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  1. Anyone here who got with Mast cell activation disorder after SSRI use ? (Allergies? Gastro intestinal issues ? Respiratory issues? Pain in joints etc?) Anyone here who has EDS ( Ehlers-Danlos syndrom ) ? Grateful to all replies! /Trying to survive
  2. Hello friends, its nice to find a safe place where we can talk about our problems with antidepressants. I'm 25 years old, male, live in Brazil, my story is long and painful, but to make things short, I was diagnosed with IBS in 2016 and I have to use SSRI'S or else I suffer super strong chronic abdominal pain and all kinds of weird symptoms that would make a grown ass man cry. I tried most SSRI'S and "all" of then make me feel "stupid" I can't focus properly, They have different side effects but the lack of focus is common place for me. Anyone tried using another drug (maybe adhd drugs) to cope with the side effect ? My brain just doesn't work "right" if you know what I mean. I just can't make quick "connections" my thought is slow and dragged, my focus is blurred. Any help would be greatly appreciated, I'm desperate, thank you. I can make normal activities like working, typing, reading "bad". I don't have depression, never had. I am a bit anxious, been all my life but never used medication. I always use the lower dosage, because if the doctor increases I start to feel "numb" and weird, I am super sensitive to side effects. Currently I am using 20 mg "half" Pristiq the best so far. If I stop using ssris, my brain returns to normal and I can focus, work, and study properly again but then the pain symptoms in my gut and discomfort starts all over again after a month or two. I tried: Amitriptyline/Nortriptiline (don't work) Sertraline - Zoloft (makes me feel great but can't study) Fluoxetine - Prozac (don't work make me dumb) Citalopran (don't work make me dumb) Escitalopran - Lexapro (don't work make me dumb) Desvenlafaxine - Pristiq (make me feel great but can't study)
  3. Hi all, I want to share my experience with SSRI's and hope that anyone can relate to my story and can give me some advice. Back in 2015 I started having panic attacks after a few stressfull months. As they did not stop naturally, the doctor perscribed Cipralexa (Escitalopram). However, a few days after taking 10 mg/day of them, my panic attacks got worse and ultimately lasted 24/7. I got depersonalisation, heat upwellings, red rashes and was hyperventilating chronically. Deep inside I knew this was not normal, but the doctor told me that the first weeks on a new SSRI can be tough, but that it all will settle down eventually. Only, it didn't. After 2 weeks on the drug, it was so bad I had to be taken into a psychiatric department of the hospital. There they decided to stop Cipralexa and try Zoloft. However, my reactions to that were even worse, with insomnia, constant stressed feeling, diziness, brain zaps and some kind of uncontrollable muscle spasms. Sometimes it even felt like I was having some kind of seizure. When I showed the rash, which had shown up again with Zoloft, to the doctor and explained my symptoms, they took me off all SSRI's, and in a rage, I quit the hospital myself. Ever since I feel like I'm recovering. There hasn't been a day since 2015 that I felt healthy. I have depression, anxiety, hyperventilation episodes, chronic headaches, ticks of the muscles of the neck/head, and rapid heart beat. Now, I'm on 100 mg/day Amitryptiline (Elavil) and 5mg/day Bisoprolol. Luckily, I do not have the adverse reaction to Elavil and it helps me somewhat to cope and get through the day. Now I am wondering: what has happened? Did I have an allergic reaction? Is this even possible for SSRI's and what test can I order to proof this? Was the doctor wrong to not stop the medication immediately? Did anyone else have these kind of reactions and did they ever recover? What is different between modern SSRI and tricyclic ones for which I do not have these reactions? I hope someone can clarify these issues. Thanks in advance for answering!
  4. Hi, I'm recently divorced. My ex wife used to be a very solid, hones, intelligent and honorable woman who paid attention to detail and had high levels of empathy. She has been taking Zoloft and Ambien and I think before Zoloft she took Prozac. This has been going on for 3 or 4 years. At 48 years old when menopause began, she suddenly started dating another man. She began lying and deceiving me about their meeting. 3 months after meeting him, she filed for divorce and moved out and committed adultery with this other man. I'm sure all this sounds normal for a bad person but here comes the part that makes no sense. In the 4 months it took the divorce to run through the court system, about every other week, she proactively talked to me about ending the adulterous affair and coming back to me. About 5 weeks AFTER she filed for divorce, she offered to be intimate with me, which I accepted. 2 days after being intimate with me, she was intimate with the other man. She took this man out into public as an adulterous partner with our common friends and showed no shame. She had no shame for constantly lying to me and deceiving me about things. She had no shame about being introduced to this man's sons as a girlfriend even though she was still married. NONE of this is the woman I married. 4 days before the divorce finalized she told me she was strongly thinking about getting saved (with Jesus), cutting off the affair, stopping the divorce and coming back to her family (we have a 5 year old daughter). However, she let the divorce finalize and she cried for 20 minutes in the courtroom. The day after the divorce finalized, she came to my house and started talking about us getting back together. (YES THE DAY AFTER). A couple weeks later, she said she would start "tapering things off" with her boyfriend and come back home to work on our marriage (I told her I would forgive adultery and everything). She said it would take 3 weeks to taper it off. At the end of 3 weeks, she had penned an "it's over" letter to the boyfriend but never sent it to him. All through this process, I noticed she was much less attentive to our daughter and very unempathetic toward the pain I was going through and the negative effects of the separation on our daughter and all the financial damage that was caused, even to herself. She ended up MUCH poorer after the property settlement than she was when we were married. But, she didn't seem to care. After the divorce finalized, her health insurance expired and she just left it that way (Definitely not her), she kept her apartment a mess, she didn't work, she would dump our daughter off with me so that she could go off for a weekend with her boyfriend and not even call to see how our daughter was doing. Again, not her. I think the Zoloft is the root cause of her reduction in empathy, and increase in apathy and confusion about life in general. But, I'm having a hard time google searching for current information, 2015 and later, on how Zoloft and other SSRI's can cause divorce and families to break up. Can someone please point me to some medical studies on this topic? I would like to fix her and try to put our family back together if I can just find some information to show her to get her into a medical professional that specializes in SSRI's and antidepressants. Thanks!
  5. Last summer, after I quit the last antidepressant (after 7 years of antidepressants and anxiolytics) under the guidance of my former psychiatrist, I started rapidly to develop old and new symptoms. I tried to resist but in two months time I fell into the abyss of withdrawal, without knowing what was happening to me. I went back to my psychiatrist who not only did not recognize or mention the withdrawal status, but prescribed new drugs that didn't help and made things worse, like paroxetine. I was lost and fearfully sick, I lost 3 kilos in one week, then I contacted another psychiatrist who still didn't say a word about withrdrawal but prescribed benzodiazepines that immediately reduced the symptoms. Then he added two antidepressants and diagnosed "major depression, relapse". I was in shock. I tried to explain that my initial and main problem were anxiety and panic but he said thet it was all part of the depressive state. As soon as we tried to reduce anxiolytics the symptoms burst out again. That's when something clicked in my head. I searched the Internet for weeks to find someone who could help me out of the maze, and fortunately I did. Now I'm following a program to eliminate antidepressants under strict medical a psychological control, and I feel confident. Psychiatrists in Italy never talk about the risk of withdrawal symptoms, turning people into lifetime patients. I was lucky enough, being a psychologist and speaking English to be able to find the help I needed, but most people go on taking more and more drugs that work less and less. The site people can refer to in Italy is: https://www.smettereglipsicofarmaci.unifi.it/index.php (University of Florence).
  6. When I was 15, 2005, I started to have some insomnia and mild depression, it was winter time in Montana so not too much sun, I was diagnosed with SAD. I was started on Lexapro 10 mg and I remember it helped. When summer came around, I think I remember trying to taper off slowly but then having some bad depression. Doctor said I likely had a chemical imbalance and that I would need to stay on the medication for the rest of my life. I was told there weren't long term effects from taking the medication. At some point a few years later, I must have struggled because I was switched to Citalopram 5 mg and after 6 months, went to 10 mg of Citalopram. I don't really remember this point all that well. In 2008 I went on to college and had a successful couple years, grades were good and I had a girlfriend. During the summer I started to experience some major depression and anxiety, I didn't want to get out of bed, I felt scared. After a few days, we decided to go to the doctor and I was switched to Sertraline 50 mg and then a few months later increased to 100 mg. I remained on this dose for almost 7 years. I had graduated college and landed a great job in 2013. I moved away from family for work and when my fiancé finished college in 2014, I moved her down with me, unfortunately, she ended up leaving me suddenly with no warning shortly after and moved away. I was devastated. I remember being hysterical and then very suddenly, felt no emotion at all. At first I was glad that I didn't have to feel the pain, but I didn't feel any joy either. I took two weeks off of work and mainly stayed home alone. The emotions eventually came back and I got better. Since then I have dated a little but nothing serious. I currently live alone In 2017, I started to have some pretty severe depressive episodes, I decided to find a therapist and a psychiatrist and deal with my mental health the 'intelligent' way. Therapy was not too bad, but I really felt like the medication was not working anymore. The psychiatrist decided to start me on bupropion xl 150 mg. I transitioned from Sertraline 100 mg to bupropion xl 300 mg over the course of 2 months. I remember feeling OK, but looking back, I started to feel more and more trapped, afraid of making mistakes, thinking that if I did anything wrong, I was worthless etc. I got my prescription refilled right around Christmas time. I noticed the pills looked different but I wasn't worried about it, I saw it was still the same medication, just a different generic supplier. I started taking that pill Christmas day, within a few days, I started to get very depressed, even though I was working out, eating well and socializing. On that Friday, 5 days later, in the middle of a sprint on my treadmill, I broke down in tears. I was really depressed. I wrote in my journal that night, I was thinking it was all in my head. The next day, I got up early and worked out first thing, I made a list of things to go shopping for and went to the store. I remember taking a long time in the store and feeling very anxious about making the 'wrong' choice on everything. After an hour and a half, I bought what I had and went home. I broke down in tears again. I asked myself what the heck I was thinking about that was making me feel this way. I had been dabbling with journaling and mindfulness. I wrote down a lot of things like "I think I am completely worthless", "I don't know anything", "I'm no good" etc. I wrote down evidence for and against for each item and was able to prove all those negative thoughts false and I felt better. I thought I had found negative core beliefs I held about myself and that challenging them would make me feel better. Unfortunately it didn't turn out that way. The rest of that weekend I was mainly confined to my bed and chair, feeling very anxious and depressed to the extreme. I was talking on the phone with family and my Mom thought the medication wasn't working right. I was thinking it would be weird for the medication to work for months and then suddenly start going haywire. I thought my mood was due to questioning core beliefs I had about myself and my life. After suffering through the New Years weekend and a night of very little sleep, I forced myself to go to work. The morning was awful but as the day went on, I felt better and better. I was able to go and see my psychiatrist that day and explained about the issues and my "mental breakthrough". He was very concerned about my symptoms and prescribed me venlafaxine xr 150 mg and told to switch. As the day went on, I almost felt euphoric. I decided to not switch and just continue the bupropion xl 300 mg. Over the next two weeks, I had some very depressed mornings that lifted to nice afternoons and better evenings. The second weekend, I woke up at 6 am, very anxious and realized something was wrong. I remembered my pills had changed, I researched if people had struggled with supplier changes and found quite a few in fact did. I also found that several years ago, the FDA actually pulled a generic supplier of bupropion off the market due to not being bioequivalent. I was furious. I found a way to report what happened to me to the FDA. I did not take that pill again and switched to the venlafaxine. I took it Sunday, and then Monday but then I thought to myself that I potentially had just gone through cold turkey withdrawal from bupropion and that maybe the worst of it was over. I was thinking maybe I had an opportunity to stay off of antidepressants, so I did not take anymore pills after Monday, January 8th 2018. At some point I found this site, and although it was helpful to find I was not alone, I was also terrified of potentially struggling for multiple years! I started taking fish oil, magnesium, turmeric, COQ10, D3, a multivitamin and eventually added a probiotic. I have had very little physical symptoms, its been mainly mental and emotional. I have experienced windows and waves daily, with a progression to having a couple good days in a row. During the waves, I am depressed, anxious, and cognitive abilities are reduced, my memory is not great, I can't seem to make decisions as quickly or as easily as I used to and I can't seem to be an active participant in most conversations. During the windows, I feel very good. My brain is firing on all cylinders. I am positive and optimistic about the future, I have confidence and good self esteem. I feel like "I can do this". Recently though, this past week, I have had more lows and deeper lows (not as low as the first two weeks). I am terrified. I know others have had it worse but I don't know what to do. I exercise almost every day. I have been journaling, praying, meditating, seeing a psychologist weekly, I eat well and I sleep well most of the time. I occasionally wake up around 5 am with some anxiety. I have so far been able to keep working full time. Its been 7 weeks since I stopped medications cold turkey, 9 weeks since my last effective pill, and 6 months since my SSRI. I believe I am definitely low on serotonin from the many years of being on SSRI's. I am struggling pretty bad lately with the depression. I am not getting any joy out of anything. I struggle to get out of bed. I am starting to lose hope that it will get better. The thought has crossed my mind to reinstate a low dose of sertraline, but its been out of my system for 6 months and from reading the forums it seems like it may not work or make things worse. The other thing I think I want to try, even though some have recommended not to, is l-tryptophan. If my thinking is correct, it could really help me. At least provide my body the materials it needs to be able to make serotonin on its own. I wish I would have never taken an antidepressant but I just didn't know and I trusted my doctors. I don't want to make my situation worse, but I don't know If I can keep going the way it is. Please, has anyone had success with l-tryptophan. Has anyone had success re-instating an SSRI after 6 months?
  7. This initiative (described below) is similar to this site, but focusing on helping people find each other in person, where they live. Additional great info on tapering and withdrawal. ****Announcing the Launch of Inner Compass Initiative and ICI’s The Withdrawal Project!**** Inner Compass Initiative (ICI) is a new 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides information and resources to help people make more informed choices regarding all things “mental health” and to support people who wish to leave, bypass, or build community beyond the mental health system. Its first major effort, The Withdrawal Project (TWP), is a comprehensive online hub for safer psychiatric drug withdrawal. The resources on the ICI and TWP websites include a detailed layperson’s “Companion Guide” to safer tapering from psychiatric medications; mini-booklets that provide detailed, critical information about psychiatric drugs, psychiatric diagnoses, and the mental health industry; and two networking platforms to help people who are thinking critically about the mental health system or seeking support for psychiatric drug withdrawal to find each other in their local communities. Visit ICI at www.theinnercompass.org Visit TWP at withdrawal.theinnercompass.org
  8. Hey there. Anyone else noticed drugs like alcohol and weed lost its glow when ending ssri. Weed made me very euphoric on paxil(never tried it before meds) but when ending it started going downhill, highs became worse and worse month after month. The drugs not working isnt my biggest problem right now and nothing i should do when healing but it really scares me to not be able to feel pretty much anything when smoking or drinking.
  9. Hi everyone! If you have taken an SSRI or an SNRI such as Zoloft, prozac, luvox, and you still experience sexual dysfunction after coming off the drug (in the form of genital numbness, reduced pleasure response, inability to orgasm, erectile dysfunction, etc) please fill this form out to help us end PSSD for good! https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSc4NixcXLN_sRV-4jSIWeDAYvQ1V96F-8B0MR8GuDpbjbD3rg/viewform
  10. PSSD Lawsuit

    Hi everyone! If you have taken an SSRI or an SNRI such as Zoloft, prozac, luvox, and you still experience sexual dysfunction after coming off the drug (in the form of genital numbness, reduced pleasure response, inability to orgasm, erectile dysfunction, etc) please fill this form out to help us end PSSD for good! https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSc4NixcXLN_sRV-4jSIWeDAYvQ1V96F-8B0MR8GuDpbjbD3rg/viewform
  11. Hi all I've been taking one or another type of SSRI for 14 years for treatment of anxiety and depression that started when I was a student at university. In this time, I've only experienced a few relatively short periods (i.e. a couple of months) off the drugs before having what felt like a relapse and consequently re-starting or switching to a new drug. For the past few years I've been taking Sertraline. I was originally proscribed 100mg; a reduced this to 50mg I can't remember when. For the last 9 months - 1 year I have been chopping tablets up in order to take 25mg a couple of times a week / when I remembered to take it. This was mainly to stave off the on-set of physical side effects, particularly the 'electric shocks' and feeling dizzy. Emotionally I felt fine, but was never in a rush to come off the meds as I wasn't bothered about taking a low dose if it made me feel okay. About 3 weeks ago I realised that I'd forgotten to take any medication for several weeks and wasn't experiencing any physical side effects, so I decided to continue not taking the drug. I'm now 5-6 weeks without any medication. For the past week I have been feeling increasingly depressed, which is worrying me a lot as I have quite a full-on job. I have run regularly for many years - something I initially started to help improve my mental health. Despite running increasingly long distances this week, it seems to be doing less and less to improve my emotional state, which is a real concern for me. I'm hoping that what I'm experiencing is late-onset emotional withdrawal as the drug leaves my brain / body. I'd be very grateful for any advice / shared experiences from people who have been on Sertraline (or any SSRI!) for periods of several years. I'm guessing my brain is very used to having these drugs around. Should I go back on a lower dose? I could go hunting for 50mg / 25mg tablets to break up further. Or should I just ride this out? I'm extremely pleased that a site like this exists, and thank you in advance for any advice you might be able to share!
  12. Hi, I'm running out of what to read, who to ask and soon what to say. Ready for this? 1. I am consciously normal and functional 2. and only 2 I have a brain and body that is not cooperating. I feel guilty, or fake. When i'm at work and talking well - in my head I'm like "Who are you? You were never smart"... < probably my childhood echos > Once a major mistake occurred 6 years ago - I fell to the ground mentally - not able to let it go, no matter how many angles and closures I sought. 5 years this misery lasted to where I did get a human validation, but quickly was influenced into something else that made me question my "healing" - and now those 5 years of misery was much easier. To add to my pain - just months after ground 0, my Dad went to jail, my mom move in with me, my cat died weeks after that... Symptoms since: Head tension, Tinnitus, Neck tension, Dizziness, Anticipatory Anxiety, Feeling like I have a tumor in my head (pressure), Depersonalization moments / Derealization moments (Rare but terrible). Had a bout of agoraphobia. I think it's rooting in excessive guilt that I'm putting myself in mental prison. Now I lost my job in July and been on unemployment - and fearing getting a new one... not sure if I can mentally handle it. I feel total burnout. Medication History > After years of CBT - it was suggested I get on medication. Prozac - by day 22 I wanted to die (literally) but gladly i'm too afraid to and go off it when the Dr. kept pushing me to "Give it more time" Celexa & Paxil - gave me an intense panick attack. Paxil sent me to the hospital (One Pill did that) Zoloft & Lexapro - These numbed my brain, but I lost all emotions - that was my first de-realization and very scary Anafranil - this felt like someone poured mercury in my head - zips and zaps Buspar - These gave me brown outs of the brain Xanax - I put this last but I was on it for 6 years... it was great! BUT ... in time .25 didn't work, .5 gave me a hangover... 1mg wouldn't work if I was really scared - like going in an MRI Machine. When I tried to come off - my brain EXPLODED in Withdrawl. I tried many courses - as my DR just told me "stop it - it's ok"... That was when the Tinnitus and Pressure started (4/2016) along with the agoraphobia. I suffered through a water taper I came up with and it worked to a point and was too hard. My Dr. humored me giving me Valium to taper. It SORT of Worked but he gave me only 2 weeks and low dose. I pushed through and now I'm 9 weeks off (i did cheat on a 0.125 two weeks ago). Finally I'm trying St. John's Wort I followed an online suggestion ... but I did it wrong... by end of week 2 I got a massive Burnout feeling, brain buzzing and a STOP EVERYTHING cry in my sub-conscious mind... never had this happen. I dropped my cleaning tools and went to bed. I have not felt good since. I cut down to ONE 300 pill per day... but i'm all over the place. I now wonder if I even have a Serotonin issue? How do I know it's not an Acetylcholine issue? Or just a lack of GABA & Dopamine? (I took up a study of Neuro-Science among other medical classes... of course it's all theory) I'm just not happy, I can't play guitar or do anything I love... I don't care to eat. Thank you all for whatever input you have -Rob
  13. Hi all, I'm a 24-year-old female who has been on some kind of antidepressant since I was 17. 1. Zoloft, 1 year (2011) 2. Wellbutrin, 2-3 months (end of 2011 in conjunction with Zoloft) 3. Viibryd, 6 months (2012) 4. Buspar, 2-3 months (2012) 5. Lexapro, 1 year (late 2012 to late 2013) 5. Prozac, 3ish years (late 2013 to mid 2017) I started tapering off of Prozac this April, going down by 10mg a month for 7 months. I was on an 80mg per day dose for at least 2.5 years. I finished tapering at the end of October 2017. I didn't have any particularly bothersome symptoms until the last 10mg and these have persisted or gotten worse in the last two months. My biggest issue right now seems to be irritability. I feel like I go through multiple mood swings per day and sometimes I can't even describe how I'm feeling. My anxiety has also increased - fears about my loved ones dying or that I'm going to get into a car accident on the highway, that kind of thing. I know it's still soon, being only 2 months since I completely stopped taking Prozac, but are these all withdrawal symptoms and if so, how long can I expect them to last? Sometimes I wonder if I even remember was normal feels like anymore, since I've been on antidepressants since before I was even an adult. I felt pretty good on Prozac moodwise, but disliked the weight gain that resulted (65 pounds!) and I worried about the long term effects on being on it.
  14. Hello Everyone, I am very glad to have found this forum. As you will see in my signature, I am a 28 year old female with a long history for Sertraline use. I began taking Sertraline at age 15 for severe OCD/anxiety and have been on it ever since then. At one point, probably around 18 or so, I maxed out at 200 mg/day of Sertraline and stayed on that does to about age 25. Around age 25 I was able to taper from 200 mg to 100 mg successfully without really any symptoms of withdrawl that I can recall. I have worked extremely hard to overcome my illness, and am finally at a point in life where I feel I have amassed enough tools through therapy and support to try to come off of Sertraline completely, especially because we would like to have children within the next 5 years. With the support of my doctor, I am tapering down to 75 mg from 100 mg. It has been about a week and a half since I began the reduced dose and the past few days I have experienced very serious dizziness, headaches, nausea, and fatigue. I have joined this forum with hopes that someone may be able to provide me with tips for dealing with these uncomfortable symptoms. It is so bad that I really should not be driving and had to stay home from work today. My understanding is that pain relievers such as advil and aleve can make SSRIs less effective, so I don't want to take any pain relievers for the headache if it will make the situation worse. I am determined to get off of this medication though it seems it will be a difficult journey. *I would just like to mention that perhaps there is one confounding factor in my situation - I began Gabapentin about 3 weeks ago to help with numbness/tingling in my forearm from cubital tunnel neuropathies. I know this is also a neuro drug, so I figured I would mention it as well. Any tips, support, or encouragement that you can provide would be a huge help! Thank you in advanced! Mademoiselle
  15. Hi all. Don't normally do this sort of thing but I've been helped a fair bit by reading through this site, so I thought maybe my input could help others. I've always had a bit of anxiety and neurotic behaviour, but I was originally placed on 10mg Lexapro at ~25 years old due to a cancer scare that knocked my anxiety up a notch. Stayed on it for a few years with pretty good success. No negative symptoms - no ED, no sexual dysfunction, I needed LESS sleep, ended up putting on no weight at all. Pretty perfect. In my stupidity, I decided I didn't need it anymore after a year or two (and my mum was pretty against me using them). Came off them by snapping the 10mg in half to 5mg for a couple of months, and then just cold turkeyed the rest of the way. No real withdrawal besides those horrible brain zaps. A few years later during my masters, I was having a bit of trouble so doctor suggested I went back on them. Fine. 10mg again, exact same situation - no negative affects (after the first couple of weeks while it built up in my system). Still felt a bit average a few months later, so I took my doctor's advice and went up to 20mg and everything was fine. I really did feel pretty good and normal on it, it never stopped working and nothing bad happened. Fast forward to this year. I turned 30 and decided that I would try to come off the ol' Lexapro. Split my 20mg to half doses of 10mg in about June, then by ~21st of July just ditched them entirely. Cue the standard brain zaps and a horrendous bout of flu-like symptoms (that I perhaps wrongfully attributed to the flu travelling through my office). They both disappeared by mid September and silly me thought 'right, I'm all good'. Randomly, on the 4th of November, I had a horrendous panic attack thinking about death, just from reading the news. Now I've had panic attacks before, but that was during the cancer scare and I was reading about my chances (what a dumb idea). Anyway, that went away and I went out on a night of heavy drinking after work. Saturday, I experienced the general malaise following heavy drinking, but Sunday I began to suffer inordinate anxiety, the likes of which I've never really experienced. It wasn't until then that I started reading about SSRI withdrawal symptoms appearing sometimes months afterwards. Looking back I can see that my symptoms started about 3.5 months after I abruptly stopped from 10mg doses. In addition to that, my GP had always told me that 10mg was a pretty small dose, so I never considered the possibly of needing to taper any further. 6/11 I started experiencing massive DP/DR, and gave myself panic attacks reading about the damn Fermi paradox at night (girlfriend: why do you care what an old Italian mathematician says?). Decided the smart move was to keep a journal so I could see any progression. 7-11/11 Was terrible. Felt like dying, and was so close to going back on the lexapro but, somehow, I restrained myself. I can barely remember any of these days, as the brain fog was compounded by intense existential anxiety. At some point I started taking St. John's Wort every night. 12/11 suffered a complete breakdown, sobbing and crying in my girlfriend's arms for no real reason. Needed a break so I (perhaps stupidly) took 1/2 a 5mg valium. I know this is advised against but I don't regret it, I really needed it. Calmed me down a lot. Still no appetite and sleep wouldn't come. 13/11 Dead and apathetic all day. Forced myself to exercise, which definitely improved my mood from 2/10 to 3 or 4/10. Still not appetite, even after pretty intense exercise. Felt pretty good after the exercise, but had another minor breakdown at night, but not anxious related, just down. Have a holiday planned for next year that I was previously SO EXCITED for, but now...just don't really care? Horrible feeling. At about 8pm I took 3x fish oil pills (1000mg) and one B2 vitamin and BLAM, a massive improvement all of a sudden to 6/10. I was actually happy. Still not excited for the future, but happy in a way? Continued all night. Took the St John's Wort and a Valerian tablet at night and slept really well. 14/11 woke up exhausted, but mood was ok. I have avoided caffeine since Sunday, mood was sitting at about 5/10. Apathy and brain fog still readily apparent.Mid morning, my irritability exploded, apathy also became so much worse. Here my diary gets a bit dark so I won't include any of it. Come 4pm, I decided to have a plain black tea and a window of good opened until 6.30pm, at which point it dropped to about 4 or 5/10. Went home and just planted myself in front of the tv. At some point, I noticed that I didn't feel so crap anything at about 7.30pm. I actually went and cooked dinner. This continued until 10.30, when I realised that I might have over-pronounced how I felt - still improved but not as pronounced. Definite general apathy and lack of excitement for the future, but no horrific anxiety/dread like I've had before. Baselined at 5/10 before bed, took 1xfish oil, 1xSJW and 1xValerian before bed. 15/11 Good sleep but truly exhausted. 1xfish oil and 1xB2 before work. Anxiety seems lower, brain fog and depression at the forefront. Have noticed that despite all these withdrawal effects, I still have entire sexual function and only slightly lower desire (that I would attribute to the depression and anxious feelings). Mid morning I had a minor sobbing breakdown in the toilet, but went back to neutral after that. Around midday I felt an ever-so-slightly-there tinge of excitement about the holiday next year...maybe? I'm not sure yet, possibly wishful thinking but that's what I need. Forced myself to exercise at lunch time, not as much of an endorphin rush as Monday, but better. Still mostly apathetic though. Pretty hard to care. And that brings me to right now, as I write this. Happy to accept any insight on offer, or answer any questions anyone has, or even continue updating the thread if it helps anyone. Just want to add that, whilst I might be imagining it (and it seems likely given the short time period), I THINK I am feeling better than I did when I first cracked on the 4/11. In summary, symptoms experienced so far: anxiety/dread, depression, brain fog, apathy, no physical symptoms besides sleeping a lot, no appetite, no sexual dysfunction. Thanks everyone for being so open and honest on this site. I'm sure there are a ton of people who don't end up posting on here that have been helped by it.
  16. Michigan: Tapering Zoloft and Haldol

    Hey everyone - I'm back! If you check out my post history, you'll see that I had tapered in 2015 and had a pretty rough time of it. Went back on my meds and disappeared from this site for the past couple of years. At this point, I'd like to re-introduce myself, share some things that are working for me, and get some feedback from you (updated history is in signature). As I said, I went back on a full dose of Zoloft. Experiencing a frightening amount of brain fog and cognitive issues. So I've begun tapering again. In the past couple of years since I last posted, I've been going to an amazing "holistic therapist". He's trained as a naturopath, but specializes in therapy for emotional issues. His methods include regular talk therapy, as well as reiki, acupuncture, supplementation, and life coaching. With his help and encouragement, I've started a regular meditation and yoga practice, and gotten my life to a better place than it's ever been. I'm making a ton of money in a job that I love; I have a new baby with my wife, and life is generally pretty great right now. I feel like I'm in a much better place to try tapering again. My first recommendation to you all is to find a great holistic therapist. They usually don't take insurance. I only go once a month, but every time I walk out of that office, I feel like I've had a life changing session. My second recommendation is in trying the Ketogenic diet. It's an extremely low carb/low sugar diet that was first developed for epilepsy. My brain and emotions feel 10x better when I'm following the diet and I'm excited about using the diet as I get further into my taper. Thirdly, I don't recommend this for everyone, but my holistic therapist has had me micro-dosing on psilocybin under his close supervision. The theory is that, while the micro-dose doesn't make you "trip" or feel anything, it's increasing the neuro-plasticity of the brain. Now, I'd also love to get some feedback from you all. The last time I got off of Zoloft, I felt so much anger, rage, and just chaotic emotions that it really makes me nervous to think about that part of it. I read these horror stories about people who get off of their meds and "snap" and kill themselves or someone else. Do you guys have any advice to ease my mind that getting off of meds isn't a death sentence or a trip to prison? Second, I'm also on .5mg Haldol, and I've been on it for almost 20 years. It's a small dose, so I have that in my favor. But I hear horror stories about long term use of neuroleptics causing permanent damage, and causing alzheimer's etc when you get older. Has anyone recovered from that long of a stretch using neuroleptics? Like I said, I'm in a much better place in my life right now, but these stories scare me, and I fear that I'll never be able to live a normal life free from these toxic meds. Good to be back and looking forward to connecting with you all!
  17. No appetite

    I used to have the appetite of a wildebeest and was always excited for my next meal. Now, in withdrawal, the sight of food makes me sick and if I don't remind myself to eat a meal, I probably wouldn't eat at all. Does anyone else experience this as a result of their taper? When I do eat, I find that it doesn't give me the same joy it used to.
  18. Hi Everyone, I'm really happy to have found this support system for antidepressant withdrawal. I have spent the past 8 months weaning off of Zoloft 100mg (am now at 12.5) and am experiencing delayed withdrawal side effects. I initially was on for depression about my parents' divorce, as well as some anxiety issues. I experienced my first panic attack in Geometry class in high school- I'll never forget that day. I felt like I was floating, and completely disconnected from my body. It quickly subsided once I drank some cold water, and I never thought much of it after that until I realized what it was. Zoloft and I have had an interesting run. It leveled me out to put it vaguely. My high's were never too high, and my lows were never that low. I just went through the motions, sort of numbed out, but in many ways, grateful that my reactions were lessened. My father suffers from mental illness (depression, anxiety, alcoholism and drug addiction, and narcissist personality disorder), so I've always been very conscious of how I act in certain situations in an effort to not be like him. About 3 years ago, my Zoloft pooped out. Entirely. Either that, or my dose wasn't cutting it. I was in the midst of a new relationship, I didn't know which direction I wanted to go in in college, my grandparents were diagnosed with terminal cancer and passed away shortly thereafter within two weeks of one another, my fathers addiction issues came to light, and my anxiety was through the roof. I was semi-agoraphobic; I had a 9-5 job which forced me to be social and stay in public, but I couldn't sit in a restaurant with out panic, couldn't go to a mall, a grocery store, etc. Then, one day, it was sort of gone. Either I had gotten used to it, the Zoloft started working again, or a combo of the above. I felt amazing again, and like I was on top of the world. My mom put her house on the market to be leased, I moved into my apartment with my significant other, we started a business, I wrote a book, I had an intervention for my dad and he went to rehab. I was at a place where I thought I could handle going off of the medication. I thought I was better. So, I took a trip down to my psychiatrist, and told him all of the above and told him of the recent positive changes. While he acknowledged the changes, and said they were indeed positive, he looked at me and said: "You sure you want to go off the Zoloft now? This is an odd time with you moving out of your home, the new business, your grandparents and your father." I told him I was sure, and away we went. I began that tapering off on February Feb 16, 2017 until early April 2017. Going from 100-75 was a piece of cake, and that was from April- May 2017. 50-25, was from May-September 2017. and then 25-12.5 from Sept 2017 to present (Oct 2018). I have done a complete 180 in anxiety (and even some depression) symptoms. My most troubling one is depersonalization/derealization. I've had it before, but never this bad. As much as I've read, listened to, and accepted that DP/DR is a direct result of anxiety, due to withdrawal, I can't help but think I am totally losing my mind. Or that I've made a huge mistake and need to go back on Zoloft altogether to help alleviate these symptoms. I exercise 4-5x a week, have just started neurofeedback, eat relatively healthy, but am still struggling. I'm back to being agoraphobic despite forcing myself to go to the gym, that's about all I can handle. I can't stand around for long without feeling fidgety, I always feel unstable when I'm standing, and again, depersonalization that's pretty severe. Again, the thought of going crazy or that I've done irreversible damage to my brain by this discontinuation is enough to send me into a complete panic. I'm looking forward to reading your responses, and I appreciate your taking the time in reading this. BlusMama
  19. I started taking Paroxetine 20mg in 2012. Prescribed by my GP for what was then mild anxiety and low mood. I decided to come off of the paroxetine in Januay 2016. Had enough of being an asexual zombie. The drugs did little for me anyways. Started a slow taper and got down to 10mg once weekly by September 2017. If I didn't dose for longer than a week I would get agitated and angry. 10mg was enough to make me calm for a week or so.... On 24th September 2017 I decided complete withdrawal would be impossible and that maybe I would be better off going back on the paroxetine full-time. I started taking 10mg daily without a doctor's supervision. Five days later I became suicidal for the first time in my life...bearing in mind before this I had always been pretty much emotionally stable. I went to A & E suffering severe agitation/depersonalisation and several other worrying symptoms such as intrusive thoughts about attacking loved ones (something which I would never do or ever think about before). I was given diazepam to get me through the next few days. I vowed never to touch SSRIs again. I have not taken any paroxetine since the crisis on 29th September. The last 2 weeks have been the worst 2 weeks of my life. I went to see a psychiatrist privately - he diagnosed me with bi-polar and prescribed me Seroquel (quetiapine). I am NOT bi-polar, my brain has been destroyed by paroxetine. My daily symptoms are: psychomotor agitation, intrusive thoughts about violence, feeling empty, no emotion at all, electric shock sensations all through my body, panic, crying etc I know the sensible thing would probably be to go on prozac for a while, but after almost throwing myself in front of a bus after just a few days on paroxetine, to me, it's not worth the risk. I just want to ride this out and hopefully get better. I want to be in control of my thoughts and emotions again. At the moment my thoughts and emotions are controlling me. This is not a problem I had before paroxetine. I'm just worried that I'll remain this nervous wreck forever. Can anyone relate to this? Especially the intrusive thoughts, which is what worries me most. Does it get better? Regards, Clearmind
  20. "This Prize is part of a two-pronged attack on the unwillingness of the medical and regulatory establishments to listen to people with adverse events in general – not just the sexual dysfunctions mentioned here. The second front in the attack will be unveiled in a few weeks’ time.""The prizeWe are following in the footsteps of the method that led to a solution to the famous Longitude problem in instituting a Prize.The first step is to raise $100,000 toward a Prize for a Cure. We would like as many people as possible who are affected or related to someone who is affected to make a donation of $200 towards a target fund of $100,000.As mentioned, solving this problem will likely make a major contribution to solving the enduring withdrawal syndromes that affect anyone taking antidepressants and antipsychotics. Five per cent of the populations of North America and Europe, and anywhere else where antidepressants are used on the same scale, are unable to get off treatment because of withdrawal problems – that is 50 million people in North America and Europe alone. Fifty million cents would be $500,000 – so a target of $100,000 seems more than reachable.The Prize will be offered to anyone who finds a cure for PSSD, PFS or PRSD. This could be a doctor, a scientist, a drug company, a member of the public – anyone. There are no restrictions.RxISK has several sufferers from each of these syndromes who have convincing enduring conditions. The Prize will be given if someone can bring about a restoration to normal, or very close to it, that endures in our volunteers.There are several reasons why we chose to make this initiative about sexual dysfunction rather than other problems such as antidepressant withdrawal. Mainly because the time is right, and there is already a strong basis to build upon. As more than one type of drug is involved, there is also potentially a larger group of people to approach the problem from different angles."https://rxisk.org/launching-the-rxisk-prize/We need to donate to the poolLets do this people!
  21. I was on Prozac for around 6 and a half years, 50 percent of the time i was on two 20mg tablets and the other 50 percent i was on one 20mg tablet. I self tapered for around a month and a half by taking one every other day, then every 2nd day, then every 3rd day...etc and eventually i was off them. I took my last pill nearly a month ago. I am feeling withdrawals. Bloating, bad skin, rosacea-like symptoms, irritable, anger, aches and pains, negative thoughts. Its very uncomfortable and debilitating BUT i would be able to stick it through if i knew i was on the right path. I'm just worried that i messed up because of how fast i tapered. I don't know wether to keep going or if i should start taking prozac again and taper more slowly?
  22. Thank you to the creator of this site, what a great resource! I have been through withdrawal many times and I hoping this is it. I was put on Zoloft in college for Generalized Anxiety disorder (20 years ago) and it became impossible to go off of it. I tried many times and always ended up back on because off of the meds, I was very depressed. I was not even depressed like that before I went on Zoloft in the first place. Thankfully, over the years I was able to reduce the amount I needed from 100mg to 50 then 25, and felt ok for a while. A couple of years ago it seemed the Zoloft stopped working and I was switched to Prozac,10mg. Also in the past few years I started talking to therapists, life coaches, going to workshops, reading everything self-help, meditating, etc. About 4 months ago I started doing Crossfit and exercising in some way daily, and meditating almost daily. Kundalini meditation specifically has been helpful. My body told me it is a good time to try again to stop the meds. It has been 6 weeks since my last micro-dose and I am mostly ok, besides for crying spells. It has been difficult to tell what has been from withdrawal and what is hormonal for me because I am already very sensitive and have awful periods. But in the past 2 weeks there has been a lot of sobbing that is more than normal for me. It does not last longer than 10-15 minutes usually but has been daily (sometimes 2x a day) except for today. If I can have ONE good day like today where I felt normal then I believe this is possible, even if it comes back tomorrow! I have also used many supplements before, during and after the taper/ withdrawal, if it is ok I will list them here, maybe others can do their own research on them and see if it might help them. This is all trial and error, after all of the attempts, this combination might be working. I have to add that tapering off of Prozac was much easier for me (physically) than Zoloft. Before starting taper I used supplements from the Road Back Program. This made all the difference in the world for me as far as physical withdrawal symptoms, comparing to previous tapers without it. (I am in no way affiliated with this company or any other company/supplement here) I found out there is an MTFHR gene mutation in my family so made sure all B vitamins were methylated. Thorne makes an excellent one. I use 5htp at night 100mg In the morning on an empty stomach I started taking DLPA. This helps boost dopamine and gives emotional boost for me. For energy and focus (I also have A.D.D.) I use Weyland "focus" pill at times. Lithium Orotate I am still learning about but I started that in the evening recently. (This is a mineral, NOT lithium carbonate.) Niacin 100mg I just want to send everyone going through this a huge hug, and lots of love, I hope I can help contribute in some way, and am grateful to people sharing their stories here, it has been a huge help to me knowing I am not alone (and not crazy lol) I already took the survey as well.
  23. Hello. I want to begin my introduction with a detailed case report on my hypersensitivity to sertraline… I hope this helps someone. I am a 21-year-old childless female who, up till recently was taking 25 mg of sertraline every 6–8 days. Three months ago, I began seeking professional help for self-loathing, difficulty in trusting others, and intense fears of abandonment during certain social situations. There was only one psychiatrist in my area still on Blue Shield’s panel. She quickly diagnosed me with social phobia and instructed me to take 25 mg daily for one week, then to double the dose to 50 mg daily afterwards. After a mere three days, I found that I was completely unable to feel fear. (This may have started even earlier, however I was unable to evaluate my emotional state during the first three days due fatigue and sleeping in excess of 15 hours a day when I began the drug.) Were a raging grizzly bear to attack me, I would have no appropriate emotional reaction to it, or maybe even none at all. Combined with the fever (at least six hours long), increased heart rate (30 seconds long), and hand tremors (1 minute long) that I would experience 20–40 minutes after taking the sertraline (half of a 50 mg tablet), and non-existent appetite, I decided to try taking 25 mg only every other day. This was sufficient to prevent the tremors and increased heart rate, but the elevated body temperature and lack of appetite persisted at this dose. (When I later lowered my dose to 25 mg every three days, the fever disappeared and my appetite would partially return.) I called my psychiatrist’s office to inform her that I would be lowering my dose as I found the fear-blocking too effective and the other effects troubling. I emphasised that I had never experienced those symptoms at the times that human interaction caused me distress. But for the next three months, the psychiatrist would maintain that these were manifestations of my anxiety and insisted that I take the full 50 mg daily. She ignored the fact that I was entirely incapable of feeling fear for those three months. I had many peculiar reactions to the sertraline. To begin with, for the first two weeks, I really wanted to be “a good dad,” as if I were already a father and desired to remain a good and humane parent. (I am a 21-year-old childless female.) And whenever I took the sertraline, I would also feel as if my two of my closest human relations were still alive… I wasn’t (at least not by typical definitions) delusional, I knew they weren’t alive and I didn’t experience any hallucinations of their presence. But I was overwhelmed by the warmth of their company, a warmth that I thought I’d never feel ever again. …It felt like I had come home again, like my feelings could reach them and their feelings could reach me. I felt love as if all three of us were together again. These spells would last twenty minutes, and all I felt like doing was hugging something to my chest and telling them how much I missed them. When these occurred at work, I mustered enough self-restraint to take only a five-minute break and continue working afterwards. These would be the only instances I would feel any emotion for the next three months. My strangest reactions occurred after eating foods rich in tryptophan: a euphoric restlessness that was accompanied by a wonderfully pleasant burning sensation in my brain. My partner and I called these episodes “the cuddles”, because all I wanted to do was cuddle, very vigorously. (I now think this was a “happier” form of akathisia.) My partner perceived this as the return of my normally energetic, cheerful, and affectionate demeanour; I had always been a cuddler and my hugs and handshakes had always been very strong. But, I knew I was getting high, so I began timing my sertraline doses to take them before eating red meat—to guarantee the high. These foods also triggered some other reactions—eating tuna sashimi turned me into a happy drunk, I was laughing harder than usual and even turned “as red as a tomato”, according to my partner. Cheesecake would trigger a burning sensation in my frontal lobes so overwhelming and do pleasurable it was almost debilitatingly painful, I couldn’t focus on anything else around me and had to eat very slowly, as I felt as if my brain would fry if I ate the cheesecake any faster. Now when I see cheesecake I get anxious, and if it is on my plate I even have trouble lifting my fork because the anticipation makes me weak. I’ve always loved cheese—one of my most prized possessions is the World Atlas of Cheese—so whenever I asked my partner to buy me cheese he didn’t interpret it as substance abuse. (Cocaine is an illicit substance widely known for its addictive qualities. Cottage cheese is not.) After a particularly good meal, e.g. all-you-can-eat at the sushi bar, I would be high for hours! I had to eat instant ramen on my lunch breaks because I didn’t want to risk getting high at work. Some background. My aspiration of fatherhood was definitely drug-induced, but I do know where it came from. The older of my two friends, thirty-one years old, was a good, strong man who had to assume the responsibility over a preadolescent boy and was basically a single father. My other friend was his fourteen-year-old ward, a bright and sensitive jokester who came to insist that artists had a responsibility to be both humane and truthful. His mother became addicted to opioids, and her male “friends” abused him; he developed very little interest in relating to the people around him, but was very gentle to anyone falling on hard times. My friends both died as pedestrians on June 30, 2016, three months after I had moved back to California in search of employment, and eight months before I started seeking professional for what my psychiatrist diagnosed as “social phobia”, which stemmed from a physically and emotionally abusive childhood. I didn’t fully appreciate it at the time, but my friends had been helping me work through my fear of other people. My older friend was a very caring, incisive, and thoughtful person, qualities which he engendered in my younger friend. He had a serious interest in history, which was his favourite discussion topic second only to jazz music, and he could easily have become a history teacher—he was better than all the ones I had in school, anyway. When guardianship was thrust upon him, he took the time to read parenting books and material on child abuse. I don’t know if he knew it by name (I certainly didn’t), but he was teaching me the foundations of DBT. His boy became like a brother to me, and we discussed art and played video games together. After their deaths, my unresolved social phobia, which was compounded by grief, the unpleasant work environment at the hospital where I found employment, and the painfully close proximity of my entire extended family that had engraved into me my fear of human beings in the first place (I had moved out of California specifically to escape them!), understandably led to a worsening of my mental health. When I was finally starting to heal, I myself was hit by a car while crossing the street, but escaped serious injury. I developed a reflexive hatred of all cars, my own insecurity and self-loathing was complicated by survivor’s guilt, and I considered suicide numerous times. I knew I needed help. I wanted psychotherapy, but all the mental health professionals whom I had wanted to see had been taken off of Blue Shield’s panel. I settled for the one psychiatrist in my area still remaining on their panel. At our first meeting, I was frank with her about my aversion to the idea of treating my problems with psychotropic medication, and discussed with her the objective vulnerabilities and subjective conditions that kindled my social phobias. She immediately prescribed me sertraline and said I that could obtain a therapist if the drug did not adequately treat my anxiety. I was disappointed, and remained firm in my believe that drugs would not resolve my issues. But at the well-intentioned encouragement of a close colleagues of mine (she has been diagnosed as bipolar and regularly takes prescribed psychotropic drugs), and out of the desire to meet this psychiatrist at least “half way”, I began taking the sertraline. It was in the first month that I began perceiving that I had lost all capacity to emotionally respond to anything at all, even the treasured jazz songs that my friends has introduced me to. I lost my creative spark, my interest in the world and art and everything else that I liked. Aside from my loyalty to my two friends who died, I lost all interest in other humans, and all capacity for empathy. At best, I felt apathy towards people in the same way a man might feel apathy toward livestock. At worst, I felt unequivocal annoyance and contempt, the kind of sentiment reserved for an annoying mosquito. The only reason that the people around me didn’t notice a change in my demeanour was because I was keen to keep up a perfect façade—if anyone had noticed a change, it would be more inconvenient dealing with that than with faking empathy and interest. I was aware of all these changes, and I knew that they were bad. However, I didn’t care. The only thing that caught me was the thought of my two friends. At times, I realised how sad they’d be if they saw how I’d changed, and for a little while, I’d try to be a better person. On my second appointment with my psychiatrist, a month after our first, I reported the apathy, the food highs, and the “dad” feelings to my psychiatrist. The entire time I explained the food euphoria, she looked at me as if I were crazy. I did not mention to her the “it feels like my friends are still able to experience life and that makes me so happy” feelings, as at the time they did not strike me as a bad or disconcerting thing. But I did voice the observation that perhaps even 25 mg every other day was too strong for me. But all that mattered to her was that the sertraline was effectively dealing with my anxiety, and she was pleased with that. As for the adverse effects, she insisted that I take 50 mg daily in order to “habituate” myself to the drug. I very diplomatically stood my ground, again raising concerns about how my heart rate would increase after taking 25 mg daily. She relented—but said that I should schedule my next appointment three months later instead of one month later, since I was taking such a low dose. I had enough sense to perceive that this was dangerously negligent in her part, and gently nudged her, saying, “OK. So three months is a good time to check in?” She changed her mind, made it two months. I didn’t tell her, but after this visit I began reducing my sertraline dosage to 25 mg every three days. After two weeks of this, I found that the food-highs were still too disruptive on my daily life, so I began taking it every four days. Even though I’d decreased the dosage, the apathy worsened, and my patience for people was shorter than before. I was beginning to actively dislike all the people around me. I looked back at my previous relations and memories with scoffing contempt. I mistakenly thought I was falling out of love with my partner. I even started enjoying being a psychopath; life felt easier if all that mattered was number one. In retrospect, had the sertraline been more stimulating—if I had only the compulsion or motivation, I would’ve been capable of committing the most horrific crimes without a shred of remorse or moral discomfort. After that second appointment with the psychiatrist, I began seeing the one local psychologist still remaining on Blue Shield’s panel. I expressed my desire to work through my childhood-rooted social phobia using talk therapy. I mentioned told her about the sertraline-induced personality changes with her. She quickly sidestepped the subject of medication and advised me to talk to my psychiatrist about any adverse effects. The psychologist said that the sertraline seemed to be dealing with my social phobia well enough, and suggested that I may naturally be an introvert and that the sertraline was allowing me to enjoy being myself, that I was too concerned with what other people thought of me and that I needed to focus more on myself. Though I didn’t care, I understood that her attitude grossly complacent. I saw this psychologist two more times afterwards, and each time she said I seemed fine and that there was nothing I really needed to work on (though my own drug-induced apathy would not have allowed me to benefit much from therapy anyway), except perhaps my grief—I refused, saying I wasn’t having any trouble grieving. I wasn’t being entirely honest. I said that partly because I doubted she would’ve been able to seriously help me, partly because the sertraline had stopped me from grieving or feeling much of anything, really. After two months on sertraline, I stopped listening to music entirely—it had done nothing for me and I gave up attempting to evoke any sort of emotional response in myself. I was determined to happily live out the rest of my life as a psychopath and enjoyed the highs that the drug afforded me. Ironically, the only thing that drove me to stop taking sertraline was my chasing of the next high—the last thing I wanted to become was habituated to the drug. At the end of my second month, I began tapering to 25 mg every six days for a period of eighteen days, with the intention of taking 25 mg sertraline daily for four days afterwards to get as high as a kite. But on this lower dose, I finally began to personally care that what I was doing was wrong and that it would be best if I stopped taking the drug at all. From every six days, I tapered to every seven, then every eight days… Interestingly, that dose was still enough to give me a buzz when whenever I ate a cream cheese wonton, and I began to want to be a psychopath again. (I think, as others have reported, that the steady discontinuation of the drug made me more sensitive to low doses.) But I sensed that I owed a debt to my friends—which I treated as if it were a business obligation, not a moral or spiritual one—, and persisted in trying to quit. While attempting to find other accounts of hypersensitivity to sertraline, and material on how to come off SSRIs, I found Dr Peter Breggin’s The Antidepressant Factbook. I was very pleased to discover that people who produce inactive or “dud” forms of the CYP2D6 enzyme are unable to metabolise antidepressants at the rates most other people do. I have not gotten this or any sort of pharmocogenetic testing, and I don’t intend to as I will NEVER use a psychiatric drug again, but I suspect I may be one of those people. In my third and most recent appointment with my psychiatrist, I informed her that I had tapered off to 25 mg every eight days but that even this was enough to blunt my emotions and give me a little euphoria when I ate cheese or tuna. I mentioned that I had heard about the CYP2D6 enzyme and asked if she was aware of any good commercial genotyping facilities. She claimed that a blood draw for a liver function test would be enough and that I didn’t need to resort to genotyping… It was on that third appointment that she finally started to take my adverse reactions seriously. By a stroke of good luck, I expressed a new reaction to the sertraline that very same day, just before my appointment with her. Prior to seeing her, I had to attend a mandatory employee meeting at my workplace, and I experienced my first ever hallucination in my life. Among the audience was an older gentleman—didn’t seem odd, he was wearing glasses, a clean business shirt and tie, trousers, had a white beard, and he wasn’t acting out of place. And he seemed familiar—I must’ve seen him in passing, he actually might’ve worked at the hospital somewhere. The only reason I knew he was a hallucination was because he was floating two feet above the rest of the audience. He faded away like a ghost after three seconds. When I reported this hallucination to my psychiatrist, she pursued a line of questioning that indicated to me that she had tuned out and believed I was being paranoid and worrying for no reason about an actual living coworker—“So, no one else at the meeting seemed to notice he was there?” I nearly lost ALL my patience with this woman. My reply was immediate and firm: “He was floating two feet above the audience!” Her eyes widened and she asked me if I was taking street drugs. (“No.”) She began asking about all the other symptoms I had reported to her over the past three months. She ordered me to discontinue taking sertraline as quickly as possible (of course, she gave no advice on how to withdraw from such a small dose) and advised me against taking any other SSRIs. But she denied that the sertraline was responsible for ANY of the symptoms; she wrote an order for extensive blood work (without any diagnosis, so the next day I had to return to her office to have her secretary write it in…) and referred me to a neurologist to get an MRI of my brain. (I am still waiting for my scheduled appointment at this time.) When I saw that the order included thyroid function testing, I asked her if thyroid dysfunction could cause hallucinations. She responded, “I really have no idea what’s causing any of this. A thyroid problem could be the cause of your mood disturbances.” (I think she was referring to the tryptophan-rich food euphoria, but I’m really not sure.) The only thing that she admitted was that if these symptoms completely ceased after a month of being off sertraline, then we could conclude that they were drug-induced and not organic in origin. Since coming off the sertraline, I’ve begun to fully appreciate how I was emotionally unavailable to my partner, and how I took advantage him for three months; that I was unable to like people for three months; that in those three months I could’ve tortured and killed anyone, and I lacked only in inclination; that I hadn’t sang or grieved or felt anything… I am ashamed and guilty over what I became. I feel worse than before I sought and “received” that professional mental healthcare. All I want to do now is apologise to my friends. I know I haven’t done anything wrong, and I know I tried my best… But it’s difficult for me to accept that I’m still a good person. I feel like I’ve betrayed everyone behind their back. I’m trying to be gentle to myself, to think about what my friends would say if I could talk to them. I am trying to keep in mind that despite everything, I was able to honestly and objectively assess my own mental deterioration, and I acted as best as I could under the circumstances. I do not want to let those three months destroy my soul after the fact. I’m trying to live… I’m realising how much I missed out on everything. I forgot how much I liked the grass, and rocks, and kittens, and books. I forgot how nice it was to like other people, in spite of my fear that they’d never reciprocate those feelings. I forgot how much fun drawing was, and how funny my partner’s dumb jokes are. I hadn’t used smileys in my texts for three months, and I even walked differently! And I hadn’t realised how much of my acuity had dulled until I got off the sertraline. It’s like I have to live again for the first time in three months. I’m not as confident as I was three months ago, and I don’t like myself as much as I used to. My partner has been very supportive. I’m now experiencing sertraline withdrawal reactions. I get disoriented easily; the other day when I left my workplace building and when I reached the parking lot, I couldn’t place where I was at all; like which part of Earth I was located in, let alone which end of the campus. I’m noticing memory problems; subjects I’d just discussed with my partner I would raise again only a few minutes later. I used to be able to play my favourite songs in my head, especially the pieces that my friends introduced me to. For a while I couldn’t remember the lyrics, the titles, the artists, or even the melody. My memory is improving, but those songs play like a broken record, my brain skips over parts and I have to listen to the song again to recall it completely. My stomach hurts every now and then. I’m sensitive to light, and I get akathisia now. The first episode was bad enough to leave me writhing and crying in pain while clutching my head—as if something were clashing and tearing away from the inside of my brain. Now, it feels like a bunch of fleas jumping on and nipping at the surface of my frontal lobes, not debilitating, but annoying enough to prevent me from falling asleep at times. My appetite has returned, but increased to the point where I have to be careful not to overeat or risk massive weight. I’m thankful that I’m one of those odd people who hears rainstick noises near the top of their spine whenever they’re hungry; now I pay attention to that and ignore the empty feeling in my stomach. I have sudden spells of sadness and anxiety during which I cry a lot, which I didn’t have before taking sertraline. I’m worse off than before I started taking psychiatric drugs, but at least I’m no longer chemically lobotomised. I’m trying to exercise my brain by the throwing myself back into singing and reading, and I draw more seriously now. I hope this case history helps someone. I’m looking forward to weaning myself safely.
  24. Hey guys! I was diagnosed with autism (then eventually PDD nos), bipolar, GAD (generalized anxiety) and fibromyalgia. I have been on anti-depressants since I was 9 and stopped them almost a year ago at age 21. I was on sleeping pills from age 6-20. I also was on like 12 prescribed pain pills because my pain was so bad from age 17-21. I had bad withdrawls from everything (I got my doctor's guidance to safely taper). Turns out my fibro pain that caused me to be unable to barely walk for 4 years was being caused my Abilify pill. I now have no symptoms of any of these things I was diagnosed with. I took 7 years to finish high school because of my anxiety and agoraphobia. The pills seemed to make everything worse because without them I am now I'm full-time university which I never dreamed I could do. It's really hard for me because I wonder if all those years of suffering (especially with my pain and anxiety) were caused by the pills. Anyone have any experience with this?
  25. aunton, Massachusetts (CNN)A woman on trial for urging her boyfriend to kill himself was delusional after becoming "involuntarily intoxicated" by antidepressants, a psychiatrist said Monday. Michelle Carter "was unable to form intent" after switching to a new prescription drug only weeks before her boyfriend committed suicide in July 2014, Dr. Peter Breggin testified. She even texted his phone for weeks after he died, Breggin said. More here: http://edition.cnn.com/2017/06/12/health/text-message-suicide-trial/index.html
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