychologist (who I had been seeing for over a year) did not feel that way, and then she responded by saying that she knew more than him, because she was a psychiatrist, and that he was a psychologist. I also told her that I had stopped seeing two of my old mental health providers, and she then mockingly asked if it was because they said that I had schizophrenia (which they didn't).

She has a 2.4 out of 5 rating on vitals.com, out of 30 votes; she has a 2.3 out of 5 rating on doctors.webmd.com, out of 3 votes; she has a 2 out of 5 rating of yelp.com; out of 6 reviews; and lastly, she has a 1.1 out of 5 rating on healthgrades.com, out of 13 reviews.

I'm trying to figure out if this psychiatrist will actually allow me to stop taking medication, at the end of the six month period (which would be mid-August). If that doesn't happen, I'm wondering if she'll ever allow me to stop taking the medication at all.

 

I'm only seeing her because my parents will not pay for my expenses (grad school tuition, gas) if I don't. I actually haven't been taking the medication for a while now (see signature), because my father trusts me enough to take it on my own. I just don't want to have to keep faking it, and I want to cut off the psychiatrist once and for all.

Also, for anyone who's actually concerned about my mental health, I've learned how to control my anger for quite a while now, and I was avoiding most of my family because they have negatively contributed to my mental health.

If anyone could any offer any input, I would seriously appreciate it. This has really been bothering me.

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Altostrata

Hello, LostWaves. I thought you went off riseperidone in March? Did you start something else?

 

Are you a minor or are you over 21? Is your father your legal guardian? If you are over 21 and not under a court order to take drugs, or if you are your own guardian, you have the right to refuse drugs.

 

1 hour ago, LostWaves said:

She stated that I exhibited psychosis.

 

It sounds to me like you have extensive difficulties with your family, including your father. I hope you understand now that threatening suicide in order to make a point can get you into a lot of trouble. Apparently you have a psychiatric diagnosis of psychosis because of behavior your father and others think is odd.

 

Please consider this seriously. Having once been in the hospital for psychiatric reasons, you can more easily be sent back against your will if you behave oddly in public or if your family reports you. If you don't want to go back to the hospital, I would learn to manage your behavior so you don't make it happen.

 

If I were you, I'd find a psychotherapist with whom you can discuss your family relationships and the ways you try to get attention from them -- without your father being present (unless you are a minor or he is your legal guardian).

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LostWaves

Altostrata,

 

Mainly, I want to get my psychiatrist's approval to stop taking risperidone. I got her to let me take 1 mg, when I used to be on 4 mg. She said that after 6 months, she would be able to make a determination that I no longer need the drug (as long as I dont do 'weird things'). It's been three months.

 

I never threatened suicide. You're misunderstanding. Just forget about that part.

 

My main question was the bolded part, in my last post, though, I guess I might've misled you.

 

Also, I see a psychologist, without my father. What would you want me to discuss? How much time I spend the family, and what I say to them? They're not as bad anymore, it's moreso what they've done in the past. Some of them are controlling, and insulting sometimes. I just dont feel like they deserve my attention, but I guess Ill keep a face if I have to. And sometimes I get recurring memories of a traumatic(?) experience.

 

And thank you for the advice. How do you know the part about a person being more easily hospitalized, against their will? Have you seen this happen?

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Altostrata

If you are an adult and not under a court order, you do not need your psychiatrist's permission to reduce risperidone. However, you will need to manage your behavior so nobody asks authorities to hospitalize you.

 

Yes, we often see people with diagnosis of psychosis who have been hospitalized multiple times, for many different reasons.

 

Your father, whose presence you dislike, does not need to be at your appointments with the psychiatrist. That turns you into a child. If I were you, I would stop that immediately. If you don't like the psychiatrist, see another one. Any doctor can prescribe risperidone, it doesn't have to be a psychiatrist.

 

If I were you, I would discuss with the therapist your psychiatrist's requiring your father's presence at your appointments and why you don't trust her -- or him.

 

As an adult, you don't need to let people you distrust make decisions for you. To unpatient yourself and get free of drugs, you may have to start thinking of yourself differently.

 

 

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LostWaves
Posted (edited)

Altostrata,

 

I greatly appreciate the input. Let me restate, though, that I am not currently on the drug. My father is ordaining that I see a psychiatrist, mainly because he believes that it will prevent me from calling the hospital again. At some point, he decided that he trusted me enough to take the drug on my own, without his supervision. Due to this, I believe that I have successfully been able to taper off, and have not noticed any withdrawal symptoms at all.

If I don't continue seeing the psychiatrist, and keep them both under the impression that I'm taking the drug, my father will not pay for my expenses (gas; grad school tuition, if I dont get enough aid) and he may not allow me to use the car that I drive to school. Additionally, he may even decide to evict me from the house.

I will consider finding a new psychiatrist, and going to the appointments myself, but with that being said, either of those things may arouse suspicion in my father, especially since both of them want to evaluate me during these coming three weeks, to decide about whether or not I should go back on 2 mg. If I arouse his suspicion too much (after he's already questioned me laughing to myself), he may start watching me to see if I'm taking the drug.

Mainly, I'm wondering if this psychiatrist will allow me to go off the drug after six months (mid August) like she said, or if she will ever allow me to go off the drug at all.

 

Edit: Also, talking to my therapist won't really do much. All I can really do is use him for venting or social interaction. My father will not listen to anything he says.

Edited by LostWaves

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Altostrata

We all do what we've go to do. Psychiatrists operate on subjective reports from their patients, if you tell the doctor you're doing okay, she is not likely to ask any other questions. It's very possible that at intervals, if you report you've reduced the drug a bit and still feel fine, she will simply nod, if you behave normally.

 

Please be aware the medical establishment is very, very concerned about preventing suicide. With your prior record, deserved or not, if they hear of any comments that might be interpreted as suicidality or any behavior that might be construed as "psychotic," they will insist on prescribing high doses of drugs This includes displays of anger or frustration or even a raised voice, weeping, or complaining.

 

Do not ever raise your voice or heatedly argue with a psychiatrist, even though he or she might deserve it, or cry at your appointments. They will suspect displays of emotion to be associated with your "psychosis". Psychiatrists prescribe drugs, most are not interested in helping you work out any personal problems, and this one does not seem sympathetic to you.

 

Still, I would request your father not attend the appointments. This is not a good psychological position for you. Keep reminding yourself: Some day this bad family situation will be in the rear-view mirror. You just need to get through it.

 

Always talk to psychiatrists in a calm, even voice. Make requests clearly and firmly with a straight, serious face. You may have to repeat yourself. Do this calmly. Do not raise your voice. Keep it simple.

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LostWaves

Altostrata,

 

Thank you for all of the advice. I have taken all of what you have said, into stock. It was very helpful to me, and I still refer back to it. Because of your input, I have actually given more thought to my situation, than I might have normally. However, with that being said, I am wondering if it is possible for me to have any withdrawal symptoms, at 11 weeks off of 1mg. Tapered off, by taking 1mg for two weeks and stopping. Prior to that, I had taken 2mg for two weeks. Prior to that, I had taken 4 mg for seven weeks. I remember being told when I was leaving the hospital, that if I stopped taking the drug, I would not notice anything serious right away, but it would appear later on. I feel as though I have started to notice, semi-frequent, but small, movements from my shoulders, within the past three days. I remember hearing that irregular movements of the shoulders, were associated with lack of use of the drug. However, I have started to exercise more seriously, recently, so I don't want to jump to any conclusions.

 

Does anyone think I might be experiencing withdrawals, from not tapering correctly?

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LostWaves

Update: I still feel as if I am having small semi-frequent movements of my shoulders. I can still sleep. If I were to be experiencing withdrawal symptoms, and at this point, would it be reasonable for me to only be experiencing these shoulder movements, and nothing else? I've read that for most cases, withdrawal symptoms typically last, around a few weeks. Would that be true for my case, as well?

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Shep

Hi, LostWaves. Withdrawal can take a number of months or even longer to completely work its way out. How often are you having the shoulder movements? Do they keep you up at night? 

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LostWaves

Shep,

I am very hardly concerned about the movements at all now. I strongly feel as though my body was simply sore from exercise.

Currently, I have another concern. I started seeing another doctor, and he reduced me to .5 mg (both my doctors have been under the impression that I am still taking the drug). I told him about experiences with my family, and he said that since I was only socially isolating myself from a select group of people (family, excluding father because he pays for school), but still talking to other people, such as friends, I did not meet that specific criterion for Schizophrenia.

 

This was a big issue for me, because I really do not feel that I should ever have to maintain any sort of contact with the family members, ever again. My previous doctor would insist that my lack of communication was a factor of Schizophrenia, and that I simply HAD to spend time with the family.

Current doctor, after being briefed about my experience, says that I had a mild psychotic episode, and that it was characterized by less than three months of psychotic behavior. He also said that it may never happen again. However, I was not completely honest with how long I had been having what he considered psychotic behavior (believing I had telepathy). I told him that I had only been having the behavior for only a few days before I went to the hospital (December). I started thinking I had telepathy since November of 2015, but it was almost negligible until three to four weeks before I had gone to the hospital. While I was in the hospital, I told a family member, who was communicating with the doctors, that I had been hearing voices for thirteen months, I believe.

The main issue, is that I will most likely have to show my written evaluation from my doctor, to my father, so that I can actually get away with not having to speak to my other family members. For proof. However, my father may very well see that I said that I was only hearing voices for a few days before hospitalization. Noticing this discrepancy, he may ask to speak to the doctor himself.

I thought it was okay to say that I only had the psychotic behavior for a few days, because I literally stopped having the behavior within a few days of entering the hospital, and I've been off the drug for almost four months now, and I feel fine. If anything, the drug was making me eat and sleep a lot, and avoid the gym (actually pretty pissed about that, and still trying to lose the weight I gained). If I were to tell him that I had initially been dishonest, how might he react, and what would be the best thing for me to say?

I remember reading that psychotic behavior for more than six months is a strong indicator of Schizophrenia, but I also remember reading that the social isolation is a necessary criterion for the diagnosis of Schizophrenia (which my family purposely misled the hospital about). My next appointment is supposed to be in three weeks. Should I see another doctor? Should I see my current doctor sooner, and explain the discrepancy as soon as possible?

 

I have also been seeing a Psychologist for almost two years now, and to my knowledge, and he thinks I'm doing fine. At one point, I alluded to the fact that I thought I had telepathy (could have been as early as 11 months priors to hospitalization), and at another point, I told him that I had been hearing voices in my head (within two weeks of hospitalization). He told me to 'swat away the voices,' and I told him I had been trying this, and called it 'smacking the hoes.' Would it make any difference if I had him communicate with my doctor?

 

Last not but least, would it help me in any way, if I told the doctor that I actually haven't been taking the pill, for almost four months? I've read that the longest period of time it takes to start experiencing the consequences of non drug use, is a few months. Few means 2-3, by definition. At nearly four months, I would be past that point.

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Shep

Hi, LostWaves.

 

As far as family goes, if you come from a toxic family, it's best to avoid them until you are feeling up to dealing with them. Many of us seclude ourselves from toxic people during withdrawal. That's NOT a sign of an illness. It's a sign of emotional intelligence.

 

I have two books to recommend:

 

Mad in America: Bad Science, Bad Medicine, and the Enduring Mistreatment of the Mentally Ill by Robert Whitaker

 

This book goes into the history of so-called "schizophrenia" as well as dealing with the effects of the drugs. 

 

Soteria: Through Madness to Deliverance by Doctor Loren Mosher and Voyce Hendrix

 

Soteria is the book that Dr. Mosher wrote about his experiences running a virtually medication-free "schizophrenia" treatment house. He also explores what the term "schizophrenia" is and what it isn't.

 

This is a short video about Soteria:

 

Loren Mosher M.D. talks about Soteria Project and non-drug treatments for Schizophrenia video (7 minutes)

 

While Soteria no longer exists, there are non-drug options even for what is considered "severe mental illness".  Open Dialogue is one such approach. 

 

Open Dialogue - Resources

 

Will Hall is a survivor of this diagnosis and was on neuroleptics for 10 years and he now is a therapist. He is available via Skype and comes highly recommended. His story is here:

 

Will Hall’s Recovery Story

 

And his contact information is here:

 

Will Hall - contact

 

1 hour ago, LostWaves said:

Last not but least, would it help me in any way, if I told the doctor that I actually haven't been taking the pill, for almost four months? I've read that the longest period of time it takes to start experiencing the consequences of non drug use, is a few months.

 

Without knowing what you're symptoms are, it's hard to say. How are you feeling? Are you currently hearing voices? How is your sleep?

 

You may find this thread helpful:

 

Are We There Yet? How Long is Withdrawal Going to Take?

 

Some people who aren't that symptomatic toward the end of their taper continue to improve and improve. There may be a few blips along the way, which is why I'm suggesting you may want to reach out to someone like Will Hall or look into Open Dialogue. 

 

Let us know how you're doing.  Also, please update your signature to reflect that you are now off your drug. 

 

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LostWaves

Shep,

 

Thank you, but I feel as though you might be missing the point. I feel completely fine, and I strongly think I was misdiagnosed. The doctors at the hospital had so many closed door conversations with my family, and left me completely in the dark. I haven't had trouble sleeping since the day I was hospitalized. Also, like I said in my last post, I havent heard voices in almost seven months now.

 

Allow me to re-iterate the main concern.

"If I were to tell him that I had initially been dishonest, how might he react, and what would be the best thing for me to say?"

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Shep
Posted (edited)

Please see Altostrata's earlier posts, as she already addressed this concern. 

 

We have a couple of threads on talking to doctors:

 

How do you talk to a doctor about tapering and withdrawal?
 
What should I expect from my doctor about withdrawal symptoms?

 

I don't know how useful those threads are going to be for you, other than a reminder to almost be calm, cool, and collected when doctor to a doctor. This site is for giving tapering advice and non-drug coping strategies to deal with symptoms, but since you're off your drug and not symptomatic, this is something that would be better discussed with a therapist who has no connections to your family and with whom you feel safe going through various role-playing exercises where you could learn how to better communicate with your family or even, if necessary, part ways for awhile. 

 

I understand you are dependent on your father for your schooling and other expenses, but at what cost? A therapist would be able to help you sort this out. 

 

 

Edited by Shep
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LostWaves

Shep,

 

Thank you for all of the advice. Altostrata previously mentioned that I do not need a doctor's permission to reduce risperidone. How would I go about doing this? If my pharmacy needs my doctor's permission just to refill the medicine, I don't think they'd let me reduce the dosage without any permission either.

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10 hours ago, LostWaves said:

Altostrata previously mentioned that I do not need a doctor's permission to reduce risperidone. How would I go about doing this? If my pharmacy needs my doctor's permission just to refill the medicine, I don't think they'd let me reduce the dosage without any permission either.

 

Hi, LostWaves. I am very confused. Per your previous post:

 

On 6/29/2018 at 5:53 AM, LostWaves said:

Last not but least, would it help me in any way, if I told the doctor that I actually haven't been taking the pill, for almost four months? I've read that the longest period of time it takes to start experiencing the consequences of non drug use, is a few months. Few means 2-3, by definition. At nearly four months, I would be past that point.

 

I thought you were off your drug completely for 4 months now. Were you speaking hypothetically here? 

 

Regardless, Alto is correct - you do not need your doctor's permission to reduce, you only need the doctor to write a prescription. Simply go to the doctor and tell him you are taking the drug and that all is fine and you'd like to continue taking the drug.

 

Very few doctors complain about patients being compliant. I'm sure your doctor will be happy to script you your pills. And then you go ahead and get the prescription filled and reduce without informing your doctor. You can either use a scale or liquid titration to reduce as your symptoms allow. Unless you're under a court order, you are under no obligation to inform your doctor - or anyone else for that matter - about what you do or do not put into your own mind/body. 

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LostWaves

Shep,

 

I am keeping my doctor and my father both under the impression that I have been taking the drug this entire time. I wanted to know about drug reduction so that I could tell my doctor that I have been taking a lower dose, and that I have been doing fine while on that dose. I was hoping to do this, so that I would be able to officially be off the drug, and get his affirmation (to possibly show my father) that I am a normal functioning person, with no mental disorder whatsoever. Thank you for the input, by the way.

Also, I am starting to have second thoughts about the 'movements,' I mentioned a month ago. I feel as though I am still having small movements, but I am definitely able to sleep. I would describe the movements as 'infrequent, yet very mildly annoying.' Other people have not been able to notice these movements. The movements, from what I can tell, are from my arms and legs.

 

I have read that the negative effects of stopping drug use, can surface up to a few months after. I believe when I first started noticing the movements, it had been 2 months and 1 week since I stopped Risperidone. It has now been about 3 months and 2 weeks (I was rounding before).

 

I do still exercise regularly, but I want a second opinion on this. Does anyone think I may be experiencing withdrawal symptoms?
If you think I am experiencing withdrawal, what do you think my options are? Should I reinstate on a low dose of risperidone, or should I wait it out?
How long would I need to be on risperidone for?

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13 hours ago, LostWaves said:

Also, I am starting to have second thoughts about the 'movements,' I mentioned a month ago. I feel as though I am still having small movements, but I am definitely able to sleep. I would describe the movements as 'infrequent, yet very mildly annoying.' Other people have not been able to notice these movements. The movements, from what I can tell, are from my arms and legs.

 

13 hours ago, LostWaves said:

Should I reinstate on a low dose of risperidone, or should I wait it out?
How long would I need to be on risperidone for?

 

When contemplating a reinstatement, you need to weigh the possibility of side effects (and for antipsychotics, there are many) against the gains you will get. If you were having intolerable side effects, such as insomnia or severe pain, you would likely want to reinstate to decrease those symptoms.

 

But for very mild symptoms, such as you are describing, I wouldn't advise reinstating. For mild symptoms, do as much self care as you can and wait it out. Since you are sleeping and other people can't even notice the movements, simply allow them to happen, shrug them off as a harmless annoyance, and concentrate on getting on with life. 

 

13 hours ago, LostWaves said:

I have read that the negative effects of stopping drug use, can surface up to a few months after. I believe when I first started noticing the movements, it had been 2 months and 1 week since I stopped Risperidone. It has now been about 3 months and 2 weeks (I was rounding before).

 

Yes, they can show up months afterwards. Have the movements gotten worse since you started noticing them? If they haven't gotten noticeably worse, then simply waiting them out will be the best course. 

 

I understand your concern, as new symptoms may emerge after a number of months. This is experienced more by people who don't taper. Even though you did experience a cold turkey, you reinstated and then tapered. This decreases your likelihood of developing a severe case of delayed withdrawal. Your taper was rapid, but you were only on this drug a few months before you came off. While it only takes a month to develop dependency, you still had less exposure. So while this doesn't completely eliminate the possibility of severe delayed withdrawal, it's another part of the equation that's in your favor. 

 

I'm not saying it can't happen, but you are a lower risk for this kind of delayed withdrawal. So it comes down to deciding if you feel it's work the risk of reinstating and re-exposing your brain/body to this drug again. 

 

This brings up the issue of possible limbic kindling. By going on and off the drug, you also risk kindling. 

 

Limbic Kindling -- Hardwiring the brain for hypersensitivity

 

So another reason not to reinstate unless your symptoms are progressing and making life difficult. 

 

It's possible you may simply be in a wave. Keep in mind that this is a non-linear healing path.

 

The Windows and Waves Pattern of Stabilization

 

13 hours ago, LostWaves said:

I do still exercise regularly, but I want a second opinion on this.

 

Please feel free to read and post for feedback here:

 

Exercise ... Do more, do less, do nothing? What worked for you?

 

You may find this thread helpful in explaining the trajectory of withdrawal:

 

Are We There Yet? How Long is Withdrawal Going to Take?

 

I wish I could answer your questions with certainty, but unfortunately we are all an experiment of n=1. From what you're describing, you are doing really well, although understandably concerned about the impact of your drug experience for the future.  

 

Please let us know your thoughts on this and how you do over the coming weeks.

 

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