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UKpolarEngineer

Hello,

 

So I was switched from one Anti-Psychotic{s} (AP{s}) Zyprexa [Olanzapine], to another AP Abilify [Aripiprazole]. I decided to stop taking the medication between the switch as I've only been on Zyprexa for 3 months. APs have left my head as scrambled eggs and I cannot function clearly on them. Much too much Zombie.

 

November I was put in hospital for a breakdown, given 5mg -> 7.5mg ->10mg Zyprexa over a month. Since leaving Hospital I agreed with a GP to reduce down to 5mg in one fell swoop, not knowing that this is actually very risky - since that point my sleep is not good; I seem to get only 3 hours per night and spend the remainder tossing, turning and feeling so incredibly low about life... It has been driving me slightly loopy.

I reduced to 3.75/2.5mg (however I could cut them up semi-accurately) for one week and have now run out of Zyprexa except 2x 5mg tablets as the Dr switched me over and the supply ran out, so tapering is not an option....

 

Before I start a different AP I have decided to just stop taking APs while I have support in a family setting. I am unsure what the cut-down from 3.75mg to nothing will do to me after 3 months going from 5-7.5-10-5-3.75/2.5mg supply. I am extremely concerned having read countless horror stories. 

 

My breakdown in hospital was drug/alcohol induced but I lied about it and ended up on medication probably unsuited; I was just high and drunk. I do not feel like I have bipolarity, I do feel that the medication has made me zombified (anhedonic [sp*?]) and I am not myself anymore. Before the timeline gets too long I wanted to just stop and escape the trap of Pharma and APs. I wanted to try SSRIs for my lack of motivation especially after abuse of Cannabis (before hospital 2g/day of the super strong stuff) or just normalise without any medication to see if I can cope. The APs make it incredibly difficult to work effectively and I have been off work for too long to take something that will make concentration so difficult.

 

This is a risk as I am unsure what the effect will be. So far I have Constipation and Amnesia after 3 hours every night. At 10mg I was sleeping most of the night; but the fallout in the mornings was awful.

 

I have 7 days of sleeping pills prescribed to help me sleep - i might space them out to try and get a good nights rest every several days as I'm unsure if the GP (UK Doctor) will give me more.

 

Any advice from people for me. I am taking a risk I feel but I do not know if there is another route out without prescriptions for the medicines to taper off.

So the task is:

~3mg Zyprexa to 0mg (or use the 2x 5mg tablets somehow)

7x sleeping pills.

Amnesia & constipation - early morning depression from 3am to 2pm.

 

All advice welcome.

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UKpolarEngineer

I'm going to use this as a log for resources that do sometimes help. Many resources are positive to just watch in the morning to feel less alone or feel there are others out there experiencing/who have experienced something similar.

 

This guy is very honest and open about his experiences.

 

 

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Gridley

Welcome to SA, UKpolarEngineer.

 

Is is possible to get a prescription for more Zyprexa from your doctor? I know your desire is to be off the drugs, but we don't recommend cold turkeying psychiatric medicines.  If you can get more Zyprexa, I would recommend holding at 2.5mg for at least a month to stabilize.  It is important to take the same dose at the same time every day.  Then, once you've stabilized (which means symptoms are tolerable and don't change wildly from day to day) you can begin a taper.  We recommend tapering by no more that 10% of current dose every four weeks.  Yes, this lengthens the timeline you'll be on the drug, but a taper will spare you the worst of withdrawal symptoms.

 

Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

 

The reduction from 10mg to 5mg was very fast, causing the withdrawal symptoms you described.  Depression and insomnia are common in withdrawal.

 

What is withdrawal syndrome.

 

This link is specifically about tapering Zyprexa.  If you are able to get more Zyprexa and can taper, I urge you to read it carefully.

 

Tips for tapering off olanzapine (Zyprexa)

 

Anhedonia is a common withdrawal symptom, and zombie-like feelings are typical of this drug.

 

We don't recommend a lot of supplements on SA, as many members report being sensitive to them due to our over-reactive nervous systems, but two supplements that we do recommend are magnesium and omega 3 (fish oil). Many people find these to be calming to the nervous system. 

 

Magnesium, nature's calcium channel blocker 

 

Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil) 

 

Add in one at a time and at a low dose in case you do experience problems.

 

Your central nervous system is very sensitized from the fast taper.  You should avoid alcohol and cannabis.

 

Watching videos such as the one you posted is a good idea.  We strongly recommend using non-drug techniques to cope with withdrawal and a sensitized central nervous system.  Take a look at the links in the following link and see which you think might be of benefit to you.

 

Non-drug techniques to cope

 

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

 

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UKpolarEngineer

Hi Gridley,

 

First Thank you for your response, and your hard work toward this community - it is inspiring and I would like to help people out where I can also.

 

I do not think I can get more medication at current. I was switched onto Abilify 5mg a few days ago which I am just too worried to start taking as more APs are worrying me endlessly. I was holding onto hope that 3 months on OLz would not be too long on them to get off with some cleanliness... But it is not looking hopeful the more I read from everyone online. My insomnia already gives me 3 hours sleep limit. In a few days I worry the hell will begin once the halflife starts to damage my system more. 

 

The intention was that the Psychiatrist wanted me to switch medications over to something with less side effects but I don't think that's a truth with APs - I was unhappy with the Olanzapine but wish I'd never complained so I could keep tapering off one thing instead of changes happening. As it stands I have 2 pills of 5mg left. I might try to take 1/4 for 8 days. I am very uncertain if this is a good idea or if it will help but it may be better than nothing. 

 

I'm looking for a private Psychiatrist at significant cost (£350/hour) to possibly give me a prescription with OLz on it again in the next few days. I have been dragged off a bit too quickly and it seems that it is because the GP did not understand any of the risks associated. The Psychiatric Consultant also seems to not realise it's a demon drug.

 

I am in a tough spot now as no other GP in the UK will want to change what the Psychiatrist has prescribed and I will be facing OLz withdrawal with Abilify, or without it. (I think that is how it will work but unsure)

 

A plan might be to switch to Abilify and then taper off of that but that just seems confusing???

 

I have returned to stay with my parents which is tough at my age, and the rest of my life; job, mobility, partner - are all on rocky rocky ground. I foresee months of problems if this doesn't go well.

 

I was cutting up my pills into <5mg - 3/4 3.75 taking, then more like 2/3rd taking that, sometimes a 1/2 - it's been erratic. I had some flu like symptoms that have gone now but then the insomnia started. 

 

I really don't know what to do. My diet is healthy. I can't go number 2 for some reason except with great strain. I was spending all day in bed feeling sad but have started coming onto these forums instead; I can be supportive I thought. I am technically competent so I just read this stuff all day which worries me more unfortunately.

 

Currently I feel alright but it's only been 2 days since I stopped OLz! What will the next week show me, and after that...

 

History quick: Hospital in Nov 2019 due to huge Cannabis+Alcohol 10 day binge - I was a chronic user of Cannabis. The combination gave me a mental break and I drove the length of the country where I decided I had lost the plot and checked into a hospital explaining what I was doing (feeling chased and in danger), and then they held me there and gave me medication OLz. I was out in 1 month and then still taking the 10mg for a while then reduced to 5mg about 3 weeks ago. I had a drug induced psychotic break so I feel recovery time would have been best without the medication, but they just gave it to me anyway.

 

3 months and forced to stop taking them due to supply running out... very very concerning.

 

Any advice appreciated. I do not know what to do.

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Gridley
1 hour ago, UKpolarEngineer said:

I might try to take 1/4 for 8 days. I am very uncertain if this is a good idea or if it will help but it may be better than nothing

It's better than nothing.

 

1 hour ago, UKpolarEngineer said:

A plan might be to switch to Abilify and then taper off of that but that just seems confusing???

 

 Advising about switching drugs is outside what we do.

 

1 hour ago, UKpolarEngineer said:

I'm looking for a private Psychiatrist

 

 Tapering the Zyprexa is what I'd recommend if you can get a prescription.

 

1 hour ago, UKpolarEngineer said:

I foresee months of problems if this doesn't go well.

 

I would try to assume it will go well.  This not a pollyanna attitude.  Stress and worrying make withdrawal worse.

 

1 hour ago, UKpolarEngineer said:

3 months

 

It is greatly to your advantage that you were on it this short time.

 

I'm very sorry you find yourself in this situation.  A few suggestions: gentle walks in nature are helpful.  Avoid caffeine, alcohol, cannabis, sugar.  

 

 

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pinciukas

Hi mate and do you have cravings for drugs or alcohol? I have few addictions I was in the hospital years ago and so on. I know how it feels. I would recommend to visit Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. If you have addiction this will make your emotional health very unstable and bad. 

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UKpolarEngineer

Hi pinciukas - i do have cravings but I avoid any usage of drugs now. I smoke an occasional cigarette when there are drugs about to avoid taking drugs. I have a beer or two on a night out - it's pretty light usage. More than a few hurts the next day and can cause depression. Absolutely no weed - it causes panic attacks now.

 

I had a bad experience, then had a mental breakdown, ended up in hospital and was given OLz medication instead of a detox. 

 

i was using weed to self medicate depression for years before; I imagined it was working in my twisted mind at the time but really.... It was just a house of cards waiting to collapse and it did.

 

 

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UKpolarEngineer

Hi Gridley, 

I took any advice you could give out. I shouldn't ask for medication change advice; understood.

 

Abilify is what was recommended by my local specialist but I was wary to go on more medication when i could stop after 3 months. After 4 days I am only experiencing some tightness in my chest and insomnia; I get about 4 hours a night which i am trying to cope with. 

 

I wake up mainly depressed due to the disaster in my life I feel is happening due to being put on these drugs in the first place, I was really a cheery happy person before, but it is likely this is just a side effect of being on so much weed so often. 

 

Who i really am is what I am chasing without any drugs or medication in my system. 

 

I cannot motivate myself currently. If anyone has advice on making me get out of bed first thing I would appreciate it. I need some work to do as I have been told I cannot resume work after being in hospital for quite some time. I feel as though i will lose the job soon though.

 

BLESS! Everyone who is dealing with anything like this. I would not wish any of this stuff on the worst of enemies. It is scary to think about how much of this is prescribed just because there is profit to be made. I have been reading up on how the usage of these products seem to spiral into so many different uses... Using heavy duty drugs with so much fallout with no warnings, it's a conviction.

 

I'll keep reading and posting youtubers who have video series on mental health that can be soothing to watch. It's something to do while I have too much time from not being at work. 

 

Has anyone advice on how to work through the mind numbing effect of these drugs, I work technical and things have become difficult.

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UKpolarEngineer

Joanna has some really lovely quirky videos all about her experiences on APs and ACs. Very soothing watch when you wake up with insomnia.

 

 

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Gridley
9 minutes ago, UKpolarEngineer said:

I get about 4 hours a night which i am trying to cope with. 

 

Actually, that pretty good considering you're in withdrawal.  Just about all of us have sleep problems.

10 minutes ago, UKpolarEngineer said:

I have been reading up on how the usage of these products seem to spiral into so many different uses... Using heavy duty drugs with so much fallout with no warnings, it's a conviction.

 

You have a very good attitude and that will go a long way in helping you through this.  Lack of motivation is a very common WD symptom.  I know I have it myself.  I make an effort to what I can.

 

12 minutes ago, UKpolarEngineer said:

t's something to do while I have too much time from not being at work. 

 

Distraction is very important in dealing with WD.

13 minutes ago, UKpolarEngineer said:

Has anyone advice on how to work through the mind numbing effect of these drugs, I work technical and things have become difficult.

 

Time is the cure.  Numbing the mind is how these drugs do their job.

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UKpolarEngineer

Hi Gridley

 

Thank you for your responses always - I find them to be supportive and it's good to know I'm not alone.

 

Slight update:

My withdrawls are not bad currently. I only get 50% of the sleep i need but I think I am waking with panic about life problems and that is what keeps me awake after. I just toss and turn in bed afterwards which is tough. I still am at least getting 4 hours which I should be thankful for as any less would see me into madness I feel. The lacking 4 hours is still very very very annoying.

 

I am under heavy stress for other life things such as trying to see if I should return to work after such a long period of illness (almost 1yr 3 months - but I am insured for life if I don't return). My partner is having career problems so I am trying to support her also.

 

I read far far too many OLz horror stories online too and it has become an addiction that is not helping my mind but I cannot seem to stop researching. I read forums, watch youtube videos and further read all the comments on the videos trying to find out everything about what does and might happen to me during this forthcoming time. I pray which is something I haven't done since I was very young. 

 

I do have extreme lack of motivation to get up and get going as I have the ability to just sit in one place and there are no consequences, so the laptop becomes the window into OLz research. I'm finding this to be a real concern though as I really should be doing something with my life and every day is ticking by. I am repeatedly told to get better first, but I am always in too much of a hurry in my own mind and want things fixed yesterday in engineering fashion; biology is beyond my technical skill though.

 

I do not have psychosis, paranoid delusions or hallucinations, I don't think people are after me anymore since my initial delusion so no relapses. I am still stressed incredibly from all the life occurrences recently heavy on my mind. How to tackle such problems. Really I'm just depressed but I think it's normal due to the situation.

 

I'll keep posting videos from youtubers as they can be soothing and reassuring that we're not alone in our plights.

 

Hope everyone is having an ok Saturday.

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UKpolarEngineer

A person who forgot his medication on his honeymoon. Actually made me laugh which is something I have found harder to do since the medication..

 

 

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UKpolarEngineer

 

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Armorall

I'm confused. You say you've been out of work for 1 year and 3 months, but you only just took the meds last November from a breakdown?

Have you also contacted the Bristol tranquilizer project? 

 

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lxjuice

I think you could try coming clean to your GP and you might save a few bob on the private doctor. Tell them it was induced by drinking loads but you were too ashamed to admit it, so the episode was temporary but neither the hospital or the community psychiatrist knew. Also tell them you've had a hell of a time reducing the dose of olanzapine (go big on your withdrawal symptoms) and don't think you'll tolerate the switch to aripiprazole. Tell your GP you know you screwed up by not being honest but you think the best thing for the time being is to stay on a low dose of olanzapine. Your GP will likely put this all in a letter to the CMHT. Many GPs will give you some more olanzapine until they've heard back from the CMHT in this situation - it's only 2.5mg.

 

You're probably aware but all this rumination and research into medications isn't helping. Play some Apex or something!

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Rhiannon
36 minutes ago, lxjuice said:

I think you could try coming clean to your GP and you might save a few bob on the private doctor. Tell them it was induced by drinking loads but you were too ashamed to admit it, so the episode was temporary but neither the hospital or the community psychiatrist knew. Also tell them you've had a hell of a time reducing the dose of olanzapine (go big on your withdrawal symptoms) and don't think you'll tolerate the switch to aripiprazole. Tell your GP you know you screwed up by not being honest but you think the best thing for the time being is to stay on a low dose of olanzapine. Your GP will likely put this all in a letter to the CMHT. Many GPs will give you some more olanzapine until they've heard back from the CMHT in this situation - it's only 2.5mg.

 

You're probably aware but all this rumination and research into medications isn't helping. Play some Apex or something!

 I concur with this advice, also all of Gridley's excellent advice. This is very good advice about how to talk to your psychiatrist or GP. It would be really preferable if you could get that prescription for more olanzapine. It's not considered a drug of abuse so it might not be too hard to get that prescription if you explain about withdrawal and that you want to taper.

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UKpolarEngineer

Hi everyone,

 

I did come clean to the Doctors about the drugs and drinking abuse. I remember them taking on the information but they had a report saying I was manic from my time in hospital and they seemed to follow that. I tried to explain the instance of mania was from Drinking and Drugs but I think they still wanted me to take the APs. I was pretty unhappy with the decision and I couldn't understand why, I think during hospitalisation I was presenting mania because I believed I was still in a conspiracy theory; but the whole episode was short lived, I'd never had that reaction to substances before and now I'm clean from everything.

 

I only looked into what I had been given (abilify/Aripirazole) afterwards and when you read about this stuff on the internet you get quite worried about what it will do to your brain, I get very worried about doing more damage to the system as I feel it is harder to come back from it. As the insomnia is starting to really get to me I might be running out of options. I don't get psychotic episodes or psychosis, I'm generally pretty calm - i just have severe depression from the mess that life is currently with job and living concerns.

 

I was off work for 1 year+ due to severe depression & anxiety that I developed. I had some life trauma all at once and couldn't handle it. It was a downward spiral from there and I tried to medicate it with SSRIs. After a while I began self medicating using the Weed thinking that it was working, but it is just a bubble and I ended up heading towards a breakdown from it. I had completely given up at this point and felt there was no hope for me moving forwards. I feel pretty ashamed about the entire thing, at the time you don't realise what you are doing, only now is it apparent the consequences of giving into the initial depressive state and then trying to believe you know how to self medicate. I feel just stupid.

 

I have been trying to contact my Mental health support worker for five days, but she is not in contact with the rest of the team until tomorrow, all I get are some emails and no details of how I might contact anyone else if I'm in trouble. I'm trying to use the central team to log a complaint if I cant get some feedback soon. Are things this slow for anyone else on here? Bristol does seem overloaded.

 

I don't know about Tranquiliser Bristol but I'll have a look right now.

 

Thanks for the advice everyone. I appreciate it. 

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lxjuice

You can try seeing a different GP at your practice. Phone in tomorrow and ask who the duty doctor is, if it's not the person you already saw last week then book an appointment.

 

Did you tell the GP everything from what I said, all at once? You have to put it in that way so they understand. For example it doesn't matter if you told them it was due to drug abuse if you didn't also say you weren't tolerating reducing the olanzapine and probably won't tolerate switching to aripiprazole, because then they won't link them together and use the fact it's probably temporary as a justification for you holding on olanzapine and tapering off that.

 

CMHT is slow, at best, for everyone. If you want a good psychiatric service in this country you need to go private.

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UKpolarEngineer

Hi Lxjuice,

 

I haven't put all the contexts together. The last meeting I had was the attempt to put me onto Abilify. I understand that the CMHT are really... Really slow, I have been amazed at how much. I've lost friends on the service before but I always assumed it was working to a standard.

 

I am away from the GPs currently staying with family to best mitigate the circumstances across the country, I thought it was better to have 24/7 company than to go it alone with only a team to call nearby.

 

I will try and get an appointment with a local GP but I know from last time they are not willing to modify secondary care put in place by the consultant Psychiatrist. I will try to make my case. I have mentioned that the reduction of Olanzapine has caused me insomnia and hopefully will get some more sleeping tablets. I was given 7x Zopiclone, I hope that will help me a little bit. they are 7.5mg tablets but I was thinking of trying to space them out for as much help from them as possible. My family mention to just take them every night as currently I am trying to deal with Insomnia and just use the Zopi for an occasional break when I think I might go mad. I really, really... Really hate insomnia. 

 

update: I spend a lot of time trying to rest in bed due to the insomnia, it is truly pathetic. I do not seem to have the energy to shift into gear though. Motivation is low. Bless my family for taking care of me so much. I miss a normal life.

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lxjuice
3 hours ago, UKpolarEngineer said:

Hi Lxjuice,

 

I haven't put all the contexts together. The last meeting I had was the attempt to put me onto Abilify. I understand that the CMHT are really... Really slow, I have been amazed at how much. I've lost friends on the service before but I always assumed it was working to a standard.

 

I am away from the GPs currently staying with family to best mitigate the circumstances across the country, I thought it was better to have 24/7 company than to go it alone with only a team to call nearby.

 

I will try and get an appointment with a local GP but I know from last time they are not willing to modify secondary care put in place by the consultant Psychiatrist. I will try to make my case. I have mentioned that the reduction of Olanzapine has caused me insomnia and hopefully will get some more sleeping tablets. I was given 7x Zopiclone, I hope that will help me a little bit. they are 7.5mg tablets but I was thinking of trying to space them out for as much help from them as possible. My family mention to just take them every night as currently I am trying to deal with Insomnia and just use the Zopi for an occasional break when I think I might go mad. I really, really... Really hate insomnia. 

 

update: I spend a lot of time trying to rest in bed due to the insomnia, it is truly pathetic. I do not seem to have the energy to shift into gear though. Motivation is low. Bless my family for taking care of me so much. I miss a normal life.

 

More zopiclone is not the answer because it'll just become yet another thing that you have to taper off of. Since you're not at home you could start CBT-I. The VA offer a version for free if you google path to better sleep. If you don't like the online format or need the in person accountability your GP will refer you if you ask.

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UKpolarEngineer

Hi,

 

I had to take the Zopiclone for one very very bad night where depression was not letting go. I have spaced out the use but there was only a prescription of 7 tablets given out to me so i didn't get hooked.

 

Update:

I seem to be stuck in a rut. I feel like the medication has left some lasting damage and I feel it when i wake up in the format of a tightened chest. I believe this is the worry from anxiety manifesting itself but I never remembered it being so horrible before, like a punch to the chest. It will prevent me sleeping after I wake up at around 3am.

 

I am sleeping more but it is episodic during the night, I seem to drift in and out of borderline deep sleep. Deep sleep seems to be the thing that eludes me. Getting out of bed in the morning after you think the sleep hasn't worked or is too little is a psychological hurdle I am yet to overcome. 

 

I have been researching medications that the Doctor wants me to take at this point but I am reluctant to as they are just more damaging pills going into my body. Lamictal is the latest suggestion that would theoretically help with my depression but I think it is not an anti-Psy, it is an anticonvulsant. Does anyone know more about the side-effects of this vs something like Abilify.

 

Of course after Olanzapine and the damage it has done I am very very sceptical about any more mediction - but the UK Consultant seems Adamant!?? I don't know how to convince him I don't want to take the drugs.

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UKpolarEngineer

Update:

experiencing about 4.5 hours of sleep a night

 

Bowel movements were not happening and I am extremely concerned after a few days. I was given prune mixture and some other anti-constipation medication but it has been a struggle to output anything. I fear that my bowel has some sort of paralysis.

 

The lack of sleep leaves me incredibly unmotivated. I try to catch up almost through the whole day to no avail.

 

I really wish I had tapered. I was unfortunately cut off. I do have the ability to either use Abilify or request more through the NHS. I was asked to switch over to Abilify with no gaps; I cannot believe this is a good tactic by any doctor.

 

Situation is quite worrying.

 

I have ordered omega 3 and magnesium. I am unsure if they will help.

 

This should be an illegal drug really. It has made me incredibly stupid.

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