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  1. Hi, I was on .5 Mg 1x day of Klonopin for 28 years, my GP updoses it to 3 x day....terrible pyridoxal reaction, Dr. added 10 Mg Prozac which helped the terrible reaction. Did a 2 year taper off Klonopin. 6 Months after being off I started a 5 - 6 month taper off the Prozac. Been off Klonopin 15 months; Off Prozac little over 4 months. Having terrible monophobia (which I kinda had over these last 28 years), huge terror, obsessive thoughts, ruminating thoughts, extreme anger / rage, insomnia. I called both my dr. and therapist crying today. Dr. wants me to re-instate the Prozac. Is this still benzo withdrawal or Prozac wd ??? I am SO scared of meds.....I wonder if this is me or meds ???
  2. Cigarettes at age 11. Alcohol periodically from age 13 to age 30. Valium episodically from age 18 to age 27. I have been on myriad anti-depressants since 1982 for major depression and generalized anxiety. Imipramine, desyrel, ativan. Off drugs from 1984 till 1995. Started Prozac 1995 till 2014 (did well from 1995 to 2011). Tried Wellbutrin, Cymbalta. Abilify and Trintellix from March 2014 till August 8, 2017 (depression free). Had to withdraw due to cervical dystonia and tremors which still persist. Terrible experience withdrawing from Abilify and Trintellix. Started Wellbutrin 150 mg. and Prozac 10 mg. for one week to help with withdrawal. Then increased Wellbutrin to 300 mg. and experienced ringing in ears; stopped the Wellbutrin and increased Prozac to 20 mg. (10 in A.M.; 10 in P.M.) Now on Prozac 20 mg. per day, occasional Propranolol for tremors (doesn't help). I've read that coming off Abilify can take up to 3 months or more, and it has been 2 months so far. I feel like I've spent (wasted) my entire adult life trying to feel better, first by self-medicating, then by psychiatric medicating. I'm 72 years old. I wonder if there is any hope for me.
  3. Unsure if I'm posting in the right place but this is somewhat of an introduction. 1.5 years ago I started on 20mg of Prozac for OCD. There was restlessness with starting but it went away. Gradually I tapered down to 10mg of Prozac which I was on for a full year. 2 months ago, I felt the sudden onset of a a very severely agitated feeling. It was very vague but I can pinpoint the exact moment I noticed it -- I was sitting, doing nothing remarkable, and unstressed. I had felt something like this before throughout my treatment but it was very very temporary and felt more like an agitated depression brought on by external circumstances. When this feeling started I could not pinpoint anything else as the cause. Things were good in all parts of my life. I had not messed with the dosage of Prozac at all for a year. Is it still possible that the Prozac is causing this long term agitation/akathisia that I still experience today? A month into the feeling I decided to taper off Prozac completely. I experienced very little withdrawal...just mild headaches and dizziness. The akathisia didn't get worse or better. But it is still quite bad. And the longer it continues the more hopeless I become and probably the more depressed as well because I can't see a life without this agitation anymore. Started on some Klonopin to treat the restlessness and help me sleep. Has anyone else experienced akathisia without a dose change? And also only being on a low dose?
  4. My “ psychiatrist decided to get me off effexor by using the “Prozac bridge.” I got off it myself several years ago without much of a problem. I thought. Of course 5 months later I had a bad relapse and went back on it. Anyway she she got me down to 37 last week using 10 mg of Prozac. I went from 150 to 75 without any support. The 150 was making me hyper. I didn’t feel any major effects from that. As it so happens approval for tms ( trans magnetic stimulation) came through. This is 36 sessions of stimulating your brain with magnets. My insurance changed their minds when I appealed. I have feeling Prozac is going to be bad news for me since it’s already kept me up and made me hyper. I’m doing the tms because I want to get over the depression without medication. she said I could keep the 10 mg for the rest of the week or drop everything now. Would being on Prozac for one week at 10 mg cause a withdrawal.? And I have to worry about going off the Effexor without support.
  5. I'm a 27 year old female and I was prescribed to Wellbutrin a year and a half ago. I had never taken any type of psychiatric medication previous to this, and was prescribed to Wellbutrin by a physician that insisted it would help with the depressive symptoms that I was experiencing due to a generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). My primary disorder at the time was GAD, and the only reason that I was experiencing depressive symptoms, is because of the change in my demeanor since becoming constantly worried about the possibility of having an anxiety attack in any social situation. The first time that I went to see a general practitioner about my general anxiety disorder, she immediately wrote me a prescription for Prozac, I took the medication a grand total of three days before having a pretty bad car accident while driving my brother to school. I went back to the doctor and she decided that it would be better if I tried going the antidepressant route. At the time I started Wellbutrin I was in my first semester of graduate school and the effects of Wellbutrin were welcome. I was able to concentrate better than ever before, and was getting all A's in school. It went this way for a little over a year, until 3 months ago when I started seeing a return of my panic attacks. I went back to the doctor and she told me that it sounded like I was building up a resistance to the dosage of medication that I was taking. I was taking a once daily immediate release dosage of 75 mg of Wellbutrin at the time and she decided it would be a good idea to up my dosage to 100 mg of sustained release in order to get me back to a base line. I went home with the medication and thought about what the up dosage meant. I had a lot to consider... I didn't want to be dependent on the medication for the rest of my life. Especially since I was taking an antidepressant medication when I didn't even actually have depression. That day I decided that I was going to quit the medication altogether.. without my doctor’s consent… I had NO IDEA how bad of an idea that would turn out to be. Fast forward to a week and a half after trying to quit wellbutrin cold turkey and I was a COMPLETE DISASTER. I was experiencing suicidal ideation (the first time I’d ever had ANY thoughts like this), MAJOR anhedonia, memory issues and extreme fatigue. I went back to my doctor to get help, because I was scared of what I was going to do. Long story short, she ended up putting me on the Wellbutrin SR 100 mg anyways so that I could level out before I started my taper process. I took the 100 mg SR every day for about 2 weeks and was having some really uncomfortable side effects. So I decided it was time for me to start weening myself off of it. I took the 100 mg SR every other day for two weeks and then every two days for another two weeks, so all in all I tapered off of the medication over a month. I know now that this was WAY too fast, but it’s too late for me to try to go back on it for a slower taper. I’m just wondering if anyone else has a similar story to mine, that can tell me what kind of recovery timeline I’m looking at. I’m experiencing some pretty sever anhedonia and memory/concentration issues that present themselves in waves.
  6. I tapered of Prozac in early 2014. I tapered over 4 weeks by taking every other day so basically ct. I had taken Prozac for 17 years for anxiety and depression. It took almost 4 months to get very bad by which time Drs had prescribed me sertraline and citralopram both of which exacerbated things tremendously. I only took a single dose of each. It never occurred to me or Drs to put me back of Prozac and by this time I was too terrified to take anything. The last 3 years have been horrific, losing my husband, my health and my income. I was unable to work for 2 years and now work part time from home which I still struggle with. I'm diagnosed with cfs fibro and severe depression all caused by protracted withdrawal. Iv seen dr Healy a few times and a neuropsychiatrist who both back my cause. I haven't taken a drug in 28 months but am about to start imipramine on their advise. I hope to get some relief from the crippling depression and pain and then hopefully taper off. I know this is a risk but desperate times call for desperate measures. I have terrible tinnutus caused from the destabilising effect of ct Prozac. I also have vertigo and chronic insomnia, especially early morning waking and sleep maintence. I use magnesium glycinate and lactium but Iv not noticed a noticeable difference. I have learned to not panic too much during extreme anxiety, instead of it breaking me completely like in the old days, I open the door and invite the beast in. This also helps with odd flare up of akathesia that was relentless in the beginning. I'm completely amazed at the lack of knowledge from Drs about the dangers of drugs but I have also found at leat 3 who are well very knowledgable. It gives me hope at least that we are not completely alone.
  7. Hey, everyone. Here's my introduction (I hope it's not too long): In 1994, at 19, I suffered panic attacks from being bullied in school and having cognitive errors in my thinking (perfectionism, negative self talk, etc.) My parents took me to a psychiatrist who told me I had a "chemical imbalance in my brain," prescribed me 80 mg of Prozac a day, and kicked me out the door. I received no therapy and from that day forward saw myself as a mental health patient. This diagnosis changed the course of my entire life. My Prozac took six weeks to kick in, and it brought with it a slew of side effects: generalized anxiety, hypervigilance (constant surveying the world and my body for signs of panic), stomach cramps, and irritable bowel syndrome. Like the proverbial boiling frog who doesn't notice the raising temperature, the side effects eased in to my life so slowly I thought they were a part of me and my "chemical imbalance." In essence I had a paradoxical reaction to the drug: it amplified my existing struggles but I had no idea my medication was the source. I was never told this was possible, nor was I told about the danger of trying to come off. The side effects made work outside the home, socializing, and dating extremely difficult because I was always afraid of the next wave of anxiety that would send me racing to the washroom. I watched my friends grow up and have careers, partners, and families, while I tried to buoy what was left of my self-esteem with self-help books and different therapists, none of who ever questioned the drug or the dosage. After two years of cognitive behavioral therapy to untwist the errors in my thinking, I tried coming off the drug under the supervision of my doctor in 2006 but the initial reduction of 20 mg every two weeks proved to be far too steep. When I reached zero I had a few days of bliss, then an absolute mental collapse. I developed akathisia and was unable to sit still and paced relentlessly and lost control of my emotions. I felt completely hollow and cried for no reason, all the while suffering from unspeakable anxiety. My parents debated admitting me to a hospital but was told that the doctors would check my medication levels then ask me to leave as there would be nothing they could do. I went to my psychiatrist who misdiagnosed my condition not as withdrawal but as depression and anxiety that the Prozac had been treating. Desperate not to lose my mind, I restarted the drug and lost another ten years to side effects. Two years ago I lowered my dose from 40 mg to 30 mg. Three days later I was to meet friends for dinner for as long as my anxiety would allow. I braced myself during the meal for the inevitable tsunami of mental anguish but what I felt instead was a mere ripple. I was stunned, then perplexed. When I realized what was happening and that the drug had been the cause, I burst into tears. Instead of racing home after the meal as I so often had in the past, my friends and I went to a movie. Over the past few months I've been easing off Prozac at 5 mg every six weeks. My quality of life improves with each reduction. My hypervigilance and anxiety all but vanished at 20 mg. At 15 mg I have become more social than I have ever been, and at 10 mg I feel like myself again - sort of. I've been on 10 mg of Prozac since May 9th, and I'm also on 50 mg of Seroquel. I want to get off the Prozac completely but I'm going to stay at 10 mg for at least three months until I know I'm stable. Though most of my anxiety is gone, I had a panic attack last week. I had an appointment with my psychiatrist yesterday over how much I've missed out on from the medication and cried through the whole thing. Naturally she was concerned that this might be a relapse of depression/anxiety, but I honestly feel better now than I ever did on the higher dose. So...that's me!
  8. Hi All, I've been on Prozac off and on for the last 10 years: Nov 2007 - 20 mg after severe anxiety/PTSD/depression after abusive relationship and bad alcohol binge. Summer 2008 - went off bc i 'felt good' Fall 2008 - WD and all original symptoms back: extreme anxiety, etc Fall 2008 - back on 20 mg until Summer 2009 - went off bc i 'felt good' ... note, prozac was always prescribed by an internal med doctor, not a specialist. took me about 10 mins each time to get a prozac diagnosis, from different docs ... ... note, always used Xanax for the symptoms until the prozac kicked in, 0.25mg - 0.5 mg several times a day ... ... repeat this process, same seasons, each year until ... Nov 2015 - severe anxiety and WD symptoms brought about by bad romantic experience (i see the pattern now..) Nov 2015 ri 20 mg of prozac by integrative psychiatrist who tested me for & determined i had: MTHFR mutation, pyroluria, copper toxicity, zinc deficiency, and put me on the Walsh protocol to treat: Zinc, Selenium, 5-HTP, B6, B12, EPO, Vit C, Vit D, Biotin. I stayed on Prozac at 20 mg for a year. I expressed my desire to not be on it, he agreed to help me wean. He never ever said a thing about WD. Honestly, i don't think he must know much about it or else he would have said. He is an open-minded doctor. July 2016 reduced to 10mg under supervision by doctor. Did not taper from 20mg to 10mg, just jumped. Was perfectly fine for one year May/June 2017 began to taper according to doctor: 10 mg every other day for a month - i did about 6 weeks Sept 23 2017 - panic attack and full-blown WD from hell symptoms. Still at this point had never heard of WD from SSRI. Had no idea it was a thing. Assumed my symptoms were my 'depression and anxiety just coming back'. Struggle for one week thinking i'll make it out. Did not go back on Prozac, wanted to try and fight it. Sept 29 spoke with dr, expressed i did not want to begin prozac, he suggested Inositol 4g x 3 each day and up 5-htp from 150mg to 200 mg per day Oct 2 after severely worsening symptoms finally crack and call my dr asking for a prescription for Prozac and Xanax. Pick up prescription but still try to tough it out a few days. Oct 5 finally cave and RI at 10mg. He is telling me RI at 10 mg for the first 7 days and then up to 20mg after that. Today - Oct 10 - discover that Prozac WD is a thing. Discover this forum, discover Rxisk.org. Feel like it makes sense that i am experience WD and not just 'anxiety and depression'. Why on Earth would my brain need fluorine molecules in it to function properly (fluoxetine). That is complete garbage. I can only infer that my nervous system has in fact become dependent on it in some way. I meet with my doctor in one week and will bring this up with him. I am unsure what to do, but feel from reading here a bit that i should RI at a lower dose, stabilize, than try to taper more slowly. I hope to god that 10mg will help me stabilize bc i feel absolutely awful. The only relief i have is a window of time from about 6pm - 10pm when i can relax and feel calm if i do some guided meditations. I sleep OK until about 530AM then wake up with extreme nervousness and can't sleep. Tossing and turning, having bad dreams for another hour or so. It's awful. It's totally unbearable. Even taking 0.75mg of Xanax does not fully relieve the anxiety. Was tapering at 10 mg every other day too slow? I would appreciate any feedback you all have on this. I need some hope - can this really be down to get off this stuff? Will I feel better again? Thanks for your feedback. I wish you all the best.
  9. Hello! I would like to begin a very slow taper of Fluoxetine (10mg) about 7 years. Attempted two years ago but didn't do properly and doctors convinced me that it wasn't the reduction of medicine doing this to me (oodles of withdrawals). Reinstated to full dose. I am currently on tablet form. My question...I want to do a 10% conservative reduction. Should I continue on tablet and cut and weigh or should I transition to capsule and count beads ( not time release ).. Requested liquid from doctor but was told since I am on such a small dose liquid would be too difficult. I am nervous to begin this journey for fear of what happened before but am going to forge ahead. So....cutting and weighing pill or counting beads and weighing for capsule? Which will allow for a more accurate, easier very slow reduction and someday jump off??? Would appreciate feedback please!!!
  10. I can't remember ever being happy. I never felt like I fit in and relationships were hard to foster. I felt like an outcast, drawing on my musical and visual influences to drive home that point. Listening to Blind Melon I had my first suicide attempt. After that in 2008 I was put on 20mg of Prozac (medicine is right but dose could have been a little higher, it was a long time ago). From there I stayed on Prozac until 2010 and stayed medication free until my anxiety became so crippling that I couldn't walk in a gym around acquaintances in 2012. Then, I was put on Bupropion which was a huge failure and then Paxil, which I stuck with Until 2014 before it's effects dwindled. During that time my depression became unbearable and I couldn't be by myself without crying. I had to leave school my senior year for 3 months and reset everything, return to therapy and look for a new medication. Eventually mid-way through my freshman year of college at the I was given cymbalta at the end of 2014. i thought I finally found it. While there was ups and downs the cymbalta helped tremendously, I almost went off pills completely near the end of 2016, and then extra stresses forced me to try extra Wellbutrin with a cymbalta dose increase. This was a disaster and caused a breakdown and second suicide attempt which landed me in the hospital. The doctor switched me to 75 mg Effexor and it did ok for awhile but my anxiety was through the roof. After two months it was too much and my doc added 300mg gabapentin 3x a day. This is kind of worked for a month and a half before I started to lose my energy, have the racing beating down thoughts and the loss of interest again. Last month the doc tried upping my Effexor to 100 with disasterous results. Now I feel stuck. Its not normal to wake up with no energy and a loss of interest in anything. Have i I been on pills too long? Do I need to take SSRIs or Tricyclate? Tricyclate deal with atypical depression, which fits well due to my inconsistent mood and spiraling ups and downs. Im not bi polar, but one doc said I have characteristics of personality disorder, which would explain the "high" highs and "low" lows. I just need help. Im a semester away from graduating and I don't want to take a pause right before the finish line. I'm a leader in most of my major studies clubs and a well-liked person on campus living in one of the most popular houses at school. Why am I so sad? I just need advice. Get on new pills, get off pills, what pills worked well temporarily. At this point, I just want to get by. Please help me.
  11. Hi there, I'm coming off of the lowest dose of fluoxetine-there was a short taper since it's supposed to be easy to come off of...my dizziness is popping up now that I'm fully off. I've only been off for two weeks, and the taper was VERY fast...admittedly, I cut it in half from what was ideal and that's my fault. Aside from Sea Bands, does anyone have any remedies for the dizzy spells? Im aware that I should not have manipulated my taper schedule. I was tired of being an overeating zombie struggling with chronic fatigue and absolutely zero sex drive. (Sorry if that's oversharing)
  12. Ogres: Prozac

    Hello everyone! I first started Prozac in the beginning of 2009 to help with social anxiety and public speaking at work. I had to delivery training and couldn't simply face the situation where I'd be in the center of attention. I had had previous failings in this area and couldn't think of screwing up again. Especially, I could lose my job. So, after googling and researching I decided to give fluoxetine a try. As you can see, no doctors were involve and I could only blame myself . I even sourced the pills by ordering from the internet. I started with 20 mg and noticed effects after approx 2-3 weeks. The main thing that I remember was calmness and confidence. With the chemicals fully kicked in, I was so relaxed about the future ordeal that I thought that even if I failed, I’d not care too much. The training went fine though and I had a massive boost of confidence from this fact. The nature of my work, requires me to constantly communicate with people, which had always been hard for me. For this reason I stayed on AD. So that I could function normally and establish myself. I had recently moved to the UK from another country and had to survive. On the other hand I was very cautious, as I had had some past dependency on substances at a tender age, and never exceeded 20mg/day. Also, I never intended to use the pills forever. I just liked how they made me feel in social situations. I had always been a bit shy and fluoxetine helped me to be more relaxed. I continued to take Prozac, but with breaks where I'd be completely off for weeks and even months! I'd go off medication cold turkey (I didn't know about tapering at the time!). And to be honest, I didn't have any major symptoms during years 2010-2013 apart from anxiety (but I'd always been anxious), irritability, anger. No major physical symptoms as far as I could remember. I consider myself to be a person with some self control and I'd try to disregard what happens inside me and try to look normal. Maybe being young(ish) and the fact that I always did some sport help as well? With time as I was becoming more relaxed about my job security and with thoughts that I probably better off AD eventually, my breaks would become longer and longer. And in Jul 2015 I first decided to go off completely. As always, I just stopped cold turkey! Well, I tapered by taking 20 mg every other day for couple of weeks, but I don't think it can be considered tapering in pure sense. WD was probably a bit harder this time with anxiety, irritability, fatigue more pronounced. But I tolerated it fine. I thought maybe I was getting older? No other major physical symptoms. I went back on Prozac again in Feb 2016 because of a new project where I'd need to socialize and communicate. And when work situation calmed down, I went off again in Sep 2016. This time WD a bit harder still. Major symptoms: anxiety, depression, fatigue, irritability, stress intolerance, anger, insomnia. Surprisingly, insomnia only hit me first in month 7 (still suffering)! This is probably the worst symptom, a torture, when you can't sleep for several nights at a time and then had to function during the day... Thanks a lot for all your attention!
  13. Greetings All! I am blessed to have found you all and look forward to enlightening engagements. What a conundrum life can be, what a perplexity! But, as one inspiring author has once written "It is a great day in the life of a man (though at the time he knows it not) when bewildering perplexities concerning the mystery of life take possession of his mind, for it signifies that his era of dead indifference, of animal sloth, of mere vegetative happiness, has come to an end, and that henceforth he is to live as an aspiring, self-evolving being." I am here because I'm not sure if I made the right decision. After reading posts on this sight, and garnering much inspiration from the heartfelt writings of other recoverers, I am beginning to wonder if I am on the right track. Any insight would be appreciated. I have posted my background for anyone's information but you can skip this (as its quite long) and go straight to my question at the end under the heading "A Miraculous Intervention?". Background The beginning In 2010 I began suffering from severe OCD caused by a drug-induced psychotic episode which left me in a terrible spin. On that night I hallucinated hearing very ugly voices all around me and coming from my friends - I was extremely high on a mix of cocaine and alcohol - and I think my psyche could not take it anymore. My mind was flooded with nothing but horrendous intrusive thoughts of every abominable kind, they are truly unspeakable. This was not the fist time the psychosis set in. It had done so before when I was high on acid/LSD and to lesser extent when I'd smoke marijuana before that. I have a history of substance abuse and it was the substances that ultimately led to the outburst of severe OCD. In 2011, with these horrific intrusive thoughts banging away in my head from morning to night I managed to muster up the courage to get clean off every toxic substance that I was still consuming (alcohol, ecstasy, cocaine/cat, cigarettes). This helped me to get a job, study further and work towards having some sort of a career. [On a side-note: Externally I wasn't doing too bad. I had the respect of my family and people around me and was building a high profile social network through my work at the time - no one would've even suspected my inward suffering]. My first dose of medication By 2012 I was totally clean and working slowly to build a life. Inwardly I continued to live with this horrendous OCD which was coupled with constant anxiety and depression - it was the hell of hells. I had never known that some can suffer such a deep suffering and be forced to live with it everyday. It was my unspeakable reality. One day, after I couldn't take it anymore, I mustered up the courage to go see a psychologist. I started telling her my story and then burst out int tears in her office. She looked at me and said "Oh, child, you're suffering from OCD". It was the first time I had ever heard of the term. She was absolutely great - very instrumental to my healing. I worked with her deeply for some time as an inpatient in a psychiatric hospital. While I was there, I started seeing a psychiatrist who put me on a cocktail - Seroquel, Lexamil and one or two other drugs. They paralyzed me and after a few months I quit and resolved rather to live with my excruciating OCD-Depression-Anxiety rather than be zombified by these drugs. Second Try at Meds Then in 2014, while doing my first post-graduate degree, I couldn't take my suffering anymore. I was consuming tons of caffeine to help me concentrate and work past the OCD during exams and I just couldn't take the inward suffering. The caffeine seemed to help me concentrate but it also made my condition worse. I sought the help of an amazing CBT specialist who has been a psychological guardian angel for me. I worked with her for sometime and when I eventually opened up to her about the nature of my OCD thoughts and we jointly decided that I should consult a psychiatrist. The psychiatrist I saw was also great - she really cares about her patients and doesn't force anything onto patients but rather works with them and remains sensitive to their reactions and needs. We tried another cocktail - seroquel, fluoxetine, and something else (I cant remember). And my body immediately rejected all of them except fluoxetine. I felt so terrible form the meds that after three months of taking the fluoxetine and rotating the antipsycotic meds (we kept the fluoxetine stable while experimenting with other meds) eventually we tried an antipsycotic that made me feel so suicidal and terrible physically (tingling sensation everywhere etc.) that I decided to quit everything cold turkey. I had had enough, anything that made me want to kill myself had to go! Fluoxetine (Prozac/Nuzak) Saves the Day! Soon after however, I started experiencing painful withdrawal so I went back to my psychiatrist because I felt I needed the medication again. We then agreed to dump all the other antipsychotic meds altogether and stick to the fluoxetine because it was the only one I reacted well to. Remarkably, after a few weeks on fluoxetine my OCD symptoms began to subside. My mind felt clearer, and I had a much greater degree of peace and calm psychologically. I was very grateful because it actually made a difference for me and saved me from horrendous suffering. The fluoxetine was a life-saver. I also felt happier, less anxious and less depressed. It really changed my life for better. I wasn't 100% better of course, I still had an underlying OCD-depression-anxiety which was there but I was much much better off! I continued to take the fluoxetine (60 mg) until I got an opportunity to move to Germany for a short-term 3 year work project. Quitting Cold Turkey Again and Trying to Move On In the last yer or so of taking the fluoxetine I started to plateau. I felt okay, not great just simply okay and was able to continue with life chasing my goals and ambitions. My OCD-anxiety-depression was still there to a degree, it never left me and every now and again I'd feel quite depressed and I started to wonder if it was worth relying on the meds. Then my intuition began to nudge me to consider quitting the meds. I was feeling okay and I had started to make lifestyle changes that made me feel great and I felt that if I could sustain my new lifestyle changes then I would be able to live free of the fluoxetine. I am aware of how debilitating it can be to stay on a psych drug for so long that you depend on it, and who knows, it can turn on you anytime on the journey. I knew deep in my heart that I was not the type of person to resign myself to remain on these meds for life especially with all their long-term side-effects. So my lifestyle changes had me feeling great and I quit cold turkey in April 2017 cause I thought I was onto something. I felt great for about two months thereafter and then slowly depression and anxiety started to kick in. It grew gradually until it became debilitating. I couldn't work, I couldn't concentrate and at some point I feared if I may ruin the very three year contract that I am on. I lost all hope for the future, my life went absolutely grey and ugly. I hated everything and everyone around me! I hated life, and it felt hopeless. All my ambition, hunger for more and everything else just vanished! There I was, absolutely hopeless. When it got really bad I decided to check if it was withdrawal and I realized that it was. I know its withdrawal because my OCD has remained at the level it was after the meds helped. So the severity of the OCD has not returned and I'm so glad that I've retained that progress, its just the anxiety and hopeless gloomy depression that has been bothering me. I then found this site about two weeks ago and many other sources of info online and I realized that I was going through withdrawal and that there are brave men and women all over the world enduring and recovering from even worse. This gave me much hope. A Miraculous Intervention? After sometime however, the hope I got from this forum waned as the depressive and low states kept hammering me! I felt I couldn't take it anymore. So I decided that I'm going to go back to a local medical doctor and get them to prescribe me some fluoxetine (prozac/nuzak) again. I had lost all hope of making it without some relief from the withdrawal. How would I complete projects, work with other people and meet my targets if I all could do was lay in my room curled up in a ball of corrosive self-pity, debilitating fear, hopeless gloom, deep depression and panicky anxiety. How would any of this amount to anything? Then miraculously, some supplements I had ordered to help me based on the book The Mood Cure by Julia Ross arrived last week the day before I was to see the Dr.. I was not sure about the supplements anymore "but since they're here anyway, I might as well try them" I though to myself. So I took the supplements and went to the Dr. anyway cause I had already given up and made up my mind. When I arrived at the Dr. she was not available due to an emergency and I was told to come back the next day. Perhaps this was a miracle intervention because the supplements actually helped me feel better. I definitely do not feel the way I felt while on the fluoxetine but I think they're just enough to help me cope and get through this. Sometimes I feel great and full of energy and can concentrate on my work, other times I feel slightly depressed and low, but I can still work and get through the day with them. So my question is as follows: My OCD is under control, I've retained the gains I made on the meds despite quitting and I'm almost 5 months free of the fluoxetine (prozac/nuzak). I am experiencing terrible withdrawal characterised by deep depression and ruthless anxiety but the supplements suggested in The Mood Cure are helping me to keep going and some days they make me feel great actually. So much so that I haven't felt the desperate need to go back to the Dr. for reinstatement. However, on the other hand, I was doing okay on the fluoxetine. It had no bad immediate side-effects for me and in fact only made me better until it plateaued but even at the plateau I was much better off than I was before I started taking it. But deep within I have a drive for true healing and to be free of all toxic substances and I feel its time to move on from the drug before I become dependent on it and subject to its long-term side effects. I am now stuck between a rock and hard place: A] Go back on the fluoxetine and feel much better (or not) and possibly become its slave for life (a thought I detest) but avoid the current withdrawal and regain my ability to feel good and work at my peak performance and risk whatever long-term consequences may come (if they come at all)? ----------- OR ---------- B] Stick to my new lifestyle (gym, supplements, high quality nutritious diet, spirituality - prayer, meditation, faith) despite the pain and suffering I have to endure on this path with the hope that deep work and true healing will give birth to a new me (though this is no guarantee), a stronger me that is going to the root of my pain and suffering and facing and processing it the hard authentic way rather than masking it? My Personal Philosophy My personal philosophy is that I should rely on my own intuition and to follow our own Star. My Star seems to be calling me towards true healing and to inviting me to delve deep into my own inner abyss, my inner muck and hell and to conquer it. To conquer my laziness, selfishness, hatred and anger, jealousy, envy, pride, low self-esteem, gluttony, addictive behaviors, lack of self-control, childhood traumas and to do it authentically. My personal philosophy is that I should be free off all toxic and addictive substances and live a healthy life with the aim of changing myself into a better being not just on the outside (wealth, career, body, social status etc.) but also on the inside (spiritually, emotionally and psychologically). At the same time, its important to temper this philosophy with reality and not to be fanatical or extreme. I therefore want to consider the fork in the road where I'm at deeply and honestly before making a rash decision. Thank you very much for your time and consideration!
  14. Hi. I have been reading different posts on here for about a month. I want to taper off Lexapro, but I've been on it for over 10 years. In 2005, I was put on a very short, and ended up with brains apps and went back on it because I was super agitated. When I told my doctor I wanted to Lexapro, her idea was to switch me to Prozac. Initially, she was going to help me switch to 20 mg, but I knew that the equivalent was 40 mg, so I asked if we can do that and she said yes. I am on day two of switching from 20 mg of Lexapro to 40 mg of Prozac. I feel dizzy and have a UTI. I don't know if that can be caused by this medication switch. It kind of creeps me out. The test only showed barely any evidence of the UTI, but the doctor said I was experiencing symptoms so gave me an antibiotic. I am thinking about a post I read on here that suggested people try wean off their current drug rather than bridging to Prozac. So now I am kind of freaking out thinking that I should just go back on Lexapro and when I see my doctor in a week and a half ask if she will prescribe the liquid. I think I asked that in A message, but she suggested Prozac. I have wanted to wean off the drugs for a long time, but actually had resigned myself to staying on it for life. I felt like I was stuck. But then it was getting migraines, and my family doctor wanted to add another antidepressant Pamelor, for the migraines. At that point, I did not want to add any more, and so now I decided it was time to try to taper down. I have seen that on some sites it says Lexapro can cause migraines.
  15. Hello everyone! I am a new user here. I've lurked around this site before but have yet to introduce myself. I was a Prozac user for a year from August 2015 - September 2016. I had taken it for social and general anxiety. I was on 20mg/day. Initially, I was actually doing fine and great emotionally but had side effects like massive fatigue everyday (not even 3 cups of coffee could wake me up!) and constipation every time I went to poop (sorry for TMI). I also felt like a zombie for a brief period in which I was neither happy nor sad. In May 2016, I decided to abruptly stop taking the Prozac by choice without consulting my doctor (bad move!) and had brain zaps and mood swings which I assumed as worsening depression. I then just asked my doctor to simply increase my dose because I thought I was getting worse (bad move again!). I was put on 40mg/day from June - August 2016 in which I was ok at first but then I was hit with a panic attack so severe I had to rush to the ER. For that week, I was having very severe symptoms. So I was instructed to go back down to 20mg/day. From then on, I decided to stop taking it a few months ago in September because I felt better and didn't want to rely on medication anymore to make me happy. I consulted with my psychiatrist who said for me to just take 10mg for one month and then I can stop. I did just that. Over the month of October I was fine and felt completely normal. However, I realized symptoms would come later once the month of November started. I have since felt every type of symptom under the sun including brain zaps, hot flushes, insomnia, irritability, tingling sensation of the skin, anxiety, shortness of breath, sweating, tremors, and slight vertigo. I have never felt these symptoms in my life til now! I've talked to my doctor and he doesn't believe in withdrawals. At this point I feel helpless. I am experiencing waves and windows in which I have waves of really bad flare ups and then windows of good normal days where I feel fine. But they keep cycling back and forth. I now have questions to ask: 1. Do windows of no symptoms mean that my body is getting better? 2. Should I reinstate the Prozac and taper off more gradually? Someone suggested I shouldn't because I've already been clean for 3 months now. But what do you guys think? 3. Will symptoms go away if I keep pushing cold turkey? 4. Should I try medical weed to help ease tthe symptoms? I want to try natural ways of healing
  16. Introduction Hi everyone. I have been lurking here since last year but decided to start my thread as my waves are getting more frequent. I am trying to stabilize at 20mg of generic Prozac (fluoxetine) daily, and have been taking it for 6 months. I thought stabilization was finally happening in January this year but waves are now weekly. I am here to see if anyone can shed light on why my horrible waves are more frequent now. I've read “The windows and waves pattern of recovery” (http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/82-the-windows-and-waves-pattern-of-recovery/). Maybe I'm missing something? I'm not feeling very bright since WD hit me! Wave and window frequency Stabilization seemed to work right away and my intense waves were about every 14 to 21 days (3 to 4 weeks). Last month and this month, waves have increased frequency to about every week and last 2 to 5 days, with a window inbetween. Currently working on a graph based on my daily notes to visualize my stabilization journey. WD waves This is how I recall them now but I will update this description when I consult my notes next during a window. A headache and dizziness accompany a vice-like tightness around my head. I then get intensely irritable, depressed, and quite sleepy. I then get akathisia, mostly in the legs. I have tried pushing through it but I find it very hard to concentrate on anything and I just can’t bring myself to talk or interact with anyone. Any conversation or touch terrifies me and I just have to dismiss myself and apologize to whoever is around me at the time and hope they don’t take my sudden departure personally. I then go to sleep. When I wake, I feel better but the wave is still there. I tend to get better over the next day or two, only for the cycle to repeat as mentioned above. Aside from sleeping the only relief I get, for but a moment, is when my rescue cat comes home and deigns to grace me with her presence on the bed next to me or in my chair. This WD has meant that I can no longer keep many commitments, I can only work on a casual basis (i.e. I put in a few hours a day in a window), and my relationships have become skeletal. My life is slowly falling apart and I am now dependent on my partner. She is understanding of my withdrawal, having been on SSRIs herself but luckily avoided a protracted WD. Sadly though, I just feel so guilty and frustrated at how I am now a slave to this window and wave cycle, and largely a useless partner. Windows (something positive) I am myself: productive, fairly positive, happy, thoughtful of others, and able to tackle my anxiety properly. I still live in fear of waves but I am learning to try not to ruminate on them. I feel a willingness to connect with people. I am starting to put too much pressure on myself to do everything during a window and that is leading to problems. To be fair to myself though, my waves are iatrogenic and I must forgive myself for feeling wretched, even during a window, because SSRI withdrawal is the worst thing I’ve ever experienced and it has ruined my life. Why are my waves more frequent? I will share some of my hypotheses below regarding why my waves are more frequent. If anyone has any thoughts please let me know, I’d love to hear them. I’ve learned so much from SA already. As mentioned in my signature I am working on compiling all the daily data I have into a graph so I can get a better picture of my stabilization journey (and what proceeded it). I don’t know when that will happen as my windows are now spent doing all the things I put off in my waves and just improving my loosening grip on the good things in life. I know though that I have to finish this data processing as soon as I can in case the waves merge into one big, long one. 1. My SSRI history during the last two years is peppered with ignorant tapering attempts, maybe it is catching up with me? 2. The optimist inside me is hoping that the frequency is increasing because it could be a pattern that occurs prior to a period of flatter frequencies (perhaps the ebbs and flows of homeostasis). I am perhaps just fantasizing but I imagine that if the frequency increases so much, like in a radio wave, the peaks and troughs (waves and windows) will be indistinguishable, which could be what homeostasis looks like. I am laughing at this hypothesis as I can see I am desperate for some good news XD 3. Maybe my reinstatement/stabilization dose was a little too low (considering I was on 40mg daily for the longest time) and I am catching up with the WD that it would have caused in recent months. If this is the case, I can’t see any benefit in updosing now anyway. Sure, it could always get worse but I think it would definitely get worse if I start guessing at an updose level. I could be wrong. 4. Some of my family wish to visit me later this month for a few days. I haven’t seen them in years. They planned it during one of my windows in December and I felt positive about it all. I also felt optimistic that given about 6 months of trying to stabilize, my waves would be a thing of the past, or a rarer occasion. I tried to get them to postpone but they can’t change their plans without losing all their money. I don’t want them to stop their holiday for me but as the reason for travelling is to see me, I have warned them that I may be in bed, only able to talk to them for a few minutes. I hope I have a window when they are here but I think I’ve had a huge amount of stress about the visit because I just don’t need the guilt I will undoubtedly feel when I am only able to see them for a few minutes. In other words, perhaps stressors and other factors in my life are making waves more frequent. My expectations for stabilization and my tapering plan I didn’t expect stabilization to take this long but after reading “After reinstating or updosing how long to stabilize” (http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/4244-after-reinstating-or-updosing-how-long-to-stabilize/?hl=%2Bhow+%2Blong+%2Bstabilize) I realize it could take a long time, maybe years based on how much damage my ignorant tapering did in the past. When I stabilize (I suppose I have to believe that I will) I plan to do an SA taper, spanning years, with water titration (I have done a few trial runs of it and it’s very easy to get accurate doses this way). I have the syringes ready but it could be a long time before I get to use them! My current plan is to keep plodding along at 20mg until I can get a more stable window and wave frequency. I don’t expect my waves to disappear completely but this increase in frequency means I am questioning things and hope that someone out there may have an idea about what’s happening and what I may expect to happen for the next 6 months. Lifestyle As for my lifestyle, I am healthy, eat well, and exercise most days. I take some supplements but I don’t think they’ve made much of a difference either way. I will list them later when I can manage it but they include B12, magnesium, and fish oil. Sadly, during waves I mostly lie in bed as it provides me some relief. One of the side effects from fluoxetine is sleepiness and lethargy, which I've always had, so that contributes to me lying about a lot. It took so much out of me to write this but I am glad I did it now! Good luck to you all and I wish you the best, regardless of what stage of withdrawal and recovery you are. Kittygiggles
  17. Bluebird2009

    Hi 8 am from the UK and was on Prozac for 18years but had been unwell and having physical problems the past few years but tests where all clear. I realised it was the drug that was the problem. I was taken off too quickly and my body went into shock and I have been in protracted withdrawal ever since which is 9months now. Every month I'm getting new symptoms and really struggling with living. I can't tolerate even a pain relieve tablet without a reaction. I have awful lung and chest pain, blurred vision, severe headache which has just started this week and feel like I'm dying. I feel I maybe shouldn't have came of but then maybe it's better to get the poison out of my body. Really need some positive vibes at the moment and if anyone else in UK can help please do as I'm frightened that I'm going to die.
  18. Arcticjessy: Please help

    Hi I'm 31 years old I have taken prozac since I was 18 for mild depression. I have not had a relapse in all this time so I'm unsure why I was left of it but I was. For the last 6 years I have taken 20mg every other day so in June last year when I saw my GP and said I wanted to quit she said I could just stop so I did. I was in a very good place in my life new job, I was a very keen sportswoman and in a good relationship. Over the course of the summer I noticed I was getting more stressed but put it down to life without ADs my sleep was also getting worse I would toss and turn for hours unable to settle. In October I started with what I thought was a virus I ached all over could not walk very far felt weak like I had ran a marathon, I also had chest pain and felt very anxious, this got worse and worse until I went to see my gp who said I was having a relapse of my mental illness I pleaded with her saying this felt nothing like my original illness but she would hear nothing of it and gave my prozac again, I took one and within hours I felt ten times worse my jaw clenched shut and I slept maybe 2 hrs in 48 hrs. Since then things have got worse I have a fear I find hard to put into words it is like torture, A simple act of looking up or going to speak fills me with a terror I never new possible. I find it hard to sit for long but soon as I stand I'm exhausted and have to sit again, I have had hrs when things lift slightly but then bang it's back, my sleep is horrendous I manage maybe 3-4 hrs. I wake often in the night unable to move my body but my mind it writhing around in some kind of anxious agony. I have days I know I will die if not from this from myself as I cannot stand to stay like this one more minute. This is not me I'm not a suicidal person I have so much love in my life I have always considered myself extremely lucky. I have read a scary article saying this May be permanent, my rational science mind says this is not possible what evidence is there for this, ssri have only been around 30 ish years so how can they say this is a permanent damage ? But my terrified mind says what if? I have a young son who is being cared for by my parents as I cannot care for him. I no longer get paid from my job as I have been absent so long I'm losing everything yet 1 year ago I was completing in bike races, working and loving my son and family. My dr wants to to try mirtrazapine low dose, I have put this off for 3 months thinking this nightmare will end but It has not. Please someone tell me what to do. I don't want to die I love life.
  19. Hello, I was hoping someone could give me some advice about some severe symptoms I've been experiencing since switching from Lexapro to Prozac and back again. Here is my story: Diagnosed with OCD and depression at 18. Prescribed 60 mg Prozac which I eventually manage to reduce to 30 mg. Continue taking this dose of Prozac for about 20 years. At the end of last year Prozac seems to have lost its effectiveness so I speak to my doctor about switching to Lexapro which I've heard has less side effects. As instructed by my doctor I reduce my Prozac dose to 20 mg for two weeks, wait 5 days without medication, and then start on 10 mg Lexapro. Soon after starting Lexapro I develop some very unpleasant side-effects, most notably heart palpitations and tinnitus. I speak with the doctor who tells me not to be concerned because the side effects are caused by "anxiety". Against my better judgment I continue taking the Lexapro for a total of 25 days. At this point the palpitations are so bad I have to stop taking the Lexapro immediately. I wait two days and then reinstate the Prozac at 40 mg. Things seem to be reasonably okay for about 3 weeks before all hell breaks loose. I wake up in the middle of the night with such extreme palpitations and dizziness that I end up in ER. However, the doctors find nothing wrong with my heart, conclude its anxiety and send me home. Two hellish weeks of palpitation induced insomnia and intermittent akathesia follow. During this time I have a number of medical tests but nothing abnormal shows up in the results. The palpitations are worse when I lie down and though they cause some anxiety I am convinced they are not caused by anxiety. It feels like the part of my nervous system responsible for controlling my heart has been physically damaged in some way. When I try to explain this to my psychiatrist and cardiologist they don't understand. The psychiatrist gives me Valium and the cardiologist gives me a beta blocker. None of these seem to make much difference so I'm given some Ambien to help me sleep. I take the Ambien for about 5 nights before I decide I'd rather deal with the insomnia. Eventually I get some kind of sleep, but it is still very fragmented and the palpitations persist. My chest feels really tight as if my heart is being pushed up against my chest bone and the palpitations are worsened by lying down, eating or feeling cold. I lose my appetite and drop from 78 to 69 kgs in weight. I start filming my sleep so that I can show my doctor what happens. The footage shows me suffering from hypnic jerks and muscle twitching. These jerks are accompanied by electric shock like sensations that wake me up. During the day I am still tortured by this uncomfortable feeling in my chest and the ongoing palpitations. It feels like my heart has a mind of its own and has been knocked out of sync with the rest of my body. The tinnitus (a loud, high-pitched ringing) also continues. After 18 years at the same company I have to take sick leave for the first time. I have been off work for a month now and have no idea when I'll be able to go back. I continue to take 30 mg Prozac because I feel things would be even worse without it. During the day I walk because this seems to help with the palpitations. I've started taking Magnesium L Threonate and krill oil supplements. I desperately want my life back.
  20. Hi everyone. I am new here, and I am so thankful for this forum. I was wondering if anyone could give me any advice or input into what I am going through with Prozac withdrawal right now. Any input would be greatly appreciated! Here is my history with meds: I am a 29 year old female (well, 30 this month). At age 20, in college, I took 5 mg of Lexapro for a year (prescribed 10 mg, but I am very sensitive to meds, so I broke it in half). I weaned off of it very slowly. I took 2.5 mg for several weeks when weaning off, then half of that for a couple weeks, until I was done. Withdrawal for me was miserable, but thankfully the worst of it only lasted for maybe a week or so (it basically made me psychotically enraged at everyone until I was totally off of it). Once I was off of it, I lost weight quickly, I was sleeping better at night, and my only remaining symptom that lasted about 2 years was just this random facial twitching. Then around age 26, I started experiencing horrible panic attacks several nights a week that left me paralyzed in fear and unable to sleep. The panic was situational—I was faced with making some major life decisions, and I felt really stuck, and very alone and depressed and scared of making the wrong decision. I finally decided to try an AD again to see if it would help me to get over my panic attacks, sleep, and move forward. I tried a low dose of Lexapro again; for a few weeks, it worked well and I slept well, then all of a sudden I began having an adverse reaction—the most horrible anxiety and insomnia you could imagine. It was a living hell. I got off of it quickly and switched to brand-name Prozac 10mg. It worked great! I was sleeping well at night, my panic attacks completely stopped, and I took some huge steps forward. I took it for maybe 9 months or so and weaned off of it very easily. A couple years later, after some stressful life events, I felt I should go back on the Prozac for a period of time since it had helped calm me so much in the past, enough to make some changes and move forward. I felt it was harmless since I had no problems on it before and it was very easy to get off of. This was at the end of May of last year (May 2016). Since I have been so sensitive to meds in the past and could do well on a low dose, I started by breaking the Prozac capsule in half and dissolving it in juice and drinking half for 5mg (I used to do this the first time I took it when I felt I didn’t always quite need the full 10 mg, and it worked very well). Part of me was concerned that I may have an adverse reaction (I can’t remember why I was afraid of this, since I had done well on it before) so I thought it was good to begin with 5 mg for a few days/weeks and see how I did. I began experiencing terrible, terrible anxiety in my stomach, as if my stomach was constantly doing somersaults that never stopped. It was also the beginning of horrible, horrible, nightly insomnia. I figured this was just a normal start-up effect, and that it would soon stop once the Prozac built up enough in my system. 8 weeks later, the anxiety and insomnia were as horrible as ever, so I quit the med. I was literally on it for no longer than about 8 weeks. So I was done with it by the end of July of last year. I have been off of it for about 6 or 7 months now, but the anxiety and insomnia are still as horrible as ever. They never resolved, and I don’t understand why. They did not begin until I began the medicine. It is like my body has been tricked into thinking it is still on the Prozac. I also wonder if those symptoms would have gone away had I built up to a high enough dose of the Prozac (I know 20 mg is the lowest therapeutic dose, and I was only taking 5mg). Do you think my anxiety and insomnia will ever be resolved without meds? Could going back on Prozac, only a higher dose, help me? Why would I have done so well on Prozac years ago, only to do horribly on it this time? And . . . why would I still be having symptoms after being off of it for 7 months, especially when I was only on 5mg for 8 weeks? I am really not sure what to do. Does anyone have any advice? Thanks for any input. I am really at a loss.
  21. Hi all, I have a wife tapering from Prozac, a 15yo daughter tapering from Lexapro, and a 12yo daughter tapering from Prozac. I'm exhausted. WIFE In 1999 she became very depressed shortly after we were married. After months of heartache, she was prescribed Prozac in 2000, which pulled her up from the abyss. (In hindsight, her depression was probably from the birth control pills messing with her hormones, which she began taking shortly before we were married.) She has been on Prozac most of the past 17 years, with a short stint on Zoloft. She has tried stopping cold turkey a couple times, with obvious results leading her to believe she was broken and needed the medicine. She has never been truly "happy" while on Prozac, and would describe most of her life as being under a cloud, varying in shades from light gray to black. In Fall of 2016, after seeing her daughters on antidepressants with no positive results, she did some research and found Mad in America. Disgusted, she did a 1-month "taper" and felt the jarring consequences a few weeks later. Brain fog, zero motivation, headaches, stiff muscles, Low cognitive function, crying fits, etc. She quickly jumped back to 10mg Prozac, which helped reduce symptoms. In Feb 2017, she began multivitamins, NeuroBalance (5htp and L-tyrosene) and L-Methionine upon the suggestion of a naturopathic Physician's Assistant. We're still not sure whether or not these things are helping or hindering, but she is doing OK right now. By March of 2017, she had finally stabilized on 5mg Prozac. April 2017, she reduced to 4.5mg Prozac and has felt no negative symptoms for two months. I believe her nervous system was not harmed enough to become too sensitized, so I hope she does well as she tapers VERY slowly. 15-YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER This story is much sadder. She was prescribed Zoloft for anxiety in 7th grade (3 years ago). Over the years, and despite dosage increases, we never saw any reduction in anxiety symptoms, ever. We only saw the anxiety get worse. Eventually by spring of 2016, on 150mg Zoloft, the anxiety was so bad, we could barely get her to school more than two days in a row, she could not socialize with friends, go to church with the family, etc. She was a non-functioning, anxious mess. This spurred my wife to do some research, and in October of 2016, they both "tapered" off of their medications over one month. Yes, basically Cold Turkey. My daughter's symptoms were far worse than my wife's. Brain zaps, fevers, panic attacks, uncontrollable sobbing, severe agitation, brain fog, sinus infection, tinnitus, fatigue, the list goes on. At this point I was still in the Trust-Your-Doctor camp. So I convinced my wife we should get her back on AD's. The Pediatrician suggested Lexapro, and we complied. (My wife would have fought against this decision, except she was in the middle of her own withdrawal symptoms.) In Feb 2017 we found a naturopathic clinic that had helped many people taper from antidepressants. It appears their main method is to build up 5htp and L-Methionine before beginning a 3-4 month taper. While this method may work for many, it doesn't appear to be helping my daughter. And based on my research on this site, it may be causing even more anxiety and agitation. By April 11, we had tapered down to 15mg Lexapro, where she is holding. June 15, We are trying to simplify her regimen, based on the 3 KIS. She was on Fish oil, Magnesium, Vitamin D, a multivitamin, NeuroBalance (5htp), L-methionine, and Lexapro. We stopped the multivitamin and Vitamin D, and we are now trying to figure out how to taper off of the Neurobalance (5htp) and L-methionine. Once her regimen is just Fish Oil, Magnesium and Lexapro, we will reinstate the slow taper. Any suggestions on tapering the 5htp and the l-methionine? From my research, l-methionine may not be as "strong" as SAM-e, so it may not need as slow of a taper. Thoughts? Every day is a struggle for her. She has no control over anxious thoughts which lead to debilitating anxiety. She also has a constant stuffy/runny nose, which I read can be a symptom. Before all of this, she was a talented, beautiful, athletic, artistic, kind, fun, social person. Now she can barely function on a day-to-day basis. It wrenches my soul to know that we parents played a role in harming her, even with the best intentions. 12-YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER She was prescribed Prozac for anxiety in Kindergarten (6+ years ago). Yes, this fact will trigger rant-mode in many of you, which is very understandable. But please know that we are still heartbroken over our mistakes, our misguided efforts to help our children, and our trust in a healthcare system that has harmed our family in ways that may be irreparable. And another thing, my wife was severely depressed years ago, and the antidepressants were a life-saving miracle for her. So when we saw our daughters struggling with things that ostensibly came from their mother's genes, the decision to prescribe antidepressants came even easier. Like our older daughter, we never saw much benefit from the Prozac with the younger, but we trusted the system and kept her on it. By 2011, she was struggling in school, so she was prescribed Vyvanse for ADHD. It helped a little. (I am currently on ADHD medication, which made that decision easier as well. I will not taper from my ADHD meds until my family reaches a point of relative stability. We just can't handle any more upheavals right now.) Last year, she developed Trichotillomania, or hair-pulling. While we have suspected it came from the prozac and adhd meds in some way, we have recently made headway in this area. We have found a Naturopathic Doctor who is very thorough and careful, as opposed to all of the other doctors we have met with who already knew the answers and would not listen to anything different. This doctor did a bunch of blood tests and found she was severely low on iron and vitamin D. I guess both of these, especially iron, can affect dopamine levels, which are directly tied to Trichotillomania and ADHD symptoms. Currently, after 6 weeks on iron and Vitamin D, her hair-pulling is occurring less, as well as other symptoms that we assumed were tied to withdrawal symptoms. Anyway, we began lowering her Prozac in January 2017. Because of issues we believe to be associated with low iron and vitamin D, it has been difficult to know which symptoms have been from tapering. Feb 9, we stopped her Vyvanse for ADHD. She was always on a low dose, and did not take it on weekends and during the summer, so we hoped cold turkey would be OK. June 15, she is currently doing OK on 10mg Prozac. Once her iron and Vitamin D are raised to a healthy level in a few months, we will reinstate a slow taper. CONCLUSION I have left out a lot, and maybe missed some key points, but at least I have a general history down. We have made a few mistakes since trying to taper last Fall, and may still be making mistakes. This forum has been very helpful and educational. When we begin tapering again, it will be extremely slowly. I welcome any suggestions, especially regarding my older daughter, who is hurting the most.
  22. 9 months ago today I took my last Prozac and I am still dealing with withdrawal. I took 15 mg of Fluoxetine for 12 years from PAR pharmaceuticals. In July 2015 the fluoxetine I received from the pharmacy was from TEVA pharmaceuticals, apparently PAR pharmaceuticals discontinued the tablets I was taking. Well, my body did not react well to the TEVA brand. I started having nausea and tremors. After a couple of days on the TEVA brand I switched to the MYLAN brand but nothing changed. Realizing my body was not going to handle the change I decided to taper but it seemed pointless because my body was in withdrawal from the PAR pharmaceutical fluoxetine my body was use to taking. On August 27th 2015 I took my last pill. From July to November I dealt with nausea and tremors and then all hell broke loose. On top of the nausea and tremors I developed a bad smell in my nose that only I can smell, internal shaking that is constant, the nausea got much worse, I started having hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia and chills. I also have cried almost every day since November. In December I had a gastric emptying study done due to the nausea and lack of appetite. I discovered I now have delayed gastric emptying. To date I have lost 44 pounds from the nausea and not being able to eat. I have also had a CT scan and an MRI for the tremors and internal shaking. Those results were normal. I have seen an ENT for the bad smell in my nose, but they can find nothing wrong. I have noticed that I am feeling a tiny and I stress tiny bit better but I still have the internal shaking, nausea, bad smell in my nose and crying. I have read about internal shaking in withdrawal but how long does it go on. I was put on Prozac for panic attacks and the constant internal shaking is making me feel panicky and anxious. Does anything help with it? Has anyone else experienced a bad smell in their nose or heard of anyone having a bad smell in their nose during withdrawal? Thank you for any advice or help anyone can offer me.
  23. I actually have recovered from two separate episodes of taking Prozac. The first time I took around 20 mg for several months during a very difficult divorce. I remember Prozac working very quickly--literally feeling better within a few days (I know, it doesn't make sense). I went into therapy for about a year and a half and in the meantime, went off the Prozac without any real difficulty. I stayed off Prozac for about 5 years, until one of my children became depressed and took her own life. This is actually the second child death I experienced, as I also lost a newborn to death about 20 years earlier. I went for about eight months post-suicide loss until things felt really intolerable (although I was practicing meditation and other psycho/spiritual approaches during this period), then surrendered and got on between 10-30 mg Prozac plus 10-40 mg Ritalin. I remained on this regimen for eight years. Tried once or twice to go off the Prozac but changed my mind when depressive symptoms re-emerged. Around eight years post-beginning Prozac (the second episode), I finally went off by tapering from 20 mg down to 10 mg a day for approximately six months, then skipping every other day for a few weeks, then off completely. Stayed on Ritalin alone for several months afterward, then tapered down to 10 for several weeks, then off completely. I did this during a period when I was on a sabbatical from my job as a professor. I felt fine for the first month or two, then began to have symptoms, especially crying spells, depressed mood, some suicidal thinking (but no plan), lack of motivation, loss of pleasure, etc. However, at this point I was having more good days than bad, and the symptoms slowly but surely lifted. I am now about a year and a half off Prozac and about 15 months post-Ritalin, and I am doing fine--nothing worse than the occasional day of feeling down (somewhat realistic, given the state of the world, to which I pay probably too much attention. My explanation for my success in getting off the antidepressant and stimulant--despite the fact that I probably did both too quickly-- is that I have been a long time meditator and regular aerobic exerciser and that I continue to do those things regularly. Other things I did simultaneously with going off the drugs: I became extra careful with nutrition, eliminating most if not all sugar, artificial sweeteners, and gluten from my diet. Took multiple supplements, especially tumeric/pepper capsules, Vit. D, omega 3s, black seed oil capsules, CurQ-10; use coconut oil and try to eat organic. Also practice mindfulness and other kinds of cognitive strategies, along with Emotional Freedom Technique (Tapping). I cannot say exactly what helped the most, but all of these in combination, practiced regularly, have kept me feeling normal. (I also happen to be a psychologist and psychotherapist and I share these ideas with many of my clients.) So please everyone, throw everything you have at this drug-withdrawal syndrome and keep the faith!
  24. TRIGGER WARNING: MENTION OF SUICIDE ATTEMPT, EATING DISORDER So I've been dealing with a lot of challenging information this week with regard to my mental health. In 2000, when I was 15, I attempted suicide. I'd had an aggressive eating disorder for about 2 years at this point - that continued until I was 24 or 25. My parents got me a little bit of counseling after the attempt, but they mostly swept it all under the rug. Then, in 2002, I had what they classified as another "depressive episode," which caused them to send me to a psychiatrist who prescribed antidepressants (Wellbutrin). No therapy support. I was away at college at this time. I realized this week that I probably attempted suicide not because of my own horrific depression, but because of the experiences I had with narcissistic family members. I don't think I'm that messed up. I think that I suffered some serious trauma in childhood that led me to some desperate acts because I was a kid and didn't know what else to do. --- Instead of pushing for therapy and getting me better coping mechanisms, my parents took me as a minor and essentially forced meds down my throat. They told me I would never be able to function without medication because my depression was so severe. They also beat the idea that I had a neurochemical imbalance into my head as a child. I'm seriously pissed about this. --- What I'm trying to get at: I think it's possible that I'm not seriously mentally ill. In fact, I think it's possible that I'm not mentally ill. I think I was a teen trying to deal with a crappy home life, and it was easier to "check out" because I'd been intentionally isolated by my parents and couldn't talk to anyone about what was happening at home. Yes, I engaged in some self-harm - but it was only because I couldn't find even a tiny bit of control in my life. I felt like a spectator watching my own existence float by because I wasn't empowered to make my own choices. I was diagnosed with Seasonal Affective Disorder in 2002. For some reason, the psych thought it was okay to put me on permanent medication, and no one else seemed to question this decision. Fifteen years later, I've been through a panel of psych meds from scores of docs. Some of those meds left me with horrifying side effects. Frankly, I'm just angry. I'm angry that my family gets the convenient excuse of "Oh, you're mentally ill," any time I have a legitimate concern about our relationship. Everything can just be dismissed *poof* because "your perception of reality is distorted." That's the ultimate mechanism for gaslighting - a narcissist's DREAM. I'm angry that I've been medicated for nearly half my life because of this ongoing rhetoric that says I'm just not "good enough." I'm angry that I've allowed myself to be sedated and convinced that there is something deeply and fundamentally wrong with me ... when the medication just made me more convenient to deal with. They masked my feelings and led me to years of self-harm because I never dealt with the underlying cause. I'm angry that the meds made me manic and caused more problems for me in the long term. What could I have done with 15 functional years? What damage has been done to my brain? Is this why I've found it impossible to build real relationships with other people and actually hold down a job? I feel dismay and regret that I bought what everyone was "selling" and told myself that I was sick. I'm afraid to trust my own brain now, and that makes me even more upset. My world view is toppling, and I'm working through it with a counselor, but this just feels like betrayal from the people who should have been helping, not hurting. --- Thanks for letting me vent. I'm seriously looking forward to getting opinions and input from everyone on this forum.
  25. To reduce the risk of withdrawal symptoms and post-discontinuation prolonged withdrawal syndrome, as with other psychiatric drugs we recommend reducing Pristiq by 10% per month, calculated on the last dosage. (The amount of the reduction gets progressively smaller.) See Why taper by 10% of my dosage? However, Pristiq is difficult to taper properly as it comes in only 3 dosages: low, average and excessive. Do not alternate doses of Pristiq to taper -- this will cause the levels of this medication in your brain to go up and down and is second only to cold-turkey in causing withdrawal symptoms. AND DON'T COLD-TURKEY EITHER!!!!!!!!! PLEASE READ THIS ENTIRE TOPIC BEFORE GOING OFF PRISTIQ. Pristiq is a drug made of Effexor's (venlafaxine) active metabolite, O-desvenlafaxine. Pristiq is to Effexor as Lexapro is to Celexa -- a tweaked and more powerful isomer molecule. In effect, Pristiq is concentrated Effexor. According to Pfizer http://labeling.pfizer.com/showlabeling.aspx?id=497, Pristiq is available in extended-release tablets of 25mg, 50 mg, and 100 mg; the most common dosage is 50mg. Unlike Effexor, which is metabolized primarily by liver enzyme P450 CYP2D6, Pristiq is metabolized via conjugation and liver enzyme P450 CYP3A4. It attains peak plasma concentrations in about 7.5 hours. According to this paper, the extended-release formulation releases desvenlafaxine over 24 hours. The mean half-life of desvenlafaxine, without the extended-release monolithic matrix formulation, is around 11 hours. The official prescribing information from the FDA contains this: Pristiq is difficult to taper "at a more gradual rate." The tablets come in only 3 dosages and, officially, they should not be cut up. See http://www.primarypsychiatry.com/aspx/articledetail.aspx?articleid=2464 In a phone conversation with Pfizer medical information (1-800-438-1985), I learned that the extended-release characteristic is incorporated into the tablet itself (Thank you, oaklily, for this information about the matrix formulation.) Rather than a timed-release coating, the coating on the Pristiq tablet is only protective. The extended-release mechanism is part of the tablet matrix, or the glue that holds the tablet together. This is called a monolithic matrix tablet. (If the tablet is split, the matrix is damaged and may not reliably be extended-release, depending on the size of the fragments. Larger fragments are more likely to retain some extended-release capability. When the tablet is CRUSHED, the matrix is completely destroyed. The particles should be assumed to have NO extended-release capability.) According to Pubmed on Desvenlafaxine: "....The extended-release tablet does not dissolve in the stomach after swallowing. It slowly releases the medicine as it passes through your digestive system. You may notice the tablet coating in the stool...." There is a description of the similar matrix formulation for quetiapine XR (Seroquel XR) here http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1707-tips-for-tapering-off-seroquel-quetiapine/page__view__findpost__p__33069 PROTEST THIS DANGEROUS DRUG Phone Pfizer, Pristiq's manufacturer, to make a complaint: (800) 438-1985 in the US Pfizer has not provided any specific information on how to taper from a dosage of 25mg Pristiq, the lowest available dosage. They may suggest alternating dosages to taper Pristiq. Don't do this -- it's like playing ping-pong with your brain. File a complaint about the difficulty of tapering off Pristiq -- the range of dosages is inadequate. Also complain to the FDA 1-800-FDA-1088 Mon–Fri between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. EST. OPTIONS FOR TAPERING PRISTIQ Since medicine knows nothing about tapering Pristiq, the following are all informal suggestions. Try any of them at your own risk. Please let us know how you do by posting in this topic. Cut up Pristiq tablets Despite the warnings not to cut it up, patients have cut up Pristiq tablets to taper. Now that the 25mg tablet is available, cutting it into quarters gives you the option to taper by 6.25mg per step. If you are taking 100mg Pristiq or 50mg Pristiq, you may wish to request part of your prescription be written for 25mg tablets. (For insurance coverage of multiple dosages, your doctor most likely will have to specify taking Pristiq in "divided doses.") Rather than a timed-release coating, the coating on the Pristiq tablet is only protective. The extended-release mechanism is part of the tablet matrix, or the glue that holds the tablet together. If the tablet is split, the matrix is damaged and may not reliably be extended-release, depending on the size of the fragments. Larger fragments are more likely to retain some extended-release capability. If the matrix is sufficiently broken, a Pristiq fragment becomes desvenlafaxine, with an 11-hour half life. If you cut up the tablet, you might take smaller divided doses of Pristiq, more than once a day, like immediate-release Effexor, to mimic an extended-release dose. From reports on the Web, cutting up tablets does seem to work for some but it makes others ill, possibly because of "dose dumping" (because the matrix is destroyed) when the entire dose is released at once, instead of being gradually released through the matrix formulation. It seems to sometimes cause stomach upset, which may be reduced by taking it with food. You may find you need a precise way to measure your tablet fragments. See Using a digital scale to measure doses As you get down to a low dose, you may wish to switch to Effexor to more precisely control dosage decreases, see below. Crush Pristiq tablets, weigh powder with a digital scale This is similar to cutting up tablets -- Pristiq is a "do not crush" medication, as it is a time-release drug. Conceivably, dividing the dose and taking a measured amount of powder more than once a day, like regular Effexor, may make this method feasible. Crushing the tablet and making sure the shell fragments are evenly distributed in the powder would be a more precise way of tapering than cutting up tablets. As Pristiq's extended-release mechanism is part of the tablet matrix, or the glue that holds the tablet together, when the tablet is crushed, the matrix is completely destroyed. The particles should be assumed to have NO extended-release capability. The Pristiq powder becomes desvenlafaxine, with an 11-hour half life. If you pulverize the tablet, you might take smaller divided doses of Pristiq, more than once a day, like immediate-release Effexor, to mimic an extended-release dose. Peer discussion of this method starts here http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/876-tips-for-tapering-off-pristiq-desvenlafaxine/page__view__findpost__p__27417 Reducing from 100mg Pristiq to 50mg Pristiq Drug switches incur additional risk. Before trying a switch to Effexor or Prozac (fluoxetine) from 100mg Pristiq, it's probably wise to go down to 50mg Pristiq first, if possible. You might use a 50mg tablet plus a 25mg tablet plus 3/4 of a 25mg tablet (18.75mg) to make the first reduction to 93.75mg 2nd reduction: a 50mg tablet plus a 25mg tablet plus 2/4 of a 25mg tablet (12.5mg) to go to 87.5mg 3rd reduction: a 50mg tablet plus a 25mg tablet plus 1/4 of a 25mg tablet (6.25mg) to go to 81.25mg 4th reduction: a 50mg tablet plus a 25mg tablet to go to 75mg 5th reduction: a 50mg tablet plus 3/4 of a 25mg tablet (18.75mg) to go to 68.75mg 6th reduction: a 50mg tablet plus 2/4 of a 25mg tablet (12.5mg) to go to 62.5mg 7th reduction: a 50mg tablet plus 1/4 of a 25mg tablet (6.25mg) to go to 56.25mg 8th reduction: a 50mg tablet If withdrawal symptoms occur, some people have found taking an additional fragment of a tablet can smooth the transition from one dosage to another. Once at 50mg, stabilize for a month at least and consider your plan for the next stage of tapering. Use a combination of Pristiq tablets and Effexor liquid Pristiq cannot be made into a liquid, but its close relative immediate-release Effexor (not Effexor XR) can. You may be able to go off Pristiq by taking part of your dose in lower-dose tablets and part in liquid Effexor, gradually converting to all-liquid Effexor as you get to lower dosages. This may offer a convenient and gradual path off Pristiq. Only regular immediate-release Effexor can be made into a liquid (see Tips for tapering off Effexor (venlafaxine) ). As immediate-release Effexor has a short half-life and is usually dosed twice a day, you may wish to take the liquid portion of your dosage later in the day. For example, if you are taking 100mg Pristiq, you may wish to take your daily dose as one 50mg tablet and the rest in a liquid made from immediate-release Effexor. You can titrate the liquid by 10% of your daily dosage to taper until you get to 50mg. Then you can take a 25mg Pristiq tablet with the rest in a liquid made from immediate-release Effexor. When you get to 25mg Pristiq, you might switch to splitting the tablet and taking the rest in Effexor liquid and so on until you are taking only liquid Effexor. You will have to request a prescription for Effexor tablets as well as Pristiq from your doctor. Have Pristiq made into smaller dosage capsules by a compounding pharmacy Compounding pharmacies can crush the tablets and put the powder into smaller capsules by weight. Like cutting up tablets or crushing, this destroys the time-release quality, but the compounded method is much more exact. (According to my compounding pharmacy, they can put in a slow-release additive distributing absorption over 8-10 hours. This is not as long as the Pristiq time-release coating, but at least it's something. Check with your compounding pharmacy about this.) In your body, crushed Pristiq is similar to regular immediate-release Effexor, with an 11-hour half-life. You may wish to have your dose compounded to take twice a day. If you are taking 50mg Pristiq, for example, you would have 60 capsules compounded per month. Each capsule would be 1/2 of 45mg (a 10% reduction of 50mg) or 22.5mg. You would take two capsules per day, once in the morning, and once in the evening. The next month, you would have 60 capsules compounded, each capsule being 1/2 of 40.5mg (a 10% reduction of 45mg) or 20.25mg. And so forth, for each reduction. If this does not work, you may wish to switch to Effexor XR and use the bead-counting method. Regular Effexor probably wouldn't be an advantage over Pristiq compounded to custom dosages. Switch to Effexor or Effexor XR Note: If you've had an adverse reaction to Effexor before, do NOT switch from Pristiq to Effexor. "Desvenlafaxine (O-desmethylvenlafaxine) is the major active metabolite of venlafaxine." Since the relationship is so close, switching to regular Effexor tablets, which you can cut up or make into a liquid, this may be the best way to taper off Pristiq. Because it has a mean half-life of 5 hours, you'd have to take regular Effexor twice a day. According to FDA Prescribing Information for venlafaxine (Effexor), the usual dose of Effexor is 150mg per day. Like Pristiq, Effexor XR is released gradually and needs to be taken only once a day. Since 150mg Effexor and 50mg Pristiq are both "normal" dosages of their respective drugs, they may be roughly equivalent. (See discussion of Effexor and Pristiq dosage equivalency starting http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/876-tips-for-tapering-off-pristiq-desvenlafaxine/page__view__findpost__p__42249 ) You'd have the difficulty of tapering off Effexor or Effexor XR -- themselves notorious for withdrawal difficulties -- but at least you can do that gradually. See Tips for tapering off Effexor and Effexor XR (venlafaxine). The psychiatrist who writes the 1boringoldman.com blog reports success in switching one patient from Pristiq to Effexor, then tapering Effexor, here (see comments) Another psychiatrist said when he tried this, the switch from Pristiq to Effexor was "seamless." Dr. Stuart Shipko posts here: Advice from a psychiatric pharmacist I have been corresponding with a professor at a prominent US university pharmacy department. Here is his best guess at how to taper Pristiq (he does not want his name published): Then taper off fluoxetine (Prozac). See Tips for Tapering Prozac Advice from Dr. Stephen Stahl, author of the manual Essential Psychopharmacology In his widely read psychopharmacology manual, eminent psychopharmacologist Stephen Stahl advises titration by crushing the tablets and mixing in fruit juice, see http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/876-tips-for-tapering-off-pristiq-desvenlafaxine/page__view__findpost__p__14799 According to our member oaklily, Stahl is wrong. Making a liquid from Pristiq does not work, see http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/876-tips-for-tapering-off-pristiq-desvenlafaxine/page__view__findpost__p__24822 Dr. Stahl intends to correct his book, according to this correspondence 09/15-9/16/13 with him: "Bridging" with Prozac or another antidepressant Any drug change incurs additional risk. A switch to Prozac from Pristiq may not work -- they are very different drugs -- or you might have adverse reactions to Prozac. Prozac is regularly used to "bridge" off Effexor. Given that Pristiq is a cousin of Effexor and Effexor XR, it is possible that one can, similarly, use Prozac to withdraw from Pristiq. Attributed to Joseph Glenmullen, the "bridging" technique is described by a doctor here http://www.bipolarworld.net/Phelps/ph_2005/ph1354.htm Read this entire topic before attempting a switch to Prozac: The Prozac switch or "bridging" with Prozac Later, taper off Prozac. At least Prozac comes in a liquid. To do this, consult a doctor knowledgeable about this technique.
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