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Techniques for Managing an Adverse Drug Reaction or Cold Turkey Withdrawal


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I would like to add my favorite advice here as well mostly from my observation over time on the forum. 


11. Decide quickly if you would like to reinstate especially if your CT was recent.  A trial with a 0.5-1mg of the medicine is lower risk than full reinstatement and reinstatement does not always work. But it can sometimes help quite a lot. [Note that anything that is not done at the 10% every 4 weeks rate is akin to CT to our brains]


12. Do not try to solve the problem with  different drugs or combination, supplements.

This often leads to worse outcomes as your nervous system is sensitized and sensitized nervous systems do not react well to psychoactive drug/supplement introductions. Especially beware of adding benzos, sleep drugs etc. Melatonin, magnesium and Omega-3 are OK for most people. We recommend the latter two. 


13.  Beware alcohol. It is known to set people back quite a lot in withdrawal. Sometimes years back. Beware pot or things that claim to increase serotonin/GABA etc etc. 


14. Do not blame yourself if you CT-ed on your own. Blame is best placed on doctors and the system for prescribing these in the first place but it rarely helps as it fuels anger and emotional spirals. Try to look forward. 


15. Accept that this is how things are. This is easier said than done but the sooner you come to this place the sooner you will turn a corner. Withdrawal has its own logic and timeline. Only patience and calm help with it. Accept your symptoms - the more you try to fix the symptoms, the more frustrated you get; the more you wish that this was different, the angrier you get; the harder the striving, the harder this journey. I don't mean be happy about your symptoms or where you are but a gentle acceptance and self compassion for where you are is powerful. If you are having trouble sleeping - accept that this is how things are going to be for a while, once you stop trying to fix it, your sleep might actually improve. If you are having cognitive issues, accept that this is how things are going to be. Once you relax into that, you may find yourself better able to focus/understand. This is hard! Try it anyway!


16. Give yourself a break. This is possibly the hardest thing you will do in your life. Be gentle to yourself when you can't be at your previous best. Treat yourself well - get a massage, take time off to enjoy yourself. Being kind to yourself may be a difficult experience for some but do it anyway. 


17. Reframe this experience as a learning experience. Likely for the first time there won't be a quick fix for your emotions and you will have to face them head on. This will be terrifying. You may have depths of despair you didn't know before. You may feel agitation you didn't know was possible. You may not be able to sleep for a few nights. You may have symptoms that are scary. You will learn that you can get through them. You are, in fact, capable of facing these hardships and coming through. You will realize, likely for the first time, how much you are capable of enduring and overcoming. This is powerful. You may not have control over what happens to you but you will be surprised by what you can deal with. 


18. Use this time to learn ways to manage your emotions - you may want to do CBT, you may want to start a mindfulness or meditation practice, you may want to get into therapy. We do not recommend exploring deep traumas to process them now but if they are already giving you a hard time you may as well deal with them. CBT is a gentle way of dealing with unhelpful thoughts and would generally not cause as much upheaval as trauma therapy. Mindfulness does help rewire your brain if practiced consistently to the best of your ability. 


19. Forgive yourself for failing your family's, your own or society's standards of how capable/productive/well you should be. Forgive yourself for all kinds of trespasses you think you may have committed, for all kinds of failures you attribute to yourself, for all kinds of imagined shortcomings. Accept yourself radically and lovingly. Wipe the slate clean. Rehashing old mistakes is a common WD symptoms. It is not useful to ruminate over past wrongs. You might imagine that if you do this you will learn something etc. No. You will just make yourself suffer. 


20.  Help others. This is often overlooked as a healing technique but it is powerful - when you are at your worst suffering, extend a kind word to a fellow sufferer here. Offer support, commiserate. Focus on others. This will get you out of your head and out of your symptoms. It will connect you to others and invite kindness back. It will make you part of the community. 


YOU WILL HEAL if you let your nervous system do its own thing. NO, YOU ARE NOT THE EXCEPTION that won't heal.  YES, YOU! YOU TOO will heal. 


It will be lovely if more people add their hard earned wisdom to this thread. 

Edited by Onmyway

"Nothing so small as a moment is insurmountable, and moments are all that we have. You have survived every trial and tribulation that life has thrown at you up until this very instant. When future troubles come—and they will come—a version of you will be born into that moment that can conquer them, too." - Kevin Koenig 


I am not a doctor and this should not be considered medical advice. You can use the information and recommendations provided in whatever way you want and all decisions on your treatment are yours. 


If you would like to get a response from me directly please type @Onmyway some place in your message so I get notified of your post. I am not able to follow all of the threads all the time.


Aug  2000 - July 2003 (ct, 4-6 wk wd) , citalopram 20 mg,  xanax prn, wellbutrin for a few months, trazodone prn 

Dec 2004 - July 2018 citalopram 20 mg, xanax prn (rarely used)

Aug 2018 - citalopram 40 mg (self titrated up)

September 2018 - January 2019 tapered citalopram - 40/30/20/10/5 no issues until a week after reaching 0

Feb 2019 0.25 xanax - 0.5/day (3 weeks) over to klonopin 0.25 once a day to manage severe wd

March 6, reinstated citalopram 2.5 mg (liquid), klonopin 0.25 mg for sleep 2-3 times a week

Apr 1st citalopram 2.0 mg (liquid), klonopin 0.25 once a week, 

citalopram (liquid) 4/14/19 -1.8 mg, 5/8/19 - 1.6 mg,  7/27/19 -1.5 mg,  8/15/19 - 1.35, 2/21/21 - 1.1 (smaller drops in between), 6/20/21 - 1.03 mg, 8/7/21- 1.025, 8/11/21 - 1.02, 8/15/21 - 1.015, 9/3/21 - 0.925 (fingers crossed!), 10/8/21 - 0.9, 10/18/21 - 0.875, 12/31/21 - 0.85, 1/7/22 - 0.825, 1/14/22 - 0.8, 1/22/22 - 0.785, 8/18/22 - 0.59, 12/15/2022 - 0.48


Supplements: magnesium citrate and bi-glycinate

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