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Avrgejane

Avrgejane: Amitriptyline withdrawal and switching to cipralex?

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Avrgejane

Hi all,

I’m absolutely Terrified at the moment so please bear  with me. I was started on a low dose of amitriptyline 25 mg for nerve pain that I was having in my teeth. I started having panic attacks almost immediately. My doctor thinking that it was just anxiety continually updated the dose. So from 25 mg I went to 50 mg for two weeks and then 100 mg for three days causing such severe panic attacks that I was having sensory Overload. She immediately took me off and I had a very quick tapering schedule. 50 mg for Three days then  25 mg for three days then 12.5 mg for three days and then I did 6 mg for two days because the anxiety and panic attacks were so severe I couldn’t bear taking it anymore. I’m currently on day 12 of not taking the amitriptyline and withdraw has been nothing short of brutal. Just this week from about day nine I have been having brains zap at night all night That have been causing me to get less than 2 to 3 hours sleep. I am now on day two of having approximately 2 to 3 hours sleep per day. My doctor keeps suggesting that I should take 5 mg of Cipralex to help my brain adjust And To ease the withdrawal symptoms. I seem to have every symptom in the book anxiety panic pounding heart dissociation where I feel like I don’t even belong in my own body or I’m sleepwalking and that things aren’t even real and now more recently the brains zaps difficulty concentrating hot flashes and nausea and insomnia. I can’t keep going on like this although I’m absolutely terrified to start taking the cipralex. I know no one can tell me whether or not I am going to have a reaction or not but I have taken cipralex in the past successfully. And weaned off of it successfully. I just don’t know what to do and I don’t know how long this withdrawal symptoms are going to last and I don’t know how long these brain zaps are going to last but I need some sleep and I needed some reprieve from these terrible symptoms. Any guidance would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

 

Total time on Amitriptyline - 50 days including a 1.5 week very fast taper. 

 

Withdrawal symptoms started immediately. 

 

On day 12 of no amitriptyline. 

Dose was never stable. 12.5 for two days, 25 for 1 week, 50 for two weeks, 100 mg for 3 days, back down to 50 for 3 days, 25 for 3 days, 12.5 for 3 days, 6 for 3 days. 

 

Oh, and I don’t want to start the cipralex but I’m so scared. 

 

Things I’m doing- 

taking supplements and exercising every day. 

 

Thank you in advance. 

Avrgejane 

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Sassenach

Hello     Jane     and welcome to SA.

 

Apologies for the delay.

 

This site is run entirely by volunteer Administrators and Moderators, all have been through or going through withdrawal.

There are no commercial interests or influences  involved .

 

I am sorry you are having such a rough time but you are now in the right place.

 

You are indeed suffering withdrawal because of the constant dose changes.

Doctors and psychs have no knowledge of W/D indeed many deny it exists

On 10/11/2019 at 5:53 PM, Avrgejane said:

Total time on Amitriptyline - 50 days including a 1.5 week very fast taper. 

 

These drugs are extremely powerful and begin making changes to you brain almost immediately.

The good news is you can recover but it will take time.

Please see the links below for info. on what is happening to you.

the-windows-and-waves-pattern-of-stabilization/

the-rule-of-3kis-keep-it-simple-keep-it-slow-keep-it-stable/

On 10/11/2019 at 5:53 PM, Avrgejane said:

Oh, and I don’t want to start the cipralex but I’m so scared. 

I would definitely not do this.

The only known way to mitigate W/D symptoms is to reinstate a very low dose of the drug you were taking, please see,

about-reinstating-and-stabilizing-to-reduce-withdrawal-symptoms/

Many of us see this as a step backwards initially but is safer than continuing as you are, and will be quicker in the long run

Please do not attempt reinstatement without consulting us regarding an appropriate dose.

What supplements are you taking?

 

In the meantime DO NOT MAKE ANY CHANGE TO YOUR CURRENT MEDS please.

Please feel free to browse the site, it is a wealth of info.

Other members threads will give you an insight and the opportunity to share experiences.

 

Again welcome.

 

Sassenach

 

 

 

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Avrgejane

Hi again,

 

Thank you so much for replying! I’ve decided to ride it out and not take the cipralex. I have to trust my gut and this told me something was wrong about taking it. I’m day 16 now and feeling horrible. The last 4 days have been nothing short of hell. The dissociated feeling is by far the most distressing for me. I just want to experience life through the eyes I once had. The ones that would see things and appreciate their real ness and their beauty. I hope that will go away. I just want to heal. 

 

I know reinstatement is recommended but i really can’t because of the reaction. I was non functioning then - as much as I’m non-functioning right now. My doc seems to think “it happens” when trying to figure out a dose to have you all over the place. I feel very violated. I feel like I was being poisoned. I want to recover!

 

I know this is going to be a journey - even though I was on for such a short time. I’m praying that I will start to see improvements soon. I guess overall I have - I think back to my first week and I was in a constant state of panic and anxiety and that now, two weeks lasted has mostly resolved. Although I know sometimes symptoms rear their ugly faces again...

 

During those 4 days of hell I only missed going for a walk one day. I would drag myself up and out of the house. Most of the time it did help to some degree although it’s hard to get up and sometimes even hard walking. And to think, I was only on for less than 2 months! 

 

The supplements I’ve been taking:

Pascoe Neuropas - it’s homeopathic to help with the withdrawal

Magnesium - lots and lots. 400mg 3x per day

Fish Oils/Omega 3 - about 5000mg per day

Vitamin B complex

Gaba - lots of this too. 1200mg 2x per day and then 1800mg at night. 

L-theanine - 1 250mg tab at night. 

 

I drink lots lots and lots of Gatorade. I’m having a very difficult time eating. Any tips on choking down anything? I feel

sick all the time and food is just so not appealing. 

 

Avrgejane

(Not sure how to add a signature)

 

amitriptyline for 50 days, included in that a 1.5 week taper. 

Starting at 12.5, then 25 for a week, 50 for 2 weeks, 100 for 4 days (not three like I originally thought) then immediately down to 50 for 3 days, 25 for 3 days, 12.5 for 3 days, 6 for 2....now I’m off. On day 16 of no amitriptyline. 

 

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Sassenach
31 minutes ago, Avrgejane said:

“it happens” when trying to figure out a dose to have you all over the place

They really do not understand the harm they can cause.

36 minutes ago, Avrgejane said:

I know reinstatement is recommended but i really can’t because of the reaction

Reinstatement can be carried out up to one month after last dose but the sooner the better.

 

On 10/11/2019 at 5:53 PM, Avrgejane said:

I started having panic attacks almost immediately.

This could suggest an adverse reaction.

I would like to ask for input from a senior mod but will need your drug signature/history completed as mods use it as a reference.

It will appear below every post and gives you info. at a glance.

Please use the link below.

 

Please add a signature.  Include drugs, doses, dates, and discontinuations & reinstatements in the last 12-24 months. 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 use actual dates or approximate dates (mid-June, Late October) rather than relative time frames (last week, 3 months ago) 
  • Spell out months, e.g. "October" or "Oct."; 9/1/2016 can be interpreted as Jan. 9, 2016 or Sept. 1, 2016. 
  • 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.

 

If you have any problems please get back to me.

As soon as the signature is complete I will be notified.

 

In the meantime DO NOT MAKE ANY CHANGE TO YOUR CURRENT MEDS please.

Please feel free to browse the site, it is a wealth of info.

Other members threads will give you an insight and the opportunity to share experiences.

 

 

Sassenach

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Sassenach
51 minutes ago, Avrgejane said:

Any tips on choking down anything? I feel

sick all the time and food is just so not appealing. 

Unfortunately normal W/D symptom.

Keeping hydrated is most important, just eat small amounts more often if you can.

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Avrgejane

Thank you, I’ve updated my signature. I would love any feedback to help me along. 

 

I cannot go back on though - I agree - I think (and so does my doctor) that I cannot take amitriptyline because of a paradoxical reaction. I started having panic attacks as soon as I started it and she kept upping it thinking it was “my” panic - when clearly it wasn’t. 

 

I guess the somewhat good news is I have been experiencing windows and waves all along, however the last wave (October 11-14) was by far the worst one I’ve had since stopping the medication on September 30th. 

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Avrgejane

Oh I should also mention, I’m trying everything to help myself heal. In addition to getting up (I refuse to stay in bed) I do laundry, things around the house, I walk every day, even if I feel like garbage and I’ve recently started doing some colouring. 

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composter

My goodness Arvgejane....it absolutely breaks my heart to read what you have gone through and are still going through. I was/am on the same drug, although I had intense anxiety and panic at 25 mg so I asked my doctor (neurologist) to put me on 10 mg instead. I can’t understand at all why your doctor kept increasing the dose,  that is simply irresponsible. My history on the drug is different than yours, though. I was on 10 mg for 3 months, tapered too quickly, and then reinstated at 10 mg and stabilized after 8 more months. It was a rough road, but the resources on this site were immensely helpful in my self-education about all this. The mods have lots of experience to guide others.

 

To answer your questions on suggestions for what to eat when you have no appetite: I had the same issues during the worst of it. Above all, listen to your body and to what you might be craving. I found that the only foods I could eat during the periods of zero appetite were: 

  • soft foods like applesauce, coconut yogurt, bananas, papayas
  • liquids like coconut water, smoothies, broth, and 100% juice
  • And simple foods like sweet potatoes, grilled fish, hard boiled eggs

Perhaps some of these foods resonate with you. Take care. Listen to your body above all else.

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Sassenach

Hi Jane

 

"started at 12.5mg for a week, then 25mg for a week (panic attacks),"

Did the the adverse reaction start within a couple of days of starting the drug @12.5mgs, or when you increased to 25mgs?

The boss will want to know that when I ask later today.

Could you also list your symptoms today and whether they are still increasing.

 

Sassenach

 

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Avrgejane

Hi there,

 

No not on the 12.5, only on the 25mg. Then she kept increasing it because she was thinking it was my anxiety, nothing caused by the medication. 

 

Have been vicious - the first week I was off I was having severe dissociation and panic, this anxiety feeling in my stomach all the time. The fluttery feeling in my stomach was so bad at one point I puked. I also had sensory overload one time this week. 

 

Starting into the second week, sensory stuff was still happening but not as bad. Sometimes I seemed to be sensitive to it - Iike lights, sounds and movement would bring on the panic feeling. It wasn’t as intense as the week before. I was generally feeling “ok” because the anxiety in the stomach had decreased by the second week but the nausea set in and the lack of appetite. I was very tired a lot (I work from home) so one day went to take a nap and started with the zaps when I was going to sleep. I was terrified to sleep so was averaging about 2-4 hours of sleep per night. I decided to stop the gravol, the benedryl and the occasional Ativan completely - I would only take it say on average 2 times per week when the anxiety was bad. I decided to kick it because I though there might have been the potential that it was making things worse. The depersonalization was still there, although not as bad durning panic moments. Ringing in my ears started too and this pressure/burning on my scalp. After quitting the Ativan et al, I only relied on the supplements to help sleep and relaxation plus some deep breathing. Overall my sleep has started to improve a little. Anxiety in the stomach is still lower than it was - I think there is still a lot of anxiety around getting better and how long that will take. 

 

Week three was this weekend - boom! Terrible wave. Headache, feeling so so so sick, loud noises were painful, light was painful no appetite at all. Nausea, zaps, depersonalization (but I do get some short windows of it improving), still scared to sleep at this point and operating in very little sleep. Four solid days of this, although the sleep was improving because I basically said eff you to the zaps and regardless of being awoke I would try to relax myself back into sleep. 

 

And that leads us to yesterday. I started out feeling very sick and very low mood (which was a first since I was never depressed in the first place) still general malaise but about 3 hours after I got up it began to get better. I did have some weird light burning around my mouth? And of course still the mild burning and pressure in my scalp. 

 

Now i do have to note that during that pretty nasty wave of symptoms, it was only days 12-15 of being off the drug completely. Yesterday was day 16 and today is 17. I have not been laying in bed, I’ve been getting up and doing things and actually working from home. I’m off this week so I am hoping to really move the recovery needle. 

 

I do also need to add that during the the wave, it was Canadian thanksgiving and we had 6 people over, my parents were here too so I think that possibly/unconsciously may have been contributing plus I started my cycle on the weekend too. 

 

I, just like every single person here, just want to get better and back to normal. I don’t want this to drag out for months although I know I have little control over how my body heals. I am trying to be as proactive as possible though. 

 

Thanks for all your support and responding. It’s been very stressful. 

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Avrgejane

@composter

 

thank you so much for your reply. I’m trying very hard to heal - it’s been a short but very stressful ride with all of this and I’m really looking forward to getting back on my feet and moving forward. I’ve literally been forcing myself to eat and it’s really hard. Trying small pieces of bread, I seem to be ok with fruits and smoothies, broth is somewhat ok. This will pass right? Proper nutrition is so critical in the healing process. 

 

Any other suggestions for healing? I tell myself every single day that I am going to get better and it’s not going to be a long drawn out thing, I walk, I colour, I try to keep busy...socializing is still hard because of the sensory stuff. The depersonalization is very difficult for me. As is the sensory overload. 

 

I did have a major major panic attack when I was on the 100mg which was terrible - I felt like an autistic kid and that I was very highly depersonalized and very incredibly overwhelmed with everything - the air on my skin, the movement, the sights, lights, sounds...my poor brain. I have yet to go back to public transportation there since. I don’t want to have PTSD or agoraphobia! I’ve never had that before! I can still drive when I’m not feeling super depersonalized and sensitized and have gone into stores and whatnot. Not to say that it doesn’t cross my mind of the “what if’s”. It’s so scary to not be in control. Of all of this! 

 

Im trying so hard to stay grounded and positive and know that it will get better. Right? 

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Sassenach

Hi Jane

2 hours ago, Avrgejane said:

No not on the 12.5, only on the 25mg. Then she kept increasing it because she was thinking it was my anxiety, nothing caused by the medication. 

This may mean that you are sensitive to the drug but it was only at the increased dose that you got an adverse reaction.

If reinstatement becomes necessary it does mean a low dose may not cause a reaction as any recommended dose would be well below 12.5mgs.

2 hours ago, Avrgejane said:

l Ativan completely - I would only take it say on average 2 times per week

Ativan is a Benzo and taking it it intermittently is not a good idea.

You will have experienced interdose withdrawal because of this

2 hours ago, Avrgejane said:

I do also need to add that during the the wave, it was Canadian thanksgiving and we had 6 people over, my parents were here too so I think that possibly/unconsciously may have been contributing plus I started my cycle on the weekend too. 

 

All of the above will cause an uptick in symptoms.

2 hours ago, Avrgejane said:

Trying small pieces of bread, I seem to be ok with fruits and smoothies, broth is somewhat ok. This will pass right?

It will pass and is "normal" in W/D. All the symptoms are transitory but may come and go several times during recovery.

 

We only recommend fish oil and Magesium on here.

Please ensure you are not taking more than the recommended daily dose of any supplements.

 

On 10/15/2019 at 5:38 PM, Avrgejane said:

Gaba - lots of this too. 1200mg 2x per day and then 1800mg at night. 

L-theanine - 1 250mg tab at night. 

Both of these have a sedating effect for sleep however when you take too much of these substances it can create a parodoxical reaction.

They try to over sedate your CNS so it fights back and keeps you awake.

2 hours ago, Avrgejane said:

I don’t want to have PTSD or agoraphobia!

You won't, but you cannot control how long it will take.

You can and will get better.

 

I would normally be advising reinstatment but this site is about harm reduction, and you seem to be moving through the symptom range quickly.

You are also doing all the right things to help yourself, something you should be proud of. It is not easy.

I suggest you continue as you are if the symptoms are bearable and transient.

If they increase in intensity please advise me.

The ideal reinstatement window is still two weeks away so there is time to act if necessary.

 

I believe you only started taking  Pascoe Neuropas after ceasing Amitripyline.

If reinstatement becomes necessary we need to remember the report below.

 

 

Using amitriptyline together with St. John's wort can increase the risk of a rare but serious condition called the serotonin syndrome, which may include symptoms such as confusion, hallucination, seizure, extreme changes in blood pressure, increased heart rate, fever, excessive sweating, shivering or shaking, blurred vision, muscle spasm or stiffness, tremor, incoordination, stomach cramp, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Severe cases may result in coma and even death. You should seek immediate medical attention if you experience these symptoms while taking the medications. Talk to your doctor if you have any questions or concerns. Your doctor may already be aware of the risks, but has determined that this is the best course of treatment for you and has taken appropriate precautions and is monitoring you closely for any potential complications. It is important to tell your doctor about all other medications you use, including vitamins and herbs. Do not stop using any medications without first talking to your doctor.

 

Finally could you please include all your supplements in your drug signature and also your Ativan use.

 

How are you feeling today?

 

Sassenach

 

 

Edited by Sassenach
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Avrgejane

Hi there, 

 

Aside from a little tired, I have some minor scalp stuff happening (I honestly think they are related to the zaps), some dizziness - like delayed when I turn my head - and some of the depersonalized perceptions and feelings. Noises are still a little loud but not as bad as the weekend. Between about 1pm yesterday and today I feel significantly better. Praying this keeps up. 

 

I think that because the zaps started and i was a nervous disaster averaging 2 hours sleep that might have had adverse reactions on my symptoms this past weekend. 

 

I am learning a whole bunch of new things through this process - one is that I’m a fighter - I never thought I was but I have been so hellbent on not letting this take me over and trying to think positively. I will do everything and anything to get better. And two is day by day. That’s a hard one. Because there is this deep hope that I wake up one morning and I’m cured! The perfectionist in me is really wanting this. So this is also a lesson in being kind and compassionate to myself. 

 

For two two weeks I was having waves and windows right from the beginning. Some days were almost full windows which was good - with symptoms kind of like I was mentioning today. The weekend was the worst wave I’ve had. I guess that is normal and to be expected. 

 

I have completely ceased all medications. Like zero. Only supplements. And yes you are correct, I started the Neuropas about a full week after my very last dose of the amitriptyline. 

 

Im trying very hard not to be my own worst enemy in this process. I read a lot of posts here and there are a lot of people panicking. That sends me into a bit of a tailspin of “omg what if I never get better” and “I only took this for just over a month and a half...what if I am one of those people who doesn’t recover for like a year”. I have to reserve a lot of my reading to my own interactions and my own story. Yes the dose was messed with huge, but the fact I took it for a short period works in my favour, as does the fact that I’m moving through symptoms quickly. That’s not to say they haven’t been intense. Omg have they been intense! And there are new ones that crop up too...like this around the mouth burning thing and the vibratey feels under my skin. I know they will pass. I just need talking off the ledge sometimes because this is a very scary time. 

 

Also, memory...my short term memory is shot. I’m assuming this is a side effect and it will resolve in time? 

 

I have to say, I’m trying not to be angry with my doctor because I know that she was going on what she learned, but I am quite upset. @composter mentioned that it was irresponsible. I agree. It was. She should have known that someone who has never experienced depression should not have been prescribed a starting dose for depression. No wonder my poor brain freaked out. 

 

I cannot tell you how much i appreciate you speaking with me. It gives me a lot of hope that I’m doing the right things and moving in the right direction. It’s nice to have an outside perspective too to show you that you ARE healing and making progress. Thank you for that. 

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Altostrata

Welcome, Av.

 

Since it seems you had an immediate adverse reaction to amitriptyline, which continued for 50 days while you were taking it, it's hard to tell if you are recovering from destabilization from the adverse reaction or destabilization from too-fast tapering.

 

How do you feel shortly after taking the B vitamins? If they feel activating, you might stop them for the time being.

 

If your symptoms are starting to go away, you may recover without reinstatement. If they get worse, you might want to try reinstatement of perhaps 1mg amitriptyline. This topic explains how to make a liquid to take a small amount Tips for tapering off amitriptyline

 

What is your sleep pattern now?

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Avrgejane

Hi there,

 

I may try to go without the B vitamins and see? I’m not too sure. I’ll stop taking them tomorrow and see how I feel. It’s worth a shot. 

 

As for the symptoms, they were slooooooowly feeling like they were moving in the right direction until Friday which sent me into a 4 day wave. It was terribly difficult. It was literally at the end of the two week period I was off and I had never had a wave like that before. I thought I was dying. Plus I was operating on literally no sleep because I was terrified of the brain zaps at night. They are still happening but I feel I’m more prepared to deal with them now and perhaps the supplements I’m taking are helping. Who knows. It’s hard to tell with these things. 

 

After yesterday morning, which was definitely an improvement from the three days before (Sunday being the worst) I have been feeling better. Not 100% but definitely better. I’ve eaten more today than I have since last Thursday. 

 

I too am unsure as to what was happening - whether it was related to the craziness with the dosing, or the quick taper or just the reaction to the drug. Tomorrow is day 18 and I would not say they are getting worse per se, I would have however told you differently after the very difficult 4 days on the weekend. 

 

Is there something specific I should be looking out for? It does seem like new symptoms do crop up - I feel like I’ve had every symptom out there. Some symptoms have resolved more or less - like the flutters of anxiety in the stomach (I do get them still but they aren’t consistent and are much much less than even a week ago), the pounding heart (which also does still happen periodically but it’s not 24/7 like it was the first week- week and a half). I do still get anxiety - but I think a lot of it is my anxiety around the future and what will happen, how long I will feel like this, etc. 

 

Thanks so so much for replying 

 

 

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Avrgejane

Oh sleep pattern! Sorry I didn’t answer this. I still get zaps at night but have been getting some sleep (knock on wood). I have been taking Gaba and L-theanine too so that may be helping. Other than that, no more gravol, benedryl or Ativan. It’s been a week since I’ve taken any of those. And I was taking them on really bad nights only. From what I understand too even that could have contributed to some symptoms. So I have stopped all drugs so to speak and I’m just taking supplements. I don’t want to jinx my sleep!! 

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Sassenach

Hi Jane

 

How are you feeling today?

Alto is the site founder and a leading expert on A/D W/D.

If you are taking the maximum dose of vitamin B complex it may be better to reduce it over several days rather than just stop.

Keep in touch so we can monitor the changes and ensure you keep moving in the right direction.

You are doing all the right things to help your recovery.

 

Sass

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Avrgejane

Hi there,

 

Having a bit of a symptom day. It seems like the pattern is every second day I get symptoms. I feel like they aren’t as bad as what they were on weekend. They are very tired, weak, nausea, dizzy and still some depersonalization detached kind of feelings that’s I’m not “all there” and things aren’t 100% real (I don’t know if that makes sense). Noises are still quite loud. I still also have the ear ringing. But overall, not even close to being as intense as the weekend. No zaps last night while sleeping too! They seem to come every second or so day too. 

 

I started a meditation last night for healing and some positive affirmations. I am on vacation from work this week so I’m planning on taking a walk and perhaps colouring and playing some word games. I have read that there are lots of things you can do to help the neuroplasticity to help heal. Colouring and word games, plus doing things like brushing your teeth with the opposite hand, etc. I’m trying all of those. 

 

I am not sure if I can split the B complex as it is in a capsule. I didn’t take it today. Should I try splitting it in half? 

 

Ive been eating a tiny bit more plus taking some protein shakes. 

 

Thanks for all of your support. I know this is a lot of work to do - the Body will heal but there are things I want to do to move it along. If you have any other suggestions I would total be open to that! 

 

AJ

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Avrgejane

@Altostrata

@Sassenach

@composter

 

Any suggestions for dealing with the derealization/depersonalization? It’s by far my most distressing symptom. I did not have this before the ami or on it, seems like it’s a very pronounced withdrawal symptom for me. This is a withdrawal symptom right? :S 

 

Thanks so much in advance. 

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Altostrata

Gradual improvement with frustrating setbacks is what we expect from The Windows and Waves Pattern of Stabilization  So in that respect, your condition seems to be "normal."

 

Derealization/depersonalization is a very common after-effect of taking psychiatric drugs. It also will very gradually dissipate. Just do the best you can in the meantime and help your body recover in small ways. Get at least a half-hour of gentle exercise, such as walking, every day. Keep regular hours, go to sleep at the same time every night.

 

Here are some tips for sleep. Be sure to keep your bedroom cool and very dark with blackout shades and curtains. A sleep mask to block out the sunrise can keep you sleeping later in the morning.

 

Tips to help sleep -- so many of us have that awful withdrawal insomnia

 

Path to Better Sleep FREE online for everyone from the US Veterans Administration

 

Music for self-care: Calms hyperalertness, anxiety, aids relaxation and sleep

 

What is the sleep cycle?

 

Melatonin for sleep: Many people find it helpful

 

TV or computer use in evening can disrupt sleep: Bright light signals the brain that it's daytime


Waking with panic or anxiety -- managing cortisol spikes

 

White noise devices for sleep

 

A lot of people find fish oil and magnesium supplements helpful, see
https://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/36-king-of-supplements-omega-3-fatty-acids-fish-oil/
https://survivingantidepressants.org/topic/15483-magnesium-natures-calcium-channel-blocker/

 

Try a little bit of one at a time to see how it affects you.

 

If your symptoms definitely get worse over the next week or so, you might consider a very low reinstatement

 

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Avrgejane

@Altostrata

 

Thank you so very much for the links - especially the music links. Music is a hugely important thing for me and very impactful - even aside from this experience. I’m a very “present” person so music affects me from top to bottom - it’s a very spiritual thing for me so I truly do love that you have shared this. Thank you. 

 

That being said, you can see how the derealization and depersonalization is distressing! This is primarily why I haven’t been back to yoga yet because I think it would cause me dreadful anxiety not being able to connect at that level. 

 

Speaking of music, have you heard of any help with brain healing and playing music? I may start playing again (at low volume because of the sensitive hearing atm). 

 

Im very grateful for you and everyone in this group. Thank you for all of your support and compassion. I find it kind of sad though that there is so little education and support for this in the medical community. 😕

 

AJ

 

 

 

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Avrgejane

@Altostrata

@Sassenach

 

So my doctor is really trying to convince me to go on the cipralex. I’ve been reaching out to her for support on the withdrawal (especially the derealization and depersonalization) and she is telling me the neurotransmitters might not go back to normal. That’s not true, right? They will as my brain recovers right? AJ

 

 

 

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Altostrata

Your doctor does not know one bean about psychiatric drug withdrawal. Neurotransmitters are irrelevant.

 

Many people here find the derealization and depersonalization -- and emotional anesthesia -- to be very distressing, but they do gradually go away.

 

On 10/16/2019 at 3:28 PM, Altostrata said:

If they get worse, you might want to try reinstatement of perhaps 1mg amitriptyline. This topic explains how to make a liquid to take a small amount Tips for tapering off amitriptyline

 

If reinstatement seems called for, our general policy is hair of the dog that bit you, not another drug.

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Avrgejane

@Altostrata ok thank god. I can’t believe she just told me that. Scared the crap out of me! Basically alluding to the fact that I have no other choice of taking another medication if I want the withdrawal symptoms to go away. And she also seems to think the fact that I’m 19 days in means I’m having a very rough withdrawal (which yes, in my mind I am). She seems to think that everything should be resolved in two weeks. 

 

I hate the derealization and depersonalization. By far the worst symptom I’ve had. I am glad to hear that it goes away gradually. 

 

I did have insomnia last night too. It’s like I would start to drift and my brain would be like “no we need to stay awake”. It was like this too when I started getting the zaps but that was anxiety driven. I was so scared to sleep. Now last night I wanted to sleep but my brain was like no way. Maybe tonight I’ll try the melatonin. Plus my husband comes home late and wants to talk after work (usually after 12) so that is also disruptive. Tonight I’m sleeping in another bedroom so he doesn’t wake me, or disrupt me. After about 5 days of sleeping through the night - bam! This happens. 

 

AJ

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Altostrata
8 minutes ago, Avrgejane said:

Basically alluding to the fact that I have no other choice of taking another medication if I want the withdrawal symptoms to go away. And she also seems to think the fact that I’m 19 days in means I’m having a very rough withdrawal (which yes, in my mind I am). She seems to think that everything should be resolved in two weeks. 

 

That is a compendium of all the misinformation doctors tell patients about withdrawal.

 

Yes, you will have occasional withdrawal insomnia. That is "normal" for withdrawal syndrome. Try to stay calm throughout the process, it may take some weeks before you see significant changes.

 

A lot of people find fish oil and magnesium supplements helpful, see
https://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/36-king-of-supplements-omega-3-fatty-acids-fish-oil/
https://survivingantidepressants.org/topic/15483-magnesium-natures-calcium-channel-blocker/

 

Try a little bit of one at a time to see how it affects you.

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Sassenach

Think about it Jane.

Who got you into this mess, why would you trust them to be right now.

Alto is the best.

Listen to her.

 

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Avrgejane

@Sassenach

@Altostrata

 

see this his is precisely why I’ve come here! You guys have been soooooo helpful and hopeful. I know coming here for information from people who have gone through this is way more credible to me. You are totally right - I don’t trust her right now. And yes, I know she is a doctor and knows things but honestly this (in my opinion) whole situation was such a big eff up. It’s still beyond me why if I was getting numerous panic attacks why to up the meds to the point it made my brain freak out so badly. 

 

Another thing she recommended to me today was to drink wine and coffee. Coffee would help me focus and function during the day and wine would help me relax. I was like nooooooo - I’ll reintroduce those when I’m fully feeling better but not a chance right now. The last time I drank wine I felt like crap for 3 days after. 

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Sassenach

Hi Jane

 

How are you feeling today?

20 hours ago, Avrgejane said:

Another thing she recommended to me today was to drink wine and coffee

Frankly that is bordering on the irresponsible, you would be better stay away from her advice on W/D.

I would consider changing doctors, because the above belies basic commonsense.

 

22 hours ago, Avrgejane said:

Plus my husband comes home late and wants to talk after work (usually after 12) so that is also disruptive. Tonight I’m sleeping in another bedroom so he doesn’t wake me, or disrupt me.

Good sleep hygiene is essential to recovery as this when the brain does most of it's repair work.

All blue screen devices off one hour before bed, a hot bath if possible, regular bedtime and a fully blacked out room.

See Alto's links above.

Re-establish your circadian rhythm so natural serotonin and cortisol help you go to sleep and wake in the morning, effectively retraining your body.

 

Sass

 

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Avrgejane

Hi @Sassenach,

 

I fully agree. I think it is not responsible at all either. I don’t think that it is impossible to enjoy these things again but right now, absolutely not! Have you been able to enjoy wine and coffee again? 

 

I am ok today - still have symptoms but was a little more clear today re: derealization and depersonalization. It didn’t seem as pronounced as it did Thursday. I’m still working very hard to keep my chin up. I went to a reiki session today and when I left I think my brain was “shocked” - the light and sights were very overwhelming after coming from a relaxed state to one where I had to drive (oh and that’s something I decided to chance today too since I’ve been scared to drive because of the depersonalization, derealization and the feeling of being cognitively impaired.) I had to sit in the car for a good 10 minutes after and kind of not let my mind get away from me. I immediately started reading an email and turned on the radio very low to try and get my brain into a place where it wasn’t to “oh my god”. Does that make sense? It was kind of like the way that I feel in the mornings on steroids. 

 

That being said, symptoms are typically worse in mornings because of high cortisol, correct? Are there ways to lower this or will things eventually simmer down as the withdrawal symptoms let up? I know I ask a lot of questions. This is all very new to me - who would have thought 40 days on meds and a 10 day taper would just turn things upside down the way they have! 

 

I did take melatonin last night and it definitely helped. I’m starting the veteran program and going to really work towards better sleep habits. 

 

Thank you so much for checking in. You are both (you and @Altostrata) have given me so my support and hope for recovery. I can’t tell you how grateful I am. This is very very hard work. 

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Avrgejane

I don’t know what to do about this insomnia. It’s really bad. Like 1 hour max sleep. I even take the melatonin. I started the CBT-I course too. 

 

Im assuming this is ami related? 

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Gridley
1 hour ago, Avrgejane said:

Im assuming this is ami related? 

 

Insomnia is one of the most common withdrawal symptoms. Almost all of us have to deal with it.

 

Here are some links that I hope will help:

 

Tips to help sleep - so many of us have that awful withdrawal insomnia
 
 
Trick and tips to fall asleep faster
 
This link contains helpful information, including insomnia and also non-drug coping skills.  
 
   
Melatonin for sleep   It's best to start at a very low dosage, such as .25mg, and gradually increase if needed to the lowest effective dose.  
l

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Avrgejane

Thank you. Yes I’ve been to these and I actually am doing the sleep diary with the CBT-i. Is this a long lasting symptom for most? Before ami I never had issues with sleeping at all. Maybe occasionally but nothing like this. Melatonin didn’t seem to help last night unfortunately. I’m wondering what else I can do or if I just have to wait this out. Is there a light at the end of the tunnel? 

 

I even did everything I was supposed to. I went to bed earlier, no blue screen for like an hour before, I took the melatonin...I’m just at a loss and certainly don’t want to take any more meds. 

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Altostrata

Keep working at it, sleep will get better, little by little.

 

Be sure to get at least a half-hour of gentle exercise, such as walking, every day.

 

Are you light-sensitive? This is also common in withdrawal syndrome. If so, you might find wearing tinted glasses even indoors will help your nervous system settle down. Some people use amber glasses when working at the computer.

 

Increased sensitivity to light, noise, sound, exercise etc

 

Light-sensitive? Try blocking out blue light

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Sassenach

Hi Jane

 

15 hours ago, Avrgejane said:

I went to a reiki session today and when I left I think my brain was “shocked” - the light and sights were very overwhelming after coming from a relaxed state to one where I had to drive

These sorts of alternative therapies are not a good idea while in W/D.

Gentle yoga is a much better alternative " legs up the wall " seems to help members on here.

You are doing well but an important part of W/D recovery is accepting our symptoms and refusing to let them wind us up.

 

Brassmonkey said

 

AAF: Acknowledge, Accept, Float.  It's what you have to do when nothing else works, and can be a very powerful tool in coping with anxiety.  The neuroemotional anxiety many of us feel during WD is directly caused by the drugs and their chemical reactions in the brain.  Making it so there is nothing we can do about them.  They won't respond to other drugs, relaxation techniques and the like.  They do, however, react very well to being ignored.  That's the concept behind AAF.  Acknowledge, get to know the feeling involved, explore them.  Accept, These feelings are a part of you and they aren't going anywhere fast. Float, let the feeling float off as you get on with your life as best as you can.  It's a well documented fact that the more you feed in to anxiety the worse it gets.  What starts as generalized neuroemotinal anxiety can be easily blown into a full fledged panic attack just by thinking about it.

 

I often liken it to an unwanted house guest.  At first you talk to them, have conversations, communicate with them.  After a while you figure out that they aren't leaving and there is nothing you can do to get rid of them.  So you go on about your day, working around them until they get bored and leave.

 

It can take some practice, but AAF really does work.  I hope you give it a try.

 

It is important to be positive but we cannot rush it along, that ends in frustration.

15 hours ago, Avrgejane said:

I did take melatonin last night and it definitely helped

 

1 hour ago, Avrgejane said:

Melatonin didn’t seem to help last nigh

Which day did you have the reiki session?

How much melotonin are you taking?

Are you still taking the B vitamins, if so at what dose?

 

Sassenach

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Avrgejane

@Sassenach

 

I will start the legs up the wall tonight. It’s such a challenge to ignore the symptoms. I’m working so very hard at it. 

 

I had the reiki yesterday afternoon. Maybe it was too much? I really really don’t want to resort to any kind of drugs per se to help me sleep. I was taking gravol and benedryl and Ativan periodically through the withdrawal and at the end of my time taking the ami because of the anxiety. I’m assuming this will be having an impact on my sleep too. I honestly don’t even find that the mediations work either because it’s almost like if I don’t feel calm, it stresses me out! I’ll try the legs up the wall tonight. I’m not napping or trying to sleep during the day either because I don’t want to risk not sleeping. Even though I maybe got an hour last night....

 

I’m cutting a 3mg sublingual melatonin in half and then half again. I also purchased a sleep mask. 

Oh sorry - vitamin B. I stopped taking it today. Just in case. 

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Avrgejane
25 minutes ago, Altostrata said:

Keep working at it, sleep will get better, little by little.

 

Be sure to get at least a half-hour of gentle exercise, such as walking, every day.

 

Are you light-sensitive? This is also common in withdrawal syndrome. If so, you might find wearing tinted glasses even indoors will help your nervous system settle down. Some people use amber glasses when working at the computer.

 

Increased sensitivity to light, noise, sound, exercise etc

 

Light-sensitive? Try blocking out blue light

Oh boy yes - light and sound and movement. Not as bad as it was last week and the week before but I still am for sure, yes. 

 

I think the fact that that I was intermittently taking Ativan and gravol and benedryl at the beginning of the withdrawal also had some impact on the sleep. It’s just starting like this now though :( I really do hope it gets better. I do not want to take anything for it as torturous as it is. The sleep piece is so important. I just want to heal naturally but sometimes lose faith that I can. 

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