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Found 25 results

  1. I’ll start with the Success Part, before I unfold the story. I am a classic poster-girl story of “Why You Should Taper.” I thought I couldn’t come off the drugs, I was convinced I was a “biological bipolar” – but by using SA’s conservative 10% or less tapering system, I hardly had any withdrawals this time, and could control my symptoms and make space for my stressors by holding. I’m a living example of why anyone should taper and hold in order to come off. And there is no such thing as too slow. I attribute my success to the SA taper, and a number of coping strategies. I got support. I had a psychologist, who was wholly supportive. I bullied my psychiatrist to do the taper “my way” instead of her way. She actually had helpful suggestions for lifestyle changes, too. I got an acupuncturist, a massage therapist, and later added an orthomolecular doctor and osteopath. I told my husband and all of my friends. I prepared for my taper. I owe so much to those who walked this path before me: AltoStrata, GiaK, Rhiannon, Petunia, BrassMonkey, MammaP, Bubble, Dalsaan, MeiMeiQuest, CymbaltaWithdrawal5600, and many more. And – to go further afield – Robert Whitaker for his excellent book, “Anatomy of an Epidemic,” and Will Hall for the “Icarus Harm Reduction Guide to Coming off Psychiatric Drugs” for showing me that it could be done, and how. And for helping me to accept that I may be different – but that different is not a medical condition. I got curious and read everything I could on the web, and learned a lot. I learned the most from SA and Beyondmeds.com. Most of what I have written as a moderator is not original – but is something I learned here or in my researches, that I applied to my life, and which I found effective. My psychiatrist resisted my desire to taper, but she told me she would support me if I put some things in place. We established a contract with my hubby, so that if I went off the rails, he would be able to get help for me. She would not taper me unless I made a commitment to take sun walks for light therapy and mood stabilization. I also eat meat and fish for mood stabilization & brain nutrition. I took up a tai chi practice and found a yoga studio which supports me. My karate mates have always supported me, even when I was too sick to participate. Meanwhile, my psychologist went to hear Robert Whitaker talk, and she came to realize how many of the cases she saw were people suffering from drug effects. She wrote glowing letters of progress to my psychiatrist, who really had no choice but to say, “Okay, I guess she’s doing well.” Nuts and bolts, I took a year to come off a low dose of reboxetine (it’s the least effective SNRI in the world, actually less effective than placebo), and another 2.5 years to come off the lithium. As I was suffering lithium toxicity (diabetes insipidus), I alternated some of my SNRI tapers with lithium tapers. I tapered 10% per month, or if while dry cutting, I had to drop by 15% (my largest taper), I would hold an extra month. I held an extra month if I had any upsets or stressors – funerals, travel, illness, bad news, etc. I held 3 months after the SNRI was gone before tapering the lithium again. My tapers were relatively symptom free. Most of my symptoms were from worry that I really was crazy – and there were mood spikes until I learned to manage my mood on my own. That’s what I should’ve learned when I got diagnosed 20 years ago. Nobody tells you that you can manage your own mood. In fact, nobody tells you that you are the only person who can manage your own mood! I greatly reduced gluten, especially wheat, and dairy. I cut the coffee way back. I start my day with protein (good for adrenals), and finish my day with carbs. I take magnesium baths whenever I feel "crunchy" and after every exercise session. I have raw food smoothies 2x a week. I take a number of supplements to manage my health without drugs. Most important: magnesium and fish oil. For mood & energy: NAC. I couldn’t take up meditation exactly, because of cult abuse in my past, but I can do tai chi and yoga, and I love breathing and mindfulness meditation. I found a great benefit to shamanic practice, because it is not worship of any foreign deity or guru, and my own inner experience is the guide to what I am learning and how I am growing. I took up creativity practices, like music, coloring, drawing, painting and writing. I took up correspondence with special people here on SA and in other places, so I could learn and grow by sharing with others. I was well supported by all of these people and practices, and I feel I have a web which will catch me if I ever fall down again. Sometimes now, I miss a practice. I might not get all the sun walks in, or I might eat wheat or dairy. But now I am well enough – I am buoyant enough – and I have enough practices – that missing one or two Jenga blocks doesn’t make the tower fall. (it also helps to not have a tall tower - our society asks too much of us, I believe, it's inhuman sometimes) When I come back, I’ll give more of my history – how crazy, abused, wild, suicidal, depressed, with unrelenting fatigue, and how I was convinced I was “bipolar.” Now, I have no diagnosis (I leave it on the medical charts so that I can refuse drugs – “No doctor, you can’t give me that, I’m bipolar!”), my body is broken from surgeries, abuse, accidents and pain. My major lasting drug effect is metabolic and autonomic dysfunction but those are compounded by surgeries, too. I still have severe delayed cycle sleep (but I always did: it is my difference), and unrelenting tinnitus. But my mental and emotional life is healthier than I’ve ever been before. I have compassion for my fellow human in a way I couldn’t before. I have passion for what I am doing, and a sense of purpose. I am driven to create, to share, to learn, to grow. I love meeting with people and listening, and feel so incredibly fortunate. I’m older and wiser than ever before, and I still have a lot of healing to do. But I am awake, alive, and grateful to be so.
  2. Hi! I'm from Philippines, 20 yrs. old, female. 3 yrs. ago I develop depression due to severe stress. It lasted 6 months. Now, again because of so much stress, I develop Mania, got delusions and psychosis. So I was admitted at the hospital and got injected that make me sleep.That was Feb. 2016. When I wake up, I feel nothing. I lost my personality, got anhedonia, lose focus and concentration! I wonder if anyone got there emotions and their normal life back. It's so frustrating cause Here I was, “The Joy Engineer” of all things, who could not feel joy! It was the ultimate irony. : (
  3. I want to know how to detox from all the psychiatric drugs that I took in order to make possible for my body not to need to take them anymore and to eliminate all the side effects that the psych drugs gave me. This is all the drugs that I took from psychiatrists: when I was 16 years old I took first paxil and rivotril (clonazepam) for a year and then only epival er (valproate semisodium) for a year and Then when I got 21 I took paxil and rivotril for 6 months. I changed to a 2nd psychiatrist he gave me symbyax (olanzapine and fluoxetine) I was with him for 4 months, then I went with a 3rd shrink that gave me lamictal and abilify for 6 months so then I changed with a 4th doctor which was a "neurologist" who gave me strattera for ADD and told me to go with his partner who is another psychiatrist (5th doctor) who added me sertraline, topamax (topiramate), olanzapine, lamictal, and because of the tachycardia that were produce by this drugs he added inderalici for my tachycardia. So after 7 months with this doctor I went with a 6th doctor that gave me paxil, rivotril, lithium and for my ADD he gave me methylphenidate (commercial name is tradea LP which is similar to Concerta). After 6 months with this doctor I changed to a 7th doctor that gave me sertraline in a very high dose and with this I decided to stop taking that pill a was taking but in a one day span it caused me to have a psychosis that made my father send male nurses to kidnapped and locked into a clinic (like hospitalization), in which the skrink that trated me was the one that treated me when I was 16 and he injected me haldol and gave pills more haldol, biperiden, triazolam and risperdal. I LIVED HELL WITH THESE DRUGS. Then the shrink after he saw that I recover reality, I was super depressed so he gave me citalpram but it didn't work so he gave me paxil and lithium. Then I started coming off meds and now I just take one quarter of a lithium pill every day in the morning. My actual side effects that I want to eliminate are: anxiety, very strong heart palpitaions or beats/beating that cause bad breathing and chest pain, difficulty to take decisions, nausea, extreme itching in my face, head, chest and back, buzz in the ears, difficulty to focus or concentrate, bad short-term memory, and wanting to pee all the time. Thank you very much.
  4. I was diagnosed with BP after a severe depression following childbirth 32 years ago . Was put on 1800 mg lithium by a shrink who later lost his license for sexual harassment . Stopped two years later with the help of a GP-Homeopath In my opinion , I was never manic . I had a second depression six years later , another doctor put me back on lithium 900mg , when I told him I had taken it before . No mention of bipolarity in his files , but he later send me to a specialist who said I had it on the first visit . I went down to 600 mg. Seven years later , another depression , I asked for 20 mg Paxil , which I have now been taking for 15 years . I saw a fantastic psychiatrist for two years to re-evaluate the bipolar diagnostic , he said I have unipolar depression , not bipolar. He kept my meds as is , said lithium helped for depression . However , he retired and my files were destroyed . In 2006 , I wanted the diagnostic on paper . Went to see another psychiatrist : she confirmed bipolarity after 20 mn because I do have racing thoughts at times , especially when depressed. I told her I can tackle different projects ( single-parenting , work , renovations on the house ). I talk a lot ( this is a family character trait ) and expressed poor judgment in partners . Sometimes I spend , never more than I can afford . But : I never hallucinated ,no voices , sleep 8-10 hrs a night , no bipolarity in the family ( depression yes ), no megalomania , no over-spending and I pay all my bills as they come , no multiple partners . Never went on sudden highs , except when I did drugs as a teenager ( loll ) – I ‘ve been sober since 2001 ( was sober before in 1985 , but relapsed into periodical drinking for a few years ). I do get anxious at times , also have a good sense of humor. I always had a doubt about the verdict , it doesn’t seem to fit . In 2015 , I see another psychiatrist ( colleague of the previous one ) : He says ‘’ well , three doctors diagnosed you ….could they all be wrong ? ‘’ My answer is ‘’ they each saw me in depression , perhaps they rely on each other’s diagnostics ? What about the one I saw for two years , each week ? ‘’ We go through all the questions , he’s scratching his head , then says ‘’ you can make a very careful attempt to stop lithium ‘’ . He’s surprised that I’ve been on Paxil for so long , still had depression , and never went into a manic phase . None of my friends ( one used to be a psychiatric nurse , her late husband was a shrink ) see me as bipolar . As much as I’ve watched for signs over the years , there are few . I’m 60 years old , have put 40 lbs since taking Paxil and my libido is dead . I also have Hepatitis C . Would love your feedback
  5. I am 54 years old, and experienced my first manic episode, starting 1st November of last year, requiring a month of involuntary hospitalisation starting 14th November brought on by numerous stressors. I was on Lithium and Haloperidol, from the 15th Nov, then ±900mg Lithium and 0.5mg Risperidone from the 15th Jan . I started tapering the Risperidone from the Feb 16th. My last dose was 0.125mg on 15 March. How long will the withdrawal symptoms last? The reason why I'm asking is I'd also like to know if I am experiencing withdrawal symptoms or bipolar depression? The intense depressive feelings arrive and leave suddenly and unexpectedly, sometimes lasting a few minutes, sometimes a few hours, after which I feel mildly depressed again, which is a general state. I am able to be lifted, for example by gardening, good cooking, humour etc, during this general milder state. I have general anxiety about several factors which triggered the original mania, namely money (increased now, due to difficulty working), accommodation for my and my spouse's ageing parents who are both difficult to work with, those being by far the most major among other stressors. I have found that very carefully-considered and rare - perhaps twice a week - use of Diazepam can also return me to this state from the more intense state. I intended to start tapering the Lithium once I feel more stable and know myself better after this current tapering. I apologise if this has been covered before, but I find reading and writing about my condition extremely stress inducing, which is to say getting to this point has not been easy. I am eternally grateful in advance for the help.
  6. Moderator's note: link to RainbowDbc's benzo thread - RainbowDbc: What should I do now? Hi everyone..My name is Diana. I am 30 years old. I have been on many drugs but particularly rivotril and lithium. It all started at the age of of 18. I had a psychotic episode and was labeled as bipolar. I didnt have a history before on mood swings or any bipolar traits. So they gave me many drugs and I was convinced I needed them. I was told maby lies. That my brain needed or did not produce enough lithium. That it was for life. I gradually developed insomnia and was given rivotril. 5 years later I realized my body and brain had changed a lot. I started to investigate on youtube and other sources. But no one listened. I was coerced by police my psychoatrists especially my parents. I was being forced on meditation even though my instinct told me it was the wrong path. Its been another 5 years. My memory is gone, I have mental fatigue, I am not creative or very empathic anymore or expressive and spontaneous. My life has turned grey. I feel generally stupid and cannot hold a task for too long. I have tapered from 3 pills to one and am having experiences that werentbthere before. Suicide ideation, fatigue, strong insomnia, feeling empty or adhedonia...generally like my brain is really sick and fragile. I have angry bursts but they make no sense as my braon can make all my thoughts coherent when Im a bit emotional. There is more it to my story but this is what is most prevalent. I wish I had cancer to stop this. Im 30 and have been missing out due to being so drugged and spellbinded. Id like to try amino acids and a very healthy diet..Exercise..Tanning. But I dont have a real way to do things effectively with such strong withdrawal effects. I barely want to leave the house. I dont know of anyone that has taken lithium to talk about this with. I hope anyone could give me some orientation and support. Thank you...
  7. Hi everyone, this is my first post and I would like to get your feedback on two questions: 1. I had a strange episode am I am trying to understand if it had anything to do with a lithium taper: I was in treatment for a digestive disorder taking some strong herbal antibacterials (like oregano, coptis, etc). I began to have severe digestive sensitivies, bloating, pain, and cramping. I had a reaction to the treatment that created more symptoms than the disease. I also began to have worsening sleep problems. I would be awakened at night after 2-4 hrs sleep often with heart palpitations, nausea and a cortisol rush. It was extremely hard to get back to sleep. I was sleeping 4-6 hrs a night. At the same time I had been reducing lithium. (see below) After reading extensively on this site, I can see that I reduced by too much at one time. However, I had gone cold turkey off all lithium for 6 weeks without any symptoms. I had a pretty severe reaction to witnessing a trauma during this time and I could feel my brain and body stuck in the fight or flight response. I've never had such a difficult period of little sleep. I felt frozen inside. Then, perhaps due to lack of sleep, I began to experience many neurological symptoms exactly like a concussion I experienced years before (significant light, sound sensitivity, difficulty talking, thinking, and following people's conversation, unable to drive, headaches, etc). After a few months, most symptoms are now gone. Could the anxiety, sleep problems, and PTSD like response be caused by the taper or by tapering too quickly? I've asked several psychiatrists and they disagree. What are your thoughts? Lithium history 900 mg started in 2000 went off cold turkey for a couple months in 2016. No withdrawal sx. Went back on 600 mg before a surgery as a preventative measure August 2016. Reduced to 300 mg around beginning of March 2017 with some increased fatigue. Then reduced to 150 around April, 2017. Very anxious and sleepless with nighttime cortisol surges by May 2017. Had PTSD type of response to witnessing a trauma, then mild TBI sx. Returned to 600 mg 2. Based on history, and this info, which drug would you taper first: Have been on Paxil - 20 mg for around 19 years for major depression which I have not experienced since being on the combo of Lithium and Paxil. My psychiatrist is not sure If I am on the bipolar spectrum or not. I started lithium so I could augment and reduce the paxil from 30 mg. He doesn't have a strong feeling either way about which one I should begin to taper. If any part of the above scenario indicates that I could be on the bipolar spectrum than it would make sense to go off Paxil first. I wanted to go off lithium first since it has caused a thyroid disorder and because I thought it would be much harder to go off Paxil. Thanks for your responses.
  8. Angelles66

    Hi i have suffered from anxiety off and on am 51 years old but usually have gotten through life alright had a bad episode last year stressed out and blacked out for about 15 minutes accidentally opened a car door i thought was mine anyway the owner called the cops and i was hospitalized for no reason was put ontu halidol and lithium for three months fought to get off it as i did nothing wrong they let me off it but still suffer from headpains and dizziness 20 months later life has been tough as i just want to get back to life and work wonder if anybody suffered similarly and if theres a way out of this thank you
  9. G'day folks! I've only just arrived, I've read a few threads here, but not had much to say. I've been lucky, really. Because I'm not heavily medicated and never have been - I've fought that every step of the way. Likewise, I've never been hospitalized or jailed - I've fought against that every step of the way. It started in my 20's when Doc's decided that my depression would clear up better with a bit of Prozac. Just to help me "over the bump" until I had frank hallucinations, watching Bigfoot amble about in traffic and around town. Time to get off the Prozac. So I go off, and persist in an empty marriage with unfulfilling work. So the Doc's (I can't even remember which Doctors did this, it's strange because I was in a new town in Indiana, and you'd think I"d remember going to the clinic or Doc's office, but oh well) prescribe Zooloft. I get jittery and palpitations, so I go off again. Over the next 10 years, from about 25-35, I'm prescribed various antidepressants, and most of them fail. The only one to stick was Wellbutrin, but I get ahead of myself. So after these 3 month each infusions of brain chemical bursts, for 10 years, is it any wonder that when the marriage fell apart in 1995 I went full blown, psychotic mad manic? At the time I described it as if a weight that I had held on my shoulders for years and years was suddenly pulled away and I came unstuck. I was talking to bees (and making contracts with them), stalking potential lovers, stripping my clothes off in the woods so as to be "invisible," paranoid that the lights in my windows were UFO's. This was not treated by medical doctors as mania. Nor was it treated as psychosis at any time: because here is the key - even though I was mad and manic, I was LUCID. I could tell you, "This just isn't right, I need to get help." Ergo, I escaped hospitalization, and the overdrugging that happens there. This was treated with yet another antidepressant (Wellbutrin?) and antianxiety meds (likely Xanax). I met a yoga guru at about that time, and he "cleaned me up" and stabilized me but that was another abusive relationship - because now I "owed him" my life. I was on Wellbutrin for 3 years after this, but the depression just kept sinking deeper and deeper as I had sold my soul to this yogi. When I told the yogi, finally, to go away, that I would be happier without him telling me "who to be," and "how to be it," I got marginally better. At the same time I met my birthfamily, Birth Mom, birth aunt, a sister and 2 brothers. When I got the family history and heard about great-grandma hanging in the shower, and grandma finding her, and the resultant paranoia about menopause this caused....when I heard about the uncles who were chameleons and bigamists....I thought, well. Maybe I am "manic depressive" or "bipolar." So again: with lucidity and clarity I presented myself to the hospital charity system for treatment. to be continued.......
  10. I'm 45 years old. I have been on psychiatric drugs since I was 25. For years, 17, I was on Paxil 20mg and tegretol 200mg. I believed I tripped off my first depression after using ecstasy, which I think altered my brain's serotonin functioning. Four years ago I went to my gynecologist seeking help for worsening pms, as I believed perimenopause was coming into play. I failed to consult with my psychiatrist and trusted her. After a too-quick taper off of Paxil and onto Lexapro things just completely deteriorated. After 6 months I was a wreck, did another, even shorter, taper off of Lexapro back onto Paxil. But I was sunk...I think my central nervous system was wrecked. The ensuing year of onto and off of a variety of drugs was nothing short of a nightmare. Sparing all the details, I landed on the following drugs: Remeron 15mg Paxil 20mg Lamictal 125mg Pristiq 100mg Lithium 600mg Klonopin .5mg Trazodone 50mg It's criminal. A John's Hopkins psychiatrist specializing in women's hormone related mood issues said my gynecologist's cavalier actions verged on malpractice. A recent, and current, rash believe to be pityriasis rosea prompted my current psychiatrist to insist I stop Lamictal cold turkey. The dermatologist diagnosed it. He, without seeing the rash himself, is insistent. In light of what I feel is a damaged central nervous system I have decided to trust my dermatologist. That said, this situation has prompted me to consider the idea of eliminating the Lamictal. It's a start. I also believe Lamictal in some way tinkers with estrogen, something I'd like to avoid. It has been a hellish journey. I do not trust the psychiatric industry. I believe that how my case has been handled, so carelessly and without regard to actual true health, is shameful. I never, ever thought I'd be on multiple drugs like this. I am a high functioning, intelligent woman with a constitution sensitive to endocrine changes. I have been terrified of even considering touching any of this. While in the back of my mind wondering....what will happen to me after years of being on so many drugs? For the record, I have never been manic, ever. Lithium does function for me as an antidepressant. I understand that I'm somewhere on the spectrum, and because of long periods of happiness and wellbeing interrupted by 3 episodes of major depression, each with clear origins, I have been labeled bipolar2. I don't care much for labels. All I know is I'm on a serious amount of drugs. And I'm finally willing to find the courage to wrap up this bizarre ride. Lamictal first. Thanks for reading. Any encouragement or feedback gladly welcomed. Hope
  11. My personal history is in my signature, but I'll put it here in my introduction aswell. I tried three different anti-depressants from December 2012 to December 2013, to treat anxiety. The first was Celexa, the second was Zoloft and the last one was Prozac. In December 2013 I had a manic episode after being on Prozac for a month and a half. Then I stopped taking any medications for about a month. Then I had a second manic episode in February 2014. Then I visited a psychiatrist in March 2014 and was given a bipolar diagnosis (now I know it was an anti-depressant induced mania, not true bipolar disorder). So I was prescribed Lithium 900 mg in March 2014. Then in April 2014 I started taking 50 mg Zoloft again for anxiety (along with the 900mg lithium I had just started taking). Since that time, I have spent 1.5 years at a 50mg level, 6 months at a 100mg level, 1.5 years at a 75 mg level. As of a couple months ago, I am now at the 50mg level again. (Not knowing much about withdrawal, my reduction from 100mg to 75 mg was a single 25mg reduction all at once- I survived that but didn’t recognize the withdrawal symptoms at the time, and I will not do that again! 6 months later I started a process of going from 75mg to 50mg, in 6 to 12 mg chunks. So as of May 2017, I am at the 50 mg level. And I am still taking 900mg Lithium. Luckily I have not experienced any manic behavior since the second manic episode in February 2014. But I know that Lithium withdrawal can cause mania so I know that I need to be careful not to make reductions too quickly.) Now I need to figure out how to taper off BOTH Lithium and Sertraline. My question is- how do I know what order to taper off this drug combination? -Seeing as antidepressants are what triggered a manic episode in me a couple years ago, it makes sense to taper off / quit Sertraline first … and it seems like it would be best to wait to wait to taper off Lithium until I feel “stable” after quitting the antidepressants. -But on the other hand, these two medications seem to have opposite effects. Antidepressants seem to be a little bit more stimulating. Lithium seems to be a little bit more sedating. If I completely quit my antidepressants first, am I going to be extremely sluggish and glum (having no positive emotion)? Could the antidepressant withdrawal effects take longer to recover from in this scenario, because I’m still taking a high dose of Lithium? What do you guys think about my situation- how should I proceed? Has anyone here tapered off the lithium/antidepressant drug combination? Thanks in advance for your help!
  12. Hello out there! I'm 10 months into quitting lithium and citalopram cold turkey after more than 10 years of use. I've always been a highly functioning overachiever but became increasingly depressed, agitated and anxious at the age of 15. I was soon diagnosed with bi-polar II disorder and put on dozens of different medicines at the request of my parents and many doctors. But after gaining 50 pounds from seroquel, experiencing an increase in anxiety and anger and a host of new symptoms I decided to get off. The bad news... This has been the HARDEST 10 months of my entire life. From suicidal depression to random aches and pains, muscle stiffness, intrusive thoughts and now obsessive compulsions I can't believe I'm still here! This has been incredibly hard on me, but also on my family. Being in social situations is difficult and many of the things I use to enjoy, no longer make me happy. On top of all that I work a 9-5 which means I mask my symptoms 8 hours a day, 5 days a week so I can pay rent. Life is generally unpredictable and overwhelming... The good news... In 10 months I lost 35 pounds- down 50 from from my heaviest. Everything is SO vivid and bright-all my senses are heightened and I experience a state of awareness I never knew existed. On top of that, getting off medicine led me to a spiritual awakening. Now meditation, mindfulness and intentional living fill the space between the windows and waves. Despite my mood swings and anxiety, I am more in touch with my spirit than ever before and HOPEFUL that the worst of the depression and physical pain is OVER. Now if only the anxiety and compulsions would end....
  13. Hello friends, I am a 33-year old soul from Canada. I am biologically male and identify socially as such. English is my native language, though I have near-native fluency in French and some Spanish. A little over a year ago, I had posted a little bit about myself, including my horrific experience on Risperidone and other neuroleptics and the hellish place that I was at back then. It is with irrepressible elation, then, that I would like to tell you all what is now my wonderful story: Currently, I am nearly six months free of the scourge of Risperidone and other anti-psychotics and junk meds, I now drink alcohol less than I ever have at any point in my adult life, and I am 13 months clean of marijuana. Furthermore, by finally being able to discover and manage the devastating health condition that had crippled me for the first 33 years years of my life – namely one of the most severe cases of sleep apnea to have ever been diagnosed -- I have also overcome the cruel demons that had spent over 30 years not only sapping my cognitive strength, but also devastatingly undermining my emotional, social, spiritual, and physical well-being. I now feel better than I ever have: I feel happy, energetic, focused, and optimistic, all without the delusions and the manic or psychotic symptoms that I experienced the last time I felt this way. But the path that I took to reach this point and the anguish that I've had to endure for far too long to get here have been so relentlessly torturous that they are not something that I would even have wished on Adolf Hitler. For not only did I have to contend with severe undiagnosed sleep apnea for almost all of my life, but the changes that my CPAP therapy for the condition caused to my body and my mind led me to a severe episode of manic-psychosis, in spite of my only previous history of mental health problems having been a few months of intermittent panic attacks in 2005 that went away after my treating individual attacks with Lorazepam (ativan) for a few months. This condition, which is understandably difficult for psychiatrists and mental health professionals to understand and diagnose, occurs in some people upon getting treatment for severe sleep apnea and is known as CPAP-induced mania (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4208920/). While it is more common among patients with a prior history of bipolar disorder, the study that I just linked to shows that it has been observed on occasion in individuals with no prior history of severe mental illness. The psychotic attack led to my being hospitalized and put on meds that may have initially been a necessary evil given the acute severity of my condition, but the consequences of my having taken these meds and my having to deal with their corresponding side-effects led to a severe episode of depression, the complete decimation of my energy, motivation, libido (risperidone and then latuda), and sense of pleasure or fun, a case of Cotard's Syndrome that had lasted for over a year (I thought that I was dead and in the afterlife of Hell and that this was my punishment for the all wrong I had done in my life), and constant delusions of reference that kept feeding the Cotard's Syndrome. All of this led to a second hospitalization and a misdiagnosis of Bipolar 1 with co-morbid alcohol and marijuana dependencies. It is only by quitting all meds in June that I have been able to come out the other side in these past months. That said, I am grateful for the years of torment and, even more so, for the most acute suffering that I particularly endured this past year and a half: For if I were to have been blessed with the gifts with which I have been bestowed without first having had to suffer being constrained by the chains of misery, I would be sorely lacking in the empathy, in the perspective, and in the sense of justice that make me who I am today. Without the past year and a half, I would still be far too petty, far too angry, and far too weak and easily-rattled to achieve anything close to my potential. If I may plagiarize Stan Lee, I would have this great power without also having the awesome sense of responsibility that must come with such incredible strength. With this preamble out of the way, let's move on with the bulk of my story. It is probably quite long and taxing, and I'm not sure how much value it will have for others, but it's a story that I nonetheless desperately need to tell.
  14. Hi, I need to keep this short because I have chronic fatigue & can't concentrate for long. I've been off & on (mostly on) medication for 25 years. I've just come to the conclusion that my Bipolar 2 Dx may be incorrect in that, I think my hypomanic symptoms may be caused by antidepressants. I never had those symptoms before I started taking them. I guess I'll never know for sure :-( I've just been reading about how long term use can turn depression into a chronic disease (if it wasn't already) and about the symptoms of Tardive Dysphoria. Sounds like me. I've been taking Lithium, Cymbalta and a bit of Valium for years now. I feel like I'd like to try to come off the Cymbalta (to start with) but I just wonder if it's too late for me now. I've been reading about how some of the side effects may not be reversible. I've come off meds before and I would use Prozac to get off the Cymbalta as I've done before successfully. But how do you know - two months, six months, a year down the track, if you're still feeling the effects of withdrawal in your moods etc, or if you're back to yourself - or at least as good as you're going to get post years of meds??? Thanks for reading, Zel
  15. Help777 - Journal

    Effexor x12 years. Added lithium in sept 2015. Added prozac in october to help bridge taper from effexor as i started having symptoms. Started withdrawing effexor in September 2014. Over last 4 months i went From 112.5 to 14mg as of last week.. Last week I seemed to all of a sudden hit a wall. Crying uncontrollably constantly. Shaking, nausea, extreme fear and overwhelming need to cry. Ive read your site. Ive reinstated to 20 mg of effexor for last 3 days but absolutely no improvement. Im so scared. I cant go to work like this. Continuing prozac 20 and lithium 300. Please help.
  16. 1. It seems that some people, such as myself, can get 2 hours and then 1 hour for a total of about 3 hr sleep. Also a nap or two 2 each about 30 minutes is also possible. Can about 3.5 hr sleep cause more brain damage leading to less sleep creating a deadly cycle ? 2. I have a alerting problem during day too. I can't keep eyes open, too little cortisol. This can be more acute when I exercise - I fear falling on face when walking. I went for long walk, then sat in armless chair for hour with people, and constantly almost fell out of chair. Unfortunately exercise only induces nap of about 30 min. I use this at night at times exercising right before bed. Is this paradoxical (SP?) Response to exercise and poor daytime cortisol regulation unique ? 3. For 18 years I was on low dose ssri. Withdrew from last 5 mg cold turkey. No withdrawal for 6 weeks, then brain zaps , insomnia, deep depression, etc. All starting about Oct 1 2015. So I am 5 months into true withdrawal. Ssri took 6 weeks to bleed out bones, fat, etc. I had 2 reasons for withdrawing: worsening sleep disturbance and belief that although I was one of fortunate few to have ssri reduce depression for 18 yr, almost no one will have them work for 30, 40 or more years. Although Dr Shipko warns against withdrawing after 10 years what choice do I have if I might live another 30 years at which time the resultant untreatable depression may be unimaginable. I asked a psychiatrist do you really believe anti depressants will work for me for 30, 40-50 years total, he just showed a horrified look no response. What special advice does anyone have for those on ssris for decades, especially about insomnia??? Dr Shipkos suggestion for ssri withdrawal is scary. *** seems that some people, such as myself, can get 2 hours and then 1 hour for a total of about 3 hr sleep. Also a nap or two 2 each about 30 minutes is also possible. Can about 3.5 hr sleep cause more brain damage leading to less sleep creating a deadly cycle? Thanks
  17. I'm 32 with no prior history of mental health problems. I had a manic and psychotic episode in late May of 2015 after to weeks of starting CPAP therapy for severe sleep apnea. I take a cab to my hometown and admit myself to the hospital because I'm freaked out by my behaviour and my feelings, and after being evaluated I'm given seroquel (25 mg 2x day) and risperidone (2 mg before bed) and end up staying at the psychiatric ward for 5 weeks. After leaving the hospital, I suddenly have no libido and significant fogginess and anhedonia. I get off seroquel and get prescribed lithium (450 mg initially, later 600 mg) because I can't stay awake on the seroquel. I quit the risperidone and then the lithium because I can't take being a fat, bored, pill-dependent zombie. I'm struggling with the risperidone withdrawl, but I'm able to work full time, I'm gradually getting less bored and anxious, and my libido is starting to come back. (I seldom have acute sexual desire, but I'm actually able to get an erection and to get myself off when I make the effort to fantasize about stuff that turns me on, whereas I went weeks without bring able to have an erection or, naturally, to orgasm while I was gullibly poisioning myself with risperidone) I'm just very frustrated that I was never advised that risperidone had such nasty side effects, but I did go from being manic and euphoric to pretty well losing touch with reality. I think I had a dopamine overload because the CPAP therapy improved my sleep and my energy level so incredibly that it felt like a bloody miracle. I started feeling like I was on ecstasy or on a good crystal meth trip or something (wouldn't know...I've only had booze and pot, but based on what I've read...). I felt this incredible euphoria and sense of empathy, and I was writing political rhetoric and coming up with grandiose idea to make the world a better place and to make my place of employment kick butt, but then I lost touch with reality, destroyed some possessions, and blew $200 on a cab ride. Anyways, I just want to be happy again. I want to take pleasure in the stuff that I used to like before all this happened, I want to lose weight and get myself in shape (making process on this front...But I suppose when your BMI is 40, you can lose weight even when lithium and risperidone are dragging you down), I want to fall in love with my job and with my ideals again, I want to be a better version of the person that I was before I got treatment for my sleep apnea. I know it's not the CPAP therapy that does that to me. All it does is ensure that I can breath when I sleep. Common sense dictates that when you stop breathing 100 times an hour and keep waking up and failing to reach REM sleep and spending your days micro-napping, you obviously need medical addition It's dealing with the fact that I experienced something very similar to drug-induced psychosis for what I assume was a dopamine overload, hallucinated the second coming of Jesus Christ while I was psychotic, was surrounded by people with delusional beliefs when I was at the psychiatric ward that fed into the craziness, and then, because of the hallucinations and the religious delusions prior to my coming to grips with the risperidone side-effects, thought I was in Hell. In reality, the anhedonia, the anxiety, and the libido problems were just consequences of my having to deal deal with one of Satan's poisons here on Earth: risperidone. I wish everyone peace, love, happiness, fulfilment, freedom from psychiatry, and awesome sex! And please let and every one of us get better!
  18. I am new here and writing at this time on behalf of my son (53) who is in the very beginning stages of AD discontinuation. Diagnosis: Major Clinical Depression. He has been on numerous ADs in the past 10-15 years, but these last 6+ months it is 120 mg Cymbalta, 600 mg Lithium, 300 mg Wellbutrin. He also is on other meds for diabetes, hi blood pressure and cholesterol, feels like a walking pharmacy, and desperately wants to come of the ADs. He has been feeling absolutely terrible for a long time, and there have been many times when I feared for his life (has made an attempt before). The last psychiatrist simply pileed one med upon another whenever my son reports all the symptoms he is experiencing (hi anxiety, panic attacks, terrible fear, relentless depression, night sweats, brain zaps, etc.). He has been with the same CBT therapist for 10 years, and is currently also attending a NAMI support group. I also have told him about this site and hope that in time he will join himself (he isn’t much of a writer but otherwise very articulate about what he is feeling). After a long and arduous search I found a holistic clinic where he is currently receiving acupuncture, massage, chiropractic manipulations, nutrition and, most importantly, is seen by an M.D. who is managing the AD discontinuation, starting with Cymbalta in 20 mg slow increments (unfortunately, there is no 10 mg capsule). He was told by his pharmacist (confirmed by the M.D.) that if one opens the capsules (Cymbalta) then the formulation is destroyed and the med releases in different parts of the body incorrectly. This can be dangerous and can cause mood swings, which he has been experiencing. There is no way of knowing how successful the work at the clinic will be. Having gone this route myself, I know how slow and excruciating it is. BTW, MCD seems to be generational and runs in my family which, of course, had remained unrecognized until my adult life. Needless to say, he gets very discouraged. Amazingly, though, he is still able to soldier to work every day (as a digital matte painter at a major film studio) where he apreciates the “normalcy” of the day’s structure and interaction with colleagues. However, he is terrified of losing the job and never finding another. He is in an extremely vulnerable state, cries easily, gets terribly frustrated and hits himself. I guess this is a state that has been called neuro-emotions? I have yet to find any useful information about what would minimize these terrifying withdrawal effects. Cymbalta only being one (and possibly the worst), followed later by Lithium and Wellbutrin. Nevertheless, this website is very helpful and I thank the operators for keeping it going. Lastly, I apologize for this rambling post…..
  19. Hi, They say Lithium has no withdrawal effects other than rebound symptoms. Then others say it has some, but they are mild and short lived. They say it can cause permanent brain/CNS damage as well. I'm wondering what else it can damage. I'm wondering if anyone has heard of or experienced what has happened to me with Lithium withdrawal. Before Lithium withdrawal, I did have toxic symptoms but not what I am listing below. To repeat my signature: Had chronic Lithium toxicity. Was abruptly withdrawn in ER with IV fluids. Within days, experienced severe electric shock sensations, skin tingling/crawling and various hard to describe nervous system sensations. Lost emotional control, felt near suicidal. Admitted to hospital psychiatric for 3.5 months, stabilised somewhat on new medications but still experience symptoms. Could not sit or sleep, had to be sedated at night. Physical sensations were never really addressed or treated and persist to a lesser degree to this day. I forgot to add, some sounds (even people talking) send a sharp pain through my nerves now sometimes... it's getting better though. I experience overwhelming flooding of sadness that I'm not familiar with and I don't recall ever having before along with long crying spells. I get a strange feeling that I can't breath right off and on (all the time before), but I can actually breath fine... I can feel this in my head! It's impossible to describe except it doesn't feel like anxiety or my lungs. This is usually accompanied by severe sadness and negative thoughts - perhaps understandably? In hospital I could barely control my "sadness" at all sometimes. Again, could be a bipolar thing. Every doctor I've dealt with is at a complete loss as to what to do... even at a special mental health hospital, they were scratching their heads (4 doctors, 3 students, 1 intern, some docs in the ER, many nurses). I was never successfully treated for these symptoms, I was left to suffer with them. They tried benedryl, cogentin, clonazepam, propranolol - none worked. Divalproex was given to me for my mood and seemed to help the physical sensations as a side effect, but not enough. Of course divalproex helps with nerve pain, anxiety and such too, so that could explain it. I'm bipolar, so I did have rebound mania and eventually rapid cycling along with severe anxiety that had to be dealt with... they were capable of that. I've seen 3 neurologists who all seem to think this is not permanent damage, rather something else but then they offer no help or suggestions on what to do (because they think it's a psychiatrists problem). One neurologist didn't seem surprised at the symptoms, but still blamed it on an "organic cause" that she felt was best taken up with my GP or psychiatrist. She said Lithium's effects can take a long time to resolve. EMG pad tests found nothing, but a needle test did... but the neurologist blamed it on a pinched nerve - I don't buy that for one second. I'm in the blurry grey area between neurology and psychiatry. I hate it. My psychiatrist and GP have no idea what is going on either - my GP suggests it's "chemical". They all seem to think this is temporary and I should wait, but it's been 7 months so far. That's a long time to wait. It makes me wonder if someone experienced/educated enough could help me find relief. I'm curious if restarting Lithium would just fix the problem like I've heard you can do with antidepressants. But my doctors can't tell me if that will work or if it's safe either. One of the oldest and best researched drugs out there and nobody knows anything! I'm more stable on Synthroid 75mcg, divalproex 2000mg, clonazepam 1mg, and moclobimide 450mg now. Lately I feel improved mood and anxiety, less restless and can sleep and sit down. I get tingling/burning skin on my legs, arms, hands and back off and on - it seems like moclobibide may have exacerbated this after it was improving. Just before leaving the hospital in April 1016, I started getting significant muscle and joint pain. This started getting worse as time went by and now I experience it often, but intermittently. Again, doctors are not helpful with regards to this. I suspect divalproex is the cause, but there is no way to determine that just yet. Again, the doctors are in no rush to do anything about it. So, I'm in better mental health now. And is physical pain and discomfort everyday. Even on a good mood/anxiety day, the physical sensations get to me. The best suggestion I've gotten so far is "take ibuprofen" and exercise. The psychiatrist at the hospital advised me to exercise and eat extremely healthy. I think this is what doctors say when they have no idea what to do. I'm trying out 800mg ibuprofen today, I'll see how it goes. I use a 0.5% lidocane gel sometimes, but it barely works. Experimenting with a homemade capsaicin oil but it burns . Voltaren Emugel barely works and is expensive. Summary of withdrawal symptoms: - paraesthesia / neuropathy / akathisia / ? Basicaly all related from what I can tell - all over body, even in my mouth! - anxiety, horrible sensation when breathing or being short of breath - more significant depression than ever - sound sensitivity - severe muscle and joint pain (could be divalproex) I know it's complicated because some of this is returning or worsening bipolar/anxiety stuff, but the pain/neuropathy - no way... this is nuts. I'm hoping to find some answers, help, suggestions, shared experiences... a name of a doctor who knows what they're doing? Thanks for reading, I hope this helps someone or someone can help me! I'm sick of all the the information out there about how Lithium has no withdrawal and everything will be fine... in my case it is absolutely not true. Lithium has withdrawal!
  20. Hello! I want to say upfront that I'm not withdrawing from SSRI's, but that I'm here because I'm a support person to my brother-in-law (henceforth brother who will be tapering off of lithium starting in September, and also a support person to my mother-in-law who just began Zoloft, in addition to multiple medications for sleep and anxiety. I have my own journey with depression and anxiety, which I have self-treated sometimes successfully, and sometimes not. I came here after searching for more info on lithium tapering, which led me to JanCarol's thread, which I have now read almost in its entirety, in the process falling in love with this community, and in complete awe and love for JanCarol's courage and determination (and humour!). In preparation for the taper both my brother and I will be doing a vegetarian version of Kelly Brogan's 30 day plan, as outlined in her book, A Mind of Your Own. My brother is currently taking magnesium bisglycinate, active b-vitamins, a dha enriched vegetarian omega 3-6-9, vitamin d, and vitamin c. I hope it's OK for me to receive feedback and support for my support . I will also be sharing more about my history, and the journey of the dietary and lifestyle changes recommended by Brogan.
  21. Hi I have been on psych meds for 20 years and the oldest one I am still on is lithium for 14 years. I thought it was longer but then realised that is less which is good I guess. Though still a long time. I am just taking the first step in this process, which is gathering my support team around me. I have to wait to see what my psychiatrist is going to say on Tuesday but I am going in there prepared for a "no" and if that happens, I will be changing to a new psych. I'll give mine a go but I don't think she will come on board. This is all so scary. These drugs have been both, at times a support, at times a crutch but also really negative. I shake and jerk all the time, which is a huge reason as to why I want to reduce or come off my meds. I am looking forward to getting to know you . Cali
  22. Hello everyone, I first got started on Celexa in May 09 after my mind slipped into an inescapable panic state induced by an accidental overdose of the anti-histamine diphenhydramine. I should of know way back then, after a few weeks, then I should of stayed away from all drugs and given my brain a chance to calm down and repair itself on it’s own, but I was truly, truely frightened that I had down some serious damage or I was on my way to the depths of psychosis. So I went to my GP got diagnosed with anxiety disorder. I switched to Cymabalta in November 09 after a personal event triggered an intensification of agitated depression which had never really left despite treatment with Celexa. Sticking with Cymbalta was, again, an irrevocably stupid decision - but I had faith in the psychiatrist who was prescribing me these things. Suicidal ideation was commonplace both in an experiential context and in circumstantial context – my anxiety was so severe I just wanted out and I was astounded to what life had been reduced to. On cymbalta I felt tired but wired with a generalised irritability and massive cravings for sugar, which when I gave in and ate only triggered an intensification of irritability. I look back during this period and I’m struck with just how bizarre and Kafkaesque the whole experience was. Why the hell didn’t I get of the ******* thing earlier? I weaned off Cymbalta in in June 2010. However, the suicidal panic now morphed into a suicidal malaise and all-consumng tiredness, severe anhedonia, and an inability to concentrate - which has stuck with me since. I got put on Zoloft in Oct’10, 4 months after my last drug, and after a visit to a GP where I told me him I was suicidal and planning to go through with it. He sort of shrugged and just told me to go back on a med. The Zoloft induced both akathisa and a “despair beyond despair” at my situation. I flew out to Thailand with the intention of having a last hurrah and then taking myself down to one of the gun ranges and putting a .357 round into my frontal lobe. (Guns aren't readily available in the UK) I flew home when my parents found out where I was, despite my (I thought) well-constructed plan to deceive and explained to them the extent of which I was struggling. We sought the services of a psychiatrist whom I thought was progressive and looking at the bigger picture. By now, I was mostly concerned with the brain fog and chronic fatigue - which prevented me from most activities which might have led to an improvement with my lot in life - which led me to conclude my problem was neuro-endocrine based. I agreed to a low-dose of Lexapro, some compounded thyroid hormone and about 20 different supplements to treat any bodily pathologies. Despite this ambitious protocol, there was very little change in mood. I tried to stay working but got overwhelmed again and my suicidal ideation reached a zenith. I flew back out to Asia with my father, this time to Cambodia but to join a volunteer project building houses. I figured a dose of 3rd poverty might take my mind….off my mind. This time I also agreed to start lithium. It was a humbling experience for sure but I was still weak, foggy, anxious and depressed. I also felt intensely guilty at being in my depressed state amongst so much poverty and in a country with the worst auto-genocide in history. I also picked up a stomach infection which led to post-infectious gastroparesis which I have been struggling with since. Early in 2011 I discontinued the lithium, at the time we hadn’t worked out the stomach problem and where concerned the lithium could be causing the GI stuff. I continued with Lexapro in the AM and 25mg amitrypltine to get me off to sleep in the PM. Life was just a haze punctuated by bouts of panic and despair. My ability to work and socialise properly had all but disappeared by now, so I got used to life being what it was. At the beginning of 2012 I decided to take a break from AD’s, they didn’t seem to have improved my lot in life much, maybe coming off them would do some good. This was when my concern, finally, about TD started - I continued to feel like absolute ****. What if the drugs were the problem all along?. It wasn’t until a few months ago that the epiphany really took hold and I realised the full horror of what I subjected myself to. I realised the whole thing was being exacerbated by the very treatment that authority deemed to be of help. Back when I came off Cymbalta in 2010 I just assumed this was my depression anxiety ramping up and the exhaustion was a natural extension, but now I was still horrendously depressed and the other **** kicked in. I curse myself that I didn’t see the connection the first time round and have spent another 2.5 years on psych drugs….. Note, I tried a few drugs of now more than about two weeks duration in 2012. Again this was before the idea of drug-induced harm became cemented in my mind. My last drug ingestion was Tianeptine in November. My question to anyone who has any suggestions and or experiences is in my title – what the hell do I do now? I’m a complete invalid. Living at home with a parent at 25, unable to enjoy much of anything at all, I can’t lose myself in a movie like I did years ago, my mind is just inexplicably turned inward and focused on it’s own arid desolation and fogginess. Reading is a significantly challenging endeavour and writing is difficult (it’s taken me about a week to knock this up into something coherent and semi-legible). I’m just having such trouble formulating a strategy which might give me a chance of getting well again. Just reading this site has given me a bit of hope in that people can get their lives back on track. There’s people here that appear to have got off far harsher drugs and had been on them for longer periods, so I need to keep a perspective of sorts, I’m just terrified at this stage that I’m past the point of no return and that putting what was a fragile brain/mind to begin with in drugs might just have been…… Any help or words of wisdom are appreciated. Thanks for reading. Jack
  23. Hello everyone. I'm new to the group. I've been on lithium for more than 3 years. Lately, my memory loss has been worse, I've been having frequent nighttime awakening to go to the restroom because of the Lithium so over the past year my sleep has been off. I am exhausted and extremely frustrated that they pushed a label on me to begin with when I was finally discovering myself. In any case, I don't have a lot of support from my husband or psychiatrist and my psychiatrist is recommending that I switch to Depakote because of the side effects of the Lithium. So I know that in order to get off the medication without having a manic episode, I need to do it slowly and i obviously can't continue with lithium for that long. Do I introduce Depakote in the meantime and drug myself up with both until I get to a stable dose? Is Depakote hard to get off of? What do you recommend? I don't get it.. I had infections both times that I had a manic episode, plus both times I got my period in the hospital. Both times I was sleep deprived beforehand... and my psychiatrist even admitted to me that sleep deprivation causes people to lose some of their inhibitions. I was also going through profound transformations at the time and getting in touch with emotions and parts of myself that I hadn't allowed myself to be and what gives them the right to tell me I have bipolar when they can't even explain the physical/emotional components? Plus I have MTHFR (a genetic mutation) and some other sensitivities and deficiencies like anemia (not iron deficiency). Thank you. Looking forward to your input.
  24. Hi, I hope to be a regular contributor. Here is a bit of background: Throughout high school I was mildly depressed and anxious, which turned into a pretty horrible social anxiety and moderate depression in first year of university. Eventually I left school and was pretty depressed for eight months. I started Paxil when I was nearly 20 in 11/06 and immediately my anxiety and depression seemed to vanish. I returned to school and withdrew my Paxil six months later with no noticeable withdrawal. Two and a half years later when I was 22 I began experiencing some horrible anxiety triggering some gastro issues. I took one dose of Paxil and woke up that night with some sort of terrible panic attack. I ceased taking the Paxil but the panic attacks (flu-like symptoms) continued and lasted hours at a time. I feared that I was dying. Eventually I was hospitalized and put on Cipralex and Olanzapine. My anxiety eventually halted and the Cipralex gave me more energy and motivation than I typically have. Eventually I was labelled bipolar ii because of the initial but short lasting activating effects that some antidepressants have in me. The Cipralex pooped out in three weeks and I was polydrugged for the next four years, including two more hospitalizations in that first year for depression. Eventually my mood and anxiety stabilized for two years on Cymbalta, lithium, and Alertec; however, the fatigue was unbearable. In 08/13 I came off Cymbalta and my mood started to deteriorate (I probably experienced about a month of withdrawal syndrome including insomnia, irritability, brain zaps, and flu-like symptoms). After more polydrugging, I decided that the drugs may be making things worse. At nearly age 27, I came off of Pristiq and lithium. Pristiq brought on a similar syndrome as Cymbalta. I came off of both antidepressants too quickly, however, usually in a matter of a month. I also came off of lithium way too quickly, in about six weeks. As I was coming off lithium I began to feel normal again for the first time in four and a half years. About three weeks after my last lithium dose (02/14) I woke up vomiting. I then had severe anxiety for a couple of days but it lifted in a week. It was replaced by a mild or moderate depression that was, for the most part, quite manageable. I was actually hopeful, had normal energy for the first time in years, and beginning meditation and psychotherapy and thought I might recover. Unfortunately, some bad life events happened: there was conflict in the house that I live in and I ended up living on my own for a while (not a good thing). Worse, however, is that I injured by back. It remains injured and I am now getting some tests done to try and figure out what is wrong with it. I can't walk more than five minutes without it getting quite achey and knotty. Eventually this bodily stress had me thinking thoughts that I was dying again and that my back will never heal. This lead to me to being in a constant state of panic. I was losing lots of weight and my body had been in panic mode for nearly a week. I was terrified. I went to a community crisis centre who I thought might help me without psych drugs -- but they basically told me to go get drugs. I ended up hospitalized (06/14) and was immediately put on mirtazapine and then Lyrica. A few days later the anxiety left and I entered the most severe depression of my life: it was incredibly painful, I could barely move, my voice had no emotion, and I was asking my parents to kill me. The depression would occasionally lift at nighttime and I would be normal again. The depression lifted one morning and was replaced by a depressive/anxious hellish state that did not lift in the evening. Defeated, uncertain how the pain would go away, and pressured by my nurses and my psychiatrist, I upped everything and began lithium again albeit at a lower dose: mirtazapine 30mg, Lyrica 100mg, lithium 600mg. I was discharged from the hospital last week. I feel incredibly discouraged. Before I found this site (and the 10% rule) I tapered 25mg off of Lyrica so that now the Lyrica fog is much more bearable during the day. My biggest questions at this point are: after tapering off of drugs or during the taper for some people, how does one deal with severe panic anxiety or with severe, profoundly painful depression? I am beginning to browse these forums looking for these answers. I fear that there may not be answers and that people just ride through it which takes a lot of courage. I tried to ride out depressions when I was younger but they it went on for over a year and a half before I took Paxil. It is especially challenging as I live in Toronto and I cannot find much support here for tapering off of psych drugs or for dealing with a crisis that comes during or post taper. I am in the process of finding a new psychiatrist, which is quite difficult, as my psychiatrist is as biology-based as possible (he wanted me to have shock therapy in December which is partly why I came off drugs around then as I realized he didn't know what he was doing.) Unfortunately, I still had to see him when I was recently in hospital, which is another trigger. I just never imagined I would be back on psych drugs. The injury to my back is also depressing me. I've gone from hopeful to hopeless in a matter of months. Right now my anxiety is not too severe and neither is the depression. I've read that Mirt has a habit of pooping out early, which is partly why I think every minute is invaluable in determining tapering and eventual crisis. The crisis pattern for me seems to be severe anxiety followed by depression, then maybe a mixed anxious/depressed state. Anyone with similar experiences, advice, or encouragement? The scariest things for me are how to deal with severe panic anxiety and a physically excruciating depression. Thanks for reading.
  25. My daughter wants to get off her psych meds. She has been gradually tapering off klonopin, and is down to .25 mg once a day. She plans to cut that in half at the end of this week and then stop entirely after two weeks at that dose. She has not had any adverse reactions to that taper, and her symptoms of slurred speech and protruding tongue have gotten better. She's also brighter and more alert, less depressed, since tapering the klonopin. She met with her psychiatrist today and told him she wants to get off her "anti-psychotic" -- invega -- next. He said he wants to put her on lithium if she goes off the invega so that she'll have "something to prevent psychotic relapse." He warned her that 50% of people with "bipolar disorder" do relapse. She mentioned to him the recent 20-year study showing that people do better longterm without neuroleptics. He told her that was probably a study of schizophrenia, not "bi-polar disorder." (Actually the Harrow study followed both, but the conclusions of the study concern schizophrenia.) So, his plan for her is to put her on lithium and test her blood levels, and once that levels out, to start an invega taper to get her off that over the period of just one month. She told him she thinks the taper off invega should not be so fast, but should be over several months. I'm pretty frustrated that the doctor just wants to substitute one toxic substance (invega) for another toxic substance (lithium). I'm also disturbed that he would have her on both at the same time, and that he would have her withdraw from the invega over just one month. I also don't think she should start tapering a new drug until she finishes tapering the klonopin. Problem is my daughter doesn't do the research herself, she relies on me to do it because she cannot really concentrate and lacks internet research skills. Then she talks to her psychiatrist and doesn't know whether to believe what he tells her or not, since she hasn't read the studies, and she begins to doubt. She's afraid the doctor won't let her go off the invega if she doesn't take the lithium. Any suggestions about what to do next? I'm thinking we need to find her a new prescribing psychiatrist. Trouble with that is that she is currently with the County mental health services, and if she goes outside that, then she might lose her eligibility for assisted housing support that she's trying to get into. We' re in San Francisco, CA. Does anyone have any suggestions about doctors and/or clinics she could work with? She's on Medicare and disability. Thanks. ~Mom
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