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Phrenchfil: Off Antidepressants since December 2019. My story so far...


Phrenchfil

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Phrenchfil

Hi. I am a married dad of 3 teenagers. I had a difficult upbringing living alone with an alcoholic father after my mother left with my 2 sisters when I was 11. I have had my issues with addictions as a result, I sometimes think. I do not drink anymore, although I sometimes unfortunately relapse. This happens less and less as I find it makes my depression worse and makes me angry at myself and others.

 

I started taking AD's around 2006 after a tragic episode in my life. I was put on SSRI's, Prozac first if I remember well. Unfortunately as well as the usual side effects, they made my anxiety go through the roof. I kept being told to wait at least 6 weeks before stopping and being put on another SSRI that would do exactly the same... This lasted a few years and seriously messed me up.

 

 I tried every single SSRI you can think of. It was like constant adrenaline or cortisol being pumped through my body. Eventually I was put on Venlaflaxine. The side effects ( anxiety mostly) although initially even worse than before got better after 4 weeks. I stayed on Venlaflaxine for 4 or 5 years I think. One of the things with AD's is that I find it really hard to remember stuff... I decided to stop Venlaflaxine because I felt it made me a bit manic. Also years of dry mouth were starting to take a toll on my teeth which was starting to concern me. I tapered over a period of 6 months which I thought was plenty. I was wrong.

 

After 4 months off AD's things got really bad in terms of low mood and anxiety so I decided to go privately and see a psychiatrist. I'd only seen my GP for meds until now and paid privately for regular therapy sessions. The cost of seeing the psychiatrist was very prohibitive but out of desperation I finally decided to pay the 300 pounds an hour he charged. 

 

He put me on Trazodone after telling me that I should never have been put on more SSRI's after my initial bad reaction to Prozac: different names/same family. They worked quite well in terms of  reducing anxiety which was such a relief after years of being crippled by it. After about a year, I decided it might be time to quit. I felt like I was living with a very foggy brain all the time. My memory felt completely shot by then! It became really embarrassing and also quite worrying. I tapered very slowly over a 2 year period using digital scales. It wasn't quite the 10% method because I had never heard of it at the time but it was quite similar really. 

 

I try and run regularly but sometimes find it hard to discipline myself- usually when I need it the most! I meditate 20 minutes a day Monday til Friday. I get a bit lazy at weekends although I do sometimes meditate if I feel it might help. I try and eat healthily. It helps that I have 3 kids and I do most of the cooking. I want them to eat healthily so end up eating healthy myself. I take turmeric and ginger capsules, a bit of fish oil and a B complex as vitamins/supplements. I have started eating a really healthy breakfast  consisting of all sorts of nuts/oats/seeds soaked overnight. I had never eaten a breakfast since I was 12. It has helped me a lot in terms of energy that doesn't feel "manic" like the one you get via coffee or sugars. I find it has also helped me with my focus which was really bad.

 

I finally quit for good a few months ago. It hasn't been easy. My sleep has been terribly affected. Tinnitus ( the humming type) started pretty much half way through my tapering and is still there. I have been urinating about 20 times a day. It has been investigated but they cannot seem to find a reason why. The doctors have come to the conclusion that it might be linked to quitting AD's. On that front, things have started getting better over the past month but I am still going at leat 12 times a day of which 4 or 5 times a night. 

 

I have all sorts of mood swings but some days feel like the best I have felt in my life which never used to happen before. Not a euphoric feeling more of a feeling of contentment..  This is one of the things that keep me going. Those small moments when I feel "normal"... But then a lot of the time I question my choice! I am not easy to live with since I started tapering 2.5 years ago.

 

My temper is quite short and I feel it is not fair on my wife and kids. It makes me feel guilty and selfish. If AD's had really worked and my memory hadn't felt so affected, I would have been happy to stay on AD's all my life but I never found them to help. I also feel the SSRI nightmare did serious damage to my nervous system. MY self confidence was never the same after those years of chemically induced constant anxiety.I don't think the mood swings I am getting are to do with my depression coming back but more to do with things taking a while to settle in my head...

 

The most important thing for me is to stick to what I call "the recipe": exercising, meditating, healthy eating, no alcohol. If I don't I really start to feel it in terms of low mood and anxiety. Sounds simple on paper but it's not easy. It's strange that when you need it the most is when you find it the hardest to stick to the recipe! I've got better at sticking to it though which makes me think that eventually I will come out of this nightmare I've been in for 15 years... Thanks for reading. Peace to all. 

Edited by manymoretodays
added name to title, spacing for ease of readability

 

. 2006 - 2011:  Starting with Fluoxetine, 6 weeks approximatively on every ssri available in the UK before moving onto a new brand because of relentless amplified anxiety:

citalopram, dapoxetine, escitalopram, fluvoxamine, paroxetine, sertraline, vortioxetine etc...

. 2012 - 2015: Venlaflaxine 

. 2016 - Xmas 2019: Trazodone 300mg ( tapered very slowly over a period of 2 years)

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  • manymoretodays changed the title to Phrenchfil: Off Antidepressants since December 2019. My story so far...
Phrenchfil

Thanks for editing this into paragraphs! I only read the tips and guidelines after posting... 

 

. 2006 - 2011:  Starting with Fluoxetine, 6 weeks approximatively on every ssri available in the UK before moving onto a new brand because of relentless amplified anxiety:

citalopram, dapoxetine, escitalopram, fluvoxamine, paroxetine, sertraline, vortioxetine etc...

. 2012 - 2015: Venlaflaxine 

. 2016 - Xmas 2019: Trazodone 300mg ( tapered very slowly over a period of 2 years)

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manymoretodays

Hi Phrenchfil and welcome aboard,

So sorry too, for the delay in getting you started and approved.

And so, if I understand correctly, are you off all medications now?  And just dealing with some protracted WD(withdrawal) syndrome.

 

It does sound like you have found a good recipe of non-drug coping.

 

Could you do a signature for us:  Please put your withdrawal history in your signature to help us out.

 

On 3/4/2020 at 11:47 AM, Phrenchfil said:

He put me on Trazodone after telling me that I should never have been put on more SSRI's after my initial bad reaction to Prozac: different names/same family. They worked quite well in terms of  reducing anxiety which was such a relief after years of being crippled by it. After about a year, I decided it might be time to quit. I felt like I was living with a very foggy brain all the time. My memory felt completely shot by then! It became really embarrassing and also quite worrying. I tapered very slowly over a 2 year period using digital scales. It wasn't quite the 10% method because I had never heard of it at the time but it was quite similar really. 

This sounds good Phrenchfil.  Tell us a bit more about how you did your decreases.  Thank you.

 

The symptoms you mention, sound pretty familiar too.  We've got lot's of non-drug coping skills, in our Symptoms and Self care forum too. 

Also, most all of us heal completely.  I think you are like many of us though, worrying about long term damages and such.  I know I was there, with those worries too.  And then things started to improve.

 

Some links for you to look at, for more education and useful information:

 

*Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

What is withdrawal syndrome?

Dr. Joseph Glenmullen's withdrawal symptom checklist

The Windows and Waves pattern of stabilization

 

When we take medications, the CNS (central nervous system) responds by making changes over the months and years we take the drug(s). When the medication is discontinued, the CNS has to undo all the changes it made.  The CNS likes stability. Rebuilding the neurotransmitter production and reactivating the receptor and transporter cells takes time -- during that rebuilding process symptoms occur.

 

The only 2 supplements that we endorse for WD syndrome are:

BASIC SUPPLEMENT TOOLKIT

King of supplements: Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil)

Magnesium, nature's calcium channel blocker

 

Best to just start one at a time too, with a low dosage, slowly increasing, to find out if you might be sensitive.

 

 

All for now.  This is your introduction page.  You have now introduced yourself to the community.  Please put questions and concerns around your particular case right here too.

 

L, P, H, and G,

mmt

 

Started with psycho meds circa 1988 I think 27 or 28 total.

AD's, antpsychotics, antiseizure mood stabilizers. Lithium, lamictal ,benzos, and stimulants. Some med. for narcolepsy once(Provigil,) Gabapentin........probably more.  Ask me?......I probably was on it.  Haphazard W/D's by Dr. recommend or uneducated self.

10/2014- off Lexapro--had been on highest dose 10 mg. then 5 mg. for a couple of years, went from 5 mg. to 3 mg. liquid and then CT in hospital(voluntary).  I got out of the hospital on a combination of low dose adderal salts x1/day and trileptal 150mg. x2/day.

5/28/2015-off Adderal salts 2.5mg. (I had been on that since hospital 10/2014)

12/2015---just holding, holding, holding, with trileptal/oxcarb at 75 mg. 1/2 tab at hs.  My last psycho med ever!

 

3/21/2016---I did some unwise updosing of trileptal/oxcarbazepine with some stressful stuff......doubled the above dose x2 during this last wave but began liquifying again and on approximately 68mg. starting today.  11/12//2016 24 mg. oxcarbazepine  12/9/2016 off oxcarbazepine/trileptal!!!! :) optimistic  2016 December 9- completely off all medications!!!!!

Omega3's,EPA +DHA= 1800 mg/day. Magnesium complex, orally, diluted in a liter of H2O(that I can shake up.....it usually dissolves more completely as the water gets down to room temperature) and/or Epsom salt baths prn.   Vit. C, D3, and E.  B12, melatonin tapered to 1mg., and bioidentical hormones sublingually.  Trace mineral drops.  L-lysine.  L-methylfolate=400 mcg plus daily spinach. Totally ready for a good long window to hit soon and getting better strings of full days and partial days along the way.  Definite improvement overall since I first arrived on the SA survivor ship.  Herb and alcohol free since 5/15/2016.  None of my posts are intended as medical advice.  Please discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical provider. manymoretodays

 

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Phrenchfil

 

On 3/8/2020 at 6:09 PM, manymoretodays said:
   On 3/4/2020 at 6:47 PM,  Phrenchfil said: 

He put me on Trazodone after telling me that I should never have been put on more SSRI's after my initial bad reaction to Prozac: different names/same family. They worked quite well in terms of  reducing anxiety which was such a relief after years of being crippled by it. After about a year, I decided it might be time to quit. I felt like I was living with a very foggy brain all the time. My memory felt completely shot by then! It became really embarrassing and also quite worrying. I tapered very slowly over a 2 year period using digital scales. It wasn't quite the 10% method because I had never heard of it at the time but it was quite similar really. 

This sounds good Phrenchfil.  Tell us a bit more about how you did your decreases.  Thank you.

Hi. I am not too sure how to answer this so have just copied and pasted your question.

 

First of all, thank you so much for all the advice and help. I will be going through all the links.

 

Having had a terrible time quitting Venlaflaxine and having had the obligatory rebound a few months later, I realised that the prescribed way of quitting was way too fast.

 

I was on 300 mg of Trazodone when I decided to reduce slowly in order to quit.

 

With hindsight, I feel I went a bit fast reducing the first 150 mg. For the second half of tapering, I invested in a set of digital scales ( the 0.001 ones) and proceeded to reducing by about 15 % every 2 or 3 weeks, depending on how I felt. 

 

There was a pattern of feelings every time I reduced:

 

First 3 days were always fine. Every time, I felt I was getting away with not feeling discontinuation symptoms. Every time, around the 4th or 5th day I would start to feel low level anxiety that got worse over a period of 10 days more or less.

 

Around the 2 weeks mark I would usually start feeling less anxious. I would wait a few days and proceed to reducing again.

 

With hindsight, I think I went a bit fast, especially around the 150mg mark. Doctors say that under the 150mg mark Trazodone stops acting as an antidepressant and only works as a sleep aid. I'm still not sure if this is true or not.

 

If it is the case, it means I can add an extra year and a bit to the time since I quit AD's, ah! Meaning that from 150 mg downwards I was quitting a sleep aid more than an AD... This also explains why my sleep has been so affected. 

 

I hadn't read about the 10% decrease method until about 4 months before I finally quit. My method unknowingly was similar but I do think I went a bit fast... 

 

As I said in my post, I run regularly, I meditate Monday to Friday, I take fish oil in the morning as well as turmeric and ginger capsules ( this is more for my back that is struggling after years of manual work), I also take magnesium citrate at night.

 

I don't drink anymore ( although I have slipped on occasions), I smoke about 2 vaporisers of high cbd marijuana strains in the evening with my wife (homegrown and organic). I make my own cannabis oil of which I take a few drops during the day ( very relaxing and helps me focus. Very different to smoking...) I don't do hard drugs anymore although I am now growing psilocybin mushrooms in order to try microdosing as it has helped friends of mine. My crop should be ready in about 10 weeks. I intend to document it eventually.

 

I hope this answers your question. Once again, thanks for all the advice.

 

Peace to all.

 

 

 

 

 

. 2006 - 2011:  Starting with Fluoxetine, 6 weeks approximatively on every ssri available in the UK before moving onto a new brand because of relentless amplified anxiety:

citalopram, dapoxetine, escitalopram, fluvoxamine, paroxetine, sertraline, vortioxetine etc...

. 2012 - 2015: Venlaflaxine 

. 2016 - Xmas 2019: Trazodone 300mg ( tapered very slowly over a period of 2 years)

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