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SIX Mistakes I've Made in Withdrawal


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#1 alexjuice

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Posted 21 July 2011 - 07:48 PM

Navigating withdrawal from antidepressants -- in my case antipsychotics and benzodiazepines as well -- is a daunting task. There is no guidebook. I am 18 months into my journey and have learned a ton. Unfortunately, I learned many of my lessons through experience. Many of these could have avoided had I only possessed better knowledge or (sometimes) better sense.

I've made many mistakes thus far, so many that I have decided to share my errors.

The problem with withdrawal from antidepressants (and all psychiatric medication) is that there is not a one-size solution that fits all. So some of the things that were mistakes for me will not be mistakes for all. That said, most of these mistakes will be mistakes for anyone going through the psychological torture of withdrawal syndrome (also known as discontinuation syndrome).

Because there is no cookbook with the recipe for healing, I don't fault myself for my mistakes. I've done a much better job (with help from sites about recovering from antidepressant withdrawal) guiding my treatment than has any professional medical doctor I've encountered. Overall, I've done my best. But there have been errors.

I hope you are able to learn from me and my mistakes. Finally, everything below is just my opinion. No facts, that's a fact.

Here are my top six mistakes.

1. Deferring to Medical Authority

I went through many medication stops and changes, each being problematic. I developed doubts about my doctor's understanding of my condition and ability to treat it. But he was a DOCTOR. I figured he must know what he was doing. After all, who was the one on mental health medications? Me! Who was the one with the diplomas on the wall? Him.

Means nothing!

Antidepressant withdrawal syndrome (withdrawal from any psychiatric medication introduced in the last 25 year) is not well understood or even well acknowledged. My early attempts to learn about what was happening to me, yielded little. My searches turned up generally reliable websites, but these websites are not reliable when the subject is prolonged withdrawal caused by discontinuation of psychiatric medication. This not because they intentionally misinform but because they don't even know that they're misinforming.

My mistake was trusting authority because it was authority. Even after I had good reason to doubt my doctors and certain health websites, I refused to accept what my eyes were seeing. MISTAKE. I was lucky to eventually, through persistence, find other websites with more information relevant to the hell I was going through...

I now believe -- unequivocally -- that the best advice about prolonged withdrawal syndrome does not come from professionals. No psychiatrist I have yet met has even acknowledged a belief in withdrawal lasting more than a few weeks. No, the best advice comes from the web of sufferers who have aggregated their personal histories. From all these anecdotes, as well as some research by renegade psychiatric health professionals, some understanding and some USEFUL guidelines about tapering and recovery have emerged. Still, much is not known. But I now check everything my doc recommends against the wisdom of the sufferers. It was unfortunate it took me so long to realize the state of affairs.

Trust your fellows.

2. Making Abrupt Changes

For me sudden changes to medication, especially, as well as diet, exercise, stress, stimuli, etc have caused worsened withdrawal symptoms.

There is, among the informed, essentially unanimous support for a slow taper off psychiatric medications.

But the same principle for me applies to most everything. If I change a major aspect of my health routine, I do it gradually unless I have a very good reason to do so otherwise.

3. Stinkin' Thinkin' (This Will Last Forever)

My withdrawal symptoms have been traumatizing. Certain of them, PSSD, gastrointestinal problems, and sensitivity to normal environmental stressors, sometimes scare me. I get scared I'll never be normal.

This terror, especially when I feel alone, makes this condition a torture.

I've realized, though, that giving in to my fear is a mistake. I have tried to change my mental approach to my ongoing symptoms.

If a problem has persisted, it may last forever, yes. However, it does no good to believe it will last forever. If believing this has any effect at all, it is, in my opinion, only negative.

I find my fearful ruminating self-reinforcing. The more I worry, the more I worry... and so on. Even if worrying does no harm, it does no good. Even if I think I will not recover, that my disability is permanent, I do not allow myself to think that way. It only makes my suffering more of a burden on my shoulders.

Therefore, the only option for me is to believe that I will get better. It is the most likely outcome, no matter how scared I feel at any one moment. Others have recovered, so I choose to believe that I will recover as well, even if there is no way of knowing this for sure.

In Alcoholics Anonymous, athiests regularly pray to 'God'. They do this because it activates a part of their brain separate from the part that drives their impulse to drink. It doesn't matter if God exists. They don't care. They pray because they stay sober that way.

I maintain a positive attitude for similar reason. It doesn't matter, right now, whether I fully recover or not. I choose to believe that I will fully recover because choosing otherwise makes my life... not worth living, frankly.

I've made this mistake frequently. But today, part of my self-care is always holding the belief that I will, someday, be through this.

4. "I'm All Better!"

This goes back to abruptness. I've made the mistake of confusing a good day for a return to permanent good health. When I enter into a good 'window' and feel okay, a wave of excitement grips me. I immediately start planning to make up for lost time, to get back on track. I start perusing the jobs and apartment listings.

When this has happened, I have, in my excitement, overexerted myself. After my brief "all better" periods, a setback has always followed.

I now try to exercise caution. If I proceed cautiously, I have better success holding my gains. My recovery will always be more gradual than I would choose it to be. But my reality has been that recovery is non-linear and that feeling "All Better" for a couple hours doesn't mean much.

I stay the course.

5. Not Being Cautious with Supplements (vitamines, nutirents, natural cures, etc)


One of my primary symptoms is hypersensitivity. I'm crazy sensitive. My symptoms have not, generally, been helped by supplements. They have, unfortunately, been greatly exacerbated instead.

But it is hard to not try something when others report a positive effect, so I have tried everything...

There have been occasions when I've had a positive reaction to a supplement on day one, only to have a horrible adverse reaction when taking the same dose on the following day. I don't know why this happens.

However, I have learned from it. Today, if I want to try a supplement, I try a fraction -- not more than 1/5th of the manufacturer's recommended dose -- actually, in my case, much less that this. If I react strongly, even positively, I do not take the supplement for at least two days afterward. If I try it again, I try a lower dose.

Strong reactions are a warning sign for me.

If I had known this at the start, I could have avoided some truly horrific adverse reactions causing everything from burning skin to lack of feeling/sensation in the extremities to complete wipeout (unable to get up from bed for many, many days).

6. Catastrophizing Necessary Lifestyle Changes


In the last 18 months, I have given up alcohol, nicotine, coffee, energy drinks, artificial sweetener, foods I can't currently digest, protein shakes, carbonated beverages, tea(s), fast food... and on, on and on...

These constitute some major changes. Some of these things I'd rather not give up. Because I didn't want to give them up, I ignored my body and kept trying to take some of them. Coffee was the worst in this regard. The more I tried it, the worse I got.

I suffered a significant setback with acid reflux by trying to add back some afternoon caffeine after I had already had bad experiences with it.

Finally, I learned that, for right now, I should avoid these things. This, I realized, is not the end of the world. Actually, lots of people would consider it an accomplishment to eliminate all of the things I listed above.

Someday I hope to indulge in some of those things. But I've decided to stop hurting my recovery out of stubbornness. Of course, I do really, really miss coffee.

--

Those are six mistakes that I've made since I decided to stop taking my medication.

Alex.i

"Well my ship's been split to splinters and it's sinking fast
I'm drowning in the poison, got no future, got no past
But my heart is not weary, it's light and it's free
I've got nothing but affection for all those who sailed with me.

Everybody's moving, if they ain't already there
Everybody's got to move somewhere
Stick with me baby, stick with me anyhow
Things should start to get interesting right about now."

- Zimmerman


#2 Claudius

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Posted 22 July 2011 - 05:03 AM

I can fully relate. I made exactly the same mistakes and made them several times. And also I learned a lot during WD but most lessons came far too late. Going CT from an SSRI is one of the things that cannot be undone anymore. It only matters that I know were my misery came from and that psychiatry surely has no answers for me and going back to meds could have a disastrous result. Just as you, I already realized that something strange was going on after my first CT attempt, and my doctor could simply not be right in his view that this proved thst "I neede the med" because I never had those specific and gruesome issues before going on the med. But indeed, he was the authority and I was so sick that I saw no other option than restarting. And then all problems vansihed again... and I still cannot understand why I was not triggered at that point to start my investigation. And that is what will haunt me for the rest of my life. When I started to invest about PAxil on the internet, indeed you can find anything. Most sites, espscially the more "official" ones, give no information or just echo the lies of the leaflet. I was already 18 months in WD after my 5th attempt (and effectively living in a hell already for 3 years) when I finally found PP and learned about WD. It is indeed very disappointing that after some days or even weeks of feeling relief (a window) youi feel like being thrown back to square 1. It still happnes to me now after 45 long long months, in fact I am in a wave for nearly a half year now, after a window of about 3 weeks. And that is still the pattern for me. We can do nothing but hope and pray for recovery... but I still cannot let go the thought that for some of us, the damage will be eternal. Most people report that they turning the corner at about 3 years. I am not as dedicated as you in giving up all less health habits. I am not a coffee drinker, but still drink beer. Not as much as before and not on a daily base but I simply cannot give it up. So head off for you :) I wish you all the best and maybe, just maybe we will finally be able to leave this behind and start a new life with a gruesome expeirnce but also a lot of new knowledge.

10 mg Paxil/Seroxat since 2002
several attempts to quit since 2004
Quit c/t again Oktober 2007, in protracted w/d since then
after 3.5 years slight improvement but still on the road

after 6 years pretty much recovered but still some nasty residual sypmtons
We are not lost even though it may feel that way. We are in transition.


#3 Altostrata

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Posted 22 July 2011 - 09:29 AM

alex, what a brilliant DIY Editorial! Everyone should read it. I'm going to pin it up at the top.
This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

#4 Punarbhava

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Posted 22 July 2011 - 05:11 PM

Awesome post Alex! If it makes you feel any better, most of us have made the same six mistakes and repeatedly I might add, until we found support groups. We learn from experience (trial and error) along with advice from those who have travelled down the same road. So, please don't be too hard on yourself. As far as recovery goes.....your right re: "stay the course" and you WILL recover. Peace and Healing to You! Punar
To Face My Trials with "The Grace of a Woman Rather Than the Grief of a Child". (quote section by Veronica A. Shoffstall)

Be Not Afraid of Growing Slowly. Be Afraid of Only Standing Still.
(Chinese Proverb)

I Create and Build Empowerment Within Each Time I Choose to Face A Fear, Sit with it and Ask Myself, "What Do I Need to Learn?"

#5 alexjuice

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Posted 23 July 2011 - 09:47 AM

alex, what a brilliant DIY Editorial! Everyone should read it. I'm going to pin it up at the top.


Thanks, alto! I found myself with some energy, time and a notebook so I started writing down some thoughts on my experience. When I got home, I typed it up.

Cheers!

"Well my ship's been split to splinters and it's sinking fast
I'm drowning in the poison, got no future, got no past
But my heart is not weary, it's light and it's free
I've got nothing but affection for all those who sailed with me.

Everybody's moving, if they ain't already there
Everybody's got to move somewhere
Stick with me baby, stick with me anyhow
Things should start to get interesting right about now."

- Zimmerman


#6 Altostrata

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Posted 23 July 2011 - 10:31 AM

Feel free to post more of your thoughts. We love 'em.
This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

#7 Rhiannon

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Posted 01 August 2011 - 11:22 PM

Feel free to post more of your thoughts. We love 'em.

Ditto.
Plus you always make me smile and sometimes even laugh out loud, which is always a good thing and all too rare for me.

Started on Prozac and Xanax in 1992 for PTSD after an assault. One drug led to more, the usual story. Got sicker and sicker, but believed I needed the drugs for my "underlying disease" as I was told. Long and tragic story...lost everything. Life savings, home, physical and mental health, relationships, friendships, ability to work, everything.

 

Now tapering, ironically (but not surprisingly) healthier and more functional than I ever was during the years on the "meds," even with withdrawal (usually fairly mild at this slow pace).

 

Started multidrug taper in Feb 2010.  Doing a very slow microtaper, down to low doses now and feeling SO much better, getting my old personality and my brain back! Able to work full time, have a full social life, and cope with stress better than ever. Not perfect, but much better. After 23 lost years. Big Pharma has a lot to answer for. And "medicine for profit" is just not a great idea.

 

Feb 15 2010:  300 mg Neurontin  200 Lamictal   10 Celexa      0.65 Xanax   and 5 mg Ambien 

Feb 14 2011:   86 mg Neurontin   144 Lamictal,    5.5 Celexa   0.42 Xanax      1.9 mg Valium

Feb 16 2012:   10 mg Neurontin   115 Lamictal     3.7 Celexa   0.285 Xanax     2.0 Valium

Feb 22 2013:   86 Lamictal    2.05 Celexa       0.23 Xanax      1.8 Valium

Feb 10 2014:   62 Lamictal    1.1 Celexa         0.135 Xanax    1.8 Valium

Feb 10 2015:   50 Lamictal      0.875 Celexa    0.11 Xanax      1.5 Valium

Feb 15 2016:   47.5 Lamictal   0.75 Celexa      0.0875 Xanax    1.42 Valium    

Now:                43                    0.625                 0.0775            1.3

 

I'm not a doctor. Any advice I give is just my civilian opinion.


#8 ladybug

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Posted 29 November 2011 - 10:30 PM

LOVE this list Alex. I seem to ping pong between #3 and #4. Right now I'm totally in the midst of a #4. I've been having a great window and have gone from going out with friends once every six months to a record 4 times in the past week and a half! I'm thinking "I should start looking for jobs", "Maybe I can move out of my mom's house and room with someone" and even "I should plan that trip to Europe I've always wanted to take!" LOL. The sad thing is that, as you mentioned, it's always followed by a setback or a knock back down to reality eventually. All I can do is try to "stay the course" like you said. Brilliant editorial!

a.k.a JMarie

Paxil since Mar.1998

2006-2007:40-20mg
2009: 20mg to 14mg 2010: 14mg to 10.5mg 2011: 10.5 to 7.6mg  2012: 7.5 to 6.8mg

2013: 6.7-6.3mg 2014: 6.2mg-5.8mg 2015: 5.7 to 5.15mg

01/06/16:5.1mg

02/20/16: 5.0mg

05/28/16: 4.9mg

07/09/16: 4.8mg

09/02/16: 4.7mg

10/27/16: 4.6mg


#9 Lor95

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Posted 31 December 2011 - 12:51 PM

Alex, I missed this thread the first time round. What a fantastic post. There's something real special about you. xx
Paxil 20mg 1995 for panic disorder/anxiety.
3 attempts to w/d c/t. Horrific w/d hit after 1 month each time. Straight back to 20mg.
2003-2007: 30mg.
30mg to 20mg slowly over 2007.
20mg to 15mg (liquid) (Jan 2009) - big problems, back up to 20mg (pill) immediately. Recovered slowly.
20mg to 15mg (liquid) (Dec to Feb 2010) - suicidal. Back to 20mg May 2010, could not stabilise.
Dec 2010 to 31/01/2012: 20mg~9.6mg in tiny drops.
21/02/12~9.0
08/03/12~8.4
22/03/12~7.9
12/04/12~7.5
03/05/12~7.1
24/05/12~6.7
14/06/12~6.3
05/07/12~6.0
26/07/12~5.7
17/08/12~5.5
ALSO ON 1MG XANAX

#10 alexjuice

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Posted 31 December 2011 - 05:12 PM

Ya know, Lor, I wrote it and I miss it pretty frequently myself. That is, I don't always follow the lessons I've already learned. Like recently when I overdid it with magnesium supplements because... well, I'm inpatient and hard of good sense under the circumstances. Thanks for the kind words, though. I do very much appreciate them. I wish you a terrific 2012. (The even years have tended to be better ones for me, so personally I am quite hopeful for '12.) Happy New Year! Alex

"Well my ship's been split to splinters and it's sinking fast
I'm drowning in the poison, got no future, got no past
But my heart is not weary, it's light and it's free
I've got nothing but affection for all those who sailed with me.

Everybody's moving, if they ain't already there
Everybody's got to move somewhere
Stick with me baby, stick with me anyhow
Things should start to get interesting right about now."

- Zimmerman


#11 Jemima

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Posted 24 January 2012 - 05:35 PM

Thank you so much for your post! Since I took my last fractional dose of Lexapro in December, I've been going through the disappointment of having a good day and thinking that withdrawal was over, and then crashing for another day or two or three. I thought I was all alone until I read this. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I tend to blame myself for lots of things that aren't my fault (I'm really sorry about the Titanic), and your post helps so much!

Psychotropic drug history: Pristiq 50 mg. (mid-September 2010 through February 2011), Remeron (mid-September 2010 through January 2011), Lexapro 10 mg. (mid-February 2011 through mid-December 2011), Lorazepam (Ativan) 1 mg. as needed mid-September 2010 through early March 2012

"Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity." -Hanlon's Razor


Introduction: http://survivinganti...oducing-jemima/

 

Success Story: http://survivinganti...r-dickhead-too/

Please note that I am not a medical professional and my advice is based on personal experience, reading, and anecdotal information posted by other sufferers.

 


#12 meistersinger

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 07:36 AM

I'm just beginning to find out about this list of mistakes. I could no longer handle what I was going through on Viibryd. I called the psych 4 days ago amd complained loudly. He flat out told me to discontinue use then follow up after the weekend. Now from what I've read, you have to discontine viibryd gradually. I was only on 10 mg, so I called him back yesterday for a followup. I have yet to get a callback from the clinic he works at. I'm definitely changing psychs. Next time one offers an antidepressant, its going to be no way, put me in therapy instead. Unfortunately, the hospitals in this area use the same clinic.
History:
1995--Prozac--Quit CT by GP
1995--Effexor--Quit per my GP
1996--Amitriphene--Quit CT when changed GP
2005--Citalopram and BusPar. Prescribed when I decompensated in my GP's office. GP referred me to behavior health. Psychiatrist prescibed these drugs. Taken off citalopram in 2011 due to FDA warning. Quit Buspar during transition to viibryd.
Viibryd--2011 to present. Had a severe reaction in March 2012. Advised both GP and Psychiatrist I was trying to get off these drugs.

#13 Nikki

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Posted 03 April 2012 - 10:16 AM

Thanks Alex.... The biggest mistakes I've made were too much/too soon in between drops. The Stinkin Thinkin is a biggy. I have a tendency to awfulize or believe that a situation is never going to end. When I was pregnant I just had this feeling that I would always be pregnant and that nine months was no where in sight...Can you believe this :blink: It's where my head goes. Over exercising is another error I've made. Another biggy....I spent soooo much money on supplements and honestly, nothing stopped WD. Magnesium gave me temporary relief from anxiety, only to be married to the bathroom. Lovely. B complex exacerbated wd anxiety. Not going there again. Eating sugary things to comfort myself.....not good either. Alex I will refer to you list again and again....thanks

Intro: http://survivinganti...ndown-with-ads/

 

Paxil 1997-2004

Crossed over to Lexapro Paxil not available

at Pharmacies GSK halted deliveries

Lexapro 40mgs

Lexapro taper (2years)

Imipramine

Imipramine and Celexa

Now Nefazadone/Imipramine 50mgs. each

45mgs. Serzone  50mgs. Imipramine


#14 meistersinger

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Posted 17 May 2012 - 10:25 PM

Awesome post Alex!

If it makes you feel any better, most of us have made the same six mistakes and repeatedly I might add, until we found support groups. We learn from experience (trial and error) along with advice from those who have travelled down the same road.

So, please don't be too hard on yourself. As far as recovery goes.....your right re: "stay the course" and you WILL recover.


Peace and Healing to You!


Punar

You should add a 7th: Family who don't give a damn. I made the mistake of telling my brother the diagnosis I suspected all along, even before seeing the shrink. He was all over me like a cheap suit. Be that he's ex-military, he considers me to be a liberal crybaby who wants nothing more than attention. Yes, I admit to that, but he's not the one going through withdrawal hell. His response is to suck it up and move on.
History:
1995--Prozac--Quit CT by GP
1995--Effexor--Quit per my GP
1996--Amitriphene--Quit CT when changed GP
2005--Citalopram and BusPar. Prescribed when I decompensated in my GP's office. GP referred me to behavior health. Psychiatrist prescibed these drugs. Taken off citalopram in 2011 due to FDA warning. Quit Buspar during transition to viibryd.
Viibryd--2011 to present. Had a severe reaction in March 2012. Advised both GP and Psychiatrist I was trying to get off these drugs.

#15 basildev

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Posted 13 March 2013 - 09:51 PM

I LOVE this Alex! Thanks for posting I can relate to so much of what you said.

July 2001 prescribed 20mg citalopram for depression;
On and off meds from 2003-2006.
February 2006 back on 20mg citalopram and stayed on it until my last attempt at tapering in September 2011.
By far the worst withdrawal symptoms ever. Reinstated to 20mg citalopram
October 2012 - found this forum!
Nov 2012 to Feb 2013 did 10% taper, got doen to 11mg - was going great until stressful situation. Cortisol levels hit the roof, hideous insomnia forced me to updose to 20mg.
March 2016 - close to 100% back to normal!



****** I am not a medical practitioner, any advice I give comes from my own experience or reading and is only my perspective ******


#16 mtnbkr

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Posted 15 September 2013 - 06:39 PM

Thank you!  It's amazing how we struggle with these issues.  Since I started the taper, I've struggled with a perception that whatever I'm currently experiencing is permanent.  I struggle again and again to convince myself that a bad day is nothing more than a bad day.  A good day is nothing more than a good day. And my emotions flow through me, they do not define me.

 

-Mtnbkr


07.2004 Prozac. Greadually increased to 40mg. Good control of depression, but eventually developed muscle spasms and akathesia.

08.2010 Switched to Celexa. Suicidal ideation was constant.  Unable to sleep without ambien.

05.2012 Switched to Zoloft. Absolutely the BEST control of depression but caused severe bloating and rapid weight gain. Acne.

11.00.2012 Returned to Prozac 40mg

04.00.2013 Prozac 40mg + Wellbutrin 150mg

06.25.2013 Prozac 60mg and Wellbutrin 300mg

07.08.2013 GRAND MAL SEIZURE

07.09.2013 Prozac 40mg and Wellbutrin 300mg

07.26.2013 Prozac 40mg and Wellbutrin 150 mg

08.01.2014 Prozac 40mg and Wellbutrin ZERO

08.09.2013 Prozac 30.0 mg

09.13.2013 Prozac 27.5 mg

10.04.2013 Prozac 25.0 mg

10.25.2013 Prozac 22.5 mg

11.15.2013 Prozac 20.0 mg

12.06.2013 Prozac 15.0 mg

12.21.2013 Prozac 10.0 mg

 


#17 Needmylifeback

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Posted 11 December 2013 - 02:52 PM

this is such an encouraging post!! While I annoyed now dealing with tapering and withdrawal, I had two serious injuries; one in April 2002, another May 2008. I have a new long view.... When I have a good day or a good couple of hours, I enjoy and embracethem Knowing: they will be gone soon!! But for now I will enjoy what I can do. And when I experience a very significantly bad setback, mentally I pace myself: I know this won't last forever, I will have more good days and more bad periods again. But none of it is permanent!! I will enjoy the good moments when I have them.... And patiently allow my mind and body to rest and recover when it leaves and I am back in bed again. The only drawback to this approach for me has been I end up tolerating new lows too well.... Too patiently.... Rather than questioning if a drs new changes to my routine are to blame. I would have caught the bad side effects from my dr changing me off my Xanax and onto buspar back in Oct, two full months sooner, if I had been more vigilant. But still it's a long game plan... Two months is not that bad in the over all scheme of things!! But yes had I been fretting over my new low swing (which I had reasonably attributed to moving out of multiple storage units in multiple stages this summer/fall) instead of taking it in stride, my symptoms from buspar would never have become so severe.... Since I would have refused to go further up on it as directed. But it's ok!! Sucks it's impacting my christmas!! Now I think I will adapt my accepting the good and bad together as it comes... To being more vigilant about shifts around medication changes!! But generally embracing each phase and stage for what it offers (when I face a set back I view it as a needed rest and rejuvenation) has helped me not have my hopes and expectations dashed repeatedly by swinging Soo high and Soo low with every shift :)
Withdrawing meds: * lexapro 20mg (?) since maybe winter 2009-10. Self weaned this summer stopping in sept 2013 (I just cut in half for a few weeks, then took every other day then a couple x a week then nothing); *Xanax 0.5mg 4xday (dr cut by 50% twice in 16days oct 5-21st. By late Nov, dropped from 1/2 a 0.5mg tab tid to bid...by dec 1st, I was suicidal. Told dr I had to hold!) am still holding at 1/4 a 0.5mg tab bid since early dec; *sept 9 began buspar 7.5mg bid, raised to 15mg bid oct, nov 23 raised it 30mg am holding pm dose at 15mg. By Dec 11th I knew my liver was heading into failure again... Heart rapidly moving towards stroke levels. BP escalating rapidly towards stroke levels... BP moving past 200/130+ and heart rate hitting 200s everyday after buspar dose. Ribs were burning from being pushed so far out by the swollen liver plus itching severe- needed scissors to scratch deep enough but still itching 24/7. Checked for buspar symptoms I had them all plus a few underlying conditions making buspar contraindicated. For me buspar is literally toxic.
*buspar taper:
~dec 11th dropped from 30mg am/15mg pm to 15mg am/pm
~dec 17th pm dropped to 12.5mg am/pm
~dec 29th pm dropped to 10mg am/pm
~jan 5th pm dropped to 7.5mg am/pm
~jan 7th pm dropped to 5mg am/pm {dropped in only two days under pressure from alto to drop Now... Bc she then realized I was referring to significant organ failures and was dealing with serious side effects not merely inconvenient ones. My w/d side effects spiked}
~jan 8th I raised the pm dose to 6.25mg leaving the am dose at 5mg; stayed at 5mg am/6.25mg pm for a few days
~jan 12th pm dropped to 5mg am/pm
~jan 18th pm dropped to 5mg am/3.75mg pm; experienced a crushing spike in symptoms including liver irritation and "lightening storm headaches" among others. Currently at this dose.

#18 RubyTuesday

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Posted 21 January 2014 - 03:21 PM

GREAT POST!!!

definitely been on the "talking to my doctor" merry go round.

also made the over exercise mistake, just recently, did a dosage drop of Seroquel and headed off to ballet class for 4 days in a row, on the 4th day right in the middle of class I started shaking, a dark cloud passed over the sun, all the lights went off, my legs went numb, I was gripped with dread, and I had to leave class and go home and curl up in bed. the next day I woke up shaking & crying and reinstated halfway (half the dose I'd just dropped.)

recently got Visterol prescribed to help with Seroquel WD, seems to be helping, no intention of staying on it as long as Seroquel (2 years)

helps with the ataxia, burning skin, burning eyes. jittery, panic, shakes

LOVE YOU ALL!!! STAY BEAUTIFUL!!!


2002: "Situational depression" 2002-2010:Prozac.Birth Control.2011 Short trials: Paxil, Celexa, Lexipro, Wellbutrin, Xanax, Ativan- Gee, Doc never mentioned protracted AD wd syndrome. Imagine that. 2011-2015. Lamictal. Seroquel. Remiron. 2012: "Complex post traumatic stress disorder." Fast taper of Remiron jumped off June 2013. Slow tapers ever since of Seroquel & Lamictal.  crippling muscle spasms. crying fits. panic attacks. akathisia. nerve twitches. the jitters. the heebie jeebies. de-personal/realization. numbness. tingling. fatigue. lethargy. nightmares.insomnia. weird images. eye pain.vertigo. dizziness. brain zaps. and on and on and on. withdrawal? side effects? which drug? impossible to know. applied for disability. awaiting case to be settled.also back in school slowly & carefully. have not worked full time in 10 years. NOW: Seroquel 12.5 mg. Lamictal 75% of 50 mg. 

GOT DISABILITY. USING THE ROAD BACK JAMES HARPER VITAMIN SUPPLEMENTS. OFF OF SEROQUEL OCTOBER 2, 2015. Tapered off Lamictal approx 5 mg per month until Wednesday April 23 2016 jumped off at about 20 mg. (dissolved in water.) Feel great mentally & emotionally but physically like a mild flu, achey, heavy, dizzy, uncoordinated but nonetheless still better than the last few months of tapering. Worked Fall 2015 while withdrawing Seroquel then quit all school & work again February 2016 in order to get off the drugs.p.s. the worst of the morning panic disappeared the morning I stopped the Lamictal.

http://robertwhitake...n Epidemic.html

 

 


#19 hacilar

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Posted 01 June 2014 - 02:10 AM

Wow-this hits the spot, even this far out from the original post.

 

Beginning my 6th month from 'jumping' off Klonopin.  Typing this in the middle of the night-the insomnia is just about intolerable.  And the comment above about family; hell yah...I'm just attention-seeking, a whiner.  The feeling of isolation-of being discarded by not only family but society.

 

I guess it's fortunate I can't afford all the supplements I see recommended...taking Vit C, magnesium, and iodine.  And I did just spring for the Lactium I've seen discussed here and on Beyond Meds...so desparate to sleep-I'd be happy with 5 hours...

 

Tomorrow my internet access will be more limited-and I don't think now that's such a bad thing...tmi causing the catastrophic thinking...and thinking positive has never been easy for me.  Alex's post helps me see what I'm doing to myself.  Thanks.  


21 years of various psych meds.

 

Currently experiencing 'withdrawal syndrome' from 14 years of 0.5mg Klonopin: 1 q hs

 

Tapered over a year and a half dry cutting.

 

Hx of Imipramine (nightmare) (1992) Zoloft,(1992) Paxil (difficult to d/c)(2000) Effexor(2004-5) (also very difficult to d/c) Lamictal(2004-6), Neurontin(2004-6), Depakote(2006-2012), Remeron(2007) Various sleeping pills at different times...

 

I honestly cannot give an accurate timeline or even remember all the drugs I've been on.  I made a list for my son last summer, and it was long, so I know I'm forgetting something.  So sorry.


#20 Pushinthroughket

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Posted 06 November 2014 - 05:34 PM

Every time I feel scared and apprehensive about embarking on the withdrawal train, I read something like this and it makes me feel more positive. 

 

I agree with you, I have had such a negative attitude for so long and now I think I am finally ready to discontinue my meds due to my positive attitude about life now. 

 

Thank you so much for this post.

 

And sending positive vibes to you Billy. Stay strong. 


-3rd attempt at discontinuing Pristiq-

2011-Started 50mg Pristiq from gp.
After f/n no difference started 100mg. Aggression, depression and suicidal tendencies increased.
2011-first attempt at discontinuation of pristiq; Psychiatrist halved (cut in half) 100mg tablets (contrary to recommendations)to 50mg for first week, replacing with 20mg prozac and a low dosage tranquilizer (apologies I cannot remember the name) 
Withdrawal symptoms included: confusion, disassociation, anxiety, chills, tingling in the face, increased depressed state, anxiety, agitation and aggression. Confusion of what to do with body parts and facial expression and increased heart rate were also noted. 
After 10 days psychiatrist discontinued all medications and started 100mg pristiq again.
2012- Same doctor halved tablet again to 50mg first week and recommended Valium to sleep at night. 
Withdrawal symptoms were same as previous. psychiatrist once again increased dosage back to 100mg after 2 weeks of adverse side effects.
2012-present. I am still on 100mg of Pristiq. I have seen multiple psychiatrists all of whom would not assist in discontinuing pristiq as they all believed I am suffering from ptsd and bpd and needed psychological help-which I have successfully been doing however still none will help with coming off the drug- I truly believe Pristiq is the underlying reason I cannot 'get 100% better' as my aggression increased severely when starting the drug.


#21 btdt

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Posted 07 November 2014 - 10:58 AM

Navigating withdrawal from antidepressants -- in my case antipsychotics and benzodiazepines as well -- is a daunting task. There is no guidebook. I am 18 months into my journey and have learned a ton. Unfortunately, I learned many of my lessons through experience. Many of these could have avoided had I only possessed better knowledge or (sometimes) better sense.

I've made many mistakes thus far, so many that I have decided to share my errors.

The problem with withdrawal from antidepressants (and all psychiatric medication) is that there is not a one-size solution that fits all. So some of the things that were mistakes for me will not be mistakes for all. That said, most of these mistakes will be mistakes for anyone going through the psychological torture of withdrawal syndrome (also known as discontinuation syndrome).

Because there is no cookbook with the recipe for healing, I don't fault myself for my mistakes. I've done a much better job (with help from sites about recovering from antidepressant withdrawal) guiding my treatment than has any professional medical doctor I've encountered. Overall, I've done my best. But there have been errors.

I hope you are able to learn from me and my mistakes. Finally, everything below is just my opinion. No facts, that's a fact.

Here are my top six mistakes.

1. Deferring to Medical Authority

I went through many medication stops and changes, each being problematic. I developed doubts about my doctor's understanding of my condition and ability to treat it. But he was a DOCTOR. I figured he must know what he was doing. After all, who was the one on mental health medications? Me! Who was the one with the diplomas on the wall? Him.

Means nothing!

Antidepressant withdrawal syndrome (withdrawal from any psychiatric medication introduced in the last 25 year) is not well understood or even well acknowledged. My early attempts to learn about what was happening to me, yielded little. My searches turned up generally reliable websites, but these websites are not reliable when the subject is prolonged withdrawal caused by discontinuation of psychiatric medication. This not because they intentionally misinform but because they don't even know that they're misinforming.

My mistake was trusting authority because it was authority. Even after I had good reason to doubt my doctors and certain health websites, I refused to accept what my eyes were seeing. MISTAKE. I was lucky to eventually, through persistence, find other websites with more information relevant to the hell I was going through...

I now believe -- unequivocally -- that the best advice about prolonged withdrawal syndrome does not come from professionals. No psychiatrist I have yet met has even acknowledged a belief in withdrawal lasting more than a few weeks. No, the best advice comes from the web of sufferers who have aggregated their personal histories. From all these anecdotes, as well as some research by renegade psychiatric health professionals, some understanding and some USEFUL guidelines about tapering and recovery have emerged. Still, much is not known. But I now check everything my doc recommends against the wisdom of the sufferers. It was unfortunate it took me so long to realize the state of affairs.

Trust your fellows.

2. Making Abrupt Changes

For me sudden changes to medication, especially, as well as diet, exercise, stress, stimuli, etc have caused worsened withdrawal symptoms.

There is, among the informed, essentially unanimous support for a slow taper off psychiatric medications.

But the same principle for me applies to most everything. If I change a major aspect of my health routine, I do it gradually unless I have a very good reason to do so otherwise.

3. Stinkin' Thinkin' (This Will Last Forever)

My withdrawal symptoms have been traumatizing. Certain of them, PSSD, gastrointestinal problems, and sensitivity to normal environmental stressors, sometimes scare me. I get scared I'll never be normal.

This terror, especially when I feel alone, makes this condition a torture.

I've realized, though, that giving in to my fear is a mistake. I have tried to change my mental approach to my ongoing symptoms.

If a problem has persisted, it may last forever, yes. However, it does no good to believe it will last forever. If believing this has any effect at all, it is, in my opinion, only negative.

I find my fearful ruminating self-reinforcing. The more I worry, the more I worry... and so on. Even if worrying does no harm, it does no good. Even if I think I will not recover, that my disability is permanent, I do not allow myself to think that way. It only makes my suffering more of a burden on my shoulders.

Therefore, the only option for me is to believe that I will get better. It is the most likely outcome, no matter how scared I feel at any one moment. Others have recovered, so I choose to believe that I will recover as well, even if there is no way of knowing this for sure.

In Alcoholics Anonymous, athiests regularly pray to 'God'. They do this because it activates a part of their brain separate from the part that drives their impulse to drink. It doesn't matter if God exists. They don't care. They pray because they stay sober that way.

I maintain a positive attitude for similar reason. It doesn't matter, right now, whether I fully recover or not. I choose to believe that I will fully recover because choosing otherwise makes my life... not worth living, frankly.

I've made this mistake frequently. But today, part of my self-care is always holding the belief that I will, someday, be through this.

4. "I'm All Better!"

This goes back to abruptness. I've made the mistake of confusing a good day for a return to permanent good health. When I enter into a good 'window' and feel okay, a wave of excitement grips me. I immediately start planning to make up for lost time, to get back on track. I start perusing the jobs and apartment listings.

When this has happened, I have, in my excitement, overexerted myself. After my brief "all better" periods, a setback has always followed.

I now try to exercise caution. If I proceed cautiously, I have better success holding my gains. My recovery will always be more gradual than I would choose it to be. But my reality has been that recovery is non-linear and that feeling "All Better" for a couple hours doesn't mean much.

I stay the course.

5. Not Being Cautious with Supplements (vitamines, nutirents, natural cures, etc)

One of my primary symptoms is hypersensitivity. I'm crazy sensitive. My symptoms have not, generally, been helped by supplements. They have, unfortunately, been greatly exacerbated instead.

But it is hard to not try something when others report a positive effect, so I have tried everything...

There have been occasions when I've had a positive reaction to a supplement on day one, only to have a horrible adverse reaction when taking the same dose on the following day. I don't know why this happens.

However, I have learned from it. Today, if I want to try a supplement, I try a fraction -- not more than 1/5th of the manufacturer's recommended dose -- actually, in my case, much less that this. If I react strongly, even positively, I do not take the supplement for at least two days afterward. If I try it again, I try a lower dose.

Strong reactions are a warning sign for me.

If I had known this at the start, I could have avoided some truly horrific adverse reactions causing everything from burning skin to lack of feeling/sensation in the extremities to complete wipeout (unable to get up from bed for many, many days).

6. Catastrophizing Necessary Lifestyle Changes

In the last 18 months, I have given up alcohol, nicotine, coffee, energy drinks, artificial sweetener, foods I can't currently digest, protein shakes, carbonated beverages, tea(s), fast food... and on, on and on...

These constitute some major changes. Some of these things I'd rather not give up. Because I didn't want to give them up, I ignored my body and kept trying to take some of them. Coffee was the worst in this regard. The more I tried it, the worse I got.

I suffered a significant setback with acid reflux by trying to add back some afternoon caffeine after I had already had bad experiences with it.

Finally, I learned that, for right now, I should avoid these things. This, I realized, is not the end of the world. Actually, lots of people would consider it an accomplishment to eliminate all of the things I listed above.

Someday I hope to indulge in some of those things. But I've decided to stop hurting my recovery out of stubbornness. Of course, I do really, really miss coffee.

--

Those are six mistakes that I've made since I decided to stop taking my medication.

Alex.i

You made this post 3 years ago I am wondering how your digestion is now?  


WARNING THIS WILL BE LONG
Had a car accident in 85
Codeine was the pain med when I was release from hosp continuous use till 89
Given PROZAC by a specialist to help with nerve pain in my leg 89-90 not sure which year
Was not told a thing about it being a psych med thought it was a pain killer no info about psych side effects I went nuts had hallucinations. As I had a head injury and was diagnosed with a concussion in 85 I was sent to a head injury clinic in 1990 five years after the accident. I don't think they knew I had been on prozac I did not think it a big deal and never did finish the bottle of pills. I had tests of course lots of them. Was put into a pain clinic and given amitriptyline which stopped the withdrawal but had many side effects. But I could sleep something I had not done in a very long time the pain lessened. My mother got cancer in 94 they switched my meds to Zoloft to help deal with this pressure as I was her main care giver she died in 96. I stopped zoloft in 96 had withdrawal was put on paxil went nutty quit it ct put on resperidol quit it ct had withdrawal was put on Effexor... 2years later celexa was added 20mg then increased to 40mg huge personality change went wild. Did too fast taper off Celexa 05 as I felt unwell for a long time prior... quit Effexor 150mg ct 07 found ****** 8 months into withdrawal learned some things was banned from there in 08 have kept learning since. there is really not enough room here to put my history but I have a lot of opinions about a lot of things especially any of the drugs mentioned above.
One thing I would like to add here is this tidbit ALL OPIATES INCREASE SEROTONIN it is not a huge jump to being in chronic pain to being put on an ssri/snri and opiates will affect your antidepressants and your thinking.

As I do not update much I will put my quit date Nov. 17 2007 I quit Effexor cold turkey. 

http://survivinganti...ng-myself-btdt/

There is a crack in everything ..That's how the light gets in :)


#22 antidepressantsNoMore

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Posted 10 April 2015 - 10:11 AM

I made the biggest mistake, stopping an a/d CT


2013- stopped prestiq cold turkey

2015-  restarted Prozac 40 mg (feeling better)

2016 - Prozac 20 mg


#23 compsports

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Posted 11 April 2015 - 12:58 AM

My mistake was to keep thinking I was going to find the magical supplement that would help only to waste an awful lot of money on various remedies.

 

CS


Drug cocktail 1995 - 2010
Started taper of Adderall, Wellbutrin XL, Remeron, and Doxepin in 2006
Finished taper on June 10, 2010

Diagnosed with sleep apnea 2012 and on pap machine

Dealing with protracted sleep issues


#24 oskcajga

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Posted 18 June 2015 - 02:59 PM

My biggest mistake was this:  Smoking marijuana. 

 

Folks, it might seem like a good idea and I've read some members on here actually recommend it, but I cannot even begin to tell you how badly this set me back and messed up my brain.  I thought I was actually mostly recovered when I smoked the pot and it brought me way below my worst and I'm just beginnig to emerge from the hell that stuff caused me.

 

It's still difficult to write about this experience, to be totally honest, but I think that this community needs to be very aware that marijuana will totally destroy your life if you're not careful.

 

Be very wary folks - there's no escape from WD.  Don't risk your recovery.

 

I wrote a bit more about this experience in my introduction topic, but it's so tragic and disheartening what has become of my once prosperous and fortuitous life that I can't dare to elaborate about how badly it destroyed ALL my progress.  It makes no sense to me either, maybe someone could help to explain how smoking too much pot lead to a massive panic attack which then destroyed my progress in one short night.

 

It's amazing to me how much pain and suffering 4-5 hits from a joint that was being passed around by colleagues caused me over the ensuing year.  It's also amazing that I didn't hurt myself out of frustration, and that I'm still alive to tell the tale.  That's right, I smoked pot one time, not chronically - just one experiment to see if the pot would help my withdrawal symptoms - JUST ONE TRY - and BAMMMMMMMMMMMMMM.  The after effects still resound, and it's been almost 14 months. 

 

Please, for the love of god do not smoke pot during withdrawal.  Please, I'm literally on my knees begging you not to try.


8 Words of Wisdom about Adverse Effects and Psychiatric Drug Withdrawal Syndrome:

 

1.  Please do learn about this condition by thoroughly reading 1) Dr. Healy's website and SurvivingAntidepressants.

2.  Please read books like: 1) Anatomy of An Epidemic and 2) Mad in America.

3.  Success Stories do exist.

4.  Please be extremely cautious about reinstatements, recreational drugs, supplements.  Even low doses can complicate matters.

5.  Transfer all financial assets into your own name (hint: relationships end).  Do not spend money wastefully.  Keep your job as long as possible.

6.  Psychiatric drug "withdrawal" and adverse effects are serious neurological reactions to powerful "drugs" - do not take this condition lightly.

7.  These conditions almost never recognized by any medical doctors - hospitalization/appointments can be futile/potentially injurious.

8.  PSSD, anhedonia (no emotions), memory loss, brain zaps, etc are scary - don't worsen them by taking more drugs, supplements, and medications.

 

Stimulant free since September 20th, 2014; SSRI free since September 1st, 2013


#25 alexjuice

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Posted 18 July 2015 - 07:46 PM

Better. I can not handle the big food allergens but I am better able to eat. I weigh 170lbs which is a gain of 25 lbs from 18 months ago !!

 

Alex.i

You made this post 3 years ago I am wondering how your digestion is now?  

 


"Well my ship's been split to splinters and it's sinking fast
I'm drowning in the poison, got no future, got no past
But my heart is not weary, it's light and it's free
I've got nothing but affection for all those who sailed with me.

Everybody's moving, if they ain't already there
Everybody's got to move somewhere
Stick with me baby, stick with me anyhow
Things should start to get interesting right about now."

- Zimmerman


#26 stan

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Posted 21 July 2015 - 12:51 PM

i am glad you improve, happy to hear from you

 

be strong, it seem taking many many time,

 

time is the big healer


for anxiety 

12 years paxil - cold turkey 1,5 month - switch celexa 1 year taper; total 13 years on brain meds 

66 years old - 7 years 2 months med free

 

in protracted withdrawal syndrome

 

muscles pain..fatigue...off balance and dizzy...sleep very bad...dryness syndrôme...prostate...derealization...itching psoriasis...unable to be quiet inside... to rest though improvements akathisia...dilate bronchitis ...auto-immune disorder...conversion disorder...strong back pains...permanent stress...emotions no control...my senses are false... many feelings are false since beginning...locomotor disorder ...

 


#27 Nomoreheadmeds

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Posted 12 August 2015 - 03:09 AM

An excellent post Alexjuice I wish I'd read it 4 months ago.Really helpful read.
Sertraline 100mg amytrip 60mg diazepam 4mg (and when needed) since late 90's.Reduced all meds over 6 wks (too short) last doses 13 wks ago.Still having withdrawals.I would have done it differently
5th august 2015 reinstated 5mg amytripiline.increased to 10mg amtrip 9th sept 2015.

#28 alexjuice

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Posted 13 August 2015 - 05:38 PM

Thank you stan. Stan, you are right, time is a powerful healing force. I am better than I have been in a long time. However, I am inpatient also because I am now ready to be perfectly healthy!!

 

Thanks Nomoreheadmeds. I wrote this post 4 years ago. Wow, how the time can fly away!!


"Well my ship's been split to splinters and it's sinking fast
I'm drowning in the poison, got no future, got no past
But my heart is not weary, it's light and it's free
I've got nothing but affection for all those who sailed with me.

Everybody's moving, if they ain't already there
Everybody's got to move somewhere
Stick with me baby, stick with me anyhow
Things should start to get interesting right about now."

- Zimmerman


#29 downtongirl

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Posted 11 November 2015 - 04:16 PM

Wonderful post...I can relate to all six...especially #4.


1995 - 2015 antidepressants and antianxiety medicine
Multiple failed attempts to quit/taper anti d/anti anxiety meds since 2008

June 17, 2016 began prozac bridge to get off of effexor xr, stopped effexor xr on June 24, 2016, could not tolerate prozac due to severe side effects so I had to stop it  Currently...300 mg ER of lithium, 1 mg of estradiol, 60 mg propranolol ER, Fish oil 2 x a day, Magnesium Glycinate,  zinc, vitamin c, vitamin d, NAC

 

 

 

 

 


#30 Persephone

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Posted 25 April 2016 - 01:26 PM

4. "I'm All Better!"

This goes back to abruptness. I've made the mistake of confusing a good day for a return to permanent good health. When I enter into a good 'window' and feel okay, a wave of excitement grips me. I immediately start planning to make up for lost time, to get back on track. I start perusing the jobs and apartment listings.

When this has happened, I have, in my excitement, overexerted myself. After my brief "all better" periods, a setback has always followed.

I now try to exercise caution. If I proceed cautiously, I have better success holding my gains. My recovery will always be more gradual than I would choose it to be. But my reality has been that recovery is non-linear and that feeling "All Better" for a couple hours doesn't mean much.

I stay the course.

 

This is exactly what I need to hear. I have always been prone to this kind of behaviour, so I need to be extra vigilant now. I am glad that I found your post early in the game.  :)

 

Great advice, alexjuice. Thanks for it!


1980-84?: tricyclic antidepressant? unknown dosage, gradually quit by forgetting to take it

2011: Cipralex 10 mg increased to 20 mg after two months, Zyprexa 2.5 mg increased to 5 mg after one month

2012: Cipralex 20 mg, Zyprexa reduced to 2.5 mg, then stopped (withdrawal symptoms attributed to depression), Abilify 2 mg, then increased to 5 mg 

2013: Cipralex 20 mg, Wellbutrin 150 mg, Abilify decreased to 2 mg and then stopped

2014: Cipralex reduced to 10 mg (no taper and withdrawal symptoms), Wellbutrin 150 mg

2015-16: Cipralex 10 mg, Wellbutrin 150 mg

Started tapering Cipralex on March 31, 2016: 9 mg; April 27: 8.25 mg, May 25: 7.25 mg

Also Synthroid 0.1 mg (2003-present)

Supplements for migraine: Magnesium, Coenzyme Q10, B2, B Complex, Butterbur, Feverfew

Other supplements: Fish oil, Vitamin E, multivitamin, Vitamin D


#31 Help777

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Posted 12 May 2016 - 04:25 AM

Thank you for this, Alexjuice. I can rlate to everything you said!

quote name="alexjuice" post="7954" timestamp="1311306510"]Navigating withdrawal from antidepressants -- in my case antipsychotics and benzodiazepines as well -- is a daunting task. There is no guidebook. I am 18 months into my journey and have learned a ton. Unfortunately, I learned many of my lessons through experience. Many of these could have avoided had I only possessed better knowledge or (sometimes) better sense.

I've made many mistakes thus far, so many that I have decided to share my errors.

The problem with withdrawal from antidepressants (and all psychiatric medication) is that there is not a one-size solution that fits all. So some of the things that were mistakes for me will not be mistakes for all. That said, most of these mistakes will be mistakes for anyone going through the psychological torture of withdrawal syndrome (also known as discontinuation syndrome).

Because there is no cookbook with the recipe for healing, I don't fault myself for my mistakes. I've done a much better job (with help from sites about recovering from antidepressant withdrawal) guiding my treatment than has any professional medical doctor I've encountered. Overall, I've done my best. But there have been errors.

I hope you are able to learn from me and my mistakes. Finally, everything below is just my opinion. No facts, that's a fact.

Here are my top six mistakes.

1. Deferring to Medical Authority

I went through many medication stops and changes, each being problematic. I developed doubts about my doctor's understanding of my condition and ability to treat it. But he was a DOCTOR. I figured he must know what he was doing. After all, who was the one on mental health medications? Me! Who was the one with the diplomas on the wall? Him.

Means nothing!

Antidepressant withdrawal syndrome (withdrawal from any psychiatric medication introduced in the last 25 year) is not well understood or even well acknowledged. My early attempts to learn about what was happening to me, yielded little. My searches turned up generally reliable websites, but these websites are not reliable when the subject is prolonged withdrawal caused by discontinuation of psychiatric medication. This not because they intentionally misinform but because they don't even know that they're misinforming.

My mistake was trusting authority because it was authority. Even after I had good reason to doubt my doctors and certain health websites, I refused to accept what my eyes were seeing. MISTAKE. I was lucky to eventually, through persistence, find other websites with more information relevant to the hell I was going through...

I now believe -- unequivocally -- that the best advice about prolonged withdrawal syndrome does not come from professionals. No psychiatrist I have yet met has even acknowledged a belief in withdrawal lasting more than a few weeks. No, the best advice comes from the web of sufferers who have aggregated their personal histories. From all these anecdotes, as well as some research by renegade psychiatric health professionals, some understanding and some USEFUL guidelines about tapering and recovery have emerged. Still, much is not known. But I now check everything my doc recommends against the wisdom of the sufferers. It was unfortunate it took me so long to realize the state of affairs.

Trust your fellows.

2. Making Abrupt Changes

For me sudden changes to medication, especially, as well as diet, exercise, stress, stimuli, etc have caused worsened withdrawal symptoms.

There is, among the informed, essentially unanimous support for a slow taper off psychiatric medications.

But the same principle for me applies to most everything. If I change a major aspect of my health routine, I do it gradually unless I have a very good reason to do so otherwise.

3. Stinkin' Thinkin' (This Will Last Forever)

My withdrawal symptoms have been traumatizing. Certain of them, PSSD, gastrointestinal problems, and sensitivity to normal environmental stressors, sometimes scare me. I get scared I'll never be normal.

This terror, especially when I feel alone, makes this condition a torture.

I've realized, though, that giving in to my fear is a mistake. I have tried to change my mental approach to my ongoing symptoms.

If a problem has persisted, it may last forever, yes. However, it does no good to believe it will last forever. If believing this has any effect at all, it is, in my opinion, only negative.

I find my fearful ruminating self-reinforcing. The more I worry, the more I worry... and so on. Even if worrying does no harm, it does no good. Even if I think I will not recover, that my disability is permanent, I do not allow myself to think that way. It only makes my suffering more of a burden on my shoulders.

Therefore, the only option for me is to believe that I will get better. It is the most likely outcome, no matter how scared I feel at any one moment. Others have recovered, so I choose to believe that I will recover as well, even if there is no way of knowing this for sure.

In Alcoholics Anonymous, athiests regularly pray to 'God'. They do this because it activates a part of their brain separate from the part that drives their impulse to drink. It doesn't matter if God exists. They don't care. They pray because they stay sober that way.

I maintain a positive attitude for similar reason. It doesn't matter, right now, whether I fully recover or not. I choose to believe that I will fully recover because choosing otherwise makes my life... not worth living, frankly.

I've made this mistake frequently. But today, part of my self-care is always holding the belief that I will, someday, be through this.

4. "I'm All Better!"

This goes back to abruptness. I've made the mistake of confusing a good day for a return to permanent good health. When I enter into a good 'window' and feel okay, a wave of excitement grips me. I immediately start planning to make up for lost time, to get back on track. I start perusing the jobs and apartment listings.

When this has happened, I have, in my excitement, overexerted myself. After my brief "all better" periods, a setback has always followed.

I now try to exercise caution. If I proceed cautiously, I have better success holding my gains. My recovery will always be more gradual than I would choose it to be. But my reality has been that recovery is non-linear and that feeling "All Better" for a couple hours doesn't mean much.

I stay the course.

5. Not Being Cautious with Supplements (vitamines, nutirents, natural cures, etc)


One of my primary symptoms is hypersensitivity. I'm crazy sensitive. My symptoms have not, generally, been helped by supplements. They have, unfortunately, been greatly exacerbated instead.

But it is hard to not try something when others report a positive effect, so I have tried everything...

There have been occasions when I've had a positive reaction to a supplement on day one, only to have a horrible adverse reaction when taking the same dose on the following day. I don't know why this happens.

However, I have learned from it. Today, if I want to try a supplement, I try a fraction -- not more than 1/5th of the manufacturer's recommended dose -- actually, in my case, much less that this. If I react strongly, even positively, I do not take the supplement for at least two days afterward. If I try it again, I try a lower dose.

Strong reactions are a warning sign for me.

If I had known this at the start, I could have avoided some truly horrific adverse reactions causing everything from burning skin to lack of feeling/sensation in the extremities to complete wipeout (unable to get up from bed for many, many days).

6. Catastrophizing Necessary Lifestyle Changes


In the last 18 months, I have given up alcohol, nicotine, coffee, energy drinks, artificial sweetener, foods I can't currently digest, protein shakes, carbonated beverages, tea(s), fast food... and on, on and on...

These constitute some major changes. Some of these things I'd rather not give up. Because I didn't want to give them up, I ignored my body and kept trying to take some of them. Coffee was the worst in this regard. The more I tried it, the worse I got.

I suffered a significant setback with acid reflux by trying to add back some afternoon caffeine after I had already had bad experiences with it.

Finally, I learned that, for right now, I should avoid these things. This, I realized, is not the end of the world. Actually, lots of people would consider it an accomplishment to eliminate all of the things I listed above.

Someday I hope to indulge in some of those things. But I've decided to stop hurting my recovery out of stubbornness. Of course, I do really, really miss coffee.

--

Those are six mistakes that I've made since I decided to stop taking my medication.

Alex.i[/quote]
<p>2000 effexor xr 112.5mgTried weaning twice over last few years, gave up after emotional turmoilNoticed mood instability over last few years and went to see pdoc.Pdoc diagnosed bpII and suggested I start lithium and 'wean effexor.Sept 2015 added lithium 300mg.Sept 2015 started to wean effexor.Oct 2015 weaned effexor xr to 75 mg. experienced crying bouts and pdoc suggested prozac bridge to assist taper.Oct 2015 added prozac 20 mg to help bridge; continuing with 75mg effexor, 300 lithiumNov 2015 effexor xr down to 37.5mg, continuing prozac 20 mg and lithium 300 mg.Dec 2015 Started counting effexor beads as dose is now smaller than the 37.5mg capsule - at 86 beads, cont prozac 20 mg, lithium 300 mgJan 2016 effexor 66 beads, which is about 20mg. Continuing with prozac 20mg and lithium 300mg. Also, Omega 3Feb 2016 56 beads of effexor xr. Prozac 20 mg. lithium 300mg, also Omega
3March 2016 Effexor-36 beads. Prozac-10 mg. Lithium 300 mg, also Omega 3 and probiotics, gf, no sugar, high fat, protein diet.
April 2016 Effexor 26 beads, Prozac 10 mg, Lithium 300 mg. also, Omega 3 and probiotics. gf, no sugar, high fat, protein diet.<p>
May 12th took last bead of effexor. Will begin to taper prozac 5mg at a very slow rate. Continuing with 300mg Lithium for now.
May 31st took last of prozac. Continuing Lithium 300 mg, estrogen patch 150, magnesium.
June 14th reinstated 1mg Prozac due to intolerable emotional distress. Cont with lithium 300mg, 150 magnesium, re added omega 3, cont estrogen patch. June 15-july 5th had marked improvement of emotional wd symptoms, likely due to the reinstatement. Wave came crashing in around July 5th and intense emotional symptoms returned.
July 15 decreased 50 mg of lithium to see if it improved low heart rate.
July 19th - increased prozac to 1.5mg.
July 22 marked improvement of emotional symptoms...again, likely due to increase of prozac. However sudden agitation developed so decreased back down to 1.25mg prozac. Realizing increasing dose is dangerous because of these adverse effects and also seeing that wave is inevitable regardless of reinstatement.
Continuing 250 lithium, 1.25mg prozac, estrogen.
Oct 31st - continued 250 lithium, 1 mg prozac, estrogen patch. Thinking about retrying omega 3 and magnesium but they made symptoms worse when i tried a few months ago.

#32 AmyK

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Posted 09 June 2016 - 04:09 AM

Oh I especially recognize 3 and 4. 3 sucks, 4 stands for the HOPE in me. That I will feel better, more "normal" and eventually be able do all those things.
Thanks for this great post!

Tapering Zoloft since 2011. Current dose: 0,013 mg

 

0,019 mg 22 March 0,039 mg 18 March? 0,052 mg 16 March 0,079 mg 4 March 0,086 1 March 0,099 mg 22 February 0,11 mg 15 February 0,13 mg 6 February 0,145 mg 24 January 0,15 mg 19 January 0,19 mg 10 January 0,20 mg 3 January

 

2016: 0,98 to 0,22 mg

2015: 2,35 to 1,01 mg

2014: 4,9 to 2,5 mg

2013: 9,1 to 5,1 mg

2012: 15,7 to 9,7 mg

2011: Started on 25 mg - then 50 mg- dropped to 25- to 12.5 mg - back to 25 mg - after 18.75 mg started tiny tapering to 16.6 mg

 

Started on 25 mg Zoloft in March 2011 due to stressrelated tinnitus that gave me panicattacks, then after two weeks up to 50 mg, which dose I was only on for five weeks. Had a terrible reaction to Zoloft from start, but was told to "hold on". After four months on 25 mg/12 mg/18,75 mg I was stuck. Therefore the long taper. Crazy, I know... Super sensitive to drops and have dropped by 4-6 % from the prevoius dose all the way from 17,5 mg.


#33 geminigirl

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Posted 06 August 2016 - 12:24 AM

I struggle again and again to convince myself that a bad day is nothing more than a bad day.  A good day is nothing more than a good day. And my emotions flow through me, they do not define me.

 

-Mtnbkr

 

Brilliant MTNBKR!!

 

I will write that somewhere.


2010 started 10 mg celexa, 2011 went up to 20 mg
06/2014 started tapering (20 mg,10 mg alternate days)
19/09/2014 crashed at 10 mg
20/09/2014 updosed to 20 mg to try and stabilize- Never stabilized and CNS basically plummeted
August 31 2015- Started my 5% taper anyways

May 3 2016- At 14 mg the tapering caught up with me- Withdrawal included severe anxiety, feeling like im on speed, suicidal and homicidal ideation, akathesia, feeling like I was on heroin, memory loss, PGAD, feeling like I was on an acid
May 4 2016- Updosed to 15.5 mg to try and stabilize
​June 4- Started taking 2 mg 5 times a day which adds up to 10 mg because of akathesia when taking my full dose. Akathesia symtpoms smaller
July 27th- Dropped from 15.5 mg to 10 mg because could no longer tolerate taking drug- bad side effects mainly akathesia and emotional deadness.
​Oct 11- Improved a lot since May 4th after my crash. Withdrawal symptoms still left- DR/DP, emotional anasthesia, akathesia, tingling in head, feeling like my body and face disappears, messed up sound interpretation, perception and difficulty reading social and emotional cues during DR/DP, apathy, inability to tell if I am in dream or reality, disturbed sleep. Started having few windows

#34 Timeman

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Posted 23 January 2017 - 05:51 AM

Wow-this hits the spot, even this far out from the original post.

 

Beginning my 6th month from 'jumping' off Klonopin.  Typing this in the middle of the night-the insomnia is just about intolerable.  And the comment above about family; hell yah...I'm just attention-seeking, a whiner.  The feeling of isolation-of being discarded by not only family but society.

 

I guess it's fortunate I can't afford all the supplements I see recommended...taking Vit C, magnesium, and iodine.  And I did just spring for the Lactium I've seen discussed here and on Beyond Meds...so desparate to sleep-I'd be happy with 5 hours...

 

Tomorrow my internet access will be more limited-and I don't think now that's such a bad thing...tmi causing the catastrophic thinking...and thinking positive has never been easy for me.  Alex's post helps me see what I'm doing to myself.  Thanks.  

I would like to more about how you are doing .


2000  September start Xanax .05 mg  stop September 2002  start klonopin September 2002   November 2015 dose increased to 1mg x2   August 16 2016  STOP klonopin DETOX  11 days  took drug to detox but I can't remember what it was stopped drug 11 days August 27 th 2016 start August 27 gabapenton 100 mg 4x per day  increase to 300 3x   October 2016 stopped gabapenton Started mertazapen 15 mg October 1 2006 reduce December 27- 29 2016 7.5  updose December 30  reduced January 1 2017 11.25 mg mertazapine  Stopped January 13 January 19  Reinstated to current dose of 15mg
Note Taking supplements from the ROAD BACK  1500 MG omega 3  body calm  tart cherry and as of yesterday i ounce of tart cherry juice 2x per day