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fasttrack1982: Hi Everyone


fasttrack1982

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I am a thirty two year old man struggling with depression and anhedonia.  Since I was 19, I took luvox for OCD.  It made me a little bit manic, hyper competitive, slightly agitated, high sex drive.  I also gained a good amount of weight while taking the drug even though I work out 4-5 times per week.  I didn't mind those side  effects because it helped with my OCD.  Because it helped with my OCD, for a few years I was taking two to three times the maxium dose, under the "supervision" of a psychiatrist.  At one time I was taking 900 milligrams per day.  Insane I now know.  At around 30-31, I started having an emotional numbing that outweighed everything.  My manic sides were gone, even my OCD is mostly gone, but I have an apathy to everything.  I am unable to feel happy, excited, desire in any way.  I can't even feel angry.  I could go an entire day without eating and not miss food.  I feel slightly nauseas when I eat (that only started after I stopped taking the medication)It's like there is a hole in my consciousness where all those emotions used to be.  For example, something will make me angry in mind mind, but there is no emotion to match the thought.  Can anyone else relate to this?

 

My rational thinking seems fine and unaffected, but without emotion and happiness its hard to keep going everyday.  The only thing that keeps me going is the idea that somehow I find a way to get better.   The only good thing is that going back on an SSRI is not even an option for me because the symptoms started while I was still on the meds, so there is no  temptation to go back on.  I went off my medication 1/21/14 and I thought things would return to normal, but they haven't.  I know I didn't taper properly (only a couple of months), but shouldn't I start feeling my emotions by now?  Do you think there is still a chance I could get better over time despite 10 months in with very minimal improvement in regaining my emotions?

 

Luvox 300 mg (max recommended dosage) from 2001-2005

-emotions numbed, OCD reduced,

Luvox 600 mg (twice max recommended dosage) from 2005-2013, some manic symptoms, mild emotional blunting, but it did help my OCD

- 2013 started to have severe anhedonia, and no sex drive

2013 September-Decemeber- tapered down to 300mg

2014 one month taper to 0 mg

No psychiatric medications since 2/1/2014; since stopping, no desire (i.e. sex, food), anhedonia, anxiety, depression, numbed emotions including inability to feel anger, excitement, happiness

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Welcome fasttrack1982,

Thank you for posting an introduction, I'm sorry you have been having these continuing side effects since stopping Luvox.  You were on this drug for 14 years, that's a long time.

 

When we stop taking the drug, we have a brain that has designed itself so that it works in the presence of the drug; now it can't work properly without the drug because it's designed itself so that the drug is part of its chemistry and structure. It's like a plant that has grown on a trellis; you can't just yank out the trellis and expect the plant to be okay....read more here:  http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6447-best-of-sa/?p=91582

 

Its good that your OCD symptoms have not come back and that you haven't experienced any additional withdrawal symptoms since stopping.  Usually what we see here after someone comes off medication too fast is an increase of symptoms and much worse than anything experienced before.

 

The even better news is that you will recover, your emotions will come back eventually, but I can't say how long it will take because everyone is different.  Have you seen any improvement at all since stopping?

 

Many of us here are struggling with  Anhedonia, apathy, demotivation .  The link will take you to a discussion about it.

 

My situation is very different from yours, but I go through periods of depression and anhedonia and I know how difficult it is to keep going when life seems to have no meaning or value because nothing gives you any good feelings. But this will improve in time.

 

Many people find  fish oil and magnesium helpful, see King of Supplements: Omega 3 Fatty Acids (Fish Oil) and Magnesium, Nature's Calcium Channel Blocker

 

A healthy diet, regular exercise and pleasant social activity can be beneficial in supporting recovery.  Here is the link to our symptoms and self care section, you may find some useful ideas.  Especially read the topics pinned at the top.

 

You may want to read other introduction threads to learn how other members deal with symptoms as they recover.

 

You can use this thread as your ongoing journal to track progress and communicate with the community, add to it whenever you want.  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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Hi Petu,

 

Thanks so much you for your response.  Yes I did have some symptoms that got worse when I stopped my meds.  I was feeling very anxious and agitated for the first few months after I came off the meds.  I also have no appetite since I came off the meds.  When I was on the meds, I didn't have any issues with appetite. 

The anxiety and agitation that I had in the first 3-6 months has gotten better.  The appetite, and the emotional components that have not really improved.  At first I thought I was suffering from PSSD, but I can function fine I just have no desire for sex or anything, so I don't think its PSSD per se.

 

I still feel mostly numb and not capable of a lot of normal emotions.  I do exercise regularly about 3-4 times per week, and this is the only thing that gives me a slightly positive mood for about a half hour after completing.  Coffee also seems to help my energy level a little bit but does nothing for my mood.  Alcohol doesn't have any positive effect on me and now makes me super hangover and depressed the next day.  It's pretty strange I can drink six beers and not feel "buzzed" but I will be super hungover the next day.  I am trying to say away from alcohol but sometimes I have to go social functions for my job that pretty much require me to drink.

 

I think I am also really disappointed because in my mind I told myself that at the one year mark, (only two months away) I would be mostly better or at least significantly better, but at this point it doesn't look like that will be the case. 

 

Thanks to all who viewed my post.

Luvox 300 mg (max recommended dosage) from 2001-2005

-emotions numbed, OCD reduced,

Luvox 600 mg (twice max recommended dosage) from 2005-2013, some manic symptoms, mild emotional blunting, but it did help my OCD

- 2013 started to have severe anhedonia, and no sex drive

2013 September-Decemeber- tapered down to 300mg

2014 one month taper to 0 mg

No psychiatric medications since 2/1/2014; since stopping, no desire (i.e. sex, food), anhedonia, anxiety, depression, numbed emotions including inability to feel anger, excitement, happiness

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One other question I want to ask; in some ways I feel like my withdrawal symptoms started while I was still on the drug.  Meaning; after taking the meds for so many years, I started becoming depressed and emotionally numb while still on the drugs, like a long delayed side effect of the drug, or the drug not working anymore because my brain adjusted to it.  Do people ever start having what would be common withdrawal symptoms while still taking the SSRI?

Luvox 300 mg (max recommended dosage) from 2001-2005

-emotions numbed, OCD reduced,

Luvox 600 mg (twice max recommended dosage) from 2005-2013, some manic symptoms, mild emotional blunting, but it did help my OCD

- 2013 started to have severe anhedonia, and no sex drive

2013 September-Decemeber- tapered down to 300mg

2014 one month taper to 0 mg

No psychiatric medications since 2/1/2014; since stopping, no desire (i.e. sex, food), anhedonia, anxiety, depression, numbed emotions including inability to feel anger, excitement, happiness

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  • Moderator Emeritus

I can't answer your question because, first, your situation is unique (very high doses, starting at age 19) and second, nobody has done any studies of the effects of these drugs over the long term. However, I can tell you that it's not surprising. People get all kinds of long term outcomes, and emotional numbing is certainly not at all unusual on ADs.

 

Have you read Anatomy of an Epidemic by Robert Whitaker yet? I recommend it highly, particularly in your situation.

 

I'm confident that at your age, off the drugs, your nervous system will eventually rebuild itself. But you have to keep in mind that the brain is not fully developed yet at 19, and even after it does reach its adult state in the mid to late 20s, it continues to change and remodel itself, and yours was deeply pickled in chemicals that warp its normal chemistry and function. So it's going to take some time. You've got to regrow a nervous system. This isn't something your body really knows how to do, since evolution has never had the chance to develop ways to respond to the what these drugs do to us.

 

So hang in there. It may take a few years. You were on them for a long time, during a vulnerable period, and on very high doses.

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

 

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

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Hi Rhi,

 

Thank you for your reply.  I will check out that book by Robert Whitaker.  Isn't it crazy that a psychiatrist allowed me to take 2 to 3 times the max recommended dose?  Never even said, this is something that may not be good in the long term?  I also have to accept my own responsibility that I was the one who wanted to up the dosage because it made me feel better at the time.

 

I think at the moment I am just really disappointed because I was hoping that a year would be enough time for my brain to recover, but it is clearly not.  The one thing that gives me hope of recovery is that from what I have read even most illegal use drug addicts recover from the drug abuse with prolonged abstinence.  Some of those people have been abusing drugs for 20+ years.

 

If there is a light at the end of the tunnel I feel I can endure, if not I'm not sure I can.  So you think its reasonable that within 2 or 3 years I could recover?  Have you seen other people who have only seen a small improvement in their first yet but continued to improve?  I know there is no guarantee but you think that would be a reasonable possibility based on what you've seen? 

 

Thank you.

Luvox 300 mg (max recommended dosage) from 2001-2005

-emotions numbed, OCD reduced,

Luvox 600 mg (twice max recommended dosage) from 2005-2013, some manic symptoms, mild emotional blunting, but it did help my OCD

- 2013 started to have severe anhedonia, and no sex drive

2013 September-Decemeber- tapered down to 300mg

2014 one month taper to 0 mg

No psychiatric medications since 2/1/2014; since stopping, no desire (i.e. sex, food), anhedonia, anxiety, depression, numbed emotions including inability to feel anger, excitement, happiness

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • Administrator

Welcome, fasttrack.

 

Yes, recovery can be very, very gradual over several years. So gradual, a lot of times you don't know it's happening until you look back 6 months!

 

Please see our Symptoms and Self-care forum http://tinyurl.com/3hq949z for suggestions about how to cope with symptoms, including emotional anesthesia.
 

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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I have been on Luvox since 2008.  When I was taking 200 mg I essentially felt like a zombie with no feelings what so ever.  Luvox is a hard drug because it has such a short half life and so many drug interactions.  From all my research it takes a while for the brain to accommodate after stopping the drug.  Luvox is one of the more sedating ssris and this may be why you have had such emotional blunting.  As far as hope that you will ever get better, there is always hope!  I'm not an expert, just a well read fellow sufferer. 

zoloft 2004-08 tapered too fast(2 weeks)
Luvox 5/08 100 mg 07/10 40mg via small reductions, 08/10 39mg, 09/10 38mg, 10/10 37mg, 11/10 36mg,2/11 35mg, 5/11 34mg, 8/11 33mg, 11/11 32mg, 01/12 31mg, 03/12 30mg, 4/12 29mg, 5/12 28 mg, 8/12 27 mg, 11/12 26 mg, 1/13 25 mg, 3/13 24 mg, 4/13 23 mg,6/13 22 mg, 7/13 21 mg, 8/13 20mg, 10/13 19 mg, 11/13 18 mg, 12/13 17 mg, 1/14 16 mg, 3/14 13 mg, 9/14 10.9 mg,  1/15 10 mg, 3/15  9 mg,  5/15 8 mg. 11/15 7.12 mg.  4/16  5 mg, 6/16   4.5 mg,  9/16 4.2 mg, 1/17 3.48 mg, 2/17  3.2 mg,  4/17 2.2 mg, 5/17 2.0 mg, 6/17  1.74 mg, 7/17 1.58 mg, 9/17 1.27 mg, 11/17 1.0 mg,  1/18 0.79 mg

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During my SSRI "fun", I tried Luvox for a day and felt like my brain was completely paralized.  In other words, I felt so sedated I couldn't function.   Went back to previous med as a result.

 

I can't imagine being on this med for months and having to come off it.  My heart goes out to you.

 

CS

Drug cocktail 1995 - 2010
Started taper of Adderall, Wellbutrin XL, Remeron, and Doxepin in 2006
Finished taper on June 10, 2010

Temazepam on a PRN basis approximately twice a month - 2014 to 2016

Beginning in 2017 - Consumption increased to about two times per week

April 2017 - Increased to taking it full time for insomnia

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  • 2 weeks later...

Thank you too mustangwoman, and compsports for you replies.  I had been feeling so depressed because I was approaching the one year mark which will be on 1/21/15, and my progress has been very small.  I had no progress until Yesterday,  I was feeling that I would have to go see a psychiatrist because I couldn't handle it anymore, and I had a window for a few hours where I felt my mood was better.  It is literally the first window that I have had and I am almost one year out.  It was so strange, I almost felt like I was a little bit drunk (i was not drinking or on any drugs) because it was so foreign to just feel more normal for a small window. 

 

I just wanted to say that I am thankful for this window because it has given me hope that my brain may still be in a process of healing and balancing.  I feel this will give me enough encouragement to keep trying without resorting to going back on medication.  I am really committed to trying to get through this without taking meds which I believe will be only a short term "Band-Aid" for me at this point.

 

I will keep updating on my progress every so often. 

Luvox 300 mg (max recommended dosage) from 2001-2005

-emotions numbed, OCD reduced,

Luvox 600 mg (twice max recommended dosage) from 2005-2013, some manic symptoms, mild emotional blunting, but it did help my OCD

- 2013 started to have severe anhedonia, and no sex drive

2013 September-Decemeber- tapered down to 300mg

2014 one month taper to 0 mg

No psychiatric medications since 2/1/2014; since stopping, no desire (i.e. sex, food), anhedonia, anxiety, depression, numbed emotions including inability to feel anger, excitement, happiness

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi fast track

 

A window!! That's great. You now know it's possible. I'm glad this has given you the motivation to avoid the quick fix of medication which, in the end, is not a fix at all.

 

Yes please keep us posted on what's happening for you

 

Dalsaan

Please note - I am not a medical practitioner and I do not give medical advice. I offer an opinion based on my own experiences, reading and discussion with others.On Effexor for 2 months at the start of 2005. Had extreme insomnia as an adverse reaction. Changed to mirtazapine. Have been trying to get off since mid 2008 with numerous failures including CTs and slow (but not slow enough tapers)Have slow tapered at 10 per cent or less for years. I have liquid mirtazapine made at a compounding chemist.

Was on 1.6 ml as at 19 March 2014.

Dropped to 1.5 ml 7 June 2014. Dropped to 1.4 in about September.

Dropped to 1.3 on 20 December 2014. Dropped to 1.2 in mid Jan 2015.

Dropped to 1 ml in late Feb 2015. I think my old medication had run out of puff so I tried 1ml when I got the new stuff and it seems to be going ok. Sleep has been good over the last week (as of 13/3/15).

Dropped to 1/2 ml 14/11/15 Fatigue still there as are memory and cognition problems. Sleep is patchy but liveable compared to what it has been in the past.

 

DRUG FREE - as at 1st May 2017

 

>My intro post is here - http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/2250-dalsaan

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