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Cold turkey or rapid taper success stories?

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btdt

I am the same as you Stan.  I went on the drug for leg pain it made me crazy fast... then SAR lasted for years. I could not get well sleep or stop pain that was all over my body not just my leg... every time they tried to fix it it seems antidepressants was the answer I got more and more serious psych dx as time went on and many drugs were stopped and started. 

 

I read a sheet of risk factors once for who would get protracted wd and these things were stated to be significant risks.  Going on and off may ADs or other psych drugs... Age the older you were the higher the chance.... high doses long term use or poly drugging. 

 

I can't help but wonder how different and better my life would have been had I missed that one doctors appointment. 

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Jose

I have not read any of the other posts by purplesky. The one on this thread is unfortunate, either because he/she is not aware or because he/she doesn't show much compassion for so many people here who have suffered and are suffering as a consequence of taking and stopping psychiatric medication. If you're lucky, I'm happy for you, but that doesn't change the reality of the struggle of others.

I went on ADs because of a depression. In hindsight I shouldn't have taken them because:

1) They never addresses the underlying cause of my depression, which was fueled by harmful thinking habits, attitudes and feelings that I've learnt later can be dealt with with a lot of courage, patience and love. So I took them as a magic solution and steered my attention away from what the real issues were.

2) After months taking the drug, the depression kept coming back. The ADs initially gave me a rush but over time they merely put me on a different, altered state, which came with a lot of nasty side effects both physical and psychological.

3) The drug turns the problem into a vicious circle. Every time I tried to stop taking the medication I would get worse than before taking it. I thought it was the depression coming back, but depression was not like this. This was much worse. I kept going back to the drugs. Then I learnt about withdrawal problems. One day last year I decided to stop and go through it whatever the pain. And a painful journey began. Withdrawal can cause suffering to extents unimaginable. To understand the basis of this 'unleashing' of suffering it is worth reading Altostrata's post here. However I still consider myself lucky because I am much better than I was a few months ago.

 

Now, having said that, the unfortunate posting by PS got me thinking again about the illusion of recovery and the self-reinforcing suffering that it creates. What is it that we seek when we want to get better? What do we mean by success in our healing? We have to be very scrupulous and precise and honest to ourselves about this. Creating images (illusions) of how we should be as opposed to how we are only fuels angst. The wanting to avoid suffering at all cost only breaks our delicate balance to throw us again back to the pool of anxiety that we're trying to escape. I keep finding myself imagining how I was before my depression and wanting to go back then, or picturing myself as a worry-free, all determined person that I should be, just to disappoint myself again and go back to desperation and anxiety. This is not the way.

 

Of course I cannot get out of anxiety using the anxiety that the craving for improvement creates. This is why many people, when improving, avoid coming to the forum and find so many of us, anxious to get well.

So whatever it is that I am now, I am learning to accept it and love it, along with what I was and what I did before. And whatever I become tomorrow will be a result of this acceptance. Living with suffering is quite a struggle when the very tools that we have for confronting suffering are damaged, as many of us have come to experience. But the vicious circle of fear must be broken to improve. This is why practicing acceptance and compassion is so important, and we need a lot of courage and patience to build them.

 

Believe me I don't mean to underestimate anyone's suffering, but the fact that every time I come to the forum I read so many insightful and well-written comments despite the struggle inside the people writing them is, in itself, a sign of improvement. Fear may not let you see what you're capable of doing, but you're doing it. You're sharing your experience and helping others in ways you may not realize. This is improvement. Creating illusions about improvement is not.

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RSurviving

I actually just finished writing a post about my experience going cold-turkey and about how I'm going to do this the RIGHT way! Maybe it will help. :)

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andy013

I think you guys were a little harsh on purplesky. He/She is only posting about their own personal experience. Just because it is different to our own doesn't mean we need to fight. However, I sort of wonder why someone would reinstate a different SSRI if they had no withdrawal. Surely the only reason for going on a drug again is if you are feeling depressed or negative in some way. In other words it could be withdrawal.

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TKR

Has anyone out there abruptly stopped meds? Lived to tell about it? Not? Seems most people here have wisely tapered. They say the brain repairs? How do you repair CNS? Thanks.

Edited by KarenB
merged topics

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SquirrellyGirl

Oh boy, that's not entirely true about most here tapering, TKR!  We have many members who c/t'd and came here because they were in protracted withdrawal, but it was too far out for them to reinstate.  We absolutely do NOT recommend it as a way to come off these meds and even the drug inserts warn patients to not cold turkey due to the risk of "discontinuation syndrome."

 

When someone comes here after very recently fast tapering off or cold turkey stopping, we strongly encourage them to reinstate and start over with the 10% taper.  I should qualify that by saying that if the stop was within a week or so, we tell them to reinstate to the amount they came off of in the case of a c/t.  If time has passed but they are still within three months, we encourage a reinstatement of a very small amount, to alleviate the worst of withdrawal symptoms.

 

If you come off too fast, that leaves ALL the healing to be done after you come off, and the nervous system is left in complete disarray.  It helps to understand that while on psych meds, the nervous system pushes back against their action like compressing a spring to reach homeostasis, by making oppositional changes such as pruning back receptor numbers, shutting down neurotransmitter production, etc.  Changing the level of one neurotransmitter causes adjustments in others with remodeling going on all around the nervous system in an effort to regain homeostasis. 

 

When you cut off the drug too quickly, you are left with all these changes left un-opposed by the drug, with the result being withdrawal symptoms.  Tweak one NT and it reverberates across all systems including digestion, hormones, heart rhythms, blood pressure, etc.  You get wild swings and that is your wave.  Things may settle during a window, but things are still happening, and more adjusting is still to be done.  I love Rhi's description of healing with the building:  Brain Remodelling (Rhi's Description of Brain Healing)

 

I like this video for a visual analogy:  

 

Sometimes the balls are moving in sync (a window) and sometimes they are not (a wave) and eventually they stop completely, and you are healed!

 

The nervous system will remodel back, though it can be an incredibly long process depending on how long you were on the med, how old you are, how many different drugs you were on, how many changes, stops and starts occurred...all sensitizing the nervous system.

 

It is much better to do the very slow taper and remodel AS you are tapering rather than come off too fast and be left with ALL the remodeling yet to be done.  Much gentler on the system and allows you to live life while coming off.

 

SG

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tntd

I so wish I could have tapered off my med. The CT withdrawal is definitely not fun. It is good to see others that have experienced it and lived to tell the tale. 

 

I felt like I was improving and I could actually see that I was getting better. Then at 3 months I crashed/hit a wall. I did manage to have a window of a couple of days recently but I'm back into another intense wave. I'm only 13 weeks out as of Aug 31st. I have to say it is a little disheartening to see how long others have been dealing with the CT withdrawal and how bad their symptoms still are. On top of that I am going to have to start tapering off my benzo because it appears I'm in tolerance withdrawal. I'm just hoping it doesn't exacerbate the CT symptoms to much. 

 

"The nervous system will remodel back, though it can be an incredibly long process depending on how long you were on the med, how old you are, how many different drugs you were on, how many changes, stops and starts occurred...all sensitizing the nervous system".

 

This is really good information SG. Do we know if the changes, stops, and starts all have to be recent or can they have been from years previous, like a kindling effect?

 

Hugs and healing

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coldturkmama

Hang in there. As a fellow cold turkey from paxil- I can say it sucks but it slowly improves. The worst for me was the first year for sure and slowly but surely things begin to get better. You can and will heal.

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tntd

Thanks for the encouragement Coldturkmama, I really appreciate it. 

 

I'm feeling really bad right now. Tons of anxiety and depression has decided to join the party. Aches and pains and didn't sleep well last night so everything seems worse.

 

I am very frustrated that I had seemed to be getting progressively better and now everything is so much worse. Is this normal in a CT?

 

Hugs and healing

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coldturkmama

Yes, it is very normal....10 steps ahead 25 back it would seem.

I'm currently having a wave and it feels worse than usual...not impressed and hoping it leaves soon.

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tntd

CTM you made me laugh,

 

I'm not impressed with my extra bad wave either. Are you getting longer windows than waves this far out from your CT?

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coldturkmama

I was on the drug 15 yes so I don't expect easy breezy....things have steadily improved...:)

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tntd

Wow, 15 years. It's amazing how long they keep us on these meds and then don't expect us to have any problems coming off of them.

 

I'm glad to hear that you are steadily improving. 

 

It appears I am going to have to add a clonazepam taper to my CT from buproprion. I'm really not happy about it.

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coldturkmama

Yes it really is! Especially considering that my Dr said there is no withdrawal. Ha!

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tntd

I got that same response from the first doctor that tried to take me off of clonazepam. She told me that if I was experiencing withdrawal I would be in the hospital and disregarded all of my symptoms. Ended up talking to an addictionologist who said I was definitely experiencing withdrawal. At the time I had only been on for about 6 months!! Now he is my pdoc!!

 

I'm not sure he believes I'm having withdrawal from the AD either but he is going with me on it so that is good. He said he thought I would probably be better in about six months. That would be nice!!

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coldturkmama

They aren

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coldturkmama

*aren't very experienced with these issues

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dds

Well, we are all different - somebody in human race without any help survived and recovered in times of plague, HIV infection, being bitten by dangerous snake, etc. But majority unfortunately died. Same with cold turkey method with AD, somebody could make that without consequences - but by doing cold turkey method people are experimenting and playing with their own health.*Do not do that*. Cold turkey method was my life disaster which took 13 best years of my life. Just my humble opinion...

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coldturkmama

13 yrs?

 

Are you healed now?

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dds

Yes, but I still take abilify, and that medicine makes me passive, basically unintetested in work, can I call that 'healing' ?

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coldturkmama

Well I'd say it's better than the alternatives. I'm glad you are doing better. :)

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anongrl5590

Hello everyone!

 

I have CT'd from Prozac use since September 2017 (you can see my history in my signature). It's my 3rd month of withdrawals (but 4 months off Prozac completely) and I'm struggling to find hope that there's success in cold turkeying. I know it's not the best thing to do, but I'm honestly afraid to reinstate.

 

I've had waves and windows interchange so far, and I'm hoping the existence of the windows means I'm recovering. But I'm unsure. Can I keep cold turkeying and recover? Are there successes out there from CT?

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anongrl5590

Sorry meant September 2016, not 2017

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sollicitudo

There are tons. Personally I know of my father who CTd prozac after about 6 months without any problems.

 

You haven't been drugged for very long so you should be fine.

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anongrl5590

There are tons. Personally I know of my father who CTd prozac after about 6 months without any problems.

 

You haven't been drugged for very long so you should be fine.

 

 

I really, really hope so. The last 2 months have been hell though and I'm getting hit with major symptoms every other week so far. I am also 26 years old (not sure if age has to do anything with the recovery period) so I am hoping my recovery will be a bit quicker but again, I do not know when I will fully be myself again. 

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coldturkmama

Time, unfortunately is a major factor in CT cases.  I am 3 years out and still experiencing windows/waves....and it is not a good time. It does get better, more tolerable, etc.  I was on the drug 15 yrs tho, so my case is different, I am sure you'll  heal faster. 

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AliG

A Girl - It's so hard to say.  Everyone is different but I have found that on average it seems to be around the three - five  year mark for C/T . Maybe you will be the exception . I hope so. You can keep Cold turkeying and recover but it takes time and patience. Perhaps more than you ever thought that you had.

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anongrl5590

Time, unfortunately is a major factor in CT cases.  I am 3 years out and still experiencing windows/waves....and it is not a good time. It does get better, more tolerable, etc.  I was on the drug 15 yrs tho, so my case is different, I am sure you'll  heal faster.

 

I'm sorry you have experienced all this, even 3 years out. It definitely is hard but have you find yourself improving so far? Are the windows getting longer?

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anongrl5590

A Girl - It's so hard to say.  Everyone is different but I have found that on average it seems to be around the three - five  year mark for C/T . Maybe you will be the exception . I hope so. You can keep Cold turkeying and recover but it takes time and patience. Perhaps more than you ever thought that you had.

Yeah I hope I'll be the exception too but I know everyone's bodies are different. I heard that even for those who have quit just for a month or 2, they still can be in WD for a long time. How have you been holding up so far? Have you improved?

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WhySSRI

All I can do is hold on to dear life day at a time.  It's all I can do.  

But hoping and praying I get a window it's about time.

 

Held on six months and I can't say I haven't thought about reinstating but I won't. 

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excuse

Two of my friends Cold Turkey'd SSRi with out any issues after 3 and 6 months of consumption.

This cold turkey stuff depends upon person to person.

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AliG

 

A Girl - It's so hard to say.  Everyone is different but I have found that on average it seems to be around the three - five  year mark for C/T . Maybe you will be the exception . I hope so. You can keep Cold turkeying and recover but it takes time and patience. Perhaps more than you ever thought that you had.

Yeah I hope I'll be the exception too but I know everyone's bodies are different. I heard that even for those who have quit just for a month or 2, they still can be in WD for a long time. How have you been holding up so far? Have you improved?

 

Yes. I'm miles ahead. Some days are still rough but it's always heading on an upward trajectory and I'm nearly there.

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anongrl5590

Two of my friends Cold Turkey'd SSRi with out any issues after 3 and 6 months of consumption.

This cold turkey stuff depends upon person to person.

Dang I wish I was part of that exception. I am still suffering SEVERELY with so many symptoms going in and out since I CT'd 7 months ago. I have friends who used to take SSRIs before and came off with no issues. One of them did taper properly though I think. The other one did a sloppy taper after she used Prozac for 4 years and did ok with no discomfort. I can't believe I'm in this predicament...

 

 

 

 

A Girl - It's so hard to say.  Everyone is different but I have found that on average it seems to be around the three - five  year mark for C/T . Maybe you will be the exception . I hope so. You can keep Cold turkeying and recover but it takes time and patience. Perhaps more than you ever thought that you had.

Yeah I hope I'll be the exception too but I know everyone's bodies are different. I heard that even for those who have quit just for a month or 2, they still can be in WD for a long time. How have you been holding up so far? Have you improved?

 

Yes. I'm miles ahead. Some days are still rough but it's always heading on an upward trajectory and I'm nearly there.

 

That's so good to hear, Ali! I see you're 3 years off now. What symptoms are you experiencing now? Did you notice any turning points in your recovery and when those happened for you?

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AliG

3 years at the end of this month. So many symptoms have gone  - dizziness, cortisol awakenings, palpitations,insomia but some remain - neuro-emotions, anhedonia, and occasional depression and anxiety.

 

I seemed to go in monthly waves for a while but I noticed a huge improvement at the 2- year mark. Since then I have regressed to a degree but I think that is due to life stressors. 

 

I was on the AD's for many years.

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anongrl5590

3 years at the end of this month. So many symptoms have gone  - dizziness, cortisol awakenings, palpitations,insomia but some remain - neuro-emotions, anhedonia, and occasional depression and anxiety.

 

I seemed to go in monthly waves for a while but I noticed a huge improvement at the 2- year mark. Since then I have regressed to a degree but I think that is due to life stressors. 

 

I was on the AD's for many years.

 

I see. I'm glad to hear you saw a big improvement at 2 years out and that many of your symptoms have gone away. Are you working right now? How did you cope with the symptoms since you quit CT? The only things working for me so far are distractions (by hanging out with friends, doing homework, watching Netflix, walking outside) and sometimes a hot bath. But nothing else like meditation or yoga or even supplements help me. 

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