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gruvedaddy -- my journey


gruvedaddy

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Hello all. First of all, thank you for this incredibly informative website. Although i just started posting, i have used some of it's members suggestions over the last 11 months and appreciate the input.

 

I started my miserable journey into psych drugs in 1997 after having a severe panic attack that led to a trip to the ER where the ER doctor diagnosed me with clinical depression. I asked what can i do about it, and he said learn to live with it.

 

I had a very hard time finding a doctor that would prescribe me anything, even ativan, for more than 2 weeks. After about six weeks of waiting to see a Psychiatrist he agreed i had depression and began me on Prozac (although i cannot remember the dosage) and 1mg ativan for sleep.

 

It did not go well. After a couple months of no improvement and the development of an annoying eye twitch i stopped cold turkey (without my doctors knowledge) and immediately began taking St. Johns Wort, which was gaining popularity at the time. I continued taking the 1mg ativan for sleep.

 

I can't recall how long i took the St Johns Wort, with little or no noticeable improvement, when i asked my doctor what else was on the market that may help me. For my panic attacks and depression he said there was a new drug out called Zoloft that he thought may help.

 

He had me start on 100mg per day, while continuing on my 1mg ativan at night. I saw what i thought was modest improvement in my mood and general feelings. When i went back to the doctor for my typical 3 month check up i learned he had left the practice and that if i wished to i could either find another doctor in another practice or see a different one there at that practice. I decided to stay there.

 

The first thing the new doc did was increase my dosage of Zoloft to 150mg, as she said she didn't think 100mg was enough as i said i still didn't feel "all there". She kept me on the 1mg ativan.

 

Weather it was the change in the seasons, going from winter to spring, or the increased dosage i started feeling much better in about 8 weeks. I stayed on those dosages and meds for the better part of the last 13 years, enduring a wave of emotions from semi normalcy to depressed along the way.

 

My wife had been pleading with me for a number of years to stop taking the meds as she pointed out the negative side effects and her concern that they were outweighing the benefits.

 

After finding this website about a year ago,i took her advice and with the assistance of my doctor we started the weening process at the 10% method that many here recommend.

 

For the most part i have made the transition from 150mg down to 25 mg (where i am now) pretty good. I hadn't really noticed any issues while i made each step down.

 

However, as is with every year, i am having a tough time with the transition into winter. So much so that i have "paused" at the 25mg level and am leery about continuing down until after the start of the new year.

 

It isn't really surprising to me that i've hit this bump in the road at this time of year, it's just that i'm having a hard time with it.

 

The plan is to make the next step down to 12.5 mg and then to zero. Then, after that, i will begin the weening off of the ativan. I am lucky to have a very supportive wife who has done much research herself in the attempt to help me. She is my rock.

 

I welcome any comments or suggestions, with much appreciation in advance.

Edited by Altostrata
added line breaks for readibility

25mg Zoloft (down from 150mg over 13 years), 1mg Ativan

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hey my journey,

 

I can totally relate to depression and this darn month of November. Also... see my sig. years and years of an anti depressant and benzo. I'm a beginner. A guppy. A neophyte. But not you! You are a veteran! Congrats on the slow and steady taper.

 

Someone else will speak up here and I may be out of place saying anything but if it were me and I was as successful as you to taper as far as you have with relative ease, and if I then started to feel issues and I knew I was affected by SAD, then I would hold until spring.

 

Congrats on your accomplishment , man. You deserve a friggin' medal!!!! :)

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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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi gruvedaddy,

 

well done getting to such a low dose. Many of us have had the same advice from our doctors - just get used to it' you have a chemical imbalance and you'll be on meds for the rest of your life.

 

It always helps to have a supportive partner. My husband's a gem.

 

Good luck with your taper.

July 2001 prescribed 20mg citalopram for depression;
On and off meds from 2003-2006.
February 2006 back on 20mg citalopram and stayed on it until my last attempt at tapering in September 2011.
By far the worst withdrawal symptoms ever. Reinstated to 20mg citalopram
October 2012 - found this forum!
Nov 2012 to Feb 2013 did 10% taper, got doen to 11mg - was going great until stressful situation. Cortisol levels hit the roof, hideous insomnia forced me to updose to 20mg.
March 2016 - close to 100% back to normal!



****** I am not a medical practitioner, any advice I give comes from my own experience or reading and is only my perspective ******

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  • Administrator

Welcome, gruvedaddy.

 

It's good to hear confirmation of the 10% tapering method. Did you make a liquid to do this?

 

It doesn't hurt to take a break from tapering if you feel like it. Holding steady for a while can be good for your nervous system.

 

Many people have mood and energy issues in the winter months. This is often related to the change in light. Have you looked into light therapy? We have a couple of topics on it in our Symptoms and Self-Care section.

 

Did you mean you intended to go from 25mg to 12.5mg in one decrease? That would be a pretty large drop.

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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Wow, thanks for the fast response and nice compliments. :) Yes, i did do the majority of the tapering with liquid Zoloft. My doctor was quite reluctant to go with the liquid, insisting the 25mg increment weening would be not hard for me to do. But i was persistent in that i wanted to step down with the liquid at the 10% increments, and that's what i have been doing. And your right Altosrtrata, going down from 25 to 12.5 mg is too much, i'm not sure why i was thinking that. I'll definitely keep tapering with the liquid at the 10% steps, although i'm not sure when i'll continue with the tapering, possible after the new year. As for the light therapy i do actually have a light that i use while i exercise. However i've been quite busy since the summer and have not exercised since then and thus have had no light therapy. But i know i need to get back on that exercise schedule because i always feel so much better when i am doing that. I'll be sure to read more in the Symptom and self care section to see what other wonderful suggestions may be there. Thanks again. :)

25mg Zoloft (down from 150mg over 13 years), 1mg Ativan

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  • 1 year later...

Hello again everyone. Hope you all are having a good summer. As for me I've hit a few bumps since the last time I posted. I had stayed on the 25mg Zoloft through 2013 until November when I felt I needed an increase in the dosage to get me through winter. So I asked my Dr to increase my dosage to 50mg, and she did. Well, I made it through winter and in spring of this year I decided I would try and taper back down again to 25mg with the liquid and asked my Dr to prescribe me that. I never got to the comfort zone that I had experienced in previous summers so I never did taper. What's worse is that with the impending winter and fall I asked to go back to 100mg and of course my Dr complied. It's been three weeks now and I regret doing it in that I feel I just completely threw away all the hard effort I did tapering down in the first place. I'm contemplating just going back to 50mg tomorrow with the idea that possibly after only three weeks my body won't be that dependent on that dosage. I still take the 1mg Ativan at night. Any thoughts on doing this?

25mg Zoloft (down from 150mg over 13 years), 1mg Ativan

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi gruvedaddy,

Welcome back.  Why did you want to increase the dose of a drug you are trying to come off, because the season changes every 3 months?  Have you increased your dose like this every year?

 

But to answer your question, it would probably be ok to drop back down to 50mg after only 3 weeks at 100mg, but I can't say for certain, everyone is different and each person's nervous system has its own level of tolerance to drugs, changes and stress in general.  Perhaps to be safe, you could drop down to 75mg for a week and then back down to 50mg.

 

There are healthier ways to manage anxiety and depression. Here is the link to our symptoms and self care section, you may find some useful non-drug ideas to help manage symptoms as you recover, and also ways to deal with the normal emotions of life in general.    Especially read the topics pinned at the top.

 

Petu.

I'm not a doctor.  My comments are not medical advise. These are my opinions based on my own experience and what I've learned. Please discuss your situation with a medical practitioner who has knowledge of tapering and withdrawal...if you are lucky enough to find one.

My Introduction Thread

Full Drug and Withdrawal History

Brief Summary

Several SSRIs for 13 years starting 1997 (for mild to moderate partly situational anxiety) Xanax PRN ~ Various other drugs over the years for side effects

2 month 'taper' off Lexapro 2010

Short acute withdrawal, followed by 2 -3 months of improvement then delayed protracted withdrawal

DX ADHD followed by several years of stimulants and other drugs trying to manage increasing symptoms

Failed reinstatement of Lexapro and trial of Prozac (became suicidal)

May 2013 Found SA, learned about withdrawal, stopped taking drugs...healing begins.

Protracted withdrawal, with a very sensitized nervous system, slowly recovering as time passes

Supplements which have helped: Vitamin C, Magnesium, Taurine

Bad reactions: Many supplements but mostly fish oil and Vitamin D

June 2016 - Started daily juicing, mostly vegetables and lots of greens.

Aug 2016 - Oct 2016 Best window ever, felt almost completely recovered

Oct 2016 -Symptoms returned - bad days and less bad days.

April 2018 - No windows, but significant improvement, it feels like permanent full recovery is close.

VIDEO: Where did the chemical imbalance theory come from?



VIDEO: How are psychiatric diagnoses made?



VIDEO: Why do psychiatric drugs have withdrawal syndromes?



VIDEO: Can psychiatric drugs cause long-lasting negative effects?

VIDEO: Dr. Claire Weekes

 

 

 

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  • Administrator

If I were you, gruvedaddy, I would step down from the 100mg in 10% reductions perhaps every 5 days. If you get withdrawal symptoms, stop reducing.

 

Your pattern of taking Zoloft sounds like perhaps you're not ready to go off it. I highly recommend your looking into non-drug methods of dealing with your mood symptoms. If you get seasonal affective disorder, there are non-drug ways to alleviate it.

 

Otherwise, it seems pretty clear you will never be ready to go off completely, and if you increase your dosage every fall, you are deliberately moving one step ahead and 2 or 3 steps backward towards a goal of being drug-free.

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

Agree with Alto, because of your history you should at least start with a more cautious drop. The more times people go up and down and on and off meds the more sensitive they seem to become to changes.

 

Have you even tried the light therapy? You clearly have seasonal mood fluctuations. Light therapy is pretty well documented to be very effective for that. Personally I love my therapy lights. The response is fast, just a few days, and they're very effective, especially in combination with exercise.

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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  • Moderator Emeritus

Oh, also, taking Ativan only at night can lead to rebound anxiety during the day. It's short acting and you can get withdrawal effects in between doses. It's better to take it in multiple smaller doses spread out throughout the day, every four to six hours or so.

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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