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degen12

degen12: Starting SSRIs as a child, and The SSRI Enigma

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degen12

Hello everyone,

 

At age 4 I developed PANDAS (unknown at the time). It was characterised by extreme OCD and comorbid Tourette Syndrome and ADHD. In my teens I was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome.

 

At age 7 I recieved my diagnoses. At age 8 I was medicated with Paxil. My OCD improved dramatically. I was switched to Zoloft because of anti-cholinergic side-effects experienced with Paxil. I was maintained at 150 mg of Zoloft for several years. I developed worsening akathisia and emotional numbing.

 

At age 15 I developed severe apathy in the absensce of depression. With the help of my mother over the next 3 years I titrated to 2/3 of a 25 mg pill. I could feel the difference between 12.5 and roughly 16 mg of sertraline, and I could not go lower than 16 mg without side-effects. Due to my lower dosage, some emotional range was restored and I fell in love and started what would become a 3-year long-term relationship. At some point I figured I could do without sertraline. I stopped it and did not notice much. Eventually a creeping relapse overtook me with intense obsessive thinking.

 

I started back up on fluoxetine. It caused bruxism and akathisia. I switched to sertraline after realizing this. It caused me to become hugely dysphoric (with superimposed hypomanic features). I got into a fight and broke several bones in my face. I was sent to a psychiatric ward. I found a study that found that fluoxetine caused an increase in diazepam concentrations by as much as 50%. I decided that I was probably undergoing acute benzodiazepine withdrawal, so I requested to be switched to Luvox, which also vastly increases diazepam concentrations.

 

I have a long history with benzodiazepines which I will not expand upon here, except to say that my GP, who is handling my medication, is always pushing me to go faster on my taper. I got him to approve an Ashton schedule, although I think I would do better if he gave some leeway to hold at a dosage for a while so I can adjust.

 

I stabilized within a few days of the change, and my akathisia was relieved (or masked by diazepam?).

 

I left the ward at 100 mg of Luvox. To achieve further reduction in my OCD, Luvox was titrated up to 300 mg by my GP. This again caused emotional numbing and akathisia. I reduced my dose to 200 mg. I sat at this dose for a while, but by accident, or fate, I started missing a few doses here and there. This triggered intense emotion reactions. Life had me hooked. I had an emotional reaction to a song, and I have told myself that I am never going back into no-where land.

 

I am going to decrease my Luvox to 100 mg, as 200 mg leaves me wishy-washy about wanting to taper. I will request my diazepam be increased to 25 mg and hold for 1 month, and then recommence taper.

 

I have taken an SSRI for the vast majority of my life, and I have a question:

 

Here is what I believe to be one of the enigma's of SSRIs. I know that it is true for myself. I hope to see if it is true of others.

At the dose of an SSRI required to stave off withdrawal, the desire to get off of the SSRI diminishes. This can shave years of "living" off of your life. On the other hand, if you CT or cut too low too fast, the withdrawal will force you to reinstate.

 

I have also struggled with intense DP/DR at times. It was at its height when it was 24/7 and I felt like "I", (insert my real name, let's pretend Jay) had died. That was the most excruciating time of my entire life, save brief periods of bash-your-head-in-the-wall akathisia after being given an antipsychotic at a psychiatric ward.

 

Thank you so much to anyone who made it to the end of this post, it means a lot,

 

Peace.
 

EDIT: Also, sometimes when experiencing distress I wonder if it is the SSRI or the benzo, withdrawal from either of these, or just normal.

Edited by scallywag
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LoveandLight

Wow what a lot to go through!

 

Peace to you too xx

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degen12

Thank you. I have so much hope for the future even though I feel so alone at times. I now consider it a blessing to be able to shed a tear. Life post SSRI seems boundless.

 

EDIT: I wrote a very detailed journal article recently as I took 300 mg of Luvox after a few days of abstinence. I documented in detail and with time stamps the changes that occured as the drug approached its tmax. What I learned then was... Well, I hope to post it here one day in modified form. I'm not going back to the place where nothing exists anymore.

 

I will be fierce. Forward.

 

Life.

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Martin

Greetings Degen

 

I think it is amazing that medical staff will give out benzodiazepines like candy when it is very widely known how powerful withdrawal and habit forming it is... When it comes to an SSRI-enigma I'm not too sure, which is probably because I'm a person more controlled by logic than emotions. When it came to my decision to withdraw, it had to do with learning the simple fact that I was doing a whole lot better without the "medication" than with the "medication". 

 

And then logic dictates that I should try my best to withdraw rather than it being something I emotionally feel that I need to do. I will say that emotions are definately something that I've regained. Being on the "medication" feels a though something vital is lost - it is as though you are without a soul, I dont know if its emotions or what it is but something is lost, and once you're aware of this loss then withdrawal will happen in order to reclaim what was lost. It is a hard process, one that I'm having trouble with myself and I wish you the best of luck!

 

May we all regain what we have lost.

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degen12

Greetings Degen

 

I think it is amazing that medical staff will give out benzodiazepines like candy when it is very widely known how powerful withdrawal and habit forming it is... When it comes to an SSRI-enigma I'm not too sure, which is probably because I'm a person more controlled by logic than emotions. When it came to my decision to withdraw, it had to do with learning the simple fact that I was doing a whole lot better without the "medication" than with the "medication". 

 

And then logic dictates that I should try my best to withdraw rather than it being something I emotionally feel that I need to do. I will say that emotions are definately something that I've regained. Being on the "medication" feels a though something vital is lost - it is as though you are without a soul, I dont know if its emotions or what it is but something is lost, and once you're aware of this loss then withdrawal will happen in order to reclaim what was lost. It is a hard process, one that I'm having trouble with myself and I wish you the best of luck!

 

May we all regain what we have lost.

 

Hi Martin,

 

Thanks for responding!

 

In regards to benzo's, I agree with you as a general rule, but in some cases they are necessary. They helped me to bypass a situation of extreme circumstances. I just wish that medical staff understood that withdrawal of the drug has to take very slowly. Most seem to think that months, not to mention years, is an absolutely absurd notion. I had one doctor try and taper me 1 mg of clonazepam a day (This actually just made me lol, in retrospect).

 

I think I am a very logical person as well. I was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome, but maybe emotional retardation due to SSRI use during childhood and adolescence would be closer to the mark.

 

Anyway, my logic tells me to stay on SSRIs. All hell breaks lose when I come off of them, apparently. Thanks to this site I am learning that I might have experienced an initial withdrawl, which I managed well, but a fiercer delayed withdrawal threw me off the tracks. Yet I'm still not sure. OCD is the issue, but I think at some level I was not ready to experience life at full volume. I had become to accustumed to being on an SSRI and the ups and downs of "real-life" were too much for me. Plus I had no idea what to do with all these emotions. It was like waking up for the first time. I wish that their was an alternate treatment other than SSRI or clomipramine when I was a child.

 

But over the years, whatever logic was telling me, there was always a deep rooted feeling that something wasn't right, although I couldn't put my finger on it. I figured out for myself many of the non-advertised SSRI side-effects and thought I had found out something really important, meanwhile people on message boards were already talking about it.

 

I can really relate to the soul-eating aspect of SSRIs. I have seen many times my persona vacuumed into nothingness when taking an SSRI. Really it just goes into hiding, or is held at gunpoint by the very people who seek to nurture it. I don't remember the name of who said this, and I will look for it, but this famous philosopher said that music allowed deepest access to the soul. Not everyone enjoys music, but as far as I know it is as close as it comes to a universal interest. If you can not enjoy music because of an SSRI.. I don't know what that means for the soul, or that niggling thing deep inside screaming out for help.

 

I wish you the best of luck, and I am saddened, yet heartened because this is a battle that we are all fighting together, even if the nuances are a bit different for everyone.

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Rhiannon

Degen, I'm sorry for everything you've been through.

 

I just want to say that we do have a lot of information on tapering and getting off psych meds in this forum--at the top of this section and in the Tapering section. We do recommend very slow tapering. In particular, people who were started on these meds at a young age and took them while the brain was developing can have a very hard time getting off them. But also, people who take these meds over a long period of time generally find their function and pleasure in life worsens over time. So it's a rock and a hard place.

 

I was on psych drugs for 20 years and I am finding that I have to taper extremely slowly. However, with the extremely slow taper, so far I have not yet had the kind of "relapse" that always hit me before, when I tried to quit too fast. I've been able to taper and remain functional, work full time, have a full life, with some limitations, but nothing like the way I was dysfunctional and limited when taking the drugs (after about the first five years on them).

 

And now on the very low doses I have gotten down to, I am delighted, constantly, daily, with how rich and complex and stable and satisfying my inner experience of life is, and how much more I am enjoying life, and how well I am able to connect with other people, and how much more I am able to take on.

 

I do think it's possible for almost anyone to get off psych meds, or at least reduce the dosage dramatically, without suffering intolerable withdrawal; I just think it has to be done very, very, very slowly, over years.

 

If you haven't yet read Anatomy of an Epidemic by Robert Whitaker, I recommend it highly. 

 

If you are interested in tapering successfully, please read through our materials here.

 

Welcome to the forum.

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degen12

Thank you for your warm welcome, Rhi. I will be sure to review the tapering material. It's back to school.

 

I apologize to advance to anyone on these forums if I seem cold or robotic. I consider myself to be very empathetic and I don't wish to hurt anyone's feelings. The best thing anyone can do is talk to me and I will do my best to make it right.

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Martin

Degen, that feeling that something wasnt quite right was also how I felt - it led me to try taking more effexor (yay more poison) and then subsequently being less able to deal with stuff... I tried all kinds of herbal stuff, the closest I came to feeling normal was 4 cups of yerba mate (about 350 mg of caffeine) and 150 mg of l-theanine, which sometimes resulted in a hypomanic state instead.

 

Also Degen you and me have something in common (quite likely a lot in common) because I can also be percieved as very cold and robotic, and some therapists do think I have asbergers so there's that in common also. it is why I speak to you like this because I instantly, from reading what you wrote, connected with what you wrote and figured that we had this in common. We also reacted similarly to antidepressants - namely by becoming apathic. 

 

And the kicker is that we both have long histories with benzodiazepines... Maybe the benzo's have somekind of neurological changes that make you appear robotic, hehe - or not. ;)

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degen12

It's hard to convey emotion over an internet forum, and even harder for individuals with Asperger Syndrome or ASD, I imagine. Asperger is just a label that tries and tells you who you are. It is useful, I suppose, when we try and talk about common personality traits.

 

As to your benzo theory, from the Ashton Manual:

 

 

"Emotional anaesthesia", the inability to feel pleasure or pain, is a common complaint of long-term benzodiazepine users. Such emotional blunting is probably related to the inhibitory effect of benzodiazepines on activity in emotional centres in the brain. Former long-term benzodiazepine users often bitterly regret their lack of emotional responses to family members - children and spouses or partners - during the period when they were taking the drugs. Chronic benzodiazepine use can be a cause of domestic disharmony and even marriage break-up.

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Altostrata

Welcome, degen.

 

You hardly seem robotic. You seem to be a very sensitive person who writes very well.

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degen12

Doctor agreed to an updose of diazepam to 25 mg. I would have preferred 30 mg. The 30 mg to 20 mg drop occurred too quickly and caused bigger problems. We did 2.5 mg per week, which is much too fast <30 mg, which is in my opinion, well in most accounts actually, a recipe for trouble. I agreed to it because it made him happy. I should have fought for a humane WD. I have been on these drugs for years and years, what is the rush? I came from 60 mg after all, shouldn't we have been happy that a 50% reduction had occured?

 

Anyhow, I had a bad episode of akathisia that lasted several days. After the pain in my legs got to the "excruciating" level and I was basically having full body "convulsions" in bed I gave in and took and series of doses of oxycodone to end the episode. I have found that opioids will end an episode of akathisia quickly, reliable, and most importantly, completely. The effect continues even after the opioid has left my system.

 

This was also very dangerous, but not for obvious reasons. It revealed to me how deep my depression goes. I have written much about that in my journal.

 

High-doses of benzodiazepines can not end an episode, perhaps because of my tolerance. Clonidine helps me, sometimes, although it worsens many other things.

 

I am using gabapentin to try and control baseline akathisia, with mixed, mostly disappointing, results. Not good enough to get dependent on another drug.

 

As I mentioned, baseline akathisia remains. The reason for these flares is not completely certain to me, but I guess it is partly related to unstable drug levels in the body...

 

I have reduced fluvoxamine from 200 to 150 mg, as I believe 200 is the cut-off point in which my akathisia begins to skyrocket.

 

I am not a doctor nor am I advocating the use of opioids for medication WD.

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degen12

Welcome, degen.

 

You hardly seem robotic. You seem to be a very sensitive person who writes very well.

 

It is not often I receive such compliments and I receive your's with a heartfelt thank you.

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Rhiannon

I'd like to recommend that you stop changing dosages of things. I used to do that, to treat these drugs like aspirin, something you could take a little more here and a little less there, but they are actually very targeted and very powerful and they cause changes in your brain. We find that people do best when all drug changes are made only very slowly, in small increments, and with breaks in between for adaptation.

 

You have my full support in tapering slowly. Amazing that you were on 60 mg of Valium. Congratulations on getting it down to less than half of that! You absolutely need to taper it slowly. Your own body is the only valid expert on how fast to taper. Guidelines (like our "10% of your current dose" guideline) are just places to start.

 

But even before that, the first place to start is to get stable, and that means changing nothing for a while. Once you get to a stable baseline you can then start a safe, reasonable taper of one of your meds at a time.

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Rhiannon

A couple of things to think about, relevant to the "not changing meds around quickly:

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6447-best-of-sa/?p=89902

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6447-best-of-sa/?p=91582

 

These are very potent medications with very pointed, very specific, very powerful effects in the brain and nervous system. 

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degen12

These are very potent medications with very pointed, very specific, very powerful effects in the brain and nervous system. 

 

Well since this is my journal, let the fun begin!

 

That is one thing I know very well. I was put on an SSRI at 8 years old, and naturally, I was curious as to its effects. Having "Asperger Syndrome", or perhaps just being human, I developed an obsession with psychopharmacology. I have read so many journal articles and printed text that it now makes me sick. The journal articles are the reliable source, as I'm sure you already know, and not the seemingly very satisfactory drug trials funded by pharmaceutical companies, may they be presented in a prestigious journal, or part of a pamphlet for your local GP. It makes me sick that so much knowledge is available, even knowing as little about the brain and nervous system that we do, that important concepts have been entirely lost in the 21st century of medicine, and psychiatry. Knowing that we know so little, shouldn't rational minds prevail with the attitude that we can not predict the long-term effects of psychotropic drugs? I can stand toe to toe with any psychiatrist if he or she wishes to talk about psychopharmacology, and likely I will dance circles around them. Sometimes I wonder if some of them have gazed at a journal article since they had to mimic one for that 4.0 GPA in Bio 101.

 

But yet I am not doctor, and neither am I an expert. I am not qualified to give advice. I am just a very hurt young man who wishes to escape from pain and suffering. They say only your mother can truly pity you, and treat you in kind. Luckily I do not seek for pity in this world, at least not anymore. Years I wasted looking for an angel, and looked for help beyond my own will. Those were the wasted years.

 

For the rest of your advice, I am thankful. Though I know some of it intuitively, suffering may lead to rash decisions, which begins the vicious circle. Too long have I looked for shortcuts in the shadows of psychiatry. It's time to do it right and proper, as you have said.

 

Though I believe in healing, I believe it will take much more than a slow taper to recover emotionally and physiologically from the train wreck that modern psychiatry has put me in. A slow taper is certainly the only place to start.

 

I don't mean to lecture, as you have been through the ringer yourself, and have been a member of this forum for years, but there's a lot up there, suppressed, and I'm going to mad soon if the dam breaks. Let's just say the repair job is going terribly, terribly, wrong, and the only sane option is to release some of that "stuff", bit by bit, to relieve the pressure. I guess I am talking to myself, in a way.

 

I feel extremely lucky to have a journal year of sorts to share my adventure, and I am most grateful to you and SA.

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degen12

Well, it's nearly 3:30 in the morning and I'm dead tired and but I can't sleep because I'm throthing (is this even a word?) around in my bed incessantly. So here I am.

 

Rhi, I never marked before how beautifully you have summarized what many can not put into words. The links in your last two posts, I mean. The consequences of long-term psychotropic drug use are summarized in a simple, but poignant way that I could not achieve in my best day of writing. Do not mistake my words for false flattery. I'm going through some weird hyper-emotionality thing at the moment.

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Altostrata

degen, you may be interested in our collection of journal articles http://tinyurl.com/aqg3bjo

 

You know, of course, that much of the data and conclusions in research on psychiatric drugs has been engineered for marketing purposes, correct?

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degen12

degen, you may be interested in our collection of journal articles http://tinyurl.com/aqg3bjo

 

You know, of course, that much of the data and conclusions in research on psychiatric drugs has been engineered for marketing purposes, correct?

 

Yep, I even said so in the same post you gained that information about me.

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degen12

**** this ****.

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btdt

 

Greetings Degen

 

I think it is amazing that medical staff will give out benzodiazepines like candy when it is very widely known how powerful withdrawal and habit forming it is... When it comes to an SSRI-enigma I'm not too sure, which is probably because I'm a person more controlled by logic than emotions. When it came to my decision to withdraw, it had to do with learning the simple fact that I was doing a whole lot better without the "medication" than with the "medication". 

 

And then logic dictates that I should try my best to withdraw rather than it being something I emotionally feel that I need to do. I will say that emotions are definately something that I've regained. Being on the "medication" feels a though something vital is lost - it is as though you are without a soul, I dont know if its emotions or what it is but something is lost, and once you're aware of this loss then withdrawal will happen in order to reclaim what was lost. It is a hard process, one that I'm having trouble with myself and I wish you the best of luck!

 

May we all regain what we have lost.

 

Hi Martin,

 

Thanks for responding!

 

In regards to benzo's, I agree with you as a general rule, but in some cases they are necessary. They helped me to bypass a situation of extreme circumstances. I just wish that medical staff understood that withdrawal of the drug has to take very slowly. Most seem to think that months, not to mention years, is an absolutely absurd notion. I had one doctor try and taper me 1 mg of clonazepam a day (This actually just made me lol, in retrospect).

 

I think I am a very logical person as well. I was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome, but maybe emotional retardation due to SSRI use during childhood and adolescence would be closer to the mark.

 

Anyway, my logic tells me to stay on SSRIs. All hell breaks lose when I come off of them, apparently. Thanks to this site I am learning that I might have experienced an initial withdrawl, which I managed well, but a fiercer delayed withdrawal threw me off the tracks. Yet I'm still not sure. OCD is the issue, but I think at some level I was not ready to experience life at full volume. I had become to accustumed to being on an SSRI and the ups and downs of "real-life" were too much for me. Plus I had no idea what to do with all these emotions. It was like waking up for the first time. I wish that their was an alternate treatment other than SSRI or clomipramine when I was a child.

 

But over the years, whatever logic was telling me, there was always a deep rooted feeling that something wasn't right, although I couldn't put my finger on it. I figured out for myself many of the non-advertised SSRI side-effects and thought I had found out something really important, meanwhile people on message boards were already talking about it.

 

I can really relate to the soul-eating aspect of SSRIs. I have seen many times my persona vacuumed into nothingness when taking an SSRI. Really it just goes into hiding, or is held at gunpoint by the very people who seek to nurture it. I don't remember the name of who said this, and I will look for it, but this famous philosopher said that music allowed deepest access to the soul. Not everyone enjoys music, but as far as I know it is as close as it comes to a universal interest. If you can not enjoy music because of an SSRI.. I don't know what that means for the soul, or that niggling thing deep inside screaming out for help.

 

I wish you the best of luck, and I am saddened, yet heartened because this is a battle that we are all fighting together, even if the nuances are a bit different for everyone.

 

". Thanks to this site I am learning that I might have experienced an initial withdrawl, which I managed well, but a fiercer delayed withdrawal threw me off the tracks. Yet I'm still not sure. OCD is the issue, but I think at some level I was not ready to experience life at full volume. I had become to accustumed to being on an SSRI and the ups and downs of "real-life" were too much for me. Plus I had no idea what to do with all these emotions"

It is very common for initial withdrawal to go well.  I quit taking ssri drugs many times over the years only to experience exactly what you are describing here a delayed reaction I thought I was getting ill and went back on another drug  many times.  The last drug I quit Effexor had a delayed reaction of about 6 wks and when it hit initially it was with a flu like experience.  Sometime after that came the crazies and OCD rattled thoughts ect were all part of the delayed presentation.  

Actually the symptoms cycled and changed a lot so even if one misses the physically ill part the crazy making part is a mixed bag.  

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btdt

A video for you...

http://toxicantidepressants.fr/

 

the second video is the one I like... with the cube as it seems right to me. 

 

I can't get a handle on your medication history... I am not asking for a life times worth but the last 5 years or so would be nice... I see zoloft luvox a few others in the conversation but not in the timeline... history of drugs used.  

It does make a difference and as Rhi says GETTING STABLE IS JOB 1 

 

I noted a 300mg dose of luvox and a reduction from 200 to 150... How long have you been on this drug?  Have you ever had stability since taking it?  Going up and down in dose can upset your apple cart and we don't want that so try to hold off on changing around too much more until some folks who really understand this process can give you their best guesses... as there are some common themes...not that you can really bank on them but if your making a choice having the best guess is better than nothing ...usually.   Keep in mind we are all different and what happens for most even can not pan out for everyone.  

 

In order to give you a best guess people here need input... times on medications doses ... when any changes were made to the dose.  

I know it is extremely hard here in Canada to convince a doctor of anything but was just wondering if you have mentioned the Ashton manual to him and how did he take it... was he agreeable?  It would seem to me that it is a rather accepted concept at this point but I now avoid shrinks and could be wrong. 

 

I was wondering where you get the oxy and when you used it ...no I am not looking to buy.. but was wondering if they are given to you to treat some sort of pain if so add them to the list of drugs your taking in your history... if they are hit and miss taking them may made a difference.  

 

I once found an article can't recall if it was in a journal or not that stated all opiates increased serotonin... I can't find it anymore that happens to me all the time... well fellow Canadian... that is the about the end of my post to you... now at the end... I would like to say... Welcome.. nice to see you here and I hope you heal with what you learn here... it may be a long road but we have to start somewhere... peace to you. B

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degen12

My writing might be weird, I am on some Ritalin to stay up because the akathisia made me want to hurt someone or punch through a wall or do something stupid I would regret. It is not an acceptable state to be alive in. I will take whatever measures, except suicide or violence (towards myself or others), to avoid that feeling. My akathisia is not compatible with life and if you people think I'm weak and a whiner so be it. I don't know how you all survived it but believe me, some stupid supplement or scent is not going to help the weakling that is me (there, now you don't have to say it). The oxycodone was from prior oral surgery. It is gone now. Gabapentin, which helped initially is now completely useless against it, as are high-dose benzos. The only thing that works for me now is amphetamine, which I do not have. Ritalin merely gives me energy and concentration so that akathisia is not noticed as much. I will be out of Ritalin soon as well. Not sure what I will do then.

 

I have been on Wellbutrin at various times throughout my life to combant SSRI-induced loss of emotion and anhedonia, for which it worked well. I can not use it now as it causes too much irritation. I don't remember the times, but I don't consider it particularly relevant to my situation and I have not been on it for an extended period of time for years.

 

I apologize, but I cannot separate SSRI and dose from certain important events in my life. My memory is a bit blurry. Referring to old letters.

 

Format: Date - Particular SSRI

 

??, young, maybe 6? - A doctor said I had OCD and prescribed Risperdal over the phone (Lol).

 

Age 7 or 8, 1998? - Paxil, dose unknown.

 

2001 - Paxil 20 mg for OCD, clonidine for Tourette Syndrome, dose unknown, started for tics.

 

?? - Switch to Zoloft (50 mg, quickly increased to 100 mg, I believe) due to anticholingeric side-effects.

 

?? - 15 years old - Zoloft intermittently stops working, and dose is increased over time to 200 mg, which gave me intense akathisia. It was lowered to 150 mg.

 

2006, age 14 years old - Diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome. This diagnosis and prior issues with peer rejection would later lead to much bigger problems with personality structure.

 

Age 15 - Realized I was lacking in affect as compared to my peers, began slow taper.

 

Age 15 - 18 - Tapered Zoloft to 2/3 of a 50 mg capsule, roughly 17 mg.

 

Age 18 - Had an incident that triggered deep depersonalization and derealization. This incident caused me to stop Zoloft cold-turkey at 17 mg so I could "find out who I really was". Started clonazepam 1 mg per day.

 

Age 19 - 20 - SSRI withdrawal - intense preoccupations, "neuro-emotions", and fatigue that seemed to get worse over time. I dropped out of university. In abusive relationship since age 17.

 

Age 20 -21 - Girlfriend broke up with me. I convinced myself that OCD was the issue and that I would need an SSRI for the rest of my life. Started Zoloft and made my way to 150 mg. Clonazepam still prescribed. dose was 4 mg per day, used at 4 - 6 mg per day.

 

Age 21 - 22 - Time passed quickly, but clonazepam tolerance set in and akathisia broke through from the Zoloft. Heavy benzo usage during this period. Several attempts to taper failed, several resulted in ER visits and a week long hospitalization. Decided to change to diazepam. Had success getting to 50 mg diazepam + 0.5 mg clonazepam (equivalent to 60 mg diazepam).

 

Age 22 - Busy year. Always looking for the SSRI or other drug that would solve my problems (rather than looking inward). Includes Lexapro 30 mg, Prozac 20 mg (I found Prozac much more potent than advertised, but I am a CYP2D6 slow metabolizer, so that may be the explanation).

 

Age 22 - Prozac 20 mg, which I had been on for most of my time on diazepam, increases diazepam's concentrations by roughly 50%, but I did not know this at the time. I switched to Zoloft (?? mg, I suffered a concussion during this period) and experienced huge benzodiazepine withdrawal from the sudden drop in diazepam concentration (sertraline does not interact with diazepam), or so I believe. Ended up in a fight which landed me with a broken face (basically, and ironically this happened in the waiting room for my doctor, I had come because I was desperate and he was not returning my calls). My doctor put me on a form. After I was patched up at the hospital I was transferred to a psychiatric "hospital". ER psychiatrist in the psych hospital was extremely understanding, knew about akathisia from SSRIs and benzos, slow withdrawal of benzos, and removed me from the form. I was offered voluntary admission, which I took with the condition that my benzo dose should not be tampered with. I quickly did research which confirmed my believe that Zoloft can trigger underlying aggression, and that Luvox has "calming" (dulling, you might say, as compared to other SSRIs) effects. It also greatly potentiates diazepam, possibly by over 100%. I switched to Luvox 100 mg in the hospital and was calmed. No akathisia.

 

Age 22 - When I was out of the hospital, the emotionals from being on such a small dose of an SRI were overwhelming, I experienced again "neuroemotions", especially intense sadness. Without even realizing it, I tapered up to 300 mg in very little time. This dose caused akathisia and I decreased it to 200 mg. Still moderate akathisia. - Diazepam taper going nicely, as far as benzo tapers go.

 

Age 23 (my current age) - On Luvox 150 mg I have emotions and akathisia is lessened. When I switch to 200 mg Luvox because of emotions problem (since when are emotions supposed to always be a problem?) I have akathisia, and an creepy dullness to my mind and personality. I have been back and forth since. 150 mg Luvox causes me to be irrational, get in fights with family members and have feelings of being made fun of a lot, like I was in high school again and being bullied (although logic told me it was just the change in dose). I have been switching back and forth between 150 and 200 mg irrationally. In fact, I seem to want to take 200 mg and often find myself at that dose despite my wishes. 175 mg would be a logical choice, but I'm good at making excuses not to be functional, and yet hate not being functional, paradoxically. Looked for shortcuts with other drugs such as risperidone, buspirone, Remeron, and others so I could lower my SSRI dose. None were successful. I seen hyper-reactive to drugs now, even if I adjust the dosage of them to accomodate for the Phase 1 detox inhibition from Luvox.

 

At this time - Running from akathisia. Also my grandfather has been diagnosed with terminal cancer, and I don't know how to feel about that, having been rejected by that side of the family since my parents 5+ year divorce battle. I got into a fight with my dad at the beginning and now we don't talk. I am considering family counseling for me and him but I don't know if it is even worth it because he is definitely narccisistic personality disorder due to abuse in childhood.

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LoveandLight

What you say in the last paragraph is interesting, like you replay past events (especially upsetting ones) and feel them go over them in your mind as if they are happening now? I've had this for years..

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degen12

What you say in the last paragraph is interesting, like you replay past events (especially upsetting ones) and feel them go over them in your mind as if they are happening now? I've had this for years..

 

Sorry, can you quote it? I keep editing it and adding paragraphs. Thanks!

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degen12

What you say in the last paragraph is interesting, like you replay past events (especially upsetting ones) and feel them go over them in your mind as if they are happening now? I've had this for years..

 

I understand which paragraph now. Yes, I have the same thing, mostly incidents that involve neglect, rejection, or bullying.

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LoveandLight

'Have feelings of being made fun of a lot, like I was back in high school again'.

 

 

Running from Akasthisia - do you mean from situations, circumstances? I've moved too meant times to count for about 6 years - sometimes, twice in two weeks from a feeling of just not being comfortable anywhere, unable to settle at all, not sure if this is Akasthisia though.

 

Thank you for sharing your story - you've really been through it! Hope we can all come out of this stronger. It's funny ( or not), you think you have a problem before SSRI, you definitely will after you take them.

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LoveandLight

Wow so all this constant 'replay' of trauma could also be the meds?

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degen12

'Have feelings of being made fun of a lot, like I was back in high school again'.

 

 

Running from Akasthisia - do you mean from situations, circumstances? I've moved too meant times to count for about 6 years - sometimes, twice in two weeks from a feeling of just not being comfortable anywhere, unable to settle at all, not sure if this is Akasthisia though.

 

Thank you for sharing your story - you've really been through it! Hope we can all come out of this stronger. It's funny ( or not), you think you have a problem before SSRI, you definitely will after you take them.

 

Thanks for your reply. For what akathisia feels like for me go to this thread and read post number 10. This link should bring you to that post.

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/7029-blog-my-akathisia-experience/#entry99916

 

Yes I had huge problems before SSRIs. I have notes ranging from difficulties during and after my birth, how I played in the sandbox, etc. to motor control in kindergarten etc. There is a lot more than that but you get the idea. I definitely have some problems and I have some ideas about it but I'll never be able to solve those problems on an SSRI. They simply dull my though process so it is too shallow to access deeper regions of my personality.

 

I am looking forward to life post-SSRI. It gives me hope for actually experiencing a life. I was put on it at such a young age that emotion is still very foreign to me. Don't get me wrong though, I am not narcissistic and I do feel empathy, but SSRIs inevitably put a damper on everything.

 

How does moving help you? Do you give up prior friends/relationships? I have heard of moving as a help for depersonalization.

 

 

 

 

In an aside, it turns out that my writing was fine, true, and as to the point as I can get it without compromising my "story".

 

Also it turns out I forgot to thank my fellow Canadian for their advice and links. Thanks btdt!

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LoveandLight

Yes! I've felt like my personality has been non-existent for a long time!

 

I don't know if moving will help. In the past, I've moved and taken up jobs jobs that deep down, I knew wasn't going to do much for my already fragile, frazzled state but unable to get disability I kept having to try something. But this house sitting job is actually based somewhere that interests me which I think is a step forward - towards things, places that I actually like and I'm under no pressure to work just now.

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LoveandLight

Oh sorry it was on my other thread that I mentioned that I will take up a house sitting job off a few months, in a few months. I'm totally wrecking your thread here sorry! Because of previous traumas and then ssri 'problems' I've never really built up much of a life with friendships/ relationships so that didn't really factor into things.

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LoveandLight

So, what did you mean by 'running' from Akasthisia. Wow, I'm so sorry you've had to go through that for so long.

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degen12

You haven't wrecked my thread at all. The more the merrier, and I hope this forum is here to stay, because I am, I feel safe here and you are welcome to make as many mistakes as you like. I can relate to a lot of things regarding personality structure, since it has been a study of necessity and great personal interest.

 

As far as akathisia is concerned, I am only metaphorically running from it. Taking measures as best I find to ease it.

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degen12

I really need to stop hyper-focusing on this forum and do something nice for myself today. Looks like one of the last nice days for fishing! It was nice talking to you.

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btdt

" The only thing that works for me now is amphetamine, which I do not have. Ritalin merely gives me energy and concentration so that akathisia is not noticed as much. I will be out of Ritalin soon as well. Not sure what I will do then."

 

This is complicated and I hope some others with a better understanding who may have insight come up with some ideas for you.  As with all of us here we are all different and whatever we do will likely have some aspect of trial and error to see what works for you. 

 

I did not have any amphetamines but I did have a time when in tolerance and after quitting E that I used coffee and once even bought some caffeine pills at the drug store as Red eye from Starbucks was not cutting it anymore.  I am sure this is not exactly the same as amphetamine... but would note the norepinephrine in Effexor if you look it up is a form of adrenaline so it makes sense if we are use to the Effexor for me .. I think my body adapted to having the extra energy clarity on E... when it stopped working as well I upped it with coffee... brain fog was what I know this to be now.  I don't see Effexor on your list... however when I was on zoloft it affected me much the same way Effexor did as in having a ton of energy and not being able to think on it after a time. 

 

As far as benzos go I tried one pill once since all this started... I had taken them before off and on... after reaching this state of whatever you want to call it ... I guess wd cause I had quit everything by then... benzos actually went paradox on me and I one pill had me pacing for 3 nights and days.  

 

To get thru this I am not sure... treating symptoms gets us to this point of not being able to live in our bodies.. that I know... that is what got us here.  While I agree some of the symptoms are not conducive to life... I am not sure what to advice as nothing I had access to worked.  I was given countless drugs to try all of them made me worse I am not saying you have reached the same point.  Nobody gave me an amphetamine to try... I  have never taken Ritalin... so there are many things here I cannot comment on.  Some of what your experiencing will be very unpleasant and much of it is common for people on here.. not conducive to life.. is a nice way of putting it.  I am not sure more drugs in the answer... I am not sure there is a drug answer to this particular question.

 

What I tried was not taking any more drugs and yes it was not conducive to life but I seen no other option... I did not know any of the things on this site at the time not sure I would have changed anything if I had known all there is to know... as much of it is hit and miss... my reinstating Effexor did not work... tapering was done too fast but I was having such horrid effects by then.. I don't think I would have made a good taper subject... we will never know as I did not have the information so went cold turkey.  I do think in some cases of tolerance tapering may not be the endall. maybe ...nobody knows. 

 

While I see your situation and get your wanting to treat your symptoms I wonder if it would work or just cause more issues... I don't know I am curious to see what those more experienced with these drugs have to say. 

 

There are a few doctors who specialize in this sort of thing... yes they are busy and none of them seem to live in Canada. I don't know what your circumstances are but I do wonder if an apt with say Dr Breggin would help if it were even possible... I am sure people are pounding down his door. 

 

Sorry if that was not much help I am still a bit under the weather can't seem to shake this bug... will try to keep up with your post and your welcome for the links.  

I can't stress enough the few things that did help me eventually ... deep relaxation.. yep videos on utube .. they seem to reset the body... I just kept trying them over and over till I found one that helped... I also found EFT helpful... I read once that heat on the spine increases norepinephrine and do heat up my spine a lot... daily as I watched my relaxation video on utube... ya picture that... it is peaceful :) the more I used it the better it helped... on days where nothing helped I used distraction... or just laid in bed. 

I wish you peace... will take a better look at this later small bites are what I do these days...peace

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Rhiannon

Wow so all this constant 'replay' of trauma could also be the meds?

 

Check out the thread on "neuro-emotions"

here's a bit about what I call "evil nostalgia"

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/137-neuro-emotion/?p=21389

I don't want to hijack degen's thread though, sorry, just saw this and wanted to drop it in.

 

Degen, have you read Anatomy of an Epidemic yet? If not, I highly recommend it. I recommend it to everyone pretty much, but I really specifically think it would be a good read for you.

 

You said something about if we would think you were whiny or weak-- trust me, most of us here have been through the hell caused by these meds (both on them and trying to get off them) and we know how strong you have to be just to live through it. And it sounds like you've been through a lot.

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