Jump to content
wantrelief

wantrelief

Recommended Posts

wantrelief

Hello everyone,

 

This is my first post. I've been reading many posts over the last couple of days and am finding a lot of great information. Thanks for being here!

 

My drug history is listed below my post.

 

I wanted to get some advice. I really want to get off of Zoloft (wt gain, sexual side effect and a feeling it has blunted who I truly am) and have been trying for a few years now unsuccessfully, unfortunately. I have now tried 2 slow tapers off of Zoloft (using the liquid). Both times I get under 40 mg, have something stressful occur and go into full blown withdrawal mode: complete insomnia, severe anxiety, agitation and no appetite. The first taper was 10%, the 2nd time I tried 5% cuts as I thought that would help me avoid this from happening but yet again I am in the same situation. This time I had gotten down to 37.5 mg, had something very stressful happen once again - I tried to stay put for a couple of months at 37.5 but the anxiety became worse and worse again turning into complete insomnia, etc. So I started to updose as I had done in the past which had in the past brought relief fairly quickly. However, this time updosing doesn't seem to be doing anything at all except give me a bad constant headache. I am currently back at 70 mg and my psychiatrist wants me to keep going to at least 100 mg. Ultimately she would like to see me at 150-200 mg because she thinks I have an underlying anxiety disorder. She also prescribed Klonopin which I've been on now for 2 weeks mostly at 1 mg and that has helped me sleep and eat a bit (appetite still not great and am losing quite a bit of weight) and be somewhat functional but I am scared of staying on this too long (already went through Klonopin withdrawal after a short stint a few years ago). But I also can't function not sleeping or eating. With the bad headache and no relief felt yet with the updose I am not sure what to do. Any thoughts? Am beginning to think I have some sort of bipolar disorder as the symptoms that occur when I am under stress really seem to be hypomanic.

 

It seems since I started ADs i have absolutely no coping mechanisms to handle stress any longer. I am just feeling scared, lost and confused as to where to go from here. I should note that I never had anxiety or depression like this prior to taking ADs. I would have some of both but not at this magnitude. i also have no history of mania prior to medication.

 

Thanks in advance for reading and for any advice you may have. I am also curious if anyone else has experienced these problems while still on the medication.

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Cymbalta Rx'd 2006 for depression/stress while in an intense graduate school program - stayed on for just over 1 year - tapered quickly in 2007, experienced withdrawal symptoms (?) 4 months later around stress of starting new job/career (adrenaline rushes, insomnia, anxiety). Had trouble starting back on any AD as would make symptoms worse so was Rx'd Klonopin to enable start-up of Zoloft. Eventually 100 mg Zoloft; tapered Klonopin; Have tried 2 very slow tapers Zoloft but can't get off due to increased anxiety/insomnia when go below 40 mg. Now back on 1-.75mg Klonopin for 2 weeks and trying to up Zoloft to get stable - so far unsuccessful.

Share this post


Link to post
xDebbiejo

Hi wantrelief

 

Sorry to hear you are suffering, you have come to the right place for advice and support.

 

I am quite new myself and am not experienced to help, but Alto and others should be along shortly to help and advise you.

 

Wishing you well soon and welcome!

 

Debbie x

Share this post


Link to post
Nikki

Hi wantrelief....

 

Your name says it all. The 10% reduction is too much for me. I use liquid Celexa & taper by 1/5mL each time. Miniscule drops, it's easier this way. Alto pointed out that the smaller the drop the less taxing it is on the nervous system.

 

Do you actually feel better when you are in the higher doses of Zoloft, or at your original dose? I'm thinking that if you do feel better, go back up. Stay put, hopefully feel better and give yourself a much needed break. When you are ready,

begin a taper and drop 1/5mL each time. It will take forever, but it may be more tolerable.

 

I too, had anxiety prior to taking meds. Tapering causes alot more anxiety so just know, you are not alone.

 

There are other anti anxiety remedies like Propanol which is actually a Beta Blocker. It does work and is not addictive.

 

Some people use Rescue Remedy which has been around since forever. It's natural. Magnesium helps too.

 

For now just try to stabilize....

 

Post often, the people here are lovely and have been thru it all.

 

Hugs

Share this post


Link to post
wantrelief

Thanks very much for the replies. I am so confused what to do, Nikki, because usually I do feel better when I updose but this time it hasn't been helping at all so I am not sure if I should continue going up or not. Plus it seems to be giving me a really bad headache to go up (going down does too though). I was doing a really slow taper when this all started - only 5% decreases every 4 weeks or so. I don't want to be on the Klonopin but it is the only thing keeping me semi-functional at this point. The anxiety I get is debilitating - I've never been manic but I assume it is what it feels like to be manic.....my body will just not calm down at all even with no sleep, I just won't feel tired but instead very "up" (but not in a good way).

Share this post


Link to post
elizabeth11

I'm not an expert...Alto is...but how long has it been that you've been trying to up dose this time? Has it been as long as the last time you up dosed?

 

Time may be what your body needs?

 

Be careful with the klonopin...there are so may stories of people having a hard time getting off of this class of drugs. Have you tried melatonin?

 

Most importantly trust your body and listen to it. Try to take it easy.

 

Tapering is a very anxiety provoking step to take. With the DSM and the current talk on the town, we as patients are too quick to buy into the "you need it like a diabetic needs insulin" theory of the pdocs and drug companies. Every personality quirk is not always a personality disorder that needs doping with drugs. In "Anatomy of an Epidemic" it has been shown that this thinking, drugs for all, is biased and not in the favor of patients. Humanity survived for tens of thousands of years (depending on your religious beliefs) without these drugs.

 

Know you are doing what it right for you. It will be a huge endeavor, and be kind to yourself. Stabilizing to "wantrelief" sounds like a good goal.

Share this post


Link to post
wantrelief

Thanks very much for your response, Elizabeth. I've been trying to updose for at least a month now, maybe a little longer, and have gone all the way from 37.5 to 70 mg without any relief. In the past when I'd updose I would feel better fairly quickly, maybe not 100% but some sign of it working. I just am not sure if I should even continue trying to go up, especially as I am getting a horrible headache everyday. I know it is best to be as stable as possible to restart the tapering process but I am not sure if I'll have that luxury. I am very aware of the concerns around Klonopin but honestly don't know what else to do as it is the only thing keeping me semi-functional, and frankly I fear for my life if I am not on it as I had very strong suicidal thoughts when I wasn't sleeping and having the manic feelings. When I am in that state, nothing naturopathic/homeopathic helps at all and even other sleep aids don't help because it is the anxiety that is fueling the insomnia (I believe). It seems like my options are to continue taking the scary Klonopin and continue tapering the Zoloft or switch to another AD but I am fearful of that option too because it could just make things even worse. :(

Share this post


Link to post
elizabeth11

Have you had your tsh, t4 and t3 tested? How about your hormones?

 

I too had a time when I was feeling worse than the worst because I wasn't sleeping and didn't know when this agony would end.

 

It turned out my real problem was endocrine and I was severely hyperthyroid. That was causing of all of my problems...completely physiological.

Share this post


Link to post
Altostrata

Hello, wantrelief. Thanks for joining us.

 

It sounds like you're in a tough spot with Zoloft withdrawal, and updosing is not going to help.

 

If I were you, I'd take that headache as an adverse reaction.

 

How is your relationship with your doctor? Have you found she understands slow tapering?

Share this post


Link to post
wantrelief

Thanks, Elizabeth - I have had my thyroid tested and it is fine.

 

Thanks also, Alto. I am seeing a psychiatrist just for the short term - she told me she feels my situation is too complicated for her scope of practice (she has a very limited practice as it turns out), so I am in the process of changing doctors but for now will see her until I can get established elsewhere. I think she is sympathetic to the need to slowly taper, however. I feel like my options are to stay with a slow taper of Zoloft using Klonopin to help or switch to a different AD - although I know that can be its own problem. Either way I feel like I am in a really bad spot. I feel so badly right now that I may need to try switching as I don't think I am going to feel much better with reducing Zoloft, even slowly. In the past I've tried this when feeling this unstable and it only made everything worse. I support myself and live alone so have to try to get as stable as possible to keep functional. I can't tell you how very disappointed and frustrated I am as i've been trying now for 3 years to get off of Zoloft and now am worse than ever. :(

 

Thanks for being here.

Share this post


Link to post
wantrelief

What would you do, Alto?

Share this post


Link to post
Karma

Hey wantrelief,

 

Please don't beat yourself up about needing Klonopin to cope with the adverse side effects or withdrawal you are experiencing. If you need it to sleep and function, then you need it. Once you get to the other side of this you can work on the Klonopin taper.

 

I am coming off of Effexor and had a bad bout of it last fall - Xanax helped me get through the rough spot and I actually was able to decrement it a bit earlier this year, but decided to focus on my Effexor wean for right now. I'll work on the Xanax taper after I come off of Effexor. You should plan on dealing with the Klonopin taper after you get down off of your current AD or the AD you switch to.

 

Hang in there. Posted Image

 

Karma

Share this post


Link to post
wantrelief

Thanks so much for the advice Karma and Alto - I really really appreciate your support. And Karma, thanks for what you said about the Klonopin - I really have been beating myself up about the Klonopin thing but it is what has kept me going at this point so I do feel I need it for now. Good luck with your own tapering. I am glad we are here together on our journeys with these meds.

Share this post


Link to post
wantrelief

Hey again Alto. Sorry for all of the questions. I am now really considering a switch to either Prozac or Celexa. One concern I had in the info. I read is that if you are already having withdrawal symptoms on the drug you are on (in my case Zoloft) that it might not be helpful to switch. But maybe because the Klonopin is helping with the withdrawal I am experiencing from Zoloft it might still help? Do you still think it is worth a try? I guess I won't know until I try. As another member put it, it is just scary to change anything with these drugs once you've had a bad go of it. It was helpful to read others got "stuck" at doses of their Ads too and couldn't make it forward. I have read so many stories of people doing slow tapers and getting to the other side.....I thought i was the only one who got stuck at a certain dose and wasn't able to continue forward.

 

Thanks again,

Michele

Share this post


Link to post
Nikki

WR....

 

I thought I posted yesterday about a crossover I did to get off Lexapro. The anxiety was very bad like you and after awhile, updosing did not help. I was in what we call "poop out".

 

I had read about crossing over to Imipramine, and the Nurse Practitioner I see suggested it. After alot of thought and fear, I did. It helped. These drugs are very unpredictable and what works for me may not work for another.

 

I am on Celexa now and tapering using the liquid. The taper from Celexa is going well.

 

Feel for you. Hang in there and post often. It really helps:)

 

Hugs

Share this post


Link to post
wantrelief

Thanks, Nikki. I don't think you did post about your experience with the cross-over in my thread so it is good to know you had a good experience, even though you were experiencing a lot of anxiety/"poop out" at the time on Lexapro. Thanks for letting me know about this and thanks very much for your support!

Share this post


Link to post
Altostrata

wantrelief, people often switch to another antidepressant to go off because they're having difficult withdrawal from the first antidepressant.

 

Nikki, how about starting a topic in tapering about how you accomplished the cross-over?

Share this post


Link to post
wantrelief

If I were you I'd consider a switch to 10mg Prozac. Some people seem to do okay switching to Celexa, too.

 

We've had a couple people here do this as a cross-taper: See lundeliz's topic http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/1661-my-cymbalta-story-by-lundeliz

 

Hi Alto,

 

I am still considering a switch to another AD from Zoloft. I am currently at 57 mg Zoloft (liquid). If I chose to switch to Prozac my thought was to get down to 50 mg liquid Zoloft and switch to 20 mg liquid (or tablets) Prozac as this is the equivalent to 50 mg Zoloft from what I've read. Or did you mean start at 10mg Prozac and titrate up to 20 mg?

 

Other question: I believe I am in "poop out" from Zoloft as increases haven't helped relieve my withdrawal symptoms this time around - although truthfully I haven't stayed long at any of the higher doses because I think it was causing a bad headache. Anyway, what if the switch to another AD doesn't work? I can't go back to Zoloft because it is no longer working for me, right? What do folks do in this situation? I just want to consider all of the possibilities before I take this leap. I am so scared to make any changes as I've had such a hard time with these drugs and have read some horror stories about switching between ADs. I have never attempted a switch before so it is unknown how my body would react.

 

Thanks so much for your help!

Share this post


Link to post
Altostrata

As it was explained to me by a doctor, 10mg Prozac is sufficient. But it seems many people switch to 20mg Prozac.

 

I don't know how to answer your question. There's no predicting the future. There is a possibility it won't work. I guess you could go back on Zoloft and be in the same situation you're in now.

 

This is best done in consultation with a doctor who's done it before. Can you see any of the doctors on this list http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/988-recommended-doctors-therapists-or-clinics/

Share this post


Link to post
wantrelief

As it was explained to me by a doctor, 10mg Prozac is sufficient. But it seems many people switch to 20mg Prozac.

 

I don't know how to answer your question. There's no predicting the future. There is a possibility it won't work. I guess you could go back on Zoloft and be in the same situation you're in now.

 

This is best done in consultation with a doctor who's done it before. Can you see any of the doctors on this list http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/988-recommended-doctors-therapists-or-clinics/

 

Yeah, I knew in all likelihood my question was an answerable one but I thought I'd ask anyway.

 

Unfortunately I am in Seattle and the one doctor listed for Seattle seems to have relocated - just my luck! I'll ask my doctor how much experience she has had with this type of switch.

 

Thanks for the info and help - it is much appreciated.

Share this post


Link to post
wantrelief

oops - I meant to say "unanswerable" in my response. :)

Share this post


Link to post
wantrelief

Hello everyone,

 

I have not posted in awhile as I have been in the process of switching from Zoloft to Celexa (Citalopram) over the last several months. I did the switch slowly (I appear to be hyper-sensitive to these medications so did not want to do a quick switch), over about 5-6 months and my last dose of Zoloft was in January. I felt really pretty good during the switching process, probably the best I have felt in years - more like myself before ADs. After the switch was over, things went well until 3 months after my last dose. I began to once again feel withdrawal-like symptoms: anxiety, depression (along with suicidal thoughts), lack of appetite (have lost a lot of weight) and constant headache. These were all symptoms I was experiencing prior to the switch and was why I was trying a different AD to taper from. I unfortunately am also on 1 mg Klonopin which I believe is helping keep the symptoms somewhat manageable but of course being on this drug terrifies me as well. My thoughts are that I am experiencing Zoloft withdrawal even though I am now on 35 mg Celexa. My plan is to possibly increase the Celexa to 40 mg to see if it helps at all. I am hoping if I give this some time, if it is Zoloft withdrawal, the symptoms will settle in time and I can then start from a more stable place and do a very slow taper of Celexa. Then at some point tackle the Klonopin. It is difficult though not really knowing what is what - if this is Zoloft withdrawal or an adverse reaction to Celexa. I feel quite despondent as I feel these medications have ultimately made my life worse than it ever was to begin with and feel somewhat hopeless that this will sort itself out. Was wondering if my plan makes any sense, to give this more time and see if I can reach more stability over the next few months and then begin a taper. I am just scared to start tapering now with already feeling so out of sorts - scared it will make everything even worse. Please let me know your thoughts.

Share this post


Link to post
strawberry17

Hi, I'm not really sure about increasing the Celexa further, not sure what the standard dosages of Celexa are, but I do know about Zoloft, I was on it for quite a few years and found it impossible to get off, although I didn't have the liquid so I was messing about chopping tablets badly.

 

I would say though, definitely absolutely do not start a taper until you are feeling a lot better as starting it now would just compound the anxiety and depression you're currently experiencing. I would also say, when eventually you do start a taper, as you're very sensitive to dose reductions like me, take minute teeny tiny reductions, I know it would seem like taking forever, but you're more likely to get somewhere that way.

Share this post


Link to post
Rhiannon

You're already on a pretty high dose of Celexa. (Entry level dose is 10 mg and in my 20 years on ADs I never took more than 20 mg or the equivalent.)

 

Personally I doubt that another 5 mg will help. Probably you're just in withdrawal, plus the destabilization produced by taking a new drug. My opinion is that you would benefit most from finding ways to take care of yourself and support your nervous system that don't involve screwing around further with your brain chemistry.

 

Sometimes suffering just can't be fixed by drugs. Check in the "symptoms and self-care" section for experience and advice about ways to help yourself as much as possible without tweaking meds further. In my experience that generally just leads to more problems for folks.

Share this post


Link to post
wantrelief

Thanks so much for your replies, Strawberry and Rhi - I really appreciate your responses. It sounds like you both are thinking what I am thinking, that I should just wait this out. I just hope I do find some stability so that I can eventually start tapering. I do plan to do very minute drops when I do start tapering as I tried as low as 5% drops of Zoloft and still had bad withdrawal symptoms.

Share this post


Link to post
Nikki

Hi Wantrelief

 

My experience in switching over was that there was WD from the previous drug. Gong from Paxil to Lexapro I had this. It took several months and then I settled down.

 

35mgs. of Celexa is a hefty dose. I was on 40mgs. and found it a little too stimulating.

 

I have gone down to 30mgs.

 

For some reason there is a "Flavor of the Month" club with AD's. I have seen it over the years.

 

Everyone was prescribed Paxil Zoloft and Effexor.....then it was Lexapro and now it is Celexa.

 

I agree with Strawberry and Rhi. Stay at the 35mg. and give your body time to get over the Zoloft WD.

 

Hang in there....we have all been thru this, just keep posting:)

Share this post


Link to post
wantrelief

Thanks so much for your reply, Nikki. Your post brings me some hope as I am fearing not stabilizing on this new medication. Do you recall how long it took for you to stabilize once you made the switch? I didn't feel withdrawal (or what I am presuming is withdrawal) until 3 months after my last dose of Zoloft. Feeling this way yet again really is difficult. :(

Share this post


Link to post
wantrelief

So I am sticking it out at 35 mg Celexa but am finding it very difficult to hang in there.  I stopped Zoloft completely in January after switching over a 5-6 month time period.  At first all seemed good but I started having WD-like symptoms at end of March, beginning of April.  I am having a hard time - constant headache (may be an adverse reaction to Celexa as it wasn't there until I went up to the 30 mark on the Celexa); pretty constant suicidal thoughts; lack of appetite (losing a lot of weight); pretty bad anhedonia (finding it very difficult to do or want to do anything); not great sleep.  I had thought this was just my brain adjusting to the lack of Zoloft and the new med, but I am losing hope that this is going to get better and not sure how much longer I can live like this.  I feel so lost and like I've ruined my life with these medications.  I also feel scared because I am also on 1 mg Klonopin which I know is not good either.  I am so so tired of battling with these medications.  I had tried to get off of Zoloft for at least 3 years, tapering very slowly and even that didn't seem to work as I'd always get stuck.  I then switched to Celexa out of desperation as the Zoloft no longer seemed to work for me (went through full on withdrawal after a stressful period) and was hopeful that I could stabilize on the Celexa and somehow taper off of that.  I am now not sure if I will actually be able to stabilize on Celexa.   Do you guys think I should still try to stick this out and will eventually stabilize or perhaps switch back to Zoloft?  I am so confused and trying hard to be brave but losing faith as this drags on without improvement and it is getting increasingly difficult to live life.

Share this post


Link to post
lundeliz

Hi wantrelief, I wanted to respond to your post because my situation was similar to yours. I did a switch

 

over from Cymbalta to Celexa. I was having a very hard time reducing Cymbalta any further and made the

 

switch to 30mg of Celexa. My switch went very well, but I also had a constant headache for several months.

 

As it turned out, I am very sensitive to Celexa and I have had some pretty bad side effects. But the good

 

news is, the Celexa has been easier for me to taper. My wd has been easier. I am down to 5mg now, but

 

still suffering the side effects(headache, nausea, just want to stay in bed). I don't regret the switch though,

 

as I really was having a really hard time reducing the Cymbalta. I don't mean to imply that I think your situation

 

is exactly like mine. Celexa may be great for you. Hopefully your headache will resolve soon

 

and you will be able to do a slow taper off. It has been really confusing and frustrating for me too, trying

 

to figure out what to do. Thank goodness for the good advice from Alto and the others on this board. I really

 

wish you good luck.

Share this post


Link to post
wantrelief

Hi Lundeliz!  Thank you so much for your response.  Our stories do sound very similar!  Interesting that you have had headaches while on Celexa as well.  Is your pain still constant? How did you know the symptoms were from the Celexa v. withdrawal from Cymbalta?  I am so confused how to know the difference.  Did you feel stable once you started tapering the Celexa?  I keep waiting to feel better to start tapering but that isn't happening.  My doctor thinks I should decrease the Celexa a little bit because of the headache.  I may try to decrease a bit just to see if it helps but am concerned it will make me feel worse - I guess I could always go back up if that were the case.  I am so glad that for you the withdrawal from Celexa has been easier for you than Cymbalta.  Can you tell me more about that? So you haven't felt worse as you go down?  Congratulations on getting to 5 mg - that is amazing!!

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
lundeliz

Hi wantrelief, I don't want to sound like I know what I'm doing, because it has been very confusing for me too.

 

I started tapering about a month after the switch because of the headaches. I didn't know for sure it was the

 

Celexa and not the Cymbalta. I have never stabilized on the Celexa. I seem to be very sensitive to it, and

 

after a few months on it, the side effects hit a peak and I had to try something. I started having constant

 

nausea and episodes of very high blood pressure. The bp scared me, so I made a huge decrease in dosage from

 

24mg down to 10mg. The w/ds from that drop were not too bad, and the nausea and high bp got much better over

 

the next few months. The nausea and the headaches have recently started back, and I still question whether

 

it's wd or side effects. I'm making .25mg drops right now and it's going ok. I still don't feel well on the

 

Celexa. I can't wait to get off it, but I'm trying hard not to get too anxious and rush it too much.

Share this post


Link to post
wantrelief

Yeah, it really is so difficult to figure out but it sounds like you are doing really well with your taper.  That is amazing that the large drop you did went well!  So the headache thing did go away for awhile?  Are you having any mental/emotional problems as you decrease?  

Share this post


Link to post
lundeliz

Yeah, the headache did go away for a few months.  I have never felt like myself on Celexa.  The anxiety I had on higher doses

 

has pretty much gone away.  I had a lot of irritability and an agitated feeling and that has gotten better too. I do usually have

 

a couple of days of feeling down when I decrease.   Does it cause you fatigue?  I'm very fatigued on this med.

Share this post


Link to post
wantrelief

That is great that the headache did go away at least for awhile for you.  Also great that you've had a decrease in the anxiety, irritability and agitated feeling.  Your experience brings me some hope that maybe if I do reduce, I will feel less of what I am feeling now.  Just scared that it might make things worse and that would not be good.  I definitely relate to the anxiety and agitated feeling - I vacillate between those feelings and depression (but no ability to cry which is frustrating).  Re. fatigue:  I am not sure if I feel a physical sensation of fatigue or not - something like it though where I have an overwhelming feeling of not wanting to do anything but lie on the couch and read (and that is sometimes hard to do too).  Not sure if that is fatigue or anhedonia or both.  I definitely think part of it is that I want badly to just fall asleep and escape how I am feeling and if I lie down on the couch reading, maybe that will happen but I don't sleep much....just little naps here and there. Definitely not sleeping as well at night but at least getting 5-6 hrs.  Sorry for the long answer - it is difficult to put into words how I feel sometimes.  Please keep in touch and let me know how you are doing.  I hope so much that you get some peace once you are off the Celexa - which you almost are! 

Share this post


Link to post
Altostrata

wantrelief, this is a tough one, as it was for lundeliz. You can't tell if the Celexa is helping or hurting. All you can do is reduce slightly and see if that reduces symptoms. It's possible 35mg Celexa is too strong for you.

Share this post


Link to post
wantrelief

Thanks, Alto.  I think I will try a reduction soon down to 30 mg and see if there is any change.  I appreciate your help!

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.