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It is so hard to grasp that there is not a single known doctor in Washington state who understands and supports SSRI withdrawal. The only Seattle doc listed here is Dr. Yang and she actually lives in New York. I have come to realize that my anger is counterproductive, yet it pisses me off that there is so little help in the nonvirtual world. Any suggestions for managing outrage? Any suggestions for doctors in Washington?

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Maybe in looking for a doctor who understands SSRI withdrawal, I have the wrong idea, maybe it's like trying to find a potato in a cabbage patch. For example,I had bad sinus infections for years and went to my MD who gave me antibiotics. Finally, an Ayurvedic doctor found I had a food allegy.Once I eliminated gluten, I had no more sinus problems. I told someone about this and she said, if you want to find out if you have an allergy, you should go to an allergist. I personally think something as simple as a food allergy should be the first consideration when treating sinusitis.But medicine is so compartmentalized. So maybe when you go to a psychiatrist, it's unrealistic to expect him to say, well, before we put you on a drug that is addictive and will cause endless misery when you try to get off it, lets try acupuncture.(I since found out acupuncture works for depression)

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Welcome to the club, Becca. I think most of us on this forum have experienced similar outrage. Medical ignorance about withdrawal seems to be everywhere and that's largely due to doctors getting most of their continuing education from Big Pharma. I tapered off of 10 mg. Lexapro per doctor's instructions and went through a horrible withdrawal.

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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Hi Becca,

 

My experience has been similar to yours. I was in the capital city of one of the largest states in the US and I literally could not find a doctor who had a clue. It's shocking.

 

At one point, I saw two psychiatrists simultaneously and convinced them to support a benzo taper protocol. After convincing, I then needed to educate them so I printed up Heather Ashton's taper schedule and did a show and tell with it. The joke was on me since the method I talked them into (a Valium crossover) never really worked out. I didn't know much about much then, not that I know it all now but I'd heard of Dr. Ashton left and right on the internet. I was surprised they'd not heard of her. I asked a lot subsequently and not yet encountered (in person) a physician who has heard of Dr. Ashton. And benzos are very old drugs relative to Cymbalta or Lexapro, ya know?

 

Most interestingly, my doctors never seemed interested in learning about psych med withdrawal or any off-playbook strategies to make my suffering less unpleasant. I was sort of treated as this interesting little side story, quirky but bearing not on their larger practice.

 

Eventually, I switched from name brand Valium to a compounded diazepam in odd concentration. My doctor was very confused as to how to write the script since Valium does not come in a 2.5mg dose. I explained that since the pharmacy was creating the capsules, we could do any dose we wanted... even like 11.5mg if we wanted, like whatever we want they'll make that. She was blown away.

 

Anyway, I never did find a experienced doctor in my town.

 

However, to be fair, my doctors were quite willing to be open minded and go along with things. I think it's far easier to find a doctor willing to write your meds while you sort of self-manage (and he/she gets paid to observe and occasionally comment on your cautiousness) than it is to find an experienced doctor who you pay to actually provide expertise. I felt like visits to my shrink were like visits to the grocery; I decide what I want for dinner and I go to a super expensive store for ingredients.

 

I finally decided that I must be pretty rare. Either difficult withdrawals are somewhat rare in themselves or that people likely to have bad w/d (people like me) so rarely say ENOUGH that they either never initiate a taper or they try to QUIT, like with cigarettes, and lacking understanding/support quickly end up back on the drug when w/d symptoms are mistaken for illness.

 

Wish I could be more helpful.

"Well my ship's been split to splinters and it's sinking fast
I'm drowning in the poison, got no future, got no past
But my heart is not weary, it's light and it's free
I've got nothing but affection for all those who sailed with me.

Everybody's moving, if they ain't already there
Everybody's got to move somewhere
Stick with me baby, stick with me anyhow
Things should start to get interesting right about now."

- Zimmerman

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  • Moderator Emeritus

 

However, to be fair, my doctors were quite willing to be open minded and go along with things. I think it's far easier to find a doctor willing to write your meds while you sort of self-manage (and he/she gets paid to observe and occasionally comment on your cautiousness) than it is to find an experienced doctor who you pay to actually provide expertise.

This is so frickin' scary. Do or would you have more faith in a visit with the Mayo clinic in MN? Have you considered it? Might not be a bad place to go. Just a thought.

Fall 1995 xanax, zoloft. switched to Serzone

1996- spring 2003serzone/ xanax/ lightbox.

b]Fall 2003- Fall 2004? Lexapro 10 mg. Light box /4 mg. xanax.[/b]

2004 - Fall of 2009 10 mg Lex, 150 mg Wellbutrin XL % 4 mg xanax

November 2009- Sept. 2011 10 mg lex., 300 Well. XL, 4 mg Xanax [/b

Sept.2012- July 2012 20 mg Lex 300 Well. XL, 4 mg Xanax

My mantra " go slow & with the flow "

3/2/13.. Began equal dosing 5 Xs /day xanax, while simultaneously incorporating a 2.5 % drop ( from 3.5 mg/day to 3.4 mg/day)

4/6/13 dropped from 300 mg. Wellbutrin XL to 150 mg. Difficult but DONE! Down to 3.3 mg xanax/ day / 6/10/13 3 mg xanax/day; 7/15/2013 2.88mg xanax/day.

10/ 1/2013...... 2.5 mg xanax… ( switched to tablets again) WOO HOO!!!!!! Holding here… cont. with Lexapro.

1/ 2/2014.. tapered to 18mg ( by weight) of a 26 mg ( by weight) pill of 20 mg tab. lexapro. goal is 13mg (by weight OR 10 mg by ingredient content) and STOPPED. Feeling very down with unbalanced, unpredictable WD symptoms.

1/2/2014- ??? Taking a brain-healing break from tapering anything after actively tapering something for 1.5 years. So… daily doses as of 2/2/2014: 18 mg by weight Lex, 150 mg Well. XL, 2.5 mg xanax, down from 26 mg by weight Lex., 300 mg well. XL, 4 mg xanax in August, 2012. I'll take it. :) 5/8/14 started equivalent dose liquid./ tabs. 5/13/14 1.5 % cut.

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This is so frickin' scary. Do or would you have more faith in a visit with the Mayo clinic in MN? Have you considered it? Might not be a bad place to go. Just a thought.

 

For psych drug tapering? No, I never would have thought of it. I have no cause to believe they'd break with the conventional wisdom....

 

Ya know, as a matter of fact, I did call the Mayo Clinic about a year ago to see if they could help. I talked to someone, a scheduler, but he said they don't have a program for people w/ my issue and that was that.

"Well my ship's been split to splinters and it's sinking fast
I'm drowning in the poison, got no future, got no past
But my heart is not weary, it's light and it's free
I've got nothing but affection for all those who sailed with me.

Everybody's moving, if they ain't already there
Everybody's got to move somewhere
Stick with me baby, stick with me anyhow
Things should start to get interesting right about now."

- Zimmerman

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hey, I am so glad for your responses--I have felt so alone in this!the one dr. I saw several years ago who got the w/d got it because she'd been through it. At that time I needed to take a break from tapering. Then she left town. The one thing she did say definitively though was that for zoloft w/d you need benzos.(remember she went through it) Now that really squares with my experience with tapering because HIGH anxiety is the deal breaker (although the nausea and brain weirdness is pretty bad).

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This is so frickin' scary. Do or would you have more faith in a visit with the Mayo clinic in MN? Have you considered it? Might not be a bad place to go. Just a thought.

 

For psych drug tapering? No, I never would have thought of it. I have no cause to believe they'd break with the conventional wisdom....

Ya know, as a matter of fact, I did call the Mayo Clinic about a year ago to see if they could help. I talked to someone, a scheduler, but he said they don't have a program for people w/ my issue and that was that.

 

Agree completely regarding Mayo or other 'prestigious institutions'. I communicated with a researcher at Mayo in MN. His work indicated that he might grasp the complexity (I apologize, I forget the exact topic now.) He swiftly dismissed my inquiry. I could almost feel him brushing his hands off.

 

There are certainly exceptions, but I think that Medical Doctors affiliated with teaching institutions are less likely to step outside of accepted medical guidelines, especially where pharma funding is involved. Universities, Mayo, etc are highly supported by pharma.

 

One pioneer is Mark Foster, DO, in Colorado. He was fired from his position at a hospital when they learned he was helping people wean off of psych drugs.

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/988-recommended-doctors-therapists-or-clinics/page__p__11057#entry11057

 

I think docs in small private practice are more likely to step outside the standards of care.

Just my humble opinion.

 

Altostrata has been very successful in finding doctors.

Pristiq tapered over 8 months ending Spring 2011 after 18 years of polydrugging that began w/Zoloft for fatigue/general malaise (not mood). CURRENT: 1mg Klonopin qhs (SSRI bruxism), 75mg trazodone qhs, various hormonesLitigation for 11 years for Work-related injury, settled 2004. Involuntary medical retirement in 2001 (age 39). 2012 - brain MRI showing diffuse, chronic cerebrovascular damage/demyelination possibly vasculitis/cerebritis. Dx w/autoimmune polyendocrine failure.<p>2013 - Dx w/CNS Sjogren's Lupus (FANA antibodies first appeared in 1997 but missed by doc).

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Successful!!!! It's like sifting mud for gold.

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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Successful!!!! It's like sifting mud for gold.

 

LOL! Awesome line, Alto

"Well my ship's been split to splinters and it's sinking fast
I'm drowning in the poison, got no future, got no past
But my heart is not weary, it's light and it's free
I've got nothing but affection for all those who sailed with me.

Everybody's moving, if they ain't already there
Everybody's got to move somewhere
Stick with me baby, stick with me anyhow
Things should start to get interesting right about now."

- Zimmerman

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I think it's far easier to find a doctor willing to write your meds while you sort of self-manage (and he/she gets paid to observe and occasionally comment on your cautiousness) than it is to find an experienced doctor who you pay to actually provide expertise. I felt like visits to my shrink were like visits to the grocery; I decide what I want for dinner and I go to a super expensive store for ingredients.

 

You've really got a way with words, Alex. That is my experience exactly. That's how I managed my ADs. Sometimes I think it's part of the reason I got in trouble with meds, but I was actually taking a more cautious approach than the doctors. I often took half the dose or less of whatever I was prescribed. And I was told I would have to be on ADs forever, but I didn't believe it. I just kept trying to quit and going back on them when I felt awful again. I never suspected anything was going wrong until about 8 years in, though. I was very much pro taking the meds, and bought into the whole "chemical imbalance" thing (I actually think the discusion in relation to that is a complicated one, but that's for another thread...).

 

I still sometimes hope I could find a doctor... I would be willing to do the mud-sifting if I could afford it. :lol: My insurance only covers me IF I am diagnosed with a disease (and a recognized one, of course). But I would really like to know what is going on with me, and rule out anything important that might be going on in addition to the withdrawal... or persistent neurological effects (I'm now a fan of that terminology). My experience has been that as soon as you say "depressed" or "anxious" suddenly the blood tests get put aside and they stop looking further and just refer me right back to a psychiatrist.

 

And then the daydreams of a House-like team of doctors at my service begins again...

'94-'08 On/off ADs. Mostly Zoloft & Wellbutrin, but also Prozac, Celexa, Effexor, etc.
6/08 quit Z & W after tapering, awful anxiety 3 mos. later, reinstated.
11/10 CTed. Severe anxiety 3 mos. later & @ 8 mos. much worse (set off by metronidazole). Anxiety, depression, anhedonia, DP, DR, dizziness, severe insomnia, high serum AM cortisol, flu-like feelings, muscle discomfort.
9/11-9/12 Waves and windows of recovery.
10/12 Awful relapse, DP/DR. Hydrocortisone?
11/12 Improved fairly quickly even though relapse was one of worst waves ever.

1/13 Best I've ever felt.

3/13 A bit of a relapse... then faster and shorter waves and windows.

4/14 Have to watch out for triggers, but feel completely normal about 80% of the time.

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Yes, finding a cooperative doctor is hard enough -- a knowledgeable one is even more rare.

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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