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dove: my psychiatric journey

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dove

I will try to resume my whole psychiatric story. I started taking Risperdal for the first time when I was 18, they prescribed it to me without any clear diagnose. I was socially isolated and I didn´t know why, that´s the reason I went to the psychiatrist, I think at that time I didn´t have depression (maybe I was just "a bit sad") but Risperdal induced it to me, it was a terrible experience with suicidal thoughts included. I took it only for three months and then left it, without tapering.

 

Then my doctor decided I had obsessive-compulsive disorder and she put me on Seroxat, I took it for a year in which my depressive episode was healed. The circumstances lead me to suddenly stop taking it, I had an unpleasant withdrawal, this time I didn´t have any psychical symtoms but apparently depression came back. I stayed seven months with this depression until I decided to start medicating myself again. I went to another doctor, after analysing me I was diagnosed "negative symtoms" of schizophrenia because of my problems to socialize and I was medicated for that.

 

I was prescribed another neuroleptic, Solian 200 (amisulpride) which is not aproved in the USA, but it is here in Europe. At this time I was 20 years old, I took Solian for six months and I felt better again, my depression was over (but I didn´t feel euphoric or something). Then, I made the worst decission of my life: I changed doctor again. This doctor wasn´t very kind and I remember he used to boast about the things he knew and sometimes he made me feel I was stupid. He, with his knowledge, decided to take my medication off without tapering,

 

I had a terrible withdrawal which I am still on. Just after leaving it I had a lot of physical symtoms such as: stomachache, dizziness and insomnia, my question is how much do they usually last? I had them for two months, is this normal? I will try to make more questions in another post.

Edited by scallywag
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Skyler

I will try to resume my whole psychiatric story.

I started taking Risperdal for the first time when I was 18, they prescribed it to me without any clear diagnose.

I was socially isolated and I didn´t know why, that´s the reason I went to the psychiatrist, I think at that time I didn´t have depression (maybe I was just "a bit sad") but Risperdal induced it to me, it was a terrible experience with suicidal thoughts included. I took it only for three months and then left it, without tapering.

Then my doctor decided I had obsessive-compulsive disorder and she put me on Seroxat, I took it for a year in which my depressive episode was healed.

The circumstances lead me to suddenly stop taking it, I had an unpleasant withdrawal, this time I didn´t have any psychical symtoms but apparently depression came back.

I stayed seven months with this depression until I decided to start medicating myself again. I went to another doctor, after analysing me I was diagnosed "negative symtoms" of schizophrenia because of my problems to socialize and I was medicated for that. I was prescribed another neuroleptic, Solian 200 (amisulpride) which is not aproved in the USA, but it is here in Europe. At this time I was 20 years old, I took Solian for six months and I felt better again, my depression was over (but I didn´t feel euphoric or something).

Then, I made the worst decission of my life: I changed doctor again.

This doctor wasn´t very kind and I remember he used to boast about the things he knew and sometimes he made me feel I was stupid. He, with his knowledge, decided to take my medication off without tapering, I had a terrible withdrawal which I am still on. Just after leaving it I had a lot of physical symtoms such as: stomachache, dizziness and insomnia, my question is how much do they usually last? I had them for two months, is this normal? I will try to make more questions in another post.

 

Hi Dove, what a dreadful story. Unfortunately, as you have probably learned, not uncommon. The second psychiatrist was dreadful and set you up for what you are experiencing. I'm not the person to give you the best advice on this, but someone will be along shortly to give you an answer about where best to go from here.

 

For now I want to say hello, and welcome.. you landed in a good place. There is a lot of expertise here, and you will get help.

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Altostrata

Hello, dove, welcome.

 

Are you off amisulpride for only 2 months? Do you have any tablets left?

 

If you find your current doctor cruel, if I were you I'd immediately start to find another doctor.

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dove

No, I didn´t explain this well. I had pychosomatic symtoms for two months and then depression came back and it has been 3 years from that, obviously I left that doctor and now I am going to another one. I am still recovering from amisulpride withdrawal.

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Altostrata

It's been 3 years? What are your symptoms now?

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dove

Well, they have changed during this years, now I am much better than I used to be, that´s why I have finally decided to write here.

The worst of my symtoms have been: suicidal thoughts, anhedonia, emotional indifference (the typical depressive symtoms) and not sleeping well, this night for example I woke up at six and I couln´t go back to sleep.

In addition, what I hadn´t told you is that now I am medicated with Strattera (an ADD medication) because my diagnose changed from schizophrenia (what the other doctor told me) to ADD( now I go to a doctor in the capital city, in Madrid).

Strattera helped a bit at the begining, I felt quite better comparing to the hell I had experienced during the first withdrawal year (of amisulpride)in which I was given all kind of medications (Abilify, Prozac, metylphenidate, sertraline...) and nothing seemed to work, is it possible it was tolerance? I have read the article about it and it coincides.

I hope you can give me advise of what to do, I don´t know wether to continue with Strattera or not.

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dove

Ah, and I forgot irritability which I still have! :angry:

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Barbarannamated

Hi Dove. I just read your history. You've been through alot, but have gotten off of several drugs, so CONGRATS on that! Definitely do not stop Stattera/atomoxetine cold turkey. It is a norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor and hopefully will be more straightforward than an SS/NRI. Stand by for taper advice.

Welcome to the group. It's encouraging to read your story and successful discontinuations. I would call you a success story even though you may not feel that way yet!

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Rhiannon

Well, they have changed during this years, now I am much better than I used to be, that´s why I have finally decided to write here.

The worst of my symtoms have been: suicidal thoughts, anhedonia, emotional indifference (the typical depressive symtoms) and not sleeping well, this night for example I woke up at six and I couln´t go back to sleep.

In addition, what I hadn´t told you is that now I am medicated with Strattera (an ADD medication) because my diagnose changed from schizophrenia (what the other doctor told me) to ADD( now I go to a doctor in the capital city, in Madrid).

Strattera helped a bit at the begining, I felt quite better comparing to the hell I had experienced during the first withdrawal year (of amisulpride)in which I was given all kind of medications (Abilify, Prozac, metylphenidate, sertraline...) and nothing seemed to work, is it possible it was tolerance? I have read the article about it and it coincides.

I hope you can give me advise of what to do, I don´t know wether to continue with Strattera or not.

 

I think probably the reason the other medications you were given during withdrawal did not work is because there are no medications that really work to fix withdrawal. This is especially true in a case like yours, where someone was started on psychiatric drugs at an early age (while the brain is still not mature) and then has been on and off a variety of meds.

 

What is happening is, your brain's chemistry has been messed up by the drugs, and what it needs is time to heal itself. This can take a long time, as you have seen. Our brains have evolved over hundreds of millions of years. Never, during that time, have brains encountered anything that messes up their chemistry like these drugs do. So they don't have very good ways of fixing the damage.

 

If it was a broken bone--thousands of millions of years of evolution have designed very good ways to heal broken bones. But not broken brains, not when they are broken in the way these drugs break them.

 

So adding new drugs does not fix them. It just confuses the chemistry more.

 

Strattera is a stimulant, so it is probably contributing to your anxiety and sleep problems. In his book Your Drug May Be Your Problem, Dr. Peter Breggin says, referring to the ADD drugs like Strattera, "In my published report and my presentations to the conference I specifically warned about an unexpectedly high number of cases of stimulant-induced psychosis, aggression, and suicidality. Using an earlier version of the same data that the FDA recently relied upon--reports sent to it from various sources--by 1998 I had already found hundreds of psychiatric adverse drug reactions such as agitation, hostility, depression, psychotic depression, psychosis, hallucinations, emotional lability,, and abnormal thinking."

 

So it is possible that Strattera is contributing to your symptoms of suicidality and depression.

 

HOWEVER: IF YOU CHOOSE TO COME OFF STRATTERA AT SOME POINT YOU MUST TAPER SLOWLY AND CAREFULLY. Given your personal history you are at high risk for increased problems if you try to come off any psychiatric drug quickly, ever again.

 

Those are just my thoughts and opinions. Please gather all the information you can before taking any action regarding psych medication.

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Altostrata

I agree with Rhi.

 

Strattera and other ADD drugs are stimulants similar to methamphetamine. It could definitely be contributing to your sleep problems.

 

It's no surprise you feel it "helps." It's what we call legal "speed" in the U.S. Many, many people are addicted to illegal methamphetamine because it makes them feel energetic and competent. It's also been shown to elevate mood.

 

How much Strattera are you taking?

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dove

Now I am taking 60 mg in alternate days, I decided to do this when I felt it didn´t work anymore ( I felt this during some time but now I feel better again) I don´t know if it is Strattera or it is that my brain has healed a bit! I would like to believe the second.

What you say of addiction, I never felt I was addicted to Strattera although I think I was to amisulpride, could it be?

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Altostrata

How long have you been taking Strattera every other day? Do you feel any effect at all when you take it?

 

Yes, it is possible you are not physically dependent on Strattera but you were on amisulpride.

 

Information about Strattera: http://www.drugs.com/pro/strattera.html

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dove

I have been taking Strattera for 2 years and five months now, I think nowadays it isn´t working at all because I spent five months of hell in which new symtoms appeared and I felt it didn´t work at all... now I can´t tell if it is working or not, it is kind of weird because I feel the same as when it was working, maybe psychotherapy has helped a bit.

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Skyler

I agree with Rhi.

 

Strattera and other ADD drugs are stimulants similar to methamphetamine. It could definitely be contributing to your sleep problems.

 

It's no surprise you feel it "helps." It's what we call legal "speed" in the U.S. Many, many people are addicted to illegal methamphetamine because it makes them feel energetic and competent. It's also been shown to elevate mood.

 

How much Strattera are you taking?

 

Hi Dove, I had insomnia for years that began with a misdiagnosis and ritalin script, my first psychotropic. This led to benzo use because the pattern of poor sleep lasted after I went off. Also, in the immediate withdrawal phase from ritalin my appetite went absolutely nuts. On ritalin, I fell to 98 lbs, then within 3 months off, I went to 140.

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Altostrata

dove, how long have you been taking Strattera every other day? If it's been for more than 2 years, if I were you I might just stop taking it. It has a very short half-life and is wearing off between doses.

 

How is your mood now?

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dove

Do you mean stop taking it at all? But don´t you recomend to taper?

Another question, what do you mean exactly by waves and windows? I think that now the wave has passed and I am in a window, I feel much better than I used to (close to normal) although I still have some "low" days in which the main syntoms are: getting angry easily, irritability and easy crying (but this has nearly gone!)

On the other hand, I still sleep badly but I suppose it is because of Strattera.

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dove

Do you mean Strattera isn´t making any effect in my body? But I have some side effects of the drug...

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Altostrata

How long have you been taking it every other day?

 

What are the side effects you are feeling?

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dove

The main side effect is trouble sleeping but I have also gained some weight and I don´t know if it is atomoxetine (in the information leaflet doesn´t appear.

 

I took atomoxetine 60 mg for two years, but maybe I should mention that after a year it suddenly stopped working for a while, it was a kind of "warning" that in the future it wouldn´be working, at that time I didn´t try to leave it although I had in mind that I wanted amisulpride, I even asked for it repeatedly... it was horrible because they always denied it two me.

Hopefully, Strattera started working again ( that was just two months of hell)and everything went ok again but when I had been taking it for two years it stopped working, I´ ve had five months of horrible deppression and now I feel better, but it has been tough this time.

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Altostrata

Have you been taking Strattera every other day for 2 years? How much are you taking now?

 

It could definitely be causing trouble sleeping, particularly on the days you take it.

 

All of these drugs affect our metabolism somehow. It may increase the tendency to weight gain in some people, but it's hard to tell.

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dove

I have searched information and it appears everywhere that Strattera can cause weight loss and that it decreases appetite, this sounds strange to me because in my case it has increased my appetite specially for sweets and I am still gaining weight, if you add to this that it isn´t doing much therapeutical effect...

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dove

With Seroxat I gained a lot of weight too, but with Solian (which is supposed to produce weight gain) I didn´t.

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Nikki

Hi Dove...just wanted to say hello. Feel for you. I do not have experience with the drugs you have mentioned. With the meds I have taken I have had many of the symptoms you mentioned. We can all relate.

 

You are in the right place....

 

Nikki

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Skyler

I have searched information and it appears everywhere that Strattera can cause weight loss and that it decreases appetite, this sounds strange to me because in my case it has increased my appetite specially for sweets and I am still gaining weight, if you add to this that it isn´t doing much therapeutical effect...

 

Hi Dove.. I had weight loss from taking Ritalin years ago, I went down to 100 lbs from 130, then on coming off the drug ct, I regained 40 lbs in several months. Your weight gain could be related to the every other day dosing if you are having withdrawal between doses, a real possibility.

 

Could you give your med history for Strattera.. how long did you take it every day, and specifically, when did you go to every other day dosing. Knowing when you went from daily to every other is important because otherwise it's difficult to get an understanding of how the drug is effecting you.

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dove

Of course Schuyler,

 

I took strattera 60 mg for two years (november 2009- beginning of 2012 aprox). In december 2010 I had a "relapse" in depression (strattera suddenly stopped working) but it lasted three months and I decided to continue taking it until beginning of 2012, when I started taking it only every other day.

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Altostrata

dove, now I understand you've been taking Strattera every other day for about 4 months.

 

When you started taking it every other day, did you feel better or worse, or the same?

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dove

Surprisingly better!

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Altostrata

Looking at Strattera pharmacokinetics http://www.drugs.com/pro/strattera.html , I see now that Strattera itself has a half-life of about 5.2 hours, but it has a couple of active metabolites with half-lives of 6 to 8 hours, and has an effect over about 24 hours.

 

If I were you, I would cut my Strattera dosage in half and see what kind of effect it has. If no bad symptoms, take 1/2 every other day for 2 weeks, then 1/4 dose every other day for 2 weeks, then stop.

 

(This is the only situation where I would advise taking a drug every other day!!! since you have already been doing this without ill effects, just side effects from Strattera.)

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dove

This week I ´ve been having trouble sleeping, several days I woke up at six in the morning and couldn´t go back to sleep! It happened the days I took Strattera and it is disgusting.

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dove

I don´t know wether to consider this an "ill effect" or just side effect.

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Skyler

I don´t know wether to consider this an "ill effect" or just side effect.

 

The difference sounds rhetorical? But you made the decision to get off, so Bonza to you. Now all you need to do is develop and follow your 'plan'. Awrightt. Posted Image

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Altostrata

It's an adverse effect and an indication that reducing Strattera may be a good idea.

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Skyler

It's an adverse effect and an indication that reducing Strattera may be a good idea.

 

Alto is right. Sorry if I was too oblique. I put up with the sort of symptoms you are describing for 3 years before I ditched an all too similar med. It did a great deal of harm. Ditch the stuff at a reasonable speed. It's not doing anything positive for you. ~S

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dove

I can´t do that if the doctor doesn´t give me permission, I can´t buy another dose or something, I feel trapped!

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Skyler

I can´t do that if the doctor doesn´t give me permission, I can´t buy another dose or something, I feel trapped!

 

Hold on for Alto here.. there are a number of ways you may be able to cut down without your doc changing the script.

 

~S

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Altostrata

Using a sharp knife, cut a tablet into 2 pieces. Take 1 piece (1/2 dose) on your every-other-day schedule for 3-4 weeks.

 

Then, cut tablets into 4 pieces. Take 1 piece (1/4 dose) on your every-other-day schedule for 3-4 weeks.

 

Then take no Strattera.

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