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DaveB

DaveB: Trying to stop a roller coaster year

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DaveB

Well, here it goes. I was on Zoloft for 8 years following a year of intense anxiety after my 1st son was born. I generally felt good on Zoloft, though I would have blips in which I would up or lower my dose and I would balance back out. For the majority of the 8 years I was on 50mgs (the "lowest" dose according to my doctor). Well almost exactly a year ago I was doing so well, and figured since I was on the "lowest" dose I would simply stop taking it. Felt a little weird (light-headed, tearing up for no reason, spacey) for about 3 weeks, then I felt normal. Had a great holiday season with my family and so happy to be off meds and doing well. I started to feel a little bit of an anxiety blip at the end of February and figured I would be proactive and resume my 50 mgs of Zoloft for the rest of the winter, then get off again in the spring or summer...then disaster struck. I woke up the next morning with my mind racing, feeling like adrenal glands had been switched to overdrive, and 10 months later, I still haven't been able to turn them down. From the 1st night of taking the Zoloft I have not had a day without a huge wave on anxiety hitting me at some point. For most of these 10 months I have been waking at 4-5 AM with anxiety bordering or exceeding panic. Since I was prescribed the Zyprexa, I still wake feeling "keyed up" but it is not as bad and not as early (usually don't wake til 7 or 7:30AM). 

 

I was on the Zoloft for 6 weeks, being told that it can increase anxiety at the start, but then it will subside and I will go back to normal. When that didn't happen at 6 weeks I was told Lexapro works faster and is better for anxiety anyway...so I started it. One week at 5mgs then 10mgs for 7 weeks. When that didn't help I decided "enough of these meds, I have never had anxiety this bad, I will just get off." Well unfortunately my month off of Lexapro was no better, still waking early, still having extreme anxiety, wondering what the heck had happened to me. I was talked into giving Paxil a try by my doctor saying "it was the least activating" of the SSRIs and it could actually help me sleep...I didn't and I really felt no different on it than the other two. After two months of Paxil and feeling no better the doctor decided I just hadn't got to a "therapeutic" dose of Paxil for my severe anxiety, so he recommended going up to 40 and then if no improvement 60 on Paxil, in the meantime he gave me Zyprexa to help sleep and morning panic. To be honest I have been better since August, I am assuming the Zyprexa is calming down my overactive nervous system, but I am far from "stable." I went to 60 MGs of Paxil and felt a little better than I did at 40 for a week or two (probably placebo) then back to how I have felt since August (which admittedly is much better than Spring and Early Summer). Since I don't think the Paxil is helping, and actually may be "activating" and counteracting the Zyprexa (I hate even typing Zyprexa, I NEVER thought I would ever take an anti-psychotic, but here I am, and unfortunately I have to admit it has helped) I want to go lower and off the Paxil. From looking over this site it seems I have attempted what you would call a "reinstatement" of Paxil, that clearly hasn't worked. Seems I have four choices and would welcome and recommendations you could give. 

 

1. Stay at 50mgs of Paxil with the 2.5mgs of Zyprexa hoping I will "stabilize" even though I haven't yet in my two months at both 40mgs and 60mgs of Paxil.

2. Realize the Paxil has never helped me and could in fact be "activating" and further hurting my chances to let my brain heal from my Zoloft CT and simply quit.

3. Go back up to 60mgs of Paxil and stay there until I "stabilize" even though I am two-months at this dose with no sign of leveling out. 

4. Slowly wean myself off the Paxil, even though I am not stable as it is just a likely it is doing as much harm as good. 

 

I have read on this site that I shouldn't get off the Zyprexa until after dealing with the Paxil as it is a "brakes" medication and could help with whatever has happened to me this year. I really hate that I am taking Zyprexa and honestly the side-effect profile terrifies me, I have already gained about 15 lbs, but noticed this quickly and have been able to maintain my weight at 205 at 6'2", so it isn't a HUGE problem...yet. 

 

I welcome any thoughts, opinions, and insights. I have been very impressed with this site and am learning a lot about what has happened to me and what may be the best course of action moving forward. 

Edited by baroquep

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Gridley

Hello, Dave B, and welcome to SurvivingAntidepressants.org (SA),

 

You have had a great many changes in dosage and drugs in the last weeks and months, including at least one cold turkey.  This is all destabilizing to the central nervous system and causing the withdrawal symptoms you have experienced.  SA recommends tapering no more than 10% per month with a 3-4 week hold after that taper to allow your brain to stabilize.  I have attached two links below that will explain further.

 

Please add to your signature the cold turkey of Lexapro.

   

Because you have made so many changes, my recommendation would be to make no more changes at all at this point and see if you can stabilize on your current doses of Zyprexa and Paxil.  It can take longer than two months to stabilize.  After you have stabilized (which means not an absence of withdrawal symptom but rather that they are tolerable), it will be tie to begin thinking about tapering--but not before. Please let your system stabilize on your current dosages before contemplating any more changes.  I recognize the desire to do something, but holding is doing something--it allowing your CNS to stabilize.

 

To get  familiarized with the protocols followed by SA, I am linking a couple of topics so that you have a better understanding of what is recommended here and the steps that you can take to minimize your withdrawal.  

 

What is Withdrawal Syndrome?

Why taper by 10% of my dosage?

 

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DaveB

Ok, should I hold at 50mgs of Paxil, or go back to 60mgs? I have actually found the morning anxiety to be slightly less on 50mgs, but still having multiple anxiety bouts during the day. Do I just hold indefinitely even if I don't feel my anxiety is improving?

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ChessieCat

Hi Dave and welcome to SA from me too.

 

Thank you for completing a drug signature.  It is nice and clearly laid out.  It would be helpful if you could add dates where ever possible, at least for when you have been taking Paxil.  For earlier this year just adding in early, mid or late month will be enough if you don't know the dates.

 

Tips for tapering off Paxil (paroxetine)

 

Because you have made so many changes during this year both in drugs and doses, it is difficult to know what is causing your current symptoms.  It could be withdrawal from either or both the 2 previous drugs or side effects of the current drug or a combination of all of these.  The brain likes stability and any changes in drug and dose has a cumulative effect.  I think it would be better to stay at your current dose and give your brain the time it needs to stabilise.  These drugs are strong and going back up to 60mg from 50mgs is a very big jump.

 

Keep it Simple, Slow and Stable


Keep Notes on Paper

Rate Symptoms Daily to Check Patterns and Progress

 

Dr Joseph Glenmullen's WD Symptoms Checklist

 

It's important to learn and use Non-drug techniques to cope.  What can happen when we experience things like anxiety is that we become scared of the feelings in our body, because we don't understand what is happening, and this can then add more feelings in our body.  Claire Weekes calls it the second fear, or fear of the fear.

 

Audio:  First Aid for Panic (4 minutes)
 

 

Some people find Magnesium helps to reduce their anxiety.  I found that it does for me and when I have stopped taking magnesium my anxiety returns and when I go back on it takes the edge off the anxiety.

 

These helped me to understand SA's recommendations:

 

Brain Remodelling


Video:  Healing From Antidepressants - Patterns of Recovery

 

This is your own Intro topic where you can ask questions and journal your progress.

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DaveB

Thank you for your advice, you guys are awesome and this is the 1st place where I have found anything that makes any sense of what has happened to me. 4th day of 50mgs of Paxil...from reading the stuff you guys posted, it seems my jump was quite large from 60-50mgs. I didn't know any better and I only have access to 20s and 10s. Am I going to get slammed by a wave because of this? I am actually sleeping a little later and better since the switch to 50, is that probably not going to continue? Anxiety in the day is pretty much the same. I am asking questions that probably don't have answers haha, I guess just wondering based on the majority of people what I should expect. 

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DaveB

Yesterday, and a pretty typical day.

 

7:30 AM - Wake up, slept a little later as I have on 50mgs, feeling a little less "keyed up" with anxiety than usual in the mornings (which is usually the worst time of day).

9:00 AM - Take Garden of Life Men's Multivitamin, Sports Research Omega 3 Fish Oil (2074 total Omega 3s), 250 mgs Naturemade Magnesium Citrate, 2000IU Nature Made Vitamin D

10:00 AM - Noon - Feeling pretty good, borderline "normal"

Noon - 4PM - Pretty strong off and on waves of anxiety.

4PM - 9PM - Anxiety still present but receding.

9PM - 11PM - Feeling pretty good, borderline "normal"

11PM - 50mgs Paxil, 2.5mgs Zyprexa.

11:30PM - Bed

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Gridley

Hi, DaveB,

 

Anxiety is a very common symptom of withdrawal.  Check out the links in ChessieCat's earlier post on handling anxiety.  Dr. Claire Weekes' techniques have been helpful to me.

 

It's impossible tp predict when a wave will hit or why.  If you find yourself in a wave, these links are helpful:

 

Non-drug techniques to cope with emotional symptoms

Acceptance and Mindfulness

 

You may also want to try supplementing Magnesium and/or Omega 3 which seem to be helpful in relaxing and healing the central nervous system. You can read more about these supplements below.  I have found the Magnesium Glycinate form of Magnesium to help with anxiety.

 

Magnesium

Omega-3 Fish Oil

 

Best,

Gridley

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DaveB

I see people posting about their benzos and “rebound anxiety.” Due to this they are advised to take benzos 2-3 times per day. Could I be experiencing something similar with Zyprexa where I should be dosing it 2-3 times a day, or does Zyprexa not really work that way?

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Gridley

DaveB,

 

Olanzapine has a fairly long half-life; in people who are not elderly, it ranges from 32-37 hours (longer for those over 65)  -- from http://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/medicine/61.  By contrast, Benzos that are dosed 2-3 times a day, have a much shorter half life, e.g. Ativan 12 hours, Xanax 11.2 hours.  As we advised previously, I would hold steady, make no changes, and let your CNS settle down.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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DaveB
On 11/20/2017 at 6:53 AM, Gridley said:

DaveB,

 

Olanzapine has a fairly long half-life; in people who are not elderly, it ranges from 32-37 hours (longer for those over 65)  -- from http://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/medicine/61.  By contrast, Benzos that are dosed 2-3 times a day, have a much shorter half life, e.g. Ativan 12 hours, Xanax 11.2 hours.  As we advised previously, I would hold steady, make no changes, and let your CNS settle down.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sounds good, can it really take longer than the 2 months I have given at these doses to stabilize? Given enough time does everyone stabilize or is there a point at which you conclude it is not going to happen? Are there early signs of stabilization I can look for and hold onto during the waves?

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Gridley

Here is a post by Tezza from March, 2013, that I hope addresses your questions:

 

"I hope this gives you hope and encouragement. You will stabilize, I'm sure of it. It will take longer than you'd hope for, I'm sure, but you must believe that it WILL happen. Just try to be as patient as you can and try really hard not to stress over 'not getting better immediately'. Sometimes it just takes longer, especially when a lot of changes have been made."

 

So it can take longer than two months.  Give it time.  At some point down the road you can readdress how you're doing and if you're ready for a taper.  Not now.

 

  If you get even a brief period of relief, that is a good sign.

 

 

 

 

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DaveB

I have seen that many on this site recommend cutting down on sugar and caffeine until your symptoms have calmed down. What about fake sugar in diet uncaffeinated soft drinks? I am getting really tired of just drinking water, not to mention the caffeine headaches and withdrawals on top of the anxiety is very hard. Any advice on this?

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Kitson

Hi Dave,

 

About 6 weeks ago, I cut out caffeine completely, and way, way back on sugar. No more coffee, sodas or sweetened iced tea. I feel so much better for having done so. I remember reading this advice on this board before and completely ignored it. And believe me, I love my sweetened coffee and tea, and sodas! Although I had been drinking lemon-lime soda or ginger ale only for several years. I haven't drank dark cola type soda or diet soda for a quite a few years now.

 

Once the caffeine withdrawals went away and I stopped subjecting my body to sugar surges, I feel much calmer, anxiety has lessened, and my tinnitus went away. Your mileage may vary.

 

I have learned to like water. I have never liked plain water before. Now I drink it all the time. You could try some water with a squeeze of citrus, or some muddled berries to liven it up a bit. There's also those La Croix drinks that are flavored carbonated water that have no sugar or sweetener and come in different flavors. Those are pretty good. You can find them in the aisle where they sell sodas, they have sort of brightly colored boxes.

 

I did find that I still need that hot cuppa in the morning so I have a cup of hot decaf chai tea with stevia. During the day I might also have a hot cup of herbal tea. I bought some concentrated pure stevia on amazon. Most of the stevia you buy at the grocery store is mixed with something else like dextrose which closer to sugar, which is sucrose and I'm trying to stay away from that. I find that staying away from caffeine and sugar is worth it. Although tomorrow is Thanksgiving and I will definitely be eating pie!

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DaveB
15 hours ago, Gridley said:

Here is a post by Tezza from March, 2013, that I hope addresses your questions:

 

"I hope this gives you hope and encouragement. You will stabilize, I'm sure of it. It will take longer than you'd hope for, I'm sure, but you must believe that it WILL happen. Just try to be as patient as you can and try really hard not to stress over 'not getting better immediately'. Sometimes it just takes longer, especially when a lot of changes have been made."

 

So it can take longer than two months.  Give it time.  At some point down the road you can readdress how you're doing and if you're ready for a taper.  Not now.

 

  If you get even a brief period of relief, that is a good sign.

 

 

 

 

Great quote, and very encouraging...but I happened to look up Tezza and yikes, not a happy ending there. Do you know of anyone or can point me in a direction to find someone who held for months and they eventually stabilized? I am confident I can be patient, but I have to admit I don’t see any examples of a multiple month hold where a CNS settled. That has me slightly terrified haha.

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DaveB
57 minutes ago, Kitson said:

Hi Dave,

 

About 6 weeks ago, I cut out caffeine completely, and way, way back on sugar. No more coffee, sodas or sweetened iced tea. I feel so much better for having done so. I remember reading this advice on this board before and completely ignored it. And believe me, I love my sweetened coffee and tea, and sodas! Although I had been drinking lemon-lime soda or ginger ale only for several years. I haven't drank dark cola type soda or diet soda for a quite a few years now.

 

Once the caffeine withdrawals went away and I stopped subjecting my body to sugar surges, I feel much calmer, anxiety has lessened, and my tinnitus went away. Your mileage may vary.

 

I have learned to like water. I have never liked plain water before. Now I drink it all the time. You could try some water with a squeeze of citrus, or some muddled berries to liven it up a bit. There's also those La Croix drinks that are flavored carbonated water that have no sugar or sweetener and come in different flavors. Those are pretty good. You can find them in the aisle where they sell sodas, they have sort of brightly colored boxes.

 

I did find that I still need that hot cuppa in the morning so I have a cup of hot decaf chai tea with stevia. During the day I might also have a hot cup of herbal tea. I bought some concentrated pure stevia on amazon. Most of the stevia you buy at the grocery store is mixed with something else like dextrose which closer to sugar, which is sucrose and I'm trying to stay away from that. I find that staying away from caffeine and sugar is worth it. Although tomorrow is Thanksgiving and I will definitely be eating pie!

 

Thanks for this, good to hear from someone who this personally made a big difference. Did the caffeine withdrawal exacerbate your current withdrawal, did you get headaches? If so did it not last long?

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Gridley

Hello, DaveB,

 

There are no guarantees, but I can tell you my experience with holding and stabilizing.  A couple of years ago, before I discovered survivingantidepressants, I tapered Imipramine too fast for seven months.  The lower I got, the more symptoms I felt, particularly extreme anxiety.  Then I discovered SA and learned that I should have been tapering my Lexapro (an activating drug) instead of Imipramine (a sedating drug).  But before I could taper Lexapro, I needed to stabilize.  So I held on the Imipramine.  And held.  But I still had the anxiety.  When was I going to stabilize, I asked myself every day (and several times a day).  Finally, a little more than four months after I began my hold,  I stabilized.  That is not to say I was without symptoms, just that they were at last manageable and I could get on with my life.  And in January, 2017, I began my Lexapro taper and am doing well with it.

 

So that is my "success story" with holding and stabilizing.     

 

Overthinking is a symptom of withdrawal.  It is human to doubt and worry.  It is also unhelpful during a hold.  I believe the brain heals better (whether on a hold or taper) when you think your hold or taper is going to work.  Doubt feeds more doubt, creating unease.  Believing the hold is working creates a sense of comfort, which promotes stability and healing.   At least, that was my experience.

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Littlegrandma

I love that Gridley! That is a semi success story. I needed that. Thanks.  Lg

 

hi Dave

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Gridley

Thank you, Lg!

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Kitson
12 hours ago, DaveB said:

 

Thanks for this, good to hear from someone who this personally made a big difference. Did the caffeine withdrawal exacerbate your current withdrawal, did you get headaches? If so did it not last long?

 

It didn't exacerbate any withdrawal symptoms, it just added another layer of minor suffering until the caffeine withdrawals passed. I got headaches for a week, then they stopped. Ibuprofen helps, if you can take it.

 

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ChessieCat

If you have been drinking a lot of caffeine it is better to reduce your caffeine (and sugar) intake gradually instead of going cold turkey.  There are many things which can upset the CNS.  I've only been experiencing mild withdrawal symptoms with my taper, but recently I had a helicopter flying lesson for my birthday.  I noticed that my anxiety increased and it has taken almost a week for it to settle down again.

 

You have made a lot of changes in the past year, both drug and dose changes.  These are the changes you have made just since the beginning of June this year (not quite 6 months) - each change is in bold font.

 

Paxil 20mgs (started)

 

Paxil 40mgs, Zyprexa 2.5mgs
Paxil 60mgs, Zyprexa 2.5mgs
Paxil 50mgs, Zyprexa 2.5mgs

reduced/stopped caffeine & sugar

 

Your brain has been through a lot and generally it is better to hold and give the brain the time it needs to adapt to the changes we have made.

 

I believe that when we worry about something it causes stress which means that the brain's attention is diverted away from healing because it needs to be dealing with the stress.  The calmer and less stressed (both good and bad) environment we provide will allow the brain to do what it needs to do to heal.

 

Acceptance

 

Non-drug techniques to cope

 

Here are some SA discussions:

 

Keep it Simple, Slow and Stable

 

Windows and Waves Pattern of Stabilization

 

Stabilising  - What Does That Mean?

Withdrawal Normal Description

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DaveB
On 11/23/2017 at 8:15 AM, Gridley said:

Hello, DaveB,

 

There are no guarantees, but I can tell you my experience with holding and stabilizing.  A couple of years ago, before I discovered survivingantidepressants, I tapered Imipramine too fast for seven months.  The lower I got, the more symptoms I felt, particularly extreme anxiety.  Then I discovered SA and learned that I should have been tapering my Lexapro (an activating drug) instead of Imipramine (a sedating drug).  But before I could taper Lexapro, I needed to stabilize.  So I held on the Imipramine.  And held.  But I still had the anxiety.  When was I going to stabilize, I asked myself every day (and several times a day).  Finally, a little more than four months after I began my hold,  I stabilized.  That is not to say I was without symptoms, just that they were at last manageable and I could get on with my life.  And in January, 2017, I began my Lexapro taper and am doing well with it.

 

So that is my "success story" with holding and stabilizing.     

 

Overthinking is a symptom of withdrawal.  It is human to doubt and worry.  It is also unhelpful during a hold.  I believe the brain heals better (whether on a hold or taper) when you think your hold or taper is going to work.  Doubt feeds more doubt, creating unease.  Believing the hold is working creates a sense of comfort, which promotes stability and healing.   At least, that was my experience.

 

Thanks for this, I needed to hear a good stabilizing story.

 

On 11/23/2017 at 9:57 AM, Kitson said:

 

It didn't exacerbate any withdrawal symptoms, it just added another layer of minor suffering until the caffeine withdrawals passed. I got headaches for a week, then they stopped. Ibuprofen helps, if you can take it.

 

 

Good to know, thank you!

23 hours ago, ChessieCat said:

If you have been drinking a lot of caffeine it is better to reduce your caffeine (and sugar) intake gradually instead of going cold turkey.  There are many things which can upset the CNS.  I've only been experiencing mild withdrawal symptoms with my taper, but recently I had a helicopter flying lesson for my birthday.  I noticed that my anxiety increased and it has taken almost a week for it to settle down again.

 

You have made a lot of changes in the past year, both drug and dose changes.  These are the changes you have made just since the beginning of June this year (not quite 6 months) - each change is in bold font.

 

Paxil 20mgs (started)

 

Paxil 40mgs, Zyprexa 2.5mgs
Paxil 60mgs, Zyprexa 2.5mgs
Paxil 50mgs, Zyprexa 2.5mgs

reduced/stopped caffeine & sugar

 

Your brain has been through a lot and generally it is better to hold and give the brain the time it needs to adapt to the changes we have made.

 

I believe that when we worry about something it causes stress which means that the brain's attention is diverted away from healing because it needs to be dealing with the stress.  The calmer and less stressed (both good and bad) environment we provide will allow the brain to do what it needs to do to heal.

 

Acceptance

 

Non-drug techniques to cope

 

Here are some SA discussions:

 

Keep it Simple, Slow and Stable

 

Windows and Waves Pattern of Stabilization

 

Stabilising  - What Does That Mean?

Withdrawal Normal Description

 

Thanks for all this info, it has been very enlightening.

 

Unfortunately I listened to my doctor last week, he thought I should come off the Paxil all together as it "isn't helping" my anxiety. I am to reduce by 10 mgs a week and then go from 10 to 5 for a week, then off. After hearing from you guys here and all the information I have looked at, I am going to tell him that now that I am at 40mgs, I want to hold for a few months and see where that puts me. I know it won't be easy as when something is as broken as my brain has been this year, I just want to feel like I am doing something to fix it. However, all that kind of thinking has done for me is drag out what I believe could have been a more simple and much more painless process had I just reinstated a small dose of Zoloft and held in January instead of going on this doctor prescribed roller coaster. Hopefully I haven't permanently damaged my brain and i can soon stabilize as get back to being myself again. 

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ChessieCat

I suggest you check out these topics before you see your doctor.  Knowing how to be assertive without being aggressive is very helpful when talking with the medical profession.

 

How do you talk to a doctor about tapering and withdrawal?


What should I expect from my doctor about withdrawal symptoms?

 

One thing to consider is Are you still going to be able to get Paxil in the future?  Or is there a possibility your doctor would refuse to continue prescribing?

 

Your topic title "Trying to stop a roller coaster year" - my suggestion - HOLD ON!!!  (Pun absolutely intentional)

 

At least now you have the knowledge to make an informed decision.

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DaveB
1 hour ago, ChessieCat said:

I suggest you check out these topics before you see your doctor.  Knowing how to be assertive without being aggressive is very helpful when talking with the medical profession.

 

How do you talk to a doctor about tapering and withdrawal?


What should I expect from my doctor about withdrawal symptoms?

 

One thing to consider is Are you still going to be able to get Paxil in the future?  Or is there a possibility your doctor would refuse to continue prescribing?

 

Your topic title "Trying to stop a roller coaster year" - my suggestion - HOLD ON!!!  (Pun absolutely intentional)

 

At least now you have the knowledge to make an informed decision.

 

Thanks Chessie, I love your suggestion of HOLD ON!!!! Yes I will absolutely be able to continue to get Paxil. My doctor (not the same as the original one who put me on the roller coaster of one med after another) may not "get it" as far as whatever is going on with me, but he is a great guy who works with me and not against me. 

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DaveB
On 11/24/2017 at 3:00 PM, ChessieCat said:

I suggest you check out these topics before you see your doctor.  Knowing how to be assertive without being aggressive is very helpful when talking with the medical profession.

 

How do you talk to a doctor about tapering and withdrawal?


What should I expect from my doctor about withdrawal symptoms?

 

One thing to consider is Are you still going to be able to get Paxil in the future?  Or is there a possibility your doctor would refuse to continue prescribing?

 

Your topic title "Trying to stop a roller coaster year" - my suggestion - HOLD ON!!!  (Pun absolutely intentional)

 

At least now you have the knowledge to make an informed decision.

 

So...I have been a week now at 40mgs, and I would say I am significantly better than where I was at on 60mgs of Paxil. Is holding the best option, or should I continue to go down as so far, even though I have gone down way too fast compared to this site's recommended 10% per month, I have improved?

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brassmonkey

Hi Dave-- welcome to SA.  I'm so sorry that your doctor has been making so many changes to your dose. Considering all that has happened in the last six months I would not make any changes until February at the earliest. Then we can see how stable you are and maybe start a slow methodical taper.  There have been a lot of physical changes made to your CNS over the past months and a huge amount of chemical confusion caused by all the dose changes.  The doctors don't seem to take those into account when they make dose and drug changes and that's where a lot of the WD problems come from.  I'm very glad that you're feeling better on 40mg.  It's a much better place to be than on 50 or 60mg.  I would expect things to be a bit rocky for the next month or so.  Please don't be upset by what ever the drugs throw at you, it's your body trying to sort it out and make sense of it all.  There is no timetable for stability, but it does come and then you're back in control.  If you have any leftover pills from those dose changes do not get rid of them.  When starting a taper it is a good thing to have a "reserve supply".

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DaveB
11 hours ago, brassmonkey said:

Hi Dave-- welcome to SA.  I'm so sorry that your doctor has been making so many changes to your dose. Considering all that has happened in the last six months I would not make any changes until February at the earliest. Then we can see how stable you are and maybe start a slow methodical taper.  There have been a lot of physical changes made to your CNS over the past months and a huge amount of chemical confusion caused by all the dose changes.  The doctors don't seem to take those into account when they make dose and drug changes and that's where a lot of the WD problems come from.  I'm very glad that you're feeling better on 40mg.  It's a much better place to be than on 50 or 60mg.  I would expect things to be a bit rocky for the next month or so.  Please don't be upset by what ever the drugs throw at you, it's your body trying to sort it out and make sense of it all.  There is no timetable for stability, but it does come and then you're back in control.  If you have any leftover pills from those dose changes do not get rid of them.  When starting a taper it is a good thing to have a "reserve supply".

 

Thanks Brassmonkey, I appreciate your comments and advice. I guess I just need reassurance that essentially doing nothing is the right thing to do. At times I feel I am doing much better than I have been this year, but when I get hit by a wave it is just frustrating and I lose patience with it all and want to be back to myself. Especially at this time of year with my 3 kids, not being back to myself is really hard. I am such a good father who puts my kids and wife first, but this whole ordeal this year has made me stuck in my head about “how I am feeling” and therefore quite selfish and focused on me and I hate that. I just want to be stable, as I honestly don’t think I need these pills to deal with my anxiety, but want to attack this from a stable point of strength, which is, unfortunately, not where I have been this year.

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DaveB
14 hours ago, brassmonkey said:

Hi Dave-- welcome to SA.  I'm so sorry that your doctor has been making so many changes to your dose. Considering all that has happened in the last six months I would not make any changes until February at the earliest. Then we can see how stable you are and maybe start a slow methodical taper.  There have been a lot of physical changes made to your CNS over the past months and a huge amount of chemical confusion caused by all the dose changes.  The doctors don't seem to take those into account when they make dose and drug changes and that's where a lot of the WD problems come from.  I'm very glad that you're feeling better on 40mg.  It's a much better place to be than on 50 or 60mg.  I would expect things to be a bit rocky for the next month or so.  Please don't be upset by what ever the drugs throw at you, it's your body trying to sort it out and make sense of it all.  There is no timetable for stability, but it does come and then you're back in control.  If you have any leftover pills from those dose changes do not get rid of them.  When starting a taper it is a good thing to have a "reserve supply".

 

Also I wonder if I am not stabilizing due to the fact I should be trying to stabilize on Zoloft instead of Paxil. I was on Zoloft for almost 9 years and maybe that is what my body wants and needs to stabilize. I don't know, it has just been a bad year and I am losing hope I will ever stabilize and be myself again. Also anytime I make a dosage change either up or down, it seems like I have a few days when I feel better, but then I go back to feeling more or less the same, is this just a placebo effect or would there be a reason behind this?

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DaveB

Anyone have any information or advice for me?

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Gridley

As advised previously, because of the many recent changes in your drugs and dosages, you should not make any changes at this time.   It can take months to stabilize.  More switches can further destabilize your system.

 

 

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DaveB
15 minutes ago, Gridley said:

As advised previously, because of the many recent changes in your drugs and dosages, you should not make any changes at this time.   It can take months to stabilize.  More switches can further destabilize your system.

 

 

 

Sounds good, thanks Gridley. Someone on another thread mentioned they would switch to my original AD of Zoloft as that was what they did and it helped them stabilize. I know it is early on in my drop from 60 to 40mgs, but I think I am already seeing signs of stabilizing. Many of my physical symptoms (shaking, oily skin, burning eyes, IBS) have either lessened or quit altogether. Hopefully the anxiety will start to diminish soon as well, but this is probably the most stable I have felt this year (however I would have told a much different story yesterday). Thank you for all your help!

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DaveB

I feel like I am doing ok, but really up and down. I am getting a few hours a day where I don't feel it at all, I feel really good and it is such a breath of fresh air to feel normal, then a wave where the anxiety is overwhelming and comes out of nowhere. Is this to be expected at this point and it should even out, or does this seem like a problem?

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brassmonkey

You're doing fine Dave.  Things will be all over the place for a while.  Those big changes over the past few months will be causing unexpected swings for a while as they settle out.  Even once you're stable you will probably get some pretty good changes through out the day or week.  What we are looking for right now is to establish your baseline of WDnormal. This is a CONSISTENT level of feeling crappy, without the wild swings.  It will take several months to get a feeling for what is average and what is a swing.  As you proceed with your taper the level of WDnormal will slowly rise.  As in "hey, I just realized that I'm feeling better than I did six months ago".  This is the true gage of progress, not the day to day, week to week swings.

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DaveB
On 12/1/2017 at 1:00 PM, brassmonkey said:

You're doing fine Dave.  Things will be all over the place for a while.  Those big changes over the past few months will be causing unexpected swings for a while as they settle out.  Even once you're stable you will probably get some pretty good changes through out the day or week.  What we are looking for right now is to establish your baseline of WDnormal. This is a CONSISTENT level of feeling crappy, without the wild swings.  It will take several months to get a feeling for what is average and what is a swing.  As you proceed with your taper the level of WDnormal will slowly rise.  As in "hey, I just realized that I'm feeling better than I did six months ago".  This is the true gage of progress, not the day to day, week to week swings.

 

Thanks brassmonkey, I do need to think more in long term, hard to do in a wave. So when I am holding to “stabilize,” will I not find myself getting back to normal, do you think I am truly years away from feeling good again?

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brassmonkey

While you're in the process of stabilizing you should start to feel better.  Instability is essentially a bad wave and as you stabilize the wave diminishes until you get back to your current WDnormal.  

 

Because every person has a different experience, different symptoms and handles them in a different manner it's very hard to predict.  I can however, give you some numbers based on mathematics and observation.  I just completed tapering off of 40mg of paxil.  All in all I had a very uneventful taper and managed to taper at 10% every six weeks the entire time.  My taper lasted 5 and a half years.  If everything goes smoothly you're looking at about the same length of time, it's just how the numbers work out. BUT (you'll notice that that's a big but)  it was not all pain and misery.  I had been in severe poopout for several years, drinking very heavily and on the verge of losing everything when I started to taper.  I didn't really see any signs of improvement for about two and a half years.  Then things slowly started to get better. Finally about the middle of the fourth year I was consistently feeling pretty reasonable and saw great improvements throughout the fifth year.  I'm not all the way back yet, but pretty darn close.  I had a number of "taper buddies" several of who started before me and several at the same time, all of who followed a similar pattern.  All of them have now been off of their drugs for several months to several years and all are doing very well.

 

Going into it, seeing the numbers spelled out, can be very disheartening and downright scary.  But every one of my taper buddies has commented about how fast the time actually went.  Once the improvements start to show up and you see how far you've come the time that's left doesn't really matter any more.  It's also been proven time after time that a taper can't be rushed.  The setbacks and extra pain caused by rushing make things stretch well past where a slow taper would have ended.

 

It's a pretty horrible situation we've had dumped on us and it takes a frustratingly long time to get through it, but recovery does happen.

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DaveB
20 hours ago, brassmonkey said:

While you're in the process of stabilizing you should start to feel better.  Instability is essentially a bad wave and as you stabilize the wave diminishes until you get back to your current WDnormal.  

 

Because every person has a different experience, different symptoms and handles them in a different manner it's very hard to predict.  I can however, give you some numbers based on mathematics and observation.  I just completed tapering off of 40mg of paxil.  All in all I had a very uneventful taper and managed to taper at 10% every six weeks the entire time.  My taper lasted 5 and a half years.  If everything goes smoothly you're looking at about the same length of time, it's just how the numbers work out. BUT (you'll notice that that's a big but)  it was not all pain and misery.  I had been in severe poopout for several years, drinking very heavily and on the verge of losing everything when I started to taper.  I didn't really see any signs of improvement for about two and a half years.  Then things slowly started to get better. Finally about the middle of the fourth year I was consistently feeling pretty reasonable and saw great improvements throughout the fifth year.  I'm not all the way back yet, but pretty darn close.  I had a number of "taper buddies" several of who started before me and several at the same time, all of who followed a similar pattern.  All of them have now been off of their drugs for several months to several years and all are doing very well.

 

Going into it, seeing the numbers spelled out, can be very disheartening and downright scary.  But every one of my taper buddies has commented about how fast the time actually went.  Once the improvements start to show up and you see how far you've come the time that's left doesn't really matter any more.  It's also been proven time after time that a taper can't be rushed.  The setbacks and extra pain caused by rushing make things stretch well past where a slow taper would have ended.

 

It's a pretty horrible situation we've had dumped on us and it takes a frustratingly long time to get through it, but recovery does happen.

 

Thanks Brassmonkey, I saw you post on your thread today that the worst symptoms from a big drop show up after 3 months. Does this mean I should expect to feel worse 3 months from now? I was hoping I would see steady improvement as I wait to stabilize. 

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brassmonkey

Sorry to say it, but there is a good chance it may happen.  There's also a reasonable chance that it won't.  These drugs are extremely unpredictable as to how people react on an individual level.  The best we can do is talk in terms of overall trends when trying to predict the future.  There are so many little variables that can affect things.  Some people make a lot of large changes with no problems but then have a glass of wine and end up suffering for months. Others take one pill for the first time and suffer for months trying to recover.  People getting blindsided by symptoms at around three months is a well documented phenomena and one of the primary reasons we stress the idea of making small orderly cuts.  Personally I wouldn't expect it to happen, but not be too surprised if it does.  Trying to second guess symptoms is a good way to trigger an anxiety spiral.  It always works out better to try to be prepared for what ever happens and roll with what ever comes along then to worry about what might happen.

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