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RuthS How I Completed My Taper

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RuthS

         I wanted to share my story because when I was suffering through my taper I needed hope; I needed to know that success was possible.  Two years ago I started withdrawing from 300 mg of Wellbutrin, 20 mg of Prozac, and 100 mg of Trazadone.  I followed my psychiatrist's very rapid tapering schedule and felt like I was going to die.  I managed to complete the taper, but, at the end I was so depressed and my anxiety and insomnia was so unbearable that I had to go back on the medication.  I still wanted to be rid of the drugs, so I only went back on 10 mg of Prozac and I stayed there for about 1 year.  During that year, my mood and health stabilized and I felt pretty good.  I was following a nutrient dense, low carb diet.   At the end of that year, I joined this forum and began a much slower taper of the 10 mg of Prozac.

 

          My psychiatrist would not give me a prescription for liquid Prozac.  Unbelievable right?  She also discouraged my plan to taper the 10 mg Prozac over the course of an entire year.  Fortunately my sister is a medical doctor and she gave me the prescription I needed.  I got tiny syringes from Amazon and began tapering slightly more than 10% per month.  I think the 10% rule is wise, but I was impatient.  And I did not reduce my dose much more than 10% per month.  I completed the taper of 10 mg over the course of 10 months.  

 

        Each time I reduced my dose, I experienced increased anxiety, irritability, and insomnia.  I maintained the dose until the withdrawal symptoms subsided.  Once I was feeling better, I stayed at same dose for another week or two to enjoy life before reducing again and going through the withdrawal symptoms.  Each time I experienced the withdrawal symptoms, I feared I would never be able to get off the drugs.  It was irrational because I had experienced an alleviation of the symptoms many times before reducing the dose again.  It was a cycle: feel better, reduce dose, experience withdrawal and fear of failure; feel better, reduce dose, withdrawal etc. . . .   No matter how many times I experienced a happy stablization, I was convinced I would never get off the drugs while I was in the throes of withdrawal.  But it always got better.   I have been completely off the Prozac now for about 4 weeks and I'm feeling pretty good.  

 

       So how did I do this?   I consulted an Integrative Psychiatrist.  On her recommendation, I took 50 mg of 5-htp at 4:00 p.m. and again at bedtime.  She also recommended that I take melatonin.  She explained that because 5-htp is turned into serotonin, and serotonin turns into melatonin, the supplemental melatonin acted liked a plug on the serotonin drain.  So the melatonin helped keep more serotonin in my receptors and also helped me sleep.  BTW, not all melatonin supplements are the same.  I found that 3 mg of melatonin made by Douglas Laboratories worked much better than 10 mg of melatonin from a drugstore brand.  I got the Douglas Laboratories melatonin and 5-htp on Amazon.  And Pure Formulas is another good website for these supplements.  

 

       I also consulted with a naturopathic doctor, who recommended that I follow either a ketogenic diet or a whole foods low carb diet and do some daily exercise.  I do a daily walk/jog.  Exercise does not need to be intense to be effective.  I try to walk in the morning when I will be exposed to morning sunlight, which helps train the circadian rhythm and sets the body up for better sleep at night.   The ketogenic diet was preferable for me because I had blood sugar dysregulation, which is caused by Prozac (This side effect is documented in the PDR.)  Blood sugar dysregulation causes anxiety and insomnia because when your blood sugar level goes too low (hypoglycemic), your body produces cortisol to raise your blood sugar.  Cortisol is your fight or flight hormone!  No wonder I used to wake up in a panic.  The ketogenic diet helped me sleep better, stabilized my mood, and gave me more energy.  I also lost the weight I gained when I stopped the Wellbutrin.  

 

        The naturopathic doctor also recommended I take up a meditation practice.  I had a traumatic childhood and I was sexual assaulted several times as an adolescent.  The doctor said I will need to release suppressed feelings from the trauma in order to eliminate the anxiety for good.  So I found a holistic therapist who specializes in trauma and uses emotionally focused therapy that gets to the root cause of mental anguish and releases it for good.  It is a painful process, but I can already see improvement.  

 

      With respect to meditation, the naturopathic doctor referred to me to a Heartfulness Meditation teacher/trainer.  They are all over the country and they teach meditation for free.  You can find them on the internet.  The Heartfulness practice includes a "cleaning" practice that helps eliminate stressful experiences from your system.  

 

            I also like Insight Meditation, which is a mindfulness practice.  Mindfulness meditation has been made famous by Sharon Salzberg, Joseph Goldstein, and Jack Kornfield.  I highly recommend their books and their podcasts.  They all three have their own podcasts and you can learn a lot about mindfulness from them.  I listen to them while I do my daily walk/jog.  Scientific studies show that meditation is an excellent treatment for anxiety and insomnia.  I know it has helped me get through my withdrawal symptoms and it definitely helps me sleep better than any supplement.  You can also find free insight meditation teachers in your area on the internet.

 

       I wish you all well on your journey to recovery from antidepressants.  Hang in there.  It is difficult, but success is possible.  You can be free and have peace.  I hope my story can be of help.  

 

Mod. note: Link to Introduction:    Ruth: Home stretch?  

 

 

Edited by manymoretodays
added link to introduction page

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Altostrata

Thanks for giving others hope, Ruth.

 

Ruth's original Introductions topic is here

 

 

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Gridley

Congratulations, Ruth!  As Alto said, you give us all hope.

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Liamb123456

Congrats do you also think meditation helped with other withdrawals symptoms was meditation one key that helped you 

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RuthS

I’m new to meditation, but yes I do think meditation helped with anxiety, depression, and insomnia.  It is very comforting.

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FarmGirlWorks
10 hours ago, RuthS said:

I consulted an Integrative Psychiatrist.  On her recommendation, I took 50 mg of 5-htp at 4:00 p.m. and again at bedtime.  She also recommended that I take melatonin.  She explained that because 5-htp is turned into serotonin, and serotonin turns into melatonin, the supplemental melatonin acted liked a plug on the serotonin drain.  So the melatonin helped keep more serotonin in my receptors and also helped me sleep.

 

Hi @RuthS, thanks for the informative success story; I so wish I had tapered but too late now. Anyways, wondering if you did the melatonin for a period of time or ongoing? Thanks and bests.

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Hibari
22 hours ago, RuthS said:

              I wanted to share my story because when I was suffering through my taper I needed hope; I needed to know that success was possible.  Two years ago I started withdrawing from 300 mg of Wellbutrin, 20 mg of Prozac, and 100 mg of Trazadone.  I followed my psychiatrist's very rapid tapering schedule and felt like I was going to die.  I managed to complete the taper, but, at the end I was so depressed and my anxiety and insomnia was so unbearable that I had to go back on the medication.  I still wanted to be rid of the drugs, so I only went back on 10 mg of Prozac and I stayed there for about 1 year.  During that year, my mood and health stabilized and I felt pretty good.  I was following a nutrient dense, low carb diet.   At the end of that year, I joined this forum and began a much slower taper of the 10 mg of Prozac.

 

          My psychiatrist would not give me a prescription for liquid Prozac.  Unbelievable right?  She also discouraged my plan to taper the 10 mg Prozac over the course of an entire year.  Fortunately my sister is a medical doctor and she gave me the prescription I needed.  I got tiny syringes from Amazon and began tapering slightly more than 10% per month.  I think the 10% rule is wise, but I was impatient.  And I did not reduce my dose much more than 10% per month.  I completed the taper of 10 mg over the course of 10 months.  

 

        Each time I reduced my dose, I experienced increased anxiety, irritability, and insomnia.  I maintained the dose until the withdrawal symptoms subsided.  Once I was feeling better, I stayed at same dose for another week or two to enjoy life before reducing again and going through the withdrawal symptoms.  Each time I experienced the withdrawal symptoms, I feared I would never be able to get off the drugs.  It was irrational because I had experienced an alleviation of the symptoms many times before reducing the dose again.  It was a cycle: feel better, reduce dose, experience withdrawal and fear of failure; feel better, reduce dose, withdrawal etc. . . .   No matter how many times I experienced a happy stablization, I was convinced I would never get off the drugs while I was in the throes of withdrawal.  But it always got better.   I have been completely off the Prozac now for about 4 weeks and I'm feeling pretty good.  

 

       So how did I do this?   I consulted an Integrative Psychiatrist.  On her recommendation, I took 50 mg of 5-htp at 4:00 p.m. and again at bedtime.  She also recommended that I take melatonin.  She explained that because 5-htp is turned into serotonin, and serotonin turns into melatonin, the supplemental melatonin acted liked a plug on the serotonin drain.  So the melatonin helped keep more serotonin in my receptors and also helped me sleep.  BTW, not all melatonin supplements are the same.  I found that 3 mg of melatonin made by Douglas Laboratories worked much better than 10 mg of melatonin from a drugstore brand.  I got the Douglas Laboratories melatonin and 5-htp on Amazon.  And Pure Formulas is another good website for these supplements.  

 

       I also consulted with a naturopathic doctor, who recommended that I follow either a ketogenic diet or a whole foods low carb diet and do some daily exercise.  I do a daily walk/jog.  Exercise does not need to be intense to be effective.  I try to walk in the morning when I will be exposed to morning sunlight, which helps train the circadian rhythm and sets the body up for better sleep at night.   The ketogenic diet was preferable for me because I had blood sugar dysregulation, which is caused by Prozac (This side effect is documented in the PDR.)  Blood sugar dysregulation causes anxiety and insomnia because when your blood sugar level goes too low (hypoglycemic), your body produces cortisol to raise your blood sugar.  Cortisol is your fight or flight hormone!  No wonder I used to wake up in a panic.  The ketogenic diet helped me sleep better, stabilized my mood, and gave me more energy.  I also lost the weight I gained when I stopped the Wellbutrin.  

 

        The naturopathic doctor also recommended I take up a meditation practice.  I had a traumatic childhood and I was sexual assaulted several times as an adolescent.  The doctor said I will need to release suppressed feelings from the trauma in order to eliminate the anxiety for good.  So I found a holistic therapist who specializes in trauma and uses emotionally focused therapy that gets to the root cause of mental anguish and releases it for good.  It is a painful process, but I can already see improvement.  

 

      With respect to meditation, the naturopathic doctor referred to me to a Heartfulness Meditation teacher/trainer.  They are all over the country and they teach meditation for free.  You can find them on the internet.  The Heartfulness practice includes a "cleaning" practice that helps eliminate stressful experiences from your system.  

 

            I also like Insight Meditation, which is a mindfulness practice.  Mindfulness meditation has been made famous by Sharon Salzberg, Joseph Goldstein, and Jack Kornfield.  I highly recommend their books and their podcasts.  They all three have their own podcasts and you can learn a lot about mindfulness from them.  I listen to them while I do my daily walk/jog.  Scientific studies show that meditation is an excellent treatment for anxiety and insomnia.  I know it has helped me get through my withdrawal symptoms and it definitely helps me sleep better than any supplement.  You can also find free insight meditation teachers in your area on the internet.

 

       I wish you all well on your journey to recovery from antidepressants.  Hang in there.  It is difficult, but success is possible.  You can be free and have peace.  I hope my story can be of help.  

 

 

Congratulations on your success Ruth and for sharing it here. Another friend from SA was suggesting I focus on keeping my blood sugar level through diet.  I lean towards low carb eating though when I'm in acute wd it's hard to eat anything.  Thanks for offering hope. 

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Bee5
27 minutes ago, Hibari said:

Another friend from SA was suggesting I focus on keeping my blood sugar level through diet.  I mean towards low carb eating though when I'm in acute wd it's hard to eat anything.

 

Just dropping in on this thread. Don't be hard on yourself. I have had many people told me not to eat sugar or carbs while withdrawing, and I much like you, I couldn't eat anything. It's a paradox because your body still needs macro and micronutrients to heal and continue functioning optimally, but in severe withdrawal, it was like I couldn't swallow. I used to drink those supplement shakes that you buy at pharmacies that are formulated as meal replacements. I found swallowing liquid was ok, even when I had no appetite and couldn't eat solid food. And when I regained appetite, all I wanted was sugar and carbs, but I allowed myself to eat them, because on top of trying to manage all the symptoms of withdrawal, it was too much for me to also be militant in my diet.

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Hibari
1 minute ago, Bee5 said:

 

Just dropping in on this thread. Don't be hard on yourself. I have had many people told me not to eat sugar or carbs while withdrawing, and I much like you, I couldn't eat anything. It's a paradox because your body still needs macro and micronutrients to heal and continue functioning optimally, but in sever withdrawal, it was like I couldn't swallow. I used to drink those supplement shakes that you buy at pharmacies that are formulated as meal replacements. I found swallowing liquid was ok, even when I had no appetite and couldn't eat solid food.

Thank you.  I have had to force myself to eat and sometimes that ends up being once a day.  I then load up on as much food as I can, choosing good protein and veggies but also eating potatoes or noodles for the calories.  I also drink gingerale throughout the day, sometimes made naturally and sometimes a commercial brand with sugar.  Doing what I can to not lose too much weight.  I will though take my friends suggestion to have some protein in system an before bedtime.  I will deal with any reflux issues later.  

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manymoretodays

Thank you RuthS.  Always so nice to see success.  I  have used many of the same things that you do, as far as continued practices.  I do want to look at the Heartfulness meditation that you mention someday too.  So many different modalities that have many common threads I've found.

22 hours ago, RuthS said:

 You can be free and have peace.

......and love this ^

Yes, indeedy!

 

Love, peace, healing, and growth,

mmt

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RuthS

This is to answer FarmGirl’s question about melatonin.  Yes, I am still taking 3 mg of  melatonin at bedtime, but my naturopathic doctor told me to reduce it as soon as I can because it is a hormone.

 

 I find I still need it for sleep, but as time goes by and I continue to adjust to being without drugs, I think it will be easier to stop the melatonin.  I intend to taper it down just like the drugs so my body can adjust to making its own in the appropriate amounts.  

 

The same doctor recommended that I take Kavinace (which contains phenibut) for sleep.  It works great, but I feel like it gives me chest pains so I’m sticking with the melatonin for now.  I hope that helps.

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Idlehnds

Congratz Ruth!  That is so amazing that you were able to get off the meds.  I am getting closer myself and understanding withdrawal better.  

 

On 9/22/2018 at 12:02 PM, RuthS said:

This is to answer FarmGirl’s question about melatonin.  Yes, I am still taking 3 mg of  melatonin at bedtime, but my naturopathic doctor told me to reduce it as soon as I can because it is a hormone.

 

 I find I still need it for sleep, but as time goes by and I continue to adjust to being without drugs, I think it will be easier to stop the melatonin.  I intend to taper it down just like the drugs so my body can adjust to making its own in the appropriate amounts.  

 

The same doctor recommended that I take Kavinace (which contains phenibut) for sleep.  It works great, but I feel like it gives me chest pains so I’m sticking with the melatonin for now.  I hope that helps.

 

I just wanted to comment on the phenibut for sleep.  Its good that you didnt take this as I read it could be addicting also.  I was on this before my nervous breakdown and realized that this could of attributed to it because I stopped every supplement before my breakdown not knowing what was causing all my strange symptoms.  Now I realize I probably had to withdraw from it that I didnt know before.  Just adding my 2 cents :)

 

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RuthS

Thanks for your thoughts on phenibut.  I have heard it can be addictive as well.  Good luck on the remainder of your taper.

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manymoretodays

Here's what we've got on Kavinance, Phenibut, or PhenylGABA for sleep

" As with benzos and other neurologically active drugs, tapering is required if you use phenibut regularly. Its withdrawal syndrome is very similar to a benzo withdrawal syndrome, with sleeplessness being prominent. " (taken from the link)

 

More posts on the subject, can be found with a site search on phenibut.  There's a number of posts saying NOT to use it, and why.

It's not something we endorse here.

 

I've been tapering down my melatonin successfully.  I was on 3 mg and now do just fine with 1 mg.  Yes, definitely easier than using the Phenibut, I expect.

Just adding my 2 cents as well. B)

Thanks Idlehnds, for sharing your experience too.

 

Love, peace, healing, and growth,

mmt

Edited by manymoretodays

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