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baquejohn

prozac withdrawal. protracted 2.5 years

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baquejohn

hello i was on prozac for 6.5 years with addition of effexor, welbutrin and geodon for breif times.

i am 2.5 years off and still in withdrawal. i was prescribed the meds for physical illness after getting epstein bar virus. the prozac, effexor and welbutrin were used for stimulant effects. the geodon was used to combat the side effects of the other meds.( like taking a downer to take edge oof of the uppers).i did not have mental illness before this

i now dont  know how much of the way i feel is from epsten bar virus? or if i recovered from the virus? is what i am feeling from med withdrawals. the only thing i do know is i have extreme anxiety, insomnia and akathesia now and i NEVER had this problem before the meds. i just dont know how much of my flu like symptoms/ feeling like i have a hang over is from the med withdrawal? anyone with expierence please let me know? i also get a lot of joint cracking and popping sounds. anyone else get this? does anyone feel flu like symptoms get worse after exercise. thanks for any info

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Gridley

Welcome to SA, baquejohn.  I'm glad you found your way here.

 

I can't tell you if the symptoms you're experiencing have anything to do with Epstein-Barr, but what you're described--anxiety, insomnia, akathisia, flu-like symptoms--are typical withdrawal symptoms resulting from a fast taper.  I have a few questions:

 

Did the symptoms first appear after your fast taper from Prozac, Wellbutrin, Effexor and Geodon?  That is a very potent drug cocktail and it isn't surprising you're still experiencing symptoms. 

 

Did they appear appear during the taper or after?

 

How long after the taper did they appear?

 

Are there periods when they symptoms get better and then get worse?

 

Overall, have you noticed any improvement in symptoms during the 2 1/2 years you're been off the drugs?

 

Did you have a period after stopping the drugs when you felt fine?

 

So that you'll have an understanding of what you're experiencing, here is some information on withdrawal.

 
 
You will see your symptoms included in this list of common psychiatric drug withdrawal symptoms:
 
 
 
When we take medications, the CNS (central nervous system) responds by making changes over the months and years we take the drug(s). When the medication is discontinued, the CNS has to undo all the changes it made. Rebuilding the neurotransmitter production and reactivating the receptor and transporter cells takes time -- during that rebuilding process symptoms occur.  
 
These explain it really well:

 

 

   On 8/30/2011 at 2:28 PM,  Rhiannon said: 
When we stop taking the drug, we have a brain that has designed itself so that it works in the presence of the drug; now it can't work properly without the drug because it's designed itself so that the drug is part of its chemistry and structure. It's like a plant that has grown on a trellis; you can't just yank out the trellis and expect the plant to be okay. When the drug is removed, the remodeling process has to take place in reverse. SO--it's not a matter of just getting the drug out of your system and moving on. If it were that simple, none of us would be here. It's a matter of, as I describe it, having to grow a new brain. I believe this growing-a-new-brain happens throughout the taper process if the taper is slow enough. (If it's too fast, then there's not a lot of time for actually rebalancing things, and basically the brain is just pedaling fast trying to keep us alive.) It also continues to happen, probably for longer than the symptoms actually last, throughout the time of recovery after we are completely off the drug, which is why recovery takes so long.

 

Prolonged withdrawal from psychiatric drugs is common.  You have to be wondering when it will end.  Unfortunately, we can't predict that, only that as time passes you will get better.  Time is the great healer in this situation.  The following link, "How long is withdrawal going to take?" contains some hard truths but also some very hopeful information.  It's the first essay; just scroll down.  Some of the other essays in this group are also helpful.

 

How Long Is Withdrawal Going to Take? (this post - see below)

 

As I said, time is the great healer in protracted withdrawal.  It's also advisable to eat a healthy diet, try to get as normal a sleep as possible and avoid caffeine and alcohol.

We don't recommend a lot of supplements on SA, as many members report being sensitive to them due to our over-reactive nervous systems, but two supplements that we do recommend are magnesium and omega 3 (fish oil). Many people find these to be calming to the nervous system. 

 

 

 

Please research all supplements first and only add in one at a time and at a low dose in case you do experience problems.
 
We also recommend non drug coping skills to deal with withdrawal.  Browse through the following links to see which appeal to you.
 
 
These links are helpful specifically for anxiety:

 

This is your Introduction topic, where you can ask questions, provide updates and connect with other members.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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baquejohn

maybe i was unclear in my first post i am not feeling all there today so it is hard for me to articulate. i only got a few hours sleep last night. the anxiety, insomnia and akathesia i know for 100% fact are because of the meds withdrawal. these symptoms are only half as bad as when i first stopped taking them so i am half way back to normal with those 3 symptoms. i just cant believe that i am still this bad after 2.5 years. this is crazy. especially because when i was increasing the ssri doses every time i would increase i would get anxiety, insomnia and akathesia. then after getting immune to the effects of the drugs it wold go away. now the withdrawal is giving me the same symptoms as when i started taking them. this is crazy. i use to drink coffee like water. now even one cup can make me  more nervous

what i was asking is about the flu like symptoms. it feels like a constant hangover. the symptoms get much worse after exercise. i had these symptoms very bad the first few years after getting epstein barr virus and they slowly improved to maybe 75% recovery at the point when i stopped the meds. i just dont know if some of that "improvemnent".was just because i was so hyped up from being on a cocktail of stimualting drugs. after stopping they got much worse again. i get hot flashes, night sweats. chills, body aches but most prominently what feels like a hangover everyday. all my joints make a lot of cracking and popping sounds too. is it possible for withdrawal to cause joints to making cracking and popping sounds? or could it be due to the fact that other than forcing my self to go for a long walk for 2 hours a day. i am mostly not moving? just laying on couch or sitting in a chair. before getting sick i was a very serious bodybuilder. on the meds i would force myself to workout. now that is definetly not possible.the exhaustion is extreme and made worse due to the fact that i can't sleep more than a few hours in a row which would probably make even a healthy person feel slightly unwell.

i never get windows. i might feel slight better at times and slightly worse at other times. but i never feel normal. the anxiety symptoms got bad during the taper and worse when i stopped the meds completely.

so basically you are saying that it is possible for the med withdrawal to be causing me to feel like i have a hangover every day even after 2.5 years of being free of them? and it is normal for exercise to make the hangover feeling worse?.

thanks for your quick reply. i will read over all the info you get me later today or tomorrow morning

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Gridley
38 minutes ago, baquejohn said:

 

so basically you are saying that it is possible for the med withdrawal to be causing me to feel like i have a hangover every day even after 2.5 years of being free of them? and it is normal for exercise to make the hangover feeling worse?.

 

 

Yes, that's exactly what I'm saying.  Psychiatric drugs change---remodel---the architecture of the brain, and it takes a long time for the brain to get back to normal. When the drug is removed, the remodeling process has to take place in reverse.  So with psychiatric drugs  it's not a matter of "getting free of the drug" or "getting the drug out of your system," like aspirin.  It's a matter of growing a new brain, which takes quite some some time . That's why you're still feeling this way 2.5 years later.  (It's a very good sign that you're feeling better.)

 

The central nervous system underlies every bodily function.  This is why when the CNS is destabilized, as it is in withdrawal, there can be so many and varied and even bizarre physical symptoms, like creaky joints as well as hot flashes, night sweats, chills and body aches.   The flu-like hangover feeling is a well-recognized withdrawal symptom.  It's on the Glenmullen list of symptoms I sent in my first response to you.

foster123 Flu-Like Withdrawal symptoms--Non-Stop! - Introductions ...

And joint problems:

Muscle and joint stiffness, aches, and pain - Surviving Antidepressants

Strenuous exercise very commonly increases symptoms.  Many, many members who used to thrive on strenuous exercise find they can no longer do it because it ramps up their withdrawal symptoms.  We recommend a gentle 30-minute walk daily, preferably in nature.
 

 

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baquejohn

okay. thanks. i am going to read over everything you sent me in the next 24 hours

so it is very hard if not impossible to know if all these weird symptoms are from epstein barr virus or med withdrawal.both conditions wreck havoc on your entire system.

ssri withdrawal seems just as serious as opiate withdrawal

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eymen23
Posted (edited)

Hi baquejohn,

 

I’m sorry to hear about your difficulties with withdrawal and potentially EBV.

 

Unfortunately withdrawal symptoms can mimic many of the symptoms seen with physical illnesses. Examples include aches, muscle pains, joint pains, fatigue, nausea, diarrhea, dizziness, vertigo etc. Sadly, the list goes on and whenever I cut the dose of my drug I feel mildly unwell for at least a week, starting about 4 days after the drop in dose.

 

I may have somehow missed this, but have you had any basic testing for EBV? There are simple blood tests that can detect antibodies and this would help give you clarity as to what’s causing your symptoms. It is a nasty virus (I had it age 16) and it can become active again during times of stress or being run down, such as during withdrawal. 

 

Regardless of whether this is withdrawal induced or there is an underlying physical illness, you will benefit from self care. Gridley has sent you lots of fantastic resources, but given you me symptoms I would ensure you get plenty of rest and don’t exercise above your current tolerance. 

Edited by eymen23

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baquejohn

i tested positive for ebv 9 years ago. i go for yearly check ups and doctors says it's not active. however i had the symptoms for the whole 9 years. some people think it triggers an immune reaction. the symptoms seemed to improve to 75% recovery until my withdrawal. now i feel worse. how long where you sick from ebv? thanks for replying

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eymen23

Hi baquejohn,

 

I had symptoms of EBV for about 8 weeks, although that was 12 years ago now! Thankfully I did not have any lingering symptoms of EBV after that period.

 

It is quite possible that with the stress of withdrawal, your immune system has been compromised and you are seeing symptoms resurface. It’s also possible you have what’s known as chronic EBV in which symptoms regularly resurface in varying intensities. 

 

Given that you experienced symptoms of EBV throughout the 9 year period, what you’re going through now could well be a combination of withdrawal and  heightened EBV symptoms.

 

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baquejohn

thanks eymen23 for the reply.

would you say that withdrawal symptoms and ebv symptoms are very similar? (both cause exhaustion, flu like symptoms, brain fog & exercise intolerance so it is be very hard to tell the difference

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thecowisback

for the first year after i stopped my meds my neck used to 'crack' randomly. it was really loud and would make me jump like hell. it gradually went away so hopefully your joint problems will fade too. ☺

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baquejohn

thanks for the reply cowisback. did any other joints crack? or just your neck? which meds were you taking? thank again

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thecowisback

no other cracking joints but i had terrible pains in my right shoulder for the first few months. i was taking prozac. 

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baquejohn

prozac was the main drug i took for 6 and a half years. any additional info on your recovery would be great. how long did you take prozac? how long did it take you to recover? what other symptoms did you have? are you fully recovered now? i am at the end of my rope

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baquejohn

i am also getting knots in my back muscles

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thecowisback

most of my symptoms are on my first introduction post, though most of the physical ones had gone by the end of the first year. i was left with terrible anxiety, depression and ocd (i took the pills originally for my ocd but it was far worse in withdrawal than before). 

i never recovered at all from these symptoms so i reinstated a small amount of prozac in january. at first it made my anxiety a lot worse but i am having windows now so it must be doing something.

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baquejohn

yes. i had the same expierence with prozac. i NEVER had anxiety before taking it. when i started taking it, it gave me anxiety. and every time i increased the dose it gave me anxiety.

now in withdrawal i have crazy anxiety. it is a strange drug and i wish i would have never taken it. but i am glad to hear the reinstatement is helping you. what dose you take now?

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eymen23
6 hours ago, baquejohn said:

thanks eymen23 for the reply.

would you say that withdrawal symptoms and ebv symptoms are very similar? (both cause exhaustion, flu like symptoms, brain fog & exercise intolerance so it is be very hard to tell the difference

 

People often experience varying withdrawal symptoms, so it is hard to be certain. Some people suffer more with anxiety and insomnia, some with exhaustion and flu like symptoms, some with muscle pain and brain zaps. 

 

It may well be the case that your withdrawal symptoms have subsided but the overall stress on the body has led to a flare up of EBV. Or it could all be withdrawal symptoms and nothing to do with EBV.

 

I’m not sure we will ever be 100% in that respect, but it’s important that you practice self-care either way, to help manage symptoms. Do you experience any other symptoms which could be attributed to withdrawal? 

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baquejohn

yes. i have symptoms that i know are 100% due to withdrawal because i never had them before. the follow symptoms are 100% due to withdrawal

extreme anxiety, akathesia, feeling the need to pace or step from one foot to the other, anxiety that i can feel in my chest. i NEVER had any anxiety before taking these poisons

insomnia, can only sleep a few hours in a row then wake up  with morning anxiety that is the worst

skin sensations, crawaling, stinging, biting, itching, burning, tingling

feeling like a need to pee constantly

intolerance to caffiene

intolerance to drugs and supplements

probably more too

 

on the other hand these symptoms i had before but can be withdrawal as well, they are overlaping

hot flashes, chills, night sweats

joints making cracking and popping sounds

muscle aches

exercise intolerance

exhaustion

shortness of breath

lightheaded, dizzy, vertigo

brain fog, confusion

and more

 

 

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thecowisback

i'm on 5 mg now.

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baquejohn

i was reading some of your other posts. i am tempted to reinstate a very low dose to ease withdrawal but i know it will make anxiety worse and so i feel like im damned if i do and damned if i dont. i would be better off with an opiate addiction. at least they have methadone and subboxone

27 minutes ago, baquejohn said:

yes. i have symptoms that i know are 100% due to withdrawal because i never had them before. the follow symptoms are 100% due to withdrawal

extreme anxiety, akathesia, feeling the need to pace or step from one foot to the other, anxiety that i can feel in my chest. i NEVER had any anxiety before taking these poisons

insomnia, can only sleep a few hours in a row then wake up  with morning anxiety that is the worst

skin sensations, crawaling, stinging, biting, itching, burning, tingling

feeling like a need to pee constantly

intolerance to caffiene

intolerance to drugs and supplements

probably more too

 

on the other hand these symptoms i had before but can be withdrawal as well, they are overlaping

hot flashes, chills, night sweats

joints making cracking and popping sounds

muscle aches

exercise intolerance

exhaustion

shortness of breath

lightheaded, dizzy, vertigo

brain fog, confusion

and more

 

 

 

7 minutes ago, thecowisback said:

i'm on 5 mg now.

 

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thecowisback

i rarely had anxiety when taking prozac, just in the early weeks of starting it. 

i hung on for 2 years thinking i could cope but things became desperate so i felt i had no choice but to reinstate even though it feels like i've thrown in the towel.

i managed to quit an opiate addiction before stopping prozac and it was a whole lot easier than this!!

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baquejohn

i would not say you threw in the towel if your only taking 5mg. that means you are 35mg lower than you were at 2 years ago. maybe just stay at 5mg for a year or so until you feel 100% normal. and then taper that slowly

i know prozac will give me anxiety and insomnia. those were the only 2 side effects i had from taking it. it is weird that they are 2 of my withdrawal symptoms. the only time i did not get anxiety from prozac was when i was on a stable dose that was no longer working. when i got immune to it. i NEVER had anxiety before taking it

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thecowisback

my worst side effect was memory loss. i also think it buggered up my thyroid. my sleep while i was on it was always good, though by the end it was too good and i was napping 2 or 3 times a day. 

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