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npanth

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I posted this on my blog a while ago. I've largely stabilized on a slow taper at this point. From 10mg/day, I'm down to 6.8mg/day. It's a slow process, but I'm unwilling to risk the severe symptoms I had before.

 

I began weaning myself off of Paxil in June, 2011. I had this sense that my life had been put on hold for more than 10 years, and I wanted to start feeling again. It seemed like I hadn’t been myself for a long time. It was very hard to define exactly what the differences were, but I knew that I was not as connected to the things that I enjoy in life anymore. I began by consulting my doctor about a reduction schedule. He advised me to reduce my Paxil dosage at a steady rate over the next two months until I was not taking the drug anymore. I decided to double his schedule and aimed to be Paxil free by November, 2011. I cut my 40mg pills into smaller and smaller doses, starting with 30mg, then 25, then 20, then 15, then 10. Finally, I was taking 2.5 mg/day until I took my last dose on November 14, 2011. September and October were very challenging months for me. I lost a lot of weight, I experienced severe anxiety and anger. My emotions were a bit beyond my control at times. My doctor thought that it was the re emergence of a pre existing problem. I was originally diagnosed with situational and social anxiety. Both of those conditions were very mild compared to the problems that I was having while stopping my Paxil usage, though.

 

I eventually made it through the bad times and was able to see what I was like without Paxil. November and December were much better months for me. I still had withdrawal symptoms, but my mind and my mood were much clearer. I started to write short stories and blog posts more often, I read a great deal more than I had in years. I went back to my old office and the people there were amazed at the difference that they saw in me, the way I talked, the way I carried myself. I had completely transformed in their eyes back to the way they remembered me from 12 years ago. It was a profound experience for me, seeing myself through their eyes. I began to see what effect Paxil had on my mind, and how it had changed my personality. I had been taking my life and career for granted far too much in the past decade. I thought that my apathy was a result of an internal failing. I never realized that Paxil was suppressing so much of my mental strength that things like work or relationships didn’t matter to me, anymore.

 

About two months after my last pill, I entered a severe withdrawal period. In the middle of January, I found myself lying on the living room floor, curled in a ball, racked with anguish. I envied those that had the strength to kill themselves. Suicide had never been an issue for me, I had never thought about it until I tried to stop taking Paxil. As I said, I have social anxiety. I am a very shy person who feels uncomfortable in crowds or when dealing with interpersonal situations. I started taking 10mg/day of Paxil again January 18, 2012, and those symptoms largely disappeared. I’ve found that I have a very foggy head, though. It’s very difficult for me to concentrate on anything for extended periods, and I have again been cut off from my emotions. My cat died a few days after I reinstated my Paxil usage, and I still have not grieved for her. I now know that Paxil is suppressing those emotions. They are still there, but I am not dealing with them in a healthy way. Instead of experiencing grief and loss, the drug is pushing all that away from my conscious mind. The feelings are still there, but hidden from me. I’ve found that I can’t write creatively, either. I’ve tried to sustain a story idea, but the continuity is missing. The creative force is gone. I’ve always been a slow, deliberate writer, but now the ideas just refuse to form in my mind. I can almost feel a physical barrier between myself and my creativity.

 

I took this drug not knowing the nature or strength of the effects. I went to my doctor, told him that I feel anxious in social situations, he prescribed Paxil, and I started taking it. I had great trust in the medical profession and the solutions that modern chemistry could provide. Now that I’m looking back on my Paxil experience, especially after the short period that I was Paxil free, I want nothing more than to stop taking this drug. I know that the underlying issues will still be there, but they are mild compared to the profound effects that Paxil has on my mental processes. I need to be patient with the process, though. I know that my crash and relapse into Paxil use was caused by weaning myself off of it too quickly. My current schedule extends into the first part of 2013, which seems like a long time, too long. It must be that way, though, or I will find myself relapsing again. I say relapse because I’ve come to think of this drug as equivalent to any other narcotic that causes dependence. The only difference between Paxil and a street drug is that it has been approved by the FDA for prescription use. It’s just as powerful and addictive as any street drug, and has an equal capacity to ruin the user’s life. It should be used as a last resort to treat severe mental issues. Instead, the Pharmaceutical companies market these drugs in a reckless, casual way. Television is filled with advertisements for drugs to treat an ever widening range of symptoms. Instead of developing more refined treatments for problems, the emphasis has been on wider applications and acceptance of these powerful psychotropic drugs. Most likely, there will come a time when there is a national crisis fueled by a celebrity death that will focus our attention on the harm that these drugs are doing to our society. Suppressing a population’s mental strength through the use of drugs is a dystopian idea that I thought could only exist in fiction. Instead, we live with it every day, and don’t seem to care. It’s just another effect that the drug has on us.

Paxil/Paroxetine/Seroxat

2000 - 2011: 40mg/day

June, 2011: 30mg/day

July, 2011: 25mg/day

August, 2011: 20mg/day

September, 2011: 15mg/day

October, 2011: 10mg/day

November, 2011: 0mg/day

January, 2012: (crash), 10mg/day

April 24, 2012: 9mg/day

June 11, 2012: 8.1mg/day

July 26, 2012: 7.5mg/day

September 24, 2012: 6.8mg/day

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Welcome to the forum, npanth, and my compliments on such a well written introduction.

 

I, too, think it's really creepy that so many people are routinely taking these drugs over the long term. How can anyone think clearly with their emotions and senses blunted? I decided to retire while under the influence of Lexapro and my inability to comprehend what I was doing back then and lack of motivation to plan ahead is something with which I have to deal now, a year later.

 

You'll find lots of good information and support here. A long, gradual taper is difficult, but it's really the only way, so hang in there!

Psychotropic drug history: Pristiq 50 mg. (mid-September 2010 through February 2011), Remeron (mid-September 2010 through January 2011), Lexapro 10 mg. (mid-February 2011 through mid-December 2011), Lorazepam (Ativan) 1 mg. as needed mid-September 2010 through early March 2012

"Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity." -Hanlon's Razor


Introduction: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1588-introducing-jemima/

 

Success Story: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6263-success-jemima-survives-lexapro-and-dr-dickhead-too/

Please note that I am not a medical professional and my advice is based on personal experience, reading, and anecdotal information posted by other sufferers.

 

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  • Administrator

Thank you, npanth, for joining us. As you know, I've long been an admirer of the insights about withdrawal you post on your excellent blog http://npanth.wordpress.com/2012/03/14/phases-of-ssri-withdrawal/

 

I look forward to more of your contributions here, too.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi npanth

Yes agree with Jemima, a great intro here! I am tapering off prozac after years of being stuck on sertraline (zoloft), I can relate to a lot of what you say in your introduction. I'm in my 5th year (yes you did read that correctly) but for me it was the only way to go, I have also been blogging my taper since 2008, link to my blog in my signature here, am following your blog now.

strawberry

*** Please note this is not medical advice,discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner***





http://prozacwithdrawal.blogspot.com/
Original drug was sertraline/Zoloft, switched to Prozac in 2007.
Tapering from 5mls liquid prozac since Feb 2008, got down to 0.85ml 23/09/2012, reinstated back to 1ml(4mg) 07/11/2012, didn't appear to work, upped to 1.05ml 17/11/2012, back down to 1ml 12/12/2012 didn't work, up to 1.30ml 16/3/2013 didn't work, bumped up to 2ml (8mg) 4/4/2013 didn't work, in July 2013 I reinstated Sertraline (Zoloft) 50mg, feeling better now. 

A few months down the line I switched to 5ml liquid Prozac and tapered down to a compromise dose of 3ml liquid Prozac and have stayed there ever since, no withdrawals and no emotional blunting/loss of libido.

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

hi npath,

welcome! - i enjoyed reading your intro and followed Alto's link to your blog - another great resource! thank you.

Started in 2000 - On 150mg most of the time, (but up to 225mg at highest dose for 6 months in the beginning)
Reduced off easily first time - but got depressed (not too much anxiety) 6 months later
Back on effexor for another 9 months.
Reduced off again with no immediate w/d - suddenly got depressed and anxious ++ again 3 or 4 months later.
Back on effexor - this time for 3 years
Reduced off over a month - 6 weeks later terrible anxiety - back on.
Rinse and repeat 4 more times - each time the period before the anxiety comes back got shorter and shorter
Jan - July 2012 75mg down to 37.5mg;, 8/3/12 - 35mg. 8/25/12 - 32mg. 9/11- 28mg, 10/2 - 25mg, 10/29 - 22mg, 11/19 - 19.8mg; 12/11 - 17m,
1/1- 15.5mg; 1/22 -14mg, 2/7 14.9mg, 2/18 - 17.8mg - crashed big time: back to 75mg where i sat for 2 years....

4th  March 2015 - 67.5mg;   31st March - 60mg;  24th April - 53mg; 13th May - 48mg; 26th May - 45mg;  9th June - 41mg; 1 July- 37.5mg; 20 July - 34mg; 11 August - 31mg; 1st Sept - 28mg;  1st Dec - 25.8mg;  28th Dec - 23.2mg; 23rd Jan-21.9mg; Feb 7th- 21mg; March 1st - 20.1mg, March 30th - 18mg

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Thanks all. I've been reading here for a while. It's been more than a year since I started tapering off 40mg/day of Paxil. My brother went through a difficult withdrawal several years ago (cold turkey off 80mg/day, I'm sure you all know how traumatic that is). I never associated it with Paxil until my own experience. When I started to feel the same things that he had described to me before, it clicked that it was related to my Paxil use. I raced to zero, as many people do, hoping that everything would be ok if I could just get off the drug. You would think that I would have heeded my brother's experience and tapered slowly, but I still didn't really understand the process. I more than doubled my doctor's schedule from 2 months to 5 months, thinking that was smart enough. I had predictable results, which prompted me to reinstate at 10mg/day in January. It took about 3 months to stabilize at that dose. Since then, I've been slowly tapering. I'm at about 6.5mg/day now. I still experience symptoms, but they are much milder than they were before, much more manageable. The disparity between the official stance on withdrawal and the experiences I've seen prompted me to start writing about it. I'm a fitful writer, so it comes slowly. :)

Paxil/Paroxetine/Seroxat

2000 - 2011: 40mg/day

June, 2011: 30mg/day

July, 2011: 25mg/day

August, 2011: 20mg/day

September, 2011: 15mg/day

October, 2011: 10mg/day

November, 2011: 0mg/day

January, 2012: (crash), 10mg/day

April 24, 2012: 9mg/day

June 11, 2012: 8.1mg/day

July 26, 2012: 7.5mg/day

September 24, 2012: 6.8mg/day

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  • Moderator Emeritus

You are so not alone, many of us here including me have made exactly the same mistakes. Underestimate these drugs at your peril.

*** Please note this is not medical advice,discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner***





http://prozacwithdrawal.blogspot.com/
Original drug was sertraline/Zoloft, switched to Prozac in 2007.
Tapering from 5mls liquid prozac since Feb 2008, got down to 0.85ml 23/09/2012, reinstated back to 1ml(4mg) 07/11/2012, didn't appear to work, upped to 1.05ml 17/11/2012, back down to 1ml 12/12/2012 didn't work, up to 1.30ml 16/3/2013 didn't work, bumped up to 2ml (8mg) 4/4/2013 didn't work, in July 2013 I reinstated Sertraline (Zoloft) 50mg, feeling better now. 

A few months down the line I switched to 5ml liquid Prozac and tapered down to a compromise dose of 3ml liquid Prozac and have stayed there ever since, no withdrawals and no emotional blunting/loss of libido.

 

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  • Administrator

Your brother was taking 80mg Paxil a day! That's a ridiculously high dosage. How is he now? How long did it take him to recover from cold turkey?

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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He wasn't just on Paxil, but also a handful of other drugs. He was on the full blown side effect diagnosis spiral, taking more and more drugs to deal with the ever growing list of side effects from the other drugs he was taking. Eventually, he decided to stop taking them all. He went through another spiral of diagnoses during withdrawal, culminating in a series of ECT treatments. Now, he has recovered completely. It took about 4 years for him to recover. I still remember the 4am calls, the circular, obsessive thoughts, the anger. I think his experience did help me when I tried to taper off Paxil. I recognized the same symptoms when I started having them. I was able to avoid some of the more severe repercussions that he suffered. It has still been a very traumatic experience for me, I have trouble imagining what he went through. I think about what happened to me, and try to amplify it 3 or 4 times over.

Paxil/Paroxetine/Seroxat

2000 - 2011: 40mg/day

June, 2011: 30mg/day

July, 2011: 25mg/day

August, 2011: 20mg/day

September, 2011: 15mg/day

October, 2011: 10mg/day

November, 2011: 0mg/day

January, 2012: (crash), 10mg/day

April 24, 2012: 9mg/day

June 11, 2012: 8.1mg/day

July 26, 2012: 7.5mg/day

September 24, 2012: 6.8mg/day

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  • Administrator

What a nightmare for your brother, npanth. If he has a chance, we'd welcome the story of his successful recovery.

 

How awful for you when it seemed you were having some of the same problems.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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He is trying his best to put his withdrawal experience behind him. He doesn't talk about it much, and I've tried to minimize my descriptions of what I was going through to him. I think it's a source of pain for him, so I try not to talk about it with him. I would say that his withdrawal was more extreme than many I've heard of. He's doing much better, and that's enough for me :)

Paxil/Paroxetine/Seroxat

2000 - 2011: 40mg/day

June, 2011: 30mg/day

July, 2011: 25mg/day

August, 2011: 20mg/day

September, 2011: 15mg/day

October, 2011: 10mg/day

November, 2011: 0mg/day

January, 2012: (crash), 10mg/day

April 24, 2012: 9mg/day

June 11, 2012: 8.1mg/day

July 26, 2012: 7.5mg/day

September 24, 2012: 6.8mg/day

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  • Administrator

It's good to hear he's recovering.

 

Thanks for posting about this, npanth.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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That's ok, the second n seems to go missing for a lot of people. It's a short version of an old college nickname, I don't get worked up about it :)

 

My brother had more problems with authorities, medical and legal, than I did during the worst part of his withdrawal, I think that's why he doesn't want to talk about it much. The only bridge I burned was to write a nasty email to the animal shelter I volunteered at. I used to take cat pictures for their adoption website. I wrote a whiny email complaining about a couple of the staff. The two I wrote about did treat me poorly, but it should have been an in-mind kind of complaint, not in-email complaint. I feel lucky that was the only big mistake I made during the anger phase, but I still miss going there. Hopefully, I can resolve that in the future and start going back.

Paxil/Paroxetine/Seroxat

2000 - 2011: 40mg/day

June, 2011: 30mg/day

July, 2011: 25mg/day

August, 2011: 20mg/day

September, 2011: 15mg/day

October, 2011: 10mg/day

November, 2011: 0mg/day

January, 2012: (crash), 10mg/day

April 24, 2012: 9mg/day

June 11, 2012: 8.1mg/day

July 26, 2012: 7.5mg/day

September 24, 2012: 6.8mg/day

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  • Administrator

Wow, I did a lot worse in the anger phase! Stuff I shudder to recall....

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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Yeah, I think a lot of people get themselves into a lot of trouble during the anger phase. It would have been so easy for me to lash out. I found myself hiding in the organic section of the supermarket several times trying to avoid yelling at someone for blocking an aisle. It was really hard to control. It wasn't in response to any external queue. It was just rage that looked for any external queue to explain it. Even if that queue was something trivial, like a couple of people chatting in a supermarket aisle, that's what I latched on to. I had to flee until I could control it. I wouldn't want to cross paths with a normally angry person going through withdrawal. I've been in two fights in my life, I'm a very peaceful person. I could really have started fights while I was feeling like that, though. Frightening. I think it was the fear of that changed personality more than self control that kept me from doing anything worse.

Paxil/Paroxetine/Seroxat

2000 - 2011: 40mg/day

June, 2011: 30mg/day

July, 2011: 25mg/day

August, 2011: 20mg/day

September, 2011: 15mg/day

October, 2011: 10mg/day

November, 2011: 0mg/day

January, 2012: (crash), 10mg/day

April 24, 2012: 9mg/day

June 11, 2012: 8.1mg/day

July 26, 2012: 7.5mg/day

September 24, 2012: 6.8mg/day

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  • Administrator

Yeah, one time I was at the Honda dealer for a minor repair and I got so angry at something I threw my keys across the garage! And I'm a little old lady. I must have looked very strange to all the car repair guys standing around.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

you know, i have never joined those dots of doing really out of character things, or getting really mad at something very innocuous...I have gotten so mad on the telephone at banking or utility staff when they are just doing their job...

Started in 2000 - On 150mg most of the time, (but up to 225mg at highest dose for 6 months in the beginning)
Reduced off easily first time - but got depressed (not too much anxiety) 6 months later
Back on effexor for another 9 months.
Reduced off again with no immediate w/d - suddenly got depressed and anxious ++ again 3 or 4 months later.
Back on effexor - this time for 3 years
Reduced off over a month - 6 weeks later terrible anxiety - back on.
Rinse and repeat 4 more times - each time the period before the anxiety comes back got shorter and shorter
Jan - July 2012 75mg down to 37.5mg;, 8/3/12 - 35mg. 8/25/12 - 32mg. 9/11- 28mg, 10/2 - 25mg, 10/29 - 22mg, 11/19 - 19.8mg; 12/11 - 17m,
1/1- 15.5mg; 1/22 -14mg, 2/7 14.9mg, 2/18 - 17.8mg - crashed big time: back to 75mg where i sat for 2 years....

4th  March 2015 - 67.5mg;   31st March - 60mg;  24th April - 53mg; 13th May - 48mg; 26th May - 45mg;  9th June - 41mg; 1 July- 37.5mg; 20 July - 34mg; 11 August - 31mg; 1st Sept - 28mg;  1st Dec - 25.8mg;  28th Dec - 23.2mg; 23rd Jan-21.9mg; Feb 7th- 21mg; March 1st - 20.1mg, March 30th - 18mg

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Hi npanth...

 

I was on paxil once. I could not get off of the stuff. Unfortunately, even after a slow taper from paxil, alot of people still go thru a rough time for a year or so afterwards.

Don't blame yourself, you didn't know. Amazingly you did get off of it, and now you are just on 10mgs. which is a small dose.

 

Maybe you might want to stay at that dose for awhile and not rock the boat. You've been thru enough. When you feel ready, you can being another taper using the liquid.

 

Strawberry can guide you (read her blog) about how to make miniscule drops to make things go a little smoother.

 

Nice to meet you...

Intro: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1902-nikki-hi-my-rundown-with-ads/

 

Paxil 1997-2004

Crossed over to Lexapro Paxil not available

at Pharmacies GSK halted deliveries

Lexapro 40mgs

Lexapro taper (2years)

Imipramine

Imipramine and Celexa

Now Nefazadone/Imipramine 50mgs. each

45mgs. Serzone  50mgs. Imipramine

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Anger was about 12 months ago. Anxiety was about 8 months ago. At this point, I'm tapering slowly enough that my only symptoms are some short, mild waves that come and go after each taper. The last taper from 8.1mg/day to 7.5mg/day had two and a half waves that lasted 4-5 days each. They began with physical symptoms, heart arrhythmia, joint/muscle pain. After a couple days, I had a few days of increased anxiety. The third felt like the beginning of a wave, but dissipated before it became anything. It's been much milder than it was last fall, when I was tapering 20% each month. I've been able to handle the emotional symptoms of those waves using mindfulness. I'm even making progress on the meta anxiety... fear that the anxiety will come back :)

Paxil/Paroxetine/Seroxat

2000 - 2011: 40mg/day

June, 2011: 30mg/day

July, 2011: 25mg/day

August, 2011: 20mg/day

September, 2011: 15mg/day

October, 2011: 10mg/day

November, 2011: 0mg/day

January, 2012: (crash), 10mg/day

April 24, 2012: 9mg/day

June 11, 2012: 8.1mg/day

July 26, 2012: 7.5mg/day

September 24, 2012: 6.8mg/day

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  • Moderator Emeritus

I'm even making progress on the meta anxiety... fear that the anxiety will come back :)

 

I know that feeling too! - amazing, isn't it, when there is no anxiety but we worry that it will come back :blink:

Started in 2000 - On 150mg most of the time, (but up to 225mg at highest dose for 6 months in the beginning)
Reduced off easily first time - but got depressed (not too much anxiety) 6 months later
Back on effexor for another 9 months.
Reduced off again with no immediate w/d - suddenly got depressed and anxious ++ again 3 or 4 months later.
Back on effexor - this time for 3 years
Reduced off over a month - 6 weeks later terrible anxiety - back on.
Rinse and repeat 4 more times - each time the period before the anxiety comes back got shorter and shorter
Jan - July 2012 75mg down to 37.5mg;, 8/3/12 - 35mg. 8/25/12 - 32mg. 9/11- 28mg, 10/2 - 25mg, 10/29 - 22mg, 11/19 - 19.8mg; 12/11 - 17m,
1/1- 15.5mg; 1/22 -14mg, 2/7 14.9mg, 2/18 - 17.8mg - crashed big time: back to 75mg where i sat for 2 years....

4th  March 2015 - 67.5mg;   31st March - 60mg;  24th April - 53mg; 13th May - 48mg; 26th May - 45mg;  9th June - 41mg; 1 July- 37.5mg; 20 July - 34mg; 11 August - 31mg; 1st Sept - 28mg;  1st Dec - 25.8mg;  28th Dec - 23.2mg; 23rd Jan-21.9mg; Feb 7th- 21mg; March 1st - 20.1mg, March 30th - 18mg

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I know that feeling too! - amazing, isn't it, when there is no anxiety but we worry that it will come back :blink:

 

I think that's the twilight of anxiety, the fear that it will come back. At that point, we've been feeling irrational anxiety for so long that we get used to the feeling. It's not that we welcome it or enjoy it, but it's become a part of our life. For me, it was a combination of time without anxiety and a recognition of the difference between withdrawal symptoms and life triggers that let that meta anxiety slowly slip away.

Paxil/Paroxetine/Seroxat

2000 - 2011: 40mg/day

June, 2011: 30mg/day

July, 2011: 25mg/day

August, 2011: 20mg/day

September, 2011: 15mg/day

October, 2011: 10mg/day

November, 2011: 0mg/day

January, 2012: (crash), 10mg/day

April 24, 2012: 9mg/day

June 11, 2012: 8.1mg/day

July 26, 2012: 7.5mg/day

September 24, 2012: 6.8mg/day

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Hi Npanth,

 

I actually found your blog before I found this one. If you read my intro, you can see a bit of my history. I write this as I'm sitting on my bed fighting against the waves of anxiety and panic always present in the morning. I have an appt. with my therapist which makes things momentarily worse because I gave acute agoraphobia and the the thought of having to get into my car and drive two miles down the road is enough to spin me out of control. I'm less than 2 months out from a bumpy taper and attempted (and failed) reinstatement of Lexapro. Right now, I'm on nothing and I feel like I'm constantly ready to crash. My body is only slightly more stabilized, but highly unpredictable, and that instability leaves me feeling raw and vulnerable. Honestly, I wish I'd never stopped taking the drug. I know what it did, and what it does, but I'd gladly take those things back to be functional again. I have yet another appt with one of the staff psychs at my counseling center at the end of the month to go over some options. I'm trying to do everything I can to avoid jolting my body any further. I'm 46, so the old gray mate ain't what she used to be. But I'd rather be a 96 year old Lex addict who's calm than deal with this crap anymore. I soooooo feel your pain.

Short term low dose Klonopin use back in 2004
Acute, protracted withdrawal after discontinuing
Began Lexapro in 2005 to ease Benzo withdrawal
Took 2 years to stabilize
Rapid taper from Lexapro in July/August 2012
Return of anxiety, insomnia and cardiac issues
Failed reinstatement early August 2012
Acute withdrawal for 9 months; intermittent symptoms for another 6

Relief on February 9, 2014 after addition of Taurine

Almost complete remission of symptoms w/addition of 12.5mg Atenolol daily

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  • Administrator

Hi npanth,

 

Welcome to the community - we have great members and I'm so glad you joined us!

 

I am finally beyond the anxiety enough that I'm not too worried about it coming back ... what set it off last time for me was when one of my docs wanted me to switch from estrogen replacement as a troche to estrogen replacement as a patch and it caused anxiety (I'm very careful about only changing one thing at a time so I can identify what caused my symptoms).

 

It really surprised me how long it took for it to completely settle down. I actually sensed layers of relief ... there was the original relief of the extreme and consistent feeling and as I observed over time, I saw additional healing and distance from the anxiety. I think if we listen to our bodies and go at the right pace for our situation we can avoid a return of the ugliest symptoms.

 

I have also lost my creativity :( . I used to harbor a dream of being a writer, but now I can't seem to get a creative thought birthed to save my life. My ability to use proper grammar and punctuation has wasted away. It is comforting to hear that I'm not the only one.

 

Love and light,

Karma

2007 @ 375 mg Effexor - 11/29/2011 - 43.75 mg Effexor (regular) & .625 mg Xanax

200 mg Gabapentin 2/27/21 - 194.5 mg, 5/28/21 - 183 mg, 8/2/21 - 170 mg, 11/28/21 - 150 mg, 4/19/22 - 122 mg; 8//7/22 - 100 mg
Xanax taper: 3/11/12 - 0.9375 mg, 3/25/12 - 0.875 mg, 4/6/12 - 0.8125 mg, 4/18/12 - 0.75 mg; 1/16 0.6875 mg; at some point 0.625 mg
Effexor taper: 1/29/12 - 40.625 mg, 4/29/12 - 39.875 mg, 5/11/12 - Switched to liquid Effexor, 5/25/12 - 38 mg, 7/6/12 - 35 mg, 8/17/12 - 32 mg, 9/14/12 - 30 mg, 10/19/12 - 28 mg, 11/9/12 - 26 mg, 11/30/12 - 24 mg, 01/14/13 - 22 mg. 02/25/13 - 20.8 mg, 03/18/13 - 19.2 mg, 4/15/13 - 17.6 mg, 8/10/13 - 16.4 mg, 9/7/13 - 15.2 mg, 10/19/13 - 14 mg, 1/15/14 - 13.2 mg, 3/1/2014 - 12.6 mg, 5/4/14 - 12 mg, 8/1/14 - 11.4 mg, 8/29/14 - 10.8 mg; 10/14/14 - 10.2 mg; 12/15/14 - 10 mg, 1/11/15 - 9.5 mg, 2/8/15 - 9 mg, 3/21/15 - 8.5 mg, 5/1/15 - 8 mg, 6/9/15 - 7.5 mg, 7/8/15 - 7 mg, 8/22/15 - 6.5 mg, 10/4/15 - 6 mg; 1/1/16 - 5.6 mg; 2/6/16 - 5.2 mg; 4/9 - 4.8 mg; 7/7 4.5 mg; 10/7 4.25 mg; 11/4 4.0 mg; 11/25 3.8 mg; 4/24 3.6 mg; 5/27 3.4 mg; 7/8 3.2 mg ... 10/18 2.8 mg; 1/18 2.6 mg; 4/7 2.4 mg; 5/26 2.15mg; 8/18 1.85 mg; 10/7 1.7 mg; 12/1 1.45 mg; 3/2 1.2 mg; 5/4 0.90 mg; 6/1 0.80 mg; 6/22 0.65 mg; 08/03 0.50 mg, 08/10 0.45 mg, 10/05 0.325 mg, 11/23 0.2 mg, 12/14 0.15 mg, 12/21 0.125 mg, 02/28 0.03125 mg, 2/15 0.015625 mg, 2/29/20 0.00 mg - OFF Effexor


I am not a medical professional - this is not medical advice. My suggestions are based on personal experience, reading, observation and anecdotal information posted by other sufferers

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  • Administrator

Hmmm, npanth, you might look into a micro-taper. Tinier decreases, but more frequent. Could eliminate those 4-5 days of symptoms each month.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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Hmmm, npanth, you might look into a micro-taper. Tinier decreases, but more frequent. Could eliminate those 4-5 days of symptoms each month.

 

I have slowed my taper down a bit. I'm leaving longer gaps between tapers than I intended, and making the drops smaller than I planned. It stretches my taper out quite a bit, but I'm more concerned with maintaining as much quality of life as I can.

Paxil/Paroxetine/Seroxat

2000 - 2011: 40mg/day

June, 2011: 30mg/day

July, 2011: 25mg/day

August, 2011: 20mg/day

September, 2011: 15mg/day

October, 2011: 10mg/day

November, 2011: 0mg/day

January, 2012: (crash), 10mg/day

April 24, 2012: 9mg/day

June 11, 2012: 8.1mg/day

July 26, 2012: 7.5mg/day

September 24, 2012: 6.8mg/day

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  • Administrator

Yes, exactly.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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Hi Npanth,

 

I actually found your blog before I found this one. If you read my intro, you can see a bit of my history. I write this as I'm sitting on my bed fighting against the waves of anxiety and panic always present in the morning. I have an appt. with my therapist which makes things momentarily worse because I gave acute agoraphobia and the the thought of having to get into my car and drive two miles down the road is enough to spin me out of control. I'm less than 2 months out from a bumpy taper and attempted (and failed) reinstatement of Lexapro. Right now, I'm on nothing and I feel like I'm constantly ready to crash. My body is only slightly more stabilized, but highly unpredictable, and that instability leaves me feeling raw and vulnerable. Honestly, I wish I'd never stopped taking the drug. I know what it did, and what it does, but I'd gladly take those things back to be functional again. I have yet another appt with one of the staff psychs at my counseling center at the end of the month to go over some options. I'm trying to do everything I can to avoid jolting my body any further. I'm 46, so the old gray mate ain't what she used to be. But I'd rather be a 96 year old Lex addict who's calm than deal with this crap anymore. I soooooo feel your pain.

 

I'm sorry you're having so much trouble. I feel lucky that reinstating worked for me. I know that it doesn't work for many people. It took 4 months before I felt stable, again. SSRI seem to have a garden of eden effect where reinstating or starting the drug doesn't have the same effect that it did the first time. I hope you get out of this wave soon.

Paxil/Paroxetine/Seroxat

2000 - 2011: 40mg/day

June, 2011: 30mg/day

July, 2011: 25mg/day

August, 2011: 20mg/day

September, 2011: 15mg/day

October, 2011: 10mg/day

November, 2011: 0mg/day

January, 2012: (crash), 10mg/day

April 24, 2012: 9mg/day

June 11, 2012: 8.1mg/day

July 26, 2012: 7.5mg/day

September 24, 2012: 6.8mg/day

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I have also lost my creativity :( . I used to harbor a dream of being a writer, but now I can't seem to get a creative thought birthed to save my life. My ability to use proper grammar and punctuation has wasted away. It is comforting to hear that I'm not the only one.

That was really amazing to me. In the two months that I was Paxil free, I wrote short stories, read, listened to music, studied complicated subjects. My creativity seemed to flood back into me. When I had to reinstate, that all went away within a month, like someone flipped a switch in my brain... I guess that's exactly what happened. It's slowly coming back, now. I'm confident that I'll get it all back once I get off Paxil.

Paxil/Paroxetine/Seroxat

2000 - 2011: 40mg/day

June, 2011: 30mg/day

July, 2011: 25mg/day

August, 2011: 20mg/day

September, 2011: 15mg/day

October, 2011: 10mg/day

November, 2011: 0mg/day

January, 2012: (crash), 10mg/day

April 24, 2012: 9mg/day

June 11, 2012: 8.1mg/day

July 26, 2012: 7.5mg/day

September 24, 2012: 6.8mg/day

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  • Administrator

 

I have also lost my creativity :( . I used to harbor a dream of being a writer, but now I can't seem to get a creative thought birthed to save my life. My ability to use proper grammar and punctuation has wasted away. It is comforting to hear that I'm not the only one.

That was really amazing to me. In the two months that I was Paxil free, I wrote short stories, read, listened to music, studied complicated subjects. My creativity seemed to flood back into me. When I had to reinstate, that all went away within a month, like someone flipped a switch in my brain... I guess that's exactly what happened. It's slowly coming back, now. I'm confident that I'll get it all back once I get off Paxil.

 

That is very encouraging! Your confidence is inspiring.

Karma

2007 @ 375 mg Effexor - 11/29/2011 - 43.75 mg Effexor (regular) & .625 mg Xanax

200 mg Gabapentin 2/27/21 - 194.5 mg, 5/28/21 - 183 mg, 8/2/21 - 170 mg, 11/28/21 - 150 mg, 4/19/22 - 122 mg; 8//7/22 - 100 mg
Xanax taper: 3/11/12 - 0.9375 mg, 3/25/12 - 0.875 mg, 4/6/12 - 0.8125 mg, 4/18/12 - 0.75 mg; 1/16 0.6875 mg; at some point 0.625 mg
Effexor taper: 1/29/12 - 40.625 mg, 4/29/12 - 39.875 mg, 5/11/12 - Switched to liquid Effexor, 5/25/12 - 38 mg, 7/6/12 - 35 mg, 8/17/12 - 32 mg, 9/14/12 - 30 mg, 10/19/12 - 28 mg, 11/9/12 - 26 mg, 11/30/12 - 24 mg, 01/14/13 - 22 mg. 02/25/13 - 20.8 mg, 03/18/13 - 19.2 mg, 4/15/13 - 17.6 mg, 8/10/13 - 16.4 mg, 9/7/13 - 15.2 mg, 10/19/13 - 14 mg, 1/15/14 - 13.2 mg, 3/1/2014 - 12.6 mg, 5/4/14 - 12 mg, 8/1/14 - 11.4 mg, 8/29/14 - 10.8 mg; 10/14/14 - 10.2 mg; 12/15/14 - 10 mg, 1/11/15 - 9.5 mg, 2/8/15 - 9 mg, 3/21/15 - 8.5 mg, 5/1/15 - 8 mg, 6/9/15 - 7.5 mg, 7/8/15 - 7 mg, 8/22/15 - 6.5 mg, 10/4/15 - 6 mg; 1/1/16 - 5.6 mg; 2/6/16 - 5.2 mg; 4/9 - 4.8 mg; 7/7 4.5 mg; 10/7 4.25 mg; 11/4 4.0 mg; 11/25 3.8 mg; 4/24 3.6 mg; 5/27 3.4 mg; 7/8 3.2 mg ... 10/18 2.8 mg; 1/18 2.6 mg; 4/7 2.4 mg; 5/26 2.15mg; 8/18 1.85 mg; 10/7 1.7 mg; 12/1 1.45 mg; 3/2 1.2 mg; 5/4 0.90 mg; 6/1 0.80 mg; 6/22 0.65 mg; 08/03 0.50 mg, 08/10 0.45 mg, 10/05 0.325 mg, 11/23 0.2 mg, 12/14 0.15 mg, 12/21 0.125 mg, 02/28 0.03125 mg, 2/15 0.015625 mg, 2/29/20 0.00 mg - OFF Effexor


I am not a medical professional - this is not medical advice. My suggestions are based on personal experience, reading, observation and anecdotal information posted by other sufferers

Link to comment

 

 

I have also lost my creativity :( . I used to harbor a dream of being a writer, but now I can't seem to get a creative thought birthed to save my life. My ability to use proper grammar and punctuation has wasted away. It is comforting to hear that I'm not the only one.

That was really amazing to me. In the two months that I was Paxil free, I wrote short stories, read, listened to music, studied complicated subjects. My creativity seemed to flood back into me. When I had to reinstate, that all went away within a month, like someone flipped a switch in my brain... I guess that's exactly what happened. It's slowly coming back, now. I'm confident that I'll get it all back once I get off Paxil.

 

That is very encouraging! Your confidence is inspiring.

Karma

 

It really was something I didn't expect. I wrote some fiction before I started taking Paxil, then maybe 2 stories in 10 years. In the two months I was at 0mg/day, I wrote THIRTEEN short stories. I picked up my Cisco administrator's text book and read 400 pages in a week. It was incredible. Then, it all went away after I started taking Paxil again. It really felt like Charlie in Flowers for Algernon. I could feel my cognition and creativity slipping away, but I couldn't do anything about it. Unlike him, I won't be forced to live like this forever. I know that the creative, smart person I used to be is under the Paxil blanket, waiting to poke through again.

Paxil/Paroxetine/Seroxat

2000 - 2011: 40mg/day

June, 2011: 30mg/day

July, 2011: 25mg/day

August, 2011: 20mg/day

September, 2011: 15mg/day

October, 2011: 10mg/day

November, 2011: 0mg/day

January, 2012: (crash), 10mg/day

April 24, 2012: 9mg/day

June 11, 2012: 8.1mg/day

July 26, 2012: 7.5mg/day

September 24, 2012: 6.8mg/day

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  • 1 year later...

I hope you don't mind npanth but i found your blog and wanted to paste your Phases of SSRI Withdrawal. It's a really good read and after reading it I broke down and cried. During my own withdrawal I had extreme and uncontrollable emotions. My Psychologist diagnosed me every three weeks with something new, first it was Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), then it was a Mid Life Crises then he diagnosed me with Depression. By the time the angry violent movie like thoughts came he soon fired me as his patient.
 
 
Phases of SSRI Withdrawal
March 14, 2012 — npanth

Not all people experience withdrawal symptoms when trying to stop taking a Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor. In clinical trials, the percentage is placed between 2 and 10 percent of patients. These studies are sponsored by pharmaceutical companies. In independent research that looked at several different company studies, the percentage of patients who experienced withdrawal symptoms from SSRI was placed between 40 and 60 percent. It’s difficult to ascertain which number is right, most studies are held privately by the drug manufacturers and not available for public scrutiny. The term used by the pharmaceutical companies for withdrawal is “Discontinuation Syndrome”. SSRI work by blocking receptors that absorb Serotonin between neurons, thereby increasing the available Serotonin in the brain. The theory is that depression, obsessive behavior, anxiety, and psychotic behavior are caused by a lack of sufficient Serotonin in the brain. This theory was first developed in the 1950′s when it was noticed that patients’ mood improved when their levels of Serotonin was increased. It is currently impossible to measure the levels of Serotonin in a living brain. 90% of the body’s Serotonin exists in the gut, so researchers measure that amount, and extrapolate a concurrent increase in levels in the brain. Ironically, studies have also proven that reducing Serotonin in the brain can lead to improved mood. These results have brought the chemical imbalance theory under question in recent years. It is beginning to appear that artificially adjusting Serotonin levels in the brain does not have the intended effect, and may be the cause of some of the symptoms that SSRI were originally developed to treat.
The method that SSRI use to increase Serotonin levels in the brain is at the heart of the withdrawal problem. By blocking Serotonin receptors on neurons, the brain becomes dependent on the drug to maintain consistent levels of Serotonin. As the brain becomes accustomed to the drug, it no longer has to produce or regulate Serotonin as it did before. When the drug is removed, the receptors that stimulate Serotonin production are still blocked, and levels of this neurotransmitter begin to fluctuate. Since Serotonin is closely involved in mood and the ability to cope with emotions, this fluctuation causes wide mood swings and uncontrollable emotions. It seems that the level of Serotonin in the brain is not as important as consistent levels. As the brain adjusts to the need to self regulate levels of Serotonin, many patients experience a cascade of extreme emotional and physical symptoms. Analogous to the stages of grief or joy, these symptoms don’t always come all at once. In most cases, withdrawal symptoms come and go as the user lowers their dose of the drug. Some common emotion symptoms include depression, anxiety, anger, confusion, insomnia, and memory loss. For most people, these are symptoms that they experience in every day life. Usually, they are manageable and temporary. The difference for the withdrawal sufferer is that these emotions become unmanageable and intense. The regular mechanism that we use to control our emotions no longer works during withdrawal. It’s hard to imagine the loss of control that accompanies withdrawal symptoms. When a normal person succumbs to anger, it is still a conscious decision. In withdrawal, there is no spiral that precipitates the uncontrollable rage, it springs fully formed in the mind and propels itself without any input from the person experiencing it. The other emotional symptoms of withdrawal act in a similar way. Even when the patient exercises mindfulness and self awareness, anxiety, depression, and the other symptoms come on with little warning. They have a realness and power that most people are not used to. Since the brain’s balance has been disrupted, reality itself has been changed for the patient. Instead of an emotional wave that must be conquered or endured, these emotions become reality, with no alternative.
As time goes by, the patient will eventually be able to self regulate each emotion at a level similar to before they began taking an SSRI. One of the frustrating things about weaning off an SSRI is that the patient is only aware of progress after a phase has passed. They may feel extreme anxiety, but realize that the rage they experienced a few months before no longer bothers them. While they are experiencing a phase, there is no context to compare their emotions to. Since the emotions are so powerful and uncontrollable, emotional self awareness is short circuited, leading to mental relativism. The patient doesn’t realize the whole range of emotions, just the small extreme range that they are experiencing at the moment. The alternative to blind rage isn’t calmness, as it would be in a normal person. Instead, irrational anger is the lower end of the emotional range.
During withdrawal, these realities change and evolve as some emotions become dominant. Patients may experience uncontrollable rage for a few weeks, then enter a stage where depression dominates. These emotional tides are outward signs of the brain readjusting to the need to self regulate neurotransmitter levels. It is almost as if the mind is going through the entire inventory of emotion trying to catalog what’s necessary to regulate each one. Some people will experience several uncontrollable emotions at the same time, but the uncontrollable aspect of them will fade away one at a time. The variety and severity of symptoms often lead doctors to prescribe other drugs to mitigate the effects. This strategy compounds the problems of withdrawal by adding a second effect to an existing condition. The patient now has to deal with withdrawal as well as the effects of a new drug and perhaps a new set of withdrawal symptoms. The best strategy for dealing with SSRI withdrawal symptoms is time and slow weaning. A prolonged weaning schedule will reduce the severity and number of withdrawal symptoms. The brain requires a certain amount of time to adjust back to a natural balance of neurotransmitters which can’t be rushed. By slowly weaning off an SSRI, the brain does not have to deal with a sudden change to Serotonin levels, and can adjust at a natural rate. It takes a great deal of time for receptors in the brain to regenerate. A schedule that reduces the drug by 10% each month is usually sufficient. Schedules can vary depending on the patient. Some will be able to reduce their dose more quickly, others may have to go more slowly.

Edited by Petunia
fixed text

Reason for SSRI Discontinuation Syndrome

From July to August 2012 I was on 50 mg of Zoloft. The GP took me off of Zoloft without tapering, He said that Zoloft was not addicting and that I would not have any side effects.

 

Withdrawal Symptoms

Anxiety/Depression like symptoms, nervous, tinnitus, headache, low energy, insomnia, electric shock like sensations in the brain/eyes/body, muscle twitches, crying spells, suicidal and homicidal thoughts.

 

History of Doctors, Tests and Diagnoses

Two Psychologists, two Neurologists, two Psychiatrists, one Otolaryngologist, two MRI’s, two EEG’s and one MRA later I have been diagnosed with withdrawal effect from Zoloft by my Neurologist and with a Neurotoxic effect of SSRI's from not tapering Zoloft (SSRI Discontinuation Syndrome) by my Psychiatrist.

 

History of Medications

10 then 20 mg of Celexa for suicidal and homicidal thoughts recommended by my first Psychologist prescribed by my GP in Sept. 2012. Then Jan. 2013 the Celexa was increased by my first Psychiatrist from 20 to 30 then 40 mg. In April 2013 my second Neurologist started to taper the Celexa by 5 mg per month. However, in June my second Psychiatrist stopped the taper of Celexa and wants to hold at 30 mg until I am stable from my withdrawal symptoms from Zoloft.

 

300 mg of Neurontin twice a day prescribed by my first Neurologist in Feb. 2013 for headaches and pain. Both my second Neurologist and Psychiatrist agree that this medication will be tapered lastly.

 

In April 2013, reinstated 50 mg of Zoloft prescribed by my second Neurologist to try and stabilize my withdrawal symptoms from Zoloft. My second Neurologist asks me to seek a new Psychiatrist since my withdrawal symptoms from Zoloft are not stable. In June 2013, the second Psychiatrist increased Zoloft to 75 then up to 100 mg to find a dose that will stabilize my withdrawal from Zoloft.

 

In August 2013, I now have a new MD who is trying to help me with the use of Supplements.

 

In September 2013, I have now completely tapered off of Neurontin and Zoloft with the help of my Psychiatrist. I have also started tapering Celexa at 2.5 mg per month. I am currently at 25 mg of Celexa.

 

All postings © copyrighted

 

 

 

 

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • Moderator Emeritus

Npanth, I know you probably don't read this thread any more, but I want to give you fair warning that I intend to steal "side effect diagnosis spiral" and "garden of eden effect". PERFECT. 

Started on Prozac and Xanax in 1992 for PTSD after an assault. One drug led to more, the usual story. Got sicker and sicker, but believed I needed the drugs for my "underlying disease". Long story...lost everything. Life savings, home, physical and mental health, relationships, friendships, ability to work, everything. Amitryptiline, Prozac, bupropion, buspirone, flurazepam, diazepam, alprazolam, Paxil, citalopram, lamotrigine, gabapentin...probably more I've forgotten. 

Started multidrug taper in Feb 2010.  Doing a very slow microtaper, down to low doses now and feeling SO much better, getting my old personality and my brain back! Able to work full time, have a full social life, and cope with stress better than ever. Not perfect, but much better. After 23 lost years. Big Pharma has a lot to answer for. And "medicine for profit" is just not a great idea.

 

Feb 15 2010:  300 mg Neurontin  200 Lamictal   10 Celexa      0.65 Xanax   and 5 mg Ambien 

Feb 10 2014:   62 Lamictal    1.1 Celexa         0.135 Xanax    1.8 Valium

Feb 10 2015:   50 Lamictal      0.875 Celexa    0.11 Xanax      1.5 Valium

Feb 15 2016:   47.5 Lamictal   0.75 Celexa      0.0875 Xanax    1.42 Valium    

2/12/20             12                       0.045               0.007                   1 

May 2021            7                       0.01                  0.0037                1

Feb 2022            6                      0!!!                     0.00167               0.98                2.5 mg Ambien

Oct 2022       4.5 mg Lamictal    (off Celexa, off Xanax)   0.95 Valium    Ambien, 1/4 to 1/2 of a 5 mg tablet 

 

I'm not a doctor. Any advice I give is just my civilian opinion.

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  • 1 year later...

Npath, I read your blog during the darkest period of my acute wd. Thank you. It helped me tremendously and gave me a glimmer of hope.

off cold turkey:zoloft, trileptal, stratteracurrently on:<p>latuda .05 milligrams latuda (to stabilize cns) from 20 mgs 4 months ago.

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May I ask you to give me an update on your healing progress. Thank you:)

off cold turkey:zoloft, trileptal, stratteracurrently on:<p>latuda .05 milligrams latuda (to stabilize cns) from 20 mgs 4 months ago.

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