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nick301: starting to feel lost and burnt out - Celexa and Abilify

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nick301

I'm 17 and I have been on Celexa 10mg, Abilify 10mg, and Adderall XR 20mg for over a year now. 

 

I was prescribed these medications for depression and bi-polar disorder (bi-polar runs in my mothers side of the family). The Abilify was tacked on along with the Celexa as a "stabilizer" for the Celexa, as my original psychiatrist said. When I first started taking these two medications I did have uncontrollable face movements, where it would look like I was disappointed or frowning, but this stopped after a month. My mind was foggy during the first few months, so I was prescribed Adderall for concentration. The Adderall does make me feel weird, but overall I feel it has been helped me overcome the fogginess. For the first 6-7 months of being on the medications, I would say I felt "better", but I never quite felt "myself" since I have been on them. The medications have helped me with making my mood more stable, I used to get very sad or have anger outbursts. Although I do not have these mood swings anymore, I feel very "blah". As if I am just there and that is it, every day I feel like I am just floating by. Another thing that effected me since starting the medications was my social life, especially in the past few months. Now I am very shut and closed off towards my friends and others. If I go out to a gathering with my friends I am extremely quiet and everyone is constantly asking, "are you okay?". I asked the few friends that know that I am on medications if was always shut off, they said I changed a lot; the people that do not know I am on medications just think I am going through something. 

 

For the past few weeks I have really been feeling "blah", and because of this I am really considering stopping the medications to go back to the better, old me. 

 

I made this post to share my story and would really love to hear your thoughts and opinions. Thank you for taking the time to read my long post.

 

Edited by ChessieCat
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Shep

Hi, Nick.

 

Welcome to Surviving Antidepressants (SA). 

 

I was 17 when I first went on psych drugs but it took me 30 years to find a resource such as SA. I'm so glad you're researching these drugs after only one year on them. 

 

I would also recommend researching these harsh labels you are applying to yourself, such as "bipolar" and "ADHD". A book I would highly recommend to you is: 

 

Anatomy of an Epidemic by Robert Whitaker

 

Scroll down the page and you'll find links to the research he used to write this book. It's really quite eye-opening. 

 

Since you are on an antipsychotic, you may also want to read another one of Robert Whitaker's books:

 

Mad in America by Robert Whitaker

 

What impressed me the most about Whitaker's writings is he captures exactly what it's like to be on these drugs by delving deeply into the lives of those who are subjected to the drugs. Your comment, "Now I am very shut and closed off towards my friends and others" is described in the book. 

 

There's also a Parent Resource Center you and your parents or caregivers may want to check out for more helpful information specific to younger people taking these drugs. 

 

Mad in America - Parent Resources

 

 

9 hours ago, nick301 said:

For the past few weeks I have really been feeling "blah", and because of this I am really considering stopping the medications to go back to the better, old me. 

 

This sounds like a good idea. Most people who are labeled with "bipolar" are incredibly creative and thoughtful people. This is something to celebrate, not medicate. 

 

That being said, you'll need to learn to handle your emotions off of drugs. Please go ahead and get started on learning non-drug coping techniques now even before you begin your taper.  The goal is two-fold - come off the drugs while learning non-drug coping techniques so by the time you are completely off the drugs, your non-drug coping techniques will be so deeply engrained, they will be your lifestyle.  

 

These links will get you started:

 

Neuro-emotion

 

Dealing With Emotional Spirals

 

The above two threads are excellent for learning how to handle your emotions, especially as you're coming off these drugs. You'll find loads more of ideas here:

 

Non-drug techniques to cope with emotional symptoms

 

Do you have any hobbies? Art? Writing? Music? If so, you may want to take your talents and explore them in ways they can help you learn to handle anxiety, improve concentration, and heal. If these aren't already hobbies, perhaps they can become new hobbies and great ways of distracting through your symptoms as you taper off the drugs. Please see:

 

Art Therapy

 

Journaling / Writing Therapy / Therapeutic Writing

 

Music Therapy / Music for Wellness and Healing

 

When coming off a full cocktail of multiple drugs, the first place to start is deciding which drug to taper first. Please see:

 

Taking multiple psych drugs? Which drug to taper first?

 

Please note the concept of "brakes and "accelerators". 

 

9 hours ago, nick301 said:

I have been on Celexa 10mg, Abilify 10mg, and Adderall XR 20mg for over a year now. 

 

Celexa and Adderall are considered "accelerators" and Abilify is considered a "brake". 

 

You'll likely want to reduce the Adderall first. 

 

Here is more information:

 

Tips for tapering off amphetamine/dextroamphetamine (Adderall) 

 

Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

 

How psychiatric drugs remodel your brain

 

The Windows and Waves Pattern of Stabilization

 

9 hours ago, nick301 said:

 My mind was foggy during the first few months, so I was prescribed Adderall for concentration.

 

Your mind wasn't dealing with concentration issues due to what your doctor labeled "ADHD" but rather, the side effects of your other drugs were effecting your concentration. 

 

Adderall can be helpful as a stimulant for awhile, but over time, it's likely going to be less effective and lead to more symptoms of fatigue and what doctors would label "depression". 

 

We don't recommend a lot of supplements, as many members report their nervous systems are simply too fragile to handle them. However, magnesium and fish oil tend to be calming to the nervous system and many people report they do help. Please only add in one supplement at a time and at a small dose. For more, please see:

 

 King of supplements: Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil)

 

Magnesium, nature's calcium channel blocker

 

If you are currently taking any supplements, please list them in your signature. 

 

I've given you a ton of information, so please take your time reading through it all. Please continue to use this thread to document your taper and to ask plenty of questions. 

Edited by Shep
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Altostrata

Welcome, Nick.

 

How's your sleep? What times of day do you take your drugs?

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BB1979

Welcome!  You will find the help and information you need here!!  Good Luck!!

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Carmie

Hi Nick, 

 

Welcome to SA from me too. I’m sorry that the medications are making you feel blah. A lot of people feel that their emotions are numbed on them.

 

Check out the link Shep gave you on tapering by 10%. The maximum one should taper is 10% a month. Some people can’t taper by that much, I taper by around 5% or so. It’s trial and error. Only taper one medication at a time too, there’s some great advice above.

 

Wishing you all the best in your tapering💚

 

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nick301
2 hours ago, Altostrata said:

Welcome, Nick.

 

How's your sleep? What times of day do you take your drugs?

 My sleep is actually very good, I usually get 8+ hours of sleep regularly. The only thing is that if I take the Adderall a bit too late into the morning, I will end up having trouble falling asleep.

 

Here are the times I take the medications: 

  • Celexa 10mg (morning) 
  • Abilify 10mg (bedtime) 
  • Adderall XR 20mg (morning)

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nick301

I really appreciate the reply. I will definitely take a look at the resources you provided. Thank you!

 

Edited by ChessieCat
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Altostrata

NIck, what symptoms is the Abilify supposed to address or did the psychiatrist add it in just because?

 

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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nick301
21 hours ago, Altostrata said:

NIck, what symptoms is the Abilify supposed to address or did the psychiatrist add it in just because?

 

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.

My psychiatrist added the Abilify along with the Celexa because he said it is going to act as a stabilizer. He said that the Celexa would make me more prone to the effects of bi-polar disorder, so he added the Abilify.

 

Here is a link to the interactions with the medications: https://www.drugs.com/interactions-check.php?drug_list=190-1644,233-109,679-335

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Shep
22 hours ago, nick301 said:

My psychiatrist added the Abilify along with the Celexa because he said it is going to act as a stabilizer. He said that the Celexa would make me more prone to the effects of bi-polar disorder, so he added the Abilify.

 

 

Nick, were you diagnosed as "bipolar" before you even had any signs of mania? If so, you were likely misdiagnosed. 

 

22 hours ago, nick301 said:

Here is a link to the interactions with the medications: https://www.drugs.com/interactions-check.php?drug_list=190-1644,233-109,679-335

 

Thanks for posting this. There are some potentially dangerous interactions. Coming off the Adderall first will help with that. Also, note the interaction with alcohol. This is especially dangerous when your nervous system is already destabilized. I know you're only 17, but I do want to mention that.

 

How do you feel about coming off the Adderall first? How are you feeling? 

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nick301
21 hours ago, Shep said:

 

Nick, were you diagnosed as "bipolar" before you even had any signs of mania? If so, you were likely misdiagnosed. 

 

My mother's side of the family does have a history of having bi-polar disorder, because of this it would make sense that I could actually be bi-polar. Now whether or not I am actually bi-polar, I would say that I do have some signs of it. This is because ever since I was about 7-8 years old I would be fine and then I would become very violent and angry during an argument (with family, not friends), this would happen multiple times a week. I would also sometimes get random sadness also, but this did not affect me too much. 

 

Since starting the Abilify, these episodes of anger and sadness disappeared for the most part. I do still have episodes when I am in an argument, but they are much less often (twice a month).

 

21 hours ago, Shep said:

How do you feel about coming off the Adderall first? How are you feeling? 

 

19 hours ago, Altostrata said:

The Adderall counters brain fog from the other drugs, is that right, Nick?

 

That's most likely a side effect of Abilify. Perhaps reduce Adderall a bit, then Abilify?

 

I was officially diagnosed with ADHD last year in September, 2018. This was then confirmed by my pediatrician. 

 

Now, I know that the Adderall is probably not the best thing for me, but I feel that it is actually helping me a lot with my school work and concentration. When ever I take the Adderall, which are the days I have school, I feel that it helps with my mood and does clear up the brain fog from the other medications. I know that the Adderall has a chance to become addictive, but I have been able to stop it, during breaks, and not have a need to take more of it. 

 

My main goal would be to stop the Abilify and then stop the Celexa. I'd like to see how I feel and go from there.

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Altostrata

The Adderall undubitably helps with your schoolwork. It is what is called speed on the street and has long been known to be a study aid.

 

Here's the problem: You already know that the Adderall can interfere with your sleep. Abilify is probably making you a little dopey; if you reduce it first, the Adderall may cause insomnia. I can guarantee you, you will not like that one bit.

 

It's very possible that a little less Adderall will still give you that extra boost in your schoolwork while reducing the stimulating effect that may interfere with your sleep. Then you might reduce Abilify. When that happens, you might find Adderall is too stimulating and you'll want to reduce that a bit again. And so forth -- alternating reduction of Adderall and Abilify.

 

If a doctor diagnosed a child's emotional variability as bipolar disorder on the basis of "family history" and prescribed 3 dangerous drugs for it, that doctor should be thrown out of the profession. Children are naturally emotional, especially in arguments! I question whether that is a valid diagnosis of bipolar disorder.

 

If you were taking Abilify, which is well-known for causing brain fog, and a doctor had the nerve to say you had ADHD as well -- that's just plain stupid. See my earlier point about your doctor.

 

These drugs are vastly overprescribed to adults as well as children, with arbitrary diagnoses. I would not take any of your diagnoses seriously. But you're a minor, so you might have to go along with the program until you're 18.

 

I am very sad that you have been overdrugged at such a young age. The human body is not designed for metabolizing drugs. Over many years, they tend to have a deteriorating effect on vital organs and general health. (You can look up side effects of each of your drugs on drugs.com.)

 

You should know that Adderall is addictive -- many people just love those amphetamines. It may serve you well in college, a lot of your fellow students will be swapping their drugs. In my day, we had to buy our speed from drug pushers on the corner!

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nick301

 

I see what you are saying about the Adderall, but I haven't been able to see my psychiatrist for some time because of the co-pays of seeing her. 

 

Since I am taking the Adderall XR, I do not feel comfortable breaking open the capsules to taper. For now I will start by tapering the Abilify by cutting up the tablets. From there I will see how things go. 

 

I do believe the ADHD diagnoses was accurate though, because it was done by two outside doctors (one of them being with the school board).

 

The way my first doctor (now I have a much better one) diagnosed me was ridiculous in my opinion. He said he "could tell I was depressed by the way I walked in", to me that is no way to diagnose someone. From there he barely talked to me and just went away with writing up prescriptions. From the moment I walked out of the office I questioned everything about it. As you said though, I am just going to have to go with the program until I turn 18. 

 

Since I was young, I was always against drugs and alcohol, and I hate that I am having to go with this right now. I know that everything will get better eventually though.

 

Edited by ChessieCat
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Altostrata

There is a lot of psychiatric misdiagnosis going around, and a lot of overprescription.

 

Any doctor can prescribe these drugs, it doesn't have to be a psychiatrist. How about your GP, do you have a good rapport with him or her?

 

If there is a lot of fighting in your family, that would affect anyone's mood, including the children. Have you ever seen a therapist about this?

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nick301

 

Yes, I have a good relationship with my GP, he has been my doctor for many years, but we have not talked about any of this. 

 

My family does have issues with fighting, my parents and I do have frequent arguments. One of the reasons, I started seeing a psychiatrist

 

I starting seeing a family therapist recently, but have not been able to see her because of insurance issues.

 

Edited by ChessieCat
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Altostrata

What do your parents think of your intention to minimize your drugs?

 

Is the psychiatrist helping you to cope with the fighting?

 

If you wish to lower the Adderall dose slightly, according to Tips for tapering off amphetamine/dextroamphetamine (Adderall) 
you can open the capsules and take less, or you can get a prescription for, say 15mg XR and 7.5mg IR tablets, split the tablets, and by taking a 15mg capsules plus a 3.75mg half-tablet, lower your daily dose to 18.75mg.

 

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Shep
14 hours ago, nick301 said:

As you said though, I am just going to have to go with the program until I turn 18. 

 

How soon will you turn 18? 

 

14 hours ago, nick301 said:

I do believe the ADHD diagnoses was accurate though, because it was done by two outside doctors (one of them being with the school board).

 

Even if the diagnosis was correct, it was criminal that a doctor added a stimulant to your other drugs because, as you note in that drug interaction report you linked, there is a major interaction now. 

 

ADHD can be very effectively treated in much better ways than drugs. Please see:

 

Mad in America - Non-drug Therapies for ADHD

 

14 hours ago, nick301 said:

Since I was young, I was always against drugs and alcohol, and I hate that I am having to go with this right now. I know that everything will get better eventually though.

 

 

This is a good attitude. 

 

Check out some of the no-drug alternatives, as they fit into your ethos of wanting to go drug and alcohol free. I hate you're having to go through this right now, too, but I'm so glad you did your research and are getting information at such a young age. 

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nick301
12 hours ago, Altostrata said:

What do your parents think of your intention to minimize your drugs?

 

Is the psychiatrist helping you to cope with the fighting?

 

If you wish to lower the Adderall dose slightly, according to Tips for tapering off amphetamine/dextroamphetamine (Adderall) 
you can open the capsules and take less, or you can get a prescription for, say 15mg XR and 7.5mg IR tablets, split the tablets, and by taking a 15mg capsules plus a 3.75mg half-tablet, lower your daily dose to 18.75mg.

 

My parents are being supportive with the changes. They were able to tell that something has been bothering me lately, so I spilled and told them that I want to stop taking the medications. Thankfully they were completely supportive. 

 

My psychiatrist and I talk and she is actually very nice, she's the one I transferred to after all the diagnoses and prescribing done by the old doctor. We talk about many things and she is the one that suggested I see the therapist. 

 

I wouldn't be able to do that because I have not been able to see the doctor because of the crazy co-pays. 

 

9 hours ago, Shep said:

How soon will you turn 18? 

 

I will be turning 18 in the middle of this upcoming March. 

 

Thank you for the link, some interesting info there.

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Altostrata
On 1/27/2019 at 1:18 PM, nick301 said:

I do believe the ADHD diagnoses was accurate though, because it was done by two outside doctors (one of them being with the school board).

 

No matter what the credentials, ADHD cannot be diagnosed when the person is on 3 drugs, two of which may cause inattention.

 

Schools are notoriously overdiagnosing students with ADHD https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/side-effects/201710/adhd-is-now-widely-overdiagnosed-and-multiple-reasons

 

This is going to pay off in a generation of people addicted to amphetamines.

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nick301

Last night (1/31/2019), I started the taper of the Abilify.

I was taking 10mg and now I am cutting them up so it will be at 7.5mg.

I will be taking this dose for a few weeks and then I will be reducing again. 

 

I know this is not the recommended 10% decrease, but this is what I feel comfortable doing. I do not feel comfortable crushing up the pills and doing it that way. 

 

I will of course be updating this thread with how I feel after the reductions start taking effect. 

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Shep

 

16 hours ago, nick301 said:

I do not feel comfortable crushing up the pills and doing it that way. 

 

What makes you uncomfortable? Is it the slow taper method, or do you need help with learning how to work a scale or do a liquid taper? We can walk you through it step by step, including doing the math.

 

 

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Altostrata

Nick, I hope you do not learn the hard way what Abilify withdrawal feels like. I hope this goes well for you.

 

Please don't make any more drug changes for a while, you'll need to observe the results of this decrease. Be sure to keep daily notes of when you take your drugs, their dosages, and your symptoms. If there's a ramp up in symptoms, you'll know you reduced too much.

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nick301
11 hours ago, Shep said:

What makes you uncomfortable? Is it the slow taper method, or do you need help with learning how to work a scale or do a liquid taper? We can walk you through it step by step, including doing the math.

 

I just feel that is going to be too tedious for me.

 

 

4 hours ago, Altostrata said:

Nick, I hope you do not learn the hard way what Abilify withdrawal feels like. I hope this goes well for you.

 

Please don't make any more drug changes for a while, you'll need to observe the results of this decrease. Be sure to keep daily notes of when you take your drugs, their dosages, and your symptoms. If there's a ramp up in symptoms, you'll know you reduced too much.

 

Thanks, hopefully everything does go well. I will be taking note of how I feel and how everything goes. 

I have been reading around and I know what to be expecting. 

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Altostrata

Yes, gradual tapering is tedious. I'm sorry going off psychiatric drugs isn't easier.

 

If you're an impatient person, you might end up hurting yourself by tapering too fast. You may have to confront that aspect of your personality and make changes to take care of yourself.

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eymen23
22 minutes ago, nick301 said:

I just feel that is going to be too tedious for me.

 

Tapering can be a daunting process. At times I find it tedious taking 20 minutes of my day to measure an exact weight of a drug which hasn’t helped me in any way. 

 

However, nothing is more tedious than feeling awful for a prolonged period of time (hence why I won’t cold turkey or fast taper). 

 

Please try and see that it’s about choosing the lesser of two evils. 

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Cleerity

Hi Nick ... I am a fellow Abilify traveler and thought I would ask how you are doing?  I see you began the decreased dose last Thursday, so that makes today Day 6.  I have been aware of dose changes between days 5 and 7.  I hope all is going well for you!

 

Best wishes,

Cleerity

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nick301
4 minutes ago, Cleerity said:

Hi Nick ... I am a fellow Abilify traveler and thought I would ask how you are doing?  I see you began the decreased dose last Thursday, so that makes today Day 6.  I have been aware of dose changes between days 5 and 7.  I hope all is going well for you!

 

Best wishes,

Cleerity

 

Thanks for the check in!

I have not felt any big changes as of yet. The only thing I have felt is groggy, I feel like going to sleep way earlier than usual. Whenever I do sleep, I do not feel well rested like I usually do.

Hopefully everything goes well for me as I continue on. 

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Altostrata

It will take at least a month for that decrease to fully register, Abilify washout is 6-7 weeks.

 

Please let us know of any changes in your daily symptom pattern. With lower Abilify, increased activation from Adderall is possible.

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Cleerity
On 2/5/2019 at 4:58 PM, nick301 said:

I have not felt any big changes as of yet ... Hopefully everything goes well for me as I continue on. 

 

Good to hear, Nick. 

 

Very best wishes to you,

 

Cleerity

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Shep

How are you doing, Nick? 

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nick301

Hello everyone, I would like to give an update as to how things are going with me. 

 

I saw my pediatrician on March 14th, he told me that it was alright if I cut the tablets in half. I was telling him how I've been reducing my medications and he agreed with me, saying that I am on too many medications.

 

Now about how I am feeling... 

 

Personally I feel that I am getting better and not as mentally lost anymore. I definitely don't feel myself still, but things are improving. My friends have told me that I have been more energetic, talkative, and overall more engaged. It made me happy to hear that from them, it shows that what I am doing is working. Things have really been improving from my point of view also. I even have a girlfriend now, which really shows I getting out of my bubble and not being all anti-social like I was before.

 

I plan to continue decreasing the medications and see how things go.

 

As far as symptoms from the decreasing of the medications, I haven't noticed anything too extreme. Overall I have felt more down, but I distract myself from it because I know it will not be lasting forever. Another thing I noticed is that when I am on the Adderall, it does feel like it is stronger since the other medications aren't countering it as much as before.

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Carmie

Hi Nick, 

 

Glad to hear things are improving for you. Wishing you all the best with your continued tapering. 💚

 

 

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