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Post-withdrawal nervous system hypersensitivity or kindling

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rainy

At 2.5 years after a benzo rapid taper (6 weeks) and 1 year off Lexapro, I am extremely sensitive to certain foods (cow's milk), excitotoxins (e.g., aspartame, all forms of MSG), and chemicals in the air (e.g., "off gassing" of carpets, industrial cleaners). Exposure to these causes me severe neurological and other symptoms (blurred/distorted vision, balance problems, other sensory distortions, nausea, muscle rigidity, anxiety). I was on benzos for 6 years (2 withdrawals), and on and off antidepressants for 15 years (many CT withdrawals and one final taper). I also binge drank quite often and pretty much "withdrew" at the end of the weekend for many years.

 

In reading about all of my symptoms, the GABA/glutamate relationship, etc., it definitely seems that I've undergone CNS kindling and changes in my nervous system. My life has been hell since the rapid benzo withdrawal in July 2012. From what I've read, it seems that my multiple chemical sensitivities (MCS) is due to kindling that occurred from the withdrawal and changes in my nervous system operations, which may be permanent.

 

I've read that protracted benzo withdrawal syndrome and AD withdrawal syndrome get better over time. Is that the case when people have kindling and develop MCS? From what I've read about MCS, it gets worse over time, rather than better. So, which is it? 

 

I'm wondering if there is anything that can be done to halt the progression of MCS and to reverse kindling? Most of the info I read about kindling discusses epilepsy and bipolar mania, rather than drug withdrawal. I'm wondering about the use of anticonvulsants to "reset" the nervous system and get them to begin functioning properly again. I've seen some statements in passing, anecdotes really, but nothing detailed, with regard to this. 

 

The more I read, the more scared I get about what's happened and may continue to happen in my brain and nerves. I'm terrified of glutamate toxicity and the potential of developing Alzheimer's, among many other possibilities, including becoming even more chemically sensitive. The information about calcium and ion channels is just overwhelming and I'd love to have someone explain, in layman's terms, what is likely to have happened in my body and what may be the best course of action to regain my health. I have been vehemently against pharmaceuticals (still am, really) ever since this happened. But I'm even more against having unmitigated toxicity creating even more damage. If there's any way to get the nervous system to stop poisoning itself, if that is what is happening every time I walk into a room with plastics/chemicals off gassing, or accidentally ingest cow's milk or MSG. 

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Rhiannon

Hi Rainy--

 

I developed MCS during the years I was on the meds and it got worse during withdrawal. I've had some improvement during my taper. The thing that's helped me the most has been the whole idea of limbic retraining. Have you looked into that? A lot of people are getting significant improvement with that. In fact what really got me started was that the woman who ran the Canary Report website went through the Gupta program and basically her MCS went away.

 

I haven't done it full out but I've used the tools and it's definitely brought me some improvement, especially as long as I keep practicing it. I still have trouble with fragrances and some other volatiles, but it's way less than it used to be.

 

Have you read The Brain That Changes Itself? Good book.

 

I won't go into it more here (mostly because I have to go to work now) but if you Google "limbic retraining MCS" I think you'll find a lot of stuff on that.

 

Good luck to ya!

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chicken

What is MCS?

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rainy

Rhi, thank you for the info. I actually bought the Dynamic Neural Retraining System DVDs, but have not started that. I think it's based on the same premise as the Gupta limbic retraining. I'm glad to hear that it gave you some improvement. I gave my DVDs and books to my mind-body therapist to study, so I'll ask to get them back and actually start the program. I've also read The Brain that Changes Itself -- very good book. I think about neuroplasticity frequently when I hear the words "permanent" with regard to kindling and GABA/Glutamate neuroadaptations. For kindling due to medication and alcohol withdrawal, all the studies make it sound as if the neuroplasticity only works one way - to forever alter GABA/glutamate and NMDA functioning. I keep asking myself, if our systems are plastic enough to change for the worse while taking the meds, why aren't the plastic enough to change back once we stop taking them? Especially, if we spent more years without taking the meds than we did taking them? It seems that the body would "remember" the old way of doing things and be able to adjust back to the pre-med days. I guess there's not currently enough conclusive research to pinpoint everything that's happened/continues to happen in our bodies as a result of withdrawal, and it might differ depending on the exact medication(s) we were on as well as our genetic makeup. 

 

Chicken - MCS is "multiple chemical sensitivities"

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greentrain

I developed a sensitivity to chemicals while on horrid Lexapro. A trip to Home Depot would make me so ill. I don't have it anymore and what I'm going to tell you changed that will sound suspect to you.

 

I was prescribed a constitutional homeopathic remedy by a knowledgable, classically trained homeopath. It took us 6 months to find my match but when we did I not only eliminated a multitude of symptoms but was able to withdraw without terrible hardship. (Post withdrawal syndrome is another story..)Chemical sensitivities appear to be gone. Food sensitivities didn't change and have gotten worse in protracted withdrawal but I have hope that working with my naturopath in clearing out yeast and rebuilding the good bacteria and sealing the lining in my gut will help greatly.

 

Homeopathy has been revelatory in supporting my and my children's health.

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rainy

Thanks, greentrain. Homeopathy does not sound suspect to me at all. I saw a homeopath a few times during the early stages of my benzo withdrawal. Unfortunately, because I had essentially CT'd, I was so symptomatic that I couldn't tolerate anything he gave me at that time and I was too fearful to try anything for long. The ones I remember we tried were aconite, argentum nitricum, and ignitia amara. I've been considering going back to him now that my symptoms have lessened enough that I'm no longer making daily trips to the ER. I'm wondering if homeopathy could help with PSSD too. I didn't have the sensitivities until about 6 months after I withdrew from benzos. They don't seem to have worsened after withdrawing from Lexapro.

 

I believe that a lot of my healing occurred when I went on disability and did the GAPS diet for about 6 months. I got to feeling better and wanted my old life back - started eating whatever I wanted (besides cow's milk, MSG, and aspartame), and now I'm more sensitive and symptomatic again.

 

I guess it's time to go back to the strict diet and try neural retraining.  

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Altostrata

merged similar topics.

 

Avoiding a stimulus for kindling tends to reduce the tendency for the hyper-reaction.

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greentrain

Hi rainy,

I've learned that homeopathy will be most effective when you are confident that your body isn't reflecting symptoms of chemical withdrawal but is back to its constitutional nature. I tried chasing withdrawal symptoms with homeopathy over the summer and it just was useless because my symptoms were changing by the day and what really needed to happen was that my body needed to (and continues to) remodel itself after vast damage from the SSRI. I was also too sensitive to even the most gentle dosing methods and I was 'proving' out remedies that weren't an exact fit. 

 

Be sure you find a really knowledgable, classically trained homeopath that is willing to enter into a partnership with you. It can take time for the homeopath to understand your constitutional nature and do the research to pick a good remedy for you. It may take several remedies tries. You may have multiple layers to work through as well. Homeopaths are using Skype to interview clients more and more now so you don't have to be limited to your geographic area. I am forever grateful to our homeopath as I know this withdrawal would have been even rougher without the work I did with her for 6 months before I began tapering. 

 

Everything can be healed. :)

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nz11

Correct, Nadia, kindling also means a small stimulus setting off a big reaction in a hypersensitive nervous system.

Would this explain why withdrawal symptoms for some may be delayed for say 1-2 years.

Everything appears to be ok but the impaired cns is lying quiet slowly repairing unnoticed and then say an external situational stressor occurs triggering withdrawal symptoms or 'kindling'

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Jenk

Hi all! I was wondering if anyone else has experienced an increased sensitivity to medications and/or side effects from medications since stopping their SSRI. I'm 9 months out from stopping Prozac and have experienced sensitivity or side effects from medications such as Zyrtec and Claritin. I have taken both medications prior to taking the Prozac without and side effects. Now I have marked brain fog and drowsiness as a side effect. I've also noticed that after having a glass of wine or a beer I can feel the effect of it as if I've had 2-3 drinks, get much more lightheaded and woozy. I should also note that I am still having daily dizziness and/or lightheadedness since stopping the Prozac. TIA for the replies.

 

Moderator note: Please also see our discussion about antibiotic drugs:

Cipro, Levquin, Azithrymycin, Z-pack and other antibiotics

Edited by scallywag
added moderator note

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scallywag

Jenk - both Zyrtec and Claritin are antihistamines and have an effect on your CNS (central nervous system). Alcohol acts on your nervous system too. Because your fast taper from Prozac sensitized your CNS, it's not surprising that you respond strongly to neuroactive substances. I don't know if this sensitivity will persist over time, but it would be wise to be cautious about these substances:  for example, start with ½ doses of an antihistamine to see if you get the desired response and fewer side effects.

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Chuck83

I have this symptom, before of SSRIs I tolerated any drug, now any drug  gives me an adverse reaction.

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Jenk

Thanks Scallywag for the reply!

Same for me Chuck83. I've had reactions to protein pump inhibitors, i.e. Prilosec, Protonix(anaphalaxis) and dexilant. I got lightheaded and racing heart on claritin. and Caffeine is way too stimulating now :(

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music321

 

Correct, Nadia, kindling also means a small stimulus setting off a big reaction in a hypersensitive nervous system.

Would this explain why withdrawal symptoms for some may be delayed for say 1-2 years.

Everything appears to be ok but the impaired cns is lying quiet slowly repairing unnoticed and then say an external situational stressor occurs triggering withdrawal symptoms or 'kindling'

 

 

Is it true that PAWS can be delayed by years after stopping SSRI meds?  Similarly, if someone were to go through PAWS and emerge without any problems, would a minor trigger cause the whole process to start over months or years later?

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Christian

I think a kindling is not a delayed WD. It happens quickly and disastrous. I was kindled badly from reinstating. I know someone who was also kindled even though he was still taking the medication.

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Bluebird2009

Can I ask is it normal in a too fast withdrawal to have sensitivity to all medications and supplements? I am reacting to everything and get severe chest and lung pain after taking anything and I am frightened incase it never goes away. I'm worried incase I take an infection and need an antibiotic as my body will reject and my doctors have never heard of it. My doctors don't believe protracted withdrawal exists!

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Weasel

Yes it is normal Bluebird unfortunately. I am a year in and it does get better. I can take certain antibiotics not in the quinolone family. I also can take anesthesia but no opiates. I am still cautious about taking anything. I worry also like you do. It is a challenge to make doctors understand. They look at you like you are crazy. There are some great links in this site about medications people were able to tolerate and has been my guide. Everyone is different though but so far it has worked for me. Bless you dear!

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Cookson

Yes! Antibiotics are a big no no really ramp up my symptoms. I used too take anti histamines year round for my asthma but takeing now makes me very ill. I remember taking one of the older anti histamines 6 months ago too help my sleep and zonk me out which it did but felt out of it the next day, the left side of my body felt numb.

Food sensitivities, the reactions are milder now, I really need too do a process of elimination too rule everything out but the big ones are anything high in omega 3, or vitamin C. Things like cod liver oil, grass fed butter or just too much dairy overstimulates me. Maybe this is a histamine issue? I got into juicing in hopes of it helping my asthma but had too pack that in as it also ramped up symptoms. Sounds ridiculous, but eating more then four oranges or eating things like raw kale really space me out. I get light senseitive, and get a strange numbness/nerve pain? In my stomach.

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Bluebird2009

Thank you Weasel and Cookson, this is truely awful and if I'd known what I was going to go through I think I would have stayed on the Prozac and put up with the suffering Inwas having as this is horrific.

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Bluebird2009

I am really desperate here, I had to take a tablet yesterday for indigestion and was really unwell the whole day. I had nausea that I cldnt eat, retching, severe headache, weakness throughout body and breathing issues aswell as an awful depression that came over me. Is there anyway of correcting this? Will this ever sort itself out?

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Bluebird2009

I'm going to my acupuncturist today and she is going to speak to me about histamine incase this is a problem

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ChessieCat

I suggest you read this before you go:  Acupuncture - Posts #6 & #8 (not detox or stimulation)

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Bluebird2009

I have been having acupuncture for 6weeks now and feel it helps but after my last session I had hwadache and depression so I will speak to her today and tell her no stimulating. Is it good for calming?

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Bluebird2009

Jenk I was in Prozac for 18yrs and I have extreme sensitivity to meds and now foods. It is horrific and Prozac seems to be the only one I hear of causing this. I am 9months out and feel it is getting worse. I'm very angry as I was left on a drug for 18yrs and then taken off rapidly by my doctor and my nervous system went in to shock and I'm still very ill.

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Cherry47

I was on ZOLOFT for 15 years and after about 10 years I started reacting to other medications and supplements, but of course everything was blamed except the a/d. One GP told me that I had only a certain number of enzymes in my liver to help absorb these things and that I had used all mine up, so that it was like overdosing! (Or some such crap)

 

I am two years out from going cold turkey, still very sick and cannot tolerate ANY meds or supplements, not even a low dose of paracetamol, I cannot rub fungal cream or cold sore cream onto my skin, foods finally not too bad.

 

A (very bad swear word) nightmare, that's for sure!

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Bluebird2009

Cherry47, so good to chat to someone that is going through this. I started having reactions about a year before I came of the Prozac and know that it was being on it so long that has caused this. Very difficult trying to get a doctor to listen. Others I know say it settles in time and that when can is out of balance it makes things worse. I'm having food sensitivity aswell, it's all very difficult. Take care

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Elisheba

Hi,

Possible solution to food sensitivities:

For me, 2 years ago I started Paxil and the Paxil triggered hives / urticaria and angeodema over about 80% of my body. They were red hard 3D welts which turned white when scratched. These hives moved from place to place. At the same time I developed severe overnight stomach pain that I originally believed was acid reflux. I was unsuccessfully put on 6 different anihistamines at once ( benedryl children's dye free, hydroxyzine should be non flavored) claritin, singular (made me more depressed), allegra, Zyrtec / Xyzal and a ppi? Type tagament? But the hives, and angeodema continued. My allergist apparently sees this 3-4 x per year with various drugs, usally SSRIs causing hives, angeodema and anaphylaxis. He wanted me off the 20 mg Paxil immediately but a jump from 15mg to 12.5mg caused me to become accutely suicidal. For the first time in my life I made a plan and thought that it was a good idea. So since I couldn't stop for the last 15 months or so I have been tapering off Paxil. Now from 20mg on 0.375mg and still reacting with tears and anxiety to each and every taper.

It turned out that I suddenly have a salisylate sensitivity so severe that only cutting out all high salicylate food and body products even my toothpaste I am able to be hive and antihistamine free,

The diet is Failsafe diet out of Australia.

Read Chamomile tea

http://salicylatesensitivity.com/forum/comments.php?DiscussionID=1406

Try to eliminate everything for about two weeks and then try to desensitize.

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Bluebird2009

Cherry47

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Bluebird2009

I was on ZOLOFT for 15 years and after about 10 years I started reacting to other medications and supplements, but of course everything was blamed except the a/d. One GP told me that I had only a certain number of enzymes in my liver to help absorb these things and that I had used all mine up, so that it was like overdosing! (Or some such crap)

 

I am two years out from going cold turkey, still very sick and cannot tolerate ANY meds or supplements, not even a low dose of paracetamol, I cannot rub fungal cream or cold sore cream onto my skin, foods finally not too bad.

 

A (very bad swear word) nightmare, that's for sure!

. Cherry47 Can I ask what your symptoms are when you take medications or supplements? I start to feel unwell after a few hours I get tightness in throat, feel ill through throughout body, weakness, nausea, sore lungs and awful pain just below rib gage and in liver area and then pain in lower tummy area. Thanks

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lynx2121

Jenk I was in Prozac for 18yrs and I have extreme sensitivity to meds and now foods. It is horrific and Prozac seems to be the only one I hear of causing this. I am 9months out and feel it is getting worse. I'm very angry as I was left on a drug for 18yrs and then taken off rapidly by my doctor and my nervous system went in to shock and I'm still very ill.

I also have extreme sensitivity to both food and meds.  I was on Prozac and Elavil and benzos.  If I eat something it can start symptoms like burning pain down my back and arms or inner trembling. Same for any medications I used to tolerate.

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Bluebird2009

Have you seen any improvement? How long have you been totally off meds?

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Daisies24

Hi everyone. I was just wondering if I could ask, for those who are hypersensitive to medications, herbs, and supplements now, what exactly are your symptoms, and secondly, which drug did you withdraw from?

 

It seems like I am reading a higher correlation of hypersensitivity to supplements, etc. for people who were on Prozac, though I know it can be a problem for any type of antidepressant. I also haven’t seen many people who seem to share my specific symptoms of hypersensitivity such as extreme itching, hives, rashes, head and ear pain and pressure, chest tightness, lung pain, puffy face, etc. I am just wondering if there is anyone else out there with similar symptoms?

 

Thanks for any responses; any information is greatly appreciated!

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LexAnger

I'm sorry you are having all the terrible symptoms!

I have every single one you listed plus tons others. Ever since my system is sensitized by dose changes of Lexapro multiple time, I can't take anything except for fish oil.

 

When did those symptoms start for you?

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Bluebird2009

Does anyone know if these reactions settle with time? I was on Prozac for a long time and have been really unwell with the sensitivity problem.

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mammaP

I am highly sensitive but am getting better. I don't try many things because of reactions in the past. Any mew supplement needs to be tried at a very very low dose to test for reactions. I started curcumin 2 weeks ago and it has made a big difference, I feel much better and niot as sluggish and 'foggy', so hopefully the sensitivities are improving. Itching, hives, chest tightness  and puffy face are not good, maybe you should have some allergy tests done to test for true allergy rather than intolerance. 

 

I think it is common when psychiatric drugs are taken, and haven't noticed that prozac leads to more people having sensitivities. I think when you tell people that you can't take drugs or supplements becaiuse of prozac, there will be others who say they are also the same after taking prozac. It is the same for all the other drugs, people relate to each others experiences. 

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