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HopeNeeded Debilitating Withdrawals (Vision, Disequilibrium, Confusion, etc...)

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HopeNeeded

Hi All -

 

Reading and typing are difficult, so I will try my best to relay what's going on with minimal typos. At the end of January, my psychiatrist used Prozac to begin weening me off of Pristiq (50mg), as the situation calling for meds was better and I was experiencing the haziness and vision problems associated with SSRIs. Over a month, I had discontinued both drugs (last dose of Prozac was 15 days ago). It is now March 10th and all of my symptoms are at their peak, with new ones arising regularly. My worst symptoms at this point are outlined below. I have omitted anxiety from the list because OBVIOUSLY. I am terrified that I am permanently like this. Can anyone else relate to such symptoms or advise on how long they lasted? I will not go back on this poison – but I also cannot go on like this. Any advice and/or support is welcome and appreciated. Good luck to everyone.

Vision Blurriness (Made worse by driving)
Dizziness/‘Spaced Out’/Fogged Feeling
Disequilibrium (feel like a zombie, not ‘myself)
Neck & Upper Back Pain (Particularly the top of my neck; stiffness of entire neck)
Sensation of Brain “Moving” (Sometimes like a shakiness or bobble head type feeling)
Muscle Spasms/Twitches (and general ‘shakiness)
Motion Sickness
Drunk (in a bad way)
Confusion
Trouble Concentrating (hurts my brain to try)
Memory/Recall Issues
Constant Headache (feels like a tension headache)
Temple & Ocular Pressure
Nausea (constant but generally mild)
Occasional Ear Pressure
Hair Loss

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clearday

Hi,

 

Welcome -

 

That all sounds like withdrawal from SSRIs, and most everyone here has had a few or more of the symptoms you listed during withdrawal. 

 

A moderator will be along to discuss your options, whether or not you should reinstate on your med to stabilize your nervous system for now.

 

If you decide to reinstate, then you can do a slow taper over time to get off the drug.

 

How long were you on Pristiq (desvenlafaxine)?

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HopeNeeded

Clearday - I was only on Pristiq for 3-4 months, which I had been placed on following about 5 months on Sertraline (100mg). I feel like I'm dying... At this point, I am ready to feel even a bit better or just finally die (not suicidal per se, but can't bare much more). 

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clearday

Yes, withdrawal can be horrible. I know.

 

But you will get better - you are not going to be permanently like this. Your body will heal from this, but it will take time and patience.

 

So many people have been through this and recovered.

 

It is good that you have only been on these medications for a total of less than one year. (Zoloft 5 mos - Pristiq - 4 mos - Prozac - 2 mos).

 

Many people have been on these drugs 10-20 years and have recovered from the withdrawal.

 

Some people recover in a few months, others take longer.

 

The symptoms often come and go in waves. 

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Addax

I can totally relate to your symptoms. I had those and more last fall and I wished for death also, not suicide either, just death... Anything that would bring relief.

 

I have found that my hair thins during withdrawal. Even now as I'm tapering slowly it starts to fallout more about 5 days after a drop, then levels out. Everyone loses 100 or more strands a day, but stress (physical and emotional) can make it worse... There's lots of stress in withdrawal as you know.

 

You've come to the right place. You'll find support and guidance here to get you through this. A moderator should be along shortly to help, but in the mean time here are a couple of threads you might find helpful to start with: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/603-what-is-withdrawal-syndrome/ And http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/604-important-topics-about-symptoms-including-sleep-problems/

 

You'll get through this. Even though it may not feel like you will get through it you will. And the way you are feeling, the symptoms your experiencing are not permanent... I say that knowing full well that that may be hard for you to believe right now.

 

Welcome!

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HopeNeeded

Thank you to Addax and clearday for your responses. I have not heard from a moderator or any other users. I am extremely concerned about my symptoms and joined this forum desperately hoping for someone who could relate to or validate what I'm going through (specifically). That seems to be something that some others have received... I guess I also want to know if my symptoms are a-typical. Hoping --

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Addax

Here's a link to one of the pages of my thread: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6151-addax-25-years-of-prozac-and-trying-to-quit/page-6

 

If you scroll down to February 11th you'll see I have listed the symptoms I experienced last fall.

 

Your symptoms are typical of withdrawal, no question.

 

Let me get you started a little... It's helpful for the moderators if you could fill out your signatures as instructed here: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/893-please-put-your-withdrawal-history-in-your-signature/

 

If you could also write up a post detailing you medication history with a time line, that would be helpful as well.

 

There are also some supplements that many people have found helpful during withdrawal, myself included. Here are some links discussing those: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/36-king-of-supplements-omega-3-fatty-acids-fish-oil/ And http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1300-magnesium-natures-calcium-channel-blocker/

 

Sometimes it gets busy here, so if a mod hasn't come along, they will soon.

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clearday

 I will not go back on this poison – but I also cannot go on like this. 

 

Agreed, your symptoms are very typical for withdrawal.

 

Since you say you cannot go on like this, a moderator may suggest you go back on a lower dose of your SSRI ("reinstate") to stabilize your nervous system. If you choose to do that, then once you stabilize, then you can do a 10% taper:

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1024-why-taper-by-10-of-my-dosage/

 

Otherwise, your "cold turkey" withdrawal will be tough for awhile until your body stabilizes on its own.

 

Often reinstating works, and sometimes it doesn't.

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Addax

I just realized how quickly you tapered off your medications. A month is far to fast! This site recommends tapperin no more tha 10% of your dose every 5 weeks or so, and doing only one drug taper at a time. No wonder you're feeling so horribly. It takes our brains time to adjust to the decrease in medication which is why a slow very gradual taper is reccomended.

 

You might actually want to consider reinstating a very small amount of prozac. That can often help alleviate the severity of symptoms. Here's info on that: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/7562-about-reinstating-and-stabilizing-to-stop-withdrawal-symptoms/

 

I hope this helps this info helps in the meantime.

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dalsaan

Hi Jaclyn,

 

Welcome to SA

 

What you are experiencing is all a feature of withdrawal. You have tapered very fast. Some people might be able to get away with that others can't. This site is testament to the many that can't

 

It would be great if you could fill out your signature with your full drug history and details of how you crossed over from pristine to Prozac. Did you simply stop pritiq one day and start the Prozac? Also how were you feeling during the time you were on Prozac? Did you have any symptoms then?

 

The link to how to fill out your signature is in a post above

 

I know this is frightening but don't panic. When we ave a good picture of your drug history we can't talk about your options

 

Dalsaan

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Altostrata

Welcome, Jaclyn.

 

How long did you take the Prozac after you were off Pristiq? Did you have any of these symptoms while you were taking Prozac alone?

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HopeNeeded

I made a signature.

 

Thinking and writing are so hard. My brain literally doesn't let me try to think  - it just starts JUMPING in my brain until I can't take it anymore. I can't do this...

 

I hope the signature will allow for some more feedback. Thanks all.

 

xo

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Wildflower0214

I hope it starts getting easier for you soon. :) sorry you are in so much discomfort.

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HopeNeeded

Thanks, wildflower0214. I hope the same.

 

To All -

How do I get responses slash help on here? Terrified and would like to know up front if I (a) don't belong or (B) don't have a story interesting or worthwhile "enough" to address here?

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clearday

It has nothing to do with you. Others on here feel the same way you do, that they don't get enough responses.

 

One way to get more responses is to reach out to other people and post on their threads. 

 

Find someone's thread who you think you can relate to, ask them questions, make comments.

 

They may be able to direct you to someone who can answer some specific questions you have about your symptoms -

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Pugknows

Hi Jaclyn. So sorry you are suffering. Many of us are in huge waves right now. Clearday gave you good advice about reading other people's threads and posting your support. They will visit your thread and do the same.

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mammaP

Hi Jaclyn, welcome to SA. I'm sorry that you feel you have been neglected, I know the feelings of desperation and not knowing where to turn. You are not being ignored, staff are voluntary and going through their own traumas so it can be a while before a mod responds. Alto and Dalsaan asked some questions and it would help us if you can answer those for us. 

 

Welcome, Jaclyn.

 

How long did you take the Prozac after you were off Pristiq? Did you have any of these symptoms while you were taking Prozac alone?

 

Hi Jaclyn,

Welcome to SA

What you are experiencing is all a feature of withdrawal. You have tapered very fast. Some people might be able to get away with that others can't. This site is testament to the many that can't

It would be great if you could fill out your signature with your full drug history and details of how you crossed over from pristine to Prozac. Did you simply stop pritiq one day and start the Prozac? Also how were you feeling during the time you were on Prozac? Did you have any symptoms then?

The link to how to fill out your signature is in a post above

I know this is frightening but don't panic. When we ave a good picture of your drug history we can talk about your options

Dalsaan

Thank you for filling out your signature, it is very helpful but we need to know how you felt during the taper. Did you feel better on prozac, or worse?  Sadly it is the kind of taper that doctors usually recommend and far too fast. Why did the doctor switch from zoloft to pristiq? Was that a cold switch or did you cross taper? I'm sorry for all the questions but it helps us to see the bigger picture. Your nervous system has taken quite a battering with all the changes and needs to stabilise.  Please try not to panic, this will pass but takes time.

In the meantime here are some links to topics you might find helpful. 

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/603-what-is-withdrawal-syndrome/

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/82-the-windows-and-waves-pattern-of-recovery/

 

Most people find that fish oil and magnesium help with withdrawal symptoms. 

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/36-king-of-supplements-omega-3-fatty-acids-fish-oil/

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1300-magnesium-natures-calcium-channel-blocker/

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Freedom15

Hi Jaclyn,

 

I reallly feel for you in the full force of withdrawl. The doctors never worn us of this before taking the drugs its such shame.

There are lots of people on here that have been where you are right now and have made it through so try just hang in there.

It is suggested that if you can try and reinsate a very small amount of the drug this will help your body to stabilise then after few

months you could try tapering slower to come off the medication.

The choice to reinstate or not often seems hard one.

There are lots people here to offer there support and help.

 

Hope manage to get window from it all soon.

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HopeNeeded

Apologies for the questions I missed... Brain function isn't my strong suit, at the moment. Answers to unanswered questions below. Please help :-/

 

*I was on Prozac for about 2-3 weeks after stopping the Pristiq (1 week on both Pristiq and Prozac - which I guess is what is referred to as a "cross taper")

*Symptoms on Pristiq were mostly vision related. I noticed my vision was blurry - not as bad as now - but definitely off, which I had experienced with Sertraline in the past. Additionally, I felt a little numbness and haziness - nothing at all like now, but those were the reasons I wanted to stop Pristiq. The Prozac was added simply as a means to bring me off of the Pristiq.

*Symptoms during my short time on Prozac? Hard to say bc I was coming off of Pristiq... I would just say increased anxiety and muscle weakness on top of the Pristiq side effects (outlined above).

*Doctor switched from Zoloft to Pristiq because he didn't feel the Zoloft was helping my depression. ('Funny' bc it is now clear that all ssris were not helping the depression, but exacerbating it.)

 

Were these answers helpful?

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Fresh

Hi Jaclyn , welcome.  Yes , your answers are very helpful.

 

I'm not going to confuse you more by asking anything , but the moderators can guide you when you give them the information they ask for.

 

Well done on doing your signature - I appreciate how difficult that can be.

 

You are going to get better from this , it's not permanent.    The thing to do now is work out your strategy moving forward.

 

Best wishes ,  Fresh

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HopeNeeded

Thank you for your response, Fresh. I feel bad for being "needy" re responses, I just don't know where else to turn. 

Hoping the added info in response to the questions will help the moderators (and members) understand my situation better, and in turn allow for guidance.

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luv2knit

Hi, Jaclyn. Welcome to SA. Sorry you are feeling so poorly right now, but your symptoms definitely appear to be consistent with withdrawal. I have experienced all of these symptoms as well. I came off 100 mg. of Zoloft much too quickly (6 weeks), taking my last dose at the end of July. I will not try to advise you as to the possibility of reinstatement, since I have had no experience with this, but it sounds like it might be an option for you. I wish you much luck, whatever you decide.

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SelmaLady

Jaclyn,  I see that moderators have responded to your posts here.  Their questions are to get a good picture of what your nervous system has been exposed to, for how long and how you reacted to the drugs you were given.  If you do decide to reinstate, they will need to help you decide which drug to reinstate and then how much of the drug to take.  Most of the time, if you do decide you want to try a reinstate, you will probably be advised to start at a very low dose so as not to further shock your system.  I know you will be better in time as your system stabilizes. 

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Altostrata

Jaclyn, did you have any of these symptoms while you were taking Prozac alone?

 

Do you have any Prozac left?

 

It's very important you read carefully and answer questions from a mod or admin.

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HopeNeeded

Alostrata - Which questions have I not answered? I thought I had answered all thus far. If you see something I haven't, please let me know!

 

In response to your questions... I copy pasted my answer from a post above. Does this answer your question?

"*Symptoms on Pristiq were mostly vision related. I noticed my vision was blurry - not as bad as now - but definitely off, which I had experienced with Sertraline in the past. Additionally, I felt a little numbness and haziness - nothing at all like now, but those were the reasons I wanted to stop Pristiq. The Prozac was added simply as a means to bring me off of the Pristiq.

*Symptoms during my short time on Prozac? Hard to say bc I was coming off of Pristiq... I would just say increased anxiety and muscle weakness on top of the Pristiq side effects (outlined above)."

Additionally, I do have some 20mg Prozac pills left.

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WiggleIt

Hi Jaclyn,

 

Don't get discouraged if you do not have a lot of responses yet as a newcomer. It takes a little to build up a circle of communication on here, but it does happen, I promise.

 

I felt very lonely at first, too, and thought, "Well, HARUMPH, I guess my tragedy just isn't as interesting as everyone else's." Well, I was wrong and that wasn't the case at all. I now have an amazing circle of lovely people who regularly check in with me, and I with them.

 

Also, regarding your symptoms, I have every single thing you listed, plus many more physical doozies that you didn't list. Many more. But the good news is I have seen some improvement. I have a long, long way to go, but I am not as bad as I was 4.5 months ago.

 

You can survive this.

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Fresh

Hi Jaclyn ,   you're being very patient , and I appreciate how hard that is.

 

All the questions from the moderators can help to work out if reinstating might help you.  Try reading the thread called "About Reinstating To

Stop Withdrawal Symptoms"   in Symptoms and Self Care.  

 

I know you said you feel strongly about not putting any more poison in your body , but other than reinstating , your only option is to ride it out.   And things

can get very very rough.  Even if you think your symptoms are at a peak now , they are quite likely to continue to intensify and diversify.

 

Would you consider reinstating?

 

Fresh

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dalsaan

Hi Jaclyn,

 

Fresh is absolutely right, the main strategy we would encourage you to think about is reinstating a low dose of Prozac - say 5mg and then tapering off slowly. Low doses can address withdrawal, limit the chances of an adverse reaction to the drug and leave you with less to taper off.

 

I recommend you read these threads before making your decision

 

What is withdrawal - http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/603-what-is-withdrawal-syndrome/

 

About reinstating - http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/7562-about-reinstating-and-stabilizing-to-stop-withdrawal-symptoms/

 

Tips for tapering off Prozac - http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/759-tips-for-tapering-off-prozac-fluoxetine/

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HopeNeeded

My brain is zapping/shivering out of control right now, but really need to connect with someone who understands. My psychiatrist is adament in his position that this could not be caused by withdrawal. How is this possible?! Additionally, I have spent the past ten days getting blood work, MRI, and today - an EEG. All blood work and MRI are normal, don't have the EEG results yet. The internist handling all of those tests is also skeptical that this could be withdrawal... Instead he told me that it is anxiety and I "need to focus on something else". It took all I had to not hit him. I CAN'T FOCUS. I CAN'T THINK. I AM IN A CONSTANT STATE OF DISCOMFORT/HELL. EVERYTHING I DO (OR EVEN TRY TO DO) HURTS. I could go on but you guys have read my original post, so you know... How could a doctor (renowned doctor, btw) say that? 

 

Dalsaan - I read through the forums that you offered re reinstatement. I'm not opposed at this point, because I am just so debilitated and miserable... one-hundred percent unable to function. My biggest fear is it not working and setting my withdrawal progress back even further. Has anyone had that concern? If so, what did you do?

 

Please tell me this can't last forever. I simply can't live like this...

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clearday

You are going through withdrawal. All your symptoms are typical for protracted WD. Brain zaps are clearly SSRI Withdrawal. Period.

 

There are many psychiatrists who are aware that withdrawal can last for years. But many just don't get it. We certainly get it. 

 

No, it won't go on forever. You will recover eventually. You just have to make a plan. You've already said twice that you "can't live like this".

 

Dalsaan said, "the main strategy we would encourage you to think about is reinstating a low dose of Prozac - say 5mg and then tapering off slowly. Low doses can address withdrawal, limit the chances of an adverse reaction to the drug and leave you with less to taper off."

 

So either you try the reinstatement - which often works, but sometimes doesn't; or you ride out the withdrawal, which will probably last a long time. The symptoms should subside and get more tolerable, and come and go in intensity.

 

Either way, eventually you will get better than you are now.

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Addax

My vote is for reinstatement as well. It's not an overnight fix, so give it some time if you decide to go that route.

 

In 2012 I reinstated after 5 months off and it worked for me. It took a few weeks for me to be sure it was working, but it did. There were a few days in the beginning when I swear I felt worse, but they passed. However, I reinstated too much due to my impatience, so that may be why those few days were a little off.

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Fresh

It worked for me too Jaclyn.    Not reinstating the same ad I was last on , but starting another one.   Please see my thread , post 1.

 

Everyone is scared about trying new drugs - we've all had terrible experiences.   But desperate times call for desperate measures.    On top of that , withdrawal

can make making a decision seem impossible , because we are plagued with doubt , and constantly second-guess ourselves.

 

Please take confidence from the excellent counsel available here.  It really is the most informed place on the planet.

 

At some point , just take the leap of faith.   You can do it.

 

p.s. If you click FOLLOW THIS TOPIC at the top right , you'll receive an email each time someone posts.

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dalsaan

Jaclyn

 

 

Here is a checklist on withdrawal symptoms prepared by Dr Joseph Glenmullen. He wrote a book on antidepressant withdrawal.

 

See if you recognise any of these symptoms in your current experience - http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?app=core&module=attach&section=attach&attach_id=143

 

I feel for you, it's difficult when your mental health professional is adamant about it not being withdrawal. Unfortunately many people are ill informed. I spent thousands going through tests for this and that before I made my own decision that's it was withdrawal and tapered in accordance with information presented here

 

Dalsaan

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WiggleIt

My brain is zapping/shivering out of control right now, but really need to connect with someone who understands. My psychiatrist is adament in his position that this could not be caused by withdrawal. How is this possible?! Additionally, I have spent the past ten days getting blood work, MRI, and today - an EEG. All blood work and MRI are normal, don't have the EEG results yet. The internist handling all of those tests is also skeptical that this could be withdrawal... Instead he told me that it is anxiety and I "need to focus on something else". It took all I had to not hit him. I CAN'T FOCUS. I CAN'T THINK. I AM IN A CONSTANT STATE OF DISCOMFORT/HELL. EVERYTHING I DO (OR EVEN TRY TO DO) HURTS. I could go on but you guys have read my original post, so you know... How could a doctor (renowned doctor, btw) say that? 

 

Dalsaan - I read through the forums that you offered re reinstatement. I'm not opposed at this point, because I am just so debilitated and miserable... one-hundred percent unable to function. My biggest fear is it not working and setting my withdrawal progress back even further. Has anyone had that concern? If so, what did you do?

 

Please tell me this can't last forever. I simply can't live like this...

If your doctor thinks this cannot be caused by withdrawal, it proves that his research is lacking.  He cannot possibly deserve his reputation if his basic knowledge of medications is so profoundly empty.  If he bothered for even a few seconds to do some research, he would see that there is MUCH research about antidepressant withdrawal.

 

Here are names of some psychiatrists throughout the US and UK who do research and write about antidepressant withdrawal:

 

David Healy

Heather Ashton

Stuart Shipko

Peter Gotzche

Robert Whitaker

Mark Foster

Christopher H. Warner 

 

Here is a link to a Harvard article about antidepressant withdrawal:

http://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/going-off-antidepressants

 

Here is a link to a military article about antidepressant withdrawal:

http://www.aafp.org/afp/2006/0801/p449.html

 

If your doctor does a basic search of PubMed (the NIH government website), he would see that this is a thing.  Also, if he bothered to do some back-dated research, he would see that "tardive" effects is how these phenomena were described in the past.  The phrases "discontinuation syndrome" and "withdrawal syndrome" are possibly fairly new (1990s), but the after-effects are well-documented, regardless of what words have been used to describe them. 

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HopeNeeded

I'm still thinking a lot about reinstating. So nervous and terrified to mess up my CNS even further. If anyone has reinstated within a comparable time period, I'd love to hear your experience - bad or good... Also - I've read a lot of people say their symptoms are worse in the morning... Mine are so much worse in the evening. Is that unusual? 

Thanks, everyone. 

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Fresh

Everybody is different Jaclyn.     There is a specific type of symptom that bring panic on waking , and many of us struggle with that.   If you don't have it

and generally feel at your worst in the evenings , that's nothing to worry about at all.

 

Many people have reinstated within a month or two  (see useless spork , calithebold) on a very small dose.    A Dalsaan suggested , a safe dose to try would be up to 5mg.

If you do have an adverse reaction , because it's only a small dose , the effects are likely to pass quickly.

It takes 4 days to get to a steady state in your bloodstream , but you may have a noticeable improvement within 48 hours.  And after a week you can reassess.

 

It might be a good idea to read a thread on tapering Cymbalta , in the Tapering section.   If you do decide to reinstate , you can figure out now how to get 5mg from

your capsule/tablet.

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