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


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ADMIN NOTE There is no definition of "protracted withdrawal" in psychiatic drug withdrawal as medicine holds withdrawal to last only a few weeks and is "time-limited."   Withdrawal sym

squirrel, no one can say what to do about treating protracted withdrawal syndrome overall because it's a lot of different symptoms. The primary cause probably is a brain center that was affected by th

hi,   i based my taper on benzo org uk because i found nothing else at that time, and i see benzo and antidepressants are similar; the manual benzo becomes a little old, Ashton tried to give hope

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Similar topics merged.

 

Here are some links to related articles from around the web:

 

Wikipedia - Post-acute-withdrawal syndrome

 

Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment from Mental Health Daily Blog

 

Beyond Meds: Protracted withdrawal from SSRIs and SNRIs antidepressants

 

Dr. David Healy on prolonged antidepressant withdrawal syndrome

 

The following are quotes from an article written mainly in relation to alcohol and drugs recognized as being addictive. But even though antidepressants and other psychiatric medications aren't 'addictive' in the formal sense, meaning there isn't craving for the drug, they cause dependence and often withdrawal symptoms when the drug is stopped, sometimes lasting a long time depending on unknown factors.

 

https://www.thefix.com/content/paws

 

By definition, PAWS is a series of post-acute symptoms of recovery from dependence on benzodiazepines, barbiturates, and ethanol; opiates; and sometimes, antidepressants...

 

Symptoms of PAWS include mood swings resembling an affective disorder, anhedonia ... insomnia, ... obsession, anxiety and panic attacks, depression, suicidal ideation and suicide, and general cognitive impairment.

 

“The brain has tremendous capacity to heal, but it doesn’t heal quickly,” says Dr. David Sack. ... As the body moves toward homeostasis, says Dr. Joseph Lee, it has to reach a “new kind of normal” in the process. Some people experience a more prolonged withdrawal, he says, “and it takes a long time to recalibrate.” In fact, instead of feeling better, many in recovery feel worse.

 

Neuroscience

 

Over the past several decades, much has come to be known about the long-term effects of drugs of addiction, especially on the neurobiology of the brain. GABA-agonists like alcohol and benzodiazepines, opiates, and stimulants all lead to lasting changes in learning, motivation, and pleasure. Primarily, these drugs hijack the brain’s reward circuits...

 

...Building upon decades of research, key brain structures have been implicated in addiction—the nucleus accumbens and the amygdala—as well as several key neurotransmitters, including dopamine, but also opioid peptides, serotonin, GABA, and glutamate. Scientists at the Medical University of South Carolina and others are beginning to look beyond neuronal misfiring in reward and pleasure regions—these explain how drugs take hold of the brain, but they don’t explain why addiction is so hard to beat. New research on glutamate finds that drug addiction can be viewed as impaired reversal learning, and this can be attributed to disrupted glutamate signaling.

 

In essence, withdrawal from drugs (of abuse) results in a full range of emotional, behavioral, and cognitive impairments. Damages to pathways involved in reward, pain relief, stress maintenance, sleep and arousal, learning, and memory can have effects that last long beyond quitting.

 

Treatment

 

While there are specific treatments for acute detox, most PAWS treatments are still in the experimental phase....

 

“The advice I would give is to be patient with the time it takes to heal and feel better,” Parrish says. “These tough issues weren’t created overnight, and they won’t disappear overnight. I have learned that when I feel particularly “PAWS-y,” that means I’m subconsciously working something out—this makes dealing with the symptoms of feeling a little crazy and not sleeping less exhausting. It won’t last forever.”

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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  • 1 month later...
NorthAlabama25

Anyone here 5 yrs med free, and if you are what symptoms are you still having,  I'm still having these

 

1. Acid reflux type symptoms

2. Fear and anxiety upon waking up

3.  Numbness in left thigh

 

 

Whatsymptoms are you at 5 yrs off having?

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Have you tried to buy some bacteriacutlure pills for your stomach? 
I had pretty bad stomach after i stopped my ssri for two years then i bought lactiplus a pill with alot of good bacteriaculture and ever since i feel good again.

 

Maybe you could try it

2007 - 2013: was on citalopram (tried to quit a few times, never worked, always went back on. max dose 40mg)

2012-2013: was tapering my citalopram all down to 2,5 mg then quit.
2013/aug: Took  my last pill 

W/D hit me bad after a few weeks off my medicine.

2014/August: 12 months off (much improved)

2015/April: 20months off. ( much improved, still some symtoms comes in waves, but not so intense.)

2015/june: 22months off. FELT different than before, all shakings suddenly stopped, feel much better. a fantastic feeling!

2016/Feb : 2 years and 6 months off, END of my suffering. I feel perfectly fine and back to normal. 
2018/Oct: Iam still feeling great. It is hard to believe my own story when I read back, what I went through!

 

 

 

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I am five years totally drug free (I reacted to an AD, then had severe withdrawal after a cold turkey, then was given other pills for that including benzos and antipsychotics off label for the AD reaction.) 

 

What drugs were you given and how did you stop them? 

 

As I suffered a severe reaction to the AD my situation will be likely to be more severe than people who "just" had withdrawal alone.  So please don't take this as an indicator of how things will go for you necessarily.

 

I am partly recovered, currently have a lot of fatigue; ongoing memory issues and cognitive problems; skin problem (eczema) which has gotten somewhat better over time.

 

I know there are other problems but I can't think of them just now.  The big troubles really are the cog problems and fatigue, and residual trauma from the drug experiences and voluntary hospitalizations that did not go well.  I have dealt successfully with some of the trauma but haven't been able to really handle how the drugs impacted other areas of my life. 

I am not a medical professional and nothing I say is a medical opinion or meant to be medical advice, please seek a competent and trusted medical professional to consult for all medical decisions.

 

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And this person just popped back in today:  Moon's story (at least 5 years off and doing great)

2010  Fluoxetine 20mg.  2011  Escitalopram 20mg.  2013 Tapered badly and destabilised CNS.  Effexor 150mg. 

2015 Begin using info at SurvivingAntidepressants.  Cut 10% - bad w/d 2 months, held 1 month. 

Micro-tapering: four weekly 0.4% cuts, hold 4 weeks (struggling with symptoms).

8 month hold.

2017 Micro-tapering: four weekly 1% cuts, hold 4 weeks (symptoms almost non-existent).

2020 Still micro-tapering. Just over 2/3 of the way off effexor. Minimal symptoms, - and sleeping well.
Supplements: Fish oil, vitamin C, iron, oat-straw tea, nettle tea.

My story of healing:ContinuedHealing

***I am not a doctor; please do your own research and be able to take responsibility for decisions you make.*** 

           'The possibility of renewal exists so long as life exists.'  Dr Gabor Mate.

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Try looking in the "Success Stories" section.

1987-1997 pertofran , prothiaden , Prozac 1997-2002 Zoloft 2002-2004 effexor 2004-2010 Lexapro 40mg

2010-2012Cymbalta 120mg

Sept. 2012 -decreased 90mg in 6months. Care taken over by Dr Lucire in March 2013 , decreased last 30mg at 2mg per week over 3 months. July 21 , 2013- last dose of Cymbalta

Protracted withdrawal syndrome kicked in badly Jan.2014 Unrelenting akathisia until May 2014. Voluntary hosp. admission. Cocktail of Seroquel, Ativan and mirtazapine and I was well enough to go home after 14 days. Stopped all hosp. meds in next few months.

July 2014 felt v.depressed - couldn't stop crying. Started pristiq 50mg. Felt improvement within days and continued to improve, so stayed on 50mg for 8 months.

Began taper 28 Feb. 2015. Pristiq 50mg down to 45mg. Had one month of w/d symptoms. Started CES therapy in March. No w/d symptoms down to 30mg.

October 2015 , taking 25mg Pristiq. Capsules compounded with slow-release additive.

March 2016 , 21mg

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My hint is to check out the link at the bottom for people who have the most posts you will find  many of them started here in 2011 ask them in a pm how they are

WARNING THIS WILL BE LONG
Had a car accident in 85
Codeine was the pain med when I was release from hosp continuous use till 89
Given PROZAC by a specialist to help with nerve pain in my leg 89-90 not sure which year
Was not told a thing about it being a psych med thought it was a pain killer no info about psych side effects I went nuts had hallucinations. As I had a head injury and was diagnosed with a concussion in 85 I was sent to a head injury clinic in 1990 five years after the accident. I don't think they knew I had been on prozac I did not think it a big deal and never did finish the bottle of pills. I had tests of course lots of them. Was put into a pain clinic and given amitriptyline which stopped the withdrawal but had many side effects. But I could sleep something I had not done in a very long time the pain lessened. My mother got cancer in 94 they switched my meds to Zoloft to help deal with this pressure as I was her main care giver she died in 96. I stopped zoloft in 96 had withdrawal was put on paxil went nutty quit it ct put on resperidol quit it ct had withdrawal was put on Effexor... 2years later celexa was added 20mg then increased to 40mg huge personality change went wild. Did too fast taper off Celexa 05 as I felt unwell for a long time prior... quit Effexor 150mg ct 07 found ****** 8 months into withdrawal learned some things was banned from there in 08 have kept learning since. there is really not enough room here to put my history but I have a lot of opinions about a lot of things especially any of the drugs mentioned above.
One thing I would like to add here is this tidbit ALL OPIATES INCREASE SEROTONIN it is not a huge jump to being in chronic pain to being put on an ssri/snri and opiates will affect your antidepressants and your thinking.

As I do not update much I will put my quit date Nov. 17 2007 I quit Effexor cold turkey. 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1096-introducing-myself-btdt/

There is a crack in everything ..That's how the light gets in :)

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I'm wondering how are you Guys doing now?

CD off meds in July 2015, not on any medication since. Went through WD nightmare, now dealing with normal anxiety, but decided not to leave this forum yet because I want to support and give hope to others. ♡

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  • 2 weeks later...

It's been just over four years for me.

I still have waking anxiety often

Bowel issues

Depersonalization derealization often

Sleep issues

Intrusive thoughts occasionally

Fatigue

Currently in a four day and counting wave.

Yep it still sucks living with this crap but it sure beets many other vet very bad scenarios!!!!!

Markedly better than four years ago for sure!!!

1993 diagnosed with GAD (general anxiety disorder)

Started Xanax (XR) 3-5 yrs??

Switched to Effexor 15 yrs??

Stopped Effexor / Started Xanax as needed never abused

Two weeks cold turkey taper with SSRI bridge

Reinstated SSRI July 2012 for 5 weeks.

Discontinuation Syndrome Bad!!!!!

Drug Free and Struggling!!!

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  • 4 weeks later...

It is better than early days when I did not know what was wrong with me and thought I was dying ... they could not find a cause of my symptoms I went to so many hospitals travelled to other cities to find better hospitals and better doctors to find the one who would know what was wrong.. none of them knew.  

Crazy little website on the internet knew... 

Better because I am use to it .. I have better skills now.. worse because there is not end time now.. or so it seems. 

WARNING THIS WILL BE LONG
Had a car accident in 85
Codeine was the pain med when I was release from hosp continuous use till 89
Given PROZAC by a specialist to help with nerve pain in my leg 89-90 not sure which year
Was not told a thing about it being a psych med thought it was a pain killer no info about psych side effects I went nuts had hallucinations. As I had a head injury and was diagnosed with a concussion in 85 I was sent to a head injury clinic in 1990 five years after the accident. I don't think they knew I had been on prozac I did not think it a big deal and never did finish the bottle of pills. I had tests of course lots of them. Was put into a pain clinic and given amitriptyline which stopped the withdrawal but had many side effects. But I could sleep something I had not done in a very long time the pain lessened. My mother got cancer in 94 they switched my meds to Zoloft to help deal with this pressure as I was her main care giver she died in 96. I stopped zoloft in 96 had withdrawal was put on paxil went nutty quit it ct put on resperidol quit it ct had withdrawal was put on Effexor... 2years later celexa was added 20mg then increased to 40mg huge personality change went wild. Did too fast taper off Celexa 05 as I felt unwell for a long time prior... quit Effexor 150mg ct 07 found ****** 8 months into withdrawal learned some things was banned from there in 08 have kept learning since. there is really not enough room here to put my history but I have a lot of opinions about a lot of things especially any of the drugs mentioned above.
One thing I would like to add here is this tidbit ALL OPIATES INCREASE SEROTONIN it is not a huge jump to being in chronic pain to being put on an ssri/snri and opiates will affect your antidepressants and your thinking.

As I do not update much I will put my quit date Nov. 17 2007 I quit Effexor cold turkey. 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1096-introducing-myself-btdt/

There is a crack in everything ..That's how the light gets in :)

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Hey all,

 

6.5 years out and still having some problems. Especially with my muscles and my bowel. Normaly I would say that I felt much better at 3.5 years off, but some months ago my gastro symptoms became really bad and I haven't found a cause, yet. Seems to be the nervous system again.

 

Still Overall I feel much better, though not being able to work out like I used to is getting on my nerves...

End of 2008: Remeron 15mg for around 2 months. Unorthodox taper, no problems.
End of August 2009: Lexapro 10mg for only 4 days. Panic attack after 3 pills. Severe gastro problems in the morning for 3 days after last pill. 2 weeks later strong w/d symptoms set in.

Acute WD lasted around 3.5 years. I am feeling much better today, 5.5 years out, but still have some symptoms left.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

I'm not sure if I've 'met' you yet Maybe, so forgive me if you've already seen this, but one of the long-time members here - GiaK - has a blog called BeyondMeds, which addresses these and so many more issues.  It's well worth a look.  

2010  Fluoxetine 20mg.  2011  Escitalopram 20mg.  2013 Tapered badly and destabilised CNS.  Effexor 150mg. 

2015 Begin using info at SurvivingAntidepressants.  Cut 10% - bad w/d 2 months, held 1 month. 

Micro-tapering: four weekly 0.4% cuts, hold 4 weeks (struggling with symptoms).

8 month hold.

2017 Micro-tapering: four weekly 1% cuts, hold 4 weeks (symptoms almost non-existent).

2020 Still micro-tapering. Just over 2/3 of the way off effexor. Minimal symptoms, - and sleeping well.
Supplements: Fish oil, vitamin C, iron, oat-straw tea, nettle tea.

My story of healing:ContinuedHealing

***I am not a doctor; please do your own research and be able to take responsibility for decisions you make.*** 

           'The possibility of renewal exists so long as life exists.'  Dr Gabor Mate.

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Hello Karen,

 

Thank you for the link. I will definitely have a look :)

 

Happy Easter!

End of 2008: Remeron 15mg for around 2 months. Unorthodox taper, no problems.
End of August 2009: Lexapro 10mg for only 4 days. Panic attack after 3 pills. Severe gastro problems in the morning for 3 days after last pill. 2 weeks later strong w/d symptoms set in.

Acute WD lasted around 3.5 years. I am feeling much better today, 5.5 years out, but still have some symptoms left.

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hello Maybe,

 

end of this month i will be 7 years without med,

 

some tiny improvements in 4,5 year, some tiny in 6 year... 

 

all my systems who were messed in 2e year are still messed

 

as you, i have even worse things, example my legs standing off balance seem worse, a kind of akathisia, and as you muscles everywhere, fatigue etc

for anxiety 

12 years paxil - cold turkey 1,5 month - switch celexa 1 year taper; total 13 years on brain meds 

67 years old - 9 years  med free

 

in protracted withdrawal

rigidity standing and walking, dryness gougerot-szoegren, sleep deteriorate,

function as have a lack of nerves, improving have been very little 

 

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Hello Stan,

 

Long time no see :)

I am sorry to hear that also still have problems, though I hope that you are much better overall than at the beginning of wd, even if there are still persistent symptoms. Besides my bowel and muscle problems, I can say that life is much much better than in the first 3.5 years. Let us hope that there will be more healing along the way and I do not really doubt it.

 

What really gets on my nerves is that I still cannot trust my body. I still do not know if something is still WD or might be something different, maybe even dangerous. Some weeks ago, I went to a neuraltherapist, who injected me some Procain into the stomach region as I have some scars there from an operation. Two days later I got severe muscle problems like weakness, weird feelings and muscle twitching on my whole body. Still have to deal with it, albeit in a less severe form. As the Procain cannot really induce this, I have no clue what it is. Already thought of MS and ALS....really can take you down some times....

End of 2008: Remeron 15mg for around 2 months. Unorthodox taper, no problems.
End of August 2009: Lexapro 10mg for only 4 days. Panic attack after 3 pills. Severe gastro problems in the morning for 3 days after last pill. 2 weeks later strong w/d symptoms set in.

Acute WD lasted around 3.5 years. I am feeling much better today, 5.5 years out, but still have some symptoms left.

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  • 3 weeks later...

How common is this? Ive been on and off AD's for the last 5 years, never on one for more than a couple months.

 

This last time I was on Effexor XR for about 3 weeks. Off for 3 weeks, Citalopram for 5 weeks. Now Im 3 weeks off Citalopram and I felt decent before the Effexor and Citalopram, so Im not really worried about withdrawals from the past few years..

 

Yesterday was the first day that I felt soo much better and honestly thought maybe I could wake up in the next few days completely healed. It wasnt completely gone but very in the background.

 

Today has been damn horrible.. My anxiety is sky high for no reason. Im walking around feeling spaced out, foggy, trying to ignore this severe dread for no reason..

 

The worst part is my mind feels chaotic.. ALL of my thoughts are anxious and it feels like Im having intrusive thoughts.. but not violent or sexual.. just random anxious thought popping about the anxiety.. like my brain is thinking about the anxiety on its own, no matter what I do or how I distract myself.. it just goes crazy when Im idle, its very difficult to focus on anything else and not worry or think anxiously, no matter how much I comvince myself that I am okay.. and my mood is horrid, Im so stressed and angry for no reason, and I feel like I cant cope.

 

Does this HAVE to last for months or years, atleast to this intensity?

 

Does withdrawal force your thoughts to be anxious and obsessive? It feels like no anxiety I have ever felt, very uncontrollable and artificial. Im usually able to calm myself down with normal anxiety, even when severe.. I cant hardly touch this stuff, it feels like it changes in severity on its own.

2015: Citalopram 20mg (2 months) - Venlafaxine HCL ER 75mg (3 weeks)

2016: Citalopram 20mg (6 weeks) - Sertraline 37.5mg (3 days)

I had horrible side effects from the Venlafaxine 75mg, used Fluoxetine 20mg for a week to quickly taper down the Venlafaxine to 37.5mg before discontinuing. I was switched to Citalopram 20mg 5 weeks later and was on them for around 6 weeks before discontinuing due to rare and severe side effects. The Citalopram was making me both mentally and physically ill, caused OCD-like symptoms and severely increased anxiety.

March 26th, 2016: Discontinued Citalopram 20mg. Suffering from Cognitive Impairment, Memory Issues, Blurred Vision, Dizziness, Brain Fog, Increased Anxiety, DP/DR, Neuro-emotions, Heart Palpitations, Brain Zaps, Shortness of Breath, Tunnel Vision, Difficulty Concentrating or Focusing.

April 24th, 2016: Reinstated 10mg Citalopram. Withdrawal symptoms reduced, side effects returned. Insomnia, tiredness, feeling drugged. Mental clarity improved, anxiety reduced.

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SquirrellyGirl

Does everyone get protracted withdrawal?  The answer is muddy - pretty much everyone in protracted withdrawal experiences neuro emotions that are unlike anything they have felt before, me included.  Everyone is different so there's no saying for sure that your WD will go on for months and years.  Part of the problem is that perhaps there are many who can come off these drugs without a problem, but we never know about them because they don't feel the need to come to forums like SA.  We hear form the people who indeed experience extreme withdrawal after coming off TOO FAST OR COLD TURKEY.  Those are the folks who seem to suffer the worst protracted withdrawals.

 

There are a lot of members who come here for advice on stopping their meds, learn about the 10% taper and then we never hear from them again.  Perhaps it is because they learned what they needed to and went on their way, with it going well for them.  We just don't know.

 

Frankly, knowing what I have learned about the remodeling of the brain in response to these drugs, I am doubtful that people can stop them after years of use without suffering repercussions because those brain changes result in imbalance when the drug is removed too quiclkly.  How someone could get away with not experiencing symptoms due to this is beyond me.  I suspect most do but their doctors tell them they've relapsed from their original condition and so they go back on meds.   It simply takes the brain a lot longer to adjust back than we'd like.

 

I read your Intro.  Have you given any consideration to Fresh's recommendation to reinstate perhaps 1 mg?  It would be so little as to hopefully not cause an adverse reaction, while perhaps softening the blow a bit.

 

What you're experiencing is from neurochemistry gone cattywampus.  Today I was reading someone's question on a another forum about feeling completely apathetic after 6 days on an AD, essentially a similar problem in reverse, the drug causing an imbalance that is causing such symptoms.  I'd seen so many people starting citalopram on that forum that were complaining of extreme anxiety and suicidal ideation along with other horrible symptoms, it blew my mind that other people were chiming in encouraging the OPs to stay on; it will take several months to "get better," they say.  Well, after that much time suffering, anyone would think the drug was finally working when the side effects finally cease!  It doesn't surprise me that this one caused you adverse reactions, especially after having gone on and off others.

 

"Does this HAVE to last for months or years, atleast to this intensity?"

 

It doesn't HAVE to do anything - it just is what it is for each individual. I'm sure you've read lots of Intros and seen the pattern.  I think how the person perceives it has everything to do with how BAD it gets.  Some just seem to take it in stride, while others get themselves worked up into a panic (which is also a wd symptom!).

 

Reinstatement is risky, but at such a tiny dose, if it goes sideways it isn't as disruptive to discontinue.  If you could stave off the worst of WD by reinstating and then doing a very slow taper off, you'd get most of the remodeling done as you are reducing so that when you come off that final bit, there isn't much left for the nervous system to do to be done with it.  Hopefully, this means much less severe post drug withdrawal if any.

 

SG

Started ADs back around 1995 after bad break-up, starting with Prozac.  Switched to Wellbutrin, and then to Effexor in 2002
Effexor XR 2002-2014 up to 225 mg at one point, down to 37.5 mg towards end but back up to 75 mg in 2014; now realize I had W/D as I dropped down, memory very poor about history.  Extreme emotions, poor concentration as I stepped back down, didn't connect the dots!
Summer 2014 reduced to 0 very quickly, was sick of anhedonia/sexual dysfunction due to meds, depression never controlled if not worse. Didn't recognize WD since symptoms built slowly (thought I had ADD! and menopausal on top of it), starting with severe sweats, very bad cog-fog and memory issues, culminating in weight loss, severe anxiety and depression, panic, severe apathy and insomnia by eight months off.  Saw p-doc who put me on Remeron, increased from 7.5 mg/day to 37.5 mg by May 22, 2015; still doing very badly though able to sleep.

June 1. 2015 Reinstated Effexor XR 37.5 mg, Remeron dropped to 30 mg PM. Immediate relief of symptoms, like nothing had ever happened!  Joined SA and began on advice of friend who recognized it was WD all along! Began tapering in July 2015.

Been tapering both meds ever since, focusing on one more than the other or doing no more than 5% of each per month.

12 mg Effexor and 5.8 mg Remeron (mirtazapine SolTabs to make a solution with OraPlus) as of 5/4/2017 

Update 3/14/18: 2.9 mg Remeron and 6 mg Effexor; 6/10/18:  2.6 mg Remeron and 4.9 mg Effexor

 

My intro: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/9313-squirrellygirl-effexor-withdrawal-etc/page-2#entry196679

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

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  • Administrator

 

Does this HAVE to last for months or years, atleast to this intensity?

 

Does withdrawal force your thoughts to be anxious and obsessive? It feels like no anxiety I have ever felt, very uncontrollable and artificial. Im usually able to calm myself down with normal anxiety, even when severe.. I cant hardly touch this stuff, it feels like it changes in severity on its own.

 

I noticed you also have cognitive impairment in your signature. For me, the worse the memory and concentration problems are, the worse a lot of the intrusive thoughts can be. Part of it is because if you can't concentrate on a movie or show or read a book, it's hard not to obsess on your thoughts. Your mind simply has nowhere else to go. 

 

Once I got into using distractions such as mindfulness guided meditations, listening to gentle music, or playing games on the internet, a lot of the intrusive thoughts and anxiety was toned down and my CNS had time to relax. In the beginning, I stuck to very simple games and very calm shows, usually old comedies on YouTube or NetFlix. 

 

As far as how many people get protracted withdrawal is uncertain. If you get a chance to read Robert Whitaker's "Anatomy of an Epidemic", it's likely the problem is very large in scope - this is told in the skyrocketing disability rate. 

 

Fresh and SG's suggestion to do a small reinstate sounds like a good option. Or perhaps checking out the self care section for tips on handling symptoms like anxiety will be the way to go:

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1112-non-drug-techniques-to-cope-with-emotional-symptoms/

Drug free May 22, 2015 after 30 years of neuroleptics, benzos, z-drugs, so-called "anti"-depressants, and amphetamines 

 

My Success Story:  Shep's Success: "Leaving Plato's Cave"

 

And what is good, Phaedrus, and what is not good — need we ask anyone to tell us these things? ~ Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance


I am not a medical professional and this is not medical advice, but simply information based on my own experience, as well as other members who have survived these drugs.

 

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""It doesn't HAVE to do anything - it just is what it is for each individual. I'm sure you've read lots of Intros and seen the pattern.  I think how the person perceives it has everything to do with how BAD it gets.  Some just seem to take it in stride, while others get themselves worked up into a panic (which is also a wd symptom!).""

 

SG, with all due respect, that unintentionally comes across as "blaming the victim".    On a related note, I can't tell you how many times I would go to bed with a positive attitude that I would finally acclimate to pap therapy.   I envisioned waking up to sunlight.   Those would be some of my worst nights of sleep.

 

I understand you that you all want to maintain a hopeful attitude for folks on this site and not have discouraging posts.  I get that.

 

But to boil a very complex issue down to someone's attitude feels extremely wrong to me and unintentionally disrespectful.

 

CS

Drug cocktail 1995 - 2010
Started taper of Adderall, Wellbutrin XL, Remeron, and Doxepin in 2006
Finished taper on June 10, 2010

Temazepam on a PRN basis approximately twice a month - 2014 to 2016

Beginning in 2017 - Consumption increased to about two times per week

April 2017 - Increased to taking it full time for insomnia

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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...

 

 

Is RHABDOMYOLYSIS a side effect of EFFEXOR XR ...
factmed.com/study-EFFEXOR%20XR-causing-RHABDOMYOLYSIS.php
  1.  
Between January 2004 and October 2012, 57 individuals taking EFFEXOR XR reportedRHABDOMYOLYSIS to the FDA. A total of 17544 EFFEXOR XR drug ..

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

I did not come to any of this the easy way.

Psychiatric drugs and mitochondrial damage
 

 

mitochondria damage

http://www.rxlist.com/urispas-drug.htm

 

http://rxisk.org/effect/10034010/parkinsonism/ 

multiple psych drugs on the list here including effexor or venlafaxine as it is otherwise known. 

 

I know you made this post long ago Stan I just noticed it tonight. I am not pulling these things out of the air all are things I have been told I was being checked for by doctors or came to myself searching online. Mitochondria damage I found in 2008 when I was still at pp.  I was dx in 94 with chronic fatigue found prozac on a list of drugs causing mito damage in 2008 also found mito damage was a cause of chronic fatigue same year... I joined the dots. I had head drops and foot dragging when I was still on Effexor that is why I was told to go off at the time the doc was testing me for MS... I did not have it but that same foot has had two fractures in the subsequent years and is an almost constant source of pain.  In the early days when I still thought I was dying I went to more than one hosp at one of them I had red urine. I know nobody could possibly be this unlucky and still be alive right.  maybe I am just a head case I won't fault anyone who did not have these added cherries on top for thinking so.  However they can happen they did happen to me. They may be less common now days as docs learn what to look for but all this did happen to me which is why I talk about them all from time to time.  

Over the years I have watched as some others showed up on sites with the same complaints not all of them all at one time but one here and there.  

As you can see by the links they are possible. 

WARNING THIS WILL BE LONG
Had a car accident in 85
Codeine was the pain med when I was release from hosp continuous use till 89
Given PROZAC by a specialist to help with nerve pain in my leg 89-90 not sure which year
Was not told a thing about it being a psych med thought it was a pain killer no info about psych side effects I went nuts had hallucinations. As I had a head injury and was diagnosed with a concussion in 85 I was sent to a head injury clinic in 1990 five years after the accident. I don't think they knew I had been on prozac I did not think it a big deal and never did finish the bottle of pills. I had tests of course lots of them. Was put into a pain clinic and given amitriptyline which stopped the withdrawal but had many side effects. But I could sleep something I had not done in a very long time the pain lessened. My mother got cancer in 94 they switched my meds to Zoloft to help deal with this pressure as I was her main care giver she died in 96. I stopped zoloft in 96 had withdrawal was put on paxil went nutty quit it ct put on resperidol quit it ct had withdrawal was put on Effexor... 2years later celexa was added 20mg then increased to 40mg huge personality change went wild. Did too fast taper off Celexa 05 as I felt unwell for a long time prior... quit Effexor 150mg ct 07 found ****** 8 months into withdrawal learned some things was banned from there in 08 have kept learning since. there is really not enough room here to put my history but I have a lot of opinions about a lot of things especially any of the drugs mentioned above.
One thing I would like to add here is this tidbit ALL OPIATES INCREASE SEROTONIN it is not a huge jump to being in chronic pain to being put on an ssri/snri and opiates will affect your antidepressants and your thinking.

As I do not update much I will put my quit date Nov. 17 2007 I quit Effexor cold turkey. 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1096-introducing-myself-btdt/

There is a crack in everything ..That's how the light gets in :)

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woops I forgot one

Is RHABDOMYOLYSIS a side effect of EFFEXOR XR ...

factmed.com/study-EFFEXOR%20XR-causing-RHABDOMYOLYSIS.php
  1.  

Between January 2004 and October 2012, 57 individuals taking EFFEXOR XR reportedRHABDOMYOLYSIS to the FDA. A total of 17544 EFFEXOR XR drug ..

 

and that started me looking yet again....

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/368-papers-about-prolonged-antidepressant-withdrawal-syndrome/

my own words again in post #19

 

there is more to this than we think if we never join the dots the lies will just continue... poor kids on these drugs now will not stand a chance. 

 

It is not just those of us here now but all those who come after us. 

With that I wish you peace because without it none of this is possible. 

WARNING THIS WILL BE LONG
Had a car accident in 85
Codeine was the pain med when I was release from hosp continuous use till 89
Given PROZAC by a specialist to help with nerve pain in my leg 89-90 not sure which year
Was not told a thing about it being a psych med thought it was a pain killer no info about psych side effects I went nuts had hallucinations. As I had a head injury and was diagnosed with a concussion in 85 I was sent to a head injury clinic in 1990 five years after the accident. I don't think they knew I had been on prozac I did not think it a big deal and never did finish the bottle of pills. I had tests of course lots of them. Was put into a pain clinic and given amitriptyline which stopped the withdrawal but had many side effects. But I could sleep something I had not done in a very long time the pain lessened. My mother got cancer in 94 they switched my meds to Zoloft to help deal with this pressure as I was her main care giver she died in 96. I stopped zoloft in 96 had withdrawal was put on paxil went nutty quit it ct put on resperidol quit it ct had withdrawal was put on Effexor... 2years later celexa was added 20mg then increased to 40mg huge personality change went wild. Did too fast taper off Celexa 05 as I felt unwell for a long time prior... quit Effexor 150mg ct 07 found ****** 8 months into withdrawal learned some things was banned from there in 08 have kept learning since. there is really not enough room here to put my history but I have a lot of opinions about a lot of things especially any of the drugs mentioned above.
One thing I would like to add here is this tidbit ALL OPIATES INCREASE SEROTONIN it is not a huge jump to being in chronic pain to being put on an ssri/snri and opiates will affect your antidepressants and your thinking.

As I do not update much I will put my quit date Nov. 17 2007 I quit Effexor cold turkey. 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1096-introducing-myself-btdt/

There is a crack in everything ..That's how the light gets in :)

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Considering this thread is a place for generalised discussion, and considering that SG is talking about people in general and patterns she has noticed, this is not a case of victim-blaming. 

 

In the next paragraph, when addressing Liquid's case directly, SG offers practical and helpful advice. 

2010  Fluoxetine 20mg.  2011  Escitalopram 20mg.  2013 Tapered badly and destabilised CNS.  Effexor 150mg. 

2015 Begin using info at SurvivingAntidepressants.  Cut 10% - bad w/d 2 months, held 1 month. 

Micro-tapering: four weekly 0.4% cuts, hold 4 weeks (struggling with symptoms).

8 month hold.

2017 Micro-tapering: four weekly 1% cuts, hold 4 weeks (symptoms almost non-existent).

2020 Still micro-tapering. Just over 2/3 of the way off effexor. Minimal symptoms, - and sleeping well.
Supplements: Fish oil, vitamin C, iron, oat-straw tea, nettle tea.

My story of healing:ContinuedHealing

***I am not a doctor; please do your own research and be able to take responsibility for decisions you make.*** 

           'The possibility of renewal exists so long as life exists.'  Dr Gabor Mate.

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http://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/healthadvice/treatmentswellbeing/antidepressants/comingoffantidepressants.aspx?theme=mobile

 

They talk about the number of people who get wd responses - their survey got a lot more than the 30% figure; they mention that it could be a self-selection thing.

My thread here at SA: https://www.survivingantidepressants.org/topic/1775-bubbles/page/14/

2005 St John's Wort / 2006-2012 Lexapro 20mg, 2 failed attempts to stop, tapered over 4.5 months in early 2012

January 2013 started Sertraline, over time worked up to 100mg / July 2014 dropped from 100mg to 75mg, held for six months

2015 tapered to 50mg over several months, held for several months, some more drops

2016 Feb 35mg, 6 Mar 33mg, more drops (note big drop (calc error) & up to 25mg), more drops (about 2mg at a time)

2017 - more small drops, more long holds

2018 March at 11mg;  April 20 9mg; June 11 8.1mg; (July 10 7.7mg / July 18 7.3mg); ( Sept 2 7.2mg, Sept 5 7.1mg, Sept 9 7mg); 30 Sept 6.5mg, ? 6mg, 23 Nov 5.5mg) 19 Dec 5mg

2019 (micro drops over two weeks 24 Mar 4.9mg, 28 Mar 4.8mg, 31 Mar 4.7mg, 4 Apr 4.6mg, 7 Apr 4.5mg / 22 April 4.4mg, 26 April 4.3mg, 2 May 4.2mg, 5 May 4.1mg, 9 May 4mg), 3 Oct 3.9mg, (20 Oct 3.8mg, 27 Oct 3.7mg, 3 Nov 3.6mg), 24 Nov 3.5mg, 8 Dec 3.4mg, 15 Dec 3.3mg, 22 Dec 3.2mg

2020 19 Jan 3.1mg, 26 Jan 3.0mg; 1 Mar 2.9, 7 Mar 2.8, May (some drops here) 24 May 2.5, May 29 2.4, June 21 2.3, June 28 2.2mg,  July 4 2.1mg, July 24 (or maybe a bit before) 2mg

Current Sertraline: July 24: 2 mg / Armour Thyroid / endless allergy meds, erg

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I did not come to any of this the easy way.

Psychiatric drugs and mitochondrial damage

 

 

mitochondria damage

http://www.rxlist.com/urispas-drug.htm

 

http://rxisk.org/eff.../parkinsonism/ 

multiple psych drugs on the list here including effexor or venlafaxine as it is otherwise known. 

 

I know you made this post long ago Stan I just noticed it tonight. I am not pulling these things out of the air all are things I have been told I was being checked for by doctors or came to myself searching online. Mitochondria damage I found in 2008 when I was still at pp.  I was dx in 94 with chronic fatigue found prozac on a list of drugs causing mito damage in 2008 also found mito damage was a cause of chronic fatigue same year... I joined the dots. I had head drops and foot dragging when I was still on Effexor that is why I was told to go off at the time the doc was testing me for MS... I did not have it but that same foot has had two fractures in the subsequent years and is an almost constant source of pain.  In the early days when I still thought I was dying I went to more than one hosp at one of them I had red urine. I know nobody could possibly be this unlucky and still be alive right.  maybe I am just a head case I won't fault anyone who did not have these added cherries on top for thinking so.  However they can happen they did happen to me. They may be less common now days as docs learn what to look for but all this did happen to me which is why I talk about them all from time to time.  

Over the years I have watched as some others showed up on sites with the same complaints not all of them all at one time but one here and there.  

As you can see by the links they are possible. 

Is RHABDOMYOLYSIS a side effect of EFFEXOR XR ...

factmed.com/study-EFFEXOR%20XR-causing-RHABDOMYOLYSIS.php
  1.  

Between January 2004 and October 2012, 57 individuals taking EFFEXOR XR reportedRHABDOMYOLYSIS to the FDA. A total of 17544 EFFEXOR XR drug ..

 

and that started me looking yet again....

 

http://survivinganti...rawal-syndrome/

my own words again in post #19

 

there is more to this than we think if we never join the dots the lies will just continue... poor kids on these drugs now will not stand a chance. 

 

It is not just those of us here now but all those who come after us. 

With that I wish you peace because without it none of this is possible. 

There I fixed it

WARNING THIS WILL BE LONG
Had a car accident in 85
Codeine was the pain med when I was release from hosp continuous use till 89
Given PROZAC by a specialist to help with nerve pain in my leg 89-90 not sure which year
Was not told a thing about it being a psych med thought it was a pain killer no info about psych side effects I went nuts had hallucinations. As I had a head injury and was diagnosed with a concussion in 85 I was sent to a head injury clinic in 1990 five years after the accident. I don't think they knew I had been on prozac I did not think it a big deal and never did finish the bottle of pills. I had tests of course lots of them. Was put into a pain clinic and given amitriptyline which stopped the withdrawal but had many side effects. But I could sleep something I had not done in a very long time the pain lessened. My mother got cancer in 94 they switched my meds to Zoloft to help deal with this pressure as I was her main care giver she died in 96. I stopped zoloft in 96 had withdrawal was put on paxil went nutty quit it ct put on resperidol quit it ct had withdrawal was put on Effexor... 2years later celexa was added 20mg then increased to 40mg huge personality change went wild. Did too fast taper off Celexa 05 as I felt unwell for a long time prior... quit Effexor 150mg ct 07 found ****** 8 months into withdrawal learned some things was banned from there in 08 have kept learning since. there is really not enough room here to put my history but I have a lot of opinions about a lot of things especially any of the drugs mentioned above.
One thing I would like to add here is this tidbit ALL OPIATES INCREASE SEROTONIN it is not a huge jump to being in chronic pain to being put on an ssri/snri and opiates will affect your antidepressants and your thinking.

As I do not update much I will put my quit date Nov. 17 2007 I quit Effexor cold turkey. 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1096-introducing-myself-btdt/

There is a crack in everything ..That's how the light gets in :)

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NoMeaning25

4 years drug free still over 60 symptoms most in extreme severity i have seen brely any improvements and actually have new horrible symptoms added. I dont know what more to say. Dont feel like talking about it anymore. My life is severely affected and im unable to live a normal life. I have severe visual distortions depersonalization and my memory is gone

Was on Citalopram 20mg since Feb 2008 - switched to Paxil 20mg in August 2010

Tapered way too fast in April 2012 by skipping days. Taper completed in 6 weeks

Tried prozac 20mg for 3 days - felt spaced out, not better.

Tried 30mg Cymbalta for 2 days. SEVERE ADVERSE REACTION

Antidepressant free since 14 August 2012

Birth control on and off during this time - Last taken 18 June 2017 - Morning after pill 

Started mainly using 0.5mg Xanax beginning 2016 for severe panic attacks and anxiety due to trauma

Xanax on and off never more than 0.5mg at a time, never taking it 3 days in a row - used sparingly 

 

6 Years antidepressant free - Still in severe withdrawal with over 60 symptoms

Severe setback started May 2018 with no let up to date. Developed many new symptoms like tremors, inner vibrations, insomnia, visual distortions and dr/dp are 100x worse, i have severe sensitivity to movement, My dizziness and vertigo got worse and it now feels like im constantly rocking on a boat, my anxiety is sky high, suicidal idiation is back, i feel extremely brain damaged 

 

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4 years drug free still over 60 symptoms most in extreme severity i have seen brely any improvements and actually have new horrible symptoms added. I dont know what more to say. Dont feel like talking about it anymore. My life is severely affected and im unable to live a normal life. I have severe visual distortions depersonalization and my memory is gone

 

I feel the same thinking and talking about it does not help it.... and while there seems to be no reason to I think it does help to know your not the only one.  

 

For a time a good while actually I went to a different way of thinking about this existence and sought to bring meaning to whatever sort of life I am to have... tons of meditating writing seeking ... walking the beach and other nature areas finding a way to make my life more meaningful to me if not to others.  

 

It was worth the effort I found new skills and new outlets for myself... however waves can come and throw me off the pier and I am back to crap and feel like I will never get out of the ocean and back to my new existence... but sooner or later out I crawl... and start again. 

 

Life may not be able to be what others lives are like but we can make them more to our liking when the windows come... I hope you have a good window soon I too hate how they don't last but one night of love is better then none... I guess... sorry that comes from a willy nelson song one night of love can't make up for six nights alone but I would rather have one than none cause I am flesh and bone... not sure why but songs drop into my head at times... usually they relate. I don't mean in a sexual (Lord knows sex is off the talbe)  way I mean in feast to famine way... this is the new life for me or so it seems ...it may all just end one day... I keep praying and hoping. 

 

I wish you peace 

WARNING THIS WILL BE LONG
Had a car accident in 85
Codeine was the pain med when I was release from hosp continuous use till 89
Given PROZAC by a specialist to help with nerve pain in my leg 89-90 not sure which year
Was not told a thing about it being a psych med thought it was a pain killer no info about psych side effects I went nuts had hallucinations. As I had a head injury and was diagnosed with a concussion in 85 I was sent to a head injury clinic in 1990 five years after the accident. I don't think they knew I had been on prozac I did not think it a big deal and never did finish the bottle of pills. I had tests of course lots of them. Was put into a pain clinic and given amitriptyline which stopped the withdrawal but had many side effects. But I could sleep something I had not done in a very long time the pain lessened. My mother got cancer in 94 they switched my meds to Zoloft to help deal with this pressure as I was her main care giver she died in 96. I stopped zoloft in 96 had withdrawal was put on paxil went nutty quit it ct put on resperidol quit it ct had withdrawal was put on Effexor... 2years later celexa was added 20mg then increased to 40mg huge personality change went wild. Did too fast taper off Celexa 05 as I felt unwell for a long time prior... quit Effexor 150mg ct 07 found ****** 8 months into withdrawal learned some things was banned from there in 08 have kept learning since. there is really not enough room here to put my history but I have a lot of opinions about a lot of things especially any of the drugs mentioned above.
One thing I would like to add here is this tidbit ALL OPIATES INCREASE SEROTONIN it is not a huge jump to being in chronic pain to being put on an ssri/snri and opiates will affect your antidepressants and your thinking.

As I do not update much I will put my quit date Nov. 17 2007 I quit Effexor cold turkey. 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1096-introducing-myself-btdt/

There is a crack in everything ..That's how the light gets in :)

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Adding some links relevant to this topic.  Please note that the articles relate to various substances of dependence and addiction, so the details about the kinds of symptoms and length of recovery time may differ from what we typically experience with recovery from antidepressants and other psychiatric drugs.

 

Please click on the links because I've only included excerpts.

 

Post Acute Withdrawal (PAW)

Excerpted From "Staying Sober" by Terence T. Gorski

 

"Post-acute withdrawal is a bio-psycho-social syndrome. It results from the combination of damage to the nervous system caused by alcohol or drugs and the psychosocial stress of coping with life without drugs or alcohol."

 

"Recovery causes a great deal of stress. Many chemically dependent people never learn to manage stress without alcohol and drug use. The stress aggravates the brain dysfunction and makes the symptoms worse. The severity of PAW depends upon two things: the severity of the brain dysfunction caused by the addiction and the amount of psychosocial stress experienced in recovery."

 

"Recovery from the nervous system damage usually required from six to 24 months with the assistance of a healthy recovery program. Recent research is showing that for some recovering people the symptoms of PAW often occur at regular "moon cycle" intervals and without apparent outside stressors. Often those 30, 60, 90, 120, 180, and 1 & 2-year sobriety dates seem to be "triggering" times for PAW symptoms to increase. People recovering from long term opiate and stimulant use often have PAW symptoms for no apparent reason for up to 10 years after they have stopped using their drug of choice. Often PAW symptoms appear to come and go without apparent reason and without any specific pattern. Individuals who intend to have consistent long-term recovery must learn to recognize these symptoms and learn how to manage them."

 

 

'How do you know if you have PAW? The most identifiable characteristic is the inability to solve usually simple problems. There are six major types of PAW symptoms that contribute to this They are the inability to think clearly, memory problems, emotional overreactions and numbness, sleep disturbances, physical coordination problems, and general problems in managing stress. The inability to solve usually simple problems because of any or all of these symptoms leads to diminished self-esteem. A person often feels incompetent, embarrassed, and “not okay” about themselves. Diminished self-esteem and the fear of failure interfere with productive and challenging living. Let’s take a look at some of the PAW symptoms that contribute to the inability to solve usually simple problems.

 

1.   Inability to think clearly

2.   Memory problems

3.   Emotional overreactions or numbness

4.   Sleep disturbances

5.   Physical coordination problems

6.   Stress sensitivity....."

 

Post-acute-withdrawal syndrome from Wikipedia

 

"Post-acute-withdrawal syndrome (PAWS), or the terms post-withdrawal syndrome, protracted withdrawal syndrome, prolonged withdrawal syndromes describe a set of persistent impairments that occur after withdrawal from alcohol, opiates, benzodiazepines, antidepressants and other substances.

 

While post-acute withdrawal syndrome has been reported by those in the recovery community, there have been few scientific studies supporting its existence. Because of this, the disorder is not recognized by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders or major medical associations...."

 

Post-Acute Withdrawal (PAWS)

ADDICTIONS and RECOVERY.org

How to Survive Post-Acute Withdrawal

"Be patient. You can't hurry recovery. But you can get through it one day at a time. If you resent post-acute withdrawal, or try to bulldoze your way through it, you will become exhausted...

 

Post-acute withdrawal symptoms are a sign that your brain is recovering. Therefore don't resent them...

 

Go with the flow. Withdrawal symptoms are uncomfortable. ... On those days, don't try to do too much. Take care of yourself, focus on your recovery, and you'll get through this.

 

Practice self-care. Give yourself lots of little breaks... Tell yourself "what I am doing is enough." Be good to yourself. ...

Sometimes you'll have little energy or enthusiasm for anything. Understand this and don't over book your life. Give yourself permission to focus on your recovery.

 

...You'll go for weeks without any withdrawal symptoms, and then one day you'll wake up and your withdrawal will hit you like a ton of bricks. You'll have slept badly. You'll be in a bad mood. Your energy will be low. And if you're not prepared for it, if you think that post-acute withdrawal only lasts for a few months, or if you think that you'll be different and it won't be as bad for you, then you'll get caught off guard. But if you know what to expect you can do this...

 

Being able to relax will help you through post-acute withdrawal. When you're tense you tend to dwell on your symptoms and make them worse. When you're relaxed it's easier to not get caught up in them. You aren't as triggered by your symptoms..."

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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" Often those 30, 60, 90, 120, 180, and 1 & 2-year sobriety dates seem to be "triggering" times for PAW symptoms to increase." this is interesting 

 

and a new timeline hmmm some I have read say serotoin is stimulating one book for sure

People recovering from long term opiate and stimulant use often have PAW symptoms for no apparent reason for up to 10 years after they have stopped using their drug of choice

 

This is so me:

 

How do you know if you have PAW? The most identifiable characteristic is the inability to solve usually simple problems. There are six major types of PAW symptoms that contribute to this They are the inability to think clearly, memory problems, emotional overreactions and numbness, sleep disturbances, physical coordination problems, and general problems in managing stress. The inability to solve usually simple problems because of any or all of these symptoms leads to diminished self-esteem. A person often feels incompetent, embarrassed, and “not okay” about themselves. Diminished self-esteem and the fear of failure interfere with productive and challenging living. Let’s take a look at some of the PAW symptoms that contribute to the inability to solve usually simple problems.

 

1.   Inability to think clearly

2.   Memory problems

3.   Emotional overreactions or numbness

4.   Sleep disturbances

5.   Physical coordination problems

 

6.   Stress sensitivity....."

 

You'll go for weeks without any withdrawal symptoms, and then one day you'll wake up and your withdrawal will hit you like a ton of bricks. You'll have slept badly. You'll be in a bad mood. Your energy will be low. And if you're not prepared for it, if you think that post-acute withdrawal only lasts for a few months, or if you think that you'll be different and it won't be as bad for you, then you'll get caught off guard. But if you know what to expect you can do this...

 

And then there is life while all this is going on life is going on too with or without you... at times a scramble to get on top of symptoms will be eclipsed by other life emergencies and a crash will have not choice but to happen... more time more recovery... 

 

I sure hope TEN years is a solid hard number... who can avoid all drugs for ten years... nobody who needs surgery or has a car accident... 

there are many variables but this is very very close to reality at least my reality.

WARNING THIS WILL BE LONG
Had a car accident in 85
Codeine was the pain med when I was release from hosp continuous use till 89
Given PROZAC by a specialist to help with nerve pain in my leg 89-90 not sure which year
Was not told a thing about it being a psych med thought it was a pain killer no info about psych side effects I went nuts had hallucinations. As I had a head injury and was diagnosed with a concussion in 85 I was sent to a head injury clinic in 1990 five years after the accident. I don't think they knew I had been on prozac I did not think it a big deal and never did finish the bottle of pills. I had tests of course lots of them. Was put into a pain clinic and given amitriptyline which stopped the withdrawal but had many side effects. But I could sleep something I had not done in a very long time the pain lessened. My mother got cancer in 94 they switched my meds to Zoloft to help deal with this pressure as I was her main care giver she died in 96. I stopped zoloft in 96 had withdrawal was put on paxil went nutty quit it ct put on resperidol quit it ct had withdrawal was put on Effexor... 2years later celexa was added 20mg then increased to 40mg huge personality change went wild. Did too fast taper off Celexa 05 as I felt unwell for a long time prior... quit Effexor 150mg ct 07 found ****** 8 months into withdrawal learned some things was banned from there in 08 have kept learning since. there is really not enough room here to put my history but I have a lot of opinions about a lot of things especially any of the drugs mentioned above.
One thing I would like to add here is this tidbit ALL OPIATES INCREASE SEROTONIN it is not a huge jump to being in chronic pain to being put on an ssri/snri and opiates will affect your antidepressants and your thinking.

As I do not update much I will put my quit date Nov. 17 2007 I quit Effexor cold turkey. 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1096-introducing-myself-btdt/

There is a crack in everything ..That's how the light gets in :)

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NoMeaning25

Could i ask for a ref for this please

 

 

" Often those 30, 60, 90, 120, 180, and 1 & 2-year sobriety dates seem to be "triggering" times for PAW symptoms to increase." this is interesting 

 

and a new timeline hmmm some I have read say serotoin is stimulating one book for sure

People recovering from long term opiate and stimulant use often have PAW symptoms for no apparent reason for up to 10 years after they have stopped using their drug of choice

 

This is so me:

 

 

How do you know if you have PAW? The most identifiable characteristic is the inability to solve usually simple problems. There are six major types of PAW symptoms that contribute to this They are the inability to think clearly, memory problems, emotional overreactions and numbness, sleep disturbances, physical coordination problems, and general problems in managing stress. The inability to solve usually simple problems because of any or all of these symptoms leads to diminished self-esteem. A person often feels incompetent, embarrassed, and “not okay” about themselves. Diminished self-esteem and the fear of failure interfere with productive and challenging living. Let’s take a look at some of the PAW symptoms that contribute to the inability to solve usually simple problems.

 

1.   Inability to think clearly

2.   Memory problems

3.   Emotional overreactions or numbness

4.   Sleep disturbances

5.   Physical coordination problems

 

6.   Stress sensitivity....."

 

You'll go for weeks without any withdrawal symptoms, and then one day you'll wake up and your withdrawal will hit you like a ton of bricks. You'll have slept badly. You'll be in a bad mood. Your energy will be low. And if you're not prepared for it, if you think that post-acute withdrawal only lasts for a few months, or if you think that you'll be different and it won't be as bad for you, then you'll get caught off guard. But if you know what to expect you can do this...

 

And then there is life while all this is going on life is going on too with or without you... at times a scramble to get on top of symptoms will be eclipsed by other life emergencies and a crash will have not choice but to happen... more time more recovery... 

 

I sure hope TEN years is a solid hard number... who can avoid all drugs for ten years... nobody who needs surgery or has a car accident... 

there are many variables but this is very very close to reality at least my reality.

Was on Citalopram 20mg since Feb 2008 - switched to Paxil 20mg in August 2010

Tapered way too fast in April 2012 by skipping days. Taper completed in 6 weeks

Tried prozac 20mg for 3 days - felt spaced out, not better.

Tried 30mg Cymbalta for 2 days. SEVERE ADVERSE REACTION

Antidepressant free since 14 August 2012

Birth control on and off during this time - Last taken 18 June 2017 - Morning after pill 

Started mainly using 0.5mg Xanax beginning 2016 for severe panic attacks and anxiety due to trauma

Xanax on and off never more than 0.5mg at a time, never taking it 3 days in a row - used sparingly 

 

6 Years antidepressant free - Still in severe withdrawal with over 60 symptoms

Severe setback started May 2018 with no let up to date. Developed many new symptoms like tremors, inner vibrations, insomnia, visual distortions and dr/dp are 100x worse, i have severe sensitivity to movement, My dizziness and vertigo got worse and it now feels like im constantly rocking on a boat, my anxiety is sky high, suicidal idiation is back, i feel extremely brain damaged 

 

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Altostrata

I have seen no such "30, 60, 90, 120, 180, and 1 & 2-year" pattern. I think the author Petunia so helpfully quoted in http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/509-protracted-withdrawal-or-paws-post-acute-withdrawal-syndrome-how-long-does-it-last/?p=222587is talking through his hat.

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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On 2016-05-03 at 10:37 AM, NoMeaning25 said:

Could i ask for a ref for this please

 

 

On 2016-04-29 at 3:19 PM, btdt said:

" Often those 30, 60, 90, 120, 180, and 1 & 2-year sobriety dates seem to be "triggering" times for PAW symptoms to increase." this is interesting 

 

and a new timeline hmmm some I have read say serotoin is stimulating one book for sure

People recovering from long term opiate and stimulant use often have PAW symptoms for no apparent reason for up to 10 years after they have stopped using their drug of choice

...

 

 

It is right above my post the post before my post 

Petunia post #139 for links 

Edited by scallywag
trim quote for readability; link post with reference links

WARNING THIS WILL BE LONG
Had a car accident in 85
Codeine was the pain med when I was release from hosp continuous use till 89
Given PROZAC by a specialist to help with nerve pain in my leg 89-90 not sure which year
Was not told a thing about it being a psych med thought it was a pain killer no info about psych side effects I went nuts had hallucinations. As I had a head injury and was diagnosed with a concussion in 85 I was sent to a head injury clinic in 1990 five years after the accident. I don't think they knew I had been on prozac I did not think it a big deal and never did finish the bottle of pills. I had tests of course lots of them. Was put into a pain clinic and given amitriptyline which stopped the withdrawal but had many side effects. But I could sleep something I had not done in a very long time the pain lessened. My mother got cancer in 94 they switched my meds to Zoloft to help deal with this pressure as I was her main care giver she died in 96. I stopped zoloft in 96 had withdrawal was put on paxil went nutty quit it ct put on resperidol quit it ct had withdrawal was put on Effexor... 2years later celexa was added 20mg then increased to 40mg huge personality change went wild. Did too fast taper off Celexa 05 as I felt unwell for a long time prior... quit Effexor 150mg ct 07 found ****** 8 months into withdrawal learned some things was banned from there in 08 have kept learning since. there is really not enough room here to put my history but I have a lot of opinions about a lot of things especially any of the drugs mentioned above.
One thing I would like to add here is this tidbit ALL OPIATES INCREASE SEROTONIN it is not a huge jump to being in chronic pain to being put on an ssri/snri and opiates will affect your antidepressants and your thinking.

As I do not update much I will put my quit date Nov. 17 2007 I quit Effexor cold turkey. 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1096-introducing-myself-btdt/

There is a crack in everything ..That's how the light gets in :)

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  • 1 year later...
On 10/7/2015 at 1:11 PM, Altostrata said:

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

This totally alarms me. Months or years? I get months as you are withdrawing, but after all meds are dropped are you saying you can still suffer for years??

 

Ages 24-29 ...Paxil and Valium as needed

Discontinued involuntarily due to financial problems. Dropped 40 lb.s, head zaps, severe stomach cramps, Anxiety, depression, vomiting ,mania

Ages 39...cymbalta/Klonopin tapr' off

2015-2017...Zoloft 75 mg., Valium 15 mg....Valium tapered to 1.5

July 3, 2017 sertraline HC 62.5, July 22, 2017 sertraline HC 50

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Jenthorz -- some people have taken several years to recover.  The good news is that people do recover. Some even come back to let us know that their symptoms have diminished tremendously after a period of 2, 3 or more years. You may find it encouraging to read topics in the Success Stories forum.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.
1997-1999 Effexor; 2002-2005 Effexor XR 37.5 mg linear taper, dropping same #beads/week with bad results

Cymbalta 60 mg 2012 - 2015; 2016: 20 mg to 7 mg exact doses and dates in this post; 2017: 6.3 mg to  0.0 mg  Aug. 12; details here


scallywag's Introduction
Online spreadsheet for dose taper calculations and nz11's THE WORKS spreadsheet

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  • Moderator Emeritus

I'm sorry this topic and posts like I'm about to write are frightening, but protracted withdrawal is something a minority of people end up with, so I think its important this is acknowledged.

 

The title of this topic asks how long it lasts. I wish there was an answer, for me and everyone else who is still sick after years of being drug free. There isn't much input here on SA from us protracted folks, but there are plenty of us out here, still waiting to recover. I'm 4.5 years drug free now. Better than I was a few years ago, but still quite sick, sensitive to stress and many foods, with significant cognitive problems relating to memory and problem solving. I actually still have many of the symptoms which began with withdrawal, but at a lower intensity. I'm still not very functional a lot of the time and mornings are still worse.

 

Its sometimes difficult now, to know the difference between actual ongoing symptoms being caused by my recovering brain and nervous system, and those which are secondary and have developed as a result of being so sick, isolated and traumatized for such a long time. But I have had some very good, long, clear windows, and during these, I felt completely recovered, so this gives me hope that when I'm finally recovered permanently, there will be no lasting negative effects of having gone through this.

 

Most people don't become protracted, especially if you taper properly, which I didn't. Then I took more prescribed drugs, for new dxs, not knowing anything about withdrawal, so that did even more damage. I also lived with extreme stress for several years, so its not surprising I've ended up like this.

 

My estimation is that I'm recovering about 10% per year.

 

If you are looking for long term support, there are facebook groups for people in protracted withdrawal.

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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  • 3 months later...
TardiveTongueNmore
On 6/6/2011 at 6:38 PM, squirrel said:

ADMIN NOTE

 

There is no definition of "protracted withdrawal" in psychiatic drug withdrawal as medicine holds withdrawal to last only a few weeks and is "time-limited."

 

Withdrawal symptoms during those few weeks are called "acute withdrawal."

 

Because a condition that last 6 months is "chronic", I call withdrawal that lasts 6 months or more "protracted withdrawal" or "post-acute withdrawal syndrome" (PAWS). There's no question that is in excess of "normal" withdrawal.

 

Addiction medicine recognizes acute withdrawal (also of a few weeks' duration) and views PAWS as what happens afterward, but this has not been applied to psychiatric drugs. (In addiction medicine, PAWS is considered to be a phase where the addict, who may be disoriented, sleepless, etc. struggles with addiction and learns to reform his or her ways through rehabilitation processes. Any "craving" for the drug is symptomatic of the addict's "psychiatric disorder", it's not recognized as a withdrawal symptom. Many people go back on the drug to relieve PAWS -- just as with psychiatric drugs.)

 


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.When do we say this far out its either something else or this is my state of health now.Even looked at Benzo withdrawl and found nothing.

 

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  • ChessieCat changed the title to Protracted Withdrawal or PAWS (post-acute withdrawal syndrome) - How long does it last?

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