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Hi everyone, I am hoping to help others and find support as I struggle through prolonged effexor withdrawal. Looking back, I can see so clearly how the nightmare roller coaster ride with medications happened to me. While living in the middle of it, however, it took me a long time to connect the dots and jump off that crazy ride!. And unfortunately, I am paying big time with my health.

 

I am a 34 year old previously very healthy woman. It all started in 2006 with xanax and ambien. I was about 3 weeks away from finals week in professional school when my dad passed away. Dealing with the grief from that and the pressure to continue performing well and passing all my finals in professional school led to bad anxiety and insomnia.

 

I saw a doctor at the health clinic on campus and was given xanax and ambien. At the time, I thought these medications were great! Finally I was sleeping and felt calm. I ended up using them off and on throughout the remainder of school until I graduated in 2007.

 

A few months went by, and then I entered the work force in my new career. This, too, was a very stressful time and I developed insomnia again. I saw a doctor and mentioned the medications that had helped in the past, and with no hesitation was given a presciption for xanax and ambien. I continued to take these medications off and on, and over time needed to increase the doses.

 

I started developing rebound anxiety and insomnia, which got really bad in 2011. At the time, I didn't realize what was happening- I thought I just wasn't coping with life well, and couldn't understand why. I went back to my general practitioner, and she said I had a severe anxiety problem and needed an SSRI. I was desperate to feel normal again and trusted my doctor completely, and readily accepted her prescription for Zoloft (after she assured me the medication was perfectly safe).

 

I picked up the medication, and after reading the side effect list, became very concerned and called my doctor. She said "you shouldn't read that list, now you are sure to develop every side effect on it, because most of those are in peoples heads"). I felt reassured by this and started the medication. Well, I had pretty much every side effect on the list. I won't bother to describe them, we've all been there. I told my doctor what was happening, she said to stick it out.

 

Well, after 2 weeks of pure hell, I stopped the medication. Believe it or not, I then went through withdrawal from that 2 weeks of Zoloft. I developed paresthesia, among many other things, and went to my doctor. She said paresthesia is caused by anxiety, and that this proves I need daily anxiety medication. Of course I believed her, I was so vulvernable and physically sick at the time. She proceeded to put me on and off lexapro, mirtazapine, clonazepam, lorazepam, among others.

 

Every time I started a new med the paresthesia went away within a day or two, but the medication side effects would be unbearable. This is when it started to dawn on me that the paresthesia wasn't anxiety, but was drug withdrawal, as I was recognizing a pattern. My doctor said it wasn't possible, drug withdrawal from these types of meds doesn't exist. I argued that I knew in my heart the paresthesia wasn't caused by anxiety, and that if it's not drug related, it must be an illness of some time.

 

She sent me off to a neurologist which led to about $8000 in tests (blood tests, MRI, ultrasound for the constant nausea, etc etc). All came back normal, at which point the neurologist stated, see- it's anxiety and has been the whole time. I felt very disheartened, accepted my diagnosis, and took her prescription for effexor. I told her that every single medication made me terribly sick, and that I believed the meds and withdrawal from them are what had given me so many problems, and that I was very concerned about taking effexor. She assured me the meds had caused no harm, and that effexor is a wonderful medication, and very safe. She said if I didn't like it, we would stop it, no problem.

 

Silly me started swollowing the pills like a good little sheep. Well, within 2 days the paresthesia was gone. I took the medication for about 2 months and told the neurologist I wanted to discontinue it, as it was causing side effects, and my reason for taking it (paresthesia) had resolved. She told me to take one capsule every other day for a week then discontinue it. I followed her instructions and the withdrawal was out of this world. I had never been so sick in my entire life.

 

After doing some research on line, I stumbled across a web site (probably this one) which explained how to taper effexor slowly. I quickly re-started the medication, and after a week or so, began to slowly wean myself off over 2 months. I had only ever been on the lowest dose of 37.5 mg and thought this would be sufficient. Well, I still experienced withdrawal- slightly more tolerable, but still hellish, and also developed paresthesia again.

 

After about 2 months of dealing with this, I decided to re-instate and taper again over an even longer period. So, I started my third and final taper from effexor in October 2013, and finished in March 2014. Even after such a low dose, and a fairly lengthy taper, I suffered withdrawal. It lasted about 3 months, then I had a period of ~2 months where I was mostly normal, then I got slammed again with severe protracted withdrawal in August/September 2014.

 

So, I have been taking it one day at a time (sometimes one hour at a time), and praying that this all eventually goes away. The most troublesome thing occurring for me right now, is that I feel as though I have fibromyalgia. I wake up each morning with pain at the base of my skull, and basically all over my body. My eyes are constantly burning and painful. My feet cramp up randomly. I also have severe digestive issues.These have been relentless for about 3 months now. These are things I had never experienced before my roller coaster med ride.

 

I am very worried that these things are permanent. From what I have read, fibromyalgia never goes away. I just don't know if I have real fibromyalgia, or withdrawal-induced fibromyalgia. I am scared that I will have to live the rest of my life in pain and with bad tummy troubles. I am currently seeing a GI doctor and will have endoscopy soon (probably another big waste of money, will probably come back normal just like every other test). I just don't know what else to do. I take no meds, eat very healthy, and force myself to exercise almost daily.

 

The weird thing is, when it comes to the pain- the more sleep I get, the worse I feel. Makes no sense to me! Anyhow, that is my story. I wish I had stopped after my first bad reaction to a drug, I would probably be recovered by now. If I had only known then what I know now! Sorry for the lengthy message. Any input or suggestions is much appreciated. Even if someone can just let me know the pain and stomach issues eventually went away for them, that would give me some hope. Thanks all, I appreciate you for taking the time to read this, more than you'll ever know!

Approximately 6 years ago, recovered from a horrific multi-year psychiatric med withdrawal including several benzos and antidepressants. Went on to have 2 beautiful babies, fulfilling my dream.

Never thought i would be in this situation again....

Started having severe insomnia and anxiety linked to my cycle. Took excessive amounts of melatonin to combat it, I believe this worsened everything. Sought help and was given:

April to may 2022- gabapentin 300mg, trazodone 25-75mg x 1 week. Hydroxyzine 50mg 1 dose. Ambien 10mg 2 doses. Doxepin 25mg 1 dose. Seroquel 1 dose. Carbemazepine in ER x 1 dose for tremors from 1 week of gabapentin. 

May 22-June 23 2022- prozac 3.2mg x 2 weeks, 5mg x 2 weeks, 2.5mg x 1 week, stop. Also mirtazapine 1.87mg-3.75mg x 2 weeks to deal with prozac insomnia. Also 3 doses lorazepam 0.5mg to deal with severe akathisia from prozac. Benzos are a huge no-no for me due to past accidental dependence.

Off everything including melatonin supplement as of June 23 2022. 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi naturegirl

 

Welcome to SA. Sorry to hear you have been through so much with such poor advice from medical practitioners. People often experience stomach troubles in withdrawal.

 

Have you tried probiotics? There is a thread on them here. http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1229-probiotics-and-gut-health/

 

There is a significant link between gut health and mental health.

Please note - I am not a medical practitioner and I do not give medical advice. I offer an opinion based on my own experiences, reading and discussion with others.On Effexor for 2 months at the start of 2005. Had extreme insomnia as an adverse reaction. Changed to mirtazapine. Have been trying to get off since mid 2008 with numerous failures including CTs and slow (but not slow enough tapers)Have slow tapered at 10 per cent or less for years. I have liquid mirtazapine made at a compounding chemist.

Was on 1.6 ml as at 19 March 2014.

Dropped to 1.5 ml 7 June 2014. Dropped to 1.4 in about September.

Dropped to 1.3 on 20 December 2014. Dropped to 1.2 in mid Jan 2015.

Dropped to 1 ml in late Feb 2015. I think my old medication had run out of puff so I tried 1ml when I got the new stuff and it seems to be going ok. Sleep has been good over the last week (as of 13/3/15).

Dropped to 1/2 ml 14/11/15 Fatigue still there as are memory and cognition problems. Sleep is patchy but liveable compared to what it has been in the past.

 

DRUG FREE - as at 1st May 2017

 

>My intro post is here - http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/2250-dalsaan

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I am so sorry you have been put through this.  I am six months off Paxil.  I too got slammed with a wave of withdrawals at five months out, and I have the fibromyalgia symptoms as well.  I was actually diagnosed with fibro years ago but since finding this site I am wondering if it isn't the roller coaster ride of anti depressants that caused most of it.  I have pain all over, especially in my legs, lower back, and feet.  pain, burning and tingling drives me nuts all the time.  Sorry you have this as well.  It truly does suck.  Glad you are here and hope this site gives you the support and information you need.  You are in good company here.  Welcome!

2002-put on amitryptiline for fibromyalgia. 10mg.2004-stopped abruptly. Didn't think it helped.2006 approx.-put on Paxil for mild anxiety 20 mg.2007 upped to 40 mg. not sure why.2011- tapered from 40 to 10. went nuts and went back to 20mg2014- tapered from 20mg to 0 from April to The end of June.current meds- Metformin(type 2 diabetic) and low dose aspirin.Take multi vitamin and vit b12, vit. D and magnesium. 5 months off Paxil. Still suffering.recently added 1.2mg of Paxil to alleviate withdrawals.(Nov 30)Dropped to .9mg because having symptoms from reinstatement.(dec 23)<p>taper to .76mg-.8mg (Feb 3) approx. weight .010 to about .008-.009 on scale.
.6mg (march 19th.) .5mg(April 19th)
.4mg(April 27th)
.2 (June 27th)

0mg.  done taper at beginning of August.

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Hi Nature girl...Im so sorry you got caught up in this mess. Its such a relief when we finally decide for ourselves that our instincts were right all along, but its also isolating and scary bc who do you turn to then? I too had Effexor issues, and never connected the dots. My thing was unbearable exhaustion, no matter how much I slept, to the point I could no longer drive during the day because I would fall asleep driving. I had a sleep study done for sleep apnea but what they discovered was no REM sleep any of my nights sleep cycles. They even told me it was the Effexor, but I was hesitant to stop. Then came crippling anxiety, some updosing (my request, I cant blame my Dr for that one) and finally a crash, with suicidal ideation, anxiety 24/7 and an inner restlessness that had me pacing alone in my kitchen at 4am every morning while my family slept. It was hell. I then tapered off 262.5mg in 3 months, which was ridiculous, and added fuel to teh fire by swapping meds around for another 4 months. Finally I just left things alone on 20mg of Paxil and then started a 10% every 4-6 weeks taper and am almost off. I am doing so much better, there's hope. All of the things I thought were permanent damage have resolved, and what i have today is waves of anxiety/mild depression, and i believe a lot of that is due to my ongoing taper. Im surprised Im not brain damaged after all of that.Its scary, but you're not alone. Once you realize what it is that happened then you can start to heal, and we do heal. Read some of the success stories here, they help a tonne!!! hang in there...

2 Timothy 1-7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

Effexor 75mg to 262.5mg 2005-2010 for post partum depression

Started having poop out mid 2010, also switched generic brands, then crashed in Dec 2010 (anxiety/ "terror", intense DR, anhedonia, suicidal ideation, chills, insomnia, horrible intrusive thoughts, disorientation, ect)
Rapid "tapered" from 262.5mg Effexor in 3 months

Tried Celexa,Cipralex, then Paxil to deal with wd(this switching made things worse and added akathesia)

Found online support and started tapering Paxil 7 months after quitting Effexor (at this point was having small windows).

Paxil taper: dropped 10% every 4-8 weeks

Year 1 October 2011 to Nov 2012 20mg to 10mg

Year 2 March 2013 to Feb 2014 10mg to 4mg

Year 3 April 2014 to May 2015 4mg to 1.1mg

Year 4 June 2015 1.1mg , dropping by 10% until .5mg, after then dropped by 0.1mg every 5 weeks until 0.1mg.

Finished! Official last dose of 0.1mg on June 15/16

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Aberdeen, you are amazingly strong. I can relate to the severe anxiety, there was times I thought I was going insane and needed to be locked up in a psych ward. I am still baffled at the fact that these drugs are handed out willy nilly, and that they can do so much harm and create such atypical behavior in people. I'm really happy to hear that a lot of your symptoms have resolved. Did you have lengthy stomach issues too? Good luck with the rest of your taper, you are doing amazing! Even if you hit a rough patch after you're all done, you will be able to fight through it, just as you have before. And you will only get stronger from there. For me, exercise has been the key. I force myself to do it, even if I feel like I'm dying. And I always feel at least a little bit better afterwards, sometimes a lot. And epsom salt baths, they are the best! One thing that I have taken away from all this is that I will never take a healthy body or mind for granted again. Every good day I get, I treasure. Funny how these things aren't usually realized until they are taken away from you for awhile!

Approximately 6 years ago, recovered from a horrific multi-year psychiatric med withdrawal including several benzos and antidepressants. Went on to have 2 beautiful babies, fulfilling my dream.

Never thought i would be in this situation again....

Started having severe insomnia and anxiety linked to my cycle. Took excessive amounts of melatonin to combat it, I believe this worsened everything. Sought help and was given:

April to may 2022- gabapentin 300mg, trazodone 25-75mg x 1 week. Hydroxyzine 50mg 1 dose. Ambien 10mg 2 doses. Doxepin 25mg 1 dose. Seroquel 1 dose. Carbemazepine in ER x 1 dose for tremors from 1 week of gabapentin. 

May 22-June 23 2022- prozac 3.2mg x 2 weeks, 5mg x 2 weeks, 2.5mg x 1 week, stop. Also mirtazapine 1.87mg-3.75mg x 2 weeks to deal with prozac insomnia. Also 3 doses lorazepam 0.5mg to deal with severe akathisia from prozac. Benzos are a huge no-no for me due to past accidental dependence.

Off everything including melatonin supplement as of June 23 2022. 

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  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi Naturegirl, welcome to SA. Your story is all too common here, most of us suffering from the effects of psych drugs and withdrawal from them.  Doctors just do not know what they are prescribing and are educated by the drugs companies! 

 

You will find a lot of helpful information here and tips from the self care forums for how to cope with withdrawal.

Thank you for sharing your story, please update your thread when you like, we think of the introductions forum as case histories that medical professionals can read if they find us, they are testament to the damage that psychiatry has caused!

**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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  • 3 months later...

Hi, I am in crisis right now and desparate for help. I tapered off effexor 1 year ago and have had no psychiatric meds since. The past year has been rough with prolonged withdrawal and bouts of anxiety along with way, but for the past 3 months I have been doing very well (working a stressful job and handling it well, traveling, etc). For the past week, seemingly out of the blue, I am having severe, debilitating anxiety and insomnia. I also have odd physical senstations that I haven't experienced in quite this way before (odd nagging nausea-not the anxiety kind, but the flu kind; extreme muscle pain; periodic cramping of my hands and feet; a buzzing or tingling sensation in my arms and legs; weakness. I saw my doctor, who ran blood tests- everything is normal. I saw her before the anxiety started- at first, I just had the flu-like symptoms, then the anxiety hit. I don't know what to do....I am going to have to resign from my job (a well-established, successful career of 9 years). I aleady took a leave for 1 month 6 months ago when I was having a bout of bad withdrawal. I feel desperate for relief, and am so desperate that I would even go on meds again (although I swore they were the worst thing I ever did to myself and that I would never touch them again). Is there any chance this is still a delayed withdrawal? Please if anyone can offer me advice, I really need help right now. Thank-you.

Approximately 6 years ago, recovered from a horrific multi-year psychiatric med withdrawal including several benzos and antidepressants. Went on to have 2 beautiful babies, fulfilling my dream.

Never thought i would be in this situation again....

Started having severe insomnia and anxiety linked to my cycle. Took excessive amounts of melatonin to combat it, I believe this worsened everything. Sought help and was given:

April to may 2022- gabapentin 300mg, trazodone 25-75mg x 1 week. Hydroxyzine 50mg 1 dose. Ambien 10mg 2 doses. Doxepin 25mg 1 dose. Seroquel 1 dose. Carbemazepine in ER x 1 dose for tremors from 1 week of gabapentin. 

May 22-June 23 2022- prozac 3.2mg x 2 weeks, 5mg x 2 weeks, 2.5mg x 1 week, stop. Also mirtazapine 1.87mg-3.75mg x 2 weeks to deal with prozac insomnia. Also 3 doses lorazepam 0.5mg to deal with severe akathisia from prozac. Benzos are a huge no-no for me due to past accidental dependence.

Off everything including melatonin supplement as of June 23 2022. 

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Yes, there is a good chance that this is delayed SSRI withdrawal.

 

There are many reports here of people doing more or less ok after stopping their drug, only to be hit with difficult symptoms out of the blue many months later.

 

Seven months after I stopped Lexapro, I was hit with a  terrible insomnia wave, including heart palpitations, anxiety, and that wave lasted two months. It cleared up, and I sleep great now. Others on here have reported exactly the same tardive onset (delayed) of the insomnia with Lexapro and other SSRIs.

 

Ten months after I stopped Lexapro, I was hit out of nowhere with head pressure and ear ringing, and slight numbness on the left side of my body and scalp. I am still in that wave, it has lasted for six months now. My brain is still adjusting to the major changes that Lexapro did to my brain. It is very difficult. But I have good reason to hope that it will improve over the next year or so; it has already improved lately. Head pressure, ear ringing, numbness and tingling in the extremities are also very commonly reported symptoms of SSRI WD. 

 

Insomnia, tingling in the extremities (paresthesia), pain, unusual anxiety, muscle cramping, have all been reported by people in protracted SSRI withdrawal on forums like these.

 

When my symptoms are very bad, out of desperation I think that maybe I should go back on Lexapro to make the symptoms go away. But then I remember that Lexapro is the poison that caused all this nerve damage to begin with. And there is no guarantee that Lexapro will work for me again and continue to work. These meds often stop working for people after years on them, known as "poop-out". That's always a bad sign.

 

Many people recover after two or three years being off the drug. Our nervous systems will heal from the damage caused by SSRIs, it just takes a surprisingly long time.

 

People in SSRI WD often arrive on this site complaining of symptoms exactly like yours. If they had stopped their drug within the past three months, they may be suggested to "reinstate" on their drug and do a long slow taper from there to reduce the impact of withdrawal. Sometimes reinstatement works, other times it doesn't. But since you are off your drug for one year, reinstatement will probably not be suggested to you. A this point, it could be too disruptive to your nervous system, as it has already spent one year readjusting to life without the drug.

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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Thank you for responding. I am okay waiting it out without drugs, but I cannot go to work this way. I am completely debilitated. I am stressed about having to leave my job. I don't even want to, but feel I have no choice :(

Approximately 6 years ago, recovered from a horrific multi-year psychiatric med withdrawal including several benzos and antidepressants. Went on to have 2 beautiful babies, fulfilling my dream.

Never thought i would be in this situation again....

Started having severe insomnia and anxiety linked to my cycle. Took excessive amounts of melatonin to combat it, I believe this worsened everything. Sought help and was given:

April to may 2022- gabapentin 300mg, trazodone 25-75mg x 1 week. Hydroxyzine 50mg 1 dose. Ambien 10mg 2 doses. Doxepin 25mg 1 dose. Seroquel 1 dose. Carbemazepine in ER x 1 dose for tremors from 1 week of gabapentin. 

May 22-June 23 2022- prozac 3.2mg x 2 weeks, 5mg x 2 weeks, 2.5mg x 1 week, stop. Also mirtazapine 1.87mg-3.75mg x 2 weeks to deal with prozac insomnia. Also 3 doses lorazepam 0.5mg to deal with severe akathisia from prozac. Benzos are a huge no-no for me due to past accidental dependence.

Off everything including melatonin supplement as of June 23 2022. 

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Yes, these symptoms can be absolutely debilitating. I went through this years ago with Prozac WD and had to leave my great job. And the doctors didn't tell me the Prozac caused my debilitating WD symptoms back then. When I finally recovered from Prozac WD after a few years, I eventually went back on SSRIs (Lexapro) to treat a minor ailment, not knowing that Prozac had harmed me so bad. Now I am suffering in Lexapro WD, with completely different WD symptoms than the Prozac. The doctors are so clueless, it's astounding. I wouldn't believe they could be so negligent and ignorant if this hadn't happened to me. 

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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  • Moderator Emeritus

I may be waaaaay off base, and I'm not dismissing that your symptoms could be associated with withdrawal. It's just some of your symptoms sound oddly similar what a friend of mine reported before being diagnosed with Lyme disease and had never been on an AD. I don't know what the prevalence is in your area, I know it's extremely low in the southern part of California, but... Were you tested for Lyme when you had the other blood tests run? Your doc may have ruled it out already if there are no cases In your area, but thought I'd mention it.

 

The symptoms may be short lived and resolve sooner than later, so don't give-up your job. Call in sick if you need too, but I think it's too early to think about resigning. Just my 2 cents.

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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  • Administrator

Welcome, naturegirl.

 

It does sound like you have prolonged post-discontinuation syndrome, with a familiar pattern earlier The Windows and Waves Pattern of Recovery

 

Many people do better with fish oil and magnesium supplements, see
http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/36-king-of-supplements-omega-3-fatty-acids-fish-oil/
http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1300-magnesium-natures-calcium-channel-blocker/
 

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 for the replies. I can ask my doctor to check me for lyme. I want to leave no stone un-turned, as the initial stages of this flare-up did not feel like anxiety or depession at all, but a flu-like illness. I don't know if that illness is still there- the anxiety is so strong, that's all I can feel. I ended up talking to the psychiatrist who helped me taper off effexor. She wanted to start all sorts of mood stabilizers (did not feel I am bi-polar, but said they would help calm me down anyway). I said no way am I taking that stuff, so she prescribed a short course of clonazepam. I took one last night and got ~8 hours of sleep for the first time in days. I feel drugged up and anxious this morning, but better overall. Of course I'm bummed that I broke my 1 year streak of no psychoactive meds, but really felt I needed to do something. I am also giving my work a 30-day resignment notice today. I love my job and it breaks my heart to do this, but I feel it is just too stressful of a place to be for someone who is sensitive and recovering from withdrawal. This is the last thing I am going to try before going back on meds. I have done everything else to help myself (therapy, excercise, meditation, etc) but have not changed my environment. If after a few months away from work I'm still anxiety-ridden, I will have no choice to go back on meds, as I must live a functional life to be happy. Does anyone know if people 100% get through this?

Approximately 6 years ago, recovered from a horrific multi-year psychiatric med withdrawal including several benzos and antidepressants. Went on to have 2 beautiful babies, fulfilling my dream.

Never thought i would be in this situation again....

Started having severe insomnia and anxiety linked to my cycle. Took excessive amounts of melatonin to combat it, I believe this worsened everything. Sought help and was given:

April to may 2022- gabapentin 300mg, trazodone 25-75mg x 1 week. Hydroxyzine 50mg 1 dose. Ambien 10mg 2 doses. Doxepin 25mg 1 dose. Seroquel 1 dose. Carbemazepine in ER x 1 dose for tremors from 1 week of gabapentin. 

May 22-June 23 2022- prozac 3.2mg x 2 weeks, 5mg x 2 weeks, 2.5mg x 1 week, stop. Also mirtazapine 1.87mg-3.75mg x 2 weeks to deal with prozac insomnia. Also 3 doses lorazepam 0.5mg to deal with severe akathisia from prozac. Benzos are a huge no-no for me due to past accidental dependence.

Off everything including melatonin supplement as of June 23 2022. 

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 Does anyone know if people 100% get through this?

 

Yes, absolutely, there are many success stories. Here is just one:

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/3523-success-recovery-from-protracted-zoloft-withdrawal-and-pssd/

 

For now, the main thing is that you have identified the source of your present suffering, it is most likely protracted Effexor withdrawal.

 

I have lived through protracted withdrawal twice. I largely recovered from protracted Prozac WD after a few years (life was tolerable during most of that time, I mainly had protracted chronic fatigue and brain fog).

 

Now I am recovering from Lexapro WD. I am improving slowly. 

 

It is tragic that many people go back on these powerful medications simply to deal with withdrawal from those medications. These medications are intended to help with underlying mental conditions, yet they wind up causing an illness - protracted withdrawal - which the only short term relief is going back on the med, which may or may not help. It is a vicious trap. 

 

Those who recover usually have the message: recovery is tough and takes a long time, but it is worth the effort. They urge people that if they can just stick it out through the bad waves, and build up hope during precious windows of feeling normal, that they can get through it and recover:

 

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

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

Rather than resigning, naturegirl, I highly recommend taking a disability leave from your work. You will be able to get state disability payments.

 

Also see One theory of antidepressant withdrawal syndrome

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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Hi naturegirl:
 
Thanks for posting in my thread.  I have read every bit of information, scientific, pseudo-scientific (and telling the difference is getting tougher every day) and anecdotal about the prolonged, delayed withdrawal from antidepressants.  I am completely convinced from what I have learned that people recover fully from this syndrome.  Personally, anecdotally, I have experienced clear signs of healing, despite my recent bad days.
 
Funny thing, when I became sick about seven months ago, what I felt was clearly not depression.  And since it had been six months since I had stopped effexor, (about one month of acute withdrawal followed by five months of being healthy and feeling good) I was very slow to consider a delayed withdrawal syndrome.  Because I had some symptoms that were somewhat suggestive of an inflammatory process (headache, tinnitus, stuffiness in the ears and sinuses), and because the mosquitoes were biting, I though 'maybe I've got West Nile virus'.  (I had no history of fever, but I was desperate for an explanation.)
 
Of course, to rule that out involved a spinal tap; of course, it was negative for West Nile and every other thing they tested. 
 
Hang in there, I am sure time will heal.  Voltaire said something I've always liked about our profession: 
 


The art of medicine consists in amusing the patient while nature cures the disease.

 

1983-1995: On and off several tricyclic ADs
1995: Quit alcohol, started Prozac
2003: Stopped Prozac; 2004: Started Effexor XR 225
2014: Tried and failed three rapid tapers; stopped cold turkey March 11, 2014, eight days of Prozac as a bridge.
March 19, 2014: SSRI/SSNI free; four weeks acute withdrawal, then five month window of minimal symptoms.

Sept 2014-June 2015: Delayed, prolonged severe withdrawal from Effexor. Roller coaster, way up and way down.  Symptoms swing widely. Clear improvement in Mar-Apr, but still much hell. In May symptoms shifted to insomnia and depression, less HA, tinnitus and brain fog.

July-Sept 2015: After two weeks of using CES device, tremendous relief of insomnia, depression and other symptoms. Feeling much better, finally! Symptoms still come and go, good and bad days.Sneaking up on return to good health.  Alto gave me a 'Here Comes the Sun'!!!  ☼

Oct 2015-Feb 2016: Difficult several months, some good days but the bad days felt like I'm moving backwards.  Struggling after steady improvement, but hanging tough.

 

Current supplements:  Mg-Threonate; glutathione; krill oil; borage oil; phosphatidyl choline; multivite, vit B12, vit C, vit D vit E; OTC meds pseudoephedrine in the AM and benadryl at bedtime.  Clonidine 0.2 bid for high blood pressure.

Filled with hope, courage and self-appreciation.

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Love that quote, offEffexor. The human body is pretty remarkable and knows how to take care of itself most of the time!

Approximately 6 years ago, recovered from a horrific multi-year psychiatric med withdrawal including several benzos and antidepressants. Went on to have 2 beautiful babies, fulfilling my dream.

Never thought i would be in this situation again....

Started having severe insomnia and anxiety linked to my cycle. Took excessive amounts of melatonin to combat it, I believe this worsened everything. Sought help and was given:

April to may 2022- gabapentin 300mg, trazodone 25-75mg x 1 week. Hydroxyzine 50mg 1 dose. Ambien 10mg 2 doses. Doxepin 25mg 1 dose. Seroquel 1 dose. Carbemazepine in ER x 1 dose for tremors from 1 week of gabapentin. 

May 22-June 23 2022- prozac 3.2mg x 2 weeks, 5mg x 2 weeks, 2.5mg x 1 week, stop. Also mirtazapine 1.87mg-3.75mg x 2 weeks to deal with prozac insomnia. Also 3 doses lorazepam 0.5mg to deal with severe akathisia from prozac. Benzos are a huge no-no for me due to past accidental dependence.

Off everything including melatonin supplement as of June 23 2022. 

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Over the past few days, something new has developed. I have a buzzing/tingling/itching sensation in my legs and feet, and a little bit in my hands. It feels just like when you work out and the blood really gets pumping to your muscles, causing that itchy feeling. It's been distressing to me. It doesn't seem to be linked to anxiety (I know anxiety can cause that numb or tingly feeling in the extremities, but ever since I took a clonazepam pill 2 days ago my anxiety is pretty much gone). I'm 13 months out from my last granule of effexor. The clonazepam pill is the only psychoactive substance I have had in over a year. Could this be prolonged effexor withdrawal? Will it go away on it's own? My mind is jumping around to all the possibilities- MS, lyme disease, etc. I'm so tired of these new, random symptoms that pop up! Has anyone had this go away? Any idea how long it takes? thanks so much, the support has been wonderful.

Approximately 6 years ago, recovered from a horrific multi-year psychiatric med withdrawal including several benzos and antidepressants. Went on to have 2 beautiful babies, fulfilling my dream.

Never thought i would be in this situation again....

Started having severe insomnia and anxiety linked to my cycle. Took excessive amounts of melatonin to combat it, I believe this worsened everything. Sought help and was given:

April to may 2022- gabapentin 300mg, trazodone 25-75mg x 1 week. Hydroxyzine 50mg 1 dose. Ambien 10mg 2 doses. Doxepin 25mg 1 dose. Seroquel 1 dose. Carbemazepine in ER x 1 dose for tremors from 1 week of gabapentin. 

May 22-June 23 2022- prozac 3.2mg x 2 weeks, 5mg x 2 weeks, 2.5mg x 1 week, stop. Also mirtazapine 1.87mg-3.75mg x 2 weeks to deal with prozac insomnia. Also 3 doses lorazepam 0.5mg to deal with severe akathisia from prozac. Benzos are a huge no-no for me due to past accidental dependence.

Off everything including melatonin supplement as of June 23 2022. 

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I have tingling and burning and pain and muscle twitching in my legs and feet and it has been hanging around for months. I am ten months off 20 mg of Paxil minus a 1 mg reinstatement to try and reduce my personal hell. It seems the symptoms are getting worse at times and it is very frustrating. I feel for you but I do think it could be related to your WDs.

2002-put on amitryptiline for fibromyalgia. 10mg.2004-stopped abruptly. Didn't think it helped.2006 approx.-put on Paxil for mild anxiety 20 mg.2007 upped to 40 mg. not sure why.2011- tapered from 40 to 10. went nuts and went back to 20mg2014- tapered from 20mg to 0 from April to The end of June.current meds- Metformin(type 2 diabetic) and low dose aspirin.Take multi vitamin and vit b12, vit. D and magnesium. 5 months off Paxil. Still suffering.recently added 1.2mg of Paxil to alleviate withdrawals.(Nov 30)Dropped to .9mg because having symptoms from reinstatement.(dec 23)<p>taper to .76mg-.8mg (Feb 3) approx. weight .010 to about .008-.009 on scale.
.6mg (march 19th.) .5mg(April 19th)
.4mg(April 27th)
.2 (June 27th)

0mg.  done taper at beginning of August.

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The buzzing and tingling in my legs, and pain in my thigh muscles, is driving me insane. I don't think I can take another minute like this. I was up all night with it. Nothing helps- tried an epsom salt bath, heating pad and ibuprofen. I don't even know if this is withdrawal anymore, at 13 months out. I was symptom free for 2 months before this. I laid in bed feeling it, then my mind started running through all of the terrible things it could be, and I got very anxious. I took a clonazepam and it didn't help! The last time I took one, it knocked me out completely. What the heck?? Now I have to go to work on no sleep, partially drugged from clonazepam, and still tingling/buzzing. I will go to my doctor for an MRI, but she is going to refer me to a neurologist who will prescribe either an SNRI or something like Lyrica. So what is better- take evil horrid medications (that probably caused this in the first place) or literally go insane from lack of sleep and continual discomfort? I don't believe in suicide, but man does it seem like an appealing option when I'm suffering and the only treatments the doctors can offer I know will harm me in the long run.

Approximately 6 years ago, recovered from a horrific multi-year psychiatric med withdrawal including several benzos and antidepressants. Went on to have 2 beautiful babies, fulfilling my dream.

Never thought i would be in this situation again....

Started having severe insomnia and anxiety linked to my cycle. Took excessive amounts of melatonin to combat it, I believe this worsened everything. Sought help and was given:

April to may 2022- gabapentin 300mg, trazodone 25-75mg x 1 week. Hydroxyzine 50mg 1 dose. Ambien 10mg 2 doses. Doxepin 25mg 1 dose. Seroquel 1 dose. Carbemazepine in ER x 1 dose for tremors from 1 week of gabapentin. 

May 22-June 23 2022- prozac 3.2mg x 2 weeks, 5mg x 2 weeks, 2.5mg x 1 week, stop. Also mirtazapine 1.87mg-3.75mg x 2 weeks to deal with prozac insomnia. Also 3 doses lorazepam 0.5mg to deal with severe akathisia from prozac. Benzos are a huge no-no for me due to past accidental dependence.

Off everything including melatonin supplement as of June 23 2022. 

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Please - not Lyrica, I am withdrawing from it, I know!!!!

05/2013 Lyrica 100 mg / per day for pain + PGAD resulting from caesarian delivery11/2014 started to taper: 50 mg per day/ for one week then c/tafter one month reinstated at 50 mg /per days of 10 July 2015 drug free-

symptoms OCD

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Funny story.  Well Not really but it did leave me scratching my head.  I started taking JIgsaw magnesium which has mag malate and malic acid and b6, b12, and active folate.  Withing a few days my leg pain decreased but my mental symptoms sky rocketed.  So I switched bag to magnesium glycinate and citrate.  After a few days the leg pain and twitching was back and the mental symptoms were subsiding.  Something in the jigsaw helped but made me nutty. My thoughts:  The active folate causes issues for alot of people but the malic acid has been shown to decrease pain for those with fibromyalgia when taken with magnesium.  My plan is to switch to natural calm magnesium and add a malic acid supplement.  Don't know if this is the answer but it is worth a shot. I will let you know if it works.

2002-put on amitryptiline for fibromyalgia. 10mg.2004-stopped abruptly. Didn't think it helped.2006 approx.-put on Paxil for mild anxiety 20 mg.2007 upped to 40 mg. not sure why.2011- tapered from 40 to 10. went nuts and went back to 20mg2014- tapered from 20mg to 0 from April to The end of June.current meds- Metformin(type 2 diabetic) and low dose aspirin.Take multi vitamin and vit b12, vit. D and magnesium. 5 months off Paxil. Still suffering.recently added 1.2mg of Paxil to alleviate withdrawals.(Nov 30)Dropped to .9mg because having symptoms from reinstatement.(dec 23)<p>taper to .76mg-.8mg (Feb 3) approx. weight .010 to about .008-.009 on scale.
.6mg (march 19th.) .5mg(April 19th)
.4mg(April 27th)
.2 (June 27th)

0mg.  done taper at beginning of August.

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The buzzing and tingling in my legs, and pain in my thigh muscles, is driving me insane. I don't think I can take another minute like this. I was up all night with it. Nothing helps- tried an epsom salt bath, heating pad and ibuprofen. I don't even know if this is withdrawal anymore, at 13 months out. I was symptom free for 2 months before this. I laid in bed feeling it, then my mind started running through all of the terrible things it could be, and I got very anxious. I took a clonazepam and it didn't help! The last time I took one, it knocked me out completely. What the heck?? Now I have to go to work on no sleep, partially drugged from clonazepam, and still tingling/buzzing. I will go to my doctor for an MRI, but she is going to refer me to a neurologist who will prescribe either an SNRI or something like Lyrica. So what is better- take evil horrid medications (that probably caused this in the first place) or literally go insane from lack of sleep and continual discomfort? I don't believe in suicide, but man does it seem like an appealing option when I'm suffering and the only treatments the doctors can offer I know will harm me in the long run.

 

I have read reports like this so many times on here. Very typical for delayed onset SSRI protracted withdrawal.

 

I feel like I've read this same post a few times before on other threads, it sounds so typical.  

 

I was symptom-free during months 3 - 6 after stopping Lexapro. I was hit hard at seven months then at ten months after stopping Lexapro with strange new symptoms each time. Yes this stuff can hit very long after stopping.  

 

The paresthesia you are experiencing is so very common, a signature SSRI withdrawal symptom.

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/8082-nathalou-introducing-myself-need-support-badly/

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/8627-someday-random-tingling-pin-prick-burn-y-sensations-around-my-body-face-anyone/

 

http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/8864-routamarja-citalopram-withdrawal/?hl=routamarja

 

and many more....

 

I spent years with medical tests trying to figure out what was causing my Prozac WD years ago. All a waste of time. The answer, of course, was right in front of my face, and the doctor's faces, the whole time, the most obvious reason: I had been taking a powerful nerve-altering SSRI medication for years! It was only during my current Lexapro WD that I finally figured out the culprits of my protracted suffering, it is the SSRIs.   

 

All I can say is that it is a dynamic process that evolves and changes day by day and week by week. Symptoms come and go, it is like a rollercoaster.

 

I understand the suicide ideation, that happens to most of us when the symptoms are persistent and unrelenting for a few days. Just a natural human reaction to such suffering.

 

Of course we have to do whatever we must to survive this process. And so many of us have gone through the exact thought process you are going through right now, confronting this withdrawal, accepting it. We have survived, and so will you. 

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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Maybe I will stop the multi-vitamin I'm taking. Perhaps I'm too sensitive for it. Does the buzzing and tingling go away eventually? Also I have a lot of muscle pain, which makes me think maybe I have fibromyalgia? From what I hear, that is a pretty terrible illness to have. I know my brain won't rest until I get the MRI, to be sure it's not MS or some other scary thing.

Approximately 6 years ago, recovered from a horrific multi-year psychiatric med withdrawal including several benzos and antidepressants. Went on to have 2 beautiful babies, fulfilling my dream.

Never thought i would be in this situation again....

Started having severe insomnia and anxiety linked to my cycle. Took excessive amounts of melatonin to combat it, I believe this worsened everything. Sought help and was given:

April to may 2022- gabapentin 300mg, trazodone 25-75mg x 1 week. Hydroxyzine 50mg 1 dose. Ambien 10mg 2 doses. Doxepin 25mg 1 dose. Seroquel 1 dose. Carbemazepine in ER x 1 dose for tremors from 1 week of gabapentin. 

May 22-June 23 2022- prozac 3.2mg x 2 weeks, 5mg x 2 weeks, 2.5mg x 1 week, stop. Also mirtazapine 1.87mg-3.75mg x 2 weeks to deal with prozac insomnia. Also 3 doses lorazepam 0.5mg to deal with severe akathisia from prozac. Benzos are a huge no-no for me due to past accidental dependence.

Off everything including melatonin supplement as of June 23 2022. 

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Maybe I will stop the multi-vitamin I'm taking. Perhaps I'm too sensitive for it. Does the buzzing and tingling go away eventually? Also I have a lot of muscle pain, which makes me think maybe I have fibromyalgia? From what I hear, that is a pretty terrible illness to have. I know my brain won't rest until I get the MRI, to be sure it's not MS or some other scary thing.

 

Like all WD symptoms, including muscle pain, they come and go and vary in intensity as our bodies adjust to life without the SSRI and heal. Many have reported largely recovering from all their SSRI WD symptoms, but it takes time.

 

Some report that supplements help, others say they do not help. I think many agree that the main thing that helps is patience and time. 

 

Others have reported their symptoms mimicking fibromyalgia -

 

post-4328-0-07388200-1430149765_thumb.jpg

 

Click on picture to read. 

 

Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Gulf War Illness, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Protracted SSRI Withdrawal are all dysautonomic conditions triggered by viral illness, stress, toxins, drugs etc. They cause instability in the autonomic nervous system resulting in many of our symptoms. 

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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I have had fibromyalgia for the last 17 years.  My muscle discomfort was bad but livable but now it is horrendous.  It has been much worse the last ten months that I have been off the Paxil.  Luckily I was already on disability for the fibromyalgia so I didn't have work to contend with.  I do not know if the WDs made the fibro worse or if all my amped muscle issues are WD induced, but I pray it settles down with time and I am only dealing with my normal fibro again.

2002-put on amitryptiline for fibromyalgia. 10mg.2004-stopped abruptly. Didn't think it helped.2006 approx.-put on Paxil for mild anxiety 20 mg.2007 upped to 40 mg. not sure why.2011- tapered from 40 to 10. went nuts and went back to 20mg2014- tapered from 20mg to 0 from April to The end of June.current meds- Metformin(type 2 diabetic) and low dose aspirin.Take multi vitamin and vit b12, vit. D and magnesium. 5 months off Paxil. Still suffering.recently added 1.2mg of Paxil to alleviate withdrawals.(Nov 30)Dropped to .9mg because having symptoms from reinstatement.(dec 23)<p>taper to .76mg-.8mg (Feb 3) approx. weight .010 to about .008-.009 on scale.
.6mg (march 19th.) .5mg(April 19th)
.4mg(April 27th)
.2 (June 27th)

0mg.  done taper at beginning of August.

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Naturegirl, I am sorry you are suffering from this new symptom.  One of the biggest psychological adjustments I continue to struggle with is accommodating to the fact that organized medicine has no answers for me.  To me, throwing psychoactive medications at antidepressant withdrawal is not a satisfactory answer.

 

Fwiw, I have had some strange neurologic symptoms appear and then quickly disappear during the last seven months.  And my prolonged withdrawal was delayed; I had five months of feeling normal before this thing started.

 

On occasion I have had some transient parathesias and twitching, and it panics me.  I think, 'oh no, now I'm getting another WD symptom'.  Lots of people in here are tortured by such pains and sensations.  It sucks.  I consider the tinnitus I have daily a very similar manifestation. 

 

The confidence that I have in my self-diagnosis of withdrawal syndrome gives me an important degree of solace.  Hopefully an MRI and whatever other diagnostic tests will help confirm this diagnosis of exclusion. Hang in there, you are not alone.

1983-1995: On and off several tricyclic ADs
1995: Quit alcohol, started Prozac
2003: Stopped Prozac; 2004: Started Effexor XR 225
2014: Tried and failed three rapid tapers; stopped cold turkey March 11, 2014, eight days of Prozac as a bridge.
March 19, 2014: SSRI/SSNI free; four weeks acute withdrawal, then five month window of minimal symptoms.

Sept 2014-June 2015: Delayed, prolonged severe withdrawal from Effexor. Roller coaster, way up and way down.  Symptoms swing widely. Clear improvement in Mar-Apr, but still much hell. In May symptoms shifted to insomnia and depression, less HA, tinnitus and brain fog.

July-Sept 2015: After two weeks of using CES device, tremendous relief of insomnia, depression and other symptoms. Feeling much better, finally! Symptoms still come and go, good and bad days.Sneaking up on return to good health.  Alto gave me a 'Here Comes the Sun'!!!  ☼

Oct 2015-Feb 2016: Difficult several months, some good days but the bad days felt like I'm moving backwards.  Struggling after steady improvement, but hanging tough.

 

Current supplements:  Mg-Threonate; glutathione; krill oil; borage oil; phosphatidyl choline; multivite, vit B12, vit C, vit D vit E; OTC meds pseudoephedrine in the AM and benadryl at bedtime.  Clonidine 0.2 bid for high blood pressure.

Filled with hope, courage and self-appreciation.

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  • Administrator

naturegirl, as Frustrated indicated, many people do better with fish oil and magnesium supplements, see
http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/36-king-of-supplements-omega-3-fatty-acids-fish-oil/
http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1300-magnesium-natures-calcium-channel-blocker/

 

Also use search in the Symptoms and Self-Care forum for our discussions about fibromyalgia.

 

I had withdrawal symptoms mimicking fibromyalgia for 7 months; they finally went away with acupuncture.

 

clearday is absolutely right, fibromyalgia and withdrawal syndrome have autonomic hypersensitivity in common. There's no clear line between them.
 

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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An update....The severe anxiety I was experiencing about a week ago has subsided. Now I have mild flutters here and there, and am sleeping on my own for ~8 hours each night. The buzzing and tingling in my legs has improved by ~80%, but my legs are still very weak and I feel uncoordinated and clumsy. Last night I had a nightmare which felt like it went on for hours. When I woke up, I had the most horrendous headache (which I still have). I'm not sure if the nightmare was causing me to grit my teeth or grind them, but my neck, face, and base of skull are all aching terribly. I feel as though I have lost all of my self confidence. I never know how I'm going to feel on any given day. It doesn't seem to matter how well I take care of myself. I have been swimming 40  minutes and walking 4 miles daily, and eating very healthy. Getting a massage every other week. You'd think I'd be feeling better! I am almost 35 and we want to have children (don't have any so far). I keep putting it off until I'm "healthy". 2 months ago I was feeling better so we started trying. I'm glad it didn't happen, because I'm back in hell again and would be fearing for the health of my baby. Maybe I should give up that dream, it feels like I will never truly be well again. I have had no drugs of any kind for over 1 year, except for two clonazepam which I took last week when I was losing my mind from anxiety and lack of sleep. Maybe this isn't even drug withdrawal. Why would my brain seemingly heal, then relapse? I don't understand the windows and waves pattern and why it works this way. Everyone, thank you so much for being here for me.

Approximately 6 years ago, recovered from a horrific multi-year psychiatric med withdrawal including several benzos and antidepressants. Went on to have 2 beautiful babies, fulfilling my dream.

Never thought i would be in this situation again....

Started having severe insomnia and anxiety linked to my cycle. Took excessive amounts of melatonin to combat it, I believe this worsened everything. Sought help and was given:

April to may 2022- gabapentin 300mg, trazodone 25-75mg x 1 week. Hydroxyzine 50mg 1 dose. Ambien 10mg 2 doses. Doxepin 25mg 1 dose. Seroquel 1 dose. Carbemazepine in ER x 1 dose for tremors from 1 week of gabapentin. 

May 22-June 23 2022- prozac 3.2mg x 2 weeks, 5mg x 2 weeks, 2.5mg x 1 week, stop. Also mirtazapine 1.87mg-3.75mg x 2 weeks to deal with prozac insomnia. Also 3 doses lorazepam 0.5mg to deal with severe akathisia from prozac. Benzos are a huge no-no for me due to past accidental dependence.

Off everything including melatonin supplement as of June 23 2022. 

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Why would my brain seemingly heal, then relapse? I don't understand the windows and waves pattern and why it works this way.

 

Protracted SSRI withdrawal often has tardive (delayed) onset months after stopping the drug. This is confirmed by hundreds of cases on forums like these.

 

Acute withdrawal (brain zaps, fatigue, anxiety, and other symptoms) during the first month or two after stopping is often followed by a few months of neurological stability.

 

Then tardive onset of symptoms hit out of nowhere months later. It then takes a year or so for the real healing to begin once the tardive symptoms hit. Tardive symptoms often include paresthesia, akathisia, severe insomnia, sever anxiety, muscle pain, and many other symptoms.

 

We may not fully understand why there is tardive onset, or why healing happens in windows and waves, we just know that in fact that's what is happening to most of us here. I've been through it twice, so I can vouch for it.

 

Based on all the accounts, you have good reason to hope for a large amount of recovery and return to a normal life, though it usually takes many months. The severity of withdrawal usually leaves us in occasional despair during the first year or so along with fear of permanent damage. Yet most experience a large degree of healing over time. I largely recovered after 3 years of protracted Prozac WD, and I am now healing after 15 months of protracted Lexapro WD.

 

Your case seems pretty typical to me, and fits with the pattern seen over and over on here. Effexor is very powerful, known for nasty side effects in general, and it seems that many people suffer from difficult, protracted Effexor withdrawal. IMO your prolonged dream is consistent with Effexor, and having that symptom in conjunction with your other symptoms, supports that Effexor is behind all of this. I've been on four SSRIs, and only Effexor gave me incredibly vivid, very detailed, prolonged dreams during withdrawal. 

 

I'm so glad to hear your symptoms subsided for awhile. We don't know how we'll feel day to day, my experience is that the healing has its own timetable. Over time you should notice some type of pattern of recovery for you. But waves will hit out of nowhere, and windows also arrive out of nowhere. We can minimize the intensity of waves by avoiding stress and substances.

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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aarrrgh - typed a post and lost it.  lets see if autosave grabbed it.

1983-1995: On and off several tricyclic ADs
1995: Quit alcohol, started Prozac
2003: Stopped Prozac; 2004: Started Effexor XR 225
2014: Tried and failed three rapid tapers; stopped cold turkey March 11, 2014, eight days of Prozac as a bridge.
March 19, 2014: SSRI/SSNI free; four weeks acute withdrawal, then five month window of minimal symptoms.

Sept 2014-June 2015: Delayed, prolonged severe withdrawal from Effexor. Roller coaster, way up and way down.  Symptoms swing widely. Clear improvement in Mar-Apr, but still much hell. In May symptoms shifted to insomnia and depression, less HA, tinnitus and brain fog.

July-Sept 2015: After two weeks of using CES device, tremendous relief of insomnia, depression and other symptoms. Feeling much better, finally! Symptoms still come and go, good and bad days.Sneaking up on return to good health.  Alto gave me a 'Here Comes the Sun'!!!  ☼

Oct 2015-Feb 2016: Difficult several months, some good days but the bad days felt like I'm moving backwards.  Struggling after steady improvement, but hanging tough.

 

Current supplements:  Mg-Threonate; glutathione; krill oil; borage oil; phosphatidyl choline; multivite, vit B12, vit C, vit D vit E; OTC meds pseudoephedrine in the AM and benadryl at bedtime.  Clonidine 0.2 bid for high blood pressure.

Filled with hope, courage and self-appreciation.

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I'll try again.

 

I took my last antidepressant capsule in mid-March '14.  I had about four weeks of acute withdrawal, the symptoms peaked in intensity on day 5 and 6, then they weakened in intensity day by day, fading away like recovery from a normal disease.

 

Beginning in mid April, I felt great, 100% normal mental functioning.  I felt significantly better than I had been the last couple of years on effexor.  Combined with good diet and exercise, I was in the best health in years, gym four times a week, dropped ten pounds, even improved my golf game.  I was taking better care of myself than ever before.

 

But in mid September, I started to get sick, and soon I was in full withdrawal.  At the time I was confused and flummoxed as to what was going on.  Only after reading dozens of stories of people with a similar pattern, as well as the work of the very few doctors who have recognized this phenomenon and written about it (Breggin, Healy, Glenmutter, Shipko, Kelly Brogan, that doc in Italy) did I recognize this delayed withdrawal syndrome existed.

 

Of course, my psychiatrist was unaware, as were several of his colleagues on the big medical school faculty whom he consulted. 

 

I have no idea why.  I have not encountered an explanation or model to account for this delay of symptoms that I find satisfactory.  I think tardive dyskinesia can sometimes occur several months after cessation of antipsychotic medication, so that is at least an example of a similar phenomenon. 

 

This made no sense until I learned that many many other people experienced the same or very similar time sequence of withdrawal.  I can't explain why or offer any kind of guess, but were I to make a list of the deep mysteries of the brain that are beyond our understanding, delayed onset of withdrawal from antidepressant meds wouldn't even crack my top five.  It is weird, but I am convinced it is real.

1983-1995: On and off several tricyclic ADs
1995: Quit alcohol, started Prozac
2003: Stopped Prozac; 2004: Started Effexor XR 225
2014: Tried and failed three rapid tapers; stopped cold turkey March 11, 2014, eight days of Prozac as a bridge.
March 19, 2014: SSRI/SSNI free; four weeks acute withdrawal, then five month window of minimal symptoms.

Sept 2014-June 2015: Delayed, prolonged severe withdrawal from Effexor. Roller coaster, way up and way down.  Symptoms swing widely. Clear improvement in Mar-Apr, but still much hell. In May symptoms shifted to insomnia and depression, less HA, tinnitus and brain fog.

July-Sept 2015: After two weeks of using CES device, tremendous relief of insomnia, depression and other symptoms. Feeling much better, finally! Symptoms still come and go, good and bad days.Sneaking up on return to good health.  Alto gave me a 'Here Comes the Sun'!!!  ☼

Oct 2015-Feb 2016: Difficult several months, some good days but the bad days felt like I'm moving backwards.  Struggling after steady improvement, but hanging tough.

 

Current supplements:  Mg-Threonate; glutathione; krill oil; borage oil; phosphatidyl choline; multivite, vit B12, vit C, vit D vit E; OTC meds pseudoephedrine in the AM and benadryl at bedtime.  Clonidine 0.2 bid for high blood pressure.

Filled with hope, courage and self-appreciation.

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  • Administrator

I disagree with the idea that withdrawal syndrome is like tardive dyskinesia and have corresponded extensively with Dr. Shipko abou this.

 

Rather, many things can exacerbate in a nervous system made vulnerable by withdrawal syndrome: Stress, illness, other drugs. It could be that the nervous system seems to recover but many small difficulties start to erode its stability.

 

Please take care of yourself and help your nervous system heal.

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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Alto, I don't mean to link the two. 

 

I'm just saying that tardive dyskinesia is a condition that sometimes (although not very often) presents several months after the medication thought to have caused it has been discontinued.  (I think I might have seen a case like that when I was an intern or student, probably the only reason I remember this.) 

 

I cite that as an example of a drug exerting an effect long after it has been stopped.  I didn't mean to suggest any other commonality between the two conditions.

1983-1995: On and off several tricyclic ADs
1995: Quit alcohol, started Prozac
2003: Stopped Prozac; 2004: Started Effexor XR 225
2014: Tried and failed three rapid tapers; stopped cold turkey March 11, 2014, eight days of Prozac as a bridge.
March 19, 2014: SSRI/SSNI free; four weeks acute withdrawal, then five month window of minimal symptoms.

Sept 2014-June 2015: Delayed, prolonged severe withdrawal from Effexor. Roller coaster, way up and way down.  Symptoms swing widely. Clear improvement in Mar-Apr, but still much hell. In May symptoms shifted to insomnia and depression, less HA, tinnitus and brain fog.

July-Sept 2015: After two weeks of using CES device, tremendous relief of insomnia, depression and other symptoms. Feeling much better, finally! Symptoms still come and go, good and bad days.Sneaking up on return to good health.  Alto gave me a 'Here Comes the Sun'!!!  ☼

Oct 2015-Feb 2016: Difficult several months, some good days but the bad days felt like I'm moving backwards.  Struggling after steady improvement, but hanging tough.

 

Current supplements:  Mg-Threonate; glutathione; krill oil; borage oil; phosphatidyl choline; multivite, vit B12, vit C, vit D vit E; OTC meds pseudoephedrine in the AM and benadryl at bedtime.  Clonidine 0.2 bid for high blood pressure.

Filled with hope, courage and self-appreciation.

Link to comment

According to some things I just read on-line (reputable sources), the buzzing I'm feeling in my legs is probably akathisia. The articles I read were terrifying- some said this can be permanent or last for years. I'm terrified- I can't deal with this for years! Please please please someone tell me this will not last for years. I'm so scared of losing even more of my life. I'm really pissed off today. Why is it legal for these meds to be handed out so casually? There was nothing on the medication information sheet that stated I may be tortured for years after stopping the medication. I even asked my doctor what we would do if I didn't like the way the medication made me feel....she said "oh, we'll just stop it- no big deal". Has anyone filed a lawsuit and won? This is so messed up! I can't believe we're in America....I want to run away to a cabin in the woods and live there forever. Then I can be miserable and not affect my family, friends and coworkers. Yep, it's irrational- but that's how I feel today.

Approximately 6 years ago, recovered from a horrific multi-year psychiatric med withdrawal including several benzos and antidepressants. Went on to have 2 beautiful babies, fulfilling my dream.

Never thought i would be in this situation again....

Started having severe insomnia and anxiety linked to my cycle. Took excessive amounts of melatonin to combat it, I believe this worsened everything. Sought help and was given:

April to may 2022- gabapentin 300mg, trazodone 25-75mg x 1 week. Hydroxyzine 50mg 1 dose. Ambien 10mg 2 doses. Doxepin 25mg 1 dose. Seroquel 1 dose. Carbemazepine in ER x 1 dose for tremors from 1 week of gabapentin. 

May 22-June 23 2022- prozac 3.2mg x 2 weeks, 5mg x 2 weeks, 2.5mg x 1 week, stop. Also mirtazapine 1.87mg-3.75mg x 2 weeks to deal with prozac insomnia. Also 3 doses lorazepam 0.5mg to deal with severe akathisia from prozac. Benzos are a huge no-no for me due to past accidental dependence.

Off everything including melatonin supplement as of June 23 2022. 

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My sleep is getting really bad now. I had been waking up at 4 am , then 3, then 2, now 1. I'm lucky if I get back to sleep at all. The sleep I do get is very restless, with my mind racing and lots of tossing and turning. 2 months ago I was sleeping like a baby and thought I had made it through to the other side, as it has been 13 months now since I last had any effexor. I'm so frustrated. Sleep is a requirement for life, why does my body fight it so hard? Or I guess my mind? Just needing some support right now. Thanks guys.

Approximately 6 years ago, recovered from a horrific multi-year psychiatric med withdrawal including several benzos and antidepressants. Went on to have 2 beautiful babies, fulfilling my dream.

Never thought i would be in this situation again....

Started having severe insomnia and anxiety linked to my cycle. Took excessive amounts of melatonin to combat it, I believe this worsened everything. Sought help and was given:

April to may 2022- gabapentin 300mg, trazodone 25-75mg x 1 week. Hydroxyzine 50mg 1 dose. Ambien 10mg 2 doses. Doxepin 25mg 1 dose. Seroquel 1 dose. Carbemazepine in ER x 1 dose for tremors from 1 week of gabapentin. 

May 22-June 23 2022- prozac 3.2mg x 2 weeks, 5mg x 2 weeks, 2.5mg x 1 week, stop. Also mirtazapine 1.87mg-3.75mg x 2 weeks to deal with prozac insomnia. Also 3 doses lorazepam 0.5mg to deal with severe akathisia from prozac. Benzos are a huge no-no for me due to past accidental dependence.

Off everything including melatonin supplement as of June 23 2022. 

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  • ChessieCat changed the title to naturegirl: please help

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