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ShiningLight: brain injury with gabapentin WD want off others

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On 4/20/2019 at 6:55 PM, ShiningLight said:

OK I have no idea bout the tremors now because I took a nap and woke up and had them. Whatever.

thats nice that you can take a nap, thxs for your post on the other thread...its still very difficult to absorb. I don't have a day that I feel normal... and still looking to 

get a job.. I don't sleep very well

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@lalala I hope you feel better soon. This is a really difficult thing to go through.

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Just popping in to say...doing well, at or close to wd normal. The worst thing about this experience right now is the sense of waiting and eagerness for the next dose decrease. That is of course a great problem to have.

I found some ½ ounce glass bottles online and bought enough so I will be able to store 2 weeks of doses before I have to measure up more doses. That will be a relief because right now I have to do it every 6 days. I keep the premeasured doses in little plastic trays in the refrigerator along with a post-it note of the dose so I don’t get confused.

I’ve added a magnesium supplement, and I think this has been very helpful. However, it’s not at a consistent dose because the pill is 300 mg or something, which is too much. I open up the capsule and take about half, at about 9 am. I have ordered some 100 mg mag online; I plan to take it twice a day. I am spacing it out 2 hours from the gabapentin.

The nausea is gone and I am sleeping through the night most nights. I seem to be over the trazodone withdrawal. The sunken eyes are also gone. I’m not getting the burning cheek pain, which is nice.

This is what it looks like:


7:15 am R rib cage pain/muscle spasm, multiple times within 5 minutes. Severity is moderate, but because it’s brief, it’s not a problem. Just a bit annoying. I woke up late and am late with the dose.
7:30 am 90 mg gabapentin liquid
8:00 am brief sensation of bilateral burning feet, mild in severity
9:00 am 150 mg zoloft
10:00 am cleaning the house, taking ~150 mg magnesium
1:00 90 mg gabapentin. Meant to take it sooner but I forgot--did not have my usual mid-morning hot flash. Making a snack.
2:00-4:00 pm Friend comes over to visit. Talking, eating, playing with dogs. Enjoying having my friend come to my house because it gave me a reason to clean and also I don’t have to be out in the 100 degree heat! Also enjoying throwing together some finger food for us. Also appreciate not having a hot flash in front of my friend!
4:30 pm 90 mg gabapentin
5:30 pm Hot flash
6:00 pm Resting. When I lie down initially, I get some mild muscle twitches in my legs.

I’m planning my next dose reduction this Thursday or Friday. I will continue dropping in 20 mg increments until somewhere between 200-300 mg when I will slow it down, sooner if I start to see a progressive worsening of wd symptoms.

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By the way. If I can clarify what I mean by doing well: doing well at this point in my life means I’m able to go to work and do something social once a week or once every other week. These things are great improvements over where I was in the last year and I am grateful for it.

At the same time, I’m not having a happy life. I seem to vascillate between being emotionally numb and kind of robotlike (almost all of the time), to intense feeling states. While emotional anesthesia was certainly an effect of the drugs, it seems even more increased in withdrawal.

I was thinking today: I should prepare myself, because as numb as I am for as long as I am numb, this may well predict the opposite.

At night I get particularly panicky sometimes. Like tonight. I wonder if that has something to do with my trazodone dose being due, because it happens before I take it, and it seems to happen around the same time every night. It happened last night.

In the notes below, I define a mini hot flash as a hot flash that isn’t as severe as usual. The severe ones turn my face, arms, and chest beet red. The mini ones cause a slight flush but not that level of severity.

This was today:

5:20 am 90 mg gaba. almost immediate mini hot flash
5:25 am R calf dystonia
9 am 150 mg zoloft
11 am 90 mg gaba
12 pm lackadaisical ride on exercise bike, L knee spasm
2:15 pm mini hot flash
4:00 PM 90 mg gaba
8:30 PM 90 mg gaba
10:30 PM Panic, terror. This is centered around will I ever get off (the zoloft, in particular...very scared to eventually taper that...had several failed attempts resulting in an agitated depression and suicidal thoughts in the past). Also, feeling like my whole life has been ruined by these drugs. Very upset. This comes in waves.

10:30 PM 50 mg trazodone

11:15 pm lying down in bed, get random muscle twitches once throughout various areas of my body. Biceps, hamstrings, eyelids.

Generally speaking, always included in my daily symptoms are garden variety avolition and emotional numbness.

Today I just stayed home, did a little cleaning, put together a kitchen shelf, and listened to podcasts. I wanted to get to my spiritual community but I didn’t make it there, which is not unusual these days.

Also, I’m struggling a bit because I had a 3 day weekend which is now coming to an end. It was very relaxing and I enjoyed it. I am sad that it’s ending.

I try not to think about the eventual zoloft taper because not being able to start that for quite some time brings up a lot of anger in me. I am very angry at this gabapentin detour, if it weren’t for that I’d be able to start the zoloft taper. However if it weren’t for the gabapentin, I would have never fully realized the need for the zoloft taper.

It’s rough finding myself in this spot with lack of meaning and life purpose, not where I thought I'd be during what I call, "middle age plus."

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I know where you are coming from with the panic of being on these drugs, etc.  I can relate to a lot of what you are saying, the numbness, etc.  You are certainly not alone, I'm polydrugged to.  It sucks.   

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Well folks, I have lost yet another crown. That makes 4 crowns I've lost in one year since I went on the gabapentin.

The crown shattered. The tooth underneath is brown. I am hoping that's the cement. The most recent tooth required a post because part of the tooth broke off with the crown. That was $1600 last month. Now this one. Both times I was eating soft food.


Others on my gabapentin facebook group have reported significant dental problems on this drug as well. I am going to see if I can speed up the taper. I am stable so I am going to decrease tomorrow instead of Thursday. It will have been 13 days. I will continue with 20 mg drops after I stabilize from the previous drop, as tolerated. Maybe once a week.


The only good news is that I just got one of those travel credit cards. So it looks like I am going to be getting a lot of points and taking an expensive vacation sooner than I thought.


Aside from that, I feel pretty disheartened. How much am I going to have to pay for taking these drugs??? I've paid in dollars. I've paid socially. I've paid spiritually. I've paid with health problems. I've paid with quality of life. I am pissed.



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I am really upset about the dental damage which I presume is ongoing for as long as I’m on the drug, maybe even after I get off I don’t know. It feels tortuous mentally yet it is obviously not safe for me to just stop taking this drug.


I sent an email to my neuro who is helping me taper (didn’t put me on the drug but helping me get off) telling him about the dental problems. I said that I keep trying to find ways to make my suffering matter, and asked him if he would consider warning patients of the small chance of dental problems (1.3% or so in short term study after subtracting placebo. I bet it’s more longer term!). He said yes he would.

Short of large scale policy change, which feels unlikely and I don’t have the energy to pursue right now, I can at least try to influence my doctors on a personal level. It was nice to be successful in that.


On another subject, I am SO tired of telling my doctors, friends, pharmacist, etc of my reactions and them dismissing it as “rare” or blaming me for being “so drug sensitive.” Even the neuro feels the need to remind me how “drug sensitive” I am in every other email interaction with him. It is annoying and invalidating. These are strong drugs!!! The message seems to be, it’s rare so it doesn’t matter. It’s rare, so it must be your fault for how your body is wired. People: if it’s rare and it happens to you, it’s not rare, it’s 100%.


If someone feels the need to label me as “drug sensitive,” that is defining me by some invisible standard person. That is not helpful. To me I’m not “drug sensitive,” I’m just me, with the particular reactions I have. When he says that, it basically has the same impact of saying, “Yeah, but remember how weird you are?” Not helpful.


This crownless tooth in my mouth is bothering me. I’m ready for it to be fixed or gone because it’s a constant reminder of the situation. I’m sure if it goes it will be a constant reminder too, but I just hate the way it feels in my mouth right now.


On August 6 after I broke the crown, I started making another 20 mg cut. I am having an increase in withdrawal symptoms: increased forgetfulness, increase in hot flashes, transient buzzing sensations in my feet a few times a day.


8/5 Monday
6:00 am 90 mg gaba
8:15 am 150 mg zoloft, 100 mg magnesium
10:00 am Mini hot flash. Starts the same but not as severe. Face doesn’t turn beet red, only slightly pink.
10:30 am 90 mg gaba
3:30 pm 90 mg gaba.
8:30 pm 90 mg gaba. Immediate mini hot flash
8:50 pm Intense dull L forearm pain for about 1 minute
10:00 pm 50 mg trazodone
Overall a very stable day. Just at work, a few hot flashes and a little pain. I worked a long day too.


8/6 Tuesday

6:15 am  90 mg liquid gaba
8:30 am 150 mg zoloft, 100 mg magnesium
10:45 90 mg gaba
3:00 pm 90 mg gaba
5:15 pm Overwhelm, exhaustion, sad
9:00 pm 85 mg gaba CUT 5 mg
9:30 pm 50 mg trazodone
Very poor, fitful sleep. Woke up at 2:45 am and the rest of the night was on and off sleeping, seems like I had no REM, just dozing off and waking up. Very unpleasant.


8/7 Wednesday

6:15 am 85 mg gaba
8:30 am 150 mg zoloft, 100 mg magnesium doctor’s choice brand
10:45 am 85 mg gaba
3:00 pm 85 mg gaba
3:30 pm Getting a little tongue tied at work; used similar, but wrong words twice
4:15 pm Feeling sad and overwhelmed and exhausted.
4:45 pm Get home from work, this is my early day, but I am not really able to make use of the time. I just hang out in bed.
9:00 pm 85 mg gaba
9:30 pm 50 mg trazodone
9:47-9:54 severe hot flash. Beet red, sweating. I think this is due to taking trazodone too close to the gaba. I try to separate them more but sometimes I lose track of time.
Still light sleep, not quite as fitful though.


8/8 Wed
6:15 am Wake up. Immediate mild hot flash then took 85 mg gaba. I notice when at rest, my R hand is in a bit of a fist. Not a hard fist, but a soft one. I was doing that when my wd was more severe in the past.
9:30 am 150 mg zoloft, 100 mg mag
11:30 am 85 mg gaba; waited 2 hours after zoloft
3 pm Feeling ill; a bit of nausea, lasts for about half an hour
3:15 pm 85 mg gaba
8:30 pm 80 mg gaba, began another 20 mg cut
9:45 pm Cleaned tub with clorox wipes. Caused a huge hot flash. This was also happening when wd was more severe.
10:30 pm 50 mg trazodone
I am noticing some warning signs of increasing wd symptoms. I think about going back to 85 mg but I will not do it. The teeth.
Oddly despite dose cut I sleep a bit better than last night. Still not great though.


6:30 am 80 mg gaba
8:45 am Mild acid hands feeling for maybe 5 min
8:30 am Hot flash, which reminds me to take 150 mg zoloft
9:30 am 100 mg magnesium
10:00 am Hot flash
10:30 am 80 mg gabapentin... oh wow I just realized I didn’t separate the mag 2 hours
10:45 am Hot flash ... no wonder
12:30 am Weird brief muscle spasm on my inner R knee
3:00 pm 80 mg gabapentin
4:45 pm Driving home from work, feeling very sad, like I want to cry, about my tooth and everything I have lost as a result of these drugs
7:00 pm Vibration in foot for a few seconds, this has happened maybe 5-10 times tonight. I didn’t note the time each time.
8:30 pm 80 mg gabapentin
9:00 pm R calf dystonia
9:15 pm mild hot flash
9:56 pm dystonia in L arch of my foot, R kneecap pain

11:00 50 mg trazodone


I will hold until Wed or Thurs at a minimum and then re-evaluate, as I am seeing some increasing signs of trouble. Compared to how I was a few months ago, I feel quite good. The symptoms I have are at the pesky level, but I do recognize them as repeat offenders.


I feel lost right now. I had committed myself to a slower taper, but I can’t live with what this is doing to my teeth. It’s devastating. I am feeling pretty good physically despite all these dose reductions. I know I’m very fortunate. At the same time, it’s...eerie. Because I know with gabapentin it can blow up in my face in a heartbeat. I am trying to find the courage to listen to what my body is telling me. I’m trying to reassure myself not to be afraid and to focus on what is going on in this moment, not what I am afraid of. I feel both uncertain and confident at the same time.


The uncertainty is wondering if I’m doing the right thing because I know changing my plan is risky. The confidence is feeling a sense of groundedness. Like, OK. I have this new information about my teeth, ie they are likely to keep getting worse. I am going to respond to this new information by increasing the speed of my taper. If that doesn’t work, I will respond to that information by decreasing the speed of my taper again.

The other part of the confidence is that when I tried cutting 50 mg in the past, I learned that was too much for my body. After that, I decided to try 20 mg. And it has worked well for me to this point; my symptoms have been tolerable and I have been stable.


I have also been thinking about how resilient I am, and that is a nice thing to think about. I am thinking about my own sense of safety and validation, which comes from inside. It’s helpful to get reinforcement of those things from other people, but I’m having a hard time with that on this issue, so it has to come from me, and I’m kind of in a place where I can give that to myself.


I lost my confidence and my sense of efficacy and agency when I crashed after my psychiatrist rx’d the fast taper. Those things are starting to come back by taking responsibility for my own health. When I crashed, I found myself in a game with no rules. The bottom fell out. At first I didn’t even know what the problem was, I thought I had some obscure illness. Now I know what the problem was, and I also have some information about how the game works. There are some signposts on the roadmap.

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30 minutes ago, ShiningLight said:

People: if it’s rare and it happens to you, it’s not rare, it’s 100%.

Yes, this. 100% this!


31 minutes ago, ShiningLight said:

And it has worked well for me to this point; my symptoms have been tolerable and I have been stable


32 minutes ago, ShiningLight said:

I have also been thinking about how resilient I am, and that is a nice thing to think about. I am thinking about my own sense of safety and validation, which comes from inside. It’s helpful to get reinforcement of those things from other people, but I’m having a hard time with that on this issue, so it has to come from me, and I’m kind of in a place where I can give that to myself


33 minutes ago, ShiningLight said:

I lost my confidence and my sense of efficacy and agency when I crashed after my psychiatrist rx’d the fast taper. Those things are starting to come back by taking responsibility for my own health.

I'm so sorry about the dental issues. I know how that must be messing with your head. And I don't mean at all to minimize it, but look at all the positivity in your post in spite of it all!! You're not just playing the game, you're winning it!💪

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You are doing great.  And so what if you are drug sensitive, all the more reason they need to take us seriously, because these drugs do affect us more.    I totally get what you are saying about just wanting this stuff out of our system.  I shudder when I think how long it will take.  But I look at you and i have hope.  I think you have come a long way.  Dental issues or not.  

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@Dejavu @BfromNJ Thank you so much for your kindness. It made me start crying because it brought to the surface something I've been feeling: I'm afraid of social rejection if I have to have a bunch of teeth pulled. I had been vaguely aware of that but I hadn't been able to put it into words. I also feel shame about it and just so sad. I also feel self-rejection and I am angry at myself for trying to help myself cope by taking these drugs. Of course the reactions aren’t my fault and I couldn't have known. Like so many of us I trusted the doctors. I just wish I would have thought to research these things online first. I WISH.

It's a tragedy not only for me, but for our whole society. It really is.

I am a little guarded about saying I'm winning at this point... I hope I do well, but I know it remains to be seen.

@bfromnj there is absolutely hope. You will stabilize. And then you might get thrown off again, and then you’ll stabilize. That’s how it goes.  

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The other thing that could happen is that I could destabilize my life again, lose my job, and then have no way of paying for the dental work. No guarantee that I will need less dental work by going faster. I have a friend who still had dental problems for some time after going off. What a hot mess.

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Yeah, not happy with the trouble. Going to slow it back down.

This is what today has looked like.



Sleep feels light still, but slowly getting better.

6:15 am Woke up without alarm. 80 mg liquid gaba. Immediate mini hot flash after I swallowed the gaba
9:05 am 150 mg zoloft, 100 mg magnesium
9:20 am Many small muscle twitches in both feet. Little areas of feet buzz for a second and then stop.
9:30 am Dog barks unexpectedly. I jump.
9:40 am Burning dull pain in L forearm/elbow, lasts maybe 5 seconds
10:00 am Hot bath. Less tolerant of the heat on my skin. My vision also becomes a little blurry while I am in the bathtub.
10:10 am Blow drying my hair. Was combing my hand through my hair with the heat on my hand and daydreaming. Accidentally burned my hand due to lowered pain sensation. Put it under cold water which helped. It is fine now.
10:40 am 80 mg gaba
12:30 pm Met friend for lunch. Had a nice time. Was talking to her about my teeth. She was very kind and sympathetic and asked if there was anything else I could do to help them other than fast taper. I remembered my biotene mouthwash at home.
2:50 pm Used biotene mouthwash
3:00 pm Mini hot flash. I suspect the biotene, although it is not swallowed. Or maybe wd from being due for my dose. But I’m seeing increased chemical sensitivity right now. Last night I had a hot flash from cleaning the bathtub with clorox wipes even though I wore gloves.
3:15 pm 80 mg gaba

I’ve had some fatigue and avolition today too.

I was looking for the profanity thread on this site, as I was thinking I was in a fine place to make a contribution to that thread today. I ran into @ChessieCat ‘s posts on DavidfromTexas’s thread and spent the morning reading about some horrific experiences people are having and was reflecting about slower being faster in the long run. And remembering how nice it is to be able to do things like go to work and get things done at home...

Since February, I’ve cut a total of 1531 mgs of psych drugs covering 3 different drug classes. Most of that amount was from the MD gaba taper before I got here. My total drug footprint has gone from 2,051 mgs/day to 520 mgs a day. If I’m even doing my math right, because I’m a bit foggy right now.

Reading @ChessieCat ‘s posts on DavidfromTexas’s thread made me realize that I, too was feeling panicked, in my case about my teeth. Also I am very angry and scared about it. I wanted to try to see if I would be able to speed it up because I’m not sure if I could live with myself if I end up losing a bunch of teeth, if I didn’t at least try.

The fear is also about the risk of dental infections because I have a history of recurrent clostridium difficile (c diff) gut infections and I do not do well on antibiotics because of that. Antibiotics are very frightening to me because they put me at risk for another bout of c diff. Anyway, back to the present moment. My dentist appt is Tuesday so I will find out more information at that time about my tooth that’s looking bad. Not sure if it’s infected or not. Not sure if crown and post will do the job or if it needs to be extracted.

Somewhere I heard (it may have been here?) that it’s better to spend more energy trying to create resilience, rather than on trying to avoid harm. Because inevitably, harm is going to happen despite my best efforts. That doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be prudent. It means that sometimes I can get so involved in trying to prevent harm that it ends up causing harm.   


I really agree that the premature desire to cut is a sign of withdrawal-induced executive brain function impairment, ie judgment and planning problems. 


All things considered, I'm ok right now. Just need to get my perspective back. 🐢 🚚

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After your big trazodone cut, things might get a bit dicey for a while. Maybe not, but be ready just in case. Right now, your symptoms seem tolerable (correct me if I'm wrong). Are you sleeping okay? What other symptoms, if any, have appeared or worsened since you reduced the traz? If you start having issues, we will ask to see your daily notes again, so please continue to keep them.


I love the idea of counting the total of milligrams lost. 1531 is an awesome number by which to have reduced your drug load. 


I too have apprehension about potential dental problems. I have had considerable dental issues over the years, and I worry about the effects of dental anesthesia/nitrous oxide while I'm trying to stabilize. 


Like you, I often wonder why I was selected to go through this strange, painful experience. I still don't have an answer to that one, but I do know this: when I come out the other side, I will be as good as bulletproof, and so will you. There are many good times still to be had, and we will have them. 

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Hi Deja, thanks. My sleep has been light with several awakenings in the night since I stopped the trazodone. Seems to be slowly improving. For the first week after the trazodone cut, I had a lot of nausea. That was really about it.  

I also reduced gaba 20 mg, 10 days after the trazodone cut.  Then 2 days later, I reduced the gaba another 20 mg. So yes, I have certainly earned an uptick in symptoms. The symptom uptick I have been experiencing I think is due to the gaba, with the exception of the sleep problems.

Yes, my symptoms are quite tolerable at present. I have learned my lesson--not because of the symptoms that have happened, but because I woke up and realized all I was risking, and realized it wasn't worth it. I have no interest in risking that kind of suffering anymore by trying to go fast.

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I’m feeling better today—definitely having less nausea. The difficulty with typing accurately has come back, but it’s mild. I will be in a hold for awhile to stabilize.


On the way home from work, I was bemoaning how numb and chemically lobotomized I feel. Then I started thinking, ‘I’m not that numb, sometimes it’s the opposite and I have extremely strong feelings!’

From there, I wondered if—in addition to neuroemotions—part of the reason for the extremely strong feelings is that I can’t feel them when they’re less intense; I’m not aware of them due to the polydrug fog. By the time they break through, they’re huge and I’m blindsided by them. And on top of that, I’m not used to working with emotions since I don’t have the milder forms. It makes me really sad that I feel so numb lately. Honestly other times I’m grateful for it because I don’t have the energy to deal with a lot of emotions right now either. I hope to see the re-emergence of some of my self before a few years from now when this taper will be over.

It’s also possible that some of what I experience as numbness may be just being at an even keel emotionally. I read the info about trazodone and I think that was probably contributing to some anxiety, so cutting that dose may have helped that too.

I had some good news about my tooth—it’s brown because it’s stained. It needs more crown prep so the future crown will hold better. It does not need to be pulled! I’m so happy about that. I’m also happy that I’ll be getting it done next Tuesday because that puts a little more time between my dosage drop and the body/brain stress of the novocaine shot. I’ve become concerned about not developing any more chemical sensitivities. I want to be able to tolerate drugs in case of emergency at the end of this journey, if at all possible.

Hope all are doing well tonight.

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