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Ssri withdrawal as bad as benzos


John
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http://wp.rxisk.org/withdrawal-zone/

 

Nielsen and Gotsche state that withdrawing from ssris can be as difficult to withdraw from as benzodiazapines. This can explain why some people have such prolonged and severe withdrawal symptoms.

On Venlafaxine XR 75mg > 20 years, because a general MD decided to try these new "calming pills" taken from his sample closet because my pulse was a little high since I get nervous going to the doctor.

 

June 2010 - Cold turkey

September 2010 - Sudden onset of EXTREME anxiety, constant terror and fear that got marginally better at night.  I had no idea what or why this was; had no idea it was the quitting of Effexor.  (I was never in my life even remotely like this)

December 2010 - reinstated 75mgs Effexor XR, felt no better months later

January 2011 - Began 5% taper every month

2012 - Anxiety began improving by had many windows and waves

January 2014 - Fell back into sudden onset of same anxiety, fear as in 2010; realized I was tapering too quickly.  I was not allowing withdrawal effects to dissipate before another taper.  Began 2% taper every 6 to 8 months

2016 - Fear, anxiety began to wane

2017, 18 & 19 - Constant Fear & anxiety stopped, just occasional minor bouts that lasted 3 days or so

December 2020 - Now at ~40mgs Effexor XR, 2.5mgs Crestor (Cutting 5mg pill in half due to sudden palpitations or PVCs)

 
 
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I doubt you'll hear much argument here!

Started on Prozac and Xanax in 1992 for PTSD after an assault. One drug led to more, the usual story. Got sicker and sicker, but believed I needed the drugs for my "underlying disease". Long story...lost everything. Life savings, home, physical and mental health, relationships, friendships, ability to work, everything. Amitryptiline, Prozac, bupropion, buspirone, flurazepam, diazepam, alprazolam, Paxil, citalopram, lamotrigine, gabapentin...probably more I've forgotten. 

Started multidrug taper in Feb 2010.  Doing a very slow microtaper, down to low doses now and feeling SO much better, getting my old personality and my brain back! Able to work full time, have a full social life, and cope with stress better than ever. Not perfect, but much better. After 23 lost years. Big Pharma has a lot to answer for. And "medicine for profit" is just not a great idea.

 

Feb 15 2010:  300 mg Neurontin  200 Lamictal   10 Celexa      0.65 Xanax   and 5 mg Ambien 

Feb 10 2014:   62 Lamictal    1.1 Celexa         0.135 Xanax    1.8 Valium

Feb 10 2015:   50 Lamictal      0.875 Celexa    0.11 Xanax      1.5 Valium

Feb 15 2016:   47.5 Lamictal   0.75 Celexa      0.0875 Xanax    1.42 Valium    

2/12/20             12                       0.045               0.007                   1 

May 2021            7                       0.01                  0.0037                1

Feb 2022            6                      0!!!                     0.00167               0.98                2.5 mg Ambien

Oct 2022       4.5 mg Lamictal    (off Celexa, off Xanax)   0.95 Valium    Ambien, 1/4 to 1/2 of a 5 mg tablet 

 

I'm not a doctor. Any advice I give is just my civilian opinion.

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I will argue. Benzo withdrawal is 100x worse. SSRI withdrawal the only lasting symptom I have is poor sleep. And I went off cold turkey on two at once (well, an Snri and SSRI). It was brutal but not even close. Benzo withdrawal I am doing at a fraction of a snails pace and I have ten dominant symptoms and probably twenty other intermittent ones. I don't know if I will make it out alive. My health is deteriorating rapidly.

Lexapro & Wellbutrin ~2003-2012

Switched from Lexapro to Prozac early 2012

CT all meds mid 2012, manic episode; put on every bipolar med known to man June-Aug 2012

Stopped meds CT Aug 2012

50 mg Lamictal Nov 2012

Ativan 0.5mg/PRN Dec 2012 (up to 2mg by May 2013)

Lunesta Jan-June 2013, CTed

Trazodone 100mg June 2013

[non-psych: Nature-Throid/Cytomel Dec 2012-June 2013; progesterone cream Nov 2013-pres]

current:75mg Lamictal (raised to help with benzo withdrawal)

1.6mg Ativan (very slowly tapering)

30mg Trazodone (holding)

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I will argue. Benzo withdrawal is 100x worse. SSRI withdrawal the only lasting symptom I have is poor sleep. And I went off cold turkey on two at once (well, an Snri and SSRI). It was brutal but not even close. Benzo withdrawal I am doing at a fraction of a snails pace and I have ten dominant symptoms and probably twenty other intermittent ones. I don't know if I will make it out alive. My health is deteriorating rapidly.

Im sure it depends mainly on the individual.  For me, all I did was taper Effexor 75mg for 2 years, and I have the worst fear and anxiety ever possible.  I dont even want to go out of my house.  Aside from convulsive fits, what can be worse?

On Venlafaxine XR 75mg > 20 years, because a general MD decided to try these new "calming pills" taken from his sample closet because my pulse was a little high since I get nervous going to the doctor.

 

June 2010 - Cold turkey

September 2010 - Sudden onset of EXTREME anxiety, constant terror and fear that got marginally better at night.  I had no idea what or why this was; had no idea it was the quitting of Effexor.  (I was never in my life even remotely like this)

December 2010 - reinstated 75mgs Effexor XR, felt no better months later

January 2011 - Began 5% taper every month

2012 - Anxiety began improving by had many windows and waves

January 2014 - Fell back into sudden onset of same anxiety, fear as in 2010; realized I was tapering too quickly.  I was not allowing withdrawal effects to dissipate before another taper.  Began 2% taper every 6 to 8 months

2016 - Fear, anxiety began to wane

2017, 18 & 19 - Constant Fear & anxiety stopped, just occasional minor bouts that lasted 3 days or so

December 2020 - Now at ~40mgs Effexor XR, 2.5mgs Crestor (Cutting 5mg pill in half due to sudden palpitations or PVCs)

 
 
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I tried some different benzo's: Diazepam, Oxazepam and Xanax. None of them did a thing to me, no single positive or negative effect. I used Xanax in the highest dose for about 4 weeks and noticied a miniaml effect from it. I quit cold turkey and never had a single symptom from that.

 

But the SSRI Paxil/Seroxat was very effective in suppressing my anxiety but a total "body and mind ****" when I wanted to get off. Not learning about WD at that time, I quit cold turkey and was horribly ill for 2-3 years and stilll suffer from the after effects now 6.5 years aftert the last dose.

 

So indeed I think there are huge differecnes between individuals, both in the desired effect from the drug as for the withdrawal from it...

10 mg Paxil/Seroxat since 2002
several attempts to quit since 2004
Quit c/t again Oktober 2007, in protracted w/d since then
after 3.5 years slight improvement but still on the road

after 6 years pretty much recovered but still some nasty residual sypmtons
after 8.5 years working again on a 90% base and basically functioning normally again!

 

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Yes, it depends on the individual. You will find people who have come off both who will swear that one or the other was easy and the other one was hell.  Or who say they're both easy or both hell. But overall, after seeing hundreds of people going through either one and having some experience with both for my own self, I would say that both withdrawal syndromes are comparable. There are some slight differences but overall any withdrawal off any psych med has way more in common with other withdrawals off other psych meds than not.

 

The variation in the experience seems to correlate more highly with personal elements and the person's particular history, especially how many drugs they've been on, which drugs in particular, how long, how many times they changed to different drugs, how many times they changed doses or quit or tried to quit, how old they were when they started, how old they are now, how sensitive they are to changes in meds...things like that. 

 

The key point here is that Gotschke is arguing that there's no reason to say benzos cause dependence and SSRIs don't. That particular little quibble has caused people all kinds of problems, particularly with getting enough meds to do a long safe taper, because doctors are so sure that "use" and "abuse" of benzos are pretty much the same thing, and they don't have that prejudice with SSRIs. And then again, doctors are more likely to recognize the validity of benzo withdrawal and not believe that SSRI withdrawal can be just as bad and just as serious for people. (Mostly though it sure seems to me that when it comes to psych drugs most doctors are mostly clueless.)

Started on Prozac and Xanax in 1992 for PTSD after an assault. One drug led to more, the usual story. Got sicker and sicker, but believed I needed the drugs for my "underlying disease". Long story...lost everything. Life savings, home, physical and mental health, relationships, friendships, ability to work, everything. Amitryptiline, Prozac, bupropion, buspirone, flurazepam, diazepam, alprazolam, Paxil, citalopram, lamotrigine, gabapentin...probably more I've forgotten. 

Started multidrug taper in Feb 2010.  Doing a very slow microtaper, down to low doses now and feeling SO much better, getting my old personality and my brain back! Able to work full time, have a full social life, and cope with stress better than ever. Not perfect, but much better. After 23 lost years. Big Pharma has a lot to answer for. And "medicine for profit" is just not a great idea.

 

Feb 15 2010:  300 mg Neurontin  200 Lamictal   10 Celexa      0.65 Xanax   and 5 mg Ambien 

Feb 10 2014:   62 Lamictal    1.1 Celexa         0.135 Xanax    1.8 Valium

Feb 10 2015:   50 Lamictal      0.875 Celexa    0.11 Xanax      1.5 Valium

Feb 15 2016:   47.5 Lamictal   0.75 Celexa      0.0875 Xanax    1.42 Valium    

2/12/20             12                       0.045               0.007                   1 

May 2021            7                       0.01                  0.0037                1

Feb 2022            6                      0!!!                     0.00167               0.98                2.5 mg Ambien

Oct 2022       4.5 mg Lamictal    (off Celexa, off Xanax)   0.95 Valium    Ambien, 1/4 to 1/2 of a 5 mg tablet 

 

I'm not a doctor. Any advice I give is just my civilian opinion.

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Doctors are clueless and patients often are too. I used to smoke crack and I stopped that without much trouble but it'd be silly for me to insist breaking cocaine dependence is easy when addiction to cocaine has killed more young people per addict capita than just about anything. Same true here. One being easy for one person to quit is pretty meaningless in the case of ssri v benzo.

"Well my ship's been split to splinters and it's sinking fast
I'm drowning in the poison, got no future, got no past
But my heart is not weary, it's light and it's free
I've got nothing but affection for all those who sailed with me.

Everybody's moving, if they ain't already there
Everybody's got to move somewhere
Stick with me baby, stick with me anyhow
Things should start to get interesting right about now."

- Zimmerman

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  • 2 weeks later...

OK. We can argue about which withdrawal is worse but it serves no purpose. Each person is very different. For example, I got off benzos in 11 months. It was hideous but no leftovers...all done for several years. BUT I thought Paxil would be a piece of cake..hahaha, after much problem solving, I figure it will take about 5 YEARS, to withdraw. No kidding! I have to drop approximately .05% every 3-4 weeks or longer. If I don't go this slow, I end up very very messed up, ready for the nut house. Don't be afraid to go as slow as you must. It isn't shameful and there is nothing wrong with you, you just have a sensitive neurology and it needs to adjust at each dosage drop.

Took 11 months to kick Benzo? On Paxil for ten years 20mg? Got down to 7.5mg easily but hit a wall.Tried to lower it but kept hitting walls and updosing until..Now liquid Paxil4/3/2013 Took over 6 months to reach 7.2mg =3.6mL5/3/13 7.0 mg = 3.5 mL8/13. 3 mL or 6.6 mg7/5/2014 took a year to get to 6.1 but am stable there and still going.<p>12/2014 now at 6.05mL The good news, no or almost no withdrawal symptoms.

Have MS now so every little drop is difficult with symptoms. Not fun!

Stopped withdrawing at 6mg.

Got too hard with MS and is taking way too long...years, over 10. I may not be here that long and didn't want to spend my entire life in withdrawal so gave up at 6mg. Got a compound pharmacy to make the exact amount.

I have to squelch the feeling that "they" won! Really sucks but oh well, I have my life back.

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Anyone who doesn't know SSRI withdrawal can be as bad as benzo withdrawal hasn't been paying attention.

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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Anyone who doesn't know SSRI withdrawal can be as bad as benzo withdrawal hasn't been paying attention.

SSRI's or any of the psychotropics for that matter.

As always, LISTEN TO YOUR BODY! A proud supporter of the 10% (or slower) rule.

 

Requip - 3/16 ZERO  Total time on 25 years.

 

Lyrica: 8/15 ZERO Total time on 7 or 8 yrs.

BENZO FREE 10/13 (started tapering 7/10)  Total time on 25 years.

 

Read my intro thread here, and check the about me section.  "No matter how cynical you get, it's almost impossible to keep up." Lily Tomlin

 

 

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