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Dogfriend introduction


Dogfriend

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Hello,

My name is "Dogfriend" and I have been on antidepressants much of my life.  I am a 44 year-old female and have been on 8 different antidepressants at various times over the past 27 years.  During those 27 years I have had two medication-free periods (one lasted about a year and a half, the second one was 9 years.  These two periods were not characterized by any withdrawal symptoms).  For the past 15 years I have been continuously taking an SSRI during which time I experienced three unsuccessful attempts at tapering (had severe physical and/or mental withdrawal symptoms).  This current attempt is #4. In hindsight, after what I have read on this site, I believe that the tapers were not slow enough.  I truly desire to get off this drug (current one being Lexapro), believing that the long term effects of these drugs are far more dangerous than I was ever led to believe.  My husband and I are both healthcare professionals; however, unfortunately I think many physicians and nurses are duped when it come to this subject.  I certainly was. I will create my "withdrawal history signature" at the end of this post, but to summarize my current (attempt #4) tapering history..

 

8/2008-4/2013 Lexapro 10 mg/day

4/2013-7/2013 tapered Lexapro from 10 mg to 5 mg/day.  Did not note any w/d symptoms, other than a slowly worsening insomnia (difficulty falling but especially STAYING asleep) and some on and off restless legs syndrome symtoms which responded nicely to oral magnesium supplementation.

7/1/2014 Obtained my Lexapro (generic) in liquid form.  Decreased from 5 mg/day to 4 mg/day. 

7/15/2014-increased to 4.5 mg/day after insomnia worsened.  

My worst symptom right now is the insomnia.  I am also perimenopausal and I realize that is likely also playing a role.  My typical night is like this: Go to bed around 11 pm.  Fall asleep withing 30-60 minutes, but wake up after 30 minutes.  Fall back asleep, wake up after 60 minutes.  Fall back asleep, wake up after 90 minutes.  Repeat 90 minute interval of sleep/wake.  The time it takes me to fall back asleep ranges from 5 minutes to two or more hours, depending on the night. By 2:30-4:00 am, I usually will finally fall asleep for 3-6 hours (assuming I can sleep that late, otherwise until alarm goes off).  I end up spending almost 12 hours in bed some days but only have a few hours of choppy sleep to "show for" that time. That much time in bed has resulted in me feeling even more tired.  I have taken Melatonin nightly for at least a decade. I am curently on 3 mg which I take about an hour before retiring. I have been prescribed a sleeping pill (Sonata) which I was taking maybe once a week at most (more like once a month) due to fears of becoming dependent on it.  In the past three months it has had absolutely NO EFFECT whatsoever on this insomnia, so I do not take it anymore.  OTC Benadryl makes it worse. So, I am sticking with Melatonin for now and have recently tried taking hot Epsom salt baths with some aromatherapy oils (lavender, chamomile).  It did nothing one night and seemed to help a litte bit on a different night. 

I will apologize in advance for my "newbie-ness" on here.  I have never been on one of these forums.  I will try to read up on how to do things, but if I do something dopey, please just tell me and I will try to learn. 

 

Withdrawal History:

 

10/1987 (age 17) -4/1988 Nortriptyline 100 mg/day.  Tapered off over two weeks without noticable side effects.  This was due to an unplanned pregnancy.

4/1988-8/1989-MEDICATION FREE PERIOD (16 MONTHS)

8/1989-11/1989- Back on antidepressants, was tried on Imipramine but that lasted only two weeks, had severe short-term memory problems while on it that interfered with my job. Put on Desipramine for about one month, but had problems with night sweats and stange dreams. Put back on Nortriptyline and then finally when Prozac became available in the U.S., I was put on that. 

11/1989-8/1990- Prozac 20 mg/day. Discontinued the Prozac (fairly rapidly..don't recall any w/d problems) because I was afraid I was having "dissociative" symptoms.

8/1990-10/1999-MEDICATION FREE PERIOD (9 YEARS)

10/1999-10/2000- Effexor XR 75 mg/day.  After one year, I was feeling much better and ready to wean off.  Terrible w/d symptoms after 2 week wean backed up with another 2 week Prozac wean. Physical and mental symptoms lasted about 2 months at which time I gave up and went back on meds.

12/2000-6/2005- Celexa 20 mg/day. 

6/2005- Tapered off Celexa over about 3-4 weeks.  Major w/d symptoms, leading me to go back on meds.

8/2005- Celexa reinstated increased at some point to 40 mg/day. By 2008 I wanted to try tapering again.  I had tried to improve my diet, exercise, etc.  I had also been diagnosed with Hashimoto's thyroiditis and was put on Synthroid so I was hoping maybe that would be helpful. 

3/2008-5/2008-Slow taper (but not slow enough!) of Celexa. Off entirely by end of May.  Felt fine during taper and for about one month after completely off med.  Then w/d crashed in pretty hard.

7/2008-Dr. tried me on Wellbutrin XL 150 mg/day.  The Celexa had been pretty sedating so we were going to try one that was supposedly less sedating. Felt HORRIBLE on Wellbutrin and couldn't sleep at all.  Gave up on that drug after about a week.

8/2008- Lexapro 10 mg/day begun. 

 

MOST CURRENT TAPER ATTEMPT:

 

 

8/2008-4/2013 Lexapro 10 mg/day

4/2013-7/2013 tapered Lexapro from 10 mg to 5 mg/day.  Did not note any w/d symptoms, other than a slowly worsening insomnia (difficulty falling but especially STAYING asleep) and some on and off restless legs syndrome symtoms which responded nicely to oral magnesium supplementation.

7/1/2014 Obtained my Lexapro (generic) in liquid form.  Decreased from 5 mg/day to 4 mg/day. 

7/15/2014-increased to 4.5 mg/day after insomnia worsened.  

 

 

1987-1989 Various Tricyclic antidepressants, weaned off for various reasons, no problems with withdrawal symptoms.

1990 Prozac for one year.  No problem weaning off. 

1990-1999 Medication Free 

1999-2000 Effexor XR, weaned off over 3 weeks. Completely off meds for 2-3 months, severe w/d symptoms for which Celexa was Rx'd

2000-2005 Celexa 20 mg/day. Unsuccessful taper attempt for about 2 months. Severe w/d symptoms requiring reinstatement of drug.

2005-2008 Celexa 40 mg/day. Unsuccessful taper attempt over 2-3 months, severe w/d symptoms requiring medication. Changed to Wellbutrin, did not tolerate drug, changed to Lexapro 10 mg/day.

2008-2013 Lexapro 10 mg/day.

Current taper attempt: 4/2013-7/2013 tapered Lexapro from 10 mg/day to 5 mg/day. Only w/d symptom is insomnia. 

7/2014 Tapered Lexapro to 4 mg/day.  Worsening insomnia, increased to 4.5 mg/day. 11/2014 Decrease Lexapro to 4.2 mg/day.  12/2014 Decrease Lexapro to 4.0 mg/day.  1/2015 Decrease Lexapro to 3.8 mg/day.  2/6/2015:Decrease Lexapro to 3.5 mg/day. 5/5/15: Decrease Lexapro to 3.3 mg/day

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Dogfriend,

Welcome to SA and thank you for posting such a comprehensive introduction post.  I'm sorry you have been having problems getting off your medication.  You have had a fairly long history with antidepressants, but the good thing is that you have only ever been on one drug at a time and haven't switched around to other types of psychiatric drugs.

 

Its possible to get off antidepressants after long term use, especially if you taper slow enough and by coming here, you will be able to get help and support with that.  I'm glad you found us.

 

How are you feeling now that you have gone back up to 4.5mg?

 

You have been tapering too fast.  We suggest reducing by no more than 10% of the current dose every 4 weeks.  Spend some time looking around the site, there is a vast amount of information here and I believe this is the best resource on the internet for getting safely off antidepressants.

 

Here is our Lexapro tapering thread:

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/406-tips-for-tapering-off-lexapro-escitalopram/

 

You also may find some helpful ideas in our symptoms and self care section here:

 

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

 

The last pinned post at the top of that section about symptoms including sleep problems may be particularly helpful for you. There is a lot here to read, but the more familiar you are with what has been learned about the reality of getting off these drugs, the better position you are in to be successful yourself.

 

I'm confident that you will be able to get off Lexapro and antidepressants permanently, while still being able to function in your life, if you taper slow enough.  You will find a lot of friendly help and support here.

 

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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Thank you for sharing your story. Very sorry to hear you are not feeling well, it's a long road back to normal for some of us.

 

One of the things that seems to help me is to combine epsom salt soaking and mindfulness meditation. I only soak my feet (I live in California and we are in a severe drought) with a high ratio of salts to warm water and sit on the edge of the tub for 10 minutes and meditate. I then splash the epsom salt water on my legs and arms and let that dry. I seem to get a good amount of quality sleep on the nights I do that.

 

I've also increased my intake of fruits that naturally produce melatonin (pineapple and orange bell peppers). Im not sure if its enough to really affect my sleep, but even if it is a placebo effect, I've gotten some really good sleep since implementing it.

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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Thank you for your kind words of encouragement.  

 

Petu- I am feeling okay on the 4.5 mg.  The main annoying symptoms I am experiencing are ringing in ears (worse at night when trying to go to sleep) and terribly disrupted sleeping. However, the ringing in the ears was an issue before I ever attempted any tapering. Mentally/emotionally I feel pretty stable. I have read up on some nutritional theories (not specific to depression) and am trying to incorporate some of those in my healing journey. I have found fermented foods to be useful as well as making sure to have enough foods with "healthy fats" in them. Helpful, yes,  but certainly not a panacea. I feel like if I could get some decent sleep it would go a long way to improve my overall functioning. 

 

Nervous Kitten- I did hear of the Epsom salt idea.  The last month or so I have been trying to take very hot baths with Epsom salts and aromatherapy oils.  This certainly hasn't hurt.  Some nights I think the baths help, other nights I notice no difference.  In any event, it does help with relaxation and I can usually fall asleep more quickly after taking a bath, but many times even after falling asleep more easily/quickly,  I will still wake up every 30-90 minutes much of the night. I do regularly engage in prayer and that again doesn't hurt but sometimes helps me more with the aggravation/agitation over the inablitly to sleep rather than to actually faciliate sleep. But both are helpful for sure and I appreciate your sharing them.

 

I really look forward to exploring further the helpful resources on this site (I have been a regular guest browser for awhile before registering) and learning from the many other folks who have been down this road.  I wish I had known what I was getting into back when I first made the decision to take antidepressants, but I realize it is a pointless waste of valuable energy (of which I have little) to ruminate and regret. Can only move forward.

 

1987-1989 Various Tricyclic antidepressants, weaned off for various reasons, no problems with withdrawal symptoms.

1990 Prozac for one year.  No problem weaning off. 

1990-1999 Medication Free 

1999-2000 Effexor XR, weaned off over 3 weeks. Completely off meds for 2-3 months, severe w/d symptoms for which Celexa was Rx'd

2000-2005 Celexa 20 mg/day. Unsuccessful taper attempt for about 2 months. Severe w/d symptoms requiring reinstatement of drug.

2005-2008 Celexa 40 mg/day. Unsuccessful taper attempt over 2-3 months, severe w/d symptoms requiring medication. Changed to Wellbutrin, did not tolerate drug, changed to Lexapro 10 mg/day.

2008-2013 Lexapro 10 mg/day.

Current taper attempt: 4/2013-7/2013 tapered Lexapro from 10 mg/day to 5 mg/day. Only w/d symptom is insomnia. 

7/2014 Tapered Lexapro to 4 mg/day.  Worsening insomnia, increased to 4.5 mg/day. 11/2014 Decrease Lexapro to 4.2 mg/day.  12/2014 Decrease Lexapro to 4.0 mg/day.  1/2015 Decrease Lexapro to 3.8 mg/day.  2/6/2015:Decrease Lexapro to 3.5 mg/day. 5/5/15: Decrease Lexapro to 3.3 mg/day

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Hi Dogfriend, Welcome! I am with you in the insomnia battle. Like you, Epsom salts helps on an infrequent basis. I am currently getting help from myo-inositol 2 grams at bedtime, with GABA 500 mg (supposedly does not cross blood-brain barrier). When I wake up, I repeat the GABA with 1/4 of the inositol dose. But everyone is different when it comes to supplements. I would definitely try them separately at smaller doses and build up if you choose to use them.

1st round Prozac 1989/90, clear depression symptoms. 2nd round Prozac started 1999 when admitted to dr. I was tired. Prozac pooped out, switch to Cymbalta 3/2006. Diagnosed with bipolar disorder due to mania 6/2006--then I was taken abruptly off Cymbalta and didn't know I had SSRI withdrawal. Lots of meds for my intractable "bipolar" symptoms.

Zyprexa started about 9/06, mostly 5mg. Tapered 4/12 through12/29/12

Wellbutrin. XL 300 mg started 1/07, tapered 1/18/13 through 7/8/13

Oxazepam mostly continuously since 6/06, 30mg since 12/12, tapered 1.17.14 through 8.26.15

11/06 Lithium 600mg twice daily, 2.2.14 400mg TID DIY liquid, 2.12.14 1150mg, 3.2.14 1100mg, 3.18.14 1075mg, 4/14 updose to 1100mg, 6.1.14 900 mg capsules 7.8.14 810mg, 8.17.14 725mg, 8.24.24 700mg...10.22.14 487.5mg, 3.9.15 475mg, 4.1.15 462.5mg 4.21.15 450mg 8.11.15 375mg, 11.28.15 362.5mg, back to 375mg four days later, 3.4.16 updose to 475 (too much going on to risk trouble)

9/4/13 Toprol-XL 25mg daily for sudden hypertension, tapered 11.12.13 through 5.3.14, last 10 days or so switched to atenolol

7.4.14 Started Walsh Protocol

56 years old

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Hello Dogfriend -

wanted to say hello as I am also new to this site but would like to be of service to someone else as so many on this forum have been to me. You and I have a similar history, although I have almost exclusively been on Celexa on and off for 13 years. I am 40 years old and I, too, had terrible "relapses" (withdrawal in retrospect) each time I tried to taper off. My husband is an MD and is not generally sympathetic to the withdrawal theory but I am presently determined to continue with it as I feel the negative side effects now outweigh the risks of tapering.

 

I have also had a lot of trouble with insomnia over time. Actually, my worst periods were during my pregnancies and I have a few strategies that helped somewhat. The first one is to use a relaxation recording to fall asleep. I used one which was specifically for pregnant women (through hypnobabies) but, honestly, I think it would work for anyone just needing some guidance to fall asleep. The key was that the voice was slow and not irritating, the script was pretty dull and simple, and I used sound cancelling headphones. The effect got better over the first few nights as I became "bored" with the script and fell asleep sooner and sooner. Within a week, I was no longer hearing more than the first 5 minutes - a huge improvement over taking 2 or more hours to fall asleep.

 

I have also had a lot of terminal insomnia (waking up and not being able to fall back asleep). This has been made worse by my near constant night sweats (regularly soaking my pyjamas and sheets). I sometimes wonder if I am perimenopausal but I had my youngest child after the night sweats started a few years ago. In any case, I find that if I"m suffering for more than 30 minutes in bed trying to get back to sleep, it's best for me to get up and "reset" the night, so to speak. I will get up, step outside on the deck, look at the stars, walk around the house, etc. The key is to not give in to turning on the TV or computer as those things will just further stimulate you. Then, I sit somewhere else in the house with my eyes closed and try to keep them closed until I start to feel the fatigue in my body. I hold there as long as I can and then go back to bed. This works for me when nothing else does. Another thing is to then try the tape again as if you are just lying down for the first time that night.

 

I hope these might help you a bit. Let me know. 

Best of luck

k

2001-2014  between 10-40mg Celexa, with 3 attempted tapers, 1 CT

2014-2015 added Wellbutrin 150-300 msg, started to taper Celexa

2014-2015 -continued to taper slowly to < 1 mg Celexa, BUT  increased alcohol use 

Jan 2016 - reinstated on 10 mg Celexa, 300 mg Wellbutrin, eliminated alcohol, increased exercise, psychotherapy, improved diet

June 2017 - August 2018 - reintroduced alcohol (2-3 drinks / week), maintaining exercise & diet regimen

Sept 2018 - went from 10 to 9 mg Celexa, holding 300 mg Wellbutrin

.... (monthly taper sept, Oct, Nov, Dec, Jan, Feb)

Feb 2019 - 3 mg Celexa, 300 mg Wellbutrin; Feb 28 - 2.75 mgs Celex, 300 mg Wellbutrin; March 25, 2019 2.5 mgs Celexa, 300 mg. Wellbutrin

(continued taper)

October 2019 -completed Celexa taper, started Wellbutrin taper - 200mg Wellbutrin (faster pace because of stimulating effects of Wellbutrin)

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Sounds like you're on top of things. Just a couple of recommendations: At the top of the Tapering section is a thread about a research paper, take a look at that and be sure to look at the charts starting on about page 4. You'll see that AD withdrawal has to follow not a linear but an exponential decay pattern, so at these lower doses you need to go to smaller cuts.

 

Also, given that you're in the healthcare biz, I highly recommend you read Anatomy of an Epidemic by Robert Whitaker.

 

I'm confident you can get off ADs and stay off, but it will require a very slow taper. Your brain has neuroplastically shaped itself around the chemistry induced by these drugs, and you need to give it time to rebuild the necessary receptors, turn off some genes and turn on others, and generally remodel itself, which it does not do fast nor efficiently. (We've never encountered this type of chemical insult in evolution so we don't really have efficient healing mechanisms.)

 

Welcome to the forum!

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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  • Administrator

Welcome. Dogfriend.

 

You are so right, the medical profession doesn't know what it needs to know about these drugs. Please do what you can to educate your colleagues.

 

Many people do better with fish oil and magnesium supplements, see
http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/36-king-of-supplements-omega-3-fatty-acids-fish-oil/
http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1300-magnesium-natures-calcium-channel-blocker/
 

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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Hi Dogfriend, Welcome! I am with you in the insomnia battle. Like you, Epsom salts helps on an infrequent basis. I am currently getting help from myo-inositol 2 grams at bedtime, with GABA 500 mg (supposedly does not cross blood-brain barrier). When I wake up, I repeat the GABA with 1/4 of the inositol dose. But everyone is different when it comes to supplements. I would definitely try them separately at smaller doses and build up if you choose to use them.

Would I be able to find these supplements at a holistic health/nutrition store? Also, when you wake up and then repeat the GABA and 1/4 inositol dose how many times in a night can you safely do this? Thanks so much for the suggestion. 

1987-1989 Various Tricyclic antidepressants, weaned off for various reasons, no problems with withdrawal symptoms.

1990 Prozac for one year.  No problem weaning off. 

1990-1999 Medication Free 

1999-2000 Effexor XR, weaned off over 3 weeks. Completely off meds for 2-3 months, severe w/d symptoms for which Celexa was Rx'd

2000-2005 Celexa 20 mg/day. Unsuccessful taper attempt for about 2 months. Severe w/d symptoms requiring reinstatement of drug.

2005-2008 Celexa 40 mg/day. Unsuccessful taper attempt over 2-3 months, severe w/d symptoms requiring medication. Changed to Wellbutrin, did not tolerate drug, changed to Lexapro 10 mg/day.

2008-2013 Lexapro 10 mg/day.

Current taper attempt: 4/2013-7/2013 tapered Lexapro from 10 mg/day to 5 mg/day. Only w/d symptom is insomnia. 

7/2014 Tapered Lexapro to 4 mg/day.  Worsening insomnia, increased to 4.5 mg/day. 11/2014 Decrease Lexapro to 4.2 mg/day.  12/2014 Decrease Lexapro to 4.0 mg/day.  1/2015 Decrease Lexapro to 3.8 mg/day.  2/6/2015:Decrease Lexapro to 3.5 mg/day. 5/5/15: Decrease Lexapro to 3.3 mg/day

Link to comment

Hello Dogfriend -

wanted to say hello as I am also new to this site but would like to be of service to someone else as so many on this forum have been to me. You and I have a similar history, although I have almost exclusively been on Celexa on and off for 13 years. I am 40 years old and I, too, had terrible "relapses" (withdrawal in retrospect) each time I tried to taper off. My husband is an MD and is not generally sympathetic to the withdrawal theory but I am presently determined to continue with it as I feel the negative side effects now outweigh the risks of tapering.

 

I have also had a lot of trouble with insomnia over time. Actually, my worst periods were during my pregnancies and I have a few strategies that helped somewhat. The first one is to use a relaxation recording to fall asleep. I used one which was specifically for pregnant women (through hypnobabies) but, honestly, I think it would work for anyone just needing some guidance to fall asleep. The key was that the voice was slow and not irritating, the script was pretty dull and simple, and I used sound cancelling headphones. The effect got better over the first few nights as I became "bored" with the script and fell asleep sooner and sooner. Within a week, I was no longer hearing more than the first 5 minutes - a huge improvement over taking 2 or more hours to fall asleep.

 

I have also had a lot of terminal insomnia (waking up and not being able to fall back asleep). This has been made worse by my near constant night sweats (regularly soaking my pyjamas and sheets). I sometimes wonder if I am perimenopausal but I had my youngest child after the night sweats started a few years ago. In any case, I find that if I"m suffering for more than 30 minutes in bed trying to get back to sleep, it's best for me to get up and "reset" the night, so to speak. I will get up, step outside on the deck, look at the stars, walk around the house, etc. The key is to not give in to turning on the TV or computer as those things will just further stimulate you. Then, I sit somewhere else in the house with my eyes closed and try to keep them closed until I start to feel the fatigue in my body. I hold there as long as I can and then go back to bed. This works for me when nothing else does. Another thing is to then try the tape again as if you are just lying down for the first time that night.

 

I hope these might help you a bit. Let me know. 

Best of luck

k

Thank you for your reply.  I am sorry to hear your husband does not support the withdrawal theory.  I hope he is supportive of what you are trying to do.  I know how important it is to have our loved ones behind us in this.  I think I need to take your advice re: "reset" idea.  I end up on my iPhone surfing stuff about insomnia or whatever but it probably is too stimulating.  Do you have a particular relaxation recording that has helped you?  Thanks again for your feedback.

1987-1989 Various Tricyclic antidepressants, weaned off for various reasons, no problems with withdrawal symptoms.

1990 Prozac for one year.  No problem weaning off. 

1990-1999 Medication Free 

1999-2000 Effexor XR, weaned off over 3 weeks. Completely off meds for 2-3 months, severe w/d symptoms for which Celexa was Rx'd

2000-2005 Celexa 20 mg/day. Unsuccessful taper attempt for about 2 months. Severe w/d symptoms requiring reinstatement of drug.

2005-2008 Celexa 40 mg/day. Unsuccessful taper attempt over 2-3 months, severe w/d symptoms requiring medication. Changed to Wellbutrin, did not tolerate drug, changed to Lexapro 10 mg/day.

2008-2013 Lexapro 10 mg/day.

Current taper attempt: 4/2013-7/2013 tapered Lexapro from 10 mg/day to 5 mg/day. Only w/d symptom is insomnia. 

7/2014 Tapered Lexapro to 4 mg/day.  Worsening insomnia, increased to 4.5 mg/day. 11/2014 Decrease Lexapro to 4.2 mg/day.  12/2014 Decrease Lexapro to 4.0 mg/day.  1/2015 Decrease Lexapro to 3.8 mg/day.  2/6/2015:Decrease Lexapro to 3.5 mg/day. 5/5/15: Decrease Lexapro to 3.3 mg/day

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Sounds like you're on top of things. Just a couple of recommendations: At the top of the Tapering section is a thread about a research paper, take a look at that and be sure to look at the charts starting on about page 4. You'll see that AD withdrawal has to follow not a linear but an exponential decay pattern, so at these lower doses you need to go to smaller cuts.

 

Also, given that you're in the healthcare biz, I highly recommend you read Anatomy of an Epidemic by Robert Whitaker.

 

I'm confident you can get off ADs and stay off, but it will require a very slow taper. Your brain has neuroplastically shaped itself around the chemistry induced by these drugs, and you need to give it time to rebuild the necessary receptors, turn off some genes and turn on others, and generally remodel itself, which it does not do fast nor efficiently. (We've never encountered this type of chemical insult in evolution so we don't really have efficient healing mechanisms.)

 

Welcome to the forum!

Hello Rhi,

Thanks for the good ideas.  I did check out that article you referenced.  I have read parts of it, but not in its entirety.  Seems to be pretty good evidence for the necessity of tapering by a %. I will look into the Anatomy of an Epidemic.  Thank you for the encouraging welcome.

1987-1989 Various Tricyclic antidepressants, weaned off for various reasons, no problems with withdrawal symptoms.

1990 Prozac for one year.  No problem weaning off. 

1990-1999 Medication Free 

1999-2000 Effexor XR, weaned off over 3 weeks. Completely off meds for 2-3 months, severe w/d symptoms for which Celexa was Rx'd

2000-2005 Celexa 20 mg/day. Unsuccessful taper attempt for about 2 months. Severe w/d symptoms requiring reinstatement of drug.

2005-2008 Celexa 40 mg/day. Unsuccessful taper attempt over 2-3 months, severe w/d symptoms requiring medication. Changed to Wellbutrin, did not tolerate drug, changed to Lexapro 10 mg/day.

2008-2013 Lexapro 10 mg/day.

Current taper attempt: 4/2013-7/2013 tapered Lexapro from 10 mg/day to 5 mg/day. Only w/d symptom is insomnia. 

7/2014 Tapered Lexapro to 4 mg/day.  Worsening insomnia, increased to 4.5 mg/day. 11/2014 Decrease Lexapro to 4.2 mg/day.  12/2014 Decrease Lexapro to 4.0 mg/day.  1/2015 Decrease Lexapro to 3.8 mg/day.  2/6/2015:Decrease Lexapro to 3.5 mg/day. 5/5/15: Decrease Lexapro to 3.3 mg/day

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Welcome. Dogfriend.

 

You are so right, the medical profession doesn't know what it needs to know about these drugs. Please do what you can to educate your colleagues.

 

Many people do better with fish oil and magnesium supplements, see

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/36-king-of-supplements-omega-3-fatty-acids-fish-oil/

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1300-magnesium-natures-calcium-channel-blocker/

 

Thank you, Altostrata.  I am currently taking both fish oil and Magnesium, but I will read these links to be sure I am taking enough. I will try to do what I can to educate others, I want my "arguments" (for lack of a better word) to be something other than (or definitely in additon to, at a minimum) my own personal experience (even though that is the most convincing to anyone who has gone through this, it seems to the scinetific community that one's subjective expereince means very little).  I feel I have much to learn and there are probably some good studies to show what we all know is true about these drugs.  If there aren't any (or many) it is likely due to the fact that no drug company would fund such a study.  My husband said, "Unless they could come up with another drug to market to "fix" it. You are doing such important work here.  So thankful I found you guys!

1987-1989 Various Tricyclic antidepressants, weaned off for various reasons, no problems with withdrawal symptoms.

1990 Prozac for one year.  No problem weaning off. 

1990-1999 Medication Free 

1999-2000 Effexor XR, weaned off over 3 weeks. Completely off meds for 2-3 months, severe w/d symptoms for which Celexa was Rx'd

2000-2005 Celexa 20 mg/day. Unsuccessful taper attempt for about 2 months. Severe w/d symptoms requiring reinstatement of drug.

2005-2008 Celexa 40 mg/day. Unsuccessful taper attempt over 2-3 months, severe w/d symptoms requiring medication. Changed to Wellbutrin, did not tolerate drug, changed to Lexapro 10 mg/day.

2008-2013 Lexapro 10 mg/day.

Current taper attempt: 4/2013-7/2013 tapered Lexapro from 10 mg/day to 5 mg/day. Only w/d symptom is insomnia. 

7/2014 Tapered Lexapro to 4 mg/day.  Worsening insomnia, increased to 4.5 mg/day. 11/2014 Decrease Lexapro to 4.2 mg/day.  12/2014 Decrease Lexapro to 4.0 mg/day.  1/2015 Decrease Lexapro to 3.8 mg/day.  2/6/2015:Decrease Lexapro to 3.5 mg/day. 5/5/15: Decrease Lexapro to 3.3 mg/day

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Hi Dogfriend,

 

You had asked about my sleep supplements. My regular pdoc first suggested inositol 2 grams at bedtime for weight gain associated with antipsychotic use, especially since I am homogeneous for a snp that greatly increases the risk of that problem. I didn't do it because I was a "purist" then about anything that might impact neurotransmitters.

 

Mensah Medical sent me this information, I don't know if it is general or just for people with my issues: For Calming Consider: Inositol 500 or 650 tabs, take 1-3 tabs for anxious episodes up to three times daily. GABA 500mg, 1-2 tabs for anxious episodes or use up to twice a day for no more than 6 of 7 days of the week.

 

Oops, I just found that sheet (I misplace everything) and I have been using way too much GABA. I use powders from NOW that I get from Amazon because they are cheaper than capsules, but I think any supplement store would have them. On the web I have seen reports of using up to 18 grams/day of inositol for severe OCD.

 

There is a thread on Mensah Medical if that interests you.

1st round Prozac 1989/90, clear depression symptoms. 2nd round Prozac started 1999 when admitted to dr. I was tired. Prozac pooped out, switch to Cymbalta 3/2006. Diagnosed with bipolar disorder due to mania 6/2006--then I was taken abruptly off Cymbalta and didn't know I had SSRI withdrawal. Lots of meds for my intractable "bipolar" symptoms.

Zyprexa started about 9/06, mostly 5mg. Tapered 4/12 through12/29/12

Wellbutrin. XL 300 mg started 1/07, tapered 1/18/13 through 7/8/13

Oxazepam mostly continuously since 6/06, 30mg since 12/12, tapered 1.17.14 through 8.26.15

11/06 Lithium 600mg twice daily, 2.2.14 400mg TID DIY liquid, 2.12.14 1150mg, 3.2.14 1100mg, 3.18.14 1075mg, 4/14 updose to 1100mg, 6.1.14 900 mg capsules 7.8.14 810mg, 8.17.14 725mg, 8.24.24 700mg...10.22.14 487.5mg, 3.9.15 475mg, 4.1.15 462.5mg 4.21.15 450mg 8.11.15 375mg, 11.28.15 362.5mg, back to 375mg four days later, 3.4.16 updose to 475 (too much going on to risk trouble)

9/4/13 Toprol-XL 25mg daily for sudden hypertension, tapered 11.12.13 through 5.3.14, last 10 days or so switched to atenolol

7.4.14 Started Walsh Protocol

56 years old

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Hi Dogfriend,

 

I don't have much advice as I'm on the Lexapro train myself (recently tried to get off but after two months of hell, went back to 5mg). Just wanted to let you know that you've got a great resource here, I'm so happy to have found this site. Best of luck to you!

1995-Zoloft 100mg 

1996-Off Zoloft C/T

2000-Zoloft 100mg

2002-Off Zoloft after 50mg decrease then C/T

2006-Zoloft 50mg

2009- Off of everything except occasional Xanax as needed for anxiety

Fall 2009-Pregnant with extreme morning sickness, doc prescribed Zoloft again 50mg

Summer 2010-Zoloft and Klonopin for anxiety

Fall 2011-Quite Zoloft C/T had severe withdrawal, ended up on Lexapro

Fall 2011- Lexapro 20mg and Klonopin .5mg

May 2014-After weaning myself down to 5mg of Lexapro,I quit. I was fine for the first month 

August 4th-started back on 5mg of Lexapro, hoping to do a proper taper this time. Also on .5mg of Klonopin and .25mg of Xanax as needed.

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  • Administrator

Thanks, dogfriend. We have many topics in the Symptoms and Self-Care forum regarding sleep. Please also use search to find discussions of particular supplements such as inositol and GABA.

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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Hi Dogfriend,

 

You had asked about my sleep supplements. My regular pdoc first suggested inositol 2 grams at bedtime for weight gain associated with antipsychotic use, especially since I am homogeneous for a snp that greatly increases the risk of that problem. I didn't do it because I was a "purist" then about anything that might impact neurotransmitters.

 

Mensah Medical sent me this information, I don't know if it is general or just for people with my issues: For Calming Consider: Inositol 500 or 650 tabs, take 1-3 tabs for anxious episodes up to three times daily. GABA 500mg, 1-2 tabs for anxious episodes or use up to twice a day for no more than 6 of 7 days of the week.

 

Oops, I just found that sheet (I misplace everything) and I have been using way too much GABA. I use powders from NOW that I get from Amazon because they are cheaper than capsules, but I think any supplement store would have them. On the web I have seen reports of using up to 18 grams/day of inositol for severe OCD.

 

There is a thread on Mensah Medical if that interests you.

Thank you for your feedback.  I tried the inositol (2 g about an hour before bed) and it seemed to help some for a night or two but last night was up until 8 am and then only slept 2 hours. Am trying L-Taurine tonight instead to see if that is any better. Thanks for informing me of the Mensah Medical thread.  I will have to check that out.

1987-1989 Various Tricyclic antidepressants, weaned off for various reasons, no problems with withdrawal symptoms.

1990 Prozac for one year.  No problem weaning off. 

1990-1999 Medication Free 

1999-2000 Effexor XR, weaned off over 3 weeks. Completely off meds for 2-3 months, severe w/d symptoms for which Celexa was Rx'd

2000-2005 Celexa 20 mg/day. Unsuccessful taper attempt for about 2 months. Severe w/d symptoms requiring reinstatement of drug.

2005-2008 Celexa 40 mg/day. Unsuccessful taper attempt over 2-3 months, severe w/d symptoms requiring medication. Changed to Wellbutrin, did not tolerate drug, changed to Lexapro 10 mg/day.

2008-2013 Lexapro 10 mg/day.

Current taper attempt: 4/2013-7/2013 tapered Lexapro from 10 mg/day to 5 mg/day. Only w/d symptom is insomnia. 

7/2014 Tapered Lexapro to 4 mg/day.  Worsening insomnia, increased to 4.5 mg/day. 11/2014 Decrease Lexapro to 4.2 mg/day.  12/2014 Decrease Lexapro to 4.0 mg/day.  1/2015 Decrease Lexapro to 3.8 mg/day.  2/6/2015:Decrease Lexapro to 3.5 mg/day. 5/5/15: Decrease Lexapro to 3.3 mg/day

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Hi Dogfriend,

 

I don't have much advice as I'm on the Lexapro train myself (recently tried to get off but after two months of hell, went back to 5mg). Just wanted to let you know that you've got a great resource here, I'm so happy to have found this site. Best of luck to you!

Thank you for your greeting and encouraging words.  I was holding steady at 5 mg for about a year (although the 10mg to 5 mg taper accomplished in spring of 2013 was done far too fast with what I know now from this site). I felt fine for about the first 9 months or so after being at 5 mg and then the insomnia started slowly.  I don't think I realized it was from the weaning until I really started looking at the resources and peoples' experiences on this site. I mentioned before that I dropped to 4 mg, and then bumped to 4.5mg.  Maybe I will post a question on the Lexapro tapering section. Not sure if I should wait until NO INSOMNIA before attempting any further drops. Been a month and other than the insomnia being horrible, I feel relatively good. I too am really happy to have found this site. Such great information and support!

1987-1989 Various Tricyclic antidepressants, weaned off for various reasons, no problems with withdrawal symptoms.

1990 Prozac for one year.  No problem weaning off. 

1990-1999 Medication Free 

1999-2000 Effexor XR, weaned off over 3 weeks. Completely off meds for 2-3 months, severe w/d symptoms for which Celexa was Rx'd

2000-2005 Celexa 20 mg/day. Unsuccessful taper attempt for about 2 months. Severe w/d symptoms requiring reinstatement of drug.

2005-2008 Celexa 40 mg/day. Unsuccessful taper attempt over 2-3 months, severe w/d symptoms requiring medication. Changed to Wellbutrin, did not tolerate drug, changed to Lexapro 10 mg/day.

2008-2013 Lexapro 10 mg/day.

Current taper attempt: 4/2013-7/2013 tapered Lexapro from 10 mg/day to 5 mg/day. Only w/d symptom is insomnia. 

7/2014 Tapered Lexapro to 4 mg/day.  Worsening insomnia, increased to 4.5 mg/day. 11/2014 Decrease Lexapro to 4.2 mg/day.  12/2014 Decrease Lexapro to 4.0 mg/day.  1/2015 Decrease Lexapro to 3.8 mg/day.  2/6/2015:Decrease Lexapro to 3.5 mg/day. 5/5/15: Decrease Lexapro to 3.3 mg/day

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Thanks, dogfriend. We have many topics in the Symptoms and Self-Care forum regarding sleep. Please also use search to find discussions of particular supplements such as inositol and GABA.

Thank you.  I am slowly beginning to figure out some of how to access the information I am looking for.  I don't want to pose redundant questions if I can avoid it.

1987-1989 Various Tricyclic antidepressants, weaned off for various reasons, no problems with withdrawal symptoms.

1990 Prozac for one year.  No problem weaning off. 

1990-1999 Medication Free 

1999-2000 Effexor XR, weaned off over 3 weeks. Completely off meds for 2-3 months, severe w/d symptoms for which Celexa was Rx'd

2000-2005 Celexa 20 mg/day. Unsuccessful taper attempt for about 2 months. Severe w/d symptoms requiring reinstatement of drug.

2005-2008 Celexa 40 mg/day. Unsuccessful taper attempt over 2-3 months, severe w/d symptoms requiring medication. Changed to Wellbutrin, did not tolerate drug, changed to Lexapro 10 mg/day.

2008-2013 Lexapro 10 mg/day.

Current taper attempt: 4/2013-7/2013 tapered Lexapro from 10 mg/day to 5 mg/day. Only w/d symptom is insomnia. 

7/2014 Tapered Lexapro to 4 mg/day.  Worsening insomnia, increased to 4.5 mg/day. 11/2014 Decrease Lexapro to 4.2 mg/day.  12/2014 Decrease Lexapro to 4.0 mg/day.  1/2015 Decrease Lexapro to 3.8 mg/day.  2/6/2015:Decrease Lexapro to 3.5 mg/day. 5/5/15: Decrease Lexapro to 3.3 mg/day

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  • Administrator

Could be you need to make smaller decreases to avoid insomnia.

 

A decrease from 4.5mg to 4mg is greater than 10% -- you calculate on the last dosage. You might consider decreases of 5%. At 4.5mg, that would be 0.225mg.

 

If I were you, I'd wait until the insomnia resolves before decreasing again.

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

Could be you need to make smaller decreases to avoid insomnia.

 

A decrease from 4.5mg to 4mg is greater than 10% -- you calculate on the last dosage. You might consider decreases of 5%. At 4.5mg, that would be 0.225mg.

 

If I were you, I'd wait until the insomnia resolves before decreasing again.

Thank you for your advice.  I will try to be patient and wait for it to resolve. 

1987-1989 Various Tricyclic antidepressants, weaned off for various reasons, no problems with withdrawal symptoms.

1990 Prozac for one year.  No problem weaning off. 

1990-1999 Medication Free 

1999-2000 Effexor XR, weaned off over 3 weeks. Completely off meds for 2-3 months, severe w/d symptoms for which Celexa was Rx'd

2000-2005 Celexa 20 mg/day. Unsuccessful taper attempt for about 2 months. Severe w/d symptoms requiring reinstatement of drug.

2005-2008 Celexa 40 mg/day. Unsuccessful taper attempt over 2-3 months, severe w/d symptoms requiring medication. Changed to Wellbutrin, did not tolerate drug, changed to Lexapro 10 mg/day.

2008-2013 Lexapro 10 mg/day.

Current taper attempt: 4/2013-7/2013 tapered Lexapro from 10 mg/day to 5 mg/day. Only w/d symptom is insomnia. 

7/2014 Tapered Lexapro to 4 mg/day.  Worsening insomnia, increased to 4.5 mg/day. 11/2014 Decrease Lexapro to 4.2 mg/day.  12/2014 Decrease Lexapro to 4.0 mg/day.  1/2015 Decrease Lexapro to 3.8 mg/day.  2/6/2015:Decrease Lexapro to 3.5 mg/day. 5/5/15: Decrease Lexapro to 3.3 mg/day

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Hi Dogfriend,

 

I don't have much advice as I'm on the Lexapro train myself (recently tried to get off but after two months of hell, went back to 5mg). Just wanted to let you know that you've got a great resource here, I'm so happy to have found this site. Best of luck to you!

Thank you, pokiok.  It is an encouragement to know we are not in this alone. We are also not going crazy (though it may feel like we are) while enduring the angst of trying to come off these drugs.  

1987-1989 Various Tricyclic antidepressants, weaned off for various reasons, no problems with withdrawal symptoms.

1990 Prozac for one year.  No problem weaning off. 

1990-1999 Medication Free 

1999-2000 Effexor XR, weaned off over 3 weeks. Completely off meds for 2-3 months, severe w/d symptoms for which Celexa was Rx'd

2000-2005 Celexa 20 mg/day. Unsuccessful taper attempt for about 2 months. Severe w/d symptoms requiring reinstatement of drug.

2005-2008 Celexa 40 mg/day. Unsuccessful taper attempt over 2-3 months, severe w/d symptoms requiring medication. Changed to Wellbutrin, did not tolerate drug, changed to Lexapro 10 mg/day.

2008-2013 Lexapro 10 mg/day.

Current taper attempt: 4/2013-7/2013 tapered Lexapro from 10 mg/day to 5 mg/day. Only w/d symptom is insomnia. 

7/2014 Tapered Lexapro to 4 mg/day.  Worsening insomnia, increased to 4.5 mg/day. 11/2014 Decrease Lexapro to 4.2 mg/day.  12/2014 Decrease Lexapro to 4.0 mg/day.  1/2015 Decrease Lexapro to 3.8 mg/day.  2/6/2015:Decrease Lexapro to 3.5 mg/day. 5/5/15: Decrease Lexapro to 3.3 mg/day

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  • Moderator Emeritus

 

Thank you.  I am slowly beginning to figure out some of how to access the information I am looking for.  I don't want to pose redundant questions if I can avoid it.

 

 

Using the search function from within this site doesn't always bring good results. 

 

How to search this site using google.....  You can find any of our many topics by using Google and typing in "surviving antidepressants" followed by whatever thing you wish to search for.

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

 

Could be you need to make smaller decreases to avoid insomnia.

 

A decrease from 4.5mg to 4mg is greater than 10% -- you calculate on the last dosage. You might consider decreases of 5%. At 4.5mg, that would be 0.225mg.

 

If I were you, I'd wait until the insomnia resolves before decreasing again.

Thank you for your advice.  I will try to be patient and wait for it to resolve. 

 

 

I agree, I would wait until it resolves or at least improves noticeably.

 

Also, consider giving a try to the smaller reduction of 5%, just to see how it goes. It's really better to experiment first with small cuts and see how you do, then ramp it up later if you can, rather than cut too much and have to wait a long time before you feel well enough to continue your taper.

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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  • 6 months later...

Just thought I would drop in for a brief update. Last summer, I dropped my Lexapro from 5 mg to 4 mg which sent me into horrible w/d.  Had to bump it up to 4.5 mg and stayed there for MONTHS until w/d and more specifically, the insomnia resolved enough for me to attempt another (much) smaller reduction.  I am at 3.5mg/day now and have been here for almost a month.  That represents a reduction from 3.8 mg.  So, as you can see, I am VERY afraid of doing anything too fast to set me off with w/d.  It just isn't worth it to barely sleep for numerous weeks, besides other w/d symptoms.  I have found the guidance on here excellent in all regards! 

1987-1989 Various Tricyclic antidepressants, weaned off for various reasons, no problems with withdrawal symptoms.

1990 Prozac for one year.  No problem weaning off. 

1990-1999 Medication Free 

1999-2000 Effexor XR, weaned off over 3 weeks. Completely off meds for 2-3 months, severe w/d symptoms for which Celexa was Rx'd

2000-2005 Celexa 20 mg/day. Unsuccessful taper attempt for about 2 months. Severe w/d symptoms requiring reinstatement of drug.

2005-2008 Celexa 40 mg/day. Unsuccessful taper attempt over 2-3 months, severe w/d symptoms requiring medication. Changed to Wellbutrin, did not tolerate drug, changed to Lexapro 10 mg/day.

2008-2013 Lexapro 10 mg/day.

Current taper attempt: 4/2013-7/2013 tapered Lexapro from 10 mg/day to 5 mg/day. Only w/d symptom is insomnia. 

7/2014 Tapered Lexapro to 4 mg/day.  Worsening insomnia, increased to 4.5 mg/day. 11/2014 Decrease Lexapro to 4.2 mg/day.  12/2014 Decrease Lexapro to 4.0 mg/day.  1/2015 Decrease Lexapro to 3.8 mg/day.  2/6/2015:Decrease Lexapro to 3.5 mg/day. 5/5/15: Decrease Lexapro to 3.3 mg/day

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Nice work Dogfriend , well done.   

1987-1997 pertofran , prothiaden , Prozac 1997-2002 Zoloft 2002-2004 effexor 2004-2010 Lexapro 40mg

2010-2012Cymbalta 120mg

Sept. 2012 -decreased 90mg in 6months. Care taken over by Dr Lucire in March 2013 , decreased last 30mg at 2mg per week over 3 months. July 21 , 2013- last dose of Cymbalta

Protracted withdrawal syndrome kicked in badly Jan.2014 Unrelenting akathisia until May 2014. Voluntary hosp. admission. Cocktail of Seroquel, Ativan and mirtazapine and I was well enough to go home after 14 days. Stopped all hosp. meds in next few months.

July 2014 felt v.depressed - couldn't stop crying. Started pristiq 50mg. Felt improvement within days and continued to improve, so stayed on 50mg for 8 months.

Began taper 28 Feb. 2015. Pristiq 50mg down to 45mg. Had one month of w/d symptoms. Started CES therapy in March. No w/d symptoms down to 30mg.

October 2015 , taking 25mg Pristiq. Capsules compounded with slow-release additive.

March 2016 , 21mg

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  • Administrator

Very good to hear, Dogfriend. Thank you.

 

Please continue to let us know how you're doing.

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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  • 2 months later...

Hello friends and fellow travellers on this road....I could use some advice on my insomnia and tapering.  Since discovering this excellent forum, my tapers have slowed significantly so as to minimize the severity of WD. Since last fall, my tapers have been about 5% (of current dose) every three months. Any faster than that causes too many WD symptoms.  That seems pretty slow to me.  I am trying to be patient.  Since discovering this site and slowing the tapers, my main WD symptom has been insomnia.  Having gone through full blown WD more than once, with all the other debilitating symptoms (in addition to insomnia) I try to count my blessings that it is really the only symptom I consistently battle**.  I have seen people on this site say to hold a taper until WD symptoms subside (in my case, is just the insomnia).  What I have done is a modified version of that. Instead of holding a taper until I have a completely "normal" nights sleep (like the typical 8 hours, wake up once or not at all during the night) I hold until I am at a "livable" level of insomnia (which I define as being able to sustain sleep for 4-6 hours at a time w/o waking).  Being perimenopausal, I suspect that even if I were not on AD's, I might be having some sleep problems.  Coming off the AD just exacerbates it. Does this strategy sound reasonable to you veterans?

A month a ago, I dropped my Lexapro from 3.5 mg to 3.3 mg.  Had no problems for the first 3 weeks, but this past week the insomnia has been really bad.  Sleeping three hours a night or less every other night. The "better" nights are longer chunks of sleep after the first 3-4 hours of waking up every 30-90 minutes.  I am thinking I will to try to ride it out and see how long it takes to bump back up to my "livable" level, but was wondering if others have had this degree of insomnia even with tapers as conservative as mine and if so, did you ride it out?  Most of the suggestions in the Self-Care-Insomnia section that I have tried have helped me relax (which is nice) but the "on/off switch" for sleep (as I describe it) seems to just be broken. 

Thanks in advance.  

** But I am concerned that prolonged sleep deprivation may lead to other problems....

1987-1989 Various Tricyclic antidepressants, weaned off for various reasons, no problems with withdrawal symptoms.

1990 Prozac for one year.  No problem weaning off. 

1990-1999 Medication Free 

1999-2000 Effexor XR, weaned off over 3 weeks. Completely off meds for 2-3 months, severe w/d symptoms for which Celexa was Rx'd

2000-2005 Celexa 20 mg/day. Unsuccessful taper attempt for about 2 months. Severe w/d symptoms requiring reinstatement of drug.

2005-2008 Celexa 40 mg/day. Unsuccessful taper attempt over 2-3 months, severe w/d symptoms requiring medication. Changed to Wellbutrin, did not tolerate drug, changed to Lexapro 10 mg/day.

2008-2013 Lexapro 10 mg/day.

Current taper attempt: 4/2013-7/2013 tapered Lexapro from 10 mg/day to 5 mg/day. Only w/d symptom is insomnia. 

7/2014 Tapered Lexapro to 4 mg/day.  Worsening insomnia, increased to 4.5 mg/day. 11/2014 Decrease Lexapro to 4.2 mg/day.  12/2014 Decrease Lexapro to 4.0 mg/day.  1/2015 Decrease Lexapro to 3.8 mg/day.  2/6/2015:Decrease Lexapro to 3.5 mg/day. 5/5/15: Decrease Lexapro to 3.3 mg/day

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I was on Lexapro for 5 years - during that time, I often had lousy, non-restorative sleep.

 

I cold turkeyed off Lexapro 16 months ago because I wasn't aware of tapering or withdrawal.

 

Seven months after stopping Lexapro I got hit with a severe insomnia wave that lasted for two months.

 

Once that wave was over, my sleep patterns were restored to normal. 

 

I have slept great for the last six months, I sleep better now than during all five years while on Lexapro. 

 

For me, using Lexapro even at 5 mg caused frequent bad sleep. I always knew something was off with my sleep chemistry.

 

Lexapro is very powerful even at small doses.

 

Once I stopped using Lexapro, and got through the common "delayed onset Lexapro WD insomnia wave", sleep is no problem. 

 

The main reason I never wanted to reinstate on Lexapro is because I knew using small amounts of it would destroy my sleep again.

 

But that's just how Lexapro affected me.

Hell hath no fury as an SSRI scorned.....

 

Prozac:   20 mg 1996 – May 2003 CT to 0 mg; by Aug 03 CRASH then protracted WD 3 yrs

Zoloft:    2004 few weeks;, CT to 0 mg

Effexor:  2005 few months CT to 0 mg; bad withdrawal. 

Lexapro:  10 mg from 2009 – 2011; cut dose in half to:

Lexapro:    5 mg from 2011 – Feb. 2014; CT to 0 mg; 2 months of fatigue, followed by:
Aug - Oct 2014 Lexapro WD Insomnia Wave; sleeping very good from Nov 2014 - Nov 2015; broken sleep pattern Dec 2015 - Jan 2016

Dec 2014 - present: Brutal Lexapro WD ear ringing/head ringing/head pressure lasting for 14 months now.

 

24 months SSRI-free  

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  • Moderator Emeritus

It seems like you have a good understanding of your tapering and the insomnia that comes with it.  I think it will settle down again if it seems to be a pattern. It is terrible when you can't sleep but becoming anxious about it makes it into a vicious circle, you can't sleep, worry about it then can't sleep for worrying if you will not sleep again. I have a huge problem with insomnia and try not to even think about whether I will sleep or not. As long as I lie down, get comfortable and relax I am fine. If sleep comes it is a bonus!  Hold the dose and hopefully you should settle back into your normal pattern again. Apparently it takes many years for sleep deprivation to have an effect on the body, but of course there are dangers with sleep deprivation and driving or operating machinery etc. I hope you get back to sleeping well very soon.

**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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  • Administrator

I would hold for a bit now, to let your nervous system settle down.

 

Since you are so sensitive to dosage changes, you may wish to reduce by even smaller amounts, say .1mg at a time. See Micro-taper instead of 10% or 5% decreases

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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A HUGE thank you to those who have responded to my most recent update.  I am going to hold for awhile.  I have read the stuff on microtapering (thank you Alto) and think this may be the way to go...AFTER I am sleeping better.  I really appreciate folks taking the time to weigh in with their experience and advice.

1987-1989 Various Tricyclic antidepressants, weaned off for various reasons, no problems with withdrawal symptoms.

1990 Prozac for one year.  No problem weaning off. 

1990-1999 Medication Free 

1999-2000 Effexor XR, weaned off over 3 weeks. Completely off meds for 2-3 months, severe w/d symptoms for which Celexa was Rx'd

2000-2005 Celexa 20 mg/day. Unsuccessful taper attempt for about 2 months. Severe w/d symptoms requiring reinstatement of drug.

2005-2008 Celexa 40 mg/day. Unsuccessful taper attempt over 2-3 months, severe w/d symptoms requiring medication. Changed to Wellbutrin, did not tolerate drug, changed to Lexapro 10 mg/day.

2008-2013 Lexapro 10 mg/day.

Current taper attempt: 4/2013-7/2013 tapered Lexapro from 10 mg/day to 5 mg/day. Only w/d symptom is insomnia. 

7/2014 Tapered Lexapro to 4 mg/day.  Worsening insomnia, increased to 4.5 mg/day. 11/2014 Decrease Lexapro to 4.2 mg/day.  12/2014 Decrease Lexapro to 4.0 mg/day.  1/2015 Decrease Lexapro to 3.8 mg/day.  2/6/2015:Decrease Lexapro to 3.5 mg/day. 5/5/15: Decrease Lexapro to 3.3 mg/day

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I was on Lexapro for 5 years - during that time, I often had lousy, non-restorative sleep.

 

I cold turkeyed off Lexapro 16 months ago because I wasn't aware of tapering or withdrawal.

 

Seven months after stopping Lexapro I got hit with a severe insomnia wave that lasted for two months.

 

Once that wave was over, my sleep patterns were restored to normal. 

 

I have slept great for the last six months, I sleep better now than during all five years while on Lexapro. 

 

For me, using Lexapro even at 5 mg caused frequent bad sleep. I always knew something was off with my sleep chemistry.

 

Lexapro is very powerful even at small doses.

 

Once I stopped using Lexapro, and got through the common "delayed onset Lexapro WD insomnia wave", sleep is no problem. 

 

The main reason I never wanted to reinstate on Lexapro is because I knew using small amounts of it would destroy my sleep again.

 

But that's just how Lexapro affected me.

Thank you for your reply.  I am glad that you got past the insomnia.  I saw in your signature that you have been dealing with ear ringing/head buzzing.  I have dealth with that at times and it is maddening.  Hope it passes soon as well.

1987-1989 Various Tricyclic antidepressants, weaned off for various reasons, no problems with withdrawal symptoms.

1990 Prozac for one year.  No problem weaning off. 

1990-1999 Medication Free 

1999-2000 Effexor XR, weaned off over 3 weeks. Completely off meds for 2-3 months, severe w/d symptoms for which Celexa was Rx'd

2000-2005 Celexa 20 mg/day. Unsuccessful taper attempt for about 2 months. Severe w/d symptoms requiring reinstatement of drug.

2005-2008 Celexa 40 mg/day. Unsuccessful taper attempt over 2-3 months, severe w/d symptoms requiring medication. Changed to Wellbutrin, did not tolerate drug, changed to Lexapro 10 mg/day.

2008-2013 Lexapro 10 mg/day.

Current taper attempt: 4/2013-7/2013 tapered Lexapro from 10 mg/day to 5 mg/day. Only w/d symptom is insomnia. 

7/2014 Tapered Lexapro to 4 mg/day.  Worsening insomnia, increased to 4.5 mg/day. 11/2014 Decrease Lexapro to 4.2 mg/day.  12/2014 Decrease Lexapro to 4.0 mg/day.  1/2015 Decrease Lexapro to 3.8 mg/day.  2/6/2015:Decrease Lexapro to 3.5 mg/day. 5/5/15: Decrease Lexapro to 3.3 mg/day

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It seems like you have a good understanding of your tapering and the insomnia that comes with it.  I think it will settle down again if it seems to be a pattern. It is terrible when you can't sleep but becoming anxious about it makes it into a vicious circle, you can't sleep, worry about it then can't sleep for worrying if you will not sleep again. I have a huge problem with insomnia and try not to even think about whether I will sleep or not. As long as I lie down, get comfortable and relax I am fine. If sleep comes it is a bonus!  Hold the dose and hopefully you should settle back into your normal pattern again. Apparently it takes many years for sleep deprivation to have an effect on the body, but of course there are dangers with sleep deprivation and driving or operating machinery etc. I hope you get back to sleeping well very soon.

I think you are correct.  When I read what you wrote about not becoming anxious about the lack of sleep and just kind of "rolling with it" it was a good reminder to me of the approach I ended up having last summer when my insomnia was far worse for far longer than this current bout.  I had to adapt my thinking to tell myself that the world would not end and life would go on even if I had to function on minimal sleep.  Although the stressing and anxiety about the insomnia is understandable, it is not helpful.  Thank again for the reminder!

1987-1989 Various Tricyclic antidepressants, weaned off for various reasons, no problems with withdrawal symptoms.

1990 Prozac for one year.  No problem weaning off. 

1990-1999 Medication Free 

1999-2000 Effexor XR, weaned off over 3 weeks. Completely off meds for 2-3 months, severe w/d symptoms for which Celexa was Rx'd

2000-2005 Celexa 20 mg/day. Unsuccessful taper attempt for about 2 months. Severe w/d symptoms requiring reinstatement of drug.

2005-2008 Celexa 40 mg/day. Unsuccessful taper attempt over 2-3 months, severe w/d symptoms requiring medication. Changed to Wellbutrin, did not tolerate drug, changed to Lexapro 10 mg/day.

2008-2013 Lexapro 10 mg/day.

Current taper attempt: 4/2013-7/2013 tapered Lexapro from 10 mg/day to 5 mg/day. Only w/d symptom is insomnia. 

7/2014 Tapered Lexapro to 4 mg/day.  Worsening insomnia, increased to 4.5 mg/day. 11/2014 Decrease Lexapro to 4.2 mg/day.  12/2014 Decrease Lexapro to 4.0 mg/day.  1/2015 Decrease Lexapro to 3.8 mg/day.  2/6/2015:Decrease Lexapro to 3.5 mg/day. 5/5/15: Decrease Lexapro to 3.3 mg/day

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