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☼ DrugfreeProf: I successfully got off Prozac and Ritalin and am doing fine

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DrugfreeProf   
DrugfreeProf

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!

Edited by scallywag
Shep--Added spaces for ease of reading; scallywag--tags added

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Shep   
Shep

Hi, DrugfreeProf.

 

Welcome to SA. This is an amazing story. I'm sorry for your losses, but you sound very resilient. It is wonderful to have someone come into the forum with a good outcome.

 

I'm going to list the usual links about withdrawal, but you sound like you're doing really well.

 

What is withdrawal syndrome? 

 

The Windows and Waves Pattern of Stabilization

 

Perhaps you can add to some of the threads we have about non-drug coping skills about ways you found to help you along. We have quite a number of members who also use mindfulness, tapping,  and various cognitive techniques as listed here: 

 

Non-drug techniques to cope with emotional symptoms

 

Please add a signature with your medication history. Here is how:

 

Please put your withdrawal history in signature

 

Are there any remaining symptoms that you'd like to ask questions about? This really is reading like a Success Story. If you feel you have healed and would like us to move your post to the Success stories: Recovery from withdrawal section, just let us know. 

 

 

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gn11   
gn11

Thanks for your story DrugfreeProf,

 

I took Lexaprof ro a year and half after a very difficult separation. I was able to stop with relatively minor problems although I had some wd symptoms. This time ( I could kick myself) I said yes to a low dose of Celexa and I can kick myself as I'm having a real hard time with it. I think it is related to the stress of an eye surgery plus lots of work stress and other traumas in the recent past. I was once a psychotherapist and a psychology professor now I'm a dean of a small institute. A good encouraging story...it helps me to keep on moving forward. 

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JanCarol   
JanCarol

Hey DrugFree - welcome!

 

 

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!

 

 

Once again, evidence of what GIaK of Beyond Meds says:  Everything Matters.

 

Diet.  Exercise.  Emotional skills, "woo" skills (hey, tapping may be woo, but it works for so many people!), meditation, relationships, therapy.  A good toolkit is the basis of healing!

 

You may find it affirming and inspiring to visit here:

https://beyondmeds.com/2012/10/23/everything-matters/

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DrugfreeProf   
DrugfreeProf

Thank you for the kind comments; they mean a lot. Right now, though, my main concern is not me but my daughter, Lexi, who posted here under Lex1992,

 

Her med history is at the end of her posts, but in short, she tapered herself off of Lexipro 10 mg over the course of a few months but nonetheless too quickly.

 

She did so because she had been on them for nine years, starting when she was 15, and was now 24, nearing the end of a stint in So America, and feeling fine. She was in Ecuador when she stopped sometime in Feb. 2016.  In May 2016, her stepfather and I came to meet her and her boyfriend in Peru, where we toured around the country together for 10 days. It was a long and tough bus trip, but Lexi generally looked and did fine.  

 

Late in May, however, during the couple of weeks prior to coming back home to the U.S., she became mildly  symptomatic--some crying spells and irritability, which were not typical of her. (She never suffered from anything worse than moderate depression, and always pulled herself out of episodes in a reasonable amount of time.) Then she came home in early June, and that's when the **** hit the fan.  She came across this site and shared it with me, and she matched perfectly the list of symptoms described by everyone else going through the same scenaior--for the first time in her life, she had severe insomnia, akithesia, extreme anxiety, agitation, anhedonia, no motivation, extremly negative rumination, loss of appetite and dark, at times suicidal/homicidal thoughts (with no intention of actually doing so; she is at least able to articulate what she's thinking and see it as unreasonable if not ridiculous).  

 

Around that time, she posted her story on SA (see Lex1992), and I also posted my story of going off prozac around the same time.  Lexi's symptoms got so bad, so quickly that she decided (based on reading posts on SA), to try a reinstatement of the Lexipro, slowly working her way from 1 mg to 5 mg, where she is holding right now.  Hard to say if it is helping or not--maybe a little. She also got her cortisol level measured by her nurse practitioner; her morning cortisol at that time tested at about 3X the upper limit of normal.

 

Her insomnia and anxiety were terrible. After almost a month of not sleeping much at all and never through the night, her thinking became downright delusional:  she believed she was evil, worthless, and unfit to live int his world; she wanted to do something to get arrested so she could spend the rest of her life in jail; she didn't want to get better--really scary stuff.

 

In fact, this is way too much like what her older sister, Monique, looked like when she (Monique) took her life in April, 2007. (I am now convinced that Monique died from a reaction to the psych meds she was started and stopped on over a four month period, with very little oversight or cautious restraint on the part of the many (15-18?)  mental health practitioners who saw her during this period.  

 

So in consultation with her prescriber (a wonderful, conscious, holistic psychiatric nurse practitioner), she agreed to go on 2.5 mg. Zyprexa, a drug we both hate (we are both very health conscious people), really out of desperation to help get her off the cliff where her thinking was taking her.  This is what she's taken for the last four nights. So far, she has slepped almost or entirely through the night on these nights.  Her thinking and behavior are somewhat more normal, her voice is louder, she is able to plan and engage in some activities.   But she reports still feeling empty, miserable, sad, and depressed.  She also has intermittently distanced herself from me and gotten angry with me (no big deal), but I worry about her  having hostile, negative thoughts about me--as though all this were my fault--again, first time in her life (we have always been closer than white on rice).  

 

She also, at some point over the last month, after posting publicly her anti-depressant story, somehow became convinced that what she was going through was NOT due to withdrawing from Lexipro but rather due to her own deep and terrible unresolved psychological problems! After a minor falling out with a best friend, she became obsessed with the idea that she had borderline personality disorder, which is almost a joke, as she is the farthest thing imaginable from borderline personality (she is gentle, kind, beautiful, loving, amazingly gifted and highly intelligent--but she does not believe this about herself at all right now.)

 

            At this point, I have been living, breathing, eating, and sleeping helping my daughter get better for about six weeks.   I am asking for advice from those of you who have found themselves in Lexi's shoes, feeling, thinking, and acting negatively, as far as what I and the rest of us can best do to help her.  The news is not all bad: she is going to start an intensive (e.g., 4-5 hrs/day) outpatient program tomorrow, and she is actually doing a little bit more than she has for the last couple of weeks (she is normally a VERY active, outgoing, hard-working artist). However, I am having a hard time with her resistance to doing the very things that she desperately needs to do to get better:  yoga, exercise, walking, meditating, reading and watching positive stuff, etc., all of which are available to her in plentitude.  We feel the need to watch her 24/7, and we do.

 

How can we best help her?  What does she need the most?  What advice would you give me, if you know what it's like to go through what she's going through?

 

As you can imagine, this entire scenario is a TOTAL NIGHTMARE for me, as I went through something way too similar with my oldest daughter, who ended up taking her own life. (I do NOT believe this will happen with Lexi, whose personality is very different and inner strengths/resources are much better than Monique's were.)  Honestly, at times it is more than I can bear, and I have been through a lot in my life. But I am keeping up the good fight. If you have any sage advice for me, please offer your thoughts. I love this site. Thank you.

Edited by ChessieCat
added more paragraph breaks & corrected member name

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Altostrata   
Altostrata

Welcome, DFP.

 

Your daughter's Intro topic is here http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/12493-lex1992-4-months-off-of-lexapro-extreme-anxietyruminating-cant-function-properly/ Can she post? It's best if we answer her questions about her situation in that topic.

 

Very happy to hear you're doing better. I added our cheerful "here comes the sun" symbol



to the title of your Intro topic, to show you're recovering.

Please continue to let us know how you're doing. I hope you will add your story to our Recovery Success Stories eventually!

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DrugfreeProf   
DrugfreeProf

Thank you!  I really appreciate the support. I have recovered fully from the meds and am extremely grateful for that. I also have recovered fully from the suicide death of my oldest daughter. I will at a separate time write about that, as recovery from that type of grief is, I'm pretty sure, similar to recovery from antidepressant withdrawal.

But this episode with my other daughter having a withdrawal reaction that mimics what happened with my other daughter (who suicided), with depression, anxiety, and especially, delusional thinking, is almost more than I can handle right now. I would like to get feedback from other members about how to handle this as a carer/caregiver of someone going through this. Is this the proper place to post this request (see long post above). 

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DrugfreeProf   
DrugfreeProf

Hi, Altostrata and other moderators. Help! Could someone please respond to the message I posted above and below about coping with and helping my daughter. She is currently having delusional thinking after going off Lexipro and Concerta too quickly this past February.   I need some hope, support, and guidance. She posted her story earlier on SA but I cannot find it on the site now (can you?)

She started with emotional symptoms at about 2 months out, then had the physical symptoms from around 3 to 5 months out, and she is now 6 months post-ADs and psychostimulant. Her main problem is and has been EXTREMELY negative thinking, no one likes her, she has no friends, etc. when in FACT, she is wildly popular and a very attractive young woman (she's 24).  She got herself tossed out of Alternatives to Meds in Sedona, AZ today by WALKING OUT (with medical approval) of an ER/med center where the center sent her when she had a fainting spell. What they did NOT do was accompany her and stay with her at the ER, so she took the opportunity to experience some freedom while freaking out the entire treatment staff and the police force of Sedona,AZ, who went looking for her.  She was missing for about six hours.  I pictured her dead.  It was one of many terrible experiences I've had since she withdrew from her meds.  

She will be coming home in two days after barely two weeks' worth of treatment. WHAT NEXT?  Any advice, suggestions, directions, or guidance?  I would so much appreciate it. Thank you for this truly amazing site.

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DrugfreeProf   
DrugfreeProf

Ooops!  My bad--she walked out of the ER/med center WITHOUT medical approval. She removed a needle to which she was hooked up to an IV and left without anyone knowing it. She wandered around Sedona for six hours before being found by a staff person.

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JanCarol   
JanCarol

Was she at the famous withdrawal clinic in Sedona?  We get asked a lot of questions about that place, and it would be good to have some first hand testimony as to what happens there.

 

I'll bet you are relieved she was found - the desert is a beautiful but dangerous place.  A mate of mine - well.  I won't tell that story.  Let's just be glad she was found.

 

So did "Alternatives to Meds" take her back?  Or has she been "thrown out" like your note said?  Have you talked to her?

 

It must be so hard, watching your daughter going through this, knowing how challenging withdrawal is, yourself.

 

I'll go to her thread to read your update there.

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scallywag   
scallywag

DFP -- I saw your post in Lex's thread and thought it might be better to reply here. I'm sorry that what passes for medicine in modern psychiatric pharmacy has had such major negative effects on your life. I hope you and Lex and your husband make it through this latest (and hopefully LAST) challenge and emerge safely.

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Martina23   
Martina23

Gemini Girl, please don't harm yourself. You should read over your thread to see how often you have had windows, however small, and to recognize that you are indeed healing.  It is not all bad. The world needs people like you who have been throught this terrible ordeal and who have come out the other end. Many people I know who have been harmed by the legal system in this country (and elsewhere) have gotten together, formed organizations, and reached out to thousands if not millions of others who are suffering in similar ways. That is how the world changes, and I think that is the only purpose in life--to leave the world a little better than it was before we entered it.  Everything changes and everything passes, both good and bad. Your symptoms will, too. My daughter has had problems with withdrawal very similar to yours, and she is definitely improving--yes, it is slow, but it is happening, and that's all that counts.  We cannot control life; all we have control over are our reactions to life.

I am willing to be your pal; please feel free to pm me off-list (you have my email address).

I like these words also. I wish my mother said something like that when I was at my worst. I think it is easy to be better and  valuable person when you have valuable persons supporting you. I think I would already make much more good things if my parents were half way supportive. DrugfreeProf, you should be proud of yourself. The world would be much better place if there were more people like you.

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DrugfreeProf   
DrugfreeProf

Martina, thank you for your very nice words. 

From having gone through this with my daughter, and having seen how she was viewed and treated by the "mental health system" when they had her in their clutches, I have now changed how I interact with my clients about psychoactive drugs. It has changed my entire paradigm--with a lot of thanks to SA for helping to educate me and keeping me sane while supporting Lexi.

We have got to wake people up about this, because I am know many people are literally dying from the effects of these drugs, but virtually no one--especially the mental health system,which bears the greatest portion of responsibility for this mess--is willing to admit it and thus begin the process of change. And so people in withdrawal, or suffering the toxic effects of their "medicine," are ignored, invalidated, mistreated, misdiagnosed, and abused over and over again. 

If I had not see what happened to my daughter Lexi, I probably would not yet have been woken up, either. And what a wake up call.

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DrugfreeProf   
DrugfreeProf

Hi, there. I am posting for a client of mine whom I have worked with for many years. She would not post on this site, for a variety of reasons, including her occupation and the need to stay anonymous. I am wondering if one or more mods could PLEASE give me a quick answer to this woman's dilemma. She is in her mid-60s and has been on Zoloft/sertraline 200 mg. for 7-plus years. Recently, she mentioned to her (female) psychiatrist that she was "feeling fatigued."  The psychiatrist, whom she has seen just a few times (she lost her previous psychiatrists for various reasons), immediately suggest switching to Welbutrin (buproprion). The psychiatrist advised my client to stop the sertraline IMMEDIATELY---with NO tapering--and to start on the bupriprion- for the first week, at 100 mgs., and the second week, up to 200 mgs.  I  know--horrifying.  Predictably, after three weeks being off the sertraline after a CT and now being on a high dose of buproprion, my client is reporting feeling the onset of WD symptoms (or maybe side effects from the new AD?), including increased hand tremor, irritability, increased anxiety, slightly paranoid thinking, etc.  I would have thought that the best bet for her would be to D/C the buproprion and to go back to a low dose of Zoloft and taper properly. However, I also discovered that sertraline and buproprion have a MAJOR interaction, and I'm not sure if, given that she has been on the buproprion for about three weeks now, if D/C the buproprion and going back on the Zoloft at a small dose might not still be problematic, as the drugs might mix together in her system and cause serotonin syndrome or another problem. I would so much appreciate a piece of advice. I would refer her to her psychiatrist for help, but of course, the psychiatrist is the source of the problem. Please advise!

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ChessieCat   
ChessieCat
1 hour ago, DrugfreeProf said:

She would not post on this site, for a variety of reasons, including her occupation and the need to stay anonymous

 

It is very difficult, if not impossible, for the mods to assist with 3rd parties.  As you know from experience even assisting a member with their very close relative is hard.

 

It is possible to stay completely anonymous on this site providing you use a pseudonym and don't post anything which can identify yourself.  For the location just put USA or even Plant Earth.  I would encourage this person to join, or at the very least visit the site as a guest, so they can get some information which might convince them that joining is in their best interest.

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