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Brainmaker: Intro


Brainmaker

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I'm a 62 y/o woman who has successfully beaten breast cancer -- twice. Treatment was 12 years apart. After second treatment, oncologist wanted me on 10 years of aromatase inhibitors. After Femara wrecked me, switched to tamoxifen. Both cause hot flashes for which she recommended Effexor, announcing "It's what I take!" I'm a heavy researcher and did look into Effexor, but like so many people, I thought I'd be fine. I did not look into withdrawal, because I had no idea there could be such an issue. Even on the "light" dose of 75 mg for about 18 months, withdrawal is indeed a jungle full of tiger traps. My life's research has been mainly brain science, so many aspects of this process are familiar to me. I am livid about the whole catastrophe that has befallen millions of us and the incredibly persistent blindness of doctors to the situation. Even though I get angry every day as I continue my research, I know that one of the best things I can do is focus on the good things in life (there are many), and be patient with myself, let my close friends and family know what this is doing to me (so they aren't scared to death!) and walk the path. There is one thing that I will say is a bright side to this. The attention on all the things that support a healthy brain will eventually win out  -- I believe that -- and I will have "rebooted" my daily routine in the direction I most deeply desire. I want to live strong and healthy, with the good brain I know is still in there, and that's what I intend to do. I'm very appreciative of the existence of groups like this and hope to learn more from everyone's stories. 

  • Femara Nov 2015 for post cancer treatment
  • Ativan one-quarter of 1 mg occas. at night
  • Effexor 75 mg March 2016 to counter hot flashes from Femara
  • Femara stopped Aug 2016 due to body pain
  • Tamoxifen prescribed Jan 2017 to replace Femara (I refuse to take it)
  • Effexor taper began Dec 2017, half dose = WD symptoms intolerable
  • Effexor taper CURRENTLY April 2018 at 37.5 plus 13 beads
  • Magnesium, Omega 3, Vit C, Niacin, B12, D-3/K2, Lecithin, collagen, ACV

 

 

 

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Brainmaker and welcome to SA,

 

Unfortunately the doctors get their "training" about psychiatric drugs from the pharmaceutical companies.

 

Gwen Olsen was a pharmaceutical rep for 15 years:

 

We are trained to misinform (6 minutes)

 

Manipulating Doctors (10 minutes)

 

Interview:  Confessions of an Rx Drug Pusher (51 minutes Gwen Olsen - ex pharmaceutical representative)

 

I created a website with links to various things I have found on the internet:  https://adwithdrawal.weebly.com/

 

Thank you for creating a drug signature.  Please amend it so that it is in the format we need so we can see your history at a glance.  Please update it whenever you make a change.  Please keep it nice and simple.  We only need details for the last 2 years.  Date, drug and dose only, no symptoms or diagnoses.  The other years can just be an overview.  

 

This is the preferred format which is helpful for the mods.  Thank you.

 

A request: Would you summarize your history in a signature - ALL drugs, doses, dates, and discontinuations & reinstatements, in the last 2 years particularly?

  • Please leave out symptoms and diagnoses.
  • list is easier to understand than one or multiple paragraphs. 

 

I'm going to give you lots of links to check out.  Please don't feel overwhelmed, just work your way through them one at a time as you feel able.

 

SA recommends tapering by no more than 10% of the previous dose followed by a hold at that dose for about 4 weeks to allow the brain to adapt to not getting as much of the drug.  This is because psychiatric drugs create a physiological dependence, not physical like caffeine or nicotine.

 

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, are unwell 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.

 

Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

 

Tips for tapering off Effexor (venlafaxine)

 

Dr Joseph Glenmullen's Withdrawal Symptoms

 

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

 

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.  It 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.  

 

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 on the main page of the site at the top right, or use a search engine and include survivingantidepressants.org in your search string.

 

As I said, lots of information, but I really want you to have what you need so you can have a successful taper.

 

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.

 MISSION ACCOMPLISHED:    13 November 2021 -  0mg Pristiq      

Woohoo!!!  Finally off Pristiq   

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

My full tapering program     My Intro (goes to my tapering graph)    My website

PLEASE NOTE:  I am not a medical professional.  I provide information and make suggestions.  I do not provide tapering advice via PM.  Please post questions in your Introduction topic.  Please do not tag me for any reason.  I am an unpaid volunteer and assist members if I am able to and when I have the time.  Thank you for your understanding.

Mid Nov 2021 changed to low carb diet due to diabetes & cholesterol.  Lost 1/16 body weight, BP has reduced a lot. 

Links to my exercises and weights.  I also do 3 x 5.5 min with HIIT on exercise bike with 20 secs/min as fast as I can cycle.

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  • Mentor

@Brainmaker, found your intro inspiring and validating. That a brain science researcher was put on Effexor without being told of withdrawals is so typical of western med. I was crestfallen when a friend who is a surgeon told me that it was crazy to get off of SSRIs and that there was only a "discontinuation syndrome" and that anything past six weeks was a "relapse." Ugh. She also told me that she didn't want me to feel like a "failure" when I had to go back due to "relapse." Ugh.

 

I support you and am so glad you found SA. You must be one tough cookie to have beaten breast cancer twice! I love your outlook, "There is one thing that I will say is a bright side to this. The attention on all the things that support a healthy brain will eventually win out  -- I believe that -- and I will have "rebooted" my daily routine in the direction I most deeply desire. I want to live strong and healthy, with the good brain I know is still in there, and that's what I intend to do." I put that with a few other inspirational WD quotes. Thanks.

  • Prozac | late 2004-mid-2005 | CT WD in a couple months, mostly emotional
  • Sertraline 50-100mg | 11/2011-3/2014, 10/2014-3/2017
  • Sertraline fast taper March 2017, 4 weeks, OFF sertraline April 1, 2017
  • Quit alcohol May 20, 2017
  • Lifestyle changes: AA, kundalini yoga

 

"If you've seen a monster, even if it's horrible, that's evidence of divinity." – Damien Echols

 

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Thank you @FarmGirlWorks I'm glad I've given some inspiration. We need big doses of it to continue this protracted challenge. I only talk to a couple of people about this process for the exact reason you described. People's opinions are a stark reflection of who they are, and I don't want to see that in any of my friends! I just consider this world we are in to be well beyond anyone's understanding unless they are deep into it. The evil side of me wants to see every Pfizer CEO and every Rx Rep put on these drugs for six months and then have it removed. Of course I don't want anyone started on any of these drugs, ever. But just to be clear, I choose the bright side every possible moment, but the dark side is definitely there. Beating cancer had me in quite a conversation with Mr. Death. The relationship I have with Mr. Death now is kind of like someone who is always at the bar late at night. You can count on it. They're irritating and pathetic, but you can always count on their consistent presence. (Excuse me if I go on, I am a writer.) In terms of Effexor, I realized just this morning that if it comes down to it, I might stay on the tiniest dose indefinitely. Don't get me wrong, I want it completely out of my life. But the more I learn about the end game, the more I wonder if getting to zero is going to work for me. We'll see. It's many months away. Thank you again, so much, for your support. 

  • Femara Nov 2015 for post cancer treatment
  • Ativan one-quarter of 1 mg occas. at night
  • Effexor 75 mg March 2016 to counter hot flashes from Femara
  • Femara stopped Aug 2016 due to body pain
  • Tamoxifen prescribed Jan 2017 to replace Femara (I refuse to take it)
  • Effexor taper began Dec 2017, half dose = WD symptoms intolerable
  • Effexor taper CURRENTLY April 2018 at 37.5 plus 13 beads
  • Magnesium, Omega 3, Vit C, Niacin, B12, D-3/K2, Lecithin, collagen, ACV

 

 

 

 

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