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

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Notquitehopeless
On 3/7/2019 at 10:48 PM, MatrixCode said:

will my withdrawals take years? I was on cymbalta for 6.5 years. I quit by fast taper. :( now I feel awful.

I was on Cymbalta for 7 years and did a fast taper as well. As of October this year I’ll be at 4 years since my last dose. 
I still experience withdrawal symptoms (Nausea, dizziness, extreme fatigue, lethargy, digestive issues). 
They come in waves that last anywhere from 1-6 weeks. Sometimes I’ll go months without a wave, other times I’ll go through a wave, have 2 good weeks then experience another wave. 
This is my personal experience and everyone’s brain chemistry is different so I hope you won’t go through the same thing. 
Stay strong. 

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Amira123

@Notquitehopeless sorry for interupting your conversation i was also on cymbalta quit CT, did you experience anhedonia, emotion numbness and depression, if yes how long until they resolved

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Notquitehopeless
2 minutes ago, Amira123 said:

@Notquitehopeless sorry for interupting your conversation i was also on cymbalta quit CT, did you experience anhedonia, emotion numbness and depression, if yes how long until they resolved

I experienced some depression but nothing too bad. Honestly I was never really depressed to begin with, at least not more than the average person. My doctor suggested AD’s to help with a generalized anxiety disorder. I tried Prozac, Paxil and Cymbalta. Cymbalta was the only AD that didn’t give me any side effects so I kept taking it. I came off of it because I didn’t feel I really needed it and also my prescription was quite expensive. Looking back, I never even needed it. I need CBT to help develop skills in coping with anxiety. Live and learn I suppose. 
 

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brassmonkey

Hi Ameria-- There is no way to actually determine how long it will take for a specific person. Around five years is what is most common some times it takes longer, and some times it can go quicker.  We really have no say in how long ADWD is going to last it's all up to our body.  There are a large number of members here who have CTed have a look around the site and you'll find them.

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Amira123

@brassmonkey how did you assume that all people who CT remain with symptoms years laters later? I mean what is your assumption based on? "We have a lot of case histories that give us some indication" how many cases do you have? 3 ,4,9, who are your buddies?? You might be correct that some people still deal with waves years later, but why not makenit clear that there are alot of other people who heal completelty and enjoy their lives and their stories are here on SA and on benzobuddies as well. 

 

I can imagine the fear that someone new to this site who just CT would have just by reading your discouraging  post!

 

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Amira123

@brassmonkeyAnd why did you ignore that fact that some people are unlucky and have PAWS for a long time and experince waves years after stopping the drug even though they do a very slow taper

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manymoretodays

Hi Amira, and all,

Just thought I'd chime in here.  I am over 3 years off all medications, now.......after around 30 years and 30 of them. 

Really feeling like I may have seen the last of the waves now too, with good health and all.  Managing to stay in a good place.

I too, have to work hard with non-drug coping practices, and then switch them up even from time to time.

I stick around, as I like moderating.......I think many who are in a good place now, don't.......they may just be getting on with things in life.

 

Yes, some do experience a Protracted Withdrawal Syndrome.  I don't know that it's being ignored.  And I'll give brassmonkey a chance to chime in, if they'd like too.  It may be that PAWS wasn't the focus of this particular piece. 

 

And, yes, of course, there are people who heal completely. 

Not sure exactly what you were asking?

 

And best,

L, P, H, and G,

mmt

 

 

 

 

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Amira123

@manymoretodays thank you for your reply, i am in protracted withdrwal and experiencing extreme chemical fear, and i mainly come here to only read sucess stories and contact some old member privately looking desperatly for some hope that this will go some day and that i am not permenantly damaged, yesterday i was surfing the forum and found brassmonkeys post talking about CT cases (i am a CT case) and how they are hopeless cases so the words gave me the impression that CT are damaged beyond repair and even if they heal, they might live with very bad symptoms. And that is not what i noticed while reading hundreds of stories on benzobuddies and here on SA as well

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manymoretodays

Try and focus on the Success Stories.  And then, in Symptoms and Self Care, some of the non-drug coping can be great.  You'll see pinned topics at the top, which may help.

You don't have to go all hopelessly positive... B)  but it does help to lighten up from time to time, or that has helped me.  Acceptance as well.  Of what is, from time to time.

You'll continue to heal if you begin to believe that, I think.

 

If you go to the Home Page, you'll see the different forums.

 

I may pop a link into your Introduction now, on Acceptance.

 

Best.

 

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mstimc
45 minutes ago, manymoretodays said:

I too, have to work hard with non-drug coping practices, and then switch them up even from time to time.

I stick around, as I like moderating.......I think many who are in a good place now, don't.......they may just be getting on with things in life.

 

Yes, some do experience a Protracted Withdrawal Syndrome.  I don't know that it's being ignored.  And I'll give brassmonkey a chance to chime in, if they'd like too.  It may be that PAWS wasn't the focus of this particular piece. 

 

And, yes, of course, there are people who heal completely. 

 

This really is the essence of recovery, manymore.  There are many different coping strategies I use to maintain my day-to-day mental balance.  Just as there is no "magic pill" that'll make our WD symptoms disappear, there is no single "right" path to recovery.  I've been off Paxil 11 years and I still need to look after my mental health, just as a diabetic needs to watch his blood sugar.  That doesn't mean every day is a struggle or I have poor quality of life.  But it's there and I have to accept and manage it. 

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Amira123

@manymoretodays i appreciate your answer. But the chemical fear, brain fog and emotional blunting which i am experiencing now are symptoms of a brain damage caused by the drug, i think CBT may work on someone who is not temporarliy brain damaged

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Leo1983

Hi Amira.

 

I talked alot about this on here. 

 

I took meds to control anxiety at work. NOT in my personal life!! 

 

I used to go out to cinemas, meals, parties, all social events. Then i took tablets and CTd them. 

 

After the CT i could not go out or socialise, i was anxious all day everyday. I had all the other symptoms that go with it. 

 

Im now 22 month off and i am still not back to my normal.  I am better but still have symptoms and my old self is not back!

 

I never did CBT or self care or visited a church or stayed home been kind to myself before medication, so why now? Its the meds that have done this and i always wonder is this how im guna be forever now? I just want the person before meds back aswell. 

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mstimc

Regarding the belief you will never recover, I'll share a response I  gave someone who PM'd me a few days ago...

 

Some people do take years to recover.  It took me three years.  I think there are a couple of reasons:

 

1.  You have to be prepared to deal with whatever condition caused you to  start using Paxil to begin with--anxiety, depression, OCD, etc.  For me, it was anxiety and OCD.  While I was doing my taper, I was getting therapy for that so I could manage it without medication.  If you don't use some kind of coping method, you'll be stuck in the medication-negative thinking-back to medication circle for a very long time.

 

2.  Anxiety and negative thinking are selfish, and want to control your entire life.  It wants to focus all your thoughts, all your energy and all your emotions on it.  If you solve one physical symptom, your brain starts searching for another one.  It also makes you turn inward: what about my symptoms?  What about my health?  Why are my negative thoughts so much stronger than anyone else's? You start thinking you are caught in a cycle that will never end.  If you keep believing that, you won't recover.  

 

I pushed myself to recover because our son was an adolescent when I started tapering and I had a job as a manager.  I had to be a good father to my son.  I was responsible for other people at work, so I had to focus my mind on my job for most of the day.  I couldn't afford the luxury of turning away from my life and let anxiety take over. 

 

You need to accept that feeling good is okay and nothing bad will happen if allow yourself to be happy.  Worrying about things won't make them go away or get better--instead it amplifies the slightest negatives in your life way out of proportion to their reality.  If you make up your mind you will recover, then you will.  It will take time and things will get better very slowly, but they will get better.

 

 

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Leo1983

Thats a great post!

However, do people naturally go back to normal or do they have to go to therapy etc. 

 

Is it the drugs that have twisted your brain and it will go back to normal on its own? or do people need to do things to get it back to normal. 

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mstimc
4 minutes ago, Leo1983 said:

Thats a great post!

However, do people naturally go back to normal or do they have to go to therapy etc. 

 

Is it the drugs that have twisted your brain and it will go back to normal on its own? or do people need to do things to get it back to normal. 

Thank you Leo.   Yes, the drugs have over-sensitized your nervous system.  While the chemical effect of the drugs will eventually dissipate, I personally believe you need to adopt proactive practices to restore yourself to normal.  If you break your arm, you need to set it or it won't heal properly.  Waiting to go back to normal just makes it worse.  Recovery takes time and effort. 

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Amira123

@Leo1983 Hey Leo, i know your story and let me tell you what you are experiecining now is not YOU! I am 100% sure that this is  some kond of temporary brain damage that given enough time can resolve, i am not on the other side yet but i am telling you this based on hundreds on sucess stories i read. I am just like you was a social person and had a normal life and everythig changed after taking this posin so i am 100% sure that  the medicaion is the cause because i remember exactly my old self and i miss her so much and cant wait to be her again

 

my advice to you is only focus on sucess stories and let a lot of time pass, i am sure you will heal just stay off everything including drugs and alcohol and you will heal

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Amira123

@Leo1983 read pug's sucess story, it took him 2.5 years to feel normal again, also read irishwill and Aeroman's stories, this withdrwal takes a LONG time but it is doable

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persistente
39 minutes ago, mstimc said:

Thank you Leo.   Yes, the drugs have over-sensitized your nervous system.  While the chemical effect of the drugs will eventually dissipate, I personally believe you need to adopt proactive practices to restore yourself to normal.  If you break your arm, you need to set it or it won't heal properly.  Waiting to go back to normal just makes it worse.  Recovery takes time and effort. 

I did not do the proper effort. I felt that since the chemicals did this to me, no therapy but time can help me.

 

Regarding the reason I started this poison in the first place I think I changed my views on life and my situation in a way that if I could go back I would not even need drugs.

 

There is also a possibility that not enough time has passed.

 

I hoped that 2 years will make a difference. It did but it was not over. In windows it is all good and no need for any effort. In waves there is no way to put any effort towards healing. The waves are shorter but my strenght to endure them is lower.

 

Now, I hope 3 years will be enough. I hope that my family can still find the strenght to keep helping me stay alive.

 

 

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Artistic1

Mstimc - you have given some excellent comments here, particularly with your advice quoted below:

1.  You have to be prepared to deal with whatever condition caused you to  start using Paxil to begin with--anxiety, depression, OCD, etc. If you don't use some kind of coping method, you'll be stuck in the medication-negative thinking-back to medication circle for a very long time.

 

This is SO TRUE!! I found that CBT has been a huge help in coping with the anxiety and depression, to the point where I'm confident about doing my taper. I know that those conditions are still there, but I'm living so much better with them, now.

 

2.  Anxiety and negative thinking are selfish, and want to control your entire life.  It wants to focus all your thoughts, all your energy and all your emotions on it.  If you solve one physical symptom, your brain starts searching for another one.  It also makes you turn inward: what about my symptoms?  What about my health?  Why are my negative thoughts so much stronger than anyone else's? You start thinking you are caught in a cycle that will never end.  If you keep believing that, you won't recover.  

 

Again - this is true. I've experienced this exactly as you describe it. I think it's important to try different things until you find the ones that work the best for you. I've tried some that were abject failures. I've tried some that worked for a while, then as circumstances changed, they didn't work as well, so I moved on to something new. It's about adapting.

 

Best of luck to everyone on their journey!

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brassmonkey

I have never, in any post, indicated that any member was in a hopeless condition and would not recover.

 

The length of time it takes for recovery is different for each individual but by reviewing the over 10,000 members currently on SA and the more than 13,000 members on other forums I have been associated with, several patterns have shown up.  We use these patterns as reference points for developing our taper/recovery methods. One of those patterns is the basis for this post about CT time frames.  This post is part of a much larger thread that covers many aspects of Protracted Withdrawal, of which PAWS is a small subset.

 

ADWD is a very stressful thing. We try to talk about it in terms that are not distressing, but the fact remains that it is probably the hardest thing that anyone will every do in their lives and it will go on for much longer than we would like. There is no "magic bullet" "quick cure" or "fast track to recovery", just lots and lots of time spent making it through a very uncomfortable situation. We can only sugar coat it so much.

 

There have been many studies carried out and it has been found that there is no permanent damage done to the brain or body.  In time it all heals and people return to their lives. No, they will not be the same person as when they started. But this is a fact for anyone who is alive. Tomorrow you will not be the same person that you are today because everything that is experienced in life changes a person in some way.  A persons life is not static, but rather it evolves from one experience to the next.

 

SA is a very large forum, with a lot of positive information and a huge amount of success.  The moderation staff is here to help guide, however, it is up to the individual member to read through and glen what they may.  If a thread is upsetting then don't read it, move on to something that makes you "feel good". For a time that is a good strategy, but you will not be getting the whole picture of the situation and are opening yourself up to disappointment  and frustration when things don't go the way you want them to.

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mstimc

@brassmonkey, this is probably the best summary of withdrawal and recovery I've read in a very long time.   I think the idealation of "getting back to who I was" can be a real impediment to recovery.  Every event, large or small, affects us and makes us different than the people we were before.  I've tried to learn lessons about resilience, empathy, and perseverance from my recovery journey.   Instead of "getting back" maybe it would be better to think of "moving toward" a new me. 

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brassmonkey

"Instead of "getting back" maybe it would be better to think of "moving toward" a new me. "  

 

I would make it a "new and improved me".  The lessons and skills we learn during ADWD are invaluable for coping with what life has to throw at us. Having gone through ADWD there is nothing that life can do that we can't handle, because we have been through worse, survived and have moved on.

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mstimc
2 minutes ago, brassmonkey said:

"Instead of "getting back" maybe it would be better to think of "moving toward" a new me. "  

 

I would make it a "new and improved me".  The lessons and skills we learn during ADWD are invaluable for coping with what life has to throw at us. Having gone through ADWD there is nothing that life can do that we can't handle, because we have been through worse, survived and have moved on.

Agree 100%!  This whole virus crisis and lockdown hasn't affected me as much as one may think.  I've learned how to handle fear.  I spent years being afraid of my own thoughts and turning myself inside out with repetitive internal dialogues.  And I learned to manage them.  No external crisis can compare with that.

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Artistic1

The summary of withdrawal and recovery really helped me. I agree with this philosophy, too....of moving forward to a different me. It's taken me a while to accept this, because at the outset, all I wanted was to "get my life back." I finally realized my life never left; it was just different, and was going to be different from here on out. When I read the part about accepting your "wd normal," that struck a chord with me. I can deal with that without the wishful thinking that things were different. I'm so thankful I found this group!

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brassmonkey

When I was in Film School many years ago I took several classes in Producing Motion Pictures. Several times we discussed the evolution of a film.  There is "the film you imagine", "the film you write", and "the film you produce". They frequently end up being quite different, but they are all "your film". The same is true for life. There is "the life you dream of", "the life your strive for", and finally "the life you live". They can be quite different, but they are all "your life', and unlike making a movie "you only get one take".

 

I started out working in live theater, and training in films and television. I spent many years doing that, and still do some, but ended up spending most of my time designing/building theme parks for Disney. I then retrained and spent even longer designing/building airplanes for the Government.  After that I had a third career doing factory integration/materials R&D for fiberglass products. I ended up miles away from where I started, but by remaining flexible and rolling with the changes, ups and downs I've had an amazing life and it's only getting better. The thing is I've never lost sight of my original dreams through all those changes. No I don't produce/direct motion picture any more, but my wife and I put on an amazing Haunted House every year that has a huge multi-generational following. I don't write screenplays or technical manuals any more, (well, I do do dabble in screen plays and novels) but I do get to write about and share important information here. I don't get to go to film festivals around the world, but I've been around the world twice in the last 18 months and seen many fantastic things. So the life  we start out with and the dreams we have can still be there, only they change and morph.  If we work with them instead of against them we may end up on a different path, but the destination is still the same.

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Alice1
On ‎5‎/‎6‎/‎2020 at 3:49 PM, brassmonkey said:

There have been many studies carried out and it has been found that there is no permanent damage done to the brain or body

@Altostrata Do you concur with this statement?

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Altostrata

Yes, of course. We have to answer the question of "Is this permanent?" every single day.

 

There would be no point to running this site if people did not recover from withdrawal syndrome.

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Tweet
On 5/6/2020 at 11:20 AM, Leo1983 said:

Thats a great post!

However, do people naturally go back to normal or do they have to go to therapy etc. 

 

Is it the drugs that have twisted your brain and it will go back to normal on its own? or do people need to do things to get it back to normal. 

Hello

I am feeling very much better, like 99% better at the 2 year mark. 

The withdrawal craziness is almost completely over.

However, the issues that I had that caused dysfunctional behaviors have been very much there once the dust cleared and have needed to be dealt with once and for all.

For me this has been anxiety, which I had always thought was depression and which my therapist (went to her maybe 6 visits total) said  was of an intensity she had never seen before. Also, extreme self-pity, bitterness, loneliness. Blaming others for not keeping me happy. PTSD from years of childhood abuse and neglect.

It is still a struggle to deal with these issues, but I am on my way to a better life.

Therefore, I can tell you that my brain feels as if it is functioning completely normally. 

But it was never really my brain that got me on the meds. I got on the meds because it was easier than doing the hard

work of dealing with my problems and learning to manage my thought patterns and emotions. 

My brain is normal now. But those old behaviors are back too. I started working on them before my brain was completely out of withdrawal because I wanted to end the need for medications altogether and just strive for a healthy mind and life.

I encourage you to do this, as well. This is what you can do, other than patiently let time heal your

physical brain, to “get it back to normal”.  

There is the brain itself, and there is the mind. If we get our thoughts right our physical brain can be mended. 

(see Dr. Caroline Leaf)

I hope this helps

May healing come to you, and may you have peace on this journey 

 

 

 

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brassmonkey

Your experience sums it up quite nicely Tweet, thank you for posting about it.

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Avrgejane

@brassmonkey

 

can I ask, does kindling have an effect on these timelines and generalities? Reason I ask is because I have been on ADs before and successfully tapered off (all have been less than a year) and have taken benzos in there too - for dental procedures, etc. As you will see by my signature I also took benzos about 12-13 times within 40 days (I actually have to correct the within the first few weeks of my wd because that’s incorrect). I’m wondering if that complicates things? I pretty much fall into the case of adverse reaction over a few months and doc QT over 11 days. 
 

Thanks for all this info! 
Aj 

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brassmonkey

If a person is kindled it can add quit a bit of time to the tapering process. An adverse reaction and kindling are two different things. An adverse reaction is a strong reaction to a specific drug while kindling is reacting badly to changes in the dose of any drug.  Having  previously used ADs and benzos doesn't necessarily mean that a person is kindled, but it is a caution flag that they should proceed carefully and not take any unnecessary risks with their taper or add in any new drugs.

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Avrgejane

@brassmonkey ok thank you. This clears things up for me. It appears then that I might have been kindled - and of course not knowing anything about this with my prior short use of the ADs in previous years. It seems for me that I was fine on the 12.5 mg of amitriptyline but as soon as I went up in dose I had a reaction, and then the dose was increased two more time and had worse reactions both times. As I came down and tapered off (the whole 11 days :/) I started withdrawal symptoms. So I would assume then that my reactions were kindling, and not an adverse reaction since I was ok on the 12.5mg and only started with the panic as the doses increased? 
 

thanks for your help and clarifications! 

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Cigale
On 5/21/2018 at 9:13 PM, brassmonkey said:

The last of the four keys, but probably the most important thing is Acceptance.

Amen to this. Though not always easy or evident, acceptance is so important. 

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mooki24
On 5/22/2018 at 3:08 AM, brassmonkey said:

Although acute WD and Poopout are related they are not the same thing.  Acute WD is a severe case of WD Symptoms while Poopout is the body tolerating the effects of the drug, trying to work around them, and causing WD symptoms by doing so.  The harder the body rejects the medication the more severe the symptoms. 

 

I'm confused about the difference between Acute WD and Poopout. How do you know which one you have? Any help would be much appreciated 

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brassmonkey

Acute WD can happen when a person reduces their dosage. It's usually because the reduction is too fast or too large. The symptoms can be very intense and start quite quickly.  Reinstating a very small amount of the original drug often will help reduce the symptoms.

 

Poopout happens when a person has been on the drug for an extended period of time and despite taking it they experience WD symptoms. The symptoms start quietly and build over time to an unpleasant level. It takes a large updose to to see improvements in the symptoms and those improvements don't last very long. It has been known for poopout to happen during a very long hold in a taper, but that is rather rare.

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