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Protracted Withdrawal or PAWS (post-acute withdrawal syndrome) how long does it last?

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btdt

Thank you, Btdt. Your answer is very thorough and thoughtful.

 

My situation is a bit unusual as I am truly fighting for myself and have had disabling health problems for 20 years. I have no children and my husband has expressed that his life would be easier without me. I made the mistake of staying in a bad marriage for many years and am now financially dependent. We lost a house and most of our finances in the housing crash in 2008, so our financial situation is not good. I have friends, but none nearby, all on the other coast. I really have noplace else to go other than live with my husband at this point. He works at home, so we are together 24/7. His work is an MD and medical management of prescription drugs, so I hear him discussing these meds all day. I try to get out of our 2 room house, but am not well enough most of the time. It's a constant reminder. He's also very drugged.

 

I'm not saying I'm giving up or at the point of quitting, but going thru a very difficult period with no escape from my situation in sight. I've talked about this ad nauseum in the Toxic Family thread.

 

You've been through so much... more than me... and I appreciate your input. So many people have come on forum and moved on in the 2+ years ive been here. I realize not everyone has moved on or back to drug free lives, but I find myself assuming that at times. I had a very unhappy situation for years and then a few good years after which I "tapered" off of Pristiq and really screwed myself up (before I found this forum). Truthfully, if I could put my house of cards back together, I would, but I can't because I react paradoxically to those now.

 

Prior to withdrawal, I spent 10 years doing anything I could to stay occupied: volunteer work, church groups, my horses and pets, partial hospitalization programs, etc. I feel like ive "tried it all" and feel incredibly defeated, especially being so isolated and my primary "support" being quite the opposite. I had already lost 10 years of my life to disability prior to withdrawal. In early wd when I was fueled by anxiety, I did escape my situation and drove across the country. I came back home to place my horses and crashed in exhaustion, never able to leave again. Leaving my animals was very difficult.

 

Thank you again, Btdt.

Your welcome. 

It is hard to watch other people leave or get better and get on with a life when you can't yet but it may come yet it is getting thru this spot and finding your way.  I too have difficult time thinking of a new or any direction for my life.  I lost my home too... that is disorienting in itself and being dependent is not who I am it is a hard pill to swallow.  I keep thinking one day I will do something extreme... extremely brilliant and just step up and walk away from this life... I do think that at times it is very small and very far away I dare not bring it into focus yet for fear of jinxing it.  I still do not know what it would be that I would do... or how it would look but it is there buried and simmering. 

I know I am capable of extremes... I have found it in myself in the past and have been very goal oriented this last decade it has escaped me... but I refuse to rule it out completely.  Things change all the time in peoples lives and why can't they change for the better... no reason I can see.  It has happened before it could happen again. 

I too was in a long term healing situation before pills I get that ... I will get back to this I am interrupted... just now.

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UnfoldingSky

Barb, for what little it's worth, your posts on here have been invaluable to me.  Like you I live with someone in a medical field and because of this have had some challenges that go over and above simply surviving the drug situation.  From what I have read above it sounds like a huge part of your problem is simply isolation--and no wonder, given the situation you are in.  Having to hear about drugs all the time is something I've had to go through for years, though lately it's been dialed down a lot as the person in question has come over time to realize there was something to what I was reporting.  But the first, oh, three years or more were incredibly difficult, so difficult I honestly still can't believe I even survived.  I never really understood how isolated I was until I told a few people whom I sought for different kinds of help, and had it pointed out to me that a huge part of the challenges I was facing could simply be summed up with a lack of relevant community.  Of course that's an issue with most of us since we all seem to be scattered away from others who have been harmed by drugs; but it's so much worse if the people around you actively participate in the system that made you ill and especially if they don't see the damage done to you.  Nonetheless, it can be survived. No one can say what's around the corner either, so you never know how your situation could change for the better. 

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btdt

to continue I thought I was in a long term healing situation after I had a car accident when I was in college...lol I thought that was long term.. I thought six months was a life time in those days and in those days of fast moving climbing the ladder loss of six months can mean a lot... now losing years ... is a lot too.. maybe too much.  I know what it feels like to think this will not end and at this point I do not truly believe in complete healing sorry to put a damper on anything but after all this time it feels like a lie for me to say it so I will not say it... I will say improvement may come

I have had improvements.  I hope to have more improvement.

Do I think I am going to heal completely no I don't... I think it would be wonderful but too much has happened I am never going back to what I was. 

I know that. I don't like it but I know it. 

Since there is not one @$#%$#$%  thing i can do about it... but take it ... and try to make my life something I want to live some of the time at least.. that is what I try to do. 

Yes feeling powerless is a downer and I know how heavy it weighs but this is what is offered today I get thru today hoping tomorrow I am less powerless less messed up and less ill.  I have too much respect for the people trying to heal to lie to you and I don't think it helps anything. 

I expect having a medical drugged person in you house it a problem... it would be for me too.  Since this all started and everybody who knows me knows where I stand on drugs in general I have watched almost everyone I love fall to one drug or another to their in some cases almost complete demise.  I watch them melt as I get some what better... they likely think me mad and so be it nobody believes me.  When I try to warn them about pain killers or sleeping pills countless other drugs... they don't hear me .  

There are many other drugs killing and maiming people and I think back to the day Obama was elected and that one brief flicker in time when I watched in CNN that they were going to clean house at the FDA... yep I am Canadian but I know the power of the USA as a world leader... and I know had that happened it would have been a major step in the right direction. 

 

I also know from my friends in the USA that a lot of people I knew from sites like this gave up on the internet and went to work in politics to change things where it counts... and they almost did ..maybe or they got one line on CNN... they did try.  That much I know.  Sadly it falls on sick people to make changes and those least able to do the work carry the load cause really who else would believe it.  

 

I once thought those who would believe it would be the spouses of those damaged and put a lot of energy into a those spouses trying to educate them... as they still had intact brains and were not under the thumbs of self doubt and continued psych harassment... I thought that was a good avenue to explore... but that site has been shut down.. and shut up.  A thought though is you ever think of being an accidental activist... forced activism.. does not sound like any fund does it.  It isn't but who else is going to do it?  

I don't know maybe if I had other options I too could walk off into the sunset and be happy.  Maybe we all could if we had the options... some times I feel like I am constantly being pushed between a rock and a hard place with this issue and often want to walk ... often.  Then I see a depression hurts commercial on tv and go slightly insane.  

I offer you this... as I know it is true. 

 

seems like it was made by a young person... so there is hope in the next generation maybe... 

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btdt

Looked at the video again there is nothing on there that is not felt when stopping Effexor... I have heard they are cousins. 

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compsports

Btdt,

 

Due to my cognitive issues, I haven't thoroughly read this thread so forgive me if anything I say is not relevant or missing the point.   Anyway, I have been off of meds 4 years as June 10 was my four years anniversary of taking my last dose.  I tapered off of 4 meds slowly nearly 4 years.

 

One mysterious issue that I developed near the end of my taper that hasn't let up is feeling extremely drugged in the afternoon after eating.  And it can be from just eating a hard boiled egg.

 

PCP couldn't find anything wrong although when I have eating high carb foods, blood sugar spikes big time.   Who knows?

 

I suspect being on the drugs started insulin resistance issues that the non responsive apnea made worse.   But it could also be due to other problems.

 

I also feel being on the drugs worsened a mild case of apnea to the point of severe although I would need a sleep study to confirm that which I haven't yet done for various reasons.   And they probably messed up my sleep cycle to the point were it is very difficult for me to get any type of normal sleep.

 

Tried sleep meds and they were a disaster.

 

Tired of feeling like I am living in a holding pattern which everyone understands.

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btdt

Btdt,

 

Due to my cognitive issues, I haven't thoroughly read this thread so forgive me if anything I say is not relevant or missing the point.   Anyway, I have been off of meds 4 years as June 10 was my four years anniversary of taking my last dose.  I tapered off of 4 meds slowly nearly 4 years.

 

One mysterious issue that I developed near the end of my taper that hasn't let up is feeling extremely drugged in the afternoon after eating.  And it can be from just eating a hard boiled egg.

 

PCP couldn't find anything wrong although when I have eating high carb foods, blood sugar spikes big time.   Who knows?

 

I suspect being on the drugs started insulin resistance issues that the non responsive apnea made worse.   But it could also be due to other problems.

 

I also feel being on the drugs worsened a mild case of apnea to the point of severe although I would need a sleep study to confirm that which I haven't yet done for various reasons.   And they probably messed up my sleep cycle to the point were it is very difficult for me to get any type of normal sleep.

 

Tried sleep meds and they were a disaster.

 

Tired of feeling like I am living in a holding pattern which everyone understands.

Due to something I am just learning now and my own experience with Taurine I am wondering if it may be helpful to you..not suggesting it not that bold never will be... I am not a doctor. 

I will say this search and read about taurine here and if you think it is a good chance try it at a small amount... 

What I and others have taken here is the now brand 500mg... I started it for migraine prevention and all that I learned about it from taking was quite accidental. I did some more looking and posted on this today how it affects the pancreas and brain... 

when I started it I was in a migraine fest... I am not sure it helped with that hard to say 

Then I maybe did not take enough to really know as I am so hypersensitive I am scared of a reaction it took a long long time for me to work up the full dose of 500mg I started at 1/6th of a capsule.  

Something suggested here 

http://www.antidepressantsfacts.com/pinealstory2.htm

I read this years ago and after a few reactions I learned it was a good idea for me to start very low... 

What I will suggest is start low and wait to see how it will affect you.  

peace

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btdt

My face is red I just figured out due to another post on here started by Iggy that I am not 7 years off I am SIX and yes it is embarassing but more important that I tell the truth than to save face as this process is an exercise in truth for me.  So whatever else comes I need it to be truthful at least.  Sorry if I bummed a lot of people out who were hoping to be done this by 7 years as that was my next great hope which I thought I had missed... wow this is a brain trip... it will take some time to get my head around this. 

I am having some problems thinking not sure why... but they are there. It is not new either it has been with me throughout this process comes and goes like all other things.

If it were not for a post made by another person who quit one month ahead of me who said she was at 6 years off I would not have caught on... then again I made 4 mistakes this morning trying to make muffins I use to make almost with my eyes closed and I was following a recipe. Not sure what it all means just know it is a drag to figure this out now... after making a thread with this title maybe we can change the title to 6 years or maybe we should just leave it so other who make the same mistake will see they are not alone.. if anyone should I am not suggesting this is common. 

Oh fitting I passed my 7 year off drugs last month on Nov 18 and did not even notice may have been sick... so how fitting I started a thread about it last year... still here thought I should mark the occasion...out of respect for myself and my process... to date. 

7 years 1 month and 1 day since I last too drugs. that is a long long time. 

peace all

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B888IE

 

My face is red I just figured out due to another post on here started by Iggy that I am not 7 years off I am SIX and yes it is embarassing but more important that I tell the truth than to save face as this process is an exercise in truth for me.  So whatever else comes I need it to be truthful at least.  Sorry if I bummed a lot of people out who were hoping to be done this by 7 years as that was my next great hope which I thought I had missed... wow this is a brain trip... it will take some time to get my head around this. 

I am having some problems thinking not sure why... but they are there. It is not new either it has been with me throughout this process comes and goes like all other things.

If it were not for a post made by another person who quit one month ahead of me who said she was at 6 years off I would not have caught on... then again I made 4 mistakes this morning trying to make muffins I use to make almost with my eyes closed and I was following a recipe. Not sure what it all means just know it is a drag to figure this out now... after making a thread with this title maybe we can change the title to 6 years or maybe we should just leave it so other who make the same mistake will see they are not alone.. if anyone should I am not suggesting this is common. 

Oh fitting I passed my 7 year off drugs last month on Nov 18 and did not even notice may have been sick... so how fitting I started a thread about it last year... still here thought I should mark the occasion...out of respect for myself and my process... to date. 

7 years 1 month and 1 day since I last too drugs. that is a long long time. 

peace all

 

hey, well done for surviving :) I'm 13 months out from celexa, I was wondering what symptoms you have left now? mainly physical or psychological?? Mine are 95% psychological. Sorry if you've said somewhere recently I struggle reading a lot because of symptoms.

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btdt

I was just typing to a friend of mine it is hard to get perspective on this as recently(as in moments ago in another post) I have had one illness after the other which has clouded my view of things withdrawal related however If God willing and good health sticks with me for a bit I will answer this question when I gain my sea legs in my daily life and can actually get to the functional issues of living as I was before illness.

I am surprised there are no responses from the other long term people I know are here... where is everybody I hope they have not disappeared :( tho I guess there is not a lot of attention being paid to long term issues. I think I will seek some of them out and see how they are. 

 

 

Good luck with you withdrawal.

peace

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btdt

Btdt,

 

Due to my cognitive issues, I haven't thoroughly read this thread so forgive me if anything I say is not relevant or missing the point.   Anyway, I have been off of meds 4 years as June 10 was my four years anniversary of taking my last dose.  I tapered off of 4 meds slowly nearly 4 years.

 

One mysterious issue that I developed near the end of my taper that hasn't let up is feeling extremely drugged in the afternoon after eating.  And it can be from just eating a hard boiled egg.

 

PCP couldn't find anything wrong although when I have eating high carb foods, blood sugar spikes big time.   Who knows?

 

I suspect being on the drugs started insulin resistance issues that the non responsive apnea made worse.   But it could also be due to other problems.

 

I also feel being on the drugs worsened a mild case of apnea to the point of severe although I would need a sleep study to confirm that which I haven't yet done for various reasons.   And they probably messed up my sleep cycle to the point were it is very difficult for me to get any type of normal sleep.

 

Tried sleep meds and they were a disaster.

 

Tired of feeling like I am living in a holding pattern which everyone understands.

I know this was a long time ago but I was reading this today as it was the rhabdomyolysis link I could find on SA and that was on my mind today. As the way my mind works I am easily distracted especially when reading my own history it messes me up so much as I get sent back there and some major fear steps in I recall some things I felt then that I have not found words to express ever... dread fear despair don't cut it.  Going again and again for help and never being helped or understood... if I could draw an analogy it would be like showing up a hosp with an axe in your head and having them put a huge band aid over the axed and head both and sending me home. It gets worse and I go back only to be given some minor treatment for the "newest" symptom and sent away again. It keeps happening as more and more symptoms come all the while dealing with the reactions to the new "treatment" the underlying issue waxes and wains gets better ever so slowly ...some of it... not all.   Life brings other things... and it snowballs at time at a rate that is overwhelming then settles then snowballs... and all the while the self "knows" something it cannot express to any ears that will hear... as all the ears in the world have been cut off.  It is a very lonely place and when I am there... in that self place I think of the old saying your born a lone you come alone you die alone... it is that place I have gone to a lot since this started.... sorry that I guess is my "captured page"  on my thoughts reading thru some of my own history.... sorry I got lost in it yet again but putting it into some form of language puts me a bit closer to "understanding"  this trip.  I have to grasp it when it comes as it rarely comes in any sensible form.

 

 

Now after that side trip I will say I have this still... food still reacts on me tho not every single time I eat.  I think I have knowing at first now unconsciously adapted to this ... some things I just never eat... some things I eat in moderation and I think not eating too much is a big part of this at times I can't do food at all and will take food vacations just because I can't stomach it. 

It has lessened at one point I had this every time I took a bite of any food it is not so bad now but it took years of attempts to get where I am... I don't push anything if I feel ill with food I will stop eating... I will actually spit out anything that suddenly does not agree with me... it happens I can have 3 bites of something and spit out the 4th... a lot of time this feeling is followed by vomiting but not always. 

 

As for the breathing... as you may know I had breathing issues really bad for awhile at the start of all this I can't recall now if I was on drugs then or just came off...but I know I had air hunger and other hit and miss can't breath can breath issue it was not minute to minute ... but it came and went... when it went it did not go completely.  

I don't know if you read about my sister passing last year but I think her going was part of a paxil reaction ... a pervious try on paxil put her in hosp with breathing issues a visiting nurse who could not sort her pills added it back in... yes I do blame myself in some respect as I was not well enough to be there to help her sort this... I knew she was in trouble I just could not get there as I was sick too... most of last year I was sick and the year before that too. 

 

Having the history I do and having experienced the feeling of drowning ... that is what I told them in emerg when they tried to make me lay down I said if I lay down I drown... I can't breath at all for years now I sleep sitting up hit and miss now but for a long long long time...years on end I slept sitting up... they got me breathing then better but not perfectly.  I said on here before I was told on one trip to emerg I had COPD... that was a resperitologist... I know that is sp wrong but we pick our battles that is not one of them just now... I told him no I don't ... COPD does not come on suddenly it is a gradual process for me I could breath one day and not the next....almost that fast. Or so it seemed to me. 

 

If you look at the symptoms of rhabdomyolysis....

http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/rhabdomyolysis-symptoms-causes-treatments?page=2#2

I looked at that link just now and don't see it but I was looking at it for other reasons .. and have been reading about it before I came here today I know it is there some place I did a search on breathing and that r word... as I get tired easily it is too much to both with sp...

 

Do your recall when they criteria for SS was ...you have to be almost dead to get a dx... then they came out with the "Hunter" scale for dx it.  I think it is the same with this and we will see the same some day... and new criteria... yes I have taken liberties and some of this for sure my own spectulation... likely as the energy to my brain is failing now I can't decide if it is totally or not.

This is the problem I have with  all things.. brain fails and any sort of figuring things out just shuts down... I so HATE IT! 

I hope some others may take a look at this with a sound functional brain. 

 

My sister ended up in hosp after a visiting nurse took her pills the pharmacist who added paxil back to her blister pack... yes she had lots of drugs... she was older older people have tons of drugs these days ... she could not breath was in ICU on a c pak thing ... they took that off as she complained.. I was not there yet... when I got there they had taken her off most drugs including paxil.. I looked at the list ... mentioned it... but it was too late.. they were moving her to the dying room... where she stayed with no iv as they said she would drown.. I said so it is that or starve to death... I know I am a bad actor... 

Either way she is on my mind this first mothers day without her and her children in in my heart... tho I am too far away to see them on this first mothers day without her... I pray for her and for all the other mothers passed especially the ones who should still be here. 

I hope this was of some use...

peace

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stan

hi BTDT,

 

for me , we do not have rhabdomyolysis, mitochondria, multiple sclerosis, parkinson...all this are "natural" diseases, scientific papers...of real diseases...

we have more disorders in nerves, hormones, some acute, some mild, nothing function perfekt, each function has some disorder, for me sleeping, walking, standing, speaking, writing, toilet, muscles, skin, left arm, breathing, mental, fear system and the list goes on...to be short , here what is perfekt as before paxil: nada. 

the body trying to improve here and there, and some become worse while other seem better...

on this we can catch a real disease on a weak body, infection etc...

What do people who have more years than we both and not young feel and try to describe what they have?  they say they are as not good "plugged", this summarize the disorder, and i can say that my sleep is not good plugged since years etc... 

what can be done maybe, but i am not sure it is efficient and give big results , is try to re-learn body to better eat, sleep, walk, be calm etc...without supplements(who will disturb a little with a deluge of a substance)

maybe i am wrong, this is my actual notice

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Petunia

I have been searching the internet to try and find people who have experienced symptoms as long as I have without any success.I know there are a few on this board.

 

It would be good to know how many protracted members we do have. From what I understand, if you have been medication free for 18 months and still have symptoms, then its considered to be protracted withdrawal syndrome. I've also heard one year and two years drug free.

 

Well, I've been off lexapro 4 years and completely drug free just over 2 years and still have significant symptoms, although they have improved somewhat over the last year.

 

Anyone else?

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Mikey1975

3 years in November apart from the 5 weeks in April this year when the doctor said it was a relapse and i gave in and then she told me to just stop because of the sideeffects , do you think these 5 weeks of zoloft set me back much ?

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NoMeaning25

3 years off. No significant improvements. The list of 67 symptoms at my 2 year mark has gone down to 60. Its such tiny improvements that i dont even notice it.

Im scared im stuck in this hell for many more years to come :'(

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a99

15.5  months off from a cold turkey , improving incredibly slowly , stil having debilitating physical and mental symptoms , still bed bound !

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Mikey1975

Sorry to hear your still bedbound have you been like that from day 1 off the AD ?

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a99

no actually ,  it all started  with the 8th month wave ,

no significant improvements since then .

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Mikey1975

How were you then mate till the 8 th month

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a99

before the 8 th month I was always having an impaired memory and congnition , severe DR/DP , loss of feelings , depression , OCD and anxiety which are the cause of  several fast tapers and reinstatements but phyiscally nothing really intense .

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laineyk

Ok I will just say its been only 5 weeks off and I still am on low dose of lorazepam so not sure if my symptoms would be worse if not on the benzo.''

 

but I have many symptoms that I had before I came off and a few have become exaggerated since.

 

so I am not even considering coming off the lorazepam until I see where the Zoloft comes back to bite me in my arse.

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Vonnegutjunky

I am still on my meds- actually doubled my dose 3 mos ago- reinstated back in January and I still feel wd - mixed with my normal depression- so 8 mos after a failed taper and double my does and I am still feeling protracted wd symptoms - I'll never get off this medication

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Purplestars22

I am 19 months off in a couple of days I will be 20 months off. I am still in extreme wd with very minuscule improvements of my long list of symptoms.

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Colonial

Hi, the link in Razzle's post isn't working.  Anywhere else I can find it?  Or does anyone have a hard copy they can copy and paste here?  Thanks

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cymbaltawithdrawal5600

I am afraid this is not fixable on our end as clicking the link this morning returns a page with this information:

 

Error: The server you are trying to reach is temporarily unavailable.

 

Here is a link to her faculty profile page:

 

Kari J. Buck, Ph.D.

 

which contains info about her work (odd that that osu.edu server was not unavailable too...)

 

Use google for searches to get the information you want. That's what I did.....

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lanah

How many people go into protracted paws? 
In benzo's most people are cured by 2 years. But I read a lot of protracted people on here, so does antidepressants cause longer suffering? What is the time line?

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NoMeaning25

3 years still in acute so i am really interested to know aswell

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Darwin

3 years still in acute so i am really interested to know aswell

how long were you taking drugs?

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Altostrata

I'm sorry, there's no time limit on post-acute withdrawal syndrome. Recovery can take months or years.

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NoMeaning25

4 years. Im 26 years old

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lanah

I would like to see how many of us suffer more than 5 years. I've been in tolerance withdrawal and withdrawal for so long (I only realise this now, because i've on and off pills for 12 years now and did many cold turkeys) and scared of this taking another decade. 
It would be interesting to see how many long timers are on this forum
 

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compsports

Don't know if I count or not as my problem could be due to pap therapy intolerance but I have been unable to get more than about three to 4 hours sleep for several years initially which includes difficulty falling back asleep.   I do feel though that being in psych meds has destroyed my sleep cycle so who knows?

 

Sorry you have suffered so long.

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Petunia

I've been going through this since I quit lexapro too fast at the end of 2010, so its been 5 years for me. I asked a similar question in another thread a while back and got some responses from other long termers, here is a link to the post and responses:

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/509-protracted-withdrawal-symptoms-why/?p=165196  *topics merged

Edited by Petunia
updated

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andy013

I'm about 4 1/2 years off and still have significant problems.

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compsports

Maybe this should be a different thread but if you knew in advance that you would have significant problems after several years, would you still have made the same decision to get of of psych meds?  I am not sure I would have to be honest although I was kind of in a dammed if you do and dammed if you don't position.

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andy013

I was only on an SSRI for about 5 months. I didn't have any problems while on it. If I were to go back now I would stay on it and try an extremely slow taper once I was ready to stop. I guess it's hard to say what would happen then though as I know people develop problems while on the drugs as well. Although it does seem like stopping them is the most dangerous part. I thought I was doing the right thing by trying to come off the drug quickly (i.e less time in my system = less damage). Of course that is not the case. Now I think it is foolish for anyone to try and rush to come off these drugs. It makes much more sense to try and remain symptom free even if that means taking the drugs for a long period of time.

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