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Csilover
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I’m 17 years old. In January I had a bad reaction to Effexor after doubling a dose and having SAMe. Basically went numb emotionally and felt stupid. My brain did not function and Even my skin went numb. My doctor had me come off of it quickly. It took about two weeks but then I was back to normal. A week after that most of my symptoms came back. I had DRPR and anhedonia. Horrible head pressure. It took four months for me to feel myself again. I admitted to my parents I hadn’t been taking the meds and they told me I had to start myneffecor again. I began to do that. I felt like myself overall but my sleep had been deteriorating. It was too activating. they took me to the mental hospital and my doc took me off the Effexor 75 after 5 days of being on it and put me on a low dose of Paxil 5 mg. They had hoped this would be less activating and take place of the Effexor that’s a low dose. I reacted horrible. Immediately lost all the feelings I regained. Any sort of attraction to the opposite sex gone. Sexuality is there but romance feelings are not. Forehead pressure and pain. Couldn’t sleep. Anhedonia got worse. They stopped the Paxil after one try. They started me on seroquel 12.5 mg twice a day and 150 at night. I started to get better sleep and became less anhedonic as the days went on. However, it’s been a week since I had the Paxil and I still don’t feel super attracted to the opposite sex. I feel love for people now but it’s dulled. Motivation is down. Slight DRPR but not much at all. However, ten times better than I have been the past few months overall. I also lost my ability to visualize which I had on the effexor those 5 days. I’m also moody with head pressure going between my nose, my forehead and top of head.   My ears are ringing constantly. I’m assuming if I stopped the Effexor and just started seroquel without the Paxil, I’d be in better shape right now. Would reinstating a small amount of Effexor help with any of this? Do I wait it out? My parents are willing to get it compounded. On the Effexor I could visualize and felt all the emotions. But I don’t know if it would help with the seemingly adverse reaction to the Paxil. Thankfully, I can still watch tv and listen to music which I hadn’t been able to do in months until I healed and on the effexor. My sleep is great right now, which I’m thankful for. I got 11 hours last night after get 4 hours average for four months. I’m currently also on Ativan 0.5 twice a day and I’ve been on it for about 3 weeks. Doctors want to get me off of it but I don’t want to Add any more stress to my system. They mentioned switching to Valium or gabapentin. I’m sorry for all the questions. Would reinstating prevent a crash from all these changes? Or do you think I’ll be fine without? I’m sorry I know you don’t own a crystal ball.

 

current schedule:

 

9 am: seroquel 12.5,  0.5 Ativan

3 pm seroquel 12.5, 0.5 ativan

9 pm seroquel 150 mg, 0.5 Ativan

Edited by Shep
added user name to title

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Csilover

I’d really like to get off the Ativan sooner rather than later. I’ve been on it since April 13th.

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Csilover

Or would adding pristiq be better to avoid withdrawals from that?

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Csilover

Or Effexor 

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Gridley

Welcome to SA, Csilover.

 

It sounds like you had an adverse reaction to both the Effexor and the Paxil, which mean basically that they are poison to your system.  I would not recommend going back on either.  In your later posts you ask whether you should add Effexor or Pristiq to help with withdrawal.  Since you had a bad reaction to the Effexor, that doesn't sound like a good idea.  As to the Pristiq, we're a site for going off drugs and don't recommend adding new drugs to deal with withdrawal.

 

The symptoms of an adverse reaction are similar to those of withdrawal, and loss/diminishment of sexual interest is a common withdrawal symptom.  Moodiness and ringing in ears (tinnitus) are also common symptoms.  These will fade in time but, unfortunately, there is no way to predict how long it will take.

 

You mention that you'd like to get off the Ativan sooner rather than later.  That would be a good idea.  You can become physiologically dependent on Ativan and other benzodiazepines within 2 to 4 weeks of regular use and also with intermittent use. You're right at the two week mark.   Once you become dependent you no longer receive any benefit from the drug and are only taking it to stave off withdrawal.  Regarding adding Valium or Gabapentin, again we're a site for going off drugs and wouldn't recommend adding either of these.  

 

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.

 

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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Csilover

Thank you for the response. How would I go about tapering the Ativan? @Gridley

 

is it an adverse reaction to the effexor if I felt like myself on it, just not sleep? Maybe a dosage issue?

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Gridley
4 minutes ago, Csilover said:

is it an adverse reaction to the effexor if I felt like myself on it, just not sleep? Maybe a dosage issue?

 

I was responding to what you wrote below about the anhedonia and head pressure.  Sleep problems alone would not constitute an adverse reaction, just a side effect.  The symptoms you described were as follows:

 

6 hours ago, Csilover said:

A week after that most of my symptoms came back. I had DRPR and anhedonia. Horrible head pressure. It took four months for me to feel myself again.

 

6 minutes ago, Csilover said:

How would I go about tapering the Ativan?

 

I'm going to contact Shep, our benzo specialist, to ask her this question.

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Csilover

Okay thank you! I appreciate it very much. I guess I meant Effexor wasn’t the problem initially it was using SAMe and St. John’s wort with it (sorry I thought I mentioned that). When I restarted it I just had sleep problems. The Paxil was immediately adverse.  @Gridley

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Csilover

Also will I go through withdrawal again after trying my effexor again?? I don’t know how that works

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Gridley
54 minutes ago, Csilover said:

lso will I go through withdrawal again after trying my effexor again??

Yes.  If you start Effexor again and decide to go off, you will have to taper it off very slowly.  Effexor is a difficult drug to stop.  If I were you, I would not try to fix you symptoms by starting Effexor again.  I would consider myself lucky to be off it and let your body fix itself without drugs.

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Shep
18 hours ago, Csilover said:

current schedule:

 

9 am: seroquel 12.5,  0.5 Ativan

3 pm seroquel 12.5, 0.5 ativan

9 pm seroquel 150 mg, 0.5 Ativan

 

Welcome to SA, Csilover. You're getting excellent advice and information from Gridley. 

 

Let's first take an overview of what you're currently taking before setting up a game plan for tapering. 

 

In low doses, Seroquel acts on histamine receptors, making it more like taking Benadryl than an antipsychotic. So your two 12.5 mg doses fall into that category.

 

Your 150 mg dose, mixed with the remaining lower doses of Seroquel you take earlier in the day, are making it act more like an antipsychotic. Because of the long-term effects of antipsychotics, you may want to decrease this drug first. 

 

Some of your symptoms may be side effects from taking sedating drugs all day and at night. 

 

However, before discussing which drug to taper first, please set up a signature so we know how long you've been on each of these drugs. I'm unclear when you started Seroquel. Was it before you started Ativan? 

 

Please add a signature.  Include drugs, doses, dates, and discontinuations & reinstatements in the last 12-24 months. Also include supplements. This will help us give you the most accurate advice we can. 

  • Any drugs and supplements prior to 24 months ago can just be listed with start and stop years. 
  • Please use actual dates or approximate dates (mid-June, Late October) rather than relative time frames (last week, 3 months ago) 
  • Spell out months, e.g. "October" or "Oct."; 9/1/2016 can be interpreted as Jan. 9, 2016 or Sept. 1, 2016. 
  • Please leave out symptoms and diagnoses. 
  • A list is easier to understand than one or multiple paragraphs. 
  • This is a direct link to your signature:  Account Settings – Create or Edit a signature.

As you provide more information, we can help you set up a game plan for tapering off these drugs. 

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Csilover

@Shep  hi shep. I started the seroquel after I started the Ativan. The Ativan April 13 and I started the seroquel on Thursday the 17. The feelings I feel now are definitley from the Paxil 5 mg, which I took on the 19. It sent me through the ringer. I hate to get off the seroquel because it helps me sleep most of the time, but if long term it’s bad I understand. 

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Shep

Thanks for this information, Csilover.

 

Please set up a signature and include this information (see my previous post for information on how to do this). You're only 10 days on seroquel, so I'm wondering if you might want to reduce this drug and still get enough for sleep, especially pairing it with Ativan. 

 

Please go ahead and start a daily drug and symptoms journal. This will help us see how the drugs are affecting you throughout the day. This will help us guide you in setting up a taper, including deciding which drug to taper first.

 

Please include any supplements you are taking and any other medication you may be on.

 

Here is the format we need:

 

On 9/27/2016 at 2:49 PM, Altostrata said:

In the course of discussion in your Introductions forum topic, you may be asked to keep notes on paper of your daily symptom pattern, including when you take your drugs, their dosages, and any symptoms. We ask this because there may be something we can do to reduce the symptoms.

 

What we need to see for every single day over several days is what symptoms you get before and after you take your drugs. If you're not taking any drugs and have withdrawal symptoms, we still need to see your symptom pattern throughout the day:

 

The time of day, dosage, and severity of symptoms are essential information. Include

 

- Time and dosage for all drugs taken throughout the day, psychiatric and non-psychiatric.

- Following each dose, note any symptoms. If you are having a reaction to the drug, it may take hours for a symptom to show up -- that's why we ask you to keep notes all day long.

- If you're not taking any drugs, your symptoms throughout the day.

- Your sleep pattern. Since so many drugs disturb sleep, if you find you're waking in the middle of the night, it could be from a drug you took earlier in the evening. If you're not taking any drugs, there may be ways you can improve your sleep.

And so forth. A diary, in chronological order, looking something like this:
 

Example:


DATE:

 

6 a.m. Woke with anxiety
8 a.m. Took 2.5mg Lexapro
10 a.m. Stomach is upset
10:30 a.m. Ate breakfast
11:35 a.m. Got a headache, lasted one hour
12:35 p.m. Ate lunch
4 p.m. Feel a bit better
5 p.m. Took 2.5mg Lexapro
6 p.m. Ate dinner
9:20 p.m. Headache
10:00 p.m. Took 50mg Seroquel
10:20 p.m. Feeling dizzy
10:30 p.m. Fell asleep
2:30 a.m. Woke, took 3mg Ambien (NOT "took 1/2 tablet Ambien")
2:45 a.m. Fell asleep
4:30 a.m. Woke but got back to sleep

 

 

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Shep

Please note there is a "moderate" drug interaction between Ativan and Seroquel, so as you're doing your daily drug and symptoms journal, this is something to watch out for.

 

Drug Interaction Report - Seroquel and Ativan

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Csilover

April 26
9 am  woke up feeling pretty good. Took 12.5 mg seroquel and .5 Ativan 

11 headaches

1pm anxiety high 

3 pm took 12.5 seroquel

4 pm feel anxiety

5 head pressure intensifies. Ear ringing. anxiety

7 anxiety feel a little more anhedonic.

9 take 150 mg seroquel and .5 Ativan. Calm down

10 go to sleep 

wake up several times throughout the night 

9 am wake up and get out of bed. Anxious. Ears ringing. Head hurts. 

 

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Csilover

I’m going to get off the Ativan 1st because I feel really suicidal whenever I can’t sleep, so I’d rather get rid of that one first. 

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Csilover

I’ll lower the seroquel I’d that’s what’s best

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Csilover

I’m also 100 pounds so this seems a hefty dose to have me on

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Csilover

I’ve only been on seroquel ten days how do I start tapering that? Sorry I’m anxious about being on this drug for too long from what I’ve read

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Shep
11 hours ago, Csilover said:

I’ve only been on seroquel ten days how do I start tapering that? Sorry I’m anxious about being on this drug for too long from what I’ve read

 

You could cut the nighttime Seroquel dose in half, down to 75 mg.

 

So you would take the two 12.5 mg doses during the day and then 75 mg at night. This would be a total of 100 mg for the day. 

 

This lower dose of 100 mg is considered low-dose and affects histamine more than dopamine, so it's acting more like Benadryl than an antipsychotic. 

 

Please post your thoughts on this. 

 

Please also keep posting a drug and symptoms journal. 

 

Question - what form of Seroquel are you taking? Is it an immediate release formula or an extended release formula? 

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Csilover

9 am woke up 12.5 seroquel. .5 Ativan 

10 am feel pretty good and hopeful. Ear ringing

12 feel sad and depressed. Crying spell

3 take seroquel 12.5

4-6 crying. Head pressure. Anxiety. Hopeless feeling. 

6-9 crying emotional breakdown. Not sure why

9 take 150 mg seroquel

9:30 start to get sleepy.

wake up a couple ofntjmes

8 get up

Thanks so much @Shep. I will do this 

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Shep
1 hour ago, Shep said:

Question - what form of Seroquel are you taking? Is it an immediate release formula or an extended release formula? 

 

I think you missed this question in my last post. 

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Csilover

@Shep oh yes sorry. It is immediate release

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Shep
2 minutes ago, Csilover said:

@Shep oh yes sorry. It is immediate release

 

Thanks, Csilover.

 

Please let us know how you do with the decrease. 

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Shep
On 4/26/2020 at 11:17 AM, Csilover said:

current schedule:

 

9 am: seroquel 12.5,  0.5 Ativan

3 pm seroquel 12.5, 0.5 ativan

9 pm seroquel 150 mg, 0.5 Ativan

 

Csilover, did you forget to take the 3 pm Ativan? In your first drug and symptoms journal notes, you don't have that dose listed.

 

And in your second journal, you only have .5 mg Ativan taken in the morning. 

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Csilover

I apologize @Shep. I only take 0.5 Ativan at 9 am and 9 pm. Didn’t mean to add to the 3 o clock

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Csilover

@Shep can I reduce the Ativan in half?

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Csilover

Also I’m really scared about the effect the Paxil had on me. I’m afraid I’ll never feel imaginative or feel love again :( my brain almost feels bruised.

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Shep
13 minutes ago, Csilover said:

I apologize @Shep. I only take 0.5 Ativan at 9 am and 9 pm. Didn’t mean to add to the 3 o clock

 

Thanks, Csilover.

 

Did you forget to take the 9 pm dose last night? It's not listed in that journal entry.

 

12 minutes ago, Csilover said:

@Shep can I reduce the Ativan in half?

 

No, not while you're reducing the Seroquel. Only one change at a time. Please see:

 

The rule of 3KIS: Keep it simple. Keep it slow. Keep it stable.

 

The goal is to decrease the Seroquel over the coming days and then reassess switching over to the Ativan at that point. But right now, let's focus on Seroquel. 

 

7 minutes ago, Csilover said:

Also I’m really scared about the effect the Paxil had on me. I’m afraid I’ll never feel imaginative or feel love again :(

 

This is catastrophic thinking. Please see:

 

Dealing With Emotional Spirals

 

"Change the channel" -- dealing with cognitive symptoms

 

Is it always going to be like this?"

 

Acceptance

 

You're also dealing with "what if" thinking and second fear. 

 

Please try to float and breathe through them and ignore your thoughts. As my favorite YouTube mindfulness teacher Mooji says, "Your thoughts are just visitors and you are not a hotel! Don't let them in."

 

Dr. Claire Weekes comes highly recommended for helping people learn how to manage and cope with anxiety and second fear. 

 

Dr. Claire Weekes - How To Recover From Anxiety

 

And this is a great short video on acceptance without adding "second fear":

 

Dr. Claire Weekes: How to accept the physical symptoms of nervous illness video (1.5 minutes)

 

Dr. Weekes has a lot of videos on YouTube. You may want to spend some time learning from her. She comes highly recommended on this site. 

 

There are also breathing techniques that can be helpful, such as the 4-7-8 breathing technique. 

 

4-7-8 Breathing Exercise by GoZen video (3.5 minutes)

 

Coming off these drugs won't solve the problems that led you to taking them in the first place, so it's important to spend time with these types of non-drug coping techniques. More can be found here:

 

Non-drug techniques to cope with emotional symptoms

 

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Csilover

Thanks @shep . I took the Ativan last night. I will be more thorough with my notes. Will this taper be over a week or two? 

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Csilover

7 am woke up . Felt suicidal. Crying spells for no reason. Anxiety 

9 am 12.5 seroquel. .5 Ativan Can’t stop crying 

10:30 feel a bit calmer 

12 still feel calm. Constant ringing in ears. Tingling pressure in forhead.

1 anxiety hits. Crying spells. Suicidal ideation. Felt like floor was moving. So were the walls.

3 still crying. Take 12.5 seroquel. Spinning sensation stopped

3:30 calm down a bit 

4 calmer. Head pressure worse

5 high anxiety in stomach. Head pressure 

6 head pressure. Crying for no reason

7 Bad head pressure. Feel more anhedonic. Chills and goosebumps for no reason. Constant. 
8 head pressure. Ears ringing loudly

9 head feels bruised. Take seroquel 75 mg. Ativan .5 head pressure really bad. Lay down for bed.

 

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Csilover

10 pm went to sleep

only woke for brief periods of time teice

woke at 8:50

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Shep
On 4/26/2020 at 11:17 AM, Csilover said:

My sleep is great right now, which I’m thankful for. I got 11 hours last night after get 4 hours average for four months.

 

Just now, Csilover said:

10 pm went to sleep

only woke for brief periods of time teice

woke at 8:50

 

Looks like you're getting a good amount of sleep, even with the decreased Seroquel. 

 

11 hours ago, Csilover said:

7 am woke up . Felt suicidal. Crying spells for no reason. Anxiety 

9 am 12.5 seroquel. .5 Ativan Can’t stop crying 

 

When do you eat breakfast? Are you eating breakfast when you first wake up or are you waiting until you take your drugs? 

 

Please note that your blood sugar drops overnight, so it's best to get up and eat a high protein, low sugar breakfast first thing in the morning. Low blood sugar can cause fear, crying, anxiety, and even suicidal thoughts, so it's best to get up and fuel the body. 

 

Question - when did the head pressure start? 

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Csilover

Yeah I actually slept much better last night than I had the previous nights. Deeper sleep.

 

I didn’t know that. Thank you. I eat breakfast before I take my meds. Typically bran flakes with lots of fruit. I will switch to eggs. The head pressure has been here the last few months. It stopped a week before I restarted the pristiq and while I was on it. Paxil has the head pressure for 3 days after but it stopped On seroquel it subsided for a while, but I started to have head pressure again the past two days.

I feel like my head is stuffed and having trouble popping ears.

do I stay on this dose tonight?

 

also thank you for all your help. You rock.

@Shep

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Csilover

So far feeling much better today. Don’t feel overly emotional like I had. 

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Csilover

@Shep sorry to bother. do I stay on 75 tonight and tomorrow?

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