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ShiningLight: brain injury with gabapentin WD want off others

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ShiningLight
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Hello friends, I've been on and off antidepressant meds since about age 18. Zoloft and Trazodone pretty consistently since 2004. A few times I tried to come off and became suicidally depressed; didn't realize this was withdrawal so I went back on. :(

 

Oh goodness, looks like I'm forever stuck with the typo ShingingLight in my name!

 

Unfortunately, I never thought critically of the meds that were prescribed to me. My difficulties, like many probably, started when I was a kid growing up in a toxic environment, mostly emotional neglect. It had a profound impact on me. I was always a sad kid. I had my first experience with deep depression at age 14, then again at age 18.

 

At 18, I went to see a psychiatrist who put me on meds. Really, the main issue was that I was severely depressed because it was time to go to college, and some part of me I realized I had no life or realationship skills. The depression lifted when I went to college and I was taken off meds, probably abruptly; I don't remember.

 

I am realizing in hindsight that my issues were mainly psychosocial. Being on these meds has dulled me. I'm now 47, and it seems like I've spent most of my life just trying to survive and avoid emotional pain. I'm single and I have no real infrastructure in my life. I have continued in the pattern of emotional neglect of myself, despite over a decade of therapy--I believe, with the help of the meds which made me apathetic.

 

How I got here: I was recently prescribed gabapentin for "anxiety" off label. I got up to 1200 mg then started getting clumsy, falling, and having stiffness going down stairs. I thought I had a neurological disease and had an invasive workup for that. I asked my psychiatrist if she thought it might be the gabapentin and she said she didn't think so but gave me a taper regimen that was to last about 2 weeks. I had a severe withdrawal; I couldn't walk a straight line, I had light intolerance, chills, hot flashes, and had to be put on disability. I thought I was going to die and actually started making up my will and power of attorney (which I should have done before anyway). When I got to where I was taking 300 mg only at night, I realized my symptoms might be due to the gabapentin and I did all the meds research.

 

Thereafter, although still in severe withdrawal, taking into account the advice of a facebook group (ridiculous that I should have to go to a facebook group for compentent knowledge rather than an MD) I decided to try 150 mg three times a day. I'm now slwoly approaching stabilization on that dose after 2 weeks and know I will need to wait several months before starting a SLOW taper this time.

 

I'm 47 and feeling pretty devastated because getting off the zoloft properly will take me years after I get off the gabapentin, even. I know I'll have to wait for a few years to stabilize my internal GABA system before the zoloft taper. It feels like a bit of a horror to wake up and realize that the drugs you thought were helping you actually ruined your life and your brain. I am slowly trying to come to terms with that. I'm sad and angry, and I'm scared about what life will look like for me both during and at the end of this process; I have a sensitive nervous system and some autoimmune concerns.

Edited by Shep
added username to title

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Shep
On 3/30/2019 at 8:11 PM, ShiningLight said:

Oh goodness, looks like I'm forever stuck with the typo ShingingLight in my name!

 

No worries. I changed it to ShiningLight. 

 

Welcome to Surviving Antidepressants, ShiningLight. 

 

I think you are right that these drugs are causing a lot of your health problems. Here is some information to get you started.

 

Taking multiple psych drugs? Which drug to taper first?

 

Tips for tapering off Zoloft (sertraline)

 

Tips for tapering off Neurontin (gabapentin)

 

How psychiatric drugs remodel your brain

 

Healing from antidepressants. Patterns of recovery video (4 minutes)

 

The Windows and Waves Pattern of Stabilization

 

Are gabapentin and Zoloft the only drugs you are on now?

 

Please add a signature.  Include drugs, doses, dates, and discontinuations & reinstatements in the last 12-24 months. Also include supplements. This will help us give you the most accurate advice we can. 

  • Any drugs and supplements prior to 24 months ago can just be listed with start and stop years. 
  • Please use actual dates or approximate dates (mid-June, Late October) rather than relative time frames (last week, 3 months ago) 
  • Spell out months, e.g. "October" or "Oct."; 9/1/2016 can be interpreted as Jan. 9, 2016 or Sept. 1, 2016. 
  • Please leave out symptoms and diagnoses. 
  • A list is easier to understand than one or multiple paragraphs. 
  • This is a direct link to your signature:  Account Settings – Create or Edit a signature.

Please continue to use this thread to document your taper and to ask questions. 

 

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BfromNJ
On ‎3‎/‎30‎/‎2019 at 8:11 PM, ShiningLight said:

Hello friends, I've been on and off antidepressant meds since about age 18. Zoloft and Trazodone pretty consistently since 2004. A few times I tried to come off and became suicidally depressed; didn't realize this was withdrawal so I went back on. :(

 

Oh goodness, looks like I'm forever stuck with the typo ShingingLight in my name!

 

Unfortunately, I never thought critically of the meds that were prescribed to me. My difficulties, like many probably, started when I was a kid growing up in a toxic environment, mostly emotional neglect. It had a profound impact on me. I was always a sad kid. I had my first experience with deep depression at age 14, then again at age 18.

 

At 18, I went to see a psychiatrist who put me on meds. Really, the main issue was that I was severely depressed because it was time to go to college, and some part of me I realized I had no life or realationship skills. The depression lifted when I went to college and I was taken off meds, probably abruptly; I don't remember.

 

I am realizing in hindsight that my issues were mainly psychosocial. Being on these meds has dulled me. I'm now 47, and it seems like I've spent most of my life just trying to survive and avoid emotional pain. I'm single and I have no real infrastructure in my life. I have continued in the pattern of emotional neglect of myself, despite over a decade of therapy--I believe, with the help of the meds which made me apathetic.

 

How I got here: I was recently prescribed gabapentin for "anxiety" off label. I got up to 1200 mg then started getting clumsy, falling, and having stiffness going down stairs. I thought I had a neurological disease and had an invasive workup for that. I asked my psychiatrist if she thought it might be the gabapentin and she said she didn't think so but gave me a taper regimen that was to last about 2 weeks. I had a severe withdrawal; I couldn't walk a straight line, I had light intolerance, chills, hot flashes, and had to be put on disability. I thought I was going to die and actually started making up my will and power of attorney (which I should have done before anyway). When I got to where I was taking 300 mg only at night, I realized my symptoms might be due to the gabapentin and I did all the meds research.

 

Thereafter, although still in severe withdrawal, taking into account the advice of a facebook group (ridiculous that I should have to go to a facebook group for compentent knowledge rather than an MD) I decided to try 150 mg three times a day. I'm now slwoly approaching stabilization on that dose after 2 weeks and know I will need to wait several months before starting a SLOW taper this time.

 

I'm 47 and feeling pretty devastated because getting off the zoloft properly will take me years after I get off the gabapentin, even. I know I'll have to wait for a few years to stabilize my internal GABA system before the zoloft taper. It feels like a bit of a horror to wake up and realize that the drugs you thought were helping you actually ruined your life and your brain. I am slowly trying to come to terms with that. I'm sad and angry, and I'm scared about what life will look like for me both during and at the end of this process; I have a sensitive nervous system and some autoimmune concerns.

Hi ShiningLight.  I am also on Gabapentin and wish to get off as well.  600 mg for me.  so you are not alone.  Also I am looking to taper off an AD as well.  so have you started tapering the Zoloft yet or are you waiting? 

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BfromNJ
Just now, BfromNJ said:

Hi ShiningLight.  I am also on Gabapentin and wish to get off as well.  600 mg for me.  so you are not alone.  Also I am looking to taper off an AD as well.  so have you started tapering the Zoloft yet or are you waiting? 

I too also feel like I have ruined my brain and myself with these drugs.  Yet, I was only looking for help during a desperate time.  But if I could go back, I would so do things differently. 

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ShiningLight

Bfrom NJ,

 

So sorry to hear you've been prescribed gabapentin!!!

 

I think I read somewhere that you should wait 2-3 years before tapering an SSRI after gabapentin. Maybe it was this site?

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Altostrata

No, we recommend tapering one drug at a time, which means you'll have to wait until your taper from one drug is over (with no withdrawal symptoms) before you taper another.

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BfromNJ

I'm tapering the SSRI first.  

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BfromNJ
On ‎4‎/‎1‎/‎2019 at 11:25 PM, Altostrata said:

No, we recommend tapering one drug at a time, which means you'll have to wait until your taper from one drug is over (with no withdrawal symptoms) before you taper another.

So I am correct Alto in stating that I am doing Luvox first? 

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ShiningLight

I'm wondering if I'm in poopout. I'm tapering gabapentin and noticing that my withdrawal symptoms are happening earlier and earlier before the next dose is due. Is this poopout? Do I hold to get out of it? Everyone I know who had constant withdrawal symptoms on gabapentin went ahead and lowered their dose quickly, not slowly, to get off it.

 

Hopefully my signature is showing, I just created it. I'm aware of the tapering recommendations here, but I wasn't before some of the changes below. Then I allowed my MD to cut the klonopin at the same time--I should never have done that. Just a few days before, he said we should wait a few weeks before making any changes. Then, 2 days later, we made huge changes. I'm having some judgment problems currently (impulsivity in general) due to the med changes and so sadly I allowed this to happen even though I knew better. I don't feel I can go back up on the klonopin because I've been going up and down with that for a few weeks and I think I should hold it at this point at .25. It is sad to have messed this up so much.

 

My plan going forward is to have a slow taper monthly on the gabapentin first, but not sure what to do if I'm in poopout? I read the advice on poopout and it looks like the advice is to hold?

 

Thanks.

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Altostrata

@BfromNJ let's discuss your taper in your own Introductions topic, this topic is for ShiningLight's questions.

 

Hello, SL, I moved your post here, we need the context of your Intro topic. What is your current drug schedule? Do your symptoms follow any daily pattern?  Please keep daily notes of times of day you take your drugs, their dosages, and your symptoms. You can post them in this topic with a simple list format with time of day on the left and notation (symptom, drug and dosage) on the right.

 

What are the recent Klonopin changes you made? You started it on what date?

 

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ShiningLight

Hello,

 

Is there a comprehensive hypersensitivity topic? I've been searching on it and come up with a lot of little topics.

 

My main questions right now are about food and drug hypersensitivites...I'm experiencing them and wondering if there's anything I can do to avoid getting more and more of them?

 

Thanks.

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ShiningLight

Thanks Shep and ChessieCat!

 

I'm starting to become concerned that my zoloft is interacting with the gabapentin. I took my gabapentin dose at 6:15 this morning. I didn't used to separate these meds, but I've started doing that. I took the zoloft at 8:36. By about 8:45, I had a huge hot flash and now I have a headache. These are my gabapentin withdrawal symptoms. I'm not sure if it's a coincidence or if these meds are now interacting? What do I do if they are? I'm scared! I don't want to be forced into a quick taper on either one, I would end up with neurological damage and concern for persistent movement disorder. I am also currently getting brain zaps.

 

This was a similar reaction that I had after taking a TUMS, face turned bright red and got a headache.

 

Altostrata, I also take trazodone in addition to the zoloft, gabapentin, and klonopin. I decreased the klonopin by half about 5 days ago so I'm on 0.25. I'm not going to make any more changes to the klonopin until I get off the gabapentin, it was poor judgment on my part to allow the MD to do that.

 

Zoloft and trazodone have been long term drugs since about 2004. Gabapentin was added in July or September. Klonopin .5 mg was added in March for 2 weeks because of the gabapentin withdrawal (I should not have accepted it!!!), then I went off it, then I went back on it a few weeks ago. So I'm very kindled.

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ShiningLight

I'm so sad. My MD wrote me off of all activities until October due to medication induced brain changes. I had been hoping to get back to work next month.

 

There is a local organization that has a head trauma support group for higher functioning people. I called and inquired. It's run by a psychologist. I hope it's still going on.

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Shep

 

On 4/6/2019 at 7:51 PM, Altostrata said:

What are the recent Klonopin changes you made? You started it on what date?

 

21 hours ago, ShiningLight said:

Altostrata, I also take trazodone in addition to the zoloft, gabapentin, and klonopin. I decreased the klonopin by half about 5 days ago so I'm on 0.25. I'm not going to make any more changes to the klonopin until I get off the gabapentin, it was poor judgment on my part to allow the MD to do that.

 

 

SL, I'm having a lot of trouble making out your drug history.

 

Alto had asked when you started taking Klonopin, and we really need this information.

 

How long have you been on Klonopin? A 50% reduction is too high if you've been on it longer than 2 - 4 weeks. It is safe to go back up to .50 mg because it's only been 5 days since you decreased it. I would do that if you've been on Klonopin longer than a month.

 

Please update your signature to show when you started each of your drugs. 

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ShiningLight

Shep, Altostrata,

 

Yes, sorry for not adding in the klonopin. It was too much up and down, but I did add it in my signature. I was ambivalent about being on it and angry about it so that's why I kept making changes myself. Then most recently MD told me to reinstate at .50 once daily so I did, but I felt oversedated so he decreased me from .50 to .25 at the same time I made the gabapentin change going from 450 to 400. In fact, MD wanted me to go down 100 mg on the gabapentin!!! I refused and we settled on a decrease of 50 mg.

 

I'm hesitant to go back up on the klonopin because of all the up and down I've done on it. Also, since I made the changes at the same time, I'm not sure if my symptoms are due to that or gabapentin decrease.

 

I'm going to wait a few months before making any changes to the gabapentin, and do only a 10% or 5% drop at that time to see how I tolerate it. I don't want to retrigger the autonomic instability. MD doesn't understand "why you're so sensitive" to these meds and thinks it might be because of my social situation (which it isn't).  They're treating me with kid gloves and insinuating that my med sensitivity is in my own head (no pun intended, but now that I've said it, it works).

 

It's difficult in regards to disability benefits etc because I don't think the MD agrees with how slow I need to go. But I did tell him that the decrease in klonopin and gabapentin together was too fast. That's when he said he thinks the problem is due to my social situation (there are some neighborhood problems, some people have been verbally aggressive and bullying me over an extended period of time. That was actually why I went on the gabapentin in the first place, for associated anxiety. Wow, do I ever regret that. At the time, all I wanted from the psychiatrist was an as needed benzo, but she thought I needed "around the clock coverage" which she feared would leave me addicted, so she put me on the gabapentin.)

 

I have a lot of frontal lobe headaches, like a feeling of pressure or cotton in my forehead. At this point I feel like I've probably experienced the worst of the decreases from 4/4 and am inclined to hold and stabilize where I am for awhile. My mood is pretty stable, except for a few panic attacks here and there. If I went back up to 450 on the gabapentin, that would also involve switching from capsule back to water titration which would be another jolt. I've really made a mess of things with the klonopin changes. I wasn't thinking straight. It becomes difficult when you don't or can't trust your MD.

 

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Altostrata

What is your drug schedule? Those daily notes will be helpful, too.

 

Very few physicians know anything about tapering, withdrawal, or even drug side effects.

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ShiningLight

6:00 am 100 Gabapentin

8:00 am 150 Zoloft (I had no reaction today so it was probably coincidence the other day)

11:00 am 100 Gabapentin

4:00 pm 100 Gabapentin

6 or 7 pm .25 klonopin

10:00 pm 100 Gabapentin, 100 trazodone

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ShiningLight

I think I'm on the right path. The tics and tremors are improving. I have a headache though.

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ShiningLight
10 hours ago, Altostrata said:

 

Very few physicians know anything about tapering, withdrawal, or even drug side effects.

 

I'm learning that right quick! :(  It's crazy! My MD was trying to blame my reactivity to the 50 mg gabapentin decrease on my PTSD, ie hyper-alerting. That's crazy since the hyper-alerting is associated with dosing. Then when you try to tell them, they treat you with kid gloves, like you're some crazy person. Everybody keeps dancing around the fact that they all think this is a psych issue I'm having, not a withdrawal issue. It's bonkers! Nobody will tell me to my face that they think I'm crazy and nobody will listen to my assessment of the situation. Totally gaslighting.

 

They just filter out what doesn't fit their belief system, ie 50 mg gabapentin change can't cause that...Instead of LISTENING to me.

 

My MD has now written me off work for the next 6 months without even discussing it with me. This will put me out of a job. I haven't given the note to my supervisor yet, I'm trying to get my MD to change his mind. It's weird because it was such an about-face from his previous stern talk with me that I needed to go back to work. It wasn't even based on an appt with him. My previous appt with him he said he thought I was "in the sick role" too much blah blah blah. The previous plan was to reassess later this month. Then I get this letter out of the blue from him. What MD writes someone off for 6 months without even having an appointment to discuss it?!

 

By the time I'm finally feeling better, they realize I actually was sick, but then they don't realize I'm better.

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ShiningLight

I contacted my MD to discuss my time off work and was able to renegotiate it, so hopefully I will be able to restart work and continue through this process of slow tapering and getting off the gabapentin. I'm going to fight for my job! I do not want this dumb drug to destabilize my life.

 

I'm scheduled to return the first week in May. There sure have been a lot of twists and turns in my story, first trying to figure out what was causing my symptoms, then trying to get off this gabapentin drug. I'm increasingly stable on 100 mg gabapentin 4x/day and .25 klonopin along with my regular antidepressants. I'm fighting the urge to try to get off the klonopin...I'm so angry about it. I think I need to deal with the gabapentin first since it's more toxic. I have to go very slowly also because I'm prone to discontinuation movement disorders. :(

 

Boy, can I ever join the ranks of those who have a lot of anger towards psychiatry and big pharma! It's ironic that in withdrawal you are forced to learn how to cope with your feelings that are thousands of times worse than what you were put on the meds for in the first place. Why is it more socially acceptable to be on meds than be a sensitive person who feels things strongly?! Why didn't I do more critical thinking when I was put on them in the first place? Because I was in so much pain and there was no real viable alternative to going on meds to try to function, other than therapy once a week which wasn't going to cut it. What I needed was to learn how to love and be loved, and how to relate to other people. That was what was underlying my depression! Why don't we have more wrap around programs for young adults who are struggling?! Why does our society pathologize sensitive people prone to mood concerns as having "mental health" problems?

 

All I can do is do my best to surrender to this withdrawal process and try to do things to counteract the psych med apathy, and build myself and my coping skills up for when I am finally able to start micro titrating the zoloft in a few years. And realize I have a brain injury and try to be gentle with myself. It is a bit torturous to see the full horror of what has happened and not be able to fix it immediately, but have to surrender to a slow process.

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ShiningLight

Altostrata, Shep,

 

I was reading the topic about tapering multiple drugs. I'm tapering gabapentin first due to side effects. Last month, MD added .25 klonopin to help that. I've had hyper-alerting problems during the initial too-big gabapentin reduction, as well as some food sensitivities and possibly chemical sensitivities. Now holding for a few months, then resuming more slowly.

 

In terms of future plans, it looks like from the topic that I should keep the klonopin while I taper the zoloft? The zoloft taper is going to take me a very long time since I'm at 150 mg and I've been on it about 15 years with several failed previous attempts. How long after the gabapentin taper should I wait before starting the zoloft taper? I saw that it was dangerous to go into the SSRI taper with GABA downregulated, but would the klonopin be sufficient to address that? (Probably wishful thinking on my part, I'm guessing it wouldn't be sufficient and I'd need to wait awhile?)

 

Thanks.

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Shep
On 4/9/2019 at 12:34 PM, ShiningLight said:

6:00 am 100 Gabapentin

8:00 am 150 Zoloft (I had no reaction today so it was probably coincidence the other day)

11:00 am 100 Gabapentin

4:00 pm 100 Gabapentin

6 or 7 pm .25 klonopin

10:00 pm 100 Gabapentin, 100 trazodone

 

 

Are you taking any supplements? If so, please list them and the times you take them.

 

Magnesium has an interaction with gabapentin.  It's best to avoid taking magnesium or aluminum containing products (such as antacids) for 2 hours before your gabapentin because magnesium decreases the absorption of gabapentin. 

 

On 4/8/2019 at 11:58 AM, ShiningLight said:

This was a similar reaction that I had after taking a TUMS, face turned bright red and got a headache.

 

Did you take the Tums within 2 hours of taking the gabapentin? 

 

If so, it could be the Tums and gabapentin interaction. 

 

Since you're taking gabapentin so frequently, please research natural ways of treating heartburn so you don't need to rely on over-the-counter remedies like Tums. Or you may need to tweak your diet to more gentle foods. 

 

 

9 hours ago, ShiningLight said:

I'm tapering gabapentin first due to side effects. Last month, MD added .25 klonopin to help that.

 

Klonopin dependency starts in 2 - 4 weeks. Do you feel you're already dependent on it? 

 

If not, you may want to come off that drug first. 

 

Right now, you're taking a lot of sedating drugs between 7 and 10 at night and the more sedating drugs you take to dampen down the nervous system, the more it fights back to stay alert. This creates paradoxical symptoms. 

 

How many hours are you sleeping a night? Is the Klonopin helping you sleep or do you feel you would sleep just taking the gabapentin and Trazadone? 

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ShiningLight

Hi Shep,

 

Yes I took the tums after the gabapentin. Which I am not doing anymore. I'm not taking any supplements except a multivitamin (sometimes) it's a gummy vite. It doesn't have any magnesium in it. I'm sleeping about 7 hours a night.

 

I don't know about the klonopin..I don't know whether I'm dependent on it or not. How would I know? I think I would sleep ok without it. I might get some diarrhea if I stopped taking it but that's probably about it. I could try taking .125 of the klonopin for a few days and see what happens in a few days since it has 100 hr half life? I was on .125 a few weeks ago.  If I was dependent on it, I would get a ton of anxiety coming off it correct? It's only been a month since I was put on it, and I have skipped some days and decreased the dose during that month as well.

 

I'm stable on my current gabapentin dose.

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ShiningLight

In terms of the multivitamin, I'm not that consistent with it. When I take it it's at different times.

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ShiningLight

At the same time, I feel like my nervous system has been through so many changes in the past few months that maybe I better leave the klonopin and just suck it up and deal when it's time to get off? I don't know.

 

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Shep
On 4/13/2019 at 6:58 PM, ShiningLight said:

In terms of the multivitamin, I'm not that consistent with it. When I take it it's at different times.

 

Some people find multivitamins to be stimulating during withdrawal, especially if they contain certain B vitamins. Please see:

 

Multivitamin tips

 

Supplements - what helps, what doesn't?

 

Please be consistent with supplements. Otherwise, you won't know if it's a supplement causing waves or your taper speed and rate. 

 

On 4/13/2019 at 6:57 PM, ShiningLight said:

I don't know about the klonopin..I don't know whether I'm dependent on it or not. How would I know? I think I would sleep ok without it. I might get some diarrhea if I stopped taking it but that's probably about it. I could try taking .125 of the klonopin for a few days and see what happens in a few days since it has 100 hr half life? I was on .125 a few weeks ago.  If I was dependent on it, I would get a ton of anxiety coming off it correct? It's only been a month since I was put on it, and I have skipped some days and decreased the dose during that month as well.

 

Klonopin's half-life is 18 - 50 hours, depending on how quickly you metabolize it.

 

How do you feel before you take the Klonopin at 6 or 7 in the evening? How do you feel afterwards?

 

No, you wouldn't necessarily have a "ton of anxiety coming off it" if you're not dependent on it yet. Whether you are or not is unknown. You may have some upticks in symptoms since your nervous system is destabilized, but if you use some non-drug coping skills (walks in nature, listening to soft music, taking a day or two off work if you can, etc), you may do well and not have to deal with a benzo addiction on top of the other drug withdrawal.

 

You could try a 25% reduction and see how you do over the next few days. And if you continue to sleep 7 hours a night as you've been doing, you could reduce another 25% and so forth. 

 

Please post your thoughts. 

 

If you decide to reduce, you may want to start a drug and symptoms journal if you wish feedback from staff. 

 

On 9/27/2016 at 2:49 PM, Altostrata said:

In the course of discussion in your Introductions forum topic, you may be asked to keep notes on paper of your daily symptom pattern, including when you take your drugs, their dosages, and any symptoms. We ask this because there may be something we can do to reduce the symptoms.

 

What we need to see for every single day over several days is what symptoms you get before and after you take your drugs. If you're not taking any drugs and have withdrawal symptoms, we still need to see your symptom pattern throughout the day:

 

The time of day, dosage, and severity of symptoms are essential information. Include

 

- Time and dosage for all drugs taken throughout the day, psychiatric and non-psychiatric.

- Following each dose, note any symptoms. If you are having a reaction to the drug, it may take hours for a symptom to show up -- that's why we ask you to keep notes all day long.

- If you're not taking any drugs, your symptoms throughout the day.

- Your sleep pattern. Since so many drugs disturb sleep, if you find you're waking in the middle of the night, it could be from a drug you took earlier in the evening. If you're not taking any drugs, there may be ways you can improve your sleep.

And so forth. A diary, in chronological order, looking something like this:
 
6 a.m. Woke with anxiety
8 a.m. Took 2.5mg Lexapro
10 a.m. Stomach is upset
10:30 a.m. Ate breakfast
11:35 a.m. Got a headache, lasted one hour
12:35 p.m. Ate lunch
4 p.m. Feel a bit better
5 p.m. Took 2.5mg Lexapro
6 p.m. Ate dinner
9:20 p.m. Headache
10:00 p.m. Took 50mg Seroquel
10:20 p.m. Feeling dizzy
10:30 p.m. Fell asleep
2:30 a.m. Woke, took 3mg Ambien (NOT "took 1/2 tablet Ambien")
2:45 a.m. Fell asleep
4:30 a.m. Woke but got back to sleep

 

 

 

 

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ShiningLight
13 hours ago, Shep said:

 

 

 

Klonopin's half-life is 18 - 50 hours, depending on how quickly you metabolize it.

 

How do you feel before you take the Klonopin at 6 or 7 in the evening? How do you feel afterwards?

 

 

You could try a 25% reduction and see how you do over the next few days. And if you continue to sleep 7 hours a night as you've been doing, you could reduce another 25% and so forth. 

 

Please post your thoughts. 

 

If you decide to reduce, you may want to start a drug and symptoms journal if you wish feedback from staff. 

 

Thanks, Shep. I will try the 25% reduction. I feel fine before the klonopin dose and a "rush" stoned after it, which is actually more upsetting and I feel psychopharmacologically traumatized by the whole situation with the klonopin having been added.

 

13 hours ago, Shep said:

 

 

 

 

 

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ShiningLight

@Shep here is my symptom journal from today.

 

April 15, 2019 I started the Klonopin taper at .1875, 25% cut from .25 dose

 

April 16, 2019

12:00 am Fell asleep. That's what I was doing previously too.


3:15 am Woke up, couldn’t fall back asleep


4:30 am Fell back asleep until 7 am


7:00 am took 100 mg gabapentin with banana. Feeling slightly more sensitive to light today. Some fleeting pain behind eyes and fleeting dull pain in right arm and right knee. It’s kind of like an expansive, dull pain. That’s a gabapentin symptom.


8:00 am Diarrhea. Stomach was bloated and gurgly yesterday so it was coming.


8:30 ate rice cake with cream cheese and jam for breakfast. Took 150 mg zoloft.


9:00 am Eyes feel dry and gritty. This is familiar as a gabapentin symptom. Overall I feel slightly worse than yesterday, but yesterday I was having a slight increase in gabapentin symptoms anyway before I cut the klonopin, so I feel ok about things right now. Had some pedialyte.

Mornings seem to be worse for me.


10:15-10:45 am Doing guided John Kabat-Zinn meditation. Feel relaxed and somewhat confident.

I feel that my mood is better today and I have more energy. I attribute that to having decreased the klonopin last night, but that may be purely psychological and not physiological due to long half life.


11:45 am took 100 mg gabapentin then went to therapy


2:30 pm Ate half fuji apple turkey salad and triple choc chip cookie. Bad idea.


3:15 pm took dogs for a walk

. Spoke to sister on phone who said I sounded really good.
4:00 pm reading


4:45 pm Diarrhea, I think from my lunch. Stomach could not digest that.


4:50 pm 100 mg Gabapentin


5:30 pm Mild chills/body aches. I think this is from what I ate earlier since it’s not a typical gaba symptom for me, but I have gotten that in response to food issues during the withdrawal


7:00 pm took .1875 klonopin at regularly scheduled time
7:40 pm Noticing some very mild hyper-alerting to receiving text. I don't jump, but feel a wave in my brain instead. I did jump earlier today in response to my dog barking. But I've had mild hyper-alerting on and off for the past few days.
8:00 pm Will take a bath, then meditate again

Overall, I feel ok. I'm not experiencing an increase in anxiety (except when I think about the unknown of my K taper...this causes me a lot of anxiety). I can cope with the night time waking I experienced last night. I suspect it will be better tonight but not sure.

 

 

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Shep
11 hours ago, ShiningLight said:

Overall, I feel ok. I'm not experiencing an increase in anxiety (except when I think about the unknown of my K taper...this causes me a lot of anxiety). I can cope with the night time waking I experienced last night. I suspect it will be better tonight but not sure.

 

I'm glad you're feeling ok. Please let us know how you continue to do as you reduce. 

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ShiningLight

@Shep today was similar to yesterday. I woke up at 3:15 am again! It was so weird. But this time I was able to go right back to sleep.

 

I did my morning meditation which really helps my autonomic issues. I took my car to the shop.

 

About 5 or 6 pm, I started having a ton of anxiety and neuroemotions around my planned return to work and fear my MDs may change their mind. Because I've had brain fog, they seem to not be trusting my self-assessment (which has been an accurate self assessment regarding my abilities all along, but suddenly now they are alarmed when I am feeling better, it's so weird!) and I am very concerned about this, it is triggering me to feel very threatened, fight or flight-ish, and feeling a loss of control of my life, which is a huge trigger for me, feeling like my job is in the hands of male MDs who are trying to make decisions FOR me, when I've been making good decisions regarding my work ability all along. 

 

My klonopin dose is due at 7 pm. I was able to wait until 7, but then I actually made myself try to meditate before taking it so I could see if it helped. It didn't help, but I did last through the half hour meditation before taking it. I wanted to practice trying. And then I took the klonopin, same dose as yesterday, 0.1875 or so.

 

The only possible w/d symptoms I've noticed are waking up in the middle of the night, possibly the anxiety today being related (though that's not an unusual experience for me even when I'm not on klonopin, to spin like that), having a few more muscle twitches, and feeling a bit more foggy. To me all of that is pretty mild stuff.

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ShiningLight

Shep I'm glad you made this suggestion to me to try to get off the klonopin now. It feels a little scary at times like a risky strategy stopping the gabapentin taper and cutting the klonopin but I think staying on the klonopin and becoming dependent is a riskier strategy, for no real reason or benefit!

 

Also since klonopin worsens depression and anxiety both of which I already have. I also think it would be even more difficult to try to taper klonopin after my gaba system isn't healed yet from the gaba, whatever it does to that. But that might go both ways. But I was having problems with the gaba taper anyway and was going to hold for at least a few months anyway. Ok I'm reasoning in circles!

 

Shep, do you think it is advisable to keep cutting 25% of the klonopin every few days, or do you think I should hold for 2 weeks when I get to 1/4 of the .5 mg pill? That was my MD's advice: to taper 50% of the .25 mg every two weeks, but I thought that was too much. I'm just asking what you think about the 2 week hold period though. I don't want to get used to the klonopin, but I also don't want to come off too fast. I could hold for a week when I get there and see how I feel.

 

 

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Shep
4 hours ago, ShiningLight said:

Shep, do you think it is advisable to keep cutting 25% of the klonopin every few days, or do you think I should hold for 2 weeks when I get to 1/4 of the .5 mg pill? That was my MD's advice: to taper 50% of the .25 mg every two weeks, but I thought that was too much. I'm just asking what you think about the 2 week hold period though. I don't want to get used to the klonopin, but I also don't want to come off too fast. I could hold for a week when I get there and see how I feel.

 

 

 

It only takes 2 - 4 weeks to become dependent, so taking two weeks in between reductions may cause you to become dependent, or deepen any dependence that you already have. 

 

How severe are your symptoms? It's hard to tell how bad you feel based on what you've written because a lot of it seems to be centered around spiraling down due to your thoughts. 

 

Some tips to cope:

 

Dealing With Emotional Spirals

 

Good links for anxiety/worry

 

When all else fails, simply change the channel - get up and do something else to re-direct those dark thoughts.

 

"Change the channel" -- dealing with cognitive symptoms
 

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ShiningLight

@Shep My symptoms are not severe at all. Very mild. Below was my symptom journal from yesterday. I feel close to gabapentin WD normal right now.

 

Yeah, that's what I was wondering with the 2 week hold. I will drop 25% again today which would put me at 1/4 of a .5 pill.

 

4/17/19

12:30 am Fell asleep. I had been messaging a friend. Should have tried going to sleep a little earlier. Fell asleep right away.

3:15 am Woke up at this same time as yesterday again, but fell right back asleep

7:00 am Woke up.

7:15 am Took 100 mg gabapentin. I have a fast heartbeat when I get out of bed. I think this is from gabapentin withdrawal overnight, because it gets better as the day goes on, but I’m still a little prone to it. My right thigh muscle is twitching briefly. I do feel a little jittery. Meditating really helps. Also epsom salt bath 2 hours after gabapentin.

1:00 pm took 100 mg gabapentin (forgot earlier)

3:00 pm had diarrhea

5:00 pm took 100 mg gabapentin. Started feeling extremely anxious about a situation with my MD and my return to work.

7:00 pm tried to meditate over the situation. Didn’t help but felt glad I tried.

8:00 pm finally took the klonopin .1875 mg

8:30 pm Felt anxiety relief. Felt very tired.

9:00 pm started feeling really...weird. Not sure why.

10:00 pm took gabapentin. Stopped feeling weird after awhile.

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ShiningLight

@Shep

April 18, 2019

12:30 am went to sleep. I think I slept through the night! Was staying up later talking to a friend.

7:30 am Woke up and took 100 mg gabapentin. Rice cake and cream cheese and jam for breakfast

8:30 took 150 mg zoloft

9:00 am Noticing some increased heart rate, found it unsettling. Took a bath and took the dogs to the park. Walking regulated my heartbeat and got my mind off it, until I got too hot and my heart rate went back up again, but I rested and got back to the car. I seem to have a bit of a problem with my heart rate in the morning, maybe due to the morning cortisol.

12:30 pm Took 100 mg gabapentin

1:00 pm Ate an egg and potato and some squash for lunch

4:45 pm I am feeling anxious and restless. This has been consistent around this time for weeks. I think it’s probably protracted gabapentin w/d. I also have some intermittent nausea, foggy brain, and mild dizziness. This has reappeared since I started cutting the klonopin, but it’s tolerable. Just realized I’m due for the gaba dose which is probably causing the restlessness.

5:30 took 100 mg gabapentin. Ate cheese mayo and avo sandwich

6:30 pm went to support group, very lively and helpful. Noise a little much for my brain at times, which has been gaba w/d normal, same as last week.

8:40 pm Took 0.125 klonopin. Made a cut tonight. I’m feeling scared about it because of the traumatic experience I had when the MD tried to fast-taper me from the gabapentin. However, of note, I was over an hour and a half late for my klonopin dose tonight because I was at the support group, and I didn’t have any w/d symptoms.

I'm glad I'm doing this now rather than trying to get off the gabapentin first, but I will say it's taking a little tenacity.

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Shep
20 hours ago, ShiningLight said:

My symptoms are not severe at all. Very mild. Below was my symptom journal from yesterday. I feel close to gabapentin WD normal right now.

 

Yeah, that's what I was wondering with the 2 week hold. I will drop 25% again today which would put me at 1/4 of a .5 pill.

 

7 hours ago, ShiningLight said:

12:30 am went to sleep. I think I slept through the night!

 

This is excellent, SL. 

 

 

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