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shebop, tapering off Lamictal


shebop

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Hi everyone,

 

Today is a really hard day for me. I'm so glad that there is a support forum like this. I don't think I would've been able to stick to the tapering for as long as I have without it. I'm still struggling greatly and I constantly question whether I'm doing the right thing by getting off the medication. I also work as a psychotherapist myself and have helped many people with their depression and anxiety. Because of my experience in the past few months (and through really documenting my whole med journey), I have felt very conflicted about the use of psychotropic meds. All of the dates below are approximate and a bit fuzzy due to my poor memory and neglecting to document all the changes.

 

I started on SSRIs and sedatives around 1997 in college at the age of 19 for dysthymic disorder, anxiety, and insomnia. I was prescribed many different kinds ,and often several at a time, including Zoloft, Trazadone, Celexa, Wellbutrin, Remeron, Serzone, Ambien, Klonopin, Valerian Root (I also took a proprietary blend herbal sleep remedy which really helped but I don't remember what was in it) and I think there were others. Since I was studying psychology, I was learning about the genetic component to depression (which has been since debated) and I sought out counseling for myself. The counselor had recommended that I try medication and due to a family history of severe depression and suicide, I thought that there had to be some chemical imbalance. Plus, I had always been shy, sad, and perfectionistic since I can remember. But I was functioning okay, I think I just needed some really good therapy to address self-esteem/ perfectionism/time management/family issues. I tried several mediocre therapists and one downright unprofessional therapist. They gave me support but not much guidance. Zoloft gave me a panic attack after one dose and I stopped immediately. The other SSRIs seemed to be of little effectiveness. I was always wondering if they were helping but I had this idea in my mind that I needed to be on something because my brain was not right. Of all the meds I tried, I recall Wellbutrin seeming to be the most helpful. I took it for several months and then had to stop because of tremors. I also took Celexa and Serzone for extended periods of time up until 2000.

 

This is where things get particularly fuzzy. I don't remember if or how I discontinued the antidepressants or for how long. I believe I must have tapered off of them myself and was med-free for several months but I, honestly, don't know for sure. I don't recall any withdrawal effects then. I only remember being asked in a scolding tone why I stopped taking the meds when I sought out psychiatric care later.

 

In 2001, during my first year of grad school, my mother's cancer came out of remission. I didn't think I could handle all the stress, so I sought out a psychiatrist. This psychiatrist put me on Effexor XR (150mg, I think?) and the later Prozac 40mg from 2001 to 2006. The Prozac dosages fluctuated during this time due to my symptoms improving and then increasing, etc. I was also given Klonopin or Ativan to help me sleep. Since I knew of their addictive nature, I tried to take these only when necessary. If I missed a dose of Effexor, I had terrible brain zaps and, one time, I double-dosed and felt so sick (nausea, heart racing, extreme anxiety) that my friend almost took me to the hospital; however, after a few hours, it passed.

 

In 2006, the Effexor stopped feeling effective, so I wanted to try things without medication. I tapered down slowly with the supervision of my psychiatrist, but it still lead to a terrible withdrawal and probably my first major depressive episode (unless you count the time around my mother's death but I felt that was understandable and situational and I was on Effexor at that time.) I wish I had been told then that I might have a withdrawal or "rebound reaction" that could last several weeks or longer. When I voiced concerns that my symptoms seemed to be worse than ever and I thought it could be withdrawal, I was just just told it my "Major Depressive Disorder" coming back. The Prozac was increased to "help" with the withdrawal, and it did seem to ease some of my discomfort. Then, I was told that I might have Bipolar II Disorder by a very unprofessional psychiatriat-in-training. (Isn't it interesting how my diagnoses worsened while I was ON medication? From Dysthymia (a mild, chronic depression) and Generalized Anxiety Disorder to Major Depression to Bipolar II). I am very aware of what Bipolar looks like and I felt this was a misdiagnosis. I saw the resident's supervisor who said that my anxiety might be a type of hypomania and she wanted to try me on mood stabilizers. So then, I was tried on Seroquel and Depokote, which were not effective. Then she pulled out the big gun: Lithium. That was the only thing that seemed to really pull me out of the depression that was interfering with my functioning and was making me worried that I would lose my job.

 

So from 2006 to 2008, I was on Lithium (300 or 400 mg), Prozac, and a benzo. I was titrated up very slowly due to my severe withdrawal reaction to Effexor. I ended up gaining 30 lbs, having a slowed heartbeat, diluted urine, etc. I was told that these were side effects of Lithium from my GP. So, I wanted to get off the stuff but, again, thought that I needed medication, especially due to the depressive episode that followed the Effexor withdrawal. But at this point, I was becoming a bit distrustful of the psychiatric system. In 2008, I was placed on Lamictal 200mg and Prozac 40mg and Klonopin 1mg. I completely lost my sex drive and tried changing the dosages of Prozac. I titrated off the Prozac in 2010. For past year and a half, I have been titrating off of Lamictal but have continued on the Klonopin .5mg to 2mg as needed for sleep. I first went down to 150mg and stayed there for about 8 months. With the support of my therapist and an integrative doctor, I wanted to try to completely get off of all the meds. The integrative dr said I had been "drugged up for too long" and also wanted me off the meds, so we attempted other therapies including Progesterone (due to severe PMS) and a couple expensive nutritional supplements. I've done my own research on nutritional supplements primarily through the book "Chemistry of Calm" and have been taking several to try to help. 4 months ago, I went down to 100mg and started oral Progesterone. I became more irritable. 2 and a half months ago, I went down to 50mg. Things got really bad. Major crying spells, mood swings, sleeplessness despite taking 2mg of Klonopin, and major issues with memory/attention/focus/concentration worsened. About 5 weeks ago, I went down to 25mg and had my first-ever full-blown panic attack. The symptoms seem to be worst about 4-5 days after each dose change. My self-esteem is shot, my anxiety is high, I feel fatigued and unmotivated, I've lashed out at my partner several times, I feel as though life is unmanageable. I've had a lot of the symptoms that I've seen listed on this site and on the Furious Seasons Lamictal Withdrawal blog, including those listed above, sensory overstimulation (especially to noise), morbid thoughts, feeling as though "I'm totally losing it, " and hopelessness. And then, at other times, I've felt okay, even better than I have in a long time but these moments are short-lived.

 

I feel extremely isolated with all of this. My partner has been my biggest support and I'm so grateful. But I know this had also burdened/drained her immensely. My friends just don't understand and I've realized that I have no friends outside of my partner with whom I really truly feel intimate and who really know me at my core. I feel disappointed and distrustful of the mental health system, even though I work within it! My psychiatrist denies that Lamictal has a withdrawal and just thinks it's my symptoms returning. My therapist only knows so much about this and the sessions lately have not felt helpful. And the integrative dr is really pushy with these expensive supplements that I can't afford. I just recently got some more thyroid tests done (since I have an enlarged thyroid but all the hormone tests have been in normal range) so I'm waiting for those results. I'm so worried that I'm going to have to go back on the medication and that I will always be stuck with this depression and anxiety.

 

Any support/feedback/comments are welcome. It was exhausting and time-consuming to write all of this down and I appreciate it if you have taken the time to read this long rant. Thank you for having the website and for letting me be a part of it. What I have read of others' struggles has already been a huge support for me.

 

Thanks,

shebop

1997- Started on SSRIs, many different kinds. Was tapered on and off of them due to lack of effectiveness and/or side effects until 2000ish.

2001 to 2006- Effexor, which despite tapering down lead to a terrible withdrawal and major depressive episode. Prozac early in this period and increased during withdrawal. Other meds were tried.

2006 to 2008-Lithium, Propanolol (to counteract side effects), on and off Prozac and benzos at varying doses. Tapered due to disturbing side effects.

2008 to present- Lamictal- for past year and a half have been titrating off of original dose of 200mg Lamictal, at 25 mg right now. Klonopin 1- 2mg at bedtime to sleep.

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I thought I should clearly list my current symptoms, starting with some of the most concerning:

 

derealization

feeling as though I had "numb" or "dead" parts of my brain or foggy brain

short, scattered attention span

difficulty organizing thoughts in writing/speech

difficulty with focus sometimes to the point where I feel like I can't really hear or comprehend what others are saying

easily confused

difficulty remembering things (I've always struggled with this a bit but it seems really pronounced now)

irritability/anger outbursts

feeling overwhelmed by every little thing

fatigue

insomnia

crying spells

intense insecurity/ low confidence

social anxiety

hopelessness

thoughts of death

psychosomatic anxiety symptoms, including chest tingling, a weird sensation down the sides of my face similar to nausea (i know, that's really weird and, luckily, it doesn't happen too often

lack of motivation

hypersensitivity to stimuli (sound especially) and to people's comments/actions

sudden mood swings

weird headaches

 

I'm sure that there's more that I can't think of right now

1997- Started on SSRIs, many different kinds. Was tapered on and off of them due to lack of effectiveness and/or side effects until 2000ish.

2001 to 2006- Effexor, which despite tapering down lead to a terrible withdrawal and major depressive episode. Prozac early in this period and increased during withdrawal. Other meds were tried.

2006 to 2008-Lithium, Propanolol (to counteract side effects), on and off Prozac and benzos at varying doses. Tapered due to disturbing side effects.

2008 to present- Lamictal- for past year and a half have been titrating off of original dose of 200mg Lamictal, at 25 mg right now. Klonopin 1- 2mg at bedtime to sleep.

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Shebop-

 

Welcome! You will shortly hear, I'm sure, from Alto and some of the more experienced members of this site.

 

You've been through a lot! And you are a person who also knows what is going on from the therapist's side of the desk.

 

As to your thyroid, what have they actually tested? Just TSH?

Years:150mg Wellbutrin (to concentrate) 20-30 mg Celexa (rumination).

CT 8/2011 during a pregnancy attempt under MD orders. (Idiot!!!) Pregnancy hormones allowed it.

Felt great with 6 mg of melatonin per night to sleep plus preggo hormones-didn't last:(

Best time of my life. Botched IVF in Dec 2011.Stress.

Bone chilling exhaustion and told to go back on celexa and wellbutrin.

4/9/2012 Back on celexa wb for some relief, wb gave me heart palps so dropped and only need 6.6 mg celexa and 1/4 melatonin pill...IMPROVEMENT because my doses are much lower!

REMEMBER to get your thyroid and hormones checked/out of whack ones can appear LIKE MOOD DISORDERS!!

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Any support/feedback/comments are welcome. It was exhausting and time-consuming to write all of this down and I appreciate it if you have taken the time to read this long rant. Thank you for having the website and for letting me be a part of it. What I have read of others' struggles has already been a huge support for me.

 

Thanks,

shebop

 

Hi Shebop, I'm very sorry to hear of the awful time you have had with all the prescriptions that have been thrown your way and glad you found your way to this board. You will get the help you need and have joined a good and supporting group. There are not many places you can get informed help to withdraw from lamactil, but this is one.

 

Staying clear of more unwanted psychiatric interventions is important, and you will learn much. Your narrative was great, and attests to the effort you must have put in. It was clear and easy to read.

 

What leaps out is the fact you tapered down on lamactil too quickly, and your system is already sensitized from other meds and tapers. Expensive supplements are not helpful. You need to go very slowly from here on out, and this will make all the difference. The general rule is 10% off each successive months dose, with a hold time of one month per cut. Alto will be along to give you more specific information, but let me say welcome aboard, good to meet you.~S

As always, LISTEN TO YOUR BODY! A proud supporter of the 10% (or slower) rule.

 

Requip - 3/16 ZERO  Total time on 25 years.

 

Lyrica: 8/15 ZERO Total time on 7 or 8 yrs.

BENZO FREE 10/13 (started tapering 7/10)  Total time on 25 years.

 

Read my intro thread here, and check the about me section.  "No matter how cynical you get, it's almost impossible to keep up." Lily Tomlin

 

 

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Have you had your female hormones tested? Progesterone can make you cranky and irritable, especially if it in not balanced with extra estrogen.

 

Do you have a reproductive endocrinologist you can see? Or a really good ob-gyn?

 

I had to take just extra progesterone at high doses for oncology treatment and it made me cranky and b-tchy. :o

 

Our hormones, in my personal opinion, have a lot to do with our moods.

Years:150mg Wellbutrin (to concentrate) 20-30 mg Celexa (rumination).

CT 8/2011 during a pregnancy attempt under MD orders. (Idiot!!!) Pregnancy hormones allowed it.

Felt great with 6 mg of melatonin per night to sleep plus preggo hormones-didn't last:(

Best time of my life. Botched IVF in Dec 2011.Stress.

Bone chilling exhaustion and told to go back on celexa and wellbutrin.

4/9/2012 Back on celexa wb for some relief, wb gave me heart palps so dropped and only need 6.6 mg celexa and 1/4 melatonin pill...IMPROVEMENT because my doses are much lower!

REMEMBER to get your thyroid and hormones checked/out of whack ones can appear LIKE MOOD DISORDERS!!

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Hi Shebop,

 

Thank you for sharing your journey, you will get loads of info and advice here. I just want you to know, I gave every symptom on your list. I am sorry for your suffering . Hopefully it will subside soon for all of us! Good luck....

Everything was ok. And then it wasn't.

 

Med History

11/2009- 50 mg Zoloft (1st ad ever) in combo w/.50 xanax for 2 weeks then use xanax as needed (1st benzo ever)

9 days on Zoloft, I was awake for 9 days straight C/T Zoloft

11/2009- trazadone to sleep for 2 weeks c/t Trazadone

12/2009 start 10 mg Lexapro w/ Xanax as needed

5/2010-3 week taper off lexapro

9/2010? back to Lexapro 10 mg after 5 or 6 weeks c/t leapro

12/2010-10mg paxil

5/2011-6 week paxil taper

8/2011 5mg lexapro

last lexapro pill January 7 2012

all this as per doc orders Thanks Doc!

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Welcome, shebop. I'm a fairly recent member of this forum and it has been of tremendous help to me. Scratch that - I might not have made it through withdrawal without this forum.

 

If you're able to read during this stressful time, I think you'd find Robert Whitaker's Anatomy of an Epidemic very interesting. The author is a medical journalist who presents evidence that antidepressants often cause mania. It's scary reading, so postpone this if it might be too stressful right now, but do read it.

Psychotropic drug history: Pristiq 50 mg. (mid-September 2010 through February 2011), Remeron (mid-September 2010 through January 2011), Lexapro 10 mg. (mid-February 2011 through mid-December 2011), Lorazepam (Ativan) 1 mg. as needed mid-September 2010 through early March 2012

"Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity." -Hanlon's Razor


Introduction: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1588-introducing-jemima/

 

Success Story: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6263-success-jemima-survives-lexapro-and-dr-dickhead-too/

Please note that I am not a medical professional and my advice is based on personal experience, reading, and anecdotal information posted by other sufferers.

 

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Thank all of you who responded. It means a lot to already feel the support. I will review my labs to give more information regarding: thyroid,etc. And I'll have some more recent test results back soon (my dr has been on vacation.) Have any of you done the neurotransmitter/hormone testing through NeuroScience? Those are the results that the main integrative dr who's been helping me has been utilizing. I'm having a hard time having faith in her skills recently as they are also the company who provides these expensive supplements to heal the disorders that they are evaluating. It seems really skewed. I think I need to do some more research into specialists. I've already done some fishing but to no avail. It's all a bit overwhelming to try to learn about all this hormone stuff while I'm feeling so bad and having difficulty focusing. I feel that it's ridiculous that there are more professionals out there that are more versed in these issues!

1997- Started on SSRIs, many different kinds. Was tapered on and off of them due to lack of effectiveness and/or side effects until 2000ish.

2001 to 2006- Effexor, which despite tapering down lead to a terrible withdrawal and major depressive episode. Prozac early in this period and increased during withdrawal. Other meds were tried.

2006 to 2008-Lithium, Propanolol (to counteract side effects), on and off Prozac and benzos at varying doses. Tapered due to disturbing side effects.

2008 to present- Lamictal- for past year and a half have been titrating off of original dose of 200mg Lamictal, at 25 mg right now. Klonopin 1- 2mg at bedtime to sleep.

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Welcome, shebop. Thanks for joining our community.

 

The combinations of drugs you've been on are absurd, in my opinion. For example, Prozac hits the accelerator while Lamictal puts on the brakes, etc. And the benzo was added to mask adverse effects from the combinations.

 

....

In 2008, I was placed on Lamictal 200mg and Prozac 40mg and Klonopin 1mg. I completely lost my sex drive and tried changing the dosages of Prozac. I titrated off the Prozac in 2010. For past year and a half, I have been titrating off of Lamictal but have continued on the Klonopin .5mg to 2mg as needed for sleep. I first went down to 150mg and stayed there for about 8 months. With the support of my therapist and an integrative doctor, I wanted to try to completely get off of all the meds. The integrative dr said I had been "drugged up for too long" and also wanted me off the meds, so we attempted other therapies including Progesterone (due to severe PMS) and a couple expensive nutritional supplements. ....4 months ago, I went down to 100mg and started oral Progesterone. I became more irritable. 2 and a half months ago, I went down to 50mg. Things got really bad. Major crying spells, mood swings, sleeplessness despite taking 2mg of Klonopin, and major issues with memory/attention/focus/concentration worsened. About 5 weeks ago, I went down to 25mg and had my first-ever full-blown panic attack. The symptoms seem to be worst about 4-5 days after each dose change.....

 

Progesterone can have side effects of weepiness and irritability. Plus, if your nervous system has been sensitized by withdrawal syndrome, it can have paradoxical effects of anxiety and sleeplessnes.

 

The decreases to 150mg, 100mg, 50mg, 25mg refer to Lamictal?

 

It looks to me like you've reduced the Lamictal by amounts that were too large for your nervous system to handle.

 

If I were you, I would go back up to 50mg Lamictal and see if that helps. Plan to stay there for a couple of months.

 

If you're still taking the progesterone, you may wish to gradually lower your dosage.

 

Why did your doctor choose progesterone to treat you? Are you pre-menopausal?

 

I thought I should clearly list my current symptoms, starting with some of the most concerning:

 

derealization

feeling as though I had "numb" or "dead" parts of my brain or foggy brain

short, scattered attention span

difficulty organizing thoughts in writing/speech

difficulty with focus sometimes to the point where I feel like I can't really hear or comprehend what others are saying

easily confused

difficulty remembering things (I've always struggled with this a bit but it seems really pronounced now)

irritability/anger outbursts

feeling overwhelmed by every little thing

fatigue

insomnia

crying spells

intense insecurity/ low confidence

social anxiety

hopelessness

thoughts of death

psychosomatic anxiety symptoms, including chest tingling, a weird sensation down the sides of my face similar to nausea (i know, that's really weird and, luckily, it doesn't happen too often

lack of motivation

hypersensitivity to stimuli (sound especially) and to people's comments/actions

sudden mood swings

weird headaches

 

I'm sure that there's more that I can't think of right now

 

These sound like a combination of adverse drug reactions (to the progesterone) and withdrawal from Lamictal.

 

 

Thank all of you who responded. It means a lot to already feel the support. I will review my labs to give more information regarding: thyroid,etc. And I'll have some more recent test results back soon (my dr has been on vacation.) Have any of you done the neurotransmitter/hormone testing through NeuroScience? Those are the results that the main integrative dr who's been helping me has been utilizing. I'm having a hard time having faith in her skills recently as they are also the company who provides these expensive supplements to heal the disorders that they are evaluating. It seems really skewed. I think I need to do some more research into specialists. I've already done some fishing but to no avail. It's all a bit overwhelming to try to learn about all this hormone stuff while I'm feeling so bad and having difficulty focusing. I feel that it's ridiculous that there are more professionals out there that are more versed in these issues!

 

We do not recommend Neuroscience testing or supplements, see http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1371-no-recommendations-for-commercial-programs-to-assist-withdrawal/

 

If your doctor is taking those tests seriously, he or she is on the wrong track entirely.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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I haven't read through all the replies yet, so forgive me if I am repeating something someone else has said.

 

LAMICTAL DEFINITELY DOES HAVE A WITHDRAWAL SYNDROME! LET ME REPEAT THAT: LAMICTAL CAN CAUSE SEVERE WITHDRAWAL REACTIONS!

 

Gianna Kali of Beyond Meds blog fame (I highly recommend you check it out if you haven't) says that for many years, by FAR the page of her blog that gets the MOST hits is the one titled "Lamictal Withdrawal from Hell." I think this is because so many people are Googling the phrase "Lamictal withdrawal." It's how I found her blog, which led me to other resources, which, thank Goddess, led me to my very slow careful taper.

 

I'm tapering off five meds at once (well, four now, woo hoo!) including Lamictal. Of all of them, Lamictal is the hardest one to deal with. I cut by 1 mg at a time and it's comparable to tapering Xanax, except worse.

 

You have all of what I have observed to be the major risk factors for difficult med withdrawal. (Started before full brain maturity aka about age 25-27; been on and off multiple meds of various sorts; prior history of CTs and sudden discontinuations; and long term history on psych meds).

 

I highly highly recommend you reinstate your Lamictal to at least 50 mg (if it were me I would go back to 75 or 100) and stabilize for a couple of months (or however long it takes) and then begin a more reasonable taper.

 

I also think you would really like the book Anatomy of an Epidemic by Robert Whitaker.

 

Good luck! Be careful!

 

PS: For me, progesterone has been tricky when combined with psych meds and withdrawal. It's an active neurosteroid which is a neurotransmitter itself.

Started on Prozac and Xanax in 1992 for PTSD after an assault. One drug led to more, the usual story. Got sicker and sicker, but believed I needed the drugs for my "underlying disease". Long story...lost everything. Life savings, home, physical and mental health, relationships, friendships, ability to work, everything. Amitryptiline, Prozac, bupropion, buspirone, flurazepam, diazepam, alprazolam, Paxil, citalopram, lamotrigine, gabapentin...probably more I've forgotten. 

Started multidrug taper in Feb 2010.  Doing a very slow microtaper, down to low doses now and feeling SO much better, getting my old personality and my brain back! Able to work full time, have a full social life, and cope with stress better than ever. Not perfect, but much better. After 23 lost years. Big Pharma has a lot to answer for. And "medicine for profit" is just not a great idea.

 

Feb 15 2010:  300 mg Neurontin  200 Lamictal   10 Celexa      0.65 Xanax   and 5 mg Ambien 

Feb 10 2014:   62 Lamictal    1.1 Celexa         0.135 Xanax    1.8 Valium

Feb 10 2015:   50 Lamictal      0.875 Celexa    0.11 Xanax      1.5 Valium

Feb 15 2016:   47.5 Lamictal   0.75 Celexa      0.0875 Xanax    1.42 Valium    

2/12/20             12                       0.045               0.007                   1 

May 2021            7                       0.01                  0.0037                1

Feb 2022            6                      0!!!                     0.00167               0.98                2.5 mg Ambien

Oct 2022       4.5 mg Lamictal    (off Celexa, off Xanax)   0.95 Valium    Ambien, 1/4 to 1/2 of a 5 mg tablet 

 

I'm not a doctor. Any advice I give is just my civilian opinion.

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Thank all of you who responded. It means a lot to already feel the support. I will review my labs to give more information regarding: thyroid,etc. And I'll have some more recent test results back soon (my dr has been on vacation.) Have any of you done the neurotransmitter/hormone testing through NeuroScience? Those are the results that the main integrative dr who's been helping me has been utilizing. I'm having a hard time having faith in her skills recently as they are also the company who provides these expensive supplements to heal the disorders that they are evaluating. It seems really skewed. I think I need to do some more research into specialists. I've already done some fishing but to no avail. It's all a bit overwhelming to try to learn about all this hormone stuff while I'm feeling so bad and having difficulty focusing. I feel that it's ridiculous that there are more professionals out there that are more versed in these issues!

 

I'm highly skeptical of "neurotransmitter testing." Blood levels of neurotransmitters are meaningless. The only way that I know of to get some kind of clue about neurotransmitter levels involves cerebrospinal fluid, and as far as I know, even that is not standardized. The reason blood (urine, etc.) levels are meaningless is that all these "neurotransmitters" are found in multiple body systems and have many different functions.

 

And as far as I know (and I'm a medical lab tech) there are no "normal" ranges clinically established for neurotransmitters even in peripheral blood. I can look into that, but I've never heard of it.

 

I would be very skeptical of anyone who claims to be able to measure your neurotransmitters or neurotransmitter function.

 

I agree about the absurdity of the lack of professionals versed in this information. (The Whitaker book gives a lot of history that helps make that situation more understandable. Not palatable, just understandable.)

 

Oh, and I want to add, your list of symptoms reads like a classic list of psych med withdrawal symptoms, Lamictal for sure, but really with all of them you can get pretty much any of those. The hypersensitivity is concerning and I must reiterate that you have reduced the Lamictal drastically and in large chunks and I'm not sure how safe that is. Read up about glutamate's excitatory functions and excitotoxicity. Alto knows a lot about glutamate/GABA stuff.

Started on Prozac and Xanax in 1992 for PTSD after an assault. One drug led to more, the usual story. Got sicker and sicker, but believed I needed the drugs for my "underlying disease". Long story...lost everything. Life savings, home, physical and mental health, relationships, friendships, ability to work, everything. Amitryptiline, Prozac, bupropion, buspirone, flurazepam, diazepam, alprazolam, Paxil, citalopram, lamotrigine, gabapentin...probably more I've forgotten. 

Started multidrug taper in Feb 2010.  Doing a very slow microtaper, down to low doses now and feeling SO much better, getting my old personality and my brain back! Able to work full time, have a full social life, and cope with stress better than ever. Not perfect, but much better. After 23 lost years. Big Pharma has a lot to answer for. And "medicine for profit" is just not a great idea.

 

Feb 15 2010:  300 mg Neurontin  200 Lamictal   10 Celexa      0.65 Xanax   and 5 mg Ambien 

Feb 10 2014:   62 Lamictal    1.1 Celexa         0.135 Xanax    1.8 Valium

Feb 10 2015:   50 Lamictal      0.875 Celexa    0.11 Xanax      1.5 Valium

Feb 15 2016:   47.5 Lamictal   0.75 Celexa      0.0875 Xanax    1.42 Valium    

2/12/20             12                       0.045               0.007                   1 

May 2021            7                       0.01                  0.0037                1

Feb 2022            6                      0!!!                     0.00167               0.98                2.5 mg Ambien

Oct 2022       4.5 mg Lamictal    (off Celexa, off Xanax)   0.95 Valium    Ambien, 1/4 to 1/2 of a 5 mg tablet 

 

I'm not a doctor. Any advice I give is just my civilian opinion.

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I'm tapering off five meds at once (well, four now, woo hoo!) including Lamictal. Of all of them, Lamictal is the hardest one to deal with. I cut by 1 mg at a time and it's comparable to tapering Xanax, except worse.

 

Hi Rhi.. do you put Lyrica in the same bucket as lamactil (I fear the answer is yes..)I thought neurontin, lamactil, and lyrica were all in the same basket, but you put on both neurontin AND lamactil? How is tapering lamactil sort of comparable to tapering Xanax?

 

Shebop.. Shi has learned by experience. A good example of judicious tapering. Also, the blog she mentions is a great resource. And it nails lamactil.

As always, LISTEN TO YOUR BODY! A proud supporter of the 10% (or slower) rule.

 

Requip - 3/16 ZERO  Total time on 25 years.

 

Lyrica: 8/15 ZERO Total time on 7 or 8 yrs.

BENZO FREE 10/13 (started tapering 7/10)  Total time on 25 years.

 

Read my intro thread here, and check the about me section.  "No matter how cynical you get, it's almost impossible to keep up." Lily Tomlin

 

 

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I'm trying not to feel like such an idiot for trying so many different things at once. There is soooo much more to my story. In the past year, I've made major dietary and lifestyle changes, went to physical therapy for chronic back pain, started taking oral progesterone and a TON of supplements, and titrated down on Lamictal. The pain and anxiety gave me this enormous sense of urgency. Some of the responses to my post are increasing my anxiety because I feel like I've invested on this time/energy/money on the wrong paths and I just feel overwhelmed by the multitude of different information that I've received over the years. I wish I had never gotten on any psychotropics at all, although I've witnessed them dramatically improve other people's lives.

 

This all feels like a big ol' mess. My mental/physical health and the journey to feel better.

 

Have you had your female hormones tested? Progesterone can make you cranky and irritable, especially if it in not balanced with extra estrogen.

 

Do you have a reproductive endocrinologist you can see? Or a really good ob-gyn?

 

I had to take just extra progesterone at high doses for oncology treatment and it made me cranky and b-tchy. :o

 

Our hormones, in my personal opinion, have a lot to do with our moods.

 

 

I agree that hormones have a lot to do with our moods and I've always suspected that I've had some hormone issues. I still plan to look over some of my blood work when I get home tonight, review some of the other posts on the subject, and maybe even share some of the pertinent details. I'm awaiting results of more blood labs and an ultrasound of my thyroid. I was already told at the scan that I had a benign nodule on my thyroid. My thyroid has been enlarged since high school. I remember all thyroid and female hormones being within the "normal range" but I need to look more closely (I've done it before but, like I said, memory and foggy brain are big issues for me right now.)

 

I'm 33 years old and am not peri-menopausal. However, I've always suffered from terrible PMS which has worsened in recent years. My PMS involves a lot of the depressive symptoms to the nth degree. It usually starts at ovulation and lasts through the first few days of my period. The 1-2 days before my period starts and the first day of my period are the WORST. I am emotionally hyper-sensitive, tearful (crying spells), irritable, start to make very sweeping negative evaluations of my life, get irrationally paranoid that I'm somehow unacceptable/unlikeable to those around me, feel painfully shy, and have major foggy brain (there are times that I thought I shouldn't be driving/bicycling because I felt so out of it).

 

I started on bio-identical progesterone cream in probably around May 2011 after sharing this information with my new therapist (my old one moved out of state) and she said that I might have excess estrogen. She shared her observation after several months that she saw a dramatic difference in my mood based on the time of the month. She suggested that I try the cream and see if it helped, as she shared a lot of my frustrations with the medical system and the "normal ranges." I tried the cream (applying approx. 40mg for the last 2 weeks of my cycle) and it may have been a placebo-effect but I thought it helped a little bit for the first couple months. It definitely helped my period be more regular and seemed to lessen the spotting between periods. But after a while, I couldn't really tell much if it was working. I would also be forgetful in remembering to apply it.

 

During this few month time span, I read Uzzi Reiss's book "Natural Hormone Balance" and went to 2 integrative doctors. The first one said that my levels were in the normal range but said she would refer me to an endocrinologist if I really wanted. Through reading Reiss's book and through discussion with my therapist, it seemed as though Western doctors/endrinologists generally do not take into account the nuances of female hormones, especially when it is PMS and not peri-menopause or more. So I was referred to another integrative doctor who "specializes" in women's hormones. This is the doctor who has given me most of my treatment since and is a big supporter of the NeuroScience testing. Anyway, since I wasn't feeling a dramatic enough difference with the cream, I asked about taking it orally. I started taking 100mg oral progesterone the 2 weeks after ovulation. I did that for about a month. When this didn't do much, it was upped to 100mg days 2-11 and then 200mg day 12-25. That's what I'm taking currently. My period has dramatically shortened. Symptoms have decreased right before my period but it's as if I've lost any moments of clarity. Is this due to the progesterone? The Lamictal? A little from column A and a little from column B?

 

The idea was that some of my depression or anxiety could be a result of excess estrogen and if I stabilized that a bit, I could go down on the Lamictal. I have to say my impatience got the best of me and the 2nd integrative doctor gave me mixed signals about changing one thing at a time and then changing a whole lot at once. The time I started on the oral progesterone was very close to when I titrated the Lamictal from 150mg to 100mg. I've been having some ideas for a while that the progesterone was making me more irritable. But I was told by the doctor and my therapist "progesterone is calming."

 

Thinking about this just makes me want to throw my hands up in the air in anger, frustration, hopelessness.

1997- Started on SSRIs, many different kinds. Was tapered on and off of them due to lack of effectiveness and/or side effects until 2000ish.

2001 to 2006- Effexor, which despite tapering down lead to a terrible withdrawal and major depressive episode. Prozac early in this period and increased during withdrawal. Other meds were tried.

2006 to 2008-Lithium, Propanolol (to counteract side effects), on and off Prozac and benzos at varying doses. Tapered due to disturbing side effects.

2008 to present- Lamictal- for past year and a half have been titrating off of original dose of 200mg Lamictal, at 25 mg right now. Klonopin 1- 2mg at bedtime to sleep.

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Welcome, shebop. Thanks for joining our community.

 

The combinations of drugs you've been on are absurd, in my opinion. For example, Prozac hits the accelerator while Lamictal puts on the brakes, etc. And the benzo was added to mask adverse effects from the combinations.

 

 

....

In 2008, I was placed on Lamictal 200mg and Prozac 40mg and Klonopin 1mg. I completely lost my sex drive and tried changing the dosages of Prozac. I titrated off the Prozac in 2010. For past year and a half, I have been titrating off of Lamictal but have continued on the Klonopin .5mg to 2mg as needed for sleep. I first went down to 150mg and stayed there for about 8 months. With the support of my therapist and an integrative doctor, I wanted to try to completely get off of all the meds. The integrative dr said I had been "drugged up for too long" and also wanted me off the meds, so we attempted other therapies including Progesterone (due to severe PMS) and a couple expensive nutritional supplements. ....4 months ago, I went down to 100mg and started oral Progesterone. I became more irritable. 2 and a half months ago, I went down to 50mg. Things got really bad. Major crying spells, mood swings, sleeplessness despite taking 2mg of Klonopin, and major issues with memory/attention/focus/concentration worsened. About 5 weeks ago, I went down to 25mg and had my first-ever full-blown panic attack. The symptoms seem to be worst about 4-5 days after each dose change.....

 

Progesterone can have side effects of weepiness and irritability. Plus, if your nervous system has been sensitized by withdrawal syndrome, it can have paradoxical effects of anxiety and sleeplessnes.

 

The decreases to 150mg, 100mg, 50mg, 25mg refer to Lamictal?

 

It looks to me like you've reduced the Lamictal by amounts that were too large for your nervous system to handle.

 

If I were you, I would go back up to 50mg Lamictal and see if that helps. Plan to stay there for a couple of months.

 

If you're still taking the progesterone, you may wish to gradually lower your dosage.

 

Why did your doctor choose progesterone to treat you? Are you pre-menopausal?

 

I thought I should clearly list my current symptoms, starting with some of the most concerning:

 

derealization

feeling as though I had "numb" or "dead" parts of my brain or foggy brain

short, scattered attention span

difficulty organizing thoughts in writing/speech

difficulty with focus sometimes to the point where I feel like I can't really hear or comprehend what others are saying

easily confused

difficulty remembering things (I've always struggled with this a bit but it seems really pronounced now)

irritability/anger outbursts

feeling overwhelmed by every little thing

fatigue

insomnia

crying spells

intense insecurity/ low confidence

social anxiety

hopelessness

thoughts of death

psychosomatic anxiety symptoms, including chest tingling, a weird sensation down the sides of my face similar to nausea (i know, that's really weird and, luckily, it doesn't happen too often

lack of motivation

hypersensitivity to stimuli (sound especially) and to people's comments/actions

sudden mood swings

weird headaches

 

I'm sure that there's more that I can't think of right now

 

These sound like a combination of adverse drug reactions (to the progesterone) and withdrawal from Lamictal.

 

 

Thank all of you who responded. It means a lot to already feel the support. I will review my labs to give more information regarding: thyroid,etc. And I'll have some more recent test results back soon (my dr has been on vacation.) Have any of you done the neurotransmitter/hormone testing through NeuroScience? Those are the results that the main integrative dr who's been helping me has been utilizing. I'm having a hard time having faith in her skills recently as they are also the company who provides these expensive supplements to heal the disorders that they are evaluating. It seems really skewed. I think I need to do some more research into specialists. I've already done some fishing but to no avail. It's all a bit overwhelming to try to learn about all this hormone stuff while I'm feeling so bad and having difficulty focusing. I feel that it's ridiculous that there are more professionals out there that are more versed in these issues!

 

We do not recommend Neuroscience testing or supplements, see http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1371-no-recommendations-for-commercial-programs-to-assist-withdrawal/

 

If your doctor is taking those tests seriously, he or she is on the wrong track entirely.

 

Hi Alto, nice to meet you! Thank you for starting this website!

 

Yes, the dosage changes from 150mg to 25mg refer to Lamictal.

 

Hopefully, my last post will answer some of your questions about the progesterone. I'm 33 and not menopausal or peri-menopausal.

 

Still learning how to post things...hope I'm doing okay.

1997- Started on SSRIs, many different kinds. Was tapered on and off of them due to lack of effectiveness and/or side effects until 2000ish.

2001 to 2006- Effexor, which despite tapering down lead to a terrible withdrawal and major depressive episode. Prozac early in this period and increased during withdrawal. Other meds were tried.

2006 to 2008-Lithium, Propanolol (to counteract side effects), on and off Prozac and benzos at varying doses. Tapered due to disturbing side effects.

2008 to present- Lamictal- for past year and a half have been titrating off of original dose of 200mg Lamictal, at 25 mg right now. Klonopin 1- 2mg at bedtime to sleep.

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You're doing fine.

 

I believe you've tapered Lamictal too fast, and you have symptoms from that.

 

I also am wary of the progesterone treatment. It seems you are getting a lot of progesterone for someone who tests in the normal range. I really don't know too much about this, but I suggest you look further for a female hormone "expert."

 

Also, re PMS, have you tried all the natural remedies, such as exercise, etc.?

 

For the withdrawal symptoms, generally fish oil with vitamin E and magnesium help a bit. Sometimes people are low in vitamins D and B12, too -- that can cause mood symptoms. See the Symptoms and What Helps section.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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I started taking 100mg oral progesterone the 2 weeks after ovulation. I did that for about a month. When this didn't do much, it was upped to 100mg days 2-11 and then 200mg day 12-25. That's what I'm taking currently. My period has dramatically shortened. Symptoms have decreased right before my period but it's as if I've lost any moments of clarity. Is this due to the progesterone? The Lamictal? A little from column A and a little from column B?

 

Hey Shebop

 

Welcome to the forum - I agree with Alto and Rhi - you tapered too fast, up-dose and give yourself some time to stabilize. You have classic withdrawal symptoms. Feeling like you've tried too many things is part of the withdrawal symptoms. Give yourself a break - you've done the best you could do with the information you were given.

 

YES, progesterone will cause a loss of mental clarity. Have you ever noticed that pregnant women forget things a lot ... it is the excess progesterone the body produces for the pregnancy. When I was on too much progesterone I ran a red light while driving - I saw it, but forgot that it meant I had to stop - fortunately, I didn't have an accident. I had cotton brain. If you decide to reduce the progesterone you will want to taper off of it, too.

 

At this point it could be a combination of the Lamictal and progesterone.

 

Your system is hypersensitized. Supplements may not act as expected in your system. Check out this thread on thyroid symptoms and tests http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1593-thyroid-symptoms/.

 

As a way to get a handle on what is working and what isn't check out this thread http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1779-rate-symptoms-daily-to-catch-withdrawals-early/. I think the integrated doctors what to help you, but they don't know anything about withdrawals and the challenges caused by the hypersensitive system.

 

Take a deep breath - you are doing the best that you can and even better now you have lots of support.

 

Love and light Posted Image,

Karma

2007 @ 375 mg Effexor - 11/29/2011 - 43.75 mg Effexor (regular) & .625 mg Xanax

200 mg Gabapentin 2/27/21 - 194.5 mg, 5/28/21 - 183 mg, 8/2/21 - 170 mg, 11/28/21 - 150 mg, 4/19/22 - 122 mg; 8//7/22 - 100 mg
Xanax taper: 3/11/12 - 0.9375 mg, 3/25/12 - 0.875 mg, 4/6/12 - 0.8125 mg, 4/18/12 - 0.75 mg; 1/16 0.6875 mg; at some point 0.625 mg
Effexor taper: 1/29/12 - 40.625 mg, 4/29/12 - 39.875 mg, 5/11/12 - Switched to liquid Effexor, 5/25/12 - 38 mg, 7/6/12 - 35 mg, 8/17/12 - 32 mg, 9/14/12 - 30 mg, 10/19/12 - 28 mg, 11/9/12 - 26 mg, 11/30/12 - 24 mg, 01/14/13 - 22 mg. 02/25/13 - 20.8 mg, 03/18/13 - 19.2 mg, 4/15/13 - 17.6 mg, 8/10/13 - 16.4 mg, 9/7/13 - 15.2 mg, 10/19/13 - 14 mg, 1/15/14 - 13.2 mg, 3/1/2014 - 12.6 mg, 5/4/14 - 12 mg, 8/1/14 - 11.4 mg, 8/29/14 - 10.8 mg; 10/14/14 - 10.2 mg; 12/15/14 - 10 mg, 1/11/15 - 9.5 mg, 2/8/15 - 9 mg, 3/21/15 - 8.5 mg, 5/1/15 - 8 mg, 6/9/15 - 7.5 mg, 7/8/15 - 7 mg, 8/22/15 - 6.5 mg, 10/4/15 - 6 mg; 1/1/16 - 5.6 mg; 2/6/16 - 5.2 mg; 4/9 - 4.8 mg; 7/7 4.5 mg; 10/7 4.25 mg; 11/4 4.0 mg; 11/25 3.8 mg; 4/24 3.6 mg; 5/27 3.4 mg; 7/8 3.2 mg ... 10/18 2.8 mg; 1/18 2.6 mg; 4/7 2.4 mg; 5/26 2.15mg; 8/18 1.85 mg; 10/7 1.7 mg; 12/1 1.45 mg; 3/2 1.2 mg; 5/4 0.90 mg; 6/1 0.80 mg; 6/22 0.65 mg; 08/03 0.50 mg, 08/10 0.45 mg, 10/05 0.325 mg, 11/23 0.2 mg, 12/14 0.15 mg, 12/21 0.125 mg, 02/28 0.03125 mg, 2/15 0.015625 mg, 2/29/20 0.00 mg - OFF Effexor


I am not a medical professional - this is not medical advice. My suggestions are based on personal experience, reading, observation and anecdotal information posted by other sufferers

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Gianna Kali of Beyond Meds blog fame (I highly recommend you check it out if you haven't) says that for many years, by FAR the page of her blog that gets the MOST hits is the one titled "Lamictal Withdrawal from Hell." I think this is because so many people are Googling the phrase "Lamictal withdrawal." It's how I found her blog, which led me to other resources, which, thank Goddess, led me to my very slow careful taper.

 

I'm tapering off five meds at once (well, four now, woo hoo!) including Lamictal. Of all of them, Lamictal is the hardest one to deal with. I cut by 1 mg at a time and it's comparable to tapering Xanax, except worse.

 

You have all of what I have observed to be the major risk factors for difficult med withdrawal. (Started before full brain maturity aka about age 25-27; been on and off multiple meds of various sorts; prior history of CTs and sudden discontinuations; and long term history on psych meds).

 

I highly highly recommend you reinstate your Lamictal to at least 50 mg (if it were me I would go back to 75 or 100) and stabilize for a couple of months (or however long it takes) and then begin a more reasonable taper.

 

I also think you would really like the book Anatomy of an Epidemic by Robert Whitaker.

 

Good luck! Be careful!

 

PS: For me, progesterone has been tricky when combined with psych meds and withdrawal. It's an active neurosteroid which is a neurotransmitter itself.

 

Wow, Rhi! Congrats about going from 5 meds to 4! You are being so patient at 1 mg at a time!

 

I did read parts of the Beyond Meds blog and it helped lead me to this one. I found it exactly as you described, by Googling "Lamictal withdrawal," and it helped confirm to me that I was having a withdrawal reaction. Some of the posts increased my anxiety because I became worried that I would have to deal with this for years and the thought of that is unbearable to me.

 

I want to clarify that I've never gone cold turkey on a med. I've always tapered slowly (or what I thought was slowly) with the advice of my dr, but often I was being tapered up on a new med at the same time. Well... come to think of it, I may have tapered myself off once. After my Effexor withdrawal, all tapers up or down were done even slower. Looking at it now, I think that they were probably still not slow enough.

 

Is up-dosing the only way? Wouldn't I have to gradually taper back up to the last dose to avoid further shock to my system? I'm at 25 mg now, so the up-dose would be back to 50 mg, which is when the symptoms really hit me. I've been at 25 mg for 5 weeks now and there's already been some stabilization, although I have a long way to go. I don't have panic attacks or near-panicky feelings like I did when I first tapered to 25mg. Today I've felt the best I have in a while and I have no real explanation of what caused it. I just feel like I want to get this poison out of my system. I know at this point that I'm going to have to take a long, slow time getting to zero. And after that, then I'm going to have to tackle the Klonopin.

 

I'm also nervous about messing with the progesterone while dealing with the Lamictal. How slow should I taper the progesterone? And will that only add to my confusion about what's happening to me?

 

How will I know when I've stabilized? I was on 150mg for at least 8 months and while things weren't terrible, they weren't wonderful either. I think there's always going to be some depression and anxiety there, since it was there prior to any meds. In fact, I keep having these thoughts that I feel like I'm 19 again (but in a bad, painful way not a youthful, the world-is-my-oyster way).

 

Thanks, Karma, for your very positive and encouraging message! And thank all of you for your information and support!

1997- Started on SSRIs, many different kinds. Was tapered on and off of them due to lack of effectiveness and/or side effects until 2000ish.

2001 to 2006- Effexor, which despite tapering down lead to a terrible withdrawal and major depressive episode. Prozac early in this period and increased during withdrawal. Other meds were tried.

2006 to 2008-Lithium, Propanolol (to counteract side effects), on and off Prozac and benzos at varying doses. Tapered due to disturbing side effects.

2008 to present- Lamictal- for past year and a half have been titrating off of original dose of 200mg Lamictal, at 25 mg right now. Klonopin 1- 2mg at bedtime to sleep.

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That's good, shebop, your nervous system is accommodating to the Lamictal reduction.

 

You'll have to decide whether you wish to updose a bit to reduce symptoms further. At this point, you might not have to go back all the way to 50mg. You might try adding 5mg to see if that helps. Wait 4 days, then make another decision.

 

At any rate, if I were you, I'd get a second opinion or do a lot of research on the progesterone supplementation.

 

Gianna Kali reduced several drugs before reducing Lamictal. In my opinion, it wasn't the Lamictal withdrawal that did her in, it was the cumulative effect of all the withdrawal.

 

Lamictal has a withdrawal syndrome like any other psychiatric drug, it's not particularly heinous, but people are careless about it because Lamictal withdrawal doesn't get as much press as the other drug withdrawal syndromes.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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So you're no longer experiencing the symptoms you listed in the post above? I'd give it a bit of time to be sure, but if not, great! That list, in my experience, doesn't sound like stuff that usually clears up really fast for most people. Please be careful.

Started on Prozac and Xanax in 1992 for PTSD after an assault. One drug led to more, the usual story. Got sicker and sicker, but believed I needed the drugs for my "underlying disease". Long story...lost everything. Life savings, home, physical and mental health, relationships, friendships, ability to work, everything. Amitryptiline, Prozac, bupropion, buspirone, flurazepam, diazepam, alprazolam, Paxil, citalopram, lamotrigine, gabapentin...probably more I've forgotten. 

Started multidrug taper in Feb 2010.  Doing a very slow microtaper, down to low doses now and feeling SO much better, getting my old personality and my brain back! Able to work full time, have a full social life, and cope with stress better than ever. Not perfect, but much better. After 23 lost years. Big Pharma has a lot to answer for. And "medicine for profit" is just not a great idea.

 

Feb 15 2010:  300 mg Neurontin  200 Lamictal   10 Celexa      0.65 Xanax   and 5 mg Ambien 

Feb 10 2014:   62 Lamictal    1.1 Celexa         0.135 Xanax    1.8 Valium

Feb 10 2015:   50 Lamictal      0.875 Celexa    0.11 Xanax      1.5 Valium

Feb 15 2016:   47.5 Lamictal   0.75 Celexa      0.0875 Xanax    1.42 Valium    

2/12/20             12                       0.045               0.007                   1 

May 2021            7                       0.01                  0.0037                1

Feb 2022            6                      0!!!                     0.00167               0.98                2.5 mg Ambien

Oct 2022       4.5 mg Lamictal    (off Celexa, off Xanax)   0.95 Valium    Ambien, 1/4 to 1/2 of a 5 mg tablet 

 

I'm not a doctor. Any advice I give is just my civilian opinion.

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Sorry, I think I'm being snarky. Or at least that sounded snarky. Maybe I'm being snarky. I apologize. I don't always know. Damn neuro-emotions and neuro-crappy-insight.

 

I just wish I could cut 25 mg of Lamictal at a time. Lamictal is a beast to taper, for me. But I am SO not you.

 

The progesterone thing is interesting--just did a quick Google on the subject of progesterone and GABA at work last night and it's one of those not really straightforward things, has one effect under one set of circumstances and something else in some other circumstance.

 

Like all of biochemistry, which is part of why I'm so infuriated at the way Big Pharma and our "medical" institutions oversimplify and manipulate human bodies, based on almost no real science.

Started on Prozac and Xanax in 1992 for PTSD after an assault. One drug led to more, the usual story. Got sicker and sicker, but believed I needed the drugs for my "underlying disease". Long story...lost everything. Life savings, home, physical and mental health, relationships, friendships, ability to work, everything. Amitryptiline, Prozac, bupropion, buspirone, flurazepam, diazepam, alprazolam, Paxil, citalopram, lamotrigine, gabapentin...probably more I've forgotten. 

Started multidrug taper in Feb 2010.  Doing a very slow microtaper, down to low doses now and feeling SO much better, getting my old personality and my brain back! Able to work full time, have a full social life, and cope with stress better than ever. Not perfect, but much better. After 23 lost years. Big Pharma has a lot to answer for. And "medicine for profit" is just not a great idea.

 

Feb 15 2010:  300 mg Neurontin  200 Lamictal   10 Celexa      0.65 Xanax   and 5 mg Ambien 

Feb 10 2014:   62 Lamictal    1.1 Celexa         0.135 Xanax    1.8 Valium

Feb 10 2015:   50 Lamictal      0.875 Celexa    0.11 Xanax      1.5 Valium

Feb 15 2016:   47.5 Lamictal   0.75 Celexa      0.0875 Xanax    1.42 Valium    

2/12/20             12                       0.045               0.007                   1 

May 2021            7                       0.01                  0.0037                1

Feb 2022            6                      0!!!                     0.00167               0.98                2.5 mg Ambien

Oct 2022       4.5 mg Lamictal    (off Celexa, off Xanax)   0.95 Valium    Ambien, 1/4 to 1/2 of a 5 mg tablet 

 

I'm not a doctor. Any advice I give is just my civilian opinion.

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I apologize for delays in my replies. When I'm working, I have to put most of my energy towards that and other basic life maintenance and then I'm really exhausted. I'm self-employed and the bread-winner. I also have crazy hours, so sometimes I'm rushed in my posts (especially since it takes me so long to compose them.)

 

Alto: Thank you. How would you advise the increments of 5mg? The 25mg tablets of Lamictal are really tiny. I've briefly scanned other topics and have seen people have used scales to break down capsules/tablets/etc and I've also seen that others have gone to a compounding pharmacy. I'm hoping to have some time tonight to look through more discussions in more detail. I'm having a lot of time/energy managements issues lately. I also will have to do research to find someone to give me another opinion about the progesterone. This will take time, as I've been through so many doctors and when I think I find a good one, I learn some conflicting information. Honestly, I feel like each doctor i see gives me another possibility of what could be wrong and it adds to an information overload. My brain is already so overloaded that it's hard to process all the information.

 

Rhi: I'm sorry that my other posts weren't clear. I have to admit that currently that is a big fault of mine: I leave out information or forget details or sometimes give conflicting information. That's pretty a reflection of the jumbled nature of my brain and not all of it can be attributed to med withdrawal, unfortunately. I've always been a bit flaky, head-in-the-clouds. I'm still experiencing the list of symptoms I first posted but some of them, like the neuro-emotions, come in waves. The acute panic, in general, has subsided and I hope that that's going to hold steady. I'm on my 3rd day of feeling more emotionally stable, especially since my crash on Sunday. I have to work now...I'll finish this later...

1997- Started on SSRIs, many different kinds. Was tapered on and off of them due to lack of effectiveness and/or side effects until 2000ish.

2001 to 2006- Effexor, which despite tapering down lead to a terrible withdrawal and major depressive episode. Prozac early in this period and increased during withdrawal. Other meds were tried.

2006 to 2008-Lithium, Propanolol (to counteract side effects), on and off Prozac and benzos at varying doses. Tapered due to disturbing side effects.

2008 to present- Lamictal- for past year and a half have been titrating off of original dose of 200mg Lamictal, at 25 mg right now. Klonopin 1- 2mg at bedtime to sleep.

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Hi Shebop...ust read thru all the posts. I am not familiar with Lamictal but I can fully understand your WD symptoms. Have had all of them from several tapers.

 

From my own tapering experiences, there were many times where I had to go back up in dose to stabilize. It does help. I can relate to every symptom you mentioned. I supppose we all can. It's the drugs, not you.

 

I have been taking progesterone cream for a number of years in addition to estrodiol. Bio-identicals. This week the doctor said my progesterone was a little low, so I bumped up using to twice a day. I had no idea that progesterone could cause side effects like crying or sleeplessness. For me it was a calming hormone. I started in increase on Monday, Tuesday and have noticed I am crying.

 

I am telling you it is 6 of one and half a dozen of another with all drugs.

 

Just take things slow and easy...

Intro: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1902-nikki-hi-my-rundown-with-ads/

 

Paxil 1997-2004

Crossed over to Lexapro Paxil not available

at Pharmacies GSK halted deliveries

Lexapro 40mgs

Lexapro taper (2years)

Imipramine

Imipramine and Celexa

Now Nefazadone/Imipramine 50mgs. each

45mgs. Serzone  50mgs. Imipramine

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  • Administrator

shebop, Lamictal is available in 5mg tablets. You'll need a prescription for this; you might ask your most cooperative doctor for a prescription for 25mg tablets and 5 5mg tablets per day, to take in divided doses (e.g. 20mg and 30mg).

 

Otherwise, compounded probably would be easiest.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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Rhi: My hypersensitivity is trying not to be triggered or react to your neuro-snarkiness. :) Like I was saying earlier, the acute panic symptoms have subsided, at least for now and when I think about it, it's probably been a week since I felt anything close to a panic attack out-of-the-blue. But, if I really started thinking about stuff, I could work myself up. Sunday all day was terrible and the night was even worse. I was despairing and hopeless. I dragged myself to a dinner with my partner and her friends whom I knew enough to feel sorta-comfortable. I did this both out of obligation to all the parties involved and in hopes that maybe it would be distracting and I could attempt to build a more meaningful friendship (in a sea of friendships that seem lack the intimacy and support that I crave). Anyway, the fogginess was ever-present and I lost track of what I was saying mid-sentence, forgot common words, had to slow my speed of talking so I could adequately form sentences, and felt like a kill-joy idiot the whole time. The social anxiety was obviously high and I felt ready to burst into tears at any moment. Derealization and jealousy that everyone else at dinner was having fun were definitely present. That night I thought that I wouldn't mind if I died in my sleep (I've had that thought many times in the past few years and often during the past several months).

 

I've felt oddly good for the past 3 days, and while the optimist in me wants to hope this means I'm over a hump, the pessimist/realist thinks that this probably won't last. But, a noted difference, is that my moods have not done this huge flip-flop like the have consistently been doing for the past several weeks. Sometimes, I think work helps me even though it's exhausting, because it gives me more structure and gets me out of self-analysis mode (although, I have to admit that I slip into it from time to time). I also think that a big thing that can dramatically help me feel better is just to feel connected to others. And while I haven't suddenly gotten understanding from friends or family, I do think this support group has helped me to feel less isolated. I have no idea why I've felt better but since over-analysis tends to lead me to a bad place, i try not to think about it too much. My hope is that the lower amount of Lamictal in my system might be making it better.

 

Nikki: Thanks for your post. In my research on female hormones, I've felt completely lost. It really seems so individual from woman-to-woman and it's been hard to wrap my head around. I have had thoughts that I'm just replacing the psych meds with hormones. I was just hoping to find a physical, underlying cause to everything and since my PMS was so terrible that seemed to point to some imbalance. I'm supposed to meet with my integrative dr who prescribed the oral progesterone tomorrow. I'll be getting my most-current labs and thyroid test results back. I'm hoping that my emotions won't sink after this meeting, which has happened the past few times.

 

Alto: Thanks for letting me know about the 5mg tabs! My pdoc (he just seems more and more clueless as time passes) made it sound as though 25mg was as low as they go. I'll see if I can get the integrative dr to give me a prescription. She's been in support of me getting off the drugs from the start.

1997- Started on SSRIs, many different kinds. Was tapered on and off of them due to lack of effectiveness and/or side effects until 2000ish.

2001 to 2006- Effexor, which despite tapering down lead to a terrible withdrawal and major depressive episode. Prozac early in this period and increased during withdrawal. Other meds were tried.

2006 to 2008-Lithium, Propanolol (to counteract side effects), on and off Prozac and benzos at varying doses. Tapered due to disturbing side effects.

2008 to present- Lamictal- for past year and a half have been titrating off of original dose of 200mg Lamictal, at 25 mg right now. Klonopin 1- 2mg at bedtime to sleep.

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Well, I crashed again today...not as bad as other times, but the little bit of joy/motivation I had the past few days has left the building. I feel like I should've finished more things that I needed to do when I can my little lapse of more energy and a better attitude.

 

I met with the dr today and she just kept pushing the neurotransmitter test results on me. I already feel like I wasted money on them and I've lost faith in any of the supplements, alternative treatments that I've been doing. I have to get a biopsy on the nodule on my thyroid due to it's size. The blood labs didn't have everything that was recommended by Karma on them because I didn't know what to ask for a few weeks ago since I hadn't read those parts of this site. I had a feeling that this dr's appointment would frustrate me, but I just wanted to get my results.

 

I am tired of thinking about all this. I don't want to be pulled into an obsession about it but it seems to be all I can think about. I have lost faith in finding doctors who can help me and not see me as crazy. I've already done a lot of research to find the doctors that I do have. I don't want to have to get more tests done and then just get more conflicting information. I don't want to spend my life reading medical journals constantly. I don't feel smart enough to understand everything and I think it's ridiculous that it seems as though I have to obtain a medical degree in order to understand the tests or my body. If if I understand things in the moment, it's hard for me to remember them later or communicate it to others. I feel so alone and like I don't belong anywhere. I question whether I even fit in this group. Some of you are so smart and I have a hard time digesting what is being said. I feel so unintelligent right now.

 

I CAN'T DO THIS ALONE.

 

I want face-to-face support but no one understands this invisible illness. My partner doesn't understand most of it. She tries, but she doesn't. In fact, she sees some of the symptoms of withdrawal and feels as though she has them, such as the forgetfulness, poor retention of information, moodiness, negative thoughts. And she's never been on any psych meds. I feel like a burden on her. I feel terrible for not offering more to her, to those around me, to this group.

 

Maybe this is just me. Maybe I really do have something wrong with my brain. Part of me can see that some of these thoughts seem irrational, but I'm having a hard time having hope when I feel bombarded and overwhelmed by new information. I've already cut out dairy and gluten from my diet, I've researched supplements and doctors, I know more about health than most of my friends. And I'm tired.

 

I'm sorry for all my negativity but I feel so angry and hopeless.

1997- Started on SSRIs, many different kinds. Was tapered on and off of them due to lack of effectiveness and/or side effects until 2000ish.

2001 to 2006- Effexor, which despite tapering down lead to a terrible withdrawal and major depressive episode. Prozac early in this period and increased during withdrawal. Other meds were tried.

2006 to 2008-Lithium, Propanolol (to counteract side effects), on and off Prozac and benzos at varying doses. Tapered due to disturbing side effects.

2008 to present- Lamictal- for past year and a half have been titrating off of original dose of 200mg Lamictal, at 25 mg right now. Klonopin 1- 2mg at bedtime to sleep.

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I feel a bit embarrassed by my last post which just reads like a big tantrum. I wish I could delete it.

 

When I'm neurologically fried, it's hard to absorb/sort what's going on in my head and any new information learned.

 

My moods have been all over the place today and I'm crashing even harder. I feel foolish and my moods are totally out-of-control. I had an argument with my partner and feel like a huge burden and disappointment.

 

The pharmacy has to order the 5mg tablets of Lamictal so I won't get them until Monday.

 

Is is possible to feel immense pain and numbness at the same time? Sometimes, I get this sense like I'm not inside my body and I have no idea why I'm crying. And then the judgement comes.

1997- Started on SSRIs, many different kinds. Was tapered on and off of them due to lack of effectiveness and/or side effects until 2000ish.

2001 to 2006- Effexor, which despite tapering down lead to a terrible withdrawal and major depressive episode. Prozac early in this period and increased during withdrawal. Other meds were tried.

2006 to 2008-Lithium, Propanolol (to counteract side effects), on and off Prozac and benzos at varying doses. Tapered due to disturbing side effects.

2008 to present- Lamictal- for past year and a half have been titrating off of original dose of 200mg Lamictal, at 25 mg right now. Klonopin 1- 2mg at bedtime to sleep.

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  • Administrator

shebop, it's okay to vent. We all do it sometimes.

 

Emotional lability -- yep, a withdrawal symptom.

 

Well, at least you'll have the 5mg tabs on Monday.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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Thanks, Alto.

1997- Started on SSRIs, many different kinds. Was tapered on and off of them due to lack of effectiveness and/or side effects until 2000ish.

2001 to 2006- Effexor, which despite tapering down lead to a terrible withdrawal and major depressive episode. Prozac early in this period and increased during withdrawal. Other meds were tried.

2006 to 2008-Lithium, Propanolol (to counteract side effects), on and off Prozac and benzos at varying doses. Tapered due to disturbing side effects.

2008 to present- Lamictal- for past year and a half have been titrating off of original dose of 200mg Lamictal, at 25 mg right now. Klonopin 1- 2mg at bedtime to sleep.

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  • Administrator

Hi Shebop,

 

Everyone on the forum is in a different place. Some of us have been working at coming off of antidepressants and working on our health issues for longer than others.

 

I didn't want to learn as much as I know about thyroid disorders or adrenal fatigue, but it was a matter of survival. I sure didn't start out that way. But for me every time I would start to regain my energy and my brain fog would clear the doctor would call and tell me I had to lower my thyroid dose. Then I would get depressed, feel fatigue and pain would come back in my tendons. It wasn't working for me so I researched, found other patient advocate groups and decided to discard my doctors recommendations in favor of feeling well.

 

Don't feel like you need to get a medical degree - don't feel like you have to become an expert. When you are ready to process information you can do some research so that you can have meaningful conversations with your care providers.

 

In the meantime, you can lean on others who have gone before you. Hang in there. You will get through this ... and you do fit in on this forum - we are glad to have you Posted Image.

 

Karma

2007 @ 375 mg Effexor - 11/29/2011 - 43.75 mg Effexor (regular) & .625 mg Xanax

200 mg Gabapentin 2/27/21 - 194.5 mg, 5/28/21 - 183 mg, 8/2/21 - 170 mg, 11/28/21 - 150 mg, 4/19/22 - 122 mg; 8//7/22 - 100 mg
Xanax taper: 3/11/12 - 0.9375 mg, 3/25/12 - 0.875 mg, 4/6/12 - 0.8125 mg, 4/18/12 - 0.75 mg; 1/16 0.6875 mg; at some point 0.625 mg
Effexor taper: 1/29/12 - 40.625 mg, 4/29/12 - 39.875 mg, 5/11/12 - Switched to liquid Effexor, 5/25/12 - 38 mg, 7/6/12 - 35 mg, 8/17/12 - 32 mg, 9/14/12 - 30 mg, 10/19/12 - 28 mg, 11/9/12 - 26 mg, 11/30/12 - 24 mg, 01/14/13 - 22 mg. 02/25/13 - 20.8 mg, 03/18/13 - 19.2 mg, 4/15/13 - 17.6 mg, 8/10/13 - 16.4 mg, 9/7/13 - 15.2 mg, 10/19/13 - 14 mg, 1/15/14 - 13.2 mg, 3/1/2014 - 12.6 mg, 5/4/14 - 12 mg, 8/1/14 - 11.4 mg, 8/29/14 - 10.8 mg; 10/14/14 - 10.2 mg; 12/15/14 - 10 mg, 1/11/15 - 9.5 mg, 2/8/15 - 9 mg, 3/21/15 - 8.5 mg, 5/1/15 - 8 mg, 6/9/15 - 7.5 mg, 7/8/15 - 7 mg, 8/22/15 - 6.5 mg, 10/4/15 - 6 mg; 1/1/16 - 5.6 mg; 2/6/16 - 5.2 mg; 4/9 - 4.8 mg; 7/7 4.5 mg; 10/7 4.25 mg; 11/4 4.0 mg; 11/25 3.8 mg; 4/24 3.6 mg; 5/27 3.4 mg; 7/8 3.2 mg ... 10/18 2.8 mg; 1/18 2.6 mg; 4/7 2.4 mg; 5/26 2.15mg; 8/18 1.85 mg; 10/7 1.7 mg; 12/1 1.45 mg; 3/2 1.2 mg; 5/4 0.90 mg; 6/1 0.80 mg; 6/22 0.65 mg; 08/03 0.50 mg, 08/10 0.45 mg, 10/05 0.325 mg, 11/23 0.2 mg, 12/14 0.15 mg, 12/21 0.125 mg, 02/28 0.03125 mg, 2/15 0.015625 mg, 2/29/20 0.00 mg - OFF Effexor


I am not a medical professional - this is not medical advice. My suggestions are based on personal experience, reading, observation and anecdotal information posted by other sufferers

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Thank you so much for your kind and encouraging reply, Karma!

 

Your positivity, strength, and intelligence which I've seen all throughout your posts on the forum are inspirational!

1997- Started on SSRIs, many different kinds. Was tapered on and off of them due to lack of effectiveness and/or side effects until 2000ish.

2001 to 2006- Effexor, which despite tapering down lead to a terrible withdrawal and major depressive episode. Prozac early in this period and increased during withdrawal. Other meds were tried.

2006 to 2008-Lithium, Propanolol (to counteract side effects), on and off Prozac and benzos at varying doses. Tapered due to disturbing side effects.

2008 to present- Lamictal- for past year and a half have been titrating off of original dose of 200mg Lamictal, at 25 mg right now. Klonopin 1- 2mg at bedtime to sleep.

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Hi Shebop,

 

Reading through your thread I find myself really empathizing with a lot of what you describe. I too was put on antidepressants initially for dysthymia. First it was Paxil, to which I had an awful reaction (anxiety and shakiness), and then Zoloft, which seemed to help. Eventually I found a good balance with Zoloft and Wellbutrin combined. But as with you, my diagnoses worsened while on medication. And when Zoloft stopped working I was tried on other stuff (after raising the dosage to stupidly high levels). Every time I tried to go off and felt bad, they would tell me I had to be on meds for the rest of my life. I tried Prozac (no real effect), Celexa (worked but made me a cold robot), Effexor (didn't really work but was so hard to get off of), among others. Wellbutrin was added because of the sexual side effects of Zoloft. One time I stopped taking Wellbutrin and felt awfully depressed. My psychiatrist at the time thought that was the one doing the most for me, though I had always thought it was the Zoloft. Now I don't know what helped or what I just adapted to and then needed to be "normal" (even as the positive effect wore off).

 

I too thought the chemical imbalance thing sounded plausible because I had always been extremely sensitive. I can fall apart at the smallest comment, and tend toward depression. And I also have a family history of depression and suicide attempts on both sides of the family. I personally do think different people have different balances of neurotransmitters and hormones that affect personality and mood (among so many other genetic and environmental factors). Some people by nature are just always cheerful and optimistic. Some people are more outgoing and some people are shy. The problem in my opinion with the "chemical imbalance" view is that it's not like there is one standard way of being and everything that is a deviation from that is an imbalance that can be fixed by a medication. It's way too simplistic a notion. It's as if you were a machine like a car and someone was like, oh, you just are out of oil, we're going to add some more of that and you'll work fine. The brain is too damn complicated, and there is such a subtle balance of functions affected by, among other things, neurotransmitters. So maybe you add some more serotonin or dopamine, and maybe that seems to help a bit, but then it takes something else out of balance. I think, after years of taking these meds, which are like using a hatchet to do complex surgery, you end up screwing with your nervous system. Your brain tries to adapt to what is an unnatural situation... then when you try to remove the element it's tried so hard to adapt to, things go haywire. In your case it sounds like the meds never even helped at all to begin with!

 

Your description of yourself as "shy, sad, and perfectionist" is just like me. And I also have horrible PMS and cramps. Taking meds for me took away some of the oversensitivity. But I don't know at what point I just needed the meds because I was trying to evade withdrawal. I've been off all meds now for one year and a half, and though it has been a winding and difficult path, I feel I'm in a better place than I was, in some respects, even when I was on meds. My usual pattern was feeling like I was alive again for the first time in a long time, feeling pain, or just plain feeling, when first going off meds. And then being hit by extreme anxiety (like nothing I'd ever felt before meds, though I am naturally a kind of anxious person who overthinks everything), depression, depersonalization, anhedonia... feeling like I had died and gone to some horrible limbo. Something completely "unnatural", worse than anything I had ever experienced before meds.

 

I really understand what you say about reading stuff on here and feeling even more anxious, especially at the thought that the recovery might be a long journey. I was going through such a nightmarish time when I first found this site that reading other people's stories on here sank me into horrible dread and fear. I didn't think I could take a day more of what I was going through, let alone a week, month, year! Yet here I am, I've slowly healed, I feel more normal than I have since I quit meds. And in some ways, I feel more in control, more able to cope, more self-accepting and less worried about other people's judgement, than I ever have. I'm a sensitive person. So what? I'm a perfectionist. So what? I take longer to do things. So what? These are also some of my best qualities. I'm convinced now that I'm never going to take antidepressants again, and that I can find ways of coping with my natural tendencies that are much healthier and long-lasting. Exercise, meditation, good nutrition, therapy...

 

I still am on the path to find answers... I've often wondered about my thyroid, though everything comes back normal, and about blood sugar issues. And hormonal issues as well (I'm 41 and think I'm at the very beginnings of perimenopause). I started feeling better in late March, early April, and I'm still not sure why. The new things I started taking, along with magnesium, were panax ginseng, something called Candida Clear, and sublingual vitamin B12. I also had finished my second cycle of taking Seriphos to try to lower my cortisol. First my depression cleared up. I went from wishing I could die and having no desire for anything to finding some things interesting and not thinking about suicide anymore. Nothing in my outer life changed... so I don't know if it was the new supplements or if I was just getting better anyway, or if my hormonal issues have abated for the time-being. The insomnia and AM anxiety and dread are still around, but MUCH lower and more manageable than before. Now with my father dying I'm suffering a bit of a setback, particularly with morning dread and back pain, but I'm amazed at how well I'm dealing with things. A few months ago I had much worse setbacks from much more minor events. I take this as a sign that my nervous system is finding its way to healing.

 

About the progesterone... I too have read about how high estrogen and low progesterone can be a culprit, but it doesn't seem right to me that they would prescribe that much progesterone for you when you tested within normal ranges (even though the whole "normal range" thing seems suspect in itself... normal for whom?). It seems to me a hatchet-like approach. I think it would be better to try to address it with phytotherapy or adaptogens or something gentler. And I don't know about the neurotransmitter tests, but it does seem suspect that the place that does the tests sells the expensive supplements. I guess if I were in your shoes I'd try to taper off all the stuff I was on... but SLOWLY! (And maybe one at a time?)

 

In any case, welcome to the forum, and don't lose hope! I quit cold turkey, and I think it would have been much better to taper, but even I, who was on meds for over 15 years and quit cold turkey, am getting better! Come up with a plan and hang in there. Try to suspend judgment, or just let it roll by. Try meditating and going for a walk every morning, and no matter how messy it all seems or how poorly you think you are doing, just keep going. Your mind and body have the power to heal.

 

Nadia

'94-'08 On/off ADs. Mostly Zoloft & Wellbutrin, but also Prozac, Celexa, Effexor, etc.
6/08 quit Z & W after tapering, awful anxiety 3 mos. later, reinstated.
11/10 CTed. Severe anxiety 3 mos. later & @ 8 mos. much worse (set off by metronidazole). Anxiety, depression, anhedonia, DP, DR, dizziness, severe insomnia, high serum AM cortisol, flu-like feelings, muscle discomfort.
9/11-9/12 Waves and windows of recovery.
10/12 Awful relapse, DP/DR. Hydrocortisone?
11/12 Improved fairly quickly even though relapse was one of worst waves ever.

1/13 Best I've ever felt.

3/13 A bit of a relapse... then faster and shorter waves and windows.

4/14 Have to watch out for triggers, but feel completely normal about 80% of the time.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Nadia,

 

Thank you so much for your thoughtful and thorough response!

 

I just finished with a "technology fast" so I'm just now checking in. I've also been feeling very fatigued for the past few weeks and then like I was coming down with a virus. Really unmotivated, hypersensitive, tearful, and depressed the last couple days.

 

I read your story and related a lot to it also ( I can't remember if I commented on your story or not.) It really does help give me a sense of hope to hear that you're feeling better than before you were on meds. I'm really, truly happy for you too!

 

I do think that some of the antidepressants and mood stabilizers did work for me at first....the ones I remember being effective in the beginning were Prozac, Effexor, Wellbutrin, and Lithium. I wonder if there was any placebo effect in these or others as it was always hard to tell a major difference. I remember that the Lithium was notably effective in that it seemed to help pull me out of the depression that set in following my Effexor taper....I mostly remember this as feedback received from my therapist at that time.

 

I'm still holding at 25mg of Lamictal and taking Klonopin as needed--although when I took several days off work, I haven't needed to take a full 1 mg to get to sleep at night. I decided to stop seeing the integrative dr who was working with me on the hormone stuff, since she seemed so pushy and I just lost my trust in her. I switched back to my PCP integrative doctor whose bed-side manner is much gentler. This dr is telling me that I should probably get off the progesterone completely. I did decrease the progesterone to 100mg for the 2 weeks before my period around May 8th. My dr didn't think I needed to taper it any slower but I probably should have. I felt like after a couple days I already felt a bit better (less moody and tearful, easier time falling asleep). But, like I wrote earlier, the past couple days have been rough. I think that it's mainly because this is a hard time of year for me, grief-wise, because of Mother's Day, my mother's birthday and the anniversary of her death all within 3 weeks of each other. And I'm also more anxious that I want to admit about getting the biopsy of my thyroid nodule...my appointment isn't for a couple more weeks.

 

That seems to be all I can write, right now. I'm having such a hard time focusing and I'm so tired. I'm going to try to pick this up later and write a few more things.

 

-Shebop

1997- Started on SSRIs, many different kinds. Was tapered on and off of them due to lack of effectiveness and/or side effects until 2000ish.

2001 to 2006- Effexor, which despite tapering down lead to a terrible withdrawal and major depressive episode. Prozac early in this period and increased during withdrawal. Other meds were tried.

2006 to 2008-Lithium, Propanolol (to counteract side effects), on and off Prozac and benzos at varying doses. Tapered due to disturbing side effects.

2008 to present- Lamictal- for past year and a half have been titrating off of original dose of 200mg Lamictal, at 25 mg right now. Klonopin 1- 2mg at bedtime to sleep.

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  • Administrator

Hey Shebop,

 

You might want to try tapering Progesterone at 25 mg a week if you need to reduce the dose your taking. Just like with antidepressants, doctors don't seem to understand when we need to taper hormones or medicines. Better to taper and be safe than stop cold turkey and be sorry.

 

Chances are your thyroid nodule will be benign, only about 5% of thyroid nodules are cancerous. So, clearly, the odds are in your favor.

 

Love and light,

Karma

2007 @ 375 mg Effexor - 11/29/2011 - 43.75 mg Effexor (regular) & .625 mg Xanax

200 mg Gabapentin 2/27/21 - 194.5 mg, 5/28/21 - 183 mg, 8/2/21 - 170 mg, 11/28/21 - 150 mg, 4/19/22 - 122 mg; 8//7/22 - 100 mg
Xanax taper: 3/11/12 - 0.9375 mg, 3/25/12 - 0.875 mg, 4/6/12 - 0.8125 mg, 4/18/12 - 0.75 mg; 1/16 0.6875 mg; at some point 0.625 mg
Effexor taper: 1/29/12 - 40.625 mg, 4/29/12 - 39.875 mg, 5/11/12 - Switched to liquid Effexor, 5/25/12 - 38 mg, 7/6/12 - 35 mg, 8/17/12 - 32 mg, 9/14/12 - 30 mg, 10/19/12 - 28 mg, 11/9/12 - 26 mg, 11/30/12 - 24 mg, 01/14/13 - 22 mg. 02/25/13 - 20.8 mg, 03/18/13 - 19.2 mg, 4/15/13 - 17.6 mg, 8/10/13 - 16.4 mg, 9/7/13 - 15.2 mg, 10/19/13 - 14 mg, 1/15/14 - 13.2 mg, 3/1/2014 - 12.6 mg, 5/4/14 - 12 mg, 8/1/14 - 11.4 mg, 8/29/14 - 10.8 mg; 10/14/14 - 10.2 mg; 12/15/14 - 10 mg, 1/11/15 - 9.5 mg, 2/8/15 - 9 mg, 3/21/15 - 8.5 mg, 5/1/15 - 8 mg, 6/9/15 - 7.5 mg, 7/8/15 - 7 mg, 8/22/15 - 6.5 mg, 10/4/15 - 6 mg; 1/1/16 - 5.6 mg; 2/6/16 - 5.2 mg; 4/9 - 4.8 mg; 7/7 4.5 mg; 10/7 4.25 mg; 11/4 4.0 mg; 11/25 3.8 mg; 4/24 3.6 mg; 5/27 3.4 mg; 7/8 3.2 mg ... 10/18 2.8 mg; 1/18 2.6 mg; 4/7 2.4 mg; 5/26 2.15mg; 8/18 1.85 mg; 10/7 1.7 mg; 12/1 1.45 mg; 3/2 1.2 mg; 5/4 0.90 mg; 6/1 0.80 mg; 6/22 0.65 mg; 08/03 0.50 mg, 08/10 0.45 mg, 10/05 0.325 mg, 11/23 0.2 mg, 12/14 0.15 mg, 12/21 0.125 mg, 02/28 0.03125 mg, 2/15 0.015625 mg, 2/29/20 0.00 mg - OFF Effexor


I am not a medical professional - this is not medical advice. My suggestions are based on personal experience, reading, observation and anecdotal information posted by other sufferers

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Karma, thanks again for your insight and support.

 

I think I'm having a withdrawal reaction from cutting the progesterone too quickly...but I'm hoping that it's stabilizing. I'm not sure if this definitely the cause but I've had a lot of GI issues and fatigue. And I definitely had the worst EVER (painful and long duration) of menstrual cramps the day prior to ovulation and I've had some random (but much less intense) cramping on other days throughout my cycle. But my mood has generally been much better.

 

I plan to stay at this dose of progesterone until the cramping stabilizes. What frequency do you recommend for the progesterone taper? I understand that I need to stabilize at each dose but what is the fastest that would you recommend? Does tapering on a monthly basis make sense?

 

Thank you for your feedback,

 

shebop

1997- Started on SSRIs, many different kinds. Was tapered on and off of them due to lack of effectiveness and/or side effects until 2000ish.

2001 to 2006- Effexor, which despite tapering down lead to a terrible withdrawal and major depressive episode. Prozac early in this period and increased during withdrawal. Other meds were tried.

2006 to 2008-Lithium, Propanolol (to counteract side effects), on and off Prozac and benzos at varying doses. Tapered due to disturbing side effects.

2008 to present- Lamictal- for past year and a half have been titrating off of original dose of 200mg Lamictal, at 25 mg right now. Klonopin 1- 2mg at bedtime to sleep.

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  • Administrator

Karma, thanks again for your insight and support.

 

I think I'm having a withdrawal reaction from cutting the progesterone too quickly...but I'm hoping that it's stabilizing. I'm not sure if this definitely the cause but I've had a lot of GI issues and fatigue. And I definitely had the worst EVER (painful and long duration) of menstrual cramps the day prior to ovulation and I've had some random (but much less intense) cramping on other days throughout my cycle. But my mood has generally been much better.

 

I plan to stay at this dose of progesterone until the cramping stabilizes. What frequency do you recommend for the progesterone taper? I understand that I need to stabilize at each dose but what is the fastest that would you recommend? Does tapering on a monthly basis make sense?

 

Thank you for your feedback,

 

shebop

 

Tapering on a monthly basis would be a good conservative rate. If you weren't also dealing with antidepressants sensitivities you could probably taper on a weekly basis, but with antidepressant withdrawal playing a part in this it is probably safer to try it on a monthly basis.

 

Karma

2007 @ 375 mg Effexor - 11/29/2011 - 43.75 mg Effexor (regular) & .625 mg Xanax

200 mg Gabapentin 2/27/21 - 194.5 mg, 5/28/21 - 183 mg, 8/2/21 - 170 mg, 11/28/21 - 150 mg, 4/19/22 - 122 mg; 8//7/22 - 100 mg
Xanax taper: 3/11/12 - 0.9375 mg, 3/25/12 - 0.875 mg, 4/6/12 - 0.8125 mg, 4/18/12 - 0.75 mg; 1/16 0.6875 mg; at some point 0.625 mg
Effexor taper: 1/29/12 - 40.625 mg, 4/29/12 - 39.875 mg, 5/11/12 - Switched to liquid Effexor, 5/25/12 - 38 mg, 7/6/12 - 35 mg, 8/17/12 - 32 mg, 9/14/12 - 30 mg, 10/19/12 - 28 mg, 11/9/12 - 26 mg, 11/30/12 - 24 mg, 01/14/13 - 22 mg. 02/25/13 - 20.8 mg, 03/18/13 - 19.2 mg, 4/15/13 - 17.6 mg, 8/10/13 - 16.4 mg, 9/7/13 - 15.2 mg, 10/19/13 - 14 mg, 1/15/14 - 13.2 mg, 3/1/2014 - 12.6 mg, 5/4/14 - 12 mg, 8/1/14 - 11.4 mg, 8/29/14 - 10.8 mg; 10/14/14 - 10.2 mg; 12/15/14 - 10 mg, 1/11/15 - 9.5 mg, 2/8/15 - 9 mg, 3/21/15 - 8.5 mg, 5/1/15 - 8 mg, 6/9/15 - 7.5 mg, 7/8/15 - 7 mg, 8/22/15 - 6.5 mg, 10/4/15 - 6 mg; 1/1/16 - 5.6 mg; 2/6/16 - 5.2 mg; 4/9 - 4.8 mg; 7/7 4.5 mg; 10/7 4.25 mg; 11/4 4.0 mg; 11/25 3.8 mg; 4/24 3.6 mg; 5/27 3.4 mg; 7/8 3.2 mg ... 10/18 2.8 mg; 1/18 2.6 mg; 4/7 2.4 mg; 5/26 2.15mg; 8/18 1.85 mg; 10/7 1.7 mg; 12/1 1.45 mg; 3/2 1.2 mg; 5/4 0.90 mg; 6/1 0.80 mg; 6/22 0.65 mg; 08/03 0.50 mg, 08/10 0.45 mg, 10/05 0.325 mg, 11/23 0.2 mg, 12/14 0.15 mg, 12/21 0.125 mg, 02/28 0.03125 mg, 2/15 0.015625 mg, 2/29/20 0.00 mg - OFF Effexor


I am not a medical professional - this is not medical advice. My suggestions are based on personal experience, reading, observation and anecdotal information posted by other sufferers

Link to comment

 

Tapering on a monthly basis would be a good conservative rate. If you weren't also dealing with antidepressants sensitivities you could probably taper on a weekly basis, but with antidepressant withdrawal playing a part in this it is probably safer to try it on a monthly basis.

 

Karma

 

Thanks again, Karma. I will stick with the monthly plan for now.

 

I had the biopsy on my thyroid nodule today. It was a pretty terrible experience with a surly doctor and I had a mini-breakdown (crying and minor anxiety attack) before they could take the last sample. They thought that they had gotten enough samples, so we just ended there. Due to the procedure, I wasn't able to breath or swallow deeply which took away the major coping skill I was planning on using. Anyway, I'm really glad that it's over.

 

I really wish there existed a comprehensive medical center that specialized in dealing with sensitive/anxious people. I can be a really good advocate for others in the medical setting but when I'm not feeling well and I'm anxious, it's hard to be objective and focused enough to ask the right questions and request the respect that I deserve.

1997- Started on SSRIs, many different kinds. Was tapered on and off of them due to lack of effectiveness and/or side effects until 2000ish.

2001 to 2006- Effexor, which despite tapering down lead to a terrible withdrawal and major depressive episode. Prozac early in this period and increased during withdrawal. Other meds were tried.

2006 to 2008-Lithium, Propanolol (to counteract side effects), on and off Prozac and benzos at varying doses. Tapered due to disturbing side effects.

2008 to present- Lamictal- for past year and a half have been titrating off of original dose of 200mg Lamictal, at 25 mg right now. Klonopin 1- 2mg at bedtime to sleep.

Link to comment

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