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Are We There Yet? How Long Is Withdrawal Going To Take?


brassmonkey

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Brassmonkey, thank you so much for this post,  I have just found it.  I am down to .001 in weight, started at .152, been doing it for 2 years on my Lexapro taper.  Going to take Altostrata's advice and stay on this dose a month before going off, then I have one more drug to do.  I really needed your post.  Things have gotten bad.  I had a window about 2 or 3 weeks ago that I felt great and had energy for about 3 days. I thought something was wrong with me LOL.  Then...... not sleeping, panic attacks in the night, depression, hopelessness, anxiety, hurting all over and exhaustion.  I work cleaning houses and offices and this has been very hard.  Sometimes I feel so bad with the working I get scared.  

Your post helped so much!!!!! Even though still struggle it has given me hope and tools to go on.  I can't thank you enough!!!! 

1.5 mg Ativan - .5 mg  three x daily -start date 9/24/16 - taper start 2/17.  1/07/2017 tapering A.m. and pm doses .001 every 4 days.  Prescribed for a thyroid medication mess up made thyroid go crazy for 8 months. Was very sensitive to Ativan.  OFF ATIVAN! 11-17-2018

10 mg. Lexapro. PM - 5 mg start date 10/11/2016 increased to 10 mg 2/2/17. 1-1-2019 Began tapering Lexapro.  .001 mg every 4 days.  Held longer if there was WD.  Last doses some I held a month.  OFF LEXAPRO! 2-21 2021
5 mg. Buspar  divided into two, 2.5 mg doses AM and PM- Start date 9/26/2016 .

N.P. Desiccated Thyroid.  12-22-17 reduced  from  75 mg. to 67.5 daily,  dose now 60 mg a day

Bioidentical hormones. Bi-est/Prog cream, 1/4 tsp.  1 time daily

My intro: Moonpie:. Need help and supporting tapering off of Ativan

My benzo thread: Moonpie: Need help Ativan weight tapering

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brassmonkey

Hi Melissa-- It took some thinking to recreate the details of what I did, it's been a while. The Gemini-20 scales can only weigh accurately to 4mg. This made it hard to divide the dose reduction into the small amounts required to continue the Brassmonkey Slide so I tried to reduce by 1mgpw every three weeks. This didn't work so I extended it to every four weeks. I did the 1mgpw reduction by visually dividing the 4mgpw of powder I could accurately weigh on the scale into 4 equal parts pf 1mgpw each. Each of those 1mgpw piles gave me 0.08mgai (active ingredient) in dose strength. By reducing one pile at a time I was able to reduce the dose by 0.08mgai every four weeks. Three piles, two piles, one pile.

 

When I got down to one pile of 1mgpw I visually divided that into four parts and repeated the process. Three piles, two piles, one pile. When I got to one pile the dose was sufficiently small I could make the jump to "0" with very little problem. My final dose would have been about 0.02mgai.

 

Hope that helps.

20 years on Paxil starting at 20mg and working up to 40mg. Sept 2011 started 10% every 6 weeks taper (2.5% every week for 4 weeks then hold for 2 additional weeks), currently at 7.9mg. Oct 2011 CTed 15oz vodka a night, to only drinking 2 beers most nights, totally sober Feb 2013.

Since I wrote this I have continued to decrease my dose by 10% every 6 weeks (2.5% every week for 4 weeks and then hold for an additional 2 weeks). I added in an extra 6 week hold when I hit 10mg to let things settle out even more. When I hit 3mgpw it became hard to split the drop into 4 parts so I switched to dropping 1mgpw (pill weight) every week for 3 weeks and then holding for another 3 weeks.  The 3 + 3 schedule turned out to be too harsh so I cut back to dropping 1mgpw every 4 weeks which is working better.

Current dose 0.000mg 04-15-2017

 

"It's also important not to become angry, no matter how difficult life is, because you can loose all hope if you can't laugh at yourself and at life in general."  Stephen Hawking

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  • 2 months later...
Totallylost
On 7/5/2020 at 8:44 PM, brassmonkey said:

Cold Turkey and Too-Fast Tapers

(8)

 

I will be blunt.  Unless there is a serious medical reason, Do Not Cold Turkey or Fast Taper.  Take your time tapering.  The pain and suffering are just not worth rushing it, and over time you will get off the drugs and recover much faster by doing a gradual taper.

 

For this discussion, a Cold Turkey (CT) is defined as stopping your drugs abruptly from a “normal” dosage. There is very little information about how many people do manage a CT successfully.  Doing a CT is a gamble. You won't know if you've lost until it's too late and develop severe withdrawal symptoms.

 

Don’t be in a rush to go off the drug with a too-fast taper, either.  A too-fast taper is one where you have withdrawal symptoms while you are tapering.  The 10% taper we recommend is intended to avoid withdrawal symptoms.  If you experience many withdrawal symptoms while tapering it means that your body is having a hard time.

 

However, like cold turkey, a fast taper may be justified by a serious medical reason, something like liver damage, severe allergic reaction, or other life-threatening conditions, but not just ordinary adverse effects.  In these situations, the risk of withdrawal symptoms may be equal to the problems being caused by the drug.

 

Psych drugs work by making physical changes to the body.  The body then requires the presence of those drugs to maintain stability and to keep functioning.  Remove the drug abruptly and often the body doesn’t know how to work.  It then starts to scramble to fix itself.  While that is happening the bodies systems cannot function correctly and we get WD symptoms.  Because the body is in such chaos after CT, those symptoms can be very acute and unpredictable.

 

Because the body is in such chaos those symptoms may last for a very long time. In the nervous system alone, there are hundreds of billions of electrical connections that have to be reviewed and repaired.  Throw on top of that the endocrine system, hormonal interactions and a lot of other things, the body doesn’t know what hit it.  Over many months the body takes inventory and starts making the changes it thinks will correct the situation. Then, it needs to adjust to those changes.  This is where the familiar pattern of “Waves and Windows” comes from.

 

Like everything else WD there are no statistics on how long recovery from CT will take.  But we have a lot of case histories that give us some indication. I frequently post about several of my taper buddies that CTed 40mgai of Paxil at the same time I started my taper. Currently it has been six years, I’m off all my meds and living life at about 95% plus of normal.  They, on the other hand, are still suffering waves that rival their initial acute period.  On the positive side they are also experiencing very nice Windows.  But they are still struggling on a daily basis

 

Many members have indicated that their doctor refuses to renew their prescription as a reason for a CT.  There are just too many resources available to get a renewed prescription for this to be a valid reason.  Any doctor can prescribe these medications. They can be obtained through Urgent Care, the ER/A&E, online prescription services, to name a few of the sources available. Sometimes they are available directly from the manufacturer. There will be some hunting and footwork involved, but it is best to do what needs to be done to maintain your supply, so you can keep control over your situation.  No one is going to do this for you.

 

So, I will conclude by restating my second sentence.  Unless there is a medical reason, Do Not CT.  If you cold turkey or taper too fast and you get withdrawal symptoms, if you are at all able to resume taking your meds, please look into our threads on Reinstatement. You can find more information about reinstatement here:

 

about-reinstating-and-stabilizing-to-reduce-withdrawal-symptoms

 

 

 

 

 

10 days Citalopram c/t 

7 days buspirone c/t

5 days trazodone c/t

2 weeks lorazepam c/t

started in January now off work 3 months 

Stomach issues

weakness in legs 

feeling of dread all day

cant sleep

barely eating no appetite

fever on and off

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Totallylost
On 7/5/2020 at 8:42 PM, brassmonkey said:

But I only took it for a Week

(6)

 

I think that some of the most unfortunate members we have are the ones who only took the drug for a short time and had a severe Adverse Reaction. Over the years I’ve seen a number of members join who have taken their drugs for one day to a week and then stopped.  They suffer acute symptoms that hit immediately and hard.  Some people’s chemical makeup just isn’t compatible with psych drugs and their body immediately tries to reject them, but in doing so throws itself into chaos.

 

The good news is that their body will sort itself out and they will return to normal.  While this is recovery from a severe adverse reaction and not withdrawal syndrome, the bad news is the post-discontinuation symptoms are a lot like post- acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS), and it’s going to take a long time and there is nothing that will speed up the process.  There are some coping strategies and tools that will help you endure the experience, but time is the only thing that will cure it, and it will take months rather than weeks.

 

These people tend to have a more linear recovery than those with true withdrawal syndrome. The first several months may be more intense.  Then, like PAWS, things start to improve very slowly. Eventually, normal life resumes and get back on track.  All the members I have known with this immediate Adverse Reaction have made full recoveries and gone on to normal lives and careers.

 

There is a variation to this theme and that is the ones who have taken the drug for a month or two.  They didn’t have the immediate Adverse Reaction, but the drug is not treating them well and they decide to stop taking it because of the way it makes them feel. Because they have only been on the drug for a short time and with their doctor’s encouragement, they stop the drug cold turkey.  This might throw them into a more typical withdrawal syndrome and a whole carousel of doctor’s visits and new drugs.

 

For those people who find themselves in this situation, it’s sometimes possible to do a quick taper over a few months.  This is an iffy proposition, as their nervous system may have become adapted to the drug during that short period.  Sometimes a fast taper works in their situation and sometimes it doesn’t.  Unfortunately, if you get withdrawal symptoms, you’ll know it was too fast.

 

Psych drugs work by making physical changes to the body, affecting every system and every cell.  They start to make these changes from the first dose and by the end of the first month they may have been quite successful. Studies show that people on the drug for only a month are at risk of withdrawal symptoms. The upshot being that even after only one or two months a proper, slow 10% taper is required. Yes, that means that you will be tapering the drug for longer than you took them originally.  But those changes, that were quick to happen, require a lot of time to sort out and undo without causing undue symptoms.

 

 

 

 

 

What if I was only on it less than 2 weeks?, tried 2 others lasted less than a week on each, now 6 weeks off and really ill

10 days Citalopram c/t 

7 days buspirone c/t

5 days trazodone c/t

2 weeks lorazepam c/t

started in January now off work 3 months 

Stomach issues

weakness in legs 

feeling of dread all day

cant sleep

barely eating no appetite

fever on and off

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brassmonkey

One week, two weeks there isn't a lot of difference. Four different drugs in three weeks can really compound things. Luckily you didn't take any of then all that long. But it is still going to take a while for your brain to figure out what happened to it, stabilize and recover. It will pretty much follow the pattern I described in the article chapter 6. Some people get lucky and it clears up in a matter of a few months, while for others it can drag on quite a bit longer.

20 years on Paxil starting at 20mg and working up to 40mg. Sept 2011 started 10% every 6 weeks taper (2.5% every week for 4 weeks then hold for 2 additional weeks), currently at 7.9mg. Oct 2011 CTed 15oz vodka a night, to only drinking 2 beers most nights, totally sober Feb 2013.

Since I wrote this I have continued to decrease my dose by 10% every 6 weeks (2.5% every week for 4 weeks and then hold for an additional 2 weeks). I added in an extra 6 week hold when I hit 10mg to let things settle out even more. When I hit 3mgpw it became hard to split the drop into 4 parts so I switched to dropping 1mgpw (pill weight) every week for 3 weeks and then holding for another 3 weeks.  The 3 + 3 schedule turned out to be too harsh so I cut back to dropping 1mgpw every 4 weeks which is working better.

Current dose 0.000mg 04-15-2017

 

"It's also important not to become angry, no matter how difficult life is, because you can loose all hope if you can't laugh at yourself and at life in general."  Stephen Hawking

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Totallylost
6 hours ago, brassmonkey said:

One week, two weeks there isn't a lot of difference. Four different drugs in three weeks can really compound things. Luckily you didn't take any of then all that long. But it is still going to take a while for your brain to figure out what happened to it, stabilize and recover. It will pretty much follow the pattern I described in the article chapter 6. Some people get lucky and it clears up in a matter of a few months, while for others it can drag on quite a bit longer.

Now I’ve been given sleeping pills, a drug for my stomach and diazepam which I’ve tried to resist but symptoms really too much not too take something 

10 days Citalopram c/t 

7 days buspirone c/t

5 days trazodone c/t

2 weeks lorazepam c/t

started in January now off work 3 months 

Stomach issues

weakness in legs 

feeling of dread all day

cant sleep

barely eating no appetite

fever on and off

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  • 2 weeks later...
runningthestreets

Hello, I skipped doses and did a fast taper but never went to Zero. Im now in 18.75 mg and im holding until i recover from withdrawal. I was in 75mg. This situation is better than CT or went to zero too fast? Now i feel like WDnormal most the time, anhedonia and sleep problems is the major problem.

2020 Oct 2 75 mg anafranil and 1mg lorazepam 
2020 December reduced to  3I4 of lorazepam, and then to half of the pill of Lorazepam in december and stay in that dosis because i couldnt go to 0.25
2021 Jan 26 to Feb 17 fast tapered Anafranil 37.5 mg
2021 Feb 17 of 2021 (fast tapered again) 18.75 mg of Anafranil, alternating days without it (one day yes other not)

 

I experienced a lot of symptoms of withdrawal through the process


2021  I stabilized in 18.75 mg of Anafranil in March 1 until now but without alternate because I found this page in March 20.

I stabilized in 0.5 mg of lorazepam too because I couldnt taper to 0.25 for withdrawal symptoms. Now I decide to quit off this drugs little by little.

 

 

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brassmonkey

Yes, this is a much better situation than doing a FT/CT. It my take a little while but you should be able to stabilize on the 18.75 and then start a slow taper. Feeling like you are at WDnromal is a very good sigh or stabilizing.

20 years on Paxil starting at 20mg and working up to 40mg. Sept 2011 started 10% every 6 weeks taper (2.5% every week for 4 weeks then hold for 2 additional weeks), currently at 7.9mg. Oct 2011 CTed 15oz vodka a night, to only drinking 2 beers most nights, totally sober Feb 2013.

Since I wrote this I have continued to decrease my dose by 10% every 6 weeks (2.5% every week for 4 weeks and then hold for an additional 2 weeks). I added in an extra 6 week hold when I hit 10mg to let things settle out even more. When I hit 3mgpw it became hard to split the drop into 4 parts so I switched to dropping 1mgpw (pill weight) every week for 3 weeks and then holding for another 3 weeks.  The 3 + 3 schedule turned out to be too harsh so I cut back to dropping 1mgpw every 4 weeks which is working better.

Current dose 0.000mg 04-15-2017

 

"It's also important not to become angry, no matter how difficult life is, because you can loose all hope if you can't laugh at yourself and at life in general."  Stephen Hawking

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