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NeonRain

NeonRain: 2 years out from 14 years of psychotropics

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NeonRain

Hi, i'm new to this forum, so forgive me if i make mistakes, i'm still learning.

 

I'm about two years out from withdrawing off of Paxil that i tapered down on, and about one year from one situational exposure to benzodiazepines, and two years from consistent benzodiazepine usage (the klonopin,) as i withdrew both the antidepressant and the benzodiazepine at the same time. I am drug free for an entire year. The drugs tagged in my post are also drugs i have been previously exposed to, or had other exposures in the same class of drugs, (E.g, i have also been exposed to zoloft, prozac, and pristiq in the "Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor" category over the course of 14 years, though paxil was my last exposure to an SSRI drugs.) For the sake of simplicity, i will spare the details.

 

I am posting here today because i am struggling with a couple issues that the specialists i've seen cannot help me with, and i hope to find resources here. I have ruled out thyroid issues, cardiovascular issues, vitamin deficiency in standard ranges, and other infectious disease issues through doctors and testing. I am debating about seeing an endocrinologist, but have lost a lot of faith in medicine since my psychiatric outpatient stent and the answers for my health that continue to elude me. I have listed my main issues below:

 

1. Fatigue - From what i've read and am trying to understand, fatigue can be a huge factor in antidepressant and benzodiazipine post acute withdrawal because of potential effects on hormones and neurotransmitters. I've also read that amphetamine withdrawal, especially in the context of abuse can cause fatigue, but my exposure to amphetamines was a decade ago, so i don't know if that could still be a contributing factor or not?

 

The fatigue seems to come on intermittently, i drink green tea to help with wakefulness as the fatigue can feel debilitating throughout the day, and i feel like my brain just doesn't want to function on all gears. I am also sensitive to caffeine - if i ingest more than normal it can send me into a panic attack. My intermittent benzodiazepine exposure last year was in part induced by too much coffee, but i used to drink a pot of coffee a day without too much anxiety on paxil.

 

2. Emotional Blunting - I know that emotional blunting is also a factor in both benzodiazepine and antidepressant use and withdrawal, but i am a little perplexed that i still feel difficulty with emotional attachment. I theorize that this may be due to the benzodiazepine withdrawal mostly, for the reason that benzodiazepines inhibit or prevent neurological recovery from trauma, from what i understand. Is it possible that my body and mind are still in a state of survival even two years out from antidepressant and benzos? I understand that the psychological trauma from years of being medicated may also play a key factor in trust and developing relationships, but that is a psychological piece that should resolve itself through counseling, CBT, once the body begins to function correctly again. My other theory is that all my exposure to drugs over the years, (especially in the context of intermittent antipsychotic and benzodiazipine exposure) has caused irreversible atrophy to the neurological circuitry that is responsible for those functions (pre-frontal cortex and frontal lobe?)

 

 

I'm looking for any input, resources, or suggestions that might help with those pieces

 

Thanks,

 

- NR

 

EDIT: I don't have any recreational drug exposure either, all my drug exposure has been exclusively psychiatric with the exception of alcohol on a few celebratory occasions. I have also had antibiotic exposures on three separate occasions in the past five years.

 

 

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Petunia

Welcome NeonRain,

I'm glad you found us and decided to post, you will find a lot of helpful support and information here.

 

Congratulations on becoming and remaining drug free, it's not easy, I know.

 

Firstly, could I ask you to fill in your signature. We ask members to put their drug and withdrawal history in the signature section. It appears below each of your posts and helps us to help you. Here are instructions for how to do it:

 

Please put your withdrawal history in your signature

 

It's not unusual for some people to still be experiencing withdrawal symptoms a year after becoming drug free, especially if there has been long term medication, poly drugging and too fast tapers. What you describe are all common effects which are part of the recovery process and will resolve over time. Its good you've had tests to rule out other problems, now you can relax and know its just withdrawal and will resolve with more time. I will address your specific questions:

 

18 hours ago, NeonRain said:

I am debating about seeing an endocrinologist, but have lost a lot of faith in medicine since my psychiatric outpatient stent and the answers for my health that continue to elude me.

 

Yes, many of us have lost faith in doctors through this experience. You could see an endocrinologist if you want to, which may rule out other issues. But first I suggest you search this site for your particular symptoms and see how many of them are common in withdrawal and recovery.

 

The best way to search this site for specific information  is to use google. Type in survivingantidepressants.org then the symptom, treatment, supplement or information you wish to search for.

 

I doubt your exposure to amphetamines 10 years ago is causing your current fatigue, its much more likely to be your current antidepressant and benzo recovery process causing it. Fatigue is a common symptom in recovery and it can be one of the last symptoms to go. I had it so bad, and for such a long time I thought I had developed CFS. But as I've recovered more, my energy and endurance continues to increase. For most people, fatigue is just another withdrawal symptom which will improve over time. Yes, many of us become sensitive to caffeine for a while. I've had to give it up too, I miss my morning coffee, but the repercussions are not worth it yet. Did you know there is caffeine in green tea? Unless you are using the decaff variety.

 

Emotional blunting and problems with feeling close to people is also something I hear a lot of in the withdrawal community. I've experienced it too and for a while was worried I would never feel normal human feelings again. It seems like for a while, we become overwhelmed with all the unpleasant emotions, and all the good feelings get pushed into the background, but they are still there and will return when the time is right. It can be very upsetting though, when we can't feel love and connection with people we care about. It will come back with a bit more time.

 

I also lived in a survival state for quite a long time, and I don't think I'm an exception. Most people do recover within two years, but there's a significant minority of people who require much longer for the nervous system to be well enough to maintain consistent stability and normal functioning. Until then, there may be regular episodes of feeling threat, fight/flight sensations and finding ourselves in survival mode. It's not something we can fix with CBT, its our nervous system behaving chaotically for no fault of our thinking. Yes, it can still be problematic at 2 years off, but over time healing will continue. Keeping stress to a minimum and living a healthy lifestyle will support recovery.

 

18 hours ago, NeonRain said:

My other theory is that all my exposure to drugs over the years, (especially in the context of intermittent antipsychotic and benzodiazipine exposure) has caused irreversible atrophy to the neurological circuitry that is responsible for those functions (pre-frontal cortex and frontal lobe?)

 

There have been changes, but they are not irreversible. Over time, these drugs change our nervous system. Their effects on the nervous system change as well.  These changes are temporary, but the CNS does take quite a while to right itself after the drugs are out of the body.

 

What is withdrawal syndrome?

 

Also see:  Brain Remodelling (Rhi's Description of Brain Healing)

 

Videos

 

Patterns of Recovery

 

The Power of Neuroplasicity

 

Sensitivity to certain antibiotics can sometimes be an issue while going through withdrawal. Did you notice your symptoms get worse after taking any of the courses? To learn more about this see: 

Cipro, Levaquin, Azithromycin (Z-Pack), and other antibiotics ...

 

Here is the link to our symptoms and self care section, you may find some useful ideas to help manage symptoms as you continue to recover.  Especially read the topics pinned at the top.

 

I hope I have been able to answer some of your questions here. Please feel free to write whenever you want. I’m glad you found us, we’re here to support you. You can use this thread as your ongoing journal to track progress, write about symptoms, ask questions and communicate with the community, add to it whenever you want. Its a good idea to bookmark it or follow it, so its easy to find again.

 

Petunia.

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Petunia
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NeonRain

I have added a signature and I did not notice any significant worsening of symptoms due to the antibiotics, but i wondered about their potential contribution to symptoms, especially the fatigue. if that is not considered a significant co-factor in psychotropic drug withdrawal than i can rest easy about that factor as i've since added probiotics, but still struggle with food sensitivities, requiring me to eat a very minimalist diet. I read Kelly Brogan's book "A mind of your own" and she talks about significant probiotic strains that contribute to gut and mental health, but it's always nice to hear from someone who has successfully integrated or seen results from a treatment.

 

I cherish talking to someone with lived experience. We do not have a very large recovery community for this kind of thing in Alaska, it can be very isolated.

 

Thank you for your response and resources Petunia.

 

- NR

 

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ChessieCat
24 minutes ago, NeonRain said:

We do not have a very large recovery community for this kind of thing in Alaska

 

There a only a very tiny number worldwide.

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NeonRain

@ ChessieCat, then we are blessed to have each other, however paradoxical that may be. 😊

 

 - NR

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NeonRain
On 6/21/2018 at 5:30 PM, Petunia said:

Yes, many of us become sensitive to caffeine for a while. I've had to give it up too, I miss my morning coffee, but the repercussions are not worth it yet. Did you know there is caffeine in green tea? Unless you are using the decaff variety.

 

I know there is caffeine in green tea. I quit caffeine for 3 1/2 months at the beginning of the year, but i just don't feel like myself without it. I feel like i have even more difficulty with anxiety and irritability sometimes without it. Its really hard for me to quit, caffeine has carried me through much of the drugs and depression, days where it was difficult for me to engage with other people, or to not come off as irritable. I also feel like it helps relieve pain, and i have a lot of body aches, reynauds like symptoms of my hands and feet being cold. I just can't find a reason to quit it.

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