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threepupfamily - trying to get off cymbalta


threepups

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I have just joined this forum. I have been trying to get off cymbalta for 6 years. I am a recovered alcoholic, sober for 34 years, and also a therapist. I feel that I have an addictive relationship with supposedly non addictive meds. Meaning, for me, antidepressants became the "everything" for me, not just a tool. As an addict, I have become dependent on a chemical to make me feel that I am the person I want to be. It's all a lie. I have side effects, mental obsession to be off when I am on them, mental obsession to be on when I am off them. I go to AA and try to talk about it. It seems most of the people I know are on antidepressants. They are ruling my life. I can taper down but then I get scared. I think without them I will be too angry, too anxious, etc. The act of taking them is a "hit" for me. I have tried to talk about this in NA also, but there, too, people are on them. Does anyone share my experience?

Edited by Altostrata
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  • Administrator

Hello, 3pup. You pose an interesting question, the idea that buying into patienthood might be a form of addiction.

 

I know you're not yearning for Cymbalta itself -- can it be you're looking for certainty that everything is going to be all right? The drug as a talisman for magical thinking? And then the cognitive dissonance when you realize it doesn't deliver?

 

On a practical note, we have folks tapering off Cymbalta here. It can be a bear. There's some information about it in the Tapering forum, your contribution welcome.

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

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Yes, there is magical thinking around a drug that does not deliver. My therapist told me that the cost for me taking cymbalta so outweighs any benefit that it isn't even close. I hesitate to join with others about tapering as I am scared to get into how hard it can be. I don't want to feed into that as it will scare me off.

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  • Administrator

Oh, we all know how hard it can be! Please don't be scared about speaking your mind or sharing your experiences.

 

We believe the difficulty in getting off these drugs is due to medical error, not flaws in the individual.

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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Welcome, 3pup! You have excellent insight into the complexities of your relationship with Cymbalta. Why not keep reading here for awhile, and let your thinking and feeling unfold about the issue?

 

One thought I have is that there is a parallel between the alcohol and the antidepressants in that both are considered normative, and are widely used in your culture. So, in both cases, you are up against the consensual view of what is safe and normal. Two legal, socially-acceptable drugs. :rolleyes:

 

Somehow, you're being presented repeatedly with the challenge of standing against the norm.

1996-97 - Paxil x 9 months, tapered, suffered 8 months withdrawal but didn't know it was withdrawal, so...

1998-2001 - Zoloft, tapered, again unwittingly went into withdrawal, so...

2002-03 - Paxil x 20 months, developed severe headaches, so...

Sep 03 - May 05 - Paxil taper took 20 months, severe physical, moderate psychological symptoms

Sep 03 - Jun 05 - took Prozac to help with Paxil taper - not recommended

Jul 05 to date - post-taper, severe psychological, moderate physical symptoms, improving very slowly

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Welcome threepup. It is tough, but I have found that I feel better physically, sharper cognitively and that the irritability is manageable. It is worth it to give it a try. You're lucky you have a therapist who supports your desire to get off of ADs.

 

1989 - 1992 Parnate* 

1992-1998 Paxil - pooped out*, oxazapam, inderal

1998 - 2005 Celexa - pooped out* klonopin, oxazapam, inderal

*don't remember doses

2005 -2007   Cymbalta 60 mg oxazapam, inderal, klonopin

Started taper in 2007:

CT klonopin, oxazapam, inderal (beta blocker) - 2007

Cymbalta 60mg to 30mg 2007 -2010

July 2010 - March 2018 on hiatus due to worsening w/d symptoms, which abated and finally disappeared. Then I stalled for about 5 years because I didn't want to deal with W/D.

March 2018 - May 2018 switch from 30mg Cymbalta to 20mg Celexa 

19 mg Celexa October 7, 2018

18 mg Celexa November 5, 2018

17 mg Celexa  December 2, 2019

16 mg Celexa January 6, 2018 

15 mg Celexa March 7, 2019

14 mg Celexa April 24, 2019

13 mg Celexa June 28, 2019

12.8 mg Celexa November 10, 2019

12.4 Celexa August 31, 2020

12.2 Celexa December 28, 2020

12 mg Celexa March 2021

 

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I really appreciate the responses! It is so hard to get support. I did see my psychopharmacologist yesterday to insist on a lower dose, and tried to explain that I cannot manage meds, and reiterated by 34 years of sobriety, etc. He agreed finally to let me cut the dose in half and did a new script. I felt like a failure to him. At the end, I was like a little kid asking for his approval to understand where i was coming from. He said well you need to look at this the same way as any addiction. But at the same time he has trouble understanding why I can't stay at what he thinks is a therapeutic dose. My therapist has said why do you go see the pope for an abortion, meaning why are you trying to get a guy whose job it is to prescribe drugs, to understand you? But I guess I think I really need support from all fronts. Maybe I should let go of the psychopharm? He is a nice guy but doesn't really get it.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

threepups - cutting your dose by 50% may be too ambitious. You may throw yourself for a loop unnecessarily, and foil your own attempt to get off of Cymbalta. Generally folks find that a drop of 10% or less is manageable. And it is manageable. For example, I am not courageous, not disciplined, don't have a good work ethic (hate my job) and have managed to stay employed at a pretty demanding job through my taper by taking it easy so the WD symptoms are transient and I have more good days than bad. When things get rough I take longer between drops. I also have found the psychological and personality changes that I attribute to 22 years on a variety of drugs are reversing.

 

People taking cymbalta can count the spheres in the capsules and tailor our tapers (an advantage tapering paxil,which requires cutting pills or switching to liquid). I know from your history of sobriety that you are strong and courageous, but tapering an antidepressant is not a matter of toughing out kicking over a relatively short period of time, then staying away from the AD one day at a time. There is a lot of information on this site about neurotransmitters and down regulation of neurotransmitter receptors in the brains of folks who take ADs. You may want to check around before cutting your dose in half.

 

1989 - 1992 Parnate* 

1992-1998 Paxil - pooped out*, oxazapam, inderal

1998 - 2005 Celexa - pooped out* klonopin, oxazapam, inderal

*don't remember doses

2005 -2007   Cymbalta 60 mg oxazapam, inderal, klonopin

Started taper in 2007:

CT klonopin, oxazapam, inderal (beta blocker) - 2007

Cymbalta 60mg to 30mg 2007 -2010

July 2010 - March 2018 on hiatus due to worsening w/d symptoms, which abated and finally disappeared. Then I stalled for about 5 years because I didn't want to deal with W/D.

March 2018 - May 2018 switch from 30mg Cymbalta to 20mg Celexa 

19 mg Celexa October 7, 2018

18 mg Celexa November 5, 2018

17 mg Celexa  December 2, 2019

16 mg Celexa January 6, 2018 

15 mg Celexa March 7, 2019

14 mg Celexa April 24, 2019

13 mg Celexa June 28, 2019

12.8 mg Celexa November 10, 2019

12.4 Celexa August 31, 2020

12.2 Celexa December 28, 2020

12 mg Celexa March 2021

 

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Thanks

I forgot to say I have 20 mg capsules so could do 40 down from 60. It's hard for me to do the granules. I read about that and

it looks too hard. I have gone from 60 to 40 without much difficulty before but I could always take 3 of my 20 mg capsules and dump out part of the third one to make it about 50 mg. Thoughts?

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and if you are doing about a 10% at a time taper, how long do you go before the next step down?

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and if you are doing about a 10% at a time taper, how long do you go before the next step down?

 

Hi threepupfamily,

 

A belated welcome by the way.

 

I would wait a minimum of three weeks. Since Cymbalta has a short half life which causes a harder withdrawal due to the drug quickly leaving the body, you might need to wait longer.

 

Also, you might have to taper at 5% of the current dose vs. 10%,

 

Comp Sports

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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I really appreciate the responses! It is so hard to get support. I did see my psychopharmacologist yesterday to insist on a lower dose, and tried to explain that I cannot manage meds, and reiterated by 34 years of sobriety, etc. He agreed finally to let me cut the dose in half and did a new script. I felt like a failure to him. At the end, I was like a little kid asking for his approval to understand where i was coming from. He said well you need to look at this the same way as any addiction. But at the same time he has trouble understanding why I can't stay at what he thinks is a therapeutic dose. My therapist has said why do you go see the pope for an abortion, meaning why are you trying to get a guy whose job it is to prescribe drugs, to understand you? But I guess I think I really need support from all fronts. Maybe I should let go of the psychopharm? He is a nice guy but doesn't really get it.

 

Hi again three pup family,

 

My psychiatrist never did get it regarding withdrawal issues. I felt like he was always waiting for me to fail.

 

As a result, I didn't expect anything from him and simply said that everything was fine.

 

To make a long story short, I got off of a 4 med cocktail in close to 4 years after being on meds a total of 15 years. I celebrated my year anniversary recently in getting off this pile of crap.

 

Your therapist is totally right about the point regarding expecting psychiatrists to provide med withdrawal support is like asking the pope for an abortion. Perfect analogy.

 

Comp Sports

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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  • Administrator

3pup, see this topic http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/283-tapering-off-cymbalta-duloxetine/ for information about tapering off Cymbalta. It will answer many of your questions.

 

Yes, you could take out a few granules and throw them away. You probably should keep notes about how many you're taking out each day.

 

However, the number of granules varies from capsule to capsule and the size of the granules varies from dosage to dosage. If you are very sensitive, this may affect you.

 

If you can afford it, you can get a compounding pharmacy to make capsules for you of a custom dosage by weight, which is much more precise.

 

We recommend staying at each dosage step for 3-4 weeks to give your nervous system time to adjust.

 

As for the "addiction" issues, they strike me as overintellectualizing a magical belief in antidepressants. A lot of people have this, it's encouraged by the psychiatric industry.

 

If you want to taper off, you can. I agree with your therapist, no use looking for approval from a psychophamacologist.

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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