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  1. Just finished (psychiatrist managed) 7 week slow taper off 10 yrs on Cymbalta. Now taking Wellbutrin which manages depression better. My struggle is the slow taper off Lorazepam which I’ve been on for 20 yrs. I’m down to .2 mg but the withdraws are horrible: hot/cold sweats are not only uncomfortable but embarrassing in public, body aches in upper part of back, anxiety and agitation, heart palpitations. I’m using Motrin pm to get to sleep and Belsomra to stay asleep thru the night. Dr just prescribed Doxepin to try to replace Motrin pm and help anxiety. Looking for feedback on the Lorazepam withdraws and what others may have found to help. Thanks!!
  2. Gridley

    In 1986 I was prescribed a tricyclic antidepressant, 75 mg Imipramine PM, to slow bowel function and to relieve pain resulting from ulcerative colitis. I was also put on 1 mg Lorazepam. In 1991 I went CT off both the Imipramine and the Lorazepam, resulting in a terrible colitis flare-up. After a few months I reinstated with success. However, these medications, and everything else I did for the colitis ceased work about three years ago, and in January, 2015, I underwent surgery to remove my colon and replace with an internal J-pouch, which cured the colitis. But that left me with the 30-year-long Imipramine situation. In January, 2016, I began tapering the Imipramine 10% every three weeks, which went fine until I got down to 19 mg, then 12 mg, at which point I began experiencing severe anxiety as well as dizziness. Realizing I had tapered too quickly, I updosed to 25 mg a month ago but have not as yet stabilised at this dose, as I am still experiencing considerable anxiety as well as insomnia. Until September 23, my tapers were approximate percentages as I hadn't yet bought a scale. I use the supplements Theanine and Nature's Balance Happy Camper to help with the anxiety, along with magnesium glycinate. It's only been a month, but I'm a little worried that I am never going to stabilise at 25 mg. In 2004, due to depression, I was put on a succession of SSRIs, in addition to the Imipramine, including Zoloft, Prozac and Effexor. Lexapro 20 mg seemed to finally work and I remain on it at this time. In 2011 I was prescribed 1 mg Lorazepam for insomnia, now 1.5 mg.
  3. This site has been a sanctuary for several months and I would like to thank AltoStrata, her fellow Admins and all posting members for the invaluable information shared in the various forums. In this most confusing and isolating phase of my life so far, you have all helped me to feel less alone, less confused, and important teachers. I believe I may have created a meds signature line in my sign-up form, but if not I will correct that shortly. Briefly, I realized I was in a polypharmacy rut in February of this year. Prozac 10 or 20 mg (?) from early 1997 to early 1998. Newly sober, the Paxil caused "speediness" and I was switched to Paxil - Paxil 20mg/day (depression/anxiety) from 1998 to approximately Spring 2007. I simply stopped taking it after running out, was in long-term therapy and did not think twice about leaving such a "small thing" behind. Even though there were large stressors at work. The state of lability, extreme depression, dysphoria, DP, DR (terms I did not know then) were horrendous. I returned to the original psychiatrist who tried me on various other meds for a hellish 2 months, never once mentioning I might be in withdrawal from stopping the Paxil. The last straw was an Effexor trial, which put me in a state of agitation, physical heat, and inability to leave bed beyond imagination. It took months to find a new Psychiatrist, which happened about February 2008. He felt I had simply been on too small a Paxil dose - I had heard about "poop out" by that time but he dismissed it - I had not heard about withdrawal on Paxil cessation and he did not mention it. He put me back on Paxil and built up slowly from 10 to eventually 60mg. Unfortunately I don't remember the timeline for that buildup. However, 60mg became the maintenance dose at which I remained until Feb. 2017 of this year - nearly 10 years. He also became my psychotherapist and had a wonderfully humane aspect to him to which I attribute most of the great healing that happened over the first 3-4 years. My life became strong and rich and fulfilling again - in all areas. In 2010 there was a collision of traumatic stressors in work and family. As well, somatic experience of panic, high anxiety and heart palpitations such as I'd never experienced since childhood episodes of severe abuse became frequent. I made certain decisions in my life. We continued the meds and the therapy. In June (?) 2012 - after months of persistent inner agitation, weepiness, anxiety (following death of family member), he added Ativan 0.5 at night. A year later he added another 0.5 in the am. A year after that he added another 0.5 at noon. I can not know with any certainty but based on everything that I have read about tolerance and withdrawal with Paxil and Ativan, I believe that I experienced pre-taper withdrawal-like symptoms for several years. I wish I had known then - when he began adding the benzo to the Paxil - what I know now. I had trusted him so completely as a person and a professional. Fast forward to February 2017. He announced abruptly that he was closing his practice - in 3 months. We had been working together for about 9 years. The anxiety caused by the announcement led him to increase my RXs for Paxil to 80 and to double Ativan to 1mg 3 times a day. He acknowledged that the 2 drugs did not appear to be "working" or "ideal" anymore. Sadly I think his priority at that point was to get to the end of the three months without liability - so it was easier to simply up the meds and "explore referral options." Two months on the upped prescriptions saw me living like an outpatient in a chemical straightjacket - as a full on zombie. I found my way to Mad in America and the literature on iatrogenic psychotropic drug injuries, the psychiatric profession's blind faith in the hypothesis of the "chemical imbalance", and the frightening stories about withdrawing from SSRIs and benzodiazepines - especially the 2 I was prescribed. This was all quite frightening and overwhelming. I was able to find a wonderful and sympathetic therapist. The zombie straightjacket was too much. I decided to taper myself back to my "baseline" though no-longer-working (even according to the Psychiatrist) polypharmacy of Paxil 60mg and Ativan .05 3 times a day. I did that from April to August. Symptoms ranging from extreme loss of appetite, acute DP/DR, extreme and sudden heart palpitations and anxiety, and a slow-motion hyper depressive grey movie in the background looping "this is the end of the road for me" movies - but always behind a screen. The gestalt in terms of doing anything is a 1000 mile distance between a flourishing idea or thought and any action to carry it out. Including washing dishes! The search for a meds doctor who is sympathetic to a patient wishing to taper off psychotropic drugs that no longer work and are causing is still on. I will be meeting one next week, and I believe his name does appear on a list of potentially knowledgeable providers somewhere on this site. I will report back. He appears to be familiar with tapering patients off psychotropic drugs and he is also a holistic treater with experience in acupuncture, something called "functional psychology" (?), and other holistic practices. Thanks to SA I shall have with me a lot of information to discuss - very calmly - with him, including the formula of tapering 10% (vs. last dose), listening to the body even within a tapering protocol, and the question as to whether the Paxil or the Ativan should be tapered first. (I saw a psychiatrist one month ago who wrote out a taper schedule for Ativan that was very aggressive - I modified it and have "held" at an early stage after feeling my body rebelling and reading here about the 10% recommendation. Same psychiatrist was ready to have me start tapering Paxil simultaneously until I mentioned perhaps it was not a great idea and he very quickly agreed. Those fancy degrees, Research Hospital affiliations, decades of experience .... That's another story.) I wish to thank you all from the bottom of my heart - for being here.
  4. Hi, I have been a long time lurker and didn't think I'd need to post but I am hoping for a bit of reassurance and support. I have so far not involved myself, because I am one of those who didn't take ADs for long and had a reaction. I am generally a happy, healthy and pretty confident, level person. My young son got ill in 2013 and had to have a couple of operations. He’s absolutely fine now but, having held it together all the while I think I started to process it once it was all over and I noticed that I was worrying excessively about him. By February 2014 I was getting concerned that, if left unchecked, my issues could smother his adventures and exclude my daughter so, when it spiked around the time he started school I decided to see someone about it. At this point I had never had a panic attack or anything even close to it, a few intrusive thoughts about my son’s health that I felt were gaining a bit too much traction for a couple of weeks but was generally still enjoying life and getting on with my days. The day before I saw the psych I went to the movies with my girlfriends and had a lovely time. The week before we had friends over and I remember feeling happy, almost to the point smug, thinking 'I love my life. I'm so lucky'. I went, just expecting to talk it through but instead spent 15 minutes with a psychologist who diagnosed me with GAD and did a real number on me about how sick I was and how I would never get better without medication, which I was reluctant to take. She phoned the female GP at my practice (my normal doctor was away) and told her that I needed meds but would resist. The GP scared the crap out of me, telling me the next stage is psychosis and I would be hospitalised if I left it untreated, did I want to be away from my children for a month if that happened, etc, etc. None of it stacked up against my own experience of myself and my husband didn’t get it either but these people were the experts, they should know, right? Anyway, I took pristiq and ativan for three days and everything just fell apart. Within hours of taking it I was being hit by wave after wave of panic attack, then came the hallucinations, suicidal and violent thoughts, agoraphobia, it just kept on giving. I was convinced I couldn’t be trusted around people, let alone my children. It was a living nightmare so I stopped taking them. The withdrawals were terrible; more obsessive suicidal and violent thoughts, vomiting, watery diarrhoea, dizziness, headaches, blurred vision and pain behind my left eye, adrenal jolts and just fear like I’d never known. I was determined not to go back on them and in hindsight should have just continued through it. Instead I went to see a naturopath who gave me a fairly hefty dose of St Johns Wort. I was worried about taking it so soon after discontinuing the pristiq but he assured me I would be fine. I wasn’t. It was awful but I stuck with it for several weeks. Worried about another set of withdrawals, my psych dismissing all symptoms as not possibly related to the meds or herbs (which she laughed at) and mistrusting doctors I had totally lost sight of who I normally was. I tapered off it as fast as I could – all the usual, though less pronounced physical withdrawals, increased anxiety, more suicidal thoughts and a very strange dysphoria – like someone else jumped into my mind, thought a load of random, truly awful negative stuff that I would never normal think and then hopped back out again leaving me muddled and anxious. Eventually I went to see my own doctor, who has been treating me and my family for the past ten years. I told him what was going on and he said that he had seen similar in people who are really sensitive to psychotropic drugs and that I had probably suffered serotonin syndrome and to ride it out. He pointed out that worrying about your kids, particularly after times of stress, isn’t a mental illness and that the hand pain I was experiencing (the psych told me these were a symptom of my anxiety, as my heart was pumping blood faster and I didn’t even realise it was happening) was more likely referred pain from a whiplash injury the month before. So fast forward to now, a little over a year later and I have been doing well. I have been having waves but they are manageable and I am back to my normal self during windows, which are lengthy (the last being four months). Until now. I am presently in a wave that has lasted for nearly a month (with the odd window within that time) and as about as bad as during the earlier phases of withdrawal. I am having some serious obsessive and scary thoughts and a whole barrage of physical symptoms; nausea, bloating and a butterflies feeling) headaches, a cold, trickily feeling down my spine, some brain zaps, pain behind my eye and, when there is a reprieve from those, an almost depressive state where the negative self talk takes over - like I am incapable and not good enough to do the job I have been doing perfectly well for years. If it wasn't for the emotional/psychological symptoms, I would think I was really sick (the anxious withdrawal-hypochondriac is chanting that I probably am. Very). Does anyone know of people getting such a pronounced wave after such a long time? I know it can't be a relapse, because I was never even remotely like this before, but it is scary. The further out from taking the pills, the less assured I feel that it is still withdrawal, which I guess is the catch 22. My normal doctor is away again and whilst he is sympathetic, I am frightened he will become sceptical as time draws on. I would appreciate any insights people can offer. Thanks
  5. Hi everybody! I started taking Lorazepam 0.5mg and escitalopram (Lexapro) 10mg for anxiety attacks back in Sep 2016 after 4 months of one-per-month short vertigo episodes, dizziness, imbalance and (unconfirmed later) misdiagnosis of Meniere's "Syndrome"). I never reached the prescribed limits started with 1/2 pill -> 3/4 pill of Lorazepam and 2.5 -> 5 ->7.5 mg of Lexapro. I wasn't feeling good. Constant dizziness, sometimes a bit of nausea and overall while feeling less anxious not feeling good most of the time (a bit dizzy in some situations like elevators or driving). Then, I think in Feb 2017 I decided to start tapering off scared by all the withdrawal descriptions I've read and no being able to have tests for my vestibular system. I bought mg scales, and I think for two months I tapered off Lorazepam, and then May 26 was my last day of escitalopram. For 2 weeks or more I felt more or less okay. Then, things started getting worse. In mid-July 2017, after a stress I felt really dizzy, and my anxiety attacks got back to me. I started having strange sensations of posture imbalance, like my feet were not in accordance with the rest of my body. I thought I have a chronic subjective dizziness, took some vestibular therapy (they said I have a perfect objective balance), it seemed to help, but still I was having difficulty concentrating, sitting in front of a computer, felt constant eye muscle pain and anxiety. Strange feet sensation / imbalance was more perceivable when I was standing. Then I started having sort of "excitement"/"dizziness" zaps in my brain like you are on a rollercoaster for a second. Then roughly 3 weeks ago it got gradually accompanied by tingling, numbness in my feet and also tingling/ hypersensitivity in my arms / body and all over the body. For a couple of nights I felt extremely fatigue and felt weakness in my leg muscles and overall body, went to bed 2 hours before my wife, woke up a couple of time in a cold sweat. I started thinking I was developing an MS and all that made me completely freaked out (not mentioning chronic subjective dizziness and prospective to taking ADs again). I'm doing MRI in a couple of weeks, MRI from Sep 2016 showed no lesions. A couple of days ago, maybe a week, I started feeling odd taste in my mouth, I searched for it and yes, the closest description is "metallic". These three months were the worst, I think I'm in depression now (my psychotherapist kind of shares my view), really preparing for the life with MS and, well, the joy of life has gone So I'd like to ask community a couple of questions and ask for support, because it seems my CNS is waving me a goodbye 1. Do you think I tapered too fast? 2. Was the dose good enough to "justify" what was going on? 3. Is all this more likely WD than suddenly appearing MS? 4. I'm taking Fish Oil, magnesium, Turmeric, taking St. John's Wort (800mg) right now. Should I add / remove anything from the list? 5. I'm doing yoga warm-up every day, try to visit yoga classes a couple of times per week With hope, citydweller.
  6. Hello community, So glad to have found this site!! I've been reading, reading, reading for almost two months. Unfortunately I did not find y'all and Dr. Glenmullen's book until after eight months of thinking I was doing a gradual taper per my GP's advice. Without proper information I tapered too fast, alternated doses, and failed to recognize that the difficult symptoms I was having could be coming from antidepressant withdrawal. I'm currently trying to stabilize before embarking on the 10% taper, starting with sertraline. The symptoms I currently have are: rapid heartbeat and resulting fatigue, anxiety and agitation, including:dizziness and fainting upon standing up (orthostatic hypotension) inability to alter heart rate with exercise (exercise intolerance) ears ringing morning depression heat intolerance (like hot flashes only longer) intense dreams and nightmares head tremor Once I realized I was tapering too fast, I stabilized/increased to 25 mg sertraline and 0.75 mg lorazepam. In the two months since then, some other symptoms I had went away and the above symptoms have seemed to improve, except for heartbeat and head tremor. I had a normal EKG. All blood tests normal except cholesterol (and I consider high cholesterol a good thing for me as a post-menopausal woman). Starting in 2013 or 2014, my antidepressant was increased and I started regularly taking lorazepam due to several years of extreme emotional stress (caring for my physically and mentally declining spouse). I also experienced severe disrupton of my sleep cycle and used alcohol at night. During and before this time, I had many years of blood sugar fluctuations. So I imagine my HPA axis was already severely out of whack even before my mis-guided fast taper. I stopped alcohol 15 months ago, after my husband died. (My symptoms are complicated by the effects of my grief process.) I've been gradually removing stressors from my life. I have recently addressed my blood sugar via a low-carb unprocessed way-of-eating. Am also phasing out caffeine. I am addressing my sleep cycle by using amber glasses to counter the effects of evening screen time. (Hope to reduce the screen time too). Anyway, I am frustrated that my heart palpitations make me unable to exercise, but I understand that all the nervous system problems can be slow to resolve. Trying to be super patient. Appreciate hearing everyone else's stories, questions, and answers. This site is a wonderful resource.
  7. Hi, you can call me AprilShowers. I was put on Venlafaxine (Effexor) in the millenium due to a period of depression. Was on it two years and tapered off with no problem and gradually depression got managable and life went on. Then my mother died of cancer and my depression came back more suicidal and severe. I tried citalopram with horrible side effects and continuous suicidal feelings before being changed to venlafaxine which had worked for me before. And it worked again, more or less. I got stabilised and although it took a long time the suicidal thoughts receded and I just had bad depression. Last year after five years on venlafaxine I was having bad heart palpitations and my psychiatrist thought it might be beneficial to change medications as I thought it might be being caused by being on an SNRI. I switched to mirtazapine which I was on a couple of weeks and felt good at first before it made me very suicidal. Panicing and needing to not feel that way anymore I stopped taking it cold turkey. After I began to have withdrawal issues I tried to get onto prozac (fluoxetine) in the hope that it would help, it didn't, it exacerbated the symptoms. I was in full withdrawal syndrome, massive dumps of cortisol turned my body to acid, I was urinating blood, I couldn't eat or sleep and the shakes were exhausting. It was completely debilitating and I did little but lay on the sofa for five months trying to distract myself with TV shows. Life got a little better in increments and with the help of this site which I read without joining I was able to understand what was happening to me and try to support my body. I thought maybe I'd been lucky to have gotten through this and was hoping to build my life back to some semblance of normal. I managed to get back to the point I'd been on while I was on the antidepressants. Still depressed, still not coping well with life but able to function a bit. I had hoped to build on that. A couple of weeks ago I started getting mad anxiety, possibly triggered by the shock of the news of terrorist attacks in Paris although I guess if I'm honest I was feeling a bit overwhelmed before that. Whatever happened, I was having a hard time and took a couple of small doses of lorazepam two nights running to get some sleep and mellow the panicy feelings. Of course they got worse after that and now I have the full cortisol dumping into my system again and I'm back on the sofa wishing for a different life and a better body. I've been in touch with my care co-ordinator who isn't seeing me until next week and she says that without me being willing to take medication there's not much she can do. I'm seeing my doctor tomorrow to try to rule out any underlying medical reasons (I had an infection before all this happened and have recently become diabetic, have PCOS and have had previous anemias, heart palpitations and thyroid blips) but I'm not holding out much hope and unsure how to try an explain to the doc what is happening with cortisol dumping into my body. I know all they can offer for the symptoms is lorazepam or similar drugs and I think that would just make my problem worse. The early morning shuddering and feeling of waking in abject terror is the pits, the shudders are exhausting, like parkinsons and then taper off during the day but still with a low level of tremor and feeling of panic. I've got no saliva, I go hot and cold, my stomach is acid, I'm wetting myself with the level of fear hormones in my system and am having to wear pads and I'm constantly going to the bathroom, I'm not doing very well at all. The fact that this is happening for the second time is extremely disappointing, I've had thoughts of not wanting to live like this. I feel very alone, I live alone and I'm scared of losing all I've gained. I'm here to find hope. I need to give this awful life I'm forced into some value and give myself some value. After five years living on benefits, trying to overcome depression and not really coping with life I feel like I have nowhere to turn but here to find people who believe and understand what I'm going through. I am desperate to believe this is just a blip and won't last as long as before but it's been getting worse every day like the reverse of when it happened the first time when it was very bad and I gradually felt relief. I'm finding it hard to trust I will recover. I have nothing to do but hope I can again. Supplements I take omega 3 in a high dose which has helped me manage my depression. vitamin C magnesium with calcium. Occasional other supplements. Am thinking of just stopping all but the omega 3.
  8. Please i need help. I am on cymbalta generic and have tapered down to approx 10 mgs from 90 using bead method. I also take a very low dose of ativan. I had tapered off the ativan in july 2016 and went back on much lower dose 4 months ago. I also take zyprexa at approx. 3.75 mgs. I have been trying to taper all three meds because i have fatty liver disease and need yo get off this junk before it turns into cirrhosis. So i made a cut last week and about 4 days ago i started to get severe anxiety. I was doing fine up until then but it seems like every time i get to a certain point with the zyorexa i get so anxious. I have tried several times to taper zyprexa. I am under alot of stress and i dont know if its me or withdrawal. I was put on these medications 9 years ago for anxiety. It was very bad. But i dont know if that anxiety was from klonopin or celexa. I did not have this kind of anxiety before those two meds. Someone please help me. I had to increase the zyprexa yesterday or i was going to end up in the hospital. I have to find a job because i will soon be homeless if i dont. How will i get off these horrible drugs and function at the same time??
  9. Aria's recovery from poly drugs. I had no idea when I walked into a psychiatrist's office 25 yrs ago the horrible labyrinth I'd entered. Slam dunked at a point in my life when I was feeling low and the loss of future possibilities taken away. Being told I was mentally ill, would never function again, needed to be on disability and poly drugged for the rest of my life repeatedly took it's toll. All this impacted my relationships with family, friends and enjoying life. The pdoc constantly added new psych drugs, changed doses and took me off the old drugs at an alarming rate. I became a morbidly obese woman who mumbled or talked rapidly and it was obvious to everyone but the pdoc I was totally messed up on something. I had Seroquel Induced Acute Pancreatitis that landed me in the hospital for quite awhile and my pdoc put in my open med chart I was crazy. I didn't know this till later but ill as I was I did notice some of my physicians were treating me oddly. One good thing about being so ill was I referred to a neurologist for chronic pain and found out my problem was profound drug induced Akathsia. This neurologist actually screamed at me, these psych drugs are killing you, they're killing you. I knew I had to get off these drugs not matter what it took and reclaim my life. At my next appointment I asked my psychiatrist why he was drugging me like this and he looked directly at me (probably for the first time in years he saw "me"). He started sobbing, loudly sobbing, "Oh God what have I done to you", over and over. I'm sitting there thinking oh crap, I don't need this. Our 15 minute med check was up and this guy calmly goes to the front desk to get the next patient and proceeds without any other fanfare. He's robot. A robot. All this in itself was mind boggling. Hell, closure?? No way. I found out I had Tardive Dyskinesia and a few other psych drug induced issues. My face was a road map with twitches and jerking that yelled hey, I'm on massive psychiatric drugs. Will my face be like this forever?? The TD has mostly gone away and I'm so grateful (the pdoc adamantly said I did not have Tardive Dyskinesia from psych drugs). Well, guess what?? The psychiatrist was wrong...horribly wrong. Other doctors, psychiatrist, therapists said you're not mentally ill and never had been. The sad but very scarey part is I'm labeled as profoundly mentally ill and that info is in my medical charts. One pdoc did this...one. I've gone through the gambit of emotions dealing with this. I will probably always be mad at this jerk for what he did to me and for what he still does to others. It affected years of my life and he was wrong. I'm a Success Story because I'm psych drug free and have been for several years. My journey was extremely difficult and I did it on my own hit or miss tapering off numerous psychiatric drugs. I endured drug withdrawals that paralyzed me month after month. Was it worth the hell of tapering? Yes, very much yes. My reward was my clarity of mind, my passions for life returned and I have hopes for my future. I mended fences with family and have made new friends. I strive everyday to be productive. I'm me but a different me because no one could go through all this and not be changed by it. (for more in-depth conversations about my struggles, coping and self awareness with surviving psychiatry please visit my ongoing thread Aria's Psych Journey http://survivinganti...psych-journey/)
  10. My GP started me on generic ativan (.5 up to 3x per day) and sertraline (.5/ once per day but starting at .25) for health anxiety. I have a history of anxiety but had recently escalated and I felt like I was losing my ability cope and function each day. I only use the ativan before bed (it's been a week), and am very aware of the addictive nature so I am cognizant that this is only a temporary fix. Actually, I haven't even felt the need to use it other than at night I seem to be experiencing withdrawal after the 24 hours of having used it (brain zaps/tingles/what feels a little like parasthesia--but again that could all be anxiety related as well). I'm more concerned, I think, about the sertraline. It's only been a week, but I seem to be getting really bad morning anxiety from it. Everyday, I wake up extremely anxious with chest pain (more like a fullness on my left side---I'm 28 and in great shape so it's a bit disturbing). I'm not sure if I'm experiencing chest pain or anxiety-caused pain. Otherwise, once the morning anxiety dissipates, I feel fine for most of the day, but am concerned that the chest pain (which only lasts 10 min that I am aware of) is something more seriously. I think I want off the sertraline, but am nervous about quitting cold turkey. Would it be wise to cut from 25mg to 12.5 after one week? I am supposed to be see a psycho pharmacologist tomorrow anyway (this was scheduled before my GP gave me the meds), but am nervous he'll just lead me to another SSRI. Thoughts?
  11. Hi, I realise this is a peer support network but I am the mum of a young adult daughter who has had a severe reaction to Sertraline. She is currently detained against her will in a psychiatric hospital and our need for help and advice on her behalf is immediate as I am fearful about the effect of compulsory treatment while she is there. I'll attempt to draw out the relevant parts of the chaotic and traumatic last 3 months.She was prescribed 50mg Sertraline for anxiety at the beginning of February by a general practioner. After 2 weeks she returned feeling unwell this was upped to 100mg, then shortly afterwards to 150mg. On even the lowest dose she immediately experienced extreme night sweats, restlessness and difficulty sleeping. She also became withdrawn from loved ones, snappy and cold. She looked drugged. She started self-medicating with excessive alcohol and cannabis and developed hypomania. After 6 weeks, during which she left her home and long-term partner, she called the police for help and was detained in the local psychiatric hospital. They put her through cold turkey on all substances. After a week they started her on 75mg Quetiapine per day plus Lorazepam and Zopliclone as they felt her state of mind required. After 3 weeks she was released with multiple boxes of all 3 drugs. She was still remote from us. After a week of clean-living with us (parents and sister) during which she began to taper the Quetiapine and didn't take the other medication, she left home claiming she needed to recover in her own way and resumed alcohol and cannabis misuse. Two weeks later she is detained in the psychiatric hospital again, very withdrawn and with signs of delusional beliefs. On admittance she tested positive for Cannabis and Lorazepam. They have resumed 75mg Quetiapine and, after a spell of disruptive behaviour, Lorazepam. She is currently in isolation with a permanent staff member having become violent and is not engaging with anyone. Her father and I have not succeeded in convincing the hospital doctors that the Sertraline prescription lay at the root of all this. We have repeatedlyreasserted the precise timing of the onset of her problems and have referred them to this site, to The British Journal of Psychiatry <http://bjp.rcpsych.org/content/195/3/211>and to Katinka Blackford Newman's "The Pill That Steals Lives". One consultant is convinced that cannabis is entirely to blame despite being told that she has used it (and alcohol) previously without the ill effects.The chief consultant is looking for signs of underlying mental illness as the root cause of her problems. If anyone has ideas ideas on persuading clinicians I would be grateful. The main questions I have at the moment are: Given that she has shown extreme sensitivity to SSRIs, how dangerous for her are the Quetiapine and Lorazepam she is currently being given? It's likely that she will be started on another antipsychotic but neither she nor I will be consulted about this beforehand, so the question really extends to psychotropic drugs in general. Is it possible to tease out the effect of the Sertraline from the effects of the subsequent cannabis and alcohol use? How likely or possible is it that she had a latent, unsymptomatic mental illness that was triggered by the SSRI? Thank you for any advice. QueenieRose
  12. Hello, On March 29, 2017, I was prescribed 10 MG Ambien at ER after 3 nights of no sleep due to racy thoughts, and extreme anxiety that made me shake and my muscles twitched. I thought I was gonna die. Next day, I was prescribed 1 MG Lorazepam for anxiety. after a month, I cut Lorazepam to 1/2 pill and cut the Ambien to 1/2 pill too but was told by doctor to not cut the Ambien and just cut it after 6 months. During those months taking the pills, I experienced all side effects (extreme headches and weird sensations on my forehead, neck and ears, ramdom pain and pulses all over my body, fatigue, anxiety, more heart palpitations, abdominal pain, weightloss, etc.) The muscle twithcing did not disappear. I went to different doctors and complained about my symptoms, they said it was just stress and anxiety and told me to just take more of the Lorazepam. My blood test showed I was low in Vitamin D, low Iron, low HDL cholesterol & had slight dehydration. Everything showed "normal". I'm now taking supplements Vit D3, comfort Iron, Magnesium Glycinate, Sodium Ascorbate (non-acidic Vit. C), Omega 3 Fish Oil, some Whey Protein. I have asked my family doctor on getting off the pills and she said that I could just cut them and I won't have withdrawals since I've only been taking a small dose of Lorazepam. Starting June 26, 2017, I started cutting the Lorazepam dosage by cutting/weighing the pill deducting 0.02-0.03 MG everyday and the Ambien 0.3-0.4 MG everyday too. Since cutting the pills, I've had 0 sleep on some days which occurred every 2-5 days, extreme anxiety, heavy muscle twitching on my legs and back, extreme fatigue, depression plus all the other symptoms I had while on the higher dose of the drugs. These horrifying misery that I don't want to experience again. The Lorazepam went down to 0.22mg and Ambien to 8.2mg but my husband (who helps with the cutting/weighing) have since added doses everytime I get 0 hrs. of sleep. Since 2 nights ago, I've been taking 9.4MG Ambien (Zolpidem) and 0.27mg Loarazepam (ativan). I need help/guidance on how to taper properly, all the tips you can give on what to do to survive withdrawal and lots of encouragement (and love) to get off these drugs and heal. I want to get my old self back, the energetic, bubbly, hardworking mother of 4 that I used to be. Not the sickly, depressed, unfunctioning woman that these drugs have turned me into. I'd specially encourage those who have tapered off Ambien & Ativan successfully, to please post your tips. I appreciate any and all help that you could extend!!!
  13. I am writing this as an addendum to My Story which details what ADs did to my life and discusses to a degree how I got my life back. However, I am writing this to elaborate on what certain problems where posed both physically and logistically after I stopped taking medications. Please keep in mind that I went COLD TURKEY and did not taper, which differentiates me from many people on here; also my story took place over 10 years ago, so my memory is not is 100% clear which means it is hard for me to apply a quantitative number to aspects of my physical recovery. In 2002 I quit cold turkey from a drug cocktail that included an Antidepressant (Celexa), an Antipsychotic (Zyprexa), an Anticonvulsant (Depakote), a Benzo (Ativan), a Z-Drug (Ambien) and a prescription diet pill (Phenteramine – given to me by my pdoc to lose the 60 pounds of weight I gained from the other weight gaining medications). The physical ramifications of quitting cold turkey where hard core, and lasted to the best of my recollection in hard core form for six months. These were: insomnia, exhaustion, akathesia, flu-like symptoms, headaches, nausea and vomiting, total loss of appetite and over-sensitivity to certain substances. There were also mental symptoms: overwhelming memories, mania, depression, over-emotional reactions to certain situations (e.g. crying or extreme anger) and PTSD from the whole ordeal. It is important to note that many of these symptoms continued to linger in a much lesser form for several years. I know that many of you would like a firm number of how long I suffered, but I cannot put a number on it because I started my recovery in 2002 – 10 years ago. This is further complicated by the fact that to get through the exhaustion from WD, I smoked cigarettes anywhere from one to one and a half packs for many years after. Since smoking can mimic some of the symptoms of WD (loss of appetite, headaches, mania, anger) it is hard to delineate what was what. However, I do believe that smoking provided mental focus that I would not have had otherwise. I finally quit smoking in 2007, five years after stopping meds. It was an odd thing, I just stopped one day and no longer wanted to smoke anymore. Maybe this was a sign of my recovery, but it may also have been a reaction to the fact that because of NY laws and my husband, if I needed to smoke I had to go outside. Smoking outside in the rain or cold was getting stupid. I do believe that part of this was a sign of final recovery – I didn’t need to mask symptoms anymore. So if this is true, and I had to put a number on it – I would say I battled with minor symptoms and PTSD for five years So what problems was I left with after drugs had stolen my life? And how did I regain control? Here is a list: Weight Gain A ruined job history A ruined credit history from filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Over $20K in debt to the IRS plus two tax liens PTSD Estrangement from my family I was fully aware of the PTSD, and would think on occasion of reaching out to a therapist. However, because the whole ordeal left me extremely suspicious of the whole field of mental health, I declined to reach out to anyone. So based on this list, I will try to tackle how I recovered in each area: 1) Weight Gain: I lost my appetite during WD and I also became a huge walker. In one year I lost sixty pounds with little effort. I did eat, but I ate very small meals, 200 kcal 3-5 times a day, mostly high protein and I ate an apple a day and I drank a TON of herbal tea. 2) A ruined job history: I had been fired from three high paying jobs, all in IT. I had no references, a job gap of four years, but I had good computer and office skills so I reached out to temporary agencies. I worked as a temp for many years, in the NY/NJ area only taking jobs at Fortune 500 companies. I built up my resume this way. Today, I list those jobs as “contract” and I explain that I liked the flexibility of “contract work” and that I was in the process of getting married and building a home with my husband, no one questions it. 3) A ruined credit history: I got a copy of all three of my credit reports and joined a credit law forum. I found that there were many examples where creditors where breaking either or both the FCRA or FDCPA laws on my credit report. I also hired an attorney. The attorney got 50% of it cleared up, I got the other 50% cleared up myself by tenacious letter writing and disputing with the Credit Bureaus. The forum I used had a great database of creditors who gave people with Bankruptcy on their reports a card with a small credit line; I applied to all of these and rebuilt my credit this way. When I married my husband in 2005, he added me as an authorized user to his accounts, giving me a longer and stronger credit history. 4) Tax Debt and Liens: After hiding from the IRS for several years, I contacted them and got on an installment plan. Because I was not working at the time I called them, my payment amount was on $185 for $20K+ in debt. I paid it faithfully for years; in October 2011 I was paid in full. Because the IRS has a law that you cannot pay more than 25% in interest and penalties of the actual tax debt, a good $10K got knocked off the total bill. But I still had two tax liens on my credit report. I did some research and found out about a service called the Tax Advocate service which is run through the IRS. I contacted my local Tax Advocate. For the sake of brevity, I will not go into the details of how I argued my case to get two tax liens released, but I did and in 2005 poof they were gone from my life and my credit report. If anyone needs more info, I would be happy to answer questions later in this post. 5) PSTD: I just endured this, but chose to embrace anger over victimhood. I was one extremely angry person for many years and I ruminated and had nightmares for years. I often thought about writing the SHRINK who did this to me, but refrained. One thing that I learned from this whole ordeal was to trust in my instincts which was empowering and allowed me to pick and chose my relationships with people and situations that were good for me. I let go of many friends who were not healthy for me. 6) Estrangement from my family: In 2003 I was estranged from my entire family (father, mother and brother). Today I am by choice still estranged from by father and brother. This is because I realize it is futile to ever expect them to change and to stay in relationship with them will only hurt me. I have however, repaired my relationship with my mother. I am extremely happy to share that six months ago I convinced her to move from Illinois to New York and reclaim her life. She tapered off multiple pmeds herself around 2007 and was left with two medical conditions diabetes and downbeat nystagmus from taking lithium and depakote for many years. She lived alone, my brother who lived close by was not helping her, and she was not getting the proper medical attention so she agreed with me. Today she lives 2 miles away from me, we are extremely close and I have helped her get her life back. My husband and she adore each other. So that is how I put the pieces of my life back after being devastated by polypharmacy. And I joined this forum because I think it is important that people know that taking these medications can be extremely harmful on so many levels. I hope this information helps someone out there. Please feel free to post any questions you may have. I wish all of you the best and trust that if I could restore my life which was utterly devastated by psychiatry, you can too.
  14. Hi, I am an Australian expat living in Tokyo , Japan. I first became depressed 10 years ago after finding out I could no longer be with the love of my life ( that is a very long story in itself ) I left Japan , threw away my business and returned to Australia in a heap. I now know I have suffered anxiety for most of my life, but it was extreme at that point and I also suffered deep depression for the first time in my life. I was put on Zoloft - but attempted suicide twice. Once I realized that I had thrown away my business in Japan and the life I had, I became more depressed and anxious. I began drinking alcohol heavily for the first time in my life. I did not feel comfortable in Australia after so many years away, and somehow managed to move to Thailand for 4 years where I taught English to Japanese expats to get by ( I speak Japanese ) During the four years in Thailand I continued Zoloft and became an alcoholic. I was very depressed the whole time. I then returned to Australia for 3 years. My medication was changed from Zoloft to Effexor. The Effexor seemed to work better. I still used alcohol to numb my thoughts of the past of my list love and good life I once had. I returned to Japan after going to a detox resort in Thailand 3 years ago. I had hoped to regain some of the good life I once had. I managed to get off medication as I was feeling positive for the first time in years. As time went on, I realized that the life I had here in Tokyo no longer existed. My friends had either moved on or were busy with families. The earthquake hit and in hindsight , this was when I started drinking heavily again as the country came to a standstill and finding a job became hard and I started spending my time in bars. Eventually I became very depressed again , and I have been on a roller coaster ever since - being prescribed ADs, benzo anxiety pills and sleeping meds. My medication has been changed several times. I have had times when things were going well and managed to stop ADs - though I was still taking benzos and sleepers. Late last year I was feeling positive about starting a small business. I had reduced my meds and was not drinking heavily. The business failed and I took it very hard. Winter hit the same time ( always a tough time for me as I can't handle the cold very well) and I spend months at home , locked away from the world and drinking heavier than I ever had. I had become suicidal again and was haunted by thoughts of the Past ( what could have been ) My mother was worried about me and enquired about which sleeping pills I was taking. As it turns out, the pills branded myslee in Japan , are called stilnox in Australia , and ambien in the US. It just so happens that at this time this sleeping med was in many media stories, as many Australian athletes had been prescribed it and were having serious side effects. I knew I had to do something. I made enquiries to Australian hospitals and got all of the information I could. It seemed using Valium to 'detox' from alcohol and ambien was the recommended way. I almost checked myself into a Japanese hospital but luckily I did not as I found out later they would only have pumped me full of large amounts of Valium for a month before letting me out - the people in Australian hospitals were strongly against this, so I decided to be treated as an outpatient. I have now been free of alcohol for 3 weeks and have finally realized that not only has alcohol made my life and problems worse - I feel I can never drink again. Living an alcohol free life is what I did ( mostly ) before I became depressed , so I feel that not drinking is a good thing and will give me a better chance of getting my life back. I tapered down and stopped the ambien also 3 weeks ago. I had many sleepless nights but I managed to kick alcohol and ambien. The problem is, I still take ADs and other medication but I still feel very depressed and anxious. I was hoping I would be beginning to feel better than I feel now. Now that I am making efforts for the first time in many years to truly make an effort to get well I have been researching the medication I have been taking , the side effects and have found out how scary these things are. It is very hard for me to find information here in Japan. Japanese doctors only have one way of dealing with things. Meds, meds and more meds. I now understand that meds have been hindering my attempts to get well in the past and feel that they have effected me in more ways than I believed over the past 10 years. Before I stopped drinking and Ambien I went to my doctor who prescribed more ADs. I am now sober , taking a lot of meds and very depressed and anxious. Currently I take 2 x 20mg cymbalta in the morning. 0.5mg of lorazepam 3 times a day ( I was put on this to get off the Valium and an anxiety beno ( Etizolum ) that I have been on for 2 years. I also take 2 x 15mg of an AD called Reflex here in Japan which is called mirtazapine in the US. I have also been prescribed a new sleeping tablet that has no side effects and is non addictive - according to my doctor. I have made many foolish decisions and have not felt 'myself' in many years. My actions have made me a very lonely and sad man - who has spent what are supposed to be the best years of my life moving from country to country , making no foundations or forming no relationships. I am sometimes suicidal but I still have some fight in me and I want to try and get my life back -- or Atleast be able to enjoy myself for the first time in ten years. I believe the only way I can do this is to do the right things. Eat well , exercise etc AND be medication FREE. I now understand that I suffer anxiety , but after years of meds the anxiety is still there - until I take another pill - and of course the longer you take them the more you need. I would be forever grateful if I were able to get the help I need . Kind regards.
  15. Hi there :-) I've been reading through many posts during the last few month and finally want to introduce myself :-) I am a member of www.adfd.org, a german speaking community for tapering psychiatric medication and it really keeps me up to be able to share with others this difficult time and to contribute to the healing process and the awareness of side-effects and withdrawal. Your site is a great source and inspiration for me - not only for tapering. I found many wise thoughts and great advice in other topics related with mental health and health in general during withdrawal. My story: I've been always sceptic about taking psychiatric medication, although I was struggeling with anxiety from my childhood on. So I learned how to cope with my inner stress without taking anything, and was quite stable and confident during the last years. But after some years with a lot of travelling, changing relationships, moving and finishing my studies, I was quite stressed and exhausted - I realized I needed to rest and take more care about my health. Just in the middle of this sensible moment, I heard about my sister's death - she commited suizide after a long story of mental problems and medication. I guess this moment, 2.5 years ago, was the beginning of my journey through what I now call the most difficult and challenging time of my life. First, I was able to deal with my grief and all the follow-up bad situation with my difficult family, taking good care of myself and planning my future. However, later, in summer 2014, after some months of sudden heavy pain in my hips and my legs and an adverse reaction to pain relievers and an antibiotic, I started suffering seizures and heavy shivering attacks which did not disappear but were getting worse. I went to the ER several times, but nobody seemed to care nor have the slightest idea what was wrong with me, as all tests came back normal. I just knew, I had this seizures and cramping where I sometimes lost conciousness every 4-6 hours and was not able to walk anymore. Mentally, I was in a very good mood, not depressed, anxious or panicking. doctors wanted to send me to psychiatric treatment, but I didn't follow their advice - for me it was clearly some body reaction and I was very afraid to be filled up with drugs. Finally I started taking Lorazepam to be able to get through this time and to stop the seizures. It worked, but I still had unbearable pain and could hardly walk, and taking a benzodiazepine was the only way I could go on searching for a reason and a treatment. Unfortunately, I got dependent within a few weeks, and was not able to stop it without unbearable symptoms. So I continued to take 1.5 mg every day. 2 month later, a psychiatrist introduced mirtazapine, to "ease the posttraumatic stress symptoms and to be able to go through the benzo-withdrawal". By this time, I was in such a bad shape, I guess I would have taken almost anything that could possibly ease my pain and stress. In fact, it didn't help much with the withdrawal, but it almost immediately made me sleep - which was absolutely necessary for me. I didn't want to updose the lorazepam as I thought I was already in tolerance and was very scared about being dependent. In autumn/winter 2014/15 I tapered 1.5 mg Lorazepam within 4 month on my own, just the information I read about withdrawal in the web kept me going. It was very difficult and I suffered strong symptoms, but I was so eager to be free of this stuff. I am now benzo-free since Feb. 2015, and felt much better as soon as 2 weeks after the final dose (0.125 mg) Mirtazapine helped me sleeping initially, but after the benzo-withdrawal I realized I suffered strong side effects like lethargy, dizzyness, agitation, emotional numbness and weight gain and I didn't want to be put on psychiatric drugs any longer, so short after I started my taper of mirtazapine. I think I must have thought something like "this must be much easer than benzo-withdrawal, don't believe the crazy stories about AD-w/d" Well - this turned out to be an even more difficult and longer process. My dose was 30 mg, and I went reduced about 10-12% per month. At the moment I am taking 5.9 mg mirtazapine and I will continue the tapering in small steps. Every small cut is followed by racing heart, anxiety, noise sensitivity, muscle cramps, pain, exhaustion, sleeping probs and more symptoms, and so I still have a way to go. Most days I am housebound, feeling sick and in pain, just being able for a short walk - I was already in this condition before starting the tapering, but now I am much more positive and not doing worse than before on a higher dose. My mind is clearing up and I got part of my feelings back. Being in withdrawal since 1.5 years now feels difficult, but I think I learned something very important from this process: How a stressed autonomous system can produce very bad symptoms, without any "underlying depression/psychiatric illness" (as I was told by many doctors - they seem to know nothing about it). Fortunately, I have a very helpful therapist who always assures me that what I am going through is not depression, but was a strong body reaction to challenging life events, adverse drug reactions and now withdrawal. I have realized that I have a weak point in my upper back bone and I tend to have very tight muscles, which was the initial reason for my pain, and I need to do very careful exercise and relaxation to improve it. Finally, I think I understand what happened to me and my body, why I got sick and, even more important, I know the things I need - and the things I need to avoid. Withdrawal seems to delay and sometimes set back my recovery, but that's something I can accept most of the time. Lina
  16. I'm 5 months off Clonazepam. Was total hell! Was on only 2.5 months. Before that was Ativan. I was misdiagnosed as bipolar. I suffered almost a year on bad reactions from antidepressants and antipsychotics before being put on ativan then clonazepam. I'm in my 5th month of being off all the drugs. I'm wondering if anybody else has had a fear of never being able to drive again or being alone again? Does it go away? I tried driving by myself and it's really scary. It seems I can only get so far before fear kicks in. And I'm scared to be left alone. It seems like 3 weeks ago the bad anxiety and bad thoughts came back. I NEED hope!! I feel like I'm going to be like this forever!
  17. Hello, I've been reading posts on this site for a while but am reaching out for support in initiating a Gabapentin taper. I am currently taking both Ativan and Gabapentin, with the Gabapentin having been prescribed to me to aid in Ativan withdrawal and sleep. I was originally taking 600-700 mg at bedtime and another 100-200 mg in the middle of the night to extend my sleep. I had no doctor advising me on how best to take the medicine, so I wasn't totally consistent. Back in late January, I forgot to take my bedtime dose and woke up at 5:00 am and decided against taking the full 700 mg at that point. Instead I took 100 mg and thought I would resume dosing again that night. I had very bad withdrawals by early afternoon and decided to take 500 mg to get through the day. At that point I decided moving forward I would only take the 700 mg at bedtime, since I was not needing the middle of the night dose any more. I made it almost two weeks before reinstating the 100 mg in the middle of the night due to extreme anxiety symptoms. Another 10 days later, and more afternoon anxiety, I decided to reinstate 200 mg in the early morning. I'm now at 150 mg between 4:00 - 5:00 am and 700 mg at bedtime and still struggling to get stable. My Ativan taper has been on hold for almost a month while I try to stabilize, and I'm now seriously considering tapering the Gabapentin before the Ativan. I know that I need to be very consistent with my Gabapentin doses and timing in order to stabilize, and I'm reaching out for advice both on whether I need to ultimately consider adding an afternoon dose of Gabapentin to avoid afternoon anxiety, and whether I should consider tapering Gabapentin first. I really don't like this drug, and am concerned about continuing at this high amount for another year or more of an Ativan taper. Thanks in advance for your thoughts and advice. NW Guy
  18. Hello, I am in quite the conundrum currently. My CNS is completely destabilized due to several factors. Firstly, I have been on lorazepam for nearly 8 years. I was initially prescribed 1 mg three times a day along with 10 mg zolpidem after my mom died in August 2008 and I had a panic attack. I took the lorazepam basically at this full dose up until June 2013 when I was ripped off of the lorazepam after my previous doctor left his practice and ended up with a ruthless doctor. He prescribed me 30 mg for a month and that was it. I was able to obtain some diazepam which helped with this abrupt withdrawal. I was off of all gaba drugs and functioning in society with manageable symptoms until April 2014 when the stress of noisy neighbors pushed me over the edge. At this time, I didn't know how dangerous benzodiazepines really were, so I sought out an old psychiatrist who prescribed me 2 mg lorazepam daily plus 10 mg zaleplon at night for the ongoing insomnia. Fast forward to October 2014, when I had a life changing incident. I suffered a mild traumatic brain injury, which to this day has affected me greatly. I was going to school to be a chemical engineer but this injury caused me to have major issues with light, sound sensitivity, brain fog, fatigue. I managed to finish the semester barely. In February 2015, while attempting to start the next semester with a lighter course load, I bumped my head again. This is when all hell broke loose. The symptoms got so bad that I couldn't be in classrooms and I had to withdraw from university due to the light/sound sensitivity. In May 2015, I was prescribed gabapentin by my neurologist. I know this isn't a benzodiazepine but it does seem to have some gaba/glutamate action. Anyway, it seemed to help me at first for my anxiety. At this point I was forced to stay inside and wear sunglasses and earplugs a lot of the time. I could no longer read as I once did. Over the course of the summer I started to improve slightly, and I began tapering of the gabapentin. All the while I was still taking the 2 mg/ lorazepam daily. I didn't use the z-drugs often but I still had a supply that I used occasionally. It was clear that I wasn't going back to school any time soon. It was then that a tragedy occurred. My brother lost his life to a drug overdose. He was my only brother and I loved him dearly. This event took a lot out of me, emotionally and physically. I started to decline. I went to my psychiatrist and he upped me back to 3mg lorazepam/day and renewed a zolpidem prescription. My neurologist upped my gabapentin to 1800 mg/day. (It had been at 900mg over the course of the summer). Shortly after my brother died, my girlfriend and I moved to a quiet town in the hopes that I would heal with less noise bothering me. She became distant and left me in January 2016. This is when I hit rock bottom. I was suffering strange symptoms that seemed to be withdrawal even though I had increased dosages of both medications. I somehow managed to realize that the medications were not helping and I needed to get off of them. I spent 2016 reducing my gabapentin dosage from 1800 mg (600 mg three times a day) down to 300 mg (100 mg three times a day). This was not easy given that I have not been able to work, or go to school due to intense symptoms of sensory overstimulation. I can barely go for walks due to light sensitivity and driving in cars is just as bad due to sound/motion sensitivity. Over the course of 2016, I tried to convert over to a longer acting benzo twice. I tried using clonazepam for a few weeks using the Ashton conversion table. This didn't work well as I felt much worse on the clonazepam. In July I tried to convert to diazepam. I only took two 10 mg doses to replace one of my 1 mg doses of lorazepam on consecutive days. This caused a significant increase in visual symptoms I have been experiencing since 2015 and a failed SSRI effort. This visual phenomenon is known as visual snow and I have all the trademark symptoms now - palinospia, starburts, the static field over my vision, etc. along with tinnitus. So, anyway as it stands now, I have a pretty poor quality of life and I am basically on my own emotionally - no family support. My present dose is 1 mg lorazepam three times a day, and 100 mg gabapentin three times a day. I have not taken any other medications since the diazepam in July. My last zolpidem dose was in March, nearly a year ago. The last cut I made with the gabapentin was 5/31/2016. Prior to that I was making 100 mg cuts weekly as directed by my doctor. Looking back, I'm sure this was much too fast. One of my doctors has been quite sympathetic to my situation and he prescribed me the lorazepam solution to begin a taper. He seems to be willing to work at a slow pace that I'm comfortable with. I actually started writing out a plan for tapering with the liquid. I plan on cutting 5% over the course of the next month using a 0.1mg/mL solution. Thanks for reading, and take care to all.
  19. Hello Survivors, I am wondering if you could help me shed some light on my symptoms. I would really appreciate any thoughts on my condition as the doctors have not been able to figure it out. I have had a spinal tap ruling out M.S. and 2 mri's of the head and neck, standard blood tests are normal. 9 months ago I had a series of stroke like episodes, intense fatigue and dizziness/vertigo and I ended up in emergency at least half a dozen times. It developed in to persistent dizziness and disequilibrium now going on strong for 9 months. A few months before this happened I was tapering off 15-30 mg of remeron and I also was taking ativan occassionally, perhaps 3-4 times per month on average. I have had severe chronic insomnia all of my adult life (I am 44 years old) and I found that 15mg of remeron was no longer helping me sleep like it did in the past so I stopped taking it or took it intermitently. I figure I ended up sleeping on average 4 hours per night, many times not sleeping at all for days even. But when I had the ativan I was able to get a descent night sleep, which was about once per week. Then the doctor decided not to take away the ativan and I was not getting that one good night per week anymore which I think was keeping me afloat. Most of my adult life I have had chronic insomnia so I am not sure if these new neurological symptoms are related. I started noticing that things did not look or seem right, or there was some spatial distortion and I had a general feeling of malaise leading up the weeks before I would experience the more intense dizziness/fatigue/stroke-like episodes. I also started experiencing tingling in my legs and feet, electric shock like sensations in my head (mostly at night), severe hypoglycemia, muscle contractions, tachycardia, swinging blood pressure (now it's mostly low), intense fatigue and weakness that sometimes felt difficult to breathe, feelings of travelling pressure in my head that sometimes would travel downwards in my body, a pressure in my torso like it was being crushed, heaviness in my legs, feeling like I am on an elevator or a boat, and other sensory distortions like having difficulty locating my feet in space. What made me concerned that it was MS was that my left foot felt like it had less feeling than the right at times I would wake up unable to move it for a few minutes - (it did not have the feeling of loss of blood sensation) but the foot feelings have passed. My doctor prescribed trazadone to help with sleep which has helped initially but I'm up to 150mg and often it doesn't work. When I add remeron it helps a little, but sometimes they both don't work for sleep. So I dont' take them consistently and at there has been days I haven't taken them at all because it seems the drugs don't really work anyway. 9 months later, mostly I am dizzy, like my brain can't catch up with my body movements or my balance and there is a light spinning sensation in my head, but sometimes my balance really gets bad. I have been offered Effexor, but in the past it made me more of an insomniac and I really would rather get off the anti-depressants as I feel like they might be the problem... Even though I feel like I am living in a nightmare I would rather ride out this neurological melt-down and try to heal naturally. Do my symptoms sound like it could anti-depressant withdrawal symptoms at all? And if so, is it possible to have permanent damage? I am concerned as this has no sign of letting up after 9 months. I am still as dizzy as ever. I have been taking remeron for about 7 years. Thanks for reading!
  20. Romalaine: Freedom

    Where do I begin to end the misery of these panic attacks I have everyday I don't take the Ativan, started on bromazepam years ago , a few months ago I got off them expecting a smooth withdrawl then the panic attacks started, the hospital gave me Ativan but with Ativan the drug is in your system a short time. So one a night have worn off by morning and another panic attack, I would like to get off them.
  21. Currently taking 40 mg Prozac (fluoxetine), approx 1.5 mg Ativan, and 600 mg Gabapentin for nerve pain. The gabapentin is new (2-3 mos) after a year of awful nerve pain in feet. I am convinced it is related to 12+ years of Klonopin/Ativan (either intra-dose withdrawal or just exhausted receptors, because it would subside with extra Ativan). Basically always low and tired, with intermittent awful anxiety and despair. Can will myself to do things but get exhausted. Foot pain flares up occasionally. Need Ativan to sleep and have weird spacey dreamy sleep. Also being treated for adrenal exhaustion: basically, no cortisol at all. Low serotonin, GABA, dopamine, very high epinephrine. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- I was first prescribed Klonopin in 2001 for anxiety and IBS symptoms, which were causing me to lose weight. I also needed it for sleep in unfamiliar or stressful situations. I didn't take it regularly until around 2004 (0.5 mg and never increased), and twice switched to Ativan, back and forth. I disliked the nightmares I often got from Klonopin, but found the same issue with Ativan. I was diagnosed with major depression in 2011, and given different AD's like Pristiq, Abilify, Wellbutrin, and Prozac. The Prozac is the one I tolerated best so I have stayed on it except for about a year in 2015 when I tapered off it because I didn't feel any better. Wanted to use acupuncture and diet for mood swings. But I felt worse without it and was weepy and overwhelmed. Back on Prozac in 2016, doc went straight to 40 mg. She wanted to try other things for sleep but I didn't want to add something new when I knew I couldn't stop Ativan. Foot nerve pain finally diagnosed and treated with gabapentin, no one mentioned that this is even more GABA receptor confusion. I'm exhausted and don't know how to make changes without major symptoms and crises.
  22. Hi, Off Lexapro for two weeks and took my last Ativan (0.5mg) pill last night. Have muscle and joint pains- more on my right side than on my left. Also have cold tremors when waking up in the morning. Lots of crying and anxiety - any advice or sharing of stories with similar symptoms will be much appreciated. See below for full story. Does anyone have bad muscle knots, pain - primarily more on one side than the other? My Psychiatrist told me it couldn't be side-effects if it was more on one side. I am predominantly right-handed and have more pain there. I have been on Prozac off and on since my mid-20s. I will be 45 this year. My last and highest dose was 60mgs. I decided to wean myself off last August (2016). I was sick of constipation, no libido, and emotional numbing. I had also gained about 30 lbs. despite eating healthy and working out 5 times a week. I thought I weaned slowly - took about 3 months and was reducing by 10mg every 2-3 weeks. But in October, I experienced high anxiety and cold tremors when waking up in the morning. I thought my anxiety was back and went to see my Psychiatrist. He was upset that I had weaned off without seeking his help. He then prescribed Lexapro which he called a "clean drug". I started at 5mg and was also given a benzo - Restoril which gave me hives 3 days of usage. I then just used Lexapro and Benadryl for sleep. At 10mg of Lexapro I woke up 1 day with pain in my right arm,right forearm, shoulder and neck. I had some pain on my lest hand near my thumb but not as bad. I was told by my Psychiatrist that since the pains were one-sided that they were not side effects of the drug. I continued using Lexapro slowly increasing dosage till I was at 20mg. My anxiety was worse than ever and I had a Panic Attack for the first time and went to urgent care. I went off of Lexapro essentially cold turkey. Was given 1 mg of Ativan for 7 days by Urgent Care Dr. And now I'm here.
  23. I have switched from Wellbutrin 150 XL to 150 IR. I am now tapering from 75 mg at 9:00 am and 75 mg at 3:00 pm (more than one pharmacist said not to take Wellbutrin after 3:00 pm). I am experiencing disrupted sleep, which I expected, and nausea in the morning, which I did not. Thoughts?
  24. Hello, I am a new member. I am currently tapering off Escitalopram, a generic Lexapro. I have been tapering since January of this year, 10 mg and now at 4.5 mg. I tapered quite fast at the start and now am reducing .5 mg every 3-4 weeks as I am not having too bad of symptoms. I should also mention I came off Lorazepam so don't know if the withdrawals I am having are from the Lorazepam or the Lexapro. I have heard as tapering gets lower on the Lexapro, symptoms may get stronger. Has anyone experienced this? I would very much appreciate hearing from anyone who has or is going through Lexapro tapering. Thank you.
  25. frederike01

    Hello everyone! Ok it's a long story but i'll give it a shot! my name is Frederike. Oh and my english might be not THAT good, but...i'll try my best! =) . When i was very jong (about 12 years old) i started to develop anxiety combined with OCD. At that age it wasnt very harmfull yet but it got worse when i got older. I went to a psychologist at 13/14 but that didnt really help. so i stopped going. But my anxiety didnt left me so i went. The psychiatrist prescribed me fluvoxamine when i was 15 years old. I also started to experience 24/7 derealisation. The meds. didnt really work i think but i thought maybe it would be worse without them and i dindt know how hard it was to get off back then so i kept taking them. my anxiety OCD en derealisation didnt disapeare or get any better. i try'd to stop several times but the next day after lowering my dose my derealisation would become so bad i couldnt stop if i wanted to continue to function. and the docters told me: well, then keep taking them. So i took the pills for many years and after taking them for about 8 years my anxiety and derealisation slowely worsened.3 years ago all of a sudden i felt really bad and anxious i had to stop working. I went to my dokter and firt we desided to higher my dose. i was on 125 mg fluoxetine. But that dindnt work at all. It made me feel even worse. so i decided to lower my medication (with my dokter)and maybe switch to some other meds. i was on 175 mg. fluoxetine at that moment.I decided i didnt want to switch but i wanted to stop taking the meds. because they never really worked and i wanted to solve my problems for real.i wanted to know wich part of my problem was really mine and witch part maybe the meds. i knew i would never get better if i would start trying some other meds. i was afraid i would even get sicker. So i went from 175 to 0 in about 5 weeks. Even though i felt so so bad i kept on lowering because my docter told me : after quitting the withdrawal will last for only 3 weeks.Then they will disapear.Wel that was the breaking point. i went totally insane,experienced continue panic and anxiety OCD and derealisation at the worsed levvel.my symtomes had NEVER been this severe.So i went into a mental hospital. They gave me paroxetine. i was ok with it bacause i wanted to "ficks" this way to fast lowering of my medication, and dicided to take it and then slowely taper off when i was back home. In the end I was on 50 mg. paroxetine and 1,5 mg lorazepam. but it never really covered up the mess quitting fluoxetine made.Only a little.At that time i didnt know paroxetine is the worst drugg (SSRI) to get of but I found out soon enough. I found a good therapist (not a psichiatrist) and dicided to slowely taper off meanwhile fixing myself with therapy. All this time i could not work or function. every single step i took on lowering was a hell. I am on 0,5 mg lorazepam now and 3,5 mg. fluoxetine. When i was on 14 mg paroxetine i couldnt get any lower. even lowering 0,2 made me feel to terrible. so i siwtched to fluoxetine because it would be easyer to get off. the switching was hell. then i started lowering from 14. every week i took off 2 mg. until i was on 4. ( i did this again in a clinic).i thought it would be way to quick for me but i felt no extra withdrawal symptomes. wich i almost couldnt believe. Then after going home ( at 4 mg.) i broke down again. obviously the withdrawal started wayyy later.So here i am, feeling worsed then ever. Not knowing when this hell will stop and whether i will still be alive by then. Starting new medication is no option at all because whatever psychiatric drug i put into my body, my body just cant take it.So this my story in short thermes. right now i'm on 0,5 mg lorazepam and 3,5 mg fluoxetine. Hope to speak to you soon!
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