Denstar51

Brain Fog: Blank mind, comprehension, cognitive and memory problems

201 posts in this topic

Hello Folks,

 

I need/want to know what the best way to deal with Brain Fog/Cognitive fog while in withdrawl from Anti depressant medication?

 

It has been 3 months off and I cannot put together a sentence nor does it roll off my tongue, I really have to think hard and still can't say anything useful that really makes sense, it's really scaring me.

 

 

I am looking for help here at the best ways to speed up this process, does it come back overtime,it's got me really stressed out, please someone? Cause I feel really dumb right now, hoping it's not permanant. Right now I take Fish oil/Multivitamins/Vit B complex,C,D and Magnesium and nicianamide.

 

HELP :(

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Gentle exercise, like walking at least .5 hour a day, can help the body and brain repair itself.

 

Also, keep regular hours -- get up at the same time, go to bed at the same time every day. This helps reset your internal clock.

 

Cut out sugar, processed foods, junk food, etc. Concentrate on giving your body high-quality fresh food so it has the materials it needs for self-repair.

 

This does get better with time. For about 8 months, I felt like my head was stuffed with cotton balls. But it cleared up.

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Gentle exercise, like walking at least .5 hour a day, can help the body and brain repair itself.

 

Also, keep regular hours -- get up at the same time, go to bed at the same time every day. This helps reset your internal clock.

 

Cut out sugar, processed foods, junk food, etc. Concentrate on giving your body high-quality fresh food so it has the materials it needs for self-repair.

 

This does get better with time. For about 8 months, I felt like my head was stuffed with cotton balls. But it cleared up.

 

 

Alto did you experience any memory loss as well? I feel like I am stoned all day long is that what you mean by your head was stuffed with Cottonballs?

 

THanks

Hawk

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Hello Folks,

 

I need/want to know what the best way to deal with Brain Fog/Cognitive fog while in withdrawl from Anti depressant medication?

 

It has been 3 months off and I cannot put together a sentence nor does it roll off my tongue, I really have to think hard and still can't say anything useful that really makes sense, it's really scaring me.

 

 

I am looking for help here at the best ways to speed up this process, does it come back overtime,it's got me really stressed out, please someone? Cause I feel really dumb right now, hoping it's not permanant. Right now I take Fish oil/Multivitamins/Vit B complex,C,D and Magnesium and nicianamide.

 

HELP :(

 

 

From what I have read the jury is out on this one.

Many claim help from high dose Fish oil

I have heard insolitol, choline and lecitchin being succesfull. Ohters have vendtured and obtain Nooptropics like Piracetam and have claimed success.

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I couldn't concentrate and was sort of confused -- I remember now I lost my keys a few times in a couple of months, had not done that before or since!

 

But the brain fog gradually lifted over 6 months or so. It took a while longer for my concentration to come back.

 

Regular gentle exercise, such as walking at least 30 minutes a day, stimulates neurogenesis and recovery of cognitive functions.

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Hi,

I must say this is a very difficult symptom for me to treat. I am 8 months off lexapro. I get this on and off still. I have it now. People will talk to me and I have no idea what they are saying or how to answer. I walk into things. I definitly feel like ive been smoking way to much pot. (but im not ;) ) Its awful. Along with all the other things I have that I NEVER HAD BEFORE PSYCH MEDS!!!! I dont know if it will go away. Maybe in time. Hopefully in time. All we can do is wait, pray and take care of ourselves as best as we can.

 

I get the cottonball analogy Alto- completely!!

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This is incredibly scary. Difficult for me to separate out endocrine damage from withdrawal. Endocrinologist said approx 18 months to know if cognitive damage from thyroid will resolve. It is MUCH WORSE in the morning which I assume is cortisol effect, though not the heart racing, panic variety I had during earlier withdrawal. I have no ability to think FORWARD, even to do everyday tasks like take a shower. My brain is in lockdown. I can remember things in my life and past, but it's like I am separate from them.

 

As far as word retrieval, I'm often surprised at the words and phrases that DO come to mind that I didn't know that I knew. I will be writing and a word flows out, I look back at it second-guessing myself because ive never used that word/phrase before, then Google it and find that I used it correctly. Then I think "hmm... I didnt know I knew that". Very bizarre.

 

Example. We are at RV park. I need to collect my things to go to take a shower in facilities. Ive tried several times and my mind shuts down somewhere after "towel". I have no prob with taking showers in campgrounds. Just cant plan how to do it. I havent showered in over a week. I did manage to put swimsuit on and go in pool 2x.

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This is incredibly scary. Difficult for me to separate out endocrine damage from withdrawal. Endocrinologist said approx 18 months to know if cognitive damage from thyroid will resolve. It is MUCH WORSE in the morning which I assume is cortisol effect, though not the heart racing, panic variety I had during earlier withdrawal. I have no ability to think FORWARD, even to do everyday tasks like take a shower. My brain is in lockdown. I can remember things in my life and past, but it's like I am separate from them.

 

As far as word retrieval, I'm often surprised at the words and phrases that DO come to mind that I didn't know that I knew. I will be writing and a word flows out, I look back at it second-guessing myself because ive never used that word/phrase before, then Google it and find that I used it correctly. Then I think "hmm... I didnt know I knew that". Very bizarre.

 

Example. We are at RV park. I need to collect my things to go to take a shower in facilities. Ive tried several times and my mind shuts down somewhere after "towel". I have no prob with taking showers in campgrounds. Just cant plan how to do it. I havent showered in over a week. I did manage to put swimsuit on and go in pool 2x.

 

What you describe above happens to me when I'm really anxious and you are under alot of stress. Your mother's dementia is very much on your mind, so I'm just wondering if there could be an element of this in the mix just now?

 

Just my two cents. Hope you feel improved soon. ~S

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Schuyler,

 

Yes, very much so. Ive seen dementia throughout my family and from young age (60s). Not Alzheimers, probably vascular or, one I just learned of, "metabolic dementia". That fits our family profile well. So, add in all of the drugs I've taken and I have many risk factors. My dad has had a few attacks of Transient Global Amnesia also, beginning about 20 years ago. Ive been estrogen-deficient for a long time; endocrinologist is trying to preserve cognitive function. So, all together, my genepool plus drugs doesnt paint a pretty picture.

 

My recent time with inlaws has been an eye-opener. I was surprised that they get dressed, sit together in living room, etc. For the last several years when I visit mine, they spent entire time in bed at alternate times. Mom never dressed and asked me to lay down in bed with her. She was convinced that I had a little girl and always asked about her. She even "heard her" on telephone calls. It's difficult to see that for so long and frightening to recognize the same tendencies in myself.

 

I think SSRIs provide buffer/distance from stress. Take away that buffer, add strong stressors with very impaired stress tolerance and disconnection/cogfog/anxiety surface strongly. My theory.

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Alto, so this whole catching only bits and pieces of what's going on around you and what people are saying, does go away?

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Alto, so this whole catching only bits and pieces of what's going on around you and what people are saying, does go away?

 

Haley.. I'm not a neuologist, but catching bits and pieces. Sounds like you are having the most difficult with sort term memory, thoughts don't sit there long enough to put them together. By the time someone finishes a sentence or thought, you have lost the beginning? Yes.. this does go pass.

 

Haley.. are you feeling up to getting your sig line setup? Do you need help with this?

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Yeah, and i only catch like things with are you ready? nothing else seems too matter. And when everybody else has a problem with like life, I can't stand listening... Apathy? its horrible cause everybody would come too me with their probs, now when i go too them with mine, they are soo aggravated. Life always has a way of pooping on good people. I mean i was planning on looking into seeing a neurophyschologist here soon. But I will keep you all updated.

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Did those of you who experienced problems with memory/cognition while on antidepressants find that they improved as you came off them? If so, did it improve as you lowered the dose or when you stopped completely?

 

Any ideas on what you can do to improve cognition? Other than diet, exercise and meditation?

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jr: my experience with long term AD use is that being on them just about erased any ability I had to think, to reason, and my short term memory nearly evaporated. I've now been off remeron for 11 months and I believe my cognitive function is about 80 percent better. My ability to joke around is so much better which is important to me. A few months back I could hardly GET a joke let alone participate in a social exchange and be funny.

 

All I can tell you is that putting one foot in front of another is probably the only way to navigate through this as far as a return of your thinking processes. If youre really watching what you eat, exercising with some regularity, and doing the best meditation you can, you're doing GREAT! Couple that with slow and steady WD and you are surely on your way to your old life back!

 

I've had high blood pressure as long as I was taking AD's. I've tried more ways than I can count to not have to take any other meds but it looks like I have to take something. I just recently changed meds for bp and think these meds agree with me more than the last. While I was adjusting to the new meds, my bp was fairly high and I noticed some decline in my thinking processes. As my bp stabilizes , my thinking is better and better.

 

So, my advise to you is to check your bp and do it regularly to make sure it's stable. I commend you if it's normal or if you can control it without meds. Getting adjusted to these substances is brutal. I know it would also be brutal to adjust to life after a stroke or ht attack. I watched my mother have two strokes. The last one took her away fom us.

 

Don't know anything else you can do besides HANG IN THERE!

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I've been polydrugged pretty much the whole time on psych meds and I'm tapering off multiple meds now, so it's hard to say what's the AD and what's the other stuff. But my cognition is definitely improving as I go down in my taper. So are all the other effects of the drugs, lessening as I get down to lower doses.

 

So I think I can safely say yes, it does come back, for me, and yes it does get better as you go lower in dose.

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I had memory problems just before tapering off of Lexapro, during the (too fast) taper, and for two or three months after stopping the drug. It's been seven and a half months since my last dose of poison, and while I still have some withdrawal symptoms, I believe my memory has come back completely. I occasionally forget things, but that happened before the AD.

 

The AD seemed to speed up my thought processes to the point that I couldn't hang on to very much that passed through my mind. I believe that's what the pdocs would have labeled "flight of ideas", something I never had before the drug.

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Thanks for the replies guys, very encouraging!

 

I'm wondering if the problems I had at university were actually due to the drug. When I was at school I was able to revise the night before an exam and get good marks, but when I went to university I had real difficulty trying to get the information straight in my head and to stick. When I managed to sit my exams I got really good marks, but it just took so much effort that studying was no longer fun and I began getting more and more stressed out. In school I could sit for hours studying, taking breaks here and there, but at university I could study for maybe 20-40 mins and feel like I couldn't do anymore. I could never understand why I could study ok in school but not university... I understand the workload is greater but everyone else seemed to manage it ok.

 

I found a photo of myself from a few years ago, while I was at university, and I looked completely stoned. I would have been on Paxil at the time. Is it any wonder I had problems. At the time I thought maybe I need to be on a different AD or on a higher dose for the anxiety, when really the drug may have been the problem all along.

 

Do you think it's possible the AD's contributed towards my difficulties? I know no one can say for sure...

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I realized that my problems are not as much memory as perceptual distortions and cognition. Extremely fluctuating. I have significant medical problems contributing, so want to be clear to differentiate. I have a brain MRI scheduled for Wednesday night for "vasculitis with neurological symptoms". Ordered by doctor treating me for Schmidt's Syndrome/Addison's/Adrenal failure with possible pituitary involvement. My understanding is that there are often cognitive/perceptual distortions with this condition. I would describe it as dissociation. I remember things, but cannot connect to the feelings or emotions of events. Also, there is no continuity of time. I cant *feel* if something happened a day ago or a year ago. The last year+ is a blur. I'm sure withdrawal is involved in that.

 

Im scared.

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jr, I had the exact same problems at university. While at uni I developed chronic fatigue syndrome and was put on ADs by my doctor almost straightaway. I suffered cognitive problems similar to those described here but always attributed them to my CFS not thinking they might be caused by the ADs. I've not posted this anywhere else but I actually developed full-blown OCD while on these meds. It was only when I'd come off one of the meds in order to change to another one that I noticed by OCD symptoms ease. At this point I still didn't know about the dangers of ADs and went onto another one.

 

It's only been in the last year or so that I've considered my lack of progress in overcoming CFS to possibly be due to taking ADs. I completed university with great difficulty and only realise now how difficult I had it. It definitely impaired my performance and the fact that I underperformed still bugs me today. I would like to appeal to the university to have these problems taken into account but seeing as I left a couple of years ago, I doubt they would be able to do anything. I feel incredibly unlucky in this respect.

 

I am almost certain your difficulties were, like mine, caused by the ADs. I am halfway through my withdrawal now and am noticing improvements in my brain function. I find this situation all the more disturbing as OCD is one of the conditions for which ADs are specifically prescribed. I've worked out that I'll only need one more prescription for my current med and then I'll be able to leave this stuff behind forever hopefully.

 

Barbarannamated, I have impaired adrenal function as part of my CFS. I believe this can also contribute to cognitive symptoms such as brain fog so some of your symptoms may be attributable to this and some to the drugs. In my situation at the moment I am dealing with coming off the drugs first so that I can tackle the adrenal problems with a 'clean slate' of no synthetic drug intake.

 

electron

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I received the results of my MRI and it did show damage in the white matter, or what my endocrinologist described as the "insulation" of the nerves within the brain. It is mild, scattered T2/FLAIR hyperintensities. He explained that the pattern is not thst of MS and is most likely due to antibodies attacking my brain. I have significant autoimmune diseases going on, so want to be clear to differentiate this from drug damage. The main symptoms of this neurologic finding are depression and cognitive decline.

 

I have posted more info in my thread. http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1083-barabarannamated-pain-depressionchicken-egg/page__pid__30025__st__480#entry30025

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jr, I had the exact same problems at university. While at uni I developed chronic fatigue syndrome and was put on ADs by my doctor almost straightaway. I suffered cognitive problems similar to those described here but always attributed them to my CFS not thinking they might be caused by the ADs. I've not posted this anywhere else but I actually developed full-blown OCD while on these meds. It was only when I'd come off one of the meds in order to change to another one that I noticed by OCD symptoms ease. At this point I still didn't know about the dangers of ADs and went onto another one.

 

It's only been in the last year or so that I've considered my lack of progress in overcoming CFS to possibly be due to taking ADs. I completed university with great difficulty and only realise now how difficult I had it. It definitely impaired my performance and the fact that I underperformed still bugs me today. I would like to appeal to the university to have these problems taken into account but seeing as I left a couple of years ago, I doubt they would be able to do anything. I feel incredibly unlucky in this respect.

 

I am almost certain your difficulties were, like mine, caused by the ADs. I am halfway through my withdrawal now and am noticing improvements in my brain function. I find this situation all the more disturbing as OCD is one of the conditions for which ADs are specifically prescribed. I've worked out that I'll only need one more prescription for my current med and then I'll be able to leave this stuff behind forever hopefully.

 

Barbarannamated, I have impaired adrenal function as part of my CFS. I believe this can also contribute to cognitive symptoms such as brain fog so some of your symptoms may be attributable to this and some to the drugs. In my situation at the moment I am dealing with coming off the drugs first so that I can tackle the adrenal problems with a 'clean slate' of no synthetic drug intake.

 

electron

 

I'm glad your cognition is improving as you taper. Since being on 37.5mg, I've noticed it has become easier for me to socialise with people in work because my head feels less full of cotton wool. I have Aspergers Syndrome, which obviously impairs my ability to socialise, but it's even more difficult when your head feels empty and you don't know what to say to people. I've had glimpses of my "old self" before I was on these drugs, which is nice. These drugs zombified me and I didn't realise it...

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I received the results of my MRI and it did show damage in the white matter, or what my endocrinologist described as the "insulation" of the nerves within the brain. It is mild, scattered T2/FLAIR hyperintensities. He explained that the pattern is not thst of MS and is most likely due to antibodies attacking my brain. I have significant autoimmune diseases going on, so want to be clear to differentiate this from drug damage. The main symptoms of this neurologic finding are depression and cognitive decline.

 

I have posted more info in my thread. http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1083-barabarannamated-pain-depressionchicken-egg/page__pid__30025__st__480#entry30025

 

I'm sorry to hear it, Barb. Do you think the drugs caused this?

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I'm wondering if the problems I had at university were actually due to the drug. When I was at school I was able to revise the night before an exam and get good marks, but when I went to university I had real difficulty trying to get the information straight in my head and to stick.

 

When I was writing my thesis, I had a lot of trouble linking together thoughts and writing a clear sentence. I was constantly re-reading everything, because I just couldn't retain it. (At the time, I thought it was due to the difficulty of the material. It is still possible.) Celexa stole my creativity, too, which made it hard to write the creative analytical paper that I was known for.

 

Up to this point in time (about a year after withdrawal), I still have some issues with being able to connect different points of my brain. It is like my thinking is divided. It angers me a lot, because I used to have a great talent for combining the creative with the analytical in my head. Now, I am not sure if I've lost that ability altogether.

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I received the results of my MRI and it did show damage in the white matter, or what my endocrinologist described as the "insulation" of the nerves within the brain. It is mild, scattered T2/FLAIR hyperintensities. He explained that the pattern is not thst of MS and is most likely due to antibodies attacking my brain. I have significant autoimmune diseases going on, so want to be clear to differentiate this from drug damage. The main symptoms of this neurologic finding are depression and cognitive decline.

 

I have posted more info in my thread. http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1083-barabarannamated-pain-depressionchicken-egg/page__pid__30025__st__480#entry30025

 

I'm sorry to hear it, Barb. Do you think the drugs caused this?

 

It's very hard to say although I think there's some correlation. SSRIs have known effects on the immune system, causing autoimmunity (a suspected lupus reaction, in my case). I probably had a genetic predisposition that was triggered by Zoloft (and then continual use of serotonergics for 18 years). Ive become aware of several other cases of DILE (drug induced lupus erythematosis), most from Prozac.

 

It would be extremely difgicult to prove causation, but I think as more people have dementia at earlier ages, the causation might become clearer. I havent read Grace Jackson's book (Drug Induced Dementia), but this seems to be what she describes in the book description.

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These drugs zombified me and I didn't realise it...

 

Dito. For me it happened gradually. I've been on SSRIs and a benzo since 1995. It's just the last years that I've noticed my flatness of emotion, disinterest in interacting with other people, finding little joy in such things as my own daughter's wedding etc. The crazy part about it though is that if you were to have asked me in 1995 what I was feeling to make me think I needed an antidepressant, I would have said the same damn thing. :angry:

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I want to mention my experience and agreement with Altostrata. I am now about 6 weeks post-pristiq. Although I tapered, my body "hit a wall" and went into withdrawal. It was horrible and intense for about 2 weeks. I NEVER thought I would get through it, but I did. I am proud and thankful! I have found that I can experience what seems to be a resurgence of symptoms if I eat junk food, especially sugar, or drink alcohol (bummer!). Altostrata posted: "People often become hypersensitive to a lot of things, including supplements, in withdrawal. The supplements aren't interacting with the drug, they're interacting with your nervous system. Some of these hypersensitivity reactions can definitely make you feel worse." So true! I have to be careful about what I put into my system - supplements, food, mental junk, etc...and take it easy and be gracious to myself. One thing I kept in mind while I endured the withdrawal process is...if I knew that what I chose today would prevent me from obtaining my reachable goals, would the temporary relief be worth it? It took a lot of mental effort to keep going and not give up or take the medicine again. I am SO glad I didn't give up! Be gracious with yourself - the nervous system if amazingly complex and sensitive. Help it along the way with all good things! :rolleyes:

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Excellent advice, Tawanda. Many of us have to learn a very hard lesson to get throught this: Listen to your body and put your well-being first.

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That was well said Tawanda.

 

My mental cognition seems to fluctuate a lot. Periods of time I have good clarity of thought and sometimes I go through spurts of having a hard time writing and spelling, very forgetful etc. I hope it will level out and get back to normal. I believe it will in time. When I am in a low with my cognition, I take it easy and don't try to fight it. I take breaks from interactions on the forums and such.

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I'm currently at 15 mg of Lamictal and have been doing a super-slow taper for several months. I have really noticed in the past several months a decrease in ability to pay attention/focus, decreased ability to comprehend things in conversation, decreased ability to organize thoughts or make decisions, general memory retention issues in addition to other mood/cognitive issues. Some of these symptoms were present to a small degree prior to medication. I've always been a day-dreamer yet I was also always an excellent student. But this is REALLY REALLY scaring me. It's hard for me to even focus on reading these entries. I'm scared that I won't get better or that I need to go back up on the Lamictal to be able to function. Does anyone have any suggestions/advice/inspiration? Please help...I'm really struggling today.

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If you can fall asleep okay, I noticed that when my cognition starts getting bad, that I spend a few days sleeping as much as I can. I don't stay asleep long, but I'll take many naps in one day. Sometimes even if I can't sleep, just laying down and resting my mind with no intention of sleeping (or it just causes anxiety and insomnia). Oh, and that reminds me of meditating and grounding helps me too. To ground myself, I simply walk around my yard barefooted, sit down cross legged now and then, lean back against a tree, and imagine light energy going through me to the ground or the tree. If you get restless or achy legs, this is good too. It helps the Root Chakra to ground like that, helping the legs. ( I don't know why I went on about the leg part when you didn't ask about that lol) I drift. Yeah I have good focus ;)

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I am having a problem with spelling and remembering words. Simple words. I forgot the combination to my locker on Sunday. It was 11-3-33 and I was doing 3-11-33 over and over again. Had to ask a Manager to look it up.

 

Fortunately he mixed me up with another employee regarding calling in sick.

When it was brought to his attention he apologized over and over again. I told him we all make mistakes, for example I mixed up my locker combination.

 

It is very distressing for me to not remember something unless I do it 100 times. I jump into "Oh no I will have Alzheimer's."

 

What can be done to improve memory????? I have to get a hold of this.

 

Lots of people who don't take meds tell me they are forgetful too.

 

Is it in part to having such hurried lives?

 

Hugs

Ms. Short Term Memory Loss :(

 

I think I may buy one of those decorative chalk boards that you keep in the kitchen to make a daily list of what I need to do and remember to do :P

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Me too! Terrible memory issues. I've heard Ginko helps but i'm sensitve to herbs and stuff. So I'll be waiting this one out. :(

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Today I meant to say: a friend of mine is from Czechoslovakia

 

And I said: a friend of mine is from CzechosLovania :blink: I knew it didn't sound right immediately - thank goodness for that.

 

What I hear is that in our forties we start to have memory loss and this increases with age.

This is without AD's.

 

I've read that this isn't normal. It's due to things like hurried life-styles, asparatame, sugar, drugs, etc.

 

I've heard that Gingo is good. So is Vit E. (I should run and get some today) ;)

 

Not enough of the REM portion of sleep and sleep apnea can cause memory loss.

 

The first time I took an AD I had brain fogginess and the short term memory loss. It abated.

 

When I switched from that to Paxil I had side effects which went away after I adjusted to Paxil. I didn't have short term memory loss on Paxil. That was a surprise.

 

I had bad short term memory loss while withdrawing from Lexapro. Big Time. That lasted two years.

 

In the last three years I noticed and remembered that I had trouble learning procedures in jobs > which then led to > anxiety > which led to more forgetfulness > more anxiety.

 

I do know that I don't always listen attentively which is part of it too.

 

What to do?

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I can definitely attest to the fact that sleep apnea causes memory loss as someone dealing with it.

 

Nikki, heard the same thing about vitamin E helping memory. It also helps the fish oil work better.

 

CS

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I also used to have a very good memory for vocabulary before meds. My "word-finding" got seriously impaired post taper. Very disturbing, and very odd. I could never find the words "toaster oven" in under 20 seconds. No matter how I practiced, and how often I used the words (often), I had to re-search for them every time, and other two word-phrases starting with "t" and "o" would come up instead.

 

This is almost identical to what I've been experiencing since withdrawal. I used to have very good memory in general before and during meds, too.

 

It's also the scariest of the symptoms that I have because it makes me feel crippled and it generates anxiety and OCD-like behaviours, because sometimes I keep reading things over and over again (even in a span of days or weeks) for fear of forgetting them.

 

And also, while other withdrawal side effects are slowly but progressively getting better (some of them are even disappeared!), this one doesn't seem to budge.

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I can relate to this too. I can be driving and have no idea how I get to places. I can't remember simple tasks. I have become a burden to many. This has caused considerable anxiety and depression.

 

Does anyone else here deal with a crippling fear of pleasing people to the point of trying to find ways to agree with everything as much as possible only to find yourself a hypocrite most of the time?

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