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  1. Hi all, I had been taking 2mg/night of pimozide, an antipychotic for a skin infection from last Sept-Nov 2017. By mid-November, my brain snapped into wakefullness and I did not sleep for 2 months straight. I stopped the drug completely because insomnia was a side effect then later turned into a withdrawal effect. Its been about 4 months of chronic insomnia now. In the first two months of insomnia, I tried herbs, alcohol, sleep hygiene, meditation, exercise, several sedating antidepressants: lorazpam, seroquel, etc. , none of which worked. I then tried Ambien/zolpidem which worked ocassionally at high doses then lost its effectiveness with a many side effects: nausea, dizziness and nightmares. I tapered off all of these since they did not work. The next month, I had some sleep 2-4 hrs/night cycling CBD oil, Ultra PM (Phenibut) and tryptophan. However now after a month of use, they are all losing their effectiveness and am needing to up the dosage to see if they will continue to work. I also tried neurofeedback therapy for 2 months but it did not resolve insomnia and was very expensive about $4K for 3x/week. I tried taking Mind Lab Pro a nootropic blend during the daytime to see if to could help repair brain, but instead has had me up 4 nights straight, when I was sleeping a little prior to taking this. Was too stimulating, trial and error I guess. I am considering reinstating pimozide to see if it will help bring my brain back into balance from withdrawal, but I am fearful that it could make insomnia worse since insomnia happened as a side effect during taking it regularly. Any thoughts or advice on antipychotic withdrawal, reinstating and how to beat chronic insomnia without meds?
  2. I beat withdrawal and in the process I beat a depression that had been plaguing me for half my life. I’ve been meaning to share my story for sometime now but have failed to take the time to do so. When I was in the thick of it back in 2016 I heavily utilized this site for answers, for comfort, and for inspiration. Unfortunately there don’t seem to be a lot of success stories but I am proud to say I am one. It was quite a daunting task writing this all down, I swear I could write a novel based on my experience with depression and antidepressants. Irregardless I hope my story can help encourage those currently in the midst of withdrawal just as stories I had read on this site encouraged me during my withdrawal. I am a 27 year old man and I took antidepressants from 2010 to early 2016. My first year was on Zoloft and the next five years were on Effexor 150mg. Depression entered my life around the age of 13 and it more or less stayed there up until recently. Sure there were periods of time where it subsided but eventually I would always return to my depressed default state. When I was about 13 my father died unexpectedly, a few years later my grandfather was murdered. My teenage years were very lonely. Affected by the deaths and trying to understand my sexuality pushed me into a state of isolation, it was during this time where I developed a very strong pornograghy addiction. Rather than talk about my issues through friends and therapy I chose to keep them hidden and use medication to do the work for me. Soon after starting college I got on Zoloft. It suited me, I felt calm and content but I craved something more stimulating. I had previously been prescribed adderall, but I recognized the ill effects it had on my personality so I stopped taking it. The campus doctor recommended Effexor, he said I might find it to be more stimulating. Therefore without question I took the prescription and worked my way up to 150mg where I would remain the next 5 years. During this time I was also taking ambien nightly, and between these two drugs I was able block out any of the persistent issues that were bothering me. I was numb. Years later I was living in a house with two very supportive roommates. These two guys would become my best friends and for the first time in my life I actually opened up about the things that truly bothered me. I also finally decided to get into therapy. In retrospect I could see that I was not actually happy on the antidepressants. I was just going through the motions, numb to the good and numb to the bad. I could see my growing disconnect from people. Up until those roommates I didn’t have close friends, I wasn't dating, and I certainly wasn’t having sex. I was almost 25 and still a virgin. The antidepressants removed the desire to be intimate with people, I was living in perpetual loneliness. So in January of 2016 I made the decision I was getting off Effexor and that was that. As with most doctors, my doctor had no idea how to get me off. There are no established plans to get people off of antidepressants, once your on them your expected to stay on them. So every two weeks I would half the dosage, and at the lowest dosage I was to take it every other day. That was completely idiotic as Effexor only has a 12 hour half life, essentially I would be playing ping pong with my brain chemistry. Fortunately I did not follow that last part of the plan but I did get off too quickly. After five years on the drug, six weeks is not long enough to get completely off. My first day off of Effexor was also my first day on a one month solo trip through South America which was during my birthday month when I would be turning 25. The trip was fantastic but it gave me a false sense of security as to what life would be like without the drug. While traveling you are processing so much new information and your brain is naturally producing tons of dopamine through all these new experiences therefore I was not accurately feeling what real withdrawal would feel like. I had some minor headaches the first week of the trip but that was really it. By the time the trip ended I thought life without antidepressants was going to be a piece of cake, boy was I wrong. When I came back it was time to face reality, and I had to do so without relying on Effexor. We were moving from our house, my two awesome roommates were going their separate ways and I was on my own. On top of that I had a very important all consuming project at work to figure out. My anxiety was through the roof. I had a prescription for Ativan that I used very sparingly to get me through, but the anxiety was so bad I thought I needed a more permanent solution. I had to do whatever it took to get through this move and this project so I went back to the doctor to try a different antidepressant. He put me on Lexapro, I believe it was only 5mg but I could feel it instantly. I was finding I was hypersensitive to everything now. I was only able to tolerate Lexapro for 5 days because on the fifth day I was contemplating suicide. Whatever fire I had inside me that had always gotten me through the tough **** felt extinguished and I just wanted to die. I ended up going back to Effexor only taking 10 or so beads from the capsule, just that small amount made a tremendous difference in my anxiety. I did this until I had settled into a new place and my project was complete. While my anxiety was calmed my emotions were neutralized and my libido was extinguished. These were the exact reasons I got off in the first place so I knew I had to stick with the plan of staying off for good. Things were calming down but I was very depressed and had a complete lack of motivation. I was trying a lot of things like B-vitamins, Magnesium, L-theanine, and Fish Oil. I could feel some benefit from each of them but after a few days I would be back in my depression. I had very low energy and I was sensitive to everything. Just eating bread would make me feel terrible even though I had no apparent gluten intolerance previously. It was around this time a good friend of mine talked me into doing Improv. I thought it was crazy but I had nothing left to lose. So even at my worst I did Improv and I also continued training in the martial art Krav Maga. No matter how bad I felt I would show up and make a fool of myself in Improv or hit the **** out of something in Krav. I always felt much relief whenever I did either and I credit both of those activities to helping me beat my depression in the long run. I opened up a lot to my friends and family about what was going on in my head, and whenever my anxiety felt high I would challenge myself into doing something that made me uncomfortable. I performed on stage, I did sparring at my gym, I went on dates with guys, and I opened up to my Mom about my sexuality. My motto was “oh you think you’re anxious now? Wait till you do this!” While all these lifestyle changes helped build up my confidence I still struggled to find relief from my depression. I thoroughly researched the neurotransmitters and what vitamins and supplements help support what. I determined that my issues seemed to lie with Dopamine. So I went back to my doctor to get on Wellbutrin. I was not happy about throwing in the towel again but I also wasn’t ultimately finding relief. I was open to Wellbutrin because it supposedly did not have as severe of sexual side effects. I started taking it and I actually felt pretty damn good. Unfortunately I also broke out in hives. So it was back to the drawing board. I tried St. John’s wort and SAM-e, neither of those did anything. Finally I tried L-Tyrosine, this seemed to make the biggest difference. Like I hypothesized, my problem stemmed from dopamine and L-Tyrosine is a precursor in the creation of dopamine. While I found some relief, it was very finicky. Taking too much made me feel like I was going to have a heart attack, too little of course did nothing at all. It was also very easily influenced by the digestive process so it was hard to find consistency and consistency was what I needed as I was about to hop on a very stressful 6 week project. I threw in the towel again this time looking at Cymbalta. I had read that it was less likely to cause the sexual side effects that Effexor does. It was true, I found my libido did not seem to suffer as badly however I downright felt badly. I felt achy, my head hurt, I felt dehydrated, and I was terrified to force my body to adjust to this seemingly toxic drug. I knew that I had no intentions of staying on antidepressants my whole life therefore if Cymbalta feels this harsh to adjust to in the beginning then I can only imagine what it would feel like to get off of. This whole withdrawal process shook me to my core. While I was desperate to find relief so that I could function at work I also knew that I never wanted to withdrawal from an antidepressant again. I tossed the Cymbalta and I went back to taking a few beads of the Effexor. Once again I felt relief but once again my libido vanished as did my emotions. The most striking difference I noticed once I was back on the Effexor had to do with a coworker. I had a thing for one of the girls I was working with and I knew she felt similarly. Whenever she smiled at me I could feel an electricity rush through my body. When I got back on Effexor and she smiled at me, I felt nothing. That was it, that was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I could be depressed, anxious, and barely able to function but I was not going to lose the feeling of being human. I was not going to lose feeling a connection with someone, caring about someone, and I sure as hell was not going to lose my libido, not at 25. Antidepressants were out, I had to find another way. That’s when I discovered a different form of L-Tyrosine called N-Actetyl-L-Tyrosine, this form is less affected by digestion and crosses the blood brain barrier more easily. It took a lot of experimentation with how to dose the N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine. It caused a lot of headaches but it was relieving my depression and anxiety. Finally I developed a regimen that included several of the vitamins I had previously tried that offered relief but couldn’t fix the problem as a whole. My regimen consisted of a B-complex, Fish oil, Vitamin C, and Vitamin D during the day; at night I would take Magnesium, melatonin, and every other night 150mg of N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine. After 6 months of suffering and countless experimentation I finally found stability again with my own personal regimine. I more or less stayed on this particular plan for a year, and the extreme depression and anxiety stayed away. I had never felt better because I was actually feeling everything like a human being should. I was also very in tune with my emotions, as soon as I felt depressing thoughts creeping in I would identify them and root out what may be causing them. I continued challenging myself with the improv, krav maga, and anything else that my old self would swear I could never do. I also continued therapy and being open and honest with those around me. I beat the depression that had been plaguing me the majority of my life. I didn’t stay on that particular set of vitamins and supplements indefinitely, I started dropping things along the way. After about a year the N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine started acting finicky again, I was suffering headaches similar to when I first got on it. I ended up dropping the Tyrosine several months ago and instead started experimenting with Rhodiola Rosea. So far it has been working well. If the Rhodiola Rosea stops working I’ll try something else, the important thing is that my mindset has changed. I’m extremely self aware, I’ve accomplished so many things I thought I could never do, and I know that I no longer need antidepressants to function. Depression will always be something I will battle but I’m finally now in the driver's seat and I am not going to give up my spot so easily this time. Withdrawal is horrible but its an important process in forming a new and better self. Just because L-Tyrosine and Rhodiola Rosea have helped me doesn’t mean they will help everyone. It took a lot of trial and error to find what seemed to click. Ultimately it was challenging myself, being honest and open with those around me, and learning mindfulness that truly brought me into the light. I hope my story can provide some ray of hope for all of you out there in the thick of it. It can be done. It’s not the end of the world to reinstate just know what your ultimate goals are and stick to them.
  3. Hello, On March 29, 2017, I was prescribed 10 MG Ambien at ER after 3 nights of no sleep due to racy thoughts, and extreme anxiety that made me shake and my muscles twitched. I thought I was gonna die. Next day, I was prescribed 1 MG Lorazepam for anxiety. after a month, I cut Lorazepam to 1/2 pill and cut the Ambien to 1/2 pill too but was told by doctor to not cut the Ambien and just cut it after 6 months. During those months taking the pills, I experienced all side effects (extreme headches and weird sensations on my forehead, neck and ears, ramdom pain and pulses all over my body, fatigue, anxiety, more heart palpitations, abdominal pain, weightloss, etc.) The muscle twithcing did not disappear. I went to different doctors and complained about my symptoms, they said it was just stress and anxiety and told me to just take more of the Lorazepam. My blood test showed I was low in Vitamin D, low Iron, low HDL cholesterol & had slight dehydration. Everything showed "normal". I'm now taking supplements Vit D3, comfort Iron, Magnesium Glycinate, Sodium Ascorbate (non-acidic Vit. C), Omega 3 Fish Oil, some Whey Protein. I have asked my family doctor on getting off the pills and she said that I could just cut them and I won't have withdrawals since I've only been taking a small dose of Lorazepam. Starting June 26, 2017, I started cutting the Lorazepam dosage by cutting/weighing the pill deducting 0.02-0.03 MG everyday and the Ambien 0.3-0.4 MG everyday too. Since cutting the pills, I've had 0 sleep on some days which occurred every 2-5 days, extreme anxiety, heavy muscle twitching on my legs and back, extreme fatigue, depression plus all the other symptoms I had while on the higher dose of the drugs. These horrifying misery that I don't want to experience again. The Lorazepam went down to 0.22mg and Ambien to 8.2mg but my husband (who helps with the cutting/weighing) have since added doses everytime I get 0 hrs. of sleep. Since 2 nights ago, I've been taking 9.4MG Ambien (Zolpidem) and 0.27mg Loarazepam (ativan). I need help/guidance on how to taper properly, all the tips you can give on what to do to survive withdrawal and lots of encouragement (and love) to get off these drugs and heal. I want to get my old self back, the energetic, bubbly, hardworking mother of 4 that I used to be. Not the sickly, depressed, unfunctioning woman that these drugs have turned me into. I'd specially encourage those who have tapered off Ambien & Ativan successfully, to please post your tips. I appreciate any and all help that you could extend!!!
  4. Hi all- I am new to this site and would like some advice. Here is the deal; I have been weaning off of 15 mg Paxil slowly since January 2016. Before that I was on it (off once 4 months ) for approximately three years. I had been supplementing with five 5 HTP and it helped me get down to 5 mg. Like an idiot, I took way too much and gave myself serotonin syndrome. I was then instructed by my doctor to stop all supplementation as well as the 5 MG of Paxil . This is when withdrawal hit. I was then prescribed 5 mg of Ambien as I was having severe insomnia. I reinstated 1 mg of Paxil in April to stabilize, and it helped somwhat. I have been doing pretty well up until now as I was getting sleep. Sleep is my biggest issue right now I do feel I cannot cope without it. Now the Ambien seems to not be working as effectively and I am having increased anxiety, severe depression and no motivation. I really want to get off the Ambien and I am contemplating reinstating even more Paxil to stabilize. If anyone has any suggestions I would greatly appreciate it!
  5. Hello, I did a relatively quick taper from Lexapro using 1 mg per week water titration from 10mg with my final dose mid-November. Acute withdrawals lasted a couple weeks then subsided. Around Christmas the weeping and depression set in with a vengeance. At the same time insomnia started. I could not sleep unless I took 50mg of Seroquel. i am still battling the insomnia but ironically last night I slept 7 hours without having to take meds. Today is my 5th day of reinstatement on 5mg of Lexapro. Seroquel as stopped a week ago and replaced with Ambien, which I have not taken for 2 days. The insomnia is taking it's toll on me. My T3 thyroid is starting to go low, I am having cold temperature intolerances, hair is falling out, strange "feelings" in my hands and legs from time to time, and inability to relax or make myself comfortable. It's like I am always in a restless state. Since I have reinstated the weird feeling in my hands and legs are subsiding and are more flair up in nature. I felt relaxed when I woke up this morning and when I layed down last night. I do have the typical startup anxiety/tiredness that is all too familiar. the head fog is very bad also. How long will I know whether or not this reinstatement is going to work? Also, how long should I stay at 5 mg before I go to 10 mg and plan to hold there? I did not want to reinstate but the insomnia will put me to an early grave if I do not get it under control. Dr. Shipko's blog also scared the crap out of me. If I would have read that back at the end of last year, I would have never goin off in the first place.
  6. I'm having a bad problem right now involving Remeron, Ambien, Xanax, Benadryl, Anxiety, Insomnia, GI problems, and fibromyalgia. I have a history of ambien use. 2 years ago I used 5-10MG of Ambien every night for 9 months. I started gradually having mild anxiety and depression throughout the 9 months so I decided to quit and then I did a 3 months taper. It was probably too fast because I had terrible anxiety throughout the process and it never stopped after I jumped. I was clean for 4 months. Then 5 months ago I had an incident which has since plunged my life down the toilet bowl and I have been terribly ill ever since, lost 30 pounds, and my anxiety and panic disorder has transformed into full blown agoraphobia. It started when I took an antibiotic for an ear infection. I had an allergic reaction and I had to start taking 50-75 mg of Benadryl every night. The next day I started a 5 day course of a different antibioitic, took corticosteroids, and took 0.25mg xanax to get to sleep. All was fine until 3 days later when I suddenly got chest/back pain, gastric burning, and a panic attack. This started a 5 month cascade of gradually elevating anxiety and gastric symtoms which was misdiagnosed as GERD. I went on many medications including prilosec, zantac, benadryl, antacids, tylenol, an experiment with librax (about 8 pills), and a few doses of muscle relaxer. I was on a cycle of using Xanax every 3 days and Benadryl every night. Every 3 days I would have a panic attack and take 0.25mg of Xanax, which has an interaction with Prilosec so it was probably actually more like 0.5mg. The gastric symptoms would strangely improve whenever I took the Xanax and then deteriorate over the next 3 days until it was time for the next Xanax. My nightly dose of 25mg-75mg Beandryl also helped and I would typically be better in the beginning of the day and then deteriorate throughout the night until it was time for the next Benadryl. At the time I thought Benadryl was just an antihistamine and did not know that it was also an anticholinergic and a mild SSRI. 3 months ago the gastric symptoms went into a constant steady state with no remissions and I started having wierd muscle twitching and electric sensations. So I went on a witchhunt to remove all of my medications in suspicion that one of them was causing my GI symptoms, which had eluded my GI doctor and all of his tests. First I got rid of the prilosec, zantac, antiacids. This didnt help. Then I tried to get off the Benadryl and that's when the **** hit the fan. Muscle stiffness and Insomnia from trying to quit Benadryl drew me back to Ambien. It started with 1mg doses and then quickly went to 2 and then 5 in a matter of days. The first day off Benadryl I had terrible anxiety and I was immediately in a state of having extreme insomnia and after a couple nights of taking Ambien or missing sleep I also had fibromyalgia, which further prevented me from sleeping as I could not find a comfortable position to sleep in. I've never had fibromyalgia in my life. For the next 2 weeks I would flop between different combinations of Benadryl and Ambien as my condition continued to deteriorate. I was averaging 2 or 3 hours of sleep per night. 2 weeks ago I saw a psychiatrist sleep doctor who Prescribed Remeron 7.5mg. I started by cutting it to 3.75mg which worked wonderfully for the first 5 days. I didnt need any Ambien and was getting 9 hours of sleep. However, I had side effects like dry mouth, dehydration, weakness, exercise intolernce, anxiety, suicidal ideation, memory issues, binge eating on junk, and daytime tiredness. Then on the 6th day I was having muscle stiffness, muscle spasms/twitches, and insomnia. I could not sleep on 3.75mg. After a drink (i dont normally drink), a hit of weed (i dont normally smoke), and then another 3.75mg to bring it up to 7.5mg, I STILL could not sleep. I could not sleep until I added 2.5mg of Ambien, and then I slept for 3 hours. This situation might have been amplified by having a steroid trigger point shot and a sedated procedure 2 days prior. Nevertheless, it scared me away from Remeron. I was scared of the side effects, the dose escalation, and possibly Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome. I also quit Claratin 10mg, which I'd be taking for years while going on an antihistamine witchhunt and suspected I had 'Histaminosis'. For the next 4 days I would use Ambien 2mg and then 5mg and then two nights at 10mg, and I was still only getting 3-5 hours of sleep. I was hoping my GI symptoms would go away, if I was on just Ambien for a while. They didnt. Soem of the twitching was still there too. My psychiatrist told me to go up to 12.5mg of Ambien CR. Hell no. I was already possibly getting addicted to Ambien and didnt want to cement that with a long course of high doses and cement this addiction after everything I went through over the past 2 years. Over the last 2 nights I did an experiment where I 'reinstated' Remeron at 1mg and used 1mg of Ambien. One to initiate sleep and one to maintain sleep, instead of using an unnecessarily large dose of a long acting drug to initiate sleep or an unneccessarily large dose of a short acting drug to maintain sleep. Miraculously it worked. On only 1mg of remeron and 1mg of Ambien I have gotten 9 and 10 hours of sleep during the previous 2 nights. However, today I am again having some issues with minor twitching and electric sensations throughout my body, which I woke up with, and after thinking of it too long I am having bad anxiety. I don't know whether I am having a withdrawal from Ambien, a withdrawal from Remeron, side effects of Remeron, a withdrawal from one of the previous drugs (I havent had Xanax in 2 weeks), etc. After having only about 10 or 15 doses of Ambien at an average of 3-4mg per night, am I already addicted? Am I KINDLED? Do I need to taper Ambien in order to avoid seizures or brain damage, regardless of Remeron? For how long - a week, a month, months? Am I having some rare side effect syndrome of Remeron and need to go back on just ambien? Do I need to taper the tiny dose of remeron I took for a week? Do I need to go back on Benadryl or Xanax? Did I get addicted to the Xanax every 3 days? I feel like I urgently need a professional to work all of this out and tell me which doses of what I need to take over what time frame in order to avoid harm or seizures and assure me that I'm not having Neuroleptic Malignant Syndrome or something like that. I want my life back. I know these all look like tiny doses and time frames to you guys but I feel like I'm going insane, or I'm going to die. What do you guys think?
  7. Hi, I have been on Paxil 40mg for 22 years. I have also been on Ambien 10mg for 7 years. About three weeks ago I reduced the Ambien by half to 5mg. Once I am off the Ambien I plan on tapering off the Paxil.
  8. NoahsMom0904: Need advice

    Hi I'm Crystal. I'm 28 years old. I have been taking Ambien 10 mg every night for 9 weeks and I want to get off this medicine. This morning I woke up still terribly sleepy with a headache. I am wanting to go cold turkey. Any advice would be appreciated.
  9. everythingbut: So lonely!

    I feel uncomfortable talking about myself and this! I'm a lively, rambunctious person and I can't believe I'm here, seeking help and affirmation on an online forum. I don't know how I got to where I am but I'm more than ready to resurrect myself and I just wish that my friends and the world would go along with me. I've always struggled with addiction issues, but about a year ago I turned to sleeping pills to help with my longstanding insomnia. I didn't even think I was remotely addicted, until I tried to stop. I went through two months of deep withdrawal and then turned to trazodone, which, little did I know, I'm allergic to and made me swell up and made the symptoms even worse. I act like a nightmare when I'm out and my behavior is unpredictable and erratic-- I suddenly feel like I'm high on shrooms and the room is spinning and I can't see straight, and then I go home and shake and tremor for three days with cold sweats and night terrors. I've tried to adjust and adjust with no relief. My doctor said to quit cold turkey instead of tapering because I'm probably allergic, so here I am. But xanax and ambien produced similar withdrawal effects so maybe I'm just hyper-sensitive. Anyway, looking for any possible way to get through this and any support... friends and family are too scared and seem to want to ditch me/ignore me while I'm acting weird.
  10. Hello everyone! First of all let me introduce myself. My name is Thomas. My native language is not english (I'm hungarian) so sorry if I misspell stuff....but I'll try my best. I decided to write here because it seems that this is the only place where I can get some good advice from experts. I really need it right now. I am quite new on this forum but I rad quite a lot of good info here (and other places too) in the past months. But I am tired and frustrated of just reading and researching and trying to figure out things by myself. It would be immensely helpful if you could hear my specific situation. So here is my story I hope I can remember the details as much as possible. My first treatment with these crazy meds started like 2.5 half years ago. Because I was quite depressed I've been prescribed a combination of an SSRI and benzo in relatively low dose for the sake of “prevention” (whatever that meant) First it was Sertaline (I think it was the standard 50 mg dose) with Lorazepam in low dose. I can still remember the first dose of the benzo (I almost passed out on the street). Anyway I took these two for a short time(two or three months) but the side effects were so bad (after my doc raised the Seltraline to 100mg I got the serotonin syndrome) that I got scared and just stopped taking them without asking my doc. It was a very quick taper and as I can remember I became relatively well quite soon. Of course back then I did not have any knowledge about these medications but know I think that that period was too short to really have a long term harm on me.... I think we can say that this period does not really “count” into my preset situation. Anyway time went on I was quite well for a good time. I mean of course I was still fighting depression to some degree, but now I know for sure that all this was because of problems I had in my life negative thinking, low self-esteem, etc....) and nothing that I had to take medications for. Anyway after like almost a year because I had a very bad period one of my best friends suggested me to contact that doctor again (huge mistake). He made another “cocktail” of meds for me. Now an SNRI, a benzo, and a sleeping pill. It was 75mg Effexor XR with 1mg of Rivotril (divided in two doses) and 10mg of Ambien for sleep. Of couse I had some relief...mainly that I could sleep again. So I took this crazy combo for around 6 months. Then another doc made an adjustment to this so the effexor was raised to 150mg, I had to stop the Ambien and take another 1mg of Rivotril instead of Ambien. So I took this combo for another 6 months. Things were not going well as you could imagine. Then I had to go to another doctor who finally said me that I was over-medicated and instructed me that we should change to less powerful meds, which seemed like a good idea but the way he told me to do it was so inappropriate and wrong that it is still making me more and more angry as a read more about tapering and prolonged withdrawal symptoms. First he basically said to stop cold turkey the benzo. This was hard but not that crazy. But then he told me to stop the effexor cold turkey (150mg). That was absolutely crazy as I'm sure you know. After two crazy days he told me to start taking 20mg of Lexapro. This turned to be a good move because my withdrawal symptoms eased very quickly. I took lexapro for like a good 1-1.5 moths. But during this time I was experiencing more and more the memory and cognitive problems that were not new but more severe. So really then I started researching on the internet and finding that the long time use of these meds cause this. I became very angry again and decided to stop as soon as possible, so I made a fast taper from Lexapro and I was done. It was very hard but what I did was that I started to use a little bit of Ambien during the day to combat the withdrawal symptoms. I did this for a week maybe. Now I know that this was quite risky but it surprisingly helped me. I am one of those people that when I take even a little of Ambien it makes me super fearless, motivated, happy, agile, funny(even crazy). I think you heard about this. So this was in August. Since then I am recovering slowly. There were some better days, short periods but mostly I am suffering from most of the symptoms related to the prolonged withdrawal syndrome. I tried and still try some supplements out of desperation. Some of them seem to work. I tried to figure out what to fix and how to help fix (neurotransmitter levels, receptors, etc). Anyway as you can see in my case it is very hard because it seems to me that everything was affected directly (GABA even with two pills) Okay now about my experiment with supplements. I know the ones generally considered to help, I know how they work. I tried a lot of stuff in different combinations. My main problems of concern was the anxiety, numbness, apathy, low motivation, insomnia, and the cognitive and mental problems. I tried 5 htp, passionflower, GABA. These did not seem to have any effect. My thinking is that I maybe with these I can stimulate the production of neurotransmitters. What seems to help the most is L-tryptophan (I take it with 2mg of Melatonin) I take it before sleep and it seems to really help. It takes some time to fall asleep but I this way I can sleep a good 7-8-9 hours sometimes even with almost no wake ups. Another thing that I take is the “king” omega-3 Because of my extra low motivation I was thinking that maybe that has to do something with my dopamine. So after a research I ended up that I need to try Gingko Biloba, Rhodiola. They also rave about these restoring mental functions such as memory and concentration which I desperately want. I started Gingko a week ago it does not seem to help yet, hopefully will. Then I also took Rhodiola for two days but it was weird (some reports already warned me about this) A quite new discovery for me is the effectiveness of Valerian Root. It seems to help with the anxiety. I discovered it in an interesting way. The story is that when I was not taking the tryptophan some weeks ago I almost could not sleep at all, and my appetite almost gone entirely. Then out of frustration I started taking a little Ambien again(just 0.25mg) Of course all the amazing effects kicked in which I enjoyed(and did not want to sleep because I was feeling so good) but I knew I did not want to get it for long so after a week I stopped. But I was thinking: why is that ambien affects me so positively?? If only I could find a natural solution that does the same..... So after researching I came to the conclusion that I need to find something that has that effect on the GABA-A receptors as Zolpidem(Ambien) does. The only solution seemed to be benzos but in the gaba-a antagonist list I found two herbs too: kava and valerian. I also read a very good article with illustrations about how valerian binds almost the same way to the gaba-a receptor as benzos do(with only a little difference of which sub receptor they bind to) I was so thrilled!! I went to buy Valerian immediately and even taking 100mg seemed to help me very quickly. Now I take that three times a day. Yesterday I found some very helpful articles that Alto wrote. It seemed to explain a lot of things that I could not find answers for or I was confused about. But still I became puzzled about some things and even more confused..... so it would be helpful if you could explain some things also concerning my situation. It would be tremendously helpful for me.... The article called "Introduction to psychiatric drug withdrawal syndrome" http://beyondmeds.com/2012/05/17/introwithdrawalsyndrome/ This was a very helpful summary for me about what does withdrawal mean and it gave me hope and I wish I have found this sooner.... but still I will post some questions from this one later... Another article is this http://beyondmeds.co.../gabaglutamate/ Most of the article seems clear and logical to me but there are some concerns and questions about how this applies to my situation I am thinking that first I need to know If I am doing something wrong in my recovery....so that way I can adjust things....stop doing things, taking things.....so please guys this is why I need your help now!! My first question is concerning this: (I would be very glad if Alto too could give some advice here “Noradrenergics — buproprion or Wellbutrin; mirtazapine or Remeron; SNRIs such as Cymbalta, Serzone, Effexor; and St. John’s Wort, rhodiola — and stimulate “fight or flight” activation, as will most SSRIs. Drugs and substances that are stimulating should be avoided.” Actually before I rad this article yesterday I had a St. John Worth tea twice and it seemed to help....a lot actually. But basically you say that I should avoid it along with Rhodiola? But even if it seems to help me positively? What about the other supplements? “My guess is: The first phase of withdrawal, the acute phase, is the initial shock of withdrawal, with the most defined symptoms, such as brain zaps and nausea. The second phase is when the serotononergic receptors are repopulating, with waves of depression and anxiety. The third phase is when glutamatergic disinhibition and autonomic instability take over. Often the autonomic instability causes hypersensitivity to drugs and certain supplements. Out of control, the glutamatergic system sends signals to the adrenals, which produce the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline.” I am trying to figure out what phase of withdrawal I am now. I cannot decide if it's the second or the third. It is not clear to me what the third is but maybe I am in that phase. I might not be hypersensitive to supplements but maybe the Ambien experiement shows that I am to psych drugs (when a small dose made me feel extra good maybe even paradoxical) This might be a sign that I am already in the third phase? Is that a good thing in my situation? So this is about it for now. I am immensely thankful for people like you... Thank You in advance for your help!! Thomas
  11. After two years of taking 10 mg of Ambien, 4 mg klonopin for sleep, and 40 mg. ritalin, I became addicted and ended up a zombie. I went to my doc and told her about this and she told me to go home and throw out my meds. I followed her advice and ended up not sleeping for six days. I begged her for klonopin on the 6th day for sleep and she relented. I wish she had done a taper for me, and don't know why she didn't. Feel like she was ignorant about ambien and benzo withdrawal. Not only did I not sleep for six days, but I had sucidal ideations the first two days I came off those drugs. Still don't feel right and don't know what to do. Do I go back on them and taper? It has been almost two weeks since I went cold turkey. It was hell. Still is. I take lamictal 400 mg, for depression, and saphris 10 mg for mania. I'm bipolar. I also take 100 mg topamax and want to quit that. And she just added 300 mg neurontin for sleep instead of the klonopin which makes me shuffle around and slur my speech in the morning. I've come this far cold turkey. Still experiencing withdrawal symptoms, mainly agitation and insomnia. Is it too late to taper? Or do I just continue w/ the cold turkey hell?
  12. Hello all, About three weeks ago I had a panic attack right as I was falling asleep. I only slept four hours each night the next two days. I learned that my family has had a history of anxiety issues, and because I was having trouble calming down, I was prescribed 50 mg trazodone to be used once a day, and 10 mg zolpidem tartrate to be used as needed for sleep. These did help me sleep, but I was still only getting consistently 6 hours of sleep a night. So, I talked to a counselor and saw a doctor. They both recommended a SSRI, presuming that the anxiety was the reason I wasn't sleeping as much as I had previously, so I was perscribed 25 mg sertraline HCl (Zoloft). After taking it for four days, I decided that the long-term side effects were pretty scary (brain zaps, "lower IQ," memory issues, weight gain), and that given that my anxiety was pretty mild by this time, I decided to stop taking it and try to go with just cognitive behavioral therapy. (I'm in grad school BTW.) I've found that I can't fall asleep without trazodone (now it's been about three weeks taking it), so I'm considering tapering. Do you think the insomnia is really because I don't have the trazodone, or is my sleep anxiety playing more of a role than I am giving it credit for? Should I reconsider Zoloft? I'm not really worried about having another panic attack, but I'm not sure whether I should take a combined therapy/medication approach to the anxiety or just try to do it with only therapy. Your advice is much appreciated. (you can delete my post in the tapering forum)

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