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KMart95

KMart95: a life free of antidepressants

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KMart95

Hi ! I'm Kaitlin & i'm new here. I'm 23 years old living in Canada. I started taking Celexa when I was 14 years old to help me cope with depression and anxiety. When I was 20 I decided I no longer wanted to be on antidepressants and quit cold turkey, completely unaware of what the consequences would be. I suffered tremendously for months with crying spells, panic attacks, disassociation, irritability, nausea, vomiting, etc until I finally reinstated. The next couple of years I tried to stop taking Celexa four times, each time trying a slower and smaller taper to no avail. Cutting the pills to exact dose was impossible. A week after I hit 0mg I would go into full on withdrawal once again until I would reinstate.

 

Fast forward to August 2018, over a year since my last attempt at weaning and reinstatement, I started having debilitating panic attacks and sucicidal thoughts that had me going to the ER weekly. I assumed the Celexa had stopped working and my doctor recommended I try Prozac.

 

I started taking Prozac mid August of 2018 and gradually made my way up to 15mg. I noticed every time I took this medication I had unimaginable sinus pain, sneezing, sore throat and congestion. It became so bad that after only 4 weeks I decided I would try to wean off. 

 

I got Prozac in liquid form and slowly tapered down by 1mg at a time. When I reached 5mg I started having extremely severe tension headaches and occasional ringing and rushing sounds in my head. 

 

Currently I am at 4mg, dropping by 1mg every 2 weeks (minimum depending on symptoms.) I am doing okay however the headaches are making it extremely difficult to cope. I started taking magnesium oxide and omega 3 which had helped significantly, however I ended up in the hospital with severe chest pain when I take a deep breath or move, which has yet to go away, so I am too afraid to take the supplements again out of fear they may have caused the problem.

 

So that is where i'm at right now. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Is an extremely slow taper necessary with Prozac due to the long half life? 

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SkyBlue

Hello K and welcome to SA. Glad to have you here.

 

Please create a brief signature, organized chronologically, with your drug history and changes, including months and years (you can cut and paste from the info you provided above): https://www.survivingantidepressants.org/topic/18343-please-put-your-withdrawal-history-in-your-signature/

 

So you started the Prozac mid-August 2018? And it gave you bad sinus pain, and other symptoms, and you tried to wean off and are having trouble. That's really frustrating. You were smart to get liquid Prozac, as that will allow you flexibility in tapering at your own chosen rate. (1mg at a time still might be pretty fast, and I'm wondering if a recent drug changes have made you sensitized to any further changes).

 

You're correct that Prozac has a long half-life--I think the most important factor here, though, is possible adverse reaction and/or sensitivity. Here is some more info: https://www.survivingantidepressants.org/topic/759-tips-for-tapering-off-prozac-fluoxetine/

 

Also, while supplements can be helpful (and you tried magnesium and fish oil, which are the only ones we recommend), I think it was wise to stop those for now.

 

I need to check with the other moderators to see what the best way to proceed is, since you've been on Prozac such a short time but have also been having bad reactions to tapering it.

 

So please do the drug signature and we'll be in touch soon.

 

How are you doing right now? That reminds me--please keep daily notes of your symptom pattern on paper.

 

Again, welcome. 

Edited by SkyBlue
spaces

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SkyBlue
On 9/21/2018 at 1:11 AM, KMart95 said:

I assumed the Celexa had stopped working and my doctor recommended I try Prozac.

 

Had you been taking Celexa right up until August and then your doctor switched you over to Prozac?

 

What dosage had you been taking right before stopping (switching over)?

 

It's possible that what you're experiencing is Celexa withdrawal. Reinstating a small dose of Celexa may help alleviate your symptoms. Please don't make any changes yet, but read the first post in this thread: https://www.survivingantidepressants.org/topic/7562-about-reinstating-and-stabilizing-to-reduce-withdrawal-symptoms/

 

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Altostrata
On 9/20/2018 at 11:11 PM, KMart95 said:

I started taking Prozac mid August of 2018 and gradually made my way up to 15mg. I noticed every time I took this medication I had unimaginable sinus pain, sneezing, sore throat and congestion. It became so bad that after only 4 weeks I decided I would try to wean off. 

 

I got Prozac in liquid form and slowly tapered down by 1mg at a time. When I reached 5mg I started having extremely severe tension headaches and occasional ringing and rushing sounds in my head. 

 

Currently I am at 4mg, dropping by 1mg every 2 weeks (minimum depending on symptoms.) I am doing okay however the headaches are making it extremely difficult to cope. I started taking magnesium oxide and omega 3

 

Welcome, K. Do you still have sinus pain, sneezing, sore throat and congestion?

 

On 9/20/2018 at 11:11 PM, KMart95 said:

I ended up in the hospital with severe chest pain when I take a deep breath or move, which has yet to go away, so I am too afraid to take the supplements again out of fear they may have caused the problem.

 

Since you stopped magnesium and fish oil, has this reaction stopped?

 

It sounds to me like you're possibly allergic to Prozac, and you might have Celexa withdrawal.

 

SkyBlue asked the right questions, please answer them and we'll try to figure something out for you.

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KMart95

Thank you Altostrata ! 

The cold-like symptoms have improved significantly since writing this post. I am now at day 6 on 4mg and most days I am completely fine. I do get a sore throat and cough some evenings, and mild sinus pain but it's not nearly as unbareable as it was. 

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KMart95

It turns out I had a tear in my pectoral muscle that has now almost completely healed. I had a headache a few days ago so I decided to try the fish oil again, only half a tsp this time, and I was fine. I have now been taking both fish oil and magnesium when I need them with no issues, which I am thankful for because they help a lot. 

 

As for the Prozac, I also feel like I may be allergic to it. It's only after I take a dose every evening that I start feeling these cold-like symptoms. My doctor doesn't seem to agree. 

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Altostrata

Magnesium citrate or magnesium glycinate in small doses throughout the day are going to be more effective.

 

Do your symptoms follow any daily pattern?  Please keep daily notes on paper about your symptoms, when you take your drugs, and their dosages. Use a simple list format with time of day on the left and notation (symptom, drug and dosage) on the right.

 

How are the headaches? Are they worse any particular time of day?

 

How did you feel after you reduced from 5mg to 1mg? When was that?

 

You need a new doctor. Almost every drug, including Prozac, has a warning on it about allergic reactions. Also, if I were you, I'd get a prescription for liquid Celexa, so you can cross-taper off Prozac more quickly. Allergic reactions are not good.

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wanttosurvive

Hi Kaitlin,

 

Welcome, glad you are here. You will be fine, don't worry. The moderators are so knowledgable, they will help you.

 

I have allergic rhinitis maybe for the last 25 years of my life, I know it very well. But in wd I have also developed a kind of symptom just like alllergic rhinitis, but it is not allergy, it is the manifestation of edema and inflammation in the nasopharyngeal area. It is wd induced. In addition, it is not the exacerbation of allergy. I know there are lots people whose allergic symptoms get worsened during wd, but fortunately I have not observed it in my case. As you have described what I experience is sinus pain, nasal congestion, ear pressure, jaw pressure, sore throat, hoarseness and flegma. I feel like there is constant obstruction in my sinuses and throat. Also it mimics infection. 

 

I do not know what you experience is whether allergy or wd induced congestion. But if it is allergy, you will also have other symptoms of allergy, also why it is only in this area. If a drug causes allergy, the person gets other symptoms all over his body, like itching, hives, respiratory difficulty...

 

Hugs, 

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KMart95

I'm now at day 5 on 3mg, i'm going to go slower from this point on as i've only been doing 7-10 days at each dose increase. The headaches have subsided significantly, however i've now developed massive itchy hives on my body out of nowhere. It's like i'm having some sort of crazy histamine reaction all the time. The past few days i've also started having bad acid reflux and bloating. I really want to tough it out, and to be honest I can't imagine putting Celexa back in my body because it made me so sick for 8 years. I'm still functioning and not dealing with debilitating withdrawal, but the issues at this point are definitely unpleasant. 

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KMart95

Has anyone developed high blood pressure symptoms whilst tapering off an SRRI or after stopping? I am currently on a very low dose of Prozac and have some days where my heart pounds, especially upon standing, and also a very heavy feeling in my head that makes me feel disoriented and unable to focus.

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ChessieCat

Please create your drug signature as previously requested.  This will appear below every post you make and allow members and mods to see your drug history at a glance.  Thank you.  Account Settings – Create or Edit a signature

 

On 9/25/2018 at 6:50 AM, SkyBlue said:

Please create a brief signature, organized chronologically, with your drug history and changes, including months and years (you can cut and paste from the info you provided above): https://www.survivingantidepressants.org/topic/18343-please-put-your-withdrawal-history-in-your-signature/

 

irregular-heartbeats-palpitations-tachycardia-bradycardia

 

 

Dr Joseph Glenmullen's WD Symptoms Checklist

 

 

On 5/5/2011 at 8:08 AM, Altostrata said:

I'm not sure I have withdrawal symptoms. What are they?

 

When you withdraw from a neurologically active medication, your nervous system has to adjust back to a normal state. While it is adjusting, you experience withdrawal symptoms.

 

The autonomic nervous system, which controls the "automatic" functions of the body, is strongly affected. This is one reason withdrawal symptoms are so various.

 

Withdrawal symptoms can include:

- Electrical feelings in the head or "brain zaps"

- Surges of anxiety, agitation, or excitation

- Hypomania or mania

- Inability to concentrate

- Disorientation

- Dizziness

- Diarrhea

- Sensitivity to light or sound

- Nausea

- Waves of fear or weepy melancholia

- Sleep problems

 

These might help you to understand what is happening:

 

Brain Remodelling


Video:  Healing From Antidepressants - Patterns of Recovery

 

 

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ChessieCat

Windows and Waves Pattern of Stabilization

 

Unfortunately discomfort is fairly likely during tapering so it is a good idea to learn and use non-drug ways to get through the tough times:

 

non-drug-techniques-to-cope

 

Acceptance

 

Audio:  First Aid for Panic (4 minutes)
 

 

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KMart95

Thank you everyone for the advice.

 

I have referred back to this website several times when I need answers. I am currently on day 12 of 1.5mg liquid Prozac. When I reached 2mg of Prozac I started to notice withdrawal so I am now holding longer as I get close to the end. 

 

It turns out I have PMDD (Pre-Menstrural Dysphoric Disorder) a more severe form of PMS. Antidrepressants seem to have been asking this issue and now without their help I suffer greatly ever 21 days. During this time it is often hard to tell the difference between withdrawal and PMS.

 

My current symptoms that I do know are withdrawal are:

-Major mood swings that last the first week of each dose change and then subside. Mostly extreme anger but also a bit of crying. 

-Severe tension headaches a few days a week that are no longer helped by omega 3 and magnesium.

-Cloudy, very yellow urine.

-INSOMNIA.. I cannot sleep at night whatsoever and this is making the healing process more difficult.

-Histamine intolerance. I seem to be releasing a lot of histamine and if I eat any high histamine foods I get bad sinus pain and stuffy nose. 

-Pounding heartbeat the first 5-7 days of a dose change, mostly at night.

 

These things suck but they are all tolerable thus far which is why I haven't chosen to reinstate, however I am going much slower now to ensure they don't get any worse. The only time I feel like i'm going to die is during PMS .. combined with the withdrawal symptoms it is really bad. I hope this will improve when i'm fully off the Prozac. 

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ChessieCat

How were you feeling when you were on 10mg Prozac?

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KMart95

@ChessieCat good for less than a week and then I got such bad brain fog and confusion I couldn't function. then came the strange allergy-like symptoms. I don't think it was a good one for me.

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ChessieCat

Did you make a reduction of the Prozac dose at the time things got worse?

 

Are you able to provide a list of the dates and the doses when you made the Prozac reductions?  If so, please post them in your next reply.

 

Did you cross taper from Celexa by taking Celexa and Prozac at the same time (ie reducing Celexa and increasing the Prozac)?  If yes, please provide those dates and doses too.  Thank you. Noticed signature info after posting

 

Do you have any Celexa left?

 

I've asked the other mods for their thoughts on your situation.

 

Edited by ChessieCat

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KMart95

@ChessieCat yes I did, I was so miserable when I got up to 15mg that I cut back down to 10mg and so on. 

 

•10mg Aug 13-22

•15mg Aug 23-Sept 2

•10mg Sept 3-Sept 9

•9mg Sept 11-12

•5mg Sept 13-19

•4mg Sept 20-26

•3mg Sept 27-Oct 6

•2mg Oct 7-Oct 20

•1.5mg Oct 21-Present

 

I believe I do have Celexa left. I switched to Prozac because I suddenly started having extreme panic attacks and suicidal thoughts everyday and was in the ER constantly. I assumed to Celexa had stopped doing it's job so I wasn't in a position to taper the Celexa at the time but i'm sure it would have helped rather than a straight switch.

 

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ChessieCat

Have you kept any symptoms notes at all for the time you've been taking Prozac?  If you have, they may be helpful.  Even if you can provide dates of when things improved or worsened.

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KMart95

@ChessieCat just mental notes. not much to note other than that I started to notice withdrawal symptoms at 2.5mg, before that I felt fine. I will start keeping track on paper.

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ChessieCat
2 minutes ago, KMart95 said:

started to notice withdrawal symptoms at 2.5mg

 

33 minutes ago, KMart95 said:

•3mg Sept 27-Oct 6

•2mg Oct 7-Oct 20

•1.5mg Oct 21-Present

 

Your list doesn't show 2.5mg dose.

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SkyBlue
7 hours ago, KMart95 said:

It turns out I have PMDD (Pre-Menstrural Dysphoric Disorder) a more severe form of PMS. Antidrepressants seem to have been asking this issue and now without their help I suffer greatly ever 21 days. During this time it is often hard to tell the difference between withdrawal and PMS.

 

 

It is extremely likely that the withdrawal caused the symptoms of pmdd. That is what has been true for me. My waves are 90% hormone-related. The reason it's difficult to distinguish pmdd and withdrawal is that they are one and the same.

 

I hope it is comforting to know that it is not likely that a person's hormones suddenly go completely haywire for no reason. It is because of withdrawal. The idea that ssri have been "masking" some kind of underlying condition is a major myth and the reason why many people stay on them, thinking they need them.

 

Regardless, the main thing is to stay safe during that time. If it helps, I can completely understand what you are going through. I have many of your same symptoms, and the worst, of course, is feeling very very suicidal. I've had to put together a major arsenal of coping strategies, including asking people to remind me what I know is true, and that this really isn't me (because I really can't see for myself during that time). It's beyond difficult and I send you solidarity and strength.

 

I've found that beyond my usual routine of self-care and rest during that time, the main thing that helps is time--until I get beyond that range of days.

 

Please know what you've been trying that works or at least helps. ❤️ You are not alone.

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KMart95

@SkyBlue thank you so much for taking the type to write that post. it's a scary situation and new territory for me. i'm now going to be starting a new journey of learning how to cope naturally. all I want is to function like a normal human being and not spend a week out of every month feeling like i'm quite literally going to die.

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SkyBlue

You're very welcome, KM. ❤️

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Altostrata

KM, have the hives, etc., gone away? Are symptoms worse at any particular time of day?

 

Please keep daily notes on paper about your symptoms, when you take your drugs, and their dosages. Use a simple list format with time of day on the left and notation (symptom, drug and dosage) on the right.

 

If I were you, I'd stop tapering Prozac for the time being, you're getting withdrawal symptoms. Let your nervous system settle down for at least a couple of months.

 

As Chessie was implying, depending on your symptom pattern, Celexa might be a better choice for you.

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KMart95

@Altostrata for the most part yes. I get itchy occasionally but no hives. 

 

Unfortunately I am experiencing pretty bad withdrawal. I was hopeful I could beat it and had gone slow enough since the half life is so long but yesterday and today (Sunday) I have been miserable, stuck in bed. Current symptoms that have arisen are extreme fatigue, full body flushing, continued tension headaches, severe nausea, occasional diarrhea and a crampy acidic stomach. I spent all day yesterday crying and I thought it was PMS but no relief today. From here on out I will be keeping an hourly list of symptoms as you suggested. Going to stop tapering for the rest of the month and hopefully won't have to reinstate.

 

But isn't the goal to be off antidepressants? I may be wrong but I thought that's what we are advocating for here. I switched from Celexa to Prozac because Celexa never did anything for my depression or anxiety and stopped working completely this August after 8 years on it. 

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Altostrata

If you want to go off psychiatric drugs, we think the goal is to go off with the least discomfort possible. It's not a race, it takes as long as it takes.

 

Please stop tapering for now, your nervous system is saying it needs to catch up to the new lower dosage. If symptoms get worse, you may wish to update updose a little, maybe even 0.25mg. This can help.

 

Please let us know how you're doing.

 

Edited by ChessieCat
corrected error (auto correct?)

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KMart95

@Altostrata I completely agree. This isn't my first time trying , I guess i'm just determined because i'm unable to work or go to school and i'm only 23. But i'm completely aware that slow is the way to go. Thank you for your help, i'll keep you posted.

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KMart95

Just checking in! 

 

I'm currently at day 11 of 1mg. I am doing great aside from stomach cramping which I expected. SSRIs definitely kept my IBS and other digestive issues in check so it's been difficult to navigate without it. A bland diet helps a little. 

 

@SkyBlue My naturopath and I decided to finally try to take me off birth control and I feel a world of difference. I'm only in the early stages but much less PMS and more energy than I can ever remember having. 

 

Aiming to be off Prozac completely by Dec 22nd .. will keep updating if anything changes .

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KMart95

I am now three days completely off Prozac. Sadly I developed histamine intolerance thanks to the DAO blocking aspect of SSRIs. In that sense it's been a nightmare but otherwise i'm doing well. 

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ChessieCat

Hi Kmart.  Glad to hear you are doing okay.  Please continue to update us on how you are.

 

Please update your drug signature with the date/s and any further reductions you made and include the 0mg date too!

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Carmie
On 12/17/2018 at 2:06 PM, KMart95 said:

I am now three days completely off Prozac. Sadly I developed histamine intolerance thanks to the DAO blocking aspect of SSRIs. In that sense it's been a nightmare but otherwise i'm doing well. 

 

Hi Kmart, 

 

I’m glad you’re doing well overall. Are you now on a low histamine diet since you have histamine intolerance? It might be something to look into if you’re not already on it. 

 

Sending sunshine your way☀️☀️☀️

 

 

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KMart95

@Carmie Yes I am ! It is incredibly helpful, I just hope it's not a permanent thing.

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KMart95

Well i'm in back. December 23rd I had to reinstate .5mg of Prozac. I'm pretty sure all the withdrawal is actually from birth control because this is the second time i've had major problems going off the pill, and I was fine until I made it to 3 weeks off. So far reinstatement is not helping at all. Symptoms are: major IBS (vomiting, cramping, alternating constipation and diarrhea, stomach pain) , irregular heartbeat, low blood pressure, hand tremors, extreme fatigue, headaches, sinus pain, tongue thrush, restless legs, crying spells daily, agitation and a lot of trouble breathing.

 

Christmas was terrible. Having a really hard time coping and can't even get out of bed. 

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KMart95

I can't seem to figure out how to edit my drug signature.

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