Jump to content
RealMe

RealMe: Fighting depression/withdrawal from Abilify, Trintellix now on Prozac

Recommended Posts

RealMe

Cigarettes at age 11.  Alcohol periodically from age 13 to age 30. Valium episodically from age 18 to age 27. I have been on myriad anti-depressants since 1982 for major depression and generalized anxiety. Imipramine, desyrel, ativan.  Off drugs from 1984 till 1995. Started Prozac 1995 till 2014 (did well from 1995 to 2011).  Tried Wellbutrin, Cymbalta.  Abilify and Trintellix from March 2014 till August 8, 2017 (depression free). Had to withdraw due to cervical dystonia and tremors which still persist.  Terrible experience withdrawing from Abilify and Trintellix. Started Wellbutrin 150 mg. and Prozac 10 mg. for one week to help with withdrawal.  Then increased Wellbutrin to 300 mg. and experienced ringing in ears; stopped the Wellbutrin and increased Prozac to 20 mg. (10 in A.M.; 10 in P.M.)  Now on Prozac 20 mg. per day, occasional Propranolol for tremors (doesn't help).  I've read that coming off Abilify can take up to 3 months or more, and it has been 2 months so far.  I feel like I've spent (wasted) my entire adult life trying to feel better, first by self-medicating, then by psychiatric medicating.  I'm 72 years old.  I wonder if there is any hope for me.

Share this post


Link to post
Altostrata

Welcome, RealMe.

 

When did you start taking 10mg Prozac and when did you increase to 20mg? How long did you take Abilify?

 

Has your symptom pattern changed since you started taking Prozac? If so, how? How is the dystonia?

 

Edited by ChessieCat
changed of member name

Share this post


Link to post
RealMe

I took abilify and trintellix for 2 1/2 years and did well until the tremors started. 

Share this post


Link to post
RealMe

It seems like the anxiety has decreased, but the depression has become more severe.  I have no trouble sleeping; it's waking up that is horrible.  I have become isolated except for my husband who is extremely tolerant.  I am obsessed with the dystonia and feel despondent about it.  Drugs have not helped, and I don't want to take any more drugs of any kind.  The psychiatrist offered Valium, and I refused.  The neurologist said the dystonia is not severe enough for botox which is what I hope to try if I can find someone who will help me.  He wants to try primidone, and I will refuse.  I have had enough.  I hope to get off prozac altogether.  Right now I am trying to stabilize on 10 mg. for a month.  Then I will taper.  I feel mostly guilty and stupid about ever taking Abilify.  The psychiatrist says it did not cause the dystonia, but I'll never know for sure and will always feel I brought it on myself by taking an antipsychotic.  It was prescribed to augment an antidepressant for medication resistant major depressive disorder.

 

Alcohol periodic excessive drinking from 1967 to 1976 (none since 1976)

Valium sporadic from 1973-1976

Imipramine from 1982 to 1985 (?)

Fluoxetine from 1995 in graduated doses till March, 2014

Fluoxetine 80 mg. from 2011 to March, 2014

Abilify 5 mg. from March, 2014 to August 8, 2017

Trintellix 20 mg. from March 2014 to September, 2017

Wellbutrin from September, 2017 until October 8, 2017

Fluoxetine 10 mg. since September, 2017

Fluoxetine 20 mg. from October 8, 2017 to October 16, 2017

Fluoxetine 10 mg. from October 16, 2017 to present

Share this post


Link to post
ChessieCat

Hi RealMe,

 

Good job on the signature.  Thank you.

 

To condense it a bit but keep all of the information there you could do this which will have all the most recent information easily seen and still keep your history available.  It will also allow you to add further lines as you make changes in future:

 

Alcohol periodic excessive drinking from 1967 to 1976 (none since 1976); Valium sporadic from 1973-1976; Imipramine from 1982 to 1985 (?); Fluoxetine from 1995 in graduated doses till March, 2014; Fluoxetine 80 mg. from 2011 to January, 2014; Cymbalta January 2014 to March, 2014

Abilify 5 mg. from March, 2014 to August 8, 2017 

Trintellix 20 mg. from March 2014 to September, 2017 

Wellbutrin from September, 2017 until October 8, 2017 

Fluoxetine 10 mg. since September, 2017 

Fluoxetine 20 mg. from October 8, 2017 to October 16, 2017 

Fluoxetine 10 mg. from October 16, 2017 to present

 

Edited by ChessieCat
changed of member name

Share this post


Link to post
baroquep

Noticed that you didn't answer Alto's question above "Has your symptom pattern changed since you started taking Prozac? If so, how? How is the dystonia?"  

 

I also have a few questions:

 

You mention that the withdrawal was difficult after discontinuing Ability and Trintellix, please elaborate.  Did you discontinue abruptly or did you taper?  

Were you still experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you switched to Wellbutrin?

What difficulties did you have discontinuing Wellbutrin and then starting Prozac?

I notice that you just made a 50% decrease in your dose of Prozac?  That is a hefty dose ... is the a specific reason you made such a large decrease?

 

Surviving Antidepressants recommends tapering by 10% of your current dose with at a hold of at least four weeks before your next decrease.  The 10% taper recommendation is a harm reduction approach to going off psychiatric drugs.  Some people may have to taper at an even more conservative rate as they are very sensitive to even the smallest drops.  


Unfortunately few medical professionals have any idea how to safely taper off of these drugs and often give the wrong advice which for many people leads to the trouble you are now experiencing.  

I am going to attach a few links so that you have an understanding of the recommendations made by Surviving Antidepressants so that you have the knowledge to taper safely off of these drugs to minimize your withdrawal.

 

Before you begin tapering what you need to know
What is Withdrawal Syndrome?

Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

Tips for Tapering off Prozac / Fluoxetine

 

Edited by baroquep

Share this post


Link to post
RealMe

To answer, "Has your symptom pattern changed since adding Prozac?" I don't know how to answer.  I have trouble remembering things since I stopped Abilify on August 8th and trintellix in September.  This was before I found this site.  The doctor told me to just stop Abilify since I was on a "low dose."  He seemed surprised that I was feeling suicidal and seemed to minimize my symptoms, saying I would be fine and not depressed soon.  He gave me seroquel, and I took it for a few days then stopped it abruptly when I realized it was another antipsychotic.  I tapered off trintellix for about two weeks (30, then 15, then 0), then started on Wellbutrin and prozac 10 mg.  I was suffering so, I really can't give an accurate account of my symptoms.  I had ringing in my ears and terrible anxiety and abruptly stopped the Wellbutrin.  I think the prozac helped somewhat with anxiety and suicidal thoughts, but I can't be sure.  Certainly, the panic and suicidal thoughts have decreased but not entirely.

 

The reason I made a 50% decrease in prozac is because I only had 10 mg. capsules and had not yet found this site that tells you to reduce by 10%.  I was only on 20% for a week, so I thought it would be safe to drop back down to the 10 mg.  At this point, I'm thinking maybe I can maintain on 10 mg. for a month, then taper by 10% from then on.  I'm sorry if I cannot be more clear.  I was in a terrible mental and emotional condition for two months.  I'm not well but I feel I have improved.   I exercise every two-three days at the gym.  I tried yoga but almost fainted, so I had to leave.  Otherwise, I just surf the computer, especially this site and sort of watch television.  I hate to wake up in the morning.  I dread it.

 

Thank you for responding to me.  I feel so despondent, but it seems focussed on the head tremor.  It's so awful.

 

Share this post


Link to post
RealMe

I was still experiencing withdrawal when I started on Wellbutrin and Prozac, but I didn't know that at the time.  They were supposed to help me with the symptoms I was having (suicidal thoughts and terrible anxiety) which the dr. said was depression, not withdrawal.

Share this post


Link to post
ChessieCat
On 20/10/2017 at 1:02 PM, RealMe said:

At this point, I'm thinking maybe I can maintain on 10 mg. for a month, then taper by 10% from then on.  I'm sorry if I cannot be more clear.  I was in a terrible mental and emotional condition for two months.  I'm not well but I feel I have improved.

 

Because of all the changes you have made in such a short period of time and also because you are feeling improvement taking the fluoxetine it will probably be a good idea stay on 10mg for several months.  Even 4-6 months.  This will give your brain a chance to do what it needs regarding all the changes.  It is better to hold for longer than to try and reduce too soon and then have to updose.

 

It's a good idea to keep notes on paper of the symptoms which improve/worsen so that you can see improvement which you might not feel.

 

It is also important to realise that stabilisation and healing are not linear:

 

Keep Notes on Paper

Rate Symptoms Daily to Check Patterns and Progress

 

Dr Joseph Glenmullen's Withdrawal Symptoms

 

Windows and Waves Pattern of Stabilization


Stabilising After a Reduction - What Does That Mean?

Withdrawal Normal Description

 

These helped me to understand SA's recommendations:

 

Brain Remodelling


Video:  Healing From Antidepressants - Patterns of Recovery

 

Edited by ChessieCat
changed of member name

Share this post


Link to post
RealMe

Thank you so much for your help.  I'm so glad I found this site.  I will follow your suggestions.  Do I keep the diary of symptoms on this website?

 

Share this post


Link to post
ChessieCat

You can keep them on paper and if you experience problems we will ask you to post them in your Intro so we can assess what you might do.

 

You are welcome to journal your progress in your topic.

 

It's helpful to learn Non-drug techniques to cope

Share this post


Link to post
RealMe

I haven't been able to resist going back to bed in the mornings.  Sleep is the only relief I get from my depression.  I'm socially isolated because I feel I cannot talk honestly to anyone, and it is too hard for me to pretend to be normal.  I just go on the computer, try to watch tv, and stare into space most of the time.  I have managed to go to the gym at least 4 times a week.  I seem better in the evenings when I have no demands on me at all.  I go to bed at 11:30 every night, wake up at 6:30, go back till 7:30, get up briefly then go back until 10:30.  I'm on 10 mg. of fluoxetine (prozac) per day plus a multivitamin, fish oil, and vitamin d.  I am a retired teacher and have opportunities to substitute every day.  At night I tell myself I will sign up in the morning, but when the morning comes all I want to do is escape in sleep.

 

 

Edited by ChessieCat
member added that I could substitute teach if I could get motivated in the morning.

Share this post


Link to post
ChessieCat
On 21/10/2017 at 4:11 AM, RealMe said:

I am a retired teacher and have opportunities to substitute every day.

 

This can be like going out for a walk.  The hardest thing is putting on the shoes.  Once you do the first thing the rest seems easier.  I was sleeping a lot when I had mild serotonin syndrome but I managed to get 1 day per week volunteer work.  After a while I was able to do 2 days per week and after about 1 year I started doing 3 days.  Even though it was hard to begin with, and I would basically do nothing but "recover" on my days at home, it was good for me mentally, gave me a routine of sorts and gave me a purpose.

 

Edited by ChessieCat
replaced quote - member name change

Share this post


Link to post
RealMe

Thank you for your response. I'm going to try again on Monday by signing up the night before.  My neurologist has agreed to begin Botox for my head tremors on November 20th. I feel both anxious and hopeful. Today I sat around all day. I took a shower this afternoon after the doctors office called. I had been told he wanted to try more meds first but I refused. I am stabilizing on fluoxetine 10 mg  as suggested for 4-6 months. My ears are ringing and that frightens me. 

Share this post


Link to post
ChessieCat
On 21/10/2017 at 8:44 AM, RealMe said:

Today I sat around all day. I took a shower this afternoon after the doctors office called.

 

Yes I did too, but I didn't get into the shower until after dinner ;).  I changed from one nightie into another.  The biggest accomplishment yesterday was getting my teeth cleaned in the morning.  It is what it is.  Today is another day and I will try again.

 

Edited by ChessieCat
replaced quote - member name change

Share this post


Link to post
RealMe

I'm tempted to skip my fluoxetine 10 mg. tonight to see if my tinnitus is improved tomorrow, but I'm afraid of tampering with dosage.  It has been suggested I remain on fluoxetine 10mg for at least a few months.  I'm worried and vexed and anxious about this tinnitus.  Should I see an ENT physician?

 

Share this post


Link to post
RealMe

Tinnitus started about 2 1/2 weeks ago.  I don't know if it's a side effect or a withdrawal symptom.  Is there any help for this condition?  My doctor offered valium.  I don't need additional problems and so I refused.  He seems to have given up on me because I'm non-compliant.  He tried me on several different drugs after I stopped Abilify and Trintellix due to dystonia and tremors.  I stopped all but Prozac 10 mg.  Plan to stay on this for a few months then try to taper.  Any advice will be appreciated.  

I'm glad I read that recovery is not linear.  I seemed to be able to function ok yesterday, but today I was extremely depressed, dark thoughts, anxiety, hopelessness.  Hoping this is a wave and will be followed by a window.

 

Share this post


Link to post
snostorm

either or If im not mistaken.  Agree with your decision not accept Valium.  Im sure someone with knowledge can offer some more useful information. But I see Wellbutrin in your sig.  Well know side effect.

Share this post


Link to post
RealMe

Thank you, ChessieCat.  I'm not taking any other meds.  I can't wait to get off this prozac.

Share this post


Link to post
RealMe

This site has been my lifeline especially during the waves.  It gives me hope. 

Share this post


Link to post
RealMe

Thank goodness someone explained to me that recovery from withdrawal of antidepressants is not linear.  Yesterday I could barely function, and my thoughts were the darkest. Today I feel so much better. The difference is that I won't be so shocked by emotional and physical setbacks that are bound to happen on this road to recovery.  It has been so long since I have been in a normal brain, I have so much to learn.  When I look back to when this all started, I realize, although I do forgive myself and my ignorance, that as sick as I was, there were alternatives to what happened to me.

 

Share this post


Link to post
ChessieCat

Hi RealMe,

 

You have created several new topics which the mods have merged into your Intro topic.

 

I will explain how SA works.  Each member has 1 Intro topic where they can ask questions and journal their progress.

 

There are other topics outside of the introduction forum where members are welcome to discuss things.  However, please if what you are posting is specially about your own situation please post it in your Intro topic.  This way your history, questions and the responses will all be in one place.  This is helpful for the mods, yourself and other members.

 

There are also many existing topics.  You can either use the search bar or use google and type in survivingantidepressants.org and include the topic you are looking for, eg sleep

 

Edited by ChessieCat
changed of member name

Share this post


Link to post
RealMe

I read somewhere, I think on this site, that the only supplements advisable are magnesium and fish oil.  If this is correct, what are the dosages recommended?

 

Share this post


Link to post
RealMe

My psych dr prescribed 20 mg. fluoxetine, but I told him I wanted to taper which I did and am on 10mg.  However, the insurance would not pay for the 10 mg. capsules.  They would only pay for 20 mg. tablets for me to cut in half.  Anyway, the other night I cut the tablet in half and had a horrendous wave of a day yesterday.  Could there be a difference in effect between taking a half 20 mg. tablet to equal 10 mg. and a 10 mg. capsule?  Or is my down day just a coincidence?

 

Share this post


Link to post
RealMe

Today I went to work for the first time since July before I started withdrawing from Abilify.  I am miserable from my cervical dystonia and even more so from tinnitus which started when I briefly took Wellbutrin in September.  I thought the dystonia was the worst until the tinnitus started.  Yesterday I wished for the end all day and cried a lot.  I don't know if it was from withdrawal effects, depression or despondency about my physical symptoms.  I went to an ENT, and I didn't learn anything I didn't already know about Tinnitus.  It may go away; it may not; it may get better; it may get worse; there is no cure; nobody knows what causes it; maybe medication caused it; maybe my age; maybe something else.  There are treatments which may or may not help.  Today while I was working, I could keep myself from crying and for a few moments here and there, I was distracted.  I try not to keep dwelling on the idea that it's my fault for taking psychiatric medications in the first place.  That thought gets me no where but worse.

Share this post


Link to post
RealMe

I finally went to work today.  Yesterday all I could do was cry.  ChessieCat, can you please see my questions on the introductory page?  I still don't know how to post correctly, I guess.

 

Edited by ChessieCat
Member's new topic in another forum has been merged into Intro topic

Share this post


Link to post
ChessieCat
1 hour ago, RealMe said:

ChessieCat, can you please see my questions on the introductory page?

 

I am having difficult seeing exactly what question you are asking.

Share this post


Link to post
RealMe

Could there be a difference in effect between taking a half 20 mg. tablet to equal 10 mg. and a 10 mg. capsule?  Or is my down day just a coincidence?

 

Share this post


Link to post
RealMe

Also, the ENT doctor recommended lipoflavinoids (vitamins) for tinnitus.  Will that affect my cns?

 

Share this post


Link to post
ChessieCat
7 hours ago, RealMe said:

half 20 mg. tablet to equal 10 mg. and a 10 mg. capsule

 

If the dose is equivalent I wouldn't think that this is a problem.

 

7 hours ago, RealMe said:

lipoflavinoids (vitamins)

 

SA recommends only trying one thing at a time.  If this is a complex and you have a reaction you will not know what is causing it.  It is also suggested to start with a smaller dose than the recommended starting dose, eg 1/4, because withdrawal can make us more sensitive to many things.

Share this post


Link to post
RealMe

thank you.

Share this post


Link to post
bheb
On 11/4/2017 at 3:31 PM, RealMe said:

Could there be a difference in effect between taking a half 20 mg. tablet to equal 10 mg. and a 10 mg. capsule?  Or is my down day just a coincidence?

 

Some people report that different formulations of the same drug can set them off. But it might be coincidence

 

Did you figure out what to do re: magnesium and fish oil? Here are some topics if you still need info:

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
RealMe

Thank you for the feedback.

Share this post


Link to post
RealMe

I've searched but could not find any information on excessive sleeping.  I have no trouble sleeping at night.  I dread waking up in the morning, and I often go back to sleep for hours even after a full night's sleep.  I see the excessive sleeping as an escape from mind-bending tinnitus and the despondency I feel about it. Could this be a withdrawal symptom?

Share this post


Link to post
Petunia

Hi RealMe,

It could be a withdrawal symptom, or as you suggested, a method of avoiding having to experience an unpleasant symptom. Tinnitus is a common withdrawal symptom and it often reduces or goes away completely over time.

 

Hypersomnia (sleeping a lot) - Symptoms and self-care - Surviving ...

 

Tinnitus -- What does all that noise mean? - Surviving Antidepressants

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.