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Hello everyone!


First of all let me introduce myself. My name is Thomas. My native language is not english (I'm hungarian) so sorry if I misspell stuff....but I'll try my best.  ;)

I decided to write here because it seems that this is the only place where I can get some good advice from experts. I really need it right now. I am quite new on this forum but I rad quite a lot of good info here (and other places too) in the past months. But I am tired and frustrated of just reading and researching and trying to figure out things by myself. It would be immensely helpful if you could hear my specific situation.


So here is my story I hope I can remember the details as much as possible.

My first treatment with these crazy meds started like 2.5 half years ago. Because I was quite depressed I've been prescribed a combination of an SSRI and benzo in relatively low dose for the sake of “prevention” (whatever that meant) First it was Sertaline (I think it was the standard 50 mg dose) with Lorazepam in low dose. I can still remember the first dose of the benzo (I almost passed out on the street). Anyway I took these two for a short time(two or three months) but the side effects were so bad (after my doc raised the Seltraline to 100mg I got the serotonin syndrome) that I got scared and just stopped taking them without asking my doc. It was a very quick taper and as I can remember I became relatively well quite soon. Of course back then I did not have any knowledge about these medications but know I think that that period was too short to really have a long term harm on me.... I think we can say that this period does not really “count” into my preset situation.


Anyway time went on I was quite well for a good time. I mean of course I was still fighting depression to some degree, but now I know for sure that all this was because of problems I had in my life negative thinking, low self-esteem, etc....) and nothing that I had to take medications for.

Anyway after like almost a year because I had a very bad period one of my best friends suggested me to contact that doctor again (huge mistake).


He made another “cocktail” of meds for me. Now an SNRI, a benzo, and a sleeping pill. It was 75mg Effexor XR with 1mg of Rivotril (divided in two doses) and 10mg of Ambien for sleep. Of couse I had some relief...mainly that I could sleep again. So I took this crazy combo for around 6 months. Then another doc made an adjustment to this so the effexor was raised to 150mg, I had to stop the Ambien and take another 1mg of Rivotril instead of Ambien.

So I took this combo for another 6 months. Things were not going well as you could imagine. Then I had to go to another doctor who finally said me that I was over-medicated and instructed me that we should change to less powerful meds, which seemed like a good idea but the way he told me to do it was so inappropriate and wrong that it is still making me more and more angry as a read more about tapering and prolonged withdrawal symptoms.


First he basically said to stop cold turkey the benzo. This was hard but not that crazy. But then he told me to stop the effexor cold turkey (150mg). That was absolutely crazy as I'm sure you know. After two crazy days he told me to start taking 20mg of Lexapro. This turned to be a good move because my withdrawal symptoms eased very quickly. I took lexapro for like a good 1-1.5 moths. But during this time I was experiencing more and more the memory and cognitive problems that were not new but more severe. So really then I started researching on the internet and finding that the long time use of these meds cause this. I became very angry again and decided to stop as soon as possible, so I made a fast taper from Lexapro and I was done. It was very hard but what I did was that I started to use a little bit of Ambien during the day to combat the withdrawal symptoms. I did this for a week maybe. Now I know that this was quite risky but it surprisingly helped me. I am one of those people that when I take even a little of Ambien it makes me super fearless, motivated, happy, agile, funny(even crazy). I think you heard about this.


So this was in August. Since then I am recovering slowly. There were some better days, short periods but mostly I am suffering from most of the symptoms related to the prolonged withdrawal syndrome. I tried and still try some supplements out of desperation. Some of them seem to work. I tried to figure out what to fix and how to help fix (neurotransmitter levels, receptors, etc). Anyway as you can see in my case it is very hard because it seems to me that everything was affected directly (GABA even with two pills)


Okay now about my experiment with supplements. I know the ones generally considered to help, I know how they work. I tried a lot of stuff in different combinations. My main problems of concern was the anxiety, numbness, apathy, low motivation, insomnia, and the cognitive and mental problems.

I tried 5 htp, passionflower, GABA. These did not seem to have any effect.

My thinking is that I maybe with these I can stimulate the production of neurotransmitters. What seems to help the most is L-tryptophan (I take it with 2mg of Melatonin) I take it before sleep and it seems to really help. It takes some time to fall asleep but I this way I can sleep a good 7-8-9 hours sometimes even with almost no wake ups.


Another thing that I take is the “king” omega-3


Because of my extra low motivation I was thinking that maybe that has to do something with my dopamine. So after a research I ended up that I need to try Gingko Biloba, Rhodiola. They also rave about these restoring mental functions such as memory and concentration which I desperately want. I started Gingko a week ago it does not seem to help yet, hopefully will. Then I also took Rhodiola for two days but it was weird (some reports already warned me about this)


A quite new discovery for me is the effectiveness of Valerian Root. It seems to help with the anxiety. I discovered it in an interesting way. The story is that when I was not taking the tryptophan some weeks ago I almost could not sleep at all, and my appetite almost gone entirely. Then out of frustration I started taking a little Ambien again(just 0.25mg) Of course all the amazing effects kicked in which I enjoyed(and did not want to sleep because I was feeling so good) but I knew I did not want to get it for long so after a week I stopped. But I was thinking: why is that ambien affects me so positively?? If only I could find a natural solution that does the same..... So after researching I came to the conclusion that I need to find something that has that effect on the GABA-A receptors as Zolpidem(Ambien) does. The only solution seemed to be benzos but in the gaba-a antagonist list I found two herbs too: kava and valerian. I also read a very good article with illustrations about how valerian binds almost the same way to the gaba-a receptor as benzos do(with only a little difference of which sub receptor they bind to) I was so thrilled!! I went to buy Valerian immediately and even taking 100mg seemed to help me very quickly. Now I take that three times a day.


Yesterday I found some very helpful articles that Alto wrote. It seemed to explain a lot of things that I could not find answers for or I was confused about. But still I became puzzled about some things and even more confused..... so it would be helpful if you could explain some things also concerning my situation. It would be tremendously helpful for me....


The article called "Introduction to psychiatric drug withdrawal syndrome" http://beyondmeds.com/2012/05/17/introwithdrawalsyndrome/ 

This was a very helpful summary for me about what does withdrawal mean and it gave me hope and I wish I have found this sooner.... but still I will post some questions from this one later...


Another article is this http://beyondmeds.co.../gabaglutamate/


Most of the article seems clear and logical to me but there are some concerns and questions about how this applies to my situation


I am thinking that first I need to know If I am doing something wrong in my recovery....so that way I can adjust things....stop doing things, taking things.....so please guys this is why I need your help now!!


My first question is concerning this: (I would be very glad if Alto too could give some advice here ;)


Noradrenergics — buproprion or Wellbutrin; mirtazapine or Remeron; SNRIs such as Cymbalta, Serzone, Effexor; and St. John’s Wort, rhodiola — and stimulate “fight or flight” activation, as will most SSRIs. Drugs and substances that are stimulating should be avoided.”


Actually before I rad this article yesterday I had a St. John Worth tea twice and it seemed to help....a lot actually. But basically you say that I should avoid it along with Rhodiola? But even if it seems to help me positively? What about the other supplements?


My guess is: The first phase of withdrawal, the acute phase, is the initial shock of withdrawal, with the most defined symptoms, such as brain zaps and nausea. The second phase is when the serotononergic receptors are repopulating, with waves of depression and anxiety. The third phase is when glutamatergic disinhibition and autonomic instability take over. Often the autonomic instability causes hypersensitivity to drugs and certain supplements.


Out of control, the glutamatergic system sends signals to the adrenals, which produce the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline.”



I am trying to figure out what phase of withdrawal I am now. I cannot decide if it's the second or the third. It is not clear to me what the third is but maybe I am in that phase. I might not be hypersensitive to supplements but maybe the Ambien experiement shows that I am to psych drugs (when a small dose made me feel extra good maybe even paradoxical) This might be a sign that I am already in the third phase? Is that a good thing in my situation?



So this is about it for now. 

I am immensely thankful for people like you...

Thank You in advance for your help!!



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Please keep in mind, when you're trying to figure out what's happening with neurotransmitters, that we really don't know. Don't take what we say as hard facts. Alto was speculating, and I think that her thinking on the subject may have changed over time. So please take her comments (and mine if you read them) as hypotheses and speculation, not as fact. 


The studies that would answer those questions have not been done and are not being done, to the best of my knowledge. Nobody's doing research into how to help people recover from the ways that these drugs damage neurological functioning, because that would require admitting that the drugs might do bad things to people, and the pharmaceutical companies spend many millions of dollars preventing people from knowing that.


I know that when I first started tapering and learning about these drugs, I used to speculate it was this neurotransmitter or that one, but over time I have come to see that these drugs don't just affect one little thing here or there. Every chemical in the nervous system affects every other one, sooner or later, via complex feedback loops. And the nervous system is really the neuro-endocrine-immunologic-enteric-musculoskeletal system. It's all connected. Western medicine likes to talk about bodies as if they were machines with lots of separate component parts, but evolution didn't actually create us that way. Everything is connected and affects everything else. 


It's not clear to me exactly what meds you took when and which ones you quit and when. Perhaps you could put a summary of your drug history in your signature line, like this:



Welcome to the forum. You will get lots of support here and we may even be able to offer some suggestions that will improve your symptoms.


Edit: Allow me to add that when I say that Alto, me, or anyone else does not know anything for sure, that it's all speculation, that Alto's speculation is probably as well informed as anyone's you'll meet and more right on than most "experts", and I for one always follow her advice. I'm just saying, we are all trying to figure out what's happening, but please don't give our speculations too much weight. We have no hard data to work with.

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Of course I keep in mind all these. But honestly your advice is much more credible and valuable to me than any one of those "doctors" I met in the past. Your experience with so many people going through withdrawals (with a lot of success stories) hopefully helps you to give me good insight into things.....


Right now my main concern is that I don't want to mess up my recovery. It would be helpful to know if something was a mistake....or if are things that I do right then I would need some advice concerning what should I avoid at all costs (supplements, foods,..). Then some opinions on maybe what things are reported helpful, sometimes helpful, etc.....you get the idea.... 


anyway I am hopeful that I can get some good counsel here....


p.s. and hopefully get it soon cause I am very desperate about my situation (I fear I made a lot of mistakes and don't want to repeat them again)


so thanks in advance!!

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As I read success stories here I become more and more desperate about the huge mistake of coming off almost cold turkey......but what gives me some hope is that I was on these meds for relatively short time as compared to others......


Please guys, I need some words of wisdom and maybe hope! 

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Welcome, Thomas.


You seem to be doing pretty well, considering you've gone on and off drugs a few times. You also seem to be a person who probably was sensitive to neuroactive drugs to begin with. Your experiences probably have heightened this sensitivity. You may wish to avoid all such drugs in the future.


I don't believe that you or anyone can mix up a cocktail to correct receptors or neurotransmitters. At this point, all you can do is try one supplement at a time in very small amounts and listen to your body. If it starts to complain in any way, reduce the supplement.


Generally, St. John's Wort can be too stimulating for someone with withdrawal hypersensitivity. But everyone is different, perhaps it will work well for you. It is also an MAO inhibitor (MAOI) and may cause food interactions. Please look this up to avoid problems caused by food.


I was talking about phases in a very general way some number of years ago, so people would understand how withdrawal syndrome can progress. I suspect you are in a post-acute withdrawal phase, but that doesn't mean much other than you need to take care of yourself and be patient while your body heals.


We don't have any specific programs to support healing. Each person has to find his or her own way. The experiences of others might be helpful so we collect them here.

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I think you are right about the phase that I am in.


So as I understand you it would not be a good idea in my situation to reinstate something and then come of that slowly (to maybe "repair" the cold turkeys I did)?

Sure I would not want to take any one of these at all....but I ask it because I rad some people did this.


Okay this might be a bit different question but another thing which I cannot decide what to do now is about other stimulations such as social interactions, and doing activities. I am still very sensitive to these and I avoided almost everything since in the withdrawal stage. I isolated myself as much as I could. I am not sure this is good. Some times it seemed to help to be with people other times not that much. So should I force this?

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Also as I read more about symptoms I realize that some things are caused by the benzo (+sleeping pill) withdrawal. So it makes things a bit more clear but still complicated. Like the thing I talked about that I dread to go among people or even in public most of the time (even going to a shop sometimes). I guess this is agoraphobia. 


Rhi I just rad what that you wrote some things about this and that you know more about benzos than AD s. So should I force to be among people even if I panic like crazy?  Your thoughts would be very helpful.


Also what is also killing me now most of the time is the racing, intrusive thoughts and memories....out of nowhere....what is causing this? Something that might help this?


Actually I was taking Gingko Biloba for like a week thinking that it can help to restore my memory and cognitive problems caused maybe by the benzos but I stopped that too for now.


I stopped some other stimulating things I was taking as you told me alto.

St. John's worth was to weird.

Valerian seemed helpful at the beginning but after not taking it for two days and then taking one again I felt the weird nausea that I felt when took the benzos.


I don't think that I want to stop the L-tryptophan because it seems to be the best so far. I actually think about even taking it during the day. I know it is not recommended because it acts on serotonin but even if it affects me in a good way?

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I found that "forcing" myself to do things only made my state of mind worse. I think I tried to socialize too early on and ended up being awfully nervous and shy, and then later, even though I was better and calmer, I wondered if I had seemed odd or peculiar to others during that time. I still have some fears about that.


20 mg. of Lexapro is twice the standard dose!   I wonder why a doctor would start you out on so much, unless he/she wasn't aware that Lexapro is two to three times as strong per milligram as other antidepressants.  And if your doctor was that ignorant, that's outright shameful. Believe it or not, I think Lexapro isn't nearly as difficult to recover from as some of the other antidepressants, especially Paxil and Effexor. Getting off of Lexapro hasn't been any picnic, but I certainly haven't suffered as much as many people on this forum,especially the ones who were given drug cocktails.


Welcome to the forum, alwayslookup.  You'll find lots of good information and friendly support here.

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Almost everyone goes through that same kind of thing in withdrawal, feeling like it's very stressful to get out around people and to run normal errands and do normal things. You're not alone. There's no single answer for what to do. It seems like most of us find that there are times when it's best for us to push ourselves a bit, and times when it's best for us to not push and to stay in our shells. 


It seems to be a good idea to reduce stress a lot and to reduce stimulation, during healing. But if you live alone and you are alone a lot, that in itself can become a stress, because loneliness and isolation are very stressful (we are social organisms). So you may want to see if you can find a balance. Perhaps there are situations where you can be around people you feel safe with--good, close, comfortable friends, for example, and see if they will come over to your house when it's hard for you to get out, and do something calm, like play a simple card game, or cook a simple meal together, or watch a movie that's not too intense.


So I guess what I am saying is, it's okay to not push yourself, but make sure you're meeting your basic emotional and physical needs. And it's okay to be creative about how you do that.


For many of us, there comes a time when we realize that we are staying indoors out of habit more than necessity, and we find that we actually are ready to get out more, that it is good for us. That point will eventually come for you. When it does, you may find you need to push yourself a bit. I find that making plans with a friend somewhere other than my house works well for me at those times, because I have to leave my house or disappoint my friend.


But you are probably not at that point yet. I would say right now it's okay to protect yourself and limit your activities, as long as you are taking care of yourself in basic ways.

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I think I am starting to find some balance but the thing that is killing me is that I am still hyper-sensitive to stimulations like hearing any type of talk (radio, tv, strangers on the street...) And what really frustrates me is that this is getting worse. So this kind of rules out any out-going to me. Or when I must do it sometimes I just put in my ear canal headphones to block out as much noise as possible (sometimes even listen to my favorite music) But what complicates my situation is that I am still a student at university. Fortunately I don't really have much classes and it is possible to not attend them but I am worried when the exam period comes (like in a month time). I mean looking at my mental and cognitive condition I think would fail most of them. So not sure what is best to do.....I was thinking to maybe postpone a semester or a year until I get better. But I am not sure now how long this withdrawal will take for me....A "wise approximate speculation"  from you guys would be very helpful (though I hope it will not brake my heart further....)


But what I asked and would ask again is that considering the stupid way I come of the pills, would it be a possibility for me to reinstate a little (maybe just ocasional benzo) and after i stabilize come off slow? Or that time already passed for me?

I mean sure if possible i would never take any of these any more but if this would be a good option I might attempt it....because it seems like some if not most of my withdrawal symptoms are getting worse.... It is just too much confusion for me.


Thoughts on this?

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Do what you can to reduce aural stimulation. This will pass after a while, don't worry about it, take care of yourself instead.


Do you have any benzo left?

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Well I have Rivotril left....(and Ambien too). But I can get hold of anything needed, so this is not an issue for me....

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Sometimes people take a tiny crumb of a benzo (such as Rivotril) to get over the rough patches. But try to take it very infrequently and as little as possible in dosage, otherwise you may become physiologically dependent and will have to taper that, too.


Since you've cold-turkeyed drugs, there's a probability your nervous system is hypersensitive to drugs now. Be very, very careful, a drug experiment could backfire badly.

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I think you are right about the phase that I am in.


So as I understand you it would not be a good idea in my situation to reinstate something and then come of that slowly (to maybe "repair" the cold turkeys I did)?

Sure I would not want to take any one of these at all....but I ask it because I rad some people did this.


Okay this might be a bit different question but another thing which I cannot decide what to do now is about other stimulations such as social interactions, and doing activities. I am still very sensitive to these and I avoided almost everything since in the withdrawal stage. I isolated myself as much as I could. I am not sure this is good. Some times it seemed to help to be with people other times not that much. So should I force this?

I have managed to go out to my little shop about every second day for a few hours.  I have told other people in nearby shops that I am not well, I have had a health scare, and it may take months for me to recover, or maybe longer.  People have suddenly become a lot kinder to me.  I am just so glad I no longer have the SSRI arrogance in my personality.  I am grateful that I can go out even if it is only every second day, and achieve maybe one hour of work.

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Okay update time


So since my last post a lot of things happened. Besides that I was spending a lot of quality time with my loving family during the holidays, I also tried to reduce stress as much as possible.


I did not want to try that thing with taking a crumb of a benzo, but I did it with Valerian, which is very close to a benzo anyway. It made me feel worse so that was not an option...

Then by accident I discovered something that seemed promising. I bought a general fruit tea just for the taste, and then after trying it actually it made me feel pretty good (my mood lifted considerably) after checking what did it contain, I found the culprit: Sea Buckthorn. After some research I was amazed by this super fruit and I tried to figure out why did it help me. I came to the conclusion that it might have been that it contains very high amounts of vitamins (C particularly) and also it is very high in omega fatty acids. (It is the only natural source of all the four omegas 3, 6, 7,9 by the way) So I bought a concentrated juice but after a day or so it turned out that it is not that good because it made me feel weird (nausea, etc) I tried it again some days ago with the same outcome....


Anyway after more research I came to the conclusion that I would take regularly only what is reported to help most people here. I was already taking fish oil and magnesium and melatonin. Then I added to the list milk peptides. I also came to the conclusion that boosting BDNF is what I am looking for so I also started to take curcumin and blueberries. (I came to some very interesting conclusions after my research on BDNF I think I will do a comprehensive thread about it when I will be better again)

I also decreased the tryptophan before sleep cause I think it lost it's effect anyway...


So after a good week after these modifications my condition became MUCH better. I was not expecting it. Every part of the withdrawal was significantly better. It did felt amazing and a bit weird and strange at the same time. This was I think because I never felt this good since in withdrawal and I think I actually forgot how it was to feel kind of normal again. I was not sure that this is just one of those windows or another stage in my recovery. So I pushed myself to do things again. I actually managed to study for my first exam and even went to take it with success. This was unimaginable even a week before it. I also went to the cinema with my brother. Sadly this turned out to be a huge mistake. This was just too much for my brain: I could not sleep that night at all. And since then things gradually worsened again. My sleep deteriorated again so now it is takes forever to fall asleep and sometimes I think I am unable at all to go into deep sleep because I have a lot of nightmares and every other day I actually feel worse than the night when I went to bed.


So first question is what do you guys think about that amazing week? Was it just a window? Or something more and I just messed it up? Not sure what a window feels like but actually it did feel much better that some of the better days I had before.... Does this shows that my recovery is on a good track?


The other thing that I am aware now is that I have to concentrate on fixing my sleep as much as possible. I rad all the important topics here. What is very clear to me is that I have high cortisol almost all the time. So now I try to lower that with all means. I am doing all the tricks I can (no computer before bed, etc) but it also seems like my combo of supplements is not working as well as before. I take some 50-100 mg magnesium citrate, milk peptide (lactium), and 1.5 mg of melatonin. Since yesterday I also took 500mg of vitamin C and drank some tea containing Camomile and Lavender. This seemed to help things a bit, I think it lowered my cortisol and got me sleepy but still when I go into bed and actually want to fall asleep my cortisol levels jump up....it is very frustrating....

If things go worse I am desperate to try almost anything like even Seriphos, though only if nothing else helps because I have reservations with any "non-natural" solution. Besides I rad that it possibly rewires the HPA-axis in a bad way....that does not sound very good to me....


Before trying that what should I increase now that will help significantly with the falling asleep part? Melatonin?

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You might increase the 1.5mg melatonin to 2mg, alwayslookup.


Are you able to walk at least a half-hour a day? Regular exercise is also very important for sleep.


Please do start a topic about your BDNF findings.


It may be difficult to pin down exactly why those herbs seemed to help. It could be you got something you needed from them, or it could be a coincidence with a window.

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I am trying to go out and walk every day....should do it more I think.

Anyway I started taking my melatonin sooner and it seems to help me fall asleep faster.


I also added Glycine. I took around 500mg (with 150mg mag citrate) before bed and repeat this combo again when I wake up around 4.am. It has been a week since I do this and it is hard to tell if it helps that much. I would say my body temperature is lower and maybe I sleep a bit deeper as others reported this too. But I still have the wake ups and it is still hard to fall back asleep.


I also tried Taurine one morning (around 200mg). It made me feel pretty weird. Maybe I will try it again before sleep in the future.


It is harder to say what is helping now because in the meantime I've been trough a really bad flu. I am over it but I still feel that weird tiredness and fatigue the flu causes.


In the meantime as I was researching I came across a very interesting thread. http://www.longecity.org/forum/topic/54028-treating-anxiety-safely-effectively/


I don't know if you know that guy but he seems to be very knowledgeable and I think he knows what he is saying. He also said that he says these things out of experience from treating people with withdrawals 

What he says seems very logical to me.


As you know my GABA system and receptors had been messed up too and I have a feeling (of course just speculating) that my GABA receptors are healing at a slower rate. And If he is right that if I use other things which are GABA receptor agonists in withdrawal then I am just prolonging my recovery because these supplements further down-regulate those receptors. They might have some effect in easing anxiety in the short run but in the long run it's not worth it.

One of his conclusions also seems logical to me namely: 





So now I am quite puzzled what to do. He clearly says that some things are safe and effective to take in benzo withdrawal like Magnesium and some other things like theanine and bacopa monnieri. There are other things which I don't think I would try. 

The problem is that he says that Camomile and Lemon balm should also be avoided because they act on the GABA receptors too. So I guess I should stop drinking those teas every day or just use them rarely.


So his philosophy is that if you want some relief from anxiety the only advisable root is through lowering glutamate production (with NMDA antagonists like magnesium), lowering cortisol, or use something that exerts is anxiolytic effect without directly touching the GABA receptors. 

After reading almost every important stuff here on this forum it seems to me that this philosophy is very similar to what you guys say.


But of course what complicates things is that I am also in AD withdrawal so the things that could help me get even more limited. He does not seem to talk there about "if you also took antidepressants" sadly

I am very tempted to try Bacopa Monnieri (mavbe even Theanine) because he says that it may hasten recovery because it can up-regulate GABA receptors. The problem is I read that Bacopa also acts on serotonin in some way which might be problematic for me. Would it be safe? I am very tempted to try it.


Here he talks in detail more specifically about treating benzo withdrawal and things that might help: http://www.longecity.org/forum/topic/53981-protracted-benzo-withdrawal-and-gotu-kola-piracetam-bacopa/page-4


So what do you think? Okay I know he recommends some weird things too like all those nootropics but the things he says seem very logical and clear to me. I know these things are complicated but it would be awesome If I could help my recovery (at least by not prolonging it by taking things that will slow it)


Alto, you also said to someone here concerning a supplement ( sorry I can't remember what thread) that "don't worry about the receptors, if it works it works". Well it is hard to me to accept that.... I DO worry about my receptors and how long this will take....


Thanks ;)

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I have no idea who that person is. Please see http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/forum/29-members-only-benzo-tapering-discussion/for discussions about benzos.


Whatever you try, try one thing at a time and a very little bit first to see how it affects you. It could be 200mg taurine is too much for you.


Even a little sleep improvement with glycine and mag citrate is worth taking them. Healing moves forwards by very small amounts.


Please see our Symptoms and Self-Care forum for discussions of many different supplements and other treatments.

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Yes Thomas, that is how I'm trying to do it.  One shave at at time.  Let it be.  Tiny decrements (never used that word in my life at all).   It is not easy, but doable.  And the rewards unmeasurable  :blink:


Stay easy Thomas, all will be well.  Takes more than this to keep us down :ph34r: We shall not be undone.


Have not read your whole story, but understand from the ghist of it, that it is like us all, bloody terrible.  Oh, hell.


Take it slow but steady, and give no breach.  You will become a success story. 


Will you let me know when I am? :huh:


We are all on your side.  Keep on loooking up, I'm counting on you. ^_^


As always..... steeley (aka the bomber)  

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Wow steeley I did not expect a post like this. :D Thanks a lot !! You have a gift for encouragement. :D (It reminds me of one of my favorite songs of encouragement called "Take Heart" by United which by coincidence I listened to again before you posted here :P )


It was very encouraging and this is exactly what I need now because I just had a terrible night and I am getting more and more confused and frustrated because It seems like even though I try very hard and do tons of research I am still end up confused about supplements etc. I just don't want to mess up my recovery by not being informed well you know...and I already made some mistakes which made things worse. I do not want to repeat those mistakes...


Still I am very thankful that I found this forum and community. It was a God send for me that is sure. I wish I had found it sooner and read the important stuff maybe things would be better now but still nothing is lost now and it is very good to know that I can post here my questions, concerns and progress and others can give very valuable support! ;)

It is good to know that I am not alone in all this and that a lot of people are on my side, even though most of them don't have a clue what I (and we) are going through. 


I know I will be a success story someday, the question is how long this will take. I still lose heart sometimes about falling apart even more....Hopefully things will get better and not worse.


With Love,

Tom ;)

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In response to Alto, I did read most of the topics in that section already several times....I did found a ton of useful info there ;)


But now things are getting confusing because even though I try the supposedly working supplements my sleep seems to get worse.


Since the last time I wrote my sleep started deteriorating even more. 5 days in a row I could not sleep almost at all. And  I am trying to figure out why desperately. Your wisdom and experience is needed again ;)


So it goes like this: I getting the same things before sleep: the 1.5mg melatonin at around 8pm, then some vit C, then before an hour of getting into bed: the Glycine and then the Magnesium. I get drowsy (though sometimes just a little). I can fall asleep fairly well. But then I always wake up within an hour at around 1am! I am alert but in a calm manner, I don't have anxiety, I can think clear, actually I feel quite good, even better than during the day. I take some magnesium and glycine again. But it does not seem to work I simply cannot get back to sleep until around 6-7am.


I was trying to figure out why is this happening. I was thinking maybe the problem is that the Glycine is too activating or something (this thing started short after I started taking glycine). So one day I only took a little amount before sleep. I could not even fall asleep!! And I was more hot than usual too. Only at around 5 am. It was a terrible night and day afterwards.


So then I was thinking maybe I should get more melatonin. So I took double as usual 3mg. This seemed to help me fall asleep faster but later the same results with the wakeup etc


So it does seem to me that the Glycine is quite relaxing and helps somewhat my sleep. Yesterday I even tried it even during the day at around 5pm when I came home form getting around in the city. I was desperate because I had seizure type panic attack. It was crazy. I thought I was loosing control on the bus. I took some magnesium but it did not help a thing! So when I came home I took some glycine. It did seem to calm me. It even got me a little drowsy, which I liked.


So then I was thinking maybe I should try rubbing in some magnesium oil before sleep, cause I rad here that is quite powerful that way. So I did make my oil from mag chloride, I did rub in quite a bit before sleep. It  did not seemed to help that much. It calmed the parts of my body where I applied them but it did not seem to calm my brain that much. And the effect wore up quite fast. I did it again after waking up. Still no noticeable effect. Not sure why maybe I should make a more contracted solution, even a cream. 


So what do you think about the Glycine and the wakeups?

Is that looks like a paradoxical reaction? I am not even sure how to identify that reaction... ?


I was also thinking that I need something more powerful, more sedating to help with the wake ups. So after thinking and reading that Sleep problems section again it seemed to me that I am running out of options.

What got my attention was Arginine. It is just the powerful thing that might help me. 


Then maybe NAC would be an options too. Though reading your observations on it it seems to be tricky. Not sure I could use it for the wakeups. But maybe it would be helpful during the day. This is also an issue for me now: to find something that would help me more during the day, especially when I have to go somewhere or do something demanding. I am scared of those panick attacks happening again. I rarely leave home for these long adventures for weeks now because I dread these attacks. Sometimes I feel like I should force things when I feel better but these seem to come quite unexpectedly and it is hard to anticipate when I am able to force myself to go out. This is why I am searching for something that is more powerful for the daytime. Magnesium and fish oil does not seem to help that much...Especially with the hypersensitivity to stimulations. Maybe I should try more magnesium....


So I am more tempted to try Arginine for the sleep issue. It is also cheaper and looks like it will be a good combo with the Glycine. 


So what do you think?


Sorry if I may have too many questions but I do want to be well informed because it is very frustrating to see my condition deteriorate... :(


So HUGE thanks!!! 

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What we find is that sometimes a supplement or herb helps for a few times, then does not seem to help. Then, one would stop using that one, and try another for a few times. And so forth.


See Sleep and amino poop out -- rotate aminos and other topics in the Symptoms and Self-Care forum.


You might find theanine to be helpful during the day, too.


It may take a while for your system to settle down, see The Windows and Waves Pattern of Recovery

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I did try new things.

I did try green tea again to see how theanine affects me. At first it was calming then it became weird sensation (mania etc)


I also tried Arginine. First thing that was very unpleasant was the taste. It tastes so bad that it almost made me throw up. I did not notice it having other affect. It seems that it made my heart arrythmia worse. I think that combined with glycine it lowered my blood pressure and pulse to dangerous levels. I could even feel that sometimes my heart would not even beat- which made me grasp for air for a second. It was very unpleasant. Btw I did notice this issue when I take too much Glycine too, so I had to lower that too.


I did try camomile again with bad results.


I also tried Ginger tea which seemed promising but after some time it makes my feel agitated. 


So I am sticking now to the safe list: Magnesium (citrate and oil),

Fish Oil (I take more now)


Milk Peptide

Glycine (in low dose for sleep and wakeups)

Vitamin C. Actually I came to realize that it is more helpful that I thought. So now I take extended release plus I drink small amounts of dissolved vit C for better absorbtion


The problem is, that these things only help a little. I am thankful that they help a bit but there are times when things went so crazy that I was literally loosing control over my mind etc.... I might need something stronger for these situations.


Of course the problem is it seems that I pretty much run out of things to try.

On the natural supplement side one thing that I am considering is NAC

I did read the thread several times. As you wrote there it's use might be tricky but I have a feeling that it might work for me too.


I posted a question there, but since nobody replied to it yet I will ask it here again:

My problem is that getting hold of NAC is a bit complicated and it is pretty expensive. But I can get hold of L-cysteine much easier. As I rad they seem to be very close (NAC converts to l-cysteine) Will it have the same effect as NAC? 


If even this will not be helpful and my condition will continue to deteriorate (as now) I think the only thing to try will be the low dose Lamictal solution.

I did saw what you said about it and how it helped you. 


My problems with it are: first I am very reluctant to try another psych drug again but if nothing else helps, with wisdom and careful approach, I might try it. 

My biggest concerns with trying lamictal: 


My complicated drug history with the cold turkey quits.

Then there is absolutely no chance of doing this with a knowledgeable doctor who knows about withdrawal and knows how to use lamictal for my situation. So I could only try it at my own risk, monitoring myself and with the information, guidelines and personal experience you provided here.


What do you thing what would be the wisest approach?

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Okay so I did try NAC in slow dose. First 50mg then 100mg a couple of times. 50mg had little if any effect at all. 100mg once seemed to calm me when I took around 7pm but trying again I think it made more restless and agitated. 


Maybe it helped my sleep too because I am sleeping more in the last 2-3 days but the thing which is beyond my understanding is that when I sleep better I feel worse the next day. Not to mention that I am becoming aggressive and totally insane more and more.


I am very desperate. And because it seems that I ran out of natural things to try I think the wisest thing is to go in another direction. But I need your advice so badly....


First option would be the low dose Lamictal. I already said my my concerns with it but I think I have to try it. I hope I can get today the 2mg tablets and cut them up and start with 0.5mg or 1mg and start it as soon as possible. If you have an important warning for me then please share it with me (besides the ones you already written about Lamictal in this thread http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/392-one-theory-of-antidepressant-withdrawal-syndrome )


The other option would be the very low dose benzo solution that you already suggested to me. In my case I would try a very small dose of the z-drug I used (Ambien) because I already tried this trick in acute withdrawal and it helped. Of course if you have another suggestion I am open to it.


The second solution would be a quick fix but I have my concerns with it. Things like the short half life of Ambien, and that is very addictive and makes my behave like I am high. This could backfire. Not sure that I could take it every day. Maybe it could be a solution if I take it rarely only when I have a panic attacks.


The lamictal solution seems safer to me. 


So what do you think??

Please reply soon.


Huge thanks

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Hi there  alwayslookup , I've just read your thread.. . . wow.


I don't have any additional suggestions for things you can take , but am concerned about your previous reaction to Ambien.  In your first post you wrote:

  " I am one of those people that when I take even a little of Ambien it makes me super fearless , motivated , happy , agile , funny , even crazy."  

It sounds like you've had an adverse reaction to it.   I don't agree that this will be a quick fix for you , sorry.


I agree with you that the Lamictal seems a safer option.


Best wishes ,   Fresh

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Hello Fresh


I think you are right about the Ambien solution. It is too dangerous. You know when things get crazy and desperate you are thinking differently about risks.... :(


So yeah I think I will try Lamictal. I am just waiting for Alto's suggestion about it....


Thank You for reading my thread. Not sure what do you mean by "wow". Hopefully besides "crazy story" also something like "wow I think I was also encouraged a bit" etc.   ;)

I was just thinking about this today. It is kind of frustrating that as much as I explain it to my loving family and friends they just do not grasp the seriousness and craziness of my situation. I come to the conclusion that I do not have to be too frustrated about this. One can only grasp this if he or she was through some kind of withdrawal. I was just explaining to one of my best friends today about my current situation. He told me that he knows what a panic attack is because he used to have one....after a while I told him that no that was far from a true "glutamate" style panic attack I have almost every day..... etc etc


So yeah it feels so encouraging when somebody has empathy and knows what I am talking about. I actually have a family member who recovered from something less severe of a withdrawal of benzos and sleeping pills. We had a conversation about sleep issues. It felt so good that finally a family member understands what I am going through....


When (or if) I will be over this I think I will be able to help others with these issues, with my God on my side. I cannot do otherwise. My conscience will not let me be silent. I am even thinking about starting a blog or forum like this on my own language. We'll see.....

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Hi Always. I'm withdrawing from gabapentin, anti-seizure med. Wouldn't recommend starting Lamictal. My two cents worth.

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Just to clarify :  Wow , I'm totally impressed that you've been able to document everything in such an orderly fashion , and are able to articulate yourself so well.

You've had a lot of changes , and clearly have an understanding of the technical issues with all the different supplements you've tried.

I can see you helping others when you get past this , and it is just a matter of time.

Sending blessings ,    Fresh  :)

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Thank you for the compliments. It is really encouraging.


I did try my best to document things as accurately as possible. In the last few months I spent almost all my time researching and reading about withdrawal and supplements and trying a lot of them. 

This is why this forum was and is crucial to me. I gathered most of my understanding from here, reading most of the important topics here. (Alto's notes are a treasure) 


Still it is very frustrating that my condition seems to deteriorate. I am coping harder and harder with all the craziness of the symptoms. I am also having more and more seizures and panic attacks, sometimes feeling that I will not survive the current one or I go totally insane (last one this morning) :(


My life is in danger. I do not have time to just wait and do nothing about it. This is why I am desperate to try a stronger solution like the low dose Lamictal as soon as possible. I hope I can get the 2mg tablets tomorrow and see how it goes. Before trying it I am waiting for Alto's advice....


Hard decisions....   :(

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To Alto


I need urgent advice.

It will take some days till I can get the low dose type of Lamictal. But I am not sure that I can hold on that long. Even when I sleep fairly well like this night and wake up quite rested, after breakfast the panic attack start. And it is absolutely crazy, especially the racing thoughts aspect. It does seem like I am losing control and I am going totally insane.  I need something stronger for these occasions. Hopefully the Lamictal experiment will work. 


But until that I was thinking that I should try a micro dose of Ambien. I  am thinking of making a compound liquid and taking just 0.3-0.5mg. If you have a suggestion for a "safer" benzo please....

I wanted to avoid these so badly but it seems like I have no other choice. These glutamate storms are killing my brain.


So what do you think? Go with the "quicker fix" benzo solution or hold on till I can start the Lamictal experiment??

Maybe another solution?


Thank You.

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(((Always))) so sorry you feel desperate to do something. If you still feel another drug will dig you out of this mess, then by all means take it. Most people on here don't find that adding drugs to get through withdrawal helps at all, but you know what's best for you. I wish you health and peace.

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I've already given you my two cents worth in an earlier post. I don't think you're suffering more than I am, but maybe you are. Maybe there IS a magical bean out there for all this. Maybe we need to let our brains heal without feeding them more drugs. I have never seen Alto advise anybody to take drugs to get through withdrawal. I could be wrong though. Your situation could be "different" than the rest of us.

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I'm sorry, ALU, I truly do not know the answers to those questions. Hang in there.

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alwayslookup ,     I thought you agreed that benzo's are not a solution?     They haven't ever helped before , and will possibly destabilize any gains you've made. :mellow:

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Hi Tom,

I just read through your thread, you have certainly done a lot of research in order to help yourself, I'm sorry you are still feeling unwell.  Unfortunately, recovering from antidepressant withdrawal can take a long time for some people, and what we have found is nothing really helps apart from acceptance, living a healthy lifestyle, and letting time pass.


Of course its your decision if you want to try more drugs, but that's not something we advise.  Please have a look through our topics on other ways to deal with symptoms as you recover:


Non-drug techniques to cope with emotional symptoms


This post contains a comforting, calming video which may help:




Please stay in touch and let us know how you are doing, and what you decide.

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Thanks for the encouragements.


I did have a better day after that desperate last post.

And since today I also have a good day and can think quite clearly I was thinking it is better to gather my observations and write it down now. 

I think I came to some interesting conclusions conclusions.


I was very scared to try the micro dose Ambien again, after all of you advising me against it. Then, I could not get my hands on Lamictal. Which is weird because in the past I could easily get my pills even without prescription. I think this was a divine intervention :P (I did not tell you yet that I am a Christian, which is of tremendous significance to me when it comes to my illness....and well...everything. :) More on this later and hopefully in my success story in the future )


I could go to a pdoc, which I am very reluctant to go again. Though the last one I've been to was against psych drugs and as far as I can remember she knew some things about the bad effects of the drugs and she recommended me some natural things instead.  There is little chance that I could make her to cooperate and basically tell her what to do. Especially if she does not know  enough of about withdrawal. 


I came to the conclusion that there are still solutions. Of course I have my non-drug techniques,(more on time in the future) but I can adjust things when it comes to supplements too.  The plan is to take higher amounts of vitamin C for example. (during my wakeups especially ). I am also trying Inositol, which might help for sleep issues. Not to mention that it is reported to upregulate serotonin receptors (!).

We'll see.


If the cortisol mornings get very bad again I might darken my bathroom and sleep in the bath full of epsom salts! lol


Then here is my newest discovery. After eating some eggs one morning and feeling better later, something came to my mind.

Not long ago I rad the article by Dr. David Healy on withdrawal. I was paying most attention to the section where he talks about treatments that are somewhat helpful. He mentions lamotrigine (Lamictal), dopamine agonists, calcium channel blockers (our good friend magnesium) and choline-esterase inhibitors. I looked up all of them. But the last one got my attention. It may be that acetylcholine needs a bit more attention when it comes to withdrawal. I found this info: 






The shorter acting SSRIs, when discontinued or when the dosage is lowered, produce an "anticholinergicrebound," which is an interruption in production of the key neurotransmitter acetylcholine. (Acetylcholine is the neurotransmitter used more when a person is under greater stress.)



Oh and I just realize today that my supplement that I am taking for quite a time which I mistakenly thought to be milk peptide is actually Royal Jelly. It was recommended to me by my last pdoc I just mentioned. She said it is good for energy and general well being. I think I can attest to this. But I found out to be also calming and clearing the brain fog somewhat. Yesterday this became very obvious. Though I might stop taking it during the night now :P


After looking it up it seems to contain a lot of things like proteins, all the B-vits, but interestingly it is the only natural source of acetylcholine. The other food sources contain choline, which is the its precursor.

Some people report that choline was helpful in withdrawal. (And inositol too)

I did also ate spinach today and did felt much better too :P It also contains some choline among other things.

So what do you think about this choline connection? I am forcing it too much too see it?


Hopefully things remain like this or even get better. It was time after an uber-crazy period for me :(



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