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Cynthia

Cynthia: 4th day off serotonin. Scary symptoms

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Cynthia

Symptoms improved since reinstating: big reduction brain zapping/rushing in head

big reduction hot flushes

reduced ringing in ears

heart racing less

Able to fall sleep (no Xanax)

 

No new symptoms

 

Yes. Suffered from Diarrhea while  on high dose Zoloft. Worsened in frequency. 

Gastroenterologist did tests including colonoscopy 2012, 2014, 2016. Found link between microcellular colitis & Zoloft. 

 

Psychiatrist substituted Lexapro - same class of drugs but side effect of diarrhea ‘farther down the list’. 

Seemed to improve then after several months episodes more frequent. This is why psychiatrist suggested I step down & off this class of seratonin uptake drugs. 

 

Important to note, may or may not be cause now, but contributing factor. 

First episode followed  sexual assault in 1969 & lasted a year. 

Was started on Valium, Lomotile, Effercillium, orher meds over years. Sexual assault again not quite a year later. Diarrhea returned. Stress from Fear, anxiety initial cause. 

 

Now trying to control  with probiotics, bland diet, Immodium & Metamucil.

 

Edited by ChessieCat
reworded rape to sexual assault

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Cynthia

Since reinstating drug, No nightmares!  2 nights of good dreams.  Also slept through the night. 

 

See doctor Monday. Wish me luck. 

 

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ChessieCat

Are you seeing your doctor about something to do with your drugs and/or tapering/reinstatement?

 

You might find it helpful to write a script and rehearse what you are going to say.  Be calm, gentle but assertive.  You are the customer, it is your body.  Use words like I'd like to try this.  If a suggestion is made that you don't want to follow, say I'd like to think about it before making a decision.

 

How do you talk to a doctor about tapering and withdrawal?


What should I expect from my doctor about withdrawal symptoms?

 

 

Edited by ChessieCat

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Gracee

Hi Cynthia, Just wanted to stop by, say Hello and Best Wishes.   I am near your age (73) and began tapering from Paxil a few weeks ago.  I experience similar withdrawal symptoms, and have come to learn it is all part of the tapering process.  I'm learning to take this process very slowly and reduce dosage by tiny amounts, even if it takes years.   Hang in there and be good to yourself.

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Cynthia

ChesieCat

yes, I’m seeing my psychiatrist to discuss dosage, titrating down slowly, what my “discontinuation” experience has been, about what role if any the Wellbutrin  (dopamine) may have, and not least diarrhea. 

Thank you for guidance, I will definitely go in with notes & non-confrontational tone. I think I can put her at ease. I have no expectation but I do have hope. 

Cynthia

 

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Cynthia

Gracie, 

Thank you so much. Heck of a ride, isn’t it - And I don’t like rollercoasters!

 If I felt this antidepressant was helping me & not suffering diarrhea as a side effect, I’d stay on it to avoid detoxing. Suffering either way, but looking forward to decreasing the suffering by going slow & looking forward to eventually living long enough to be off 😜👵🏻😘

 

 

Edited by ChessieCat
removed quote

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Gracee

I hear you Cynthia,   I was stable on 30 mg Paxil for the past 7 years, then made the hasty mistake up up-dosing to 40 mg because anxiety had returned.    If I can get back down to 30, I will evaluate and stay put if I can just be comfortable again.   Who knows?   I think at some point, our body reaches a tolerance with a drug and the dose stops working.   All I know for sure, is I won't up-dose again nor will I allow my doctor to add another SSRI to the mix.

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ChessieCat
5 minutes ago, Gracee said:

I think at some point, our body reaches a tolerance with a drug and the dose stops working.

 

tolerance-or-poop-out-or-tachyphylaxis

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Cynthia

Very helpful & validating!  Never heard of tachyphylaxis or “poop out”. But I have experienced recently. It’s natural, I think, to get depressed, sad, whatever, on SSR/SSRI’s but I didn't bottom out.  Until , Recent past, on 10mg maintenance dose of escitalopram I felt like I was floating beneath the surface of water. Part of me wanted to be pulled up and part of me just didn’t give a darn. Never felt like that. Finally got myself to my psych who started busilly looking on her computer to add another drug. Forgot the name (started with an R, to be taken at night), then read through most common side effects at my request. Not a chance! That made me come up for air. The drug wasn’t working for me anymore. That Also happened on Zoloft which I took for 25 years before. During that time the dosage was increased by 50% and after a time, Wellbutrin was added. Then switched to Escitalopram. 

It’s a crazy spiral. Talk about mixing drinks! We listen to our doctors- we don’t want to be debilitated by depression or sadness. After going through the wash cycle far too many times, I said “I’ll think about it” - went home, did research on the web, educated myself, and decided I’d had enough. I eventually came out of the awful numb depression- I don’t know why. Going off - “discontinuing” is hell. I’m not just withdrawing from Escitalopram but all the anti-depressants that went before. It is just sinking in how hard it is how unsure & scared I am. What is also sinking in after reading the struggles and strength of people on this SA site, what a huge, grossly underplayed, epidemic anti-depressant withdrawal is. 

We give each other strength & hope here, we can be here at the touch of a key to support each other. That’s an even huger phenomenon. 

Bless you all

Cynthia

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ChessieCat
25 minutes ago, Cynthia said:

Forgot the name (started with an R, to be taken at night)

 

 

Drugs beginning with "r"

  • Remeron (mirtazapine)
  • Restoril (temazepam)
  • Risperadal

 

29 minutes ago, Cynthia said:

I eventually came out of the awful numb depression- I don’t know why.

 

Sometimes depression can be something which just runs its course.

 

31 minutes ago, Cynthia said:

what a huge, grossly underplayed, epidemic anti-depressant withdrawal is.

 

Yes, it is.  And here is some proof of the vastness of this issue.

 

PE01651: Prescribed drug dependence and withdrawal  Calling on the Scottish Parliament to urge the Scottish Government to take action to appropriately recognise and effectively support individuals affected and harmed by prescribed drug dependence and withdrawal.

 

298 public submissions (when making your submission you can choose whether to make it public or not) are available for reading here:  http://www.parliament.scot/GettingInvolved/Petitions/PE01651   

 

I have read about 50 of them.

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Cynthia

May have been Remeron -  taken at night, help insomnia & increases appetite, causes dry mouth. I remembered I was presidcribed Elavil at one time - what a horrid experiment that was! sawdust mouth, knocked me out like death at night & ended up not being able to urinate. 

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Cynthia

Wow- I read thru several submissions. Any movement in the US?

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Cynthia

ChessieCat

Just posted experience with psychiatrist yestetday to a discussion thread on topic. 

 

Can I add tags to my original post/thread? Edit topic title? 

Want to add tags

escitalopram 

seratonin

withdrawal

taper

 

I’d like to take part in discussions 

forums

So helpful to read

receive posts from others

would like to add my voice

 

Thank you,

Cynthia

 

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Cynthia

Saw my psychiatrist yesterday - came prepared with daily diary, list of my symptoms & extracts from publications validating withdrawal symptoms- a copy for her & one for myself & 

I told her ‘let’s read through [diary] together”. Held her attention for maybe 2 minutes. She said she had never heard this from any of her other patients going off. Escitalopram.  

 I didn’t challenge her, said I hadn’t expected it either.

Asked if may be cummulative result of being on SSRIs for 25 years. 

She was honest and said, “we don’t know “

By this time her copy of my well organized printouts had been tossed on a chair. 

I really had no expectations- but made sure to reiterate how I was feeling & what I’d gone thru after dropping & resuming at a lower dose. I am still suffering from diarrhea.

She referred to escitalopram as a fairly innocuous drug! 

 

We agreed I’d stay on 5mg to see if I can stabilize. 

 

I talked to her about a slow taper, possibly a liquid compound. She agreed

‘Then if you want,” she said, “we can cut it in half to 2.5mg”.  !!!

 

She didn’t get it. I told her no, (I may have yelped at this point) I’m talking slow - as suggested on this site- 10% at a time over a period of months. 

I brought up cross tapering & she said “one thing at a time”. 

Our 10 minutes were up. I left feeling that I’m on my own & that I’d have to be my own advocate. 

Terrible diarrhea last night - from drug? From withdrawal? From stress? All of the above. 

 

Bad night last night. Midnight episode of severe diarrhea & accompanied cramps & backache. Finally slept. On bland diet, Immodium. 

Metamucil etc. Weak & shakey. 

Escitalopram far from “innocuous”

for me. 

Hanging in.

So sorry we’ve had to suffer from ignorance of Med Community & denial (greed?) of drug companies. 

 

 

 

Edited by Cynthia
Correct more gibberish - typing skills not quite back to par

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Gracee

Hi Cynthia,   I applaud you for your restraint and composure during psychiatrist appointment.   You handled yourself perfectly, did everything right.   You doctor demonstrated what we already know of the medical community concerning psych drugs. We need to be our own advocates.   Thanks for sharing your experience; I've made notes for when I visit my doc in two months.

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ChessieCat

Copying this here for your own reference:

 

2 hours ago, Cynthia said:

Hello all,

Joined SA the 1st week of this month. Dr had me drop from 10 mg Escitalopram to 5mg over 5 days then stop.

 

Couldn’t handle withdrawal (rushing noise in head, hearing eyes move in head, painful shocks L side of head - “brain zaps”. Hot flushes, heart puounding & severe diarrhea.). Went back up to 5 mg on day 4. Symtoms diminished & intermittent but not gone.

 

I saw my psychiatrist yesterday - came prepared with daily diary, list of my symptoms & extracts from publications validating withdrawal symptoms- a copy for her & one for myself & I told her ‘let’s read through [diary] together”. Held her attention for maybe 2 minutes. She said she had never heard this from any of her other patients going off. Escitalopram.  

 

I didn’t challenge her, said I hadn’t expected it either. By this time her copy of my well organized printouts had been tossed on a chair. 

 

I really had no expectations- but made sure to reiterate how I was feeling & what I’d gone thru after dropping & resuming at a lower dose. I am still suffering from diarrhea. SSRI’s now thought to be link contributing to microcellular colitis which I have + IBSD. Whis is why I was stepped quickly off Zoloft (Sertraline)  after 25 years & up on Escitalopram. She referred to escitalopram as a fairly innocuous drug!  Surprise. ...

 

We agreed I’d stay on 5mg to see if I can stabilize. 

 

I talked to her about a slow taper, possibly a liquid compound. She agreed ‘Then if you want,” she said, “we can cut it in half to 2.5mg”.  !!!

 

She didn’t get it. I told her no, (I may have yelped at this point) I’m talking slow - as suggested on this site- 10% at a time over a period of months. 

 

Our 10 minutes were up. I left feeling that I’m on my own & that I’d have to be my own advocate. 

 

Terrible diarrhea last night - from drug? From withdrawal? From stress? All of the above. 

 

Thank heavens for SA - otherwise I’d be scares shitless (I wish!).  

 

Great compassion for everyone here. So sorry we’ve had to suffer from ignorance of Med Community & denial of drug companies. 

 

Bless you all. 

 

 

 

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Altostrata

Hi, Cynthia. How are you doing now?

 

You may experience some waves and windows while stabilizing on 5mg, which could take some weeks.

 

I'm concerned about the Dalmane, etc. Glaucoma drops also have side effects. Please put ALL your drugs in the Drug Interactions Checker https://www.drugs.com/drug_interactions.php and copy and paste the results or a link to them in this topic.

 

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ChessieCat

Hi Cynthia,

 

We'd really love to hear how you are.  Please post an update so we know you are okay.  Thanks. 😊

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Cynthia

Hi ChessieCat,

 I’m doing very well on the 5mg of

Escitalopram. The physical consequences of that rapid withdrawal from 10mg to zero really took a toll. My gut is still recovering or, as before, may very well be due to the drug itself. I’m going to rest at this dose for another month. When I’m ready my psych will fax the compounding pharmacy with lower dose. I’m hoping to drop by 0.5 - 1.mg every month  I’m anxious to get off this stuff but want to minimize the torture. 

 

In your experience what do you think about dropping 1mg at a time or 0.5 at a time?

I know it’s very individual but I’d like to live long enough to stop this drug. 😜👵🏻

Edited by ChessieCat
resized font

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ChessieCat

Hi Cynthia,

 

Thanks for updating us on how you are.  I'm really pleased that things are much better for you.

 

It's better to think in terms of getting off the drug with as little discomfort as possible, not about getting off the drug.

 

Be realistic that you can only go as fast as your brain will let you.  I can understand you wanting to get off the drug, however think of it in terms of reducing your drug.  Generally as we reduce the drug the side effects also lessen.

 

I was hoping to be off my Pristiq by my 60th birthday at the end of 2017.  I'm not going to be off until after my 63rd birthday.  A 5+ year taper.  But currently I have reduced more than 95% of my original dose.  I know that my brain still needs the drug and that it is has nothing to do with how strong or determined I am as a person.

 

SA recommends tapering by no more than 10% of the current dose.  Each time you make a reduction it is less than the previous reduction amount.  Reducing by 1mg off 5mg is a 20% reduction.

 

Please also see this topic:  When to end the taper and jump to zero?

 

5mg x 0.9 = 4.5mg, 4.5mg x 0.9mg = 4.05mg, 4.05mg x 0.9 = 3.645mg (possibly round up to 3.65 or 3.7mg), next reduction would be calculated on 3.65mg or 3.7mg.  If the amount is difficult to measure, you always round up so that the reduction is less than 10%. 
 

If you reduce by 0.5mg every time you will be reducing more (a higher percentage of the current dose) each time you reduce.

 

Reducing from 5mg to 4.5mg is a 10% reduction

 

Reducing from 4.5mg to 4mg is an 11.111% reduction

 

Reducing from 4mg to 3.5mg is a 12.5% reduction

 

This is a graph of a 10% reduction every 4 weeks, a "perfect" taper.  You can see that the step down each time gets less.  If you reduced 0.5mg each time the step down would be the same size.


776391214_PerfectTaper.png.f16551da35c66ed2616e7cdd534b7505.png

 

Unfortunately it is going to be a slow process, but it is easier if we can accept that it the best way to do it then it makes it much easier and we can be more patient.  However, just before Christmas I considered jumping off at 5mg.  But because of the experiences I have read about here I know that it's not a good idea.

 

Using Tapering Calculator - Online and making the first reduction on 3/31/2019

 

NB:  If you round up any doses you would need to recalculate on the rounded up dose amount for the next reduction.

 

cycle dose start date
start 5.00 3/31/2019
1 4.50 4/28/2019
2 4.05 5/26/2019
3 3.65 6/23/2019
4 3.28 7/21/2019
5 2.95 8/18/2019
6 2.66 9/15/2019
7 2.39 10/13/2019
8 2.15 11/10/2019
9 1.94 12/8/2019
10 1.74 1/5/2020
11 1.57 2/2/2020
12 1.41 3/1/2020
13 1.27 3/29/2020
14 1.14 4/26/2020
15 1.03 5/24/2020
16 0.93 6/21/2020
17 0.83 7/19/2020
18 0.75 8/16/2020
19 0.68 9/13/2020
20 0.61 10/11/2020
21 0.55 11/8/2020
22 0.49 12/6/2020

 

Edited by ChessieCat

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Cynthia

I can’t thank you enough for the detailed response & reduction math, graph & table. I’m so glad I asked you! I appreciate your own struggle & how important patience with the process is to a successful withdrawal off the drug. I have to wrap my head around possible years rather than months. 

I hope we both have reason to celebrate at 63 for you & me at 73. 

Bless you!

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ChessieCat

You're very welcome and I'm pleased that I have helped you to understand it better.  It is a lot to get our heads around.  We are lay people trying to understand something that the majority of the medical community don't even know/believe exists.  Doctors say that we just need to get the drug out of our system. 🙄  There are many members here who would love them to take their own "medicine" and then have it stopped suddenly.  Sometimes it isn't until we have experienced something ourselves that we can understand it.  I wonder about whether people who take part in drug trials suffer down the track and don't realise it is from stopping the drug after the trial.

 

It is important to learn to accept that it is going to take a long time to get off.  One of the ways I look at it is that I've suffered enough bad withdrawal symptoms to last a life time.  I have knowledge now that I didn't have before.  If I can do something to keep those to a minimum then I'll take as long as I need to.  Tapering does become a part of your routine after a few months if you don't focus on it.  I've been surprised at how quickly the last 3 years has gone by.  The more that you can accept that it is what it is, the less stressed we can be about it.  But impatience can rear its ugly head every now and then as I stated before about thinking of jumping off at 5mg.  I think it is just part of the whole process of tapering and we just get over it and want to be finished with it.

 

Wishing you all the best.  And it would be really good if you can update us with how your are going every now and then.

 

On 5/15/2011 at 5:22 AM, Altostrata said:

MISSION OF SURVIVINGANTIDEPRESSANTS.ORG

 

Surviving Antidepressants is a site for peer support, documentation, and education of withdrawal symptoms and withdrawal syndrome caused by psychiatric drugs, specifically antidepressants.

The participants on this site have all experienced or are experiencing difficulty in withdrawal from psychiatric medications. We offer peer support to those who are similarly suffering, drawing from our personal experiences.

(No posting on this site should be construed as medical advice. For medical advice, consult a trusted medical caregiver.)

The personal stories on this site are documentation of an iatrogenic condition -- suffering caused by medical treatment -- that is almost always ignored, misdiagnosed, or denied by the medical establishment. Given the widespread prescription of antidepressants to tens of millions of people worldwide, withdrawal syndrome probably affects hundreds of thousands if not millions -- including newborns and children.

Antidepressant withdrawal syndrome can last weeks, months, or years. It can be distressing, debilitating, or even disabling. It may be adding to an increase in what is termed disabling mental illness.

With our documentation of antidepressant withdrawal syndrome, we hope to educate the medical establishment about this problem. Case studies are essential; they are evidence understood by doctors, the psychiatric industry, and government regulatory agencies.

Our hope is, eventually, antidepressants and other psychiatric drugs will be prescribed rarely, and only in cases of extremely severe mental illness after less invasive treatments have been tried.

Please join Surviving Antidepressants in its mission to support, document, and educate about psychiatric drug withdrawal syndrome.

 

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SkyStreamer
23 minutes ago, ChessieCat said:

Doctors say that we just need to get the drug out of our system. 🙄  There are many members here who would love them to take their own "medicine" and then have it stopped suddenly.  Sometimes it isn't until we have experienced something ourselves that we can understand it.

 

Lol - darn right! Then, they'd learn for sure, and they'd never forget it! :) Without that experience, they're all theory - that is, theory that's invented and disseminated by the pharma culture. 

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Cynthia

You are so right. If only!!!

 The great difficulty is convincing the doctor to go slow. After the hell I went thru going from 10mg to 5mg to zero over 10 days, then stabilizing on 5mg, she wanted me to cut them in half to 2.5mg!  I think I got through about a slower taper - expect resistance to slow even more to 10%. And of course she’s never heard of anyone going through withdrawal from Escitalopram. It takes a great deal of patience - as a patient - to educate our doctors without alienating them. I’d say we have to be our own advocates- but we have each other on this site, first hand experience, documented information- it’s no small thing to know we have each others backs. Bless you all!!😘

 

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Carmie

Hi Cynthia, 

 

Yes, it can certainly take great patience to educate doctors, but all we really need from them is for them to give us a script and then we can taper it ourselves. A General Practioner can give us scripts as well. Sometimes it’s a waste of breathe trying  to explain things to doctors. They only know what they’ve been taught in school,  and they get paid big money by the pharmaceutical companies.

 

I only go to my psych doctor to get my script, but he doesn’t help me with the tapering, he doesn’t know anything about tapering. He’s happy to keep giving me the script, and he knows I’m tapering and just leaves it up to me. If he was no longer practicing I probably would just go to a GP and get the scripts. 

 

Take care, sending hugs🤗

Edited by Carmie
Typo

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Cynthia

Hi Carnie,

The dose I’m on now, 5mg, is a tiny round pill. 

Can’t cut, even with razor blade - just too small. It’s the lowest dose RX Escitalopram I can get. I have a compounding pharmacy that will make capsules at dose psych prescribes. I think the first taper to 4.5 won’t be a problem for her, it’s getting the doc to prescribe a 10% lower dose ea month or so. 

How are you tapering/getting the right dosage from your script??

Thank you,

Cynthia

 

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Carmie

Hi Cynthia, 

 

No, it’s not a good idea now to cut the 5mg tablet into pieces because the tapering percentage would be way too high. The best idea would be water titration. That’s what I’m doing. You can get escitalopram in liquid, so you might be able to ask your doctor for a script for that. If they’re not willing to do that you could always go to another doctor. 

 

Alternately, what I’m doing is crushing my tablet with a mortar and pestle and then adding water. I mix my 25mg tablet in 20mls of water. 

 

I’m sorry the doctor doesn’t believe you can get withdrawals, but it doesn’t matter if they believe it or not, all you need is the script. My doctor is the same, doesn’t have a clue. Escitalopram is actually the strongest SSRI.

 

Let me know how you go with your doctor. Hopefully they will give you the liquid, but like I said, you can actually make your own by crushing the 5mg tablet and adding water. 

 

I’d be holding for a while still as I think you’ve made a lot of changes already recently, let your brain stabilise. It doesn’t like too many changes so close together. 

 

There’s a thread in the tapering section on how to taper escitalopram. I’ll get ChessieCat to send you the link. I’m not computer savvy. 

 

Wishing you all the best with your tapering.💚

 

 

 

 

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