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MNGirl: Off of A/D's for one year...


MNGirl

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Hi all,

 

I've looked at this website here and there for the past year and found some great info.  A little history about my situation...  Back in 1999, I took one pill of ecstasy (absolutely hated the "trip") and it sent me into a tailspin of severe panic and anxiety.  It also caused some severe obsessive thinking.  A few weeks after taking the pill and suffering through constant panic, I went to a few doctors who all seemed to think it was "just anxiety" and some medication would take care of the issue.  I'd never had issues with anxiety prior to taking ecstasy.  I was a good student in school and was preoccupied with good grades, etc but anxiety was never an issue.  I could always cut loose, have fun, and leave my problems aside.  The doctors didn't seem convinced that I didn't have an anxiety disorder.  And, despite my new found fear of ingesting ANY kind of pill because of what happened with ecstasy and my reluctance to treat a drug-induced issue with another drug, I found myself with a prescription for an A/D.  And I started taking it.  That was 14 years ago.

 

I've been on and off several A/D's over the years.  I've also been prescribed, as needed, lorazepam and clonazepam, but those were on a very occasional basis. My final A/D that I took for a significant amount of time was Cymbalta (60 mg).  I grew increasingly angry that I was taking A/D's and was convinced that they were contributing to my anxiety.  So I did a relatively fast taper.  I did a few doses of Prozac to help with the withdrawal. 

 

My main reason for finding this site and deciding to post is to get support with my protracted withdrawal.  I have a fine psychiatrist who is not a "pill pusher" and supported my discontinuation of A/D's, but I also don't think he subscribes to the idea of protracted withdrawal.  My symptoms will be attributed to some sort of anxiety disorder which I just don't buy. 

 

I'm at the one year mark of being 100% A/D free so I'm at a point where I feel like I "should" be done with the withdrawal and therefore frustration sets in.  But as frustrated as I get, every ounce of me believes this is withdrawal and not an anxiety disorder rearing its ugly head.

 

When I first quit A/D's, I had pretty severe head zaps.  I had some heightened anxiety.  While on medication, I would have random feelings of panic flow through me - almost like I was going to "lose it" - and they'd pass very quickly.  Again, something I never experienced pre-medication.  I continue to have those feelings from time to time.  But, much less often.  My emotions respond very easily to situations -- easily frightened by something, easily saddened, easily worried.  I get heart palpitations -- sometimes in the form of a pounding heart.  Other times it's the feeling of my heart fluttering or missing a beat.  I also get chest tightness.  Not pain necessarily, just tightness. 

 

I'm currently taking pre-natal vitamins (hoping to conceive), fish oil, vitamin D (doctor found I have a deficiency), and I use topical magnesium or Epsom salt baths.  (I can't find an oral form of magnesium that doesn't cause some sort of GI upset)  So far, magnesium has seemed the most helpful of all.  I've dabbled in acupuncture (and herbs).  I also see a chiropractor monthly.  And I've done the chase from supplement to supplement... hoping one will fix everything. 

 

I wish I had really documented all of my symptoms from Day 1 so I could track my progress, but unfortunately I didn't.  At this point, I'm mostly dealing with the heart issues / chest tightness which can be very unnerving.  It feeds my fear that I'm somehow damaged and doomed to anxiety forever.  But, reading the posts here gives me reassurance that these will pass for good eventually! 

 

Thanks for listening everyone.  I tried to get my story in a relatively small nutshell, but of course, I know there's much more I could have said... just don't want this post to get too long to read!  Looking forward to hearing from you.  

13 year history of antidepressant usage with very occasional use of lorazepam and clonazepam as needed.

1999 - 2002     Zoloft 100 mg

2002 - 2005     Celexa  40 mg

2005                Very short stint with Paxil and Wellbutrin combo

2005 - 2010     Prozac  40 mg

2010 - 2012     Cymbalta  60 mg

2012                Very short stint with Mirtazapine

2012                Reinstated Cymbalta for a month and finally had enough

                        Been A/D-free since Aug/Sept 2012

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi MNGirl,

 

Welcome to our forum.  I'm glad this site has been able to provide some help to you over the past year.  Thank you for deciding to post and share your story.

 

I'm sorry you ended up on these medications for such a long time, after a bad reaction to one use of ecstasy.  To me, it doesn't sound like you have an anxiety disorder, and you are not alone in finding yourself being stuck on medication you probably shouldn't have been on in the first place.

 

Fourteen years is a long time to be taking antidepressants, I was also on them for about the same length of time.  Its not surprising that you are still experiencing some withdrawal effects after coming off them so fast,  some people seem to have a more sensitive nervous system.

 

This topic may give you some peace of mind that what you are experiencing is in fact withdrawal and not an existing condition:

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1008-intro-to-antidepressant-withdrawal-syndrome/

 

Generally, prolonged withdrawal syndrome is not recognized by medicine. You will find very few doctors to diagnose it, so don't be surprised by your psychiatrist's attitude, it was fortunate he supported you in coming off your meds.

 

It sounds like your symptoms have improved significantly over this year, that's a good sign of recovery and I'm sure you will continue to improve.

 

Thank you for posting

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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Hello MNGirl,

Welcome to Surviving ADs. I am really no expert but I know your story sounds like many I have read here and there on this site. I think the fact that your symptoms have decreased during the last year, and that the "panic flows' are almost gone, are a good sign that you are healing. I understand though that it feels endless, but it isn't. In my experience fish oil (omega-3) and magnesium do help. For the magnesium, I take Magnesium Bisglycinate Plus from New Roots and I tolerate it well even if I now have a very sensitive stomach. I am in Québec though, so I don't know if this brand is available where you live.

 

Other things that have helped me are exercising when I have the energy (even if it's just a walk outside), and meditation and/or yoga.

 

Also, MNGirl, I understand your wish to conceive, that is a dream I cherish as well. It seems, however, that your body is still trying to find its balance. As you know, pregnancy creates a lot of changes in the body, and I wonder if it might be too much while still experiencing WD symptoms. If possible, maybe it would be wise to wait a little more...? People on this site with a lot more knowledge than I have can help with that issue and answer questions you might have in the different forums. As for me I am here to give you my opinion and support whenever you need it.

 

Don't lose hope, you're getting there!

 

Athena

2000-2001: Effexor              2005-2012: Celexa, Zoloft, Effexor, desipramin, Wellbutrin, mirtazepin, Lamictal, Remeron, Abilify, nortriptylin, Cipralex, Cymbalta, and others I don't remember. Really bad side effects to all.
Sept-Nov 2012: Paxil 20mg, Wellbutrin 100mg, Imovane 5mg      Nov 2012: Paxil 20mg --> 10mg
Dec 2012: Paxil 10mg-->0; 1 week later: HUGE WD symptoms. Started to get informed on the internet and back to 10mg Paxil.
Dec 2012-Jan 2013: Paxil 10mg, Wellbutrin 100mg, Imovane 2.5mg        End Jan 2013: P 9mg, W 100mg, I 2.0mg
Feb 2013: P 8mg, W 100mg, I 1.5mg      April 2013: P 7mg, W 100mg, I 1.25mg       May 2013: P 7mg, W 90mg, I 1mg    

June 2013: P 7mg, W 80mg, I 0mg       July 1/2013: P 7, W 70     July 22/2013: P 7, W 60             Aug 2013: P 7, W 50       Sept 2013: P 6.1, W 50     Oct 2013: P up to 6.3, W 50     Nov 2013: P 6.2 to 5.9, W 50      Dec 2013: P 5.9, W 40      Jan 2014: P 5.3, W40        Feb 2014: P 5.3, W 30      March-April 2014: P 5.3, W 26    May 2014: P 5.3, W 20        June 2014: P 5.3 W 15     July 2014:  P 5.3, W 14       Aug 2014: P 5.3, W up to 15     Sept 2014: P 5.3, W 14    Oct 2014: P 4.8, W 14      Nov 2014: P 4.3, W 14     Dec 2014-Jan 2015: P 3.9, W 14     Feb 2015: P 3.9, W 12    March 2015: P 3.6, W 12   April-May 2015: P 3.3, W 12    June 2015: P 3.3, W 10    July 2015: P 3.3, W 8   Aug-Sept 2015: P 3.3, W 6   Oct 2015: P 3.0, W 6   Nov 2015: P 2.7, W 6   Dec 2015: P 2.4, W 6   Jan-Feb 2016: P 2.4, W 5  March 2016: P 2.2, W 5   April 2016: P 2.2, W 4   May-June 2016: P 2.2, W 3  July 2016: P 2.2, W 2  Aug 2016: P 2.2, W 1  Sept 2016: P 2.2, W 0!!  Oct 2016: P 2.0   Nov 2016-Jan 2017: P 1.8  Feb-Mar 2017: P 1.9  April-May 2017: P 1.8   June 2017: P 1.6 July-Dec 2017: P 1.5  Jan-April 2018: P 1.6

Others: Cytomel 25mcg (thyroid), vit. C, vit D, Omega-3 fish oil, Magnesium bisglycinate , Melatonin 1mg, 81mg Aspirin, Milk peptides, L-theanine, Valericalm tincture mix, scullcap tincture, Suan Zao Ren (jujube seeds)

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Thank you both, Athena and Petu, for reading and responding to my post. 

 

Petu, you are absolutely right that some people have more sensitive nervous systems.  And I'm one of them, unfortunately.  Starting A/D's was always difficult for me because it caused severe anxiety.  And of course, the trial of ecstasy wasn't a success.  And, my one or two attempts at trying marijuana when I was 19 was no fun, either.  My brain and nervous system just do NOT like to be messed with.  But outside of chemicals altering my system, I was cool, calm, and collected.  It's crazy how everyone's systems are different.  And thank you for the link to the info about protracted withdrawal.  I will certainly take a look at it!

 

Athena, thanks for your recommendation of the magnesium you take.  I will do a little google search and see if it's available here in the US.  Until then, I'll continue with my baths and topical magnesium oil. :)  I also very much understand that many changes happen while pregnant.  I was pregnant a few months ago - went off birth control and conceived very quickly - but sadly lost the baby around 8 weeks.  And I won't lie -- it was certainly trying.  Hormones play a huge part in mood.  I'm going to discuss this with my doctor.  I know the first trimester, for many people, is the hardest.  I never got past that point, so I can't say for sure how differently I would have felt after the first trimester.

 

I actually have an appt with my pdoc today so I'll discuss some of these issues with him and bounce a few ideas off of him. 

 

I've had a lot going on in the last year which complicates the whole withdrawal process, as far as adding stress to an already stressful situation. Some of it's good stress, some of it's bad stress.  But nonetheless, sometimes your body doesn't care whether it's good or bad stressors -- it's just stress. :)  I tend to have anxiety in the morning upon waking - not actively worrying about anything.  Just feel off.  But, I count my blessings that sleep isn't really an issue for me.  I consistently get 7 hours of sleep a night, so insomnia generally isn't an issue.  Have to be thankful for that. :)

 

Thanks again for the responses -- it's much appreciated!   

13 year history of antidepressant usage with very occasional use of lorazepam and clonazepam as needed.

1999 - 2002     Zoloft 100 mg

2002 - 2005     Celexa  40 mg

2005                Very short stint with Paxil and Wellbutrin combo

2005 - 2010     Prozac  40 mg

2010 - 2012     Cymbalta  60 mg

2012                Very short stint with Mirtazapine

2012                Reinstated Cymbalta for a month and finally had enough

                        Been A/D-free since Aug/Sept 2012

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  • Moderator Emeritus

After your being on antidepressants 14 years and going cold turkey over a year ago, I'm not surprised that you're still in protracted withdrawal. I tapered off of Lexapro too fast in mid-December of 2011 (after only 15 months of AD use) and I'm not quite back to normal yet.  Antidepressants actually change the physical structure of the central nervous system and once they're out of the body, or at least on their way out with a slow taper, the CNS begins to heal itself.  As you can imagine, that takes some time.

 

You may find some helpful non-drug ways to feel better in our 'Symptoms and self-care discussions'.

 

Welcome to the forum, MNGirl. You'll find lots of good information and friendly support here.

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

Welcome, MNGirl.

 

Does your psychiatrist support tapering off psych drugs? If you feel you can recommend him, please add his contact information to this topic http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/988-recommended-doctors-therapists-or-clinics/

 

You might point him to this forum to read case reports of protracted withdrawal.

 

Many people do well with fish oil and magnesium supplements, seehttp://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/36-king-of-supplements-omega-3-fatty-acids-fish-oil/http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1300-magnesium-natures-calcium-channel-blocker/

 

The magnesium in particular may help the palpitations. You may also wish to increase potassium foods. Good sources are coconut water, low-salt foods containing tomatoes, and butternut and acorn squash.

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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