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NervousKitten is nervous and off her meds


NervousKitten

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Hello all... I've been reading the threads here and am very impressed with the amount of support you give one another! It's been a long journey for me to get here, and I'm hoping to get healthy support from people who are currently experiencing or have experienced withdrawal from anti-depressants, specifically the long-term effects.

 

The acute issue I am dealing with right now seems to be protracted withdrawal from Zoloft that manifests itself as panic attacks that lead me to the ER and a constant awareness of my chest (as if I am waiting for something bad to happen). Aside from these two disconcerting issues, I am so grateful to have my emotions back and am trying everything in my power to remain off antidepressants. I also wake up at 4:30 a.m. in a panic everyday (and thanks to this forum I realize that it's probably cortisol spiking :) 

 

How did I end up here? 

 

Long story short, I grew up in an alcoholic home and had adapted very poorly to the stressors that come along with that environment. After years of deadend jobs I finally landed a very nice job at the age of 24 in the city making more money than I ever imagined I was worth. I started to take Prozac because I didn't want to "**** this up."

 

It seemed to help for a little while, but ultimately ended up having anxiety attacks and compensating for those anxiety attacks by taking xanax occasionally. But I didn't like the way the xanax made me feel, so I didn't take it more than a few times and never fully learned how to deal with the anxiety. I was on Prozac for about 3 years until my anxiety attacks were too unbearable and ultimately ended up agoraphobic. (I learned several years later that Prozac was activating for me and in all likeliness was causing my anxiety attacks). My doctor put me on Effexor.

 

Effexor gave me some balls. I could handle just about anything that came my way. 9/11? Handled like a champ. Job lay off? No biggie. Meth addict boyfriend stealing from me for the past three years? To the curb with him! This was the first couple years on Effexor. After awhile I had to start taking more because my depression kept creeping back in. After 6 years of taking it I had gained a lot of weight that wouldn't come off (5'9" at 289 lbs), I was prediabetic and by blood pressure was rising: I was developing metabolic syndrome. This was a wake up call for me. I had lost another job because of my temper (which I'm sure was caused by my blood pressure and increasing depression). 

 

My psych's answer was to try a new drug. I wanted off this horrible ride. I tapered off Effexor for several months, but ultimately needed some pharmaceutical help getting off and tried Prozac again. This is when I learned it was activating for me. This series of events made withdrawal so uncomfortable and I was prescribed Zoloft.

 

Zoloft was magic. And the fluffy Zoloft cloud helped me regain my life for a short 2 years, I lost weight, everything was just easier. Until it stopped working too. And then the apathy started -- last year I decided that I can't do this anymore, I started gaining weight again (back up to 278) and my anxiety was peeking through the Zoloft. I figured, if I'm going to have anxiety, I might as well have it with a clear head and I certainly didn't like the not caring about whether I lived or died (although not depressed, I just didn't care).

 

October last year was the last Zoloft dose I took after a slow, gradual 6 month taper. The first three months off I had the withdrawal symptoms I had with the Effexor, but I knew what to expect and was able to handle them with positive self-talk, lots of tender self-care, lots of sleeping, some exercise and good nourishing food.  I was also feeling amazing having all these new feelings and emotions. I cried all the time and that was incredible. I hadn't really cried for years and I've lost 30 lbs.

 

Then three months after I stopped my last dose, I had a really bad anxiety attack that sent me to the ER. Nothing was wrong with me. All my tests were fine -- I just couldn't control my anxious feelings. I started going to CBT classes for anxiety, then a series on depression, I read everything I could on how to feel relaxed, how to treat anxiety without drugs. I go to support groups. I eat a balanced diet. I exercise as much as my anxiety will allow me. I have a prescription for ativan that I have only taken once. 

 

Now I'm 8 months without the Zoloft and am still struggling. I'm afraid to be alone. I'm afraid to be with others because I feel like I'm a burden. I feel like something bad is going to happen at anytime.

 

I'm 39 years old and my doctors have all told me that there is nothing wrong with me medically. I need to find the reassurance inside of myself and I'm not sure how to do that without medication.

 

So, hey everyone :) I'd love to hear about anything you might have to say about this: hints, tips, tricks, links to other threads.  

 

 

1999 Prozac with occasional Xanax 

2002 Effexor Xr with occasional Valium

2010 Off Effexor (slow taper)

2010 Prozac rx to help with Effexor withdrawal. Activating, so stopped.

2011 Zoloft rx

2013 Zoloft stops working after a few increases, decide to stop taking it

2013 October last Zoloft dose after a 6-9 month taper

2014 January, April, May, June ER inducing anxiety attacks

2014 June Ativan prescribed as needed. Last taken Nov 2014, but still have pills just in case

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi NervousKitten,

Welcome and thank you for sharing your story.  I'm sorry you are still struggling with anxiety and I can certainly relate to what you are experiencing. I've been on a similar journey, difficult life circumstances, lots of medication changes, side effects and then finally getting off all the drugs, too fast and then being worse off than the beginning.

 

I have also done a lot of therapy and groups and believe I could benefit from it if I could recover from the damage done to my nervous system by years of psychiatric drugs.

 

It sounds to me like your taper off Zoloft may have been too fast, how did you do it? 

 

It would be helpful if you put your drug and tapering history in your signature, this is how you do it:

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/893-please-put-your-withdrawal-history-in-your-signature/

 

Here is the link to our symptoms and self care section, you may find some helpful tips there, especially read the topics pinned at the top. 

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/forum/8-symptoms-and-self-care/

 

You will find a lot of friendly help and support here, I'm glad you found us.

 

Petu.

I'm not a doctor.  My comments are not medical advise. These are my opinions based on my own experience and what I've learned. Please discuss your situation with a medical practitioner who has knowledge of tapering and withdrawal...if you are lucky enough to find one.

My Introduction Thread

Full Drug and Withdrawal History

Brief Summary

Several SSRIs for 13 years starting 1997 (for mild to moderate partly situational anxiety) Xanax PRN ~ Various other drugs over the years for side effects

2 month 'taper' off Lexapro 2010

Short acute withdrawal, followed by 2 -3 months of improvement then delayed protracted withdrawal

DX ADHD followed by several years of stimulants and other drugs trying to manage increasing symptoms

Failed reinstatement of Lexapro and trial of Prozac (became suicidal)

May 2013 Found SA, learned about withdrawal, stopped taking drugs...healing begins.

Protracted withdrawal, with a very sensitized nervous system, slowly recovering as time passes

Supplements which have helped: Vitamin C, Magnesium, Taurine

Bad reactions: Many supplements but mostly fish oil and Vitamin D

June 2016 - Started daily juicing, mostly vegetables and lots of greens.

Aug 2016 - Oct 2016 Best window ever, felt almost completely recovered

Oct 2016 -Symptoms returned - bad days and less bad days.

April 2018 - No windows, but significant improvement, it feels like permanent full recovery is close.

VIDEO: Where did the chemical imbalance theory come from?



VIDEO: How are psychiatric diagnoses made?



VIDEO: Why do psychiatric drugs have withdrawal syndromes?



VIDEO: Can psychiatric drugs cause long-lasting negative effects?

VIDEO: Dr. Claire Weekes

 

 

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Kitten, sounds like you've been through the ringer, many of us have.  Welcome!

 

 

 

 I'm afraid to be alone. I'm afraid to be with others because I feel like I'm a burden.

 

The nice thing about this place is that here you aren't alone, and you certainly aren't a burden.  

 

It sounds like you're taking a lot of steps to make the best of your situation.  The rest may just be a matter of waiting for your body to heal itself.

 

Many of us with prolonged withdrawal find that certain things upset us or give us 'flare-ups', like certain foods, supplements, changing medication dosages, exercise etc.  It's good to watch these things as you heal.

3 Years 150 mgs Effexor

2 month taper down to zero

3 terrible weeks at zero

Back up to 75 mgs

2 months at 75

6 or so months back to regular dose of 150 - was able to restabilize fine.

3 month taper back to zero

1 HORRENDOUS week at zero

2 days back up to 37.5

3 days back up to 75

One week at 150 - unable to stabilize.

Back down to 75 mgs

At 75 mgs (half original dose) and suffering withdrawal symptoms since October 2012.

 

"It is a radical cure for all pessimism to become ill, to remain ill for a good while, and then grow well for a still longer period." - Nietzsche

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Petu…I tapered off over a few months. I was taking three 50 mg pills and went down a pill once a month, stayed on one 50 mg for six months, then for about two months I went to half a 50 mg, then a couple weeks of every other day of 25 mg and then allowed a few more days to lapse inbetween doses as long as i could tolerate.

 

That seemed to work well until January. Coming off the Effexor was far worse.

 

I've started eating more fish and eating organic pastured milk products to up my Omega-3s this week. I have a phobia, I guess I would call it that now, of taking just about any pill or supplement for fear it will adversely affect me and at least I know that by getting the Omega-3 from a variety of sources that I will be getting all the types I need in a form I know my body will be able to process.

 

Thank you for the kind words Narcissus. I'm really struggling to fit in somewhere that is healthy. I feel really disconnected from people in general lately.

1999 Prozac with occasional Xanax 

2002 Effexor Xr with occasional Valium

2010 Off Effexor (slow taper)

2010 Prozac rx to help with Effexor withdrawal. Activating, so stopped.

2011 Zoloft rx

2013 Zoloft stops working after a few increases, decide to stop taking it

2013 October last Zoloft dose after a 6-9 month taper

2014 January, April, May, June ER inducing anxiety attacks

2014 June Ativan prescribed as needed. Last taken Nov 2014, but still have pills just in case

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

I'm really struggling to fit in somewhere that is healthy. I feel really disconnected from people in general lately.

 

I can relate to this, there are many of us here who have become isolated from friends and family due to the symptoms of withdrawal, it makes it difficult to socialize at times and often, friends and family don't understand why.  Anti-depressant withdrawal is not widely recognized like other illnesses are, so makes it difficult to talk about.  Make yourself at home here and feel free to comment in other threads and topics.  I have learned so much from being here, it validates that what we are going through is real.

 

The way you stopped taking Zoloft was much faster than what we recommend, so combined with that and how you describe your symptoms, I would agree that you are in protracted withdrawal with a destabilized nervous system.  I'm in the same situation, and recovering slowly.  I used to wake every morning around 4:30 in a state of panic, but its improved, I now wake later and the anxiety is more tolerable. Something which helps a lot of people with early morning waking is to put block out curtains on windows to make sure your bedroom is completely dark in the morning, using an eye mask and ear plugs can also help, anything to reduce stimulation helps.

 

I know you wrote about your problem with supplements, but magnesium is very helpful for a lot of people in withdrawal, its calming, I haven't heard of anyone having an adverse effect from it, especially not from a low dose.  Its possible to get it in liquid and powder, I don't know how I would have got through my early acute withdrawal without being able to take magnesium.

 

Its good that you are eating a healthier diet, that seems to be a key factor in faster recovery.  We seem to do best on simple, fresh organic foods and limiting or cutting out processed foods and caffeine.  Caffeine and alcohol tends to increase withdrawal symptoms, but everyone is different, and I'm sure you are learning what works best for you.

I'm not a doctor.  My comments are not medical advise. These are my opinions based on my own experience and what I've learned. Please discuss your situation with a medical practitioner who has knowledge of tapering and withdrawal...if you are lucky enough to find one.

My Introduction Thread

Full Drug and Withdrawal History

Brief Summary

Several SSRIs for 13 years starting 1997 (for mild to moderate partly situational anxiety) Xanax PRN ~ Various other drugs over the years for side effects

2 month 'taper' off Lexapro 2010

Short acute withdrawal, followed by 2 -3 months of improvement then delayed protracted withdrawal

DX ADHD followed by several years of stimulants and other drugs trying to manage increasing symptoms

Failed reinstatement of Lexapro and trial of Prozac (became suicidal)

May 2013 Found SA, learned about withdrawal, stopped taking drugs...healing begins.

Protracted withdrawal, with a very sensitized nervous system, slowly recovering as time passes

Supplements which have helped: Vitamin C, Magnesium, Taurine

Bad reactions: Many supplements but mostly fish oil and Vitamin D

June 2016 - Started daily juicing, mostly vegetables and lots of greens.

Aug 2016 - Oct 2016 Best window ever, felt almost completely recovered

Oct 2016 -Symptoms returned - bad days and less bad days.

April 2018 - No windows, but significant improvement, it feels like permanent full recovery is close.

VIDEO: Where did the chemical imbalance theory come from?



VIDEO: How are psychiatric diagnoses made?



VIDEO: Why do psychiatric drugs have withdrawal syndromes?



VIDEO: Can psychiatric drugs cause long-lasting negative effects?

VIDEO: Dr. Claire Weekes

 

 

 

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Thank you for recommending the magnesium, after reading a couple articles on it, it might be worth a try.

 

I've found that I can no longer tolerate alcohol, it really messes my sleep cycle. I bought a sleep mask yesterday and tried it out last night and according to my sleep app, I got some very good sleep until about 5 a.m. At that time, I had woken up with the sleep mask lifted from over one of my eyes (I blame my cats) and managed to snooze with the sleep mask on for a couple more hours, but never managed to go back to sleep. 

 

I also woke up with my lungs feeling dry, which doesn't help my anxiety at all. I have recently gotten better after a months-long illness that involved some sort of lung infection and been prescribed a Qvar inhaler during it and continue to use it now. I don't know if this is because of the Qvar or something else.

 

That symptom has since gone away this morning, but my anxiety is still on high looking for clues that something bad will come of the dry lung feeling from earlier. My strategy for handling this anxiety is to comfort myself and at the same time tell the anxiety voice it needs to go away.

1999 Prozac with occasional Xanax 

2002 Effexor Xr with occasional Valium

2010 Off Effexor (slow taper)

2010 Prozac rx to help with Effexor withdrawal. Activating, so stopped.

2011 Zoloft rx

2013 Zoloft stops working after a few increases, decide to stop taking it

2013 October last Zoloft dose after a 6-9 month taper

2014 January, April, May, June ER inducing anxiety attacks

2014 June Ativan prescribed as needed. Last taken Nov 2014, but still have pills just in case

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

You can get magnesium from epsom salt baths or as a topical spray if you'd rather not take it orally. Also from a diet rich in vegetables, particularly organic (because they have a better mineral profile due to richer soil).

 

Welcome to the forum. Read through the Symptoms and Self-Care section, and go back and read old threads too; you'll see all kinds of things that people have found helpful (and a few things they haven't too).

 

I'm so sorry for your suffering. You'll get a lot of support and understanding here. 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

2/12/20             12                       0.045               0.007                   1 

May 2021            7                       0.01                  0.0037                1

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

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

 

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

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I got a bag of it from Target tonight as well as a light blocking curtain that I've put up in my room. I dont have time to draw a bath tonight, so I will just soak my feet for a little while. I've had a warm glass of milk and will do some meditation while my feet soak.

 

I'm still a little scared to go to sleep after the weird dry lung feeling I woke up to this morning. Wish me luck.

1999 Prozac with occasional Xanax 

2002 Effexor Xr with occasional Valium

2010 Off Effexor (slow taper)

2010 Prozac rx to help with Effexor withdrawal. Activating, so stopped.

2011 Zoloft rx

2013 Zoloft stops working after a few increases, decide to stop taking it

2013 October last Zoloft dose after a 6-9 month taper

2014 January, April, May, June ER inducing anxiety attacks

2014 June Ativan prescribed as needed. Last taken Nov 2014, but still have pills just in case

 

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Today has turned out to be a pretty good day and I think I need to thank the block out curtains I bought and the little bit of sleep hygiene I did before going to sleep.

 

What I did differently:

1. Epsom salt foot soak with 10 minute meditation

2. Block out curtain

3. Closed bedroom door to block light from the rest of the house (this also helped keep the kitties from using the hallway as a runway

 

According to my sleep app, I still only got 6 hours of sleep and I know that isn't enough for my body to function properly. I'll try this routine again tonight and see if I can go to sleep earlier. My body seems to want to wake up 4:30 - 5 a.m. anyway, so it might be a good thing not to fight it. 

 

Learning about my body and listening to the subtle cues has been really challenging since being off the medication. With the meds, I could just plow through things like less sleep and outside stressors, but I see that it wasn't the best idea. I should be able to take naps, take a break, be kind to myself instead of going head-first into stressful situation. I wouldn't make my best friend do that, why would I do that to myself?  

1999 Prozac with occasional Xanax 

2002 Effexor Xr with occasional Valium

2010 Off Effexor (slow taper)

2010 Prozac rx to help with Effexor withdrawal. Activating, so stopped.

2011 Zoloft rx

2013 Zoloft stops working after a few increases, decide to stop taking it

2013 October last Zoloft dose after a 6-9 month taper

2014 January, April, May, June ER inducing anxiety attacks

2014 June Ativan prescribed as needed. Last taken Nov 2014, but still have pills just in case

 

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Last night was another short night and woke up early again and woke up sweaty and my brain just won't stop searching for something to be seriously wrong. I'm really a mess inside my head and don't know how to stop it.

 

I have very little support and seems that whenever I reach out to people, they ignore me or just pass it off like its just another crazy episode. Not sure what else to do. I'm desperate and have run out of options.

1999 Prozac with occasional Xanax 

2002 Effexor Xr with occasional Valium

2010 Off Effexor (slow taper)

2010 Prozac rx to help with Effexor withdrawal. Activating, so stopped.

2011 Zoloft rx

2013 Zoloft stops working after a few increases, decide to stop taking it

2013 October last Zoloft dose after a 6-9 month taper

2014 January, April, May, June ER inducing anxiety attacks

2014 June Ativan prescribed as needed. Last taken Nov 2014, but still have pills just in case

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

I'm sorry to hear you had a bad day after having a good one, that seems to be how recovery works, its not linear, it can be confusing and frustrating for us who are going through this, and friends/family.  Reading through this topic on the windows and waves pattern may be helpful, also this post from the friends and family section:

 

support-for-those-in-withdrawal-who-struggle-with-family-friends-not-understanding

 

There really isn't any way to speed up the recovery process, but we can learn how to manage symptoms and accept them, while we wait.  Being able to accept and have patience reduces stress and reduced stress is something which actually does help recovery.

I'm not a doctor.  My comments are not medical advise. These are my opinions based on my own experience and what I've learned. Please discuss your situation with a medical practitioner who has knowledge of tapering and withdrawal...if you are lucky enough to find one.

My Introduction Thread

Full Drug and Withdrawal History

Brief Summary

Several SSRIs for 13 years starting 1997 (for mild to moderate partly situational anxiety) Xanax PRN ~ Various other drugs over the years for side effects

2 month 'taper' off Lexapro 2010

Short acute withdrawal, followed by 2 -3 months of improvement then delayed protracted withdrawal

DX ADHD followed by several years of stimulants and other drugs trying to manage increasing symptoms

Failed reinstatement of Lexapro and trial of Prozac (became suicidal)

May 2013 Found SA, learned about withdrawal, stopped taking drugs...healing begins.

Protracted withdrawal, with a very sensitized nervous system, slowly recovering as time passes

Supplements which have helped: Vitamin C, Magnesium, Taurine

Bad reactions: Many supplements but mostly fish oil and Vitamin D

June 2016 - Started daily juicing, mostly vegetables and lots of greens.

Aug 2016 - Oct 2016 Best window ever, felt almost completely recovered

Oct 2016 -Symptoms returned - bad days and less bad days.

April 2018 - No windows, but significant improvement, it feels like permanent full recovery is close.

VIDEO: Where did the chemical imbalance theory come from?



VIDEO: How are psychiatric diagnoses made?



VIDEO: Why do psychiatric drugs have withdrawal syndromes?



VIDEO: Can psychiatric drugs cause long-lasting negative effects?

VIDEO: Dr. Claire Weekes

 

 

 

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Yesterday was a good day, I actually laughed! And not just a heehee, but i snort belly laugh. I ended up drinking too much caffiene (I suspect that my iced tea was brewed double strength) and had to walk it off.

 

Then today started out with that crappy anxiety feeling that something bad is going to happen. I used my tools and seemed to get through most of the day. Now, I've got this keyed up feeling and its making me feel like something is wrong.

 

I really hate this.

1999 Prozac with occasional Xanax 

2002 Effexor Xr with occasional Valium

2010 Off Effexor (slow taper)

2010 Prozac rx to help with Effexor withdrawal. Activating, so stopped.

2011 Zoloft rx

2013 Zoloft stops working after a few increases, decide to stop taking it

2013 October last Zoloft dose after a 6-9 month taper

2014 January, April, May, June ER inducing anxiety attacks

2014 June Ativan prescribed as needed. Last taken Nov 2014, but still have pills just in case

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi NK,

 

A belated welcome! It's a good sign that you had a good day. I'm sorry it was followed by another bad day! Hang in there, many people are able to get off the meds and live productive lives.

 

You've found a very helpful forum, here, with people that really care!

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Thank you T :)

 

Today was okay. Having weird hearing sensitivity and very tired today. Went to group therapy and had the lead therapist tell me that my symptoms are all anxiety. Which was frustrating. Some are, some aren't. There was another person in the group who was a classic anxiety and panic sufferer and to see her act like she did makes me it even more apparent to me that my sympotms aren't all based in anxiety.

1999 Prozac with occasional Xanax 

2002 Effexor Xr with occasional Valium

2010 Off Effexor (slow taper)

2010 Prozac rx to help with Effexor withdrawal. Activating, so stopped.

2011 Zoloft rx

2013 Zoloft stops working after a few increases, decide to stop taking it

2013 October last Zoloft dose after a 6-9 month taper

2014 January, April, May, June ER inducing anxiety attacks

2014 June Ativan prescribed as needed. Last taken Nov 2014, but still have pills just in case

 

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  • Administrator

Perhaps you should take the leader aside and politely tell her she has a lot to learn.

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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  • Moderator Emeritus

 Went to group therapy and had the lead therapist tell me that my symptoms are all anxiety. Which was frustrating. Some are, some aren't.

 

I can imagine how frustrating this would be.

 

I've actually started to hate that word "anxiety", like as if it actually defines one, specific condition, with a cure or treatment which will work to cure this 'illness'.

 

In reality, the sensations or symptoms or functions of the body which have come to be associated with 'anxiety' can have many different causes from being chased by a tiger to, imagining being chased by a tiger to having something in the body not working properly like thyroid problems, hormonal swings, or antidepressant withdrawal.  Some of these things we can control, others not.

 

I'm sure the therapy will be be very helpful for managing the symptoms which are controllable, the ones related to our thinking and acting.

I'm not a doctor.  My comments are not medical advise. These are my opinions based on my own experience and what I've learned. Please discuss your situation with a medical practitioner who has knowledge of tapering and withdrawal...if you are lucky enough to find one.

My Introduction Thread

Full Drug and Withdrawal History

Brief Summary

Several SSRIs for 13 years starting 1997 (for mild to moderate partly situational anxiety) Xanax PRN ~ Various other drugs over the years for side effects

2 month 'taper' off Lexapro 2010

Short acute withdrawal, followed by 2 -3 months of improvement then delayed protracted withdrawal

DX ADHD followed by several years of stimulants and other drugs trying to manage increasing symptoms

Failed reinstatement of Lexapro and trial of Prozac (became suicidal)

May 2013 Found SA, learned about withdrawal, stopped taking drugs...healing begins.

Protracted withdrawal, with a very sensitized nervous system, slowly recovering as time passes

Supplements which have helped: Vitamin C, Magnesium, Taurine

Bad reactions: Many supplements but mostly fish oil and Vitamin D

June 2016 - Started daily juicing, mostly vegetables and lots of greens.

Aug 2016 - Oct 2016 Best window ever, felt almost completely recovered

Oct 2016 -Symptoms returned - bad days and less bad days.

April 2018 - No windows, but significant improvement, it feels like permanent full recovery is close.

VIDEO: Where did the chemical imbalance theory come from?



VIDEO: How are psychiatric diagnoses made?



VIDEO: Why do psychiatric drugs have withdrawal syndromes?



VIDEO: Can psychiatric drugs cause long-lasting negative effects?

VIDEO: Dr. Claire Weekes

 

 

 

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Everything I read that I seem to have an issue with deals with neuro-plasticity and how negative grooves are the reason for my negative feelings (and in relation to my withdrawal symptoms, the reason for my exaggerated and prolonged withdrawal experience). I read an article earlier about how some people aren't as quick to forgive. It stated that it was because the negative pathway after a betrayal or hurt lays down a new pathway so we don't end up getting hurt again.

 

Out brains are amazing. Truly. My brain is constantly looking out for trouble so that I am protected, it lives in the past because it can't predict the future. These negative pathways are like superhighways to these protective features and my brain seems to wire these pathway grooves very deeply.

1999 Prozac with occasional Xanax 

2002 Effexor Xr with occasional Valium

2010 Off Effexor (slow taper)

2010 Prozac rx to help with Effexor withdrawal. Activating, so stopped.

2011 Zoloft rx

2013 Zoloft stops working after a few increases, decide to stop taking it

2013 October last Zoloft dose after a 6-9 month taper

2014 January, April, May, June ER inducing anxiety attacks

2014 June Ativan prescribed as needed. Last taken Nov 2014, but still have pills just in case

 

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  • Administrator

The brain is neuroplastic in both directions! If you've got a habit of "wrong" thinking, you can change it.

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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That's very challenging, altough I am doing the best I can to change what I can. Throw in some odd sensations and non-typical anxiety symptoms and I end up not being able to differentiate what is real or an old pathway.

 

Today was an anticipatory anxiety day, waiting for the other shoe (my fear of dying) to drop and experiencing some fatigue from four whirlwind days on vacation in San Diego with my family (brother neph aunt mom step dad). It was a good time, although I did have an anxiety attack one day, but was comforted to have my family around.

 

Part of what makes these symptoms seem unbearable at times is that I am going at it alone. I have a roommate who is here 2-3 nights a week, but its not the same as having a loving family member there. Everyone lives out of state, the closest a 12 hour drive. I don't have many friends either and no one I talk to on a daily basis that would notice if I have fallen ill.

 

That disconnection seems to be a big factor in how I feel in relation to the anxiety I have, and moreso because of these withdrawal symptoms I can't control. It would be comforting to have someone here.

1999 Prozac with occasional Xanax 

2002 Effexor Xr with occasional Valium

2010 Off Effexor (slow taper)

2010 Prozac rx to help with Effexor withdrawal. Activating, so stopped.

2011 Zoloft rx

2013 Zoloft stops working after a few increases, decide to stop taking it

2013 October last Zoloft dose after a 6-9 month taper

2014 January, April, May, June ER inducing anxiety attacks

2014 June Ativan prescribed as needed. Last taken Nov 2014, but still have pills just in case

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

At the urging of my therapist, I had an appointment with my prescribing psych doctor and she recommended Lexapro for my anxiety. Her reasoning was that I shouldn't be in so much pain chasing my anxiety around. I feel like I've made a lot of progress since coming off the Zoloft and not looking forward to getting back on medication, but my anxiety is still very pervasive.

 

Does anyone have experience with it? I'm not finding much here as far as people coming off of it. My doctor said (I am paraphrasing) that because it was a purer form of the chemical used in Celexa, I should tolerate it much better as it has less side effects. 

1999 Prozac with occasional Xanax 

2002 Effexor Xr with occasional Valium

2010 Off Effexor (slow taper)

2010 Prozac rx to help with Effexor withdrawal. Activating, so stopped.

2011 Zoloft rx

2013 Zoloft stops working after a few increases, decide to stop taking it

2013 October last Zoloft dose after a 6-9 month taper

2014 January, April, May, June ER inducing anxiety attacks

2014 June Ativan prescribed as needed. Last taken Nov 2014, but still have pills just in case

 

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  • Administrator

Less side effects than Celexa -- not likely. Lexapro is several times stronger than Celexa, milligram for milligram.

 

Since you liked Zoloft, why not go back on a little Zoloft instead, perhaps 2mg to start? It comes in a liquid. Better the devil you know than the devil you don't.

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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One of the things I'm concerned about is the potential long qt heart rate issue. I dont have any heart issues, but this concerns me quite a bit.

1999 Prozac with occasional Xanax 

2002 Effexor Xr with occasional Valium

2010 Off Effexor (slow taper)

2010 Prozac rx to help with Effexor withdrawal. Activating, so stopped.

2011 Zoloft rx

2013 Zoloft stops working after a few increases, decide to stop taking it

2013 October last Zoloft dose after a 6-9 month taper

2014 January, April, May, June ER inducing anxiety attacks

2014 June Ativan prescribed as needed. Last taken Nov 2014, but still have pills just in case

 

Link to comment
  • Administrator

All of them affect heart rate in similar ways. After 15 years on various antidepressants, taking a tiny bit to lessen withdrawal is not going to worsen any health issues.

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 for letting me know about the heart issue.

 

I was doing okay up until last Thursday when I ended up in the ER again because of anxiety. I had an elevated heart rate for several hours (between 85 and 96 bpm) which is high for me. I used all the tools I could before taking an ativan. Even the ativan didn't work. Again, clean bill of health. ER doc recommended benadryl and said is was okay to take another ativan (my script is the lowest available).

 

Today was another challenging day. While I was making dinner I had a dizzy spell that felt like I was going to fall over. This caused an anxiety attack which I am mostly over.

 

I need to find a new therapist outside my HMO as my health plan will only allow an appointment every three weeks and I feel like I need more than that to get me through this ****. I'm very much over the panic and anxiety happening like this. But I am also so grateful for being able to feel anything again.

1999 Prozac with occasional Xanax 

2002 Effexor Xr with occasional Valium

2010 Off Effexor (slow taper)

2010 Prozac rx to help with Effexor withdrawal. Activating, so stopped.

2011 Zoloft rx

2013 Zoloft stops working after a few increases, decide to stop taking it

2013 October last Zoloft dose after a 6-9 month taper

2014 January, April, May, June ER inducing anxiety attacks

2014 June Ativan prescribed as needed. Last taken Nov 2014, but still have pills just in case

 

Link to comment

I'm experiencing a window. It feels good. It started around 8 pm and its still going. I meditated, soaked my feet in epsom salts, prayed. Hoping this will mean good sleep.

1999 Prozac with occasional Xanax 

2002 Effexor Xr with occasional Valium

2010 Off Effexor (slow taper)

2010 Prozac rx to help with Effexor withdrawal. Activating, so stopped.

2011 Zoloft rx

2013 Zoloft stops working after a few increases, decide to stop taking it

2013 October last Zoloft dose after a 6-9 month taper

2014 January, April, May, June ER inducing anxiety attacks

2014 June Ativan prescribed as needed. Last taken Nov 2014, but still have pills just in case

 

Link to comment
  • Moderator Emeritus

Glad you are having a window Kitten, hope it stays open for a while for you .

I always try to remember the windows, so that when a wave hits there is that memory

of the windows to reassure me that the waves do pass .

**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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Thanks MammaP. I thought it was important to have record of it so I can see next time I have a wave that it, too, will pass as it has done in the past.

1999 Prozac with occasional Xanax 

2002 Effexor Xr with occasional Valium

2010 Off Effexor (slow taper)

2010 Prozac rx to help with Effexor withdrawal. Activating, so stopped.

2011 Zoloft rx

2013 Zoloft stops working after a few increases, decide to stop taking it

2013 October last Zoloft dose after a 6-9 month taper

2014 January, April, May, June ER inducing anxiety attacks

2014 June Ativan prescribed as needed. Last taken Nov 2014, but still have pills just in case

 

Link to comment

It's still going. Really tired this evening, might be all the sleepless and inadequate sleep I've had over the last 6-8 months.

 

Tomorrow I go to my first therapy appointment with new weekly therapist (my HMO only offers one appt every three weeks). This will be a significant cost to me, but hopefully will get me out of this anxiety cycle I am in and do so without medication. Its cheaper than going to the ER once a month :/

1999 Prozac with occasional Xanax 

2002 Effexor Xr with occasional Valium

2010 Off Effexor (slow taper)

2010 Prozac rx to help with Effexor withdrawal. Activating, so stopped.

2011 Zoloft rx

2013 Zoloft stops working after a few increases, decide to stop taking it

2013 October last Zoloft dose after a 6-9 month taper

2014 January, April, May, June ER inducing anxiety attacks

2014 June Ativan prescribed as needed. Last taken Nov 2014, but still have pills just in case

 

Link to comment
  • Moderator Emeritus

I hope your appointment goes well, do let us know.

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 comment

The appointment went well and the therapist suggested trying something called EMDR.

 

The window seems to be trying to close. Last night and most of today I have spent trying ro calm myself down. I've parked my car at the hospital instead of going to the er, it seems to be helping a little knowing I can walk in if I need to. Hoping that will resolve and I can go home. I live only 5 minutes from the hospital, so I can go back if needed.

1999 Prozac with occasional Xanax 

2002 Effexor Xr with occasional Valium

2010 Off Effexor (slow taper)

2010 Prozac rx to help with Effexor withdrawal. Activating, so stopped.

2011 Zoloft rx

2013 Zoloft stops working after a few increases, decide to stop taking it

2013 October last Zoloft dose after a 6-9 month taper

2014 January, April, May, June ER inducing anxiety attacks

2014 June Ativan prescribed as needed. Last taken Nov 2014, but still have pills just in case

 

Link to comment
  • Moderator Emeritus

How are doing NervousKitten?  I hope that window managed to stay open a little longer for you.  Did you decide to try the EMDR?

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 comment

Last Friday I met with my new therapist and have decided to try EMDR. He said that it might take a few sessions before we actually start so that he can learn more about me and for me to trust him. Today is the second session and I'm looking forward to it. 

 

I have had a series of tests to try to figure out some symptoms I've had. A pulmonary lung function test came back normal to try and solve my coughing issue. The next step for that one is to have a sleep study done to check for sleep apnea as that might be contributing to my cough and possibly my anxiety waking me up.  

 

Yesterday I turned in a 24-hour Holter Monitor as I have been experiencing palpitations since my last anxiety attack sent me to the ER. I'm hoping the results come back soon. 

 

I seem to be heading back into a wave as I was woken up (and awoke) this morning with anxiety that manifested itself with a racing heart. I was able to breathe myself back to sleep both times, but this feels like it did before my little window opened a couple weeks ago. I'm holding on as best as I can, but this is really starting to wear me down.

1999 Prozac with occasional Xanax 

2002 Effexor Xr with occasional Valium

2010 Off Effexor (slow taper)

2010 Prozac rx to help with Effexor withdrawal. Activating, so stopped.

2011 Zoloft rx

2013 Zoloft stops working after a few increases, decide to stop taking it

2013 October last Zoloft dose after a 6-9 month taper

2014 January, April, May, June ER inducing anxiety attacks

2014 June Ativan prescribed as needed. Last taken Nov 2014, but still have pills just in case

 

Link to comment

The wave is here. Anxiety is more frequent now and I wonder if I had made the right choice coming off the Zoloft. The worst part of all this is the loneliness. Not living with anyone or having a significant other, kids or family nearby makes it worse.

1999 Prozac with occasional Xanax 

2002 Effexor Xr with occasional Valium

2010 Off Effexor (slow taper)

2010 Prozac rx to help with Effexor withdrawal. Activating, so stopped.

2011 Zoloft rx

2013 Zoloft stops working after a few increases, decide to stop taking it

2013 October last Zoloft dose after a 6-9 month taper

2014 January, April, May, June ER inducing anxiety attacks

2014 June Ativan prescribed as needed. Last taken Nov 2014, but still have pills just in case

 

Link to comment
  • Moderator Emeritus

I'm sorry you are having another wave NK, I also feel completely worn down from withdrawal symptoms.  When symptoms are bad, it seems to make everything else worse, including feelings like loneliness.  I live with my adult daughter and have family close by, but when I'm in a wave it doesn't make any difference, I still feel completely alone and isolated.  What I'm trying to say is that it may be the withdrawal which is causing the feelings, as in neuro-emotions.

 

Neuro-emotions

 

I'm pleased the EMDR is going well and hope this wave passes soon.

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 comment

Hi Nervous! I like your username :). I just joined this forum. I'm sorry you're going through so much. I wanted to give you my view on the Lexapro that was offered to you. I'm not sure that starting another ssri is the best idea at this point due to the wd I'm dealing with. I don 't want the same to happen to you. Are you able to restart the zoloft, get to a stablizing dose, then do a slow taper? I know, too, what you mean about feeling alone. I have family and coworkers who care, but I still feel alone during the rough parts because they've never been through this so can't understand. One thing I would suggest is to join a meetup group. There are groups for every interest it seems. Everyone I've met through meetup has been very nice and supportive. It will get you out of the house and around others (when you're up for it) and give you a chance to get out of your head and your symptoms and make new friends. I know it's hard when you're exhausted from symptoms, so take it easy and do what you can when you can.

I'd also like to ask a question, if you don't mind. You mentioned doing a lot of self care that would seem to interfere with working. Can I ask what you do for work? I'm asking only because my symptoms are interfering with work and I am looking for other work that would allow me to make my own schedule and work remotely if and when needed. Job stress is a big contributor to my symptoms right now.

<p>Lexapro taper from 7.5mg to 5mg for one week to 2.5mg for one to 2.5mg every other day for one week. Original dose of Lexapro was 10mg. On that for a few years,then cut back to 7.5 with no effects. In total, on Lexapro for about 7 years. Never did much to help with my panic disorder. Cross-tapered with Zoloft 12.5mg for one week, 25mg for one week. Stopped after ten days due to sexual side effects. Off Lexapro completely since end of July 2014.

Update: Aug. 20, 2014 - restarted Lexapro at 3.75mg due to intolerable withdrawal symptoms.

Update: Sept. 16, 2014 - increased Lexapro to 5mg on advice of GP.

Update: Jan. 13, 2015 - requesting Rx for Liquid Lexapro from pdoc on Friday to start taper. Horrible side effects from Lexapro since going back on. Haven't resolved so need to come off.

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Hi Toes!

 

I am an editor with deadlines on just a couple days a week. My schedule can be flexible as most of my work is reading and coordination of other peoples work. I was able to ask my manager at the time if working from home was an option and we experimented with an afternoon here and there.

 

I tend to spend more time in the office now as I feel safer being around people (my anxiety tells me that if i am alone, something bad will happen).

 

Thank you for your suggestions. I'm giving the EMDR a go before reevaluating the medication situation. I've gotten this far with only taking ativan twice, xanax once and benadryl four times in the past 10 months since I have been off Zoloft.

 

Of course I've been to the ER four times and have had countless tests to make sure I am okay, so I'm growing tired of this circus.

 

Do you have an intro? I'd like to know more about your story.

1999 Prozac with occasional Xanax 

2002 Effexor Xr with occasional Valium

2010 Off Effexor (slow taper)

2010 Prozac rx to help with Effexor withdrawal. Activating, so stopped.

2011 Zoloft rx

2013 Zoloft stops working after a few increases, decide to stop taking it

2013 October last Zoloft dose after a 6-9 month taper

2014 January, April, May, June ER inducing anxiety attacks

2014 June Ativan prescribed as needed. Last taken Nov 2014, but still have pills just in case

 

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