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Does SSRI withdrawal last longer than the withdrawal from heroin or cocaine?


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Daveguy2015

I don't know if this is the right place to post this but I'm curious to know why does SSRI withdrawal last longer than that from heroine or cocaine?

 

Heroine or cocaine withdrawal can last a few months where as SSRI withdrawal can take years. This just doesn't seem right to me.

Ritalin (forgot the dosages), 95'-00'
Adderall 10mg for ADD, 00'- Jan 10'
Lexapro 10mg, August 10' - March 14'
Lexapro 15mg, March 14' - Sept 14'
Prozac 10mg, Sept 14' - October, 24th 14'
No meds since October 24th, 14'

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In a nutshell - legal drugs are more dangerous than illegal drugs!

July 2013: Started 10 mg Lexapro.

Aug 2013: Doctor put me up to 20 mg Lexapro.

Oct 2013: Tried to taper, doctor told me to take 10 mg per day. Horrible reaction. Reinstated.

Nov 2013: Tried 15mg per day, ok for first week or two but had terrible withdrawal symptoms then. Tried to ride it out for 6 or 7 weeks but couldn't handle it.

Jan 2014: Back to 20 mg for 6 weeks.

Feb 2014: Tried tapering by crushing tablets and putting in gelatin capsules. 18 mg. Very bad reaction once more.

Mar 2014: Tried tapering by shaving 1 mg off 20 mg pill. Fine until about 10 days in, got bad depression. Psychiatrist told me to take 15mg one day and 20 the next. Did that for only few days, horrible reaction. Went back to 20 mg for 4 weeks.

April & May 2014: Tried tapering by taking one 15mg pill and shaving 1.5 mg off 5 mg pill. Lasted only 4 days, very bad reaction. Went back to 20mg pills for a week but ran out so took 15 mg & 5 mg pills for the next 4 weeks.

June 2014: Got prescription for 20 mg Lexapro and have been taking that for 4 days now, gonna try and stabilize for a few weeks and try switch to Prozac.

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MostlyWater

SSRI's cause more changes to happen or the changes that happen are more significant.. that seems to be the only logical answer.

Paxil from 2005 to July 2013. 30mg. 

Very short taper. 

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antidepressantsNoMore

Withdrawals may last longer but what about the psychological effects of drugs on the brain? Yes, I know a/d can cause other psychologically effect but just bare with me for a second and think...

 

I abused pot for 4 years and alcohol for nearly 8 and I'm only 26.

For four years after stopping pot and really cutting back on alcohol to the point where I just drink a few beers, my mind, body and spirit were messed up.

 

I psychologically am recovering from this still. I even experience psychosis on a few occasions associated with major depression and probably the re-wiring of the brain caused by drugs. A lot of people say pot being a psychoactive drug can psychologically mess you up more than alcohol and is more associated with psychosis but I disagree. Alcohol abuse is associated with psychosis as well. Alcohol is a depressant and can fry the GABA receptors. Anxiety runs in my family so I never should have touched either.

 

So the withdrawals of a/d may last longer but the psychologically effects of drugs may last longer. Again, I'm just typing freely, I may not be 100 percent accurate but I know from experience, drugs will screw up your mind BAD!

trintellix 1 mg and rexulti .5mg

 

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Daveguy2015

So do you believe the psychosis you had was caused by the pot and alcohol, or the a/d's?

Ritalin (forgot the dosages), 95'-00'
Adderall 10mg for ADD, 00'- Jan 10'
Lexapro 10mg, August 10' - March 14'
Lexapro 15mg, March 14' - Sept 14'
Prozac 10mg, Sept 14' - October, 24th 14'
No meds since October 24th, 14'

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antidepressantsNoMore

So do you believe the psychosis you had was caused by the pot and alcohol, or the a/d's?

 

Mine was caused by the pot and alcohol abuse because there was a long time when I was not on any a/d.

 

I will never smoke pot again, you couldn't pay me to smoke that crap anymore. As for drinking, I can drink a few beers and just relax in a social setting. I don't overdo it anymore and if I do, my anxiety is horrible the next day.

 

I'm not telling you what to do and I'm not going to preach to you but drugs CAN and many times WILL mess you up to the point of a psychological break. So take care of yourself.

trintellix 1 mg and rexulti .5mg

 

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DaveGuy2015,

 

I feel for you.

I just doesn't see right (or fair).

 

But yet for some of us it is true.

 

Cheers

 

Damien

Off all SSRIs as at November 2016.

 

Been on SSRIs (mainly Lexapro) for around 15 years.

failed attempts to go cold turkey before I got proper info on it.

Over last 2 years I've slowly gone from 20 mg Lexapro to 2.5 mg Lexapro.

on 25th Jan 2015 I've now moved to home made liquid Lexapro.

Plan is to drop roughly 0.2 mg per month over the next 1-2 years.  

25th Jan 2015 2.5 mg Lexapro liquid.

24th Mar 2016 1.0 mg lexapro (crushed tablet mixed and refilled into capsules)

Planned to be at 0.0 mg lexapro by about October 2016. 

I also take 50-100 mg modafinil per day, no short term plans of stopping/tapering modafinil but will re-evaluate after I'm off lexapro. 

 

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I don't know why either Daveguy , but I reckon that ssri's alter the way the brain functions in different ways than heroin , pot or alcohol.

 

Would be good if there was a warning on ssri packaging:   THESE DRUGS ARE TOUGHER TO KICK THAN HEROIN  would make people notice , lol

1987-1997 pertofran , prothiaden , Prozac 1997-2002 Zoloft 2002-2004 effexor 2004-2010 Lexapro 40mg

2010-2012Cymbalta 120mg

Sept. 2012 -decreased 90mg in 6months. Care taken over by Dr Lucire in March 2013 , decreased last 30mg at 2mg per week over 3 months. July 21 , 2013- last dose of Cymbalta

Protracted withdrawal syndrome kicked in badly Jan.2014 Unrelenting akathisia until May 2014. Voluntary hosp. admission. Cocktail of Seroquel, Ativan and mirtazapine and I was well enough to go home after 14 days. Stopped all hosp. meds in next few months.

July 2014 felt v.depressed - couldn't stop crying. Started pristiq 50mg. Felt improvement within days and continued to improve, so stayed on 50mg for 8 months.

Began taper 28 Feb. 2015. Pristiq 50mg down to 45mg. Had one month of w/d symptoms. Started CES therapy in March. No w/d symptoms down to 30mg.

October 2015 , taking 25mg Pristiq. Capsules compounded with slow-release additive.

March 2016 , 21mg

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Because pharmaceutical companies are pieces of sh*t.

**I'm not a doctor and don't give medical advice, merely personal experience
***Off all meds since Nov. 2014. Mentally & emotionally recovered; physically not
-Dual cold turkeys off TCA & Ativan in Oct 2014. Prescribed from 2011-2014

-All meds were Rxed off-label for an autoimmune illness.  It was a MISDIAGNOSIS, but I did not find out until AFTER meds caused damage.  All med tapers/cold turkeys directed by doctors 

-Nortriptyline May 2012 - Dec 2013. Cold turkey off nortrip & cold switched to desipramine

-Desipramine Jan 2014 - Oct. 29, 2014 (rapid taper/cold turkey)

-Lorazepam 1 mg per night during 2011
-Lorazepam 1 mg per month in 2012 (or less)

-Lorazepam on & off, Dec 2013 through Aug 2014. Didn't exceed 3x a week

-Lorazepam again in Oct. 2014 to help get off of desipramine. Last dose lzpam was 1 mg, Nov. 2, 2014. Immediate paradoxical reactions to benzos after stopping TCAs 

-First muscle/dystonia side effects started on nortriptyline, but docs too stupid to figure it out. On desipramine, muscle tremors & rigidity worsened

-Two weeks after I got off all meds, I developed full-blown TD.  Tardive dystonia, dyskinesia, myoclonic jerks ALL over body, ribcage wiggles, facial tics, twitching tongue & fingers, tremors/twitches of arms, legs, cognitive impairment, throat muscles semi-paralyzed & unable to swallow solid food, brain zaps, ears ring, dizzy, everything looks too far away, insomnia, numbness & electric shocks everywhere when I try to fall asleep, jerk awake from sleep with big, gasping breaths, wake with terrors & tremors, severely depressed.  NO HISTORY OF DEPRESSION, EVER. Meds CREATED it.

-Month 7: hair falling out; no vision improvement; still tardive dystonia; facial & tongue tics returned
-Month 8: back to acute, incl. Grand Mal seizure-like episodes. New mental torment, PGAD, worse insomnia
-Month 9: tardive dystonia worse, dyskinesia returned. Unable to breathe well due to dystonia in stomach, chest, throat
-Month 13: Back to acute, brain zaps back, developed eczema & stomach problems. Left leg no longer works right due to dystonia, meaning both legs now damaged
-4 years off: Huge improvements, incl. improved dystonia

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Its completly wanted to make you suffer for years, you also dont get any brainzaps, after taking MDMA, its made to torture people, so they take that useless **** again or comite suicide, or killing other people... they are made to kill you sooner or later, in that time you paying for it...

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Daveguy2015

It's very frustrating that these drugs can mess you up more than heroine or cocaine. Alto do you have any ideas as to why SSRI withdrawals last longer?

Ritalin (forgot the dosages), 95'-00'
Adderall 10mg for ADD, 00'- Jan 10'
Lexapro 10mg, August 10' - March 14'
Lexapro 15mg, March 14' - Sept 14'
Prozac 10mg, Sept 14' - October, 24th 14'
No meds since October 24th, 14'

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I was going to suggest that perhaps it has something to do with the fact that antidepressants are meant to be cumulative in the body, therefore meaning that the damage would be cumulative later on also, as opposed to drugs that make you high whose effects are only meant to last for a brief time. That theory sounds sort of reasonable, but it doesn't explain the long term damage of benzodiazepines.

 

Considering that we don't even know how or why the medications work in the first place, I don't think we have a chance of understanding why they leave people so damaged afterwards. But it is criminal that they are continually manufactured, prescribed, and sold.

**I'm not a doctor and don't give medical advice, merely personal experience
***Off all meds since Nov. 2014. Mentally & emotionally recovered; physically not
-Dual cold turkeys off TCA & Ativan in Oct 2014. Prescribed from 2011-2014

-All meds were Rxed off-label for an autoimmune illness.  It was a MISDIAGNOSIS, but I did not find out until AFTER meds caused damage.  All med tapers/cold turkeys directed by doctors 

-Nortriptyline May 2012 - Dec 2013. Cold turkey off nortrip & cold switched to desipramine

-Desipramine Jan 2014 - Oct. 29, 2014 (rapid taper/cold turkey)

-Lorazepam 1 mg per night during 2011
-Lorazepam 1 mg per month in 2012 (or less)

-Lorazepam on & off, Dec 2013 through Aug 2014. Didn't exceed 3x a week

-Lorazepam again in Oct. 2014 to help get off of desipramine. Last dose lzpam was 1 mg, Nov. 2, 2014. Immediate paradoxical reactions to benzos after stopping TCAs 

-First muscle/dystonia side effects started on nortriptyline, but docs too stupid to figure it out. On desipramine, muscle tremors & rigidity worsened

-Two weeks after I got off all meds, I developed full-blown TD.  Tardive dystonia, dyskinesia, myoclonic jerks ALL over body, ribcage wiggles, facial tics, twitching tongue & fingers, tremors/twitches of arms, legs, cognitive impairment, throat muscles semi-paralyzed & unable to swallow solid food, brain zaps, ears ring, dizzy, everything looks too far away, insomnia, numbness & electric shocks everywhere when I try to fall asleep, jerk awake from sleep with big, gasping breaths, wake with terrors & tremors, severely depressed.  NO HISTORY OF DEPRESSION, EVER. Meds CREATED it.

-Month 7: hair falling out; no vision improvement; still tardive dystonia; facial & tongue tics returned
-Month 8: back to acute, incl. Grand Mal seizure-like episodes. New mental torment, PGAD, worse insomnia
-Month 9: tardive dystonia worse, dyskinesia returned. Unable to breathe well due to dystonia in stomach, chest, throat
-Month 13: Back to acute, brain zaps back, developed eczema & stomach problems. Left leg no longer works right due to dystonia, meaning both legs now damaged
-4 years off: Huge improvements, incl. improved dystonia

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • Administrator

What makes you think it's easy to go off heroin or cocaine?

 

Addiction detox programs have a very high rate of recidivism. It's very common that people go back on the substances.

 

Withdrawal symptoms post-discontinuation are very common as well. That is why heroin addicts are given heroin substitutes such as methadone instead.

 

The prolonged withdrawal syndrome after going off addictive drugs is called Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome, or PAWS.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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MostlyWater

SSRIs change the brain in a way heroine and cocaine do not. SSRIs seem to work by changing how the brain operates in the long term, thats why it takes a month to "work" or take effect.. heroine and cocaine change the brain in the short term. 

Paxil from 2005 to July 2013. 30mg. 

Very short taper. 

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antidepressantsNoMore

All these drugs are bad, both illegal and prescription drugs.

trintellix 1 mg and rexulti .5mg

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

All drugs are bad yes. But I've been sober 18 years! I detoxed, opiates, cocaine, pot, alcohol, etc back then. I have helped detox people on heroin, etc. There is NO comparison to this Ssri and benzo garbage, not even close. The suffering and detox from the other drugs leaves you very sick, for a short time in comparison! This process has no limits and no end in sight. We received very poor info when starting these terrible things. This process is like no other!

17 years on Zoloft, 47 years old now

3 years on Ativan for sleep cold turkeyed in 2014

Reinstated after 1 week, cold turkey again 1 month later with phenobarbital. Dp/dr, intrusive thoughts, insomnia, depression, still able to work, exercise heavily, be a parent

After 4 months went to doc, wanted off of Zoloft, didn’t know risks, starting dose 100mg

Rapid taper, got down to 35mg in 6 weeks.  hit real real trouble, akathesia, terror, awake for 6 weeks, hospitalization, put me in 15 temazapam to put me asleep, transfered to some swanky ocean front place in Malibu Ca. Massive polydrugged, got sicker and sicker

10mg zyprexa for 5 months, then tapered

1000mg depakote for 8 months, 10 month taper

Still on 15mg temazapam

Start SSRI taper in jan.

current dose 40mg Zoloft 

15mg temazapam 

 

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I'm not exactly sure why they do what they do, but if I had to guess I'd say its more complicated than most realize.  Serotonin affects virtually all bodily functions, and the mechanism of reuptake inhibition apparently causes many downstream effects that are more complicated than the mechanism of action from many street drugs.  Because serotinin is linked to MANY bodily functions (do a search on 5-HT receptors, and serotonin receptors), and MANY central nervous system functions, if something goes wrong metabolically, or even at the protein synthesis level (i.e., at the gene level - yes these drugs affect your DNA basically), you can have some serious long term complications on your hands.  The fact that people take this medication EVERY SINGLE DAY for many years, probably causes much more profound alterations and adaptations in the brain than someone who does street drugs several times a week at varying doses.

 

One mechanism that is likely is a downregulation of serotinin receptors (this is the main mechanism that "street drugs" utilize resulting in the tolerance that opiate abusers and benzo abusers are familiar with), and its also possible that there is cell death of dendrites that occurs, similar to the effects of ecstacy on the brain.  Serotonin also affects hormone feedback loops, as does norepinephrine, which may explain why some people going through withdrawals have hormone levels that are all out of whack.

 

I've also read that SSRI's actually cause the twisting of the neurons in the brain, affecting their shape, and thus their connectivity patterns.  They may also affect blood cell density in the brain regions, and likely affect the way that the various brain regions connect to one another.  I'm sure that there are published papers on the subject, you just have to do some extensive searching on google scholar. 

 

Overall, these drugs are at the very least just as damaging in the long run as street drugs, but because the doses are much lower and spread out over many years, people just don't realize the damage that is taking place until its too late.  If someone were to smoke, lets say, crack, every single day for 5 years, I'm certain that they would experience similar problems.  The major difference between daily users of street drugs and daily users of ssris is that the street drug users are fully aware of the fact that they are destroying their brain, but don't stop for one reason or another - while the SSRI users are deceived into believing that the drugs are safe and couldn't possibly cause any damage.

 

Pharmaceutical medication is designed to be VERY specific in its effect, while many of the drugs that existed prior to big pharma (i.e., prior to the second half of the 20th century), had much less affinity to a specific mechanism and therefore caused less profound neuronal adaptations.  Basically, we're trying to play God by synthesizing such specific drugs, and creating chemicals that don't naturally occur on Earth, so our ancestors had no way of developing a defense mechanism to their effects.  For example, the closest analog to SSRIs that I can think of is something like St. John's Wort, which is just a ridiculously ineffective version of an SSRI, but that's what our brains are basically adapted to handle.  

 

I'm not sure if any of this makes sense, but this is, in my opinion why pharmaceutical medications are as effective at damaging neurons as we have all discovered them to be.

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Oceanrat, you are 18 years older than you were when you went off those other drugs, and probably not as resilient.

 

oskcajga, I agree with you that the synthesized so-called "targeted" drugs are probably very strong compared to "natural" substances such as heroin.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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I've thought about this a lot the past year and have not come to a comprehensive answer as of yet.

What I can say is SSRIs and Benzos change the brain chemistry and your whole body functions in ways Heroine and Cocaine cannot even dream of.

Whether it is crossing the blood/brain barrier or a specific target of certain areas as Altostrata wrote, they are incredibly damaging.

 

The worst part is you don't even know damage is being done all months/years you are on them.

Mid 2006-Early 2013  Celexa 40 MG, Xanax .50, Trazadone 50 MG - No problems with side effects

Very fast-few weeks taper in Early 2013 off all medication.

Crashed summer 2013 Went back on all meds same dosage (different brand of Celexa) Sept 2013. 

 

Sexual Side Effects (which I never had before) begun December 2013.  Off Celexa February 2014.  Xanax remained while Trazadone done in August 2014.

Continue to experience complete PSSD to this day with sadly no signs of improvement yet.

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I have always wondered this myself. I have said many times I would much rather have been addicted to heroin than Paxil. Heroin may have an awful acute WD but that lasts a couple of weeks at the most (I'm sure there are exceptions) and then you seem ok. I assume it's the psychological addiction that causes many to relapse.

 

I was a HEAVY pot user for 15 years and I essentially cold turkeyed and didn't experience any WD symptoms. If I did I didn't notice because I was already in the midst of an awful rough patch due to Paxil, despite the fact that I was tapering very slowly. I never experienced any psychotic episodes as a result and I don't believe I have any lingering issues from it either. Although, I do wonder if it was my use of weed as a teen that caused my anxiety to get worse which then led me to Paxil. I started smoking weed at 16 and then went on Paxil at 18.

a.k.a JMarie

Paxil since Mar.1998

2006-2007:40-20mg
2009: 20mg to 14mg 2010: 14mg to 10.5mg 2011: 10.5 to 7.6mg  2012: 7.5 to 6.8mg

2013: 6.7-6.3mg 2014: 6.2mg-5.8mg 2015: 5.7 to 5.15mg 2016: 5.1-4.6mg

1/19/17: 4.5mg 3/17/17: 4.4mg

6/15/17: 4.35mg 8/10/17: 4.3mg

1/29/18: 4.1mg 5/07/18: 4.0mg

7/31/18: 3.9mg

 

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Addictive drugs are very difficult to quit. It's to the benefit of detox clinics to make it seem they have methods that are effective and don't take very long.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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FatPaxiller

I think that it would vary individually. I am 12 months into a Cold Turkey, after 8 months on Paroxetine, 4/5 months Citalopram prior to that and 4.5 years Prozac prior to that (with a little break). I would say that I have minimal withdrawal

I feel a little more depressed, but in my opinion that's because the root cause was never addressed.

People go through withdrawal for years with SSRI'S and I expect other drugs that can have withdrawal to be the same for some people.

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Altostrata

About Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS) http://www.discoveryplace.info/post-acute-withdrawal-syndrome-paws

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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  • 8 months later...
Post-acute-withdrawal syndrome - Wikipedia, the free ...
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post-acute-withdrawal_syndrome
  •  
Post-acute-withdrawal syndrome (PAWS), or the terms post-withdrawal ... after withdrawal from alcohol, opiates, benzodiazepines, antidepressants and other  ...
Signs and symptoms - ‎Cause - ‎Treatment - ‎See also
Antidepressants Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome
toxicantidepressants.fr/english/.../post-acute-withdrawal-syndrome.html
  •  
  •  

Without saying anything he prescribed me an antidepressant and told me to take a half of ... Unfortunately, the withdrawal symptoms turned out to be too severe.

 

I think it may depend to some extend how long your took a drug there are brain zaps from Ecstacy if you use too much or roll too hard as they call it on Blue Light a illegal drug withdrawal form I found when I first looked up electric zaps in my head.. years ago before I found anything about it on a AD wd site...I found it there first.  Most people don't take MDMA every day but if they do they may get zaps when they stop. Not all heroine users take it every day some dabble... some need it every day and are addicted from the first hit... I have looked all over any place that may give me a clue as to how to get well.  It seems to me from my own research of all sorts of sites that the length of time the drug was used and the dose taken has an effect on the sort of fallout or withdrawal people will have.  

 

There was once an article about this but like many other missing science articles I cannot find it now .. it was posted on both pp and effexor topix 

WARNING THIS WILL BE LONG
Had a car accident in 85
Codeine was the pain med when I was release from hosp continuous use till 89
Given PROZAC by a specialist to help with nerve pain in my leg 89-90 not sure which year
Was not told a thing about it being a psych med thought it was a pain killer no info about psych side effects I went nuts had hallucinations. As I had a head injury and was diagnosed with a concussion in 85 I was sent to a head injury clinic in 1990 five years after the accident. I don't think they knew I had been on prozac I did not think it a big deal and never did finish the bottle of pills. I had tests of course lots of them. Was put into a pain clinic and given amitriptyline which stopped the withdrawal but had many side effects. But I could sleep something I had not done in a very long time the pain lessened. My mother got cancer in 94 they switched my meds to Zoloft to help deal with this pressure as I was her main care giver she died in 96. I stopped zoloft in 96 had withdrawal was put on paxil went nutty quit it ct put on resperidol quit it ct had withdrawal was put on Effexor... 2years later celexa was added 20mg then increased to 40mg huge personality change went wild. Did too fast taper off Celexa 05 as I felt unwell for a long time prior... quit Effexor 150mg ct 07 found ****** 8 months into withdrawal learned some things was banned from there in 08 have kept learning since. there is really not enough room here to put my history but I have a lot of opinions about a lot of things especially any of the drugs mentioned above.
One thing I would like to add here is this tidbit ALL OPIATES INCREASE SEROTONIN it is not a huge jump to being in chronic pain to being put on an ssri/snri and opiates will affect your antidepressants and your thinking.

As I do not update much I will put my quit date Nov. 17 2007 I quit Effexor cold turkey. 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1096-introducing-myself-btdt/

There is a crack in everything ..That's how the light gets in :)

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