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catw66: Withdrawing off of Cymbalta after 30 years on psych meds

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catw66

Hello -

 

I am about 7 days off of Cymbalta. I was only taking and only able to tolerate 20 mg and I slowly cut myself down to 10mg and then nothing. I get a few head swishes here and there, but nothing really bad expect I am severely up and down mood wise and fear I am going to end up in a psych ward. I was starting to feel like things were going to be ok and then I crashed hard.

 

I've been on various psych meds for the last 30 years of my life and I just turned 47 and I've had enough of it all. I consulted a neuropsych who is an ECT doctor. My regular psych sent a referall to him from another state as I came to stay wtih my mother for a while to get some other health issues sorted out. His suggestion, since when I went there, I was in a better mood and thought my spring to mid-summer severe depressive episode was lifting or was going to lift, was to come off of cymbalta and see if I don't feel better.

 

He said they are finding out these meds do a lot more than they thought and that they might not even be able to call them "seratonin reuptake inhibitors" anymore. He said some people do a lot worse on them over time.

 

Well, I am doing worse yet and yet I don't want to go back on the stuff at all. I am really struggling. I have also been off of Adderall since the begining of July and felt better off due to not taking that, but now this added Cymbalta thing is throwing me for a loop.

 

I am trying to figure out whether I should call the neuropsych back up and request ECT for sure and cancel a vacation with my family in September, or not.

 

I am a 5 x a week yoga practicitioner, I meditate, I eat right, I do all kinds of things - been getting out socially, ect. and STILL I am plagued with severe bone crushing depression episodes that are causing me severe headaches of the type I cannot stand another minute of it. The depression headaches are so bad they don't even respond to migraine medication. They are different. Something is really wrong with my brain and I am scared I am going to not be able to handle it one day and commit suicide.

 

I've had an MRI for the other regular migraines I get and they say it is all clear.

 

Sometimes I feel like I spend all day trying to figure out what will make feel better - yoga, meditation, work, get out with someone, get out in nature - and still by the end of the day I end up in tears feeling suicidal.

 

Is this par for the course? I am hoping someone can relate and let me know it gets better. I am so confused. I don't really think intuitively that my depression is going to get that much better and I should just call that neuropsych back and try to get ECT started. Things have been taking so damn long lately to get the help I need with doctors and that is frustrating too.

 

Thank you.

Edited by tezza
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Altostrata

Welcome, catw66.

 

It sounds like you are suffering from Cymbalta withdrawal syndrome. If so, your nervous system has become unstable. ECT will not help this.

 

After such a long time on antidepressants, going off too quickly can cause these symptoms. Your nervous system needs time to adapt to reduced dosages.See this topic What is antidepressant withdrawal syndrome? 

Reinstating a very small amount of Cymbalta, even a quarter of a capsule (count the beads), might alleviate the symptoms. This needs to be done fairly quickly. You would stabilize on the low dosage for a month or more and taper more gradually from there, a bead at a time, probably one per month or longer.

 

For background about titrating Cymbalta http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/283-tips-for-tapering-off-cymbalta-duloxetine/

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catw66

Thanks so much for your reply and your information and links. I am going to read them right now in full.

 

I was hoping this was not going to be the case with me as I wasn't having severe brain zaps, but I think the depression headaches, which I was having anyway on Cymbalta (and which were more constant on Adderall), are a form of the infitinite withdrawal loop that goes on whether on or recently off Cymbalta.

 

Was wondering if I should not reinstate some of it back as this is bad, but part of me wants to muscle through it and get it over with. I feel like I am in a very bad mixed manic state and like something really bad could happen, just not sure what.

 

Irritable, anxious, feeling depersonalized, derealized, constipated, and twitchy.

 

Thank you. I need to look into this more. I have an appt. with a psychiatrist but not until Sept. 16th. I am in such limbo in my life as well in terms of living situation, etc.

 

I hope there is hope this gets better. I desperately need to get better so I can move forward in life. I've been behind for so long due to all this.

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Jemima

Please do follow Alto's advice. You may be able to tolerate your current withdrawal symptoms, but believe, me, they can get worse.

 

Welcome to the forum, Catw66. I'm glad you found us.

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catw66

Thank you so much again. I read some of the information on the links and it all makes more sense than I previously realized. I am printing out this one to read more thoghourly:

 

http://www.mediafire.com/view/ccob3z3piot5381/03_Neurobiology+of+antidepressant+withdrawal_harvey.pdf

 

I need to understand what is going on technially as much as possible. I've always been that way.

 

I just took one of my 20 mg Cymbalta capsules with half dumped out of it to make it 10 mg. I think I was trying to do this too fast and it was really messing me up worse than ever. I am going to follow a much slower tappering schedule because I was on this for 3.5 years and I've been on psych meds for 30 years. The Adderall withdrawal was nothing compared to all this with Cymbalta. Adderall was making me extremely fatigued and apathetic and at least that is gone, but without any Cymbalta, I've felt like a complete basket case ready to blow any minute at times. Don't want that to happen.

 

Thank you so much for reaching out to me and being here for me. It really means a lot. I don't think a doctor can even adequately know what is going on. The nurse practicitioner told me I should be just fine after a few days as one of her patients was. I would consider not even bothering to go off at this point, but I want to heal eventually from all this and I know this stuff is holding me back on some level. The Cymbalta has caused me more fatigue and memory problems than ever. I've gotten worse on it, not better and if I take anymore than 20 mg. I get completely manic. I guess that is good at this point that I never tolerated more than I have.

 

Before Cymbalta, I was on up to 450 mg of Lamictal for a long time and I suddenly just stopped that and went downhill so Cymbalta was introduced.

 

I also take Tramadol with it 50 mg for chronic pain and I get withdrawals if I stop that as well. One thing at a time. One thing at a time and in a reasonable way.

 

I keep thinking the body has its ways of finding homeostasis and the brain is very neuroplastic, so I am hoping that at some piont - however long it takes - I will get well some day in terms of my mental health and if not, I will know I did my best trying with every tool I could think to try.

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catw66

The more I read, the more it sounds like I might need a scale to do this taper. It seems that if Cymbalta is so sensitizing and addictive for the brain, then I ought to be very precise about it all. I think the more sensitive one is to chemicals, the more careful one has to be.

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Rhiannon

When I was dry cutting I used a scale. I found it helpful.

 

Cymbalta has a reputation for being one of the more difficult ADs to get off of.  I don't know first hand, none of them seem to be a picnic.

 

As your NP has noticed, some people are able to get off ADs pretty easily. However I find this is rarely the case with people who have been on psych meds for decades, especially if they have ever CT'd in the past, and if they have taken multiple meds or been switched on meds, et cetera. The people I meet who come off ADs easily (and mostly I meet them IRL, they don't usually show up on this forum) generally are taking them for the first time and only took them for a period of months. Sometimes it's their second time around. I've never met anyone who's had an easy third time around. I suspect each "on and off" causes changes (or possibly a sort of chemical trauma) to the CNS that make/s us more sensitive to future changes.

 

Anyway, glad you found your way here, and I hope the reinstatement gives you some relief. Don't be alarmed if it doesn't make you feel 100% better right away--that's not what typically happens. Typically people get enough improvement to stop that intense downward spiral of worsening that they're in, and then as they hold (often for months) on the reinstated dose they do stabilize and finally feel well enough to begin a very slow taper.

 

I do encourage you to allow this stabilization time. It seems to be crucial to the success of the final taper.

 

Welcome, and good luck!

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Rhiannon

I would add, given your recent CT of the Adderall, all the more reason to hold and stabilize for a while before trying to taper anything else.

 

Also, perhaps you could at some point expand your med history in your sig line to include what other meds you've taken in the past, oh, four or five years, and how long and what doses and when you quit, and how quickly you quit, that sort of thing. When did you start the Cymbalta, the Adderall? When and for how long did you take Lamictal?

 

Don't do it if it's a hassle, just if you feel like it sometime, it's helpful and makes a difference in what advice we might offer you.

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catw66

Thank you. I sure will add the information on my meds the best I can remember. I've been switched around for so long. I was actually put on Cymbalta about 7 years ago the first time I ever took it before being put back on it 3.5 years ago, and I felt it made me manic, so I  came off after only a couple of weeks and had a hard time for a few days with brain zaps, etc.

 

I think I missed going through various withdrawals because I was always just switched from one thing to the other, but with not another similar type of med in my system, the withdrawals are really difficult. I will go slow.

 

I do feel a bit better by tonight but I thought I was going to lose it for a bit there.

 

Thank you for explaining why I might have a harder time than possibly someone else doing the same thing. I know people on an adderall forum I'm on who are still dealing with PAWS type symptoms too so it all makes sense.

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EagleWolf

Hi catw66

 

Wow you have been through the wringer. I am sorry for your suffering.   If I understand your initial post, you dropped from 20mgs to 10mgs then off - that's a quick take down in terms of mgs,  and it may be that your body and brain are still in shock.  The way I see it is that you have two choices, those being trying to 'ride it out', which may be quite uncomfortable, but may very well be what your system requires in order to heal.  However, if it is intolerable for you, a reinstatement may be required with a very carefully planned SLOW taper down to 0.  

 

It's a tricky one as often right when you feel like throwing in the towel and reinstating, healing may be just around the corner, but in all honesty who knows when that may happen?

 

Personally, if it was me, I would do anything I could to prevent going down the road of having ECT. 

 

catw66 do you have any idea where you would start your reinstatement?  Would it be from 10mgs or would you try to titrate up in 2mgs increments?  I've seen people get stable on much less than their last 'lowest' dose.

 

Best of luck to you.  I hope this challenging period improves for you soon.

 

EagleWolf

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catw66

Hi Eaglewolf -

 

I just took my full 10 mg again and just decided that is probably what I need and read that it is sometimes best to go back to the last dose you had left off at and were somehow tolerating. Sometimes wondering if I should just start all over and go down even slower but I'll see how it goes for a few days.

 

One of the reasons I was in such a hurry to get off of Cymbalta, was that I've wanted to see how I feel off of it and if I even need ECT. I am with my mother right now in Michigan and don't want to stay here ( want to go back to Colorado) so I wanted to do all this before winter hits and now I am seeing it is not going to be easy and I don't need the stress while living with family of being neurological basket case and potentially causing problems.

 

I figure at least I got off the Adderall. That stuff was killing me slowly but surely with fatigue and apathy.

 

I was not getting the severe depression headaches anymore after I got off of it but still having some bad days. Then I had one yesterday and part of today and I think they are a form of withdrawal ( possibly combined at times with stress migraine). So I want to avoid those at all costs. I thought I was going to have to go to the hospital.

 

I would rather avoid ECT if I can.

 

I read a biography of one of my favorite authors, David Foster Wallace, and I'm glad I did because now I feel more cautious about all of this and where I am at.

 

He was on Nardil for years and years and then went off of it and got really sick and suicideal, had 12 ECT treatments, and then his doctor put him on a cocktail of meds over not too long of a time and then he committed suicide one day.

 

So I think after reading his story and his very sad end, I think he was dealing with withdrawal illness and the ECT and new meds put him over the edge. And after reading more about withdrawal and iatrogenic illness, I think it best to just keep surviving and getting through this and not have ECT if some day there may be an end to all this on a positive note. I hope so.

 

Thank you for your support and the idea of maybe I don't need the full 10 mg, but this whole thing scared me so much and I went so fast from 20 to 10. I'll see what happens....I just wanted to give my brain a good dose of what it was screaming for for starters.

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EagleWolf

Hi Eaglewolf -

 

I just took my full 10 mg again and just decided that is probably what I need and read that it is sometimes best to go back to the last dose you had left off at and were somehow tolerating. Sometimes wondering if I should just start all over and go down even slower but I'll see how it goes for a few days.

 

One of the reasons I was in such a hurry to get off of Cymbalta, was that I've wanted to see how I feel off of it and if I even need ECT. I am with my mother right now in Michigan and don't want to stay here ( want to go back to Colorado) so I wanted to do all this before winter hits and now I am seeing it is not going to be easy and I don't need the stress while living with family of being neurological basket case and potentially causing problems.

 

I figure at least I got off the Adderall. That stuff was killing me slowly but surely with fatigue and apathy.

 

I was not getting the severe depression headaches anymore after I got off of it but still having some bad days. Then I had one yesterday and part of today and I think they are a form of withdrawal ( possibly combined at times with stress migraine). So I want to avoid those at all costs. I thought I was going to have to go to the hospital.

 

I would rather avoid ECT if I can.

 

I read a biography of one of my favorite authors, David Foster Wallace, and I'm glad I did because now I feel more cautious about all of this and where I am at.

 

He was on Nardil for years and years and then went off of it and got really sick and suicideal, had 12 ECT treatments, and then his doctor put him on a cocktail of meds over not too long of a time and then he committed suicide one day.

 

So I think after reading his story and his very sad end, I think he was dealing with withdrawal illness and the ECT and new meds put him over the edge. And after reading more about withdrawal and iatrogenic illness, I think it best to just keep surviving and getting through this and not have ECT if some day there may be an end to all this on a positive note. I hope so.

 

Thank you for your support and the idea of maybe I don't need the full 10 mg, but this whole thing scared me so much and I went so fast from 20 to 10. I'll see what happens....I just wanted to give my brain a good dose of what it was screaming for for starters.

Hi catw66

 

Sounds like you have a good plan in place.  Congratulations on getting off the Adderall.  Here's hoping you will stabilise and start to feel a sense of wellness.  I totally 'get' the fear thing.  I really do.  

 

The David Foster Wallace book sounds like it is quite a read, ultimately very sad.

 

Be well catw66 and please let us know how you fare into the future.

 

Eagle Wolf

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Altostrata

I also believe David Foster Wallace was suffering from Nardil withdrawal syndrome, became hypersensitive to psychiatric medications, and gave up under the barrage of misdiagnosis and mistreatment. This makes me very sad and angry.

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catw66

It makes me feel sad and angry too as he was a literary genius of our time and he had a psychiatrist tell him that Nardil was a "dirty drug" and there were a lot better ones out there. His biographer barely goes into exactly what happened with all that, but he was going through a washout phase over the Nardil that lasted months and got very sick (barely able to leave his house for a while,) then tried to commit suicide, got ECT and then this cocktail commensed, but the author never says what it contained. I guess it doesn't matter, but your reply made me realize something:

 

After being able to take a medication for years and then going off and having it be reintroduced, I was often no longer able to handle it - either due to side effects or I became manic on it. I believe you are right in that a hypersensitivity happened to Wallace as well. He tried to go back on the Nardil but it didn't work the same anymore and within a year of trying other things in psychiatry, he was dead.

 

I really doubt that his family or his biographer really knew much about any of this - and they might still not. I am still trying to get the mental energy to write my review of this book for Goodreads, and I want to mention some of this in it.  But honestly, I am glad I read his biography and then found this site. I am not going to go down the same road, which I see could happen.

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catw66

I just remembered that DFW was quoted in the book as telling a friend his going through "phase four of the washout" period. I never heard that term until I read this book and found these sites. It astounds me that I read that term with some confusion after my very long psych med history.

 

It sounds like he at least had a psychiatrist who knew not to just switch him from one drug to the other. I was always just switched from one to the other like it was no big deal or they would overlap them for a bit in smaller doses, but not for very long. Maybe I was lucky?

 

I just read that "washout" is done to avoid overlapping drug toxicity issues, but when a half life is supposedly only so many hours, why does it take weeks? Storage in fat cells?

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Rhiannon

"Washout" is a highly questionable concept in my opinion. Might mean something in the context of some kind of overdose, or if the concern is like you say, overlapping drugs with toxicity issues, but meaningless in the context of psychiatric drug withdrawal and recovery.

 

Way too many people with MD after their names are clueless about psychiatric drugs. Unfortunately many of them are psychiatrists.

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catw66

I agree.

 

Anyway, as an update, I think even cutting down by half was too much for me and I guess I am going to buying a scale now and going extra slow. It seems too hard to estimate how much Cymbalta I'm really taking by just dumping some out.

 

I thought that because I was only 20 mg I wouldn't have that hard of a time, but I am afraid I've been shown up to be one in the more precise bead counting club. So mad, but I just to just get through it slowly as it is not worth going over the edge. I've suffered long enough and at least I see that this whole thing will be keeping from ECT, which is probably a good thing.

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Altostrata

The MAOIs require a washout period because they cause neurohormonal changes that make introduction of a serotonergic dangerous.

 

catw, you may also have suffered withdrawal syndrome from your precipitous quitting of Lamictal. This may have set you up for difficult Cymbalta withdrawal.

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catw66

one drug I never was put on was an MAOI though my doctor was throwing the idea around for a while.

 

You may be right about the Lamictal as well as that was an awfully high dose too. I think he did have me cut down, but nothing too terribly slow and the Cymbalta was started right on top of it. 

 

These withdrawal symptoms are amazing though - Could not do my full yoga practice due to diziness, balance issues, fatigue, nausea, and then feeling like my arms were not my own suddenly.

 

Very irritable, body aches, headache, I suddenly got a case of severe chills today for no reason, feel totally dissassociated and derealized and really damn angry about everything and anything, including these drugs and what's happened to my life over time and the fact that I'm always suffering because of it now. I also wonder if some of this hasn't caused my periods to become very painful the last few years. I'll find out next week as they are going to look for endo, but if they can't find any, I'm going to suspect medication toxicity.

 

Thinking I should start from the top again as this stuff is truly hell and I don't know how anyone ever recovers, but I will give it time and a chance anyway.

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Rhiannon

Cat you might want to consider seeing if you can hang in at 10 mg...reinstatements can take time to settle, but if you go up to a higher dose it can still take just as much time to settle down, and then you're at a higher dose to taper off.

 

It's hard to say, hard to predict. I don't think in the long run it will cause you big problems either way. You just need to stabilize, however long that takes and at whatever dose, and then do a slow taper.

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catw66

Good point, Rhi. I took only 3/4 of my original dose today. Maybe I will try the original cut down again (10 mg.) as I wasn't doing too badly on that.  But I was so very sick yesterday it scared the heck out of me. I'm still not all there and plan to spend most of the day in bed. It was exhausting what I went through and it left me feeling really depressed mentally and emotionally - that fact that I couldn't see for years that pharma was making me a lot sicker and now there is some more hell yet to pay....

 

Do you know if it is better to take these withdrawal doses in the daytime or night time? It seems it would be best for day time for less WD side effects. I always took my dose at night usually.

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catw66

P.S.  Thanks for letting me know that stabilization doesn't happen overnight. I expected I would already feel better since the first time I posted, but I don't really.

 

What is making it hard is living with my mother who is not very sympathetic and is driving me crazy. But I will be out of here by the end of October for sure and back to Colorado. So I just have to get through this, keep slogging through my part-time home business, stick to myself as much as possible and define small goals for myself.

 

What is interesting is that the second day I took a full pill and felt that usual numb feeling and depression wash over me again so it seems a toss up between that and feeling really overstimulated and freaked out, though I am sure PMS has something to do with it. My goal is to stabilize at a happy medium I can tolerate for a while. After a little time in bed today and an anti-nausea pill, I feel able to get up shower and eat and get a few things done.

 

Getting out in nature has been very good for me and I am going to keep doing that at dusk when it cools down.

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Rhiannon

Hi cat--

 

Yes, it can take weeks to months for a reinstatement to stabilize. It's best not to juggle the dose around too much, just pick one and stick with it. Usually people do okay on something less than the full dose they came off to begin with.

I can totally relate to that panic and just do whatever it takes feeling! Withdrawal is awful.

 

You might think about staying on the 10 mg for another week and then if things have not improved at all from their worst, go up to 15. Or something like that. Unfortunately it's not a science.

 

Also, it's a good idea to keep a journal rating your symptoms on a numerical scale.  This thread talks about that:

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1779-rate-symptoms-daily-to-catch-withdrawal-early/

I've found you can't really go with your subjective memory because something about the process makes it hard for us to really remember objectively how intense or otherwise our symptoms were, even just a short time ago.

 

Hang in there, good luck!

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catw66

Just checking in again. I reinstated 20 mg for about a day and then my 10 mg capsules and then I went every other day with the 10 mg and suddenly started having withdrawal symptoms again. I thought this should be ok as originally, I was consciously forgetting to take my full 20 mg dose for quite a while and would only take it every other night so I thought I should be able to handle 10 mg every other night but maybe not. So I think I am just going to stick with 10 mg every day for a while and see how I do. The symptoms I get are too hard to deal with - dizziness, vertigo, and other brain wave type effects.

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Jemima

Please do stick with the 10 mg. daily for a while.  Every-other-day dosing is about the worst thing you can do to yourself, sort of like playing Ping-Pong with your brain. I would give it at least a month before making any further changes.  It seems that the more changes we make, the more sensitized we become to these drugs. Believe me, I know how very difficult it is to be patient and stay the course, but it really is the best and fastest way to get through withdrawal.

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catw66

Thank you! I sure will and see how it goes and will update. One of the stranger things about all this is severe constipation as well. No fun. Central nervous system issue, I am supposing.

 

One thing that is helping me deal with depression is that I listen to a Yoga Nidra recording daily called "Relax Into Greatness" by Rod Stryker. One of his students teaches a class once or twice a week and I heard from one of his students that listening to Yoga Nidra daily helped him cut down over time from 8 meds to just 1. I went a few days without it and I noticed a difference in my mood. It sounds nutty and very new age, but I believe it is helping me by working on my subconscious and all the stuff I hold in there as a result of depression, etc.

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catw66

I have been tapering Cymbalta 20 mg for many months now. I have not made an exact science of it but have done so somewhat intuitively. I have done what I could tolerate. I first started just eyeballing things and when I felt I only had so many beads left to deal, I started counting them out. I got myself down to about twelve last November and this past month, I was down to just six beads.

 

I finally thought about just not taking any and I am not sure if I am having symptoms or just tired and PMSing.

 

Wondering if this stuff is so strong that going from just six tiny beads to nothing can affect me and if so, is going from six beads to zero enough to tolerate some relatively mild withdrawal symptoms for a while and just get through this?

 

I remember reading (I think it was here) that people had the hardest time coming off the last 1 mg. I don't know if six beads is even one mg.

 

Just to be on the safe side though, I am leaning more towards to now just taking 5 beads since I've been down to six for about a month now.

 

Does Cymbalta wd really get this specific at only so many tiny beads? I really have not had any great wd symptoms doing things this way so far. For a while I had some major anxiety, which eventually subsided.

 

Symptoms I have now are just a slight dizziness and feeling kind of wiped out, but I have also changed locations again and may be acclimating to a new area and slightly different climate.

 

I have a hard time believing that not taking six tiny beads may be starting some of the more acute wd symptoms I read about.

 

Thank you.

 

 

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Rhiannon

Hey cat, good to hear from you. 

 

Yes absolutely those last six beads can require tapering. Also, there are delayed/prolonged effects in tapering that can catch up weeks or months after cutting, and that will continue to catch up over time. You may be experiencing withdrawal from cuts you made months ago, still. And that can continue to come on for a long time. You may want to consider just holding at six beads for a couple of months until things settle down.

 

Also remember that what your body notices is not the total cut, it's the percentage cut. At six beads, one bead is 1/6 of the total--I think that's what, a 15% cut, something like that.

 

Take it slow. I know it's hard to go slow when you're close to the end, but you've worked hard to get here, it's worth taking the time to do it right and never have to do it again. If you go too fast it's going to take you longer to recover from the withdrawal that will happen at the end and you may suffer enough that you'll be tempted to start back on a med (I see that happen all the time) and then in six months you'll be kicking yourself. Better to take your time now and do it right.

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catw66

Hello -

 

I have been off of the last six beads of Cymbalta now for about three months and almost the same amount of time off of cannabis. I was not using a ton of this, but at least a little very other day. I was so in denial about it, that I never considered it really part of my ongoing problem with meds and mental health so I doubt I even mentioned here, so thick was my denial about it.

 

However, once I DC'd the Cymbalta after a long, long taper, the cannabis started to cause me terrible anxiety and I always wanted to quit anyway. I really wanted to get my life together and heal my brain from nearly 30 years of psych med use and I figured that needed to go as well so I could really find out what is going on with my brain and this so called "mental illness" in the clearest way possible.

 

I know this is now a complicated situation, but I wanted to know if it is possible that I am going through PAWS and PWS from both quits, even though the Cymbalta was tapered off very slowly over time? Some days are really great and others are just really really bad - derealization, irritability, depression, suicidal thoughts, pessmimistic thinking, feeling disoriented and anxious (almost doomed),feeling hyper-focused or unable to focus at all and just want to shut down. I am still keeping up with my yoga practice, which helps some. Things get really bad before my period.

 

I also have a fair amount of stress and change going on in my life. During all this, I have been pretty much "homeless" in the sense that I have not had a stable living situation for over a year now and have bounced between three different places in three different states and am now not sure I can go back to where I lived for 11 years as it is getting too expensive, I never liked the climate or the big city stress, and I want to try something new for various reasons so I am now considering the slower pace of North Carolina, only I can't make up my mind on where to be exactly. Asheville or Carrboro area? I also wonder if I shouldn't check out Florida as I need more sunlight than the average person and am not sure I would do well with even partly cloudy weather too much of the time.

 

I have about worn myself and stressed myself out severely doing exploring by car of NC and worrying about where to go and yet I know I probably should just pick a place and get settled somewhere so I can continue to heal and not worry so much if I make the "wrong" decision. I can always change it later.

 

I am sure all this stress about not knowing what to do is making all this harder on me, but it's where I am. I guess my big question to recap, is it still possible to go through protracted withdrawal even after a long and slow taper? I know I am going through something with the cannabis withdrawal, but some days it just feels over the top and I wonder if I am getting a double whammy.

 

Thanks for your time.

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catw66

Thanks for responding, Rhi and Alto.  I didn't get an email because I forgot to check follow possibly, so I didn't think anyone responded. Or maybe I just didn't see it. Just posted about this in the wrong forum on symptoms and now can't delete.

 

Well, I've been off the last six beads of cymbalta anyway since the beginning of March and also decided to get out of denial about my cannabis overuse and am now probably going through PAWS from that and protracted WS from Cymbalta from what you two are telling me.

 

Some days are very good and other days are very bad where things seem really serious and hopeless and I just feel awful. I can't tell now whether this is the Cymbalta cessation - cessation of psych meds after 30 years of the things or sudden cannabis cessation, but I figured while I was healing my brain of psych med use, the cannabis needed to go as well. It was starting to affect me really badly as I WD'd from Cymbalta - anxiety attacks, subtle psychotic reactions, and I always wanted to be free of that too.

 

I think I was using it to get some stimulation in my brain after feeling brain dead on AD's for so long. Some days I wonder what I am in for by doing all this quitting of things, but I want to last it out. It's been interesting to learn that it can take up to two years for some with PAWS from recrational substance abuse and it seems about the same or longer for psych med use. Interestingly, my psychiatrist prescribed all of this together on top of my pain medication. I didn't mention the cannabis before because I was in denial about it and didn't think it counted as a psych med, but chronic use forces changes in the brain as well that then have to take time to get back to normal once a long-time user quits. So I am going through a double whammy now.

 

I have been running around somewhat locationless for the last year so between three different places in three different states. I am having to make big changes and decisions, which is causing me yet more stress and more symptoms to flare up. I think I need to just get somewhere slower paced and healing so I can get through all this for a while. Really want to try and go back to school or work as I am getting older and want off of disability and to be making money, but I guess first things first. Healing just has to happen at this point. Some days I am sure I am going to lose my mind and others I feel motivated and focused. I think the key is to reduce stress. So I need to decide if I am going to try either Asheville or Carrboro in NC, drive from Michigan to check out Sarasota (as I now require more sun to even feel sane), or just go back to Colorado and be reminded of all the hard times I've had there.

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mammaP

Hi CatW, what a ride you've been on!  You stopped cymbalta at 6 beads early March and 

now suffering withdrawal. I can't comment on the cannabis withdrawal as I have no experience

of it and haven't researched it yet, but I do believe that at 3 months off there is a chance that 

reinstating even one or 2 beads could help you.  I stopped effexor at 5 beads and reinstated

after a month off. I felt better very quickly.  

 

Everyone is different and some people suffer protracted withdrawal for some years, you just have to 

read through some of the introduction threads to see them.  It is your call but I would give reinstatement 

a try, it has to be worth it to avoid the nightmare of protracted withdrawal.  

 

See here about reinstating. http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/3079-about-reinstating-and-stabilizing-to-stop-withdrawal-symptoms/

 

If you choose not to reinstate, you can find some helpful topics on how to deal with symptoms

in our self care forum, including a topic that explains withdrawal and what to expect. http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/603-what-is-antidepressant-withdrawal-syndrome/

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catw66

Thank you, mamma P for your experience and advice. I am just not so sure what is going on. I think stress aggravates things and I think this is mostly from the Cannabis withdrawal which has been reported to be as bad as the pills from what I am reading of others' experiences, so I think I am just going to keep going. I have an awful lot of stress in my life and I think when I overdo things, it gets worse in terms of anxiety and other affects. Now that things are calming down after this long stressful road trip looking for a place to move, I am starting to feel more stable again. But I will keep it all in mind. I would hate to re-instate when my brain is already this far along since March, but I'll see how it goes. I think a lot of it is the combination of being on meds most of my life, getting off, and now ditching the cannabis. I just had to do it. I really want to see where I am at though my pain levels are now higher at times, but again, I think much of it is overdoing things. I can't seem to handle a lot of extra stress or activity anymore. I think I am going to be going through many weird things no matter what after all this and for how long i was on the psych med ride.

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Altostrata

catw, I moved your other post about cannabis withdrawal here.

 

My guess is your experience with Cymbalta sensitized your nervous system to all neuroactive substances, and cannabis use rocked the boat. It will take some time for your nervous system to settle down. Until then, it might be a good idea to avoid all neuroactive substances and alcohol.

 

I lost the ability to indulge in cannabis myself for quite a while.

 

Please don't beat yourself up about this. Take care of yourself and your nervous system. Be patient, give it time, it will heal.

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Narcissus

Best of luck getting off the psych drug ferris wheel, catw66.  You seem to be doing pretty well considering what you've been through.  Our thoughts are with you.

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Altostrata

catw, how are you doing?

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