Jump to content
Venomyth

Venomyth: tapering off of antipsychotics/Geodon

Recommended Posts

Venomyth

Hello everyone! I've always been a lurker around this forum but I never really posted anything. I might as well post my journey getting off of my meds in hopes that it may help someone out there and for myself to look back at.

 

I've been on Geodon since February of 2019, but I started taking psychiatric medication since 2014, on and off. I started with antidepressants and because that didn't work well for me, I tapered myself off of them. I had brain zaps for a few weeks and rebound depression. I suffered through my moods for 2 years. I became so depressed that I started having suicidal thoughts and unfortunately had a suicide attempt. I went to the mental hospital and was diagnosed with bipolar. I was given anti-psychotics and have been taking them on and off. Both times I have tried getting off anti-psychotics I went through flu-like symptoms, insomnia, and psychosis. I was told that the psychosis was from my bipolar disorder, but before I was given anti-psychotics I had never had any sort of psychosis or even mania (I had depression that was situational and due to being a recluse and being bullied in high school). I strongly believe that the psychosis is a withdrawal symptom and I assume (not a doctor by any means) that it is due to dopamine hypersensitivity that is caused by long term use of anti-psychotics.

 

Why might the third time I get off anti-psychotics be different than the first two times? Well, third times the charm, right? I have done my research this time and will slowly wean myself off Geodon. I have insight in when I am feeling mentally unwell and have developed coping strategies. I have a wonderful SO who is supportive of my decision. I also have this forum where I will reside in if I need the help! I will also be checking up with my psychiatrist as well.

 

I have been slowly weaning myself off of Geodon since August of 2019. I went down from 40 mg in the morning and night to just 20 mg at night. I didn't feel much withdrawal from 40 mg 2x a day to 20 mg 2x a day, but ever since I made the drop from 20 mg 2x a day to 20 mg at night, I have had flu-like symptoms and dizziness. The flu-like symptoms have subsided after 2-3 days but the dizziness has intensified. Usually when I am walking I will randomly have a feeling that my body is dropping. My brain and body will feel like its shaking and I feel that I may faint. Usually it subsides if I sit down somewhere. It has only been about 5 days since I made the drop to 20 mg at night so I'm hoping I will feel better if I wait for a month or two.

 

Mentally, I feel okay. Actually, better than I did when I was on more medication. My thoughts aren't racing as fast and my mind is more clear. I am not suicidal/depressed and not over the top in my mood or energy. I feel a bit dulled down which I assume is from still taking a nightly dose of Geodon. Also, I am not experiencing insomnia and sleeping a good 8 hours or so.

 

I will make sure to post more of my journey coming off of anti-psychotics/Geodon.

Share this post


Link to post
Venomyth

Update 1:

 

Dizziness has lessened. No more flu-like symptoms. It's been harder for me to get out of bed and I've been feeling overall tired (but not as lethargic and sleepy as when I was on my morning dose of Geodon). I rollerbladed for the first time in a long while so that seems like a good sign. I feel more emotions now that I'm taking a lesser dose of anti-psychotics. I feel more love for my SO when before I couldn't really feel that sort of intimate connection. I don't feel a crazy difference going down from 20 mg 2x a day to 20 mg a night but I do feel more "human" if that makes sense. I don't feel as drugged. Hopefully it only goes up from here.

Share this post


Link to post
Altostrata

Welcome, Venomyth.

 

Good to hear you're feeling better from that big Geodon reduction. What you might want to do is stay at this dosage schedule for at least a month to let your system acccomodate before gradually reducing further. The first cut is usually the easiest. See

 

Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

Why taper? SERT transporter occupancy studies show importance of gradual change in plasma concentration

 

Tips for tapering off ziprasidone (Geodon, Zeldox)

Share this post


Link to post
Venomyth

Thank you for the response Altostrata. The links you sent are very useful.

 

Update 2:

 

I think I am going to go back to 20 mg 2x a day for now. I've been feeling uneasy and feelings of paranoia have intensified today. I'm not going to go into detail but I think it's best for me to reduce my dose much more slowly. I'm going to try to go to a compounding pharmacy and get custom doses. 

Share this post


Link to post
PoetJester

Hi Venomyth

 

I have had similar reactions to coming off of anti-psychotics.  In the past I had the same situational depression that would usually occur during winters or else if i was out of work, that would resolve itself in the spring or when i found employment, but after starting anti-psychotics and then stopping them i would have manic episodes, too.   My sleep would get totally messed-up, either where i was sleeping alternate days (one day where i would sleep 8 hours, the next day no sleep) or else severe sleep deprivation which are both obviousl not great for one's mental health.    Part of my mania, was a reaction against having to take meds in the first place which had severely compromised my health.

 

I think part of it is like the analogy of a spring- where anti-psychotic meds compress the spring due to constraining the human spirit and dampening brain chemistry and then when you stop the drugs, it's like the spring is released.  That's the metaphor i came up with to describe my experience with these meds.

 

I'm almost six years now into my third attempt to stop an anti-psychotic med (it was always Zyprexa for me) and have found that finding hobbies or work interests help a lot in coping.   For four years now, i have been running my own small business selling used golf balls.  I bike out to nearby golf courses several times a week and hunt balls (i call them "chokeberries" from golfers choking on their shots. lol) and then bring them home and wash them and post ads on Craigslist or Facebook garage sales.

 

I didn't have a significant other or really much social support when i would quit the meds (after years on the drugs, i had basically become a recluse, since the drugs made working or having a social life nearly impossible due to how tired and how much i slept on them) so i just had to do the best i could.  Hopefully having support wll make it easier for you, because quitting these meds and dealing with withdrawal side effects is not fun.  

 

Poetjester (Derek)

Share this post


Link to post
Altostrata
10 hours ago, Venomyth said:

Thank you for the response Altostrata. The links you sent are very useful.

 

Update 2:

 

I think I am going to go back to 20 mg 2x a day for now. I've been feeling uneasy and feelings of paranoia have intensified today. I'm not going to go into detail but I think it's best for me to reduce my dose much more slowly. I'm going to try to go to a compounding pharmacy and get custom doses. 

 

Yes, you'll want to use intermediary dosages to gradually taper off. Decreases of 50% are too big.

Share this post


Link to post
Venomyth
On 11/3/2019 at 9:39 AM, PoetJester said:

Hi Venomyth

 

I have had similar reactions to coming off of anti-psychotics.  In the past I had the same situational depression that would usually occur during winters or else if i was out of work, that would resolve itself in the spring or when i found employment, but after starting anti-psychotics and then stopping them i would have manic episodes, too.   My sleep would get totally messed-up, either where i was sleeping alternate days (one day where i would sleep 8 hours, the next day no sleep) or else severe sleep deprivation which are both obviousl not great for one's mental health.    Part of my mania, was a reaction against having to take meds in the first place which had severely compromised my health.

 

I think part of it is like the analogy of a spring- where anti-psychotic meds compress the spring due to constraining the human spirit and dampening brain chemistry and then when you stop the drugs, it's like the spring is released.  That's the metaphor i came up with to describe my experience with these meds.

 

I'm almost six years now into my third attempt to stop an anti-psychotic med (it was always Zyprexa for me) and have found that finding hobbies or work interests help a lot in coping.   For four years now, i have been running my own small business selling used golf balls.  I bike out to nearby golf courses several times a week and hunt balls (i call them "chokeberries" from golfers choking on their shots. lol) and then bring them home and wash them and post ads on Craigslist or Facebook garage sales.

 

I didn't have a significant other or really much social support when i would quit the meds (after years on the drugs, i had basically become a recluse, since the drugs made working or having a social life nearly impossible due to how tired and how much i slept on them) so i just had to do the best i could.  Hopefully having support wll make it easier for you, because quitting these meds and dealing with withdrawal side effects is not fun.  

 

Poetjester (Derek)

 

Hello Derek, it is good to hear that you successfully went through the antipsychotic withdrawals. When I got off APs for the first time I also went through my first manic/psychotic episode. I wasn't able to sleep and got flu-like symptoms for days. It was the most terrible experience I ever went through and made me regret seeking out help in the first place. But what's done is done and regretting my past won't really do anything. I do think the antipsychotics muted my emotions where I couldn't feel those strong, negative emotions so it did some good in that part. I don't see myself feeling like this forever and I think I'm at a point in my life where things are going good and I can slowly wean myself off of them.

 

I'm not going to lie, I'm scared to death that I will go through another manic/psychotic episode. I don't know what the future will entail but I'm anticipating that I will go through another episode. I'm in college right now and I'm just hoping that it won't affect my studies negatively. I'm hoping I don't do out of the ordinary things and embarrass myself. But this time I think I have better insight in what will happen so I'm prepared and have a back up plan. I like to draw and make animations and I used to do the often but the APs have really dulled me down and I think they stopped me from finding my hobbies enjoyable. I'll try to get back into it to help me pass time. I also have melatonin and benadryl to help me sleep and if I really can't get to sleep then I might just go to a doctor and ask for a temporary sleeping aid. 

 

I know how awful being on antipsychotics can be and I hope having this support forum will help us to come off of these medications safely.

Share this post


Link to post

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Terms of Use Privacy Policy