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Found 28 results

  1. ADMIN NOTE moved initial posts from Mission of Surviving Antidepressants Hello. What do you exactly mean "if the symptoms are from and adverse or paradoxical reaction to medication, the medication has to be gradually withdrawn for recovery."? Is three to four months of gradual withdrawel enough? Thats what I did.
  2. Hi, After reading many many posts, I'm more confused than ever ... I just obtained a prescription to have Pristiq compounded and reduced by 10% of current dose each month in hopes of getting off this beast. After reading some of the posts, it appears that it may not be a good idea to compound this drug because of the extended release properties of the 50mg pill. Is there anyone on this site that has had success tapering off of this drug using a compound pharmacy to do a 10% taper per month? I"m now nervous to get the prescription filled after reading some of the posts. I contacted the compound pharmacy (Guardian Drugs in Toronto, Canada) and they have the same reservations about crushing the extended release tablets as they tell me, that while they can do it, they don't know exactly how the compounded drug with react in my system. In compounding it, the drug will most likely be weaker (by exactly how much they can't say with any accuracy) and therefore she cannot say with any certainty whether or not it will cause withdrawal symptoms which I am desperate to avoid. Tried to taper off about five years ago (second or third try) by cutting the pill and reducing it gradually and had such bad withdrawal symptoms, I thought I was going to go mad so back on the stupid drug I went. The compounding pharmacy offered to call my family doctor and suggest to her that I switch to Effexor (75mg) which she said is equivalent to 50mg of Pristiq. She said that Effexor is much easier to come off of and much easier to compound. She said it didn't sound like my family doctor has much experience with coming off antidepressants (don't think my doctor is alone on this point). She also suggested reducing the Effexor by 5% each month rather than 10% to help avoid withdrawal altogether. She said it is better to taper very gradually and to take as long as possible to get off these drugs. Even a year or more sounded reasonable to her. So I guess my questions are (1) is it feasible/best approach to switch to Effexor to taper or am I just switching to a different beast even more difficult to get off of? (2) should I just get the Pristiq compounded and hope for the best ... ? (3) better suggestions/experience than the above two points? I would really like to get off of Pristiq, have been on anti-depressants far too long and never able to get off of them properly because of the horrific withdrawal symptoms so basically I've been held hostage by a little pill and would like my life back. Tired of feeling flat and not having any real emotions and don't want to Stepford Wife/Walking Dead it anymore. I've been taking 50mg of Pristiq for about 7 years and prior to that was on Effexor extended release 37.5 x 2 for about the same amount of time. Any suggestions from people with experience getting off these drugs would be most welcomed and appreciated. Thank you for reading.
  3. Hi, I have been a long time lurker and didn't think I'd need to post but I am hoping for a bit of reassurance and support. I have so far not involved myself, because I am one of those who didn't take ADs for long and had a reaction. I am generally a happy, healthy and pretty confident, level person. My young son got ill in 2013 and had to have a couple of operations. He’s absolutely fine now but, having held it together all the while I think I started to process it once it was all over and I noticed that I was worrying excessively about him. By February 2014 I was getting concerned that, if left unchecked, my issues could smother his adventures and exclude my daughter so, when it spiked around the time he started school I decided to see someone about it. At this point I had never had a panic attack or anything even close to it, a few intrusive thoughts about my son’s health that I felt were gaining a bit too much traction for a couple of weeks but was generally still enjoying life and getting on with my days. The day before I saw the psych I went to the movies with my girlfriends and had a lovely time. The week before we had friends over and I remember feeling happy, almost to the point smug, thinking 'I love my life. I'm so lucky'. I went, just expecting to talk it through but instead spent 15 minutes with a psychologist who diagnosed me with GAD and did a real number on me about how sick I was and how I would never get better without medication, which I was reluctant to take. She phoned the female GP at my practice (my normal doctor was away) and told her that I needed meds but would resist. The GP scared the crap out of me, telling me the next stage is psychosis and I would be hospitalised if I left it untreated, did I want to be away from my children for a month if that happened, etc, etc. None of it stacked up against my own experience of myself and my husband didn’t get it either but these people were the experts, they should know, right? Anyway, I took pristiq and ativan for three days and everything just fell apart. Within hours of taking it I was being hit by wave after wave of panic attack, then came the hallucinations, suicidal and violent thoughts, agoraphobia, it just kept on giving. I was convinced I couldn’t be trusted around people, let alone my children. It was a living nightmare so I stopped taking them. The withdrawals were terrible; more obsessive suicidal and violent thoughts, vomiting, watery diarrhoea, dizziness, headaches, blurred vision and pain behind my left eye, adrenal jolts and just fear like I’d never known. I was determined not to go back on them and in hindsight should have just continued through it. Instead I went to see a naturopath who gave me a fairly hefty dose of St Johns Wort. I was worried about taking it so soon after discontinuing the pristiq but he assured me I would be fine. I wasn’t. It was awful but I stuck with it for several weeks. Worried about another set of withdrawals, my psych dismissing all symptoms as not possibly related to the meds or herbs (which she laughed at) and mistrusting doctors I had totally lost sight of who I normally was. I tapered off it as fast as I could – all the usual, though less pronounced physical withdrawals, increased anxiety, more suicidal thoughts and a very strange dysphoria – like someone else jumped into my mind, thought a load of random, truly awful negative stuff that I would never normal think and then hopped back out again leaving me muddled and anxious. Eventually I went to see my own doctor, who has been treating me and my family for the past ten years. I told him what was going on and he said that he had seen similar in people who are really sensitive to psychotropic drugs and that I had probably suffered serotonin syndrome and to ride it out. He pointed out that worrying about your kids, particularly after times of stress, isn’t a mental illness and that the hand pain I was experiencing (the psych told me these were a symptom of my anxiety, as my heart was pumping blood faster and I didn’t even realise it was happening) was more likely referred pain from a whiplash injury the month before. So fast forward to now, a little over a year later and I have been doing well. I have been having waves but they are manageable and I am back to my normal self during windows, which are lengthy (the last being four months). Until now. I am presently in a wave that has lasted for nearly a month (with the odd window within that time) and as about as bad as during the earlier phases of withdrawal. I am having some serious obsessive and scary thoughts and a whole barrage of physical symptoms; nausea, bloating and a butterflies feeling) headaches, a cold, trickily feeling down my spine, some brain zaps, pain behind my eye and, when there is a reprieve from those, an almost depressive state where the negative self talk takes over - like I am incapable and not good enough to do the job I have been doing perfectly well for years. If it wasn't for the emotional/psychological symptoms, I would think I was really sick (the anxious withdrawal-hypochondriac is chanting that I probably am. Very). Does anyone know of people getting such a pronounced wave after such a long time? I know it can't be a relapse, because I was never even remotely like this before, but it is scary. The further out from taking the pills, the less assured I feel that it is still withdrawal, which I guess is the catch 22. My normal doctor is away again and whilst he is sympathetic, I am frightened he will become sceptical as time draws on. I would appreciate any insights people can offer. Thanks
  4. Hi Everyone, I'm pleased to find this forum, but I am sorry that it is for the reason it is. It is amazing how many people are suffering from AD WD, and the symptoms and length of time it can take. I found this site from searching withdrawal symptoms, because today is my 10th day at my lower dose and I have been feeling worse today than at any time since I halved my dosage. Recently I became absolutely miserable about my aches and pains, which were stopping me from doing things around the house and causing sleep problems. I started wondering about them and then remembered that I had had to go off Prozac (about 20 years ago) when I got muscle weakness. St John's Wort also caused similar but not as bad muscle weakness so I stopped that too. I started researching AD symptoms and made (what seems to be) the connection that I have Serotonin Syndrome so I made the decision to reduce my Pristiq from 100 mg to 50 mg. The doctor suggested alternating between 100 & 50 for 2 months, but because the aches and pains are debilitating I decided to see how I went going straight to 50. After a couple of days I did get mild zapping / electric shock sensations, and also headaches for several days at the end of the 1st week. I slept a lot over the first 3 days (and was able to sleep at night). Then I had several nights where I had trouble sleeping. Last night I slept through for the first time. I had several days where I had an upset stomach which I had thought was a tummy bug but I now realise it is possibly from the withdrawal. At this time, I am feeling achy (a bit like the flu), different from being on the higher dose. This surpised me because I had been going well. Thinking back, the first few days I wasn't drinking coffee. Then I started having coffee in the morning again and yesterday I had one at breakfast and then another at lunchtime. What I have read on this site confirms my suspicion that it may be the cause of me not feeling as good as I had so no more coffee for me. Yesterday I decided that I need to started taking more care of my nutrition (I haven't had much of an appetite lately), and what I have read here confirms this. I am taking one day at a time, and I am not making any decision yet as to whether I will go off the Pristiq completely or stay on the 50 mg. At the end of last year I completed a free Government funded online workshop (I'm in Australia) which I found very helpful. Even though I had previously seen a psychologist, had done a lot of reading of books and internet articles and "knew" CBT (which I have nicknamed Change Bad Thinking) I found that doing the workshop (which was over 8 weeks) was very helpful because it was practising the CBT, instead of just knowing it. I'd like to take this opportunity to wish everyone all the best as you deal with whatever you are going through. Unfortunately, that is the hard part. We have to go through it ourselves. Thankfully, though, others can support us. Take care everyone. ChessieCat
  5. Hello. I am twenty years old and had been on antidepressants since I was ten. From then on through my teenage years, all I knew was I needed to take my medicine . Once I was diagnosed with high-functioning autism, my pediatrician referred me to a neurologist. The neurologist then put me on respiradone and strattera. I don't remember if I had any behavior problems or not, but my neurologist told me I would have to be on medicine for the rest of my life. I stayed on those two meds until I got into high school. My first two years of high school, I couldn't stop crying. I cried day and night. My neurologist put me on celexa. When that didn't work, my neurologist told me he could no longer help me and referred me to a psychiatrist. I saw the new psychiatrist my junior year of high school who told me I had depression and anxiety that needed to be treated. I was taken off respiradone and strattera and put on pristiq and adderall. When pristiq wouldn't work, I was switched back to celexa. So it went on, switching back and forth between antidepressants. There were so many different ones I can't remember many of them. Every time I asked my psychiatrist if the next time it would work, he assured me it would. There was no chance to talk when I saw my psychiatrist. It would result in a new prescription every time. During my senior year, I helplessly slept through every class, sometimes falling out on the floor asleep. I had a good school counselor who allowed me to pass because she knew it was the medicine and I got plenty of sleep. I also cried uncontrollably almost every day in front of everyone and it was very humiliating as I would stir up a lot of attention. My senior pictures of me showed a person with a puffed up and swollen face. I was switched to lexapro again and stayed on it my whole first year of college. Then the crying returned. During my second year, I was switched to Abilify for depression. I still trusted my psychiatrist as he again promised me it would work. Out of all my experiences with antidepressants, there is nothing that could ever have compared to this. As soon as I took the first dose of Abilify, my brain signaled to me something was very, very wrong. I began receiving no sleep. My psychiatrist put me on trazadone for that, but when I took it, my body fell completely limp, my heartbeat slowed down to almost nothing, and I went numb while my body shut itself down. I stopped it after two nights. Meanwhile, with abilify, I began spending all my time obsessing over things I would normally never touch. I believed I was an alien hybrid sent from outer space to save the planet. I also believed the human race are all aliens in disguise. Then I started going mad. I didn't want to be a human anymore. I wanted to be a supernatural creature with otherworldly capabilities. This was all extremely terrifying to me, but I couldn't stop myself. I lost my common sense as I believed these nonsensical theories. My mind was overpowering me with racing thoughts such as these listed. I couldn't think clearly. I was almost always in a state of rage. Reasoning had left me. For reasons I do not remember, I stopped Abilify by myself cold turkey. My psychiatrist had told me before that I never needed to worry about tapering because the antidepressants I took were all in the same family. He never mentioned stopping completely. Withdrawal symptoms didn't show up until a week later. My psychiatrist told me they would last 15 days. They were relatively minor, and I didn't worry much about them. However, nothing could have ever prepared me for the horror I underwent next. Every horror I could have never imagined bestowed me over the course of a month. I received no sleep. I was very lucky if I got one hour. The nights soon got from bad to worse. I developed REM sleep disorder. I was unable to tell the difference between being awake and asleep. As my mind was drifting, I jumped up in the air, screamed, swung at the air, and thrashed violently all over. In addition, my head would suddenly snap up and I would shout melancholy indistinguishable language and suck in sharp breaths. I was aware of everything, but I had no control over it, and it was very disturbing to me. Then came the uncontrollable muscle movements. My lips drew up on the sides, my mouth gaped open, my lips puckered and pouted, my teeth bared, my tongue stuck out, my neck extended, my eyes bulged, my eyebrows rose and lowered, my hands flapped, my arms swung, my knees jerked, my head jerked side to side, and my fingers extended. Shouts, grunts, moans, and gasps escaped my mouth. Several weeks went by as more horrendous symptoms appeared. Every day I was a zombie. I could only do basic human activities. I had no awareness of the passage of time. At night while drifting off, a dark shadowy presence swept over me. I was aware of where I was in real time while drifting, but I sensed a sudden danger. I jumped up alert every time. I heard a voice I believed to be God's telling me why I was like this and what I needed to do. It spoke to me relentlessly for days. When this occurred, an otherworldly and overwhelming sense of peace filled my every being. But it was always soon replaced by a terror so surreal I could not function. During this time, I could "see" my brain and I believed I was in control of what I allowed to be let in. After four days of this, I ordered the voice to "Get out!" It did and did not come back. Right after this, a veil suddenly covered my mind and I was disengaged from reality. I had no sense of where I was and I had no connection with my parents. I was always mad, crying most of the time, and my head was always jerking. I saw my psychiatrist for the last time two months ago. The doctor who had been nice to me all this time suddenly turned mean. He told me he refused to see me unless I got on medicine. By this time, I had found this site and many other websites about withdrawal. I knew I wanted to try living a better life and I was not backing down. I never took the newly prescribed anti psychotic he prescribed me. A week later, my parents, exasperated with how I was doing and on their last straw, called my psychiatrist. My dad told the psychiatrist I had read on the internet how long the withdrawal really is and the doctor spoke with me on the phone. My psychiatrist told me that the withdrawal symptoms I was describing were "all in my head" because the medicine would already be out of my system now six weeks later. He told me I needed to get on medicine right now because "I needed help". He told me my quality of life was not as good without the medicine. I was in another rage episode by this time, and unlike me, I confronted him. I said "Well why are a lot of these the same symptoms I experienced during the so-called withdrawal time?" He said he didn't know and preceded to ask me was I on drugs. I was in disbelief that anyone would ask such a thing. I have not spoken to that psychiatrist since. I am dealing currently with a lot of physical and mental symptoms but none I would describe as severe as that horrible nightmare of a month. (That month just happened to be timed perfectly with my Christmas break.) My mouth, head, and fingers jerk, but never as exaggerated as they were the first month. I dealt with extremely numb fingers, feet, and ankles up until two weeks ago. My ankles at times felt like they were hanging by a single nail. My feet, bluish-green, were so numb and swollen I had no feeling and shooting pains shot up my legs. I was extremely dizzy for so long. My gp told me I have low blood pressure. I started having panic attacks. Anxiety crept over me for no apparent reason. I cried a lot. I felt hopeless. I am dealing with apathy, anhedonia, akathisia, and cognitive problems. My memory has not been well during this whole time. I am not aware; I'm just wherever I am. I have lost perception of sight, hearing, and touch. I do things I'm supposed to do because I know that's what I've always done. I cannot connect feelings to memories; I have to rely on pictures and journals from over the years. I had to look back in my journal to refresh my memory of this whole experience which I happened to write down. I have been disconnected with myself...it was worse in the beginning. I would look at pictures of myself and couldn't connect that it was me. The whole first month of withdrawal my face was so puffed up I thought my skin would fall off. Sometimes things look bigger or smaller than they appear. My thinking ability is limited. I went to my gp again three weeks ago and I was low on vitamin D. I am currently on iron medicine, vitamin d supplements, allergy medicine, and multivitamins. Although the numbness has gone away, I am extremely faint and have weak tremors every day. At night I'm miserably exhausted. My heart is always beating fast and hard. I get chills and my body tenses up. I'm not sure if I should be concerned about any of this. I cold-turkeyed Abilify four months ago. I have managed to keep my grades up in college since then and so far have maintained a perfect attendance. Some days are harder than others, but I try to count my blessings as I've heard stories far worse than my own. I am only beginning to understand what I am dealing with. The last thing I would want is to ever take another antidepressant and hinder this process. I feel like I have a real sense of myself now and I feel more in control. I have no idea how long this will last or if it will ever go away but I try to maintain a positive attitude about it as things slowly get better. I have faced the fact that I can't change my past but I can certainly shape my future. I apologize for the long story. It is difficult to get my thoughts together.
  6. Hi, this is my first post here, (your case is similar to mine - mod note: moved from Shaesurf's topic), my doctor recommended to me to stop cold turkey after six months and a half using Pristiq (before that I used Sertraline and I had a unbearable delayed withdrawal three months after I stop it cold turkey by medical recommendation, and the doctor didn't saw it as withdrawaw symptoms), and I on my own decided to cut the pills and I tapered for 8 weeks (54 days), that way: first week 3/4, second and third weeks 1/2, fourth week 3/8, fifth and sixth weeks 1/4, seventh week 1/8 and the eighth and last week 1/16. And then I started meditating (I went to a 10 day vipassana meditation retreat the day I stopped), and I had just a little bit of anxiety after the retreat and a hang-out like discomfort sometimes when I wake up but that's it. Tomorrow it will be one month since I stopped it and I'm doing fine so far. I take magnesium supplement, Lugol's iodine solution at 5%, and eat only raw vegan food.
  7. Hello all, just found this site and was looking for some advice on tapering off antipsychotic's. It all started about 11 months ago when I was prescribed saphris for depression by my pdoc to augment pristiq, (I know I should have known better). All was fine until about three months in when I started slowly developing anhedonia, just a complete lack of interest in life, it messed up my endocrine system, and destroyed my short term memory. Having successfully quit seroquel cold turkey in the past I thought saphris would be a breeze.... Boy was I wrong, only managed to make it there days in before the overwhelming anxiety (which I've never had before)and insomnia drove me back onto it. After three failed attempts to taper off(lowest dose is 5mg and couldn't cut sublingual wafers any lower), my pdoc suggested switching to 10mg zyprexa for two weeks then stopping that cold turkey, well that was a mess again, had anxiety from hell and insomnia. Again we tried switching over to seroquel which failed.So now I'm back on zyprexa (with a whole new set of side effects)with the plan of tapering off at a rate of -1.25mg every two weeks, currently I'm down to 7.5mg with moderate anxiety, intermittent insomnia and an insatiable appetite. Just wondering if this is too aggressive a taper, I only have tablets available so I'm just relying on cutting them into quarters. Just want off this pharmaceutical merry go round, feel as though I've been lobotomized.
  8. Great Post, Thank You ! ["How I am coping with depression" by apathetic] Very informed, you know your stuff. I'm new to all of it, but an advid researcher, also very in tune with My body, So I knew all of this.... What I do not Know is, Should I be going from Prestiq 100mg to Effexor as of this past Wk. 7 days 50 mg Prestiq, w/ 37.5 mg Effex. Now, Prestiq every other day for 3 days, Then Stop .Then adding another 37.5 Effex, Not there yet, a few more days. I Am Petrified of Effexor Now !!! After Reading these boards. I had a Very Tragic Event, You wouldn't believe if I told you. Lawyers, traveling back & forth from West coast to East Coast, for the past 20 mons, hardly home, because of the Fight to save someone's life. So clearly Stress off the charts, PTSD Intensive out patient therapy.... My WD so far, Extreme OCD, Hyper as Hell, Can't eat, Haven't Slept in 22 mons, since.... Prestiq is a Nightmare HELL to get off of. I did it once, 4 yrs ago, then had to reinstate after a month. Plus I didn't it myself, Stupid, Cut them in half, Even More Stupid, which caused them to release at triple the forces, causing that extreme Anxiety, I never have suffered with Period, just as a WD symptoms. So Any help would be greatly appreciated. I'm SCARED Now... I pray I haven't Already done damage by taking this Effexor in the last 8 days. That's how powerful a drug it apparently is. This I did not know...To Messed up to look into it myself, Not my usual MO, but I'm So out of it, just Not Myself !! I hear Myself Rambling on, instantly Grab My Mouth, to Shut it UP. I KNOW, I'm Acting Like a FREAK Thanx so much 4 your post
  9. Hello, Part 1, Intro. I would like to start by sincerly thanking websites such as Survivingantidepressants for essentially helping me to understand my plight more accurately. I have found the success story sections to be particularly helpful, and have turned to these wonderful stories to help raise my spirits in times of utter hopelesssness. After lurking around on these websites, often too incapacitated to do much in the way of meaninful writing, I decided that it might be helpful to someone out there if I shared a little bit about myself. This is going to be a long post, and I understand that some folks going through the ringer will not be able to read this post in its entirety due to eye issues, or just information processing issues. I've been there, I couldn't read for probably a year in total. Nevertheless, I hope that you can eventually read this and garner some useful information, or at least some knowledge that you are not alone out there going through this unjust, cruel, and totally unecessary hell that we've been subjected and in my opinion, decived into undertaking. 2 Background. To give a brief background, in January of 2013 I was prescribed 50mg of pristiq, had a bad reaction to it, then switched to effexor 75mg for ~2 months, and then after requesting a medication that doesn't give me sexual dysfunction, prescribed 30mg of cymbalta. All said, I spent about 6 months on medication and I must say that it definitely relieved my moderate depression and my above average anxiety. Simultaneously, I was taking ~10-15 mg of adderall nearly daily for over 7 years to relieve "ADHD". Unfortunately, after going on cymbalta, I had a severe manic and borderline psycotic reaction to all of this stimulating medication, and proceeded to spend a tremendous amount of money over a short period of time because I became convinced that the economy was going to crash and that I needed to prepare NOW. At the time, I had a sneaking suspicion that something was wrong, but I always trusted my brain's intuition, and my ideas just seemed "right". So I basically bought 400 pounds of non-perishable food, and nearly 4 grand worth of prep supplies and equipment. Seeing that I was employed as a graduate student, earning my PhD, my funding was very small, so this basically bankrupted me and I had to borrow money from my family just to stay out of debt. I also opted for a very invasive, and not entirely necessary shoulder survery to correct a torn labrum that had been annoying me for years. I went ahead and had the proceedur finished, and was excited at the prospect of having a fully functional shoulder again. As it turns out, my intentions were pure, but life had other plans for me (if you'll read on and bear with me). At the end of my 6 month stint on this medication, I started to have severe memory issues. I would be trying to explain something to someone, and all of a sudden I would hit a "road block" and couldn't figure out the correct word to say. Obviously, as a PhD student, this would not do, so I told my doctor I wanted off of this stuff and I wanted my old brain back. Well, I tapered from 30mg to 10mg somewhat quickly (as I have now learned), over about 1 month and from there, based on my doctors advice, I "bit the bullet" as he said, and went from 10mg to 0mg. What proceeded to happen was that I went through very similar symptoms over a 1 week period as people often describe for benzodiazapine withdrawal. Indeed, I had been prescribed clonopin for 5 years, and withdrew from thsi medication back in 2012, and for 3 whole months I was basically bedridden and completely incapactated before being able to function in the world again. At that time, I swore I would NEVER EVER take a benzo again for the rest of my life. Unfortuantely, I was unaware of the fact that SSRI/SNRI's could produce similar symptoms. I was even moreso unaware of the fact that SSRI's could produce symtpoms that were even worse and even more debilitating. To make a long and disappointing story short, I went on an epic vacation just 30 days after I quit taking the medication. I had planned this trip very meticulously during my medication induced mania, and spent a tremendous amount of money on this trip - it was essentially meant to be the trip of a lifetime. Instead, it became one of the more awful experiences of my life. Try navigating 5 countries and managing an expliciting budget just 30 days after coming off SNRIs and having awful symptoms. It was just really hellish, but by the halway point I was hoping that my symptoms would abate within 60 days and I would be able to resume normal functioning at the unviersity. I was hoping to put all of this behind me. Upon returning, I discovered to my horror that I was not much improved after 2 months. My symptoms included, but are not limited to: severe memory loss, burning sensations, problems with my eyes (blurry vision, floaters, etc), difficulty concentrating, difficulty thinking, hot flashes, vertigo, and depersonalization/derealization, fatigue, etc. You guys and gals know the deal, it was GRIM, GRIM, GRIM. Looking back however, I actually had it pretty good. 3. From bad to worse This is where the story goes from bad to worse. As a PhD student, I had worked exremely hard to make a good career for myself once I graduated. One way of doing this way to teach a college level class. So upon returning from my trip, I was meant to teach a laboratory class in an advanced course in Biological Sciences in the summer for 1 month. I was so severely depersonalized/derealized, and with all the other symptoms I listed above, that I could barely remember any of my students names, and I certainly couldn't remember any of the subject matter that I was supposed to be an expert in and deticated the last 6 years of my life to memorizing. Ouch. Nevertheless, I pressed on because the course had to be taught. So I did, and the student's didn't seem to mind, although I was acutely aware of the fact that I had lost a tremendous amount of intelectual ability and could no longer "speak off the cuff" and go on intelectual tangents. I recall one student asking me about a relatively simple mathematical formula, and my inability to easily answer this question that drove me to the point of calling my ex-psyciatrist back and demanding a meeting. In this meeting, he indicated that a quick fix for my problems would be a prescription of prozac which has a long half-life, and reinstating this medciation for about a month or two, and then going off of it again. I thought "well, this better work" and went ahead and tried. As I had mentioned earlier, I had shoulder surgery, and as a consequence I needed to take some pain meds to help me through the immensly painful physical therapy sessions. So I was prescribed tramadol, which is an SNRI (UH OH!). One day I will never forget, I took this tramadol, about 1 week after being on prozac, and I had an adverse reaction to this combination that has haunted me for about 1.5 years now. My entire body went numb, particularly my sensory neurons, and I felt like an strange tickling and itching sensation over all of my skin. I never took tramadol again, but as I continued to take prozac over the next couple of weeks, I began to have an odd sensation over all of my skin: it felt as if I had wet paper bags over my entire body, and my face was becoming anesthetized. I returned to the doctor, and told him about this a couple of times and he basically told me "how could that possibly happen, you're probably just anxious". At the 1 month mark, things were not improving, and all of the original cymbalta withdrawal symptoms were still there. Instead of taking me off the medication, like any reasonable human being would have done, this doctor UPPED my dose to 20mg (from 10mg) after I told him about these adverse effects. After just 2-3 days of this, I started having insomia, and I said "**** it" and tapered off quickly in a 4 day period. It was around September 1st, 2013 when I had my last SSRI/SNRI. I should note here that I was miraculously able to finish teaching the course in anatomy and physiology with decent reviews - the prozac did help in the sense that it produced a mild mania again, which allowed me to sort of interact with the students better. What also helped me was the fact that it was around this time that I got together with my then girlfriend who saw me through the worst of the issues, so I was not completely alone thorugh this hell. It was really this wonderfully patient and kind woman who, amongst others, I attribute to saving my degree and possibly my life. 4. Recovery begins Afer coming to the realization that reinstatement was not an option for my body, I had to deal with the fact that my reinstatment attempt was not only a failure, but it made my symptoms like 40% worse. Now I also had tingling and numbness in all of my limbs, profound sinous headaches, and trigeminal nerve problems, and more serious eye problems than before. I was seeing a psyciatrist through all of this, because I was still taking adderall and had developed quite a habit for this pill (later on, I did successfully quit), which was the only way I was going to write my dissertation and complete my degree. This doctor told me that many of these symptoms may disappear after 3 months, so I waited patiently and tried my best to be physcially active and write my dissertation. Unfortunatley, releif came VERY slowly, and it wasn't until the 6 month point that I began to feel substantially better (Feburary-March 2014). At this point, with the help of my wonderful girlfriend, and a moderate dose of adderall, I began to be able to write my dissertation, and in the next ~2 months I wrote a massive chunk of this work. The symptoms sort of started to melt away, and I began to be able to read and function again - although I was still severely damaged and had not recovered. In anticipation of the fact that this might take a very long time, I scheduled my PhD defense for Summer of 2014, so that I could be at my very best. I also began applying for jobs, and succeeded in securing an interview. One unfortunate event that I should mention is that I reinjured my shoulder, so that now it was worse than it was before I got surgery in the first place. I attribute my reinjury of the shoulder to the SSRI withdrawals, and the adderall - the level of fatigue and the lack of awareness of my body due to sensory nerve damage (or what ever the heck it is - I'm still not entirely sure I understand what precise physiological mechanism is responsible for all of the symptoms I experienced) caused me to just not work on my shoulder exercises like I should have, and to play with it the wrong ways while in bed one morning. 5. Hypersensitivity This is a very important part of my story because it explains my great downfall and what happened next most precisely. Basically, as I've read on this website, and others (particularly paxilprogress.com, which was my very favorite and brings me great disappointment to see it taken offline), many people experience an inexplicable hypersensitivity to various substances when going through an adverse reaction or an ssri withdrawal. I too had this experience, most profoundly after my issues with prozac and tramadol. For example, I would drink 1 beer and be totally incapacitated and brain dead for 3 days, and if I got drunk, I would be seriously messed up for no less than 14 days. This was also true for niccotine, or any central nervous sytem agent - and it severely limited what I could do and how I could enjoy my life. Thankfully, I was still able to escape my horrible existance by watching movies and playing videogames. Indeed, videogames very effectively passed time for me in the early stages of withdrawal. Anyways, I also noticed this in regards to other medication - I took one, ONE .5 mg clonopin pill to help releive the "rebound anxiety", if you can really call it that, during my recovery process in the spring of 2014, and it completely incapacitated me for like 2 weeks. I then took a valarin root to try to see if that might help calm my nerves, and another 2 weeks of my life were gone. It's very scary to realize that small doses of commonly taken medication can completely incapacitate oneself, and I seriously had no answer for any of this other than to very cautiously avoid any and all substances if it could be helped. I should have taken this as a warning for things to come, but unfortunately I did not. One night, with my girlfirend, I had ingested a marijuana brownie in an attempt to have a good time and to escape from my unimaginable horror of losing my intellectual ability, my career, and everythign that was important to me (especially losing my emotions, the anhedonia was SEVERE and pathlogoically bad - instead of feeling emotions, I would just feel a vague burning sensation in the frontal part of my brain). This pot brownie was suprisingly effective and I had a good night with her and her friends. The only reason I mention this is because that pot browning made me believe that I could handle a small dose of marijuana without any ill effect - maybe I could find a way to medicinally deal with the agony of my condition. 6. True hell: Boy was I wrong. One night I shall never forget, my friend and college invited me to a party where people were smoking some pot in a casual way. I was just coming down from a daily dose of adderall, so I was a bit anxious and thought I would now have an opportunity to relax and enjoy myself with these folks and have a nice weekend. I smoked the pot, and what happened next was that I went from euphoria stright to utter terror. It's still very difficult for me to write this, and I'm having some emotional issues with articulating what happened, but I basically had a terror (panic) attack for like 12 straight hours, and proceeded not to sleep for the next 2 months. Yes, you read that correctly, I did not sleep for 2 months. The hell of SNRI withdrawals and an adverse reaction PALED in comparison to what I experienced when I smoked pot. ALL of the original symtpoms came back in full force, simultaneously. I went from being partially recovered to fully incapacitated again, and this time I had the awful experience of constant panic attacks that could be set off from any little thing, and PROFOUND bodily anesthesia, in addition to profound derealization and depersonalization. I had esentially lost all progress I had made over the previous 10 months, and became WORSE than I was before any of this started. As I am still recovering from this experience, I can say with some confidence that what happened was that I overdosed on marijuana. The weed in California is NOT the weed I remember back in NY - it's VERY strong and one can overdose on just a couple of hits. I personally took 4 hits I think. I know this is not a forum for drugs, but I must be explicit in my story and explian this because I do not EVER want ANYONE to go through what I went through. Please, if you're on the fence about doing drugs to help edicinally allieviate your SSRI withdrawal symptoms, do not do it. Please, I beg of you, with all of my heart, please do not risk it. 7. Partial Recovery I'm not going to go into all the fallout from my terrible mistake of overdosing on that pot, perhaps I will once it's all over. I should just say that I just BARELY clung onto reality well enough to finish. I thank God every day that I lived alone, and that I was in contact with a very understanding Aunt who had gone through similarly difficult situations. She basically saved both my career and probably my life in the 6 months or so that I endured absolutel hell as a result of smoking that stuff. At this time, I also started attending 12 step meetings of AA, and these kind and amazing people helped me out so very much. I will forever be grateful to these wondeful people for their kindness during this time - these meetings esentially kept me out of the psych ward and off of medication. I want to point out and focus on the positive: I successfully completed my Phd in Biological sciences from a prestigous institution, and defended my PhD in front of the entire department and no one suspected a thing. I also stayed with some friends after I lost the lease in my appartment due to graduation, and then found an appartment in the state of California nearby my old university that I was able to hang out in until I was well enough to make the drive across the country back to my father's house in Pensilvania. I survived, barely. Just barely. *In the very unlikely, by theoretically possible chance that someone else in this wide world is experiencing something similar to that which I have just described, I would like to describe my timeline of recovery. First 3 months, absolute hell - but by the end of the 3rd month, I was able to be somewhat peaceful and calm from time to time. At the end of 6 months I was still having panic attacks from time to time, but I was getting pretty good sleep 75% of the time time and I was able to enjoy myself sometimes. At the end of 9 months is when the panic attacks stopped, and I just had bad migranes most of the time. This is when I began to be able to read and write fairly well, and enjoy life even more from time to time. I'm currently at 11 months, and still feeling pretty bad, but I'm much much better and get good sleep nearly every single night. *If someone else is also trying to quit a stimulant while going through SSRI withdrawal hell like I did, I can outline my timeline for recovery if it might help you. By the 3 month mark, I had all of my phiscal stamia back, and just lacked motivation. By the 6-7 month mark, I have begun to recover intellectual motivation, but I'm still beset by migraine headaches most of the time. I tapered from 10mg to 2.5mg and then off completely over a 6-7 week period. 8. Closing statements Now, I'm currently on the mend. I quit taking adderall immediately after completing my degree, and have been off that toxic and dangerous drug for about 7 months to date. I am also 20 months free from SSRIS, and certainly will never go back that route again for the rest of my life. I'm not employed, and really am not employable at all. I will probably have to find a job at some point, but I'll most likely not be able to go back into academia until my brain fully recovers. I don't know when that will be. For now, I'm grateful to A) be alive, and be able to enjoy some things again. I'm grateful for the fact that I have my health coming back, that I'm able to write somewhat articulately again, and that most of my symptoms are slowly improving. I apologize for this massive essay - I know first hand how difficult it is to focus on things like this when you're going through withdrawal, but I just felt inspired this evening enough to write this post. I hope that this helped someone in some way, and please let me know if you have any questions. There is A LOT that I've left out from my story, especially in regards to the hell I experienced after smoking the marijuana. I learned a tremendous amount about life that I really never wanted to learn, and I've learned a great deal about recovering from ssris, what works, and what doesn't. there's a lot that I don't really know yet, and I could use some advice from the community on a few things. 1) how the heck does one make money and support themselves through this? I'm not entirely sure how to proceed from here. I've attempted to figure out if there's another medical condition that I'm experiencing that is unrelated to ssri withdrawals - got an MRI (totally normal, from what the doctors at the ER said). One doctor said it's possibly a neuropathy, or a metabolic disorder - but nothing concrete. I'm scheduled to go see another doctor in an attempt to get an actual diagnosis so that I could possibly apply for disability, but I'm not too sure what to do. I'm not so sure if going back to western medicine is a great idea, but I did get a lot of releif from knowing that there's nothing highly abnormal with my MRI, so I figure it might be good to rule out common disorders that can cause the symtpoms I'm still experiencing. If there's one thing I've learned from all of this it's that the worst thing I can do to help myself is to introduce new chemicals in my body in order to fix the problem. I've read countless recovery stories on this website and on paxilprogress, and I've been able to determine that if what I'm going through is SSRI withdrawal/adverse reaction, the only real cure for all of this is: time. From what I've read, it takes between 6 months and 5 years for people to recover completely. That's a long time, and I'm not sure how to survive for that long. I've just barely made it through 2 years. Just BARELY. I've thought about taking my life so many countless numbers of times over the past 2 years, but never did it - I don't think I will either. I just think about it, because the pain is so severe and unending. Although things have improved a LOT, and I mean A LOT from last may when I smoked that pot, I'm still far from recovered. I have hope that I'll recover in the future, but I think this process will take a long time. Thank you for reading.
  10. Nate: Pristiq

    Hi everyone, I take 50mg/day of Pristiq and am looking into eventually tapering off. I've read about switching to Effexor, tapering by going a day without it in a certain time frame reducing more, etc. Just looking at ways to do this and advice. I've been taking it regularly for about 7 years I think and it's kept me stable and generally in a good place. But some side effects like excess sweating and difficulty losing weight are getting me to research different ways to come off of it
  11. First of all, Thank God for this forum. Thank everyone, the admins especially, for doing such a great job helping people out. About me - On ADs since 2003 for mild anxiety. I went with the hope of getting some oral counseling but ended up being prescribed medicines. Never knew the seriousness of what I was getting into, but before I knew, months turned into years and now its 13 years. Medicines changed, doctors changed but my overall health and wellbeing is severely compromised in the deal. Main complaints – tinnitus since 2008 when doctor weaned me too abruptly, vertigo, light headedness, drowsiness, fatigue, low energy. Medicine history Paroxetene 25mg 2003-2007 Escitalopram 10mg 2007-2008 Mid 2008, wanted to get away from medicines. Doc did a quick taper from 10mg to 5mg and stopped in a short time. Within 2 weeks from stopping I had severe tinnitus, forcing me to get back to meds. But tinnitus persists to this day. Doctor shied away saying this had nothing to do with meds. 2009-2011 Combination of Escitalopram 10mg + Clonazepam 0.5 mg 2011-2015 Paroxetene 25mg + Clonazepam 0.25mg Feb 2015 Desvenlafaxine 50mg, reduced Paroxetene to 12.5mg, Clonazepam 0.25mg Apr 2015 Desvenlafaxine 50mg, twice daily, stopped Paroxetene, continued Clonazepam 0.25mg Sep 2015 Desvenlafaxine 50mg, twice daily, started very slow tapering of Clonazepam .25mg on my own. Currently (Feb 2016) in the 6th month of tapering and on 1/16th of 0.25. (Went against doctor's suggestion to take Clonazepam on alternate days for 10 days and stop) Clonazepam taper schedule followed: 0.25 mg on alternate days for 6 weeks 1/2 of 0.25 (=0.125mg) on alternate days for 6 weeks 1/4th of 0.25 (=0.0625mg) on alternate days for 6 weeks 1/8th of 0.25 (=0.03125mg) on alternate days for 6 weeks 1/16th of 0.25mg (=0.015625mg) on alternate days since past 2 weeks, still continuing. Plan to drop further and stop in a few weeks. During the course of tapering, my tinnitus has absolutely worsened, feeling more imbalanced and dizzy. I have also developed mild pain in the neck and shoulders since a month. I googled and found that this is also related to the tapering. After stopping Clonazepam I plan to start tapering Desvenlafaxine 50mg (twice). I saw this wonderful post from MogFish which talks about dry cutting the pill despite warnings (She was on 50mg) and tapering over a period of 14 months. I am planning to do the same. Before starting the whole process I am planning to take Ayurveda medicines. I have consulted a doctor and he has given me a prescription which looks quite promising. I am hoping Ayurveda will support me through the withdrawal of Desvenlafaxine. I found Desvenlafaxine 25mg is available and that is going to be of great help in the taper I hope.
  12. 41 years old. Never before suffered anxiety and depression until I crashed into menopause overnight my world was turned upside down. Tested for every disease imaginable I was bedridden for months before the diagnosis months later of premature menopause. I was put on mirtazapine 30mg for about 8 months. It did nothing for my anxiety or depression. I reached crisis point and was switched to pristiq 50mg in February of this year. I was meant to have two weeks cross over but had such a bad reaction I stopped the mirtazapine after five days. I was seriously ill for two weeks later who knows if that was withdrawal or the pristiq. So I also started on hormone replacement same time as pristiq and was doing so well they told me to wean off the pristiq after being on it for just six weeks. I did two weeks at 50mg two weeks at 25mg and two weeks at 12.5 before stopping for ten days altogether before having to start again due to severe withdrawal. Pdoc says to get a week of 12.5 and a week of 6.25 and go off after two weeks! I saw you posted details of a podcast in Aussie rob purssey I contacted him and I'm 41 years old. Never before suffered anxiety and depression until I crashed into menopause overnight my world was turned upside down. Tested for every disease imaginable I was bedridden for months before the diagnosis months later of premature menopause. I was put on mirtazapine 30mg for about 8 months. It did nothing for my anxiety or depression. I reached crisis point and was switched to pristiq 50mg. I was meant to have two weeks cross over but had such a bad reaction I stopped the mirtazapine after five days. I was seriously ill for two weeks later who knows if that was withdrawal or the pristiq. So I also started on hormone replacement and was doing so well they told me to wean off the pristiq. I did two weeks at 25mg and two weeks at 12.5 before stopping for ten days altogether before having to start again due to severe withdrawal. Pdoc says to get a week of 12.5 and a week of 6.25 and go off after two weeks! I saw you posted details of a pdoc in Aussie rob purssey I contacted him and I'm yet to see him but he suggested not cutting pills and going back to 50mg pristiq and said next step will be 75mg of Effexor. So withdrawals I had both weaning and off were insomnia, sweating all day, nausea, diarrhoea, confusion, no short term memory, suicidal thoughts, periods of great sadness, urge to cry and just generally feeling agitated beyond belief as though my limbs were all filled with concrete. I'm shocked that I've only been on it three months and it's this bad. So is moving to Effexor a better way to wean off in every bodies experience. Thank you
  13. ADMIN NOTE 10 09 17 Lilu wants everyone to know: "Please disregard my initial posts, since my knowledge about the subject of withdrawal was very limited and often wrong. Please follow the administrators' knowledge and advice to properly taper your medication." I would like to know if anyone else has experienced while on Pristiq: I take 50 mg of Pristiq every morning at around 8 am. But despite sleeping for 8 or 9 hours a night, I wake up feeling tired and sleepy with a heavy brain fog that pretty much lasts all day. It does seem to lift at around 3 pm when I find myself suddenly feeling more clear and awake. Sometimes though the sleepiness (somnolence) last all day and I feel like I just can't think clearly. It's as if I'm always slightly buzzed or sedated. Recently I found out that Pristiq reaches it's peak concentration level after 7.5 hours. So I will try to take it at night, and see if I will feel more awake and fog-free in the morning. Also, I guess I should mention that when I forget to take a dose of Pristiq, I start to feel extremely drowsy, just as if I have taken a sedative.
  14. Hi guys, Currently finished my tapering and now into the Withdrawl of pristiq. After spending so much time googling all the symptoms and anecdotes of others I wanted to add to it, in hopes of helping anyone else who'd be in my situation in the future! I think too much time spent reading some of the horror stories (and I feel terrible for those poor souls), really made me so much more anxious than I needed to be. Some background: I was on pristiq 50mg for 5 months, no history of antidepressants or mental illness, until I had a breakdown of sorts due to family tragedy/work stress/love life difficulties and basically just everything at once. I was diagnosed with GAD, put on pristiq (because at the time I could barely leave the house without having a panic attack), and sent to a psychologist for CBT. 5 months later my doc suggested coming off as id done well etc am ready. He gave me a tapering program for 3 weeks - 1st week every second day, 2nd week every third day, 4th week on the fourth day then stop. Tapering: this was for me not as horrible as I made myself believe it would be. I had probably two evenings where I'd feel the brain zaps (it felt more like popping candy sensation than a bolt of electricty, that idea scared the hell out of me lol) and was pretty tolerable. Before I finished completely, I researched all the natural remedies that might help ease any discomfort. And found a million different opinions.. I settled for fish oil tablets and vitamin B. Kept some ginger tablets and paracetamol on hand in case. Also, the app Headspace I can't recommend enough! Guided meditation has been an absolute life saver for me, and after trying a few different apps out I found this the best for me DAY ONE: Felt normal. I figured because of the tapering, and feeling normal on the first days off during it, today would be no different. Towards the end of the day I started having that throat tickle you get before you get a cold.. and thought great timing to get a cold DAY TWO: Woke up feeling like I had a cold, I had read flu like symptoms to be common in tapering, but I had assumed it would be the more brain fog rather than sneezing and coughing. Anxiety was a bit higher than normal, but I reminded myself to stop looking for symptoms and get on with my day. DAY THREE: Bit of brain fog in the morning, more a nuscance than anything.. managed to get rear ended while driving which really wasn't ideal lol. Was feeling pretty emotional after that but, as anyone would be. Rest of the day was fine, bit sleepy here and there and brain zaps before bed (now I know how they feel, it's easier to ignore them) DAY FOUR: I had read day 4 can be a common time for people to feel the grunt of side effects.. and I was on the war path for most of the day. Not usually an angry person but, Jesus, I was banging pots and pans and swearing. It took me a while to step back and realise I needed to calm down. Meditated, and felt a bit frazzled and went for a walk.. it seemed to help a whole lot DAY FIVE: I'm at the end of day five now, this is the first day without a headache, and first day without any painkillers (yay) brain zaps are still around, and find myself getting a bit teary to songs on the radio but I feel like I might be on the way down the mountain I'll keep updated on my days, I know everyone is different and I feel so so lucky to have gotten off easy so far with side effects. I just want to share a success to try and help balance out the horror
  15. Hi to all, Posted in the "Marriages Destroyed by SSRI SNRI" thread in more detail... Basically I stumbled across this forum after 18 months of increasing changes in our relationship dynamic, culminating in my wife wanting to separate/divorce me over the last few months. We have been married 12 years and have 2 energetic boys aged 3 1/2 and 2. I have reluctantly moved out of our family home due to her demands, and hate every minute of it. Since she went on Pristiq (50 mg) around 6 months ago, the following has happened: - I don't love you anymore / I've not loved you for years / I've never loved you - We're more like flatmates / brother and sister than lovers and partners - I need space to find myself and be free - We don't have anything in common - I want to separate / divorce - She 'developed a crush' / or actually cheated on me with a male friend she was helping train as a personal trainer (evidence suggests it may have been more than just a crush) - Osscilations between wanting to separate and not for utilitarian reasons (not feelings) - Seeing me completely break down in front of her and our children, and literally feeling nothing, nor react at all - She has gone from wearing her heart on her sleeve to being absolutely flat and uncaring towards me, often times being really derisive and rude/argumentative, which is extremely out of character Even prior to that, there was definitely emotional blunting taking place on the Eleva (100 mg) she was taking for the year before the Pristiq. I have somehow convinced her that she should consider the medication as being a factor, and she mentioned wanting to come off them anyway. She has started tapering her dose in order to be completely off them over the next few months. Yeah, so that's why I am here, and am hoping to learn from you all and your experiences. Some of you guys seem really knowledgeable. I wish you all the very best! Dawood
  16. Hi there, I am new here. Been on different anti-depressants since 1995. Recently had been on Prestiq 100 mg and Abilify 10 mg. Due to procrastination, finances and major stress, depression and an addiction I ran out of the Abilify and only had 4 Prestiq left before I finally made a Dr appointment and paid 150.00 cash self-pay to see my long-time Dr. Due to very low income and no insurance he switched me from Prestiq to Prozac 40 mg which is much cheaper (Fluoxetine). First Prozac was 1/12/17...he said it will help but not prevent all the Prestiq withdrawals. I still feel the loss of the Prestiq with dizziness, brain zaps, major fatigue, unstable, confused and fearful. Is this normal? How long will it last? If you have been on Prozac did it work for you and are there any side effects like fatigue, weight gain, anxiety, etc)? Next month (Feb 2017) I am hoping to have health insurance again and can switch meds if need be but wanna give this Prozac a chance to work (how long does it take to start working?). Thanks for any feedback you can offer!
  17. Hello, I'm Chad. I'm 28, male. History: My current diagnosis' are major depressive disorder, panic disorder with agoraphobia, and social anxiety disorder. I'm on disability, no longer go to college or work. I've been on anti-depressants since 2001 starting with Zoloft. In 2009, returned to a psychiatrist for re-evaluation, switched to various other anti-depressants, finally settling on Pristiq (desvenlafaxine) at 100mg. Also was put on benzodiazepines, with 3 slow taper attempts, I've always ended up reinstating. I've battled addiction with strong painkillers but for me, nothing could compare to the horrors of benzo withdrawal and I was hospitalized at the end of my last taper attempt for making an attempt on my life only to be put back on 4mg of clonazepam inside the facility. I've been on this dosage ever since and have not considered any further taper attempts since. Why Pristiq to Paxil: My quality of life is at a minimum. I'm not suffering from any withdrawal but I'm also not getting any better. Things are incredibly dark for me. I can't imagine anyone else who could hate themselves more than I do. I have a fear of death but also a fear of putting my family in any similar situation that I'm in now if I were to end my own life. That may be the only thing I respect about myself, the willingness to endure in the most harrowing times. Pristiq isn't working anymore so why should I be on it? The first action I took was adding mood stabilizers/anti-psychotics to my cocktail but I didn't tolerate any of them well whatsoever. The one I was on the longest with Abilify and I ended up with frightening hand tremors where my psychiatrist at the time called me and told me to stop immediately (cold turkey) and I was put on a drug called Congentin. The tremors went away but I guess that fear was that I could have been developing a potentially permanent side effect called tardive dyskinesia. It also caused weight gain. The other option was to speak to electro-convulsive therapy specialist. I denied twice. MAOIs were ruled out for their dangerous side effect but to be honest, I would have tried an MAOI before ECT. I did try to switch to another SNRI at one point, it was called Cymbalta. Another terrifying experience that I could not handle. Instead of trying to switch to Cymbalta again, I asked my doctor about switching back to an SSRI and asked if that could even work and his reply was something along the lines of "of course..." so I he suggested Prozac or Paxil as I've never tried either and I chose Paxil. The schedule he gave me was: Week 1- 20mg of Paxil w/ 100mg of Pristiq (my normal dosage) Week 2 - 20mg of Paxil w/ 50mg of Pristiq Week 3 - 20mg of Paxil w/ no Pristiq It's rapid and I cannot make cuts with this drug, I cannot dissolve this drug, there is a lower dose of 25mg but for whatever reason, he did not add that to the schedule and changing doses is also a financial issue right now. He only had samples of 50mgs and he gave me those for week 2. I am going to follow this schedule and try to document (journal) it here as coherently as I possibly can. I've also ordered a supplement called Phenibut that could ease anxiety as I feel tolerant to 4mg of clonazepam. I've decided to try the lowest dose and only once a week. I currently live with my mother as I cannot afford housing on disability. She is aware of the situation. Neither of know what could possibly happen but I do know that it could be similar to/ or worse than the transition to Cymbalta that I tried about 5 years ago. I'm terrified but the only place I have to drive to is my next doctor's appt. which is in mid February. The one symptom that worries me most is brain zaps/shocks. I experience them if I miss even a day of Pristiq and they are debilitating, you're not able to do much. So this is day 1. I've taken my first 20mg of Paxil about an hour ago. Please feel free to add your input, comments and I could absolutely use any support or encouragement to get through this. My main goal is to be off all medications one day but unfortunately, it's not such an easy path. I don't know if it's a possibility to do it and live normally either.
  18. I started Pristiq (desvenlafaxine) in August 2014 after yet another tearful visit with my GP. I think he was at a loss to help me after many other discussions, investigations (thyroid, iron, GI, immune), treatment with CBT etc. I was very anxious, especially on waking in the morning and having suicidal thoughts most evenings before falling asleep. I agreed to try an antidepressant and we picked Pristiq almost at random. I initially tried to take it in the morning but the nausea, dizziness and other side effects made me switch to bedtime dosing. In some ways I am equivocal about coming off it, and am considering a switch to Valdoxan (agomelatine) as I feel that I need a safety net giving my genes and current circumstances. Overall in fact, I suspect that most of my mental health problems are a combination of genes (anxious mother, depressive father), long term treatment with corticosteroids for an autoimmune condition (mania/suicidal thoughts at high doses, depression during and after the taper) and general high pressure academic and work environments over the years. N.B I was not on steroid therapy when I commenced the Pristiq. The main driver I have for ceasing Pristiq is the almost paralytic exhausted I am suffering, along with restless legs, that are affecting I assume my sleep but are also manifesting in waves during the day and impeding my ability to work and study. My memory has also been seriously affected, and as a result, so too has my ability digest and retain complex new information and to produce work of a high level. I am also having to work very hard to hide this impediment from my colleagues and supervisor. Further, it has meant a reduction in social life and a huge mental barrier to maintaining an exercise regime which is an important part of my life and recovery. This fatigue is actually the biggest issue I have currently as the psychosocial factors present 2 years ago have long since resolved. Much of that by hard work on my part with mindfulness meditation, changes to nutrition and exercise and moving overseas to take up new opportunities away from some of the old triggers and family dramas. Pristiq is not licensed in the UK and when it was suggested that I switch to venlafaxine XR I discovered that restless legs and REM sleep suppression were listed as side effects for this parent formulation and therefore assume potential for this to also be induced by its metabolite desvenlafaxine. I have now been referred for sleep study as the usual investigations (iron deficiency anaemia, etc,) have drawn a blank. But given what I know, it has been an easy decision not to remain on either drug long term. I also strongly suspect that they would ask me to cease taking them before assessing me for other conditions e.g apnoea, narcolepsy etc. Having read the tips for Tapering here on the forum, dug through some of the literature and emailed Pfizer multiple times to no avail I have formulated my strategy as follows. Initially I plan to try taking Pristiq in the morning to assist my sleep to be as refreshing as possible. I can only hope that the side effects (nausea, dizziness) were due to the induction period and will not be present now. Then I will switch to Effexor instant release and taper slowly over 4 months. For the first week I I will alternate days between 50mg Pristiq and 112.5mg (3 x 37.5mg) Effexor, in 8hr divided doses until I am confident that they are equivalent dose wise. My current GP suggested 75mg only, but the pharmacokinetic data indicates that desvenlafaxine is only 55% (half conjugated, half not), so I want to start higher. Once I am confident that this won't be too dramatic a dose change I will stick with Effexor only and taper from there. As soon as I hit 75mg daily dose I will drop the night time dose and consider introducing agomelatine as I have heard good things about it for anxiety and know that there is no discontinuation effect. I will take the second half of the taper as slowly as possible but I really need to get on top of the sleep problems and fatigue as soon as I can, without compromising my mental health or inducing hideous withdrawal. Hopefully as I lower the dose the symptoms of restless legs and crushing fatigue will also recede. If not, I may introduce agomelatine earlier as it has good sleep induction and maintenance properties that could assist. The only other thing I am taking is magnesium as I noticed a reduction in the restless legs after using Epsom salts in the bath and supplementation, again, shows promise for managing anxiety. Tonight is the first night I will skip Pristiq and take the next dose in the morning. I have only missed an evening dose once before and by midday the effects were already noticeable. I hope taking it with breakfast will give a seamless switch. Wish me luck. GPK. Edit. I am also slowly ruining my expensive adolescent orthodontic work with Pristiq induced bruxism. Another good reason to cease.
  19. Hey guys, I've actually read this website a lot in the past year but never actually joined. I decided today would be a good as day as any. I have a question that I think everyone here has probably asked before- am I gonna be ok? Here's my situation (stick with me, it's a long story). I'm turning 23 next month, and throughout high school I never dealt with much anxiety aside from two or three panic attacks brought on by smoking weed. I didn't know what they were at the time so I chalked it up to bad drugs or whatever. Anyway, after I graduated in 2012 I started experimenting with different drugs in college and I ended up having what I think was a really bad acid trip, or even perhaps serotonin syndrome, in April of 2013. I took a few tabs and immediately had a horrible reaction that ended with me blacking out on the floor and waking up with a few minor scrapes and bruises. i was pretty much fine for about 2 or 3 months after that, but in August I started having weird visuals and light headedness. I also had some panic attacks, which had never happened sober before. Thinking the bad trip had messed me up, I went to the doctor with my symptoms and was diagnosed with anxiety disorder and panic attacks. Looking back on it I'm sure the bad trip didn't help but since I was ok for a few months after and my anxiety symptoms didn't really surface until August, i don't think the bad trip necessarily caused my anxiety. It probably would have happened either way. Anyway, I was prescribed citalopram and it worked amazing for 2.5 years. I had minimal anxiety and panic attacks. However, I gained about 60 pounds and had some sexual side effects (without getting too graphic). Thinking the medicine was causing the weight gain, I went to a new doctor and was prescribed pristiq. Pristiq also worked, though I noticed I couldn't drink on it or I would have a panic attack. The downside was that it wasn't covered by insurance and was VERY expensive. Still, I felt pretty good and because I was so ignorant about the drugs I decided to try and stop cold turkey back in May of this year. I lasted about a weekend with the horrible withdrawal symptoms before I went back to my doctor to explain what happened. She told me that it was normal to experience a withdrawal when stopping cold turkey and prescribed Effexor as something similar to pristiq that would be covered by insurance. It didn't help at all and I still felt like I was going through withdrawals. After about 2 weeks i asked to try and go back to the citalopram and she recommended lexapro as an improved version of citalopram, so i tried that for about 6 weeks. It actually made me feel worse. I went back, desperate to find something to help me, and was prescribed brintellix(trintellix) which after two weeks did nothing. Finally I had enough and asked my doctor about stopping all antidepressants. She told me to cut them in half for a week and then take a half every other day for a week. At this point I had become a veteran of online message boards and I knew that taper was very aggressive so I did two weeks of half a pill and two weeks of half a pill every other day. I took my last pill on August 30th, exactly 90 days ago. I've gone through every symptom imaginable. Brain zaps, panic attacks, weird muscle twitches including eyelids and finger jerks, extreme derealization/depersonalization, horrible chest pains that sent me to the ER convinced I was having a heart attack, jaw pain, weird visuals, and bouts of crying at the slightest provocation. Since I'm about 90 days in, I figured I'd see some improvement by now. While the brain zaps have thankfully stopped, all my other symptoms are still coming and going. Some days I'll have no chest pain but I'll have twitches and depersonalization. Or some days I won't really have much twitching but I'll have visuals and jaw pain. I guess my question is this- can I expect these symptoms to eventually go away, or do I have to learn to live with them as this is the best I'll get? Is this my normal anxiety disorder or still withdrawal symptoms? Am I stuck like this? Please only positive comments, I'm a super negative person by nature and I'm trying to remain positive. Thanks in advance for any replies. Edit- I should add that I don't do any drugs anymore, I stopped everything other than drinking as soon as I started my antidepressant in 2013. I haven't drank this summer either, I've tried but it just makes my withdrawal symptoms worse so I've stayed away. I've also been working out every other day (lifting weights and doing core workouts) to try and feel a little better. My diet has been better and I've lost about 30 pounds since May, and I've just started a new career that I'm excited about. I SHOULD be doing much better but these withdrawals/anxiety have just been killing me all year. Just some context for my question. Thanks again
  20. Hey I have been on lexapro since 2012 after a lot of trials and errors I was prescribed mirtazapine 7.5 mg (half dose) and lexapro 10mg . I was on mirtazapine 7.5 for a couple of years until switching to amisulpride 50mg . Stayed on lexapro 10mg and amisulpride 50mg until last December I 'relapsed' and the psychiatrist started experimennting with different drugs . I decided to quit drugs and tapered off for the first couple of weeks took both the drugs in full dose and than for next couple of weeks half dose of amisulpride and full dose of lexapro. For the next couple of weeks I didn't take even a single dose amisulpride and slowly weaned off lexapro too. I remember I took my last lexapro pill on 13th Feb 2016. Right after stopping it started feeling like a zombie and days from 6-10were complete hell . Felt suicidal . However somehow I managed to stay afloat by telling myself it's just WD and I will soon get better . ilIstarted feeling better after the time passed . Yet I was not able to feel any emotion . No anger , no happiness ,no sadness , just felt like a zombie . Out of nowhere somewhere in late March I wioke up and felt like my old self . I was excited ,yet somewhere ilI newbie won't last long . THAT night had an anxiety attack and from than onwards started feeling foggy . it was extremely difficult to understand or feel anything. HOWEVER. in May I started running and somewhere near 21st of May I felt like myself again but it too didn't last long enough. And than after a month after exercising and sweating it out in gym I felt like returning to my old self again but than something really simple made it really worse . My college exams too played a role in it . Even after runningg miles and sweating it out in gym I was not able to sleep. I got 4-6 hours of sleep . And my cognitive functions have only worsened so far . I haven't been able to enjoy stuffs that I once enjoyed. I felt suicidal and went back to psychiatrist .He gave me a cocktail of drugs including lexapro , I attempted suicide just the next day . I again came off and after seeing no improvement in my cognitive abilities alwent back on drugs . Currently I am on Desvenflas 50mg and some benzodiazpine. Found about this sit recently and related to the people on them I would love to know our all's opinion on the mqtter
  21. Hello, I'll try to make this as compact as possible. Personal I have been on anti-depressants for ~ 6 years now. [ come to think of it, it may be longer than 6 years I will have to do some research on that, maybe my doctor can tell me next visit ] I started due to severe depression. Stopped going to work, laid in bed for days/weeks/months. Hopelessness, zero motivation, crying, head throbbing pain, etc, etc, etc... I feel they have numbed my very being by lessening my emotions, clouding my ambitions, allowing me to be content with mediocrity, stifles my creativity, and more. Although I do feel they have "helped" to progress me out of a depressive state, I feel they are not the solution to the real issues in my life. Over these years I have developed as an individual and sought insight and tools for surviving life. I feel I now have the tools I need to overcome my problems that originally led me down a spiral of depression. I want my REAL life back. Lifestyle I am currently living very low stress, eating healthy, and exercising regularly. University student - Stress goes up when assignments are due, and exams time. But I am able to cope. No girlfriend, although I am trying to get out there as I feel this is an important factor in emotional and mental stability. Walk dog daily at the local park, allowing for easy social interaction and good book end and regularity to my day. Healthy eating, Primal blueprint style eating: Meat, fruit, veg, no added sugar ( occasional fortnightly chocolatey treats ), no grains, supplemental vitamins, fish oil, protein shake. Exercise, Cycling 5 times a week low intensity > 1-hour sessions, 1 sprint session, 1 weights session. Unemployed, surviving off government student payments. Although I am seeking casual employment ( somewhere easy like retail or delivery driver ) Drug history Cymbalta ( prescribed due to severe depression, stopped working, laid in bed for days/weeks/months ) - 3 years - I forget the dosage, but I think it was above the initial 'normal' dosage prescribed. Pristiq ( prescribed due to issues with anxiety outweighing straight up depression ) - 100mg 1 year ( no memories of anything wrong transitioning straight from Cymbalta to Pristiq 100) - 150mg 1 year ( upped dose due to severe anxiety resulting in quitting internship, inability to attend University properly ) - 100mg 3 months ( travelling really well, although still don't like what i am missing from taking drugs to become a 'functional zombie' Removing dependence Originally I was thinking just get the drug out of my system as quickly as possible. BUT I now know that the drug is not really the problem. The problem is that my body has been altered so much that removing the mechanism (Pristiq) for my body to function in this altered state will be devastating and can have long lasting effects for years. So there goes my plan on not having to take Pristiq during next school semester... I did, however, start the cold turkey process and after experiencing withdrawal symptoms, nothing I haven't experienced from missing a dose, I decided to do a little research on other people's experience with dropping Pristiq. I took 100mg after 10mins reading of other people's experiences and why you should taper, and definitely not go cold turkey especially on Pristiq. I read a few posts about why tapering is important and have decided this is the route I will take. Tapering I need help on a plan on how to taper off Pristiq. I will be seeing my doctor about this soon. But I feel I need a plan to go to her with, otherwise she will simply use the "manufacturers recommended process" which, from what I have read, is BS. She is quite open, and I feel I need to include her in this to ensure a smooth process. I am scared to transition to another drug, as some posts have mentioned Effexor may be easier to taper off than Pristiq due to issues with cutting/crushing of Pristiq's time release capsule to small doses. I will continue reading the forums, but I see the consensus is 90% of current dose until your taking a minuscule amount. I've been on em 6 years what's another year or so as long as I can do it. Questions 1) I stopped Pristiq cold turkey for 2 days, 2 doses of 100mg. After reading this forum, I took 1 does, 100mg, as I now feel cold turkey to be a bad idea. Can I start tapering immediately, tomorow morning, or should I wait and stabilise at 100mg again? If so how long should I wait to start tapering? 2) Is cutting 100mg into 90mg an appropriate method? Or should I be using the smallest pill sizes available to create a tapered dose? ie 50mg + 25mg + 0.6*25mg = 90mg -> 50mg + 25mg + 0.24*25mg = 81mg 3) Is going from the smallest does I can get, may only be 50mg in Australia, to another drug ( eg: Effexor ) the most successful method? 4) It will take me 200 days to get to 50mg doing currentDose-90% every 4 weeks. How do I know If I can increase the interval rate? 5) Tapering to 50 or even 25mg makes sense, sizeable chunks are being taken out each interval, what is the method for less than 25mg? 6) Should I keep a journal post on this forum on my progress and methods used??? Final thoughts I feel a bit frustrated that I am able to drop from 150 to 100mg so easily, no real effects immediately, and zero effects after 1 week. But dropping to 50 mg will take ~ 200 days. Is the thinking that there is such a profound effect from the smallest dose of Pristiq, I think I read 25mg over a short period will affect 80% of serotonin receptors, that the relation is exponential therefore reducing large doses is easy but as the dose gets smaller the effects are relatively greater. Well, it's been over an hour since I popped the little bastard of a pill, and just starting to feel a little better physically, but a little frustrated about the thought of how long this process is going to take Oh well, if this is the way it has to be done. Also, a little relieved that I have other people who have experience to help me with this. I'll do some more reading on the forums, but any links to research papers on withdrawal effects, cold turkey vs standard practice vs tapering method, would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for the help!
  22. I would like to ask for help on how to get off this drug and not have to many issues.I am in protracted withdrawal from benzo and have come off many other psycho drugs. The doctors in western Australia seem clueless about it all but really happy to write scripts though. I would appreciate all advice and help.
  23. Hi from Oz, I recently got real fed up with the amount of tablets I was taking. I looked at them and thought... Which one is the least needed... Mirtazapine was my choice. I've been on 15mcg nightly for well over a year now and it was given to help with my elevated anxiety and crap sleep. I'm also on pristiq many years now. Well, 3 weeks ago, I stopped it cold turkey... Felt fine, felt great, no worries whatsoever. About one week later I started itching like mad, I thought... Bug bites, scabies, bed bugs, fleas. I would feel the itch, scratch it and bang, big itchy mozzie like lumps would form. I got tested for scabies, all clear, cleaned all my linen, vacuumed, even did my hair for head lice. All clear. Two visits to doc, no conclusion except topical steroid base cream and oral anti histamine to stop the UNBELIEVABLE insane itch. I am riddled with hives! Just this morning my daughter asked me about my meds and said maybe it's withdrawal? So here I am, itching like the devil himself is torturing me and decided that I can't go on anymore, the creams ain't cutting it, I went back on the Mirtazapine tonight! Who else itched and scratched and scratched, I can't handle it anymore! Every doorjamb has my dna all over it from my backscratching
  24. Hi Everyone, I'm new here so thought I'd introduce myself. I've been on the mental health journey since 2007, offically diagnosed with Major Depression. I've never really had any formal triggers that get me down and naturally the symptoms of depression I battle with are usually more physical, but can be thought related too (tired, poor memory, poor concentration, can't be bothered with anything, guilt etc.). I was started on Lexapro in 2011 at 10mg and then increased a few months later to 20mg, I don't remember building up gradually or any side effects of the bump up in dose. In 2014 I checked myself into hospital and was commenced on Pristiq 25mg. I remember tapering off Lexapro over a weekend and starting Prisitq on the monday. While in hospital, for 6/7 weeks I was gradually brought up to 200mg Pristiq, as well as being started on lithium (450mg then 900mg) and Euthyrox (100mcg) to help speed up metabolism and body processes. Once discharged my meds were still tweaked to 300mg Pristiq (+900 lithium, 100 euthyrox) and I have been on them from mid 2014 until recently August 2016. I'm now going to be changing from Pristiq to Effexor. Initial plan is taper 300mg --> 200mg Pristiq over the weekend then commence 300mg Effexor next week. So far I'm just experiencing low grade headache (not going away with sleep, water or paracetamol), lethargy and fuzzy vision. In the past when having accidentally missed a dose of meds or run out, I've experienced headaches, nausea, lethargy, poor vision, need to keep moving (??), electric shock type feelings under my skin and in my brain. I usually just try to sleep until its over or can get some meds. I wonder if anyone else has changed from Pristiq--> Effexor and what worked from them in regards to the swap and limiting withdrawal/new drug ill feelings? Look forward to getting to know some of you
  25. Hi everyone! I stumbled across this forum when googling 'getting off Pristiq' and found the tapering pristiq post. Browsing around the last couple hours has been very helpful and calming. I'm happy to have found somewhere with people possibly experiencing similar situations like I am and to also get some support/help outside of my doctors. I've dealt with depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder II for years and years. Ever since I was a kid. As a kid I used negative coping mechanisms to counter what I was feeling but as I got older it stopped 'helping' my feelings and began to make them worse. I first saw a psychiatrist in 2008 and was prescribed lexapro. I took it for a week and then threw the rest out. I said I could keep doing it without meds or any help (but with some counseling help of course. I can't do that alone) 2010 at 21 years old I was diagnosed with papillary carcinoma (thyroid cancer) and had surgery/treatment for that. Since losing all functioning thyroid cells, I have to take Synthroid for-ev-er. These last years I've been able to really understand my body and know the difference between a depressive episode or if my thyroid levels are not optimal. And it's been a long bumpy road. This year though has been one of the worst I've experienced mentally and it led me to seek out counseling help and when I still wasn't having any improvement with CBT decided to finally try meds. My psychologist suggested a family medicine doc and I ran to her. First was prescribed lexapro and took it for a month. It made me incredibly groggy and foggy brained during the day, even with taking it at night. So my doc abruptly stopped that and had me start Pristiq 50mg that same day. I had a week of rockiness mainly with emotions and agitation. Trouble sleeping. Upset stomach. But most subsided by week 2. By the time the 4th week of being on pristiq rolled around I noticed my anxiety was getting way out of control and gradually getting worse. I had my first panic attack in YEARS after one month on pristiq. Follow up with my doc and she adds on Buspar and suggests I see a new doctor (my bad for seeing a family medicine to manage meds when I should have seen a psychiatrist first. But anywho...) Finally get in with a good psych but by now it's been 3 months on pristiq. First evaluation and everything, she tells me that Pristiq (or effexor) would be one of the last meds she would prescribe me just based on my personal symptoms/issues. So I left that appointment feeling great and accomplished! Finally going to get on track... I go back to her the next week for the medication plan and she tells me to half my 50mg pristiq pills and come back the next week. She added trazadone 75mg at night for sleep (which really has been helping in that area for me) and kept buspar the same (15mg twice daily and as needed). Holy Toledo, by day three of the half dose I was ready to crawl out of my skin. Was shaky, headaches, upset stomach, very anxious and emotional (my poor boyfriend), almost chill like body aches. I was so ready to be off pristiq I was scared to call the doc and tell her how I was feeling, so I stuck it out. Saw her last week for the follow up and told her how I was doing, she decided to keep me at the half dose of pristiq for 2 more weeks then come back (I see her next week). She mentioned possibly trying Zoloft but will have a more concrete plan when I see her next. I feel pretty defeated right now. I'm on almost 3 weeks now on the half dose of pristiq and just all around feeling poopy. Emotionally and physically. My mood has gotten way worse, depression symptoms are very strong right now and having trouble even working. I'm so glad I came across the post I did today, because I am going to call and see if she'll call in the 25mg pristiq. After reading that halving the extended release pills isn't recommended MAYBE getting the 25mg will help for now. So that's my shortened/long story. I would love to be referenced to some posts that might help since I haven't totally learned my way around yet, or even just some encouragement! Just keep telling myself this is only temporary right now
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