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Auroragirl
Posted (edited)

Hi everyone, I'm new so I would like to introduce myself and ask if anyone has advice for me! 

I am a 31 year old female and I started taking SSRIs and Adderall when I was about 14 and continued for 17 years. I don't remember if the SSRI ever helped with my depression in the beginning, but if it did at first, it either stopped or didn't work that well. I remember trying various brands and I don't recall ever feeling any better but I continued anyways because I thought I needed them. I would rate my depression at about a 5/10 through out this whole time period. The last brand I took was Prozac before I decided to try to wean off and see if I might be happier without any medication. I quit Adderall first and felt tired but it wasn't a huge deal. Then I tapered off 40 mg of Prozac over 2 months. I planned to go slower but I was feeling ok so I stuck with decreasing by 5 mg a week. I felt about the same 5/10 depression for about 2 months after my last dose and then I started to feel a little worse. Mentally things really took a turn for the worst 3 months after my last dose and at the same time my digestion basically stopped working. I have since had extremely uncomfortable bloating and constipation. I was diagnosed with SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth). The depression and anxiety got so bad that I quit my job and moved back home with my parents because I was scared and lonely living across the country by myself. Now all I do is worry 110% of the time over my digestion issues and whether I will be able to get a decent job that I enjoy. I figured my worsening depression and anxiety stemmed from the issues I am facing in my life but then it dawned on me that maybe I'm experiencing a delayed withdrawal. I am considering going back on an SSRI until I can improve my health issues and get a job so I don't have all those additional things to worry about but I'm also afraid the SSRI won't work at all and I'll be setting back my healing progress for no reason. 

So my question is, does anyone have any advice for me? Has anyone experienced or heard of digestion issues after discontinuing SSRI? I know serotonin affects gut function and is closely tied in with mental health. Is it a bad idea to try to temporarily reinstate Prozac until a time when I'm not facing so many other life challenges?

Edited by Gridley

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Gridley
Posted (edited)

Welcome to SA,

 

Withdrawal symptoms hitting at the 3 month mark is common, and digestive problems are a known withdrawal symptom.  

 

When was your last dose of Prozac?  What size was the dosage?

 

Reinstatement of a very small dose of the original drug--not a different drug-- is the only known way to help alleviate withdrawal syndrome.  The only other alternative is to try and wait out the symptoms and manage as best you can until your central nervous system returns to homeostasis.  Unfortunately no one can give you an exact timeline as to when you will start feeling better and while some do recover relatively easily, for others it can take many months or longer.  

 

Reinstatement isn't a guarantee of diminished symptoms for everyone but it's the best tactic available.  It sounds like you're a bit beyond the time period where reinstatement predictably works, up to 3 months after last dose, but it's possible that reinstatement will work.   We usually suggest a much smaller reinstatement dose than your last dose.  These drugs are strong, your system has become sensitized and If you take too much it may be too much for your brain and can cause you become more unstable.   Then, once you've stabilized on the reinstated  dosage, which can take several months,  you can begin a 10% per month taper down to zero.   Please read:

 

About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms. -- at least the first page of the topic

 

If you're interested in reinstating a small dose of Prozac, please answer my questions above and I can suggest a reinstatement dosage.  Please do not reinstate without giving me an opportunity to suggest a dosage.

 

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 wy here.

 
 
 
 

 

Edited by ChessieCat
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Auroragirl

Hi, thanks for the response! I started at 40mg of Prozac and went down by 5 mg every week. Kind of fast but I was feeling fine. My last dosage was 5 mg in October 2019. I was so relieved to not experience withdrawal during the taper and for months after and then things got bad. I'm so disappointed. I wish there was some way to know how long this will last and if it will ever get better. I can't decide if I should reinstate or push through. I'm barely functioning right now :(

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Gridley
Posted (edited)

  

On 6/10/2020 at 5:29 AM, Auroragirl said:

I should reinstate or push through.

 

Reinstatement 8 months out is risky.  It could make things worse.  

 

I wish there were a way to predict how long it will take to recover.  I can say with confidence that it will get better and that you will recover.  For a while it's going to be taking one day at a time or, if necessary, one hour at a time.

 

I had gut issues for many years (non-WD related) so I can sympathize.  Do you know whether you have food intolerances?  There are many foods that I could eat when I wasn't in WD that I can't eat now.

 

I found this restorative yoga pose very helpful for WD-related anxiety.  

 

10 minute Restorative Yoga for Relaxation | Up the wall

 

Here's a post that AltoStrata, founder of this site wrote about SIBO that may be of some help to you.

 

   On 6/18/2019 at 2:24 PM,  Altostrata said: 

....

Read these for background about leaky gut and SIBO:

 

This is a good overview of leaky gut -- ignore the sales pitch from Amy Myers for another expensive supplement (like Bio-HPF, but without the SIBO-killing herbs) at the end: https://www.amymyersmd.com/2019/02/9-signs-you-have-leaky-gut/

 

Chris Kresser gives reliable integrative advice without too much of a sales pitch:

 

About leaky gut https://chriskresser.com/how-to-tell-if-you-have-a-leaky-gut/

 

How to treat different "leaky gut" conditions https://chriskresser.com/5-causes-of-ibs-your-doctor-may-not-be-looking-for/

 

Here's a test for leaky gut. It may be covered by insurance. https://www.gdx.net/product/intestinal-permeability-assessment-urine

 

It could be you have a very severe case of SIBO, leading to leaky gut. Here's a paper to discuss with your gastroenterologist.

 

Here is the Web site of naturopath Allison Siebacker, the small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) expert. Here are tests for SIBO 

 

There was a gastroenterologist in my city who treated SIBO -- I had the wireless motility capsule test, which was covered by my insurance. The idea is that if your intestinal motility is slowed, which can be an adverse effect of drugs, that gives bacteria a chance to grow where they shouldn't.

 

Gastroenterologists treat motility issues. They may also prescribe a very expensive antibiotic, rifaximin (Xifaxan) to kill the bacteria, but it was found that herbal treatment was as effective, see this paper about herbal treatment of SIBO.
 

Bio-HPF is a kitchen sink of gut-healing herbs, etc. (What's missing is glutamine, which is very important.)  Problem is, some things cancel out the others. Berberine, barberry, oregon grape are used to kill small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) and can be hard to tolerate themselves.

 

I'd be careful with undenatured licorice, it can cause adrenal problems. Here's  Amy Myers's own list of supplements for leaky gut https://www.amymyersmd.com/2018/10/6-nutrients-to-repair-your-gut/ Note that it contains denatured licorice (DGL) -- not undenatured licorice as in Bio-HPF. Her list is

  Quote

 

  • 3 grams of L-Glutamine
  • 2 grams of arabinogalactan
  • 300mg of soothing marshmallow root
  • 300mg of DGL
  • 100mg of slippery elm
  • 50mg of aloe vera

 

The two main supplements to heal leaky gut are glutamine and quercetin (which Amy Myers must have overlooked). You wouldn't want to add SIBO-killing herbs unless you thought you had SIBO.  At any rate, it's far safer to add the above ingredients (plus quercetin) one at a time to see how you tolerate them rather than take them all in combination. They are available relatively inexpensively at Swanson Vitamins.

....

 

 

I

Edited by ChessieCat
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Auroragirl

So should I not try reinstating at all? 

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Gridley
Posted (edited)

  

On 6/10/2020 at 6:46 AM, Auroragirl said:

So should I not try reinstating at all? 

 

It's your decision.  It might work but it could also make things worse.  It works most predictably within 3 months after your last dose and you're 5 months beyond that point.  Keep in mind that reinstatement, if successful, will not get you back to 100% but rather will make symptoms more tolerable.

 

If you decide to reinstate, I'd try 1mg Prozac--no more.  The following link tell you how to get the 1mg Prozac you'll need.

 

Tips for tapering off Prozac (fluoxetine)

 

It takes a little over a week for the reinstatement to reach full strength in your system and it can take several weeks or months for you to stabilize on it.

 

It's a good idea to keep daily notes on paper to track how the reinstatement is going.

 

If after reinstating you feel worse, stop the reinstatement immediately.

 

Please keep up updated on what you decide and how you're doing.

 

 

 

 

Edited by ChessieCat
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ChessieCat

I've merged you new topic about mushrooms to an existing topic.

 

There are lots of different topics on SA.  Before creating a new topic please either do a site search or use a search engine and include survivingantidepressants.org in the search term to see if there is an existing topic.  Thank you.

 

psychedelic-mushrooms-ayahuasca-and-other-hallucinogens

 

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Auroragirl
On 6/9/2020 at 5:25 PM, Gridley said:

If after reinstating you feel worse, stop the reinstatement immediately.

What do you mean by "feel worse"? I've read it's normal to feel anxiety upon starting SSRI, so should I stick with it for a bit if the only symptom upon reinstatement is increased anxiety?

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ChessieCat
Posted (edited)

  

On 6/13/2020 at 6:02 PM, Auroragirl said:

What do you mean by "feel worse"?

 

Feel worse than you do before the reinstatement.

 

Edited by ChessieCat
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Auroragirl

So even if it is just increased anxiety I should stop? I'm sorry I'm just really nervous I want to make sure I'm doing this right. 

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ChessieCat

No, it's an immediate BAD reaction.

 

If you are nervous about reinstating then any increase in anxiety may be as a result of that and not the reinstatement.

 

Because it's been 5 months (?) since you stopped Prozac it might be better to start with 0.25mg Prozac and increase to a total of 0.5mg one week later if needed.  It is better to start with a small dose and increase by small amounts than to risk taking too much.

 

The idea of reinstating is to bring withdrawal symptoms to a bearable level, not to get rid of them completely.

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Auroragirl

It has been 8 months since my last dose was October. At this point, I don't care if I have to go back up to my full original dose and stay on it forever. I'd like to enjoy life, not just make it bearable. 

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ChessieCat
Posted (edited)

  

On 6/14/2020 at 12:13 AM, Auroragirl said:

At this point, I don't care if I have to go back up to my full original dose and stay on it forever.

 

This is what I've been meaning when I said don't panic.  The other way of saying it would be don't let your desperation cause you to make a bad decision.

 

Thank you for clarifying the length of time you have been off Prozac.

 

I understand you want to feel better.  However, it is very important after such a long time off the drug, that you start with a very small dose.  And also not to increase too quickly or too much if you find that the starting dose isn't bringing your symptoms to a tolerable level.

 

You will need to be patient.  It is going to take a little bit of time.  But I do realise that when we are suffering a week can seem like a very long time.  It can be helpful to keep a diary of your symptoms.  Sometimes you can see from the diary that a symptom has improved, whereas without having written anything down you might not notice it.  

 

And when you make a comparison, don't compare yourself to when you were at your best or how you want to feel.  The comparison needs to be made with how you were feeling at your worst.

 

Please read Post #1 of this topic.  If you have already read it, please read it again because you may have missed some of the information during the first reading. 

 

About reinstating and stabilizing to reduce withdrawal symptoms

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ChessieCat
Posted (edited)

  

On 6/14/2020 at 12:13 AM, Auroragirl said:

I'd like to enjoy life, not just make it bearable. 

 

We all do.  However, there is no magic fix, either through pills or anything else.  If there was we would be telling everyone about it and SA would close down.

 

You need to accept that it might take a while before you are feeling how you want to feel.

 

Adjusting your expectations and accepting that any improvement from how you are feeling now is heading in the right direction.

 

Acceptance

 

Think of it like being stuck in traffic and/or getting stuck at traffic lights.  You can't make it go any faster.

 

Or this one:  Use the image of waiting in a queue, the line gradually gets shorter. When you are in a queue you can't make it move any quicker than it does. You have no control over it. All you can do is wait in the line. How you wait is what is going to make a difference. You can either be impatient and start getting irritable and think bad things and complain to the other people who might start swearing at you which makes you feel worse or you can try to be patient and calm and try and think of nice things and look at the things around you. It's going to take the same amount of time for you to get to the head of the queue but you can either make the experience of waiting pleasant or unpleasant.

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Auroragirl

Thank you I appreciate your help

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Frogie
Posted (edited)

  

On 6/14/2020 at 11:31 PM, Auroragirl said:

Thank you I appreciate your help

 

ChessieCat and Gridley are wonderful and know what they are talking about.

 

But, I tell myself frequently, look how far I’ve gone, not how far I have to go. That seems to help me realize that I have been healing and will continue.

 

Hope that helps just a little.

 

Take care,

 Frogie xx

 

Edited by ChessieCat
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Auroragirl
Posted (edited)

Need help with reinstatement

 

Hi, 2 weeks ago I reinstated Prozac 5 mg, after 5 days I went up to 20mg which I've been taking for 10 days. I know you guys will tell me this was too much but I am absolutely desperate to feel better. Since reinstating I felt better for the first 2 days, then back to my usual misery.

I also started taking Xanax for a week. Ever since I stopped the Xanax 3 days ago I have been suffering severe anxiety and increased akathisia. I'm not sure if this is a symptom of stopping Xanax, (I only took a couple 0.25mg pills a day for a short time) or could this be a reaction to reinstating Prozac? I've been taking L theanine and also Valerian to help me get through this and unfortunately I've resorted to drinking alcohol as well. I know it's not good for me but I am so desperate to stop the akathisia and anxiety. I'm absolutely terrified I have ruined my life and I have no idea what to do to feel better. I wish doctors understood so I could just talk to my doctor. 

 

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ChessieCat

I've merged you new topic with your original Introduction topic.  Only one Introduction topic per member.  This keeps your information in one place.

 

I will let the other mods know that you need assistance.

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Auroragirl

Why doesn't anyone use a sleep medication such as ambien? Is it so bad for withdrawal? I know they have side effecgs and cause dependence but it seems more damage could be done to the body by a long term lack of sleep. I only sleep about 4 hours a night but it's not even good quality. I feel like I'm in and out the whole time. I've read the insomnia usually lasts for years and I just can't imagine how someone could ever heal without getting good quality sleep. 

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Gridley
Posted (edited)

 

I'm sorry you're not getting good sleep. So many of us suffer from the same problem.  With regard to drugs like Ambient, we don't recommend starting a new drug drug to deal with withdrawal.  One reason is that they will have to be tapered off, like all these psychiatric drugs, complicating withdrawal further.

Tips for tapering off Z drugs for sleep (Ambien, Lunesta, etc ...

Apace41, one of our moderators, wrote the following post to a member suffering from sleep problems.  It was very helpful to me.  As Apace says, it does get better.

 

There is, unfortunately, no "silver bullet" to withdrawal or any of its symptoms, including insomnia.  If there were, SA would be a much smaller site than it is at this point.  Sadly, it continues to grow as more and more people get caught in the psychiatric medication "web."

 

Insomnia and disordered sleeping is a hallmark of psychiatric medication withdrawal.  It starts earlier than that with many studies making it clear that SSRIs (and other psych meds) frequently suppress REM sleep for those who take the meds.  https://www.sleepio.com/articles/sleep-aids/antidepressants-and-sleep/  Given this as a backdrop, it should be no surprise that coming off the meds can wreak havoc on sleep.  The good news, however, is that the brain works hard to achieve homeostasis and, all other things being equal, the brain will return to a place where sleep becomes, as it should be, a matter of routine.  How long that takes for any one person is impossible to predict. 

 

So, what do you do?  In no particular order, some of the things to try:

 

  • Don't place too much significance on sleep.  Rest should be the key and when your body absolutely needs to sleep it will.  The anxiety that comes with lying awake and saying "I must sleep" is far worse than the not sleeping.  It's hard but it can be done.
  • Try a journaling practice before bed -- get out the things that are on your mind and add 3 things you are grateful for from the day
  • Get a sleep ritual in place so that you do the same thing day after day and start to repair your circadian rhythms
  • Take a warm bath with epsom salts few hours before bedtime and add in a cup of chamomile tea
  • Use lavender essential oils in a diffuser at bedtime
  • Exercise early in the day so that you aren't activated near bedtime
  • Get outside and get some sunlight early in the day so that your rhythms are reestablished
  • Make sure you have a consistent bedtime 
  • Try not to be too activated in the couple of hours before bed and, of course, no caffeine
  • Add a meditation practice
  • Try yoga
  • Go for walks in nature
Most insomnia is the result of the body being "hyperstimulated."  It is very hard to calm down an overstimulated body, especially when it is the result of chemical cascades that come as a result of medication use and withdrawal.  But, it can be done to a certain degree and the skills learned will provide valuable as your body improves over time.  

 

From my own perspective, my sleep is still not great, but it it better than it was.  I went through many stretches of 2 or 3 days with zero or an hour or two a night of sleep.  At this point, I have the occasional sleepless night, but most nights I'm good for at least 5 and usually closer to 6 hours.  By "normal" people standards that's not great, but it feels pretty good when compared to 0 or 2-3 hours a night.  As the saying goes, "in the land of the blind the one-eyed man is king!"

 

Try not to let it become the dominant factor in your life.  Over time, it will get better and you will heal.  Just do your best to continue to live your life what your brain is repairing itself.

 

Edited by ChessieCat
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Altostrata
Posted (edited)

  

On 7/1/2020 at 2:16 AM, Auroragirl said:

Need help with reinstatement

 

Hi, 2 weeks ago I reinstated Prozac 5 mg, after 5 days I went up to 20mg which I've been taking for 10 days. I know you guys will tell me this was too much but I am absolutely desperate to feel better. Since reinstating I felt better for the first 2 days, then back to my usual misery.

I also started taking Xanax for a week. Ever since I stopped the Xanax 3 days ago I have been suffering severe anxiety and increased akathisia. I'm not sure if this is a symptom of stopping Xanax, (I only took a couple 0.25mg pills a day for a short time) or could this be a reaction to reinstating Prozac? I've been taking L theanine and also Valerian to help me get through this and unfortunately I've resorted to drinking alcohol as well. I know it's not good for me but I am so desperate to stop the akathisia and anxiety. I'm absolutely terrified I have ruined my life and I have no idea what to do to feel better. I wish doctors understood so I could just talk to my doctor. 

 

 

Hello. What does this mean?

 

Quote

Since reinstating I felt better for the first 2 days, then back to my usual misery.

 

This is exactly what would happen if the amount of Prozac was too much for you:

 

Quote

could this be a reaction to reinstating Prozac?

 

If I were you, I'd immediately reduce to 5mg Prozac. It will take at least a week for this reduction to take full effect. Please let us know how you're doing.

 

Drinking alcohol most likely is making all these symptoms worse. If you continue to drink alcohol, we cannot support you.

 

Edited by ChessieCat
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Auroragirl

 

I felt a little less depressed and anxious for 2 days after reinstating 5 mg. I was able to do some basic tasks I had been putting off, but then the depression and anxiety returned. 

 

I am still not doing well. I skipped 1 day of Prozac to let the level go down a bit and now I am taking 5mg. I am tapering off the Xanax. I'm not sure if I became dependent on just 1 week of use. 

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Altostrata

It sounds to me like you took too much Prozac. It takes about a week to ramp up to full strength. You felt better when a little was in your system, but you felt a lot worse when it ramped up.

 

The staff makes suggestions based on our experience. We have seen people take too much drug when reinstating and get symptoms just like yours. They may take some time to settle down.

 

Skipping doses or taking Prozac inconsistently is not good for your nervous system. Please be more careful with these drugs.

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Auroragirl

Thank you so much.

 

I know I should have listened. Lesson learned.

 

What should I do about the Xanax I took for a week? I stopped for 2 days and nearly lost my mind with anxiety/akathisia so I started taking it again. Is it necessary to taper down from that or should I be able to stop CT now that I've reduced Prozac? I was taking 0.25mg xanax twice a day and I have reduced it by 25% so I'm at approximately 0.19mg twice a day. It helps so much, I wish I could stay on it but I know it's bad. 

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Altostrata

What days have you taken the Xanax, at what dosages and how often? Please supply full Xanax schedule.

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Auroragirl

I took 0.25 mg Xanax twice a day from 6/22- 6/28. I took Xanax because I had an uncomfortable yet manageable increase in anxiety, and thought I could safely use it for just a week while my body adjusted to 20mg Prozac. 

 

I did not take Xanax on 6/29 or 6/30, but I did take 20 mg Prozac, and I had horrific anxiety and akathisia both days. I was pacing around the house screaming and crying. My mom wanted to hospitalize me. I had to sedate myself with Valerian, L-theanine, and alcohol.

 

On 7/1 I took 0.25mg Xanax twice a day with no Prozac. On 7/2 and 7/3 I took 5 mg Prozac and 0.19mg of Xanax. I feel ok under the influence of Xanax, and anxious when it wears off. I redose before the anxiety gets really, really bad again. I do not want to go through what I did on those 2 days without Xanax.

 

Now I don't know if that 2 day bad reaction was due to me becoming dependent on Xanax and then withdrawing from it, or if the lack of Xanax just unmasked what the too high dose of Prozac was doing to me.

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Altostrata

Yes, it sounds like you are physiologically dependent on Xanax now.

 

What did you do about your Prozac dosing? Please update your signature with recent drug changes.

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Auroragirl

Oh no how do I get off Xanax? I only took it for 1 week :(

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Altostrata

We've heard that many times before. Would it be possible for you to keep your drug schedule consistent for a week so we can see what's going on?

 

If you keep on changing your drugs, we can't tell where the symptoms are coming from.

 

How much Prozac are you taking now, at what time of day? How long have you been taking that dosage? What times of day do you take Xanax? Please keep daily notes of times of day you take your drugs, their dosages, and your symptoms throughout the day. Post 24 hours of notes at a time in this topic, in a simple list format with time of day on the left and notation (symptom or drug and dosage) on the right.

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Auroragirl

I really need to get off Xanax as soon as possible. I've never taken it before and just used some of my mom's for a week.

 

She got it from her friend and there is only 1 0.25mg Xanax left. If I need to taper I have to do it with an old script she has of Ativan. It has 13 0.5mg pills. Neither of us have current scripts. I'm so mad at myself for doing this. I didn't think it was possible to become dependent in 1 week. 

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Altostrata

WHAT DID YOU DO ABOUT THE PROZAC, AND WHEN?

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Auroragirl

I went back down to 5mg. I took 5mg yesterday and today. 

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Altostrata

I would take 5mg Prozac at the same time each day. @Shep will confer about the Xanax.

 

Since you're messing with 2 drugs at once, you might have a bumpy time for a week or so. There's no way around this without extending the benzo prescription.

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Frogie
Posted (edited)

@Altostrata

 

Would you like me to help Auroragirl with the Xanax?

 

Frogie

 

Edited by ChessieCat
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Auroragirl

@Frogie

Thank you for the offer, I would like help! I actually switched to Ativan because I ran out of Xanax. I don't have a prescription for either. I am using some left over pills my mom has.

 

I decreased the dose of Ativan over a few days and haven't taken it in about 48 hours. I also decreased Prozac to 5 mg. I know it's fast taper off the benzo but I want to quit this ASAP before I get more addicted. So far I'm feeling ok. I'm not sure if I should expect a delayed withdrawal reaction though.

 

As a reminder this all started when I reinstated 20mg of Prozac and felt an increase in anxiety. To help with the transition I took 0.25mg Xanax 2 times a day for a week, had 2 horrible days without Xanax, which let me to decrease Prozac to 5mg and reinstate Xanax at same dose for 1 day. The next day I switched to 0.5mg Ativan (which I read is equivalent dose) twice a day and tapered off over a few days. 

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Frogie
Posted (edited)

Hi:

 

 I’m currently tapering off Xanax and it’s not fun. But, I took it for 19 years before coming off of it.

 

You might get a delayed wd from the Ativan. It’s hard to say. But you could have some increased anxiety. It only takes a short time to become addicted to these benzos. And from what I understand Xanax and Ativan are different in ways. Xanax is stronger I do know that.

 

I wonder if you have good communication with your dr? Maybe you could get a prescription for yourself (now you understand why it’s not a good idea to take someone’s medication). You could explain your situation and perhaps get a month or so, so you could taper off of it if it gets too difficult?

 

That is just my thought on this.
 

I think it would be a good idea to see what @Altostrata has to say about this.

 

Take care,

 Frogie xx

 

Edited by ChessieCat
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