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ColdTurkeySoup: Anafranil/Clonazepam recovery

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Altostrata

Yes, you're going to have to stay away from alcohol altogether, it can trigger a wave. Hang in there, it will gradually go away.

 

Try to look at what habits or attitudes add to stress, and do what you can to stop them. If dating is stressful, perhaps bring this up with the other person? Get some understanding so you're not as stressed by it.


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

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ColdTurkeySoup
2 hours ago, Altostrata said:

Yes, you're going to have to stay away from alcohol altogether, it can trigger a wave. Hang in there, it will gradually go away.

 

Try to look at what habits or attitudes add to stress, and do what you can to stop them. If dating is stressful, perhaps bring this up with the other person? Get some understanding so you're not as stressed by it.

 

Thanks again! I guess I got too reckless with the drinks over the holiday. I figured that since I was feeling so good, alcohol would be fine, but obviously I'm not ready to start having the occasional drink just yet. If this is just a wave, I'm confident that I'll be back to feeling good before long. I guess my biggest concern is that this is not a wave, and just a return of my natural anxiety. Is there a way to differentiate? I do think it will pass, but the thought of this just being my natural anxiety emerging after the reduction of Anafranil scares me. 


2004-2016: Varying doses of Anafranil (Between 12.5mg and 100mg)

May 2016-September 2016: 25mg Clonazepam/night

September 7 2016: Stopped Clonazepam cold turkey

2016-August 2018: 25mg Anafranil/night

August 11 2018 - April 18 2019: Alternating nighs taking 25mg (3 nights on, 1 night off)

April 19 2019-present: 18mg Anafranil/night

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Altostrata

Most likely, it was the alcohol irritating your nervous system.


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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ColdTurkeySoup

I've been stable in my dose for almost 9 months now (last change was a 25% reduction in April 2019). It's been very up and down, and although I'm currently experiencing a wave, it's less intense than the major wave I had in September, and back in Nov/Dec I was feeling better than I had in a long time. I'm not in a huge rush to get off the ADs, I'd rather take in very slow and minimize my suffering along the way. My question is this -- how long should I wait to continue my reduction? My next reduction will be a minuscule 1mg (about 5.5%), but I'd rather wait until I'm feeling good and totally stabilized before going through with it. Is it normal to still have symptoms 9 months after a large reduction? Thanks


2004-2016: Varying doses of Anafranil (Between 12.5mg and 100mg)

May 2016-September 2016: 25mg Clonazepam/night

September 7 2016: Stopped Clonazepam cold turkey

2016-August 2018: 25mg Anafranil/night

August 11 2018 - April 18 2019: Alternating nighs taking 25mg (3 nights on, 1 night off)

April 19 2019-present: 18mg Anafranil/night

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ColdTurkeySoup

Hello again! In addition to my last message, I would like some clarification on whether I could be experiencing "poopout." I doubt it, as the symptoms seem to come in a classic windows and waves pattern that's less severe over time, so my best guess/hope is that I'm still recovering from the 25% reduction in April...but still, the idea of poopout has me a little worried. 

 

3.5 years ago, before I started the benzo hell that set this whole mess in motion, I was quite fine on a steady 25mgs of Anafranil/night. The only reason I started reducing was because I thought the presence of Anafranil in my system could be preventing my brain from healing from the benzo damage. I'm still not sure whether or not that was true, and I doubt I ever will be. The bottom line is this: I hope to feel as good or better than I felt when I was on the consistent 25mgs/night 3.5 years ago before I further reduce. There have been a few weeks here and there where I've been at the level (aka feeling pretty great) but it hasn't happened on a consistent enough basis yet. Is my plan to wait until I'm feeling great before reducing again reasonable? There's no reason I shouldn't stabilize back to that baseline eventually given enough time right? Thanks again


2004-2016: Varying doses of Anafranil (Between 12.5mg and 100mg)

May 2016-September 2016: 25mg Clonazepam/night

September 7 2016: Stopped Clonazepam cold turkey

2016-August 2018: 25mg Anafranil/night

August 11 2018 - April 18 2019: Alternating nighs taking 25mg (3 nights on, 1 night off)

April 19 2019-present: 18mg Anafranil/night

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Shep
17 hours ago, ColdTurkeySoup said:

My question is this -- how long should I wait to continue my reduction? My next reduction will be a minuscule 1mg (about 5.5%), but I'd rather wait until I'm feeling good and totally stabilized before going through with it. 

 

Waiting to make another reduction until you're stable is a great plan. Here's a guide on what that looks like, it's called Withdrawal Normal:

 

Withdrawal Normal

 

17 hours ago, ColdTurkeySoup said:

Is it normal to still have symptoms 9 months after a large reduction? Thanks

 

Yes, many people still have symptoms even 9 months later, especially after a large reduction. 

 

15 hours ago, ColdTurkeySoup said:

In addition to my last message, I would like some clarification on whether I could be experiencing "poopout." I doubt it, as the symptoms seem to come in a classic windows and waves pattern that's less severe over time, so my best guess/hope is that I'm still recovering from the 25% reduction in April...but still, the idea of poopout has me a little worried. 

 

It could be a mix of both, but as you wisely note, the fact that you're having windows suggests your symptoms are more related to withdrawal. 

 

There's not a lot you can do about poopout at this point, but manage your withdrawal as slowly and as comfortably as possible. 

 

15 hours ago, ColdTurkeySoup said:

Is my plan to wait until I'm feeling great before reducing again reasonable? There's no reason I shouldn't stabilize back to that baseline eventually given enough time right?

 

I would go by being able to sleep reasonably well and being able to function in your work and / or family responsibilities. I'm not sure there's really an answer to this question because there are so many variables, not to mention how individual withdrawal is. 

 

These threads may help:

 

What is happening in your brain? (on benzo withdrawal and recovery)

 

How psychiatric drugs remodel your brain (on AD withdrawal and recovery)

 

Are We There Yet? How Long is Withdrawal Going to Take?

 

 

 

 


Drug free May 22, 2015 after 30 years of neuroleptics, benzos, z-drugs, so-called "anti"-depressants, and amphetamines 

 

My Success Story:  Shep's Success: "Leaving Plato's Cave"

 

And what is good, Phaedrus, and what is not good — need we ask anyone to tell us these things? ~ Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance


I am not a medical professional and this is not medical advice, but simply information based on my own experience, as well as other members who have survived these drugs.

 

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ColdTurkeySoup
On 1/8/2020 at 8:54 AM, Shep said:

 

Waiting to make another reduction until you're stable is a great plan. Here's a guide on what that looks like, it's called Withdrawal Normal:

 

Withdrawal Normal

 

 

Yes, many people still have symptoms even 9 months later, especially after a large reduction. 

 

 

It could be a mix of both, but as you wisely note, the fact that you're having windows suggests your symptoms are more related to withdrawal. 

 

There's not a lot you can do about poopout at this point, but manage your withdrawal as slowly and as comfortably as possible. 

 

 

I would go by being able to sleep reasonably well and being able to function in your work and / or family responsibilities. I'm not sure there's really an answer to this question because there are so many variables, not to mention how individual withdrawal is. 

 

These threads may help:

 

What is happening in your brain? (on benzo withdrawal and recovery)

 

How psychiatric drugs remodel your brain (on AD withdrawal and recovery)

 

Are We There Yet? How Long is Withdrawal Going to Take?

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks so much Shep! This was extremely helpful. Since I'm in no rush to get off the meds, I'm going to wait until the windows and waves subside and I'm feeling stable and good on a consistent basis. My medium term goal is not to get off the meds entirely, but to get down to a very low 10mgs/night. If I reduce by 1mg each time, that represents 8 reductions. If I do one reduction every 3 months, it will be 2 years to get to that 10mg level. I'm still not quite ready to start this reduction plan, as I'm still recovering from my drastic April cut, but I think the 3 month intervals should be more than enough time for my brain to adjust after my future small 1mg cuts. Does this seem like a reasonable plan to you? I know it's extremely slow, but I'd rather minimize suffering along the way. The main reason that 10mgs is my next big milestone is because that's the lowest dose the pills come in, and I wouldn't have to keep getting them compounded. 


2004-2016: Varying doses of Anafranil (Between 12.5mg and 100mg)

May 2016-September 2016: 25mg Clonazepam/night

September 7 2016: Stopped Clonazepam cold turkey

2016-August 2018: 25mg Anafranil/night

August 11 2018 - April 18 2019: Alternating nighs taking 25mg (3 nights on, 1 night off)

April 19 2019-present: 18mg Anafranil/night

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Shep
17 hours ago, ColdTurkeySoup said:

If I reduce by 1mg each time, that represents 8 reductions. If I do one reduction every 3 months, it will be 2 years to get to that 10mg level. I'm still not quite ready to start this reduction plan, as I'm still recovering from my drastic April cut, but I think the 3 month intervals should be more than enough time for my brain to adjust after my future small 1mg cuts. Does this seem like a reasonable plan to you?

 

Yes, this is a very reasonable plan, CTS. I'm glad you're in no rush and taking this slow. Reducing your overall drug burden is a great goal. 


Drug free May 22, 2015 after 30 years of neuroleptics, benzos, z-drugs, so-called "anti"-depressants, and amphetamines 

 

My Success Story:  Shep's Success: "Leaving Plato's Cave"

 

And what is good, Phaedrus, and what is not good — need we ask anyone to tell us these things? ~ Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance


I am not a medical professional and this is not medical advice, but simply information based on my own experience, as well as other members who have survived these drugs.

 

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ColdTurkeySoup
On 1/10/2020 at 7:44 AM, Shep said:

 

Yes, this is a very reasonable plan, CTS. I'm glad you're in no rush and taking this slow. Reducing your overall drug burden is a great goal. 

 

Thanks Shep. One thing that continues to puzzle me... I've adjusted my dose of Anafranil many times over the past 15+ years with minimal side effects, but all of a sudden my reduction in August 2018 hit me hard. Any idea why that could be? My leading hypothesis is that the benzo nightmare I went through starting in September 2016 made my brain much more sensitive.


2004-2016: Varying doses of Anafranil (Between 12.5mg and 100mg)

May 2016-September 2016: 25mg Clonazepam/night

September 7 2016: Stopped Clonazepam cold turkey

2016-August 2018: 25mg Anafranil/night

August 11 2018 - April 18 2019: Alternating nighs taking 25mg (3 nights on, 1 night off)

April 19 2019-present: 18mg Anafranil/night

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Shep

Yes, your leading hypothesis is likely right. We do become more sensitive with drug changes. These threads may be helpful:

 

What is happening in your brain? (on benzo withdrawal and recovery)

 

How psychiatric drugs remodel your brain (on AD withdrawal and recovery)

 

One theory of antidepressant withdrawal syndrome


Drug free May 22, 2015 after 30 years of neuroleptics, benzos, z-drugs, so-called "anti"-depressants, and amphetamines 

 

My Success Story:  Shep's Success: "Leaving Plato's Cave"

 

And what is good, Phaedrus, and what is not good — need we ask anyone to tell us these things? ~ Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance


I am not a medical professional and this is not medical advice, but simply information based on my own experience, as well as other members who have survived these drugs.

 

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ColdTurkeySoup

Hey guys, I've been having a pretty major wave for the past month or so. It's now been about 10 months since my last reduction (large 25% reduction). Is it unusual to have a wave that long after a change in medication dosage? I've been getting my medication compounded by a pharmacist for the past 10 months. I'm having a lot of anxiety about this -- what if the wave I'm having is because he messed up the most recent batch and did not give me the correct 18mgs?? I don't think that's what's happened, but my tendency to obsess over things is not good. I keep thinking that maybe he screwed up and gave me the wrong dosage. 

 

I think the more likely scenario is that I've had some major stressors in my life since Christmas, and maybe this stress has caused the wave. It seems so strange to me that your thought process/stress levels have the power to bring back symptoms, but based on what I've read it seems like it's definitely possible. Is extreme stress commonly associated with waves/return of symptoms?

 

It's so frustrating, because back in November I was feeling amazing and I thought my 3 years of suffering was over. Now I'm closing in on the 3.5 year mark, and I've had this major setback. Any advice/opinions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks guys.


2004-2016: Varying doses of Anafranil (Between 12.5mg and 100mg)

May 2016-September 2016: 25mg Clonazepam/night

September 7 2016: Stopped Clonazepam cold turkey

2016-August 2018: 25mg Anafranil/night

August 11 2018 - April 18 2019: Alternating nighs taking 25mg (3 nights on, 1 night off)

April 19 2019-present: 18mg Anafranil/night

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Shep

Yes, stress can definitely cause waves. Anything that taxes your nervous system can cause upticks in symptoms. 

 

If you're not already doing so, you may want to try yoga, mindfulness, music, etc., basically anything that calms the nervous system. Here are more ideas:

 

Non-drug techniques to cope with emotional symptoms

 

Are you currently taking any supplements? If not, you may want to try fish oil and / or magnesium. You'll find the links for more information on these in this post earlier in your thread.


Drug free May 22, 2015 after 30 years of neuroleptics, benzos, z-drugs, so-called "anti"-depressants, and amphetamines 

 

My Success Story:  Shep's Success: "Leaving Plato's Cave"

 

And what is good, Phaedrus, and what is not good — need we ask anyone to tell us these things? ~ Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance


I am not a medical professional and this is not medical advice, but simply information based on my own experience, as well as other members who have survived these drugs.

 

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ColdTurkeySoup
On 2/17/2020 at 6:25 AM, Shep said:

Yes, stress can definitely cause waves. Anything that taxes your nervous system can cause upticks in symptoms. 

 

If you're not already doing so, you may want to try yoga, mindfulness, music, etc., basically anything that calms the nervous system. Here are more ideas:

 

Non-drug techniques to cope with emotional symptoms

 

Are you currently taking any supplements? If not, you may want to try fish oil and / or magnesium. You'll find the links for more information on these in this post earlier in your thread.

 

Thanks Shep. I am not currently taking any supplements. I tried Fish Oil for a few days, and I actually felt really good, but then I missed a day and felt awful. That kind of scared me, because it almost seemed like I was relying on yet another substance to feel good. Maybe I should give it another shot.

 

I have downloaded a meditation app on my phone and will give that a try too. I have always been an extremely anxious person, and any major life changes/stresses have always been hard on me. I think that combined with my current fragile nervous system really hit me hard, but I'm working my way back. 

 

I hear that a ten month wave is pretty common after getting off the meds/ a major reduction. Could that be a contributing factor to my wave as well?


2004-2016: Varying doses of Anafranil (Between 12.5mg and 100mg)

May 2016-September 2016: 25mg Clonazepam/night

September 7 2016: Stopped Clonazepam cold turkey

2016-August 2018: 25mg Anafranil/night

August 11 2018 - April 18 2019: Alternating nighs taking 25mg (3 nights on, 1 night off)

April 19 2019-present: 18mg Anafranil/night

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Shep
22 hours ago, ColdTurkeySoup said:

I hear that a ten month wave is pretty common after getting off the meds/ a major reduction. Could that be a contributing factor to my wave as well?

 

Very observant, CTS. This could very well be. Perhaps continue to hold the anafranil steady for a bit longer. Use the meditation app and maybe add in a fit of fish oil and see how you feel. Hopefully you'll see some improvements over the coming weeks. I wouldn't worry about being dependent on fish oil, since this is a supplement that's good for us even if we weren't going through withdrawal. If you're concerned, instead of using a supplement, you could eat fish several times a week to get it in a more natural way. 

 

Please post an update along the way and let us know how you're doing. 


Drug free May 22, 2015 after 30 years of neuroleptics, benzos, z-drugs, so-called "anti"-depressants, and amphetamines 

 

My Success Story:  Shep's Success: "Leaving Plato's Cave"

 

And what is good, Phaedrus, and what is not good — need we ask anyone to tell us these things? ~ Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance


I am not a medical professional and this is not medical advice, but simply information based on my own experience, as well as other members who have survived these drugs.

 

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ColdTurkeySoup
On 2/19/2020 at 8:41 AM, Shep said:

 

Very observant, CTS. This could very well be. Perhaps continue to hold the anafranil steady for a bit longer. Use the meditation app and maybe add in a fit of fish oil and see how you feel. Hopefully you'll see some improvements over the coming weeks. I wouldn't worry about being dependent on fish oil, since this is a supplement that's good for us even if we weren't going through withdrawal. If you're concerned, instead of using a supplement, you could eat fish several times a week to get it in a more natural way. 

 

Please post an update along the way and let us know how you're doing. 

 

Thanks Shep. I think it's been the perfect storm in terms of a negative environment for a wave... that typical 10-month wave combined with many external stresses and anxiety triggers have really hit me hard. There's been some improvement recently though, and  hope to get back to how I was feeling in the fall soon. 

 

My biggest symptoms are emotional/mental/cognitive at this point. Cog fog, confusion, lack of motivation, poor memory, and emotional numbness have been the biggest ones. 

 

I'm going to stay steady at 18mgs indefinitely, or at least until I'm feeling much better. I don't want to risk further destabilizing things while I'm still not feeling great. If I stay steady at my dose it's only a matter of time before my brain stabilizes correct? It's just so strange that I reduced my dose almost a year ago (albeit by 25%) and my brain still has not fully adjusted...


2004-2016: Varying doses of Anafranil (Between 12.5mg and 100mg)

May 2016-September 2016: 25mg Clonazepam/night

September 7 2016: Stopped Clonazepam cold turkey

2016-August 2018: 25mg Anafranil/night

August 11 2018 - April 18 2019: Alternating nighs taking 25mg (3 nights on, 1 night off)

April 19 2019-present: 18mg Anafranil/night

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Shep
13 hours ago, ColdTurkeySoup said:

Thanks Shep. I think it's been the perfect storm in terms of a negative environment for a wave... that typical 10-month wave combined with many external stresses and anxiety triggers have really hit me hard. There's been some improvement recently though, and  hope to get back to how I was feeling in the fall soon. 

 

You mention feeling better in the fall. Are you someone who struggles with mood and sleep and other symptoms during the winter? If so, the fact that it will be spring soon in Ottawa will work to your favor. So holding your dose steady to get you through this 10-month wave, healing from the external stresses (glad to hear they are improving), and working on self-care may be the best path forward.

 

13 hours ago, ColdTurkeySoup said:

I'm going to stay steady at 18mgs indefinitely, or at least until I'm feeling much better. I don't want to risk further destabilizing things while I'm still not feeling great. If I stay steady at my dose it's only a matter of time before my brain stabilizes correct? It's just so strange that I reduced my dose almost a year ago (albeit by 25%) and my brain still has not fully adjusted...

 

Do you want to stay where you're at for say, two months, and then reassess? I really think with the decrease in stressors and the upcoming spring weather, you're going to feel better.

 

Please post your thoughts. 


Drug free May 22, 2015 after 30 years of neuroleptics, benzos, z-drugs, so-called "anti"-depressants, and amphetamines 

 

My Success Story:  Shep's Success: "Leaving Plato's Cave"

 

And what is good, Phaedrus, and what is not good — need we ask anyone to tell us these things? ~ Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance


I am not a medical professional and this is not medical advice, but simply information based on my own experience, as well as other members who have survived these drugs.

 

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ColdTurkeySoup
6 hours ago, Shep said:

 

You mention feeling better in the fall. Are you someone who struggles with mood and sleep and other symptoms during the winter? If so, the fact that it will be spring soon in Ottawa will work to your favor. So holding your dose steady to get you through this 10-month wave, healing from the external stresses (glad to hear they are improving), and working on self-care may be the best path forward.

 

 

Do you want to stay where you're at for say, two months, and then reassess? I really think with the decrease in stressors and the upcoming spring weather, you're going to feel better.

 

Please post your thoughts. 

 

I think the season and lack of sunlight has some effect on my mood, but nothing too signifiant. Most of my symptoms at this point are coginitive...there's definitely some depression and anxiety, but I doubt the cognitive symptoms could be caused by seasonal changes. You're right though, having the spring and summer around the corner could definitely help.

 

I want to stay at the 18mgs indefinitely and see how things go. I'm not feeling good enough to consider a reduction, and I'm not feeling bad enough to consider slightly increasing my dosage. Since changing my dosage back in April, this is how the progression has gone: April/May - felt very bad, June-August - felt quite good, September - felt bad, October-December - felt great, January-present - felt not so good. Keep in mind that when I reduced my dosage almost a year ago I was at the 2.5 year mark after a benzo cold turkey, which I hadn't fully recovered from. 

 

Do you think the plan to continue at 18mgs is reasonable? I think the fact that I've had some pretty great windows over the past year is promising -- hopefully the windows become more frequent and the waves start to vanish. Thanks Shep


2004-2016: Varying doses of Anafranil (Between 12.5mg and 100mg)

May 2016-September 2016: 25mg Clonazepam/night

September 7 2016: Stopped Clonazepam cold turkey

2016-August 2018: 25mg Anafranil/night

August 11 2018 - April 18 2019: Alternating nighs taking 25mg (3 nights on, 1 night off)

April 19 2019-present: 18mg Anafranil/night

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Shep
15 hours ago, ColdTurkeySoup said:

Keep in mind that when I reduced my dosage almost a year ago I was at the 2.5 year mark after a benzo cold turkey, which I hadn't fully recovered from. 

 

Do you think the plan to continue at 18mgs is reasonable? I think the fact that I've had some pretty great windows over the past year is promising -- hopefully the windows become more frequent and the waves start to vanish.

 

I think holding is a good idea. It will be your call if you wish to taper completely off this drug at some point or if simply reducing your overall drug burden will be your goal. Either one is still a good choice. 

 

I think you're right to consider you're still getting waves from the benzo cold turkey. That can indeed last a number of years and brings its own windows and waves to the game, so it's very hard to know what is causing what. 

 

As you completely recover from benzo withdrawal, you may decide to come off the antidepressant, but for now, holding and getting more stability is a good goal. 


Drug free May 22, 2015 after 30 years of neuroleptics, benzos, z-drugs, so-called "anti"-depressants, and amphetamines 

 

My Success Story:  Shep's Success: "Leaving Plato's Cave"

 

And what is good, Phaedrus, and what is not good — need we ask anyone to tell us these things? ~ Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance


I am not a medical professional and this is not medical advice, but simply information based on my own experience, as well as other members who have survived these drugs.

 

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ColdTurkeySoup

Hello, I just wanted to post an update. The month of March and also early April have been relatively bad for me, which is quite frustrating because I was feeling so good from October to January, to the point where I thought I was close to being 100% recovered. This has been a huge setback for me. I have extreme fatigue, cognitive fog, total lack of motivation, lack of emotions, slow mental processing, very poor memory, etc. I understand that recovery consists of windows and waves, but I actually feel like this stretch has been worse than I felt when I first made my 25% reduction about one year ago. Have you guys heard of any other instances where symptoms can take this long to reach their worst? I'm trying to look on the bright side -- my symptoms still aren't as bad as they were years ago when I did my benzo cold turkey, and I do have periods of feeling quite good every now and then. I'm just scared that my symptoms are at at their worst a full year after my AD reduction. Is there any precedent for this? BTW, I am continuing to hold steady at 18mgs/day. Thanks as always for your help. 

 

Edit: can a mod please change my title to something more specific? Maybe something like Anafranil/Clonazepam recovery? Thanks. 


2004-2016: Varying doses of Anafranil (Between 12.5mg and 100mg)

May 2016-September 2016: 25mg Clonazepam/night

September 7 2016: Stopped Clonazepam cold turkey

2016-August 2018: 25mg Anafranil/night

August 11 2018 - April 18 2019: Alternating nighs taking 25mg (3 nights on, 1 night off)

April 19 2019-present: 18mg Anafranil/night

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Altostrata

No, there isn't any timetable for a symptom pattern.

 

Are your symptoms worse at any particular times of day? What is your current drug schedule? Fatigue can be an adverse effect of Anafranil.

 

Changed your Intro title.


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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ColdTurkeySoup
1 hour ago, Altostrata said:

No, there isn't any timetable for a symptom pattern.

 

Are your symptoms worse at any particular times of day? What is your current drug schedule? Fatigue can be an adverse effect of Anafranil.

 

Changed your Intro title.

 

Hi Alto, thanks for your reply. 

 

My symptoms are always worse in the mornings and tend to get better as the day goes along. This has been the case for the past 3.5 years, throughout my benzo cold turkey and now my rapid anafranil reduction as well. 

 

I currently take 18mg before bed every evening, and the dosage is compounded by my pharmacist. I've been taking this same dose consistently since April 19th of last year.

 

Have you heard of anyone else experiencing the worst of their symptoms so late after the actual cold turkey/change in dosage? Thanks for your help!


2004-2016: Varying doses of Anafranil (Between 12.5mg and 100mg)

May 2016-September 2016: 25mg Clonazepam/night

September 7 2016: Stopped Clonazepam cold turkey

2016-August 2018: 25mg Anafranil/night

August 11 2018 - April 18 2019: Alternating nighs taking 25mg (3 nights on, 1 night off)

April 19 2019-present: 18mg Anafranil/night

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Altostrata
8 hours ago, ColdTurkeySoup said:

I have extreme fatigue, cognitive fog, total lack of motivation, lack of emotions, slow mental processing, very poor memory, etc. I understand that recovery consists of windows and waves, but I actually feel like this stretch has been worse than I felt when I first made my 25% reduction about one year ago.

 

These may not be withdrawal symptoms, but an effect of the drug.

 

Since you take Anafranil before bed, you don't feel the effects while you're sleeping, you feel it when you wake up. They wear off as the drug wears off later in the day. Anafranil is known for daytime sedation.

 

Your system may be telling you it's time to think about very gradually decreasing the Anafranil. See Tips for tapering off clomipramine (Anafranil)

 


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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ColdTurkeySoup
13 hours ago, Altostrata said:

 

These may not be withdrawal symptoms, but an effect of the drug.

 

Since you take Anafranil before bed, you don't feel the effects while you're sleeping, you feel it when you wake up. They wear off as the drug wears off later in the day. Anafranil is known for daytime sedation.

 

Your system may be telling you it's time to think about very gradually decreasing the Anafranil. See Tips for tapering off clomipramine (Anafranil)

 

 

Thanks for the feedback! I have considered the possibility that the symptoms  I'm feeling now aren't withdrawal symptoms, but rather the effects of the drug itself, but that doesn't quite add up to me. I've been on this drug for 16 years now, at one point at 150mgs, and I've never had symptoms like these until I quit clonazepam cold turkey in 2016. Even then, I was mostly recovered 2 years later in 2018, and these symptoms only emerged again in late 2018 when I started reducing my Anafranil dosage. On top of that, I was feeling pretty great as recently as January of this year... to me, window/wave pattern and volatile symptom pattern point more to prolonged withdrawal symptoms than an underlying effect of the drug. What do you think? Does that make sense? I don't want to start reducing my dosage yet as it seems like my system has not stabilized yet. 


2004-2016: Varying doses of Anafranil (Between 12.5mg and 100mg)

May 2016-September 2016: 25mg Clonazepam/night

September 7 2016: Stopped Clonazepam cold turkey

2016-August 2018: 25mg Anafranil/night

August 11 2018 - April 18 2019: Alternating nighs taking 25mg (3 nights on, 1 night off)

April 19 2019-present: 18mg Anafranil/night

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ColdTurkeySoup
On 3/12/2020 at 3:51 AM, Shep said:

 

I think holding is a good idea. It will be your call if you wish to taper completely off this drug at some point or if simply reducing your overall drug burden will be your goal. Either one is still a good choice. 

 

I think you're right to consider you're still getting waves from the benzo cold turkey. That can indeed last a number of years and brings its own windows and waves to the game, so it's very hard to know what is causing what. 

 

As you completely recover from benzo withdrawal, you may decide to come off the antidepressant, but for now, holding and getting more stability is a good goal. 

 

Hi Shep, I hope you've been well. If you have the time, would you mind commenting on my recent updates? Alto's comments have been insightful, but you've been following my case for a long time now so I'd really appreciate your feedback too! Thanks so much


2004-2016: Varying doses of Anafranil (Between 12.5mg and 100mg)

May 2016-September 2016: 25mg Clonazepam/night

September 7 2016: Stopped Clonazepam cold turkey

2016-August 2018: 25mg Anafranil/night

August 11 2018 - April 18 2019: Alternating nighs taking 25mg (3 nights on, 1 night off)

April 19 2019-present: 18mg Anafranil/night

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Altostrata

Going on and off drugs can make your system sensitive to the action of the drug. You do not have the same nervous system that you had in your honeymoon period with Anafranil prior to 2006.

 

I've given you my best guess: You are experiencing typical adverse effects of Anafranil.


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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Shep
On 1/3/2020 at 1:04 PM, ColdTurkeySoup said:

 

Hi Altostrata, 

 

Thanks for the quick reply! Honestly, I've had some alcohol abuse issues in the past. While I've been relatively good since tapering, I had a moment of weakness and drank quite a few beers around Halloween. Surprisingly, I felt great in the following weeks. Because of that, I figured it would't be a big deal to have some wine over the holidays. I never drank much, but I probably had a drink or two 4 of the past 7 days or so. I figured that it wouldn't be a problem since I drank much more on Halloween and was fine, but maybe I've overdone it and need to quit drinking entirely again? Also, I have a couple stressors in my life right now -- I'm getting some renovations done at my home, work stress, and I've started dating someone I really like as well. That last one shouldn't be a bad thing, but because of this whole withdrawal mess, I haven't dated in years, and the thought of screwing it up has caused me a ton of anxiety. 

 

CTS, I just re-read your thread to see if there were any patterns, and I noticed this.

 

Have you had any alcohol that might have caused this recent wave? Or any external stressors? With the pandemic, lots of people are dealing with job losses and financial stressors, so if there are external reasons for being stressed, that could explain it.

 

Alcohol is one of the worst things you can subject your nervous system to when it's already traumatized by psych drugs. As Dr. David Healy says it, benzos are alcohol in a pill. Both alcohol and benzos affect GABA, so you may still be dealing with damage caused by prior alcohol use, since that happened right before you started feeling worse in January. 

 

And as Alto mentioned, some of your symptoms could be side effects of the drug. Once your nervous system is destabilized, it can hyper-react even to the smaller doses of these drugs. 


Drug free May 22, 2015 after 30 years of neuroleptics, benzos, z-drugs, so-called "anti"-depressants, and amphetamines 

 

My Success Story:  Shep's Success: "Leaving Plato's Cave"

 

And what is good, Phaedrus, and what is not good — need we ask anyone to tell us these things? ~ Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance


I am not a medical professional and this is not medical advice, but simply information based on my own experience, as well as other members who have survived these drugs.

 

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ColdTurkeySoup
7 hours ago, Shep said:

 

CTS, I just re-read your thread to see if there were any patterns, and I noticed this.

 

Have you had any alcohol that might have caused this recent wave? Or any external stressors? With the pandemic, lots of people are dealing with job losses and financial stressors, so if there are external reasons for being stressed, that could explain it.

 

Alcohol is one of the worst things you can subject your nervous system to when it's already traumatized by psych drugs. As Dr. David Healy says it, benzos are alcohol in a pill. Both alcohol and benzos affect GABA, so you may still be dealing with damage caused by prior alcohol use, since that happened right before you started feeling worse in January. 

 

And as Alto mentioned, some of your symptoms could be side effects of the drug. Once your nervous system is destabilized, it can hyper-react even to the smaller doses of these drugs. 

 

Hi Shep, thanks as always for your thorough attention and consideration -- I really appreciate you. 

 

I had a moment of weakness and went on an alcohol binge on March 1st, which is about 6 weeks ago now. I'm angry with myself, but I have a new found resolve to totally avoid alcohol for the rest of the year, and possibly longer depending on my recovery. Now that you mention it, that time frame does line up pretty well with when I got  hit hard with these symptoms. I guess I didn't think the consequences of drinking could linger for 6 weeks, but I suppose its effects can be devastating to a sensitive nervous system. 

 

I do appreciate Alto's perspective, but I'm inclined to believe that what I'm feeling now is a wave rather than an affect of the drug for a number of reasons:

 

- My symptom pattern is extremely variable. For example, I'm feeling much better today than I did yesterday. 

- The symptoms are extremely similar to the ones I had when I cold turkeyed the benzo 3.5 years ago.

- There are symptoms that I would not normally associate with Anafranil (tingling in face, ringing in ears, heart palpitations, etc)

- In general, I've felt worse over these past 6 weeks than I did when I dropped from 25mgs to 18mgs 1 year ago.

 

I am about to refill my prescription of Anafranil at 18mgs for 90 days, and here is my plan: Continue the stable dose for 90 days and re-evaluate then. Do not touch alcohol indefinitely. Try to eat healthy and minimize stressors in my life. Then, if I'm still having problems in 90 days, I can consider another course of action. Do you think this is reasonable?  

 

 


2004-2016: Varying doses of Anafranil (Between 12.5mg and 100mg)

May 2016-September 2016: 25mg Clonazepam/night

September 7 2016: Stopped Clonazepam cold turkey

2016-August 2018: 25mg Anafranil/night

August 11 2018 - April 18 2019: Alternating nighs taking 25mg (3 nights on, 1 night off)

April 19 2019-present: 18mg Anafranil/night

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Shep
On 4/15/2020 at 12:32 PM, ColdTurkeySoup said:

I do appreciate Alto's perspective, but I'm inclined to believe that what I'm feeling now is a wave rather than an affect of the drug for a number of reasons:

 

With all due respect, CTS, you didn't post that you'd gone on an alcohol binge when you asked for feedback. 

 

On 4/15/2020 at 12:32 PM, ColdTurkeySoup said:

I am about to refill my prescription of Anafranil at 18mgs for 90 days, and here is my plan: Continue the stable dose for 90 days and re-evaluate then. Do not touch alcohol indefinitely. Try to eat healthy and minimize stressors in my life. Then, if I'm still having problems in 90 days, I can consider another course of action. Do you think this is reasonable?  

 

This sounds very reasonable. I'm very glad to read you will be avoiding alcohol. I think that has more to do with your recent wave than anything. I would also add in some non-drug coping skills so you don't feel the need to self-soothe with alcohol. For those of us who used psych drugs as a way of numbing down emotions, dealing with sleep issues, etc., we have to learn new skills. Please add a few of these to your daily routine. 

 

Non-drug techniques to cope with emotional symptoms

 

The main concern with using alcohol, especially with a benzo history, is kindling:

 

Kindling

 

Please do all you can to nurture your nervous system. It can only take so much. 

 

Please stop by from time to time and let us know how you're doing. 


Drug free May 22, 2015 after 30 years of neuroleptics, benzos, z-drugs, so-called "anti"-depressants, and amphetamines 

 

My Success Story:  Shep's Success: "Leaving Plato's Cave"

 

And what is good, Phaedrus, and what is not good — need we ask anyone to tell us these things? ~ Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance


I am not a medical professional and this is not medical advice, but simply information based on my own experience, as well as other members who have survived these drugs.

 

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ColdTurkeySoup

Hello

On 4/18/2020 at 6:01 AM, Shep said:

 

With all due respect, CTS, you didn't post that you'd gone on an alcohol binge when you asked for feedback. 

 

 

This sounds very reasonable. I'm very glad to read you will be avoiding alcohol. I think that has more to do with your recent wave than anything. I would also add in some non-drug coping skills so you don't feel the need to self-soothe with alcohol. For those of us who used psych drugs as a way of numbing down emotions, dealing with sleep issues, etc., we have to learn new skills. Please add a few of these to your daily routine. 

 

Non-drug techniques to cope with emotional symptoms

 

The main concern with using alcohol, especially with a benzo history, is kindling:

 

Kindling

 

Please do all you can to nurture your nervous system. It can only take so much. 

 

Please stop by from time to time and let us know how you're doing. 

 

Hello Shep, and anyone else who may be reading! I hope you're all doing well. 

 

My last update was a few months ago, so I decided it was time for me to let you know how I've been doing. After a bad wave through March and April, I saw significant improvements through May, June and July. I strongly believe that the wave was partially caused by my alcohol binge in late February, and partially due to stress/continued recovery from Anafranil. I took your advice and stopped drinking entirely. It hasn't been easy, as I really enjoy having beers with my friends, but I realized that I need to do whatever I can to get back to a good place in my life. I haven't had a single drink since February 29th, and I'm very proud of this.

 

So as I said, May June and July have been very good for the most part. I had 2 minor waves within that time period:

 

1) A got sunburned after a weekend at the lake and I felt my symptoms rev up for about 5 days afterwards

2) I had some marijuana this past weekend and have felt groggy/anxious since. 

 

Are these normal reactions? It looks like I'm going to have to avoid marijuana too, as I suppose it can have a negative effect on the nervous system. I'm still sticking at my current dosage of 18mgs/night. I would like to reduce further, but I'm not in a rush and want to make sure I've fully stabilized before continuing my cut. What are your thoughts on this? Thanks again for all your help and support. 


2004-2016: Varying doses of Anafranil (Between 12.5mg and 100mg)

May 2016-September 2016: 25mg Clonazepam/night

September 7 2016: Stopped Clonazepam cold turkey

2016-August 2018: 25mg Anafranil/night

August 11 2018 - April 18 2019: Alternating nighs taking 25mg (3 nights on, 1 night off)

April 19 2019-present: 18mg Anafranil/night

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Altostrata

Well done, you stopped making problems for yourself by drinking alcohol.

 

Yes, when you overdo it with sun and heat, it can aggravate withdrawal symptoms.

 

Any psychotropic, including alcohol and marijuana, may upset your nervous system again.


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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ColdTurkeySoup

Thank you Alto -- this website and in particular Shep and yourself have been a lifeline for me during this difficult time. 

 

My greatest hope is that I can one day return to a normal life and be happy and free, without having to worry about setting my nervous system back with my choices. Alcohol, stress, lifting weights, certain foods, too much sun, and now a small amount of marijuana -- all have caused temporary setbacks to my recovery. I should be grateful that I'm functional and doing relatively well, as I know that's not the case for everyone in my position. 

 

So far, it has been almost 4 years since I quit benzos cold turkey and 15 months since my large Anafranil reduction. That's a long time! But I realize that this kind of recovery takes years, and the best weapons we have to fight withdrawal are time and acceptance. Also, I look at where I am today versus where I was 3 years ago, and I have certainly come a long way.


2004-2016: Varying doses of Anafranil (Between 12.5mg and 100mg)

May 2016-September 2016: 25mg Clonazepam/night

September 7 2016: Stopped Clonazepam cold turkey

2016-August 2018: 25mg Anafranil/night

August 11 2018 - April 18 2019: Alternating nighs taking 25mg (3 nights on, 1 night off)

April 19 2019-present: 18mg Anafranil/night

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ColdTurkeySoup

Hello everyone who might be reading this, and Alto/Shep in particular. I hope you're all doing well and managing to live a good life despite the pandemic! I'm feeling quite good overall, and have been more or less since my major wave ended in April. I still have symptoms, and they are:

 

- Mental fog

- Head pressure

- Chronic Fatigue

- Poor short term memory

- Alternating periods of difficult sleeping & sleeping too much

 

My symptoms seem to ramp up due to things like too much exercise, stormy weather, too much sun, stress, etc. 

 

I've taken some time to reflect, and I realize how much damage strain I've put on my nervous system over the past 15 years... I've changed my Anafranil dose MANY times over the years, and although for the most part the symptoms after a change were minor, they finally caught up with me. I would also binge drink on a regular basis in the past, which I'm sure further damaged my system. The straw that broke the camel's back was my short term benzo use (every night for about 3 months almost 4 years ago now). When I stopped the benzos, all hell broke loose. Then, when things were finally improving, I tampered with my dose of Anafranil and I entered a second long term wave. Now, I'm almost 4 years off benzos, and about 16 months off my 25% Anafranil reduction. Like I said, I still have some symptoms, but they are relatively minor and I seem to be moving in a good direction. 

 

I'm currently taking 18mgs of Anafranil, and I'd like to get it down to 10mgs as a medium term goal. My plan is to eventually start reducing by 1mg at a time for 2 month intervals before the next reduction. I guess my main questions/concern is whether I should start this very sloe reduction now, or wait until my symptoms improve further. Obviously nobody has a crystal ball, but I'm just looking for feedback as to whether reducing now makes sense or whether I should give my system more time to heal. 

 

Also, I've seriously considered taking Omega 3/fish oil...I've heard it can help with recovery, I'm just skeptical about putting another substance in my body after this hell. 

 

As always, your suggestions and feedback are greatly appreciated. 


2004-2016: Varying doses of Anafranil (Between 12.5mg and 100mg)

May 2016-September 2016: 25mg Clonazepam/night

September 7 2016: Stopped Clonazepam cold turkey

2016-August 2018: 25mg Anafranil/night

August 11 2018 - April 18 2019: Alternating nighs taking 25mg (3 nights on, 1 night off)

April 19 2019-present: 18mg Anafranil/night

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Shep
19 hours ago, ColdTurkeySoup said:

I guess my main questions/concern is whether I should start this very sloe reduction now, or wait until my symptoms improve further. Obviously nobody has a crystal ball, but I'm just looking for feedback as to whether reducing now makes sense or whether I should give my system more time to heal. 

 

Please see this post as a guide to tell if you're stable enough to reduce: 

 

Withdrawal Normal


Drug free May 22, 2015 after 30 years of neuroleptics, benzos, z-drugs, so-called "anti"-depressants, and amphetamines 

 

My Success Story:  Shep's Success: "Leaving Plato's Cave"

 

And what is good, Phaedrus, and what is not good — need we ask anyone to tell us these things? ~ Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance


I am not a medical professional and this is not medical advice, but simply information based on my own experience, as well as other members who have survived these drugs.

 

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ChessieCat
20 hours ago, ColdTurkeySoup said:

I guess my main questions/concern is whether I should start this very sloe reduction now, or wait until my symptoms improve further. Obviously nobody has a crystal ball, but I'm just looking for feedback as to whether reducing now makes sense or whether I should give my system more time to heal. 

 

Obviously this is a decision that only you can make.  Something you might want to consider doing, if you think you might be ready to taper, is to make a test reduction of a very small amount.  If that goes well you can then reduce by a larger amount. next time.


Being very patient.  I'll get there - slowly.  ETA mid 2021

ADs:  25 years - 1 unknown, Prozac (caused muscle weakness), Zoloft/sertraline; citalopram (pooped out) CTed (very sick for 2.5 wks a few months after)

Pristiq:  50mg 2012, 100mg beg 2013 (mild Serotonin Toxicity)

Began tapering Oct 2015  Current from 12 Sept 2020:  Pristiq 0.625 mg (compounded)

My tapering program

My Intro (goes to my tapering graph)

My website - includes my brief history + links to videos & information on the web

PLEASE NOTE:  I am not a medical professional.  I provide information and make suggestions.

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ColdTurkeySoup

Thank you for the feedback. I've been giving a lot of thought to what Alto suggested back in the early spring -- that my ongoing symptoms could potentially be attributed to my nightly 18mg dosage of Anafranil itself, rather than being from my prolonged 4-year benzo cold turkey and my 16-month anafranil 25% cut. As mentioned, these are the current symptoms: 

 

- Mental fog

- Head pressure

- irritability

- lack of motivation

- Chronic Fatigue

- Poor short term memory

- Alternating periods of difficult sleeping & sleeping too much

 

As far as I can tell, there are only 2 possibilities for my current symptoms: protracted withdrawal from the aforementioned medication changes, and effects of the Anafranil itself. I pointed out to Alto that I was on much higher doses of Anafranil in the past without these symptoms, but Alto wisely told me that my nervous system is likely very different and much more sensitive than it was in the past. It's frustrating not knowing which is the correct reason for my symptoms, as my actions would differ -- if it were continued withdrawal, I would hold off on future dosage reduction until I reached withdrawal normal (thanks for the link Shep), but if the reason for my symptoms were the Anafranil itself, I would want to start reducing slowly asap. 

 

Is there any way I can get a better idea of what the true cause of my symptoms are? The evidence that it's withdrawal are:

 

(1) I still have lots of windows and waves, some weeks feeling really great. If it were a reaction to the anafranil itself, I would think the symptoms would be more steady and constant.

(2) The symptoms feel a LOT like a milder version of the benzo CT symptoms I experienced years ago

 

Evidence that my symptoms could be a result of the Anafranil itself:

 

(1) It's been a long time since my last reduction (16 months). It was a huge reduction (25%) on an already hyper-sensitized system, but 16 months still feels like a long time to reach withdrawal normal. 

 

Any advice, opinions, and feedback would be appreciated. As always, I appreciate everyone's continued support, and I apologize for coming back again and again with seemingly the same questions/issue. 


2004-2016: Varying doses of Anafranil (Between 12.5mg and 100mg)

May 2016-September 2016: 25mg Clonazepam/night

September 7 2016: Stopped Clonazepam cold turkey

2016-August 2018: 25mg Anafranil/night

August 11 2018 - April 18 2019: Alternating nighs taking 25mg (3 nights on, 1 night off)

April 19 2019-present: 18mg Anafranil/night

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ChessieCat
Posted (edited)

  

4 hours ago, ColdTurkeySoup said:

these are the current symptoms: 

 

- Mental fog

- Head pressure

- irritability

- lack of motivation

- Chronic Fatigue

- Poor short term memory

- Alternating periods of difficult sleeping & sleeping too much

 

From https://www.drugs.com/sfx/anafranil-side-effects.html

 

More common side effects anafranil:

 

Bladder pain

bloody or cloudy urine

blurred vision

body aches or pain

burning, crawling, itching, numbness, prickling, "pins and needles", or tingling feelings

confusion

difficult, burning, or painful urination

dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up suddenly from a lying or sitting position

excessive muscle tone

fear or nervousness

feeling sad or empty

fever

hearing changes

hives or welts, skin rash

irritability

lower back or side pain

muscle stiffness, tension, or tightness

poor concentration

rhythmic movement of muscles

sneezing

tightness of the chest

trouble breathing

unusual tiredness or weakness

voice changes

 

 

Edited by ChessieCat

Being very patient.  I'll get there - slowly.  ETA mid 2021

ADs:  25 years - 1 unknown, Prozac (caused muscle weakness), Zoloft/sertraline; citalopram (pooped out) CTed (very sick for 2.5 wks a few months after)

Pristiq:  50mg 2012, 100mg beg 2013 (mild Serotonin Toxicity)

Began tapering Oct 2015  Current from 12 Sept 2020:  Pristiq 0.625 mg (compounded)

My tapering program

My Intro (goes to my tapering graph)

My website - includes my brief history + links to videos & information on the web

PLEASE NOTE:  I am not a medical professional.  I provide information and make suggestions.

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