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Smallfarmer: Is this even withdrawal?


smallfarmer

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Hi everyone, thought I would give this site a shot since I have so many questions going through my head as I deal with all of these symptoms. Been off all ssri/snri for two months now. Been on an ssri my whole adolescent and adult life.  I won't go into great detail about all of my symptoms I have now but they are ever changing and a day does not go by where i do not have them. Lately the only time they are gone is when I'm really focused on something with work that involves some sort of physical activity (I'm a farmer). Cognitive anxiety is less of a problem but some days it gets pretty bad (catastrophic thinking, unknown crying spells, depression). 

 

So my big question as I read through posts on this site and other ssri withdrawal sites and posts-- How can all of you be so certain this is a withdrawal? I read posts about people being months, sometimes years off drugs and still complaining. It is really hard for me to believe, and frankly demoralizing, to think people could still be having "withdrawal" for that long. I'm two months out and know that if things continue like this for another month or so I'm going back to trying drugs cause I can't live like this. It makes me wonder if these people need to come to the realization that there symptoms are not because of withdrawal and maybe only medicine is what will improve them. (I'm not saying this is the truth I'm just throwing out what goes through my head half the time. The other half of the time is believing that it is withdrawal and that drugs have screwed me up) 

 

I talk a lot about this topic with my therapist. He reminds me that people who are feeling bad are the ones that will  post on websites, and of those it will only be a few hundred or so. It represents a very minuscule percentage of people who have gone off of antidepressants. I am sorry if I'm offending anyone with this post.I'm only looking for the truth because I want to get better and right now I'm very confused as to which side is right.

Age 15 to 28 paxil (just had anticipatory anxiety during this time) Age 28 paxil stopped working (this began the last 6 years of extreme somatic symptoms, anxiety, and some depression). During last six years have tried lexapro, celexa, zoloft, and effexor. Was on 150 mg effexor for about 2 months, dropped to 75 mg then tapered by half every two weeks. Added 20 mg prozac during the last two weeks as a "bridge" and tapered off prozac for two weeks. As of 1/4/15 off of effexor and off of prozac as of 1/15/15.

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If you have to ask if this is withdrawal, it's probably not. If you think the answers lie in a pill, maybe for you they do. Those of us who want to live life without pills believe we can do just that, but we need to suffer the pain of withdrawal as part of the process. I, personally, don't want to rely on drugs to get me through the day. And, by the way, we sufferers count in the millions, not hundreds. The lucky ones find sites like this. Hope you find the answers you are seeking.

January 2012 - Prescribed 900mg gabapentin and 30mg Norco for lower lumber spinal stenosis pain.

September 2013 - Spinal fusion surgery, 6 levels. Hospital ramped up meds 1500mg gabapentin, 100mg Norco, 80mg Oxycontin, 25mg Fentanyl patch.

January 2014 - Sever nausea daily and with back pain every 4 hours. 2 trips to ER. First endoscopy found ulcer. Treated with Sucralfate and PPI. Second endo in May found no ulcers. Doctors said it was the opiates causing the nausea. CT'd Oxycontin, Fentanyl patch.

July 2014 - Lost 48 lbs. due to not eating because of severe nausea. GP prescribed Prozac 20mg and Ativan 2mg prn. Tried for 4 days, quit. Two week followup GP said keep taking Prozac. 4 days, quit again. Ativan taken rarely prn for anxiety and appetite.

August 2014 - Went to detox. Off opiates. Still nauseous, helmet head, drugged feeling. Doctor CT'd gabapentin. Ended up in ER. Found 2 gallstones. Gabapentin reinstated at 900mg. Tried botched up and down taper to get off Gabapentin. No tapering advice from doctor. Said to just CT again.

September 2014 - Coded on table during gallbladder surgery. Developed liver biloma due to CPR by doctor. Had bile bulb inserted for 2 wks to drain.

October 2014 - Gallbladder removed. Still nauseous, 3am cortisol surging, drugged helmet head, vertigo, breathlessness, whooshing head, heart palps.

November 8th, 2014 - CT'd gabapentin suggested by family and 4 different doctors. Was told no withdrawal is associated with gabapentin. Have been in hell ever since. No windows, just one big tsunami every day with same symptoms for 4 months.

December 26, 2014 - Found SA. At least I know I'm not insane. My family thinks I'm doing this to myself. Akathesia has become unbearable.

March 10, 2015 - In absolute daily hell with no relief. Currently taking magnesium 200mg before bedtime.

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We here know what you are feeling now and what you will be feeling in the future is withdrawal syndrome but your therapist and doctor will have no trouble convincing you that it is your original 'condition' returning and you will need medication for the rest of your life. You were not properly tapered off the medication you have been on for more than half of your life - you have no idea what it feels like to be medication free. You were given your last drug, Prozac, as a bridge but it was not done properly as you were taken off it way too soon. It was just another medication that was thrown at your symptoms to make them go away.

 

It is not easy to get off these medications, especially if you are convinced you still need them. There is no 'truth' or 'right side' to this question. I am still having symptoms of withdrawal at 30 months off because I have no access to positive feelings. The only thing that could have caused this was the artificial manipulation of my neurotransmitters by high doses of psychoactive drugs for 8 years then an abrupt discontinuation of them without giving my body time to adjust. I did not set out to wipe out every good feeling and memory from myself. So I call this withdrawal. I don't however, call it 'needing to go back on medication' but many people do. If I had been convinced that the meds were curing my depression I don't think I would have stayed stopped after I came off them. But that is just me.

 

You might want to do some reading, 'Anatomy of an Epidemic' by Robert Whittaker is a good place to start. Give you a good idea why these medications are really prescribed seeing as how they don't cure anything anyway but can make you pretty dependent on them. We have lots of scientific articles in one of the subforums but I don't think you'd be interested in them at this point.

 

It is going to take quite some time before you begin to feel better, coming off those drugs. Your therapist is right but he sadly does not have the whole story and for that reason you won't find many here that will agree with him. You might want instead to read the stories of the members here and see how they define withdrawal syndrome and see if it is something you want to stay off drugs for. We aren't here to convince anyone, we are just here to offer support to those who want to live a life without these damaging drugs.

 

I wonder if you will come back to see what we have written. There is a lot of good information here but it is not to recommend staying on the drugs. You'll have to work that one out for yourself. If you decide you want to try it, be sure and read every article in our Symptoms and Self Care forum on how to deal with the symptoms as they come up before you decide to turn back to the drugs.

What happened and how I arrived here: http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/4243-cymbaltawithdrawal5600-introduction/#entry50878

 

July 2016 I have decided to leave my story here at SA unfinished. I have left my contact information in my profile for anyone who wishes to talk to me. I have a posting history spanning nearly 4 years and 3000+ posts all over the site.

 

Thank you to all who participated in my recovery. I'll miss talking to you but know that I'll be cheering you on from the sidelines, suffering and rejoicing with you in spirit, as you go on in your journey.

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What is happening here is very very real. It is called protracted withdrawal syndrome, and is documented scientifically. These drugs, for many do more harm than good.

 

http://cepuk.org

These are traditionally trained medical professionals who have come together to prevent this from happening in the future.

 

I'm sure a mod will be along soon.

2005-Zoloft bad reaction.....2006-Lexepro......2012-Upped Lexepro.......2013-Upped Lexepro......2/2014- Attempted Taper Lexepro...2/2014- Updosed Lexepro.......3/2014-Ativan.....5/2014- CT switch from Lexpro to Effexor.....

5/2014-7/2014-Tapered Ativan from 1mg to .25mg.....6/2014-Bad reaction to Effexor........7/2014- Rapid taper Effexor every other day......7/5/2014- Off Effexor.......7/2014-12/2014 - Ativan .25mg.......12/25/2014 -Taper Ativan by 4% due to paradoxical reaction .24mg...11/18/2015-Taper Ativan 1% CURRENTLY ON: .2376mg Ativan taken in 6 .0396mg doses.

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Hey smallfarmer, 

 

for me personally, I am sure it is withdrawal or some kind of adverse drug reaction for the following reasons: 

 

- They are symptoms I have never experienced, even remotely, before taking an antidepressant

- Some of them showed up immediately when I took the anti-depressant

- Some of them showed up immediately after discontinuing the drugs

- They exactly coincide with what other people report

- Pre-antidepressant I would consider myself being half-way stable with enough coping strategies to survive

- I was foolish enough to think that an anti-depressant would help me over a stressful period so I didn't have to invest time for self care.  I got surprised it did the exact opposite. 

 

Not sure if that helps. Don't let your therapist convince you that you're crazy if you don't feel you are. They tried that with me. 

 

Cheers, 

 

L

Feb 2015 Took venlafaxine for 5 days only... experienced withdrawal that made me completely non-functional

Mar 2015 took under 1mg of Sertraline for 10 days in an attempt to combat Venlafaxine withdrawal. Got adverse reactions. 

After stopping Sertraline, withdrawal got much worse. New, horrific symptoms. 

June 2015 Still non-functional but slowly getting better. Still brain zaps, migraines, sweating, heart racing, depression, crying spells

September 2015: 24/7 brain zaps, twitches in the face, no concentration, bad memory, language skills deteriorating. 

 

Profile feed: http://goo.gl/3g2GRn

 

Sign this petition for a blackbox warning on Prozac in Ireland:

https://www.change.org/p/leo-varadakar-hpra-the-lack-of-a-blackbox-warning-on-prozac-in-ireland-and-its-use-by-the-hse-in-under-18-s?recruiter=63289046&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=share_for_starters_page&utm_term=des-lg-no_src-no_msg

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I was prescribed psyche drug for back pain. Never knew what depression or anxiety was until withdrawal. I hope to put the memories of it behind me like a bad dream when I'm recovered. All of us got on these drugs for different reasons, but we're suffering alongside each other together, hoping for happy healthy lives beyond this current situation.

January 2012 - Prescribed 900mg gabapentin and 30mg Norco for lower lumber spinal stenosis pain.

September 2013 - Spinal fusion surgery, 6 levels. Hospital ramped up meds 1500mg gabapentin, 100mg Norco, 80mg Oxycontin, 25mg Fentanyl patch.

January 2014 - Sever nausea daily and with back pain every 4 hours. 2 trips to ER. First endoscopy found ulcer. Treated with Sucralfate and PPI. Second endo in May found no ulcers. Doctors said it was the opiates causing the nausea. CT'd Oxycontin, Fentanyl patch.

July 2014 - Lost 48 lbs. due to not eating because of severe nausea. GP prescribed Prozac 20mg and Ativan 2mg prn. Tried for 4 days, quit. Two week followup GP said keep taking Prozac. 4 days, quit again. Ativan taken rarely prn for anxiety and appetite.

August 2014 - Went to detox. Off opiates. Still nauseous, helmet head, drugged feeling. Doctor CT'd gabapentin. Ended up in ER. Found 2 gallstones. Gabapentin reinstated at 900mg. Tried botched up and down taper to get off Gabapentin. No tapering advice from doctor. Said to just CT again.

September 2014 - Coded on table during gallbladder surgery. Developed liver biloma due to CPR by doctor. Had bile bulb inserted for 2 wks to drain.

October 2014 - Gallbladder removed. Still nauseous, 3am cortisol surging, drugged helmet head, vertigo, breathlessness, whooshing head, heart palps.

November 8th, 2014 - CT'd gabapentin suggested by family and 4 different doctors. Was told no withdrawal is associated with gabapentin. Have been in hell ever since. No windows, just one big tsunami every day with same symptoms for 4 months.

December 26, 2014 - Found SA. At least I know I'm not insane. My family thinks I'm doing this to myself. Akathesia has become unbearable.

March 10, 2015 - In absolute daily hell with no relief. Currently taking magnesium 200mg before bedtime.

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One of the mods would have to suggest this but it would probably be possible to reinstate a small amount of the drug to alleviate WD then come off this even slower (this site recommends 10% drop or less per month). But please wait for someone with more experience to chip in here.

2000 - sertraline for job anxiety low confidence (17 years old) ..which turned the next 16 years into nightmare!

 

On/off sertraline severe withdrawals every time. 2014 - felt better as reduced dose of sertraline no more inner restlessness. Doctor rushed off again. Hit severe withdrawal. Lost the little I had in life. Couldn't get stable again on 12.5mg. Was switched to prozac. Had severe reaction to prozac..came off in November 2015 at 6mg as felt more confused and damaged on it..Even more withdrawal ..rage, depression, dyphoria, near constant suicidal ideation, self harm impulses, doom, concrete block in head, unable to do much of anything with this feeling in head..went back on 6mg of sertraline to see if would alleviate anything. It didn't..reduced from December to June 2016 came off at 2.5mg sertraline as was hospitalised for the severe rage, suicidal impulses, and put on 50mg lofepramine which in 2nd week reduced all symptoms but gave insomnia which still have..psych stopped lofepramine cold turkey..no increased withdrawal symptoms new symptoms from lofepramine except persistant insomnia which has as side effect.

 

Taking Ativan for 8 months for the severe rage self harm impulses 1-3 times a week (mostly 2 times a week) at .5mg. Two months (I'm unsure exactly when the interdose started to happen) ago interdose withdrawal seemed to happen..2 days I think after the Ativan.

 

 

Nightmare that could have been avoided!

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I was prescribed an SSRI for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome--not anxiety or depression. I know it's withdrawal syndrome, because it started after I discontinued the SSRI. I never suffered from anxiety or depression. Also, I suffer from akathisia, which can ONLY be caused either by withdrawal or by a medication, and I haven't been on a new/different medication in recent history.

Zoloft 100 mg. daily for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome since Oct. 1994 / Synthroid 88 mcg. daily / Supplements: Neptune Krill Oil-1,000 mg. twice daily/Astaxanthin 10 mg. twice daily/Ubiquinol 100 mg. twice daily (These 3 have allowed me to discontinue (approved by doctor) bp meds I was on. Calcium Citrate 500 mg. daily/Vitamin D3 2,400 iu daily/K2 (MK7) 100 mcg daily (osteopenia and fam. hist. of severe osteoporosis). Stress B Complex (1/2 dose)/Quercetin (for allergies/asthma)/Magnesium (400 mg. oral glycinate and about 50 mg. magnesium chloride spray oil a day, divided throughout day).

Tapered Zoloft about 6 wks. Totally off since the end of July (25-29, 2014). 3 wks. vertigo at end of taper, then 3-4 wks. OK, followed by withdrawal symptoms increasing in severity (nausea, gastric disturbances, loss of appetite, insomnia, restlessness, jitters, anxiety, agitation--jumping out of my skin--possible akathisia?) Seem to have paradoxical reactions to everything new, even Vitamin C. Severity of akathisia comes and goes, but is constant to some degree. Hard to leave house, and cannot be home alone. (Retired)

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Hi Smallfarmer. I've asked myself the same questions many times, and my therapist tells me the same things yours tells you.  I do absolutely believe I have had withdrawal symptoms, like dizziness, brain zaps and irritability.  When it comes to depression, it's harder for me to parse out what's what.  I guess that's part of what is motivating me to come off the drugs once again. I've never done withdrawal nearly as slowly as is recommended here. I'm afraid if I don't try it, I'll never find out what I could feel like with neither drugs nor withdrawal affecting me. 

 

I understand your uncertainty and I don't find your post offensive in the least. I think they're excellent questions to ask ourselves!

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Hi I was prescribed amitriptaline for migraine prevention. I was taken off the drugs becouse they felt the side effects I had on drugs were mental issues. They reinstated me and I am still suffering issues of withdrawl now and having to withdrawl again so double serving of withdrawls.

The doctors want you to believe these drugs are well tested and safe to use but for many they are life destroyers. My doctor doesn't even know how withdraw people safely I am having to seek advice from the same services as what treat people with street drug addiction. I have lost total faith in the doctors and there brain altering drugs.

Amitriptyline 20mg for 11 months for migraines. 24.11.14 CT from amitriptyline by doctor to swop to Citrolpam as doctor felt side effects of drugs were mental health issues. 12.14 Reinstated back to amitriptyline 2 weeks later after cronic withdrawl. 19.02.2015 Droped from 25mg to 20mg as drugs causing adverse effects of heavy sedation and anestetic propertys.03.03.15 Reduced 18.5mg to try and deal with sedation again. 08.03.15 Reduced to 17.5mg  28.03.15 15.7mg 12.04.15 14.9mg 19.04.15 14.2mg 26.04.15 13.5mg  2.05.15 12.8mg 9.5.15 12.1mg 15.05.15 11.5mg 21.05.15 11.0mg 24.05.15 10.0mg 2.6.15 9.0mg 4.6.15 8.6mg 13.06.15 8.1mg 20.06.15 7.7mg 27.06.15 7.3mg 4.07.15 7.0mg 9.07.15 6.6mg 13.7.15 6.3mg 19.07.15 6.0mg 24.07.15 5.7mg 31.07.15 5.4 8.08.15 4.9mg 15.08.15 4.4mg 22.08.15 4.0mg 29.08.15 3.6mg 06.09.15 3.2mg 13.09.15 2.9mg 21.09.15 2.6mg 28.09.15 2.4mg 05.10.15 2.2mg 12.10.15 2.0mg 22.10.15 1.8mg 26.10.15 1.7mg 2.11.15 1.5mg 9.11.15 1.4mg 16.11.15 1.2mg 23.11.15 1.1mg 10.12.15 1mg 1.1.2016 0.9mg 17.1.2016 0.8mg 01.02.2016 0.7mg 08.02.2016 0.6mg 14.02.2016 0.5mg 21.02.2016 0.4mg 01.03.2016 changed to liquid 1:1 ratio 0.4mg 8.03.2016 0.38mg 15.03.2016 0.36mg 20.03.2016 0.35mg 27.03.2016 0.32mg 08.04.2016 0.29mg 14.04.2016 0.27mg 23.04.2016 0.25mg  30.04.2016 0.23mg 07.05.2016 0.21mg 14.05.2016 0.19mg 28.05.2016 0.17mg 06.06.2016 0.16ml 13.06.2016 0.15ml 20.06.2016 0.14ml 27.06.2016 0.13ml 04.07.2016 0.12ml 11.07.2016 0.11ml 18.07.2016 0.10ml 25.07.2016 0.09ml 01.08.2016 0.08ml 08.08.2016 0.07ml 15.08.2016 0.06ml 22.08.2016 0.05ml 12.08.2016 0.04ml changed to 10:1 ratio 02.09.2016 0.036ml 24.10.2016 0.033ml  14.11.2016 0.030ml 01.01.2017 0.024ml 22.01.2017 0.022mg 12.02.2017 0.020mg 05.03.2017 0.018mg 26.03.2017 0.016mg 17.04.2017 0.014mg 07.05.2015 0.012mg missed few sig updates 09.09.2017 0.005mg missing few sig udates 29.07.2018 0.0001mg 17.02.2019 0.000006mg missed few updates 12.06.2020 0.0000000064mg 27.11.2021 0.0000000048mg 04.2021 0.0000000018mg 19.12.2021 0.00000000025641mg

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Smallfarmer, your post is not offensive. We are very caring people on this forum and have had questions and doubts just like you. Until you've suffered like this for as long as we have, it's hard to believe there isn't more to it than withdrawal. I wish you peace and health.

January 2012 - Prescribed 900mg gabapentin and 30mg Norco for lower lumber spinal stenosis pain.

September 2013 - Spinal fusion surgery, 6 levels. Hospital ramped up meds 1500mg gabapentin, 100mg Norco, 80mg Oxycontin, 25mg Fentanyl patch.

January 2014 - Sever nausea daily and with back pain every 4 hours. 2 trips to ER. First endoscopy found ulcer. Treated with Sucralfate and PPI. Second endo in May found no ulcers. Doctors said it was the opiates causing the nausea. CT'd Oxycontin, Fentanyl patch.

July 2014 - Lost 48 lbs. due to not eating because of severe nausea. GP prescribed Prozac 20mg and Ativan 2mg prn. Tried for 4 days, quit. Two week followup GP said keep taking Prozac. 4 days, quit again. Ativan taken rarely prn for anxiety and appetite.

August 2014 - Went to detox. Off opiates. Still nauseous, helmet head, drugged feeling. Doctor CT'd gabapentin. Ended up in ER. Found 2 gallstones. Gabapentin reinstated at 900mg. Tried botched up and down taper to get off Gabapentin. No tapering advice from doctor. Said to just CT again.

September 2014 - Coded on table during gallbladder surgery. Developed liver biloma due to CPR by doctor. Had bile bulb inserted for 2 wks to drain.

October 2014 - Gallbladder removed. Still nauseous, 3am cortisol surging, drugged helmet head, vertigo, breathlessness, whooshing head, heart palps.

November 8th, 2014 - CT'd gabapentin suggested by family and 4 different doctors. Was told no withdrawal is associated with gabapentin. Have been in hell ever since. No windows, just one big tsunami every day with same symptoms for 4 months.

December 26, 2014 - Found SA. At least I know I'm not insane. My family thinks I'm doing this to myself. Akathesia has become unbearable.

March 10, 2015 - In absolute daily hell with no relief. Currently taking magnesium 200mg before bedtime.

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Thanks to those who have responded. Is it possible to reply to a single post or just all the posts in a discussion? 

 

Anyways, I wanted to make clear that I in no way believe that anyone is making up their symptoms. I always question whether others think that about me and my symptoms and its very frustrating because they are all too real! 

 

Most that have responded have said their symptoms from withdrawal are different than what they had pre antidepressant . I suppose that is where I differ. Many of the horrible symptoms I have now mask what I had before and during treatment with an antidepressant.

 

The 50% of my brain says its withdrawal because the symptoms seem worse. Then again maybe they aren't, the brain forgets the severity of a symptom with time. It's like getting stomach flu, when you have it it's an awful symptom but after not having it for a long time you forget how bad it was. 

 

The other 50% takes a more conventional psychiatrist viewpoint that what I have is a "chemical imbalance" (strong emphasis on the quotes!) and that I should feel lucky that there are drugs out there that can make my life tolerable and somewhat pleasurable. Right now it is neither! In addition to that viewpoint, I also sometimes take the viewpoint that sites like this are such a small representation that it is hard for me to put logical and scientific proof to the argument of ssri withdrawal. Where is the evidence that millions of 

 

There appear to be some of you that are 100% convinced that this is withdrawal and/or that antidepressants are evil. That is fine, half my brain shares that viewpoint. I almost think that recovery (whatever that will look like) would be easier if i was so convinced. Right now I have the added anxiety of not knowing which makes it that much harder for me right now. Just please understand that I'm not trying to come to this group to belittle you, I'm just very confused and looking for opinions from both sides so I can make a judgment on my own well being. 

 

 

Loveandlight suggested reinstating a small dosage and taper slowly. I suppose trying that would help me determine if what I'm feeling now are withdrawal symptoms. 

Age 15 to 28 paxil (just had anticipatory anxiety during this time) Age 28 paxil stopped working (this began the last 6 years of extreme somatic symptoms, anxiety, and some depression). During last six years have tried lexapro, celexa, zoloft, and effexor. Was on 150 mg effexor for about 2 months, dropped to 75 mg then tapered by half every two weeks. Added 20 mg prozac during the last two weeks as a "bridge" and tapered off prozac for two weeks. As of 1/4/15 off of effexor and off of prozac as of 1/15/15.

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You'll be okay, farmer, and your doubts and questions are all valid. My reference to "millions" suffering does not have scientific data behind it. Just take the number of people on psychotropic drugs in America alone, and the scientific data of what these drugs do to the brain, and millions of sufferers is conservative. This is IMHO. I've never been the exception to the rule before psyche drugs. Just the typical shmoe.

January 2012 - Prescribed 900mg gabapentin and 30mg Norco for lower lumber spinal stenosis pain.

September 2013 - Spinal fusion surgery, 6 levels. Hospital ramped up meds 1500mg gabapentin, 100mg Norco, 80mg Oxycontin, 25mg Fentanyl patch.

January 2014 - Sever nausea daily and with back pain every 4 hours. 2 trips to ER. First endoscopy found ulcer. Treated with Sucralfate and PPI. Second endo in May found no ulcers. Doctors said it was the opiates causing the nausea. CT'd Oxycontin, Fentanyl patch.

July 2014 - Lost 48 lbs. due to not eating because of severe nausea. GP prescribed Prozac 20mg and Ativan 2mg prn. Tried for 4 days, quit. Two week followup GP said keep taking Prozac. 4 days, quit again. Ativan taken rarely prn for anxiety and appetite.

August 2014 - Went to detox. Off opiates. Still nauseous, helmet head, drugged feeling. Doctor CT'd gabapentin. Ended up in ER. Found 2 gallstones. Gabapentin reinstated at 900mg. Tried botched up and down taper to get off Gabapentin. No tapering advice from doctor. Said to just CT again.

September 2014 - Coded on table during gallbladder surgery. Developed liver biloma due to CPR by doctor. Had bile bulb inserted for 2 wks to drain.

October 2014 - Gallbladder removed. Still nauseous, 3am cortisol surging, drugged helmet head, vertigo, breathlessness, whooshing head, heart palps.

November 8th, 2014 - CT'd gabapentin suggested by family and 4 different doctors. Was told no withdrawal is associated with gabapentin. Have been in hell ever since. No windows, just one big tsunami every day with same symptoms for 4 months.

December 26, 2014 - Found SA. At least I know I'm not insane. My family thinks I'm doing this to myself. Akathesia has become unbearable.

March 10, 2015 - In absolute daily hell with no relief. Currently taking magnesium 200mg before bedtime.

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Hey Smallfarmer, 

 

I totally understand your doubts. I've had the exact same doubts. I've been asking myself my whole life where my problems came from. Is it genetics? Circumstances? Both?  

 

I think you'll discover over time which theory you believe more in.

 

For me, this antidepressant experience has made things quite clear: Your brain chemicals have an incredible impact on your mood. They can be influenced by some factors like sunlight, sports, nutrition, maybe certain physical diseases or vitamin deficiencies.  They are massively impacted by your thinking as well. 

 

If you see yourself in a bad light and expect failure, this will impact your brain chemicals. If you feel threatened, this will impact your brain chemicals. If you feel under pressure, same thing. 

 

I think those drugs mess with the brain chemicals on a scale that can not be reversed. They can tip you over the edge into more severe mental illness. They can add new mental problems to the ones you already have. They can make you do things that don't correspond at all with who you are and your personality. They seem to be able to make a long term illness out of a life crisis. It's just too scary. 

 

There's some people who claim antidepressants helped. I recently spoke to a lady who told me she took Effexor for post natal depression. She seemed fine. Didn't mention any problems. I need to talk to her again and find out more. 

 

Cheers, 

L

Feb 2015 Took venlafaxine for 5 days only... experienced withdrawal that made me completely non-functional

Mar 2015 took under 1mg of Sertraline for 10 days in an attempt to combat Venlafaxine withdrawal. Got adverse reactions. 

After stopping Sertraline, withdrawal got much worse. New, horrific symptoms. 

June 2015 Still non-functional but slowly getting better. Still brain zaps, migraines, sweating, heart racing, depression, crying spells

September 2015: 24/7 brain zaps, twitches in the face, no concentration, bad memory, language skills deteriorating. 

 

Profile feed: http://goo.gl/3g2GRn

 

Sign this petition for a blackbox warning on Prozac in Ireland:

https://www.change.org/p/leo-varadakar-hpra-the-lack-of-a-blackbox-warning-on-prozac-in-ireland-and-its-use-by-the-hse-in-under-18-s?recruiter=63289046&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=share_for_starters_page&utm_term=des-lg-no_src-no_msg

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Smallfarmer, welcome to SA. I am glad that you found our excellent site, and we are not in the least bit offended! You are voicing what I felt when I was trying to get off effexor and failing miserably, until I found another site online that opened my eyes to withdrawal syndrome. For years I had been told I needed the drugs for life and would never get off. Yet at the same time my shrink told me that my dose was too low to be therapeutic when I complained I was depressed and ill! I couldn't have a higher dose because it sent me manic.  So how does that work then? The dose is not therapeutic so not doing me any good, the side effects were terrible but I would need it for life. Confused? I was too until I learned that the symptoms when I tried quitting were withdrawal! 

 

It has now been scientifically proved that the chemical imbalance theory was just that, a theory cooked up by the drug companies to sell their drugs. There are absolutely no tests or  scans etc that show any imbalance that causes depression. That is not to say that depression doesn't exist, it does, and is disabling for many people. There are many causes of depression but chemical imbalance in the brain is not one of them. We don't expect anyone to just take our word for it, we all discovered by seeking answers, and Alto our administrator has tirelessly researched for years and posted all her findings in the current events section here. 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/forum/27-current-events/ 

 

I'm going to climb off my soapbox now, but just want to suggest that you read Anatomy of an epidemic by Robert Whitaker, it is a brilliant book and just the first chapter will teach you things you wouldn't have thought of.

 

Back to your symptoms, after so long on AD's I would say it is certainly withdrawal that you are experiencing. It is possible that reinstating a tiny amount of the drug will alleviate your symptoms.  Can you tell us how you felt on effexor, did you have any side effects?  Were you ok with the prozac or did you have side effects with it?  If you were fine with the prozac it might be better to reinstate that because it is easier to taper once stabilised, but usually we recommend reinstating the original drug if possible. 

 

I will post some links for you to read that will help you to understand withdrawal and the steps to take. 

 

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

 

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

 

Many people find that fish oil and magnesium halp a lot with withdrawal symptoms. 

 

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

 

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

 

You may find this post by Rhiannon, one of our mods, on how the drugs affect our brain. 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/6447-best-of-sa/?p=91582

 

Any questions, please ask, and if you wish to search the site it is easier to use google, type in survivingantidepressants.org followed by the term you are searching, ie 'effexor withdrawal' or 'reinstating' etc.    It's faster than the search facility that comes with the forum software. 

**I am not a medical professional, if in doubt please consult a doctor with withdrawal knowledge.

 

 

Different drugs occasionally (mostly benzos) 1976 - 1981 (no problem)

1993 - 2002 in and out of hospital. every type of drug + ECT. Staring with seroxat

2002  effexor. 

Tapered  March 2012 to March 2013, ending with 5 beads.

Withdrawal April 2013 . Reinstated 5 beads reduced to 4 beads May 2013

Restarted taper  Nov 2013  

OFF EFFEXOR Feb 2015    :D 

Tapered atenolol and omeprazole Dec 2013 - May 2014

 

Tapering tramadol, Feb 2015 100mg , March 2015 50mg  

 July 2017 30mg.  May 15 2018 25mg

Taking fish oil, magnesium, B12, folic acid, bilberry eyebright for eye pressure. 

 

My story http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/4199-hello-mammap-checking-in/page-33

 

Lesson learned, slow down taper at lower doses. Taper no more than 10% of CURRENT dose if possible

 

 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi there smallfarmer ,   welcome to the site.

 

In relation to reinstating , you might try reading Laura1981's thread.    She's found some symptom relief with a tiny dose (1mg) of Effexor.

You're right in thinking that if this were to work similarly for you , you might feel more confident in assuming it's w/d you're experiencing.

 

Good to have you on board ,  Fresh

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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Been off all ssri/snri for two months now. Been on an ssri my whole adolescent and adult life.  I won't go into great detail about all of my symptoms I have now but they are ever changing and a day does not go by where i do not have them. Cognitive anxiety is less of a problem but some days it gets pretty bad (catastrophic thinking, unknown crying spells, depression). 

 

So my big question as I read through posts on this site and other ssri withdrawal sites and posts-- How can all of you be so certain this is a withdrawal? I read posts about people being months, sometimes years off drugs and still complaining. It is really hard for me to believe, and frankly demoralizing, to think people could still be having "withdrawal" for that long. I'm two months out and know that if things continue like this for another month or so I'm going back to trying drugs cause I can't live like this. It makes me wonder if these people need to come to the realization that there symptoms are not because of withdrawal and maybe only medicine is what will improve them. 

 

 

Yes, you are likely going through withdrawal. Crying spells are a classic sign of withdrawal. They will go away in a few months.

 

If your symptoms are are changing every day that sure sounds like withdrawal, your nervous system is unstable since you pulled the rug out from under it by going off the meds.

 

And yes, it is hard to believe, and it is demoralizing to know that withdrawal can last for months and years, but it sure can, you can take that to the bank.

 

I wouldn't believe it if it didn't happen to me - TWICE. Prozac withdrawal took me down for a few years but I got better.

 

Doc didn't recognize it as withdrawal back then, and many still don't accept that these drugs cause serious withdrawal for so many. 

 

My withdrawal symptoms are all mostly physical now and involve nerve damage from the SSRIs - for me, right now, Lexapro did it. 

 

I presently have head pressure, ear ringing, ear pain, ear bruit, left side numbness. Never had ANY of that before taking these drugs. These drugs can be very toxic especially when you stop taking them, the body rebels and gets unstable for quite awhile. So many others have the same lingering problems. You are lucky to have found this site.

 

Make no mistake about it, these are very powerful drugs. It's strange because when we first go on them, they usually don't feel like powerful drugs. But once they stop working, or if we stop taking them, all hell can break loose. It doesn't happen to everyone, but it happens to way too many. For many people, it takes a long time to heal the nerve damage caused by these drugs.

 

Brain fog and depression, anxiety are also very common withdrawal signs from SSRIs.

 

I would NEVER go back on these drugs after what they have done to me. I have no depression or anxiety, I am doing great, over a year now without these SSRI drugs. Just lingering withdrawal from the toxic effects of this crap.

 

You might have to go back on these drugs the same way a heroin addict needs to go on methadone, to ease the withdrawal. We call it reinstatement, and moderators can help you get back on these drugs at the correct levels in order to plan to finally get off them and stop the damage they do to your nervous system.. 

 

Why did you go off the drugs if they were helping you so much? 

Hell hath no fury as an SSRI scorned.....

 

Prozac:   20 mg 1996 – May 2003 CT to 0 mg; by Aug 03 CRASH then protracted WD 3 yrs

Zoloft:    2004 few weeks;, CT to 0 mg

Effexor:  2005 few months CT to 0 mg; bad withdrawal. 

Lexapro:  10 mg from 2009 – 2011; cut dose in half to:

Lexapro:    5 mg from 2011 – Feb. 2014; CT to 0 mg; 2 months of fatigue, followed by:
Aug - Oct 2014 Lexapro WD Insomnia Wave; sleeping very good from Nov 2014 - Nov 2015; broken sleep pattern Dec 2015 - Jan 2016

Dec 2014 - present: Brutal Lexapro WD ear ringing/head ringing/head pressure lasting for 14 months now.

 

24 months SSRI-free  

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clearday- I felt the SNRI Effexor was not working. My history details explain that Paxil worked for about 15 years (other than anticipatory anxiety). Then it just suddenly stopped working cause I began these symptoms that I still have 6 years later. I was on many different ssri and snri during these last 6 years with varying degrees of success. I had good moments and bad moments with symptoms similar to when paxil pooped out.Not believing that any of the drugs were truly helping I decided to be drug free for the first time in my adolescent or adult life.

 

 Now after two months of being off of Effexor the symptoms are stronger than ever. One possibility is that I had a delayed withdrawal reaction after two months. Another possibility is that maybe these supposed withdrawal symptoms and the symptoms that I began to have when paxil stopped working are essentially the same. Would the withdrawal symptoms and nervous system reaction to withdrawal be the same as the reaction to the drug not working anymore.?

Age 15 to 28 paxil (just had anticipatory anxiety during this time) Age 28 paxil stopped working (this began the last 6 years of extreme somatic symptoms, anxiety, and some depression). During last six years have tried lexapro, celexa, zoloft, and effexor. Was on 150 mg effexor for about 2 months, dropped to 75 mg then tapered by half every two weeks. Added 20 mg prozac during the last two weeks as a "bridge" and tapered off prozac for two weeks. As of 1/4/15 off of effexor and off of prozac as of 1/15/15.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

The 50% of my brain says its withdrawal because the symptoms seem worse. Then again maybe they aren't, the brain forgets the severity of a symptom with time. It's like getting stomach flu, when you have it it's an awful symptom but after not having it for a long time you forget how bad it was. 

 

The other 50% takes a more conventional psychiatrist viewpoint that what I have is a "chemical imbalance" (strong emphasis on the quotes!) and that I should feel lucky that there are drugs out there that can make my life tolerable and somewhat pleasurable. Right now it is neither! In addition to that viewpoint, I also sometimes take the viewpoint that sites like this are such a small representation that it is hard for me to put logical and scientific proof to the argument of ssri withdrawal. Where is the evidence that millions of 

 

There appear to be some of you that are 100% convinced that this is withdrawal and/or that antidepressants are evil. That is fine, half my brain shares that viewpoint. I almost think that recovery (whatever that will look like) would be easier if i was so convinced. Right now I have the added anxiety of not knowing which makes it that much harder for me right now. Just please understand that I'm not trying to come to this group to belittle you, I'm just very confused and looking for opinions from both sides so I can make a judgment on my own well being. 

I know mammaP already mentioned this, but I want to reiterate; the chemical imbalance is not supported by research. There is no evidence indicating (or even suggesting a correlation) that depression, anxiety, or what have you, are the result of a chemical imbalance.

 

I encourage you to read "Anatomy of an Epidemic." It's enlightening and does a nice job of breaking down research regarding the efficacy of these drugs, and treatment outcomes.

 

It may indeed be possible that you are experiencing some of the same symptoms you experienced prior to taking meds, but it's also likely that you are experiencing withdrawal symptoms. It's true, the people here are just a small representation of the people prescribed and discontinuing SSRIs, and our experiences likely only represent a minority, but it's also the case that many, many, MANY, suffer these symptoms but have never identified them or had them identified as withdrawal symptoms, so we haven't heard from them, and may never. Others may experience them, but the symptoms are not severe enoughi to interfere with their daily life and feel no need to reachout to sites such as these. Symptom severity varies by person, as does people's ability to tolerate them.

 

Many doctors are not yet familiar with withdrawal from SSRIs. i say "yet" because the issue is now attracting more attention now that some of these drugs have been prescribed long-term. unfortunately it's up to the doctors whether they keep up on the emerging research. Doctors have to actively look to see if there is new information available on the drugs they prescribe. If they don't then they continue to work off old, outdated, information. it is this reason the idea that a chemical imbalance is responsible for depression continues to be perpetuated; people simply don't update themselves.

 

One thing that I believe nearly everyone experiences during withdrawal is the questioning of whether what they are experiencing is withdrawal or if it's just how they feel without meds. Like, " is this me? Or is this withdrawal?" The worst part is is that you can't really tell until the symptom(s) subsides. But there are symptoms, like Akathasia, that many people in withdrawal experience, but which do not occur in the natural world. In otherwords, they are iatrogenic (caused by the treatment/medication).

 

For those of us prescribed these meds to treat things other than depression, anxiety, and/or OCD, yes, the symptoms experienced as part of withdrawal are new to us. For those that struggled with feelings of depression and anxiety and symptoms of OCD prior to medication the same symptoms may emerge during withdrawal but are often much more severe AND are accompanied by "new" symptoms.

 

I've babbled on enough. Welcome to SA! I'll look forward to reading where your exploration takes you.

1988-2012: Prozac @ 60mg to treat an eating disorder. Several unsuccessful attempts to discontinue.Fall 2012: Failed attempt to discontinue then -> 40mg Prozac and added 150mg Wellbutrin. Late summer 2013:Began slower Prozac taper.Spring 2014:Got to 10mg Prozac, 75mg of Wellbutrin -April 2014: 9mg Prozac & 37.5mg Wellbutrin 2x/day -> 9mg Prozac & 25 mg Wellbutrin 2x/day->9mg Prozac 1x/day & ~8mg Wellbutrin 2x/day -> 8.1mg Prozac, 0 WellbutrinSept '14: 8.1mg Prozac -> crashed hardOct '14: 10mg ProzacNov '14: 20mg -> 30mgDec '14: 30mg, Feb 10: 27mg. Mar 7: 25mg Mar 21, 2015: 20mg. May 21, 2016: 20mg and holding strong. Taper restarted April 2021 to 18mg, July 2021 to 16mg, currently 15mg. 

 

My experience: http://rxisk.org/antidepressant-withdrawal-a-prozac-story/

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clearday- I felt the SNRI Effexor was not working. My history details explain that Paxil worked for about 15 years (other than anticipatory anxiety). Then it just suddenly stopped working cause I began these symptoms that I still have 6 years later. I was on many different ssri and snri during these last 6 years with varying degrees of success. I had good moments and bad moments with symptoms similar to when paxil pooped out.Not believing that any of the drugs were truly helping I decided to be drug free for the first time in my adolescent or adult life.

 

 Now after two months of being off of Effexor the symptoms are stronger than ever. One possibility is that I had a delayed withdrawal reaction after two months. Another possibility is that maybe these supposed withdrawal symptoms and the symptoms that I began to have when paxil stopped working are essentially the same. Would the withdrawal symptoms and nervous system reaction to withdrawal be the same as the reaction to the drug not working anymore.?

"Would the withdrawal symptoms and nervous system reaction to withdrawal be the same as the reaction to the drug not working anymore.?'

 

In a word yes. 

If you understand what is going on inside best guesses maybe I can't recall my memory is too bad.  I will give you what understanding I have and let others take it from there to say I am wrong if they think I am.  

 

I have been doing this a long time after awhile where I gleaned certain understanding gets foggy for me. 

This is my understanding of it. 

When you take an serotonin uptake inhibitor... it actually inhibits the serotonin between receptors being taken back up by the receptor from which it is released. In doing this there is a lot of serotonin for the receptor to use but this constant flooding causes the body to "notice"  the body works very slowly but it eventually will shut down receptors and slow the production of serotonin... as the constant flooding is telling the alerting mechanism of the brain there is too much serotonin. 

 

Eventually the body gets its own way and the amount of serotonin is lowered by the two methods mentioned already. Now you have what is known as pooped out or tolerance experienced as withdrawal symptoms...(my experience of this was not as bad as withdrawal but some of the symptoms I had in tolerance were the same as the ones I had in cold turkey just not as severe)  if you increase the dose of the ssri you can hold this off for awhile... but it will eventually get you.   Some have increased dose at this point became stable and then slowly tapered off so as to allow the body to make new receptors and start making more serotonin on its own. 

 

When you quit cold turkey like I did last time it is about the worst of the worst.  Not recommended. 

 

If you started to poop out on a drug after a few years but continued to take it and get by... however you did.. it is quite possible you were in pooped out a lot longer than you think.  I did not know I was in  pooped out till I was far into withdrawal and started joining the dots. 

 

I will also say I was given ssri drugs to start with for leg pain and had no psych issues till after a severe adverse reaction to the first one I took for 2 wks... which was prozac I am a prozac hater.. not dislike I hate it... porzac made me insane and I blame it for causing a pain syndrome in my body which I have had ever since I was 24 years old when I took it and it changed my life forever... that is my truth but I am not trying to convince anyone I don't care what anyone thinks... not really as I know already... even if i can't prove it.  I am no lover of effexor either... I hate them both but I hate prozac more I think. maybe not it is a toss up. 

 

I went back on drugs because I fell for a line... and did not know any better. 

 

PS

You said you had these symptoms before you went on any drugs and these symptoms were why you took drugs to start with... as a very young person as you were when you started these meds .. all sorts of things are changing in your body at that age... some of those changes can cause symptoms that are quite normal in adolescence.  There are a few other things that can cause anxiety too other medications... even cold meds ... low B12... thyroid... there is a list some place.  

 

I can't say you don't have something what do I know very little about much.... but i do know that a child and an adult have completely different life skills and things that may have thrown an adolescent under the bus would not phase a grown man.  Once you have a drug issue the gloves are off and the hard work begins of trying to sort this out.  if you lucky you find a place like this before you spent most of you life drugged... 

 

it would appear you are lucky. 

I wish you peace

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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 Would the withdrawal symptoms and nervous system reaction to withdrawal be the same as the reaction to the drug not working anymore.?

 

I'm sorry to hear that the Effexor stopped working. From reading so many posts on here, it seems that poop-out symptoms are very similar to withdrawal symptoms. 

 

I encourage you to read as many posts on here as possible. Especially of those going through Effexor withdrawal. Although in the end, all these SSRIs and SNRIs cause a large menu of possible symptoms, and depending on our individual biochemistry, we get the symptoms we get, for each person it is unique. But a common unmistakable pattern emerges. 

 

It helps to figure out which symptoms are withdrawal and which symptoms are your "old self" coming through. Usually in the first year after discontinuiing the medications, I would attribute most symptoms to withdrawal. Your old self will come back, with or without the symptoms that led you to go on meds in the first place.

 

It was easy for me to tell that my withdrawal symptoms were in fact withdrawal, because they were mostly physical and bizarre, accompanied by brain zaps and all weird sensations only associated with SSRIs/SNRIs. And they all hit me at four, seven, and ten months after being off the drug - classic delayed SSRI protracted WD onset, affirmed by hundreds of similar cases I've read. (The first few months immediately after stopping the meds were very uncomfortable, with typical fatigue and brain zaps, but later on the real withdrawal hit me). I i did have withdrawal depression years ago from Prozac WD - anhedonia and apathy that went away eventually. That's just what happened to me, your story will be yours. 

 

People who keep winding up on here often go through a process of disbelief (how could these drugs do this to me, is this possible?), to realization ( reaching the unmistakable conclusion that they are indeed in protracted SSRI WD), to anger (why did my doctor not tell me about the risks of these drugs, and why does he/she still deny they've hurt me?), to acceptance of their situation. And then down to the hope and hard work of recovery.

 

I trusted doctors my whole life without question, and that's probably how I got myself into this situation. It is astounding at the continuing ignorance of the prescribing doctors to own up to what is happening to so many people under their care. But there are quite a few prominent psychiatrists who DO know what we are going through, and they are doing research and slowly getting the message out. Doctors work miracles in surgery and other ailments, but when it comes to the brain, they've got a long way to go. We are the generation that is slowly but surely showing that SSRIs have a very bad downside.

 

I have many great days and so many people have recovered from these drugs. I wish you strength on your journey - 

Hell hath no fury as an SSRI scorned.....

 

Prozac:   20 mg 1996 – May 2003 CT to 0 mg; by Aug 03 CRASH then protracted WD 3 yrs

Zoloft:    2004 few weeks;, CT to 0 mg

Effexor:  2005 few months CT to 0 mg; bad withdrawal. 

Lexapro:  10 mg from 2009 – 2011; cut dose in half to:

Lexapro:    5 mg from 2011 – Feb. 2014; CT to 0 mg; 2 months of fatigue, followed by:
Aug - Oct 2014 Lexapro WD Insomnia Wave; sleeping very good from Nov 2014 - Nov 2015; broken sleep pattern Dec 2015 - Jan 2016

Dec 2014 - present: Brutal Lexapro WD ear ringing/head ringing/head pressure lasting for 14 months now.

 

24 months SSRI-free  

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  • Administrator

Welcome, Smallfarmer.

 

Please read What is withdrawal syndrome?

 

You might ask your therapist to read this too, since he or she is talking through a hat.

 

Medicine is largely in denial about antidepressant withdrawal syndrome. Also see http://www.thementalelf.net/mental-health-conditions/depression/antidepressant-withdrawal-syndromes-time-to-grasp-the-nettle/

 

PS There is no such thing as a "chemical imbalance" and antidepressants do not "correct" it. They are psychoactive drugs, like cocaine or amphetamine, that keep you in an artificial state of stimulation. Some people experience this as beneficial.

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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Thanks to those who have responded. Is it possible to reply to a single post or just all the posts in a discussion? 

 

Anyways, I wanted to make clear that I in no way believe that anyone is making up their symptoms. I always question whether others think that about me and my symptoms and its very frustrating because they are all too real! 

 

Most that have responded have said their symptoms from withdrawal are different than what they had pre antidepressant . I suppose that is where I differ. Many of the horrible symptoms I have now mask what I had before and during treatment with an antidepressant.

 

The 50% of my brain says its withdrawal because the symptoms seem worse. Then again maybe they aren't, the brain forgets the severity of a symptom with time. It's like getting stomach flu, when you have it it's an awful symptom but after not having it for a long time you forget how bad it was. 

 

The other 50% takes a more conventional psychiatrist viewpoint that what I have is a "chemical imbalance" (strong emphasis on the quotes!) and that I should feel lucky that there are drugs out there that can make my life tolerable and somewhat pleasurable. Right now it is neither! In addition to that viewpoint, I also sometimes take the viewpoint that sites like this are such a small representation that it is hard for me to put logical and scientific proof to the argument of ssri withdrawal. Where is the evidence that millions of 

 

There appear to be some of you that are 100% convinced that this is withdrawal and/or that antidepressants are evil. That is fine, half my brain shares that viewpoint. I almost think that recovery (whatever that will look like) would be easier if i was so convinced. Right now I have the added anxiety of not knowing which makes it that much harder for me right now. Just please understand that I'm not trying to come to this group to belittle you, I'm just very confused and looking for opinions from both sides so I can make a judgment on my own well being. 

 

 

Loveandlight suggested reinstating a small dosage and taper slowly. I suppose trying that would help me determine if what I'm feeling now are withdrawal symptoms. 

I get it that your questions are sincere and there is no mal-intent. As is my response.  I know all too well the ravages of autonomic dysfunction without psychotropic drugs.  Multiple Sclerosis does that all by itself.  That makes my journey a little complicated since I may not be able to discern the root of the symptom. To everyone suffering from their symptoms, I would say to get checked and be sure that there is nothing else going on neurologically that needs to be addressed in addition to w/d process. Good luck on your journey 

neurologically challenged

Copaxone, Baclofen Oxybutynin and L.D.N. for multiple sclerosis and on Dilatin for seizure disorder Celexa 20 then 40 for at least 7 years Started first reduction in Jan 2015, but with generic- bad idea. Lasted 3 days

Started again Feb 1 2015. 

Feb 1-  40 to 37.5

Feb 24-  37.5 to 35

March 24- 35 to 32.5

April 28- 32.5 to 30

June 9- 30 to 27.5

July 1- 27.5 to 25

July 27-25 to 22.5

Aug 18- 22.5 to 20

 

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I get it that your questions are sincere and there is no mal-intent. As is my response.  I know all too well the ravages of autonomic dysfunction without psychotropic drugs.  Multiple Sclerosis does that all by itself.  That makes my journey a little complicated since I may not be able to discern the root of the symptom. To everyone suffering from their symptoms, I would say to get checked and be sure that there is nothing else going on neurologically that needs to be addressed in addition to w/d process. Good luck on your journey 

 

Great point. Multiple Sclerosis was known as "faker's disease" by doctors until brain scan technology was developed and proved that the MS patients indeed had physical damage to their brains in the form of lesions.  

 

Other dysautonomic afflictions such as Gulf War Syndrome, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and Fibromyalgia still get the skeptics who say out of ignorance, "Maybe it's all in their head". When in fact, such illnesses are triggered by chronic stress, toxins, or viral infection.

 

Someday the medical community will wake up to the overwhelming evidence that SSRIs often cause such protracted damage to those who take these drugs. But as usual, they are the last to get on board due to inertia, denial, and concerns that their treatment is in fact "doing MUCH harm". 

Hell hath no fury as an SSRI scorned.....

 

Prozac:   20 mg 1996 – May 2003 CT to 0 mg; by Aug 03 CRASH then protracted WD 3 yrs

Zoloft:    2004 few weeks;, CT to 0 mg

Effexor:  2005 few months CT to 0 mg; bad withdrawal. 

Lexapro:  10 mg from 2009 – 2011; cut dose in half to:

Lexapro:    5 mg from 2011 – Feb. 2014; CT to 0 mg; 2 months of fatigue, followed by:
Aug - Oct 2014 Lexapro WD Insomnia Wave; sleeping very good from Nov 2014 - Nov 2015; broken sleep pattern Dec 2015 - Jan 2016

Dec 2014 - present: Brutal Lexapro WD ear ringing/head ringing/head pressure lasting for 14 months now.

 

24 months SSRI-free  

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HI There- I'm pretty new to this site and have only been on zoloft since February. But I did have an episode of severe anxiety and insomnia right before starting psych meds. I've dealt with anxiety, insomnia and depression since my late teens (now 28) but it was manageable and always seemed to pass. But I know those things are part of the "normal" me or my underlying condition. However- while I was on 50mg of zoloft plus 200mg of trazodone- I was still experiencing horrible anxiety and insomnia- there was no improvement and I think I may have gotten even worse. That's why I decided to start tapering and getting off meds. Why would I keep taking something that wasn't helping me? And I really didn't want to play the "try this next" or "increase your dose" game.(Partially because I'm 26 weeks pregnant) I really wanted the meds to work. If I could take a pill and make my psychological problems go away or even just get better-believe me I would stay on them. I actually get jealous of people who say their meds work for them. I'm part of a support group for moms with anxiety and some of them report relief from their symptoms within days of starting medication. This did not happen for me.  So as I'm going through the process of tapering- I do feel like some of the old symptoms are returning, and I also feel like some of them are exacerbated by the change in my brain chemistry. For me it's probably a little bit of both. That might be the case with you too. I know I can't blame WD for all my problems, and that's a bit difficult to accept. But it's clear to me that ADs and other psych meds are not going to help me so it's kind of a moot point in the end. Although I will say I've noticed my symptoms now do often correlate to decreases so it's helpful to remind myself that 1- I do have legitimate psychological issues and 2- the fact that I'm changing my brain chemistry makes me more vulnerable to them and I should be kind and patient with myself.

 

Just my experience-hope you make some connections on this board- if only to keep reminding yourself that there are other perspectives besides the doctors and psychiatrists. They are terrifyingly ignorant (my psych cold turkeyed me off benzos and trazodone and said I could CT off zoloft) And my psych also gave me the same advice about avoiding forums because only people who had problems with the drugs would post on there. Think about that for a moment- why should those of us who have had problems with the meds be ignored or dismissed? THat's just not logical. If anything these are the voices who should be heard more than anyone!

11/20/14-Found out I was 8 weeks pregnant
1/30/15-Went to ER for panic attacks, insomnia. Put on Lorazepam 2 X daily and Trazodone 50mg for 2 weeks
Started seeing psychiatrist 2/10- told to CT Lorazepam and trazodone increased to 100mg. Began Zoloft 25mg Zoloft increased 2/16 to 50mg, Trazodone increased to 200mg.

2/20- CT trazodone-lots of GI stress, increased anxiety

2/25 Reduced zoloft to 37.5mg no problems

3/12 reduced to 25mg  no problems

3/19 reduced to 12.5 mg. Hit by a 3.5 week wave-insomnia, Intrusive thoughts, depression, stomach cramps

Reduced to 11mg using liquid taper on 4/10 after a week of a great window. Started another wave 4/13-hoping it's a much smaller wave

Jumped off at 2mg 4 days after the birth of our baby on 6/16/15-massive crash

Tried 5mg Lexapro for 4 days July 2015-it didn't help

7.5-15 mg mirtazapine 1-2X week from August-January 2016 for insomnia. Sometimes used more, sometimes used less during sleep windows/waves. Quit being effective for insomnia in January 2016. 

Have a perscription for alprazolam .5mg PRN but it doesn't work on me for sleep

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I get it that your questions are sincere and there is no mal-intent. As is my response.  I know all too well the ravages of autonomic dysfunction without psychotropic drugs.  Multiple Sclerosis does that all by itself.  That makes my journey a little complicated since I may not be able to discern the root of the symptom. To everyone suffering from their symptoms, I would say to get checked and be sure that there is nothing else going on neurologically that needs to be addressed in addition to w/d process. Good luck on your journey 

 

Great point. Multiple Sclerosis was known as "faker's disease" by doctors until brain scan technology was developed and proved that the MS patients indeed had physical damage to their brains in the form of lesions.  

 

Other dysautonomic afflictions such as Gulf War Syndrome, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and Fibromyalgia still get the skeptics who say out of ignorance, "Maybe it's all in their head". When in fact, such illnesses are triggered by chronic stress, toxins, or viral infection.

 

Someday the medical community will wake up to the overwhelming evidence that SSRIs often cause such protracted damage to those who take these drugs. But as usual, they are the last to get on board due to inertia, denial, and concerns that their treatment is in fact "doing MUCH harm". 

 

'all in your head' is what my doc said and later I went and told him that he was only partially correct, that is was in my spinal cord too!  It IS in our heads!! it IS real ! our brains are suffering from the withdrawal 

neurologically challenged

Copaxone, Baclofen Oxybutynin and L.D.N. for multiple sclerosis and on Dilatin for seizure disorder Celexa 20 then 40 for at least 7 years Started first reduction in Jan 2015, but with generic- bad idea. Lasted 3 days

Started again Feb 1 2015. 

Feb 1-  40 to 37.5

Feb 24-  37.5 to 35

March 24- 35 to 32.5

April 28- 32.5 to 30

June 9- 30 to 27.5

July 1- 27.5 to 25

July 27-25 to 22.5

Aug 18- 22.5 to 20

 

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Yes, protracted SSRI withdrawal is a dysautonomic prolonged illness due to the damaging effects of basting our brains in a toxin for years - SSRI medication. Our brains tolerate the toxin, the same way we can tolerate toxins such as alcohol and other drugs that alter our mental state, often temporarily for the better.  But just like all the other toxins, eventually our brains get tired of tolerating them (poop-out). And just like other addictive drugs, our brains have altered their biochemistry to adjust to life with the toxin.

 

And just like other addictive drugs, stopping them often causes severe withdrawal. 

 

And clearly we have found out that SSRI withdrawal is often more severe and long lasting than withdrawal from alcohol, heroin, and cocaine. Some people have more tolerance for SSRIs than others, the same as some people can tolerate other substances such as alcohol and illicit drugs better than others. But too many people are being seriously damaged from these SSRIs. Thankfully many do heal, even if it does take months and years.

 

And while SSRIs do affect the brain, they affect our entire nervous system also. Hence the myriad list of dysautonomic withdrawal symptoms associated with SSRI WD such as shortness of breath, tightness in chest, tachycardia, heart palpitations, abnormal sweating, paresthesia, digestive problems, pain in joints, headaches, sensory disturbances, insomnia, racing thoughts, etc. 

Hell hath no fury as an SSRI scorned.....

 

Prozac:   20 mg 1996 – May 2003 CT to 0 mg; by Aug 03 CRASH then protracted WD 3 yrs

Zoloft:    2004 few weeks;, CT to 0 mg

Effexor:  2005 few months CT to 0 mg; bad withdrawal. 

Lexapro:  10 mg from 2009 – 2011; cut dose in half to:

Lexapro:    5 mg from 2011 – Feb. 2014; CT to 0 mg; 2 months of fatigue, followed by:
Aug - Oct 2014 Lexapro WD Insomnia Wave; sleeping very good from Nov 2014 - Nov 2015; broken sleep pattern Dec 2015 - Jan 2016

Dec 2014 - present: Brutal Lexapro WD ear ringing/head ringing/head pressure lasting for 14 months now.

 

24 months SSRI-free  

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Excellent post Clearday! 

**I am not a medical professional, if in doubt please consult a doctor with withdrawal knowledge.

 

 

Different drugs occasionally (mostly benzos) 1976 - 1981 (no problem)

1993 - 2002 in and out of hospital. every type of drug + ECT. Staring with seroxat

2002  effexor. 

Tapered  March 2012 to March 2013, ending with 5 beads.

Withdrawal April 2013 . Reinstated 5 beads reduced to 4 beads May 2013

Restarted taper  Nov 2013  

OFF EFFEXOR Feb 2015    :D 

Tapered atenolol and omeprazole Dec 2013 - May 2014

 

Tapering tramadol, Feb 2015 100mg , March 2015 50mg  

 July 2017 30mg.  May 15 2018 25mg

Taking fish oil, magnesium, B12, folic acid, bilberry eyebright for eye pressure. 

 

My story http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/4199-hello-mammap-checking-in/page-33

 

Lesson learned, slow down taper at lower doses. Taper no more than 10% of CURRENT dose if possible

 

 

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Smallfarmer ,    you're right about this site representing just a small proportion of people's experiences with medications. 

 

But three thousand eight hundred members having the same experiences?   This is quite likely more individuals than any individual doctor or therapist has access to.

 

Just a thought  :blush:

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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For what ever its worth small farmer , I went on AD for an anxiety disorder stemming from head trauma. When I had to stop AD due to side effects like headaches , excessive body heat etcc..   I developed horrific stomach pains ,temporary gasteroparesis ,food sensitivities, digestive problems the list goes on. My doc had me taper so fast after being on them for 7 yrs.  None of my original symptoms have came back  which could be called a "relapse". My body is going through some kind of shock from stopping the meds.  They are powerful meds that can work to help anxiety but your body gets addicted to them and rely's on them. I asked my Doctor how many people have had these horrific stomach symptoms when stopping meds . She said very few , my next question is how many people successfully get off AD after being on them for 5 yrs or more . She said very few .   I like you had many questions and wanted to here both sides of the story.  Its the biggest business in the world . Nothing is more corrupt , our doctors hand out these meds like candys. They are not aware of the dangers , but from what research I have done is that we all recover , it just takes WAY longer than they say .  We are supposed to be life long customers on these meds. That's a lot of coin ,a lot of coin ! 

Was on 30mg (Lexapro) for 7-8yrs20mg for 3 months (This was my choice my Doc wanted me to drop much faster)15 mg 2week10mg 2 weeks 5 mg 1 week0 since August 24th . PPI Dexlant  30 mg taper has begun. Cutting 20% currently.  using zantac as needed.  Benzo is currently 0.10mg 

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