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karlie0766: Off meds 2.5 years and still have protracted withdrawal symptoms


karlie0766

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Hi...I have been off my meds of various ADs and mood stabilizers 2.5 years and still experience windows of irritability, social anxiety, some anxiety. Just wondering if this is normal? I am 47 and have been on meds for over 20 years. Thank you for any advice or encouragement.

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Are these the only symptoms you have???

Was on Citalopram 20mg since Feb 2008 - switched to Paxil 20mg in August 2010

Tapered way too fast in April 2012 by skipping days. Taper completed in 6 weeks

Tried prozac 20mg for 3 days - felt spaced out, not better.

Tried 30mg Cymbalta for 2 days. SEVERE ADVERSE REACTION

Antidepressant free since 14 August 2012

Birth control on and off during this time - Last taken 18 June 2017 - Morning after pill 

Started mainly using 0.5mg Xanax beginning 2016 for severe panic attacks and anxiety due to trauma

Xanax on and off never more than 0.5mg at a time, never taking it 3 days in a row - used sparingly 

 

6 Years antidepressant free - Still in severe withdrawal with over 60 symptoms

Severe setback started May 2018 with no let up to date. Developed many new symptoms like tremors, inner vibrations, insomnia, visual distortions and dr/dp are 100x worse, i have severe sensitivity to movement, My dizziness and vertigo got worse and it now feels like im constantly rocking on a boat, my anxiety is sky high, suicidal idiation is back, i feel extremely brain damaged 

 

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Yes, its normal. I am almost 2 years free and have 50+ symptoms on a 24/7 basis

Was on Citalopram 20mg since Feb 2008 - switched to Paxil 20mg in August 2010

Tapered way too fast in April 2012 by skipping days. Taper completed in 6 weeks

Tried prozac 20mg for 3 days - felt spaced out, not better.

Tried 30mg Cymbalta for 2 days. SEVERE ADVERSE REACTION

Antidepressant free since 14 August 2012

Birth control on and off during this time - Last taken 18 June 2017 - Morning after pill 

Started mainly using 0.5mg Xanax beginning 2016 for severe panic attacks and anxiety due to trauma

Xanax on and off never more than 0.5mg at a time, never taking it 3 days in a row - used sparingly 

 

6 Years antidepressant free - Still in severe withdrawal with over 60 symptoms

Severe setback started May 2018 with no let up to date. Developed many new symptoms like tremors, inner vibrations, insomnia, visual distortions and dr/dp are 100x worse, i have severe sensitivity to movement, My dizziness and vertigo got worse and it now feels like im constantly rocking on a boat, my anxiety is sky high, suicidal idiation is back, i feel extremely brain damaged 

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Welcome karlie,

I moved your post from the symptoms forum to here, you will get a better response and can use this thread as your own journal.  I'm sorry to hear you are still not feeling well.  It would help if you could give us some more details about your situation.

 

What drugs were you on and how did you come off them?

 

If you stop these kinds of drugs cold turkey or taper too quickly, some people can experience withdrawal symptoms for quite a long time, there are many members here in this situation, including me.  I stopped taking Lexapro too fast and then other drugs and have been in protracted withdrawal for over 2 years.

 

Do you have these symptoms all the time, or do they come an go?

 

You will find a lot of support here from people who understand what you are going through.

 

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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I was on Prozac since my mid 20s....I am 47 now. That stopped working and then was put on May different ADs, none of which were much help so my dr. Then went to Xanax and mood stabilizers...seroquel and lamictil. I tapered quite slowly but still having symptoms of some anxiety, upset stomach, extreme irritability and rage and fatigue. I do experience windows of feeling some better but have really been in a dip. I got a stomach virus and seemed to really throw me into More symptoms. So scared I will never get better.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Karlie, we've seen quite a few people in your situation. Long term use of psych meds, starting them young, and being switched around on them a lot seems to make people more likely to have a difficult outcome when they try to come off. Personally I think these drugs are criminally dangerous.

 

Anyway, so far everyone I've seen has improved over time. Usually people are doing better within a couple of years, but for some it takes longer. It's a long, slow recovery process, but I've not yet met anyone who doesn't get better eventually. Out of hundreds, I've known a tiny handful who are still struggling six or seven years out, but even then there seems to be some improvement over time. 

 

So, first, you're not alone, what you're experiencing is unfortunate but not unheard of by any means. Second, I think you can expect slow gradual improvement, in a roller coaster ups and downs kind of way ("windows and waves" as we call it here) to continue over the next few years. It may be helpful to keep a journal, daily or every few days, ranking your symptoms on a scale of 1 to 5. We have the tendency, during the down times, to forget that the good times even exist, or to have trouble believing they will ever return. Keeping a journal makes it easier to see the patterns objectively.

 

Check out our Symptoms and Self Care section too for ideas about how to cope with symptoms.

 

Welcome to the forum. You'll get lots of support and encouragement 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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Karlie - where are you in menopause issues? That alone can throw a monkey wrench into the picture. 

I'M A WEANER!  :D 
atavan PRN ,Paxil approx 20 yrs ago for major depression
Switched to Klonopin PRN through to current
Paxil wore out
Changed to Effexor 
Depakote added
enormous weight gain - flat affect - led to depression - dropped depakote
Dropped Effexor, changed to Paxil 
PDoc added mixed salts amphetamines for ADHD - took for 2 yrs - was ok at first but had to cut as symptoms too intense -  then the crash was too much. STOPPED
Vyvanse started in 2013 (APRIL) - more smooth than IR amphetamine tabs---Have not used vyvanse daily in full amt since May 2013 

Paxil CT withdrawal 10/2012  :wacko:  Klonopin CT WD

Switched Klonopin to Xanax prn  - too strong

WD CT from XANAX after taking for a while - it was awful but can be done if you hold on!

Back to Klonopin PRN - working very hard to avoid taking it at all. 

Effexor 37.5 started 02/2013, 75mg by 03/2013, 150mg by 05/2012 (approx)  :blush:

Effexor 150mg 3/10/2014 Microtaper -3beads  :unsure:

3/11/2014-4beads ,3/12/14 - 5, 3/13/14 -6, 3/15/14 - 7, 3/18 - 8, 3/22 - 10, 3/24 - 12, 4/6 - 13, 4/7 - 14, 4/11 - 16 - on 4/19 ran out of brand took generic. Bad move. Back on brand on 4/20 and updosed 2 beads. 5/1 - 15, 5/6 - 16, 5/9 -17, 55/10 -17, 5/15 -18, 5/21 -19, 5/24 -20, 6/3 - 21, 6/6 -23, 6/13 -24,6/19- 25, 6/21 -26, 6/25 -27

6/28 -28, 6/29 -30, 7/3 -34, 7/8 -35, 7/17 -36, 7/30 -41,7/31 -42, 8/2 -43, 8/3 -44, 8/5 -45, 8/14 -48, 8/26-50, 9/24 -53, 10/24 -55, 12/1 -57, (lost the tally sheet, thus taper info for some of it), 4/19-63, 4/26-64, 4/30-65 Switched to wt reduction - now @ -.068, 7/14 -.070, August 2015 -.074, between Sept & October 10 -.077, Nov. -.078(feeling great), -.090 as of 1/10/16, down to  -.101 since January 2016 (it is now 6/24/16), -.105 as of 8/13/16
 
 

Ladies, please don't underestimate the possibility of perimenopause. The symptoms can be similar to, may intensify & in some cases mimic protracted w/d from ssri's & benzo's. 

 

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Thank you so much, Rhi!

 

Good questionNewMe!i definitely have peri menopause symptoms...not sure you close I am to menopause but always seem to have more trouble around that time do the month. Any suggestions? I was on bio identical progesterone for awhile but didn't notice that made much of a difference.

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Thank you so much, Rhi!

 

Good questionNewMe!i definitely have peri menopause symptoms...not sure you close I am to menopause but always seem to have more trouble around that time do the month. Any suggestions? I was on bio identical progesterone for awhile but didn't notice that made much of a difference.

May I suggest menopause chit chat forum? So many incredible women using different approaches and all supportive. One of the most common things discussed is anxiety, panic gloom and doom and how it waxes and wanes during peri. It can compound ssri wd for sure. You may find it quite the relief to see you are not alone...so much of what goes on in peri can contribute to your state of mind.

 

Peri can last years - and be quite the ride. 

 

I feel you may find a lot of help if you visit the forum while you sort out the ssri recovery process. 

 

What methods help you cope with the symptoms you have been having?

 

HUGS and welcome!

I'M A WEANER!  :D 
atavan PRN ,Paxil approx 20 yrs ago for major depression
Switched to Klonopin PRN through to current
Paxil wore out
Changed to Effexor 
Depakote added
enormous weight gain - flat affect - led to depression - dropped depakote
Dropped Effexor, changed to Paxil 
PDoc added mixed salts amphetamines for ADHD - took for 2 yrs - was ok at first but had to cut as symptoms too intense -  then the crash was too much. STOPPED
Vyvanse started in 2013 (APRIL) - more smooth than IR amphetamine tabs---Have not used vyvanse daily in full amt since May 2013 

Paxil CT withdrawal 10/2012  :wacko:  Klonopin CT WD

Switched Klonopin to Xanax prn  - too strong

WD CT from XANAX after taking for a while - it was awful but can be done if you hold on!

Back to Klonopin PRN - working very hard to avoid taking it at all. 

Effexor 37.5 started 02/2013, 75mg by 03/2013, 150mg by 05/2012 (approx)  :blush:

Effexor 150mg 3/10/2014 Microtaper -3beads  :unsure:

3/11/2014-4beads ,3/12/14 - 5, 3/13/14 -6, 3/15/14 - 7, 3/18 - 8, 3/22 - 10, 3/24 - 12, 4/6 - 13, 4/7 - 14, 4/11 - 16 - on 4/19 ran out of brand took generic. Bad move. Back on brand on 4/20 and updosed 2 beads. 5/1 - 15, 5/6 - 16, 5/9 -17, 55/10 -17, 5/15 -18, 5/21 -19, 5/24 -20, 6/3 - 21, 6/6 -23, 6/13 -24,6/19- 25, 6/21 -26, 6/25 -27

6/28 -28, 6/29 -30, 7/3 -34, 7/8 -35, 7/17 -36, 7/30 -41,7/31 -42, 8/2 -43, 8/3 -44, 8/5 -45, 8/14 -48, 8/26-50, 9/24 -53, 10/24 -55, 12/1 -57, (lost the tally sheet, thus taper info for some of it), 4/19-63, 4/26-64, 4/30-65 Switched to wt reduction - now @ -.068, 7/14 -.070, August 2015 -.074, between Sept & October 10 -.077, Nov. -.078(feeling great), -.090 as of 1/10/16, down to  -.101 since January 2016 (it is now 6/24/16), -.105 as of 8/13/16
 
 

Ladies, please don't underestimate the possibility of perimenopause. The symptoms can be similar to, may intensify & in some cases mimic protracted w/d from ssri's & benzo's. 

 

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