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Cpe1979: I’m new here and seeking help getting off antidepressants for good


Cpe1979

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I have tired to taper off meds a few times, most recently in 2018 and now over the past 8 weeks. I’m currently down to 50 mg Sertraline/Zoloft from 100mg which I was on for probably a little over a year. Prior to that I have been on different antidepressants for a little over 20 years. When I tapered in 2018 I ended up severely depressed and anxious, unable to function in my demanding job or with my family as a parent. I am worried, as many have been, that these drugs have permanently altered my brain’s ability to produce and regulate serotonin. 

Prior to 1998 Fluoxetine?

1998 or 1999 Effexor XR and lithium for a while

2002 discontinued lithium

2002-2007-Effexor XR

2007-2018 Fluoxetine 20mg/day

2018 tapered off Fluoxetine beginning Sept 10mg/day, October 10 mg every other day, Nov CT

2019 January, went back on Fluoxetine 20mg/day, March Lexapro, April then to Cymbalta, Sept Zoloft 100mg/day

2021 June 10 Zoloft 75mg, July 10 50mg

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  • getofflex changed the title to Cpe1979: I’m new here and seeking help getting off antidepressants for good
  • Moderator

Hello, and welcome to SA.  We are a peer owned and run forum of people who have been or are getting off of psychiatric drugs. 

 

I need to know more information about your past tapers, especially you most recent taper.  Can you please give us specific information about your drug history for all drugs you are on and have been on, especially for the past 18-24 months?  It would be especially helpful to have the details of your drugs in a concise list (no symptoms), only drug names, specific dates (as best you can say for example early March if you don't recall the day) and dosages of each medication decrease or increase.  Please read the link below for instructions.  This will allow us to give you the best guidance.  

 

How to List Drug History in Signature

 

Here is some information about how these drugs actually work.  This explains why it is important to taper off very slowly and cautiously.

 

How Psychiatric Drugs Remodel Your Brain

 

 

This helps you understand what withdrawal syndrome is: 

 

 Video on Recovery from Psych Drugs

 

What is Happening in Your Brain

 

What is Withdrawal Syndrome?

 

Tapering is best done extremely slowly, and we generally taper by 10% of the current dose no more than once every 4 weeks, so that the taper becomes exponentially smaller.

 

 Why Taper by 10% of my Dosage  

 

Tips for Tapering Zoloft

 

 

Also, as we are recovering, we suggest keeping things slow, simple, and stable. This is extremely important. 

 

Considerations About Stability Stop Jumping Around

 

Keep it Simple, Slow, and Stable

 

 

When we recover, there are times of feeling OK mixed in with times of feeling bad.  This is called windows and waves.

 

Windows and Waves Pattern of Stabilization

 

Here are some techniques to cope with symptoms: 

 

Acknowledge, Accept, Float

 

Non Drug Ways to Cope with Withdrawal Symptoms

 

 

We don't suggest many supplements, but 2 that many of us find helpful are magnesium and omega-3 fish oil. Here are the links for info about those. It is suggested to add one at a time, and start with a low dose to see how it affects you. 


Magnesium

 

Omega 3 Fish Oil

 

I've given you quite a bit of information here.  Please read through it, and mull it over, and we will take it from there. In the meantime, take care of yourself, and take heart.  We in this forum have been through this, and we understand first hand the pain and discomfort you are going through.  Please know that the brain is amazing in it's healing abilities.  It takes time, but healing can and will happen. 

Please do not tag me, unless it is an urgent question about tapering or reinstatement. 

 

***Please note this is not medical advice.  Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a doctor who understands psych meds and how to withdraw from them, if you can find one.

 

Lexapro   Started Apr 15 '02 - 10 mg;  Apr 2 '20  0.18 mg; Jul 16  0.17 mg, Aug 23  0.16 mg, Oct 7  0.15 mg, Nov 8 - 0.14, Jan 16 '21 - 0.13, Feb 7 - 0.12, Feb 22 - 0.11, Mar 26 - 0.10, May 21 - 0.09, June 15 - 0.08 Aug 16 - 0.07, Oct 6 - 0.06, Nov 21 0.05, Dec. 17 0.04, Jan 14 '22 0.03, Feb 19 0.02, Apr 18 0.01, May 15 0.005,  Jul 8, 0.00.  Psych Drug Free as of July 8, 2022!!  Woohoo!!!

Ibuprofen 800 mg, Tylenol 1000 mg, Benadryl 50 mg as needed

other meds: Levothyroxine 75 mg

Trazodone on occasion, stopped in late 2019

Xanax on occasion, stopped in late 2019

magnesium in small amounts at 4 AM, 3 PM, before bed

suppl AM: fish oil, flax oil, vit C, vit E, multivitamin, zinc

suppl noon: calcium

suppl supper: calcium

suppl 8 PM: magnesium 350 mg, GABA 750 mg, Estroven, melatonin 2 mg

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  • Moderator

According to your drug signature "2021 June 10 Zoloft 75mg, July 10 50mg".   You are tapering at the rate of 33%, which is significantly fast than what we suggest.  I suggest that you hold for a while as in several months (3-6 or more) on your current dose of 50 mg, and give you nervous system a chance to catch up.  If you read my links above on how psych drugs remodel the brain, you will see why this is important.    You may feel OK at first, but often there is a delayed reaction by weeks or in some cases, even months.  I don't want to see you crash your nervous system.  

23 hours ago, Cpe1979 said:

I am worried, as many have been, that these drugs have permanently altered my brain’s ability to produce and regulate serotonin. 

It can certainly feel this way.  But rest assured, that in time, your nervous system will heal, and be able to function normally and produce and regulate serotonin.  Try reading some of the success stories on this site: 

 

Success Stories

Edited by getofflex

Please do not tag me, unless it is an urgent question about tapering or reinstatement. 

 

***Please note this is not medical advice.  Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a doctor who understands psych meds and how to withdraw from them, if you can find one.

 

Lexapro   Started Apr 15 '02 - 10 mg;  Apr 2 '20  0.18 mg; Jul 16  0.17 mg, Aug 23  0.16 mg, Oct 7  0.15 mg, Nov 8 - 0.14, Jan 16 '21 - 0.13, Feb 7 - 0.12, Feb 22 - 0.11, Mar 26 - 0.10, May 21 - 0.09, June 15 - 0.08 Aug 16 - 0.07, Oct 6 - 0.06, Nov 21 0.05, Dec. 17 0.04, Jan 14 '22 0.03, Feb 19 0.02, Apr 18 0.01, May 15 0.005,  Jul 8, 0.00.  Psych Drug Free as of July 8, 2022!!  Woohoo!!!

Ibuprofen 800 mg, Tylenol 1000 mg, Benadryl 50 mg as needed

other meds: Levothyroxine 75 mg

Trazodone on occasion, stopped in late 2019

Xanax on occasion, stopped in late 2019

magnesium in small amounts at 4 AM, 3 PM, before bed

suppl AM: fish oil, flax oil, vit C, vit E, multivitamin, zinc

suppl noon: calcium

suppl supper: calcium

suppl 8 PM: magnesium 350 mg, GABA 750 mg, Estroven, melatonin 2 mg

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Thank you. Yes, that was the taper my doctor recommended, but based on my reading I can see it is way too fast. I believe that's why I crashed so hard in 2018 as well. I will look at the resources you posted. Thank you so much. 

Prior to 1998 Fluoxetine?

1998 or 1999 Effexor XR and lithium for a while

2002 discontinued lithium

2002-2007-Effexor XR

2007-2018 Fluoxetine 20mg/day

2018 tapered off Fluoxetine beginning Sept 10mg/day, October 10 mg every other day, Nov CT

2019 January, went back on Fluoxetine 20mg/day, March Lexapro, April then to Cymbalta, Sept Zoloft 100mg/day

2021 June 10 Zoloft 75mg, July 10 50mg

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  • Moderator
On 8/14/2021 at 6:49 PM, Cpe1979 said:

Yes, that was the taper my doctor recommended, but based on my reading I can see it is way too fast. I believe that's why I crashed so hard in 2018 as well.

 

These **** doctors.  The same thing happened to me, and I'm still recovering from it years later.  It's unconscionable that very few doctors know how to properly taper people off their drugs.  😠

 

Please let me know if you have any questions.  Keep us posted. 

 

 

Please do not tag me, unless it is an urgent question about tapering or reinstatement. 

 

***Please note this is not medical advice.  Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a doctor who understands psych meds and how to withdraw from them, if you can find one.

 

Lexapro   Started Apr 15 '02 - 10 mg;  Apr 2 '20  0.18 mg; Jul 16  0.17 mg, Aug 23  0.16 mg, Oct 7  0.15 mg, Nov 8 - 0.14, Jan 16 '21 - 0.13, Feb 7 - 0.12, Feb 22 - 0.11, Mar 26 - 0.10, May 21 - 0.09, June 15 - 0.08 Aug 16 - 0.07, Oct 6 - 0.06, Nov 21 0.05, Dec. 17 0.04, Jan 14 '22 0.03, Feb 19 0.02, Apr 18 0.01, May 15 0.005,  Jul 8, 0.00.  Psych Drug Free as of July 8, 2022!!  Woohoo!!!

Ibuprofen 800 mg, Tylenol 1000 mg, Benadryl 50 mg as needed

other meds: Levothyroxine 75 mg

Trazodone on occasion, stopped in late 2019

Xanax on occasion, stopped in late 2019

magnesium in small amounts at 4 AM, 3 PM, before bed

suppl AM: fish oil, flax oil, vit C, vit E, multivitamin, zinc

suppl noon: calcium

suppl supper: calcium

suppl 8 PM: magnesium 350 mg, GABA 750 mg, Estroven, melatonin 2 mg

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Thank you. I’m going back to my doctor on Friday and I’m going to request a much slower taper. I’m going to see if he will prescribe liquid or something more easily measurable so I can to the reducing by 10% a month after I give myself more time at this dose. It sounds like that is generally what you recommend. Is that correct? 

Prior to 1998 Fluoxetine?

1998 or 1999 Effexor XR and lithium for a while

2002 discontinued lithium

2002-2007-Effexor XR

2007-2018 Fluoxetine 20mg/day

2018 tapered off Fluoxetine beginning Sept 10mg/day, October 10 mg every other day, Nov CT

2019 January, went back on Fluoxetine 20mg/day, March Lexapro, April then to Cymbalta, Sept Zoloft 100mg/day

2021 June 10 Zoloft 75mg, July 10 50mg

Link to comment
  • Moderator

Yes, we suggest doing a taper of no faster than 10% of your current dose every 4 weeks or more.  Please see my link above about tapering 10%. Yes, getting the liquid will make it easier.  That is what I use. Here is a link on how you can talk to your doctor, with some documents you can print and show to him/her.

 

How to Talk to a Doctor About Tapering and Withdrawal 

Please do not tag me, unless it is an urgent question about tapering or reinstatement. 

 

***Please note this is not medical advice.  Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a doctor who understands psych meds and how to withdraw from them, if you can find one.

 

Lexapro   Started Apr 15 '02 - 10 mg;  Apr 2 '20  0.18 mg; Jul 16  0.17 mg, Aug 23  0.16 mg, Oct 7  0.15 mg, Nov 8 - 0.14, Jan 16 '21 - 0.13, Feb 7 - 0.12, Feb 22 - 0.11, Mar 26 - 0.10, May 21 - 0.09, June 15 - 0.08 Aug 16 - 0.07, Oct 6 - 0.06, Nov 21 0.05, Dec. 17 0.04, Jan 14 '22 0.03, Feb 19 0.02, Apr 18 0.01, May 15 0.005,  Jul 8, 0.00.  Psych Drug Free as of July 8, 2022!!  Woohoo!!!

Ibuprofen 800 mg, Tylenol 1000 mg, Benadryl 50 mg as needed

other meds: Levothyroxine 75 mg

Trazodone on occasion, stopped in late 2019

Xanax on occasion, stopped in late 2019

magnesium in small amounts at 4 AM, 3 PM, before bed

suppl AM: fish oil, flax oil, vit C, vit E, multivitamin, zinc

suppl noon: calcium

suppl supper: calcium

suppl 8 PM: magnesium 350 mg, GABA 750 mg, Estroven, melatonin 2 mg

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  • Mentor

Hello @Cpe1979 welcome to SA! Sounds like you and I have been down the same road. Having withdrawals and dr just throws more drugs at you. Try this try that. I really chose my words carefully now when I talk to dr. Unfortunately they no nothing of withdrawals and may cause you more harm because they don’t know. 

 I definitely agree with getofflex! Hold that dose for several months and when you feel really good you can start that taper again. Yes liquid is the easiest for me to taper. Sometimes you may have to use 2 syringes to get correct dose. I use brass monkey slide to taper. While you are holding for a few months be reading and preparing for the taper. Read about brass monkey slide, changing over to liquid, and electronic taper chart, etc. learn all you can during time holding. 
I use this taper chart. http://www.taperoff.co/

slow, steady, stable

hang in there ! 

2000-2013 Paxil - 1 year fast taper

2013-2018 drug merry go round with dr. 
zoloft, cymbalta, lamictal, Prozac.

 Nov. 2018 lexapro 15 mgs, Dec. 2019 to Mar. 2020 10mg. Jul 2020 to October 2020 8.5 ml.
Oct 2020 reinstated to 9 ml.
Apr 2021 to Jul  7ml. Oct 2021 to Jan 2022 5.9ml, Mar 5 2022 5.8 ml, Mar 12 5.7ml, Mar 20 5.6ml, Mar 27 5.5ml, April 23 5.4ml, April 30 5.3ml, May 7 5.2ml,  Jul 9, 5.4ml, 

Klonopin as needed, present Celebrex 200 - 400 mg daily as needed, 1000 to 2000 mg  turmeric Qunol daily as needed, Trader Joe’s omega 3, Prilosec very rarely if desperate 

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I'm feeling a little frustrated because I met with my doctor and he basically said that the rest of the taper should be 25 and then 0. He does support holding for 3 months at each, but said that I'm currently on the lowest therapeutic dose and that Zoloft has fewer side effects when tapering. So, he is not prescribing, the liquid. He also said that given that I've been on and off these drugs for years and my mom and sister have also (family history) he doesn't recommend me going off to begin with. I think this is a big part of the problem. He is a pretty well known psychiatrist in this area. I'm really upset about this and I want to try to find another doctor, but don't even know how to go about doing this at the moment. I also feel like my confidence is a bit zapped.

 

 

Prior to 1998 Fluoxetine?

1998 or 1999 Effexor XR and lithium for a while

2002 discontinued lithium

2002-2007-Effexor XR

2007-2018 Fluoxetine 20mg/day

2018 tapered off Fluoxetine beginning Sept 10mg/day, October 10 mg every other day, Nov CT

2019 January, went back on Fluoxetine 20mg/day, March Lexapro, April then to Cymbalta, Sept Zoloft 100mg/day

2021 June 10 Zoloft 75mg, July 10 50mg

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  • Moderator
On 8/22/2021 at 1:58 PM, Cpe1979 said:

I'm feeling a little frustrated because I met with my doctor and he basically said that the rest of the taper should be 25 and then 0.

Please don't listen to this advice. I've seen so many come in here suffering intensely because of bad tapering advice given by their doctors.  

 

On 8/22/2021 at 1:58 PM, Cpe1979 said:

He does support holding for 3 months at each, but said that I'm currently on the lowest therapeutic dose

I wouldn't trust him on that either, especially since he is clueless about tapering.  Even at very low doses these drugs have major effects on our nervous systems.  Please read this link, and especially pay attention to the chart.  

 

SERT Occupancy Studies Show Importance of Gradual Tapering

 

An average adult dose of citalopram is 20 mg.  As you can see from the chart, even at only 2 or 3 mg of Citalopram, it is still affecting 20 percent of the receptors, meaning that on only 10% of their original dose, still 20% of receptors are occupied.  When you are on 25 mg of Zoloft, that is 25% of your original dose, so I imagine a lot higher percent of your receptors are being affected, maybe as high as 40% or 50%!  

On 8/22/2021 at 1:58 PM, Cpe1979 said:

I'm really upset about this and I want to try to find another doctor, but don't even know how to go about doing this at the moment. I also feel like my confidence is a bit zapped.

 

 Is this doctor a psychiatrist, or a GP?  Fortunately, even general practitioners can now prescribe psych meds.  I would go to your health insurance website, and start calling some of the doctors listed there, and try and explain your situation.  Here is a thread that tells how to talk to your doctor about withdrawal: 

 

How to Talk to Doctor About Tapering and WD

 

Check out this thread, perhaps if a doc is not in your area, you can Skype or zoom with him/her.  

 

Recommended Doctors

Please do not tag me, unless it is an urgent question about tapering or reinstatement. 

 

***Please note this is not medical advice.  Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a doctor who understands psych meds and how to withdraw from them, if you can find one.

 

Lexapro   Started Apr 15 '02 - 10 mg;  Apr 2 '20  0.18 mg; Jul 16  0.17 mg, Aug 23  0.16 mg, Oct 7  0.15 mg, Nov 8 - 0.14, Jan 16 '21 - 0.13, Feb 7 - 0.12, Feb 22 - 0.11, Mar 26 - 0.10, May 21 - 0.09, June 15 - 0.08 Aug 16 - 0.07, Oct 6 - 0.06, Nov 21 0.05, Dec. 17 0.04, Jan 14 '22 0.03, Feb 19 0.02, Apr 18 0.01, May 15 0.005,  Jul 8, 0.00.  Psych Drug Free as of July 8, 2022!!  Woohoo!!!

Ibuprofen 800 mg, Tylenol 1000 mg, Benadryl 50 mg as needed

other meds: Levothyroxine 75 mg

Trazodone on occasion, stopped in late 2019

Xanax on occasion, stopped in late 2019

magnesium in small amounts at 4 AM, 3 PM, before bed

suppl AM: fish oil, flax oil, vit C, vit E, multivitamin, zinc

suppl noon: calcium

suppl supper: calcium

suppl 8 PM: magnesium 350 mg, GABA 750 mg, Estroven, melatonin 2 mg

Link to comment
  • Mentor

@Cpe1979 How are you feeling ?

 

totally understand your frustrations! Please don’t fall for suggestions for tapering  any faster than what the moderators say here! 
 

it’s very hard to balance this juggling act between the drs giving bad advice and you taking care of yourself correctly and keeping or getting correct dosage/ medication/ liquid or pills. lord forbid getting positive support from drs🙄
 

if you have a gp or family dr they can help you with your liquid. If you don’t then you may get one for yearly check ups etc. and explain you are try to taper and liquid is only way - yadyadyyady . 

i was like you and finally got a new family dr and talk to them about my situation and they said if I have trouble getting liquid they would write script for it. So she is my back up plan . If pdr decides to not give me liquid gp will👍
 

I went through the same thing trying to get pdr to get me liquid and he finally did after a long talk and humble sweet talk.
 

I also want you to know if you can’t get liquid there are other waUs to taper. There are moderators here that can walk you through that if you are interested 👍

 
 

 

2000-2013 Paxil - 1 year fast taper

2013-2018 drug merry go round with dr. 
zoloft, cymbalta, lamictal, Prozac.

 Nov. 2018 lexapro 15 mgs, Dec. 2019 to Mar. 2020 10mg. Jul 2020 to October 2020 8.5 ml.
Oct 2020 reinstated to 9 ml.
Apr 2021 to Jul  7ml. Oct 2021 to Jan 2022 5.9ml, Mar 5 2022 5.8 ml, Mar 12 5.7ml, Mar 20 5.6ml, Mar 27 5.5ml, April 23 5.4ml, April 30 5.3ml, May 7 5.2ml,  Jul 9, 5.4ml, 

Klonopin as needed, present Celebrex 200 - 400 mg daily as needed, 1000 to 2000 mg  turmeric Qunol daily as needed, Trader Joe’s omega 3, Prilosec very rarely if desperate 

Link to comment
On 8/23/2021 at 4:58 AM, Cpe1979 said:

I'm feeling a little frustrated because I met with my doctor and he basically said that the rest of the taper should be 25 and then 0. He does support holding for 3 months at each, but said that I'm currently on the lowest therapeutic dose and that Zoloft has fewer side effects when tapering. So, he is not prescribing, the liquid. He also said that given that I've been on and off these drugs for years and my mom and sister have also (family history) he doesn't recommend me going off to begin with. I think this is a big part of the problem. He is a pretty well known psychiatrist in this area. I'm really upset about this and I want to try to find another doctor, but don't even know how to go about doing this at the moment. I also feel like my confidence is a bit zapped.

 

 

Hi CPE,

please please please don’t be disheartened by what your Psychiatrist said, he is completely ignorant and he probably hasn’t had many people taper the way he tells them to. It’s a lot easier fir him to keep you on them. I’ve been on them just ad long as you have and my family are in hem as well ,m. You will be able to get off but with a very slow taper . Welcome to this site ,,all the moderators are amazing and have been in our shoes . Don’t be discouraged be encouraged . We all support each other here and it’s been my life line. 

1995 started Paxil 20mg slowly increasing to 50mg until 2014

-2014 I decided to tapper myself not knowing how too and crashed , DR added 50mg Seraquel

-2015 tried tapering again and crashed

Seroquel Taper

2/11/16 43mg  1/09/17  37.5mg  10/03/10 36.25mg. 17/3/19 35mg 26/3/19 33.75mg  4/4/19 32.5mg  21/4/19 30mg

16/7/19 28.75mg  5/8/19 27.5mg. 19/8/19 25mg   4/8/20 23mg 18/8/20 22.5mg  12/10/20 18.25mg  10/1/21 15mg  3/8/21 UPDOSE 16mg

Paxil Taper

2/11/16 40mg 12/10/17 37mg  28/10/17 36mg  10/1/18. 35mg  24/05/18 33mg  28/8/18 31mg 16/12/18 30mg 20/10/19 29mg  17/11/19 28mg 7/1/20  27mg 12/2/20  26mg 7/3 /20 25mg  11/4/20 24mg 4/5/20 23mg  5/6/20 22mg 23/6/20 21mg 15/7/20 20mg

Untitled.rtf

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