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fj929: my hell

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fj929

As unbelievable as this story sounds it is true and here goes. I had been taking 10mg of Paxil for over 8 years with no issues. I then decided to start withdrawing from the medicine to see if I could still manage (I take it for Generalized Anxiety Disorder). I weaned myself from 10 to 7.5 and stayed on that does for months with no withdrawal symptoms or issues. I then dropped to 5mg again with no issues and stayed on that dose for months as well. I then went to 2.5mg again no withdrawal and I stayed on that for months.

Last November I decided to experiment and see if 5htp would help alleviate my anxiety in any way. I took a dose of 50mg for about 2months before it started making me extremely shaky and jittery. At the same time I had dropped my Paxil down to about 1mg so I am not sure if it was the HTp or the Pax that caused the issue but I decided to play it safe and discontinue the Paxil. I upped my dose of Paxil back to 2.5mg and it took about 1 week for the jitteriness to fade. After that I felt like my old self for about 2 weeks. Then I started suffering from dizziness and just overall bad feeling on a regular basis this went on for about 2months. One day I felt so horrible I decided to see if it was the Paxil and upped my dose to 5mg. Within 1 hour I went from being bedridden to being %100 fine. I had my answer, I for some reason needed a higher dose of Paxil. I did fine for two days on a higher dose and then got even sicker than I had been. I toughed it out for 2weeks and but the side effects were horrendous, shakiness, disorientation and extreme dizziness. I then went back to 2.5mg and felt ok for a couple of days and then the symptoms all came back again. I stuck it out on the 2.5mg for about another week and then I just couldn't take it anymore so I stopped taking the pax altogether. That was 6 weeks ago. I felt ok the first week but since the second week I have had horrible sickness, dizziness, insomnia and have been an emotional wreck constantly crying (I have never had depression issues). I have missed significant time from work and now in week 6 this is showing no signs of letting up. Withdrawal was so bad and my Psych said that a low dose prozac would alleviate my symptoms. I have been taking 5mg of Prozac for about 2 weeks and it is not helping. How long should I expect to continue suffering?

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Altostrata

Hello, Fj929. I moved this post here as your Introductions and Updates topic.In November, were you feeling anxious?It does sound like 5-HTP destabilized your nervous system, which might have been vulnerable because of the Paxil decreases. Now it sounds like you definitely have Paxil withdrawal syndrome.Substituting Prozac doesn't always work. I guess you might try increasing the Prozac. Using liquid Prozac might be a safer strategy because you can titrate up by very small amounts to see if it helps. For example, you might find relief at 6.5mg. I'm sorry, there's no guarantee for that, either.You are the third person to come here and report problems with SAM-e or 5-HTP. We do not recommend anyone take these supplements when reducing an antidepressant because they are activating -- they increase jitteriness, anxiety, and sleeplessness.

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moses

Hi Fj!I tried 5 HTP a few years ago after an attempted wean from Cipralex and boy, oh boy, it made me soooooooo agitated and anxious.Rosie

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fj929

I know this is a loaded question but how long can I expect to feel this poorly? It is 6 weeks today. My brain feels like jello (although I'm not sure if it's the prozac or the withdrawal). Any help with Insomnia? I can't sleep at all without prescription sleep meds no matter what I do.

 

Thanks

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Skyler

 

 

I know this is a loaded question but how long can I expect to feel this poorly? It is 6 weeks today. My brain feels like jello (although I'm not sure if it's the prozac or the withdrawal). Any help with Insomnia? I can't sleep at all without prescription sleep meds no matter what I do.Thanks
Fj, what are you taking for prescription sleep meds. If benzos or zdrugs, they are usually only effective for a few weeks at most then have their own addictive foot print. If this is what you are on, are you taking them every night. The level or insomnia you describe sounds dreadful to say the least, really the pits.I won't look at HTTP or Sam-E again the same way, the negative stories that have come thru here of late are alarming. You must feel like hitting a wall in frustration. One would think that substances with the potential for so much harm would be regulated..yeah, right, like ADs are.

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Shanti

Hi Fj. Welcome to the forum. It either sounds like the Prozac isn't working for you, or it's too low of a dose to make a difference. I don't know. I was taking a benzo for sleep, only .5 mg at night. Then I discovered that I was going into a daily withdrawal because the benzo is such a short half life. If your sleep aid is a benzo, that might be a problem like Shuyler said.

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Altostrata

 

 

....Last November I decided to experiment and see if 5htp would help alleviate my anxiety in any way....
Were you feeling anxious? Was this different from the way you felt at your full dose of Paxil?At this point, your nervous system has become destabilized and you have antidepressant withdrawal syndrome.I don't know if increasing the Prozac will help, it might. But you may not be able to attain the same stability you had before on Paxil.Whatever you're taking for sleep might be complicating the situation.There is no guarantee that any of this will work. Once you've had a severe reaction to an antidepressant, often your nervous system is sensitized and you can't take an antidepressant again.

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fj929

I stopped the Prozac and am now on Paxil again. I introduced the 2.5mg dose I was last on. I am sooo desperate to end this suffering as everything is at stake. I cannot take care of my family my mind is mush and I fear I will soon be losing my job. So far no adverse reactions to the Pax but no relief from the withdrawal either. For those of you who reintroduced Paxil to end your withdrawal how long did it take to get relief? Did you get relief? Please HELP!!!!!!!!!!

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xDebbiejo

Hi FjSo sorry to hear you are suffering at present. I came of seroxat/Paxil too fast and had to start taking it again. It did take a while before I stabilised as I was advised to up dose slowly. I had to take diazepam in the mornings as that's when my anxiety (from the withdrawal) was worst. I am just about stable now and am on 12mg and will be staying on that for a few months whilst I taper my diazepam.I have not taken any other meds though.I was advised from the good people on this site to slowly up dose and kept asking how long till I stabilise - patience I was told ! Did exactly what was advised and am now feeling somewhat normal again, from not being able to get out of bed.I'm sure alto will be able to advise, I wouldn't have known what to do if I hadn't got the support of this site, which I'm so grateful !!I hope you stabilise soonXx

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fj929

Thanks DebbieJo.

 

How long were you off before you went back on a low dose?

 

Thanks

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fj929

How long did it take for you to start seeing relief? What were your symptoms other than anxiety?

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xDebbiejo

I think I was off for about six weeks.

 

Syptoms - extremely emotional, crying all the while, burning feeling under my skin, jitttery, feeling sick, lost 30lb in weight as could not eat. I could sleep at night though, just woke early - had to black out my windows so completely dark in the morning - took about 6 weeks for me to stabilise I think.

 

Patience is the key - I was up dosing every 1-2 weeks but I think you can after four days BUT I would check with alto.

 

I do hope you get some relief soon

 

Debbie xx

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fj929

Thanks, Debbie. Did you have any issues getting back on? Any side effects? I am defintley getting dizzy and I am now on day 3 taking the drug. I hope to god I can tolerate the drug and stabilize I have 2 daughters I have to raise. This is the worst experience of my life. How long did it take for your sleep to normalize? My isnomnia is terrible at the moment.

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xDebbiejo

Hi FjNo I didn't have any issues going back on my withdrawal issues just got less and less until I was stable.I tried going back on the low dose I finished at but gradually increased to 12mg of the liquid. I'm staying put for a while now. I didn't have any sleep problems apart from waking early, so I blacked out my windows which also helped the horrible anxiety which was worse in the mornings. As I up dosed I began to start feeling somewhat normal after 6 in the evening at first and now I'm just about ok - the past few days tho I've been sleeping a lot but I guess that the whole withdrawal episode was a shock to the system.You will probably need to up dose until you feel stable but I'm not experienced in all this so it's best to get advice from others on the site.Have you got a husband or any family that could help with your daughters for a short while? Or friends?I forgot to say I also had to go to the doctors as I thought I was having some kind of stroke, my tongue, fingers and feet went all tingly and numb - it was the anxiety caused by withdrawal.Do hope you stabilise soonDebbie xx

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fj929

Thanks Debbie,

 

I am married and have a wife who helps with the kids she has been great throughout this whole thing. You say you started to feel somewhat normal again after 6 weeks but how long did it take for you notice at least some relief? I'm suffering so much I am desperate!!!!

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xDebbiejo

Hi FjIt's good to hear you have a supporting wife.Were you stable on Paxil before withdrawing and what dose were you on?Are you just taking Paxil now or are you on anything else too?Maybe you should up your dose a little as 2.5 is quite a low dose but it has to be done gradually - I hope someone else can come along and advise as I'm not experienced to advise. I would up it to 5 mg for a few days to see if that helps but also it depends what other meds you're on.I got slowly better but still had up and down days and was very sensitive to any slight problem or comment that was said and would bring on anxiety in the way of burning in my chest.I am taking fish oil and I'm looking for magnesium but it's hard to find without any additives - but you could try Epsom salts in a bath at night as that might help you sleep but not too much at first.As your suffering with not sleeping I guess this will make any symptoms 50 times worse.I'm hope alto picks up on this so she can advise.Hang I'm there Hawk - have a look at symptoms and what helps I think there is a topic on sleepingDebbie xx

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Rhiannon

Fj, this isn't going to give you any immediate help. I am so sorry for the way you are suffering and the way you've suffered.You need to Stop. Changing. Anything.These drugs aren't like aspirin. They don't just work while they're in our bodies and then go away. These drugs cause changes in our brain chemistry. Our brain interprets that as a life or death crisis, because the nervous system is really important to the functioning of the organism. Our brain does whatever it can to try to renormalize its chemistry. This means making changes that are structural and epigenetic and not easily or quickly reversed.Genes get turned on and other genes get turned off. Receptors and entire cells are constructed and grown and others are destroyed. None of this is very efficient, since our brains have never before in the history of life on Earth encountered anything like what these drugs do to them, so they haven't evolved efficient ways to fix it. But they do the best they can.I use the analogy of a plant on a trellis. The trellis is the chemistry caused by the drug. The plant is the brain. The brain reshapes itself around the trellis. It is interwoven with the trellis and dependent on it.When we change, remove, add back in drugs, et cetera, it's like we're yanking the trellis out, shoving it back in, yanking it out and shoving a different one in, cutting half of it out, trying to shove that half back in--I think you get the picture. It wouldn't do a plant any good and it's not good for our brains either.And our brains behave MUCH more like plants than they do like computers or machines. Brains are living organisms, created by the same creator, using the same mechanisms and templates, as plants and animals. They are not machines.They are indescribably complex and indescribably vulnerable.So basically things are kind of mangled. They won't get un-mangled by adding and subtracting more drugs. That will just mangle them more. (Ask Alex if you don't believe me. And believe me, I am speaking from my own very painful experience too.)I understand that you're desperate and you want to do something something ANYTHING ANYTHING. You'd probably cut your foot off at this point if you knew that would make your symptoms and suffering go away.Unfortunately what you have to do now is the hardest thing of all to do. You need to stop changing things up. You need to give your brain time to heal. Your initial taper of Paxil was good, it allowed your brain time to heal between cuts, which is why it went well. Then the 5-HTP combined with what was probably an excessive reduction of Paxil to 1 mg (you have to make smaller cuts at lower doses) was just too much, and since then your brain hasn't managed to restabilize.This is all just my opinion, of course. Your doctor will probably want to give you more and different drugs. If she or he is extremely experienced with psych drug withdrawal issues, she or he may be able to come up with something that will help. As far as I know there are only a handful of docs in the US who have this kind of experience and insight.If not, your best bet is to hang in there, don't change things around, pick a dose and hold it until you heal.This can take a long time, a lot longer than you would like (months at the very least), but in my experience it's what works.

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Altostrata

This is a difficult situation.The Prozac didn't help and the Paxil didn't help. There's no way to tell if a higher dose of either will do the job, or make you feel worse.I'm sorry, Fj. Once your nervous system is destabilized, it's a toss-up. Rhi is correct, adding and decreasing drugs adds to destabilization. At this point, it's possible your nervous system will over-react to anything.The Internet is full of people who have tapered too quickly off Effexor, Paxil, Zoloft (and more recently, Cymbalta) who have severe withdrawal syndrome like yours.Still looking for the answer to this question:

 

Last November I decided to experiment and see if 5htp would help alleviate my anxiety in any way....
Were you feeling anxious? Was this different from the way you felt at your full dose of Paxil?

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jr1985

Hi, sorry you're having such a hard time.

 

I came off Effexor too quickly and reinstated after 5 weeks off. It took me about 2 weeks to feel any relief, but I've heard it cane take up to 8 weeks.

 

I found I could no longer tolerate my original dose (75mg), so had to stick to 37.5mg.

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fj929

Thanks Rhi,

 

At this point I am day3 with reintroducing Paxil so I am going to stick it out with that and hope to stabilize.

 

ALto when I lowered my dose to 2.5mg I had a slight increase in anxiety but nothing that I couldn't manage. The anxiety was not different than what I have always had just slightly more pronounced than what it was when I was at 10mg. It didn't feel like withdrawal anxiety and by supplementing 5htp I wondered if it would aleviate that but it did not. My hope was to start using a natural product as opposed to an SSRI. What it did do however was clear my brain fog that I have had for years. It was amazing.

 

 

Debbie I am suffering from more than just not sleeping. Severe depression (never had it before ever) intense brain fog and a sick feeling which is very difficult to describe but i just feel very weird and sick and cannot sit in front of a pc for very long. It has been absolute hell. I tapered from 10mg to 2.5 over the course of a year or so and did not have any withdrawal. Once I started getting lower than 2.5 however I felt the withdrawal and became unstable. I am hoping the suffering ends soon. My Psych gave me Prozac at 3 weeks out telling me it would begin to alleviate my withdrawal in 2-8days. It did not. I have heard from others that there is no guarantee another SSRi will cure your withdrawal and the original may be needed and you also only have a limited window to reintroduce the drug before it's too late. This is the reason I went back on Paxil. I was in severe fear that I would be sick for a very prolonged period of time. I just want my life back.

 

I really appreciate everyones advice you people are a Godsend.

 

Thank You

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tezza

Hello Fj,I'm very sorry you're having such a horrible experience. Maybe a little late, but welcome aboard, just sorry you need to be here. Rhi gave a great illustration with the plant and trellis. I understand how desperate you are (I think we all do, unfortunately). Its hard to be patient and remain calm but we MUST make every effort to do just that. That's something I've had to discipline myself on and when we are feeling the horrid WDs it's easier said than done. You will get the best advice possible from the admins on this forum. Alto has done much research in addition to experience ( I'm sure the others have as well ). We are all suffering but it will get better. Hang in there and know that you are not alone.God bless,Tezza

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Romido

Hi Fj,I am sorry you are in this hell. It's like a nightmare that won't end. I am one of the horror stories from Sam-e that is getting help and support from this community. I am nearly 8 months off and still have a destabilized nervous system, albeit much better than early days of withdrawal. You will find my story in the intro area. To me it seems that perhaps you were getting anxiety from the 5htp, and then abrupt withdrawal from that upset everything.I am sorry to say it seems the only way out is through. I read early that 18 months to normal is not unusual, and eight months in I totally see that now.I would caution you about the natural products, Sam-e wrecked my brain going on eight months, and I only took for three. There is a fair amount of negative feedback out on Sam-e regarding it inducing anxiety in those who are anxiety prone. You just have to be looking for it. I think a lot of it is suppressed by profit driven folks (I wrote a negative sam-e review for Costco.com and the admin didn't post it!).Exercise, eat very healthy, drink lots of water. Avoid caffiene and alcohol entirely. For me, eliminating artificial sweeteners calmed down the incessant heart palpitations.It's horrific, but this is a supportive community with so much to help you survive.

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fj929

For those that reinstatement worked did you find that the Brain Fog goes away? It is so debilitating right now.

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xDebbiejo

Hi hawk

 

Sorry to hear you are suffering with brain fog, I thought I might have it but I don't.

 

Are you staying put with 2.5 ?

Have you managed to sleep at all?

Are you getting any relief at all from your symptoms ?

 

I read your replies to your post so I guess you will just have to hang in there. You need to try and get out and walk if you can! It does help but take it easy if you're not eating. I have only just started eating again, it's important you eat the right food too.

 

Debbie x

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fj929

Honestly Debbie I do feel somewhat better since being back on the Pax not as extremely sick as I was but the brain fog just has to go away it is so severe right now.

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Altostrata

Fj, you've been back on Paxil only a few days. Give it time.There is no instant cure for withdrawal syndrome.

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fj929

I know Alto I know I'm just sooo scared. Have you found that when others reinstate the fog clears?

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Altostrata

I can tell by your questions you're really anxious.

 

One thing that's important to do is concentrate on staying calm. Worrying increases the withdrawal symptoms.

 

Do slow meditative breathing when you start to worry. See Non-drug techniques to cope with withdrawal symptoms

 

Try to distract yourself with activities you enjoy.

 

People vary in their response to reinstatement. If you feel better now, that's a good sign.

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fj929

I'm trying Alto but I feel like I'm losing everything I have worked so hard for. I'm on the edge.

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Karma

 

 


I'm trying Alto but I feel like I'm losing everything I have worked so hard for. I'm on the edge.
Hi Fj,

This reaction is NORMAL in withdrawal. In withdrawal your worst fears seem to feel so real - it is called neuro-emotion. It is the drug reaction and not your reality.

I went through this last fall when I decremented my Effexor dosage too rapidly. I suddenly had these irrational fears that my husband would leave me, I'd lose my job, I'd lose everything - it felt like if I died it would be a relief, but then I felt guilty that I wouldn't leave my husband enough money to live on. Completely irrational fears. I didn't lose my job, my husband is as supportive as ever, I've actually started putting away more money for retirement - I no longer give into these irrational fears. I realize that we do the best we can and the universe is full of amazing possibilities as long as we are open to them.

You have to tell yourself that this is neuro-emotion and these fears are not real. Focus on making it from moment to moment. Distract yourself if possible. When you emerge from the withdrawal syndrome you will have a more rational sense about these things.

If you really feel that your work is that challenged, you might look into taking a short-term leave of absence. I found going to work a welcome distraction for my irrational fears and anxiety, but not everyone feels that way.

Hang in there. Several of us have been through this and come out the other side.

Sending you healing energy, love and light. Posted Image
Karma

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fj929

Thanks Guys, I am actually on leave right now from work as I have been way to sick to go in.

 

My major symptoms at the moment are

 

Brain Fog and memory Loss

Insomnia

Fatigue and Akasthia

depression

 

One of the things I am having a very hard time finding is whether reinstatement alleviates these types of withdrawal symptoms. I have found many a post on people who were suffering from increased anxiety and or depression and reinstatement eventually kicked in and helped for some but nothing on some of the other symptoms above. Can anyone comment on others who have or have not seen any help especially with the Brain Fog, and Insomnia.

 

I just pray to God that the reinstatement starts alleviating these symptoms. Day 6 at 2.5mg which was my last dose.

God HELP ME!!!

 

Thanks Everyone you guys are awesome.

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Karma

Hey Fj,I actually did get relief from the brain fog and insomnia after my Effexor up-dose kicked in. Mind you, I wasn't completely off of Effexor just experiencing severe withdrawals.I had to do some things to help myself sleep. On occasion I use 1/4 - 1 mg melatonin to help me sleep, but I no longer need it. I've taken as much as 3 mg Melatonin. You could also try seriphos or phosphytidalserine - I used about 400 mg phosphytidalserine to start. All of these reduce the cortisol surge in your system to help you fall asleep naturally.I also started a habit of turning off the computer no later than 8:00 PM so that I could get my body ready for sleep. I then would lie down on the sofa around 8:30 with the TV on to allow myself to start unwinding. They say that if you go to bed and are awake for 20 minutes you should get out of bed and read a book or something until you get drowsy. Based on that theory, I find that if I can start to settle myself down on the sofa that when I hit the bed I can fall asleep. It will take a little practice, but you are creating a new habit. Check out the symptoms and what helps section for more suggestions on sleep.Hope something here is helpful.Love and light,Karma

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fj929

 

 

Hi FjSorry to hear you are suffering with brain fog, I thought I might have it but I don't.Are you staying put with 2.5 ?Have you managed to sleep at all?Are you getting any relief at all from your symptoms ?I read your replies to your post so I guess you will just have to hang in there. You need to try and get out and walk if you can! It does help but take it easy if you're not eating. I have only just started eating again, it's important you eat the right food too.Debbie x
I bumped up to 5mg and plan on staying there. The only way I can describe my brain fog is as though I am stoned. I have no memory whatsoever and the world is a fog to me. It's debilitating and I cannot function at all. I cannot sleep without the help of either a xanax, ambien or lunesta. I keep alternating between the 3 as to avoid any addiction.I have had a few windows where I got relief with all but the insomnia. Brain fog improved but far far from normal. I am now 9days back on and still suffering. GOD HELP ME!!!!

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fj929

 

 

Hey Fj,I actually did get relief from the brain fog and insomnia after my Effexor up-dose kicked in. Mind you, I wasn't completely off of Effexor just experiencing severe withdrawals.I had to do some things to help myself sleep. On occasion I use 1/4 - 1 mg melatonin to help me sleep, but I no longer need it. I've taken as much as 3 mg Melatonin. You could also try seriphos or phosphytidalserine - I used about 400 mg phosphytidalserine to start. All of these reduce the cortisol surge in your system to help you fall asleep naturally.I also started a habit of turning off the computer no later than 8:00 PM so that I could get my body ready for sleep. I then would lie down on the sofa around 8:30 with the TV on to allow myself to start unwinding. They say that if you go to bed and are awake for 20 minutes you should get out of bed and read a book or something until you get drowsy. Based on that theory, I find that if I can start to settle myself down on the sofa that when I hit the bed I can fall asleep. It will take a little practice, but you are creating a new habit. Check out the symptoms and what helps section for more suggestions on sleep.Hope something here is helpful.Love and light,Karma
How long did it take for the updose to kick in?

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fj929

I am suffering terribly from Paxil withdrawal at the moment.

 

I was 3 weeks off when My Psyc recomended Prozac which I took for 2 weeks but it didn't do anything. I am now back on Paxil 6 weeks after my last dose.

last dose was 2.5mg I am currently taking 5mg and have been for about 5days. 7 days on 2.5 5days on 5mg. I have found no relief after 12days for my withdrawal which is unbearable.

 

Extreme Brain fog

Insomnia

fatigue

Akasthia

Depression (never had this before WD)

 

How long before I should consider updosing? I would like to stay at 5mg but I am desperate to find relief.

 

Thanks

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