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Altostrata

CG -- recovered from Prozac withdrawal

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Altostrata   
Altostrata

Suffering from 4 years of prolonged Prozac withdrawal syndrome, CG founded the site Antidepressants Facts http://www.antidepressantsfacts.com/

in 2000 to collect his findings about the dangers of antidepressants and his theories on how withdrawal syndrome might affect the body.

 

In 2001, CG posted his story on http://ecommerce.drugawareness.org/Archives/Survivors/2001/record0007.html

 

At that time, he had had withdrawal syndrome from Prozac for 4 years. (It's also on http://www.antidepressantsfacts.com/2000-05-06-Charly-Prozac.htm

 

This contains a lot of detail about his symptoms and how they changed over those first 4 years. His site www.antidepressantsfacts.com was last updated in 2009. For many years, his site was the one people found when they were searching for information about antidepressant withdrawal syndrome. He may be the most famous survivor of prolonged antidepressant withdrawal syndrome in the world.

Edited by Altostrata
name changed by request

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Altostrata   
Altostrata

CG recently told a friend on Facebook his full recovery took 7 years. He saw more improvements after the 4 year mark. He is now 16 years away from his reaction and recently when I was asking him of I would make it and how he was he said "I am totally free of all the symptoms I had back then."

Edited by Altostrata
name changed by request

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Altostrata   
Altostrata

His advice about the progress of withdrawal syndrome at at http://www.antidepressantsfacts.com/reaction.htm has been widely copied all over the Web. Here is a version posted in late 2009 at http://experience.patient.co.uk/discussion.php?t=38410 (reposted with C's permission):

 

After your reaction to an (SSRI/SSNRI) Anti-Depressant

 

The first 3-18 months

One of the long term side-effects after experiencing a reaction to an (SSRI) antidepressant, is an extreme hyper-sensitivity of the nervous system to light, sound, supplements, herbs and fabricated synthetic vitamins. Furthermore physical symptoms such as muscle tightness, electrical shocks through the brain and the body, feelings of burning on the surface or inside of the skin (deregulation of pain perception), visual and/or auditory hallucinations, as well as emotional and psychological problems. For a more detailed discussion regarding above mentioned side-effects click here.

 

We do not recommend to expose your body to synthetic chemicals whilst experiencing more or less severe hypersensitivity of the nervous system. We rather recommend to get your essential elements from preferably organic low acid food. Low acidic foods have a high pH value which is ALKALINE or BASIC! You need to 'alkalinize' your system (body) above a pH value of '7' !

 

Eat enough fruit and vegetables in a variable alkalinizing balanced diet, and drink lots of water. For instance tomatoes, bananas, kiwi's, broccoli, aloe vera, carrots, cabbage, beans, cucumbers, etc., are a very rich source of essential minerals, vitamins and amino acids. Do not take 5-HTP to create more serotonin in your brain. By simply leaving your serotonergic neural system alone, you will assist it the most to find it's own natural balance again. Unfortunately this will take some time.

 

Do not charge your nervous system like you always did before your reaction to an (SSRI) antidepressant. If you charge your nervous system too much, like too much stress, a surgery, unhealthy eating patterns, etc., you actually delay your recovery. You will have to learn to listen to your body, what means that you know when to withdraw and when to get active.

 

When you suffered a reaction to an (SSRI) antidepressant your nervous system becomes hyper-sensitive to ALL stimuli. What are stimuli? It is everything that acts on your nervous system (directly or indirectly) like light, sound, but also violence on TV, stressors, certain supplements or fabricated vitamins, etc. All these things act as stimulants to your nervous system. Actually the effects of a psychoactive drug and watching a horror movie are very much comparative to each other...that is: they BOTH act on your nervous system!

 

The key solution to recovery is NOT to stimulate your nervous system, but, to sedate your nervous system. Every time when you stimulate a nervous system that in fact needs to be sedated to recover, you delay the process of healing. We know it will be impossible to lock your self up in a dark, silent room and this is definitely not what we are trying to say. You just have to learn when to withdraw yourself (and thus your nervous system) from stimuli and when to come out.

 

Consider sweat baths (sauna baths). This is a very healthy habit. Sweat baths are extremely sedating to the nervous system. When you take a sweat bath on a regular base this will strengthen your cardiovascular system and improve the blood circulation. Next to this, go out in nature, trees, green, oxygen, gentle walking, etc..

 

About taking supplements

We learned that everyone who is experiencing (SSRI) antidepressant side-effects, is looking for the quick relief. People are experimenting with whatever supplement or fabricated synthetic vitamin they can get their hands on. Simply avoid this if that is possible.

 

As previously mentioned above, we do not recommend to expose your body to synthetic chemicals whilst experiencing more or less severe hypersensitivity of the nervous system. We rather recommend to get your essential elements from preferably organic low acid food in a variable balanced diet.

 

Two to three simple bananas and kiwi's, an egg-sandwich, 2-3 glasses of milk, a few tomatoes and an avocado a day provides many of the essential vitamins, (trace)minerals & amino acids you need on a daily base. Vegetables especially rich in essential elements are: Peas, Potatoes, Broccoli, Squash (Summer), Spinach, Lima Beans & Kale. The taste of nature is nice and it saves you money on unnecessary supplements too!

 

However we also understand that getting your essentials from a variable diet requires some skills in preparation and cooking of your daily meal. Not everyone is able or willing to do that. In that case you need to add your essential elements otherwise. We understand if you feel the need to take a daily multi-vitamin complex. There are many different multi-vitamin complex products, unfortunately a lot of rubbish amongst them. Most of them contain extra added synthetic chemicals which you must avoid. If you are going to take a multi-vitamin complex you need to be aware of the following:

 

- make sure that it doesn't contain Vitamin K. Vitamin K plays a role in the manufacture of blood clotting. Too much of this vitamin might interact with plasma serotonin which is also known to make blood form cloths (see article, "2.a. Serotonergic functioning"). Although there is more research needed regarding this matter, the anecdotal reports of (former) (SSRI) antidepressant users imply fabricated vitamin K as a cause for the worsening of their already exisiting symptoms.

 

- make sure that ALL B-vitamins are low(never above the daily recommended standard). It is important to note that most B-vitamins work as stimulants to the nervous system. You need to avoid that.

 

- make sure that the B3 compound is as niacinamide and NEVER as niacine (this will give a flush which could make you re-live all of your symptoms again).

 

Depending on the severeness of the reaction you experienced to an (SSRI) antidepressant we also recommend that if you decide to take your essential elements otherwise, to take calcium/magnesium/zinc in a vegetarian formula. Never exceed the daily dose of Calcium 1000mg, Magnesium 400mg and Zinc 15mg. Although calcium/magnesium/zinc are not known to act as stimulants, caution is needed. Always start with small amounts (1/6 of the daily dose), gradually build up and keep monitoring yourself.

 

In these first 3-18 months the cycles or the emotional rollercoasters (the tricks your brain is playing on you) can be extremely frightening. And it will seem like it never ends, especially when you find a bit of hope in the evening to be back at square one in the morning. Be firm! We all understand its the most frustrating experience right now for you. It's serotonin related and that's why you are experiencing delayed (withdrawal) side effects and flashbacks, but gradually it will get better. Evaluate your recovery by weeks and months, not days.

 

You are going to experience minutes, hours and days that you will start to feel better. The cycles will get longer in duration and eventually you will have more good then bad days. Though, it is most important you also treat your nervous system with care during these better days. Don't think when the better days arrive that you can charge your nervous system like you always did before. It will give you a major set-back! Stick to the list we provide you below, on how to assist your recovery during this period.

 

Friends and Family

These times are very tough to experience. Your friends and family cannot even imagine the powerful influence these drugs have on your mind and your sub-consciousness. They simply cannot believe that these drugs can have such a powerful effect on someone's brain. You might loose your trust in them after this. Try to accept and understand their ignorant and frustrating reactions. Avoid them for a while, if that's possible.

 

 

How can I assist my recovery during this period?

Avoid any psycho-stimulants such as medications, herbs, but especially: violence on TV. Why? Because right now your nervous system has become hyper-sensitive and extremely susceptible to every input from your surroundings, not only light and sound! You must also protect your sub-consciousness until you reach a level of emotional stability.

Ingest low acid foods and try to minimize the ingestion of high acidic foods with a low pH-grade! REMEMBER: You need to 'alkalinize' your system (body) above a pH value of '7' !

 

Avoid Grapefruit Juice. Grapefruit juice is an inhibitor of the cytochrome P-450 enzymes. These enzymes are known to metabolise (break down) (SSRI) antidepressants in the liver. Drinking grapefruit juice whilst you are taking an (SSRI) antidepressant can create a serious toxic reaction, because the (SSRI) antidepressant will build to toxic levels in the bloodstream! For more information click here.

 

- No caffeine. Drink lots of chamomile tea, sweetened with honey.

 

- No alcohol.

 

- Don't take Saint John's Worth. St. John's Worth works more or less as a natural SSRI (on post synaptic receptors), also interacting with your serotonergic neural system

 

- Don't take Ma-Huang (Ephedra) because it's a powerful adrenalin (epinephrine) stimulant, triggering adrenalin rushes.

 

- Don't take Kava Kava, it can intensify (SSRI) antidepressant (withdrawal) side-effects or give flashbacks to previous side-effects you experienced.

 

- Eat neutral alkaloids, vegetables, etc..

 

- Consider fasting for 1 to 10 days. Fasting detoxifies your body, but be careful and monitor your bloodsugar levels daily.

 

- Don't do any intensive exercise like jogging or aerobics, but instead try meditation, gentle stretching, gentle walking.

 

- Go out in Nature, or go to a Sauna, or whatever environment where you may find a little peace of mind and body.

 

- Listen to light Classic music or New Age music, watch cartoons (or anything else without violence), go walking, take hot or cold showers, anything that might work for you, anything to "manage" the "twilight zone" of suicidal and offensive thoughts and dissociated emotions.

 

- Focus on memories of events in your past (like childhood memories) which will recall positive emotions. Hang on to them!

 

- Learn during this period, which thought or view will give you any positive emotional response and write this down into the form of an affirmation! Read these affirmations for yourself every morning when you wake up! In this way you will slightly re-program your brain to tune into positive emotions.

 

- Time and Nature will be your best friends in your healing process. In this battle you don't fight to win because you can't. You simply will survive it. Focus on the thought to survive this, and you will, just as other individuals did. Don't force yourself to become the person again that you were before this, but make a statement to yourself that you will come out of this "trip." Make this statement to your self everyday, every hour.

 

Whilst You are Recovering...

We strongly persist not to take any supplements, herbs and/or synthetic vitamins until your nervous system has strengthened over time. Continue to ingest proper food, vegetables and fruit during this period. Treat your nervous system with care. As mentioned above: don't think when the better days arrive that you can charge your nervous system like you always did before. It will give you a major set-back! Be careful and monitor your body closely whilst you are ingesting a supplement or herb.

Edited by Altostrata
name changed by request

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Claudius   
Claudius

Interesting, maybe you were talking about me who was told by C that he was recovered after 7 years. I never knew which drug he had taken, always had assumed it was Paxil/Seroxat but apparently it was Prozac. Not the most notorious in terms of excruciating long-term WD I thought, but obviously it can be just as dangerous.

Edited by Altostrata
name changed by request

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Altostrata   
Altostrata

It was a different Facebook friend. Have you been in touch with him recently?

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Nikki   
Nikki

You were right Alto, I logged onto this site years ago, before any other support group.

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Iggy131313   
Iggy131313

It was me!! I have been speaking to him alot and posted that update on the SA facebook page :)

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Altostrata   
Altostrata

Thanks for letting us know, Iggy. :) If you hear any more details from C, please post them here.

Edited by Altostrata
name changed by request

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anhedonia   
anhedonia

"I consider myself to have been recovered after 6 to 7 years. However, the emotional recovery takes almost twice as long. It's only now that I feel I am becoming whole again and that's more than I could ever asked for."

 

By emotional recovery, does he mean the ability to regain emotions? I took Prozac for 6 months in 2009 (when I was 15) and ever since then, I have never experienced a single emotion. I do not have emotions... I do not feel at all, period.

 

Is this permanent? Because I'm scared.

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Altostrata   
Altostrata

anhedonia, I moved your post here -- you were referring to CG's recovery? He's on Facebook, you can ask him the details. And please (with his permission), post his response here!

Edited by Altostrata
name changed by request

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Iggy131313   
Iggy131313

no, he was FULLY healed at 7 years, I asked him about this as I had been told that his recovery took 12 years, 7 years to heal and then 5 years to overcome the trauma, I will post his response...

 

Caroline I read it, you said it took 12 years for the emotional stuff to go but Im confused, I take it that you didnt have the all day anxiety and akathisia for that long?

 

15:20 CG When you go on and off of an SSRI your system becomes more sensitive to it. Needless to say I suggest you never touch it again. What I meant was that it took longer to heal emotionally. I am doing just fine now, but it was a long road. And you never forget it.

 

15:21 Caroline so you mean heal emotionally from the fact that you went through it?

 

15:21 CG That was the after effect.. trauma after the SSRI trauma.. you should not be worried about that..

Edited by Altostrata
name changed by request

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anhedonia   
anhedonia

no, he was FULLY healed at 7 years, I asked him about this as I had been told that his recovery took 12 years, 7 years to heal and then 5 years to overcome the trauma, I will post his response...

 

Caroline

I read it, you said it took 12 years for the emotional stuff to go but Im confused, I take it that you didnt have the all day anxiety and akathisia for that long?

 

15:20

CG

When you go on and off of an SSRI your system becomes more sensitive to it. Needless to say I suggest you never touch it again. What I meant was that it took longer to heal emotionally. I am doing just fine now, but it was a long road. And you never forget it.

 

15:21

Caroline

so you mean heal emotionally from the fact that you went through it?

 

15:21

CG

That was the after effect.. trauma after the SSRI trauma.. you should not be worried about that..

It's a good thing to see recovery is possible (and that he recovered within 7 years) but now, I'm scared I might not even recover since I took this mind altering drug when I was 15 years old. I just miss life.... I really do. Sometimes I beat myself up (mentally) that I took this drug... but I never knew something like this was possible. All I can do is hope, eat right, and just hope that my brain can heal from this. But it's hard to be patient... when you want to enjoy life. sad.gif Edited by Altostrata
name changed by requesst

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Altostrata   
Altostrata

Rather than make yourself unhappy about what might have been, focus on the now and healing. This condition teaches all of us something about Zen Buddhism.

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strawberry17   
strawberry17

Thanks for posting this one, as a Prozac taperer it gives me hope!

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Nikki   
Nikki

Am I understanding all of this correctly?

 

After getting off ssri's there is alot of Neuro-emotion? And physical WD symptoms? I have read this from many members once they were off their meds.

 

But what about depression and anxiety? What happens on that end. Did it go away?

How do you know the difference?

 

Nikki

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Iggy131313   
Iggy131313

a lovely quote from C from my recent conversation with him

 

I can drink coffee, beer and eat as much as want now. Certainly not then, but now I have no problems with that at all anymore.

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Iggy131313   
Iggy131313

sorry jemima, you have posted lossleaders story there, they are 2 different people :)

 

CGs story is here

 

http://icfda.drugawareness.org/Archives/Survivors/2001/record0007.html

 

C in fact had a severe adverse reaction.after taking prozac on and off many times for 1 month at a time.

Edited by Altostrata
name changed by request

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Jemima   
Jemima

sorry jemima, you have posted lossleaders story there, they are 2 different people :)

 

CGs story is here

 

http://icfda.drugawareness.org/Archives/Survivors/2001/record0007.html

 

C in fact had a severe adverse reaction.after taking prozac on and off many times for 1 month at a time.

 

Thanks for the heads-up, Iggy.  I changed the title on that post and deleted my post to Nikki.

Edited by Altostrata
name changed by request

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Jemima   
Jemima

Am I understanding all of this correctly?After getting off ssri's there is alot of Neuro-emotion? And physical WD symptoms? I have read this from many members once they were off their meds.But what about depression and anxiety? What happens on that end. Did it go away?How do you know the difference?Nikki

 

I think most of the post-withdrawal symptoms you fear have happened to people who got off the drug cold turkey or far too fast, as I did.  A slow, careful taper should result in getting off the drug(s) with few to no withdrawal symptoms afterward.

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Jemima   
Jemima

 

It's a good thing to see recovery is possible (and that he recovered within 7 years) but now, I'm scared I might not even recover since I took this mind altering drug when I was 15 years old. I just miss life.... I really do. Sometimes I beat myself up (mentally) that I took this drug... but I never knew something like this was possible. All I can do is hope, eat right, and just hope that my brain can heal from this. But it's hard to be patient... when you want to enjoy life. Posted Image

 

 

The fact that you were 15 years old when you first took the drug actually works in your favor.  The younger brain isn't fully formed at age 15 plus it heals faster than with us older people. (I'm 67 and almost completely recovered after 18 months of a too-fast taper of Lexapro.)

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Altostrata   
Altostrata

CG has requested that his full name not be used in Web posts, to protect his privacy.

Edited by Altostrata
name changed by request

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bobcat   
bobcat

Reading this has reenforced the advice I've already heard about being careful with exercise. It will be difficult since it's been such a big part of my life for so long. But the rationale behind it--the protection of a hypersensative nervous system--really makes sense.

 

But, also, I was wondering about the comments concerning supplements, specifically, that we should not take any if we can help it. Is that so even when it comes to magnesium and fish oil?

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Zoe   
Zoe

HI Bobcat-

 

I was interested in your post about the exercise.( I do weights & weight machines) I find that it helps to relax me. It is a way for me to work out the stress & anxiety. I know everyone is different, but if you have been doing it for a long time would your body & mind miss it? I do know watching violent & loud tv (except for Blacklist - I'm addicted to it :) - I just hide my face & plug my ears when it gets too bad.) really bothers me. I guess we just eliminate & cut down things on a trial basis.

 

As far as the fish oil & magnesium I also find these help. I know that some people here have a difficult time with supplements, but again if you have been taking them I would continue. If you are considering them I would start at a low dose & see how you do with them.

 

I have only been having issues for about a year, so someone with more experience might advise you differently.

 

Take care-

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bobcat   
bobcat

Thans Zoe; that makes sense: cautous trial and error is probably the order of the day for most of this stuff. I do find that generally exercise helps me tremendously (heavy lifting especially). I'll just have to be careful and see how things go as I continue down the rabbit hole.

 

That's great to hear that the lifting helps you. From what I understand, exercise, especially strength training, affects the hormonal system in a beneficial way, at least under normal circumstances. however, I suspect that during withdrawal, the trick will be to listen to our bodies in order to prevent that beneft's becoming a detriment (viz., overwhelming the nervous system). But I'm grabbing at bits and pieces of theory here and probably know just enough to be dangerous.  

 

I did experience hyperactivity (but without anxiety) from fish oil tablets. I've since bought liquid cod liver oil that has a higher DHA than EPA. Some think that the EPA is what can cause the hyperactivity. But I can't remember where I read that now. In any case, I'll let you know how it goes.

 

Also, I've now started wondering about coffee. I drink one twelve ounce cup of starbucks coffee everyday, no more, no less. Wondering if I should quit that for the taper. I've already started teetotalling. Do you drink coffee?

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Zoe   
Zoe

When I was REALLY anxious I cut coffee out completely. At the time I was only drinking 2 small cups a day. Now I will generally drink a very weak cup in the AM. It depends on how I am feeling. 

 

As for the weights, one reason I like them is that I read about the hormonal helps also. I really cut back when I was super anxious ( basically I just didn't feel up to getting out & being with other people) but the past few weeks I have tried to get over there 3x a week. I know it has helped me feel better. I read something about it helping with neuroplasticity also. I figure my neurons can use all the help they can get!!

 

If you haven't already, check out the links & posts on this site. You will learn a lot & everyone is so kind & caring.

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Bellisimo   
Bellisimo

This is so good information alto, i made the mistake that after being in a wave were I ate good , avoid much i coudlt tolerate, then in the window i went back to my old habbit which set me right back in the chaos again so now ive learnt this for sure!

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Altostrata   
Altostrata

Sorry, I can't do anything about it.

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btdt   
btdt

He took prozac the first drug I took which I will say till I die caused me to have chronic fatigue /fibro syndrome and a long and hard severe withdrawal that did not abate and lead to further drugging.  Now this is the only drug they suggest be given to kids and the one suggested as a bridge in wd... as it is self tapering????  hogwash is what I say... it is a very dangerous in my mind it is even more of a trickster as the wd can hit much later then with shorter half life drugs but it still hits. 

The fact that it was first on the market may have allowed it some grace as people had never experienced a drug like it unless they were illegal drug users... since they did not think a drug could be so horrid nobody suspected wd.  it got a pass likely doctors dx other illnesses when the wd did hit like they did with me... because they did not know any better then. 

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cymbaltawithdrawal5600   
cymbaltawithdrawal5600

Finally found the link to CG's story on the site he started, he scrubbed his personal details from it:

 

http://www.antidepressantsfacts.com/2000-05-06-prozac-experience.htm

 

I have the wrong link in my thread from The Wayback Machine but I'm too lazy to ask a mod to edit it. But it is there too, just plug the above link in there (the search URL box in Wayback) and you can see the original.

 

He asked that his name be removed, he has a life away from this ordeal now. Bless him.

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wilderness92   
wilderness92

Purpose in life leads one to complete recovery, its the catch that we all get trapped into during withdrawals of giving up on normal life. I completely and totally believe that Antidepressant users definitely suffer long than understood by doctors, but a line from one AD survivor inspired me to a great extent she said and I quote, "Normal life is all about embracing suffering" this helps me daily to move on with debilitated mental plight that I am in.

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Sheri755   
Sheri755

 

sorry jemima, you have posted lossleaders story there, they are 2 different people :)

 

CGs story is here

 

http://icfda.drugawareness.org/Archives/Survivors/2001/record0007.html

 

C in fact had a severe adverse reaction.after taking prozac on and off many times for 1 month at a time.

Thanks for the heads-up, Iggy. I changed the title on that post and deleted my post to Nikki.

This link shows multiple options. Does anyone know the correct one? I would love to read CG's success story.

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Sheri755   
Sheri755

What an inspiring story and very informative!! Just love it ❤️

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NaturalBorn   
NaturalBorn

scary, but at least he reached 100% again.

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