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The Challenge of Going off Psychiatric Drugs aka Bitter Pill -- Article in New Yorker on withdrawal, mentions SA


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intothewoods

* Prozac: 40 mg 1999-2012; 60 mg 2012-March 2018; 50 mg April 2018 to present.

* Provigil: 25-100 mg PRN 2005 to mid-2015; 200-300 mg mid-2015 to early 2016; tapered from 300 mg in early 2016 to 100 mg early 2017; tapered from 100 mg early 2017 to 31 mg June 15, 2019; 29 mg at present.

* Amitriptyline: 10-15 mg 2002-2013; 25 mg 2014 to December 5, 2018; December 15, 2018 converted to water suspension and tapered to 22 1/2 mg at present.

* Valium: 5 mg at night 2002-present

 Supplements: Magnesium; Iron for anemia

 

Back Story: From 2012 thru early 2017, relocated and cycled through over 20 primary and psych docs (supposedly for severe Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) who prescribed two dozen different psych meds in search of the "perfect therapeutic combo." Took most for only a few days, some for a week. Included Wellbutrin, Cymbalta, Lexapro, Seroquel, Lamictal, Klonopin, Lyrica, Gabapentin, Belsomra, Tramadol, Librium, Halcyon, Remeron and -- the last straw, Trintellix. Began in early 2016 when it was still called Brintellix (Pharma's attempt to combine the words "brilliance" and "intelligence" in a pill name), became unable to eat or sleep, lost 25 lbs and the ability to speak. Slowly tapered myself back to Prozac by 2017 but was unable to stop akathisia, cortisol mornings and kindling which continue, actively, through present.

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  • Mentor

2000–2015: sertraline 150mg for dysthymia and generalized anxiety disorder

2000–2002: clonazepam .5mg 3x/day, then tapered quickly with no withdrawal
Jan 2015–Dec 2016: tapered sertraline from 150 to 50mg; severe withdrawal at 50mg
Jan 2017: sertraline 100mg; clonazepam .5mg 2x/day

Feb 2017: sertraline 150mg; clonazepam .5mg 2x/day

April 2017–present: sertraline 200mg

April 2017: aripriprazole 1mg; clonazepam .5mg 2x/day

Aug 2018: aripiprazole 0.5 mg, tapered off clonazepam

Nov 2018: aripiprazole 1mg; Dec 2018: aripiprazole 0.75 mg; Jan 2, 2019: aripiprazole 0.5 mg; March 11, 2019: aripiprazole 0.25 mg; May 8: aripiprazole 0.22mg; June 8, 2019: aripiprazole 0.20mg; July 14, 2019: aripiprazole 0.18mg; Aug 21, 2019: aripiprazole 0.16mgai; 11/22/19: aripiprazole 4mgpw; 1/1/20: aripiprazole 3mgpw; 2/1/20 aripiprazole 0mgpw

 

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  • Altostrata changed the title to The Challenge of Going off Psychiatric Drugs -- Article in New Yorker on withdrawal, mentions SA
  • Administrator

What did you think of the article? What parts were most significant to you?

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

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

All postings © copyrighted.

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  • Mentor

@AltostrataIt's a really good piece, although Delano's story is less about withdrawal and more about psychiatry's often incoherent methods of diagnosis and treatment--and the way patients have come to internalize the field's belief that they have a biochemical illness. I wish Aviv, the journalist, had written more about the prevalence and severity of withdrawal. It's like two different articles were squeezed into one, and the withdrawal part didn't get as much ink as I would have liked. BUT, Aviv does a great job showing the way that psych drugs often create their own iatrogenic "disease" and can worsen someone's long-term psychological health, to the point of robbing one of decades of life. 

 

I also like that Aviv quotes people from SA (and others) who have been harmed by psych drugs and had trouble discontinuing. It gives us even more of a voice. I bet a lot of shrinks read The New Yorker. It's certainly in a lot of waiting rooms. A publication with this kind of cultural capital will be hard to ignore.

 

I loved that Aviv discusses the way SSRIs filled a vacuum after concerns were raised about benzos. Also, that she says shrinks don't really know their patients very well. And that she cites early studies showing that patients were showing severe withdrawal, which was clearly ignored by the field. 

 

All in all, I believe it's going to get noticed and start people talking. It is unconscionable that 1 in 8 people in the US have been medicated without psychiatry having an "exit strategy." At some point, shrinks will have to admit their complicity in an epidemic that rivals the opioid crisis.

2000–2015: sertraline 150mg for dysthymia and generalized anxiety disorder

2000–2002: clonazepam .5mg 3x/day, then tapered quickly with no withdrawal
Jan 2015–Dec 2016: tapered sertraline from 150 to 50mg; severe withdrawal at 50mg
Jan 2017: sertraline 100mg; clonazepam .5mg 2x/day

Feb 2017: sertraline 150mg; clonazepam .5mg 2x/day

April 2017–present: sertraline 200mg

April 2017: aripriprazole 1mg; clonazepam .5mg 2x/day

Aug 2018: aripiprazole 0.5 mg, tapered off clonazepam

Nov 2018: aripiprazole 1mg; Dec 2018: aripiprazole 0.75 mg; Jan 2, 2019: aripiprazole 0.5 mg; March 11, 2019: aripiprazole 0.25 mg; May 8: aripiprazole 0.22mg; June 8, 2019: aripiprazole 0.20mg; July 14, 2019: aripiprazole 0.18mg; Aug 21, 2019: aripiprazole 0.16mgai; 11/22/19: aripiprazole 4mgpw; 1/1/20: aripiprazole 3mgpw; 2/1/20 aripiprazole 0mgpw

 

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I'm trying to draw inspiration from Laura Delano's story. She went off 5 major meds in 5 months and she had been on meds for 14 years. I have only been on meds for 2 months and I still have my moments of struggle. How did she do it? and she mentioned this site, Surviving Antidepressants in her article in the New Yorker, how cool!

APs/AD: 2.5 months Risperdal 1-2mg for 10 days Aug 21-31 2018, Abilify Maintena 400mg (an injection that lasts for a month) late December 2018 to early January 2019, Zyprexa 5mg for 22 days, first time taking zyprexa was in mid September of  2018 for 14 days the second time  for 10 days was November 8 - November 16, 2018; Mirtazapine for 8 days, Gabapentin for 10 days, Propranolol for 4 days, Prozac for 14 days. Oct. 2- 29, 2020: Depakote 500 mg for 14 days October 13-27; haldol 5 mg for 14 days Ocotober 13-27 ; cogentin 1 mg for 4 days; invega shot that is a 1 time shot that lasts for a month. 

 

Supplements:  Omega-3 Fish Oil

 

Note: I am not a medical doctor and all comments made by me are my personal opinions and are not based off of scientific fact and or testing. 

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Have you started the tapering process?

Citalopram: 2011

Sertraline February: 2013-November 2013

Escitalopram January: 2014-August 2014

Escitalopram November: 2014-January 2016

Venlafaxine: April 2016-January 2018 (8 month taper included)

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  • Moderator Emeritus
On 4/2/2019 at 7:21 AM, marconyc said:

@AltostrataIt's a really good piece, although Delano's story is less about withdrawal and more about psychiatry's often incoherent methods of diagnosis and treatment--and the way patients have come to internalize the field's belief that they have a biochemical illness. I wish Aviv, the journalist, had written more about the prevalence and severity of withdrawal. It's like two different articles were squeezed into one, and the withdrawal part didn't get as much ink as I would have liked. BUT, Aviv does a great job showing the way that psych drugs often create their own iatrogenic "disease" and can worsen someone's long-term psychological health, to the point of robbing one of decades of life. 

 

I also like that Aviv quotes people from SA (and others) who have been harmed by psych drugs and had trouble discontinuing. It gives us even more of a voice. I bet a lot of shrinks read The New Yorker. It's certainly in a lot of waiting rooms. A publication with this kind of cultural capital will be hard to ignore.

 

I loved that Aviv discusses the way SSRIs filled a vacuum after concerns were raised about benzos. Also, that she says shrinks don't really know their patients very well. And that she cites early studies showing that patients were showing severe withdrawal, which was clearly ignored by the field. 

 

All in all, I believe it's going to get noticed and start people talking. It is unconscionable that 1 in 8 people in the US have been medicated without psychiatry having an "exit strategy." At some point, shrinks will have to admit their complicity in an epidemic that rivals the opioid crisis.

 

Great comments, Marconyc - I agree.  If it gets people thinking and talking about the issues, it's a good thing.

 

2001–2002 paroxetine

2003  citalopram

2004-2008  paroxetine (various failed tapers) 
2008  paroxetine slow taper down to

2016  Aug off paroxetine
2016  citalopram May 20mg  Oct 15mg … slow taper down
2018  citalopram 13 Feb 4.6mg 15 Mar 4.4mg 29 Apr 4.2mg 6 Jul 4.1mg 17 Aug 4.0mg  18 Nov 3.8mg
2019  15 Mar 3.6mg  21 May 3.4mg  26 Dec 3.2mg 

2020  19 Feb 3.0mg 19 Jul 2.9mg 16 Sep 2.8mg 25 Oct 2.7mg 23 Oct 2.6mg 24 Dec 2.5mg

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12 hours ago, Cnick91 said:

Have you started the tapering process?

No, I cold turkeyed unfortunately. 

APs/AD: 2.5 months Risperdal 1-2mg for 10 days Aug 21-31 2018, Abilify Maintena 400mg (an injection that lasts for a month) late December 2018 to early January 2019, Zyprexa 5mg for 22 days, first time taking zyprexa was in mid September of  2018 for 14 days the second time  for 10 days was November 8 - November 16, 2018; Mirtazapine for 8 days, Gabapentin for 10 days, Propranolol for 4 days, Prozac for 14 days. Oct. 2- 29, 2020: Depakote 500 mg for 14 days October 13-27; haldol 5 mg for 14 days Ocotober 13-27 ; cogentin 1 mg for 4 days; invega shot that is a 1 time shot that lasts for a month. 

 

Supplements:  Omega-3 Fish Oil

 

Note: I am not a medical doctor and all comments made by me are my personal opinions and are not based off of scientific fact and or testing. 

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  • Altostrata changed the title to The Challenge of Going off Psychiatric Drugs aka Bitter Pill -- Article in New Yorker on withdrawal, mentions SA
Stormstrong

Ah, Laura is the woman I watched a video of ("Recovering from psychiatry"), about a year ago, and felt moved by her. Here she is in this article! She is a healer now, wrought in the fires of hell. This article put a light into my heart.

2000: Paxil, low dose. 2001: Paxil, quickly tapered off. 2006: Zoloft, 25mg. 2007: Wellbutrin, low dose, discontinued after a week or a month. 2007-2009: Zoloft, increasing dose (up to 75mg). 2009-2011: Zoloft, failed withdrawal attempts (cold-turkey; fast tapering). 2009-2011: Trying out Cymbalta, Celexa, Prozac, Lexapro, Ambien, Ativan, and Xanax. 2012-2015: Zoloft, 100mg to 200mg. 2013: Trazadone for Zoloft-induced insomnia, 25mg to 50mg.  2015: Trileptal, dose?, withdrew; Bupropion, up to 200mg. 2016: Zoloft, 137mg, Bupropion, 150mg, Trazodone, 25mg.

05/21/16: Began Zoloft taper - 10% from 150mg - 137ish mg

06/23/16: Zoloft taper - 125mg

08/03/16: Bupropion XL taper - cut 150mg pill in crude half (mistake)

10/31: Zoloft successfully down to 100mg. Staying on 100mg for 2-3 months to let my brain rest.

11/09: Wellbutrin SR prescribed, 150mg once a day, for withdrawal.

12/11: Wellbutrin SR, twice daily - minus 18ishmg = 112.50mg

09/30/17: Off Wellbutrin SR successfully. Zoloft taper: 90ish mg (shaving it off). Trazodone: still at 50mg.

June 2018: Zoloft: 80ish (shaving off). Trazodone: 6mg. End of 2018: Off Trazodone.

01/20: Zoloft: 70ish?

08/20: Still around 80 or 70. Tapering by only 15 shaves each month.

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  • 1 year later...
Bobblehead

Just came across this article posted on The New Yorker website about the challenge of going off psychiatric medication. This website (Surviving Antidepressants) is mentioned. Thought I would share it for anyone that is interested in reading it. It's from 2019.

 

Quote

The Web forum Surviving Antidepressants, which is visited by thousands of people every week, lists the many varieties of neuro-emotion: neuro-fear, neuro-anger, neuro-guilt, neuro-shame, neuro-regret. Another word that members used was “dystalgia,” a wash of despair that one’s life has been futile.

 

Quote

They are immersed in what Laura describes as “the layperson withdrawal community,” a constellation of Web forums and Facebook groups where people who have stopped their psychiatric medications advise one another: Surviving Antidepressants, the International Antidepressant Withdrawal Project, Benzo Buddies, Cymbalta Hurts Worse. The groups offer instructions for slowly getting off medications—they typically recommend that people reduce their doses by less than ten per cent each month—and a place to communicate about emotional experiences that do not have names.

 

2004 - 2020: Olanzapine 40mg for schizophrenia (Started to taper in 2016, completely off December 2020, still have withdrawals)

2004 - present: Lorazepam/Clonazepam 1mg as needed, rarely use them

2004 - 2012: Venlafaxine 75mg for depression

2008 - present: Metformin 2000mg for diabetes

2008 - 2013: Lipitor 40mg for high cholesterol

2008 - 2018: Bezalip 400mg for high triglycerides

2013 - present: Crestor 40mg, 20mg and now 10mg for high cholesterol

2016 - present: Forxiga 10mg for diabetes

2020 - present: Lurasidone 60mg for schizophrenia

2020 - present: Various supplements (100mg 5-HTP, 100mg l-theanine, 500mg GABA, Jamieson Herbal Complex (Relax and Sleep), 500mg Vitamin C, 400 IU Vitamin D, 12.5mg Zinc picolinate , 5mg Melatonin, CalmAid, 10mg CBD, 100mg l-theanine)

 

I've tried some other drugs short term but discontinued them early due to side effects. I can't remember all their names, antidepressants and antipsychotics, was only on them for a week or so.

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manymoretodays

Hi again Bobblehead, @Bobblehead

I just got your Introduction topic started Here.

And moved your second post here, as we do have this topic going already.

Thanks for your share.

And your user name makes me smile, every time I see it now.B)

 

L, P, H, and G,

mmt

Started with psycho meds/psychiatric care circa 1988.  In retrospect, and on contemplation, situational overwhelm.

Rounding up to 30 years of medications(30 medication trials, poly-pharmacy maximum was 3 at one time).

5/28/2015-off Adderal salts 2.5mg. (I had been on that since hospital 10/2014)

12/2015---just holding, holding, holding, with trileptal/oxcarb at 75 mg. 1/2 tab at hs.  My last psycho med ever!  Tapered @ 10% every 4 weeks, sometimes 2 weeks to

2016 Dec 16 medication free!!

Longer signature post here, with current supplements.

Herb and alcohol free since 5/15/2016. 

None of my posts are intended as medical advice.  Please discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical provider. manymoretodays

 

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Bobblehead
Quote

And your user name makes me smile, every time I see it now.

 

Good! That makes me happy! We all need to smile once in a while with all the crap we go through withdrawing from psych meds.

 

Quote

And moved your second post here, as we do have this topic going already.

 

ok, thanks, didn't know.

2004 - 2020: Olanzapine 40mg for schizophrenia (Started to taper in 2016, completely off December 2020, still have withdrawals)

2004 - present: Lorazepam/Clonazepam 1mg as needed, rarely use them

2004 - 2012: Venlafaxine 75mg for depression

2008 - present: Metformin 2000mg for diabetes

2008 - 2013: Lipitor 40mg for high cholesterol

2008 - 2018: Bezalip 400mg for high triglycerides

2013 - present: Crestor 40mg, 20mg and now 10mg for high cholesterol

2016 - present: Forxiga 10mg for diabetes

2020 - present: Lurasidone 60mg for schizophrenia

2020 - present: Various supplements (100mg 5-HTP, 100mg l-theanine, 500mg GABA, Jamieson Herbal Complex (Relax and Sleep), 500mg Vitamin C, 400 IU Vitamin D, 12.5mg Zinc picolinate , 5mg Melatonin, CalmAid, 10mg CBD, 100mg l-theanine)

 

I've tried some other drugs short term but discontinued them early due to side effects. I can't remember all their names, antidepressants and antipsychotics, was only on them for a week or so.

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