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Intermittent fasting to grow new neurons?

I'm currently studying (and just begun practicing) Intermittent Fasting (IF) in an effort to heal my brain. Just so ppl know, I eat 3meals every day, so I don't restrict my calories or amount of food. What I do, is I stop eating at 3pm, drink nothing but water until 3pm the next day, and then I eat 3 meals before bed time that night.

 

In your article, it mentions the downregulation of serotonin receptors. I find this facinating how the meds do that.

 

I know that one of the benefits of Intermittent Fasting is increase of "brain derived neurotrophic factor" (BDNF) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brain-derived_neurotrophic_factor

which creates new nerves and symapses in the brain. After some more research I found an article about a study they did on obese rats using IF. Turns out obese rats have less dopamine receptors than lean rats. The cause being that the rats set off pleasure signals so much that the brain downregulates the dopamine receptors. This appears to be a similar process that happens when we take these meds, except (depending which med you're on) they down regulate the serotonin receptors. So, in this study, they found that using IF on the rats caused upturn in domapine receptors. The fasted state is a little unpleasant and stressful state (24hr fasts are mild) - the exact opposite of pleasure. So the brain creates new dopamine receptors so that pleasure can be experienced from less. I find that fascinating. We can actually experience more pleasure in life, through this deliberate and regular brief abstinence from it. (This could explain why kids who have computer games and junk food are easily 'bored'). It's my belief that those who lose weight with intermittent fasting do so not only because of caloric restriction (if they eat less), but because they are more easily pleased by food so don't need to eat as much.

 

I still need to do some more digging to see if i can find any links with upregulation of serotonin receptors. I'm hoping with increased levels of BDNF that this is indeed the case. Even if I don't find any studies, I will find out via my own experiment on myself. I'm definitely experiencing what it's like to lower levels of serotonin receptors. It's unpleasant and I want my old self back and brain :(

 

I should mention that I'm 3wks into a Paleo/Gaps diet also. The GAPS theory being that a toxic gut environment leads to toxic brain via the blood/brain connection. I'm assuming that it's going to be more difficult for the brain to heal itself if it's toxic. It could be that those who take a long time for their brains to heal, do so because of the condition of their gut. And, that the condition of their gut + brain toxicity lead them to feel they needing these meds in the first place.

 

Just throwing some theories out there. Hope you're all having a good night :)

 

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Thanks, BB.

 

I believe you are relying too much on your theory of BDNF. There are many healthy activities that cause increased neurogenesis.

 

By the way, your entire body is regulated by circadian rhythm. Eating is part of that. You might take a look at this and other studies on the circadian rhythm and eating:

 

Scheer et al 2009 Adverse metabolic and cardiovascular consequences of circadian misalignment

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

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Yeah I dunno about that study. It points to ppl turning an 24hr day into a 28hr day and eating 4meals in that 'day' and it's effects on shift workers. Not really anything to do with what I'm talking about or experimenting on. I do understand this cycle already as I once studied yogic science. They talk about the different cycles during the day and what times are best to eat/sleep etc according to nature. They just call by different names using Sanskrit language.

 

I don't stay up to unnatural hours or eat in unnatural hours like midnight onwards either. I may squeeze in 3meals before or after 3pm, but that's just because I'm already a thin guy I don't want to be missing out on any meals. Anyone with a few kilograms/pounds to spare would just eat their normal regular meals at the right times and skip breakfast or lunch according to what phase of the fasting period they're in.

 

BDGF is just one aspect of this. There is also Human Growth Hormone (HGH). In 24hr fasts, HGH is increased by 1300% in women, and 2000% in men. There are many benefits to increasing this hormone for the whole body - one of them is brain repair and cognitive function. I didn't do an intensive search for info on this as I have my daughter over, but here is one site: http://www.hghmagazine.com/hgh-and-your-brain/

and here is the study about the increase percentages: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110403090259.htm

 

I completed my 3rd 24hr fast at 3pm yesterday. Immediately I had a fruit salad, then i had a large pumpkin soup to get some carbs in. I didn't notice anything different until about 6pm. I wasn't looking for any signs of improvement this early, and was busy with my daughter when I noticed something different. First i should explain why i noticed:

I stopped taking Lexapro 8 months ago. I've already been through the 'crash' long ago, but the after effects have been a state of not being able to experience any positive emotion - in technical terms is called Anhedonia. The worst of my after effects has been these last 4 months. I had 'waves and windows' like has been discussed on here. But the last 3months has been one continues 'wave' of Anhedonia. Where I notice this most is with my 4yr old daughter. I haven't felt any fatherly warmth towards her the whole time. Which may be normal for some fathers who generally don't want to be one, but this isn't normal for me at all - quite the opposite. I have her 2 nights a week, and every visit has felt like I'm baby sitting someone else kid whom I was growing very tired of doing. This scared me very much. Perhaps the thought of it being very long term was the scariest part, but of course obviously the effect unconsciously this would have on my dauther. But in general, I have avoided all my friends as well because i simply haven't been able to feel the usual joy and friendship that friends do around each other. Not a nice situation.

 

Anyway, last night I noticed I felt warm towards my daughter again. Not 100%, but about 50% back to normal. This is new, and it's been a joy to have her here. Reading her stories, playing games with her etc. All the things i dreaded doing in the last few months. When I put her to bed last night and when I went to bed, i prayed to myself that when I woke up this morning, that my brain hadn't reverted back to it's blunted state. Well it's 1pm the next day and it's still ok. We have been to the park and to a shop to buy her a new book. She's enjoying having more of myself back of course and so am I.

 

This morning, I noticed another difference. I can read better. Even before I went off Lexapro, I noticed it was becoming increasingly difficult to read. It got much worse after I stopped taking the med. To the point where I stopped reading books about 3months ago as it was a waste of time. I would struggle to read a sentence, and once I read it, couldn't remember what I just read. Strangely, I have always been able to put out information, like writing this now, but taking it in has been very difficult. Going to the fridge or to the pantry for food and picking out an item to focus on was also difficult. It strained my brain to focus like that and I'd just see a blur at first. Well, this morning, I have noticed my reading and retention has improved by about 25%.

 

Of course it's way too early to conclude that three 24hr fasts is the cause of this effect. But two of these effects improving at the same time is definitely interesting. I couldn't 'jedi mind trick' myself into these improvements, tho it could be just a case of it was time my brain started healing anyway because I wasn't taking lexapro for years like others on this site. Or it could just be a 'window'. Time will tell.

 

This Intermittent Fasting experiment is something I'm going to see through. No one has reported on this site or any other that i could find, that they have tried this strategy to recover from anti depressants. I may be forced to accept the strategy of what others on this site are using, i.e good diet, low stress, gentle exercise etc as the protocol for recovery. But if people are still suffering after many years using those types of strategies, i don't yet feel an incentive to go that route. That's not to invalidate their chosen methods, I'm just coming from a logical and personal perspective. I don't want to be posting on sites like these for years about still not being recovered. I will exhaust every conceivable avenue before that happens and this experiment is one of them. Regular short term fasts are very healthy. They cause the body to go into a state of 'repair' while it's not using so much energy in digestion. We are hard wired for this as for 99% of our 2 million year plus history we have been hunter/gatherers and didn't have a meal available on demand. This makes sense to me. Even if one isn't trying to heal the brain from these drugs, there's lots of other benefits to eating this way and that's attractive to me. I was thinking this morning, this could be why mystics, monks and holy men avoid stimulants, eat a very simple diet and fast regularly. This process would be up regulating receptors for these neurotransmitters and also making the receptors more sensitive. They would have a very interesting experience of life with this type of brain function as they would get enjoyment out of much more subtle things.

 

Have a good day y'all

 

BB

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Neurogenesis is only one part of recovery, and a highly hypothetical one at that. The other is the gradual repatterning of the nervous system back to normal operation.

 

People with healthy, stable nervous systems may get some benefit from fasting. All traditions regarding fasting are based on normal nervous systems.

 

What's happened to our nervous systems is unprecedented in the history of the world.

 

I hope your one-person experiment works well for you. For most people with withdrawal syndrome, I would caution against further destabilizing autonomic activity with unusual eating schedules or reduction of nutrients.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

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Thanks Alto. Yes it's definitely an experiment and I wouldn't recommend it to anyone. I will give it at least 30days before I make up my mind if it's been beneficial or not. Maybe even 6wks. Of course if things get worse in that time then I'll call it off.

 

Was feeling fine this afternoon and was at the supermarket and thought i'd try some dark chocolate. From my experience and from some personal study, those prone to anxiety and depression can be triggered by it. I'm usually ok, but in these withdrawal periods any stimulation (which chocolate can be) seems to be amplified. I'll never forget the time i took 5htp...wow. My first experience of an anxiety attack. I've had 5htp a few yrs ago and it was great, but definitely the opposite during these withdrawal periods. Same goes for chocolate - at least for me anyway. For a couple hours after eating it i felt some yucky anxiety. Won't be doing that again. While in this experience that we share here on this site, it's wise to be cautious with experiments and I respect your suggestions in this. I myself am a bit of a dare devil and explorer, it can get me in trouble or sometimes it pays off. Just in my nature to try. If I discover something that actually works for me then I won't be one of those ppl that just disappear off this site. I'll pass on what worked for me first and pass on anything that backfired.

 

Have a great day

 

BB

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Sounds sensible.

 

I broke out the intermittent fasting material into a new topic. This will enable others to follow it and respond.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

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The IF idea caught my attention because I've been doing it without trying for some time. I believe in 'listening to the body' and when I don't feel like eating, I don't. During my more miserable periods of withdrawal, I've gone for two or three days without food. Now it's more like a partial fast every day since I seldom eat before one or two in the afternoon after getting up somewhere in the neighborhood of nine in the morning. Even before Lexapro, I wasn't a breakfast person.

 

There's a comment in the article "Routine, Periodic Fasting is Good for Your Health, and Your Heart, Study Suggests" that nearly jumped off the page, and that's the paragraph with the comments on cholesterol levels increasing with fasting. I believe my depression was triggered by Lipitor-induced low cholesterol. During the pre-hospitalization days of my depression, I often went without food, and after reading this article I wonder if that was body wisdom trying to jack up my cholesterol level. I'm not saying I was never depressed before, because I certainly have been, but never to the point that I couldn't function. With low cholesterol I felt like I was trapped in a sinking ocean liner, totally helpless to stop what was going on. Prior to this last episode, my depressions generally lasted two to three months and went away either in response to environmental changes or they simply evaporated for no discernable reason.

 

Fasting is a spiritual tradition that goes back before the time of Christ. I recently read that the Pharisees were required to fast two days a week, from dawn to around 3:00 PM (by the sun dial, I guess), on their equivalent of our Wednesdays and Fridays.

 

I do agree with Alto that this isn't for everybody, but I think the two of you have already settled that. :)

Psychotropic drug history: Pristiq 50 mg. (mid-September 2010 through February 2011), Remeron (mid-September 2010 through January 2011), Lexapro 10 mg. (mid-February 2011 through mid-December 2011), Lorazepam (Ativan) 1 mg. as needed mid-September 2010 through early March 2012

"Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity." -Hanlon's Razor


Introduction: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1588-introducing-jemima/

 

Success Story: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6263-success-jemima-survives-lexapro-and-dr-dickhead-too/

Please note that I am not a medical professional and my advice is based on personal experience, reading, and anecdotal information posted by other sufferers.

 

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I'll share my personal experience with nourishment. But first I'll share Warren Buffet's #1 rule for investing, which you may already know. Rule #1: Don't lose money, don't lose what you already have. Rules 2 and 3 may also be DON'T LOSE MONEY, it's been a while since I've browsed Buffet's Rules.

 

I regret making many of the choices I've made during my withdrawal. Some of these were for alleviation in the short term and others, I hoped, would take longer but provide more sustained benefit. In my case, I ate oddly at times. I always had reasons for doing what I did and wanted to help myself. But I'm not sure I've helped anything.

 

If I could replay the last year, I would focus on avoiding extremes, eating organic foods when possible & minimizing processed foods. Otherwise I'd aim to eat enough and with variety. There are a lot of great ideas about nutrition but all are premised on well-functioning autonomic nervous system action. Even diets designed for folks with neuro problems can pose significant problems to me. There are no diets designed for people in acute or post-acute withdrawal from polypsychiatric medication, so far as I know.

 

Lastly, I'd perfer to slowly recover over 5 years (if need be) than risk collateral health consequence by spit-balling solutions for hopefully quicker healing. Though this is something people probably only feel after their meddling has screwed them backwards. I'm not that smart. But I've talked to folks on the falculty of Harvard's medical and they're not that smart either. Since nobody knows, I'd choose eating sensibly and try to adapt as problems arise.

 

I think sensible eating requires change for most everyone. The change part has tripped me. From my experience it's best to introduce changes gradually ensuring sufficient macro and micro nutrients, unless there is some specific reason for an adbrupt, extreme change.

 

Of course, everyone gets to make their own decisions. I'll repeat Buffet's rule though, Don't Lose Money.

 

Good luck, Alex

"Well my ship's been split to splinters and it's sinking fast
I'm drowning in the poison, got no future, got no past
But my heart is not weary, it's light and it's free
I've got nothing but affection for all those who sailed with me.

Everybody's moving, if they ain't already there
Everybody's got to move somewhere
Stick with me baby, stick with me anyhow
Things should start to get interesting right about now."

- Zimmerman

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Alto can you please post on brain healing activities which led to neurogenesis...

 

Thank you.

 

Hugs

Intro: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1902-nikki-hi-my-rundown-with-ads/

 

Paxil 1997-2004

Crossed over to Lexapro Paxil not available

at Pharmacies GSK halted deliveries

Lexapro 40mgs

Lexapro taper (2years)

Imipramine

Imipramine and Celexa

Now Nefazadone/Imipramine 50mgs. each

45mgs. Serzone  50mgs. Imipramine

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This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

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Interesting stuff. Note it is not offered as beneficial for people who are sick. Presumably people who choose to do intermittent fasting or calorie restriction start out in good health.

 

Before you embark on anything like this, or any kind of purging, cleansing, or purification ritual, think about this: If you had a puppy who was sick, would you do this to your puppy? If not, don't do it to yourself if you're trying to recover from neurological damage.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

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I don't know if I'd compare myself or my situation to the life of a puppy, but I do know animals instinctively fast when they're sick as part of the bodies innate intelligence during the healing process. It's only humans who force feed the body in during times of illness.

 

I'm finding some interesting data on the temporary raising of cortisol levels during the fasting period. What controls 5-HT2A regulation in the cortex may be more related to stress hormones. It has been proven that when an individual is under stress, cortisol is released from the adrenal cortex, binds to glucocorticoid receptors and results in up-regulation of 5-HT2A in the cortex and down-regulation of 5-HT1A in the hippocampus, and also up-regulation of oxytocin receptors. Stress levels must be significant over long periods of time in order to produce significant up-regulation, so one stressful day won't be enough.

 

While fasting doesn't raise ones overall cortisol levels, during the fast it does, in response to the mild stress of fasting (mild depending on duration 24hrs or less is mild in my experience). In response to cortisol levels, serotonin receptors (5-HT2a) have been shown to up regulate. Chronic cortisol levels have been shown to cause higher levels of these receptors in the brains of suicide victims. Obviously, one doesn't want chronic levels of cortisol (a stress hormone), but deliberately raising mild levels of cortisol via activities such as intensive exercise or Intermitant Fasting could explain why monks or gym junkies enjoy their lifestyles so much.

 

In my own experience, intermittent fasting has brought 'light' back to the 'black hole' experience of being on the other side of these meds. 'Light' being the experience of positive and warm emotions, and improvement in cognitive ability. It's been less than a year for me since coming off Lexapro so it's still kind of fresh. The black hole experience was getting worse with time, not better. This is now reversing. It sounds like the 'black hole' experience is different to long term neurological difficulties many are experiencing on here from many years of using these drugs, so I'm not recommending I.F to anyone. I was on my med for a much shorter duration.

 

I was doing a 24hr fast, followed by 24hr normal eating but have since changed it to 24hrs, followed by 48hrs as it's less stressful on the body and more convenient. So I'll begin the fast 3pm Sunday til 3pm Monday and then eat normally until 3pm Wednesday. I'm only after the mild stress effect and I'm still experimenting on what suits my body. On the morning of my fasting day, I take a psyllium husk fiber supplement, which is non caloric, so as to have something moving through my system and not interrupt my daily 'movements'. There is another option of 16hr daily fast and 8hrs eating which is being used by body builders on www.leangains.com They eat from say midday til 8pm daily or whatever is convenient. Skipping breakfast isn't starving oneself, it's a very mild stress on the body. Barely noticeable. It takes 3days of fasting before the body begins consuming itself. If anything, one can gain muscle and strength on I.F program due to the increase in human growth hormone - the opposite of starving and wasting. One would have to work out to take advantage of the hormone to increase muscle strength or size. I feel stronger, but I haven't gained in size as I haven't 'hit the gym'. Just not one of my current goals.

 

Here is an article about the relation between cortisol and it causing the opposite of the down regulation effect that antidepressants have on serotonin receptors:

 

http://lecerveau.mcgill.ca/flash/capsules/articles_pdf/health_age.pdf

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BB, you and I will have to disagree on the advisability of fasting (or intensive exercise, or any "see how tough I am" activity) for people undergoing psychiatric drug withdrawal.

 

For many of us, excessive cortisol is the problem. It's caused by hypersensitization of the nervous system and the "fight or flight" response. The theories you have brought forward about forcible upregulation of downregulated receptors are questionable. Once you are suffering from withdrawal syndrome, many systems other than serotonergic are involved. Focusing on manipulating 5-HT receptors is simplistic.

 

You keep on bringing up reactions that may occur in HEALTHY individuals. Please stop posting this material. People suffering withdrawal syndrome have compromised and often sensitized nervous systems.

 

Intensive exercise is definitely NOT RECOMMENDED for people who have withdrawal syndrome. It raises cortisol. If you read the other Intro topics, you will see people reporting bad reactions if they exercise strenuously, even if they were well conditioned prior to withdrawal.

 

Some people with withdrawal syndrome experience improvement from restricted diets. This is probably because the diets remove stressors from the digestive system, and enable it and the body's hormonal balances to normalize. However, they do not make an effort to restrict calories, nor should they. The body needs nutrients to rebuild.

 

As I've said before, I'm glad your regimen is helping you. One thing we find is everyone's mileage varies. Given that people suffering withdrawal syndrome are usually hypersensitized and weakened by it, I cannot condone any kind of regimen that involves deliberately increasing stress of any type on someone with a compromised nervous system. People in withdrawal need to take care of themselves and treat themselves gently, not beat themselves up.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

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Hey BB, While in a way I admire your daring, I concur with Alto's post. It seems to me -- I just looked at your Intro topic again -- that your experience is atypical from most of the us in acute or prolonged w/d.

 

Some of us have been disabled -- unable to eat or sleep, hospitalized -- after d/c of psych meds like antidepressants. There are people who attempted suicide (and those who have succeeded) during w/d from Drugs, including me. Many of us are highly sensitive to change, yet desperate for help. So sometimes we (me too) try things in desperation and they backfire. Backfires can be massively destabilizing.

 

I think you want to do the best to get yourself feeling your best but many of your ideas are on the wrong side of Caution St. And I don't want to see anyone, people more suscpetable than you seem to be, hurt themselves. I am glad that you are well enough to experiment. My own experimentation has cost me chunks of my lifetime and health. Alex

"Well my ship's been split to splinters and it's sinking fast
I'm drowning in the poison, got no future, got no past
But my heart is not weary, it's light and it's free
I've got nothing but affection for all those who sailed with me.

Everybody's moving, if they ain't already there
Everybody's got to move somewhere
Stick with me baby, stick with me anyhow
Things should start to get interesting right about now."

- Zimmerman

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I'M suffering from withdrawal syndrome so I'm an individual that isn't "healthy". I'm so sensitive at the moment I can't even eat chocolate without it causing anxiety for some hours afterwards, yet I'm engaged in these activities so i feel it's safe for me, and I have shared what's working for me and research behind the mechanics of it. Research that I began investigating after reading a post of Altos about the theory of down regulation of receptors caused by these drugs. I haven't only focused on studies of forcibly up regulating serotonin receptors, I've also shared information about brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), and significant increases in Human Growth Hormone and up regulation of dopamine receptors. All scientifically valid benefits from short fasts in brain function worth investigating (in my opinion). This style of fasting has nothing to do with restricting calories or nutrients. No change in daily levels of these has been mentioned in any of my posts.

 

I haven't advised anyone to do anything - just sharing my experience of an experiment that up to date is only showing benefits for me. This forum is one where free willed adults read things, and where we share ideas and information on what works for us and then make up our own minds. I don't try to make peoples minds up for them or tell them what to do or what they can or can't post. If it works for me, then it's only natural to share with others. Otherwise, what's the point of having a forum like this if we all only try one way of healing and don't respect or validate what works for other members. Objections and reasons for objecting are noted and respected, but plz respect others equally with the same right to make their own minds up and share real life experiences without telling them not to. Censoring peoples experiences of what works for them seems to be counter productive to the purpose of this forum.

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BB, if you're a veteran of forum sites, you know a right to free speech is not an argument for posting whatever.

 

I've respectfully requested several times you dial back on proselytizing for IF.

 

As I've tried to communicate before, looking at receptors, etc. is not going to get you very far in understanding withdrawal syndrome. You might try reading about the autonomic nervous system instead.

 

Your contributions are welcome but please be aware many people coming to this site are already in a physically and neurologically frail state. If I fasted for 24 hours, I would be faint and setting myself up for a migraine attack.

 

If anything, people should eat in a way to keep their insulin levels, etc. consistent, BDNF be damned. Bringing the autonomic nervous system into trim involves a lot more than BDNF.

 

As alex put it, we want to stay on the safe side of Caution St. You may notice that many of our posts suggest that people slow down, go gently, don't make any dramatic changes, reduce stress.

 

I prefer support from you for that position.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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That position is what may work for some people, and not for others. The idea of not increasing any stress at all is a valid path for healing, but not my choice. I'm not afraid to increase my discomfort level if it results in gains. Intermittent fasting is definitely unpleasant and I'll never say otherwise. BUT...

 

In the matter of a few short weeks, going the route that I choose for my own body, I have:

 

- reconnected with my daughter with the warm fatherly feelings that I lost in this withdrawal period. Actually i had lost the ability to feel all positive feelings

- increased my energy. Before I would be on the sofa most of the day and unable to ride my bike

- increased my cognitive abilities. Being able to read properly again and retain information has been huge for me

- increased my social activities. I've gone from staying home avoiding ppl with my phone off, to getting out and about interacting more.

- and generally feeling like 'myself' again. That depersonalization is far less

 

If I am experiencing these benefits in such a short amount of time after being in such a black hole experience, why on earth would I not share that with others and instead support a protocol for healing of taking it easy when that's what I was doing and it wasn't helping? Not to mention ppl on that protocol are still in recovery mode after many years going that route.

 

That just makes no sense for me to do that personally at all so I'm confused about these demands to do that.

 

If ppl need to go that route because of the state of their health, then I respect their choice and need to. I'm not telling people what they should or should not do as I don't live in their bodies so I don't know what's best for them - and I don't pretend to. I'm just sharing my experience and what's working for me and information. Free willed adults can make up their own mind and experiment with what works for them. It's really not my business what others choose to do.

 

24hrs is an extreme during this WD. It is stressful and can raise anxiety levels. However, the following days feel like my whole being has 'come back on-line'. This is what has motivated me to keep going with this. I'm still tweaking this to what works best for me. I'm looking for mild discomfort over longer periods, rather than large discomfort during short periods. I have switched it to 24hrs every few days, but I have a feeling I will probably end up with a 16hr fast, which basically just means skipping breakfast and making up the calories later in the day eating 3 meals from midday onwards - as suggested on leangains.com. It still has all the benefits but just over a longer period of time. Turtle vs the Hare

 

We can debate the studies and science of this stuff til the cows come home. But at the end of the day this is actually something that is working - and experience can't be debated. So it's in my nature to share it with others who are suffering the same situation that I'm in. If you want to ban me from the forum for doing so then that's in your power as admin. But I won't stop sharing what's working for me and instead support a protocol that wasn't working for me just because someone wants me to.

 

Sorry, but that just makes no sense at all to me to do that.

 

BB

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I have decided to scale right back to 16hrs. An interesting thing has been happening that's been impossible to deal with.....

 

"Hunger"

 

I did I.F a while back and this wasn't an issue except for the night after i'd ended the fast I'd eat like there's no tomorrow. It's only during this WD process that for at least 48hrs afterwards, the 'satisfied' switch after eating a large meal just isn't coming on and I can't stop eating. I'm not a large guy so I'm not worried about my weight, but the amount of food I'm shoving into my stomach is phenomenal. I remember when i bought 5-htp once that on the bottle it mentioned that it suppressed appetite so I'm wondering if trying to up regulate these receptors during a WD process is doing the complete opposite to an extreme.

 

It's over 48hrs now since my last fast and it's settled down, but i reckon i would of eaten at least 4 days worth of my usual shopping in only 2 days. Possibly 5 days worth. And, the hunger signal is so strong and incessant that I haven't even cared if the food I'm eating is sticking with my Paleo diet, I'm just grabbing whatever i can get my hands on.

 

Straaaange..

 

oh well, it is an experiment after all and these are the sorts of things to be learned by it for myself and others.

 

BB

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  • 1 year later...

BB, are you still around? Wondering what you think now. I heard a pdoc speak who highly recommended 16 hr IF twice weekly. Said there was no benefit to more freq. IF. He said to look at it as skipping breakfast. Heard something on breakfast (can't remember source) where they said they could find zero evidence in the literature for the value of breakfast...they weren't against it, just said it's not proven to be the most important meal of the day. Also, the pdoc said coconut oil can be eaten while fasting without affecting the value of the fast. I know we all love to eat plain coconut oil :(. Of course, none of that was about WD.

 

Regards from Meimei...who feeds her family almost a dozen eggs most every morning

1st round Prozac 1989/90, clear depression symptoms. 2nd round Prozac started 1999 when admitted to dr. I was tired. Prozac pooped out, switch to Cymbalta 3/2006. Diagnosed with bipolar disorder due to mania 6/2006--then I was taken abruptly off Cymbalta and didn't know I had SSRI withdrawal. Lots of meds for my intractable "bipolar" symptoms.

Zyprexa started about 9/06, mostly 5mg. Tapered 4/12 through12/29/12

Wellbutrin. XL 300 mg started 1/07, tapered 1/18/13 through 7/8/13

Oxazepam mostly continuously since 6/06, 30mg since 12/12, tapered 1.17.14 through 8.26.15

11/06 Lithium 600mg twice daily, 2.2.14 400mg TID DIY liquid, 2.12.14 1150mg, 3.2.14 1100mg, 3.18.14 1075mg, 4/14 updose to 1100mg, 6.1.14 900 mg capsules 7.8.14 810mg, 8.17.14 725mg, 8.24.24 700mg...10.22.14 487.5mg, 3.9.15 475mg, 4.1.15 462.5mg 4.21.15 450mg 8.11.15 375mg, 11.28.15 362.5mg, back to 375mg four days later, 3.4.16 updose to 475 (too much going on to risk trouble)

9/4/13 Toprol-XL 25mg daily for sudden hypertension, tapered 11.12.13 through 5.3.14, last 10 days or so switched to atenolol

7.4.14 Started Walsh Protocol

56 years old

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Breakfast gives your endocrine system fuel for the day. If you want to skip a meal, skip something else.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

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I live and teach that. But these people are saying that if you stimulate your body to rely on fats (develop those enzyme systems) more, your energy supply and blood sugar will be more stable. Whether they are right or not I do not know.

1st round Prozac 1989/90, clear depression symptoms. 2nd round Prozac started 1999 when admitted to dr. I was tired. Prozac pooped out, switch to Cymbalta 3/2006. Diagnosed with bipolar disorder due to mania 6/2006--then I was taken abruptly off Cymbalta and didn't know I had SSRI withdrawal. Lots of meds for my intractable "bipolar" symptoms.

Zyprexa started about 9/06, mostly 5mg. Tapered 4/12 through12/29/12

Wellbutrin. XL 300 mg started 1/07, tapered 1/18/13 through 7/8/13

Oxazepam mostly continuously since 6/06, 30mg since 12/12, tapered 1.17.14 through 8.26.15

11/06 Lithium 600mg twice daily, 2.2.14 400mg TID DIY liquid, 2.12.14 1150mg, 3.2.14 1100mg, 3.18.14 1075mg, 4/14 updose to 1100mg, 6.1.14 900 mg capsules 7.8.14 810mg, 8.17.14 725mg, 8.24.24 700mg...10.22.14 487.5mg, 3.9.15 475mg, 4.1.15 462.5mg 4.21.15 450mg 8.11.15 375mg, 11.28.15 362.5mg, back to 375mg four days later, 3.4.16 updose to 475 (too much going on to risk trouble)

9/4/13 Toprol-XL 25mg daily for sudden hypertension, tapered 11.12.13 through 5.3.14, last 10 days or so switched to atenolol

7.4.14 Started Walsh Protocol

56 years old

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  • 1 year later...

Just to chime on on this now aging post, in case anyone is still looking, I have found Intermittent fasting to be hugely beneficial to my physical and mental well-being over the past several months.  I am a couple of years past acute withdrawal systems, so of course can't speak to how it would have worked for me earlier, but I'd bet it would have been helpful. The key thing here is that we're basically talking about no snacks after dinner and then skipping breakfast.  If you want to try it, you can ease into it--just allow a little more time between meals than normal for a start and of course if you find that is not good for you, you can dispense with the idea.  I'm hard pressed to see why starting with a gradual approach like that would be bad for people and, especially when I see BB's experience while in the midst of withdrawal.

1994-2009 50-100 mg Zoloft (plus tried Effexor, Lexapro, Wellbutrin at times)
5/'09-7/'09 taper off Zoloft
7/'09-12/'09 no zoloft, rough times after ~ 2 mos.
1/'10-6/'10 50 mg zoloft
6/'10-1/'11 slow taper
2/'11-7/'11 off entirely, ok for 2-3 mos., then rough
7/'11-9/'11 50 mg
9/15/'11 - 11/15/'11 taper off
11/15/'11 - 2/'11 clean, doing well but with some PSSD
2/'11 - 6/'11 depression creeps back, fairly significant by May.

6/'14 (long time...!)  life is good, full recovery, at least in terms of SSRI addiction.  Still digging out from the social and professional hole that it all left me in, but despite the loss of far too many years to this business I'm basically doing pretty well.  Still some depression at times, even severe on occasion, but clearly related to past trauma and current circumstances, all things that I am continuing to work through and work on.  I'd say it took at least six months and perhaps a year to fully get back to normal (neuro-psychologically and sexually) after the last dose in 2011.

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Antidepressants supposedly increase bdnf so that may even be harmful, one study indicates cocaine increases bdnf and morphine decreases it.  It is possible ssri's cause some kind of aberrant growth rather than neurotoxicity.  With regards to fasting, I have tried some calorie restriction in the past but not found it helpful for symptoms, although I have started again while I continue to look for a solution to our problems.

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  • 3 months later...

I was searching around this site and I was very discourged to see that there hasn't been many others who've tried intermittent fasting here, especially during the process of withdrawing from antidepressants. It's been tried very frequently with success for others though.

 

IMHO, we are leaving a lot on the table by not intermittent fasting, preferably with no processed food/wheat/gluten/GMO/artifical sweetners/dairy (especially wheat/gluten/high fructose corn syrup). In other words, eat real food that doesn't come from a box or with ingredients you can't pronounce. No frankenfood/frankensugar just like no big pharma. I think diet/gut are a source of a lot of problems and they need to be addressed. Resting the gut/body for a longer period will help. Look at the need to get rid of PPI meds and how it messes our guts. There are a whole bunch of lectures by Dr. Jason Fung on youtube as well as detailed postings on his own site about intermittent fasting which explains the rationale behind IF in extruciating detail. From personal experience, calorie restricted diets make you ravenous and lowers metabolic rate while longer periods of water fasting helps the body detox without wasting energy on digestion and with no loss of metabolic rate.

 

It's extremely tough to do IF without going 100% real food prior to any IF attempts due to processed foods/Splenda/high fructose corn syrup causing hunger and other withdrawal symptoms. When you are doing IF, you are getting rid of your harmful diet at the same time. Doing both at the same time is just asking for trouble. Fasting for long periods is way easier than you think if you go 100% real food first. Otherwise the hunger will be too overwhelming. Fung's approach uses real food. Don't substitute it.

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  • 1 month later...

Historically, humans fasted for days or weeks at a time - we evolved this way as hunters and gatherers over tens and tens of thousands of years.  There is evolutionary precedent for fasting - it's significantly less normal to eat 3 square meals a day as a human than it is to fast a couple times a week.

 

It's never a bad idea to look at how humans have evolved and to model our lifestyle to those conditions.

 

Whether or not fasting is a good idea during withdrawal is clearly up to debate - some here claim that it can be injurious, others claim that it has benefited them.

 

We got into this situation because we became so intertwined into modern society that we lost sight of what makes sense or not (clearly, taking a drug every single day is going to be bad for us - but in society we are trained to listen to doctors and trust them, so we instead chose to not question this advice).

 

I haven't personally tried fasting, but considering it's evolutionary significance I think it's silly to discount it any more than it would be silly to discount something like the paleo-diet.  In human physiology, the endocrine and digestive systems are specifically designed to handle long periods of fasting - it's a fundamental part of our physiological backbone and our bodies have prepared very well for long periods of fasting.  I would be willing to go out on a limb here and say that NOT fasting is potentially more detrimental that the occasional fast (for healthy normal people, that is) - if you look at all the health related conditions in people today, many of them are related to eating too much food (and not getting enough exercise).

 

The level of silliness in health remedies today is just outstanding.  Some claim that a paleo diet is extremely helpful, but fail to mention the fact that humans who were eating the paleo diet were often fasting for days or weeks at a time as they hunted big game and searched for food! 

 

In regards to growing new neurons - this is true in some areas of the body and not true in others.  In the case of the withdrawal model proposed by Dr. Healy ( http://withdrawal.rxisk.org/new-model/complex-withdrawal-model/), the peripheral nervous system neurons are damaged by chronic exposure to SSRIs- but NEW neurons do not just sprout up and grow in their place - these are LONG neurons, multiple feet or longer.  New neurons do not sprout and replace these massive neuronal cells if they are damaged somehow.  These big neurons do heal themselves slowly over time as the cell body manufactures the building blocks for the axon and dendrites.  These healing building blocks are then SLOWLY transported to the site of injury.  I have no idea if fasting accelerates this process or not, or whether or not fasting accelerates de novo neuronal synthesis in parts of the body where that is possible.  I've read that exercise is rather well studied to help these processes along, and that individuals with TBI or stroke for example recover quicker with an exercise regime than individuals not on that exercise regime. 

 

TLDR:  Fasting has evolutionary precedent, and is ingrained deeply within our physiology - but it's debatable whether or not this helps during WD.  Puppies are adorable:  https://www.google.com/search?q=puppy+pictures&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0CAcQ_AUoAWoVChMI79TK7vqcyQIVSM1jCh3AjQIX&biw=1176&bih=585

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  • 4 weeks later...

In regards to growing new neurons - this is true in some areas of the body and not true in others.  In the case of the withdrawal model proposed by Dr. Healy ( http://withdrawal.rxisk.org/new-model/complex-withdrawal-model/), the peripheral nervous system neurons are damaged by chronic exposure to SSRIs- but NEW neurons do not just sprout up and grow in their place - these are LONG neurons, multiple feet or longer.  New neurons do not sprout and replace these massive neuronal cells if they are damaged somehow.  These big neurons do heal themselves slowly over time as the cell body manufactures the building blocks for the axon and dendrites.  These healing building blocks are then SLOWLY transported to the site of injury.  I have no idea if fasting accelerates this process or not, or whether or not fasting accelerates de novo neuronal synthesis in parts of the body where that is possible.  I've read that exercise is rather well studied to help these processes along, and that individuals with TBI or stroke for example recover quicker with an exercise regime than individuals not on that exercise regime. 

 

Thank you for posting this link to Dr. Healy's article. It's a great piece. It was highly informative to me in many ways. In particular, it shed some light on my recent achilles tendonitis issues and the weird burning, itching rash that appeared on my calves after a semi vigorous hike yesterday.  Did you notice a date of authorship? I see it is copyrighted 2015.

 

Leahy

2001-2007 Rem 90 mg, xanax 2 mg synthroid 112mcg - 2007-2014 Rem 60 mg xanax 3-4 mg

2015   Feb Rem 45 mg xanax 2 mg, March Rem 30 xanax 2, April  Rem 22.5, May Rem 30  xanax .25x4 hrs, June Rem 26 xanax 2-3, July Rem 22.5 xanax 2, Aug Rem 15 xanax 2, Sept Rem 22 xanax 2, Oct Rem 18 mg xanax .25 mg /4 hrs, Nov Rem 23 mg xanax .5mg, Dec Rem 24 xanax 2 

2016  Jan Rem 20 xanax 2,  Feb Rem 18 mg xanax 1.5, Feb Rem 14 12 mg xanax 1 mg, March Rem 10 9 mg xanax 1-2 mg Rem 7.3 8 xanax 1-2, April Rem 10 12 mg xanax 2 mg, May Rem 11 xanax 1 .75mg Nov Rem 10mg Xanax 2mg 2017 May Rem 10.25 Xanax 1 mg, November Xanax 1mg

 

 

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  • 1 year later...

I'm thinking about trying intermittent fasting. Read some articles http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/06/14/intermittent-fasting-longevity.aspxand it seems worth a try. 

in 2002- 0,5 tablet cipramil for half a year, ended it uneventfully. in 2006 - citalopram for half a year, ended in horrific state, ditched the drugs CT. 2007-2008 not feeling well but drug free. in 2008 prozac 20mg + quetiapine 25mg. 2009 tried to stop, ended up in hole after couple of months, started zoloft. 2009-2011 zoloft 50mg. went to 25mg in 2011 summer, it resulted in half a year horrible suffering. reinstated, changed drugs, nothing happened. by 2012 beginning suddenly felt great and CT meds. after 4 months came suddenly most horrible human suffering that's possible. was started on prozac and questiapine. started tapering slowly, GFCF diet and Hardy Nutritionals vitamins in 2013 summer. 

current medications: 1) fluoxetine and quetiapine since Aug 2012; 2) Daily Essential Nutrients by Hardy Nutritionals 7 capsules / since May 2013 + omega3; 3) Gluten-free-casein-free diet since june 2013

 

Started withdrawing slowly since april 2013. Mostly around 10% cuts. 

April'13 - March'14: fluoxetine 40mg -> 19,5mg; quetiapine 50mg -> 40mg
April'14-March'15: fluoxetine 19,5mg -> 14,4mg; quetiapine 40mg -> 22mg

April'15-March'16: fluoxetine 14,4mg -> 7,4mg; quetiapine 22mg -> 15mg

April'16-March'17: fluoxetine 7,4mg -> 5,0mg; quetiapine 15mg -> 7,25mg

April'17-March'18: fluoxetine 5,0mg -> 4,0mg; quetiapine 7,25mg -> 0 (as of 1st Feb 2018)!!!!

April´18-March´19: fluoxetine 4,0mg - > 2,3mg. Jumped off fluoxetine 1,4mg due to pregnancy in July 2019. Oct 2019 severe withdrawal syndrome started.

Took mistakenly a complex for hormonal support that included pregnenolone dec2019-april2020. Stopped it april 2020 and immediately severe akathisia started. Have had life threatening akathisia since, 100% disabled, suicidal, very hard to hold on. 

 

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Last year I found this link about neurogenesis:

 

http://www.perpetualcommotion.com/a/Neurogenesis.html

 

Lot's of linked studies there, of course take them with a grain of salt, comprehensive studies with real people would be the best, studies done to rats in my opinion is not comprehensive evidence.

 

I think it's from a person who is trying to prevent alzheimer's. That's mentioned in the main page.

2015 Started on Olanzapine 10 mg

 

2016:18th January Down to 7,5 mg (from 9,38 mg) 1st of June 6,75 mg (began 10% taper!) [...] 1st December 3,65 mg

 

2017: 1st Jan. ~3,3 mg, 1st Feb 2,95 mg, 22nd Feb 2,65 mg (began 3-week taper) 15th Mar 2,38 mg, 5th Apr 2,14 mg, 26th Apr 1,94 mg  17th May ~1,74 mg (began 19-day taper) 5th June ~1,56 mg 24th June 1,4 mg (began 17-day taper) 11th July 1,26 mg 30th July 1,13 mg 24th Aug 1,0 mg(!)

17th Sept 15mg 11st Oct 13,5mg 26th Oct 11,75 mg 18th Nov 10 mg 15th Dec 9 mg

2018: 12nd Jan. 8,1 mg 15th Feb 7,5 mg 1st Apr 6,75 mg 1st Apr 6,08 mg 1st Jun 5,48 mg 1st Jul 5 mg 15th Aug 4,6 mg 15th Sep 4,4 mg 18th Nov 4,3 mg 16th Dec 4,2 mg

2019: 16th Jan 4,1 mg 28th Feb 4,0 mg [...] (began 0.01mg per 2.5 months taper!) 1st Oct 3,7 mg 15th Dec 3,6 mg

2020: 1st Mar 3,5 mg (began 0.01mg per 3 months taper!) 1st Jul 3,35 mg (<-- trying a larger drop) 4th Sep 3,25 mg (started 0.1125mg / 2 months) 10th Dec ~3,1125 mg

2021: 1st Feb 3,0 mg

Other medications: Temazepam for sleep, don't want to use it (has too many side effects). Melatonin too, except that doesn't work for me with high doses of olanzapine.

Haven't used any sleeping medications for a long time. Temazepam caused withdrawal symptoms when I last tried it.

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  • 1 month later...

would just like to chime in and say that Science in the last few years has confirmed we have neurotransmitters in the gut, it has been dubbed 'the second brain'

 

 

It is so important to take care of our digestive systems, everything is interlinked. Intermittent fasting may work for some and not others, I have been fasting for a while through this process but it is hard but when I dont eat I am giving my digestive system a chance to recuperate. In particular I may have histamine issues and digestion releases histamine in the body. so I am reducing the the amount of time my gut has to digest so it can heal. Human beings have been fasting for thousands of years and its something that is held strongly in Buddhist traditions, like everything we must try and if it works for you, great, if it doesn't and if it makes things worse, simply stop. Every one must listen to their own bodies and do their own research, fasting is probably far safer than sticking a load of supplements and medications, tinctures in your body.The idea is to leave our systems alone, but this process is not a one size fits all, like none of things advocated on here. 

 

I have also read people's success stories who have said that fasting sped up recovery process for them, but everyone is different, but try it if it helps you, but make sure you are still getting adequate nutrients in the period of eating.

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  • 1 month later...
theloneranger86

Have people been fasting (water fasting) here ? What is the general feedback when it comes down to help with withdrawal ? I'v read a lot about the positive effects on the brain and feel like this is something I want to try. Any suggestions ?

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By doing a search in google:  survivingingantidepressants.org fasting I found these existing topics:

 

intermittent-fasting-to-grow-new-neurons

 

liver-cleansing-enemas-fasting-and-other-purification-methods

 

brain-inflammation  (Ctrl + F and type in fasting to find the posts)

NEW!!!     INTERVIEW with Altostrata, SA's founder    NEW!!! 

 

Plodding along inch by inch:  12" = 1',  3' =  36 " or 1 yard,  1760 yards  = 63,360" or 1 mile

Current from 17 Apr 2021:  Pristiq 0.2665mg  now holding each dose for 3 weeks

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 Oct 2015 

My 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.

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Have people been fasting (water fasting) here ? What is the general feedback when it comes down to help with withdrawal ? I'v read a lot about the positive effects on the brain and feel like this is something I want to try. Any suggestions ?

 

I find that fasting is the only way to control my neuropathic symptoms.

I am overweight and water fasting is not likely to harm me - I am also a senior so fasting is easier.

Practically anything - including foods can stimulate low level (tolerable) neuropathy - my observation.

prescribed Prozac for Fibromyalgia/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in 1995

switched to Paxil in 1998, Elavil was added

switched to Effexor in 2004

tried to get off Paxil in 2001 - could not

tried to get off Effexor in 2007 - could not

was on Prozac and Elavil from 2008 to 2015

thought i withdrew from Prozac and Elavil without too much agony

now realized that although I tapered....I am having horrible symptoms

thinking about reinstating as I write this....

 

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IrishMonkey92

I'm doing 20:4 intermittent fasting alongside a Ketogenic diet (which mimics the bodily effects of fasting) and have found it's beneficial. My symptoms have calmed. My eye floaters have went up though, and tinnitus

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