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NewBeginning: my withdrawal story


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Newbeginning

I have been on antidepressants 3 times in the last 14 years. Usually would take them for 6-8 months and then taper off with no problems.

 

The last time I took them (2011), I needed the maximum dose of sertraline (200mg) to get an effect. After a year on it, I felt it was time to stop. The nurse insisted I had to keep taking or risked relapsing into severe depression. I tried several times to bring up the topic to no avail.

 

After about 1.5 years on it, I cut the dose on my own to 150mg and felt ok for 2 weeks. But after I started having a dull headache that lasted hours, dizziness, serious cognitive difficulties and severe fatigue. I could not function and needed excessive sleep (12-14 hours/day). Tried increasing it again and the more severe symptoms got better, but the headache and flu-like malaise persisted for at least a week.

 

I consulted with a psychiatrist. We tried effexor and cut on zoloft. Had no withdrawal symptoms, as I was cross-tapering. I was completely off the zoloft. Only took Effexor for about a month on a low dose (never past 150 mg) because it never helped with the symptoms of Atypical Depression I had.

 

When I started tapering down the effexor, I got the dizziness and extreme fatigue again. When I would fall asleep, I found it extremely hard to get up. Literally felt pinned to the bed. Woke up more tired than I went to bed, even after 12 hours of sleep. Woke up dizzy and with a headache. I increased dose again and we're doing a slower taper over 21 days. The starting dose is 37.5mg.

 

I experience dull headache that lasts hours, flu-like malaise, muscle tension, fatigue every day (with the occassional good day of no symptoms and the occassional day of much worse symptoms). I have learned to cope the best I can with these symptoms, but the fatigue gets unbearable at times. I sleep 12 hours at night and still feel tired and even drowsy during the day. I'm in grad school and it's hard and often impossible to study or even make it to class.

 

I was supposed to decrease dose to 25 mg after 10 days on 37.5mg, but since I still have symptoms, I'll ask dr if I can postpone the decreasing...

 

Im also concerned that the increasing apathy Ive had over the last 7 years might be due to antidepressant use. It could also be depression, but if it is SSRI use, its a very scary symptom that is not going away (has not gone away for more than 3 months in over 14 years since I started having depression/taking SSRIs).

 

The only reason I can semi-function today is because I take nuvigil (a stimulant) 3 or 4 times/week. Without that, I can't do homework or clean or shower. Im extremely dysfunctional. I don't rely only on the stimulant though. I use it to give me energy and motivation and alertness that I use to do positive things, which improve my mood and further help with apathy.

  • SSRIs 3-4 times in the last 14 years; would take them for 6-8 months and then taper off under dr supervision with no problems.
  • Med history prior to 2015: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6012-newbeginning-my-withdrawal-story/?p=267313#entry267313
  • 04/2015: Prozac decreased to 15mg over last 3 months; effexor held steady at 8mg; current effexor XR: 20 beads of a 75mg capsule per day (about 8mg)
  • 06/2015: Prozac: 10mg; effexor XR: 19 beads (about 7.5mg); 07/2015: Prozac: 8.5mg; effexor 18 beads; 08/2015: Prozac: 7.5mg; effexor: 17 beads
  • End of August: withdrawal: depressive symptoms, crying spells. Realized I was measuring prozac dose wrong for the last 2 months. Reinstated Prozac 8.5mg; Kept effexor at 17 beads. Stabilized in 5 weeks.
  • 10/2015: Prozac: 8.5mg; effexor: 17 beads
  • 11/2015: Prozac: 1.9ml (7.5mg); effexor: 16 beads
  • 12/2015: Prozac: 1.6ml; effexor xr: 16 beads. Withdrawal: neuroemotions
  • 01/2016: prozac: 1.6ml; effexor xr: reinstated 17 beads, withdrawal improved; 02/2016: Prozac 1.5ml; Effexor: 17 beads; 03/2016: Prozac 1.3ml(5mg); Effexor: 17 beads (7mg)-withdrawal (flu-like malaise, lightheaded, drowsy) started end of March. April 15: reinstated Prozac 1.5ml. Stabilized. 2 weeks ok. End of April: Withdrawal (neuroemotions). Eventually stabilized in April-May. Apathy improved.
  • 3 month hold until August. August 2016: apathy came back;

  • October 2016: updosed to Prozac 1.6ml. Bad reaction: anxiety, depression. End of October: went down Prozac 1.5ml. Stabilized over several weeks.

  • Dec 9: tried macca for energy: anxiety/depression. Improved over several weeks, but not completely resolved.

  • Dec 31: cut Effexor 5% to 16 beads. After 9 days: withdrawal anxiety, depression; tried updosing to 17 beads Feb 7 but anxiety got worse; went down to 16 beads

    May 2017: Anxiety improved; severe depression continues

  • September 2017: finally stabilized!!!!!! 09/07/2017-12/31/2017: hold

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Hi Newbeginnings.  Your doctor is doing you a great disservice by recommending

such a fast taper from effexor.  Your nervous system has been destabilised with all 

the changes and needs to settle down again.  Because you are suffering withdrawal

symptoms on 37.5  it seems you might benefit from an increase in dose . You went

very quickly from 150 to 37.5 I'm not surprised you are having withdrawal symptoms!

I would go back up to 75 and see how that goes, I suspect that you will feel a little better

in a week or so. ( I am also tapering effexor ). 

 

I just cannot understand why a doctor would switch you to effexor in order to taper as it is

one of the hardest drugs to withdraw from! 

 

The apathy you feel is a side effect of SSRI's but should get better as you taper, as long as

you taper slowly. Go too fast and the withdrawal symptoms are much worse that the side effects! 

 

This will get better, and you will be able to function again, it just takes time. 

I know nothing about nuvigil so will not comment on that one, if it helps, then it helps! 

 

Here is the topic for tapering effexor  http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/272-tapering-off-effexor-venlafaxine/

 

We recommend no more than 10% reduction of the current dose. http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1024-why-taper-by-10-of-my-dosage/

**I am not a medical professional, if in doubt please consult a doctor with withdrawal knowledge.

 

 

Different drugs occasionally (mostly benzos) 1976 - 1981 (no problem)

1993 - 2002 in and out of hospital. every type of drug + ECT. Staring with seroxat

2002  effexor. 

Tapered  March 2012 to March 2013, ending with 5 beads.

Withdrawal April 2013 . Reinstated 5 beads reduced to 4 beads May 2013

Restarted taper  Nov 2013  

OFF EFFEXOR Feb 2015    :D 

Tapered atenolol and omeprazole Dec 2013 - May 2014

 

Tapering tramadol, Feb 2015 100mg , March 2015 50mg  

 July 2017 30mg.  May 15 2018 25mg

Taking fish oil, magnesium, B12, folic acid, bilberry eyebright for eye pressure. 

 

My story http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/4199-hello-mammap-checking-in/page-33

 

Lesson learned, slow down taper at lower doses. Taper no more than 10% of CURRENT dose if possible

 

 

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Newbeginning

Hi Newbeginnings.  Your doctor is doing you a great disservice by recommending

such a fast taper from effexor.  Your nervous system has been destabilised with all 

the changes and needs to settle down again.  Because you are suffering withdrawal

symptoms on 37.5  it seems you might benefit from an increase in dose . You went

very quickly from 150 to 37.5 I'm not surprised you are having withdrawal symptoms!

I would go back up to 75 and see how that goes, I suspect that you will feel a little better

in a week or so. ( I am also tapering effexor ). 

 

I just cannot understand why a doctor would switch you to effexor in order to taper as it is

one of the hardest drugs to withdraw from! 

 

The apathy you feel is a side effect of SSRI's but should get better as you taper, as long as

you taper slowly. Go too fast and the withdrawal symptoms are much worse that the side effects! 

 

This will get better, and you will be able to function again, it just takes time. 

I know nothing about nuvigil so will not comment on that one, if it helps, then it helps! 

 

Here is the topic for tapering effexor  http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/272-tapering-off-effexor-venlafaxine/

 

We recommend no more than 10% reduction of the current dose. http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1024-why-taper-by-10-of-my-dosage/

 

Hi MammaP!

 

Thanks for the feedback. I appreciate it!

 

Just to clarify, I was not put on effexor to taper from Zoloft. It was to treat atypical depression. However, I was able to taper from zoloft much quicker because I was starting Effexor. Indeed, I had no withdrawal symptoms when switching from zoloft to effexor or even weeks later. Withdrawal started after I tapered down the effexor. Two days after I stopped, to be precise.

 

Your suggestion on 37.5 being too low as a starting dose to taper is wise. It was complicated for me and the dr to figure where to start in the tapering dose because I took effexor for a short time. I was on effexor for only 7 weeks or so. Started at 37.5 for a week, then 75mg for a  week. Tried 150mg and got side effects (drowsiness), so I stayed at 112 for a week. I only took 150 for 2-4 weeks (can't recall!). 

 

Then we decreased by 37.5 every 5 days until I was done with it. When I got the withdrawal, I increased to 75mg and was doing ok. I probably should have started at that dose. I will call the dr and discuss starting at 75mg. Thanks for the suggestion!!

 

Now, if I don't have withdrawal symptoms on 75mg, that means I'm starting at the right dose? How long should I stay on that dose or how do I know it's time to decrease further?

 

I'll read the threads you suggested. Thanks for reaching out and nice to meet you! I hope your healing goes well too. I read you're almost there-congrats! :)

Edited by JanCarol
added tags
  • SSRIs 3-4 times in the last 14 years; would take them for 6-8 months and then taper off under dr supervision with no problems.
  • Med history prior to 2015: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6012-newbeginning-my-withdrawal-story/?p=267313#entry267313
  • 04/2015: Prozac decreased to 15mg over last 3 months; effexor held steady at 8mg; current effexor XR: 20 beads of a 75mg capsule per day (about 8mg)
  • 06/2015: Prozac: 10mg; effexor XR: 19 beads (about 7.5mg); 07/2015: Prozac: 8.5mg; effexor 18 beads; 08/2015: Prozac: 7.5mg; effexor: 17 beads
  • End of August: withdrawal: depressive symptoms, crying spells. Realized I was measuring prozac dose wrong for the last 2 months. Reinstated Prozac 8.5mg; Kept effexor at 17 beads. Stabilized in 5 weeks.
  • 10/2015: Prozac: 8.5mg; effexor: 17 beads
  • 11/2015: Prozac: 1.9ml (7.5mg); effexor: 16 beads
  • 12/2015: Prozac: 1.6ml; effexor xr: 16 beads. Withdrawal: neuroemotions
  • 01/2016: prozac: 1.6ml; effexor xr: reinstated 17 beads, withdrawal improved; 02/2016: Prozac 1.5ml; Effexor: 17 beads; 03/2016: Prozac 1.3ml(5mg); Effexor: 17 beads (7mg)-withdrawal (flu-like malaise, lightheaded, drowsy) started end of March. April 15: reinstated Prozac 1.5ml. Stabilized. 2 weeks ok. End of April: Withdrawal (neuroemotions). Eventually stabilized in April-May. Apathy improved.
  • 3 month hold until August. August 2016: apathy came back;

  • October 2016: updosed to Prozac 1.6ml. Bad reaction: anxiety, depression. End of October: went down Prozac 1.5ml. Stabilized over several weeks.

  • Dec 9: tried macca for energy: anxiety/depression. Improved over several weeks, but not completely resolved.

  • Dec 31: cut Effexor 5% to 16 beads. After 9 days: withdrawal anxiety, depression; tried updosing to 17 beads Feb 7 but anxiety got worse; went down to 16 beads

    May 2017: Anxiety improved; severe depression continues

  • September 2017: finally stabilized!!!!!! 09/07/2017-12/31/2017: hold

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  • Moderator Emeritus

I see, sorry for the misunderstanding.  If you are ok with 75 mg of effexor I would stay there for several weeks

to allow your nervous system to stabilise. Once you are stable you can start  safe taper. 

 

What the doctors don't seem to know is that SSRI's actually cause depression! I was 20 years on and off 

many psychiatric drugs and now feel more alive than I have in many years, many many other people report

the same thing.  I have been looking at ways to deal with the depression that led to starting on the drugs merry

go round and I will NEVER take an anti depressant again!  Many things can cause depression so looking for 

and changing the cause is much much better than going down the drugs route. Some medications, like PPI's

for stomach acid, block the absorption of vitamins which can cause depression. Something so simple! 

 

Here you will find topics on dealing with depression without drugs. http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1112-non-drug-techniques-to-cope-with-emotional-symptoms/

**I am not a medical professional, if in doubt please consult a doctor with withdrawal knowledge.

 

 

Different drugs occasionally (mostly benzos) 1976 - 1981 (no problem)

1993 - 2002 in and out of hospital. every type of drug + ECT. Staring with seroxat

2002  effexor. 

Tapered  March 2012 to March 2013, ending with 5 beads.

Withdrawal April 2013 . Reinstated 5 beads reduced to 4 beads May 2013

Restarted taper  Nov 2013  

OFF EFFEXOR Feb 2015    :D 

Tapered atenolol and omeprazole Dec 2013 - May 2014

 

Tapering tramadol, Feb 2015 100mg , March 2015 50mg  

 July 2017 30mg.  May 15 2018 25mg

Taking fish oil, magnesium, B12, folic acid, bilberry eyebright for eye pressure. 

 

My story http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/4199-hello-mammap-checking-in/page-33

 

Lesson learned, slow down taper at lower doses. Taper no more than 10% of CURRENT dose if possible

 

 

Link to post
Newbeginning

I see, sorry for the misunderstanding.  If you are ok with 75 mg of effexor I would stay there for several weeks

to allow your nervous system to stabilise. Once you are stable you can start  safe taper. 

 

What the doctors don't seem to know is that SSRI's actually cause depression! I was 20 years on and off 

many psychiatric drugs and now feel more alive than I have in many years, many many other people report

the same thing.  I have been looking at ways to deal with the depression that led to starting on the drugs merry

go round and I will NEVER take an anti depressant again!  Many things can cause depression so looking for 

and changing the cause is much much better than going down the drugs route. Some medications, like PPI's

for stomach acid, block the absorption of vitamins which can cause depression. Something so simple! 

 

Here you will find topics on dealing with depression without drugs. http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1112-non-drug-techniques-to-cope-with-emotional-symptoms/

 

Yes. Thanks for helping me realize I was putting myself through more pain than needed by starting at a lower dose. I was hoping things would get better if I gave it time, but after 14 days and the worsening of symptoms due to stress, I needed to change course. You gave me a fresh perspective-thanks!

 

Thanks for sharing the link too. Will check it out!

 

The issue you bring up about dealing with depression without drugs is not an easy one-unfortunately. From personal experience, I think antidepressants can help in severe depression. When you're crawling out of your skin anxious and/or suicidal, the sedation can be a life saver. However, I don't think they do much for moderate depression or for atypical (non-melancholic) depression. The research supports this too, although the answer is not clear cut.

 

When taken for a few months at the lowest dose needed for 1-3 episodes of severe depression in a person's lifetime, antidepressants may have more benefit than risk for many people. However, long term use is another story. Many people take them for years because they are afraid to know what would happen if they stopped. They often are still depressed, but live under the deluision that they would be more depressed without the pill. Apathy and depression further contribute to blinding people and preventing them from taking action to make things better or from thinking critically about their treatment.

 

There are no studies of the long term safety and effectiveness of antidepressants or of their long term effects on the brain. The few available studies just follow people up for a few years at most. There might be a handful that cover longer periods of time, but that is not enough to recommend people stay on these chemicals for years and years with no end in sight.

 

As per non-drug solutions, it really depends on each person and on the specific issues underlying the depression. I've tried all kinds of therapy for years and most of it did not help.Nutrition, exercise, spirituality, meditation, supplements, relationships/support, etc. can all help, but I've had symptoms of severe (or even moderate) depression that would not respond to any of those things or that would be incapacitating enough to prevent me from engaging in those things ,no matter how hard I wanted to and tried.

 

It doesn't mean those things don't help. In my own case, it depends on how bad I am or on what are the underlying issues. Sometimes they hep. Other times they don't. They're certainly not a "cure". More like a toolbox that I try to use, when I can--and sometimes I can't even try them because the symptoms prevent me from doing so.

 

The bottomline is that we know very little about mental health and mental illness. It's a lot of trial and error.

 

The good news is people recover all the time and often it's like having a thousand keys and hoping one will open. I hear stories about people getting it at key 500 or 700 or 999 and it's encouraging. Sometimes age alone can change things. People recover from mental illness (even personality disorders) with age, often after age 50 or so. Maturity? Hormones? Learning? Less social pressure to fulfill certain expectations? Who knows. It happens though and it's well documented.

 

Just a lot of random thoughts...take care :)

  • SSRIs 3-4 times in the last 14 years; would take them for 6-8 months and then taper off under dr supervision with no problems.
  • Med history prior to 2015: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6012-newbeginning-my-withdrawal-story/?p=267313#entry267313
  • 04/2015: Prozac decreased to 15mg over last 3 months; effexor held steady at 8mg; current effexor XR: 20 beads of a 75mg capsule per day (about 8mg)
  • 06/2015: Prozac: 10mg; effexor XR: 19 beads (about 7.5mg); 07/2015: Prozac: 8.5mg; effexor 18 beads; 08/2015: Prozac: 7.5mg; effexor: 17 beads
  • End of August: withdrawal: depressive symptoms, crying spells. Realized I was measuring prozac dose wrong for the last 2 months. Reinstated Prozac 8.5mg; Kept effexor at 17 beads. Stabilized in 5 weeks.
  • 10/2015: Prozac: 8.5mg; effexor: 17 beads
  • 11/2015: Prozac: 1.9ml (7.5mg); effexor: 16 beads
  • 12/2015: Prozac: 1.6ml; effexor xr: 16 beads. Withdrawal: neuroemotions
  • 01/2016: prozac: 1.6ml; effexor xr: reinstated 17 beads, withdrawal improved; 02/2016: Prozac 1.5ml; Effexor: 17 beads; 03/2016: Prozac 1.3ml(5mg); Effexor: 17 beads (7mg)-withdrawal (flu-like malaise, lightheaded, drowsy) started end of March. April 15: reinstated Prozac 1.5ml. Stabilized. 2 weeks ok. End of April: Withdrawal (neuroemotions). Eventually stabilized in April-May. Apathy improved.
  • 3 month hold until August. August 2016: apathy came back;

  • October 2016: updosed to Prozac 1.6ml. Bad reaction: anxiety, depression. End of October: went down Prozac 1.5ml. Stabilized over several weeks.

  • Dec 9: tried macca for energy: anxiety/depression. Improved over several weeks, but not completely resolved.

  • Dec 31: cut Effexor 5% to 16 beads. After 9 days: withdrawal anxiety, depression; tried updosing to 17 beads Feb 7 but anxiety got worse; went down to 16 beads

    May 2017: Anxiety improved; severe depression continues

  • September 2017: finally stabilized!!!!!! 09/07/2017-12/31/2017: hold

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Welcome

I feel for you as i feel exactly how you are regarding the symptoms of withdrawals.

I am only able to take a few classes a semester due to the vertigo, fatigue, headaches etc.

I hope you listen to what your body is telling you and go much slower than what the doctor is saying.

 

Im going mega slow but still having many symptoms.

Started Effexor August 2012 Sept'12-150mg=extreme anxiety Oct'12 cut half-75mg severe wds

Feb 2013 68.5mg. Mar'13- 65mg. Apr'13-59mg. May'13-57mg. June '13-52mg Aug'13 49.75mg.

Sep'13-48.75. Nov'13-47mg Dec'13-45..5mg

May 2014 42mg. Jun'14 40mg (depressive mood started). Aug'14 -40mg/ started brintellix 2.5mg

Oct '14 -39 Nov'14 36.89 Dec'14 34.45

Jan 2015- 31 Feb'15 29mg. Mar'15 26.72. Apr'15 24.48. May'15 22.31mg. Jun'15 20.30mg

Aug'15-18.89. Oct'15 16.96. Nov/16- 16.10. Dec/15- 15mg

Jan 2016-14.22. May'16 11.45. Aug'16-9.60. Sep/16- 8.88mg. Oct/16- 8.39mg. Nov/16- 8.13. Dec/16- 7.89

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Newbeginning

Welcome

I feel for you as i feel exactly how you are regarding the symptoms of withdrawals.

I am only able to take a few classes a semester due to the vertigo, fatigue, headaches etc.

I hope you listen to what your body is telling you and go much slower than what the doctor is saying.

 

Im going mega slow but still having many symptoms.

 

Thanks Lexy! I'm done with courses, but I audit a couple and work as a research assistant. I'm also supposed to start dissertation work.

 

If I understood your description correctly, you were on effexor about 5 months and on any antidepressant about 7 months before you started tapering down. You were never on a very high dose of effexor. I presume you're very sensitive to these medications, and you're wise to taper very slowly.

 

I'm sorry to hear your symptoms are so disruptive that you can't take as many classes as you'd like. I'm falling behind in school too.  However, I believe in avoiding comparing ourselves with others or with arbitrary standards. We're doing the best we can for our current situation, and that is all that we can expect from ourselves at any given time. Don't you think? :)

 

I will follow your advice and listen to my body and make sure the dr understands that I may need to take it more slowly. In his experience (and he's seen many patients), the moderately fast taper works well, but everyone is different and I am obviously having some issues now.

 

In the past, I was able to take antidepressants and stop with no problem. I did it at least 3 times that I remember. It is only this time that I took a very high dose for a much longer period of time that I ran into trouble. I clearly feel my nervous system has changed and is not reacting the same to these meds.

 

I hope you will recover soon!

  • SSRIs 3-4 times in the last 14 years; would take them for 6-8 months and then taper off under dr supervision with no problems.
  • Med history prior to 2015: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6012-newbeginning-my-withdrawal-story/?p=267313#entry267313
  • 04/2015: Prozac decreased to 15mg over last 3 months; effexor held steady at 8mg; current effexor XR: 20 beads of a 75mg capsule per day (about 8mg)
  • 06/2015: Prozac: 10mg; effexor XR: 19 beads (about 7.5mg); 07/2015: Prozac: 8.5mg; effexor 18 beads; 08/2015: Prozac: 7.5mg; effexor: 17 beads
  • End of August: withdrawal: depressive symptoms, crying spells. Realized I was measuring prozac dose wrong for the last 2 months. Reinstated Prozac 8.5mg; Kept effexor at 17 beads. Stabilized in 5 weeks.
  • 10/2015: Prozac: 8.5mg; effexor: 17 beads
  • 11/2015: Prozac: 1.9ml (7.5mg); effexor: 16 beads
  • 12/2015: Prozac: 1.6ml; effexor xr: 16 beads. Withdrawal: neuroemotions
  • 01/2016: prozac: 1.6ml; effexor xr: reinstated 17 beads, withdrawal improved; 02/2016: Prozac 1.5ml; Effexor: 17 beads; 03/2016: Prozac 1.3ml(5mg); Effexor: 17 beads (7mg)-withdrawal (flu-like malaise, lightheaded, drowsy) started end of March. April 15: reinstated Prozac 1.5ml. Stabilized. 2 weeks ok. End of April: Withdrawal (neuroemotions). Eventually stabilized in April-May. Apathy improved.
  • 3 month hold until August. August 2016: apathy came back;

  • October 2016: updosed to Prozac 1.6ml. Bad reaction: anxiety, depression. End of October: went down Prozac 1.5ml. Stabilized over several weeks.

  • Dec 9: tried macca for energy: anxiety/depression. Improved over several weeks, but not completely resolved.

  • Dec 31: cut Effexor 5% to 16 beads. After 9 days: withdrawal anxiety, depression; tried updosing to 17 beads Feb 7 but anxiety got worse; went down to 16 beads

    May 2017: Anxiety improved; severe depression continues

  • September 2017: finally stabilized!!!!!! 09/07/2017-12/31/2017: hold

Link to post

I was on Effexor for 6 weeks at 150mgs and has taken me 15 months to get to 44mgs. Before the Effexor I had tried buspar, Zoloft, Prozac each for a week. I had never taken ADs before that.

Effexor never made me feel better, quite the contrary, anxiety skyrocketed and made me afraid to leave my home. When I decided to stop, I cut the dose in half (75mg) became sick with wds all this time.

 

Be good to yourself most of all patience.

Started Effexor August 2012 Sept'12-150mg=extreme anxiety Oct'12 cut half-75mg severe wds

Feb 2013 68.5mg. Mar'13- 65mg. Apr'13-59mg. May'13-57mg. June '13-52mg Aug'13 49.75mg.

Sep'13-48.75. Nov'13-47mg Dec'13-45..5mg

May 2014 42mg. Jun'14 40mg (depressive mood started). Aug'14 -40mg/ started brintellix 2.5mg

Oct '14 -39 Nov'14 36.89 Dec'14 34.45

Jan 2015- 31 Feb'15 29mg. Mar'15 26.72. Apr'15 24.48. May'15 22.31mg. Jun'15 20.30mg

Aug'15-18.89. Oct'15 16.96. Nov/16- 16.10. Dec/15- 15mg

Jan 2016-14.22. May'16 11.45. Aug'16-9.60. Sep/16- 8.88mg. Oct/16- 8.39mg. Nov/16- 8.13. Dec/16- 7.89

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Newbeginning

It's odd they had you in each med for just a week. I presume the side effects were unbearable?

 

I think it's clear you're very sensitive to psych meds. I'm sorry you're having to go through so much in order to learn that about your body and heal from it.

 

Do you get worse symptoms when under extra stress? I had a couple of days of no symtoms and then after a day of stress I woke up with worse withdrawal.

 

I have a deadline next Tuesday and I'm too tired, have flu-like symptoms and have difficulty focusing and doing intellectually demanding work. I've had an extreme need for sleep (12 hours +) for the last several days. Caffeine and stimulants just keep me awake and make me more tired. They don't work as well when the withdrawal symptoms are worse.

 

Weirdly enough, when the withdrawal symptoms are mild or when I'm not going through withdrawal, stimulants do help with focus and fatigue and apathy.

 

Since you're in school too, would you mind sharing how you handle deadlines when you're sick? I could ask for an extension and say I'm sick, but this is unpredictable and chronic/recurrent. I can't keep making "excuses" saying I'm sick because it won't make sense to others.

 

I was so stressed out today about my inability to do my work that I thought about overdosing on pills so I can be admitted to the hospital. That way I'll have a "real" disease that I can use to explain my inability to work. No shame,no guilt,no stress. Unlike depression or withdrawal :(

 

I feel miserable and so impotent.

  • SSRIs 3-4 times in the last 14 years; would take them for 6-8 months and then taper off under dr supervision with no problems.
  • Med history prior to 2015: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6012-newbeginning-my-withdrawal-story/?p=267313#entry267313
  • 04/2015: Prozac decreased to 15mg over last 3 months; effexor held steady at 8mg; current effexor XR: 20 beads of a 75mg capsule per day (about 8mg)
  • 06/2015: Prozac: 10mg; effexor XR: 19 beads (about 7.5mg); 07/2015: Prozac: 8.5mg; effexor 18 beads; 08/2015: Prozac: 7.5mg; effexor: 17 beads
  • End of August: withdrawal: depressive symptoms, crying spells. Realized I was measuring prozac dose wrong for the last 2 months. Reinstated Prozac 8.5mg; Kept effexor at 17 beads. Stabilized in 5 weeks.
  • 10/2015: Prozac: 8.5mg; effexor: 17 beads
  • 11/2015: Prozac: 1.9ml (7.5mg); effexor: 16 beads
  • 12/2015: Prozac: 1.6ml; effexor xr: 16 beads. Withdrawal: neuroemotions
  • 01/2016: prozac: 1.6ml; effexor xr: reinstated 17 beads, withdrawal improved; 02/2016: Prozac 1.5ml; Effexor: 17 beads; 03/2016: Prozac 1.3ml(5mg); Effexor: 17 beads (7mg)-withdrawal (flu-like malaise, lightheaded, drowsy) started end of March. April 15: reinstated Prozac 1.5ml. Stabilized. 2 weeks ok. End of April: Withdrawal (neuroemotions). Eventually stabilized in April-May. Apathy improved.
  • 3 month hold until August. August 2016: apathy came back;

  • October 2016: updosed to Prozac 1.6ml. Bad reaction: anxiety, depression. End of October: went down Prozac 1.5ml. Stabilized over several weeks.

  • Dec 9: tried macca for energy: anxiety/depression. Improved over several weeks, but not completely resolved.

  • Dec 31: cut Effexor 5% to 16 beads. After 9 days: withdrawal anxiety, depression; tried updosing to 17 beads Feb 7 but anxiety got worse; went down to 16 beads

    May 2017: Anxiety improved; severe depression continues

  • September 2017: finally stabilized!!!!!! 09/07/2017-12/31/2017: hold

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi NB--

 

I agree with the recommendation to go up a bit in dose. If you feel good about 75 mg then try that. Be aware, however, that withdrawal symptoms will not suddenly vanish completely. Usually what happens when people have cut too much and gotten sick and they then go back up is they experience initial relief and then get hit with more withdrawal symptoms which come and go in a "waves and windows" kind of pattern. If you hang in there and don't change anything, your CNS will gradually find its way to homeostasis and you will stabilize. Once you've been pretty consistently stable for three weeks or so, you can begin a slow taper with cuts of no more than 10%.

 

You're probably still experiencing effects from discontinuing the Zoloft as well. Withdrawal symptoms aren't linear and don't come on all at once; they unfold over months with ups and downs.  There's a lot of overlap between the different drugs but they also have differences, so there's some adjustment that has to happen with that as well.

 

Unfortunately it's pretty common for people to be able to go on and off a few times without too much trouble, and then to run out of "slack" at some point. Usually from what I've seen, once that point is reached, people will continue to be very sensitive to med changes and psych meds in general (or anything that messes with neurotransmitters) and will need to be careful from then on. As Alto says, our nervous system isn't made of rubber.

 

You sound pretty well informed about the difficulties with long term AD use, something many physicians don't even know about.  I agree, there's some evidence that short term emergency use of ADs can be helpful in acute severe depression, but I think it's always got to be balanced with the risk of making the depression more chronic and relapsing than it otherwise might be. The course of unmedicated depression overall tends to be self-resolving and much less prone to relapse over time than in people who are medicated. At least as far as we can tell with the limited data we have.

 

I highly recommend the book Anatomy of an Epidemic by Robert Whitaker, if you haven't read it yet--it's great for getting historical and sociological context about the use of these drugs, as well as information about what we actually do know and what we don't about them.

 

I commend your sensible approach and your willingness to listen to your body and consider a much slower taper. Every time I tried to get off ADs over the 20 years I was on them, I ended up suicidal and in terrible anguish and suffering. On my current extremely slow taper, although I've had some rough times during periods of withdrawal symptoms after cuts, that's always leveled out and I have had no "relapse" of my "underlying disease" at all--in fact I'm doing great. I think now that most of the nasty depressive episodes I've experienced in my life were iatrogenic.  I think a LOT of the "relapse" that people get (especially when it hits three to nine months or so after quitting an AD) is actually part of the withdrawal and brain repair process and would pass if allowed to, but they end up getting put back on meds again, and so it goes on and on.

 

Of course, that's just me, and I'm not everybody and certainly not you. But that's how it's gone for me. I hope you'll enjoy the same success. 

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

 

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

Link to post
Newbeginning

Hi NB--

 

I agree with the recommendation to go up a bit in dose. If you feel good about 75 mg then try that. Be aware, however, that withdrawal symptoms will not suddenly vanish completely. Usually what happens when people have cut too much and gotten sick and they then go back up is they experience initial relief and then get hit with more withdrawal symptoms which come and go in a "waves and windows" kind of pattern. If you hang in there and don't change anything, your CNS will gradually find its way to homeostasis and you will stabilize. Once you've been pretty consistently stable for three weeks or so, you can begin a slow taper with cuts of no more than 10%.

 

You're probably still experiencing effects from discontinuing the Zoloft as well. Withdrawal symptoms aren't linear and don't come on all at once; they unfold over months with ups and downs.  There's a lot of overlap between the different drugs but they also have differences, so there's some adjustment that has to happen with that as well.

 

Unfortunately it's pretty common for people to be able to go on and off a few times without too much trouble, and then to run out of "slack" at some point. Usually from what I've seen, once that point is reached, people will continue to be very sensitive to med changes and psych meds in general (or anything that messes with neurotransmitters) and will need to be careful from then on. As Alto says, our nervous system isn't made of rubber.

 

You sound pretty well informed about the difficulties with long term AD use, something many physicians don't even know about.  I agree, there's some evidence that short term emergency use of ADs can be helpful in acute severe depression, but I think it's always got to be balanced with the risk of making the depression more chronic and relapsing than it otherwise might be. The course of unmedicated depression overall tends to be self-resolving and much less prone to relapse over time than in people who are medicated. At least as far as we can tell with the limited data we have.

 

I highly recommend the book Anatomy of an Epidemic by Robert Whitaker, if you haven't read it yet--it's great for getting historical and sociological context about the use of these drugs, as well as information about what we actually do know and what we don't about them.

 

I commend your sensible approach and your willingness to listen to your body and consider a much slower taper. Every time I tried to get off ADs over the 20 years I was on them, I ended up suicidal and in terrible anguish and suffering. On my current extremely slow taper, although I've had some rough times during periods of withdrawal symptoms after cuts, that's always leveled out and I have had no "relapse" of my "underlying disease" at all--in fact I'm doing great. I think now that most of the nasty depressive episodes I've experienced in my life were iatrogenic.  I think a LOT of the "relapse" that people get (especially when it hits three to nine months or so after quitting an AD) is actually part of the withdrawal and brain repair process and would pass if allowed to, but they end up getting put back on meds again, and so it goes on and on.

 

Of course, that's just me, and I'm not everybody and certainly not you. But that's how it's gone for me. I hope you'll enjoy the same success. 

 

Hi Rhi,

 

Thanks for your reply. I enjoyed reading it. You seem very well informed of the research literature.

 

You bring up many interesting ideas. I'm open to letting my brain heal without antidepressants. However, I know that in cases of severe depression me (and I'd guess most people) don't have the luxury of waiting it out. For one, many people get suicidal. Those that don't, can't work, take care of their kids or do other stuff that just can't wait 4-6 months without things getting really disastrous. If we could just stay home and take care waiting for the severe anxiety to pass, more people would.

 

The other thing is that 4-6 months of insomnia, severe anxiety, little appetite, etc. can't be good for someone's health. The weight loss and toll on the brain can be significant when they last that long.

 

I have read Whitaker's work, but not in enough detail. I should look deeper into that. Whether antidepressant use causes depression to become chronic is still a hypothesis. There is some support for it, but not enough to make any conclusions, in my opinion. Even people who propose that is the case belief that chronicity might only result from chronic antidepressant use, high doses and/or continued use of these meds when the person is no longer responding to them. 

 

The bottomline to me is that we need to be a lot more cautious in using these meds and reserve them to the most severe cases, and only for the shortest time lowest dose we can get away with. This is exactly the opposite of how SSRIs are prescribed nowadays. My nurse even told me I had to take them indefinitely or I would likely relapse into severe depression (which I knew was BS because I had taken them 3 times before throughout my life and weaned off with no problems).

 

I have friends who take them for years and years as "prevention" or because they think they "might" be helping, eventhough they still suffer from chronic moderate depression. Little do they know that chronic and especially unproductive use of these meds just messes up your brain even more--which seems pretty logical to anyone who cares to think critically about their effect on the brain (and how much we don't know about the effect!).

 

Anyway, I got up to 75mg for a few days and called the doctor. He said I had 2 options: taper down extremely slow by dissolving small fractions of the pill in liquid; or take 20mg of prozac to minimize withdrawal symptoms and continue tapering effexor at the same rate. Then once I'm off the effexor, I can taper off prozac, which is easier to wean yourself from. He said the second option is easier and more tolerable and I agree--so I'm going with that.

 

I have a feeling he'll want me to taper from prozac a lot faster than 10% every 3-4 weeks. Once it gets to that, I'll have to discuss a slower taper with  him, or try his approach and if I'm not doing well, then I can show him why I need a slower taper.

 

The funny thing is that when I went up to 75mg for 3 days, I did not feel much better. I went down to 35mg again to start the "prozac taper", but took 35 mg for 2-3 days without prozac because I couldn't get to the pharmacy. I thought I would get worse, but in fact I feel better.

 

I realize the symptoms vary in severity over time, but it doesn't seem logical that the better days would come after decreasing the dose. The only things that have changed for me were that I got lots of sleep and citrus juice, as well as natural allergy meds, so I'm wondering if some of my symptoms were due to allergies or a virus? I think if they return I'll be getting checked to make sure I don't have a viral infection, since the symptoms look a lot like withdrawal.

 

I'm sharing my experience, in case someone else might get some ideas on how to address these symptoms. I hope so :)

  • SSRIs 3-4 times in the last 14 years; would take them for 6-8 months and then taper off under dr supervision with no problems.
  • Med history prior to 2015: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6012-newbeginning-my-withdrawal-story/?p=267313#entry267313
  • 04/2015: Prozac decreased to 15mg over last 3 months; effexor held steady at 8mg; current effexor XR: 20 beads of a 75mg capsule per day (about 8mg)
  • 06/2015: Prozac: 10mg; effexor XR: 19 beads (about 7.5mg); 07/2015: Prozac: 8.5mg; effexor 18 beads; 08/2015: Prozac: 7.5mg; effexor: 17 beads
  • End of August: withdrawal: depressive symptoms, crying spells. Realized I was measuring prozac dose wrong for the last 2 months. Reinstated Prozac 8.5mg; Kept effexor at 17 beads. Stabilized in 5 weeks.
  • 10/2015: Prozac: 8.5mg; effexor: 17 beads
  • 11/2015: Prozac: 1.9ml (7.5mg); effexor: 16 beads
  • 12/2015: Prozac: 1.6ml; effexor xr: 16 beads. Withdrawal: neuroemotions
  • 01/2016: prozac: 1.6ml; effexor xr: reinstated 17 beads, withdrawal improved; 02/2016: Prozac 1.5ml; Effexor: 17 beads; 03/2016: Prozac 1.3ml(5mg); Effexor: 17 beads (7mg)-withdrawal (flu-like malaise, lightheaded, drowsy) started end of March. April 15: reinstated Prozac 1.5ml. Stabilized. 2 weeks ok. End of April: Withdrawal (neuroemotions). Eventually stabilized in April-May. Apathy improved.
  • 3 month hold until August. August 2016: apathy came back;

  • October 2016: updosed to Prozac 1.6ml. Bad reaction: anxiety, depression. End of October: went down Prozac 1.5ml. Stabilized over several weeks.

  • Dec 9: tried macca for energy: anxiety/depression. Improved over several weeks, but not completely resolved.

  • Dec 31: cut Effexor 5% to 16 beads. After 9 days: withdrawal anxiety, depression; tried updosing to 17 beads Feb 7 but anxiety got worse; went down to 16 beads

    May 2017: Anxiety improved; severe depression continues

  • September 2017: finally stabilized!!!!!! 09/07/2017-12/31/2017: hold

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  • Administrator

Welcome, Newbeginning

 

....

Anyway, I got up to 75mg for a few days and called the doctor. He said I had 2 options: taper down extremely slow by dissolving small fractions of the pill in liquid; or take 20mg of prozac to minimize withdrawal symptoms and continue tapering effexor at the same rate. Then once I'm off the effexor, I can taper off prozac, which is easier to wean yourself from. He said the second option is easier and more tolerable and I agree--so I'm going with that.

 

I have a feeling he'll want me to taper from prozac a lot faster than 10% every 3-4 weeks. Once it gets to that, I'll have to discuss a slower taper with  him, or try his approach and if I'm not doing well, then I can show him why I need a slower taper.

 

The funny thing is that when I went up to 75mg for 3 days, I did not feel much better. I went down to 35mg again to start the "prozac taper", but took 35 mg for 2-3 days without prozac because I couldn't get to the pharmacy. I thought I would get worse, but in fact I feel better.

 

I realize the symptoms vary in severity over time, but it doesn't seem logical that the better days would come after decreasing the dose. The only things that have changed for me were that I got lots of sleep and citrus juice, as well as natural allergy meds, so I'm wondering if some of my symptoms were due to allergies or a virus? I think if they return I'll be getting checked to make sure I don't have a viral infection, since the symptoms look a lot like withdrawal.....

So, you are now taking 35mg Effexor? With Prozac?

 

Here is our topic on the Prozac switch: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1463-the-prozac-switch-or-bridging-with-prozac/

 

Does your doctor intend to overlap the Prozac and Effexor and then drop the Effexor?

 

Why would he insist on a taper faster than what you might want?

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.

Link to post
Newbeginning

Welcome, Newbeginning

 

....

Anyway, I got up to 75mg for a few days and called the doctor. He said I had 2 options: taper down extremely slow by dissolving small fractions of the pill in liquid; or take 20mg of prozac to minimize withdrawal symptoms and continue tapering effexor at the same rate. Then once I'm off the effexor, I can taper off prozac, which is easier to wean yourself from. He said the second option is easier and more tolerable and I agree--so I'm going with that.

 

I have a feeling he'll want me to taper from prozac a lot faster than 10% every 3-4 weeks. Once it gets to that, I'll have to discuss a slower taper with  him, or try his approach and if I'm not doing well, then I can show him why I need a slower taper.

 

The funny thing is that when I went up to 75mg for 3 days, I did not feel much better. I went down to 35mg again to start the "prozac taper", but took 35 mg for 2-3 days without prozac because I couldn't get to the pharmacy. I thought I would get worse, but in fact I feel better.

 

I realize the symptoms vary in severity over time, but it doesn't seem logical that the better days would come after decreasing the dose. The only things that have changed for me were that I got lots of sleep and citrus juice, as well as natural allergy meds, so I'm wondering if some of my symptoms were due to allergies or a virus? I think if they return I'll be getting checked to make sure I don't have a viral infection, since the symptoms look a lot like withdrawal.....

So, you are now taking 35mg Effexor? With Prozac?

 

Here is our topic on the Prozac switch: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1463-the-prozac-switch-or-bridging-with-prozac/

 

Does your doctor intend to overlap the Prozac and Effexor and then drop the Effexor?

 

Why would he insist on a taper faster than what you might want?

 

 

Yes, that's what I'm doing Alto. Will check the Prozac switch posts-thanks!

 

Yes, he will use prozac to cross-taper from effexor.

 

I don't think he'd be pushy about a quicker taper from prozac, but his initial plan is that once I'm off effexor, the prozac taper will be quicker (50% every 10 days). He proposed that because, in his experience with many patients, it often works fine. If I don't do well with that, I'm sure he'll be ok with a slower taper.

 

I think in his experience people often are able to do well with quicker tapers, but he's told me that, while unusual, withdrawal issues even after a slow taper are not unheard of. It is real. He even made it a point to tell me that he wanted me to know that he knew what I was experiencing was real physical symptoms due to withdrawal.

 

He's a good dr. I'm blessed to recognize one after dealing with a not so great nurse who would consult the pharmacology book every time she prescribed something, would not listen, and knew less about treatments than I did (she told me she never heard about the EMSAM patch when I asked).

  • SSRIs 3-4 times in the last 14 years; would take them for 6-8 months and then taper off under dr supervision with no problems.
  • Med history prior to 2015: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6012-newbeginning-my-withdrawal-story/?p=267313#entry267313
  • 04/2015: Prozac decreased to 15mg over last 3 months; effexor held steady at 8mg; current effexor XR: 20 beads of a 75mg capsule per day (about 8mg)
  • 06/2015: Prozac: 10mg; effexor XR: 19 beads (about 7.5mg); 07/2015: Prozac: 8.5mg; effexor 18 beads; 08/2015: Prozac: 7.5mg; effexor: 17 beads
  • End of August: withdrawal: depressive symptoms, crying spells. Realized I was measuring prozac dose wrong for the last 2 months. Reinstated Prozac 8.5mg; Kept effexor at 17 beads. Stabilized in 5 weeks.
  • 10/2015: Prozac: 8.5mg; effexor: 17 beads
  • 11/2015: Prozac: 1.9ml (7.5mg); effexor: 16 beads
  • 12/2015: Prozac: 1.6ml; effexor xr: 16 beads. Withdrawal: neuroemotions
  • 01/2016: prozac: 1.6ml; effexor xr: reinstated 17 beads, withdrawal improved; 02/2016: Prozac 1.5ml; Effexor: 17 beads; 03/2016: Prozac 1.3ml(5mg); Effexor: 17 beads (7mg)-withdrawal (flu-like malaise, lightheaded, drowsy) started end of March. April 15: reinstated Prozac 1.5ml. Stabilized. 2 weeks ok. End of April: Withdrawal (neuroemotions). Eventually stabilized in April-May. Apathy improved.
  • 3 month hold until August. August 2016: apathy came back;

  • October 2016: updosed to Prozac 1.6ml. Bad reaction: anxiety, depression. End of October: went down Prozac 1.5ml. Stabilized over several weeks.

  • Dec 9: tried macca for energy: anxiety/depression. Improved over several weeks, but not completely resolved.

  • Dec 31: cut Effexor 5% to 16 beads. After 9 days: withdrawal anxiety, depression; tried updosing to 17 beads Feb 7 but anxiety got worse; went down to 16 beads

    May 2017: Anxiety improved; severe depression continues

  • September 2017: finally stabilized!!!!!! 09/07/2017-12/31/2017: hold

Link to post
  • Administrator

Since you've already experienced withdrawal symptoms, if I were you, I'd be very conservative in going off Prozac.

 

You don't want to make a 50% cut and find out it's a terrible mistake. Our nervous systems are not made of rubber, they feel these injuries, and it can take a long time to recover from them.

 

What a lot of people have found here is that withdrawal syndrome makes their nervous systems more sensitive to all kinds of chemical shenanigans.

 

We're all about being safe rather than sorry here. Please treat your nervous system gently.

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.

Link to post
Newbeginning

Thanks  Alto. I have learned here that allowing your system to go into withdrawal and then trying to go back and taper slower can have consequences. I will ask the dr to plan a slower withdrawal from prozac for me, since my system has already shown signs of being more sensitive to med changes.

 

My body does seem to be reacting differently to meds since I experienced withdrawal from zoloft. I did not realize it was due to that before, but in retrospect I can see that I started having more side effects to psych meds after the zoloft withdrawal.

 

It did not happen with the low dose thyroid I tried, but it happened with effexor. I had been on effexor XR years ago with no issues. This time around I was having bad fatigue at a low dose. I don't usually have side effects from meds so I was surprised.

 

Another thing I noticed is that the stimulant I took for fatigue 3 times a week was not working the same anymore. It was less effective and more unpredictable on its effects on mood, concentration and energy. I still take it because I have a severe degree of apathy that basically makes me dysfunctional. I just take it a few times a week or less often and it helps with mood and energy-though not as much or as reliably as it did before I went into withdrawal.

 

If I had known, I'd have never decreased zoloft so drastically on my own :(....but that's what happens when the clinician you're dealing with is not experienced and make decisions about your care based on fear or arrogance, instead of having your best interest at heart.

 

I'm grateful it was not longer than 2 years. My heart goes out to everyone around here dealing with the effects of many years of use, and to those who used them briefly but had the bad luck of being very sensitive.

 

We should all join forces and start a lawsuit. After all, these are years of our lives and a great amount of quality of life that the inappropriate use of these meds has taken from us. No small thing and not too hard to prove either.

  • SSRIs 3-4 times in the last 14 years; would take them for 6-8 months and then taper off under dr supervision with no problems.
  • Med history prior to 2015: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6012-newbeginning-my-withdrawal-story/?p=267313#entry267313
  • 04/2015: Prozac decreased to 15mg over last 3 months; effexor held steady at 8mg; current effexor XR: 20 beads of a 75mg capsule per day (about 8mg)
  • 06/2015: Prozac: 10mg; effexor XR: 19 beads (about 7.5mg); 07/2015: Prozac: 8.5mg; effexor 18 beads; 08/2015: Prozac: 7.5mg; effexor: 17 beads
  • End of August: withdrawal: depressive symptoms, crying spells. Realized I was measuring prozac dose wrong for the last 2 months. Reinstated Prozac 8.5mg; Kept effexor at 17 beads. Stabilized in 5 weeks.
  • 10/2015: Prozac: 8.5mg; effexor: 17 beads
  • 11/2015: Prozac: 1.9ml (7.5mg); effexor: 16 beads
  • 12/2015: Prozac: 1.6ml; effexor xr: 16 beads. Withdrawal: neuroemotions
  • 01/2016: prozac: 1.6ml; effexor xr: reinstated 17 beads, withdrawal improved; 02/2016: Prozac 1.5ml; Effexor: 17 beads; 03/2016: Prozac 1.3ml(5mg); Effexor: 17 beads (7mg)-withdrawal (flu-like malaise, lightheaded, drowsy) started end of March. April 15: reinstated Prozac 1.5ml. Stabilized. 2 weeks ok. End of April: Withdrawal (neuroemotions). Eventually stabilized in April-May. Apathy improved.
  • 3 month hold until August. August 2016: apathy came back;

  • October 2016: updosed to Prozac 1.6ml. Bad reaction: anxiety, depression. End of October: went down Prozac 1.5ml. Stabilized over several weeks.

  • Dec 9: tried macca for energy: anxiety/depression. Improved over several weeks, but not completely resolved.

  • Dec 31: cut Effexor 5% to 16 beads. After 9 days: withdrawal anxiety, depression; tried updosing to 17 beads Feb 7 but anxiety got worse; went down to 16 beads

    May 2017: Anxiety improved; severe depression continues

  • September 2017: finally stabilized!!!!!! 09/07/2017-12/31/2017: hold

Link to post
Newbeginning

If anyone reads this, is there a forum or thread dedicated to cognitive effects somewhere? In the last 14 years of depression/SSRI use, I've noticed my mind is "less sharp" and my memory less effective.

 

I'm not disabled by it, but the change is significant enough to be noticed. I always attributed it to age because it started in my 30s. I also thought recurrent depression and chronic emotional stress might have that effect on the brain. ....but chronic med use could also be part of it or the only cause.

 

Is there somewhere where you discussed this? I'll try searching too,but thought I'd ask in case I can't find it.

 

Thanks!

  • SSRIs 3-4 times in the last 14 years; would take them for 6-8 months and then taper off under dr supervision with no problems.
  • Med history prior to 2015: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6012-newbeginning-my-withdrawal-story/?p=267313#entry267313
  • 04/2015: Prozac decreased to 15mg over last 3 months; effexor held steady at 8mg; current effexor XR: 20 beads of a 75mg capsule per day (about 8mg)
  • 06/2015: Prozac: 10mg; effexor XR: 19 beads (about 7.5mg); 07/2015: Prozac: 8.5mg; effexor 18 beads; 08/2015: Prozac: 7.5mg; effexor: 17 beads
  • End of August: withdrawal: depressive symptoms, crying spells. Realized I was measuring prozac dose wrong for the last 2 months. Reinstated Prozac 8.5mg; Kept effexor at 17 beads. Stabilized in 5 weeks.
  • 10/2015: Prozac: 8.5mg; effexor: 17 beads
  • 11/2015: Prozac: 1.9ml (7.5mg); effexor: 16 beads
  • 12/2015: Prozac: 1.6ml; effexor xr: 16 beads. Withdrawal: neuroemotions
  • 01/2016: prozac: 1.6ml; effexor xr: reinstated 17 beads, withdrawal improved; 02/2016: Prozac 1.5ml; Effexor: 17 beads; 03/2016: Prozac 1.3ml(5mg); Effexor: 17 beads (7mg)-withdrawal (flu-like malaise, lightheaded, drowsy) started end of March. April 15: reinstated Prozac 1.5ml. Stabilized. 2 weeks ok. End of April: Withdrawal (neuroemotions). Eventually stabilized in April-May. Apathy improved.
  • 3 month hold until August. August 2016: apathy came back;

  • October 2016: updosed to Prozac 1.6ml. Bad reaction: anxiety, depression. End of October: went down Prozac 1.5ml. Stabilized over several weeks.

  • Dec 9: tried macca for energy: anxiety/depression. Improved over several weeks, but not completely resolved.

  • Dec 31: cut Effexor 5% to 16 beads. After 9 days: withdrawal anxiety, depression; tried updosing to 17 beads Feb 7 but anxiety got worse; went down to 16 beads

    May 2017: Anxiety improved; severe depression continues

  • September 2017: finally stabilized!!!!!! 09/07/2017-12/31/2017: hold

Link to post
  • Administrator

Please see our Symptoms and Self-care forum.

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.

Link to post
  • 1 month later...
Newbeginning

A quick update on my withdrawal process. I'm completely off sertraline and effexor. Just taking 20mg Prozac. Started taking prozac 20mg every other day 4 days ago and I'm feeling weak and light headed. 

 

Not sure how long I will wait before calling the dr. I'm hoping it might get better after a few days, but I can't wait too long because I can't do much while I feel like this and everything gets behind...

 

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

 

Best of luck everyone,

  • SSRIs 3-4 times in the last 14 years; would take them for 6-8 months and then taper off under dr supervision with no problems.
  • Med history prior to 2015: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6012-newbeginning-my-withdrawal-story/?p=267313#entry267313
  • 04/2015: Prozac decreased to 15mg over last 3 months; effexor held steady at 8mg; current effexor XR: 20 beads of a 75mg capsule per day (about 8mg)
  • 06/2015: Prozac: 10mg; effexor XR: 19 beads (about 7.5mg); 07/2015: Prozac: 8.5mg; effexor 18 beads; 08/2015: Prozac: 7.5mg; effexor: 17 beads
  • End of August: withdrawal: depressive symptoms, crying spells. Realized I was measuring prozac dose wrong for the last 2 months. Reinstated Prozac 8.5mg; Kept effexor at 17 beads. Stabilized in 5 weeks.
  • 10/2015: Prozac: 8.5mg; effexor: 17 beads
  • 11/2015: Prozac: 1.9ml (7.5mg); effexor: 16 beads
  • 12/2015: Prozac: 1.6ml; effexor xr: 16 beads. Withdrawal: neuroemotions
  • 01/2016: prozac: 1.6ml; effexor xr: reinstated 17 beads, withdrawal improved; 02/2016: Prozac 1.5ml; Effexor: 17 beads; 03/2016: Prozac 1.3ml(5mg); Effexor: 17 beads (7mg)-withdrawal (flu-like malaise, lightheaded, drowsy) started end of March. April 15: reinstated Prozac 1.5ml. Stabilized. 2 weeks ok. End of April: Withdrawal (neuroemotions). Eventually stabilized in April-May. Apathy improved.
  • 3 month hold until August. August 2016: apathy came back;

  • October 2016: updosed to Prozac 1.6ml. Bad reaction: anxiety, depression. End of October: went down Prozac 1.5ml. Stabilized over several weeks.

  • Dec 9: tried macca for energy: anxiety/depression. Improved over several weeks, but not completely resolved.

  • Dec 31: cut Effexor 5% to 16 beads. After 9 days: withdrawal anxiety, depression; tried updosing to 17 beads Feb 7 but anxiety got worse; went down to 16 beads

    May 2017: Anxiety improved; severe depression continues

  • September 2017: finally stabilized!!!!!! 09/07/2017-12/31/2017: hold

Link to post
  • Administrator
Altostrata

Please do not EVER skip doses of a psychiatric drug.

 

How did you go off the Effexor? Why are you taking a dosage of 20mg Prozac?

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.

Link to post
Newbeginning

Thanks Alto. I decreased effexor very slowly over several weeks while on Prozac 20mg. Actually, it's been months decreasing effexor.

 

I only completely got off effexor last week. Then the dr said to wait about 5 days and start taking the Prozac every other day. He said prozac stays in the system more than a day so I probably wouldn't get withdrawal symptoms.

 

The withdrawal is not as severe as before but I do feel tired. I feel like I could lie down all day and just eat, watch tv and sleep. I'm assuming it's withdrawal...

  • SSRIs 3-4 times in the last 14 years; would take them for 6-8 months and then taper off under dr supervision with no problems.
  • Med history prior to 2015: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6012-newbeginning-my-withdrawal-story/?p=267313#entry267313
  • 04/2015: Prozac decreased to 15mg over last 3 months; effexor held steady at 8mg; current effexor XR: 20 beads of a 75mg capsule per day (about 8mg)
  • 06/2015: Prozac: 10mg; effexor XR: 19 beads (about 7.5mg); 07/2015: Prozac: 8.5mg; effexor 18 beads; 08/2015: Prozac: 7.5mg; effexor: 17 beads
  • End of August: withdrawal: depressive symptoms, crying spells. Realized I was measuring prozac dose wrong for the last 2 months. Reinstated Prozac 8.5mg; Kept effexor at 17 beads. Stabilized in 5 weeks.
  • 10/2015: Prozac: 8.5mg; effexor: 17 beads
  • 11/2015: Prozac: 1.9ml (7.5mg); effexor: 16 beads
  • 12/2015: Prozac: 1.6ml; effexor xr: 16 beads. Withdrawal: neuroemotions
  • 01/2016: prozac: 1.6ml; effexor xr: reinstated 17 beads, withdrawal improved; 02/2016: Prozac 1.5ml; Effexor: 17 beads; 03/2016: Prozac 1.3ml(5mg); Effexor: 17 beads (7mg)-withdrawal (flu-like malaise, lightheaded, drowsy) started end of March. April 15: reinstated Prozac 1.5ml. Stabilized. 2 weeks ok. End of April: Withdrawal (neuroemotions). Eventually stabilized in April-May. Apathy improved.
  • 3 month hold until August. August 2016: apathy came back;

  • October 2016: updosed to Prozac 1.6ml. Bad reaction: anxiety, depression. End of October: went down Prozac 1.5ml. Stabilized over several weeks.

  • Dec 9: tried macca for energy: anxiety/depression. Improved over several weeks, but not completely resolved.

  • Dec 31: cut Effexor 5% to 16 beads. After 9 days: withdrawal anxiety, depression; tried updosing to 17 beads Feb 7 but anxiety got worse; went down to 16 beads

    May 2017: Anxiety improved; severe depression continues

  • September 2017: finally stabilized!!!!!! 09/07/2017-12/31/2017: hold

Link to post
  • Administrator
Altostrata

Your doctor is misinformed. Skipping doses of Prozac can cause bad symptoms just like any other antidepressant.

 

Please see this topic http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/759-tips-for-tapering-off-prozac-fluoxetine/

 

Also, 20mg Prozac is a hefty dose to bridge off 75mg Effexor. See http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1463-the-prozac-switch-or-bridging-with-prozac/

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.

Link to post
Newbeginning

I'm actually not sure if the withdrawal is from effexor or from prozac, or from both! I started prozac when I was on 37.5mg effexor and had difficulty cutting down more. I was on 19mg of effexor for at least two weeks before I quit it completely. I get withdrawal even on the days I take the prozac. Does that mean it is not from prozac?

 

I guess the only way to know is to try to reduce prozac more slowly. I was going to give it a few days before calling the dr but maybe I shouldn't. I feel abnormally tired and can't function at all. I guess I could push myself to do more, but I feel so weak and lightheaded that even typing now is taking some effort.

 

I read the prozac thread you shared. It seems like they are a lot of different opinions on how to cross taper. It's too complicated for me to make sense of when I'm barely alert.

 

Thank you for your help Alto. I appreciate it.

  • SSRIs 3-4 times in the last 14 years; would take them for 6-8 months and then taper off under dr supervision with no problems.
  • Med history prior to 2015: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6012-newbeginning-my-withdrawal-story/?p=267313#entry267313
  • 04/2015: Prozac decreased to 15mg over last 3 months; effexor held steady at 8mg; current effexor XR: 20 beads of a 75mg capsule per day (about 8mg)
  • 06/2015: Prozac: 10mg; effexor XR: 19 beads (about 7.5mg); 07/2015: Prozac: 8.5mg; effexor 18 beads; 08/2015: Prozac: 7.5mg; effexor: 17 beads
  • End of August: withdrawal: depressive symptoms, crying spells. Realized I was measuring prozac dose wrong for the last 2 months. Reinstated Prozac 8.5mg; Kept effexor at 17 beads. Stabilized in 5 weeks.
  • 10/2015: Prozac: 8.5mg; effexor: 17 beads
  • 11/2015: Prozac: 1.9ml (7.5mg); effexor: 16 beads
  • 12/2015: Prozac: 1.6ml; effexor xr: 16 beads. Withdrawal: neuroemotions
  • 01/2016: prozac: 1.6ml; effexor xr: reinstated 17 beads, withdrawal improved; 02/2016: Prozac 1.5ml; Effexor: 17 beads; 03/2016: Prozac 1.3ml(5mg); Effexor: 17 beads (7mg)-withdrawal (flu-like malaise, lightheaded, drowsy) started end of March. April 15: reinstated Prozac 1.5ml. Stabilized. 2 weeks ok. End of April: Withdrawal (neuroemotions). Eventually stabilized in April-May. Apathy improved.
  • 3 month hold until August. August 2016: apathy came back;

  • October 2016: updosed to Prozac 1.6ml. Bad reaction: anxiety, depression. End of October: went down Prozac 1.5ml. Stabilized over several weeks.

  • Dec 9: tried macca for energy: anxiety/depression. Improved over several weeks, but not completely resolved.

  • Dec 31: cut Effexor 5% to 16 beads. After 9 days: withdrawal anxiety, depression; tried updosing to 17 beads Feb 7 but anxiety got worse; went down to 16 beads

    May 2017: Anxiety improved; severe depression continues

  • September 2017: finally stabilized!!!!!! 09/07/2017-12/31/2017: hold

Link to post
  • Moderator Emeritus
I read the prozac thread you shared. It seems like they are a lot of different opinions on how to cross taper. It's too complicated for me to make sense of when I'm barely alert.

 

Thank you for your help Alto. I appreciate it.

 

The most important thing at the moment is to take your dose every day, our nervous system needs stability if its going to recover.  Please try and work with us, Alto has a lot of of experience, more so than most doctors who know next to nothing about how to come off these drugs safely.

 

If it were me, I would be taking 10mg at the same time every day.  Then holding for 1 - 2 months until I felt better, or as long as it took.  Then I would start a slow taper from that at 10% per month, as is described in the link Alto provided.

 

I know you are feeling bad now, but you could get a lot worse if you don't take care of your nervous system by tapering properly.

 

Stay in touch and let us know how you are doing.

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

 

 

 

Link to post
Newbeginning

 

I read the prozac thread you shared. It seems like they are a lot of different opinions on how to cross taper. It's too complicated for me to make sense of when I'm barely alert.

 

Thank you for your help Alto. I appreciate it.

 

The most important thing at the moment is to take your dose every day, our nervous system needs stability if its going to recover.  Please try and work with us, Alto has a lot of of experience, more so than most doctors who know next to nothing about how to come off these drugs safely.

 

If it were me, I would be taking 10mg at the same time every day.  Then holding for 1 - 2 months until I felt better, or as long as it took.  Then I would start a slow taper from that at 10% per month, as is described in the link Alto provided.

 

I know you are feeling bad now, but you could get a lot worse if you don't take care of your nervous system by tapering properly.

 

Stay in touch and let us know how you are doing.

 

 

Thanks Petu. I have to find a way to do that because I have the caps. I'm not sure it is the Prozac though, because I get withdrawal even in the days I take it. It could be the effexor I quit last week. I called the dr to discuss it. Waiting to hear back.

 

In the meantime, I will go back to taking prozac 20mg every day to see if that gets things better. If it does, then at least I know the trigger is cutting down prozac and not quitting effexor.

 

The unpredictability of all this is so challenging. I just lost a job because I could not perform reliably. I still get to feel guilty and inadequate because no one understands how much the withdrawal process can be disruptive. Like today, I'm too weak and lightheaded to do much, other than write her and respond to e-mail...

  • SSRIs 3-4 times in the last 14 years; would take them for 6-8 months and then taper off under dr supervision with no problems.
  • Med history prior to 2015: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6012-newbeginning-my-withdrawal-story/?p=267313#entry267313
  • 04/2015: Prozac decreased to 15mg over last 3 months; effexor held steady at 8mg; current effexor XR: 20 beads of a 75mg capsule per day (about 8mg)
  • 06/2015: Prozac: 10mg; effexor XR: 19 beads (about 7.5mg); 07/2015: Prozac: 8.5mg; effexor 18 beads; 08/2015: Prozac: 7.5mg; effexor: 17 beads
  • End of August: withdrawal: depressive symptoms, crying spells. Realized I was measuring prozac dose wrong for the last 2 months. Reinstated Prozac 8.5mg; Kept effexor at 17 beads. Stabilized in 5 weeks.
  • 10/2015: Prozac: 8.5mg; effexor: 17 beads
  • 11/2015: Prozac: 1.9ml (7.5mg); effexor: 16 beads
  • 12/2015: Prozac: 1.6ml; effexor xr: 16 beads. Withdrawal: neuroemotions
  • 01/2016: prozac: 1.6ml; effexor xr: reinstated 17 beads, withdrawal improved; 02/2016: Prozac 1.5ml; Effexor: 17 beads; 03/2016: Prozac 1.3ml(5mg); Effexor: 17 beads (7mg)-withdrawal (flu-like malaise, lightheaded, drowsy) started end of March. April 15: reinstated Prozac 1.5ml. Stabilized. 2 weeks ok. End of April: Withdrawal (neuroemotions). Eventually stabilized in April-May. Apathy improved.
  • 3 month hold until August. August 2016: apathy came back;

  • October 2016: updosed to Prozac 1.6ml. Bad reaction: anxiety, depression. End of October: went down Prozac 1.5ml. Stabilized over several weeks.

  • Dec 9: tried macca for energy: anxiety/depression. Improved over several weeks, but not completely resolved.

  • Dec 31: cut Effexor 5% to 16 beads. After 9 days: withdrawal anxiety, depression; tried updosing to 17 beads Feb 7 but anxiety got worse; went down to 16 beads

    May 2017: Anxiety improved; severe depression continues

  • September 2017: finally stabilized!!!!!! 09/07/2017-12/31/2017: hold

Link to post
  • Moderator Emeritus

Thanks Petu. I have to find a way to do that because I have the caps. I'm not sure it is the Prozac though, because I get withdrawal even in the days I take it. It could be the effexor I quit last week. I called the dr to discuss it. Waiting to hear back.

 

 

 

Once our nervous system becomes destabilized by discontinuing a drug too fast, missing doses or too many changes, it can take a while to settle down, even when we reinstate.  After reinstatement, the amount of time needed to alleviate withdrawal symptoms (stabilizing) varies according to the individual. Relief can be felt immediately, after some weeks, or after some months.

 

Please read through this topic to learn more about stabilizing after reinstatement:

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/3079-about-reinstating-and-stabilizing-to-stop-withdrawal-symptoms/

 

Here is more information to help you understand what is happening in withdrawal and why we need to protect our nervous system from more damage:

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/603-what-is-antidepressant-withdrawal-syndrome/

 

..... scroll to the last post where Rhi explains it in a way that's easy to understand.

 

If you would like to take 10mg per day, rather than 20mg, this thread explains several methods for doing that using 20mg caps, by making your own liquid or dividing the contents of the capsule.  Prozac comes in a liquid and that's the best way to do a slow, accurate taper. When you speak to your doctor, perhaps you could ask for the liquid.

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/759-tips-for-tapering-off-prozac-fluoxetine/

 

I'm sorry to hear that you lost your job, please don't blame yourself, most people don't have a clue how badly withdrawal can impact on daily functioning, including most doctors.  It may take a while before you start to feel better, bridging to Prozac does work for some people, its important to be patient, minimize stress and take the same amount of medication at the same time every day.

 

Do let us know how things go with your doctor.

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

 

 

 

Link to post
  • Administrator
Altostrata

It is possible that you can have withdrawal from one drug even though you are taking another. However, the way you've been taking Prozac, you haven't given it a chance to work.

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.

Link to post
Newbeginning

Thanks Alto & Petu. I agree with what you said. I think I should try to give my body time to adjust to quitting effexor before cutting down on prozac. 5 days might have been too quick to start another change in medication.

 

I also understood about not skipping doses when cutting down, as it is more disruptive to an already sensitized nervous system.

 

I am back to 20mg prozac daily. I will talk to the dr about setting a more gradual taper in which I take prozac every day. Thanks Petu for sharing allthose resources. I will read them gradually, as my brain is not very alert to digest too much at a time right now.

 

In my doctor's mind he was being gradual in the taper, but my brain is obviously not adjusting well to the faster taper that his other patients did ok with and I'm having so many sick days when I can't function because of this. I don't even know what is the rush! I mean, it's not like he has a medicine that will make my life better so that I should be eager to get off other meds to try that med.

 

I want to give my brain time completely off all these meds and see where I am. I'm not sure I can do that during times of extreme stress when the depression is so severe that I can't sleep, eat, leave along do anything "productive". But right now with normal stress levels, I need to find out if the apathy is a form of depression or if its due to chronic ssri use.

 

If it is the ssri(s), I'm going to be sooooooooooooo pissed! A good 10 years of my life were wasted to this. I can't wait for the class action suit that is coming their way.

  • SSRIs 3-4 times in the last 14 years; would take them for 6-8 months and then taper off under dr supervision with no problems.
  • Med history prior to 2015: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6012-newbeginning-my-withdrawal-story/?p=267313#entry267313
  • 04/2015: Prozac decreased to 15mg over last 3 months; effexor held steady at 8mg; current effexor XR: 20 beads of a 75mg capsule per day (about 8mg)
  • 06/2015: Prozac: 10mg; effexor XR: 19 beads (about 7.5mg); 07/2015: Prozac: 8.5mg; effexor 18 beads; 08/2015: Prozac: 7.5mg; effexor: 17 beads
  • End of August: withdrawal: depressive symptoms, crying spells. Realized I was measuring prozac dose wrong for the last 2 months. Reinstated Prozac 8.5mg; Kept effexor at 17 beads. Stabilized in 5 weeks.
  • 10/2015: Prozac: 8.5mg; effexor: 17 beads
  • 11/2015: Prozac: 1.9ml (7.5mg); effexor: 16 beads
  • 12/2015: Prozac: 1.6ml; effexor xr: 16 beads. Withdrawal: neuroemotions
  • 01/2016: prozac: 1.6ml; effexor xr: reinstated 17 beads, withdrawal improved; 02/2016: Prozac 1.5ml; Effexor: 17 beads; 03/2016: Prozac 1.3ml(5mg); Effexor: 17 beads (7mg)-withdrawal (flu-like malaise, lightheaded, drowsy) started end of March. April 15: reinstated Prozac 1.5ml. Stabilized. 2 weeks ok. End of April: Withdrawal (neuroemotions). Eventually stabilized in April-May. Apathy improved.
  • 3 month hold until August. August 2016: apathy came back;

  • October 2016: updosed to Prozac 1.6ml. Bad reaction: anxiety, depression. End of October: went down Prozac 1.5ml. Stabilized over several weeks.

  • Dec 9: tried macca for energy: anxiety/depression. Improved over several weeks, but not completely resolved.

  • Dec 31: cut Effexor 5% to 16 beads. After 9 days: withdrawal anxiety, depression; tried updosing to 17 beads Feb 7 but anxiety got worse; went down to 16 beads

    May 2017: Anxiety improved; severe depression continues

  • September 2017: finally stabilized!!!!!! 09/07/2017-12/31/2017: hold

Link to post
  • Moderator Emeritus

Anhedonia and apathy are prominent symptoms of antidepressant use and antidepressant withdrawal.  It's also the last to go away from all reports.

 

I crash-banged off Lexapro during the fall of 2011 and while I consider myself roughly 98% over withdrawal, some inability to enjoy the things I used to enjoy remains. Thank God I have glimmers of it and do enjoy a lot of the things I'm doing, but my creative streak hasn't come back yet and that used to be a big source of pleasure for me. I do have faith that it will come back eventually because everything else has done so.

 

I understand pissed.  A lot of us are furious with the medical profession and Big Pharma for what they've done to us.

Psychotropic drug history: Pristiq 50 mg. (mid-September 2010 through February 2011), Remeron (mid-September 2010 through January 2011), Lexapro 10 mg. (mid-February 2011 through mid-December 2011), Lorazepam (Ativan) 1 mg. as needed mid-September 2010 through early March 2012

"Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity." -Hanlon's Razor


Introduction: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1588-introducing-jemima/

 

Success Story: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6263-success-jemima-survives-lexapro-and-dr-dickhead-too/

Please note that I am not a medical professional and my advice is based on personal experience, reading, and anecdotal information posted by other sufferers.

 

Link to post
Newbeginning

Thanks Jemima. I'm hoping it won't take years for me to get better from the apathy. That is such a long time :(

 

I did feel the apathy improve, several weeks after I was on a low dose of effexor. Unfortunately, I had to start Prozac because when I cut down more on effexor the withdrawal was unbearable. Two weeks into starting 20mg prozac, the apathy returned.

 

I can't be sure if the apathy returned because of prozac or because my brain needs more time to completely return to balance. I tend to believe it is the prozac because it started right about the time that prozac starts having an effect (around 2 weeks).

 

The apathy is the hardest thing to justify to myself or others. How do I explain to my boss that even deadlines don't get me to do the work,no matter the negative consequences that follow? I still get to feel guilty, inadequate, ashamed, even though I don't get the normal sense of urgency that should come with a deadline! Am I imagining this?

 

I still get the reputation of being irresponsible, of not appreciating the limited funding opportunities available....of being unreliable and someone people can't recommend...I keep saying "I have health problems; I need more time". But I have the feeling people interpret that as me making excuses and, even if they believe me, all they care about is that I'm unreliable and can't get as much done.

 

Anyone has any tips on how to deal with this at work?? I think there are times I could push myself more, but it is hard to know when. It is also hard to even try pushing when I don't have the normal motivation/arousal/sense of anticipation of reward and punishment. You would think I could just push anyway, but how do you do anything when the physical and mental energy is not there?

 

Anyway, on another note, I talked to the dr today. He said it is highly unlikely prozac can cause withdrawal when taken every other day because of how long it stays in the blood. He believes I might have started decreasing prozac too soon after quitting effexor. He wants to try staying on prozac daily one more week and then try cutting to every other day again.

 

I understand the consensus in this forum is that it is not a good idea to take any meds every other day, especially after the body is already sensitized by withdrawal. I will try to talk the dr into that, but at the very least I need to try his approach first so we can be sure it is not the effexor and so I can show him how my body might be more sensitive to changes in prozac, in spite of the fact that it stays longer in the blood.

 

After a few days back on daily prozac, I feel somewhat better, but still weak and headach-y.

 

Thanks everyone for the advice and support. Best wishes to all of you on your recovery.

  • SSRIs 3-4 times in the last 14 years; would take them for 6-8 months and then taper off under dr supervision with no problems.
  • Med history prior to 2015: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6012-newbeginning-my-withdrawal-story/?p=267313#entry267313
  • 04/2015: Prozac decreased to 15mg over last 3 months; effexor held steady at 8mg; current effexor XR: 20 beads of a 75mg capsule per day (about 8mg)
  • 06/2015: Prozac: 10mg; effexor XR: 19 beads (about 7.5mg); 07/2015: Prozac: 8.5mg; effexor 18 beads; 08/2015: Prozac: 7.5mg; effexor: 17 beads
  • End of August: withdrawal: depressive symptoms, crying spells. Realized I was measuring prozac dose wrong for the last 2 months. Reinstated Prozac 8.5mg; Kept effexor at 17 beads. Stabilized in 5 weeks.
  • 10/2015: Prozac: 8.5mg; effexor: 17 beads
  • 11/2015: Prozac: 1.9ml (7.5mg); effexor: 16 beads
  • 12/2015: Prozac: 1.6ml; effexor xr: 16 beads. Withdrawal: neuroemotions
  • 01/2016: prozac: 1.6ml; effexor xr: reinstated 17 beads, withdrawal improved; 02/2016: Prozac 1.5ml; Effexor: 17 beads; 03/2016: Prozac 1.3ml(5mg); Effexor: 17 beads (7mg)-withdrawal (flu-like malaise, lightheaded, drowsy) started end of March. April 15: reinstated Prozac 1.5ml. Stabilized. 2 weeks ok. End of April: Withdrawal (neuroemotions). Eventually stabilized in April-May. Apathy improved.
  • 3 month hold until August. August 2016: apathy came back;

  • October 2016: updosed to Prozac 1.6ml. Bad reaction: anxiety, depression. End of October: went down Prozac 1.5ml. Stabilized over several weeks.

  • Dec 9: tried macca for energy: anxiety/depression. Improved over several weeks, but not completely resolved.

  • Dec 31: cut Effexor 5% to 16 beads. After 9 days: withdrawal anxiety, depression; tried updosing to 17 beads Feb 7 but anxiety got worse; went down to 16 beads

    May 2017: Anxiety improved; severe depression continues

  • September 2017: finally stabilized!!!!!! 09/07/2017-12/31/2017: hold

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  • Administrator
Altostrata

Please do not skip doses to taper, even though your doctor thinks it's okay. He is wrong. Your prior experience demonstrates that.

 

Also, you need longer to stabilize -- a month or more, depending on your symptoms.

 

If you need a prescription and he won't write it, any doctor can prescribe Prozac.

 

Apathy is a common withdrawal symptom. If it's an adverse effect of Prozac, you might try a slight reduction later.

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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Newbeginning

Thanks Alto. I feel sick and it's hard to think right now. I will give it longer than a week before tapering down, especially if I'm still feeling bad. I always give it longer than what the dr recommends. If after about 2 weeks, I still struggle when I cut to 10mg, I'll let the dr know that I need to stay for a month on 20mg prozac, or perhaps re-add effexor?

 

When I do taper, I will try one of the ways suggested in the forum to divide the caps into two doses, instead of skipping a day. Do they make Prozac in 10mg? Maybe I'll ask for my refill to be in 10mg.

 

Does anyone has any tips for the headache, weakness and flu-like malaise? I can't clean, can't study, can't find the energy to even shower. Just want to lay down. What can I do to function while this improves? I've tried pain killers but they don't last and don't address all the symptoms.

  • SSRIs 3-4 times in the last 14 years; would take them for 6-8 months and then taper off under dr supervision with no problems.
  • Med history prior to 2015: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6012-newbeginning-my-withdrawal-story/?p=267313#entry267313
  • 04/2015: Prozac decreased to 15mg over last 3 months; effexor held steady at 8mg; current effexor XR: 20 beads of a 75mg capsule per day (about 8mg)
  • 06/2015: Prozac: 10mg; effexor XR: 19 beads (about 7.5mg); 07/2015: Prozac: 8.5mg; effexor 18 beads; 08/2015: Prozac: 7.5mg; effexor: 17 beads
  • End of August: withdrawal: depressive symptoms, crying spells. Realized I was measuring prozac dose wrong for the last 2 months. Reinstated Prozac 8.5mg; Kept effexor at 17 beads. Stabilized in 5 weeks.
  • 10/2015: Prozac: 8.5mg; effexor: 17 beads
  • 11/2015: Prozac: 1.9ml (7.5mg); effexor: 16 beads
  • 12/2015: Prozac: 1.6ml; effexor xr: 16 beads. Withdrawal: neuroemotions
  • 01/2016: prozac: 1.6ml; effexor xr: reinstated 17 beads, withdrawal improved; 02/2016: Prozac 1.5ml; Effexor: 17 beads; 03/2016: Prozac 1.3ml(5mg); Effexor: 17 beads (7mg)-withdrawal (flu-like malaise, lightheaded, drowsy) started end of March. April 15: reinstated Prozac 1.5ml. Stabilized. 2 weeks ok. End of April: Withdrawal (neuroemotions). Eventually stabilized in April-May. Apathy improved.
  • 3 month hold until August. August 2016: apathy came back;

  • October 2016: updosed to Prozac 1.6ml. Bad reaction: anxiety, depression. End of October: went down Prozac 1.5ml. Stabilized over several weeks.

  • Dec 9: tried macca for energy: anxiety/depression. Improved over several weeks, but not completely resolved.

  • Dec 31: cut Effexor 5% to 16 beads. After 9 days: withdrawal anxiety, depression; tried updosing to 17 beads Feb 7 but anxiety got worse; went down to 16 beads

    May 2017: Anxiety improved; severe depression continues

  • September 2017: finally stabilized!!!!!! 09/07/2017-12/31/2017: hold

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  • Moderator Emeritus

I'd be looking for another doctor. This one doesn't sound as knowledgeable as he thinks he is. I know doctor shopping is probably too daunting a task right now though. 

 

Yes, Prozac has a longer half life than other meds, but your plasma levels are still going to fluctuate too drastically if you don't take it every day, and your CNS will not be able to stabilize and adapt to a consistent chemical mileu, which is what it needs right now. You're in neurochemical chaos and you can't taper yet. Right now what you need to do is stabilize.

 

For now, focus on getting a consistent daily dose of Prozac--I agree that 20 mg may be too high. If it were me, I'd find a way to divide the 20 mg into two as-equal-as-possible doses and take half once a day for a while. If your doctor will cooperate and prescribe you the liquid that would be even better, but I wouldn't count on that.

 

Once you're on a consistent daily dose, your CNS should have some time to recover and stabilize. That's going to take a while--I'd be thinking "months" not weeks or days.

 

Once you're feeling more stable, you can begin a proper slow taper.

 

If you're so dysfunctional that it's affecting your ability to work, that is unacceptable medical care. It is completely possible to taper and remain fully functional, as long as you go slowly enough, and that option should be made available to you.

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

 

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

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Newbeginning

Thank you Rhi. I don't think I have the energy or time to change doctors now, but I will try to be more assertive about wanting to taper down from prozac very slowly.

 

I need to be more clear about the fact that everytime this withdrawal effects get started, I'm looking at several days of being dysfunctional. I hope clarifying that and asking more directly for an extremely slow taper schedule will get the dr to work with me on that. He at least listens to me and finding a dr that does is not that easy. Finding a dr knowledgeable on how to taper these meds won't be easy either, especially since every person is so different.

 

I'm confused about what you said about 20mg prozac being too high a dose for tapering. I thought it would be best to stay on 20mg for a while until I feel better?

 

Thanks again :)

  • SSRIs 3-4 times in the last 14 years; would take them for 6-8 months and then taper off under dr supervision with no problems.
  • Med history prior to 2015: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6012-newbeginning-my-withdrawal-story/?p=267313#entry267313
  • 04/2015: Prozac decreased to 15mg over last 3 months; effexor held steady at 8mg; current effexor XR: 20 beads of a 75mg capsule per day (about 8mg)
  • 06/2015: Prozac: 10mg; effexor XR: 19 beads (about 7.5mg); 07/2015: Prozac: 8.5mg; effexor 18 beads; 08/2015: Prozac: 7.5mg; effexor: 17 beads
  • End of August: withdrawal: depressive symptoms, crying spells. Realized I was measuring prozac dose wrong for the last 2 months. Reinstated Prozac 8.5mg; Kept effexor at 17 beads. Stabilized in 5 weeks.
  • 10/2015: Prozac: 8.5mg; effexor: 17 beads
  • 11/2015: Prozac: 1.9ml (7.5mg); effexor: 16 beads
  • 12/2015: Prozac: 1.6ml; effexor xr: 16 beads. Withdrawal: neuroemotions
  • 01/2016: prozac: 1.6ml; effexor xr: reinstated 17 beads, withdrawal improved; 02/2016: Prozac 1.5ml; Effexor: 17 beads; 03/2016: Prozac 1.3ml(5mg); Effexor: 17 beads (7mg)-withdrawal (flu-like malaise, lightheaded, drowsy) started end of March. April 15: reinstated Prozac 1.5ml. Stabilized. 2 weeks ok. End of April: Withdrawal (neuroemotions). Eventually stabilized in April-May. Apathy improved.
  • 3 month hold until August. August 2016: apathy came back;

  • October 2016: updosed to Prozac 1.6ml. Bad reaction: anxiety, depression. End of October: went down Prozac 1.5ml. Stabilized over several weeks.

  • Dec 9: tried macca for energy: anxiety/depression. Improved over several weeks, but not completely resolved.

  • Dec 31: cut Effexor 5% to 16 beads. After 9 days: withdrawal anxiety, depression; tried updosing to 17 beads Feb 7 but anxiety got worse; went down to 16 beads

    May 2017: Anxiety improved; severe depression continues

  • September 2017: finally stabilized!!!!!! 09/07/2017-12/31/2017: hold

Link to post
  • Administrator
Altostrata

NB, you switched from a low-ish dose of Effexor to a high-ish dose of Prozac at a level that's probably unnecessary for Effexor withdrawal. You may experience adverse effects from the Prozac as well.

 

Lower doses have lower side effects. 10mg Prozac taken every day is equivalent to 20mg Prozac taken every other day and much easier on your nervous system.

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.

Link to post
Newbeginning

I see-thanks Alto. The problem is that I'm still feeling ill and I'm at a loss on whether I should go back on effexor and start cutting down more slowly, and/or cut down on prozac?

 

I have been back on prozac 20mg for about 5 days and still feel sick. I felt like it was getting a little better the first two days but then realized I'm still too sick to function and it's not improving.

 

I doubt these are side effects of prozac because they did not show during the 3 weeks I was on it at first. It is withdrawal, but to which drug? And how can I stabilize my system if going back to 20mg prozac daily is not cutting it?

 

I'm considering taking 1/4 pill of effexor and see if I wake up better. I can't stay like this. I have work to do :(

  • SSRIs 3-4 times in the last 14 years; would take them for 6-8 months and then taper off under dr supervision with no problems.
  • Med history prior to 2015: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6012-newbeginning-my-withdrawal-story/?p=267313#entry267313
  • 04/2015: Prozac decreased to 15mg over last 3 months; effexor held steady at 8mg; current effexor XR: 20 beads of a 75mg capsule per day (about 8mg)
  • 06/2015: Prozac: 10mg; effexor XR: 19 beads (about 7.5mg); 07/2015: Prozac: 8.5mg; effexor 18 beads; 08/2015: Prozac: 7.5mg; effexor: 17 beads
  • End of August: withdrawal: depressive symptoms, crying spells. Realized I was measuring prozac dose wrong for the last 2 months. Reinstated Prozac 8.5mg; Kept effexor at 17 beads. Stabilized in 5 weeks.
  • 10/2015: Prozac: 8.5mg; effexor: 17 beads
  • 11/2015: Prozac: 1.9ml (7.5mg); effexor: 16 beads
  • 12/2015: Prozac: 1.6ml; effexor xr: 16 beads. Withdrawal: neuroemotions
  • 01/2016: prozac: 1.6ml; effexor xr: reinstated 17 beads, withdrawal improved; 02/2016: Prozac 1.5ml; Effexor: 17 beads; 03/2016: Prozac 1.3ml(5mg); Effexor: 17 beads (7mg)-withdrawal (flu-like malaise, lightheaded, drowsy) started end of March. April 15: reinstated Prozac 1.5ml. Stabilized. 2 weeks ok. End of April: Withdrawal (neuroemotions). Eventually stabilized in April-May. Apathy improved.
  • 3 month hold until August. August 2016: apathy came back;

  • October 2016: updosed to Prozac 1.6ml. Bad reaction: anxiety, depression. End of October: went down Prozac 1.5ml. Stabilized over several weeks.

  • Dec 9: tried macca for energy: anxiety/depression. Improved over several weeks, but not completely resolved.

  • Dec 31: cut Effexor 5% to 16 beads. After 9 days: withdrawal anxiety, depression; tried updosing to 17 beads Feb 7 but anxiety got worse; went down to 16 beads

    May 2017: Anxiety improved; severe depression continues

  • September 2017: finally stabilized!!!!!! 09/07/2017-12/31/2017: hold

Link to post
  • Administrator
Altostrata

Is your major symptom tiredness?

 

A quick update on my withdrawal process. I'm completely off sertraline and effexor. Just taking 20mg Prozac. Started taking prozac 20mg every other day 4 days ago and I'm feeling weak and light headed. ....

 

 

It is possible that you can have withdrawal from one drug even though you are taking another. However, the way you've been taking Prozac, you haven't given it a chance to work.

 

You have only just started taking Prozac regularly after going off Effexor and skipping Prozac doses. It may take quite a while for your nervous system to settle down. You can't tell if the Prozac will work yet.

 

Switching to Effexor is unpredictable. Generally, it's best not to jump from drug to drug.

 

It's highly likely nothing will fix you up right away. There are no easy answers to these situations.

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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