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HopeforBetter1110

I've been tapering off of Lamictal for about 5 months now, and won't be done until September 22nd. I'm tapering 25 mg every 2 weeks. I've experienced some withdrawal symptoms with other meds, Effexor being the worst, but coming off of Lamictal is one of the worst things that I've ever experienced. I've put in the time and effort to have bettered myself in order to be stable enough to get off of these medications, but the mental and emotional symptoms are intense. The endless physical side effects just make the emotional parts worse. I have a good support system, but I'm finding myself still wanting to talk to others who have experienced similar situations. I put together a list today of my withdrawal symptoms currently. I'm basically housebound right now, and it is beyond hard.

 

My Current Withdrawal Symptoms:

 

Physical Withdrawal Symptoms

1. Nausea/Vomiting

2. Diarrhea/Constipation

3. Migraines

4. Vision Changes

5. Body Pain/Foot Pain/Muscle Pain/Neck and Shoulder Pain/Stiffness

6. Tooth Pain

7. Bone Pain/Joint Pain/Cracking/Rubbing

8. Gagging/Vomiting from smells, tastes, textures, etc.

9. Easily out of breath/hard to breathe/chest pain

10. Overall weak/low endurance

11. Cold Sweats/Hot Sweats/Hot Flashes/Temperature regulation problems

12. Crawling in my skin/body is uncomfortable

13. Cold symptoms – runny/stuffy nose, sore throat

14. Extreme Fatigue

15. Off-balance/fall/run into things/hurt self often/dizzy

16. Malaise

17. Restless limbs/body

18. Metallic taste in mouth

19. “Brain Zaps”

20. Chest pain/tightness

21. Sensitive skin/Bruise and Bleed easily

22. Sporadic Appetite

 

Emotional/Mental Withdrawal Symptoms

1. Anxiety

2. Unease/Nervous/Paranoid

3. Moody

4. Irritable

5. Anger

6. Rage

7. Depression

8. Crying

9. Emotional Lability

10. Jittery

11. Memory Loss

12. Concentration Issues/Can’t think straight or function

13. Confused/Disoriented

14. Easily scared/gasp from fear

15. Strange/vivid/intense dreams/nightmares

 

Has anybody experienced anything similar to these symptoms?

 

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chicken

I see you were on Remeron. Did you have a hard time getting off of that?

 

I have no experience with Limactal but Remerom kicked my butt and I have to start all over.

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HopeforBetter1110

Remeron was easy for me, but I wasn't on it for very long. I switched to Remeron from Effexor, because after years of taking it, my body decided it couldn't take it anymore and I got super sick. 

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chicken

Were you able to get off Effexor with ease?

 

Edit: I just read that you had trouble with it.

Edited by chicken

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Petunia

Hi Dadeen8,

Welcome and thank you for posting an introduction.  That's certainly a long list of symptoms, but fairly normal for what we see in withdrawal.  I've had/have most of them myself and wrote a similar list in one of my first posts here.

 

Do you have all these symptoms all the time, or is there a pattern to them?

 

I'm concerned that you may be tapering too fast off Lamictal.  The fact that you are already experiencing all these symptoms indicates that your nervous system is struggling and you are in withdrawal.  You may actually be experiencing symptoms from your previous tapers from other drugs. The damage to the nervous system from previous drugs, changes and too fast tapers tends to be cumulative.  When someone is taking multiple drugs, we usually recommend tapering only one at a time at a rate of 10% every 4 weeks, this minimizes the risk of destabilizing the nervous system and causing withdrawal syndrome.

 

What is withdrawal syndrome?

 

If you could give us some more details about your drug history, we would have a better idea of what to suggest.

 

Please would you list all previous medications, how long taken, dose and how and when you stopped.  I'm assuming that you were on effexor for the longest time, but then did a straight switch to remeron.  How did you stop taking Remeron and Abilify?

 

You probably need to hold your current taper for a while, until your symptoms settle down.  I have no personal experience with Lamictal, but others have and should be along soon with more help.  If you could fill in a few more details, that would be great.

 

Here are our Lamictal tapering tips:

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1122-tips-for-tapering-off-lamictal-lamotrigine/

 

You will find a lot of friendly help and support here.

 

Petu.

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Rhiannon

You're tapering way too fast. Stop now. 

 

Lamictal withdrawal can be hell. Gianna says that her Lamictal Withdrawal From Hell page has always gotten the most hits of any page on her site (Beyond Meds). It was my Google search for "Lamictal withdrawal" that led me to her site which was the first step that led me to my current (very successful very slow) taper.

 

And Gianna became very, very ill tapering Lamictal. Some people don't have a lot of trouble with it, but others do, and you are obviously one who does, and the stakes are high. You can get much worse than you are right now (yes, "worse" exists) and you can stay ill for years.

 

I don't have time right now to write a long post. Please read through our Tapering section. Be sure to read the post about the paper that explains why we have to taper slowly at lower doses, and look at those curves.You must not keep cutting at the same rate, it's not linear, it's a curve, you have to cut much more slowly at lower doses.

 

You're already quite ill and it's just going to get worse. Don't make any more cuts until you've taken the time to educate yourself about what you're doing to yourself. Start with reading our Tapering section and the stuff linked to there.

 

If you stick around the forum you'll hear from me again when I have more time.

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HopeforBetter1110

Hi Everyone!

 

Thank you for all of the responses. I'm going to check out more about the stuff that was posted, and then write a better response post. I just wanted to get in a quick thank you first.

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HopeforBetter1110

Do you have all these symptoms all the time, or is there a pattern to them?

 

If you could give us some more details about your drug history, we would have a better idea of what to suggest.

 

Please would you list all previous medications, how long taken, dose and how and when you stopped.  I'm assuming that you were on effexor for the longest time, but then did a straight switch to remeron.  How did you stop taking Remeron and Abilify?

 

You probably need to hold your current taper for a while, until your symptoms settle down.  I have no personal experience with Lamictal, but others have and should be along soon with more help.  If you could fill in a few more details, that would be great.

Thank you, Petu. The links were very useful, but nerve-wracking at the same time. There is a pattern to the symptoms that I have, and it's on a daily basis. Nausea is worse in the morning, pain in the afternoon/evening, etc. 

 

As for my drug history, I've been on and off meds since I was about 12, and I, and my body, have had it. Most recently (end of last year, early this year), I had been taking Effexor XR 300 mg (above recommended max. dose). I had been taking Effexor for about 8 years, and it got to the point where I was vomiting about every half hour to hour, night and day. I got so weak I couldn't walk up or down the stairs, or do much of anything. That withdrawal went easily, and fairly quick, but my memory is so shot right now that I don't remember details of any of these withdrawals. I also got off Abilify recently, which went fine. I got of Remeron, which was a replacement for the Effexor, but taking that made me sick too. Since then I've decided that I'm just done with medications. I wish I could give you more details on doses and timelines, but obviously I'm not doing well with this Lamictal withdrawal, and my mind is completely foggy.

 

I've always tried to keep on top of research with mediations, and have a medical/health/science background, but obviously the severity of these withdrawals is such a new thing that we've become aware of. I don't know how people managed to suffer through this without resources like this! My psychiatrist is a waste, and has pretty much become a way to get my prescription filled to do her suggested taper of 25 mg ever 2 weeks. She seems absolutely clueless to anything that can/is occurring, and she's just a very ineffective psychiatrist to me. I came across a list once of doctors who will help you taper off medications properly, but I have yet to come across that list again. I live in the San Diego area, and have good insurance. If you or anybody knows of a resource to find doctors like that, it would be greatly appreciated!

 

Do you think if I were to go down to the 10% that the majority of my severe symptoms would go away, or at least reduce? I've become so sick that I can't function in society, and find myself, at most, taking my pup out for a walk. The only reason I'm sticking with the 25 mg taper is because I need to be able to get my life back sooner than later, and I fear that tapering slower would prolong it. I understand all of the risks of going too fast, but I also don't have a professional to help me and give me the proper prescription doses. I do have 100s and 25s, so I know I could make smaller reductions by cutting the pills, but I want a professional that has some idea what they're doing.

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HopeforBetter1110

Rhi, 

 

Thank you for this link. I've been doing a lot of research on Lamictal tapering, and it definitely sounds like I'm going too fast. I can definitely figure out better dosages, but want to have a better educated doctor helping me out with this. My psychiatrist basically just prescribes me meds and doesn't seem to know much about anything else. I once found a page that had information on doctors who help with tapering off of psych meds, but haven't found it again. Do you have any idea on resources that might give me some kind of information?

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mammaP

Hi Dadeen, I agree with Rhi and Petu, you are tapering very fast and suffering in the process. 

I have no experience with lamictal but know the pain and suffering from a too fast taper. 

 

There are very few doctors who know anything about tapering anti depressants, most think

it is easy and believe that the mental illness returns when medication is stopped when it is in

fact withdrawal! 

 

There is a list of knowledgeable  doctors here, hopefully there will be one that can help you.

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/988-recommended-doctors-therapists-or-clinics/

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Rhiannon

Dadeen, I hope you can find a good doc on that list. I think Alto knows one in the Bay area, which I realize is pretty far away from you, but if you only had to go once in a while it might be do-able.

 

I make a liquid suspension of Lamictal in water and measure it that way. With a 100 mg tablet in 20 mL of water (which is very do-able) I can drop by 1 mg at a time, which is fine for now. When I get down to 25 mg or so I will need to make a higher dilution and start dropping by 1/2 mg. Not that you need to do it that way, just that it might be helpful to realize you actually can control your own taper rate even to that very fine degree.

 

I would say for now just hold everything. Your body is still recovering from all those other fast tapers you've done recently--what you're experiencing now is not due to just the Lamictal taper but is also (or maybe mostly, I don't know for sure) the aftermath of the med cuts and changes you've done recently, which are enough to put most folks in bed for a long time. It's possible the Lamictal has been protecting you somewhat from the withdrawal from those other meds. I would say for now, let it, or at least don't push to come off.

 

We don't find that coming off the meds faster is better for you or produces better long term results; in fact, when people come off meds fast they generally end up so sick that they either have years of recovery, or end up on more meds, or (often) both. We promote a harm reduction approach, balancing the potential harm of staying on meds a little longer against the harm caused by coming off them too fast. If you don't have a strong medical reason (liver failure for example) to get off the meds faster, usually the slower approach is the best.

 

You have a lot to read, so I probably shouldn't, but I'm going to leave you with this, something I wrote a while ago:

 

 A lot of people, including healthcare practitioners; in fact, I guess, most people-- are operating from entirely the wrong paradigm, or way of thinking, about these meds. They're thinking of them like aspirin--as something that has an effect when it's in your system, and then when it gets out of your system the effect goes away.

That's not what happens with medications that alter neurotransmitter function, we are learning.

What happens when you change the chemistry of the brain is, the brain adjusts its chemistry and structure to try to return to homeostasis, or biochemical and functional balance. It tries to restabilize the chemistry. 

For example: SSRI antidepressants work as "serotonin reuptake inhibitors." That is, they cause serotonin to remain in the space between neurons, rather than being taken back up into the cells to be re-used, like it would be in a normal healthy nondrugged brain.

So the brain, which wants to re-establish normal signaling and function, adapts to the higher level of serotonin between neurons (in the "synapse", the space between neurons where signals get passed along). It does this by removing serotonin receptors, so that the signal is reduced and changed to something closer to normal. It also decreases the amount of serotonin it produces overall. 

To do that, genes have to be turned on and off; new proteins have to be made; whole cascades of chemical reactions have to be changed, which means turning on and off OTHER genes; cells are destroyed, new cells are made; in other words, a complex physiologic remodeling takes place. This takes place over time. The brain does not grow and change rapidly. 

This is a vast oversimplification of the amount of adaptation that takes place in the brain when we change its normal chemistry, but that's the principle.

When we stop taking the drug, we have a brain that has designed itself so that it works in the presence of the drug; now it can't work properly without the drug because it's designed itself so that the drug is part of its chemistry and structure. It's like a plant that has grown on a trellis; you can't just yank out the trellis and expect the plant to be okay.

When the drug is removed, the remodeling process has to take place in reverse.

SO--it's not a matter of just getting the drug out of your system and moving on. If it were that simple, none of us would be here. 

It's a matter of, as I describe it, having to grow a new brain. 

I believe this growing-a-new-brain happens throughout the taper process if the taper is slow enough. (If it's too fast, then there's not a lot of time for actually rebalancing things, and basically the brain is just pedaling fast trying to keep us alive.) It also continues to happen, probably for longer than the symptoms actually last, throughout the time of recovery after we are completely off the drug, which is why recovery takes so long. 

With multiple drugs and a history of drug changes and cold turkeys, all of this becomes even more complicated. And if a person is started on these kinds of drugs at an early age before the brain has ever completely established normal mature functioning--well, it can't be good. (All of which is why I recommend an extremely slow taper particularly to anyone with a multiple drug history, a history of many years on meds, a history of past cold turkeys or frequent med changes, and/or a history of being put on drugs at a young age.)

This isn't intended to scare people, but hopefully to give you some idea of what's happening, and to help you respect and understand the process so you can work with it; ALSO, because you are likely to encounter many, many people who still believe these drugs work kind of like aspirin, or a glass of wine, and all you need to do is stop and get it out of your system. 

Now you can explain to them that no, getting it out of your system is not the issue; the issue is, you need to regrow or at least remodel your brain. This is a long, slow, very poorly understood process, and it needs to be respected. 

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HopeforBetter1110

Hi everyone,

 

I'm back and not doing well. I realize that I tapered too quickly off of Lamictal, and am staying at my current dose of 35 mg until I am feeling better. I realize this could take months, but it is what it is.

 

I saw my psychiatrist yesterday and did get her onboard to get me the 2 mg pills when I am ready to drop again, but that's about all she agreed to. I realize that it is not likely that she will ever consider it's the drugs doing this to me, no matter how many times I mention it.

 

I'm currently using 5 mg and 25 mg chewable dispersible tablets.

 

Anyways, the help I'm looking for right now is if there are any doctors/professionals in California (or out of state if they can use Skype, etc.) who will diagnose iatrogenic illness. My girlfriend, who is a medical social worker, was luckily able to come to my psych appt. yesterday. My psychiatrist seems to be working on diagnosing me as a hypochondriac.

 

I will be going back to the PCP on Monday to get tests done again, but the only thing that has come up after seeing general doctors, GIs, and OBGYNs is that I have a slightly enlarged right ovary. All of the doctors added to my traumatic experiences.

 

I had gone to the GI for nausea and vomiting, but instead he tells me to go to AA (I haven't drank in years) and over eaters anonymous. The over eaters anonymous was due to the fact that I gained 90 pounds from these poisons and he refused to accept that it was that and not me. I was working on my master's degree in Occupational Therapy when I became ill from these endless poisons.

 

Getting off of the Effexor was what stopped my hourly vomiting, but first I had to do endless tests to prove that there was nothing "really wrong" with me. I'm sorry I'm rambling...my head is so foggy and I feel so sick.

 

I'm now basically housebound and feel like I'm going insane in every way. I know that this is not me and that it is the meds and the withdrawal. I was extremely social, an athlete my whole life, even into college, and I was consistently on the Dean's list.

 

I'm now draining my inheritance from when my mom died when I was 19 because I don't qualify for disability because of the money that I do have, and because I've spent the last years in and out of the hospital while trying to get my bachelor's degree (which I did do!) and then working on my master's degree (which I had to leave the program for good). Because of that I haven't worked enough years to even qualify for disability when I do drain what money I do have. I'm also having all kinds of tax problems now. I had messed up one year in a minor way because my financial advisor had moved companies in the middle of the year. Now I have about 3 years messed up after working with 3 different professionals. I even forgot that my grandma died in 2011 and that I got a small inheritance then.

 

I'm trying to hold it together, but even being locked inside doing nothing, endless problems are pouring in. I can't just ignore the IRS and now owe thousands in fees and interest. My girlfriend is now my Power of Attorney (I can't believe I have one at the age of 28, especially after I was my mother's and grandmother's POA in the past).

 

I have lost my mind, my health, and basically every part of my life to the endless cocktails I took. I went from losing my mom when I was 19, along with my lifelong home and everything else....to being a full blown psych case in and out of the hospital. I've always been a sensitive person, but I never once went into a psych ward...until they started drugging me...that's when I went crazy.

 

I'm sorry for rambling. My moments of clarity show me that I am still in there somewhere, but those don't happen often. I went on the list of professionals that may help with the withdrawals, but I'm just wondering if there is somebody who will diagnose it. I don't need psychotherapy and I refuse to add any kind of medication for any reason. I can't travel much, but maybe with enough anti-nausea meds, my girlfriend could drive me to see someone in any part of California to get the diagnosis.

 

I hope some of you were able to follow this. I'm desperate. I know I'm not going to be better anytime soon and I also know that even if somebody does diagnose me that my psychiatrist will probably refuse to accept it, but I'm trying my hardest to find ways to advocate for myself. I am terrified to see any kind of doctor because they have all been so horrible. The second you mention anything involve psych meds or diagnoses...you are no longer a believable person.

 

I hope other people on here are getting through their days okay, as mine has already been pure hell. I have my girlfriend to turn to, but that's it. I do have some good friends, but I just don't want to talk to them anymore. I have nothing to say because all I do is cry and feel sick all day. I hate only having bad news, and I also hate hearing people say, "maybe you need to be on them and that's okay." The drugs are obviously poisoning me and I also refuse to quit just because it's hard. I understand it's my choice to isolate myself, but I'd rather be truly alone than surrounded by people and feeling alone.

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Altostrata

Welcome, Dadeen.

 

I'm sorry you're having such a difficult time.

 

It does sound like your system needs to settle down from all the drug changes. When was your last lamotrigine reduction? If I were you, I'd stay at 35mg lamotrigine for quite a while.

 

Clearly, you cannot expect much from your psychiatrist. As for the others, if I were you, I'd look for doctors with whom you can communicate.

 

Please read this topic

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/988-recommended-doctors-therapists-or-clinics/

 

PS Please add line breaks when you post, it's difficult to read long blocks of text.

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HopeforBetter1110

Welcome, Dadeen.

 

I'm sorry you're having such a difficult time.

 

It does sound like your system needs to settle down from all the drug changes. When was your last lamotrigine reduction? If I were you, I'd stay at 35mg lamotrigine for quite a while.

 

Clearly, you cannot expect much from your psychiatrist. As for the others, if I were you, I'd look for doctors with whom you can communicate.

 

Please read this topic

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/988-recommended-doctors-therapists-or-clinics/

 

PS Please add line breaks when you post, it's difficult to read long blocks of text.

 

Altostrata, thank you for the response.

 

I have been on 35 mg since 12/29/14, which was actually going up from 30 mg because I realized I had pushed my body way too much. I had only been on the 30 mg about 3 or 4 days before I went back up to the 35 mg. I realize that it may be months until I'm feeling any better, but I have planned a general idea of the doses I should try (based on the 10%) when it does come time to taper again.

 

I realize that my psychiatrist is going to keep blaming this on me and/or a new psych issue, but I also know that since she's willing to prescribe me the low dose pills I need that I will just need to suck it up. I'm seeing a new PCP on Monday, and based on patient reviews she is a compassionate doctor who listens to her patients concerns. I hope that maybe she will at least listen to what I have to say about my health, especially because my HR and BP have been a bit high lately.

 

Also, do you think a diet low in glutamic acid (or any form of glutamate) is of any help?

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Altostrata

I have never heard of a low-glutamate diet being of any help.

 

Excluding artificial flavorings, caffeine, alcohol, and minimizing sugar helps some people.

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HopeforBetter1110

I have never heard of a low-glutamate diet being of any help.

 

Excluding artificial flavorings, caffeine, alcohol, and minimizing sugar helps some people.

 

Okay, I was just curious since glutamate activity seems to be a big problem with Lamictal withdrawal. It just seems like if somebody is having a problem with overstimulation from something, that if you decrease your intake of it that it would at least help a little bit. The rest is just a general basis for any healthy diet. 

 

I'm guessing you've come across this post before, as it's from 2010: http://beyondmeds.com/2010/05/24/gabaglutamate-system-benzos-lamictal/

 

I know you have also written posts on glutamate and GABA, so I'm curious of your reasoning as to why you don't think a diet low in glutamate would be of benefit for people coming off of Lamictal?

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Rhiannon

Dadeen, a low glutamate diet probably wouldn't hurt, if you want to give it a try.

 

I was sensitive to glutamate actually more when I was still on a high dose of Lamictal (I was at 300 at the highest), probably because my poor receptors were so downregulated or whatever (basically, my brain was trying to compensate for how the Lamictal shuts down part of the glutamate system, so it made me extra sensitive, I think). At that time I did eat a low glutamate diet for a while. But I haven't had to worry about that in a very long time. I still don't feel great if I eat food with MSG in it, but I didn't feel great with MSG even before I ever took Lamictal.

 

Anyway, the really tricky thing is that free glutamic acid is in so many foods now, even natural foods, because it's a flavor enhancer. So it takes a lot of diligence to learn what foods to look out for, and you pretty much have to cook everything you eat from scratch. I won't go into that further here, because there are entire websites and forums dedicated to this alone (for people who have extreme glutamate sensitivity for whatever natural genetic reasons).

 

I don't think it would harm you if you want to try it.

 

As for the rest of it--I'm so sorry. Yours is what I call an Anatomy story, from Anatomy of an Epidemic by Robert Whitaker. (Mine is too.) If you haven't read that book yet, I highly highly recommend you do, since you have to deal with the medical/psychiatric system/complex. It's must read for people who have to deal with that system.

 

It's going to take a while to recover from the meds and the med changes and from coming off them too fast. Hang in there. You may find that you can work part time before long. Even though I usually feel like I don't want to go to work and I hate the idea of even leaving my house (or sometimes even my bedroom) I find that work is actually helpful. It's a good distraction, it helps reinforce the parts of the brain that provide attention "out" of the distress, and it's good for my self-esteem. Well, and, it means I'm not homeless, which is nice.

 

Good luck to you. I'm glad you found us. You will find that even stories like yours are not so rare (including a psychiatrist who's a jerk and just tries to blame you for the problems caused by drugs). You're not alone.

 

(Read that book, if you haven't yet!)

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Altostrata

As Rhi says, it probably wouldn't hurt.

 

But your body is naturally swimming in glutamate, it has an important function in your nervous system. Diet is probably not going to do much about that.

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HopeforBetter1110

Hi,

 

I am very grateful for anybody who can give me some guidance or words of encouragement.

 

I know I had a far from ideal taper and am really struggling. I do not think I will actually attempt suicide, but I'm having endless obsessive thoughts about it because of the neuro emotions and the intensity of the memories coming back. The memories flooding back are of ways I've lied, manipulated, been selfish, etc. I'm struggling with deep self-hatred and the inability to find any self-compassion or self-forgiveness. I'm also having very disturbing and intrusive thoughts. I know medications are not the answer, but I am feeling very desperate right now and don't know what to do to relieve any of this.

 

I had an "awakening" soon after being off all of the medications. It was as if parts of me changed instantly in that moment and the other parts I became very aware of needing to change. I've been actively working on changing and growing, but it's eating me up inside to see the person I had become. My physical symptoms have decreased some, but my mental ones have intensified. How does a person know that the bulk of these emotions are withdrawal and not really just who they are?

 

I just need some relief. I'm going insane and I'm trying to live with these emotions, acknowledge, process, and learn from them...but it's very painful and I just don't know how much longer I can do this. I know there is no quick fix or easy answer, but I'm in a very bad place at the moment.

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HopeforBetter1110

Thank you for the response Altostrata. It does seem like the magnitude of all of this is caused my withdrawal and improper tapering, but because they are about real life events I'm having trouble coping with them. I see my therapist tomorrow, but he does not know much about withdrawal...as I realize many professionals don't, but he's supportive at least. 

 

I'm off the Lamictal now. I took my last dose on 5/11/15 and it was 25 mg. That was tapered down from 225 mg starting around mid-April 2014. I had planned on tapering down much further, but I was getting so sick from taking it, as well as having the severe withdrawal symptoms. I had been doing a little better with stabilizing with the Lamictal taper until 2/9/15 when I got a promethazine injection that caused nerve pain, numbness, burning. I was prescribed 5 days of Prednisone, anti-inflammatory of some sort, and Tramadol then Vicodin (both made me sick and did not help the pain, so I took very few pills). That put me behind on my taper by a lot. I have not been able to bounce back ever since.

 

I am sensitive to most foods/drinks/drugs/vitamins/EMF at this point and I'm over 3 months off the Lamictal, so I'm not sure if reinstating and further tapering would be of any use, even if I'm desperate for relief. That's just my thought based on the reinstatement link that you shared with me. I know you cannot know anything for sure, but does it sound like I'm too far past being able to reinstate to reduce the symptoms?

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Altostrata

It would seem the promethazine, prednisone, tramadol, and Vicodin may have caused additional nervous system destabilization.

 

What were the symptoms you had while taking Lamictal?

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HopeforBetter1110

While taking it or tapering from it? I don't know about while taking it, as I was polydrugged, but tapering I had many symptoms. Probably symptoms in every system of my body it seems. GI problems, head, eyes, mouth, nerves, pain in many places, chest/heart, respiratory, hair and skin (I even started developing tons of freckles, moles, and red dots all over my body), weakness, fatigue, hot flashes, slightly high blood pressure, menstrual problems, developed a slightly enlarged ovary (which has since gone away), mental symptoms...I could go on, but I think you can get the idea. 

 

All of these symptoms had seemed to be getting somewhat more stabilized, if I remember correctly, but then the injection and medication afterwards made me significantly worse. I had not wanted the injection, but the doctor was pushy about it..I should have never said yes, but what's done is done. I have more recently stopped taking all anti-nausea meds because I've learned that many of them are mild anti-psychotics as well. 

 

Anyways, many of my physical symptoms have lightened up a bit and some have completely disappeared for now. As that has happened, the mental symptoms have gotten super intense for me.

 

Thank you again for taking the time to discuss all of this with me. 

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Altostrata

When you say

but I was getting so sick from taking it

 

 

what do you mean?

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HopeforBetter1110

Soon after taking my daily dose I was generally getting flu-like symptoms, nausea (maybe even a few occasions of vomiting), and severe anxiety and panic. Those were the most common symptoms and seemed obvious to me that they were ramping up soon after I took it the dose. 

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Altostrata

Yes, those could be Lamictal side effects. They're a sign that the Lamictal dose is too high for you.

 

A reinstatement of perhaps 2mg might help with the withdrawal syndrome while not causing the adverse reactions. You may even wish to start with .25mg and slowly work up.

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HopeforBetter1110

Thank you, Altostrata. I will consider reinstating 2 mg. I still have 5 mg chewable/dispersible tablets, so I could do that. Would you then recommend tapering by 10% once I stabilize if I decide to reinstate?

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HopeforBetter1110

Yes, those could be Lamictal side effects. They're a sign that the Lamictal dose is too high for you.

 

A reinstatement of perhaps 2mg might help with the withdrawal syndrome while not causing the adverse reactions. You may even wish to start with .25mg and slowly work up.

 

I'm just too unstable and think I will need to reinstate in the morning. I do not currently have any doctor, but I still have a fair amount of 5 mg chewable/dispersible tablets of Lamictal. I will plan on reinstating 0.25 mg first and see how it goes from there. 

 

How long would you recommend staying on the 0.25 mg before beginning to work up to 2 mg? I realize if I feel stabilized on a lower dose than 2 mg that I should stay at that dose and then eventually taper slowly. 

 

I think I understand the liquid tapering idea. Do you have a suggestion of how many mL would be best to mix a 5 mg tablet with? I was thinking 15 mL or 20 mL. I would then just shake the dissolved solution and draw from the center of the liquid, correct? I just want to make sure I'm getting an accurate dose since it will be so small.

 

Thank you.

 

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Altostrata

It takes at least 4 days for a drug to reach steady-state in your bloodstream. I would not increase any faster than perhaps every week.

 

For a 5mg tablet, I'd use 10mL or 20mL. It makes the division easier.

 

If you dissolve a 5mg tablet in 10mL, you'd take 1mL to get 0.5mg lamotrigine.

 

Yes, after stabilizing for a month or more, you'd taper by 10% a month to start.

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HopeforBetter1110

Thanks for the response, Altostrata. I have yet to reinstate, as I'm concerned it could somehow make me worse. It's a big decision, but I am very grateful for your guidance. At least I know I have a good plan if I decide reinstating is the best option for me. 

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JanCarol

Hey Dadeen.  I got a little confused reading your thread, because it seemed like you were aware that your taper was too fast, and then jumped off?   Your many major rapid dose adjustments look (from here) like they could be destabilizing.

 

And now you have reinstated a tiny bit?  How is that going?  That was the end of August, and now it is a month later.

 

You talked about:

The memories flooding back are of ways I've lied, manipulated, been selfish, etc. I'm struggling with deep self-hatred and the inability to find any self-compassion or self-forgiveness. I'm also having very disturbing and intrusive thoughts. I know medications are not the answer, but I am feeling very desperate right now and don't know what to do to relieve any of this.

and

 It does seem like the magnitude of all of this is caused my withdrawal and improper tapering, but because they are about real life events I'm having trouble coping with them. 

 

Neuroemotions are especially cruel because they take your real emotions and amplify them times 10. 

 

So imagine a wave - it's only a foot tall.  But in withdrawal, that wave is 10 feet tall.  It isn't unreal, it isn't an image of a wave - it's a real wave.  Intensified.  The 1 foot is accurate, but the 10 feet is still real.

 

And when you look at that 10 feet of wave / emotion / obsession / guilt - you see the 1 foot of truth in it, and it seems so big, so overwhelming, that you cannot see the other side of it.

 

That doesn't mean that the other 9 feet are lies - but they are amplifications of that 1 foot of truth - as if under a magnifying glass, or even microscope.  It is my understanding that this amplification is your brain, your nervous system "learning to feel again" after a long period of being numbed out by the drugs.

 

Yes, we all have things we regret in our past.  It's hard not to ruminate on it - especially if those ruminations of failure, of "not fitting in" etc. were what drove us to the drugs in the first place.  But withdrawal is a special thing all its own, regrowing brains can be more traumatic than what the drugs did in the first place.  Some doctors (very few, I'd add) have even discussed withdrawal as trauma, specifically, and Giak (Beyondmeds) says that most of her PTSD is from the withdrawal, not the "original traumas."

 

Please let us know how you are going - as I am doing a lithium taper (ah, that old "bipolar" diagnosis, the "mood stabilizer" thing) - and many of us are hungry to know what other's experiences are.  (see, I can be selfish, too!  But I hope that my selfish request here might help others)

 

I hope you see the sun today.

Edited by JanCarol
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HopeforBetter1110

Thank you for the response, JanCarol. 

 

Yes, my taper was too fast and then I eventually decided to jump off. I realize this was not the best approach. I had been able to stabilize (I believe on the 35 mg and the 30 mg the second time I went down) some before I had gotten an anti-nausea injection, which had complications and I then tried a few prescriptions to deal with that.

 

It seems that round of medications set me back quite a bit. I held my taper for awhile after that, but was not stabilizing and taking the Lamictal was causing me symptoms as well, mostly anxiety, nausea, and flu-like symptoms. (Which Altostrata mentioned recently could have been side effects.) The thought in my mind was that I could either have withdrawal symptoms plus take the meds and have symptoms from taking them, or just have withdrawal symptoms. 

 

Your explanation of the waves and neuroemotions is great and it helps put things into perspective. I will refer back to it as a reminder. I do try to use these emotions and waves to learn and better myself for the future, but as I'm sure many can relate, it gets to be too much sometimes. They feel so real! I will have to check out Giak on Beyond Meds. 

 

As for how I'm doing, I have some days that are better than others, but overall I'm better in comparison. I have not reinstated, although I consider it often with the neuroemotions. I'm scared that my system is too sensitive and that reinstating could also set me back, even at a very small dose.  Almost all of my physical symptoms are gone at this point and it's mostly the neuroemotions and sensitivities that I'm dealing with, so I can say that I'm seeing signs of healing. I am also able to drive again and leave the house much more than I did when I was tapering.

 

Thank you again for the response. I hope your taper is going well, how has it been for you to taper the Lithium? Have a good rest of your day!

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JanCarol

Just read an article about "beating yourself up" in Psychology Today.

 

There is such a thing as "good guilt"  it is the guilt you feel when you have done something harmful.  This guilt has a purpose - to prevent you from doing it again.

 

The other guilts, not so much.

 

Read more, here:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-mindful-self-express/201509/the-6-mental-health-habits-kill-your-confidence

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HopeforBetter1110

Just read an article about "beating yourself up" in Psychology Today.

 

There is such a thing as "good guilt"  it is the guilt you feel when you have done something harmful.  This guilt has a purpose - to prevent you from doing it again.

 

The other guilts, not so much.

 

Read more, here:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-mindful-self-express/201509/the-6-mental-health-habits-kill-your-confidence

Thank you for the share, JanCarol!

 

I guess I have "good" guilt and "bad" guilt. I could also relate to the much of the article. I will continue to work on not doing the things that have caused me "good" guilt. Some of it does take time of course, as it's a process. I'm learning all of the time though. 

 

May I ask how it's been overall for you to change?

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