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Nicros: I wonder if I'll ever be drug free?


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Hello everyone!
 

Forty+ male from Germany here. 
As you can see in my signature, I've been on psychiatric medications, i.e. antidepressants, for most of my adult life. 

It all started in 2004 (maybe a lot earlier, but more on that probably later) when I was no longer able to sleep, felt like a piece of sh*t and could no longer go to university to finish my studies.

Went to a psychiatrist after an amount of nagging by my girlfriend and was put on a low dose of amitryptiline, which actually helped with sleep for a while, but did not seem to do anything besides. 

Finally quit university after a while and sacked the shrink and amitryptiline on my own in early 2007. Until that no other therapy except meds.

 

Fast forward to the summer of 2007 where I got into another crisis concerning my education and my future in general. Suicidal. Went to my GP who referred me to a different psychiatrist who ordered a course of mirtazapine and CBT. 

The mirtazapine helped me sleep (a lot) and made me gain weight (a lot). CBT was interesting and, in the beginning, helpful. When my therapist got pregnant at after about a year, I decided I'd had enough of therapy for the moment. 

Life went on, rough at times, and as the mirtazapine lost its effect, it was time to try Fluoxetine, as this was supposed to be more effective at lifting my mood (or so I was told). As I could not sleep without the mirtazapine, my doc added Trimipramine to the Fluoxetin. The fluoxetine regularly gave me diarrhea and after another (deeper, I'd say the absolute worst until then) crisis in 2012 which had quetiapine added to my cocktail, I ended up with clomipramine and quetiapine. 

The clomipramine was terrible during the first weeks to months: I was sweating like a river and short of breath at even the smallest exertion, could not have an orgasm, but at least my anxiety was gone. Quetiapine was discontinued quickly in 2015 after blood tests showed it affected my liver function. (And I blame it for my type 2 diabetes which was discovered in 2016, but try telling that a doctor...) 

 

After that my doctor recommended a switch to escitalopram as its side effect profile was supposed to be more tolerable compared to clomipramine. Pregebaline was added as escitaloprame was not as effective as clomipramine in killing my anxiety. Stopped the pregabaline for a while after I weighed over 90kg (about 198 lbs) at ca. 170cm height (about 5 feet 7 inches if I am not mistaken). 

 

To make a long story short: In 2021, when I was stuck at home due to the pandemic, I decided I'd had enough of those meds and started a, retrospectively, very quick taper: if I remember correctly I went from 20mg escitalopram to 0mg in about four weeks. I cannot say that I felt really bad during that time -- I was more energetic, but unfortunately also a lot more aggressive (my poor wife... now I know it was probably withdrawal) and as summer was approaching, my anxiety and mood swings kept returning. I discontinued the doxepin as well, but more slowly. I do not remember how exactly, to be honest. 

 

In July, as I desperately wanted to enjoy my summer holidays and not battle with anxiety, sleepless nights and mood swings, I went up from 0mg to 20mg abruptly. Nausea for one or two days, then I felt als I had always felt while taking escitalopram. Indifferent to anything and everything. For me, escitalopram is a real I-don't-care-at-all-pill. But I could function and sleep.

 

Ok, now am I here in spring 2022 and want to get rid of my psych meds for good. 
I started tapering in autumn '21 and am currently at 7,5mg escitalopram. My current schedule is reduction by 2,5mg on a monthly basis.

 

I often feel reasonably well, but unfortunately am experiencing some mood swings on a day to day basis. Sometimes I just long for the day to be over so I can go to bed. 

 

As today is a day that could be a lot better 😆,  I am not sure if I will take the next step to 5mg which would be due on the next friday.

Thanks for reading that far and I'd be glad to hear from you!

 

N.

 

 

 

 

 

 

First years:

2004-2007: Amitriptyline (which in retrospect did not help much)

2007-2009/10: Mirtazapine

2010 - 2012: Fluoxetine (gave me diarrhea), Trimipramine/Doxepin (at least helped with sleep)

2012-2015: Clomipramine; (great after I got used to its initial side effects, but absolutely killed my sex drive); Doxepin; Quetiapine during a crisis (made me gain weight like hell and nailed me to the bed)

2016 to today: Escitalopram (more tolerable like Clomipramine, but made me indifferent to everything around me) Doxepin, Pregabaline (killed my anxiety, but tolerance built quickly)

First more or less successful Escitalopram taper in spring 2021: about four weeks from 20mg to 0mg, stayed there until July 2021


Now: tapering Escitalopram more slowly since 11/2021, currently at 5mg
Other psych meds: Pregabalin 100mg in the morning, 50mg Doxepin at bedtime, 3mg Melatonin at bedtime

 

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  • Moderator

@Nicros

 

Welcome to SA. We are a volunteer ran site that helps members taper off antidepressants or have tapered off and are now healing.

 

This is your introduction page. This is where you will receive information, ask questions and meet other members. We ask that each member only have on introduction page so we can keep all your information in one place.

 

First, can you please create a signature. Thank you.

 

Instructions:  Withdrawal History Signature

 

You are tapering Lexapro much too fast. We do not suggest more than a 10% a month taper, and some members go a lot slower than that. This helps to keep wd symptoms as minimum as possible.

 


Tips for tapering off escitalopram (Lexapro)

 

Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

 

Dr. Joseph Glenmullen's withdrawal symptom checklist

 

At this point, I would stop tapering and let your body stabilize for a while before tapering anymore.

 

Keep it Simple, Slow and Stable

 

What is withdrawal syndrome?

 

The Windows and Waves Pattern of Stabilization

 

We don't suggest a lot of supplements on here except 2. If you would like to try one try a small amount and wait a few days before introducing the other.

 

Magnesium

Omega-3 Fish Oil

 

After you read the links provided, please reach out to us with any questions you may have.

PREVIOUS medications and discontinuations: Have been on medications since 1996. 

 Valium, Gabapentin, Lamictal, Prilosec and Zantac from 2000 to 2015 with a fast taper by a psychiatrist.

 Liquid Lexapro Nov, 2016 to 31-March, 2019 Lexapro free!!! (total Lexapro taper was 4 years-started with pill form)

---CURRENT MEDICATIONS:Supplements:Milk Thistle, Metamucil, Magnesium Citrate, Vitamin D3, Levothyroxine 25mcg, Vitamin C, Krill oil.

Xanax 1mg 3x day June, 2000 to 19-September, 2020 Went from .150 grams (average weight of 1 Xanax) 3x day to .003 grams 3x day.

19-September, 2020 Xanax free!!! (total Xanax taper was 15-1/2 months-1-June, 2019-19-September, 2020)

I am not a medical professional.

The suggestions I make are based on personal experience.

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Thank you for your warm welcome.

 

Yes, I think I probably will stop tapering for now. Last night was horrible, almost no sleep. Today's a little better, being at work often helps.

 

I'll take a look at the links you provided and work my way from there. Thanks again!

First years:

2004-2007: Amitriptyline (which in retrospect did not help much)

2007-2009/10: Mirtazapine

2010 - 2012: Fluoxetine (gave me diarrhea), Trimipramine/Doxepin (at least helped with sleep)

2012-2015: Clomipramine; (great after I got used to its initial side effects, but absolutely killed my sex drive); Doxepin; Quetiapine during a crisis (made me gain weight like hell and nailed me to the bed)

2016 to today: Escitalopram (more tolerable like Clomipramine, but made me indifferent to everything around me) Doxepin, Pregabaline (killed my anxiety, but tolerance built quickly)

First more or less successful Escitalopram taper in spring 2021: about four weeks from 20mg to 0mg, stayed there until July 2021


Now: tapering Escitalopram more slowly since 11/2021, currently at 5mg
Other psych meds: Pregabalin 100mg in the morning, 50mg Doxepin at bedtime, 3mg Melatonin at bedtime

 

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  • Moderator
Posted (edited)

@Nicros

 

Please let us know if you have any questions after reading the links.

 

That's a smart move to hold on your taper for a while.

 

Have you tried melatonin for your sleep?

 

Sleep problems - that awful withdrawal insomnia

 

Melatonin

Edited by Frogie

PREVIOUS medications and discontinuations: Have been on medications since 1996. 

 Valium, Gabapentin, Lamictal, Prilosec and Zantac from 2000 to 2015 with a fast taper by a psychiatrist.

 Liquid Lexapro Nov, 2016 to 31-March, 2019 Lexapro free!!! (total Lexapro taper was 4 years-started with pill form)

---CURRENT MEDICATIONS:Supplements:Milk Thistle, Metamucil, Magnesium Citrate, Vitamin D3, Levothyroxine 25mcg, Vitamin C, Krill oil.

Xanax 1mg 3x day June, 2000 to 19-September, 2020 Went from .150 grams (average weight of 1 Xanax) 3x day to .003 grams 3x day.

19-September, 2020 Xanax free!!! (total Xanax taper was 15-1/2 months-1-June, 2019-19-September, 2020)

I am not a medical professional.

The suggestions I make are based on personal experience.

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@Frogie: Yes, I've been taking melatonin (3mg each night before bed) for quite a while now. My impression is that it works better than doxepin at letting me sleep, but I get anxiety attacks and are restless during the following day when I try reducing my doxepin dose. There were days when I barely slept while taking 150-200mg doxepin, what made me try melatonin in the first place. Did not expect much, but was positively surprised after having taken it for the first time. 

First years:

2004-2007: Amitriptyline (which in retrospect did not help much)

2007-2009/10: Mirtazapine

2010 - 2012: Fluoxetine (gave me diarrhea), Trimipramine/Doxepin (at least helped with sleep)

2012-2015: Clomipramine; (great after I got used to its initial side effects, but absolutely killed my sex drive); Doxepin; Quetiapine during a crisis (made me gain weight like hell and nailed me to the bed)

2016 to today: Escitalopram (more tolerable like Clomipramine, but made me indifferent to everything around me) Doxepin, Pregabaline (killed my anxiety, but tolerance built quickly)

First more or less successful Escitalopram taper in spring 2021: about four weeks from 20mg to 0mg, stayed there until July 2021


Now: tapering Escitalopram more slowly since 11/2021, currently at 5mg
Other psych meds: Pregabalin 100mg in the morning, 50mg Doxepin at bedtime, 3mg Melatonin at bedtime

 

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  • Moderator

@Nicros

 

I'm glad you have seen good results with the melatonin, but more doesn't always mean better with it. A lot of members on here find that between 0.3-0.5 mg a good dose.

PREVIOUS medications and discontinuations: Have been on medications since 1996. 

 Valium, Gabapentin, Lamictal, Prilosec and Zantac from 2000 to 2015 with a fast taper by a psychiatrist.

 Liquid Lexapro Nov, 2016 to 31-March, 2019 Lexapro free!!! (total Lexapro taper was 4 years-started with pill form)

---CURRENT MEDICATIONS:Supplements:Milk Thistle, Metamucil, Magnesium Citrate, Vitamin D3, Levothyroxine 25mcg, Vitamin C, Krill oil.

Xanax 1mg 3x day June, 2000 to 19-September, 2020 Went from .150 grams (average weight of 1 Xanax) 3x day to .003 grams 3x day.

19-September, 2020 Xanax free!!! (total Xanax taper was 15-1/2 months-1-June, 2019-19-September, 2020)

I am not a medical professional.

The suggestions I make are based on personal experience.

Link to comment

After having slept relatively well last night, I'm going to try to a lower dose of melatonin on the weekend and see what'll do... 

First years:

2004-2007: Amitriptyline (which in retrospect did not help much)

2007-2009/10: Mirtazapine

2010 - 2012: Fluoxetine (gave me diarrhea), Trimipramine/Doxepin (at least helped with sleep)

2012-2015: Clomipramine; (great after I got used to its initial side effects, but absolutely killed my sex drive); Doxepin; Quetiapine during a crisis (made me gain weight like hell and nailed me to the bed)

2016 to today: Escitalopram (more tolerable like Clomipramine, but made me indifferent to everything around me) Doxepin, Pregabaline (killed my anxiety, but tolerance built quickly)

First more or less successful Escitalopram taper in spring 2021: about four weeks from 20mg to 0mg, stayed there until July 2021


Now: tapering Escitalopram more slowly since 11/2021, currently at 5mg
Other psych meds: Pregabalin 100mg in the morning, 50mg Doxepin at bedtime, 3mg Melatonin at bedtime

 

Link to comment

Feeling brave (or stupid?) today.

 

Would it be realistic and/or theoretically possible to CT from escitalopram AND doxepin in 14 days? (Easter holidays coming up in Germany.)

 

 

First years:

2004-2007: Amitriptyline (which in retrospect did not help much)

2007-2009/10: Mirtazapine

2010 - 2012: Fluoxetine (gave me diarrhea), Trimipramine/Doxepin (at least helped with sleep)

2012-2015: Clomipramine; (great after I got used to its initial side effects, but absolutely killed my sex drive); Doxepin; Quetiapine during a crisis (made me gain weight like hell and nailed me to the bed)

2016 to today: Escitalopram (more tolerable like Clomipramine, but made me indifferent to everything around me) Doxepin, Pregabaline (killed my anxiety, but tolerance built quickly)

First more or less successful Escitalopram taper in spring 2021: about four weeks from 20mg to 0mg, stayed there until July 2021


Now: tapering Escitalopram more slowly since 11/2021, currently at 5mg
Other psych meds: Pregabalin 100mg in the morning, 50mg Doxepin at bedtime, 3mg Melatonin at bedtime

 

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