Jump to content

Eonwe -- going off Zoloft and benzos


Eonwe

Recommended Posts

2 years ago, I began taking Zoloft for anxiety & depression, added Xanax for panic attacks. I was having around 12/day! My adrenal glands were about to go kaput, so I was in bad shape. I was nearing Addison's disease and would have needed hormone replacement for the rest of my life had I not taken Xanax. I was also taking Zoloft. It was the 3rd time in my life I had taken it for a year or so. It always helped.

 

After awhile, the panic dissipated. and my depression grew greater than I'd ever experienced I was primarily anxious with panic attacks. Until then, I had only been depressed as a secondary symptom of my life falling apart, due to the anxiety. My depression was more circumstantial than chemical. I was deemed physically disabled by the US gov't for PTSD and have been on SSA Disability for 7 years now.

 

I had been on Zoloft for about a year and was ready to stop taking it. The side effects were getting debilitating in and of themselves as my dosage increased to 150mg a day. I tried titrating off it alone, since I could not afford insurance, even Medicare, so I couldn't see my doctor as often as I should. I spent 3 months in HORRIFIC withdrawal. I had vertigo, wild mood-swings, chronic depression, became suicidal, had brain zaps constantly and was a mess! I was going very slowly. I was a crying puddle on the floor every day. I could not drive or be in crowds. I became agoraphobic. I got down from 150mg to 25mg, when I gave up. I went back to 50mg, then to 75mg within the following several months. Then, I decided I really wanted off the drug and asked my doctor for advice. The main side effect being a lack of libido. I was losing my relationship to my BF because of it. My doc suggested augmenting my Zoloft with Wellbutrin, 75mg TiD for a few weeks before trying to downdose the Zoloft again. I was intimidated by his titration schedule of cutting my Zoloft by 25mg every 5 days! But, it worked! I had little or no WD effects at all.

 

All was getting better for me but I was increasingly more anxious. I began taking Xanax for the panic attacks which I was having about 12X per day. I had lost about 30 pounds from the extreme energy expenditure. After a year on that, having to increase the dosage from .25mg as needed to 1-1.5mg TiD, I became extremely depressed, suicidally. I knew it was the drug and I'd not had a panic attack in many months, so my doc & I agreed it would be good to titrate off Xanax. He knew little of how to do this so I had to research it myself and found a method that would take about a year. He agreed to it and I began the process. I got down to 1mg TiD when I began the switch to the equivalent of Valium. It was half Valium, half Xanax when my BF went bankrupt, lost the house to foreclosure and left me. I lived in that house for 6 months until I found the studio apt. where I now live. 2 months after moving and settling into being single and getting-on with my life, I began again the switch. Know that, during the 8 months after he left me, I was taking BOTH benzos, Valium and Xanax.It wasn't good. I was extremely depressed, I slept 18 hours a day, cried all the time, was mourning the loss of my man and adjusting to the idea that it was all out of my control.

 

Upon the advice of my doc I stayed where I was in the benzos. But added Zoloft back again. Bear in-mind that, all this time, I was also taking Wellbutrin. I'd gotten back up to 75mg of Zoloft and was at 100 mg TiD Wellbutrin and a combo of Valium and Xanax.

 

After the move, I completed the switch from Xanax to Valium and began to downdose that. It was hard. I was still depressed, but it was lifting as the circumstances of my life were improving. I was gaining more control over my life and it helped. Xanax is about 20X the strength of Valium. So, when I switched I was taking a lot of Valium which was more depressing than Xanax. I was frustrated, to say the least. I was living on less than $1,000/month and had no friends. Nobody wanted to befriend a suicidal woman. So I built up a support system online. That helped.

 

I had titrated down to 10mg Valium TiD from 20mg TiD in a short period of time. I was doing well. But the Zoloft was exacerbating my insomnia. Yea, I have been an insomniac for about 7 years after learning of my mother's love-relationship with a long ago previous ex of mine, who was, at the time, by best friend. I kinda fell apart after that. Then, I found out my mother knew all along about how her BF had been molesting my little sister for 6 years from age 6, many many years ago. Needless to say, I wrote her off for 5 years. I couldn't bear it. I was friendless and without family. My man had left me and I wanted to die. The online support I found was faltering as I became more and more depressed. Nobody wanted to know me.

 

I OD'd on 20mg Xanax, 80mg Valium, 50mg Ambien and 2 packs of OTC sleeping pills, and washed it all down with 2 bottles of wine, then got in the tub and proceed to slice my arms from wrist to elbow; 20 on one arm, 30 the other. I even cut arteries and they clotted, underwater even! THAT doesn't happen. I was frustrated and dumbfounded. I did not expect to wake up. But I did without even so much as a hangover! Unfortunately, I had taken ALL of my benzos, so I was in the worst withdrawals ever for the longest 4 days of my life before I could get more Xanax. I had a couple of seizures and almost died miserably, which was not what I had in mind. I did this all alone.

 

I sought counseling but of all 5 ppl I met with, none were willing to take my case, as it was so convoluted with a long history. I was utterly alone and did not want to live but was obviously not supposed to die for some odd reason. I was WELL beyond CBT. I'd had 15 years of that. I was self-aware to a fault. I couldn't get outta my own head!

 

So I told my doc about the failed suicide and he helped me to titrate off the Valium. I got down to 5mg QiD when I decided I wanted off the Zoloft because as the Valium decreased, my insomnia worsened. Ambien no longer worked for me. There was something about the Valium that cancelled-out the effects of Ambien where Xanax didn't. I went back to OTC & natural sleep remedies.

 

So, I stayed on Wllbutrin 100mg TiD while I titrated off Zoloft, the same as my doc had instructed previously. I had little or no withdrawals, but i was a bit more energetic, which I welcomed, to a point. It got pretty anxious for awhile, but i persisted.

 

I'm now off Zoloft for about 5 days and have titrated down Wellbutrin to 75mg TiD because the epinephrine effects of WB were wiring me out as I withdrew from Valium.

 

Now I'm Zoloft-free, but 2 days ago started having some WD symptoms. This morning, I woke to brain zaps every time I moved my eyes in their sockets. Extreme vertigo. So I took 1/2 tsp GABA to calm me and took the dose of WB I'd forgotten last night, so I got a double-dose of that this morning. 2 hours later I feel better. No more vertigo or brain zaps.

 

The thing that has helped my depression the most is getting out in the sun. Hot as it is here in GA, I am fortunate to have a pool in my complex. So I go there a couple of times a week and get "charged." It really feels that way. I suspect the synthesis of vitamin D is what is doing it.

 

To draw a conclusion to this novel, I am now taking Valium 5mg BiD, Wellbutrin 75mg TiD and rotate the following sleep aids... diphenhydramine (Benadryl), doxylimine succinate (another OTC sleep aid also an antihistamine), and Nyquil for the really rough nights. I augment at times with melatonin 3mg sublingual or L-Tryptophan, about a gram. The latter is the most effective for me as it does not make me feel drugged, but naturally sleepy.

 

I am riding-out the Zoloft WDs and when I'm level from that, hopefully in a week or so, I'll titrate off the Wellbutrin within about a month. Then, I will resume tiration off the Valium.

 

How's that for someone whose down-dosing?

Link to comment
  • Administrator

Welcome, Eonwe. I moved your first post here.

 

You've certainly been through the wringer.

 

It seems to me your last round of tapering off Zoloft and benzos has been pretty aggressive. So, you're 5 days off Zoloft and having withdrawal symptoms?

 

The decrease in Valium can also cause the "wiring" and insomnia. Plus, as you know, they are side effects of Wellbutrin.

 

How have you determined you only need a week to level out from the Zoloft withdrawal?

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 comment

Oh, here it is.

 

I didn't have any major withdrawal symptoms the last time I came off of it with Wellbutrin. Also, the 1st time I came off Zoloft about 10 years ago, I had no withdrawals at all. I was off 50mg within a week. I haven't had major symptoms until today. I chalked this morning up to missing my 3rd dose last night of Wellbutrin and the 4 beers I drank last night. Won't do that again!

 

I took a nap and woke up 2 hours later running a low-grade fever and very dizzy (no balance impairment) with sinus problems. I think I have a bug. It feels like the flu. I'm sweating profusely and ache all over. Even when I took a LONG time to come off Zoloft in the past I never felt like this. I don't really know for sure what's going on but I haven't had a bug in about 5 years.

 

I am having vertigo now. I think its a combo of WDs & a bug. Great. Happy-Happy, Joy-Joy. Only time will tell. I'm not coming down on anything else right now until I'm stable. Sticking to 75mf TiD Wellbutrin and 5mg BiD Valium until I feel better,

 

If it gets any worse, the withdrawals, over the next few days I may consider adding 25mf Zoloft and see if it helps. But for now, I don't wanna change anything. I've been through worse. I'll be alright.

Link to comment
  • Administrator

It sure sounds to me like you have Zoloft withdrawal.

 

Although you didn't have problems quitting Zoloft in the past, that doesn't mean you can do the same thing now. For one thing, you're older, and your nervous system may be less resilient.

 

Also, it's stressed by the switching and tapering off the benzos.

 

If I were you, I would go back on 25mg Zoloft. If your symptoms stop, then you know they are from withdrawal, and a sign you should be tapering much more slowly.

 

It's up to you, of course. It's possible Zoloft withdrawal symptoms will last only a few weeks and you can power through them. On the other hand, if you indeed jumped off too quickly, you may be in for a longer period of coping with Zoloft withdrawal.

 

(Yes, a lot of people have quit benzos by referring to Ashton. It's harder when you're quitting two drugs at once. It's better for your nervous system to do it one at at time.)

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 comment

I've done a lot of reading on withdrawal from anti-depressants and I have to say this.

 

It does not have to be a long, protracted time to get off these medications. I've experienced it being surprisingly easy to come off of them and surprisingly difficult.

 

There is a lot of information out there that warns about coming off these drugs quickly, but its not always like that for everyone. I have, personally come off of Zoloft twice with little or no symptoms, only taking 2-3 weeks to come off of them. I have also experienced how hard it CAN be, taking months and still having debilitating symptoms of withdrawal. I don't know what the difference is. Perhaps, diet, age, general health and life circumstances can effect the process.

 

What I want to say is that just because it is hard for some people to come off of them and requires months to do so, does not necessarily mean it IS that way for everyone, all the time. Words are powerful and suggestion can go a long way. I try to keep an open mind about this so I know I am going through a true experience and am not pre-programmed by what I read.

Link to comment
  • Administrator

That is absolutely true, Eonwe.

 

Here's our reasoning: Probably most people can quit these drugs over a few weeks and experience no or tolerable withdrawal symptoms for a few weeks or months. Some can even quit cold turkey and not feel a thing. These people are the basis of pharmapsychiatry's assumptions about quitting -- that withdrawal is a minor inconvenience and symptoms are "time-limited," as the literature says.

 

However, some people have a terrible time tapering, even slowly. Others suffer from prolonged withdrawal syndrome for years.

 

You don't know which group you're in until you're in the middle of it. If you taper quickly and you try to power through withdrawal symptoms for a few weeks, you might find, to your surprise, that you end up with withdrawal syndrome for years. (That's what happened to me -- I never intended to be disabled by Paxil withdrawal syndrome.)

 

If you're wrong about your neurological resiliency, you're up the creek, maybe for a long time. So we advise a conservative strategy of very slow tapering. The worst that can happen is you have to be conscientious about tapering, and that can be frustrating.

 

Now, you seem to be a risk-taker. It could go either way for you. What you do is up to you. Whichever way you go, we're here for you.

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 comment

Thanks. I must say I am not a risk-taker, by any means. The final decision in coming off of Zoloft is a financial one. Its Zoloft or food. I live at around 50% of the Federal Poverty Level. I simply cannot afford these medications, hence the tapering of the most expensive meds, down.

 

Sad, tragic, but true. So if I wind-up disabled for years because of this, it could not be avoided. The best I can do at this point is think positively and not allow myself to 'expect' prolonged withdrawals.

 

I don't have a choice, unless eating is a choice. I could be homeless and take these meds. But, I think you get the idea. I cannot handle anyone telling me I am going about this the wrong way. Bad expectations will make a bad outcome more viable. I'm not reckless by any means. I've had a very hard life.

 

It could kill me. I know. But this is America, and as much as I loathe it, I have no choice. So please, do not tell me I am taking unnecessary risks. It simply cannot be avoided. I would ask for some sensitivity on this. If I could afford to take longer coming off this stuff, I would have. But I can't. My hands are tied.

 

Right now, reading all I've read on this site has actually made me feel powerless and hopeless. Sadly, I may not be able to come back here. I get the feeling I will be hearing a lot of ppl telling me what I should do if I had their income. Also, my doctor is about to cut me off Valium. I only have 2 months left to get off of that. But first I have to get off Wellbutrin and Zoloft.

 

Now maybe you can understand why I took such drastic measures to kill myself. Who wouldn't. My life sucks. I have accepted the fact that I cannot take my own life, but I have not made the conscious choice to live. I don't want it any more than I want to live in poverty. But I have no choice. I am utterly powerless over this. All I can do is hope for the best and keep a positive outlook.

 

I wish I could find support somehow, somewhere, but in the last 6 years, I've not found anyone who could help me at all. Its always me helping others. So I am doing this, posting, talking about my life in the hopes it will be vindicated by helping others. Its all I have. Please don't criticize. Its hard enough for me as is.

Link to comment
  • Administrator

I'm sorry, too, Eonwe. Sometimes we have very few choices. I was not aware your financial situation has pushed you into a corner.

 

In this game, patients are left to make decisions they shouldn't have to make. That is one thing all of us have in common.

 

Can you ask your doctor for samples of Zoloft you might be able to cut up so as to go back on 25mg at least for a short time? And maybe even smaller slices? That may ease your withdrawal.

 

At any rate, whatever you do, we're here for you.

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 comment
  • Moderator Emeritus

Eonwe,

 

I am so sorry to read this thread. Alto is right! Try your doc for samples. If s/he can't help, ask for referrals to agencies that could help with paying for meds. It is so awful to be caught in such a bind.

 

1989 - 1992 Parnate* 

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

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

*don't remember doses

2005 -2007   Cymbalta 60 mg oxazapam, inderal, klonopin

Started taper in 2007:

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

Cymbalta 60mg to 30mg 2007 -2010

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

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

19 mg Celexa October 7, 2018

18 mg Celexa November 5, 2018

17 mg Celexa  December 2, 2019

16 mg Celexa January 6, 2018 

15 mg Celexa March 7, 2019

14 mg Celexa April 24, 2019

13 mg Celexa June 28, 2019

12.8 mg Celexa November 10, 2019

12.4 Celexa August 31, 2020

12.2 Celexa December 28, 2020

12 mg Celexa March 2021

 

Link to comment

Have you contacted the manufacturer of Zoloft... not sure which drug company that is. I know of a few cases such as yours where they gave people the med at no cost to them. You could give it a try.

 

Also, you could try calling the mental health agencies in your area. Sometimes they have suggestions you might not have been aware of.

 

 

Charter Member 2011

Link to comment

Yes, for awhile I was a recipient of the drug company's 'free' drugs. Since Bush Sr. passed the bill allowing the ADA to release meds to the public with 20% the time to conduct clinical trials. I have been a free lab rat for awhile. I have personal problems with this. As long as we continue to subscribe to these programs, we are filling the pockets of Pharma and thus awarding them political influence to our own detriment. Sorry, but i will not be a part of this anymore.

 

This is my personal political stance. I stand firmly here. But thank you for your input.

 

I am feeling MUCH better today, as I suspected I would. I only wish it could be this easy for others to come off these meds. So much of it has to do with perspective, for me, and my own determination.

Link to comment

Eonwe -- I'm so sorry you have had such a tough row to hoe, and still have some difficulties to get through. You obviously have a lot of strength and courage. And it sounds like you have educated yourself a lot about these meds.

 

We here on this site start from our own experience, which is based on being in online psych med w/d sites for many years. That's where the concern comes from about a rapid taper.

 

In fact, one question I have for your consideration is this -- you say you have gotten off Zoloft easily several times. How long were you off the Zoloft in between uses? Because, it might be that you did not have acute w/d, but had a more insidious w/d that made you feel the need to get back on the Zoloft. This is what happened to me -- I didn't even know I was having w/d.

 

You are absolutely right, though, that no one knows what your next Zoloft w/d experience will be like. And you are also right, that it's very important to not program yourself, and to keep an optimistic outlook.

 

I think people here would like to support you. It might work for you to tell us what you would like and what you would not like to hear. Then, people who feel comfortable with that can respond in the way that you know will be more helpful to you.

 

Wishing you the best. :)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Link to comment

Hey! Thanks for all the support you guys. I'm actually doing surprisingly well. I have only had one day in the last week off Zoloft wherein I had brain-zaps. The insomnia is a little crazy, falling asleep around sunrise, but I feel pretty good. I don't have to work or be anywhere so this is ok with me. Most of my friends are nocturnal creatures anyway.

 

I really wish it wasn't so hard for so many people to come off these meds. I must reiterate how effective taking Wellbutrin while coming off Zoloft has been in alleviating almost ALL withdrawal symptoms. It simply supports the production of dopamine & epinephrine, so while the serotonin is in short supply and my brain is growing more neural receptors, I'm not completely out of neurotransmitters. It may not work for everyone. Maybe I'm just a freak. But after being on Zoloft for about 3 years, its been relatively easy. I also take 5mg Valium twice a day and I know that helps with the jitters. Coming off the benzos has been BY FAR harder than coming off the Zoloft. That's why it'll be last.

 

But I'm doing really well. Maybe this method could work for others as well. Pass it on.

Link to comment

Dear Eonwe,

 

Thank you for being here and for posting your experiences.

 

I believe one of the strengths of this site is that people truly want to help. Our comments are based on our experiences and knowledge. Please don't take any of them as criticism or judgement. We want you to get through this. You've been through so much already.

 

May I give you my own example? I went off zoloft once for about 3 months with no problem whatsoever. I went back on it, and I stopped taking it for the second time last fall. I had no problems until about three months later. Now I've had six months of insomnia, anxiety, and depression, and complete lack of brain function. It has been incredibly frustrating and stressful for me, and it is threatening my job. I can't change what I did. But I can warn others in hopes that they won't have to deal with the same problems. So I would caution you against stopping the zoloft too quickly (especially if you can get free samples from your doctor, and most are happy to hand them out) because if I had known I'd be feeling like this now, I would have tapered off very slowly. Of course, everyone is different, and you may do just fine. I'm warning you because I wish someone had warned me (I didn't find this site until after I was in withdrawal).

 

Please keep us updated on how you're doing.

 

Peace,

 

Ajay

History is approximate; I didn't track my dosages.

 

1995 - started zoloft/sertraline for depression

1995-2008 - sertraline ranged from 100-200mg, may have gone as high as 250mg

2006 - 2009 - added welbutrin/budeprion SR, 150 mg

sometime in 2009-2010 - stopped budeprion c/t

sometime around 2009-2010, Tapered down sertraline w/o guidance to 50 mg, then 25mg.

~ feb 2010, stopped sertraline.

~ Apr 2010, resumed 25mg low dose (really bad business trip)

Oct 2010, stopped sertraline

Jan 2011 - another bad business trip "breaks" my sleep.

 

current issues include insomnia, anxiety, GI distress, depression.

Taking multivitamins, Vitamin D, fish oil, Chinese herbs, ~ 0.5mg melatonin in the evening.

Going to therapy and acupuncture once a week.

Link to comment
  • 11 months later...

Hey! Its been awhile but I was prompted by another member to post a reply so I'll update...

 

I've been off anti-depressants and benzos for nearly a year now! YAY!

 

I switched from Zoloft to Wellbutrin and the 8 months of hell withdrawals went away. I was transitioned inside a week and off it inside a month. It made me sick to think of how I suffered needlessly.

 

PLEASE GET THIS POST TO A PLACE IN YOUR FORUM WHERE PPL CAN SEE IT. THIS INFO CAN SAVE LIVES AND MONTHS OF NEEDLESS SUFFERING.

 

As for the benzos... I found a psychiatrist who specializes in addiction and switched to Klonopin and tapered down til I was off it in a couple of months.

 

If you are not satisfied with your doctor's help in coming off these drugs I highly suggest recommending this method. If he/she is not receptive find another doctor. Its your body and your life. If your doctor won't help you, find one who will. Nobody needs to suffer alone for long, protracted withdrawals.

Link to comment

Hey! Its been awhile but I was prompted by another member to post a reply so I'll update...

 

I've been off anti-depressants and benzos for nearly a year now! YAY!

 

I switched from Zoloft to Wellbutrin and the 8 months of hell withdrawals went away. I was transitioned inside a week and off it inside a month. It made me sick to think of how I suffered needlessly.

 

PLEASE GET THIS POST TO A PLACE IN YOUR FORUM WHERE PPL CAN SEE IT. THIS INFO CAN SAVE LIVES AND MONTHS OF NEEDLESS SUFFERING.

 

As for the benzos... I found a psychiatrist who specializes in addiction and switched to Klonopin and tapered down til I was off it in a couple of months.

 

If you are not satisfied with your doctor's help in coming off these drugs I highly suggest recommending this method. If he/she is not receptive find another doctor. Its your body and your life. If your doctor won't help you, find one who will. Nobody needs to suffer alone for long, protracted withdrawals.

 

Dear Eonwe,

 

I am so glad that you successfully tapered off of your meds. :) Hugs, Annej

My Intro
2000-Effexor and Klonopin
April 2011- C/T Adderall, lithium, Seroquel, Lunesta; Pristiq and Klonopin cut by 1/2 due to med-induced "rapid cycling"
May 2011- Pristiq/Lexapro bridge/taper
June, 2011- K cut to 0.5 mg (doctor)
July 18, 2011 - Lexapro done
October 2011- K taper started
Jan, 2012- Off K, Remeron started -bad idea
March 2012- Horrific Tardive Akathisa/TD (Dx: TA versus withdrawal akathisia secondary to K w/d)
May 2012- Reinstatement of K
Current Psych Meds: Klonopin 2 mg + Propanolol 15 mg and titrating up
As of June 2013: TA gone or suppressed - struggling with tolerance to benzos - beta blocker helping

Link to comment

Hi Eonwe,

Very glad to hear you've been able to get off both Zoloft and benzos. My husband was able to get off of Effexor pretty quickly (with a few stressful weeks) and I suspect the Wellbutrin and benzos broke the fall somewhat. Thanks for sharing your experience. I hope you'll continue to let us know how you're doing.

Very sorry to hear that you were in such a terrible spot financially. I am fortunate to not have had that issue. It's a good reality check for me.

 

Your comments about CBT also hit home. Yea, im waaay past that, too.

B

Pristiq tapered over 8 months ending Spring 2011 after 18 years of polydrugging that began w/Zoloft for fatigue/general malaise (not mood). CURRENT: 1mg Klonopin qhs (SSRI bruxism), 75mg trazodone qhs, various hormonesLitigation for 11 years for Work-related injury, settled 2004. Involuntary medical retirement in 2001 (age 39). 2012 - brain MRI showing diffuse, chronic cerebrovascular damage/demyelination possibly vasculitis/cerebritis. Dx w/autoimmune polyendocrine failure.<p>2013 - Dx w/CNS Sjogren's Lupus (FANA antibodies first appeared in 1997 but missed by doc).

Link to comment
  • Administrator

...I got down from [Zoloft] 150mg to 25mg, when I gave up. I went back to 50mg, then to [Zoloft] 75mg within the following several months.... The main side effect being a lack of libido.... My doc suggested augmenting my Zoloft with Wellbutrin, 75mg TiD for a few weeks before trying to downdose the Zoloft again. I was intimidated by his titration schedule of cutting my Zoloft by 25mg every 5 days! But, it worked! I had little or no WD effects at all.

 

All was getting better for me but I was increasingly more anxious. I began taking Xanax for the panic attacks which I was having about 12X per day. I had lost about 30 pounds from the extreme energy expenditure. After a year on that, having to increase the dosage from .25mg as needed to 1-1.5mg TiD, I became extremely depressed, suicidally. I knew it was the drug and I'd not had a panic attack in many months, so my doc & I agreed it would be good to titrate off Xanax. He knew little of how to do this so I had to research it myself and found a method that would take about a year. He agreed to it and I began the process. I got down to 1mg TiD when I began the switch to the equivalent of Valium. It was half Valium, half Xanax when my BF went bankrupt, lost the house to foreclosure and left me. I lived in that house for 6 months until I found the studio apt. where I now live. 2 months after moving and settling into being single and getting-on with my life, I began again the switch. Know that, during the 8 months after he left me, I was taking BOTH benzos, Valium and Xanax.....

 

Upon the advice of my doc I stayed where I was in the benzos. But added Zoloft back again. Bear in-mind that, all this time, I was also taking Wellbutrin. I'd gotten back up to 75mg of Zoloft and was at 100 mg TiD Wellbutrin and a combo of Valium and Xanax.

 

After the move, I completed the switch from Xanax to Valium and began to downdose that. ....

 

I had titrated down to 10mg Valium TiD from 20mg TiD in a short period of time. I was doing well. But the Zoloft was exacerbating my insomnia. ....

 

I OD'd on 20mg Xanax, 80mg Valium, 50mg Ambien and 2 packs of OTC sleeping pills, and washed it all down with 2 bottles of wine, then got in the tub and proceed to slice my arms from wrist to elbow; 20 on one arm, 30 the other. I even cut arteries and they clotted, underwater even! THAT doesn't happen. I was frustrated and dumbfounded. I did not expect to wake up. But I did without even so much as a hangover! Unfortunately, I had taken ALL of my benzos, so I was in the worst withdrawals ever for the longest 4 days of my life before I could get more Xanax. I had a couple of seizures and almost died miserably, which was not what I had in mind. I did this all alone.

 

....

So I told my doc about the failed suicide and he helped me to titrate off the Valium. I got down to 5mg QiD when I decided I wanted off the Zoloft because as the Valium decreased, my insomnia worsened. Ambien no longer worked for me. There was something about the Valium that cancelled-out the effects of Ambien where Xanax didn't. I went back to OTC & natural sleep remedies.

 

So, I stayed on Wllbutrin 100mg TiD while I titrated off Zoloft, the same as my doc had instructed previously. I had little or no withdrawals, but i was a bit more energetic, which I welcomed, to a point. It got pretty anxious for awhile, but i persisted.

 

....

To draw a conclusion to this novel, I am now taking Valium 5mg BiD, Wellbutrin 75mg TiD and rotate the following sleep aids... diphenhydramine (Benadryl), doxylimine succinate (another OTC sleep aid also an antihistamine), and Nyquil for the really rough nights. I augment at times with melatonin 3mg sublingual or L-Tryptophan, about a gram. The latter is the most effective for me as it does not make me feel drugged, but naturally sleepy.

 

I am riding-out the Zoloft WDs and when I'm level from that, hopefully in a week or so, I'll titrate off the Wellbutrin within about a month. Then, I will resume tiration off the Valium.

....

 

Eonwe, that is from your first post here a year ago, June 2011.

 

Congratulations on surviving all of that. Thank you also for coming back to tell us how you are doing. It's wonderful to hear you're doing so well.

 

I wish your switch from Zoloft to Wellbutrin and then off Wellbutrin was as easy as that! It's pretty clear that when you did the switch and went off Wellbutrin the first time, the panic and anxiety were severe withdrawal symptoms, for which you started taking benzos.

 

Then you went on a benzo odyssey -- well, I'm glad you came back safe and sound.

 

I wish I could recommend a switch to Wellbutrin as a way to get off Zoloft, but from your experience it seems at the very least a lot of benzos are also required, and then you have a touchy situation with the benzos -- seems they may have made you very depressed and even suicidal.

 

I'm going to stand pat on recommending slow, controlled tapering over all. If that is not tolerable, some people have been able to switch to Prozac (some have had success with Celexa) and taper off that. I have never heard of Wellbutrin as a bridge off SSRIs (or SNRIs for that matter, although it makes a bit more sense there) and I would hesitate to do this myself. Wellbutrin is too weak to substitute for an SSRI.

 

Other than the benzos and sleep drugs, how did you recover normal sleep?

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 comment

I was taking both Xanax and Zoloft when I began my detox of it all. I didn't step-up the benzos when I switched to Wellbutrin. I just stopped down-dosing so I could get through the anxiety Wellbutrin proposed.

 

In thinking back, I remember now that I was still tapering off Wellbutrin when I got to the addiction specialist who switched me to Prozac. I was off the antiDs in a week. Prozac was the last antiD I took specifically to get off them.

 

It was Klonopin I took to get off Xanax/Valium. It was really the Psychiatrist who specialized in addiction that made the difference. He just knew what to use. Expensive, but well worth it.

Link to comment
  • Administrator

Oh, I didn't see that you had switched to Prozac finally. That makes sense, glad you finally found a doctor who could unravel the whole thing.

 

So, how are you feeling now? Any tips to recover healthy sleep?

 

Do you think you could recommend that psychiatrist? We're looking for doctors to add to our list http://tinyurl.com/7cp8l8v

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 comment

 

...I got down from [Zoloft] 150mg to 25mg, when I gave up. I went back to 50mg, then to [Zoloft] 75mg within the following several months.... The main side effect being a lack of libido.... My doc suggested augmenting my Zoloft with Wellbutrin, 75mg TiD for a few weeks before trying to downdose the Zoloft again. I was intimidated by his titration schedule of cutting my Zoloft by 25mg every 5 days! But, it worked! I had little or no WD effects at all.

 

All was getting better for me but I was increasingly more anxious. I began taking Xanax for the panic attacks which I was having about 12X per day. I had lost about 30 pounds from the extreme energy expenditure. After a year on that, having to increase the dosage from .25mg as needed to 1-1.5mg TiD, I became extremely depressed, suicidally. I knew it was the drug and I'd not had a panic attack in many months, so my doc & I agreed it would be good to titrate off Xanax. He knew little of how to do this so I had to research it myself and found a method that would take about a year. He agreed to it and I began the process. I got down to 1mg TiD when I began the switch to the equivalent of Valium. It was half Valium, half Xanax when my BF went bankrupt, lost the house to foreclosure and left me. I lived in that house for 6 months until I found the studio apt. where I now live. 2 months after moving and settling into being single and getting-on with my life, I began again the switch. Know that, during the 8 months after he left me, I was taking BOTH benzos, Valium and Xanax.....

 

Upon the advice of my doc I stayed where I was in the benzos. But added Zoloft back again. Bear in-mind that, all this time, I was also taking Wellbutrin. I'd gotten back up to 75mg of Zoloft and was at 100 mg TiD Wellbutrin and a combo of Valium and Xanax.

 

After the move, I completed the switch from Xanax to Valium and began to downdose that. ....

 

I had titrated down to 10mg Valium TiD from 20mg TiD in a short period of time. I was doing well. But the Zoloft was exacerbating my insomnia. ....

 

I OD'd on 20mg Xanax, 80mg Valium, 50mg Ambien and 2 packs of OTC sleeping pills, and washed it all down with 2 bottles of wine, then got in the tub and proceed to slice my arms from wrist to elbow; 20 on one arm, 30 the other. I even cut arteries and they clotted, underwater even! THAT doesn't happen. I was frustrated and dumbfounded. I did not expect to wake up. But I did without even so much as a hangover! Unfortunately, I had taken ALL of my benzos, so I was in the worst withdrawals ever for the longest 4 days of my life before I could get more Xanax. I had a couple of seizures and almost died miserably, which was not what I had in mind. I did this all alone.

 

....

So I told my doc about the failed suicide and he helped me to titrate off the Valium. I got down to 5mg QiD when I decided I wanted off the Zoloft because as the Valium decreased, my insomnia worsened. Ambien no longer worked for me. There was something about the Valium that cancelled-out the effects of Ambien where Xanax didn't. I went back to OTC & natural sleep remedies.

 

So, I stayed on Wllbutrin 100mg TiD while I titrated off Zoloft, the same as my doc had instructed previously. I had little or no withdrawals, but i was a bit more energetic, which I welcomed, to a point. It got pretty anxious for awhile, but i persisted.

 

....

To draw a conclusion to this novel, I am now taking Valium 5mg BiD, Wellbutrin 75mg TiD and rotate the following sleep aids... diphenhydramine (Benadryl), doxylimine succinate (another OTC sleep aid also an antihistamine), and Nyquil for the really rough nights. I augment at times with melatonin 3mg sublingual or L-Tryptophan, about a gram. The latter is the most effective for me as it does not make me feel drugged, but naturally sleepy.

 

I am riding-out the Zoloft WDs and when I'm level from that, hopefully in a week or so, I'll titrate off the Wellbutrin within about a month. Then, I will resume tiration off the Valium.

....

 

Eonwe, that is from your first post here a year ago, June 2011.

 

Congratulations on surviving all of that. Thank you also for coming back to tell us how you are doing. It's wonderful to hear you're doing so well.

 

I wish your switch from Zoloft to Wellbutrin and then off Wellbutrin was as easy as that! It's pretty clear that when you did the switch and went off Wellbutrin the first time, the panic and anxiety were severe withdrawal symptoms, for which you started taking benzos.

 

Then you went on a benzo odyssey -- well, I'm glad you came back safe and sound.

 

I wish I could recommend a switch to Wellbutrin as a way to get off Zoloft, but from your experience it seems at the very least a lot of benzos are also required, and then you have a touchy situation with the benzos -- seems they may have made you very depressed and even suicidal.

 

I'm going to stand pat on recommending slow, controlled tapering over all. If that is not tolerable, some people have been able to switch to Prozac (some have had success with Celexa) and taper off that. I have never heard of Wellbutrin as a bridge off SSRIs (or SNRIs for that matter, although it makes a bit more sense there) and I would hesitate to do this myself. Wellbutrin is too weak to substitute for an SSRI.

 

Other than the benzos and sleep drugs, how did you recover normal sleep?

 

It was very hard to read all of that, my long post. Painful. Its actually kinda hard to remember some of the details, as I'm sure the withdrawal had an effect on my recall. I would not call my withdrawal from Zoloft a quick one. I had spent many months suffering terribly titrating off Zoloft before using Wellbutrin. It made a MASSIVE difference in how I felt when I downdosed. Yes, I had withdrawals but they were about 10% of what I experienced w/o WB and downdosing MUCH slower. Also, the WB did, in fact, help with some depression I was experiencing as a result of a failing relationship on top of other problems.

 

I will also make the point that just prior to all of this happening, my partner had given me an ultimatum - that I must 'get better' (whatever that means), within a year or we would split up. That was just after I had begin downdosing Zoloft. That year was spent not only in withdrawal from SSRIs & benzos, but also dealing with a bankruptcy, foreclosure, and the impending ultimatum imposed upon me. The suicide attempt came after the bankruptcy, foreclosure and my BF of 5 years left me. We were living together. So, my point here is that the withdrawal was only one part of a massively horrendous period in my life. It wasn't just withdrawal. I was an emotional wreck. Oh, and the originating disorder was PTSD, from a very abusive childhood. I think its important all these factors be considered when reading that post, my story.

 

Hard as it was to go through all of that, I had to do it. Yes, I had to get off the drugs when I did. In retrospect, I can see how I carried way too much of the burden of responsibility for the demise of my relationship and probably should not have opted to come off the drugs for the reason of my sexual function. It was a problem but it was not the root-issue and he could have made some concessions but never did. I bore all of that. Won't do THAT again! So yea, I'm glad I went through it and lived to see the other side of it. While I wouldn't recommend taking-on this much at one time to anyone else, I have no regrets. I don't think I have any permanent brain-damage.

 

Oh, also...

 

I was taking Xanax before I began coming off Zoloft. I already had a firm addiction in-place and was dealing with a rising threshold with that so I was upping the benzos because of my rising threshold and SSRI WDs. Benzos do not help SSRI WDs. It actually makes the brain-zaps worse. The way it felt was not like the benzos helped WD symptoms but benzo WDs. SSRI WDs are very different from SSRI WDs. Anyway, I wanted to make that point, that I was already addicted to benzos when I started coming off Zoloft.

Edited by Eonwe
Link to comment

Oh, I didn't see that you had switched to Prozac finally. That makes sense, glad you finally found a doctor who could unravel the whole thing.

 

So, how are you feeling now? Any tips to recover healthy sleep?

 

Do you think you could recommend that psychiatrist? We're looking for doctors to add to our list http://tinyurl.com/7cp8l8v

 

Yea, the Prozac was in there but I was so foggy when I wrote the post, really scattered. I musta left it out. I dunno why. I didn't get the Prozac until I found the addiction specialist who got me off the benzos. I really can't tell you exactly where the Prozac fit-in but I was on it less than a month. It was the last antiD I tool.

 

My psychiatrist was Dr. Noel Rivers-Bulkeley. He worked with Peachford Addiction Center. He's very good. Here's his website: http://www.atlantaprivatepsychiatry.com/

Link to comment

 

Oh, I didn't see that you had switched to Prozac finally. That makes sense, glad you finally found a doctor who could unravel the whole thing.

 

So, how are you feeling now? Any tips to recover healthy sleep?

 

Do you think you could recommend that psychiatrist? We're looking for doctors to add to our list http://tinyurl.com/7cp8l8v

 

Yea, the Prozac was in there but I was so foggy when I wrote the post, really scattered. I musta left it out. I dunno why. I didn't get the Prozac until I found the addiction specialist who got me off the benzos. I really can't tell you exactly where the Prozac fit-in but I was on it less than a month. It was the last antiD I tool.

 

My psychiatrist was Dr. Noel Rivers-Bulkeley. He worked with Peachford Addiction Center. He's very good. Here's his website: http://www.atlantaprivatepsychiatry.com/

 

Hi Eonwe,

 

I may have missed this in your posts, but how did your doctor specificallly taper you off of the benzos? What rate of taper, etc, and did you experience the so-called "benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome"? How long were you dependent on benzos and may I ask what your age is?

My Intro
2000-Effexor and Klonopin
April 2011- C/T Adderall, lithium, Seroquel, Lunesta; Pristiq and Klonopin cut by 1/2 due to med-induced "rapid cycling"
May 2011- Pristiq/Lexapro bridge/taper
June, 2011- K cut to 0.5 mg (doctor)
July 18, 2011 - Lexapro done
October 2011- K taper started
Jan, 2012- Off K, Remeron started -bad idea
March 2012- Horrific Tardive Akathisa/TD (Dx: TA versus withdrawal akathisia secondary to K w/d)
May 2012- Reinstatement of K
Current Psych Meds: Klonopin 2 mg + Propanolol 15 mg and titrating up
As of June 2013: TA gone or suppressed - struggling with tolerance to benzos - beta blocker helping

Link to comment
  • Administrator

Eonwe, you don't have to explain or excuse yourself.

 

I just wanted to point out that Wellbutrin may have relieved some of the withdrawal symptoms somewhat, but you did end up with fairly severe antidepressant withdrawal syndrome, apparently resolved finally with a Prozac switch.

 

Thank you for that recommendation for a doctor. We need more of them, thousands!

 

Yes, please, more details about how you got off the benzos!

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 comment

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Terms of Use Privacy Policy