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pelican: long time SSRI and SNRI user

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Hey everyone, I´m going to try and keep this as short as I can without leaving too much information out. I'm from Sweden and started using prozac at the age of 14. I have since then been on and off medications until now (37  years old). I am currently about 2+ months off my latest one (brintellix) so currently free of meds. I have one pack of Oxascand left and I take 10 mg on the worst days, I really try not too. I also use Imovane a few times a week to help with my sleep issues.


So I´m basically here because I started researching medications this morning, I´ve felt really bad 2 weeks in a row. I suffer from both depression and general anxiety, some social anxiety as well. Having a hard time being social (it drains me), having thoughts that nobody likes me (especially at work), no self esteem and just really tired all the time. I try to work out 3 days a week to try and rebuild my brain chemistry, I read The Real Happy Pill: Power Up Your Brain by Moving Your Body by Anders Hansen and it really motivated me to not take medicine and work out instead. I have only done this for a few weeks so too soon to tell. I guess the next medicine for me to try would be Lamictal (my mood swings quite much between feeling ok and depressive, I've had  hypomania a few times for a few days but only when I'm on meds) but I really want to be free of meds this time, been on different ones on and off for 23 years now. Tried Prozac, Zoloft, Cipralex, Venlafaxin, Cymbalta, Brintellix, Buspar and probably more that I don't remember.


Like I said, been without meds in my system for about 2 months and this is usually when depression and anxiety kicks me in the butt and I start some new medication. Is this normal? Is it the medicine that has ruined my own chemistry or is this just me without meds? I've tried therapy as well, and cognitive behavioral therapy helped somewhat but no way near as much as I wanted. It's really bad right now and I'm just trying to hang in there. I would love to hear if anyone has had similar experiences and managed a life without meds and actually found ways to cope without it, and if so how? Is this 2-3 months thing also common? That a crash usually happens by then? It sure seems to be that way with me...

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Hello, pelican, and welcome to SA.


We need a little more information, please.  How fast did you taper off the Brintillex and what dosage were you on?  Did you have side effects while you were on the Brintillex?  How serious were they?  


We recommend tapering by no more than 10% of current dose every four weeks, and if you tapered faster than that, very likely what you are currently experiencing is withdrawal from the Brintillex.


Withdrawal symptoms (what you call a crash) arising around the 2-3 month point after ceasing the drug is extremely common, and depression and anxiety are typical withdrawal symptoms.   Doctors do not believe in extended withdrawal and would call what you're experiencing "return of the underlying condition" and would put you on another drug, and if that didn't work, another drug, and so on. 


This site is dedicated to helping people taper off psychiatric drugs and deal with withdrawal.  There are many, many stories on this site of members who have gone off the drugs and gone on to manage their lives without drugs.  Please Google "SurvivingAntidepressants.org success stories" and take a look. These stories are quite encouraging.  We have many long-term users of psychiatric drugs who have recovered, and this number includes those who were drugged as children or teens.  You will find many knowledgeable and sympathetic members and moderators here to support you.


Here is some information on withdrawal:


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.
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.  
Reinstatement isn't a guarantee of diminished symptoms for everyone but it's the best tactic available.  You're still in the time period where reinstatement predictably works, up to 3 months after last dose.  We usually suggest a much smaller reinstatement dose than your last dose.  Once you've given us the information I requested about your Brintillex taper, we can, if you're interested in reinstatement, suggest a dose.  Then you would wait to stabilize on the small dose and then taper off using our recommended 10% every four weeks taper.   http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1024-why-taper-by-10-of-my-dosage/
Please do not reinstate without our input regarding dosage.  Please read:
About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms. -- at least the first page of the topic
You wrote about coping with life without drugs.  We strongly encourage the use of non-drug coping skills.  Please take a look at the links contained in the following link and see which techniques you feel might be helpful to you.
These techniques help to deal with anxiety:


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 (magnesium glycerinate is a good form) 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

Please be careful with the benzo Oxascand (know in the U.S. as  Oxazepam) as well as with the Imovane (known in the U.S. as Zopiclone), as both have strong addictive potential.  You are wise to be very cautious in their use


This is your Introduction topic, where you can ask questions, post updates and connect with other members.  We're glad you found you way here.





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Wow, thank you very much for the reply, great information. I was on 10 mg Brintellix, so not a very high dose. I then cut down to 5 mg and was on that for about a month or two and then just quit. I spoke to my doctor and she said the dose is so low so that I could just quit. I think Brintellix is time released and has an odd shape, would be a bit challenging to cut it I think. It is most definitely the med I tolerated best, I did get hypomania while on them a couple of times. At first I thought it was the medicine kicking in but later understood that it was hypomania. I suffer from RLS, got it while on brintellix. I don't know if it's because of the meds or not, it hasn't gone away since quitting. Well anyway both my depressive state and general anxiety is through the roof at the moment, I'm just hoping it will get better and that this isn't just my original self.


I'm already on magnesium and multivitamins. Trying St. Johns Wort as well but it isn't doing much. I'm a vegetarian so Fish Oil is't an option, maybe I can try some flaxseed oil instead, I know it isn't as potent but maybe worth a try. I've also tried L-Tyrosine but I think it made me even more anxious.


I just hope I will start to feel a bit better soon. I really hope I can cope on my own without any meds and keep working out and doing headspace (meditation). I do have a really supportive girlfriend, don't know what I would do without her. This forum was a great find and actually got me googling ways to cope without meds instead of searching for the next one to try :)

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Hi Pelican, and welcome to SA from me too.


Gridley has given a lot of info. to peruse.

On 8/18/2019 at 5:11 PM, pelican said:

Is it the medicine that has ruined my own chemistry or is this just me without meds?

It is impossible to answer that question but you will never know until you are stable and off meds.

I understand you want to be off drugs, we all do.

Unfortunately your taper was too fast and you are now in withdrawal.

On 8/18/2019 at 6:48 PM, Gridley said:

You're still in the time period where reinstatement predictably works, up to 3 months after last dose.  We usually suggest a much smaller reinstatement dose than your last dose.  Once you've given us the information I requested about your Brintillex taper, we can, if you're interested in reinstatement, suggest a dose.

By reinstating you will give yourself the opportunity to stabilise and then taper correctly at some point.

This way you can get on with your life.

It is important to realise

On 8/18/2019 at 6:48 PM, Gridley said:

You're still in the time period where reinstatement predictably works, up to 3 months after last dose.

After this period reinstatement  is much less predictable.


Many supplements can be activating and worsen symptoms, multivitamins are totally untargeted which is important in W/D


Let us know what you decide.




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On 8/22/2019 at 10:21 AM, pelican said:

Trying St. Johns Wort as well but it isn't doing much


You wrote that your anxiety is through the roof.  St. John's Wort is a noradrenergic, which is why it causes "mania" - like SNRIs.  Generally people with withdrawal syndrome do poorly with anything that is stimulating.  If you have withdrawal anxiety or insomnia, it may make symptoms worse.  Basically we do not recommend taking SJW.  It is technically just another AD with all the associated problems, side effects and WD problems.


How long have you been taking the SJW?  If you've been taking it longer than a month, you'll need to taper off, though it can be a fairly fast taper.  Please let me know if you've been taking it longer than a month and at what dosage, and I can suggest a taper schedule.  




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Hi Pelican, 


Welcome to SA from me too. How have you been doing?💚

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Hi again, after about a month that felt like a constant huge dark wave I finally felt a tiny little window yesterday. Everything felt ok and I was almost feeling normal. Then of course the wave came crashing in on me again this morning but that tiny little window felt really good and got my hopes up a bit.


I wasn't on the St. Johns Wort for very long and have now quit that as well. Only taking multivitamin, magnesium, msm and some b-vitamins now. One thing I've noticed though is that light work out. Like cycling to work or going for 20 minute runs helps a bit with the mood. I feel energized and a bit happier for 1-2 hours afterwards. But really hard work outs, like when I really push myself at the gym for 60 mins really throws me off and I feel horrible for a few days afterwards. I guess lighter workouts is better when going through withdrawal.


One of the toughest things for me is being social and outgoing, without the meds I just don't feel like "myself". Being social just drains me and I feel like a total outcast at work. I know that 95% of this is just in my own anxious mind but I just don't quite feel like I fit in. I do have friends, both at work and outside of it but I just feel a bit out of place I guess. 

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