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Pippin

Pippin: Prozac CT withdrawal

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Pippin

Hello,

I am desperate for help and found this website.

 

I have been on Prozac for more years than I remember, over ten, and decided to stop last November ( so, 8 months ago).  I didn't know about tapering, so I just stopped. I am feeling terrible. Constant crying, intrusive thoughts, cannot get out of bed, can barely speak sometimes. Did not feel too bad at first but now I feel consumed by it.

 

I do not know what to do. I would ideally like to come of the drugs and be my normal self again. Is this possible? Do I need to go back on them and come back off again by tapering, or is it to late for that now? 

 

Should I see a psychiatrist? I live in the U.K. And am not really sure of the best way to find one.

 

Does anyone have any advice for me, please? 

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Gridley

Welcome to SA, Pippin.  I'm sorry you're having such a terrible time.

 

To start, please add a drug signature, including drugs, doses, dates, and discontinuations & reinstatements in the last 12-24 months. Please include the dosage of Prozac and the date you stopped.  Also include supplements. This will help us give you the most accurate advice we can. 
  • Any drugs and supplements prior to 24 months ago can just be listed with start and stop years. 
  • Please leave out symptoms and diagnoses. 
  • A list is easier to understand than one or multiple paragraphs. 
  • This is a direct link to your signature:  Account Settings – Create or Edit a signature.

What you are experiencing is protracted withdrawal symptoms from your cold-turkey cessation of Prozac.  Withdrawal symptoms arise because your body got used to the drug being present and now has to work very hard to accommodate its absence.  

 

 
 
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.

We can't tell you whether to see a psychiatrist.  That has to be your decision.  The vast majority of psychiatrists do not believe in protracted withdrawal from antidepressants.  Here is a link to psychiatrists who have shown a willingness to work with tapering and withdrawal syndrome.  Scroll down to U.K. and read about them.  Some members have seen or corresponded with Dr. David Healy. 

Recommended doctors, therapists, and clinics - Tapering - Surviving ...

At this time, reinstatement of a very small dose of the original drug is the only known way to help alleviate withdrawal syndrome.  The only other alternative is to try and wait out the symptoms and manage as best you can until your central nervous system returns to homeostasis.  Unfortunately no one can give you an exact timeline as to when you will start feeling better and while some do recover relatively easily, for others it can take many months or longer.  
 
At eight months out, you're beyond the period when reinstatement predictably works, which is within 3 months of your last dose.  It might work or it might not and can be risky.  We usually suggest a much smaller reinstatement dose than your last dose.  These drugs are strong, and when reinstating it is better to start with a very small amount. Your system has become sensitized and somewhat accustomed to not having the drug.  If you take too much it may be too much for your brain and can cause you become further destabilized.  For that reason, we would not recommend reinstating your full previous dose.  Please read:
 
About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms. -- at least the first page of the topic
 
If you decide reinstatement is something you want to consider, we can suggest a reinstatement dose after you've completed your drug signature.  Please do not reinstate without first hearing our recommendation.  If you do decide to reinstate, you would wait to stabilize on the drug, which can take several months, and then begin a slow 10% every four weeks taper of the dose you reinstated.  
 
Why taper by 10% of my dosage?
 
We strongly recommend the use of  non-drug methods to cope with withdrawal syndrome.  Some of these can be found in the Symptoms and Self-Care forum of this site.
 
 
Please also read through this link to see what it contains that might be of help to you.
 
 
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.  Magnesium glycinate is a good form of magnesium.

 

 

 

Please research all supplements first and only add in one at a time and at a low dose in case you do experience problems.
 
This is your Introductiontopic, where you can ask questions, monitor your progress and connect with other members.  We're glad you found your way here.
 
 
 

 

Edited by Gridley

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Sassenach

Hi Pippin

 

I remember the rock and a hard place moment only too well and finding this site.

The request for information can seem overwhelming when you are feeling rotten.

It is however the basis for us to help going forward.

Please complete your drug signature ASAPhttps://www.survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/settings/signature/.

Gridley is a very experienced mod and has given you a lot of info. and links.

Work through it slowly and it will help you understand your situation.

Eight months is a long time. Have there been any periods when you felt you were improving ( windows )?

For the moment the best way is to change nothing and stay in contact to find the way forward.

The brain's ability to heal itself is incredible and you can get through this.

 

Sassenach ( expat Yorkshireman but willing to help the side 🤣.

 

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Pippin

Thank you, Gridley for all the advice. I have ordered some supplements and hope these will help. I have begun to do some reading of the links you have given above too.

I very much hope I can deal with the withdrawal without going back to drugs, as I have come 8 months already I really hope I can push on and get through this. At the moment though I seem to be in a very black hole with no way out. It is such a comfort to have found this website. Thank you! 

I think I will go to my doctors to see if I can get a print out of my Prozac history, I really cannot remember when I started taking it, I also think there may have been a couple of times of coming of/ going on it again as well. I would be interested to see it, and then I could add an informed signature.

 

Thank you too, Sassenach. It's weird, I haven't been monitoring my feelings over the last 8 months to know if I am improving or not. All I know is that this weekend I felt so bad and 'those' thoughts seemed louder than ever in my head that I had to look on the internet to see if I could find anything helpful. I think I will try keep a track of how I'm feeling so I can see if there are any improvements.

 

Thank you so much, I'm feeling more hopeful than I have in a while. 

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Sassenach

Hi Pippin

 

Catch you tomorrow.

 

Sassenach

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Gridley
2 hours ago, Pippin said:

 

I very much hope I can deal with the withdrawal without going back to drugs, as I have come 8 months already I really hope I can push on and get through this.

 

That seems a sensible approach.  I just wanted you be aware of the option.  

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Sassenach

Hi Pippin

 

If you have read the windows and waves pattern you will see that recovery is far from linear.

What you are experiencing is withdrawal and you have done very well to get to 8 months.

I C/Ted Escitalopram last December and admitted defeat in March and reinstated to half dose.

If you do not diarise your days the good ones will be gone in a flash. When you feel as you have recently, those good days will feel forever ago, when actually it may only be a week or even just a few days.

If you also rate your symptoms it is even easier to track your progress.

It does require a degree of determination but is well worth it.

If you would like to try let me know and I will forward the info.

Is Prozac the only med you have been taking in the last 2-3 years?

It would be good to have a more complete history.

Keep in touch and remember if you are feeling low you always find a listening ear on here.

 

Sassenach

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